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Remorseful Jurors Plea to Judge: No Prison Time For OWS Activist May 9, 2014

Posted by rogerhollander in Civil Liberties, Criminal Justice, Democracy, Occupy Wall Street Movement, Police.
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Roger’s note: this is a follow-up to an article I posted a few days ago.  Take a good look at our police state and criminal injustice system.

 

Jurors express shock and regret upon learning guilty verdict could land Cecily McMillan in prison for 7 years

- Sarah Lazare, staff writer

Eduardo Munoz/Reuters

A majority of the jury that found Occupy Wall Street protester Cecily McMillan guilty of “felony assault” of the very police officer who she says sexually assaulted and brutalized her appears to be remorseful that the 25-year-old could spend up to seven years behind bars.

Nine of the 12 people who served on the jury have penned a letter to Judge Ronald Zweibel begging for a “lenient” sentence that avoids any prison time. The letter, obtained by the Guardian and dated Tuesday, states:

We the jury petition the court for leniency in the sentencing of Cecily McMillan. We would ask the court to consider probation with community service. We feel that the felony mark on Cecily’s record is punishment enough for this case and that it serves no purpose to Cecily or to society to incarcerate her for any amount of time.

The letter follows initial reactions of shock and regret from some who served on the jury—which was not informed of the verdict’s severe sentencing guidelines during the trial—once they learned McMillan could be incarcerated for years. One juror expressed “remorse” to the Guardian on Tuesday, stating, “Most just wanted her to do probation, maybe some community service. But now what I’m hearing is seven years in jail? That’s ludicrous. Even a year in jail is ridiculous.” Martin Stolar, criminal defense attorney affiliated with the National Lawyers Guild and co-counsel for McMillan’s case, said two other jurors had contacted him with similar expressions of regret, according to the Huffington Post.

During McMillan’s trial, the jury was not informed of the severe sentencing guidelines for the verdict, as is the standard in the United States, except for death penalty cases. Furthermore, they were denied key evidence throughout the trial.

McMillan’s conviction on Monday shined an international spotlight on what critics charge is a failed “justice system” that routinely sides with police—no matter how bad their behavior, dismisses survivors of sexual violence, and criminalizes dissent.

McMillan is described by her supporters as “a 25-year-old organizer” who “has been politically active for over a decade — most notably in the Democratic Socialists for America, the anti-Scott Walker mobilization, and Occupy Wall Street.”

She was one of approximately 70 people detained late the night of March 17/early morning March 18, 2012, when police violently cleared a memorial event marking the six-month anniversary of Occupy Wall Street. McMillan, who had stopped by the park to meet a friend, says she was sexually assaulted by police officer Grantley Bovell while she attempted to leave the area.

“Seized from behind, she was forcefully grabbed by the breast and ripped backwards,” according to a statement by support group Justice For Cecily. “Cecily startled and her arm involuntarily flew backward into the temple of her attacker, who promptly flung her to the ground, where others repeatedly kicked and beat her into a string of seizures.” Following the attack, McMillan underwent treatment for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder.

Despite numerous allegations that Bovell has inflicted excessive force while on duty, as well as photograph and video evidence of injuries sustained by McMillan—including a hand-shaped bruise on her chest, it was McMillan who was put on trial for felony charges of assaulting Bovell.

According to McMillan’s supporters, what followed was a trial riddled with injustice, in which Judge Ronald Zweibel showed repeated favoritism towards the prosecution. Zweibel imposed a gag order on McMillan’s lawyers, excluded key physical evidence, and ruled that information about Bovell’s past violent behavior, and violence the night of McMillan’s arrest, was not relevant to the case.

“To the jury, the hundreds of police batons, helmets, fists, and flex cuffs out on March 17 were invisible – rendering McMillan’s elbow the most powerful weapon on display in Zuccotti that night, at least insofar as the jury was concerned,” wrote journalist Molly Knefel, who was present the night of McMillan’s arrest.

McMillan, is planning an appeal, but the process could take six to nine months. Meanwhile, Justice for Cecily organizers report that they have been able to visit McMillan where she is being held at Rikers Island, and she has released the following message to her supporters:

“Thank you again for all that you’ve done and continue to do for me- ya’ll are very much loved, and make me feel loved when I’m lying here at night. Please do not feel like there’s anything more you could have done— you all went above and beyond any expectations I had or any standards anyone would have set. Also, please don’t worry about my safety – it is difficult in here, but people (especially the inmates but also many of the corrections officers) have been very kind; several women (re-incarcerates) have taken me under their wing, giving me tea, sugar extra milk and the paper (NY Daily News).“

_____________________

Outrage and Protests Follow Guilty Verdict for OWS Activist May 6, 2014

Posted by rogerhollander in Civil Liberties, Criminal Justice, Democracy, Occupy Wall Street Movement, Police.
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Roger’s note: There is nothing new about police brutality in democratic America, but historically we always see an escalation when protests against the injustices of our capitalist utopia themselves escalate (during the Great Depression, for example).  What is frightening is the level of militarization of urban police forces and governments at all levels preparing for mass incarceration as protests rise in proportion to the economic, military and environmental crises at the same time that what was left of constitutional guarantees such as habeas corpus have disappeared.

‘This has become something bigger than Cecily McMillan. It’s about protests and dissent.’

- Sarah Lazare, staff writer

People across the United States responded with outrage after Occupy Wall Street activist Cecily McMillan was found guilty Monday afternoon of “assaulting” the very police officer who she says sexually assaulted her.

Cecily McMillan (Photo: Democracy Now! Screen Shot)

Over 100 people rallied in New York City’s Zuccotti Park Monday night and, according to advocates, messages of support immediately began pouring in from across the country.

“I know Cecily would be in gratitude for how much people care,” Stan Williams of support group Justice for Cecily told Common Dreams. “But this has become something bigger than Cecily. It’s about protests and dissent.”

McMillan’s supporters on Monday filled a New York court room with cries of “Shame!” when the 25-year-old organizer was handed a guilty verdict and then promptly handcuffed and taken away to Rikers Island, where she is currently detained pending sentencing. In a Democracy Now! interview Tuesday morning, Martin Stolar, criminal defense attorney affiliated with the National Lawyers Guild and co-counsel for McMillan’s case, derided her felony verdict—that could land her a sentence of two to seven years with a chance of parole—as “ridiculous” and vowed an appeal.

McMillan was one of approximately 70 people detained late the night of March 17/early morning March 18, 2012, when police violently cleared a memorial event marking the six-month anniversary of Occupy Wall Street. McMillan, who had stopped by the park to meet a friend, says she was sexually assaulted by police officer Grantley Bovell while she attempted to leave the area. “Seized from behind, she was forcefully grabbed by the breast and ripped backwards,” according to a statement by Justice For Cecily. “Cecily startled and her arm involuntarily flew backward into the temple of her attacker, who promptly flung her to the ground, where others repeatedly kicked and beat her into a string of seizures.” Following the attack, McMillan underwent treatment for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder.

Yet, despite numerous allegations that Bovell has inflicted excessive force while on duty, as well as his previous involvement in a ticket-fixing scandal, it was McMillan who was put on trial for felony charges of assaulting Bovell.

According to McMillan’s supporters, what followed was a trial riddled with injustice, in which Judge Ronald Zweibel showed repeated favoritism towards the prosecution and imposed a gag order on McMillan’s lawyer.

