Thursday, January 22, 2009

As spreading European riots hearken the coming age of rebellion, US military and local police prepare for the unrest at home

Iceland's government is on the verge of collapse, most recently seeing the prime minister's car surrounded by people and pelted with eggs before riot police could arrive. Greece sees regular street clashes between anarchists and youth on one side, riot police and nationalists on the other. Widespread revolts in Latvia and Bulgaria against the political class, and signs pointing to social upheaval soon spreading to Ukraine and Russia.

From Times Online

"The financial meltdown has become part of the real economy and is now beginning to shape real politics. More and more citizens on the edge of the global crisis are taking to the streets. Bulgaria has been gripped this month by its worst riots since 1997 when street power helped to topple a Socialist government. Now Socialists are at the helm again and are having to fend off popular protests about government incompetence and corruption.

In Latvia – where growth has been in double-digit figures for years – anger is bubbling over at official mismanagement. GDP is expected to contract by 5 per cent this year; salaries will be cut; unemployment will rise. Last week, in a country where demonstrators usually just sing and then go home, 10,000 people besieged parliament.

Iceland, Bulgaria, Latvia: these are not natural protest cultures. Something is going amiss."

Naturally, the authorities in the USA have not turned a blind eye to the hundreds of thousands of people taking the streets to reclaim their lives from the institutions of capital and commerce. In a new report the U.S. Army war college warns that the Pentagon and military should prepare to send troops into American streets when the crisis worsens.

From the Phoenix Business Journal:
“Widespread civil violence inside the United States would force the defense establishment to reorient priorities in extremis to defend basic domestic order and human security,” said the War College report.

The study says economic collapse, terrorism and loss of legal order are among possible domestic shocks that might require military action within the U.S.

International Monetary Fund Managing Director Dominique Strauss-Kahn warned Wednesday of economy-related riots and unrest in various global markets if the financial crisis is not addressed and lower-income households are hurt by credit constraints and rising unemployment.

Riot police on the streets of Phoenix, 2003

Across the board valley police departments say they are more than prepared for massive civil unrest. In a political climate where the military's Northern Command (northcom) and the Department of Homeland Security work hand in hand with local officials to plan security for the Superbowl, should it be any surprise to see the Mesa police and the Army's 3rd Infantry Division defending a bank sometime soon?

Again, from the Phoenix Business Journal:

State and local police in Arizona say they have broad plans to deal with social unrest, including trouble resulting from economic distress. The security and police agencies declined to give specifics, but said they would employ existing and generalized emergency responses to civil unrest that arises for any reason.

“The Phoenix Police Department is not expecting any civil unrest at this time, but we always train to prepare for any civil unrest issue. We have a Tactical Response Unit that trains continually and has deployed on many occasions for any potential civil unrest issue,” said Phoenix Police spokesman Andy Hill.

“We have well established plans in place for such civil unrest,” said Scottsdale Police spokesman Mark Clark.

Clark, Hill and other local police officials said the region did plenty of planning and emergency management training for the Super Bowl in February in Glendale.

“We’re prepared,” said Maricopa County Sheriff Deputy Chief Dave Trombi citing his office’s past dealings with immigration marches and major events.

We all know the spring kicks off early and is often short lived, the summer grows in intensity and length as our humanity's climate change nightmare continues. So, with the probability of a longer, hotter summer, will it the sun be the only thing burning up the streets of Phoenix? London School of Economics economist Robert Wade predicts large scale civil unrest beginning in the spring of 2009:
“It will be caused by the rise of general awareness throughout Europe, America and Asia that hundreds of millions of people in rich and poor countries are experiencing rapidly falling consumption standards; that the crisis is getting worse not better; and that it has escaped the control of public authorities, national and international.
Stay tuned.

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