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WE CAN NO LONGER PROTEST, AND OUR VOTING SYSTEMS ARE UNAUDITABLE:
Minnesota Monster Mash: Police-State Zombies in a Dead RepublicSunday, 31 August 2008
I know the police cause you trouble;
The Republic you wanted – and at one time might have had the power to take back – is finished. You no longer have the power to keep it; it's not there. It was kidnapped in December 2000, raped by the primed and ready exploiters of 9/11.
Glenn Greenwald tells a harrowing tale of police-state tactics in Minneapolis, with armed security forces conducting Baghdad-like raids on the houses of activists, terrorizing many and arresting some for thought crimes -- such as "planning to cause a riot" -- and other bogus charges. The sweeps -- guided and aided by the federal government -- are designed to "ensure domestic tranquility" during the imminent Republican convention in the city. As Greenwald points out, not one of those who were shackled, arrested and hauled out at gunpoint had committed any crime whatsoever.
Heinous indeed, and entirely worthy of the anger that Greenwald marshals in his reports from the scene. But we must disagree with him on one crucial point: his repeated declaration that these incidents are "extraordinary." On the contrary, there is nothing at all remarkable about them. They are all of a piece with the similar tactics employed to cleanse the city of Denver of any unseemly expressions of old-fashioned, long-gone American liberties during the Democratic convention, where any protests that escaped the grotesque official "cage" set aside for them were strangled by militarized police and mass arrests.
Such tactics are not confined to major political events with "national security" implications -- i.e., the presence of afflatus-bloated muckity-mucks who must be spared the slightest confrontation with their crimes and complicities. They are now simply part and parcel of modern American society. Greenwald might be mistaken in regarding the Minnesota Monster Mash as "extraordinary," but he is certainly correct when he notes its deeper implications:
True enough. But Arthur Silber, among a few others, was there long ago, in numerous essays over the past few years. Of special note in this regard is a remarkable series sparked by the tasering of Andrew Meyer in 2007 -- a damning and revealing incident that quickly became a national joke ("Don't tase me, bro!") and, for the "left," a national embarrassment to be flushed away as soon as possible. But from this incident -- and the reactions to it -- Silber opened a seam of insights into a thoroughly corroded national consciousness. He also provides copious factual detail on the growing use of tasers as a means of social control (and official murder) by state authority -- a cancerous repression that has only spread and worsened in the ensuing months. From Silber (see original for links):
We all know that if, say, Vladimir Putin or Hugo Chavez had put on the kind of display we've seen in Minneapolis and Denver, the entire American media-political establishment would be in full condemnatory cry about such "anti-democratic repression." But of course, there is nothing extraordinary about this blatant and brutal hypocrisy, either; Americans have long exempted themselves from the legal and moral standards they apply to others. (Others who fail to kowtow properly to the Washington line, that is; those who play ball with the Beltway barons -- such as Egypt, Israel and Saudi Arabia, to name a few -- are allowed to get away with murder. Literally.)
What happened in Minneapolis is neither extraordinary nor surprising. It is simply what happens in a police state, one in which the Leader claims the power to ignore every law, to order torture, murder and wars of aggression as he sees fit, to declare anyone on earth an "enemy combatant" (on criteria that he alone decides) and detain them, without charges, for as long as he wants -- and is never resisted in any of these egregious acts of tyranny by the political "opposition." Instead his crimes and authoritarian encroachments are continually excused, countenanced, justified, immunized, ignored or fully supported by the "opposition," whose leaders refuse to take any legal action against the multitude of state crimes, but instead say openly that their main goal is simply to seize power for their own co-opted and corrupted elite faction.
There are probably any number of names one could call such a system -- but a constitutional Republic is not one of them. Or as I put it last year:
Chris Floyd has been a writer and editor for more than 25 years, working in the United States, Great Britain and Russia for various newspapers, magazines, the U.S. government and Oxford University. Floyd co-founded the blog Empire Burlesque, and is also chief editor of Atlantic Free Press. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
This column is republished here with the permission of the author.
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This story was published on September 1, 2008.
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