19 February 2010

Journal special issue on state crimes against democracy

The journal "American Behavioral Scientist" has published a special issue on so-called state crimes against democracy (53 [6], February 2010):


It includes the following articles:

Matthew T. Witt (University of La Verne) and Alexander Kouzmin (Southern Cross University/University of South Australia), "Sense Making Under 'Holographic' Conditions: Framing SCAD Research" (pp. 783-94).

Abstract: "The ellipses of due diligence riddling the official account of the 9/11 incidents continue being ignored by scholars of policy and public administration. This article introduces intellectual context for examining the policy heuristic 'State Crimes Against Democracy'
(SCAD) (deHaven-Smith, 2006) and its usefulness for better understanding patterns of state criminality of which no extant policy analytic model gives adequate account. This article then introduces papers included in this symposium examining the chimerical presence and perfidious legacy of state criminality against democracy."

Lance deHaven-Smith (Florida State University), "Beyond Conspiracy Theory: Patterns of High Crime in American Government" (pp. 795-825).

Abstract: "This article explores the conceptual, methodological, and practical implications of research on state crimes against democracy (SCADs). In contrast to conspiracy theories, which speculate about each suspicious event in isolation, the SCAD construct delineates a general category of criminality and calls for crimes that fit this category to be examined comparatively. Using this approach, an analysis of post-World War II SCADs and suspected SCADs highlights a number of commonalities in SCAD targets, timing, and policy consequences. SCADs often appear where presidential politics and foreign policy intersect. SCADs differ from earlier forms of political corruption in that they frequently involve political, military, and/or economic elites at the very highest levels of the social and political order. The article concludes by suggesting statutory and constitutional reforms to improve SCAD prevention and detection."

Christopher L. Hinson (Florida State University), "Negative Information Action: Danger for Democracy" (pp. 826-47).

Abstract: "This article explores evidence of, and provides insight into, secrecy-related information actions that are sometimes used to circumvent established government policy and law. These information actions may also be used to cover up such circumventions after the fact. To better understand secrecy as a negative information action and its impact on democracy, secrecy-related information actions are described according to methods, information technologies, and knowledge support. Negative information actions are willful and deliberate acts designed to keep government information from those in government and the public entitled to it. Negative information actions subvert the rule of law and the constitutional checks and balances. Negative information actions used by government officials to violate policies and laws during the IranContra Affair are identified, analyzed, and categorized by type. The relative impact of negative information actions on enlightened citizen understanding is demonstrated using a Negative Information Action Model by assigning a location according to type on a continuum of enlightened citizen understanding. Findings are compared with democratic theory and conspiracy doctrine."

Laurie A. Manwell (University of Guelph), "In Denial of Democracy: Social Psychological Implications for Public Discourse on State Crimes Against Democracy Post 9/11" (pp. 848-84).

Abstract: "Protecting democracy requires that the general public be educated on how people can be manipulated by government and media into forfeiting their civil liberties and duties. This article reviews research on cognitive constructs that can prevent people from processing information that challenges preexisting assumptions about government, dissent, and public discourse in democratic societies. Terror management theory and system justification theory are used to explain how preexisting beliefs can interfere with people's examination of evidence for state crimes against democracy (SCADs), specifically in relation to the events of September 11, 2001, and the war on terror in Afghanistan and Iraq. Reform strategies are proposed to motivate citizens toward increased social responsibility in a post-9/11 culture of propagandized fear, imperialism, and war."

Kym Thorne (University of South Australia) and Alexander Kouzmin (Southern Cross University/University of South Australia), "The USA PATRIOT Acts (et al.): Convergent Legislation and Oligarchic Isomorphism in the 'Politics of Fear' and State Crime(s) Against Democracy (SCADs)" (pp. 885-920).

Abstract: "The irrelevance of habeas corpus and the abolition of 'double jeopardy,' secret and protracted outsourcing of detention and torture, and increasing geographic prevalence of surveillance technologies across Anglo-American 'democracies' have many citizens concerned about the rapidly convergent, authoritarian behavior of political oligarchs and the actual destruction of sovereignty and democratic values under the onslaught of antiterrorism hubris, propaganda, and fear. This article examines synchronic legislative isomorphism in responses to 9/11 in the United States, the United Kingdom and European Union, and Australia in terms of enacted terrorism legislation and, also, diachronic, oligarchic isomorphism in the manufacture of fear within a convergent world by comparing the 'Politics of Fear' being practiced today to Stalinist-Russian and McCarthyist-U.S. abuse of 'fear.' The immediate future of Anglo-American democratic hubris, threats to civil society, and oligarchic threats to democratic praxis are canvassed. This article also raises the question as to whether The USA PATRIOT Acts of 2001/2006, sanctioned by the U.S. Congress, are examples, themselves, of state crimes against democracy. In the very least, any democratically inclined White House occupant in 2009 would need to commit to repealing these repressive, and counterproductive, acts."

Matthew T. Witt (University of La Verne), "Pretending Not to See or Hear, Refusing to Signify: The Farce and Tragedy of Geocentric Public Affairs Scholarship" (pp. 921-39).

Abstract: "This article opens with an inventory of how popular culture passion plays are homologous to the stampeding disenfranchisement everywhere of working classes and the emasculation of professional codes of ethics under siege by neoliberal initiatives and gambits. The article then examines a recent example of contemporary, 'deconstructive' scholarly analysis and inventory of presidential 'Orwellian doublespeak.' The preoccupation among contemporary critical scholarship with 'discourse analysis' and language gambits is criticized for displacing interrogation of real-event anomalies, as with the porous account given by the 9/11 Commission for what happened that fateful day. The article concludes by explaining how critical scholarship consistently falls short of unmasking Master Signifiers."

I wasn't able to access the full text of any of these articles.

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