Posts filed under War on Drugs

There is no such thing as a limited police state

Use of sneak-and-peek secret search warrants in federal investigations 2006-2009.

A secretive U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration unit is funneling information from intelligence intercepts, wiretaps, informants and a massive database of telephone records to authorities across the nation to help them launch criminal investigations of Americans.

Although these cases rarely involve national security issues, documents reviewed by Reuters show that law enforcement agents have been directed to conceal how such investigations truly begin – not only from defense lawyers but also sometimes from prosecutors and judges.

The undated documents show that federal agents are trained to “recreate” the investigative trail to effectively cover up where the information originated, a practice that some experts say violates a defendant’s Constitutional right to a fair trial.

–John Shiffman and Kristina Cooke, U.S. directs agents to cover up program used to investigate Americans
Reuters news wire, quoted by Matt Welch at Reason (August 5, 2013)

Well of course the NSA’s secret data-gathering, spying and warrantless wiretaps have been used to prosecute American drug cases. Every single fascist National Security monitoring program, secret search and seizure method, surveillance policy, financial regulation, foreign-aid slush fund, paramilitary police program and executive power that has been created over the last 20 years in the name of counter-terrorism — including large sections of Clinton’s AEDPA and large sections of Bush Jr.’s PATRIOT Act — has been utilized, over and over again, by federal prosecutors and the DEA in order to gather evidence and coerce testimony in drug cases. Every single National Security state program, regardless of its alleged purpose, has been used to strengthen the narcs’ hand, and to double down on the federal government’s insane and destructive prosecution of a War on Drugs. This one is just as outrageous; but it’s no different, and no more surprising.

Now, even if there were such a thing as a limited National Security state — even if there were some way to create a counter-terrorism-only police state, which would focus on a single threat without creating a general, all-powerful police state in the process — it would still mean shredding civil liberties, targeting people and activities which ought to be presumed innocent, and it would still be destructive and wrong.

But, in any case, there is no such thing. There is no way to focus a police state on only one group of people or one part of life; there are no partial or limited police states. There is only a police state — one which will come for you sooner, or later.

Thursday Morning News Clippings

To-day’s clipped stories, from the Opelika Auburn News (September 20, 2012).

  • Front Page. Nothing to clip here, actually. The biggest real estate is occupied by a story about how some super-millionaire said something in private that turned out to be aired in public that may or may not hurt his chances on the margin in his attempt to go from being one of the most massively privileged people in the entire world to the single most massively privileged person in the entire world. This may or may not help out the chances of his super-millionaire opponent to remain the most massively privileged person in the entire world, if it convinces more people that the super-millionaire challenger cares less about ordinary folks than the incumbent super-millionaire does. Somebody is supposed to care about this. I don’t: it couldn’t possibly matter less how much the most massively privileged person in the entire world cares, or who he or she cares about, because the existence of such massive, ruinous and lethal structures of social and economic privilege is exactly the problem, and it is the one problem which such debates over the less-worse of a pair of party-backed super-millionaires will never raise.

  • 2A. Donathan Prater, Bo’s nose: Auburn police get new K-9 tracker. A fairly typical police puff piece to announce that the police force occupying Auburn, Alabama has a new dog that they are going to use to hound people who are trying to get away from them, and to get or fabricate probable cause for harassing people suspected of nonviolent drug offenses.

    Bo has a nose for finding trouble. But in his line of work, that’s a good thing.[1]

    The Auburn Police Division welcomed Bo, an 11-month-old Belgian Malinois, to the force on Wednesday.

    Trained in both narcotics detection and human tracking, Bo was officially introduced to members of the media at Auburn Technology Park North.

    For years, we have called on (Lee County) Sheriff Jay Jones and (Opelika Police) Chief Thomas Mangham for use of their tracking K-9s, for which we’re thankful, but we felt like it was time for us to have our own, Auburn Police Chief Tommy Dawson. We’re very excited about putting this dog to work.

    … Dawson said Bo was purchased last month from the Alabama Canine Law Enforcement Officers Training Center in Northport with approximately $10,000 in seized assets from drug arrests.

    … The acquisition of Bo puts the APD’s number of K-9 officers at four, said Dawson, a former K-9 handler.

    –Donathan Prater, Bo’s nose: Auburn police get new K-9 tracker. Opelika-Auburn News, September 20, 2012. A2.

