Turkey to Send Troops to Combat Armenia in Nagorno-Karabakh?

By Stephen Lendman

Global Research, October 23, 2020

Like the US, Turkey’s Erdogan pursues interests at the expense of peace and stability.

He favors war for extending Turkey’s borders to further his neo-Ottoman aims.

He, his family members and regime profited earlier from stolen Syrian oil.

He gave ISIS and other terrorists safe haven in Turkish territory, providing them with weapons, other material support, and a launching pad for attacks on Syrian soldiers and civilians.

Turkey under Erdogan is a fascist police state — speech, media and academic freedoms they way they should be banned.

So is dissent. Anyone publicly criticizing or insulting him risks prosecution for terrorism, espionage or treason, including children.

As long as he doesn’t act against US interests, as a NATO member and in other ways, his tyrannical rule and regional destabilizing actions are tolerated — if only barely.

On Wednesday, his Vice President Fuat Oktay said Ankara is ready to send troops to back Azerbaijan’s war on Armenia in Nagorno-Karabakh (NK below).

In response to Turkey’s deployment of armed and directed jihadists to combat Armenian forces in NK, the country’s Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan called on regional countries to unite against them and their Turkish paymaster.

“Regretably (they) have not responded to this reality seriously enough yet,” Pashinyan added.

“It is beyond doubt that the presence of foreign terrorists will pose a threat to the region in the future.”

“The region’s countries must deal with this issue more seriously.”

The Erdogan regime is also involved militarily in NK by providing Baku with command and control services, training of its military forces, and heavy weapons for warmaking.

He and hardliners surrounding him support war, not resolution in NK.

Pashinyan stressed it, saying “the Karabakh question…cannot have a diplomatic solution.”

“Everything that is diplomatically acceptable to the Armenian side…is not acceptable to Azerbaijan…”

Baku’s ruling authorities intend endless war until Armenian forces are driven from NK — no matter the human toll, according to comments from its leadership.Turkey’s Involvement in Nagorno-Karabakh

As Azeri forces advance, civilians in harm’s way are caught in the crossfire.

Unconfirmed reports suggest that they’ve taken control of areas bordering Iran and Armenia’s international border — increasing the risk of conflict spilling into both countries.

Armenia’s Defense Ministry spokesman Artsrun Hovhannisyan accused Azerbaijan of sending “small…subversive groups…into villages and towns, film(ing) themselves there, spread(ing) those images…to feed their society. But, unfortunately, this also affects us.”

While conflict continues, foreign ministers of both warring sides will meet with Trump regime’s Pompeo for talks in Washington on Friday.

Yet on Tuesday, Azeri President Ilham Aliyev said the following:

“We are fighting on our own land, giving martyrs and restoring our territorial integrity. These steps will continue to be taken.”

“Armenia must declare before it is too late that it is withdrawing from the occupied territories. After that the fighting may stop.”

From the above remarks and two failed Russian/Minsk Group arranged ceasefire, Aliyev is unwilling to compromise on his aims in NK.

With support from Turkey, including Erdogan’s willingness to send troops if asked, Aliyev rejects diplomacy while sending his foreign minister to discuss ceasefire with his Russian, French and US counterparts.

According to the Asia Times, Erdogan’s support for Azerbaijan is driven by energy interests in competition with Russia.

An unnamed Erdogan advisor said “Russia is neither an ally, nor an enemy, but we can’t negotiate if we are too dependent on them, especially when it comes to energy.”

“We have vital interests to protect,” including two pipelines from Azerbaijan to Europe, one for oil, the other for gas.

One runs close to NK, the other near northern Armenia, the unnamed advisor close to Erdogan adding:

“We can’t afford losing our sight on what’s going on around our pipelines in the Caucasus, especially in the Tavush region, where there have been several clashes (with Armenia) over the last years.”

The so-called BTC oil pipeline is owned by Azerbaijan, Turkey, and Britain’s BP.

The South Caucasus Pipeline runs from Azerbaijan’s Caspian Sea field to Turkey, and Georgia — soon as well to Italy, Greece and Bulgaria.

Earlier in October, Erdogan accused Armenia of endangering supplies of energy to Turkey and other European countries.

Oil and gas pipelines from Azerbaijan to Europe are only endangered by its preemptive war on Armenia in NK.

No danger would exist if conflict resolution ended weeks of fighting.

Russia also supplies gas to Turkey through Turkstream 1.

Turkstream 2 is under construction, completion expected around yearend.

Azerbaijan will compete with Russia for the European natural gas market.

Moscow prioritizes cooperation with other nations, confrontation with none.

Turkey’s Erdogan prioritizes the advancement of his neo-Ottoman interests.

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Award-winning author Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net. He is a Research Associate of the Centre for Research on Globalization (CRG)

His new book as editor and contributor is titled “Flashpoint in Ukraine: US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III.”

http://www.claritypress.com/LendmanIII.html

Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com.The original source of this article is Global ResearchCopyright © Stephen Lendman, Global Research, 2020

FOURTH NIGHT OF VIOLENCE IN WISCONSIN, POLICE OFFICER WHO KILLED JACOB BLAKE IDENTIFIED

South Front

27.08.2020 

Fourth Night Of Violence In Wisconsin, Police Officer Who Killed Jacob Blake Identified

On August 26th, residents took to the streets for a fourth night of violence-filled riots.

