Spokane Police Abuses: Past to Present

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

Archive for the ‘War Abroad & At Home’ Category

Who killed Pastor Scott?

Posted by Arroyoribera on September 3, 2010

Question: Who killed Pastor W. Scott Creech in the parking lot of his business in the Spokane Valley on August 25, 2010?

Answer: One of Sheriff Ozzie Knezovich’s deputies, Brian Hirzel, who was allowed to go on vacation immediately after the killing and before being interviewed about the events. And, of course, the Sheriff’s finest is being interviewed by the Spokane Police Department’s finest so we all know that true justice is just around the corner.

More important perhaps is the need for a thorough going look at our law enforcement and just exactly why they conduct themselves in the ways they do. What is their mentality? What is their training? Why is everyone from a 74-year-old pastor to a pre-teen girl at risk of death, maiming or abuse in any encounter with these individuals?

Let’s start by looking at this photo:

(Photo from Spokane County Sheriff website)i

(photo from Spokane County Sheriff’s website — August 8, 2007)

Do you really want these guys prowling your parking lot or manhandling your daughter if she has a bit too much to drink on high school graduation night?

There are a few other photos at the link below.

https://spokanepoliceabuses.wordpress.com/weaponry/

And here is a history (admittedly incomplete) of Spokane area law enforcement abuses — https://spokanepoliceabuses.wordpress.com/abuse-laying-out-the-case/

Next to his smiling photo on the Spokane County Sheriff’s website, Knezovich published these increasingly absurd words:

(quote) Your Spokane County Sheriff’s Office consistently invests available resources toward community-wide safety and security, economic viability and the positive, nationwide reputation of our County.

We do so by providing a highly-trained, dedicated team of professionals, working in partnership with our community, through utilizing their unique talents and skills in conjunction with new technology and research based criminal justice training. (end quote)

For Pastor Scott, like so many others in the Spokane County area, there is neither safety nor security nor justice. Clearly, the technology is of little positive use, the research and the mentality it spawns are flawed, and the leadership is on the wrong side of the line that divides our community from those who would bring death, terror and sorrow to our families and neighborhoods.

And as for “the positive, nationwide reputation of our County” to which Sheriff Knezovich refers, one can only ask with all due respect, “What has Ozzie been smoking?”

Posted in License to Kill, Lies Damn Lies and ..., Spokane LE Personalities, Stop it. You're killin' me., Terrorism in Spokane, Trained to Kill, Unanswered Questions, Urgent Call, War Abroad & At Home, Weaponry--SPD/SCSO | 1 Comment »

Northwest Gang Investigators in Spokane, May 19-22, 2008

Posted by Arroyoribera on April 30, 2008

So-called “gang experts” from the Northwest Gang Investigators Association will invade Spokane from May 19 to May 22, 2008, bringing their ever blessed light to shine upon the allegedly serious problem of gangs in Spokane.

It is especially disturbing to see this organization coming to Spokane at this time given the fact that Spokane Police Department is facing a severe crisis of corruption, misconduct, improperly and incompletely investigated police homicides against civilians, a practice of counter-suits against citizens who complain, and an ongoing history of racism in police hiring and policing of the community.

May god help us!

One might recall how in late September 2007 the collective anti-gang brain trust of Spokane — the Gang Enforcement Team (GET) — was involved in a widely publicized scandal as a result of their dissemination of patently false information about a “three-day gang enforcement focus”. The ATF and the GET widely touted their reported “success” in rounding up 70 plus gang members and associates as well as a large amount of weaponry. As it turns out there was only one gun and a handful of gang involved individuals charged with any crime. What was portrayed as a massive anti-gang bust was revealed to be a hoax involving publication of false data and a large scale effort to seed the media with false information. The GET is composed of the Spokane Police Department, Spokane County Sheriff’s Office, Washington State Patrol, ATF, FBI, and other unnamed government agencies.

Not surprisingly, the restricted-attendance event has been promoted by Yvonne Morton-Lopez, the non-Spanish-speaking chairwoman of Governor Chris Gregoire’s Commission on Hispanic Affairs (CHA). Organizations such as the CHA and the Spokane Human Rights Commission have been at the forefront of organizations promoting “forums” on gangs run by the Spokane Police Department, COPS, and the Gang Enforcement Team.

At recent GET forums in Spokane, presenters have taken already unsubstantiated numbers on gang membership in Spokane and inflated them by 25%, claiming for example that the supposed 900 gang members in Spokane is now 1200.

In an environment of police abuses — corruption, violence against members of minority groups, lack of civilian oversight — and in a community with a significant history of racism, organizations such as the Morton-Lopez’s Commission on Hispanic Affairs and Terry Goetz’s Spokane Human Rights Commission are acting extremely irresponsibly and jeopardizing their organizations’ credibility as defenders of the rights of Spokane’s small minority populations.

(Note: Morton-Lopez has recently been named the head of the Washington State Human Rights Commission. It will be interesting to see how she promotes law enforcement interests and their questionable practices from that position.)

Despite evidence which counters the claims of law enforcement and those such as Morton-Lopez about gangs in Spokane, the campaign goes on.  Crime is down in Spokane, according to the police and FBI, despite SPD Corporal Lee’s best efforts to spin the statistics.  And that is with 25 less officers than the comparison year of 2004. Yet, the GET and the COPS program continue to promote their Gang Seminars in the community despite the questionable information presented by GET team members.

http://www.nwgia.com/downloads/2008spring_nwgiaconference-reg.pdf

Posted in All-white SPD?, Gangs?, Independent Oversight, Law, Lies Damn Lies and ..., Spokane Police vs. Youth, Trained to Kill, Unanswered Questions, War Abroad & At Home | Leave a Comment »

Two Separate Societies: One in Prison, One Not — (Op-ed: Washinton Post)

Posted by Arroyoribera on April 20, 2008

washingtonpost.com

Two Separate Societies: One in Prison, One Not

By Marie Gottschalk

Tuesday, April 15, 2008; Page A15

Forty years ago, the Kerner Commission concluded in its landmark study of the causes of racial disturbances in the United States in the 1960s: “Our nation is moving toward two societies, one black, one white — separate and unequal.” Today we are still moving toward two societies: one incarcerated and one not. The Pew Center on the States released a study in February showing that for the first time in this country’s history, more than one in every 100 adults is in jail or prison. According to the Justice Department, 7 million people — or one in every 32 adults — are either incarcerated, on parole or probation or under some other form of state or local supervision.

These figures understate the disproportionate impact that this bold and unprecedented social experiment has had on certain groups in U.S. society. Today one in nine young black men is behind bars. African Americans now comprise more than half of all prisoners, up from a third three decades ago.

Sen. James Webb (D-Va.) held a remarkable set of hearings last October on mass incarceration in the United States. In his opening statement, Webb noted that “the United States has embarked on one of the largest public policy experiments in our history, yet this experiment remains shockingly absent from public debate.”

The leading presidential candidates have not identified mass imprisonment as a central issue, even though it is arguably the country’s top civil rights concern. Many of today’s crime control policies fundamentally impede the economic, political and social advancement of the most disadvantaged blacks and members of other minority groups. Prison leaves them less likely to find gainful employment, vote, participate in other civic activities and maintain ties with their families and communities.

Congress recognized some of these barriers recently when, after years of delay, it approved and sent to the White House the Second Chance Act, which President Bush signed into law last week. This legislation seeks to ease the reentry of prisoners into society by providing modest increases in support for mentoring programs, drug treatment, job training and education.

Bruce Western of Harvard soberly concludes in his landmark book “Punishment and Inequality in America” that mass imprisonment has erased many of the “gains to African American citizenship hard won by the civil rights movement.” Sen. Barack Obama glancingly made some similar points in an address at Howard University last September. But he generally has not focused on the perils of mass incarceration. Neither has Sen. Hillary Clinton, though the $4 billion anti-crime package she unveiled last week did call for elimination of the federal mandatory five-year sentence for minor crack cocaine violations. As for Sen. John McCain, civil rights and criminal justice policy are not among the 15 issues the Republican nominee highlights on his Web site. But America’s space program did make the top 15.

At the hearings last fall, Webb underscored a basic truth sidelined in most discussions of crime and punishment: The explosion of the prison population wasn’t driven so much by an increase in crime as by the way we chose to respond to crime. Even former president Bill Clinton, whose administration was an accomplice in the largest prison buildup in U.S. history, conceded in a keynote address at a University of Pennsylvania symposium in February commemorating the Kerner anniversary: “Most of the people who went to prison should have been let out a long time ago.”

A change of heart by Bill Clinton and other public figures will not be enough to reverse the prison boom. In rare instances, public officials have been moved by strong personal beliefs to empty their prisons. During his brief tenure as Britain‘s home secretary early in the 20th century, Winston Churchill expressed deep skepticism about what could be achieved through incarceration, and he began releasing prisoners. Political leadership has been critical for major reductions in incarceration in other countries. But in many cases, the public and experts on criminal justice had to push politicians to begin emptying their prisons and jails.

It is a national disgrace that the U.S. incarceration rate is five to 12 times that of other industrialized countries as well as being the highest in the world. As Churchill once said, “The mood and temper of the public in regard to the treatment of crime and criminals is one of the most unfailing tests of the civilization of any country.”

Marie Gottschalk, an associate political science professor at the University of Pennsylvania, is author of ” The Prison and the Gallows: The Politics of Mass Incarceration in America.”

Posted in War Abroad & At Home | Leave a Comment »

North Central High counselor working hard on behalf of U.S. military recruiters

Posted by Arroyoribera on March 23, 2008

Jane Umphrey, a counselor at Spokane’s North Central High School, has been hard at work on behalf of U.S. military recruiters. Here (click here for PDF file) are some documents obtained through a Freedom of Information Request to Spokane School District 81 in September 2005 and January 2007.

The letter from Russell J. Vaucher from the U.S. Army Recruiting Battalion in Seattle dated 10/4/04 was sent to North Central High School and subsequently e-mailed by the District to all schools on 12/3/04. Vaucher included Section 9528 of HR 1 (“No Child Left Behind” Act) which request schools to “provide, on a request made by military recruiters or an institution of higher education, access to secondary school students’ names, addresses, and telephone numbers”. As you will note in Vaucher’s letter, he request specific formats for providing the information to Joseph/Jenkins@usarec.army.mil.

This request for names of Spokane District 81 student information was made in the midst of a period of massive violations of law and policy by U.S. military recruiters. By May 2005 the extent of the violations and abuses was international news and the military had shut down recruiting for a day to attempt to get a handle on the abuses.

