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The Rise of the Police State and the Absence of Mass Opposition
#1
The Rise of the Police State and the Absence of Mass Opposition


by James Petras and Robin Eastman Abaya


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[TD="colspan: 2, align: left"]Introduction
One of the most significant political developments in recent US history has been the virtually unchallenged rise of the police state. Despite the vast expansion of the police powers of the Executive Branch of government, the extraordinary growth of an entire panoply of repressive agencies, with hundreds of thousands of personnel, and enormous public and secret budgets and the vast scope of police state surveillance, including the acknowledged monitoring of over 40 million US citizens and residents, no mass pro-democracy movement has emerged to confront the powers and prerogatives or even protest the investigations of the police state.
In the early fifties, when the McCarthyite purges were accompanied by restrictions on free speech, compulsory loyalty oaths and congressional witch hunt' investigations of public officials, cultural figures , intellectuals, academics and trade unionists, such police state measures provoked widespread public debate and protests and even institutional resistance. By the end of the 1950's mass demonstrations were held at the sites of the public hearings of the House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC) in San Francisco (1960) and elsewhere and major civil rights movements arose to challenge the racially segregated South, the compliant Federal government and the terrorist racist death squads of the Ku Klux Klan (KKK). The Free Speech Movement in Berkeley (1964) ignited nationwide mass demonstrations against the authoritarian-style university governance.
The police state incubated during the first years of the Cold War was challenged by mass movements pledged to retain or regain democratic freedoms and civil rights.
Key to understanding the rise of mass movements for democratic freedoms was their fusion with broader social and cultural movements: democratic freedoms were linked to the struggle for racial equality; free speech was necessary in order to organize a mass movement against the imperial US Indo-Chinese wars and widespread racial segregation; the shutting down of Congressional witch hunts' and purges opened up the cultural sphere to new and critical voices and revitalized the trade unions and professional associations. All were seen as critical to protecting hard-won workers' rights and social advances.
In the face of mass opposition, many of the overt police state tactics of the 1950's went underground' and were replaced by covert operations; selective state violence against individuals replaced mass purges. The popular pro-democracy movements strengthened civil society and public hearings exposed and weakened the police state apparatus, but it did not go away. However, from the early 1980's to the present, especially over the past 20 years, the police state has expanded dramatically, penetrating all aspects of civil society while arousing no sustained or even sporadic mass opposition.
The question is why has the police state grown and even exceeded the boundaries of previous periods of repression and yet not provoked any sustained mass opposition? This is in contrast to the broad-based pro-democracy movements of the mid to late 20th century. That a massive and growing police state apparatus exists is beyond doubt: one simply has to look up the published records of personnel (both public agents and private contractors), the huge budgets and scores of agencies involved in internal spying on tens of millions of American citizens and residents. The scope and depth of arbitrary police state measures taken include arbitrary detention and interrogations, entrapment and the blacklisting of hundreds of thousands of US citizens. Presidential fiats have established the framework for the assassination of US citizens and residents, military tribunals, detention camps and the seizure of private property.
