Criminal Justice

NYPD Values Abusive Cop’s Pension Over Child He Starved and Froze to Death

NYPD Values Abusive Cop’s Pension Over Child He Starved and Froze to Death

New York, NY — The death of 8-year-old Thomas Valva shocked the nation earlier this year when it was discovered his New York cop father was alleged to have beat him and starved him before throwing him into an unheated garage where he froze to death. As the investigation unfolded, we learned that authorities were warned by multiple people on multiple occasions that NYPD officer Michael Valva was horrifically abusing his children, and, in a disgusting display of blue privilege, no one acted. In fact, the only actions taken were against the mother, and helped Valva continue the abuse.

Now, this officer’s blue privilege is being exposed once again as he was quietly allowed to resign this week—to protect his pension.

“He voluntarily resigned today,” Valva’s attorney John LoTurco said. “He executed paperwork in that regard today,which protects his benefits and his pension. There’s no admission of any wrongdoing. It allows him to forgo any disciplinary hearing and in exchange, he will no longer receive any salary or any future benefits.”

As we reported at the time, 8-year-old Thomas died of hypothermia on January 17 after he was allegedly starved, beaten and locked outside overnight by his NYPD officer father. Valva allegedly washed the body of his autistic child in an attempt to warm the corpse, then lied to cops by claiming the boy fell in the driveway. On Jan. 24, Valva and his fiancee Angela Pollina were arrested and charged with murder.

After their arrests, we found out that Justyna Zukbo-Valva, Thomas’ mother, had filed multiple complaints—with physical evidence—alleging the abuse. Instead of helping her authorities simply looked the other way. Not only was she never given help, Zukbo-Valva was treated like she was the abuser and lost custody as the true monster continued his horrifying treatment of his children.

According to the NY Daily News, who received the documents from Zukbo-Valva, after losing custody, this mother feared for the safety of her children, fought to save them, and was ignored and punished until Thomas was tortured to death.

In meeting after meeting with Child Protective Services, beginning in 2017, Zubko-Valva implored caseworkers to get involved and protect her boys now living with their father in Center Moriches, L.I. The mother, recalling a Dec. 6, 2017, meeting, says caseworker Michelle Clark blamed her rather than NYPD officer Valva for the regressing autism of Thomas’ older brother Anthony.

Clark also declined to read progress reports from the special school where the mother enrolled the brothers before Valva pulled both of them out.

“She informed me she will not take any evidence from me,” wrote Zubko-Valva about the caseworker. “If I try to provide my evidence to her, she is not going to take them into consideration.”

Despite clear signs of physical abuse, including testimony from the victims and physical injury—black eyes, and bald patches from his hair being pulled out at the roots—according to the News, Clark, in five reports filed between Oct. 31, 2017, and Jan. 15, 2018, found no safety factors that “place the children in immediate danger” and quickly closed the investigations into the father’s treatment of Thomas and 10-year-old Anthony.

This cop’s blue privilege stretched far and wide and ultimately ended in a child’s death. According to the News:

According to the mother’s records, her estranged husband Valva erupted in anger on Jan. 13, 2018, when Thomas accused Pollina of hitting him. Valva forced the boy to lean over a table with his hands outstretched, then hit the child repeatedly on his buttocks and lower back on the right side — leaving bruises confirmed by a neighbor.

Zubko-Valva filed another complaint. But her estranged husband simply refused to open the door when CPS sent a caseworker his home for an interview him, records show. Three days later, the bruised little boy told child welfare worker Michele Clark that he was still in pain from his father’s beating.

Despite being told by the child that he was being beaten by his father, Clark’s reaction was to lift a protection order against Valva and order one against the mother. As the News points out, this decision is now coming back to haunt them.

“Michele Clark abused her power to falsely accuse me in order to protect Michael Valva,” writes the distraught mom.

On the night Zubko-Valva was told she was losing custody of her children, she reportedly told Kimberley Berens, who ran the Fit Learning school, which educated autistic children before they went to regular schools that Valva was “going to kill my kids.”

Unfortunately, she was right.

Despite authorities eventually finding out that Valva was savagely abusing his autistic son, the court chose not to send them to their mother and put them right back with their father and then moved to sweep it under the rug while continuing their assault on this poor mother.

On the contrary, after Valva got away with child abuse, the boys’ mother was forced to justify why she chose to put Thomas’ older brother Anthony in a special school for autistic kids. Unlike Valva, Zubko-Valva was forced to go through a full trial with witnesses and arguments just to prove she’d done nothing wrong by sending her kids to a special school.

To sum it up, the entire system acted on behalf of the officer — likely due to the fact that he had a badge — while proactively going after the mother who was only trying to expose her ex-husband’s abuse of their children.

It gets worse.

On Oct. 1, 2018, Zubko-Valva filed a request to get a new case worker, citing the clear special treatment given to her cop ex-husband. Instead of doing this, the very next day, CPS caseworker Edward Heepe closed three investigations into the father’s treatment of his children. He omitted the January beating incident from his report. In November 2018, court-appointed lawyer Donna McCabe was singing the praises of Valva and Pollina—even as teachers at the boys’ school were repeatedly calling the state child abuse hotline, according to the News..

Even more disturbing is that Zubko-Valva is now claiming that video evidence from surveillance cameras inside the home and the garage where Thomas died — which can prove without a doubt that Valva murdered his child—have all been deleted.

“I was told two weeks ago by the District Attorney’s office that they cannot get the images from the day that Tommy died, because, allegedly, they were deleted,” Zubko-Valva said. “But as you know we live in the technological age of everything being stored somewhere and can be, you know, brought back.”

The system actively set out to smear a caring mother while protecting a vicious child abuser which resulted in the tragedy in January. Sadly, as TFTP has reported before, this is but a broken record of a system and occupation that experiences domestic violence at a far greater rate than the rest of society and goes out of their way to sweep it under the rug.

If you think a system that protects an abusive cop and allows him to resign to protect his pension, has your interests in mind, you need to think again.

Matt Agorist is an honorably discharged veteran of the USMC and former intelligence operator directly tasked by the NSA. This prior experience gives him unique insight into the world of government corruption and the American police state. Agorist has been an independent journalist for over a decade and has been featured on mainstream networks around the world. Agorist is also the Editor-at-Large at the Free Thought Project. Follow @MattAgorist on TwitterSteemit, and now on Minds. This article was originally featured at The Free Thought Project and is republished with permission. 

Breonna Taylor Grand Jurors: Police Actions Were ‘Negligent’ And ‘Criminal’

Breonna Taylor Grand Jurors: Police Actions Were ‘Negligent’ And ‘Criminal’

Two grand jurors in the Breonna Taylor case said the actions of Louisville, Kentucky, police officers the day of the botched raid at her apartment were “negligent” and “criminal.”

