What is the militarisation of policing? https://www.wri-irg.org/en en Militarising the pandemic: how states around the world chose militarised responses https://wri-irg.org/en/story/2020/militarising-pandemic-how-states-around-world-chose-militarised-responses <div data-history-node-id="42164" class="node node--type-story node--view-mode-rss ds-1col clearfix"> <picture> <source srcset="/sites/default/files/public_files/styles/single_page_desktop/public/2020-08/49869302436_2552d832d0_k.jpg?itok=4KsBm4dc 1x" media="screen and (min-width: 992px)" type="image/jpeg"/> <source srcset="/sites/default/files/public_files/styles/single_page_mobiles_and_tablets/public/2020-08/49869302436_2552d832d0_k.jpg?itok=erVpwvYi 1x" type="image/jpeg"/> <img src="/sites/default/files/public_files/styles/single_page_mobiles_and_tablets/public/2020-08/49869302436_2552d832d0_k.jpg?itok=erVpwvYi" alt="A soldier stands in a street with a gun, wearing a face mask." title=" Military officials secure quarantine checkpoints, Manila. Source: Flickr/ ILO Asia-Pacific, CC3.0" typeof="foaf:Image" class="img-responsive" /> </picture> <div class="caption">[node:field_image:title]</div> <time > 21 Aug 2020</time> <div class="field field--name-dynamic-twig-fieldnode-author-name-twig field--type-ds field--label-inline"> <div class="field--label">Author(s)</div> <div class="field--item"> <span>Andrew Metheven</span> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field--item"><p>“Shoot them dead.”</p> <p>These were the orders of Philippine president Rodrigo Duterte, on how the countries soldiers and government should use a “martial law-like” approach to enforcing the strict lockdown imposed to limit the impact of the coronavirus pandemic. Stories of abuse and police killings for infringements of the quarantine lockdown soon followed, including the shooting of a drunk man, young people being locked in a dog cage, and alleged violators of the curfew being held without food and water. Over 1000 people in the Philippines have been arrested for breaking lockdown conditions, and Human Rights Watch has criticised the govnerment for using tactics similar to those in its “war on drugs”, in which the police have killed thousands of people, including house-to-house searches and encouraging neighbours to report others in their community they suspect of having symptoms of Covid-19.</p> <p>These approaches are not limited to the Philippines’ - a number of governments have been criticised by the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelete, <a href="https://www.ohchr.org/EN/NewsEvents/Pages/DisplayNews.aspx?NewsID=25828&amp;LangID=E">who said that</a> "Emergency powers should not be a weapon governments can wield to quash dissent, control the population, and even perpetuate their time in power.” Understanding the militarised nature of these lockdowns helps us to understand the nature of militarised policing and the threat it poses to the wellbeing and freedom of our communities, and why it needs to be resisted and challenged. Outside actual war zones, encounters with police forces might be many people’s most direct experience of militarisation, and they are impacting a huge number of people’s lives. Before the pandemic hit it was clear militarism was becoming increasingly normalised; now, considering the huge threats of the pandemic, the risks of extreme violence at the hands of militarised police forces around the world become even more extreme.</p> <p>When we talk about “militarisation”, we are referring to states using practises, systems, strategies and mindsets that are akin to those used by armies engaging in warfare. The “warrior mentality” has been a theme pushed by trainers delivering <a href="https://www.motherjones.com/politics/2017/02/dave-grossman-training-police-militarization/">workshops for police forces in the USA</a>, describing an approach to policing that sees members of communities are a threat to be countered and controlled, prioritises violent – even lethal – methods of managing conflict, and creates an “us versus them” mentality. This approach, coupled with military-grade weapons and often poor accountability – is a toxic mix in any situation, and many governments around the world have responded to the coronavirus pandemic with lockdowns enforced by militarised police forces.</p> <p>Militarisation goes beyond individual acts of violence; it relies on a complex and intersecting web of systems and structures. Militarised violence is organised, deliberate, and depersonalised, driven by patriarchal and racist values, and more often than not targets the poorest and most disenfranchised sections of our societies.</p> <p>Beyond the violent imposition of curfews and lockdowns, militarisation is also occurring when militaries dominate the role of managing the states response to the pandemic. Examples of countries where this is occurring include Indoensia, where a number of retired generals are in key decision-making positions, including the health minister and the head of the taskforce coordinating the government’s response. It is therefore unsurprising that the government is using hundreds of thousands of troops to enforce rules on social distancing and wearing masks.</p> <p>The militarisation we see taking place through the pandemic hasn’t come from nowhere, it is a symptom of deeply rooted militarised mentalities. We can see this in the <a href="https://www.e-ir.info/2020/04/22/militarization-in-the-age-of-the-pandemic-crisis/">language employed in states’ response</a> to the virus; “war-footing”, “rally the troops”, “mounting an assault”. The values of militarism drive the rhetoric in the response, which in turn supports militarised responses and ultimately enables violence and oppression.</p> <p>There are a variety of ways that governments militarised their response to the pandemic. Understanding these helps us to build a picture of how militarism operates, and identify opportunities to challenge it.</p> <h1>El Salvador</h1> <p>Human Rights Watch <a href="https://www.hrw.org/news/2020/04/15/el-salvador-police-abuses-covid-19-response">has reported that El Salvador’s police forces</a> have “arbitrarily arrested hundreds of people in the name of enforcing restrictions” and that the country’s president, Nayib Bukele, has used Twitter and nationwide broadcasted speeches to encourage “excessive use of force and the draconian enforcement of measures”. Members of the public were arrested and arbitrarily detained for not wearing face masks even though this was not mandated by the government, or for going out to buy food or medicine.</p> <h1>South Africa</h1> <p>In March, police forces in South Africa <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/mar/28/south-africa-police-rubber-bullets-shoppers-covid-19-lockdown">fired rubber bullets</a> at shoppers queuing outside a supermarket in Johannesburg as the lockdown there came into effect, and videos showed heavily armed police and soldiers patrolling very poor neighbourhoods where residents have limited capacity to self isolate, beating members of the public with whips. In April the security services were accused of <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dq2rRt3Xnzs">killing as many people enforcing the lockdown as the virus itself had killed</a>. Collins Khosa was killed by security forces in his own home on April 10th after soldiers spotted what they believed to be a cup of alcohol in his yard (South Africa banned sales of alcohol during the lockdown).</p> <p>Thato Masiangoako, a researcher for the Socio-Economic Rights Institute of South Africa told Reuters that “This brutality and violence is not at all new. What is new is that during this lockdown, a harsher spotlight has been shone on these abuses… Security forces were deployed mainly to poor black areas like high density townships. More affluent areas have been shielded from the violence.”</p> <h1>Sri Lanka</h1> <p>By mid-May over 60,000 people in Sri Lanka had been arrested <a href="https://www.tamilguardian.com/content/over-60000-arrested-sri-lanka-violating-covid-19-curfew">for breaking the country’s lockdown conditions</a>. The country’s inspector general has curtailed citizen’s rights to free expression, ordering police to arrest those who criticise the governments coronavirus response, including “scolding” officials and pointing out “minor issues”. The government’s taskforce responsible for managing the response to the pandemic is being run by General Shavendra Silva, a military commander who, according to Human Rights Watch, “faces credible allegations of <a href="https://translations.state.gov/2020/02/14/public-designation-due-to-gross-violations-of-human-rights-of-shavendra-silva-of-sri-lanka-under-section-7031c-of-the-department-of-state-foreign-operations-and-related-programs-appropriations-a/">war crimes during the final months of Sri Lanka’s</a> long civil war.”</p> <h1>Serbia</h1> <p>As well as using the army and militarised police forces to violently impose lockdowns, states have used similar violence to respond to protests against their handling of the crisis. In Serbia, the “strongman” Aleksandar Vucic was criticised for holding elections on 21st June – in which his Serbian Progressive Party won a landslide victory but were boycotted by opposition parties – and escalating the crisis by relaxing the rules on large gatherings, before imposing a strict curfew after winning the election. Protesters demanding his resignation attempted to storm the parliament building <a href="https://balkaninsight.com/2020/07/10/serbian-protests-police-brutality-mapped/">were beaten and teargassed by riot police</a>, who targetted journalists and indiscriminately attacking individuals who posed no threat and were a long way from the protest. Police fired flares at close range from vehicles and beat people sat on park benches.</p> <h1>If not militarism, then what?</h1> <p>States choose militarised responses for a wide number of reasons: because other systems and structures are deprived of resources; many see the military as resourceful, decisive and effective in ways that civilian/non-military systems can never be; violence and the threat of violence is an effective way of creating fear maintaining control; because of a belief that, in an emergency, states only option is to use coercive and authoritative means to enforce measures that will ultimately benefit their citizens…</p> <p>As movements around the world push for a green recovery to the huge economic impact, we should also be using the opportunity to consider how and why many states turned to such militarised responses to the pandemic, and what our alternatives would be. Militaries squander huge amounts of resources that could have been used, over many years, to build stronger health and social care systems. Global Spending on the military in 2019 is estimated to have been $1917 billion by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, the highest level since 1988 and a 3.6% increase on 2018 levels. When such huge amounts of resources are pumped into militaries it is unsurprising that militarised approaches and narratives dominate, but we need to be clear: militarism isn’t the only option, militarised approaches aren’t neutral alternatives to systems that should be run and managed by civilians, and we need to continue to push for approaches to managing emergencies that are equitable and just.</p> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-author-information field--type-entity-reference-revisions field--label-above"> <div class="field--label">Author information</div> <div class="field--items"> <div class="field--item"> <div class="paragraph paragraph--type--authors-and-bios paragraph--id--_49 paragraph--view-mode--bio-only"> </div> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field--label tags--label field-label-above">Programmes &amp; Projects</div> <div class="wri-main--tags"> <span class="rel-tag" > <a href="/en/taxonomy/term/465" hreflang="en">Front Page</a></span> </div> <div class="field--label tags--label field-label-above">Countries</div> <div class="wri-main--tags"> <span class="rel-tag" > <a href="/en/taxonomy/term/168" hreflang="en">Philippines</a></span> <span class="rel-tag" > <a href="/en/taxonomy/term/204" hreflang="en">El Salvador</a></span> <span class="rel-tag" > <a href="/en/taxonomy/term/232" hreflang="en">Serbia</a></span> <span class="rel-tag" > <a href="/en/taxonomy/term/136" hreflang="en">Sri Lanka</a></span> <span class="rel-tag" > <a href="/en/taxonomy/term/230" hreflang="en">South Africa</a></span> </div> <div class="field--label tags--label field-label-above">Theme</div> <div class="wri-main--tags"> <span class="rel-tag" > <a href="/en/taxonomy/term/702" hreflang="en">Covid-19</a></span> <span class="rel-tag" > <a href="/en/taxonomy/term/507" hreflang="en">Police militarisation</a></span> </div> <div class="field--label tags--label field-label-above">Police militarisation theme</div> <div class="wri-main--tags"> <span class="rel-tag" > <a href="/en/pm-themes/repression-protest" hreflang="en">Repression of protest</a></span> <span class="rel-tag" > <a href="/en/pm-themes/what-militarisation-policing" hreflang="en">What is the militarisation of policing?</a></span> </div> <section class="comments"> <h2>Add new comment</h2> <drupal-render-placeholder callback="comment.lazy_builders:renderForm" arguments="0=node&amp;1=42164&amp;2=comment&amp;3=comment" token="uuQkUlC7V2AHAGAZkbqn-uX4ueg6sac54YDVBrSv954"></drupal-render-placeholder> </section> </div> Fri, 21 Aug 2020 08:25:39 +0000 Andrew 42164 at https://www.wri-irg.org Exporting militarism: how Israeli companies market repression in Latin America https://wri-irg.org/en/story/2019/exporting-militarism-how-israeli-companies-market-repression-latin-america <div data-history-node-id="41873" class="node node--type-story node--view-mode-rss ds-1col clearfix"> <picture> <source srcset="/sites/default/files/public_files/styles/single_page_desktop/public/2019-11/bope_brazil_police.jpg?itok=1LHXClVs 1x" media="screen and (min-width: 992px)" type="image/jpeg"/> <source srcset="/sites/default/files/public_files/styles/single_page_mobiles_and_tablets/public/2019-11/bope_brazil_police.jpg?itok=beKTei9p 1x" type="image/jpeg"/> <img src="/sites/default/files/public_files/styles/single_page_mobiles_and_tablets/public/2019-11/bope_brazil_police.jpg?itok=beKTei9p" alt="Several black-clad and heavily armed police officers" title="Members of the BOPE (Brazilian Special Police Operations Unit) in Brazil. Photo: André Gustavo Stumpf/Flickr CC2.0" typeof="foaf:Image" class="img-responsive" /> </picture> <div class="caption">[node:field_image:title]</div> <time > 14 Nov 2019</time> <div class="field field--name-dynamic-twig-fieldnode-author-name-twig field--type-ds field--label-inline"> <div class="field--label">Author(s)</div> <div class="field--item"> <span>Nada Hussien </span> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field--item"><p><i>On the first day of our Antimilitarism in Movement conference, Nada Hussien discussed the impact of Israeli militarisation around the world. Here is an edited version of her speech:</i></p> <p lang="en-GB" xml:lang="en-GB">As a Palestinian refugee, as a woman, and as a human rights’ defender, I am here to share my experience with Israeli militarization. This is not a personal experience – this is the experience of all my people, who share a fear that the whole world will become a replicated copy of the Israeli militarized doctrine. I am here to re-emphasize the importance of all the groups and movements that are subject to this doctrine to join our efforts, and to put an end to the arms race around the world.