cop on the beat

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In America today, there are cops on the beat, and a beat on the cops.

A wave of civil unrest has engulfed the United States since the murder of an African-American civilian was broadcast on social media. Indeed, protests against what is a brutal police state forged over long decades in the United States have garnered support across the racial, economic, and class divides, with some figures citing a more than 70% national support for uprisings against the police.

Although seeing such circumstances in other countries would lead white American liberals to decry them as “failed states,” a substantial cognitive dissonance in white America precludes them from observing (1) their privilege within the police state, and (2) the cascade of events that led to the present civil unrest.

The coronavirus lockdowns since February kept the individualistic American people in a state of confinement which was accompanied by substantial mental health issues, as observed in self-reported surveys, media reports, and the shortage of anti-depressants on the market (e.g. Zoloft).

Meanwhile, a cumulative 40 milllion jobless claims were filed in the first half of 2020 in the United States, a proportion not seen since the Great Depression nearly century ago. In the meantime, coronavirus deaths piled up quick enough that the US became the worst-affected country in the world, and the damage was disproportionately felt by communities of color.

Is it that the novel coronavirus is somehow a racist pathogen? Hard to believe, but the conditions of communities of color in America is far more propitious for a viral pathogen to spread rapidly and viciously. That is just another cost of being a person of color in America.

The restless, caged, unemployed, and diseased in America together warmed a tinderbox ready to burst with any social spark. Several incidents of violent police brutality had been simmering in recent American memory, but prior to George Floyd’s murder, it was in fact the videotaping of a racist white woman, Amy Cooper, which enraged the American public.

Amy Cooper openly blackmailed an innocent black bystander with the threat that she would call the police and lie to them about his supposed aggression. The capture of Amy Cooper’s blatant and deliberate threat on tape helped cast the persona of the white millennial woman in a light which the liberal media would never have allowed.

It pointed to the known culpability of white civilians in bringing on the wrath of the American police state on black folk. This was subsequently followed scarcely a week later by the televised murder by asphyxiation – the lynching – of George Floyd. The issue of deliberate state violence against citizens thus came to the fore, echoing a litany of riots against violent police behaviour that dispersed populate across modern American history.

Although the vast majority of protests have been peaceful in nature, footage from countless phones uploaded to twitter and other media shows that the police and paramilitary agents have been actively instigating violent confrontation at public gatherings. Reminiscent of the protests against the illegal Indian occupation of Kashmir, US police forces have used batons, teargas, and pellet-guns against civilians in broad daylight.

Indeed, reminiscent of India’s psychotic violence in Kashmir, and New Delhi’s blanket declaration of any conscious Kashmiri objector as a “terrorist,” Trump too has labelled American civilian groups (e.g. Antifa) as “terrorist” along very similar authoritarian precepts.

Yet although the analogy of Indian-occupied Kashmir to the praxis of the White Supremacist police state in America is indeed very apt, there is in fact another occupied territory that sheds even greater light on white America’s tyranny, and it lies in the case of Palestine’s subjugation.

Why? Because unbeknownst to most of the American public, let alone the world public, is a fact that many police departments in the United States receive training either in Israel or by visiting Israeli police goons. In other words, they then reproduce Israeli tactics in American cities.

As Amnesty International has observed, law enforcement officials from Maryland, Florida, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, California, Arizona, Connecticut, New York, Massachusetts, North Carolina, Georgia, Washington state as well as the DC Capitol police have all travelled to Israel for training.

At the same time, thousands of others have received training from visiting Israeli officials in the U.S. itself. Many of these trips are taxpayer-funded, although lobby groups also play their hand in privately funding such collusion among police state.

Since 2002, the Anti-Defamation League, the American Jewish Committee’s “Project Interchange,” and the Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs have all paid for police chiefs, assistant chiefs and captains to get hardcore militarized training in Israel and occupied areas of Palestine.

What is the relationship of Israel’s “police” to Palestine? They are brutal prison wardens to a gulag unlike any other. American policemen going for training at the hands of hands of military, security and police systems who “have racked up documented human rights violations for years,” according to Amnesty.

Amnesty International, other human rights organizations, and even the U.S. Department of State have condemned the Israeli police for “carrying out extrajudicial executions and other unlawful killings,” using “ill treatment and torture” (even against minors), and the “suppression of freedom of expression/association including through government surveillance.”

Even more pertinent to current America: Israel’s police has been found to use “excessive use of force against peaceful protesters.” This is the mindset in which one militarized police force receives training from another. The American people, of color and otherwise, are receiving something reminiscent of the Occupied West Bank.

For bankrolling a Zionist police state in occupied territories for so long, America is now reaping the harvest in its own backyard, with a police architecture armed to the teeth and contemptuous of its own people. That is why the pain of Minneapolis is palpably similar to that of Srinagar or Gaza.

Although Donald Trump has demonstrated a sociopathic tendency to try and strongarm the American people; or to “dominate the battlespace” as his Defence Secretary put it, he is very close to election season where the pain of Americans will bear out in the ballot.

In the meantime, the average American is either out in protest, or tacitly supporting the resistance, to the White Supremacist police state. The question is: how long will the people maintain their vigil? Joblessness remains rampant, the coronavirus cases are mounting, and the visceral hatred of racists in America is coming to a boil. There are cops on the beat, and a beat on the cops.

-The writer is the Director for Economics and National Affairs at the Centre for Aerospace and Security Studies (CASS). This article was first published in PakObserver newspaper. He can be reached at

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