Author: Andrew Lepore

The Libertarian Case for a Border Wall

Andrew Lepore | United States

Libertarian philosophy centers itself around protecting property rights. It also recognizes the immorality of coercive action against any individual or group. So on its face, the construction of a southern border wall seems contradictory to libertarian values; in fact, I at one time opposed it. But since diving deeper into the issue, I have concluded that the wall will provide a net benefit to individual liberty. 

Misinforation about the Border Wall

First of all, it seems that many people have misinformation on the issue of illegal immigration. Among this is the incorrect statement that the majority of illegals come from overstayed visas. This is false: only 42% of illegal immigrants are here for that reason. Though this is a plurality, calling it a majority is deceiving. 

Another common false point is that illegal immigrants do not have access to welfare. But an analysis by the Center for Immigration Studies of the Census Bureau’s Survey of Income and Program Participation (SIPP) shows that 62% of illegal-immigrant-headed households use some form of welfare, excluding social security (compare this to 30% of native citizens). Illegal immigrants do in fact benefit from welfare that their children legally obtain via birthright citizenship.

Moreover, opponents perpetuate the falsehood that, historically, walls have proven ineffective in preventing undocumented migration. They say it would be inefficient and is just not worth the cost on taxpayers. Common responses include the notion that immigrants could go over, under, or around it. However, the facts show that these assumptions are ignoring the history of border walls across the globe.

Walls Work

For example, the construction of Israel’s border wall decreased illegal migration by 99% while Hungary’s did the same by 98%. In Soviet East Germany, before the wall existed, illegal emigration was a serious problem. Between 1945 and 1961, over 3.5 million East Germans walked across the unguarded border. But as the statistics below demonstrate, the wall reduced defection numbers by over 90%.

Once again, there are obvious contradictions to libertarian philosophy in the construction of a border wall. Most importantly, it requires the government to use coercion against those trying to cross it. Moreover, the government will be using our tax dollars to construct it. They also will use eminent domain to obtain the land they need.

Granted, those are immoralities, but so is welfare (a redistribution of stolen tax dollars). Large, government-funded public programs are as well. And so is allowing political parties to take advantage of democracy by permitting massive migration of a demographic that vastly supports larger government programs.

Risks of Illegal Immigration

Government spending has exploded since the 1960s and is continuing to climb at an unsustainable rate (see graph below). As you may know, the United States is nearly $22 trillion in debt. But what you may not know is that the United States is also in an over $210 trillion hole in the unfunded liabilities column for welfare benefits, social security, and pensions that we owe in the future.

Government spending over time
Government spending over time

To reiterate, a majority of illegal-headed households use welfare. Moreover, 6 out of 10 who cross the border illegally will go on to start a family that will consume tens of thousands of taxpayer dollars every year. Every dollar of this is taken involuntarily from citizens.

Even worse, illegals are taking up benefits owed to Americans who actually pay into the overcrowded system. $210 trillion is an enormous number which we will be hard-pressed to pay off; some even say that we never will. Our system already has far too many burdens and rising debt. It would be financially irresponsible to hand out taxpayer-funded welfare benefits to anybody who shows up.

Welfare use

Welfare use, excluding social security

Some dispute the validity of the current statistics, as the analysis does not account for household income or size. This analysis does not compare the welfare rate of illegal immigrants and natives in the same income bracket or with the same size households. It is showing that due to many factors, illegal immigrant households have higher welfare use rates.

Use of Public Services

Welfare is not the only program which allows illegals to benefit from American taxpayers. Due to a vast array of public services, illegals provide an additional impact on the American taxpayer. Wear and tear on roads, cost of emergency services, congestion, public utilities and more all contribute.

These may seem less impactful, but the numbers add up significantly over the years. The taxpayer cost of illegal immigration over the years will make the initial construction cost look like a drop in the bucket. The cost of the wall is one-time, while the benefits are continuous.

Support for Big Government

Another way the wall may preserve liberty in the future is with the preservation of a demographic with limited-government political leanings. Statistically, Hispanics are most likely to illegally cross the border due to geographic proximity. The Hispanic population also happens to be the demographic with the highest welfare use among illegals. Moreover, they are far more likely to support leftist government policy than natives.