Yet as these gross violations of the constitutional order have taken place and as each police state agency has further eroded our democratic freedoms, there have been no massive "anti-Homeland Security" movements, no campus Free Speech movements'. There are only the isolated and courageous voices of specialized civil liberties' and constitutional freedoms activists and organizations, which speak out and raise legal challenges to the abuse, but have virtually no mass base and no objective coverage in the mass media.
To address this issue of mass inactivity before the rise of the police state, we will approach the topic from two angles.
We will describe how the organizers and operatives have structured the police state and how that has neutralized mass responses.
We will then discuss the meaning' of non-activity, setting out several hypotheses about the underlying motives and behavior of the passive mass' of citizens.
The Concentric Circles of the Police State
While the potential reach of the police state agencies covers the entire US population, in fact, it operates on the basis of concentric circles'. The police state is perceived and experienced by the US population according to the degree of their involvement in critical opposition to state policies. While the police state theoretically affects everyone', in practice it operates through a series of concentric circles. The inner core', of approximately several million citizens, is the sector of the population experiencing the brunt of the police state persecution. They include the most critical, active citizens, especially those identified by the police state as sharing religious and ethnic identities with declared foreign enemies, critics or alleged terrorists'. These include immigrants and citizens of Arab, Persian, Pakistani, Afghan and Somali descent, as well as American converts to Islam.
Ethnic and religious "profiling" is rife in all transport centers (airports, bus and train stations and on the highways). Mosques, Islamic charities and foundations are under constant surveillance and subject to raids, entrapment, arrests, and even Israeli-style targeted' assassinations.
The second core group, targeted by the police state, includes African Americans, Hispanics and immigration rights activists (numbering in the millions). They are subject to massive arbitrary sweeps, round-ups and unlimited detention without trial as well as mass indiscriminate deportations.
After the core groups' is the inner circle' which includes millions of US citizens and residents, who have written or spoken critically of US and Israeli policy in the Middle East, expressed solidarity with the suffering of the Palestinian people, opposed US invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan or have visited countries or regions opposed to US empire building (Venezuela, Iran, South Lebanon, Syria, the West Bank and Gaza, etc.). Hundreds of thousands of these citizens have their telephone, e-mail and internet communications under surveillance; they have been targeted in airports, denied passports, subject to visits' and to covert and overt blacklisting at their schools and workplaces.
Activists engaged in civil liberties groups, lawyers, and professionals, leftists engaged in anti-Imperialist, pro-democracy and anti-police state activities and their publications are on file' in the massive police state labyrinth of data collecting on political terrorists'. Environmental movements and their activists have been treated as potential terrorists with their own family members subjected to police harassment and ominous visits'.
The outer circle' includes, community, civic, religious and trade union leaders and activists who, in the course of their activity interact with or even express support for core and inner circle critics and victims of police state violations of due process . The outer circle' numbering a few million citizens are on file' as persons of interest', which may involve monitoring their e-mail and periodic checks' on their petition signing and defense appeals.
These three circles' are the central targets of the police state, numbering upward of 40 million US citizens and immigrants - who have not committed any crime. For having exercised their constitutional rights, they have been subjected to various degrees of police state repression and harassment.

