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US Police Training with Occupation Forces in Israel


December 6, 2015
Abby Zimet / Common Dreams & Daniel K. Eisenbud / The Jerusalem Post & Rania Khalek / Electronic Intifada

Praising Israeli security forces as "the best" in counter-terrorism, a group of 15 senior US police officials just came back from studying Israel's occupation-and-counter-insurgency-style policing -- complete with militarized gear, tactics and mindset -- in hopes of emulating their expertise in racial profiling, excessive force, mass incarceration, collective punishment and other human rights abuses.

http://www.commondreams.org/further/2015/12/04/abusive-us-cops-even-more-abusive-israeli-cops-we-want-learn-your-experience


Hour News

(December 2, 2015) -- Witness the moment of the invasion of the Shuafat refugee camp by occupation forces this morning and their demolition of the home of the Palestinian martyr Ibrahim Akkari.



Abusive US Cops to
Even More Abusive Israeli Cops:
'We Want To Learn From Your Experience'

Abby Zimet / Common Dreams

(December 4, 2015) -- Praising Israeli security forces as "the best" in counter-terrorism, a group of 15 senior US police officials just came back from studying Israel's occupation-and-counter-insurgency-style policing -- complete with militarized gear, tactics and mindset -- in hopes of emulating their expertise in racial profiling, excessive force, mass incarceration, collective punishment and other human rights abuses.

The Americans, including several big city police chiefs, sheriffs and US Customs and Border Protection personnel, met with elite units from the Jerusalem Police, border police and Israeli Security.

This trip was sponsored by the US Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs (JINSA), a security think tank that works primarily with military personnel; similar training trips have been organized in recent years by the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) and the American Jewish Committee's Project Interchange.

Delighted police spokesman say it's a logical collaboration: Israel, which tends to "roll out the red carpet for us," is "on the forefront on the fight against terrorists; both Israel and the US feel they are fighting a new class of "crimiterrorists" that blur the line between terrorists and criminal troublemakers; and "Israeli National Police operate in a democratic society very similar to police departments in the US."

Also, Israel is already using a lot of the same military and crowd control equipment -- from weaponry to tear gas and stun grenades -- that we sell them, and likewise use in pesky areas like Ferguson. Plus, the trips serve as a convenient "indoctrination conveyer belt"; boasts one organizer, officers who take part "come back and they are Zionists." Win-win.

Except, actually, not. Critics note that American police are learning from an apartheid state's so-called justice system that deals not with Jewish residents of equal stature, but with a Palestinian population living in what is essentially a giant prison camp, with almost no rights, whose daily lives it controls through paramilitary and counterinsurgency tactics.

The training programs "seek to reframe Israel's conquest of Palestine as a campaign of law and order for US law enforcement to emulate," a narrative that "positions Palestinians not as dispossessed and stateless, but as a pathologically dangerous population that must be controlled and pacified with brute force."

Rashid Khalidi, the Edward Said professor of Modern Arab Studies at Columbia University and a longtime critic of the occupation, argues the exchange makes perfect, awful sense: "If American police and sheriffs consider they're in occupation of neighborhoods like Ferguson and East Harlem, this training is extremely appropriate -- they're learning how to suppress a people, deny their rights and use force to hold down a subject population."

This week, Israel again proved their expertise in those areas: Practising the collective punishment that's illegal under international law but still a favorite tactic, over 1,000 Israeli soldiers stormed the Shuafat refugee camp in East Jerusalem to demolish the house of a Palestinian man who last year killed two Israelis with his car. His widow and five children lived there.

Another teachable moment for our boys in blue.


Senior US Law Enforcement Officials Visit to Study Israeli Conterterrorism Operations
Daniel K. Eisenbud / The Jerusalem Post


Senior US law enforcement officials in Jerusalem participating in LEEP, a counterterrorism exchange program. (Photo credit: LEEP)

(November 19, 2015) -- 'Israel is the best at dealing with terrorism, and we want to learn from your experience,' says former FBI counterterrorism head.

Citing Israel as the world leader in counterterrorism, 15 senior American law enforcement officials from the Law Enforcement Exchange Program (LEEP) are spending 10 days in the country to observe multiple security agencies.

The program's director, Steve Pomerantz, a retired FBI assistant director who led the organization's counterterrorism unit, said LEEP is part of the US's Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs, also known as JINSA.

While JINSA, a security think tank that primarily works with military personnel, was created in 1976, Pomerantz said LEEP was initiated for law enforcement leaders throughout the US shortly after the 911 terrorist attacks in 2001.

"This is a program designed for senior management: police chiefs, sheriffs and state and federal law enforcement officials all over the US," said Pomerantz in Jerusalem on Thursday.

