Friday, March 17, 2006


We'll arrest before they do anything illegal...NYC cops.

“Pro-active arrests” in the name of Freedom and the American Way. Yeah, right. This means the cops bust people because, in the cops' opinions, the people might, repeat, might, do something illegal. The problem is that so many people will feel safer because of these illlegal busts. On the other hand, Hitler did stop the communist threat in pre-war Germany, right?

From "pre-emptive war" to "proactive arrests": NYC's thought police

There've been a lot of alarming stories this week, but none more so that this explosive article in tomorrow's N.Y. Times by a friend and former co-worker, Jim Dwyer. On a day when we ponder the third anniversary of a U.S. unprovoked invasion of another country and when President Bush reaffirms the need for pre-emptive war, we now learn that the New York (thought) police are busting folks who look like they might riot:

In five internal reports made public yesterday as part of a lawsuit, New York City police commanders candidly discuss how they had successfully used "proactive arrests," covert surveillance and psychological tactics at political demonstrations in 2002, and recommend that those approaches be employed at future gatherings.

Among the most effective strategies, one police captain wrote, was the seizure of demonstrators on Fifth Avenue who were described as "obviously potential rioters."

The reports provide a rare glimpse of internal police evaluations and strategies on security and free speech issues that have provoked sharp debate between city officials and political demonstrators since the Sept. 11 attacks.

The reports also made clear what the police have yet to discuss publicly: that the department uses undercover officers to infiltrate political gatherings and monitor behavior.

How tragic, for it is New York that the terrorists struck on Sept. 11, 2001, and with this type of un-American response, it is the terrorists who are winning. The actions described in the story took place not long after 9/11, during the 2002 World Economic Forum. In one case, a high-ranking official called for spreading deliberate misinformation among the protestors, and another inspector sought a massive show of force that would "cause them to be alarmed."

This is what irrational fears do to us. Tonight I happened to see the top of the 6 o' clock news, and the lead story was about the evacuation of a basketball arena in San Diego, and whether it meant "a terror threat" here in Philly, where NCAA March Madness games take place tomorrow. No, it just means that some guy 3,000 miles away lost his briefcase. But when such panic causes us to lose our way, to cower in the corner and make "proactive arrests," then we do in fact experience a very real kind of fear -- for this country's soul.

Posted on March 16, 2006 10:36 PM

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