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Mon Aug 25, 2014, 10:19 PM

Re: Tap-dancing

I took part in a discussion on a thread that a friend started, and want to expand on a couple of points. Rather than post this on another thread, even if my friend would not be offended by my rudeness, I’ll try an OP. Here goes:

The militarization of domestic police forces is a serious issue. More, it’s a symptom that our constitutional democracy isn’t functioning properly. This should be important to everyone. Yet, as another friend noted, we do not really see many of the national “leaders” -- from either party -- speaking out on it.

Now, in order to put the topic in its correct historical context, we need to look back to the Nixon presidency. For it was during Nixon’s first term that an aide named Tom Huston was tasked with creating a plan to coordinate domestic police agencies at all levels -- from village, to town, to city, to county, to state -- with the national intelligence agencies, including military intelligence.

This became known when John Dean testified to the Senate committee investigating Watergate. Dean also provided substantial documentation that proved, despite the Nixon administration’s “official” record, that the program was instituted. The committee would release some of that documentation; however, they immediately filed much of it away per “national security.”

What’s amazing is that Nixon -- a lawyer -- went on record saying that although he recognized it was entirely illegal, he gave the Huston Plan his permission to move forward. He would then complain when it wasn’t happening fast enough for his liking.

More, none other than J. Edgar Hoover would make clear that he would not cooperate with the Executive Office on this. Not because he was in any sense a noble supporter of truth and justice. Hoover certainly had “shared staff” with army intelligence for years. But he was intent upon guarding his turf. There was a time when the FBI was domestic, and the CIA was international. But that clearly isn’t the case today.

Fast-forward to February, 1973. A group of Native Americans at Wounded Knee were, according to the Nixon administration and the media, “occupying” the hamlet. It was, of course, Indian Territory, according to federal law. Still, the Nixon administration reacted by having the US Army respond, to take over Wounded Knee. The media frequently referred to the soldiers as “US government law-enforcement.” It was an ugly time.

Now, fast-forward to today. Let’s take Ferguson, for example. People who were exercising their constitutional rights were confronted by a police-military response. Or, by a military-police response. No matter what we call it, the truth is that troops were sent in to occupy a city, and its residents were viewed by those occupying forces as “others.” And other than residents.

A few lone politicians have spoken out on this issue. In general, the media ignores them. And none of the politicians, from either party, who are in positions of political power, say boo about it. Now, lots of community leaders, and some journalists, are addressing it. In fact, on Lawrence O”Donnell’s show right now, he is exposing one of the sick police officer from Ferguson, who threatened demonstrators with his gun. Hardly surprising, the show played an internet clip, where that same cop was telling a crowd of sick people about his own international investigation to “prove” that President Obama was born in Kenya.

Now, how do you think those in power will respond if people across the country begin attempting to exercise local control in their towns and cities?

Yet, people must organize. And take part in their communities, and do things such as vote. But there isn’t a politician in DC who is going to work to de-militarize domestic police forces, under the current circumstances. Hence, the best alternative for patriot citizens today is to organize non-violent groups of activists. And not just the usual folks who are already passionate, and active participants in social-political movements. We need more than that. And I’m not suggesting that anyone pick a fight, or anything like that. But when the people in places like Ferguson are under the gun, we should have thousands of volunteers, from across the country, who head to the hot spot, and “sit-in” peacefully with those people.

Just my opinion.
H2O Man

11 replies, 1129 views

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Arrow 11 replies Author Time Post
Reply Re: Tap-dancing (Original post)
H2O Man Aug 2014 OP
NYC_SKP Aug 2014 #1
H2O Man Aug 2014 #6
NYC_SKP Aug 2014 #9
JEB Aug 2014 #2
H2O Man Aug 2014 #7
starroute Aug 2014 #3
H2O Man Aug 2014 #8
bigtree Aug 2014 #4
littlemissmartypants Aug 2014 #5
G_j Aug 2014 #10
Scuba Aug 2014 #11

Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Mon Aug 25, 2014, 10:37 PM

1. Recommended, and thank you.

 

Maybe it's hard for some of the younger folks to appreciate how far back this problem goes, and how deeply engrained the problem has become.

I was in high school during Wounded Knee but remember my sense of shock with that and with the Philadelphia Police Department's assault on the MOVE compound in 1985, and I remember thinking that the development of SWAT teams (these began in the 1960s, grew through the 1970s) was very concerning.

Some members of this community have claimed that the militarization of local agencies is a result of the 1997 North Hollywood Bank of America shootout.

No, I'm afraid it goes back much further than that and it's a far deeper problem that will take considerable effort to cure.

Thanks for the education and wisdom.

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Response to NYC_SKP (Reply #1)

Tue Aug 26, 2014, 11:48 AM

6. Thank you.

I believe that a lot of people my age fail to connect the dots on this one. It has been a process that has built momentum over the years. And unless one really considers events in a larger context -- which can be difficult, especially with cable news being 24/7, and the rapid increase in the speed of communications by the internet and cell phones -- it is impossible to really grasp what happens, and why it happens.

