The news you're not supposed to know...

Austrian Economics: Understand Economics, Understand the World
The Century of the Self: The Untold History of Controlling the Masses Through the Manipulation of Unconscious Desires
The Disappearing Male: From Virility to Sterility

The Obama Deception: The Mask Comes Off
Operation Gladio: The Hidden History of U.S. Sponsored False Flag Terrorism in EuropeThe New American Century: The Untold History of The Project for the New American Century
Article posted Apr 22 2013, 7:47 AM Category: Commentary Source: Sheldon Richman Print

Government Should Stop Its Own Violence First

by Sheldon Richman

The horrific bombings at the Boston Marathon have left us all stunned. We still don't know the perpetrators' motive, but there are some things we do know.

The bombers chose the most closely monitored location in all of Boston. They could have chosen a different site, knowing that all eyes were on the marathon route. But no. They chose the finish line of the oldest marathon in America.

Let that sink in. Since 9/11, law-abiding Americans have been subjected to intrusive "security" measures and civil-liberties infringements. We have been forced to pay billions of dollars for the Department of Homeland Security and increasingly militarized police departments.

What have we to show for it? Two men were able to detonate bombs at the most prominent point in a major city on its biggest day of the year. Intended or not, the bombing was a thumb in the eye of our so-called protectors. Bruce Schneier has aptly described the post-9/11 measures as "security theater."

Clearly, the emperor has no clothes.

Here's another thing we know: This was a crime, not an act of war. Even if a foreign organization or country was behind the heinous deed, the bombings in no way could have been calculated to conquer the United States, overthrow the government, or destroy our society. Violence intended to murder, injure, and terrorize is evil -- but in itself it is not an act of war.

This issue bears on how the surviving suspect (if hes caught alive) will be handled. Already it is being speculated that the perpetrator may not be read Miranda warnings, which are read to criminal suspects throughout the United States as part of the due process supposedly guaranteed by the Fifth Amendment. Former FBI special agent Donald Borelli told MSNBC host Chris Hayes that the authorities may want to interrogate the suspect without the traditional constraints of the criminal law. That could mean declaring the suspect an "enemy combatant," thus denying him the full protection of a trial in civilian criminal court -- which unfortunately President Obama has the unilateral power to do.

One of the ominous features of the post-9/11 world is the president's arbitrary power to treat suspects either like criminal defendants or enemy combatants. In 2002 Jose Padilla, an American citizen, was arrested on U.S. soil on suspicion of planning to detonate a "dirty bomb." (He was never charged with that crime, however.) At first he was treated like an enemy combatant, deprived of the due process accorded criminal suspects, and during his three-and-a-half years in a military prison, subjected to torture (aka "enhanced interrogation techniques"). Padilla challenged his military detention in court, but before he could get to the Supreme Court, the Bush administration moved his case to the civilian criminal-justice system. This prompted a federal appeals court to wonder if, fearing a bad precedent, the administration did so simply to keep the case out of the Supreme Court. Padilla was eventually convicted of conspiring to "murder, kidnap, and maim people overseas."

Of course, after many years, enemy combatants still languish at Guantanamo Bay without charge or prospect of release.

Obama should immediately announce that the Boston bombing will be handled like a criminal case. That would set a good example for the world.

The tragedy in Boston shows that something is dreadfully wrong with how the U.S. government handles terrorism. If the government is willing to use aggressive force including torture to get its way, we should not be surprised when others are too. It's time for fresh thinking. If the politicians would break out of their old mindset, they might yet succeed in preventing such violence without interfering with the rights of Americans or others. In fact, they would show new respect for freedom. How so?

Governments at all levels must renounce all aggressive violence against Americans and people in other countries. This means ending military and CIA intervention abroad. Drones have murdered, wounded, and -- yes -- terrorized many people in several countries. Military occupation has killed and abused countless others. At home, police departments brutalize Americans every day in the dishonestly named "war on drugs" and "war on guns." All told, government's business is mayhem.

