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SMITE THE RIGHT: PART TWO (END)

In Bureaucracy, History, Law, Law Enforcement, Military, Politics, Social commentary on May 3, 2021 at 1:24 am

On March 2, FBI Director Christopher Wray condemned the January 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol as “domestic terrorism.”

He did so while testifying before the Senate Judiciary Committee, which was investigating how the attack happened and what could be done to prevent such future attacks.

“Unfortunately, January 6 was not an isolated event,” Wray said. “The problem of domestic terrorism has been metastasizing across the country for a long time now, and it’s not going away anytime soon.”

He said the number of FBI domestic terrorism investigations had doubled since he took office in 2017 to more than 2,000. The number of investigations into white supremacists had tripled, while the number of probes into anarchist extremists had risen significantly as well.

Wray also said the FBI had found no evidence to support the Right-wing lie that the attack on the Capitol was staged by left-wing extremists such as Antifa to try to frame Trump supporters.

More than 400 people have been charged in connection with the insurrection.Yet Trump—who instigated the attack for two months—remains unindicted. 

Chart: U.S. Hate Crimes At Highest Level In Over A Decade | Statista

Right-wing terrorism has a long history in America:

  • The Supreme Court’s decision, in Brown v. Board of Education(1954), striking down segregated facilities, unleashed a wave of Ku Klux Klan violence against blacks, civil rights activists and Jews.
  • Between 1956 and 1963, an estimated 130 bombings ravaged the South.
  • During the 1980s, more than 75 Right-wing extremists were prosecuted in the United States for acts of terrorism, carrying out six attacks.
  • The April 19, 1995 attack on the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City by Timothy McVeigh and Terry Nichols killed 168 people. It was the deadliest act of domestic terrorism in the history of the United States until 9/11.
  • By 2020, Right-wing terrorism accounted for the majority of terrorist attacks and plots in the United States.
  • A 2017 Government Accountability Office report stated that Right-wing extremist groups were responsible for 73% of violent extremist incidents resulting in deaths since September 12, 2001.
  • Right-wing violence rose sharply during the Barack Obama administration and especially during that of Donald Trump. His remark after the 2017 Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, that there were “some very fine people on both sides” convinced white supremacists that he favored their goals, if not their methods.

After 9/11, American law enforcement and Intelligence agencies initiated major reforms to focus on Islamic terrorism.

A similar reform effort, focusing on Right-wing terrorism, could include the following:

  • The FBI’s designating Right-wing political and terrorist groups as the Nation’s #1 enemy.
  • Turning the Bureau’s powerful arsenal—bugs, wiretaps, informants, SWAT teams—on them.
  • Prosecuting militia groups for violating Federal firearms laws. Using Federal anti-terrorist laws to arrest, prosecute and imprison Right-wingers who openly carry firearms and threaten violence, even if states allow such display of firearms. 

Federal Bureau of Investigation's seal

FBI seal

  • Creating TIT (Turn in a Traitor) hotlines for reporting illegal Right-wing activities—and offering rewards for information that leads to arrests.
  • Treating calls for the murder of members of Congress—as Georgia Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene has done—as felonies punishable by  a minimum of at least 20 years’ imprisonment.
  • Prosecuting Right-wing leaders involved in the treasonous attempt to overthrow the United States in the Capitol Building attack.
  • Such prosecutions should include Donald Trump as the chief inciter for the treasonous attack on the Capitol Building on January 6.
  • Prosecuting as “accessories to treason” all those Republican members of Congress who stoked Right-wing anger by lying that the 2020 Presidential election had been stolen from Donald Trump, although every objective news source proved he had lost.
  • Directing the Treasury Department’s Terrorist Finance Tracking Program (TFTP) at fundamentalist Christian churches that finance Right-wing terrorism—just as it halts the financing of Islamic terrorist groups by Islamic organizations.

Money stack | Money stacks, Money images, Money cash

  • Using drones, planes and/or helicopters to provide security against similar Right-wing terror demonstrations—especially in Washington, D.C.
  • Using the Federal Communications Commission to ban Fox News—the Nation’s #1 Right-wing propaganda network—from representing itself as a legitimate news network, and requiring that its stories carry labels warning viewers: “This is Right-wing propaganda, NOT news.”
  • Encouraging victims of Right-wing hate-speech—such as the parents of murdered children at Sandy Hook Elementary School—to file libel/slander lawsuits against their abusers.
  • Seizing the assets of individuals and organizations found guilty of Right-wing terrorism offenses. 

* * * * * * * * * *

Of all the reforms offered here, prosecuting Donald Trump for treason would prove the most significant.

The 75,000,000 Americans who voted to give him a second term still look to him for leadership. As do the majority of Republicans in the House and Senate.

Senate Republicans refused to convict him in his second impeachment trial—just as they refused in the first. Their excuse: “It’s unconstitutional to impeach a former President.”

But a former President can still be prosecuted for crimes he committed while in office—just as a former Senator or Supreme Court Justice can.

Whatever the outcome, this would send an unmistakable message to Right-wing terrorists: “Your days of immunity are over—and you will be held accountable for your terrorist acts, just as Islamic terrorist groups are.”

SMITE THE RIGHT: PART ONE (OF TWO)

In Bureaucracy, History, Law, Law Enforcement, Military, Politics, Social commentary on April 30, 2021 at 12:08 am

On September 11, 2001, 19 Islamic terrorists snuffed out the lives of 3,000 Americans in New York, Washington, D.C. and Pennsylvania. 

They did so by turning four commercial jetliners into fuel-bombs—and crashing them into, respectively, the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center in New York City; the Pentagon, in Washington, D.C.; and—unintentionally—a field in Somerset County, Pennsylvania.

World Trade Center – September 11, 2001

But within less than a month, American warplanes began carpet-bombing Afghanistan, whose rogue Islamic “government” refused to surrender Osama bin Laden, the Al-Qaeda mastermind of the attacks.

By December, 2001, the power of the Taliban was broken—and bin Laden was driven into hiding in Pakistan.

For more than 16 years, the United States—through its global military and espionage networks—relentlessly hunted down most of those responsible for that September carnage.

