By S.R. Shearer
Niemand ist hoffnungsloser versklavt als jene, die fälschlicherweise glauben, frei zu sein.
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
William Blum, an investigative journalist in Washington, DC, writes in his excellent book, Rogue State: A Guide to the World's Only Superpower:
The list that follows is a composite list derived partially from Blum's list and assorted others. The thing to remember here is that all of the instances listed below occur today on a REGULAR basis. They are not aberrations or anomalies. The sad thing in all of this, is that there is little doubt that most Christians will not be upset by this "catalogue" of civil rights abuses. And why is that? - because most of those who are the "targets" of these abuses and indignities (i.e., the poor, the minorities, the so-called "welfare cheats," the single moms, etc.) have been so DEMONIZED by the "mainline press" that they now seem somehow or other to be deserving of it all. But, then, this is what the Germans did to the Jews in the 1920s and 1930s - demonized them to the point where most Germans came "naturally" and "easily" to the belief that the Jews were "getting what they deserved." [If you possess additinal examples, please send them to us and we will add them to the list] The list is as follows:
- In every state, the police or the National Guard and, at times, active-duty army troops, are - under the guise of the "War on Drugs" (again, please see our article, "APOSTASY: Christianity In The Service Of A 'Religio-Political-Corporate-Terrorist State'") - conducting relentless helicopter surveillances over people's homes and property, setting up roadblocks, interrogating, detaining, harassing and terrifying residents with displays of excessive power. To a very large extent, these activities have very little to do with any "war on drugs" and everything to do with suppressing the "throw-away" portion of the American population that has been consigned to "unemployment" or to jobs that don't pay a "living wage" - about one-third of today's population - i.e., "poor white trash," blacks, Hispanics, etc. (Please see Barbara Ehrenreich's book, Nickled and Dimed, available at most book stores.)
- In hundreds of American cities, young people - again, under the rubric of the "War on Drugs" - are being subjected to nighttime curfew laws (a phenomenon that rarely is enforced in affluent white neighborhoods, but only in poor minority areas); many have a daytime curfew as well. Again, these curfews have very little to do with any "war on drugs," and everything to do with suppressing militant young people that in every "revolution" (especially those revolutions that pit the poor against the rich) form the backbone of the "revolt." The idea here is to harass them to such an extent that they can never organize themselves, and to DEMONIZE them as hooligans and "ner-do-wells" so as to justify the harsh measures that are being taken against them.
- The CIA, FBI and other federal agencies are increasingly refusing to respond to legitimately issued subpoenas for documents which detail the "extra-legal" and unconstitutional activities they are engaged in. They are simply ignoring the judiciary - and doing it with impunity. The arrogance of these agencies in this respect brings to mind the arrogance practiced by Hoover's FBI in the 1960s and '70s against those in the Civil Rights Movement and the anti-war effort.
- Citizens are undergoing assorted harassments and penalties from the federal government for having traveled to, spent money in and/or shipped various goods to countries the United States has blacklisted; for example, the former Yugoslavia - or for that matter, any nation that has "opted out" of the American System and has - as a result - incurred the wrath of the American elites - countries like Cuba, Libya, Iran, Iraq, etc. Those who visit the United Nations Mission in New York or the Interests Section in Washington of some of the countries the government has black listed risk being photographed and receiving visits or phone calls from the FBI. This phenomenon is especially directed against those people who are in the habit of speaking out against America's "New World Order System" like the Mary Knollers, the Quakers, and anyone and everyone who is in any way associated with movements like Liberation Theology, labor rights organizations, etc. [Please see our articles, "Colombia: America's New Vietnam" and "Colombia: The Spread Of America's New World Order System Northward From Latin America To The Untied States."]
- The CIA is once again routinely opening and reading the mail (and email) of U.S. citizens without benefit of search warrants. The FBI is also peeking at our correspondence, domestic and international, for a host of its own priorities - again, on the most specious of reasons (really, pretenses). They habitually cite as their authority vague references to "national security." When asked to be more specific, they refuse on grounds of "national security."
