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Monday, 31 December 2012 11:20

The Year of the Code of Silence: Putting a Gag on Democracy

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MARK KARLIN, EDITOR OF BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT                              policebrut

Truthout recently posted an article about a federal civil jury finding that the City of Chicago, currently under Mayor Rahm Emanuel, is responsible for allowing a Chicago Police Department "code of silence." This "blue curtain" often prevents the prosecution of not only criminal misconduct among the police, but more significantly the suppression of democracy.  A "code of silence" makes it extremely difficult to hold the police accountable for violations of civil rights and brutality – and to those who give them their orders and a loose leash.

The December Chicago "code of silence" ruling was upheld by a federal judge, despite Emanuel's ham-handed attempt to vacate the finding.

In many ways 2012 represented, as have past years, the "code of silence" in which police powers have diminished the ever-shrinking First Amendment.  Protestors who challenge the entrenched inequalities perpetuated by the Wall Street/DC duopoly management class are regularly arrested, bludgeoned and jailed for exercising their right to protest.

But the "code of silence" extends from the unleashing of law enforcement on behalf of those with their hands on the power of the state; it includes the "code of silence" that allows the barons of Wall Street and corporate America who violate the law and cost the nation trillions of dollars to get out of jail free, and to keep their fortunes.

It is a "code of silence" about the plantation politics of modern urban ghettos that differ from slavery only in one being free to be destitute and without the possibility of employment due to vast swaths of job death zones.

It is the "code of silence" about the myth of America being one nation – Obama's crayon colored purple map – when it is one nation dealing with reality, and one nation living in a fantasy bubble of white entitlement divorced from the Constitution.

It is the "code of silence" about the rush to buy assault weapons after every mass murder by white guys who think democracy is defined by the smoke that wafts out of a gun after firing it – and that the Constitution can't exist without being balanced on the barrel of a gun.

It is the "code of silence" about championing the myth of family and religious values when we are a nation driven by advertising, brand names that fulfill our "aspirational identities," and rampant consumerism – and when we are a nation that values "wink and nod" business practices that skirt or violate the law.

It is the "code of silence" that allows us all to consume massive amounts of energy and rely on the climatic toxic fossil fuel car as the earth's atmosphere deteriorates as it is unrelentingly degraded.

In Chicago, when Rahm Emanuel and the City of Chicago were given a tongue lashing by the federal judge for trying to erase a jury finding that the Windy City at best tolerates a "code of silence," one law professor commented that Emanuel had sought a "code of silence on the code of silence."

That is a key feature of our new globalized nation: the managerial and wealthy in entrenched power wrap us in a "code of silence" about the issues that are vital to democracy and to the future of life on this planet.  They create a smokescreen of jingoism and false historical narratives to justify our national greed, selfishness and inequality.

One finding against the City of Chicago is symbolic of a national effort to keep us docile and submissive.  

We are all deemed out of order when we are not silent, when we protest the status quo. The Patriot Act has now been extended into a full spider web of surveillance laws that allow the government to invade our private lives to a degree that the existence of a private life is now dubious based on expansive legal authority.

The managing class knows what is best for us, they think, and they have no patience for dissent.

(Photo: Wikipedia)