Friday, September 5, 2014

Will The Military Become The Police? - 9

A timely book
This series is not as controversial, following the revelations about the Ferguson, MO police militarization, as it once was.

When I first began this series, on May 5, 2010  it focused on the tension between the military becoming the police and certain federal laws criminalizing such behaviour (Will The Military Become The Police?).

One curiosity  was the use of the military to police New Orleans years after a "natural" disaster.

The military was giving out traffic tickets years after the disaster we call Hurricane Katrina (ibid).

Naturally, I thought of martial law, but I did not make up the purported reason for an expectation of martial law, no, actually, as was pointed out in another post of this series, it was the military that had expressed those inclinations:
A new report by the U.S. Army War College talks about the possibility of Pentagon resources and troops being used should the economic crisis lead to civil unrest, such as protests against businesses and government or runs on beleaguered banks.

“Widespread civil violence inside the United States would force the defense establishment to reorient priorities in extremis to defend basic domestic order and human security,” said the War College report.

The study says economic collapse, terrorism and loss of legal order are among possible domestic shocks that might require military action within the U.S.
(Will The Military Become The Police? - 3, emphasis added). As I stated in the previous post in this series (Will The Military Become The Police? - 8), and in yesterday's post (Interlude), I am trying to make sense of, or see patterns in, the dynamics of military equipment finding its way to various police departments around the nation.

The expression of "economic collapse, terrorism and loss of legal order are among possible domestic shocks" seems to include climate change events and economic collapse scenarios (and of course the catch-all code word "terrorism").

I took a look at the flow of military equipment to Ferguson, MO, because it seems to involve an ongoing "race war" (described by another code word "loss of legal order").

The actual meaning of the code word is "public protests because of the murder by police of young black teens."

I found the state of Missouri site where they give their official viewpoint:
The Department of Defense Excess Property Program (1033 Program) is authorized under federal law and managed through the Defense Logistics Agency's Law Enforcement Support Office (LESO) in Ft. Belvoir, Va. The 1033 Program provides surplus DoD military equipment to state and local civilian law enforcement agencies for use in counter-narcotics and counter-terrorism operations, and to enhance officer safety. The Missouri Department of Public Safety is the sponsoring state agency responsible for administration of the 1033 Program in Missouri.
(Missouri Dept. of Public Safety, emphasis added). Why military equipment is necessary to "enhance officer safety" is puzzling.

We have seen unarmed, peacefully protesting crowds accosted by very expensive military armored vehicles, with police officers on top of them in full military regalia, pointing machine guns at those citizens (got paranoia?).

The Missouri application for such military equipment explains:
Property available under this agreement is for the current use of authorized program participants; it will not be requested nor issued for speculative use/possible future use. Property will not be obtained for the purpose of sale, lease, loan, personal use, rent, exchange, barter, to secure a loan, or to otherwise supplement normal LEA or State/local governmental entities budgets. All requests for property will be based on bona fide law enforcement requirements. Under no circumstances will property be sold or otherwise transferred to non-U.S. persons or exported. Loaning to non-participants of the DLA LESO Program is not authorized.
(Missouri 1033 Application, PDF, emphasis added). So, in their view using war zone machinations in a civil society is a bona fide law enforcement requirement?

With that in mind, the FOIA request presented to the Pentagon, which I discussed the previous post of this series, has some interesting data.

For example, the top three Missouri counties listed for procurement of military equipment under the Pentagon's 1033 Program (during that specific FOIA time frame), are Jackson ($1,670,699.34, 920 items), Cole ($1,500,054.31, 8,125 items), and Morgan ($1,068,279.33, 449 items).

Of those counties it has been said:
"Jackson County is a county located in the western portion of the U.S. state of Missouri ... the second most populous county in the state (after St. Louis County). Although Independence retains its status as the original county seat, Kansas City serves as a second county seat and the center of county government ... According to the Mormon religion, Jackson County was the location of the Garden of Eden" (Wikipedia, Jackson County, MO).

"Cole County is a county located in the central portion of the U.S. state of Missouri to the south of the Missouri River ... Its county seat is Jefferson City, the state capital. The county was ... named after ... an Indian fighter and pioneer settler, who built Cole's Fort in Boonville" (Wikipedia, Cole County, MO).

"Morgan County ... As of the 2010 census, the population was 20,565 ... named for General Daniel Morgan of the American Revolutionary War ... The racial makeup of the county ... 97.34% White, 0.51% Black or African American, 0.63% Native American, 0.12% Asian, 0.02% Pacific Islander, 0.16% from other races, and 1.22% from two or more races. Approximately 0.83% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race" (Wikipedia, Morgan County, MO).
One wonders why these counties asked for and received the largest amounts of military equipment (not forgetting that Pentagon data may not have professional quality).

That wonder is enhanced even more by the fact that the Pentagon FOIA data indicates that St. Louis County received equipment with a value of only $10,000 (1 item, "ROBOT EXPLOSIVE ORDNANCE DISPOSAL") under the 1033 Program.

In contrast, the videos and photos of Ferguson (in St. Louis County) show that armored vehicles were received (or came from some other non-Pentagon source) by the Ferguson police.

Those armored military vehicles have a value of up to $733,000 each according to the 1033 Program data concerning other counties.

So, my guess is that the equipment is moved about from time to time, or the location is kept secret (because "during a war" one does not want "the enemy" to know where one's stuff is does one)?

The next post in this series is here, the previous post in this series is here.


  1. Randy: i don't think they know any better - it's culturally imparted, usually from immediate family and surrounding society. We're a sick species with worldviews that don't match reality - so we ignore reality!