Remarks by Jonathan Dale Rapoport to the Oakland City Council, Mayor, City Administrator and City Attorney at the December 6, 2011 Oakland City Council Meeting
Check Against Delivery
Thank you Mr. President for this opportunity to address the city council, the mayor, the city administrator and the city attorney.
My name is Jonathan Dale Rapoport.
I am a freelance journalist from a family of journalists who have a long history of reporting on political issues and recording political history.
I was born here in Oakland at Kaiser Hospital and raised in Berkeley.
I would like to state for the record that I am a strong lifelong believer in government by the people for the people.
My presence and participation in this political forum tonight is evidence of this deeply held belief.
I am deeply concerned about the precedent set by the privatization of municipal law enforcement.
This issue is not unique to Oakland.
I would like to mention that I have worked extensively as a freelance journalist in the Middle East.
I have reported as a combat correspondent from Jerusalem, Bethlehem, Gaza City, Beirut, Baghdad, Cairo and Amman, Jordan.
With regard to the proposal before the city council today to effectively privatize, to a large extent, law enforcement operations in and around city hall, I cannot help but see parallels to the privatization of military services in the Middle East and in conflict zones throughout the world.
We have all heard about our federal government and our NATO allies privatizing military operations in the Middle East by retaining the services of soldiers of fortune in the paid service of private military companies such as Blackwater and DynCorp.
However, this phenomenon has not been confined to our federal government or our NATO allies.
Indeed this is a global issue.
It is a matter of public record that the United Nations has retained soldiers of fortune from DynCorp in lieu of deploying the United Nations Peacekeeping Forces.
This is a highly dangerous proposition.
The use of private military services outfits in lieu of soldiers from the militaries of a nation-state or supranational entities such as the United Nations raises serious questions with regard to enforcement of the Geneva Conventions and the Protocols Additional to the Geneva Conventions through the International Criminal Court in The Hague.
When Blackwater was faced with litigation for alleged material breach of the aforementioned instruments of international humanitarian law, which are the rules of war, the company was simply disbanded and its owner formed a new private military company.
Privatizing domestic law enforcement operations undermines our shared commitment to government by the people the people for the people.
I had the opportunity to speak briefly with Mr. Vince Mackey, the owner of V.M.A. Security Services and he assured me that his company is a State of California licensed private patrol operator.
I have verified, through my own research, that V.M.A. Security Services is in good standing with the Bureau of Security and Investigative Services of the Department of Consumer Affairs of the State of California.
Even if Mr. Mackey's private law enforcement company is of excellent reputation and its personnel are of the highest ethical caliber, there is a larger issue at stake here.
I am deeply concerned that just as private military services companies have been effectively able to evade the obligations of the militaries of nation-states per the Geneva Conventions and the Protocols Additional to the Geneva Conventions, private patrol operators in California may be effectively able to evade the obligations of public sector law enforcement outfits in the service of a government by the people for the people under the Constitution of the State of California and the Constitution of the United States of America.
If a private law enforcement company commits a material breach of our state or federal constitutions, their liability insurance carrier will invariably pay a cash settlement to the victims and the private law enforcement company will be disbanded.
Therefore, I urge you to vote against the privatization of law enforcement in and around city hall.
Thank you again for this opportunity to speak.