</p> <p lang="en-GB" xml:lang="en-GB">Very quickly, I am going to share some examples of what life is like for Palestinians living under Israeli militarization and apartheid:</p> <ul> <li lang="en-GB" xml:lang="en-GB">Palestinian communities face collective punishment, such as the closure of whole villages, roads, checkpoints, and house demolitions. The Israeli state destroys Palestinian houses for a number of reasons. In Jerusalem this approach is used to push people outside the borders of East Jerusalem and into the surrounding areas.</li> <li lang="en-GB" xml:lang="en-GB">Palestinians have a whole different understanding of time and distance as a result of the checkpoints. Journeys are extended to avoid checkpoints.</li> <li lang="en-GB" xml:lang="en-GB">Palestinians are subjected to night raids, when soldiers are ordered to shoot to kill or to create physical disabilities.</li> <li lang="en-GB" xml:lang="en-GB">Palestinians and Israelis live separate lives, with different laws – a form of apartheid. For example, Palestinians are deprived from many academic and career opportunities.</li> <li lang="en-GB" xml:lang="en-GB">In June 2019, a Palestinian prisoner died in an Israeli jail as a result of medical negligence. Palestinian female prisoners went on strike to protest their living conditions, especially the installation of security cameras. Families of prisoners face insulting measures during visits and when attending trials, including strip searches, harassment, and being arbitrarily stopped from visiting their loved ones</li> <li lang="en-GB" xml:lang="en-GB">Our bodies are militarized, including my own body. As a woman, Israel considers my ability to reproduce a threat, and therefore, all Palestinian women are targets. Israeli politicians have called for killing or raping women.</li> </ul> <p><span lang="en-GB" xml:lang="en-GB">Considering</span><span lang="en-GB" xml:lang="en-GB"> all that, it scares us, as Palestinians, to see this </span><span lang="en-GB" xml:lang="en-GB">replicated</span><span lang="en-GB" xml:lang="en-GB"> </span><span lang="en-GB" xml:lang="en-GB">in other</span><span lang="en-GB" xml:lang="en-GB"> </span><span lang="en-GB" xml:lang="en-GB">parts of</span><span lang="en-GB" xml:lang="en-GB"> the world. Militarization in the global south, especially in Latin America is not new, </span><span lang="en-GB" xml:lang="en-GB">but</span><span lang="en-GB" xml:lang="en-GB"> </span><span lang="en-GB" xml:lang="en-GB">in recent decades, Israeli weapons, training, and expertise have been key to this militarization</span><span lang="en-GB" xml:lang="en-GB">.</span></p> <h1 lang="en-GB" xml:lang="en-GB">Exporting repression</h1> <p lang="en-GB" xml:lang="en-GB">Latin America has had a key role in the development of Israel’s military industry. In 1973, Israel’s first major export of war planes was concluded with the dictatorship in El Salvador<span style="background: #ffffff">. </span><span style="background: #ffffff">In</span><span style="background: #ffffff"> the following years, Israeli Arava planes reappeared in various countries, </span><span style="background: #ffffff">including </span><span style="background: #ffffff">the killing fields of the dictatorships. </span><span style="background: #ffffff">F</span><span style="background: #ffffff">or example, </span><span style="background: #ffffff">they were</span><span style="background: #ffffff"> used in the ‘death flights’ during the Dirty War in Guerrero, Mexico, when they used them to throw activists and community leaders into the sea.</span></p> <p lang="en-GB" xml:lang="en-GB"><span style="background: #ffffff">I</span><span style="background: #ffffff">sraeli </span><span style="background: #ffffff">military</span><span style="background: #ffffff"> support </span><span style="background: #ffffff">for Latin American </span><span style="background: #ffffff">dictatorships has been enormous</span><span style="background: #ffffff">.</span><span style="background: #ffffff"> </span><span style="background: #ffffff">t</span><span style="background: #ffffff">he</span> percentage of purchases of Israeli weapons during various dictatorships include:</p> <ul> <li lang="en-GB" xml:lang="en-GB">Argentina (1976-1983) 95%</li> <li lang="en-GB" xml:lang="en-GB">El Salvador (1972-1979) 92%</li> <li lang="en-GB" xml:lang="en-GB">Honduras (1972-1981) 81%</li> </ul> <p lang="en-GB" xml:lang="en-GB">Still today, the most repressive, most right-wing regimes and coup regimes in Latin America all rely on Israeli support; Honduras has received help since the beginning of the coup against President Zelaya, Bolsonaro’s government is looking for military and security cooperation with Israel, and Colombia’s president Uribe was one of the biggest buyers of Israeli weapons.</p> <p lang="en-GB" xml:lang="en-GB">Many police forces and intelligence units in Latin America where trained by Israeli units like the Mossad (Israeli foreign intelligence force) and ‘private’ Israeli security companies. In Guatemala in 1982, the “Dos Erres” massacre was committed by soldiers trained by an Israeli company called ISDS, using weapons manufactured in Israel. ISDS is still operating in many countries around the world, including Brazil and Mexico. In the favelas in Brazil, the militarised police unit BOPE (Special Police Operations Unit) cooperates with ISDS, and the methods of repression in the favelas and in Palestine are very similar. BOPE occupies the rooftops of homes to control and kill people, just as the Israeli military does in Palestinian cities. What we call ‘flying check-points’ - temporary, ad-hoc military control posts where people are stopped, harassed and sometimes killed - is another feature regularly used in both the favelas and in Palestine.</p> <p lang="en-GB" xml:lang="en-GB">Colombia has its own history of Israeli trainings. Yair Klein, is a former lieutenant in the Israeli army and founder of Spearhead Ltd, a private mercenary company. Through Spearhead Ltd, Klein trained the infamous AUC (Autodefensas Unidas de Colombia), a coalition of right-wing death squads. Klein has been convicted by a Colombian court but never extradited, and is living freely in Israel.</p> <p lang="en-GB" xml:lang="en-GB">Cyber espionage is another top seller of Israel’s military industry. Pegasus is spy software used against human rights defenders, journalists and others by repressive regimes across the globe. Facebook recently banned another Israeli company called Archimedes, who - similar to Cambridge Analytica – specialise in manipulating elections. Archimedes have been highly active in Brazil, among other countries.</p> <p lang="en-GB" xml:lang="en-GB">It is important to understand that these tech companies are anything but independent from Israel’s military and political strategy. The revolving door between Israel's top spy unit – military intelligence Unit 8200 – and the country's hi-tech and cyber sector is confirmed by Yair Cohen, a former commander of Unit 8200 and today heads the intelligence cyber department of Elbit Systems, who said: "It's almost impossible to find a technology company in Israel without people from 8200". The process is quite simple: former Unit 8200 personnel are allowed to use the unit’s technology to build their own start-ups (sometimes making immense profits) and in turn can use them to influence politics, support their allies or gain access to information across the globe.</p> <p lang="en-GB" xml:lang="en-GB">Many Israeli arms and technologies are sold as “field tested” or “proven effective in field”, meaning they were used and proven effective on my people in Gaza and the West Bank, and will be used against other groups and movements fighting for social justice.</p> <h1 lang="en-GB" xml:lang="en-GB">More than weapons</h1> <p lang="en-GB" xml:lang="en-GB">Israel doesn’t just market weapons – it also sells its military doctrine, a doctrine built on the belief that in addition to external threats, people inside also are a threat and therefore must be controlled and monitored. After decades of training and policy dictations, this militarized mentality has caught on with Latin American regimes. As a result, the lines between military forces and police forces have vanished in many countries.</p> <p lang="en-GB" xml:lang="en-GB">Militarization is no longer only about different weapons or vehicles, but has become a matter of controlling all aspects of people’s lives through systems of surveillance and cyber security. Through initiating programs like “Smart Cities”, regimes are installing systems (mostly Israeli) to control and monitor people. Israeli drones are sold all over the continent and are proven to be used against social and peasants movements, in addition to other surveillance and security technologies.</p> <p lang="en-GB" xml:lang="en-GB">Based on all that, it’s only fair to argue that forcing a military embargo on Israel isn’t just important for Palestinians, but it’s also very important to the nations in Latin America and all over the world.</p> <h1 lang="en-GB" xml:lang="en-GB">Calling for an embargo</h1> <p lang="en-GB" xml:lang="en-GB">In 2005, inspired by the South African anti-apartheid movement, the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions coalition formed. BDS is a form of non- violent pressure on Israel, with three demands:</p> <ul> <li lang="en-GB" xml:lang="en-GB">Ending its occupation and colonization of all Arab lands and dismantling the Wall,</li> <li lang="en-GB" xml:lang="en-GB">Recognizing the fundamental rights of the Arab-Palestinian citizens of Israel to full equality,</li> <li lang="en-GB" xml:lang="en-GB">Respecting, protecting and promoting the rights of Palestinian refugees to return to their homes and properties as stipulated in UN Resolution 194.</li> </ul> <p lang="en-GB" xml:lang="en-GB">In 2011 the BDS Palestinian national committee issued a call for a comprehensive military embargo on Israel, and started an international campaign. Israel’s military occupation and apartheid regime simply couldn’t continue to violate our rights day after day if governments around the world ended military and security relations with Israel. It would be economically and technologically unsustainable.</p> <p lang="en-GB" xml:lang="en-GB">The military and security industrial complex is a core component of Israel’s economy and ensures the sustainability of its military aggression and occupation: according to Israel’s ex-defense minister Ehud Barak, 150,000 Israeli households - or about 10% of the population - depend economically on this sector. Israel has licensed 6,800 arms and security services providers, making this the largest industry in Israel. This still doesn’t count the hi-tech sector, largely depending on the commercialisation of intelligence and military research and applications. Only an effective military embargo can make peace and justice more profitable and interesting for Israel’s establishment than continued war and aggression.</p> <p lang="en-GB" xml:lang="en-GB">While it’s clear that a full military embargo could only be achieved through a UN resolution, activists can:</p> <ul> <li lang="en-GB" xml:lang="en-GB">pressure banks and companies to divest,</li> <li lang="en-GB" xml:lang="en-GB">protest Israeli military presence in their countries,</li> <li lang="en-GB" xml:lang="en-GB">academics can submit motions and petitions pressuring their institutions to stop joint military research with Israeli universities,</li> <li lang="en-GB" xml:lang="en-GB">campaign against complicit corporations,</li> <li lang="en-GB" xml:lang="en-GB">lobby parliamentarians and political party representatives,</li> <li lang="en-GB" xml:lang="en-GB">lobby local authorities and governments to take action.</li> </ul> <p>This campaign is having an impact with lots of evidence that joint efforts and continuous campaigning can affect the global structure of militarism:</p> <ul> <li lang="en-GB" xml:lang="en-GB">Many banks and financial institutions have divested from Elbit Systems,</li> <li lang="en-GB" xml:lang="en-GB">Elbit lost contracts in France and Denmark after public campaigns,</li> <li lang="en-GB" xml:lang="en-GB">G4S lost contracts worth millions of dollars with unions, banks, universities and other bodies,</li> <li lang="en-GB" xml:lang="en-GB">Dozens of city councils, including the cities of Dublin and Barcelona, have endorsed a military embargo of Israel,</li> <li lang="en-GB" xml:lang="en-GB">Rio Grande do Sul in Brazil cancelled a satellite program with Elbit Systems,</li> <li lang="en-GB" xml:lang="en-GB">The first US cities have pledged not to allow their police to be trained by Israeli companies.</li> </ul> <p lang="en-GB" xml:lang="en-GB">The scope of the military embargo campaign is widening, more activists and groups are joining, and we won’t stop until Israel complies with international law, and until all oppressed people around the world achieve their rights of freedom, justice, self- determination and sovereignty.</p> <p lang="en-GB" xml:lang="en-GB">  </p> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-author-information field--type-entity-reference-revisions field--label-above"> <div class="field--label">Author information</div> <div class="field--items"> <div class="field--item"> <div class="paragraph paragraph--type--authors-and-bios paragraph--id--_22 paragraph--view-mode--bio-only"> </div> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field--label tags--label field-label-above">Countries</div> <div class="wri-main--tags"> <span class="rel-tag" > <a href="/en/taxonomy/term/228" hreflang="en">Israel</a></span> <span class="rel-tag" > <a href="/en/taxonomy/term/191" hreflang="en">Argentina</a></span> <span class="rel-tag" > <a href="/en/taxonomy/term/204" hreflang="en">El Salvador</a></span> <span class="rel-tag" > <a href="/en/taxonomy/term/242" hreflang="en">Honduras</a></span> <span class="rel-tag" > <a href="/en/taxonomy/term/99" hreflang="en">Brazil</a></span> <span class="rel-tag" > <a href="/en/taxonomy/term/270" hreflang="en">Colombia</a></span> </div> <div class="field--label tags--label field-label-above">Theme</div> <div class="wri-main--tags"> <span class="rel-tag" > <a href="/en/taxonomy/term/507" hreflang="en">Police militarisation</a></span> </div> <div class="field--label tags--label field-label-above">Police militarisation theme</div> <div class="wri-main--tags"> <span class="rel-tag" > <a href="/en/pm-themes/equipment-training-and-tactics" hreflang="en">Equipment, training and tactics</a></span> <span class="rel-tag" > <a href="/en/pm-themes/what-militarisation-policing" hreflang="en">What is the militarisation of policing?</a></span> <span class="rel-tag" > <a href="/en/pm-themes/who-profits" hreflang="en">Who profits?