External resources relating to United States of America

The Trump administration is reportedly sending armed and highly trained law enforcement units to sanctuary cities across the country to support US Immigration and Customs Enforcement in carrying out immigration raids.

As first reported by the New York Times, 100 US Customs and Border Protection officers, including those from the SWAT-like Border Patrol Tactical Unit, will be deployed from February through May across nine sanctuary cities: Chicago, New York, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Atlanta, Houston, Boston, New Orleans, and Newark, NJ.

On the surface, Noor Noor and Terry Burns don't have much in common. The former is a 28-year-old student at Cambridge, getting a degree in environmental conservation that he plans to use back home in Cairo, Egypt. The latter sells lawn ornaments and homegrown vegetables out of her house in the rolling farmlands of Jamestown, Pennsylvania, population 617. They've never met.

But Noor and Burns are linked by the global trade in nonlethal weapons, a growing industry that burst into the headlines recently when the U.S. Border Patrol tear gassed asylum-seekers on the country's southern border. It's the most recent, high-profile incident in a decade that has seen rising use of tear gas around the world.

Palmer Luckey, the virtual reality pioneer, left Facebook in 2017, six months after it was discovered that he had secretly funded a pro-Trump campaign group dedicated to influencing the US election through “shitposting” and “meme magic”.

The 25-year-old Oculus founder now has a new venture, Anduril Industries, this time supporting Trump’s immigration policies directly through the creation of a surveillance system designed to detect unauthorised crossings of the Mexican border.

Anduril Industries is one of a growing number of companies playing on the fear of “bad hombres” to cash in on government contracts for hi-tech virtual alternatives to physical wall. From drones and sensors to AI-powered facial recognition and human presence detection, these surveillance systems promise cheaper border control but at what cost to civil liberties?

How did tear gas became the go-to weapon in riot control, what are its real health implications, and why should we trace the money when it comes to understanding the increase in crowd-control weapons around the world?

Climate change, increased global migration, and expanding border enforcement are three linked phenomena guaranteed to come to an explosive head in this century.

What is the logic behind increasingly militarised protest policing? What are the costs of this strategy? And in what ways is resistance to aggressive policing growing?

As a national organizer for the War Resisters League’s “No SWAT Zone” campaign, I know firsthand that communities around the country are concerned about the dangerous effect such police militarization gatherings have on all policing. Last week’s SWAT Round-Up schedule included competition days between participating SWAT teams, vendor expos featuring ballistic weapons for purchase, workshops and competition exercises. Weapons exhibitors included teargas giant The Safariland Group, Smith and Wesson guns, and Lenco armored vehicles. Also present were companies that self-identify as “philosophy” or “lifestyle” brands, aiming “to better our brotherhood first and foremost.”

It’s the morning of Oct. 7 and a man stops traffic on Antonsanti Street in Santurce, behind the Ciudadela building. He is wearing a helmet, sunglasses, facemask, a vest with ammunition, gloves, plastic straps used for arrests, boots, camouflaged pants with knee pads, a knife and gun. There is a machine gun in his hand. He has no plaque or ID.

Since then, every corner of St. Louis has erupted in protests. In response, St. Louis’ law-enforcement community has engaged in a no-holds-barred effort to thwart the protests by any means necessary. Venturing outside the normal boundaries of policing and public safety, the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department has used questionable tactics to attack, criminalize and intimidate activists into silence and compliance.

 

Police militarization and border militarization go hand-in-hand. It's important to recognize this connection in the wake of two decisions recently made by President Donald Trump: to restore a program that provides surplus military gear to local law enforcement agencies, and to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, which protects young undocumented people who meet certain qualifications from being deported. Both decisions represent a reversing of course on policy enacted by President Barack Obama...

The world was stunned when rifle-toting police officers in masks and body armour rolled up in Ferguson, Missouri, in armoured vehicles, to stop the 2014 street protests over the police shooting of black teenager Michael Brown.

Following the public backlash, then-president Obama signed an executive order in 2015 limiting police access to equipment that belonged "on the battlefield".

Fast forward two years to Donald Trump. This week the US President promised to make it legal again for surplus military equipment, including grenade launchers and tanks, to be passed on to law enforcement agencies.

Paula Clarke and her family found themselves crawling half-naked on the floor of her Bronx home at 4:51 am on April 27, 2016, after multiple heavily armed men broke through her front door and demanded that she tell them where her son was.

Helicopters could be heard hovering right about her home. The loud flashbang grenades that initially woke Clarke up even left marks on the back of the house.

"I thought we were at war or something," she told Truthout. "Just being woken suddenly from your bed to all of this. It was like we were in a war zone."

