Comply Or Die: The Police State’s Answer To Free Speech Is Brute Force

Photo by Tony Webster | CC BY 2.0

By John W. Whitehead for Counter Punch – Unfortunately, this is how the government at all levels—federal, state and local—now responds to those who choose to exercise their First Amendment right to peacefully assemble in public and challenge the status quo. This police overkill isn’t just happening in troubled hot spots such as Ferguson, Mo., and Baltimore, Md., where police brutality gave rise to civil unrest, which was met with a militarized show of force that caused the whole stew of discontent to bubble over into violence. A decade earlier, the NYPD engaged in mass arrests of peaceful protesters, bystanders, legal observers and journalists who had gathered for the 2004 Republican National Convention. The protesters were subjected to blanket fingerprinting and detained for more than 24 hours at a “filthy, toxic pier that had been a bus depot.” That particular exercise in police intimidation tactics cost New York City taxpayers nearly $18 million for what would become the largest protest settlement in history. Demonstrators, journalists and legal observers who had gathered in North Dakota to peacefully protest the Dakota Access Pipeline reported being pepper sprayed, beaten with batons, and strip searched by police.

Getting Julian Assange

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By John Pilger for Dissident Voices – Julian Assange has been vindicated because the Swedish case against him was corrupt. The prosecutor, Marianne Ny, obstructed justice and should be prosecuted. Her obsession with Assange not only embarrassed her colleagues and the judiciary but exposed the Swedish state’s collusion with the United States in its crimes of war and “rendition”. Had Assange not sought refuge in the Ecuadorean embassy in London, he would have been on his way to the kind of American torture pit Chelsea Manning had to endure. This prospect was obscured by the grim farce played out in Sweden. “It’s a laughing stock,” said James Catlin, one of Assange’s Australian lawyers. “It is as if they make it up as they go along”. It may have seemed that way, but there was always serious purpose. In 2008, a secret Pentagon document prepared by the “Cyber Counterintelligence Assessments Branch” foretold a detailed plan to discredit WikiLeaks and smear Assange personally. The “mission” was to destroy the “trust” that was WikiLeaks‘ “centre of gravity”. This would be achieved with threats of “exposure [and] criminal prosecution”. Silencing and criminalising such an unpredictable source of truth-telling was the aim.

Mississippi County Cops Engage In ‘Systematic Targeting Of Black Residents’

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By Nick Wing for The Huffington Post – The sheriff’s department of Madison County, Mississippi, methodically and often brutally targets black residents with a coordinated system of checkpoints and unconstitutional searches, the American Civil Liberties Union alleged in a federal lawsuit filed Monday. These alleged tactics have left the black community of Madison “under a permanent state of siege,” the suit says. In an 86-page complaint, the ACLU of Mississippi and the law firm Simpson Thacher & Bartlett LLP accuse the Madison County Sheriff’s Department of abusing its power to uphold racial segregation and oppression in Mississippi’s wealthiest county. “For Black residents, Madison County is a Constitution-free zone where their right to equal protection under the law and against unreasonable searches and seizures is nonexistent,” Jennifer Riley-Collins, executive director of the ACLU of Mississippi, said in a statement. Madison County is approximately 57 percent white and 38 percent black, according to the 2010 Census. The population remains starkly divided along both racial and economic lines, however, with “predominantly Black towns, neighborhoods, and business districts and predominantly white towns, neighborhoods, and business districts,” according to the suit.

The USFK Take Control Of THAAD Site through Brute Force

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By Staff of Zoom In Korea – And please help us in calling the Defense Ministry to complain and tell them to stop the forced deployment of the THAAD system! During the protest on Saturday April 22, the Seongju Struggle Committee condemned the United States Forces Korea (USFK) and the South Korean government for rushing to begin construction of the THAAD base even before completing the necessary prerequisite steps — “It is illegal to bring in construction-related material when the results of the environmental impact assessment have yet to come out.” On April 20, the South Korean Ministry of Foreign Affairs announced that the South Korean government had handed over the former Lotte Skyhill Golf Course to the United States Forces Korea. The USFK is proceeding with preparations for the THAAD deployment. On the same day, U.S. military personnel were seen driving construction vehicles through Soseong-ri Village into the deployment site. Thirty residents and Won Buddhists attempted to block two vehicles from entering but were unsuccessful. The South Korean police disrupted the peaceful protest of the residents and created a path for the vehicles to enter the deployment site.

