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    <h1 class="title" id="page-title">Israeli-trained police invade
      Baltimore in crackdown on Black Lives Matter </h1>
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                on Thu, 05/07/2015<br>
                <b><small><small><small><a class="moz-txt-link-freetext" href="http://electronicintifada.net/blogs/rania-khalek/israeli-trained-police-invade-baltimore-crackdown-black-lives-matter">http://electronicintifada.net/blogs/rania-khalek/israeli-trained-police-invade-baltimore-crackdown-black-lives-matter</a></small></small></small></b><br>
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                <p>For the second time in less than a year, an American
                  city was transformed into a hypermilitarized police
                  state to subdue growing resistance to anti-Black
                  police violence. </p>
                <p>Eight months ago, paramilitary forces barreled down
                  the streets of <a
href="http://electronicintifada.net/blogs/rania-khalek/israel-trained-police-occupy-missouri-after-killing-Black-youth">Ferguson</a>,
                  Missouri, following the gruesome police killing of
                  unarmed Black teenager Michael Brown. </p>
                <p>Last week, <a
href="http://www.truth-out.org/opinion/item/30602-don-t-call-it-a-curfew-martial-law-in-the-united-states#">martial
                    law</a> was imposed on the people of Baltimore,
                  Maryland, in yet another crackdown aimed at crushing
                  the Black Lives Matter uprising, galvanized this
                  time by the police murder of Freddie Gray, a
                  25-year-old Black man whose <a
href="http://www.baltimoresun.com/health/bs-hs-gray-injuries-20150420-story.html">spinal
                    cord was severed</a> while in police custody. </p>
                <p>It was an occupation in the truest sense of the term.
                  However, for Baltimore’s poor Black neighborhoods, it
                  was a hypermilitarized version of the lower intensity
                  occupation they are subjected to on a regular basis. </p>
                <p>Protests demanding justice for Gray had been largely
                  peaceful, until heavy-handed police tactics against
                  Baltimore high school students on 27 April <a
href="http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2015/04/how-baltimore-riots-began-mondawmin-purge%20%20http://fair.org/home/medias-baltimore-teen-purge-narrative-falling-apart/">incited</a>
                  a riot. </p>
                <p>Some young people responded by throwing bottles and
                  rocks at police, prompting <a
                    href="https://twitter.com/MaxBlumenthal/status/592825255388958720">comparisons</a>
                  <a
href="http://www.mediaite.com/tv/shep-smith-on-baltimore-protests-seems-like-palestinians-and-the-israeli-army-fighting/">to
                    Palestine</a>, where children often toss stones at
                  Israeli occupation forces as a means of resistance and
                  self-defense. </p>
                <p>Windows of police cruisers were smashed, stores were
                  looted and a CVS store was set ablaze, throwing white
                  America into a panicked frenzy that seemed to
                  prioritize broken windows over broken spines, as one
                  activist <a
href="http://www.rawstory.com/2015/04/activist-smacks-down-wolf-blitzer-you-are-suggesting-broken-windows-are-worse-than-broken-spines/">put
                    it</a>. </p>
                <h2>Martial law</h2>
                <p>Within hours of the riots, Baltimore city officials
                  declared a state of emergency and instituted a 10
                  pm curfew. </p>
                <p>Practically overnight, Baltimore morphed into a
                  heavily militarized police state with machine-like
                  efficiency, demonstrating America’s frightening
                  capacity to successfully implement martial law in a
                  major US city in a matter of hours. </p>
                <p>By Tuesday, 3,000 National Guard troops were deployed
                  to Baltimore.</p>
                <p>With assault rifles in hand, bored US soldiers in
                  official military combat attire roamed the streets of
                  downtown Baltimore, patrolling the National Aquarium,
                  as well as the outlets of Forever 21, Cheesecake
                  Factory and Barnes & Noble that dot the trendy and
                  polished Inner Harbor.  </p>
                The soldiers were flanked by police from a collection of
                law enforcement agencies from Maryland and across state
                lines, all working in concert with Baltimore police to
                crush the nascent uprising that erupted in the
                city’s long neglected poor Black neighborhoods. For
                these communities, martial law presented nothing more
                than an added layer to the ferocious <a
                  href="http://http://data.baltimoresun.com/news/police-settlements/">police
                  violence</a> and intolerable <a
href="http://thinkprogress.org/economy/2015/04/28/3651951/baltimore-freddie-gray-economic">economic
                  deprivation</a> that inform their daily lives. 