Hispanic party affiliation, from Pew Research Center

The wall will help preserve a population that prefers smaller government by reducing the demographic impact of any future amnesty deals. In the case of such deals, massive demographic changes would take place. Most likely, it would not reflect the aspirations of native-born citizens. A large-scale amnesty deal like Reagan’s in California may not happen, but it is very possible. Such would have massive effects on the political demographics of the United States.

Even if an amnesty deal never takes place, illegal immigration has a significant effect on the electoral college and the distribution of seats in the House. Seats are apportioned based on state populations, which includes non-citizens and undocumented immigrants. So, increased illegal immigration without amnesty gives citizens in border states an unfairly large voice in Congress.

The Wall: A Net Benefit to Liberty

Every year, hundreds of thousands of illegal immigrants come across the border to work. But while they do this, many take advantage of the benefits the government hangs in front of them. Illegal immigration is not stopping any time soon, and neither is the welfare state. Every single dollar they hand to illegals, they stole from a working American taxpayer.

Granted, funding and constructing a wall will require some force and an act of government. That pinch of statism, however, is necessary to stop a tsunami of future leftist coercion. Construction of the wall can almost fully prevent this future pillaging of the American taxpayer. The protection of liberty we can achieve through its construction vastly outweighs the little liberty we must surrender for it.

In conclusion, if I could abolish welfare instead of building a wall, I would. In today’s political theater, though, the abolition of welfare is not feasible while the construction of the wall is. Due to the boatloads of money Americans lose every year due to illegal Immigration, the wall’s construction will provide a net benefit to liberty.

71 Republic is the Third Voice in media. We pride ourselves on distinctively independent journalism and editorials. Every dollar you give helps us grow our mission of providing reliable coverage. Please consider donating to our Patreon.

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The Cuban Project: Is the U.S. Willing to Kill Its Citizens?

Andrew Lepore | United States

How far would the government go in order to convince the American people to go to war? Revelations from a series of Pentagon documents declassified over 20 years ago reveal a willingness on the part of U.S. officials to go to shocking lengths to justify a war in Cuba. Some were even willing to manufacture acts of terrorism on U.S. soil.

In 1997, The JFK Assassination Records Review Board released over 1,800 previously classified records from the Kennedy era. Among these documents was a series of memorandums titled “Justification for U.S. Military Intervention in Cuba”. These memorandums detailed possible plans to remove Fidel Castro’s Communist regime, and the means of which to justify this military action to the American people. This series of plans and operations became known as the Cuban Project, which was a prime foreign policy focus for the Kennedy administration.

The Cuban Project

When Fidel Castro took power in 1959, U.S. officials predicted he would have trouble holding on to power. Officials were first wary of his rule. Castro had not yet shown himself to be a communist, though U.S. intelligence knew his brother Raul was. Officials feared that Castro could pose a threat to U.S. assets on the island, or that he could demand a far higher rent for ownership of Guantanamo Bay.

Then, in 1960, Castro severed the once-strong ties between Cuba and the U.S. by nationalizing (government seizure) all American-owned business in the country without compensation. This prompted U.S. officials to end diplomatic relations and place a trade embargo on the island. The move greatly increased tensions between the two countries. Soon after, talks of Castro’s disposition began.

On March 17, 1960, President Eisenhower authorized covert military action against the Cuban government with his signing of a CIA document titled “A Program of Covert Action Against the Castro Regime”. This order authorized the CIA to begin a propaganda offensive against the regime, develop a series of intelligence networks within the country, and Develop a paramilitary force to be introduced into Cuba to organize, train and lead resistance groups against the Castro regime”.

Sabotage against Castro

The agency even had plans to sabotage Castro’s public image through zany schemes. For example, they proposed secretly drugging him with an LSD-like substance before a speech. They hoped this would “cause him to flail into delusional gyrations during a public appearance”. There were also thoughts to line his shoes with toxic thallium salts to make his beard fall out.

Throughout 1960, the CIA carried out these orders, which soon became known as the Cuban Project. Then, following his inauguration, President Kennedy was briefed on the latest plan in the Cuban Project, codenamed Operation Pluto. This plan detailed an amphibious invasion of the island by over 1,000 CIA-trained Cuban exiles. Kennedy approved the operation and ordered active departments to continue and report progress.

