After Adolf Hitler was appointed chancellor of Germany on January 30, 1933, he seized every opportunity to turn Germany into a one-party dictatorship. He also moved carefully to organize the police power necessary to enforce his long-term policies of “racial” purification and European conquest both inside and outside the legal framework of the German constitution.
Suspension of Individual Rights
On the night of February 27-28, 1933, a mentally disabled Dutch citizen set fire to the German parliament building (the Reichstag). Hitler and his propaganda minister, Joseph Goebbels, presented the incident as the prelude to an armed Communist uprising and persuaded the aging President Paul von Hindenburg to establish what became a permanent state of emergency. This decree, known as the Reichstag Fire Decree, suspended the provisions of the German constitution that protected basic individual rights, including freedom of the press, freedom of speech, and freedom of assembly.
The decree also permitted increased state and police intervention into private life, allowing officials to censor mail, listen in on phone conversations, and search private homes without a warrant or need to show reasonable cause. Under the state of emergency established by the decree, the Nazi regime could arrest and detain people without cause and without limits on the length of incarceration.
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Hitler and the Nazi regime also resorted to simple and extra-legal terror to intimidate opponents. Nazi paramilitary formations, such as the Storm Detachments (Sturmabteilungen or SA, more commonly known as Storm Troopers) and the Protection Squads (Schutzstaffel or SS), had been established during the 1920s to terrorize political opponents and to protect Nazi leaders. After the Nazis came to power, many members of these units were recruited as auxiliary policemen. They were allowed to arbitrarily beat or kill persons they deemed to be opponents. In addition, Nazi Party faithful assaulted those they perceived to be enemies of the regime—in individual spontaneous acts of violence or in locally organized waves of persecution, .
Control of the Police
The SS was a particularly important tool of Nazi terror. Its members would staff the concentration camps, in which perceived enemies of the regime were imprisoned.In addition, SS chief Heinrich Himmler also gained control over the regular (nonparty) police. Under Himmler and his deputy, Reinhard Heydrich, the SS centralized the German political police forces within a new agency, the Gestapo (Geheime Staatspolizei; Secret State Police). Together with a newly unified nationwide criminal police force, these plainclothes detectives used ruthless methods to identify and arrest political opponents and others who refused to conform to the policies of the Nazi regime.
Arrests of Political Opponents
In the months after Hitler took power, SA and Gestapo View This Term in the Glossary agents went from door to door looking for Hitler’s enemies. They arrested Socialists, Communists, trade union leaders, and others who had spoken out against the Nazi Party; some were murdered. By the summer of 1933, the Nazi Party was the only legal political party in Germany. Nearly all organized opposition to the regime had been eliminated. Democracy was dead in Germany.
Denunciations of Fellow Citizens
Essential to the intimidating effects of the terror was the willingness of many German citizens (whether out of conviction, greed, envy, or vengeance) to denounce their fellow citizens, Jewish and non-Jewish, to the police. The Gestapo View This Term in the Glossary could not have exercised such control over German society without the benefit of this steady stream of denunciations, many of which were entirely unfounded.
Jump to USA 2021
“The wall around the U.S. Capitol may soon be a memory, but Tampa and San Francisco will feel increased government presence as the Capitol Police open new field offices in an ongoing investigation of “threats to Members of Congress.”
The U.S. Capitol Police (USCP) officially announced the removal of the fencing around the Capitol building in an email Wednesday. The removal of the temporary barricade, put in place after the Jan. 6 incident, is expected to begin as early as Friday, as soon as the Capitol Police Board approves the measure. According to the email, the force noted the potential of the barricade’s return, saying the “Architect of the Capitol has the ability to and will reinstall the temporary fencing should conditions warrant.”
Meanwhile, the Capitol Police are turning their attention to the rest of the country as they continue to arrest people connected with the Jan. 6 breach. According to Fox13 News, over 500 arrests have been made: “Fifty-five of those arrested were from Florida and approximately a dozen called the Bay Area home.”
