Dan O'Heirity

Are We Living in a Totalitarian State?

A picture is worth a thousand words or, in this case, six videos are worth far more than a thousand words. Before you look at these videos I will say as I always say that one does not know what happened before the recording started. For instance, it seems that this young woman was rude and aggressive towards the police. However, there are no circumstances under which a police officer choking a woman to the ground can be considered to be acceptable. Rather, it’s a clear case of excessive police force. You will need to visit YouTube to watch the video as it has now been labelled for mature content.

In this second example a pregnant woman wearing her pyjamas is arrested in her home for allegedly inciting an anti-lockdown protest on her FaceBook page. This is the stuff of China or North Korea when the police show up at your door to arrest you for a social media post. It’s worth noting to that the police showed no humanity despite the fact that the woman’s children were in the house. And here’s a question. Just how did the police find out about the post on FaceBook. Did someone report the woman or is the government surveilling Australian FaceBook posts.

In the next video, 5 police officers surround two elderly women who are sitting on a park bench and threaten to arrest them for not providing identification when asked to do so. Seriously, 5 police officers surrounding two elderly ladies and asking them to provide identification. The police behaviour is clearly completely out of proportion to the situation and, as with the other two cases, we’re seeing heavy handed policing that’s calculated to intimidate.

In this video, a woman is dragged from her car by police for failing to provide her driving licence. What was the problem in the first place? Police advised her dashboard mobile phone mount as obscuring her vision. The woman then refused to provide her driving license. The reason for the refusal is not quite clear but there is a point in the video when the woman clearly says that she won’t get out of the car because she doesn’t feel safe with the policeman who has a gun. Expert opinion suggests the arrest may have been unlawful because of the way the woman was physically handled.

This next video is not Covid-19 related. Rather it has to do with excessive police force in arresting a man who seems to have “escaped” from mental health institution. When I first watched this video I could not actually believe what I was seeing. To say that the use of force to arrest this man was excessive would be an understatement of massive proportions. In that respect it would I think be quite fair to refer to police brutality. It’s worth watching the video to the end to see the weakness of the response from Deputy Commissioner Neil Paterson. As with an earlier video, this one is now restricted so you’ll need to go to YouTube to watch it.

Victorian Police Are to Be Given Even Greater Powers

I can guarantee you that we are only seeing an absolute fraction of all of the cases of excessive force and intimidation by Victorian police. And what does Victoria do in light of these cases? Victoria decides to give the police even more powers. An article from “The Age” reports that a new law will come into effect under the “Police and Emergency Legislation Amendment Bill“, which is expected to pass through parliament on 26th September. If passed “Protective Services Officers”, will patrol shopping centres, sporting events and other public areas. These “Officers” will, according to “The Age” carry guns after just 12 weeks of training. However, that’s the tip of the iceberg. If the Bill is passed then the Chief Commissioner of Victoria Police will be able to designate where Protective Service Officers can be stationed for a period of up to 12 months. The Commissioner will also have the authority to deploy Protective Service Officers to an area for up to 48 hours if such an action was deemed necessary.

Guess how all of this is being justified. Well a spokesperson for Police Minister Lisa Neville said, “the use of PSOs during the coronavirus pandemic has shown us how important they are in conducting patrols in the community and around commercial precincts and helping slow the spread of the virus.” Meanwhile, the Victorian Government has yet to respond to “69 recommendations by an IBAC Parliamentary Committee Report from 2018, which examined external oversight of police corruption and misconduct in Victoria“. Now, take a look at this video Yes, this really is the state of Victoria in Australia. Riot police preparing to march into a Victoria fresh produce market.

Democracies Die Not With a Bang but With a Whimper That Barely Registers

No one with a lick of common sense would want to claim that freedoms in Australia are curtailed in anything like the way that they are curtailed in China. Take a look, for example ,a the intimidation and arrest of the ABC News Bureau Chief for reporting negatively on China. The intimidate ran to the Chief Interrogator threatening the Bureau Chief that “I do have to inform you, Mr Carney, that we have a right to keep your daughter in an undisclosed location and I do have to inform you there would be other adults present“. And no one in their right mind would want want to claim that Australia is a police state in the same way that China is a police state with security services surveilling and arresting citizens who speak out against the Chinese Communist Party line. However, I would urge you to take another look at these videos. These are videos that have found their way into the public arena.

God only knows what the police did when they locked down the housing estates in the Eastern suburbs of Melbourne, housing estates inhabited by ethnic minorities in the lower socio-economic brackets. And, if the police will arrest a Victorian woman for a FaceBook post, then what else is happening behind the scenes that we just do not know about. I have it mind to read a book on how democracies die not with a bang, not with a war or revolution, but with a whimper. The reason. I fear that we are seeing the gradual erosion of our freedoms and liberties under the guise of Covid-19 care for our well being. Think of it this way. People are going to pretty careful about what they post on FaceBook from this point forwards.

First Published September 18th, 2020

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