'To Punish and Enslave'

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“And how we burned in the camps later, thinking: What would things have been like if every Security operative, when he went out at night to make an arrest, had been uncertain whether he would return alive and had to say good-bye to his family? Or if, during periods of mass arrests, as for example in Leningrad, when they arrested a quarter of the entire city, people had not simply sat there in their lairs, paling with terror at every bang of the downstairs door and at every step on the staircase, but had understood they had nothing left to lose and had boldly set up in the downstairs hall an ambush of half a dozen people with axes, hammers, pokers, or whatever else was at hand?… The Organs would very quickly have suffered a shortage of officers and transport and, notwithstanding all of Stalin’s thirst, the cursed machine would have ground to a halt! If…if…We didn’t love freedom enough. And even more — we had no awareness of the real situation…. We purely and simply deserved everything that happened afterward.u201D

~ Alexander Solzhenitsyn, The Gulag Archipelago

The Cult of Nationalism Punishes a Patriot: Mark Kuhn, the fellow on the ground with his hands cuffed behind his back as his wife looks on in disbelief, offended the tender sensibilities of local jingoists by flying the American flag upside down. Note the arrogant, triumphalist posture of the enforcement officer — one of at least five dispatched to corral this non-violent thought criminal — who is straddling the helpless man.

Just as a person is defiled by what goes out of the mouth, rather than what goes into it (Matthew 15:11), the US flag is defiled by what is done in its name, rather than what is done to the physical symbol. This is splendidly illustrated in the photograph to the right, in which we see the arrest of a peaceful man who had committed no crime against persons or property, but whose patriotic display of the U.S. flag engendered a violent response from local adherents to the cult of nationalism.

Mark and Deborah Kuhn of Asheville, North Carolina are devoted activists who pursue political change using non-violent means. The message on their answering machine — which I’ve heard twice, in unsuccessful attempts to contact them directly — offers the greeting: “Peace and love.”

Mortified over the violent, corrupt, and increasingly degenerate nature of the regime that rules us, the Kuhns displayed, on their own property, a U.S. flag — an item they had legally purchased — displayed upside-down. This is a universally recognized distress sign, and the Kuhns’ intent was to underscore the plight of our country, which is being destroyed by the regime.

This was, in brief, a patriotic protest, which is why it attracted the malign attention of a servant of the regime.

On July 18, the Kuhns report, they received a visit from a police officer who asked them if everything was all right. He was reportedly polite and professional, and told them that there was no statute or ordinance forbidding them to display the flag upside-down. In the interests of clarifying their point, the Kuhns attached a small sign to the flag explaining the purpose of the display, and another handbill calling for the overdue removal of George W. Bush from the White House.

Shortly thereafter, an individual clad in fatigues and driving a car with US Government license plates — the latter being the unmistakable token of a parasite — paid a visit to harass the Kuhns about their display.

This vigilant fellow was Staff Sergeant Mark Radford of the 105th Military Police Battalion of the North Carolina National Guard. Acting as a dutiful spitzel, this self-appointed guardian of nationalist purity contacted a friend at the Buncombe County Sheriff’s Department. Early on the morning of July 25, Deputy Brian Scarborough swaggered up to the door and demanded that the Kuhns take down the flag, which they did. Scarborough then demanded that the couple present ID and accept a citation for “flag desecration” — which is forbidden by a pointless and facially unconstitutional ordinance that had fallen into desuetude.

“We refused,” recalled Deborah. “We said, `Why should we show you our ID — are you arresting us?’ so we walked back into the house and closed the door.”

Were Brian Scarborough a sentient being, rather than state enforcement agent, he would have let the matter drop. It’s likely that even ten years ago, the typical Deputy Sheriff in this situation would have simply asked the couple to take down their flag, tipped his hat, and left it at that.

But this is the era of the “New Police Professionalism,” and Scarborough is an agent of the Homeland Security State. He was clad in the majesty of the regime, and the Kuhns had refused to submit to his will. Accordingly, he kicked the door, punched out the glass (thereby cutting his hand, a consequence he was apparently too dim to foresee), and forced his way inside.

Scarborough would later insist that Kuhn inflicted that injury by slamming the door on his hand. He lied, of course: Several eyewitnesses confirm that the Deputy cut himself breaking in to the Kuhns’ home.

Having committed an act of criminal trespass, Scarborough then compounded that crime with assault by making threats of violence against the Kuhns, as Deborah reported in a frantic phone call to 911. Her gesture evinced a touchingly misplaced faith in the possibility of casting out Beelzebub by the power of Beelzebub: Once the police learned that one of their own was in trouble, five additional squad cars converged on the scene.

This was done to deal with an unarmed, non-violent couple who had displayed their flag in a way incompatible with the tenets of aggrieved nationalism.

Scarborough seized Mark, thereby committing aggravated battery; Mark escaped and fled outside, where he was pursued by several police as astonished neighbors gathered.

One of the officers produced a taser and threatened to shoot Mark with it — an act that should be considered assault with a deadly weapon. The same hero made the same threat against Deborah.

