To Terrify and Occupy: How the Excessive Militarization of the Police is Turning Cops Into Counterinsurgents
by Matthew Harwood
ason Westcott was afraid.
One night last fall, he discovered via Facebook that a friend of a friend was planning with some co-conspirators to break in to his home. They were intent on stealing Wescott's handgun and a couple of TV sets. According to the Facebook message, the suspect was planning on “burning” Westcott, who promptly called the Tampa Bay police and reported the plot.
According to the Tampa Bay Times
, the investigating officers responding to Westcott’s call had a simple message for him: “If anyone breaks into this house, grab your gun and shoot to kill.”
Ferguson, Missouri's Men in "Blue"
Around 7:30 pm on May 27th, the intruders arrived. Westcott followed the officers’ advice, grabbed his gun to defend his home, and died pointing it at the intruders. They used a semiautomatic shotgun and handgun to shoot down the 29-year-old motorcycle mechanic. He was hit three times, once in the arm and twice in his side, and pronounced dead upon arrival at the hospital.
The intruders, however, weren’t small-time crooks looking to make a small score. Rather they were members of the Tampa Bay Police Department’s SWAT team, which was executing a search warrant on suspicion that Westcott and his partner were marijuana dealers. They had been tipped off by a confidential informant, whom they drove to Westcott’s home four times between February and May to purchase small amounts of marijuana, at $20-$60 a pop. The informer notified police that he saw two handguns in the home, which was why the Tampa Bay police deployed a SWAT team to execute the search warrant.
In the end, the same police department that told Westcott to protect his home with defensive force killed him when he did. After searching his small rental, the cops indeed found weed, two dollars' worth, and one legal handgun -- the one he was clutching when the bullets ripped into him.
Welcome to a new era of American policing, where cops increasingly see themselves as soldiers occupying enemy territory, often with the help of Uncle Sam’s armory, and where even nonviolent crimes are met with overwhelming force and brutality.
Created on Thursday, 14 August 2014 14:10
Written by Creative Commons
Photos: I Went to the Mount Polley Mine Spill Site
by Carol Linnitt
- DeSmog Blog CanadaI
t’s Monday, August 11th, and both my gumboots are dangerously sinking into the muck I’m trying to cross.
I took far too bold a step towards a sturdy log ahead as I’m trying to cross a sludge river left behind in the wake of the Mount Polly mine tailings pond breach.
Now I’m balanced precariously, one boot in front, one behind, and trying not to topple into the muck beneath that could contain high levels of arsenic, mercury, zinc, lead and selenium – all toxins and heavy metals stored in the breached tailings pond
fed by the Imperial Metals gold and copper mine near Likely B.C.
It has been one week since the waste pond wall breached, sending an estimated 10 million cubic metres (or 10 billion litres) of waste water and 4.5 million cubic metres of sandy sludge into the Hazeltine Creek that feeds Quesnel Lake. (For comparison, the Kalamazoo oil spill in Michigan
totaled an estimated 3.3 million litres).
It’s at the convergence of the Hazeltine and Quesnel Lake that I now find myself, arms outstretched to maintain my balance, and sinking.
Created on Wednesday, 13 August 2014 18:57
Written by Mike Whitney
My Money’s on Putin
by Mike Whitney
“History shows that the United States has benefited politically and economically from wars in Europe. The huge outflow of capital from Europe following the First and Second World Wars, transformed the U.S. into a superpower … Today, faced with economic decline, the US is trying to precipitate another European war to achieve the same objective.”
– Sergey Glazyev, Russian politician and economist
“The discovery of the world’s largest, known gas reserves in the Persian Gulf, shared by Qatar and Iran, and new assessments which found 70 percent more gas in the Levantine in 2007, are key to understanding the dynamics of the conflicts we see today. After a completion of the PARS pipeline, from Iran, through Iraq and Syria to the Eastern Mediterranean coast, the European Union would receive more than an estimated 45 percent of the gas it consumes over the next 100 – 120 years from Russian and Iranian sources. Under non-conflict circumstances, this would warrant an increased integration of the European, Russian and Iranian energy sectors and national economies.”
– Christof Lehmann, Interview with Route Magazine
he United States failed operation in Syria, has led to an intensification of Washington’s proxy war in Ukraine. What the Obama administration hoped to achieve in Syria through its support of so called “moderate” Islamic militants was to topple the regime of Bashar al Assad, replace him with a US-backed puppet, and prevent the construction of the critical Iran-Iraq-Syria pipeline.
That plan hasn’t succeeded nor will it in the near future, which means that the plan for the prospective pipeline will eventually go forward.
Why is that a problem?
It’s a problem because–according to Dr. Lehmann–”Together with the Russian gas… the EU would be able to cover some 50 percent of its requirements for natural gas via Iranian and Russian sources.” As the primary suppliers of critical resources to Europe, Moscow and Tehran would grow stronger both economically and politically which would significantly undermine the influence of the US and its allies in the region, particularly Qatar and Israel. This is why opponents of the pipeline developed a plan to sabotage the project by fomenting a civil war in Syria.
Read more: Backing Putin: American Petro Dollar to Russia's Rescue