On April 17, 1961, the exiles landed on the beach of Playa Giron in the Bay of Pigs, but harsh resistance met the invasion. In only three days, most of the attackers had surrendered to Cuban forces. The Bay of Pigs invasion, thus, was a major failure for American foreign policy and an embarrassment for the Kennedy Administration.

However, the Bay of Pigs failure did not deter American officials from trying to topple the Castro Regime. In a dateless 1962 CIA memoranda, the agency concluded that “The United States cannot tolerate a permanent communist government in Cuba”, and that “Military intervention by the United States will be required to overthrow the Cuban Communist Regime”. (Image #46)

Public Distaste, Manipulation

At this time, following both WWII and Korea, the American public did not want another war. In particular, they opposed one that could lead to greater tensions with the now Cuban-allied Soviet Union. Nobody wanted World War Three. This posed a problem for U.S. officials, as any act of war would require support of the public and of Congress. Nonetheless, they wanted to manipulate the public into supporting and even calling for military action.

Following a meeting at the White House on November 3rd, 1961, American officials determined that the best course of action for the Cuban problem was a centralized effort from senior White House officials. This strategy gained the name Operation Mongoose. The end goal of the project, as the Department of Defense Joint Chiefs of Staff outlined, was to “provide adequate justification for military intervention in Cuba”.

In a dateless 1961 memorandum, the government ordered that “All information output should be designed to reassure the populace that the U.S- supported movement is designed to carry forward the realizations of the social and economic aspirations of the Cuban people”. Previously, the same document gave orders to “Engage in all-out psychological warfare and propaganda stressing the morality of the United States [military] action”. (Image #35)

The John Glenn Experiment

In February 1962, the agency saw a prime opportunity to persuade the American people of Castro’s disposition. On February 20th, NASA planned on sending the First American astronaut, John Glenn, into orbit. The likelihood of success on this mission was fairly unknown. Therefore, if a failure was to occur, officials could seize the opportunity to blame Cuba.

In a February 2nd, 1962 memo, the government outlined a proposal to “provide an irrevocable proof that, should the mercury man to orbit flight fail, the fault lies with Cuba”. They would accomplish this by “manufacturing various pieces of evidence which would prove electronic interference on part of the Cubans. Of course, planners knew that with the whole country watching, the shock and anger of the death of John Glenn at the hands of Cuba would surely result in the American public calling for retaliation against the Cuban government. Luckily, the mission was successful, and the agency was never able to fulfill the proposal.

Operation Northwoods

That October 4th, a special group met at the White House to discuss proceedings in the Cuban Project. At this meeting, the group ordered four new directives. The last of these ordered that “All efforts should be made to develop new and imaginative approaches to the possibility of getting rid of the Castro Regime“. This directive gave birth to a new initiative in the Cuban Project: Operation Northwoods. Declassified Operation Northwoods documents reveal disturbing plots, and the length to which U.S. officials would go to achieve their goal.

An dateless 1962 memo titled “Pretexts to Justify US Military Intervention in Cuba” directed that “A series of well-coordinated incidents will be planned to take place in and around Guantanamo to give genuine appearance of being done by hostile Cuban forces”, and that “Such a plan would enable a logical build-up of incidents to be combined with other seemingly unrelated events to camouflage the ultimate objective and create necessary impression of Cuban rashness and irresponsibility on a large scale”. (Images #136, #138) Planners proposed a series of possible false flag incidents to establish justification for an invasion of the island.

Cuban Project False Flag Ideas

“Incidents to establish a credible attack (Not in chronological order)

Start Rumors (many)” (Image #138)

“Blow up ammunition inside base; start fires.

Burn Aircraft inside base (Sabotage).

Start Riots near gate.

Capture militia group which storms the base.

Lob mortar shells from outside of base, into base.

We could sink a boatload of Cuban en route to Florida (real or simulated).

Sabotage ships in harbour, start fires, — naphthalene.  

