Thursday, December 22, 2011

POLICE STATE WATCH, CHRISTMAS EDITION

Santa Croft has a whole bag full of bad news about the police state...

http://americaswarwithin.org/articles/2011/12/21/local-police-stockpile-high-tech-combat-ready-gear

Local police stockpile high-tech, combat-ready gear

By: Andrew Becker, Center for Investigative Reporting | G.W. Schulz, Center for Investigative Reporting
If terrorists ever target Fargo, N.D., the local police will be ready.
In recent years, they have bought bomb-detection robots, digital communications equipment and Kevlar helmets, like those used by soldiers in foreign wars. For local siege situations requiring real firepower, police there can use a new $256,643 armored truck, complete with a rotating turret. Until that day, however, the menacing truck is mostly used for training runs and appearances at the annual Fargo picnic, where it’s been displayed near a children’s bounce house.
“Most people are so fascinated by it, because nothing happens here,” said Carol Archbold, a Fargo resident and criminal justice professor at North Dakota State University. “There’s no terrorism here.”
Fargo, like thousands of other communities in every state, has been on a gear-buying spree with the aid of more than $34 billion in federal government grants since the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on New York and the Pentagon.
The federal grant spending, awarded with little oversight from Washington, has fueled a rapid, broad transformation of police operations in Fargo and in departments across the country. More than ever before, police rely on quasi-military tactics and equipment, the Center for Investigative Reporting has found.
No one can say exactly what has been purchased in total across the country or how it’s being used, because the federal government doesn’t keep close track. State and local governments don’t maintain uniform records. But a review of records from 41 states obtained through open-government requests, and interviews with more than two-dozen current and former police officials and terrorism experts, shows police departments around the U.S. have transformed into small army-like forces.
Since Occupy Wall Street and similar protests broke out this fall, confusion about how to respond has landed some police departments in national headlines for electing to use intimidating riot gear, pepper spray and rubber bullets to disperse demonstrators. Observers have decried these aggressive tactics as more evidence that police are overly militarized. Among them is former Seattle police chief Norm Stamper, who today regrets his “militaristic” answer in 1999 to the infamous “Battle in Seattle” protests.
Many police, including beat cops, now routinely carry assault rifles. Combined with body armor and other apparel, many officers look more and more like combat troops serving in Iraq and Afghanistan. The list of equipment bought with the federal grants reads like a defense contractor catalog. High-tech gear fills the garages, locker rooms and patrol cars in departments across the country.
Although local officials say they have become more cautious about spending in recent years, police departments around the country are continually expanding the equipment and tactics of their jobs, despite, in many cases, the lack of an apparent need.
The share of federal grants for Fargo and the county it anchors is more than $8 million, a considerable sum for terrorism defense given its remote location and status as one of the safest areas in America. Fargo has averaged fewer than two homicides a year since 2005, and there have been no prosecutions of international terrorism in the state for at least a decade, if ever.
North Dakota’s biggest city is a humble place set on plains so flat that locals like to say you can watch your dog run away for two weeks. Yet all patrol officers in Fargo now carry an assault rifle in their squad car.
Fargo police Lt. Ross Renner, who commands a regional SWAT team, said the world is a dangerous place, and the city wants to be ready for anything.
With that in mind, Renner pushed for military-style assault rifles to become standard issue in department patrol cars.
“It’s foolish to not be cognizant of the threats out there, whether it’s New York, Los Angeles or Fargo. Our residents have the right to be protected,” Renner said. “We don’t have every-day threats here when it comes to terrorism, but we are asked to be prepared.”
