It is truly amazing - not only in the Middle East, but around the world - preparations for war are being made. Additionally, it appears that law enforcement in the U.S. is also preparing for what appears to be the expectation of an 'internal war':
“We call on the men of resistance in the West Bank, primarily the Al-Qassam Brigades, to fulfill their duty in protecting the prisoners on hunger strike by targeting the occupation soldiers and its settlers,” Hamas spokesman Hussam Badran wrote on his Facebook page Monday.
“The occupation must pay a high price in the blood of its soldiers and settlers until it is persuaded to solve the issue of prisoners on hunger strike. This is everyone’s task, on the individual and organizational levels,” he wrote.
Badran’s comments came a week after the swearing in of a Hamas-backed Palestinian unity government in Ramallah, endorsed by the US and the EU. On Sunday, EU Commission chief Jose Manuel Barroso told the Herzliya Conference that Israel should support the new Palestinian government “in the interest of a future peace deal and of a legitimate and representative government.”
A major military exercise kicked off in Latvia, with 10 NATO member countries participating. The war games involve 4,700 troops and 800 military vehicles. Russia sees NATO's military build-up as a sign of aggression.
The Saber Strike ground forces exercise is being conducted for the fourth time this year and coincides with Baltic Host 2014 and Baltops 2014 naval drills.
Troops from the US, Canada, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Norway and the UK are taking part.
The two-week exercise is hosted by the three Baltic States, although some parts will be conducted in Germany.
For Latvia, where the opening ceremony was held, it's the biggest NATO military drill since its accession to the alliance in 2004, the country's defense ministry said Monday in a statement. The ceremony was crowned with a US strategic bomber B-52 flyover.
In total, Saber Strike will involve about 2,600 troops coming mainly from Denmark (1,100), Lithuania (900), about 200 soldiers from the US, 100 from Britain, 50 from Poland and several dozen each from Estonia and Finland. The exercise will include about 800 military vehicle units.
The UK’s HMS Montrose, a Type 23 frigate, will take part in the two-week long security exercise, the BBC reports.
The exercise comes amid high tension between NATO and Russia over the Ukrainian political crisis. The alliance ramped up its presence in Russia's neighborhood, claiming that it is a response toward Moscow's aggressive stance.
Russia would consider any further expansion of NATO forces near its borders a "demonstration of hostile intentions" and would take political and military measures to ensure its own security, a senior diplomat was quoted on Monday as saying.
The comments come amid a deep crisis between Russia and the West over Ukraine and days after U.S. President Barack Obamaoffered increased military support for eastern European NATO members to ease their concerns over Moscow.
"We cannot see such a build-up of the alliance's military power near the border with Russia as anything else but a demonstration of hostile intentions," Deputy Foreign Minister Vladimir Titov told Interfax in an interview.
"It would be hard to see additional deployment of substantial NATO military forces in central-eastern Europe, even if on a rotational basis, as anything else but a direct violation of provisions of the 1997 Founding Act on relations between Russia and NATO," Titov said.
"We will be forced to undertake all necessary political and military measures to reliably safeguard our security."
Russia has long opposed NATO's eastward expansion as threatening its own security and says Kiev's plan to associate itself more closely with the West - including with the military alliance and the European Union - has forced it to react.
At first blush, the title of this post could be perceived as somewhat hyperbolic by those who still have an impression of America's police departments as bastions of safety, designed "to protect and to serve" the population of the "land of the free." However, said impression would be promptly washed away upon reading an article in today's NYT which citing Pentagon data, reveals that under the Obama administration, "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."
Which begs the question: just who is America's police force, and by extension the Obama administration, which is behind this quiet militarization of local police forces with weapons that would normally be seen in a warzone, preparing for war against?
And while we already documented America's conversation to a turnkey totalitarian banana republic (confirmed over a year later by Edward Snowden), behold America's conversion to a police state:
In the past we have occasionally covered the slow (but sure) conversion of America's Police force into an army, fully loaded with the latest weapons and equipments, not even we had an idea of the full extent of what was going on behind the scenes. As the NYT describes, all of the above-mentioned equipment "has been added to the armories of police departments that already look and act like military units. Police SWAT teams are now deployed tens of thousands of times each year, increasingly for routine jobs.Masked, heavily armed police officers in Louisiana raided a nightclub in 2006 as part of a liquor inspection. In Florida in 2010, officers in SWAT gear and with guns drawn carried out raids on barbershops that mostly led only to charges of “barbering without a license.”
Meet the new normal SWAT: new, improved and, well, everywhere:
The number of SWAT teams has skyrocketed since the 1980s, according to studies by Peter B. Kraska, an Eastern Kentucky University professor who has been researching the issue for decades.... The ubiquity of SWAT teams has changed not only the way officers look, but also the way departments view themselves. Recruiting videos feature clips of officers storming into homes with smoke grenades and firing automatic weapons. In Springdale, Ark., a police recruiting video is dominated by SWAT clips, including officers throwing a flash grenade into a house and creeping through a field in camouflage.
In the meantime, this is where the build up has come from...
Congress created the military-transfer program in the early 1990s, when violent crime plagued America’s cities and the police felt outgunned by drug gangs. Today, crime has fallen to its lowest levels in a generation, the wars have wound down, and despite current fears, the number of domestic terrorist attacks has declined sharply from the 1960s and 1970s.
Police departments, though, are adding more firepower and military gear than ever. Some, especially in larger cities, have used federal grant money to buy armored cars and other tactical gear. And the free surplus program remains a favorite of many police chiefs who say they could otherwise not afford such equipment.Chief Wilkinson said he expects the police to use the new truck rarely, when the department’s SWAT team faces an armed standoff or serves a warrant on someone believed to be dangerous.
The people are said to believe the explanation:
"When you explain that you’re preparing for something that may never happen, they get it,” said Capt. Tiger Parsons of the Buchanan County Sheriff’s Office in northwest Missouri, which recently received a mine-resistant truck.
You mean like the Fed stepping back from propping the global capital markets? Or like Caesar taking over Rome and only then handing over the power to the people?
But however you explain it and whatever you call it, don't call it overkill, no pun intended. Actually call it overkill.
Pentagon data suggest how the police are arming themselves for such worst-case scenarios. Since 2006, the police in six states have received magazines that carry 100 rounds of M-16 ammunition, allowing officers to fire continuously for three times longer than normal. Twenty-two states obtained equipment to detect buried land mines.
The police in 38 states have received silencers, which soldiers use to muffle gunfire during raids and sniper attacks. Lauren Wild, the sheriff in rural Walsh County, N.D., said he saw no need for silencers. When told he had 40 of them for his county of 11,000 people, Sheriff Wild confirmed it with a colleague and said he would look into it. "I don’t recall approving them,” he said.
Funny how that happens. Because that's the whole point: if the police department is there to protect the people, shouldn't the people decide how the police is armed? Apparently not. Then again, the light bulb did go over some heads.
Which brings us back to the original question: as the NYT succinctly summarizes the situation, "as President Obama ushers in the end of what he called America’s “long season of war,” 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."
Perhaps that sentence needs some qualification: as Obama, humiliated on the international arena by everyone, from Assad to Putin and back, and desperately seeking to avoid future embarrassment, redeploys weapons of mass murder, why is he seeking to put said weapons - many of which are of the offensive kind - not out to pasture but in America's very own back yard? Just who does Obama plan to wage his next, and hopefully last, war against? The good news is that everyone will get sufficient advance notice before said war begins by the squadrons of weaponized drones sent out to test the ground, and inflict the "accidental" collateral damage casualty, or million.