Sink ship near harbour entrance. Conduct funerals for mock victims”. (Image 139)

“It is possible to create an incident which will demonstrate convincingly that a Cuban aircraft has attacked and shot down a chartered civil airliner en route from America to Jamaica, Guatemala, Panama, or Venezuela” (Image #141)

The documents also propose that “A ‘Remember the Maine’ incident could occur in several forms. We could blow up a U.S. ship in Guantanamo Bay and blame Cuba”. And that “We could blow up a drone (unmanned) vessel anywhere in Cuban waters. We could arrange to cause such an incident in the vicinity of Havana or Santiago as a spectacular result from a Cuban attack from land or sea or both. The presence of Cuban planes or ships merely investigating the intent of the vessel could be fairly compelling evidence that the vessel was taken under attack”.

It then goes on to say “Casualty lists in U.S. newspapers would cause a helpful wave of national indignation.” (Image #139)

Terrorism from Washington, to Washington

One of the most disturbing pieces of the memo proposes “We could develop a communist Cuban terror plot in the Miami area, other Florida cities, and even in Washington. The terror campaign could be pointed at Cuban refugees seeking haven in the United States”. It goes on to say, “Exploding a few plastic bombs in carefully chosen spots, the arrest of Cuban agents, and the release of prepared documents substantiating Cuban involvement would be helpful in projecting the idea of irresponsible government”. (Images #139, #140

In response to any of these possible instances, and with the establishment of a credible attack in the eyes of the American public, the document states “The United States would respond by executing offensive operations to secure water and power supplies, destroying artillery, and mortar emplacements which threaten the base. Commence large scale military operations”.  (Image #139)              

Planners suggested compartmentalization to ensure the covert nature of the operation. This means that only select officials and departments would be aware of the plans. The rest, on the other hand, would only know the “official” story. The same memo directed that “this paper NOT be forwarded to commanders of unified or specified command, this paper NOT be forwarded to U.S. officers assigned to NATO activities, this paper NOT be forwarded to the chairman, U.S. delegation, United Nations staff committee.” (Image #47) If this plan went into action, only a handful of government officials would even have known of the scheme. The majority, contrarily, would receive the same misinformation as the public and the media.

By the People, For the People, Kill the People

Operation Northwoods did, in fact, come frighteningly close to implementation. The President’s Joint Chiefs of Staff suggested both approval and immediate action. After all, it made it all the way up to the president’s desk. In the end, though, President Kennedy rejected the proposal. Had it been a more hawkish President in the Oval Office, the proposal would have likely gone into motion.

Imagine for a second: if the president did sign off on this proposal, how would we know? In short, we wouldn’t; it would simply be another page in the history books. The Cuban Project would not exist to us. The Cuban communist terror attacks would be a day we annually remember. We would also probably say something like “We will always remember the American people who died at the hands of the Communists”.  And if anybody ever did question the possibility that it didn’t happen exactly as the books said? Well, society might view them as un-American conspiracy nuts.

Of course, many find it unfathomable that a government of the people and for the people would kill the people. Sadly, however, the Cuban Project proves it is a reality. I find it highly unlikely this was the first or last time when the state considered false flag operations. Thus, this begs the question: has the government ever implemented such a proposal before?

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The Nationwide Ban On Kratom Will Be Deadly

Andrew Lepore | United States

Currently, The United States is in the midst of what many call an opioid crisis. People from all backgrounds are getting addicted to, and overdosing on, opium-derived substances (Prescription painkillers, heroin, fentanyl, and more) at record rates. Every 11 minutes, another individual dies from an opiate overdose. In fact, the United States leads the world in drug overdoses, and opiates cause the majority of these. But kratom, an ancient drug, may offer solutions.

We also have millions of chronic pain sufferers who have few options for treatment other than those very same opiates, which often starts them down the road to addiction. Nearly 80% of heroin addicts on the streets start off on a prescription from their doctor.

The Failed War on Drugs

The question of how to curb addiction and overdose rates been a key issue on the minds of voters, politicians, and public policy experts over the last two years, though an answer has yet to emerge. Some politicians have called for stricter penalties for offenders and higher budgets for law enforcement. However, others counter, saying that the strategy has gotten us nowhere.

