A Police State Gone Wild

What a difference six years makes.

Mister Peepers

Suddenly everybody’s up in arms about the notion that NSA operatives spied on their exes. Seriously? WHO didn’t know this was going to happen? Oh yeah: everybody in America who knows nothing of history and never asks “if this goes on …”

NSA Officers Spy on Love Interests
Siobhan Gorman / Washington Wire: 

 WASHINGTON—National Security Agency officers on several occasions have channeled their agency’s enormous eavesdropping power to spy on love interests, U.S. officials said.  —  The practice isn’t frequent — one official estimated a handful of cases …

Let me answer that with this:

Note the date:

peepers

Civil Rites, or The Beat(ing) Goes On

TUESDAY, MARCH 27, 2007

The newspaper lede spoke for itself:

December 5, 2002
Neighbors call tactics in drug raid militaristic
By REBECCA NOLAN
The [Eugene, Ore.] Register-Guard

The sound of heavy machinery, exploding grenades and blaring announcements cracked the early morning silence.

Neighbors looked out their windows Oct. 17 to see an armored truck rolling down the street. They saw at least 45 officers armed with shotguns and assault rifles entering a trio of houses, standing guard at alleyways and blocking traffic lanes.

Officers wouldn’t explain to startled residents what was going on.

Police pulled four people – including a nude woman and another woman wearing only underpants and a T-shirt – from their beds and kept them in handcuffs in a room of one of the houses for several hours. One woman reported that an officer covered her head with a black fabric bag and removed it only when she agreed to cooperate….

abu_gharib

Abu Gharib

The woman covered with the black bag was Marcella Monroe. And this wasn’t Abu Gharib. It was in “progressive” “Bluejean” Oregon. The crime? Her ex-boyfriend had been caught growing several marijuana plants in Portland. The nude man with her was her husband, so the “boyfriend” aspect was already pretty clearly out of date had the astonishing mobilization of “shock troops” bothered doing their homework:

The raid involved some 59 heavily-armed police officers from the Oregon State Police, the Lane County Sheriff’s Department, the Eugene Police Department, the Springfield Police Department, the Portland Police Bureau, and the Oregon National Guard, who swarmed into Eugene’s Whiteaker neighborhood accompanied by a tank-like National Guard Light Armored Vehicle.

Throwing flash-bang grenades that shook the windows in neighboring houses and kicking down doors, the marauders broke into three homes, detaining two couples. Marcella Monroe and Tam Davage and Elizabeth Redetzke and Jor Havens were dragged naked from their beds by masked and armored police, then held for hours as police ransacked their homes.

Police placed a black hood over Monroe’s head until she agreed to cooperate. No evidence of a marijuana grow operation was found, but that didn’t stop police from arresting all four and threatening to seize their homes. State prosecutors eventually dropped all charges.

There you go, Civil Rites and Wrongs in that world that “changed after 9/11.”

Except that it didn’t change there at all. It was an ongoing atrocity in the lunatic “war on drugs” that kicked into highest lunacy as a GOP tactic in the 1986 off-year elections. And which rolls on, grinding people and the bill of rights underneath it.Think of it: massive surveillance programs, international military and paramilitary raids, bloody battles in South America, automatic forfeiture of vehicles and property “without due process of law” justified by the Supreme Court; massive propaganda campaigns, billions for herbicidal spraying, helicopter surveillance, armored vehicles, SWAT teams, advanced weapons, and, finally, raids like this one?

When did we agree to this suspension of rights? And did anyone notice how easy it made the further “Patriot Act” style suspensions of civil rights possible.

II-A-3

A nightmarish civil rights case has been reported this weekend in the New York TIMES, that the New York Police Department launched its own surveillance program, nationally, infiltrating and reporting on political groups!

David Cohen [was] the deputy police commissioner for intelligence. Mr. Cohen, a former senior official at the Central Intelligence Agency, was “central to the N.Y.P.D.’s efforts to collect intelligence information prior to the R.N.C.,” Gerald C. Smith, an assistant corporation counsel with the city Law Department, said in a federal court filing … Cohen contended that surveillance of domestic political activities was essential to fighting terrorism. “Given the range of activities that may be engaged in by the members of a sleeper cell in the long period of preparation for an act of terror, the entire resources of the N.Y.P.D. must be available to conduct investigations into political activity and intelligence-related issues,” Mr. Cohen wrote in an affidavit dated Sept. 12, 2002.

