Tag Archives: LEEP

IOF + APD = excessive force

There may be a connection between the Albuquerque Police Department (APD) and the Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF), as I wrote about here.

APD at Occupy protest in 2011

APD at Occupy protest in 2011

The Law Enforcement Exchange Program (LEEP) brings them together for joint training programs and exercises.  The LEEP Handbook notes:

There are 700,000 law enforcement officers in the United States. If properly trained and informed, local law enforcement can serve as the “eyes and ears” of the nation to prevent and best respond to terrorist attacks.

The Law Enforcement Exchange Program (LEEP) was created
in cooperation with the Israel National Police, the Israel Ministry of Internal Security, and the Israel Security Agency (Shin Bet) to support and strengthen American law enforcement counter terrorism practices.

“Excessive force” is the common denominator.

Yesterday (4/10/14) the U.S. Department of Justice released its findings following a 16 month investigation of the Albuquerque Police Department.

The Albuquerque Police Department has engaged in a pattern or practice of excessive force, including deadly force. The pattern and practice is the result of serious systemic deficiencies in policy, training, supervision and accountability. The police department’s failure to ensure that officers respect the Constitution undermines the public trust.

This was not news to the victims’ families who have been showing up at city council meetings for years alleging excessive force and demanding some accountability. In the past 4 years, Albuquerque police have killed 23 people and wounded 14 others.

APD at Occupy protest in 2011

APD at Occupy protest in 2011

The New York Times called the DOJ report “scathing” and the Albuquerque Journal’s headline affirmed that APD is violating citizens’ rights with excessive force.

The Department of Justice reviewed 20 fatal shootings by Albuquerque Police between 2009 and 2013 and found that in the majority of cases the level of force used was not justified because the person killed by police did not present a threat to police officers or the public. The DOJ also reviewed the use of nonlethal force involving significant harm or injury to people by APD officers and found a similar pattern of excessive force by officers against people who posed no threat and was not justified by the circumstances. 

Palestinians and activists know far too well about Israel’s use of excessive force. Amnesty International (AI) published an excellent report in February 2014 on the subject, available here. Among its findings, AI recommends that the USA and others:

Suspend transfers to Israel of munitions, weapons, and related equipment including crowd control weapons and devices, training and techniques until substantive steps have been taken by Israel to achieve accountability for previous violations and effective mechanisms are in place to ensure that items will not be used to commit or facilitate serious violations of international human rights law or international humanitarian law.  … This recommendation is particular relevant to the USA, as the largest foreign source of supply of weapons, munitions, police equipment and military aid to Israel.

Weapons used by Israeli forces in the West Bank against peaceful protesters.

Weapons used by Israeli forces in the West Bank against peaceful protesters.

I attended the Albuquerque Police Oversight Commission meeting and asked if the APD was participating in joint training programs with Israeli law enforcement. I didn’t expect an answer, and didn’t get one. I’m going to have to follow-up with a Freedom of Information Request (FOIA).

We must demand that the civil rights of New Mexicans and Palestinians are respected and protected.

APD dressed in riot gear

APD dressed in riot gear

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Filed under Israel Defense Forces, nonviolent resistance, US Policy

Shoot first, justify later

Funeral march of 14-year-old Yousef al-Shawamreh

Funeral march of 14-year-old Yousef al-Shawamreh

Last week a young Palestinian boy was shot and killed by Israeli soldiers. He was crossing through the “security” barrier in the West Bank when he was ambushed (my words) by soldiers.

Yousef had no weapons, he posed no danger to anyone. He was gathering plants from his family’s farmland which is now separated from the family by Israel’s “security” barrier.

A human rights group said:

“By justifying the use of lethal fire in broad daylight at youths who posed no danger to any other persons, [the action of the Israeli soldiers] conveys a cynical lack of concern for the life of a Palestinian teenager.”

The editors of the liberal Israeli paper Haaretz called the killing “nothing short of a war crime.

Israeli journalist Amira Hass wrote a heart-wrenching open letter to the soldier who killed 14-year-old Yousef. “You claimed you fired on a Palestinian because he had sabotaged the separation barrier. You’re not only judge, prosecutor and executioner, but also witness.” Her letter is available here.

That same week, Albuquerque police shot and killed a homeless man who was camping in the foothills. Boyd was actually turning away from the police when he was shot in the back. The public only knows the details of what happened because of a cam-video shot from the helmet of one of the officers. This video is disturbing. It demonstrates a “cynical lack of concern for the life” of this homeless man.

Hundreds of people took to the streets to protest the police shooting Boyd in Albuquerque, just as hundreds took to the streets to protest the soldier shooting Yousef in the West Bank.

The similarities between how the teenager and the homeless man were killed by “law enforcement” are striking.

So it shouldn’t come as a surprise that many U.S. law enforcement personnel are being trained by the Israeli military, including New Mexico’s top cop.

This booklet — “Empowering Law Enforcement Protecting America” –explains it all.

The Law Enforcement Exchange program (LEEP) was created in cooperation with the Israeli National Police, the Israel Ministry of Internal Security, and the Israel Security Agency (Shin Bet) to support and strengthen American law enforcement counter terrorism practices.

Since 2004, 12 regional LEEP conferences have been held in the U.S., with a total attendance of over 9,500 law enforcement officials.

Chief Carlos Maldonado, Chief of Police, New Mexico State Police, attended a LEEP training in 2005.  I wonder if other law enforcement personnel from New Mexico have received training from Israeli security.

This “special relationship” between the U.S. and Israel must end.  Bin Laden and Al Qaeda have won the war on terrorism. Israel and the U.S. are routinely killing innocent civilians without any regard for human life. Our law enforcement have become the terrorists.

 

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Filed under Israel, People, US Policy, Video