[Author]FROM THE EDITOR:
The following article, written by William N. Grigg, with Pro Liberate, is about what is the police and how and when it was created. A so important organization in our daily lives I find the police military force so intriguing, of why they can have so much power and kill us when ‘in their line of duty,’ they do, and why most of the time they get away with it.
I found the following article online, and after I finished reading it, I thought that I should share it with my readers. El Reportero is known for publishing controversial articles, and that is because I believe, as alternative and independent media, that we should bring to you what the mainstream media fails to cover or mention. SECOND PART OF A SERIES OF 3.
“Operational Security” rather than Accountability
[Author]by William N. Grigg
One fact not adequately understood by the public is that even geographically local police departments are not locally accountable. Police chiefs are not elected officials; they are appointed by the municipal corporation that employs them. Police departments describe themselves as public agencies for the purpose of “qualified immunity.” However, as the recent ACLU report on police militarization revealed, an increasing number of police agencies are claiming to be “private corporations” exempt from open records laws.
This isn’t the only tactic employed by police agencies to impede transparency and accountability to the public supposedly “served” by them.
I recently filed a public records request with the Malheur County Sheriff’s Office regarding the disposal of a huge quantity of marijuana that had been seized by a nearby multi-jurisdictional narcotics task force. Undersheriff Travis Johnson informed me that he could provide “photo documentation” of the marijuana being buried at a local landfill. “The cost to produce those records will be one hour of labor at $48.11 and one CD at $10 for a total of $58.11,” according to Johnson.
Both the “labor” and materials involved in fulfilling that records request have already been paid for. The information — which, interestingly, was not provided to the defense as discovery during a recently-concluded trial — should be easy to find. All that is necessary would be for a MCSO functionary to insert a CD into a computer and click a mouse. A single CD — assuming that Malheur County buys them in bulk – would cost less than twenty cents. The market rate for an hour of labor by a “copy specialist” is less than nine dollars. The amount cited to me by Undersheriff Johnson reflects the price structure of a monopoly, which in this case is trying to impede public scrutiny of its actions by making it cost-prohibitive to pursue public records requests.
Opacity of this kind is hardly compatible with a “public service” agency. It is entirely appropriate, however, for an entity that sees the public as hostile and thus makes “operational security” a priority.
Even before “local” police agencies were effectively satellitized by the federal government they were paramilitary bodies designed to operate as occupation forces, rather than as a protective service. In creating his London Metropolitan Police, Robert Peel adapted the model he had employed in creating the “Peace Preservation Force,” a specialized unit within the 20,000-man military contingent Peel had commanded as military governor of occupied Ireland.
Peel’s Militaristic Model
Writing in the December 1961 Journal of Modern History, Galen Broekker observed that when Peel was appointed governor in 1814, his objective in creating the Peace Preservation Force was “`pacifying’ a recalcitrant population.” For several years prior to Peel’s appointment, rural insurgents called “banditti” had been fighting among themselves and occasionally attacking British outposts. Of much greater concern to occupation authorities, however, was evidence of involvement by “respectable people” in “insurrectionary activity of a political nature.”
At the time of Peel’s arrival, the crime rate in Ireland wasn’t particularly high, so he took advantage of a “lull” to “muster the forces of authority in anticipation of the inevitable trouble to come” as English authorities took aggressive action to stamp out separatism. The “Peace Preservation Force” — which was the prototype for every modern police agency — wasn’t designed to protect person and property from criminal aggression, but rather to protect a political elite. This is why Peel’s London Metropolitan Police Force was initially greeted with hostility by conservatives in the British Parliament and the public at large, who often referred to officers as “Blue Locusts.” Within a decade, however, Peel’s model was firmly entrenched in London, and migrated across the Atlantic to New York City.
As evangelists of “Manifest Destiny” carved their bloody path to the Pacific, an Americanized version of Peel’s police concept was among the chief tenets of their gospel of government-imposed “civilization.” It wasn’t until the early 1970s, however, that the latent militarism of the police was given expression when the Nixon administration declared “war” on drugs. This led to the proliferation of SWAT teams, which were modelled after counter-insurgency units organized by the CIA as part of its Phoenix Program in Vietnam.
Declining Crime, Escalating Police Militarism
Beginning in the 1970s, the official rhetoric of law enforcement became overtly martial, a tendency that has grown in crescendo. However, by most measures, violent crime has been in decline for five decades. A similar trend is visible regarding on-the-jo b police fatalities. Joseph McNamara, former NYPD Deputy Inspector, points out that police “work” is actually much safer today than it has been in a half-century or more. Law enforcement is not found in the top ten “most dangerous occupations” in the annual list compiled by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Yet police insist that the United States “has become a war zone,” in the words of Sheriff Michael Gayer of Indiana’s Pulaski County. This is entirely true — but only in the sense that the police consider themselves at war with the public, and have fully embraced a mindset compatible with their role as an occupying army.
As was the case when Peel created his “Peace Preservation Force” in Ireland two centuries ago, the Power Elite has been relentlessly expanding its domestic army of occupation and indoctrinating those enlisted therein to see the public as its enemy — ” in anticipation of the inevitable trouble to come.”
Just a few weeks ago, the House of Representatives recently rejected, by a dramatic margin, an amendment to a military spending bill proposed by Florida Democratic Representative Alan Grayson that would have placed theoretical limits on the transfer of war-fighting assets to local police departments. Mind you, that measure would not have shut down the Pentagon’s pipeline to the police; it would have forbidden future transfers of high-capacity weaponry, including armed drones, armored vehicles, grenade launchers, “toxicological agents,… guided missiles, ballistic missiles, rockets, torpedoes, bombs, mines, or nuclear weapons.”
The amendment was rejected by a vote of 355 to 62 — which means that 355 members of the House of Representatives, the branch of the federal legislature supposedly most accountable to the people, are on record refusing to rule out the transfer of nuclear weapons to your “local” police agency. Some of the most outspoken critics of Grayson’s amendment waxed indignant in condemning critics of the ongoing militarization of the police.
“This is absolutely ludicrous to think that the equipment that is utilized by law enforcement is utilized for any reason except for public safety interests, and it happens across this nation every day in a responsible way,” harrumphed Florida Republican Representative Rich Nugent, a former sheriff. Nugent is correct about one thing: Military-grade hardware and war-fighting tactics are used by police “every day”: On average, there are 124 SWAT deployments every day, nearly all of them carried out as drug enforcement raids or to enforce routine search warrants. Many, if not most, of those raids are carried out after sunset or before the dawn.
There is no country on earth where citizens are more likely to experience the “midnight knock” than the United States of America. That fact surely reflects the interests of those who want to monopolize power, rather than a market demand for “security.”