September 19, 2012
Reidar Visser Changes His Field
Many of you who have, like me, followed the U.S. occupation of Iraq will remember the invaluable insights of Reidar Visser. Reidar is the Norwegian political scientist and Middle East scholar who always had the most knowledgeable picture of Iraq's internal politics and policies.
Reidar Visser has now changed the subject of his research. Over the last year he was apparently stalked by the Norwegian police for some rather diffuse reason. This led him to his new research subject, the human rights violation by police, police criminality in general and police stalking in particular. The emphasis of his research will be on Northern Europe with special attention to the situation in Norway and the Netherlands.
You can follow Reidar Visser at his site Historiae.org and at his new blog Policestalking. His most recent post there is How the Norwegian Government Brought an End to My Iraq Research.
While Reidar Visser's invaluable insights into current Iraqi policy will probably no longer be updated, the archive of his six years of blogging about Iraq is still available at Iraq and Gulf Analysis.
The morass of European police corruption and brutally certainly deserves deeper scrutiny. Reidar Visser has shown that he is capable to drill down into the core of complex and seemingly nebulous issues, to unearth the facts and to communicate them in enlightening writings. I look forward to reading about and commenting on his new discoveries.
Posted by b on September 19, 2012 at 02:11 PM | Permalink
Anyway, after my screw up I have to say I appreciate the post. I have just finished reading JFK and the Unspeakable (review)" by James Douglass and am furious at the National Security State/CIA/Military Industrial Complex which has obviously so egregiously grown even more out of control since Kennedy was assassinated. So much so that the local police have become just another arm of the gangster/spooks. Reidar Visser is addressing a highly pertinent and important subject. Thanks for bringing him to our attention b & Karin.
Posted by: juannie | Sep 19, 2012 4:18:24 PM | 2
"With all the police around, I was reluctant to make the first move towards the US government. I met friends at the State Department, the Pentagon and the CIA, and considered my options for reaching out to someone high up to explain my predicament."
aren't "friends" and "State Department" oxymorons?
Posted by: ruralito | Sep 19, 2012 4:39:01 PM | 3
Everyone should read James Douglass' book. It puts "freedom and democracy" into an entirely different light.
Posted by: JohnH | Sep 19, 2012 5:47:44 PM | 4
why are people so corrupt? As the upper echelons are populated with corrupt persons so the lower ranks are filled. Where do they all come from?
Posted by: brian | Sep 19, 2012 6:08:10 PM | 5
I sent this along to friends in Norway, b. Any other ideas or suggestions from the MOAers?
Posted by: Eureka Springs | Sep 19, 2012 6:47:23 PM | 6
Its not that they are corrupt, what we see is the polices actual function, as a internal security force for the elite. In the West that role is not on display all that often but it is there. It doesn't have to be a overt as the Gestapo or a KGB.
Posted by: heath | Sep 19, 2012 7:12:31 PM | 8
This is weird. After all Visser was generally pro occupation and pro extending the U.S. presence after the last (Iraqi) election cycle - even though, I suspect he took these positions for genuinely humanitarian reasons. He was also pretty far off the mark on predicting the trends towards the outcome of those elections. Like almost everybody else, he failed to see the Sadr party coming to Maliki's rescue.
Nonetheless, his blog contained mountains of useful information about Iraqi internal politics.
Posted by: anna missed | Sep 19, 2012 7:41:37 PM | 9
Tomorrow morning I have to get up early and report for possible jury duty at 8am in a city about 60 miles away. From asking around, there might be qualification questions for serving on a jury. Like, they might ask me if I have any opinions that might influence any vote of mine on guilt or innocence, especially as it might involve testimony from law enforcement.
In answering such a qualification question I would necessarily have to consider, among other experiences of mine, a book written by Gerry Spence, the famous US trial lawyer – From Freedom to Slavery. A couple of excerpts:
“I found that the minions of the law–the special agents of the FBI–to be men who proved themselves not only fully capable, but also utterly willing to manufacture evidence, to conceal crucial evidence and even to change the rules that governed life and death if, in the prosecution of the accused, it seemed expedient to do so.” --- p. 27
Well surely the court judges are concerned with justice?
Spence: “We are told that our judges, charged with constitutional obligations, insure equal justice for all. That, too, is a myth. The function of the law is not to provide justice or to preserve freedom. The function of the law is to keep those who hold power, in power.” p. 109
If they ask a question pertinent to this subject then how can I not answer it truthfully? I mean, Attorney Spence is not a flake. He knows the situation. He's been there and done that. I don't mean to be excused from a civic duty, but I can't not be honest either. Bottom line: They brought it on themselves.