Department of the Army Recruitment Letter to North Central High School 10-4-2004 and related documents

U.S. military recruiter misconduct is a very well established fact and has been criminally prosecuted on multiple occasions during this illegal invasion, occupation and brutalization of Iraq. The extent of the abuses was extensively documented in May 2007 (read 2007) by Nashville’s WTVF. The WTVF website includes, among many other print and video resources, a 30-minute documentary “Dishonorable Deceptions” on the recruitment of the mentally ill.

A couple years ago, U.S. military recruiters in Spokane attempted to recruit a legal Latin American immigrant out of a Spokane-area school. This kid has a 68 IQ, suffered a stroke at birth, and was in special education. His parents do not speak English. They had the nerve to visit the kid at school and at his home. After his parents complained to me, I contacted the recruiter and told him that he could certainly continue his efforts if he chose to but, if he did so, he would face being accused and hopefully charged. That was the last the family heard of him.

In addition, there is this e-mail by Frank Shaffery, the U.S. Army Recruiting Command’s deputy director of recruiting operations.
http://www.newschannel5.com/Global/story.asp?S=6488309&nav=menu374_2_2

“Established cases” is only a small reflection of the actually extent of the problem. Again, the U.S. Government Accounting Office (GAO) report in August 2006 which stated, “available service data show that between fiscal years 2004 and 2005, allegations and service-identified incidents of recruiter wrongdoing increased, collectively, from 4,400 cases to 6,600 cases; substantiated cases increased from just over 400 to almost 630 cases; and criminal violations more than doubled from just over 30 to almost 70 cases.”
http://www.gao.gov/highlights/d06846high.pdf

You will note the words “service-identified incidents” in the GAO report and you will note the number of substantiated cases increasing to a number almost double that which you present. Search the web and talk to real people in our community and you find many more allegations. No one has to doubt that the military and the Bush administration have little interest in substantiating and investigating the extent of the violations. Suffice it to say that it did not take more than a few weeks for the first major exposes on the issues before the US military took the unprecedented step of shutting down recruitment for a day to try to correct its rotten, criminal (again see the GAO stats) recruitment efforts.

Ignorant as they may be of the realities of the Middle East and of modern warfare, the U.S. president and his “chickenhawk” minions are sufficiently astute to understand that a draft would constitute the collapse of the entire house of cards and would have us once again have us remembering Kent State.
https://spokanepoliceabuses.wordpress.com/2007/08/06/know-your-rights-tin-soldiers-and-nixons-coming/

The U.S. military utilizes tens of thousands of mercenaries — US and foreign — in Iraq. The military is severely broken. They are desperate for cannon fodder and are engaged in an ongoing campaign of false advertising.

Be assured that additional recruitment scandals will be forthcoming, as the abuses are occurring even as we write.
The public will continue to respond to the abuses and will legitimately continue to focus on recruiters and their superiors, all of whom are paid by the taxpayer and are subject to law.

More important than the numbers of abuses by U.S. military recruiters is the type of abuses they have engaged in. We are talking not just about misleading and exaggeration. We are talking about rape, forgery, and other sorts of crimes. As this August 20, 2006, report discloses:

(quote) More than 100 young women who expressed interest in joining the military in the past year were preyed upon sexually by their recruiters. Women were raped on recruiting office couches, assaulted in government cars and groped en route to entrance exams. A six-month Associated Press investigation found that more than 80 military recruiters were disciplined last year for sexual misconduct with potential enlistees. The cases occurred across all branches of the military and in all regions of the country. (end quote)
http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2006/08/19/national/main1913849.shtml

Even with the number of 630, this is not insignificant. A May 5, 2005, New York Times report found that 1 in 5 recruiters was under investigation.
http://rncwatch.typepad.com/counterrecruiter/2005/05/one_in_five_rec.html
If you do not want to get to the NY Times article via a counter-recruitment blog (though this one has great resources), go directly to the NY Times article.
http://www.nytimes.com/2005/05/03/national/03recruit.html?ex=1272772800&en=cb1c8ef720824a5d&ei=5088&partner=rssnyt&emc=rss
http://www.quakerhouse.org/Recruiter-Abuses-03.htm

Again, I believe it is important to frame this recruitment scandal in the context of a growing list of scandals related to the U.S. defeat and fiasco in Iraq — 1) the original lies and deceptions used to convince the world and justify the invasion; 2) the cover-ups related to U.S. war crimes; 3) the thefts and maladministration of billions by U.S. forces, contractors, and companies; 4) the lies to soldiers, families and countries about the circumstances of deaths, such as those of Pat Tillman in Afghanistan and the lies about the story of Jessica Lynch and the death of her fellow soldiers; and many, many other scandals, some yet to come to light.
http://www.salon.com/opinion/feature/2008/03/19/iraq_five/

Those who seek to defend this Bush/Neo-Con fiasco will always find themselves behind the fact that it is destined to be described as one of the biggest military fiasco in human history — and perhaps at the top of the list. The final consequences of the war are yet to be known. Will it lead to collapse of the U.S. economy? Will it lead to a nuclear confrontation in the Middle East? How many thousands and tens of thousands of U.S. troops will return home to kill themselves, live with mental illness, and destroy the lives of their families? How far will the image and power of the U.S. decline? Time will tell. In the meantime, facts point to a greatly diminished U.S. and a legacy equal to that of the U.S. defeat in Vietnam. How long will we be subject to the apologists?

Posted in Freedom to Fascism, Know Your Rights, Lies Damn Lies and ..., Surveillance Society, Unanswered Questions, US Military abuses, War Abroad & At Home | Leave a Comment »

Police say they use taser on non-violent people

Posted by Arroyoribera on March 13, 2008

http://noworldsystem.com/2008/03/11/police-say-they-use-tasers-on-non-violent-people/

Police say they use Tasers on non-violent people
Internal documents show the weapon has been employed simply to get some suspects do what they are told

The Vancouver Sun
March 8, 2008

Vancouver police regularly use Tasers to subdue people who are unarmed and non-violent, according to internal reports released by the force.

On Friday, in response to a Freedom of Information request, VPD published on its website details of the about 150 times officers drew their Tasers from 2002 to early 2007.

The more than 70 pages of reports include cases where the electric shock weapon was drawn from its holster but not fired.

The reports cover cases in which the Taser was fired at a suspect from a distance and cases where it was used in “drive stun” mode — where a shock is administered by holding the device directly against a suspect.

The reports indicate that, in most cases in which Vancouver officers fired the Taser from a distance, the person was acting violently — from fighting with officers to threatening themselves or others with a weapon.

“[Officers] observed the male stabbing himself in the stomach with a pen,” reads one report from 2006. “When [officers] challenged the suspect, he ran at them and the [Taser] was fired. The suspect immediately fell to the ground and was handcuffed.”

However, in a number of cases, police used the Taser as soon as someone displayed a “fighting stance” or simply to get a non-violent suspect to do what they were told.

“Suspect fled from plainclothes members and resisted arrest when caught. Suspect was taken to the ground but refused to allow [officers] to handcuff him and held his arms underneath his body,” reads one report from 2006. “Strikes and open hand techniques were attempted but the suspect was still resisting. A [Taser] drive stun was applied to the suspect’s lower back and the suspect was then handcuffed.”

Jason Gratl, president of the B.C. Civil Liberties Association, said he was troubled to see Vancouver police are using the Taser as a compliance tool.

“The officers seem content to Taser individuals for lack of compliance with verbal commands or aggressive posturing,” said Gratl. “It is dead certain from these reports that Tasers are not merely an alternative to the use of sidearms but are used in practice as a convenient tool to gain physical control over individuals.”

There is debate over whether the Taser should be used to get non-violent suspects to comply with police orders.

In December, Paul Kennedy, head of the RCMP’s Commission for Public Complaints, published a report saying Tasers were used too often and recommended police use them only against suspects who are being “combative” or “posing a risk of death or grievous bodily harm” to themselves or others.

VPD Const. Jana McGuiness said the force believes the Taser is sometimes the safest option for controlling someone who is resisting arrest. “The problem is when you have a subject resisting to that degree, your chances of injuring yourself or that person escalates,” she said. “The Taser allows [police] to gain control with the minimum amount of injury to themselves or the suspect.”

According to the VPD, suicide attempts were an issue in about one in five Taser deployments and drugs or alcohol were a factor in one in three.

Ohio: Travellers Threatened With Arrest In Storm
http://abclocal.go.com/kabc/story?section=weather&id=6008531&pt=print
Japanese coastguard ’shot’ whaling activist
http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment..rc=rss&feed=networkfront

Chicago Links School Cameras to Police Squad Cars
http://www.chicagotribune.com..meras-07mar07,1,4279778,print.story

Britain Makes Camera That Sees Under Clothes
http://www.reuters.com/article/newsOne/idUSL0926757420080309

Britain Building Stealth DNA Database
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/pages/li..528857&in_page_id=1770

Posted in Independent Oversight, Prison Industrial Complex, Surveillance Society, Tasers, Unanswered Questions, War Abroad & At Home | Leave a Comment »

Did the Secret Service set up Barack Obama for assassination?

Posted by Arroyoribera on March 1, 2008

Elections & Voting
Did the Secret Service set up Barack Obama for assassination?
By Larry Chin
Online Journal Associate Editor

Feb 25, 2008, 00:55

According to the Dallas Star-Telegram, the Secret Service gave an order to stop screening for weapons for a full hour before the February 20 Barack Obama rally in Dallas. Metal detectors were turned off, and bags were not checked, as hundreds were allowed to file into Reunion Arena. This bizarre activity “ordered by federal officials,” was immediately reported by an alarmed Dallas Police Department, which knew that it was a “lapse in security.”

The Secret Service (which has been assigned to Obama since August 2007) has denied the allegations, declaring post-facto that the event was secure. However, the Secret Service has provided no detailed explanation about this blatant security stand-down. It is not known who gave the orders. The Obama camp itself has issued no statement.

While this story has been vastly underreported by major corporate media, independent liberal media, particularly Democratic Party and Obama faithful, have expressed astonishment and outrage. President John F. Kennedy’s 1963 assassination in Dallas, Senator Robert F. Kennedy’s assassination in 1968 (which came on the eve of his California presidential primary victory) were also facilitated by Secret Service “lapses.”

While there is no doubt that Barack Obama, bankrolled and sponsored by political elites, appears to be closing in on the Democratic Party nomination, and is an enthusiastic imperial war facilitator, this does not eliminate the real danger he faces from political adversaries.