Violence begets violence. It is time for the official violence to stop.
Sheldon Richman is vice president of The Future of Freedom Foundation and editor of FFF's monthly journal, Future of Freedom. For 15 years he was editor of The Freeman, published by the Foundation for Economic Education in Irvington, New York. He is the author of FFF's award-winning book Separating School & State: How to Liberate America's Families; Your Money or Your Life: Why We Must Abolish the Income Tax; and Tethered Citizens: Time to Repeal the Welfare State. Calling for the abolition, not the reform, of public schooling. Separating School & State has become a landmark book in both libertarian and educational circles. In his column in the Financial Times, Michael Prowse wrote: "I recommend a subversive tract, Separating School & State by Sheldon Richman of the Cato Institute, a Washington think tank... . I also think that Mr. Richman is right to fear that state education undermines personal responsibility..." Sheldon's articles on economic policy, education, civil liberties, American history, foreign policy, and the Middle East have appeared in the Washington Post, Wall Street Journal, American Scholar, Chicago Tribune, USA Today, Washington Times, The American Conservative, Insight, Cato Policy Report, Journal of Economic Development, The Freeman, The World & I, Reason, Washington Report on Middle East Affairs, Middle East Policy, Liberty magazine, and other publications. He is a contributor to the The Concise Encyclopedia of Economics. A former newspaper reporter and senior editor at the Cato Institute and the Institute for Humane Studies, Sheldon is a graduate of Temple University in Philadelphia. He blogs at Free Association. Send him e-mail.

Latest Commentary
- Paul Craig Roberts Rages At The "Arrogance, Hubris, & Stupidity" Of The US Government
- Let's Talk About...The Plague
- With Mass Shootings, The State Makes Us Less Safe
- Good News: 27% Of Americans Say Government Is Their 'Enemy,' Not Their 'Friend'
- Fear Is The Name of The Game
- This Thanksgiving, Let's Say 'No Thanks' to The Tyranny of The American Police State
- Donald Trump's Presidential "Heel Turn"
- Katniss Vs. Power: The Lessons of Hunger Games

Comments Add Comment Page 1 of 1

Posted: Apr 22 2013, 10:30 AM

687 the 5th amendment is dead.the cops can pull you off the street anytime they want and make an accusation.put a force a needle in your arm and charge you with a negative test and the d.a. will charge you even with a neg. least here in san diego ca..have a stroke while in jail and ask for medical help and they say "fuck you'.san diego county sheriffs are 99% worthless!any lawyers out there I have been unable to work 2 yrs. now and on 5 lbs. lift restriction,stress caused by cops defaming me to neighborhood and beyond and refuse to investigate their own.have been harassed numerous times on block witnessed by neighbors.gops still refuse to investigate.again 99%worthless!

Add Comment


Verification *
Please Enter the Verification Code Seen Below

Please see our About Page, our Disclaimer, and our Comments Policy.

This site contains copyrighted material the use of which in some cases has not been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. Such material is made available for the purposes of news reporting, education, research, comment, and criticism, which constitutes a 'fair use' of such copyrighted material in accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond 'fair use', you must obtain permission from the copyright owner. It is our policy to respond to notices of alleged infringement that comply with the DMCA and other applicable intellectual property laws. It is our policy to remove material from public view that we believe in good faith to be copyrighted material that has been illegally copied and distributed by any of our members or users.

About Us - Disclaimer - Privacy Policy

Advanced Search


Remember Me
Forgot Password?

VIDEO: Off-Duty Cop Rams His SUV Into Man's Car For Trying To Hold Him Accountable For Reckless Driving - 11/30Donald Sutherland Reveals The Real Meaning Of The Hunger Games - 11/27The Mathematical Paradox That Destroys The Argument For NSA Surveillance - 11/30Police Brutality Victim Mysteriously Killed a Day Before Receiving $450k Settlement - 11/30Paul Craig Roberts Rages At The "Arrogance, Hubris, & Stupidity" Of The US Government - 11/30Drone Pilots Have Bank Accounts and Credit Cards Frozen by Feds For Exposing US Murder - 11/27Two Brave Cops Under Attack For Exposing Militarization and Corruption in Their Department - 11/30Georgia Sheriff Puts Up Sign Warning People Who Disagree With Him About God to Leave - 11/27

Man Follows Speeding Cop, Finds Out He Was Speeding To Buy PeanutsMission Creeps: Homeland Security Agents Confiscate Women's Panties For 'Copyright Infringement'Cop Shoots Couple's Dog, Threatens Jail For Trying To Save Dog's LifeSWAT Team Shoots Teen Girl & Her Dog During Pot Raid On Wrong HomeDurham, NC Cop Testifies Faking 911 Calls To Enter Homes Is "Official Policy"Indiana Sheriff Says US A "War Zone" To Justify New MRAP Military VehicleTampa Cops Surveil Pot Dealer, Catch Him Selling Pot, Raid His Home & Kill Him"You Just Shot An Unarmed Man!": Witness Says Police Shot His Friend With His Hands Up