• streetfestival
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    2 months ago

    This was one of the more interesting articles I’ve read in a long time. It connects a lot of dots. I like synopsizing articles for those who wish for more of a glance, but I’m not really doing this piece justice and my excerpts don’t carry forward the in-line links, so proceed to the article if you feel so inclined :)

    As Israel’s assault on Gaza continues, there has been much political and media focus on how the US supplies the Israeli military with weapons. Less prominent is how our nation’s relationship with Israel influences US policing practices, which in turn harm communities of color and people who use drugs.

    US police have been trained in Israeli suppression tactics that might have been deemed excessive at prior points in US history, but now seem to be the norm. Militarized policing—together with common Israeli tactics, like employing flash grenades and wrestling people to the ground in dangerous ways (consider how Derek Chauvin used his knee to kill George Floyd)—has become commonplace in the US, in part because of these deadly training exchanges.

    Exchanges between US law enforcement and Israeli forces are not limited to the training of personnel. The Israeli military is also involved in the development and testing of surveillance technologies that are then later used in the US.

    Following the dot-com crash of the early 2000s, Israel saw thousands of tech workers laid off. The Israeli military budget meanwhile steadily increased; tech firms were then encouraged to branch out from general informational technology to security and surveillance. The Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) grew to become a business incubator and dedicated more resources to technical projects, used to automate the decades-long occupation of the West Bank. This led to the development of AI and surveillance technologies that have been deployed in both the US drug war and the current slaughter of Gazans.

    In 2022, it came to light that the US Drug Enforcement Administration was deploying Israeli spyware that can invade personal phones and hack information at scale—despite the Biden administration having blacklisted similar technology developed by another Israeli firm.

    Although such weapons have mostly been used in a military context, the federal 1033 Program and 11022 Program allow state and local governments to purchase discounted military equipment “in support of the war on drugs, homeland security, and emergency response activities.”