Spokane Police Abuses: Past to Present

The People of Spokane vs. Law Enforcement Abuse, Impunity, Corruption, and Cover-up

Archive for the ‘Videos’ Category

Spokane Ombudsman Ordinance Postponed

Posted by takayanagisan on June 23, 2010

In the wee hours of the morning of June 22, 2010, Spokane City Council members decided they needed one more week to decide on an ordinance that will give independent investigative authority to the Office of Police Ombudsman. Council member Bob Apple introduced the original ordinance on May 10 and the matter was deferred until May 24 for a vote. After listening to over 20 members of the public, many who told of personal experiences of police brutality and racially biased policing, council members voted to table the vote for four more weeks until the June 21 meeting. Then, on June 14, an alternative ordinance was introduced by Council members Amber Waldref, Richard Rush and Jon Snyder that substantially weakened the independent investigative authority sought by the first ordinance but was written to conform to language that was negotiated with the Police Guild establishing the Office of Police Ombudsman in the existing ordinance. If that didn’t confuse the public enough to give up, council member Richard Rush and Jon Snyder brought forward yet a third version of the ordinance midway through the meeting on June 21.

All of the political manipulation did not deter the more than 80 people in attendance to urge passage of an ordinance that will give real and meaningful oversight over police misconduct. It didn’t matter that nobody really understood why it took three versions of an ordinance, a confidential memo from city legal, and sitting through five hours of the council agenda. By the time the ordinance came up for discussion it was well after 11:00 p.m. and 65 people remained. 28 people testified in favor of an ordinance that nobody seemed to know was before the council for a vote. Neither did the council, it seems. When it was all over, it was near 1:00 a.m. and the council voted 5-1 to postpone the vote until June 28. What will happen next? Stay tuned to the next exciting episode of the hottest new Spokane soap, “As the Ordinance Turns.”

For additional detailed information on the hearing and copies of versions of the rapidly changing proposed ordinance, please read “Groaning Toward Dawn” at the Center for Justice website.

Also the coverage of the hearing can be found at the Spokesman-Review website.

Video of the June 21, 2010 council meeting and the public testimony on it can be viewed on the City of Spokane’s website. Click on City Council Meetings and then click on City Council Meeting Part 2 June 21st, 2010.

Posted in Corruption, Educating the Chief, History of SPD Abuses, Independent Oversight, Law, Spokane Police Guild, Testimonies, Videos | Leave a Comment »

Deputy dumps quadriplegic from wheelchair in front of jail camera and colleagues

Posted by Arroyoribera on March 10, 2008

Law enforcement in the United States has become a threat to public security.

Take Spokane, Washington, where law enforcement beat, tasered, hog-tied and suffocated a disabled and innocent man, Otto Zehm, who later died. Spokane, Washington where suicidal Josh Levy was subject to 18 hours of police tactics prior to a botched tasering which prompted him to jump to his death from the Monroe Street Bridge.

Or take Hillsboro, Florida, where a Deputy — not believing that a man was a quadriplegic — violently and criminally dumps him out of his wheelchair as a way to prove it. And, of course, the surveillance video shows a Deputy laughing as he walks away from the crime.

http://www.heyokamagazine.com/HEYOKA.11.BrianSterner..htm

For more on abusive police officers, here are ten additional videos:

http://www.linkognito.com/b.php?b=727

Posted in Corruption, Ethics, History of SPD Abuses, Know Your Rights, No Sir Officer ____, Photographic Evidence, Spokane taser, Testimonies, Videos | Leave a Comment »

FILM — Up The Ridge: A US Prison Story — Tuesday, March 11, 2008 Magic Lantern

Posted by Arroyoribera on March 9, 2008

Up The Ridge: A U.S Prison Story
A Shocking Look Inside The Incarceration Industry

Film Screening & Public Discussion

Tuesday, March 11, 2008 — 7:30 to 9:00 PM
Magic Lantern Theater, 25 W Main, Spokane

*Due to the graphic nature of this film, it is not recommended for children
Sponsored by November Coalition Foundation and Thousand Kites

For more information call (509)684-1550 or e-mail tom@november.org

Admission is free; donations gladly accepted!

Up the Ridge: A U.S. Prison Story

Up the Ridge: A U.S. Prison Story is a one-hour television documentary produced by Appalshop’s Nick Szuberla and Amelia Kirby. In 1999, Szuberla and Kirby were volunteer DJ’s for the Appalachian region’s only hip-hop radio program in Whitesburg, KY when they received hundreds of letters from inmates transferred into nearby Wallens Ridge State Prison, the newest prison built to prop up the region’s sagging coal economy. The letters described human rights violations and racial tension between staff and inmates. Filming began that year and, through the lens of Wallens Ridge, the film offers viewers an in-depth look at the United States prison industry and the social impact of moving hundreds of thousands of inner-city minority offenders to distant rural outposts. Up the Ridge explores competing political agendas that align government policy with human rights violations, and political expediencies that bring communities into racial and cultural conflict with tragic consequences. As the film makes plain, connections exist, in both practice and ideology, between human rights violations in Abu Ghraib and physical and sexual abuse recorded in American prisons.

Posted in Freedom to Fascism, Know Your Rights, Prison Industrial Complex, Prisons in Spokane, Racism, Solutions, Surveillance Society, Urgent Call, Videos | Leave a Comment »

Sound the Alarm — We Will Not Be Silent

Posted by Arroyoribera on February 7, 2008

There are times when to show up in great numbers is itself an act of resistance.

March 19, 2008 is one of those times.

We need to show up.

www.5yearstoomany.org

A CALL TO ACTION: March 19, 2008 will mark the beginning of the 6th year of the illegal invasion and occupation of Iraq. This is the time in which we live. This is our time to respond.

WE WILL NOT BE SILENT.

(Original video)

*********************************************

As long as the United States is engaged in an illegal war of occupation and as long as it suppresses opposition to that illegal war through constitutional violations at home, there will be increasing dissent and protest at home. We will not be silent! — David Brookbank

We Will Not Be Silent

 

Iraqi Victims — Photos from Fallujah

 

Banning Free Speech and Dangerous T-Shirts

Posted in Freedom to Fascism, Know Your Rights, Lies Damn Lies and ..., Protest and Free Speech, Urgent Call, Videos, War Abroad & At Home | Leave a Comment »

How to beat a red-light camera

Posted by Arroyoribera on January 27, 2008

Hard 7 blogmeister, indy-journalist, and leading Spokane Police critic Frank Sennett has moved on to Chicago where he will edit the British-owned Time Out Chicago. As soon as Sennett left Spokane, the Spokesman-Review blocked access to the enlightened and left-leaning commentary and dialogue of Sennett and his readers. The S-R deemed to unblock that access a few days ago and I have been reviewing Sennett’s insightful and informative writings. Here is one from February 9, 2007:

How to beat a red-light cam

If Spokane approves the hugely flawed red-light camera system–studies show they increase rear-end collisions dramatically while longer yellows do more to reduce side impacts–this week’s column details how frustrated motorists can hide in plain sight.

But hopefully the City Council will look beyond police department hype, examine the uncooked data and opt to increase the length of those yellows–as traffic engineers recommend–instead of sticking Spokane motorists with a backdoor tax that won’t make them safer and will enrich an out-of-state contractor.

And while you’re waiting for the light to turn green, please sign up for the free Alternative Source podcast.

Posted in Know Your Rights, Solutions, Unanswered Questions, Videos | Leave a Comment »

Sibel Edmonds — Blowing the lid off the FBI, CIA, and high level US Traitors

Posted by Arroyoribera on January 21, 2008

Sibel Edmonds is the most gagged person in US history. The government has repeatedly invoked the State Secrets Privilege in her case – not for reasons of ‘national security’ but to hide ongoing criminal activity. Please call Congressman Henry Waxman and John Conyers as well as Senators Chuck Grassley and Patrick Leahy to demand public open hearings into Edmonds’ case and the State Secrets Privilege.

Sibel Edmonds — PEN Newman Award RecipientPEN American Center has named Sibel Edmonds, a translator who was fired from her job at the FBI after complaining of intelligence failures and poor performance in her unit, as the recipient of this year’s prestigious PEN/Newman’s Own First Amendment Award.

Sibel Edmonds — Investigations Thwarted — Why have so many investigations been dropped? Whose interests are being served? Demand hearings.

Sibel Edmonds: A Patriot Silenced, Unjustly Fired but Fighting Back to Help Keep America Safe — ACLU

Jan. 6, 2008 The Sunday Times (of London) — For sale: West’s deadly nuclear secrets

Jan. 20, 2008 The Sunday Times (of London) — FBI Accused of Covering up Government Dealings with Network Stealing Nuclear Secrets

Let Sibel Edmonds Speak — Official documents prove FBI lied to protect US Officials

Daniel Ellsberg on Failure of US Media to Report Coverup by FBI, CIA, and Department of State Treason — 1 and 2.

Posted in Censorship, Freedom to Fascism, Lies Damn Lies and ..., Testimonies, Unanswered Questions, Videos, War Abroad & At Home | Leave a Comment »

Up 40% year-to-date

Posted by Arroyoribera on January 20, 2008

Usage statistics for this blog show readership up 40% year-to-date. On-line just 6 months, SpokanePoliceAbuses will go over 20,000 hits in the next couple days and reached a single week high with a day remaining in the week.

Whether it is satellite imagery of the CIA’s SERE Torture Training facility outside Spokane, video of police brutality and arbitrary exercise of repressive powers by the Spokane Police Department, or links to SPD officers such as bodybuilding undercover SPD cop Mel Tramell or recently fired SPD cop and deputized federal drug task force member Jason Uberuaga (alleged rapist), you will find information on it here.

Want to see pictures of weaponry in the militarized arsenal of the Spokane area law enforcement? You will find it here.

Concerned about Spokane Police officers blogging under pseudonyms and phony names on Spokesman-Review blogs? Get the story and analysis at SpokanePoliceAbuses.

Not aware that Spokane was the site of mass civil action and brutal repression against the likes of Elizabeth Gurley-Flynn in 1909?

Did not know that martial law was declared in Spokane by the federal government in 1917? Click here.

Concerned about possible ethical issues involving Spokane Police Chief Anne Kirkpatrick? Read more.

Information on those matters and more can be found here at SpokanePoliceAbuses.wordpress.com

Want to know more about Spokane area law enforcement “personalities of note” such as Ron “Rocketsbrain” Wright, Mark Fuhrman, Alan Chertok, and Andrew “Skip” Pavlischak?

Looking for statistics, reports and information for your own investigations and efforts to bring to Spokane Police Department under civilian oversight?

Concerned about the unresolved homicide-by-cops of Otto Zehm?

Disturbed by the involvement of FBI agent Jason Oakley in the spying on and infiltrating of local activist organizations? See also FBI Watchlist — Spokane Edition.

There are also numerous videos, some related to the Spokane Police Department such as “You Honkey, We Drinkey — or Officer Brownlee’s Excellent Adventures” and those related to the Police Riot against Youth in Riverfront Park on 7/4/07.

However, there are many other videos. Want to see the infamous UCLA tasering video, or the tasering of the University of Florida student who attempted to address Sen. John Kerry, or the Polish man tasered and killed in the Vancouver International Airport?