    Well, that’s a damn shame. The primary purpose that they will use Bo for, as they use all police dogs, will be to provide pretexts to justify what are essentially random sweeps, searches and seizures; to harass, intimidate and coerce innocent people on easily fabricated, often mistaken and incredibly thin probable cause, with the minutest of ritual gestures at a sort of farce on due process, in order to prosecute a Drug War that doesn’t need to be prosecuted and to imprison, disenfranchise, and ruin the lives of people who have done nothing at all that merits being imprisoned, disenfranchised, or having their lives ruined by tyrannical drug laws. It’s not the dog’s fault, of course; he looks like a perfectly nice dog. But the people who bought him (with the proceeds from their own search-n-seizure racket), and who are using him, are putting him to a violent and degrading use, and they ought to be ashamed of themselves.

  • Op-Ed Page, 4A. Muslim religion should be feared in US. Rudy Tidwell, of Valley, a God-and-Country fixture on the Op-Ed page, decides that he doesn’t like Church-State integrationists when they aren’t part of his favorite church. Then, by means of an insanely ambitious collectivism, he assimilates the actions of his least favorite hypercollectivists to the thoughts and feelings of literally all 1,600,000,000 (he rounds up to 2 billion) Muslims in the world.

    The phrase Arab Spring has become a catchphrase for the media and other liberals to minimize the real dangers of the actual enemy of America.[2] The so-called Arab Spring is actually a Muslim Spring, meaning that the growing takeovers we see in various Middle Eastern countries[3] are Muslims rising up worldwide.

    Why is this aspect of the Middle East unrest not recognized for what it is? The euphemism[4] made between so-called radical Muslims and peaceful Muslims. Islam is a dangerous body of more than 2 billion people who are determined to convert or kill, and there is no compromise to be made?

    It’s not just a few radical Muslims who make terrorist attacks. How then do you account for the fact that when the attacks on 9/11 occurred, Muslims around the world rejoiced and danced in the streets?

    More recent events in Libya and Egypt have been recognized as and declared to be planned attacks, not benign protests. Were all the people burning the embassies and tearing down and burning the American flags peace-loving Muslims?

    We have a growing number of Muslims in the United States. There are enclaves of Muslims who rule with rigid and brutal Shariah law. Dearborn, Mich, is perhaps the most notable. Muslims are entering the U.S. in numbers that would shock us if we knew the full extent.

    I encourage you to get a copy of the Quran and read it. It is a frightening book that demands faithfulness to its teachings to the point of death. It is the guide book for a worldwide takeover, not by reason and diplomacy as Communism said it would do over time,[5] but by conversion or death.

    Rudy Tidwell
    Valley

    Well, then. 2,000,000,000? Really? Did they all do the converting and killing and rejoicing and dancing all at once, or do they maybe take it in turns? Well I suppose the gigantic hive mind that they all link up to when they join that dangerous body no doubt ensures that such problems of coordination don’t really arise.

  • Op-Ed Page, 4A. Today in History.

    On Sept. 20, 1962, James Meredith, a black student, was blocked from enrolling at the University of Mississippi by Democratic Gov. Ross R. Barnett. (Meredith was later admitted.)

    . . .

    In 1884, the National Equal Rights Party was formed during a convention of suffragists in San Francisco.

    In 1958, Martin Luther King Jr. was seriously wounded during a book signing at a New York City department store when Izola Curry stabbed him in the chest. (Curry was later found mentally incompetent.)

    In 1973, in their so-called battle of the sexes, tennis star Billie Jean King defeated Bobby Riggs in straight sets, 6-4, 6-3, 6-3, at the Houston Astrodome.

    In 1996, President Bill Clinton announced that he was signing the Defense of Marriage Act, a bill outlawing same-sex marriages, but said it should not be used as an excuse for discrimination,[6] violence or intimidation against gays and lesbians.

    In 2011, repeal of the U.S. military’s 18-year-old don’t ask, don’t tell compromise took effect, allowing gay and lesbian service[7] members to serve[8] openly.

Section A contains no international news at all today, unless you count the collecto-eliminationist letter from Rudy Tidwell on the Op-Ed page.

