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Intro: "The U.S. military has some of the most advanced killing equipment in the world that allows it to invade almost wherever it likes at will. We produce so much military equipment that inventories of military robots, M-16 assault rifles, helicopters, armored vehicles, and grenade launchers eventually start to pile up and it turns out a lot of these weapons are going straight to American police forces to be used against US citizens."

US military tank. (photo: Wikipedia Commons)
US military tank. (photo: Wikipedia Commons)

Pentagon Offers US Police Full Military Hardware

By Robert Johnson, Business Insider

06 December 11


he U.S. military has some of the most advanced killing equipment in the world that allows it to invade almost wherever it likes at will.

We produce so much military equipment that inventories of military robots, M-16 assault rifles, helicopters, armored vehicles, and grenade launchers eventually start to pile up and it turns out a lot of these weapons are going straight to American police forces to be used against US citizens.

Benjamin Carlson at The Daily reports on a little known endeavor called the "1033 Program" that gave more than $500 million of military gear to U.S. police forces in 2011 alone.

1033 was passed by Congress in 1997 to help law-enforcement fight terrorism and drugs, but despite a 40-year low in violent crime, police are snapping up hardware like never before. While this year's staggering take topped the charts, next year's orders are up 400 percent over the same period.

This upswing coincides with an increasingly military-like style of law enforcement most recently seen in the Occupy Wall Street crackdowns.

Tim Lynch, director of the Cato Institute's project on criminal justice told The Daily, "The trend toward militarization was well under way before 9/11, but it's the federal policy of making surplus military equipment available almost for free that has poured fuel on this fire."

From The Daily:

Thanks to it, cops in Cobb County, Ga. - one of the wealthiest and most educated counties in the U.S. - now have an amphibious tank. The sheriff of Richland County, S.C., proudly acquired a machine-gun-equipped armored personnel carrier that he nicknamed "The Peacemaker."

This comes on top of grants from the Department of Homeland Security that enable police departments to buy vehicles such as "BearCats" - 16,000-pound bulletproof trucks equipped with battering rams, gun ports, tear-gas dispensers and radiation detectors. To date, more than 500 of these tank-like vehicles have been sold by Lenco, its Massachusetts-based manufacturer, according to a report in the Orlando Sentinel.

"It's kind of had a corrupting influence on the culture of policing in America," Lynch says. "The dynamic is that you have some officer go to the chief and say, people in the next county have [military hardware], if we don't take it some other city will. Then they acquire the equipment, they create a paramilitary unit, and everything seems fine.

"But then one or two years pass. They say, look we've got this equipment, this training and we haven't been using it. That's where it starts to creep into routine policing." your social media marketing partner


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+94 # pernsey 2011-12-06 13:25
All I can say is, are they ramping up for a POLICE STATE bigger then it is now? Really...they need tanks and bullet proof vehicles to manage people peacefully protesting, our government, in parks? I think the 1 percent is really ramping up and its overkill. Why do our police need military terrorism ramping up that we are unaware of?

This is nuts!

GOP stands for Greedy One Percent!

+15 # Susan W 2011-12-06 16:36
But this is happening under a Democratic(?) President! Your tag line makes no sense.
+38 # jon 2011-12-06 19:58
If we had a republican prez right now, the OWS protestors would have been squashed like bugs!

Making Egypt appear more American than us.
+29 # pernsey 2011-12-06 19:59
When I say they I am refering to corporations and police state, the republicans are backing the corporations. Thats the "they" I am refering to.

Susan my tag line always makes sense, anyone who votes republican is either brainwashed, misinformed, or rich!
+7 # Susan W 2011-12-06 22:56
It doesn't make that much sense in Today's political climate. Both parties are bought and sold by corporations and as long as the Ds can continue to claim they are the better choice only because they are the "lesser of two evils" the country will be stuck with "bad or badder". They both need to get the message that this is no longer viable and the way to do that is to vote third party. As long as the masses go along to get along nothing will change. The Ds today make Nixon look like a liberal.