</a></span> </div> <div class="field--label tags--label field-label-above">Companies</div> <div class="wri-main--tags"> <span class="rel-tag" > <a href="/en/taxonomy/term/430" hreflang="en">Elbit Systems</a></span> </div> <section class="comments"> <h2>Add new comment</h2> <drupal-render-placeholder callback="comment.lazy_builders:renderForm" arguments="0=node&amp;1=41873&amp;2=comment&amp;3=comment" token="uhVYZkCmGJyp4hqLfwb-TB5mbi-72pBvrd8SmDljPO0"></drupal-render-placeholder> </section> </div> Thu, 14 Nov 2019 15:10:09 +0000 Andrew 41873 at https://www.wri-irg.org Armies, internal security and militarised borders: militarisation in Latin America and the Caribbean https://wri-irg.org/en/story/2019/armies-internal-security-and-militarised-borders-militarisation-latin-america-and <div data-history-node-id="41970" class="node node--type-story node--view-mode-rss ds-1col clearfix"> <picture> <source srcset="/sites/default/files/public_files/styles/single_page_desktop/public/2019-12/16507411527_b06e92b64a_o.jpg?itok=II5eNo4g 1x" media="screen and (min-width: 992px)" type="image/jpeg"/> <source srcset="/sites/default/files/public_files/styles/single_page_mobiles_and_tablets/public/2019-12/16507411527_b06e92b64a_o.jpg?itok=4Z9Ekw7l 1x" type="image/jpeg"/> <img src="/sites/default/files/public_files/styles/single_page_mobiles_and_tablets/public/2019-12/16507411527_b06e92b64a_o.jpg?itok=4Z9Ekw7l" alt="Two masked, armoured police officers holding rifles, crouch behind a tree" title="The Honduran TIGRES police training with a US Special Forces group. Credit: USASOC News Service, used under a CC2.0 license" typeof="foaf:Image" class="img-responsive" /> </picture> <div class="caption">[node:field_image:title]</div> <time > 29 Nov 2019</time> <div class="field field--name-dynamic-twig-fieldnode-author-name-twig field--type-ds field--label-inline"> <div class="field--label">Author(s)</div> <div class="field--item"> <span>Julián Ovalle - Red Antimilitarista de América Latina y el Caribe</span> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field--item"><h1 class="western"><span lang="en-GB" xml:lang="en-GB" xml:lang="en-GB">About Latin America</span></h1> <p class="western"><span lang="en-GB" xml:lang="en-GB" xml:lang="en-GB">Because of</span><span lang="en-GB" xml:lang="en-GB" xml:lang="en-GB"> the confusion of the English-speaking world when it says “America”, and so that there is no doubt over what we will talk about in this article, the Latin American people </span><span lang="en-GB" xml:lang="en-GB" xml:lang="en-GB">dwells</span><span lang="en-GB" xml:lang="en-GB" xml:lang="en-GB"> in the vast territory between the southern United States and the Chilean southern Patagonia, which amounts to almost half of the Americas. </span></p> <p class="western"><span lang="en-GB" xml:lang="en-GB" xml:lang="en-GB">Latin Americans are a </span><span lang="en-GB" xml:lang="en-GB" xml:lang="en-GB"><i>mestizo</i></span><span lang="en-GB" xml:lang="en-GB" xml:lang="en-GB"> ["mixed"] people that continues to mix, and represents to the world something that is unfinished and beautiful. Varied forms of Spanish and Portuguese fragment this unity. A </span><span lang="en-GB" xml:lang="en-GB" xml:lang="en-GB"><i>mestizo</i></span><span lang="en-GB" xml:lang="en-GB" xml:lang="en-GB"> people that has experienced and recounted the story of the existential tearing apart caused by colonial genocide and which, despite the passing of the centuries and modern discourse about multiculturalism, is still dealing with the derision and dispossession experienced by the original inhabitants. </span></p> <p class="western"><span lang="en-GB" xml:lang="en-GB" xml:lang="en-GB">In line with the Latin American thinker Jesús Martín-Barbero, we </span><span lang="en-GB" xml:lang="en-GB" xml:lang="en-GB">c</span><span lang="en-GB" xml:lang="en-GB" xml:lang="en-GB">an think of Latin America as a landscape fragmented by mountain ranges, jungles, plains, artificial canals, native languages, national borders, different kinds of Spanish, accents, phenotypes and cuisine. My starting point is to acknowledge the history of Latin American culture as a continuous process, subject to the colonial legacy, and which is experiencing a modernity that is more heterogeneous than universal. The modernity of Latin America resides in the particularity of the plural, in a constant crisis of national identity(s) motivated and facilitated by mobility across borders and recently by the transnational issue. It is a fragmented territory where difference coexists closely and inevitably.</span></p> <hr /> <p>Acknowledging Latin America as a region means looking at a fragmented landscape. Before outlining a general context of the militarisation of the region, it is important to point out that addressing the region as a whole means accepting the profound differences between each of the countries that constitute it. However, a common denominator among all the countries of the region is the stamp of violence, an extremely complex phenomenon that does not allow for simple or absolute explanations, but which undoubtedly has a close genealogical relationship with the colonial legacy that was imprinted on those peoples and territories as a result of the bloody homogenising enterprise that sought to make the "American world" disappear and reduced it to the pre-Hispanic.</p> <p>The history of Latin America is the experience of a deep and permanent social conflict that has been related to what Martín-Barbero calls “national identity crisis rhetoric” and which Rosanna Reguillo in turn relates, among other factors, to the “intense migratory flow in Latin America, which was motivated by the horror of dictatorships and the systematic destruction of peoples and dreams” (2005).</p> <p>As a starting point I want to highlight the fact that the history of Latin America in the twentieth century describes a chronic and permanent situation of cultural conflict traceable to its colonial legacy, a socio-political dispute between governments and peoples that collide in the framework of democracies. Our democracies are always subject to inter-, multi-, and trans- national policies, that value the strategy of militarisation as a “legitimate” and effective strategy not just for conflict management, but also as a form of axiological foundation of culture: the ascendancy of violent, patriarchal values. However, Latin America is a land of resistance of indomitable people, men and women who embody resistance: indigenous peoples, peasants, Afro-descendants, empowered women, urban youth, professionals, boys and girls and academics.</p> <p></p><div alt="A still taken from the television, showing a young child wearing khaki uniform and carrying a toy gun on a a parade" data-embed-button="image_embed" data-entity-embed-display="image:responsive_image" data-entity-embed-display-settings="body_inline_full" data-entity-type="file" data-entity-uuid="ab609f1a-a474-48e5-974f-fd7622c20140" data-langcode="en" class="embedded-entity align-center"> <img srcset="/sites/default/files/public_files/styles/max_1300x1300/public/latam_militarizacion_fusil_roto_oct_2019_relectura_y_ajustes_observaciones.png?itok=cgcxbw-R 1x" src="/sites/default/files/public_files/styles/max_1300x1300/public/latam_militarizacion_fusil_roto_oct_2019_relectura_y_ajustes_observaciones.png?itok=cgcxbw-R" alt="A still taken from the television, showing a young child wearing khaki uniform and carrying a toy gun on a a parade" typeof="foaf:Image" class="img-responsive" /> </div> <p>This still was taken from the broadcast of one of the most popular news programmes on Colombian television. The phrase "COLOMBIANOS ACOMPAÑARON EL DESFILE (COLOMBIANS JOINED IN THE PARADE)" refers to the military parade that takes place on the 20th July in Colombia every year, to commemorate independence from the Spanish crown. This image helps us to highlight and perhaps to distinguish conceptually between <strong>militarisation</strong> and <strong>militarism</strong>: <strong>militarisation</strong> is expressed through the presence of soldiers and military devices in a military parade in urban territory, which in this case are implicit in the image. <strong>Militarism</strong> is expressed in this image in the uniformed and armed person of a child, militarism is inferred through the cultural context that resulted in the decision of his parents to dress him up as a little soldier and expose him to the public. Without the intention of making a rigorous conceptualisation, but with the intention of making a distinction, it is enough to say that while militarisation is the visible disposition of military devices (laws, soldiers, technology) militarism is the cultural basis that underlies and sustains it.</p> <p>This article is concerned with presenting a context of militarisation in the Latin American region, of what is visible and quantifiable in some, not all, countries in the region.</p> <h1>United States Backyard</h1> <p>More and more civil institutions and territories are being militarised in the region. Since the twentieth century, the United States has justified its intervention in Latin American countries by arguing that they face challenges of governance, corruption and high levels of violence that smooth the path towards illegal activities (drug trafficking), migration to the USA and instability throughout America. In the current context the security perspective is the axis that shapes government policies. The global process of securitisation (the prioritisation of security policies in the face of threats over welfare policies) in Latin America is seen as a state response to the breakdown of state hegemony in the territorial and symbolic sphere, represented by the entry into the regional scene (and the strengthening) of “non-equivalent forces” such as terrorism, drug trafficking and organised crime. This commitment to securitisation is the contemporary scenario where it is the expansion of the United States military intervention in the region that drives the militarisation of organisations and territories.</p> <p>The fact that the Latin American homicide rate represents 33% of the global rate is a painfully clear indicator of how social conflict escalates to brutal violence, but in turn constitutes a fact that has been useful in justifying the military intervention of the United States. Rebecca Bill Chávez, who was the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Western Hemisphere Affairs of the United States Government and who publicises issues through her column in the New York Times, is a journalistic spokeswoman who reports that Latin America represents 8% of the world's population and 33% of the world's homicides take place in the region; that is, a rate of 21.5 homicides per 100,000 citizens, which is equivalent to three times the world average of 8. The homicide rate in Brazil reached a record in 2018 of 31 per 100,000 inhabitants; for its part Colombia has a rate of 27 per 100,000 inhabitants. Although Argentina has a much lower homicide rate, less than seven per 100,000, 27% of Argentinians claim to have been victims of a crime in the last year. These kinds of incidents and the difficulties of governance in the countries of the region are what have justified the political and military intervention of the United States in the region.</p> <p>Political and military intervention has been a constant in the second half of the twentieth century. From the "Alliance for Progress" - a programme of economic, political and social assistance by the US in Latin America in the 60s, to the "Plan Colombia" between 2001 and 2016, in which the United States invested $10bn in Colombia in military aid, to the “Mérida Initiative” (2008-2014), an international security treaty established by the United States in agreement with Mexico and the countries of Central America to combat drug trafficking and organised crime , these plans and other bilateral agreements with various governments have left a history of a formal presence with US military bases throughout the region. The official US military presence in the region is decreasing; currently the official presence of US military forces is concentrated in strategic points of the Pacific and Caribbean coasts, in El Salvador (Comalpa), Cuba (Guantanamo), Aruba, Curação and Puerto Rico, while a negotiation is taking place with the Bolsonaro Government on the establishment of military bases in Brazil. However, according to Colombian researcher Sebastián Bitar (2017) there is currently evidence of a growing network of informal facilities that supports US operations in the region. The host countries allow, and in some cases seek, participation in a network of “quasi-bases”; installations that, without an official agreement with the national institutions in the host countries, permit the US military presence and operations. They exist in almost all the countries of the Pacific coast of America: Peru, Honduras, Costa Rica, Panama, Ecuador and Colombia.</p> <h1>Militarisation of the region</h1> <p>The context of securitisation, as previously mentioned, in Latin America is a response to the perceived threat that the rhetoric of governments bases on the fight against crime and drug trafficking. In the case of the countries of Central America, US intervention and securitisationhas, according to a regional report produced by the Ombudsman's Office of Costa Rica, "opened the door to militarisation for the sake of citizen security.".</p> <p>In general terms, Central American countries have seen an increase in military budgets without this having an impact on an improvement in the state of internal security: El Salvador increased its budget from $191 million in 2008 to $271 million in 2016, while homicides increased from 2,594 cases in 2012 to 6,656 in 2015 to 5,280 in 2016. In Honduras, despite a growing military presence on the streets, murders were not significantly reduced; according to the Violence Observatory of the National Autonomous University of Honduras, the budget of the armed forces in that country went from $2.2 billion in 2008, to 342 million dollars in 2016; In spite of that, murders only dropped from 5,265 in 2009 and 6,239 in 2010, to 5,148 in 2015 and 5,150 in 2016.</p> <p>Throughout 2018, the Government of Daniel Ortega in Nicaragua carried out a military crackdown in urban centres with the aim of exercising territorial control through the repression of a population that protested in the streets because of the increase in the cost of living, acts of corruption in government and actions against freedom of expression. In its analysis of the Central American region, the report of the Ombudsman's Office of Costa Rica<a href="http://www.eluniversal.com.mx/mundo/centroamerica-y-su-fallida-militarizacion"> </a><a href="http://www.eluniversal.com.mx/mundo/centroamerica-y-su-fallida-militarizacion">points out</a> that the “revitalisation of the armed forces and their increasing participation in civil activities, coupled with the chronic weakness of the system of administration of justice and the detection of new and serious cases of corruption in several countries, pose risks for the democratic exercise of power”. The report pointed out that the increase in the size and capacity of armies "may affect the effective protection of human rights."</p> <p>Continuing this path through Latin America to the south, however, may be the opportunity to point out emphatically that in Central America there is a war against the people that is invisible. The phenomenon of militarisation is widespread in Latin America. At present, a trend has been identified in the region in which governments are increasingly handing over police functions to the army. The Governments of Brazil, Argentina, Mexico and Colombia have resorted, to a greater or lesser extent, to their armed forces in search of internal security.</p> <p><a name="story-continues-3" id="story-continues-3"></a>In Brazil, President Michel Temer signed a decree in February 2018 that put the army in charge of the security of Rio de Janeiro, stating "you know that organised crime has nearly taken over in the state of Rio Janeiro. This is a metastasis that is spreading in our country and threatens our people." In the media this action has been recorded as an extraordinary measure that seeks to restore order in the second largest city in the country and, in general, in the state of Rio in the midst of an epidemic of violence. It is the first time, since the return to democratic rule, that a government in Brazil has ordered a military intervention in a State. With the advent of Bolsonaro militarisation is continuing. Although the total number of violent deaths in the State has increased, surveys indicate that a large majority of the inhabitants of Rio support military intervention.