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Video: Referendum aftermath: Thousands attend rally in Barcelona against police brutality

Thousands of pro-independence Catalan supporters continued to surround Barcelona's police headquarters, protesting against the police brutality during the ... Via Youtube
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Video: Catalonia’s independence: EU refuses to condemn police brutality

EU member states have the right to use "proportionate" force to defend the rule of law, Frans Timmermans, European Commission First Vice President, said...
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Video: Take the Knee: Athletes Unite in Historic Protest Against Racism & Police Brutality,...

https://democracynow.org - In the biggest display of athletic defiance in years, football teams across the nation protested President Donald Trump after he ... Via Youtube
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Video: Houston PD Chief: Trump’s Support of Police Brutality Reinforces View of Officers as...

https://democracynow.org - President Donald Trump continues to face widespread criticism from police chiefs across the country following a speech he gave to ... Via Youtube

Retired Police Detective: Trump's Comments Endorsing Police Brutality Are "Treasonous"

President Donald Trump is facing widespread criticism from police chiefs across the country following a speech he gave on Friday to police officers in...
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Video: Retired Police Detective: Trump’s Comments Endorsing Police Brutality are “Treasonous”

https://democracynow.org - President Donald Trump is facing widespread criticism from police chiefs across the country following a speech he gave on Friday to ... Via...

Rodney King verdict at 25: How iconic video laid bare police brutality & lit...

The brutal assault video of Rodney King, who found himself battered during a vicious act of...
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Video: RAW: Moment tear gas deployed during Paris protest against police brutality

Crowds have gathered at Place de la République in Paris to pay tribute to a Chinese man killed by police. Some protesters have started...
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Video: Paris Protest in 360: Chinese community decries police brutality & racism in France

Heated protests raged for a third consecutive night after French police killed a Chinese man in Paris last weekend, with police brutality and racism...
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Video: Paris Protest in 360: March against police brutality hits French capital

Protesters have gathered in Paris to rally against police brutality. The march comes a few weeks after a wave of violent protests, sparked by...
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Video: Tear gas deployed at Paris rally against police brutality

Police deployed tear gas to control a demonstration against police brutality and racism in Paris, Sunday. The police attempted to disperse the leftist activists...
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Video: FavelaLive: Rio’s children caught between football, drugs & police brutality (RT Documentary PROMO)

The Favelas of Rio de Janeiro in Brazil, are slums made up of self-built houses. These communities have expanded chaotically, without government regulation. Via Youtube
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Video: JusticePourTheo: Teargas & firecrackers in Paris streets as students rally against police brutality

Police have deployed tear gas during protests against police brutality in Paris, French media and Ruptly reported. Residents, mostly students, have taken to the...
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Video: Activists Vow to Continue Fight Against Police Brutality Under Trump Presidency

Baltimore activists gather every week for 'West Wednesdays' to demand accountability for the death of Tyrone West and other victims of police violence Visit...

Ex-NYPD chief to stand trial in Occupy Wall Street police brutality case

Former New York Police Department Chief and current commissioner of the Office of Emergency Management Joseph...

If We Were ‘Staggered’ by Police Brutality, Wouldn’t Walter Scott Mistrial Have Knocked Us...

The New York Times used this photo to accompany an editorial on the indictment of the police officer who killed Walter Scott. There was...

'Black Friday' protests focus on police brutality, DAPL, retail worker rights

Protests aimed at attracting public attention to issues ranging from police brutality to retail workers rights...

Jury awards Michigan police brutality victim nearly $37mn

The victim of a brutal police beating has been awarded $36.6 million in mostly punitive damages...

State of emergency: 1 shot, troops deployed as police brutality protests turn violent in...

One person has been shot in Charlotte, North Carolina protests against the fatal police shooting of...
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Video: #VeteransForKaepernick Support Protest Against Police Brutality

Veterans Rory Fanning and Ramon Mejia support the NFL quarterback because the US government kills with impunity at home and abroad Visit ... Via Youtube
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Video: He Faced 26 Years in Prison, But Still Stood Up to Police Brutality

Aaron Winston, whose arm was broken after he was chokeslammed by a Baltimore police officer, discusses his case alongside his lawyer J. Wyndal Gordon...

Hero in a helmet: Kaepernick takes a knee against police brutality and American exceptionalism

San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick, America's most courageous, or hated, athlete, depending who you ask,...
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Video: (GRAPHIC POLICE BRUTALITY) Las Cuces Police Gun Down Robbery Suspect in New Mexico

New Mexico police gun down a suspect on a street corner in broad daylight. Via Youtube

NYPD Commissioner Bratton to resign after protests against police brutality

New York Police Commissioner Bill Bratton will resign Tuesday, a day after protesters called for his...

65 police brutality protesters, including 10 underage, detained in Baltimore

Sixty-five protesters, among them 10 underage, were arrested for attempting to shut down Interstate-83 in Baltimore,...
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Video: Baltimore Takes To The Streets To Protest Police Brutality

In the wake of the deaths of Philando Castile and Alton Sterling, hundreds gathered in Baltimore to demand justice for victims of police brutality. Via...
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Video: Police Brutality Exacts Widespread Trauma on People of Color ROKU

Dr. Lawrence Brown and TRNN executive producer Eddie Conway say the protests and conversations around police brutality aren't just about systemic ... Via Youtube
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Video: Is CBC’s Call For Gun Control Amidst Anti-Police Brutality Protests a Red Herring?

Black Agenda Report's Glen Ford says the Congressional Black Caucus is distracting the public with side issues, while 80% of its members voted against...

‘Black Lives Matter’ England shows support for US victims of police brutality

Black Lives Matter marches took place across the UK on Friday and Saturday to protest...
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Video: Providence Rhode Island Police Slug Compliant Woman 3 Times in Face (GRAPHIC POLICE...

A police officer beat his compliant suspect brutally in the face after dragging her down the stairs by her hair. Via Youtube
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Video: Christian Aguilar beaten by Pomona police officers (GRAPHC POLICE BRUTALITY)

Pomona Police beat up teenager leading to lawsuit. More in PhotographyisnotaCrime.com. Via Youtube

Day 2 of Left Forum tackles police brutality & harnessing the Sanders campaign (VIDEO)

The second day of the Left Forum heard damning accounts of police brutality in the US...

Viral videos of police brutality lead to more crime, FBI director claims

The director of the FBI James Comey has said that despite not being able to offer...

SF cops tackle police brutality protesters as ‘Frisco Five’ continue hunger strike (VIDEOS)

Over a dozen protesters demanding the resignation of San Francisco Police Chief Gregory Suhr over cop...

Your Tax Dollars Are Enabling Police Brutality in Egypt

Ever since the Black Lives Matter movement exploded into the headlines, violence by American police officers has come under fire from activists and ordinary citizens alike....

Your Tax Dollars Enable Police Brutality Abroad

Ever since the Black Lives Matter movement exploded into the headlines, violence by American police officers has come under fire from activists and ordinary...

Your Tax Dollars Are Enabling Police Brutality in Egypt

(Aschevogel / Flickr) Ever since the Black Lives Matter movement exploded into the headlines, violence by American police officers has come under fire from activists...
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Video: Detroit Police Kill Dog on Chain, Pay $100,000 Legal Settlement (GRAPHIC: POLICE BRUTALITY)

Story: https://photographyisnotacrime.com/2016/02/28/watch-detroit-police-shot-mans-chained-dog-in-video-pay-100000-settlement/ Detroit police spent ... Via Youtube
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Video: (GRAPHIC POLICE BRUTALITY) California cop shoots man after vehicle flips

Story: https://photographyisnotacrime.com/2015/12/california-cop-wont-be-charged-for-shooting-man-after-rollover-accident/ A California cop who shot a man ... Via Youtube
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Video: Helping you to #QuestionMore: RT coverage of police brutality & racism in USA

RT follows a wave of street fightings and protests between citizens and police in USA after cops killed a black youngster in Ferguson. RT...
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Video: Miami-Dade Police Yank Mom From Car For Parking On Grass (Police Brutality)

A Miami mother caught on camera in a heated debate with a Police officer near her daughter's school in October, just had all charges...
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Video: Marlyand cop convicted for placing gun against man’s head (GRAPHIC Police Brutality)

A Maryland cop who placed a gun against the head of a man because he had stepped out of an illegally parked car was...

Chicago police brutality and the Democratic Party

Jerry White There are some events that starkly expose the reality of class relations and class rule in the United States. Such is the case...

Latest Incidents Show Police Brutality Persists Despite Elevated Awareness

'This is clearly excessive force,' public defender says of police beating in San Francisco by Deirdre Fulton Separate incidents in two U.S. cities over recent days reveal...
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Video: Target Tarantino: Director under fire for police brutality speech

New York City's largest police union is calling for a boycott of Quentin Tarantino's films after the Oscar-winning director took part in a rally...
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Video: Thousands Protest Police Brutality in New York City

Families of victims of police brutality lead a march in lower Manhattan on Saturday, demanding alternatives to increased policing like affordable housing, ... Via Youtube

Baltimore protesters demand justice for black victims of police brutality

Angry protesters have gathered outside the courthouse of Baltimore, Maryland to demand justice for Freddie Gray and other African-American victims killed by US police...

Corporate Capitalism Is the Foundation of Police Brutality and the Prison State

Our national conversation on race and crime is based on a fiction. It is the fiction that the organs of internal security, especially the...

US police brutality exacerbated by gun culture: American law professor

The United States has “by far the most violent” law enforcement agencies in the world, which is exacerbated by the dominant gun culture and...

800 protesters take part in anti-police brutality rally in Texas

Hundreds of people have demonstrated near Dallas, Texas, to demand the firing of a white police officer seen in a video throwing an African...

Police Brutality in the UK

Over the past year, police brutality in the USA has become a global concern. The killings of Michael Brown, Eric Garner and Freddie Grey...

People in Baltimore protest police brutality, demand justice for Freddie Gray

Dozens of people took to the streets in the US city of Baltimore to demand justice for slain black man Freddie Gray as a...

US moms of police brutality victims march in Washington

A large number of protesters, mainly mothers who have lost their children due to police brutality, have taken to the streets of the US capital to call for an end to police brutality and racial injustice.

The “Million Moms March” began  on Saturday from the US Capitol and ended at the US Department of Justice in Washington, DC.

The demonstration came on Mother’s Day to show the anger the mothers still carry for their children’s deaths, organizers said.

The demonstrators demanded changes in police practices, an issue in the US that has been gaining momentum after massive demonstrations and riots were witnessed in the latest cases of police brutality against minorities, specifically African-Americans.

The march was organized by Mothers for Justice United, an organization of mothers whose children have been killed by law enforcement authorities, and the Coalition for Justice.

Mothers for Justice United, said that it aims to stop the “epidemic of the killing of unarmed people of color by police,” while citing the deaths of unarmed black men such as Michael Brown of Ferguson, Missouri and Eric Garner of Staten Island, New York, and most recently Freddie Gray of Baltimore, Maryland.

Protesters, mainly mothers, rally against police brutality in Washington, DC.

The founder of Mothers for Justice United, Maria Hamilton lost her son, a 31-year-old black man who was shot over a dozen times and killed by a policeman in the state of Wisconsin last year.

The police officer who killed her son just a little over a year ago was fired but never charged with a crime.

As one of the organizers of the event, she told local media that, "This is a call for everybody to wake up. We are here on behalf of our babies to tell the United States government that we aren't going anywhere. We aren't going to continue to keep burying our babies. Do something and do it now."

“We want the federal government to change the laws across the board,” she also said.

The demonstrations were, according to organizers, scheduled to be nationwide on Saturday and Sunday. Many were expected to join the rallies across several cities in the US including Chicago and other cities.

"Black Lives Matter", an umbrella group of black civil rights activists notorious for leading anti-police demonstrations across the US including in Baltimore recently was also one of the organizers of the ongoing nationwide event.

The founder of Mothers for Justice United Maria Hamilton (right) in the rally in Washington.

According to statistics, white police officers kill black suspects twice a week in the US, an average of 96 times a year.

A report released by USA Today in November stated that “of 3,538 police departments investigated, black people are more likely to be arrested than non-black racial groups for every type of criminal charge.”

HDS/GJH

Police fire tear gas during demo against racism, police brutality in Tel Aviv

(RT) - Security forces have fired pepper spray during a protest against racism and police violence, staged by Jews of Ethiopian descent in Tel...

Baltimore cop sued for millions after police brutality video surfaces

A Baltimore Police officer is facing $5 million dollar brutality lawsuit after a video surfaced showing him repeatedly punching a man. The video, which was...

New York Marches Against Police Brutality

Sandy English Thousands of people attended a march in the New York City borough of Staten Island on Saturday to oppose police violence in New...

Police Brutality in America

Stephen Lendman  RINF Alternative News Justice in America is a four-letter word. Killer cops mock it. Nearly always with impunity. A badge lets them brutalize and kill....

Justice for Eric Garner: Street Protests and Prosecutions Will Not End Police Brutality

Sonali Kolhatkar “I can’t breathe” was one of the last things 44-year-old Eric Garner said after being arrested by New York Police Department officers and...

What is to be done about police brutality?

Mariam Elba Whether officers are pepper-spraying protesters in the face or shooting and killing people in the back while in custody, the police force throughout the...

Police brutality? Watch this YouTube video — It’s not meant for those with weak...

Police incessantly and unmercifully beating a man with batons and shocking him with tasers as he lays supine on a street pavement in Long...

NYPD accused of police brutality after 14-year-old falls through window

The family of a 14-year-old teenager in New York City is alleging police brutality after their son crashed through the window of a hookah...

Setting the Standard — Racial Profiling and Police Brutality

A recorded interview with Hannibal from the Trayvon 2, an anarchist who was arrested during the Oakland rebellions in the wake of the George...

Ignoring Injustice – Philly Black Officials Silent On Police Brutality

Linn Washington Jr RINF Alternative News Back in 1978, a respected newspaper columnist in in this city blasted local black elected officials for their failure to...

99 Percent Of Police Brutality Reports In Central New Jersey Never See The Light...

This is despite notorious incidents of...

Increasing Police Brutality: Americans Killed by Cops Now Outnumber Americans Killed in Iraq War

The increase in police brutality in this country is a frightening reality. In the last decade alone the number of people murdered by police...

Police Brutality In Dallas, TX On 11/22/2013

fanof2012Planet InfowarsNovember 25, 2013 Wish you folks could've been in Dallas with me. Sheriff's deputies totally went “police state ballistic” on my fellow protesters and...

Fight-Back Movement in California: New Documentary on the Battle against Police Brutality

The film is centered around the organizing efforts of more than 40 families of police brutality victims for a statewide march in Anaheim, Calif.,...

No Justice, No Peace: California’s Battle against Police Brutality

‘No Justice, No Peace – California's Battle Against Police Brutality and Racist Violence' is an original Liberation News documentary about the growth of a...

New York Communities Once Again Mobilize Against Police Brutality

Peter Rugh is a facilitator for Occupy Wall Street Environmental Solidarity and chairs the Action Committee of Shut Down Indian Point Now! He has...

Police Brutality, Mental Illness and ‘The Memphis Model’

http://www.truthdig.com/report/item/police_brutality_mental_illness_and_the_memphis_model_20131023/ Posted on Oct 23, 2013 ...

Americans take to streets in national protest against police brutality

http://on.rt.com/92ne11 Download video (15.95 MB) Dozens of cities across the US have seen a national day of protest against police brutality. Organizers stated that thousands of...

Rallies held in US over police brutality

National Day of Protest to Stop Police Brutality, Repression and the Criminalization of a Generation People across the United States held rallies on Tuesday to...

Rallies held in US over police brutality

National Day of Protest to Stop Police Brutality, Repression and the Criminalization of a Generation People across the United States held rallies on Tuesday to...

4 Police Brutality Victims’ Families Share their Stories Before National Day of Protest

While police brutality is gaining national...

Video shows Canada police brutality

A new video has surfaced in Canada, showing a man being tackled to the ground and punched repeatedly by Ottawa police, in yet another...

Police brutality angers Canada students

Anger is growing among Canadian students who say they were maltreated by a police officer during a protest last year, Press TV reports. The...

New video shows US police brutality

A new video shows American police officers brutally attacked two peaceful protesters who were protesting against US President Barack Obamaâ„¢s policies. The video footage went...

US police brutality a longtime trend

An American journalist and anti-war activist has told Press TV that police brutality in minority and poor communities has been going on for a...

Thousands of 'Blockupy' protesters in Frankfurt decry austerity, police brutality (PHOTOS)

Thousands of protesters poured onto the streets of Frankfurt to decry harsh police methods used to break up an anti-capitalist 'Blockupy' demonstration in the...

Turkey police brutality: Cops attack protesters, use gallons of tear gas (PHOTOS)

The brutal suppression of a peaceful environmental sit-in in Istanbul ignited a nationwide protest against the Turkish government. Allegations of police crossing the line...

Turkey police brutality: Cops attack protesters, use gallons of tear gas (PHOTOS, VIDEO)

The brutal suppression of a peaceful environmental sit-in in Istanbul ignited a nationwide protest against the Turkish government. Allegations of police crossing the line...

'Why were police so angry?': Turkish protesters slam police brutality, return to Taksim Square

Over the weekend, the protest that started as a sit-in to protect a park spread all over the country, with crowds urging PM Erdogan...

'Why were police so angry?': Turkish protesters slam police brutality, return to Taksim Square

Over the weekend, a protest that started as a sit-in to protect an Istanbul park spread all over Turkey, with crowds urging PM Erdogan...

US protest rally slams police brutality

A protest rally against police brutality in western US city of Long Beach has been waged after parents of a young suspect shot by police were barred from visiting their critically wounded son.

Video: Police brutality video goes viral

RIA Novosti | More than 800,000 people have viewed the “Philadelphia Police Brutality” video of a uniformed officer hitting a woman in the face this...

Another victim of police brutality

Blair Peach was born in New Zealand in 1946. After earning his degree at Victoria University and periods of work as a fireman and...

Londoners protest against ‘Police Brutality and State Terrorism’

A call for world-wide solidarity actions against state terrorism had come from those occupying the Polytechnic University in Athens, who linked their struggle to...

Smash EDO: Online map reveals the extent of police brutality

A new interactive online map reveals the extent of police brutality in Brighton during the Smash EDO protest on October 15th. Plotting events and linking...

Police brutality cases on rise since 9/11

By Kevin Johnson WASHINGTON – Federal prosecutors are targeting a rising number of law enforcement officers for alleged brutality, Justice Department statistics show. The heightened...
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Video: Guardia Civil brutality forces Catalan police into emotional standoff to protect civilians

Catalan police have been forced into multiple standoffs with Spain's Guardia Civil after widespread and often brutal violence against voters at polling stations ... Via...
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Video: London anti-brutality protesters set street fires, clash with police over man’s death

25-year-old Edir Frederico Da Costa died from wounds allegedly sustained during his arrest by police. Large crowd of activists holding Black Lives Matter signs...

London anti-brutality protesters set street fires, clash with police over man’s death (VIDEOS)

Published time: 26 Jun, 2017 01:38 Edited time: 26 Jun, 2017 02:06 Violent protests against...

‘Disturbing trend’: US Supreme court judge slams decision to side with police in brutality...

One of America’s top judges has slammed a court decision to side with a city police...
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Video: Police shoot tear gas at anti-brutality protesters in Paris during RT’s live broadcast

READ MORE: https://on.rt.com/878a Police in Paris have used tear gas to disperse a crowd of protesters who turned violent and clashed with authorities over...
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Video: ‘Everobody hates the police!’ Protests against cop brutality heat up in central Paris

The French capital and surrounding suburbs continue to be gripped by protests after a police officer was charged with the aggravated rape. READ MORE:...
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Video: RAW: Rifle-wielding Baton Rouge police shutdown anti-brutality demo

Riot police reportedly made dozens of arrests during a protest against police brutality in Baton Rouge, Saturday, as demonstrations against the police shooting ... Via...

Police attempt to whitewash viral brutality video

In the recording, uploaded to Twitter on Saturday afternoon, a police officer can be seen on top of a young African-American, punching him in...
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Video: Texas woman sues police for brutality after being ‘kicked, punched’ by cops

A video's come to light in the U.S. showing police viciously manhandling a woman who'd been arrested. READ MORE: http://on.rt.com/16xcn8 RT LIVE ... Via Youtube

Canada police under fire for brutality

Police in the Canadian city of Toronto have come under fire for the fatal shooting of a teenager whose family members say suffered from...

US police 'brutality' widespread

Many in America believe that police brutality is widespread in the county as the family of a young graffiti artist, who died after being...

Canadian police arrest over 250 at anti-brutality rally

Published time: March 16, 2013 09:48
Demonstrators are kettled and arrested by police during the annual anti-police brutality march in Montreal, March 15, 2013.(Reuters / Christinne Muschi)

Police have rounded up more than 250 protesters participating in the annual march against police brutality in the francophone Canadian city of Montreal, Quebec. Friday’s march was declared illegal, as participants failed to disclose its itinerary.

“We sent a message right at the beginning,” said Cmdr. Ian Lafreniere of the Montreal police, citing municipal bylaw P-6 during a press conference after the march.“They didn't share a route, they didn't share their itinerary, they refused to give us a location where they were heading. That's the reason we put a stop to that.”

Twelve others were arrested for criminal activity, including possession of incendiary materials, assault on a police officer, mischief and making threats. Another 150 were fined over US$600 for participating in an illegal assembly, CBC reported.

A demonstrator is arrested by police during the annual anti-police brutality march in Montreal, March 15, 2013.(Reuters / Christinne Muschi)

Police began making their first arrests before the march had even begun. After the march started, police stopped demonstrators and randomly searched their bags. Officers also used wedge formations to split the crowd into smaller groups.

“There's as many police officers as there are protesters,” university student Dominique Cyr told CTV News. “In the beginning the police were very aggressive… It's a criminal act that the police are doing on the people and they must pay for their crimes."

At least six people were injured during the rally, two police officers and four demonstrators. None of the injuries were life-threatening. Police officers were transported to a hospital, one of whom had two broken teeth. 

A demonstrator is arrested by police during the annual anti-police brutality march in Montreal, March 15, 2013.(Reuters / Christinne Muschi)

The march against police brutality is an annual event that had been taking place for the past 17 years to mark the International Day against Police Brutality. Historically, the demonstrations have ended in violence and mass arrests.

The 2012 rally coincided with student protests and turned violent, with 226 arrests taking place. Montreal saw a surge in protests, violence and mass arrests last year as students demonstrated against the province's tuition hikes. The demonstrations resulted in tougher regulations for assembly.

A demonstrator is arrested by police during the annual anti-police brutality march in Montreal, March 15, 2013.(Reuters / Christinne Muschi)

FBI report says ‘black-identity extremists’ seeking retaliation for police shootings

Controversial police shootings of African-Americans and an apparent lack of justice are causing “black-identity extremists” to...

Police chiefs stage their own protest against NFL players

Police chiefs are unimpressed with the NFL players "taking a knee" in protest over police brutality...
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Video: Violence in St. Louis: Police & protesters clash after ex-cop acquitted of killing...

Anti-police brutality protests in the US city of St. Louis have erupted in violence, with demonstrators throwing rocks at the mayor's house and assaulting...

No charges for police officers in Freddie Gray's case – justice dept

Published time: 12 Sep, 2017 20:31 The Justice Department won't bring federal charges against six Baltimore...

On 9/11, vigils for African-American motorist killed by police (VIDEO)

Activists in Washington, DC are holding day-long vigils on 9/11, calling for police accountability in the...

A Distant Echo on Race and Police

“Detroit” is a new movie that reminds Americans that the issues of racism and police brutality are nothing new, blights...

Rashan Charles swallowed ‘paracetamol & caffeine’ before dying in police custody

The package removed from the throat of Rashan Charles shortly before he died in police...

How not to get shot by police: Arizona updates manual for motorists

Published time: 25 Jul, 2017 19:16 Arizona’s driver manual is now offering tips on how to...

Comply or Die: the Police State’s Answer to Free Speech Is Brute Force

Photo by Tony Webster | CC BY 2.0 “Since when have we Americans been expected to bow submissively to authority and speak with awe and...

Number of US police shooting victims to approach 1,000 by end of year –...

Published time: 2 Jul, 2017 05:20 The number of people projected to die at the hands...

Stop & search: 3/4 of young black & minority Brits feel targeted by police

Three in four young black & minority people still believe they are being targeted during...
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Video: 6 police officers injured in London protest over man’s death after traffic stop

Violent protests against police brutality have erupted in east London over the death of a 25-year-old black man who died from wounds allegedly sustained...

‘All the Police Have to Do Is Utter Those Five Magic Words’

Janine Jackson interviewed Ronnie Dunn about the Philando Castile verdict for the June 23, 2017, episode of CounterSpin. This is a lightly edited transcript. ...

Cops 101: New Jersey wants to teach kids how to deal with police

Published time: 23 Jun, 2017 20:24 Edited time: 23 Jun, 2017 20:24 A proposed new bill...

Baltimore cops involved in Freddie Gray death face internal police charges

Three Baltimore police officers who were involved in the 2015 arrest that led to the death...

Police put black residents of Mississippi county in 'permanent state of seige' ‒ lawsuit

A class-action lawsuit against the wealthiest county in Mississippi describes racially-motivated policing by the local sheriff's...
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Video: Anti-brutality protest & vigil for man killed by Paris cops turns violent

READ MORE: https://on.rt.com/874y Hundreds of members of the Asian community gathered on Monday in front of the police station of the 19th arrondissement, ... Via...
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Video: License to Shoot? New law gives French police greater powers to open fire...

As the protests against police brutality in France continue to rage, the government has passed a controversial law giving police greater powers to open...

‘I can’t breathe!’ Video shows police pepper-spraying black man in restraining chair

Footage from the Montgomery County Jail in Dayton, Ohio, shows police officers pepper-spraying a black man...

Los Angeles agrees to $1.5mn payout with family of unarmed police shooting victim

The Los Angeles City Council has approved a $1.5 million settlement with the family of Ezell...

Young Black Men Still Predominant Victims of Police Violence

Despite the protests, media scrutiny, and all around heightened national attention, young black men in 2016 continued to be the predominant victims of police...

Twitter cuts ties with firm believed to help police spy on activists

Twitter is doubling down on its commitment to opposing police use of its data for surveillance....

An ‘Abomination’ of Justice: Mistrial Declared Over Police Shooting of Walter Scott

The judge presiding over the case of Walter Scott, who in April 2015 was shot in the back by former South Carolina police officer...

Chicago police shootings down since Laquan McDonald's death, but gun & drug violence remain...

Shootings by the Chicago Police Department are down, as are civilian complaints over police activity, since...

Respect for police among Americans surges to highs not seen since late '60s

Americans’ respect for police has reached its highest since the late 1960s, a new poll has...

Polling Places in Police Stations? Why Civil Rights Groups Are Still Fighting for Voting...

(Photo: C. Holmes; Edited: LW / TO) When civil rights groups learned that a county elections board planned to relocate the polling station for a...

Abusing the Abused: Philly Police Abuse Case Typifies All-Too-Common Misconduct by US Prosecutors

Photo by G20 Voice | CC BY 2.0 Actions and inactions by Philadelphia’s District Attorneys Office that have blocked Sharif Anderson from his day-in-court for...
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Video: 9-Year-Old Girl’s Testimony About Police Killings in Charlotte Goes Viral

http://democracynow.org - A nine-year-old girl's testimony at a City Council meeting in Charlotte, North Carolina, about police brutality has gone viral, as protests ... Via...
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Video: Baltimore Prosecutor Receives Praise and Scorn For Saying Police Undermined the Freddie Gray...

