Tuesday, December 30, 2008
Saturday, December 20, 2008
Friday, December 19, 2008
"At one point, researchers brought in a volunteer who knew what was going on and refused to administer shocks beyond 150 volts. Despite the example, 63 percent of the participants continued administering shocks past 150 volts."
Thursday, December 18, 2008
Monday, December 15, 2008
WHAT DOES LETTING OUR OWN WAR CRIMINALS GO GREE TELL US ABOUT OURSELVES? : Information Clearing House - ICH
This article is actually from Nat Hentoff of the Village Voice and ask why war crimes are not only ignored in the US, but heck, the culprits even pardon their accomplices.
Saturday, December 13, 2008
Friday, December 12, 2008
Wednesday, December 10, 2008
African Studies Association 2008 Melville J. Herskovits Award
The African Studies Association held its Presidential Lecture and
Awards Ceremony from 8:00 P.M. - 9:30 P.M. in the Sheraton Chicago
Hotel and Towers during the 50th Anniversary of the ASA's first
Annual Meeting in Chicago, IL, on November 14, 2008. The Presidential
Lecture was followed by the ASA Awards Ceremony, which honored the
recipients and honorable mentions for the 2008 Melville J. Herskovits
Melville J. Herskovits Award
The ASA annually presents the Melville J. Herskovits Award to the
author of an outstanding original scholarly work published on Africa
in the previous year. The Award Committee for 2008 consisted of Diana
Wylie, Chair, Boston University; Adam Ashforth, Northwestern
University; Elisabeth Cameron, University of California-Santa Cruz;
Toyin Falola, University of Texas; and Louise Meintjes, Duke
University. The ASA Board of Directors thanks the Award Committee for
its service and for providing the commentary that follows below. The
ASA Board of Directors also gratefully acknowledges the Kennell A.
Jackson, Jr. bequest in endowing the Herskovits Award for 2008 and
for the future. The winners of the 2008 award are:
Linda M. Heywood and John K. Thornton, Central Africans, Atlantic
Creoles, and the Foundation of the Americas, 1585-1660 (Cambridge
University Press, 2007). This book narrates the making of a Creole
Atlantic world. It tells the story of the formative period of African-
American culture when Angolans were brought to the New World through
the slave trade to Portuguese, English and Dutch colonies. The
authors represent various Angolan kingdoms as culturally diverse and
changing. They also show the attitudes of Europeans to continental
Africans changing as they encountered African political, religious,
cultural and military institutions. Internecine wars produced
captives. Slave trading, initiated by Portuguese pioneers, was taken
over by Anglo-Dutch privateers, and then by Dutch and British
colonials conducting business with African sellers. With reference to
the Americas, we learn how the export of people who were already
Christian and literate made the terms of enslavement differ over
time. This multi-lingual research into the cultural, economic and
political factors that produced the Atlantic Creole world pays equal
attention to intra-colonial and local African struggles. It links
specific continental and New World histories, and integrates fine
detail with a broad thematic vision.
Parker Shipton, The Nature of Entrustment: Intimacy, Exchange, and
the Sacred in Africa (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2007). This
book is no less than an inquiry into what holds societies together:
the flow of trust over time. Shipton sets out to correct a market-
oriented analytical stress on the gift or the contract in order to
investigate how people actually build bridges between one another. He
analyzes the many ways people entrust things, including by marriage,
inheritance, and sacrifice. He ends up explaining with great clarity
an East African, specifically Luo, understanding of social life. The
book manages to be effortlessly local and general at the same time.
The implications for modern banking and development loans are clear:
the book is a sophisticated, gentle, and even humble indictment of
narrow economistic ways of looking at social life.
The following publications received an honorable mention:
David Anderson, Susan Beckerleg, Degol Hailu, and Axel Klein, The
Khat Controversy: Stimulating Debate on Drugs (Berg, 2007). Surveying
the historical, economic, cultural, and legal aspects of the khat
trade across Africa, Europe, and North America, this book considers
the implications of regulating the khat leaf as a "drug." The authors
predict increasing social tensions as khat production and
distribution are policed, as its consumers in the Horn Diaspora
become stigmatized as drug traffickers and abusers, and as small East
African farmers and entrepreneurs struggle to survive within a
neoliberal economy. The book takes advantage of the multi-
disciplinary skills and multi-sited knowledge of its four co-authors
to present a case study of a controversial global commodity that
benefits some people, but is condemned by others. This is an Africa-
specific contribution to analyses of local-level entrepreneurship and
to the study of the implications of transnational policies.
Jean-Paul Azam, Trade, Exchange Rate, and Growth in Sub-Saharan
Africa (Cambridge University Press, 2007). This book represents the
fruit of twenty years' work on African economies. Azam claims that
the conventional methods of macro-economics are useless in
understanding African economies: the assumptions are wrong, the
models faulty, the numbers meaningless. Nonetheless, hugely important
decisions bearing upon the fortunes of millions are made in the name
of "economic policy" by national states and international
institutions informed by such theories. The author has ventured into
the real worlds of African cross-border trade - in many places and
over long periods of time - while he struggles to figure out how to
model the impact of various policy decisions, such as tariff
reductions, common currency zones, and quotas in the light of the
realities of smuggling, bribery, and institutional weakness. As this
book makes clear, dealing with the complexities of real African
economies is far more difficult than working through the equations of
conventional macro-economic theory. This book aims to remind policy
makers to think again about the models driving their thought and to
inspire a new generation of economists to tackle the realities of
Ruth Finnegan, The Oral and Beyond: Doing Things with Words in Africa
(University of Chicago Press, 2007). Based on fifty years reflecting
on oral forms in Africa, this book offers an impressive array of
analyses and interpretations of African oral literature, performance
and action: the full, complex range of doing things with words. In
elaborate detail, it shows how Africans use words, not only as
language deployed to communicate, but as a form of action. Setting
her studies within a global interdisciplinary framework, the author
confirms Africa's reputation as the oral continent: she calls it "the
home of oral literature, orature and orality, and the genesis and
inspiration of the voiced traditions of the great diaspora."
Carefully structured and dense chapters enrich our understanding of
text, textuality and performance, story telling and the actions of
story tellers, notions of the past and present, and the uses and
ideologies of language.
Kenda Mutongi, Worries of the Heart: Widows, Family, and Community in
Kenya (University of Chicago Press, 2007). Mutongi surveys a century
of Kenyan history from the perspective of ordinary people in western
Kenya. She uses the condition of widowhood as a lens through which to
observe the history of colonialism, Christianity, independence
movements, gender relations, urban migration, proletarianization,
corruption, domesticity, nation-building, and much else besides, even
memories of the slave trade. The book is a critical and sympathetic
inquiry into an extraordinary range of topics as they impinge on the
lives of ordinary people in Maragoli, Kenya. The author never loses
sight of the realities of the lives of the people about whom she
writes, and she writes about them with an intimacy and sense of
connection coupled with an admirable analytical detachment. She
weaves into her elegantly written text both the content of her
diverse sources as well as accounts of how she came by them. The book
is an exemplary work of historical ethnography.
Kai Kresse, Philosophising in Mombasa: Knowledge, Islam and
Intellectual Practice On the Swahili Coast (Edinburgh University
Press, 2007). Kresse has written an anthropological study of
philosophical discourses in Mombasa, and he sets them clearly in
their geographical and temporal context. His discussion is rooted in
intimate knowledge of Mombasa neighborhoods and of the intellectual
genealogy of three individual thinkers, whose moral thought he also
documents. We learn how three sages - a healer, a Muslim scholar, a
poet - think about the big issues: What can we know? What should we
do? He acknowledges the importance of factional power struggles among
members of contemporary Muslim movements in Mombasa, but his interest
in Islamic thought is broader than this political perspective. While
essentially a case study of Swahili thought, Kresse is making the
bigger argument that there must be more interdisciplinary cooperation
between philosophy and anthropology, and he argues persuasively for
the investigation of philosophy in everyday life.
The African Studies Association was founded in 1957 to bring together
people with a scholarly and professional interest in Africa. Further
information about the Melville J. Herskovits Award, including how to
nominate a publication, is available at http://
African Studies Association - www.africanstudies.org
Bruce B. Janz
Chair, Dept. of Philosophy
Associate Professor of Humanities
University of Central Florida
4000 Central Florida Blvd.
Orlando, FL 32816-1352
brucejanz.com ( http://brucejanz.com/ )
The University of Hawai 'i Faculty of African Descent is pleased to announce that its THIRD BIENNIAL WINTER INSTITUTE FOR BLACK STUDIES will occur January 15-16, 2009. www.uhwibs.com
This year's theme is "The 'Alternative' African Diaspora: Interdisciplinary Roundtables on Emergent, Oppositional and New Discourses in the Field."
Speakers and Discussants include:
Kim Butler (Rutgers University, New Brunswick)
Fatima El-Tayeb (University of California, San Diego)
Anna Everett (University of California, Santa Barbara)
Robeson Taj Frazier (University of California, Berkeley)
Charles Henry (University of California, Berkeley)
Barnor Hesse (Northwestern University)
Percy Hintzen (University of California, Berkeley)
James Horton (George Washington University and University of Hawai 'i, Mânoa)
Lois Horton (George Mason University and University of Hawai 'i, Mânoa)
Miles Jackson (Professor Emeritus, University of Hawai 'i, Mânoa)
Trica Keaton (University of Minnesota, Twin Cities)
Charles Lawrence III (University of Hawai 'i, Mânoa)
Mari J. Matsuda (University of Hawai 'i, Mânoa)
Wendi Manuel-Scott (George Mason University)
David Chioni Moore (Macalester College)
Maggi Morehouse (University of South Carolina, Aiken)
Njoroge Njoroge (University of Hawai 'i, Mânoa)
Peggy Piesche (Vassar College)
Stephen Small (University of California, Berkeley)
Elisa Joy White (University of Hawai 'i, Mânoa)
The conference will begin at the Ala Moana Hotel Hibiscus Ballroom on the evening of Thursday January 15, 2009 with an opening dinner and keynote address given by
Dr. Kim D. Butler, Associate Professor of History and Africana Studies,Rutgers University, New Brunswick, NJ, entitled:
"Why Diaspora?: Rethinking African Peoples and Power in the Twenty-First Century"
The opening event will also feature music and performance by Honolulu-based band, Espiritu Libre.
