Militarized police

Glenn Greenwald:

It was only a matter of time before a coordinated police crackdown was imposed to end the Occupy encampments. Law enforcement officials and policy-makers in America know full well that serious protests — and more — are inevitable given the economic tumult and suffering the U.S. has seen over the last three years (and will continue to see for the foreseeable future). A country cannot radically reduce quality-of-life expectations, devote itself to the interests of its super-rich, and all but eliminate its middle class without triggering sustained citizen fury.

The reason the U.S. has para-militarized its police forces is precisely to control this type of domestic unrest, and it’s simply impossible to imagine its not being deployed in full against a growing protest movement aimed at grossly and corruptly unequal resource distribution. As Madeleine Albright said when arguing for U.S. military intervention in the Balkans: “What’s the point of having this superb military you’re always talking about if we can’t use it?” That’s obviously how governors, big-city Mayors and Police Chiefs feel about the stockpiles of assault rifles, SWAT gear, hi-tech helicopters, and the coming-soon drone technology lavished on them in the wake of the post/9-11 Security State explosion, to say nothing of the enormous federal law enforcement apparatus that, more than anything else, resembles a standing army which is increasingly directed inward.

Most of this militarization has been justified by invoking Scary Foreign Threats — primarily the Terrorist — but its prime purpose is domestic. As civil libertarians endlessly point out, the primary reason to oppose new expansions of government power is because it always — always — vastly expands beyond its original realm. I remember quite vividly the war-zone-like police force deployed against protesters at the 2008 GOP Convention in Minneapolis, as well as the invocation of Terrorism statutes to arrest and punish them, with the active involvement of federal law enforcement. Along those lines, Alternet‘s Lynn Parramore asks all the key questions about the obviously coordinated law enforcement assault on peaceful protesters over the last week.

But the same factors that rendered this police crackdown inevitable will also ensure that this protest movement endures: the roots of the anger are real, profound and impassioned. Just as American bombs ostensibly aimed at reducing Terrorism have the exact opposite effect — by fueling the anti-American sentiments that cause Terrorism in the first place — so, too, will excessive police force further fuel the Occupy movement. Nothing highlights the validity of the movement’s core grievances more than watching a piggish billionaire Wall Street Mayor — who bought and clung to his political power using his personal fortune — deploy force against marginalized citizens peacefully and lawfully protesting joblessness, foreclosures and economic suffering. If Michael Bloomberg didn’t exist, the Occupy protesters would have to invent him.

2 thoughts on “Militarized police

  1. Greenwald is correct. But then there’s this, the Bank of America has more exposure (bad loans) in Europe than any other financial institution. So who is the driving force behind the austerity programs (squeezing out of them the last bit of wealth the 99% still owns) being forced on Greece, Italy, Spain, etc? And they knew all of this was going to take place years ago. Which is why 2.4 million Americans have been circulated through the armed forces to train under urban combat conditions in Iraq and Afghanistan. Many of those highly trained and skilled urban fighters are now employed by police forces throughout the United States. “Nothing of importance ever happens by accident. It is always carefully planned for.” Pentagon Men’s room.

  2. …And they was using up all kinds of cop equipment they had hanging around the police officer station. They was taking plastic tire tracks, foot prints, dog-smelling prints. And they took 27 8×10 color glossy photographs appertaining to and about the crime. They took pictures of the approach, the getaway, the northwest corner, the southwest corner, and – that’s not to mention the aerial photography

    Alice’s Restaurant

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