Monday, April 27, 2015

Week of 04/27/2015

Were They Really That Decent?
The news is shocking.
Damnably shocking.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation, the supposed “top cops” of “top cops” in America, the “best of the best of the best”, recently admitted – albeit ashamedly – that their DNA hair analysis procedure was not only flawed, it was rigged.  And not just in one or two instances, but in almost three hundred trials in over two decades.  We’re talking cases going all the way back to the 1970’s!
Thirty-two of those cases resulted in death penalty convictions, with fourteen of them already executed.  In other words, fourteen people were executed on behalf of rigged testimony.  Were they innocent?  We’ll never know.
The FBI’s lab and their workers were supposedly “the” best in the world.  “Best” because it supposedly gave definitive answers.  They were the original “CSI”.  Now we find out that for at least two decades, it was used as a rigged tool of the prosecution in 96% of instances.
While this shocking revelation was hitting the wires, the FBI was also trying to explain their actions when it came to the investigation of former General David Petraeus on the charge of divulging classified secrets.  At issue was how one of the victims of the case, Jill Kelley, was being interviewed for being cyberstalked.  Although it would eventually lead to the admission that the former “Iraq War Surge” general was engaging in an affair and divulging secrets to his mistress during that affair, there were alleged efforts by the FBI to bury the whole matter by attacking the witness.
Former judge Andrew Napolitano published an article thanks to his friends in the Koch-owned Reason Foundation to talk about the abuses of power the FBI has engaged in, including sabotaging hotel cable in order to wiretap an alleged illegal gambler in – of all places – Las Vegas.  He talked about how the FBI used to have “integrity”, but now apparently they don’t.
And the first thought that came through my mind is...
Were they really that good and decent?
I’m not kidding here.
Remember the abuses conducted under orders of the late J. Edgar Hoover?  Hoover used to investigate anyone and everyone he deemed to be “a threat”, which included people like Elvis Presley, Albert Einstein, and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.  In fact Hoover supposedly had so many “secrets” that he could never be fired simply because nobody higher up knew what he had on them.
The website Listverse came up with 10 “unnerving secrets” of the FBI, which included helping brutal mobsters commit crimes, framing innocent people, and even taking part in the explosive confrontation between law enforcement and the group known as MOVE in 1985.  And by “explosive” I mean with literal bombs being dropped on people.
And this is the agency that is supposed to be “decent” and have “integrity”?
So, again, I have to question if they are as “decent” as Judge Napolitano claimed they once were.  Or was that simply media hype and clever PR combined with addled minds longing for better years?
Bear in mind that I’m not saying the FBI is rotten to the core or that every agent is evil.  I’m not pulling a page out of “Captain America: The Winter Soldier” and saying the whole thing has to go.  But I do have to question the idea that any law enforcement group is – by default – good and decent and has all of our best intentions.
I remember the horror stories my father used to tell me about the police when grew up in Cleveland.  He used to tell me repeated that “if a cop saw you out after dark, he’d beat the crap out of you and send you home.  And if you told your parents about it, they’d beat you up twice as bad!”
Now is that the kind of story that generates trust for police officers and law enforcement in general?
And bear I mind that my father was both a state and local police officer!
To make things worse, we have video of police officers shooting unarmed people in the back.  We have video of police officers engaged in blatant choke-holds and getting away with it.  We have video of police officers going after people for simply video-recording them doing their jobs.  We have video of police officers running over suspects with their squad car like they were playing “Grand Theft Auto” or “Carmageddon”.  We have acts of brutality from our supposed “protectors” and “public servants” that would fall under the category of war crimes if they were carried out in any other country, all of which are shown on the nightly news before eventually being swept under the rug with little or no accountability.
Does this mean that the police are corrupt to the core?  Does it mean that there is suddenly absence of right and wrong when it comes to our law enforcement?  Does it mean that every cop is simply a criminal with a badge and a “Double-O” license to kill?
No.  It doesn’t.
But let’s get brutally honest here... what we are seeing are the “bad apples” being exposed thanks in no small part to courageous citizens armed with the latest in technology.
All of these recent incidences are coming to light as they are happening because more and more people have cameras with them.  If they’re not recording their lives with GoPro camcorders, then they’re carrying around cellphones and tablets that have digital cameras build in and the means to upload those videos quickly in ways that police cannot destroy by simply smashing the device.
What doesn’t help is when those in government follow their instincts and protect their own even when the proof is damnable and very public.  The so-called “Department of Justice” cannot live up to their own name if they continually whitewash police abuses.  All of the claims of “training” and being “certified” mean absolutely squat if some good-old-boy Goober with political connections can seemingly buy his badge and buy a “pass” through all of that training, as is being revealed in Tulsa County, Oklahoma.
And if you think it all can be swept under the rug, then you have another thing coming.  You think the protests last year over Ferguson were bad?  If you want the protests to get worse, all you have to do is keep doing nothing and hiding your heads in both the sand and in phony nostalgia.
We all want to believe that the institutions we trust with our security do so with “integrity” and “decency”.  But if they can’t honestly live up to those standards, then we do ourselves a greater injustice by trying to pretend that these either exist or existed then.  It is high time that we took off the rose-colored spectacles our past and recognize that things weren’t as “good” and “pure” as we pretended they were, because that is the only way that we can move forward and actually make things better.

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