“They couldn’t even provide a risk assessment,” one of the anonymous grand jurors, identified as juror one, said in an interview scheduled to air Wednesday on “CBS This Morning.” “And it sounded like they hadn’t done one.”

Read the rest of the story at NBC News.

Utah Proud Boys and BLM Join Together Against Racism, Call for Police Reform

Utah Proud Boys and BLM Join Together Against Racism, Call for Police Reform

Something pretty incredible happened earlier this month in Utah and because it showed two ostensibly opposing groups come together instead of promoting divide, it was curiously absent from nearly all mainstream media. The Proud Boys—who are considered a hate group by the SPLC—came together with Black Lives Matter—who they are allegedly supposed to hate—and did something inspiring. They denounced racism and white supremacy and explained how they are now working together.

Not surprisingly, over the past several weeks, the mainstream media has run with stories of protesters and counter protesters fighting with each other rather than show Black Lives Matter of Northern Utah finding common ground with the Salt Lake chapter of the Proud boys. But that is why The Free Thought Project exists, to bring you the news that shows it is possible to think past labels and petty fighting and realize that we are all human.

DISCLAIMER: It is sad that this disclaimer is necessary but before anyone claims that The Free Thought Project is a supporter of the Proud Boys, we are not. We are supporters of peace and unity and putting differences aside to create a more freer world, and the following scenario out of Utah is a perfect example of this.

Jacarri Kelley, the leader of Black Lives Matter, Northern Utah said she was perplexed during a protest two months ago in Cottonwood Heights when she saw a member of the Proud Boys, who was not white, being accused of being a white supremacist.

“How can he be a white supremacist if he is Hispanic?” Kelley asked. “Or Polynesian? I originally thought he was black.”

This made the open minded BLM head reach out to the Proud Boys, who told her they were there simply to make sure that “nothing goes down.”

That is when they got together and decided they could help each other. For two months that is what they have done and during a protest in Salt Lake City two weeks ago, they held a press conference to talk about the importance of unity and reaching across labels to find out that just because someone has a different political view than you, doesn’t make them a bad person—unless of course they advocate hating people or superiority for having a certain skin color.

But Kelley dispelled that myth quite swiftly—at least with the Proud Boys at this particular protest—noting that they are not white supremacists. She also stated that they agree on more issues than which they disagree. She said they both have a problem with how the media is stoking constant divide.

Kelley explained that the rioters and looters don’t represent what the BLM movement is about, but that is how many in the media portray them. Kelley went on to say that her grandfather and her father served in the military and they have a right to say they are “proud Americans” just like the Proud Boys have a right to say it.

Kelley then said the Proud Boys “just need a little bit of respect and education to bridge gaps,” before introducing the chief of the Salt Lake Proud Boys to speak. She said the two groups have worked together for a couple of months and their work has opened the Proud Boys’ eyes to what Black Lives Matter is all about.

“Obviously, I am not black, so I cannot understand what Jacarri goes through every day,” said Thad, the group’s chief. “But meeting with them has given us understanding and now we can work together.”

Imagine that. A little empathy can go a long way.

When questioned about the group’s founder, Gavin McInnes—whose racism has been heavily documented online—the two Proud Boys explained that he is an instigator and is no longer part of the organization for that exact reason.

“He’s gone, he’s not part of the organization anymore,” both men said before officially denouncing racism all together.

“I will go out and say that the Proud Boys as a whole—I will say this on behalf of the entire national organization—denounce White supremacy,” the chief of the Proud Boys Salt Lake Utah Chapter said when the reporter questioned him, adding that being called white supremacists threatens their safety.

Thad said that the Proud Boys are simply “proud” of their country. “It means that the west is the best—western civilization is the best. That’s our opinion,” Thad said.

“We are in no way, shape or form White supremacists,” Thad said. “We have a vetting system that gets those people out of our hair. We do not have anything to do with White supremacy. We do not have anything to do with the Ku Klux Klan. We denounce those organizations.”

After Thad spoke, the president of the Salt Lake Proud Boys, who gave the name Seth, got up to speak.

“I don’t care what color your skin is, we’re all Americans, and we need to find a way to come together instead of divide,” he said.

Seth then explained that this bridging of the divide has led to the Proud Boys working with BLM to achieve police reform.

“Meeting and talking and having that understanding allowed us to move forward with working together on police reform,” Seth said.

Kelley, who first met the Proud Boys at a protest in Cottonwood Heights, says the partnership is real.

“We do need to be able to reach across the aisle and have these tough conversations,” Kelley added. And she is right, according to KUTV, the Salt Lake chapter of the group says they’ll continue to link arms with Black Lives Matter, Northern Utah.

This is how progress is made. When people put their differences aside and have meaningful conversations while practicing empathy, peace is the inevitable result. Sadly, the media is so hell bent on pushing divide and keeping people inside their own little bias-confirming bubbles, that conversations like this one are rare.

Instead, we see people blindly hating each other, screaming in each other’s faces and now have resorted to violence.

The world can learn a lot from Jacarri, Seth, and Thad, they just have to listen. It is high time we start doing more listening than screaming.

As the great Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. said, “one day we must come to see that peace is not merely a distant goal we seek, but that it is a means by which we arrive at that goal. We must pursue peaceful ends through peaceful means. All of this is saying that, in the final analysis, means and ends must cohere because the end is preexistent in the means, and ultimately destructive means cannot bring about constructive ends.”

Matt Agorist is an honorably discharged veteran of the USMC and former intelligence operator directly tasked by the NSA. This prior experience gives him unique insight into the world of government corruption and the American police state. Agorist has been an independent journalist for over a decade and has been featured on mainstream networks around the world. Agorist is also the Editor-at-Large at the Free Thought Project. Follow @MattAgorist on TwitterSteemit, and now on Minds. This article was originally featured at The Free Thought Project and is republished with permission. 

Denver’s Replacement of Cops With Mental Health Workers Has a 100% Success Rate

Denver’s Replacement of Cops With Mental Health Workers Has a 100% Success Rate

As The Free Thought Project has previously reported, the Virginia-based Treatment Advocacy Center, an organization dedicated to eliminating the barriers faced by those with severe mental illnesses, released a jaw-dropping report in regard to police interactions with the mentally ill. In their report titled, Overlooked in the Undercounted: The Role of Mental Illness in Fatal Law Enforcement Encountersresearchers discovered that people with an untreated mental illness are16 times more likely to be killed during an interaction with police than anyone else.

According to the study, by all accounts—official and unofficial—a minimum of 1 in 4 fatal police encounters ends the life of an individual with severe mental illness.