On May 1, 2011, U.S. Navy SEALS invaded bin Laden’s fortified mansion in Abbottabad, Pakistan—and shot him dead.

And today—almost 20 years after the 9/11 attacks, the United States continues to wage war against Islamic terrorists. 

On January 6, the United States suffered another spectacular terrorist attack—this time launched by Right-wing Americans.

Thousands of Fascistic supporters of President Donald J. Trump—many of them armed—stormed and ransacked the Capitol Building in Washington, D.C.  Five people—including a Capitol Hill policeman—were killed.

The insurrectionists’ goal: To stop members of Congress from counting Electoral Votes cast in the 2020 Presidential election, from which former Vice President Joseph R. Biden was expected to emerge the winner.

For Trump—who had often “joked” about becoming “President-for-Life”—that Biden had won the election was intolerable. And it must be prevented by any means—legal or otherwise. 

U.S. Congress Under Attack, Trump Supporters Enter Capitol Building - YouTube

After overwhelming the Capitol Police force, the Stormtrumpers damaged and occupied parts of the building for three hours. Legislators huddled fearfully while National Guard units from several states finally evicted the insurrectionists.  

The Capitol attack marked the first time in American history a defeated Presidential candidate violently sought to remain in office.

It should also mark a desperately-needed change in the priorities of American law enforcement, which has traditionally focused on Left-wingers—and especially blacks—as the country’s mortal enemies. 

Numerous commentators have noted the contrast between the tepid police response to the Capitol attack by white Right-wingers and the brutal crackdown on peaceful blacks protesting the murder of George Floyd in Washington D.C. on June 1, 2020.

U.S. Park Police and National Guard troops used tear gas, rubber bullets, flash-bang grenades, horses, shields and batons to clear protesters from Lafayette Square—so Trump could stage a photo-op at St. John’s Episcopal Church. 

It’s time for American law enforcement and Intelligence agencies to wage all-out war on Right-wing terrorism—and those Republican voters and Congressional members who support it.

On March 2, FBI Director Christopher Wray testified before the United States Senate Judiciary Committee on the Capitol attack and the growing challenges of Right-wing terrorism.

Chris Wray official photo.jpg

Christopher Wray

The hearing came as the FBI continues to make near daily arrests related to the riot. So far, more than 300 people have been hit with a variety of charges, from trespassing to conspiracy against the government.

According to PBS Newshour Correspondent Lisa Desjardins:

“[On March 1] federal prosecutors filed a revealing document in the case against Proud Boy leader Ethan Nordean, seen here with a megaphone on January 6. This charges that he and other Proud Boys raised money and collected protective gear weeks ahead.

“On January 6, prosecutors allege, they used high-tech radios to communicate and purposely dressed incognito, no Proud Boy colors or clothing. This, prosecutors say, was to help with their plan to turn others in the crowd, who they called normies or normiecons, to join them in violent attack.”

Wray was appointed FBI director in 2017, after Trump purged James Comey for refusing to become his personal KGB chief. Wray himself had been marked for dismissal because he refused to agree with Trump’s false claims of widespread voter fraud during the 2016 Presidential election.

Only Trump’s loss to Joe Biden had prevented a similar purge of Wray.

Referring to Right-wing terrorists, Wray warned: “They don’t have a formal membership in an organization. They don’t have clear command control and direction, in the way that, say, an al-Qaida sleeper cell might have. And  that’s much more challenging to pursue.” 

From Trump on down, Republicans have tried hard to convince Americans that it was Antifa—not Right-wing Stormtrumpers—who brutally attacked Capitol police and threatened the lives of Congressional lawmakers.

Their goal: To absolve Trump and put the blame on Antifa.

There are three problems with that assertion:

  1. The insurrectionists’ carried out their attack amidst a sea of red MAGA caps and blue and white “TRUMP” flags.
  2. There was not a black face to be seen in the mob—all were white.
  3. Numerous videos recorded rioters’ saying they were acting on orders from their President.

On March 2, Senator Richard Durbin (D-Illinois) asked FBI Director Christopher Wray: “Do you have any evidence that the Capitol attack was organized by—quote—‘fake Trump protesters’?”

To which Wray replied: “We have not seen evidence of that at this stage, certainly.”

BRING THE WAR ON TERROR HOME: PART TWO (END)

In Bureaucracy, History, Law, Law Enforcement, Military, Politics, Social commentary on February 4, 2021 at 12:08 am

According to American political scientist George Michael: “Right-wing terrorism and violence has a long history in America.”

The Supreme Court’s decision, in Brown v. Board of Education (1954), striking down segregated facilities, unleashed a wave of Ku Klux Klan violence against blacks, civil rights activists and Jews. Between 1956 and 1963, an estimated 130 bombings ravaged the South. 

File:KKK-Flag.svg - Wikimedia Commons

Ku Klux Klan flag

During the 1980s, more than 75 Right-wing extremists were prosecuted in the United States for acts of terrorism, carrying out six attacks.

The April 19, 1995 attack on the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma by Timothy McVeigh and Terry Nichols killed 168 people. It was the deadliest act of domestic terrorism in the history of the United States until 9/11.

By 2020, Right-wing terrorism accounted for the majority of terrorist attacks and plots in the United States. A 2017 Government Accountability Office report stated that Right-wing extremist groups were responsible for 73% of violent extremist incidents resulting in deaths since September 12, 2001.

Right-wing violence rose sharply during the Barack Obama administration and especially during the Presidency of Donald Trump. His remark after the 2017 Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, that there were “some very fine people on both sides” convinced white supremacists that he favored their goals, if not their methods.

On January 6, 2021, thousands of Right-wing Trump supporters—many of them armed—stormed the Capitol Building in Washington, D.C.

U.S. Congress Under Attack, Trump Supporters Enter Capitol Building - YouTube

Their goal: To stop members of Congress from counting Electoral Votes cast in the 2020 Presidential election, from which former Vice President Joseph R. Biden was expected to emerge the winner. 

After overwhelming the Capitol Police force, they damaged and occupied parts of the building for several hours. Legislators huddled fearfully while National Guard units from several states finally evicted the insurrectionists.  