We will continue with roundtable discussions on Friday January 16, 2009 at the East-West Center Imin Conference Center, where distinguished scholars in the field will discuss a range of topics including:
Barack Obama's campaign and election
Black Europe (Britain, France, Germany and Ireland)
Caribbean migrant farm workers in the U.S. during WWII
Chinese Diaspora and African Diaspora political linkages
Contemporary African American return migration to the U.S. south
Critical Race Theory in the Twenty-First century
Digital Black Public Sphere
Hawai 'i and its African Diaspora
Langston Hughes in Central Asia
Multiculturalism and its Political Persuasions
The Problematizing of Blackness and Black identity
For more conference details and registration information, please visit www.uhwibs.com
Other inquiries may be directed to Elisa Joy White, Planning Committee Chair
Elisa Joy White
University of Hawai'i at Manoa
Department of Ethnic Studies
341 George Hall
Honolulu, HI 96822
Tel: 808-956-2824 Fax: 808-956-9494
Visit the website at http://www.uhwibs.com
Tuesday, December 09, 2008
Monday, December 08, 2008
Monday, December 01, 2008
Educate yourselves and boycott what is left of the dying greedy beast -- raz
November 27, 2008
Ramsey County prosecuter Susan Gaertner has aspirations to be the next governor of Minnesota. This could explain why she is working hand in glove with Sheriff Bob Fletcher, police chief John Harrington and others to prosecute a large number of people on felony charges in the aftermath of the RNC (not to mention the convenient cover it gives for the excessive force used by police). Many of these charges came out of the Shepard Road incident in which police surrounded a large group of people who were just trying to get to the concert on Harriet Island or hanging out in the park and randomly charged people with felonies (there's a scene on this in the film Terrorizing Dissent which you can view at www.terrorizingdissent.org). She is also the driving force behind the prosecution of the RNC 8, eight community organizers who are charged with felony "conspiracy to riot in the furtherance of terrorism." It appears that Gaertner is trying--shamefully--to build a political career off the backs of activists.
This Tuesday, December 2, Gaertner will be holding a fundraiser for her campaign. The day also happens to be her birthday. Given her ambitions and her role in prosecuting people she KNOWS are innocent, this power-mad politico should get no peace wherever she goes. She needs to feel the repercussions of going forward with bogus prosecutions. Join us at a powerful demonstration to tell her, "happy birthday, now drop all the charges!"
Protest Against Susan Gaertner
Tuesday, December 2
729 2nd Ave S, Minneapolis
Bring noisemakers, signs and all your friends!
Solidarity Born of Love: A panel on political prosecution and incarceration, from the perspective of family and friends
Sunday, December 7, 7:30 p.m.
2615 E Franklin Ave, Minneapolis
$5-15 suggested donation, all proceeds go towards prisoner support (no one turned away for lack of funds)
When the State targets people for harassment, prosecution and incarceration, they do more than repress individuals. Friends, family, and loved ones are punished, entire communities are disrupted and immeasurable strains are imposed on those who care about these targets of state repression. Panel members Jenny Esquivel (partner of Green Scare prisoner Eric McDavid), Aaron Zellhoefer (of SHAC 7 prisoner Kevin Kjonaas' support committee), Fred Peterson (husband of political prisoner Sara Jane Olson), and Leslie James Pickering (former ELF spokesperson) will discuss these effects. This discussion is particularly timely, with 21 felony cases resulting from the recent RNC in St. Paul.
Human Rights Day Vigil: Orange Jumpsuit Solidarity for Human Rights Day
Wednesday, December 10, 4:30 p.m.
Marshall/Lake Street Bridge
The Anti-War Committee calls for supporters to join the weekly protest sponsored by the Twin Cities Peace Campaign - Focus on Iraq and Women Against Military Madness. December 10th is the date for Human Rights Day which is seen internationally as a day to highlight human rights abuses such as the US' war on Iraq and prisoner abuse. Sponsored by the Twin Cities Peace Campaign and WAMM.
Human Rights Day Protest
Saturday, December 13
Walker Church, 3104 16th Ave S, Minneapolis
The Anti-War Committee will hold its annual Human Rights Day demonstration to mark the US' human rights abuses in Iraq, Palestine, Colombia, the US itself, and other places across the globe. We will have an outdoor rally, followed by a march through Powderhorn, and it will end with a rally indoors at Walker Church. Endorsed by: Coalition for Palestinian Rights, Communities United Against Police Brutality, Freedom Road Socialist Organization, Minnesota Tenants Union, Minnesota-New Orleans Solidarity Committee, Maria Iñamagua Campaign for Justice,National Lawyers Guild (MN), Minnesota Ad-Hoc Committe to Enforce the Human Rights Treaties, Living Wage Avengers, sds - U of MN, Women Against Military Madness, and Welfare Rights Committee.
Mark Your Calendars!
CUAPB's Annual Survivor, Family and Friends Dinner
Saturday, December 20, 6:00 p.m.
Walker Church, 3104 16th Ave S, Minneapolis
Every year we host an event to give thanks to people we've worked with through the year and to give survivors and family members a chance to meet each other in a supportive social setting. This year, we are so grateful for all of the wonderful people we have worked with throughout the RNC and in work related to the many cases that have come to us through the hotline. We want to celebrate these relationships and this work with a big ol' dinner party for our friends!
This event is FREE--it is not a fundraiser, but a FUN raiser! Join us for great food (including vegan options), musical entertainment and fellowship.
Leave it to our skillful friend Tom Burghardt to get to the bottom of what all of us who have felt the boot of police-state repression during the RNC have wondered: who was really behind the clamp down? This article gives us the answer. Check out the documents that are linked in the article. The command center's seating chart is telling--with five chairs going to Northcom, the military's new northern command which oversees as many as 10,000 troops to be used against US citizens. There were also chairs for Verizon Communications, Verizon Wireless, QWEST, Sprint and AT&T, all of whom have partnered with the feds by turning over their customer's private records (and got immunity from the Bush regime and congress). Seems they're still in bed with the feds. Think about that next time you buy a cell phone.
Preemptive Policing & the National Security State: Repressing Dissent at the Republican National Convention
by Tom Burghardt / November 19th, 2008
On November 15, the global whistleblowers published a leaked planning document “Special Event Planning: 2008 Republican National Convention,” a dense schematic used by repressors who targeted activists, journalists and concerned citizens during the far-right conclave.
Labeled “Limited Distribution/For Official Use Only,” Wikileaks believes that the dossier is “potentially legally significant due to upcoming legal cases over the mass arrests at the convention.”
Compiled by Terri Smith (firstname.lastname@example.org) the Branch Director for Response, Recovery and Mitigation at the Minnesota Homeland Security and Emergency Management agency (HSEM), the 31-page file offers a veritable bird’s-eye view onto the close coordination amongst federal, state and local law enforcement agencies, including the Pentagon’s U.S. Northern Command (NORTHCOM) during a so-called National Special Security Event (NSSE).
The enabling authority for squelching dissent during NSSEs is partially derived from the 2006 National Security Presidential Directive-46/Homeland Security Presidential Directive-15 (NSPD-46/HSPD-15), a top secret dictate from President Bush.
According to a statement by Roger Rufe, Director of the Office of Operations Coordination and Planning (OPS) at the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), before the House Homeland Security Committee on July 9, 2008, NSSEs “are significant domestic or international events, occurrences, contests, activities, or meetings, which, by virtue of their profile or status, represent a significant target, and therefore warrant additional preparation, planning, and mitigation efforts. The designation process for NSSEs is established by NSPD-46/HSPD-15, Annex II and HSPD-7.”
Rufe goes on to describe the “mission” of an NSSE Special Event Working Group (SEWG) as one which will
- …support a unified interagency planning and coordination effort for Special Events and to ensure coordination of Federal support to the designated event. The SEWG identifies events that may require a coordinated Federal response and collectively coordinates Federal assets to bridge any capability gaps identified by state and local partners that have not already been addressed by exhausting local mutual assistance agreements. Within this process, the mission of OPS is to act on behalf of the Secretary and his HSPD-5 responsibilities to integrate DHS and interagency planning and coordinate operations for designated Special Events in order to prevent, protect, respond to and recover from terrorist threats/attacks. (Roger Rufe, “Statement,” House Homeland Security Committee, July 8, 2008, pp. 1-2)
During the RNC, the “lead federal agencies” heading up repressive operations were the USSS, FBI and FEMA. On Saturday, August 30, 2008, the Ramsey County Sheriff’s Department executed search warrants on three houses. According to the Friends of the RNC 8, the police seized personal items and arrested eight RNC Welcoming Committee organizers, charging them with “conspiracy to riot in the 2nd degree in the furtherance of terrorism,” a felony which may land these activists in prison for many years under provisions of Minnesota’s PATRIOT Act.
During the RNC, operations were coordinated by the Multi-Agency Communications Center (MACC), described in the Wikileaks file as “a centralized communications and coordination center operated 24 hours a day during the NSSE.”
In St. Paul, the MACC was “staffed by representatives from all participating operational security entities, local government operations, and public and private institutions who are responsible for the critical infrastructures of power, gas and telecommunications.”
MACC’s “Work Product,” according to the document (p. 14), will provide: “Timely dissemination of information to all entities participating in operational security, crisis management, and consequence management. Provide the Common Operational Picture to support decision-making and command and control activities,” and “serve as the centralized coordination center for security-related activities.”
Described as “the coordination point where these resources could be used for a crisis or consequence outside of the NSSE,” the MACC was the organizational hub and speartip where federal, state, local law enforcement and “private institutions” interacted “at any time during the event to utilize the event’s public safety resources to assure that the normal delivery of public safety responses from their agency were uninterrupted.”
A perusal of the “MACC Seating Chart” (p. 16) affords additional insight into the resources brought to bear against journalists covering the RNC and citizens protesting the crimes of the Republican party and their Bushist minions.
The first tier is comprised of the Minneapolis Police Department (MPD), Minnesota Department of Transportation (MN DOT), Minnesota State Police (MSP), Hennepin County, Ramsey County, St. Paul Police Department (SPPD), USSS and the FBI.
The second tier, in addition to representatives from the Minneapolis and St. Paul Fire Departments and Emergency Medical Service personnel, are staffed by three representatives from NORTHCOM. Additional NORTHCOM “seats” appear on the “third tier” of the HSEM chart, along with proxies from the Minnesota National Guard’s Joint Task Force (JTF-MN), FEMA, USSS and the FBI.
MACC’s fourth tier was staffed by a host of federal law enforcement entities including officers from the ultra-spooky National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA). As I have documented in several articles, most recently on November 9, NGA provides mapping tools and imagery intelligence (IMINT) derived from America’s fleet of military spy satellites “flown” by the National Reconnaissance Office (NRO). In other words during the RNC, America’s spymasters were providing satellite intelligence to federal, state, and local law enforcement, some of which quite possibly, were used to target the homes of activists and media workers or coordinate attacks on demonstrations.
While there is no indication in the MACC “seating chart” that the National Security Agency (NSA) was directly involved in providing “lead federal agencies” with signals intelligence (SIGINT), the fifth tier reveals that U.S. telecoms, all of whom are NSA private partners in warrantless wiretapping and driftnet data-mining were “present and accounted for” during the RNC.
Indeed, prominent places “at the table” were filled by Verizon Communications, Verizon Wireless, QWEST, Sprint and AT&T. Attorneys involved in defending the RNC 8 and other protesters “preemptively” arrested, would be well-advised to subpoena these company’s records and determine whether or not corporate telecoms handed SIGINT over to federal, state and local repressors.
The Wikileaks dossier also reveals that Saint Paul Operations Center Command Posts were staffed by an entity labeled “other federal.” Here one finds the FBI’s Joint Operations Center (JOC) and the Bureau’s Intelligence Operations Center (IOC).
