Friday, April 21, 2017

Are Privatized Security at Walmart or United Airlines Accountable?

Does anyone even know who the police work for anymore?

Are they supposed to be acting on behalf of corporations that are more concerned about profit than anything remotely resembling justice?

Remember that discussion about how the efforts to deregulate the airlines and eliminate the protections for consumers and workers to protect them from outrageous and even dangerous behavior from greedy businesses might not have worked out so well?

Remember how they said that maybe before they start eliminating enormous amounts or regulations they should figure out which ones really are incompetent?

Me neither!

With growing amounts of privatization it is difficult if not impossible for many people to tell between private security or police in many cases; and on top of that the real police often seem to be acting on behalf of private corporations without question even when they're supposed to be working for the government to protect all citizens impartially.

At least that's the way it's supposed to work in theory, although it is hard to see how anyone could believe it comes close to working that way in practice.

If there is a dispute between a corporation, that in the case of United Airline sold a ticket seated the passenger and based on their own obvious mistakes decided to have police remove him, should the police automatically assume the corporation was in the right?

Clearly that is exactly what happened and one thing that seems to have gone unnoticed is that the police who were almost certainly following orders were either suspended or put on administrative leave while the investigation continues; but as far as I can tell we don't even know who gave the orders and they don't seem to be taking much if any blame at all.

This should concern both the police and consumers, since even if they do hold the police accountable the same system will give bad orders again and other incidents like this will happen over and over again. Actually many similar incidents have happened repeatedly and when they find the need to hold someone accountable it is almost never the decision makers.

Media reports about whether it was police or airline security repeat several versions about it over and over again that are contradictory; however checking the facts without help from the mainstream media seems to indicate that it was the Chicago airport police who dragged this person out but they apparently took orders from United Airlines without fully understanding what was going on or why.

The vast majority of the public doesn't even know what incentives the police have when enforcing the law, which is already designed to heavily favor multi-national corporations that finance campaigns. There is little or no effort to educate the public about this by either the media or the political establishment; while they pass one law after another or allow one acquisition after another that increases powers of multinational corporations.

This isn't the first major problem by police that answer to corporations without question by far; but the vast majority of problems are only reported at the local level and they rarely explain much if anything about how police and judicial activities are steadily being privatized so that the police are not accountable to voters or elected officials nor are the people that hire them; and in most cases we can't even tell who they are.

There have probably been dozens if not hundreds of cases where major problems came up from privatized security and if anyone is held accountable it is almost never the people giving the orders, instead it is often the people with the least amount of power. In some occasions it is even the police although they try to avoid that if they can, and they rarely pay the same price that a civilian would pay for committing the same crimes.

The following is a small sample of the stories of outrageous behavior where it is difficult to tell who makes the decisions and if people hired are trained to blindly obey orders or to look out for the best interest of the public as a whole in a reasonably unbiased manner, starting with United Airlines which already spent at least two or three times as much as it would have costed to handle this reasonably and will spend well over ten to twenty times as much before it is done.

When no one even knows who's making decisions does that mean all reasonable discretion is being abandoned?

United Airlines vows not to call police on passengers as CEO apologizes for fiasco 04/12/2017

United Airlines said it will no longer call on law enforcement to remove paid and seated passengers who have not agreed to give up their places on sold-out flights, one of several moves the airline announced Wednesday to try to quell a week of consumer outrage.

The Chicago airline’s chief executive, Oscar Munoz, told ABC News’ “Good Morning America” on Wednesday morning that he felt “shame” when he watched the video of a passenger, Dr. David Dao, being dragged off a sold-out United flight bound for Louisville, Ky., on Sunday by Chicago airport police.

United has said it needed to bump four passengers to make room for airline employees who needed to travel to Louisville. The airline reportedly offered $400 and a hotel stay, and then $800 to passengers to induce them to give up their seats. When there were no volunteers, United selected Dao and other passengers to get off the plane.

Dao refused, prompting airport police to pull him screaming from his seat.

Also on Wednesday, the Chicago Department of Aviation put two more officers who were involved in the onboard fracas on administrative leave, joining an officer who was suspended earlier. The passenger, Dao, took steps that could be a prelude to a lawsuit, and President Trump weighed in on the controversy. Complete article

The Chicago airport police are supposed to work for the city of Chicago not for United Airlines; but even if they did work for United Airlines that shouldn't give them the right to conduct an assault on a paying customer as a result of their own colossal blunder. Like many other problems with police this seems to indicate that they might be trained to follow orders without question or trying to figure out if there is any justification or concern for the rights of citizens they're allegedly protecting.