The police state, however, has fluid boundaries' about whom to spy on, whom to arrest and when - depending on whatever arouses the apparatchiks suspicion' or desire to exercise power or please their superiors at any given moment.

The key to the police state operations of the US in the 21st century is to repress pro-democracy citizens and pre-empt any mass movement without undermining the electoral system, which provides political theater and legitimacy. A police state boundary' is constructed to ensure that citizens will have little option but to vote for the two pro-police state parties, legislatures and executives without reference to the conduct, conditions and demands of the core, inner and outer circle of victims, critics and activists. Frequent raids, harsh public exemplary' punishment and mass media stigmatization transmit a message to the passive mass of voters and non-voters that the victims of repression must have been doing something wrong' or else they would not be under police state repression.

The key to the police state strategy is to not allow its critics to gain a mass base, popular legitimacy or public acceptance. The state and the media constantly drum the message that the activists' causes' are not our (American, patriotic) causes'; that their' pro-democracy activities impede our' electoral activities; their lives, wisdom and experiences do not touch our workplaces, neighborhoods, sports, religious and civic associations. To the degree that the police-state has fenced in' the inner circles of the pro-democracy activists, they have attained a free hand and uncontested reach in deepening and extending the boundaries of the authoritarian state. To the degree that the police state rationale or presence has penetrated the consciousness of the mass of the US population, it has created a mighty barrier to the linking of private discontent with public action.
Hypothesis on Mass Complicity and Acquiescence with the Police State
If the police-state is now the dominant reality of US political life, why isn't it at the center of citizen concern? Why are there no pro-democracy popular movements? How has the police state been so successful in fencing off' the activists from the vast majority of US citizens? After all, other countries at other times have faced even more repressive regimes and yet the citizens rebelled. In the past, despite the so-called Soviet threat', pro-democracy movements emerged in the US and even rolled back a burgeoning police state. Why does the evocation of an outside Islamic terrorist threat' seem to incapacitate our citizens today? Or does it?
There is no simple, single explanation for the passivity of the US citizens faced with a rising omnipotent police state. Their motives are complex and changing and it is best to examine them in some detail.
One explanation for passivity is that precisely the power and pervasiveness of the police state has created deep fear, especially among people with family obligations, vulnerable employment and with moderate commitments to democratic freedoms. This group of citizens is aware of cases where police powers have affected other citizens who were involved in critical activities, causing job loss and broad suffering and are not willing to sacrifice their security and the welfare of their families for what they believe is a losing cause' a movement lacking a strong popular base and with little institutional support. Only when the protest against the Wall Street bailout and the Occupy Wall Street ' movements against the 1%' gained momentum, did this sector express transitory support. But as the Office of the President consummated the bailout and the police-state crushed the Occupy' encampments, fear and caution led many sympathizers to withdraw timidly back into passivity.
The second motive for acquiescence' among a substantial public is because they tend to support the police state, based on their acceptance of the anti-terror ideology and its virulent anti-Muslim-anti-Arab racism, driven in large part by influential sectors of pro-Israel opinion makers. The fear and loathing of Muslims, cultivated by the police state and mass media, was central to the post-9/11 build-up of Homeland Security and the serial wars against Israel 's adversaries, including Iraq , Lebanon , Libya and now Syria with plans for Iran . Active support for the police state peaked during the first 5 years post- 9/11 and subsequently ebbed as the Wall Street-induced economic crisis, loss of employment and the failures of government policy propelled concerns about the economy far ahead of support for the police state. Nevertheless, at least one-third of the electorate still supports the police state, right or wrong'. They firmly believe that the police state protects their security'; that suspects, arrestees, and others under watch must have been doing something illegal'. The most ardent backers of the police state are found among the rabid anti-immigrant groups who support arbitrary round-ups, mass deportations and the expansion of police powers at the expense of constitutional guarantees.
The third possible motive for acquiescence in the police state is ignorance: those millions of US citizens who are not aware of the size, scope and activities of the police state. Their practical behavior speaks to the notion that since I am not directly affected it must not exist'. Embedded in everyday life, making a living, enjoying leisure time, entertainment, sports, family, neighborhoods and concerned only about household budgets … This mass is so embedded in their personal micro-world' that it considers the macro-economic and political issues raised by the police state as distant', outside of their experience or interest: I don't have time', I don't know enough', It's all politics' … The widespread apoliticism of the US public plays into its ignoring the monster that has grown in its midst.
Paradoxically as some peoples' concerns and passive discontent over the economy has grown, it has lessened support for the police state as well as having lessened opposition to it. In other words the police state flourishes while public discontent is focused more on the economic institutions of the state and society. Few, if any, contemporary political leaders educate their constituency by connecting the rise of the police state, imperial wars and Wall Street to the everyday economic issues concerning most US citizens. The fragmentation of issues, the separation of the economic from the political and the divorce of political concerns from individual ones, allow the police state to stand above and outside' of the popular consciousness , concerns and activities.
State-sponsored fear mongering on behalf of the police state is amplified and popularized by the mass media on a daily basis via propagandistic-news', anti-terrorist' detective programs, Hollywood's decades of crass anti-Arab, Islamophobic films. The mass media portrayal of the police state's naked violations of democratic rights as normal and necessary in a milieu infiltrated by Muslim terrorists', where feckless liberals'(defenders of due process and the Bill of Rights) threaten national security, has been effective.
Ideologically, the police state depends on identifying the expansion of police powers with national security' of the passive silent' majority, even as it creates profound insecurity for an active, critical minority. The self-serving identification of the nation' and the flag' with the police state apparatus is especially prominent during mass spectacles' where rock', schlock and sports' infuse mass entertainment with solemn Pledges of Allegiance to uphold and respect the police state and busty be-wigged young women wail nasally versions of the national anthem to thunderous applause. Wounded warriors' are trotted out and soldiers rigid in their dress uniforms salute enormous flags, while the message transmitted is that police state at home works hand in hand with our men and women in uniform' abroad. The police state is presented as a patriotic extension of the wars abroad and as such both impose necessary' constraints on citizen opposition, public criticism and any real forthright defense of freedom.

