jump to navigation

If Afghan Lives Mattered, Dallas Lives Would Matter August 31, 2016

Posted by rogerhollander in Afro-American, Imperialism, Iraq and Afghanistan, ISIS/ISIL, Israel, Gaza & Middle East, Police, Racism, Uncategorized, War.
Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,
add a comment


Roger’s note: this article was written following the shooting of police in Dallas in early July, which itself followed on the heels of the latest round of police shooting unarmed African Americans.  What I like about this article is that it makes the connection between the United States’ illegal and endless aggression in Afghanistan and violence at home.  I again reminded of Malcolm X’s notorious remark in the immediate aftermath of John Kennedy’s assassination: “the chickens have come home to roost.”

Capitalism and imperialism go hand in hand.  As we await another sham election in the United States, we know in our heart of hearts and mind of minds that our entire government — presidency, congress, courts — is nothing more or less than the administrators and executors of the Empire; and that implies responsibility for the crimes and suffering abroad as well as at home.  Unfortunately, no election (even Saint Bernie) is going to effect this grim reality.  It is up to us, the 99 percent.




By David Swanson

The man who murdered police officers in Dallas, Texas, this week had earlier been employed in a massive operation, now in its 15th year, that has killed many thousands of people in Afghanistan. He was trained to kill by the U.S. military using U.S. tax dollars. He was conditioned to believe violence an appropriate response to violence by the examples everywhere to be found in U.S. public policy, history, entertainment, and language.

Murdering police officers because some other police officers committed murder is unfair, unjust, immoral, and certainly counterproductive on its own terms. The Dallas killer managed to get himself killed by means of a bomb delivered by a robot. The police could have waited him out but chose not to, and no one indoctrinated to accept violent revenge will blame them. But that technology will spread among police and non-police killers. The airwaves are reverberating with cries for a race war. Greater militarization of the police, not greater restraint, will follow this incident. More lives will be lost. More screams of agony will be heard over loved ones lost.

Murdering people in Afghanistan because some other people who had been to Afghanistan were suspected of committing murder was and is unfair, unjust, immoral, and certainly counterproductive on its own terms – and according to the White House this week it will continue for years to come. Not only did most people in Afghanistan not support the murders of September 11, 2001, but most people in Afghanistan had never heard of that crime. The global war on and of terrorism has been increasing terrorism for nearly 15 years. “When you drop a bomb from a drone… you are going to cause more damage than you are going to cause good,” said retired U.S. Lt. General Michael Flynn, who quit as head of the Pentagon’s Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) in August 2014. “The more weapons we give, the more bombs we drop, that just… fuels the conflict.”

The cry of “Black lives matter!” is not a proposal that white lives or police lives or soldiers’ lives or any lives do not matter. It is a lament over the disproportionate targeting of blacks by police shootings. The trick is to understand the shootings as the enemy, the militarizing and weaponizing policies as the enemy, and not some group of people.

The murders on 9/11 were not rightly understood. The enemy was murder, not Saudis or foreigners or Muslims. Now hundreds of times those murders have been added in response, making murder the big victor and peace the big loser. With no end in sight.

We must not go on trying to solve a problem with the same tools that created it. We must, in fact, proclaim that “All lives matter.” But if that is meant to include only the 4% of human lives contained within the United States, it will fail. We must stop training people to imagine that violence works, and hoping they will only use their violent skills abroad among the 96% of people who don’t matter.

Where is our outrage and our grief when the White House admits to killing innocents with drones? Where is our indignation over the people killed by the U.S. military in foreign lands? Where is our concern over U.S. weapons sales flooding the Middle East and other regions of the globe with instruments of death? When attacking ISIS just fuels ISIS, why is the only option ever considered more of the same?

What brings in campaign funding, what earns votes, what wins media coverage, what generates movie ticket sales, and what sustains the weapons industry may just be at odds with what protects all human lives including those we’re traditionally encouraged to think matter. But we can redirect our votes, our media consumption, and even our choice of industries to invest in.

Dallas lives are, whether we know it or not, going to go on not mattering, until Afghan and all other lives matter too.


  1. Eloquent and to the point, Mr. Swanson. And frankly, getting the money out of war would go 97% of the war to “curing” it. The rest would be a clean up operation, deprogramming the religious zealots that so conveniently drive the war machine for the corporate moguls.

