Police State America

Investigative Report: Baltimore Cops On A Crime Spree

  The Center For Investigative Reporting (6/2/18) Baltimore’s police department was already notorious. But this year, eight former police officers were convicted on federal racketeering charges stemming from an FBI investigation. They belonged to an elite task force charged with getting guns off the city’s streets. Instead, the plainclothes cops roamed Baltimore neighborhoods at will, robbing people on the street, breaking into homes to steal money, drugs or guns and planting evidence on their victims. The targets of the Gun Trace Task Force included drug dealers and ordinary citizens. One of its favorite tactics was to speed toward a group…

Read More

Truly Orwellian: Abusive Secret Federal Prisons You’ve Never Heard Of Before Are Designed To Silence Political Dissent

  Environmental activists included in the count. TED Talk (11/9/15) Investigative journalist Will Potter is the only reporter who has been inside a Communications Management Unit, or CMU, within a US prison. These units were opened secretly, and radically alter how prisoners are treated — even preventing them from hugging their children. Potter, a TED Fellow, shows us who is imprisoned here, and how the government is trying to keep them hidden. “The message was clear,” he says. “Don’t talk about this place.” Link to 15-Minute Video (Commoner Call photo by Mark L. taylor, 2018. Open source and free for…


Normalizing Police State Tactics In Every Day Life: 96-Year-Old WWII Vet In A Wheelchair, Groped & Molested By TSA

[Editors Note: The accompanying video to this story is agonizing to watch. The once-through routine is bad enough but then we see the TSA agent go over the same already felt-up areas of the body a second time. Apparently, one-time molestation and humiliation isn’t good enough these days. I believe the “wand” that is used is to detect evidence of explosive residue. Until we see the parents and grandparents of White House staff and congressional enablers get this kind of treatment we can only expect to see things get worse. Meanwhile, avoid flying whenever possible. Road trip! — Mark L….


A Vile Act Of American Inhumanity: We Are Now Splitting Up Families Like The Slave Traders Did

  By Paul Buchheit Common Dreams (5/21/18) Families are being split up in the name of “zero tolerance” immigration policies. Jeff Sessions said, “[Your] child will be separated from you as required by law. If you don’t like that, then don’t smuggle children over our border.” John Kelly, White House chief of staff, added, “The children will be taken care of — put into foster care or whatever.” Yes, he said “whatever.” This isn’t much different from slave-trading days. People then were forced INTO the country and families separated; now they’re forced OUT OF the country and families separated. In both cases families have done…


Activist Holds Up Sign Saying Police Hate Free Speech, So They Arrest Him To Prove Him Right

  By Matt Agorist Activisst Post (5/2/18) Stamford, CT — Free speech and liberty activist, Michael Picard had harmed no one, had not committed a crime, and was merely expressing his right to free speech by claiming the Stamford PD dislikes free speech. Indeed, within just a few minutes, the chief of police himself came out to prove Picard right. Last Thursday, Picard held a sign that said, “F*ck Free Speech —Stamford PD,” merely attempting to point out the gross violations of the First Amendment committed by the department after they arrested another activist, Michael Friend, for holding up a different sign…


If You Want To Kill Dangerous Drug Dealers, Start With Big Pharma

By Domenica Ghanem OtherWords (4/4/18) At a recent rally in New Hampshire, Donald Trump called for the death penalty for drug traffickers as part of a plan to combat the opioid epidemic in the United States. At a Pennsylvania rally a few weeks earlier, he called for the same. Now his administration is taking steps toward making this proposal a reality. Attorney General Jeff Sessions issued a memo on March 21 asking prosecutors to pursue capital punishment for drug traffickers — a power he has thanks to legislation passed under President Bill Clinton. Time and again, these punitive policies have proven ineffective…


Two-Thirds of Americans — Including Most In Wisconsin — Live In A “Constitution-Free Zone”

(Art from ACLU.) By Lornet Turnbull Yes! Magazine (3/23/18) In Hartford, Vermont, last year, U.S. Border Patrol agents boarded a Greyhound bus as it arrived from Boston, asking passengers about their citizenship and checking the IDs of people of color or those with accents. In January, they stopped a man in Indio, California, as he was boarding a Los Angeles-bound bus. In questioning him about his immigration status, they told him his “shoes looked suspicious,” like those of someone who had recently crossed the border. Interrogation, searches, demands for identification, and possible detainment are processes people are subjected to as they try to enter the…


The Curious Case Of A Florida Citizen Who Called Politicians Corrupt & Got Thrown In Jail

