I wonder if the best way to honour the people who died by increasing militarization of the police, and the consistent eradication of our civil rights. We have the government spying not only on us but on many nations world wide?I do not think we have really looked at home Sept 11 has been used as a means to disenfranchise the American public.
In the 10 years since the terror attacks of September 11, 2001, the government has claimed a number of new policing powers in the name of protecting the country from terrorism, often at the expense of civil liberties. But once claimed, those powers are overwhelmingly used in the war on drugs. Nowhere is this more clear than in the continuing militarization of America‘s police departments. The trend toward a more militarized domestic police force began well before 9/11. It in fact began in the early 1980s, as the Regan administration added a new dimension of literalness to Richard Nixon’s declaration of a “war on drugs.” Reagan declared illicit drugs a threat to national security, and once likened America’s drug fight to the World War I battle of Verdun. But Reagan was more than just rhetoric. In 1981 he and a compliant Congress passed the Military Cooperation with Law Enforcement Act, which allowed and encouraged the military to give local, state, and federal police access to military bases, research, and equipment. It authorized the military to train civilian police officers to use the newly available equipment, instructed the military to share drug-war–related information with civilian police and authorized the military to take an active role in preventing drugs from entering the country.
As we learn more about the US intelligence community‘s top secret, multi-billion dollar “Black budget” and how the NSA pays technology companies to comply with the Prism spying program, another mostly unnoticed pipeline moves billions of federal surveillance dollars from the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to local governments for dragnet surveillance systems that include video camera networks, automated license plate readers, facial recognition, and even drones and tanks. As the scope of federal surveillance becomes clearer, all of us should take a hard look at federal surveillance grants to local communities, consider how they distort local democracy, and demand more civil liberties safeguards, oversight, and accountability.
Federal grants to local and state governments for the purchase of new surveillance technology have risen dramatically over the last decade, all with little to no local oversight. Federal dollars—as much as $300 million from DHS just last year—find their way to local governments via opaque grant programs. Many times, grant applications go to D.C. straight from the desk of unelected local officials. Local representatives and community members may not learn about these applications or the planned use of the grant money until it arrives, at which point there is subtle pressure to accept the funds or lose future federal dollars. Any debate over local purse strings slips into the background as the primary question for local governments becomes “Why wouldn’t we take this cash?”
- Concord, NH and it’s Bearcat G3 SWAT-mobile (thisgotmyattention.wordpress.com)
- So Long, Warden Napolitano (lewrockwell.com)
- We Are Being Watched (eastbayexpress.com)
- 5 Ways the War on Terror Has Changed Your Life (alternet.org)
- Frightening new reason to fear police (wnd.com)
- Frightening new reason to fear police (mobile.wnd.com)
- U.S. Phone Snooping Goes Way Beyond “National Security” (rinf.com)
- Tanks on Main Street: The Militarization of Local Police (ConservativeActionAlerts.com)
- The Militarization of America (counterinformation.wordpress.com)