Tuesday, October 31, 2006

N.O.W. lets Connecticut Governor M. Jodi Rell know she sucks

Rell is a woman, her opponent is a man. NOW endorses the man.

When former Connecticut Governor John G. Rowland was shot down in flames, sent to the Federal Penn for being "Freebie" and "Bribe Taker Boy", there was a question on whether or not Rell would keep former Connecticut State Police Commissioner and Judge Arthur Spada on as the head of the police in Connecticut.

Spada had demoted a woman in his office out of his office because she was a woman. I contacted Rell and her chief of staff and asked the simple question if she was going to keep a man on that had a problem with women in power. I copied in N.O.W.

Rell is part of Connecticut's corruption and ethics problem, she is not part of the solution. Those involved in helping Rowland cover up misdeeds and crimes are still on with Rell. Rell is part of the cover-up. Rell knowingly appoints judges that have no experience and no qualifications. It is part of the "I'll scratch your back and you better remember to scratch mine," Good Ole Boy Network. Rell's administration has more in common with something out of a How To Mafia Code Book than in anything Constitutional or American.

Just Say NO to RELL come election time. Vote the "C" out.

-Steven G. Erickson a.k.a. blogger Vikingas

click here for videos and post about my core gripes with Official Connecticut

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NOW Chooses Man Over Woman Women's Group Favors DeStefano
October 31, 2006 By CHRISTOPHER KEATING, Capitol Bureau Chief, The Hartford Courant

It's rare when the state chapter of the National Organization for Women fails to endorse the female candidate. But NOW on Monday endorsed New Haven Mayor John DeStefano for governor, choosing the Democrat over a popular woman incumbent.

The endorsement does not bring much money, but it brings help from phone-bankers and name recognition from 5,000 members known to be politically active, said Rosemary Dempsey, Connecticut NOW's president.

"Although Mayor DeStefano's opponent is a woman, it is crystal clear which gubernatorial candidate is best for the women of Connecticut," she said without naming Republican Gov. M. Jodi Rell.

One of the reasons for the endorsement was the controversy over a bill that would require all hospitals to provide the "Plan B" emergency contraceptive, the so-called "morning after pill," to rape victims.

Rell opposed the bill this year, saying there is no reason to change state law and that Roman Catholic hospitals should not be forced to provide pills that violate their beliefs. Rell's running mate, former state Rep. Michael Fedele, said in a debate last week that the issue will become "moot" Jan. 1 when Plan B becomes available over the counter.

Fedele's "comments clearly show that he is completely out of touch with reality and victim's rights," according to NOW.

Rell's campaign spokesman, Rich Harris, declined comment on the endorsement, but said that the situation will change next year when the pill will no longer require a prescription.

"A rape crisis counselor could carry the medication," Harris said Monday.

"Anyone could have it and provide it. It is the governor's hope and belief that by making this medication available over the counter ... it will avoid any situation where a rape victim is caught between her needs and any religious conflict."

NOW's endorsement of DeStefano came on the same day that Rell was endorsed by the nonpartisan National Federation of Independent Business, the nation's largest small-business advocacy group.

While serving in the state legislature, Rell received the organization's highest rating - 100 percent.

"It recognizes the work the governor has done to try to make Connecticut a better place to do business and a better place to grow jobs," Harris said.

With one week remaining before Election Day, many of the state's major newspapers have made endorsements. DeStefano has been endorsed by The Courant and the New Haven Register, while Rell received the nod from The New York Times, The Day of New London, the Danbury News Times and the Stamford Advocate/Greenwich Time.

Contact Christopher Keating at ckeating@courant.com

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Small Businesses don’t do well in Sleaze Central.

There is too many officials and too much money being spent. Connecticut is losing population and yet, there is more spending, more judges being appointed, more cops, more officials to officially kidnap kids to defraud Federal Taxpayers and the Rowland Style Corruption Machine is still in business.

If you are not “connected” in Connecticut to the Mafia, the new Connecticut Style Mafia, and all their criminal and corporate raider friends you can become toast.

Eminent Domain is now the national precedent, Thank You Connecticut.

Rell is not addressing the Chief Justice William Sullivan abuse and rape of the Citizenry. The dirty deals and secrets are swept under the rug until after election time.

All 3 Branches of Connecticut Government need a good Hurricane Katrina flushing out of Sleazebags.

Businesses and citizens that want to invest in Connecticut, should just say know until official criminals and their friends are out of power. There is a better quality of life, ethics, fairer courts, and a more American Lifestyle found outside of Connecticut.

This blog accepts anonymous comments at this time. To share this post, click on white envelope below.

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The word on the street is that Enfield Connecticut and Agawam Massachusetts are a common choice for Mafia and other corrupt and criminal figures. Enfield is bribe central for the general area.

Enfield Cops went around banging on doors collecting overdue library fines. There is little pursuit of prostitutes and prostitution, their pimps, underage sex, drug dealing, vandalism, and other crimes, but small business where the owners aren’t white or those that are landlords and that might rent to riffraff, "White Trash", and minorities are targets for fines and property confiscation.

Wave the flag, go ahead, you won’t find anything fair or American is the Corruptikut town of Enfield.


The Battle For Enfield
2nd District Outpost At Heart Of Simmons/Courtney Fray
October 29, 2006, By DANIELA ALTIMARI, Hartford Courant Staff Writer

ENFIELD -- The Country Diner holds down one end of a small business strip on a busy but unremarkable stretch of Hazard Avenue, past the banks, the auto parts stores and the neon bling of the fast-food joints.

Step inside, and you might as well be in Utah or Wyoming or any of those vast, under-populated Republican states where patriotism trumps skepticism every time.

A Support Our Troops banner hangs by the cash register. Police department patches and firetruck photos decorate the dining rooms. Waitresses are prone to folksy pronouncements -

"A clean counter is a happy counter," murmured one as she whisked away the remnants of someone's breakfast.

And American flags are everywhere: big ones on the walls and tiny ones on the cover of each of the laminated menus.

But even here, amid these red-state trappings, dissatisfaction runs deep.

"We need a change," Joe Pych, a retired Connecticut Light & Power Co. lineman, said last week as he dug into a breakfast of eggs and Italian sausage.

"For one, I don't believe we should be in Iraq anymore. ... We should be out of there by now."

Pych, 64, is a former Air National Guard member and political independent who votes the person, not the party. But this year, spurred largely by discontent over the Iraq war, he said he may go all Democratic, "and that hasn't happened in a while."

Democrats are counting on a sour electorate to help them seize the majority in Congress on Election Day. Connecticut's 2nd District, a broad swath that stretches from the doorstep of Massachusetts to the shores of Long Island Sound, could help tip the balance.

And Enfield - a workaday town of 45,567, where Dunkin' Donuts beats Starbucks, 5 to 1 - is the district's most populous community. As in the rest of the state, unaffiliated voters outnumber those aligned with either party. They just may hold the key.

"It will be interesting to see who wins Enfield. ... I think it's kind of a bellwether," said Chris Bigelow, a librarian and political moderate who lives in town and produces a blog, ctlocalpolitics.net.

For nearly six years, the 2nd District has been represented by Republican Rob Simmons, a former state legislator from Stonington who once worked for the CIA. Tall and lean, Simmons, 63, has thinning white hair, a toothy smile and a distinctive nasal inflection, along with a military background and a pragmatic view of the world.

His Democratic opponent is a 53-year-old lawyer and former state legislator from Vernon named Joe Courtney. A diligent campaigner who hews closely to the mainstream Democratic line, Courtney knows the numbers are in his favor:

The 2nd District is the nation's most Democratic congressional district represented by a Republican.Still, Simmons beat Courtney by 8 percentage points in 2002. This time, recent polls show, the race is a dead heat.

In TV spots and speeches, Courtney rarely deviates from a script that casts Simmons as a loyal ally of an unpopular president and a supporter of an unpopular war.

In truth, there isn't a great deal of space between the two candidates on the subject; they occupy different ends of an increasingly crowded middle ground that acknowledges the war's bleak realities and calls for the Iraqis to take control of their own fate.

But Courtney supports a detailed plan put forth by Sen. Joseph Biden, D-Del., that would decentralize Iraq and give the Kurds, Shiites and Sunnis "breathing room" in their own regions, with the goal of withdrawing most U.S. troops by the end of 2007.

Simmons' ideas are vaguer and lack timelines: He supports "pushing the Iraqi government toward ownership of their own country so American troops can exit without there being wholesale bloodshed and chaos and even more destabilization to the region," said his campaign manager, Chris Healy.

The image of Simmons as Bush's shill is one that Courtney has been pushing across this sprawling district, from the densely packed cities in New London County to the tweedy enclaves around the University of Connecticut to the brawny, blue-collar neighborhoods of Enfield.