Authorities identified the police officer who shot Jacob Blake, whose killing led to the riots.

The Department of Justice also announced several other details, including that Blake had a knife and that officers first used a stun gun on him.

A video showing an alternative angle was also published online.

Video

According to the Department of Justice statement police officers attempted to arrest Jacob Blake, but without saying what the reason is.

Officers attempted to stun Blake, “however the taser was not successful in stopping” him, according to the statement.

The officer who shot Blake was identified as Rusten Sheskey, who has been with the Kenosha Police Department for seven years. He fired seven shots, and was the only officer to fire his weapon, the DOJ said.

According to the Wisconsin Department of Justice Division of Criminal Investigation, which is leading the probe into the incident, officers initially responded to the scene after a woman called to report that her boyfriend was at her home but “was not supposed to be” there.

On August 26th, at least three people were shot during the protests overnight in Kenosha, some 40 miles south of Milwaukee, and two of the victims died from their injuries, according to the Kenosha Police Department.

The third gunshot victim was taken to a hospital with “serious, but non-life-threatening injuries,” police said.

Due to the violence, US President Donald Trump and Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers mobilized additional members of the National Guard to Kenosha.

Cellphone video from the protest on August 25th protests showed a white man armed with what appeared to be a semiautomatic rifle running past police and being chased by demonstrators. The footage showed the man trip and fall and appear to open fire on demonstrators. He then is seen running away.

The alleged gunman surrendered himself to police in Antioch, Illinois, in the “pre-dawn hours” on August 26th.

He was identified as 17-year-old Kyle Rittenhouse and was arrested based on a warrant issued by Kenosha County authorities charging him with first-degree intentional homicide, police said.

He was also being held on a charge of “fugitive from justice,” for purposes of extradition to Wisconsin, at the Lake County Juvenile Detention Center in Vernon Hills, Illinois, authorities said.

Tony Evers gave a press conference calling on citizens to cease the violence.

Exactly two months earlier, on June 26th, US Senator Tim Carpenter was assaulted by protesters in Wisconsin for attempting to film them.

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VIOLENCE AND INSANITY: UNITED STATES EVERYDAY LIFE IN 2020

Violence And Insanity: United States Everyday Life In 2020

South Front

On August 21st, 31-year-old Trayford Pellerin, a black man, died after being shot 11 times by police officers in Lafayette, Louisiana.

Lafayette Police Department officers responded to a disturbance call, involving a man with a knife at a Shell gas station around 8 PM local time on August 21st.

When they tried to apprehend the suspect, identified as 31-year-old Trayford Pellerin, he allegedly ignored repeated orders to surrender as well as several taser shots fired at him.

He simply kept walking, with his back turned to police, while carrying a knife and attempted to enter the gas station’s store.

Around a dozen shots can be heard in the video above, sparking accusations of excessive use of force. Authorities argued that tasers were “ineffective” and failed to stop the suspect, and that he was still armed when he tried to enter the store with people inside.

On August 22nd, violent protests erupted in Lafayette. Protesters blocked traffic as they gathered on Moss Street in Lafayette near a police precinct to protest Pellerin’s death.

Police in riot gear gave a 10-minute warning before releasing flares and smoke canisters into the crowd of protesters, KATC reported.

Afterward, Interim Lafayette Police Chief Scott Morgan said that there were two groups of protesters – those who organized an event earlier in the day and those who he said “choose to be malicious.”

He said people blocked important roadways and started several fires in a grass area, and police observed some throwing fireworks into one of their buildings.

“Our intent is not going to be to just let people disrupt our town and put our citizens and our motorists and our neighborhood in danger. We’re going to use those resources that we have and those other agencies and we’re going to enforce these laws,” he said.

Lafayette Parish Sheriff Mark Garber issued a stern warning to “out-of-town agitators,” a trope sometimes used to try to undermine protest movements.

“If any out-of-town agitators are watching this, if anyone’s planning to enhance their techniques tomorrow or the next day, we are ready for you,” he said. “We are prepared. We will not willingly give up the city. You will have to go through every resource that I have and every resource that the police have in order to do harm to the citizens or to their property.”

“Once again, video footage has captured a horrific and deadly incident of police violence against a Black person who was brutally killed in front of our eyes,” Alanah Odoms Hebert, executive director of the ACLU of Louisiana, said in a statement.

Hebert said the shooting was an “inappropriate and excessive use of force” by the police.

“None of our communities are safe when the police can murder people with impunity or when routine encounters escalate into deadly shooting sprees,” Hebert said. “The ACLU of Louisiana will continue to demand justice for this brutal killing and push for reforms that will end the epidemic of police violence once and for all.”

Meanwhile, the trial against Derek Chauvin, who killed George Floyd on May 25th, is about to begin.

The police’s version of events is that George Floyd was intoxicated in some way, and that the use of force was needed. The general trend in cases such as this in the US when a police officer is accused of excessive brutality, is that the officer gets acquitted and it is done.

In other news of everyday American life, a black man from Bronx knocked the jaw out of a 17-year-old Pennsylvania park employee for asking him to wear a mask.

One of the BLM protesters hit a raccoon twice, then pulled out a baseball bat and beat him to death. The death of the raccoon was posted on social networks and was accompanied by an inscription that only white people care about the protection of animals.