Other communities also have ramped up as well. In Montgomery County, Texas, the sheriff’s department owns a $300,000 pilotless surveillance drone. In Garland County, Ark., known for its pleasant hot springs, a local law enforcement agency acquired four handheld bulletproof protective shields costing $600 each. In East Baton Rouge, La., it was $400 ballistic helmets. In Augusta, Maine, with fewer than 20,000 people and where an officer hasn’t died from gunfire in the line of duty in more than 125 years, police bought eight $1,500 tactical vests. And for police in Des Moines, Iowa, it was two $180,000 bomb robots.
Homeland security and law enforcement officials say the expenditures and modern training have helped save civilian and police lives. Do the armored vehicles and combat dress produce a sort of “shock and awe” effect? Lt. Jeremy Clark of the West Hartford Police Department in Connecticut hopes so. He said it can persuade suspects to give up sooner.
“The only time I hear the complaint of ‘God, you guys look scary’ is if the incident turns out to be nothing,” said Clark, who organizes an annual SWAT competition.
But the gear also can be used for heavy-handed – even excessive – tactics. In one case, dozens of officers in combat-style gear raided a rave in Utah as a police helicopter buzzed overhead. An online video shows the battle-ready team wearing masks and brandishing rifles as they holler for the music to be shut off and pin partygoers to the ground.
Arizona tactical officers this year sprayed the home of ex-Marine Jose Guerena with gunfire as the man stood in a hallway with a rifle that he did not shoot [PDF]. He was hit 22 times and died. Police had targeted the man’s older brother in a narcotics-trafficking probe, but nothing illegal was found in the younger Guerena’s home, and no related arrests had been made months after the raid.
Police say greater firepower and more protective equipment became increasingly necessary not only as everyday criminals obtained deadlier weapons, but also in response to 9/11 and other terrorist attacks. They point to a 1997 Los Angeles-area shootout with heavily armed bank robbers and the bloody 2008 shooting and bombing attack in Mumbai, India, which left 164 people dead and 300 wounded.
Every community in the country has some explanation for why it needs more money, not less, to protect against every conceivable threat. It could be a shooting rampage at an amusement park, a weapon of mass destruction hidden at a manufacturing plant, a nuclear device detonated at a major coastal port. Nothing short of absolute security seems acceptable.
“The argument for up-armoring is always based on the least likely of terrorist scenarios,” said Mark Randol, a former terrorism expert at the Congressional Research Service. “Anyone can get a gun and shoot up stuff. No amount of SWAT equipment can stop that.”
Law enforcement leaders nonetheless bristle at the word “militarization,” even if the defense community itself acknowledges a convergence of the two.
“I don’t see us as militarizing police; I see us as keeping abreast with society,” said former Los Angeles Police Chief William Bratton, now chairman of Kroll Inc., the security consulting firm. “And we are a gun-crazy society.”
SWAT competition underscores training
They appear on a grainy video in slow motion, wearing battle fatigues, helmets and multi-pocketed vests.
Figures move through the scene as though on a mission. One large man with a pistol strapped to his hip swings a battering ram into a door. A colleague shoots a flash-bang grenade into a field. A third man points an assault rifle into the distance, peering at his target through a scope. A fourth, holding a pistol and wearing a rifle strapped to his back, peeks cautiously inside a bus.
The images unfold to the pulsing, ominous soundtrack of a popular video game, “Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2.”
These are not soldiers in a far-flung warzone. They are members of the Massachusetts State Police competing at a SWAT team competition in Connecticut. The video, posted on YouTube, underscores the training and devotion tactical officers bring to their jobs. It also illustrates the level of force police units across the country can now deliver.
The annual Connecticut SWAT Challenge, hosted by the West Hartford Police Department, is one of numerous contests and exercises that have flourished since the terrorist attacks, as ultra-equipped, better-trained units sought to enhance their skills. The number of participating units more than doubled in five years, to nearly 40 teams by 2009, and dozens of sponsors seek to ensure their products and logos are on display.
One such sponsor sells ThunderSledge breaching tools for smashing open locked or chained doors. Another, Lenco Armored Vehicles, assembles black, bulletproof box-like trucks on oversized wheels that can fit up to 15 officers. Options include radiation detectors and hydraulic rams. KDH Defense Systems markets body armor to police that matches protection “used by some of the world’s most elite warfighters.”
Clark, of the West Hartford police, says he started the competition precisely because of the new counterterrorism spending. State and local governments weren’t willing to match it with costly training necessary for the gear to be used effectively and safely. Clark is startled by the number of SWAT teams falling below the 16 hours of minimum monthly training recommended by the National Tactical Officers Association. Without proper maintenance, only luck remains.
“Luck is not for cops. Luck is for drunks and fools,” Clark said. “Invariably, what happens with a police officer is he slips and falls, he breaks his back, he’s paralyzed for the rest of his life. Some suspect gets shot with an M4 (assault rifle) through the neck, and he’s out of the hospital in a day. Police officers and military guys never seem to have that kind of stubborn luck.”
Competitions in the San Francisco Bay Area and Boston use grant cash to create realistic and elaborate challenges, said Alameda County Sheriff Greg Ahern, who created the Urban Shield event in 2007.
In one scenario, officers with goggles, rifles and fatigues swept through the cabin of a boat. Flames poured from an exploded vehicle during another. Video of the 2009 Urban Shield – with its own heart-thumping doomsday music – depicts tactical teams moving carefully through darkened quarters, roping down the sides of buildings and leaping from a van. Images of 9/11, the Columbine shootings and the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake in California appear with the words “train, adapt, overcome.”
Special ops supplier Blackhawk Industries – founded by a former Navy SEAL – was among several elite Urban Shield sponsors this year.
Ahern points to a real-life recent case that tested area responders. A gunman killed three people and injured seven others in October at a Cupertino, Calif., cement plant where he reportedly clashed with co-workers. These incidents aren’t infrequent, Ahern insists.
“When you say low probability, I think we deal with these issues on a fairly regular basis,” Ahern said, adding that police “identify infrastructure, potential targets, in our area and try to have our teams train at those actual sites.”
No one knows for sure the number of SWAT teams nationwide. But at a time when the crime rate has been dropping, the number of police associated with SWAT duties has gone up. The National Tactical Officers Association, which provides training and develops SWAT standards, has about 1,650 team memberships, up from 1,026 in 2000, according to Executive Director John Gnagey.
“What we’ve always said is if you don’t have a specific need, you shouldn’t have one,” Gnagey said, referring to SWAT units.
Convention showcases latest tactical gear
The giant showroom in Chicago’s McCormick Place convention center provided a vivid picture of how the nation's law enforcement agencies are arming and armoring themselves. Chicago hosted the annual International Association of Chiefs of Police conference in late October. Some 800 exhibitors set up booths in 180,000 square feet of noisy space, many displaying military-style gear as thousands of police and other law enforcement professionals wandered the expo, dazzled by the latest gadgetry.
The sights and sounds are bewildering for a casual observer.
Electronic blasts and booms pour from the IES Interactive Training booth, where attendees chose among a shotgun, handgun and assault rifle with realistic recoil to aim at uncooperative suspects and inanimate targets on a life-size screen. Other booths offered combat-style apparel, such as one vest with a “Never Forget” patch, stirring up the memory of 9/11. At the Blackhawk booth, a mannequin was dressed head to toe in heavy-duty dark attire, a rifle slung from its neck and an additional sidearm strapped to its thigh. Another mannequin wore a full-face black mask.
Then there was the panoply of weapons. Colt’s Manufacturing Co. offered a selection of assault rifles. The most popular among cops? An M4 semi-automatic, “closest to what the military issues,” a salesman said.