- Motorists are being stopped on highways on the flimsiest of excuses (unsafe lane changes, tail light infractions, failures to signal, etc.) and then intimidated into submitting to a search of their vehicles without "probable cause." If they refuse, that alone is often taken as "probable cause" (or "probable cause" is "created" - which occurs more often than most people realize), and their vehicles are searched anyway. The utility of these laws (i.e., tail light infractions, "unsafe lane changes," seat belt violations, etc.) lies in the fact that they can be used to harass various "suspect" populations the police want to keep "off balance" - AND THAT IS PRECISELY THE WAY THEY ARE USED - or does one really think that such measures are taken in places like Simi Valley, Palm Beach, the Hamptons?
- Private corporations are recording employees' phone calls and voice mail, reading their computer files and email, getting logs of what websites they've looked at, videotaping them as they work, observing them in bathrooms and locker rooms with two-way mirrors or hidden cameras, tracking their whereabouts by having them use electronic pass keys, bugging their offices, subjecting them to airport-style electronic searches, testing their urine for drugs, doing extensive security checks on their backgrounds - all this whether or not they have ever behaved poorly on the job, or whether their work involves any danger to anyone. For the most part, this kind of activity was initiated as a "crime-fighting" device and under the cover that an "employer has the right to know what his employee is doing on his time." But such "rights" by an employer over an employee has NEVER been asserted before in the United States, although one would think - given the propaganda that has accompanied the assertions of these rights - that such is not the case. THESE ARE THE KIND OF "RIGHTS" A "MASTER" ASSERTS OVER HIS "SLAVE." But then that should say something about elite attitudes towards their employees, shouldn't it?
- At growing numbers of schools around the country, students are having to undergo urinalysis in order to join the track team, join the chess club, go to the prom, go on a field trip or drive to and from school. Once again, all this is being done under cover of the "War on Drugs," but what it really is, is a "control mechanism" used to suppress the underclass with - or, again, does one really believe, other than in a few "high profile" instances, this is ever done in affluent white areas.
- New Jersey state troopers are enlisting hotel workers along the New Jersey Turnpike to tip them off about suspicious guests who, among other things PAY FOR THEIR ROOMS IN CASH, or receive a flurry of phone calls; hotel managers are allowing troopers, without a warrant, to leaf through the credit card receipts and registration forms of guests; the troopers are given surveillance seminars to train employees to scrutinize guests who fit a given "profile." IF THIS WERE DONE IN THE OLD SOVIET UNION, ONE WOULD NOT BE INCORRECT IN LABELING SUCH ACTIVITY AS THE ACTIVITY OF A "POLICE-STATE." Of course, one could retort that the police are merely trying to "combat crime." But then, that's what the police in the old Soviet Union would have said too.
- The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is keeping up to date a list of what it calls "radicals" and other undesirables who will be rounded up and detained without benefit of a hearing in times of "national emergency." This is, of course, something all dictatorships do. This is what Hitler did in 1933 - and in 1934 he declared an "emergency," and rounded up all his enemies. You can bet that if such things were ever done in the name of "Right Religion," the Religious Right would be there cheering on the state in its "round up." This is what Rick Joyner wants when he said, "... leaders who ... resist (the imposition of the new Christian state people like him envision) ... will be removed from their place." George Hawton suggests a way, "... 2/3 will have to die in the last days so that 1/3 might emerge pure."
- Task forces of international, federal, military, state and local law enforcement and intelligence agencies, as well as private entities, are employing increased interaction, abundant funds, new laws, new technologies and new octopus-like data bases to spy on and harass activists of many stripes. THIS IS ESPECIALLY SO IN THE CASE OF THOSE ACTIVISTS THAT HAVE BEEN DEMONSTRATING AGAINST THE WTO, THE IMF, THE WORLD BANK AND THE G-8 SUMMITS. The FBI and police are noting license plate numbers of people attending meetings and demonstrations, photographing people, paying informers to infiltrate groups, breaking into offices to steal mailing and contributor lists, rifling through files and carrying out "harassment arrests" (i.e. charges later dropped). Individual members of these groups are receiving FBI visits at their homes and workplaces, or the Bureau is sending anonymous letters to the person's colleagues implying that he or she is actually an informer as well as sending assorted poison-pen letters to employers, landlords and spouses designed to produce optimal distress. Again, is this the kind of activity a "free society" tolerates? No! - this is the kind of activity one would have expected to see in the Third Reich or in the old Soviet Union. How is it possible for Christians to associate themselves with such a state and call it the "New Israel of God?"