                <h2>Breaking curfew</h2>
                <p>On Friday 1 May, around eighty protesters held their
                  ground in the courtyard in front of City Hall. They
                  were in high spirits and determined to break the 10
                  pm curfew following news that six Baltimore police
                  officers were <a
href="http://www.washingtonpost.com/news/local/wp/2015/05/01/the-list-of-charges-against-baltimore-officers/">charged</a>
                  in the killing of Freddie Gray.</p>
                <p>The courtyard had become an unofficial media
                  headquarters since the state of emergency
                  began, saturated with TV news vans, cable news tents
                  and lighting crews. The area also served as a command
                  center for the National Guard and law enforcement. </p>
                <p>As the curfew went into effect, a line of around a
                  hundred riot police filed into the quad opposite the
                  protesters, who had thinned out from a couple hundred
                  to a few dozen. The mood was tense, but calm. </p>
                <p>Minutes later, hidden units of riot police thundered
                  into the crowd, charging at frightened protesters who
                  soon learned there was nowhere to run. Protesters
                  were woefully outnumbered and surrounded, with all
                  possible escape routes cut off by either riot squads,
                  officers on horseback, armored vehicles with rooftop
                  snipers or National Guard troops, reinforced by a
                  police helicopter circling overhead. </p>
                <p>Police officers dressed like storm troopers attacked
                  one protester after the next completely unprovoked. I
                  watched as police all around me tackled civilians,
                  slamming them into the ground face first, piling on
                  top of them and blindly swinging their batons. It was
                  a police riot. </p>
                Meanwhile, police closed in on the media, jostling
                members of the press and repeatedly threatening them to
                get back.
                <big><b><big><br>
                      <br>
                      Mass arrests
                    </big></b></big>
                <p>Among those arrested that night was 32-year-old
                  Chicago-based activist Danielle Villarreal, who was
                  knocked to the ground by officers while quietly
                  looking to see which of her comrades had been grabbed.</p>
                <p>Her friend, Jackie Spreadbury, 26, instinctively
                  reached for Villareal’s arm to protect her from police
                  and was instantly thrown against a van and tossed to
                  the ground, her cheek pressed up against the curb.</p>
                <p>“They hit me with their batons on the back of the
                  calf below the knee as I was already down on the
                  ground,” Spreadbury told me, recollecting her arrest.
                  “I didn’t realize at the time that I was getting hit.
                  I was just looking at Danielle to see if she was
                  okay.” </p>
                <p>“A bunch of cops were yelling different things at me.