The same strategy failed to work for Simmons' 2004 Democratic opponent, Norwich businessman Jim Sullivan, who ran commercials showing Simmons morphing into President Bush. This time, Democrats believe unhappiness over the war makes Bush heavier baggage for Republicans than he was two years ago, especially here.

"Enfield's the kind of town that wants to support the president," said Toby Moffett, a former Connecticut congressman who grew up across the river in Suffield and is now an unpaid adviser to the Courtney campaign.

"It's not Berkeley, California. They start out giving the president the benefit of the doubt. ... It's only because of the disaster of the war that so many of them are looking for a different approach."

Margot and Robert Wark certainly are. The retired Enfield couple, both unaffiliated voters, are profoundly saddened by the rising number of casualties in Iraq, a toll that includes two men from Enfield and one from neighboring Suffield.

"We're losing more and more men over there every day," Robert, a former insurance worker, said as he waited for his meal at the Country Diner.

"The longer we stay, the more we lose. This war is not winnable."

"It's terrible," added Margot, noting that their son is in the military and served in both Somalia and Bosnia.

"When I hear about the troops going over there, it makes me sick."

On Nov. 7, the Warks say, they are likely to vote for Courtney.

It isn't just the war, though the war has become Democratic shorthand for all the perceived shortcomings of the GOP-controlled Congress.

In Enfield, which is on the verge of losing 300 jobs at Lego Systems Inc., economic issues may loom larger here than other parts of the district.

Still, the parking lots of the malls and big-box stores along Elm Street are clogged with cars.

Throughout the campaign, Courtney has hammered Simmons on many fronts, including the economy, health care, Social Security, education and the environment.

But unlike other hotly contested congressional contests around the country, the tone of this race has been relatively tame, at least so far.

There have been no attack ads spewing ugly intimations of sexual indiscretions or financial payoffs.

While the candidates in Connecticut's 5th District bash each other in 30-second campaign spots, some of the harshest barbs in the 2nd involve Republican outrage that Courtney dared to criticize the Medicare prescription plan.

Courtney nevertheless has lashed out in indignation at his GOP critics, taking special umbrage at Republican mailers and TV spots that imply he hasn't been a friend to seniors and that he lacks the authority to deliver for the district.

A devout Catholic who rarely misses Sunday service, Courtney grew up in a large, Irish-American family in West Hartford and graduated from Northwest Catholic High School. He represented Vernon in the legislature from 1987 to 1994, earning a reputation as a quick study, especially on health care policy. In 1998, he ran for lieutenant governor with Barbara Kennelly.

Like Simmons, Courtney is a married father of two who began his political career in the General Assembly. But while Simmons projects the air of a slightly goofy uncle who prefers hugs to handshakes, it has taken Courtney some time to grow comfortable with the up-close realities of retail politics. Arms folded across his chest, he is prone to delving deep into the arcana of public policy, which shows off his intelligence and his easy grasp of complex issues but also causes restlessness among his listeners.

On just about every issue, Courtney's line of attack can be summed up in one sentence - Rob Simmons is Bush's No. 1 supporter in Connecticut. In a district where 63 percent of the voters disapprove of the president, such a message appears to have resonance. Eighty-seven percent of those queried in a University of Connecticut/Hartford Courant poll released 10 days ago said Simmons closely follows the Republican line set by Bush and GOP congressional leaders.

No one is counting Simmons out yet, however. In fact, many supporters in Enfield predict that his visibility in town, his military background and his moderate image will more than offset efforts to link him with Bush. Simmons is, after all, a Connecticut Republican, which means he has parted with the president on abortion, stem cell research and drilling in the Arctic wildlife refuge. It also means he is supported by various labor unions, Planned Parenthood and the nation's largest gay rights group.

"I think people are familiar enough with Rob. They know what he stands for," said John Kissel, a longtime Republican state senator from Enfield.

"They know that he's balanced and that he'll vote his conscience. The people of north-central Connecticut respect that kind of independence. ... That doesn't mean there's not angst out there. ... That doesn't mean people aren't upset about the war."

"But when the chips are down, Rob's going to fight for his constituents," Kissel said.

"Fundamentally, people realize that."

People like Greg Stokes. A Navy veteran, minister and father of three, Stokes is a Detroit-area native who moved to Enfield 11 years ago to be close to his wife's family.

He's a lifelong registered Republican who has dabbled in local politics - a stint as GOP town chairman, an unsuccessful run for state representative - and he voted for Bush twice. But lately, he has become frustrated with his party's standard bearer, largely over the Iraq war.

"I think it's time to figure out an exit strategy," Stokes said.

"Logic says we can't turn this into a Vietnam."

Stokes agrees with many Democrats, including Courtney, that U.S. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld needs to go. He believes that the United States ought to begin reducing troop levels in Iraq. And he's even willing to concede that, when it comes to the economy, President Clinton did a better job than Bush.

But none of that translates into a vote against Simmons, a guy Stokes knows and likes.

"In a year's time, I'll probably attend 10 or 15 events where Rob is there," he said.

For Stokes, and for many in Enfield, it's Simmons' military experience that sets him apart.

"He didn't go into the military to put it on his resume," Stokes said.

"You can't play politics with that."

Simmons enlisted in the Army in 1965 and spent 19 months in Vietnam, earning two Bronze Stars. It's a point he has pressed home in TV ads that tout his record while disparaging Courtney for having no military experience, and therefore "no clout" when it comes to issues such as keeping the submarine base in Groton off the federal base closure list.

Constituent service may be the only thing that keeps Simmons from becoming just another endangered Republican congressman.

"Nationally, things are trending against the Republicans," said Douglas C. Foyle, associate professor of government at Wesleyan University.

"It's really going to come down to how well Groton and some of these other local issues can inoculate Simmons against some of the broader conditions going on in the country."

The Country Diner is a long way from Groton. But even here, far from Simmons' New London County base, nearly everyone has a personal story about their congressman.

He did a lot for the fire department, said a man at the counter.

He opened an office on Pearl Street, said the woman having lunch with her daughter."He came to my school," said Andrew Berube, an 18-year-old student at Asnuntuck Community College, who plans to support Simmons.

"He seemed to know what was going on."

The restaurant is owned by Joe Ravalese, a retired cop who has raised thousands for the children of emergency workers killed in the line of duty. A burly man with a tattoo of the World Trade Center on his forearm, he's also a smart businessman who doesn't take political sides.

Once, two competing candidates nearly crashed into one another when they came to work the lunchtime crowd at his restaurant.

Some people believe the Democrats made a bad trade when they swapped reliably Democratic Middletown for the more politically mercurial Enfield following a census-driven redrawing of Connecticut's congressional boundaries in 2000. Middletown, which is slightly bigger than Enfield, could always be counted on to deliver hefty margins for Rep. Sam Gejdenson, the Democrat unseated by Simmons six years ago.

That was before Enfield became the largest town in the 2nd Congressional District. Whether the dissatisfaction over the war will be enough to turn voters here against an incumbent member of Congress could depend on a lot of unknowns - Election Day turnout, the coattail effect of a popular Republican governor, the news out of Iraq over the next 10 days.Courtney needs to score a victory in Enfield if he is to oust the incumbent, according to some observers.

"He's going to win New London, Norwich and probably the area around UConn," predicted Bigelow, the Enfield-based blogger.

"And maybe a river town like Deep River. But if he wants to go over the top, he has to win Enfield."

The last time he squared off against Simmons, in 2002, Courtney lost the town by 419 votes.

"Even bringing Bill Clinton here didn't help him out," Bigelow said, "and that was our first presidential visit since Kennedy drove through on the highway."

Contact Daniela Altimari at daniela.altimari@courant.com.

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The Keith Oberman, MSNBC show host, speaks out again on Bush lies and the suspension of Habeas Corpus, click here for YouTube Video.

Speaking out about Connecticut Official Corruption took me out of my Classic Corvette (pictured in post) to junky old wrecks (also pictured), click here

Complaining about Crack Cocaine and Heroin being sold off my front yard and near my Stafford Springs, Connecticut, rental properties caused me to lose these fine pets and much more, click here for pictures and post.

Monday, October 30, 2006

Police help man beat wife, arrest wife

Mary Alice Cook lived the lifestyle of the Upper Class in Connecticut. Her husband was affiliated with police so in Connecticut, he was free to beat her as were police officers. Hundreds of rapes, assaults, other crimes, and even murders go uninvestigated if it involves a cop or one of his or her friends. Connecticut is about Official, Attorney, Prosecutorial, Judicial, and Police Misconduct.

Ms. Cook testified in front of the Connecticut legislature in December of 1996. Police are even less accountable, so the situation is much worse today. Police and the Courts in Connecticut blatantly retaliate and openly violate the Constitution and Court rules.

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The video tour of the properties that police threatened and abused me out of because I did not like crack cocaine and heroin being sold near my house and on my property, click here for post.