- Increasingly, airport passengers are being detained for hours, even days, and missing flights because they fit a "terrorist profile" based on appearance, airport behavior, travel itinerary or other criteria. They are being strip searched, including body cavity searches, X-rayed, forced to take laxatives, their bowel movements monitored. Many white Christians, of course, are not aware of all this because they do not fit the profile, but fitting a profile - does that make it right? If you say, "yes, these steps are necessary to guarantee public safety," then you would have made a nice little Nazi in the Third Reich of some sixty years ago because that is precisely the reasons they gave in implementing the exact same steps then. "Public safety," "national security," and the phrase, "If you have nothing to hide, then you shouldn't be afraid" come straight out of the 1934 Hitler Youth Handbook.
- The FBI is urging librarians to report on the books taken out by patrons with foreign-sounding names, particularly scientific and technical books. When this program was first revealed and criticized, the FBI proceeded to do checks on the critics. These are the same kind of techniques used by the Chinese communists during Mao's "Cultural Revolution."
- The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) is demanding that a publisher provide it with the names of people who have ordered certain "anti-government" material. Again, these are the same kinds of acts that made Mao's "Cultural Revolution" such a heinous affair.
- Under the "cover" of the "War on Drugs" and a similar "war" against "illegal guns," police throughout the country have been seizing the property of thousands and thousands of individuals without "due process." And much more than most people are aware of, this kind of activity is now being used against people deemed to be involved in "anti-government" activity. For example, it was alleged by the BATF that the "dissidents" at Waco (Mt. Carmel) had automatic weapons and illegal firearms - despite the fact that the local sheriff had checked such reports out and had determined that the reports were false. BATF was simply determined to raid Mt. Carmel, and they were not about to let the facts stand in their way.
- The DEA, ATF, INS, FBI, DIA, Secret Service, US Forest Service, National Park Service, Sheriff's Departments, National Guard and/or other official cowboys, wearing black suits, ski masks and the like, forming massively armed mobs of screaming, swearing agents, helicopters chopping above, battering down doors, raiding people's homes, smashing up furniture, beating up residents, handcuffing them, manhandling pregnant women, terrifying children, separating them from their parents, shooting people dead, looking for drugs or individuals which often are not there - this jihad (holy war) being the outcome of no more than a tip from an "unnamed informant." Heavily-armed so-called "bounty hunters," with the force of law behind them, are carrying on in a similar manner to kidnap a person, sometimes killing someone, sometimes the "wrong person." Operators of "pirate" radio stations are also being invaded, with FCC agents, federal marshals, a SWAT team, customs agents and local police comprising the attacking force. Again, these are all the tactics of a "police-state," not those of a "free society."
- A driver, stopped by the police, tapes the encounter. When he goes to the local police station to complain about his treatment, he is asked to hand the tape over. He's then charged with illegal wiretapping. It seems that it's okay for the police to record and video tape these stops for their records, but it is not okay for private citizens who are the targets of such "illegal" and warrantless" stops to do so. Again, privileges extended to the police that are not extended to average citizens. THIS IS THE KIND OF ATTITUDE ONE WOULD EXPECT TO FIND IN A "POLICE-STATE," BUT NOT IN A "FREE SOCIETY." The term "free society" is a meaningless, empty phrase if it does not mean a society that is free from harassment from its own police.
- Intercity busses and trains are being boarded by DEA agents to conduct searches of passengers' belongings. Passengers are assured that it's all "voluntary." One is reminded of World War II movies where busses in occupied countries are routinely stopped by the SS and the Gestapo in search of provocateurs.
- The police are beating up and arresting strikers and escorting scab workers into plants, thus taking the side of the employer, as the police have done virtually without exception during 150 years of industrial conflict in the United States. Corporations are using many of the more than 10,000 private security firms, which employ 1.5 million guards, to suppress strike action and intimidate union organizers. Again, these are the activities one would expect to find being employed by the police in America's "client-states" like Nicaragua, Guatemala, Brazil, Indonesia, etc., but not in the United States.
- Law enforcement officers in northern California, taking the side of logging interests once again, are pressing cotton swabs saturated with pepper spray (600 times hotter than cayenne pepper) into the eyes of non-violent people chained to each other, who are protesting the felling of ancient redwoods; protesters are shrieking and writhing in pain as the solution takes effect. People are dying in police custody in cases where pepper spray is a contributing factor. Again, the police tactics of a "terrorist-state." These protesters were all non-violent! They are American citizens who - in and of themselves do not possess the financial wherewithal to fight the logging interests except in the fashion they are doing. What are people to do when confronting the power of the rich? - do nothing? Or, maybe the police do not belong to the poor, but only to the rich in this country. That's evidently where we are headed.
