Monday, April 21, 2008

Can we call it a police state yet?

By Libby

Radley Balko flags an under-reported story that raised my civil libertarian warning system into the red zone. He tells us, "Last week, federal, state, and local police in Tennessee, Mississippi, and Arkansas conducted a massive sweep, including raids of businesses, homes, and boats; traffic roadblocks; and personal body searches."

Radley has the supporting links to the full coverage, but here's some of the gory details on Operation Sudden Impact. This massive police force, that numbered in the hundreds, swarmed the target zone, allegedly looking for terrorists. They seized computers and paperwork from businesses. The accounts vary wildly but reports state 332 people were arrested and either 202 or 1,292 people were cited for traffic violations. (Clearly there's a typo in one of those reports.) The 100 sheriff's deputies also "recovered 12.2 grams of heroin, 19 syringes and seized $1,795."

So in other words, our law enforcement authorities spent at least tens of thousands of dollars on a quasi-military sweep and busted a few low level drug users and a whole bunch of bad drivers. No terrorists were reported to be injured or arrested in the shakedown. This is how 9/11 changed everything. Our own government terrorizes us to "keep us safe" under the aegis of "fighting terrorism." But here's what should raise alarm bells with every civil libertarian.
Even though Memphis hasn't suffered a terrorist attack, the city is using federal grants to fight crime, which might lead to the discovery of a terrorist suspect. Other cities are using federal money with similar programs.
This is just the beginning of a new trend in domestic law enforcement. As far as they're concerned, we are all terrorists now. To paraphrase the old saying, just because you haven't done anything wrong, doesn't mean they won't come looking for you.

[cross-posted to The Reaction]

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7 Comments:

OpenID expatbrian said...

Have you ever wondered how closely the "leftist" blogs are monitored? Are we in an 'at risk' group for harrassment and possible arrest? Sometimes I wonder what I might encounter when I enter customs on returning to the US.
It's become a scary place.

7:48:00 PM  
Blogger Libby Spencer said...

I haven't traveled internationally since 2003 because I didn't want to find out Brian.

9:14:00 PM  
Blogger Capt. Fogg said...

I don't think we know the half of what they are doing and planning to do with our latest witch hunt. The technology is far beyond what it was in 1984.

Some thought things would get better when Communism lost it's credibility as the universal enemy, but "terrorists" will always be here, forever and ever. . .

8:41:00 AM  
Blogger Libby Spencer said...

They've been renaming activists as terrorists for a long time already. Eco-terrorists as it were. I don't know what they call the Quakers but they certainly have been watching them forever. And of course ordinary drug users are narco-terrorists.

I wish we had impeached the bastards five years ago when I begging people to do it.

9:05:00 AM  
Blogger Tricky Dick Nixon said...

But let's be fair now, Libby. When an environmental activist intentionally sets fire to a housing development he or she disapproves of, that is terrorism. What happened to Dr. King's method?

1:10:00 PM  
Blogger JonBoy said...

It is unbelievably amazing to realize just how much you sound like gun rights advocates in these comments.

A police state is an unavoidable consequence of liberal policy, and very nearly so with what are now passing as conservatives. The only way I see to avoid it is to break the two party system and bring about some real libertarianism, but I do not see it happening.

1:35:00 AM  
Blogger Libby Spencer said...

Dick, unless they deliberately set the fire with the intention of hurting innocent victims, and if we're thinking of the same ELF case, where they carefully made sure the place was empty of people, it's not terrorism, it's simple arson and vandalism. I don't condone it, but it's not terrorism.

jonboy, I AM a gunrights advocate and I have a lot of libertarian tendencies. My only beef with Libertarians is their wholesale defense of the corporatocracy.

8:37:00 AM  

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