“Now you see my fists?” Fullerton police officer Manny Ramos asked Thomas while slipping on a pair of latex gloves.
“Yeah, what about them?” Thomas responded.
“They are getting ready to fuck you up,” said Ramos.
These are the police. These are the people charged with upholding the law, protecting the innocent, and implicitly held to a higher standard of accountability than us “normies”.
They murdered this man – Kelly Thomas – and got away with it. According to Wikipedia, local law enforcement personnel showed support by raising money for their bail and criminal defense. They showed support for murderers simply because they had the same job. By the time the trial got to court, a video had already surfaced (warning – it’s pretty damn soul destroying), combining CCTV footage with audio from the officers equipment.
Despite this conclusive video evidence;
1) Fellow officers still felt obliged, or indeed happy, to defend, support and financially rally for their team.
2) All defendants were acquitted.
And worse still…..
3) 14 people were arrested for protesting, ignoring a dispersal order after the outcome of the trial.
The issue the story highlights, in my odd mind, is not simply “police are corrupt murdering uneducated for-hire thugs” – we know they increasingly are. Nor is it, shamefully, that an innocent, vulnerable man died in the most horrific of circumstances (image after beating – careful, also harrowing) at the hands of his “protectors”.
No – the fact people can be arrested for protesting against such a blatant miscarriage of justice has a tangible chilling effect, and serves to discourage people from complaining, let alone resisting or acting upon the creep of the authoritarian state. Collateral Damage in the War on Protesters is a shocking reminder of how a police state can instill fear and obedience, despite living in an apparently civilised and “freedom loving” nation. (“You got Karl Marx here, do you like Hitler?”)
It can also prevent people from allowing themselves think independently or in contradiction to “the norm” – and is a nice compliment to the NSA/GCHQ surveillance system currently destroying people’s privacy and basic human rights across the world. It’s cool though, the White House said that it’s legal to tap all US citizens calls (and presumably everyone else’s too – but we’re only foreigners), so let’s stop talking about it. Using drones to kill families in Yemen is also cool. As are invasions based on falsified reports of WMDs. What a disgusting nation UKUSA has become.
I digress. Frequently. Back to the five-o.
The police are, in the US, UK and elsewhere, almost exclusively for the protection of themselves, the elite and the corporate. We see all forms of demonstrations being “broken up” by the one force capable of protecting our rights to free speech, assembly and protest.
The FBI targeted members of Occupy Wall Street, the oft-dismissed group who are the only ones seemingly capable or interested in protesting the well discussed evils in the world of corporate-government-financial skulduggery. In leaked documents, they “….planned to gather intelligence against the leaders of the protest groups and obtain photographs then formulate a plan to kill the leadership via suppressed sniper rifles.”
Sniper rifles v people who disagree.
He who sticks his head above the parapet, seemingly runs the risk of losing said head. Agree or be silent seems to be the safest course of action.
Things have gone downhill quickly in the world of policing – their priorities, affiliations, unchecked abilities and corporate backing. It’s all served to create a wider gap between those who need to obey the law, and those who seem beyond it.
As with most things, the UK loyally follow their leaders in the US (or is it the other way around?). Police powers are being increased, civil outcry is quashed, and the press is silenced. Protests are being stopped, mis-reported and maligned. They’ve also had their own Kelly Thomas-esque event recently; Mark Duggan’s murder was deemed lawful, despite admissions and clear evidence that he did not have a gun on his person at the time he was killed.
While he had been “very lightly convicted” in the past, and was carrying a gun in a taxi previous to the incident (allegedly throwing it into a nearby field when the hard take-down began), in no situation can shooting an unarmed, non-aggressive man be considered a balanced and justifiable reaction. If it is, then the ability of the police to decide what is and what is not warranted force is open to so much subjective interpretation, that they essentially become judge, jury and executioner where any minor offence is committed, or even alleged. This leaves them wide open to political influence, corporate pressure, or even personal vendettas.