Separately, a black man shot a 5-year-old white neighbor’s boy for driving his bicycle onto his lawn.

The news was not discussed in the American press, and if it was mentioned, instead of a photograph of the real killer, a photograph of his father was published.

News such as this are daily, this is currently considered “social activism” because it is being carried out by the correct group of people, otherwise, it would obviously be a crime.

Finally, Netflix has took it upon itself to also promote some questionable content.

For example, the French “coming-of-age comedy-drama film” Cuties. The main plot detail of the movie is pre-teenage girls twerking on camera. This is the synopsis of the film:

“Eleven-year-old immigrant girl Amy, originally hailing from Senegal, lives with her mother Mariam (Maïmouna Gueye) in one of Paris’s poorest neighbourhoods in an apartment along with her two younger brothers awaiting for her father to rejoin the family from Senegal. Things turn swiftly as Amy is fascinated by her disobedient neighbour Angelica’s twerking clique called Cuties, an adult-style dance troupe which has contrasting fortunes and characteristics to Mariam’s traditional customs, values and traditions.”

Another piece of content by Netflix is show AJ And the Queen, which features a 10-year-old transgender child, who fellow transgender actors joked about being a “top” or the person doing the penetrating in a homosexual relationship.

In the show, the child, who is the 10-year-old daughter of a drug-addicted prostitute, says she wants to be a boy “because people leave boys alone.” Netflix argued that the film was chosen by the fact that it received a prize at the festival Sundance, the founder of which, by coincidence, is also in prison for pedophilia.

Finally, the Democratic National Convention featured a convicted kidnapper and murderer – Donna Hylton.

On March 20, 1985, Donna Hylton and three female accomplices drugged and kidnapped 62-year-old Long Island real estate broker Thomas Vigliarolo at the behest of Louis Miranda, who thought Vigliarolo had cheated him out of $139,000 on a mutual con, in which the two allegedly sold shares in New York City condos and pocketed the money.

The kidnappers held Vigliarolo prisoner for 15–20 days. During that time, three men and four women, including Hylton, starved, burned, beat, sexually assaulted, raped, and tortured him. On April 5, 1985, with Hylton asleep in the next room, Vigliarolo died of asphyxiation. Three days later, his body was found locked in a trunk in a Manhattan apartment.

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هل قطار الشرّ الأمريكي قابل للإيقاف

نضال حمد – رئيس تحرير موقع الصفصاف

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تابعت مشاهدة الاحتجاجات في الولايات المتحدة الأمريكية على اثر قيام شرطي عنصري أبيض بقتل شاب ( زنجي) خنقاً. فتذكرت أحداث فيلم (غير قابل للإيقاف) التي تتحدث عن قطار مسرع خرج عن السيطرة، في حين يحاول بطلا الفيلم فرانك بارنز (دنزل واشنطن) و ويل كولسون (كريس باين) إيقافه. بعد مغامرة شاقة يستطيع البطلان (الزنجي) و(الأبيض) إيقافه بنجاح.

 لقد عالجت السينما الأمريكية قضية العنصرية والرق والتمييز في عديد من أفلامها الشهيرة والتي تعد بعضها من روائع السينما ونالت شهرة واسعة، لكن على ما يبدو انها لم تساعد السياسيين في أمريكا على التخلص من العنصرية والتمييز والجشع الرأسمالي الامبريالي. وبمناسبة الحديث عن الافلام المذكورة يمكن ذكر الأحداث الشهيرة في أمريكا التي اندلعت على اثر ادعاء زوجين في  16 تموز 1949 إنهما تعرّضا لهجوم من قبل أربعة شبان من أصل إفريقي في غروفلاند. حيث اسفر الهجوم بحسب ادعائهم عن اغتصاب الفتاة نورما بادجيت التي كانت آنذاك تبلغ من العمر 17 عاماً. كان حادثا مروعا ومن أكثر الحوادث الدامية بين (البيض) و(السود). تم تعذيب أحد المتهمين( الزنوج) حتى الموت ووجدت في جسده اثار 400 رصاصة. بعد 70 عاماً تمت تبرئة المتهمين وأفادت المحكمة أن كل ما نسب إليهم من تهم كان باطلاً. كما تبين أن القصة برمتها كانت قضية عنصرية، من تأليف قائد شرطة المدينة ويليس ماكال، الذي كان من أشد العنصريين.

 تنص المادة الأولى من الإعلان العالمي لحقوق الإنسان على أن “جميع الناس يولدون أحرارًا ومتساوين في الكرامة والحقوق”. منذ 1949 بدأ العالم الاحتفال في 2 ديسمبر بـ”اليوم العالمي لإلغاء الرق”، الذي يهدف إلى القضاء على كل أشكال الرق والعنصرية، حيث أقرته اتفاقية الأمم المتحدة. لكن قطار الاستعباد والاستعمار الأمريكي والغربي استمر بأساليب أخرى حديثة ومتطورة.

