Tuesday, December 27, 2011

War at Home: Local police go military (video)

Democracy Now; Wisdom Quarterly; Cyanide & Happiness
Even women and children are not safe from police at Occupy demonstrations.

The War at Home: Combat-Ready Militarized Local Police
A new report by the Center for Investigative Reporting reveals that since 9/11, local law enforcement agencies have used $34 billion in federal grants to acquire military equipment to use on citizens.

They have splurged on such MIC (military-industrial complex) items as bomb-detection robots, digital communications equipment, Kevlar helmets, torture equipment, crowd suppression technology, spying devices, and have even employed predator drones to use on citizens within the US.

"A lot of this technology and the devices have been around for a long time. But as soon as they have, for instance, a law enforcement capability, that’s a game changer," says George Schulz, with the Center for Investigative Reporting.

"The courts and the public have to ask, how is the technology being used by a community of people -- police -- who are endowed with more power than the rest of us?’" Local police departments have also added drones to their toolkit.

In June, a drone helped local police in North Dakota with surveillance leading to what may be the first domestic arrests with help from a drone. The ACLU (American Civil Liberties Union) has issued a new report that calls on the government to establish privacy protections for surveillance by unmanned aerial armed spy-drones, especially of people engaged in exercise of free speech rights such as protesting.

"We believe that people should not be targeted for surveillance via drones just because they’re they are engaged in First Amendment-protected activity," says Catherine Crump, a staff attorney with the ACLU. Source

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