Mark submitted and was handcuffed. As the arrest unfolded, Staff Sgt. Radford, a REMF with nothing better to do than harass local civilians, drove past the Kuhns’ home and heckled them: “Go to jail, baby!”

Mark and Deborah were arrested on the flag “desecration” charge (which is not a crime against persons or property), two counts of “assaulting a government employee” (based on Scarborough’s self-serving lies), and resisting arrest. They were bailed out of jail by their son, who posted $1,500 bond.

I cannot improve on Mark Kuhn’s summary of his experience, which resonates with Alexander Solzhenitsyn’s lament, as quoted above:

“If Americans don’t wake up to the martial state we’re in, the cops, the police, the sheriffs, the state police will all come to our door and take us away if we allow this to happen — it’s time for America to wake up.”

Kuhn is convinced his case is not an aberration. I wholeheartedly agree.

Witness the arrest of Alan McConnell of Silver Spring, Maryland, on ginned-up trespass charges after the 74-year-old activist continued to sell pro-impeachment buttons at a local farmer’s market. Local town officials insisted that McConnell was “aggressive,” that his buttons were divisive, and by selling them he was making people “uncomfortable.” So they instructed the police to issue a no-trespass order which was in fact a bill of attainder intended to shut down McConnell’s commerce.


How DARE he express his political opinions in public? Alan McConnell, a 74-year-old activist from Silver Spring, Maryland, is dragged off to jail by Jabba the Cop and two Stormtroopers for the supposed offense of selling political buttons at a farmer’s market.

The results can be seen in the photo above, as well as the fact that this elderly patriot faces six months in jail and a $1,000 fine for refusing to permit the local Politburo to deny him his right to express his opinions in a free marketplace.

Colorado resident Steve Howards likewise learned that peacefully expressing his political views was a crime. His antagonist wasn’t the local Politburo: It was the Chief Commissar himself, Dick Cheney and the U.S. Secret Service (or SS).

During a chance encounter with Comrade Cheney outside a mall in Beaver Creek, Colorado last June, Howards approached the Vice President and in a voice of polite disapproval said: u201CYour policies in Iraq are reprehensible.u201D He then walked away.

Now, you just know this wasn’t going to go unpunished.

After all, an SS spokesdrone told the Vail Daily News after the incident, Howards had drawn attention to himself by his “odd actions near Cheney”; he “wasn’t acting like other folks in the area.”

Indeed: Where others were awed into paralyzed deference by Cheney’s malignant majesty, Howards remembered that he is a citizen, and acted like one. Such things just aren’t permissible, of course.

A few minutes after his encounter with Cheney (and doubtless following the mental and spiritual equivalent of a cleansing shower), Howards was tracked down by a Secret Service agent, handcuffed in front of his 8-year-old son, and accused of u201Cassaulting the Vice President.u201D Jailed for three hours and released on a $500 bond, Howards was charged with the lesser offense of harassment, a charge that was eventually dropped. After all, the point was made: Criticizing our rulers to their faces will be treated as a criminal offense.

u201CI was incredulous this could be happening in the United States of America,u201D recalls Howard. u201CThis is what I read about happening in Tiananmen Square.u201D

Howards, to his considerable credit, has not let the matter drop. He has filed a lawsuit (.pdf) against Virgil D. “Gus” Reichle, Jr. (that’s how the name is spelled in the complaint), the SS agent who assaulted and arrested him — and who actually threatened to have his eight-year-old son turned over to the oh-so-nice people at Child Protective Services. (Howards’ son, incidentally, escaped that fate by running away in terror and finding his mother; it’s amazing he wasn’t arrested for resisting arrest or some other spurious charge.)


Not a real police vehicle … yet: An evil Decepticon disguises itself as a sleek Mustang bearing
an eerily appropriate permutation of the familiar police slogan (below).

In all of the foregoing incidents we see the local police (and the SS, collaborating with the local police) acting as enforcers of political orthodoxy, rather than defenders of persons and property.

They were acting as the security “Organs” of the Regime, not as peace officers defending the rights of peaceful, law-abiding citizens.

It’s not difficult to imagine how the incidents described above would be perceived had they occurred in Venezuela or Iran — and in those benighted countries, incidents of this sort (and others much worse than these) are common.

The point, of course, is that things of this sort are becoming common here, where they should never happen at all. We’ve not yet reached the dismal situation described by Solzhenitsyn, but if he were living here today he’d have little difficulty recognizing the familiar odor of incipient totalitarianism in our Homeland Security State.

A bonus illustration of the prevailing lunacy:

Monica Montoya, a 25-year-old mother from Roselle Park, New Jersey, cheerfully cooperated with the police when they asked her to interpret for an accident victim. For reasons nobody has explained, she ended up being handcuffed and dragged to a squad car, pleading with the officer to allow her to contact the babysitter tending her six-year-old daughter.

Montoya was charged with “obstructing justice” and “resisting arrest” — which makes no sense at all, given that — once again — she was assisting the police, which apparently is enough to get innocent people arrested in our embryonic Reich.

William Norman Grigg [send him mail] writes the Pro Libertate blog.

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