June 12, 2007

FTAC: Forensics Gone Awry, And I told You So

Following from my premise that the erosion of civil liberties and descent into fedualism necessarily coincides with the rise of psychiatry, I found a short article in the Economist, the magazine of record of the Whig Party, which explains that British Government runs a "Fixated Threat Assessment Centre," i.e. capturing stalkers.  It has 4 cops, and a forensic psychiatrist and psychologist.

You probably think that the shrinks are "profilers."  Maybe they are.  But their real value is in their  power to do what cops can't: involuntarily commit people who they feel are dangerous.    Quoting the Economist:

The Met [cops] defines its [suspects] as those who are "abnormally preoccupied with certain ideas or people."  The inclusion of "ideas" gives it wide remit.  Could those abnormally pre-occupied with the idea of jihad-- or, indeed, human rights-- be considered fixated individuals?

Disclosure: I actually think this is clever-- why not tap the legal resources of psychiatrists to help catch bad guys?  But that's exactly the point: no one should have the ability to use that power extra-psychiatrically. It's seductive and it has no recourse for appeal, no controls.

The article goes on to state the FTAC has been operating for 8 months with no official announcement; it won't say how many people it has caught or tried; and, of course, it can't, because of confidentiality of the "patients." 

Good luck, everybody.