Facing photographic and video evidence of McMillan’s bruises following the attack, including a hand-shaped bruise on her chest, as well as the testimony of dozens of witnesses, the prosecution went so far as to claim that McMillan had imposed the injuries on herself.

“In the trial, physical evidence was considered suspect but the testimony of the police was cast as infallible,” writes journalist Molly Knefel, who was present the night of McMillan’s arrest. “And not only was Officer Bovell’s documented history of violent behavior deemed irrelevant by the judge, but so were the allegations of his violent behavior that very same night.”

“To the jury, the hundreds of police batons, helmets, fists, and flex cuffs out on March 17 were invisible – rendering McMillan’s elbow the most powerful weapon on display in Zuccotti that night, at least insofar as the jury was concerned,” Knefel added.

Yet, according to Kristen Iversen writing for Brooklyn Magazine, McMillan’s verdict is not just the outcome of one unfair trial, but rather exposes “systemic” failures of justice: “The failure is that McMillan was given the exact kind of trial that our system is set up for, one that supports the police no matter how wrong their behavior, one that dismisses victims of sexual assault in astonishing numbers.”

Lucy Parks, field coordinator for Justice For Cecily, said McMillan’s supporters are busy figuring out next steps, with plans to organize petitions, call-in days, and other mobilizations in the works.

“We’re also trying to bring together communities of U.S. activists and anyone who feels strongly about this trial to try and heal and move forward and broaden the conversation about the justice system to talk about more people than just Cecily,” Parks added.

Reactions and reports are being posted on Twitter:

Revealed: How the FBI Coordinated the Crackdown on Occupy December 30, 2012

Posted by rogerhollander in Civil Liberties, Occupy Wall Street Movement.
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Roger’s note: The Empire Strikes Back.  Those of us who oppose the imperial capitalism-on-steroids policies of the United States government are vulnerable to being labeled as terrorists.  And targeted for assassination!  As long as you behave yourself, as most Americans do, you are safe from government oppression (of course, you may lose your home or your job and go into bankruptcy over health care costs, but that is a horse of a different color).  A police state does not attack all its citizens, only those who are uppity. 
Published on Sunday, December 30, 2012 by The Guardian

New documents prove what was once dismissed as paranoid fantasy: totally integrated corporate-state repression of dissent

  by  Naomi Wolf

It was more sophisticated than we had imagined: new documents show that the violent crackdown on Occupy last fall – so mystifying at the time – was not just coordinated at the level of the FBI, the Department of Homeland Security, and local police. The crackdown, which involved, as you may recall, violent arrests, group disruption, canister missiles to the skulls of protesters, people held in handcuffs so tight they were injured, people held in bondage till they were forced to wet or soil themselves –was coordinated with the big banks themselves.

occupy-oakland-clashes-007_0

Police used teargas to drive back protesters following an attempt by the Occupy supporters to shut down the city of Oakland. Photograph: Noah Berger/AP

The Partnership for Civil Justice Fund, in a groundbreaking scoop that should once more shame major US media outlets (why are nonprofits now some of the only entities in America left breaking major civil liberties news?), filed this request. The document – reproduced here in an easily searchable format – shows a terrifying network of coordinated DHS, FBI, police, regional fusion center, and private-sector activity so completely merged into one another that the monstrous whole is, in fact, one entity: in some cases, bearing a single name, the Domestic Security Alliance Council. And it reveals this merged entity to have one centrally planned, locally executed mission. The documents, in short, show the cops and DHS working for and with banks to target, arrest, and politically disable peaceful American citizens.

The documents, released after long delay in the week between Christmas and New Year, show a nationwide meta-plot unfolding in city after city in an Orwellian world: six American universities are sites where campus police funneled information about students involved with OWS to the FBI, with the administrations’ knowledge (p51); banks sat down with FBI officials to pool information about OWS protesters harvested by private security; plans to crush Occupy events, planned for a month down the road, were made by the FBI – and offered to the representatives of the same organizations that the protests would target; and even threats of the assassination of OWS leaders by sniper fire – by whom? Where? – now remain redacted and undisclosed to those American citizens in danger, contrary to standard FBI practice to inform the person concerned when there is a threat against a political leader (p61).

As Mara Verheyden-Hilliard, executive director of the PCJF, put it, the documents show that from the start, the FBI – though it acknowledges Occupy movement as being, in fact, a peaceful organization – nonetheless designated OWS repeatedly as a “terrorist threat”:

“FBI documents just obtained by the Partnership for Civil Justice Fund (PCJF) … reveal that from its inception, the FBI treated the Occupy movement as a potential criminal and terrorist threat … The PCJF has obtained heavily redacted documents showing that FBI offices and agents around the country were in high gear conducting surveillance against the movement even as early as August 2011, a month prior to the establishment of the OWS encampment in Zuccotti Park and other Occupy actions around the country.”

Verheyden-Hilliard points out the close partnering of banks, the New York Stock Exchange and at least one local Federal Reserve with the FBI and DHS, and calls it “police-statism”:

“This production [of documents], which we believe is just the tip of the iceberg, is a window into the nationwide scope of the FBI’s surveillance, monitoring, and reporting on peaceful protestors organizing with the Occupy movement … These documents also show these federal agencies functioning as a de facto intelligence arm of Wall Street and Corporate America.”

The documents show stunning range: in Denver, Colorado, that branch of the FBI and a “Bank Fraud Working Group” met in November 2011 – during the Occupy protests – to surveil the group. The Federal Reserve of Richmond, Virginia had its own private security surveilling Occupy Tampa and Tampa Veterans for Peace and passing privately-collected information on activists back to the Richmond FBI, which, in turn, categorized OWS activities under its “domestic terrorism” unit. The Anchorage, Alaska “terrorism task force” was watching Occupy Anchorage. The Jackson, Michigan “joint terrorism task force” was issuing a “counterterrorism preparedness alert” about the ill-organized grandmas and college sophomores in Occupy there. Also in Jackson, Michigan, the FBI and the “Bank Security Group” – multiple private banks – met to discuss the reaction to “National Bad Bank Sit-in Day” (the response was violent, as you may recall). The Virginia FBI sent that state’s Occupy members’ details to the Virginia terrorism fusion center. The Memphis FBI tracked OWS under its “joint terrorism task force” aegis, too. And so on, for over 100 pages.

Jason Leopold, at Truthout.org, who has sought similar documents for more than a year, reported that the FBI falsely asserted in response to his own FOIA requests that no documents related to its infiltration of Occupy Wall Street existed at all. But the release may be strategic: if you are an Occupy activist and see how your information is being sent to terrorism task forces and fusion centers, not to mention the “longterm plans” of some redacted group to shoot you, this document is quite the deterrent.

There is a new twist: the merger of the private sector, DHS and the FBI means that any of us can become WikiLeaks, a point that Julian Assange was trying to make in explaining the argument behind his recent book. The fusion of the tracking of money and the suppression of dissent means that a huge area of vulnerability in civil society – people’s income streams and financial records – is now firmly in the hands of the banks, which are, in turn, now in the business of tracking your dissent.

