Tuesday, December 30, 2014

The torture mentality in lawless authorities

Digby has a very good post linking the lawless attitude of way too many of our armed authorities to the CIA-military torture crimes, the use of tasers by police and other forms of police brutality (Dispatch from torture nation, year end wrap up Hullabaloo 12/30/2014):

The problems with this attitude have been well documented here and elsewhere. Elderly people with dementia are being killed with electro-shock. Small children are being disciplined with electro-shock. The mentally ill, the deaf and those suffering from epilepsy are being tortured because they cannot understand, hera or respond to police orders. Average citizens are being tortured on the side of the highway, in their homes, everywhere for failing to understand that when a police officer stops them they are not allowed to speak or react in any way lest they be shot through with electricity.

All these people live under the assumption that their rights exist whether they are talking to a police officer or are in custody. This is not true in any practical sense. When a police officer stops you in America they believe you must submit immediately --- and if you feel your rights were violated you can get a lawyer and take it up with a judge. In that moment they do not exist. (And needless to say, the way police are coddled by the justice system your chances of getting justice in any altercation with them are fairly nil.)

This is the way police are behaving toward citizens of all races throughout America. Police are torturing citizens into compliance.

But too many young black men do not even get the taser. They are just shot dead. And in circumstances where the taser, if it were used for something other than torture, was supposed to be used --- where the alternative would be deadly force.
This has to change. The public either succeeds in rolling this trend back, or it gets worse and does further damage to democracy and the rule of law.

Charlie Pierce also weighed in on this link (The CIA & NYPD: Perilous Insubordination in Our Democracy Esquire Politics Blog 12/22/2014):

For the past two weeks, on two different fronts, we have been confronted with the unpleasant fact that there are people working in the institutions of our self-government who believe themselves not only beyond the control and sanctions of the civil power, but also beyond the control and sanctions of their direct superiors. We also have been confronted with the fact that there are too many people in our political elite who are encouraging this behavior for their own purposes, most of which are cheap and dangerous. In Washington, John Brennan, the head of the CIA, came right up to the edge of insubordination against the president who hired him in the wake of the Senate report on American torture. Meanwhile, in New York, in the aftermath of weeks of protests against the strangulation of Eric Garner by members of the New York Police Department, two patrolmen, Wenjian Liu and Rafael Ramos, were murdered in their squad car by a career criminal and apparent maniac named Ismaaiyl Brinsley. In response, and at the encouragement of television hucksters like Joe Scarborough, police union blowhards like Patrick Lynch, political zombies like George Pataki, and comical fascists like Rudolph Giuliani, the NYPD is acting in open rebellion against Mayor Bill de Blasio of New York, and the civil power he represents over them. This is an incredibly perilous time for democracy at the most basic levels.
Our culture of immunity for murderers in police uniforms. For torturers in any capacity. For high officials and wealthy CEO's who commit crimes that damage the lives of other, sometimes on a large scale.

To me the most serious failure of the Obama Administration has been its decision to give torture perpetrators de facto immunity. I don't care if it was politically inconvenient. It's his duty. And in failing to do it he has become an after-the-fact enabler of the torture crimes of the Cheney Administration.

Torture attacks the rule of law in the most basic way. Even more so than capital punishment.

The torture issue isn't going away.

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