A Political Economy Premised on Exploitation and Social Repression
by Rob Urie
Posted March 9, 2015
As political theory might have it, if all of the citizens of Ferguson were intended to benefit from city resources while poor and middle class Blacks were disproportionately forced to pay for them that represents economic taking by some citizens for the benefit of others. The racial character of this taking places it in history. The history of Western colonialism, neo-colonialism and imperialism places it in broader internal and external context. And this history is evidence that distinct realms of the economic and the political never described existing circumstance. The practical relevance is that it places the actions of the police in Ferguson, past and pending ‘trade’ agreements and global economic relations in the space where economic and political power act in an integrated social dimension.
The effect is to reframe ‘the law’ in terms of who is committing particular acts rather than the acts being committed. The police in Ferguson can murder with impunity and shake down citizens at their discretion to fund the city budget (and their paychecks) while poor and middle class Blacks are disproportionately murdered and sent to prison for similar acts. What is legal and what isn’t is determined by who has social power, not by the acts themselves. In a racist and classist society the law is codification of class and race interests. If a black citizen of Ferguson puts a gun to someone’s head and demands their valuables they are a criminal but if the same act is committed by a cop it is within the law. Here events in Ferguson are fact and metaphor— overwhelming evidence (links above) suggests that similar social relations exist across much of the country. More…
FBI Tracking Of Keystone XL Activists Worse Than You Thought
by Adam Federman
Posted May 7, 2015
In August 2010, the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Domestic Terrorism Analysis Unit distributed an intelligence bulletin to all field offices warning that environmental extremism would likely become an increasing threat to the energy industry. The eight-page document argued that, even though the industry had encountered only low-level vandalism and trespassing, recent “criminal incidents” suggested that environmental extremism was on the rise. The FBI concluded: “Environmental extremism will become a greater threat to the energy industry owing to our historical understanding that some environmental extremists have progressed from committing low-level crimes against targets to more significant crimes over time in an effort to further the environmental extremism cause.”
Not long after the bulletin was distributed, a private security firm providing intelligence reports to the Pennsylvania Department of Homeland Security cited the FBI document in order to justify the surveillance of anti-fracking groups. The same security firm concluded that the “escalating conflict over natural gas drilling in Pennsylvania” could lead to an increase in “environmentalist activity or eco-terrorism.” More…
Scorecard: How Many Rights Have Americans REALLY Lost?
by Washington’s Blog
Posted March 1, 2015
While a lot of people talk about the loss of our Constitutional liberties, people usually speak in a vague, generalized manner … or focus on only one issue and ignore the rest. This post explains the liberties guaranteed in the Bill of Rights – the first 10 amendments to the United States Constitution – and provides a scorecard on the extent of the loss of each right.
Today, most Americans believe that the government is threatening – rather than protecting – freedom … and that it is no longer acting with the “consent of the governed”. And the federal government is trampling the separation of powers by stepping on the toes of the states and the people. Indeed, the federal government is doing everything it can to stick its nose into every aspect of our lives … and act like Big Brother. More…
Exporting Torture: Meet the Chicago Cop Who Brought American Brutality to Gitmo
By Spencer Ackerman
Posted February 28, 2015
Richard Zuley oversaw a shocking military interrogation that has become a permanent stain on America. When the Chicago detective Richard Zuley arrived at Guantánamo Bay late in 2002, US military commanders touted him as the hero they had been looking for.
Here was a Navy reserve lieutenant who had spent the last 25 years as a distinguished detective on the mean streets of Chicago, closing case after case – often due to his knack for getting confessions.
But while Zuley’s brutal interrogation techniques – prolonged shackling, family threats, demands on suspects to implicate themselves and others – would get supercharged at Guantánamo for the war on terrorism, a Guardian investigation has uncovered that Zuley used similar tactics for years, behind closed police-station doors, on Chicago’s poor and non-white citizens. Multiple people in prison in Illinois insist they have been wrongly convicted on the basis of coerced confessions extracted by Zuley and his colleagues. More…
Evidence shows that the Chicago Police Department is totally out of control. Maybe Mayor Rahm Emannuel should take some time off from cozying up with the bankers and clean up the city. Zuley will have much to answer for in the afterlife.
