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State Repression

Whole Truth Five Sentenced To 4-5 Years At Southwark Crown Court

In an obscene perversion of justice, five Just Stop Oil supporters were handed multi-year prison sentences today for nothing more than attending a Zoom call. [1] At Southwark Crown Court, Judge Christopher Hehir jailed Roger Hallam (57, from Wales) for five years, whilst Daniel Shaw (38, from Northampton), Lucia Whittaker De Abreu (34, from Derby), Louise Lancaster (58, from Cambridge) and Cressida Gethin (22, from Hereford) were each sentenced to four years. They were convicted last week of conspiracy to cause a public nuisance in relation to the M25 motorway disruption in November 2022. [2] They will join Amy Pritchard who was sentenced in June to 10 months in prison for breaking a window belonging to the world’s largest fossil fuel funder, JP Morgan.

Milwaukee Shipped In 4,500 Cops To Suppress Protest At RNC

Contestations over the Republican National Committee’s efforts to foreclose avenues for lawful protest outside this week’s Republican National Convention (RNC) were already heated months before GOP delegates started booking their flights to Milwaukee, Wisconsin, for the convention. So it was something of a victory for free speech that, after months of mobilizing and negotiations — and in the unexpectedly heightened state of policing following the July 13 assassination attempt on Donald Trump — some protesters managed to demonstrate close enough to the RNC to be seen and heard by its attendees. The path leading up to that point was filled with uncertainty over whether protest rights would be subordinated to GOP demands.

Truth Dies: Uhuru 3 Trial May Set Dangerous Precedent For Free Speech

On July 29, 2022, the FBI raided seven properties connected to the African People's Socialist Party/Uhuru Movement and fabricated charges against three prominent members: Chairman Omali Yeshitela, Jesse Nevel, Chair of the Uhuru Solidarity Movement, and Penny Hess, Chair of the African People’s Solidarity Committee. They are facing up to 15 years in jail for speaking out against the proxy war in Ukraine. Their trial is currently scheduled for September 3. Clearing the FOG spoke with Penny Hess and Leonard Goodman, a criminal defense attorney with the Uhuru Legal Team. Mr. Goodman made the point that if this trial succeeds, political speech may be considered disinformation even if it is true. Learn more about the trial and how to support the Uhuru Three as they put the US government on trial.

Iran Imposes Sanctions On US Officials For Suppressing Student Protests

The ministry announced in a statement on Wednesday that the punitive measures were taken in accordance with the Law on “Countering the Violation of Human Rights and Adventurous and Terrorist Activities of the United States in the Region”, (2017) particularly Article 5, which blacklists the following American individuals for their involvement in violation of human rights by quashing the peaceful rallies. Accordingly, their accounts and transactions will be blocked in the Iranian financial and banking systems, and their assets will be frozen within the jurisdiction of the Islamic Republic of Iran. No visa grating their entry to the territory of the Islamic Republic of Iran will be issued as well.

The People’s Struggle Will Free Leonard Peltier

Earlier this month, Leonard Peltier, world-renowned Indigenous freedom fighter and the longest-held political prisoner in the United States, had his first parole hearing in over a decade. The movement to free Peltier now awaits the decision resulting from that hearing, on whether or not Peltier will receive parole and be able to go home after almost half a century behind bars. For more perspective on Peltier’s case, Peoples Dispatch spoke to Gloria La Riva, who for decades has been a part of Peltier’s struggle. In 2020, La Riva ran for President of the United States with Peltier as Vice President, under the ticket of the Party for Socialism and Liberation.

Arresting Reporters Is A Crude Form Of Censorship

Press freedom advocates in Canada are calling on Quebec prosecutors to drop mischief charges against Savanna Craig, saying her arrest and charges are part of a larger trend across Canada. Craig was arrested in April while covering a pro-Palestinian protest at a Scotiabank branch in Montreal for CUTV, a university television station at Concordia University. Although she identified herself as a journalist to police and showed them her press card, she was detained along with 44 protesters. Police have now recommended mischief charges against her. “We’re very concerned about the behaviour of Montreal police towards Savanna Craig on April 15, and local law enforcement’s decision to recommend charges against her despite the evidence that she was not in violation of Canadian law at the time of her arrest,” said Katherine Jacobsen.

Why Is A Stanford Student Reporter Still Facing Felony Charges?

A coalition of press freedom and First Amendment organizations have demanded that the Santa Clara County District Attorney’s Office abandon felony charges against a Stanford University student reporter.  Dilan Gohill, a freshman, covers student protests for the university’s newspaper known as The Daily. He was arrested on June 5, along with 12 demonstrators, after they engaged in an act of civil disobedience against the Stanford’s investments in companies “that provide material and logistical support to Israel’s current military campaign” in Gaza.  The letter [PDF] from the coalition to the local prosecutor indicates that police jailed Gohill for 15 hours. He could be charged with “felony burglary, vandalism, and conspiracy, according to his lawyers and the U.S. Press Freedom Tracker.”

