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View Diary: Who Is Making All These FlashBang/RubberBullet/Non-Lethal Weapons? (41 comments)

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  •  Don't know if you caught it in the article (11+ / 0-)

    but I'm not sure this stuff is Made in American.

    I Google Earthed to see the ALS mfr.  There's nothing there, at the address given.

    Something is very fishy.

    It's difficult to be happy knowing so many suffer. We must unite.

    by War on Error on Mon Dec 26, 2011 at 02:59:59 PM PST

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    •  Three possibilities (17+ / 0-)

      Google earth is wrong- they are wrong often enough to support that.


      This company because they are oppression related get to have an anonymous address.


      This company outsources the toxic development of their products because regulations erode their profits.

      Education is a progressive discovery of our own ignorance.

      by Horace Boothroyd III on Mon Dec 26, 2011 at 03:04:18 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  It's found on Google Maps (12+ / 0-)

      Sometimes Google Earth searches don't find results and the result goes to the middle of nowhere. This seems to be their default. Google Maps is more forgiving and you can still get aerial and street views.

      This link shows a Google Maps street view of ALS Industries.

      There is no secrecy about this shit. These businesses advertise freely.

      "All people are born alike - except Republicans and Democrats" - Groucho Marx

      by GrumpyOldGeek on Mon Dec 26, 2011 at 04:09:59 PM PST

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      •  Yes, that's what I saw BUT (6+ / 0-)

        really?  Over $7,000,000 in sales?  No way this facility, if it is theirs, is manufacturing all the stuff shown on their products links in the diary, you think?

        It's difficult to be happy knowing so many suffer. We must unite.

        by War on Error on Mon Dec 26, 2011 at 04:50:20 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Check out Safariland (20+ / 0-)

          Safariland is the recently renamed US product group subsidiary of the North American operation of BAE Systems, PLC, the 2nd largest defense business in the World, within their US-based  subsidiary, BAE Systems, Inc. This group has bought out a large number of smaller insecurity businesses lately.

          Their bullshit motto (Safariland) is "Together, We Save Lives". I can't wrap my head around that. Does. Not. Compute.

          It gets worse. Check out their Codes of Conduct:

          We require that our suppliers conduct business the same way we do: ethically and with respect to the law. Our Code of Conduct states that we will not tolerate any form of trafficking in persons (including involuntary servitude or debt bondage) or use of forced labor, and that we will be vigilant in guarding against abuse and corruption of any sort. In fact, Safariland suppliers are obligated by contract to comply with all applicable laws, including those applicable to slavery and human trafficking.

          That's it. No human trafficking.

          One wonders why this is the only rule and why they have to spell it out. Oh, wait. I see why. It's something about doing business in California. They say it better here. Scroll down to see the list of suppliers that they are disclosing. It turns out that they happen to own these businesses, ifaik. Suppliers, my ass. So much for ethical disclosure.

          One listed business near me was Monadnock Lifetime Products, an innocuous name for a place that has made police billy clubs for decades. BAE bought them out a few months ago. Now they're one of maybe several hundred smaller manufacturers absorbed into the Collective.

          Another high-volume manufacturer of dangerous "crowd control" crap absorbed in the Collective is Defense Technology Federal Labs. They dropped the "Federal" bullshit long ago. They are about as Federal as Federal Express. And they make tons of nasty shit.

          The ALS business, if you notice the buildings that are partially underground and in the background, is easily large enough for $7 million net sales. There is obviously another location far away from the center of town. Their neighbors along the main drag in town might object to flash-bangs and the like going off, especially if they're sitting in the church at that corner or shopping with grandma and the kids at the discount store next door.

          Why did this little piece of BAE change its name? The reason is similar to the reason that Blackwater became Xe and then became whatever it is now. They got caught. Fraud, bribery, lying to the feds, SEC violations, and on and on. WaPo has several articles about the convictions. The Google machine lists many, many, problems.

          When the brand name goes bad, just change it.

          All police departments are getting this stuff paid for by we, the little people. Every bit of it is supplied by Homeland Insecurity. On our dime.

          Just last week, our small city of about 20,000 got a $285,933 Homeland Insecurity grant for the total cost of a LENCO BearCat Special Mission Public Safety Vehicle. Yeah. A friggin' military anti-terrorist big boy toy that nobody requested (afaik) and that we sure the hell don't need.

          Meanwhile, the mentally Ill have less access to treatment, the hospital had to end some services, we can carry guns in the statehouse, the local college had to lay off dozens of good teachers, and our property taxes that I can't afford will go up again.

          This is how the miltarization of our local police force is proceeding, thanks to the generosity of Homeland Insecurity and the out-of-control spending by Republican fear-mongerers.

          "All people are born alike - except Republicans and Democrats" - Groucho Marx

          by GrumpyOldGeek on Mon Dec 26, 2011 at 07:37:11 PM PST

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          •  The $285,933 free toy article link correction (7+ / 0-)

            It's here.