Both entities have been linked during NSSEs and the surreptitious surveillance of Americans to privacy-killing FBI “packet sniffing” operations formally called Carnivore (DCS-1000). Now called Red Hook or DCS-3000, software installed on America’s telephone, internet and wireless infrastructure can monitor all of a target’s internet, wireless and text messaging traffic. Digital Storm, or DCS-6000, captures and collects the content of phone calls and text messages, while Magic Lantern is a keystroke surveillance tool that can be installed remotely via viral e-mail attachments. Wired reported in 2007, that Magic Lantern is a “computer and internet protocol address verifier or CIPAV,” one that
- …gathers a wide range of information, including the computer’s IP address; MAC address; open ports; a list of running programs; the operating system type, version and serial number; preferred internet browser and version; the computer’s registered owner and registered company name; the current logged-in user name and the last-visited URL.
- The CIPAV then settles into a silent “pen register” mode, in which it lurks on the target computer and monitors its internet use, logging the IP address of every computer to which the machine connects for up to 60 days. (Kevin Poulsen, “FBI’s Secret Spyware Tracks Down Teen Who Made Bomb Threats,” Wired, July 18, 2007)
As security expert, whistleblower and CEO of Bat Blue Corporation Babak Pasdar disclosed in a sworn affidavit to the Government Accountability Office (GAO) back in February, Verizon Communications allowed the Bureau and other security agencies virtually “unfettered” access to the carrier’s wireless network via the FBI’s so-called “Quantico circuit.”
Collectively, these highly-intrusive (and patently illegal) FBI programs are called DCSNet, an acronym for Digital Collection System Network. As Wired revealed in 2007, DCSNet “connects FBI wiretapping rooms to switches controlled by traditional land-line operators, internet-telephony providers and cellular companies. It is is far more intricately woven into the nation’s telecom infrastructure than observers suspected.”
The profound interconnections amongst federal security agencies such as the FBI and the nation’s private telecoms acting in concert with securocrats is but one indicator of the breadth and scope of America’s high-tech corporatist police state. Wired reports,
- The network allows an FBI agent in New York, for example, to remotely set up a wiretap on a cell phone based in Sacramento, California, and immediately learn the phone’s location, then begin receiving conversations, text messages and voicemail pass codes in New York. With a few keystrokes, the agent can route the recordings to language specialists for translation.
- The numbers dialed are automatically sent to FBI analysts trained to interpret phone-call patterns, and are transferred nightly, by external storage devices, to the bureau’s Telephone Application Database, where they’re subjected to a type of data mining called link analysis.
- FBI endpoints on DCSNet have swelled over the years, from 20 “central monitoring plants” at the program’s inception, to 57 in 2005, according to undated pages in the released documents. By 2002, those endpoints connected to more than 350 switches. (Ryan Singel, “Point, Click … Eavesdrop: How the FBI Wiretap Net Operates,” Wired, August 29, 2007)
Known as Triggerfish, documents obtained by the ACLU in a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit against the Justice Department, detail how the technology pretends to be a cellular base station to which handsets connect and identify themselves. By claiming to have “lost” the unique identifier of a targeted mobile phone, Triggerfish then “asks” the phone to resend its unique details.
It had been assumed that a warrant was necessary before the Bureau could begin tracking an individual’s cell phone. However, as the ACLU clearly reveals in the documents, under provisions of the USA Patriot Act, the FBI has been able to obtain dodgy pen-trap orders from all-too-compliant judges on the FISA court. During the RNC, these signals were probably routed via Triggerfish to the JOC/IOC: game over for “Text Mob” protest organizers.
When federal, state and local law enforcement entities raided the homes of activists and media workers in St. Paul, the Bureau knew which activists and which computers, cell phones and other electronic devices to preemptively seize.
On August 30, 2008, the FBI were joined by some 30 St. Paul police armed with tasers, pepper spray and automatic weapons when they surrounded the house where I-Witness Video and Democracy Now! journalist Elizabeth Press were meeting.
People inside were forcibly detained and photographed, while police made a record of the journalists’ names and addresses. A warrant was served, covering all the journalist’s equipment, including privileged notes, computers, cameras, video tapes and communications equipment.
Five other members of I-Witness Video who were not present during the home invasion were detained for more than three hours, preventing them from documenting three other simultaneous raids in Minneapolis and St. Paul. Additionally, members of the Glass Bead Collective were also illegally detained and had their notes and equipment confiscated by the Minneapolis police.
The Wikileaks document also reveals that the Defense Department’s Joint Task Force Minnesota (JTF-MN) was a key player in the St. Paul Command Operations Center. Indeed, Major Jon Dotterer, the Operations Officer attached to JTF-MN documented in a Power Point presentation, “As many of you may have scene [sic] on the news the MN National Guard was used in support of the St Paul Police Department at the Republican National Convention. Our QRF [Quick Reaction Force] was used to give the local police forces the flexibility and freedom to use their assets at other critical points of interest.”
Dotterer’s briefing details how JTF-MN “coordinates with civil authorities,” primarily HSEM, and “provides [a] response element” and “activates for [a] major contingency.” What Dotterer doesn’t reveal is that JTF-MN is also an active component of U.S. Northern Command.
To conclude, the Wikileaks document provides new and startling information how federal, state and local law enforcement entities acting in concert with corporatist “private partners” during September’s Republican National Convention, conspired to deny American’s their right to peacefully protest against the far-right Republican party.
With resources drawn from the FBI, USSS, DHS, NGA, FEMA and NORTHCOM, the repressive capitalist state coordinated its response to oppositional currents in the U.S. by launching preemptive attacks on RNC protest organizers and journalists.
Fully in step with the “countersubversive” mind-set underpinning the Bushist “war on terror,” one that equates dissent with terrorism, recourse to preemptive policing by our corporatist masters is indicative of the precarious state of a system facing total crisis as it stares into an abyss of its creation.
Tom Burghardt is a researcher and activist based in the San Francisco Bay Area. In addition to publishing in Covert Action Quarterly, Love & Rage and Antifa Forum, he is the editor of Police State America: U.S. Military "Civil Disturbance" Planning, distributed by AK Press.
COPS AND OBAMA ELECTION
In the last few weeks, our hotline has seen a major increase in calls with a common thread being cops saying things about president-elect Barack Obama while they beat the person. In a very recent incident, Minneapolis police broke into the family home of a woman with three disabled teens and beat the entire family, breaking the nose of one of the teens when he could not get his arms behind him due to his disability. They also shot both family dogs--one a service animal for one of the teens. Throughout the beating, they kept asking if Obama would be proud of them and referred to both the family members and president-elect Obama using the "n" word.
Hate incidents in U.S. surge
Election seen as factor behind revival of Klanwww.chicagotribune.com/news/
White extremists lash out over election of first black president The Ku Klux Klan is emerging from decades of disorganization and obscurity, and the turnaround is acutely evident -- more than 200 hate-related incidents have been reported since the Nov. 4 election.
By Howard Witt
Reporting from Bogalusa, La. -- Barely three weeks since America elected its first black president, noose hangings, racist graffiti and death threats have struck dozens of towns across the country.
More than 200 such incidents -- including cross burnings, assassination betting pools and effigies of President-elect Barack Obama -- have been reported, according to law enforcement authorities and the Southern Poverty Law Center, which monitors hate groups. Racist websites have been boasting that their servers have been crashing because of an exponential increase in traffic.
And America's most potent symbol of racial hatred, the Ku Klux Klan, is reasserting itself in a spate of recent violence, after decades of disorganization and obscurity.
Nearly two weeks ago, the leader of a cell based in Bogalusa, La. -- a backwoods town once known as the Klan capital -- was charged with second-degree murder in the shooting of a woman who allegedly sought to become a member but then changed her mind.
Late last month, two men with ties to a notoriously violent Klan chapter in Kentucky were charged in a bizarre plot to kill 88 black students and then decapitate an additional 14 students -- and then assassinate Obama by shooting him from a speeding car while wearing white tuxedos and top hats.
"We've seen everything from cross burnings on lawns of interracial couples to effigies of Obama hanging from nooses to unpleasant exchanges in schoolyards," said Mark Potok, director of the Intelligence Project at the Southern Poverty Law Center, based in Montgomery, Ala. "I think we're in a worrying situation right now, a perfect storm of conditions coming together that could easily favor the continued growth of these groups."
Experts attribute the racist activity to factors including the rapidly worsening economic crisis; trends indicating that within a generation whites will not comprise a U.S. majority; and the impending arrival of a black family in the White House.
The FBI is investigating whether the recent Klan-related incidents involve conspiracies. And the Secret Service is monitoring the racist activity "to try to stay ahead of any emerging threats," according to spokesman Darrin Blackford.
One white supremacist leader, describing himself as moderate, professes alarm.
"There is a tremendous backlash" to Obama's election, said Richard Barrett, the leader of the Nationalist Movement in Learned, Miss. "My focus is to try to keep it peaceful. But many people look at the flag of the Republic of New Africa that will be hoisted over the White House as an act of war."
The FBI has no hate-crime statistics yet for 2008.
But based on local media reports, some experts are calling the rise in hate incidents surprising and unprecedented.
"The rhetoric right now is just about out of control," said Brian Levin, director of Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism at Cal State San Bernardino. "When you get this depth of hatred, it usually is the smoke before the fire."
In the small Louisiana town of Angie, 58-year-old Judy Robinson put an Obama sign outside her home a few weeks before the Nov. 4 presidential election. The morning after Halloween, she awoke to find the words "KKK" and "white power" spray-painted around her yard.
"I thought all that KKK stuff was in the past," said Robinson, who is black. "But now I look at people and think, 'Could he be Klan?' Suddenly I'm feeling like my town is hostile territory."
Experts say modern Klan chapters remain isolated and small, with perhaps 6,000 members nationwide -- a shadow of the group's membership of 4 million in the early 1900s.
Bogalusa, a lumber and paper mill town of about 13,000, is just down the road from Angie.
In the 1960s, historians say, the Ku Klux Klan so dominated Bogalusa's commerce, politics and law enforcement that the group once held a public meeting to debate which black church to burn down next.
Several Bogalusa Klan members were long suspected of shooting two black sheriff's deputies in a 1965 ambush, killing one. No one was ever brought to trial.
"To this day, most white people in Bogalusa know who the killers were, and they were never brought to justice," said Lance Hill, a Tulane University law professor and Klan expert.
That past now seems less distant.
On Nov. 10, local law enforcement authorities arrested Raymond "Chuck" Foster, 44, the leader of a Bogalusa Klan chapter called the Sons of Dixie, and seven other Klan members in connection with the shooting death of a Tulsa, Okla., woman who went to the group's remote campsite in St. Tammany Parish for an initiation ceremony.
Authorities say Foster shot the woman when she tried to change her mind about joining the group. He has been charged with second-degree murder; the other Klan members, including Foster's 20-year-old son, have been charged with obstruction of justice.
City officials say they had no idea that Bogalusa has Klan cells.