The head of the Baltimore police union and survivors of police brutality speak out after Baltimore's chief prosecutor accuses officers of working against her. Via...

Protester shot dead by police in Charlotte demo

A protester shot at a demonstration against US police brutality on African Americans has succumbed to his wounds in the state of North Carolina,...

‘Conspiring together’: Mother of man killed by private DC police suspects cover-up (VIDEO)

The death of Alonzo Smith has already been ruled a homicide by Washington DC’s medical examiner,...

Deaf man shot by trooper was ‘afraid of police’, brother says

The North Carolina man killed by a state trooper last week was “afraid” of police because...

Spy in the sky: Baltimore police secretly patrol citizens with tech used in Iraq...

Police in Baltimore are facing a new scandal for their use of surveillance planes from the...

Justice Department investigation of Baltimore police finds rampant abuse

Via WSWS. This piece was reprinted by RINF Alternative News with permission or license. Nick Barrickman A US Department of Justice (DoJ) report released Wednesday revealed...
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Video: Handcuffed While Dying: Police Killing of Black Teenager Paul O’Neal Sparks Protests in...

http://democracynow.org - Chicago is once again rocked by protests over police brutality, following the release of video showing the fatal police shooting of an...

‘We Have to Have Disability as Part of Our Discussion’ – CounterSpin interview with...

Janine Jackson interviewed David Perry about disability and police violence for the July 29, 2016, episode of CounterSpin. This is a lightly edited transcript. David...

PA mom blames Black Lives Matter for son shooting police

The mother of a teen who shot at police officers while with his cousin, said that they had been “doing what Black Lives Matter...

Chicago police body cameras fail to record killing of unarmed black teen

While Chicago Police Department dashboard and body cameras captured enough to suspend three officers involved in...

From Gaza to Ferguson: A Pattern of Increased Militarism and Brutality

In the summer of 2014, the people of Ferguson were brutally subjected to a military-style crackdown by local law enforcement following the murder of...

Over 55k Americans injured, killed by US police in just 1 yr – study

More than 55,000 Americans were either killed or injured by US police in just one year,...

46 arrested at #PhilandoCastile protest against police killings in Minnesota

At least 46 activists protesting against police brutality outside the residence of the Minnesota governor have...

#BlackLivesMatter comes to UK as police watchdog publishes latest deaths in custody data

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Officer Matt Kenny won't be charged for killing 19-year-old Tony Robinson in March, Dane County District Attorney Ismael Ozanne said on Tuesday.

The decision angered people in the city of Madison.

The protesters held signs that read "Black Lives Matter," and “Justice for Tony.”

“I conclude that this tragic and unfortunate death was the result of the lawful use of deadly force, and that no charges will be brought against Officer Kenny in the death of Tony Robinson Jr.,” Ozanne said.

“My decision will not bring Tony Robinson Junior back.  My decision will not end the racial disparities that exist in the justice system, in our justice system,” he added.

The black teenager was shot seven times after the police officer responded to a call claiming Robinson was acting disorderly and violent.

Andrea Irwin (C), the mother of Tony Robinson, marches in the streets with family members and supporters on May 12, 2015 in Madison, Wisconsin. (AFP Photo)

Andrea Irwin, the victim’s mother, announced that her family would file a civil lawsuit against the Police Department.

"The things that have taken place since my son passed and the things that have been done to my family, to me, they've gone above and beyond to try to make sure they kick me when I'm down," she told CNN on Tuesday.

"They have done a smear campaign against my child and against me since this all began."

Meanwhile, the American Civil Liberties Union of Wisconsin slammed the attorney’s decision.

"If Officer Kenny did not violate the law, then is anyone legally responsible for Mr. Robinson's death?" Chris Ahmuty, executive director of the ACLU of Wisconsin, said in a statement.

"Does the criminal law protect individuals like Mr. Robinson from deadly force exercised by police officers? Are police officers above the law?" he asked.

Robinson's family said they support protests over the case. (AFP Photo)

Wisconsin Professional Police Association Executive Director Jim Palmer said the decision to exonerate Kenny was "appropriate."

The investigation into this incident “has confirmed that Officer Kenny's actions on the night of March 6 were lawful and in response to a deadly threat,” he said.

The shooting death of Robinson has drawn comparisons to the fatal shooting of 18-year-old Michael Brown, another unarmed black, in Ferguson, Missouri, last year.

Police brutality as well as the racial profiling of minorities by US law enforcement agencies has become a major concern in the United States.

The killing of several unarmed black men by white police officers in recent months and decisions by grand juries not to indict the officers triggered large-scale protests across the country.

AGB/AGB

Police Abduct 10 Children From A Family In Kentucky Because Of Their ‘Off The...

If the government does not like the way that you are raising your kids, they will come in and grab them at any time without giving any warning whatsoever.  Of course this is completely and totally unlawful, but it has been happening all over America.  The most recent example of this that has made national headlines is particularly egregious.  Joe and Nicole Naugler of Breckinridge County, Kentucky just had their 10 children brutally ripped away from them just because the government does not approve of how they are living their lives and how they are educating their young ones.  Let’s be very clear about this – Joe and Nicole had done nothing to violate the law whatsoever.  All of their kids were happy, healthy and very intelligent.  But because the control freaks running things in Kentucky got wind of their “off the grid lifestyle”, they have now had all of their children unlawfully abducted from them.

A lot of my readers also lead “off the grid” lifestyles similar to what the Nauglers had been enjoying.  The Nauglers  own 26 acres in a remote area of Breckinridge County, and their family has been described as “extremely happy”.  But despite never giving them a single warning or a single indication that anything was ever wrong, Kentucky police raided their home on May 6th.  The following is how the raid was described on a website dedicated to this case

On May 6th, 2015, Breckinridge Co. Sheriff’s officers came to their home, acting on an anonymous tip, and entered their property and home without a warrant and without probable cause. Nicole was at home with the two oldest children, while Joe was away with the others. When the officers left the home, they attempted to block the access road to the family property. Nicole and the two boys got in their car to leave the family property. The got only a short way down the road before the officers pulled Nicole over.

During this stop, sheriffs deputies took their two oldest boys from Nicole’s custody, providing her no justification or documentation to support their action. Nicole was able to contact Joe briefly by telephone, but only for a short period of time, because she needed to use her phone to record the events.

At that point, Nicole had been taken into custody for disorderly conduct (for not passively allowing the Sheriff to take her boys) and resisting arrest. Even though she is 5 months pregnant, she was slammed belly first into the cop car and bruised and scraped on both arms.

And people wonder why there is such an uproar about police brutality in this country…

How in the world can a police officer ever justify treating a pregnant woman like that?  The police officer that treated Nicole like that should immediately resign.  Talk about an utter disgrace.  You do not ever treat a pregnant woman like that.

But this is America, where we are turning a little bit more into Nazi Germany every single day.

You can listen to audio of Nicole’s shocking arrest right here.

When Joe arrived on the scene, the police continued to act like Gestapo thugs

Joe was able to arrange transportation to meet his wife where the stop had taken place. Joe attempted to get out of the car to speak with the officers and his wife, and to recover the vehicle Nicole had been driving. The Sheriff, with his hand on his sidearm, ordered Joe back into the car. Joe complied with that request. The sheriff informed Joe that he had every intention of making this as difficult as possible for them and that their car would be impounded, despite the fact that Joe was there on­site to recover it.

A friend, who had driven Joe to the location, got out of the car to speak with the Sheriff. She was able to convince the Sheriff to let Joe recover the vehicle. Joe also recovered Nicole’s cell phone, which had been recording audio the entire time.

The Sheriff ordered Joe to turn the remaining eight children over to Breckinridge County Sheriff’s deputies by 10:00 a.m., and threatened him with felony charges if he does not comply.

Joe did comply with the Sheriff’s order, and now their kids have been scattered by CPS among families in four separate counties

As of now, officials have placed the children with four families in four different counties, and as of Friday morning, the parents had not spoken with them. The four families are families that CPS chose – families the Nauglers don’t know.

Shame on you Kentucky.  You are supposed to be better than this.

One of the most disturbing elements of this entire incident is that Child Protective Services never visited the Nauglers a single time and never gave them any indication that anything was wrong.  The following comes from Off The Grid News

Child Protective Services never visited the home, said Ellsworth, who believes the arrests took place because of the parents’ choice of “unschooling” for their children, and because of their simple way of life that some would call backwards. The family’s Facebook page calls it a “back to basics life.” They have a garden and raise animals. Deputies apparently were concerned about whether the children’s needs were being met, but friends say they personally have no concerns — and that the children are blessed to have Joe and Nicole as their parents.

How would you like it if government thugs raided your home and took your children away because they considered your lifestyle to be “backwards”?

What in the world is happening to this country?

Like I said earlier, what happened to the Nauglers is not an isolated incident.  These kinds of things are happening all over the nation.  For example, just consider the abuse that one homeschooling family received in New Jersey

Meanwhile, in New Jersey, a WND report highlights how parents were interrogated by a CPS caseworker who questioned Christopher Zimmer and his wife Nicole, “on everything from their son’s homeschool education to questions about vaccines and guns in the house.”

Michelle Marchese aggressively demanded to enter the property after asserting Christopher Zimmer Jr. was not getting a “proper education.” Police subsequently arrived and allowed Marchese to enter the home before conducting a warrantless search.

The Zimmers are now suing the CPS for $60 million in a case before the U.S. District Court in Trenton.

I very much hope that the Zimmers win that case and collect a huge monetary award.

All over the nation, CPS officials are running around acting like little dictators and trampling the law.  They need the courts to send them a clear message that this is a nation where the rule of law still applies.

If we do not stand with families like the Nauglers, control freak bureaucrats will continue to harass families that have chosen to live a “basic” lifestyle all over the nation.  So let’s stand with them and make this case viral all over the Internet.

And Kentucky, get your act together and send those kids back home.  You are supposed to be so much better than this.

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By Susan Duclos - Cross posted from Before It's News

 

I ran across a piece at This Can't Be Happening,  that is disturbing to say the least, where not only are police shootings of unarmed civilians discussed, so is the militarization of our local police forces in the US, with statistics that should drop the jaw of anyone reading it.  While those statistics tell a story, perhaps the most damning statements about the US becoming a police state comes from the Chief of Police in Upper Dublin, PA., Terrence Thompson, who states that he understands the need for more powerful weapons to counter the weapons now used by criminals, but points out how SWAT, for example, is being used in a manner that it was not created for and how high powered weapons are being utilized in situations where there is no need. Chief Thompson also lets the public know exactly where he sees the US heading:

Thompson decries what he calls “camo creep” in policing, a trend he says is at least partly driven by “politicians who don’t see where this is going.”
And where is that?
“I don’t like the idea of a police state, but that’s where we seem to be heading,” he says.

My only disagreement with Chief Thompson would be that we are not heading towards being a police state, as the videos below clearly show, we are already there.

YouTube is full of videos showing this police state mentality, I wrote about this just the other day where a Nazi-like cop was busted lying on her "officer narrative," after multiple footage captured by the family she abused became public.
 
Another example can be seen with the recent total FAIL of the NYP in their Twitter campaign #myNYPD which was meant to show how much NY citizens loved their police force, but which backfired spectacularly when user after user started posting images, videos and statements about NYPD's police brutality, as discussed in the first video below at the 1:20 minute mark.

For the record, I believe wholeheartedly there are many, many more good cops vs bad cops, to put it simply, but these examples shown below make it harder for those "good guys," because the brutality and abuse by the bad cops endanger the lives of those that truly did join to serve and protect.













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October 18, 2013  |  

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Two cops took ‘team spirit’ to a whole new level in Macon, Georgia, when they jumped into a post-game brawl and pepper-sprayed the visiting football team,  Courthouse News reported.

Warren County High School football coach David Daniel sued three police officers, Richard Mayweather, Tampa Lewis and Patrick Williams as well as Hancock Country School District and a former Hancock football player in federal court for the eye injuries he sustained whilst attempting to stop a post-game brawl between Hancock County School and Warren.

The incident arose after Warren beat Hancock in a football match, upon which a fight broke out in the locker room. Daniel claims the deputy officers, who were “moonlighting” for Hancock, began spraying only Warren County players with the pepper stray, allowing for Hancock players to advance and hit the Warren players. 

He argued in his claim that this pepper spray made the Warren players more vulnerable to injury allowing a Hancock player to bash one of his players over the head with a football helmet, after being sprayed with pepper.

All the while the officers displayed a “deliberate indifference” and failed to aid the visiting team at all during the fight.

This is not the first time the two teams have had such an altercation. Daniel acknowledged that he knew the game would be an “emotionally charged affair” in that the week prior to the incident, another brawl had broken out between the players.

Read more:

Jodie Gummow is a senior fellow and staff writer at AlterNet.

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The goon thug psychopaths no longer only brutalize minorities–it is open season on all of us –the latest victim is a petite young white mother of two small children http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article36211.htm Police Are More Dangerous To The Public Than Are Criminals Paul Craig Roberts The worse threat every American faces comes from his/her own government. At…

The post Police Are More Dangerous To The Public Than Are Criminals — Paul Craig Roberts appeared first on PaulCraigRoberts.org.

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Detroit Police Officer Accused of Shooting 7-Year-Old Will Go to Trial

Handgun isolated(Image: Handgun isolated via Shutterstock)Detroit - After three long years, the case of Aiyana Stanley-Jones will finally be argued before a jury.

During a March 8 pre-trial hearing, Wayne County Circuit Court Judge Cynthia Gray-Hathaway denied a motion to dismiss all charges against Detroit Police Officer Joseph Weekley in the shooting-death of the 7-year-old.

In a military-style raid on the Jones’ near east side home May 16, 2010, Weekley shot into the house, killing Aiyana as she slept on the family’s living room sofa.

He faces multiple charges, including involuntary manslaughter and reckless possession of a firearm.

Those charges were brought against Weekley after a year-long investigation by the Michigan State Police and a Wayne County Court.

During the hearing, Judge Hathaway said discrepancies in witness accounts of the police raid led to the decision to deny the defense motion to dismiss the case.

“Since I can’t make that determination, the case has to go to a jury to decide what the truth is,” Hathaway said during her ruling. “We’re going to go to trial.”

Hathaway set the trial start date for May 28.

Judge Hathaway also announced there would be a demonstration of the flash grenade that was used by Detroit Police during the raid, which was reportedly being filmed by A&E for their cable television program “The First 48 Hours.”

While the Jones family has waited for the court to move on the case, Aiyana’s father, Charles Jones, has been in custody on separate charges in connection with the murder of Je’Rean Blake.

Weekley has remained free on bond, while Aiyana’s father has been held on pending charges related to another case.

“He has a police badge so he can walk free and go home to his children,” said Mertilla Jones on the steps of the Murphy Hall of Justice following the judges ruling. “But Charles is locked up for two years and can’t see his six little sons.”

According to reports, jailhouse informant and six-time felon Jay Schlenkerman led police to the doorstep of the Jones’ home in May 2010, where the prime suspect in that case, Chauncey Owens, lived upstairs.

The police raid was mistakenly conducted on the lower flat where the Jones’ family lived.

Attorney Robert Moran is the Wayne County prosecutor representing both Officer Joseph Weekley and Charles Jones. This has led to accusations of a looming conflict of interest within the Wayne County Prosecutor’s office and other questions surrounding the timing of the cases.

Assistant prosecuting attorney Maria Miller says there is no conflict.

“Jones case involves the fatal shooting death of Je’rean Blake. The Weekley case involves the fatal shooting death of Aiyana Jones. The complainants on the two cases are different, and the facts are completely distinct,” Miller told the Michigan Citizen. “For these reasons, it is not a conflict of interest for Mr. Moran to try these cases.”

Ron Scott, director of the Detroit Coalition Against Police Brutality, however, says the prosecution may be counting on a ruling in the Charles Jones case before Weekley goes to trial.

“The question is, why has this case taken so long?” says Scott. “The raid was obviously not conducted according to police regulations. There are many other cases where the Michigan State Police have brought in and adjudicated within 18 months.”

In addition to the DCAPB, the Jones family has received full support from the International Socialists Organization, who both sponsored a rally after the March 8 hearing.

Police behind nearly 900 deaths in Egyptian revolution – inquiry

Published time: March 15, 2013 01:20
Egyptian demonstrators clash with Egyptian police in central Cairo during a protest to demand the ouster of President Hosni Mubarak and calling for reforms on January 25, 2011. (AFP Photo / Mohammed Abed)

A high-level inquiry into the deaths of nearly 900 demonstrators during Egypt’s 2011 uprising concluded that the police were responsible for most of the killings and used rooftop snipers to shoot into crowds in Cairo’s Tahir Square.

A fact-finding commission into the 2011 popular uprising against Hosni Mubarak's government initially concluded that 846 people were killed during the revolution.

Current Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi ordered a report on the fact-finding commission's findings after he was elected. The report was then submitted to Morsi and to Egypt’s top prosecutor late last year.

The 16-member panel behind the report included human rights activists, lawyers, judges and a representative from the military prosecutor’s office.

It includes authoritative and in-depth accounts of the killings, and concludes that lethal force could only have been authorized by Mubarak's security chief and with the former president’s full knowledge.

Extensive details are cited, including police logs documenting the issuance of weapons and ammunition along with the officers who received them.

“The use of firearms can only be authorized by the interior minister, who must in turn inform the political leadership (Mubarak). And if the police continue to use firearms for more than one day, then the political leadership must be informed,” an author of the report who wished to remain anonymous told the National Post, a Canadian newspaper.

An Egyptian woman holds the widespread picture of a woman who was stripped and beaten by military police during clashes last week as Egyptians gather for a protest in downtown Cairo. (AFP Photo / Khaled Desouki)

One of the report’s authors, lawyer and human rights activist Mohsen Bahnasy, said he was planning to submit parts of it to the prosecution in Mubarak’s trial, as well as to other courts trying policemen accused of killing protesters.

The report is sure to strike a nerve in Egypt, where only last week three demonstrators were killed and 65 more injured in a protest over the verdict in a case regarding a riot at the Port Said Stadium that saw more than 70 killed. 

That verdict came after a week of anti-police brutality demonstrations in Port Said and across Egypt that led police themselves to take to the streets in a rare protest.

Egyptian riot police detain a man during clashes on Omar Makram street, off Tahrir Square, on November 28, 2012 in Cairo. (AFP Photo / Mahmoud Khaled)

Egypt’s riot police chief sacked amid nationwide security force protests

Published time: March 08, 2013 19:43

Egyptian riot police (Reuters/Mohamed Abd El Ghany)

Egypt’s interior minister has sacked the country’s riot police chief following five days of nationwide police strikes, state media reported. Officers are accusing the government of politicization amidst a backdrop of recent violence in Port Said.

Egyptian Interior Minister Mohamed Ibrahim has appointed a new commander for the Central Security Forces, according to MENA news agency.

The sacking took place after “widespread protests in several CSF departments over the past 48 hours demanding that policemen be removed from political conflicts," MENA reported.

More than 30 police stations across the country reportedly shut their doors on Friday in the fifth day of strikes against the interior ministry, Ahram Online reported. A mid-ranking Cairo police officer said that he expected all police stations to join Saturday’s strike if their demands were not met by the end of the day, Friday.

On Thursday, dozens of Cairo policemen blocked the entrance to one of the city’s main police stations and spoke out against President Morsi’s policies. Others arranged a sit-in outside Morsi’s house in his hometown of Zagazig.

Meanwhile, a police strike in Egypt’s Assuit province has prompted former Islamic militant group Gamaa Islamiya to send its members out to patrol the streets. It said it was assembling volunteer members to act as police.

Assiut security chief Gen. Aboul-Kassem Deif has acknowledged the group’s move is illegal, but feels the province has no other option. “I don’t know what to do,” he told AP.

Those demands include ending what they call the politicization of the police force in favor of President Mohamed Morsi’s Muslim Brotherhood party and dismissal of Interior Minister Mohamed Ibrahim, who was appointed by Morsi in January. Officers are also demanding they be armed to protect themselves against protesters who they describe as “armed thugs.”

Policemen are angry that they can be tried in military courts and complain that current laws do not protect them when they carry out their duties. They’re speaking out against being forced to confront anti-Brotherhood protesters.

However, the police force has been accused by rights activists of employing brutal tactics during the uprising. More than 100 policemen have been put on trial for the killings of protesters, and all but two were acquitted.

There has been widespread tension between police and demonstrators since the mass protests which brought down former President Hosni Mubarak in February 2011.

Accusations of torture from police officers continue to emerge, and more than 70 people have been killed in nationwide protests since January. Rights groups allege that police are still operating with impunity.

The latest violence in the city of Port Said has led to the removal of officers from its streets. It comes after thousands of demonstrators called for the departure of police forces on Friday. The Egyptian military has taken over security duties in the city.

According to the interior ministry, police were withdrawn from the streets to “calm the tension.” The news was met with celebrations from demonstrators – many of whom stood on tanks and chanted in support of the military.

Clashes between police and protesters in Port Said have entered their sixth continuous day. At least eight people have been killed in the violence, including three policemen.

The sacking of the police chief comes just one day before a court is due to announce the verdicts of 52 defendants - including nine police officers – who were involved in deadly football riots in Port Said last year.

Twenty-one football fans were sentenced to death in January over the riots, which left 74 people dead. The verdict led to further riots, resulting in the loss of an additional 40 civilians. Most were killed during an alleged attempt to storm a prison. The riots prompted a crackdown by security forces, leading many to accuse officers of police brutality.

Bad Cop: 7 Cities Where Shocking Police Abuses Cost Taxpayers Millions

Bad police behavior runs roughshod over civil liberties, and costs cities millions of dollars in payouts to those who successfully sue.

Photo Credit: Shutterstock.com

March 4, 2013  |  

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When it comes to interactions between regular citizens and police on the street, the police hold all the cards. They can, and often do, act however they want. One of the few meaningful mechanisms for restitution if you are a victim of police misconduct is to sue for damages. The costs of these lawsuits and payouts add up, and bad police behavior takes a toll not only on our civil liberties, but also on a city's budget.

It's worth mentioning that lawsuits against the police rarely result in million-dollar payouts for victims, are difficult to win, and represent only a fairly small slice of total reports of police misconduct. Also, the reported costs of settlements and judgments to victims often exclude fees paid to attorneys representing the city, so in many cases the real numbers are higher.

This list doesn't include every example of police misconduct or every study about how much it costs, but below are some recent instances of reports that detail just how much money police misconduct costs taxpayers. The point here isn't to argue that people shouldn't sue cops. They should, if they have a good case. The cops should simply give people fewer reasons to sue them.

1. Chicago

Lieutenant Jon Burge is in many ways the posterchild for police brutality. He oversaw a torture regime at the Chicago Police Department from 1973-1991 that included 64 other cops directly and an untold number of police who were aware of what was going on. According to a recent report, over 100 African Americans were allegedly tortured under his watch.

As the Chicago Reader reported in 2003, charges against Burge and his crew included “electric shock, suffocation, burnings, attacks on the genitals, severe beating, and mock executions.”

Burge was eventually prosecuted by the US attorney and sentenced to four and a half years for perjury, though according to the report the Cook County State Attorney never prosecuted any officers for torture or for covering it up. The “blue code of silence” plays a large role in perpetuating corruption.

The report, by the University of Illinois at Chicago, claims that corruption and abuse of power are rampant problems in the Chicago Police Department. The authors looked at CPD corruption dating back to 1960, and conclude that  “[t]oleration of corruption, or at least resigned acceptance, appears to be the order of the day for at least the past 50 years.”

Top Chicago officials have allowed (or created) a culture of impunity for officers. A separate study the authors cite claims only “19 of 10,149 (or less than 2%) civilian complaints of excessive force, illegal searches, racial abuse, sexual abuse and false arrests between 2002 and 2004 led to police suspensions of a week or more.”

Over the last decade, police misconduct lawsuits against the city and out-of-court settlements “have cost taxpayers several hundreds of millions of dollars at a time when all levels of government have to cut services and raise taxes,” according to the University of Illinois report. Defending cops against litigation has cost Chicago more than $82.5 million since 2003, and “Jon Burge cases have cost local taxpayers more than $53 million since 1998.”

2. New York

According to a 2012 report  from NYC's Comptroller's office, the city paid out $185.6 million in claims for fiscal year 2011. That's a 35% increase over the previous year, which came in at $137.3 million in settled claims. Fiscal year 2011 saw “an historical high of 8,882 claims filed” against the NYPD, with a 55% rise in claims against the NYPD over the past five years.

The Face of Austerity: Photoshopping Away Police Torture in Greece

greece

Greek police may vainly try to Photoshop away the torture of four alleged bank robbers, but they cannot gloss over the radicalization of Greek youth.

The story is as follows.

On February 1st 2013, an attempted robbery of two banks takes place in a small village of the Western Macedonia region, called Velvento. The bounty was around 180.000 euros and the police managed to arrest the robbers after a short chase. The news would have passed unnoticed, if the heavily armed robbers were not very young middle and upper-middle class boys, whom the police associates with the armed urban-guerilla group ‘Conspiracy of the Cells of Fire’.

Twenty four hours later, the police make public the photos of the bank-robbers, and the whole country is appalled by what it sees: the faces of four badly beaten20-25 year olds, which have also been — badly — photoshopped in a vain attempt to hide the cuts and bruises, and the hands (?) that are holding the youngsters’ heads in order for them to be photographed.

The police rush through an announcement to justify themselves, claiming that only the minimum amount of violence necessary was used due to resistance during the arrest, while the Minister of Public Order Mr Dendias (the man whothreatened to sue The Guardian for having published a report on the torture of 15 anti-fascist activists by the Greek police, the same man who launched a waragainst Greece’s squats) said that the pictures were photoshopped in order for the faces of the arrested to be more recognisable (!), claiming that no torture had taken place.

The youngsters themselves — through their families and lawyers — claim that they did not resist their arrest and that they were badly beaten up/tortured while in detention; while there is evidence (videos and pictures from the moment of the arrest) that proves that they were not beaten during the arrest, but whatever happened, it did so afterwards. Some alternative Greek media, together with some international ones, as well as Amnesty International, strongly questioned the official explanations, while the latter also commented that “the Greek authorities cannot just photoshop their problems away”.

Under heavy public criticism, the Minister had to promise that a torture investigation would take place and the results are still expected. The bank robbers are now in detention, yet they describe their actions as political, and consider themselves anarchist ‘prisoners of war’, shouting during their transfer to the Prosecutor’s office “zito i anarhia koufales!” — “long live anarchy assholes!”. What is also worth noticing is that one of the four arrested anarchists is the friend ofAlexandros Grigoropoulos — the 15-year-old boy who was assassinated by police in Exarchia in 2008 — and happened to be by his side on that very moment, which surely played a big role in shaping his view of state power and police brutality.

The story is indicative of the radicalization of a young generation of Greeks, and of Greek society as a whole, under the structural conditions imposed by austerity. But it is also indicative of the way the state has chosen to deal with the voices of opposition in the country, be they legal or illegal: with repression, human rights abuses, and public humiliation.

Let’s not forget that a few months ago, the same government, the same Minister of Public Order, and the same police force, tortured — as it was proven — 15 antifascist activists for having organized an AntiFa moto-parade. And it is the same state officials who launched an attack against the country’s squats, for no obvious reason other than silencing any oppositional voices around.

