INTERVIEW: Will Obama Federalize Local Police?
• White House looking to have cops nationwide answer to the feds.
By Victor Thorn —
When one looks beyond the senseless looting, rioting and destruction that followed the police shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, could an even more ominous plot be at hand? Are power-obsessed authorities, spearheaded by outgoing Attorney General Eric Holder, setting the stage to further federalize local police forces?
To get more information on this, on December 11 this reporter interviewed Cheryl Chumley, author of the book POLICE STATE USA: How Orwell’s Nightmare is Becoming our Reality.
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In terms of the Obama administration’s hidden motives, Ms. Chumley said: “The federal government wants to take over police departments,which up until now have remained locally controlled. That should be a red flag to every American.”
Adding specifics, Ms. Chumley explained: “Barack Obama’s former chief of staff Rahm Emanuel once said, ‘Never let a crisis go to waste.’ Well, the Obama White House is using the chaos from New York City and Ferguson as ways of shifting their agenda to an increased use of the Pentagon’s 1033 program.”
This newspaper was one of the first publications to report on the Pentagon’s 1033 program and its transfer of military equipment from warzones in Afghanistan and Iraq to city police departments. The hardware includes high-powered sniper rifles, tanks, helicopters, night vision wear and vehicles capable of withstanding explosive devices.
Ms. Chumley warned of this trend: “By and large, Americans don’t like these militarized activities in their own neighborhoods, as well they shouldn’t. In May, an Atlanta toddler was mistakenly blown up with flash-bang grenades when officers issued a no-knock warrant. In 2011, a former Arizona Marine was killed after authorities entered the wrong residence. Every police department should be alarmed by the Obama administration’s carrot-and-stick approach to law enforcement.”
When asked for more details, Ms. Chumley replied: “Obama is telling local police departments that in order to receive this equipment, they’re mandated to issue reports to the feds. This means officers would be more accountable to the federal government’s wide-sweeping orders and dictates than to local or state legislators. Once you take community oversight out of the picture—which is more streamlined and transparent—police officers would become tools of the federal government, not servants of local citizens.”
Obama has introduced another element to the equation: upping the Big Brother surveillance state. Ms. Chumley revealed the implications: “Obama has demanded that $263 million be used to purchase 50,000 body cameras for the nation’s police. The information obtained from these cameras would then be fed into a federal database. But do we want an onerous government further peering into our backyards? Plus, who’ll collect this data, store it and have access to it? More than likely these live-feed cameras would become part of Homeland Security and the Department of Justice. Can you imagine the nightmare we’d face trying to process FOIA [Freedom of Information Act] requests?”
Even the way Obama is implementing this power grab remains questionable, as Ms. Chumley noted: “Obama didn’t actually sign an executive order, but instead issued an executive action, telling Eric Holder to move forward with his plans. By using this strategic backdoor political move, Obama is being even more secretive.”
Considering how certain elements within this administration used the Internal Revenue Service to target political foes, it’s imperative that no further powers be granted them.
Victor Thorn is a hard-hitting researcher, journalist and author of over 50 books.