  By Nina Totenberg NPR (2/27/18) It’s not that uncommon to hear someone complaining that politicians are corrupt. But you wouldn’t expect to be thrown in jail for it. That’s exactly what happened to Fane Lozman at a city council meeting in Florida. On Tuesday, that arrest got to the U.S. Supreme Court, and it could have implications not just for Lozman, but for the limits of First Amendment protections of freedom of speech. Oddly, it’s not Lozman’s first trip to the nation’s highest court. Five years ago, the financial trader won his first case against the city of Riviera…


Really? In Most States, It’s Legal For Cops To Have Sex With People In Their Custody

  By Liz Wolfe Rare (2/9/18) Though most Americans are probably unaware of it, in most states it’s not illegal for police officers to have sex with people in their custody. Nationally, 35 states allow a strange legal loophole where cops can claim a sexual encounter between them and their detainee is consensual to avoid rape or assault charges. A recent Buzzfeed report brought attention to the case of 18-year-old Brooklyn native Anna Doe, who was allegedly raped while handcuffed during a traffic stop. “Inside, Anna said the detectives took turns raping her in the backseat as the van cruised the dark…


How Undiluted Dishonest I.C.E. Propaganda Makes Its Way Onto Your Local News

  On the Media (2/16/18) This week, the Senate failed to pass a bipartisan immigration bill that would have put up funding for President Trump’s wall and extended protections for the so-called ‘Dreamers,’ beneficiaries of an Obama-era program offering temporary residency to undocumented immigrants brought to the US as kids. Meanwhile, the threat of deportation remains a fact of daily life for undocumented Americans, especially since the Trump administration beefed up Immigration and Customs Enforcement operations last year. But the public has been left largely in the dark about who is being rounded up, because much of the press has…


Calif. Police Accused Of ‘Collusion’ With Neo-Nazis After Release Of Court Documents

  By Julia Conely Common Dreams (2/9/18) Defense lawyers for anti-racism activists who staged a counter-protest at a white supremacist rally in California in 2016 say that state police demonstrated sympathy for the neo-Nazis who organized the event and worked with them to arrest the counter-demonstrators. Documents related to the court case of three anti-fascist activists, who were charged with felonies for attempting to disrupt the Traditionalist Workers Party’s (TWP) rally, show that a California Highway Patrol (CHP) investigator assured a white supremacist that he would protect his anonymity and told another he was being seen as a victim in…


Baltimore Cops Kept Toy Guns To Plant Just In Case They Shot An Unarmed Person

  By Michael Harriot The Root (1/30/18) In April 2016, a 13-year-old boy was shot by officers of the Baltimore Police Department. The boy ran when faced with the police, so they gave chase. During the chase, the police spotted the boy holding a gun, and when he turned, they shot the teenager. The youngster wasn’t critically injured, and it seemed like an open-and-shut case of a justifiable use of force. Now people are wondering. The Baltimore Police Department is currently in court over one of the biggest scandals in the history of American law enforcement. The corruption case is replete…


American Gestapo: ICE Agents Carry Out Unnerving Raids At Nearly 100 7-Elevens Across Nation

  (Editor’s Note: Whenever the majority permits the abuse and persecution of some, it is just a matter of time before that creeping totalitarian abuse affects everyone. History has shown that over and over. Beware my fellow citizens — the freedom of you and your children are at risk. – Mark L. Taylor) By Andea Germanos Common Dreams (1/10/18) Immigrant rights advocates denounced the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) raids carried out Wednesday at nearly 100 7-Eleven stores across the nation. According to Cristobal Gutierrez, employment legal advocate at Make the Road New York, they are “yet another example of the escalating attacks…


“Worm Wood”: Errol Morris’s Latest Documentary Probes Deadly CIA Duplicity

Frank Olson may have been not just murdered but executed. (Editor’s Note: “Wormwood” is a fascinating Netflix documentary series on the 1953 suicide/murder/execution of government scientist Frank Olson, who grew up in Hurley, Wisconsin. The official story was that Olson’s death was an unfortunate outcome of a what was a whacky CIA LSD experimental program gone awry. Olson’s eldest son, Erik, never felt comfortable with the story; always felt there was more to it. He was right. This short series is a powerful, personal account of the abuse of unchecked government power and secrecy and perfectly timed as a warning…


FBI Affidavit Details Ex-Sheriff David Clarke’s Intimidation Of Fellow Airline Passenger

