Exclusively in the new print issue of CounterPunch
SHOCK AND AWE OVER GAZA — Jonathan Cook reports from the West Bank on How the Media and Human Rights Groups Cover for Israel’s War Crimes; Jeffrey St. Clair on Why Israel is Losing; Nick Alexandrov on Honduras Five Years After the Coup; Joshua Frank on California’s Water Crisis; Ismael Hossein-Zadeh on Finance Capital and Inequality; Kathy Deacon on The Center for the Whole Person; Kim Nicolini on the Aesthetics of Jim Jarmusch. PLUS: Mike Whitney on the Faltering Economic Recovery; Chris Floyd on Being Trapped in a Mad World; and Kristin Kolb on Cancer Without Melodrama.
The Biggest Threat America Faces is From Its Own Government

Police are More Dangerous to the Public Than Criminals

by PAUL CRAIG ROBERTS

The worse threat every American faces comes from his/her own government.

At the federal level the threat is a seventh war (Syria) in 12 years, leading on to the eighth and ninth (Iran and Lebanon) and then on to nuclear war with Russia and China.

The criminal psychopaths in Washington have squandered trillions of dollars on their wars, killing and dispossessing millions of Muslims while millions of American citizens have been dispossessed of their homes and careers.  Now the entire social safety net is on the chopping bloc so that Washington can finance more wars.

At the state and local level every American faces brutal, armed psychopaths known as the police. The “law and order” conservatives and the “compassionate” liberals stand silent while police psychopaths brutalize children and grandmothers, murder double amputees in wheel chairs, break into the wrong homes, murder the family dogs, and terrify the occupants, pointing their automatic assault weapons in the faces of small children.

The American police perform no positive function. They pose a much larger threat to citizens than do the criminals who operate without a police badge.  Americans would be  safer if the police forces were abolished.

The police have been militarized and largely federalized by the Pentagon and the gestapo Homeland Security. The role of the federal government in equipping state and local police with military weapons, including tanks, and training in their use has essentially removed the police from state and local control.  No matter how brutal any police officer, it is rare that any suffer more than a few months suspension, usually with full pay, while a report is concocted that clears them of any wrong doing.

In America today, police murder with impunity.  All the psychopaths have to say is, “I thought his wallet was a gun,” or “we had to taser the unconscious guy we found lying on the ground, because he wouldn’t obey our commands to get up.”

There are innumerable cases of 240 pound cop psychopaths beating a 115 pound woman black and blue.  Or handcuffing and carting off to jail 6 and 7 year old boys for having a dispute on the school playground.

Many Americans take solace in their erroneous belief that this only happens to minorities who they believe deserve it, but psychopaths use their unaccountable power against everyone. The American police are a brutal criminal gang free of civilian control.

Unaccountable power, which the police have, always attracts psychopaths.  You are lucky if you only get bullies, but mainly police forces attract people who enjoy hurting people and tyrannizing them.  To inflict harm on the public is why psychopaths join police forces.

Calling the police is a risky thing to do. Often it is the person who calls for help or some innocent person who ends up brutalized or murdered by the police.  For example, on September 15 CNN reported a case of a young man who wrecked his car and went to a nearby house for help. The woman, made paranoid by the “war on crime,” imagined that she was in danger and called police. When the police arrived, the young man ran up to them, and the police shot him dead.

People who say the solution is better police training are unaware of how the police are trained. Police are trained to perceive the public as the enemy and to use maximum force. I have watched local police forces train. Two or three dozen officers will simultaneously empty their high-capacity magazines at the same target, a minimum of 300 bullets fired at one target. The purpose is to completely destroy whatever is on the receiving end of police fire.

howecon

US prosecutors seem to be the equal to police in terms of the psychopaths in their ranks.  The United States, “the light unto the world,” not only has the highest percentage of its population in prison of every other country in the world, but also has the largest absolute number of people in prison. The US prison population is much larger in absolute numbers that the prison populations of China and India, countries with four times the US population.

Just try to find a prosecutor who gives a hoot about the innocence or guilt of the accused who is in his clutches.  All the prosecutor cares about is his conviction rate.

The higher his conviction rate, the greater his success even if every person convicted is innocent. The higher his conviction rate, the more likely he can run for public office.

Many prosecutors, such as Rudy Giuliani, target well known people so that they can gain name recognition via the names of their victims.

The American justice (sic) system serves the political ambitions of prosecutors and the murderous lusts of police psychopaths.  It serves the profit motives of the privatized prisons who need high occupancy rates for their balance sheets.

But you can bet your life that the American justice (sic) system does not serve justice.

While writing this article, I googled “police brutality,” and google delivered 4,100,000 results.  If a person googles “police brutality videos,” he will discover that there are more videos than could be watched in a lifetime.  And these are only those acts of police brutality that are witnessed and caught on camera.

It would take thousands of pages just to compile the information available.