These videos are evidence of the danger of misuse of tasers by poorly trained, unskilled, and out-of-control police officers. They are also evidence of the lie of freedom and democracy in North American which rapidly being disclosed to the people of the world by citizen journalists armed with cameras, cell phones, and recording devices.

David Brookbank — owner, administrator and author of the SpokanePoliceAbuses blog — believes that there is an intimate and demonstrable connection between abuses of police power in Spokane, Washington, and the unrelenting imperialist brutalization of the globe by the government of the United States. As a result, this blog also hosts a number of articles, commentaries, photographs, links, and videos related directly to fascism, imperialism, Iraq, Vietnam, Nixon, Bush, anti-war protest, U.S. government spying and lying, and numerous other subjects.

Thus one will find here music videos, some with commentary, such as Call it Democracy, Welcome to 1984, Ohio, and La Coartada.

A favorite video of mine is “What it’s like” by Everlast, presented in the context of a Spokane Police Officer’s statement to a community health worker: “I have a job to do. I have to get these shit bags out of the park”.

There are documentary clips such as Naomi Klein’s Shock Doctrine, U.S. government waterboarding training videos, and Ward Churchill on Perpetual War: State Sponsored Terrorism.

Please visit this site frequently. Send the link to those you know looking to bring accountability to the Spokane Police Department and those abusing power around the world.

And finally, please send your suggestions, leads, and comments to me at spokanepoliceabuses@gmail.com

Posted in All-white SPD?, Educating the Chief, FBI in Spokane, Freedom to Fascism, History of SPD Abuses, In Collective Self-Defense, Independent Oversight, Jason Oakley and the FBI, License to Kill, Lies Damn Lies and ..., Photographic Evidence, Protest and Free Speech, Spokane LE Personalities, Statistics, Unanswered Questions, Videos, War Abroad & At Home, Weaponry--SPD/SCSO | Leave a Comment »

Video of Spokane protest arrests shows lack of respect for free speech

Posted by Arroyoribera on January 20, 2008

Though the event occurred on June 27, 2007, I have just come across this video and commentary about the arrest of two protesters during then-Attorney General Alberto Gonzales’s secret meeting with Spokane area law enforcement. The importance of this information falls in two areas — 1) the text reprinted below is an excellent statement by a Spokane journalist on Spokane police acting arbitrarily against peaceful protesters, and 2) it includes an exceptionally revealing video of the arrests of both the wheelchair-bound Rebecca Lamb and local populist Dan Treecraft. (Note: as of 1/24/08 Frank Sennett will be a Chicago journalist, having just taken over the position of editor for Time Out Chicago.)

(quote)

Video of Spokane protest arrests shows casual lack of respect for free speech

Watch this video of the June 27 protest against U.S. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales and you’ll see a peaceful group of demonstraters calling for an end to the war.

But the Spokane Police Department can’t just let the proceedings play out calmly. Instead, an officer moves to arrest a woman in a wheelchair–Rebecca Lamb–after she refuses to move behind an arbitrary free-speech line officers are setting up with traffic cones and yellow tape. That’s even though the group is showing no tendency toward disorder or disruption.

With this capricious exercise of police authority (and authority granted by whom?–certainly not the Constitution), the officers turn the heat up on the proceedings and earn some chants along the lines of “No more cops.”

Soon, they arrest protester Dan Treecraft for crossing the street.

The SPD leadership must set a much higher threshold for triggering arrests of peaceful protesters in Spokane.

This is not a police state nor a security state.

People require the latitude to express themselves peacefully under the law without being bullied and ordered around by officers who somehow perceive 55-year-old, wheelchair-bound activists as threats to public safety.

UPDATE: Here’s another video of the arrests, forwarded by a reader.

(end quote)

Posted in Censorship, Freedom to Fascism, History of SPD Abuses, In Collective Self-Defense, Independent Oversight, Know Your Rights, Photographic Evidence, Protest and Free Speech, Unanswered Questions, Videos, War Abroad & At Home | Leave a Comment »

War Made Easy

Posted by Arroyoribera on January 13, 2008

Watch the trailer… then buy the DVD

WAR MADE EASY reaches into the Orwellian past to expose a 50-year pattern of government deception and media spin that has dragged the United States into one war after another from Vietnam to Iraq. Narrated by actor and activist Sean Penn, the film exhumes remarkable archival footage of official distortion and exaggeration from LBJ to George W. Bush, revealing in stunning detail how the American news media have uncritically disseminated the pro-war messages of successive presidential administrations.

Posted in Censorship, Freedom to Fascism, In Collective Self-Defense, Lies Damn Lies and ..., Photographic Evidence, Protest and Free Speech, Unanswered Questions, Videos, War Abroad & At Home | Comments Off

La Coartada

Posted by Arroyoribera on January 11, 2008

La Coartada” (Alibi) del album Contra el Silencio (Against the Silence) por Héctor Kabacoff

La Coartada

Quien se atreve, a pesar de tus cadenas,
A valorarte el acierto o desatino?
Quien puede ser el juez de tu camino
Sin ver al semi-dios que te condena?

Quien puede bendecir tu sacrificio
Sin reprobar el peso de tu yugo?
Quien será el partenaire de tu verdugo
Reabriendo el tribunal del santo oficio?

Se prepara consejo de notables
Para participar de esta coartada
Rehenes de esta farsa descarada
Esta persecución imperdonable

Hay quién alza su voz para salvarte
De las fieras que afilan sus colmillos
Avalando tu sitio en el banquillo
Y esta absurda manera de enjuiciarte

La mesa esta servida y los señores
Van a participar de esta coartada
Rehenes de esta farsa descarada
Esta caza de brujas y de flores

Habrá otra vez jurados y habrá fuego
Cuando vuelvan por cada uno de ellos
Habrá acusados con la soga al cuello
Entre los que hoy jugaron este juego

La mesa esta servida y los señores
Van a participar de esta coartada
Rehenes de esta farsa descarada
Esta caza de brujas y de flores

Habrá otra vez jurados y habrá fuego
Cuando vuelvan por cada uno de ellos
Habrá acusados con la soga al cuello
Entre los que hoy jugaron este juego

****************************

(Lyrics to Alibi translated to English)

****************************

Thoughts of David Brookbank, former U.S. vice consul in Havana, Cuba, upon listening to this song and viewing the video:

The injustices imposed at the individual, family and community level upon tens of millions of people in the United States through the politics, laws, policies, philosophies, religion, and police state of the ruling class, combined with the silent complicity and cowardice of the U.S. populace, are merely a reflection of the injustices which the United States government imposes in our names on the peoples of the world by the tens of hundreds of millions. Yet patience is running short and the peoples of the world are awakening, no longer willing to remain silent, even if those in the U.S. remain asleep. Cuba has survived the coercion of the U.S. for 50 years and this long international witch hunt — a modern day inquisition — and shown the world the meaning of the words “resistance” and “solidarity”. Long live the global struggle against oppression, injustice, and imperialism!

U.S. Imperialist Hands Off Cuba!

Posted in Espanol, Photographic Evidence, Spanish, Urgent Call, Videos, War Abroad & At Home | Comments Off

The Shock Doctrine — Naomi Klein (short version)

Posted by Arroyoribera on December 17, 2007

The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism — by Naomi Klein

In THE SHOCK DOCTRINE, Naomi Klein explodes the myth that the global free market triumphed democratically. Exposing the thinking, the money trail and the puppet strings behind the world-changing crises and wars of the last four decades, The Shock Doctrine is the gripping story of how America’s “free market” policies have come to dominate the world– through the exploitation of disaster-shocked people and countries.

At the most chaotic juncture in Iraq’s civil war, a new law is unveiled that would allow Shell and BP to claim the country’s vast oil reserves…. Immediately following September 11, the Bush Administration quietly out-sources the running of the “War on Terror” to Halliburton and Blackwater…. After a tsunami wipes out the coasts of Southeast Asia, the pristine beaches are auctioned off to tourist resorts…. New Orleans’s residents, scattered from Hurricane Katrina, discover that their public housing, hospitals and schools will never be reopened…. These events are examples of “the shock doctrine”: using the public’s disorientation following massive collective shocks — wars, terrorist attacks, or natural disasters — to achieve control by imposing economic shock therapy. Sometimes, when the first two shocks don’t succeed in wiping out resistance, a third shock is employed: the electrode in the prison cell or the Taser gun on the streets.

Based on breakthrough historical research and four years of on-the-ground reporting in disaster zones, The Shock Doctrine vividly shows how disaster capitalism — the rapid-fire corporate reengineering of societies still reeling from shock — did not begin with September 11, 2001. The book traces its origins back fifty years, to the University of Chicago under Milton Friedman, which produced many of the leading neo-conservative and neo-liberal thinkers whose influence is still profound in Washington today. New, surprising connections are drawn between economic policy, “shock and awe” warfare and covert CIA-funded experiments in electroshock and sensory deprivation in the 1950s, research that helped write the torture manuals used today in Guantanamo Bay.

The Shock Doctrine follows the application of these ideas though our contemporary history, showing in riveting detail how well-known events of the recent past have been deliberate, active theatres for the shock doctrine, among them: Pinochet’s coup in Chile in 1973, the Falklands War in 1982, the Tiananmen Square Massacre in 1989, the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, the Asian Financial crisis in 1997 and Hurricane Mitch in 1998.

*************************

The Age of Disaster Capitalism (reprinted in CommonDreams.org)

Calling things what they are — Video conversation between Naomi Klein & John Cusack

Posted in Freedom to Fascism, Protest and Free Speech, Urgent Call, Videos, War Abroad & At Home | Tagged: | Leave a Comment »

When Others Were Silent, Dennis Kucinich Stood Up and Spoke Up

Posted by Arroyoribera on December 6, 2007

http://www.dennis4president.com/go/issues/

Strength Through Peace

strength_peace.jpgDennis Kucinich is the only democrat running for President who has voted against authorizing the war in Iraq and against funding its continuation. He has proposed a bold, new policy to re-establish America’s place in the world. Diplomacy and a return to statesmanship as the path to strong international leadership. A new policy of investing in our communities and our infrastructure. A new policy of Strength through Peace.
Read more…

A Healthy Nation
insurance_paperwork.jpgHealth care in the US is too expensive and leaves 46 million Americans without insurance and millions more underinsured. Dennis Kucinich is the only candidate for President with a plan for a Universal, Single-Payer, Not-for-Profit health care system.
Read more…

Survival of the Middle Class
mature_couple.jpgFor most American families, the loss of a job or one serious illness spells catastrophe. Stagnant wages, expensive health care and rising education costs are vital issues being ignored by the Congress and White House. A champion of working families, Dennis Kucinich will lead America into expanding opportunities, universal health care, restore our schools and strengthen Social Security and protections for private pensions.
Read more…

Securing Constitutional Democracy
constitution_flag.jpgA corrupt campaign finance system, coupled with vulnerable electronic voting have eroded America’s confidence in our elections. The USA Patriot Act and secret strategy meetings to set policy tear into the very concept of We the People. As President, Dennis will protect individual liberty and privacy and restore balance and fairness in America’s electoral system.
Read more…

A Sustainable Future
turbines.jpgAs the world population soars towards eight billion, critical issues of survival face all of us. Living on a planet of finite resources means that human life can not be sustained indefinitely without careful thought and compassion coupled with political courage.
Read more…

