Saturday, November 08, 2014
FOIA reveals Hawaii is the only state not receiving military gear from the feds
While serving as a U.S. Marine on patrol in Afghanistan, we wore desert camouflage to blend in with our surroundings, carried rifles to shoot back when under enemy attack, and drove around in armored vehicles to ward off roadside bombs.
We looked intimidating, but all of our vehicles and equipment had a clear purpose for combat against enemy forces. So why is this same gear being used on our city streets?—Paul Szoldra in The Business Insider, 10/12/2014
“…Hawaii is the only state not participating, apparently, in the 1033 program…—Terai, Guy B LTC USARMY NG HIARNG (US) in response to MuckRock’s Shawn Musgrave on Oct. 3, 2014
by Larry Geller
In August, when the dramatic events in Ferguson brought the Defense Department's 1033 program to national scrutiny, MuckRock submitted public records requests to all 50 state coordinators. Since the Pentagon refuses to disclose which police departments nationwide had received weapons, armored vehicles and even bomb robots via the 1033 program, we asked each state directly.
In response to a Freedom of Information Request by MuckRock in Hawaii, a number of documents dating from around 2005 were turned over—because, the response noted, there was nothing more recent.
And although there were some camouflage outfits listed, and an ambulance and a truck, for example, most of the swag consisted of file cabinets and other office supplies.
Full documentation of the Hawaii FOIA request is on the MuckRock website here, and it’s very instructive—if anyone is interested in doing a FOIA, it’s a good example of the process. The documents received are also posted on that page. Have a look at it to see what the Maui Police Department, among other agencies, received from the feds.
Here’s a snip from the first page of one list:
PARKA, COLD WEATHEI
VIDEO CASSETE PLAYE
FIRE ARMS TRAINING
CASE OPTICAL INSTRU
Of course, there’s lots more, but there are no MRAPs, anyway. And who knows why there are cold-weather parkas sent to Hawaii. The M1008 at the top of the list is an antiquated Chevy pickup truck.
Now, in many areas of endeavor, Hawaii is simply slow, or behind the curve. There’s nothing to say that a cargo ship won’t show up one day soon with those MRAPs and sound cannons.
All it would take would be a bombing, or an incident at our relatively unguarded State Capitol, for the Honolulu and other police departments to file their heavy equipment requests with Washington.
In the meantime, if the response to the MuckRock FOIA is really all that there is to tell, Hawaii is actually doing the sensible thing by not setting up a polarization between its citizens and its police. Another possibility is that, using taxpayer money instead of a federal handout, they’ve already gone shopping for what they need.
Outside of Hawaii, cities have become huge militarized zones, which cannot but have dire consequences down the road. This is no exaggeration if SWAT teams are being used 50,000 times a year in this country.
Combine militarization with the pervasive security state revealed by Edward Snowden, the cruelty of US immigration policy and the grasp of the private prison industry, and the stage is set for a level of internal strife that the country has not seen in its entire history.
Lucky we live Hawaii, it seems.
2006? Isn't that kind of useless? Most of this stuff has apparently been "donated" more recently... including the "trouser cams" (I'm surprised Davind Letterman hasn't picked up on those...)