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Showing posts with label militarization of police. Show all posts
Showing posts with label militarization of police. Show all posts

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Under Attack: Depth of Federal Arms Race Should Surprise, Shock Citizenry

This is an article by Rob Nikolewski on published on 3 April 2014. There is no doubt that Federal, and even State and Local Law Enforcement agencies are getting better and more powerful armament, surveillance systems and training....this is often referred to "Militarization of the Police".   The threat, certainly in some cases, warrants an upgrade in equipment, tactics and overall capabilities, however, when coupled with an expansion of original powers or authorities, this can not only spell an out of control agency, but spins the population up as these examples of over reach of powers are highly publicized.   I just don't see the militarization of the police as a conspiratorial plan to implement population controls measures,...however the over reach of authority has me concerned.   


The number of law enforcement agents, such as these from the Environmental Protection Agency, have grown in recent years. In late February, four federal agents carrying side arms with a drug-sniffing dog descended on the Taos Ski Valley in what was called a “saturation patrol.” Authorities were working on tips of possible drug selling and impaired driving in the ski resort’s parking lot and surrounding area.

But the agents weren’t from the FBI, ATF or even the Drug Enforcement Administration. Rather, the agents represented the U.S. Forest Service.

“It’s one of the untold stories about government,” said former New Mexico Gov. Gary Johnson, who lives in Taos, is an avid skier and has been a leading critic of the operation that turned up only a few minor infractions. “People don’t grasp the size and the scope of these entities and their law enforcement arms.”

It may come as a surprise to many U.S. taxpayers, but a slew of federal agencies — some whose responsibilities seem to have little to do with combating crime — carry active law enforcement operations.

Here’s a partial list:

•The U.S. Department of Education
•The Bureau of Land Management (200 uniformed law enforcement rangers and 70 special agents)
•The U.S. Department of the Interior
•The U.S. Postal Inspection Service (with an armed uniformed division of 1.000)
•The National Park Service (made up of NPS protection park rangers and U.S. Park Police officers that operate independently)
•The Environmental Protection Agency (200 special agents)
•The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (224 special agents)
•The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

That’s right, NOAA — the folks who forecast the weather, monitor the atmosphere and keep tabs on the oceans and waterways — has its own law enforcement division. It has a budget of $65 million and consists of 191 employees, including 96 special agents and 28 enforcement officers who carry weapons.

“There’s no question there’s been a proliferation of police units at the federal level,” said Tim Lynch, director of the Project On Criminal Justice for the Cato Institute, a libertarian think tank based in Washington, D.C. “To me, it’s been a never-ending expansion, a natural progression, if you will, of these administrative agencies always asking for bigger budgets and a little bit more power.”

It’s been estimated the U.S. has some 25,000 sworn law enforcement officers in departments not traditionally associated with fighting crime. According to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, and in a tabulation compiled by the Wall Street Journal in 2011, 3,812 criminal investigators are working in areas other than the U.S. departments of Treasury, Justice, Defense and Homeland Security.

Lynch says it’s hard to tell how much money federal agencies spend on their respective law enforcement divisions.

“We need a fuller accounting of exactly how many police units have proliferated in the federal government and how much it’s costing taxpayers,” said Lynch, who said he would like to see members of Congress ask agency officials direct questions about budget and staffing.

The Wall Street Journal reported that, in 2008, agents armed with assault rifles from NOAA, along with officers from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, raided a businesswoman’s offices in Miami looking into charges that she was violating the Endangered Species Act by trading in coral.

“I felt like I was being busted for drugs, instead of coral,” Morgan Mok said afterward. “It was crazy.” Mok said she obtained the coral legally and eventually paid a $500 fine and served a year’s probation for failing to complete the proper paperwork.

Why is a law enforcement arm necessary at NOAA?

“NOAA’s Office of Law Enforcement protects marine wildlife and habitat by enforcing domestic laws and international treaty requirements designed to ensure these global resources are available for future generations,” NOAA spokesman David Miller said in an email to New Mexico Watchdog, pointing out that the division has existed since 1970. “Our special agents and enforcement officers ensure compliance with the nation’s marine resource laws and take enforcement action when these laws are violated.”

As for the U.S. Forest Service, Special Agent Robin Poague defended the use of the agency’s law enforcement officers — called LEOs — in the Taos operation that resulted in harsh criticism from many residents.

“Rangers were armed when the Forest Service started 100 years ago,” Poague said. “We have a long history of law enforcement.”

Portions of the Taos Ski Valley sit on federal land. If there were suspicions of drug activity leading to the operation in February, why not use the DEA instead?

“U.S. Forest Service land is our primary responsibility, it’s not the DEA’s,” Poague told New Mexico Watchdog by telephone from his office in Albuquerque.

A Forest Service recruitment video says the agency employs about 700 law enforcement personnel. Poague said the service’s law enforcement division was created in 1994. But many other federal agencies established their own after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.
In the aftermath of the attacks, the FBI shifted its attention to tackling terrorism, and Congress gave permanent powers to inspectors general in more than two dozen agencies. By last count, 25 agencies with law enforcement divisions fall under their respective offices of inspectors general. With their growth has come criticism that officers are becoming overly militarized. “The whole notion of police operations these days, that they’re dressed to kill, that they’re up against an enemy, is wrong,” Johnson said. “Citizens are not the enemy.”