The Capitol attack marked the first time in American history when a defeated Presidential candidate violently sought to remain in office.

It may also mark a desperately-needed change in the priorities of American law enforcement, which has traditionally focused on Left-wingers—and especially blacks—as the country’s mortal enemies. 

Numerous commentators have noted the contrast between the tepid police response to the Capitol attack by white Right-wingers and the brutal crackdown on peaceful liberal blacks protesting the murder of George Floyd in Washington D.C. on June 1, 2020.

U.S. Park Police and National Guard troops used tear gas, rubber bullets, flash-bang grenades, horses, shields and batons to clear protesters from Lafayette Square—so Trump could stage a photo-op at St. John’s Episcopal Church. 

After 9/11, American law enforcement and Intelligence agencies initiated major reforms to focus on Islamic terrorism.

A similar reform effort, focusing on Right-wing terrorism, could include the following:

  • The FBI’s designating Right-wing political and terrorist groups as the Nation’s #1 enemy.
  • Turning the Bureau’s powerful arsenal—bugs, wiretaps, informants, SWAT teams—on them.
  • Prosecuting militia groups for violating Federal firearms laws. 
  • Using Federal anti-terrorist laws to arrest, prosecute and imprison Right-wingers who openly carry firearms and threaten violence, even if states allow such display of firearms. 

FBI SWAT Team Training - YouTube

FBI SWAT member

  • Creating tip hotlines for reporting illegal Right-wing activities—and offering rewards for information that leads to arrests.
  • Treating calls for the murder of members of Congress—as Georgia Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene has done—as felonies punishable by lengthy imprisonment.
  • Prosecuting Right-wing leaders involved in the treasonous attempt to overthrow the United States in the Capitol Building attack.
  • Prosecuting as “accessories to treason” all those Republican members of Congress who stoked Right-wing anger by lying that the 2020 Presidential election had been stolen from Donald Trump, although every objective news source proved he had lost.
  • Directing the Treasury Department’s Terrorist Finance Tracking Program (TFTP) at fundamentalist Christian churches that finance Right-wing terrorism—just as it halts the financing of Islamic terrorist groups by Islamic organizations.

Related image

  • Using drones, planes and/or helicopters to provide security against similar Right-wing terror demonstrations—especially in Washington, D.C.
  • Using the Federal Communications Commission to ban Fox News—the Nation’s #1 Right-wing propaganda network—from representing itself as a legitimate news network, and requiring that its stories carry labels warning viewers: “This is Right-wing propaganda, NOT news.”
  • Encouraging victims of Right-wing hate-speech—such as the parents of murdered children at Sandy Hook Elementary School—to file libel/slander lawsuits against their abusers.
  • Seizing the assets of individuals and organizations found guilty of Right-wing terrorism offenses. 

Such an overhaul would almost certainly include the Justice Department indicting and prosecuting Donald Trump for inciting the treasonous attack on the Capitol Building on January 6.

The 75,000,000 Americans who voted to give him a second term still look to him for leadership. As do the majority of Republicans in the House and Senate. 

It is a certainty that Senate Republicans will refuse to convict him in his second impeachment trial—just as they refused in the first. They have already offered their excuse: “It’s unconstitutional to impeach a former President.”

But as a former President, he can still be prosecuted for crimes he committed while in office—just as a former Senator or Supreme Court Justice can. 

Whatever the outcome, this would send an unmistakable message to Right-wing terrorists: Your days of immunity are over—and you will be held accountable for your terrorist acts, just as Islamic terrorist groups are. 

BRING THE WAR ON TERROR HOME: PART ONE (OF TWO)

In Bureaucracy, History, Law, Law Enforcement, Military, Politics, Social commentary on February 3, 2021 at 12:10 am

Before 9/11, the United States did not attack Islamic terrorism in a coordinated basis.

In the October 4, 2001 episode of the PBS investigative series, “Frontline,” legendary journalist Bob Woodward described the results that followed:

“These terrorist incidents—they used the tools that were available, but it was never in a coherent way. I know from talking to those people at the time, it was always, ‘Oh, we’ve got this crisis. We’re dealing with the Achille Lauro now,’ or ‘We’re dealing with Quaddafi,’ or ‘We’re dealing with Libyan hit squads,’ or ‘We’re dealing with Beirut.’

“And it never—they never got in a position where they said, ‘You know, this is a real serious threat,’ not just episodically, but it’s going to be a threat to this country throughout the administration, future administrations.

“We need to organize to fight it. It can’t be a back-bench operation for the FBI and the CIA. It’s got to be somebody’s issue, so it’s on their desk every day. What do we know? What’s being planned? What are the threats out there?”

Bob Woodward (@realBobWoodward) | Twitter

Bob Woodward

The 1993 attack on the World Trade Center well illustrates what Woodward was talking about. 

On February 26, 1993, a truck bomb detonated below the North Tower of the World Trade Center in New York City. The 1,336 pound urea nitrate-hydrogen device was supposed to topple the North Tower into the South Tower, bringing down both towers and killing tens of thousands of people.

It failed to do so, but killed six people, and injured over 1,000. 

The attack was planned by a group of Islamic terrorists including Ramzi Yousef, Mohammed Salameh, Abdul Rachman Yasin, Mahmud Abouhalima, Ahmed Ajaj and Nidal A. Ayyad.

They received financing from Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, who later became the principal financier of the 9/11 attacks.

Instead of treating this as a declaration of Islamic war upon the United States, the newly-installed Bill Clinton administration chose to consider it a purely criminal matter.

In March 1994, four men were convicted of carrying out the bombing: Abouhalima, Ajaj, Ayyad, and Salameh. The charges included conspiracy, explosive destruction of property, and interstate transportation of explosives.

In November 1997, two more were convicted: Yousef, the organizer behind the bombings, and Eyad Ismoil, who drove the truck carrying the bomb.

On September 11, 2001, 19 Islamic terrorists snuffed out the lives of 3,000 Americans in New York, Washington, D.C. and Pennsylvania. 

They did so by turning four commercial jetliners into fuel-bombs—and crashing them into, respectively, the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center in New York City; the Pentagon, in Washington, D.C.; and—unintentionally—a field in Somerset County, Pennsylvania.

