On Aug. 9, a white police officer named Darren Wilson shot and killed an unarmed black teenager named Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri.
Since then, the world has watched the streets of Ferguson turn into a battleground, as heavily armed police officers fired tear gas, shot rubber bullets and pointed guns at protesters denouncing Brown’s killing.
“Solidarity with Ferguson,” tweeted Mariam Barghouti from Palestine. “Remember to not touch your face when tear gassed or put water on it. Instead use milk or coke.”
Numerous people — domestic and abroad — have expressed outrage at the militaristic response of local police against protesters, journalists, and people of color.
Since the protests erupted earlier this month, many have called into question the US Defense Department’s 1033 program, which allows surplus military equipment to be transferred to local police departments for counter-narcotics and counter-terrorism operations.
The 1033 program is just one part of a larger story about how American police departments became militarized — a global story about the importation and exportation of equipment, tactics, and funds for the purposes of domestic and international security.
Here’s another part of the story: the international Urban Shield SWAT training and weapons vending exposition in Oakland, Calif.