</p> <p><a href="">For his part, Mauricio Macri, as President of the Government in Argentina has made a regulatory change to the functions of the military: he has said</a> that it is important that they “can co-operate with internal security, mainly providing logistical support in border areas and participating in activities of a strategic nature.” The regulatory change he proposes is due to an absence of a strong political consensus in Argentina since democracy returned after more than thirty years of dictatorship: he announced a reform to the Argentine Armed Forces aimed at the army addressing "current challenges" and referring to the threats of terrorism and drug trafficking, but this reform will also allow military intervention in internal security.</p> <p>In the case of Colombia, the strengthening of the military establishment does not seem to be stopping despite the peace agreements drawn up with the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC). The continuation of the conflict is in the midst of a breach in the agreements and in the midst of a resumption of arms by dissident sectors of the FARC guerrillas, a rearmament that is taking place in the context of a resurgence of selective paramilitary violence against community leaders and where there is not a glimpse of a negotiated solution with armed actors such as the National Liberation Army (ELN), People’s Liberation Army (EPL) and FARC members who have refused to move forward with the mobilisation process motivated by the lack of guarantees for their safety and compliance with the implementation of the agreements.</p> <p>The Law of Internal Security was passed in Mexico in 2017. This has created the conditions for an increased dependency on the armed forces for internal security, at the same time as bringing about an integration of the armed forces into a National Guard. Mexico’s National Human Rights Commission notes that "When the Army has been deployed on operations in a municipality homicides increase by 9%", this clearly shows that militarisation endangers the protection of human rights and can actually exacerbate citizen insecurity... In the book In the Fog of War (2015) Andreas Schedler notes that "the annual murder rate in the country has again exceeded the threshold for endemic violence as defined by the World Health Organization by more than double." In this context, the legislative branch has approved the Law of Internal Security that regulates the presence of the Army and Navy on the streets, as if they were police forces. Since the presentation and before the approval of the Law, more than 750,000 members of the Army and Navy <a href="https://elpais.com/internacional/2017/12/15/mexico/1513305281_940878.html">have replaced the police in hundreds of municipalities throughout the country</a>. Based on this new regulatory framework, the National Guard has begun operations in 2019 on the southern border of the country where it has been intensifying efforts to curb the flow of migration to the United States, and has specifically deployed more than 20,000 troops to work together with the National Institute of Migration, in line with a demand by Donald Trump.</p> <p>The new neo-liberal right-wing government in Chile has strengthened the militarisation of its police, the Carabineros, essentially a military police force. The commitment, in this case is technological and judicial: new weapons and armoured transport, investment in programmes of virtual espionage and carte blanche repression of any kind of social protest throughout the country, particularly the Mapuche people and the environmental disputes caused by large-scale toxic pollution in the coastal areas of the country.</p> <p>In Venezuela, despite the economic embargo and a diplomatic blockade by the right-wing governments of the region, the militarisation of the state has intensified since Hugo Chavez was in power, of the last 15 Interior Ministers, twelve (80%) have been military officials. The current government of Nicolás Maduro is based essentially on the power that the military provides for him and that counters the coup attempts of the opposition.</p> <h1>Border militarisation</h1> <p>The cross-border transit areas of peoples in continuous migration through ancestral territories, which existed before the Nation States, remain militarised. In the Amazon, the largest planetary reserve of fresh water, in November 2017, the <a href="">Initiative, Amazon Log 2017,</a> took place. This was an exercise in military coordination in the tri-border region between Colombia, Peru and Brazil involving the participation of the armies of the countries of the area.</p> <p>In Central America, borders are migratory filters to stop migration to the United States. Those who manage to reach the Mexico/United States border meet heavily armed soldiers playing the role of the wall they have yet to build but have already constructed militarily. After the announcement of the controversial wall on the border with Mexico, in 2018 the Donald Trump government signed a proclamation announcing the mobilisation of troops from the National Guard to the border with Mexico to combat illegal immigration. In this regard, Trump<a href=""> pointed out</a> that “the lawlessness that continues at our southern border is fundamentally incompatible with the safety, security and sovereignty of the American people,” therefore 600,000 troops from the National Guard were mobilised as an initial measure in compliance with the government order.</p> <p>Venezuela is becoming more and more militarised every year, ceding participation to its armed forces in the economy, security, intelligence and generally in all areas of decision and administratio. This militarisation eliminates the possibility of a civil, negotiated solution to the permanent state of crisis that the country has been experiencing for five years now. One of the regional consequences of this crisis is the significant increase in Venezuelan economic and political migration, which has been responded to by the region from a position of poverty and solidarity, although local right wing movements have taken the opportunity to popularise xenophobic, racist and discriminatory responses, both social and administrative.</p> <p>In Venezuela, obtaining a passport presents serious obstacles. The cost has increased by 124%, and applicants face delay and corruption in the processing system. These complications are increased by restrictions that other Andean countries are<a href=""> introducing</a>: “A restriction by Peru for Venezuelan immigrants came into force hours after the Court of Justice in Ecuador suspended the same measure in the neighbouring country and gave the Ecuadorian Government a 45-day deadline to present a contingency plan if it wanted to continue applying the measure." In Colombia sectors of the extreme right are putting forward <a href="https://www.efe.com/efe/espana/sociedad/peru-comienza-a-exigir-pasaporte-los-venezolanos-que-llegan-su-frontera/10004-3729527">arguments </a>about why an intervention should be made in Venezuela. This, while they are making their debut as an extraordinary partner of NATO.</p> <p>Furthermore, the historic and permanent strengthening of the military apparatus and the approach of preparing armies to be responsible for, or at least active in, internal security, and the ongoing militarisation of borders creates an apparent tension with the perspectives posed by the strengthening and financing of the police. The deployment of troops by Brazil to the border with Venezuela after the xenophobic outbreaks is an example of this.</p> <hr /> <p>The Latin American region is experiencing a period of an intensification of regional militarisation.The effects - including the normalisation of violence, arms trafficking, armed gangs disputing and dividing territories with the police, who are militarised in turn by the formation of armed special police groups (such as the "Lynx" in Paraguay) are being felt by local communities across the region. The region lives in an endless spiral of lethal violence, and the military and the police are a constituent element and not the solution.</p> <p>  </p> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-author-information field--type-entity-reference-revisions field--label-above"> <div class="field--label">Author information</div> <div class="field--items"> <div class="field--item"> <div class="paragraph paragraph--type--authors-and-bios paragraph--id--_31 paragraph--view-mode--bio-only"> </div> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field--label tags--label field-label-above">Countries</div> <div class="wri-main--tags"> <span class="rel-tag" > <a href="/en/taxonomy/term/270" hreflang="en">Colombia</a></span> <span class="rel-tag" > <a href="/en/taxonomy/term/224" hreflang="en">Venezuela</a></span> <span class="rel-tag" > <a href="/en/taxonomy/term/242" hreflang="en">Honduras</a></span> <span class="rel-tag" > <a href="/en/taxonomy/term/144" hreflang="en">Mexico</a></span> <span class="rel-tag" > <a href="/en/taxonomy/term/191" hreflang="en">Argentina</a></span> <span class="rel-tag" > <a href="/en/taxonomy/term/204" hreflang="en">El Salvador</a></span> <span class="rel-tag" > <a href="/en/taxonomy/term/220" hreflang="en">Cuba</a></span> </div> <div class="field--label tags--label field-label-above">Theme</div> <div class="wri-main--tags"> <span class="rel-tag" > <a href="/en/taxonomy/term/507" hreflang="en">Police militarisation</a></span> </div> <div class="field--label tags--label field-label-above">Police militarisation theme</div> <div class="wri-main--tags"> <span class="rel-tag" > <a href="/en/pm-themes/what-militarisation-policing" hreflang="en">What is the militarisation of policing?</a></span> </div> <section class="comments"> <h2>Add new comment</h2> <drupal-render-placeholder callback="comment.lazy_builders:renderForm" arguments="0=node&amp;1=41970&amp;2=comment&amp;3=comment" token="1MMPy3NxHi6q56ssDEGBYH-joW91uKukPkW5uUNNfT0"></drupal-render-placeholder> </section> </div> Fri, 29 Nov 2019 10:47:28 +0000 Andrew 41970 at https://www.wri-irg.org The militarisation of policing and internal security https://wri-irg.org/en/story/2017/militarisation-policing-and-internal-security <div data-history-node-id="41192" class="node node--type-story node--view-mode-rss ds-1col clearfix"> <picture> <source srcset="/sites/default/files/public_files/styles/single_page_desktop/public/2017-11/protesters_facing_riot_police_in_karbabad.jpg?itok=fDBtR1O8 1x" media="screen and (min-width: 992px)" type="image/jpeg"/> <source srcset="/sites/default/files/public_files/styles/single_page_mobiles_and_tablets/public/2017-11/protesters_facing_riot_police_in_karbabad.jpg?itok=u3oblKa6 1x" type="image/jpeg"/> <img src="/sites/default/files/public_files/styles/single_page_mobiles_and_tablets/public/2017-11/protesters_facing_riot_police_in_karbabad.jpg?itok=u3oblKa6" alt="Protesters squat in the foreground with their arms in the air making peace signs, their backs to the camera. Facing them is a line of police dressed in riot gear with a large, armoured vehicle in the middle of the line." title="Protesters face police at a sit-in on the beach at Karbabad, Bahrain, in June 2012 during the Bahraini uprising. They were met with tear gas." typeof="foaf:Image" class="img-responsive" /> </picture> <div class="caption">[node:field_image:title]</div> <time > 29 Nov 2017</time> <div class="field field--name-dynamic-twig-fieldnode-author-name-twig field--type-ds field--label-inline"> <div class="field--label">Author(s)</div> <div class="field--item"> <span>Sarah Robinson</span> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field--item"><p>The visible face of police militarisation is the use of militarised equipment and body armour; of sniper rifles and tanks facing down protesters in Ferguson, United States, and of heavily armoured vehicles patrolling the streets of the favelas of Rio de Janiero. But such conspicuous militarisation is merely a symptom – an end-product – of a militarised mindset that sees those being policed not as members of a community in need of protection but as a threat.</p> <h4>The perception of threat</h4> <p>Militarisation is driven by “the idea that the world is a dangerous place” (<a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yTuSCKVwGlA">Enloe, 2016</a>). It is a process that relies upon the widespread social acceptance of a narrative of insecurity. There is always a new emergency just around the corner. The ‘war on terror’ has been used to mobilise a culture of fear across the world from France to Kenya to Indonesia but whether the ‘war’ that is being waged is on terror – or on drugs or on gangs – the response of the state is always framed in the language of militarised conflict.</p> <p>A soldier is schooled to assume a threat before the need for help and to respond accordingly by eliminating it (<a href="https://www.wri-irg.org/en/story/2016/police-militarisation-global">Tabassi and Dey, 2016</a>). But whereas the role of a solider is supposedly to confront a threat coming from outside – an external enemy – increasingly the danger is identified as coming from within. When militarised language is used to talk about perceived internal threats, the danger that is to be eliminated is to be found on the streets of our towns and villages and the war that is being waged is a war on our own communities, who have themselves become the enemy.</p> <h4>The enemy within</h4> <p>The militarisation of policing is nothing new and police forces in colonial and other oppressive regimes have long sought to control rather than protect but increasingly the boundaries between what is considered to be internal and external security are becoming blurred. In ‘<strong><a href="https://www.wri-irg.org/en/story/2017/fourth-world-war">The Fourth World War</a></strong>’, Marcela Paz describes a state of low-intensity war where “it is increasingly hard to make a distinction between military and police activity”. Whilst taking care to be “conscious of how state and global violence differ across contexts” (<strong><a href="https://www.wri-irg.org/en/story/2017/no-swat-zone-resisting-police-militarization-under-trump">Tabassi and Issa, 2017</a></strong>) and not to conflate repressive policing with the great violence occurring in some parts of the world, it is possible to recognise a shift away from the notion of ‘defence’ – which “used to refer to protecting a country’s own borders” – to ‘national security’; an idea which “requires the country to be militarily prepared, in a state of constant alert” and emphasises “the idea of the enemy within” (<strong><a href="https://www.wri-irg.org/en/story/2017/fourth-world-war">Paz, 2017</a></strong>). More and more, the “wars of states are being fought within their borders – often against their own people – by police forces” (<a href="https://www.wri-irg.org/en/story/2016/police-militarisation-global">Tabassi and Dey, 2016</a>).</p> <h4>Militarised policing is <a href="https://www.wri-irg.org/en/pm-themes/racism-and-citizenship">racist policing</a></h4> <p>The militarised mind, trained to see threat, sees surroundings filled with potential enemies who become dehumanised and ‘other’ when looked at in this light. Those identified as potential enemies are almost always, for one reason or another, on the margins of society; they may be political activists, social dissidents, gender nonconformists or poor. But, almost always, they will also be perceived as ‘other’ in racialised terms. The militarisation of policing is a militarisation against minority ethnic groups and people of colour the world over.