It may come as a surprise to many, but the Library of Congress has its own SWAT team, 85 bodies strong. Learning this elicited a chuckle from me and a recollection of a classic Seinfeld shtick: the Library Cop. It otherwise isn't a laughing matter. A Library of Congress SWAT force showing up outside your door, to paraphrase Mr. Bookman's closing line, would be worse than a pit bull sicced on a poodle.
That's because the federal government regards all non-federal employees as poodles to harass, throw down to the floor, cuff, arrest, and cart off to an unknown future or even fate. And if you resist, you will be shot. If you successfully resist by shooting, in legitimate retaliation against the initiation of force against you, one or more members of a federal SWAT force, and survive the ensuing fusillade, you will be charged with assault or murder. Your home or office will be ransacked. Your computer and private papers will be confiscated, likely never returned, and if returned, then damaged. Damages to your property will not be compensated. No one on the SWAT team will be charged with anything, except perhaps poor marksmanship or maybe using foul language. More likely promotions in grade and pay will be in line.
If you're lucky, and the authorities admit a mistaken identity, or find no evidence of what they were searching for – with or without a search or arrest warrant – you may sue, and incur the costs and stress of fighting a government that has unlimited financial resources to fight back in court.
This is the Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) at work. Not for you. But against you. You're paying for it.
The federal government can boast of at least seventy agencies with armed officers on their payrolls, who can be cobbled together to form a single SWAT team or in alliance with other federal and local law enforcement agencies. The Department of Justice has a 16-page report that details all federal agencies that have their own little troops of armed officers, including the Library of Congress, the Environmental Protection Agency, the Department of Education, and etc. Surprisingly, the only significant agency that does not arm its employees is the Transportation Security Administration (TSA), but it isn't for lack of interest. The TSA wants travelers to see those gun holsters at every checkpoint.
Over the years, the federal government has incrementally militarized state and local law enforcement agencies, often to the point that cities and small towns have acquired armored personnel carriers and military style devices such as ramrods and "flash-bang" or "stun" grenades. This was done either under pressure from the federal government, or the non-federal agencies decided that they needed to "get with the game," and arm themselves to the teeth as much as their local budgets would allow (along with subsidies from the federal government). Fox News reported on a dubious federal raid last September on a gold mining town in Alaska:
A task force including members of 10 state and federal law enforcement agencies descended on a gold mine in the tiny town of Chicken (pop. 17) last month, in what locals described as a raid.
“Imagine coming up to your diggings, only to see agents swarming over it like ants, wearing full body armor, with jackets that say "POLICE" emblazoned on them, and all packing side arms,” gold miner C.R. Hammond told the Alaska Dispatch. “How would you have felt? You would be wondering, ‘My God, what have I done now?”
A spokesman for the federal Environmental Protection Agency did not deny that agents wore body armor and carried guns, but said it was not a "raid."
"The ongoing investigation conducted by the AK Environmental Crimes Task Force -- consisting of EPA, ADEC, USFWS, ADFG, BLM, Coast Guard, FBI, Alaska State Troopers, NOAA, & US Park Service -- did not result in a raid," the statement read. "The Task Force members involved in the investigation during the week of August 19, 2013, were EPA's Criminal Investigation Division & Bureau of Land Management's Office of Law Enforcement & Security, in cooperation with ADEC's Environmental Crimes Unit."
The investigation was into possible violations of the Clean Water Act, according to the EPA. The officers were part of the Alaska Environmental Crimes Task Force and visited the outpost near the Canadian border during the third week of August to investigate water discharges into rivers, streams, lakes and oceans.
It's a raid if a dozen armed law enforcement personnel suddenly show up and swarm over your property, ransack your belongings, and ask questions – and all you've done is mind your own business. The Alaska raid was basically a "fishing" expedition, looking for reasons to justify the initiation of force.
But then the Obama promise to "transform America" includes on its agenda making your business the government's business, and to the point that you no longer have a business.