Conclusion: What is to be done?
The ascendancy of the police state has benefited enormously from the phony bi-partisan de-politicization of repressive legislation, and the fragmentation of socio-economic struggles from democratic dissent. The mass anti-war movements of the early 1990's and 2001-2003 were undermined (sold-out) by the defection of its leaders to the Democratic Party machine and its electoral agenda. The massive popular immigration movement was taken over by Mexican-American political opportunists from the Democratic Party and decimated while the same Democratic Party, under President Barack Obama, has escalated police state repression against immigrants, expelling millions of Latino immigrant workers and their families.
Historical experience teaches us that a successful struggle against an emerging police state depends on the linking of the socio-economic struggles that engage the attention of the masses of citizens with the pro-democracy, pro-civil liberty, free speech' movements of the middle classes. The deepening economic crisis, the savage cuts in living standards and working conditions and the fight to save sacred' social programs (like Social Security and Medicare) have to be tied in with the expansion of the police state. A mass social justice movement, which brings together thousands of anti-Wall Streeters, millions of pro-Medicare, Social Security and Medicaid recipients with hundreds of thousands of immigrant workers will inevitably clash with the bloated police-state apparatus. Freedom is essential to the struggle for social justice and the mass struggle for social justice is the only basis for rolling back the police state. The hope is that mass economic pain will ignite mass activity, which, in turn, will make people aware of the dangerous growth of the police state. A mass understanding of this link will be essential to any advance in the movement for democracy and people's welfare at home and peace abroad.

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Global Research Articles by James Petras[/TD]
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Global Research Articles by Robin Eastman Abaya[/TD]
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http://www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?c...&aid=32063 [/TD]
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"Where is the intersection between the world's deep hunger and your deep gladness?"
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#2

Accusations of Police Misconduct Documented in Lawyers' Report on Occupy Protests

By COLIN MOYNIHAN
[Image: 25-cityroom-ows-blog480.jpg]
Robert Stolarik for The New York Times
Police officers made arrests on Liberty Street near Zuccotti Park in Lower Manhattan in March during an Occupy Wall Street protest.

During Occupy Wall Street protests New York police officers obstructed news reporters and legal observers, conducted frequent surveillance, wrongly limited public gatherings and enforced arbitrary rules, a group of lawyers said in a lengthy report issued on Wednesday.The group, called the Protest and Assembly Rights Project, which included people involved with the law clinics at New York University School of Law and Fordham Law School, said that they had cataloged hundreds of instances of what they described as excessive force and other forms of police misconduct said to have taken place since September, when the Occupy Wall Street movement began.Although the report referred to some well-known events, including Deputy Inspector Anthony Bologna's use of pepper spray, it also detailed specific instances of alleged misconduct that had not appeared in news reports.For instance, the report described a cafe employee stepping out of his workplace on Sept. 24 and using a camera to document arrests near Union Square before being confronted by a senior officer. The report went on to state: "Video then shows the officer grabbing the employee by the wrist, and flipping him hard to the ground face-first, in what was described as a judo-flip.' The employee stated that he was subsequently charged with blocking traffic' and obstructing justice'."In a more recent episode, Sarah Knuckey, a law professor and one of the report's authors, said she witnessed a police commander grab a man who was complaining of an injured shoulder while being arrested during a student march on May 30. Ms. Knuckey said that the commander repeatedly shoved the man's shoulder while handcuffing him, then cursed and accused him of lying, when he shouted in pain. Shortly afterward, Ms. Knuckey said, emergency medical technicians determined that the man had a broken clavicle.The report complained that there had been "near-complete impunity for alleged abuses" and said that the conduct amounted to a "a complex mapping of protest suppression."There have been hundreds of gatherings and marches and more than 2,000 arrests in New York City since the Occupy protests began last fall. During that time, Ms. Knuckey said, many police officers had acted in an exemplary fashion. But, she added, multiple episodes of intimidation had created a pattern of disturbing and unlawful behavior.A police department spokesman did not immediately respond to a request for comment. The report's authors said that senior members of the police department cited continuing litigation in declining to talk with them.In May, an assistant deputy commissioner in the police department's legal bureau wrote to the authors, saying that the Police Department considered its actions lawful and added that the police "had accommodated on an almost daily basis since last fall numerous large groups of demonstrators and marchers, all with virtually no cooperation, notice or advance planning from Occupy Wall Street representatives."In addition to detailing 130 instances of what was described as excessive or unnecessary force, the report said that officers often stopped news reporters or legal monitors from witnessing such events.The report also describes instances in which the authors say officers have chilled First Amendment expression through near constant surveillance with video cameras and by sometimes questioning protesters about political activities. The report also described a common practice of preventing protesters from gathering in areas that are open to the public, like parks, plazas and sidewalks."Attempts by protesters to understand the basis for the closure, or obtain clear directions from the police are most often ignored or answered perfunctorily," the report stated. "Sometimes queries are answered with an arrest threat or an arrest."The authors called for the city to establish an inspector general to oversee the police department, a review of the city's response to the protests, the prosecution of officers found to have broken laws and the creation of new guidelines for policing protests. If the city did not respond, the authors said, they would ask the United States Department of Justice to investigate their complaints.