A slightly different, but still worrying outcome arose from the Anthony Grainger case. The officer who shot the unarmed man faces no prosecution, but the force will be charged under health and safety law.
Fucking health and safety law. A man was shot dead, and the only reason there is no murder charge, no tangible punishment, is because he was a member of the police. I’m sure Anthony’s family sleep safe in the knowledge that no crime was committed.
This is not how the police used to be. It is not how they were intended to be used. It is not the hallmark of a civilised society.
There were a few stories recently which, at a glance, may not seem to be related, but which all suggest the creep of authoritarianism and the police states beginning to form, or to be revealed, across the world.
If it doesn’t worry you, then you must not be thinking about it enough.
If you’re happy with it, then fuck you – I’m thinking of everyone’s future, you’re thinking of your own present.
US Citizens Within 100 Miles of the *Border*
*”The Border” includes………..the sea. The actual water-based sea. One of the most protected, isolated and militarised nations on the planet feel the need to treat the Atlantic and the Pacific as a potentially terrorist-allowing border. Jesus.
Anyway, at the end of 2013, District Judge Edward Korman, three years after the American Civil Liberties Union filed a suit, ruled that the 100 mile border area was special and essentially “exempt from the constitution” – and anybody was subject to a police check, which can include demanding laptop/phone passwords. Electronic equipment can be seized indefinitely. What the judge didn’t mention in his ruling was that two thirds of the entire population of the US (and traditionally, the more liberal and educated – ie. dangerous to the establishment) live in this area.
So, most people in the US can be searched without cause, and the search includes your laptop and phone. Good luck being a journalist trying to do your job properly, or a member of any organisation which the corrupt people running the show deem to be “a threat to national security”. Don’t go near the place if you’re slightly tanned, have a “funny foreign name” or an interest in world religions/history either. You’re probably a terrorist.
RNU Student Activist was Target of MI5 Train Approach
This one is particularly chilling, and almost funny if you think about it in an “it’s not real – it’s just a film” type of way.
Turns out our friends in MI5 actively recruit activists to spy on their colleagues and fellow “dissidents”. While that alone might not be news, the manner in which this incident played out was ridiculous.
While this instance was rebuffed in some style, fair play, it only takes one young mind to fall for the promise of James Bond style glory, boats n’ ho’s, and an entire, legitimate political party can become compromised or ineffective.
Are we really to still believe that organisation like MI5 have security in their hearts? Bollox. They’re as corrupt as the NSA and their ilk, and their main job is to keep this party steadily ticking over without anybody building up enough momentum or support to challenge them, or their masters.
Homeland Security Defending Copyright
While all things Google appall me, and the introduction of Google Glass really makes me fear for the intellect of humanity, this case highlights something different – the merging of corporate interests with general public law enforcement.
The guy wearing the glasses was clearly a hipster prick, but his experience was frightening.
He had these stupid glasses on, prescription – so kind of needed them to, you know, see the movie. The Google features were turned off (who’d want to see a shaky pirated video anyway?). About an hour in, he and his ladyfriend were removed from the theatre and held, intimidated and questioned by cops and members of the FBI. For allegedly recording a movie with glasses.
Ireland – A Slippery Slope?
I haven’t had any personal experience of heavy-handedness by our own police, thankfully. But it does happen, and the zealousness and power-boners that seem to appear when authority is challenged, whether rightly or wrongly, is indicative of a profession frequently sought by those with aforementioned power-boners. The majority of the Garda are sound, and do give a shit about the public, but as with any profession, we only hear about the bad ones – but they can be pretty damn awful.
Here’s one video of a bunch of knobs acting in an entirely shitty and unnecessary manner; I’d also guess smashing a car window with no justification is 100% criminal too.
While the above video could be put down to one dickhead who thinks his badge makes him special (you can almost hear the blood-lust and excitement in his voice), it isn’t an isolated case. And as we all know, Ireland is especially inept when it comes to official investigations, inquiries into misbehavior by state bodies and civil servants. This gives certain groups a sense of invulnerability, thinking they are the law, instead of subject to it.
