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Militarization

Top Gun Maverick – A Counter-Narrative

I saw “Top Gun: Maverick” yesterday. It was absolutely horrible. The film sets a new standard for state-orchestrated, pro-military, mass indoctrination. Goebbels, chief propagandist for Hitler’s Nazi Party, would be in awe of the shiny death plane and the spotlights and the movie star in his tuxedo. Tom Cruise stars as Captain Pete Mitchell in Top Gun: Maverick. In 1990, Cruise expressed misgivings about the original film when he said, “Some people felt that ‘Top Gun’ (1986) was a right-wing film to promote the Navy. And a lot of kids loved it. But I want the kids to know that’s not the way war is. That’s why I didn’t go on and make ‘Top Gun II’ and ‘III’ and ‘IV’ and ‘V.’ That would have been irresponsible.”  - Indiewire That was 32 years ago. Men change their minds about things.

When America No Longer Exports Carnage As A Business Model, Maybe We’ll Stop Seeing It In The Streets Here

Speaking in the dimly lit Cross Hall in the White House, and flanked on either side by rows of candles and the soft lighting of the chandeliers and torchiere lamps above and behind him, Joe Biden conjured up his best human emotions to deliver an impassioned promise that he would do something about gun violence in this country. "How much more carnage are we willing to accept?" Biden asked, demanding Republicans in particular end their blockade of gun control votes. Since the mass shootings in Uvalde, Texas, and Buffalo, New York, Biden has been pressed to do something, which he promised he would do, but his speech was only tough talk to encourage Congress to reinstate a ban on assault weapons, to expand background check requirements for gun purchases, create new rules for safely storing weapons, enact new "red flag" laws that would prevent gun sales to those with criminal records, repeal liability shields for gun manufacturers and provide more mental health services for students.

Hundreds Protest Biden’s Visit To South Korea

Amid heavy security, hundreds of South Koreans gathered in front of a hotel where U.S. President Joe Biden was staying in Seoul to protest against the president's visit. People crowded in front of the Grand Hyatt Seoul hotel, near the presidential office, in the Yongsan district of Seoul, where Biden stayed during his state visit to the Asian country, which ended on Sunday. The discomfort over the presence of Biden is due to the fact that it will fuel tensions and the war on the Korean peninsula, according to analysts consulted by the local press. The U.S. president arrived in Seoul on Friday as part of a tour of South Korea and Japan to address various issues, including tensions on the Korean peninsula.

Legislators Declare ‘Over Militarization’ A Threat To Hawai’i’s Security

In a remarkable twist, four members of the Legislature of the State of Hawai’i are finally challenging the U.S. military in Hawai’i.  No doubt using the U.S. Navy’s massive jet fuel leak at Red Hill that contaminated the drinking water for over 100,000 residents of O’ahu as an inflection point of deteriorating military and Hawai’i citizen relationships, on March 23, 2022, four legislators held a hearing titled “Declaring Over Militarization to Be a Threat to the Security of Hawai’i and the International Community.” Having served 29 years in the US Army and Army Reserves and retiring as a Colonel,  also being a U.S. diplomat in the Asia-Pacific, for two years at the US Embassy in the Federated States of Micronesia and at the US Embassy in Mongolia and as a U.S. diplomat...

Activists Are Occupying The Woods To Block A New Police Facility

Inside Atlanta’s sprawling South River Forest, city officials are moving forward with plans to raze dozens of acres of woodlands to build a $90 million police training facility that locals are calling “Cop City.” In response, Defend the Atlanta Forest activists who call themselves “forest defenders” have begun occupying the woods in an attempt to physically halt the facility’s construction—sabotaging construction vehicles and building barricades around a police-free autonomous zone that serves as both a living space and staging ground for the resistance effort. The forest defenders say the proposed 85-acre facility, which proponents are calling the Atlanta Institute for Social Justice and Public Safety Training, would harm air quality in the Atlanta area and prioritize policing and social control in a city that desperately needs life-affirming infrastructure such as affordable housing.

Two Perspectives On Defend The Atlanta Forest

They say Atlanta is a city in a forest. What happens when cops, developers, and Hollywood team up to decimate some of the very woods the city claims to treasure? In the last year, a widespread and diverse movement has sprung up to Defend the Atlanta Forest from a secretive proposal to build a police training facility, flanked by a movie soundstage, in a wooded parcel in southeast Atlanta. In this interview from January 30, just days after a major action ending in a handful of arrests, we speak with two participants in the movement about its origins, tactics, and insurgent vision. Their story is of getting ahead of the media, outsmarting the cops, and coming to know the woods through the struggle.

Activists Protest ‘Cop City’ In Atlanta

In September 2021, the Atlanta City Council voted to approve the new police training facility for the Atlanta Police Department. The Atlanta Police Foundations, who are largely sponsoring the $90 million dollar project, have referred to the planned facility as a new “Public Safety Training Center.” Activists in the Atlanta area have dubbed it “Cop City” and have been protesting for months to stop the project. On Saturday (February 12), the small area of the Intrenchment Creek trailhead was filled with protestors, there to express their opposition to Cop City. The project — which has the support of Governor Brian Kemp, former mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms, and new mayor Andre Dickens — is planned to be built where the Old Prison Farm now sits and will require deforestation to make room for the facility.