It goes without saying that Obama is viewed as a bitter enemy (at the very least a symbolic one) by the Bush-Cheney-McCain-neocon gang. Obama not only faces threats from fanatical right-wing and racist elements, but the desperately power-hungry rivals within the more conservative neoliberal wing of the Democratic faction, led by the Clintons. The incendiary Karl Rove-esque attacks launched against Obama by the Clinton apparatus have become increasingly bitter, personal, and below-the-belt in recent weeks.

Obama is also competing with Hillary Clinton for the support of John Edwards. Edwards, the calculating emissary of Bilderberg Group interests, who was, according to Daniel Estulin, author of The True Story of the Bilderberg Group, handpicked by Henry Kissinger to be John Kerry’s vice presidential partner in 2004, may be positioning himself for the same powerful seat this year. Kissinger (who is lurking in McCain’s camp for 2008) and other leading elites already have control of the entire process, from both sides.

Obama’s supporters, and congressional allies such as Senator Dick Durbin, have been concerned for Obama’s safety for months.

It must be noted that the Clintons’ longtime criminal connections, which both tie to, and parallel, those of the Bush family/faction are well-documented (but roundly ignored) fact. The Clintons and Bushes have been full partners across official and unofficial power agendas, co-rulers of the United States, for over two decades. The body count that can be attributed to these two cooperative factions is long and gruesome.

The Clintons’ love of presidential election-season intimidation and dirty tricks are well-known. During the 1992 race for the Democratic Party nomination, Jerry Brown repeatedly accused the Clintons of resorting to tricks worthy of Nixon. As noted by Michael C. Ruppert in Crossing the Rubicon, Ross Perot withdrew from the 1992 presidential contest, pressured into assuring a Clinton victory, after Perot and has family received death threats. (Ruppert, who worked for the Perot campaign, witnessed this firsthand.)

Any prominent political figure who dares vary an inch from the imperial geopolitical script faces threats; first to their reputations and careers, and then their lives. In the “godfather government” that is the United States, this is the rule. This same criminal stranglehold prevents “change” — even the slightest variance from establishment consensus. And even high-level representatives who operate well within the consensus must still defend themselves from “colleagues.”

No government can be trusted. Nor can government officials and elites trust each other.

Copyright © 1998-2007 Online Journal
Email Online Journal Editor

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Here is my comment posted on the Dallas Star website in response to the original news article reporting this incident:

As the OnLine Journal makes clear in its article, “Did the Secret Service set up Barack Obama for assassination?”, Obama is a ruling class candidate. However, he was not supposed to have “slipped through the nominating process” with the kind of mass following, momentum, etc. With the likes of Kucinich, Paul, Nader, etc, it has always been easy to just look the door to the debate halls and exclude them. Or if they run as third party or independent candidates then the media marginalizes and ridicules and simply does not cover them. Or in the case of Dean who managed to get to Iowa with a head of steam but without endorsement of the ruling class, the party machine and the media took his exuberant shout and declared him “dead on arrival” as a result of a self inflicted wound (his shout in a campaign event). But what do you do when on the scene appears a charismatic leader like Obama who may be too savvy and suave to shoot himself in the foot much less the head as Dean did and who, worse yet, makes it all the way to Texas and Ohio with a long string of victories over the establishment’s candidate (i.e., Clinton, as in Bush 1, Clinton 1, Bush 2, Clinton 2)?. What does the ruling class do when a candidate who would dare to stand up and propose change manages to slip through the media/money/machine controlled process of the caucuses and looks like he may ride popular sentiment to a true mandate (not the 1% or less “mandates” that recent presidents have had)? What does the ruling class do? They call out the “assets” and ” secret teams” within the permanent government, not the permanent government of beltway bureaucrats but the permanent government of the Cheneys and Kissengers and others who represent the true interests behind real political power in this country. Let us not be naive again. David Brookbank

Posted in Freedom to Fascism, In Collective Self-Defense, Racism, Unanswered Questions, War Abroad & At Home | 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 »

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 »

Spokane Police Bloggers at Spokesman-Review — Hard 7 Blog Purged by S-R Editor

Posted by Arroyoribera on January 18, 2008

The only daily newspaper in Spokane, Washington — the Cowles family-owned Spokesman-Review — is plagued by Spokane law enforcement personnel, most notably Spokane Police Department officials, blogging under false names and partial names.

Most notable is the regular and extended participation of Spokane Police Department Detective Dan Torok, who killed the unarmed Jerome Alford on 3/24/07, and who was one of the direct participants on 3/18/06 in the brutal homicide of Otto Zehm, an unarmed disabled Spokane native.

Torok participates in newspaper blogs under the name “Dan” and posts at all hours of the day and night on matters related to the Spokane Police and other law enforcement matters. Torok is well-known for staunch on-line defenses of his own police activities, as well as those of seriously disgraced police colleagues here and elsewhere in the country, such as the soon-to-be ex-SPD Officer Jason Uberuaga.

(Note: Uberuaga is the SPD veteran who was alleged to have raped a woman during a bar-hopping incident with Spokane Sheriff Deputies. Uberagua used a cell phone camera to photograph the woman’s breasts, had sex with her, and drove his unmarked patrol car under the influence of alcohol. Uberuaga was immediately removed from the Federal Drug Task Force of which he was a deputized member but the decision to fire him from the Spokane Police Department was not taken by SPD chief Anne Kirkpatrick until January 17, 2008.  Uberuaga involved along with Torok in the 3/18/2006 homicide killing of Otto Zehm, a brutal murder which involved seven Spokane cops beating, tasering, hog-tying, masking, and kneeing the unarmed Zehm on March 18, 2006.)

Also active on the Spokesman-Review blogs is Sgt. Jim Faddis. Sgt. Faddis was unmasked blogging under the pseudonym of “Kevin”. He was repentant and promised he would never do so again but continued to blog as “Jim” or “Jim F”. In his blog writings, Faddis was often the backup to Torok’s verbal assaults on citizen bloggers. Faddis is a former Internal Affairs officer and Special Investigations Unit member.

Some Spokesman-Review bloggers have expressed concern regarding whether or not Torok and Faddis, as well as Det. J.R. Russell, have used official duty time and resource for their blog activities. (According to Spokane City records, then-Sergaent Dan Torok was paid $75,744 in 2002 while at that same time, Sergaent Faddis was paid $76,480.)

Others have expressed concerns about police officials lurking about blogs and intervening under the guise of citizens with no connection to the police in an effort to bolster a severely tarnished police department.

On a rare occasion Torok would intentionally sign a posting as “Det. Dan Torok” and explain that he was acting in an official capacity. Then there was the occasion when he signed in that fashion and had to return and write a disclaimer that he should not have signed as an SPD employee. Wow! Just sign Dan Torok and clarify that you are a cop, especially when the topic is the cops, including yourself!

The whole affair raises serious questions for those blogging openly under their real names (as I have made a practice for a few years now) or for those concerned about the identities of those with whom they are engaging in public blogs, not least those owned and run by newspapers.

Despite the important information disclosed at the Spokesman-Review’s Hard 7 blog by SPD officials Torok, Faddis and Russell about the Spokane Police Department and highly prejudicial attitudes held by them toward the mentally ill and disabled as well citizens in general, the Spokesman-Review recently purged its site of all postings at Hard 7 on January 4, 2008. That action was taken by Ken Paulman, one of the Spokesman-Review’s primary censors and the editor of the S-R’s collection of columns known as “7″.

Among the information purged by Paulman are very important public discussions involving citizen blog-posters engaging both Torok and Faddis regarding the lack of independent civilian oversight of the Spokane Police Department; the unprovoked brutality on July 4, 2007 against young people by the SPD Tactical Response Unit in Riverfront Park; the excessive force arrest on June 27, 2007 of Dan Treecraft by SPD officers at the location of the secret meeting between Spokane law enforcement officials and then-US Attorney General Alberto Gonzalez; the incomplete investigation of the homicide of Otto Zehm in which Torok was a participant; Torok’s killing of the unarmed Jerome Alford; tasers; high powered police weaponry acquired by the SPD; the use of the Spokane Police Guild website and forum to carry on private discussions about “LE friendly and LE hostile businesses“; and the use of the Guild website to post a private link to this blog (first denied by Faddis and subsequently admitted by him).

In purging the entire history of postings at Hard 7, Paulman wrote:

(quote)

And that’s a wrap…

Posted by Ken Paulman, 7 editor • 4 Jan 9:38 AM

As most of you already know, Frank Sennett, author of the Hard 7 column and blog, is on his way to the great Midwest to become the new editor of Time Out Chicago.

Unfortunately, that means the Hard 7 blog is closing up shop.

Frank is no longer posting or moderating, and unattended blogs tend to become magnets for spam, flame wars, and other garbage. So I’ve had to shut down comments on the blog. This unfortunately means all of the archived comments aren’t visible, but we’ll see about getting them back online soon.

(end quote)

Hard 7 author and blogmeister Frank Sennett had barley left Spokane for a new job in Chicago when Paulman struck in the first days of 2008. It will be a measure of the credibility of Spokesman-Review and the integrity of Paulman — one of the Spokesman’s primary monitors and censors of public’s participation in its dialogue with the town’s only daily newspaper — if Paulman keeps his word to “see about getting them (the missing archived comments) back online soon.”

Paulman admits to his “banning” and censorship activities at the S-R, having written previously, (quote) I had banned Brookbank back when I was moderating the “old” News is a Conversation, so that may have added to the confusion. Posted by Ken Paulman | 20 Dec 9:08 AM (end quote)

(The other primary S-R censor is Doug Floyd, S-R editorial page “editor”. Floyd has known no other employer other than the Spokesman-Review since 1969, three years after he graduated from journalism school in Oregon, and thus is likely eminently qualified to represent the censorial red pen of S-R publisher Stacey Cowles.)

Frank Sennett’s postings are still there to read at Hard 7 but the public forum that is a blog — including substantive discussions by the public of the above mentioned topics of great importance to the community — were summarily removed. The advent of the internet and interactive media such as blogs have resulted in a worldwide process of remaking the institution known as “the newspaper”. One traditional role of newspapers has been as the “paper of record” for towns, regions, and countries. Thus, in the process of remaking the newspaper, a central and crucial question for the future of the free press and free expression will be the role of newspapers as the “source of record” for events and of dialogues on matters of crucial public interest, as well as the role to be played by related electronic media used by newspapers today, such as blogs, comment sections, etc.