The American Revolution occurred in large part over the stationing of British troops in the colonies to better "police" the colonials in taxation and mercantilist regulation, and to prevent them from escaping British "protection" by migrating West over the Alleghany Mountains. Special Admiralty courts were established to deal with smugglers and violators of the Crown's mercantile regulations. Crown-appointed governors in turn appointed compliant judges to the colonial judiciary to uphold Crown laws. The Crown instituted warrantless searches and seizures. This was a policy proposed by Crown wonks even before repeal of the Stamp Act in 1766, advocated for a decade by subministers with little else to do but concoct ways to milk and subdue the colonies and to pass on their "white papers" to their superiors and cronies in Parliament receptive to their ideas.
Lexington and Concord could be seen as a SWAT team raid by British troops to find and destroy colonial arms supplies, and Bunker Hill as an assault on the Tea Party. Is the U.S. headed for a repeat of those confrontations? Wisdom says yes, if there's any gumption left in Americans after being brainwashed in government schools, by the news media, and by Hollywood.
After all, the behavior of federal and local law enforcement agencies too much is the hallmark of a military operation directed against a population declared the enemy.
But who is the real enemy? Islamic jihadists? Someone growing marijuana in his basement for personal use? Someone whose husband had traffic ticket ten years ago? Someone who dared question a politician's motive for harassing him?
Radley Balko of the Cato Institute in 2006 published a paper on the rise of paramilitary operations within the U.S.
Over the last 25 years, America has seen a disturbing militarization of its civilian law enforcement, along with a dramatic and unsettling rise in the use of paramilitary police units (most commonly called Special Weapons and Tactics, or SWAT) for routine police work. The most common use of SWAT teams today is to serve narcotics warrants, usually with forced, unannounced entry into the home.
These increasingly frequent raids, 40,000 per year by one estimate, are needlessly subjecting nonviolent drug offenders, bystanders, and wrongly targeted civilians to the terror of having their homes invaded while they’re sleeping, usually by teams of heavily armed paramilitary units dressed not as police officers but as soldiers.
Accompanying the paper is a remarkable, up-to-date (to 2011) interactive map of the U.S. that is virtually buried under pinpoints of botched SWAT raids. Each clickable pinpoint activates a balloon that explains the event. Apparently the map is regularly updated to include the most current incidents of SWAT raids.
What has brought America to a state in which this scenario has actually been carried out so many times and with fatal consequences? It didn't begin with the establishment of the post- 9/11, Bush-conceived, but German-sounding "Homeland Security," the umbrella agency that oversees all federal, state and local law enforcement entities in the country. Prohibition era raids by T-men and G-men were just as arbitrary and ruthless. "Homeland Security" has an inescapable totalitarian ring to it, and I doubt that ring was lost on whoever put the agency together and picked the name.
This is a logical consequence of a politics that diminishes freedom as government powers expand over as broad a range of human action as it can get away with. SWAT teams – with the body armor, the bug-eye sunglasses, the visors, the high-powered weaponry, the fancy, high-tech accouterments, the riot gear, and the anonymity of the beings in that array – are intended to restrain or intimidate or frighten the "liberal" (in the old, freedom-defined sense) elements of society into submission and obedience, as well as anyone else who has been psychologically subdued by "authority." Remember that the grenadiers of European armies, including the British, were chosen for their extraordinary height, which in turn was exaggerated by their tall bearskin busbies.
The psychologically subdued may resent the ever-present threat embodied in the "men in black," but they will never revolt and will never pose a threat to the state or question its authority. The burden of that non-intimidation will be up to us Bunker Hill types. Remember also that about one-third of the American population during the Revolution was "neutral," and the other third Loyalist.
The ongoing, never-ending "war on terror" – which we are losing – is partly responsible for the ubiquity of militarized law enforcement. The country is in a permanent state of siege – or lock-down, if you will – because the government refuses to acknowledge an enemy dedicated to subverting and destroying the country: Islam. It is not beyond belief to assume that one of the reasons the government refuses to acknowledge the actual enemy is because it has a vested interest in imposing the kinds of controls it considered expedient to establish to "combat" Islam.