Where official government data regarding police shootings and mental illness have been analyzed – in one U.S. city and several other Western countries – the findings indicate that mental health disorders are a factor in as many as 1 in 2 fatal law enforcement encounters.

This startling number highlights a critical problem with police and how they handle incidents with the mentally ill and it explains why so many people who simply need help, receive bullets instead.

“If this were any other medical condition, people would be up in arms,” John Snook, the report’s co-author and executive director of the Treatment Advocacy Center said.

One would assume that since these numbers are so great, police have taken action and are training their officers to interact with the mentally ill. However, one would be wrong. Even cops who voluntarily attend Crisis Intervention Training (CIT), have shown that they are quick to the trigger when dealing with the mentally ill.

As The Free Thought Project has pointed out in the past, the overwhelming majority of time spent by police during training is devoted to shooting their weapons. Very little time is set aside for training in de-escalation tactics, and most departments receive zero training in dealing with the mentally ill.

The list of unarmed and often completely innocent mentally ill people killed by police is immense. TFTP archives are full of tragic stories in which police were called to help someone in a crisis and end up murdering them. People are killed even when they aren’t in a crisis and simply act differently like Elijah McClain, who was on his way home from buying groceries and was murdered by police because he was an introvert and wore a ski mask.

Instead of attempting to save the sinking ship that is cops responding to mental health crises, some municipalities are thinking outside of the box. Denver, Colorado is one such place. After the George Floyd protests sparked the debate the problem of police killing the mentally ill was pushed to the forefront of the conversation and many municipalities like Denver asked the question, should trained gunman, whose only tool is violent escalation, be the first line of response to those in a mental health crisis?

The obvious answer to that question is no. The over whelming majority of calls involving mentally ill people do not involve crimes, so why on Earth would we send in armed state agents to address them?

On June 1, Denver began the Support Team Assistance Response (STAR) program, which sends a mental health professional and a paramedic to some 911 calls instead of cops. According to their latest data, STAR has responded to nearly 400 calls to 911 in which police would have normally been sent out. The STAR team — armed only with experience and compassion — has never once called police to back them up.

They have settled every single call without killing someone, beating them, ruining their lives, or using violence. Imagine that.

“We’re really trying to create true alternatives to us using police and jails,” said Vinnie Cervantes with Denver Alliance for Street Health Response, one of the organizations that helped start the program.

“It really kind of proves that we’ve been working for the right thing, and that these ideas are getting the recognition they should,” Cervantes said.

This situation is a win win as it also frees up police time so they can focus on actual crimes like rape, theft, and violence.

“It’s the future of law enforcement, taking a public health view on public safety,” Denver police Chief Paul Pazen said. “We want to meet people where they are and address those needs and address those needs outside of the criminal justice system.”

Carleigh Sailon from the Mental Health Center of Denver—who has responded to many of these calls, spoke to lx.com last week to explain the program’s success.

Those who have called for help or to report someone slumped against a fence, camped out on private property, or simply talking to themselves, are impressed when the STAR team shows up and resolves the problem without tasering, choking, or shooting anyone.

“We’ve gotten great feedback from the community, from individuals who’ve said that this felt really comfortable, really supportive, that we were able to show up and offer other solutions that were really helpful in that moment,” Sailon told lx.com. “People have been just overwhelmingly positive and very accepting of the options that we have to offer. And kind of surprised, I think, too, that a social worker and a medic kind of hop out of this van in street clothes and are there to help vs. police or an ambulance.”

When we hear catch phrases like “defund the police,” this is what it’s about. The apologist crowd says things like, “let me know how it turns out when you send a social worker to deal with a violent criminal” in an attempt to discredit this movement but as more cities like Denver continue to show a 100% non-violent success record, that crowd looks sillier and sillier.

The idea of a state function shifting its focus from violence to compassion is revolutionary on many fronts. While a 100% success record nationwide is unlikely, it is obvious that this is the direction in which we need to head.

Matt Agorist is an honorably discharged veteran of the USMC and former intelligence operator directly tasked by the NSA. This prior experience gives him unique insight into the world of government corruption and the American police state. Agorist has been an independent journalist for over a decade and has been featured on mainstream networks around the world. Agorist is also the Editor-at-Large at the Free Thought Project. Follow @MattAgorist on TwitterSteemit, and now on Minds. This article was originally featured at The Free Thought Project and is republished with permission.

Police Threaten to Quit If Public Keeps Demanding Accountability

Police Threaten to Quit If Public Keeps Demanding Accountability

Faced with an armed assailant at the Parkland school shooting in 2018, sheriff’s deputy Josh Stambaugh ran away and hid while children were gunned down. He was later fired for his lack of action, but last month arbitrators ruled that Stambaugh must be rehired by the sheriff’s department, and he will likely receive more than $100,000 in back payIn 2018, at the time of his firing, Stambaugh earned $152,000 in base pay and overtime. It looks like he’ll soon be back on the payroll “protecting and serving” the community.

When faced with unarmed suspects, however, some police officers are quite a bit more enthusiastic. For example, when Mesa, Arizona, officer Philip Brailsford gunned down a crawling, sobbing, and unarmed man in a hotel hallway, he paid no price beyond losing his job. He was acquitted in the shooting and was soon thereafter rehired by the police department so he could claim a $31,000-per-year-for-life pension.

It is cases like these which help explain the growing popularity of police reform efforts in recent years. The public is becoming increasingly aware of the fact that police don’t face sanctions for doing nothing to protect the public from violence. Indeed, it’s even a well-established legal principle in this country that police are under no obligation to protect the taxpayers. Meanwhile, when police open fire on unarmed members of the public, officers frequently walk free, and some even continue to get paid.

Some of this is a result of aggressive police unions, which make it extremely difficult to fire law enforcement officers like Stambaugh. State laws also have been enacted to protect police from any personal liability, far above and beyond what is enjoyed by any worker in the private sector. In short, the deck has long been stacked in favor of both police agencies and individual police officers.

In response to incidents like those involving Stambaugh and Brailsford, and countless similar cases, Colorado in 2020 passed new police reform measures. The legislation is designed to end police immunity in some cases, to mandate the use of body cameras, limit when an officer can shoot a fleeing suspect, and rein in police unions.

As we’ve noted here at mises.org, many of these reforms should have been enacted long ago.

But many police officers are apparently less than thrilled with the reforms, and police agencies are claiming they’ve been unfairly targeted, while “warning” the public that few people will now want to become law enforcement officers.

In August, for example, the Denver Post reported that more than two hundred law enforcement officers in the state had retired or resigned since the new police reform law had passed. It was strongly implied that much of this was a result of the law’s passage.

The Post article contends many law enforcement officers are quitting especially because they object to potentially being held personally liable for misconduct. The state’s reform allows for officers to be sued personally and held liable for 5 percent of any judgment or settlement against them or $25,000, whichever is less.