The former Mayor of Norwalk Connecticut testifies at the same hearing about police wearing ski masks, hauling citizens off to be beaten to warehouses, and how police vandalized his house, click here for post

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Stephen Murzin, a 19 year old man home to Colchester Connecticut from U.S. Marines.

He saw Phil Inkel being beaten by police at the Colchester McDonald’s. Inkel saw police beat a teenager for looking too much like a thug for having worn baggy pants.

Stephen Murzin and his brother, Ian, were woken up in the middle of the night and then beaten at the Connecticut State Police Troop K station.

Stephen Murzin’s father is a former police officer in Hartford. There are rumors that I assume are completely true regarding the elder Murzin wanting police to act ethically and may he have investigated an organized crime, police, and drug dealer connection. Straight shooters, whistleblowers, citizens, and others can become toast just for getting in the way of the Connecticut official racketeering, profiteering, and obstruction of justice Mafia.

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Is George a little on the "Festive Side"?

Some might ask if George takes the pooper highway.
Spoiled Votes, throwing out Democrat votes to allow Republicans to win

Greg Palast, author "Armed Madhouse" lets them have it. Election fixers throw out the votes of the poor and the minorities. Judge for yourself, this guy does sound like he is onto something.

Police Thugs Beating Citizens While Wearing Ski Masks, click here for YouTube Video post

Jodi Rell's First Campaign Ad for Connecticut Governor

Rell is a shameless liar, former Connecticut Governor John G. Rowland would be proud. There are no ethics in Connecticut government. Rell appoints judges with no experience or qualifications. The Connecticut legislature approves these nominees. It is about who you know. Connecticut is about the rich and connected ripping everyone else off. Vote Rell out, she is one of the best examples of why Republicans, currently, just plain suck.

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The Connecticut Backwards Math

The Connecticut Blue Blood Elite are living a lie.

The Math does not add up.

Connecticut is losing population, small businesses are failing, families are breaking up, and there is no industry growth, there is nothing being produced or close to nothing being produced.

To keep raising spending, creating new official jobs, and building more government buildings, child detention centers, and prisons there should be an increase in population.

So how do the Blue Blood Elite maintain their lifestyle?

Well they live off of everyone else like parasites. Have you heard of Eminent Domain? That is where the rich can displace the poor to have the best property and produce the most income from the property they have used the courts to legally steal.

Governor Rell appoints judges that have no experience or qualifications. The legislature knowingly re-appoints judges that harm citizen, children, and that break the law. There is no accountability for official wrongdoing.

Those within the system that complain become toast. Citizens that complain and try to do something through the courts or through elected officials become toast.

Connecticut is a bunch of lying liars. Most of you reading this would be better off leaving the state. If the rest of America becomes as bad as Connecticut, you should leave the country.

This is how Connecticut treats its own. So how do average citizens fare? It is about processing you, fining you, arresting you, and confining you. Taking away your children for whatever reason, legitimate, or not produces Federal Tax Dollars. Rell and others live off of the Blood of others. Click Here for an example

A mayor talks about Police Thugs out wearing ski masks beating citizens, video clip here

My reason for griping, click here for video


Bush defends his policies. It is an eye opener.
Dave lets Bill O'Reilly really have it

Letterman's ending comment to O'Reilly is just great, a must see!

Saturday, October 28, 2006

David Letterman v. Bill O'Reilly
Jon Stewart on Teddy Kennedy, 1994

Minsk, this guy can dance, not ...

Minsk, this guy can dance, not ...

I enjoyed this, what do you think?

Friday, October 27, 2006

Dear Mary Glassman,

Emailed this morning to the Democratic Candidate for Connecticut Lt. Governor in the upcoming election. Mary.Glassman@po.state.ct.us

Ms. Glassman,

we have talked before in Lt. Governor Sullivan’s office. You know what is going on regarding corruption and the victims of abuse in Connecticut. Are you going to do anything to see those that have been retaliated against, were falsely arrested, falsely imprisoned, had their kids taken away or are beaten by police in retaliation, and those that have been harassed and stalked officially, and/or have criminal records, see that they are erased and the whistle blowers and others that were in the way of official racketeering, obstruction of justice, and Official Mafia-like operations finally start getting justice in Connecticut?

Governor Rell knows about the corruption and in my best belief and knowledge she is part of that and the retaliation against those that want it stopped. Didn’t Bill Curry expose Rell for going after officials that found a member of her family breaking the law? It is about profiteering and racketeering.

When are the Democrats in Connecticut going to show some guts and start doing something for the people, not just business as usual, which is corruption, racketeering, and obstruction of justice?

Why didn’t Chief State’s Attorney Christopher Morano do anything about the illegal behavior regarding election law breakage out of Rell’s office. Why are all you quiet?

It has come to my attention that police officers that try to investigate Mafia affiliated drug dealers and other criminals can face retaliation of other officers, DCF, the courts, and police operatives. Their children, families, and their jobs become under attack. DCF are the alleged buffers for enforcing drug turf for dealers. Connected individuals are the only ones allowed to own key property and businesses. Rell appoints judges with no experience or qualifications and the legislature approves them

Kristine Blake [click for post] is a perfect example of how Connecticut works.

Why is it when a White cop shoots a minority a Connecticut Judge allows a Connecticut prosecutor to botch the case the racist killer skates on appeal? Why do police officer and others get away with official, police, judicial, prosecutorial, and attorney misconduct across the board unless they break ranks with an absolutely corrupt system in Connecticut?

How come Kristine Regaglia the former head of DCF took the same bribes and freebies Rowland did and state authorities and Connecticut Feds protect her? How come she was found out to have committed fraud, leaves DCF, and then heads fraud investigation in Connecticut? What does that say about ethics in Connecticut Government?

With the Chief Justice Sullivan fiasco, is the Judicial Branch and all court cases now suspect? Should there not be an investigation into righting wrongs and identifying and helping the victims? Shouldn’t cases involving illegal proceedings and improper procedures be thrown out? Should Jim Crow laws, that are official policy, but that are no longer actually on the books be ceased and desisted?

Shouldn’t Chief Justice Sullivan be arrested and shouldn’t there be a hearing about what is to be done, BEFORE the election?

There is major corporate fraud, racism, and so much more public abuse and Federal Taxpayers being defrauded.

Are you going to do something, or are you part of the problem?

Please step up to the job, and do something. Silence signifies acceptance.

I am posting this email to you, here [click], on the internet

Speaking out about Connecticut Official Corruption took me out of my Classic Corvette (pictured in post) to junky old wrecks (also pictured), click here

Complaining about Crack Cocaine and Heroin
being sold off my front yard and near my Stafford Springs, Connecticut, rental properties caused me to lose these fine pets and much more, click here for pictures and post.

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Excerpt Regarding M. Jodi Rell:

CCR: If he is impeached or resigns, what is the provision in Connecticut law foran emergency election?

CURRY: There isn't one. It's one of the questions I've raised with people in the last few weeks.

As in most states, the Lt. Governor takes over.

I think that's amistake.

I think we designed the offices of vice president and Lt. Governor with an eye to the death or incapacity of the President or Governor.

I believe that when a chief executive is marched out of office for impeachable offenses, we should have an election to fill the remainder of the term. The idea that a member of Rowland's posse simply follows in Rowland's footsteps is a bad one.

CCR: Has the Lt. Governor, Jodi Rell, been implicated?

CURRY: When her son was found by state environmental officers to be running a stolen property ring out of her basement for Skidoos, the environmental officers who made the arrests had their careers threatened.

They suffered until it hit the press and then the administration backed off. Shedenied any involvement in the retaliation.

Again, Connecticut's extraordinary unwillingness to investigate the apparent corruption of its own elected officials saved her from further public embarrassment. In any event, she has been a happy, willing partner and an insider in the Rowland administration for nine years.

Click here for complete post of above excerpt.

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Connecticut's Steal Your Property, Wreck Your Life, Mafia, click here for post

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Connecticut's Free for All, Armed Revenue Collectors

In Connecticut the State Police always seem to have someone pulled over somewhere. I have never seen anything like it in any other state. Police are Armed Revenue Collectors and the Connecticut Courts are Revenue Collection Centers.


State Probes Armed Raids

Civilians Joined Marshals In Sweep
October 26, 2006
By DAVE ALTIMARI, Hartford Courant Staff Writer
It sounds like a scene from a Wild West movie - gun-toting citizens posing as badge-wearing marshals rounding up bad guys.

The scenario appears to have played out for real this past weekend in the Waterbury area, when two civilians - both apparently armed - were allowed to participate in a sweep of suspected deadbeat dads.

The involvement of the untrained civilians wasn't the only problem with the raids, however. There is also concern that the state marshals did not receive weapons training from a certified instructor as required by state regulations.

Sources said two civilians apparently armed with guns, wearing uniforms and carrying badges were involved in serving warrants on at least 10 suspected deadbeat dads early Saturday.

State officials said they are investigating.