"There are 15 different agencies represented, including the chiefs of the New York and Miami police, the head of the LA Country Sheriff's Office, the DEA assistant administrator, and the department commander of the US Customs and Border Protection."

Pomerantz said the men, who arrived on Sunday, will meet with elite units from the Jerusalem Police, Border Police and the Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) until the program ends on November 24.

"The purpose is to see how the Israel National Police and other security agencies, including the Shin Bet, prevent and respond to acts of terrorism," he said of the annual exchange program, "including how they gather and disseminate intelligence and what their protocols and processes are in responding to terrorism."

Noting the shifting forms of terrorism that Israel is subjected to, such as rocks, bombs, vehicles and knives, Pomerantz said the country is indisputably the world's leader in effectively combating terrorists.

"Now Israel is experiencing a different type of terrorism -- knifings and lonewolf attacks -- for which there is almost no way to detect who will do it," he said. "We're learning a lot about how the police are responding to this latest change because Israel's security agencies are always on the forefront on the fight against terrorists. Israel is the best at dealing with terrorism and we want to learn from your experience."

Pomerantz said that Israeli security officials are more than willing to share their hard-earned expertise. "They roll out the red carpet for us," he said appreciatively.

"We were considering postponing this year's visit because of the current situation, but they urged us not to postpone."

Over the course of 10 days, the group will observe and be briefed on police activities in the capital, with an emphasis on the Old City, meet with Border Police and a Shin Bet official, tour the new police academy, and travel north.

"We have been briefed in detail about policing in the Old City, visited with Border Police and seen their training and operational capabilities, and will be briefed by a senior Shin Bet official," he said. "We're also visiting police in northern Israel to be briefed about smuggling and anti-terrorism operations there."

Pomerantz cites two primary reasons for the trip when raising the funds necessary to cover its costs. "One: Because they're the best -- out of necessity and what they've been through, they've become the best," he explained. "And two: the Israeli National Police operate in a democratic society very similar to police departments in the US."

"I always say if you're in a totalitarian system, counterterrorism is a lot easier: everyone you suspect, you just lock them up," Pomerantz continued. "Israel and the US don't do that; we operate under the rule of law."

With respect to the international critics of the Israel Police who claim that officers violate human rights, Pomerantz said such sentiments are unfounded and made out of ignorance. "It's simply not true. Anybody who says that either is not objective, or has never been here to see it and doesn't know what they're talking about."

Meanwhile, after being afforded the uncommon opportunity to view Israel's counterterrorism operations first hand, Pomerantz said LEEP participants leave with a deep appreciation and respect for the country and its people.

"Most participants have never been here. They learn about Israel and its people and come away with very strong and positive impressions of what they have seen," he said.


US Cops Trained to Use Lethal Israeli Tactics
Rania Khalek / Electronic Intifada

(December 4, 2015) -- US police officers are being tutored by Israel on how to employ the tactics that have brought death and serious injury to huge numbers of Palestinians in the past few months.

Officers from 15 US police agencies recently traveled to the Middle East for lessons from their Israeli counterparts.

For 10 days in late November, police officers from New York, Miami, the Los Angeles County Sheriff's department, the Drug Enforcement Agency and US Customs and Border Protection observed the daily operations of the Jerusalem police, the Israeli Border Police and the Shin Bet secret service, all of which play a vital role in administering Israel's system of control over Palestinians.

The training junket was hosted by the Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs (JINSA), a neoconservative think tank that claims to have organized Israeli training sessions for some 9,500 law enforcement officials since 2004 through its Law Enforcement Exchange Program (LEEP).

Summary Executions
Since 1 October, Israeli forces have killed more than 100 Palestinians, including at least 19 children, in what human rights groups have labeled a "clear pattern" of summary executions. Nineteen Israelis, one Palestinian and one American were killed by Palestinian attackers during the same period, it has been reported.

The Israeli human rights group B'Tselem placed the blame squarely on Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for "the transformation of police officers, and even of armed civilians, into judges and executioner."

Many were executed while posing no threat, like 13-year-old Hadil Wajih Awwad, who was running away when shot and lying injured when killed by armed Israeli men. Others, like community activist Lafi Awad, were unarmed when ambushed and executed by Israeli soldiers.

In some cases, knives were likely planted on Palestinians. In others, Israeli soldiers may have forced them to pick up knives.

Snuff Films
Several of the killings have been caught on video, producing a seemingly endless stream of viral snuff films depicting the cold-blooded murder of people like Fadi Alloun, Mahdi al-Muhtasib and Haftom Zarhum, to name just a few.

LEEP director and former assistant FBI director Steve Pomerantz told The Jerusalem Post that the goal of JINSA's November delegation was to adopt these Israeli tactics for application in the US.