End to Poverty
poverty_iwashere.jpgHalf the world’s population lives on less than two dollars a day. In 2003, 10.6 million children died before they reached the age of five. Without hope and stricken by the AIDS pandemic, religious strife and no opportunity for an education; desperate poverty is a fact of everyday life for the majority of the world’s people. It manifests itself in war, terror and genocide over scarce resources, hopelessness and intolerance. Dennis Kucinich will make it a national priority to fight poverty worldwide. He understands that the path to a safe, strong America is through peace, tolerance and committing our nation to eradicating the root causes of global poverty.
Read more…

Saving Capitalism
business_compass.jpgAs President, Dennis Kucinich will end America’s participation in NAFTA and the WTO. Huge, multi-national corporations ship American jobs overseas, turn a blind eye to human rights abuses and hide behind their lobbyists in Washington. Read more about Dennis’ plan to instill ethics, accountability and fairness in global trade and big business.
Read more…

Posted in In Collective Self-Defense, Protest and Free Speech, Solutions, Urgent Call, Videos, War Abroad & At Home | Leave a Comment »

The War Against Us All — Immortal Technique with Mumia Abu Jamal

Posted by Arroyoribera on December 3, 2007

the war against us all

 


“the war against us all. this war in iraq isn’t the end, it’s the beginning of wars to come. all around the world, at the whim of the neo-cons in the white house. this is the bush doctrine come to life. war. war. and more war. war brought to you by the big corporate masters who run the show. this isn’t just a war on iraqi’s, or afghani’s, or even arabs or muslims. it is ultimately a war on us all. that’s because the billions and billions of dollars that are being spent on this war, the cost of tanks, rocketry, bullets, and yes, even salaries for the 125,000 plus troops is money that will never be spent on education. on health care. on the reconstruction of crumbling public housing. or to train and place the millions of workers who had lost manufacturing jobs in the past 3 years alone. the war in iraq, is in reality, a war against the nation’s workers and the poor. who are getting less and less. while the big defense industries are making a killing, literally. what’s next? iran? syria? north korea? venezuela? we’ve already seen the corporate media play megaphone to the white house to build and promote a war based on lies. war is utilized by the imperialists, first and foremost, to crush internal enemies. we’re seeing the truth of his insight when we see the sad state of american education. the rush of seniors to buy affordable medications from the canadians, because american drugs are just too expensive. the threatened privatization of social security, and the wave of repression that comes with an increasingly militarized police. this is a war on all of us. and the struggle against war is really a struggle for better life, for the millions of folks who are in need here in this country. the fight against the war is really to fight for your own interests. not the false interests of the defense industries, or the corporate media, or the white house. down with the wars for empire, from death row, this is mumia abu-jamal.”(Music: Immortal Technique with Mumia Abu Jamal)

http://www.freemumia.org/index.html

Posted in All-white SPD?, Freedom to Fascism, In Collective Self-Defense, Know Your Rights, Protest and Free Speech, Videos, War Abroad & At Home | Leave a Comment »

Call it Democracy — Bruce Cockburn

Posted by Arroyoribera on November 29, 2007

~ Call it Democracy ~
*

Padded with power here they come
International loan sharks backed by the guns
Of market hungry military profiteers
Whose word is a swamp and whose brow is smeared
With the blood of the poor

Who rob life of its quality
Who render rage a necessity
By turning countries into labour camps
Modern slavers in drag as champions of freedom

Sinister cynical instrument
Who makes the gun into a sacrament –
The only response to the deification
Of tyranny by so-called “developed” nations’
Idolatry of ideology

North South East West
Kill the best and buy the rest
It’s just spend a buck to make a buck
You don’t really give a flying fuck
About the people in misery

IMF dirty MF
Takes away everything it can get
Always making certain that there’s one thing left
Keep them on the hook with insupportable debt

See the paid-off local bottom feeders
Passing themselves off as leaders
Kiss the ladies shake hands with the fellows
Open for business like a cheap bordello

And they call it democracy
And they call it democracy
And they call it democracy
And they call it democracy

See the loaded eyes of the children too
Trying to make the best of it the way kids do
One day you’re going to rise from your habitual feast
To find yourself staring down the throat of the beast
They call the revolution

IMF dirty MF
Takes away everything it can get
Always making certain that there’s one thing left
Keep them on the hook with insupportable debt

 


 

Cockburn Project *

 


Alternative video — Call it Democracy *

 


 

Posted in Freedom to Fascism, Photographic Evidence, Protest and Free Speech, Testimonies, Videos, War Abroad & At Home | Leave a Comment »

Urgent — “The End of America: Letter of Warning to a Young Patriot” — by Naomi Wolf

Posted by Arroyoribera on November 29, 2007

Interview of Naomi Wolf by Democracy Now’s Amy Goodman (19 minutes)

Video Text Audio MP3

(Excerpt )

AMY GOODMAN: It’s good to have you with us. Start off with the stories that you tell in your book.

NAOMI WOLF: Well, they’re the stories of societies that were systematically closed down by would-be despots, would-be dictators, whether they were on the left or the right, who essentially developed a blueprint in the first part of the twentieth century to crush democracies or to crush democracy movements. So they’re also individual stories of how people react as a democracy is being closed down.

But I guess the book really began with a very personal story, because I was forced to write it, even though I didn’t really want to, by a dear friend who is a Holocaust survivor’s daughter. And when we spoke about news events, she kept saying, “They did this in Germany. They did this in Germany.” And I really didn’t think that made sense. I thought that was very extreme language. But finally she forced me to sit down and start reading the histories, of course, not of the later years, because she wasn’t talking about German outcomes, ’38, ’39; she was talking about the early years, 1930, ’31, ’32, when Germany was a parliamentary democracy, and there was this systematic assault using the rule of law to subvert the rule of law.

And once I saw how many parallels there were, not just in strategy and tactics that we’re seeing again today, but actually in images and sound bites and language, then I read other histories of Italy in the ’20s, Russia in the ’30s, East Germany in the ’50s, Czechoslovakia in the ’60s, Pinochet’s coup in Chile in ’73, the crushing of the democracy movement in China at the end of the ’80s. And I saw that there is a blueprint that would-be dictators always do the same ten things, whether they’re on the left or the right, and that we are seeing these ten steps taking place systematically right now in the United States.

(end excerpt)

Please use the links above to read, watch, or listen to this urgent call to action.

America Freedom Campaign

47-minute talk by Naomi Wolf author of “The End of America: Letter of Warning To A Young Patriot” given October 11, 2007 at Kane Hall on the University of Washington campus.

Posted in Censorship, Freedom to Fascism, In Collective Self-Defense, Jason Oakley and the FBI, Know Your Rights, Protest and Free Speech, Urgent Call, Videos, War Abroad & At Home | Leave a Comment »

The People vs. Bush — Evidentiary Item #1

Posted by Arroyoribera on November 24, 2007

This brief documentary — accompanied by Taps and Edwin Starr’s ‘War’ (What is it Good For) — makes the case from start to finish for the impeachment and war crimes trials of George W. Bush.

To quote George W. Bush, “Bring it on.”

Posted in Freedom to Fascism, In Collective Self-Defense, Photographic Evidence, Protest and Free Speech, Testimonies, Unanswered Questions, Urgent Call, Videos | Leave a Comment »

Citizen videographer describes filming police homicide by TASER

Posted by Arroyoribera on November 24, 2007

Paul Pritchard had been living in China and had just returned to Canada on October 14, 2007, to provide care for his ill father. While Pritchard was in the Vancouver International Airport that day, Robert Dziekanski from Poland was experiencing a crisis.

Dziekanski had arrived at the airport from his native Poland some 10 hours before, unable to speak English, unattended by anyone, and awaiting the arrival of his mother with whom he had come to live. In fact his mother had been at the airport for the arrival of his flight but had returned to her Kamloops home when she did not find him. He had not cleared customs for reasons unclear at the time and he was left trying to figure out what to do next.

Paul Pritchard was in the right place at the right time to get both audio and video of the attack on Dziekanski by four Royal Candian Mounted Police (RCMP). Within a couple minutes, Robert Dziekanski was dead. Subsequent to the events, the RCMP issued disceptive and false statements. In addition, the RCMP confiscated Mr. Pritchard’s video recording and refused to return it. Currently there is nationwide outrage and protest in Canada. A moratorium on the use of Tasers has been issued in parts of the country. Several nationwide reviews of RCMP conduct and police use of tasers are underway.

Moral of the story for Spokanites? : Please acquire a video camera and/or a cell phone with quality video capacity and adequate battery capacity. Learn to use it well and learn your rights. We as global citizens are entering a period of turmoil characterized by assaults on freedom by authority, primarily law enforcement. Time to get ready. Know your rights.

Video interview of Paul Pritchard on his videotaping of RCMP attack on Robert Dziekanski in Vancouver

Video of RCMP attack on Robert Dziekanski

CBC Coverage of Dziekanski homicide (see related links on right side of article)

UN Committee on Torture declares Taser a form of torture

UN:  Tasers are a form of torture (CBS News)

Mr. Robert Dziekanski last words, translated

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Thursday, November 15, 2007

Mr. Robert Dziekanski last words, translated

The New Zealand Herald reports that a Polish YouTube blogger has translated the last words of Robert Dziekanski:

“I want to get out, help me find the way…Police! Police! Can’t you help me?”

He got his way out, I suppose…

- new zealand herald: Man tasered to death was ‘asking for help’ (warning: graphic video, photos)
– stuff.co.nz: Local lesson in taser death – lawyer

Posted in Censorship, Freedom to Fascism, History of SPD Abuses, In Collective Self-Defense, Independent Oversight, Know Your Rights, Spokane taser, Testimonies, Trained to Kill, Unanswered Questions, Videos | Leave a Comment »

Here Come’s The Thought Police — Baltimore Sun

Posted by Arroyoribera on November 20, 2007

baltimoresun.com

The Center for Constitutional Rights

Democracy NOW interview on Thought Police legislation (or watch Video Format)

———————————-

Here come the thought police

By Ralph E. Shaffer and R. William Robinson

November 19, 2007

 

With overwhelming bipartisan support, Rep. Jane Harman’s “Violent Radicalization and Homegrown Terrorism Prevention Act” passed the House 404-6 late last month and now rests in Sen. Joe Lieberman’s Homeland Security Committee. Swift Senate passage appears certain.

Not since the “Patriot Act” of 2001 has any bill so threatened our constitutionally guaranteed rights.

The historian Henry Steele Commager, denouncing President John Adams’ suppression of free speech in the 1790s, argued that the Bill of Rights was not written to protect government from dissenters but to provide a legal means for citizens to oppose a government they didn’t trust. Thomas Jefferson’s Declaration of Independence not only proclaimed the right to dissent but declared it a people’s duty, under certain conditions, to alter or abolish their government.

In that vein, diverse groups vigorously oppose Ms. Harman’s effort to stifle dissent. Unfortunately, the mainstream press and leading presidential candidates remain silent.

Ms. Harman, a California Democrat, thinks it likely that the United States will face a native brand of terrorism in the immediate future and offers a plan to deal with ideologically based violence.

But her plan is a greater danger to us than the threats she fears. Her bill tramples constitutional rights by creating a commission with sweeping investigative power and a mandate to propose laws prohibiting whatever the commission labels “homegrown terrorism.”