</p> <p>The ‘war on terror’ has raised the spectre of an Islamic threat and is used to justify militarised policing that targets Muslim communities. Indigenous groups <strong><a href="https://www.wri-irg.org/en/story/2017/new-cordial-pacification-araucania">such as the Mapuche in Chile</a></strong> are marked out for protecting their land and resources. Entire neighbourhoods populated by people of colour <strong><a href="https://www.wri-irg.org/en/story/2017/gizele-martins-militarisation-favelas">such as the favelas of Rio de Janiero</a></strong> are deemed a threat to social cohesion and blackness is conflated with criminality and met with violence. Militarised policing is used to sustain the colonial occupations of the lands of one ethnic group by another, such as <strong><a href="https://www.wri-irg.org/en/story/2017/jamal-juma-militarised-policing-palestine">in Palestine</a><a name="_Hlk499821735" id="_Hlk499821735"></a></strong>.</p> <p><strong><a href="https://www.wri-irg.org/en/pm-themes/border-militarisation">Militarised borders</a></strong> define who is, and who is not, a citizen: who has rights and merits the protection of the state and who is a threat to the social order. The Schengen Area allows for free movement of people (and, of course, capital) within <a href="https://www.jacobinmag.com/2016/05/europe-refugees-migrants-greece-turkey-eu-syria/">Fortress Europe</a> whilst undesirables drown on its shores. The militarised border regime “based on the exclusion of black and brown people” (<a href="https://www.alaraby.co.uk/english/comment/2017/3/14/europes-border-regime-leaves-the-mediterranean-a-profitable-graveyard">Segantini, 2017</a>) “sustains cultural notions of relative human worth” (<a href="https://www.google.co.uk/url?sa=t&amp;rct=j&amp;q=&amp;esrc=s&amp;source=web&amp;cd=13&amp;cad=rja&amp;uact=8&amp;ved=0ahUKEwj10OGW6tTXAhXNJFAKHcubD944ChAWCC0wAg&amp;url=https%3A%2F%2Ftopia.journals.yorku.ca%2Findex.php%2Ftopia%2Farticle%2Fdownload%2F31823%2F32907&amp;usg=AOvVaw2N7FwMMd3BTj-UepZWzRus">Linke, 2010</a>). It operates “as an amorphous buffer zone against global mobility and the presumed threat of race” (<a href="https://www.google.co.uk/url?sa=t&amp;rct=j&amp;q=&amp;esrc=s&amp;source=web&amp;cd=13&amp;cad=rja&amp;uact=8&amp;ved=0ahUKEwj10OGW6tTXAhXNJFAKHcubD944ChAWCC0wAg&amp;url=https%3A%2F%2Ftopia.journals.yorku.ca%2Findex.php%2Ftopia%2Farticle%2Fdownload%2F31823%2F32907&amp;usg=AOvVaw2N7FwMMd3BTj-UepZWzRus">Linke, 2010</a>).</p> <p>Militarised policing is supposed to make society safer but the security that it is supposed to ensure is the security of selected groups at the expense of those not deemed to be of value. We are not expected to interrogate whose safety is being protected. Militarised policing did not protect Tamir Rice, a black child who was shot dead by police in Cleveland, United States, in 2014 for playing with a toy gun. In West Papua, far from guaranteeing their safety, the “Indonesia police are making West Papua unsafe for Papuans. The police have become the main actor perpetrating human rights violations against West Papuans” (<a href="https://www.ulmwp.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/09/WP_PIF_MSG_Report_Online_RLR-1.pdf">MacLeod, Moiwend and Pilbrow, 2016</a>).</p> <h4>A militarised mindset</h4> <p>The <strong><a href="https://www.wri-irg.org/en/pm-themes/what-militarisation-policing">militarised mindset</a></strong> is nurtured by police <strong><a href="https://www.wri-irg.org/en/pm-themes/equipment-training-and-tactics">trainings</a></strong> which simulate scenarios of extreme threat and encourage knee-jerk militarised responses. In the United States, the National Tactical Officers Association (NTOA) runs a training called ‘Talk-Fight-Shoot-Leave’ which “encourages use-of-force solutions and ‘warrior mentalities’ over de-escalation tactics” (<strong><a href="https://www.wri-irg.org/en/story/2017/no-swat-zone-resisting-police-militarization-under-trump">Tabassi and Issa, 2016</a></strong>). Such trainings are also often racist, such as the Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) trainings held in the United States which use negative racial stereotypes in their dramatisations and <strong><a href="https://www.wri-irg.org/en/story/2017/no-swat-zone-resisting-police-militarization-under-trump">regularly host Islamophobic speakers</a></strong>. Trainings are one of the key mechanisms through which militarised policing is exported.</p> <p>There is a widespread use of <strong><a href="https://www.wri-irg.org/en/pm-themes/equipment-training-and-tactics">militaristic tactics and weaponry</a></strong>. Sometimes actual military weapons find their way from the military into the hands of the police. Policing tactics are often indiscriminate and disproportionate to the threat posed and can be indistinguishable from those of the army uses against enemy combatants. There is a <strong><a href="https://www.wri-irg.org/en/pm-themes/blurring-lines-between-police-and-military">blurring of the lines</a></strong> between the police and the military with police units adopting increasingly militarised behaviours and the military taking on policing roles.</p> <p>Militarisation is deeply <strong><a href="https://www.wri-irg.org/en/pm-themes/gender-and-sexuality">rooted in patriarchy</a></strong>. Militarised structures prize masculine values such as obedience to authority, hierarchy and control and reflect these back into society: reinforcing gender norms and roles which define “masculinity as powerful and aggressive and femininity as humble and passive” (<a href="https://www.wri-irg.org/en/story/2012/recruitment-and-resistance-queers-example-sweden">Laska and Molander, 2012</a>) and the gendered order “in which men exercise power over women” (<a href="https://www.wri-irg.org/en/story/2010/women-men-and-nuclear-weapons-0">Cockburn, 2010</a>), irrespective of women’s direct participation in them.</p> <p>Militarised attitudes may show themselves in the increased use or threat of violence although police brutality does not mean militarisation in itself. Rather, it may be symptomatic of a way of dealing with an ‘enemy’, as are the tools – the machine guns and tear gas – that are chosen to carry out the task at hand.</p> <h4><a href="https://www.wri-irg.org/en/pm-themes/who-profits">Who profits?</a></h4> <p>Militarised policing works in favour of those who are already powerful. <strong><a href="https://www.wri-irg.org/en/pm-themes/what-militarisation-policing">As in Bahrain</a></strong>, it is used to quell dissent and crush protest. It keeps those lower down the social order in their place. Gizele Martins describes how when the favelas of Rio de Janiero were occupied by the army in 2014 and 2015, <strong><a href="https://www.wri-irg.org/en/story/2017/gizele-martins-militarisation-favelas">one soldier was sent in for every fifty-five inhabitants</a></strong>. The state, which had never seen fit to provide the same ratio of teachers or doctors, was willing to spend vast sums of money to maintain its control. Militarised policing protects the interests of the capitalist, imperialist elite: their financial institutions and sites of power, their factories and shops and the mines, quarries and pipelines that they use to extract natural resources that do not belong to them from land that is not theirs. It protects their ability to exploit and harm the environment and profit from the labour of others.</p> <p>Militarised policing also directly benefits those who profit from the provision of privatised security services and the sale of militarised equipment and training to police forces around the world. The homeland security industry has grown at 5% annually since 2008 despite a worldwide recession (<a href="https://www.tni.org/en/publication/the-secure-and-the-dispossessed">Buxton and Hayes, 2016</a>). </p> <h4><a href="https://www.wri-irg.org/en/pm-themes/demilitarising-policing">Demilitarisation</a></h4> <p>Whilst a clear shift towards militarised policing can be observed across the world, there exist numerous examples of attempts to demilitarise the police; often in response to the end of an armed conflict or the fall of an authoritarian regime. In most of these examples, militarised policing has tended to resurface in an adapted form. The South Korean police force is currently undergoing a process of demilitarisation with the <strong><a href="https://www.wri-irg.org/en/story/2017/moon-jae-vows-dismantle-police-conscript-force">abolition of conscription</a></strong> to the police force as part of military service by 2023. A main role of police conscripts has been to confront protesters during political demonstrations. It remains to be seen what the outcome of this step towards demilitarisation will be and what its effects it will have on the wider police force.</p> <p>In <strong><a href="https://www.wri-irg.org/en/pm-country-profile/colombia">Colombia</a></strong>, conversely, there are <strong><a href="https://www.wri-irg.org/en/story/2017/colombia-militarisation-after-peace-agreements">concerns about the militarisation of policing in a context of demilitarisation</a></strong> after the signing of peace accords between the government and the FARC (Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia) in 2016. Since the peace accords were signed, over one hundred leaders from different social movements have been assassinated. A new military doctrine called the Damascus Doctrine is being developed by the armed forces which consists of strengthening the armed forces to play a role as the principal interlocutor between the state and civil society.</p> <h4><a href="https://www.wri-irg.org/en/pm-themes/resistance">Resistance</a></h4> <p>True demilitarisation will require challenging the militarised mindset that sustains militarised policing. A main aim of our new <strong><a href="https://www.wri-irg.org/en/police-militarisation">web resource</a></strong> is to bring the fore <strong><a href="https://www.wri-irg.org/en/pm-themes/resistance">stories of resistance</a></strong> from communities across the globe from <strong><a href="https://www.wri-irg.org/en/story/2017/kenya-community-policing">Kenya</a></strong> to <strong><a href="https://www.wri-irg.org/en/story/2017/gizele-martins-militarisation-favelas">Brazil</a></strong> to <strong><a href="https://www.wri-irg.org/en/story/2017/casspir-project">South Africa</a></strong> and the <strong><a href="https://www.wri-irg.org/en/story/2017/no-swat-zone-resisting-police-militarization-under-trump">United States</a></strong> and so act as a networking and solidarity tool for those already experiencing the impact of militarised policing. We hope that you find them inspiring.</p> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-author-information field--type-entity-reference-revisions field--label-above"> <div class="field--label">Author information</div> <div class="field--items"> <div class="field--item"> <div class="paragraph paragraph--type--authors-and-bios paragraph--id--_30 paragraph--view-mode--bio-only"> <div class="field field--name-field-bio field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field--item"><p>Sarah Robinson worked at the War Resisters’ International London office for a year from September 2016 researching the different ways police forces around the world are being militarised and developing an <a href="https://www.wri-irg.org/en/police-militarisation">online resource</a> on police militarisation. Her work was funded by <a href="http://www.quaker.org.uk/our-work">Quaker Peace and Social Witness</a>.</p> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field--label tags--label field-label-above">Programmes &amp; Projects</div> <div class="wri-main--tags"> <span class="rel-tag" > <a href="/en/taxonomy/term/465" hreflang="en">Front Page</a></span> </div> <div class="field--label tags--label field-label-above">Theme</div> <div class="wri-main--tags"> <span class="rel-tag" > <a href="/en/taxonomy/term/507" hreflang="en">Police militarisation</a></span> </div> <div class="field--label tags--label field-label-above">Police militarisation theme</div> <div class="wri-main--tags"> <span class="rel-tag" > <a href="/en/pm-themes/what-militarisation-policing" hreflang="en">What is the militarisation of policing?</a></span> <span class="rel-tag" > <a href="/en/pm-themes/who-profits" hreflang="en">Who profits?</a></span> <span class="rel-tag" > <a href="/en/pm-themes/blurring-lines-between-police-and-military" hreflang="en">Blurring the lines between the police and the military</a></span> <span class="rel-tag" > <a href="/en/pm-themes/equipment-training-and-tactics" hreflang="en">Equipment, training and tactics</a></span> <span class="rel-tag" > <a href="/en/pm-themes/racism-and-citizenship" hreflang="en">Racism and citizenship</a></span> <span class="rel-tag" > <a href="/en/pm-themes/gender-and-sexuality" hreflang="en">Gender and sexuality</a></span> <span class="rel-tag" > <a href="/en/pm-themes/threat-perception" hreflang="en">Threat perception</a></span> <span class="rel-tag" > <a href="/en/pm-themes/repression-protest" hreflang="en">Repression of protest</a></span> <span class="rel-tag" > <a href="/en/pm-themes/border-militarisation" hreflang="en">Border militarisation</a></span> <span class="rel-tag" > <a href="/en/pm-themes/resistance" hreflang="en">Resistance</a></span> </div> <section class="comments"> <h2>Add new comment</h2> <drupal-render-placeholder callback="comment.lazy_builders:renderForm" arguments="0=node&amp;1=41192&amp;2=comment&amp;3=comment" token="cJz5rDZVjPwVCJuvDrWT5ch9rsBUBD1R5_iVew8Cm1s"></drupal-render-placeholder> </section> </div> Wed, 29 Nov 2017 14:43:37 +0000 Sarah 41192 at https://www.wri-irg.org Mining company in court over allegations of police violence in Peru https://wri-irg.org/en/story/2017/mining-company-court-over-allegations-police-violence-peru <div data-history-node-id="41143" class="node node--type-story node--view-mode-rss ds-1col clearfix"> <picture> <source srcset="/sites/default/files/public_files/styles/single_page_desktop/public/2017-11/glencore_peru_mining_protest_militarisation.jpg?itok=xmtbAGBn 1x" media="screen and (min-width: 992px)" type="image/jpeg"/> <source srcset="/sites/default/files/public_files/styles/single_page_mobiles_and_tablets/public/2017-11/glencore_peru_mining_protest_militarisation.jpg?itok=PW-FhQSl 1x" type="image/jpeg"/> <img src="/sites/default/files/public_files/styles/single_page_mobiles_and_tablets/public/2017-11/glencore_peru_mining_protest_militarisation.jpg?itok=PW-FhQSl" alt="Police holding shields in front of the Tintaya mine in Peru" typeof="foaf:Image" class="img-responsive" /> </picture> <div class="caption">[node:field_image:title]</div> <time > 23 Nov 2017</time> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field--item"><p>Xstrata, a UK-registered company part of Glencore plc (an Anglo–Swiss commodity trading and mining company) is in court in London accused of hiring the Peruvian National Police (PNP) to oppress environmental protesters who were demonstrating against the Tintaya copper mine in a remote region of the Andes in 2012.</p> <p>Two of the demonstrators were killed, and others were seriously injured after being attacked by police and private security. The lawsuit brought by 22 Peruvians - represented by legal firm Leigh Day - states that the company failed to take reasonable steps to prevent police abuses during the deadly protests. According to the legal firm’s press release, “the claimants allege that the PNP, whose attendance at the protest was requested by the mine, used excessive force including the use of live ammunition, beat and kicked protesters, subjected them to racial abuse and made them stand for prolonged periods in stress positions in the freezing cold.”</p> <p>Leigh Day argues that the company paid £700,000 for the services of roughly 1,300 members of the PNP, and provided them with weapons such as rubber bullets and tear gas, and food and accommodation. The company signed an agreement with the police for the provision of security at the mine; activists have criticised these agreements, arguing that they encourage police forces to be loyal to companies rather than upholding the law.