  2. Antonio Bernal

    The enemy is not black or white, the enemy is not Christian or Muslim, the enemy is not American of Arab, the enemy is MONEY. As long as someone can make a buck they dont give a damn who gets killed. We must learn to live without money. People can work for time credits- if it takes 10 minutes for a gallon of milk to go from cow to table, then you work 10 minutes and get your milk. Time cannot be stored, exchanged or corrupted the way money can. Money causes racism, polarization, environmental degradation, war and all the ills that afflict humanity. Doing away with it will solve all the world’s current problems. For more information write me guajolotl@aol.com

  3. Kudos on a well-conceived and bravely written analysis. Brave, because while it is the only view which makes sense, it is not what our misled and fearful population wants to hear. The United States has a long history of justifying all violence perpetrated by itself, as inevitable. Ditto for foreign governments and people. That said, I refuse to give up! Were I a religious man, I’d be wearing a Saint Jude medallion.

New York Police Brutality in Living Color: Obama’s “Democracy” in Action November 17, 2011

Posted by rogerhollander in Civil Liberties, New York, Occupy Wall Street Movement.
Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,
add a comment

A picture is worth a thousand words.  I urge you to take a good look at this slide show.  You won’t see these scenes at a Tea Party gathering.




On Lousy Coverage and the Police Riot Kitten Meme October 28, 2011

Posted by rogerhollander in Civil Liberties, Democracy, Humor, Occupy Wall Street Movement, Uncategorized.
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
1 comment so far
10.28.11 – 11:38 AM


by Abby Zimet

The Washington Post is rightly taking heat for their print coverage of the Oakland police riots, which consisted of a bewilderingly irrelevant photo of a nice wittle cop petting a nice wittle kittie – Look Ma, no tear gas! – over the headline, “Protesters Wearing Out Their Welcome Nationwide.” Ok, we don’t expect much from them, but whoah. Meanwhile, online wise-acres are having a fine old time with it. A reminder on the media: Be wary of your source.

“Propaganda is to a democracy what the bludgeon is to a totalitarian state.” – Noam Chomsky.



Oakland Protesters Call for General Strike Against City October 27, 2011

Posted by rogerhollander in Occupy Wall Street Movement.
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
add a comment
Published on Thursday, October 27, 2011 by Reuters


by Peter Henderson

An Iraq war veteran badly wounded in clashes between protesters and police remained in hospital on Thursday morning as activists called for a general strike against the Bay Area city.

Occupy Oakland protester Scott Olsen, a former U.S. Marine and Iraq war veteran, is carried away after being injured during a demonstration in Oakland, California October 25, 2011. (Credit: REUTERS/Jay Finneburgh)

Occupy Oakland organizers said they had voted to stage the strike next week, intending to shut down the city following what a spokeswoman called the “brutal and vicious” treatment of protesters, including former U.S. Marine Scott Olsen.

Olsen, 24, has become a rallying cry for the Occupy Wall Street movement nationwide.

“We mean nobody goes to work, nobody goes to school, we shut the city down,” organizer Cat Brooks said. “The only thing they seem to care about is money and they don’t understand that it’s our money they need. We don’t need them, they need us.”

Here’s the full Occupy Oakland statement, that was passed by their General Assembly with a 96.9% majority:

We as fellow occupiers of Oscar Grant Plaza propose that on Wednesday November 2, 2011, we liberate Oakland and shut down the 1%.

We propose a city wide general strike and we propose we invite all students to walk out of school. Instead of workers going to work and students going to school, the people will converge on downtown Oakland to shut down the city.

All banks and corporations should close down for the day or we will march on them.

While we are calling for a general strike, we are also calling for much more. People who organize out of their neighborhoods, schools, community organizations, affinity groups, workplaces and families are encouraged to self organize in a way that allows them to participate in shutting down the city in whatever manner they are comfortable with and capable of.

The whole world is watching Oakland. Let’s show them what is possible.

The Strike Coordinating Council will begin meeting everyday at 5pm in Oscar Grant Plaza before the daily General Assembly at 7pm. All strike participants are invited. Stay tuned for much more information and see you next Wednesday.

Spokeswomen for the city of Oakland and Mayor Jean Quan could not immediately be reached for comment.

Brooks said a general strike was a “natural progression” following a crackdown by the city of Oakland early on Tuesday morning in which protesters were evicted from a plaza near city hall and 85 people were arrested.