And no, I do not vote for Rs and now I no longer blindly vote for Ds. In my opinion anyone who votes for either one is "brainwashed, misinformed or rich".
+11 # kyzipster 2011-12-07 09:08
It's quite possible to vote for a Democrat as a vote against the opposition that has moved to an extremist, unpredictable and dangerous state, without losing one's principles.

A third party candidate will only have a positive impact in a presidential race when there are two third party candidates to choose from. Otherwise a more liberal 3rd party candidate will only hand the election to the GOP if that candidate is popular enough.

I am not brainwashed because I believe the country would be in much better shape had Gore been elected over Bush in 2000. There are still very big differences despite the corruption in the Democratic Party. I believe change will have to come first at the grass roots level, in local elections and in Congress.
+5 # feloneouscat 2011-12-07 12:05
I might be wrong, but I don't believe police departments are under Federal jurisdiction.
+7 # seeuingoa 2011-12-07 08:03
Quoting pernsey:
When I say they I am refering to corporations and police state, the republicans are backing the corporations. Thats the "they" I am refering to.

Susan my tag line always makes sense, anyone who votes republican is either brainwashed, misinformed, or rich!

It is not necessarily a problem being rich but it is a problem voting republican!

Ex.: Michael Moore and Bill Gates.
+6 # pernsey 2011-12-07 10:36
I agree, I was saying that it a reason a rich person, not all rich people, would be more likely to vote republican because they do things that benefit the rich.
-2 # seeuingoa 2011-12-07 12:01
Quoting seeuingoa:
Quoting pernsey:
When I say they I am refering to corporations and police state, the republicans are backing the corporations. Thats the "they" I am refering to.

Susan my tag line always makes sense, anyone who votes republican is either brainwashed, misinformed, or rich!

It is not necessarily a problem being rich but it is a problem voting republican!

Ex.: Michael Moore and Bill Gates.


of cause being rich but NOT republican
+7 # tm7devils 2011-12-07 12:59
Quoting Susan W:
But this is happening under a Democratic(?) President! Your tag line makes no sense.

Do you know what "revisionist history" means? It mostly started under the sonny Bush era...along with torture and other anti-democratic events.
You can have your own opinion...but not your own facts!
+12 # Adoregon 2011-12-07 14:24
The bottom line is the military hardware is not "free."

It was paid for by our taxes.

We pay for the military hardware that will be used against us.

How is that for irony?
+33 # William Bjornson 2011-12-06 16:40
Yeah, pernsey, the elite is starting to get nervous. They must see many more seriously angry people in America than I do. Our job needs to be bringing our local gendarmerie out of their cocoons and into the mainstream of American society. At this point, they are almost completely dedicated to the parasitic elite and the elite's interests rather than that of their own neighbors. They need to be made aware that they do have neighbors who will not take it lightly if the local 'serve and protectors' start to shoot down kids and old folks and average citizens who are finally traumatized enough to destroy our parasite, that it is in their own best interests and, especially, in the interests of their own families, that they serve the local community and not the elite psychopaths. I hate the word but we really need to be 'proactive' in this because OWS style "May we have more, please...?" does not seem to be resonating with the current generation. Local politicians, also, must be made aware that if things get dicey here, they and their families will be the first to feel the effects of anti-People policies. I do not advocate any kind of violence nor do I think the first shots will be fired by the average American. They have already been fired by psychopathic police as we have seen with OWS.
+33 # William Bjornson 2011-12-06 16:44
2) We are on a path that in humanzee history has almost always led to either complete enslavement or a complete erasure of the ruling rapacious elite, this last certainly the preferred outcome here. I, myself, will probably not see much of it whether through murder by my local police or the simple senescence that creeps over me like an irresistable shroud. If we are successful in educating our local 'authorities' in their proper priorities vis-a-vis The People, the elite may well rue their largesse in providing The People with the very means to handily Restore Democracy to America. Take a cop to lunch. Invite them to contemplate a completely fascist America and what that would mean for their own children and grandchildren. This must be OUR first priority. Our police are purposely very insulated from the people that pay their salaries and often see us as adversaries and we them as well. This must be changed. We are ALL Americans and our elite is not. They serve only themselves.
+24 # MEBrowning 2011-12-06 17:56
Mr. Bjornson, you make an excellent point. My parents and grandparents had a dedicated policeman in their neighborhoods who walked a beat, and everyone knew his name. Since the advent of the suburbs, and the decrease in community identity, we've lost our beat police and they've lost their sense of who we are.
0 # Doubter 2011-12-08 15:58
I'll say it again:
It's Us vs. Them!
+78 # mwd870 2011-12-06 14:03
Brilliant thinking. Rather than stop producing too much military equipment, Congress passes the 1033 Program in 1997. No thought given to better planning in order to cut costs?