There have been so many other high profile examples of additional bad behavior by police, private or not, that no one can keep track of it including the following where they concluded that a customer would be allowed to buy gift cards then tased and arrested him anyway even after determining that he was also a legitimate paying customer at Walmart, this time a private security guard that hardly seems defensible unless people think it has to be defended to avoid blame.

Man Suing Walmart For $5 Million After Being Wrongly Arrested And Tased 03/24/2014

Harold Burrowes was tased and wrongly arrested after purchasing thousands of dollars worth of Walmart gift cards, and now, he’s suing the company for $5 million.

Back in September of 2011, Burrowes, the owner of a wrecker service, purchased over $3,000 in Walmart gift cards to be used to buy diesel fuel. Burrowes says that he had been doing that instead of issuing company credit cards so his tow truck drivers could purchase fuel.

When Burrowes went to purchase the gift cards, the cashier informed him that he wasn’t allowed to buy them using another gift card.

"I explained to her, ‘I'm not using a gift card to purchase gift cards; I have my American Express,'" said Burrowes to Fox 4 News. Harold Burrowes was tased and wrongly arrested after purchasing thousands of dollars worth of Walmart gift cards, and now, he’s suing the company for $5 million.

Back in September of 2011, Burrowes, the owner of a wrecker service, purchased over $3,000 in Walmart gift cards to be used to buy diesel fuel. Burrowes says that he had been doing that instead of issuing company credit cards so his tow truck drivers could purchase fuel.

When Burrowes went to purchase the gift cards, the cashier informed him that he wasn’t allowed to buy them using another gift card.

"I explained to her, ‘I'm not using a gift card to purchase gift cards; I have my American Express,'" said Burrowes to Fox 4 News. Complete article

This is just one of many problems that Walmart has had with their security guards, who often seem to work for subcontractors and are often off duty police officers, including the following, who was supposedly only a reserve officer at the time and after the fact they attempted to de-legitimize him by claiming the police force he worked for was defunct, but at the time it was still considered legitimate, and the officer may not have been fully informed or properly trained.

Jury convicts guard who deployed Taser at Walmart 01/08/2015

HOUSTON (KTRK) -- A tense confrontation on video between a Walmart security guard and two young men that went viral a couple years ago has resulted in the guard's conviction.

The three and a half minute video posted on YouTube documented the heated exchange outside the Walmart in the 9400 block of W. Sam Houston Tollwa near Beechnut.

The young men claimed to just be recording shopping carts in the parking lot. The officer didn't like it and definitely didn't like the camera turned on him. On the recording you can hear the guard ask for identification. When the men question him, he verbally pushes back and at one point aims his Taser at them.

We've learned the guard is William Marks of Cleveland, Texas. At the time he worked for a security company contracted by the Walmart. Marks called Houston police for backup. The Harris County District Attorney's Office declined charges against the guys behind the camera, but then pursued Marks.

"Basically trying to report the kids, he reported himself," said KTRK Legal Analyst Joel Androphy.

According to the D-A's Office, Marks didn't have the credentials to represent himself this way. At the time he was only a reserve officer for the now-defunct Kenefick Police Department. He was charged with a private security act violation, essentially working as a security officer without holding a security officer commission and Wednesday a jury found him guilty. That means no more work in law enforcement, according to the DA's Office. Complete article

You often need a scorecard to figure out who security guards or police work for now and there is little or no effort to inform the public or keep those accountable that do the hiring. In most cases they don't hold the police or security officers accountable either unless there is an incident so extreme that they have to blame someone; but they still don't blame the people doing the training or even discuss the methods used to train police, or veteran, for that matter which is very similar.

When someone needs to be blamed it is always the person with the least amount of political power that can be blamed, usually with some justification. Walmart ahs also fired or prosecuted people for arresting throwing items out of a moving vehicle shooting and killing shoplifters that stole relatively minor items and posed no serious threat to safety; and they've been sued for use of excessive force numerous times including one example where they detained someone for failing to show a receipt for a jacket that he brought into the store with him and many other absurd situations.

This problem goes well beyond excessive force; the police working for the state routinely arrest workers for participating in union activities on behalf of corporations that donate enormous amounts of money to political campaigns, without addressing legitimate worker complaints.

when there's an enormous amount of environmental damage literally killing people and environmentalists protest after getting little or no response from elected officials instead of protecting the public from poison from oil or chemical companies the police routinely arrest protesters.