At the present moment, the direction of the Spokesman-Review (already severely crisis stricken) bodes ill for that future. The S-R editors have chosen to take refuge in their privileged position and the belief — expressed on multiple occasions by S-R editor-in-chief Steve Smith– that what is in play on Spokesman-Review blogs is not a matter of freedom of speech. Rather, Smith argues, the reader and blog writer must understand that what they mistakenly believe to be a right to freedom of speech in the public’s blogging activities is in fact a gift given to them by the newspaper’s publisher and therefore not a right at all but rather an honor and a privilege bestowed on the blog reader/writer by the editor on behalf of the publisher. Furthermore, per Smith, that gift, honor, and privilege may be abridged or completely taken away at the discretion of the editor or his minions.

And therein lies the danger to free speech constituted by grossly consolidated media ownership in the US and globally. The owner is effectively the censor, even if indirectly, through his editors. The publisher invites participation. The editor monitors participation. The editor censors participation.

This is a perfect sub-theme for the disgrace of the media’s open and unquestioning complicity with the US government in the “war on terror” and the phenomenon of “embedded journalists” and “lapdog reporters”. The media no longer even pretends to be a watchdog or a source of objective truth. When — as in the case of the Spokesman-Review’s Doug Floyd — a newspaper has as its editorial page ‘editor’ a careerist with nearly 4 decades working loyally for that institution, there is truly a danger. More so when the institution is actually a family dynasty which has dominated, if not at times run, a city for well over a century.

Such is the history of our fair town, Spokane, Washington. Police bloggers, newspaper censors, and a disempowered public.

Where art thee now, Frank Sennett?

(I know, I know. Chicago. And good luck to ya!)

Posted in Censorship, Educating the Chief, History of SPD Abuses, Independent Oversight, Lies Damn Lies and ..., Protest and Free Speech, Spanking the Spokesman, Spokane Police Guild, Trained to Kill, Unanswered Questions, War Abroad & At Home, Yes ma'am Chief | Comments Off on Spokane Police Bloggers at Spokesman-Review — Hard 7 Blog Purged by S-R Editor

Canada Puts U.S. on Torture Watch List

Posted by Arroyoribera on January 18, 2008

The Canadian government has put the United States on a watch list of countries that could practice torture. The mention is made on a secret Canadian government document not intended for public release. The document cites the U.S. prison at Guantanamo Bay and lists U.S. interrogation techniques including “forced nudity, isolation, and sleep deprivation.” Other countries on the list include Israel, Syria, China, Iran and Afghanistan.

(reported 01/18/2008 on Democracy Now! website — Democracy Now is daily TV/radio news program, hosted by Amy Goodman and Juan Gonzalez, airing on over 650 stations, pioneering the largest community media collaboration in the U.S.)

Posted in Freedom to Fascism, Lies Damn Lies and ..., Testimonies, 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 on War Made Easy

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 on La Coartada

Urgent Call– Protest to close down Guantanamo — Friday, Jan. 11, 2008

Posted by Arroyoribera on January 10, 2008

GLOBAL CALL TO ACTION

Tell the government, tell the community, tell the world

GUANTANAMO MUST BE CLOSED!

108 N. Washington St, Spokane (downtown at corner Riverside and Washington)

Friday, January 11, 2008 at 4 PM

– Bring your signs. Bring your friends. Bring your OUTRAGE.

The Spokane American Legion Building at 108 N. Washington houses the offices of psychologists James Mitchell and Bruce Jessen, the architects of the military’s psychological torture plan used at Guatanamo, Abu Ghraib, Baghreb, and the secret so-called “black sites”, known by thinking people as “torture centers”.

The Role of Spokane, Fairchild, and the SERE/JPRA Program in U.S. Torture and Geneva Convention Violations (this post includes links to the major exposes on Mitchell/Jessen, Guantanamo, and videos of waterboarding, etc.

– Called by PJALS – Peace and Justice Action League of Spokane

Friday, January 11, 2008 marks the 6th year since the opening of the prison and torture center at Guantanamo Bay. As Americans responsible for funding this horror, many of us in Spokane plan to make known our abhorrence of that awful place, and will continue to demand that it be shut down – and shut down in a way that does not involve simply circulating its prisoners to other secret U.S.-run prisons.

PJALS (Peace and Justice Action League of Spokane) 35 W. Main, Spokane WA 99201 509-838-7870

Posted in Freedom to Fascism, History of SPD Abuses, Know Your Rights, License to Kill, Protest, Protest and Free Speech, Testimonies, Urgent Call, War Abroad & At Home | Leave a Comment »

Spokane’s Para-military SWAT Team — Police, Propaganda, and Pavlischak

Posted by Arroyoribera on January 3, 2008

[Before the Vietnam War was even over, the Spokane Police Department began forming its own para-military unit with the assistance of former Marine Corps member, Andrew “Skip” Pavlischak. Then, after 27 years as a member of the Spokane Police Department, Pavlischak turned to training mercenaries and human rights abusers as an employee of special police and military operations training companies.

The following text is derived from a Spokane Police Department propaganda tract. Links have been added to certain text to provide additional information and context. The Spokane Police Department SWAT team is a para-military organization which engages in extracurricular activities of a potentially illegal nature. In addition, there are apparent conflicts of interest between former SPD employees (including former SPD SWAT team members), weapons companies supplying the SPD, and mercenary training organizations which currently employ them.]

“It’s a very dangerous thing when you’re telling cops they’re soldiers and there’s an enemy out there. I don’t like it all.” Joseph McNamara, Hoover Institution research fellow and former police chief of San Jose and Kansas City * —]


History


The Spokane Police SWAT Team first came into existence in 1972. Back then the Team consisted of five members, who had their own military fatigues and who’s arsenal consisted of two pump shotguns, a privately owned big game rifle, and the department issued six shot revolvers.

Today the team consists of twenty-five highly trained members. The Team is “part-time” meaning that SWAT is a specialty assignment in addition to a primary function like patrol or detective. This speaks to the dedication of the members because it requires them to work the equivalent of two “full-time” jobs. The team structure consists of a commander holding the rank of lieutenant, a four member-training cadre holding the rank of either sergeant or corporal and twenty-one operators who span the ranks of detective to police officer. The ranking member of the training cadre also serves as the acting commander in the absence of the lieutenant. There is one member assigned to full-time SWAT duties providing administrative, equipment, training, and tactical support.

Former Chief of Police, Roger Bragdon and retired Detective Andrew “Skip” Pavlischak both played significant roles in the development of a professional Team that lives up to its motto: “We give it R. Best.” The motto is dedicated to Corporal Robin Best who died training with the Team. Robin’s name is among those on the National Law Enforcement Memorial in Washington, DC and it appears on similar memorials here in the state of Washington.

Member Selection

When a SWAT vacancy opens, a department wide announcement is distributed throughout the department. Any officer holding the rank of Police Officer (PO), Police Officer First Class (PFC), Senior Patrol Officer (SPO), Corporal or Detective is invited to apply. Applicants must have three years law enforcement experience and are screened through a six-step process: formal application, performance review, physical fitness test, marksmanship, oral interview, and administrative approval.

The fitness test components are: a three mile run in under twenty-four minutes, followed immediately by ten overhand chin ups, fifteen dips, fifty pushups, and fifty sit-ups. Both the pushup and sit-ups have to be completed in sixty seconds. Candidates then run obstacle course wearing a tactical style vest. The obstacle course is approximately 400 meters long and includes: a four foot chain link fence, an incline run, a belly crawl, a six foot wall, and a 150 lb dummy drag. Immediately after the obstacle course, candidates run to the firing range where they must qualify by shooting two consecutive targets with a minimum score of 90 % on each. The fire their issued handgun using the Practical Police Course (PPC).

All current SWAT members must pass and maintain the same physical and shooting standards on a quarterly basis. These tests are sometimes unannounced.

Equipment

The Team’s firearms are Heckler and Koch (H&K) with the exception of handguns and marksmen rifles. The team maintains and deploys the H&K MP-5, 33, 53, and the G3 model rifles. Handguns are the Glock .40 caliber fitted with M-3 tactical lights, and the marksman use custom rifles built off Remington 700 actions. The CART Team maintains and deploys all the specialty impact munitions and chemical agents utilizing both 37 mm and 40 mm launchers. Our retired member Skip Pavlischak, who is an adjunct instructor for the H&K International Training Division, provides us with training and technical assistance.

The Team also has the equipment necessary for all types of tactical missions. The equipment includes night vision devices, lighting systems, shields, bunkers, breaching tools, noise/flash diversions (NFDD), and other mission specific tools.

The Team uses two dedicated marked police cars for “quick response” deployment of weapons and equipment during duty shifts by member working patrol. Two Chevy suburbans, retrofitted with extended running boards and handles are utilized for most tactical missions. The Team also has a separate equipment vehicle and recently acquired an Armored Personnel Carrier (APC).

Training

Each Team member attends Basic SWAT School, taught by instructors from the Washington State Tactical Officers Association (WSTOA). The Washington State Criminal Justice Training Commission (WSCJTC) accredits this course.

The team is divided into four squads with one team leader and one trainer assigned to each squad. Two squads train each Friday, with the marksman and CART members receiving additional training on Tuesdays. So, members receive twenty to twenty-four hours of training per month depending on their Team specialty. Six of the Team’s operators are cross-trained as marksman, three as chemical agent deployment specialists (CART), two as emergency medical technicians (EMT), six are certified firearms instructors and three are certified defensive tactics instructors. Training for the full team is held several times a year and usually includes one full week per year commonly referred to by members as “hell week.”

The team regularly trains in the areas of slow and deliberate searching, dynamic and hostage rescue entries, NFDD, marksmanship, immediate action drills, vehicle assaults, special events, active shooter scenarios, security details, open air assaults and camouflaged movement.

The team members also attend WSTOA training on a regular basis augmented by specialty schools such as courses presented by H&K or the Sure Fire Institute.

Deployment

The team is activated for standard tactical missions like high risk warrant service, high-risk arrest, barricaded persons, security details, hostage takers and sniper suppression. Last year the SPD Team was activated on fifty-six occasions spanning the gamut of tactical missions. Because Spokane is the largest metropolitan area in the Inland Pacific Northwest, the SWAT Team occasionally receives requests to deploy in an adjoining or near-by jurisdiction. We also have a close relationship with our local Sheriff’s Department SWAT Team.

