Most Occupy Wall Street protests have been peaceful, but the response by American police have been anything but. Oakland's transit system authority shut down the 12th Street BART station in order to keep citizens from attending a protest – possibly an unconstitutional action – and then fired teargas grenades, flash bang grenades, and rubber bullet weapons directly at the protestors who did show up.
Video taken from a local TV station's news helicopter show police firing military "flash bangs" directly into crowds of peaceful protestors on public property who have every legal right to be there under the first amendment. Flash bangs were invented by British special forces as a weapon of war, and despite their non-lethal designation, can still cause severe burns, permanent damage to hearing, and ignite fires. Flash bangs have even caused deaths. A woman in New York died from a heart attack caused by a stun grenade in 2003, and a highly trained and most likely well armored SWAT officer in North Carolina was killed when one of his own grenades accidentally detonated.
This graphic photo shows a protestor in Oakland who was shot directly in the face with a "non-lethal" rubber bullet that could have easily killed him, had it struck him even one inch lower:
Nearly 100 people were arrested in Oakland in addition to what is likely thousands across the country. Although there haven't been any reported deaths, it's hard to see that not happening the way police are wildly escalating violence against unarmed, defenseless and peaceful crowds that number in the thousands.
The hypocrisy on display here is simply stunning. The United States government routinely condemns violence against protestors in Syira, Egypt, Libya, and Iran, while recklessly employing violence against its own citizens all across the country here at home, arresting thousands of people who have done nothing wrong other than demand an end go government corruption and the gradual but accelerating shift from democracy to plutocracy.
That is precisely why various state police forces are reacting so violently, because few things threaten police state establishment rule than a populist uprising that spans nearly an entire population. Entire classes of people are oppressed first and foremost through various forms of class warfare that keeps the majority poor, powerless, and despondent. Because of their living conditions, people already so close to losing what little they still have will hesitate to stand up and challenge the people in power precisely because of the threat that they'll lose everything if they do.
When the constant repression of an entire people becomes too much and the scales are tipped, violence in the name of order is employed. Don't think it'll end with flash bangs and rubber bullets. We've seen it happen in other countries while the U.S. government pretends to support it. It cheered when Egyptians rallied in Tahrir Square and feigned outrage when they were attacked by "security forces":
Clashes between protesters and security forces engulfed Cairo once again on Tuesday night, as the fiercest street battles since the fall of Hosni Mubarak left dozens injured.
Fighting began after dark, following earlier protests by relatives of those killed during this spring's uprising.
Armed central security police showered Tahrir Square with tear gas canisters and fired bullets into the air as several thousand demonstrators amassed and called for the resignation of Egypt's de facto head of state..
But when it was their own corrupt power coming under threat, American "security forces" emulated their Egyptian counterparts in attacking innocent civilians with paramilitary tactics and weapons:
The police in Oakland dispersed hundreds of protesters using tear gas and flash bombs on Tuesday night as crowds tried to re-enter a plaza outside of City Hall that authorities had cleared of an encampment earlier in the day.
The forceful response by police to protesters in Oakland came as police in Atlanta moved in early Wednesday morning to clear an encampment from the city’s central Woodruff Park. At least 53 people connected to the protest group Occupy Atlanta were arrested and the park was cleared by 2 a.m. Eastern time, the Atlanta Journal Constitution reported.
The violent attacks on protestors on Oakland is far from isolated. The excessive force and violence first employed by the NYPD that boosted Occupy Wall Street into the national spotlight included police beating and assaulting journalists, in addition to protestors:
In one clip, a senior officer later identified as Lieutenant Brian Connolly can be seen beating protesters with a baton. Another officer then doused the crowd with pepper spray. Connolly, who was awarded the Medal for Valor in 2007, struck local Fox television journalist Dick Brennan with his baton. A Fox photographer, Roy Isen, was sprayed in the eyes with mace. Another journalist, Luke Rudkowski of WeAreChange.org, posted videos of himself being similarly pummeled. Dozens of arrests were recorded Wednesday.
This was the same day that an NYPD officer on a motorcycle appeared to intentionally hit and run over a protester who – while laying on the ground in obvious pain and still apparently pinned under the officer's vehicle – was actually arrested. Several NYPD officers were seen at various protests wearing jackets saying "counter terrorism" on them, and members of the New York City Counter Terrorism Bureau have been spotted observing the protests for an unknown purpose.
The militarization of American police after 9/11 isn't new and it isn't going to slow down, as the government develops more sophisticated weapons and tactics to use against terrorists in urban warfare, it was inevitable that such things would present themselves as obvious dual-use technologies that could and would be used against American citizens in urban settings when government corruption and gradual destruction of civil liberties finally pushed people to do something about it.
One of the best examples of this are New York City's anti-terrorism apparatus which is said to rival the FBI in manpower and the federal government's intelligence agencies in technology and capability, that has thus far been used almost exclusively against innocent Muslim Americans who have committed no crime. That intelligence unit was found to have been trained by an active CIA officer at CIA facilities in Virginia while that officer was still working for the intelligence agency, while the NYPD unit carried out activities that the CIA is barred by law from doing on American soil, against its own citizens. The program is so secret that neither the New York City Council or the federal government is briefed on its activities.
That sprawling, unaccountable, hybrid paramilitary and intelligence agency operating in total secrecy was naturally used only against American citizens.
Another example is a report that the city of Tampa is purchasing paramilitary equipment in advance of the Republican National Convention, which it will host sometime next year. Among these purchases include a large number of invasive security cameras to be placed all around the city capable of reading "a number 3 inches high at 300 meters in the day", trailer-mounted cameras reaching two stories in height, and the icing on the cake: unmanned aerial vehicles (aka drones).
The latter technology didn't exist until it was invented by military contractors for use in war zones, and now it's being used not even to protect the population at home. Rather, it's being used by state and federal governments and police forces against unarmed, peaceful political protestors at what amounts to a private political celebratory party for America's most powerful and wealthy elites whose power base – corrupt government and elite/wealthy vs everyone else class warfare – is directly threatened by movements like Occupy Wall Street.
And that is precisely why the police state that is America is reacting so viciously and violently against its own people who are simply protesting the corruption and degradation of their own government, the same way the corrupt police governments in Libya and Egypt did. The real fear on the part of those establishment elites is that Occupy Wall Street will become the American Spring, sweeping them from power – and possibly into prison for the countless crimes they've committed and then generously granted themselves immunity for – and restoring democratic rule where government exists for the people, not for the 1%.
Update:Which one of these two images is Tahrir Square in Egypt, and which one was Oakland last night?