"I've been here 13 years, and this was a complete surprise to me that there was Klan here," said Police Chief Jerry Agnew.
Yet members of the town's black community say they have been reporting Klan sightings to the police for more than a year. About 40% of residents are black.
In October 2007, residents of one black neighborhood reported white- hooded Klan members riding horses through the streets.
And in March, Klan members openly handed out fliers advertising the second annual Sons of Dixie Knights of the Ku Klux Klan Craw Fish Boil -- held at the house on Louisiana Avenue that Foster was renting from a Bogalusa deputy sheriff.
"The city leaders want to make it look like this is just some small fringe group," said former City Councilman Marvin Austin, 61, who once belonged to the Deacons for Defense, a black group that formed in the 1960s to defend black residents from the Klan.
"But the Klan still has a lot of sympathizers here."
By Gloria La Riva
Sun Nov 23, 2008
Cops protect Klan demonstration, New York City, Oct. 23, 1999 Photo: Richard B. Levine
More than 500 peopleAfrican American and whitecame out to demonstrate vigorously against the fascists, who had deliberately picked the historic African American neighborhood of Parramore to convey their terrorist message.
But police support for the neo-Nazis in Orlando went beyond the security mobilization to protect them.
On February 14, 2007, a prosecutor in an Orlando courtroom inadvertently exposed the fact that the organizer of that 2006 rally was an FBI informant. His name is David Gletty. According to the FBI, he was paid $20,000 for two years. Gletty did more than inform: He secured the permits and spearheaded organizing of the racist rally with obvious approval from the police, city officials and the FBI.
The reaction to the news of the FBI's involvement is that of anger in the African American community of this central Florida town. Leaders of the state's NAACP and local organizations are demanding a more complete investigation into the role of the FBI and police.
Without the 300 heavily armed SWAT police, the neo-Nazis' targeting of Orlando's African American community-with a minuscule number of 22 fascists-would never have been possible given the mass opposition from the people of Orlando.
Time and again, in every region of the United States, when small bands of Nazis or the Klan announce a rally, they invariably receive a permit and massive police protection from the justifiable wrath of the people. Without such police protection, the fascists would not be able to hold a public action.
But the revelation of FBI involvement in Orlando exposes a much closer collaboration between the government, police agencies and Klan and Nazi groups than most people are aware of.
The FBI's deadly hostility to the Black community and its leaders is sometimes explained as a thing of the past, attributed to the 50-year dictatorial rule of J. Edgar Hoover.
As FBI director for 50 years, Hoover was a virulent racist and anti-communist who oversaw the FBI's notorious Counter-Intelligence program and secretly declared war on African American leaders like Martin Luther King Jr. and many others. COINTELPRO targeted revolutionary and progressive organizations, including African American organizations struggling for civil rights. It also targeted radical organizations that emphasized Black power and the right to self-defense.
The nurturing and protection of the paramilitary racist organizations by state police and courts goes back even further than Hoover's rise to police power in the 1920s. And the government's hand-in-hand relationship continues to the present.
Protest against neo-nazis in Toledo, Ohio, December 2005
Orlando's deputy police chief Pete Gauntlett, in an interview with the Sun-Sentinel newspaper, made that relationship clear, "We let them express their free speech and let them do what they're allowed to do, but we wanted to have control."
Freedom of speech as a cover
Sam Marcy, a Marxist leader in the United States, wrote in the book The Klan and the Government, Foes or Allies? about the links between the capitalist state and fascist organizations.
"The far more important problem is the reciprocal relations between the capitalist government and the Klan. More often than not, the former is made to appear rather hostile to the Klan. The public impression conveyed is that the government is forced under the law (the First or "free speech" amendment to the Constitution) to defend and secure the Klan's rights. In reality, however, the capitalist government has covertly encouraged and promoted the Klan over many decades. It is often completely overlooked in current discussions and in the press and media reports that the durability of the Klan rests on solid long-term bonds to the state, and that the two share a common political ideology, for the most part."
Just as the right of speech does not extend to acts harmful to people, like shouting "fire" in a crowded theater, Klan and Nazi rallies are terrorist acts whose objective is only to rally their forces to carry out racist terror and must be vigorously opposed. However, relying on the state to stop them is a dangerous illusion.
One of the most blatant examples of the government's links to the Klan was the brutal massacre on Nov. 3, 1979, in Greensboro, NC of five unionists and anti-racist organizers.
The five were members of the former Communist Workers Party, which had been leading mass union-organizing struggles in the area's textile factories and hospitals. A people's rally and conference against the Klan was called for that day in the Black community of Greensboro, to meet at 10 a.m. at the intersection of Carver and Everett streets.
Ominously, the Greensboro police prohibited the anti-Klan-march organizers from carrying guns for their personal protection, although that had always been the practice. The police promised to provide protection.
But the police did not show up until just after the massacre. Instead, a nine-car caravan carrying 35 Klansmen drove up at 11:18 a.m., got out of their cars, and methodically shot at the people gathered.
The whole mass murder was filmed on four TV cameras, as the fascists calmly walked back to their cars, reloaded and kept shooting. It was a horrifying bloodbath. Five people lay dead, nine were wounded.
Instead of arresting the Klan, the police immediately drove up in their vehicles after the killing and began arresting and beating the anti-racist activists, including the injured. They allowed eight of the Klan vehicles to drive away.
In the investigations and trials that followed, the direct role of the local police, the FBI and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, was exposed. In particular, BATF agent Bernard Butkovich helped procure weapons and train the local Nazi and Klan groups.
He participated in a September 1979 meeting where rival fascist groups formed a coalition to attack the CWP members.
With the full knowledge and approval of the FBI, informer and agent Edward Dawson rallied Klansmen in North Carolina to come to Greensboro on November 3. From start to finish, Dawson was fully involved in the planning of the massacre, while in constant communication with the FBI.
Dawson was given the anti-racist rally march permit showing the entire route, even before it was given to the rally organizers. The gathering spot of Carver and Everett streets was not known to the public, only to the police and the Klan. That intersection became the killing field. Dawson even helped load the guns into the cars.
In the days after the massacre, there was national outrage. The following week, tens of thousands marched in Greensboro demanding justice. But despite two criminal trials-one state, the other federal-and despite the televised proof of the perpetrators' murderous actions, the Klan defendants were acquitted of all charges.
Only in a subsequent civil suit was there some justice. The trial exposed an extensive network of FBI and police ties with the Nazis and Klan in North Carolina.
Finally in 1985, five Klansmen and Nazis, Edward Dawson, officer Jerry Rooster Cooper and police tactical squad leader Lieutenant P.W. Spoon were found liable for the wrongful death of Dr. Michael Nathan, a pediatrician and one of the five people murdered. With funds from the damages awarded, the Greensboro Justice Fund was established to continue the fight for equality and social justice.
Today, when activists in the Orlando community and the NAACP demand a complete, independent investigation into the role of the FBI and police inside the Ku Klux Klan, it comes with the full weight of history behind it. Articles may be reprinted with credit to Socialism and Liberation magazine.
Communities United Against Police Brutality
3100 16th Avenue S
Minneapolis, MN 55407
Hotline 612-874-STOP (7867)
Meetings: Every Saturday at 1:30 p.m. at Walker Church, 3104 16th Avenue South
Sunday, November 30, 2008
Tuesday, November 25, 2008
Thursday, November 20, 2008
Wednesday, November 19, 2008
Tuesday, November 18, 2008
Wednesday, November 12, 2008
Monday, November 10, 2008
Saturday, November 08, 2008
Friday, November 07, 2008
KFAI's Chris Spotted Eagle forwarded this to us -- We thought it was right on time. Anyone familiar with the case of Leonard Peltier must be moved by the three decades plus long injustice the U.S. government continues to perpetrate against him and his people.-- Blacklogic.blogspot.com
November 5, 2008
My Relatives and Friends,
Last night a change in this country took place that not too long
ago many people said would never happen. An African-American was
elected to the White House and by a major landslide, which gives
him a mandate by the public to fulfill his promises. This landslide
indicates the people have placed their hope with this man they call
their president for a change in this country.
HOPE. There have been times if I can even recall what it really
means to have hope that justice is right around the corner. I've
been mislead and disappointed so many times that I would soon
see justice and to have it denied upon a technicality in legal
appeals. Or like what happened eight years ago. Everyone placed
their hope and trust with a couple named Bill and Hillary, but we
were betrayed at the last minute. I know that many of my friends,
family and supporters were crushed. I began to feel the weight
and pressure of a lifetime being unjustly imprisoned began to
crowd me into a corner of my cell and then in my mind. But, it
was this thing that has been our battle cry for so many years,
"In the Spirit of Crazy Horse". I remembered what he stood for and
remained a warrior until his last breath. It is a strength that we
stand upon when we are right. We were right to be in Oglala and we
were right to be prepared to defend ourselves. What wasn't right is
that a jury never got to hear any of this testimony, and the rest
of the trial was a product of the fabrication and then manipulation
of the FBI. This spirit of Crazy Horse is a spirit of being in total
resistance to the wrongs perpetuated towards your people, community,
family and yourself. Some of us called it outrage, but that is just
merely an emotion without resolving the issue. It is when we make
a conscious choice to try and balance the wrongs in this society
that we are being compelled by this spirit of resistance to stand
in defense of the wronged.
That spirit cannot be conquered, and I refused to submit and give in
when it appeared there may be no hope. It was because of the letters
of support and encouragement from so many people that I continued
on for another eight years. And now people seem to feel there is
a change blowing in the wind and that the election of Obama is a
manifestation of that change.
I sincerely hope so, because I am now 64 years old and coming up
on my 33 year of being confined and fighting for justice and my
freedom, Obama may be my last chance at securing my freedom. If
there is one thing I learned from earlier campaigns on my clemency is
that he won't just be able to do it by himself. He is going to need
your support in the form of public opinion on the case. That isn't
going to happen until we can create education and awareness on the
circumstances of my case across this country and send letters. Be
a Branch Support Group to help create public opinion. My case
has to be a national issue on justice denied, it may sound easy,
but it isn't. The FBI has been an opposing force in attempting to
discredit my cause and that of Native people since they focused
their attention on the American Indian Movement in the 1970's. When
it appeared that Clinton might actually grant clemency, the agents
went and demonstrated at the White House and utilized their resources
to create doubt in the mind of Clinton.
So in the national awareness goals of the branch support groups it is
going to be your challenge to keep the public interest focused. It
is also another hope that with a whole generation of people who
were born after my wrongful conviction that there will be a renewed
source of energy and actions.
One point that I would like everyone to focus on right now is a
"30 year law" regarding my sentence and parole. At the time I was
convicted, the guidelines said:
"Any prisoner, .shall be released on parole. after serving thirty
years of each consecutive term or terms of more than forty-five years
including any life term, whichever is earlier: Provided, however,
That the Commission shall not release such prisoner if it determines
that he has seriously or frequently violated institution rules and
regulations or that there is a reasonable probability that he will
commit any Federal, State, or local crime." 28 U.S.C. section 28
I've served more than 30 years of this sentence and have been
considered a model prisoner And the likelihood of committing any
crimes is non-existent due to my age and the humanitarian work I've
pursued to help my people since my incarceration. According to this
law, they have to grant me a parole to my next sentence. But as we've
learned from the past, we cannot take anything for granted so your
letters should be focused on this law to the parole commission and
congressional leaders. If the commission complies with the letter
and spirit of this law, we will have made a significant step towards
my freedom and we will need to maintain and increase this momentum.