 بعد انتهاء فترة الرئيس الأمريكي الافريقي الأصل بارك أوباما انتخبت أمريكا رئيسا عنصريا وتاجرا جشعا يدعى دونالد ترامب. لا يخفي عنصريته وعجرفته حتى ضد حلفاء الولايات المتحدة. إذ يتعامل معهم بعقلية التاجر البلطجي وزعيم المافيا. لغاية الآن يرفض توجيه خطاب للشعب الأمريكي حول الأحداث العاصفة التي تدور في المدن الأمريكية. لقد دمر المتظاهرون نصبا تذكارية عديدة منها لجورج واشنطن مؤسس أمريكا ولكرستوفر كولومبس مكتشف أمريكا. وكلاهما عنصريين دمويين ساهما في ابادة الهنود الحمر سكان البلد الأصليين.

عرفت أمريكا أبشع أنواع الرق والعبودية في التاريخ البشري الحديث، فبعد ابادة السكان الأصليين الهنود تم استعباد (السود). حيث جُلب الأفارقة لاستعبادهم بشكل همجي لا مثيل له.  سيبقى هذا العمل الاجرامي اللاانساني وصمة عار تقبح وجه أمريكا حتى الأبد..

إن اظهار الأمر وكأن هناك  مساواة فعلاً بين السكان في الولايات المتحدة لا ينطلي على أحد. إذ لازالت هناك فوارق كبيرة بين الجانبين في كل مجالات الحياة. حتى أن وباء كورنا حصد الكثير من (السود) بسبب الاهمال وانعدام الرعاية من قبل الدولة. كما يدل التعامل العنصري للشرطة الأمريكية مع (السود) على مر السنين وحتى حادثة قتل جورج فلوريد مؤخراً على استعداد النظام الرأسمالي العنصري لقتلهم بكافة الأساليب وبدون الشعور بالذنب أو الرجوع للعدالة وللقوانين.

 ليس أسهل من أن يكذب الانسان حين يصف الولايات المتحدة الأمريكية بحامية وضامنة العدالة والديمقراطية والسلام في العالم. تلك الكذبة وجدت لها مكانة كبيرة وسط شعوب أوروبا الشرقية بالذات، حيث كانت تحكم أنظمة حكم شمولية، ساهمت في تكريه الشعوب تلك بالشيوعية والاشتراكية وفي انجرارها وراء الدعاية الامبريالية والرأسمالي. يبدو أن تلك الشعوب ستنتظر طويلا حتى تعرف أن نظام الارهاب والعنصرية الأمريكي أسوأ بكثير من النظام الشمولي الذي قمعها سواء عبر منع الناس من التملك والحركة وحتى اقتناء أبسط الأشياء مثل جواز السفر والسيارة.

 على كل حال موضوعنا الآن عن العنصرية والاستعباد والتمييز والظلم في أمريكا، حيث منذ تأسيس الامبراطورية الأمريكية على عظام وفوق جماجم سكانها الأصليين من الهنود الحمر، الذين أبيدت غالبيتهم العظمى أما بالأوبئة أو رميا بالرصاص من الرشاشات الثقيلة. كل تلك المذابح وعمليات الإبادة تمت على أيدي الغزاة والمستعمرين البيض القادمين من أوروبا وممالكها آنذاك للعثور على أرض الميعاد، لكنها الأرض التي لم تكن لهم ولم يفكر شعبها يوما ما بميعاد مع الغزاة المجرمين حيث كانت  ابادته ونهايته. ميعاد مع الإرهابي والسفاح الأول كولومبوس وصولا الى جورج واشنطن وتباعا حتى يومنا هذا حيث يحكم رئيس عنصري وشخص استعلائي، تاجر رأسمالي اسمه ترامب، يعادي البشرية والحضارة العالمية.

 أمريكا أرض الميعاد” لشعب الله المختار” أي لمن اعتبروا أنفسهم كما اليهود الصهاينة المحتلين في فلسطين شعبا بلا أرض استطاع أن يؤسس وطنا للشعب  المختار. تأسست أمريكا في البدء بالدم والحديد والنار، عبر مجموعات من المجرمين وقطاع الطرق الذين وصلوا الى أرض الهنود الحمر. وبنفس الطريقة تأسس الكيان الصهيوني في فلسطين المحتلة، الذي حظي ولازال يحظى بكل الدعم الأمريكي والغربي. لأنه يمثل قاعدة متقدمة للاستعمار العالمي الرأسمالي الامبريالي في بلادنا. نفس هؤلاء عندما تمكنوا من ابادة الهنود أخذوا يبحثون عن (الزنوج) الأفارقة حيث تمت عمليات اختطافهم من بلدانهم الأصلية وجلبهم للخدمة والعمل كعبيد لدى السادة البيض حيث تم اضطهادهم على مدار سنوات طويلة.

على كل حال الهبة الشعبية الأمريكية ضد الجريمة والعنصرية لن تنجح بدون ايجاد قيادة تمثلها وتعد لها برنامج عمل واضح للتغيير وتحقيق مطالبها والاطاحة بالادارة الأمريكية الحالية، ثم العمل على تغيير النظام الأمريكي الراسمالي الى نظام انساني وديمقراطي حقيقي وغير عنصري.

Bahrain: A Police State Built on Intimidation and Torture

Source

By Sondos al-Assad

Bahrain: A Police State Built on Intimidation and Torture

Welcome to Bahrain, the cemetery of the living, the home of chambers of death, the kingdom of widespread impunity, police brutality, extrajudicial killings and repression.