Protesters sought to re-take that plaza on Tuesday night and were repeatedly driven back by police using stun grenades and tear gas. It was during one of those clashes that protesters say Olsen was struck in the head by a tear gas canister fired by police.

A spokesman for Highland General Hospital in Oakland has confirmed Olsen was listed in critical condition from injuries sustained during the protest, but could not say how he was hurt.

Acting Oakland Police Chief Howard Jordan told a news conference his department was investigating the incident.

Olsen is believed to be the most seriously wounded person yet in confrontations between police and activists since Occupy Wall Street protests began last month in New York.

News of his injury ignited a furor among supporters of the protests. Activists in Oakland and elsewhere took to Twitter and other social media urging demonstrators back into the streets en masse.

More than 1,000 protesters moved onto the streets of Oakland again on Wednesday night as police largely kept their distance.

Friends say Olsen had been active in several anti-war veterans groups and had joined Oakland protesters in a gesture of solidarity after learning of the police crackdown there.

Keith Shannon, 24, who said he served with Olsen in Iraq, told Reuters his friend suffered a two-inch skull fracture and brain swelling and had been sedated and placed on a respirator in the hospital’s emergency room trauma center while neurosurgeons decided whether to operate.

Olsen served two tours in Iraq from 2006 to 2010 with the 3rd battalion, 4th Marine Regiment, Shannon said, adding that he and Olsen deployed together and were assigned to a tactical communications unit.

(Additional reporting by Dan Whitcomb, Ben Berkowitz, Emmett Berg and Mary Slosson; Writing by Dan Whitcomb; Editing by Jerry Norton)

© 2011 Reuters
Published on Thursday, October 27, 2011 by CommonDreams.org

From Our Archives: Police Violence Shocks Activists, Others at Port of Oakland Protest

by Dana Hull

Common Dreams Editors’ Note: In light of the violence done by the Oakland, CA police against Occupy Oakland, we wanted to share with you this headline from our 2003 archives. The protesters took the city to court, and Oakland eventually awarded $2 million to 58 demonstrators for police abuses.

Published on Monday, April 7, 2003 by the San Jose Mercury News

A protestor, who refused to give her name, bears the wounds after she says was hit by Oakland police weapon during a anti-war protest in Oakland, Calif., Monday, April 7, 2003 outside the port area. (AP Photo/Paul Sakuma)

 An anti-war demonstration at the Port of Oakland turned violent this morning when Oakland Police opened fire with wooden dowels, “sting balls,” concussion grendades, tear gas and other non-lethal weapons when protesters at the gates of two shipping lines refused an order to disperse.

Scores of protesters ran from a line of police or tried to hide behind nearby big rigs. At least a dozen demonstrators and nine longshoremen who were standing nearby were injured.

“Our guys were standing in one area waiting to go to work, and then the police started firing on the longshoremen,” said Henry Graham, the president of ILWU Local 10. “Some were hit in the chest with rubber bullets, and seven of our guys went to the hospital. I don’t want to imply that the police deliberately did this, but it doesn’t make sense.”

Berkeley resident Clay Hinson (R), who was shot once in the chest and twice in the back during an anti-war protest, shows his wounds to an Oakland Police sergeant (L) who takes his statement at the West Oakland train station, April 7, 2003. Oakland police fired rubber bullets and wooden pellets on Monday to disperse hundreds of anti-war protesters in what was believed to be their first such use against U.S. protesters since the American-led war on Iraq began. REUTERS/Tim Wimborne

There have been so many anti-war demonstrations in the Bay Area in recent months that they have almost become routine, and most have been peaceful. Monday’s events mark the first time that local police have used projectiles to disperse crowds, and many demonstrators said they were stunned that the projectiles were fired at such close range.

“I was just marching in a big circle and the police lowered their guns at us,” said Scott Fleming, 29, who took off his shirt to reveal four large red and swollen welts on his back. “I turned to run and I started getting hit with wooden bullets. They just kept shooting at us, and I kept running. I’m a lawyer, and I’m seriously considering filing charges.”

The early morning mayhem came as a shock to veteran activists and Oakland leaders alike. Oakland was one of the first cities in the region to pass a resolution condeming the U.S.-led war with Iraq, and the City Council has a progressive reputation. Some well known public officials even turned out to participate in the early morning protest.