rest at the link but you get the point?  They're ready for war against us and if they can't handle you then they'll bring in the military.
http://news.yahoo.com/cops-ready-war-094500010.html%3B_ylt%3DAvX.v3zb6530B7deFQ8ba3Ss0NUE%3B_ylu%3DX3oDMTNtNG5razV0BG1pdANUb3BTdG9yeSBGUARwa2cDODg0NTg0OGEtMDI4Mi0zZTQwLTg5ZDctYmU3NTlmYjBiYTc5BHBvcwMxMwRzZWMDdG9wX3N0b3J5BHZlcgMwMzcxZGExMC0yYmJhLTExZTEtOWRmMy04YWYyODcwOWI1ODA-%3B_ylg%3DX3oDMTFvdnRqYzJoBGludGwDdXMEbGFuZwNlbi11cwRwc3RhaWQDBHBzdGNhdANob21lBHB0A3NlY3Rpb25zBHRlc3QD%3B_ylv%3D3

Cops Ready for War

Nestled amid plains so flat the locals joke you can watch your dog run away for miles, Fargo treasures its placid lifestyle, seldom pierced by the mayhem and violence common in other urban communities. North Dakota’s largest city has averaged fewer than two homicides a year since 2005, and there’s not been a single international terrorism prosecution in the last decade.
But that hasn’t stopped authorities in Fargo and its surrounding county from going on an $8 million buying spree to arm police officers with the sort of gear once reserved only for soldiers fighting foreign wars.
Every city squad car is equipped today with a military-style assault rifle, and officers can don Kevlar helmets able to withstand incoming fire from battlefield-grade ammunition. And for that epic confrontation—if it ever occurs—officers can now summon a new $256,643 armored truck, complete with a rotating turret. For now, though, the menacing truck is used mostly for training and appearances at the annual city picnic, where it’s been parked near the children’s bounce house.
“Most people are so fascinated by it, because nothing happens here,” says Carol Archbold, a Fargo resident and criminal justice professor at North Dakota State University. “There’s no terrorism here.”
Like Fargo, thousands of other local police departments nationwide have been amassing stockpiles of military-style equipment in the name of homeland security, aided by more than $34 billion in federal grants since the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, a Daily Beast investigation conducted by the Center for Investigative Reporting has found.
The buying spree has transformed local police departments into small, army-like forces, and put intimidating equipment into the hands of civilian officers. And that is raising questions about whether the strategy has gone too far, creating a culture and capability that jeopardizes public safety and civil rights while creating an expensive false sense of security.
“The argument for up-armoring is always based on the least likely of terrorist scenarios,” says Mark Randol, a former terrorism expert at the Congressional Research Service, the nonpartisan research arm of Congress. “Anyone can get a gun and shoot up stuff. No amount of SWAT equipment can stop that.”

rest at the link but remember that last quote....

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/crime/8949060/Police-to-test-laser-that-blinds-rioters.html

Police to test laser that 'blinds rioters'

A shoulder-mounted laser that emits a blinding wall of light capable of repelling rioters is to be trialled by police under preparations to prevent a repeat of this summer's looting and arson.

London riots: send in water cannon to clear streets, Theresa May told
Police will trial a laser-firing rifle to suppress riots, the Home Office said. 
The technology, developed by a former Royal Marine commando, temporarily impairs the vision of anyone who looks towards the source.
It has impressed a division of the Home Office which is testing a new range of devices because of the growing number of violent situations facing the police.
The developer, British-based Photonic Security Systems, hopes to offer the device to shipping companies to deter pirates. Similar devices have been used by ISAF troops in Afghanistan to protect convoys from insurgents.
The laser, resembling a rifle and known as an SMU 100, can dazzle and incapacitate targets up to 500m away with a wall of light up to three metres squared. It costs £25,000 and has an infrared scope to spot looters in poor visibility.
Looking at the intense beam causes a short-lived effect similar to staring at the sun, forcing the target to turn away.

http://gizmodo.com/5867984/future-riot-shields-will-suffocate-protestors-with-low-frequency-speakers

http://gizmodo.com/5867984/future-riot-shields-will-suffocate-protestors-with-low-frequency-speakers

Future Riot Shields Will Suffocate Protestors with Low Frequency Speakers

It's not the first crowd control tool to use sound waves, but Raytheon's patent for a new type of riot shield that produces low frequency sound waves to disrupt the respiratory tract and hinder breathing, sounds a little scary.
Crowd control tools like the LRAD Sound Cannon emit bursts of loud and annoying sounds that can induce headaches and nausea. But Raytheon's non-lethal pressure shield creates a pulsed pressure wave that resonates the upper respiratory tract of a human, hindering breathing and eventually incapacitating the target. The patent points out that the sound waves being generated are actually not that powerful, so while protestors might collapse from a lack of oxygen reaching their brains, their eardrums won't be damaged in the process. Phew!
And like Roman soldiers joining their shields to form a large impenetrable wall, these new riot shields can actually be networked together to form a larger acoustical horn, vastly improving their range, power, and effectiveness. There's no word on what the long-term medical implications might be if you find yourself on the wrong side of one of these shields. But I imagine the unpleasant experience is not unlike being force choked from afar by Darth Vader. [Google Patents via New Scientist]

Comment: so far two types of weapons suitable for messing with OWS hippies... trained rifle teams?

Some good news:

http://americanfreepress.net/?p=1743#more-1743

Lawman Richard Mack Tells Sheriffs: You Can Fight NWO at County Level

By Pat Shannan
Sheriffs from all over America are being invited to gather on Jan. 30, 2012 in Las Vegas, Nevada, for what could be the most important meeting “since the Constitutional Convention of 1787,” according to Constitutional Sheriffs and Peace Officers Association (CSPOA) founder Richard Mack.