- Banks, telephone companies, utility companies, credit card companies, airlines, bus companies, rental car outlets, storage facilities, hotel and motels and all manner of other private institutions are providing various local, state and federal authorities with all the information about their customers they desire under the ever-expanding legal authorities being granted to law enforcement bodies with scarcely any public hearings or debate. The "War on Drugs" is requiring banks, brokers, casinos and other financial institutions to monitor their customers' financial transactions and report any "unusual" or "suspicious" activity. The information is all fed into the Treasury Department's Financial Crimes Enforcement Network whose computers spend their days making linkages between individuals and bank accounts, businesses, real estate and other assets.
- States are selling confidential wage, driving and other information about their residents to private information companies and other enterprises.
- Scenarios along the lines of the following from Savannah, Georgia are probably taking place elsewhere: Without warning , a team of armed county and schools system officers periodically entered the schools, ordered everyone into the hallways, used dogs to sniff student's belongings, and scanned the students' bodies with metal detectors. One of the high-school teachers was very upset by this - "Because I teach the Constitution," she explained - and made her feelings known to the authorities. A police officer told her principal that because of her "attitude" problem, she might have to be detained or restrained during future surprise raids. During a subsequent raid, the teacher's son was the only student out of 1,500 to be individually searched. Later, cars in the parking lot were searched, and the police claimed to have found a marijuana cigarette in the teacher's car. The Board of Education suspended her and she was later fired.
- A federal court, created by the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978, is receiving applications for authorization of electronic surveillance within the United States and is rubber-stamping them. In its first 20 years, the court received 10,000 applications form the Justice Department on behalf of the FBI and the National Security Agency. By all accounts, only one was rejected, on a technicality. There exists no public record of any kind about the individual cases, nor any oversight. The Clinton administration has expanded the court's mandate to allow it to approve physical break-ins, enabling the Justice Department to bypass the usual warrant procedure in an open court, which would necessitate some accounting of the items seized, and an explanation of probable cause that a crime had been committed. The targets of these wiretaps and burglaries can be under surveillance merely because of belonging to or supporting an organization whose politics are looked upon with disfavor by the U.S. government. Federal agents can now obtain the phone numbers of all incoming and outgoing calls on any line used or called by suspected "foreign" agents.
- The grand jury system is running amok. Virtually all federal cases now use it to obtain indictments. Neither the accused nor his or her lawyer is there, so they can't confront accusers. The system is used as an instrument of terror - relatives testifying against one another with no confidentiality privilege with respect to family members other than husbands and wives: parents called to testify against their children, children against their parents, brothers against sisters. It lacks due process. It's another secret tool of an expanding executive branch.
- Hundreds of cities now are employing highly armed and trained Special Weapons and Tactics Teams (SWAT), based on military special operations models, and told they're part of a "war" on crime; ready to terrorize the enemy (the citizens) with automatic assault rifles, tanks and grenade launchers, called out even in non-crisis situations; choosing a neighborhood and swooping onto street corners, forcing pedestrians to the ground, searching them, running warrant checks, taking photos and entering all the new "intelligence" into a state database from computer terminals in each patrol car. As they carry out this exercise, they do not trip over many members of the Fortune 500.
- Forced labor is beginning to thrive again in the United States: people compelled to work off their welfare grants, with no prospect of real employment, sometimes at sub-minimum wages, or no wages at all; convicted defendants sentenced to "community service;" inmates denied vital privileges if the refuse to work in prison, many producing for private companies, who get away with paltry wages, no benefits, no unions. Some prison-made products are being exported, exactly what the U.S. has condemned China for.
- embassies abroad are surveilling selected American travelers, fingered by a joint effort of the FBI and the State Department Passport Office.
- The notion of bail is rapidly eroding. We're raised to believe that for other than a capital offense, reasonable bail must be offered. We have a long history of not holding people in custody until their guilt has been determined. That's not true anymore. We call the new concept "preventive detention."
- You're exercising your precious freedom to vote and the only candidates presented to you with more than a snowball-in-hell's chance of winning are those whose ideologies enable them to raise about a half million dollars to contest a seat in the House, about five million for the Senate, and about a hundred million for the White House. Or, increasingly, the candidates themselves are multi-millionaires.
- As in Detroit, New York, Philadelphia, Los Angeles and Indianapolis in recent years, police in large cities are exhibiting a remarkable level of disdain for the laws of the land; giving false information to courts to secure search warrants, or acting without warrants, committing perjury on the stand, allowing the results of botched tests of drugs to be used in criminal cases, staging drug raids in order to steal drugs, money, guns and other valuables, taking money and drugs in exchange for immunity, robbing and beating people on the streets of their precinct. And exhibiting the same disdain for individual rights in numerous search-and-destroy missions against private homes: using special "shock-lock" shotgun rounds to blow apartment doors off their hinges, or shooting off the door locks, tossing in "flash-ban grenades," which produce explosions that terrify and disorient people, illegally searching the inhabitants, menacing them with their guns, firing shots at people without cause, killing people, planting drugs or other false evidence, forcing people outside almost naked, filing false arrest reports, or sometimes filing no charges at all after all this, assaulting or threatening people who make charges against them.
- Public relations firms, hired by large corporations and business associations, are utilizing hefty fees, lawyers, detectives, spies and phony "grassroots" campaigns to influence the media and public opinion against food, environmental and other activists and authors who pose a threat to one of their special-interest clients, trying to make the activists look foolish, if not criminal, as they exercise their political rights.
- NBC is canceling an appearance by a nuclear activist because she has criticized General Electric, which owns the network. Another nuclear activist or author, or opponent of military spending, is unwelcome at CBS because it belongs to Westinghouse; while yet another finds doors closed at ABC because of having treated the Disney conglomerate with less than reverence; ditto at CNN, owned by the AOL-Time-Warner octopus; while the advertisers are increasingly influencing the content of news stories. [As A.J. Liebling famously wrote: "If you want freedom of the press, you have to own one."]
- During a new U.S. invasion abroad, the media is being severely restricted as to what it can report to the American people about the war; reporters are required to submit their copy to the Pentagon censor, and are told where they can go, what they can film, who they can interview; those who don't toe the line are transferred by their employer under heavy Pentagon pressure.
- The FBI is staging photos used in a trial, and its crime laboratory is producing scientifically flawed, misleading or altered evidence benefiting the prosecutor's case against a defendant, even allowing a judge to be impeached on false charges. A Bureau official is destroying an internal report critical of an FBI action in a particular case and not disclosing its existence to prosecutors or defense attorneys, or the Bureau is allowing inaccurate and/or incomplete "expert" testimony during court proceedings, tilting it in such a way as to incriminate the accused. A veteran FBI agent who blows the whistle on such goings-on is being harassed and suspended.
- The DEA, other federal and state agents and police are seizing houses, boats, cars, airplanes, real estate, furnishings, bank accounts and other assets belonging to people suspected of involvement in drug trafficking, or belonging to their spouses, often without a conviction, and whether or not the assets seized were tied to the alleged crime. In one state, a man is losing his home and his business for selling two grams of cocaine. In another, numerous cars are being confiscated from new car dealerships for failing to report all cash transactions involving more than $10,000. Elsewhere, a 75-year old grandmother is being dispossessed of her home for the sins of her fugitive, drug-dealing son. The government agencies are selling these assets and using the proceeds for anything from patrol cars to parties. The expected value of forfeitures is a times a determining factor in the question of who to raid. Police are routinely planting drugs and falsifying police reports to establish probable cause for cash seizures. Plea bargains are struck that commonly favor drug kingpins willing to surrender their assets and penalize "mules" with nothing to trade. As of early 1999, there was $2.7 billion in the federal government's "Asset Forfeiture Fund" alone.
- The concept of equal access to legal remedy and justice is being invalidated every day after a decade of deep government cutbacks to the legal aid program, thus robbing the poor of what is often their sole defense against unscrupulous landlords, scam artists, battering spouses, home foreclosure, consumer fraud and many other legal predicaments.
- A public official who questions the War on Drugs is paying an awful price, like former Surgeon General Jocelyn Elders whose son was sentenced to 10 years in prison for selling one-eighth of an ounce of cocaine to an undercover police officer. His arrest took place five months after the sale, on a warrant issued a week after his mother suggested that the government study the legalization of drugs.
- Then, of course, there are the incidents called "Waco" and "Ruby Ridge."