Decades after the start of Nixon’s war on drugs, despite spending trillions on drug enforcement and building the world’s largest prison population (mostly non-violent drug offenders) drug use has not decreased, and in fact, overdose rates have increased enormously. With conventional strategies failing, many believe the answer for both tackling the opioid crisis and far safer pain management lies in a more natural solution: kratom.

What is Kratom?

Kratom is a powder that comes from the dried leaves of the Mitragyna Speciosa, an evergreen tree native to Southeast Asia. Kratom is a member of the coffee family. In low doses, it produces similar mood-boosting and energizing effect. Higher doses result in sedation. For thousands of years, societies have used Kratom to treat a variety of ailments. Today, it is growing in popularity to treat symptoms such as anxiety, PTSD, hypertension, inflammation, chronic pain, and opiate withdrawals.

Many people believe kratom is the future of addiction treatment for opiate addicts, and a treatment that society should welcome, especially given the current situation. Studies have proven that kratom drastically reduces the symptoms of withdrawing from opiates. It affects the same opioid receptors in the brain, but to a far lesser degree than traditional opiates. Kratom can also serve as a safer substitute for addicts. It does not cause respiratory depression, making it nearly impossible to overdose.

A Safer Way to Manage Pain

Kratom also promises to be a safer, less addictive, and cheaper means of pain management. In 2015 alone, healthcare providers filled 300 million opiate pain prescriptions across the country. Given that 80% of heroin addicts started off on prescription pain meds, the first step to ending the opioid crisis is preventing the creation of more opiate-dependant patients.

The problem is, for those suffering both acute and chronic pain, the only real options for treatment through prescription are high strength NSAIDs (such as Ibuprofen and Meloxicam), certain muscle relaxants, and opiates. But a large portion of these people could easily treat their pain effectively with kratom, too.

As of now, Kratom is fully legal. The government regulates it as a herbal supplement, so it is easy to obtain quality product at cheap prices. But this is likely to change soon. The DEA and FDA have put Kratom in the crosshairs, pushing to classify it as a Schedule One narcotic.

Kratom as a Schedule One?

The Controlled Substances Act empowers the Attorney General to classify a previously unscheduled substance if the DHHS and the DEA determine there to be an “imminent hazard to public safety”. The DEA had first announced its intent to classify Mitragynine and 7-HMG, the active compounds in kratom, as Schedule One substances back in August 2016.

This led to some serious public backlash from kratom users, advocacy groups, and even researchers. Demonstrations in front of the White House took place, people wrote letters to Congress, and a petition garnered over 120,000 signatures. Less than two weeks later, the agency announced it would suspend the scheduling and seek the assistance of the FDA and HHS in conducting a “thorough scientific evaluation”.

Kratom is a plant that may be the future of addiction treatment. It is far safer, less addictive, and cheaper then opioids. Now, why would the state want to ban that? Follow the paper trail.

Pharmaceutical Pockets

In 2015, the prescription painkiller industry generated $24 billion in sales. Drugs like Methadone and Suboxone, which help addicts withdraw from opioid addiction, also generate hundreds of millions in sales annually. With Kratom gaining popularity as a cheap and effective substitute for both pain management and opioid withdrawal treatment, it threatens to burn a hole in the pockets of those who profit off the opioid crisis.

Preventing such a loss of profits is why big pharma has poured billions into lobbying politicians and federal agencies over the past decades.

Currently, the pharmaceutical industry is looking into isolating kratom alkaloids to manufacture new synthetic opioids, making them patentable and profitable. But the drug companies can’t monopolize and charge exorbitant prices for the potential treatments kratom alkaloids offer without the state first banning the plant.

Some may say that this is just another failure of capitalism. However, what is going on now is the opposite of the free market playing out. It, rather, is a failure of allowing government agencies to regulate what we can and can’t use as medicine. When the state can pick winners and losers, the most powerful interests will take advantage of it. Generally, this comes at the cost of everybody else.

Fabricated Dangers

In February 2018, the FDA made an announcement warning of the dangers of kratom. Specifically, they labeled its active compounds as opiates with a “high potential for abuse”. They made no mention of any possible benefits, immediately framing it as fit for Schedule One classification. Although it is true that certain compounds in the plant bind to kappa opioid receptors in the brain, kratom is not a derivative of, or closely related to, the opium poppy (it’s actually in the coffee family).