  1. [1][For whom? –R.G.]
  2. [2][Sic. Of course what he means, as he makes clear, is the enemy of the United States government. Which is not true either, but in any case obviously not the same thing. –RG.]
  3. [3][Sic. Of course all governments are usurpers, and thus are ongoing takeovers by nature. That includes transitional and revolutionary states; on the other hand it also obviously includes the hyperauthoritarian regimes recently challenged or thrown out. What the hell was the Mubarak regime, say, if not a constantly repeated, jackbooted takeover of innocent people’s lives? –RG.]
  4. [4][Sic. What he describes is not a euphemism, but rather a distinction that he regards as being misapplied. –RG.]
  5. [5][Rudy Tidwell is speaking outside of his area of expertise. –RG.]
  6. [6][. . . –R.G.]
  7. [7][Sic. –RG.]
  8. [8][Sic. –RG.]

Funding? More like, Is.

Dear The Nation Magazine,

I’ve just received your e-mail of May 24, headlined: Why Is Obama Funding A Murderous Regime? And I have to ask: Seriously?

I am glad that you have discovered U.S. foreign aid to the Honduran government,[1] and that you have realized that this is a problem. I’m glad that you have chosen to publish Dana Frank’s timely and important article on this. But I have no idea why you as editors are acting so surprised. Of course the Obama administration is funding a murderous government in Honduras. Mr. Obama’s administration has no reason to hesitate at backing murderous regimes; his own administration has after all killed thousands of people every year by perpetuating wars, escalating wars, and starting new wars in Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Libya and throughout the world. And the Obama administration’s military and police aid policies in Honduras are in absolutely no significant respect any different from the U.S. government’s foreign policy, in literally every single President’s administration, of military and monetary support for the forces of repressive regimes in Honduras, as well as in Guatemala, Nicaragua, Mexico, the Dominican Republic, Haiti, Colombia, Argentina, Chile, etc., etc. etc., for more than 100 years running.

Does it really take that much to figure this out? Barack Obama is many things. But first and foremost Barack Obama is the President of the United States. The headline of your article asked, Which Side Is the US On? Of course the answer is that the U.S. government is on the side of the government in power, not on the side of the people they murder and oppress. Your e-mail asks why Obama is funding a murderous regime. The answer is that he is funding a murderous regime because he is the head of a murderous regime, and the first loyalty of murderous governments is to other murderous governments.

Sincerely,
Charles W. Johnson

Also.

  1. [1]Which, like more or less all U.S. foreign aid, means aid first and foremost to the military and police forces that tyrannize and murder the people of Honduras.

M@MM for July 2011 and August 2011: Vices, Crimes, Corporate Power, Privatization, and mo’ Problems.

tl;dr. Four more beautiful new booklets are now available for ordering from the ALL Distro — July and Augst’s Market Anarchy zines, with articles on corporate power and privatization — and July and August’s Anarchist Classics, including a lost classic on Individualist property theory from the pages of Liberty, and a very popular, but very hard to find classic from Lysander Spooner. You can get one free sample copy of either series (or both) to check out, if you’re considering a monthly subscription for individual copies or monthly packs to distribute in the radical space of your choice. Sound good? Contact me for details.

Scatter tracts, like randrops, over the land….

–William Lloyd Garrison, The Liberator, March 1831.

To-day, I’m happy to announce this month’s two additions to the Alliance of the Libertarian Left Artwork & Agitprop Distro. In fact, to-day’s announcement is a twofer: as I mentioned in my teaser post earlier there are also a couple of important pieces that came out in July, and were shipped on schedule to subscribers; and now, with a cross-country move and some general nonsense with the Distro’s Internet connection all, apparently, behind me, I can also happily put out the full official announcement for those two. So, then, let us welcome No. 21 of the monthly Market Anarchy Zine Series, the talk that Benjamin Tucker gave before the assembled academics, industrialists, and bigwigs at the Conference on Trusts of the Chicago Civic Federation, on the trust problem, corporate power, and market freedom; No. 22 of the monthly Market Anarchy Zine Series, a short adaptation of an article by Charles Johnson (yeah, me) on the gap between neoliberal privatization and free-market radicalism; and two hard-to-find (until now) individualist classics: No. 9 in the Anarchist Classics Series being an ambitious definition and defense of Individualist property theory by William Bailie, originally serialized in the pages of Liberty which to my knowledge has never before been collected or made available in pamphlet form; and No. 10 in the Anarchist Classics Series being a classic by an Anonymous author, now known to be our own Lysander Spooner, which — in spite of having become one of Spooner’s most popular essays! — has been almost impossible to find in print. Thus:

Market Anarchy #21 (Jul’11). Market Anarchy vs. Corporate Power

The Attitude of Anarchism Toward Industrial Combinations

Benjamin Tucker (1899)

The classic Market Anarchist take on corporate power and the political privileges that prop it up — Tucker’s talk at the Conference on Trusts by the Chicago Civic Federation in September 1899.

