This post by Andrea Dantzer was originally published at TheStateWeekly.com. I think the article speaks for itself. -Kate
These days, it doesn’t seem to take too long to find yet another example of the rising police state in America. However, that assertion is often met with resistance and the claims that calling the US a police state is just fear-mongering, and after all, we are still the freest nation in the world. But, are we? Is calling the United States a police state just anti-government rhetoric used to incite fear against the government or are there legitimate signs and warning signs that the police state is here and only going to get worse?
So, that there is no confusion in looking at the signs and so that everyone is on the same page, here are some definitions that will shed light on the way in which the police state is defined.
The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines a police state as one in which a political unit characterized by repressive governmental control of political, economic, and social life usually by an arbitrary exercise of power by police and especially secret police in place of regular operation of administrative and judicial organs of the government according to publicly known legal procedures.
Arbitrary: 1: depending on choice or discretion; specifically : determinable by decision of a judge or tribunal rather than defined by statute. 2 a: (1) : arising from unrestrained exercise of the will, caprice, or personal preference : given to expressing opinions that arise thus (2) : selected at random or as a typical example b : based on random or convenient selection or choice rather than on reason or nature.
From Wikipedia: The term police state describes a state in which the government exercises rigid and repressive controls over the social, economic and political life of the population. A police state typically exhibits elements of totalitarianism and social control, and there is usually little or no distinction between the law and the exercise of political power by the executive.
Totalitarianism means: 1 a : of or relating to centralized control by an autocratic leader or hierarchy …
b : of or relating to a political regime based on subordination of the individual to the state and strict control of all aspects of the life ….
Often times, people think of a police state as one in which martial law as been declared, or that a 24-hour lockdown in place. Many others think of Nazi Germany when they hear the term, but think it can’t happen in a modern-day ‘democratic’ country (just for clarification, the Founding Fathers designed this country to be a Constitutional Republic, not a democracy). However, police states do not just happen overnight, a country does not go from being free, or relatively free, to a police state in a day. The noose just gets tighter and tighter slowly enough until one day, you run out of air and realize you are at the mercy of a totalitarian regime.
But, is that really happening in America? Here are just some, but certainly not all, of the many signs and warning signs that indicate we may be approaching full police statehood.
Sign: Whistleblowers are killed, jailed or have to seek asylum in non-extradition countries
Occurrences in the USA: Here are just six of the many whistleblowers that have been charged with violating the espionage act since Obama has taken office.
- Thomas Drake – Drake is a former senior executive of the National Security Agency (NSA), and was charged with violating the Espionage Act after going through the proper legal channels to disclose widespread domestic illegal surveillance, mismanagement of funds in the billions, gross waste of taxpayer money and massive corruption. Drake, at one point was facing up to 35 years in prison. The government ended up dropping all of the charges against Drake and in return for Drake’s agreement to plead guilty to a misdemeanor of misusing the agency’s computer system, agreed not to seek any jail time. Drake was sentenced to one year of probation and community service. The judge hearing the case called the actions of the government “unconscionable”.
- Stephen Jin-Woo Kim – In 2010, Kim was indicted on charges of making false statements and disclosing unauthorized information on matters of national defense. Kim is accused of violating the Espionage Act when he worked for the State Department as an adviser on nuclear proliferation and gave classified information about North Korea to Fox News reporter James Rosen. He has been indicted by a federal grand jury, but his case is still currently pending.
- James Hitselberger – Hitselberger, a Navy contract linguist, was charged under 18 USC 793(e) with unauthorized retention of national defense information while serving in Bahrain. If convicted, he faces up to 20 years in prison, and is currently in jail as his trial continues.
- Bradley Manning – Pfc Manning is a US soldier who was accused of leaking over 700,000 classified documents, battlefield videos, files and cables. Manning was found guilty of 20 criminal counts in July, and sentenced to 35 years in prison on August 21, 2013.
- Shami K. Leibowitz – Leibowitz is a former FBI employee who worked as a Hebrew translator and was charged with leaking approximately 200 pages of classified documents of transcribed conversations that the FBI had obtained through wiretaps of the Israeli embassy in Washington to blogger Richard Silverstein. Silverstein noted in an interview with the New York Times that Leibowitz released the information because “of concerns about Israel’s aggressive efforts to influence Congress and public opinion, and fears that Israel might strike nuclear facilities in Iran.” He was sentenced to twenty months in 2010.
- Edward Snowden – Snowden is a computer specialist who worked for the NSA and CIA; Snowden revealed several top secret government programs of the US and the UK, such as the NSA’s PRISM program to the press. Snowden has been charged with two counts of the Espinonage Act and theft of government property. Snowden fled first to Hong Kong and then went on to Russia where he received asylum for at least one year and was offered employment there as well. If found guilty, he faces up to 30 years in prison if the United States can get their hands on him long enough for a trial.
Sign: Increased Surveillance of Citizens…i.e…Big Brother is Watching You
Occurrences in the USA: While the fourth amendment of the Constitution states: The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized. – Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution , there are so many examples of the violation of this to name here, there are a few glaringly obvious ones that have to be called out.
- NSA Teams up with DEA to Prosecute Citizens – Reuters recently broke the story that the Drug Enforcement Administration is being hand-fed information obtained by the NSA and used in the arrest and prosecution of American citizens.
- NSA programs PRISM and BLARNEY – While many people have heard about PRISM being talked about on the news, few have heard of BLARNEY, a clandestine program that is being run concurrently and alongside PRISM. BLARNEY is NSA’s phone surveillance program which captures communicative metadata; PRISM retrieves the actual content within the communication.