“I got hit a few times with rubber bullets,” said Dan Siegel, an attorney and member of the Oakland School Board. Siegel pulled a sting ball out of the pocket of his business suit and said he was outraged that the police fired on a peaceful protest. “The police totally overreacted. It’s over the top. They were reckless, and I also saw an officer on a motorcycle run over a woman’s foot.”

The port protest was one of several anti-war demonstrations held Monday in the Bay Area. Several people were arrested at the Concord Naval Weapons Station, and seven were arrested after they temporarily blocked an off-ramp from Interstate 280 in San Francisco. Other demonstrators walked in a circle in front of the federal building in San Francisco, drumming wooden spoons together as federal employees arrived for work.

The action at the Port was the largest. Hundreds of demonstrators met near dawn Monday at the terminals of Neptune Orient Lines Ltd.’s APL unit and Stevedoring Services of America, shipping companies that activists say are profiting from the war.

An Oakland Police officer fires a shotgun towards a group of anti-war protesters near the Port of Oakland, April 7, 2003. Oakland police fired rubber bullets and wooden pellets on Monday to disperse hundreds of anti-war protesters in what was believed to be the first such use against U.S. protesters since the American-led war on Iraq began. REUTERS/Tim Wimborne

 In late March, Stevedoring Services of America won a $4.8 million contract from the U.S. government to manage the Iraqi port Umm Qasr and ensure that urgent food assistance and materials flow smoothly through the seaport. Critics are screaming foul over the process, which excluded any foreign companies from bidding on the lucrative contracts.

The demonstrations at the port were planned with the quiet support of the ILWU, the International Longshore and Warehouse Union.

Many rank-and-file members of ILWU Local 10 oppose the war with Iraq, and the local has its own Anti-War Action Committee.

Police fired into the crowd after some protesters failed to clear the street in front of the terminals.

“At that point, we fired non-lethal munitions,” said Danielle Ashford, an officer with the Oakland Police Department. “There were a few agitators in the crowd. The majority of them were peaceful.”

But others said they never saw any evidence of “agitators” and urged any witnesses to come to Tuesday’s City Council meeting.

“I was there from 5 a.m. on, and the only violence that I saw was from the police,” said Joel Tena, the constituent liason for Vice Mayor Nancy Nadel. “What happened today was very surprising. It seemed the police were operating under the assumption that they were not going to let any kind of protest happen.”

© 2003 San Jose Mercury News

Occupy Wall Street Protest Enters Second Week; 80 Arrested at Peaceful March September 26, 2011

Posted by rogerhollander in Democracy, Economic Crisis, Revolution.
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
add a comment

www.democracynow.org, September 26, 2011


It is day 10 of the “Occupy Wall Street” campaign. On Saturday, more than 80 protesters were arrested as hundreds took part in yet another march to Wall Street. Many of them were committing civil disobedience by walking in the street, but some say they were on the sidewalk when officers with the New York City Police Department used nets and physical force to break up the crowd. Videos uploaded to YouTube show officers pepper-spraying protesters in the face from close range, punching demonstrators and dragging people through the street. Since Sept. 17, thousands have gathered near in New York City’s financial district near Wall Street to decry corporate greed. Many have said they have been inspired by other popular uprisings from Spain to the Arab Spring. On Sunday, protesters issued a communiqué calling for the resignation of the NYPD Commissioner Raymond Kelly and for a dialogue with Mayor Michael Bloomberg. Thanks to Democracy Now!’s Ryan Devereaux and Jon Gerberg for this report.

AMY GOODMAN: Yes, it’s day 10 of the Occupy Wall Street campaign. On Saturday, more than 80 protesters were arrested as hundreds took part in yet another march to Wall Street. The New York Police Department used nets and physical force to break up the crowds. Videos uploaded to YouTube show officers pepper-spraying protesters in the face from close range, punching demonstrators and dragging people through the street.

Since Saturday, September 17th, thousands, inspired by popular uprisings from Spain to the Arab Spring, gathered near Wall Street to decry corporate greed. On Sunday, protesters issued a communiqué calling for the resignation of the New York police commissioner, Raymond Kelly, and a dialogue with Mayor Michael Bloomberg.

Ryan Devereaux and Jon Gerberg of Democracy Now! were in the streets talking to people about what took place.