In response to this announcement, a group of scientists and researchers familiar with the plant wrote an open letter to the head administrator of the FDA, in which they labeled the agency’s description of kratom as an opiate as misleading. They said that the compounds active in kratom are “[Pharmacologically] distinct from classical opiates”. Furthermore, they stated that kratom does not produce respiratory depression (the leading cause of overdose deaths) and has less potential for addiction. They also warned that banning kratom will increase opioid deaths and make it harder to study. After all, only a select few receive permission to study Schedule One substances.

Recent Action

Earlier this month, The DHHS recommended that the DEA place the active compounds found in kratom in the Schedule One category. This has many worried, but not surprised. With the blessing and support of both the HHS and FDA, it seems likely that the DEA will follow through with the scheduling.

It is clear that kratom is no “imminent hazard to public safety”. The FDA has cited 44 cases of reported “kratom-associated deaths”. However, none of those cases actually resulted from an overdose or toxic effect of the plant. In nearly all of them, the victim had a cocktail of various prescription drugs in their system at death; kratom was only one of many substances in play. Other cases include a man who refused treatment after falling from a window and a teen committing suicide. But because they had kratom in their system, the plant is to blame.

The State’s Double Standard

The FDA just approved a new opiate (Dsuvia) that is 8-10x stronger than fentanyl. Basically, this says that a plant proven to treat opiate withdrawal is more of a threat to public safety than one of the strongest opiates known to man, during an opiate crisis. Without a doubt, there is a double standard in place. It is painfully obvious whose interests these agencies are serving, and it’s not the American people.

For a drug to be Schedule One, it has to be a substance “With no currently accepted medical benefit with a high potential for abuse”. This classification disqualifies it from being a prescription drug. On the other hand, fentanyl and oxycontin cause thousands of overdoses each year, yet are deemed safe for prescription use. Kratom, however, is a natural substance that has never caused an overdose. Why, then, does the DEA consider it unsafe for prescription use? Surely, pharmaceutical profit has far more to do with this consideration than public health.

Fighting the Solution

If kratom is banned, there will be hundreds of thousands of patients who have no other choice but to turn to prescription opioids to manage their pain. They will be left with two choices; they can suffer through the debilitating pain or risk addiction to opioid pain medication. Moreover, countless former addicts currently on kratom instead of opiates may reverse back to more dangerous drugs. Banning a plant that is easing the effects of the opioid crisis will only end up worsening it. 

Basically, the state is showing it would imprison innocent people or let them die before costing the pharmaceutical industry a few bucks. They are fighting the solution, not the problem. Instances like this demonstrate the massive negative consequences of granting a government bureaucracy the power to determine what we can and can’t put into our bodies.

Unless people continue to speak out and spread the word, kratom likely will become a Schedule One narcotic. Public backlash stopped the scheduling of kratom before and it can do it again. But even a wave of public outcry may not be enough; the dollars of special interest groups and the corrupt state are difficult to overcome.

71 Republic is the Third Voice in media. We pride ourselves on distinctively independent journalism and editorials. Every dollar you give helps us grow our mission of providing reliable coverage. Please consider donating to our Patreon, which you can find here. Thank you very much for your support!

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The Most Brutal Police Department in the Country

By Andrew Lepore | United States

The Mesa Police Department from the Phoenix, Arizona metropolitan area is one of the most brutal in the United States. In just 18 months, Mesa police officers were involved in four incidents involving the use of excessive force that have made national headlines. All of them are now undergoing FBI investigation.

On September 4th, nearby Scottsdale Police declared the officers’ force in one case was within the bounds of legality. The incident involved four officers beating an innocent man in an apartment complex. This decision to clear the officers has ignited protests in the Phoenix suburbs and has many wondering just how unbiased and independent police-on-police investigations really are. Were the actions of these officers really acceptable for men whose job it is to protect and serve our communities? Or do the actions of these officers warrant nothing less than a formal criminal prosecution?

Just before midnight on May 23rd, 911 dispatch received a domestic violence call from a woman claiming her ex-boyfriend was breaking into her apartment. Four officers initially arrive at the scene.