</p> <p><div class="embed-media embed-media--video-youtube"><iframe width="200" height="113" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/G2TsuIWrijI?feature=oembed" frameborder="0" allow="accelerometer; autoplay; clipboard-write; encrypted-media; gyroscope; picture-in-picture" allowfullscreen="" title="Glencore subsidiary in UK High Court battle over human rights abuse claims in Peru"></iframe></div></p> <p>Xstrata are also accused of “covertly monitoring” community meetings, employing informants, and sharing information with the police. The court has been told that the private security guards were armed with metal bars and planks of wood, and that the police used live ammunition from shot guns and machine guns.</p> <p>Xstrata denies the allegations, and says that the National Police were operating independently and that the company had no control over their behaviour.</p> <p>Sergio Huamani, a farmer who was involved in the protests and has travelled <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/business/2017/oct/31/uk-mining-firm-in-court-over-claims-it-mistreated-environmental-activists">to London to hear the court case, said</a>: “I was attacked severely by the police and beaten on my head and nose because I was protesting about the environmental impact of the copper mine. I hope we will find justice here. The mine is still producing copper and has expanded. It is working without social or environmental responsibility.”</p> <p>The Tintaya mine is owned by Xtrata’s Peruvian subsidiary Xstrata Tintaya S.A. Xstrata was bought by Swiss-based company Glencore in 2013.</p> </div> <div class="field--label tags--label field-label-above">Countries</div> <div class="wri-main--tags"> <span class="rel-tag" > <a href="/en/taxonomy/term/103" hreflang="en">Peru</a></span> <span class="rel-tag" > <a href="/en/taxonomy/term/92" hreflang="en">United Kingdom</a></span> <span class="rel-tag" > <a href="/en/taxonomy/term/226" hreflang="en">Switzerland</a></span> </div> <div class="field--label tags--label field-label-above">Theme</div> <div class="wri-main--tags"> <span class="rel-tag" > <a href="/en/taxonomy/term/498" hreflang="en">Extractive industry</a></span> <span class="rel-tag" > <a href="/en/taxonomy/term/507" hreflang="en">Police militarisation</a></span> </div> <div class="field--label tags--label field-label-above">Police militarisation theme</div> <div class="wri-main--tags"> <span class="rel-tag" > <a href="/en/pm-themes/repression-protest" hreflang="en">Repression of protest</a></span> <span class="rel-tag" > <a href="/en/pm-themes/equipment-training-and-tactics" hreflang="en">Equipment, training and tactics</a></span> <span class="rel-tag" > <a href="/en/pm-themes/what-militarisation-policing" hreflang="en">What is the militarisation of policing?</a></span> <span class="rel-tag" > <a href="/en/pm-themes/who-profits" hreflang="en">Who profits?</a></span> <span class="rel-tag" > <a href="/en/pm-themes/racism-and-citizenship" hreflang="en">Racism and citizenship</a></span> </div> <section class="comments"> <h2>Add new comment</h2> <drupal-render-placeholder callback="comment.lazy_builders:renderForm" arguments="0=node&amp;1=41143&amp;2=comment&amp;3=comment" token="1dK2jABIPoN3vF5lyf-CRI2BXCrPcy4EcFIiRAGw0WM"></drupal-render-placeholder> </section> </div> Thu, 23 Nov 2017 10:57:10 +0000 Andrew 41143 at https://www.wri-irg.org Police militarisation is global https://wri-irg.org/en/story/2016/police-militarisation-global <div data-history-node-id="26140" class="node node--type-story node--view-mode-rss ds-1col clearfix"> <picture> <source srcset="/sites/default/files/public_files/styles/single_page_desktop/public/2017-09/bosnian_special_police_armed.jpg?itok=ted8AVjd 1x" media="screen and (min-width: 992px)" type="image/jpeg"/> <source srcset="/sites/default/files/public_files/styles/single_page_mobiles_and_tablets/public/2017-09/bosnian_special_police_armed.jpg?itok=Q2TZ-oYo 1x" type="image/jpeg"/> <img src="/sites/default/files/public_files/styles/single_page_mobiles_and_tablets/public/2017-09/bosnian_special_police_armed.jpg?itok=Q2TZ-oYo" alt="Heavily armed police in Bosnia" title="Heavily armed police in Bosnia" typeof="foaf:Image" class="img-responsive" /> </picture> <div class="caption">[node:field_image:title]</div> <time > 29 Mar 2016</time> <div class="field field--name-dynamic-twig-fieldnode-author-name-twig field--type-ds field--label-inline"> <div class="field--label">Author(s)</div> <div class="field--item"> <span>Tara Tabassi (War Resisters League) and Andrew Dey (War Resisters’ International)</span> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field--item"><p dir="ltr">As antimilitarist activists, we are well positioned to see the power of police within wider weapons industries and militarist agendas. Understanding this police power as it plays out in different contexts around the world is critical in enabling activists against militarisation to keep the power of police in check within our communities. Police forces often act to maintain unjust 'status-quo' distributions of power in society, and tend towards hegemonic, 'power-over' approaches, and especially when the perception of threat is elevated - the police are a form of social control, and militarisation increases their power. Militarism is guns, armored tanks and drones, but it’s also a state of mind. Militarised mentalities have permeated many police forces and amplified dramatically the force of police violence against our communities.</p> <p dir="ltr"> <!--break--></p> <blockquote><p dir="ltr">“If one sees policing for what it is - a set of practices empowered by the state to enforce law and maintain social control and cultural hegemony through the use of force - one may more easily recognize that perhaps the goal should not be to improve how policing functions but to reduce its role in our lives."</p> </blockquote> <p><a href="http://www.truth-out.org/opinion/item/32813-big-dreams-and-bold-steps-toward-a-police-free-future">Rachel Herzing, Oakland, U.S.</a></p> <p dir="ltr">This article will set out examples of how police forces around the world are going through a process of militarisation. What is police militarisation? To become 'militarised' is as much a social and psychological process as a technical one – a militarised worldview perceives difference as a threat, and believes (often extreme) violence is a primary means of responding to a (perceived) threat. The discourse of 'counter-terrorism' and 'the war on drugs', which in various contexts have led to citizens of a state being treated in much the same manner as an external, state military enemy are examples of this; the lines between the role of the police and the military are blurred. Militarised mentalities mean that:</p> <ul> <li dir="ltr"> <p dir="ltr">maximum escalation is always available as a solution;        </p> </li> <li dir="ltr"> <p dir="ltr">police forces rely on control, use or the threat of force, and cultures of fear;</p> </li> <li dir="ltr"> <p dir="ltr">the poor, ethnic minorities of a country, or political activists are enemies and dehumanized;</p> </li> <li dir="ltr"> <p dir="ltr">police have extreme discipline, absolute hierarchy, anonymity, and patriotic hyper-masculinity.</p> </li> </ul> <p dir="ltr">Feeding this process, arms companies are developing new weapons and marketing approaches – there are now several international trade expos specifically aimed at bringing the arms industry together with police and security forces. Companies are international, as are their venues for vending, and this is reflected in our movement's resistance; after the militarised occupation of Ferguson’s Black communities in the United States in 2014, hundreds of Palestinians supported U.S. activists through social media with how to alleviate tear gassing or identify tear gas canister companies.</p> <p dir="ltr"> </p> <p></p><figure role="group" class="embedded-entity align-left"> <div alt="Militarised police in the USA respond to protests in Ferguson" data-embed-button="image_embed" data-entity-embed-display="image:responsive_image" data-entity-embed-display-settings="body_inline_full" data-entity-type="file" data-entity-uuid="fa173214-3209-43e6-b79a-a6c30e61058c" data-langcode="en" title=""> <img alt="Militarised police in the USA respond to protests in Ferguson" class="img-responsive" src="/sites/default/files/public_files/styles/max_1300x1300/public/images/USA.home.jpg?itok=8Ug7nPau" srcset="/sites/default/files/public_files/styles/max_1300x1300/public/images/USA.home.jpg?itok=8Ug7nPau 1x" typeof="foaf:Image" /> </div> <figcaption>Militarised police in the USA respond to protests in Ferguson</figcaption> </figure> <p dir="ltr">As the stresses placed on populations by climate change, economic inequality, population growth, and conflict over resources increase, it is easy to see how states will increasingly turn to militarise their police forces as a 'response', through the militarisation of domestic police forces, paramilitary forces, national guard, border patrols or emergency preparedness institutions. As our movements demanding for economic, racial and gender justice continue to organise, we will continue to see the ever-militarising faces of police on the frontlines of protests as they attempt to suppress and control people power.</p> <p dir="ltr">On the surface (and on the street) this militarisation is seen in the use of heavier weaponry and more extreme violence. The weaponry and equipment being used by police forces is an indicator of much deeper trends and practises of state repression and maintaining social hierarchies through brute force. As organizers who often face the force of police militarisation against our nonviolent actions and uprisings, we call on activists worldwide to question why policing is a part of our human life, what ideas of safety our societies have constructed that uphold police institutions, and to share how we are practicing alternatives to policing, where we de-escalate situations, where we transform violence, where our communities have created social fabric to keep ourselves safe.</p> <h2 dir="ltr">United States</h2> <p dir="ltr">Police militarisation in the United States cannot be separated from the everyday brutality of beat cops in neighbourhoods across the country who are regularly and disproportionately harming and violating communities of colour with impunity. Police departments uphold the injustices embedded within the racist fabric of US society, for example, a Black person is killed by someone employed or protected by the police every 28 hours; trans and gender non-conforming people are far more likely to experience police violence than others; and, entire units of police departments are devoted to surveillance of Muslim people. These injustices depend on a climate of fear, where emergencies are always imminent – caused by anti-Black, anti-migrant, and anti-Muslim racism, compulsory gender normativity, criminalization and political reaction to freedom struggles - and the response must include SWAT tanks, tear gas and assault rifles.</p> <p dir="ltr">While police militarisation as an industry and a practice of merging US domestic policing with the internationalised US military industrial complex has been in effect for decades (and some will argue that because the history of police in the US were created to “catch” escaped enslaved people, they were always an army), the phenomenon of police militarization as part of the war on terror is a fairly new industry &amp; phenomenon. According to Professor Pete Kraska of Eastern Kentucky University’s School of Justice Studies there were 50,000 SWAT raids in 2015; SWAT (Special Weapons and Tactic) teams are dressed in military gear and weapons, assault a home and forcefully enter, often throwing grenades first - this estimates to be 137 raids a day nationally. As the number of SWAT teams has grown nationwide, so have the raids.</p> <p dir="ltr">Police militarisation is a process that is directly funded from the federal government and military departments. For example, the Urban Areas Security Initiative (UASI)--a federal grant program of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) of almost $600 million, administers funding to cities around the US for trainings and weapons expos (such as Urban Shield), but also for police departments to obtain war toys, such as Chicago’s<a href="http://urgentcomm.com/motorola-solutions/house-democrats-call-investigation-anti-competitive-allegations-against-motorola-"> surveillance cameras</a>,<a href="http://www.washingtonexaminer.com/dhs-grants-like-winning-the-lottery-for-state-local-officials/article/2515141"> BearCat tanks</a> in Fargo, ND and Keene, NH and Long Beach’s<a href="http://www.gazettes.com/news/lbpd-rolls-out-new-mobile-eye-cameras-in-armored-car/article_79f058fe-3649-11e5-8d36-d75485323dec.html"> armored cars</a>.</p> <h2 dir="ltr">Israel / Palestine</h2> <p dir="ltr">A third of the police force in Israel is MAGAV (“Border Police”). This unit recruits via conscription, and is part both of the Israeli military and the Israeli police. While the name, “Border Police” infers they are responsible for securing the borders, MAGAV deal mostly with borders between populations - between Israeli-Jews and Palestinians - and also assists the riot police in “controlling demonstrations”, thus blurring the lines between “fighting terror” and “controlling demonstrations”. The MAGAV draws the line between the two by ethnicity rather than actual action.</p> <p dir="ltr">Because the Israeli army isn't fighting a formal Palestinian military, the Israeli police and army do the same thing - control a civil population in the name of “security”. The main difference is the legal status of the population targeted, and whether they function due to military rule in the West Bank or according to state rule in Israel. The MAGAV have led raids on unrecognised villages such as Al-Arakib, which is inside the 1967 Israeli borders, in a similar manner to that of the army raiding villages in the West Bank. The law restricts the police from using the live ammunition and rubber bullets that are used by the army, but weaponry such as tear gas, skunk (a foul smelling liquid spray) and sponge bullets, often used by the army in the West Bank, are used to disperse demonstrations within the green line as well. This is mostly seen in east Jerusalem, at demonstrations of minority populations such as ultra orthodox, Israeli Jews of Ethiopian origin, and obviously, Palestinian citizens of Israel.</p> <h2 dir="ltr">United Kingdom</h2> <p dir="ltr">In the wake of the 7/7 attacks,'London riots' in 2013 and the Daesh attacks in Paris in 2015, there have been<a href="http://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2015/nov/17/metropolitan-police-armed-officers-paris-attacks-sir-bernard-hogan-howe"> increasing calls</a> for more police in the UK to carry firearms, and for all police officers to be<a href="http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-31071922"> trained to use electric tasers</a>. Politically marginalised communities are those most likely to feel the impact of police violence - as described by Betsy Barkas in a previous edition of WRI’s Broken Rifle magazine, "the UK’s Black and migrant communities have always suffered disproportionately heavy policing... there is a long and shameful history of the use of lethal force by the UK’s police officers."</p> <p dir="ltr">Recently, several high-profile police<a href="http://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2015/dec/02/uk-counter-terror-plans-revised-to-ensure-police-tackle-gunmen-as-priority"> training exercises have taken place</a>, designed to test their response to an extremely violent "marauding" terrorist attack. These have been heavily publicised in the media.