Under the cover of counterterrorism training, senior commanders of nearly every major American law enforcement agency, including the Baltimore Police Department, have traveled to Israel for lessons in occupation enforcement, a fact that US corporate media outlets studiously avoid examining or even acknowledging.
Last week, PunditFact, which is overseen by PolitiFact, broke with that tradition, but rejected that any such relationship exists between Israel’s security apparatus and Baltimore police.
During the recent Baltimore uprising spurred by the police murder of Freddie Gray, PunditFact went after a tweet authored by the Nation of Islam Research Group, which claimed the Baltimore police received training from the Mossad (Israel’s lethal international spy agency) and Shin Bet, its internal secret police.
PunditFact correctly infers that “The link includes no information or evidence that county police were trained by Mossad and Shin Bet.” However it fallaciously adds, “There’s no evidence of any training ties to Israel. This claim is utterly unproven. We rate the claim Pants on Fire.”
Reality is quite the opposite. Israeli security forces have indeed provided training to Baltimore police, and there is ample evidence to corroborate it.
As I noted in my recent article on the Baltimore crackdown, Baltimore city police participated in a 2002 training junket in Israel organized by the neoconservative Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs (JINSA). Among the ten high-ranking US police officials to take part in the JINSA trip was John Skinner, then commander of the Baltimore Police Department’s criminal intelligence division.
“Participants resolved to begin the process of sharing ‘lessons learned’ in Israel with their law enforcement colleagues in the United States,” stated JINSA in a press release.
The officers studied Israeli-style intelligence gathering, border security, crowd control and media coordination. They also met with officials from nearly every branch of Israel’s security apparatus, including a senior commander in the Israel Security Agency, otherwise known as the Shin Bet, who gave them a special briefing.
Though there is no reference to Mossad participation, it is not uncommon for US police to receive briefings from Mossad officials on these trips.
Baltimore city police returned to Israel in 2009 on a trip hosted by American Jewish Committee’s Project Interchange. “Participants toured the country and met with their Israeli counterparts to exchange information relating to best practices and recent advancements in security and counterterrorism,” according to Project Interchange.
In 2007, a captain in the Baltimore County Police Department attended a training session in Israel hosted by the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), where he reportedly “received valued lessons from Israeli officials … about gathering human and electronic intelligence” that can “apply to investigations into organized crime and gangs.”