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Military/Law Enforcement Contractor Brought in to Train Police for NATO-G8 Protests

A contracting firm that specializes in anti-terrorism and force protection training, consulting and management services has been hired to train Cook County Sheriff’s Police in the run-up to the NATO-G8 meetings that are to be held in Chicago in May of this year.

The firm, Controlled FORCE Inc., bills itself as a “woman-owned small business” that provides a “low-liability method of subject control for law enforcement, adult corrections, juvenile justice, security, and military across the nation.” Its company profile claims it has a “unique ability to develop training curriculums and standardizations that integrate into existing programs,” which “has time and again exceeded expectations of federal, state, and local government agencies.” (FORCE stands for “first official response in a critical environment.”)

Anita Padilla, a reporter with the Fox News affiliate in Chicago recently met with Controlled FORCE staff. Controlled FORCE’s website has a photo up on the website. The reporter took the time to hear about the tactics Controlled FORCE is teaching police, who will be working the NATO/G8 protests. [Naturally, the reporter’s understanding of these tactics will make it easier for her to be sympathetic toward police when they are throwing protesters’ bodies to the ground in May. She will know that this is what they are trained to do and, if any violence happens, it is probably the fault of protesters, who were not properly submitting to the forceful arrest.]

The post with the picture describes a tactic that will likely be used to take out protesters perceived as threats:

The Controlled F.O.R.C.E. Mechanical Advantage Control Holds™ (M.A.C.H.) System of subject control provides the Arrest Team with a non-violent arrest control option to quickly and decisively remove individual threats before they have a chance to incite greater unrest. Using M.A.C.H. Team Arrest Tactics, no more than three Arrest Team members should be needed to restrain and remove a subject – no matter how hard the subject resists. The M.A.C.H. System allows security members to remove individual threats without using pain compliance or techniques that appear unnecessarily violent, which reduces the chance that others in the crowd will react with violence toward the arrest team.[emphasis added]

Controlled FORCE is an option for security training that takes into account how protesters widely use cell phones and video cameras now to record “crowd control” tactics police use at protests:

Crowd management operations must be mindful of the fact that they perform in very public environments where everyone in and around a crowd has picture/video capabilities on their mobile phones. The Controlled F.O.R.C.E. Crowd Management Program offers a “camera friendly” solution to crowd management that is more effective than other use of force options and will reduce personal injury and legal risk for security members and managers.

A city official might hope this training comes with a guarantee that “crowd management” will “reduce personal injury and legal risk for security members and managers.” The city of Chicago paid out $126 million to settle police misconduct cases from 2000 to October 2007. (Though, the city may not be on the hook for lawsuits against “security members and managers” or police and other deputized forces at the protests. The White House recently said they Chicago taxpayers won’t be “saddled” with the tab for security.)

Padilla’s story is a good example of what happens when one embeds with a private contracting firm that will be there to control and suppress protest. No potential protesters, like people from Occupy Chicago, are given an opportunity to react to this idea that “no one knows for sure how many protestors will descend on Chicago for the summits, but there is the potential for violence.” Not even the Coalition Against NATO/G8, which has secured permits for a protest and march, is asked about the city police being trained by this contracting firm and whether they expect violence.

Tony Grano, who has trained US Marines, police and security forces in America, tells Padilla:

[Protesters] need to be handled with kid gloves, but there’s a job that still needs to be done, and that is to maintain order. Back in the old days when we used to do this, somebody started coming to help during a fight started jumping in, gets their two seconds in. That isn’t fine today. There are video cameras, cell phones, so you have to be careful,

Basically, Grano works for a firm that is necessary now because YouTube exists, because there is Twitter and the Internet, which can spread evidence of police brutality quickly. Controlled FORCE’s value is that it teaches police a tactic that will not look obviously brutal if the tactic is caught on video.

Padilla’s report notes the baton is a “last resort” (or should be a last resort). A former combat Marine, now a trainer, tells her, “The baton is really an extension of the arm. It can be used to make a protestor comply. The goal…is to make sure police officers go home at the end of the day and no one is hurt.”

As for the protestors, who cares? They’re all possible “threats” and all security present is there to neutralize “threats” and prevent “threats” from escalating. If someone gets hurt while police are trying to make an arrest, someone that is just nearby the “threat” and doesn’t get out of the way of police in time to avoid injury, what does it matter? So long as no police officer is hurt, all is well.

This is just one way security for the NATO/G8 meetings is being militarized, as all security for “national special security events” like this are now [see this video of a secret exercise conducted in a Chicago suburb]. And, when police use these tactics on protesters between May 19 and May 21, when the meetings take place, they will likely be helping to enforce Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s new ordinances, which he shocked the Chicago city council into passing and which place great restrictions on First Amendment activities in Chicago.

Here is video of one of the tactics that police will be learning over the next months:

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Kevin Gosztola

Kevin Gosztola

Kevin Gosztola is managing editor of Shadowproof Press. He also produces and co-hosts the weekly podcast, "Unauthorized Disclosure."