(The fourth airliner had been aimed at the White House or the Capitol Building. But its passengers, alerted by radio broadcasts of the doom awaiting them, resolved to take over the plane instead. The hijackers slammed the jet into the ground to avoid capture.)

World Trade Center – September 11, 2001

But within less than a month, American warplanes began carpet-bombing Afghanistan, whose rogue Islamic “government” refused to surrender Osama bin Laden, the had of Al-Qaeda who had masterminded the attacks.

By December, 2001, the power of the Taliban was broken—and bin Laden was driven into hiding in Pakistan.

For more than 16 years, the United States—through its global military and espionage networks—relentlessly hunted down most of those responsible for that September carnage.

On May 1, 2011, U.S. Navy SEALS invaded bin Laden’s fortified mansion in Abbottabad, Pakistan—and shot him dead.

And today—almost 20 years after the 9/11 attacks, the United States continues to wage war against Islamic terrorists. 

One by one, the leading figures of Taliban, Haqqani and Al-Qaeda have been identified, located with help from coerced or paid-off informants, and targeted for drone strikes. Taking a leadership position in any of these—or other—Islamic terrorist groups has become virtually a death-sentence.

An MQ-9 Reaper drone operated by the US military fires a Hellfire missile. Being there so you don't have to. | Military drone, Drone, Unmanned aerial vehicle

A Predator drone

Nor is the Pentagon the only agency targeting Islamic terrorism. After 9/11, the Treasury Department initiated the Terrorist Finance Tracking Program (TFTP) to identify, track, and pursue terrorists and their networks.

The program tracks terrorist money flows, assists in uncovering terrorist cells and mapping terrorist networks within the United States and abroad. 

Yet another result of 9/11 was increased cooperation between the FBI and the CIA.

The CIA’s mandate, prior to the September 11 attacks, had been to target foreign enemies. The FBI’s mandate had been to target domestic ones. 

This often brought the two agencies into bureaucratic conflict when confronting foreign-based or -financed terrorists. Neither agency was certain where its jurisdiction ended and the other one’s began.

The 9/11 attacks forced the FBI and CIA—and, even more importantly, Congress—to recognize the need for sharing information.  

Almost 20 years after the devastating attacks of September 11, no Islamic terrorist group has mounted a similar one in the United States.  

But on January 6, thousands of Right-wing supporters of President Donald J. Trump—many of them armed—stormed the Capitol Building in Washington, D.C.

Inside, members of Congress were counting Electoral Votes cast in the 2020 Presidential election. Former Vice President Joseph R. Biden was expected to emerge the winner.  

For Trump—who had often “joked” about becoming “President-for-Life”—this was intolerable. And it must be prevented by any means—legal or otherwise.

HOW COPS PROTECT THEIR OWN: PART FOUR (END)

In Bureaucracy, History, Law Enforcement, Politics, Social commentary on February 7, 2018 at 12:24 am

The unprecedented manhunt for cop-killer Christopher Dorner has important—and brutal—lessons to teach.

First, above everyone else, police look out for each other.

Robert Daley bluntly revealed this truth in his 1971 bestseller, Target Blue: An Insider’s View of the N.Y.P.D. A police reporter for the New York Times, he served for one year as a deputy police commissioner.

“The murderers of all patrolmen almost invariably were identified at once and caught soon after,” wrote Daley. “Organized crime was too smart to get involved in the type of investigation that followed a cop killing.

“A great many solvable crimes in the city were never solved, because not enough men were assigned to the case, or because those assigned were lazy or hardly cared or got sidetracked.

“But when a cop got killed, no other cop got sidetracked. Detectives worked on the case night and day….Cops were all ears as far as murdered patrolmen were concerned; they heard details all over the city…and fed all this into the detectives who had the case.

“In effect, the citizen who murdered his wife’s lover was sought by a team of detectives, two men.  But he who killed a cop was sought by 32,000.”

Although Dorner targeted only local police officers, the Federal Government quickly poured resources into the manhunt. These included the FBI, the U.S. Marshals Service and even unmanned military drones.

Second, don’t expect the police to do for you what they’ll do for one another.

The LAPD assigned security and surveillance details to at least 50 threatened officers and their families. A typical detail consists of two to five or more guards. And those guards must be changed every eight to 12 hours.

And those details stayed in place long after Dorner was killed in a firefight on February 12.

But if your bullying neighbor threatens to kill you, don’t expect the police to send a guard detail over. They’ll claim: “We can’t do anything until he does something. If he does, give us a call.”

And if your loved one is murdered, don’t expect the mayor’s office to offer a $1 million reward or the military to deploy drones to find the killer.

Third, the more status and wealth you command, the more likely the police are to address your complaint or solve your case.

Police claim to enforce the law impartially, “without fear or favor.” But that happens only in TV crime shows.

If you’re rich, your complaint will likely get top priority and the best service the agency can provide.

But if you’re poor or even middle-class without high-level political or police connections, your case will almost certainly wind up in “the round file” (a wastebasket).

And it works the other way, too. Anthony Bouza, former chief of the Minneapolis Police Department, notes in his 1990 book, The Police Mystique: “When cops deal with the poor (blacks, Hispanics, the homeless and the street people) the rubber of power meets the road of abuse.”

Fourth, don’t expect your police department to operate with the vigor or efficiency of TV police agencies.

“I want this rock [Hawaii] sealed off,” Steve McGarrett (Jack Lord) routinely ordered when pursuing criminals on “Hawaii Five-O.”

Jack Lord as Steve McGarrett

But in San Jose—a city close to bankruputpsy—residents can’t get police to respond to break-ins because the police department is dangerously understaffed.

And neighbors in Oakland, fed up with a slow police response—or none at all—are banding together to protect their properties by hiring private security officers.

In San Francisco, if you’re assaulted and can’t give police “a named suspect,” they won’t assign the case. As far as they’re concerned, the solvability rate is too low.

Fifth, the result of all this can only be increased disrespect for law enforcement from a deservedly–and increasingly–cynical public.