AFP recently spoke with Mack by cell phone as he zigzagged by car across Florida as a guest speaker for various groups.
As Americans push back with their tea party and occupy movements, screaming at the corruption of big banks and Wall Street, they still have not realized the rudimentary solution right in their own backyards, says CSPOA.
Mack is the former sheriff of Graham County, Ariz. who took the federal government under President Bill Clinton to the Supreme Court in the 1990s in a “David vs. Goliath” struggle that he won. His efforts stopped the Brady Bill from forcing all county sheriffs to do federal paperwork and conduct background checks on gun buyers. Now he is taking another giant step to educate some 2,000 county sheriffs across the nation who have been so numbed with bureaucratic propaganda many don’t even remember the meaning of their oaths of office or the rulebook they swore to follow.
“Your local sheriff needs to know,” Mack told AFP, “that there is nothing that the UN or the New World Order boys or the feds want to shove down our otherwise healthy throats that we cannot stop at the county level with a constitutionally educated sheriff.”
The goal, according to Mack, is to get 10 percent of all the sheriffs, or about 200, from around the nation on board for a free education. He figures that when 200 of them begin to behave constitutionally by telling federal agents not to step beyond their county boundaries and taking positive action to prevent it, much of the remaining majority will wake up.
Here is CSPOA’s plan: raise $200,000 to bring 200 county sheriffs to the Nevada conference at an average cost of $1,000 each. This may not be as high a mountain to scale as it sounds because many citizens are so anxious for their sheriffs to attend, they already have taken it upon themselves to send them. This has greatly lightened CSPOA’s load.
We are told that security will be tight and no employees from any federal agency will be allowed inside the meeting room. Anyone not endorsed and accompanied by a visiting sheriff will be turned away. However, any private citizen who wishes to pay $1,000 may sit in, as the money will be used to fund the expenses of another out-of-state sheriff.
“We have collected nearly $50,000 and need only $100,000 more because of the commitment of various county citizens who strongly want their sheriff to be there and are willing to raise the money locally,” said Mack. “This is what we need a few more counties to do.”
Raising only $1,000 for the good of one’s county is far easier than Mack’s effort of trying to raise $200,000 on his own, but he hasn’t slowed down.
There are 17 active sheriffs from 14 different states who sit on the board of directors of CSPOA, and many of them have admitted that they did not live up to their oaths of office until recently because they simply didn’t know any better. Many are angry and repentant.
Some who would be there cannot—such as former sheriff Melvin Holly of Latimer County, Okla. He is incarcerated in federal prison. Holly’s crime: He attempted to stop a drug-running operation in his county that was apparently federally sanctioned. His error? He didn’t stop investigating and ended up framed for multiple sex crimes he says never happened. Holly was then convicted after witnesses reportedly received payoffs for their deceitful testimony.
It is a growing problem that all sheriffs face because of the Fed’s ability to create unconstitutional money and the feds’ ability to pass  unconstitutional statutes legalizing payoffs to witnesses in the event of a conviction. But almost no lawyers, let alone sheriffs, even knew that these statutes existed before AFP’s story alerted them last year. See AFP’s Aug. 16, 2010 edition (#33) for that article.
“The bottom line is that county sheriffs need to know that their power exceeds that of federal interlopers,” pointed out Mack. “Ultimately, he is the one who will decide what is and what is not enforced in the county. He has the authority and an oath-bound duty to interpose himself on the citizen’s behalf to protect you from all enemies, both foreign and domestic. But a large majority of these 2,000 sheriffs just don’t know it.”
Georgians got a dose of this power on Dec. 1 when Fulton County (Atlanta) sheriff’s deputies defied a court by refusing to evict bedridden Vita Lee, 104, and her 83- year-old daughter from their home of 53 years.
“We are not in trouble in this country because we follow the Constitution too closely,” Mack told AFP. “Just the opposite. But there is a way to get back to it, sheriff by sheriff, county by county.”
See www.cspoa.org for information on how you can help.
——
Pat Shannan is a contributing editor of American Free Press. He is also the author of several videos and books including One in a Million: An IRS Travesty, I Rode With Tupper and Everything They* Ever Told Me Was a Lie. All are available from FIRST AMENDMENT BOOKS. Call 1-888-699-NEWS toll free to charge.

COMMENT: You need to be able to elect those sheriffs in the first place, which means controlling enough of the county to get that done.  To do that you have to start with one town, concentrate your efforts there, enact reforms and the revolution will spread.

1 comment:

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