It is by now obvious that the Greek state, in order to defend the extremely unpopular and unsuccessful austerity measures it has been imposing for a couple of years now, has chosen the road of repression. It is not something new: we have seen such practices in the past too — in Chile, in Argentina, and elsewhere. The difference is that in those cases we were talking about military dictatorships, while in the Greek case we are talking about a democratically-elected government, which is even more scary and unacceptable. At the same time, it is also obvious that this strategy of the state is resulting in the further radicalization of the Greek youth.

Post image for Photoshopping away police torture in Greece

CA rally seeks probe into police violence

Protesters have taken to the streets in the US city of Anaheim to demand an investigation into the police department’s alleged use of excessive brutality, Press TV reports.

A group of community members in the California city staged the rally outside the Anaheim police department to protest at police brutality and excessive force, calling on federal investigators to examine the recurring fatal police shootings.

“A lot of these people don’t have family members or friends that were killed but it’s just an outraged community,” said Louise Sanchez, with the Anaheim Crusaders, adding that the “police department will see more [protests] if something doesn’t get done.”

Activists criticized the district attorney’s office for failing to cite a single officer with wrongful homicide in connection with shootings that occurred while on duty.

“They call it ‘justified homicide’. There was no investigation. They kicked around the crime scene. They let him go,” said Corie Cline whose brother was killed by Anaheim police five years ago.

“It’s gotten worse. It wasn’t like this, years ago. There is a lot of racial profiling going on. You look a certain way and you get treated different. You get pulled over, you get harassed,” said Sanchez.

Protesters went on to demand an investigation into the police department’s long history of violence, with five fatal shootings occurring just in the past 12 months.

“They will reopen [all cases] and they will see that all the evidence has been mixed around. I want justice. We want transparency and most of all we need to keep it peaceful,” said Cline, adding that the yearlong protests will continue until “our voices get heard.”

GMA/PKH

“The American Military Coup of 2012″: Encroachment upon Basic Freedoms, Militarized Police State in...

THE COUP OF 2012: Encroachment upon Basic Freedoms, Militarized Police State in America

Back in 1992 the Pentagon’s Joint Chiefs of Staff held a “Strategy Essay Competition.”

The winner was a National War College student paper entitled, “The Origins of the American Military Coup of 2012.” Authored by Colonel Charles J. Dunlap, Jr. the paper is a well documented, “darkly imagined excursion into the future.”

The ostensibly fictional work is written from the perspective of an imprisoned senior military officer about to be executed for opposing the military takeover of America, a coup accomplished through “legal” means. The essay makes the point that the coup was “the outgrowth of trends visible as far back as 1992,” including “the massive diversion of military forces to civilian uses,” particularly law enforcement.

http://www.carlisle.army.mil/USAWC/Parameters/Articles/1992/1992%20dunlap.pdf

Dunlap cites what he considered a dangerous precedent, the 1981 Military Cooperation with Civilian Law Enforcement Agencies Act, an act that sanctioned US military engagement with law enforcement in domestic “support operations,” including “civil disturbance” operations. The act codified the lawful status and use of military “assets” in domestic police work. 

http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/text/10/subtitle-A/part-I/chapter-18

Encroachment upon Basic Freedoms

Since that time the American people have been subject to a series of deeper and deeper encroachments upon our basic freedoms, increasingly extensive deployment of military operations on the home front, perpetrated by a corporate driven military mission creep that now claims the right and duty to arrest and detain us on the word of a Pentagon or White House operative. President Obama’s signing of the 2012 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) whose Section 1021 sanctions the military detention of American citizens without charge, essentially aims to put the last nail in the coffin of our Constitution, our teetering Republic and our most basic democratic traditions.

The statute contains a sweeping worldwide indefinite detention provision. While President Obama issued a signing statement saying he had “serious reservations” about the provisions, the statement only applies to how his administration (“you can trust me”) would use the authorities granted by the NDAA, and would not affect how the law is interpreted by subsequent administrations. The White House had threatened to veto an earlier version of the NDAA, but reversed course (of course) shortly before Congress voted on the final bill, which the President signed on the 31st of December 2011, a day that will go down in infamy.

“President Obama’s action today is a blight on his legacy because he will forever be known as the president who signed indefinite detention without charge or trial into law,” said Anthony D. Romero, ACLU executive director. “The statute is particularly dangerous because it has no temporal or geographic limitations, and can be used by this and future presidents to militarily detain people captured far from any battlefield.” According to Senator Dianne Feinstein. “Congress is essentially authorizing the indefinite imprisonment of American citizens, without charge,” she said. “We are not a nation that locks up its citizens without charge.” Think again. (Guardian, 12/14/11)

Under the legislation, suspects can be held without trial  ”until the end of hostilities.” They will have the right to appear once a year before a committee that will decide if the detention will continue. A spokesperson for Human Rights Watch implied that the signing of such a bill by a President would have once been unthinkable, noting that “the paradigm of the war on terror has advanced so far in people’s minds that this has to appear more normal than it actually is.” Further, “it wasn’t asked for by any of the agencies on the frontlines in the fight against terrorism in the United States. It breaks with over 200 years of tradition in America against using the military in domestic affairs.”

In fact, the heads of several “security agencies,” including the FBI, CIA, the director of national intelligence and the attorney general objected to the legislation. Even some within the Pentagon itself said they were against the bill. No matter, and no matter the intention inherent in lip service opposition, the corporate elite who drive the disastrous and inhumane polices of this country see it otherwise, and they, not the generals or anyone else, call the shots!

And they’ve been at this for some time. A persistent and on-gong counter-insurgency directed against the American people, the detention provisions embedded in the NDAA are about more than “social control.” It amounts to a direct attack on the person, an “unreasonable search and seizure” in the cause of maintaining the shaky capitalist ship of state; suppressing popular resistance, dissent and protest, movements of peace and justice, recast as “civil disorder,” “civil disturbance” and “domestic terror.”

Current U.S. military preparations for suppressing “civil disturbance” and “domestic terrorism” including the training of National Guard troops, local police and the authorization of massive surveillance, are part of a long history of American “internal security” measures dating back to the first American Revolution. Generally, these measures have sought to thwart the aims of social justice movements, embodying the concept, promulgated by elite sectors intent on maintaining their grip on the levers of state; that within the civilian body politic lurks an enemy that one day the military might have to fight; or at least be ordered to fight. (See: Army Surveillance in America, 1775-1980, Joan M. Jensen, Yale University Press, 1991)

Thus, in reaction to a period of social upsurge flush with movements of liberation, justice and peace, and the mounting of powerful campaigns which threatened the status quo and elite control, the US military’s stand alone apparatus for conducting “civil disturbance suppression” operations, including detention, was born, immediately on the heels of the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in April 1968.

The Garden Plot Operation

US Military Civil Disturbance Plan 55-2, code-named Operation Garden Plot, follows, as was mentioned, in the footsteps of a long tradition of US military involvement in the suppression of dissent. Intriguingly, the Garden Plot operation is cited in documents related to the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King. (See: Orders to Kill: The Truth Behind the Murder of Martin Luther King, William Pepper, Carroll and Graf, 1995)

http://www.dod.gov/pubs/foi/operation_and_plans/Other/GARDEN_PLOT_DoD_Civil_DisturbancePlan.pdf

http://www.911truth.org/osamas/morales.html

Currently, the Garden Plot operation is centered at the Pentagon’s Northern Command (USNORTHCOM). “Stood up” in 2002, (though In the works prior to 9/11), NORTHCOM, America’s “domestic military command,” is tasked with various “counter-terror,” “homeland defense” and “homeland security” activities, including “civil disturbance suppression” operations, and “assisting law enforcement” within Canada, the United States and Mexico. http://www.northcom.mil/

Under NORTHCOM, Operation Garden Plot functions, with the US Army as “executive agent,” as “ConPlan 2502.” In two parts, the “con plan” is officially listed as: United States Northern Command, Concept Plan (CONPLAN) 3501 (formerly 2501), Defense Support of Civil Authorities (DSCA), dated 11 April 2006; and the United States Northern Command, Concept Plan 3502 (formerly 2502), Defense Support of Civil Authorities for Civil Disturbance Operations (CDO), 23 January 2007.

As noted above, the latest development in the Pentagon’s evolving mission of suppressing, at the behest of it’s corporate “civilian” overseers, a detention provision, is buried within the massive National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) of 2012 signed by President Obama in the fog (grog) of this past New Years Eve.

http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/BILLS-112hr1540enr/pdf/BILLS-112hr1540enr.pdf

NDAA 2012

Section 1021 of the NDAA 2012 seemingly allows (the language is evasive) for the detention (without trial or charges) of American citizens redefined by the “executive” elite as “enemy combatants” in the so-called “war on terror, ” a “war” which has become in the eyes of many, a war against the Constitution and civil liberties, a war against the disenchanted, fed-up and dissenting American public, spearheaded by a militarized police state allied to imperial military courts and “tribunals,” buttressed and rationalized with mind-bending mil-speak of “enemy combatants,” “unlawful combatants,” “enemy belligerents,” “homeland battlefield” “domestic extremists” “domestic terrorists” and the like.

And yet, behind all the sophistry, lies and manipulation, the brutal truth is obvious: The corporate elite that directs things has seen fit to unleash it’s military on it’s own people in a desperate attempt to suppress the democratic (read: protest) rights of it’s citizenry, us! Why? Simple: the paranoia of the thief, the well founded fear that knows that forced deprivation and scarcities, violence at home and abroad, rooted in greed, has run it’s course in America. And they are right! And so, it makes ominous sense that we are confronted with the horrific machinations of forced detention for those who resist a “new world order” come home in a “homeland” which opportunistically collapses all distinction between dissent and terrorism, police and military, right and wrong, obfuscating the truth of who the real terrorists are!

When Congress passed the 2012 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), it included provisions that authorized U.S. armed forces to detain persons who are captured in the conflict with al-Qaeda, the Taliban, or “associated forces.”

Section 1021 entitled “AFFIRMATION OF AUTHORITY OF THE ARMED FORCES OF THE UNITED STATES TO DETAIN COVERED PERSONS PURSUANT TO THE AUTHORIZATION FOR USE OF MILITARY FORCE” allows for the President (whoever that may be) “to use all necessary and appropriate force pursuant to the Authorization for Use of Military Force … to detain covered persons …pending disposition under the law of war.”

“A covered person,” according to the edict’s malleable lingo, is “any person … who planned, authorized, committed, or aided the terrorist attacks that occurred on September 11, 2001, or harbored those responsible for those attacks …” or, who “was a part of or substantially supported al-Qaeda, the Taliban,” or “associated forces that are engaged in hostilities against the United States or its coalition partners, including any person who has committed a belligerent act or has directly supported such hostilities in aid of such enemy forces.”

Accordingly, “the disposition of a person under the law of war” will include “detention under the law of war without trial until the end of the hostilities …” Now, by stating that “nothing in this section is intended to limit or expand the authority of the President or the scope of the Authorization for Use of Military Force,” and that “nothing in this section shall be construed to affect existing law or authorities relating to the detention of United States citizens, lawful resident aliens of the United States, or any other persons who are captured or arrested in the United States,” it would appear that the law exempts American citizens from the threat of detention. Correct?

Detention is a Booming Industry

Don’t be too confident. Detention is a booming industry. In 2006 the Journal of Counterterrorism & Homeland Security International reported that Halliburton off-spring, “global engineering and technical services powerhouse KBR [Kellogg, Brown & Root] announced in January 2006 that its Government and Infrastructure division was awarded an Indefinite Delivery/Indefinite Quantity (IDIQ) contract to support U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) facilities in the event of an emergency.” The $385 million dollars over 5 year contract “is to be executed by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers” building “temporary detention and processing capabilities to augment existing ICE Detention and Removal Operations (DRO) in the event of an emergency influx of immigrants into the U.S., or to support the rapid development of new programs.” Could the 2012 NDAA / Section 1021 be such a “new program?”

There has been some confusion over what Section 1021 actually means, and that in and of itself is cause for concern. Congressional spokespeople have stated that the provisions of NDAA 2012 / Sec 1021 do not provide any “new authority” to detain U.S. citizens or others who may be captured in the United States. Obama waffled likewise in the lead up to his signing the provision. Sen. Carl Levin, chair of the Senate Armed Services Committee, ho-hummed and said that, “we are simply codifying existing law.” But that was an evasion, since existing law, like it or not, regarding the detention of U.S. persons in the “war on terror” is indeterminate in important respects. And “indeterminate” is not good enough!

A recent report from the Congressional Research Service fleshes out the law of detention as set forth in Section 1021, identifying what is known to be true as well as what is unsettled and unresolved. It is perfectly clear, for example, that a U.S. citizen who fights alongside “enemy forces” against the United States on a foreign battlefield could be lawfully detained. This was affirmed by the U.S. Supreme Court in the case Hamdi v. Rumsfeld.

http://www.fas.org/sgp/crs/natsec/R42337.pdf

On the other hand, the CRS report explains, “the President’s legal authority to militarily detain terrorist suspects apprehended in the United States has not been definitively settled.” Nor has Congress helped to settle it. “This bill does not endorse either side’s interpretation,” said Sen. Dianne Feinstein, “but leaves it to the courts to decide.”

So, if a detention of a U.S. person does occur, the CRS said, “it will be up to a court to determine Congress’s intent when it enacted the AUMF [the 2001 Authorization to Use Military Force], or alternatively, to decide whether the law as it was subsequently developed by the courts and executive branch sufficiently established that authority for such detention already exists.”

Up to now, “lower courts that have addressed questions the Supreme Court left unanswered have not achieved a consensus on the extent to which Congress has authorized the detention without trial of U.S. persons as ‘enemy combatants,’ and Congress has not so far clarified its intent.”

Well, it is certainly reassuring that a New York court has sought to clarify it’s intent on the matter. On May 16, 2012 a newly appointed federal district judge, Katherine Forrest of the Southern District of New York, issued a ruling, hailed by many, which preliminarily enjoins (prohibits) enforcement of the indefinite detention provisions (Sec 1021) of the NDAA 2012.

http://sdnyblog.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/05/12-Civ.-00331-2012.05.16-Opinion-Granting-PI.pdf

The “temporary restraining order” came as a result of a lawsuit brought by seven dissident plaintiffs — including Chris Hedges, Dan Ellsberg, Noam Chomsky, and Birgitta Jonsdottir — alleging that the NDAA violated both their free speech and associational rights guaranteed by the First Amendment as well as due process rights guaranteed by the Fifth Amendment of the United States Constitution. “The government was unwilling or unable to state that these plaintiffs would not be subject to indefinite detention under [Section] 1021,” Judge Forrest said in her ruling. “Plaintiffs are therefore at risk of detention, of losing their liberty, potentially for many years.”

Where it will go from here is anybodies guess. Judge Forrest’s ruling was not permanent. A day after the ruling, the Wall Street Journal, for it’s part, offered it’s sour grapes, pontificating that the ruling “will be overturned on appeal,” while “its reasoning needs to be deconstructed so it doesn’t do more harm in the meantime.” A week later, on the 25th, federal prosecutors from Obama’s Department of Justice, calling Judge Forrest’s ruling “extraordinary,” suggested that she lift the injunction, claiming further that her ruling only effects those plaintiffs named and not other potential or future targets of the draconian legislation.

http://sdnyblog.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/05/12-Civ.-00331-2012.05.25-Govt-Motion-for-Reconsideration.pdf

Well, a few days ago on June 6th the upright Judge Forrest responded with an 8 page, “memorandum and opinion” in which she sought to “eliminate any doubt as to the May 16 order’s scope.” (New York Times, “Detention Provision is Blocked” 6/7/12). And as to whom and for whom her original order was intended: “The May 16th order enjoined enforcement of Section 1021(b)(2) against anyone until further action by this, or a higher, court – or by Congress.” That’s clear enough!

So, as it stands now now, although Judge Forrest’s decision may temporarily protect Americans from provision 1021, it remains to be seen what the higher courts do should Obama’s people appeal. And unfortunately, Judge Forrest’s ruling, as praiseworthy as it is, does nothing to spare both foreign reporters and civilians from a life of imprisonment, let alone the more than 6 billion citizens of foreign nations who can still be handcuffed and hauled away to a US military prison without ever being brought to trial.

So, bottom line, given the indeterminate nature of a law that would snatch us up off the streets, throw away the key, and grant us little or no access to a trial let alone legal counsel of choice not vetted by the Pentagon, we should have no illusions that we are well along the slippery indeterminate slope to a full blown militarized police state; the complete identification, coordination and consolidation of the police and military function in America in the interests of an elite who regard us as the enemy, maybe even their property! Maybe even as targets for assassination!

Naked violation of the 4th and 5th Amendments to the US Constitution

We should recall, that the current attempt by the executive to designate American citizens for detention without trial; a naked violation of the 4th and 5th Amendments to the US Constitution against unreasonable search and seizure and the guarantee of a trial, was preceded by the administration’s “resolve” to assassinate at will Americans abroad, place them on a “kill list,” and eliminate them. According to the New York Times “Secret ‘Kill List’ Proves a Test of Obama’s Principles and Will,” (5/29/12) the President and his advisors have made it clear that they have the authority “to order the targeted killing of an American citizen, in a country with which the United States was not at war, in secret and without the benefit of a trial.”

The Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel rationalized such a move in “a lengthy memo justifying that extraordinary step, asserting that while the Fifth Amendment’s guarantee of due process applied, it could be satisfied by internal deliberations in the executive branch.” (New York Times, “Secret U.S. Memo Made Legal Case to Kill a Citizen,” 10/8/11) Accordingly, after a dubious period of “internal deliberations,” Mr. Obama gave his approval, and the cleric Anwar al-Awlak was assassinated in September 2011, along with an associate Samir Khan, an American citizen who was not on the target list but happened to be traveling with Mr. al-Awlak. Apparently, campaign rhetoric and public demeanor to the contrary, when asked what surprised him most about Mr. Obama, Mr. Donilon, the national security adviser, answered immediately: “He’s a president who is quite comfortable with the use of force on behalf of the United States.”

The Posse Comitatus Act

How did we get here? We need to recognize that the “massive diversion of military resources” into domestic law enforcement for the purposes of suppressing dissent and worse has a long history, a history that has witnessed the steady evisceration of the 1878 Posse Comitatus Act, the sole federal statute that criminalizes military incursions into the domain of domestic law enforcement. The Act is the backbone of our democratic republican tradition of separating the military and police function in this country and represents the ultimate bulwark against military dictatorship in the interests of the rich. That is the reason it is and continues to be attacked, ridiculed and ignored by elements in both the corporate and military spheres. For example, “Current Obstacles to Fully Preparing Title 10 Forces for Homeland Defense and Civil Support” by Commander James S. Campbell, United States Navy, May 2008 and, “The Role of Federal Military Forces in Domestic Law Enforcement Title” by COL (Ret) John R. Brinkerhoff, December 2004, both seek to delegitimize and undercut the status and importance of the Act, a law so critical to the maintenance of our freedoms, and yet, a law about which most Americans remain unaware.

http://www.dtic.mil/cgi-bin/GetTRDoc?AD=ADA487235

http://usacac.army.mil/cac2/call/docs/10-16/ch_11.asp

The 1878 Act, 18 USC § 1385 – USE OF ARMY AND AIR FORCE AS POSSE COMITATUS, more popularly known as The Posse Comitatus Act, reads as follows:

“Whoever, except in cases and under circumstances expressly authorized by the Constitution or Act of Congress, wilfully uses any part of the Army or the Air Force as a Posse Comitatus or otherwise to execute the laws shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than two years, or both.”

As noted, the 1981 Military Cooperation with Law Enforcement law would seemingly violate the spirit if not the letter of this Act. Nonetheless, like a slowly boiling pot relentlessly eating away at our freedom of movement, assembly, association and expression, the utilization of military assets, under cover of law enforcement to suppress our democratic rights has proceeded steadily by design, virtually un-noticed.

Historical milestones: eating away at our freedom of movement, assembly, association and expression

A very limited listing of some historical milestones:

* In 1968, as mentioned above, concurrent with the creation of the Federal Commission on Civil Disorder, better known as the Kerner Commission, the Pentagon hatched it’s very own “civil disorder” operation. “US Military Civil Disturbance Plan 55-2,” code named “Garden Plot,” coordinates, until this day, all aspects of “civil disturbance suppression” in America, including the use of so-called “non-lethal weapons” during conveniently designated domestic “operations other than war” (OOTW), and “military operations in urban terrain” (MOUT), a “war” which pits “non-combatant” citizens and protesters (overwhelmingly non-violent) against militarized police on the streets of America.

* Only a few months after the round up and detention of 7,000 anti-war protesters in Washington DC, imprisoned in RFK stadium, an early Garden Plot operation, the 1971 Non-Detention Act was passed, specifically to repeal portions of the 1950 “anti-communist” “Emergency Detention Act” which had allowed for detention of suspected subversives without the normal Constitutional checks required for imprisonment. The Non-Detention Act required specific Congressional authorization for such detention. It reads that, “no citizen shall be imprisoned or otherwise detained by the United States except pursuant to an Act of Congress.” In recent years, the statute has been used to challenge military detainment of U.S. citizens accused of terrorist activity, as in the case of Jose Padilla.

http://www.jenner.com/system/assets/assets/5417/original/18.pdf?1321652398

A Congressional Research Service report on the history of the Non-Detention Act noted that, “legislative debate, committee reports, and the political context of 1971 indicate that when Congress enacted Section 4001(a) it intended the statutory language to restrict all detentions by the executive branch, not merely those by the Attorney General.” Further, “lawmakers, both supporters and opponents of Section 4001(a), recognized that it would restrict the President and military authorities.”

As for the Padilla case, the Supreme Court of the United States originally took the 2004 case of Rumsfeld v. Padilla to decide the question of whether Congress’s Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF) authorized the President to detain a U.S. citizen, which would run afoul of the Non Detention Act. But it did not give an answer, instead ruling that the case had been “improperly filed.” And so the issue, as to whether and under what circumstances the military can pick you up, detain and imprison you, without charging you, from the point of view the Supreme Court, remains “unsettled.”

* Also in 1971, the California Specialized Training Institute (CSTI) was created. Headed up by Louis Giuffrida, formerly of Army Combat Command, the first director of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), CSTI introduced the Special Weapons And Tactics (SWAT) concept, offering courses on “civil disorder management” for select “militarized” police and National Guard units armed and trained for domestic operations in the urban centers of America. During this period the Law Enforcement Assistance Administration (LEAA) facilitated federal funding and other military largess to the burgeoning militarized sectors of the domestic police forces along with training of selected National Guard units. Still in operation, CSTI is currently headed up by William J. Hatch Colonel, USA (RET), while funding for militarizing local police departments these days is facilitated by the Department of Homeland Security and FEMA, funding which has increased drastically since 9/11.

http://americaswarwithin.org/articles/2011/12/21/local-police-stockpile-high-tech-combat-ready-gear

* In 1975 the Trilateral Commission, a Western European, Japanese, US corporate think-tank convened by David Rockefeller, issued a report entitled, “The Crisis of Democracy.” (NYU Press, 1975) Authored by none other than Samuel  Huntington. (“Clash of Civilizations”). Huntington’s book is a blueprint for the on-going counter-revolution in America, emphasizing the elite requirement of suppressing democratic “insurgency,” the “distemper” of the 60s, a “distemper” that according to Huntington, stemmed from an “excess of democracy.” The only and final solution therefore is to “moderate” and “shrink democracy,” concluding that, “there are potentially desirable limits to the indefinite extension of political democracy.”

http://www.wrijneveld.nl/Boekenplank/BoekenVanAanhangersVanDeNieuweWereldOrde/1975-TC-The-Crisis-of-Democracy.pdf

* In 1983, the US Army published Field Manual 3-19-15, Civil Disturbance Operations (since updated in 2005). The manual addresses civil disturbance operations in both continental United States (CONUS) and outside continental United States (OCONUS). It states that, “today, United States (US) forces are deployed on peacekeeping, peace enforcement, and humanitarian assistance operations worldwide. During these operations, US forces are often faced with unruly and violent crowds intent on disrupting peace and the ability of US forces to maintain peace. Worldwide instability coupled with increasing US military participation in peacekeeping and related operations requires that US forces have access to the most current doctrine and tactics, techniques, and procedures (TTP) necessary to quell riots and restore public order.”

“In addition to covering civil unrest doctrine for CONUS operations, FM 3-19.15 addresses domestic unrest and the military role in providing assistance to civil authorities requesting it for civil disturbance operations …The principles of civil disturbance operations, planning and training for such operations, and the TTP [“tactics, techniques and procedures”] employed to control civil disturbances and neutralize special threats are discussed in this manual. It also addresses special planning and preparation that are needed to quell riots in confinement facilities are also discussed. In the past, commanders were limited to the type of force they could apply to quell a riot. Riot batons, riot control agents, or lethal force were often used. Today, there is a wide array of nonlethal weapons (NLW) available to the commander that extends his use of force along the force continuum. This manual addresses the use of nonlethal (NL) and lethal forces when quelling a riot.” And as noted, the training is meant to be operative in both foreign and domestic contexts, the war abroad, the war at home.

http://www.fas.org/irp/doddir/army/fm3-19-15.pdf

* In 1986, the Pentagon issues Department of Defense Directive 5525.5, or DoD Cooperation with Civilian Law Enforcement Officials. US military involvement in domestic law enforcement is subsumed and rationalized under “doctrines” entitled Operations Other Than War (OOTW) and Military Operations in Urban Terrain (MOUT), along with divisions known as Military Support to Law Enforcement Agencies (MSLEA) and Military Support to Civil Authorities (MSCA)

http://www.dtic.mil/whs/directives/corres/pdf/552505p.pdf

* In 1992 President Clinton’s Justice Department consolidated a partnership with the Pentagon in the area of “technology transfer.” The so-called “technology transfer agreements” allowed for the military to weaponize domestic police forces, further enhancing the growth of para-military “special forces” like “special units” in local police departments across the country, including “civil disturbance” units and training. The Clinton administration extended the police/military connection by mandating that the Department of Defense and its associated private industries form a partnership with the Department of Justice to “engage the crime war with the same resolve they fought the Cold War.” The program, entitled, “Technology Transfer From Defense: Concealed Weapons Detection,” (“Technology Transfer from Defense: Concealed Weapons Detection,” National Institute of Justice Journal, No 229, August, 1995), calls for the transfer of military technology to domestic police organizations to better fight “crime.” Previously, direct “transfers” of this sort were made only to friendly foreign governments. The Clinton directive enhanced and formalized direct militarization of domestic police forces.

http://www.scribd.com/doc/39680373/The-Militarization-of-the-Police-by-Frank-Morales

Currently, Title XIV of an earlier NDAA in 2007 entitled, “Homeland Defense Technology Transfer Legislative Provisions,” authorizes “the Secretary of Defense to create a Homeland Defense Technology Transfer Consortium to improve the effectiveness of the Department of Defense (DOD) processes for identifying and deploying relevant DOD technology to federal, State, and local first responders.” In other words, the law facilitates the “transfer” of the newest in so-called “crowd control” and surveillance technology to local militarized (politicized) police units.