The victim, neighbor Robert Johnson, and the suspect made contact with the four officers at the end of the hallway, near the elevator.

Police barked orders to both men to sit down. The suspect immediately complies. Johnson, however, leans up against the wall with his cell phone placed up to his ear. An officer then states, “ I’m not going to tell you again. Sit down”. Johnson once more fails to respond and looks down at his phone.

At this point, the three of the officers close in from all angles, Johnson remaining calm with his hands to his sides. The first officer, directly facing Johnson, attempts to kick his feet out from under him, then grabs him by the sides and knees him twice in the abdomen. At the same time, the two other officers rabidly punch the sides of Johnson’s head and body. The first officer then unleashes 5 haymakers on Johnsons unprotected face

Then, already seemingly unconscious, Johnson begins to slide down the wall as the first officer releases a powerful elbow blow to the side of the head, bouncing the victim’s head violently off of the wall.

Another officer yells “See, that’s what happens” as they rush to handcuff Johnson and zip his legs.

The video continues on for another 17 minutes until the officers disappear into the elevator carrying Johnson, who suffered a concussion and other minor injuries from the assault. After the officers took him into custody, he was charged with disorderly conduct and hindering prosecution. The court later dropped the charge at the prosecution’s request. In the police report, one officer claimed that “Johnson’s body language was projecting and he was preparing for a physical altercation”. Another described Johnson as “Verbally defiant and confrontational.

After the video become public, Mesa Police Department Sargeant Ramon Batista said: “I don’t feel that our officers were at their best”, and that he was “disappointed”. The chief put all four officers on paid vacation and submitted the video for Scottsdale to independently review.

Now, over 3 months later, the review cleared the officers of any criminal wrongdoing. A spokesperson from the department announced yesterday: “No criminal charges are warranted against the involved officers as the use of force was legally authorized and justified under Arizona State Law.”

Despite the disappointment of some, many police supporters are applauding the decision. The president of the Mesa Fraternal Order Of Police Officers, William Biascoechea, announced “We’re glad to see the decision not to charge police officers for doing their job. Charging police criminally for doing their job can negatively impact the decision-making process for all law enforcement who work to protect the community and must make split-second decisions. It’s important for the public to know that camera footage sometimes captures just one perspective without context.”

Since the officers’ clearing, Johnson’s lawyer, Benjamin Taylor, has come on the record and stated, “This is a sad day for the people of Arizona. When officers can get away with assaulting citizens, people in our community will lose trust in them and our justice system. The whole world saw the beating Mr. Johnson took…We will continue to fight for Mr. Johnson and justice will be served”

Many are calling this is a clear-cut case of police brutality. If these weren’t men in badges, nobody would deny this as a case of aggravated assault and battery, as well as kidnapping. Despite Johnson’s innocence and lack of criminal record, the police still violently beat him, tied him up, and carried him off. Though many departments have recently implemented body cameras to prevent this, they are not a foolproof solution.

Despite all of this, Johnson still has a chance at justice from an unlikely source. One day after Scottsdale cleared the officers, the FBI announced that they would investigate this case and several other incidents involving the department. But, only time will tell whether Johnson and other police victims will see justice.

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The Technocratic Police State Of Dubai

By Andrew Lepore | United States

Robocops, flying hover bikes, AI facial recognition, million dollar patrol cars, and totalitarianism coming to a city near you!

Dubai, United Arab Emirates, the economic and cultural capital of the Middle-east. The land of endless shopping malls, superhighways, man-made islands, and high tech futuristic gadgetry.

But behind all the lights and the noise, Dubai reveals its true form: a totalitarian police state ruthlessly controlled by absolute dictator Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum and his high tech militarized police force.

On the surface, Dubai may seem like a modern free market utopia, but it in reality is far from it. Every aspect of the lives of the city-state’s subjects are governed by a set of draconian laws with little more tolerance than its Islamist neighbors.

Freedom of the press as well as free speech are basically non-existent. It is illegal to criticize both the absolute ruler and Islam. Also, it is illegal to be gay, or to use a list of swears, insults or “rude gestures” that the state defines. It is furthermore illegal for unmarried couples to live together, have sex, and—even for married couples—to show public signs of affection. Tattooing is banned, as well as vaping, and alcohol is restricted to hotel bars only. Not to mention that if the police suspect you of a crime, you are guilty until proven innocent.