http://cityroom.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/0...-protests/DOCUMENT

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"The philosophers have only interpreted the world, in various ways. The point, however, is to change it." Karl Marx

"He would, wouldn't he?" Mandy Rice-Davies. When asked in court whether she knew that Lord Astor had denied having sex with her.

“I think it would be a good idea” Ghandi, when asked about Western Civilisation.
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#3
WOW! Downloaded it and started to read....great history of the Occupy Movement and what happened to them along the way....and a very sad read on the state of lawlessness on the part of the Police and Authorities in USA today! Hitler Documents all kinds of Police abuse and law breaking....but don't expect anything to come of it - such as hearings or police firings. NB - this is just on NYC [at 195 pages]. Future publications will cover Oakland, SF, Boston and other locations!

What a complete condemnation of the Mayor, City Courts and Prosecutor - and mostly the Police! Well documented! Do read this ONE! Really shows the depth of the current Police State America!
"Let me issue and control a nation's money and I care not who writes the laws. - Mayer Rothschild
"Civil disobedience is not our problem. Our problem is civil obedience! People are obedient in the face of poverty, starvation, stupidity, war, and cruelty. Our problem is that grand thieves are running the country. That's our problem!" - Howard Zinn
"If there is no struggle there is no progress. Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and never will" - Frederick Douglass
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#4
I read through the entire report. It is great...but I noted a few mistakes [all omissions they didn't catch the full illegal or brutal behaviors of the Police on. In one report in Zucatti where they report Police beat a man until his 'lips or cheek' was bleeding - in fact they had knocked out all of his front teeth!....but they were only so many researchers and had only so much time. I'm sure now with this out, many will send in addendum and corrections/additions. It is a MOST condemning report on the Police in NYC! Brutal and not following the law or their own rules much of the time. It was a clear attempt to stop Occupy at any cost - in any way possible. The Beast is loose in America and nothing is being done about it....what little is being attempted is being met with brutal repression.
"Let me issue and control a nation's money and I care not who writes the laws. - Mayer Rothschild
"Civil disobedience is not our problem. Our problem is civil obedience! People are obedient in the face of poverty, starvation, stupidity, war, and cruelty. Our problem is that grand thieves are running the country. That's our problem!" - Howard Zinn
"If there is no struggle there is no progress. Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and never will" - Frederick Douglass
Reply
#5
Quote:US federal police now using secret warrants and joint task force commandos to deliver subpoenas.
"FBI agents and local police who are part of the Joint Terrorism Task Force raided multiple houses in Portland, Olympia, and Seattle this morning but it's still unclear what the authorities were looking for, exactly.
No arrests were made in the raids and the warrants for the searches are sealed, which means they're not public record."
FBI Raids Homes Across NorthwestLooks Like They Might Be Targeting Anarchists