The Committee and I have been discussing several ideas and projects
to make this a pro-active campaign. We are currently rebuilding the
former LPSG's into LPBSG's. This is necessary due to a breakdown
with the former Leonard Peltier Defense Committee. I had to turn
to my sister and niece to help me rebuild my defense committee
from scratch. We had no files, records, and merchandise. We have
not been able to make contact with the former coordinator of the
LPDC. We are still hoping to resolve this issue, but until then we
needed to keep moving with the campaign.
We still need all of our former contacts and supporters to reconnect
with us and to update the information so that my Committee can
handle correspondence and contributions. We need everyone who has
supported me to contact the LPDOC and sign onto our listserv so
that you can be updated with information on progress or activities
needed in my campaign.
I will need everyone to work with my Committee and clear any action
with the appropriate people within the Committee. It is important
that we all work together cohesively, instead of scattering our
efforts or resources. We do not intend to discourage ideas or
creativity, but we would like to incorporate such ideas into a
unified larger effort and not act prematurely on some plans we may
have not disclosed due to timing or details being worked out.
Some of the projects we have discussed are conducting rides, walks,
runs and events across the country to create this awareness of my
case. We are initiating efforts to ask bands and artists to host
fundraisers in their area. We've talked about strategies we could
undertake to further my cause, but a lot will depend on how quickly
people come to form my BSG and start organizing in their area.
I also understand that some of us have personality issues with
other people. I hope that many of you can pray or find a way to
rise above this obstacle and work together for one common purpose. I
would like to see so many of my supporters come together in a show
of solidarity. If there really is a change in the air, we will
need each other to bring about change in so many other areas. For
me it has been about our culture and right to be who we are, but
foremost it has been the children and the next generation. WE were
supposed to leave a better world behind for them and how much have we
accomplished? I know that somehow and someway my sacrifice will not
be in vain and that the years I've endured this pain of loneliness
and suffering in confinement will make a better world for those
children and coming generations. That along with my freedom is my
hope, but I will not be able to fulfill it without you. So take a
few minutes and educate yourself on the injustices of my case. It may
shock and outrage you, but you can do something about it, so join us.
In the Spirit of Crazy Horse,
Thursday, November 06, 2008
Wednesday, November 05, 2008
HOLY SHIT! Obama Fu*&^#@ won!?!?!?
Thursday, October 30, 2008
Wednesday, October 29, 2008
Tuesday, October 28, 2008
Why aren't we dragging them from their homes, cars, and golf courses like the Italians finally did Mousillini?
Tuesday, October 21, 2008
October 11, 2008
OCTOBER 22 NATIONAL DAY OF PROTEST AGAINST POLICE BRUTALITY,
REPRESSION AND THE CRIMINALIZATION OF A GENERATION
SPONSORED BY Communities United Against Police Brutality
ENDORSED BY Coldsnap Legal Collective, Community RNC Arrestee Support Structure (CRASS), National Lawyers Guild, Welfare Rights Committee, other individuals and organizations (list in formation).
OUTSTANDING ARRAY OF SPEAKERS including Bruce Nestor (NLG), Pablo Tapia (League of Hispanic Voters), Robin Magee (Hamline law professor and Minnesota 8 Defense Committee), Leah Lane (RNC protester abused for peaceful overtures toward police), Martha Fasthorse (community organizer), Jude Ortiz (community organizer with Coldsnap Legal Collective, Arise bookstore), Al Flowers (Northside community organizer), and others.
From mass police brutality during the RNC to the everyday brutality against people of color and poor people in the streets and in the jails, something has got to be done to end the reign of terror.
Come out and demand REAL solutions:
- We need a real civilian review authority that holds cops accountable and isn’t just a rubber stamp agency!
- End beatings and abuse in the jailsand prosecute brutal jailers!
- No more bogus charges against police brutality victims. Prosecute brutal cops!
- Drop ALL charges against RNC arrestees. Dissent is not a crime!
- Fire cops who lie in police reports or in court!
PROTEST AGAINST POLICE BRUTALITY
WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 22
KELLOGG PARK, KELLOGG & WABASHA, ST. PAUL
STOLEN LIVES REMEMBRANCE
Sunday, October 26 6:00 p.m.
Walker Community Church
3104 16th Avenue South, Minneapolis
Keep in mind the recent announcement that the army is deploying troops on US soil as well as the militarization of policing seen on the streets of St. Paul and Minneapolis during the RNC. As the economy goes to hell and McBush tries to figure out how to steal another election, one can easily see these and other dangerous weapons being used to crush all dissent.
Army Orders Pain Ray Trucks; New Report Shows 'Potential for Death'
By David Hambling
October 10, 2008
After years of testing, the Active Denial System -- the pain ray which drives off rioters with a microwave-like beam -- could finally have its day. The Army is buying five of the truck-mounted systems for $25 million. But the energy weapon may face new hurdles, before it's shipped off to the battlefield; a new report details how the supposedly non-lethal blaster could be turned into a flesh-frying killer.
The contract for the pain ray trucks is "expected to be awarded by year's end," Aviation Week notes. "A year after the contract is signed, the combination vehicle/weapons will start be fielded at the rate of one per month."
It's been a very long time coming. As we've previously reported, there have been calls to deploy the Active Denial System in Iraq going back to 2004. But it's always been delayed for legal, political, and public relations reasons. Anything that might be condemned as torture is political dynamite. Interestingly, the version being bought is not the full-size "Version 2," but a containerized system known as Silent Guardian, which Raytheon have been trying to sell for some time. They describe Silent Guardian as "roughly 1/3 the size and power of the other Active Denial Systems," and quote it's range as "greater than 250 meters." The larger system has a range somewhere in excess of 700 meters.
Silent Guardian weighs a shade over 10,000 pounds all up, and will be mounted on an "armored ruggedized HEMTT [ Heavy Expanded Mobility Tactical Truck]."
The announcement arrives on the same day as a new report from less-lethal weapons expert Dr. Jürgen Altmann that analyzes the physics of several directed energy weapons, including Active Denial, the Advanced Tactical Laser (used as a non-lethal weapon), the Pulsed Energy Projectile (a.k.a. "Maximum Pain" laser) and the Long Range Acoustic Device (a.k.a. "Acoustic Blaster").
Dr. Altmann describes the Active Denial beam in some detail, noting that it will not be completely uniform; anyone unlucky enough to be caught in the center will experience more heating than someone at the edge. And perhaps more significant is his thorough analysis of the heating it produces -- and the cumulative effect if the target does not have the chance to cool down between exposures. In U.S. military tests, a fifteen-second delay between exposures was strictly observed; this may not happen when the ADS is used for real.
- "As a consequence, the ADS provides the technical possibility to produce burns of second and third degree. Because the beam of diameter 2 m and above is wider than human size, such burns would occur over considerable parts of the body, up to 50% of its surface. Second- and third-degree burns covering more than 20% of the body surface are potentially life-threatening – due to toxic tissue-decay products and increased sensitivity to infection – and require intensive care in a specialized unit. Without a technical device that reliably prevents re-triggering on the same target subject, the ADS has a potential to produce permanent injury or death. "
Dr. Altmann notes that "the present analysis has not found convincing arguments that the ADS would be immoral or illegal in each foreseeable circumstance," and that acceptance will depend very much on how it is used. If the ADS prevents small boats from approaching a U.S. vessel without harming anyone, then it will be seen as a humane option. If it is used to clear protesters out of the way it may be seen differently.
Meanwhile, the National Institute of Justice still has a reported interest in a "hand-held, probably rifle-sized, short range weapon that could be effective at tens of feet for law enforcement officials." That's just one of the likely domestic applications of Active Denial technology which are likely to follow if the Army's experiment with ADS is successful. A lot of people will be watching this one very closely.
Controversy Grows As Taser Expands Scope
by Andy Greenberg
October 6, 2008 by Forbes.com
Sitting idle, the Taser Shockwave looks like a waist-high rack of square green teeth. But press a button, and those teeth--six electrified cartridges tethered by 25-foot wires--shoot out in a 20-degree arc. Inch-long probes emitting 50,000 volts of electricity pierce through clothing and skin. If a human being is in their path, his or her muscles immediately flex and lock involuntarily.
Use Shockwave defensively to create a perimeter around rioters, as police demonstrated in a training exercise on California's Treasure Island earlier this month, and a mob of unruly individuals can be corralled into a corner. Or fire the device into a crowd, and several targets go down in a temporarily paralyzed heap.
Shockwave, set to be deployed sometime in 2009, is one of several powerful new "less-lethal" devices coming closer to being used in the real world, as opposed to just test situations. And it's not the only experimental toy soon to be sold by Phoenix-based Taser International. Other products being tested by the company include a taser shell that can be fired from any shotgun and a taser laminate film that can electrify the surface of a traditional riot shield.
From Taser's perspective, these science-fiction-like weapons are new and more effective ways to control dangerous situations without using deadly force. But in the eyes of the company's critics, Taser is expanding the scope of a controversial technology that has yet to be proven safe.
Taser's Extended-Range Electronic Projectile (XREP), for instance, is the first electrically incapacitating weapon that can be fired from a gun. Unlike Taser's older products, which shoot an electrically charged cartridge tethered by a 25-foot wire, the XREP is designed to be loaded into a normal firearm. After it's fired from the gun's barrel, small fins extend that cause the cartridge to spin like a rifle round and fly accurately up to 100 feet.
When the XREP shell hits someone, short probes pierce his or her skin or clothing. A metal barb attached by a wire falls out from the back of the capsule to create another point of contact on the target's body, unleashing an electrical current through the body's muscles and causing them to spasm. If the target grabs at the XREP round and touches the wire, it routes another jolt of current through the clutching hand.
Violent as the new devices may sound, Taser argues that the XREP and Shockwave both hold the promise of defusing a wider range of dangerous situations than ever before without resorting to lethal force or putting police in dangerous situations. "Police officers are paid to enforce the law, not to get hurt," says Taser spokesman Steve Tuttle. "Police need this. That's why we've survived the controversy around our products."
But Dalia Hashad, director of human rights for Amnesty International in the U.S., calls the weapons "something out of a bad video game." She argues that the Shockwave and XREP are unproven technologies that could be used indiscriminately.
Since U.S. police first began using tasers in 2000, 350 people have died in police custody after being stunned by the devices, according to Amnesty International's count. In 40 of those cases, tasers were listed by the coroner as a possible cause of death, Hashad says, and in many cases, the victim was elderly, under the influence of drugs or mentally ill.
