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Article posted Apr 24 2013, 3:46 PM Category: Commentary Source: Michael S. Rozeff Print

What's Bad About a House-to-House Search?

by Michael S. Rozeff

Unless the search passes certain legal criteria, it is illegal.

The search in Boston set a precedent, which means that such searches can be generalized to other places in America and to other situations, unless whoever authorized the Boston search is reprimanded and sanctioned for having ordered it. That seems to be Governor Deval Patrick, at a minimum.

Unless this search is clearly labeled and understood as being illegal and wrong, it creates a precedent. This changes the law de facto, even if not de jure. A de facto change will become a de jure change if only by interpretation

But what's bad about such a precedent? What's bad about the police having the power to make house-to-house searches routinely?

Consider what sorts of searches were common in totalitarian countries. This provides an inkling of the results of such police power.

First of all, America is in some respects following a path that Nazi Germany followed. I quote from one account:

"Police manpower was even extended by the incorporation of Nazi paramilitary organizations as auxiliary policemen. The Nazis centralized and fully funded the police to better combat criminal gangs and promote state security. The Nazi state increased staff and training, and modernized police equipment."

This has been happening in America for some time now. These are initial steps in creating a police state. The centralization is done through building authoritative organizations that control local deviations in behavior and through funding. The funding brings in militarization and central coordination, training, and routines.

From the same source, we next read

"The Nazis offered the police the broadest latitude in arrests, incarceration, and the treatment of prisoners. The police moved to take 'preventive action' that is, to make arrests without the evidence required for a conviction in court and indeed without court supervision at all."

We are seeing in America a broad latitude given to police in making charges against civilians, in mistreating them and getting off the hook, in killing civilians in some cases rather than arresting them, in bringing false evidence into courts, in lying under oath and having their words accepted, and in seizing property. We also see prosecutors suppressing evidence and bringing false charges. Add to these misbehaviors and others the fact that almost anyone can be guilty of one or more felonies. When all is said and done, police are subjecting a significant fraction of America's population to a police state.

Highway and transportation searches are already common. Here's a photo dated Feb. 27, 1933 of German police searching a car for arms:




America is not going to follow what Nazi Germany did in any kind of lockstep fashion. There is too much variation in situations and events and laws for any two societies to mimic one another precisely. The American police state already has some unique features such as the LOCKDOWN. The spectacle of Americans being routed from their homes with raised arms and herded down the street is not too far, however, from German soldiers arresting Jews in Warsaw in 1943:



In a house-to-house search, police can find evidence of many wrongdoings. This depends on other laws that are passed and what items may be searched. Police could find a copyright violation on most everyone's computer, for example. They could find drugs. They could find out-of-date prescription drugs. They could find weapons. They could find cash and seize it. It is the search power combined with other laws that become a powerful tool of repression.

"The Nazis took control and transformed the traditional police forces of the Weimar Republic into an instrument of state repression and, eventually, of genocide."

Even without other law, the mere interaction of common people with police in house-to-house searches can result in arguments, altercations, arrests, injuries and deaths. The police expect obedience and deference. In Watertown, they demanded that people leave their homes and raise their arms over their heads. There are many situations where people don't want to leave, or cannot due to illness, or who do not understand what's going on, or refuse to kowtow, or who naturally resist intimidation. Arrests and charges lead to criminal records and subsequently affect everything from employment to getting a loan to traveling to having a firearm.

In an article on one of the Russian police agencies while under Communist rule, we read

"Leonid Brezhnev reverted the State and KGB to actively harsh suppression routine house searches to seize documents and the continual monitoring of dissidents."

Once searches become routine, i.e., without warrants or under very loose conditions, then police can intrude for any number of activities that the authorities have deemed illegal or a threat to the authority of the State itself. In Russia, this included political speech against the State. In America, all sorts of records of money transactions might be monitored or seized in order to detect "suspicious" political contributions or other activities, for example.

House-to-house searches, of course, make hash out of privacy.

So, in short, what is bad about these house-to-house searches that we have just witnessed?

They set a bad precedent in which Americans allow measures that significantly raise the likelihood of further repressive measures in the future. Why does the threat of further repression go up? It's because these searches are illegal. Undermining rights and respect for rights helps set the stage for further measures that repress liberty. It's because these searches follow closely upon the heels of other measures that have already laid the foundation of an American police state.

This is the direction in which America is headed.

The reason for this direction is terrorism directed at America. The reason for the terrorism is the conclusion among the men engaging in it that Islam is under attack and/or that the lands in which Islam is prominent are under attack.

Washington will continue to go into places like Libya, Yemen, Lebanon, Jordan, Pakistan, Somalia, Iraq, and therefore retaliation can be expected. The empire will continue to use drones that kill innocents. It will continue to pressure Iran. It will continue undermining Syria. It will continue to try to change the politics of these lands. It will continue with its benighted Israel policy. It will continue to support the military-industrial complex, which is one major source of all of this unnecessary expansion.