The effect of this action on the American public?
"It's kind of had a corrupting influence on the culture of policing in America. They say, look we've got this equipment, this training and we haven't been using it. That's where it starts to creep into routine policing."

Our country is sick. Congress is completely worthless. Americans need to petition to repeal the 1033 act or bill or whatever it was.
+29 # MEBrowning 2011-12-06 15:53
MWD870, this warrants repeating in capital letters:

+34 # gentle 2011-12-06 14:50
Kind of gives you that snuggly secure feeling. Those local & state police forces, what I ask you, won't they do to keep all of us safe? I know I'll sleep much better tonight. When was the continental United States last invaded, 1812? We must be due, but I keep getting this picture of Barney Fife driving a tank down the main street of Mayberry. Wonder where the bullet is?
+59 # DaveM 2011-12-06 15:10
And just what legitimate law enforcement purpose can any of this serve?
+22 # Capn Canard 2011-12-06 16:42
Fear and intimidation, it is enough for most people but it may be that many will be killed before we all fall in line.
+23 # John Locke 2011-12-06 17:00
Protecting the 1% against an uprising of the 99%, but this will have an opposite effect, This may be what we need to wake people up, maybe it still won' would expect this type of conduct in any third world country, well i guess that says what we are now. doesn't it,
+16 # Bruce Gruber 2011-12-06 15:13
If our local law enforcement budget does not provide for maintenance and support of this 'granted' excess RESOURCE, should local progressive officials declare the costly critters surplus and sell them to 99% militia "bidders"?
+19 # Poetrafe 2011-12-06 15:22
Goodbye Tom Jefferson, Ben Franklin, the Adams brothers and FDR. Hello Bush, Obama, Congress Inc. and Fascism. How do you like your "Hope & Change" now America...oops, pardon me, rather F.S.S. (Fascist States of Somethingorothe r).
+28 # CL38 2011-12-06 15:46 can thank the 30 year ramping up of the far right to take over our country for these changes.
+38 # noitall 2011-12-06 15:23
We're toast and since this is 'the new world order', there's nowhere to run. What we're pissed about is happening world-wide. Either become a brown (white) shirt or face the wrath of "the patriotic". Its an old story. To see the details of the future, read the history books. Don't say you weren't warned: Zinn, Chompsky, Leary,,, make your own list.
+19 # fredboy 2011-12-06 15:31
Now it begins.
+2 # John Locke 2011-12-06 17:01
Sadly Frefboy yes!
+6 # tm7devils 2011-12-07 13:13
Quoting fredboy:
Now it begins.

