No SWAT Zone

Frrom thenewinquiry.com

By Tara Tabassi And Ali Issa for The New Inquiry – A volunteer screams in pain as Hollywood-grade prosthetics litter a football field strewn with body parts and gore. A “Muslim man” just fired from his job returns to his office as a figure hooded in black, takes an ex co-worker hostage, and yells he wants “to hurt the Jews for what they have done to him and his people”; a bucket bubbles over with smoking “chemical weapon” liquid at his feet; a banner proclaims, “We are the 99%” and “No War for Oil” with protesters lurking behind it. These three meticulously scripted scenarios are typical of the “training exercises” demonstrated at conventions for SWAT teams—or Special Weapons and Tactics (previously known as Special Weapons Attack Teams). They are often accompanied by vendors selling the latest in high-tech military weapons, gadgets, and gear. Colt Guns, Boeing, and Combined Systems, Inc. (CSI) are frequent sponsors. These are accompanied by “shwag”: pins that urge to “face-shoot the mother fucker,” t-shirts that read “Black Rifles Matter” or “Keep Calm and Return Fire” printed beneath an American flag, and free bracelets featuring a black and white American flag with the “thin blue line,” symbols long associated with a “War on Cops” and the “Blue Lives Matter” slogan.

Does Militarization Of Police Lead To More People Killed? Research Says Yes

Nova Patch / Shutterstock.com

By Celisa Calacal for AlterNet – Black Lives Matter activists protesting police violence and the killing of Michael Brown were met with heavily armed officers during the Ferguson protests in 2014. Indigenous people and environmental activists protesting the Dakota Access Pipeline faced a similar scene in 2016 when militarized law enforcement used violent tactics against the peaceful demonstrators. Scenes of heavily armed police forces are becoming more common across the country. New research from the Washington Post finds that this militarization results in more individuals killed each year by law enforcement. The study found that twice as many people are more likely to die in counties that receive an influx in military equipment. Additional research conducted in 2016 also found that police are more likely to be attacked when they are militarized, which raises the question of how beneficial it is to pad police forces with military-grade weaponry. The researchers looked to anthropologist Peter Kraska to define militarization as the “embrace and implementation of an ideology that stresses the use of force as a good way to solve problems.” The definition encompasses four dimensions of militarization: material, cultural, organizational and operational.

Berkeley Capitulates To Police Militarization And Spying

Photo: Baltimore Militarization. Patrick Semansky/AP

By David Welsh for Counter Punch – Former mayor Gus Newport scolded the city council for going along with the various schemes for further empowering the police. “I cut my teeth in the civil rights movement by getting brutalized by police at the age of 11,” he said. “I would hope that you all have the principles, the heart and the concern for the people of Berkeley to make sure these [police programs] do not go any further.” Many spoke of the racist impacts of these federal police programs. Sharif Zakout, with the Arab Resource & Organizing Center, said: “I want to be absolutely clear that Urban Shield was developed in response to 9/11 and the Patriot Act and is an Islamophobic and racist program.” AROC is part of a broad Stop Urban Shield Coalition, whose mobilization succeeded in driving the racist program out of Oakland in 2015. That was the year when “Black Rifles Matter” was the most popular tee-shirt sold at the Urban Shield police expo. Berkeley resident James McFadden said the Intelligence Fusion Center and UASI “are part of a continuous effort to consolidate federal control over local police…that escalated after 9/11 with the passage of the Patriot Act and creation of Homeland Security.”

Escalation & Privatization Of Law Enforcement Will Make Corps. Wealthier

Justin Norman / Flickr

By Emily Verdugo for AlterNet – Back in August, the Obama administration issued a memo that many hoped signaled an end to the government’s use of for-profit prison corporations. That memo, issued by then Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates, stated that the Justice Department would stop contracting with CoreCivic (formerly Corrections Corporation of America) to run 13 federal prisons. This directive was a symbolic win for many of us who opposed these contracts, and we were thrilled when stocks in CoreCivic and GEO Group, another for-profit prison corporation, plummeted as a result. But the election of Donald Trump dashed a lot of those hopes. Acting on his campaign promise to be “tough on crime,”

Update From Front Lines Of Standing Rock

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By Deborah MacKay for the Minnesota Alliance of Peacemakers. Without the eyes of a free press these attacks and trespasses continue, with the human rights and sovereignty of indigenous peoples denied. The UN Committee on Transnational Corporations and Human Right Abuses was in Standing Rock this week to take testimony of the many transgressions against people: crop dusters spraying poison pesticides and fertilizers on the camps; hair samples indicating the presence of these chemicals; people who have been injured, beat up, arrested, strip searched; media and medics being targeted by snipers; (one medic told me he stopped wearing his Red Cross vest due to medics being targeted); praying people being attacked and the refusal of DAPL and our government to abide by the Rule of Law.