Posted by: Don Bacon | Sep 19, 2012 8:21:17 PM | 10
Don Bacon--If you're selected for the jury, check out jury nullification. The US Constitution allows you to vote to acquit if you think the whole trial is a sham.
Posted by: JohnH | Sep 19, 2012 9:09:50 PM | 11
Dear b -- you obviously respect Reidar Visser based on his analyses of Iraq over the last decade. I have enough respect for you to accept your judgement. However, I did read the link to Reidar Visser's blog. As of today he sounds unhinged. It simply makes no sense that the same Norwegian policemen would be chasing him around the world in libraries in multiple cities just to torment him. The modern police state does not work that way. Be careful.
Posted by: ToivoS | Sep 19, 2012 9:09:57 PM | 12
Well, a juror is free to vote anyway he or she wants. The problem is that a juror is sworn to uphold the law.
At least in state courts, state law rules on that one. And there are only two states that allow jury nullification, Maryland and, recently passed, New Hampshire.
There is no federal constitutional provision granting a right to jury nullification.
As I said, a juror is free to vote subject to his/her oath. But I would not advise anyone outside those two states to openly make a statement in the jury room in front of other jurors to the effect that "I dont care about the law and evidence, I'm voting not guilty".
Just say, "I'm voting not guilty" and end it at that.
You open yourself up to charges of perjury otherwise.
Posted by: sleepy | Sep 19, 2012 10:25:20 PM | 13
Sleepy I think you are wrong about juror nullification. This is part of English common law.
Posted by: ToivoS | Sep 20, 2012 4:09:51 AM | 14
Apologies for cross-post but this belongs here:
I had not heard of Gerry Spence until you mentioned him and linked to his book. I then read a review and then the first chapter of his book from his web site. My suggestion to you, is reread that and consider JonnH’s advice to check out jury nullification and then let your conscience be your guide.
...But the first wrong was not his. Nor was the first wrong the government's. The first wrong was ours.
In this country we embrace the myth that we are still a democracy when we know that we are not a democracy, that we are not free, that the government does not serve us but subjugates us. Although we give lip service to the notion of freedom, we know the government is no longer the servant of the people but, at last, has become the people's master. We have stood by like timid sheep while the wolf killed-first the weak, then the strays, then those on the outer edges of the flock, until at last the entire flock belonged to the wolf. We did not care about the weak or about the strays. They were not a part of the flock. We did not care about those on the outer edges. They had chosen to be there. But as the wolf worked its way toward the center of the flock we discovered that we were now on the outer edges. Now we must look the wolf squarely in the eye. That we did not do so when the first of us was ripped and torn and eaten was the first wrong. It was our wrong.
I would also consider the actions of Smedley Butler leading up to his exposure of the coup plot to remove FDR.
I’ve ordered Spence’s book. Thanks; after finishing “JFK and the Unspeakable” I need something else so apparently trenchant.
Posted by: juannie | Sep 20, 2012 7:53:43 AM | 15
Don, if you don't want to do you jury duty, just mention jury nullification, you'll be out of there quick smart.
Posted by: heath | Sep 20, 2012 8:29:47 AM | 16
Hey, thanks for the responses. My main thought now (upon further reflection) is that while cops may lie (or even may probably lie) then so may other witnesses and I have to be skeptical about it all. I do mean to serve, as I said, and thinking positive is always essential. That's what Smedley Butler would do (thanks juannie). And I may be excused immediately (I forgot the Latin phrase for that from the O.J. Simpson case).
Back to b's police corruption.
Posted by: Don Bacon | Sep 20, 2012 9:08:52 AM | 17
Here's were jury duty and Reidar Visser converge. Julian P. Heicklen stood outside a New York court, passing out pamphlets informing people of jury nullification. After some police harassment, he was taken to court for jury tampering. The judge finally threw the charges out.
On June 18, 2012, New Hampshire passed a law explicitly allowing defense attorneys to inform juries about Jury Nullification.
Primary current applications include trumped up drug prosecutions, though there is obvious potential for phony terrorism cases.
We recently had a case where a women got railroaded by the prosecution. A single juror stood tall, voting against the 11 others. That got the case enough attention and defense resources so that the woman was acquitted at the retrial.
