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Strip-Searches: Obama Wants You to Bend Over (Or Squat) and Spread ‘Em

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A Black Agenda Radio commentary by Glen Ford

On strip searches, the Obama administration is “marching in lock step” with the rightwing majority on the U.S. Supreme Court. Justice Department lawyers posited political protesters with guns as the bogeymen for their argument to strip-search everyone headed for jail. It’s a chilling message: “Uncle Sam wants to look into all of your bodily cavities if you get arrested at a demonstration.”

Strip-Searches: Obama Wants You to Bend Over (Or Squat) and Spread ‘Em

A Black Agenda Radio commentary by Glen Ford

Crushing political dissent, not safety in jails, is what motivates the Obama administration to ally itself with the most reactionary wing of the Republican-dominated U.S. Supreme Court.”

Humiliation is the law of the land. When you fall into the clutches of the police, for any reason, or no good reason at all, you can be compelled to bare your private parts before being placed in the general jail population. Five of the nine U.S. Supreme Court justices ruled that Constitutional prohibitions against unreasonable searches end at the jailhouse door, even if there is no reason to suspect that the person under arrest is in possession of anything that could be called contraband.

The decision throws out laws against unreasonable strip searches in at least ten states, and overrides federal law enforcement regulations against intrusive searches. The High Court decision also flies in the face of international human rights treaties to which the United States is a signatory. In effect, the Supreme Court majority ruled that the whim of the local jailer trumps any standard of reasonableness. The American Correctional Association, which represents jail guards, is pleased that its members now have the “flexibility” to look into virtually every human orifice that enters their domain, even though the association’s own standards currently discourage blanket policies of strip-searching everyone.

The administration’s lawyer chose to use hypothetical political protesters as the bad guys of his argument.”

The casual observer might conclude that the ruling is more evidence of a rightwing court on the warpath against what remains of the Bill of Rights. But, on this issue, the Obama administration is marching in lock step with the High Court’s rightwing majority. U.S. Justice Department lawyers spoke and filed briefs in favor of blanket strip searches. Indeed, the oral argument put forward by Obama’s lawyer was, perhaps, the most curious of all. Most of the discussion about the smuggling of contraband into jail settings involves drugs or crude weapons and other petty criminal concerns – the day-to-day stuff of life in a jail. But the administration’s lawyer chose to use hypothetical political protesters as the bad guys of his argument. In this weird scenario, a protester with a gun, traveling in a car that was about to stopped by police, would hide the gun on his person in hopes of avoiding a pat-down search, and then bring the gun into the jail when he is arrested – presumably for some minor offense connected to the demonstration.

This is quite strange reasoning, and shows what kinds of conversations the Obama folks are having at the Justice Department. Crushing political dissent, not safety in jails, is what motivates the Obama administration to ally itself with the most reactionary wing of the Republican-dominated U.S. Supreme Court. The Left is not paranoid; the Obama administration really is preparing its legal arsenal to smash dissent in the United States. They are getting ready for a “full spectrum” assault on civil and political freedoms, ranging from the big hammer, suspension of all due process through preventive detention, to the intimately chilling effect on potential protesters of knowing that Uncle Sam wants to look into all of your bodily cavities if you get arrested at a demonstration.

Obama’s lawyer was not talking off-the-cuff before the U.S. Supreme Court. This administration is obsessed with political protesters. They want you to bend over, and spread ‘em – literally and politically.

For Black Agenda Radio, I’m Glen Ford. On the web, go to BlackAgendaReport.com.

BAR executive editor Glen Ford can be contacted at Glen.Ford@BlackAgendaReport.com.

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Comments

Where would you hide

Where would you hide a gun in your body?!

It's so tiny you can sneak it somewhere?

Was this just happenstance that the ruling coincided with protests

about Trayvon Martin?

Stripping you and your human rights

In handing this new opportunity to the jailers, protesters {fresh from the peppersraying, kettling and battering cop thugs} will now be in for FURTHER torture. Ya know, better use a broomstick just to make sure that there is nothin' up in there.

The gun in George Jackson's hair

Didn't they accuse George Jackson of "hiding a gun in his hair"?  These nutcases are capable of any outrage.

STRIP SEARCHES

I am not surprised by this move by Obama and the rightwing supreme court. If Obama can have you locked up forever without charge or trial, or even have you assassinated on his say so alone, without evidence of a crime or even conspiracy to commit a crime, then surely stripsearching anyone they decide by their good graces to take into custody should be a given. This is rather a no brainer here. Do I like it? Heck no. I merely point out that anyone who truly believes in freedom should not be surprised by this move.

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