This week, activists across the world celebrated as the Army Corps of Engineers announced that it would not grant the permit for the Dakota Access pipeline to drill under the Missouri river. This followed campaigning efforts from local Standing Rock Sioux tribe and thousands of Native American supporters from across North America and further afield, who argued that if the pipeline was approved, their spiritual lands would be compromised and local waters would be contaminated, threatening their livelihood. With a message that resonated with indigenous rights activists and environmentalists everywhere, campaigners were successful in forcing officials to back down...

I crawl out of the back of the pickup with my rifle in hand. “Keep your weapons nice and tight,” Captain Pain orders. I am traveling light. Unlike the others, I don’t view southern Arizona as a war zone, so I didn’t put steel plates in my chest rig. Next to everyone else’s commando-style AR-15s, my Ruger Mini-14 with a wood stock is slightly out of place. But everything else is square—I’m wearing a MultiCam uniform, desert tan combat boots, and a radio on my shoulder. I fit in just fine.

Police tactics at the Dakota Access Pipeline protest grew dramatically more aggressive last week, with law enforcement using tear gas, rubber pellets, sound cannons, and other controversial methods to clear activists from a road and a nearby encampment. The latest clashes followed a complaint from Standing Rock Sioux Chairman David Archambault, who warned of an “overall militarization of law enforcement” at the pipeline protest and requested an investigation by the Department of Justice...

Morton County, ND – Over two hundred multi-state law enforcement and National Guard personnel attacked water protectors gathered on unceded 1851 Oceti Sakowin treaty land just north of the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation in the late morning of Thursday, October 27th.

Video below shows police attacking Oceti Sakowin Treaty Camp with pepper spray, less-lethal rounds used at close range, batons, LRAD, and tasers (VIDEO).

From the Force Science Institute in Mankato, Minnesota to the ecological reserve outside Rio de Janeiro that houses Condor Non-Lethal Technologies’ police training center, the “use of force” industry has grown into a worldwide marketplace. Beginning on October 9, Hoffman Estates will host the five-day conference of the Illinois Tactical Officers Association, or ITOA. To greet them, a coalition of community groups and organizations from the Chicago area are assembling under the banner #StopITOA. These diverse groups, including AFSC-Chicago, CAIR-Chicago, Assata’s Daughters, Black Lives Matter-Chicago, the Arab American Action Network and War Resisters League, argue that government officials should prioritize spending for human needs not for militarization and violence.

Donald Trump has pledged to build a ‘beautiful wall’ – but America’s frontier with Mexico is already aggressively defended by the drones and fences of the US border patrol. It’s a strategy that is causing ever more migrants to die in hostile terrain.

North Dakota police with military-style equipment surrounded Native Americans gathered in prayer against the construction of the Dakota Access pipeline on Wednesday, disrupting their plan to cross sacred and treaty-protected land in protest of a project they fear will destroy their livelihood.

PLEASANTON — A gathering of more than 5,000 law enforcement workers next week at the Alameda County Fairgrounds also is expected to draw about 1,000 protesters.

Urban Shield, billed as an emergency preparedness exercise, is set to take place Thursday through Sept. 12. at the fairgrounds in Pleasanton. The event, hosted by the Alameda County Sheriff’s Office since 2007, will this year also include national police from Mexico and Taiwan, said Alameda County Sheriff’s spokesman Sgt. Ray Kelly.

Israel’s biggest military companies last year rang alarm bells over a decline in international contracts, citing smaller budgets, more competition, and less desire for Israeli-made products as among the reasons. Is this an indicator that Israel’s arms industry might not be as invincible as it seems? What led arms deals with Israeli companies to fall through? What was the role of the Palestinian-led movement for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS), which has called for military sanctions as part of its campaign to promote human rights? 1

In this Al-Shabaka policy brief, Maren Mantovani and Jamal Juma analyze some of the trends facing Israel’s military industrial complex with a particular focus on the campaign against Elbit Systems. The brief examines the tough times facing the industry, the myth of Israeli technological superiority, the industry’s local and global shifts, and the alliances emerging to reverse the militarization and securitization of societies. Based on this analysis, they draw valuable lessons and identify avenues for the global Palestine solidarity movement to pursue.

Israeli military companies such as Elbit Systems appear invincible, yet Israel’s arms industry is more vulnerable than it seems. Al-Shabaka guest author Maren Mantovani and Policy Advisor Jamal Juma’ examine both national and global trends and identify avenues for human rights activists to pursue to hold Israel accountable under international law.

Neill Franklin is a black man. But he'll admit that after decades of working at the Baltimore Police Department and Maryland State Police, he harbored a strong bias against young black men.

Franklin, executive director of Law Enforcement Against Prohibition, which opposes the war on drugs, previously explained, "When I'd see a young black male in a particular neighborhood, or his pants were sagging a little bit, or he walked a certain way … my first thoughts were, 'Oh, I wonder if he's selling drugs.'"

As an organization dedicated to peace, justice and nonviolent liberation, the War Resisters League stands firmly in solidarity with the Movement For Black Lives' newly released Vision for Black Lives Platform...