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Salient. Victoria University Student Newspaper. Vol. 36, No 11 May 30th, 1973

Profits and the Police

page 12

Profits and the Police

Profits and the Police

Profits and the Police

During the demonstration in March against the U.S. military bases at Harewood and Weedons, the police used new tactics against the demonstrators. They grossly over-reacted to the demonstrations, employed military personnel and helicopters and other equipment, and had obviously had training in anti-demonstration techniques. The police officer in charge of this affair, Chief Superintendent Gideon Tait, has since advocated the police acquiring their own helicopter.

Earlier in the year a team of instructors travelled throughout New Zealand giving all police staff special training in police methods in counter demonstrations against the proposed Springbok tour. New Zealand has its share of police who have received training in this field in the United States and Britain.

Thus the "People's Voice" wrote in an introduction to an article by Claude Bourdet, a leading French journalist, on the United States Government's programme of training police forces throughout the world.

In its drive to protect and promote American business interest abroad the U.S. Government has directly or indirectly trained one million policemen throughout the world in techniques for suppression of internal dissent.

This was reported to the International Congress on Disarmament and Peace, recently held in Paris, by the American writer Michael Klare, author of "War without End: American Planning for the next Vietnams" (Published by Alfred A. Knopf, New York 1972.) and one of the organisers of the North. American Congress on Latin America.

The Klare report and the discussion that followed stressed the enormous efforts of the U.S. in police training abroad. The Agency for International Development (AID, Washington) has a "Public Security" branch which alone spent $35 million in 1969 and which besides its credits for police equipment granted to American satellite countries, also trained a large proportion of the police of these countries in its "International Police Academy" in Washington. In Brazil, for example, 455 policemen were trained during a ten year period in the U.S. and they in turn trained 100,000 Brazilian police. Some 15 American "police advisers" are now stationed in Brazil and in South Vietnam there are 200.

Methods of torture used against the opposition by the police in Brazil, South Vietnam and many other countries are entirely "made in USA". The AID financed the deportation of South Vietnam political prisoners from mainland prisons to the "tiger cages" island, Con Son. After the protests that followed the discovery of these horrors by two American Congressmen, the AID supplied another $400,000 to build 288 solitary cells at Con Son. In addition to AID funds, the Pentagon distributed money to train para-military police in various countries, including 12,000 men from the Saigon army. Another US agency, the Central Intelligence Agency, aids the training of secret police around the world.

New Techniques

The progress of electronics in the Vietnam war has already had startling effects in the US itself, and notably in the "improvement" of police equipment. The "sensors" or "vibration detectors" of sounds, heat, smells etc., perfected in Vietnam are now used in America, particularly on the Mexican border and the "sensitive zones" around important buildings and private homes. A survey radar developed to scrutinise the jungle had been adapted to "see" through brick or concrete walls.

American city police now have nocturnal sight equipment which amplifies light 40,000 times and in Mount Vernon, New York State, a nocturnal TV system installed over the streets and capable of discerning a man-sized object from a distance of 1 km., even at night, is being tried. All this amounts to constant surveillance as imagined by George Orwell in his novel "1984" 25 years ago, except that we are ten years early.

The massive use of computers has made possible a filing system for the whole American public. It is designed not so much to detect criminals as present or potential "subversive elements" pacifists, members of the Black Power movement and other non-conformists. Three entirely automated and inter-linked data banks already exist — one at the F.B.I., one at the Department of Justice and one at the Pentagon. Liaison with local police is being developed and by 1975 a policeman anywhere in the U.S., will be able to get complete information on any resident within a few minutes.

Robots Before 1984

A little-known American police service, the National Security Agency, which depends on the Pentagon, has double the credits granted to the C.I.A. An electronic engineer working there has drawn up a plan envisaging the permanent fixing of miniature transmitter-receivers onto a tenth of the American public — i.e. 20 million people. These machines would be monitored by fixed transmitter receivers in towns and areas to be checked. About 250 machines would cover Harlem. The aim would be to inform a central computer of the movements of any miniaturised machine bearer. Any suspicious movement would bring the police. Alteration or removal of the machine would be a criminal offence. Successful experiments have already been conducted on Volunteers" from American prisons.

Cartoon of two boys talking. Aw go on Tom! Policemen just fight crooks and stuff like that! You'd Be Surprised

The system is designed to control a large segment of the population — people involved in protest marches, foreign elements, political minorities and "urban guerillas" — some 20 million in all. American scientists are now planning to connect miniaturised transmitter-receivers directly to the brain. The excitement of certain areas of the brain would incite, or totally stop, certain actions. Persons who accept treatment, or are forced, would be tele commanded like robots. Results to date are "extremely hopeful".

These techniques could be speedily introduced into European and other countries. If we are not careful a police universe will develop, as envisaged in "1984".

Big Business

The Paris conference also dealt with the economic as well as the police role of the U.S.A., and its satellites around the world. It became clear that the traditional aims of imperialist expansion — to "control raw materials" and "hold markets" —must be reviewed in the light of recent changes.

The raw materials problem has changed greatly. The progress of technology and the many synthetic products now available mean that for most materials no country has to rely on supplies from a single or a few sources.

On the other hand, a sure supply of certain products must be maintained from countries controlled politically. One example is crude oil, a field in which the Arab countries, Iran, Venezuela and in the future, Southeast Asia will play a big role. Another is a rare metal like columbium, essential for certain key industries, where the sole supplier is Brazil.

One problem is the probable attitude of large firms confronted by revolution in a country. Naturally they try to prevent it as long as possible — as did the U.S. oil companies in the Vietnam war. When the battle seems lost, they try to reach a compromise with the revolutionary government, as has happened in Algeria and Chile.

Wars as "Markets"

"Markets" have also changed in nature. Exports of arms from imperialist countries to the developing ones have increased and may have diverted interest from ordinary manufacturers, such as textiles. This may lead to interesting contradictions among western ruling groups.

A special aspect of these Third World "markets" also appears in wars themselves — Vietnam today, tomorrow another. These wars call for such colossal supplies of arms and other products of key industries that they often obliterate other economic interests. It is not important that these supplies to "invaded" or "assisted" countries are paid for by an imperialist country itself. For these politically powerful industries, the continuation of a war is more profitable than any peaceful solution, including military victory. This partly explains the apparently irrational conduct of the Indo-China war under Nixon.

Export of Factories

Imperialism has a new motive corresponding to the new "economics of politics" — but still demanding the same "security" for capitalism. This is the ex-portation of entire industries to countries where labour is cheaper. Financiers involved can thus make bigger profits on goods produced and sold around the world. This is happening both in countries where wages are only a little lower than in the U.S.A. (such as Canada) and in those where wages are very low (as in South Africa).

The difference in profits is predictable. In 1969, the U.S., invested $21,000 million in Canada, return 7 per cent; the same sum in Europe, return 8.5 per cent; nearly $4,000 million in Australia, New Zealand and South Africa, return 10 per cent; $14,000 million in Latin America, return 12 percent; over $1,000 million in Japan; return 15 per cent; Africa and Asia, $9,000 million, return 25 per cent.

Cartoon of a police officer at a firing range

"Nothing like a gun when you don't feel like running!"

"Nothing like a gun when you don't feel like running!"