Remember that only 10% of the money donated to WikiLeaks can be processed – because of financial sector and DHS-sponsored targeting of PayPal data. With this merger, that crushing of one’s personal or business financial freedom can happen to any of us. How messy, criminalizing and prosecuting dissent. How simple, by contrast, just to label an entity a “terrorist organization” and choke off, disrupt or indict its sources of financing.

Why the huge push for counterterrorism “fusion centers”, the DHS militarizing of police departments, and so on? It was never really about “the terrorists”. It was not even about civil unrest. It was always about this moment, when vast crimes might be uncovered by citizens – it was always, that is to say, meant to be about you.

© 2012 The Guardian

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Naomi Wolf

Author, social critic, and political activist Naomi Wolf is the author of The New York Times bestseller “The End of America” (Chelsea Green) and, more recently, Give Me Liberty: A Handbook for American Revolutionaries. Wolf’s landmark international bestseller, The Beauty Myth, challenged the cosmetics industry and the marketing of unrealistic standards of beauty, launching a new wave of feminism in the early 1990s.

FBI Documents Reveal Secret Nationwide Occupy Monitoring December 25, 2012

Posted by rogerhollander in Civil Liberties, Criminal Justice, Democracy, Occupy Wall Street Movement.
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See the released documents here

  • December 22, 2012

FBI documents just obtained by the Partnership for Civil Justice Fund (PCJF) pursuant to the PCJF’s Freedom of Information Act demands reveal that from its inception, the FBI treated the Occupy movement as a potential criminal and terrorist threat even though the agency acknowledges in documents that organizers explicitly called for peaceful protest and did “not condone the use of violence” at occupy protests.

The PCJF has obtained heavily redacted documents showing that FBI offices and agents around the country were in high gear conducting surveillance against the movement even as early as August 2011, a month prior to the establishment of the OWS encampment in Zuccotti Park and other Occupy actions around the country.

“This production, which we believe is just the tip of the iceberg, is a window into the nationwide scope of the FBI’s surveillance, monitoring, and reporting on peaceful protestors organizing with the Occupy movement,” stated Mara Verheyden-Hilliard, Executive Director of the Partnership for Civil Justice Fund (PCJF).  “These documents show that the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security are treating protests against the corporate and banking structure of America as potential criminal and terrorist activity.  These documents also show these federal agencies functioning as a de facto intelligence arm of Wall Street and Corporate America.”

“The documents are heavily redacted, and it is clear from the production that the FBI is withholding far more material. We are filing an appeal challenging this response and demanding full disclosure to the public of the records of this operation,” stated Heather Benno, staff attorney with the PCJF.

  • As early as August 19, 2011, the FBI in New York was meeting with the New York Stock Exchange to discuss the Occupy Wall Street protests that wouldn’t start for another month. By September, prior to the start of the OWS, the FBI was notifying businesses that they might be the focus of an OWS protest.

 

  • The FBI’s Indianapolis division released a “Potential Criminal Activity Alert” on September 15, 2011, even though they acknowledged that no specific protest date had been scheduled in Indiana. The documents show that the Indianapolis division of the FBI was coordinating with “All Indiana State and Local Law Enforcement Agencies,” as well as the “Indiana Intelligence Fusion Center,” the FBI “Directorate of Intelligence” and other national FBI coordinating mechanisms.

 

  • Documents show the spying abuses of the FBI’s “Campus Liaison Program” in which the FBI in Albany and the Syracuse Joint Terrorism Task Force disseminated information to “sixteen (16) different campus police officials,” and then “six (6) additional campus police officials.”  Campus officials were in contact with the FBI for information on OWS.  A representative of the State University of New York at Oswego contacted the FBI for information on the OWS protests and reported to the FBI on the SUNY-Oswego Occupy encampment made up of students and professors.

 

  • Documents released show coordination between the FBI, Department of Homeland Security and corporate America. They include a report by the Domestic Security Alliance Council (DSAC), described by the federal government as “a strategic partnership between the FBI, the Department of Homeland Security and the private sector,” discussing the OWS protests at the West Coast ports to “raise awareness concerning this type of criminal activity.” The DSAC report shows the nature of secret collaboration between American intelligence agencies and their corporate clients – the document contains a “handling notice” that the information is “meant for use primarily within the corporate security community. Such messages shall not be released in either written or oral form to the media, the general public or other personnel…” (The DSAC document was also obtained by the Northern California ACLU which has sought local FBI surveillance files.)

 

  • Naval Criminal Investigative Services (NCIS) reported to the DSAC on the relationship between OWS and organized labor for the port actions. The NCIS  describes itself as “an elite worldwide federal law enforcement organization” whose “mission is to investigate and defeat criminal, terrorist, and foreign intelligence threats to the United States Navy and Marine Corps ashore, afloat and in cyberspace.” The NCIS also assists with the transport of Guantanamo prisoners.

 

  • DSAC issued several tips to its corporate clients on “civil unrest” which it defines as ranging from “small, organized rallies to large-scale demonstrations and rioting.” It advised to dress conservatively, avoid political discussions and “avoid all large gatherings related to civil issues. Even seemingly peaceful rallies can spur violent activity or be met with resistance by security forces. Bystanders may be arrested or harmed by security forces using water cannons, tear gas or other measures to control crowds.”

 

  • The FBI in Anchorage reported from a Joint Terrorism Task Force meeting of November 3, 2011, about Occupy activities in Anchorage.
  • A port Facility Security Officer in Anchorage coordinated with the FBI to attend the meeting of protestors and gain intelligence on the planning of the port actions. He was advised to request the presence of an Anchorage Police Department official to also attend the event. The FBI Special Agent told the undercover private operative that he would notify the Joint Terrorism Task Force and that he would provide a point of contact at the Anchorage Police Department.

 

  • The Jacksonville, Florida FBI prepared a Domestic Terrorism briefing on the “spread of the Occupy Wall Street Movement” in October 2011. The intelligence meeting discussed Occupy venues identifying “Daytona, Gainesville and Ocala Resident Agency territories as portions …where some of the highest unemployment rates in Florida continue to exist.”

 

  • The Tampa, Florida FBI “Domestic Terrorism” liaison participated with the Tampa Police Department’s monthly intelligence meeting in which Occupy Lakeland, Occupy Polk County and Occupy St. Petersburg were discussed. They reported on an individual “leading the Occupy Tampa” and plans for travel to Gainesville for a protest planning meeting, as well as on Veterans for Peace plans to protest at MacDill Air Force Base.

 

  • The Federal Reserve in Richmond appears to have had personnel surveilling OWS planning. They were in contact with the FBI in Richmond to “pass on information regarding the movement known as occupy Wall Street.” There were repeated communications “to pass on updates of the events and decisions made during the small rallies and the following information received from the Capital Police Intelligence Unit through JTTF (Joint Terrorism Task Force).”

 

  • The Virginia FBI was collecting intelligence on the OWS movement for dissemination to the Virginia Fusion Center and other Intelligence divisions.

 

  • The Milwaukee division of the FBI was coordinating with the Ashwaubenon Public Safety division in Green Bay Wisconsin regarding Occupy.

 

  • The Memphis FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force met to discuss “domestic terrorism” threats, including, “Aryan Nations, Occupy Wall Street, and Anonymous.”

 

  • The Birmingham, AL division of the FBI sent communications to HAZMAT teams regarding the Occupy Wall Street movement.