No, it began a long time ago...most notably with the election of Reagan.
It's been downhill from there, and for that I mostly blame the fourth estate which has kept us ignorant. The only saving grace today is the "fifth estate" - the internet. If we lose control of that you can KYAG!
BTW, isn't it wierd that you never hear anythin about fixing the voting in this country so 2000 & 2004 never happens again? OWS should put that on their agenda also.
+33 # katlat 2011-12-06 16:02
Social security and medicare are on the chopping block to save money. In the meantime, the 99%, through their taxes, have supplied the budget to allow the Pentagon to give away surplus military hardware to be used by local police against the 99%. There is something seriously wrong with this picture.
+13 # tedrey 2011-12-06 16:19
Okay, progressives, here's the new plan! By concentrating first on small towns, we elect progressive mayors, councils, and sheriffs. All the miltary equipment in those communities is now in our control. The government can't touch us, because of the 2nd amendment, and we're just protecting our communities. OCCUPY gets safe havens. The nearer communities having less muscle, we begin to get respected, and our influence grows. When the government intervenes, we declare ourselves political resisters, and call upon the international community to support our civil war . . .
Oh, well. Back to sanity. At least for a minute I got you to think like the right-wingers do all the time.
+22 # Capn Canard 2011-12-06 16:48
I expected this ten years ago, but it is still disturbing to see the police become even more militaristic. The other day I saw a little Nat Geo program where they follow police stops and a man was found to have an 1/8 oz of Mary and they tackled him and then also charged him with carrying a weapon, which was a pocket knife. Weapon? The man showed no aggression but was tackled like a violent criminal or like a protester at a non-violent protest is roughed up for being non-violent. Welcome to THE POLICE STATES of AMERICA.
+38 # Ralph Averill 2011-12-06 16:48
One does not need armored personnel carriers, amphibious tanks, or any other of this hardware to "combat" terrorism." You just need intelligence. That is the one item in very short supply, any way you want to define the term.
+14 # bugbuster 2011-12-06 16:54
The Pentagon could be sloughing off a lot of white elephant junk they don't want. The cops will always have enough guns and ammo to kill us all, so it doesn't matter how much of that kind of gear they get. These tanks and stuff are going to cost a lot of money to store and maintain. Local police departments should think twice and then think again before accepting this junk.
+14 # bugbuster 2011-12-06 16:56
I'm sure the local taxpayers will be delighted to pay for all the storage and maintenance costs of all this fancy gear.
+8 # Vardoz 2011-12-06 17:33
Get ready folks - They mean business and the law of the land is against us. So prepare yourselves. Wear goggles, take pain killers, wear ear plugs and helmuts and if you can afford it get a bullet proof vest and bring a canteen of water, wear depends and have a lawyer ready. Cause you ain't in Kansas anymore! This is 3rd world style repression and Obama is asleep at the wheel- I just emailed this to Obama.
+6 # lin96 2011-12-06 17:35
The President doesn't control this country the financiers do. We are now a military nation. If you don't think a dictator is not on the heals of this you're not being realistic.
+2 # MainStreetMentor 2011-12-06 17:36
The "Commander-in-C hief" can instantly stop these kinds of affronts to the Constitution of the United States, where our citizens have not only a right, but an obligation to air grievences when wrongs are carried out against them. The very equipment that the American Taxpayer has purchased are turned against them by corporate managment and their law enforcement sycophants. Failure to reverse these actions is an indictment against our President.
0 # jon 2011-12-06 20:04
exactly right!
+1 # lin96 2011-12-08 02:31
Where is the outrage from anyone about the ostrosities inflicted on the middleclass except from the middleclass. The point one is stopping anything whether they have the ability or not. Obama needs to exercise more executive powers but if he does anything that has to go to Congress the republicans will stall it or vote it down as their only goal is to make Obama a one term President so sayeth Mitch McConnell.
+5 # wwway 2011-12-06 17:47
Should citicens be surprised that the military industrial complex could or would be used against them? NO.
People get the government they deserve.
+12 # Buddha 2011-12-06 17:49
Who needs the police for the police state, Congress is trying to allow the US military to act on US soil, to arrest and detain US citizens "suspected" of being or supporting "terrorism" indefinitely, without right to trial or habeas corpus. Only an Obama veto and his bravery at willingness to use it when it is a provision of a military appropriations bill, stands in the way of this final paving stone for our coming Police State. If Obama loses the next election, watch out.
+1 # reiverpacific 2011-12-06 18:08
There are still more of us than there are of them and they can't kill us all!
The more localized enemy -as anybody who's been paying attention for decades, especially since Bush 11 (the twit) and has seen all this gradual buildup, are the finks, blacklegs and informants (cowards) who work behind the scenes and in the shadows trying to pick holes in any attempts at solidarity and community, like OWS and it's offshoots a.k.a. "divide and conquer".
You can always pick these types out 'cause they won't debate you nor do they really have a stance of their own and are therefor thrown back on right-wing defensive-attac k rhetoric or flight, especially the lackeys of "Americans for Prosperity" and such like sweet sounding titles (like, as Kipling said "The smile on the face of the Tiger (about to spring)!
Watch out for these types in your communities.
Otherwise, I stick my middle digit up at drones and military might; it's all a manifestation of the fear-mongers and desperate measures to try and engender collective madness.
Courage, stay together (and start tax protests).
These are coward's weapons!
0 # Bodiotoo 2011-12-06 18:35
All the hardware in the world will not stop an idea....of course locally we have about 500 uniformed officers...CHip S, Sheriffs and PDs....populati on of 250,000.