Newsletter - Unite To Change The Status Quo

Silence is complicity, The World is Watching, Trump Inauguration protest by Eleanor Goldfield for Art Killing Apathy

By Margaret Flowers and Kevin Zeese for Popular Resistance. The broad social movement in the United States has been growing for a number of years, most visibly in recent years with the Occupy Movement and then immigrant’s rights, Indigenous, workers’ and Black Lives Matter movements, to name a few. As the inauguration protests, the Women’s Marches and the GOP protests in Philly showed this week, the broad social movement seems to be growing exponentially and some are escalating their tactics. We need to focus the movement power to achieve real change. The new Health Over Profits for Everyone campaign strikes at the heart of a corrupt system. When we put in place a single payer system we will be defeating corporate-domination of government and the corruption that is rife in the two parties. We will be transform from the selfish ethic of profit even if it costs tens of thousands of lives, to working together as a community for the good of each of us. We will be defeating the false idolatry of privatization…

Our Streets: The Story from the Front Lines & How We Fight

Militarized police and card players sit-in from Trump Inauguration protests by Eleanor Goldfield, Art Killing Apathy

By Eleanor Goldfield for ACT Out. Yawn points out that condemning black bloc tactics divides us and that we should not limit ourselves to only permitted protests. He asks: what violence would have to be done to you before you fight back? Is that being done to others in our country? Is it being done by the United States to others around the world? With these questions in mind he points out that opposing black bloc tactics comes from a place of privilege, the privilege of not suffering violence at the hand of the state. Yawn describes how tactics must be analyzed in the context of the situation and the goals of the protest.

Tear Down The Walls Mexico Delegation

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By the Alliance for Global Justice. The United States is building walls and militarizing both the US-Mexico border and Mexico’s southern border. The US is also building prison walls throughout Mexico and militarizing police as living walls to repress and reign in popular movements. When Mexican police fire on striking teachers and normal school students, they’re using weapons made in the USA. When indigenous and labor activists are locked away as political prisoners, they’re locked away in US funded jail cells. The Alliance for Global Justice Tear Down the Walls Mexico delegation will visit with indigenous and labor leaders, family and supporters of political prisoners, ex-political prisoners, anti-torture activists and experts on police, border and prison militarization. We will investigate US prison imperialism in Mexico and relate that to similar programs in other parts of the world.

Anonymous Joins #NoDAPL Fight

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By Brianna Acuesta for True Activist. What occurred on Sunday night at the Standing Rock Indian Reservation was a brutal use of force that showed the true colors of the oil companies backing the Dakota Access Pipeline and local police. It’s been clear which side the police have been on from the start, but up until now the assault on protesters has been relatively mild and spread out. However, on Sunday night, chaos ensued when law enforcement pulled out all the stops in an effort to persuade the protesters to end their fight. Police used rubber bullets, water cannons, and concussion grenades to cause “nonlethal harm” to the water protectors, but the damage inflicted was massive. Police reportedly shot a 13-year-old girl in the face with rubber bullets, vindictively shot a man at point blank range in the belly button and knee caps with a smile on their face…

US Again Uses Militarized Response To Indigenous Seeking Justice

Tires burn as soldiers and law enforcement officers stand in formation to force Dakota Access pipeline protesters off private land. Photograph: Mike McCleary/AP