Combating a non-enemy requiring a police state is simply an excuse to perpetuate the controls, the surveillance, the TSA groping, the campaign against guns, and waging a war against freedom of speech in the names of "tolerance," "diversity," and "fairness." The government has also taken upon itself the powers to combat "social ills" and to enforce "social justice." These "ills" include marijuana and drug usage, prostitution, money laundering of funds derived from "illegal" businesses made illegal by fiat law, and manufacturing goods with materials not approved by the government – for beginners.
It is interesting to note that while the federal government and its state and local law enforcement allies prepare for a raid armed and equipped like soldiers, I am not aware of these SWAT units ever taking on any one of the dozens of Islamic "retreats" that are actually jihadi training camps in the wilds, such as Islamberg in New York or in some 36 such places in across the country, from New York to Oregon. Spokesmen for the SWAT armies explain that the agencies must be prepared for urban and rural warfare against terrorists. But, what terrorist groups have been assaulted by these SWAT teams in the U.S.?
Instead of a news story of a knock-down, drag-out battle between Islamist terrorists in training and our combat-ready SWAT teams, we get to read stories like this one, from Pamela Geller's Atlas Shrugs site:
The jihad terror-trainings compounds in the U.S., a news story I first broke back in 2007, are growing. And now I have obtained exclusive information showing that one of them has placed members on local police forces, ensuring that nothing is done to stop or even monitor their activities.
PJ Media reported, “Federal Bureau of Investigations documents detailing a 22-site network of terrorist training villages sprawled across the United States. According to the documents, the FBI has been concerned about these facilities for about 12 years, but cannot act against them because the U.S. State Department has not yet declared that their umbrella group, MOA [Muslims of the Americas]/Jamaat ul-Fuqra, as a Foreign Terrorist Organization.”
The Texas compound is called “Mahmoudberg,” located in south Texas’ Brazoria County on County Road 3 near the town of Sweeny, which has a population of about 4,000. Jamaat ul-Fuqra was the jihad terrorist organization that murdered journalist Daniel Pearl – he had gone to try to interview its leader. According to an informed source, one of Pearl’s murderers now lives at Mahmoudberg.
What's keeping the government from declaring Muslims of America a terrorist organization? The intimidating charge of "Islamophobia" and the risk of high-profile lawsuits founded on charges of racism, "hate crimes," religious prejudice, discrimination, etc. – all the victimhood fallbacks of an ideology determined to make America bow to Mecca, which it has done numerous times over the last thirty or more years.
Another thing that is stopping the government from declaring the group a terrorist organization is a policy-driven, copasetic feeling for the group. To the feds, we're just poodles, ready to push around; to Muslims, we're just kaffirs, ready to be conquered or killed, using the same armament. Is there a difference in approach between our government and Islamic terrorists? Nothing fundamental.
So, if Muslims connected to bona fide terrorist organizations can be hired by American police forces, where do we go from there?
More Americans should see themselves as Dobermans, not as poodles or even Fox Terriers. There is hope for the country, as reported by USA TODAY's February 23rd story, "Americans rising up against government." Writer Glenn Reynolds wrote:
America's ruling class has been experiencing more pushback than usual lately. It just might be a harbinger of things to come.
First, in response to widespread protests last week, the Department of Homeland Security canceled plans to build a nationwide license plate database. Many local police departments already use license-plate readers that track every car as it passes traffic signals or pole-mounted cameras. Specially equipped police cars even track cars parked on the street or even in driveways.
The DHS put out a bid request for a system that would have gone national, letting the federal government track millions of people's comings and goings just as it tracks data about every phone call we make. But the proposal was suddenly withdrawn last week, with the unconvincing explanation that it was all a mistake.
On Friday, after more public outrage, the Federal Communications Commission withdrew a plan to "monitor" news coverage at not only broadcast stations, but also at print publications that the FCC has no authority to regulate. The "Multi-Market Study of Critical Information Needs," or CIN (pronounced "sin") involved the FCC sending people to question reporters and editors about why they chose to run particular stories. Many folks in and out of the media found it Orwellian….
Though people have taken to the streets from Egypt, to Ukraine, to Venezuela to Thailand, many have wondered whether Americans would ever resist the increasing encroachments on their freedom. I think they've begun.
Poodles, indeed. Or is it a case of the bully pit bull being what he's always been: a coward? Time will tell.