Welcome to Bahrain, where the most gruesome arts of torture are heinously and systematically practiced by the security services, including the use of electro-shock devices, forced standing techniques, suspension in painful positions [while handcuffed and exposed to extreme cold or hot temperature], medical negligence, beatings, threats of rape or murder and sexual abuse, etc. in order to inflict permanent suffering on the peaceful prisoners of conscience.

Indeed, little has been done to bring justice to those who perpetrated acts of violence and torture against peaceful demonstrators, despite the BICI’s recommendations to persecute those responsible for torture. The Bahrain Independent Commission of Inquiry [BICI] was established, in July 2011, allegedly charged with investigating allegations of human rights abuses in connection with the government’s suppression of pro-democracy demonstrations.

”All persons charged with offences involving political expression, not consisting of advocacy of violence, have their convictions reviewed and sentences commuted or, as the case may be, outstanding charges against them dropped,” the BICI’s report recommended.

The authorities; however, have spared no efforts to investigate and prosecute security personnel and high-ranking officials who have involved in or administrated torture. Those include, for instance, Prince Nasser bin Hamad Al Khalifa, Lt. Col. Mubarak Abdullah Bin Huwayl and Lt. Shaika Nura Al Khalifa, who were acquitted on all counts.

Prince Nasser, aka the Torture Prince of Bahrain, is the king’s son of the King, has tortured activists during the 2011 pro-democracy protests. Due to his immunity and the prevailing culture of impunity within the country, he has not been held accountable and continues to receive promotions and rewards rather than being imprisoned.

Bahrain’s security services have repeatedly resorted to torture for the apparent purpose of extracting confessions from human rights activists and political detainees. For instance, Maryam Al-Bardouli, Commander of the Isa Town Prison, has also assaulted many female political prisoners especial Zakia al Barbouri, the only remaining female prisoner of conscience.

Lawyer and legal adviser to SALAM human right organization Ibrahim Serhan recounts the severe torture he was subjected to in 2017, describing how he was stripped naked in front of other inmates as officials threatened to sexually torture him, a crime that frequently takes place during interrogation in Bahrain. This practice continues to take; however, many remain silent as they fear retribution or to be stigmatised.

Activists maintain that the international community and in particular the UK have played a central role in covering up torture in Bahrain. The University of Huddersfield, a UK-backed institution, enjoys a suspected multi-million-pound training contract with Bahrain’s Royal Academy of Policing, a notorious hub of torture

Protests And A Prognosis

 Posted by Lawrence Davidson

Author - American Herald Tribune

Part I—A Dangerous Dichotomy

If we go with the United States’ own picture of itself as a constitutional democracy that aims to guarantee citizens equal rights under law, how are we to interpret President Donald Trump’s reported desire to use ten thousand active duty troops to “dominate the streets” and quell largely peaceful protests against racist police behavior? A reasonable interpretation of President Trump’s attitude, and that of his supporters as well, is that they seek to prioritize the political and cultural desires of a largely racist subgroup of whites over the constitutional rights of citizens in general. This sets up a very dangerous dichotomy that constitutes a danger to the country’s democracy—at least as defined above.  

It should be kept in mind that the right-wing side of this dichotomy, and its challenge to a democracy based on a liberal interpretation of the Constitution has always been with us. Considering just the 20th and 21st centuries, figures such as Woodrow Wilson and his consistently racist use of power both prior to and during World War I; J. Edgar Hoover and his rights-defying use of the FBI; Joseph McCarthy and his pernicious use of anti-Communism; George W. Bush and his initiation of war on false premises; and now the clearly autocratic aspirations of Donald Trump. Such “leaders” have ruined countless lives while eroding the constitutional basis of equal rights.

Part II—The Bureaucratic Factor 

Why has the Constitution proven so fragile in this regard? One reason is the autocratic nature of bureaucracies. All these men wielded power through bureaucracies, and their power was magnified by such institutions. Bureaucracies are top-down affairs, and so those operating within them are expected to, and almost always do, follow the orders of their superiors. For instance, the President of the United States is also “Commander-in-Chief” of the armed forces—which in turn are themselves top-down bureaucracies. When, in early June, Commander-in-Chief Donald Trump demanded ten thousand active duty soldiers for deployment onto the streets of America, none of them could be expected to pull out a copy of the U.S. Constitution and fact-check the legitimacy of the orders issued. Nor were they expected to take seriously their induction oaths to “defend” the integrity of that same document. They were expected to readily follow their orders regardless of constitutional limits. Thus, all things being equal, President Trump should have gotten what he asked for. We are very fortunate that at that moment all things were not equal—a factor is to be considered below. 

If the regular army had hit the streets in June of 2020, they would have done so in order to suppress largely peaceful protests over the lack of equal rights and lack of legal treatment under the law. Indeed, in Washington, D.C.—the only place Trump’s order was partially followed—active-duty military police and the D.C. National Guard did act side-by-side against peacefully demonstrating citizens. Elsewhere, the National Guard called up by governors abetted the police in “riot control,” during which almost no distinction was made between looters and peaceful demonstrators. A few National Guard troops have subsequently expressed regrets over their participation.