The proposed commission is a menace through its power to hold hearings, take testimony and administer oaths, an authority granted to even individual members of the commission – little Joe McCarthys – who will tour the country to hold their own private hearings. An aura of authority will automatically accompany this congressionally authorized mandate to expose native terrorism.

Ms. Harman’s proposal includes an absurd attack on the Internet, criticizing it for providing Americans with “access to broad and constant streams of terrorist-related propaganda,” and legalizes an insidious infiltration of targeted organizations. The misnamed “Center of Excellence,” which would function after the commission is disbanded in 18 months, gives the semblance of intellectual research to what is otherwise the suppression of dissent.

While its purpose is to prevent terrorism, the bill doesn’t criminalize any specific conduct or contain penalties. But the commission’s findings will be cited by those who see a terrorist under every bed and who will demand enactment of criminal penalties that further restrict free speech and other civil liberties. Action contrary to the commission’s findings will be interpreted as a sign of treason at worst or a lack of patriotism at the least.

While Ms. Harman denies that her proposal creates “thought police,” it defines “homegrown terrorism” as “planned” or “threatened” use of force to coerce the government or the people in the promotion of “political or social objectives.” That means that no force need actually have occurred as long as the government charges that the individual or group thought about doing it.

Any social or economic reform is fair game. Have a march of 100 or 100,000 people to demand a reform – amnesty for illegal immigrants or overturning Roe v. Wade – and someone can perceive that to be a use of force to intimidate the people, courts or government.

The bill defines “violent radicalization” as promoting an “extremist belief system.” But American governments, state and national, have a long history of interpreting radical “belief systems” as inevitably leading to violence to facilitate change.

Examples of the resulting crackdowns on such protests include the conviction and execution of anarchists tied to Chicago’s 1886 Haymarket Riot. Hearings conducted by the House Un-American Activities Committee for several decades during the Cold War and the solo hearings by a member of that committee’s Senate counterpart, Joseph McCarthy, demonstrate the dangers inherent in Ms. Harman’s legislation.

Ms. Harman denies that her bill is a threat to the First Amendment. It clearly states that no measure to prevent homegrown terrorism should violate “constitutional rights, civil rights or civil liberties.”

But the present administration has demonstrated, in its response to criticism regarding torture, that it can’t be trusted to honor those rights.

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Posted in Censorship, FBI in Spokane, Freedom to Fascism, In Collective Self-Defense, Jason Oakley and the FBI, Know Your Rights, Protest, Protest and Free Speech, Videos, War Abroad & At Home | Leave a Comment »

America: A Nation of Cowards?

Posted by Arroyoribera on November 11, 2007

In the face of an unpopular war, corporate corruption and greed, a secrecy regime, torture, election fraud, and unaccountable politicians, the people of the U.S. remain largely silent, passive and compliant. Are we cowards?

Watch this 1 hour 14 minute documentary, The Tank Man. Then you tell me…

What is the social contract we have made with the leaders of the new America? (See the video at minute 39 and 20 seconds)

The Tank Man

Posted in Freedom to Fascism, Protest and Free Speech, Videos, War Abroad & At Home | Leave a Comment »

Rape Allegation Against Deputized Federal Drug Task Force Member, SPD Officer Jason Uberuaga

Posted by Arroyoribera on October 28, 2007

A veteran Spokane Police officer — previously involved in the death of Otto Zehm — has been accused of rape after drinking in two Spokane Valley bars with individuals including Spokane Sheriff’s Deputies.

Jason Uberuaga was until the incident a member of the DEA Regional Drug Taskforce but he was removed from the Taskforce as a result of the incident. He is on paid administrative leave while the Washington State Patrol conducts an investigation. There is no timeframe for resolution of the matter but as things go in the Spokane area in matters involving alleged crimes committed by law enforcement, it is expected to be a long and drawn out affair.

Uberagua was a star player for the 19 wins and 3 losses 2004 Spokane Dodgers of the Men’s Senior Baseball League in the Northwest. Uberagua batted .419 with 5 home runs and had a team leading .839 slugging average. He has also been a patrol officer in the North Central area of Spokane.

According to the Spokesman-Review, “Senior Officer Jason Uberuaga has been with the department since August 1998. He received a Silver Star in 2002 for his efforts in a gun battle at the Intermodal Center.” In both that “gun battle” in 2002 and in the killing of Zehm, Uberuaga was involved in the incidents with Officer Dan Torok.

Spokesman-Review — Cop accused of rape part of drug task force

KREM 2 – A cop accused

KREM 2 – COP rape allegations

KREM 2 – Slideshow pictures of Spokane Valley bars where officer and victim were seen

KREM 2 – Details of officer rape allegation uncovered

KXLY 4 – Officer on administrative leave during investigation

KXLY 4 – Consensual or not?

Summer 2004 MSBL statistics for Spokane Dodgers and Jason Uberuaga

Uberuaga at bat

Spokesman-Review — Mayor Looks Outside–Hession wants independent review of Police Department

Posted in History of SPD Abuses, Independent Oversight, Spokane LE Personalities, Unanswered Questions, Videos, Yes ma'am Chief | Leave a Comment »

Fascist America, in 10 easy steps

Posted by Arroyoribera on October 20, 2007

Guardian UnlimitedFascist America, in 10 easy steps

From Hitler to Pinochet and beyond, history shows there are certain steps that any would-be dictator must take to destroy constitutional freedoms. And, argues Naomi Wolf, George Bush and his administration seem to be taking them all

Naomi Wolf
Tuesday April 24, 2007
Guardian

Last autumn, there was a military coup in Thailand. The leaders of the coup took a number of steps, rather systematically, as if they had a shopping list. In a sense, they did. Within a matter of days, democracy had been closed down: the coup leaders declared martial law, sent armed soldiers into residential areas, took over radio and TV stations, issued restrictions on the press, tightened some limits on travel, and took certain activists into custody.

They were not figuring these things out as they went along. If you look at history, you can see that there is essentially a blueprint for turning an open society into a dictatorship. That blueprint has been used again and again in more and less bloody, more and less terrifying ways. But it is always effective. It is very difficult and arduous to create and sustain a democracy – but history shows that closing one down is much simpler. You simply have to be willing to take the 10 steps.

As difficult as this is to contemplate, it is clear, if you are willing to look, that each of these 10 steps has already been initiated today in the United States by the Bush administration.

Because Americans like me were born in freedom, we have a hard time even considering that it is possible for us to become as unfree – domestically – as many other nations. Because we no longer learn much about our rights or our system of government – the task of being aware of the constitution has been outsourced from citizens’ ownership to being the domain of professionals such as lawyers and professors – we scarcely recognize the checks and balances that the founders put in place, even as they are being systematically dismantled. Because we don’t learn much about European history, the setting up of a department of “homeland” security – remember who else was keen on the word “homeland” – didn’t raise the alarm bells it might have.

It is my argument that, beneath our very noses, George Bush and his administration are using time-tested tactics to close down an open society. It is time for us to be willing to think the unthinkable – as the author and political journalist Joe Conason, has put it, that it can happen here. And that we are further along than we realize.

Conason eloquently warned of the danger of American authoritarianism. I am arguing that we need also to look at the lessons of European and other kinds of fascism to understand the potential seriousness of the events we see unfolding in the US.

1. Invoke a terrifying internal and external enemy

After we were hit on September 11 2001, we were in a state of national shock. Less than six weeks later, on October 26 2001, the USA Patriot Act was passed by a Congress that had little chance to debate it; many said that they scarcely had time to read it. We were told we were now on a “war footing”; we were in a “global war” against a “global caliphate” intending to “wipe out civilization”. There have been other times of crisis in which the US accepted limits on civil liberties, such as during the civil war, when Lincoln declared martial law, and the second world war, when thousands of Japanese-American citizens were interned. But this situation, as Bruce Fein of the American Freedom Agenda notes, is unprecedented: all our other wars had an endpoint, so the pendulum was able to swing back toward freedom; this war is defined as open-ended in time and without national boundaries in space – the globe itself is the battlefield. “This time,” Fein says, “there will be no defined end.”

Creating a terrifying threat – hydra-like, secretive, evil – is an old trick. It can, like Hitler’s invocation of a communist threat to the nation’s security, be based on actual events (one Wisconsin academic has faced calls for his dismissal because he noted, among other things, that the alleged communist arson, the Reichstag fire of February 1933, was swiftly followed in Nazi Germany by passage of the Enabling Act, which replaced constitutional law with an open-ended state of emergency). Or the terrifying threat can be based, like the National Socialist evocation of the “global conspiracy of world Jewry”, on myth.

It is not that global Islamist terrorism is not a severe danger; of course it is. I am arguing rather that the language used to convey the nature of the threat is different in a country such as Spain – which has also suffered violent terrorist attacks – than it is in America. Spanish citizens know that they face a grave security threat; what we as American citizens believe is that we are potentially threatened with the end of civilization as we know it. Of course, this makes us more willing to accept restrictions on our freedoms.

2. Create a gulag

Once you have got everyone scared, the next step is to create a prison system outside the rule of law (as Bush put it, he wanted the American detention center at Guantánamo Bay to be situated in legal “outer space”) – where torture takes place.

At first, the people who are sent there are seen by citizens as outsiders: troublemakers, spies, “enemies of the people” or “criminals”. Initially, citizens tend to support the secret prison system; it makes them feel safer and they do not identify with the prisoners. But soon enough, civil society leaders – opposition members, labour activists, clergy and journalists – are arrested and sent there as well.

This process took place in fascist shifts or anti-democracy crackdowns ranging from Italy and Germany in the 1920s and 1930s to the Latin American coups of the 1970s and beyond. It is standard practice for closing down an open society or crushing a pro-democracy uprising.

With its jails in Iraq and Afghanistan, and, of course, Guantánamo in Cuba, where detainees are abused, and kept indefinitely without trial and without access to the due process of the law, America certainly has its gulag now. Bush and his allies in Congress recently announced they would issue no information about the secret CIA “black site” prisons throughout the world, which are used to incarcerate people who have been seized off the street.

Gulags in history tend to metastasize, becoming ever larger and more secretive, ever more deadly and formalized. We know from first-hand accounts, photographs, videos and government documents that people, innocent and guilty, have been tortured in the US-run prisons we are aware of and those we can’t investigate adequately.

But Americans still assume this system and detainee abuses involve only scary brown people with whom they don’t generally identify. It was brave of the conservative pundit William Safire to quote the anti-Nazi pastor Martin Niemöller, who had been seized as a political prisoner: “First they came for the Jews.” Most Americans don’t understand yet that the destruction of the rule of law at Guantánamo set a dangerous precedent for them, too.

By the way, the establishment of military tribunals that deny prisoners due process tends to come early on in a fascist shift. Mussolini and Stalin set up such tribunals. On April 24 1934, the Nazis, too, set up the People’s Court, which also bypassed the judicial system: prisoners were held indefinitely, often in isolation, and tortured, without being charged with offenses, and were subjected to show trials. Eventually, the Special Courts became a parallel system that put pressure on the regular courts to abandon the rule of law in favour of Nazi ideology when making decisions.

3. Develop a thug caste

When leaders who seek what I call a “fascist shift” want to close down an open society, they send paramilitary groups of scary young men out to terrorize citizens. The Blackshirts roamed the Italian countryside beating up communists; the Brownshirts staged violent rallies throughout Germany. This paramilitary force is especially important in a democracy: you need citizens to fear thug violence and so you need thugs who are free from prosecution.