            "All people are born alike - except Republicans and Democrats" - Groucho Marx

            by GrumpyOldGeek on Mon Dec 26, 2011 at 07:39:37 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  Wow! Great stuff, GoG! Will add to my repertoire (8+ / 0-)

              This is what is needed.  A collaborative work.

              I reported this, also took place in 2010

              DynCorp and Blackwater Now Owned by Private Equity Firms, Financed by TBTFs

              There are a ton of research links that spell out the militarization of the USA and global intentions

              Good PIIE For Awhile Dear Friends:  My Wicked Leaks

              This WaPo article/research project is amazing

              A hidden world, growing beyond control

              The investigation's other findings include:

              * Some 1,271 government organizations and 1,931 private companies work on programs related to counterterrorism, homeland security and intelligence in about 10,000 locations across the United States.

              * An estimated 854,000 people, nearly 1.5 times as many people as live in Washington, D.C., hold top-secret security clearances.

              * In Washington and the surrounding area, 33 building complexes for top-secret intelligence work are under construction or have been built since September 2001. Together they occupy the equivalent of almost three Pentagons or 22 U.S. Capitol buildings - about 17 million square feet of space.

              * Many security and intelligence agencies do the same work, creating redundancy and waste. For example, 51 federal organizations and military commands, operating in 15 U.S. cities, track the flow of money to and from terrorist networks.

              * Analysts who make sense of documents and conversations obtained by foreign and domestic spying share their judgment by publishing 50,000 intelligence reports each year - a volume so large that many are routinely ignored.

              It's difficult to be happy knowing so many suffer. We must unite.

              by War on Error on Mon Dec 26, 2011 at 08:01:29 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  Human husbandry has many flavors and (5+ / 0-)

                has always been an attractive enterprise for people whose practical talents are few or non-existent.

                Think of them as herders of people.  Like the herders of sheep, they "protect" the flock from the wolves in order to eat them themselves later.

                Americans worry too much about death and not enough about abuse.  How do we define abuse?  Basically, it is any deprivation of a human right.  Our legislative agents would have us believe that if deprivation is legal or if we consent to it, it's not abuse.  But, that's defining behavior in terms of its effect on the object, not the moral obligation of the subject.  Of course, conservatives get around even that nicety by arguing that individuals do not act of their own accord and have no social obligations.  They do that by arguing that all behavior is reactive to some prompt (like a light to a switch) from an object--i.e. robotic.
                When you see our robocops marching in tandem and responding to command, that's an example of an idea being realized. Making the ideal real is what neocons are all about.

                People to Wall Street: "LET OUR MONEY GO"

                by hannah on Tue Dec 27, 2011 at 02:33:51 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

          •  Every police department purchase has to (7+ / 0-)

            be approved in their budget by the local governing council or commission.  If we want these toys removed, it's budget deliberations that have to be occupied.  If we want "gifts" from Homeland Security to be rejected, it's local government bodies that have to be occupied.  They are all subject to open records legislation, so printouts of budgets can be got.
            Our Police Chief finally removed tasers from his budget request after having them discussed and removed in public hearings several years in a row.
            The people are the ultimate authority, but they have to exercise it.  Voting occasionally is not enough.  The spouse has been serving on our Town Council for 7 years. 'Tis a tedious enterprise that brings in $1500 a year, taxed.
            The obligations of citizenship:

            holding office
            serving on juries
            proposing legislation
            providing material support
            enforcing the law

            People to Wall Street: "LET OUR MONEY GO"

            by hannah on Tue Dec 27, 2011 at 02:21:32 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  The local news article was city council approval (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              War on Error

              of the grant. Ours is a city manager variety, yet the Mayor has a little more power than most others of this structure. Although our council member are non-partisan on the ballot, most are essentially Democrats. Only one council member voiced a slightly negative question, more rhetorical than substantive. Thye vote was unanimous. There was one LTE that got published in time (prior to the vote) that objected to the approval and addressed the imbalance of needs vs. toys, but this really isn't a compelling argument.

              After a whopping 14% voter turnout this November, we'll get a new Mayor and a couple of city council seats will change. The reality is that this isn't a big change.

              One council member works for Homeland Insecurity and deals with grant requests and approvals. As a city council member, he recuses himself. The police chief, who recently took over from our long-term retiring chief, reports the grant approvals to the council who basically rubber-stamps these things. Bullet-proof vests via the Dept of Justice "Partnership program" was approved recently, for example. This was about $5,000, iirc.

              The city would benefit by having an off road vehicle of this type. It can be very challenging to provide emergency services, especially in the winter and the Spring "mud season". Brush and forest fires are difficult. Ice storms and flash floods (just as bad as Vermont after Irene) can be trouble.

              We just don't need a $285k airtight sooper-dooper anti-terrorist big boy toy glorified 4wd monster truck.