(Source — http://www.freewebs.com/thecmclan/swathistory.htm )

“It’s a very dangerous thing when you’re telling cops they’re soldiers and there’s an enemy out there. I don’t like it all.”  Joseph McNamara, Hoover Institution research fellow and former police chief of San Jose and Kansas City * —]

Posted in Freedom to Fascism, History of SPD Abuses, In Collective Self-Defense, Independent Oversight, Know Your Rights, License to Kill, Photographic Evidence, Spokane Police vs. Youth, Trained to Kill, Unanswered Questions, War Abroad & At Home, Weaponry--SPD/SCSO | Leave a Comment »

2007 Was Worst Year of Iraq Occupation — by Dahr Jamail, IPS News

Posted by Arroyoribera on January 3, 2008

2007 Was Worst Year of Iraq Occupation

by Dahr Jamail, IPS News
Posted on December 31, 2007

http://www.alternet.org/story/72064/

Despite all the claims of improvements, 2007 has been the worst year yet in Iraq.

One of the first big moves this year was the launch of a troop “surge” by the U.S. government in mid-February. The goal was to improve security in Baghdad and the western al-Anbar province, the two most violent areas. By June, an additional 28,000 troops had been deployed to Iraq, bringing the total number up to more than 160,000.

By autumn, there were over 175,000 U.S. military personnel in Iraq. This is the highest number of U.S. troops deployed yet, and while the U.S. government continues to talk of withdrawing some, the numbers on the ground appear to contradict these promises.

The Bush administration said the “surge” was also aimed at curbing sectarian killings, and to gain time for political reform for the government of U.S.-backed Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki.

During the surge, the number of Iraqis displaced from their homes quadrupled, according to the Iraqi Red Crescent. By the end of 2007, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) estimated that there are over 2.3 million internally displaced persons within Iraq, and over 2.3 million Iraqis who have fled the country.

Iraq has a population around 25 million.

The non-governmental organization Refugees International describes Iraq’s refugee problem as “the world’s fastest growing refugee crisis.”

In October the Syrian government began requiring visas for Iraqis. Until then it was the only country to allow Iraqis in without visas. The new restrictions have led some Iraqis to return to Baghdad, but that number is well below 50,000.

A recent UNHCR survey of families returning found that less than 18 percent did so by choice. Most came back because they lacked a visa, had run out of money abroad, or were deported.

Sectarian killings have decreased in recent months, but still continue. Bodies continue to be dumped on the streets of Baghdad daily.

One reason for a decrease in the level of violence is that most of Baghdad has essentially been divided along sectarian lines. Entire neighborhoods are now surrounded by concrete blast walls several meters high, with strict security checkpoints. Normal life has all but vanished.

The Iraqi Red Crescent estimates that eight out of ten refugees are from Baghdad.

By the end of 2007, attacks against occupation forces decreased substantially, but still number more than 2,000 monthly. Iraqi infrastructure, like supply of potable water and electricity are improving, but remain below pre-invasion levels. Similarly with jobs and oil exports. Unemployment, according to the Iraqi government, ranges between 60-70 percent.

An Oxfam International report released in July says 70 percent of Iraqis lack access to safe drinking water, and 43 percent live on less than a dollar a day. The report also states that eight million Iraqis are in need of emergency assistance.

“Iraqis are suffering from a growing lack of food, shelter, water and sanitation, healthcare, education, and employment,” the report says. “Of the four million Iraqis who are dependent on food assistance, only 60 percent currently have access to rations through the government-run Public Distribution System (PDS), down from 96 percent in 2004.”

Nearly 10 million people depend on the fragile rationing system. In December, the Iraqi government announced it would cut the number of items in the food ration from ten to five due to “insufficient funds and spiraling inflation.” The inflation rate is officially said to be around 70 percent.

The cuts are to be introduced in the beginning of 2008, and have led to warnings of social unrest if measures are not taken to address rising poverty and unemployment.

Iraq’s children continue to suffer most. Child malnutrition rates have increased from 19 percent during the economic sanctions period prior to the invasion, to 28 percent today.

This year has also been one of the bloodiest of the entire occupation. The group Just Foreign Policy, “an independent and non-partisan mass membership organization dedicated to reforming U.S. foreign policy,” estimates the total number of Iraqis killed so far due to the U.S.-led invasion and occupation to be 1,139,602.

This year 894 U.S. soldiers have been killed in Iraq, making 2007 the deadliest year of the entire occupation for the U.S. military, according to ICasualties.org.

To date, at least 3,896 U.S. troops have been killed in Iraq, according to the U.S. Department of defense.

A part of the U.S. military’s effort to reduce violence has been to pay former resistance fighters. Late in 2007, the U.S. military began paying monthly wages of 300 dollars to former militants, calling them now “concerned local citizens.”

While this policy has cut violence in al-Anbar, it has also increased political divisions between the dominant Shia political party and the Sunnis – the majority of these “concerned citizens” being paid are Sunni Muslims. Prime Minister Maliki has said these “concerned local citizens” will never be part of the government’s security apparatus, which is predominantly composed of members of various Shia militias.

Underscoring another failure of the so-called surge is the fact that the U.S.-backed government in Baghdad remains more divided than ever, and hopes of reconciliation have vanished.

According to a recent ABC/BBC poll, 98 percent of Sunnis and 84 percent of Shias in Iraq want all U.S. forces out of the country.

Dahr Jamail is an independent journalist who reports from Iraq.

© 2008 Independent Media Institute. All rights reserved.
View this story online at: http://www.alternet.org/story/72064/

Posted in Censorship, Protest and Free Speech, Solutions, Statistics, Testimonies, Urgent Call, War Abroad & At Home | Leave a Comment »

Andrew “Skip” Pavlischak — Spokane Area Law Enforcement Personalities of Note #4

Posted by Arroyoribera on January 3, 2008

Andrew “Skip” J. Pavlischak — Adjunct Instructor for Front Range Training and Consulting, LLC, and Firearms, Tactical and Specialty Instructor for TeamOne Network

Skippy retired from the Spokane Police department after 27 years of service. A U.S. Marine Corps Vietnam veteran, Skip has 26 years experience as an SPD SWAT team member, team leader, and commander in a full-time position. He is a certified firearms, distraction device, and chemical agent instructor. Skip is also a Master Sub Gun and Pistol Instructor. He assisted in the formation of the Washington State Tactical Officers Association and is a past president. Skip was also the lead instructor for basic and advanced SWAT training for the Washington State Criminal Justice Training Commission (WSCJTC) and worked as a Gang Unit Leader and in the Special Investigations Narcotics Unit. He recently attended a course at New Mexico Tech for certification for instructing in Incident Response to Terrorist Bombings through the U.S. Department of Justice.

[For more on the Washington State Tactical Officers Association and its sponsorship by numerous mercenary training companies such as Triple Canopy and Blackwater USA, see the following links:

All white Washington State Tactical Officers Association (WSTOA) — includes photos

WSTOA sponsors — includes links to sponsor companies ]

[For more information on the history of the Spokane Police Department SWAT team, its weaponry, and Skip Pavlischak, please visit this link.

Posted in In Collective Self-Defense, Independent Oversight, License to Kill, Spokane LE Personalities, Trained to Kill, War Abroad & At Home, Weaponry--SPD/SCSO | Leave a Comment »

Death by TASER – The Tragic Death of Roger Holyfield

Posted by Arroyoribera on January 2, 2008

Death by TASER – The Tragic Death of Roger Holyfield

By Christopher Bollyn

11 December 2006

 

I have taken a special interest in the widespread use of the supposedly “non-lethal” TASER weapon after being assaulted and TASERed without cause or justification at my home in mid-August by a so-called “tactical unit” of three out-of-uniform undercover cops.

 

It was, after all, with no small amount of trepidation that I had returned with my family to our home in Hoffman Estates, Illinois, in July 2006, after an absence of nearly one year.

 

We were compelled to leave our home in the fall of 2005 because we no longer felt secure after discovering that two people who had attached themselves to us over a period of years were actually informing the FBI on our comings and goings. Their daily intrusions had forced us to change our telephone number and make ourselves scarce in our attempt to protect ourselves and our privacy.

 

We had only been back at home a week from a trip to North Dakota when I noticed a strange car loitering around my house with three heavily-armed men wearing body armor. I called 911 to report the suspicious vehicle and was very surprised to see the same three heavily-armed men on my driveway 15 minutes later confronting my wife and 8-year-old daughter.

 

Contrary to the police report, these men did not introduce themselves or explain their presence and adamantly refused to identify themselves when asked. When I turned to get my brother from the house, I was suddenly attacked from behind, handcuffed and pinned to the ground.

 

At this point, the unidentified man who acted like the leader of the group (who I later learned had worked with the Department of Homeland Security), applied the TASER gun without warning directly to my back and shocked the hell out of me. As I now know, at that moment I came very close to death.

 

At least 200 Americans have died recently in similar circumstances after being TASERed. Roger Holyfield is one of them.

 

The case of the 17-year-old Roger Holyfield is a very tragic case which should serve as a wake-up call for Americans. If we learn something from his death and save lives in the future, Roger’s death will not have been in vain. If that happens, Roger Holyfield may be remembered as a martyr whose death served to save others.

 

Roger lived in the village of Dow, near the town of Jerseyville, Illinois, and certainly had not had an easy time of things. Although, he was well-liked he had gone through a very difficult period after his father had committed suicide in the spring of 2003.

 

Like many Americans, Roger had been taking an anti-depressant medication, which created adverse psychiatric side effects, which led to additional prescriptions to deal with the side effects. In Roger’s case, an anti-psychotic medication, Geodon, was added to the anti-depressant Wellbutrin, creating a dangerous pharmaceutical cocktail. He had been taking these medications for several years prior to his death and had only recently been taken off them. The record is not clear but it appears he had been in withdrawal and may have begun taking another medication shortly before he died. In any case, prescription medications had affected his behavior at the time of his death.

 

Through the haze of the pharmaceuticals, Roger was looking forward to being baptized the next day, Sunday, October 29. Unfortunately, he did not survive Saturday night in Jerseyville.

 

He was on South State Street, the main drag of Jerseyville, across from the Pizza Hut, the Arbee’s and the Salvation Army store, holding a Bible in one hand and a cordless phone in the other.

 

“I want my Mama, Jesus,” he had been calling, an eyewitness said, when police intervened “tragically“ and ended his short life. As the people who knew Roger said, “He was simply asking for God’s help.”

 

Although he did not pose a threat to anyone “ including himself“ a local police engaged Roger, but rather than alleviate the situation, they created a conflict. Before the conflict was over, some 7 police officers had become involved in the altercation with the 5-foot 7-inch lad who weighed no more than 130 pounds.

