Blurring the line and acing the public

Militarization-06-285x245Wow, plenty of information emerging about the militarization of  local police. This is something that we should all be very concerned about. The President said that the lines between the military and  local police should not be blurred. Too late for that.

Combat Gear Blurs Lines Between Cops and Military, in Ferguson & Hawaii
Sophie Cocke, Honolulu Civil Beat, August 22, 2014
The islands have received tens of millions of dollars from the Department of Homeland Security since the 9/11 terrorist attacks, fueling purchases of military-style weaponry.

Excerpt:
“Last year, the Maui County Police Department rolled out a new, quarter-million-dollar “BearCat” — an armored vehicle capable of repelling .50 caliber projectiles.

“Marketed as a S.W.A.T or military attack and rescue vehicle, it would help keep officers safe during high-risk operations, Maui Police Chief Gary Yabuta said at the time.

“This week, William Juan, a spokesman for the Friendly Isle’s police department, said he didn’t know if the vehicle has ever been used and that he couldn’t talk about the types of special missions it might be suitable for.

“ ‘We don’t want to say what we do as far as our tactical operations and tactical plan,’ he  said, adding that it could jeopardize the safety of police officers.

“The Honolulu Police Department also has a BearCat used for responding to “chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear and explosive” attacks, according to the Police Department’s 2009 annual report.

“HPD has also acquired millions of dollars worth of tactical gear and security equipment, including a high-tech, mobile command center, acoustic devices used for controlling crowds that emit high-pitched tones capable of causing hearing loss and thousands of pepper spray projectiles, taser cartridges and bean bag ammunition, government reports and records show.

“The increasing use of military equipment, weapons, and tactics against our own citizens is unacceptable and must stop.” — U.S. Rep. Tulsi Gabbard

As protests continue in Ferguson, Missouri, over the fatal shooting of an unarmed teenager by a police officer, national attention has turned to the militarization of police departments across the country. Images coming out of Ferguson have shown police officers lined up in camouflage, wearing body armor and toting assault rifles. And the military-style vehicles makes the scenes look more like a war zone than a domestic protest.”

 

Claire McCaskill to head militarization hearing
Politico.com, Lucy McCalmont, August 21, 2014

Excerpt:
“’We need to demilitarize this situation — this kind of response by the police has become the problem instead of the solution,’ McCaskill said, while in Ferguson last week.”

 

Tear Gas, Stun Grenades, Sound Cannons: Companies Profiting From Police Crackdowns Like Ferguson
Alternet, Alex Kane, August 21, 2014

Excerpt:
“Whoever paid for it, the companies that make tear-gas are sure to benefit from the Ferguson demonstrations. Two corporations’ tear-gas products have been fired on demonstrators in recent days: Combined Tactical Systems (CTS) and DefenseTechnology. CTS, headquartered in Pennsylvania, is well-known for being a leading supplier of tear gas around the world, including to the governments of Israel, Egypt and Bahrain, which buy the weapons with the generous amounts of U.S. military aid given to them. Defense Technology, also based in Pennsylvania, has likewise profited from tear gas sold to Israel, Egypt and Bahrain, in addition to Yemen, Turkey and Tunisia.

Yet another company that will profit from the tensions in Missouri is Taser International.”

 

Police often provoke protest violence, UC researchers find
SFGate, Kurtis Alexander, August 22, 2014

Excerpt:
“…’Everything starts to turn bad when you see a police officer come out of an SUV and he’s carrying an AR-15,’ said Nick Adams, a sociologist and fellow at UC Berkeley’s Institute for Data Science who leads the Deciding Force Project. “It just upsets the crowd.”

Adams said many law enforcement agencies aren’t aware that they set the tone of a protest and end up inflaming it. …”

Seattle’s Former Police Chief Speaks Out Against Police Brutaility
Vice.com, Leighton Woodhouse, August 18, 2014

How Government Blacklists Journalists From Accessing the Truth
AlterNet, David Sirota, August 21, 2014
The public is being systematically divorced from public policy, which is exactly what too many elected officials want.

Excerpt:
“As states move to hide details of government deals with Wall Street, and as politicians come up with new arguments to defend secrecy, a study released earlier this month revealed that many government information officers block specific journalists they don’t like from accessing information. The news comes as 47 federal inspectors general sent a letter to lawmakers criticizing “serious limitations on access to records” that they say have “impeded” their oversight work. …”

This is why citizen action is so important. WE ARE THE GOVERNMENT.

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