“I don’t want myself and my family at risk,” one police officer—a veteran who’s enjoyed a taxpayer-funded paycheck for thirty years—complained. A sheriff’s deputy claimed police are leaving because they’re being unfairly targeted by “politics” and lamented, “Who wants to be a cop anymore?”

Meanwhile, the Durango Herald, a paper in southern Colorado, reports that police say the new accountability law is “too much for them and their families.”

But there is unlikely to be a shortage of police due to “too much” accountability.

In the case of Durango, for instance, local police supervisors note “enrollment numbers are up despite current liability concerns. Last year, there were 16 or 17 cadets, but there are 20 or 22 people enrolled for the fall.” And the Post story admits the number of separations statewide is only “slightly higher” than the average. The total also included officers who were fired.

Moreover, men and woman who work in private security have never enjoyed the sorts of special legal protections that police do. This is in spite of the fact that private security work may be even more hazardous than police work. Yet, somehow, these private firms manage to find willing workers.

Nationwide, the median annual pay for police officers is well above the median overall wage. According to a 2015 report from the Marshall Project, “In 25 of 50 states, [law enforcement officers] are paid 150 percent or more of the median salary—and that’s not including their pension or the hefty sums they are provided for clocking overtime and buying equipment and uniforms.”

Nor is police work remarkably dangerous. Law enforcement isn’t in the top twenty dangerous professions and is less dangerous work than being a crossing guard, a truck driver, or a farm worker. That is, police work often pays more than many jobs that are more dangerous.

Whether or not these comparisons apply to specific police departments and sheriff’s departments in Colorado depends on local conditions, of course. But claims that police officers will be forced to quit en masse as a result of added accountability fit into a dubious national narrative. In this narrative police departments will lose their most heroic members because the police are being unfairly targeted by a public that doesn’t properly appreciate them.

As Slate reported last week:

Law enforcement officials have met calls for defunding police and protests against police violence with an implicit threat: be careful what you wish for. More officers are quitting in frustration at the lack of respect, police officials often tell the press, and public safety will surely suffer. This summer, reports of cops quitting en masse have popped up across the country: ColoradoNorth CarolinaGeorgiaIllinois, and New York City, a major center of the 2020 demonstrations.

But there’s as of yet no evidence that a mass exodus of officers will happen or is likely to happen. After all, many of the separations we hear about are officers who are retiring, and many of these were hired during the “hiring spree” in police departments during the 1990s. It’s now been more than twenty-five years for many of these officers, and it’s only natural that they’re now more than happy to retire as policing faces more scrutiny. Staff members who need to show up to earn a living, on the other hand, may find that private sector jobs—or other kinds of government employment—don’t exactly come with all the perks of being a police officer.

Nor should it be assumed fewer police officers will mean higher crime. After all, the data shows that in spite of more officers and bigger budgets in recent decades police agencies haven’t actually improved their performance.

But if police reforms such as those in Colorado are causing some officers to quit, it would seem that’s all to the good. Those officers who are most adamant about quitting when faced with added accountability are exactly the ones we’d want to leave. Those who assume they’re most likely to be on the losing end of a police brutality case aren’t exactly the sorts of people we need to stick around.

This article was originally featured at the Ludwig von Mises Institute and is republished with permission.

Abolishing the Police in the Anarchist Tradition

Abolishing the Police in the Anarchist Tradition

The tragic murder of George Floyd at the hands of the Minneapolis Police Department has provoked a national conversation about police—their role in society, their protection from accountability, the unique danger they pose to civil society. That conversation has begun to pose a radical question, one that, if it seems novel, has been explored by libertarians and anarchists for generations1The anarchist communist Albert Meltzer went so far as remarking, “Nobody but the Anarchists wishes to abolish the police,” which is of course not the case.: could we get along entirely without the police, without the set of practices and institutions today associated with them? Put more simply, could we abolish the police?

The True Function of the Police

We might note at the outset that police departments as we know them are conspicuous in their absence from almost all of human history. Indeed, upon the introduction of modern police forces, they were met with suspicion and resistance, regarded as incompatible with traditional freedoms. Policing as we know it emerges only in the modern era, embedded in a broader system of government associated with high modernism. As historian Paul Lawrence observes, Michel Foucault has been perhaps the most influential among those who argue “that the rise of the modern state necessitated a wholesale transformation in the administration of justice,” ushering in “new, bureaucratic criminal justice mechanisms” in which power “functions like a piece of machinery.”2Paul Lawrence, “The Historiography of Crime and Criminal Justice” in The Oxford Handbook of the History of Crime and Criminal Justice, edited by Paul Knepper, Anja Johansen page 22

The professionalization of the police under the modern state tracks “the wider scope of intervention of public authorities” more generally.3“New Threats or Phantom Menace? Police Institutions Facing Crises” by Jonas Campion and Xavier Rousseaux in Policing New Risks in Modern European History edited by Jonas Campion and Xavier Rousseaux) Foucault recognizes the centrality of professional policing in the development of the modern state, the modern state’s rationalistic lust for monitoring and gathering information on the citizen in a systematic way, and the replacement of the tort system by the criminal system.4John C.P. Goldberg and Benjamin C. Zipursky, The Oxford INtroductions to U.S. Law: Torts (OUP 2010). Indeed, we may say that the appearance of the professionalized police force coincides with the full maturity of the state.5Adam Crawford, “Plural policing in the UK: policing beyond the police,” in Handbook of Policing, Tim Newburn, ed. (Routledge 2011), page 147.

And it turns out to be much less than clear that the establishment of professional policing was even intended to protect citizens and their rights rather than “simply provid[ing] a means of state oppression geared to class interests.”6Alan Wright, Policing: An Introduction to Concepts and Practice, Routledge 2013, page 6. Indeed, the history of professional policing is the history of attempts to violently control the marginalized and underprivileged—the history of creating and maintaining parallel legal and judicial systems, with a second class of citizens defined by race and economic station. As Alex S. Vitale writes in The End of Policing, “It is largely a liberal fantasy that the police exist to protect us from the bad guys.” Liberal thought about police is a proxy for their thought about the state and political power more generally, the idea being that their use of force is legitimate and in service to the greater good. As a matter of historical fact, though, the police and the state power they represent have preyed upon the people far more than they have protected them and seem to have been instituted for just those predatory purposes. The primary purpose of government‐​operated professional policing has been to enforce social control and discipline through fear and systematic violence, to protect a particular political and economic status quo.

