In Heat Of Dakota Access Protests, National Sheriffs' Association Lobbied For More Military Gear

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By Steve Horn for Desmog Blog – At the end of 2016, as a mix of sheriffs, police, and private security forces were clashing with those protesting the Dakota Access pipeline at the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation, the National Sheriffs’ Association was lobbying Congress for surplus military gear and on undisclosed issues related to the now-operating oil pipeline. This information comes from federal lobbying disclosure forms reviewed by DeSmog. The National Sheriffs’ Association, a trade association representing sheriffs’ departments nationwide, hired the firm Ervin Hill Strategy to lobby on its behalf during quarter four of 2016 and quarter one of 2017. Lobbyist and former congressional staffer John Blount was assigned to the cause. Blount did not respond to a request for comment for this story. The multi-state policing response at Standing Rock came under sharp criticism due to its highly militarized nature against the Native American-led opposition. Spurred by the North Dakota governor’s emergency declaration, law enforcement officials nationwide began pouring into North Dakota under the auspices of the Emergency Management Assistance Compact (EMAC).

Nuclear Double Standards: All Nuclear Weapon Tests Send The Same Message

Flickr/ Steve Snodgrass

By Andrew Lichterman for Truth Out – Although such tests are conducted routinely, the timing of this one may not coincidental; the U.S. military sees nuclear delivery system tests as “distinct messaging opportunities”. U.S. Air Force, Doctrine Annex 3-72, Nuclear Operations, May 2015. Regardless of the timing, it is clear that the message intended for North Korea (and the rest of the world) is that the United States has nuclear weapons, and is prepared to use them. In the past, U.S. officials have said so outright. Prior to a similar test in early 2016, Deputy Defense Secretary Robert Work told reporters “That’s exactly why we do this… We and the Russians and the Chinese routinely do test shots to prove that the operational missiles that we have are reliable. And that is a signal … that we are prepared to use nuclear weapons in defense of our country if necessary.” David Alexander, “U.S. test-fires ICBM amid tensions with Russia, North Korea,” Reuters, Feb 26, 2016. It also is hard to see the difference between the intentions behind North Korea’s displays of its nuclear and missile capabilities and those of the United States—aside from the fact North Korea has far more to fear, given that the United States has military and nuclear forces that far exceed those of North Korea, and that are exercised frequently close to North Korea’s shores.

“Storm The Heavens”: Notes From The Weather Underground On Resistance

Weather Underground Organization founding members Bill Ayers and Bernardine Dohrn speak in San Francisco, California, February 20, 2009. (Photo: Steve Rhodes)

By Dahr Jamail for Truthout – Those of us living within the borders of the United States currently find ourselves living inside the churning engine of a hyper-militarized corporate-fascist farce of a democracy that is spiraling into darkness. The blades of this death-machine are grinding what is left of our precious planet into dust. Now, think back nearly five decades ago to the late 1960s. The Vietnam War was escalating dramatically and imperialism was lurching forward rapidly enough to cause ongoing demonstrations and political activism to spread like wildfire across the seething country. Some were fueled by a hunger for justice great enough they engaged in armed struggle against the US government. It was they who comprised The Weather Underground Organization (WUO), a faction of the Students for a Democratic Society (SDS) that took up arms in solidarity with the Black Panthers and other militant groups with the aim to “Bring the War Home.” Going underground to escape the relentless pursuit of the FBI and other law enforcement, the group managed to carry out several high-profile bombings…

Inauguration Offers Preview Of Trump-Era Policing

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By John Knefel for TruthOut. As much of the United States waits in collective distress to see exactly what the presidency of Donald J. Trump will bring, it is already clear that the country is in for an unprecedented assault on ethics regulations and legal obligations from the White House. At the same time, all the signs point to a renewed era of harsh law enforcement for the rest of the country, focused primarily on already heavily policed and marginalized communities. An ominous statement posted to the official White House website today reads: “The dangerous anti-police atmosphere in America is wrong. The Trump Administration will end it.” It remains to be seen exactly how law enforcement will change under Trump, and whether he will actively pursue some of his most discriminatory campaign promises, like subjecting Muslims to increased surveillance and deporting millions of undocumented immigrants.

Will Israeli Soldier Get Away With Videotaped Killing Of Teen?

Nadim Siam Nuwara, 17, was shot dead by an Israeli soldier on 15 May 2014. (via Facebook)

By Ali Abunimah for EI – An Israeli soldier facing trial for the killing of an unarmed Palestinian teenager that was shown on TV screens around the world may now get away with a slap on the wrist. Israeli Border Police combatant Ben Dery is charged with manslaughter in the slaying of 17-year-old Nadim Nuwara on 15 May 2014 – Nakba Day, when Palestinians commemorate their 1948 ethnic cleansing from much of their homeland. But Israeli media are reporting that the manslaughter charge may now be dropped. Dery’s lawyer told the Tel Aviv newspaper Haaretz this week that prosecutors are discussing a plea bargain in which his client would admit only to “negligence”

Should War Opponents Work With Trump To Stop US Militarism?

by Jamelle Bouie | CC BY 2.0

By Diana Johnstone for Counter Punch – In 2016, the fundamentally undemocratic U.S. two-party system presented the public with the two most hated candidates in history. The choice was so dismal that over forty three percent of the voters could not bring themselves to go to the polls. Everyone hated one or the other of the candidates, or both. Whoever won was bound to face vehement opposition.