Resisting Donald Trump’s Violence Strategically

From thehill.com

By Robert J. Burrowes for Information Clearing House – February 28, 2017 “Information Clearing House” – It is already clearly apparent, as many predicted, that Donald Trump’s election as president of the United States would signal the start of what might be the final monumental assault on much of what is good in our world. Whatever our collective gains to date to create a world in which peace, social justice and environmental sustainability ultimately prevail for all of Earth’s inhabitants, we stand to lose it all in the catastrophic sequence of events that Trump is now initiating with those who share his delusional worldview. Starting with the appointment to his administration of individuals, such as Steve Bannon, Rex Tillerson and Scott Pruitt, who share his warped view of the world, and continuing with the policy decisions he is now implementing via executive orders, Trump threatens our biosphere with ecological catastrophe

North Dakota Dismantles #NoDAPL Oceti Camp

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By Staff of Unicorn Riot – The eviction force was comprised of a variety of agencies including the Morton County Sheriff’s Department, North Dakota Highway Patrol, Bismarck Police Department, the North Dakota National Guard, and federal agents from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms and Explosives (ATF). Out-of-state law enforcement from the Wisconsin State Patrol (WSP) was also deployed under the Emergency Management Assistance Compact (EMAC). [See our Nov. 26th report with WSP EMAC deployment and budget documents.] Just after 11 am, the combined eviction forces began their approach into the camp. Between a few dozen to a hundred water protectors were estimated remaining in camp at that time, with most having left the previous day but some having returned that morning by walking across the frozen Cannonball River. Bypassing the main entrance, two Bobcat-type skid steer loaders were used to clear a path down the snowy hill into the north end of Oceti Oyate. Bearcat and MRAP armored vehicles, accompanied by a large number of Humvees and sheriff’s deputies…

Protesters Vs. State Repression: Challenging Ruling Class Nationalism

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By Pierre Tristam for Flagler Live. for We surround ourselves with like-minded media, like-minded friends, like-minded believers and scream heresy at anything that transgresses our little world. We’re a nation of intellectual cowards, uncurious but for the reaffirming dogmas we know best. There’s so much of what we’re comfortable with anyway (every pretend marketplace of our own making is intellectual sugar), it’s easier to skip doubt. Making the effort to transgress is itself heresy. It’s what makes it so easy to live in alternate realities, and so dangerous: we’ve cozied up to extremes in our own way of looking at the world, and are now surprised that extremists are in charge. No wonder we look at protesters as the worst of heretics. But they may well be the last patriots. Freedom for the thought we agree with is as cheap as a Facebook click on the “like” button. “Freedom for the thought that we hate,” to quote Justice Holmes’s phrase—now that’s what separates Americans from thuggery.

Revolution Beyond Blue Bubbles

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By Paul Street for Counter Punch – “We are witnessing,” the engaging Black Lives Matter founder/hash-tagger Patrisse Cullors told a full theater audience of predominantly white University of Iowa students in downtown Iowa City last Monday night, “the erosion of U.S. democracy.” President Trump, Cullors said, “is building a police state.” “We must hold our elected officials accountable,” Ms. Cullors added, after giving an address in which she related having gone into a two-week depression after Hillary Clinton was defeated by Donald Trump. She had not expected Trump to win. Ms. Cullors told the audience that she knew how to fight Hillary Clinton but “not how to fight fascism.”

Beyond Dallas And Orlando, A Global Arc Of Violence

By William C. Anderson, Truthout

By William C. Anderson for Truthout – The United States will never be at peace with itself until it resolves the fact that it was birthed through injustice, exploitation and genocide. America, as many call it, was never great for everyone. Now, as problems that have existed since the earliest days of the US project boil over yet again, we should be prepared for what is to come. It shouldn’t be hard to imagine what we can expect next from a reactionary state apparatus, when we know what’s happened before. Activists and those who resist oppression and the state’s attempts at social control should be prepared for the coming repression.