How many hosueholds have sniper capability....I am not advocating violence...just making a point. 99%
+5 # Carolyn 2011-12-06 18:52
"How we cheered when Obama was elected president.
+3 # feloneouscat 2011-12-07 12:17
Quoting Carolyn:
"How we cheered when Obama was elected president.

The law wasn't passed under Obama, but under Clinton. Congress was Republican at the time.

Obama had nothing to do with this.
+3 # lin96 2011-12-08 02:11
This is the plan and people are buying into it. Blame Obama for everything, stall or reject every bill coming to Congress so it looks like the President is doing nothing. All the while touts everywhere are doing the financier bidding to slip more otrosities through in every aspect of our lives. Wake up!
+16 # Servelan 2011-12-06 19:10
In the great scheme of things, what happens on the local level, as in the local police department, has a lot more immediate impact than some ephemeral b.s. those idiots in Congress push out regularly. A lot of national congressional action is intended to draw attention away from the ultra-right local school board candidates, the reactionary water district candidates in your neighborhood, the idiot who says 'elect me mayor of Podunk, USA because I will lower your taxes' when in fact s/he has no means of impacting rates or assessments of taxes...

Your police force is one of those local agencies that has an impact on your life, directly and indirectly. It is to them you need to address your concerns; it is to them you need to protest in the strongest of terms. Write and call and set up an appointment to sit down and talk with your local police chief. Ask for justification of such purchases. File suit against purchases of military weapons, against the militarization of the local police department. It is a run-around of the posse comitatus law and a great injustice to foist off on local police the means to suppress free speech and the right of the people to gather together to affect change.
+4 # William Bjornson 2011-12-06 20:13
Bravo! Hear! Hear!
+2 # lin96 2011-12-08 02:15
Alan Grayson will do this. He has petitioned on behalf of the people and filed lawsuits against the contractors in Iraq for fraud and has retrieved over 60 million for our country and the people. Has the government been grateful? No. They don't care.
+5 # kyzipster 2011-12-07 09:19
Welfare is less than one percent of the federal budget and the Fox News crowd sincerely believes that this one penny out of every tax dollar paid is the source of their persecution, even though millions of them undoubtedly fall into the demonized demographic of those who are too poor to pay federal taxes. The working poor with dependents, the elderly on SS, the disabled, the unemployed.

