By Emily Verdugo for AlterNet – Back in August, the Obama administration issued a memo that many hoped signaled an end to the government’s use of for-profit prison corporations. That memo, issued by then Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates, stated that the Justice Department would stop contracting with CoreCivic (formerly Corrections Corporation of America) to run 13 federal prisons. This directive was a symbolic win for many of us who opposed these contracts, and we were thrilled when stocks in CoreCivic and GEO Group, another for-profit prison corporation, plummeted as a result. But the election of Donald Trump dashed a lot of those hopes. Acting on his campaign promise to be “tough on crime,”
By Deborah MacKay for the Minnesota Alliance of Peacemakers. Without the eyes of a free press these attacks and trespasses continue, with the human rights and sovereignty of indigenous peoples denied. The UN Committee on Transnational Corporations and Human Right Abuses was in Standing Rock this week to take testimony of the many transgressions against people: crop dusters spraying poison pesticides and fertilizers on the camps; hair samples indicating the presence of these chemicals; people who have been injured, beat up, arrested, strip searched; media and medics being targeted by snipers; (one medic told me he stopped wearing his Red Cross vest due to medics being targeted); praying people being attacked and the refusal of DAPL and our government to abide by the Rule of Law.
By Eleanor Goldfield for ACT Out. Yawn points out that condemning black bloc tactics divides us and that we should not limit ourselves to only permitted protests. He asks: what violence would have to be done to you before you fight back? Is that being done to others in our country? Is it being done by the United States to others around the world? With these questions in mind he points out that opposing black bloc tactics comes from a place of privilege, the privilege of not suffering violence at the hand of the state. Yawn describes how tactics must be analyzed in the context of the situation and the goals of the protest.
By the Alliance for Global Justice. The United States is building walls and militarizing both the US-Mexico border and Mexico’s southern border. The US is also building prison walls throughout Mexico and militarizing police as living walls to repress and reign in popular movements. When Mexican police fire on striking teachers and normal school students, they’re using weapons made in the USA. When indigenous and labor activists are locked away as political prisoners, they’re locked away in US funded jail cells. The Alliance for Global Justice Tear Down the Walls Mexico delegation will visit with indigenous and labor leaders, family and supporters of political prisoners, ex-political prisoners, anti-torture activists and experts on police, border and prison militarization. We will investigate US prison imperialism in Mexico and relate that to similar programs in other parts of the world.
By Brianna Acuesta for True Activist. What occurred on Sunday night at the Standing Rock Indian Reservation was a brutal use of force that showed the true colors of the oil companies backing the Dakota Access Pipeline and local police. It’s been clear which side the police have been on from the start, but up until now the assault on protesters has been relatively mild and spread out. However, on Sunday night, chaos ensued when law enforcement pulled out all the stops in an effort to persuade the protesters to end their fight. Police used rubber bullets, water cannons, and concussion grenades to cause “nonlethal harm” to the water protectors, but the damage inflicted was massive. Police reportedly shot a 13-year-old girl in the face with rubber bullets, vindictively shot a man at point blank range in the belly button and knee caps with a smile on their face…
By Ann Wright for Common Dreams. Its like we are back to the 1800s when the U.S. Army rampaged against Native American tribes across the American West. The militarized police and the use of the National Guard this week in responding to the Standing Rock Sioux native American challenge in North Dakota to big oil and their dangerous pipelines reminds one of Custer’s Last Stand against Sitting Bull. On Friday more than 100 local and state police and North Dakota National Guard arrested over 140 people who blocked the highway attempting to stop the destruction of the land. Police in riot gear with automatic rifles lined up across a highway, with multiple MRAPs (mine-resistant ambush protected military vehicles). As this police mayhem was unfolding, a small herd of buffalo stampeded across a nearby field, a strong symbolic signal to the water protectors…
By Sarah Ravani for the San Francisco Chronicle. Protesters chained themselves together and blocked the main gates of the Alameda County Fairgrounds in Pleasanton Friday morning to demonstrate their opposition to the Urban Shield police training and expo scheduled there this weekend. About 10 demonstrators chained themselves together and formed a line in front of the gates on Pleasanton Avenue, but police attending the expo and training exercises were able to get into the fairgrounds through other entrances. Twenty demonstrators were arrested and later booked at the Santa Rita Jail in Dublin on suspicion of blocking traffic and failing to disperse, said Sgt. Ray Kelly, a spokesman for the Alameda County Sheriff’s Office. He said all were expected to be released Friday evening.