Surveys reveal that those who don’t need to call the police have a higher opinion of their integrity and efficiency than those who are the victims of crime.  Among those reasons:

  • Many police departments lack state-of-the-art crime labs to analyze evidence.
  • Files often get lost or accidentally destroyed.
  • Some officers are lazy, indifferent, incompetent—or corrupt.
  • Police are notoriously competitive, generally refusing to share information with other officers or other police departments—and thus making it easier for criminals to run amok.
  • Even when police “solve” a crime, that simply means making an arrest. The perpetrator may cop to a lesser offense and serve only a token sentence—or none at all. Or he might be found not guilty by a judge or jury.

But it is the witnessing of blatant inequities and hypocrisies such as those displayed in the Christopher Dorner manhunt that most damages public support for police at all levels.

When citizens believe police care only about themselves, and lack the ability—or even the willingness—to protect them or avenge their victimization by arresting the perpetrators, that is a deadly blow to law enforcement.

Police depend on citizens for more than crime tips. They depend upon them to support hiring more cops and  buying state-of-the-art police equipment. When public support vanishes, so does much of that public funding.

The result can only be a return to the days of the lawless West, where citizens looked only to themselves for protection.

HOW COPS PROTECT THEIR OWN: PART THREE (OF FOUR)

In Bureaucracy, History, Law Enforcement, Politics, Social commentary on February 6, 2018 at 1:20 am

Christopher Dorner—33, black, powerfully-built, standing six feet and weighing 270 pounds—seemed to have vanished from the face of the earth.

This despite an unprecedented manhunt by local and Federal law enforcement agencies and the lure of a $1 million reward for information leading to his arrest.

LAPD SWAT team

But Dorner made several major errors in his one-man crusade for vengeance against the agency he blamed for ending his “dream job” police career.

First, shortly before or after he began his murderous rampage, Dorner posted an 11-page “manifesto” of his intentions on his Facebook page.

In this, he spewed contempt for the LAPD and declared his intention to wage war against it.

I will bring unconventional and asymmetrical warfare to those in LAPD uniform whether on or off duty….You will now live the life of the prey….You have misjudged a sleeping giant.

Dorner’s online rant forewarned police that he intended to put them literally in the cross-hairs of his anger. As a result, his intended targets remained on hair-trigger alert for his attacks.

Second, in that “manifesto,” he specifically named many of the officers he intended to kill.

This allowed the LAPD to rush bodyguards to the homes of those he had threatened. The LAPD would have been at a great disadvantage if it hadn’t known where he might strike next.

Third, Dorner boasted of the weaponry he had available.

In my cache you will find several small arms. In the cache, Bushmaster firearms, Remington precision rifles, and AAC Suppressors (silencers)….As you know I also own Barrett .50′s so your APC are defunct and futile.

A Barrett .50 is a sniper’s rifle whose five-inch bullets can penetrate bulletproof vests, steel and concrete. An APC is military shorthand for Armored Personnel Carrier.

Dorner should have kept this information to himself—and allowed the LAPD to discover the truth only in a firefight. By bragging about it, he allowed his enemies to design strategies and deploy resources (such as unmanned drones) to neutralize his powerful weapons.

Fourth, he posted not simply his biography but his psychology for his enemies to exploit.

He sees himself as all-powerful:

I am here to change and make policy…I am here to correct and calibrate your morale compasses to true north….

I know your TTP’s, (techniques, tactics, and procedures). Any threat assessments you generate will be useless…. I will mitigate any of your attempts at preservation.

Besides assailing the LAPD, he plays political analyst—Wayne La Pierre is “a vile and inhumane piece of shit”—and even movie critic, calling Charlie Sheen “awesome.”

And fashion critic: Off the record, I love your new bangs, Mrs. Obama.

He clearly has a high opinion of himself:

I lived a good life and though not a religious man I always stuck to my own personal code of ethics, ethos and always stuck to my shoreline and true North. I didn’t need the US Navy to instill Honor, Courage, and Commitment in me but I thank them for re-enforcing it. It’s in my DNA.

And he reveals a clear history of anger at what he considers racial animosity directed against him, citing incidents as far back as high school.

No doubt psychologists who design behavioral profiles thoroughly analyzed Dorner’s self-portrait and advised police on the best ways to counter his threats.

Fifth, Dorner, sought refuge in a mountainous, snow-covered tourist resort.

This made it impossible for him—a black—to blend in against an almost totally white population. 

And once his truck broke down, he was at a severe disadvantage. He was temporarily stranded and forced to abandon many of the high-powered weapons and other supplies he had brought.  This gave him less firepower to use in his war on police.

He would have blended in with the majority black population had he fled to South Central Los Angeles. And he might well have found allies there to supply him with tips or equipment. 

More importantly, police would have been hard-pressed during a firefight with him in a congested urban setting: They would have had to worry about civilian casualties. 

And the proximity of the site to local TV stations would have meant far greater media scrutiny of police tactics.

Sixth, Dorner set fire to his Nissan Titan truck when it broke down near snow-covered Big Bear Lake, California, on February 7. 

This quickly attracted the attention of an army of lawmen who were searching for any clue to his whereabouts.

There was no need to burn the vehicle. If Dorner had covered the truck with snow it might well have stayed concealed for days or longer. This would have given him more time to evacuate the area.

Seventh, he took refuge in a cabin when police closed in.

Once he did this, the game was over. Dorner, of all people, should have known how “barricaded suspect” sieges always end: With the death or surrender of the besieged. 

His best bet for at least temporary safety was to stay in the open and on the move. 

If his skills as a marksman had kept police at a distance long enough, the coming of night could have allowed him to escape their dragnet—at least for the moment. 

In the end, however, his death or capture was certain. There were simply too many lawmen determined to hunt him down.

HOW COPS PROTECT THEIR OWN: PART TWO (OF FOUR)

In Bureaucracy, History, Law Enforcement, Politics, Social commentary on February 5, 2018 at 12:15 am

The LAPD’s leadership were terrified after they read Christopher Dorner’s 11-page “manifesto” published on his Facebook page.

Clearly, he intended to take revenge on the agency he blamed for the 2008 termination of his police career.

Christopher Dorner

As a result, the LAPD rushed to provide security and surveillance details to more than 50 endangered police officers and their families.