What worries me about the developments in policing worldwide and the crackdown on expression of alternative thought, is that Ireland traditionally reacts slowly to evolution abroad – but eventually catches up.
We’ve seen homosexuality removed from the list of crimes only in 1993, when similar occured in the UK in 1967.
All changes in society, whether positive or not, take a bit longer than in the rest on the English speaking world, but we do catch up.
Will we catch up in terms of authoritarian creep? Do we have politicians diabolical enough to carry out such changes?
Globalisation means it may not matter what our own government or police force think.
We’ve seen the attempted privatisation of the water supply, which will probably be sold off in the not so distant future to a multi-national. Water is too important to be outsourced, let alone privatised. But, you know, money n’ shit.
We all witnessed the ridiculous investments in the property bubble, resulting in the bailout (just who did we bailout again?) – whereby foreign investors were protected, Irish people suffered, and now those same investors can pop back into the country and buy us out with the very same money we paid back to them. The same thing happened in Asia in 1997 – funded and led by the friendly folk in the IMF(ECB), major banks and lending institutes (and the EXACT same thing has now happened in Ukraine).
What happens if we join the EU Army? What restrictions will that place on our own police force here on our island who, by and large, have no desire for baton charges or homeless-man murdering? (ShellToSea may disagree – and with good reason)
Will further integration into the EU mean our police wear those horrible black fetish storm-trooper outfits and carry rubber bullets, sticks and tear gas to disperse protests?
I honestly fear for the future the more I think about where we’re headed. It seems the internet-age has not gone how the ruling elite expected it to, and now the horse has bolted, the only way to cling to authority is the direct route – censorship, intimidation, restrictions, law and policing.
The idea that the World Wide Web can create a new era of self-regulating societies, with governments to facilitate instead of dictate, is long gone.
I emailed the following to the Commissioner for Data Protection a few months ago as my worries increased with each new revelation about NSA/GCHQ – and particularly Ireland’s potential tacit involvement in the global breach of privacy and human rights.
submarine cables; http://www.submarinecablemap.com/
Eventually, a response arrived, explaining that the issue had been referred to the Department of Justice. Fine, I thought – I was only asking if there were issues already raised or a process of investigation underway, considering Google and Facebook, among others, have large HQs in Dublin.
If I worked in Data Protection, I’d certainly be interested in the issue and would be happy to point any queries to TransparencyIreland or similar.
Four days later, I checked my LinkedIn (the only place you’ll find me), and;
There could be a million reasons for a member of Garda Security and Investigations checking my LinkedIn profile (really?), but four days after my email was forwarded to the Department of Justice? Hmmmmm……my tin foil hat flickered nervously, and I peeked out between the blinds – no blacked-out satellite-adorned vans in sight, which was a relief.
Predictably, there’s been no reply on the issue. If they can’t remember to log out of their own LinkedIn profiles before snooping around, maybe email is beyond them too. A little light e-digging later, I discovered that Ireland was gleefully added to the “Five Eyes” network – joining the Echelon program with, I’d imagine, the eager eyes of a child on Christmas morning. “Sure isn’t this fantastic altogether, lads”, I’m sure they said at the time.
Published in The Phoenix in May 2000, “Paddys Join Global Spy Network” sums it up. Shame on me for not realising at the time, but, you know….14 years ago, I was too busy playing Pro Evo, avoiding homework and “getting to know myself”.
Once again, I digress. STOP DIGRESSING!
Hopefully, the ruling elite will all die of old age before the subsequent generations have lost, or have stolen from them, their youthful exuberance and lust for life and knowledge.
Hopefully, the police force in Ireland will uphold their collective conscience and resist the slip into for-hire corporate security that we’ve seen across the globe.
There has to be some form of catharsis, whether on a global or individual level.
Future generations will mourn our inaction, and if that doesn’t make you worry – future generations include your children.