"We're just starting the process of determining what they actually did," said James E. Neil, director of operations for the State Marshal Commission, which oversees the marshal system.

Neil said there's no question deadbeat-dad sweeps can be dangerous for trained marshals, let alone civilians.

"Thank God there was no shooting involved; it could have been a nightmare for the state," said a state marshal who didn't want to be identified.

Dennis Kerrigan, chairman of the State Marshal Commission, said Wednesday that he has asked his staff to investigate the incident "immediately."

"I can't comment on a specific complaint, but all I can say is we take carrying firearms very seriously," Kerrigan said.

The sweep was organized by Marshal John Barbieri, who operates out of the Waterbury courthouse. One of the civilians was Raymond Brown of Middlebury, who is friendly with several of the marshals who work in Waterbury and is affiliated with a moving company that helps marshals when they serve eviction notices. Sources said the second civilian was a relative of Brown's.

Brown acknowledged on Wednesday that he went on the raids.

"There was certainly nothing criminal about it. I don't know why somebody is trying to make a big deal about it," Brown said.

He referred specific questions to Barbieri, who declined to comment on Wednesday.

State officials said there is also a question about whether any of the marshals should have been carrying weapons.

Neil said a training class that the marshals took the week before the sweep was taught by an instructor who is no longer state certified.

In addition to obtaining pistol permits, all marshals must get authorization from the marshal commission to carry a weapon while on duty. In order to get that authorization, they must pass a weapons training class.

Sources familiar with the incident said several marshals who participated in the sweep took a training class last week run by Gerald Peters, a retired Winsted police officer, and got the certifications needed to carry guns on the weekend raid.

But sources said Peters no longer has a valid training license since he is not an active police officer. Neil said the commission discovered this week that the instructor was no longer certified.

"All of the marshals know their training was not valid and they should not be carrying guns anymore," Neil said.

The State Marshal Commission was formed in 2000 when residents voted to abolish the sheriff's system. Many of the former sheriffs became marshals. State marshals are independent contractors paid by the state to serve bench warrants or other court orders. Judicial marshals, who provide security at courthouses, are state employees.

The commission doesn't schedule deadbeat-dad sweeps or oversee who participates in them. Kerrigan said the commission does have the right to revoke a marshal's license but has little other control over them. He also said if an investigation found that crimes were committed, they would be referred to the proper authorities.

The issue of rounding up suspects held in contempt of court for failing to pay child support has been problematic. Many marshals have resisted serving the warrants because they are paid only $120 per warrant. Many say there are liability issues with transporting arrestees in private cars and safety issues.

Judicial statistics show that last year four marshals served 250 of the 500 child-support warrants executed.

In an attempt to increase productivity, the commission approved forming a special unit to serve the warrants all over the state. It also authorized the weapons training.

But there still has been little interest in serving the warrants, and the backlog of cases has grown to more than 3,200 warrants to be served on fathers owing a total of more than $52 million in child support, according to judicial officials.

Over the summer, Chief Court Administrator William J. Lavery authorized doubling the marshal's fee to $240 per warrant. The fee increase will remain in effect until Jan. 1, 2007.

Contact Dave Altimari at daltimari@courant.com.

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The Ominous Growth of Paramilitarism
in American Police Departments

by Diane Cecilia Weber


One of the most alarming side effects of the federal government's war on drugs is the militarization of law enforcement in America. There are two aspects to the militarization phenomenon. First, the American tradition of civil-military separation is breaking down as Congress assigns more and more law enforcement responsibilities to the armed forces. Second, state and local police officers are increasingly emulating the war-fighting tactics of soldiers. Most Americans are unaware of the militarization phenomenon simply because it has been creeping along imperceptibly for many years. To get perspective, it will be useful to consider some recent events:

The U.S. military played a role in the Waco incident. In preparation for their disastrous 1993 raid on the Branch Davidian compound, federal law enforcement agents were trained by Army Special Forces at Fort Hood, Texas. And Delta Force commanders would later advise Attorney General Janet Reno to insert gas into the compound to end the 51-day siege. Waco resulted in the largest number of civilian deaths ever arising from a law enforcement operation.1

Between 1995 and 1997 the Department of Defense gave police departments 1.2 million pieces of military hardware, including 73 grenade launchers and 112 armored personnel carriers. The Los Angeles Police Department has acquired 600 Army surplus M-16s. Even small-town police departments are getting into the act. The seven-officer department in Jasper, Florida, is now equipped with fully automatic M-16s.2

In 1996 President Bill Clinton appointed a military commander, Gen. Barry R. McCaffrey, to oversee enforcement of the federal drug laws as the director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy.3

Since the mid-1990s U.S. Special Forces have been going after drug dealers in foreign countries. According to the U.S. Southern Command, American soldiers occupy three radar sites in Colombia to help monitor drug flights. And Navy SEALs have assisted in drug interdiction in the port city of Cap-Haitien, Haiti.4

The U.S. Marine Corps is now patrolling the Mexican border to keep drugs and illegal immigrants out of this country. In 1997 a Marine anti-drug patrol shot and killed 18-year-old Esequiel Hernandez as he was tending his family's herd of goats on private property. The Justice Department settled a wrongful death lawsuit with the Hernandez family for $1.9 million.5

In 1998 Indiana National Guard Engineering Units razed 42 crack houses in and around the city of Gary. The National Guard has also been deployed in Washington, D.C., to drive drug dealers out of certain locations.6

In 1999 the Pentagon asked President Clinton to appoint a "military leader" for the continental United States in the event of a terrorist attack on American soil. The powers that would be wielded by such a military commander were not made clear. 7

What is clear — and disquieting — is that the lines that have traditionally separated the military mission from the police mission are getting badly blurred. Over the last 20 years Congress has encouraged the U.S. military to supply intelligence, equipment, and training to civilian police. That encouragement has spawned a culture of paramilitarism in American police departments. By virtue of their training and specialized armament, state and local police officers are adopting the tactics and mindset of their military mentors. The problem is that the actions and values of the police officer are distinctly different from those of the warrior. The job of a police officer is to keep the peace, but not by just any means. Police officers are expected to apprehend suspected law breakers while adhering to constitutional procedures. They are expected to use minimum force and to deliver suspects to a court of law. The soldier, on the other hand, is an instrument of war. In boot camp, recruits are trained to inflict maximum damage on enemy personnel. Confusing the police function with the military function can have dangerous consequences. As Albuquerque police chief Jerry Glavin has noted, "If [cops] have a mindset that the goal is to take out a citizen, it will happen."8

The lines that have traditionally separated the military mission from the police mission are getting badly blurred. Paramilitarism threatens civil liberties, constitutional norms, and the well-being of all citizens. Thus, the use of paramilitary tactics in everyday police work should alarm people of goodwill from across the political spectrum.

This paper will examine the militarization of law enforcement at the local level, with particular emphasis on SWAT (Special Weapons and Tactics) units. The paper will conclude that the special skills of SWAT personnel and their military armaments are necessary only in extraordinary circumstances.

The deployment of such units should therefore be infrequent.More generally, Congress should recognize that soldiers and police officers perform different functions. Federal lawmakers should discourage the culture of paramilitarism in police departments by keeping the military out of civilian law enforcement.

A Brief History of the Relationship between the Military and Civilian Law Enforcement

The use of British troops to enforce unpopular laws in the American colonies helped to convince the colonists that King George III and Parliament were intent on establishing tyranny.9

The Declaration of Independence specifically refers to those practices, castigating King George for "quartering large Bodies of Armed Troops among us" and for "protecting [soldiers], by mock Trial, from Punishment, for any Murders which they should commit on the Inhabitants of these States." The colonists complained that the king "has kept among us, in Times of peace, Standing Armies, without the consent of our Legislatures. He has affected to render the Military independent of, and superior to, the Civil Power."

After the Revolutionary War, Americans were determined to protect themselves against the threat of an overbearing military. The Founders inserted several safeguards into the Constitution to ensure that the civilian powers of the new republic would remain distinct from, and superior to, the military:

The Congress shall have Power . . . To declare War . . . To raise and support Armies . . . To make Rules for the Government and Regulation of the land and Naval Forces . . . To provide for organizing, arming, and disciplining, the Militia.10

No State shall, without the consent of Congress, . . . keep Troops, or Ships of War in time of Peace, . . . or engage in War, unless actually invaded, or in such imminent Danger as will not admit of delay.11

The President shall be Commander in Chief of the Army and Navy of the United States, and of the Militia of the several States, when called into the actual Service of the United States.12

A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.13

No soldier shall, in time of peace be quartered in any house, without the consent of the Owner, nor in time of war, but in a manner to be prescribed by law.14

It is important to emphasize that those provisions were not considered controversial.3 The debate was only with respect to whether those constitutional safeguards would prove adequate. 15

After the Revolutionary War, Americans were determined to protect themselves against the threat of an overbearing military..