The years following 9/11 have proved a bonanza for America’s security contractors, with the Bush administration outsourcing areas of work that traditionally fell to the US military. In the process, contracts worth hundreds of millions of dollars have been issued for security work by mercenaries at home and abroad. In Iraq, some of these contract operatives have been accused of involvement in torturing prisoners, harassing journalists and firing on Iraqi civilians. Under Order 17, issued to regulate contractors in Iraq by the one-time US administrator in Baghdad, Paul Bremer, these contractors are immune from prosecution

Yes, but that is in Iraq, you could argue; however, after Hurricane Katrina, the Department of Homeland Security hired and deployed hundreds of armed private security guards in New Orleans. The investigative journalist Jeremy Scahill interviewed one unnamed guard who reported having fired on unarmed civilians in the city. It was a natural disaster that underlay that episode – but the administration’s endless war on terror means ongoing scope for what are in effect privately contracted armies to take on crisis and emergency management at home in US cities.

Thugs in America? Groups of angry young Republican men, dressed in identical shirts and trousers, menaced poll workers counting the votes in Florida in 2000. If you are reading history, you can imagine that there can be a need for “public order” on the next election day. Say there are protests, or a threat, on the day of an election; history would not rule out the presence of a private security firm at a polling station “to restore public order”.

4. Set up an internal surveillance system

In Mussolini’s Italy, in Nazi Germany, in communist East Germany, in communist China – in every closed society – secret police spy on ordinary people and encourage neighbours to spy on neighbours. The Stasi needed to keep only a minority of East Germans under surveillance to convince a majority that they themselves were being watched.

In 2005 and 2006, when James Risen and Eric Lichtblau wrote in the New York Times about a secret state program to wiretap citizens’ phones, read their emails and follow international financial transactions, it became clear to ordinary Americans that they, too, could be under state scrutiny.

In closed societies, this surveillance is cast as being about “national security”; the true function is to keep citizens docile and inhibit their activism and dissent.

5. Harass citizens’ groups

The fifth thing you do is related to step four – you infiltrate and harass citizens’ groups. It can be trivial: a church in Pasadena, whose minister preached that Jesus was in favor of peace, found itself being investigated by the Internal Revenue Service, while churches that got Republicans out to vote, which is equally illegal under US tax law, have been left alone.

Other harassment is more serious: the American Civil Liberties Union reports that thousands of ordinary American anti-war, environmental and other groups have been infiltrated by agents: a secret Pentagon database includes more than four dozen peaceful anti-war meetings, rallies or marches by American citizens in its category of 1,500 “suspicious incidents”. The equally secret Counterintelligence Field Activity (Cifa) agency of the Department of Defense has been gathering information about domestic organizations engaged in peaceful political activities: Cifa is supposed to track “potential terrorist threats” as it watches ordinary US citizen activists. A little-noticed new law has redefined activism such as animal rights protests as “terrorism”. So the definition of “terrorist” slowly expands to include the opposition.

6. Engage in arbitrary detention and release

This scares people. It is a kind of cat-and-mouse game. Nicholas D Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn, the investigative reporters who wrote China Wakes: the Struggle for the Soul of a Rising Power, describe pro-democracy activists in China, such as Wei Jingsheng, being arrested and released many times. In a closing or closed society there is a “list” of dissidents and opposition leaders: you are targeted in this way once you are on the list, and it is hard to get off the list.

In 2004, America’s Transportation Security Administration confirmed that it had a list of passengers who were targeted for security searches or worse if they tried to fly. People who have found themselves on the list? Two middle-aged women peace activists in San Francisco; liberal Senator Edward Kennedy; a member of Venezuela’s government – after Venezuela’s president had criticized Bush; and thousands of ordinary US citizens.

Professor Walter F Murphy is emeritus of Princeton University; he is one of the foremost constitutional scholars in the nation and author of the classic Constitutional Democracy. Murphy is also a decorated former marine, and he is not even especially politically liberal. But on March 1 this year, he was denied a boarding pass at Newark, “because I was on the Terrorist Watch list”.

“Have you been in any peace marches? We ban a lot of people from flying because of that,” asked the airline employee.

“I explained,” said Murphy, “that I had not so marched but had, in September 2006, given a lecture at Princeton, televised and put on the web, highly critical of George Bush for his many violations of the constitution.”

“That’ll do it,” the man said.

Anti-war marcher? Potential terrorist. Support the constitution? Potential terrorist. History shows that the categories of “enemy of the people” tend to expand ever deeper into civil life.

James Yee, a US citizen, was the Muslim chaplain at Guantánamo who was accused of mishandling classified documents. He was harassed by the US military before the charges against him were dropped. Yee has been detained and released several times. He is still of interest.

Brandon Mayfield, a US citizen and lawyer in Oregon, was mistakenly identified as a possible terrorist. His house was secretly broken into and his computer seized. Though he is innocent of the accusation against him, he is still on the list.

It is a standard practice of fascist societies that once you are on the list, you can’t get off.

7. Target key individuals

Threaten civil servants, artists and academics with job loss if they don’t toe the line. Mussolini went after the rectors of state universities who did not conform to the fascist line; so did Joseph Goebbels, who purged academics who were not pro-Nazi; so did Chile’s Augusto Pinochet; so does the Chinese communist Politburo in punishing pro-democracy students and professors.

Academe is a tinderbox of activism, so those seeking a fascist shift punish academics and students with professional loss if they do not “coordinate”, in Goebbels’ term, ideologically. Since civil servants are the sector of society most vulnerable to being fired by a given regime, they are also a group that fascists typically “coordinate” early on: the Reich Law for the Re-establishment of a Professional Civil Service was passed on April 7 1933.

Bush supporters in state legislatures in several states put pressure on regents at state universities to penalize or fire academics who have been critical of the administration. As for civil servants, the Bush administration has derailed the career of one military lawyer who spoke up for fair trials for detainees, while an administration official publicly intimidated the law firms that represent detainees pro bono by threatening to call for their major corporate clients to boycott them.

Elsewhere, a CIA contract worker who said in a closed blog that “waterboarding is torture” was stripped of the security clearance she needed in order to do her job.

Most recently, the administration purged eight US attorneys for what looks like insufficient political loyalty. When Goebbels purged the civil service in April 1933, attorneys were “coordinated” too, a step that eased the way of the increasingly brutal laws to follow.

8. Control the press

Italy in the 1920s, Germany in the 30s, East Germany in the 50s, Czechoslovakia in the 60s, the Latin American dictatorships in the 70s, China in the 80s and 90s – all dictatorships and would-be dictators target newspapers and journalists. They threaten and harass them in more open societies that they are seeking to close, and they arrest them and worse in societies that have been closed already.

The Committee to Protect Journalists says arrests of US journalists are at an all-time high: Josh Wolf (no relation), a blogger in San Francisco, has been put in jail for a year for refusing to turn over video of an anti-war demonstration; Homeland Security brought a criminal complaint against reporter Greg Palast, claiming he threatened “critical infrastructure” when he and a TV producer were filming victims of Hurricane Katrina in Louisiana. Palast had written a bestseller critical of the Bush administration.

Other reporters and writers have been punished in other ways. Joseph C Wilson accused Bush, in a New York Times op-ed, of leading the country to war on the basis of a false charge that Saddam Hussein had acquired yellowcake uranium in Niger. His wife, Valerie Plame, was outed as a CIA spy – a form of retaliation that ended her career.

Prosecution and job loss are nothing, though, compared with how the US is treating journalists seeking to cover the conflict in Iraq in an unbiased way. The Committee to Protect Journalists has documented multiple accounts of the US military in Iraq firing upon or threatening to fire upon unembedded (meaning independent) reporters and camera operators from organisations ranging from al-Jazeera to the BBC. While westerners may question the accounts by al-Jazeera, they should pay attention to the accounts of reporters such as the BBC’s Kate Adie. In some cases reporters have been wounded or killed, including ITN’s Terry Lloyd in 2003. Both CBS and the Associated Press in Iraq had staff members seized by the US military and taken to violent prisons; the news organisations were unable to see the evidence against their staffers.

Over time in closing societies, real news is supplanted by fake news and false documents. Pinochet showed Chilean citizens falsified documents to back up his claim that terrorists had been about to attack the nation. The yellowcake charge, too, was based on forged papers.

You won’t have a shutdown of news in modern America – it is not possible. But you can have, as Frank Rich and Sidney Blumenthal have pointed out, a steady stream of lies polluting the news well. What you already have is a White House directing a stream of false information that is so relentless that it is increasingly hard to sort out truth from untruth. In a fascist system, it’s not the lies that count but the muddying. When citizens can’t tell real news from fake, they give up their demands for accountability bit by bit.

9. Dissent equals treason

Cast dissent as “treason” and criticism as “espionage’. Every closing society does this, just as it elaborates laws that increasingly criminalize certain kinds of speech and expand the definition of “spy” and “traitor”. When Bill Keller, the publisher of the New York Times, ran the Lichtblau/Risen stories, Bush called the Times’ leaking of classified information “disgraceful”, while Republicans in Congress called for Keller to be charged with treason, and rightwing commentators and news outlets kept up the “treason” drumbeat. Some commentators, as Conason noted, reminded readers smugly that one penalty for violating the Espionage Act is execution.

Conason is right to note how serious a threat that attack represented. It is also important to recall that the 1938 Moscow show trial accused the editor of Izvestia, Nikolai Bukharin, of treason; Bukharin was, in fact, executed. And it is important to remind Americans that when the 1917 Espionage Act was last widely invoked, during the infamous 1919 Palmer Raids, leftist activists were arrested without warrants in sweeping roundups, kept in jail for up to five months, and “beaten, starved, suffocated, tortured and threatened with death”, according to the historian Myra MacPherson. After that, dissent was muted in America for a decade.

In Stalin’s Soviet Union, dissidents were “enemies of the people”. National Socialists called those who supported Weimar democracy “November traitors”.

And here is where the circle closes: most Americans do not realize that since September of last year – when Congress wrongly, foolishly, passed the Military Commissions Act of 2006 – the president has the power to call any US citizen an “enemy combatant”. He has the power to define what “enemy combatant” means. The president can also delegate to anyone he chooses in the executive branch the right to define “enemy combatant” any way he or she wants and then seize Americans accordingly.

Even if you or I are American citizens, even if we turn out to be completely innocent of what he has accused us of doing, he has the power to have us seized as we are changing planes at Newark tomorrow, or have us taken with a knock on the door; ship you or me to a navy brig; and keep you or me in isolation, possibly for months, while awaiting trial. (Prolonged isolation, as psychiatrists know, triggers psychosis in otherwise mentally healthy prisoners. That is why Stalin’s gulag had an isolation cell, like Guantánamo’s, in every satellite prison. Camp 6, the newest, most brutal facility at Guantánamo, is all isolation cells.)

We US citizens will get a trial eventually – for now. But legal rights activists at the Center for Constitutional Rights say that the Bush administration is trying increasingly aggressively to find ways to get around giving even US citizens fair trials. “Enemy combatant” is a status offense – it is not even something you have to have done. “We have absolutely moved over into a preventive detention model – you look like you could do something bad, you might do something bad, so we’re going to hold you,” says a spokeswoman of the CCR.