The facts seem to support the case that police in the US commit more crimes and acts of violence against the public than do the criminals who do not wear badges. According to the FBI crime statistics in 2010 there were 1,246,248 violent crimes committed by people without police badges. Keep in mind that the definition of violent crime can be an expansive definition. For example, simply to push someone is considered assault.  If two people come to blows in an argument, both have committed assault.  However, even with this expansive definition of violent crimes, police assaults are both more numerous and more dangerous, as it is usually a half dozen overweight goon thugs beating and tasering one person.

Reports of police brutality are commonplace, but hardly anything is ever done about them. For example, on September 10, AlterNet reported that Houston, Texas, police routinely beat and murder local citizens.

The threat posed to the public by police psychopaths is growing rapidly. Last July 19 the  Wall Street Journal reported:  “Driven by martial rhetoric and the availability of military-style equipment–from bayonets and M-16 rifles to armored personnel carriers–American police forces have often adopted a mind-set previously reserved for the battlefield. The war on drugs and, more recently, post-9/11 antiterrorism efforts have created a new figure on the US scene: the warrior cop–armed to the teeth, ready to deal harshly with targeted wrongdoers, and a growing threat to familiar American liberties.”

The Wall Street Journal, being an establishment newspaper, has to put it as nicely as possible.  The bald fact is that today’s cop in body armor with assault weapons, grenades, and tanks is not there to make arrests of suspected criminals.  He is there in anticipation of protests to beat down the public for exercising constitutional rights.

To suppress public protests is also the purpose of the Department of Homeland Security Police, a federal para-military police force that is a new development for the United States.  No one in their right mind could possibly think that the vast militarized police have been created because of “the terrorist threat.”  Terrorists are so rare that the FBI has to round up demented people and talk them into a plot so that the “terrorist threat” can be kept alive in the public’s mind.

The American public is too brainwashed to be able to defend itself.  Consider the fact that cops seldom face any consequence when they murder citizens. We never hear cops called “citizen killer.”  But if a citizen kills some overbearing cop bully, the media go ballistic:  “Cop killer, cop killer.”   The screaming doesn’t stop until the cop killer is executed.

As long as a brainwashed public continues to accept that cop lives are more precious than their own, citizens will continue to be brutalized and murdered by police psychopaths.

I can remember when the police were different.  If there was a fight, the police broke it up.  If it was a case of people coming to blows over a dispute, charges were not filed.

If it was a clear case of assault, unless it was brutal or done with use of a weapon, the police usually left it up to the victim to file charges.

When I lived in England, the police walked their beats armed only with their billysticks.

When and why did it all go wrong?  Among the collection of probable causes are the growth or urban populations, the onslaught of heavy immigration on formerly stable and predictable neighborhoods, the war on drugs, and management consultants called in to improve efficiency who focused police on quantitative results, such as the number of arrests, and away from such traditional goals as keeping the peace and investigating reported crimes.

Each step of the way accountability was removed in order to more easily apprehend criminals and drug dealers.  The “war on terror” was another step, resulting in the militarization of the police.

The replacement of jury trials with plea bargains meant that police investigations ceased to be tested in court or even to support the plea, usually a fictitious crime reached by negotiation in order to obtain a guilty plea.  Police learned that all prosecutors needed was a charge and that little depended on police investigations.  Police work became sloppy. It was easier simply to pick up a suspect who had a record of having committed a similar crime.

As justice receded as the goal, the quality of people drawn into police work changed. Idealistic people found that their motivations were not compatible with the process, while bullies and psychopaths were attracted by largely unaccountable power.

Much of the blame can be attributed to “law and order” conservatives.  Years ago when New York liberals began to observe the growing high-handed behavior of police, they called for civilian police review boards. Conservatives, such as National Review’s William F. Buckley, went berserk, claiming that any oversight over the police would hamstring the police and cause crime to explode.

The conservatives could see no threat in the police, only in an effort to hold police accountable. As far as I can tell, this is still the mindset.

What we observed in the police response to the Boston Marathon bombing suggests that the situation is irretrievable.  One of the country’s largest cities and its suburbs–100 square miles–was tightly locked down, while 10,000 heavily armed police, essentially combat soldiers armed with tanks, forced their way into people’s homes, ordering them out at gunpoint. The excuse given for this unprecedented gestapo police action was a search for one wounded 19-year old kid.

That such a completely unnecessary and unconstitutional event could occur in Boston without the responsible officials being removed from office indicates that “the land of the free” no longer exists. The American population of the past, suspicious of government and jealous of its liberty, has been replaced by a brainwashed and fearful people, who are increasingly referred to as “the sheeple.”

Paul Craig Roberts is a former Assistant Secretary of the US Treasury and Associate Editor of the Wall Street Journal. His latest book The Failure of Laissez-Faire Capitalism. Roberts’ How the Economy Was Lost is now available from CounterPunch in electronic format.