  By Mary Papenfuss HuffPost (12/30/17) Former Sheriff David Clarke abused his authority when he ordered the mistreatment and intimidation of a fellow passenger on a flight to Milwaukee in January, according to a newly revealed FBI search warrant affidavit, because Clarke assumed the man was showing disrespect toward the right-wing Donald Trump booster. The affidavit, which had requested a search of Clarke’s private email account, was revealed as part of a filing in U.S. District Court in Wisconsin on Thursday. It’s unclear if it indicates continued interest by the FBI or just details information from months earlier. In May, federal prosecutors informed Clarke’s attorney that they weren’t going…


New Documentary Reveals Major Coverup & Corruption In Las Vegas Police Department, Before And After The Mass Shooting

  By Liz Posner AlterNet (12/25/17) Unanswered questions still surround the mass shooting in Las Vegas on October 1 this year. Days after shooter Stephen Paddock killed 59 people and injured over 500, confusing details emerged. Journalists sparred with police at press conferences, grappling for missing details. The security guard who discovered Paddock in his hotel room with 24 guns and was shot by Paddock later disappeared, only to reemerge as a guest on the Ellen DeGeneres Show. To shed light on this confusion, a new film, “What Happened in Vegas,” explores the role of the Las Vegas Police Department after the mass…


A Bad Deal: Swapping Out Democracy For A State Of Perpetual American Fear

‘Scairdy Cat Nation By Ray Suarez NPR (12/17/17) Historian Elaine Tyler May says that ever since the Cold War, fear has crept into American life and created apathy toward democracy. During that time, the government and media gave Americans constant warning about nuclear war and communism — adults were encouraged to build shelters, children practiced hiding under their desks to prepare for a possible nuclear attack. “Basically, the message was the bomb could drop at any time,” she says. “Each person was responsible for their own safety. There’s really nothing the government or the leaders of the country can do…


Frank Rich: The Party Of Lincoln Is Now The Party Of Predators

  By Frank Rich New York Magazine (12/9/17) Though the Republican National Committee has restored funding for Alabama’s Roy Moore, Republican members of Congress — and even the committee’s own officials — are keeping their distance from party support. Is it better for the GOP if Moore wins or if he loses? Even The Wall Street Journal editorial page, which sold its soul to Donald Trump after the election, said this morning that “you have to believe in magic to think this is going to end well for Republicans.” Anticipating the resignation of Al Franken, the editorial pleaded with its party, from Trump down, to disown Moore — if…


SPLC To Homeland Security Committee: Focus on domestic terrorism from the radical right

  Southern Poverty Law Center (11/30/17) SPLC President Richard Cohen testified Thursday [11/30] before the U.S. House Committee on Homeland Security about the need to focus on domestic terrorism from the radical right. Cohen delivered the following oral remarks to the committee chaired by U.S. Rep. Michael McCaul, in addition to written testimony. Thank you, Chairman McCaul, and thank you, Ranking Member Thompson. Members of the committee, it’s an honor to be here today. Charlottesville truly was a wake-up call for our country. It was a reminder that the oldest form of terrorism our country has ever known is still with…


University Of New Haven & Saudi Police: Big Money & Academia Makes For Strange Bedfellows

  By Samayia Taylor Nation of Change (9/30/17) In America, college students are just arriving on their campuses- some for the first time- ready to start the new academic year. They have a wide range of interests and goals, from bringing about the latest medical breakthrough to wanting to change U.S. foreign policy. Some may even want to become President. One thing they all have in common though, is that they have just entered a time in their lives where they will explore, learn, and- most importantly- be able to express themselves. At the same time as millions of American college…


Joke Of An AG: CODEPINK Activist Who Laughed During Jeff Sessions’ Hearing To Face New Trial

  By Andrea Germanos Common Dreams (9/2/17) CODEPINK activist Desiree Fairooz, who was arrested after laughing during Attorney General Jeff Sessions‘ confirmation hearing, will face a second trial this fall after she rejected a plea deal on Friday. “I still cannot believe the government refuses to drop this. Vindictive!” she wrote on Twitter, while CODEPINK called it “ridiculous.” As Common Dreams reported, she was convicted in May of disorderly and disruptive conduct during the hearing. While Sen. Richard Shelby (R-Ala.) argued that Sessions’ record of “treating all Americans equally under the law is clear and well-documented,” Fairooz, who was in the hearing room, laughed. She held up a sign that…


California Correctional Officers Accused Of Perverted ‘sadistic and terrorizing acts’ Against Prisoners

