Tuesday, May 6, 2014

The Police State Strikes Back as Occupy Activist Hammered by Law


“If you're not a cop, you're "little people"
 -Captain Bryant
The hammer of the police state slammed down on the head of Cecily McMillan as if it were a sledge, convicting the Occupy Wall Street activist of assaulting a New York police officer. Not that the cop grabbed her breast during a protest, the men in black are the alpha level predators in the soft fascist (soft for now) place that is The Homeland. McMillan hit the cop in the face with an elbow, likely more of a reflexive action than anything else but it didn’t matter when it came time to feeding her into the big industrial meat grinder of the American injustice system. McMillan faces up to seven years in prison for her act where she will be in danger of being raped and beaten by other inmates, the pigs will probably even egg them on. She can probably consider herself lucky considering the less fortunate victims of our militarized police and their increasingly disconcerting view of the citizenry as the enemy.
According to a story in The Guardian that cites one of the jurors at expressing being shocked at the prison term that the "terrified" McMillan now faces:
McMillan’s attorney, Martin Stolar, argued in court that the video clip was not clear enough to prove anything. Afterwards, he blamed it for the conviction. “I think that is the only piece of evidence that a jury could hang its hat on,” he said. “On a quick glance without analysis, it looks like an assault. But it does not show what happened to Cecily.”
The juror confirmed Stolar’s fears. “For most of the jury, the video said it all,” the juror said. The juror said that an immediate vote after the 12 were sent out for deliberation found they were split 9-3 in favour of convicting. After everyone watched the clip again in the jury room, the juror said, two of the three hold-outs switched to the majority, leaving only the juror who approached the Guardian in favour of acquitting the 25-year-old. Sensing “a losing battle”, the juror agreed to join them in a unanimous verdict. “I’m very remorseful about it,” the juror said a few hours later, having learned of McMillan’s potential punishment.
Neither was the panel persuaded by McMillan’s account of suffering bruising to her chest from being grabbed and enduring a seizure after being forcefully arrested by Bovell and his colleagues. Ultimately, the 12 – including a former nurse who said during selection that she treated victims of police brutality during the Columbia University riots of 1968 – were unmoved by photographs of bruises and by testimony that McMillan was seen convulsing on the pavement. Medical notes from two hospital visits on the night of the incident were seen to support the state’s allegation that McMillan had invented her injuries, the juror said.
This is so illustrative of what has happened in American circa 2014 where vengeance reigns supreme over whatever vestiges remain of the law and any potential jury pool is tainted by the constant exposure to non-stop television and movie depictions that glorify police and particularly the cop that pushes the boundaries to overcome a system that is held back by such trivialities as due process, civil liberties and Constitutional rights. How much longer until we start having public executions as a spectacle for the masses? The increasing degree of violence practiced by the police as well as the focus of the judicial system on convictions combined with a nation of sheep who wallow in a dream of blissful ignorance until the day that they themselves are led to the steel chutes where the hammer of the law will fall upon their heads as well has set this once great country on a collision course with the inevitable fascism, some may see that it is already here only not omnipresent and omnipotent just yet.
I always read the work of John Rutherford of The Whitehead Institute when it comes to warnings of the police state and his latest piece which is entitled “Martial Law, Detention Camps and Kangaroo Courts: Are We Recreating the Third Reich?” is a must read from which I excerpt:
Despite what some may think, the Constitution is no magical incantation against government wrongdoing. Indeed, it’s only as effective as those who abide by it. However, without courts willing to uphold the Constitution’s provisions when government officials disregard it and a citizenry knowledgeable enough to be outraged when those provisions are undermined, it provides little to no protection against SWAT team raids, domestic surveillance, police shootings of unarmed citizens, indefinite detentions, and the like.
Unfortunately, the courts and the police have meshed in their thinking to such an extent that anything goes when it’s done in the name of national security, crime fighting and terrorism. Consequently, America no longer operates under a system of justice characterized by due process, an assumption of innocence, probable cause and clear prohibitions on government overreach and police abuse. Instead, our courts of justice have been transformed into courts of order, advocating for the government’s interests, rather than championing the rights of the citizenry, as enshrined in the Constitution.
Just recently, for example, the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in U.S. v. Westhoven that driving too carefully, with a rigid posture, taking a scenic route, and having acne are sufficient reasons for a police officer to suspect you of doing something illegal, detain you, search your car, and arrest you—even if you’ve done nothing illegal to warrant the stop in the first place.
In that same vein, the U.S. Supreme Court declared in a 5-4 ruling in Navarette v. California that police officers can, under the guise of “reasonable suspicion,” stop cars and question drivers based solely on anonymous tips, no matter how dubious, and whether or not they themselves witnessed any troubling behavior.
And then you have the Supreme Court’s refusal to hear Hedges v. Obama, a legal challenge to the indefinite detention provision of the National Defense Authorization Act of 2012 (NDAA), thereby affirming that the President and the U.S. military can arrest and indefinitely detain individuals, including American citizens, based on a suspicion that they might be associated with or aiding terrorist organizations.
All three cases reflect a mindset in which the rule of law, the U.S. Constitution, once the map by which we navigated sometimes hostile terrain, has been unceremoniously booted out of the runaway car that is our government, driven over and left for road kill on the side of the road. All that can be seen in the rear view mirror are the tire marks on its ragged frame.
Mr. Whitehead in his piece goes on to elaborate on detention camps for American political dissidents as well as the similarities (although refined) to that most infamous historic regime in Germany but that is a story for another time, he has far too many valid observations to do them justice here without the benefit of a further discussion that does include US history as well. You can read his piece in its entirety here and please support his work at The Rutherford Institute, you don't have to agree with them on everything but they are spot on concerning the police state and deterioration of the American judicial system.
Few outside of those who run this system of oppression understand just how far that we have now departed from our once cherished Constitutional values which have now become nothing more than punchlines for comics and fodder for those who run the machine to denigrate critics. Each and every day brings another outrage but to those who are still sleeping blissfully within their cocoons of willful ignorance they continue their hero worship of the cops and pay lip service to that quaint and long gone system of "checks and balances"
George W. Bush may have referred to The Constitution as a "goddamned piece of paper" but Barack Obama is the one who has wiped his ass with it.