TagDepartment of Homeland Security

Update/Correction to Naomi Wolf Post

I originally posted this as an update to my earlier post, but I think it’s worth its own post:

I’d been avoiding posting anything about speculation that the Department of Homeland Security had anything to do with coordinating the police raids on occupy until there was some real evidence. I thought Wolf had some new sources but, as Kenneth Huey points out in the comments, it turns out Wolf’s sources rely on that same old anonymously sourced Examiner story. But there is currently no evidence that Congress or the White House ordered or coordinated the raids, and the White House has specifically denied this. If anyone knows of any particular mayor or police chief denying DHS involvement, please let me know.

There are many other problems with Wolf’s account of the story, as detailed here. That The Guardian is still running this story from Wolf without any updates or corrections is disappointing.

It’s worth noting that another source of national coordination regarding the Occupy movement has emerged. Wes Unruh pointed me towards this story in the San Francisco Bay Guardian which reveals that the international non-governmental organization The Police Executive Research Forum (PERF) coordinated raids nationally. Police chiefs in several major cities participated in a series of conference calls distinct from the 18 mayor call mentioned by Oakland Mayor Jean Quan. PERF has also been involved in coordinating crackdowns on anti-globalization protests. The executive director of PERF, Chuck Wexler, is also on the advisory council of DHS, leading some to refer to the organization as “having ties to” DHS (including the San Francisco Bay Guardian), but I wouldn’t (yet) read too much into this relationship.

It might also be worth mentioning that according to Tom Henderson DHS vehicles were spotted at the Occupy Portland eviction, but as Tom notes the Occupy Portland spilled into federal park, so we can’t read too much into that.

One final note on the potential federal involvement in the Occupy crackdown. I’ve noticed that Portland Mayor Sam Adams almost always mentions drug use in the camp when explaining why he flip-flopped from supporting Occupy Portland to ordering its eviction. Since 1981 there has been an ongoing erosion of military and civilian law enforcement, particularly with regards to drug law enforcement. Here’s an excerpt from Diane Cecilia Weber’s paper Warrior Cops: The Ominous Growth of Paramilitarism in American Police Departments:

In 1981 Congress passed the Military Cooperation with Law Enforcement Officials Act. That law amended the Posse Comitatus Act insofar as it authorized the military to “assist” civilian police in the enforcement of drug laws. The act encouraged the military to (a) make available equipment, military bases, and research facilities to federal, state, and local police; (b) train and advise civilian police on the use of the equipment; and (c) assist law enforcement personnel in keeping drugs from entering the country. The act also authorized the military to share information acquired during military operations with civilian law enforcement agencies.

The overlap between civilian and military law enforcement was furthered in 1986 when President Reagan issued a National Security Decision Directive declaring illegal drugs a threat to national security. You can find more on this in Radley Balko’s book/white paper Overkill.

The possibility of federal involvement remains speculative, but returning to the line about drugs again and again could be a tactic to justify the invovlement of the feds, at least at the level of funding.

Domestic Spying, Inc.

Here we go…Write your Congressmen, people…

“A new intelligence institution to be inaugurated soon by the Bush administration will allow government spying agencies to conduct broad surveillance and reconnaissance inside the United States for the first time. Under a proposal being reviewed by Congress, a National Applications Office (NAO) will be established to coordinate how the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and domestic law enforcement and rescue agencies use imagery and communications intelligence picked up by U.S. spy satellites. If the plan goes forward, the NAO will create the legal mechanism for an unprecedented degree of domestic intelligence gathering that would make the U.S. one of the world’s most closely monitored nations. Until now, domestic use of electronic intelligence from spy satellites was limited to scientific agencies with no responsibility for national security or law enforcement.”