* In 1993, the US Army and Marine Corps publish Domestic Support Operations Field Manual 100-19.

http://www.dtic.mil/doctrine/jel/service_pubs/fm100_19.pdf

* In 1994, the Department of Defense issued Directive 3025.12, Military Assistance for Civil Disturbances (MACDIS) that details the rationale and means (“tactics, techniques and procedures”) for suppressing dissent. It states that, “the President is authorized by the Constitution and laws of the United States to suppress insurrections, rebellions, and domestic violence under various conditions and circumstances. Planning and preparedness by the Federal Government and the Department of Defense for civil disturbances are important, do to the potential severity of the consequences of such events for the Nation and the population.”

http://www.dtic.mil/whs/directives/corres/pdf/302512p.pdf

* In 1995, the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR), an key elite “policymaker” headquartered in New York City, set up an “Independent Task Force on Nonlethal Weapons (NLW)” in order “to assess the current status of non-lethal weapons development and availability within the Department of Defense, in light of their potential to support U.S. military operations and foreign policy,” not to mention the suppression of dissent at home. The 16 member Task Force, which published its’ findings in 1999, was chaired by IBM executive Richard L. Garwin, CFR “Senior Fellow for Science and Technology.” Other members of the Task Force included CFR “military fellow” David Jones, United States Navy, Commander, Edward N. Luttwak, member, “National Security Study Group administered by the Department of Defense,” Edward C. Meyer, USA (Ret.), Chair of Mitretek Systems, formerly Chief of Staff, US Army, and a member of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Janet and Christopher Morris, President/Vice President, M2 Technologies, Inc, members US Global Strategy Council.

The Director of the CFR task force on non-lethal “technologies” was W. Montaque Winfield, former Executive Officer to the Commander of the “Stabilization Force” stationed in Sarajevo, Yugoslavia. Also a 1998-9 CFR “military fellow,” Brigadier General Winfield, some of you might recall, was the deputy director for operations (DDO) in the National Military Command Center (NMCC) at the Pentagon on the morning of 9/11, who according to the 9/11 Commission, left his post that very morning to attend a “pre-scheduled meeting” and allowed a colleague who had only recently qualified to take over his position, to stand in for him. He didn’t return to his post until after the terrorist attacks had ended. http://www.historycommons.org/entity.jsp?entity=montague_winfield

The CFR had issued an earlier report on the subject of “non-lethal” weapons in 1995, and stated in the 1999 report that they had regrettably “found that the DoD has made only limited progress developing and deploying nonlethal weapons since 1995.” The CFR, offering a bit of a tongue lashing to it’s hired generals, considered the “shortfall” the result of a “continued lack of appreciation for NLW among civilian and military policymakers.” Taking a firm line, the CFR report recommends that, “senior civilian and military leaders should make NLW development a priority.” After all, “nonlethal weapons could give policymakers a more potent weapon than economic sanctions.” In fact, “used alone”, the report notes, “NLW could penalize civilian economies without high civilian casualties.” Looking for something between “diplomatic table thumping and outright annihilation,” the armchair corporate warriors at the CRR continued to pound away at the need for accelerated “non-lethal” R and D.

http://revoltrevolt.org/demilitarizethepolice/nonlethal.html

* Subsequently, on July 9, 1996, the Department of Defense complied, issuing Directive 3000.3, Policy for Non-Lethal Weapons. The Directive established Department of Defense policies and responsibilities for the development and employment of so-called “non-lethal weapons,” designating the Commandant of the Marine Corps as Executive Agent for the Department of Defense Non-Lethal Weapons Program. On July 1, 1997, the Joint Non-Lethal Weapons Directorate was established to support the Executive Agent for Non-Lethal Weapons in the day-to-day management of the Department of Defense Non-Lethal Weapons Program putting the “best and the brightest” at work in designing soft-kill means (including neuro-weapons) of “crowd dispersal” and “social control” set within a strategy of so-called “low-intensity warfare” and “counter-insurgency.”

http://jnlwp.defense.gov/pdf/2011%20Public%20%20Release%20%20NLW%20Reference%20Book%20V1.pdf

http://www.zcommunications.org/electromagnetic-weapons-by-frank-morales

http://www.thebulletin.org/web-edition/columnists/hugh-gusterson/the-militarization-neuroscience

Recently, this past May 17, 2012 the DoD issued Instruction 3200.19. Entitled “Non-Lethal Weapons (NLW) Human Effects Characterization,” the “instruction” “establishes policy, assigns responsibilities, and provides procedures for a human effects characterization process in support of the development of NLW, non lethal technology and NLW systems.” It also establishes a “Human Effects Review Board,” which “scientifically” evaluates and quantifies levels of pain, calculating the most desirable “effects” in regard to the use of non-lethal force against non-combatants and protesters. In this regard, they receive a lot of assistance from their friends and associates in academia.

http://cryptome.org/dodi/dodi-3200-19.pdf

In 1997 Penn State University established the Institute for Non-Lethal Defense Technologies. The Institute is “dedicated to providing a base of multidisciplinary knowledge and technology that supports development and responsible application of non-lethal options for both military and civilian law enforcement. “ The Institute is administered by Penn State’s Applied Research Laboratory (ARL), under the direction and support of the University’s Office of the Vice President for Research. http://nldt2.arl.psu.edu/

Its Human Effects Advisory Panel sponsored a conference in September 2000, whose purpose was “to assess crowd behavior and the potential for crowd control … a leading core capability sought by the Joint Non-lethal Weapons Program.” Their 2001 report was entitled, “Crowd Behavior, Crowd Control, and the Use of Non-Lethal Weapons.”

http://nldt2.arl.psu.edu/documents/crowd_control_report.pdf

Meanwhile, the University of New Hampshire’s Non-Lethal Technology Innovation Center (NTIC) was created by a grant from the DoD’s Joint Non-lethal Weapons Directorate about the same time “to effect the next generation of NL capabilities by identifying and promoting the development of innovative concepts, materials and technologies within the academic community.” Its “Society of Force Effectiveness, Analysis and Techniques” (FEAT) was “established to engage primary source scientists to share results and analyses from studies of applied force, whether physical, psychological, or emotional. The Society’s scope of interests includes the impact of non-lethal or less lethal force intervention on sustained attention; performance degradation due to fatigue or intentional distraction; compliance; vigilance; and stress resilience.” The Society, given its specific intent on affecting “motivational behavior,” is keen on identifying “disciplines that support the development of tools of behavioral modification through force (e.g., kinetic and electromagnetic energies, psychological operations).”

http://www.unh.edu/ntic/

* In August of 2001, the Pentagon issued Field Manual 3-19.40, Internment and Resettlement Operations. Explicating the role of military police engaged in law enforcement, including at the point of domestic detention activities set within the context of “emergency” support, the extensive manual covers detention policies and methodologies and the use of non-lethal weapons. Chapter 10, Sections 49-66 detail the nature of “emergency services” within the “continental United States,” explaining that “MP (military police) units assisting ES (emergency service) operations in CONUS involve DoD-sponsored military programs that support the people and the government at all levels within the US and its territories.” Classified as “domestic support,” the manual states that, “federal armed forces can be employed when …” in the face of a declared “emergency,” “state and local authorities do not take appropriate action.”

In that instance, FEMA would serve as “the single POC within the government.” With a nod to the Posse Comitatus Act the document goes on to state that, “the MP support to ES in CONUS varies significantly from other I/R (internment/resettlement) operations. The basic difference is that local and state governments and the federal government and its agencies have a greater impact and role in supporting and meeting the needs in an affected community.” “If tasked to set up and operate an I/R facility, the MP commander retains control of military forces under his command,” and can operate “in conjunction with local, state and federal law enforcement officials.”

http://www.aclu.org/torturefoia/released/a22.pdf

* September 11 provided the elite Project for a New American Century and their associates with the “new Pearl Harbor” they sought, as set forth in Rebuilding America’s Defenses (pg.51), a major consequence of which was the September 18, 2001 passage of the Authorization for Use of Military Force or AUMF.

http://www.newamericancentury.org/RebuildingAmericasDefenses.pdf

http://news.findlaw.com/hdocs/docs/terrorism/sjres23.es.html

The Pentagon can invade, occupy and destroy at will, pre-emptively (with little or no reason), anyone, anywhere in the world

This singular, presumably legal rationale for much of what we now endure, the AUMF substantiates the notion that the Pentagon can invade, occupy and destroy at will, pre-emptively (with little or no reason), anyone, anywhere in the world, any time it chooses. In addition, apparently as we now see, the AUMF gives the Pentagon and it’s covetous corporate directors justification for the military takeover of America itself and the detention of its people. Thus, the AUMF is cited by the peddlers of Section 1021 of the NDAA 2012.

The modern “military tribunal” structure, which is a major piece of the detention/repression apparatus, came into formal existence as a consequence of the 2002 Department of Defense Military Commission Order No.1, issued on March 21, 2002 by former president (war criminal) George W. Bush.

http://www.defense.gov/news/Mar2002/d20020321ord.pdf

The entire military commission/tribunal structure is a work in progress, or more precisely, a dynamic and strategic power play on the part of the rulers set in motion following 9/11; a “might makes right” gambit undertaken by the militarist directors in the smoke of 9/11. Like the so-called Patriot Act, it was forced down the throats of a submissive, clueless public, sufficiently softened by means of prime time terror, fear and panic. Taking two steps forward and one step back, the militarists act first and then rationalize (or more precisely have their employees in the Congress) baptize the move after the fact. Where do presidents like Dubya, and now Obama get the authority to issue such blanket, unilateral decrees, totalitarian “executive orders,” such as Obama’s “National Defense Preparedness Order” of this year, which would force us to work for the Pentagon? The answer: No where! They have no authority! Particularly to set up parallel systems of jurisprudence as a means of by-passing Constitutional protections. In historical fact, this approach has a parallel in earlier maneuvers of another former “executive,” Adolph Hitler. (see Hitler’s Justice: The Courts of the Third Reich, Ingo Muller, Harvard, 1991)

http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2012/03/16/executive-order-national-defense-resources-preparedness

Concurrent with the round-up of over a thousand people following the September 11 attack, many of whom are still being held, many in solitary confinement, with no charges being filed, President Bush signed in November 2001 an order, establishing military “tribunals” for those non-citizens, accused, anywhere, of “terrorist related crimes.” And now, with the NDAA, citizens might soon face the same fate. Just imagine some smug and starchy government lawyer arguing that “the right to equal protection,” a fundamental principle of both U.S. and international law, demands that Americans be detained too!

At the time (2001), the National Legal Aid & Defender Association stated that the Bush promulgated “military order” violated the constitutional separation of powers:

“It has not been authorized by the Congress and is outside the President’s constitutional powers … the order strips away a variety of checks and balances on governmental power and the reliability and integrity of criminal judgments… undermines the rule of law worldwide, and invites reciprocal treatment of US nationals by hostile nations utilizing secret trials, a single entity as prosecutor, judge and jury, no judicial review and summary executions.”

More recently, in October 2009, the U.S. Congress passed and Obama dutifully signed the Military Commissions Act of 2009 (2009 MCA), which remains in effect today, legalizing further, if you will, the naked power grab by the executive in behalf of the elite. Since then the “Office of Military Commissions” has been set up as a public relations/propaganda front for the dictatorship. It promises to “provide fair and transparent trials of those persons subject to trial by Military Commissions while protecting national security interests.” Kind of like Fox’s “fair and balanced” news reporting. http://www.mc.mil/

Finally, we should recall that the NDAA of past years, aside from providing the funding of vast sums for illegal and immoral wars, torture and assassination, has been the site of various embedded measures designed to further limit our democratic rights of free expression and assembly, which is the foundation of effective and meaningful dissent. One such measure dates back to 2007, to the then so-called John Warner NDAA, named after militarism’s best friend and sponsor of the iconic AUMF.

Public Law 109-364, or the “John Warner Defense Authorization Act of 2007″ (H.R.5122), was signed by George Bush on October 17th, 2006, in a private Oval Office ceremony. It allowed the President to declare a “public emergency” and subsequently station troops anywhere in America, seizing control of state-based National Guard units without the consent of the governor or local authorities, in order to “suppress public disorder.” Well, fortunately, a massive protest ensued and the sections of the law that allowed for such were eventually repealed in the midst of which Senator Pat Leahy commented that, “we certainly do not need to make it easier for Presidents to declare martial law.” Preparing to order the military onto the streets of America, the presumption is that some form of martial law would be in evidence. Note that the term for putting an area under military law enforcement control is precise; the term is “martial law.”

http://towardfreedom.com/home/content/view/911/

The concept of martial rule, as distinct from martial law, is not written, and therefore is an eminently more workable arrangement for “law enforcement forces.” That’s because, as US Army Field Manual 19-15 points out, “martial rule is based on public necessity. Public necessity in this sense means public safety.” According to the manual (cited above), updated in 2005, U.S. state authorities “may take such action within their own jurisdictions.” And yet, “whether or not martial rule has been proclaimed, commanders must weigh each proposed action against the threat to public order and safety. If the need for martial rule arises, the military commander at the scene must so inform the Army Chief of Staff and await instructions. If martial rule is imposed, the civilian population must be informed of the restrictions and rules of conduct that the military can enforce.”

Now, respecting the power of free speech, the manual suggests that, “during a civil disturbance, it may be advisable to prevent people from assembling. Civil law can make it unlawful for people to meet to plan an act of violence, rioting, or civil disturbance. Prohibitions on assembly may forbid gatherings at any place and time.” And don’t forget, “making hostile or inflammatory speeches advocating the overthrow of the lawful government and threats against public officials, if it endangered public safety, could violate such law.”

Further, during civil disturbance operations, “authorities must be prepared to detain large numbers of people,” forcing them into existing, though expanded “detention facilities.” Cautioning that, “if there are more detainees than civil detention facilities can handle, civil authorities may ask the control forces to set up and operate temporary facilities.” Pending the approval of the Army Chief of Staff, the military can detain and jail citizens en masse. “The temporary facilities are set up on the nearest military installation or on suitable property under federal control.” These “temporary facilities” are “supervised and controlled by MP officers and NCOs trained and experienced in Army correctional operations. Guards and support personnel under direct supervision and control of MP officers and NCOs need not be trained or experienced in Army correctional operations. But they must be specifically instructed and closely supervised in the proper use of force.”

According to the Army, the detention facilities are situated near to the “disturbance area,” but far enough away “not to be endangered by riotous acts.” Given the large numbers of potential detainees, the logistics (holding, searching, processing areas) of such an undertaking, new construction of such facilities “may be needed to provide the segregation for ensuring effective control and administration.” It must be designed and “organized for a smooth flow of traffic,” while a medical “treatment area” would be utilized as a “separate holding area for injured detainees.” After a “detainee is logged in and searched,” “a file is initiated,” and a “case number” identifies the prisoner. In addition, “facility personnel also may use hospital ID tags. Using indelible ink, they write the case number and attach the tag to the detainees wrist. Different colors may be used to identify different offender classifications ”

Finally, if and when it should occur, “release procedures must be coordinated with civil authorities and appropriate legal counsel.” If the “detainee” should produce a writ of habeas corpus issued by a state court, thereby demanding ones day in court, the Army will “respectfully reply that the prisoner is being held by authority of the United States.”

In conclusion:

There is no question that the militarized police state, in all its myriad permutations has arrived. In fact, the militarizing of American cities and society as a whole proceeds apace in lock step (Cities Under Seige: The New Military Urbanism, Stephen Graham, 2010) with the racist, anti-immigrant “defense” of the borders, a veritable cash cow for military contractors, booming. The cities, the borders, so how bout the skies? Well, as this is being written, the latest 2013 NDAA discussions include a Senate Armed Services Committee call to allow drones to operate “freely and routinely” in America!

http://www.fas.org/irp/congress/2012_cr/sasc-uas.html

http://nacla.org/blog/2012/6/7/bringing-battlefield-border-wild-world-border-security-and-boundary-building-arizona

Meanwhile, the GAO has just issued a report to Congress entitled “DOD Should Reevaluate Requirements for the Selective Service System” which calls for an evaluation of Pentagon “manpower needs for the Selective Service System in light of current national security plans.” Such an evaluation would, the report notes, “better position Congress to make an informed decision about the necessity of the Selective Service System or any other alternatives that might substitute for it.”

http://cryptome.org/2012/06/gao-12-623.pdf

Yes indeed, the water is boiling. Not to mix metaphors, but it’s time to jump out of the frying pan and hopefully not into the fire, which I take to mean that we must confront and deconstruct, in a non-violent way, the increasing potential for far more violence and suppression of our basic freedoms. The handing over of our resources, lives, fortune and reputation to a clique of thieves and murderers dressed up as presidents, congress people and corporate military executives and underlings is to foster our continued enslavement to the perpetrators of injustice and genocide, here and broad, inequality and greed, here and abroad, and signals the political suicide for our republic. We have got to act to stop the police state and reassert the values of community, justice and equality in the councils of governance. And to do so we must dis-empower the militarists.

One thing we can do right now is to initiate organizing campaigns in neighborhoods and communities across the country aimed at the passing of Posse Comitatus-like legislation on the local and state level, encouraging dialogue on the de-militarization of our communities, and raising the human right to be free of the violation inherent in all forms of militarism. By removing all aspects of militarism from domestic policing, lock, stock and barrel, we can expand the terrain of dissent and begin to reclaim our country back from the economic vultures and parasites and their violent mercenaries who are killing this country and the world. But first we must criminalize, like the Posse Comitatus Act does, all military involvement in law enforcement.

Communities must organize to de-militarize their police

Communities must organize to de-militarize their police. By analyzing police budgets, cutting the “special ops” training and funding and weapons transfers that fuel the militarization of law enforcement, we will most certainly decrease the level of police violence directed against the citizenry, and bridge issues and communities concerned with the epidemic of racist “police brutality” and the burgeoning of militarized police forces, veritable occupation armies in communities of color across America.

Along with criminalizing the militarization of local police we must work to criminalize racial profiling on the part of the police, a practice (indoctrinated in soldiers) that provides naked justification for “stop and frisk” harassment and the murde

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10 Pictures That Show How America Is Becoming A Lot Like Nazi Germany

The history books tell us about how evil and wicked the Nazis were, so why aren’t we more alarmed that the United States is becoming more like Nazi Germany with each passing day?  More than three years ago, I wrote an article entitled “25 Signs That America Is Rapidly Becoming More Like Nazi Germany” which got a ton of attention.  Unfortunately, nothing has gotten better since I first published that piece.  Government control freaks are still watching us, tracking us, recording our phone calls and monitoring our emails.  TSA thugs at our airports are still fondling the private parts of our women and children and laughing while they do it.  Our police and our military are still training for civil unrest and martial law in America.  And even though our politicians are socializing our economy and destroying our constitutional freedoms, the American people keep sending most of them back to Washington time after time.  It is an incredibly sad thing to watch the country that you love slowly die right in front of your eyes.

At the heart of Nazism was a desire to control everyone and everything, and that is exactly what we are seeing in America today.  Most of our “leaders” are psychotic control freaks that want to micromanage every aspect of our lives.  For example, a bill that was just introduced in Congress would force all children in public schools nationwide to be vaccinated with no exceptions whatsoever.  Other new legislation that was just introduced would ban all sales of ammunition over the Internet and require ammo dealers to report all bulk sales to individuals to the government.  Our founders intended for this nation to be a place where individual freedom and liberty were maximized, but today we literally have millions of laws, rules and regulations that wrap us so tightly in red tape that we can hardly breathe.

To say that we are becoming just like the Nazis is a very strong statement, but I think that after reviewing the evidence you will agree with me.  The following are 10 pictures that show how America is becoming just like Nazi Germany…

#1 It surprises most people to learn that the Nazis were actually radical leftists that had great animosity for free market capitalism.  For example, National Socialist theologian Gregor Strasser once made the following statement

We National Socialists are enemies, deadly enemies, of the present capitalist system with its exploitation of the economically weak … and we are resolved under all circumstances to destroy this system.

With that in mind, I want you to check out the following political cartoon from 1934.  The same kinds of things that helped the communists rise to power in Russia and the Nazis rise to power in Germany are happening in the United States today…

#2 Just like in Nazi Germany, political leaders in America tend to foster cult followings.  At this point, there are millions of Americans that would support Barack Obama and believe whatever he had to say even if he was sacrificing children on the White House lawn.  These kinds of followers are called “sheeple” for a reason…

#3 The Nazis were well known for their brutal police tactics, and that is definitely true of us today.  The following photo is a powerful commentary on the transformation of police in America over the past several decades…

Just recently, representatives from 117 countries confronted the U.S. about all of this police brutality at the United Nations’ Human Rights Council.  Unfortunately, I don’t think that this is actually going to change anything…

The United States was slammed over its rights record Monday at the United Nations’ Human Rights Council, with member nations criticizing the country for police violence and racial discrimination, the Guantánamo Bay Detention Facility and the continued use of the death penalty.

The issue of racism and police brutality dominated the discussion on Monday during the country’s second universal periodic review (UPR). Country after country recommended that the U.S. strengthen legislation and expand training to eliminate racism and excessive use of force by law enforcement.

#4 Why do so many of our police insist on dressing up like Darth Vader these days?  Yes, I know that body armor is called for in certain situations, but many believe that the primary goal of these outfits is to intimidate.  The following photo was submitted to Flickr by Elvert Barnes…

#5 In recent years, the American people have become conditioned to seeing troops in our streets.  This next picture is from the Ferguson protests.  The fact that sharpshooters were deployed on rooftops during the unrest there is more than a little disconcerting…

#6 Just like in Ferguson, when rioting started in Baltimore the police were initially ordered to stand down and allow it to spiral out of control.  Then after a few hours, National Guard troops were finally deployed to help restore order.  We are slowly getting used to the idea that martial law in our cities is a good thing…

#7 Meanwhile, “progressives” continue to use our system of public education to launch a relentless attack on the values that this country was founded upon.  The Nazis were also big believers in “public education”, and they used it with shocking efficiency.  Today, our children are being brainwashed to accept “progressive values”, and most Americans don’t seem to be too concerned about what is happening…

#8 Yes, the Nazis loved gun control.  In fact, they eventually had everyone in the general population turn in their guns, and that is precisely what the “progressives” would love to see take place in the U.S. today.  But what would this country look like if that actually happened?  I think that this next photo which has been circulating on Facebook gives us a clue…

#9 Under the Nazis, the Germans were taught to salute a new flag and to adopt an entirely new set of values.  In America today, it is not “politically correct” to display the American flag publicly or to show honor for it.  Instead, we are being trained to think of ourselves as “global citizens” and to never question the growing power of international institutions such as the United Nations.  Fortunately, there are many Americans that never plan to accept the “global governance” that the elitists have planned…

#10 In the end, the reason why the Nazis were so successful in Germany was because the vast majority of the German population simply complied with their demands.  As Americans, we are going to be faced with our own choices in the years ahead…

So what do you think?

Is America becoming more like Nazi Germany?

Please feel free to share what you think by posting a comment below…

US judicial system based on white supremacy: Activist

Press TV has conducted an interview with Yejide Orunmila, a member of the African People’s Socialist Party in Washington, to discuss the acquittal of a white police officer in who shot dead an unarmed black teenager in the state of Wisconsin.

The following is a rough transcription of the interview.

Press TV: Many accuse the American judiciary system of being full of flaws. Until when do you think white officers are going to walk freely like this?

Orunmila: The American judicial system is based on a worldwide system of white supremacy, and that is capitalism and imperialism. It is all tied into the foundation of having control over African people and control over other oppressed people of the world. That is the only it is able to function. And what we are seeing right now is the police acting in the United States in the manner in which they were established to control populations of blacks and other peoples who were not meant to be in this country, who they want to control in order to continue to exploit and oppress as a way to exploit and gain resources from my community.

And so therefore there is not going to be a change underneath this system. The change will only come only as Africans and other oppressed people can rise up and overturn this system that continues to oppress us and exploit us and kill us and murder us in the streets.

Press TV: Besides the judicial system, we are speaking at a time when police brutality is at its highest. What can be done to usher in a whole new police culture do you think?

Orunmila: I do not think that the police brutality or violence is at its highest. I think what we are seeing now is we are seeing more visual and more stories come to light. This has been happening since this country was established. It is a purveyor of violence. It continues to kill and maim people especially African people, it hung people from trees, it murdered people in mass, it burnt down entire villages and communities of black people, it murdered the Indians. This is the continuation of a culture that is part of the fabric of the United States.

So in terms of white officers, I think that we have to understand that whether they are white or black or any other color, ... it is their responsibility to act in the interest of the people that control them, which are white people. And so we need to understand that when we band together as people who are just tired of seeing this violence, we have a chance now to have power in our hands by really taking it to the streets and really pushing the agenda being bold and being action-based.

Press TV: Speaking about those demonstrations you are talking about, they say if it weren’t for the demonstrations, the six officers involved in the Baltimore case would have not been arrested. How far do you think the people are going to take their demonstrations?

Orunmila: I think the demonstrations are going to be taken as far as they could possibly go. What we are calling is for people to get organized. So it is great to go out into the streets and really bring the type of power and bring the type of response but the reality is that whether or not these cops have been indicted, let’s see if they are going to go ahead and be put to jail. Let’s see if all six of them go to jail for the murder of our people and we have to get organized. That is the fundamental question. How are we going to change this system and we cannot do that by just being angry and going to the streets for ten days. We need to change our relationship to the police, we need to change that relationship to the state and the government.

AHK/HSN

Racist Israeli Policies Target Arabs and Ethiopian Jews

Racist Israeli Policies Target Arabs and Ethiopian Jews

by Stephen Lendman

Longstanding Israeli policy is notoriously racist - worse than South African apartheid according to observers familiar with both systems.

Palestinians face ruthless persecution in a nation affording rights to privileged Jews alone. They have virtually none whatever. 

They're fair game for whatever harshness Israel has in mind - including lawless imprisonment and mass murder.

Ethiopian Jews fare no better - unwanted because they're black. Citizenship doesn't matter. Persecuting them is standard Israeli practice.

Last week a video emerged showing police beating an Ethiopian IDF member.

On Sunday, thousands of Ethiopian Israelis protested mostly peacefully - against what happened and widespread discrimination.

Hundreds of Israeli social activists and concerned Knesset members joined Sunday's rally. It came three days after an earlier one protesting police beating an Ethiopian Israeli soldier.

Police reacted as expected - viciously with stun grenades, water cannon fire, pepper spray and beatings.

Scattered protester violence was in response to policy brutality - mostly scuffles, throwing stones and plastic water bottles.

Numerous injuries and arrests followed. Participants chanted "Violent police officers belong in jail." "For blacks and whites, racism is the devil." "Police state." "No to racism."

They held signs saying "A violent policeman must be put in prison." "We demand equal rights."

Not in Israel notorious for ruthlessly denying them. One protester spoke for others saying:

"Being black, I have to protest today. I never experienced police violence against me personally, but it is aimed at my community which I have to support."

Protesters want social inequality addressed. They want violent police charged, tried, convicted and imprisoned for criminality too serious to ignore.

Netanyahu lied saying police abuse cases "will be looked into." Whitewash is standard Israeli policy.  

Over 135,000 Ethiopian Jews live in Israel. They're treated like second-class citizens or worse.

Their fundamental rights are denied. They face high unemployment, rotten jobs when available, poverty wages and discriminatory mistreatment.

A midday Monday rally is planned. Police warned if "public safety" is threatened, they'll "be forced to disperse the demonstration using means" of crowd control - code language for unrestrained brutality.

Nineteen Sunday protesters face charges of rioting and assaulting police. Innocence is no defense. Guilt by accusation is longstanding Israeli policy. Police brutality doesn't matter.

One protester said the following:

"We have long been the punching bag and scapegoat for everything in this country. People say that they’re with us, that they brought us here." 

"They didn’t bring us here. We came because of Zionism, not like others who came for economic benefits." 