  By Sam Levine The Guardian (9/5/17) Four California sheriff’s deputies have been accused of “sadistic and terrorizing acts” against inmates, including encouraging prisoners to throw urine and feces at each other, laughing at an assault victim seeking help, strangling an inmate into unconsciousness and intimidating witnesses. The felony assault charges against four Alameda County deputies, accused of victimizing eight prisoners, have provided a window into the violent abuse and misconduct that prisoners’ rights activists say is still commonplace in some jails across the country, including in progressive regions that have pledged reforms. Deputies Justin Linn and Erik McDermott are facing charges of assault, witness intimidation…


Washington Post Guide To Resigned Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke’s Chest Full Of Fake Medals

So where’s the medal for ‘Baloney’, David? By Phillip Bump The Washington Post (5/26/17) Milwaukee Sheriff David Clarke emerged onto the national scene last year with his fervent support of Republican Donald Trump, despite the fact he was a Democrat. Clarke’s embrace of Trump’s politics — and of Trump’s intemperate rhetorical style — earned him a speaking slot at the Republican convention last year. It also overlapped with a great deal of scrutiny about his behavior as sheriff, including a number of deaths at jails under his jurisdiction. Clarke’s political energy and background made him a deeply controversial figure, and the subject…


Grenade Launchers At The Mini Mart & Bayonets At The Playground: Trump Orders Resumption Of Military Supplies To Local Police

  By Patrick Martin World Socialist Web Site (8/29/17) President Trump signed an executive order Monday morning reinstituting a federal program to supply military-grade weaponry and equipment to state and local police forces. The program had been suspended since May 2015 under an executive order signed by Barack Obama that Trump has now rescinded. The Obama administration was compelled to restrict, at least temporarily, the distribution of “surplus” military equipment after widespread public outrage following the deployment of armored vehicles and other military weaponry in Ferguson, Missouri, after mass protests that followed the August 2014 police murder of 18-year-old Michael…


Shades Of Things To Come To All Of Us: Despite Low Crime Rates, Miami Police Expand Their Use Of Military Vehicles & Weaponry

‘Scairdy Cat Nation By Matthew MacEgan World Socialist Web Site (8/11/17) An investigative report appearing in a Miami newspaper, the New Times, provides details about the Miami-Dade Police Department’s expanded use of military-grade equipment vehicles on an everyday basis. The MDPD announced Monday that they will begin “randomly” sending out their “rapid deployment force” to various county buildings, as well as public transit stops. In Monday’s press release, MDPD stated, “In keeping with our ongoing homeland security initiatives, the Miami-Dade Police Department (MDPD) today begins its Rapid Deployment Force (RDF) as an enhanced security presence to deter threats to critical infrastructure sites…


Trump Administration Demands Details On All Visitors To Anti-Trump Protest Website

  By Julia Carrie Wong & Olivia Solon The Guardian (8/14/17) The US government is seeking to unmask every person who visited an anti-Trump website in what privacy advocates say is an unconstitutional “fishing expedition” for political dissidents. The warrant appears to be an escalation of the Department of Justice’s (DoJ) campaign against anti-Trump activities, including the harsh prosecution of inauguration day protesters. “It’s a short step after you have the list to connect the IP address to someone’s identity.” On 17 July, the DoJ served a website-hosting company, DreamHost, with a search warrant for every piece of information it possessed that…


Whither Our Future: Orwell Or Huxley? It May Well Be That Huxley Was Right

  Social critic Neil Postman contrasted the worlds of Nineteen Eighty-Four and Brave New World in the foreword of his 1985 book Amusing Ourselves to Death. He writes:   “What Orwell feared were those who would ban books. What Huxley feared was that there would be no reason to ban a book, for there would be no one who wanted to read one. Orwell feared those who would deprive us of information. Huxley feared those who would give us so much that we would be reduced to passivity and egotism. Orwell feared that the truth would be concealed from us….


VIDEO: Tennessee Deputies Tortured 19-Year-Old Inmate With Tasers While He Was Strapped Helplessly To A Chair

“I’ll keep on doing it until I run out of batteries!” – Cheatham County Torturer (Editor’s Note: History shows over and over again that the weapons and cruelty of empire are always brought home to subdue and destroy the citizens who protest their impoverishment for empire. What happens to one of us can happen to all, and not just in Cheat-ham County, Tennessee. – Mark L. Taylor) By Bob Brigham The Raw Story (8/1/17) Three Cheatham County Sheriff’s deputies have been placed on administrative leave after multiple videos emerged showing the officers using tasers to torture an 18-year-old inmate. “Jordan…