NATHAN SCHNEIDER: There were some arrests down in the Wall Street area, including someone from the media team, around Fifth Avenue and 12th Street. There was a mass arrest. As many as a hundred, perhaps around a hundred, were taken in, in police vans, in city buses. And then those who remained came down. There were reports of pepper spray being used, people being dragged around on the ground by their hair. The witness reports are still coming in.

YELL: My name is Yell. This one police officer had whipped out his mace and sprayed it about a foot away from me and around my area, where there were other people. The mace at that point was so close to me that it was dripping down my face, down my chest, all over me. It was ridiculous. I was about maybe 45 to an hour—I was blind for about 45 minutes to an hour. I’m not going anywhere. I’m not going anywhere. They need to do a lot more to move me.

CHRISTINA GONZALEZ: My name is Christina Gonzales. I’m from Far Rockaway, Queens. Today I was involved in the protest. I was actually arrested. The guy told me to stop filming. I told him I wasn’t, and I heard him say, “Get her!” The next thing you know, they all came up behind me. They grabbed me by my wrist. They took their feet and swept it under my feet to try to take my feet from under me. They put the cuffs on really tight. I could not feel my hands. And all I kept doing was screaming, “Please get these cuffs off of me! Get these cuffs off of me! I cannot breathe! I’m suffocating! My hands!”

We sat inside one of these police vans, 16 of us, for two-and-a-half hours with the doors closed. We couldn’t breath in there, and there was a man in there who needed medical attention. He had a big, huge laceration on his eyebrow. There were a couple other brothers who had scrapes on their leg, big cuts into their leg. And everybody was just laughing at us. The cops kept circling around. We asked for water. No water. We had our phones. We were sending pictures; we were making phone calls. We even called 911, and 911 said, “You’re with the cops, they’re there to protect you,” and she hung up the phone on me.

There’s a lot of—there’s a lot of causes out here, but I think the main thing that we’re looking for is that we’re human beings, and human beings should come before money. Human beings should come before profit. There’s a lot of greed out here, and a lot of people don’t have things, and there’s a few small people who do have it, and they’re keeping it from us. And they’ve got the cops out here to protect them, and they should be out here protecting us, you know? That’s why we’re out here, because there’s injustice going on. And everybody wants to know, what’s our cause, what’s our cause? Listen, this is not just a protest. This is a struggle. It’s a fight. It’s a war going on. And we’re fighting a peaceful war.

WYLIE STECKLOW: I believe, as a constitutional lawyer, that the actual act of being here, of doing two general assemblies a day, of doing two marches a day, and of trying to have this peaceful assembly, putting out cardboard signs that other individuals will come around and see, this whole act is expressive speech. This is the First Amendment. It’s a living, breathing moment of the First Amendment in action and something that I don’t recall really seeing quite like this before.

NATHAN SCHNEIDER: What they’re doing here is the assembly. The core demand, I think, right now, seems to be the right to organize, to have a political conversation in a public space, to show Wall Street, so to speak, what democracy looks like.

AMY GOODMAN That was Nathan Schneider, editor of the website wagingnonviolence.org. He talked about the protest over the last 10 days.

NATHAN SCHNEIDER: This protest began on Saturday with a rally down near Bowling Green and then a march up to a surprise location, which turned out to be Liberty Plaza. Since then, people began spending the night, that first night. Every day since, there have been interactions with the police, generally including arrests. There’s been a lot of frustration about media coverage. But what matters more is that this group is learning the skills that are necessary in order to build that kind of coverage and build that kind of presence in the media.

HENRY JAMES FERRY: My name is Henry James Ferry. The media center is a—it’s a varied group. It’s made up of people who are live streaming through a handle of “Global Revolution.” It’s made up of people like me, who are tweeting from “The Other 99.” That’s my handle, “The Other 99.” I also have a Facebook account that’s putting up the list of our media events at “We are the Other 99.” And we want to be a primary source of information. This is day eight of the occupation. We want to create a narrative that the media can use to tell this story. Right now, this is a very messy, disconjointed story, and I don’t think the media knows how to cover it. We’re trying to create that narrative so that they have primary information, sourced with pictures, with video, with sources that they can trust, so they can go out and tell the message to the whole country and the whole world.

AMY GOODMAN For more on Occupy Wall Street, you can go to our website at democracynow.org. And organizers in Los Angeles have now just announced an Occupy Los Angeles campaign.