"When you’re a Zionist, you believe with a full heart that this is your country."

"Our forefathers lived here, and we also have the right to live here. But what is going on now is simply a catastrophe." 

"It is racism for the sake of racism. You look for a job today, and even if you’re the best around, there’s a price. Your color carries a price.

"But we will not stay silent any longer. We are not our parents’ generation, who kept quiet, kept their heads down and said ‘amen’ to everything." 

"That period is over. We are a new generation fighting for our rights."

"We are the first to volunteer for the elite units in the military. I personally know many in the community who’ve already fought in three wars." 

"And the state - what it does it tell them to do? Pardon the expression, but it tells them to go stick it you know where."

A 19-year-old protesting IDF soldier said:

"There are too many instances of racism against our community. We kept quiet and kept quiet, and because of that, people who were victims of police violence ended up killing themselves." 

"The boy who was beaten up last week, you can see on the video that he didn’t do anything. He was beaten up for nothing, and it’s really enraging."

"What we’re doing now has nothing to do with what’s going on in Baltimore. They have their issues. We have ours. But we understand them. We both suffer from racism." 

"There, it’s more extreme. People were murdered by police. Here they just got beaten up. Who knows? Maybe somebody was killed by police here, and we don’t even know about it."

"In any event, we will not be silent any longer. It can’t be that our blood is only good for fighting wars." 

Another protesting black soldier said "I almost lost my life for the country, and this is how they treat me."

An Ethiopian protester told Israeli bystanders: "See, our blood is just like yours."

Another said "I feel like we're strangers, like we're not Jews. We fight all these wars, but this is the real war" - for long denied justice.

Things quieted down Sunday around midnight. What happens Monday and thereafter remains to be seen.

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at [email protected] 

His new book as editor and contributor is titled "Flashpoint in Ukraine: US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III."

http://www.claritypress.com/LendmanIII.html

Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com. 

Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network.


It airs three times weekly: live on Sundays at 1PM Central time plus two prerecorded archived programs. 

Occupy Central is undermining stability

Hong Kong has been brought to a standstill over the past several weeks as the territory’s pro-democracy movement clogged major roads and transport arteries, blocking traffic in a sustained campaign of civil disobedience. Clashes between demonstrators and local business owners, taxi drivers, and other residents have become commonplace due to the strain placed on the economy by the protest movement.


Irrespective of whether one supports the movement or not, it is self-evident that the sustained protest strategy has long ceased to be constructive. The number of participants has dwindled to the low hundreds in most cases. As evidenced by reports and video footage of chaotic altercations, the persistence of the movement is undermining the city’s social fabric and stability. Support for the Occupy camp is also eroding as business and transport disruptions persist.


Occupy Central is the latest manifestation of an increasingly common kind of movement, whereby a consolidated group of frustrated young demonstrators occupy public areas and refuse to disperse until their demands are met. Elder protest leaders and opportunistic opposition politicians set the agenda, while hordes of students enforce their demands on the street. In the push to achieve the goal of the campaign, the negative impact on local businesses and people’s lives are of little concern.

While movements like these tend to crop up in highly polarized societies, protestors will shrewdly accept nothing less than their demands, even if they represent a contentious minority position. That these groups sing the praises of ‘democracy’ makes for good satire. However, to dismiss these movements altogether as an annoyance or threat to public disorder obfuscates important political signals which need to be listened to.


As it pertains to Hong Kong, an extremely complex set of social and economic factors motivates and fuels the protest movement. The rising eminence of mainland cities as shipping and financial hubs casts a shadow over Hong Kong, which has long ceased to serve as an exclusive gateway into China for foreign investors and banks.


Beijing has taken a hands-off approach to Hong Kong, allowing the territory to operate with a high degree of political autonomy. While there is little evidence of the central government trying to assert its authority and systems onto the territory, the large volume of mainlanders who come to Hong Kong as tourists and property-buyers have instilled in many the notion that Hong Kong risks being absorbed into the mainland’s social and cultural milieu.


The idea of protecting the territory’s unique identity from absorption into the larger polity propounds demonstrators with an ardent sense of urgency and justice. It is undeniable that Hong Kong is rife with chauvinist attitudes toward mainlanders. The demonstrations, in turn, have become an avenue for protestors to assert their status and identity, veiled under a homogenizing pro-democracy banner. Mainland reactions to the protests have been lukewarm because these sentiments can be widely inferred.


Another more obvious factor is economic in nature, pertaining to the territory’s soaring income inequality and the increasing difficulty to make ends meet. The ‘Hong Kong dream’ is fast evaporating, as young people increasingly view barriers to home-ownership and greater material affluence as becoming ever more pronounced. Most poignantly, there is a major trust deficit toward the current administration that could continue to widen and polarize society. 


International media coverage, which has echoed the sympathetic statements made in favor of the protestors by Western governments, has oversimplified the Occupy Central movement by overlooking questions of identity and dislocation. The movement has been framed through a familiar cookie-cutter narrative that is averse to criticizing the student movement whilst often exaggerating the extent of police misconduct.


Teargas was used to disperse the protestors, which had the unintended effect of galvanizing support for the movement, only when students attempted to storm government buildings. In contrast to the heavy-handed conduct and police brutality that has been repeatedly demonstrated in Europe and the United States, the actions of the Hong Kong police were highly restrained throughout. These demonstrations have proved beyond doubt that the Hong Kong authorities have respected their citizens’ rights to assemble.


Western media has also mischaracterized the historical treaty between Britain and China that set conditions for the handover, while obfuscating a critical point: that implementing the universal suffrage system was Beijing’s idea. Nowhere in the 1984 Sino-British Joint Declaration is universal suffrage mentioned. As it pertains to the territory’s Basic Law, the chief executive will be elected by universal suffrage upon nomination by a broadly representative nominating committee.


There is no substance to the allegation that China ‘reneged on its commitment’ to offer universal suffrage, because the law always stipulated that a nominating committee would approve candidates for chief executive. By selectively reporting from pro-Occupy perspectives, the Western media has created an impression that Beijing is suppressing democracy, when in fact the population will be directly electing the chief executive through one-person-one-vote for the first time in history in 2017.

The one-person-one-vote system was never a feature of life under British colonial rule. By 2020, both the chief executive and legislative council be will elected through universal suffrage, representing a move toward popular ballot-box politics. A 1,200-member electoral college currently elects the chief executive; therefore, the accommodation of direct elections will be undeniably more representative than the current arrangement.


It is hardly surprising that the figures associated with the Occupy Central movement, be they student leaders or opposition politicians, have a relationship with the US government, through its foundation, the National Endowment for Democracy (NED). The organization channeled hundreds of thousands into programs to mobilize university students to demand universal suffrage, while the media has campaigned on their behalf, romanticizing the so-called ‘Umbrella Revolution’ on 24-hour news cycles in the West.


In keeping with other campaigns that have been bolstered by NED’s largesse, the protest movement brands itself with a symbol or color – the umbrella in this case – which is peddled as a fashion statement. The fact that these movements speak with emotions rather than facts make ‘revolution’ a very easy product to sell. Washington’s statements in support of Occupy Central are staggeringly hypocritical given the heavy-handed suppression of the US Occupy movement over the years, in addition to the regular accounts of police brutality that have enflamed race-relations in places such as Ferguson.

US support for the demonstrations in Hong Kong should be seen as part and parcel of a wider strategy by Washington to encourage agitation in China’s periphery regions and territorial disputes. It is only a matter of time before the protest movement loses steam, but the complex attitudes driving the discontent will not be easy to placate. Dialogue between the government and opposing forces will need to take place eventually, but the movement needs to know when to compromise.

A version of this commentary appeared in the Global Times.

Nile Bowie is a columnist with Russia Today, and a research affiliate with the International Movement for a Just World (JUST), an NGO based in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. He can be reached at [email protected].

Clashes put Jewish-Arab relations in Israel to the test

Middle East Eye – 7 July 2014

Black, pungent smoke from burning tyres mixed with white, even more acrid plumes of tear gas to create an ugly grey smog eclipsing Nazareth’s most famous landmark, the imposing spire of the Basilica of the Annunciation.

Clashes over the weekend between youths and police in Israel’s largest Palestinian city have not been seen on this scale since the outbreak of the Second Intifada in late 2000.

Then, thirteen of Israel’s Palestinian citizens, including three residents of Nazareth, were shot dead in the Galilee in a few days of clashes with police, who fired live ammunition and rubber bullets on mostly unarmed demonstrators.

Fourteen years later, long-simmering tensions have erupted once more into angry protests in an increasing number of Palestinian towns and villages across Israel.

Initially, they mostly followed the pattern of stone-throwing skirmishes with Israeli security forces that began last week in Jerusalem.

But, as anger mounted at the weekend, confrontations included the hurling of firebombs at police and the closure of several major roads that run past Palestinian communities in the country’s north and south. Dozens of protesters have been arrested since Sunday.

Waiting to explode

Ali Said, 25, a worker in a bakery next to the main entrance of Nazareth, where several hundred youths faced off with Israeli police on Saturday, said the clashes were triggered, as in Jerusalem, by the news of the grisly murder of a Palestinian teenager by Jewish extremists.

Sixteen-year-old Muhammad Abu Khdeir was kidnapped from near his home in the East Jerusalem neighbourhood of Shuafat and burnt alive, apparently in revenge for the abductions and murders last month of three Israeli teenagers in the West Bank.

Three of six Israelis arrested for the murder were reported on Monday to have confessed.

“People here are really shocked by this, and they need to let off steam,” said Said. “Relations between Jews and Arabs have got much worse in recent years because of this right-wing government. All it needed was a trigger like this for everything to explode.”

Said noted that a general mood of anger had been stoked in recent months by a rash of hate crimes committed by Israeli Jews against Palestinian communities, including attacks on mosques and churches.

That view received support at the weekend from Yuval Diskin, a former head of the Shin Bet, Israel’s intelligence agency. He accused the government of being blinded by political illusions, including a refusal to recognise attacks by settlers in Israel and the occupied Palestinian territories as “blatant racism”.

Luna Zraik, who runs a restaurant in the Big Fashion shopping mall close to where the protesters and police fought, said she and many of the customers had a bird’s eye view of unfolding events from the mall’s parking lot on the roof.

“The police were shooting large quantities of tear gas. The youths hid their faces with the keffiyeh [a Palestinian scarf], waved Palestinian flags, and burnt tyres to close the road. They threw so many stones that by the end you could barely see the tarmac. I’ve never seen anything like it.”

Terrified customers

Since the opening of Big Fashion four years ago, Nazareth has become a magnet for shopping for Israeli Jews from the surrounding area. The mall includes major international clothing outlets rarely found elsewhere in the country’s north.

“When tear gas started wafting into the mall, the Jewish shoppers, in particular, looked terrified,” said Zraik. “One woman said she was worried she would be killed if we didn’t help her to escape.”

Israel’s large Palestinian minority, comprising a fifth of the total population, has long complained of systematic and institutional discrimination. But five years of Benjamin Netanyahu’s right-wing government, with its inflexible approach to peace-making and hostile policies towards the Palestinian minority, have soured communal relations even further.

Commentators have noted that these latest clashes followed the collapse in April of US-sponsored peace negotiations, just as the Second Intifada broke out in the wake of the failed Camp David talks of 2000.

Among Palestinian communities in Israel, Nazareth has been one of the beneficiaries of Israel’s recent strong economic performance. But a sense of political hopelessness pervades Nazareth and the Galilee just as much as it does the occupied territories of Jerusalem, Gaza and the West Bank.

Uneasy union

A four-lane highway, Road 75, is all that separates Nazareth, the minority’s unofficial capital, from Upper Nazareth, a city founded on Nazareth’s land reserves by Israeli officials decades ago in a failed attempt to create a commanding Jewish majority in the heart of the Galilee.

In recent years, despite a national policy of keeping Jewish and Palestinian citizens largely apart, at least residentially, the lives of the two communities have increasingly merged into an uneasy and unexpected union.

Jews now regularly shop and eat in Nazareth, while Nazareth’s residents, facing a mounting housing crisis caused by government planning policies, have started moving in ever larger numbers into Upper Nazareth.

So far, the violence sweeping Palestinian communities inside Israel – and to a lesser extent, Jewish areas – has not led to a fatality. In most cases, the Palestinian protesters’ anger has been directed at Israeli security forces or visible symbols of the state.

The fear, however, is that, should fighting erupt between Jewish and Palestinian citizens in places where they live or work together – such as in Nazareth and Upper Nazareth – things could rapidly deteriorate further.

On Sunday night, trouble flared again when a group of Jewish residents from Upper Nazareth stood next to Road 75 chanting “Death to the Arabs!”.

Nazareth’s youths faced off with them, hurling stones and firecrackers, including reportedly some that were thrown at a nearby fire station, one of the few official Israeli institutions in Nazareth.

On Monday morning, as Nazareth sunk back into a sleepy Ramadan fast through the difficult summer heat, there were few signs of the previous night’s troubles. The only clues were the steady stream of police vehicles patrolling Road 75, including an armour-plated water canon.

Iron fist

Israeli Jews in Upper Nazareth have been shocked deepest by reports of what occurred in Qalansuwa, a Palestinian town in central Israel – and close to the West Bank – that rarely makes the news.

There, youths created a roadblock on a nearby highway on Saturday and checked motorists to see if they were Jewish. In two cases, drivers were attacked, and had to flee. One had his car torched.

In Jerusalem, where the two communities also live and work in close proximity, especially given Israel’s policy of creating illegal settlements in the eastern, Palestinian half of the city, the roles were reversed. Mobs of Israeli Jews rampaged through the city seeking out Palestinian workers and taxi drivers to beat in revenge for the killing of the three teens.

Israeli security forces in Jerusalem have sought to contain the clashes with Palestinian youths mostly to the eastern half of the city. In Shuafat, where Abu Khdeir was kidnapped, as in Nazareth, youths have chiefly turned on symbols of Israeli rule and repression. They have thrown stones at police and damaged the light rail system that passes through their neighbourhood.

At the weekend, Avigdor Lieberman, Israel’s hawkish foreign minister, called for an “iron fist” to be used against the Palestinian protesters, whom he referred to as “terrorists”.

‘Not our country’

It was an approach that found favour with Nahum Pittarov, a 35-year-old warehouse worker from Upper Nazareth who, like Lieberman, traces his roots to Moldova.

“We are heading towards a third intifada,” he said decisively in the Kanyon mall, on the other side of the highway from Nazareth. Pittarov denied official statistics to argue that claims by Palestinian citizens of discrimination were unfounded. “They have better houses than us, and they get more money from the government.”

He added: “It’s like this is not our country. It is scary – I wouldn’t go into Nazareth at the moment. When the Arabs start their riots, who pays the price? Us. The police shut the streets so we can’t leave our homes, telling us it’s for our own safety.”

Although a commonly expressed fear, a third intifada may be further off than it appears to many Israeli Jews.

Samer Shtayyeh, a masters student from Jerusalem studying the role of Mahmoud Abbas’ Palestinian Authority (PA) in the West Bank, thought a new intifada was unlikely.

“We are seeing the Palestinians of ’48 [the areas conquered by Israel in 1948] and those in Jerusalem taking the lead because the PA has no involvement there. In the West Bank, on the other hand, the PA are repressing all signs of protest. They don’t want another intifada any more than Israel does.”

Shtayyeh said the lack so far of a coherent political leadership meant that the protests would most likely remain weak and disorganised. “You need someone directing the anger to make it effective. If it stays this way, it will eventually peter out.”

Police brutality

Most observers agreed that the police’s behaviour in the coming days would be decisive. A video of paramilitary police in Jerusalem beating a cuffed and helpless 15-year-old Palestinian American, a relative of murdered Muhammad Abu Khdeir, severely exacerbated tensions at the weekend.

But Said, in the Nazareth bakery, noted that generally the police had not been following Lieberman’s iron-first policy. They had so far handled the clashes more cautiously than in October 2000, when 13 Palestinian citizens were killed and hundreds wounded in a few days.

“This time they have mostly kept their distance to the edges of the city, letting the anger subside rather than storming in all guns blazing. They seem to be worried about inflaming the situation here further.”

In the Kanyon, a woman wearing Islamic headdress was getting her phone fixed at a stall run by a recently demobilised soldier. Ilan, who would not give his last name, served her without any visible animosity.

Only after she left did he quietly confide: “They are the ones who start the violence. The world doesn’t understand that. It’s only when we are under attack that we retaliate.”

There was the odd dissenting view. Marlene Mamistvalov, 28, a shop assistant in a kitchen equipment store, admitted she held opinions shared by few of her friends. “When people are afraid, on both sides, they do stupid things. All of us need to listen to each other more.”

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Scoundrel Media War on Russia

Scoundrel Media War on Russia

by Stephen Lendman

Scoundrel media editors find new ways to embarrass themselves. They mock legitimate news and opinion. 

They suppress it. They violate fundamental journalistic standards doing so.

They suck up to power. They support monied interests. They deplore popular ones. They endorse Western aggression. They do it repeatedly.

They blame victims for horrific US crimes committed against them. They condemn Putin for responsibly defending the safety and security of endangered Russian nationals.

Thank heavens he's around. He's the one world leader challenging the damn fool in the White House responsibly.

He's our best hope for world peace. He deserves worldwide support. His best efforts may not be enough.

Neocons infest Washington. They threaten everyone. The damn fool in the White House risks starting WW III.

His damn fool Secretary of State John Kerry said "we're now discussing all of the options."

He outrageously accused Russia of "aggression." No nation commits it more often against more nonbelligerent nations than America.

It wages one lawless war after another. It ravages and destroys countries doing so. Kerry is an unindicted war criminal. So is the damn fool in the White House.

They threaten world peace. They risk potential armageddon. Media scoundrels cheerlead what demands condemnation.

They denounce what demands praise. When America goes to war or plans one, they march in lockstep. They do it disgracefully.

New York Times editors stand out. They masquerade as legitimate journalists. They feature managed news misinformation rubbish. 

They endorsed Ukrainian putschists. They ousted a democratically elected government. They did so with well-planned US help. 

Stop NATO's Rick Rozoff called their coup the most overt one since Mussolini's 1922 march on Rome. It's no exaggeration. Nothing in recent memory matches their brazenness. 

Times editors are mindless of mob rule governance. Fanatical putschists run things. They scare hell out of everyone paying attention.

Times editors turn a blind eye. Journalism the way it's supposed to be is verboten. On March 2, they headlined "Russia's Aggression." 

They outrageously accused Putin of "exploit(ing) the Ukrainian crisis to seize control of Crimea (as well as) any other power grab he may be hatching."

They ludicrously claimed "an immediate threat to Ukrainian Russians is empty." Crimean self-defense volunteers already put down an attempt by Kiev infiltrators to seize government buildings.

Times editors ignore what refutes their arguments. They lied claiming Ukrainians in Crimea are endangered. 

They have nothing to fear from responsible governance. Democrats in charge prioritize public safety.

Times editors wrongfully accused ousted President Viktor Yanukovych of coup plotter killings. 

They murdered civilians in cold blood. They gunned down Kiev security forces. They did so in Independence Square. 

Neo-Nazi snipers fired from rooftops. They operated from windows in nearby buildings. Everything that happened was well choreographed in advance. 

Washington's dirty hands manipulated things. Obama bears full responsibility. He partnered with fascist thugs. He's got another imperial trophy. 

Keeping it is another matter entirely. Ukrainians nationwide won't likely tolerate what's planned for them. Perhaps real revolutionary fervor will erupt.

Times editors are consistent. They're on the wrong side of history. They ignore facts. They bury them. 

They make stuff up. They lie for power. They do it to defend the indefensible.

They lied claiming Putin wants "control over Crimea." He wants to "humiliate Ukraine," they said.

They want Obama, NATO and EU leaders challenging Putin "if (he) escalates his intervention in Ukraine."

He supports its sovereign independence. He opposes Washington's direct role in replacing democratic Ukrainian governance with mob rule fascists. Don't expect Times editors to explain.

Neocon Washington Post editors want more direct US intervention. They support ousting Syria's Assad forcibly. They endorse fascists usurping power in Ukraine.

They headlined "President Obama's foreign policy is based on fantasy." They bashed Assad, China's Xi Jinping and Putin.

They want Obama confronting them more aggressively. If he "doesn't make the case for global engagement, no one else" will for him, they said.

They claimed "the tide of democracy in the world" is "retrenching." They ignored Washington's direct role in subverting it at home and abroad. 

In previous editorials, they barely stopped short of urging direct US intervention. They support Ukrainian fascists retaining power.

David Ignatius is one of many WaPo neocon columnists. He has longstanding close US intelligence ties. He's no journalist. He's a propagandist.

He openly favors arming anti-Assad death squads. He reports what Washington bullies want stressed. 

Inconvenient facts are dismissed. Lies, damn lies and misinformation substitute. On March 2, he headlined "Putin's error in Ukraine is the kind that leads to catastrophe."

He lied claiming he "invad(ed) Crimea." He did no such thing. He'll deploy military forces to protect Russian nationals if needed. Any responsible leader would do the same thing.

Ignatius turned facts on their head. He claimed "former Soviet satellites" are "prosperous" EU members. 

He ignored deepening poverty, unemployment and deprivation throughout its member states.

He ludicrously claimed countries making up the former Yugoslavia "emerged as strong democracies." Pro-Western puppet governments run them.

He blamed Yanukovych for fascist street thug crimes. They "courageous(ly) braved the cold and police brutality to protest," he said.

They committed cold-blooded murder. They ousted Ukraine's democratically elected government. They rule by brutal force. Don't expect Ignatius to explain.

He ludicrously envisions "a cascading chain of error that brings Russian troops deeper into Ukraine and sets the stage for civil war."

Putin wants it avoided. He's going all-out for stability and security. Fascist coup plotters will bear full responsibility if internal conflict erupts.

Ignatius is militantly hawkish. Obama "would be wise to seek to deter Russian aggression without specifying too clearly what the US ladder of escalation might be," he urged.

His commentary excluded what's most important for readers to know. Truth was systematically suppressed.

Wall Street Journal editors match the worst of outrageous opinion writers. Rupert Murdoch rules apply. On March 2, they headlined "Putin Declares War."

They lied saying he "seized Ukraine's Crimean peninsula by force (and) now has his sights on the rest of his Slavic neighbor."

"(B)razen aggression," they screamed. War threatens Europe's heartland "for the first time since the end of the Cold War," they claimed.

Post-WW II, it never once did until now. Washington's orchestrated coup ups the stakes. Obama threatens world peace.

Putin is the world's best chance to preserve it. Whether he's able deter possible US aggression remains to be seen.

Journal editors turned truth on its head. It's hard imagining more convoluted rubbish. They accused Putin of "moving to carve up Ukraine…"

They claim "a popular democratic uprising" toppled Yanukovych. They ignored a US-orchestrated fascist coup d'etat.

They called Russia's parliament "rubber-stamp." They lied accusing its members  of "approv(ing) military intervention anywhere in Ukraine, which is nothing less than a declaration of war."

They called Obama's full responsibility for crisis conditions in Ukraine "made entirely in Moscow."

Putin and Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov are world class diplomats. They're democrats. They're polar opposite Western fascists. 

They're worthy Nobel Peace Prize nominees. They're more deserving than any other world leaders. 

Nobel Committee members have their own system. They honor war criminals. Peacemakers needn't apply.

Journal editors write what responsible ones wouldn't touch. They claimed Putin seeks "entrench(ed) authoritarianism in client states."

He wants them "prevent(ed) from joining free Europe," they said. Freedoms in Western dominated areas are fast disappearing. 

Neoliberal harshness is official policy. Ordinary people are ruthlessly exploited. Don't expect Journal editors to explain.

They lied claiming Russia's upper house Federation Council "approved (a) declaration of war."

They lied again calling Kiev's coup d'etat parliament democratic. They quoted Obama lying. He called Moscow's legitimate defense of Russian nationals a "breach of international law."

Journal editors urge aggressive anti-Russian measures. They want their officials targeted. They want Sixth Fleet warships patrolling Black waters close to Crimea.

Imagine their howls if Russian naval vessels entered the Gulf of Mexico. Imagine likely Washington countermeasures. 

They want other NATO countries confronting Moscow. "Mr. Obama and the West must act," they said. They must do more "than merely threaten..."

They absurdly called Ukraine "a casualty of Mr. Obama's failure to enforce his 'red line' on Syria."

"Ukrainians can't be left alone to face Russia, and the Kremlin's annexation of Crimea can't be allowed to stand," they said.

They called Putin "the leading edge of what could quickly become a new world disorder."

Journal editors and commentators specialize in reinventing history. Their rubbish doesn't wash. They consistently turn truth on its head. 

They suppress what readers most need to know. They disgrace themselves in the process.

A previous article quoted former Chicago columnist Mike Royko (1932 - 1997) saying: "No respectable fish would (want to) be wrapped in" a Murdoch paper. It's more than ever true now.

Ongoing crisis conditions persist. War winds threaten to become gale force. Potential East/West conflict is real. 

Obama bears full responsibility if it erupts. Bellowing scoundrel media liars share it.

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at [email protected] 

His new book is titled "Banker Occupation: Waging Financial War on Humanity."

http://www.claritypress.com/LendmanII.html

Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com. 

Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network.

It airs Fridays at 10AM US Central time and Saturdays and Sundays at noon. All programs are archived for easy listening.


http://www.progressiveradionetwork.com/the-progressive-news-hour

American Jewish Poet Hilton Obenzinger on Israel, Zionism, and the Radical Sixties

Born in Brooklyn, New York, the borough that served as the homeland for millions of Jews for decades, Hilton Obenzinger carries Jewish history and lore around with him both mournfully and gleefully.

His many books draw attention to his own Jewish roots, including an oral history he conducted with his Aunt Zosia Goldberg entitled Running Through Fire: How I Survived the Holocaust. There’s also a collection of his poetry entitled This Passover Or The Next I Will Never Be in Jerusalem, which received the American Book Award of the Before Columbus Foundation.

More than 60 years after he celebrated his first Passover with his own family of origin, he’s getting ready to celebrate Passover again with the family he’s created with Estella Habal, an Associate Professor of Asian American Studies at San Jose State University.

With Passover 2013 on the horizon -- it starts March 25 -- I sent Obenzinger an email and took up a long-standing conversation that we’ve kept going through wars, occupations, Seders, and reunions of Sixties radicals.

Jonah Raskin:
How will you celebrate Passover this year?

Hilton Obenzinger: We’ll have an extended family feast: my wife and I, our kids and grandkids. As usual, we’ll combine Passover, Easter, and the arrival of spring. It’s a raucous crowd: Jews, Filipinos, Chinese, and more. We use an illustrated Children’s Bible to tell the story of slavery and the escape of the Jews from Egypt, then move on to Jesus and the last Seder, and finish the Biblical story with the crucifixion and the resurrection. Eventually, we reach the Warsaw Ghetto uprising and sing “Let My People Go.”

We pour plenty of wine, shout good wishes for the Palestinians, Native Americans, and everyone else running for freedom. We end the evening with lines from a version of the Haggadah I wrote: “Next year in Jerusalem delivered from bondage.”

What makes you proud to be a Jew?

Jewish culture is rich and varied with a transnational sense of peoplehood. In Europe, my ancestors were everything from ultra-orthodox to Polish nationalists, to escape-to-America émigrés, to Zionist and Communist. The Nazis murdered almost all of them. In the face of that horror and other horrors of history, Jewish survival is astonishing.