During the Civil War period the principle of civil-military separation broke down. President Abraham Lincoln suspended the writ of habeas corpus, and citizens were arrested and tried before military tribunals.

After the Civil War, Congress imposed martial law in the rebel states. And to shield the military's reconstruction policies from constitutional challenges, Congress barred the Supreme Court from jurisdiction over federal appellate court rulings involving postwar reconstruction controversies.17

The Army enforced an array of laws in the South and, not surprisingly, became politically meddlesome. In several states the Army interfered with local elections and state political machinery. Such interference during the presidential election of 1876 provoked a political firestorm.18

The Democratic candidate, Samuel J. Tilden, won the popular vote while the Republican candidate, Rutherford B. Hayes, garnered more electoral votes. The Republican victory was tainted by accusations that federal troops had stuffed the ballot box in a few southern states to favor Hayes. Negotiations between the political parties ensued and a compromise was reached. The Democrats agreed to concede the election to "Rutherfraud" Hayes (as disgruntled partisans nicknamed him) on the condition that federal troops be withdrawn from the South.19

The Republicans agreed.

The Army's machinations in the South also set the stage for a landmark piece of legislation, the Posse Comitatus Act.20

The one-sentence law provided, "Whoever, except in cases and under such circumstances expressly authorized by the Constitution or by Act of Congress, willfully uses any part of the Army as a posse comitatus or otherwise to execute the laws shall be fined no more than $10,000 or imprisoned not more than two years, or both."21

Southern Democrats proposed the Posse Comitatus bill in an effort to get Congress to reaffirm, by law, the principle of civil-military separation. President Hayes signed that bill into law in June 1878. Federal troops have occasionally played a role in quelling civil disorder — without prior congressional authorization — in spite of the plain terms of the Posse Comitatus Act. The U.S. Army, for example, was used to restore order in industrial disputes in the late 19th and early 20th century. Except for the illegal occupation of the Coeur d'Alene mining region in Idaho in 1899-1901, army troops were used by presidents to accomplish specific and temporary objectives — after which they were immediately withdrawn.22

Federal troops and federalized National Guardsmen were called upon to enforce the desegregation of schools in Little Rock, Arkansas, in 1957; in Oxford, Mississippi, in 1962; and in Selma, Alabama, in 1963.

Over the past 20 years there has been a dramatic expansion of the role of the military in law enforcement activity. In 1981 Congress passed the Military Cooperation with Law Enforcement Officials Act.23

That law amended the Posse Comitatus Act insofar as it authorized the military to "assist" civilian police in the enforcement of drug laws. The act encouraged the military to (a) make available equipment, military bases, and research facilities to federal, state, and local police; (b) train and advise civilian police on the use of the equipment; and (c) assist law enforcement personnel in keeping drugs from entering the country. The act also authorized the military to share information acquired during military operations with civilian law enforcement agencies.

As the drug war escalated throughout the 1980s, the military was drawn further and further into the prohibition effort by a series of executive and congressional initiatives: In 1986 President Ronald Reagan issued a National Decision Security Directive designating drugs as an official threat to "national security," which encouraged a tight-knit relationship between civilian [police and the military].4

As the drug war escalated throughout the 1980s, the military was drawn further and further into the prohibition effort..law enforcement and the military.24

In 1987 Congress set up an administrative apparatus to facilitate transactions between civilian law enforcement officials and the military. For example, a special office with an 800 number was established to handle inquiries by police officials regarding acquisition of military hardware.25

In 1988 Congress directed the National Guard to assist law enforcement agencies in counter-drug operations. Today National Guard units in all 50 states fly across America's landscape in dark green helicopters, wearing camouflage uniforms and armed with machine guns, in search of marijuana fields.26

In 1989 President George Bush created six regional joint task forces (JTFs) within the Department of Defense.

Those task forces are charged with coordinating the activities of the military and police agencies in the drug war, including joint training of military units and civilian police. JTFs can be called on by civilian law enforcement agencies in counter-drug cases when police feel the need for military reinforcement.27

In 1994 the Department of Justice and the Department of Defense signed a memorandum of understanding, which has enabled the military to transfer technology to state and local police departments. Civilian officers now have at their disposal an array of high-tech military items previously reserved for use during wartime.28

All of those measures have resulted in the militarization of a wide range of activity in the United States that had been previously considered the domain of civilian law enforcement. As one reporter has observed, "Not since federal troops were deployed to the former Confederate states during Reconstruction has the U.S. military been so intimately involved in civilian law enforcement."29

The Militarization of the Police Department

Not only is the military directly involved in law enforcement; police departments are increasingly emulating the tactics of the armed forces in their everyday activities. This aspect of the militarization phenomenon has gone largely unnoticed.

The Early American Police Force

In one sense, the paramilitarism in today's police departments is a consequence of the increasing professionalism of police in the 20th century. Professionalism essentially grants a monopoly of specialized knowledge, training, and practice to certain groups in exchange for a commitment to a public service ideal. While that may sound desirable for law enforcement officers, the effects of professionalism have, in many respects, been negative. Over the last century police departments have evolved into increasingly centralized, authoritarian, autonomous, and militarized bureaucracies, which has led to their isolation from the citizenry.

Early police departments were anything but professional. Officers were basically political appointees, with ties to ward bosses. Officers also had strong cultural roots in the neighborhoods they patrolled. Police work was more akin to social work, as jails provided overnight lodging and soup kitchens for tramps, lost children, and other destitute individuals.

Discipline was practically nonexistent, and law enforcement was characterized by an arbitrary, informal process that is sometimes dubbed "curbside justice." Barely trained and equipped, police aimed at regulating rather than preventing crime, which, in the previous century, meant something closer to policing vice and cultural lifestyles.

On the positive side, the early police forces were well integrated into their communities, often solving crimes by simply chatting with people on the street corners. On the negative side, the police were suspicious of and often hostile to strangers ....immigrants, and, having strong loyalties to the local political machine, they were susceptible to bribery and political influence. 5

Police departments have evolved into increasingly centralized, authoritarian, autonomous, and militarized bureaucracies. Throughout the 19th century police work was considered casual labor, making it difficult for either municipalities or precinct captains to impose any uniform standards on patrolmen. Police did not consider themselves a self-contained body of law officers set apart from the general populace.

The initial round of professionalization took place during the Progressive Era with the appearance of early police literature, fraternal organizations, and rudimentary recruitment standards — all of which suggest the emergence of a common occupational self-consciousness. Internal and external pressures forced the depoliticization and restructuring of police departments, which gradually reformed into centralized, depersonalized, hierarchical bureaucracies. To gain control of the rank and file, police chiefs assigned military ranks and insignia to personnel, and some departments required military drills. "Military methods have been adopted and military discipline enforced," wrote Philadelphia police superintendent James Robinson in his department's 1912 annual report.30

A wave of police unionism from 1917 to 1920 was a strong indication that police not only were acquiring a shared occupational outlook but had come to regard policing as a full-time career. Two events, however, signaled the break-away of police from their communities and into their modern professional enclave. In 1905 the first truly modern state police force was formed in Pennsylvania. Ostensibly created to control crime in rural areas, the Pennsylvania State Police was used mainly in labor disputes, since the state militias and local police (who were more likely to sympathize with strikers) had been ineffective. That centralized organization, under one commander appointed by the governor, recruited members from across the state so that no more than a handful of officers had roots in any single community. This new force was considered so militaristic that the Pennsylvania Federation of Labor referred to it as "Cossacks." Despite the misgivings of many people, Pennsylvania started a trend. Other states began to emulate Pennsylvania's state police force.

The other significant event was J. Edgar Hoover's directorship of the Federal Bureau of Investigation. By raising standards of training and recruitment, Hoover rescued federal law enforcement from its former state of corruption and mismanagement. Hoover imbued his agents with a moral zeal to fight crime, and in 1935 he opened the National Police Academy, which has exerted tremendous influence on police training generally.31 Hoover's FBI acquired a prestige that made it the model police organization

Elite SWAT Units Created

There is agreement in police literature that the incident that inspired the SWAT concept occurred in 1966. In August of that year a deranged man climbed to the top of the 32-story clock tower at the University of Texas in Austin. For 90 minutes he randomly shot 46 people, killing 15 of them, until two police officers got to the top of the tower and killed him. The Austin episode was so blatant that it "shattered the last myth of safety Americans enjoyed [and] was the final impetus the chiefs of police needed" 32 to form their own SWAT teams. Shortly thereafter, the Los Angeles Police Department formed the first SWAT team and, it is said, originated the acronym SWAT to describe its elite force. The Los Angeles SWAT unit acquired national prestige when it was used successfully against the Black Panthers in 1969 and the Symbionese Liberation Army in 1973.

Much like the FBI, the modern SWAT team was born of public fear and the perception by police that crime had reached such proportions and criminals had become so invincible that more armament and more training were needed. SWAT team members have come to consider themselves members of an elite unit with specialized skills and more of a military ethos than the normal police structure.