The typical police force is also a bureaucracy with its own institutional culture that in many ways mimics the military. Most (there often proves to be a small number of exceptions) of those in the ranks are going to follow the orders of whomever they recognize as having authority. Quite frankly, there is a strong tendency over time for the police, particularly those assigned to minority neighborhoods, to forget all about the U.S. Constitution, its Bill of Rights, and other niceties of law, and slip into a fraternal (often white supremacist) culture which sets them apart from those they are “policing.” They are then easily used as an arm of establishment power. That certainly was the expectation of President Trump and many of the nation’s chiefs of police.  

Part III—All Was Not Equal

At this point we can ask, What were the demonstrators protesting? Specifically, thousands of citizens across the country were protesting the behavior of the police, who had long been brutalizing African American and other minority group citizens in the name of law enforcement. Most of the demonstrators understood their cause within the context of both human and U.S. Constitutional rights of citizens to live in a community where the law serves the cause of equitable justice. “No justice, no peace.”

The nation was fortunate that most of the protesters understood rights in this way. That understanding allowed them, in their great numbers (less a relatively small number of both black and white looters), to quite literally save American democracy. They did so by demanding that those who had authority confront one of the autocratic threats of our day—racist police forces, the brutality of which was captured repeatedly on video. The demonstrators used that evidence to force the issue, and this, in turn, caused the bureaucrats to eventually stop acting in a knee-jerk fashion. Thus, city councils, mayors, governors and even military officials had to choose between oppression (which included, in this case, following Trump’s order that they “dominate the streets) and the Constitution. Choosing oppression would have resulted in two things: erosion of the constitutionally sanctioned rule of law and the burning of cities across the land. No one, except perhaps Donald Trump and his white racist base, wanted either of those two consequences. So the notion that “without the right to protest, there can be no [liberal] democracy” was upheld, and that made the protesters “the nation’s true patriots.”

Part IV—Will the Changes Last?

According to a recent piece in the HuffPost, the demands of the protesters for a just and safe America are being heeded. As proof, the article notes the following:

—Police officers are being held accountable for brutal behavior.

—Some police departments are reforming police practices.

—Monuments to racist and hardline historical figures are coming down.

—Technology companies are halting cooperation with police departments when it comes to facial recognition techniques. 

—Finally, there has been a shift in public opinion: Americans “support the anti-racism protests by a 2 to 1 margin.”

 All this is for the better, but will it last? Barack Obama has compared the present protests to those of the civil rights movement of the 1950s and 1960s. He believes that they have brought about a similar “sea change” or profound transformation. Is that actually the case?

It should be recalled that the earlier civil rights protests led to a series of changes in law and, ultimately, the Civil Rights Act of 1964, that banned discrimination in the public realm. These changes smoothed the way for other legislation expanding rights to people with disabilities, to homosexuals, lesbians and transgender folks, and to others. However, and quite significantly, these events triggered a culture war that focused white resentment and resistance within conservative political and fundamentalist religious movements. Among their unofficial institutional allies were and are some of the nation’s police forces. The racism, now exhibited by today’s Republican Party and its leader, President Donald Trump, as well as modern episodes of police brutality toward African Americans, should be understood within the context of that on-going culture war.

Looking at things this way, we can ask if the progressive response to today’s protests is best described as a “sea change” or a continuing, albeit important, chapter in what is still a very long-term struggle? As one activist and organizer, Sajari Simmons, realizes this is certainly not the end of the struggle for justice. Referring to the protests, she noted that “This is not just it. This is just one component,” she said. “There’s a lot more that we can do to help impact and educate and support.”

Part V—Conclusion

The American political system is lobby based. If the average citizen is important, it is only to be rallied at election time. However, if they are organized into politically potent interest groups, those citizens can have a long-term impact. To ultimately win the culture war, today’s protesters must be somehow united into a standing movement capable of “educating and supporting” their cause at local, state and national levels over the long run. 

Lest we forget, the enemies of a liberal, non-discriminatory interpretation of the Constitution are still out there and they have power. President Trump and his minions are still in place, as are millions of racist voters. Their political power must be broken at the polls, in the courts, and through a multigenerational process of reeducation. In working toward these goals, demonstrations are necessary, but not sufficient. Without a competently led and lasting movement, police brutality will come back, and “ten thousand soldiers” might, someday, really “dominate the streets.”

About Lawrence Davidson

Lawrence Davidson is professor of history emeritus at West Chester University in Pennsylvania. He has been publishing his analyses of topics in U.S. domestic and foreign policy, international and humanitarian law and Israel/Zionist practices and policies since 2010.

U.S. Supreme Court Reaffirms U.S. Police State

Source

U.S. Supreme Court Reaffirms U.S. Police State

JUNE 20, 2020

by Eric Zuesse for The Saker Blog

On June 15th, the U.S. Supreme Court, with only the libertarian right-wing (basically anti-government) Clarence Thomas dissenting — reaffirmed that America’s law-enforcement officers have “qualified immunity” from prosecution when they do things such as to shoot an innocent person in his own yard whose unthreatening pet dog is seeking his protection from an officer who is trying to shoot it; or, as the libertarian lawyer Jay Schweikert put this matter: “the Supreme Court let stand an Eleventh Circuit decision granting immunity to a police officer who shot a ten-year-old child in the back of the knee, while repeatedly attempting to shoot a pet dog that wasn’t threatening anyone.” The officer was Deputy Sheriff Michael Vickers, of Coffee County, Georgia. He had been chasing a suspect, who happened to cross into the yard of Amy Corbitt, who at that time happened to be chatting with another adult, Damion Stewart. One of her children was referred to in the case as “SDC.” Here is how the lower court ruling stated the incident:

At some point after Vickers and the other officers entered Corbitt’s yard, the officers “demanded all persons in the area, including the children, to get down on the ground.” An officer handcuffed Stewart and placed a gun at his back. …  Then, “while the children were lying on the ground obeying [Vickers’s] orders … without necessity or any immediate threat or cause, [Vickers] discharged his firearm at the family pet named ‘Bruce’ twice.” The first shot missed, and Bruce (a dog) temporarily retreated under Corbitt’s home. No other efforts were made to restrain or subdue the dog, and no one appeared threatened by him. Eight or ten seconds after Vickers fired the first shot, the dog reappeared and was “approaching his owners,” when Vickers fired a second shot at the dog. This shot also missed the dog, but the bullet struck SDC in the back of his right knee. At the time of the shot, SDC was “readily viewable” and resting “approximately eighteen inches from Vickers, lying on the ground, face down, pursuant to the orders of [Vickers].” Barnett (the fleeing suspect) “was visibly unarmed and readily compliant” with officers. According to the complaint, “[a]t no time did SDC, or any other children … present any threat or danger to provoke … Vickers to fire two shots.” Importantly, the parties do not dispute that Vickers intended to shoot the dog and not SDCCorbitt, individually and as SDC’s parent and guardian, brought a civil action against Vickers in his individual capacity pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. The complaint alleged deprivations of the right to be free from excessive force as guaranteed by the Fourth and Fourteenth Amendments to the United States Constitution. … In response, Vickers filed a motion to dismiss pursuant to Rule 12(b)(6). He asserted that he was entitled to qualified immunity because case law had not staked out a “bright line” indicating that the act of firing at the dog and unintentionally shooting SDC was unlawful.

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled for Deputy Sheriff Michael Vickers. The case against Vickers was one of many such, throughout the country, and the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling dismissed all of them for the same reason. Here is how the Rutherford Institute, which backed all of these cases against the officers, phrased the officers’ argument in one of these cases:

Qualified immunity shielded the defendants’ actions from liability because Petitioner could not point to any factually identical case clearly establishing that law enforcement officials exceeded the scope of Petitioner’s consent to enter her home when they essentially destroyed her home. That reasoning sets an impossible standard. Because courts are free to advance to the ‘clearly established’ prong of the qualified immunity inquiry without first deciding threshold constitutional questions, it is unlikely that a body of case law with closely analogous factual circumstances will ever develop.

In other words: the U.S. Supreme Court ruled 8 to 1 that unless Congress will pass a new law which will specifically apply the 4th and the 14th Amendments so as to enable prosecution of law-enforcement officers who do the specific listed sorts of things that unequivocally are identified in those new statutes as being prohibited under those Amendments, America’s law-enforcement officers are free to continue doing these sorts of things and to avoid any sort of legal liability for having done them.

Attorney Schweikert headlined on June 15th “The Supreme Court’s Dereliction of Duty on Qualified Immunity”, and wrote about the Court’s ruling:

It’s impossible to know for sure what motivated the Court to deny all of these petitions. But one possibility is that the Justices were looking closely at developments in Congress — where members of both the House and the Senate have introduced bills that would abolish qualified immunity — and decided to duck the question, hoping to pressure Congress to fix the Court’s mess. It is certainly encouraging that so many legislators have finally turned their attention to qualified immunity. But the mere fact that Congress can fix this mess doesn’t absolve the Supreme Court of its obligation to fix what it broke — the Court conjured qualified immunity out of nothing in the first place, and the Justices had both the authority and responsibility to correct their own blunders, no matter what happens in the legislature.

Qualified immunity will go down in history as one of the Supreme Court’s most egregious, costly, and embarrassing mistakes. None of the Justices on the Court today were responsible for creating this doctrine, but they all had a responsibility to fix it — and except for Justice Thomas, they all shirked that responsibility. It is now all the more urgent that Congress move forward on this issue and ensure that all public officials — especially members of law enforcement — are held accountable for their misconduct.

However, Schweikert contradicts himself there, because he simultaneously acknowledges that qualified immunity was concocted by the Court and not imposed into the law by the Congress and signed into the law by the President. So, there is disingenousness in Schweikert’s proposed ‘solution’. An evil that is introduced by the U.S. Supreme Court cannot be eliminated by the U.S. Congress and a good President. Nor can it be eliminated by successfully going through the lengthy and arduous process of passing a new Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. No matter what types of actions by law-enforcement officers would be specifically listed in any such new law or new Constitutional Amendment, it would fail. An arbitrary, basically evil, U.S. Supreme Court will always be able to place its imprimatur upon and validate new rationalizations for the police-state that they have been constructing in this country, especially after 9/11. Congress and the President can’t fix this, they can’t fix a problem that they didn’t themselves create, but Congress and the President can condemn and shame the Court — which they never do. Better yet, they can impeach all of the sitting ‘Justices’ and replace them with decent people. But each of this Court’s members was placed there by the Congresses, and by the Presidents. It’s an extremely vicious circle, and no part of it can fix other parts of it.