"Now Israel is experiencing a different type of terrorism – knifings and lone wolf attacks – for which there is almost no way to detect who will do it," said Pomerantz, referring to the unorganized Palestinian revolt against Israel's colonial violence.

"We're learning a lot about how the police are responding to this latest change because Israel's security agencies are always on the forefront on the fight against terrorists. Israel is the best at dealing with terrorism and we want to learn from your experience," he added.

A similar phenomenon is playing out in the US, where viral videos of police murders are the new normal, from the executions of Samuel DuBose and Walter Scott to the slayings of Eric Garner, Zachary Hammond and, most recently, Laquan McDonald.

While American police were getting schooled in Israeli execution tactics, dashcam footage of Chicago police officer Jason Van Dyke emptying his clip into 17-year-old Laquan McDonald was making headlines.

The video shows Van Dyke shooting McDonald, as he walks away from police, a total of 16 times in 15 seconds, thoroughly debunking police accounts that McDonald was lunging at officers with a knife when shot. The killing was so egregious that Van Dyke was charged with murder and Chicago police superintendent Garry McCarthy was fired, an incredibly rare outcome in the US, where, much like in Israel, impunity is the rule.

Churning out Zionists
Given the close relationship forged between US police departments and Israel's security apparatus, the similarities in execution tactics should come as no surprise.

Under the cover of counterterrorism training, high-ranking officers from nearly every major US police department have traveled to Israel for lessons in occupation enforcement.

Van Dyke's own department in Chicago participated in an Israeli training junket as recently as September, joining representatives from 14 other US police agencies for a weeklong annual seminar hosted by the Anti-Defamation League (ADL).

Among the participants were officers from Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the US Marshals Service, the US Naval Criminal Investigative Service and the International Association of Chiefs of Police. They were joined by senior police executives from Chicago, Las Vegas, Austin, Seattle, Oakland and Miami-Dade.

David Friedman, the ADL's director of national law enforcement initiatives, told The Jerusalem Post that the objective of the trip was "to learn lessons from Israel in terms of tactics and strategies," with the added benefit of churning out influential supporters for Israel's colonial project.

Officers who take part "come back and they are Zionists," boasted Friedman.

"Crimiterrorists"
Beyond serving as an indoctrination conveyer belt, these training programs seek to reframe Israel's conquest of Palestine as a campaign of law and order for US law enforcement to emulate.

Such a narrative positions Palestinians not as dispossessed and stateless, but as a pathologically dangerous population that must be controlled and pacified with brute force.

At the 2006 annual conference of the International Association of Chiefs of Police, Avi Dichter — the former head of Shin Bet who in 2002 ordered that a one-ton bomb be dropped on a Gaza City apartment building as part of an extrajudicial assassination -- delivered an address on the "intimate connection between fighting criminals and fighting terrorists."

According to Dichter, today's cops are fighting a new class of super predators called "crimiterrorists."

Dichter went on to emphasize the commonalities between the war on terror and the US war on drugs.

"The war against drug abuse is a global war involving all countries," he said. "Similar to the war against terrorism … all means and methods must be used in the war against drugs, including intelligence cooperation between countries and agencies such as the United States and the DEA."

Disposable People
What does the disastrous war on drugs have to do with a tiny Sparta state six thousand miles away?

As Michelle Alexander explains in her book The New Jim Crow, the rise of the war on drugs in the 1970s and 1980s coincided with the collapse of inner-city economies due to deindustrialization, globalization and advancements in technology that replaced low-skill labor, creating a new underclass completely shut out of the American economy.

The war on drugs essentially criminalized Blackness and poverty, fueling an explosion in mass incarceration.

"While earlier systems of control [slavery and Jim Crow] were designed to exploit and control black labor," argues Alexander, "mass incarceration is designed to warehouse a population deemed disposable -- unnecessary to the functioning of the new global economy."

Who better to learn from than a state with decades of experience occupying and warehousing a population that has been deemed disposable?

In the post-9/11 era, Israel has helped facilitate the absolute convergence of the war on terror and war on drugs, just as Ditcher envisioned, with American police behaving as fully militarized occupying forces in poor Black neighborhoods.

When residents attempt to resist their conditions, like they did in Ferguson and Baltimore, they are met with suppression tactics nearly indistinguishable from Israel's occupation regime.

Since the beginning of this year, American police officers have killed 1,046 people, with Black victims accounting for a disproportionate number of the victims relative to the overall Black population.

Deadly police violence in the US is bad enough as it is. Adopting murderous Israeli tactics will only make it worse.

Posted in accordance with Title 17, Section 107, US Code, for noncommercial, educational purposes.

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