Sunday, April 19, 2015

Haiti, The Police, The State (in reverse order)

The US maintains a steady and very heavy handed involvement in tiny Haiti, that makes little sense unless you're aware of the financial interests involved.

The US has twice now removed Haitian President Jean Bertrand Aristide from office. Aristide, twice elected honestly, is a former Catholic priest who pursued a radical program based on Liberation Theology, a vein in Catholicism that comes out of Latin America that has many of the elements of Socialism. Aristide was first removed by Bill Clinton in 1991, then by Bush Jr. in 2004.

Not toeing the Capitalist line in America's backyard is enough to get you illegally ousted by the US government, as has been proven over and over, but in Haiti someone has come across some interesting evidence of the bigger picture, having found "cached" web pages that show that Hillary Clinton's brother, Anthony Rodham, is invested in VCS Mining, a gold mining company that's been given sweatheart deals by Haiti's current president, Michel Martely, who is only president because just before the last elections the US decided Lavalas, Artistide's party, was ineligible to take part.

Cached web pages are earlier version of web pages stored by Google that you can sometimes find with Google searches, so that if someone changes a web page you can sometimes find out. In this case Anthony Rodham's name appears on earlier versions of the VCS Mining company web site, but not the current version. The same goes for Clever Mesidor, a woman who's been part of the Obama Administration and also has ties to the Clintons, who was involved in setting up the sweetheart deal for VCS.

Capital and Coercion

Amateur videos showing blatant police murders and savage beatings have begun to peel back the veil from the criminal regime known as law enforcement. Most telling have been the videos that emerged only after the police had already fabricated a story and released it to the media; to, I might add, an almost always compliant and unquestioning media. I've posted recently about the many cases of entrapment in so-called "terrorism" cases brought by federal prosecutors in league with the FBI and other federal cops, and about cases I came across as a reporter where police got people people to snitch on each other by illegal coercion.

There have been a few high profile revelations in the past several years about outright criminality at state "crime labs" -- which are usually part of the state police, i.e. the state government, the "labs" where local law enforcement send evidence to get it scientifically analyzed. In those cases the labs weren't doing any tests but were documenting that they had and even testifying at trails that they had.

Now comes the Washington Post with a story about the FBI's own crime lab in Washington, which for decades was saying it was analyzing hair samples for police all over the country but in reality wasn't, and was simply saying what local law enforement agencies wanted to hear.

That article, by the way, refers to a project called The Innocence Project, which has gotten many death sentences overturned by simply going through the trial record and police work and finding that a working class suspect was railroaded into a conviction or convicted on falsified evidence -- and they were on death row or in for life and were completely innocent.

The State

The police -- state, local, federal law enforcement -- are best understood as one of the coercive arms of the government, which exists to protect the interests of Capital. Everything the police do, prosecutors do, prisons do, and the military does, is best understood in the context of their roles as coercive arms of the government.

Coercive arms of the state, is how it's said in most academic and Marxist scholarship. The term "the state" pre-dates the formation of the US. In fact, the legal status of the newly independent early states, before the adoption of the Constitution and its federal system, was closer to that of independent countries than it is now, and the term "state" has just stuck.

The state, sometimes called "nation state, is a concept that includes not just government but the economic, and social, systems that determine what government there is and its characteristics. It's "the Establishment," as we said in the 60s.

In the US, the main determinant of the characteristics of our government is Capitalism. All through the Constitution you can see that. There's nothing in there about the rights of workers, or women or minorities or anything like that, but plenty about the rights of private property, property owners, and business, and a lot about trade. It's all to protect the interests of Capitalists.

Constitutional protection has been expanded by amendments to cover some of the rights of the working class, as in those outlawing slavery or giving freed slaves the vote, and by modern, liberal interpretations of the Constitution; the right to an abortion for everyone and not just those with a lot of money, for example, is construed under a liberal interpretation of the constitutional right to privacy.

In summary, what we call law enforcement, like the rest of the State, exists to protect Capital, which forms not only the outlines of government but also of society. The idea that we go to war for oil is something everyone knows about, but "the state" is also why the elected president of Haiti can be removed by the US government, just like that, and why members of the working class can be murdered at will by the state, whether by police or lethal injection or drones or bombs, and why the media just writes down what the government wants it to.

Agence France Press photo

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