              "All people are born alike - except Republicans and Democrats" - Groucho Marx

              by GrumpyOldGeek on Tue Dec 27, 2011 at 10:52:39 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  GOG, it is mission creep (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:

                With HS and Justice working in concert dictating and financing Police Chiefs, we will essentially end up with a national police force, probably not called that.

                In my area, towns are giving up their own PDs and opting in a Unified Police Force, county wide.  First step, imo.

                It's difficult to be happy knowing so many suffer. We must unite.

                by War on Error on Tue Dec 27, 2011 at 11:05:53 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  It's more than that. There is no mission. (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  War on Error

                  I call it Homeland Insecurity for this reason. This is entirely based on fear-mongering and the M.I.C. Eisenhauer warned us. It didn't stop the greed and the fear.

                  I think that part of the militarization of police is driven by the lack of a military draft and the devastation caused by activating National Guard members. Before W, the Reserves were rarely activated. It was a good gig and a way to boost benefits. Now, joining the Reserves isn't popular. The volunteer Army isn't adequate if there's an unexpected need for, say, a coupole million troops.

                  It makes sense that the neocons in charge would want to build a massive reserve military-like force to ease their fears of a Muslim or brown people massive invasion of the US. They are delusional and paranoid, of course, but they are the ones who started this militarization process. In some ways, it makes sense to educate local police to be better at observing possible terrorist activities. God knows they missed a few things in the past. But the neocons assume that a massive attack is going to happen. For sure. So every police department is being converted to Big Brother and trained to be more insecure than Barney Fife. Except they give them bullets and everything else.

                  The police have access to weapons of war, all prohibited for access by ordinary citizens.

                  It's not mission creep. It's far worse than that.

                  When you're trained to fight terrorists, everyone is a terrorist. Loud protests are necessary to stop this shit. Citizens are not terrorists. What a concept!

                  There is no limit when you're terrified of imaginary demonic clouds.
                  Besides, it's very profitable and the cash flow is secret.

                  "All people are born alike - except Republicans and Democrats" - Groucho Marx

                  by GrumpyOldGeek on Tue Dec 27, 2011 at 12:47:39 PM PST

                  [ Parent ]

              •  If a majority of the Council disapproves (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:

                a manager request, he'd either change direction real quick or look for a new job.  Managers all know that.  It's why the average tenure is 4 years.  
                However, if council persons allow themselves to be intimidated and persuaded by a manager, then they're lost.  The manager system of administration was instituted to take politics out of the equation.  That is, elected officials were to be deterred from doing favors for their cronies.
                However, administrators have proved even more susceptible to blandishments by corporate players who provide them with "connections" and employment opportunities to reward loyal subordinates or get rid of competitors.
                Many citizen activists are persuaded to run for public office to get them out of the hair of administrators.  They do not realize that they are legally prohibited from "interfering" with department heads and must rely on the administrator as a conduit.
                The only way around that is for elected officials to have a coterie of citizens who continue to investigate and agitate and provide supplemental information.

                People to Wall Street: "LET OUR MONEY GO"

                by hannah on Tue Dec 27, 2011 at 11:11:18 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  Our council has slightly more authority than some (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:

                  city manager communities I've been involved in. Not a lot more authority, though. Our city manager has lasted much longer than the average tenure. He's been more open than others I've had to deal with. It's never enough, though.

                  This town is fortunate to have a long history of citizen involvement over the last 250 years. The traditional New England Town Hall meeting was a big factor. Recently, our city ended the practice. The meetings were nearly impossible to manage any more, but ending the Town Hall meeting wasn't the best solution, imo.

                  There are several groups of citizens who, in effect, have been growing larger and becoming that coterie you describe.

                  It's obvious that there isn't much research and investigation being done. Some ripoff proposals have been stopped in time, but there just aren't enough eyes and ears to keep up.

                  I understand all of what you've described. You are absolutely spot on when you say that the only way around these deficiencies is active citizen involvement. If they try to persuade you to run for office, then you know you're getting their attention. Most of us aren't vulnerable to the ego trip or the power fantasy.

                  Perhaps this is part of the reason why this corner of NH is blue.

                  "All people are born alike - except Republicans and Democrats" - Groucho Marx

                  by GrumpyOldGeek on Tue Dec 27, 2011 at 12:06:31 PM PST

                  [ Parent ]

          •  Ok, this is really interesting... (8+ / 0-)

            Downthread I mentioned that Asa Hutchinson, Bush's first Undersecretary for Homeland Security, is involved with ALS and WOE drew a connection to "fast and furious."

            Check out the Board of Directors for the U.S. based BAE!  Some are:

            Bush's second Secretary of Homeland Security, Michael Chertoff

            General Anthony C. Zinni, former Commander-in-Chief U.S. Central Command

            Dr. William J. Schneider, a former Undersecretary of State who served on the Rumsfeld Commission

            General J.H. Binford Peay, III, former Vice Chief of Staff U.S. Army & Commander, U.S. Central Command

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