The disappeared: Chicago police detain Americans at abuse-laden ‘black site’
by Spencer Ackerman
Posted February 26, 2015
The Chicago police department operates an off-the-books interrogation compound, rendering Americans unable to be found by family or attorneys while locked inside what lawyers say is the domestic equivalent of a CIA black site. The facility, a nondescript warehouse on Chicago’s west side known as Homan Square, has long been the scene of secretive work by special police units. Interviews with local attorneys and one protester who spent the better part of a day shackled in Homan Square describe operations that deny access to basic constitutional rights.
The secretive warehouse is the latest example of Chicago police practices that echo the much-criticized detention abuses of the US war on terrorism. While those abuses impacted people overseas, Homan Square – said to house military-style vehicles, interrogation cells and even a cage – trains its focus on Americans, most often poor, black and brown. More…
Fast-Track Treason and the Coming Corporate Coup
By Rivera Sun
Posted February 24, 2015
Corporations aren’t people – otherwise, we’d be trying them for treason. If it were known that a handful of powerful men and women were meeting in secret to overthrow the authority of the US government and make this nation submissive to external domination, the NSA, CIA, FBI, US president, Congress and the military-industrial complex would declare them “terrorists of the year” and bomb them back into the Stone Age.
But corporations aren’t people. They enjoy superhuman status, and are awarded privileges and protections well beyond what ordinary citizens of the United States can expect. (The last time a corporation was shot dead in the streets by a police officer was – well, never.) Corporations are given preferential treatment by judges, laws, politicians, investigators, tax agencies, financial institutions and much of our consumer-capitalist society. More…
How Did America’s Police Forces Get So Scary and Omnipresent?
By Gaius Publius
Posted February 21, 2015
You can’t have a society owned and harvested by men like David Koch and Jamie Dimon without an enforcement mechanism. The underlying assumption is that the police exists to protect “us,” an idea frequently promoted by the police themselves, whose slogan is usually some variant of this one: “To protect and serve”.
“To protect and serve” — but whom? There was a never a time when the big city police neutrally enforced “the law” — nor, for that matter, a time when the law itself was neutral. Throughout the 19th century in the North, the police mostly arrested people for the vaguely defined “crimes” of disorderly conduct and vagrancy, which meant that they could target anyone they saw as a threat to “order.” In the post-bellum South, they enforced white supremacy and largely arrested black people on trumped-up charges in order to feed them into convict labor systems.
The violence the police carried out and their moral separation from those they patrolled were not the consequences of the brutality of individual officers, but of policies carefully designed to mold the police into a force that could use violence to deal with the social problems that accompanied the development of a wage-labor economy. Though some patrolmen tried to be kind and others were openly brutal, police violence in the 1880s was not a case of a few bad apples — and neither is it today. More…
HSBC Bank: Secret Origins To Laundering The World’s Drug Money
by the Drug Trafficking & Narco-Terrorism Department of GreatGameIndia
Posted February 17, 2015
Contrary to popular opinion, it is not “demand” from the world’s population which creates the mind destroying drug trade. Rather, it is the world financial oligarchy, looking for massive profits and the destruction of the minds of the population it is determined to dominate, which organized the drug trade. The case of HSBC underscores that point. Serving as the central bank of this global apparatus, is HSBC.
For years, when banks have been caught laundering drug money, they have claimed that they did not know, that they were but victims of sneaky drug dealers and a few corrupt employees. Nothing could be further from the truth. The truth is that a considerable portion of the global banking system is explicitly dedicated to handling the enormous volume of cash produced daily by dope traffickers. More…
U.S. Government Buys “Truly Orwellian” Surveillance Technology To Track Drivers in Real Time
By Pratap Chatterjee
Posted February 13, 2015
Local government officials have the ability to track individual drivers in the U.S. in real time and take pictures of the occupants of their vehicles, with new “truly Orwellian” technology purchased from companies like Vigilant Solutions, according to new documents uncovered by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU).
One of the documents is a ten page U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) memo stating that the technology behind the National License Plate Reading Initiative that was launched in December 2008 allows it to capture “vehicle license plate numbers (front and/or rear), photos of visible vehicle occupants [redacted] and a front and rear overall view of the vehicle.” Another May 2011 memo notes that this system has the ability to store “up to 10 photos per vehicle transaction including 4 occupant photos.”
These details complement findings by the Wall Street Journal that the U.S. Department of Justice has built a secret national database to track vehicle license plates around the country that now holds “hundreds of millions of records about motorists.” More…