Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Even more on MIAC (but mostly not from me)

I was probably a little hard on Steve Newton, Delaware Libertarian, over this MIAC thing. The inaccuracies in his previous articles on the subject, at their worst, weren't nearly as bad as the bulk of the Alex Jones drivel.

Furthermore, one of Steve's virtues is that if he gets criticized, he goes into overdrive to make damn sure he's getting things right ... resulting this time in by far the most extensive and accurate piece I've seen on MIAC and the infamous report.

For my part, just some extensions of my previous thoughts:

Occam's Razor says that the explanation requiring the fewest assumptions is usually the best explanation. Having been around the tree for the last 20 years with these "multi-jurisdictional" law enforcement entities, I've generally found that they're better explained as combinations of incompetence combined with featherbedding than as deep, dark conspiracies.

To put it a different way, yes, we may all eventually find ourselves in boxcars on the way to FEMA camps if we don't fight it -- but the best way to fight it is to understand it as a not-very-directed set of unintended effects rather than as a hydra with heads that think really deep thoughts.

The whole thing starts with the political imperative to "do something" -- anything -- to make a government policy that isn't working, work. War on drugs, war on terror, doesn't matter. If it's not working, politicians can only think of one way to deal with the fact that it's not working, and that way is to bury it under a pile of new money in the hope that it will start working.

The second stage comes when that pile of money lands in the laps of various bureaucracies. They've got to do something with it, or it will stop coming. And as much as bureaucrats love centralization, there are still some limits to how much they're allowed to centralize. So, instead of just expanding, they reproduce, and they try to reproduce in ways that duplicate centralization through the fiction of "multi-jurisdictionalism."

These new "multi-jurisdictional" sub-bureaucracies don't get much direct power (being at least theoretically at the service of the various jurisdictions they "serve" -- think one Indian, 50 chiefs), but they're a great place to waste money, create new government "jobs," etc. if they can churn out enough paper or other apparent desiderata to satisfy the aforementioned politicians that "something" is being "done."

My own "multi-jurisdictional" background was with Joint Task Force Six, a military outfit that the US government plugged into the "war on drugs" at the national, state and local level.

Essentially, the military would send some troops (I was one of those troops, several times) to some local area to "train" and in the process allegedly help "law enforcement" crack down on drug trafficking. It cost bazillions of dollars, and pretty much amounted to the troops doing the same old thing (being a grunt, that meant patrolling "training" in my case -- with the proviso that if I stumbled over a pot patch or a meth lab, I should call it in), but it made various sheriff's departments, Forest Service Police units, etc. feel all warm and fuzzy, and maybe got them some extra gummint money to pay liaison personnel and such.

Of course, JTF-6 operations had "unintended side effects."

One unit shot a shepherd -- innocent of any wrongdoing -- down on the Mexican border.

Another unit participated (hopefully unwittingly -- it was a helo recon unit taking aerial photos of possible pot patches) in a plot to murder a guy so that the Forest Service could steal his land.

I've also heard that JTF-6 provided a Special Forces unit to train the BATF on how to blow down a door for the raid that set up the Waco massacre in which nearly 100 innocents were murdered by the FBI.

I personally got caught up in a situation where I was given an illegal order to conduct surveillance of a guy's property (this apparently involved some of the Forest Service thugs who participated in the Donald Scott killing), requested mast all the way up to the commanding general of JTF-6 to void the order, got told to do it anyway, and ended up intentionally making a hash of the operation (and, shortly after, leaving the Marine Corps).

Pretty bad side effects. Glad mine was near the bottom of the atrocity scale.

The paper-pushing "multi-jurisdictional" bureaucracies can have unintended side effects, too.

When MIAC or one of its sibling organizations produces unmitigated crap like the elementary school quality "strategic report" on militia organizations, they may think they're just playing cheesy lounge music for their paychecks ... but there's always the possibility that some cop on the beat will take the nonsense seriously. And in the case of the MIAC report, that could result in one or more of the nearly 100,000 Missourians who voted for a Libertarian or Constitution Party candidate last year (most of whom are not associated with the militia movement, let alone its tiny terrorist sub-set, and most of whom are not by any stretch of the imagination criminals) getting shot -- murdered by MIAC, at least indirectly.

I seriously doubt that any of the schmoes staffing MIAC are knowing pawns of any weird-ass "New World Order" or "North American Union" plot. They're just bureaucrats who want to maintain their lips' deathgrip on the taxpayers' teat. That can be just as dangerous.

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