Those kinds of victims are the most likely to suffer injuries from being stunned, she adds. And trying to discern when a taser should be used appropriately becomes complicated when a taser's range is extended or the Shockwave is fired at multiple targets. "There's no individual assessment," Hashad says. "We're asking police to consider whether someone they're about to 'tase' is an appropriate candidate given all the risks. How can they do that for six people at once?"
She adds that the XREP's default setting delivers a 20-second shock, compared with the five-second shock of a traditional taser. That kind of prolonged incapacitation, she argues, is typically the most likely to lead to injuries or deaths. "It raises very significant questions about how the length of the shock time affects the human body," she says.
Taser recently suffered a public-relations blow when a jury found the company partially liable for the death of 40-year-old Robert Heston, a Salinas, Calif., resident who suffered a heart attack and died after being tased three times. The company was ordered to pay $6.2 million to Heston's family. That case was the only lawsuit that Taser has lost of the 75 suits brought against the company, though others have been settled out of court.
Taser spokesman Tuttle flatly denies that anyone has ever died from being tased. Heston, he points out, was under the influence of methamphetamines, and the jury determined that Taser was only partially responsible for his death. Tuttle also argues that the coroner reports Amnesty International refers to only imply that a taser "wasn't ruled out" as a cause of death.
In fact, Tuttle says that the taser's electrical current is as painful as static shock from a door knob. "It doesn't hurt," says Tuttle, who's been tased himself several times. "Don't get me wrong, it's uncomfortable. It kind of feels like hitting your funny bone 18 times per second throughout your whole body."
And the question of whether devices like XREP and Shockwave will mean tasers are used less discriminately? "No one conducts a field interview before applying a taser," Tuttle says. "The situation must meet police-department requirements and use-of-force guidelines, or it's a civil rights violation. That's how it's always been deployed against suspects in dangerous situations."
Taser International, of course, isn't the only one developing new, controversial less-lethal weapons. The military's Joint Non-Lethal Weapons Program (JNLWP) is testing a variety of new ways to stun and incapacitate enemy combatants including "flash-bang" grenades that create noise and light to disorient targets, as well as a two-foot diameter laser that can temporarily blind a vehicle's driver at around 600 feet. The so-called Active Denial System, a heat ray that can make targets feel as if their skin is catching fire without actually inflicting damage, is also under development.
But even the military, which has used traditional tasers in the field since 2004, has doubts about Taser International's new toys. "We're doing a lot of testing to make sure they don't kill people," says John Keenan, the JNLWP's director of science and technology. "We have to understand the health effects associated with them. If we're calling something a non-lethal weapon, we have to make sure it's not lethal."
Denver cops get T-shirts that mock DNC protesters
September 29 2008
Contributed by: Anonymous
Denver's police union is facing criticism for printing a commemorative T-shirt that makes light of the use of violence by police, particularly in the wake of 154 arrests during the week of Democratic National Convention this past August.
"We get up early, to BEAT the crowds," the shirt reads, followed by "2008 DNC." The words flank a grinning police officer holding a baton and wearing a hat with a crossed-out number "68," presumably making reference to activist organization Recreate 68, which staged several anti-war demonstrations during the convention.
"The people of Denver were assured by the city that it would respect First Amendment rights during the DNC, and that that police officers were being trained to do so. The actions of police during the DNC, which involved numerous violations of people's right to freedom of speech and assembly, put the lie to those promises," said Recreate 68's Glenn Spagnuolo. "And now this appalling, tasteless t-shirt shows why. The members of Denver's police union clearly have no respect for the rights guaranteed by the United States Constitution. The Denver Police Department Operations Manual includes a Law Enforcement Code of Ethics, which begins, 'As a Law Enforcement Officer, my fundamental duty is to serve mankind, to safeguard lives and property, to protect the innocent against deception, the weak against oppression or intimidation, and the peaceful against violence or disorder; and to respect the Constitutional rights of all men to liberty, equality and justice.' The creation of this t-shirt makes a mockery of that statement."
Detective Nick Rogers of the Police Protective Association said that the union predicts sales of about 2,000 shirts in addition to the ones given free to Denver police officers, and also told KMGH ( http://www.thedenverchannel.
A picture of the design, courtesy of KMGH, can be viewed at http://rawstory.com/images/
Communities United Against Police Brutality
3100 16th Avenue S
Minneapolis, MN 55407
Hotline 612-874-STOP (7867)
Meetings: Every Saturday at 1:30 p.m. at Walker Church, 3104 16th Avenue South
Wednesday, October 15, 2008
Thursday, October 09, 2008
Tuesday, October 07, 2008
Saturday, October 04, 2008
Thursday, October 02, 2008
So let's get this straight: the big-time capitalists, who for eternity have decried government involvement in just about everything, are now wailing for our tax dollars to save their greedy asses?
A logical conclusion of reaganism?
The house of cards has crumbled, and can only be propped up by mainstream media and government doublespeak, hollywood tricknology and a militarized response -- both abroad and domestically -- to any views outside it's own racist, sexist, white supremisist (yes, that's you too, Alberto, Colin and Condi) paradigm.
Nice job, suits.
Wednesday, October 01, 2008
"On the practical level, the US is already stretched militarily, in Afghanistan and Iraq, and is now stretched financially.
On the philosophical level, it will be harder for it to argue in favour of its free market ideas, if its own markets have collapsed.
Tuesday, September 30, 2008
Monday, September 29, 2008
September 21, 2008
While police brutality is the daily reality of people of color, homeless, low income people and others, the sheer coordination and repressive conduct of police during the RNC harkens a new level efforts to crush dissent. No free speech was tolerated during the RNC and new levels of terror and brutality were rained down on community activists just for opposing the Republican agenda. This conduct was supported and aided by elected officials including mayors and council members on both sides of the river. Now some are trying to worm out of what they unleashed by holding bogus "public" hearings (with hand-picked speakers), naming partisans to phony "independent" investigations, or calling for investigations they know will never materialize.
Both mayors have been effusive in their praise of police conduct--the same conduct that has left many activists bruised and battered and facing serious criminal charges. In this new climate, all police need do is invoke the "terrorism" word and they get a free pass to raid, beat, bomb, gas and arrest, with the grinning assent of elected officials. In the run-up to the annual October 22 National Day of Protest Against Police Brutality, CUAPB will examine this new climate, what it means for all activists (not just those opposed to the current administration), and how it is likely to spill over toward people already feeling the boot of police oppression.
Forum on Police Conduct During the RNC
Tuesday, September 23
3104 16th Ave S, Minneapolis
Dave Bicking, Michelle Gross, and Charlie Underwood will present on their experiences with policing during the RNC. Michelle will show film footage shot by CUAPB copwatchers and others. There will be plenty of time for questions and discussion.
Public Hearing on Police Conduct During the RNC
Wednesday, September 24
St. Paul City Hall
15 Kellogg Blvd, Rm 300, St. Paul
This is the public hearing called by St. Paul City Councilmembers Dave Thune and Melvin Carter. It is being billed as a "community conversation about the RNC" but word has it that Thune has already hand-picked the "community" speakers, including at least one cop. Still, we are encouraging people to attend this and try to interject our voices.
Throughout this whole thing, Thune has tried to position himself as some kind of free speech hero. Let's not forget that he was the guy who held secret "free speech working group" meetings that he would never allow activists to attend or participate in. The outcome of that working group is the restrictive permitting ordinance in St. Paul that allows cops to decide if you can demonstrate and allows them to pull the permit at the last minute (as they did on Day 4 of the RNC, resulting in arrests of over 400 people). He's now trying to cover his ass by holding this little meeting but he still wants to control what gets talked about. Let's not let him.
Courtwatch for RNC 8 Arrestees
Ramsey County Law Enforcement Center
425 Grove St, Rm 102, St. Paul
September 24, 1:40 p.m.: Monica Bicking, Rob Czernik
October 2, 1:00 p.m.: Luce Guillen Givins
October 3, 1:00 p.m.: Garrett Fitzgerald
October 13, 1:00 p.m.: Eryn Trimmer, Eric Oseland, Nathaneal Secor, Max Spector
These are the eight people being charged with "conspiracy to riot in the furtherance of terrorism," despite the fact that they were all in jail for the entirety of the RNC. Apparently even planning protest is now illegal. By putting heavy charges on these people, the government is trying to criminalize dissent and hold them out as an example so that others will shy away from challenging its policies. We must stand up with these people and force the government to back down. Part of this battle is to be in court with them every time. We need to visibly support them at every turn. HANDS OFF THE RNC 8!
FBI Bulletin #89 Facilitates Clampdown on Journalists, Activists
While written in 2003 to specifically address large antiwar protests in Washington DC and San Francisco, FBI Bulletin #89 appears to be the playbook for handling all protests against the current administration. A PDF of the actual memo is at http://www.aclu.org/FilesPDFs/
FBI Bulletin #89 refers to videotaping--the essence of copwatch and much independent journalism--as an "intimidation technique" against the cops. This explains the crackdown on media during the RNC. It matters not one whit that St. Paul's mayor Chris Coleman announced that they are dropping the charges against journalists such as Democracy Now's Amy Goodman. Charges against these journalists were never the point. The real deal was to prevent them from doing their job in the first place. To that end, the tactic was at least somewhat successful, though at least some videographers captured amazing images. Go to http://www.youtube.com/watch?
Much has been written about the arrest of Amy Goodman and even about the August 30th raid on the house where a number of independent journalists were staying. While these were outrageous attacks, people need to realize that the beating and arrest of Darryl Robinson on July 20th while he was copwatching was the first salvo in this clampdown on people who document police misconduct. We expect to continue to see these tactics used to prevent documentation of police and, in fact, incidents since the RNC indicate this will be the trend. In the last week, we have had copwatchers threatened with arrest during two separate incidents--by two different police agencies--for simply observing police conduct. It is notable that both police agencies participated in RNC activities and one is a small town agency. Clearly this is one "RNC lesson" that will be transferred to the community.
FBI Outlines Plan to Expand Agents' Tactics; Hill Hearings Set
By Carrie Johnson
Washington Post Staff Writer
Saturday, September 13, 2008; A09
FBI officials yesterday briefed civil liberties advocates and religious groups on a plan to offer agents an array of tactics to track national security threats, as lawmakers prepared to demand more information at a pair of oversight hearings next week.
The ground rules, known as attorney general guidelines, have been in the works for nearly 18 months. Authorities say they are designed to harmonize the techniques that FBI agents can use to investigate ordinary crimes, collect foreign intelligence or pursue possible terrorist threats.
Under the new plan, agents pursuing national security leads could employ physical surveillance, deploy informants and engage in "pretext" interviews with their identities hidden to assess the danger posed by a subject. Such threat assessments could be initiated even without a particular fact or concrete lead that a person had engaged in wrongdoing.
Community activists and the American Civil Liberties Union, which attended yesterday's briefing, question how a subject's race, ethnicity or religious orientation might become part of attracting FBI interest.
A senior Justice Department official and a top FBI representative said race could never be the sole factor for opening an investigation. But it might be taken into account when investigators scrutinize groups, such as Hezbollah or the Aryan Brotherhood, that draw their members from specific populations, or, for example, when they follow leads about suspicious groups of Muslim men boarding an airplane.