Incentives, Institutions, and Historical Context

Police abolitionists are confronted with the question of how a peaceful society could hope to function and endure without police. But, turned on its head, the question becomes much more interesting: if human beings are in fact so dangerous, so naturally inclined to crime, then the important social theoretic question is not how we could maintain safety without police, but how we could possibly maintain safety with them. After all, with the police system as we know it in the United States, it would seem that we’ve created conditions ideal for abuses of power, for predation and violent crime. Ordinary citizens are, at the very least, not given license to commit crimes, not held above accountability and punishment. But this is exactly how the political and legal systems favor police officers. It is not a bad apple problem; it’s a classic incentive problem, just the kind that we should expect to arise naturally and inevitably from such an inequality of legal status, whereby a comparatively small group is given a carte blanche to use force, even deadly force, in the most arbitrary and abusive ways. If human beings are as naturally prone to wrongdoing and barbarity as we’re assured, then we should expect that especially violent and antisocial people will self‐​select into such a system, aware that it will offer them opportunities to get away with viciously brutalizing others. It only stands to reason that anyone inclined to violent behavior and bullying should be uniquely drawn to such an occupation. And, indeed, this is just what we see. We have no reason to think that this system, the system of modern professional policing, should do anything but make ordinary peaceful citizens less safe, subjecting them to unaccountable violence. Ceteris paribus, it’s supporting modern professional policing—not police abolition—that should seem to us extreme, outlandish, unworkable, that should strike us as not seriously accounting for the fact that people may want to hurt others, steal, etc.

Though this analysis is highly suggestive of a general trend, it does not explain the very different data on policing practice in other developed countries, particularly in rich, northern and western European countries. The incentives created by the rules within which police operate, however important, are not the only variables bearing on the functioning of modern police forces. A number of more or less intangible factors also inform this functioning, with a policed population’s confidence in legal and governmental institutions not least among them. We find, for instance, “a broad correlation between trust in others, and trust in the different public institutions.” In many European countries, police don’t even carry firearms, and they’re trained to de‐​escalate potentially dangerous situations, with some countries even requiring officers to obtain permission before shooting at a suspect. America’s unique history of racial slavery certainly plays a role in the hostility and violence that marks the relationship between the police and the policed. Americans, particularly American people of color, have little confidence that legal and governmental institutions like the police and the courts will treat them fairly, with wide racial gaps in answers to questions of whether, for example, police are doing a good job or using force appropriately and proportionately.

We ought to note at this juncture that this lack of confidence in institutions, far from being the ill‐​founded conclusion of a people committed to perceiving themselves as victims, is in fact consistent with all of the available evidence about the disparate treatment of minority Americans, Black Americans in particular. If it is a cold fact that Black Americans are systematically mistreated by police, the courts, and the criminal justice system generally—and it is — then their distrust in the police simply stands to reason, the natural, appropriate result of a fundamentally unjust and racist system. That polling data suggests Black communities actually want to retain current levels of policing in their local areas points to a paradox: “Although Black Americans seem about as comfortable as Americans overall with the amount of police presence where they live, they differ markedly in their perceptions of how their local police might treat them if they were to interact.” Black Americans, apparently because they perceive their own neighborhoods as dangerous, don’t want to see the cops abandon them entirely, but neither do they trust them without reservations.

Because Black Americans have, for generations, seen their families destroyed by a police and prison system that continues directly from the Jim Crow system in the South, we must consider these phenomena—police and prisons—in tandem. As Maya Dukmasova noted in 2016, “The idea of police abolition can’t be understood separately from the wider prison abolition movement.” The call for prison abolition responds to the fact “that prisons can’t be reformed, since the very nature of prisons requires brutality and contempt for the people imprisoned,” that the whole edifice must be dismantled and substituted with new models based on an entirely new way of thinking about and discussing crime, reconciliation, and community. The police and prison systems are practically and historically inextricable, and the entire system of American policing and prisons is predicated, as Angela Davis observes, on “racialized assumptions of criminality,” which themselves follow directly from the country’s history of slavery (critics of the U.S. police and prison system have frequently noted the historical connection between modern policing and slave patrols). Prison systems in other advanced nations, particularly in some of the places we have already mentioned, are significantly different in both the level of comfort afforded the imprisoned and their underlying goals. In incremental moves toward outright abolition, Americans should look to these countries’ prison systems as waypoints in the road to freedom from prison and its warped ideologies. When we consider whether we ought to abolish the police and begin to establish peaceful, community‐​driven alternatives, it is not an idealized hypothetical of peace and justice that we should envision, but a reality of centuries‐​deep injustice along racial lines, an authoritarian reality of police brutality and mass incarceration. Accordingly, we should look honestly at the nature of police work: as so many others have observed, actual police work is quite unlike what most Americans—particularly conservatives, vocally supportive of police officers—imagine it to be. Importantly, it is far less dangerous than cops lead us to believe, characterized by long stretches of boredom, with only the very rare call to respond to a report of violent crime. On‐​duty police deaths have been on a steady decline for decades, with police officers being “many times more likely to commit suicide than to be killed by a criminal.” According to a 2019 report from the Vera Institute of Justice, less than 5% of arrests are made in connection with serious violent crime. The propagandistic “thin blue line” narrative, which casts police officers as embattled and underappreciated heroes, just doesn’t square with the empirical reality of policing.

Replacing—Not Remaking—The Police

The question now arises: what will replace the police? The short answer is nothing. The police don’t need replacing and should not be replaced or recreated. Anarchists and libertarians foresee a variety of spontaneously‐​emerging, decentralized answers to the question of crime, recognizing, as Benjamin R. Tucker observes, that the state is “the chief invader of person and property” and “the cause of substantially all the crime and misery that exist.” It is important to remember that the burden is not on police abolitionists, who ask only for an end to a very violent, dangerous species of special privilege, one that has resulted in almost unimaginable injustice and disrupted the very balance of American society. Tucker’s social and economic determinism, inherited from Josiah Warren, is apparent in his argument that the state’s creation and sustainment of privileges functions to “disperse poverty and ignorance among the masses,” creating inequality that is “directly proportional” to levels of crime.7Tucker writes, “[Our prison] are filled with criminal which our virtuous State has made what they are by iniquitous laws, its grinding monopolies, and the horrible social conditions that result from them. We enact many laws that manufacture criminal, and then a few that punish them.”