Countering The Militarization Of Youth

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By Semih for CMOY WRI – Young peoples’ experiences of the military, and exposure to militarist values, differ around the world. In this webinar, we will gather examples from two countries, Israel and Germany, and discuss with activists about their campaigns and strategies to counter youth militarisation in their own contexts. Join us in this webinar to hear from Michael Schulze von Glaßer from DFG-VK (Germany), and Elisheva Gavra and Gilad Ben David from New Profile (Israel) on their ongoing projects and campaigns.

Israeli Forces Arrest 13-Year-Old Palestinian Weeks After Shooting Him

Ramzi Abu Ajamia holding a photo of his left leg taken the day previously, when Palestinian doctors were fixing the work done on his leg during his Israeli detention, which left the wound infected and at risk of amputation. (Photo: Sheren Khalel)

By Sheren Khalel for Mondoweiss – In March, 12-year-old Ramzi Abu Ajamia got word that Israeli forces were looking for him. Terrified of getting arrested, Ramzi stopped sleeping at home and going to school. He succeeded in dodging Israeli forces for five months before he was spotted at clashes during an Israeli night raid on Dheisha refugee camp, where the now 13-year-old was born and raised. It all happened within seconds, Ramzi recalled to Mondoweiss. Israeli forces spotted the boy on the streets around 1 a.m., and fired.

“Do Not Resist”: Police Militarization Documentary Everyone Should See

VANISH Films

By Ryan Devereaux for The Intercept – The officers, members of the Richland County Sheriff’s Department tactical team, were descending on a modest one-story house looking for drugs and guns. The team smashed through the windows of the home with iron pikes, then stormed the front door with rifles raised. Inside, they found a terrified family of four, including an infant. As the family members were pulled outside, Atkinson’s camera captured a scene that plays out with startling regularity in cities and towns across the country

How To Counter Military Recruitment

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By Pat Elder for World Beyond War – Countering military recruitment in the nation’s high schools confronts an ugly mix of a distinctively American brand of institutionalized violence, racism, militarism, nationalism, classism, and sexism. It confronts the greatest problems in American society. I will spend a few minutes on the despicable public policy involving tens of thousands of American government employees both in and out of active duty, whose job it is to persuade high school kids to enlist in the Armed Services. It is an extraordinarily deceptive and reprehensible psychological pursuit.

There’s No Business Like The Arms Business

Tough not to call it a war crime when the U.S. dropped more bombs during the Vietnam War than it had on Germany during World War II. (Photo: Public Domain)

By William Hartung for Tom Dispatch – As is often the case, I opened the Monday newspaper curious to find out how the weekend had gone at the movies. The headline read, “‘Ghostbusters’ Is No. 2 Behind ‘Secret Life of Pets.’” That meant Universal Studios’ animated film had again been the big winner, taking in an estimated $50.6 million for a two-week domestic total of $203.2 million. In the industry, it was feared that China, the world’s number two market and gaining fast, might not let another hit, Ghostbusters, be shown, given its paranormal themes.

Senators Vote To Keep Bomber Price Secret

Original POGO graphic by Iulia Gheorghiu.

By Dan Grazier for POGO – The Senate Armed Services Committee issued a severe blow to transparency and fiscal responsibility last month. In a closed-door vote, they eliminated a requirement to disclose the development cost of the Air Force’s new B-21 stealth bomber. The committee members voted 19 to 7 to prevent the American people from knowing how much of their money will be sunk in this latest questionable weapons project. Price estimates released for the program so far should give taxpayers cause for concern.

Hillary Clinton And Chuck Schumer Teaming Up With NYPD

Oregon Department of Transportation / Public Domain

By Sarah Lazare for AlterNet – Chuck Schumer and Hillary Clinton are teaming up with the NYPD to request high levels of funding for a federal “counter-terror” program that is directly bankrolling the militarization of police forces nationwide. To secure the funds, they are invoking the threat of terrorism and exploiting the climate of fear and incitement that has come to define the 2016 election cycle. At issue is the the Urban Areas Security Initiative (UASI), which was created in 2003 as a Department of Homeland Security grant program aimed at assisting “high-threat, high-density Urban Areas…

Inside Growing Movement Against Campus Militarization

Photo by Shay Horse, pic.twitter.com/BZV8rGZEIg

By Shane Burley for Waging Nonviolence – As the student leaders of the Portland State Student Union, or PSUSU, began leading chants to “disarm” the university, hundreds of students and community leaders had already begun circling the steps of the library. The rally was the meeting point for a planned student and faculty “walkout” on May 10, where more than 400 students promised to leave class to protest the Board of Trustees’ decision to arm campus police officers — which organizers see as just a piece of the larger trend towards the militarization of police officers around the country.

Teenagers Got Police To Remove Military-Grade Weaponry From High Schools

Courtesy of the Labor Community Strategy Center

By Sarah Lazare for AlterNet – A coalition of Los Angeles high school students and grassroots organizers just accomplished the unthinkable. After nearly two years of sit-ins and protests, they forced the police department for the second-largest public school district in the United States to remove grenade launchers, M-16 rifles, a mine-resistant ambush protected (MRAP) vehicle and other military-grade weaponry from its arsenal. But the coalition did not stop there. Members took over a Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) board meeting in February to call for proof that the arms had been returned to the Department of Defense…