By Martin Hill
The Oakland Police Department, who shot and critically injured an unarmed 24 year old U.S. Marine with a tear gas cannister last night, has placed 2nd only to Israel in "terrorism" training exersizes two years in a row.
Participating in operation Urban Shield for several years, Oakland PD has come in second place for the last 2 years and won first place in 2009. In a press release issued a week prior to Tuesdays shooting, Oakland PD boasted: "OPD Excels in SWAT Competition- "The Oakland Police Department placed 2nd among SWAT teams in the recently completed Urban Shield 2011 Training Exercise. In its 5th year, Urban Shield is the nation’s premiere tactical training exercise competition that tests the capabilities of first responders. The event is hosted by the Alameda County Sheriff’s Office and has obtained international recognition with representatives coming as far away as Israel and Jordan."
The full press release can be found here, and reads in part: "The 48 hour event consisted of 30 SWAT teams that competed in sustained exercises that involved 26 realistic training scenarios based on real world threats that were spread across the Bay Area. The scenarios included hostage rescue, maritime/train interdiction, weapons of mass destruction, infrastructure sabotage, and a SWAT fitness assessment. Teams were required to successfully respond to each of the staged scenarios with proper tactics using specialized weapons and equipment. ....Oakland Police Chief Howard Jordan, who attended the closing ceremony, stated “I am extremely proud of the Oakland Police Department’s Tactical Team. They consistently rank among the best performing Tactical Teams in the region."
In a more subdued statement in wake of criticism over his departments handling of "Occupy" protests, Chief Jordan assured the public that “The City is committed to facilitating peaceful protests and constitutional policing”.
The 2011 police press release also states "The Oakland Police team was made up of eight SWAT team members who where led by Sergeants Roland Holmgren and Chris Sansone". On youtube is an interesting video titled "Roland Holmgren Instigates Oakland Police Brawl. Watch Here, and GET MILITANT COMMERCIAL" http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=05c7IqDKbS0
In October 2010, The Oakland Tribune reported "An Oakland police SWAT team finished second in a prestigious, internationally known training competition this past weekend, losing out to a group of Israeli police but beating more than two dozen other Bay Area law enforcement agencies that participated."
The year prior, Indybay.org reported "URBAN SHIELD 2009 Terrorizing Oakland & Bay Area This Weekend at Invite of Alameda Sheriff", noting "The exercises include "competitions" between various departments and is funded in large part by ever-flowing Department of Homeland Security dollars that blur whatever lines might have existed between domestic police and national armies."
Among those listed on the drill's official website, urbanshield.org, under 2010 Supporting International Agencies / Organizations are "State of Israel National Emergency Management Authority (NEMA)", "State of Israel National EMS System, Magen David Adom", and "State of Israel National Police".
The ADL participated in the first annual Urban Shield Training Exercise in California
Max Blumenthal, in his article 'The arms firm behind the suppression of #OccupyOakland and Palestine's popular struggle' notes "the same company that supplies the Israeli army with teargas rounds and other weapons of mass suppression is selling its dangerous wares to the Oakland police. The company is Defense Technology, a Casper, Wyoming based arms firm..." [See also 'Palestine in Oakland' by Adam Horowitz.]
Johannes Mehserle, a former Oakland area BART officer who shot and killed an
unarmed subdued man in the back on New Years day 2009, spent only 365 days in
jail before he was released.