The trusts, instead of growing out of competition, as is so generally supposed, have been made possible only by the absence of competition, only by the difficulty of competition, only by the obstacles placed in the way of competition . . . by those arbitrary limitations of competition which we find in those law­created privileges and monopolies . . . . The trusts owe their power to vast accumulation and concentration of wealth . . . But for interest, rent, and monopolistic profit . . . trusts would be impossible. Now, what causes interest, rent, and monopolistic profit? For all there is but one cause, – the denial of liberty, the suppression or restriction of competition, the legal creation of monopolies. . . .

Free access to the world of matter, abolishing land monopoly; free access to the world of mind, abolishing idea monopoly; free access to an untaxed and unprivileged market, abolishing tariff monopoly and money monopoly, – secure these, and all the rest shall be added unto you. For liberty is the remedy of every social evil, and to Anarchy the world must look at last for any enduring guarantee of social order.

$1.25 for 1; 75¢/ea in bulk.

A lost classic rediscovered in the pages of Liberty, this essay – never before collected in pamphlet form since its original serialization – is one of the most ambitious attempts to define and defend the Individualist theory of property, and to provide both an Anarchistic defense of private property and market competition, and an attack on the regime of structural violence and legal privilege that sustains capitalism and subjugates the working class.

Modern industry and the accompanying economic conditions have arisen under the régime of status, — that is, under arbitrary conditions in which equal liberty had no place and law-made privileges held unbounded sway,—it is only to be expected that an equally arbitrary and unjust system of property should prevail. On one side a dependent industrial class of wage-workers and on the other a privileged class of wealth-monopolizers each becoming more and more distinct from the other as capitalism advances, has resulted in a grouping and consolidation of wealth which grows apace by attracting all property, no matter by whom produced, into the hands of the privileged, and hence property becomes a social power, an economic force destructive of rights, a fertile source of injustice, a means of enslaving the dispossessed. Under this system equal liberty cannot obtain. . . .

Can the millionaire capitalist, the labor-robbing idler who lives on interest, the rich thugs of today and their army of parasites, be taken as the outcome of private property? Surely not. They are the direct result of restrictions and privileges, of legal and governmental origin, — causes that render impossible the growth and diffusion of individual property among the mass of wealth-producers. Inequalities in possession exist not so much because of inequalities in the power of individuals to acquire wealth under free conditions, but because political, social, and economic arrangements have always tended to create artificial inequality, to foster and increase whatever natural inequality did exist . . . .

$2.00 for 1; $1.50/ea in bulk.

Market Anarchists should oppose neoliberalism and its so-called privatization schemes because we are for free markets and private property. What they call privatization means only private profit from political power. What we mean is something entirely different, and it’s time to mint some new language in order to talk about the difference.

Left libertarians, like all libertarians, believe that all State control of industry and all State ownership of natural resources should be abolished. In that sense, libertarian Leftists advocate complete and absolute privatization of, well, everything. Governments, or quasi-governmental “public” monopolies, have no business building or running roads, bridges, railroads, airports, parks, housing, libraries, post offices, television stations, electric lines, power plants, water works, oil rigs, gas pipelines, or any­thing else of the sort. . . . Governments have no business building or running fire departments, police stations, courts, arm­ies, or anything else of the sort, because governments—which are necessarily coerc­ive and necessarily elitist—have no business existing or doing anything at all.

There is something called privatization which has been a hot topic for the past 15-20 years. It has been a big deal in Eastern Europe, in third world countries under the influence of the IMF, and in some cases in the United States, too. Naomi Klein has a new book on the topic, which focuses on the role that natural and artificial crises play in establishing the conditions for what she calls privatization. But privatization, as understood by the IMF, the neoliberal governments, and the robber baron corporations, is a very different beast from privatization as understood by free market radicals. . . . What we advocate is the devolution of state-confiscated wealth and state-confiscated industries back to civil society . . . the socialization of the means of production. Government outsourcing, government-backed monopoly capitalism, and government goon squads, might more accurately be described as privateering. . . .

