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"The Miami Model" uses the rhetoric (and money) of homeland security to suppress political protest

January 6, 2004

I saw this article in Salon last month about the outrageous police tactics in Miami at the FTAA (Free Trade Area of the Americas) summit.  When I've told people about it, they have difficulty believing it.  But it's true, it's extreme and it's a scary precedent, especially because it seems to be a model.

$8.5 million of the $87 billion for Iraq was given to Miami to put together what amounts to a paramilitary organization to attack protesters under the rubric of "Homeland Security".  Declaring protesters to be terrorists or threats to homeland security is a pretty obvious tactic, if you can get away with it.  Appearantly they think they can, in the current climate.  And we are expected to get used to it, because this was essentially a demonstration project being called "The Miami Model"

The police tactics included arbitrary arrests, firing rubber bullets, pepper pellets and concussion grenades into crowds, firing at fleeing protesters, use of tazers, undercover officers dressed as protesters and acting as agents provacatuers (witnessed and reported by Tom Hayden and many others) to give police "justification" for their actions.

Embedded journalists were used to help slant the story to a police-favorable viewpoint and non-embedded journalists were targetted for arrest.  Legal aid and medical aid volunteers were also targetted for arrest, harrasement and weapons fire.  Complying with police orders also was not sufficient to avoid arrest, tear gas, rubber bullets or baton blows.  Orders to disperse were followed by attempts to surround dispersing protesters and then chase them, firing after them.

Here's a collection of links to articles, video and images relating to the police riot.  Read them, be shocked, be afraid. 

The Salon article on the police riot, "This Is Not America"

Tom Hayden's article on AlterNet

Democracy Now!'s article, "The Miami Model"

Democracy Now! video coverage

Image library

Ana Nogueira and Jeremy Scahill, from Democracy Now!
with Tom Hayden