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Commentary Last Updated: Oct 9th, 2007 - 01:25:20

American lockdown: Law enforcement out of control and beyond the pale
By Carolyn Baker
Online Journal Contributing Writer

Oct 9, 2007, 01:22

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In my recent article "The End Of America: The Police State Is Right Here, Right Now" I included experiences of escalating intimidation on the part of law enforcement in the United States within recent months. I must confess that when I cite such incidents, I fear that in a few days or weeks, it will all go away, and everyone, myself included, will begin to question the validity of the examples, breathing a heavy sigh of relief and rejoicing that the situation isn't nearly as dire as I'm asserting it is.

This time, however, I have nothing to fear because since that article was posted, the ante of out-of-control law enforcement in America appears to have been upped with a rapidity that I could not have imagined just a few weeks ago.

Have we not all heard about the New York woman on her way to rehab who passed through the Phoenix airport, became distraught when she had just missed her flight, and was arrested for disorderly conduct by airport police? The suspect, Carol Ann Gotbaum, was handcuffed and then placed in a holding cell and left alone. According to police, when they returned, she was dead. At this writing, Gotbaum's family and officials are awaiting the autopsy report -- the "official" cause of death.

Just a few days later, again in Phoenix, a male suspect was handcuffed after an on-foot chase by police, and shortly after being handcuffed, according to police, he lost consciousness. He was then taken to a local hospital where he was pronounced dead.

In yesterday's New York Daily News, the story "Science teacher's brush with police ends in heart attack" relates an incident that happened back in June of this year when an African American Brooklyn high school teacher was mistaken for a perpetrator by police, suffered a heart attack, and was left on his own by the street cops who accused him of "acting."

As outrageous as these incidents may be, the most chilling event appeared on networks across the nation yesterday morning with the story of a 20-year-old Wisconsin sheriff's deputy who shot and killed six young people at a party Saturday night. The most obvious question: How is it that a community of citizens allows a 20-year-old to become a deputy sheriff? Why not give an M-16 to a third-grader?

Nevertheless, all of these stories are connected by a common thread: Law enforcement in the United States, whose duty it is to "protect and serve" have now become not just part of the problem but in fact, predatory devourers of those they are sworn to keep safe.

Deepening collapse will be attended by manifestations of the unraveling of all institutions, one of the most frightening examples being law enforcement's hysterical repression of citizens.

Although we are seeing more media attention given to private security companies such as Blackwater, we should not assume that the power and funding granted to these firms will dissipate anytime soon. They are an integral part of the Shock Doctrine brilliantly analyzed by Naomi Klein in her new book of the same title. The greater the extent of the empire's collapse, the greater the intensity of the shock applied to those who reside within the belly of the beast. From those shocks flow not only increased terror and social control, but flourishing profits for private security companies.

The U.S. government is making it unmistakably clear that it intends to use every avenue of power at its disposal to lock down the nation. A story sent to my subscribers today from the Gold Anti-Trust Action Committee (GATA) reveals that in its correspondence with the Treasury Department, "The Treasury Department was surprisingly candid in that correspondence, asserting the U.S. Government's authority, in declared emergencies, to confiscate precious metals and to restrict ownership of mining shares -- and to confiscate and restrict every other financial asset as well."

Almost daily we hear of increased surveillance of Americans as well as unprecedented restrictions on travel, not only on persons entering the U.S. but on persons traveling within the country and on dissenters who attempt to enter other countries as in the case of two activists, Medea Benjamin and Ann Wright, who were denied entrance into Canada last Thursday "because their names appeared on the FBI's National Crime Information Center database."

Another relevant story relinked today pertains to the anti-terrorism Vigilant Shield 2008 exercise of U.S. Northern Command (USNORTHCOM): "The series of exercises is mandated by the US government to prepare, prevent and respond to any number of national crises that would call for the use of the military inside the United States. Vigilant Shield 2008 builds a scenario of a domestic disaster in the US (terrorist attack or natural disaster). It posits the domestic use of the US military including a special role for the US Air Force." As we know, a precedent for using the U.S. military inside the U.S. was set in the aftermath of Katrina in 2005.

For those considering expatriation, it will soon be too late to leave. For those who choose to remain within this increasingly locked down nation, it will be necessary to acquire survival skills, a strong community of friends, and a great deal of stealth in order to navigate this empire's exacerbating Orwellian treachery.

Carolyn Baker, Ph.D. is author of a forthcoming book,COMING OUT FROM CHRISTIAN FUNDAMENTALISM: Affirming Life, Love and The Sacred.� Her recent book is �U.S. History Uncensored: What Your High School Textbook Didn't Tell You.�Her website is where she may be contacted.

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