Saturday, May 11, 2013

Police Corruption and the State Machine


Please note that I am not ‘anti-police’, ‘anti-medicine’ or ‘anti-government’.

This article is not intended to malign these institutions as a whole. It is intended to explore the issue of individual police officers, medical and psychiatric personnel, and government bureaucrats who are corrupt and abuse their power to further career, personal or other agendas.

I don’t doubt that the vast majority of police officers, medical and psychiatric personnel, and government bureaucrats are honest, decent, hard-working people with difficult jobs to do and do them ethically and exceedingly well.

The few that are corrupt, especially those in high places can do a great deal of damage not only to the targets of their corruption but to the institutions of policing, medicine, psychiatry and government as well. So this is a matter that should be of concern to those institutions as well as every individual member of those institutions.

I’ve been writing a lot about corruption lately. Probably because it really does permeate every aspect of our society.

Here in Canada, in my opinion, it’s gone to such extremes that we are now moving in line with the third world where it’s simply accepted and a given.

The only exception to this appears to be Quebec where some standards apparently do exist and recent attempts to engage in bribery and corruption have been exposed.

Whether anything substantive comes out of these exposures in Quebec or whether they will simply fizzle out, allowing the corrupt to return to business as usual, remains to be seen but at least something is happening there.

Ontario, on the other hand ….

The reality is that much of this activity is already illegal. The problem isn’t that these acts aren’t recognized as illegal and often criminal acts.

The problem is that the processes in place are abused by those that society has provided with special trust like certain individual police officers, doctors, psychiatrists, psychologists, government bureaucrats, politicians, intelligence agents, etc. And they are abused to further corporate, political and even personal agendas of the members of the wealthy elite and their associates, agents of influence, et al.

You and I can’t abuse these processes. We’d get caught and go to jail. But the right people with the right connections and enough money, resources to back up their demands, certainly can and have done as evidenced by the articles provided.

We are also moving in line with some of the most fascist and authoritarian states in history and the strategies they used to keep the populace from rebelling against the injustices heaped on them with impunity. Note that these strategies were also used by members of the elite to target individuals for personal reasons.

For example, one well known and respected social activist in Toronto, has been explicitly told by a member   of the TPS that they are mentally ill. Why? Because they’re engaging in legitimate dissent. Although I’m sure the individual officer making that vile claim won’t give that as the explanation. Irrespective how they rationalize it, such claims effectively take the position that it’s ‘delusional’ to think that we have some serious problems in the political and social system we live in that are crying out to be resolved.

I don’t doubt that those particular members of the TPS who advocate this fascist and rather authoritarian position would love to do the following and we may yet see that happen in Canada, if it hasn’t happened already without our knowledge:

A new psychiatric disorder has even been invented to deal with the ‘problem’ of social activists engaging in legitimate dissent, called Oppositional Defiant Disorder.

No doubt that anyone who disputes a police officer’s testimony in a court room must be delusional or mentally ill because a police officer would never perjure themselves on the stand or provide unreliable testimony for any reason now would they? And if they did we would hold them accountable for that criminal act and for betraying the special trust we’ve provided to them wouldn’t we?

According to this article, yes some police officers do lie under oath and no we don't always hold them accountable.

A police officer would never threaten citizens with frame-ups and false arrests now would they?

Apparently they would and no doubt this has actually happened to others by police officers who were lucky enough not to have been exposed on video.

Despite this reality, our Justice System, when dealing with anything from the most serious crimes to the most minor traffic infractions takes the police officer’s word as gospel when there’s a direct conflict between what the police officer says and what the defendant says.

Just like the Medical and Psychiatric system takes the word of it’s professionals as gospel when there’s a direct conflict.

Or, the government bureaucracy takes word of it’s civil servants as gospel when there’s a direct conflict.

One can argue that the defendant should have evidence to support their claims. This is true.

However, how does one defend themselves (by getting that evidence) when the police officer lies in court and the defendant is unaware that they are going to do this? Or, when Medical/Psychiatric professionals and government bureaucrats lie in Hearings and the defendant is unaware that they are going to do this?

Even if the defendant is aware that lies will be told, unless the defendant knows what lies will be told how are they to get the evidence and be properly prepared to defend themselves?

Under those circumstances, they can’t. The other side, the side that’s lying, has the unfair advantage in this system no matter which bureaucracy one is dealing with.

And since one is dealing with professionals who are lying and know the system far better than their victims, one can be sure they’ve done what they think they need to do to cover their tracks. Or, at least try to cover their tracks.

One can also argue that those professionals should also have evidence to support their claims but our system doesn’t require that they do and if they do provide evidence our system doesn’t require that it be vetted in circumstances where the word of the professional contradicts the word of the defendant.