 

  • The Jackson, Mississippi division of the FBI attended a meeting of the Bank Security Group in Biloxi, MS with multiple private banks and the Biloxi Police Department, in which they discussed an announced protest for “National Bad Bank Sit-In-Day” on December 7, 2011.

 

  • The Denver, CO FBI and its Bank Fraud Working Group met and were briefed on Occupy Wall Street in November 2011. Members of the Working Group include private financial institutions and local area law enforcement.

 

  • Jackson, MS Joint Terrorism Task Force issued a “Counterterrorism Preparedness” alert. This heavily redacted document includes the description, “To document…the Occupy Wall Street Movement.”

You can read the FBI – OWS documents below where we have uploaded them in searchable format for public viewing.

The PCJF filed Freedom of Information Act demands with multiple federal law enforcement agencies in the fall of 2011 as the Occupy crackdown began. The FBI initially attempted to limit its search to only one limited record keeping index. Recognizing this as a common tactic used by the FBI to conduct an inadequate search, the PCJF pressed forward demanding searches be performed of the FBI headquarters as well as FBI field offices nationwide.

The PCJF will continue to push for public disclosure of the government’s spy files and will release documents as they are obtained.

Click here to see the FBI documents obtained by the PCJF.

July 6, 2012

Posted by rogerhollander in California, Civil Liberties, Occupy Wall Street Movement.
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Roger’s note: As a UC Berkeley graduate, who as an undergraduate took part in free speech and anti-war protests, I maintain an abiding interest in the city and the campus.  The militarization of American police forces is an ominous development, and it is no coincidence that Berkeley is in the vanguard given its long and proud history of non-violent first amendment protest.  An imperial nation such as is the United States, which supports and spreads violence around the globe, will eventually see that violence erupt on its own shores.  This is surely the case with what we are witnessing today.  One is reminded of Malcolm X’s prophetic (in response to the Kennedy assassination): “the chickens have come home to roost.

 By Nick Sibilla, People’s Blog for the Constitution | Report, Friday, 06 July 2012 11:00

The police departments for Berkeley, Albany, and the University of California system have partnered together to buy an armored personnel carrier (APC). Not quite a tank, the APC is a Lenco Ballistic Engineered Armoured Response Counter Attack Truck, better known as a BearCat.

If approved, the APC will be paid for by a $200,000 grant from the Department of Homeland Security’s Urban Areas Security Initiative (UASI). Created in 2003, UASI funds counterterrorism measures in “high-threat, high-density urban areas.” From FY 2003 to 2011, over $6.5 billion was appropriated for UASI. In FY 2012, UASI had funding worth $490 million.

However, David Muhlhausen, a research fellow at the Heritage Foundation, has criticized UASI: ”Currently, there appears to be a virtual absence of independent, objective evidence indicating the effectiveness of UASI…Increased spending does not equal increased effectiveness.” Daniel Borgstrom, a former US Marine now active in the Occupy movement, recently urged the Berkeley City Council to reject the APC and police militarization: “I’m asking, please stay out of this urban warfare stuff.”

Meanwhile, Berkeley Police Chief Michael Meehan praised the BearCat, calling it “a defensive resource” necessary to protect officers from being killed. But according to the Officer Down Memorial Page, which tracks the deaths of law enforcement officials, no officers from UC Berkeley or Albany have been killed in the line of duty and only two Berkeley police officers have ever been killed by gunfire. The last Berkeley police officer killed in the line of duty was in 1973. Furthermore, as Radley Balko observes at the Huffington Post:

We’re now about halfway through 2012, and this year is on pace to be the safest ever for America’s police officers…Fifty officers have died on duty so far this year, a 44-percent decrease from last year, according to the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund (NLEOMF). More remarkably, 17 have died from gunfire, down 55 percent from last year. (21 died in traffic accidents, the remaining 12 in various other incidents.) If the second half of this year follows the first, fewer officers will have died on duty this year than in any year since 1944, a time when there were far, far fewer police officers.

In addition, there have been significant concerns about armored vehicles’ ability to violate civil liberties and increase police brutality. A spokesman for the UCPD insisted that the BearCat “is not going to be used for protests or crowd control…it’s nothing to be feared.”

However, police in nearby Alameda County (which includes Oakland) used a $323,000 grant from Homeland Security to buy an APC from Xe Services (formerly known as Blackwater). That APC was even used to suppress protests by the Occupy in May 2012. The Inter Press Service elaborates:

Locally, police militarisation was evident at the Nov. 9, 2011 Occupy Cal demonstration at UC Berkeley, where combat-gear clad police injured peaceful protesters with baton strikes, and on Oct. 25, 2011 in Oakland, when similarly armed police nearly killed a young former Marine when they fired a tear-gas canister that hit him in the head.

Due to mutual aid agreements, whereby law enforcement agencies can assist each other, the UCPD could share the APC with both the Berkeley and Albany police departments. The decision to renew mutual aid has previously been postponed, thanks to efforts by the Coalition for a Safe Berkeley, which is advised by the Bill of Rights Defense Committee.

As Emily Odgers noted earlier this year, turning police into soldiers has eroded the Constitution:

This clash between Occupy protesters and police highlighted a need to stand in support of the protection of First Amendment rights. In the past ten years, there has been a decay of constitutional freedoms in America and the only way to get them back is through cooperative grassroots movements.

This is not just an issue for Occupiers or other activists; the First Amendment applies to everyone and it is necessary that the rights described within it are preserved for all, if they are to be preserved for any.

For more information about efforts to defend constitutional rights in the Bay Area, contact the BORDC organizing team This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

 

 

Chicago Police Hold Occupy Activists on State Terrorism Charges With Dubious Evidence May 19, 2012

Posted by rogerhollander in Civil Liberties, Criminal Justice, Democracy.
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ROGER’S NOTE: POLICE REPRESSION AGAINST POLITICAL PROTEST CONTINUES TO ESCALATE.  THAT INDIVIDUAL PROTESTERS ARE BEING CHARGED AS TERRORISTS IS PARTICULARLY CHILLING.  IT IS CLEAR THAT WE CAN EXPECT STATE VIOLENCE AGAINST POLITICAL PROTEST TO REACH NEW  LEVELS.  IN THIS AGE OF GUANTANAMO AND RENDITION,  GOD HELP ANY CITIZEN TURNED OVER TO THE MILITARY OR THE CIA.  SCARY.

Published on Saturday, May 19, 2012 by Common Dreams

 

- Common Dreams staff

The City of Chicago has filed charges against three Occupy activists, Jared Chase, Brent Beterly, and Brian Jacob Church, including possession of explosives or incendiary devices, material support for terrorism, and conspiracy.

IMG_9823Chicago police during anti-NATO protests. (photo: Mikasi)

While police say the suspects had Molotov cocktail-making equipment, the National Lawyers Guild says they only had beer-making equipment and cell phones.

Police conducted a raid without a warrant at a home in the Bridgeport neighborhood in Chicago and arrested the three along with six other activists.

WBEZ Chicago reports that the Cook County Circuit Court judge has ordered a $1.5 million bond for each of three activists.

The three defendants were stopped last week and surrounded last week outside a Chicago CVS and questioned by police officers on what they were doing in Chicago. They recorded a video, as noted by Kevin Gosztola for Firedoglake, of the encounter and posted an edited version to Youtube.

