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Forum Post: The Elephant in the Room: The Police and the Occupy Movement

Posted 8 years ago on July 6, 2012, 11:27 a.m. EST by LeoYo (5909)
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The Elephant in the Room: The Police and the Occupy Movement

Thursday, 05 July 2012 09:33 By Collin Harris, Truthout | Interview


As the global wave of rebellion began in 2011 and eventually spread to the beating heart of empire and the new subcultures of resistance it spawned continue to grow and diversify, there is an obvious dilemma that will have to be worked out if we are serious about changing American society in any meaningful way. Of the many obstacles facing what, from our current vantage point, looks to be the only light shining on the dark and blotted American social-scape, a militarized police force stands out for its menacing and ubiquitous presence in American social life. It casts its dark shadow wherever it goes - which is anywhere it wants.


Is US government reading email without a warrant? It doesn't want to talk about it


By Bob Sullivan

Does the U.S. government read your email? It's a simple question, but apparently there's no simple answer. And the Justice Department and the Internal Revenue Service are reluctant to say anything on the topic.


The Military Solution: The Lessons Washington Can't Draw From the Failure of the Military Option

Thursday, 05 July 2012 14:06 By Tom Engelhardt, TomDispatch | News Analysis


Americans may feel more distant from war than at any time since World War II began. Certainly, a smaller percentage of us -- less than 1% -- serves in the military in this all-volunteer era of ours and, on the face of it, Washington’s constant warring in distant lands seems barely to touch the lives of most Americans. And yet the militarization of the United States and the strengthening of the National Security Complex continues to accelerate. The Pentagon is, by now, a world unto itself, with a staggering budget at a moment when no other power or combination of powers comes near to challenging this country’s might. In the post-9/11 era, the military-industrial complex has been thoroughly mobilized under the rubric of “privatization” and now goes to war with the Pentagon. With its $80 billion-plus budget, the intelligence bureaucracy has simply exploded. There are so many competing agencies and outfits, surrounded by a universe of private intelligence contractors, all enswathed in a penumbra of secrecy, and they have grown so large, mainly under the Pentagon’s aegis, that you could say intelligence is now a ruling way of life in Washington -- and it, too, is being thoroughly militarized. Even the once-civilian CIA has undergone a process of para-militarization and now runs its own “covert” drone wars in Pakistan and elsewhere. Its director, a widely hailed retired four-star general, was previously the U.S. war commander in Iraq and then Afghanistan, just as the National Intelligence Director who oversees the whole intelligence labyrinth is a retired Air Force lieutenant general.



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[-] 3 points by systemicdisorder (15) from New York, NY 8 years ago

The Occupy movement challenges corporate domination, seeks to unite people in a common struggle, and is a bottom-up grassroots activity, and is met with systematic, organized state and police repression. The Tea Party is a corporate-organized "movement" built to deflect attention from corporation domination, divide people from one another and boost the interests of Corporate America, and is met with applause.

No coincidence here. Police repression of Occupy is just another piece of a larger picture that includes spying on e-mails and militarization. http://wp.me/p2cpPS-28

[-] 1 points by DKAtoday (33802) from Coon Rapids, MN 8 years ago

Good comment.

[-] 1 points by dreamingforward (394) from Gothenburg, NE 8 years ago

If America doesn't stand on its principles of "liberty and justice for all", then it will fall. Stop grandstanding, and fight the issues in court with the media.

[-] 1 points by LeoYo (5909) 8 years ago

Citizens Oppose Berkeley Police Plans for Armored Vehicle

Friday, 06 July 2012 11:00 By Nick Sibilla, People's Blog for the Constitution | Report


The police departments for Berkeley, Albany, and the University of California system have partnered together to buy an armored personnel carrier (APC). Not quite a tank, the APC is a Lenco Ballistic Engineered Armoured Response Counter Attack Truck, better known as a BearCat. If approved, the APC will be paid for by a $200,000 grant from the Department of Homeland Security’s Urban Areas Security Initiative (UASI). Created in 2003, UASI funds counterterrorism measures in “high-threat, high-density urban areas.” From FY 2003 to 2011, over $6.5 billion was appropriated for UASI. In FY 2012, UASI had funding worth $490 million. However, David Muhlhausen, a research fellow at the Heritage Foundation, has criticized UASI: ”Currently, there appears to be a virtual absence of independent, objective evidence indicating the effectiveness of UASI…Increased spending does not equal increased effectiveness.” Daniel Borgstrom, a former US Marine now active in the Occupy movement, recently urged the Berkeley City Council to reject the APC and police militarization: “I’m asking, please stay out of this urban warfare stuff.” Meanwhile, Berkeley Police Chief Michael Meehan praised the BearCat, calling it “a defensive resource” necessary to protect officers from being killed. But according to the Officer Down Memorial Page, which tracks the deaths of law enforcement officials, no officers from UC Berkeley or Albany have been killed in the line of duty and only two Berkeley police officers have ever been killed by gunfire. The last Berkeley police officer killed in the line of duty was in 1973. Furthermore, as Radley Balko observes at the Huffington Post:

We’re now about halfway through 2012, and this year is on pace to be the safest ever for America’s police officers…Fifty officers have died on duty so far this year, a 44-percent decrease from last year, according to the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund (NLEOMF). More remarkably, 17 have died from gunfire, down 55 percent from last year. (21 died in traffic accidents, the remaining 12 in various other incidents.) If the second half of this year follows the first, fewer officers will have died on duty this year than in any year since 1944, a time when there were far, far fewer police officers.

In addition, there have been significant concerns about armored vehicles’ ability to violate civil liberties and increase police brutality. A spokesman for the UCPD insisted that the BearCat “is not going to be used for protests or crowd control…it’s nothing to be feared.” However, police in nearby Alameda County (which includes Oakland) used a $323,000 grant from Homeland Security to buy an APC from Xe Services (formerly known as Blackwater). That APC was even used to suppress protests by the Occupy in May 2012. The Inter Press Service elaborates:

Locally, police militarisation was evident at the Nov. 9, 2011 Occupy Cal demonstration at UC Berkeley, where combat-gear clad police injured peaceful protesters with baton strikes, and on Oct. 25, 2011 in Oakland, when similarly armed police nearly killed a young former Marine when they fired a tear-gas canister that hit him in the head.

Due to mutual aid agreements, whereby law enforcement agencies can assist each other, the UCPD could share the APC with both the Berkeley and Albany police departments. The decision to renew mutual aid has previously been postponed, thanks to efforts by the Coalition for a Safe Berkeley, which is advised by the Bill of Rights Defense Committee. As Emily Odgers noted earlier this year, turning police into soldiers has eroded the Constitution:

This clash between Occupy protesters and police highlighted a need to stand in support of the protection of First Amendment rights. In the past ten years, there has been a decay of constitutional freedoms in America and the only way to get them back is through cooperative grassroots movements. This is not just an issue for Occupiers or other activists; the First Amendment applies to everyone and it is necessary that the rights described within it are preserved for all, if they are to be preserved for any.

For more information about efforts to defend constitutional rights in the Bay Area, contact the BORDC organizing team.

[-] 1 points by JPB950 (2254) 8 years ago

The elephant in the room is the actual number of those dedicated to real change. It's not going to be a popular statement, but currently the police actually do represent the majority. I didn't say they represent the best interest of that majority, but Occupy is very small in number and the general population does not agree with it on the economic or political path to take. In fact there is probably disagreement between general assemblies as to what path is best.

Until the movement shows real growth as say the civil rights or anti war movements did. The police will be seen as defenders, not oppressors, by a majority of the people.