I’m especially proud of the American Jewish experience that pushed me, and others, to join the civil rights and social justice movements. I’ve heard it said that support for equality and justice flows from Jewish ethics and from the history of Jewish persecution. I’d like to believe it.

What are you most ashamed about Jews as an ethnic group?

From my point of view, Zionism turned out to be a moral disaster for the Jews. American Jews have been suckered into supporting Israel in unthinking ways. This has been changing, but not enough American Jews are yelling and screaming to stop Israel’s expansion.

Have you been attacked at Stanford because of your beliefs?

After I began to teach at Stanford in the 1990s, a professor wrote a letter denouncing me as a “terrorist.” He was a very nice guy, very progressive -- except when it came to Israel. A switch would go off and he’d go bananas.

You have used the expression “Zionist crackpot.” What does it mean to you?

I don’t mean the typical supporter of Israel. I mean those people who fall into the extremist syndrome and who are motivated by a deep-rooted sense that Jews are always the victims and that Israel is always under attack even when it’s the aggressor.

Forty years ago, did you believe there would be a resolution to the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians?

Yes. And I still do.

Do you see a resolution to the conflict in your own lifetime?

Assuming I live another decade or two, probably not. But you never know. Who would have thought the Soviet Union would collapse? Or a black man would be president? I may not live to see it but it’s likely to happen.

Do you think that there can be a one-state solution to the conflicts between Palestinians and Israelis?

Of course, there can be -- which doesn’t mean it will happen, at least in the near future. The conflict is not at root religious and it hasn’t been going on for thousands of years, as many claim. It started about 130 years ago when Zionism, a Western political movement, called for the settlement of Palestine and the exclusion of the native people. It’s a conflict started by people, not by God; humans created it; humans can fix it.

What do you see happening now?

Israeli Jews are a nationality with their own language and culture, as are the Palestinians, so it would take a lot of good faith to fit all of them together, including the refugees. Good faith is not an abundant commodity nowadays. Meanwhile, the Israeli government has been doing all it can to prevent a two-state solution by expanding settlements and uprooting Palestinian communities.
One state may be inevitable, since the foundations for a viable Palestinian state have been greatly undermined. Israel might move further in its current colonialist direction, creating reservations for the natives and a large open-air prison in Gaza. I don’t care if there are one or four states, actually, just so long as equality and democratic rights are at the core of all of them.

What have you learned from studying the Holocaust?

When we protested the war in Vietnam many of us didn’t want to be “good Germans” -- people passively accepting evil and genocide. My family’s murder always weighs on my mind, so for me it’s imperative to speak out about injustice.

I produced my aunt’s oral testimony called Running through Fire about her escape from the Warsaw Ghetto. I learned from her that everything is muddy -- with some Germans acting morally and courageously and some Jews acting in a craven fashion. I also leaned that in a situation of utter horror, no matter how smart and skilled and, in her case, how beautiful you were, pure luck is a determining factor. I’ve also learned to keep my passport up-to-date.

What does it mean to you to be a Jew?

After my son’s birth I felt compelled to pass on to him a positive Jewish experience without the corruptions of anti-Arab racism, and the “Jewish Disneyland” kitsch that American Jews love. I wanted my son to laugh, to enjoy the bar mitzvah experience, to feel comfortable being Jewish and Filipino -- which is his mother’s ethnic identity.

What do you think Jews and Arabs have in common?

I told my aunt who survived the Nazis that if she could meet Palestinians in refugee camps she would like them, and that they were a lot like her. Palestinians, like Jews, value education and culture, and they insist on persisting. They, too, have historical memories that they won’t allow to be erased and that they act upon. Both Israeli Jews and Palestinians have also managed to drive each other insane. It’s painful watching two peoples destroy each other.

You’ve written about “the Holy Land.” Is it holy to you?

There’s so much blood and hatred there, that it’s hard to conceive of the place as holy.

At Stanford, where you teach, is there a visible Jewish population and a visible Arab population? What observations have you made about them?

Stanford gentility is strong and has its virtues. A lot of the Jewish students sympathize with the Palestinian cause nowadays and a Jewish critic of Israel is hardly an oddity.

You’re involved with Chinese Railroad Workers in North America Project? What is it?

2015 will be the 150th anniversary of the introduction of thousands of Chinese workers to build the first transcontinental railway across North America. The work culminated with Leland Stanford driving the famous “golden spike” to complete the line that connected East and West. Despite the photographs, drawings, and observers’ testimonies about the Chinese workers who labored from sunrise to sunset, not a single primary document -- not a letter or a notebook -- has been identified.

So there’s a real Stanford connection, isn’t there?

Construction of the railroad was central to creating the wealth that Leland Stanford used to found the university. Eventually, we’d like to build a monument to the Chinese railroad workers on campus.

What is it about your own experience as a Jew that might help you understand the experience of the Chinese railroad workers?

I remember my father’s experience as an immigrant having to work in dangerous factories. The Chinese in America suffered a lot of abuse -- racial violence, mass deportations, expulsions, and discrimination. Early Chinese immigrants were tenacious and ingenuous and determined to possess the country and be possessed by it -- just like anyone else.

The Columbia protest of 1968 took place 45 years ago. How do you remember it now? In fact, you wrote a book, Busy Dying, that’s in part about that experience. How did writing the book alter your sense of the past?

I have totally blanked out my graduation, but I remember sitting in Low Library in the president’s office in around-the-clock meetings to talk about negotiations and how to nonviolently defend ourselves.

Why did you write your book?

I read accounts of the Sixties and was disturbed by the distortions, stereotypes, and outright lies.

The title Busy Dying borrows from Dylan’s “Busy Being Born.” Did Dylan help shape your Sixties experience?

The line is from “It’s Alright, Ma (I’m Only Bleeding)." It goes, “he not busy being born is busy dying.” Dylan’s music provides much of the soundtrack of my memories. The lines “busy being born” and “busy dying” express the sense of urgency we faced in the Sixties.

When you look back at the Sixties does it seem like an era mostly of sex, drugs, and rock ‘n’ roll, or would you propose another trinity?

I got plenty of drugs but not enough of sex. I loved a lot of the rock ‘n’ roll, but I was also into country music, bluegrass, and Vivaldi. In 1968 we were “freaks” because we rebelled. The hippie part of the Sixties is too narrowly focused on middle class white kids, not the GIs fragging their officers, Freedom Riders, or Black Panthers.

At Stanford are you among the sons and daughters of the elite, who will go on to rule the Empire?

Half the undergraduates aren’t white and most aren’t rich. Of course, when Chelsea Clinton attended Stanford that pretty much defined the school’s reality. But I’ve also known students who joined the Zapatistas, organized unions, helped manage their pueblo’s casino to invest tribal funds wisely, restored native farming to the Big Island in Hawaii, develop educational programs in poor communities.

What about recent protest on campus?

In the fall of 2011, the Big Game between Berkeley and Stanford took place at Stanford right after the police attacks on Berkeley students occupying tents on campus. There was a joint rally of students from both schools -- something that I think has never happened before in their fierce rivalry -- to show solidarity against police brutality. It was one of the most astonishing moments in Stanford history. I don’t think I’ll ever forget it.

Tunisia’s Unfinished Revolution: From Dictatorship to Democracy?

On January 14, 2011, Tunisia’s 23-year long dictator Ben Ali fled the country he ruled over in the face of a popular uprising which began the previous month. Tunisia represented the spark of what became known as the ‘Arab Spring.’ Over two years later, Tunisians are back in the streets protesting against the new government, elected in October of 2011, now on the verge of collapse as ministers resign, protests increase, clashes erupt, violence flares, and the future remains unknown.

So the question lingers: what went wrong? What happened? Why are Tunisians back in the streets? Is this Tunisia’s “unfinished revolution”?

The Spark

Tunisia had been ruled by President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali from 1987 until the revolution in 2011, a regime marred by corruption, despotism, and repression. While the revolution itself is generally traced to the self immolation of Mohamed Bouazizi, a 26-year old street vendor in the city of Sidi Bouzid, on December 17, 2010, leading to protests and clashes which spread across the country, there was a longer timeline – and other profound changes – which led to the actual revolutionary potential.

Tunisia’s revolution was largely driven by economic reasons, though political and social issues should not be underestimated. Tunisia has a recent history of labour unrest in the country, with the General Union of Tunisian Workers – UGTT – having led protests which were violently repressed in 1978, bread riots in 1984, and more labour unrest in the mining region of Gafsa in 2008. There were also a number of political clashes from the 1990s onward, between the state and the Islamic movement an-Nahda (Ennahda). After the UGTT was repressed in 1978, it was permitted to exist in co-operation with the state, following along the lines of labour and union history within the West itself. While the state felt it had a firm control of Tunisian society, there were growing divides with the youth, who for years would lead their own protests against the state through human rights organizations, the General Union of Tunisian Students (UGET), or other associations.[1]

Within Tunisia, a crisis had emerged among young graduates in higher education from the mid-1990s onward, with a serious lack of employment opportunities for an increasingly educated youth. From this period up until the revolution, most protests in Tunisia were organized by youth in university organizations and student unions, using tactics such as sit-ins, chaining themselves to buildings, or hunger strikes, which were often met with state violence. Suicide had become another tactic of protest, “a political manifesto to highlight a political demand and to underline the social fragility it implies,” in the words of Mehdi Mabrouk from the University of Tunis. This was understood as the “emergence of a culture of suicide,” identified in a study by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) as “a culture which disdained the value of life, finding death an easier alternative because of a lack of values and a sense of anomie,” which was “particularly true of unemployed and marginal youth, so that death was more attractive than life under such conditions.”[2] It was within this context that Mohamed Bouazizi’s suicide became the spark for the wider protests, first in Sidi Bouzid, and quickly spreading across the country, with youth leading the way.

With the help of social media, like Facebook and Twitter, the youth activists in Sidi Bouzid were able to share their revolt with the rest of the country and the world, encouraging the spread of the uprising across Tunisia and the Arab world at large. A relative of Bouazizi described the protesters as having “a rock in one hand, a cell phone in the other.” Thus, while Tunisian media ignored the protests in Sidi Bouzid, international media and social media became increasingly involved. Tunisia had 3.6 million internet users, roughly a third of the population, who had access to live news about what was taking place within their country, even though the official national news media did not mention the events until 29 December 2010, twelve days after the protests had begun. The government began to arrest bloggers and web activists in the hopes that the protests would fade or diminish in fear, yet it only motivated the protests further. From the first day, the Sidi Bouzid branch of the General Union of Tunisian Workers (UGTT) was engaged in the protests, while the national leadership of the UGTT was considered to be too close to the regime and national ruling class to act independently. However, the regional branches of the UGTT had “a reputation for gutsy engagement,” wrote Yasmine Ryan in Al-Jazeera. The Sidi Bouzid branch of UGTT was one of the main organizing forces behind the protests, and when protesters were killed in neighbouring regions, it erupted nation-wide. Thus, students, teachers, lawyers, and the unemployed joined together in protest first in Sidi Bouzid, and then across the country.[3]

Dictatorship or Democracy?

Tunisia happened to be a “model US client” in the words of Richard Falk: “a blend of neoliberalism that is open to foreign investment, cooperation with American anti-terrorism by way of extreme rendition of suspects, and strict secularism that translates into the repression of political expression.”[4]

Just in line with the closest of American and Western allies – and ‘clients’ – in the region, the strategy for the West is one of unyielding support for the dictatorship, so long as “stability” and “prosperity” and ensured. The term “security” is a euphemism for control of the population, while “prosperity” is a euphemism for economic exploitation and profit for the rich few, domestically and globally.

American attitudes toward Tunisia were often reflected in diplomatic cables released by Wikileaks, in which as early as 2006 the U.S. Embassy in Tunis reported that the issue of succession from Ben Ali was important, but concluded that, “none of the options suggest Tunisia will become more democratic,” however, despite US rhetoric for support of democracy, the cable noted, “the US-Tunisian bilateral relationship is likely to remain unaffected by the departure of Ben Ali,” that is, assuming the departure does not include a transition to democratic government. If problems arose for Ben Ali, and he became “temporarily incapacitated,” reported the U.S. Embassy, “he could turn over a measure of presidential authority to Prime Minister Mohammed Ghannouchi,” who had close ties to the West and Americans, in particular.[5] Ghannounchi, incidentally, was implanted as the interim president following Ben Ali’s escape to Saudi Arabia in January 2011, though shortly thereafter had to resign due to popular opposition, since he was a high official in Ben Ali’s government.

In July of 2009, a diplomatic cable from the American Embassy in Tunis noted that Tunisia is “troubled,” and that, “many Tunisians are frustrated by the lack of political freedom and angered by First Family corruption, high unemployment and regional inequities.” The Ambassador noted that while America seeks to enhance ties with Tunisia commercially and militarily, there are also major setbacks, as “we have been blocked, in part, by a Foreign Ministry that seeks to control all our contacts in the government and many other organizations.” America had successfully accomplished a number of goals, such as “increasing substantially US assistance to the military,” and “strengthening commercial ties,” yet, “we have also had too many failures.” The same cable noted: “Tunisia is a police state, with little freedom of expression or association, and serious human rights problems.” Ben Ali’s regime relies “on the police for control and focus[es] on preserving power,” while “corruption in the inner circle is growing.” The Embassy noted, however, that with “high unemployment and regional inequalities” in the country, “the risks to the regime’s long-term stability are increasing.”[6]

So how did the United States seek to preserve “stability”? Imperial powers do what they do best: provide the means to continue repression and control. Between 1987, when Ben Ali came to power and 2009, the United States provided the government of Tunisia with a total of $349 million in military aid.[7] In 2010, the United States provided Tunisia with $13.7 million in military aid alone.[8]

Tunisia, which was a former French colony, also had strong relations with France. During the outbreak of the crisis in December of 2010, the French suggested they would help Ben Ali by sending security forces to Tunisia to “resolve the situation” in a show of “friendship” to the regime.[9] The French foreign minister suggested that France could provide better training to Tunisian police to restore order since the French were adept in “security situations of this type.” Jacques Lanxade, a retired French admiral, former military chief of staff and former French ambassador to Tunis noted that the French had “continued public support of this regime because of economic interests,” and added: “We didn’t take account of Tunisian public opinion and thought Ben Ali would re-establish his position.”[10]

This imperial logic has been given terms and justifications from establishment intellectuals and academics in the United States and other Western powers. Academics with the Brookings Institution, an influential U.S. think tank, suggested in 2009 that this was the logic of “authoritarian bargains,” in which dictatorships in the region were able to maintain power through a type of “bargain,” where “citizens relinquish political influence in exchange for public spending,” suggesting that: “non-democratic rulers secure regime support through the allocation of two substitutable ‘goods’ to the public: economic transfers and the ability to influence policy making.”[11]

In 2011, those same academics wrote an article for the Brookings Institution in which they asked if the “Arab authoritarian bargain” was collapsing, noting that as economic conditions deteriorated and unemployment rose, with neoliberal reforms failing to provide economic opportunities for the majority of the populations, the bargain – or “contract” – between dictators and the populations was “now collapsing,” adding that, “the strategies used by Arab leaders to maintain power may have run their course,” noting: “Partial political liberalization may not be enough at this point to make up for the current inability to deliver economic security and prosperity, spelling the final demise of Arab authoritarian bargain.”[12]

F. Gregory Gause III, writing in Foreign Affairs, the establishment journal of the Council on Foreign Relations, the most prominent foreign policy think tank in the United States, referred to this as “authoritarian stability” theory. Following the initial Arab Spring uprisings, he wrote about the “myth” of authoritarian stability, noting that many academics had focused on trying to understand “the persistence of undemocratic rulers” in the region, though implicitly without questioning the imperial relations between the local governments and the dominant Western powers. Gause himself acknowledged that he had written an article for Foreign Affairs in 2005 in which he argued that, “the United States should not encourage democracy in the Arab world because Washington’s authoritarian Arab allies represented stable bets for the future,” and that, “democratic Arab governments would prove much less likely to cooperate with U.S. foreign policy goals in the region.” Gause then reflected in 2011 that, “I was spectacularly wrong.”[13]

Marwan Muasher is vice president for studies at the Carnegie Endowment, a prominent American think tank, and was previously foreign minister and deputy prime minister in the Jordanian dictatorship. Following events in Tunisia, Muasher wrote an article for the Carnegie Endowment in which he explained why the events were not foreseen, noting that: “The traditional argument put forward in and out of the Arab world is that there is nothing wrong, everything is under control.” Thus, wrote Muasher, “entrenched forces argue that opponents and outsiders calling for reform are exaggerating the conditions on the ground,” an argument which he noted, “has been fundamentally undermined by the unfolding events in Tunisia.” Because Tunisia had comparably low economic problems, a small opposition, and a “strong security establishment,” it was thought that “the risk of revolt was considered low.” Muasher wrote: “It wasn’t supposed to happen in Tunisia and the fact that it did proves that fundamental political reforms – widening the decision-making process and combating corruption – are needed around the entire Arab world.”[14]

This concept of “there is nothing wrong, everything is under control,” has been referred to by Noam Chomsky as the “Muasher doctrine,” noting that this has been consistent U.S. policy in the region since at least 1958, when Eisenhower’s National Security Council acknowledged that the US supported dictators and opposed democracy, and that this was a rational policy to serve American interests in the region.[15]

The National Security Council document stated that the Middle East was “of great strategic, political, and economic importance to the Free World,” meaning the West, and United States in particular, and this was largely due to the fact that the region “contains the greatest petroleum resources in the world.” Thus, the National Security Council stated, “it is in the security interest of the United States to make every effort to insure that these resources will be available and will be used for strengthening the Free World.” The document further wrote that: “In the eyes of the majority of Arabs the United States appears to be opposed to the realization of the goals of Arab nationalism,” and that the people in that part of the world “believe the United States is seeking to protect its interest in Near East oil by supporting the status quo and opposing political or economic progress,” which included US support for “reactionary” regimes and America’s “colonial” allies in Europe, notably France and Great Britain. These beliefs, the report noted, were indeed accurate, that “our economic and cultural interests in the area have led… to close U.S. relations with elements in the Arab world whose primary interest lies in the maintenance of relations with the West and the status quo in their countries.”[16]

Acknowledging this, the NSC document stated that instead of “attempting merely to preserve the status quo,” the United States should “seek to guide the revolutionary and nationalistic pressures throughout the area into orderly channels which will not be antagonistic to the West and which will contribute to solving the internal social, political and economic problems of the area.” Though this would of course include providing “military aid to friendly countries to enhance their internal security and governmental stability,” which essentially amounted to maintaining the status quo. The same document also added that, “we cannot exclude the possibility of having to use force in an attempt to maintain our position in the area.”[17]

And so then we come up to present day, where the United States maintains the same policy, as Chomsky suggested, “the Muasher doctrine” of “there is nothing wrong, everything is under control.” But everything is clearly no longer under control, and there are many things that clearly are wrong. Just as the 1958 National Security Council document suggested guiding “revolutionary and nationalistic pressures” into “orderly channels which will not be antagonistic to the West,” so too were US planners in recent years seeking to do the same.

Top US policy planners at the Council on Foreign Relations produced a report – and strategic blueprint – for the United States to follow in 2005, entitled, In Support of Arab Democracy: Why and How, co-chaired by former Clinton-era Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, who sits on the board of the Council on Foreign Relations, the Aspen Institute, and chair of the National Democratic Institute for International Affairs. The other co-chair of the Task Force report was Vin Weber, former Congressman and member of the board of the National Endowment for Democracy (NED), a US-government-supported organization promoting state-capitalist “liberal” democracy around the world, so long as it aligns with U.S. strategic interests. Other members of the Task Force which produced the report held previous or present affiliations with First National Bank of Chicago, Occidental Petroleum, the Carnegie Endowment, the World Bank, Brookings Institution, Hoover Institution, the U.S. State Department, National Security Council, National Intelligence Council, the American Enterprise Institute, the IMF, AOL-Time Warner, and Goldman Sachs.[18] In short, the report was produced by no less than a select group of America’s strategic and intellectual elite.

Published in 2005, the report suggested that “democracy and freedom have become a priority” for the United States in the Middle East, though there are conditions to Washington’s ability and interest in promoting these concepts: “First, does a policy of promoting democracy serve U.S. interests and foreign policy goals? Second, if so, how should the United States implement such a policy, taking into account the full range of its interests?” To the first question, the report suggested that it was in the U.S. interest to promote democracy in the Arab world, noting: “Although democracy entails certain inherent risks, the denial of freedom carries much more significant long-term dangers. If Arab citizens are able to express grievances freely and peacefully, they will be less likely to turn to more extreme measures.”[19] However, as the report noted: “the United States should promote the development of democratic institutions and practices over the long term, mindful that democracy cannot be imposed from the outside and that sudden, traumatic change is neither necessary nor desirable.” Most importantly, the report suggested: “America’s goal in the Middle East should be to encourage democratic evolution, not revolution.”[20]

The United States was not interested in rapid change, since, the report argued, “if Washington pushes Arab leaders too hard on reform, contributing to the collapse of friendly Arab governments, this would likely have a deleterious effect on regional stability, peace, and counterterrorism operations.” The report itself concluded: “While transitions to democracy can lead to instability in the short term, the Task Force finds that a policy geared toward maintaining the authoritarian status quo in the Middle East poses greater risks to U.S. interests and foreign policy goals.”[21]

Thus, when it comes to the issue of choosing between supporting a “dictatorship” or “democracy,” the issue is one of interest: which regime supports U.S. and Western interests better? In the short-term, dictatorships provide “authoritarian stability” and maintain control, however, in the long-term, a transition to a Western-style democratic system allows for less pressure built up against the system, and against the West itself. Dictatorships provide short-term “stability” (i.e., control), while top-down democracies provide long-term “stability.” The question, then, is merely of managing a transition from one to the other, no small task for an imperial power: how to maintain support for a dictator while encouraging the slow evolution of democratic governance.

The issue of “democracy” is further complicated by how it is defined or pursued. For the United States and its Western allies, “democracy” is not the goal, but rather a means to a goal. The goal is, always has been, and always will be, “stability and prosperity,” control and profit. When the dictatorships fail to bring about stability and prosperity, “democracy” – so long as it is constructed along Western liberal state-capitalist lines – will be the preferred option. The European Union, when reporting on its own efforts to promote democracy in the Mediterranean region, noted that, “we believe that democracy, good governance, rule of law, and gender equality are essential for stability and prosperity.”[22] In other words, democracy is not the goal: control and profit is the goal. The means are merely incidental, whether they be through dictatorships, or top-down democratic structures.

The problem in the Arab world is deepened for the United States when one looks at public opinion polls from the region. Just prior to the outbreak of protests in Tunisia, a major Western poll on Arab public opinion was conducted by the University of Maryland and Zogby International, published in the summer of 2010. The results were very interesting, noting that only 5% and 6% of respondents in 2010 believed that “promoting democracy” and “spreading human rights” were the two factors (respectively) which were most important in America’s foreign policy in the region. At the top of the list of priorities, with 49% and 45% respectively, were “protecting Israel” and “controlling oil,” followed by 33% each for “weakening the Muslim world” and “preserving regional and global dominance.” Further, 92% of respondents felt that Iran has a right to its nuclear program if it is peaceful, and 70% feel that right remains even if Iran is seeking nuclear weapons. Roughly 57% of respondents felt that if Iran acquired nuclear weapons, things would be “more positive” for the region, compared to 21% who thought it would be “more negative.” The poll asked which two countries posed the largest threat to the region, with Israel at 88% and the United States at 77%, while Iran was viewed as one of the two major threats to the region by only 10% of respondents, just above China and equal to Algeria.[23]

In other words, if truly representative – or genuine – democracies emerged in the region, they would be completely counter to U.S. strategic interests in the region, and thus, real democracy in the Arab world is not in the American interest. This makes the American strategic interests in the transitions of the ‘Arab Spring’ all the more important to attempt to manage and control. Genuine democracy would bring an end to American and Western hegemony, yet, the “Muasher doctrine” of “everything is under control” has failed in the case of both Tunisia and Egypt. What then, is left for Western interests?

Tunisia’s Transition to “Democracy”

Immediately following Ben Ali’s departure from Tunisia to Saudi Arabia, the land of exiled dictators, a “caretaker” government was quickly established in order to “lead the transition to democracy.” Mohamed Ghannouchi, Ben Ali’s prime minister (and the American favourite to replace him), helped to form a “unity” government, but after one day of existence, four opposition members quit the government, including three ministers from the UGTT trade union, saying they had “no confidence” in a government full of members from Ben Ali’s regime. Hundreds of people, led by trade unionists, took to the streets in protest against the transitional government.[24]

Six members from Ben Ali’s regime appeared in the “unity” government, presided over by the former Parliamentary Speaker Fouad Mebazaa. Ghannouchi stepped down in late February following popular opposition to his participation in the “unity” government, though he was replaced by Ben Ali’s former foreign minister.[25] In February of 2011, the United States offered “military training” to Tunisia in the follow-up to the planned elections for later in the year, to make Tunisia a “model” revolution for the Arab world.[26]

A public opinion poll conducted in Tunisia in May of 2011 revealed that there had been “a steep decline in confidence for the transition period,” noting that in March, a poll revealed that 79% of Tunisians believed the country was headed in the right direction, compared to only 46% who thought so in May. Roughly 73% of Tunisian’s felt that the economic situation was “somewhat bad or very bad,” and 93% of respondents said they were “very likely” to vote in coming elections.[27]

In October of 2011, Tunisians went to the polls for their first democratic election, “the first vote of the Arab spring.” The election was designed to elect an assembly which would be tasked with one mission: to draft a constitution before parliamentary elections. The An-Nadha (Ennahda) party, an Islamist party which was banned under Ben Ali, was expected to receive most of the votes, though most Tunisians felt guarded in terms of seeking to protect their “unfinished revolution.” Lawyers lodged complaints that in the nine months since Ben Ali fled Tunisia, torture and police brutality continued, while human rights activists noted that cronies from Ben Ali’s regime continued to dominate the corrupt judicial system. One human rights activist noted, “We are overwhelmed with cases of human rights abuses. You wouldn’t believe there had been a revolution… Torture is the way things are done, it’s systematic. They have not changed their practices at all,” referring to the police.[28]

On October 23, 2011, the Tunisian elections took place, with the Islamist party Ennahda winning 89 out of 217 seats, after which it joined with two secular parties to form a ruling coalition known as the ‘Troika.’ A year after the Troika had been in power, by October of 2012, Tunisians felt disheartened by the pace of the revolution. One young activist stated that, “They are failing on security, they are failing on the economy, and they are failing when it comes to liberties and rights… They have nothing to do with the revolution. They are completely disconnected.” Amnesty International even noted in October of 2012 that: “The authorities need to seize this historic opportunity and confront the painful legacy of abuse and violations of the pasty and enshrine in law and in practice universal human rights with the aim of making the rule of law a reality in the new Tunisia.”[29]

Rachid Ghannouchi, the party’s chairman (no relation to Mohammed Ghannouchi), said that Ennahda “pledges to continue working with our national partners towards building a national consensus that takes Tunisians forward towards the protection of their revolution and achievement of its aims.” Over the previous year, the opposition within Tunisia had time to develop better than it did prior to the October 2011 elections, with new parties and organizations emerging. One, a decidedly non-mainstream party, the Tunisian Pirate Party, advocates direct democracy and freedom of expression, with its leader stating, “The classic political parties are trying to buy and sell people. The youth of Tunisia, we refuse this masquerade, this system… All they want is power, they don’t listen to us. They have betrayed the people.” On the other hand, the government was facing increasing pressure not only from the left opposition, but from the more conservative Salafists, ultra-conservative Islamists, who reject democracy and want Ennahda to take a firm grip on power.[30]

At the time of Ben Ali’s overthrow, Tunisia had an unemployment rate of 13%, but by the end of 2011 it had risen to 18%, where it remains to this day, and was as high as 44% among young university graduates. Strikes, sit-ins, and protests had continued throughout 2012, and with 800,000 unemployed Tunisians, some were looking to new avenues for answers. The Salafists were providing poor young people with a different path. A former director at Tunisia’s UGTT trade union noted, “Salafism taps its social base into a pool of often deprived people inhabiting the so-called poverty belts surrounding inner cities… The rise of salafism is a socio-economic phenomenon before being a religious one.” Salafists call for a strict enforcement of religious law, and have taken part in protests which shout anti-Semitic and homophobic chants at times, leading many to fear the potential for women’s rights as well as those of various minority groups.[31]

Salafists have also been linked to attacks on individuals and groups, opposition meetings and organizations. When complaints are made to the Ennahda government’s police forces, little is done to address the issues to persecute crimes. Human Rights Watch noted: “There is an unwillingness or an inability to arrest individuals… People have been attacked by people they identify as Salafis; they file a complaint to the judicial police, and in many cases the guy is never arrested.”[32]

The Obama administration sought to contribute to the “stability” of the new regime in Tunisia by providing $32 million in military aid from January of 2011 to spring of 2012.[33] An American General and head of the U.S. Africom (Africa Command) noted that on top of the military aid, the United States was continuing to train Tunisian soldiers, having already trained 4,000 in the previous decade.[34] It would appear to be no less than the Muasher Doctrine with a difference face.

