Have you been wondering how it is that Ferguson, Missouri can send such heavily-armed cops into the streets to terrorize the citizens?
It’s thanks to the nauseatingly-named Department of Homeland Security. Alec MacGillis at The New Republic* explains.
Since the Sept. 11 attacks, the American taxpayer has been providing the funding for an eye-popping influx of money from the Department of Homeland Security to state and local law enforcement agencies.
The funding is all in the name of preventing “terrorism,” but funds are fungible, and so are heavily-armored vehicles and high-powered weaponry. As the Missouri Department of Homeland Security explains on its own website advertising one of the federal DHS grants it distributes to local agencies: “Activities implemented under [the State Homeland Security Program] must support terrorism preparedness by building or enhancing capabilities that relate to the prevention of, protection from, or response to, and recovery from terrorism in order to be considered eligible. However, many capabilities which support terrorism preparedness simultaneously support preparedness for other hazards.” [Emphasis mine.]
Other hazards—like the disturbances that can spring up in the event of a police shooting of an unarmed 18-year-old named Michael Brown.
Score another victory for Bin Laden. He succeeded in making the US a more fascist state than it was before he made his disaster movie.
And then there’s also all that second-hand war stuff.
As the New York Times has reported, state and local law enforcement agencies are getting armored up from another source as well: the U.S. military. With our troops withdrawals from Iraq and Afghanistan, “the former tools of combat—M-16 rifles, grenade launchers, silencers and more—are ending up in local police departments, often with little public notice. During the Obama administration, according to Pentagon data, police departments have received tens of thousands of machine guns; nearly 200,000 ammunition magazines; thousands of pieces of camouflage and night-vision equipment; and hundreds of silencers, armored cars and aircraft.” USA Today reported Wednesday night that Ferguson is among the countless towns that received some of the nearly $450 million in military surplus distributed in 2013—most recently, two unidentified vehicles, a trailer, and a generator last November.
So, that’s how.
*Yes that surprises me too.