But where's the remix?

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11 Responses:

  1. dasht says:

    Remixes are no doubt forthcoming. But there is some serious shit here.

    There's the militarization of the police. Your snippet there doesn't actually catch the acoustic weaponry in action - *maybe* that buzz sound as a warnnig shot - but they did worse.

    Do you remember that footbridge in Oakland (district of Pgh. not Oakland, CA) from University of Pittsburgh from here to there, above and crossing Forbes? There were a bunch of *observers* on that bridge that the cops apparently blocked in and then tear-gassed.

    There was bad behavior on the part of some protesters, too, according to accounts. E.g., windows of quite innocent small businesses getting smashed out. Someone I read joked that it was "glass warfare".

    Yet, this stuff - that equipment your showing and how the cops appear to have used it, tear gas, and rubber bullets on the days in question: not so good. Quite disproportionate and in the wrong hands.


    • That's the thing about the LRAD - at its lower levels, it's an effective tool for directed voice projection. Crank it up a little and it's a painful annoyance for crowd control. Crank it up further, and you get to cause serious pain with little physical signature (let alone forensically admissible signature), and potentially long-term effects on hearing.

      We're relying on police training, discipline and chain of command to ensure the equipment is not abused and brought to bear disproportionately. It's nowhere near as easy to see when those abuses happen with batons, firearms or tasers. Yes, it's a definite cause for concern.

    • rapier1 says:

      I don't really buy that. The LRAD stuff seems big and scary but the way it was used was a hell of a lot less noxious than say, fire hoses and cannons being used to disperse crowds. Other alternatives used to disrupt crowds include stun grenade, flash bangs, real tear gas (not the aerosolized pepper spray they were using), and so forth. LRAD could be used in a much more destructive way but it wasn't.

      What bother me about this is that the use of sublethal and non-lethal techniques have the tendency to make them more likely to be used. This, in effect, makes it easier for the police to disrupt legitimate protests.

      • dasht says:

        I take your point and don't mean to argue, just to point out some other things to think about.

        For one, see the globalguerrillas.typepad.com link I give above.

        Beyond that, I think a danger of the (mostly-)sub-lethal techniques is that it reinforces the police's sense of ... I dunno the best way to put it.... swagger, entitlement, power, separation from society.... us v. them mentality.

        If I find that I can slap you around with impunity and then go out for beers after and get some kudos from my boss, what am I gonna do when I get really angry or scared?

        Giving a cop a gun is one thing. There's a simple rule there that all good gun owners know: don't point it at someone unless you are prepared and willing to kill them. This in-between shit just clouds judgment.

        Another aspect is the question of how exactly the PD comes to have this equipment and what that tells you about power structures and command and control. I somehow doubt that Pgh., with it's ever so fantabulous city budget, pro-actively went out and bought that equipment. Rather, it was most likely loaned or part of a grant, along with training, flowing from the fed level intel community and/or military and/or military-industrial-complex private interests. So you have a de facto, partial corporate-fascist federalization of city cops. That's not a healthy sign for a society.


        • xavoc says:

          Except that you keep pointing back to a link that is run by a group/individual who has just as much incentive to exaggerate and distort the truth of what really happened as much as say a government or established news entity.

          It's no different than say Greenpeace pointing fingers at Apple as being a polluter because they can use it to get the most attention for their group and/or causes regardless of what the actual reality of the level of pollution is.

          Secondly, the question of how the PD comes to have this equipment isn't a question at all. Federal services work with local departments in the area where disturbances and protests are expected to happen ahead of time. Including months of training, along with additional funds to pay for overtime and equipment. This has happened for a very long time, regardless of whether it is for a presidential visit, or a convention for a political party, or a G20 summit. The host country is charged with the responsibility of safeguarding its guests.

          As for where the training comes from, most likely not military since their SWAT style tactics are far more lethal. I imagine mostly FBI based sources and consultancy with other large cities with SWAT presences such as LAPD.

          But, if you want to start throwing out words like corporate-fascist or military-industrial-complex to make your argument sound more compelling or worthwhile, go for it.

          • dasht says:

            I'm mostly going by what I see in the videos, not by what any particular group says I should see. Of course I presume that there is an editorial bias and that we're seeing a few isolated events within what was likely a very banal protest day for the most part. I still don't like what I see because the cops are Right on that Edge of going off and breaking discipline and, in my opinion, did clearly use excessive force.

            Also, the "globalguerillas" link I keep referring to is not from some fringe organization. It's from a fellow named Jon Robb who consults for the Pentagon and every now and then testifies before congressional committees. He is an analyst and theorist in military strategy and tactics and on the relationship between the Westphalian state and the emergence of a new type of power he dubs "fourth generation warriors". For example, when the Pentagon and Congress want to ponder Afghanistan's chances of not being a failed state - or the likely course of events if it remains a failed state - they'll seek out that guy's opinion.

            His analysis predicts things like the militarization of the police in the US (as our own state starts to face challenges to its legitimacy and ability to operate). He wrote about the Pgh. incident to point out some supporting evidence and to rehearse some of his analysis.

            That's hardly like pointing at Greenpeace.

            As for Federal arming of the cops for events like this - you say it has been going on for a long time which I suppose is true to the same extent that I'm old.

            When I was born, it wasn't like that. The change happened over the course of my lifetime. I distinctly remember the period of time in the 1970s when it really started taking off. Controversy back then even seeped into a popular culture - I remember an episode of Hill St. Blues where the station gets its very first tank.

            What alarms me about arming the cops this way is a few things.

            First, at the federal level, thanks to the aegis of Homeland Security, the walls between civil law enforcement, global intelligence, and the Pentagon are pretty permeable. In some ways that's good, in some ways quite dangerous. We do wind up with essentially military planning towards things like federalizing local cops in a time of emergency. (As J. Robb would point out: that isn't even a good military strategy but it sure is a fine way to get ready for an oppressive crack-down.)

            Second, for the real security threats, the kind of training and weapons deployment we saw in Pgh. is a clean miss. A meeting like G-20's biggest risk is that it makes a high-value target for symbolic terrorism in an asymmetric attack - something like "set off a dirty bomb" or ... well, any of the kinds of systems-attacks that J. Robb usually describes. No need to dwell on them here. The concentration of effort by the cops doesn't appear to have done much to protect public safety nor even all that much to protect property. It mainly served to interfere with speech.

            It is "corporate-fascistic" and an example of the "military-industrial-complex" because of the decision making processes that lead to these kinds of deployments. People sell the technology their friends are making. People justify a deployment with scare stories about broken windows or burning cars. They are disinclined to mention the larger, more serious threats for which they have no "products" to offer. The fascism isn't (for the most part) a back-room conspiracy to take over the country - it's a banal mindset of "business as usual" where what is "as usual" drifts without a rudder into a crazy response to events.


  2. bitpuddle says:

    Given that these are sound waves, theoretically, couldn't one fashion a fairly simple apparatus to efficiently reflect the sound back at the nice men in black?

    • strspn says:

      No, but earplugs work just fine.

      Also, what happened to the microwave-skin-burning-sensation gun? The totalitarian riot cops are slacking on the latest tech.

      • lionsphil says:

        I was surprised by the number of people with goggles, but without ear-defenders. Perhaps it just isn't actually that unpleasant.

        Last I heard, the leading untested Internet hypothesis on countering the microwave gun would be to wear a leather gimp-suit, which would certainly make protests more of a spectacle when tried.