E Komo Mai APEC: Rolling out the welcome mat for repression

What’s that choking thickness in the air?  Is it the vog?  Humidity?  Or could it be the police state climate that is visibly growing in Honolulu in preparation for the APEC summit in November?

The City and County of Honolulu plans to install 34 video surveillance cameras to enhance security during the APEC summit, at a cost of $1.5 million:

The city will spend about $1.5 million to install video cameras in key parts of Oahu to help bolster security for visiting dignitaries who will be here for the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperative conference in November.

The money, which will come largely from the budgets of various city departments, will be used to buy and install 34 cameras in Waikiki, downtown Honolulu and Ko Olina in time for the arrival of the leaders of 21 APEC member countries the weekend of Nov. 11, city officials told members of the City Council Safety, Economic Development and Government Affairs Committee this morning. About $175,000 is coming from the Hawaii Tourism Authority.

Committee members raised concerns about how the cameras may affect free speech and civil rights during the conference but nonetheless advanced a resolution approving the use of the cameras.

Jamie and Tess Meier recently were cited by Honolulu Police for demonstrating without a permit.  The couple went topless in Waikiki as part of a nationwide day of protest for gender equality.  The citation was a clear violation of constitutional rights to free speech.  Realizing the City was treading on legal thin ice, City prosecutors dismissed the case “in the interest of justice”.

The Honolulu Star Advertiser reports “24 Pearl Harbor-Hickam workers arrested on outstanding warrants”:

Federal agents arrested 24 civilian contract employees working on Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam this week on outstanding warrants, and three will be extradited for felony violations.

The arrests were made Wednesday and Thursday following an investigation “aimed at protecting military assets and information from being compromised by unscrupulous individuals,” U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s  Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) said in a press release today.

The Naval Criminal Investigative Service (NCIS) and the Air Force Office of Special Investigations (OSI) were also involved in the investigation.


Are these incidents signs of a pre-APEC crackdown?

Civil Beat reports:

Honolulu Police Load Up on Taser Ammo, Pepper Spray, Bean Bags for APEC

Twenty-five-thousand pepper spray projectiles for nearly $90,000. Eighteen-thousand units of bean bag ammunition for more than $60,000. Three-thousand Taser cartridges for another $60,000.

And a special, $13,000, long-range loudspeaker typically used to communicate authoritatively from a distance — for example from military helicopters to pirates at sea.

Those items are just a sampling of the Honolulu Police Department‘s lengthy shopping list in preparation for the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation summit this November.


The purchases came from mainland weapons and ammunition distributors like Taser International, PepperBall Technologies and Safariland. The products feature names like “40mm Launchable CS spede-heat long range canister” and “SA200 PepperBall Launcher with high pressure 47 cubic inch bottle” and include a veritable Christmas holiday rainbow of smoke canisters — red, green and white.

Those are all types of aerosol technologies used to subdue rioters with smoke grenades and pepper spray dispersed through the air.

There are different weapons used to deliver non-lethal contact directly to a protester’s body — things like “instantaneous delivery rubber blast balls” and “bean-bag cartridges” and “40mm Stinger Rounds .60cal.”

There’s the Taser X26 — the city purchased 39 of those for $779.95 apiece. Accessories include 39 audio/video attachments at $411.95 apiece, 39 four-year extended customer care warranties for $184.95 apiece and 3000 “Taser 21 live cartridges (black with silver blastdoors)” for $20.95 each. Tasers use electric current to disable a people’s control of their muscles, incapacitating them so they can be taken into police custody.

Gluck said it’s encouraging that HPD purchased cameras for use with each of its Taser stun guns. Cameras can record the events leading up to the deployment of the weapon, and could help ensure that the Tasers are used appropriately — in place of a lethal weapon to avoid serious danger for an officer, not as a way to punish unresponsive or disrespectful, but peaceful, protesters.

This week, Civil Beat will file an open records request to obtain HPD’s use-of-force policy.

And, finally, there’s the “LRAD” — Long Range Acoustic Device — from MSC Industrial Supply. The city purchased 10 LRAD 100X systems for $6,042 each, plus another 10 wireless control systems ($2,918 each), 10 spare batteries ($500 each) and 10 carrying bags ($344 each). Add to that one LRAD 300X system ($13,043) and the accompanying tripod mount ($1,137) and the police department has spent more than $100,000 on acoustic equipment alone.

The Civil Beat article goes into the concerns that the heavy militarization of the police force in Hawai’i may infringe on the right to protected speech.  Here’s the full HPD shopping list for crowd control weapons:

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And here’s the source documents provided to Civil Beat by the ACLU of Hawai’i:


View more documents from Civil Beat
Grassroots organizations are organizing to confront the APEC agenda through education and action in the streets.  One event, hailed a Asia Pacific peoples’ summit is Moana Nui 2011, which is being co-sponsored by a collection of different groups in Hawai’i and the International Forum on Globalization.    Civic Beat reporter Chad Blair wrote an article on the diverse voices of opposition to the APEC meeting in Honolulu.


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