“The National Lawyers Guild deplores the charges against Occupy activists in the strongest degree,” said Sarah Gelsomino with the NLG and the People’s Law Office. “It’s outrageous for the city to apply terrorism charges when it’s the police who have been terrorizing activists and threatening their right to protest.”

* * *

 

* * *

Gary Younge in Chicago and Matt Williams in New York reporting for The Guardian:
Three Nato protesters planned Obama campaign HQ attack, prosecutors say
Defence attorneys maintain men fell victim to police entrapment scheme involving purchase of Molotov cocktail equipment

Three Nato protesters arrested in a late night raid on Wednesday have each been held on a $1.5m bond over alleged terrorism-related offences.

Police claim the charges of conspiracy to commit terrorism, providing material support for terrorism and possession of an explosive or incendiary device, are the result of a month-long investigation into a group they believe was making Molotov cocktails.

In court on Saturday, prosecutors said the trio had planned to attack targets including President Barack Obama‘s campaign HQ and Chicago mayor Rahm Emanuel‘s home in a plot coinciding with the Nato summit being staged in the city.

But defence attorneys countered that the petrol bombs had been brought by undercover officers, and that their clients were victims of a police entrapment.

It is believed that the three defendants came to Chicago late last month to take part in May Day protests.

They had already been pulled over by police last week and asked about their protest plans in a stop they posted on YouTube.

Attorneys representing the men say the charges are fabricated and aimed at intimidating activists. “We cannot say enough that we believe that these charges are absolutely … very trumped up charges,” said Sarah Gelsomino of the Peoples Law Office. “Clearly in an attempt to continue this intimidation campaign on activists. Charging these people who are here to peacefully protest against Nato for terrorism, when in reality the police have been terrorising activists in Chicago, is absolutely outrageous.

“All three of these guys, interestingly, were in the car about a week ago that was stopped and harassed by the Chicago police department,” Gelsomino said. “They then posted that video online in an attempt to expose that police misconduct. Each of those three are now being charged with these crimes. That’s as much as we know.”

* * *

Release from Chicago Chapter of the National Lawyers Guild:

For Immediate Release: May 19, 2012

National Lawyers Guild Decries Terrorism Charges Against Occupy Activists protesting NATO Summit
Preemptive raids and conspiracy charges are common characteristics of National Special Security Events

Chicago, IL — After holding NATO protesters for up to 48 hours, and releasing 6 out of 9 arrestees without any charges, the City of Chicago filed state charges last night against 3 Occupy activists from Florida, including possession of explosives or incendiary devices, material support for terrorism, and conspiracy. On Wednesday night at approximately 11:30pm, police raided a house in the Bridgeport neighborhood, detained several people in multiple apartments, and arrested 9 activists. Police broke down doors with guns drawn and searched residences without a warrant or consent.

“The National Lawyers Guild deplores the charges against Occupy activists in the strongest degree,” said Sarah Gelsomino with the NLG and the People’s Law Office. “It’s outrageous for the city to apply terrorism charges when it’s the police who have been terrorizing activists and threatening their right to protest.”

NLG attorneys are questioning why it took the city 48 hours, the limit on holding arrestees without a court hearing, to impose such serious charges. Although some accusations of Molotov cocktails have been made by police, they have provided no evidence of criminal intent or wrongdoing on the part of the activists. On Thursday, when asked about the raid at a press conference, Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy knew so little about the alleged terrorism investigation that he said he would have to gather further information before commenting.

The 3 activists charged are Jared Chase, Brent Beterly, and Brian Jacob Church. Last week, all three defendants were surrounded by several police squad cars outside of a CVS, detained for no apparent reason and asked questions about why they were in Chicago and what they planned to do during the NATO summit. One of the defendants recorded the encounter and posted an edited version on YouTube. When Superintendent McCarthy questioned the validity of the footage in the media, the entire video was quickly posted.

More than 20 people have been arrested so far in the lead up to the NATO summit, which begins tomorrow. At least 3 arrestees in addition to the ones charged tonight are still in custody. “Preemptive raids meant to intimidate and stifle dissent are all too common during National Special Security Events, such as the NATO summit,” said Gelsomino.

NLG attorneys will be representing the 3 defendants in their criminal cases and will be at their bond hearing tomorrow at 12pm at 2600 South California Ave.

When It Looks and Feels Like Totalitarianism… May 4, 2012

Posted by rogerhollander in Barack Obama, Civil Liberties, Criminal Justice, Democracy, Human Rights.
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Tue, 04/24/2012 – 21:22 — Jemima Pierre
 
www.blackagendareport.com

 

 

by BAR editor and columnist Jemima Pierre

The Obama administration has spent the last three years building the infrastructure of a totalitarian police state, that “has surpassed the Bush administration’s attempts to expand executive power by crushing the civil liberties of US citizens.” At the center of the repressive edifice is preventive detention without trial, buttressed by various measures that, effectively, criminalize dissent. Clearly, and methodically, “the US government is preparing for domestic insurrection.”

 

When It Looks and Feels Like Totalitarianism…

by BAR editor and columnist Jemima Pierre

The NDAA’S dangerous detention provisions would authorize the president – and all future presidents – to order the military to pick up and indefinitely imprison people captured anywhere in the world, far from any battlefield.”

George W. Bush would blush. Joseph McCarthy would be proud. And COINTELPRO now seems like child’s play. In only three years,the Obama administration and its enablers have established, legitimized, and normalized a national security state apparatus that removes any doubt that domestic policing is a prelude to a totalitarian police state. This apparatus has surpassed the Bush administration’s attempts to expand executive power by crushing the civil liberties of US citizens. And it has done so boldly, with only a few prominent critics, and without so much as a whimper from so-called leftists.

What we urgently need is a compilation of the various acts, presidential signing statements, domestic surveillance programs, secret military and police operations, censorships, and other administrative measures that affect not only our civil liberties, but also our human rights and human dignity. For now, I will focus on two of the more recent congressionally approved draconian laws passed by the Obama administration.

On New Year’s Eve, 2011, away from the glitter and swoon of the media, Obama signed into law the National Defense Authorization Act of 2012 (or NDAA).The law states that based on suspicion alone, the military can indefinitely detain anyone who is considered a “terrorist” or deemed an accessory to terrorism. This includes US citizens. According to the ACLU, this law codifies “indefinite military detention without charge or trial into law for the first time in American history.” “The NDAA’S dangerous detention provisions,” the ACLU continues, “would authorize the president – and all future presidents – to order the military to pick up and indefinitely imprison people captured anywhere in the world, far from any battlefield.”

The Obama administration and its enablers have established, legitimized, and normalized a national security state apparatus that removes any doubt that domestic policing is a prelude to a totalitarian police state.”

What is most dangerous about this law, according to its many critics, is its broad language about who can be considered a target. In his column describing why he is suing the Obama administration over NDAA, journalist Chris Hedges points particularly to Section 1031 defining a potential target as a person who is either a member of, or substantially supported, al-Qaeda, the Taliban, or “associated forces that are engaged in hostilities against the United States or its coalition partners.” This also includes “any person who has committed a belligerent act or has directly supported such hostilities in aid of such enemy forces.” The law doesn’t define what “associated forces” are, or what “engaging in hostilities” against the US means. And because the definition of a “terrorist” shifts according to political necessity, all of us – all over the world – are potential targets and eventual victims. Historically, we have seen how the US government has labeled “domestic terrorist” any persons or groups, particularly those on the left, who have dared challenge inequality and state oppression (clear examples are the American Indian Movement and the Black Power Movement). Most recently, we have seen the brutal suppression of domestic dissent through the militarized dismantling of Occupy Wall Street encampments – which brings us to the next worrisome law, HR 347.