Consequently, at home, it will continue to turn America into a target for jihadist attacks, and it will continue police measures that can easily turn the whole country into a police state.
_
Michael S. Rozeff [send him mail] is a retired Professor of Finance living in East Amherst, New York. He is the author of the free e-book Essays on American Empire: Liberty vs. Domination and the free e-book The U.S. Constitution and Money: Corruption and Decline.





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Comments 1 - 8 of 8 Add Comment Page 1 of 1
dougo

Posted: Apr 24 2013, 5:33 PM

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687 cops,don't even come to my house for any reason!if you have a ligit warrant ok.but no matter what I will refuse to talk to you or help you in any way!you have earned the disrespect of very large part of the nation!most cops have dishonored their powers [you took an oath not us]and luckily most judges put the brakes on them.here in san diego a lot of cops are hired out of the unemployment line because bosses in the civilian sector in their right mind refuse to hire them for every 3 good cops there are 300 asshole cops.most of you are not needed.u r mostly worthless.
Anonymous

Posted: Apr 24 2013, 7:09 PM

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173242 I once read of a case in which a guy downloaded a movie from the internet. It was a compressed file. When he decompressed it there were two folders: one containing the movie, the other containing child porn. When he saw what was in the second folder he deleted it immediately. A year later the FBI showed up at his house regarding what he downloaded. He was very co-operative and explained what happened. They wanted to search his computer, and he said okay. They found that he was telling the truth and had deleted it just as he said he had. They went ahead and arrested him anyway. Know why? They were mad that he hadn't reported it.
Anonymous

Posted: Apr 24 2013, 10:50 PM

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17365 We have been living in a police/militarized state across the countrry for some time now , government cant legally declare it but actions speak far lounder than the politicians forked tongues.
You know were done when the government is trying to make it ok to use drones on our own people, the discussion is going on in high places at this very moment. one day your walking out of the 7 eleven with some chips and dip and poof youve been turned into confetti by a missle from a unmanned aircraft. for what reason? ......whoopsy my bad. Next!
Anonymous

Posted: Apr 25 2013, 5:23 AM

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11893 You used to be so cool America. Now you are a bunch shit eating, scared of your own shadow, police intimidated mother fuckers. I count the days till you implode. I just hope you don't take the rest of us down with your pathetic, religious, holier then thou, gun grabbing bullshit. The rest of the world knows you're full of shit, why don't you? Man up and put a bullet in that niggers head.
Anonymous

Posted: Apr 25 2013, 10:21 AM

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165234 @11893 I love you.
Anonymous

Posted: Apr 25 2013, 2:09 PM

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17444 The Nazis did not commit genocide it was the Jews throughout history that committed genocide. When you talk about the police state we should be bringing up Jewish Communism because thats what it is about.
Anonymous

Posted: Apr 28 2013, 6:01 PM

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765 What would be some steps that a government would use before taking over?THINK about this for a minute.They would creat false crisis and they undermind the constitation that would take rights from the people they would divid the people against one another also taking side. under mind our values then they would disarm us.all these things would come about to take over america and then people would be under the governments control. That is called communism. My family lived in germany under Hitler. As a small child my grandparents told me how it was and what they lived through. It isn't fun or it isn't much of a life to live under order's of everything being mandate that is the first steps of taking freedom. This is what I was told as a small child now i am a senior in my 60's. The very first thing before all these steps are taken the government or leaders which ever way you wnt to say it. They act as your friend then slowly do little things over and over until you don't see it as strange. Then they saw something has happend and they rounded all the germans and jews in camps. so many starved to death my grandparents told me . and they even drain blood from little childrens bodies just enough to have a mother or father open their arms to welcome their child only to watch it drop and dead at their hands. I Hope this will not ever happen but I am seeing many things that was told of how it happens They fool us in believing they are protecting us. and many events that my family and many others were told we only staged events to gather up the peolpe and many were german as my family not jews.I hope I am wrong but now my grandparents are gone but my parents are living and they have seen a pattern of the things going on for some time.drones are not so good to use but something is very wrong when the government tell you this can happen no one say's anything but now that many are seeing the pattern. what? what can be done? We do not have rights even our healthcare only gives the government more power their are more laws in this than for health care and any and all treatment before a doctor can treat us has to get the okay from washington health panel.already cancer treatment centers are turning patients away. we are being made to get ready... we aint seen nothin yet.
scout

Posted: Aug 24 2013, 9:12 PM

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6441 Who is getting a court challenge on this mega violation?
Comments 1 - 8 of 8 Page 1 of 1


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