Soweto Uprising: Four Decades On, South Africa Still Struggles

A recent protest by South African schoolchildren which had to be quelled by an under-resourced police force. Reuters/Siphiwe Sibeko

By Andrew Faull for The Conversation – June days in South Africa can be dark, cold and short. The sun rises late and sets early. Highland frosts feel their way through blades of blemished veld; mists mask roads ahead and behind. The month brings with it the year’s mid-point and shortest day; a chance to reflect on what has been, and what may lie ahead. Five days before the equinox South Africa celebrates Youth Day. Forty years ago on 16 June 1976, thousands of school children in Soweto, Johannesburg, braved the Highveld cold to protest the apartheid government’s decision that they be educated in a strange tongue: Afrikaans.

The Killing Fields: Extrajudicial Killings In The Philippines

Activists decry extrajudicial killings of human rights advocates in the Philippines under the Aquino presidency. (Photo Courtesy of Toto Lozano / MindaNews.com)

By Mark Ambay for Truthout – When Philippine President Benigno Aquino III assumed power in 2010, he promised to stop extrajudicial killings in the country. Six years later, with his term ending, he has yet to live up to his promise. Aquino won the presidency on an anti-corruption platform and a call for change and development. His mother, Corazon Aquino, was also the country’s president from 1986 to 1992. Aquino has been described by critics as an inept landlord president whose policies are elitist due to his insensitivity to the plights of his countrymen and women.

‘Statement Of Solidarity’ With 2nd Anniversary May 2 Memorial In Odessa

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By Staff of United National Antiwar Coalition – Today Ana Edwards, representing the United National Antiwar Coalition (UNAC), and Ray McGovern, a former CIA analyst and now prominent peace activist, delivered a Statement of Solidarity with Odessa to the Embassy of Ukraine in Washington, D.C. The statement calls on the governments of Ukraine, the United States and the city of Odessa to ensure the civic rights of the people of Odessa to hold a memorial program this coming May 2 to mark the second anniversary of the massacre of 46 profederation activists in that city at the hands of rightwing extremists.

US Counterinsurgency Policing Tactics Ravage Honduras

A Honduran TIGRES establishes a security perimeter while conducting a tactical movement to their objective located on an Eglin Air Force Base range Feb. 27. | Photo: Wikimedia

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By Staff of Tele Sur – The U.S. is pushing a counterinsurgency policing model for Honduras, while ignoring state corruption, impunity and violence. Meanwhile, corpses pile up. Honduran media is ablaze with the latest in the constant stream of police corruption crises. This time the Honduran newspaper El Heraldo published a leaked police investigation into the November 2009 murder of the chief of the anti-narcotics unit Julian Aristides Gonzales, and the related December 2011 murder of his advisor, Alfredo Landaverde.

Coal Protesters Shot By Police, 4 Killed

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By Samantha Page for Think Progress – Bangladeshi police opened fire on a group of protestors Monday, killing at least four, according to local news reports. Thousands of people were charged with assault and vandalism in connection with the demonstration against Chinese-financed coal plants on the country’s southeast coast. “We demand an immediate, full and independent inquiry into yesterday’s events to hold those responsible to account for the unnecessary murder of at least four people,” two Bangladeshi groups, National Committee for Saving the Sundarbans and Bangladesh Poribesh Andolon, said in an emailed statement.

Navy Tries To Kill Gangjeong Village On Jeju

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By Bruce K. Gagnon for Space 4 Peace – The South Korean Navy is demanding damages from local groups and residents in Jeju Island for “taxpayer losses” incurred by their opposition to the construction of a new naval base. The groups targeted include the village association of Gangjeong in the city of Seogwipo. “On Mar. 28, we filed a suit with Seoul Central District Court for the exercise of indemnity rights for the Jeju multi-purpose port complex,” the Navy announced in a press release on Mar. 29.