The Federal Restricted Buildings and Grounds Improvement Act of 2011 or the “Trespass Bill” (HR 347 and its companion Senate bill, S. 1794) was signed into law by Obama on March 9, 2012. This law, according to a Business Insiderarticle, “potentially makes peaceable protest anywhere in the U.S. a federal felony punishable by up to 10 years in prison.” What it says, specifically, is that anyone can be charged with a federal felony for “trespassing” on property or grounds that is under Secret Service protection, even if the supposed “trespasser” is not aware that the area is under such protection. One can also be charged if he or she “impede[s] or disrupt[s] the orderly conduct of Government business or official functions.” This law effectively criminalizes any form of protest. This means that any place or event can, at any time and under any circumstance, be designated a “trespass” area and, anyone protesting any event can potentially be arrested. Knowing also that under NDAA, once arrested, a person can be detained indefinitely and extradited if he or she is deemed a threat, should give us all pause.

Any place or event can, at any time and under any circumstance, be designated a “trespass” area and, anyone protesting any event can potentially be arrested.”

Along with these new laws, there is the recent Executive Order signed by Obama on March 16, 2012: National Defense Resource Preparedness (EO 8248). This order allows the executive branch – through various federal authorities such as the Secretaries of Energy, Health and Human Services, Transportation, Defense, and Commerce – to take control of all food, all energy, all health resources and all transportation resources in the service of “national defense,” even in times of declared peace. It is true that this latest executive order is an update to the one signed by Bill Clinton in 1994. But in the context of the growing number of laws that expand executive and military power to stifle dissent along with the rapidly expanding national security enterprise, we should be wary.

Since the passing of the Patriot Act in 2001 and its reauthorization by Obama last year, we have seen assaults on our dignity, our human rights and ability to protest. These assaults now come from multiple fronts and contain diverse tactics. And they affect us all. We see examples in the local and federal militarized response to the Occupy Wall Street movements, the deployment of drones domestically by city governments, universities, private contractors, and local police (see domestic drone authorization map here), and we see how the Obama administration has waged an all out war against whistleblowers by using the archaic World War I era Espionage Act, prosecuting more people than all other presidents combined.More importantly, there is what the Washington Post last year called the “National Security Enterprise” that depends on “854,000 civil servants, military personnel and private contractors with top-security clearances,” and whose major work is domestic surveillance to curtail dissent. The unprecedented $1.5 billion, almost 1 million square feet National Security Agency data center (or “Spy Center”) that is being built in Utah, is to work both as a bottomless database for all information on all Americans, and as a remote interrogation center.

With all of this, it is clear that, even though it seems to only be concerned with international wars and other misadventures, the US government is preparing for domestic insurrection. And it has done so by unleashing the structures of totalitarianism, as it seeks to regulate our actions through mass surveillance, fear, and threats of repression. (For how else can we understand the recent purchase by the Department of Homeland Security of nearly 500 million rounds of ultra-deadlyhollow-point bullets and 40 caliber ammo, as well as a large number of semi-portable steel checkpoint guardhouses, complete with high-impact bulletproof glass windows and doors?)

And why not? The political order is being shaken, the Western financial infrastructure is collapsing, and empire is imploding. They know it and they are ready.

Jemima Pierre can be reached at BAR1804@gmail.com.

To the Winter Patriot November 23, 2011

Posted by rogerhollander in Civil Liberties, Occupy Wall Street Movement, War.
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11.23.11 – 9:03 A

by Abby Zimet, www.commondreams.org, November 23, 2011

An impassioned open letter from Army vet and PhD economics student Mitch Green to his “brothers and sisters in the armed forces,” asking, What will you do when your bosses call you to put down the Occupy movement? Powerful.

“Sadly, society has placed a twin tax upon you by asking that you sacrifice both your body and your morality…Now, more than ever we need your sacrifice. But, I’m asking you to soldier in a different way. If called upon to deny the people their first amendment right to peaceably assemble and petition their government for a redress of grievance, disregard the order.  Abstain from service.  Or if you are so bold, join us.”
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Posted by Erroll
Nov 23 2011 – 9:37am

During the Vietnam conflict many African-American soldiers refused to be sent from Vietnam to the United States where they would have been part of a force that would have had to crack down on those who were taking part in demonstrations outside the Democratic presidential convention in Chicago in 1968. Many of them, just like those who participated in the GI movement back then, went to jail because of the principled stand that they had taken. So the members of the armed forces have to ask themselves if they feel that they belong, as Mitch Green inquires, to the world of humanity or to the world of the state.

Posted by jessia
Nov 23 2011 – 10:13am

The “general” mentality of those in these chosen types of work, fits well with what they are told to do.  I suspect the percentage that will think for themselves and then have the courage to act on it ,will be few- unfortunately.

Posted by RV
Nov 23 2011 – 10:16am

Great open letter. Exceptionally well written. Whether the very important distinction between sworn allegience to the constitution and allegience to the command structure will be well and fully appreciated by most ordinary “grunts” remains to be seen.  But, if it is, the real American Revolution – Part II might be getting closer.

Posted by XGenman
Nov 23 2011 – 11:03am

It’s about time we saw more of this.  Huzzah Mitch Green and all of the other patriots who understand your duty.  Those of us who took the oath need now more than ever to recognize who the enemy of the Constitution is.  Is it those in Afghanistan or Iraq or many other locations in the world we are told are the enemy, or those who openly assault the Constitution as our current leaders so brazenly have done, some even calling it mere paper.

Thank you Mitch!

Posted by hummingbird
Nov 23 2011 – 11:07am

“Sadly, society has placed a twin tax upon you by asking that you sacrifice both your body and your morality…Now, more than ever we need your sacrifice. But, I’m asking you to soldier in a different way. If called upon to deny the people their first amendment right to peaceably assemble and petition their government for a redress of grievance, disregard the order.  Abstain from service.  Or if you are so bold, join us.–Mitch Green

♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ He’s 5 foot 2 and he’s 6 feet 4 He fights with missiles and with spears He’s all of 31 and he’s only 17. He’s been a soldier for a thousand years

He’s a catholic, a Hindu, an atheist, a Jain A Buddhist, and a Baptist and Jew. And he knows he shouldn’t kill And he knows he always will kill You’ll for me my friend and me for you

And He’s fighting for Canada. He’s fighting for France. He’s fighting for the USA. And he’s fighting for the Russians. And he’s fighting for Japan And he thinks we’ll put an end to war this way.

And He’s fighting for democracy, He’s fighting for the reds He says it’s for the peace of all. He’s the one, who must decide, who’s to live and who’s to die. And he never sees the writing on the wall.

But without him, how would Hitler have condemned him at Dachau? Without him Caesar would have stood alone He’s the one who gives his body as a weapon of the war. And without him all this killing can’t go on

He’s the universal soldier And he really is the blame His orders comes from far away no more.

