tactical police

theguardian.com
Army veterans return to Standing Rock to form a human shield against police | US news | The Guardian

Jake Pogue, a 32-year-old marine corps vet, returned to the Sacred Stone camp on Friday.

US veterans are returning to Standing Rock and pledging to shield indigenous activists from attacks by a militarized police force, another sign that the fight against the Dakota Access pipeline is far from over.

Army veterans from across the country have arrived in Cannon Ball, North Dakota, or are currently en route after the news that Donald Trump’s administration has allowed the oil corporation to finish drilling across the Missouri river.

The growing group of military veterans could make it harder for police and government officials to try to remove hundreds of activists who remain camped near the construction site and, some hope, could limit use of excessive force by law enforcement during demonstrations.

“We are prepared to put our bodies between Native elders and a privatized military force,” said Elizabeth Williams, a 34-year-old air force veteran, who arrived at Standing Rock with a group of vets late on Friday. “We’ve stood in the face of fire before. We feel a responsibility to use the skills we have.”

It is unclear how many vets may arrive to Standing Rock; some organizers estimate a few dozen are on their way, while other activists are pledging that hundreds could show up in the coming weeks. An estimated 1,000 veterans traveled to Standing Rock in December just as the Obama administration announced it was denying a key permit for the oil company, a huge victory for the tribe.

The veterans camp at Standing Rock.

The massive turnout – including a ceremony in which veterans apologized to indigenous people for the long history of US violence against Native Americans – served as a powerful symbol against the $3.7bn pipeline.

But the presence of vets was not without controversy. Some said the groups were disorganized and unprepared to camp in harsh winter conditions, and others lamented that they weren’t following the directions of the Native Americans leading the movement.

Vets with post-traumatic stress disorder also suffered in the cold and chaotic environment without proper support, said Matthew Crane, a US navy veteran who is helping coordinate a return group with the organization VeteransRespond. His group has vowed to be self-sufficient and help the activists, who call themselves “water protectors”, with a wide range of services, including cleanup efforts, kitchen duties, medical support and, if needed, protection from police.

“This is a humanitarian issue,” said Crane, 33. “We’re not going to stand by and let anybody get hurt.”

On Friday afternoon, as snow rapidly melted during an unusually warm day in Cannon Ball, Jake Pogue helped organize a vets camp area at Sacred Stone, the first camp that emerged last spring in opposition to the pipeline.

“We’re not coming as fighters, but as protectors,” said the 32-year-old marine corps vet, noting that he was concerned about police escalating tactics. “Our role in that situation would be to simply form a barrier between water protectors and the police force and try to take some of that abuse for them.”

Since last fall, police have made roughly 700 arrests, at times deploying water cannons, Mace, rubber bullets, teargas, pepper spray and other less-than-lethal weapons. Private guards for the pipeline have also been accused of violent tactics.

“We have the experience of standing in the face of adverse conditions – militarization, hostility, intimidation,” said Julius Page, a 61-year-old veteran staying at the vets camp.

Dan Luker, a 66-year-old veteran who visited Standing Rock in December and returned this month, said that for many who fought in Vietnam or the Middle East it was “healing” to help water protectors.

Julius Page a 61-year-old veteran: ‘We have the experience of standing in the face of adverse conditions.’

“This is the right war, right side,” said Luker, a Vietnam vet from Boston. “Finally, it’s the US military coming on to Sioux land to help, for the first time in history, instead of coming on to Sioux land to kill natives.”

Luker said he was prepared to be hit by police ammunition if necessary: “I don’t want to see a twentysomething, thirtysomething untrained person killed by the United States government.”

LaDonna Brave Bull Allard, founder of the Sacred Stone camp and a Standing Rock tribe member, said she welcomed the return of the vets.

“The veterans are going to make sure everything is safe and sound,” she said, adding, “The people on the ground have no protection.”

At Standing Rock, indigenous activists say the mass arrests and police violence have led many of them to develop PTSD, suffering symptoms that many veterans understand well.

“This historical trauma of indigenous communities in this country is very real. It’s tragic,” said Crane. “The military has a lot of the same problems.”

Aubree Peckham, a member of the Mescalero Apache tribe who has been at Standing Rock for months, was in tears on Friday as she described the way indigenous water protectors have bonded with vets.

“We don’t know how to protect ourselves against the tactical weapons they are using,” she said. “They are getting us better prepared.”

Peckham said the affection was mutual: “We are able to talk about PTSD. And they finally feel like they are understood.”

Three Terrifying Reasons for Trump’s Latest Rant

Early Saturday morning, March 4, the 45th president of the United States alleged in a series of  tweets that former president Barack Obama orchestrated a “Nixon/Watergate” plot to tap Trump’s phones at his Trump Tower headquarters last fall in the run-up to the election. Trump concluded that the former president is a “Bad (or sick) guy!”

Sunday morning, Trump called for a congressional investigation.

Trump cited no evidence for his accusation.

Folks, we’ve got a huge problem on our hands. Either:

1. Trump is more nuts than we suspected – a true delusional paranoid. Trump’s outburst was triggered by commentary in the “alt-right” publication, Breitbart News, on Friday, which reported an assertion made Thursday night by right-wing talk-radio host Mark Levin suggesting Obama and his administration used “police state” tactics last fall to monitor the Trump team’s dealings with Russian operatives.

If this is what triggered Trump’s tantrum, we’ve got a president willing to put the prestige and power of his office behind baseless claims emanating from well-known right-wing purveyors of lies.

Which means Trump shouldn’t be anywhere near the nuclear codes that could obliterate the planet, or near anything else that could determine the fate of America or the world.

2. The second possibility is the Obama administration did in fact tap his phones. But if this was the case, before the tap could occur it’s highly likely Trump committed a very serious crime, including treason.

