Thursday, April 23, 2009

Means "Who Polices the Police?"

From Comcast news courtesy of AlterNet:

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — Two FBI workers are accused of using surveillance equipment to spy on teenage girls as they undressed and tried on prom gowns at a charity event at a West Virginia mall.

The FBI employees have been charged with conspiracy and committing criminal invasion of privacy. They were working in an FBI satellite control room at the mall when they positioned a camera on temporary changing rooms and zoomed in for at least 90 minutes on girls dressing for the Cinderella Project fashion show, Marion County Prosecutor Pat Wilson said Monday.


The Cinderella Project at the Middletown Mall in the north-central West Virginia town of Fairmont drew hundreds of girls from 10 high schools in five counties. Organizer Cynthia Woodyard said volunteers, donors and participants are angry.

"I can't even begin to put words around what I consider an unspeakable act, the misuse of surveillance by a branch of our government in a place we felt so secure," she said. "Never in a million years would we have thought something like this would happen. We're in shock."

More here.

So last week some Republican tea-baggers came into the restaurant where I work for a quick bite after their protest--the local demonstration site was only about a block away. They even brought their signs: one of which proclaimed "Love your country; distrust your government."

"Now that's a statement this liberal can agree with," I thought to myself. I mean, I agree for different reasons, of course, but I certainly agree. And we should never forget that police are the government. They are not to be trusted. They represent the government's interests, and oftentimes their own, but never the interests of the citizens they ostensibly protect. Okay, sometimes government interests and citizens' interests overlap, but not enough to make cops above suspicion. We really ought to think of them as the armed security agents of the state, rather than your friendly neighborhood policemen.

Anyway, while Ms. Woodyard's anger is well justified, her shock and surprise are not. From rape to graft to brutality to various forms of corruption, cops do this shit all the time. Just do a Google search for "police corruption" or "police brutality" and you'll get tons of recent hits. This literally happens every day of the year. And as for "the misuse of surveillance" she decries, it's almost as though Woodyard hasn't been reading the paper for the last eight years: since 9/11 we've been living in a surveillance state!

Wake up and smell the coffee, woman. This isn't the nation you've been led to believe it is.