Clashes have increased between opposition parties and trade unionists with pro-government supporters as well as Salafists. In October of 2012, an opposition figure died after clashes between his supporters and pro-government forces calling themselves the League for the Protection of the Revolution.[35] On December 17, 2012, at an event commemorating the two-year anniversary of the protests that began the revolution, angry protesters hurled rocks at the Tunisian president Moncef Marzouki and the parliamentary speaker in Sidi Bouzid. As the president and speaker were hustled away by security forces, protesters chanted, “the people want the fall of the government.”[36]

By December of 2012, it was clear that the frustration of Tunisians unsatisfied with the failure of the subsequent governments to meet their demands was “starting to overflow again.” In late November, the government had even sent troops to Siliana following four days of protests spurred on by demands for jobs and government investment. President Moncef Marzouki stated that, “Tunisia today is at a crossroads,” though admitted that the government had not “met the expectations of the people.” With unemployment remaining at 18%, a third of the unemployed being college graduates, one publishing company owner noted that, “Ben Ali ignored the blinking red lights on the economy, and that is what got him thrown out… The unemployed are an army in a country the size of Tunisia.” Since the revolution, the United States had provided Tunisia with $300 million, with the European Union providing $400 million, and the World Bank approving a $500 million loan, all in an attempt to prop up the new government, though it remained incapable of meeting the demands of its population.[37]

A poll conducted by the International Republic Institute was published in October of 2012, revealing that for Tunisians, “employment, economic development, and living standards were chosen most often as top priorities for the current government,” though 67% of respondents felt the country was moving in the “wrong direction.”[38] In another survey from late 2012, nearly half of Tunisians reported that they were “worse off” since prior to the revolution, with only 14% who felt their personal situation had improved. For Tunisians, the success of the revolution was defined more in terms of economic issues, with 32% stating that democracy “means the distribution of basic necessities – food, clothing, and shelter – to all citizens,” while 27% define democracy as the right to criticize leaders, compared to only 25% who defined it “as alteration of leaders through elections.”[39]

The Second Spark?

On February 6, 2013, a secular party leader and opposition figure, Chokri Belaid, a major critic of the Ennahda government, was assassinated outside of his home, shot in the head and neck, marking the first political assassination in Tunisia since the colonial period. Belaid was a major critic of the government’s failure to prosecute the criminal activities of violent religious groups linked to Salafists and pro-government forces.[40] His death triggered widespread protests, many of which turned violent as government forces dispersed them using tear gas, while Tunisia’s biggest union, the UGTT, called for a general strike. Many felt that Ennahda was responsible for his murder, if not directly then by failing to reign in the radical Islamists.[41]

On February 8, a general strike brought tens of thousands of Tunisians into the streets in protest and in mourning of Chokri Belaid. Belaid was a respected opposition figure, but also a prominent trade unionist and lawyer, and was “one of the most outspoken critics of the post-revolution coalition government led by the moderate Islamist Ennahda party.” The day before his assassination he had appeared on television criticizing the increased political violence in the country. One barrister noted during the protest, “not since colonial times in the early 1950s has Tunisia seen a clear political assassination in the street.” Many spoke out against the shadowy Leagues of the Protection of the Revolution, made up of small groups of men “who are accused of using thugs to stir clashes at opposition rallies and trade union gatherings.” Belaid was a prominent critic of these groups, which he had publicly condemned as being linked to the ruling Ennahda party, a claim the party denies.[42] The president of a Tunisian NGO, Jalila Hedhli-Peugnet, stated that Belaid “was not assassinated under the dictatorship of Ben Ali, now he is assassinated under the democracy of Ennahda.”[43]

Coincidentally, on the day of Belaid’s assassination, Human Rights Watch released a report raising concerns about Tunisia for “the slow pace in reforming security operations and the judiciary, the failure to investigate and prosecute physical assaults by people apparently affiliated with violent groups, and the prosecution of nonviolent speech offenses.” The worry for the region over two years since the Arab Spring began, reported HRW, was whether the new governments would respect human rights, which “will determine whether the Arab uprisings give birth to genuine democracy or simply spawn authoritarianism in new clothes.” Throughout 2012, the courts in Tunisia applied already-existing repressive laws of the Ben Ali dictatorship to persecute nonviolent speech which the government considered harmful to “values, morality, or the public order, or to defame the army.” Artists have been charged for sculpting artwork deemed “harmful to public order and morals,” while two bloggers received prison terms of seven-and-a-half years for writing posts considered “offensive to Islam.” Over 2012, “assaults were carried out against intellectuals, artists, human rights activists, and journalists by individuals or groups who appear to be motivated by a religious agenda.” After reports had been filed on multiple occasions, “the police proved unwilling or unable to find or arrest the alleged attackers.”[44]

In January of 2013, Amnesty International noted that after two years since Ben Ali fled Tunisia, the abuses of the police forces and judicial system had yet to be addressed, specifically in relation to the period of the uprising between 17 December 2010 and just after Ben Ali fled, when roughly 338 people were killed and over 2,000 injured in protests. While Ben Ali was tried in absentia for the killings, only a few members of the security forces had been convicted for killing protesters.[45]

Following the assassination of Belaid, Amnesty International immediately called for an “independent and impartial investigation” into his murder, noting that attacks against political opposition groups had been increasing, and that a meeting which Chokri Belaid had attended the Saturday before his murder was violently attacked and that Belaid had been receiving death threats. The Middle East and North Africa Deputy Director at Amnesty International noted: “Two years after the ousting of former President Ben Ali, there is an increasing mistrust in the institutions that are supposed to protect human rights and Tunisians will not be satisfied with a sham investigation.”[46]

Following the assassination, Tunisian Prime Minister Hamadi Jebali suggested that the coalition government should dissolve and form a non-partisan, technocratic government, though this was immediately rejected by members of his Ennahda party itself. All across Tunisia, a general strike was observed while tens of thousands took to the streets in multiple cities to mark the funeral of Belaid and to protest the government, often clashing with security forces.[47]

The Congress for the Republic (CPR), a secular party which was a member of the coalition government and whose leader, Moncef Marzouki, is president of Tunisia, said on Sunday February 10 that its party members would quit the government in protest against the handling of the political crisis, as tensions between the parties continued to accelerate. Meanwhile, pro-Ennadha government supporters also took to the streets, though in significantly less numbers than the opposition, to voice their support for the government.[48]

Thus, with the Tunisian government on the verge of collapse, with the people seemingly on the verge of another uprising, and with increasing tensions between secular and Islamist groups, Tunisia continues its unfinished revolution. It is tempting to draw the comparison to Egypt, where the Islamist Muslim Brotherhood party holds power, and where the population is again rising up against the government and in support of the revolutionary ideals which led them into the streets two years prior. As thousands again took to the streets in Egypt on February 8, they were met with riot police and tear gas.[49] It would appear that the Western-sponsored attempts to prop up Islamist governments to establish control over their populations is backfiring. Where the revolution goes, only posterity can say, but one thing is clear: the unfinished revolution in Tunisia – as elsewhere – is only finished, and democracy is only achieved, when the people themselves have made it and declared it to be so.

For those of us in the West, we must acknowledge that there is a stark contrast between the rhetoric and reality of our nations, as in, the difference between what our governments say and do. For all the blather and trumpeting about democracy we hear, the actions of our nations go to arming, training, and supporting repressive regimes, whether they take the form of secular authoritarian dictatorships, or Islamist “democratic” coalitions.

As we continue our own struggle for democracy at home, whether it is students in the streets of Quebec, Indignados in Spain, anarchists in Greece, Occupy Wall Street activists in New York, or the indigenous movement of Idle No More, we must realize that the same tax dollars which are used to have the police assault and repress protesters at home, are also used to assault, repress, and kill our brothers and sisters abroad in Tunisia, Egypt, Bahrain, and beyond. Their revolution is our revolution. Their democracy is our democracy. Their freedom is our freedom. And their future… is our future.

Notes:

[1]       Mehdi Mabrouk, “A Revolution for Dignity and Freedom: Preliminary Observations on the Social and Cultural Background to the Tunisian Revolution,” The Journal of North African Studies (Vol. 16, No. 4, December 2011), pages 626-627.

[2]       Ibid, pages 629-629.

[3]       Yasmine Ryan, “How Tunisia’s revolution began,” Al-Jazeera, 26 January 2011.

[4]       Richard Falk, “Ben Ali Tunisia was model US client,” Al-Jazeera, 25 January 2011.

[5]       US Embassy Cables, “US embassy cables: Finding a successor to Ben Ali in Tunisia,” The Guardian, 17 January 2011.

[6]       The US Embassy Cables, “US embassy cables: Tunisia – a US foreign policy conundrum,” The Guardian, 7 December 2010.

[7]       Daya Gamage, “Massive U.S. Military Aid to Tunisia despite human rights abuses,” Asian Tribune, 18 January 2011.

[8]       NYT, “Challenges Facing Countries Across North Africa and the Middle East,” The New York Times, 17 February 2011.

[9]       Samer al-Atrush, “Tunisia: Why the Jasmine Revolution won’t bloom,” The Telegraph, 16 January 2011.

[10]     Steven Erlanger, “France Seen Wary of Interfering in Tunisia Crisis,” The New York Times, 16 January 2011.

[11]     Raj M. Desai, Anders Olofsgard, and Tarik M. Yousef, “The Logic of Authoritarian Bargains,” Economics & Politics (Vol. 21, No. 1, March 2009), pages 93-94.

[12]     Raj M. Desai, Anders Olofsgard and Tarik Yousef, “Is the Arab Authoritarian Bargain Collapsing?,” The Brookings Institution, 9 February 2011.

[13]     F. Gregory Gause III, “Why Middle East Studies Missed the Arab Spring: The Myth of Authoritarian Stability,” Foreign Affairs (Vol. 90, No. 4, July/August 2011), pages 81-82.

[14]     Marwan Muasher, “Tunisia’s Crisis and the Arab World,” the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, 24 January 2011.

[15]     Noam Chomsky, “Is the world too big to fail?,” Al-Jazeera, 29 September 2011.

[16]     Document 5, “National Security Council Report,” Foreign Relations of the United States, 1958-1960, Vol. 12, Near East Region; Iraq; Iran; Arabian Peninsula, 24 January 1958.

[17]     Ibid.

[18]     Madeleine Albright and Vin Weber, In Support of Arab Democracy: Why and How (Council on Foreign Relations Task Force Report, 2005), pages 49-54.

[19]     Ibid, pages 3-4.

[20]     Ibid, page 4.

[21]     Ibid, pages 12-13.

[22]     Michelle Pace, “Paradoxes and contradictions in EU democracy promotion in the Mediterranean: the limits of EU normative power,” Democratization (Vol. 16, No. 1, February 2009), page 42.

[23]     Report, “2010 Arab Public Opinion Poll: Results of Arab Opinion Survey Conducted June 29-July 20, 2010,” The Brookings Institution, 5 August 2010.

[24]     Angelique Chrisafis, “Tunisia’s caretaker government in peril as four ministers quit,” The Guardian, 18 January 2011.

[25]     “Tunisia: Key players,” BBC, 27 February 2011.

[26]     Tarek Amara, “US offers Tunisia security aid for ‘model’ revolution,” Reuters, 21 February 2011.

[27]     “IRI Releases Tunisia Poll,” International Republican Institute, 12 July 2011.

[28]     Angelique Chrisafis, Katharine Viner, and Becky Gardiner, “Tunisians go to the polls still in the shadow of the old regime,” The Guardian, 22 October 2011.

[29]     Yasmine Ryan, “Tunisian politicians struggle to deliver,” Al-Jazeera, 23 October 2012.

[30]     Ibid.

[31]     Anne Wolf and Raphael Lefevre, “Tunisia: a revolution at risk,” The Guardian, 18 April 2012.

[32]     Alice Fordham, “Tunisia’s revolution and the Salafi effect,” The National, 11 September 2012.

[33]     “Obama administration doubles military aid to Islamist-led Tunisia,” World Tribune, 27 April 2012.

[34]     AFP, “U.S. Gave Tunisia $32 million in Military Aid: General,” Defense News, 24 April 2012.

[35]     “Tunisia clash leaves opposition official dead,” Al-Jazeera, 19 October 2012.

[36]     Agencies, “Angry crowd hurls stones at Tunisian leaders,” Al-Jazeera, 17 December 2012.

[37]     Neil MacFarquhar, “Economic Frustration Simmers Again in Tunisia,” The New York Times, 1 December 2012.

[38]     “IRI Poll: Employment, Economy Most Important Priorities for Tunisians,” International Republican Institute, 3 October 2012.

[39]     Lindsay J. Benstead, Ellen Lust, and Dhafer Malouche, “Tunisian Revolution Is Work in Progress,” The Epoch Times, 27 December 2012.

[40]     Editorial, “An Assassination in Tunisia,” The New York Times, 8 February 2013.

[41]     Eric Reguly, “Chaos in Tunisia tarnishes a revolution’s success story,” The Globe and Mail, 7 February 2013.

[42]     Angelique Chrisafis, “Tunisia gripped by general strike as assassinated Chokri Belaïd is buried,” The Guardian, 8 February 2013.

[43]     Rachel Shabi, “Tunisia is no longer a rev

Clashes Erupt as Egyptians Commemorate Mubarak’s Ousting

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Transcript

It was the day Egyptians celebrated the ousting of their former dictator. Two years after Mubarak was finally forced from office by an 18 day revolt, jubilation was replaced by anti-government anger.

Tens of thousands hit the streets on February 11th outraged against the continued oppression that initially sparked the revolution. Throughout the day in Egypt's capitol Cairo, dozens of marches headed toward Tahrir square. Although smaller in size compared to previous demonstrations, resentment thundered through streets. CHANTS - Still demanding bread, freedom and social justice, protesters colored the marches with symbols of their oppression and struggle. Many condemned their government for selling out the reovlution to appease the demands of foreign powers. SOT - Qatar, US, Israel CHANTS - bread, freedom, social justiceSOT - we just want breadOn the legendary Mohammed Mahmoud street, Egypt's rowdy youth returned to the location of their fiercest battles against state security forces. Their chants haven't changed. SOT - down with the interior ministryWhat has changed is the latest target of their upheaval. At first they chanted against Mubarak, then the military council that followed him, and now their newly elected president Mohammed Morsi and his Muslim Brotherhood. The reasons they despise Morsi are also the same as the reason they despised Mubarak and the Military generals, but for young people, the notorious state security forces, specifically the police, remain their main enemy. SOT - we are going to Gika's houseBRIDGE - this is the important Mohammed Mahmoud street holds. There, Gika's father addressed the masses outside their family home. SOT - addressing the crowdSOT - Abu Saleh on day of departure As some marches entered tahrir, others headed toward the presidential palace. bridge: peaceful protests during the day usually turn to night clashesWhile protests raged in the streets, other forms of resistance were taking place behind closed doors. bridge: SOT - Instructor talking to girlsSOT - the day of departure is… the revolution was good because.. but also At the palace, as expected, clashes erupted, when again young people tried to storm and burn down the presidential palace. Their attempts again were met with police brutality as security forces unleashed endless rounds of tear gas into the defiant crowds. bridge: This is a typical scene now, you can see people are really pissed off, they can gas them back but they keep returningSOT - why am I here? womanSOT - why here? man NATSOT - why don't you come and face us like real men!!!The chase between demonstrators and the police has become routine. Seemingly immune to the tear gas after two years of it, its common to see scenes like this: === canister throws =====some of the canisters land on this nearby school, lighting its courtyard on fire. Although it seems like a game and has become their latest pastime, these protesters assert clashing with the police is resisting their violent order. Some are detained, beaten and dragged away. NASOT - in the backdrop of the chaos, the youth evoke the memory of their slain comradeSOT - GIKA!!!! The names of the dead are often heard echoing over the clashes. SOT - GIKA!! MINA DANIEL!The most hardened fighters were mainly young, many of them concealed by their black masks, symbols of the anonymous and now infamous black bloc. SOT - the black bloc is not an organizationThe black bloc declare they are anti-media. our scheduled interviews with some of their members was ignored. SOT - black bloc dudeOne of them finally speaks with us but not before he is pulled away by his comrade. The back and forth goes on late into the night and eventually the crowds wear thin and a tense calm returns.


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On the News With Thom Hartmann: Arkansas Law Signals Revival of Debtors’ Prisons in...

In today's On the News segment: Vermont leads the fight to protect unions, and more.

Thom Hartmann here – on the news...

You need to know this. The man-hunt for cop-turned-killer Christopher Dorner continues in California. As of today, the Navy veteran and former LAPD officer has eluded police for over a week after the killing three people on February 3rd. The LAPD have even offered a $1 million reward for information leading to his arrest. Most of the discussion in the media has focused on a multi-page manifesto, which Mr. Dorner posted to his Facebook page, describing the alleged reason behind the killings. Mr. Dorner claims that the LAPD unjustly fired him for leveling allegations of police brutality. Despite an investigation at the time finding Dorner's brutality accusations false, the LAPD has agreed to reopen the investigation. The media, and the public, have taken a variety of views about the cop-turned-killer – with some labeling the man as a homicidal maniac and others supporting him for taking on a system he believes is tyrannical. Many questions surround the firing, and the on-going man-hunt. We'll have to see what answers materialize in the coming days, and hope that no additional lives are lost in the process.

In screwed news...There are less than 20 days until the March 1st Sequester deadline. And Washington is gearing up for a major fight. If politicians can't come to a compromise, the looming $85 billion of Republican austerity is set to make devastating cuts to programs many Americans depend on. Despite non-defense spending being 14% lower than it has been in a half-century, deficit hawks in the Republican party want more austerity imposed on the working poor in our nation. Democrats on the House Appropriations Committee estimate that additional cuts will have a devastating impact on food safety, aviation safety, early education, disaster relief, and law enforcement. And vital programs like WIC, which helps low-income women provide food for their infants and toddlers, may be forced to tell 600,000 women and children to go hungry. In his weekly YouTube address over the weekend, President Obama again called on Congress to act now in order to avoid "deep, indiscriminate" cuts. He called out the Republicans directly saying, "they would rather ask more from the vast majority of Americans and put our recovery at risk, than close even a single tax loophole that benefits the wealthy." Rather than working to avert the impending crisis, House Republicans like Speaker John Boehner are simply using it to attack our President...coining the ridiculous term "Obama-quester." No country, in the history of the world, has ever cut it's way to prosperity. We can only hope that Congress starts considering a smarter approach – like the Sanders-Schakowsky Corporate Tax Fairness Act – and prevent devastating austerity. Stay tuned.

In the best of the rest of the news.

Vermont is leading the fight to protect unions! "Right-to-work-FOR-LESS" legislation was recently rammed through in Michigan, and has even been purposed as national legislation by Sen. Rand Paul. But now, Vermont is setting the opposite example with the introduction of the "Fair Share Bill." The state's Senate Committee on Economic Development voted 5-0, to ensure that people who reap the benefits of union representation pay their share into the bargaining process. In an interview with Vermont Public Radio regarding the so-called "Anti-Right-to-Work" law, State Senator Philip Baruth said, "If you enjoy the benefits of your union and collective bargaining, you will have to pay a percentage of what a fully paid up member of the union would pay." From increased wages - to safer working conditions - to the 5 day workweek, unions are responsible for many aspects of employment that people today take for granted. And we've seen unions virtually destroyed in states where "Right-to-Work-FOR-LESS" has been enacted. Those states consistently have lower wages, more dangerous working conditions, and a lower likelihood of sharing in the economic growth created by employee production. Kudos to Vermont for standing up for the rights of unionized employees in their state. Let's follow their lead and push for a national "Fair Share Bill."

Don't be late on your rent in Arkansas! Because if you are, you could wind up behind bars. According to a new report by Human Rights Watch, landlords and corrupt public officials abused an Arkansas "failure-to-vacate" law to bring charges against more than 1,200 tenants in 2012 alone. And the number of people who've actually been effected by this law, which charges people as criminals simply on a landlord's say-so, could be much higher. While most states handle late rent payments and evictions as civil matters, Arkansas' new use of the "failure-to-vacate" law could put you in jail for being as little as 10 days behind on rent. One woman interviewed by Human Rights Watch said she was only three days behind when her landlord ordered her to move out, and threatened to have her arrested. This law is clearly a revival of debtors' prisons in America – something that we outlawed in this country in 1833! More Americans than ever are finding themselves behind on bills. If more states adopt this policy, who knows how many more of us will wind up in jail. Perhaps someone needs to start researching the private prison industry's role in all this.

And finally...It's always sunny in Germany. At least, that's what some on Fox so-called News would have you believe. Last week, a trio of want-to-be journalists on Fox & Friends used that ridiculous reasoning to explain why Germany's solar industry is so far ahead of our own. So, instead of considering the obvious reasons – like the fact that Germany's government has long supported the solar industry – Fox would rather ridicule Obama's "failed" solar subsidies. In fact, every single state in our nation except for Alaska gets more annual sunshine then Germany. In addition to that, Obama's solar subsidies have vastly improved solar output, and expanded the industry's reach throughout our nation. Perhaps it's time we shine a little more light on Fox news.... maybe it'll eventually stop them from trying to push us back into the dark ages.

And that's the way it is today – Monday, February 11, 2013. I'm Thom Hartmann – on the news.

Fox Suggests Maxine Waters Supports Alleged Cop-Killer Dorner

Fox & Friends Weekend used the manhunt for alleged cop-killer Christopher Dorner as an excuse to play a thinly-veiled race card against Rep. Maxine Waters and other African Americans. The pretext was a discussion about how Dorner has garnered some fans on Facebook and Twitter as a result of his manifesto alleging racism and corruption in the Los Angeles Police Department, his former employer. But instead of doing any real work and reporting any real facts about the state of community relations with the LAPD or even relaying what the fans are saying, the three hosts dismissed any concerns about police brutality and racism and suggested that race-crazed African Americans are using the case to justify violence. For good measure, host Tucker Carlson baselessly suggested that Congresswoman Maxine Waters is part of Dorner’s fan base.

Huffington Post also reported on Dorner’s fans but – unlike Fox – also noted that there’s a sort of “Dark Knight Complex” that gives a kind of appeal to high-profile killers among certain people:

The vast majority of Americans are horrified that Dorner declared "war" on the LAPD and has allegedly killed three individuals so far. But the public disgust seems to add fuel to the fire for his followers, as it does with skeptics of 9/11, the Aurora massacre and the Newtown massacre.

However, it is clear that Dorner's fans have a more issue-driven focus than, for example, the fans, or "Holmies," of alleged Aurora shooter James Holmes.

Dorner's supporters say the media should be focusing on police brutality and officer-involved deaths as much as they are on this alleged killer.

In other words, Dorner is obviously not the only public villain to gain fans and it is clear that the case has brought to the forefront a range of concerns about the LAPD. But Fox ignored the “Holmies” just as it disregarded the Dorner supporters' issues - in order to paint them as racial demagogues.

Co-host Mike Jerrick offered up his decades-old observations and current suppositions instead of facts. He said he lived in Los Angeles “in the 90’s” when “there probably was corruption and racism… So, they have tried to stamp all that out and they’ve had a pretty darned good relationship with the public, the police out there, for the last 5-10 years and now all this starts up again.” He shook his head in disbelief.

And we knew who to blame even before Tucker Carlson said:

Who cares (what kind of racism Dorner endured in the LAPD)? You saw this in 1992 during the LA riots. And you saw members of Congress, including Maxine Waters who’s still in the Congress, make the case that this violence against innocent bystanders then and now was justified because it was a reaction against racism. Violence is not justified. Period… I don’t care what happened to Rodney King. You don’t have a right to shoot strangers.

Nobody pointed out that Rep. Waters’ comments about a riot 20 years ago have nothing to do with the murder spree now, nor that she expressly disavowed the violence then even as she sympathized with the sentiments of the community she represented. In fact, nobody even questioned whether Waters or any other members of Congress had voiced any support at all for Dorner, as Carlson had hinted.

Instead, Jerrick ran with the insinuation that she and any other (black) person with a real or imagined beef against the LAPD is probably a fan of Dorner’s: "So anybody who’s ever been wronged or feel that they were wronged by the LAPD is now somehow going online and showing this guy support."

Disgraceful, even by Fox News standards.

Two Years on, Egyptian Revolution Caught in Violent Past

Egypt still reeling from January 25th anniversary violence, as police brutality moves some revolutionaries to abandon peaceful protests. Over 60 people have been killed across country, hundreds more injured, detained and still missing. Police torture ...

Two Years On, Egyptian Revolution Caught in Violent Past

← BACK

February 5, 2013

Egypt still reeling from January 25th anniversary violence, as police brutality moves some revolutionaries to abandon peaceful protests. Over 60 people have been killed across country, hundreds more injured, detained and still missing. Police torture leaves multiple detainees fighting for their lives in hospitals, while one activist died Monday morning after subjected to savage police torture. Attacks on police stations and government institutions are on the rise.

Watch full multipart Egypt

Rosa Parks’ Stamp on American History

(Photo: George Bridges/ Getty)Today, to honor the Feb. 4 centennial of the birth of Rosa Parks, the United States Postal Service has issued a Rosa Parks stamp. Last year, a stone carving of Parks was added to the National Cathedral. In 2005, she became the first woman and second African American to lie in honor in the nation's Capitol and, through a special act of Congress, a statue of her was ordered placed in the Capitol.

Yet these tributes to Rosa Parks rest on a narrow and distorted vision of her legacy. As the story goes, a quiet Montgomery, Ala., seamstress with a single act challenged Southern segregation, catapulted a young Martin Luther King Jr. into national leadership and ushered in the modern civil rights movement. Parks' memorialization promotes an improbable children's story of social change -- one not-angry woman sat down, the country was galvanized and structural racism was vanquished.