</p> <p dir="ltr">The UK also hosts the annual “Security and Policing” trade show. According to<a href="https://www.caat.org.uk/issues/arms-fairs/security-and-policing"> Campaign Against the Arms Trade</a>, the show is “a secretive annual event organised by the Home Office and the arms industry trade body, Air Defense Security Space (ADS).” The organisers promote Security and Policing as "the UK's premier security and law enforcement event". The fair hosts companies like BAE Systems, Heckler and Koch, the Gamma Group and The Hacking Team, who promote their wares to 66 countries, including those committing human rights abuses.</p> <h2 dir="ltr">Turkey</h2> <p dir="ltr">Turkey has a history of military dictatorship, and the police are part of this history. The Özel Harekat Timleri (or ‘Special Operation Teams’) were established by the military government in the 1980s, and continue to be active. They are heavily armed, work alongside the military, and have been<a href="http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/explained-turkeys-controversial-security-bill.aspx?pageID=238&amp;nID=78658&amp;NewsCatID=339"> given extensive powers under a recent security bill</a>, including powers to conduct strip searches and car searches, the power to detain (previously only the judiciary had this power), more autonomy on the use of firearms, and increasing the amount of time the police can run wire taps without the permission of a judge. After a bomb attack in Ankara in October 2015 - the deadliest in Turkey’s history - police used tear gas to prevent pro-Kurdish politicians and mourners from laying flowers at the site of the attack.</p> <h2 dir="ltr">South Africa</h2> <p dir="ltr"><a href="/en/node/24538">After the end of Apartheid in 1994</a>, there were moves to 'demilitarise' the police - during the years of Apartheid, both the police and the military were used to maintain the oppressive status-quo, and the police had far-reaching powers. During the transition from apartheid, new ranks were introduced to 'demilitarise' the police, and police were retrained to 'manage' rather than 'control' crowds. However, with high crime rates, there are growing calls for the police to extend their capabilities, and deal with crime with 'an iron fist'. Military rankings for the police were reintroduced in 2010, and the South African Police Service has been trained by French police, in techniques described as 'paramilitary' and reliant on shows of force. In the autumn of 2012, heavily armed police forces shot 34 striking miners in the now infamous Marikana massacre - the BBC reported that weaponry available to the police that day <a href="http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-africa-30002242">included a 40mm vehicle mounted machine gun.</a></p> <h2 dir="ltr">Chile &amp; Peru</h2> <p dir="ltr">The links between the police, militarisation and extractive industries were <a href="/node/24540">explored in detail</a> in a previous edition of the WRI magazine ‘The Broken Rifle’; Cesar Pedilla described how the rejection of extractivism as an economic model by swathes of the population is leading to greater use of the police and military to enforce a failed economic model across the continent of South America. For example in Chile, the 'Special Forces' were dispatched to the village of Caiman to break up a three month nonviolent community blockade countering the impact of a mine. Similarly, the Yanacocha mine in Peru is infamous for the violence used by it’s private guards.</p> <h2 dir="ltr">Brazil</h2> <p dir="ltr">In the preparation for the 2014 World Cup, and 2016 Olympic Games, the Brazilian government has relied heavily on Israeli arms, training and expertise in preparation for the ‘security’ apparatus surrounding these mega-events. The local Olympics committee has recruited the Israeli company International Security and Defence Systems (ISDS) to coordinate the whole security apparatus of the games, with a budget of $2.2million. A detailed write-up of this contract can be found <a href="/node/24536#sdfootnote1sym">here</a>. In 2013, there were widespread protests in Brazil; “the unprepared and overreacting police forces responded in a way that shocked the largely middle-class protesters. The police, using “non-lethal” weapons like pepper spray and rubber bullets while dressed from head to toe in ninja-like full battle gear.” (Source: <a href="http://www.wola.org/commentary/police_militarization_similarities_between_ferguson_and_brazil">WOLA</a>).</p> <h2 dir="ltr">Afghanistan</h2> <p dir="ltr">As part of ongoing military occupation of Afghanistan, both the U.S. military &amp; U.S.-backed Afghan police often use a tactic known as "night raids." Targeting homes in the middle of the night, these operations involving heavily armed troops barging into homes, detaining, assaulting, terrorising &amp; sometimes murdering people. In a <a href="http://www.reuters.com/article/us-afghanistan-raids-idUSTRE71N15U20110224">report</a> from 2011, "[After his father and older brother were shot dead] 11th grader Abdullah was hooded, handcuffed &amp; flown to prison, where he was detained for questioning &amp; then released." Though leading to 100s of deaths over the last 14 years, and sparking outrage across Afghanistan, the U.S. Special Operations forces continue to carry out nights raids on homes suspected to be associated with Taliban, without any judicial process, and a high level of civilian casualties.</p> <h2 dir="ltr">France and Belgium</h2> <p dir="ltr">Source: <a href="http://www.democracynow.org/2015/12/3/state_of_emergency_in_france_2">http://www.democracynow.org/2015/12/3/state_of_emergency_in_france_2</a></p> <p dir="ltr">In the aftermath of Daesh’s attacks in Paris, 2,200 police raids were conducted throughout France, as well as 330 house arrests, the shutting down of 3 mosques and hundreds questioned. An additional three mosques were trashed (that were already under heightened surveillance) by French authorities. One such raid resulted in a six-year-old injured by shrapnel from police firing through the door. Under the state of emergency, French police can raid any home without judicial oversight. The vast majority of those targeted in the raids have been Muslim.</p> <p dir="ltr">The attacks coincided with the planning of the COP21 event, when representatives of states from around the world would debate international responses to climate change. The state of emergencymeant that activists taking part in peaceful, nonviolent, and in many cases otherwise entirely legal protest actions were threatened with mass arrest and serious legal consequences - at the same time <a href="http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2015/nov/27/paris-climate-activists-put-under-house-arrest-using-emergency-laws">corporate events and christmas markets</a> were given permission to go ahead.</p> <h2 dir="ltr">Burundi</h2> <p dir="ltr">Mass protests in April 2015, in response to President Pierre Nkurunziza’s decision to seek a third electoral term resulted in political upheaval and widespread killings by the security forces and armed opposition groups. Police used excessive force and shot demonstrators indiscriminately. 20,000 people fled Burundi in fear of civil war returning. After July’s disputed presidential election that returned Nkurunziza to power, government forces, armed opposition groups, and unknown assailants killed hundreds of people. The government arrested hundreds of suspected opponents, often arbitrarily, as well as launching a crackdown against civil society activists and journalists, as well as banning protests. Source:<a href="https://www.hrw.org/africa/burundi"> https://www.hrw.org/africa/burundi</a></p> <h2 dir="ltr">Mexico</h2> <p dir="ltr">While private possession of firearms is illegal for almost all individuals in Mexico, from 2010 to 2015--the most violent period in Mexican memory--the country’s military sold 255,712 non-military weapons of various kinds (pistols, rifles, shotguns, among others) to police agencies, private companies and the general public, including sport shooters, hunters, and for land and home protection. During the same period, the military’s income from these sales – through the Directorate for Weapons and Munitions Trade of the General Office of Military Industry – reached 570 million pesos [about US$34 million]. Income from these sales to the Mexican military more than doubled during the period, from 58 million pesos in 2010 to 127.6 million in 2014. More than 98% of weapons sold were imported by the Mexican military. Only 4,761 were produced in Mexico, and most were imported from the United States. Weapons sales to state police agencies show 156,419 arms acquired by local police, including 16,759 weapons to Mexico state and 10,846 to Michoacán (most of those in 2010).</p> <p dir="ltr">Source:<a href="http://afsc.org/story/mexican-military-sold-255712-weapons-2010-2015"> http://afsc.org/story/mexican-military-sold-255712-weapons-2010-2015</a></p> <p dir="ltr"> </p> <p></p><figure role="group" class="embedded-entity align-left"> <div alt="Heavily armed federal police" data-embed-button="image_embed" data-entity-embed-display="image:responsive_image" data-entity-embed-display-settings="body_inline_full" data-entity-type="file" data-entity-uuid="798e90b6-4f5a-417b-b777-22f7a61a8560" data-langcode="en" title="Mexico"> <img alt="Heavily armed federal police" class="img-responsive" src="/sites/default/files/public_files/styles/max_1300x1300/public/images/mexico-guerrero1.home.jpg?itok=uPzvBD8i" srcset="/sites/default/files/public_files/styles/max_1300x1300/public/images/mexico-guerrero1.home.jpg?itok=uPzvBD8i 1x" title="Mexico" typeof="foaf:Image" /> </div> <figcaption>Heavily armed federal police</figcaption> </figure> <h2 dir="ltr">Egypt</h2> <p dir="ltr">Source: Issa, Ali. “Resistance and Persistence: An Interview with Aida Seif al-Dawla of the El Nadeem Center”, The Abolitionist #25, Winter 2016.</p> <p dir="ltr">The uprisings of 2011 had anti-policing roots due to the history of police brutality in Egypt. The murder of Khaled Said in 2010, and the terrible photos of his murder as well as the determination of his family went viral on social media, making him an icon of the movement against torture and policing. This following the temporary withdrawal of the police from Tahrir Square in 2011 reinforced the feeling of triumph among protesters, and the challenge to police authority continued through the months following the ousting of Mubarak. In particular, the January revolt stands as a landmark due to the young women leadership present, who then faced virginity tests, arrests, media defaming and organized rape in Tahrir Square and other gatherings. Centers, such as <a href="http://alnadeem.org/en">El Nadeem</a>, continue to work for psychological rehabilitation for victims of torture for both poor and marginalized people, as well as political activists. El Nadeem recognized torture as “rampant and used for a variety of reasons beyond forcing confessions- to induce terror, to punish, and to accentuate police power” and finds torture used in police stations, prisons, security kiosks, campuses, metro stations and state security headquarters. As Aida Seif al-Dawla stated, “torture maintains the power of the rulers.” (El Nadeem is currently facing the threat of closure by the Egyptian government but vowing to fight the order until the end!)</p> <p dir="ltr"><strong>Source:</strong> Issa, Ali. <em>“Resistance and Persistence: An Interview with Aida Seif al-Dawla of the El Nadeem Center”</em>, The Abolitionist #25, Winter 2016.</p> <h2 dir="ltr">Summary</h2> <p dir="ltr">In examples from all over the world, we have seen how the line between traditional state militaries and civilian police forces are blurred, and that the wars of states are being fought within their borders - often against their own people - by police forces. However, resistance against these processes is also growing - every time activists assert their rights to assembly and expression, and take part in protests for the social change we so deeply need despite the threat of extreme violence from the police, they are also resisting these processes of militarisation, declaring that they will not work. We would welcome more information on cases of police militarisation in other countries, greater discussion on its causes and impact, and stories of resistance against these processes.</p> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-author-information field--type-entity-reference-revisions field--label-above"> <div class="field--label">Author information</div> <div class="field--items"> <div class="field--item"> <div class="paragraph paragraph--type--authors-and-bios paragraph--id--_12 paragraph--view-mode--bio-only"> </div> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field--label tags--label field-label-above">Programmes &amp; Projects</div> <div class="wri-main--tags"> <span class="rel-tag" > <a href="/en/taxonomy/term/465" hreflang="en">Front Page</a></span> </div> <div class="field--label tags--label field-label-above">Countries</div> <div class="wri-main--tags"> <span class="rel-tag" > <a href="/en/taxonomy/term/216" hreflang="en">United States of America</a></span> <span class="rel-tag" > <a href="/en/taxonomy/term/92" hreflang="en">United Kingdom</a></span> <span class="rel-tag" > <a href="/en/taxonomy/term/256" hreflang="en">Turkey</a></span> <span class="rel-tag" > <a href="/en/taxonomy/term/230" hreflang="en">South Africa</a></span> <span class="rel-tag" > <a href="/en/taxonomy/term/103" hreflang="en">Peru</a></span> <span class="rel-tag" > <a href="/en/taxonomy/term/144" hreflang="en">Mexico</a></span> <span class="rel-tag" > <a href="/en/taxonomy/term/228" hreflang="en">Israel</a></span> <span class="rel-tag" > <a href="/en/taxonomy/term/123" hreflang="en">France</a></span> <span class="rel-tag" > <a href="/en/taxonomy/term/120" hreflang="en">Egypt</a></span> <span class="rel-tag" > <a href="/en/taxonomy/term/195" hreflang="en">Chile</a></span> <span class="rel-tag" > <a href="/en/taxonomy/term/165" hreflang="en">Burundi</a></span> <span class="rel-tag" > <a href="/en/taxonomy/term/99" hreflang="en">Brazil</a></span> <span class="rel-tag" > <a href="/en/taxonomy/term/166" hreflang="en">Belgium</a></span> <span class="rel-tag" > <a href="/en/taxonomy/term/160" hreflang="en">Afghanistan</a></span> </div> <div class="field--label tags--label field-label-above">Theme</div> <div class="wri-main--tags"> <span class="rel-tag" > <a href="/en/taxonomy/term/507" hreflang="en">Police militarisation</a></span> </div> <div class="field--label tags--label field-label-above">Police militarisation theme</div> <div class="wri-main--tags"> <span class="rel-tag" > <a href="/en/pm-themes/repression-protest" hreflang="en">Repression of protest</a></span> <span class="rel-tag" > <a href="/en/pm-themes/blurring-lines-between-police-and-military" hreflang="en">Blurring the lines between the police and the military</a></span> <span class="rel-tag" > <a href="/en/pm-themes/equipment-training-and-tactics" hreflang="en">Equipment, training and tactics</a></span> <span class="rel-tag" > <a href="/en/pm-themes/racism-and-citizenship" hreflang="en">Racism and citizenship</a></span> <span class="rel-tag" > <a href="/en/pm-themes/gender-and-sexuality" hreflang="en">Gender and sexuality</a></span> <span class="rel-tag" > <a href="/en/pm-themes/demilitarising-policing" hreflang="en">Demilitarising policing</a></span> <span class="rel-tag" > <a href="/en/pm-themes/resistance" hreflang="en">Resistance</a></span> <span class="rel-tag" > <a href="/en/pm-themes/what-militarisation-policing" hreflang="en">What is the militarisation of policing?