They come from him. And you and me. And brothers can’t you see. This is not the way we put an end to war –Buffy Sainte-Marie ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪

Posted by queerplanet
Nov 23 2011 – 11:10am

Okay, nice letter.   It is the question of the day for sure.  In fact, it is the question that has gone unasked for many decades.

However, if you take a good look at the photo above what do you see?

Take a good look.  Look at the details.

The upper one and the lower one both show well dressed people in affluent surroundings, (compared to say, most of Africa.)     Both the police and the students have some access to money, obviously from the photos.

Now where does all this stuff come from?   The nice jackets.   The t shirts.  The helmets, the guns, the backpacks, the glasses and the flag.

It comes from resources from the planet, which are delivered through supply chains, which are then made into products, which are then delivered through supply chains, and then put into the stores for people to buy.

Supply chains being the key factor here.   Do you really think that if protestors block ports, as they did in Oakland, that is going to be allowed?

Do you want to starve in the next two weeks?   Where do you think your food comes from?   Where do you think all the jobs come from that make the t shirts, the glasses, the backpacks, the helmets, and all the rest?

Also, if the military and police stand down, at what point do you want them to stand back up?   When YOUR job fails due to a strike, or maybe when your laptop isn’t delivered on time.

We live in an intricate network of resources and supply chains that crisscrosses the planet.   Shut down this, and over here people will starve, or go to war.

Yes, people have a right to assembly, but yes, if you even THINK about shutting down the supply chains, you will face the full wrath of the world police, starting with the one’s closest to you, and working their way into more lethal fare.

What else would happen?   Do you think people who own factories and stores will just let you shut them down out of principle?

Yes, the climate is changing.  Yes resources are running out.

So, that’s the real trick.   How do you change the system, without first shutting it down?  And stay peaceful.  (Because honey, they have weapons and weapons and weapons and weapons to deal with any kind of violence.)

How do you change the system that is destroying the environment and the economy, but at the same time prevent massive famine.   If you fuck with the supply chain, you will cause massive famine.   If you don’t change the system, the climate and environment are going to cause lots of trouble.

THAT is the question facing the young intelligent people today.

Soldiers who stand down will also have to face it.

Posted by guitarist
Nov 23 2011 – 11:34am

Shutting down the supply with general strikes is EXACTLY what needs to happen if the occupies are anything more than a bourgeois hissy fit, I must admit I am starting to have my doubts.  When workers start occupying factories like in Argentina (see the excellent film The Take Down) then I’ll be truly impressed.  And the latest moves to roll up and become an old style day protest that disdains the actual occupation campers let by aging white middle class ex campus radical like Chris Hedges?

Not so much…

Prognosis gloomy I don’t think Americans have the balls for a general strike to shut down the supply chain that is raping the planet and third world workers, and our own workers though out sourcing.

Posted by RV
Nov 23 2011 – 12:11pm

Maybe not, but “queerplanet” seems extremely concerned about the possibility, and not alone one suspects.

Keep the resistance “passive”, folks.  Do nothing that might actually cause inconvenience for your masters.

Posted by Sundome
Nov 23 2011 – 12:39pm

No wonder we have all the problems we do today – what with people like you letting their rights be trampled in the name of security, I have no doubt fascism will rule.

Figures you’d look at those two pictures,  and instead of a seeing bunch of out of work people protesting and police abuse, you see products the terrible possibility that you may not be able to obtain them.

Posted by SkDoTo
Nov 23 2011 – 12:44pm

Yes, let’s everyone get arrested, beaten, all to just elect our elite’s hand-picked leaders.  See what happens?  If you would just sign the damn pledge that you’ll get up and pull that lever for Special X candidate, then we wouldn’t be demanding that you get arrested, get beaten, pepper sprayed, sound cannoned, soon to be tank/horse trampled, tasered, shot-at/on, etc, etc, etc…  (In other words, if the polls were showing a landslide victory, we wouldn’t ask you to do this in the first place.  You need the coaxing and prodding to get you to the voting booth, I predict….)

Posted by dkshaw
Nov 23 2011 – 1:33pm

>>Where do you think all the jobs come from that make the t shirts, the glasses, the backpacks, the helmets, and all the rest?<<

The jobs are in CHINA, of course, where the corporate bastards have sent all of our jobs. It’s part of the reason for the OWS protest movement.

Posted by moonpie
Nov 23 2011 – 2:33pm

Nice posting, QP. Interesting…thoughtful & insightful.

But, everyone knows, revolution is never easy,  pretty or tidy.

If it happens, it will truly be something to see.

Posted by rosemarie jackowski
Nov 23 2011 – 11:26am

Nice letter, BUT I have no doubt that uniformed troops will NOT be on the side of the people.   Think about it.  Little children glorify them. They have been awarded medals and honored with parades because of their willingness to kill.  Very few will side with us. Those who do will be in prison, or worse.    Think about Bradley Manning.

I am a vet and a member of VFP.   Military training is very effective in removing any taboo against killing, and they do it in a matter of weeks. That’s what military training for officers and enlistees is all about.

Posted by queerplanet
Nov 23 2011 – 11:31am

Yeah, and for how long has the US sent troops around the world as if it were a football team that gets cheered on by the US citizens?

In a bizarre way the photo of the police holding weapons at the students is sadly amusing. What goes around comes around.

It was fine when those weapons are pointed at everyone else in the world to keep the resources and supplies flowing.

Yeah, some people knew it was happening and yeah, we knew people were being slaughtered OVER THERE, but then you go have more kids and go shopping and it drops from the front of important issues.

Only now…. good gawd…. holy fuck…..they are pointing the guns at OUR CHILDREN!!!

Oh gosh, how did that happen?

We are the ninety nine percent!   Just keep chanting.   Maybe they will go away.

Posted by rosemarie jackowski
Nov 23 2011 – 11:58am

queerplanet…GREAT COMMENT.   The chickens have come home to roost.

And I agree with the other comment here…US citizens do not have the courage to resist in an effective way.    In the US the brain washing starts very early – in day care centers, then in elementry schools, and on and on.   Try this experiment…over the dinner table or on Main Street, mention the 500,000 Iraqi children who died because of US policies.  See how many will deny that that ever happened – even though the official addmission is on tape and was seen around the world.

Posted by SkDoTo
Nov 23 2011 – 1:07pm

I talked to a 20s-something, PhD, well educated, Democrat Dept of Energy physicist who completely feels that oil must, MUST be sought out on every inch of this planet in order to fulfill all energy needs, because in his mind, there are no other energy alternatives to oil.  I explained the 500K children dead in Iraq for that policy.  He balked, and said Iraq had nothing to do with oil and our energy needs.  KID YOU NOT!  I explained the the Dept of Energy has its own “intelligence unit,” as one of 17 known intelligence agencies openly funded by our gov’t.  He balked again, not believing such matters, saying Iraq is a terrorist security issue, and not an energy issue.