No president can order a wiretap on his own. For federal agents to obtain a wiretap on Trump, the Justice Department would first have had to convince a federal judge that it had gathered sufficient evidence of probable cause to believe Trump had committed a serious crime or was an agent of a foreign power, depending on whether it was a criminal or foreign intelligence wiretap.

In which case we have someone in the White House who shouldn’t be making decisions that could endanger America or the world.

3. The third possible explanation for Trump’s rant is he was trying to divert public attention from the Jeff Sessions imbroglio and multiple investigations of Trump associates already found to have been in contact with Russian agents during the election, when Russian operatives interfered with the election on Trump’s behalf.

Maybe he’s trying to build a case that the entire Russian story is a plot concocted by the Obama Administration – along with the intelligence agencies and the mainstream press – to bring Trump down. This way, he can inoculate himself against more damaging evidence to come.

But if it’s all a big show to divert attention and undermine the credibility of the intelligence agencies and the press, Trump is willing to do anything to keep his job – even if that means further dividing America, undermining trust in our governing institutions, and destroying the fabric of our democracy.

So there you have it. We have a president who is either a dangerous paranoid who’s making judgments based on right-wing crackpots, or has in all likelihood committed treason, or is willing to sacrifice public trust in our basic institutions to further his selfish goals.

Each of these possible reasons is as terrifying as the other.

For Democrats to be the only ones sounding the alarm risks turning it into the new normal of partisanship. For Obama himself to respond would only dignify it.

So the responsibility falls to Republican leaders to stand up and call this what it is: Dangerous demagoguery.

Former Republican presidents George H.W. Bush and George W. Bush, former Republican senators and members of Congress, and current Republican senators and members of Congress, must have the courage and decency to stop this outrage.

We are in a serious crisis of governance, and their voices are critical.

9

A police photographer, furious with a Rolling Stone magazine cover photo he says glamorises the surviving Boston Marathon suspect, has released gritty images from the day Dzhokhar Tsarnaev was captured. The photos released to Boston Magazine on Thursday (in August 2013) by Massachusetts State Police tactical photographer Sgt. Sean Murphy - who has been relieved of his duties and ordered not to speak to the media as a result - show a downcast, dishevelled Tsarnaev with the red dot of a sniper’s rifle laser sight on his forehead.

Murphy said in a statement to the magazine that Tsarnaev is evil and his photos show the ‘real Boston bomber, not someone fluffed and buffed for the cover of Rolling Stone magazine.’   

The photos were taken when Tsarnaev was captured April 19, bleeding and hiding in a boat in a suburban backyard.

2

On April 18, 2016, students arriving for a 5 am fitness class in the Creekside Church in Midlothian, Texas, found their instructor dead inside. Terri “Missy” Bevers (45), a married woman and mother of three kids, had arrived around 40 minutes earlier to set up the class, which she was very passionate about.

While reviewing surveillance footage, authorities came up with something quite disturbing. Around 4 am, a person dressed in police tactical gear can be seen entering the church and roaming around the hallways, casually opening doors as if it was a routine round. The person is completely covered, so it’s impossible to tell if it’s a man or a woman, and is carrying some sort of weapon that police believe was used to gain access to the church and kill Missy, since she was found with puncture wounds in her body and face. The killer has a distinctive walk, almost a gait, so police released part of the video (that you can see here) in hopes that someone would recognize it.

Also released was the surveillance footage of a “vehicle of interest”, that can be seen shortly before the killer enters the church. It’s a Nissan Altima that enters the parking lot of a gun store located across from the church, and stays parked there for around 3 minutes before leaving again.

Despite these clues, over a year has passed and Missy’s murder remains unsolved. Police has complained about online sleuths making their job more difficult by spreading theories and harassing Missy’s family, particularly her father in law who was thought by some to have a gait similar to the person in the video. But he was in California at the time of the murder. Missy’s husband, Brandon Bevers, was also away fishing and he’s said that he believes the killer is a woman that knew Missy.

It’s unclear whether Missy was a premeditated target or just happened to ran into the killer, but considering there was nothing taken from the church, the possibility that her murderer knew her and was waiting for her has been taken seriously.

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buzzfeed.com
BREAKING: Trump Has Pardoned [Criminal] Former Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio
By David Mack

President Donald Trump on Friday pardoned former Arizona sheriff Joe Arpaio, rewarding a vocal political supporter who was convicted of contempt of court for refusing to halt a policing tactic to catch undocumented immigrants.

The controversial 85-year-old former Maricopa County sheriff, who lost re-election in 2016 after 23 years in office, was found guilty of criminal contempt in July for defying a federal judge’s order to stop detaining people based on suspicion of their immigration status when there was no evidence that they had broken a state law…

Though federal authorities are tasked with enforcing immigration laws, Arpaio ordered his deputies to check the legal status of people they encountered. Deputies were instructed to arrest undocumented individuals and turn them over to immigration authorities for deportation, even if they had committed no crime other than lacking documentation.

When the ACLU sued Arpaio, accusing him of conducting racial profiling and violating the constitution, a federal district judge ordered the sheriff in 2011 to halt the practice. When Arpaio publicly refused to do so, the judge found him to be in civil contempt of court and recommended the criminal charge.

In July, another federal judge convicted him of contempt of court, finding Arpaio had shown a “flagrant disregard” for the law and had “"willfully violated the [2011] order…”

“It seems as though [Republicans] say, ‘Rule of law for me, but not for you. Opportunity for us, but not for you. Amnesty for Arpaio, but not for the hard-working,’” Artemio Muniz, chair of the Texas Federation of Hispanic Republicans, told BuzzFeed News this week.