The police state ruthlessly enforces the drug war — with even testing positive for marijuana (Foreigners are randomly drug tested upon arrival) carrying a punishment of a mandatory 4 year minimum. And on top of that, you can bet whatever socially authoritarian laws there are in place in the United States, are also in place in Dubai.

But how does the police state actually attempt to enforce such restricting laws on a population of over 3 million people? A massive police force exists with an even more massive budget. There is also a blanket of surveillance over the whole city-state.

With an extremely wealthy, densely concentrated population, and an absolute ruler with the free rein to implement new government programs at the snap of a finger, Dubai, among other city states in the UAE, seems to be the ideal testing grounds for the police states of the future.

Private government contractors and authoritarians alike have praised Dubai’s police state. For example, Singapore based company OTSAW, which holds a large scale government contract to implement high tech security measures, has praised the Dubai model as “Groundbreaking for the future of police surveillance in large cities”. Even Donald Trump Jr. was happy to praise Dubai’s absolute dictator on a trip to the city-state last year; “The incredible vision Sheikh Mohammed has been able to put forward for this country is truly awe-inspiring,” he said.

Over the past two decades, Dubai has invested a ridiculous sum of money in constructing the world’s most high tech police force. They now have driver-less miniature patrol cars, armed with facial recognition that can identify “undesirables”. Then, they can release a drone to follow the suspect wherever the car is unable to go. Robocops patrol the street with AI technology. Flying hover bikes double as autonomous drones. They even have a fleet of super patrol cars totaling in the tens of millions, including Bugattis and Lamborghinis.

The city is blanketed in tens of thousands of AI CCTV cameras which can recognize and track individuals as well as vehicles. They can also determine if an individual is engaging in “suspicious behavior”. The police are trained in military tactics and armed to the teeth with military style gear and weapons; As well as in possession of a fleet of mine resistant armored vehicles and tanks. There are also hundreds of non-uniformed secret police constantly patrolling the streets watching for the slightest violations.

This all sounds like something out of a thin blue liner’s dream. Just how far will the thin blue line crowd take police power here in the US?

The United States police presence in every day life has been growing exponentially, and shows little sign of slowing down. In the 1990s, the Department of Defense authorized the 1033 program to supply local law enforcement with surplus military equipment. But a turning point came after 9/11, when the Department of Homeland Security began handing out grants to law enforcement agencies for the purchase of brand new military weaponry from private suppliers. Since then, they have dished out $5 billion in surplus military equipment and $34 in DHS grants. This is not far off from Germany’s entire defense budget.

Not surprisingly, since these programs began, there has been an unprecedented explosion in SWAT team deployments across the country. In the 1980s there were 3,000 SWAT deployments per year. Now, there are 50,000-80,000, despite the fact that violent crime is at a historic low. When you give the state tools of oppression, they will use them, no matter how trivial the legal infraction.

Despite police getting such immense federal grants, a 77% acquittal rate of any wrongdoing, and the full support of the state behind them, people still think there is a “war on cops”. Propagandists such as David Grossman, the self proclaimed “killogist” training American law enforcement across the country, peddles the lie that there is a war on cops.

As he quotes, “The number of cops that have been murdered in the line of duty has skyrocketed. The systematic murder, ambush, and execution of cops has become the norm”. This is simply false. In 2017, the number of police officers murdered was the second lowest in 50 years. The lie is a very dangerous narrative to push.

When people give the police these, well, alternative facts, they began to view the citizen as the enemy. They may act in ways that they would not have. When one hears that the towns and cities are war zones, he or she will use war-like tactics.

This way of thinking will result in the Dubai police state model’s application here at home. People really do think that violent crime is exploding. They really do believe in a war on cops, and want to equip and fund them more. Most people do value security over freedom.

The coming of a technocratic police state is nearly inevitable. And the people will be begging for it. The thin blue line doesn’t end, it extends further and further. It goes until it crushes all of our remaining liberties under the boot of law and order.

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