I mentioned this issue before Thanksgiving (at least as it was related to Iraq occupation equipment getting transferred to occupy us), but the New American provides some more context and asks the right question: “Why Is Homeland Security Taking Over Local Police.”
The article is filled with examples of Homeland Security giving high tech or powerful surveillance and weapon systems to local and college police. It also gives some opinion about what it all means:
Jim Fitzgerald worked for eight years as a vice and narcotics squad detective in Newark, New Jersey, before joining the staff of The John Birch Society. He is point man for the conservative organization’s “Support Your Local Police” initiative.
In an interview with The New American, Fitzgerald said there is “virtually no use” for the military-grade equipment being bought by local law enforcement with DHS grant money.
“The only reason to have this equipment is to use it,” Fitzgerald said, and it is likely it would be used against local citizens who have risen up and created some sort of civil disorder.
DHS, Fitzgerald believes, may be anticipating these riots and looks to them as a justification for the militarization of the police.
“They [DHS grants] are not good, not healthy, and not constitutional,” Fitzgerald adds.
The question that remains is how long citizens will accept the arming of their local police until they rise up in resistance and, as DHS probably has orchestrated, are targets of all the tactical weaponry, ammunition, and monitoring technology.
I suppose someone will accuse Fitzgerald of being paranoid. He is on staff at the JBS after all! But in opinion the real sign of paranoia and fear is arming oneself with superweapons or spying gear.
What I thought was most interesting in the article was the description of the economic dynamics.
Cash-strapped local law enforcement gobbles up the federal “grants,” purchasing military-grade vehicles, weapons, ammunition, and surveillance technology that would make the National Security Agency (NSA) proud.
But why are they cash strapped? Because Alan Greenspan and then Ben Bernanke ran the economy into the ground, and stole hundreds of billions from the public to support their Wall Street cronies. Since that time they have pursued a low-interest, money-stimulus scheme that further robs from Everywhere, USA, and lines the pockets of the one percent. They are happy to let some of that plunder trickle into police departments because it will make them compliant.
In other words, the same economic aggression that has raised the possibility of Standard-of-living riots has also starved the local police and motivated them to look for a Federal savior. The one who tips the violinist gets to request the song. Police who are dependent on Federal money will follow Fed directives—which will all be given to them with artful propaganda to justify their behavior.
It looks like interesting times are ahead.