Another striking similarity with the FBI is that that SWAT units have gained their status and legitimacy in the public eye by their performance in a few sensational events.

The earliest SWAT teams consisted of small units that could be called into action to deal with difficult situations, such as incidents involving hostages, barricaded suspects, or hijackers. Early SWAT team members were not unlike regular police officers and were only slightly better equipped.

SWAT Teams Everywhere, Doing Everything

The 1980s and 1990s saw marked changes in the number of permanent SWAT teams across the country, in their mission and deployment, and in their tactical armament. According to a 1997 study of SWAT teams conducted by Peter Kraska and Victor Kappeler of Eastern Kentucky University, nearly 90 percent of the police departments surveyed in cities with populations over 50,000 had paramilitary units, as did 70 percent of the departments surveyed in communities with populations under 50,000. 33

Although the proliferation of those special units was slow in the late 1960s and early 1970s, their numbers took a leap in the mid-1970s, and growth has remained high since the 1980s. In fact, most SWAT teams have been created in the 1980s and 1990s. Towns like Jasper, Lakeland, and Palm Beach, Florida; Lakewood, New Jersey; Chapel Hill, North Carolina; Charlottesville, Virginia; and Harwich, Massachusetts, have SWAT teams.

The campus police at the University of Central Florida have a SWAT unit — even though the county SWAT team is available.

Kraska refers to the proliferation as the "militarization of Mayberry," and he is rightly alarmed that the special units are becoming a normal and permanent part of law enforcement agencies.

Under the Military Cooperation with Law Enforcement Officials Act, Congress directed the military to make equipment and facilities available to civilian police in the anti-drug effort. As a result, police departments began to acquire more sophisticated tactical equipment: automatic weapons with laser sights and sound suppressors, surveillance equipment such as Laser Bugs that can detect sounds inside a building by bouncing a laser beam off a window, pinhole cameras, flash and noise grenades, rubber bullets, bullet-proof apparel, battering rams, and more. The Boone County Sheriff's office in Indiana has acquired an amphibious armored personnel carrier.34

In Fresno, California, the SWAT unit has access to two helicopters equipped with night vision goggles and an armored personnel carrier with a turret.35

According to Cal Black, a former SWAT commander for the FBI, "The equipment SWAT teams use today is many times more sophisticated than it was when I began in SWAT in the 1970s. . . . Because of this high-tech equipment, the ability of SWAT teams has increased dramatically."36

The National Institute of Justice report on the DOJ-DOD technology "partnership" boasted a number of high-tech items that SWAT teams now have at their disposal. Included among the showcase military technologies deemed applicable to law enforcement were "inconspicuous systems that can detect from more than 30 feet away weapons with little or no metal content as well as those made of metal."37

Other items in the pipeline include "a gas-launched, wireless, electric stun projectile"; a "vehicular laser surveillance and dazzler system"; "pyrotechnic devices such as flash-bang grenades [and] smoke grenades"; instruments of "crowd control"; mobile, even hand-held, systems to locate gunfire; and tagging equipment to locate, identify, and monitor the "movement of individuals, vehicles and containers."38

Special body armor and helmets are also under consideration.

Nick Pastore, former police chief in New Haven, Connecticut, says: "I was offered tanks, bazookas, anything I wanted. . . . I turned it all down because it feeds a mindset that you're not a police officer serving a community, you're a soldier at war."39,7

The 1980s and 1990s saw marked changes in the number of permanent SWAT teams across the country, in their mission and deployment, and in their tactical armament..An even more disturbing development reported in the Kraska-Kappeler study, however, is the growing tendency of police departments to use SWAT units in routine policing activity. The Fresno SWAT unit, for example, sends its 40-person team, with full military dress and gear, into the inner city "war zone" to deal with problems of drugs, gangs, and crime. One survey respondent described his department's use of SWAT teams in the following way: "We're into saturation patrols in hot spots. We do a lot of our work with the SWAT unit because we have bigger guns. We send out two, two-to-four- men cars, we look for minor violations and do jump-outs, either on people on the street or automobiles. After we jump-out the second car provides periphery cover with an ostentatious display of weaponry. We're sending a clear message: if the shootings don't stop, we'll shoot someone." 40

A Midwestern community with a population of 75,000 sends out patrols dressed in tactical uniform in a military personnel carrier. The armored vehicle, according to the SWAT commander, stops "suspicious vehicles and people. We stop anything that moves. We'll sometimes even surround suspicious homes and bring out the MP5s (machine gun pistols)." 41

Unfortunately, it is likely that the number of SWAT "patrols" will rise in the future. In their survey, when Kraska and Kappeler asked the question, Is your department using the tactical operations unit as a proactive patrol unit to aid high crime areas? 107 departments indicated that they were. Sixty-one percent of all respondents thought it was a good idea. In fact, 63 percent of the departments in that survey agreed that SWAT units "play an important role in community policing strategies."42

According to Police magazine, "Police officers working in patrol vehicles, dressed in urban tactical gear and armed with automatic weapons are here — and they're here to stay."43

Limiting the SWAT Mission to Bona Fide Emergencies

The relatively recent phenomenon of special, commando-type units within civilian law enforcement agencies is occurring on both sides of the Atlantic. The British counterpart to the SWAT team in America is the Police Support Unit (PSU). In 1993 the British Journal of Criminology published opposing views on British paramilitarism by P. A. J. Waddington and Anthony Jefferson. Both scholars agreed that public order policing in Britain by PSUs was becoming paramilitaristic, but they could not agree on a precise definition of "paramilitarism."

While Jefferson defined paramilitarism as "the application of quasi-military training, equipment, philosophy and organization to questions of policing," Waddington confined paramilitarism to police methods of riot control, namely, "the coordination and integration of all officers deployed as squads under centralised command and control."44

A third scholar, Alice Hills, has sought the middle ground, rounding off the differences by looking at paramilitary forces of other countries, such as the French Gendarmerie, the Italian Carabiniere, the Frontier Guards in Finland, Civil Defense Units in Saudi Arabia, and the National Security Guards in India. By Hills's reckoning, paramilitarism should "be defined in terms of function . . . and relationships; of the police to the military and to the state, as well as to the legal system and style of political process."45

In general, however, as has been the case in this country, British studies have largely "neglected . . . the relationship of the police to the other uniformed services, particularly the army, in the late twentieth century."46

What is disturbing is that under any of the definitions offered by the British analysts, American SWAT teams can be regarded as paramilitary units. The institutional cooperation between civilian law enforcement and the military has emerged under the direct political sponsorship of elected leaders in the national legislature and the presidency. (In 1981 Congress diluted the Posse Comitatus Act — a law that was designed to keep the military out of civilian affairs — in order to give the military an active role in the war on drugs, and that role has been expanded by subsequent congressional action and by the support of presidents of both political parties.)8

A disturbing development is the growing tendency of police departments to use SWAT units in routine policing activity.. The military-law enforcement connection is now a basic assumption within the federal government, and it receives enthusiastic support in government literature. For example, in a 1997 National Institute of Justice report on the transfer of military technology to civilian police departments, the Joint Program Steering Group explained the "convergence in the technology needs of the law enforcement and military communities"

as due to their "common missions." In the military's newest "peacekeeping" role abroad, it is obliged — much as civilian police — to be "highly discreet when applying force," given the "greater presence of members of the media or other civilians who are observing, if not recording, the situation."47

Moreover, the military's enemy abroad has begun to resemble law enforcement's enemy at home: "Law officers today confront threats that have more and more military aspects" due to the changed "nature of criminals and their crimes." 48

With widespread political sanction, the military is now encouraged to share training, equipment, technology — and, most subtle, mentality — with state and local civilian police. SWAT team members undergo rigorous training similar to that given military special operations units. Training, as one study has noted, "may seem to be a purely technical exercise, [but] it actually plays a central role in paramilitary subculture" 49 and moreover reinforces "the importance of feeling and thinking as a team."50

The research of Kraska and Kappeler revealed that SWAT units are often trained alongside, or with the support of, military special forces personnel. Of 459 SWAT teams across the country, 46 percent acquired their initial training from "police officers with special operations experience in the military," and 43 percent with "active-duty military experts in special operations." 51

Almost 46 percent currently conducted training exercises with "active-duty military experts in special operations." 52

Twenty-three respondents to the survey indicated that they trained with either Navy SEALs or Army Rangers.53

One respondent went into greater detail:

"We've had special forces folks who have come right out of the jungles of Central and South America. . . . All branches of military service are involved in providing training to law enforcement. U.S. Marshals act as liaisons between the police and military to set up the training — our go-between. They have an arrangement with the military through JTF-6 [Joint Task Force 6]. . . . I just received a piece of paper from a four-star general who tells us he's concerned about the type of training we're getting. We've had teams of Navy Seals and Special Forces come here and teach us everything. We just have to use our judgment and exclude the information like: "at this point we bring in the mortars and blow the place up."54

Because of their close collaboration with the military, SWAT units are taking on the warrior mentality of our military's special forces. SWAT team organization resembles that of a special combat unit, with a commander, a tactical team leader, a scout, a rear guard or "defenseman," a marksman (sniper), a spotter, a gasman, and paramedics.

Moreover, SWAT teams, like military special forces, are elite units: Their rigorous team training; high-tech armament; and "battle dress uniforms," consisting of lace-up combat boots, full body armor, Kevlar helmets, and goggles with "ninja" style hoods, reinforce their elitism within law enforcement agencies. (One commander — who disapproved of proactive SWAT policing and turned down requests from team members to dress in black battle dress uniforms while on patrol — nevertheless understood its attraction to team members: "I can't blame them, we're a very elite unit, they just want to be distinguishable."55)

Because of their close collaboration with the military, SWAT units are taking on the warrior mentality of our military's special forces. The so-called war on drugs and other martial metaphors are turning high-crime areas into "war zones," citizens into potential enemies, and police officers into soldiers. Preparing the ground for the 1994 technology transfer agreement between the Department of Defense and the Department of Justice, Attorney General Reno addressed the defense and intelligence community. In her speech, Reno compared the drug war to the Cold War, and the armed and dangerous enemies abroad to those at home: "So let me welcome you to the kind of war our police fight every day. And let me challenge you to turn your skills that served us so well in the Cold War to helping us with the war we're now fighting daily in the streets of our towns and cities across the Nation."56

The martial rhetoric can be found in both political parties. Bill McCollum (R-Fla.), chairman of the Subcommittee on Crime of the House Judiciary Committee, has criticized the Clinton administration for not waging the war on drugs aggressively enough: "The drug crisis is a top — if not the top — national security threat facing our nation today . . . [the Clinton] administration's clear unwillingness to wage an all-out drug war cannot go unchallenged."57

In the current political climate, anyone who does not support an escalation of the drug war is condemned for being "soft on crime."58

Departmental SWAT teams have accepted the military as a model for their behavior and outlook, which is distinctly impersonal and elitist; American streets are viewed as the "front" and American citizens as the "enemy." The sharing of training and technology by the military and law enforcement agencies has produced a shared mindset, and the mindset of the warrior is simply not appropriate for the civilian police officer charged with enforcing the law. The soldier confronts an enemy in a life-or-death situation. The soldier learns to use lethal force on the enemy, both uniformed and civilian, irrespective of age or gender. The soldier must sometimes follow orders unthinkingly, acts in concert with his comrades, and initiates violence on command. That mentality, with which new recruits are strenuously indoctrinated in boot camp, can be a matter of survival to the soldier and the nation at war.

The civilian law enforcement officer, on the other hand, confronts not an "enemy" but individuals who, like him, are both subject to the nation's laws and protected by the Bill of Rights. Although the police officer can use force in life-threatening situations, the Constitution and numerous Supreme Court rulings have circumscribed the police officer's direct use of force, as well as his power of search and seizure.59

In terms of violence, the police officer's role is — or should be — purely reactive. When a police officer begins to think like a soldier, tragic consequences — such as the loss of innocent life at Waco — will result.

After some controversial SWAT shootings spawned several wrongful death lawsuits against the police department of Albuquerque, New Mexico, the city hired Professor Sam Walker of the University of Nebraska to study its departmental practices. According to Walker: "The rate of killings by the police was just off the charts. . . . They had an organizational culture that led them to escalate situations upward rather than deescalating.The mindset of the warrior is simply not appropriate for the civilian police officer charged with enforcing the law..61"60

The city of Albuquerque subsequently hired a new police chief and dismantled its SWAT unit. The tiny town of Dinuba, California (population 15,000), created a SWAT unit in the spring of 1997. A few months later an innocent man, Ramon Gallardo, was killed by the SWAT team when it raided his home looking for one of his teenage sons. The SWAT unit rushed into the Gallardo household at 7 a.m. wearing hoods and masks, yelling "search warrant." Gallardo and his wife were awakened by the ruckus, but before they could determine what was happening, Ramon was shot 15 times. 10

A police brutality lawsuit was later brought against the city. At trial, the police said they had to shoot in self-defense because Gallardo had grabbed a knife. Gallardo's wife testified that the knife on the scene did not belong to her husband and alleged that the police had planted it there to legitimize the shooting. The jury awarded the Gallardo family $12.5 million. Because the whopping verdict exceeded the small town's insurance coverage, the city is now in financial straits. After Gallardo's killing, the city fathers of Dinuba disbanded the SWAT unit and gave its military equipment to another police department.62

Some local jurisdictions may wish to retain SWAT units for the special skills they possess, but the deployment of such units should be limited to extraordinary circumstances — such as a hostage situation. If a SWAT unit is created (or retained), the need for that unit should be assessed annually by locally elected officials. Policymakers must be especially wary of "mission creep" and guard against it. Inactive SWAT teams have a strong incentive to expand their original "emergency" mission into more routine policing activities to justify their existence.

In recent years, city officials in Dallas and Seattle have curtailed the activity of their SWAT units, taking them off drug raids and suicide calls. Other cities should follow their lead by curtailing the SWAT mission — or even dismantling the entire unit as was done in Albuquerque and Dinuba.


The militarization of law enforcement in America is a deeply disturbing development. Police officers are not supposed to be warriors. The job of a police officer is to keep the peace while adhering to constitutional procedures. Soldiers, on the other hand, consider enemy personnel human targets. Confusing the police function with the military function can lead to dangerous and unintended consequences — such as unnecessary shootings and killings. The proliferation of SWAT teams is particularly worrisome because such units are rarely needed. SWAT teams are created to deal with emergency situations that are beyond the capacity of the ordinary street cop. But, as time passes, inactive SWAT units tend to jettison their original, limited mission for more routine policing activities.

Local jurisdictions should carefully assess the need for SWAT units and guard against the danger of mission creep. SWAT teams do possess specialized skills, but they should only be deployed on those extraordinary occasions when their skills are necessary — such as a hostage situation.

More generally, Congress should recognize that federal policies have contributed to the culture of paramilitarism that currently pervades many local police departments by restoring the traditional American principle of civil-military separation embodied in the Posse Comitatus Act. The Military Cooperation with Law Enforcement Officials Act created a dangerous loophole in the Posse Comitatus Act. That loophole should be closed immediately. Congress should also abolish all military-civilian law enforcement joint task forces and see to it that all military hardware loaned, given, or sold to law enforcement agencies is destroyed or returned.

Armored personnel carriers and machine guns, should not be a part of everyday law enforcement in a free society.

Diane Cecilia Weber is a Virginia writer on law enforcement and criminal justice.


1. See Lee Hancock, "ATF Official Defends Raid Planning," Dallas Morning News, March 27, 1993, p. 25A; and Janet Reno, Statement, Hearing on Events Surrounding the Branch Davidian Cult Standoff in Waco, Texas, before the House Committee on the Judiciary, 103d Cong., 1st sess., 1993

(Washington: Government Printing Office, 1995), p. 15. For a thorough account of what took place at Waco, see David B. Kopel and Paul H. Blackman, No More Wacos(Amherst, N.Y.: Prometheus, 1997).

2. See Timothy Egan, "Soldiers of the Drug War Remain on Duty," New York Times, March 1, 1999, p. A1; "Wilson Praises LAPD Acquisition of 600 Army Surplus Assault Rifles," Los Angeles Times, September 17, 1997, p. A18; and "Gearing Up," 60 Minutes, December 21, 1997, transcript.

3. "Clinton Picks General to Lead War on Drugs," New York Times, January 24, 1996, p. A15. General McCaffrey retired from the Army after the Senate approved his appointment.

4. See Dana Priest and Douglas Farah, "U.S. Force Training Troops in Colombia," Washington Post, May 25, 1998, p. A1; and "U.S. Military Fights Drugs in Haiti," Reuters News Service, May 15, 1997.

5. See Sam Howe Verhovek, "In Marine's Killing of Teen-Ager, Town Mourns and Wonders Why," New York Times, June 29, 1997, p. A1; and William Branigin, "Questions on Military Role Fighting Drugs Ricochet from a Deadly Shot," Washington Post, June 22, 1997, p. A3.

6. "Drug House Razed with Federal Money," New York Times, January 19, 1998; and Bill Miller, "Nuisance Law Claims Its First Success," Washington Post, June 2, 1999, p. B1.

7. See William J. Broad and Judith Miller, "Pentagon Seeks Command for Emergencies in the U.S.," New York Times, January 28, 1999, p. A19. Andrew Krepinevich, executive director of the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessment, believes the federal government will establish a "Homeland Defense Command," with a four-star general at its head within two years. See The McLaughlin Group, April 3, 1999, transcript.

