Police State

Via the Police the Police (A Community Project), a quick but invaluable guide to proper response in various police-related situations. There is no guarantee, of course, as to how officers will react…

Miami’s WSVN reports in surreal fashion on a “joint military training exercise involving city police and the military” in which a swarm of helicopters hovered above Miami’s city center and the sounds of machine gun fire filled the air at the same time as thousands of spectators exited a Miami Heat basketball game.

The purpose on the military side was to “prepare for some overseas [activities]” and to ensure that “equipment was in check.” Police emphasized that this was only a drill. But the obvious question is, what was this a drill for? And, too bad for any local residents who did not want to be unwitting participants in a military exercise:

From art group Anti-Banality, the first segment of their new feature-length film Police Mortality. It was created by splicing together countless blockbuster action and cop movies, and tells the story lying underneath — a cop’s sudden existential crisis leads to the nation’s police turning on each other:

Police Mortality is Anti-Banality’s latest wish-fulfillment symptomology of, as one character hallucinates it, “a precisely formulated national conspiracy of police genocide.” It is a paranoid-schizophrenic blitz against police subjectivity, skimmed off nearly 200 movies by that other social superego–Hollywood.

In this opening scene, the immaculate suicide of one LAPD officer begins to reveal the contradictions of police existence to a force which, finding itself multiply irreconcilable with itself, resorts to terminal civil war, eradicating the prevailing organization of life in the process.

International news agency Al-Jazeera (which also happened to recently purchase Current TV here in the states, y’all) asks whether the United States’ police forces have become too militarized. For those of us who get our news from independent, mostly online sources, this seems obvious. Anyone who was involved with or follows the Occupy movement has seen how local and state law enforcement have refitted themselves as paramilitary organizations.

Each week, seemingly every day, there are dozens of stories of police harassment, abuse, brutality, and infringement on civil rights; usually against people of color. It may not be that this is a trend on the rise, but as others have suggested, that there are simply more cameras and recording devices out there facilitating our constitutional right to keep the cops accountable. But there can be no doubt that the addition of SWAT tactics, zero tolerance, racial profiling, stop-and-frisk, warantless surveillance and wiretapping, armored tank-like vehicles, severe use of ‘nonlethal’ weapons, and the trigger-happy cowboys themselves have increased faster than you can say ‘counter-terrorism’ or ‘fusion center.’ Add in some DHS-supplied drones and you’ve got a local militia with a fraternal code of silence and protection from the very laws they were once sworn to uphold.

On this episode of Breaking the Set, Abby Martin talks to Ian Freeman, Host of “Free Talk Live”, about the police state and the erosion of American civil liberties. Abby then talks to RT Arabic Correspondent, Reema Abu Hamdieh, about the polarized views of Arabs in the Middle East toward a second Obama Administration. BTS wraps up the show with a look at torture, murder and rape by US military contractors going unpunished.

The United States government has revealed information about the Justice Department’s use of warrantless internet and telephone surveillance of American citizens (known as “pen register” and “trap and trace” records). And even though…

A year after it all began, the Occupy protests returned to the New York Stock Exchange this morning, with more than a hundred arrests notched by the early afternoon. Raw Story reported a few hours ago:

A New York University professor and an artist featured in The Nation magazine this month were among more than 90 people arrested early Monday morning as Occupy Wall Street marked its first anniversary with various demonstrations in New York City. “Just grabbed off sidewalk, along with everyone else,” artist Molly Crabapple said on Twitter shortly after being picked up by police.

Elsewhere, Jacobin magazine founding editor Bhaskar Sunkara reported that NYU Social and Cultural Analysis professor Andrew Ross, was arrested as part of a demonstration in the lobby of the JP Morgan Chase building on Park Avenue. “Cops are never friendly, but these cops aren’t cops,” Sunkara said. “They’re militarized beyond comprehension.”

In response to both the killing an unarmed young man this past weekend and subsequent police brutality against protesters, hundreds of demonstrators converged in from of Anaheim City Hall yesterday, and cops once again responded violently, blanketing residents and reporters with a barrage of pepper balls and bean bag rounds as unrest in the city continues to grow: