The American military is prohibited from deploying within the United States, but local law enforcement organizations are becoming increasingly militarized, as surplus gear from the Pentagon flows to main street.
Even without military gear, the horrifying regularity of police violence against black and brown people continues unabated in marginalized communities.
Over-policing and excessive use of force against protesters has resulted in deaths from the Haymarket Affair in 1886 to the student massacres at Orangeburg, Jackson State and Kent State to the bombing of MOVE and the siege at Ruby Ridge.
The Federal Aviation Administration has authorized the use of surveillance drones in US airspace, and local police departments are beginning to purchase drones, armored personnel carriers, and other military equipment. These tools can be used to carry out surveillance, invade privacy, and suppress nonviolent protests, threatening constitutional rights of Americans in jurisdictions from coast to coast.
DHS is responsible for a number of areas where civil liberties are concerned. It oversees immigration enforcement, as well as, the US response to the border. DHS has been implicated in the monitoring of domestic social movements. It is therefore highly inappropriate that Kelly, given his background of human rights abuses and anti-civil libertarian views, would be named to head the DHS.
Sessions has a long and documented history of opposing the rights of vulnerable populations, disregarding the First Amendment, and championing torture. As Attorney General, Sessions would be head of the department in charge of overseeing the protections of civil rights and the most powerful law enforcement in the nation. Given his historic hostility to civil liberties this is unacceptable. Sessions was rightfully rejected as a judicial nomination and should be similarly rejected for Attorney General.
North Dakota is stretched thin in its battle to protect the Dakota Access pipeline construction: Costs are nearing $15 million, and police reinforcements are diminishing.
Not allowing the government to control the narrative when it comes it the suppression of the dissent is what a free press is supposed to do. The attempted prosecution of Amy Goodman and possible prosecution of Deia Schlosberg is about reestablishing government control of this narrative.
The response by North Dakota and Morton County to the Water Protectors highlights several very serious issues plaguing our country. It brings to the forefront the legacy of colonialism and racism, that has culminated in the disrespecting of the sovereignty of indigenous people, as well as, the use of state violence against those who try to retain their sovereignty. It is part of a larger trend of law enforcement viewing democracy as the enemy and responding to protest with military style gear and tactics. Finally, it demonstrates the willingness of the state to trample on dissent in order to defend corporate profits. “