The agency also declared a “tactical alert,” forcing officers to remain on their shifts as long as needed.

Shortly after 1 a.m. on February 7, in Corona, California, Dorner fired at Los Angeles police officers who had been assigned to protect someone connected to threats he had posted in an online “manifesto.”

One officer was grazed in the head, but the wound was not life-threatening. The officers returned fire, and Dorner fled.

Then, at about 1:35 a.m., Dorner struck again, shooting two Riverside police officers who had stopped at a red light during a routine patrol. One officer was killed and the other wounded. The injured officer was taken to a hospital and was reported to be in stable condition.

Word instantly spread through the police grapevine about the shootings. And officers decided it was better to shoot first and ask questions later.

At 5:30 a.m. on February 7,  LAPD officers were patrolling a Torrance neighborhood to guard yet another target named in Dorner’s manifesto.

They spotted a car they thought was Dorner’s and opened fire, injuring two women.  One suffered a minor bullet wound, and the other was shot twice. Taken to a hospital, the latter was reported to be in stable condition.

Sometime after the Torrance shooting, a passer-by found a wallet with an LAPD badge and a picture ID of Dorner on a street near San Diego International Airport.

This was only a short distance from the naval base motel where he had reportedly checked in on February 7—but had never checked out.

Amid frantic TV news reports that Dorner was barricaded inside, police swarmed the hotel. But the soon learned that he hadn’t been there after all.

The FBI and U.S. Marshals Service, meanwhile, were seeking the public’s help in providing information about Dorner or his whereabouts.

At about noon on February 7, a burning truck was located in the snow-covered woods near Big Bear Lake, 80 miles east of Los Angeles.

The San Bernardino Sheriff’s Department later confirmed that the vehicle was Dorner’s Nissan Titan.  No one was in the truck.

SWAT teams from the LAPD, San Bernardino Sheriff’s deputies, FBI agents and deputy U.S. marshals flooded the area. All were heavily armed, carrying assault rifles or machine guns.

A SWAT team

Dorner, in his manifesto, had boasted of owning assault rifles and even a Barrett .50 caliber sniper rifle whose bullets can pierce bulletproof vests and even tanks, airplanes and concrete. A marksman with a Barrett could easily hit a target from a mile away.

Police initially searched 400 homes in the area, but found no trace of Dorner.

The manhunt was slowed down by a heavy snowfall, but police, determined to find Dorner, pressed on.

Meanwhile, FBI SWAT teams and local police served a search warrant at a Las Vegas home belonging to Dorner. The lawmen carried out boxes of his possessions. No weapons were found.

After issuing a search warrant, Irvine police combed through the La Pama house belonging to Christopher Dorner’s mother. Investigators removed from the home seven grocery bags of evidence and several electronic items.

On February 9, at a late afternoon press conference, authorities announced the creation of a joint task force to search for Dorner. The task force comprised the Los Angeles, Irvine and Riverside police departments, the FBI and U.S. Marshals, and other affiliated law enforcement agencies.

“We will look under every rock, around every corner, we will search mountain tops for him,” said Riverside Police Assistant Chief Chris Vicino at the press conference.

Underscoring this point, LAPD Chief Charlie Beck said: “This is an act–and make no mistake about it–of domestic terrorism. This is a man who has targeted those that we entrust to protect the public. His actions cannot go unanswered.”

Besides manpower and technology, police employed psychology. That same day, the LAPD announced that it would reopen the investigation into Dorner’s firing.

“I do this not to appease a murderer,” LAPD Chief Beck said in a statement. “I do it to reassure the public that their police department is transparent and fair in all the things we do.”

Clearly police hoped this would lead Dorner to back off or even surrender.

On February 10, at 11:46 a.m., Los Angeles County Supervisors Michael D. Antonovich and Mark Ridley-Thomas announced they were offering a $100,000 reward for information leading to the arrest of Dorner.

Later that day, at 1 p.m., a joint task force offered a $1 million reward for information leading to Dorner’s arrest.

Federal authorities were also relentlessly hunting Dorner—and not only through the FBI and U.S. Marshals Service. The Bureau of Customs and Border Protection deployed unmanned drone aircrafts to find him.

As in The Day of the Jackal, despite a widespread dragnet and all-out search, law enforcement’s Number One fugitive had vanished.

HOW COPS PROTECT THEIR OWN: PART ONE (OF FOUR)

In Bureaucracy, History, Law Enforcement, Politics, Social commentary on February 2, 2018 at 12:04 am

The Day of the Jackal is a 1971 thriller by the English writer Frederick Forsyth. Its intricate plot centers on the efforts of a professional assassin to kill Charles de Gaulle, the President of France.

His motive: A reward of $500,000, paid by the OAS, a right-wing French paramilitary organization determined to that France should retain its Algerian colony.

The actual name of the assassin is never revealed. He is simply known by his code name: The Jackal.

But a great deal else about him is revealed before the novel reaches its shattering climax:

He is calculating, a crack shot, skilled in unarmed combat, quick-witted in emergencies and utterly ruthless in pursuing his goal of eliminating his chosen targets.

In 1973, director Fred Zinnemann (“High Noon”) brought Jackal to the big screen. Edward Fox starred as the assassin, and Michael Lonsdale played Claude Lebel, the police inspector who leads the hunt for him.

The book and movie proved commercial successes.

Then fate lifted the fictional Jackal into the world of real-life international terrorism.

In 1975, Ilich Ramírez Sánchez, the international terrorist now known as “Carlos,” gained notoriety by shooting two French detectives and an informer in Paris.

Barry Woodhams, an Englishman whose girlfriend had once dated Carlos, found a bag of weapons belonging to the terrorist in their London apartment. Not trusting the police, he called The Guardian newspaper, whose reporter Peter Niesewand quickly showed up.

Rummaging through the apartment, Niesewand found a copy of The Day Of The Jackal on a bookshelf, and assumed that Carlos had read it. The next day, in its front-page world scoop, the Guardian dubbed Carlos: “The Jackal.”

Only one thing was wrong: The book didn’t belong to Carlos at all; it belonged to Woodhams. “Carlos The Jackal” had probably never even read the book he was named after.