N.Y.P.D. undercover officers were infiltrating groups as far away as Oregon and New Mexico!

Copyright Disney Enterprises, Inc. All rights reserved

The NY TIMES (ibid.):

… New York undercover officers were active themselves in at least 15 places outside New York — including California, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Massachusetts, Michigan, Montreal, New Hampshire, New Mexico, Oregon, Tennessee, Texas and Washington, D.C. — and in Europe.

Good ghod. Who set up New York City as a sovereign nation? And who is this ex-spook running the rogue spy network? The New York POST’s vile Steve Dunleavy has already defended the outrageous Gestapo-style program, by belittling the NY TIMES for even reporting it.

Do you wonder where that came from? Do you think it came out of the blue? We started breaking down the firewall between spying and domestic policework with the drug war of the mid-Reagan 80′s. Now, it’s coming home to roost.

In spades.

Here’s a poster that ought to scare the hell out of you when you consider WHY all these women are in prison all of a sudden:

women-in-prisons 2005

U.S. women in prison 1980-2005

The greatest reason for the increase has been the punitive “mandatory minimums” that were shoved through in the late Reagan (post-Alzheimer’s)and Daddy Bush jingoisms.

Er, I mean administrations.

According to the Action Committee for Women in Prison:

With the advent of mandatory sentencing laws in the mid-eighties, the female prison population has exploded throughout the country. Nationwide the female prison population grew by 592% from 12, 279 in 1977 to 85, 031 in 2001…. More women are incarcerated for non-violent drug offenses than for any other crime. In California 78 % of women are incarcerated for non-violent crimes which are usually drug related….

[Learn more at Amnesty International, USA. ]

Although everybody went to jail, no one was imprisoned. But that Hydra lurked underneath the whole debacle — for debacle it clearly was. Non-violent, sleeping, naked people in Eugene, Oregon were subjected to the sort of midnight smash-and-grab operation that would become commonplace in Iraq beginning the following spring.

And, sadly, the response has been every bit as “ho-hum” for it happening here as it has over there. (After all, you might recall that we were ONLY after Saddam Hussein. The other 100,000 to 200,000 dead, wounded, maimed and injured were merely ‘collateral damage.’)

police-chase

But this was here, in the “Land Of the Free” on the “Left Coast,” in PeeCee Oregon!

None of this massive response of grenades, M-16s, armored vehicles and, literally “masked men,” or “men in black,” would have been possible, however, without billions of congressional dollars out of Washington, D.C. spent to create this massive paramilitary response.

Response to what?

To knowing someone who had grown pot plants in Portland.

cops

I have not taken any time here to speculate on what it’s like to be held, naked or nearly so, handcuffed and probably interrogated for HOURS after being awakened by the sound of your door being busted down and

But that’s not the beating that’s still going on.

There is something scary already in the fact that the newspaper article is dated December 2, 2002, when the actual raid took place on October 17th, 2002.

It bespeaks a police state gone mad, that such an astonishing display of police firepower didn’t rise to the level of “newsworthy” until it was admitted that there was NO REASON FOR IT!

Got that?

9-28-1919 lynch mob

9-28-1919 lynch mob witnessed by young Henry Fonda

They sent in the marines because some imbecile judge thought that because a married woman’s ex-boyfriend 110 miles away was growing pot, she must be. There’s a terrorist “cell” for you.

Oh? Don’t think it’s a terrorist cell? Then how would you differentiate the response from what WOULD be the response had they uncovered a “terrorist cell” with explosives planning to blow up, say, a bunch of bridges in Portland?

Thank god they didn’t have unpaid parking tickets.

chicago_68_dnc_riots

Chicago, 1968 — electing Richard Nixon

No: I need you to focus, because at this point, you aren’t horrified. You aren’t freaked out. You might not particularly even be all that interested. So what? Damned hippies, right?

The abuse that still continues is this:

Tam Davage and Marcella Monroe filed suit in federal court for actions that were clearly outrageous.

Outrageous, that is, to anyone except federal lawyers.

Talk show

Because this case REMAINS unsettled. “You don’t need to make a federal case out of it,” seems less a cliché here than a Kafkaesque curse.

Having raped their sense of security, of living in the “land of the free,” the selfsame government has defended itself and delayed any attempt at justice for over four years, and we’re coming up in October on FIVE.

fathertime

Five years without justice for an egregious overstepping of all reasonable law enforcement, five years after a misguided pogrom against a non-addictive plant. Six years after two buildings in New York were hit with hijacked jets and law vanished, justice disappeared, civil rights took a powder, and Big Brother established himself (perhaps permanently) in the White House.

