Sunday, September 3, 2017

Coming to a Street Near You

Our August 27 newsletter honed in on the on-going militarization of U.S. law enforcement nationwide, tracing it to homeland security’s alliance with the Israel Defense Forces. Adding insult to injury, this week the Le Trompeur* administration is about to rescind the Obama’s administration’s attempt to put the brakes on the 1033 Program. by giving law enforcement weapons of war. The FEMA/Urban Shield program overseeing first response is not designed to consult with local communities, nor to obtain their input, quite the contrary. But a recent Atlantic article points out that local responders as they react in Houston are hands down/hands on the most effective as current experience shows.

* Le Trompeur. French for the cheat.

The effect of the Le Trompeur administration’s recent announcement that it would no longer restrict deployment of battle-grade hardware to U.S. streets will be to quash peaceful dissent, to cripple opposition, and to intensify the controversy between non-violent resistance, and the tradition of antifascist opposition whose extraordinarily courageous history is exemplified by the anti-Nazi Resistance movements, including Jewish Resistance, throughout Europe during the Second World War. 

Police Tac Squad disperses Ferguson demonstrators
What is 1033?

According to the Defense Logistics Agency’s official story, 1033 refers to the 1990-1 decision by congress to authorize excess DOD “personal property” (translation: tanks, half tracks, sound canons, short-barreled assault rifles, body armor, armored personnel carriers, and mine-resistant ambush protected (MRAP) vehicles) to federal and state agencies for use in counter-drug activities. In other words, that old justification-for-mayhem chestnut, The War on Drugs.

In a subsequent paragraph, the Defense Logistics Agency identifies that “personal property” a little more specifically as “excess military property” and later as property of the Department of Defense (DOD). 

According to the ACLU, as of 2014, the U.S. has equipped its law enforcement to act like warriors to the tune of $4.3 billion surplus battle grade military equipment. Transfer of battle-grade “personal” property is extremely hard to trace. Such transfers are shielded by official deniability. Nonetheless, it’s fun to note that Watertown CT police acquired a MRAP (sticker price: $733,000 paid for by your tax dollars) for a bargain basement $2,800. So far no landmines have been detected in Watertown CT, but there are ways to rectify the imbalance of asymmetrical warfare—which Iraq’s so-called “insurgents” seem to have perfected.

Small town Michigan law enforcement have acquired MRAP troop carriers, night-vision scopes, camouflage fatigues, Humvees, and a goodly supply of M16 rifles. Bloomington, GA (pop. 2713) law enforcement boast four grenade launchers. As Harry Truman said, referring to the nuclear bomb, “Hell, we paid $6 million for it; we gotta use it.”

What was Posse Comitatus?

The 1878 Act of congress so titled restricts the military from being used to conduct domestic raids and seize property.  In other words the U.S. military could not act in a law enforcement capacity.

Armchair warrior George W. Bush can be credited with shredding posse comitatus when in 2006 he signed into law the John Warner Defense Authorization Act empowering the president (sic) to declare a “public emergency” at his sole discretion and billet federal troops anywhere throughout the United States, also granting him (or her) the authority to federalize National Guard troops without the consent of state governors in order to “restore public order.”  

Shortly thereafter, in 2008 the U.S. Army’s 1st brigade of the 3rd Infantry Division began their stateside mission under the U.S. Northern Command, fielded at that time in Georgia. The 3rd Infantry Division consists of battle-hardened combat vets who’ve completed three tours of Iraq duty. Is it possible that one or two of them might be suffering from PTSD?

Rubber bullet launcher @ Berkeley 8/26 Protest
What was Habeas Corpus?

Habeas Corpus derived from a 1679 act of Parliament requiring that a person detained by authorities be brought before a court of law so that the legality of that detention might be contested.

Constitutional lawyer Barrack Obama changed all that by signing the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) which contains a measure allowing any U.S. citizen to be taken into custody and held indefinitely without ever being changed with a crime basically repealing habeas corpus. Furthermore, the act designates the military as the arresting agency.


The U.S. Army continues to advertise for Internment and Resettlement Specialists on its official website.  And to learn where to report, a list of “resettlement” camps from Alabama to Wyoming is available with a Click.

Lest I be accused here of presenting you with a nostalgia piece, let me offer three proactive solutions.

Support Hank Johnson’s bi-partisan bill Stop Militarizing Law Enforcement Act of 2017 (SMLEA), HR 1556.

Mobilize to Stop Urban Shield by checking out recent campaign updates. The streets you keep clear of tanks may be your own. 

Scant Roses Among This Week’s Thorns

Ruckus works. After huge global outcry, corrupt Brazilian government (forgive oxymoron) forced to delay granting mining permit in massive Amazonian reserve.

Federal government not to prosecute the National Campaign for Nonviolent Resistance six, arrested on the U.S. Capitol Steps for pleading for an end to war funding.

Federal judge again throws out Texas voter ID law
 handing another court defeat to the state's Republicans over voting rights.

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