Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Militarized Police Turn Ferguson Missouri Into a War Zone

The militarized police have essentially declared the city of Ferguson, Missouri to be a war zone. Ferguson, which lies suburbs of St. Louis erupted into street protests after the police gunned down 18 year old Michael Brown, an unarmed black teenager. The militarized police in America have become increasingly violent in the post 9/11 era and Brown's shooting pushed many in Ferguson over the edge. The uprising unfortunately included the standard destruction as well as the idiotic and inevitable looting that criminal elements so often engage in during such outbursts of chaos. Those who dismiss this simply as black people behaving badly are missing the larger point. American police forces have been fully weaponized against those who they were once tasked with serving and protecting and many now view the public as enemies. Welcome to The Homeland.

The Ferguson riots began when citizens marched on police headquarters demanding charges against the cop who blew away the young Brown and things just spiraled out of control from there. As of Tuesday, the paramilitary shock troops were out in force, according to accounts journalists were banned and the FAA even went so far as to actually implement a no-fly zone over Ferguson. According to a tweet from journalist Radley Balko who now has a regular column in the Washington Post:

Summary of scary shit: Heavily militarized police presence in Ferguson. Protests banned. Journalists threatened. News helicopters barred. 

Balko is the author of the book "Rise of the Warrior Cop: The Militarization of America's Police Forces" and has been warning of the dangers of transforming domestic law enforcement into paramilitary shock troops. In his article "A Decade After 9/11, Police Departments are Increasingly Militarized” Balko wrote that:
The September 11 attacks provided a new and seemingly urgent justification for further militarization of America's police departments: the need to protect the country from terrorism.
Within months of the attacks on the Pentagon and World Trade Center, the Office of National Drug Control Policy began laying the groundwork with a series of ads (featured most prominently during the 2002 Super Bowl) tying recreational drug use to support for terrorism. Terrorism became the new reason to arm American cops as if they were soldiers, but drug offenders would still be their primary targets.

In 2004, for example, law enforcement officials in the New York counties of Oswego and Cayuga defended their new SWAT teams as a necessary precaution in a post–September 11 world. “We’re in a new era, a new time," here,” one sheriff told the Syracuse Post Standard. “The bad guys are a little different than they used to be, so we’re just trying to keep up with the needs for today and hope we never have to use it.” The same sheriff said later in the same article that he'd use his new SWAT team “for a lot of other purposes, too ... just a multitude of other things." In 2002, the seven police officers who serve the town of Jasper, Florida -- which had all of 2,000 people and hadn’t had a murder in more than a decade -- were each given a military-grade M-16 machine gun from the Pentagon transfer program, leading one Florida paper to run the headline, “Three Stoplights, Seven M-16s.”

The fact is that American law-enforcement has mutated into legions of paramilitary goons. They are supported by the feds who have been throwing money and surplus war zone equipment into cities and municipalities. There is also a growing  "us versus them" mentality instilled in many of the cops. The conditions are ripe now for the rolling out of domestic martial law in at least a limited capacity in the event of an always vaguely defined "emergency".  It could be an outbreak of the Ebola virus that our genius leadership allowed into the country, or there could be war with the nuclear power Russia, a collapse of the rigged financial markets or as strident fear-mongers like Senator Lindsey Graham are trumpeting: a domestic terrorist attack by jihadist group ISIS. The state is just itching for a fight and as we saw the week of the Boston Marathon bombing it doesn't take much to place a large portion of a huge American city under a de-facto state of martial law where armed, black clad forces can go door to door conducting warrantless searches and worse.

Were the possibly of bad public relations not so overwhelming, the government would have brutally put down the mini-rebellion that took place a couple of months ago in southern Nevada led by rancher Cliven Bundy. Bundy, who has become a sort of folk hero to some conservatives along with a horde of protesters gathered to challenge Leviathan over cattle grazing rights. It was tense but eventually the standoff ended with no violence despite having the potential to have become a slaughter. Had the media not drawn so much attention to the situation then Obama and his hatchet man at the Department of Justice Eric Holder would no doubt have had another Waco or Ruby Ridge on their hands which would not have looked good in an election year.

In breaking news The Guardian is now reporting that a second man has been shot by police in Ferguson. This has the potential to get even uglier now. The greatest peril is for some to look at the Ferguson, Missouri situation in racial terms. This not only overlooks the much larger problems but only serves to further condition American citizens to accept an ever more heavily armed and violent generation of police. This is not something that should be allowed to occur in a free country but in reality we surrendered our freedoms to fear after those towers fell nearly thirteen years ago. Now we are reaping the whirlwind.