 

Furthermore, while it may be annoying, Roger Holyfield’s calling on God was certainly not illegal or criminal in any way and did not warrant any action by the police. If the police had not intervened, Roger would certainly still be alive. On any given day in an American city one is likely to come across a person calling for God’s help. This is, however, certainly no reason to TASER them.

 

At this point the narratives divide: the police version, which is dutifully reported by the mainstream press, says that seven police officers were overwhelmed by a 130-pound person who exhibited super-human strength as a result of so-called “excited delirium.”

 

This “excited delirium,” which does not even exist as a medical or psychiatric condition, supposedly gave Roger incredible strength and then caused him to suddenly give up the ghost – after the police had beaten and TASERed him.

 

The eyewitness narrative is somewhat different. After the police had confronted Roger, the police had provoked him and put him into handcuffs and a squad car. An eyewitness told the local paper, The Telegraph, that there were at least four police cars, two Illinois State Police troopers and another man in street clothes [Johnny Lawson, an off-duty police officer] surrounding Holyfield.

 

Another witness said there were more than enough police officers present to subdue Holyfield without using the TASER shock treatment. The police had also struck Holyfield a number of times during the encounter, according to the witness.

 

One eyewitness, who wishes to remain un-named, spoke candidly to this reporter about what he saw. When only three officers were on the scene, the eyewitness saw how they had apprehended Holyfield. Officer Lawson, who recognized Holyfield, had said, “Take it easy, he’s sick,” the eyewitness said.

 

“Let’s fry the mother ——.” Officer Todd Witt, a new officer on the force, had said, and is the one who delivered the TASERing.

 

Holyfield was put into the squad car, where according to the witness, the police claim he had damaged the back seat. At this point Holyfield was taken out of the car and TASERed again.

 

Although he was handcuffed, police had shocked Holyfield at least twice with the TASER. The eyewitness said he had seen Holyfield “twitching on the ground.” Holyfield’s rolling on the ground had dislodged the TASER barbs, so he was TASERed again.

 

What is unusual in this case is that the TASERing of Holyfield was done with the weapon firing the electrode barbs into the trunk of the 17-year-old youth. TASER International of Scottsdale, Arizona, had not responded to a written request asking about how the TASER was applied to Holyfield. The only training that police receive in the use of the TASER comes in the form of a short DVD-video presentation presented by the company that manufacturers the weapon.

 

Dr. Phillip Burch, deputy chief medical examiner for St. Louis, said he had done an autopsy of Holyfield on Tuesday, October 31, two days after he died. He had seen a number of burn marks on Holyfield’s trunk and had examined one of them closely. Asked if he thought that the TASERing had caused Holyfield’s death, Burch had simply said, “No opinion.”

 

Burch has promoted the idea that Holyfield died of “excited delirium,” although no such condition exists in medical journals. Asked if an autopsy would reveal if Holyfield had died from TASERing or “excited delirium,” Burch said, “not directly.”

 

When asked how “excited delirium” could be claimed as a cause of death when it is not a recognized medical or psychiatric condition, Burch said, “It exists for me.”

 

Roger’s mother, Rita, said that he had been TASERed about 6 times. He had vomited at the scene and his heart had stopped, she said. The paramedics had tried to revive Holyfield using CPR, but his heart had “stopped right there,” she said. The hospital would not comment on his condition.

 

It is very likely that the anti-psychotic medication that Roger had been taking, Geodon, may have contributed to his death.

 

Geodon is known to have a serious side effect on the heart, which can be fatal.  Geodon has been found to change the heart’s rhythm. It is known that drugs, like Geodon, produce rare, dangerous heart rhythm abnormalities.

The risk of these dangerous side effects increases when Geodon is mixed with other medications. The side effects can be so extreme as to induce coma or death.

 

What may have happened with Roger Holyfield is that his long term use of Geodon and Wellbutrin affected his mental condition and compromised his heart. The stress caused by the TASER may have caused Holyfield’s heart to go into cardiac arrest and directly led to his death.

 

Winn Parker, a licensed medical scientist in Palo Alto, California, said that the barbs of the TASER act like a “cauterizing pin” causing damage to the tissue and organs. “His organs got cooked,” Parker said. “Organs are burnt from trauma.”

 

Marion Fulk, a former staff scientist with the Manhattan Project, said that TASERing is very likely to affect the vital organs “especially the heart.” While TASERing probably does permanent damage to the vital organs, Fulk said, in the case of Holyfield, it may have “induced a systematic irregularity in the heartbeat,” he said, leading to his death.

 

More than 5 weeks after his death, his mother still does not have his death certificate. This is being held up, she said, pending the results of the toxicology reports.


As the signs around Jerseyville say, “Jesus saves. TASERs kill. We love you Roger.”

Photo: Roger Holyfield, the 17-year-old boy from Illinois
who was killed by a police TASER on the eve of his baptism.

FOLLOW-UP and UPDATE to

The TASER: A Police Device for Torture and Death

One month after I posted the article about how the police use the TASER torture device to gain compliance, a 17-year-old boy in Jerseyville, Illinois, was TASERed to death. His name was Roger Holyfield.

Roger’s only offense: Holding a Bible and calling for Jesus near the main street of Jerseyville, a town of some 9,000 people near St. Louis, Missouri.

Roger Holyfield was TASERed at least twice while he was already in handcuffs. There were at least 6 officers involved in the TASER assault of the youth who stood only 5 foot 7 inches and weighed 130 pounds. He had also reportedly been beaten.

I have been told that Roger had already been handcuffed and put in a police car when the police decided to take him out of the squad car and TASER him on the site he had arrested – at least twice.

If this is correct, it would indicate that the TASER weapon was used to torture him for something that he had said or done while he was in the police car and already completely subdued. It was not done to gain compliance or subdue him because he was already subdued, handcuffed, and restrained in police custody.

So, why was he taken out of the squad car and TASERed? What does this tell us about the reason he was TASERed? What are the instructions that police receive about how to use the TASER?

I have learned that Roger had been taking anti-anxiety medication, reportedly Klonopin, and that he had only begun taking it “again” five days before he was TASERed.

This raises a whole host of questions about his mental state, medical history, and possible drug interactions, adverse reactions of Klonopin, and how TASERing could be more lethal when administered to a person in a medicated state such as Roger’s. Did the police even recognize that this person appeared to be having a reaction to his medication?

If Roger was reacting to his medication, why did the police respond with force and TASERing rather than calling his parents or a doctor? This is an unfortunate example of the expression critical of police that no situation is so dire that the presence of a police officer won’t make it worse.

The TASER weapon was used on Roger not in the stun-gun mode but in the barb-firing mode, in which case electrodes are fired at the person and pierce his skin as the shock is applied. The weapon was fired at least twice, although we don’t know how many times Roger Holyfield was actually shocked with the 50,000 volt current. When the barbs are attached to the subject, the shock is given by pulling the trigger. Each shock session lasts 5 seconds and releases at least 50,000 volts. It can be repeated as often as desired by simply pulling the trigger.

The medical examiner said that his body had about a half-dozen burn marks on his trunk. This electric current can easily cause the heart to become dysfunctional and go into an irregular rhythm or cardiac arrest. The electric shock can also cause permanent damage to other vital organs.

After being TASERed, Roger vomited and went into a coma as the ambulance workers put him into the ambulance. He died the following day, Sunday, October 29, the day he was to be baptized.

The TASER is an extremely cruel and dangerous weapon that is considered to be a tool of torture in most of the world. Only the United States and Canada allow police to use this weapon routinely.

Amnesty International (AI), the leading anti-torture watchdog organization, has long called on “U.S. state, federal and local authorities to suspend all transfers and use of TASERS and other electro-shock weapons pending a rigorous, independent inquiry into their use and effects.”

AI considers the use of TASERS to constitute “cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment – and torture.”

AI has reported that TASER devices are frequently used to torture and interrogate people such as political prisoners and that TASERS are used by police in the U.S. “particularly for torture to ‘gain compliance.'”

The following video from a routine traffic stop in Boynton Beach, Florida, in which an officer TASERed a 22-year-old woman in 1994, shows how the TASER is abused to “gain compliance.”

WARNING – This video is very disturbing to view.

It lasts for several minutes and there are a few points that need to be made:

The woman is TASERed in order to make her comply with the demands made by the police officer to get out of her car. She is not violent or threatening the officer in any way as she speaks on her cell phone telling her friend or relative that the officer is pointing a gun at her.

When she is TASERed she falls from the car onto the street. She falls from a height of at least 3 feet onto the asphalt. This falling from the vehicle apparently injured her arm and could have killed her if she had landed on her head.

When the police finally lift her from the asphalt and she notices her wounded arm, the officer says that she should not have “taken a swing” at the police. The video clearly shows that at no point did she take a swing at anybody. Her wounded arm is from her falling from the car when she was TASERed.

Photo: A TASER gun – a tool of torture and death – is used by police in the United States and Canada. At least 200 people have been killed by this “non-lethal” weapon. Why do we tolerate such cruelty in this society?

http://www.bollyn.com/editor/?id=10369

Christopher Bollyn
10 December 2006

Posted in Know Your Rights, License to Kill, Spokane taser, Trained to Kill, Unanswered Questions, Urgent Call, War Abroad & At Home, Weaponry--SPD/SCSO | Leave a Comment »

Fighting Police Abuse: A Community Action Manual (ACLU)

Posted by Arroyoribera on December 19, 2007

Fighting Police Abuse: A Community Action Manual (12/1/1997)

CONTENTS

PREFACE

1. SOME OPERATING ASSUMPTIONS

2. GETTING STARTED — IDENTIFY THE PROBLEM

3. GATHER THE FACTS
Forget the Official Data
What You Really Need to Know, And Why
Where To Get The Information, And How

4. CONTROLLING THE POLICE — COMMUNITY GOALS
A Civilian Review Board
Control of Police Shootings
Reduce Police Brutality
End Police Spying
Oversight of Police Policy
Improved Training
Equal Employment Opportunity
Certification and Licensing of Police Officers
Accreditation of Your Police Department

5. ORGANIZING STRATEGIES
Build Coalitions
Monitor the Police
Use Open Records Laws
Educate the Public
Use the Political Process to Win Reforms
Lobby For State Legislation

A FINAL WORD

RESOURCES
Bibliography
Organizations
ACLU Affiliates

CREDITS & ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

Posted in In Collective Self-Defense, Independent Oversight, Know Your Rights, Solutions, War Abroad & At Home | Leave a Comment »

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 »

Police Reservists Bring the War Home — MoJoBLOG

Posted by Arroyoribera on December 10, 2007

We already know that the war in Iraq has come home to the U.S. All wars do. The demons of the Vietnam War live among us in the form of mental illness, addiction, domestic violence, and post traumatic stress syndrome (PTSD).