AND THIS FROM OUR SUPPOSED BEST AND BRIGHTEST!  Imagine what the lesser educated, lesser informed, the lesser critical-thinking are understanding about such matters…

Posted by dkshaw
Nov 23 2011 – 1:41pm

>> Imagine what the lesser educated, lesser informed, the lesser critical-thinking are understanding about such matters<<

Such as Fox “News” watchers…

Posted by dkshaw
Nov 23 2011 – 1:37pm

>>mention the 500,000 Iraqi children who died because of US policies.<<

“We think it was worth it.” — Madame Defarge … er … I mean Madeleine Albright

Posted by jclientelle
Nov 23 2011 – 2:33pm

There were no children on Madame Defarge’s list.

Posted by NateW
Nov 23 2011 – 11:32am

This is one of the existential struggles of Occupy: to neuter the elite’s ability to clamp down, as police brass are not numerous enough to do the actualy dirty work.  There are halting signs already this is occuring, as two of the more notorious pepper spraying incidents (New York & UC Davis) were carried out by command personel.

Posted by Paul Revere
Nov 23 2011 – 11:50am

Excellent letter by Mitch Green.

He is taking is oath seriously: I do solemnly swear that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies foreign and domestic.

Mitch has it right, we need protection from America’s domestic terrorists now. That would be the 1% that are traitors to the Constitution, the Bill Of Rights, and the 99%.

Posted by bornfreemen
Nov 23 2011 – 12:16pm

Army vet and PhD economics student Mitch Green

Thanks Sir, You are an American Patriot, unlike those who vote for , support, and profit from  the Patriot Acts. The DHS, TSA, Chertoff and his scanner contracts, Fusion centers, etc.etc.etc.

The worst legislation in American history , created in 30 days by Bush/Cheney. An amazing mount of work done in 30 days, or were they just rewriting Hitlers manifesto.

This is the United States of America , the country that nurtured men who wrote the greatest Deceleration of Independence ever penned, and a constitution that forbids legislation like the Patriot Acts. This is not the Unites Stasi of America, or the United Spys of America.

Protest everything.

Posted by Truthseeker58
Nov 23 2011 – 12:15pm

Bravo for the impassioned plea to your fellow comrades, Mitch Green!!!

The reality is that when ALL these foot soldiers refuse to brutalize the peaceful protesters, we have WON.  So all those foot soldiers who are too cowardly to deny their orders or have a mental illness inside that makes them sadists, if you could sum up that courage to JUST SAY NO just this once in your life, you would have saved this country from this brutal fascist reign!  So THINK OF IT.  YOU CAN SAVE THIS COUNTRY, Soldiers, if you just say no.

Posted by Chuck
Nov 23 2011 – 12:32pm

I do not understand….

How does a man/woman put on a uniform and dismiss their conscience and their sense of justice..?

Posted by Sundome
Nov 23 2011 – 12:34pm

Excellent letter. Thanks Mitch!

Posted by martha
Nov 23 2011 – 1:10pm

Well, soldiers do take an oath to defend the constitution against all enemies, foreign AND domestic (emphasis on domestic), and they also have the right to refuse to obey an UNLAWFUL order…

Less Lethal, Or You Die November 22, 2011

Posted by rogerhollander in Civil Liberties, Criminal Justice, Occupy Wall Street Movement.
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11.22.11 – 11:01 AM

by Abby Zimet, www.commondreams.org, November 22, 2011

A chilling look at “crowd management tools” – a.k.a. weapons – made by companies with names like Defense Technology and Combined Tactical Systems and increasingly used by police, from pepperball guns and compressed-air pepper-spray backbacks to projectiles firing bean bag “pain compliance rounds” and fog machines dispensing clouds of tear gas “to provide reliable, less-lethal, effective means of incapacitation.” From Mother Jones.

 

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Posted by Demonstorm
Nov 22 2011 – 11:32am

Most of these – and all the future ones still in development – weapons have one and only one purpose: to be used against Amereichan citizens who have the balls to dissent against the U.S. government. Think about that. Anyone thinking we still live in a democracy needs to have their blinders ripped off.

Posted by Oikos
Nov 22 2011 – 11:45am

The Evil Empire’s ways come home to discipline and punish the citizenry.

a few “pre-revolutionary” thoughts I had November 21, 2011

Posted by rogerhollander in Economic Crisis, India, Occupy Wall Street Movement, Revolution.
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opednews.com

 

Tuesday morning, the police cleared Zuccotti Park, but today the people are back. The police should know that this protest is not a battle for territory. We’re not fighting for the right to occupy a park here or there. We are fighting for justice. Justice, not just for the people of the US, but for everybody.

What you have achieved since September 17th, when the Occupy movement began in the United States, is to introduce a new imagination, a new political language into the heart of empire. You have reintroduced the right to dream into a system that tried to turn everybody into zombies, mesmerized into equating mindless consumerism with happiness and fulfillment.

As a writer, let me tell you, this is an immense achievement. And I cannot thank you enough.

Ever since the Great Depression, the manufacture of weapons and the export of war have been key ways in which the United States has stimulated its economy. Just recently, under President Obama, the US made a $60 billion arms deal with Saudi Arabia – moderate Muslims, right? It hopes to sell thousands of bunker busters to the UAE. It has sold $5 billion-worth of military aircraft to my country, India, which has more poor people than all the poorest countries of Africa put together. All these wars, from the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki to Vietnam, Korea, Latin America, have claimed millions of lives — all of them fought to secure the “American way of life”.

Today, we know that the “American way of life” — the model that the rest of the world is meant to aspire towards — has resulted in 400 people owning the wealth of half of the population of the United States. It has meant thousands of people being turned out of their homes and their jobs while the US government bailed out banks and corporations — American International Group (AIG) alone was given $182 billion.

The Indian government worships US economic policy. As a result of 20 years of the free market economy, today, 100 of India’s richest people own assets worth one-quarter of the country’s GDP while more than 80% of the people live on less than 50 cents a day. Two hundred and fifty thousand farmers, driven into a spiral of debt death, have committed suicide. We call this progress, and now think of ourselves as a superpower. Like you, we are well-qualified. We have nuclear bombs and obscene inequality.

The good news is that people have had enough and are not going to take it any more. The Occupy movement has joined thousands of other resistance movements all over the world in which the poorest of people are standing up and stopping the richest corporations in their tracks. Few of us dreamed that we would see you, the people of the United States on our side, trying to do this in the heart of Empire. I don’t know how to communicate the enormity of what this means.

They, the one percent, say that we don’t have demands” perhaps they don’t know, that our anger alone would be enough to destroy them. But here are some things — a few “pre-revolutionary” thoughts I had — for us to think about together:

We want to put a lid on this system that manufactures inequality. We want to put a cap on the unfettered accumulation of wealth and property by individuals as well as corporations. As “cap-ists” and “lid-ites”, we demand:

One, an end to cross-ownership in businesses. For example, weapons manufacturers cannot own TV stations; mining corporations cannot run newspapers; business houses cannot fund universities; drug companies cannot control public health funds.

Two, natural resources and essential infrastructure — water supply, electricity, health, and education — cannot be privatized.

Three, everybody must have the right to shelter, education and healthcare

Four, the children of the rich cannot inherit their parents’ wealth.

This struggle has re-awakened our imagination. Somewhere along the way, capitalism reduced the idea of justice to mean just “human rights”, and the idea of dreaming of equality became blasphemous. We are not fighting to just tinker with reforming a system that needs to be replaced.

As a cap-ist and a lid-ite, I salute your struggle.

Salaam and Zindabad.

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