Individualist anarchists (and, later, anarcho‐​capitalists like Murray Rothbard) have advanced a system in which defensive associations would compete with one another in a legitimate free market to provide protection against theft, murder, and other crimes recognized by libertarians (that is, crimes with victims). Sketching this individualist anarchist system in his book Voluntary Socialism, Francis Dashwood Tandy argues, like Tucker, that “solv[ing] the economic problem,” that is, abolishing monopoly and the special privilege upon which it is founded, would “trim the claws of private enterprise,” rendering competition socially beneficial. For Tandy, genuine competition is the mechanism that ensures accountability, there being no fundamental reason that there couldn’t be, quoting Tucker, “a considerable number of defensive associations … in which people, even members of the same family, might insure their lives and goods against murderers and thieves.” Such a system grants no extra rights or privileges, but is rather one in which each individual is merely outsourcing her individual right to self‐​defense. Where the state arbitrarily grants new rights—more accurately, privileges—to specially appointed people, whose badges give them the power to murder with impunity, a libertarian system of competing defense associations would mean only the delegation of a right every individual already possesses, nothing further. Whether such a system of competing defense agencies amounts to police abolition is, of course, a point of contention; many, probably most, anarchists (including Meltzer, mentioned above) would contend that the competing defense agencies of Gustave de Molinari, Tucker, and Tandy nowise represent the genuine abolition of police, but only a capitalist recreation of the injustices we find today.

Conclusion

Where libertarians part sharply from the left (the rest of the left, perhaps), is in the Jacobin left’s unthinking worship of the total state, which, at bottom, is just police—as every law or stricture must be enforced by police. Libertarians are more careful and historical in their thinking, more systematic: we can’t believe that a state like the one contemplated by modern‐​day Jacobins could be anything but a Nazi Germany, a Fascist Italy, a Communist China, a Soviet Russia, that is, a full‐​blown police state. Libertarians believe the move in the direction of a free society must be based on a proper understanding of libertarian ideas—that is, that the abolition of police is one part of a broader whole. Recognition and respect for the ideas precedes any practical or policy change, as it must. Libertarians should engage with the police abolitionism conversation from this standpoint, that ideas are primary and a proper recognition of the worth of every individual must be at the foundation of sweeping change.

This article was originally featured at Libertarianism.org and is republished with permission.

What We Can Learn From ‘The Untouchables’

What We Can Learn From ‘The Untouchables’

The 1987 film ‘The Untouchables’ starring Kevin Costner, Sean Connery, and Robert DeNiro is perhaps for law enforcement what ‘Rocky’ is for boxing. It is the Hollywood tainted story of Elliot Ness, the United States Treasury agent who helped to bring down Al Capone (played by DeNiro) during the 1920s prohibition era in the United States. It is a perfect good versus evil action film. The good men of law enforcement do what they must while the villains are cold killers, evil and unredeemable. In the end, Capone is caught and arrested.

We are introduced to DeNiro’s sinister Capone in a brutal manner, as he bashes a fellow gangster to death with a baseball bat. Seated at a dinner table before many other well-dressed men, he is violent, murderous, and cold blooded. Meanwhile Costner’s Ness is a family man, who is peaceful, relatable, and vulnerable. He has a wife and child. We know that he is like the viewer. Ness sacrifices a happy household so that others may enjoy order and safety.

Life is complicated. Men like Capone can be evil, but they grow in the petri dish of laws. Men like Capone can also operate soup kitchens and employ scores of in-need individuals. Prohibition made Capone a household name, immortalising him for better and worse. He was the tyrant of Chicago, but he could only exist because of the very laws that a man like Ness swore to enforce. In the end Capone was not brought down in an epic blaze of glory like Bonnie and Clyde but in a court of law for tax evasion. Ness and his ‘Untouchables’ managed to get the bad guy; not for the murders, torture, or even rum running but because he had not paid an income tax.

At the films end, the untouchable law man Elliot Ness is asked by a reporter, “They say they’re going to repeal Prohibition. What will you do then?” To which Kevin Costner’s Ness replies, “I think I’ll have a drink.” The real-life Ness was a heavy drinker. He was a contradiction. In the movie he and his fellow law enforcers bashed and killed in the pursuit of their aims of keeping the USA ‘dry.’ And because the gangsters were detestable—in one scene a young girl is blown to pieces, the collateral damage in an explosion from a bomb laid by a Capone goon—anything that Ness and his men do is righteous.

It is with hindsight that we can all look back and see how much of a failure the prohibition laws were. The lingering effects still cause harm to this day. The ‘good men like Ness enforcing those laws were never in doubt as they did their job. The film weighs in such a way that it only shows the enforcers hurting the gangsters, not the common every day citizen. It does not show the harassment and destruction of small and large business in the name of another moral crusade. It does not show the private citizen being bullied and beaten into submission because of the powers that the laws granted ‘good’ men like Ness.

Into the late twentieth century a new era of prohibition invigorated the self righteous law enforcer, in both life and fiction. The War on Drugs spurred the violence both from those breaking and upholding the law. Don Johnson’s fictional character in the TV show Miami Vice would be the new type of Elliot Ness. The depiction is much the same. The War on Drugs could be sexy, dressed in pastels, where even the baddies are seductive with their flash, wealth and lifestyle, but just as deadly and evil. The heroes of the law are always under-resourced and fighting against insuperable odds in an urban frontier, slways for a greater good. Either the drink or the drugs always mange to get through though. The laws, the means in which they were imposed on the common person are never shown to be destructive or intrusive.

In the modern era across the globe the laws are ever expanding. A social tumor that kills and transforms cultures. Most things in life are subject to regulation and law. It is almost impossible to truly know what is ‘allowed.’ New laws are conjured up and with every crisis they are pushed through with safety, health, and security in mind. It takes ‘good ‘agents like Ness who make sure that the common person is protected. But in the real world from what? Themselves?

When laws against ‘planking’ (laying belly down on the ground, usually in random locations), Pokemon Go, unpasteurised milk, the fidget spinner, dressing up as a clown on Halloween, the ‘silk road’ and so on are created, who is the Al Capone in such a morality tale? We have the endless armies of people like Ness, with means at their disposal and just like in the film they are without doubt when it comes to their importance to law and order. The law enforcers are deemed as being a better class of person, keeping the citizenry safe, even if the crime is simply planking. All that matters is the law and obedience.

It is a cliché to refer to Nazi Germany and the legal nature of its many atrocious conducts or to point to the Soviet Union and its horrible infringements on liberty. They are the extremes but from within such tyrannical empires existed the good family man, who was merely doing a job, serving the state by enforcing the laws. Many were likely ideologically empty, not a Communist or Nazi party member, just a good law enforcer. In doing so they destroyed lives, and with no compassion they spread fear and hardship.

Like all things in life, reality defies simplicity. Many who are in law enforcement are there because it is in their minds important. They joined because they wanted to be the strong person that a child clings to in a crisis, the thin blue line that stands between the innocent and wicked, to somehow rectify the injustice on this Earth. It is a romance that belongs in fiction. Pragmatism and a mercenary’s servitude reveals a compromised and destructive character that does not lean on the side of rights for the individual but instead works to ensure that the state or a status quo is preserved.