The Capitol’s new field offices in San Francisco and Tampa are an attempt to respond to these trends, an unprecedented step as the department looks to identify additional threats now and in the future. CBS News reports that the agency will likely open additional field offices.”
“The Nationwide Suspicious Activity Reporting (SAR) Initiative (NSI) is a joint collaborative effort by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and state, local, tribal, and territorial law enforcement partners. This initiative provides law enforcement with another tool to help prevent terrorism and other related criminal activity by establishing a national capacity for gathering, documenting, processing, analyzing, and sharing SAR information.
The NSI is a standardized process—including stakeholder outreach, privacy protections, training, and technology assistance—for identifying and reporting suspicious activity in jurisdictions across the country and also serves as the unified focal point for sharing SAR information.”
“Who says the United States Postal Service is not on the cutting edge of technology? The mail men are busy mis-sorting letters when they discover other branches of government are “fighting terrorism” by capturing and archiving almost every phone call made in the U.S. since 9/11. So the postal people decide to do their part and start photographing the front and back of every piece of mail that enters the system.
This explains why it takes so long for the mail to be delivered.
This photography on a massive scale is part of the Mail Isolation Control and Tracking (MICT) program.”
“The FBI has repeatedly violated the law in conducting warrantless searches of email messages and other electronic communications of US citizens, according to a November 2020 certification report from the court established to oversee the surveillance program.
The Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI), Avril Haynes, who was appointed by President Joe Biden and sworn in on January 21, released the redacted certification report from the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC) to the public on Monday. Significantly, while pointing to “widespread violations” by the FBI, FISC presiding judge James E. Boasberg approved the continuation of the program for the second year in a row.
In his 67-page ruling, Judge Boasberg recounts instances when FBI agents searched the electronic information of US citizens without getting the appropriate FISA court authorizations. However, he wrote, “While the court is concerned about the apparent widespread violations of the querying standard, it lacks sufficient information at this time to assess the adequacy of the FBI system changes and training, post-implementation.”
For example, the judge’s report found that the FBI made 40 secret queries and collected data not about foreigners—the purported purpose of the FISA law—but about American citizens for investigations of “healthcare fraud, transnational organized crime, violent gangs, domestic terrorism involving racially motivated violent extremists, as well as investigations connected to public corruption and bribery.”
In another instance, Judge Boasberg reports that an FBI specialist conducting “background investigations” made 124 queries of raw NSA data using the names of individuals who were participating in an FBI “Citizens Academy,” a program to increase awareness of the bureau’s role in the community; those who needed to enter a field office to perform a service such as repairs; and others who were seeking to report tips or crimes.
Controversy over the FISA court’s broad powers blew up in 2013, when Edward Snowden revealed a secret court order approving the mass collection of metadata from telecom giant Verizon and Internet companies such as Apple, Facebook, Google, Microsoft and Yahoo. video Edward Snowden: hero or traitor? Lawmakers sound off
That led to a heated debate about the limits of privacy and due process.
The FISA court does hear challenges, though. In 2013, Yahoo scored a win when FISC ruled that the government must publish court papers from 2008 detailing Yahoo’s objections to releasing users’ data without a warrant.
But there are other reasons the FISA court has come under fire.
Because it’s closed off from the public and only hears the government’s side, some say the court basically “rubber-stamps” any request from the government.
The FISA court does routinely send applications back to the government to be modified and narrowed, Vladeck said. But the vast majority of applications eventually get approved.
Between 1979 and 2015, virtually all requests for surveillance were approved by the FISA court, though some were modified, according to the Electronic Privacy Information Center, a privacy watchdog group.
And a 2016 Justice Department report showed that of the 1,457 requests made to the FISA court in 2015 for permission to conduct electronic surveillance, one was withdrawn by the government. As for the rest, “FISC did not deny any applications in whole, or in part,” the Justice Department said.