Webinar: Hands Off Uhuru ! Drop The Charges On The Uhuru 3!

"The Uhuru 3 are Omali Yeshitela, Chairman of the African People’s Socialist Party (APSP); Penny Hess, Chair of the African People’s Solidarity Committee (APSC); and Jesse Nevel, Chair of the Uhuru Solidarity Movement (USM). In April 2023, the Uhuru 3 were indicted by the US Govt on bogus charges of being “agents of a foreign government” because of the Uhuru Movement’s over 50 years of work to advocate for the liberation and unification of Africa and forcibly dispersed African people everywhere. "The charges levied on the Uhuru 3 came nine months after the FBI and local police violently raided seven homes and properties of the APSP and Uhuru Movement in St. Louis, MO and St. Petersburg, FL on July 29, 2022.

Lessons From The Wayne State University Encampment

Amid the latest military offensive in Rafah, the movement in solidarity with Palestine has remained active. Students across the country have been at the vanguard, setting up encampments and demanding that their universities divest from the Israeli war machine. The response from university administrations has been repression so intense that it has sparked broad outrage and condemnation because of its chilling effect on the right to protest and dissent. The intense crackdowns have led sectors of the movement to take up the issue of repression as a central part of the fight for Palestine.

How A New Supreme Court Decision Threatens Movements In Mississippi

As local and state governments across the country continue to propose sweeping new policies that criminalize protests, a recent Supreme Court decision in the Deep South has sparked fears that it “effectively eliminated the right to organize a mass protest” in multiple states — setting a dangerous precedent for Southern organizers and activists. Back in 2016, prominent Black Lives Matter organizer DeRay McKesson led a protest in Baton Rouge, Louisiana where an unidentified protester seriously injured a police officer. The officer sued him, arguing that McKesson displayed negligence as an organizer.

Rise Of Militarized Policing In Response To Black Dissent

Since the mid-1960s, the militarization of U.S. police, counter-insurgency, and the surveillance capacity of the civilian law enforcement establishment, then relatively new, has today reached extraordinary levels of sophistication and questionable degrees of constitutionality. The accelerated militarization of America’s police agencies began exponentially to explode during the later years of the Vietnam War, as widespread student anti-war protests of the late sixties reached their zenith. During the same period, the Civil Rights mass movement of Black people for social and political equality in the South began to be co-opted with symbolic government electoral concessions like the Voting Rights Act of 1964. 

Will Prosecutors Charge Pro-Palestinian College Protestors?

According to a nationwide review by The Appeal, students and their allies have built protest encampments or staged sit-ins on at least 53 college campuses during the past month to demand an end to U.S. military aid to Israel, that their schools divest from Israeli companies, and that Israel cease its attacks on Gaza, which have killed tens of thousands of Palestinians in what many human rights experts and international organizations have called a genocide. In nearly all cases, American law enforcement has responded to demonstrators’ concerns with threats or outright violence.

Colleges And Universities Collaborate With The State To Silence Protests

As we have seen over the past few months, colleges and universities across the United States have shown a dangerous willingness to punish their students for speaking out for Justice for Palestine on their campuses. The very institutions that claim to be the centers of intellectual rigor, freedom of thought and expression, and developers of critical thinking skills for America’s post-secondary school development, even claiming to be the groomers and shapers of America’s future generations of leaders, are today the institutions that call the police on student protesters.

Faculty At University Of Texas Austin Strike In Solidarity With Students

Faculty from universities across the country have begun to mobilize in solidarity with the student movement for Palestine. From NYU, where faculty linked arms to protect students from police; to Columbia University, where faculty engaged in a solidarity walkout with the Gaza Solidarity Encampment; to Barnard College, where faculty planned a sick-out in defense of their students — faculty are rising up in defense of their students. At the University of Texas Austin, faculty have announced a 24-hour work stoppage as part of the fight against student repression.

Threats To US Democracy Go Far Beyond Elections And Courts

The idea that U.S. democracy is in danger is now widely accepted among the U.S. political class and increasingly by the American public as well. ​“Not since President Lincoln and the Civil War have freedom and democracy been under assault here at home as they are today,” President Biden said during his March 7 State of the Union address. Much of the media attention on the threat has focused on our electoral system and courts. These procedural elements of democracy are of course critical. But there isn’t enough public discussion of threats to substantive democracy — the degree of government accountability to the public, as well as the protection of free speech and the right to dissent.
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