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Militarization of US Police Depts. (including Ferguson's) linked to Federal Program Called 1033

Rainbow Girl's picture

USA Today. So now we learn there's a totally "normalized" process in existence that militarizes police departments across the country, including Ferguson's. It's a federal program Called 1033. Anyone ever heard of this before? I hadn't.

According to Michelle McCaskill, a media representative for the Defense Logistics Agency:

The Ferguson Police Department is part of a federal program called 1033 that distributes hundreds of millions of dollars of surplus military equipment to civilian police forces across the United States. The materials range from small items, such as pistols and automatic rifles, to heavy armored vehicles such as the MRAPs used in Afghanistan and Iraq. [Good business for the US defense contractors who make the stuff!]

"In 2013 alone, $449,309,003.71 worth of property was transferred to law enforcement," the agency's website states.

According to McCaskill, the most recent transfer of military equipment from the Department of Defense to small Ferguson was in November and included two vehicles as well as a trailer and a generator. Details on the vehicles and their intended uses have not been released by the Pentagon. Information on any prior transfers is also unavailable.

So it's official. Local police departments are now subdivisions of the Pentagon and the DOD - and since he's in charge, Barack-I'm Good At Killing People-Obama.(*) What exactly is "local" about police departments anymore except (maybe) personnel?

We the citizens of the United States are all Gazans.

(*) I'm waiting for The Bringer of Death Light to make a special announcement on TV: "The Ferguson police did an outstanding job, even though some folks were gassed."

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mellon's picture
Submitted by mellon on

By spending trillions of dollars on all this military and high tech surveillance gear, they are sending lots of money in the form of high profit margins to their supporters, rather than "wasting" it on education, social programs, or rebuilding our nation's crumbling infrastructure.

As somebody said to me once (while we were debating whether we should have free public education in the US) "why give people unrealistic expectations"

I think their main goal is actually spending/wasting all that money.

Submitted by lambert on

... so it's not like we're spending the squillions twice. But it would have been better to have followed Keynes's advice, and simply have buried the stuff in the ground.

nippersdad's picture
Submitted by nippersdad on

Yes, I had heard of it years ago. It covers not just machine guns and such, but also some prohibitively expensive big-yellow-equipment. We use (through the County) bobcats obtained via that program to mulch the nature trails in our park. The idea was to aid local governments with strained budgets to get more done with less, and also to disperse all of the govt surplus from the wars.

Not to in any way diminish or to belittle the militarization of the police in such places as Ferguson, but to point out that there is some good to the program and that, ultimately, what local govt's do with their options/money is their choice. Ferguson chose badly, and the results are now plain to see.

nippersdad's picture
Submitted by nippersdad on

Looks like Joe Six-pack has found your links. It truly is amazing the kind of crap you can get through this program, and municipalities (particularly rural ones) have not been slow to take advantage of it. Not well thought out. Unless, as I have long suspected, the Feds are EXPECTING to have some pretty severe civil unrest at some point. Conspiracy theorist that I prolly am, I have often wondered why the NRA's more extremist projects have not been squashed a long time ago....fleabaggers like Bundy....

Creating an excuse for the imposition of martial law? Outsourcing of the police function? It has been tried in New Orleans. What can be done once.....

It IS kind of scary shit, but one can also get bobcats for cheap to move your mulch for you. So there is that.

nippersdad's picture
Submitted by nippersdad on

We are not Iraq.

Most urban Iraqi's are a generation removed from the land, whereas that is not the case here. Most of us could not survive economically without the infrastructure that we have built up over the past seventy years. We have far too much baggage, both literally and figuratively.

Culturally the very things that make them so successful are simply non-existent here. With the exception of some minorities, poor and religious groups, the nuclear family and tribal interrelationships no longer exist here.

It would work far better here than there.That is one of the biggest problems with the strategy in the M.E., the powers that be were too stupid to recognize that they have a far different culture motivated by much different things than we do.

Submitted by lambert on

Maybe I'm closer to the back to the land thing up here. It doesn't seem so impossible....

nippersdad's picture
Submitted by nippersdad on

Individually, not impossible, just improbable. Think going into a random field with nothing and returning with a basket full of wild produce....if that is even possible to find here anymore after hundreds of years of agricultural attrition reducing the "normal" potentialities of any given ecosystem in the mainland U.S.. It is the rare person who could pull it off. I doubt that even one of those persons could do so over a long period of time unnoticed.

Then add to that fact that there is no social infrastructure which could support more than just individuals in such an effort. You would need large(r) groups for a significant rebellion to succeed....and all of the economic incentives here would be to turn them in for cash. Unlike in Iraq the land is owned by landowners, not controlled by sheiks from tribes who might turn a blind eye.

Their entire culture is built around such things. Money, and that which money can buy, are comparatively low on the priorities list. That is the nature of a transient, tribal, nomadic existence. They are really quite an impressive people, and they have cultural memories that go back for millennia.

I used to joke around that were we to ever lose the house we would be the people wheeling the federal tall case clock, the Chinese porcelain and marquetry renaissance revival table down the road in a grocery cart to the nearest underpass. I was only speaking half in jest. We just don't have the same cultural priorities. We have forgotten a lot of what we need to survive, and most of that which we have not forgotten is now lost to us anyway.

They are far more resilient than we are.

nippersdad's picture
Submitted by nippersdad on

On further thought, individuals could conceivably engage in a rebellion here successfully but it would require some pretty cutting edge knowledge of technology. Anonymous comes to mind. As a dedicated group, they could bring down the tech infrastructure upon which our government would rely in the event of social rebellion and, importantly, be able to cover their tracks. It would take a totally different paradigm that capitalizes on the very things that our present social structure relies upon to exist.

It would be doable, but the jokers who think a traditional armed rebellion would work here are deluded.