One can hire a lawyer to ensure that evidence is provided and is vetted but even that doesn’t protect the defendant if the lawyer also doesn’t know what lies will be told and what evidence will be fabricated. The lawyer has the same disadvantage the defendant has.

As a result, it’s rare for any kind of corruption to be exposed in Canada because the state machine itself is corrupt. When it is exposed, I suspect that it’s probably because some member of the wealthy elite is ticked off at another member of the wealthy elite so out of pure spite or revenge they reveal the other’s dirty laundry. They are the only one’s who could do this and get away with it without any repercussions. Whichever one has the better connections wins. Or, a deal is negotiated behind the scenes and the scandal conveniently disappears from the air waves while the state machine looks for a way to rationalize it’s way of the situation.

Seriously. How many Canadian scandals have just disappeared into the woodwork suddenly and nothing more is heard about them? There is no follow up on how the issues were resolved assuming they were or not. This occurs no matter how irrefutable the evidence is or how strong the case is.

The solution to this sort of systemic corruption is quite simple. The professional's word should not be accepted as gospel under any circumstances. When there is a conflict in testimony there should be an automatic investigation into both the claims made by the professional and the claims made by the defendant. 

A process like this would protect everyone's rights because it would deter liars who would then also have to fabricate evidence and it would protect those telling the truth who can back up their claims. 

That won't stop evidence and witness tampering, etc. but those things would harder to set up and it would be easier for the liars to get caught in their lies when the evidence is being vetted rather than just accepted as automatically true because a police officer, doctor, mental health professional, government bureaucrat, etc. says so.

A process like this would give the ordinary citizen a fighting chance at standing up to corrupt professionals who abuse their power.

I have recently run into a personal situation where precisely the above has occurred and the entire drama is circulating around a minor traffic ticket I was issued for an offence I didn’t commit.

Details about that story in tomorrows blog.

“There's a time when the operation of the machine becomes so odious—makes you so sick at heart—that you can't take part. You can't even passively take part. And you've got to put your bodies upon the gears and upon the wheels, upon the levers, upon all the apparatus, and you've got to make it stop. And you've got to indicate to the people who run it, to the people who own it that unless you're free, the machine will be prevented from working at all.” ― Mario Savio

I'm not advocating that we shut the machine down. I still think it can be fixed. I hope I'm right.

Monday, May 06, 2013

Abuse of Power and the Corruption of Justice

There's a saying that 'power corrupts'. I don't believe that is the case. 

History has shown that people do exist who are not only not corrupt but when they attain power they respect the populace and exercise the power entrusted in them judiciously. 

This honorable aspect of human history is best enshrined by our Whistleblowers. The people who often are in positions of power, attempts are made to corrupt them or they are pressured to 'go along to get along' and they resist by exposing the corruption.

The corrupt and morally bankrupt consider those who expose their wrongdoings 'rats'.

However, the difference between the 'rat' and the whistleblower is fundamental.

A Rat is a person who is corrupt and morally bankrupt and who abuses his/her position to inflict harm where no wrongdoing has occurred. Their 'exposures' are most often lies intended to blackmail or bully others into silence or submission or create smokescreens that divert attention from the real issue.

A Whistleblower is a person who has ethical standards and will expose wrongdoing often at their own expense because the Rats are then called on to attack the Whistleblower and create a smokescreen to cover up and divert attention from the wrongdoing.

The reality is that the corrupt and morally bankrupt are attracted to positions of power because their intent from the start is to abuse their power.

The only way this can succeed is if the other halls of power like the Justice system has also been corrupted and allows them to engage in these abuses of power with impunity.

We've seen this partnership of the corrupt with the corrupted justice system and how it operates first hand in the way that the legal cases involving Julian Assange, Aaron Schwartz, Jeremy Hammond, and Bradley Manning are playing out and the impact that these abuses have had on their personal lives.

We've also seen the silence of the traditional media in the face of the outrageous violations of the civil rights of each and every one of these people.

The only way that these injustices can be stopped is by those who are ethical taking our power back.

This can be done in various ways.

Assange is running for election in Australia. Make sure he gets elected.

Don't vote for parties or politicians with a lot of money backing them who have obviously been corrupted. No the deals aren't written down. That would be illegal. The agreements are implicit and acknowledged by both sides.

Pay attention to the courts and judiciary and what they are doing. Require that all proceedings be televised and monitored so that back door injustices are reduced.

There are unethical members of the Psychiatric and Psychology communities who are starting to promote fabricated mental illnesses like 'oppositional defiance disorder' or intentionally misdiagnosing social activists as 'mentally ill'. Pay attention to this development. 

To be continued ....