To begin to get an inkling of what we are in store for as this fiasco called the war on terrorism comes home to the U.S., all we have to do is read the stories of protesters being tasered, beaten, arrested, assaulted with impunity, surveilled, put on ‘Homeland Security’ lists, and defamed.

And for those of us locally, we know all about Spokane-based ‘psychologists’ Jessen and Mitchell and their reverse engineering of survival techniques to develop more efficient torture techniques for use in violation of U.S and international laws and conventions.

At the same time, our Fairchild AFB has provided the aircraft and crews to support the bombing of civilian and military targets in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Nationally we have seen Blackwater International’s mercenaries on the streets of New Orleans during the Bush-bungled fiasco in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. Be aware that we will see Blackwater and other mercenary companies in many other contexts here and abroad over the years that come.

And then, of course, just look at the types of training being received by local ‘law enforcement’.

As pointed out in this MotherJones Blog posting and in the USA Today story linked to it, we are already experience problems with police forces around the countryside. Spokane already has its share of police officers, sherrif’s deputies, and other security and law enforcement personnel with duty history in Iraq and Afghanistan. In addition, our local law enforcement agencies have armed up with AR-15‘s, H&K G3A3 battle rifle, H&K MP5SD4 suppressed submachine gun, and untold other military surplus weapons.

Get ready for the abuses. And be ready to see former Iraq/Afghanistan war vets in police uniforms on the streets of U.S. cities and towns tasering, beating, and killing mentally ill and drug-addicted fellow vets as the war comes comes home to roost — live and in living color — over the next few years.

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

(From Mother Jones Magazine on-line edition)

MoJoBLOG

~Police Reservists Bring the War Home

The wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have taken an unprecedented number of National Guard reservists and put them into active combat overseas. Many of those reservists were police officers before they were deployed. Now that some of them are finally coming home, they are have a difficult time making the transition from street combat to beat patrols in their old jobs, reports USA Today.

In March, for instance, an Austin, Texas police officer who had recently returned from Iraq fired his gun into the parking lot of a crowded shopping center while chasing an unarmed suspect. A bullet from his gun hit a parked van, narrowly missing two children who were sitting inside. The officer was reportedly suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder that had gone undiagnosed.

The Austin episode was one of a string of close calls police departments have observed among officers recently returning from Iraq. A few big-city police departments are creating “re-entry” programs for returned vets to help prevent such incidents in the future, but most aren’t, meaning that some of the cops coming back from the Middle East may be ticking time-bombs. So much for the Iraq war making Americans safer at home…

(Originally printed in MotherJones )

Posted in Freedom to Fascism, In Collective Self-Defense, Know Your Rights, Trained to Kill, Unanswered Questions, War Abroad & At Home | 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 »

Dr. Tom Jeannot reflects on July 4, 2007 in Spokane, Washington

Posted by Arroyoribera on December 5, 2007

Originally posted to spokaneprogressives and sent to other friends…

July 4, 2007

Hi, friends.

After the Democratic National Convention in Chicago in 1968, the Walker Report coined the expression, a “police riot,” to characterize the brutal repression of dissent during those unforgettable hours. American citizens exercising their Constitutionally protected First-Amendment rights to assemble and speak out against the carnage in Vietnam were met with the iron fist of the state, a scenario repeated again and again at places like Kent State and Jackson State, against the Black Panther Party everywhere and MOVE in Philadelphia, and on it goes in a list too long to rehearse now. What is demonstrated is the fundamental incompatibility of the national security state with elementary democracy, even in the limited form envisioned by the Constitution.

A generation later, with the Constitution even more imperiled than it was in that last great hour, the police state with its state security apparatus has descended on the people once more like a cloud of poison gas. The slightest expression of civil liberty suffices to provoke the hydra-headed beast to the brutality of its nightsticks, handcuffs, choke-holds, and paddy wagons.

We are choking on it right now, right here, today.

Last week (on June 27, 2007), Dan Treecraft and Rebecca Lamb merely sought to assemble for the redress of their grievances against the Attorney General of the United States. The occasion of their arrest is a scene repeated in city after city all across the land.

The black community in the US has long been weary of the grim conditions of lockdown now visited upon a tepid left, all too happy to secure the proper permits and pen themselves in the corrals known in this Time of Bush as “free speech zones,” once any one of us is even slightly emboldened to reclaim the public spaces now almost wholly given over to panoramic shopping malls and ersatz theme parks.

In our own local community, cops routinely shoot people and beat them up. I do not want to say it, except that it’s true.

You don’t want to say: pig!

You want to maintain proper decorum and civility, the high road, the civic virtues of polite discourse, only to discover that the discursive practice of the state security apparatus is Guantanamo and Abu Ghraib, extraordinary rendition and the prison-industrial complex, Blackwater and Halliburton, talking and refusing to talk in the voices of a Dick Cheney, a Scooter Libby, or a Tony Snow. When you speak, then, this is how it answers: it answers with men who place themselves outside the rule of law, know no accountability for their conduct, and would as easily maim, kill, or disappear you as go to the country club for cocktails.

You would think we were in Argentina in the time of the Colonels and Chile in the time of Pinochet.

I was there today (July 4, 2007). I’ll tell you what happened on my sworn honor to tell the truth. I should have been arrested and I feel guilty that I was not. It must be remembered that the subject is youth. Bob Zeller came out in solidarity, as did Dan and Jan Treecraft. Otherwise, these young people were high-school aged, in their late teens, and in their early twenties. They are suffocating in the cloud of poison gas that has descended upon Spokane. They lack the lungs to breathe this air.

I won’t tell you how I found out that a group of young people planned to meet in Peaceful Valley under the Maple Street Bridge at five o’clock on the Fourth of July in order to stage a protest against the pandemic of police brutality. Many of the same youth had already met with police violence in Critical Mass and other ways. Many, perhaps most, dress in black. You see them gathered and you think for a minute that you’re on the Left Coast. Many wear the bandanas across their faces made famous again by the Zapatistas. They are not especially well clarified in theory and philosophy: they are broadly, roughly, and approximately anarchists. Last Fourth of July, fifty of them turned out. Today the number was greater, perhaps as many as seventy. Peaceably assembling in the park under the bridge, people talked quietly among themselves until a few minutes past five, when four brief speeches were made. The first speaker gave a history lesson on COINTELPRO. Next came a young woman to talk about the gendered dimension of police brutality today. Since I cannot help speaking, I was honored to speak next, briefly, reminding the comrades of the Battle in Seattle in 1999 and the links of this event to a global movement from Venezuela to South Africa. The last speaker presented a statistical analysis of the numbers of police dead by comparison with other workers to make the point that cops rarely die on the job. Everyone listened quietly and attentively. There was a very good vibe.

While the speeches were being made, the cops started to show up. One of them approached an organizer of the event, but the group demanded that everyone be addressed. He told us, in effect, that the police would withdraw if we followed the simple rules of pedestrian right-of-way and so forth. Everyone agreed. No one was in the mood for a confrontation with the police. Please allow me to repeat this: no one gathered was in a mood to tangle with or antagonize cops. Some speech had an antagonistic, oppositional quality to be sure, and not all speech was decorous, although I cannot recall finding a provision to the contrary in the Constitutional guarantee.

The situation is this: these young people have speech and signs; the cops have sidearms, nightsticks, and all of the other lovely accoutrements of the national security state. After all, they are the police, increasingly militarized, with the full force of the police state to back them up. I presume the young people were in the same mood I was in, having no desire to poke a stick or throw a rock at men with guns, because I figure there’s not exactly what you’d call a balance of forces.

Well then, after the speeches, we fell more or less into order and proceeded to march. The last I heard, such marches are a hallowed American tradition, and what better way to celebrate the revolutionary heritage of the Fourth of July. We kept mainly to the sidewalk, up from Peaceful Valley and into downtown Spokane. We marched around the gods of commerce with their gaudy logos and then made our way into Riverfront Park. Naturally, the park was crowded. Perhaps we took people too much by surprise to react much. It was fun, it lasted ten or maybe twenty minutes through the Park, and then we came round by the clock tower. An organizer invited us to stick around for something to eat and to talk, but the event was essentially over at this point. In fact, I had just made the reasonable decision to go home, get some dinner, walk my dogs, even feeling a little elated to find things coming off so nicely in the Land of the Free and the Home of the Brave.

We took up our space by the clock tower and some companions laid out a blanket, appropriately depicting the Flag. People began talking and eating and things were, as someone my age will be sure to say, mellow. Meanwhile, we noticed police forming a perimeter, initially I would say at a distance of about forty yards–SPD and Riverfront Park Security personnel–to the north, and then along the sidewalk to the immediate south of our location. Gradually, choreographically, the perimeter began to tighten. Pretty soon it was hard to ignore the fact that we were being surrounded by about twenty cops. I didn’t count, so I can’t be sure of the number. It was not a small number. I began to think about the talk the one cop had given us under the bridge and how compliant everyone was. But the perimeter continued to tighten, we were surrounded, and now there were two rings of cops, the first closing in on the blanket at center, the second on all points of the compass further out. Then the inner ring of cops started taking pictures with the clever little cameras we have these days, and they were positively starting to crowd the folks now hemmed in on all sides on the blanket. Some of the kids started–I would say, squawking–and then obstructing the camera lenses with the signs we’d been carrying.

You know how it is when somebody comes right up on your personal space? Being an American white “middle-class” white guy, I’m inclined to take this sort of thing as a sign of aggression. I don’t know, maybe it’s different in Hong Kong or Manhattan.

Since I was in the act of leaving at this moment, I must say I didn’t quite see exactly what happened next; I saw it, but I’m not a very good reporter (even though I co-hosted “On the Clock” for over two years with Wil, who was also there and has a much better eye for detail). I was on the outer perimeter. Suddenly, perhaps four cops bum-rushed one young man who was sitting on some kind of canister just off the blanket. Wil told me afterwards that the young man had touched a cop, which I guess was all the provocation they needed (although the whole episode had the feeling of a pretext). You’ll have to remember that the cops were steadily closing in on the blanket area and undertaking this homeland security business of snapping everyone’s picture, and by now the kids-to-cops pixels were rather high-resolution. It looked to me, in other words, like they just wanted any excuse to start roughing people up. You can see the fourteen photographs by going to the link I’ve posted below (from the SR, sent courtesy of Rebecca Lamb). They hauled this one kid off, perhaps as many as four cops heading south with him out towards Spokane Falls Boulevard.

