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01/13/2007 Archived Entry: "Iconic developments of the police state"


That grand old kick-ass lady, Jackie Juntti, just sent round a comparison of the travesty of a show trial just perpetrated upon Hollis Wayne Fincher and the plight of another militiaman in Washington state back in the 90s. She reminded readers of the kafkaesque fate of John Pitner, who was locked up for several years in the then-new federal detention center at SeaTac without even being sentenced. In both cases, the men were ardent critics of government. In both cases, they were jailed for one of the BATFE's purely technical offenses. In both case they were denied basic justice by the courts.

But Jackie also mentioned something I'd forgotten. At the time Pitner was locked away in the SeaTac detention center, the federal government was busily denying that there was any such thing as a detention center at SeaTac -- even as the building was going up, even as it was being staffed and prisoners were being moved in. Bulldogs like Jackie eventually had to force the feds to admit they were building a secret federal prison. Now we speak about the place openly, forgetting all that history. Then, it was hidden, as if in shame and fear. As if our masters didn't want the plebians to know their actions -- or their motives.

As I read Jackie's words this morning I had one of those moments of realization (increasingly frequent lately): Building a prison and lying about what you're doing is something that would simply never happen in a free country. A country that does that -- like a country that sanctions torture or wages constant wars of aggression -- is a country that's gone over the perilous line.

I almost called it an invisible line. But the tragic thing is, it's actually so visible. Or at least audible. When you hear about the secret prisons and the torture chambers, you know what kind of country you live in. These are the icons of the police state. They can be nothing else.

Posted by Claire @ 04:05 PM CST

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