                  And then they started yelling at me for not listening
                  to all the different things they were demanding,”
                  Spreadbury recalled.</p>
                <p>“I’ve been to lots of demonstrations over the years
                  and I’ve never seen this sort of pre-emptive
                  oppression — outside of NATO in Chicago — where they
                  lunged at us and chased us down without warning, and
                  just pre-emptively attacked people,” said Villarreal,
                  referring to the virtual police state during the NATO
                  summit in Chicago in 2012 that saw protesters <a
href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/05/20/nato-summit-chicago-protesters_n_1530789.html">corralled,
                    abused and arrested</a>. </p>
                <p>“If you want to see who wants a riot, look at who’s
                  dressed for it,” added Villarreal, noting that police
                  were the ones wearing body armor and carrying billy
                  clubs. </p>
                <p>During their 22 hour stay in jail, the women met
                  countless Baltimore residents who were swept up by
                  police for breaking curfew while going about their
                  daily lives. “They were put in a cell with us — women,
                  mothers daughters — they got picked up because of this
                  police state. There was a 51–year-old woman who was
                  arrested on her way from work at 4:45 am during
                  curfew,” said Spreadbury.</p>
                <p>At least <a
href="http://www.washingtonpost.com/local/crime/high-number-of-arrests-in-baltimore-leads-to-confusion-in-charging/2015/05/04/d71ad79c-f28e-11e4-bcc4-e8141e5eb0c9_story.html">486
                    people</a> have been arrested in Baltimore since 23
                  April, a fifth of whom were <a
href="http://www.washingtonpost.com/local/crime/about-80-people-arrested-in-baltimore-turmoil-freed-after-time-runs-out/2015/04/29/db85e064-eea7-11e4-8666-a1d756d0218e_story.html">held
                    for 48 hours</a> without explanation and released
                  without charge. </p>
                <p>Others were given astronomically high bails. </p>
                <p>Allen Bullock, 18, turned himself in at the behest of
                  his parents after a photo of him smashing a police
                  windshield with a traffic cone was plastered in news
                  reports across the country. Bullock is currently being
                  held on a <a
href="http://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2015/apr/30/baltimore-rioters-parents-500000-bail-allen-bullock">half
                    a million dollar bail</a> that his family can’t
                  possibly afford. In stark contrast, the officers who
                  severed Freddie Gray’s spine received bails no greater
                  than <a
href="http://http://www.baltimoresun.com/news/maryland/crime/blog/bs-md-ci-what-is-next-for-officers-20150501-story.html">$350,000</a>.</p>
                <h2>Palestine contingent lends support</h2>
                <p>Building on the deepening bond between the
                  Palestinian and Black liberation struggles,
                  Palestinian civil society organizations <a
href="http://palsolidarity.org/2015/05/solidarity-from-palestine-to-baltimore/">issued</a>
                  a declaration of support for those struggling against
                  racial injustice in Baltimore. </p>
                <p>“We send our condolences to the family of Freddie
                  Gray and all those murdered in police custody,” says
                  the statement. “We stand in solidarity with those
                  whose homes have been foreclosed, with those who live
                  under the constant watch of surveillance cameras and
                  under the constant threat of being stopped, harassed,
                  arrested and assaulted by a militarized police force
                  in their own streets. Your struggle for justice,
                  equality and freedom is our struggle.”</p>
                <p>A contingent of Palestine solidarity activists
                  affiliated with Students for Justice with Palestine
                  (SJP) at American University and Students Against
                  Israeli Apartheid (SAIA) at George Mason University
                  turned those words into action.</p>
                <p>Wearing their <em>kufiyehs</em> — Palestinian
                  checkered scarves — to remain easily visible to one
                  another amid the likely chaos, the group shuffled back
                  and forth between Washington DC and Baltimore to lend
                  their support as legal observers and medics.</p>
                <p>“Oftentimes we struggle with wanting to participate
                  because we don’t know if it’s our place and we don’t
                  want to be co-opting,” said Ntebo Maya Mokuena, a