By Sam Biddle for The Intercept – A CONFIDENTIAL, 120-PAGE catalogue of spy equipment, originating from British defense firm Cobham and circulated to U.S. law enforcement, touts gear that can intercept wireless calls and text messages, locate people via their mobile phones, and jam cellular communications in a particular area. The catalogue was obtained by The Intercept as part of a large trove of documents originating within the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, where spokesperson Molly Best confirmed Cobham wares have been purchased but did not provide further information.
By Glen Ford for Black Agenda Report – Barack Obama is “responsible for the biggest escalation in the history of the one-sided war against Black America. He increased militarization of local police 24-fold before banning some kinds of Pentagon weapons transfers, but is now preparing to send more battlefield weaponry to the streets of our cities. “Clinton or Trump will surely build on Obama’s lethal legacy.” Black activists confronted police terror on the cops’ own turf, last week, with actions at the Washington, DC, lobbying offices of the Fraternal Order of Police and the Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association headquarters in New York City.
By Robert Mackey for the Intercept. Photographs and video of heavily armed police officers wearing body armor and helmets arresting protesters in Baton Rouge over the weekend reverberated on social networks and in the world’s media, focusing new attention on the militarization of police forces across the United States. Another photograph taken by Bachman, showing a police officer’s knee pinning an African-American protester’s head to the pavement, struck a chord with photo editors in Iran and Russia, where the crackdown on peaceful protesters made complaints from the United States government about repression of dissent in those countries seem hypocritical. … As the Baton Rouge Advocate reported, a demonstration in a residential neighborhood of the city on Sunday only got more heated when about 300 marchers were blocked by officers wearing gas masks and driving an armored vehicle with an ear-splitting sound cannon called an LRAD, or long-range acoustic device. The image that drew the most comment, taken by Jonathan Bachman for Reuters, showed a young woman in a dress standing serenely on a road outside the Baton Rouge police headquarters as two Louisiana State Police officers dressed for battle rushed to arrest her.
By Kevin Zeese for Popular Resistance. The Afromation protest in Baltimore stood up for black life and the importance of black culutre in the face of ongoing killings. To understand the reasons for protests in Baltimore and across the nation, we must look at the “race-based trauma” caused by police killings. As we prepared to march, I was talking with two of our colleagues. They described how it felt to be an African American man and see video of people who look like them being killed by police for no reason. It creates a trauma that requires them to act in order to stop it. The demands of the Afromation protests are reasonable: 1. An all-elected civilain complaint review board to give communities control of the police and self-determination; 2. A ten percent cut in the police budget away from militarization of the police and surveillance of the community with the funds used for community programming.
By Sarah Lazare for AlterNet – Chuck Schumer and Hillary Clinton are teaming up with the NYPD to request high levels of funding for a federal “counter-terror” program that is directly bankrolling the militarization of police forces nationwide. To secure the funds, they are invoking the threat of terrorism and exploiting the climate of fear and incitement that has come to define the 2016 election cycle. At issue is the the Urban Areas Security Initiative (UASI), which was created in 2003 as a Department of Homeland Security grant program aimed at assisting “high-threat, high-density Urban Areas…
By Andy Opel and Greg Elmer for Preempting Dissent. The legacy of the Bush administration and the so-called “War on Terror” includes a new logic that stretches well beyond the realm of overzealous security agencies, airport security and international relations, and into suppressing public protest; expanded surveillance aimed at entire populations, but especially activists; and mobilizing fear for social control. Special police techniques have even been developed and applied in order to specifically suppress dissent and manage protests, especially in the wake of the rising anti-globalization movements towards the turn of the millennium. Preempting Dissent provides a quick overview of how some of this logic developed, as well as a glimpse of how political protest in the West has been shaped and controlled in the “post-9/11″ years, up to and including the so-called Occupy movement. By provoking a reflection of the implications of the logic of the “War on Terror” and how its applied to stifle political protest, Preempting Dissent aims to lay some of the groundwork to develop more effective resistance tactics.
By Sydney Johnson for East Bay Express – The Associated Students of the University of California (ASUC) approved aresolution Wednesday night that recommends banning the University of California Police Department (UCPD) from taking part in highly militarized Urban Shield trainings. The resolution, which was passed unanimously by the ASUC Senate, called for the “cessation of UCPD participation in, and funding for participation in, Urban Shield competitions, vendor expos, and seminars.”