Nevertheless, the nickname stuck.

(In 1994, the government of Sudan betrayed Carlos—then seeking refuge there—to French intelligence agents. He was flown to France, tried for murder, and given a life sentence.)

But The Jackal was far from dead. In 2013, he took up residence in Los Angeles.

This time his name was known: Christopher Jordan Dorner.

And his target wasn’t the President of France or the leader of any other country. It was the officers of the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD).

It’s an organization Dorner knew well, since he had belonged to it from 2005 to 2008.

In July, 2007, he reported excessive force by a fellow police officer against a handcuffed prisoner.

The LAPD charged that he had slandered the accused policewoman in a falsified report and relieved him of his duties.

Dorner claimed he was the victim of police retaliation for breaking the “code of silence.”

Dorner tried to reclaim his job in 2008, but LAPD’s Board of Rights rejected his appeal. He took the case to court, but a judge ruled against his appeal in October, 2011.

Image result for Images of LAPD logo

That seemed to be the end of Dorner’s association with the LAPD.

Then, on February 3, 2013, Dorner’s long-suppressed rage exploded.

Monica Quan, 27, and her fiancee, Keith Lawrence, were shot dead in Irvine, California, while sitting in their white Kia in the parking lot of their new apartment building.

Quan was the daughter of former LAPD officer Randal Quan, who had represented Dorner at his termination appeal.

At the time, there seemed to be no motive for the murders. But on February 6, police named Dorner a suspect in the Irvine murders.

He had posted an 11-page “manifesto” on his Facebook page, implicating himself in the slayings. He accused  Randal Quan of bungling his termination appeal.

And he repeatedly complained about his treatment in the LAPD.

I lost my position as a Commanding Officer of a Naval Security Forces reserve unit at NAS Fallon because of the LAPD, wrote Dorner.

I’ve lost a relationship with my mother and sister because of the LAPD. I’ve lost a relationship with close friends because of the LAPD.

In essence, I’ve lost everything because the LAPD took my name and new [sic] I was INNOCENT!!!

And he vowed vengeance on those he believed had wronged him:

I will conduct DA operations to destroy, exploit and seize designated targets. If unsuccessful or unable to meet objectives in these initial small scale offensive actions, I will reassess my BDA and re-attack until objectives are met.

I have nothing to lose. My personal casualty means nothing….You can not prevail against an enemy combatant who has no fear of death.

An enemy who embraces death is a lose, lose situation for their enemy combatants.

It wasn’t enough for Dorner to attack police officers. He would target their families as well:

I know your significant others routine, your children’s best friends and recess. I know Your Sancha’s gym hours and routine.

For police generally, it was their worst nightmare come true.

A cop-killer was on the loose. Worse, he had once been one of their own.

He knew their tactics, and now threatened to use that knowledge to murder not only cops but even their families.

For the LAPD, it was a declaration of war. And the department responded accordingly.

REAL COPS VS. TV COPS

In Bureaucracy, History, Law, Law Enforcement, Politics, Social commentary on June 9, 2017 at 1:51 am

Lori Tankel had a problem: A lot of angry people thought she was George Zimmerman.

She began getting death threats on her cellphone after a jury acquitted him on July 13, 2013, of the second-degree murder of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin.

Unfortunately for Tankel, her number was one digit away from the number Zimmerman used to make his call to police just before he fatally shot Martin.

The phone number had been shown throughout the trial. And, believing the number was Zimmerman’s, someone posted Tankel’s number online.

Just minutes after the verdict, Tankel began getting death threats.“We’re going to kill you.  We’re going to get you. Watch your back,” threatened a typical call.

Tankel worked as a sales representative for several horse companies. She had grown used to relying on her phone to keep her business going.

But, almost as soon as the Zimmerman verdict came in, “My phone just started to blow up. Phone call after phone call, multiple phone calls,” Tankel said.

So she did what any ordinary citizen, faced with multiple death threats, would do: She called the police.

According to her, the Seminole County Sheriff’s Office told her the department itself receives around 400 death threats a minute on social media sites.

In short: Unless you’re wealthy, a politician or–best of all–a cop, don’t expect the police to protect you if your life is threatened.

If you doubt it, consider the lessons to be learned when, in February, 2013, Christopher Dorner declared war on his former fellow officers of the Los Angeles Police Department.

First, above everyone else, police look out for each other.

Robert Daley bluntly revealed this truth in his 1971 bestseller, Target Blue: An Insider’s View of the N.Y.P.D.  A  police reporter for the New York Times, he served for one year as a deputy police commissioner.

 

Related image

“A great many solvable crimes in the city were never solved, because not enough men were assigned to the case, or because those assigned were lazy or hardly cared or got sidetracked.

“But when a cop got killed, no other cop got sidetracked.  Detectives worked on the case night and day….

“In effect, the citizen who murdered his wife’s lover was sought by a team of detectives, two men.  But he who killed a cop was sought by 32,000.”

Second, don’t expect the police to do for you what they’ll do for one another.

The LAPD assigned security and surveillance details to at least 50 threatened officers and their families. A typical detail consists of two to five or more guards. And those guards must be changed every eight to 12 hours

SWAT Team 

By Oregon Department of Transportation (SWAT team preparedUploaded by Smallman12q) [CC BY 2.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons

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Those details stayed in place long after Dorner was killed in a firefight on February 12, 2013.

But if your bullying neighbor threatens to kill you, don’t expect the police to send a guard detail over.  They’ll claim: ”We can’t do anything until the guy does something.  If he does, give us a call.”

Third, the more status and wealth you command, the more likely the police are to address your complaint or solve your case.

If you’re rich, your complaint will likely get top priority and the best service the agency can provide.

But if you’re poor or even middle-class without high-level political or police connections, you’ll be told: “We just don’t have the resources to protect everybody.”

Fourth, don’t expect your police department to operate with the vigor or efficiency of TV police agencies.

“I want this rock [Hawaii] sealed off,” Steve McGarrett (Jack Lord) routinely ordered when pursuing criminals on “Hawaii Five-O.”