In 2010, the Department of Education defended its purchase of 27 12-gauge shotguns to replace old firearms used by its Office of Inspector General, the law enforcement arm of the department. DoE said the guns were necessary to help combat “waste, fraud, abuse, and other criminal activity involving Federal education funds, programs and operations.”

A year later, DoE Office of Inspector General special agents raided a California home at 6 a.m. to apprehend a man the department said was involved in criminal activity. DoE officials did not say why the raid was conducted, releasing a statement that said, “the office conducts raids on issues such as bribery, fraud, and embezzlement of federal student aid funds.” “In these cases, it causes you to think, is this agency really necessary, is this unit really necessary,” Lynch said.

In an email to New Mexico Watchdog, a spokeswoman for the DoE Office of Inspector General — the department’s law enforcement arm — reported it has a staff of 260 members, 90 of which are criminal investigators. Its budget is $57.7 million for fiscal 2014.

Defenders of the agencies say armed law enforcement provides a deterrent and that agents need to be armed to protect themselves against potentially dangerous criminals. In fact, just last month a Forest Service ranger in North Carolina was shot and killed by a murder suspect, who also killed a police dog. On Jan. 1, 2012, a National Park ranger was shot and killed at Mount Rainier, in Washington state.

Reader Comments, posted on the original article:

I remember back when Paul Harvey said that we are going the way that the USSR used to be , and they are passing us going the way we used to be . The government is arming up to put down the citizenry when a major collapse comes about , I can't even know what it will be , but with what we see happening now has happen in other nations , and has had millions killed in the process our nation has been rather safe over the years and also no nation has lasted as long as ours , but there is coming a time when our own government will be against us , Nikita Khreschev beat his shoe on the podium at the UN in the 1950's and told us that the communists would take over our country from the inside , it appears that it is happening now , as Boobama was a registered communist in the 1990's , most of his Czars are communist in nature , most of the progressives in the Senate and House from both parties are communists , it is here and now and one day , the 3% or more will have to take up arms and fight the hoards of armed federal thugs that will kill us if we do not kill them first , it is not a question of if it will happen but when it will happen . Those of you who think I am full of crap just watch and stay out of the way , because when it starts you can count me in . Used to be a deputy have worked with Feds didn't like them then like them less now ., so I know where I am coming from . Be prepared and ready . Keep your powder dry .

The government is worried. They know military members and veterans and the American citizens are fed up with them. You can add up all these agencies members who carry weapons and it pales in comparison to the well armed American citizens who are now the largest heavily armed group in the world. Over 300 million private arms sales just since Obama took office that doesn't include the millions of firearms already in ownership prior to that time. Firearms and ammunition is still flying off the shelves. Manufacturers are working a backlog 24/7 trying to keep up with demand. The American public is sensing the approaching storm and are preparing in masse. This trend should be raising the hair on the necks of those who are without. America it seems, has become a volatile powder keg vulnerable to any spark.

You are right. we do have a very powerful military. However even after 12 years of B52 strikes, Spooky Gunships, millions of rounds of artillery and hundreds of millions rounds of small arms and tens of thousands of American soldiers wounded and killed, a handful of guys living in mud huts many with WWII era rifles are still giving them a run for their money. This is not an attack on our military, we have the best, the most honorable and dedicated and courageous guys in the world, it is a statement of commitment about the dedication of the guys fighting them. If only a handful, say one percent, of American firearm owners decided to fight for their rights under the constitution, that would be a standing force of one million defenders.

You can "haha" the thought of an armed confrontation in this country if you like, but I won't, because it would be a horrific event, a terrible ugly disaster for our nation. And for those not keeping up with this kind of constitutional discussion over the last few years regarding sending American troops against our own citizens, a large percentage of American soldiers, from privates to generals have already come out in saying they will not participate in attacks on American citizens.

I don't understand the big resistance many folks have to the idea of defending the constitution. The constitution does not just protect gun owners and constitutional patriots, it protects flag burners and radical left wing writers and all the folks who want to rip it up. You guys better think for a moment about how you would fare under a far right wing government, without the protection of the constitution.

Whether you can see it or not, the continuous militarization of federal agencies is not something you should want to see. Think of it in the terms from above. Would you be happy with federal forces SWAT busting your doors down under a right wing government after you attended a left wing book signing event? Because that is the position you would put yourself in with this kind of power wielded by whatever party the wind blows into power.

I believe this will all come to a head soon. The only reason these armed groups exist is the federal or feral government can afford them. Obama has spent us into a massive depression and when our economy collapses we will most likely lose our position as the worlds reserve currency. When that happens the Federal Reserve Bank loses it privilege to print currency. The feral government will be broke and cannot print money. Obama has spent everything he could and taxed businesses to the point of no recovery so business can't rescue the government. Any payments that are received will all go to interest on the national debt. All the black nylon and Kevlar want-to be soldiers will be without funding and disappear.