There was a brief lull in the action. I believe people were trying to find their bearings. A crowd was beginning to gather, initially mainly in support of the kids, although as the crowd thickened, I would say to several hundred onlookers by the end, its complexion also changed and there was many a brown-shirt cheering on the cops with some of the blockheads volunteering to form a human chain.

After the lull–I was having one of those slow-motion experiences–near pandemonium set in. Cops were knocking kids down right and left. The crowd began to chant, “Let them go!” On the outer perimeter where I still was, having unsuccessfully tried to call Beverly on my little cell phone gadget to ask her whether I should try to get arrested, a goon, if I may call him that, came up to me and another friend of ours who meanwhile had shown up and could give his own account of what happened, and he told us that unless we vacated, or if we remained where we were we would be subject to arrest for criminal trespass. I’m sure there must be some legal authority for trumping up this charge. Our friend and I stayed right where we were, but it appeared that now that the cops had secured the center of the action at the blanket–under a tree, by the way, where the remaining kids had joined arms–they were cherry-picking various people off to the side to subject them to the same hospitality. So the effect was that this was happening around me but not to me.

Again, it appeared that the cops were singling out certain people on the periphery, then rushing and arresting them. I was even wearing my tee-shirt with the photograph of Fidel Castro shaking hands with Ernest Hemingway, which Wil had brought me back from Cuba; but I guess this wasn’t enough to win me a nightstick.

The SR reporter was there whose name is included below, and I gave him a somewhat impassioned statement, taking the First Amendment, peaceable assembly, free speech, civil liberties, and the Fourth of July as my themes, especially eager to point out that THE YOUNG PEOPLE HAD DONE NOTHING WHATSOEVER TO PROVOKE THE POLICE EXCEPT CONCLUDE THEIR MARCH BY GATHERING AROUND A BLANKET TO SHARE SOME FOOD AND CONVERSATION, bringing to an end what would have been AN UPLIFTING EVENT FOR THE FOURTH OF JULY IN HONOR OF THE AMERICAN REVOLUTIONARY TRADITION, and a much better way to spend the afternoon than shopping in River Park Square.

Around about then, I left the park and came home, to discover that fully seventeen youth had been arrested on this gorgeous evening in Spokane.

The term, “riot,” connotes mayhem. I use the term, “near-riot” instead because police procedure on this occasion was systematic and orchestrated. It was as systematic and orchestrated as it can be when brutal thugs take out nightsticks and handcuffs and start wailing on innocent youngsters.

Ironically, the absurdly thuggish, unprovoked, and gratuitous police conduct on this occasion enacted the raison d’etre of the occasion itself, to protest police brutality. It was as if they were determined to demonstrate, almost as if it were theater, the very bill of particulars that had been brought against them.

Peace!

Tom

[ More about Dr. Tom Jeannot, the 4th of July, and state repression ]

 

Censorship

Posted in Freedom to Fascism, History of SPD Abuses, In Collective Self-Defense, Independent Oversight, Know Your Rights, Protest and Free Speech, Spokane Police vs. Youth, Unanswered Questions, Urgent Call, 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

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CIA Venezuela Destabilization Memo Surfaces — by James Petras (CounterPunch)

Posted by Arroyoribera on November 30, 2007

November 28, 2007

Counterattack as Fateful Referendum Looms

CIA Venezuela Destabilization Memo Surfaces

By JAMES PETRAS

On November 26, 2007 the Venezuelan government broadcast and circulated a confidential memo from the US embassy to the CIA which is devastatingly revealing of US clandestine operations and which will influence the referendum this Sunday, December 2, 2007.

The memo sent by an embassy official, Michael Middleton Steere, was addressed to the Director of Central Intelligence, Michael Hayden. The memo was entitled ‘Advancing to the Last Phase of Operation Pincer’ and updates the activity by a CIA unit with the acronym ‘HUMINT’ (Human Intelligence) which is engaged in clandestine action to destabilize the forth-coming referendum and coordinate the civil military overthrow of the elected Chavez government. The Embassy-CIA’s polls concede that 57 per cent of the voters approved of the constitutional amendments proposed by Chavez but also predicted a 60 per cent abstention.

The US operatives emphasized their capacity to recruit former Chavez supporters among the social democrats (PODEMOS) and the former Minister of Defense Baduel, claiming to have reduced the ‘yes’ vote by 6 per cent from its original margin. Nevertheless the Embassy operatives concede that they have reached their ceiling, recognizing they cannot defeat the amendments via the electoral route.

The memo then recommends that Operation Pincer (OP) [Operación Tenaza] be operationalized. OP involves a two-pronged strategy of impeding the referendum, rejecting the outcome at the same time as calling for a ‘no’ vote. The run up to the referendum includes running phony polls, attacking electoral officials and running propaganda through the private media accusing the government of fraud and calling for a ‘no’ vote. Contradictions, the report emphasizes, are of no matter.

The CIA-Embassy reports internal division and recriminations among the opponents of the amendments including several defections from their ‘umbrella group’. The key and most dangerous threats to democracy raised by the Embassy memo point to their success in mobilizing the private university students (backed by top administrators) to attack key government buildings including the Presidential Palace, Supreme Court and the National Electoral Council. The Embassy is especially full of praise for the ex-Maoist ‘Red Flag’ group for its violent street fighting activity. Ironically, small Trotskyist sects and their trade unionists join the ex-Maoists in opposing the constitutional amendments. The Embassy, while discarding their ‘Marxist rhetoric’, perceives their opposition as fitting in with their overall strategy.

The ultimate objective of ‘Operation Pincer’ is to seize a territorial or institutional base with the ‘massive support’ of the defeated electoral minority within three or four days (presumably after the elections though this is not clear. JP) backed by an uprising by oppositionist military officers principally in the National Guard. The Embassy operative concede that the military plotters have run into serous problems as key intelligence operatives were detected, stores of arms were decommissioned and several plotters are under tight surveillance.

Apart from the deep involvement of the US, the primary organization of the Venezuelan business elite (FEDECAMARAS), as well as all the major private television, radio and newspaper outlets have been engaged in a campaign of fear and intimidation campaign. Food producers, wholesale and retail distributors have created artificial shortages of basic food items and have provoked large scale capital flight to sow chaos in the hopes of reaping a ‘no’ vote.

President Chavez Counter-Attacks

In a speech to pro-Chavez, pro-amendment nationalist business-people (Entrepreneurs for Venezuela ­ EMPREVEN) Chavez warned the President of FEDECAMARAS that if he continues to threaten the government with a coup, he would nationalize all their business affiliates. With the exception of the Trotskyists and other sects, the vast majority of organized workers, peasants, small farmers, poor neighborhood councils, informal self-employed and public school students have mobilized and demonstrated in favor of the constitutional amendments.

The reason for the popular majority is found in a few of the key amendments: One article expedites land expropriation facilitating re-distribution to the landless and small producers. Chavez has already settled over 150,000 landless workers on 2 million acres of land. Another amendment provides universal social security coverage for the entire informal sector (street sellers, domestic workers, self-employed) amounting to 40 per cent of the labor force. Organized and unorganized workers’ workweek will be reduced from 40 to 36 hours a week (Monday to Friday noon) with no reduction in pay. Open admission and universal free higher education will open greater educational opportunities for lower class students. Amendments will allow the government to by-pass current bureaucratic blockage of the socialization of strategic industries, thus creating greater employment and lower utility costs. Most important, an amendment will increase the power and budget of neighborhood councils to legislate and invest in their communities.

The electorate supporting the constitutional amendments is voting in favor of their socio-economic and class interests; the issue of extended re-election of the President is not high on their priorities: And that is the issue that the Right has focused on in calling Chavez a ‘dictator’ and the referendum a ‘coup’.

The Opposition

With strong financial backing from the US Embassy ($8 million dollars in propaganda alone according to the Embassy memo) and the business elite and ‘free time’ by the right-wing media, the Right has organized a majority of the upper middle class students from the private universities, backed by the Catholic Church hierarchy, large swaths of the affluent middle class neighborhoods, entire sectors of the commercial, real estate and financial middle classes and apparently sectors of the military, especially officials in the National Guard. While the Right has control over the major private media, public television and radio back the constitutional reforms. While the Right has its followers among some generals and the National Guard, Chavez has the backing of the paratroops and legions of middle-rank officers and most other generals.

The outcome of the Referendum of December 2 is a major historical event first and foremost for Venezuela but also for the rest of the Americas. A positive vote (Vota ‘Sí’) will provide the legal framework for the democratization of the political system, the socialization of strategic economic sectors, empower the poor and provide the basis for a self-managed factory system. A negative vote (or a successful US-backed civil-military uprising) would reverse the most promising living experience of popular self-rule, of advanced social welfare and democratically based socialism. A reversal, especially a military dictated outcome, would lead to a blood bath, such as we have not seen since the days of the Indonesian Generals’ Coup of 1966, which killed over a million workers and peasants or the Argentine Coup of 1976 in which over 30,000 Argentines were murdered by the US- backed Generals.

A decisive vote for ‘Sí’ will not end US military and political destabilization campaigns but it will certainly undermine and demoralize their collaborators. On December 2, 2007 the Venezuelans have a rendezvous with history.

James Petras, a former Professor of Sociology at Binghamton University, New York, owns a 50 year membership in the class struggle, is an adviser to the landless and jobless in Brazil and Argentina and is co-author of Globalization Unmasked (Zed). His new book with Henry Veltmeyer, Social Movements and the State: Brazil, Ecuador, Bolivia and Argentina, will be published in October 2005. He can be reached at: jpetras@binghamton.edu

www.counterpunch.org

Democracy Now interview of Petras by Amy Goodman — 11/30/07

Cuba and Venezuela Face US and Colombia — by James Petras

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

Posted in Freedom to Fascism, Lies Damn Lies and ..., Protest, Urgent Call, 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 »

We Will Not Be Silent

Posted by Arroyoribera on November 21, 2007

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!

We Will Not Be Silent

 

Iraqi Victims — Photos from Fallujah

 

Banning Free Speech and Dangerous T-Shirts

 

 

Posted in Censorship, Freedom to Fascism, Know Your Rights, Protest, Protest and Free Speech, Testimonies, War Abroad & At Home | 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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