Five years!

And five years of Tam and Marcella and Elizabeth and Jor’s lives have been stolen, in addition to that night of horrors. What would you feel, had it happened to you? Somebody you knew was busted, and in the middle of the night you were dragged from your bed and black bagged like something straight out of V for Vendetta?

Or Abu Gharib.

agent-o-al-qaeda

Or Gitmo.

And the abuse goes on. Those five years can never be returned. And the trust can never be fully repaired.

What trust?

The trust that we live in a country of laws and not of men. That we live — as the slimy “House Managers” beat their hypocrites’ chests during the impeachment — under the “Rule of Law.”

And that there is justice to be found in our Courts, our “Justice System,” and in our “Law Enforcement.”

SCOTUS DELIVERIES AT REAR

U.S. Justice: Deliveries At Rear

Just think, the Chief Law Enforcement Officer of the Land (As the US Attorney General has been rightly characterized) is in the middle of a scandal relating to, perhaps, selective and political prosecutions, and CERTAINLY, has been caught, dead to rights, lying to Congress and to We, the People.

So, tell me, WHERE is justice in the United States of America? Where is the “Rule of Law” in the “Land of the Free”? Where is that “Home of the Brave” if every citizen knows that he can get the special “Gitmo” treatment at any time, for any reason?

I still have the First Amendment, until they pry my keyboard from my cold, dead fingers. And I ask you this:

How can this abomination of lawless abuse of power still be defended going on five years after the fact?

exxon valdez oil spill

exxon valdez oil spill

Oh, and while you’re at it, riddle me this: How is it that on the Eighteenth Anniversary of the Exxon Valdez incident, Exxon has yet to pay a penny in damages?

Shame pole unveiled in Cordova on anniversary of Exxon Valdez spill
Associated Press, 03/26/2007 12:28:11 PM AKDT

A totem pole designed to mock Exxon Mobil on the anniversary of the largest oil spill in U.S. history was unveiled Friday in Cordova.

The trunk of yellow cedar was carved by Mike Webber of Cordova. On the pole are sea ducks, a sea otter and eagle floating dead on a slick of oil. Also pictured is a boat for sale, commemorating fishermen who went belly up.

Webber and others believe Exxon broke a promise by refusing to pay affected Alaskans billions of dollars in punitive damages. An Anchorage federal jury awarded thousands of plaintiffs five billion dollars in punitive damages in 1994, but Exxon appealed and the case has been mired in court ever since…

dead fish skeleton

The way things have been going, carving a totem pole seems the most rational response anyone’s come up with. Whether you think it has a chance in hell of working or not, you have to admit it’s better than what we’re seeing in the “justice” system.

And, at least it’s something you can look at without your stomach wrenching in horror.

Four years and five months later, the same system that pulled that admittedly unjustified “black bag” raid on four innocent and harmless citizens continues to abuse at least two of them over it. And it steals their lives, as surely as if they’d been taken in secret to Guantanimo.

torture-saw

Reviving old Royalist sports

Gitmo abuses? Here in Oregon, I only have to look down the street.

Courage.

[*Note: While I have met Tam Davage and Marcella Monroe socially, I have never discussed this case with them. My perception comes entirely from what has been reported.]

Back to 2013: Tam and Marcella are still together. They intentionally no longer live in Oregon, however.

Oh, and THIS, from “KARL AND GEORGE AND SPIN, OH MY or, HERE WE GO AGAIN,” Monday, July 18, 2005:

… Ask yourself this question (which I asked long ago, when I was writing un-PC screenplays about secret power and its corrupting influence): If they are willing to do these things to NON-citizens, what makes you think that the mere fact of a border on a map, or your citizenship will shield you from their practices?

Valerie Plame would probably tell you different.

fair_game_book_cover
Courage.

Mr. Williams has a lively blog His Vorpal Sword. This is cross-posted from his blog.

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About Hart Williams

Mr. Williams grew up in Wyoming, Nebraska, Kansas and New Mexico. He lived in Hollywood, California for many years. He has been published in The Washington Post, The Kansas City Star, The Santa Fe Sun, The Los Angeles Free Press, Oui Magazine, New West, and many, many more. A published novelist and a filmed screenwriter, Mr. Williams eschews the decadence of Hollywood for the simple, wholesome goodness of the plain, honest people of the land. He enjoys Luis Buñuel documentaries immensely.
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