</a></span> <span class="rel-tag" > <a href="/en/pm-themes/border-militarisation" hreflang="en">Border militarisation</a></span> <span class="rel-tag" > <a href="/en/pm-themes/who-profits" hreflang="en">Who profits?</a></span> </div> <section class="comments"> <h2>Add new comment</h2> <drupal-render-placeholder callback="comment.lazy_builders:renderForm" arguments="0=node&amp;1=26140&amp;2=comment&amp;3=comment" token="SnbYkmWp4eE2okzLIfPSL0996UGpT70r8SGSqh6tuvE"></drupal-render-placeholder> </section> </div> Tue, 29 Mar 2016 11:29:47 +0000 Andrew 26140 at https://www.wri-irg.org The new security bill and the military ethos of policing in Turkey https://wri-irg.org/en/story/2015/new-security-bill-and-military-ethos-policing-turkey <div data-history-node-id="24585" class="node node--type-story node--view-mode-rss ds-1col clearfix"> <time > 07 May 2015</time> <div class="field field--name-dynamic-twig-fieldnode-author-name-twig field--type-ds field--label-inline"> <div class="field--label">Author(s)</div> <div class="field--item"> <span>Semih Sapmaz</span> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field--item"><p style="text-align: left;">A new domestic security bill giving draconian powers to the police has recently been put into force in Turkey. Expanding police power enormously and granting the police some extrajudicial authority, the bill does not allow citizens appropriate measures with which to protect themselves from abuse of this power. Widely criticised by the opposition both within and outside Parliament, the new bill grants wider search powers to the police, gives them extrajudicial authority to detain, and expands their control over the use of firearms, while defining new crimes for protestors such as covering the face or using slingshots - with prison sentences up to 4 years.<sup><a href="#sdfootnote1sym" name="sdfootnote1anc" id="sdfootnote1anc"><sup>1</sup></a> </sup>While –unsurprisingly- the government defended the bill as a guarantee for maintaining public order, the opposition declared it a manifestation of the ruling party's ‘police state’. I will argue here that whereas the content of the bill may be new, the ethos behind it is long-established in Turkish politics; that is the ‘military ethos’. Furthermore, I will contend that each and every piece of legislation increasing police powers should be understood as part of another form of the militarisation that characterises AKP rule, police militarisation. To clarify this point, I will start with a brief description of the relationship between these terms.</p> <!--break--> <h3 style="text-align: left;">The Militarisation of the Police</h3> <p style="text-align: left;">Militarism, to briefly use Enloe’s terms, is about “see[ing] the world as a dangerous place best approached with militaristic attitudes,” which are based on a belief in hierarchy, obedience, and the use of force.<sup><a href="#sdfootnote2sym" name="sdfootnote2anc" id="sdfootnote2anc"><sup>2</sup></a></sup> Although the military as an institution plays a central role in this process, state instruments reproducing this mindset extend well beyond the barracks. The police, as a non-military state institution with the capacity to utilise physical force in the regulation of interpersonal relations on a daily basis, become highly instrumental in this process. This is particularly so in the context of liberal democratic states where the military’s capacity to intervene in citizens’ daily life is exceptionally restricted, and thus the police’s instrumental value in the normalisation of the ‘military ethos’ beyond the barracks deserves particular attention. Police militarisation in this context has huge implications for the militarisation of society in general.</p> <p align="JUSTIFY" style="text-align: left;"> </p> <p><drupal-entity alt="A poster for the police in Turkey. The caption reads " am="" i="" rightness="" with=""></drupal-entity></p> <p>What exactly is meant by the term ‘militarisation of the police’? According to Costa and Medeiros, it takes two forms: internal and external militarisation. While the former refers to “the degree to which a police force adopts a militaristic ideology and organisational structure”, the latter refers to “the extent to which the military exerts influence over police organisations.”<sup><a href="#sdfootnote3sym" name="sdfootnote3anc" id="sdfootnote3anc"><sup>3</sup></a></sup> In addition, police militarisation also refers to the adoption of a ‘military ethos’ in its operations. The term connotes the police’s increasing reliance on ‘effectiveness’ and ‘efficiency’ rather than ‘proportionality’ in using force.<sup><a href="#sdfootnote4sym" name="sdfootnote4anc" id="sdfootnote4anc"><sup>4</sup></a></sup> With the relaxing of controls on police operations together with widening police powers over the use of force, the Turkish case provides a good example of this process. Having established this framework, we can now focus on the Turkish case in practice.</p> <h3 align="JUSTIFY" style="text-align: left;">Police Militarisation in Turkey</h3> <p align="JUSTIFY" style="text-align: left;">Recent research on the subculture of the Turkish police reveals that ‘nationalist-conservatism’, which amounts to “fervent endorsement of Turkishness and Sunni Islam,” is the dominant political orientation among the members of the organisation.<sup><a href="#sdfootnote5sym" name="sdfootnote5anc" id="sdfootnote5anc"><sup>5</sup></a></sup> It is in relation to this ideological affiliation that many segments of society, such as the Left, the Kurds or the Alevi, are ‘enemised’ in police practice and discourse.<sup><a href="#sdfootnote6sym" name="sdfootnote6anc" id="sdfootnote6anc"><sup>6</sup></a></sup> Dissidents are reduced to ‘internal enemies’ plotting against the state and considered undeserving of the rights enjoyed by ‘proper citizens’. The Turkish police’s notorious record of disproportionate use of force is a manifestation of this situation where protestors can be deprived of their most basic rights –including their right to life-<sup><a href="#sdfootnote7sym" name="sdfootnote7anc" id="sdfootnote7anc"><sup>7</sup></a> </sup>in the interests of protecting public order. This ‘dehumanises’ dissident subjects, reducing them to enemies to be defeated, similar to a battlefield atmosphere where one’s constitutional rights no longer apply.</p> <p align="JUSTIFY" style="text-align: left;">Alongside this ideological background, the practice of military ethos can also be traced in the organisational structure of the Turkish police. Rapid Action Units (RAU – Çevik Kuvvet) and the Special Operation Teams (SOTs – Özel Harekat Timleri) are two of the most obvious examples of this organisational militarisation. Established by the military government following the 1980 coup, RAU have given legal powers to take reactive and proactive measures in response to demonstrations and illegal acts in public spaces; they are equipped with advanced weapons such as tear gas bombs, machine guns and water cannons and have certain discretionary powers over the use of force, which were widened even further with the new security bill.<sup><a href="#sdfootnote8sym" name="sdfootnote8anc" id="sdfootnote8anc"><sup>8</sup></a></sup> The SOTs - equipped with heavy arms and acting in collaboration with the military - were established by this same 1980 government, for the specific purpose of fighting against Kurdish rebels in the south eastern provinces. <sup><a href="#sdfootnote9sym" name="sdfootnote9anc" id="sdfootnote9anc"><sup>9</sup></a></sup></p> <p align="JUSTIFY" style="text-align: left;">As the formation of these two new units shows, the ‘ethos’ of the police in Turkey is organically related to the military influence. Indeed, according to Biriz Berksoy, it was following the military coup of 1980 that "<em>the police entered a phase of expansion and militarisation, during which it was structurally and legally strengthened with the help of the military, and it began to apply violence more frequently and intensively via newly established paramilitary units."<sup><a href="#sdfootnote10sym" name="sdfootnote10anc" id="sdfootnote10anc"><sup>10</sup></a></sup></em></p> <p align="JUSTIFY" style="text-align: left;">I would argue that in highlighting these deep-rooted organic relations between the military and the police, I am also revealing the current state of militarisation in the country. After more than a decade of government by the Justice and Development Party (AKP) in Turkey, one can hardly deny the fact that the military elite’s power over Parliament and civil bureaucracy has been eliminated. However, this does not necessarily mean that we can now celebrate the victory of democracy and individual liberties in the country, as many conservatives and liberals have been claiming. Can we really conclude that the retreat of the military as an institution from the political sphere has created a nonviolent ‘militarism-free’ zone for politics? The notorious human rights record of the 13 year-old AKP government gives little cause for optimism in this regard. During its period in power, AKP has made some far-reaching changes in the law, expanding the police’s extrajudicial power, loosening controls over its use of force and making it less accountable to judicial scrutiny. It initiated the Law of Misdemeanour in 2004, which increased police powers of intervention in citizens’ daily lives via certain ‘crime prevention’ measures. In 2006, it made important changes to the Anti-Terror Law which allowed state authorities further rights leading to violations and restrictions on liberties. Finally it enacted the new Domestic Security Bill which significantly expanded the police’s extrajudicial powers, by means of legislation more consistent with a military authoritarian regime. Given all the changes introduced by this government then, what can one conclude about AKP’s so-called success in terms of demilitarising Turkish politics?</p> <p align="JUSTIFY" style="text-align: left;">I would argue there has been no demilitarisation, simply another form of militarisation disguised by an institutional power game between the military elites on the one side, and a neoliberal-conservative government ready to appropriate the legacy of the military coup, namely the police force, on the other. The latter has won the game, at least for the time being. It seems like now it is AKP’s turn to create its own ‘national security state’ which it is accomplishing by using the police whose ethos and organisational structure is inherited from the 1980 military coup. With this in mind, the ultimate winner in my view has not been any particular group or political party but – maybe more pessimistically - the mindset brought in by the military coup in 1980.</p> <p style="text-align: left;"> </p> <p style="text-align: left;"><strong>Notes</strong></p> <div id="sdfootnote1" style="text-align: left;"> <p><a href="#sdfootnote1anc" name="sdfootnote1sym" id="sdfootnote1sym">1</a> <a href="http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/explained-turkeys-controversial-security-bill.aspx?pageID=238&amp;nID=78658&amp;NewsCatID=339">http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/explained-turkeys-controversial-security-bill.aspx?pageID=238&amp;nID=78658&amp;NewsCatID=339</a>; <a href="http://www.hrw.org/news/2014/12/11/turkey-security-bill-undermines-rights">http://www.hrw.org/news/2014/12/11/turkey-security-bill-undermines-rights</a></p> </div> <div id="sdfootnote2" style="text-align: left;"> <p><a href="#sdfootnote2anc" name="sdfootnote2sym" id="sdfootnote2sym">2 </a>Enloe, C. 2007: Globalization and Militarism: Feminists Make the Link Maryland: Rowman &amp; Littlefield Publishers, Inc., p.4</p> </div> <div id="sdfootnote3" style="text-align: left;"> <p lang="tr-TR" xml:lang="tr-TR"><a href="#sdfootnote3anc" name="sdfootnote3sym" id="sdfootnote3sym">3 </a>Costa, A.; Medeiros, M. 2002: “Police demilitarisation: cops, soldiers and democracy” Conflict, Security &amp; Development 2:2 2002, p.27.</p> </div> <div id="sdfootnote4" style="text-align: left;"> <p lang="tr-TR" xml:lang="tr-TR"><a href="#sdfootnote4anc" name="sdfootnote4sym" id="sdfootnote4sym">4 </a>Costa, A.; Medeiros, M. 2002, p.28.</p> </div> <div id="sdfootnote5" style="text-align: left;"> <p><a href="#sdfootnote5anc" name="sdfootnote5sym" id="sdfootnote5sym">5 </a>Berksoy, B. 2010: “The Police Organization in Turkey in the Post-1980 Period adn the Re-Construction of the Social Formation” in Policing and Prisons in the Middle East: Formations of Coercion (eds.) Khalili, L.;J. Schwedler London: Hurst and Company, p.148.</p> </div> <div id="sdfootnote6" style="text-align: left;"> <p lang="tr-TR" xml:lang="tr-TR"><a href="#sdfootnote6anc" name="sdfootnote6sym" id="sdfootnote6sym">6 </a>Ibid</p> </div> <div id="sdfootnote7" style="text-align: left;"> <p lang="tr-TR" xml:lang="tr-TR"><a href="#sdfootnote7anc" name="sdfootnote7sym" id="sdfootnote7sym">7 </a>See Amnesty International report on Gezi Park Protests on its first anniversary: <a href="http://www.amnesty.nl/sites/default/files/public/final_en_30_may_2014.pdf">http://www.amnesty.nl/sites/default/files/public/final_en_30_may_2014.p…</a></p> </div> <div id="sdfootnote8" style="text-align: left;"> <p><a href="#sdfootnote8anc" name="sdfootnote8sym" id="sdfootnote8sym">8</a> Gonen, Z., Berksoy, B., Baser, Z., Ucum, M. 2013: Polis Yasalarinin Ruhu: Mevzuatta Soylemler, Araclar ve Zihniyet [The Spirit of the Police Laws in Turkey: Legislative Discourses, Instruments and Mentality]Istanbul: Tesev Yayinlari.</p> </div> <div id="sdfootnote9" style="text-align: left;"> <p><a href="#sdfootnote9anc" name="sdfootnote9sym" id="sdfootnote9sym">9</a> Ibid.</p> </div> <div id="sdfootnote10" style="text-align: left;"> <p><a href="#sdfootnote10anc" name="sdfootnote10sym" id="sdfootnote10sym">10</a> Berksoy, B. 2010, p.137.</p> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-author-information field--type-entity-reference-revisions field--label-above"> <div class="field--label">Author information</div> <div class="field--items"> <div class="field--item"> <div class="paragraph paragraph--type--authors-and-bios paragraph--id--_25 paragraph--view-mode--bio-only"> </div> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field--label tags--label field-label-above">Countries</div> <div class="wri-main--tags"> <span class="rel-tag" > <a href="/en/taxonomy/term/256" hreflang="en">Turkey</a></span> </div> <div class="field--label tags--label field-label-above">Theme</div> <div class="wri-main--tags"> <span class="rel-tag" > <a href="/en/taxonomy/term/63" hreflang="en">arms trade</a></span> <span class="rel-tag" > <a href="/en/taxonomy/term/507" hreflang="en">Police militarisation</a></span> </div> <div class="field--label tags--label field-label-above">Police militarisation theme</div> <div class="wri-main--tags"> <span class="rel-tag" > <a href="/en/pm-themes/what-militarisation-policing" hreflang="en">What is the militarisation of policing?</a></span> <span class="rel-tag" > <a href="/en/pm-themes/blurring-lines-between-police-and-military" hreflang="en">Blurring the lines between the police and the military</a></span> <span class="rel-tag" > <a href="/en/pm-themes/demilitarising-policing" hreflang="en">Demilitarising policing</a></span> <span class="rel-tag" > <a href="/en/pm-themes/racism-and-citizenship" hreflang="en">Racism and citizenship</a></span> <span class="rel-tag" > <a href="/en/pm-themes/repression-protest" hreflang="en">Repression of protest</a></span> </div> <section class="comments"> <h2>Add new comment</h2> <drupal-render-placeholder callback="comment.lazy_builders:renderForm" arguments="0=node&amp;1=24585&amp;2=comment&amp;3=comment" token="q4FzuBnzK0vrRf7ykzXnKMEiUZWsFvKSloi0Y6DzUHw"></drupal-render-placeholder> </section> </div> Thu, 07 May 2015 13:44:58 +0000 cmoy 24585 at https://www.wri-irg.org