8. Quoted in Egan.

9. For additional background, see John Phillip, In Defiance of the Law: The Standing-Army Controversy, the Two Constitutions, and the Coming of the American Revolution(Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1981).

10. Article I, section 8.

11. Article I, section 10.

12. Article II, section 2. For a fuller discussion of the war power under the U.S. Constitution, see Louis Fisher, Presidential War Power(Lawrence: University Press of Kansas, 1995).

13. Amendment II. For a fuller discussion of the history of the Second Amendment, see Stephen P. Halbrook, That Every Man Be Armed: The Evolution of a Constitutional Right(Oakland, Calif.: Independent Institute, 1994); and Joyce Lee Malcolm, To Keep and Bear Arms: The Origins of an Anglo-American Right (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1994).

14. Amendment III.

15. Thomas Jefferson, for example, wanted an explicit protection against standing armies. See Letter to James Madison, December 20, 1787, in Jefferson Writings (New York: Library of America, 1984), p. 914.

16. See William H. Rehnquist, All the Laws But One (New York: Knopf, 1998), pp. 59-74.

17. See David Engdahl, "Soldiers, Riots, and Revolution: The Law and History of Military Troops in Civil Disorders," Iowa Law Review 57 (1971): 58.

18. See generally Jerry M. Cooper, "Federal Military Intervention in Domestic Disorders" in The United States Military under the Constitution of the United States, 1789-1989, ed. Richard H. Kohn (New York: New York University Press, 1991).

19. See Jeffrey Rogers Hummel, Emancipating Slaves, Enslaving Free Men: A History of the American Civil War (Chicago: Open Court, 1996), pp. 320-21.

20. The term "posse comitatus" is defined as a "group of people acting under authority of police or sheriff and engaged in searching for a criminal or in making an arrest." Black's Law Dictionary(St. Paul: West, 1983), p. 606. "In ancient Rome, governmental officials were permitted to have retainers accompany and protect them on their travels throughout the Empire. This practice was known as 'comitatus.' In medieval England, the sheriff could require the assistance of able-bodied men in the county over the age of fifteen in suppressing small insurrections and capturing fugitives. This civilian force was called the 'posse comitatus,' deriving its name from the old Roman practice."
Note, "Fourth Amendment and Posse Comitatus Act Restrictions on Military Involvement in Civil Law Enforcement," George Washington Law Review 54 (1986): 406 (citations omitted).

21. 18 U.S.C. § 1385. In 1956 the act was updated to include the Air Force, and a DOD directive added the Navy and the Marine Corps. See Richter Moore Jr., "Posse Comitatus Revisited: The Use of the Military as Civil Law Enforcement," Journal of Criminal Justice15 (1987): 376.
When Sen. Charles Grassley (R-Iowa) discovered that an active duty Army colonel was serving at the Federal Bureau of Investigation as deputy chief of a counterterrorism unit, he asked the Justice Department for an explanation. Assistant Attorney General Andrew Fois replied that the colonel was not "directly" involved in law enforcement activity. See Benjamin Wittes, "A Posse Comitatus Crusade," Legal Times, September 1, 12.1997, p. 8.

22. Cooper, pp. 129-35.

23. 10 U.S.C. §§ 371-74.

24. See Keith B. Richburg, "Reagan Order Defines Drug Trade as Security Threat," Washington Post, June 8, 1986.

25. Kopel and Blackman, p. 341.

26. See Ted Galen Carpenter and R. Channing Rouse, "Perilous Panacea: The Military in the Drug War," Cato Institute Policy Analysis no. 128, February 15, 1990.

27. Kopel and Blackman, p. 341.

28. U.S. Department of Justice and U.S. Department of Defense, Department of Justice and Department of Defense Joint Technology Program: Second Anniversary Report (Washington: U.S. Department of Justice, February 1997), pp. 8-18.

29. David C. Morrison, "Police Action," National Journal, February 1, 1992, p. 267. See also Jim McGee, "Military Seeks Balance in Delicate Mission: The Drug War," Washington Post, November 29, 1996, p. A1.

30. Quoted in Sam Walker, A Critical History of Police Reform: The Emergence of Professionalism (Lexington, Mass.: Lexington Books, 1977), p. 63.

31. Ibid., pp. 151-60

32. Robert Snow, SWAT Teams: Explosive Face-Offs with America's Deadliest Criminals(New York: Plenum, 1996), p. 7.

33. Peter Kraska and Victor Kappeler, "Militarizing American Police: The Rise and Normalization of Paramilitary Units," Social Problems44 (1997): 5-6.

34. Egan

35. Ibid.

36. Quoted in Robert Snow, "The Birth and Evolution of the SWAT Unit," Police21 (1997): 24.

37. U.S. Department of Justice and U.S. Department of Defense, p. 9.

38. Ibid., pp. 11-18.

39. Quoted in Egan.

40. Quoted in Kraska and Kappeler, p. 10 (emphasis added).

41. Quoted in ibid.

42. Quoted in ibid., p. 13.

43. Cited in ibid., p. 9.

44. Quoted in Alice Hills, "Militant Tendencies: 'Paramilitarism' in the British Police," British Journal of Criminology35 (1995): 450-51.

45. Ibid., p. 457.

46. Ibid., p. 451.

47. U.S. Department of Justice and U.S. Department of Defense, pp. 1, 5.

48. Ibid., pp. 5-6.

49. Kraska and Kappeler, p. 11.

50. Peter Kraska, "Enjoying Militarism: Political/Personal Dilemmas in Studying U.S. Police Paramilitary Units," Justice Quarterly13 (1996): 417.

51. Kraska and Kappeler, p. 11.

52. Ibid.

53. Ibid.

54. Quoted in ibid., p. 12.

55. Quoted in ibid., p. 11.

56. Quoted in "Technology Transfer From Defense: Concealed Weapon Detection," National Institute of Justice Journal, no. 229 (August 1995): 35.

57. Bill McCollum, "Waving the White Flag in Drug War?" Washington Times, March 10, 1998, p. A17.

58. Lieutenant Steve Lagere, who heads the SWAT team in Meriden, Connecticut, says: "We ought to be looking at some other options. . . . It's politically incorrect to say that as a cop. You really can't discuss it much here, because people will think you're soft on drugs. But I don't see crack use going up or down, no matter what we've tried to do." Quoted in Egan.

59. See, for example, Tennessee v. Garner, 471 U.S. 1 (1985); and Wilson v. Arkansas, 514 U.S. 927 (1995).

60. Quoted in Egan.

61. See Mark Arax, "Small Farm Town's SWAT Team Leaves a Costly Legacy,"Los Angeles Times, April 5, 1999, p. A1.

62. Ibid. 13.14

Published by the Cato Institute, Cato Briefing Papers is a regular series evaluating government policies and offering proposals for reform. Nothing in Cato Briefing Papers should be construed as necessarily reflecting the views of the Cato Institute or as an attempt to aid or hinder the passage of any bill before Congress.

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TYSK eagle

It is easier to frame citizens with a DNA database

But with Habeas Corpus [click here for more] anyone can be arrested and held without a hearing forever, so the framing stuff is no longer necessary to abuse the public and for officials to obstruct justice and engage in racketeering.

Civil libertarians criticize DNA databases

Published: Thursday October 26, 2006

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Advocates for civil freedoms are expressing their concerns with the recent rise of DNA databases, National Journal's 'Technology Daily' reports.

Speaking at a Washington, D.C. event hosted by the ACLU, "civil libertarians on Wednesday cited the many perceived risks of DNA databases," writes Winter Casey.

"An over-reliance on these databases could undermine criminal justice," said an ACLU science adviser, who warned of "possible misuses of data related to race or sexual orientation" and called for "a 'moratorium of databases' until more is known."

Casey wrote that a UC-Irvine professor "said he is concerned that criminals will develop increasingly sophisticated ways to outsmart law enforcement," and that "any databases should be more open to the public."

Excerpts from the subscription-only article follow...


An ACLU statement said Congress and some state legislators recently have voted to allow for the permanent retention of DNA following arrests. Simoncelli said the move to include information on innocent people in the databases is worrisome and should be opposed. DNA samples should be destroyed once investigations are over, she added.

According to the President's DNA Initiative, all states have provisions that allow for the collection of DNA profiles from offenders convicted of particular crimes. Currently, Simoncelli said 44 states require samples from all adults convicted of felonies.

The success of a government software program that operates multiple databases of DNA profiles from convicted offenders "is demonstrated by the thousands of matches that have linked serial cases to each other," the Web site for the president's initiative said.

However, Helen Wallace, the deputy director of Genewatch UK, said the chances of solving a crime with a database have not significantly improved in recent years. On Monday, British Prime Minister Tony Blair reportedly called for the country's national DNA database to be expanded to include every citizen.


The above from Raw Story found here on the net

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