Friday, 05 April 2013

Baltimore Police Major Attending UN “Peacekeeping” Course

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A major with the Baltimore Police Department will be attending a United Nations “Police Commanders Course” (UNPCC) in Sweden next week that is raising eyebrows among Americans — especially considering the UN’s history and highly controversial agenda. The three-week course is aimed at teaching officers from around the world about “peacekeeping” operations, interpretation of UN “mandates,” how to work effectively with international military forces, and more, according to the official program outline.

The UN training course, which starts on Monday and runs until April 26, is being handled in partnership with the Swedish National Bureau of Investigation and the Armed Forces International Center. According to a Swedish police website outlining the scheme, trainees will be focusing on, among other components, the alleged importance of considering the UN Security Council resolutions. Participants will be learning about “intercultural leadership,” too, using many of the same training programs offered to so-called “UN military officers.”

Also on the agenda is learning about “human rights” as defined by the international organization. Under the UN concept, rights are granted (and therefore can be qualified or withdrawn) by government. This concept is diametrically opposed to American traditions of unalienable rights endowed by God and guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution.

Another primary focus, the course outline explains, will be “concepts of gender mainstreaming.” The UN has formally stated that the ultimate goal of “gender mainstreaming” is “to achieve gender equality.”  

Other primary elements of the UN commander training include “the tasks, the role and the responsibilities of a leader in an integrated peacekeeping operation” and understanding “concepts and approaches relevant to democratic policing.” How decisions can affect a country occupied by UN “peacekeepers” while empowering others to “translate vision into results” are cited as key focuses of the program as well.

By the end of the course, participants are expected to present a “personal leadership manifesto” on how they can use their “competencies as a leader” in what the outline describes as “an integrated peacekeeping operation.” It was not immediately clear why a local American police officer would need to understand international “peacekeeping” operations or work with the military — especially since, in the United States, federal law specifically prohibits the use of the armed forces to enforce laws.  

“The aim of the course is to prepare senior police officers for future assignments in management positions in peacekeeping operations,” the Swedish police website continues in its description of the course. By the end of the program, trainees are also expected to “express a solution to a presented case scenario,” the outline explains. “The case scenario reflects leadership challenges and dilemmas.”

In a phone interview with The New American, Baltimore Police Department Director of Public Affairs Anthony Guglielmi was asked whether the department expected Maj. Melissa Hyatt to be deployed on international peacekeeping missions or whether Baltimore might see any peacekeeping operations in the foreseeable future. "We fight for peace every day, that's what we do," he said. "I do not envision her being drafted for any type of peacekeeping mission, but I do think we can look for commonalities in international law enforcement and even peacekeeping missions in how we approach violence."

Guglielmi said it was important to train the department’s commanders and “give them fresh perspectives and scenarios from outside the United States." He also noted that outside of the United States, in many countries at least, policing functions fall under the military. In other places, he added, “police departments are actually federalized, part of that military structure.”

Maj. Hyatt, 37, reportedly the only American police officer attending this year’s course, is not looking to become a UN representative, Guglielmi explained. Instead, he said, the 16-year veteran with the department is supposed to learn about the “tools and techniques” that are used by different governments abroad, hopefully to help improve the Baltimore Police Department.

"It may seem kind of awkward that we're sending a police commander to go learn about international peacekeeping,” Guglielmi acknowledged. “But I do think that there are a lot of commonalities because here in Baltimore, we have a very strained relationship with the people that we serve, and that's our fault, we created this. We need to try to rebuild the bridges that were torn down and rebuild the trust because at the end of the day, if we don't get cooperation from neighborhoods and communities, we're not going to be able to put people behind bars."

It will not be the first time that police officers from Baltimore are learning about military tactics, however. "We actually structured our police officer training around what the U.S. military is teaching troops in Afghanistan to kind of mobilize and engage the community,” Guglielmi said. “We use that same template, we brought in folks from the Department of Defense ... we learned from them." He said it was important to learn how to build relationships with the community.

When asked about whether there was a clear line between law enforcement and the military, Guglielmi suggested that the answer was not so simple. “I think there are some commonalities in the mission between the United States military and police agencies," he said. “We obviously enforce the law, and we obviously keep communities safe, and I think given whatever military assignment is happening in whatever part of the world, sometimes they have similar functions."

As an example, he cited the U.S. government mission in Afghanistan, where Guglielmi said American troops were charged with both ensuring order and keeping people safe. U.S. troops in that nation, he added, have spent a lot of time devoted to building bridges with the community to help deal with the nation’s problems. There are big differences, though, the spokesman acknowledged.

"As far as destroy and conquer, obviously no, that's not what the police department is interested in doing," Guglielmi said. "What we are interested in doing is eradicating these sources of violence — drug turfs, these gang wars that are going on. So if you ask if there is a war in Baltimore, the answer is no, but there's definitely a fight against guns — a fight against illegal guns — and if you look at the numbers, we've made some tremendous progress."

Guglielmi said the Baltimore Police Department was contacted by the UN police service and that the course hosts were paying for everything aside from airfare, which was paid using for using "asset forfeiture funds" seized from drug dealers. So far, the spokesman said, he was not aware of any public reaction to the trip, either positive or negative. "If learning some tactics that work well in Europe or elsewhere could benefit Baltimore in the slightest, it's definitely worth our while," he added.

In an interview with the Baltimore Sun, Maj. Hyatt, who has apparently already left for Sweden, said the UN training program would teach her about new policing techniques and procedures from foreign police departments. “As Baltimore diversifies, and we have people coming in from all parts of the world, it’s important to train with other people from across the world,” she told the paper.

According to Hyatt, who serves as the commander of the agency’s Central District, the first two weeks of the course will involve classroom-type learning, the Sun reported. The final week will feature the officers working in “simulated police peacekeeping scenarios,” Hyatt told the newspaper. The major added that she was recommended to apply after the UN announced that it was seeking a female American police commander to join the class of about 15 foreign law enforcement officers.

Swedish police and military authorities involved in the UN training program were not immediately available for comment. So, there are still a lot of unanswered questions as to what exactly the course entails, who else will be attending, and more. The UN-linked Peace Operations Training Institute, however, does offer some additional insight into the course.

“The UNPCC is a preparation for senior police officers for positions in multifunctional peace operations,” the organization says about the UN Police Commanders Course on its website. “The course is partly integrated with United Nations Staff Officer Course (UNSOC) and Civil Staff Officer Course (CIVSOC) in order to give the student officers a broad perspective concerning co-operation and co-ordination with military and civilian components within a multifunctional type of peace support operation.”

As The New American and its predecessor publications have documented extensively for many decades, however, the UN and its “peacekeeping” operations are often mired in controversy — mass murder, sex crimes, and more. The international organization, meanwhile, with support from the U.S. government and dictatorships around the world, has become increasingly powerful, especially in recent years. Experts say it is on the verge of becoming a true world government.  

In the “Homeland,” the U.S. government has also become increasingly intertwined with state and local law enforcement, which is supposed to be independent of federal power and accountable to local communities. Consider, for example, that the Department of Justice has been training police to equate political bumper stickers with potential terrorism even as the Defense Department provides military “weapons of war” to local law enforcement

Proponents of the Constitution, which all American officials take an oath to uphold, argue that the federal government has no place in state and local governance — much less the UN. However, as evidenced by the increasing meddling by the global organization and the Obama administration in areas properly reserved for states and the people, the trend toward centralization of power in Washington and even in the UN is accelerating quickly. 

Alex Newman, a foreign correspondent for The New American, is currently based in Europe. He can be reached at

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