Most Americans surely do not get this yet. No wonder: it is hard to believe, even though it is true. In every closing society, at a certain point there are some high-profile arrests – usually of opposition leaders, clergy and journalists. Then everything goes quiet. After those arrests, there are still newspapers, courts, TV and radio, and the facades of a civil society. There just isn’t real dissent. There just isn’t freedom. If you look at history, just before those arrests is where we are now.

10. Suspend the rule of law

The John Warner Defense Authorization Act of 2007 gave the president new powers over the national guard. This means that in a national emergency – which the president now has enhanced powers to declare – he can send Michigan’s militia to enforce a state of emergency that he has declared in Oregon, over the objections of the state’s governor and its citizens.

Even as Americans were focused on Britney Spears’s meltdown and the question of who fathered Anna Nicole’s baby, the New York Times editorialized about this shift: “A disturbing recent phenomenon in Washington is that laws that strike to the heart of American democracy have been passed in the dead of night … Beyond actual insurrection, the president may now use military troops as a domestic police force in response to a natural disaster, a disease outbreak, terrorist attack or any ‘other condition’.”

Critics see this as a clear violation of the Posse Comitatus Act – which was meant to restrain the federal government from using the military for domestic law enforcement. The Democratic senator Patrick Leahy says the bill encourages a president to declare federal martial law. It also violates the very reason the founders set up our system of government as they did: having seen citizens bullied by a monarch’s soldiers, the founders were terrified of exactly this kind of concentration of militias’ power over American people in the hands of an oppressive executive or faction.

Of course, the United States is not vulnerable to the violent, total closing-down of the system that followed Mussolini’s march on Rome or Hitler’s roundup of political prisoners. Our democratic habits are too resilient, and our military and judiciary too independent, for any kind of scenario like that.

Rather, as other critics are noting, our experiment in democracy could be closed down by a process of erosion.

It is a mistake to think that early in a fascist shift you see the profile of barbed wire against the sky. In the early days, things look normal on the surface; peasants were celebrating harvest festivals in Calabria in 1922; people were shopping and going to the movies in Berlin in 1931. Early on, as WH Auden put it, the horror is always elsewhere – while someone is being tortured, children are skating, ships are sailing: “dogs go on with their doggy life … How everything turns away/ Quite leisurely from the disaster.”

As Americans turn away quite leisurely, keeping tuned to internet shopping and American Idol, the foundations of democracy are being fatally corroded. Something has changed profoundly that weakens us unprecedentedly: our democratic traditions, independent judiciary and free press do their work today in a context in which we are “at war” in a “long war” – a war without end, on a battlefield described as the globe, in a context that gives the president – without US citizens realizing it yet – the power over US citizens of freedom or long solitary incarceration, on his say-so alone.

That means a hollowness has been expanding under the foundation of all these still- free-looking institutions – and this foundation can give way under certain kinds of pressure. To prevent such an outcome, we have to think about the “what ifs”.

What if, in a year and a half, there is another attack – say, God forbid, a dirty bomb? The executive can declare a state of emergency. History shows that any leader, of any party, will be tempted to maintain emergency powers after the crisis has passed. With the gutting of traditional checks and balances, we are no less endangered by a President Hillary than by a President Giuliani – because any executive will be tempted to enforce his or her will through edict rather than the arduous, uncertain process of democratic negotiation and compromise.

What if the publisher of a major US newspaper were charged with treason or espionage, as a rightwing effort seemed to threaten Keller with last year? What if he or she got 10 years in jail? What would the newspapers look like the next day? Judging from history, they would not cease publishing; but they would suddenly be very polite.

Right now, only a handful of patriots are trying to hold back the tide of tyranny for the rest of us – staff at the Center for Constitutional Rights, who faced death threats for representing the detainees yet persisted all the way to the Supreme Court; activists at the American Civil Liberties Union; and prominent conservatives trying to roll back the corrosive new laws, under the banner of a new group called the American Freedom Agenda. This small, disparate collection of people needs everybody’s help, including that of Europeans and others internationally who are willing to put pressure on the administration because they can see what a US unrestrained by real democracy at home can mean for the rest of the world.

We need to look at history and face the “what ifs”. For if we keep going down this road, the “end of America” could come for each of us in a different way, at a different moment; each of us might have a different moment when we feel forced to look back and think: that is how it was before – and this is the way it is now.

“The accumulation of all powers, legislative, executive, and judiciary, in the same hands … is the definition of tyranny,” wrote James Madison. We still have the choice to stop going down this road; we can stand our ground and fight for our nation, and take up the banner the founders asked us to carry.

· Naomi Wolf’s The End of America: A Letter of Warning to a Young Patriot will be published by Chelsea Green in September.

Guardian Unlimited © Guardian News and Media Limited 2007

http://www.guardian.co.uk/usa/story/0,,2064157,00.html

Fascism — BushFlash

Naomi Wolf on the Restoration of Constitutional Rule

Freedom to Fascism

Posted in Freedom to Fascism, Know Your Rights, Protest, Videos, War Abroad & At Home | Leave a Comment »

From Gonzales to Mukasey — Still Carrying Water for Bush on Torture

Posted by Arroyoribera on October 19, 2007

(Following is the October 18, 2007 congressional testimony of Michael B. Mukasey, the man President Bush has nominated to replace the disgraced and now-resigned Attorney General Alberto Gonzales as the chief law enforcement official in the United States).

Senator Sheldon Whitehouse: “Is waterboarding constitutional?”

Michael Mukasey: “I don’t know what is involved in the technique. If waterboarding is torture, torture is not constitutional.”

Mr. Whitehouse: “If it’s torture? That’s a massive hedge. I mean, either it is or it isn’t. Waterboarding is the practice of putting somebody in a reclining position, strapping them down, putting cloth over their faces and pouring water over the cloth to simulate the feeling of drowning. Is that constitutional?”

Mr. Mukasey: “If it amounts to torture, it is not constitutional.”

Mr. Whitehouse: “I am very disappointed in that answer; I think it is purely semantic.”

Mr. Mukasey: “I’m sorry.”

*************************

US Military Training video on Waterboarding (WARNING — the scenes of torture which follow may be very disturbing to some).

Michael B. Mukasey

Watch C-SPAN 3 video of Whitehouse/Mukasey exchange

Video: Gentle version of Waterboarding–Still torture, per former soldier

Waterboarding as “Torture plus”

Waterboarding was a war crime when the Japanese did it to us

Coverage of Mukasey’s Congressional Testimony

More on Mukasey at SourceWatch

More on Mukasey at Democracy Now!

The Role of Spokane, Fairchild and SERE/JPRA in US Torture and Geneva Convention Violations

Video: CIA Chief George Tenet on Torture

Posted in Freedom to Fascism, Know Your Rights, Mitchell and Jessen, Unanswered Questions, Videos, War Abroad & At Home | Leave a Comment »

One way to stop abusive cops — Put a video camera in your car

Posted by Arroyoribera on October 15, 2007

Update: Officer Kuehnlein was fired by recommendation of the Chief of Police of St. George and by a 5-0 vote of the St. George’s aldermen. In Spokane, where we have no civilian control of the police and no independent oversight, Kuehnlein would have been suspended with pay and lived to bully and abuse citizens with a badge and a gun paid for by the same citizens. It is time for Spokanites to stand up for themselves and prove in fact that this is a democracy of, by, and for the people. Otherwise the Kuehnleins, Toroks, and Olsons will prevail and the police state will be the future of our children.

***********************

Please read the following article and make sure you watch the video at the end of the article with the volume turned up. (And if you really want to understand the attitudes of law enforcement towards their own misconduct and towards the public, read the comments after the article at PoliceLink.com which including references to the young man as a “puke” and “punk” and a “cop hater”, among other things.)

This is what out-of-control police officers are about. Abuse of power. Power trips. Intimidaton. Bullying.

This officer — Sgt. James Kuehnlein of St. George, Missouri — basically threatens to set this kid up, f#*@ this kid up, and fabricate charges against him. In any number of other occasions the kid would have been tasered, a certain number of other times the kid would have been shot. If this kid were black, odds are he’s a dead man. This scene repeats itself all over America but the only place that you ever see it is, guess…. YouTube or GoogleVideo or the occasional incident that a passerby or cellphone user records. You won’t see it on COPS TV, of course, because the police retain editorial authority over COPS TV broadcasts.

The officer’s constant references to the young man’s attitude reminds me distinctly of Chief Kirkpatrick’s comments to the Spokane public on September 19, 2007 during her Chat/Forum when she said that things with the Spokane Police would get better when people in Spokane change their attitudes.

Please, dear Chief. Don’t pull that on us. Not after Zehm, and Eagle, and Pete, and Fitzpatrick, and Alford, and the Firehouse Sex Scandal, and Cpl. Frietag, and Al Odenthal, and the 4th of July, and so it goes and so it goes….

Yeah, we got an attitude, Chief. You work for us. We pay your salaries.

At that same event, Chief Kirkpatrick had a hard time understanding what bullying was despite clear, concrete examples being provided to her by the public. The clearest examples were 1) the case of the young man threatened late at night behind Yokes by an SPD officer who refused to provide his badge number and name when asked and 2) the case of the SPD officer who told Carmen Jacoby that his job was to remove homeless “shit bags” from a park and when she asked for his name and badge number was threatened with being put in the back of his patrol car.

Now hear this: The video which follows contains bullying. B-U-L-L-Y-I-N-G.

WARNING: Despite Chief Kirkpatrick’s repeated statements that her officers are obligated always to provide their name and badge number when asked, please consider whether or not you really want to try the line “Officer, I need your name and badge number” with a Spokane Police officer unless you have a witness or a video/audio recording.

Keep in mind that as this article and video indicate 1) the officer threatened to tear the young man’s car and camera apart, and 2) the video footage from the officer’s patrol car “is nowhere to be found” with the local police chief commenting about what happened to the video, “That’s the million-dollar question. Our policy says any contact the officer has with the public has to be on tape.”

Police are armed and trained to kill. They have other instincts, among them the instinct to not end up behind the same bars they send the public. As a result, they are not to be trusted in situations where they are violating the law or department policy. In general, law enforcement personnel do not tolerate the assertion of citizen rights and have been known to do serious bodily harm or fabricate charges rather than be challenged by a citizen.

Stay tuned for more.

*************************

Man Wants Officer Fired Over Stop

By Georgina Gustin, St. Louis Post Dispatch – Sep 12 2007 Man Wants Officer Fired Over Stop

St. George Police Chief Scott Uhrig talks with Brett Darrow, 20, Tuesday afternoon. (St. Louis Post Dispatch)

 

 

ST. GEORGE, Mo. – A young St. Louis man who videotaped a police officer’s angry taunts during a traffic stop, and later posted the footage on the Internet where thousands of viewers have watched it, said Tuesday he wants the officer fired.

Brett Darrow, 20, met with St. George Police Chief Scott Uhrig for more than an hour Tuesday afternoon and also filed a formal complaint against the officer, Sgt. James Kuehnlein.

During the meeting Darrow asked to see the videotape from Kuehnlein’s police car. But according to Uhrig, that footage, inexplicably, is nowhere to be found.

“That’s the million-dollar question,” Uhrig said. “Our policy says any contact the officer has with the public has to be on tape.”

Darrow had pulled into a commuter lot at Spokane and Reavis Barracks roads at around 2 a.m. Friday, when Kuehnlein approached and asked him what he was doing. When Darrow questioned why, Kuehnlein launched into a series of taunts and threats.