$1.25 for 1; 75¢/ea in bulk.

This classic attack on political prohibition and moralistic law-making, was first published anonymously in 1875, as a chapter in the anthology Prohibition a Failure: or, the True Solution of the Temperance Question. It was revealed as the work of the radical libertarian legal theorist Lysander Spooner soon after his death in 1887, but it was neglected by posthumous collections and not included in the multi-volume Collected Works published in 1971. After Carl Watner rediscovered and recirculated the essay in 1977, it quickly became one of spooner’s most popular and influential works — but, between editions going out of print (e.g. TANSTAAFL’s 1977 edition), and the occasional useless disaster — it has remained notoriously difficult to find in in print.

Until now.

VICES are those acts by which a man harms himself or his property. Crimes are those acts by which one man harms the person or property or another. . . . For a government to declare a vice to be a crime, and to punish it as such, is an attempt to falsify the very nature of things. It is as absurd as it would be to declare truth to be falsehood, or falsehood truth. . . .

IT is only those persons who have either little capacity, or little disposition, to enlighten, encourage, or aid mankind, that are possessed of this violent passion for governing, commanding, and punishing them. If, instead of standing by, and giving their consent and sanction to all the laws by which the weak man is first plundered, oppressed, and disheartened, and then punished as a criminal, they would turn their attention to the duty of defending his rights and improving his condition, . . . enabling him to stand on his own feet, and withstand the temptations that surround him, they would, I think, have little need to talk about laws and prisons for either rum­-sellers or rum­-drinkers, or even any other class of ordinary criminals. If, in short, these men, who are so anxious for the suppression of crime, would suspend, for a while, their calls upon the government to aid in suppressing the crimes of individuals, and would call upon the people for aid in suppressing the crimes of the government, they would show both their sincerity and good sense in a much stronger light than they do now. . . .

$2.00 for 1; $1.50/ea in bulk.

As I’ve mentioned before, both the Market Anarchy Zine Series and the Anarchist Classics Zine Series are regular monthly publications, with one issue each being sent out each month. You can always order individual copies online from the Distro page, but if you’d like to save on shipping & handling charges, and to get new orders as soon as they come out, you can always contact me to sign up for a regular subscription. (Subscriptions can be for personal reading, or for bulk orders of material for distributing, tabling, or for stocking your local infoshop and other radical spaces.) If you’re considering subscribing, contact me to request a free sample copy for you to check out, compliments of the Distro; then, if you like it, continue th subscription for the rest of the year at the following rates (all prices already include any shipping and handling costs):

Market Anarchy Zine Series

Delivered each month

Individuals Bulk Distribution Packets
$1.50/issue
(= $18/year)
No. of copies ✕ 80¢/issue
(= N ✕ $9.60/year)
Anarchist Classics Zine Series

Delivered each month

Individuals Bulk Distribution Packets
$2.25/issue
(= $27/year)
No. of copies ✕ $1.25/issue
(= N ✕ $15/year)

For details on all your options (including ready-to-print electronic versions, customizations of booklets with local contact information for your ALL chapter or local Anarchist activities, discounts for receiving quarterly shipments, etc. etc. etc.), see Market Anarchy Mailed Monthly. If you decide not to continue the subscription, the sample issue is yours to keep. Intrigued? Contact me forthwith, and we’ll get something worked out.

That’s all for now. Next month we’ll be dropping some more science; until then–read and enjoy!

See also:

Oops, our bad (cont’d).

Sage Wisdom. Daily Brickbats (2011-06-17):

A Broward County, Florida, sheriff's deputy spotted Robin Brown when she was bird watching one day. He thought that the sage she had with her was marijuana, and a field test seemed to confirm that. He didn't arrest her then, but confiscated the sage and sent it to the crime...

Want to guess how much compensation she might be able to get from police and state prosecutors to make up for the harassment, arrest, abduction, sexual assault, torture, and confinement that they inflicted on her, a completely innocent bird-watcher, based on nothing more than belligerent ignorance, a fraudulent "field kit," and pure, callous negligence?

Ha, ha, it's a trick question. Even if she does win her lawsuit (which will be hard; the system overwhelmingly favors immunity for government violence), the police and prosecutors will never pay anything for the damages she's awarded. Government police and state prosecutors never pay for what they do to innocent people; you pay for their crimes instead, when they send the tax bill on to you.