Martha Dodd wasn’t particularly happy when her father was appointed U.S. ambassador to Germany in 1933. When the family arrived in Berlin, Martha found the city irresistibly fascinating, and she immersed the tour guide in a steady stream of questions about architecture, history, and culture.
The touring car soon arrived at the Reichstag building, which four months earlier had been the scene of an arson attack that precipitated a politically convenient crisis. The terrorist incident, which was supposedly the work of a small knot of saboteurs led by a Dutch Communist named Marinus van der Lubbe, provided the impetus for passage of the "Law for Removing the Distress of People and Reich" – the "Enabling Act" that served as the legal foundation for the national socialist dictatorship.
At this point – July 1933 – the National Socialist Party had not fully consolidated its power, and many Germans publicly speculated "that the Nazi regime itself had orchestrated the fire to stir fears of a Bolshevik uprising and thereby gain popular support for the suspension of civil liberties," observes Erik Larson in his recent book In the Garden of Beasts. "The upcoming trial was the talk of Berlin."
Martha noticed that "contrary to what news reports had led her to expect, the building seemed intact," Larson relates. "The towers still stood and the facades appeared unmarked."
"Oh, I thought it was burned down!" she commented to the agitated protocol secretary who was conducting the tour. "It looks all right to me. Tell me what happened."
In reply to Martha's request, the protocol officer grabbed the young woman by the arm and hissed: "Young lady, you must learn to be seen and not heard. This isn’t America and you can’t say all the things you think."
People who challenged the government’s official version of events by asking impertinent questions faced the prospect of "protective custody." In Berlin circa 1933, this was called schutzhaft. In the contemporary American Reich this procedure is called "emergency custody."
Raub was handcuffed by the police when he displayed "resistance" – in this case, passive non-compliance. Following a perfunctory mental status hearing, Raub was confined to the John Randolph Medical Center, a branch of the American psychiatric gulag – or what the Soviets called the psihuska.
I recognize that this description mingles totalitarian idioms, but this is necessary in order to capture the specific flavor of American’s version of the Total State. It doesn’t offer the lurid pageantry of National Socialism, nor does it mimic the drab, soul-deadening grayness of the Soviet model. America’s "soft" totalitarianism blends some elements borrowed from its Soviet and Nazi predecessors, while adding a generous helping of the State-supervised consumerism depicted by Aldous Huxley.
Raub came to the attention of his overseers after publicly expressing doubts about the official narrative of the 9/11 attacks – the contemporary "Reichstag Fire" incident that led to the USA PATRIOT Act and the Bush administration’s open-ended Authorization for Use of Military Force. Those two measures, taken together, constitute the modern equivalent of Hitler’s "Enabling Act." Raub demanded the arrest and prosecution of elected and appointed officials responsible for myriad crimes against liberty and decency.
Although Raub was seized at gunpoint and dragged from his home in handcuffs, none of those who committed the act will admit to "arresting" him.
"The FBI did not arrest him," insisted Bureau spokesliar Dee Rybiski.
Raub "was not arrested by us on any charges," insisted Secret Service apparatchik Max Milien when asked about the case.
"We were assisting the FBI in this matter," simpered Lt. Rich McCullough of the Chesterfield Police Department. "All we did was transport him" to the psychiatric gulag.
Totalitarian states always require acts of immaculate suppression: Millions are seized, imprisoned, and slaughtered, and those atrocities somehow commit themselves without the conscious involvement of individuals.
One incident like the abduction of Brandon Raub could be considered an anomaly; two may be a coincidence; three constitute a pattern. Raub is just one of several Americans who have recently been taken into shutzhaft by operatives of the Homeland Security State.
When Corrigan, an Army Reservist employed by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, placed the phone call on February 2, 2010, he hadn’t slept for several days. He dialed what he thought was the number to the Military Emotional Support Hotline. While speaking with a counselor, Corrigan mentioned that he was a veteran, and answered "yes" when asked if he owned a firearm. He then turned off the phone, took a sleeping pill, and retired for the night.
At about 4:00 a.m., Corrigan was startled awake by the sound of his name being called through a police bullhorn. Ordered to come out of the house, Corrigan did so, locking the door behind him. He was surrounded by police, handcuffed, and put in the back of a van. When the officer commanding the Emergency Response Team (ERT, the local equivalent of SWAT) demanded access to his home, Corrigan replied: "There is no way I am giving you consent to enter my place."
Lt. Robert Glover, the on-scene ERT commander, angrily replied: "I don’t have time to play this constitutional bullsh*t!" and ordered the team to invade the property. Corrigan was taken to a VA hospital, where it was determined that he wasn’t a suicide risk. Despite the fact that he hadn’t been charged with a crime, Corrigan was held in jail for roughly two weeks before being released. He was also required to report each week to Pretrial Services.
In Corrigan's absence, the SWAT team ransacked his residence. Without either a warrant or probable cause, the police deployed a bomb squad to search for explosives and firearms. They eventually found two handguns and a rifle, all of which were legally owned and properly stored.
Corrigan was not the first innocent gun owner to be seized by a SWAT team and detained without criminal charges owing to his suspected psychological instability.
On March 8, 2010, David Pyles of Medford, Oregon awoke to find his home surrounded by company-strength contingent of police – two SWAT teams, officers from two local police departments, sheriff’s deputies from two counties, and troopers from the Oregon State Police. A few days earlier, Pyles had purchased two handguns and an AK-47 rifle. Shortly before he used a tax refund to buy the guns, Pyles had been put on administrative leave by the Oregon Department of Transportation.