- Internet Monitoring – From the Wall Street Journal: “The National Security Agency—which possesses only limited legal authority to spy on U.S. citizens—has built a surveillance network that covers more Americans’ Internet communications than officials have publicly disclosed, current and former officials say. The system has the capacity to reach roughly 75% of all U.S. Internet traffic in the hunt for foreign intelligence, including a wide array of communications by foreigners and Americans. In some cases, it retains the written content of emails sent between citizens within the U.S. and also filters domestic phone calls made with Internet technology, these people say. The NSA’s filtering, carried out with telecom companies, is designed to look for communications that either originate or end abroad, or are entirely foreign but happen to be passing through the U.S. But officials say the system’s broad reach makes it more likely that purely domestic communications will be incidentally intercepted and collected in the hunt for foreign ones.”
- Drones will be used for domestic surveillance – from RT News: The FBI uses drones for domestic surveillance purposes, the head of the agency told Congress early Wednesday. Robert Mueller, the director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, confirmed to lawmakers that the FBI owns several unmanned aerial vehicles, but has not adopted any strict policies or guidelines yet to govern the use of the controversial aircraft. “Does the FBI use drones for surveillance on US soil?” Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) asked Mr Mueller during an oversight hearing on Capitol Hill Wednesday before the Senate Judiciary Committee. “Yes,” Mueller responded bluntly, adding that the FBI’s operation of drones is “very seldom.” From a recent GOA report:
“Domestically, state and local law enforcement entities represent the greatest potential users of small UAS [unmanned aircraft systems] in the near term because they can offer a simple and cost effective solution for airborne law enforcement activities”
5. RFID Chips being used to monitor students – From US News: A public school district in Texas can require students to wear locator chips when they are on school property, a federal judge ruled on Tuesday in a case raising technology-driven privacy concerns among liberal and conservative groups alike. U.S. District Judge Orlando Garcia said the San Antonio Northside School District had the right to expel sophomore Andrea Hernandez, 15, from Jay High School because she refused to wear the device, which is required of all students at the magnet school.
6. Automated License Plate Readers – From the ACLU: A little noticed surveillance technology, designed to track the movements of every passing driver, is fast proliferating on America’s streets. Automatic license plate readers, mounted on police cars or on objects like road signs and bridges, use small, high-speed cameras to photograph thousands of plates per minute. The information captured by the readers – including the license plate number, and the date, time, and location of every scan – is being collected and sometimes pooled into regional sharing systems. As a result, enormous databases of innocent motorists’ location information are growing rapidly. This information is often retained for years or even indefinitely, with few or no restrictions to protect privacy rights.
Occurrences in the USA – Again, while there is way too many to list here, here are ten examples of increasingly brutal behavior from the boys in blue.
- Police taser man to get him off a roof, choke & drag him face-down across a staircase, killing him
- Two Davenport Officers Beat Down Woman Shoplifting Suspect Caught on Camera
- Officers Kill Mentally Disabled Men, Get Away With It Due to Lack of Training
- Police Taser a Pregnant Woman
- 95 Yr Old Vet Refuses Medical Treatment, Cops Kill Him
- Cop Punches 14 Yr Old Mentally Disabled Girl
- Cop Shoots Man in Back, Claims Self-Defense
- Defenseless Man Beaten To Death By Cops, Witnesses Said
- GRAPHIC: Officer Shot a Unarmed Man 11 Times, Cleared of Any Wrong-Doing
- The Beating Death of Kelly Thomas
Sign: Powerful And Continuing Nationalism – Totalitarian regimes love their slogans, symbols and images to drill in nationalism into their subjects.
Sign: Increased Restrictions Against Natural Rights –
Occurrences in the USA:
- Can get prosecuted for Raw Milk
- “Free” Speech Zones
- Judge Can Force Porn Stars to Wear Condoms as its “Constitutional”
- Arkansas Senate Trying to Ban Certain Tattoos and Body Piercing
- State Threatens Jail for Nutritional Blogger
- San Francisco Law Fines $500 for Incorrect Recycling
- Happy Meal Toys – BANNED (thankfully, McD’s showed how easy it is to sidestep such a ludicrous ban by charging ten cents for the toy in banned areas)
- State Forced Vaccines and Increasingly Difficult to Opt Out
- Illegal to Collect Rain Water on Own Property in some states
- Illegal to Grow Gardens; Gardens Destroyed
Sign: Increasing Dictatorial Behavior of Leaders
Occurrences in the USA:
- Third Term for Obama? – From the leftist apologist site The Daily Kos: There is a scenario — a nightmare scenario for RWNJs — under which President Obama can legally and constitutionally win a third term as President of the United States. Of course, we should know that Barack Obama is too honest and honorable a person to pursue this course of action. But do the RWNJs know that?
- No Term Limits for President – From Fox News Latino: Democratic Congressman José Serrano has reintroduced legislation to repeal the 22nd Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which would end term limits for U.S. presidents and pave the way for President Barack Obama to stay in the White House for a third time. While some claim that this will never happen and will never get passed, it should be noted that the same thing was once said about bills like the Patriot Act, NDAA and ObamaCare.
- President Bypassing Congress and Traditional Means of Legislation – From BenSwann.com: Obama is sidestepping Congress once again. This time, the unconstitutional act is in an effort to raise $6 Billion in new taxes to put WiFi in public schools across America. Rather than waste his time with the Constitution and Congress, Obama is going straight to the FCC to lobby for the new taxes. The new tax will apply to every American who uses a cellphone.
While there are many, many, many more examples, this does give anyone pause to reflect on how many personal freedoms are being stripped away on a daily basis. With just the few examples given here, which are really just the tip of the iceberg, are you convinced America is or is quickly becoming a police state? Do you have other examples you think should be added?