Turning Ex-Soldiers into Cops: Military Repression of the 'Homeland'
July 30, 2014
Ted Bauman / Activist Post & Michael Edwards / Activist Post
Many retired police officers still remember a world where it was considered a failure to draw a weapon unless under direct attack. Today's police, however, seem to have lost such empathy. Police are rarely a welcome sight these days, as they are often black-clad, brandishing military gear and weapons, and applying military force over such non-violent infractions as traffic stops.
Police Militarization: The New Search and Seizure
Ted Bauman / Activist Post
(July 25, 2014) -- As World War I drew to a close in November 1918, over 2.5 million soldiers of the Imperial German Army remained in the field. They brought training, experience and battle-hardened attitudes with them as they streamed back across Germany's borders.
These soldaten soon found ways to deploy their skills at home. Supported by Minister of Defense Gustav Noske, right-wingers -- including one Corporal Adolf Hitler -- organized ex-soldiers into Freikorps, and armed them with surplus military weaponry. These militia brutally crushed Germany's nascent post-war democratic movement. For the next 20 years, they provided the core of the feared Brownshirts, street thugs who helped Hitler and the Nazis into power.
Fast forward 100 years. Another faltering empire in domestic political crisis, the United States, brings its own frustrated warriors and their weapons back home . . .
Brownshirts in America -- far-fetched? Not at all. They're already here, this time dressed in black or camo. I've already told you about the militarization of our borderlands, using tactics drawn directly from the battlefields of Afghanistan and Iraq. I warned then that events there would soon affect you and me.
I was right. A few weeks ago, a police paramilitary unit raided a house not too far from my home in Atlanta, in search of a teenager suspected of dealing drugs. Upon breaking down the door, they lobbed a flash bang grenade into the crib of a two-year-old child, Bounkham "Bou Bou" Phonesavanh, blowing a hole in the infant's chest. The teenager they were searching for -- a relative in the family -- did not even live in that house.
This is the norm in today's America. The American Civil Liberties Union recently released a report documenting the explosive growth of paramilitary police forces like the one that assaulted Bou Bou.
Originally intended for hostage situations and shootouts, police paramilitaries are now deployed tens of thousands of times each year, largely for routine jobs such as search warrants or municipal code violations -- all within our own borders.
These boys have some really nasty "toys." Since the late 1980s, the Department of Defense's Program 1033 has transferred tons of military-grade weaponry, including machine guns, tanks and aircraft, to state and local police departments, free of charge. As our Middle Eastern wars degenerated into counterinsurgencies, these weapons have become more and more oriented to the sort of urban "combat" that SWAT teams seem to think is their mission.
None of this would have happened, however, if America's police hadn't embraced the opportunity to go military with such gusto. Indeed, America's police culture long ago abandoned any pretense at a Mayberry-style "Officer Friendly" approach. With few exceptions, police now see themselves as an occupying army, confronting a population where every individual is a potential "hostile." Police routinely refer to their daily beats as "tours," and to interaction with potential criminals as "combat."
What accounts for this radical change in attitudes? Where's Sheriff Andy Taylor? The influx of former military personnel into domestic policing jobs definitely plays a role. So too does the glorification of force that goes with being a militaristic empire surrounded by imagined enemies.
More important, however, is the profound change in the relationship between citizen and government in America since 9/11.
In everything that matters, we citizens are no longer treated as the "employers" of civil servants like police, to whom they are accountable, but as the object of government's efforts to impose its own independent will. From the National Security Agency to your local sheriff's office, a sense of impunity and utter lack of accountability reigns supreme.
Aiding and Abetting
Today's police are recruited and trained in a carefully cultivated atmosphere of us vs. them that treats the rest of us as potential threats to be neutralized, not as citizens to be served and protected. But every policeman in the country is theoretically accountable to representatives elected by the citizenry. If America's police are out of control, it's because those elected officials aren't doing their jobs. And that means we aren't, either.
Many citizens of interwar Germany's Weimar Republic craved "law and order" to such an extent that they were willing to overlook blatant abuses of basic rights and freedoms, as long as they were directed at "others." Political opponents were deemed not to be "real Germans." As political temperatures rose, the militaristic skills and attitudes developed on the Western and Eastern fronts of 1914-18 were increasingly substituted for democratic debate and process. Many Germans thought this was fine, because the ascendant forces seemed to favor their own interests.
Then came Hitler. As the courageous theologian Martin Niemöller wrote shortly after his release from a Nazi concentration camp:
First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out -- because I was not a Socialist.
Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out -- because I was not a Trade Unionist.
Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out -- because I was not a Jew.
Then they came for me -- and there was no one left to speak for me.
Americans would do well to meditate on Pastor Niemöller's words. Too many of us are guilty of looking the other way as our politicians allow America's police forces to morph into heavily armed, unaccountable paramilitary thugs.
Ultimately, however, it is unlikely that our political process will arrest this trend. That's why it's so important to emulate another group of Germans from the 1930s -- those who left while there was still time -- and escape America while you still can.
The Ultimate Betrayal:
Police and Military Working Together to Oppress Americans
Michael Edwards / Activist Post
(August 3, 2010) -- The concepts of military service and public police service are worlds apart, for good reason. Today in America, we are currently witnessing the culmination of a decades-long trend that has introduced the language, weapons, and tactics of the overseas battlefield onto the streets of America.
The planned coordination between military forces abroad and public forces at home further threatens to subvert the very social fabric upon which America was built, resulting in a betrayal of The US Constitution and the American people.
The Military Machine
The military is designed to be a last-resort option when all diplomacy has failed. Military personnel and munitions should be deployed with a heavy heart, because it is understood that the military task is one of enemy annihilation. The weapons used by the military are developed to "shock and awe" on every level. Psychological warfare and espionage is often employed first to soften up the enemy before unleashing an array of high-tech weapons that range from pain compliance on the street level, to bombs rained from above.
The typical military serviceman is a brave soul who has trained physically and mentally to perform under the constant stress of battlefield conditions. However, this stress-training, much like any of the martial arts, can result in a non-questioning live weapon who must kill or be killed when placed in a threatening situation.
Additionally, their prison guard-like duties promote attending to their stated enemies as hostile, criminal, and subversive. The population of the enemy country are called civilians, as they are not afforded any legal protection that might be owed to citizens, and any deaths can be written off as "collateral damage."
Thus, military training inculcates values of aggression, intimidation, and the use of excessive force if it means self-preservation in a world where might is right, so long as it means Mission Accomplished.
Domestic Peacekeeping and The Constitution
Police, on the other hand, are in service to the domestic population and the US Constitution. They swear an oath to the local community, and are paid by citizens to be experts in well-considered evaluation and the peaceful resolution of conflict. Their duties comprise those of humility: patrolling a neighborhood to ensure restfulness; rescuing a cat caught in a tree; removing a threat when there is a plea for help.
The Constitution specifies their unique role in tending to issues within the nation's borders in the 9th and 10th Amendments, by prohibiting Federal intervention in domestic law enforcement duties. However, through legislation and national emergency directives, the protection against a Federal usurpation of power has been all but erased. In fact, the Federal government has never had more power than it does today to bring the military into the daily lives of its citizens.
Where Are We Today?
I have spoken to retired police officers who remember a world where it was considered a failure to draw a weapon unless under direct attack. Even if such an action was required, the result was nightmare inducing.
Today's police seem to have lost such empathy. Police are rarely a welcome sight these days, as they are often black-clad, brandishing military gear and weapons, and applying military force over such non-violent infractions as traffic stops. Police are being equipped and trained as if they are an occupying force, and the results have been predictably disastrous.
Additionally, local police are being issued directives encouraging them to see select members of their communities as potential domestic terrorists. This threat assessment language is the exact spur needed to create a feeling of impending attack. This has led to inland checkpoints, where police, military, and the American people are being desensitized to this absolute perversion of American values and laws.
The traveling tyranny of the G8/G20 shows us where this road can lead. When the creator of an organization called The Love Police is detained and tortured, journalists threatened with rape, sound cannons deployed, and women are attacked by police dogs . . . anything is possible. Military and police alike are indoctrinated to adopt a stress-induced frame of mind that leads away from peaceful resolution and toward this type of non-thinking assault.
The US Congress has been instrumental in allowing this change of mindset to happen. They have long allowed the Drug War to be the excuse for minimal oversight of the actions of SWAT and the DEA, permitting daily paramilitary-style assault raids that terrorize our citizens.
The cases of home invasion (sometimes mistaken identity) have resulted in unconscionable atrocities. The War on Terror makes things exponentially worse, as the "war without end" can come home to roost.
The ultimate betrayal has occurred on American soil, just as it has in many other countries throughout history. When the military and police begin to abandon their codes of honor, mass enslavement is the inevitable result.
We need to take action now and ask our police and military to remember the oaths they swore not to obey any orders that will lead to our oppression. The real enemies are those who give those orders.
Posted in accordance with Title 17, Section 107, US Code, for noncommercial, educational purposes.