Ron Paul Interviews Edward Snowden About Privacy And The Security State

  “Liberty is freedom from permission.” Ron Paul Liberty Report (6/20/17) In this wide-ranging exclusive interview, former intelligence analyst turned whistleblower Edward Snowden tells all. What to say to those who argue that they’ve got nothing to hide so nothing to fear from the intrusive ears of the state? Snowden is engagingly philosophical yet frank about his current position and where we are headed as a society. Check out the Freedom of the Press Foundation, where he is Board President: https://freedom.press/ Link to 34-Minute Video


Face Of The State: D.C. Cops Used Jailhouse ‘Rape As Punishment’ After Inauguration Day Mass Arrests, ACLU Lawsuit Says

By Andy Pyke ThinkProgress (6/22/17) When black-clad marchers began smashing windows in Washington, D.C., on Inauguration Day, the city’s police force — reputedly the best in the country at upholding protesters’ rights during disruptive demonstrations — went nuclear. Officers quickly deployed pepper spray, tear gas, and crowd-control grenades of various types. The Metropolitan Police Department opted to “kettle” everyone on the streets nearby the initial anarchist-driven property destruction, something it does not, by reputation, make a habit of doing during protests. The mass round-up swept the “Antifa” rowdy types together with many peaceful protesters, journalists, and volunteer legal observers who turn out in bright…


The Most Important Interview You Can Watch This Month: Yale Historian Timothy Snyder On How The U.S. Can Avoid Sliding Into Authoritarianism

“Twentyith century authoritarians have learned the way to dismantle systems like ours is to go after one institution and then the next. Which means that we have to have an active relationship with both to history, so you can see how failure arises and learn from people who try to protect institutions, but also an active relationship to our institutions; that institutions are only as good as the people who attempt to serve them ” – Timothy Snyder Democracy Now! (5/30/17) Is the United States sliding toward tyranny? That is the question posed by Yale University history professor Timothy Snyder…


Muzzle: Spate Of Anti-Protest Bills Would ‘attack right to speak out’ In Time Of Trump

  By Adam Gabbatt The Guardian (5/8/17) More than 20 states have proposed bills that would crack down on protests and demonstrations since Donald Trump was elected, in a moved that UN experts have branded “incompatible with US obligations under international human rights law”. The proposed laws would variously increase the penalties for protesting in large groups, ban protesters from wearing masks during demonstrations and, in some states, protect drivers from liability if they strike someone taking part in a protest. The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) said more than 30 separate anti-protest bills have been introduced since 8 November…


‘The Handmaid’s Tale’ – Futuristic Dystopian Literature & Movies Provide The Story Line For The Present

  By Tom Ashbrook OnPoint (4/3/17) Dystopian fiction is having a heyday. We’ll look at the dystopian plots and perils that publishers love right now. Check out the new fiction coming from publishers these days and it may scare you to pieces. Not horror scare exactly, but dystopia. Dystopian fiction is all over the place now. Books of the future gone horribly wrong. A new civil war in America.  Crazy microbes on the loose. The planet a mess. Democracy done.  Insane inequality. Killer drones all over. Walls and fences and people fleeing Earth if they can. Great. This hour On…


Can Border Agents Search Your Electronic Devices? It’s Complicated

  By Esha Bandari & Nathan Freed Wessler ACLU (3/14/17) We’ve been getting a lot of questions about when border agents can legally conduct searches of travelers’ electronic devices at international airports and other ports of entry. Unfortunately, the answer isn’t simple. The government has long claimed that Fourth Amendment protections prohibiting warrantless searches don’t apply at the border. The ACLU takes issue with this position generally, especially when it comes to electronic devices like smartphones and laptops. Our smartphones store detailed accounts of our conversations, professional lives, whereabouts, and web-browsing habits. They paint a far more detailed picture of…


To Protect & Shove? Watch Big, Tough Cop Push 86 Year-Old Woman To Ground At Trump Protest

Then 65 year-old retired teacher who came to her aid was maced. (Editor’s Note: Wow, tough guys! The state is losing legitimacy fast. – Mark L. Taylor) By Shane Dixon Kavahaugh Vocativ (2/27/17) A police officer in Tucson, Arizona, shoved an 86-year-old woman onto the pavement during a tense confrontation with demonstrators opposed to President Donald Trump’s immigration policies, video footage shows. The Tucson Police Department said that it is investigating the incident from earlier this month that also left a retired school teacher with a face full of pepper spray as she tried to help the elderly woman, who…