“The attitude escalated when he thought I was questioning his authority, but I was just trying to figure out what he was doing,” Darrow said Tuesday. “I was really scared. He was up in my face, spit coming in my face.”

A camera in Darrow’s Nissan Maxima captured the incident. Darrow, a St. Louis Community College student, said he put the camera in the car about a year ago after getting a speeding ticket.

“I got a ticket I didn’t feel like I deserved,” he said. “I was thinking tickets, not this.”

In the footage, Darrow can be heard citing his Fourth Amendment rights – his reasonable expectation of privacy – to Kuehnlein. He said Tuesday he’s familiar with the law, through “reading statutes, reading constitutional law, reading case law. It’s just something I’m interested in.”

He said he was not trying to entrap the officer.

Kuehnlein could not be reached for comment.

After the incident, Darrow posted the footage on the Internet, where news of it spread quickly. He maintains he did not contact news media and had no idea the matter would get so much attention.

“I didn’t mean for it to be what it was,” he said.

Darrow said he was in the lot at that late hour because he had just left his cell phone at his girlfriend’s house, and the two decided to meet there to hand off the phone because the location was convenient.

Kuehnlein has been an officer with the department for about two years, and had come from the Riverview Police Department. Uhrig said Tuesday that, perhaps, Kuehnlein was not accustomed to having someone question him as Darrow did, with a camera recording his responses.

“Most officers aren’t used to being questioned like that,” Uhrig said.

St. George, a city of about 1,300 people, sits along Interstate 55 at ReavisBarracks Road. Its police department has four full-time officers and three police cars. An officer can patrol every street in the city in about 20 minutes, Uhrig said.

Uhrig said he has worked hard to cleanse St. George of its image as a speed trap with a police department staffed by unqualified novices. He said he has implemented new, more stringent hiring policies and expanded the department’s policy manual since becoming chief two-and-a-half years ago.

“We have a reputation for being traffic enforced,” he said. “It’s not true. My officers are told to enforce the law. I want quality, not quantity. I want the drugs, the impaired drivers. Those’re the things that make a difference.”

Uhrig said he would submit a report on the incident to the city’s police review board and the St. Louis County prosecutor as early as this week.

Watch the video:

Update: Officer Kuehnlein was fired by recommendation of the Chief of Police of St. George and by a 5-0 vote of the St. George’s aldermen. In Spokane, where we have no civilian control of the police and no independent oversight, Kuehnlein would have been suspended with pay and lived to bully and abuse citizens with a badge and a gun paid for by the same citizens. It is time for Spokanites to stand up for themselves and prove in fact that this is a democracy of, by, and for the people. Otherwise the Kuehnleins, Toroks, and Olsons will prevail and the police state will be the future of our children.

Posted in Freedom to Fascism, History of SPD Abuses, Independent Oversight, Know Your Rights, Lies Damn Lies and ..., Photographic Evidence, Videos, Yes ma'am Chief | Leave a Comment »

Che Guevara, presente!

Posted by Arroyoribera on October 7, 2007

Forty years ago, the Argentine doctor, Ernesto “Che” Guevara, was captured in Bolivia with the help of the US Central Intelligence Agency and shot to death. As if to prove their inhumanity, his killers cut off his hands. His personal effects were stolen by a CIA agent of Cuban heritage and to this day some of them are displayed at CIA headquarters in Langley, Virginia.

The United States has made many colossal errors in its history, among them the imperialist wars of aggression in Vietnam and Iraq, to name only a few. Yet nothing can match the eternal flame that was lit in the heart of humanity when Che was killed.

Che Guevara, presente! Hasta siempre, comandante!

Esa ola irá creciendo cada día que pase, esa ola ya no parará más.

Cuban doctors help Che Guevara’s killer

September 30, 2007 – 7:39PM

Cuban doctors volunteering in Bolivia performed a free cataract surgery for Mario Teran, the Bolivian army sergeant who killed the legendary guerilla leader Ernesto “Che” Guevara in captivity, the daily Granma newspaper reported.

“Four decades after Mario Teran attempted to destroy a dream and an idea, Che returns to win yet another battle, and continues on in the struggle,” the newspaper said.

On October 9, 1967, Teran killed Guevara while he was being held prisoner and suffering from combat wounds in La Higuera, the paper recounted. It said he acted on orders from generals Rene Barrientos and Alfredo Ovando, as well as the White House and the US Central Intelligence Agency, to execute the Argentine-Cuban rebel leader.

Nearly forty years to the day later, Teran underwent eye surgery in a Santa Cruz hospital that was donated by the Cuban government and recently inaugurated by Bolivian President Evo Morales.

“Now an old man, he (Teran) can once again appreciate the colours of the sky and the forest, to enjoy the smiles of his grandchildren, and to watch football games,” the article said.

“But surely he will never be capable of seeing the difference between the ideas that drove him to murder a man in cold blood, and the ideas of that very man.”

The reports said one of Teran’s sons asked the local Santa Cruz daily El Deber to publish a notice thanking the Cuban doctors who restored his father’s sight with the successful operation.

Find this story at — http://www.theage.com.au/articles/2007/09/30/1191090937455.html

Posted in Freedom to Fascism, In Collective Self-Defense, Videos, War Abroad & At Home | Leave a Comment »

Acts of Conscience — Spokane Circus Protest — Sept 20, 2007

Posted by Arroyoribera on October 6, 2007

The youth of the world — and the young at heart — are on the move again. Faced with a world of cruelty, torture, destruction, and war, the indomitable human spirit once again arises on a planetary scale to speak truth.

The youth of Spokane are leading the way today!

Heed their call. Take up your sign. Raise your fist. Call out your protest song. Place your body where your mouth is. Forsake the lies of your father and sins of your government. Give your time for your convictions. Bow down to no one. And remember those words–

Muertos pero nunca de rodillas! Dead, perhaps, but never on our knees!

**************************

I am also including this link to Colin Mulvany’s “video journal” on the Circus protest along with the accompanying narrative and commentaries posted by readers. I very much admire Mr. Mulvaney’s work, for ex., the excellent video on the 2005 Immigration March in Spokane. The only comments I would make about the circus protest video and commentary are: 1) To refer to the scantily clad woman as a form of “shock and awe” given the truly criminal and barbarous acts of US destruction in Iraq which gave us our definition of that phrase is to conflate a woman’s body with the 21 century crime of known as “shock and awe”. 2) Note to the blind and unobservant: The young woman, Julie Kelton, is not “naked” and, in fact, other than the claw marks on her back makes a beautiful Victoria Secret model a la the Northtown Mall store or any number of TV towel or shampoo commercials. 3) Is anyone in our vulgar and crass society really as concerned about the children as a couple women in the Mulvany piece proclaim? Did you see the little girl run by and not even look? 4) Given the context of police conduct and relations with the citizens of the Spokane area, Mulvany should have filmed the Spokane Police Officer checking for Kelton’s pasties, and, if in fact he did film it, he should have included it in his video journal. Unless, of course, I misunderstand and Mulvany is not doing news journalism but rather strictly feature journalism. In either case, I do admire his work, but encourage him to continue to remember the news angle.

Posted in In Collective Self-Defense, Photographic Evidence, Protest, Spokane Police vs. Youth, Urgent Call, Videos | Leave a Comment »

The Spokane 17–Defending Freedom–Power to the People–July 4, 2007

Posted by Arroyoribera on September 30, 2007

Legal defense teams are hard at work in Spokane on the behalf of the Spokane 17. These seventeen young people were arrested on July 4, 2007, following a coordinated action against them by the Spokane Police TAC* Team. (*See the end of this post for important information about the TAC unit).

Four and a half years into an illegal war of aggression and occupation by the United States government against the people of Iraq — a war which has cost $500 billion, 3800 U.S. lives, and in excess of half a million Iraqi lives — it is important to begin to look at this and other incidents in a broader historical context.

The 1960 and early 1970s in the United States were characterized by intensive efforts by local and state police departments, the FBI, CIA, Treasury Department and military intelligence to repress the activities of a wide array of organizations and individuals involved in the exploration of personal freedoms, the challenging of the status quo, and opposition to militarism, war, and political deceit. Much of this activity occurred as part of COINTELPRO operations and domestic CIA activities against U.S. citizens.

Much has been written on the mechanisms of state oppression. Noam Chomsky’s Domestic Terrorism: Notes on the State System of Oppression addresses “the effectiveness of the system of controls that has been in force for many years, the activities of the FBI being only the spearhead for far more extensive, substantial, and effective — if more low-keyed — measures enforced throughout American society.”

In this piece, Chomsky writes:

(quote) Given the historical context, it is entirely natural that the beginnings of protest and organization in the early 1960s set the apparatus of (state) repression into operation once again, in the manner described above and elsewhere. Nor is it surprising that American liberalism looked the other way, until the repression struck home under Nixon; and even then, it is important to emphasize once again, indignation was largely restricted to Nixon’s crimes, insignificant in comparison to the revelations of the same period. (end quote)

Chomsky analysis makes reference to the January 2, 1920 “Palmer raids”, which resulted in the arrest of nearly 4,000 (10,000 by other accounts) anarchists and other radicals. Chomsky describes US Attorney General Alexander Palmer as…

(quote) … a liberal and progressive. His purpose was “to tear out the radical seeds that have entangled American ideas in their poisonous theories.” His belief that the state has the authority to prevent these seeds from germinating is within the general framework of American liberalism. The mass media, the schools, and the universities defend ideological orthodoxy in their own, generally successful, ways. When a threat to reigning dogma is perceived, the state is entitled to act. (end quote)

The events of July 4, 2007, in Spokane were just one incident out of many around the country since the start of the U.S. invasion and occupation of Iraq. And they will not be the last.

At the same time that we frame these events in a current national and international context, it is also important to view them within the history of Spokane and the actions of the Spokane City government and its police agents.

(quote) On November 2, 1909, the city government at Spokane, Washington, started to arrest the speakers of the I. W. W. (International Workers of the World) for holding street meetings. The locals at that point decided to fight the city and force it to allow the organization to hold street meetings. The fight lasted up to the first of March following, and resulted in compelling the city to pass a law allowing street speaking. Over 500 men and women went to jail during the free speech fight. Two hundred went on a hunger strike that lasted from 11 to 13 days, and then went from 30 to 45 days on bread and water; two ounces of bread per day. Four members lost their lives as a result of the treatment accorded them in this fight. (end quote) http://www.iww.org/cic/history/V_St_John.html

As the Spokane community prepares for the legal defense of these brave young people who on July 4, 2007, acted out of moral conviction and who represent informed American values and traditions, we are well advised to renew and deepen our sense of history as well as our perception of the threats we face if we fail to rise to occasion of defending our basic freedoms.

History simply keeps repeating itself. Facts and ideologies vary and the circumstances mask themselves in the idiosyncrasies of communities, individuals and historical contexts. The powers-that-be will ride this current wave of American imperialism and international lawlessness for as long as a cowed, distracted, and de-politicized public allows it.

Each local uprising, each act of collective resistance, and each moment of courage in the face of state power and societal complacency is to be defended, is to be celebrated, and is to be carefully protected from the efforts to distort it, to re-write it, and to demonize it.