FBI Director Robert S. Mueller III will appear next week before the House and Senate Judiciary committees, where lawmakers say he will be asked about the timing and rationale for overhauling the rules. House and Senate Democrats already are characterizing the move as a last-ditch bid to change intelligence-gathering only weeks before the presidential election.
But senior FBI and Justice officials, who briefed reporters on the condition that they not be identified, asserted that the changes were merely the latest in a series of steps to make the bureau more proactive after intelligence failures before the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.
The measures are scheduled to take effect Oct. 1, though changes still could be made in some areas, including ground rules for FBI agents who secretly infiltrate activist groups or collect intelligence at public demonstrations and events without a suspected terrorist threat. [emphasis added--ed.]
The plan also would allow FBI agents to collect information in the United States on behalf of foreign intelligence authorities, as long as their participation aligned with U.S. interests. It would allow agents to gather intelligence from citizens within the United States about areas of general interest, such as Venezuelan oil supply, at the direction of the White House or the director of national intelligence.
Michael German, a policy counsel at the ACLU, urged lawmakers to do a "thorough investigation" of the guidelines and the way they will work in practice. More than 30 years ago, "the abuse of these authorities is exactly what caused the department to create the guidelines in the first place," he said.
It is very good to see a REAL story on the round-up of the RNC 8 activists. It shows how law enforcement agencies use ordinary household items to condemn people. This is not a new story in the Black community, however. Police have used the presence of zip top sandwich bags, measuring spoons, food scales and other common kitchen items in people's homes to tag people as drug dealers. During the raids that occurred August 29-31, at least six houses and the convergence space were descended on. People's homes were torn up looking for any shred of something that could be used against them and many people were detained and arrested. Two people were arrested kidnap-style by cops jumping out of moving vehicles.
These tactics are not new to the Black community. The "jump out boys"--paramilitary cops that zoom up to homes and barrel out of the back of a windowless white van--have been a fixture on the Northside for years. These cops execute no-knock searches on homes on the Northside on a regular basis. Many times the basis for the raid is bad information from a snitch. In addition to forcing people--including children--to the floor at gunpoint, these units beat some people severely and sweep others off to jail on the flimsiest basis. They leave the homes they search in unlivable condition, often smashing apart sinks and toilets looking for drugs. CUAPB has documented many cases involving the jump out boys over the years.
FIRST THEY CAME FOR THE ANARCHISTS...
By Mordecai Specktor | Tuesday, Sept. 16, 2008http://www.minnpost.com/
In the aftermath of the Republican National Convention and the arrests of more than 800 protesters, journalists and bystanders in the Twin Cities Max and seven others, the alleged ringleaders of the RNC Welcoming Committee, have been charged with conspiracy to commit riot in the furtherance of terrorism.
That's right, terrorism.
When the AJW went to press [the first week of September], Max was being held in the Ramsey County jail. He was kept in solitary confinement for more than two days, with no reading material, nothing. At the arraignment, the prosecutor asked for $75,000 bail; but Larry Leventhal, Max's attorney, successfully argued that the amount was excessive and the judge reduced it to $10,000.
At around 8 p.m. on that Wednesday, Max was released from jail. Sheriff's deputies were instructed to drive Max, along with a young woman from Cleveland, some distance away from the jail. They were dropped off at a Holiday gas station on University Avenue near Vandalia.
(After arranging for Max's bail bond, I attended the taping of "The Daily Show." Jon Stewart's hilarious political satire relieved some of the stress in what was one of the craziest, most surreal weeks in my life. Earlier in the day, I attended a luncheon for visiting Israeli diplomats, including Ambassador Sallai Meridor, at the home of Ruth Usem. There was a crowd of Jewish machers, local and national, and Sen. Amy Klobuchar and Reps. Betty McCollum and Keith Ellison. Of course, I bent the ears of several luncheon attendees with the tale of my incarcerated son.)
On Thursday, I was in contact with Larry Leventhal, and a press conference was called for 3 p.m. at his office. Local TV and newspaper reporters and photographers, reporters from local blogs and alternative press outlets, and a producer from Al Jazeera (which covered the RNC) crowded into the cozy conference room.
Bruce Nestor, attorney for Max's codefendant Monica Bicking and president of the Minnesota branch of the National Lawyers Guild, acted as the press conference emcee. Max and three of his codefendants Luce Guillen-Givens, Nathanael Secor and Rob Czernik were present, along with three lawyers, Nestor, Leventhal and Jordan Kushner. The lawyers did not allow their clients to speak, in light of the serious charges they faced and the possibility that they might say something that would be taken out of context and used against them in court.
I spoke at the press conference, as did Klea Fitzgerald, mother of Garrett Fitzgerald, one of the eight defendants; Max's other co-defendants, Erik Oseland, Eryn Trimmer, Bicking and Fitzgerald, were not in attendance.
The complaint in the case of the RNCWC 8 (shades of the Chicago 8, from another political convention brouhaha) contains lurid allegations about kidnapping Republican delegates, throwing Molotov cocktails, attacking law enforcement officers and burning tires on the freeway. The allegations are based on statements made by police plants in the group CRIs, "confidential reliable informants."
"The charges in this case are supported only by allegations of paid confidential informants," Nestor told the reporters. "A number of the attorneys here have experience in investigations with the use of informants in political cases. We are concerned about the potential use of provocateurs, people who purposely plan and bring up discussions of violence, in order to get other people to respond and then report back that those discussions occurred. The confidential informants are paid based on the value of the information they provide. They have a clear incentive to exaggerate and lie about the information."
Nestor added that the allegations of kidnapping and violence, the "most outrageous allegations" made by the authorities and the basis for the Aug. 30 SWAT team raids on three south Minneapolis homes "are not supported by any evidence other than the statements of the confidential informants, they're not supported by the evidence seized."
Which brings us to the pails of urine. Ramsey County Sheriff Bob Fletcher proudly displayed 5-gallon pails of "urine" at a press conference following the raids. The anarchists ostensibly were fashioning IUDs (improvised urine devices) to use against cops and Republicans, according to the police authorities. The search warrants for the Aug. 30 SWAT team raids specified "urine and feces."
However, Nestor said that the "urine" seized was mostly "kitchen gray water" and had nothing to do with any of the defendants. Nestor also noted that "common household items" glass bottles, rags and charcoal starter fluid, found in different locations in various houses have repeatedly been referred to in news reports as bomb-making materials.
Warrant items not found
"We have search warrants seeking gun powder, explosive materials, Molotov cocktails, none of which were found," Nestor said. "We have the sheriff displaying a single plastic item, which he claims is a shield; as if, somehow, one shield was going to protect demonstrators from 3,500 armed riot police who have projectile tear gas weapons."
Nestor concluded that the authorities have recklessly wielded the "terrorism charge" so that any political activist involved in planning civil disobedience could be labeled as a "domestic terrorist."
Attorney Larry Leventhal told the reporters that the complaint does not allege that any of the defendants physically attacked anybody or even "broke a window."
The complaints against the eight defendants, according to Leventhal, weave "a narrative of various meetings that they claim occurred over a number of years. … We have, basically, [the authorities] saying, Here are some people, they've associated with other bad people, and those people have done bad things. If we were to accept the standard that people who associate with others who may do bad things are subject to arrest and that certainly should not be a standard in a civilized society but if that were the standard, there's a lot of delegates who are in the Xcel Center that have been associating with bad people who have done very bad things."
Leventhal termed the case a "political prosecution," which is characterized by people being targeted and arrested for "their thoughts, for their ideas which may be different from the reigning political powers' rather than for things they have done."
Then Leventhal introduced me to the press, noting that I was editor and publisher of the American Jewish World newspaper, and was in St. Paul covering the Republican National Convention.
I talked about Max and mentioned his educational background, including his being a confirmand of the Temple of Aaron Synagogue religious school and a graduate of the Talmud Torah of St. Paul Midrasha program. I'll add here that Max earned his Golden Kipa at the Temple of Aaron, an honor bestowed to post-B'nai Mitzva kids who do 10 Torah readings. At age 19, Max is beginning his junior year at the University of Minnesota (he took a lot of college-level courses during his final two years at Minneapolis South High).
Appeal to journalists
"As you heard from the lawyers, the criminal complaint here is farfetched, overblown, outrageous," I said. "I'm in the newspaper business, so I encourage all of the journalists here to look into the specifics of this complaint and see where the truth really lies."
Finally, I put my arm around Max's shoulders and said, "This is your domestic terrorist take a good look. I don't believe it at all. Give me a break."
After the 50-minute press conference, there was a meeting of defendants and lawyers, and one parent. Then I took off on foot for West Seventh Street and the heavily fortified Xcel Energy Center for the final night of the RNC, during which Sen. John McCain would accept his party's nomination for president.
The case against Max and his co-defendants is in a preliminary stage, so it's difficult to see how things will develop. The lawyers are waiting for the government to produce evidence backing up the many allegations in the criminal complaints.
As you might imagine, as a journalist I've been scouring the Web for press accounts of this case. Chris Hedges, a veteran journalist (Christian Science Monitor, New York Times, etc.) and author, posted an incisive article about the scene in St. Paul last week on Truthdig.com.
"The rise of the corporate state means the rise of the surveillance state," Hedges wrote. "The Janus-like face of America swings from packaged and canned spectacles, from nationalist slogans, from seas of flags and Christian crosses, from professions of faith and patriotism, to widespread surveillance, illegal mass detentions, informants, provocateurs and crude acts of repression and violence. We barrel toward a world filled with stupendous lies and blood."
Minnesota version of Patriot Act
The prosecution of Max and the others, as Hedges noted, is the "first time criminal charges have been filed under the 2002 Minnesota version of the federal Patriot Act. The Patriot Act, which was put in place as much to silence domestic opposition as to ferret out real terrorists, has largely lain dormant. It has authorized the government to monitor our phone conversations, e-mails, meetings and political opinions. It has authorized the government to shut down anti-war groups and lock up innocents as terrorists. It has abolished habeas corpus. But until now we have not grasped its full implications for our open society. We catch glimpses, as in St. Paul or in our offshore penal colonies where we torture detainees, of its awful destructive power."
Also, Glenn Greenwald, a former constitutional law and civil rights litigator, writing on Salon.com, has done a great job covering RNC-related acts of repression.
The daily newspapers in the Twin Cities have not distinguished themselves covering this particular aspect of the RNC story. At least, their sins of omission are less egregiously awful than the swill ("Having a Riot in St. Paul: Cops put the hurt on 'anarchist' protesters") written for Newsweek magazine's Web site by Michael Isikoff and Mark Hosenball.
This duo functions like the record-and-playback device on a tape recorder, regurgitating statements by various police agents "battling a shadowy neo-anarchist group that was allegedly plotting to disrupt the convention by kidnapping delegates, hurling Molotov cocktails and committing other acts of 'guerrilla warfare.' " In fact, these "shadowy" anarchists put all of their statements up on a Web site (nornc.org) for the world to see. And, as it is now clear, they also opened their meetings and their hearts to an undercover cop and at least two police informants who apparently played them for financial gain.