This fable diminishes the extensive history of collective action against racial injustice and underestimates the widespread opposition to the black freedom movement, which for decades treated Parks' political activities as "un-American." Most important, it skips over the enduring scourge of racial inequality in American society -- a reality that Parks continued to highlight and challenge -- and serves contemporary political interests that treat racial injustice as a thing of the past.

A more thorough accounting of Parks' political life offers a different set of reasons for the nation to honor her. Laboring in the 1940s and 1950s in relative obscurity, Parks and her colleague E.D. Nixon were among a small group who sought to transform Montgomery's NAACP into a more activist branch, determined to register their dissent, even if they could deal no significant blow to white supremacy. With Nixon as branch president and Parks as secretary, they pushed for black-voter registration, legal justice and school desegregation -- and Parks traveled the state documenting white brutality and legal malfeasance. The summer before her bus stand, she attended a two-week workshop at Highlander Folk School, an interracial, adult organizer training school in Tennessee, to organize for the implementation of school desegregation.

Knowing well the cost of bus resistance (a neighbor had been killed for his resistance, the young Claudette Colvin manhandled) and having made numerous personal stands against segregation that went nowhere, Parks understood the cost, danger and likely ineffectiveness of her stand. And yet "pushed as far as [she] could stand to be pushed," she did it anyway. When, to her surprise, her arrest galvanized a mass movement, she worked hard to sustain it over the next year.

Her stand led to significant economic and personal hardship for her family. In the early days of the boycott, both Rosa and Raymond Parks lost their jobs. Eight months after the boycott ended, still unable to find work, in poor health and continuing to face death threats, they left Montgomery for Detroit. There she did not rest, but joined with new and old comrades to fight the racism of her new hometown and American society more broadly.

One of the greatest distortions of the Parks fable is the way it portrays her as meek, missing the resolute political sensibility that identified Malcolm X as her personal hero. Arriving in Detroit in 1957, she spent more than half her life fighting racial injustice in the Jim Crow North. Describing the city as the "promised land that wasn't," the Parks family lived in the "heart of the ghetto" and found racism in Detroit "almost as widespread as Montgomery." Having volunteered on his upstart political campaign, Parks was hired by the newly elected Rep. John Conyers in 1965 to be part of his Detroit staff, where she worked on issues such as police brutality, open housing, welfare and job discrimination -- the plagues of Northern racism.

Her long-standing political commitments to self-defense, black history, economic justice, police accountability and black political empowerment intersected with key aspects of the Black Power movement, and she took part in numerous mobilizations in the late 1960s and 1970s. An internationalist, she opposed U.S. involvement in Vietnam, demonstrated at the South African embassy to condemn apartheid and contested U.S. policy in Central America. Eight days after 9/11, she joined other activists in a letter calling for justice, not vengeance, insisting the U.S. must work with the international community and warning against retaliation or war.

To the end of her life, Parks continued to stress the enduring need for social change, reminding Americans "not [to] become comfortable with the gains we have made in the last forty years." That lifetime of steadfastness and outrage, tenacity and bravery, is what deserves national veneration.

Doing justice to Parks' actual legacy thus requires something of us -- something much harder than a stamp or a statue. Rosa Parks' courage was the ability to make an independent stand, even though she and others had done it before and nothing had changed, and even when she well-understood the harm that might befall her. She made those stands over and over throughout the course of her life.

Honoring her legacy means summoning similar audacity. It requires acknowledging that America is not a postracial society and that the blight of racial and social injustice is deep and manifest. It entails a profound recommitment to the goals for which she spent a lifetime fighting -- a criminal justice system fair and just to people of color, unfettered voting rights, educational access and equity, real assistance to the poor, an end to U.S. wars of occupation and black history in all parts of school curricula. Finally, it means heeding her words to Spelman College students: "Don't give up, and don't say the movement is dead."

© 2013 The Slate Group LLC

Jeanne Theoharis

Jeanne Theoharis is professor of political science at Brooklyn College and is the author of numerous books and articles on the civil rights and Black Power movements, the politics of race and education, social welfare and civil rights in post-9/11 America, including the biography, The Rebellious Life of Mrs. Rosa Parks.

Rosa Parks’ Stamp on American History

(Photo: George Bridges/ Getty)Today, to honor the Feb. 4 centennial of the birth of Rosa Parks, the United States Postal Service has issued a Rosa Parks stamp. Last year, a stone carving of Parks was added to the National Cathedral. In 2005, she became the first woman and second African American to lie in honor in the nation's Capitol and, through a special act of Congress, a statue of her was ordered placed in the Capitol.

Yet these tributes to Rosa Parks rest on a narrow and distorted vision of her legacy. As the story goes, a quiet Montgomery, Ala., seamstress with a single act challenged Southern segregation, catapulted a young Martin Luther King Jr. into national leadership and ushered in the modern civil rights movement. Parks' memorialization promotes an improbable children's story of social change -- one not-angry woman sat down, the country was galvanized and structural racism was vanquished.

This fable diminishes the extensive history of collective action against racial injustice and underestimates the widespread opposition to the black freedom movement, which for decades treated Parks' political activities as "un-American." Most important, it skips over the enduring scourge of racial inequality in American society -- a reality that Parks continued to highlight and challenge -- and serves contemporary political interests that treat racial injustice as a thing of the past.

A more thorough accounting of Parks' political life offers a different set of reasons for the nation to honor her. Laboring in the 1940s and 1950s in relative obscurity, Parks and her colleague E.D. Nixon were among a small group who sought to transform Montgomery's NAACP into a more activist branch, determined to register their dissent, even if they could deal no significant blow to white supremacy. With Nixon as branch president and Parks as secretary, they pushed for black-voter registration, legal justice and school desegregation -- and Parks traveled the state documenting white brutality and legal malfeasance. The summer before her bus stand, she attended a two-week workshop at Highlander Folk School, an interracial, adult organizer training school in Tennessee, to organize for the implementation of school desegregation.

Knowing well the cost of bus resistance (a neighbor had been killed for his resistance, the young Claudette Colvin manhandled) and having made numerous personal stands against segregation that went nowhere, Parks understood the cost, danger and likely ineffectiveness of her stand. And yet "pushed as far as [she] could stand to be pushed," she did it anyway. When, to her surprise, her arrest galvanized a mass movement, she worked hard to sustain it over the next year.

Her stand led to significant economic and personal hardship for her family. In the early days of the boycott, both Rosa and Raymond Parks lost their jobs. Eight months after the boycott ended, still unable to find work, in poor health and continuing to face death threats, they left Montgomery for Detroit. There she did not rest, but joined with new and old comrades to fight the racism of her new hometown and American society more broadly.

One of the greatest distortions of the Parks fable is the way it portrays her as meek, missing the resolute political sensibility that identified Malcolm X as her personal hero. Arriving in Detroit in 1957, she spent more than half her life fighting racial injustice in the Jim Crow North. Describing the city as the "promised land that wasn't," the Parks family lived in the "heart of the ghetto" and found racism in Detroit "almost as widespread as Montgomery." Having volunteered on his upstart political campaign, Parks was hired by the newly elected Rep. John Conyers in 1965 to be part of his Detroit staff, where she worked on issues such as police brutality, open housing, welfare and job discrimination -- the plagues of Northern racism.

Her long-standing political commitments to self-defense, black history, economic justice, police accountability and black political empowerment intersected with key aspects of the Black Power movement, and she took part in numerous mobilizations in the late 1960s and 1970s. An internationalist, she opposed U.S. involvement in Vietnam, demonstrated at the South African embassy to condemn apartheid and contested U.S. policy in Central America. Eight days after 9/11, she joined other activists in a letter calling for justice, not vengeance, insisting the U.S. must work with the international community and warning against retaliation or war.

To the end of her life, Parks continued to stress the enduring need for social change, reminding Americans "not [to] become comfortable with the gains we have made in the last forty years." That lifetime of steadfastness and outrage, tenacity and bravery, is what deserves national veneration.

Doing justice to Parks' actual legacy thus requires something of us -- something much harder than a stamp or a statue. Rosa Parks' courage was the ability to make an independent stand, even though she and others had done it before and nothing had changed, and even when she well-understood the harm that might befall her. She made those stands over and over throughout the course of her life.

Honoring her legacy means summoning similar audacity. It requires acknowledging that America is not a postracial society and that the blight of racial and social injustice is deep and manifest. It entails a profound recommitment to the goals for which she spent a lifetime fighting -- a criminal justice system fair and just to people of color, unfettered voting rights, educational access and equity, real assistance to the poor, an end to U.S. wars of occupation and black history in all parts of school curricula. Finally, it means heeding her words to Spelman College students: "Don't give up, and don't say the movement is dead."

© 2013 The Slate Group LLC

Jeanne Theoharis

Jeanne Theoharis is professor of political science at Brooklyn College and is the author of numerous books and articles on the civil rights and Black Power movements, the politics of race and education, social welfare and civil rights in post-9/11 America, including the biography, The Rebellious Life of Mrs. Rosa Parks.

Egypt Aflame Over Protests

Demonstrators during a clash with police as a fire burns in a cemetery after a funeral for people killed during demonstrations on Saturday in Port Said, Egypt, Jan. 27, 2013. (Photo: Tara Todras-Whitehill / The New York Times) Demonstrators during a clash with police as a fire burns in a cemetery after a funeral for people killed during demonstrations on Saturday in Port Said, Egypt, Jan. 27, 2013. (Photo: Tara Todras-Whitehill / The New York Times)

Cairo Late this evening, President Mohammad Morsi declared Emergency Law in three provinces around the Suez Canal that are ablaze in protests. He frankly conceded the government was losing control.

The strategic area around the Suez Canal earns the country five billion dollars a year according the Egyptian Maritime Bank. So, this was an incredibly embarrassing admission.

Nonetheless, there is absolutely no doubt that both the military and the Muslim Brotherhood government were caught completely off guard by angry, increasingly intense protests, immediately following what were already massive anti-government actions in Tahrir Square and elsewhere on January 25, the second anniversary of the 18-day revolution that ended the 29-year rule of President Hosni Mubarak.

It wasn’t supposed to happen this way. Elections of a new Parliament, a new president and the writing of a new constitution were supposed to appease the population.

Quite the opposite. The undemocratic nature of all the political initiatives of the military and Muslim Brotherhood have inflamed the population. And, this anger is inflamed further by the absolute lack of progress solving the economic problems of the vast majority.

“Nothing has changed for me, in fact, it has gotten worse,” is a common refrain in news reports and from ordinary people on the street.

All of these factors came together in the last twelve months in dramatic events that played out in Port Said, a city of 600,000 north of the Suez Canal that is currently the main target of the Emergency Decree curfew.

Here is how it happened.

Last year, at the Jan. 25, 2012 first anniversary massive assembly in Tahrir, I observed palpable tension between the Muslim Brotherhood’s stance of ending protests and oppositionists defiantly proclaiming that “the revolution is not finished.”

There was some minor shoving and pushing here and there but no serious breech flared out into the open. It was probably accurate to say that even after one year had gone by, the majority of Egyptians were still willing to give the military and the Muslim Brotherhood alliance a chance to put things back together again in the uncertain post-Mubarak era.

However, that all quickly changed a few days later on Feb. 1, 2012.

A deadly massacre occurred in Port Said’s soccer stadium leaving 74 people shot and trampled to death. It was commonly believed to be orchestrated by the military government and police in collusion with Mubarak leftovers still in power.

Why? Because soccer games are televised live for all to see.

As witnesses told me, “we could see on the TV, police standing by doing nothing as thugs, [purportedly fans of the Port Said soccer team] began physically assaulting unarmed Cairo soccer fans.”

Later investigations revealed that the expansive huge concrete exit doors were shut, perhaps with chains, leaving many of the victims to be crushed against thousands desperately trying to escape the onslaught. There was so much compressive force that the concrete doors buckled.

For millions of Egyptians, the Feb. 1, 2012 murderous attack on Cairo soccer fans, Ultras, was obviously orchestrated as revenge against this same club that so courageously beat back the notorious police-inspired “Camel assault on Tahrir” on the exact same date of February 1, one year earlier in 2011.

No coincidence. People were outraged, with growing suspicions about the nature of the military and their post-revolutionary government.

This is why Egyptians anxiously awaited the verdict. On January 26, the judge ultimately handed down death sentences for the first 21 cases of Port Said defendants.

I saw Ultras in Tahrir celebrating the verdict for around two hours with their trademark clapping in unison and congregating together in tightly disciplined formations. But then it stopped and it did not grow as huge as had been expected

Soon, Ultras began forming again in Tahrir. But, this time by joining with their comrades in Port Said to denounce the verdict as a cover up. Why were only a handful of police indicted? What about higher authorities without whom such a plan could not possibly have been so coordinated?

In fact, the defendants sentenced to death are now being described as “scapegoats” as the blame has shifted to the military and to the government.

Therefore, a unified message is being presented exposing extensive government secrecy, dishonesty and collusion with thugs rather than debating the merits of each individual defendant’s case.

“How can we trust the justice of this government when they have not convicted one single Ministry of Interior thug who killed us two years ago?” a Tahrir protestor defiantly asserted to me.

Thus, an attempt to divide protestors has failed. Cairo and Port Said soccer fans who normally fight each other in sports are now reaching out to each other in politics.

The common enemy is the lies and hypocrisy of the power structure “that all must be changed,” as a relatively conservative former army officer who is now a businessman told me immediately after Morsi’s Emergency Degree. “I was one of those who wanted stability and the end of protests” he said in response to my question. “Not now. All the old power must go. We cannot trust them to be fair with us or to let us make our lives better. The protestors are doing right.”

The first days of Tahrir in January 2011 began as protests against police brutality and corruption but they soon grew, under pressure of the police attacks and government intransigence, into demanding the ouster of Mubarak.

Two years later, this powerful but still somewhat disjointed movement would seem to benefit once again by escalating their demands through linking their democratic and social justice objectives with unified calls for economic justice.

The World Bank reports that 40 percent still live on two dollars a day and things have only gotten worse. The Muslim Brotherhood government’s plan to solve the problem is for observing Islamic duties of charity. They have placed donation boxes in the stores of their business supporters.

In other words, a frivolous delegation of government responsibility.

Coming on top of the dramatic encroachments on democratic liberties by the Muslim Brotherhood government, their utter failure to properly address the abject living, housing and working conditions of the majority is cause for taking the revolution one step further.

It was reported to me that one important Egyptian observer has already called “for the next stage being a revolution for bread.”

Crucial challenges lay ahead in the next days and weeks for the brave and courageous Egyptian people. Their demands have not been satisfied nor their spirit diminished.

“The Square”: Jehane Noujaim’s New Film Captures Egypt’s Ongoing Revolution After Mubarak’s Fall

As Egyptians mark the second anniversary of the Egyptian revolution, we look at a new documentary that captures the ongoing protest movement in Egypt well after the downfall of Hosni Mubarak. "The Square" follows a group of activists as they risk their lives in the uprising that ousted Mubarak only to face further threats under the transitional military regime. We’re joined by the film’s Egyptian-American director, Jehane Noujaim, at the Sundance Film Festival in Park City, Utah. Noujaim’s previous work includes the famed Al Jazeera documentary, "Control Room."

AMY GOODMAN: This is Democracy Now!, democracynow.org, The War and Peace Report. And we are here again at the Sundance Film Festival in Park City, Utah. And a new documentary has captured the immediacy and intensity of the Egyptian revolution. It’s called The Square. In a moment, we’ll be joined by the film’s director, Jehane Noujaim, but first, part of the film’s trailer.

UNIDENTIFIED EGYPTIAN 1: [translated] You won’t believe what happened. I still don’t believe it.

VOICEOVER: January 2011, Cairo.

MAJ. GEN. ISMAIL ETMAN: [translated] President Mubarak has decided to step down and entrust his powers to the Army. We all know the magnitude of this decision.

VOICEOVER: Eight months later. This is our story.

UNIDENTIFIED EGYPTIAN 2: The first one was really about breaking something. This one is about building something.

UNIDENTIFIED EGYPTIAN 3: [translated] Today, power in this country comes from the Square.

KHALID ABDALLA: Tahrir has become the place in which we gather, the place in which we’re able to have a voice, and that’s carrying our dreams.

UNIDENTIFIED EGYPTIAN 4: What people are fighting centers right now on the army. There’s no doubt about it, because there they remain in power.

AMY GOODMAN: The trailer for the new documentary The Square, by the Egyptian-American director Jehane Noujaim. In 2004, she directed the film Control Room about Al Jazeera.

Well, Jehane, welcome back to Democracy Now! It’s great to have you with us.

JEHANE NOUJAIM: It’s great to be here.

AMY GOODMAN: Can you talk about the significance of—you have been filming for what? Two years now?

JEHANE NOUJAIM: Yes, that’s correct.

AMY GOODMAN: Talk about how you started this project.

JEHANE NOUJAIM: I guess, similar to Sharif. You know, Sharif’s Egyptian; I’m Egyptian. We all felt like we had to be back there when the uprising started to happen. And I had made a film in 2007, actually, called Egypt We Are Watching You, which was about a few women who had been fighting for freedom of speech and against corruption in Egypt. And so, I was very well aware of the movement that had been happening for a long time in the streets. And when it started to gather power and force at the beginning of 2011, this was a very exciting time. I went back.

And I met my crew in the Square. All of us met in the Square. And we basically started filming. We had five cameras in the Square, led by an incredible director of photography, and we began following five characters from very different backgrounds, wanting to follow people who were putting everything on the line, their life on the line, to fight for what they believed in and to fight for change in their country. And two years later, I think the story still continues, but we had this chance to come to Sundance to show the film, and so we took it.

AMY GOODMAN: I wanted to talk about some of the people who you covered. In December 2011, the violence breaking out in Tahrir, one of several hundred peaceful protesters staging a sit-in outside the Parliament building was reportedly detained and beaten by troops. Up to 14 people were killed, hundreds injured, over three days of clashes. Let’s go to a clip of The Square that explained what happened. And a warning to our TV viewers around the world, some of these images are graphic.

JONATHAN RUGMAN: These battles have been raging not for hours, but for days.

AMY GOODMAN: Up to 14 people have been killed, hundreds injured. A video uploaded yesterday on YouTube has circulated widely, provoked outrage at the extent of police brutality.

UNIDENTIFIED EGYPTIAN 5: [translated] The gas enters, and then the people outside stampeded into the field hospital, because they were dying. Even the doctors were dying from the gas. It’s black. Nerve gas, I think. It makes you collapse and convulse. I filmed, but then I fell down. I was shaking and suffocating. Everyone was, too. And the patients have to be moved, or they will die.

REPORTER: There were clashes between security forces and protesters, which resulted in the death of many throughout the past days. General Tantawi denied that they had fired any live bullets.

MAJ. GEN. ISMAIL ETMAN: [translated] Glorious people of Egypt. What we are witnessing now on the streets and television are just accusations attempting to smear the image of the military. The armed forces has decided to go ahead with parliamentary elections as planned. And presidential elections will take place before the end of June 2012.

KHALID ABDALLA: [translated] It’s the first time he dares speak to us!

[in English] There are as many people here as there were on the day Hosni Mubarak left town. We got here in the space of three or four days, to this number. There are people who’ve come from all over Egypt. There are people all over Egypt right now who are protests. There are people in Sinai, people in Suez, people in Asyut, people Alexandria, people in Mersa Matruh. People all over the country are fighting for the future right now. I have no fear about the future of this country. I have fear for a future of this country which includes the military and a military that wants to be above the rule of law, a military that wants to be above the Constitution, a military that doesn’t want to tell us how much money it is stealing from this country, a military that is receiving aid in the millions and billions from the U.S. and other governments.

[translated] The revolution is on again!

AMY GOODMAN: That is Jehane Noujaim’s new film, The Square, an excerpt. But it’s not just a film; it’s the real thing. And you’ve been doing this for two years. Talk us out of that.

JEHANE NOUJAIM: The clip you just saw, you see a few of our characters in it. And it was taking place during Mohamed Mahmoud, which, as you described, was a time when there was extreme police brutality and attacks by the army. And what happens during this time is that Khalid Abdalla, who I think you’ve had on the show before, who’s an actor but comes from a family who has been fighting for political change and reform in the country for a long time, he starts an organization called Mosireen, where he gets cameras out to people. And his wife, Cressida Trew, who’s actually one of our teammates on shooting the film, films the dragging of a body across the Square, which was then uploaded on Mosireen, picked up by larger television stations. And you could see the power of social media, because people just came flooding down to the Square. And that’s what happened. I mean, people are using their cameras, they’re uploading, and that’s bringing people down.

AMY GOODMAN: One of the people who worked on The Square is Sanaa El Seif. Now she’s 19 years old. She — Democracy Now!’s Sharif Abdel Kouddous fullinterview">interviewed her in 2011 about a month after the revolution. Sanaa helped to publish a newspaper, in defiance of laws requiring government permission, when she was 17 years old, in the Square. And now I bumped to her—into her in Sundance as part of your team and asked her to talk about how it felt to go from printing this newspaper that brought out the voices of Tahrir when she was 17 to now, at 19, being an assistant editor of this film called The Square.

SANAA EL SEIF: It’s an amazing experience. And the best thing—the thing that makes me really respect Jehane and that made me want to work with her is that most of the cameras left the Square after the stepdown. While—

AMY GOODMAN: The stepdown is when Mubarak was forced out.

SANAA EL SEIF: When Mubarak stepped down, yes. Everybody was talking all over the world, were talking about the Arab Spring, the Arab Spring, but all the cameras left, and we were left alone in the Square. And the army was really vicious. And these cameras, this media—we didn’t get that media attention back, until like we lost like a huge number of people. It takes, like—if you have two people or three people dying in the Square, the media is not going to be interested in that story. But if you have like a big massacre like Maspero, 28 people being crushed by army tanks, then now the media cares. I think if there had been much more media attention, it could have stopped the bloodshed. It’s possible.

The good thing about Jehane is that she’s the camera that stayed. And every time I would see her before, even before I started working with her, every time I would see her during clashes or during a clearing, I would be relieved that someone is still caring enough to stay here and document this. So when she told me to work with her, I didn’t think about it; I was like, "Definitely."

AMY GOODMAN: Sanaa El Seif is now 19 years old, working with Jehane Noujaim on The Game [sic]. Final comments, Jehane, here in—

JEHANE NOUJAIM: On The Square.

AMY GOODMAN: On The Square.

JEHANE NOUJAIM: But Sanaa is one example of an incredible group of people that have come together, worked for free for the last two years. We needed to keep completely independent, even though we desperately needed financing. But now we have just launched the Kickstarter campaign to pay people back and to finish the film. And so, we are—we’re at the Kickstarter, at The Square at Kickstarter.com. And every dollar counts. So—

AMY GOODMAN: Well—

JEHANE NOUJAIM: Keep us independent. Don’t let us be hijacked. Thank you so much for having us.

AMY GOODMAN: Well, Jehane Noujaim, I want to thank you very much for being with us. It’s great to see you again.

JEHANE NOUJAIM: Thank you. Thanks, Amy.

AMY GOODMAN: In 2004, she did the Control Room, which raged throughout the world, a film that certainly caught fire, and now The Square, that has premiered here at Sundance at the film festival in Park City, Utah.

This is Democracy Now! When we come back, we’re going to talk about a new remarkable dramatic film that premiered here called Fruitvale, about the police killing of Oscar Grant. Stay with us.

‘Gate of Dignity’ Protest Village Demolished by Israeli Forces

Israeli forces demolished a Palestinian protest village in Northwest Jerusalem early Monday, evicting the Palestinian activists who had built the site in protest of Israeli land confiscation and the illegal occupation of Palestine.

Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu attends the weekly cabinet meeting in Jerusalem January 20, 2013. (Reuters/Gali Tibbon) "The demolition of Bab al-Karamah does not mean the end of our stand. Activists will again occupy the site on which the village was built and they will rebuild their tents when the opportunity arises," activist Nabil Hababa stated.

Bab al-Karamah, Arabic for Gate of Dignity, included 20 inhabitants, four tents and a building under construction. Activists began building the site Friday in protest of Israel's plans to confiscate at least 124 acres of land near the village of Beit Iksa, which is currently surrounded by Jewish settlements. Should Israel's plans go forth, Beit Iksa will soon be completely surrounded by Israel's separation wall, cutting it off from the rest of Jerusalem.

When completed, the wall will annex 96 percent of Beit Iksa's land, Ma'an News reports Monday.

On Sunday night, the Israeli army issued "invasion removal orders" of the site.

By early Monday morning, large numbers of Israeli troops escorted bulldozers to the protest village, Al-Karamah (Dignity), in Beit Iksa. The troops demolished all the tents and evacuated roughly 20 activists, the head of the local council of Beit Iksa, Kamal Hababa, told Ma’an.

The camp was the second in two weeks to be demolished by Israeli forces. Earlier, Israeli forces raided and forcefully evicted Palestinian and other multinational activists from a similar protest camp in the E-1 corridor of the West Bank—similarly, an area slated for Israeli expansion. The Palestinian activists had also declared the space a newly founded Palestinian village, Bab Al Shams (Gate of the Sun).

The IDF raid in that instance resulted in several protester injuries, reports of police brutality,  and the eviction of 150 inhabitants.

Reuters adds:

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, widely predicted to win a third term in an election on Tuesday, has pledged to pursue settlement building in the West Bank and in East Jerusalem, occupied land that Israel has annexed in a move not recognized internationally. [...]

Netanyahu announced plans late last year to expand settlements after Palestinians won de-facto statehood recognition at the United Nations General Assembly.

"The days of bulldozers uprooting Jews are behind us, not ahead of us," Netanyahu said in a recent interview with Maariv newspaper, referring to past efforts to remove illegal Jewish outposts throughout the West Bank.

Palestinians Forge New Village in Protest of Israeli Expansion

Night at Bab Al-Karamah. (International Solidarity Movement / Abir Kopty)Palestinian activists began constructing a new village in the West Bank on Friday in protest of the illegal Israeli occupation in Palestine and ongoing land grabs by Israeli settlers in the area.

The protesters said they were re-establishing Palestinian land in opposition to Israel—saying they have so far set up a mosque and several tents near the village of Beit Iksa near Jerusalem and have begun work on a permanent structure.

Locals said roughly 400 Palestinians gathered for Friday prayers in the open area.

The activists said the Israeli army recently announced a plan to take over roughly 124 acres of land in the area, which is located on the northwestern outskirts of Jerusalem, an area that is already riddled with Jewish settlements.

Saed Yakrina, an activist from Beit Iksa, told Ma'an News Agency the camp was "a message to Israel and all democratic societies that we are human, and we want peace."

"We are looking for a life without checkpoints, walls and settlements," he said.

"We pitched two tents and began building a new structure using concrete and stones in an area in Beit Iksa which Israel wants to take for settlement," Said Yaqine told Agence France-Presse.

"This action is not limited to today but will go on for several days, to declare our refusal of the Israeli decision to take the land," he said.

The group said they were naming the new village extension Bab Al-Karamah, Arabic for 'Gate of Dignity'.

A spokeswoman for the Israeli army said Israeli soldiers have been "deployed in order to maintain the security in the area."

The protest comes days after Israeli forces raided and forcefully evicted Palestinian and other multi-national activists from a similar hilltop protest camp in the E-1 corridor of the West Bank—similarly, an area slated for Israeli settlers. The Palestinian activists had also declared the space a newly founded Palestinian village, Bab Al Shams (Gate of the Sun).

Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu ordered the raid, which resulted in several protester injuries, reports of police brutality,  and the total eviction of the 150 inhabitants.

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