 

Jack Lord as Steve McGarrett

Real-life police departments, on the other hand:

  • Often lack state-of-the-art crime labs to analyze evidence.
  • Often lose or accidentally destroy important files.
  • Are–like all bureaucracies–staffed by those who are lazy, indifferent or incompetent.
  • Are notoriously competitive, generally refusing to share information with other police departments-–thus making it easier for criminals to run amok.

Even when police ”solve” a crime, that simply means making an arrest.  After that, there are at least three possible outcomes:  

  • The District Attorney may decide not to file charges.
  • Or the perpetrator may plead to a lesser offense and serve only a token sentence-–or none at all.
  • Or he might be found not guilty by a judge or jury.

Fifth, the result of all this can only be increased disrespect for law enforcement from a deservedly–and increasingly–cynical public.

It is the witnessing of blatant inequities and hypocrisies such as those displayed in the Christopher Dorner case that most damages public support for police at all levels.

When citizens believe police lack the ability-–or even the will-–to protect them or avenge their victimization, that is a deadly blow to law enforcement.

Police depend on citizens for more than crime tips. 

They depend upon them to support hiring more cops and  buying state-of-the-art police equipment.

When public support vanishes, so does much of that public funding.

The result can only be a return to the days of the lawless West, where citizens–as individuals or members of vigilante committees–look only to themselves for protection.

THE DANGERS OF TIMIDITY

In Bureaucracy, History, Law, Law Enforcement, Politics, Social commentary on April 23, 2014 at 1:00 am

President Barack Obama–or at least Neil Kornze, the director of the Federal Bureau of Land Management (BLM)–has some serious lessons to learn about the uses of power.

For more than 20 years, Cliven Bundy, a Nevada cattle rancher, has refused to pay fees for grazing cattle on public lands, some 80 miles north of Las Vegas.

BLM says Bundy now owes close to $1 million. He says his family has used the land since the 1870s and doesn’t recognize the federal government’s jurisdiction.

In 2013, a federal judge ordered Bundy to remove his livestock. He ignored the order, and in early April, 2014, BLM agents rounded up more than 400 of his cattle.

Over the weekend of April 12-13, armed militia members and states’ right protesters showed up to challenge the move.

BLM agents (left) confronting armed protesters

Rather than risk violence, the BLM did an about-face and released the cattle.

Right-wing bloggers and commentators have portrayed the incident as a victory over Federal tyranny.

According to Alex Jones’ Infowars.com: “Historic!  Feds Forced to Surrender to American Citizens.”

Right-wingers have depicted Bundy as a put-upon Everyman being “squeeaed” by the dictatorial Federal government.

They have deliberately ignored a number of inconvenient truths–such as:

  • He claims that his grazing rights were established in 1880 when his ancestors settled the land where his ranch sits.
  • But the Nevada constitution–adopted in 1864 as a condition of statehood–contradicts Bundy’s right to operate as a law unto himself.
  • The constitution says: “The people inhabiting said territory do agree and declare, that they forever disclaim all right and title to the unappropriated public lands lying within said territory, and that the same shall be and remain at the sole and entire disposition of the United States.”
  • In 1934,  the Taylor Grazing Act gave existing ranchers permits allowing them to run their herds on federal land.
  • In turn, ranchers paid user fees, which were lower than what most private landowners would have charged.
  • In 1993, the Federal government launched an effort to protect the endangered desert tortoise.
  • Certain grasslands were placed off-limits for grazing, and the government bought out the permits of some ranchers.
  • Among others, Bundy refused to sell and kept grazing his cattle on restricted federal land without a permit.
  • Amidst mounting fees and fines, Bundy repeatedly slugged it out in court against government lawyers.  He lost.
  • In 1998, a federal judge permanently barred him from letting his cattle graze on protected federal land.
  • In early April, 2014, BLM agents–charged with overseeing grazing rights–began rounding up Bundy’s cattle to remove them from federal property.

Bundy’s family and other ranchers–backed up by a motley assortment of self-declared militiamen armed with rifles and pistols–confronted the agents.

Fearing another Waco–regarded by Right-wing Americans as a second Alamo–the BLM agents backed down and released Bundy’s cattle.  And then retreated.

While Right-wingers hail this as a victory for “states’ rights,” the truth is considerably different.

Bundy’s refusal to recognize the federal government’s jurisdiction amounts to: “I will recognize–and obey–only those laws that I happen to agree with.”

And the BLM’s performance offers a texbook lesson on how not to promote respect for the law–or for those who enforce it.

As Niccolo Machiavelli, the father of modern political science warned more than 500 years ago in The Prince:

[A ruler] is rendered despicable by being thought changeable, frivolous, effeminate, timid and irresolute—which [he] must guard against as a rock of danger…. 

[He] must contrive that his actions show grandeur, spirit, gravity and fortitude. 

As to the government of his subjects, let his sentence be irrevocable, and let him adhere to his decisions so that no one may think of deceiving or cozening him.

Niccolo Machiavelli

In his master-work, The Discouorses, he outlines the consequences of allowing lawbreakers to go unpunished:

…Having established rewards for good actions and penalties for evil ones, and having rewarded a citizen for conduct who afterwards commits a wrong, he should be chastised for that without regard to his previous merits….

For if a citizen who has rendered some eminent service to the state should add to the reputation and influence which he has thereby acquired the confident audacity of being able to commit any wrong without fear of punishment, he will in a little while become so insolent and overbearing as to put an end to all power of the law.

The conduct of the agents of BLM has violated that sage counsel on all counts.

BLM agents should have expected trouble from Right-wing militia groups–and come fully prepared to deal with it.

The FBI and the U.S. Marshals Service, for example, have created SWAT teams to deal with those who threaten  violence against the Federal Government.

Civil War General William Tecumseh Sherman had a formula for dealing with domestic terrorists of his own time.

Writing to his commander, Ulysses S. Grant, about the best way to treat Confederate guerrillas, he advised:

General Willilam Tecumseh Sherman

“They cannot be made to love us, but they may be made to fear us.  We cannot change the hearts of those people of the South.

“But we can make war so terrible that they will realize the fact that . . . they are still mortal and should exhaust all peaceful remedies before they fly to war.”

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