We are, obviously, in a struggle. Safe to say that most DUers, for example, are sincere in wanting to revive our constitutional democracy. But it isn't possible without grasping the "why?" I'm reminded of my participation in the great sport of boxing. My mentor, Rubin "Hurricane" Carter, used to say that he who knows "why" will always master he who knows "how."

Thus, we all see what is happening, and even how it is coming to be the way that it is. But too few really understand the "why," and so our opposition is able to exploit that area of ignorance.

At that moment when we really understand the "why," the pathways -- or "how" -- to respond become self-evident.

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Response to H2O Man (Reply #6)

Tue Aug 26, 2014, 12:16 PM

9. Thank you very much for the Carter reference. I'll remember that.

 


In my field, education, this is a fundamental requirement: Educators must understand and communicate with learners why they are learning something, which is far more powerful than what or how of the matter at hand.

Some concepts are universal, and it makes me smile to learn that a great boxer and a great educator can grasp and apply certain fundamental principles.



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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Mon Aug 25, 2014, 11:04 PM

2. K&R

 

Great post. Thanks.

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Response to JEB (Reply #2)

Tue Aug 26, 2014, 11:48 AM

7. Thank you.

Much appreciated!

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Mon Aug 25, 2014, 11:36 PM

3. Nixon also created the DEA to serve as a kind of domestic CIA

Yeah, that's the Drug Enforcement Agency. It was created by combining the Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs and one or two similar agencies. Its staff included a large number of CIA people and it was run out of the White House. It was only Watergate that prevented the whole plan from going into effect--and it's not entirely clear what that was to have been, but the outlines are pretty obvious.

One conclusion to draw from this is that the War on Drugs was intended from the start as a form of domestic repression.

Another is that the objectives that Nixon couldn't achieve 40 years ago have since been accomplished by way of the War on Terror, the militarization of the police, and the fusion centers and other means of domestic surveillance.

The song remains the same.

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Response to starroute (Reply #3)

Tue Aug 26, 2014, 11:57 AM

8. Right.

Exactly right. Thank you for that.

I'd add (although I recognize that YOU know this) that this being true, one has to consider its implications in a closely related area. Say, for example, the curious fact that Afghanistan had pretty much wiped out the large scale production of heroin in the 1990s. Not much of it was finding its way to American streets.

Then President Cheney and his puppet George W. Bush liberated Afghanistan. And, although I live in a rather rural region of upstate NY, I know that any teenager can score heroin -- literally, any day or night, quicker and cheaper than they can purchase a bag of pot.

I'm not saying that Cheney was intentionally advocating for the heroin merchants. Nor could I say that he wasn't. I don't know the answer to that. But I know with absolute certainty that the high school student who lives nearby wasn't importing that poison. And I also know the hell that this poison has inflicted upon his entire family.

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Tue Aug 26, 2014, 12:09 AM

4. very good points about local organizing

. . . and not just whistling dixie about the resistance they will face from a mostly hidden, but pernicious infrastructure of power and control that's even older than the Nixonites.

No one should be sanguine about what we're up against, but you are correct that we need to keep organizing toward that effort to put progressive people in positions of authority, beginning on the local level.

I just finished listening to a conversation, a town hall, in St Louis at the Missouri History Museum - a 3-hour community townhall which organizer and speaker Kevin Powell, an activist, writer; President & co-founder of @BKNationOrg, who noted was 'packed, standing-room only, featuring real, raw, honest emotions, dialogue, networking, action steps.'

I couldn't help but be transfixed by the number of youth standing up to address the crowd who had energy and motivation behind the ideas and experiences they shared.

Ferguson, like Wounded Knee, and other tragic, but transformational events in our history, has afforded us another chance to draw the energy and emotion of those looking in and concerned into something concrete, productive, and sustaining; in that community and others.

That's not going to be accomplished without folks willing to wade past the deliberate obstructions and diversions and focus on empowering as many of us as we can manage to make those political changes we want to see - beginning, as you say, on the local level.

Travel is preferable, for sure, but there are hosts of other ways we can employ to network and support these efforts - DU is one of them; many others exist and are emerging using social media for more than tweeting about Beyonce's hair (as lovely as it may well be).

Anyway, thanks for the history and challenge . . .

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Tue Aug 26, 2014, 12:33 AM

5. You political peeps got me started on the ground.

I am expecting some support dammit.

Love, Peace and the Righteous Fight.
~ Lmsp 🙌

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Tue Aug 26, 2014, 12:21 PM

10. K&R!

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Tue Aug 26, 2014, 01:33 PM

11. That's just your opinion.

 

And I've always considered your opinion to be among the most informed, thoughtful and insightful opinions I've found on DU. This instance further reinforces that judgement. Thanks H2O Man.

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