                  19-year-old member of SJP at AU. “But I think it’s
                  important for people in DC to show solidarity in
                  Baltimore because we’re so close.”</p>
                <p>Mokuena gravitated toward Palestine solidarity work
                  due to her father’s activism against apartheid in
                  South Africa. “I saw the connections between his
                  experiences in South Africa and what happens in
                  Palestine. I thought it was really important to carry
                  on the family legacy,” she told The Electronic
                  Intifada. </p>
                <p>“From Palestine to Baltimore, there are parallels
                  with militarization of police and the tactics they use
                  to take over space in other people’s land. They’re
                  occupying people’s neighborhoods where they live. It’s
                  like the second wave for Baltimore because
                  it’s already economically occupied,” said Mokuena. </p>
                <p>The group managed to avoid arrest during Friday
                  night’s melee, though some told The Electronic
                  Intifada that they were more frightened of police in
                  Baltimore than Israeli forces at protests they had
                  attended in Palestine. </p>
                <p>“Even though I’ve been to protests in Palestine, I
                  saw more physical abuse in Baltimore,” said Tareq
                  Radi, a Palestinian American organizer and founding
                  member of SAIA. Still, what he witnessed in Baltimore
                  reminded him of Israeli crowd control in Palestine. “I
                  went to the ‘day of rage’ protests in the Negev
                  [Naqab] and I saw people getting slammed on the
                  ground, hogtied, police grabbing their arms and legs
                  and throwing them in the paddy wagon — the exact same
                  imagery as Baltimore.”</p>
                <p>“If Baltimore was a Middle Eastern country, we would
                  be calling it a dictatorship,” Radi added. </p>
                <h2>Echoes of Israeli tactics in Baltimore</h2>
                <p>The similarities in suppression tactics employed by
                  Baltimore and Israeli security forces are
                  no coincidence.</p>
                <p>Under the cover of counterterrorism training, nearly
                  every major police agency in the United States has
                  traveled to Israel for lessons in occupation
                  enforcement, including many of the agencies active in
                  Baltimore last week. </p>
                <p>In 2002, Baltimore city police officers went to
                  Israel on a junket organized by the
                  neoconservative Jewish Institute for National Security
                  Affairs (JINSA), where they studied Israeli occupation
                  tactics used against Palestinians, including “crowd
                  control, and coordination with the media,” according
                  to a JINSA <a
href="http://www.jinsa.org/events-programs/law-enforcement-exchange-program-leep/jinsa-launches-law-enforcement-exchange">press
                    release</a>. “Participants resolved to begin the
                  process of sharing ‘lessons learned’ in Israel with
                  their law enforcement colleagues in the United
                  States,” boasted JINSA. </p>
                <p>Baltimore city police returned to Israel for more
                  occupation training in a 2009 <a
                    href="http://projectinterchange.org/?seminar_id=4536">trip</a>
                  arranged by the American Jewish Committee’s Project
                  Interchange. </p>
                <p>On a 2007 training session in Israel, Baltimore
                  County police reportedly “<a
href="http://articles.baltimoresun.com/2007-06-28/news/0706280115_1_tel-aviv-police-departments-baltimore-county">received
                    valued lessons</a> from Israeli officials…about
                  gathering human and electronic intelligence” that can
                  “apply to investigations into organized crime and
                  gangs.”</p>
                <p>The Montgomery County Police Department, which sent <a
href="http://www.gazette.net/article/20150501/NEWS/150509843/1225&source=RSS&template=gazette">dozens</a> of
                  police officers to assist in the Baltimore crackdown,
                  has attended several training sessions in Israel,
                  including one in <a
                    href="http://projectinterchange.org/?p=5229">2010</a>
                  and another in <a
                    href="http://projectinterchange.org/?p=6794">2012</a>,
                  both hosted by Project Interchange. </p>
                <p>New Jersey State Police, which <a
href="http://www.app.com/story/news/politics/new-jersey/2015/04/28/nj-state-police-baltimore-riots/26515131/">donated
                    around 150 </a>of its officers to Baltimore’s
