Saturday, October 19, 2013

Whoopee! Oakland is hosting a gun show and war games

Facing Urban Shield Day of Action
Friday, October 25, 11:00 AM - 6:00 PM
Oakland Marriott City Center, 1001 Broadway, Oakland, CA

Press conference at 11am
Rally at 5pm

Local organizers explain:

On the anniversary of the disastrous police response to Occupy Oakland, Urban Shield - a trade show and training exercise for SWAT teams will convene on October 25th, 2013. It will be marketing military-style weapons, equipment and training to local public safety agencies. Urban Shield will be held at the Marriott Hotel, downtown Oakland, bringing together more than 150 local, state, federal, international, and private sector partners and military contractors.

To add insult to injury, the contractor in charge of planing and producing Urban Shield, SAIC (Science Applications International Corporation) has a history of fraudulent practices and has been successful indicted by N.Y. City for $500 million, and by New Mexico for over $11 million for their criminal activity!

Is this what we want in our community? Are these the people we want leading our cities and counties? Will this kind of activity help protect us?

None of the Urban Shield methods have served as an effective deterrent to crime in Oakland or anywhere else. Some of these methods are directly imported techniques used by special forces in Israel in occupied Palestine against civilian populations.

Shockingly, when confronted with protests by community members, city and county officials were unaware that this event was taking place in their own community.

The East Bay Express noted “the whole show ­ it's as much theater as it is practical exercise" ­ and is sponsored by major weapons manufacturing companies like ATK, which makes everything from small caliber bullets to depleted uranium ammunition.”

Urban Shield militarizes our police with combat style weapons and a military mentality that views community members as potential adversaries and threats to public security. This has translated into increased harm to African-American, Latino, Arab-American and Muslim communities, as well as people exercising their right to public protest.

Homeland Security is funding this ‘War on Terror’ circus to the tune of $7.5 million through the County Sheriff’s office, with the requirement that exercises focus on 'anti-terrorism' scenarios, including how to surveil the Muslim community and how to confront Occupy protestors or others exercising their right of dissent.

We demand accountability and transparency in the use of public monies for activities that, in the name of fighting terrorism, actually make us less secure and more vulnerable to racial profiling, false arrest, police harassment, criminalization of our youth, and violations of our constitutional rights.

Public funds are sorely needed to create healthy neighborhoods and community-building alternatives to heavy policing. We need violence prevention and mental health programs directed toward stopping domestic violence, sexual abuse and dealing with addiction. We need properly funded public schools and living wage jobs. These are the real ‘shields’ that will reduce the level of violence, create greater social responsibility and community accountability, and as a consequence, will make us all safer and more secure.

In a city that has a 'no gun show' policy, Urban Shield sends the wrong message.

Or perhaps it delivers the true message of a domestic police apparatus run amok: we're arming to squash all of you.

Sponsoring organizations represent a wide swath of the community: Allen Temple Baptist Church, Oscar Grant Foundation, Malcolm x Grassroots Movement, Cop Watch-Berkeley, International Socialist Organization, Bay Area Catalyst Project, Bay Area Intifada, Tristan Anderson Campaign, Palestine Youth Movement, Metta Center for NonViolence, Liberate/Occupy Oakland, International Jewish Anti-Zionist Network, Interfaith Council of Contra Costa County, Fellowship of Reconciliation, Islamic Labor Caucus, Shomer Shalom Network for Jewish Nonviolence, Beyt Tikkun, Facing Tear Gas Campaign of the War Resisters League, American Friends Service Committee, Global Exchange, Black Alliance for Just Immigration, Queers Undermining Israeli Terrorism, Arab Resource and Organizing Center, National Lawyer’s Guild (SF), Coalition for Safe Berkeley, East Bay Alliance for a Safe Economy (EBASE) Queer Insurrection

1 comment:

Eric Ahuja said...
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