Men like Ness in the film do exist. The many men and women of law enforcement are not all violent dog killers and power hungry domestic abusers. The dilemma is in the lack of wider understanding of repercussions. It does not take a genius to understand that in passing more laws, that inevitably more criminals will exist. If one continues to impose too many rules—a great deal of which are intrusive and arbitrary—then individuals will become lost inside a dysfunctional society uncertain as to what is a good and bad law. Which in turn will bring law enforcement into contact with individuals in negative and harmful ways. The police officer is already a multi-function tool being wielded by the state will have less time ‘serving’ and ‘protecting’ as the lay person assumes them to exist for. And in turn the added stress and less focus on what many consider to be ‘real policing’ will in turn lead to a bloated and indifferent force that ultimately serve a very few.

The Elliot Ness as portrayed by Kevin Costner is not concerned with partisan political parties or even economic and ideological theory. His philosophy is direct and simple: enforce the law. The zealotry to do such a deed is what makes the world writhe in so much misery. These good actors only following orders makes so much possible for the most perverse. That’s whether directly in obvious circumstances or as was illustrated in the film, or indirectly by growing a black market filled with terrible gangsters like Al Capone.

Across the planet ‘good’ cops like the Ness in the film make rule possible. They are those imposing questionable lockdown’s in Melbourne, the agents arresting journalists, or the armed enforcers knocking down household doors at three in the morning because some one may have ingested a prohibited substance. They are the loyal enforcers of a prison state like North Korea and make it possible for despots like Idi Amin, Joseph Stalin, and Augusto Pinochet to stay in power. And when popular consensus turns on the laws and politics catches up they will be without a seed of responsibility to move on. When the tyrant is over thrown they will help the new regime rule.

No matter how extreme the examples of police abuse are, there will be inside the public those who defend such acts. They will write beneath the videos in boot ink their opinions, blaming the victim and shielding the officers from any responsibility. Suddenly the rule of law cited by those who cling to government goes out the window and an officer can become an instant executioner. It is a deep belief that the present model of law enforcement is crucial to society. That without such individuals then we would have no freedoms and safety, even as they encroach on both. The thin blue line is the shoreline before the ocean of carnage. The laws that these men and women enforce are never considered as being crucial in causing the carnage and discontent. Ness is never shown challenging the wisdom of prohibition.

The prohibition laws that Ness enforced came from the moralist Temperance movement, a reaction to a real issue: violent and ill disciplined individuals who could not handle their liquor. The instinct was to punish all, to deny the nation the right to drink alcohol. The unintended consequences were hard to imagine until it was too late. In 1917, with the U.S. entry into the Great War, those ‘dry’ anti-alcohol advocates managed to influence policy more effectively, with anti-German laws against beer. Freedom is always sacrificed when a health crisis appears. Add in the threat to national security and liberty will be caged indefinitely. The War on Terror, married to decades of the War on Drugs, plus all forms of puritan morality and now the recent COVID-19 pandemic, means those enforcing laws have many masters, from health officials to think tanks that have never seen a war they did not like.

In the end it does not matter who you vote for, or what extremes of politics you come from. Those who enforce the laws will continue to do so. They will act with the conviction of a zealot, not to the ideals of those who direct them but, in their obedience, to upholding the law. The law is absolute and pure. It is a meal ticket and a line in the sand that separates the civilised from the savage. It is a deep romantic illusion, “I do not make the laws” is the safe declaration of the uniformed representative of those who make them. “I just enforce them” is the moral shield an amoral cowardice. Once the apprehension of the criminal is over, it is then for the legal system to do its job. The separation of responsibility from the law enforcer is complete. And in the end, the modern-day Ness, like his fictionalised depiction can say some day, “I think I’ll go have a joint.”.

Like most films based on true stories it is one that is massaged for an entertaining narrative. Not all cops are stoic, self-sacrificing ‘untouchables,’ and they are not all power-hungry corrupt beasts. They are often doing a job as public servants that get to play dress up and who act as a link in a chain. They are members of a team, a massive network that ensures that the state functions and remains the most important and intrusive part of the individual’s life, even if they think otherwise. The day that those who enforce the laws refuse, is the day that the elites, the rulers, are revealed as just being flab hidden beneath a suit. Without the armed muscle no horrible law or reactionary public policy could be possible. And in the end, even Al Capone went to jail for a victimless crime: tax evasion.

Public Letter, Signed By Prosecutors, Judges, and Cops, Demands Congress Expunge All Marijuana Convictions

Public Letter, Signed By Prosecutors, Judges, and Cops, Demands Congress Expunge All Marijuana Convictions

The organization formerly known as Law Enforcement Against Prohibition (LEAP), now known as Law Enforcement Action Partnership, along with the National Black Police Association, and Fair and Just Prosecution have signed onto a revolutionary letter to Congress urging the federal government to legalize marijuana and expunge all past convictions relating to marijuana. In addition to the three major groups signing on to the letter, dozens of current and former prosecutors, judges and police officers. Cook County State Attorney Kim Foxx and Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison (D) also signed on.

The letter went out last month and is addressed to Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.). It calls on House lawmakers to “swiftly bring” the bill, dubbed the Marijuana Opportunity Reinvestment and Expungement (MORE) Act, to the floor for a vote this month.

The group accurately portrays the problem created by the war on marijuana and how it degrades trust in police.

A significant driver of public distrust in law enforcement is our focus on low-level marijuana arrests. As the most visible part of the justice system, we police are already met with animosity every day. Our effectiveness and morale should not suffer unnecessarily. If marijuana had never been criminalized, many more Americans would greet us with warmth and cooperation rather than fear and malice. Without the trust of the people we serve, we lose a valuable crime-fighting resource. When community members refuse to talk to us, fail to present evidence or even to report crime, our jobs become much more difficult. Legalizing marijuana will help alleviate this tension and allow us to focus on our shared priorities: responding to emergencies and curbing serious crime.

The resources used to enforce marijuana law violations could be shifted and used to more effectively tackle serious and violent crimes. Americans were arrested for marijuana seven million times between 2001 and 2010, the vast majority of which were just for possession. Even as more states legalize marijuana, police made more than 663,000 marijuana arrests—92% of them for possession—last year alone. Meanwhile, homicide and sex crimes units struggle to get evidence examined in a timely manner. While that evidence sits in storage for years collecting dust, predators roam free to harm more innocent people. This misallocation of resources is disgraceful. By legalizing marijuana at the federal level, we will send a message to every police department in this country about our real priorities. Our allegiance lies with crime survivors and would-be victims, not with marijuana prohibition. By focusing on serious crime and creating safe neighborhoods—rather than arresting people for a drug most Americans think should be legal—we will be able to solve more crimes and earn back the trust of our communities.

