Urban Warfare and Surveillance in Berkeley

Rasmea Odeh
Rasmea Odeh Named December 2015 Patriot Award Winner
December 1, 2015
Constitution in Crisis :: BORDC/DDF December 2015 Newsletter
December 1, 2015

The city council did not take up the NCRIC or UASI agreements in the meeting on December 1, but it is on the agenda for the meeting on December 15.

There were also some inacurracies in the blog below. Thanks to George Lippman for these corrections:

1.  Only the NCRIC agreement can be considered “secret.”  The PD says there is no agreement.  That is dubious, but we do not have hard proof to the contrary.  By law, all agreements must be public, and the UASI agreement is.  UASI has a detailed agreement.
Additionally, it is true that the BPD has continued to participate in Urban Shield every year, but the department says it has not received funding from UASI to do so since 2009, and there is no evidence to the contrary.
2.  Berkeley did not procure a Bearcat.  In 2012, the PD went behind the council’s back to request a UASI grant to do so.  Berkeley CopWatch discovered this through a Public Records Act request and made it public.  Community pressure forced the city council to order the PD to drop the application, and in fact to bring any such requests of any amount to the council for prior approval.

Berkeley City Council Meeting
7 p.m.
Tuesday, December 1
Longfellow Middle School
1500 Derby Street

Before the meeting:
Stop Urban Shield Press Conference
6:30 p.m.
Also at Longfellow Middle School

Tonight, the Berkeley City Council will decide whether to approve secret agreements between BPD and external law enforcement agencies including the NCRIC (Northern California Regional Intelligence Center) and UASI (Urban Areas Security Initiative).

The City Council should refuse.

NCRIC is a Fusion Center where federal, state and local law enforcement and private businesses collaborate, gathering and sharing intelligence about ‘threats,’ including Suspicious Activity Reports about perfectly legal activity.  Fusion centers like NCRIC are known for producing intelligence that is “oftentimes shoddy, rarely timely, sometimes endangering citizens’ civil liberties and Privacy Act protections.” And that’s not from BORDC/DDF
 that’s from the Senate Intelligence Committee report slamming fusion centers nationwide.

UASI is a DHS program that funds Urban Shield and other law enforcement programs, training, and equipment that might best be described as urban warfare. Four years ago, Berkeley partnered with other local law enforcement to procure a Bearcat using UASI funds, but the most high-profile element of UASI is Urban Shield, an annual war game and expo staged in the Bay Area.

But Berkeleyans know only the barest outlines of how their city participates in either NCRIC or UASI. According to and alert from SuperBOLD (Berkeleyans Organizing for Liberty Defense),

The Berkeley law states the Council is required to receive the written agreements for these programs.

They have not, and they continue to approve these secret agreements.

The only agreement available in a MOU Mutual Aid Binder is a 2009 UASI funding agreement including funds for the Urban Shield training at that time. No succeeding agreements are included, even though the Berkeley Police department has participated in this Urban Warfare training many times since. Furthermore, the funding agreement does not cover the policies, procedures and tactics taught in the Urban Shield Warfare training, nor how to apply for free military equipment.

There are no written agreements in the MOU Mutual Aid Binder regarding the FBI Joint Terrorism Task Forces run NCRIC.

For both the UASI and NCRIC programs there are unsigned one page summaries in the Binder. Federal Bureaucracies’ agreements include numerous pages and are signed by the parties to the agreements.

Demand that the City Council:

Not Approve UASI

Not Approve NCRIC

At the least, the Council must not take action on these programs until the parties to these agreements, the BPD, FBI and Department of Homeland Security, have provided full publication in writing of the agreements signed by the BPD and Federal agencies involved as requested by Council action on 10/27/15.

Send an email to the Berkeley City Council: clerk@cityofberkeley.info