POSTED BY SARAH MIRK ON WED, JUL 25, 2012 AT 3:55 PM

FBI agents and local police who are part of the Joint Terrorism Task Force raided multiple houses in Portland, Olympia, and Seattle this morningbut it's still unclear what the authorities were looking for, exactly.
No arrests were made in the raids and the warrants for the searches are sealed, which means they're not public record. The most the FBI will say is the raids are part of an "ongoing violent crime investigation." They issued grand jury subpoenas to individuals in all three cities.
However, the Oregonian talked with the owner of one of the three homes in NE Portland who said the FBI may have been seeking a group of "anarchists" who lived there a year ago and ran an info booth at Last Thursday. In Portland, the three houses raided were 4820 NE 31st Ave, 7129 NE 8th Ave, and 6846 N. Greenwich. It's not clear whether this is related, but earlier this month, police raided the home of Occupy Mayday protesters in Seattle.
KGW has some shots of the agents in the raid. It's a pretty heavy duty squad:
[Image: 1343256645-neighbors-report-fbi-raid-in-...91976.jpeg] This is a clear example of one of the controversial issues about Portland being a part of JTTF. The FBI can work with police to raid Portlanders' houses, but then not make public any information about it... except maybe include some details in a bare-bones report about their involvement down the line. Until then, we're in the dark.
http://www.portlandmercury.com/BlogtownP...anarchists
"The philosophers have only interpreted the world, in various ways. The point, however, is to change it." Karl Marx

"He would, wouldn't he?" Mandy Rice-Davies. When asked in court whether she knew that Lord Astor had denied having sex with her.

“I think it would be a good idea” Ghandi, when asked about Western Civilisation.
Reply
#6
Most FBI wear a suit and carry, at times, a concealed gun. These guys are indistinguishable from a tactical squad for riots etc. Things are really getting ridiculous in the Heimat! All Heil to the Allpowerful, Allknowing STATE! Obey or perish!Confusedhock:
"Let me issue and control a nation's money and I care not who writes the laws. - Mayer Rothschild
"Civil disobedience is not our problem. Our problem is civil obedience! People are obedient in the face of poverty, starvation, stupidity, war, and cruelty. Our problem is that grand thieves are running the country. That's our problem!" - Howard Zinn
"If there is no struggle there is no progress. Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and never will" - Frederick Douglass
Reply
#7
[ATTACH=CONFIG]3905[/ATTACH]
Look at the cute little APC they got all ready for the RNC in Tampa. It says "Rescue" on it.


Attached Files
.jpg   564518_403891309659063_691440811_n.jpg (Size: 63.01 KB / Downloads: 5)
"The philosophers have only interpreted the world, in various ways. The point, however, is to change it." Karl Marx

"He would, wouldn't he?" Mandy Rice-Davies. When asked in court whether she knew that Lord Astor had denied having sex with her.

“I think it would be a good idea” Ghandi, when asked about Western Civilisation.
Reply
#8
Magda Hassan Wrote:[ATTACH=CONFIG]3905[/ATTACH]
Look at the cute little APC they got all ready for the RNC in Tampa. It says "Rescue" on it.

That's short for 'Rescue the Elites'.
"Let me issue and control a nation's money and I care not who writes the laws. - Mayer Rothschild
"Civil disobedience is not our problem. Our problem is civil obedience! People are obedient in the face of poverty, starvation, stupidity, war, and cruelty. Our problem is that grand thieves are running the country. That's our problem!" - Howard Zinn
"If there is no struggle there is no progress. Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and never will" - Frederick Douglass
Reply
#9
Peter Lemkin Wrote:
Magda Hassan Wrote:[ATTACH=CONFIG]3905[/ATTACH]
Look at the cute little APC they got all ready for the RNC in Tampa. It says "Rescue" on it.

That's short for 'Rescue the Elites'.
Of course! It is always the small print that trips you up. Confusedmallprint:
"The philosophers have only interpreted the world, in various ways. The point, however, is to change it." Karl Marx

"He would, wouldn't he?" Mandy Rice-Davies. When asked in court whether she knew that Lord Astor had denied having sex with her.

“I think it would be a good idea” Ghandi, when asked about Western Civilisation.
Reply
#10
Guns and Butter "The Coup of 2012" with Frank Morales. The 2012 National Defense Authorization Act; the 1878 Posse Comitatus Act; the 1971 Non-Detention Act; the Crisis of Democracy Report issued by the Trilateral Commission; US Army Field Manual 19-15 Civil Disturbance Operations; the 1992 Weapons Transfer Agreements.

http://www.kpfa.org/archive/id/82304
"You never change things by fighting the existing reality. To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete.”
Buckminster Fuller
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