Posted by: JohnH | Sep 20, 2012 10:32:52 AM | 18
I just mentioned that our nation's drug laws seem to be unfairly skewed toward finding poor and minority people guilty and middle class and white collar criminals to go free.
I wss out of there in a NY second.
Posted by: jawbone | Sep 20, 2012 1:02:23 PM | 19
@juannie - I learned about Reidar's plan because I am on his email distribution list. Therefore no hat-tip :-(
@ToivoS - while Visser's post may sound "unhinged" I do not believe that he is lying about the issue nor do I believe that he is paranoiac. I have heard and read other stories about the Norwegian police that point to similar patterns as Visser describes. In my view the question in this case will be why, not if.
Posted by: b | Sep 20, 2012 2:04:07 PM | 20
I believe Derrick Jensen has some insight into police corruption. In his books End Game I & II, he proposes his twenty premise, three of which address this:
Premise Four: Civilization is based on a clearly defined and widely accepted yet often unarticulated hierarchy. Violence done by those higher on the hierarchy to those lower is nearly always invisible, that is, unnoticed. When it is noticed, it is fully rationalized. Violence done by those lower on the hierarchy to those higher is unthinkable, and when it does occur is regarded with shock, horror, and the fetishization of the victims.
Premise Five: The property of those higher on the hierarchy is more valuable than the lives of those below. It is acceptable for those above to increase the amount of property they control—in everyday language, to make money—by destroying or taking the lives of those below. This is called production. If those below damage the property of those above, those above may kill or otherwise destroy the lives of those below. This is called justice.
Premise Thirteen: Those in power rule by force, and the sooner we break ourselves of illusions to the contrary, the sooner we can at least begin to make reasonable decisions about whether, when, and how we are going to resist.
Although this doesn’t answer b’s question, it does address it and with these ideas in mind maybe the quest for the why can be discovered. Visser has no doubt made someone or someones higher up feel threatened. His recounting of his harassment from Norway to the US to Qatar to Jordon to the Netherlands strongly indicates to me CIA fingerprints all over this. The CIA is involved in practically every corner of economic or political interest all over the globe. And I don’t think I’ll get much argument about them being the clandestine unofficial henchmen of the big business, nay, American controlled multinational corporate interests. Reading through Visser’s new blog I can’t help but notice that the Norwegian DNO (oil company) comes up. Making a huge intuitive jump I would guess that those with economic interests in DNO are somehow feeling threatened by whatever Visser was disclosing in his Iraq and Gulf Analysis. After all, there is an enormous oil resource just waiting to be exploited by someone and the surface is but presently being skimmed. I highly doubt that his picture taking was really the trigger that set off his surveillance; it was but a distracting red herring.
Posted by: juannie | Sep 20, 2012 4:41:14 PM | 21
Its a self sustaining system. Firstly it draws in authoritarians, that is just the way it is, the shiny boots, truncheons badges etc. It gives a potential bully the license to act out, it also justifies his behavior to himself. Its like the alchemy of turning base metals into dross rather than gold. The most aggressive will rise to the top and if any genuine boy scouts sneak through they are either, corrupted, shunned or purged. See Serpico EtAl. The sociology of policing is so pernicious especially in this country that you will automatically have a huge segment of the population immediately, reflexively defending the police even if they started trashing infants against rocks on a regular basis.Then after a while even that depravity will become normalized. You see even in Georgia the people mobilize when they see video of their police acting like goons for the goon that employs them, would that happen in apple pie land?
Posted by: demize! | Sep 20, 2012 10:33:42 PM | 22
Being also on Reidar's mailing list, I was a bit surprised by wha
Posted by: alexno | Sep 21, 2012 4:36:07 PM | 23
Being also on Reidar's mailing list, I was also a bit surprised by what he said. Even if he is being pursued by the Norwegian police, he should stay and resist.
If I understand correctly, it's because of his work on Iraq, not because of some photos on the street. He has fled, and therefore he is pursued.
I may be wrong, but I would suggest the sequence is this: some Iraqis don't like what he says in his commentaries on Iraq. They have relationships with the police in Iraq, who can put out a warning to Interpol to follow this person. The Norwegian police follow their orders precisely, and observe Visser. Visser flees to the US, and finds that the Norwegian police, following their orders precisely, have followed him there. Now he is in the Asia-Pacific region, still followed.
I would have thought it better to confront his accusers in Norway, and demand to be tried. I doubt that there's any serious accusation.
Posted by: alexno | Sep 21, 2012 5:44:16 PM | 24