This convergence of events led police to categorize Pyles – without evidence of criminal intent or derangement – as a "disgruntled employee" planning retaliation of some kind against his ODOT supervisor. The police that surrounded his house demanded that he submit to a mental health evaluation. They also seized his firearms for "safekeeping."
"They woke me up with a phone call at about 5:50 in the morning," Pyles recalled later. "I looked out the window and saw the SWAT team pointing their guns at my house. The officer on the phone told me to turn myself in. I told them I would, on three conditions: I would not be handcuffed. I would not be taken off my property. And I would not be forced to get a mental health evaluation. He agreed."
The negotiator, being a police officer, performed as he was trained to – that is to say, he lied.
"The second I stepped outside, they jumped me," continues Pyles. "Then they handcuffed me, took me off my property, and took me to get a mental health evaluation."
Within a few hours Pyles had been discharged from the hospital. He never saw the inside of a jail cell. The local police – most likely in reaction to a nation-wide outpouring of outrage triggered by their persecution of an innocent gun owner – returned the firearms, albeit not before lying to him again by claiming that he would have to undergo a second "background check."
All of this, according to Sgt. Jeff Proulx of the Oregon State Police, was a successful exercise in "proactive" police work.
The February 2010 paramilitary assault on the Salem County, Massachusetts home of engineer Gregory Girard was an even more egregious case. Girard had an unremarkable gun collection – at tota 11 legally purchased and registered rifles and two handguns. The police who stole Girard’s property described that collection as "an alarming, nearly military-grade stockpile," and his food storage supplies, flashlights, batteries, and camping gear as "military-style items."
Girard’s "arsenal" came to the attention of the police when his wife, a psychiatrist, told them that she was afraid to return to their home following an argument.On the following day the police were contacted by the ATF, which relayed a report from someone described as a "friend" of Girard’s wife who supposedly saw hand grenades in the apartment.
At the time, Girard held a Class A firearms license and had registered all of his weapons. Glenn McKiel, Chief of the Manchester-by-the-sea Police Department, revoked Girard’s license and called in the Cape Ann Response Team (CART) – the Homeland Security State’s local paramilitary affiliate – for a joint assault on Girard’s home.
Among the specific concerns related to the police by Girard’s wife was his supposedly alarming view that martial law is imminent. In terms of his personal experience, Girard’s fears were vindicated in every detail by the behavior of the police who invaded his home.
After four months of schutzhaft – that is, "protective" imprisonment – Girard saw his case "dismissed without a finding." He was designated a "ward of the court," compelled to undergo routine psychiatric evaluation and treatment, and notified that he could be arrested and subjected to indefinite detention at any time such action was deemed suitable by his persecutors. This was done to Girard because he was classified to be what law enforcement organs in the Soviet Union called a "socially dangerous person."
The same spurious classification was used to detain and disarm David Sarti, an honorably discharged Air Force veteran and truck driver from Lebanon, Tennessee. In January of this year, Sarti was declared "mentally incompetent" and had his firearms confiscated by the state government after appearing on the National Geographic Channel’s program "Doomsday Preppers." This was done on the pretext that Sarti, who had sought treatment following what he thought might have been a heart attack in late 2011, was supposedly a suicide risk.
During the examination, the physician brought up the subject of suicide. "I told him I can’t do suicide, because I’m a Christian," Sarti explains. Told that he had to go to the emergency room, Sarti objected that he had to see to his farm, and went home. Fifteen minutes later, sheriff’s deputies materialized on Sarti’s property and forcibly took him to the emergency room.
"The logic of sending somebody with a gun after somebody who’s going to commit suicide fails me," Sarti later pointed out. After being taken to the hospital by sheriff’s deputies, Sarti was detained for several hours while undergoing a lengthy and redundant series of tests. Protesting again that he had a farm to tend and animals to feed, Sarti told the hospital staff that he considered himself to be a "prisoner" and demanded to speak with an attorney. At that point he was taken to a mental health facility and held for "observation."
"At no time did I ever say I wanted to commit suicide," Sarti insists. "I feel that they put me in there [the mental health ward] because I made them mad by saying I was a prisoner … and I told them they were Gestapo."
Following his release, Sarti discovered that medical authorities had "terminated" his right to own firearms and seized his guns.
"You have been declared mentally defective by having been committed to a mental institution," declares the document Sarti received.
As was the case with Raub, Corrigan, Pyles, and Girard, Sarti was never accused of a crime. Sarti was not declared mentally unfit by a judge, nor has he ever said that he wanted to end his life. His refusal to take government-approved mind-altering drugs – one of which listed "suicidal thoughts" among its side-effects – was treated as evidence of his mental instability.
What clinched the case against him – in the eyes of his abductors – was Sarti’s "socially dangerous" political views: What responsible member of the community would promote the individualist heresy called "survivalism"?
The tacit message taught by each of these incidents is a variation on the survival advice given to Martha Dodd: This isn’t America anymore; you can’t say all the things you think.
This is why we must never neglect an opportunity to express those transgressive thoughts and impermissible opinions – and to prepare to defend ourselves when those who presume to rule us decide to take us into "protective custody."
William Norman Grigg [send him mail] publishes the Pro Libertate blog and hosts the Pro Libertate radio program.
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