By Ann Wright for Common Dreams. Its like we are back to the 1800s when the U.S. Army rampaged against Native American tribes across the American West. The militarized police and the use of the National Guard this week in responding to the Standing Rock Sioux native American challenge in North Dakota to big oil and their dangerous pipelines reminds one of Custer’s Last Stand against Sitting Bull. On Friday more than 100 local and state police and North Dakota National Guard arrested over 140 people who blocked the highway attempting to stop the destruction of the land. Police in riot gear with automatic rifles lined up across a highway, with multiple MRAPs (mine-resistant ambush protected military vehicles). As this police mayhem was unfolding, a small herd of buffalo stampeded across a nearby field, a strong symbolic signal to the water protectors…

Urban Shield Police Training Draws Protesters

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By Sarah Ravani for the San Francisco Chronicle. Protesters chained themselves together and blocked the main gates of the Alameda County Fairgrounds in Pleasanton Friday morning to demonstrate their opposition to the Urban Shield police training and expo scheduled there this weekend. About 10 demonstrators chained themselves together and formed a line in front of the gates on Pleasanton Avenue, but police attending the expo and training exercises were able to get into the fairgrounds through other entrances. Twenty demonstrators were arrested and later booked at the Santa Rita Jail in Dublin on suspicion of blocking traffic and failing to disperse, said Sgt. Ray Kelly, a spokesman for the Alameda County Sheriff’s Office. He said all were expected to be released Friday evening.

Leaked Catalogue Reveals Array Of Military Spy Gear Offered To U.S. Police

by The Intercept. Shutterstock

By Sam Biddle for The Intercept – A CONFIDENTIAL, 120-PAGE catalogue of spy equipment, originating from British defense firm Cobham and circulated to U.S. law enforcement, touts gear that can intercept wireless calls and text messages, locate people via their mobile phones, and jam cellular communications in a particular area. The catalogue was obtained by The Intercept as part of a large trove of documents originating within the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, where spokesperson Molly Best confirmed Cobham wares have been purchased but did not provide further information.

Obama Prepares To Reinforce Militarized Police Occupation Of Black America

blackagendareport.com

By Glen Ford for Black Agenda Report – Barack Obama is “responsible for the biggest escalation in the history of the one-sided war against Black America. He increased militarization of local police 24-fold before banning some kinds of Pentagon weapons transfers, but is now preparing to send more battlefield weaponry to the streets of our cities. “Clinton or Trump will surely build on Obama’s lethal legacy.” Black activists confronted police terror on the cops’ own turf, last week, with actions at the Washington, DC, lobbying offices of the Fraternal Order of Police and the Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association headquarters in New York City.

Militarized Police in Baton Rouge Draw Global Attention

Baton Rouge police arrest peaceful woman

By Robert Mackey for the Intercept. Photographs and video of heavily armed police officers wearing body armor and helmets arresting protesters in Baton Rouge over the weekend reverberated on social networks and in the world’s media, focusing new attention on the militarization of police forces across the United States. Another photograph taken by Bachman, showing a police officer’s knee pinning an African-American protester’s head to the pavement, struck a chord with photo editors in Iran and Russia, where the crackdown on peaceful protesters made complaints from the United States government about repression of dissent in those countries seem hypocritical. … As the Baton Rouge Advocate reported, a demonstration in a residential neighborhood of the city on Sunday only got more heated when about 300 marchers were blocked by officers wearing gas masks and driving an armored vehicle with an ear-splitting sound cannon called an LRAD, or long-range acoustic device. The image that drew the most comment, taken by Jonathan Bachman for Reuters, showed a young woman in a dress standing serenely on a road outside the Baton Rouge police headquarters as two Louisiana State Police officers dressed for battle rushed to arrest her.

Afromation Protest In Baltimore Against Police Violence

Afromation protest 7-16-16 by Larry Cohen

By Kevin Zeese for Popular Resistance. The Afromation protest in Baltimore stood up for black life and the importance of black culutre in the face of ongoing killings. To understand the reasons for protests in Baltimore and across the nation, we must look at the “race-based trauma” caused by police killings. As we prepared to march, I was talking with two of our colleagues. They described how it felt to be an African American man and see video of people who look like them being killed by police for no reason. It creates a trauma that requires them to act in order to stop it. The demands of the Afromation protests are reasonable: 1. An all-elected civilain complaint review board to give communities control of the police and self-determination; 2. A ten percent cut in the police budget away from militarization of the police and surveillance of the community with the funds used for community programming.