For a number of reasons, I think it is an appropriate moment to re-visit the Trial of the Chicago 7 (which was the Chicago 8 until Bobby Seale of the Black Panther Party was given a separate trial). The last of the three links following is the testimony of Abbie Hoffman.

http://www.law.umkc.edu/faculty/projects/ftrials/Chicago7/chicago7.html

http://www.law.umkc.edu/faculty/projects/ftrials/Chicago7/Account.html

http://www.law.umkc.edu/faculty/projects/ftrials/Chicago7/Hoffman.html

—————————–

* Spokane Police Department Tactical (TAC) Team

The TAC Team is a unit specializing in crowd management (e.g., at demonstrations, rock concerts, special events, etc.) and civil disturbance response and control. The unit consists of 36 officers, 1 sergeant, and one lieutenant. Currently, the SPD TAC Team is the only team from a Washington agency providing instruction through the Washington State Training Commission on riot control tactics and civil disturbance tactics. (For an article on the TAC unit, their January 13, 2007 training at Finch Elementary School, and photos of some 21 all-white TAC members, as well as their Lieutenant, Lt. Dave McGovern, please see page 4 of Chief Ann Kirkpatrick’s February 2007 Newsletter.)

 

Question: Given the events in Riverfront Park on July 4, 2007, and the unjustifiable conduct of the Spokane Police Department TAC Team, why would the SPD’s TAC Team — according to the Spokane Police Department website — be “the only team from a Washington agency providing instruction through the Washington State Training Commission (WSTC) on riot control tactics and civil disturbance tactics”?

I call on Washington State Governor Christine Gregoire, State Attorney General Rob McKenna, Washington State Senator Lisa Brown and other Spokane area legislators to demand an immediate investigation of the WSTC’s continued use of the Spokane Police Department TAC Team for such trainings.

Furthermore, given the fact that the SPD TAC Team has been conducting such trainings, there should be an immediate investigation of the impact upon the performance of police units and individual police personnel throughout the state who have received such training from the SPD TAC, as well as the impact on the public in specific instances in which SPD TAC-trained units and/or personnel have engaged the public with these so-called “riot control tactics and civil disturbance tactics”.

The people of Spokane are involved in an epic struggle to bring a renegade and unrepentant police department under civilian control. Given the atrocities committed by SPD officers over the last several years, elected officials such as Governor Gregoire, Attorney General McKenna, and Senator Lisa Brown, as well as organizations such as the ACLU, the Washington State Human Rights Commission, and the Spokane Human Rights Commission can no longer silently sit out this struggle without suffering the shame and discredit associated with closing their eyes to evident violations of the public trust.

SpokanePoliceAbuses.wordpress.com will continue to provide additional information on the SPD/TAC Team as well as past SPD/TAC members who now work as law enforcement consultants and trainers around the US and world — such as Andrew “Skip” Pavlischak, the retired 27 year Spokane Police Department veteran who works for tactical training contractors such as Front Range Training and Consulting LLC and Team One Network.

The people of Spokane are now awaiting appropriate investigatory and oversight actions by our elected officials and agency heads at the state, county and local levels.

Posted in All-white SPD?, Freedom to Fascism, History of SPD Abuses, In Collective Self-Defense, Independent Oversight, Know Your Rights, Unanswered Questions, Videos, War Abroad & At Home | Leave a Comment »

Videos at Spokane Police Abuses

Posted by Arroyoribera on September 28, 2007

“Videos” — There are three ways to access all the videos posted at Spokane Police Abuses.

1) Click on the word “video” in the column called “Categories” on the left side of this blog.

2) Click here.

3) Click on the item below that interests you.

  • Police Batons: Another “less violent” alternative — Police Batons

Posted in Freedom to Fascism, Gangs?, History of SPD Abuses, In Collective Self-Defense, Independent Oversight, License to Kill, Lies Damn Lies and ..., Protest, Spokane Police vs. Youth, Spokane taser, Terrorism in Spokane, Trained to Kill, Videos, War Abroad & At Home | Leave a Comment »

SPD ‘officer': “I have a job…to get these shit bags out of the park”

Posted by Arroyoribera on September 24, 2007

You may have read the Spokesman-Review article about the September 19, 2007 forum/chat with Spokane Police Chief Anne Kirkpatrick. The article referred to Carmen Jacoby, an outreach worker from the Community Health Association of Spokane (CHAS).

I was present at the forum when Jacoby told of being on a “bridge walk” with WSU nursing students at the 4th and Monroe Bridge Park. She described how a Spokane Police officer showed up. Jacoby told Chief Kirkpatrick and the public how she attempted to ask the officer a question to which he responded, “Who are you?”

Jacoby answered the officer, at which point he told her, “I have a job to do. I have to get these shit bags out of the park“.

Offended by the officer’s remark, Jacoby asked the officer for his badge number. The officer then told her to move back or he would put her in the back of his patrol car.

The Spokesman-Review’s report on Jacoby’s statement to the Chief at the forum reads, “Jacoby said the officer used an obscenity to refer to the homeless”.

The obscenity used by the officer to refer to the homeless was “shit bags“.

Chief Kirkpatrick is known for promoting her “zero tolerance policy” on misconduct. Apparently it does not apply either to calling citizens “shit bags” (or “faggots” for that matter) nor does it extend to threatening to put community professionals in the back of your patrol car for asking for your badge number.

Would it be exaggerating to say that the Chief’s once impressive little PR line about “zero tolerance” and her other little ditty about “you lie, you die” are starting to sound a little hollow?

“What it’s like” by Everlast

Lyrics

For a complete version of “What it’s like”, go to http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L–IXGV797Y

Posted in History of SPD Abuses, Independent Oversight, Know Your Rights, Videos, War Abroad & At Home, Yes ma'am Chief | Leave a Comment »

Lies, damn lies, and…SPD Cpl. Lee and statistics differ on crime rate

Posted by Arroyoribera on September 24, 2007

Lies, damn lies, and statistics?

Or is that lies, damn lies, and Corporal Lee?

Yes, I know. That is harsh. But then how do you explain what these guys “believe”?

In this KXLY 4 report (see video below) entitled “Spokane Bucking National Trends”, Spokane Police Corporal Lee states on behalf of the Spokane Police Department that “we believe crime is up”.

Yet the statistics say crime in Spokane is down, and down very significantly in 4 out of seven categories with no change in two others.

The report compares 2004 Spokane crime statistics to 2007 statistics (as of June 5, 2007) projected over the entire year. And what do the numbers say?

……………………………………………..2004…………………. projected 2007 …………………. percent change

Murder………………………………….. .9………………………………. 9…………………………………….. none

Rape ……………………………………. 90……………………………… 78………………………………….. down 13%

Assault……………………………….. 799……………………………. 711 ………………………………….down 11%

Burglary…………………………….3368 …………………………..1980 ………………………………….down 41%

Theft……………………………… 12,763………………………….. 6426 ………………………………….down 50%

Robbery…………………………….. 310……………………………. 420……………………………………. up 35%

Car theft………………………….. 1830………………………….. 1835…………………………………… up 0.5%

An interesting corollary statistic has to do with the number of Spokane Police officers on staff each of these two years:

……………………………………………..2004 ………………………. 2007……………………………. ……. change

Total SPD Officers …………….. 298………………………….. 273…………………….. ……… 25 less officers

So how does one explain the contradictions evident in Corporal Lee’s math, statistical analysis, and beliefs?

In attempting to explain, one could take Chief Kirkpatrick’s approach at the September 19, 2007 Forum/Chat at City Hall. The Chief wagged her finger, lectured, and smirked her way through 2 hours of “dialog” with Spokanites as she roundly chastised speakers as being just plain wrong and needing to get their facts right before they stand up in public to offer their perspectives as John and Jane Q. Public.

However, a better approach here in this instance would be simply to lay forth the political realities evident in the disparities between the statistics and Cpl. Lee’s “beliefs”. (Note: The disparities between reality and ‘belief’ in politics are known as ‘spin’). So, again how does one explain Cpl. Lee’s ‘spin’ on Spokane crime statistics?

Answer: More crime (real or perceived) equals more officers, equals more money, equals more guns, equals more fire power, equals more control.

So let’s go back to the beginning and hear now from SPD Corporal Lee:

Posted in History of SPD Abuses, Independent Oversight, Lies Damn Lies and ..., Videos, Yes ma'am Chief | Leave a Comment »

Outside it’s (fascist) America

Posted by Arroyoribera on September 18, 2007

Think restricted “free speech.” Think Chief Kirkpatrick’s stage-managed forum/chat scheduled for 9/19/07 at Spokane City Council Chambers on the police riot in the park on July 4th against peacefully picnicking protesters. Think fascism. Think “America, land of the so-called free and home of the afraid”. Think — If I just sit here and do nothing, maybe the stock market will keep going up and we will elect a Democrat and this nightmare will end. Think — Not!

This occurred yesterday. See the video here:

http://video.ap.org/v/default.aspx?g=efce24ec-e914-48c9-9d28-a287aa5b7192&f=nynyd

Student Tasered at campus forum for Kerry

  • Story Highlights

· Andrew Meyer was asking questions at forum when campus police grabbed him

· Speaker, Sen. John Kerry, offered to answer Meyer’s questions

· Police tried to remove Meyer from the room, then Tasered and arrested him

· University police will hold internal investigation to see if proper procedures used

The story

NY Daily News


Student Tasered at John Kerry forum



Student Andrew Meyer struggles as University of Florida police try to remove him from a John Kerry forum on campus.

Student Andrew Meyer struggles as University of Florida police try to remove him from a John Kerry forum on campus.


Video: Student Tasered at John Kerry speech — The University of Florida said today it has asked state law enforcement officials to investigate an incident in which campus police tasered a student as he tried to question Sen. John Kerry during a forum.Andrew Meyer, 21, was arrested after being zapped with a stun gun last night. He was released this morning on his own recognizance.

Video of the incident, posted on several Web sites, shows campus police officers pulling Meyer away from a microphone after the student loudly asks Kerry about impeaching President Bush and whether he and Bush both belonged to the secret society Skull and Bones when they were students at Yale University.

Meyer can be seen refusing to leave and becoming upset when officials cut the microphone off.

“That’s all right, let me answer his question,” Kerry (D-Mass.) says as two officers take Meyer by the arms.

Meyer is shown struggling as four officers try to remove him. The student screams for help and tries to break, then officers force him to the ground and order him to stop resisting.

Meyer cries out for the officers to let him go, then says, “Don’t Tase me, bro,” just before he is shocked by the Taser. The officers then lead him from the room as he screams, “What did I do?”

A university spokesman said campus police cut the microphone and removed Meyer because he had overstayed his allotted time to question the senator. Kerry, the 2004 Democratic presidential nominee, can be heard telling the audience that he would answer Meyer’s “very important question.”

Meyer was arrested for resisting an officer and disturbing the peace, but the State Attorney’s Office has not said whether he will be formally charged.

University President J. Bernard Machen said today he had asked the Florida Department of Law Enforcement to investigate the arrest and determine whether campus police used excessive force.

Two officers involved were placed on administrative leave pending the outcome of the probe, said Machen, who called the incident “regretful.”

“We’re absolutely committed to having a safe environment for our faculty and our students so that a free exchange of ideas can occur,” Machen said.

Kerry said today he was sorry the discussion had been interrupted and he hoped no one was injured.

Posted in Freedom to Fascism, Know Your Rights, Photographic Evidence, Videos, War Abroad & At Home | Leave a Comment »

 
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