(via CorpWatch)

(Congress.org)

The US as Police State, part 1

This week marks the beginning of the “terrorism preparedness” drills Top Officials 4 and Vigilant Shield 08:

VS-08 will be conducted concurrent with Top Officials 4 (TOPOFF 4), the nation’s premier exercise of terrorism preparedness sponsored by the Department of Homeland Security, and several other linked exercises as part of the National Level Exercise 1-08. These linked exercises will take place October 15-20 and are being conducted throughout the United States and in conjunction with several partner nations including Australia, Canada, and the United Kingdom, as well as the Territory of Guam

As usual, the truthers are shitting their pants in anticipation of a false flag terror attack and/or a preparation for the declaration of martial law. Nevermind that these threats failed to materialize during Operation Noble Resolve last August. (Aside: does anyone have a list of times that Alex Jones has “cried wolf” about terrorist attacks and/or declarations of martial law?)

Critics on the war on terror often remark on how our reaction to 9/11 is exactly what the terrorists wanted. We now cower in fear of terror attacks, give up freedoms, and question each other loyalty. I can’t help but wonder if the reactions to these drills aren’t exactly what the police state wants: a constant state of fear and loathing. Besides, “they” don’t have to declare martial law. We’ve been living under martial law since at least the 80s, when Reagan escalated the war on drugs to its current paramilitary status. But even before the effective beginning of martial law in the 80s, the US has had a long history of government repression. The real question is not whether the United States is becoming police state, but to ask if it has ever been a democracy.

When the Constitution was adopted in 1787, it was still legal for a person to own another person, only property owners were allowed to vote, and women weren’t allowed to vote at all. Only about 10-16% of the population had the right to vote.

It wasn’t until the ratification of the thirteenth amendment was passed in 1865 that slavery was constitutionally banned. It was another 5 years before the fifteenth amendment, guaranteeing blacks the right to vote, was ratified. Until the 19th amendment, ratified in 1920, women didn’t have a constitutional right to vote.

However, even these constitutional protections didn’t ensure a right to vote for every US citizen – it took another amendment, the 24th, to ban poll taxes. The 24th amendment wasn’t ratified until 1964. Also in 1964, the Civil Rights Act of 1964 was passed, finally ending any legal basis for racial or sexual discrimination. In other words, for the first 177 years of US history there existed state based repression of significant segments of society (and that’s aside from the Lebensraum policy of US expansion that all but eradicated the native population).

Even those who were allowed to vote couldn’t rely on their vote being counted. Vote fraud didn’t start with Diebold machines and the 2000 election – the case against Kennedy is one of the most famous.

Meanwhile, throughout the Vietnam War, men who couldn’t get deferments were enslaved by the government to fight and die on foreign soil, until the draft expired in 1973 (thanks to a one man filibuster by Mike Gravel).

Which brings us up to the War on Drugs, declared by Richard Nixon on June 17, 1971. Before we even had all our troops out of Vietnam, Nixon was already declaring war on a segment of US citizens: drug users. Though, as stated on Wikipedia the “war on drugs” could be considered to go back to the prohibition of opium in 1880, it was Nixon that began using the martial term “war.” So just as the US was finally being freed of slavery and granting a universal right to vote (except of course in the cases of prison labor, and I won’t even go into voter suppression issues), we entered a new era of government repression.

But if there was ever any “free” period in US history, perhaps it was the 1970s. Although the war on drugs was officially declared, the country seemed to be awash in drugs at the time. The war was ending, segregation was ending, AIDS hadn’t hit epidemic levels and homosexuality was being more accepted. In 1993 R.U. Sirius wrote:

The seventies actually were cool. Much cooler than the ballyhooed sixties. There was more sex in the seventies, more tolerance, the right wing was completely in retreat, Richard Nixon was still a pig, and cocaine wasn’t bad for your health yet! In the mid-seventies it was possible to believe that the whole country was moderately hip–and if that wasn’t enough, Punk was coming along to kick moderately hip’s laidback butt.

I’m sure there was more of a dark side, but if there’s a case for nostalgia for a period of US history, I guess this was it. But if the people of the United States were at last free from government repression in the 70s, the state made up for it in the 80s.

End Part One.

Read part 2.

© 2021 Technoccult

Theme by Anders NorénUp ↑