This letter contains no new information. However, the fact that it is receiving coverage in the mainstream and is directed at Congress is encouraging. This conversation is long overdue and it needs to change now as the war on drugs fosters a violent and criminal society.

It should go further, however, and move to decriminalize all substances, not just marijuana.

As readers of TFTP know, America has the largest prison population in the world. It is estimated that victimless crime constitutes 86% of the federal prison population. That means the only reason that these individuals are incarcerated is because the state deemed their non-violent personal choices, “illegal.” The majority of that 86% is for illegal drugs only.

Most of the people who are thrown in prison are non-violent. However, when they are locked in cages with society’s worst and treated like cattle in a factory farm, they come out forever changed. America is breeding a torturous and violent environment, and they have the audacity to call this the “justice system.”

This system—whether or not the right wants to admit it—disproportionately targets minorities, fostering a violent and tyrannical environment. The research cited in the letter also points this fact out.

If you honestly believe that black lives matter, it is your duty to call for an end to the drug war. Ending the drug war would have profound effects on police interactions in black communities.

No longer would cops be able to launch fishing expeditions in an attempt to catch black people with a substance deemed illegal by the state. This would drastically reduce the amount of police interactions as a whole. What’s more, as the letter points out, it would decrease crime by eliminating the monopoly on drug sales held by organized criminal gangs. It would defund the gangs and remove much of the incentive to wage violence in their community.

To understand why this would have such a drastic effect, you have to realize that when the government makes certain substances illegal, it does not remove the demand. Instead, the state creates crime by pushing the sale and control of these substances into the illegal black markets—usually monopolized by gang members in poor communities. All the while, demand remains constant. Because this market is not regulated by free market principals, safety and child possession fall to the wayside. The authors of the letter understand this and point out how legalization would curb this problem.

Regulation reduces youth access and keeps adult consumers safe. Criminalizing marijuana has been a boon to the illegal market where there are no regulations, product testing, etc. Resourceful teenagers do not usually have trouble accessing marijuana when it is illegal. Underground sellers do not have to obtain age verification before making a sale and may sell
other far more dangerous substances. Legalizing marijuana shrinks the size of the market available to teens, which simultaneously reduces their exposure to criminal activity in general.

A profitable underground market supports the high demand for marijuana, much as it did during the prohibition of alcohol in the 1920s and ‘30s. Calling marijuana a “controlled” substance is illusory; where it is illegal, we have no control. We cannot ensure the purity of the product, require the use of childproof containers, or determine who can buy and sell it. Over time, marijuana legalization will drive out the underground market, just as alcohol bootleggers disappeared after repealing alcohol prohibition. Right now, the underground market still flourishes because marijuana is legal in some places and not others. The most impactful way to take marijuana profits away from criminal organizations and reduce youth access is to regulate marijuana similarly to how we regulate alcohol and cigarettes.

The illegality of drug possession and use is what keeps the low-level users and dealers in and out of the court systems, and most of these people are poor black men. Black people are more likely to receive a harsher punishment for the same drug crime as a white person.

This revolving door of creating and processing criminals fosters the phenomenon known as Recidivism which is the tendency of those who are processed into the system and the likelihood of future criminal behavior.

The War on Drugs takes good people and turns them into criminals every single minute of every single day. The system is set up in such a way that it fans the flames of violent crime by essentially building a factory that turns out violent criminals.

The system knows this too!

As stated by the law enforcement experts in their letter, when drugs are legalized, gang violence drops—drastically. Not only does it have a huge effect on the localized gangs in America, but the legalization of drugs is crippling to the violent foreign drug cartels too. 

Until Americans educate themselves on the causeof this violence, uninformed and corrupt lawmakers will continue to focus on controlling the symptoms.

We will see more senseless killings and more innocent lives stripped of opportunity by getting entangled in the system. We must end the drug war now.

Matt Agorist is an honorably discharged veteran of the USMC and former intelligence operator directly tasked by the NSA. This prior experience gives him unique insight into the world of government corruption and the American police state. Agorist has been an independent journalist for over a decade and has been featured on mainstream networks around the world. Agorist is also the Editor-at-Large at the Free Thought Project. Follow @MattAgorist on TwitterSteemit, and now on Minds. This article was originally featured at the Free Thought Project and is republished with permission.

News Roundup

News Roundup 1/22/21

US News Three National Guardsmen were killed in a helicopter crash in NY. [Link] About 20% of those charged with crimes related to the Capitol riot are former members of the military. [Link] House Democrats urge Biden to repeal the AUMFs. [Link] Biden’s Press...

Blog

Cop Kills Cop

And gets away with it of course because not even government employees have any rights that another government employee is bound to respect. And you wonder why BLM and the Boogaloo boys raise their fists together half the time: the government is evil.

Name Dropped

Some wonderful ridiculous woman made this hilarious song about us all partying at Tom Woods' house: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FNk-XJvgtC4

The Scott Horton Show

1/15/21 Andrew Quilty on the CIA’s Afghan Death Squads

Scott interviews journalist Andrew Quilty about his recent piece for the Intercept, which details the horrific violence being carried out in Afghanistan by U.S.-backed militia groups. In several recent attacks, these "death squads" have raided religious boarding...

Free Man Beyond the Wall

Conflicts of Interest

Here Comes Domestic Terrorism Laws and Big Tech Censorship

On COI #56, Dave DeCamp, assistant news editor at antiwar.com, returns to the show. Dave and Kyle discuss the reaction to the violent protests at the capital. The establishment labeled the violent mob a coup attempt as a coup, insurrection, and domestic terrorism....

Don't Tread on Anyone

MUST SEE: How the U.S. Government Funds Terrorism

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rlQjJoW8QDE In very few cases have these anti-interventionists favored literal “isolation”: what they have generally favored is political nonintervention in the affairs of other countries, coupled with economic and cultural...

Liberty Weekly Podcast

2021 and the Black Future Ep. 146

https://youtu.be/ZfBebGgBGUQ Jose Galison invited me on his show, No Way Jose! for a recap of this incredibly crazy year. We covered a host of topics and realized that we didn't get to half the stuff we wanted to talk about. I guarantee you we covered a bunch of stuff...

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Ken Paxton and TX v PA w/Michael Harris

Tommy asked Michael Harris to join him to discuss Ken  Paxton’s legal problems, and why he may have filed TX v PA about the 2020 election. https://traffic.libsyn.com/secure/strangerencounterspodcast/michael_harris_full.mp3

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Tommy looks at the current climate of discourse, and how the corporate left has successfully infiltrated the state. Expanding on a Substack he'd written earlier in the week he concludes Agorism is the only useful strategy to revitalize individuality and preserve...

Trump Invokes JFK Memoranda 57, and It Means Nothing

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