When protesters raise questions about shoddy merchandise or collapsing buildings in Bangladesh that kill workers instead of holding executives accountable and protecting workers they arrest protesters.

When the government invades one country after another based on lies including the ones about weapons of mass destruction that were exposed by Scott Ritter and Mohamed ElBaradei instead of arresting the people who caused thousands of deaths they arrest protesters.

They also arrest veterans who refuse to participate in illegal wars but then when Abu-Ghraib happened they arrested veterans who obeyed orders; in both cases the people who gave the illegal orders that led to these atrocities were not held accountable.

There should be no doubt that the police often don't protect and represent all the people equally or even close. They're here to follow orders; or at least that is the way it works in practice; although I'm sure there are many police officers who don't like this anymore than the public.

The best police, of course, don't approve of the worst activities of other officers; however they rarely speak out about it; and when they do they get little or no attention so it is up to the public to learn much more about holding police and especially those that hire and train them accountable. 

The people that give these orders aren't even democratically elected, as it became increasingly apparent during last years election. The evidence for this was public even before the election, but few people noticed since they rarely think about the election process.

The first thing any viable candidate for election in a national or statewide campaign needs is name recognition. The only way to get that in large states or nationwide is with the help of the media. the vast majority of the media in this country is now in the hands of six oligarchies and they can deny the best candidates the name recognition they need to win nationwide or in large states by simply refusing to cover them; and that is exactly what they do. Even in local races the media gives establishment candidates that cater overwhelmingly to the rich an enormous advantage and only some of the best informed local communities can overcome this. But even then the majority of power is in the hands of higher officials so this has limited impact.

There is an enormous industry to manufacture candidates that come up with promises that sound great during the campaign but routinely betray those promises once in office.

This does not fit the strictest definition of a conspiracy since this activity isn't completely secret although there clearly is a lot of activity that is done in secret that does fit the definition of a conspiracy.

We're not going to have a democracy until we have a diverse media and the public can control the interview process.

On top of that, if the government wants to fight wars based on weapons of mass destruction that don't exist or if corporations want police or security to intimidate or harass people that stand up for their rights they need to have people that are willing to blindly obey orders without question, and clearly they often have that.

There has been research studying how to get that for decades as well, and a large portion of it doesn't fit the definition of conspiracy either since it was reported in the academic world, although they weren't completely honest about it and spun the explanations, so some of it would involve conspiracy.

I went into this in a series of previous posts including Eli Roth’s Milgram/Obedience experiment much more extensive than most people realize Philip Zimbardo, Lucifer Effect, and The Stanford Prison Experiment and American Psychological Association exposed again These articles go into detail about how they train people to blindly obey orders. The most famous research into this includes the Stanley Milgram "Obedience to Authority" experiments which were allegedly done to learn why the Nazi's were able to get their people to blindly obey orders without question so that they could avoid it. This sounds good but the articles explain that this was only taught to a relatively small percentage of the public in the academic world.

What Milgram never mentioned is that this research could be used for at least one other purpose, to figure out how to obtain blind obedience. And as Professor Alfred McCoy pointed out this research was done with the support of the Office of Naval Research, which later directly financed Philip Zimbardo's Stanford Prison Experiment, which as I explained was almost certainly used to develop boot camp indoctrination methods that are clearly designed to obtain blind obedience to authority, not to prevent it as Milgram stated or implied. This research was never done to prevent another Holocaust; it was done to develop indoctrination techniques.

This problem goes way beyond a few corrupt or incompetent security guards or police; it is the result of a social, political and media establishment that is out of control, or it is in control for all the wrong reasons.

If this is going to be solved much more needs to be done to teach the public who the police are accountable to and how psychological manipulation can be used to obtain blind obedience to authority so that police enforce laws that are clearly made by among the most corrupt people in society.

We also need a much more diverse media establishment that enables honest candidates to get coverage and a diverse group of the best educational researchers in many subjects to get coverage as well so that they can educate the public about how to make decisions in their own best interests, which is necessary in a sincere democracy.

For additional related articles see the following:

Slain shoplifter's family sues Walmart 03/09/2013

‘I Am Not Going!’ New Footage Shows United Airlines Passenger and Police Arguing Before He’s Dragged Off Plane 04/12/2017

Chicago Airport Police Scrutinized after United Passenger Dragging Incident 04/18/2017

United Airlines shows how inequality is putting the squeeze on customer service 04/12/2017

United Airlines Is Not Alone 04/11/2017

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