                  police state, learned lessons in occupation
                  enforcement on trips to Israel arranged by the
                  Anti-Defamation League in <a
href="http://www.adl.org/press-center/press-releases/israel-middle-east/top-us-law-enforcement.html">2011</a> and
                  <a
href="http://www.adl.org/press-center/press-releases/israel-middle-east/adl-mission-brings-us-law-enforcement.html#.VUo6p6aN72g">2013</a>, and JINSA
                  in <a
href="http://www.jinsa.org/events-programs/law-enforcement-exchange-program-leep/top-cops-return-jinsa-sponsored-anti-terror-st">2004</a>.</p>
                <p>Pennsylvania State Police, which <a
href="http://6abc.com/news/300-pennsylvania-state-police-personnel-to-aid-in-baltimore/686877/">contributed
                    300 state troopers</a> to Baltimore, studied
                  counterterrorism in Israel in <a
href="http://www.jinsa.org/events-programs/law-enforcement-exchange-program-leep/top-cops-return-jinsa-sponsored-anti-terror-st">2004</a>.</p>
                <p>While there is a wealth of scholarship on police
                  militarization in the US, there has been little to no
                  examination of the ways Israel’s security apparatus
                  facilitates it. Instead, the issue is virtually
                  ignored or flat out <a
href="http://www.politifact.com/punditfact/statements/2015/apr/29/nation-islam-research-group/nation-islam-group-says-israeli-security-trained-b/">denied</a>,
                  despite the troubling implications of emulating an
                  apartheid regime actively engaged in ethnic cleansing
                  and war crimes.</p>
                <h2>Armed with cameras</h2>
                <p>There is something eerily consistent about
                  occupation, whether in the ghettos of Palestine or the
                  United States, including one of the most widely used
                  means of resistance to it.</p>
                <p>“A camera is the most trusted witness and the <a
href="http://electronicintifada.net/blogs/rania-khalek/israeli-soldier-becomes-overnight-hero-pointing-loaded-gun-palestinian-youths">best
                    protection tool</a>,” Issa Amro, the founder and
                  director of Youth Against Settlements, told me last
                  year after his organization faced violent retaliation
                  for recording Israeli soldiers pointing assault rifles
                  at Palestinian teens in a video that went <a
href="http://electronicintifada.net/blogs/rania-khalek/israeli-soldier-becomes-overnight-hero-pointing-loaded-gun-palestinian-youths">viral</a>.</p>
                <p>Kevin Moore, who filmed the video of Freddie Gray’s
                  brutal arrest, sees the camera in a similar light.</p>
                <p>“The most powerful weapon that we have against the
                  police right now is a camcorder or any type of record
                  that you can get against them performing those police
                  brutal events,” <a
href="http://wtop.com/baltimore/2015/05/man-who-filmed-freddie-gray-arrest-says-hell-keep-the-camera-rolling/">argued</a> Moore

                  after his video of Gray went viral. After speaking out
                  about Gray’s killing, Moore complained that police
                  were intimidating him. He was later <a
href="http://photographyisnotacrime.com/2015/05/man-who-recorded-freddie-gray-video-arrested-after-voicing-fears-that-police-were-trying-to-intimidate-him/">arrested</a>
                  with two activists from Copwatch, the police
                  accountability organization he is a member of
                  and released two hours later without charge. </p>
                <p>Ramsey Orta, the man who filmed the chokehold killing
                  of Eric Garner by NYPD officers in Staten Island last
                  year, met an even worse fate. He was <a
href="http://www.democracynow.org/blog/2015/4/13/ramsey_orta_man_who_filmed_nypd">arrested</a>
                  along with his mother, brother and wife in what he
                  contends is a campaign of vengeful harassment by the
                  NYPD.</p>
                <p>Meanwhile, not one of the officers who killed Garner
                  on video will face charges; Video evidence of deadly
                  police violence <a
href="http://electronicintifada.net/blogs/patrick-strickland/israel-clears-police-videotaped-killing-palestinian-galilee-village?utm_medium=email&utm_source=transactional&utm_campaign=info%40electronicintifada.net">rarely
                    results in accountability</a>.  </p>
                <p>Under such intolerable conditions, where even video
                  evidence of their murders isn’t enough to hold their
                  killers accountable, it is no wonder that
                  the oppressed are fighting back, from Baltimore to
                  Ferguson to Palestine. </p>
              </div>
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