Defund The Global Climate Wall

Blinken’s sentiment was echoed by a report on the impact of climate change and migration from the White House earlier this month, one of a slew of reports as the U.S. prepared for the United Nations summit on climate change that begins in Glasgow on October 31. According to the report, “The current migration situation extending from the U.S.-Mexico border into Central America presents an opportunity for the United States to model good practice and discuss openly managing migration humanely, [and] highlight the role of climate change in migration.”

Police Increasingly Cite Climate Disasters When Seeking Military Gear

When locals learned that the Johnson County, Iowa, sheriff’s office had gotten hold of a massive, mine-resistant vehicle, Sheriff Lonny Pulkrabek reassured a skeptical public that officers would primarily use it during extreme weather events in order to save residents from the state’s extraordinary blizzards or floods.  “Essentially it’s really a rescue, recovery and transport vehicle,” Pulkrabek said in 2014. But in the seven years since, the vehicle — which comes from the Pentagon’s much-maligned 1033 Program that arms local law enforcement with weapons, gear and vehicles leftover from the country’s foreign wars — has been used for almost anything but that.  Iowa City police, who share use of the vehicle with the sheriff’s office, staged it near last year’s racial justice protests, where officers fired tear gas at peaceful protesters for refusing to disperse.

Biden Threatens To Deploy National Guard To Move Cargo

Baltimore, MD - At a CNN town hall event Thursday evening, President Joe Biden revealed that he is considering using National Guard troops to ease the bottleneck at Southern California ports. In response to questioning from moderator Anderson Cooper, Biden said the plans potentially include having soldiers drive trucks from the ports to warehouses and distribution centers. This would mean the militarization of the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, which handle 40 percent of US imports. It would be a direct state attack on longshoremen, truck drivers and warehouse workers, with soldiers serving essentially as scabs operating in behalf of the private owners of the ports, trucking firms, shipping companies and major retailers such as Walmart. It could also directly impact rail workers.

Building The Movement To Shut Down AFRICOM And End US Imperialism

The US Out of Africa Network, which is coordinated by the Black Alliance for Peace, launched a month of action on October 1, the 13th anniversary of the launch of AFRICOM (the US' Africa command) to educate the public about what AFRICOM is doing and to build the movement against US imperialism on the African continent. Clearing the FOG speaks with Tunde Osazua, who organizes the network, about the harm the US is doing on the continent such as the increase in violence and terrorist acts against the people as well as supporting coups and an economic war. What the US is doing in Africa is largely in violation of international law and it is creating a growing sentiment in opposition to the United States. AFRICOM is just one of eleven commands around the world that are run by the United States.

Why Israel Is Aiding Colombia’s Crackdown On Protesters

Bogota - For exactly one month now, a nationwide strike has crippled Colombia and has been met with deadly repression by the far-right government of Ivan Duque. As trade unions have shut down major cities, halting mass transit and bringing economic gridlock to the country, government forces have responded with violence. According to government figures, at least 44 people have been killed in protests that began on April 28. A further 500 people have been “disappeared,” more than 100 shot with live fire, and at least 28 have been wounded in the eye by police, the notorious ESMAD riot squad, or by paramilitary organizations linked to the state. The crackdown on dissent is being abetted by the Israeli government, which itself is dealing with widespread economic, military and social revolt from its captive Palestinian population.

Union Members Expel National Guard From St Paul Minnesota Labor Center

Following several union meetings on Wednesday night, I was made aware that a National Guard unit was occupying the St. Paul Labor Center in downtown St. Paul, Minnesota. Other union members and I were sharply aware of the National Guard’s role in repressing protests during the trial of Derek Chauvin and the recent killing of Daunte Wright, and we concluded immediately that our union hall had no place in those militarized efforts against the Black community, activists, and working class people.   Rank and file union members, community activists, and various union staff members assembled at the Labor Center Wednesday night and found more than 15 armored vehicles, and 50 National Guard troops had been given the keys to the central union facility. Workers from CWA, MNA, UBC and other locals informed the soldiers

The Flow Of Military Equipment To Police Has Accelerated Under Biden

The Pentagon’s 1033 program is the primary mechanism by which police acquire military hardware. Most of the items transferred are innocuous, but that’s only in terms of quantity; in terms of value, combat gear dominates the ledger. Not surprisingly the latter fact typically escapes police/DOD discourse. Matériel is what’s counted here. The values below reflect that of military hardware (“controlled” equipment) transferred through the 1033 program and not the office supplies or generators or t-shirts or whatever (“uncontrolled” equipment). Congress needs to pressure Biden to issue an executive order to 1) prevent future transfers; and 2) recall military equipment from police custody.

Militarized Law Enforcement Isn’t Protecting Us From Mass Shooters

On March 24, 2021, a man shot up a King Soopers grocery store in Boulder, Colorado, killing nine workers and shoppers and one police officer. I live nearby and heard about the shooting when a comrade sent me a local Libertarian’s livestream of the tragedy as it was happening. About five minutes into the livestream and roughly six minutes since the first shots were fired, four Boulder Police officers rushed into the store. They were met with what sounded like gunshots, then two of the officers ran out of the King Scopers entrance. This is likely the moment Officer Eric Talley was killed. For the next 45 minutes, SWAT from neighboring municipalities rallied outside of the King Soopers, but despite their advanced body armor, firearms, and training, they did not go inside.
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