Anyhoo, why are they so blind to this grotesque and dangerous waste of taxpayer funds?
+6 # DaveM 2011-12-07 17:51
Police departments are civilian agencies. As such, they should not be allowed to equip themselves with anything not permitted to a law-abiding American citizen. People die every year as the result of the use of SWAT teams to execute search warrants--NOT the purpose for which they were created. And if you don't believe that police departments equipped with tanks will not find a use for them....wait and see. But be prepared to duck.
+3 # lin96 2011-12-08 02:03
Part 1 - My comment is too long. So I have part 1 and part 2. The Congress votes not to restore habeous corpus, the FBI is not suppose to have anything to do with the rules governing the police, yet we hear they're training the police in NY with their techniques. The financiers are those who have such extreme control over our government that our elected officials are listening to them instead of the people and are following their instruction in lieu of our Constitution. Money is power and the financiers have all the money and the power. Look at how Donald Trump thinks President Obama should be inviting him to the White House and asking his opinion. That's about as blatent as it gets. All the Republican candidates were interviewed by GHWBush before running with the exception of Ron Paul. The Koch brother have intervened in Wisconsin and poured money into that state to eliminate the unions and cuts jobs to the core. Fortunately the people are fighting back with a recall. There is strength in numbers and that is the only thing that will keep the financiers from putting a dictator into this country. Eisenhower warned us to beware of the military complex. The financiers consider a privatized army "their" army. I think Mayor Bloomberg referred to "his army" in an article on this site.
+3 # lin96 2011-12-08 02:03
Part 2 - We have billionaires running for congressional office all over this country so they can support the corporations, of which many of them own, the top 1%, and to destroy the middleclass and the unions. Right now the Republicans want tax increases on the middleclass. Boehner, McConnell, Cantor, DeMint, are the very people we need to eliminate from our congressional body ASAP. Republicans and Democrats alike have to stop voting against their own best interest. The upper eschelon of the Republican party is using the rest of the party to advance their own self-serving interests. They're duping people into voting for THEM when most of the Republican party will never benefit from their cause like the top 1% will. The majority of the Republican party are not the top 1% who want to make the laws, ignore the Constitution and they'll use anything to advance their cause including religion that is so personal to people. No religion supports degrading and enslaving their fellow human beings. That is what the goal is of Gover Norquist who feels he has a right to force Republicans to sign a paper saying what they will and won't do. Who belives this is Constitutional? Who is Grover Norquist that he should have that kind of power to qualify people who he can control after they've been elected?
+2 # RMDC 2011-12-08 08:46
This is really disgusting but it has been going on for a very long time. Police departments regularly train with military. Same for the FBI whose training headquarters is at the Marine base in Quantico, VA. Police even at the rural level are fully integrated into the military. And we now have the Northern Command, the division of the Pentagon that handles operations in North America. They are fully mobilized for warfare against the people of the US who will be classified as terrorists. Some police officials are already referring to the OWS movement as a terrorist organization.

The US has been a fascist state for a long time in the technical sense that fascism exists when corporations take control of the government. But the US has always avoided the outward appearance of fascism, understanding that the outward trappings of democracy are much better at controlling people. Let people think they are electing governmental officials to represent them. For some reason, the US is now moving over to the outward expression of fascism. We are beginning to look like Latin America in their days of the military dictators. I guess it is clear to the corporate thugs who run the government that they have lost all legitimacy. Now they will turn to brute force to remain in control. They are beginning to show their true natures -- brute force. They've shown it for 100 years in the third world. Now the third world is coming home.
+2 # Activista 2011-12-08 10:39
" They've shown it for 100 years in the third world. Now the third world is coming home."
great observation - but it seems that SA - like Brazil the trend to democracy is positive - compared to USA
+2 # noitall 2011-12-08 14:14
THIS plus the Amendment to NDAA, would pretty much seal our fate AND follow the checklist that led to the rise of Hitler's Germany. Suddenly it was out of the hands and control of the people.
0 # CarolynSteinhoff 2011-12-08 22:05
Put this together with the law in Congress to make all of the USA "a battlefield," to enable police to arrest "terrorists" or those they SUSPECT of supporting terrorism, and imprisoning them in military prisons without trial, and the massive Republican effort underway to disenfranchise millions of Americans. I believe this is a preparation to crush the Occupy movement which is threatening the economic hegemony of corporate power. We are in serious, serious danger.
+1 # Billy Bob 2011-12-08 22:52
The lines have been blurred between "military" and "police" anyway.

The military's primary purpose is no longer war. The war was over years ago. Now, they're just policing the colonies.

The police's purpose has stopped being to protect citizens, but rather, to make American voters "the enemy".

It's getting to the point where there's really only two countries left on Earth. One of them is global and includes most of us. The other one is a gated community. The military / police is just trying to keep everyone else from touching the gate.

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