I'm not an objective journalist in this matter. I'm expressing my views and feelings about recent events. I'm a father whose son is in a great deal of trouble. Max doesn't want me singling him out for attention; to his credit, he wants equal recognition for his co-defendants. He sees that they're all in this together. I think we're all in this together.
After the SWAT team raids, the police barricades, the riot squads, the tear gas and pepper spray, and the mass arrests of demonstrators, the Republicans gave their hechsher to the McCain-Palin ticket and left town. Our civil liberties especially free speech and freedom of the press took a beating here last week. The events in the Twin Cities last week provide a grim portent of things to come in America. We have to take a long careful look at what happened, and figure out how to reweave our civil society.
Mordecai Specktor is editor of the American Jewish World, in which this article first appeared.
Don't Let the National Park Service Privatize the Inauguration Route
Tell the government: Pennsylvania Ave. Belongs to the People
Bush Administration proposes new regulations - comment period closing
A ground breaking free speech legal victory in federal court has opened up Pennsylvania Avenue for "We the People" on Inauguration Day.
Unless you and thousands of others take action today, however, that courtroom victory could be effectively overturned by a new set of regulations proposed by the Bush Administration's National Park Service.
"The Inauguration is not a private event," ruled U.S. District Court Judge Paul Friedman on March 20, 2008. Judge Friedman declared unconstitutional the practice of the National Park Service of exempting the Presidential Inaugural Committee from the ordinary permit process in order to give that private political advocacy organization exclusive rights to exclude the public from along the Inaugural Parade route.
The ruling capped a nearly four year challenge by the A.N.S.W.E.R. Coalition represented by the Partnership for Civil Justice. The Coalition stood up for thousands of anti-war protesters and political dissenters who - - like the general public - - have been excluded from communicating their views along the quadrennial Inaugural Parade route.
The victory was so resounding that the U.S. Government did not even appeal the ruling.
That courtroom victory is in jeopardy. We need your help, to take just a couple minutes of your time right now to protect free speech along the Presidential Inaugural Parade route by sending a comment to the National Park Service.
You Can Make a Difference By Acting Now
Tell the NPS that you do not want the land that belongs to the public along "America's Main Street" of Pennsylvania Avenue privatized and set aside for the exclusive use of the private Presidential Inaugural Committee to sell to the wealthy corporations on America's Inauguration Day. Click here to send your comment now. Help flood them with thousands of comments and tell your friends and family to join in this effort.
The Bush Administration's National Park Service has re-written its regulations in response to the court ruling. Again, the regulations set aside prime swaths of the Inaugural Parade route for the exclusive use of the corporate donor friends of the incoming administration. The period for public comment closes in a few days, September 22, - so act now by clicking here to send your comment on these proposed regulations.
During the RNC, National Guard soldiers were seen in the streets while Coast Guard cutters patrolled the Mississippi river. Despite prohibitions against military units being used domestically under the Posse Comitatus Act (except National Guard units assigned to the states during natural disasters), these units have started to emerge as reinforcements for police in these "unitary command" situations such as during the DNC and RNC. Check out the list of supposed "non-lethals" items--including Tasers--they will be trained to unleash on the civilian population.
The introduction below was written by Andy Driscoll, who hosts Truth to Tell every Wednesday at 11:00 a.m. on KFAI http://www.kfai.org/node/682
Read this and tremble: As far we know, the use of the military in domestic or civil activities is prohibited by law, except the national guard units which fall under the authority and aegis of the states.
This new unit and its multi-branch agencies are being formed to help with anything but natural disasters. These units will train for putting down "civil unrest" (a label easily applies to street demonstration and dissenting assemblies.
The following story is told from the Pollyanna view of an Army Times reporter, not from an objective analyst's. Inside these paragraphs are some frightening realities, among them the fact that multiple units of all service branches are training to do what local police now do, except that the full weight of Defense Department deployment of military force will take over our streets much the way the 3,700-strong police force locked down St. Paul and the Target Center during the RNC.
It may seem benign reading through this, but once you understand the nature and danger of this illegal use of American military forces on civil setting, you can filter this information through that lens and know that we're watching the launch of a new level of uniformed armed and armored security forces ready to clamp down on organized dissent inside the United States, again, heretofore utterly unlawful.
Now is the time for Congress to step into this fray and put the brakes on before too much time, money and effort has gone into implementing these insidious plans, all of which would be viewed as having gone too far to go back now. Wrong. Read this carefully.
This is no paranoid fear here. This and the POW camps erected over the last several years in several parts of the country are.
ARMY COMBAT TEAM TO DEPLOY OCTOBER 1 FOR CIVIL SECURITY EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT RESPONSE
MONDAY, 15. SEPTEMBER 2008, 02:14:29
Gina Cavallaro of ArmyTimes reports that Brigade Homeland Tours Start Oct. 1, 2008 as the 3rd Infantry¹s 1st BCT trains for a new dwell-time mission.
Helping "people at home" may become a permanent part of the active Army
The 3rd Infantry Division¹s 1st Brigade Combat Team has spent 35 of the last 60 months in Iraq patrolling in full battle rattle, helping restore essential services and escorting supply convoys.
Now they¹re training for the same mission--with a twist--at home.
Beginning Oct. 1 for 12 months, the 1st BCT will be under the day-to-day control of U.S. Army North, NORTHCOM, the Army service component of Northern Command, as an on-call federal response force for natural or manmade emergencies and disasters, including terrorist attacks.
It is not the first time an active-duty unit has been tapped to help at home. In August 2005, for example, when Hurricane Katrina unleashed hell in Mississippi and Louisiana, several active-duty units were pulled from various posts and mobilized to those areas.
But this new mission marks the first time an active unit has been given a dedicated assignment to NorthCom, a joint command established in 2002 to provide command and control for federal homeland defense efforts and coordinate defense support of civil authorities.
After 1st BCT finishes its dwell-time mission, expectations are that another, as yet unnamed, active-duty brigade will take over and that the mission will be a permanent one.
"Right now, the response force requirement will be an enduring mission. How the [Defense Department] chooses to source that and whether or not they continue to assign them to NorthCom, that could change in the future," said Army Col. Louis Vogler, chief of NorthCom future operations. "Now, the plan is to assign a force every year."
The command is at Peterson Air Force Base in Colorado Springs, Colo., but the soldiers with 1st BCT, who returned in April after 15 months in Iraq, will operate out of their home post at Fort Stewart, Ga., where they¹ll be able to go to school, spend time with their families and train for their new homeland mission as well as the counterinsurgency mission in the war zones.
Stop-loss will not be in effect, so soldiers will be able to leave the Army or move to new assignments during the mission, and the operational tempo will be variable.
Don¹t look for any extra time off, though. The at-home mission does not take the place of scheduled combat-zone deployments and will take place during the so-called dwell time a unit gets to reset and regenerate after a deployment.
The 1st of the 3rd is still scheduled to deploy to either Iraq or Afghanistan in early 2010, which means the soldiers will have been home a minimum of 20 months by the time they ship out.
In the meantime, they¹ll learn new skills, use some of the ones they acquired in the war zone and more than likely will not be shot at while doing any of it.
They may be called upon to help with civil unrest and crowd control [emphasis added--ed.] or to deal with potentially horrific scenarios such as massive poisoning and chaos in response to a chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear or high-yield explosive, or CBRNE, attack.
Training for homeland scenarios has already begun at Fort Stewart and includes specialty tasks such as knowing how to use the "jaws of life" to extract a person from a mangled vehicle; extra medical training for a CBRNE incident; and working with U.S. Forestry Service experts on how to go in with chainsaws and cut and clear trees to clear a road or area.
The 1st BCT¹s soldiers also will learn how to use "the first ever nonlethal package that the Army has fielded," 1st BCT commander Col. Roger Cloutier said, referring to crowd and traffic control equipment and nonlethal weapons designed to subdue unruly or dangerous individuals without killing them.
"It¹s a new modular package of nonlethal capabilities that they¹re fielding. They¹ve been using pieces of it in Iraq, but this is the first time that these modules were consolidated and this package fielded, and because of this mission we¹re undertaking we were the first to get it."
The package includes equipment to stand up a hasty road block; spike strips for slowing, stopping or controlling traffic; shields and batons; and, beanbag bullets.
"I was the first guy in the brigade to get Tasered," said Cloutier, describing the experience as "your worst muscle cramp ever--times 10 throughout your whole body."
"I'm not a small guy, I weigh 230 pounds ... it put me on my knees in seconds."
The brigade will not change its name, but the force will be known for the next year as a CBRNE Consequence Management Response Force, or CCMRF (pronounced "sea-smurf").
"I can¹t think of a more noble mission than this," said Cloutier, who took command in July. "We¹ve been all over the world during this time of conflict, but now our mission is to take care of citizens at home ... and depending on where an event occurred, you¹re going home to take care of your home town, your loved ones."
While soldiers¹ combat training is applicable, he said, some nuances don¹t apply.
"If we go in, we're going in to help American citizens on American soil, to save lives, provide critical life support, help clear debris, restore normalcy and support whatever local agencies need us to do, so it¹s kind of a different role," said Cloutier, who, as the division operations officer on the last rotation, learned of the homeland mission a few months ago while they were still in Iraq.
Some brigade elements will be on call around the clock, during which time they¹ll do their regular marksmanship, gunnery and other deployment training. That¹s because the unit will continue to train and reset for the next deployment, even as it serves in its CCMRF mission.
Should personnel be needed at an earthquake in California, for example, all or part of the brigade could be scrambled there, depending on the extent of the need and the specialties involved.
Other branches included
The active Army's new dwell-time mission is part of a NorthCom and DOD response package.
Active-duty soldiers will be part of a force that includes elements from other military branches and dedicated National Guard Weapons of Mass Destruction-Civil Support Teams.
A final mission rehearsal exercise is scheduled for mid-September at Fort Stewart and will be run by Joint Task Force Civil Support, a unit based out of Fort Monroe, Va., that will coordinate and evaluate the interservice event.
In addition to 1st BCT, other Army units will take part in the two-week training exercise, including elements of the 1st Medical Brigade out of Fort Hood, Texas, and the 82nd Combat Aviation Brigade from Fort Bragg, N.C.
There also will be Air Force engineer and medical units, the Marine Corps Chemical, Biological Initial Reaction Force, a Navy weather team and members of the Defense Logistics Agency and the Defense Threat Reduction Agency.
One of the things Vogler said they¹ll be looking at is communications capabilities between the services.
"It is a concern, and we¹re trying to check that and one of the ways we do that is by having these sorts of exercises. Leading up to this, we are going to rehearse and set up some of the communications systems to make sure we have interoperability," he said.
"I don¹t know what America's overall plan is--I just know that 24 hours a day, seven days a week, there are soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines that are standing by to come and help if they¹re called," Cloutier said. "It makes me feel good as an American to know that my country has dedicated a force to come in and help the people at home."
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