This isn’t a failure ONLY by the U.S. Supreme Court. It is instead an expression of the American system as it now exists, and which failure renders the U.S. Constitution itself almost meaningless, especially as regards the rights of the people and the obligations of federal officials at all levels in the government. There is no accountability; there is only blame. And, as in any authoritarian system, all blame goes downward, and all praise goes upward. That’s the reality. The U.S. Constitution is by now just a string of words. America’s Founders are dead, gone, and no longer really even an influence. That’s the reality. Pretending otherwise won’t fix anything. Drastic changes are needed. And the American public has proven itself not up to the challenge, still refuses to face the reality. This is system-failure. And the public refuses to face it.

The corruption is beyond control, and the public ends up paying for all of it. People such as Amy Corbitt and her son “SBC” are mere collateral damages in such a system. The beneficiaries from the system run the system. The least that the public can do is to call it a “dictatorship” instead of a “democracy.” The most that the public can do is overthrow it and replace it with one that has the same Constitution and none of the existing case-law, and that adds a few Amendments, such as this. Also essential would be an entirely new and more rigorous methodology for interpreting the Constitution. There is no existing rigorous methodology for Constitutional interpretation. The present chaos in that regard is virtually inviting the degeneration and predominant corruption that currently exist. Especially after World War II, the U.S. Supreme Court has increasingly taken advantage of that chaos.

Currently, the phrase “American justice” is oxymoronic.

—————

Investigative historian Eric Zuesse is the author, most recently, of  They’re Not Even Close: The Democratic vs. Republican Economic Records, 1910-2010, and of  CHRIST’S VENTRILOQUISTS: The Event that Created Christianity.

Capitalism and Coercion: Crisis in the Legitimacy of the U.S. State

By Vince Montes

Global Research, June 11, 2020

The U.S. state appears to be facing a crisis of its legitimacy amid the Covid-19 pandemic and lockdown. The killing of George Floyd, yet another unarmed black man killed by the police, has erupted into popular protest. It is quite possible that the disruption to the routinization of life due to the lockdown to prevent the spread of the Covid-19 virus may very well have been a factor in creating the conditions for many to form a collective conscious, which translated in the outpour of protest against the racial policing policies in the U.S. and in generating the broad support it is currently receiving.

This crisis in legitimacy appears to be aided by many conditions. With millions displaced from work, people may have had a moment in which they did not blame themselves, their neighbors, or God for their troubles. Instead, people may have looked at the structure of society, as they did in the 1930s and the 1960s. Their outrage transformed into protest and rebellion. We should also consider how there is a significant disruption to the full consumption habits. Furthermore, distractions from the culture industry of Hollywood (Marcuse 1963; Horkheimer et al. 2002) and the interruption in spectator sports (as an opium of the masses, Eitzen et al. 2012) may have possibly played a role in getting people to think and act more critically about the world in which they live.

The U.S.’ political order is not solely based on coercion, but based on a multitude of coercive and facilitative measures that seek to co-opt and manufacture consent; thereby, making rebellion rare (Montes 2009; 2016). There is a crisis in the legitimacy of authority when large sections of the population lose trust in the government. The military, police, the courts, the political system (i.e., government) are all institutions of the U.S. state, so when people lose trust in the police, they have lost confidence in the U.S. state’s ability to govern.

The police are similar to the military because they are necessary arms of the state; they protect and maintain the continuation of the political order: a political order that is rooted in racial, class, and gender hierarchies. It is vital to understand that when a government, as is currently occurring in the U.S., can no longer manufacture enough consent to legitimize its authority, it resorts to increased use of state coercion (the U.S. state coercion is by no means dormant, not even in non-rebellious times). Thus, this is why the state has amassed the militarized-police, National Guard, and the military, as an axillary force across the United States to suppress the protest of the police killing of George Floyd. The U.S. state is reliant on physical violence, and repression has been essential in protecting and maintaining the continuity of the U.S. capitalist system.

The use of racism has been fundamental to the so-called “greatness” of the United States. This “greatness” long preceded the Trump administration and has been and continues to be hidden and a not so hidden hallmark of its economic “success.” One can argue that the very inception of the U.S. has been a nation-state engaged racist state-sponsored policies, as in the case of the genocidal policies against the indigenous peoples of North America and the system of slavery, de jure, and post facto racial segregation. This history also involves the usurpation of Mexican land in the southwest, the conquest and colonialization of Cuba, the Philippines, Puerto Rico, Hawaii, Guan, and Alaska, which all have required physical violence, leaving carnage and trauma in its wake. This physical violence does not always involve invasions and the suppression of insurgencies. Still, violence can be seen in the societies and neighborhoods of the oppressed, with high rates of unemployment, poverty, police brutality, and incarceration. Often, it is also turned inward in the form of collective and individual destruction (e.g., suicide, high rates of alcoholism, drug abuse, et cetera). The above is but an example of the imperialist side of capitalism. This is what Karl Marx meant when he said that capitalism comes into the world “dripping from head to foot, from every pore, with blood and dirt” (Marx 2017:639).

Coercion and Capitalism and the U.S. State

The U.S. capitalist-state does not only depend on its military to secure resources abroad and to expand its markets and influence, but it simultaneously needs endless pools of disciplined workers that are desperate enough to work for low wages. Now, maintaining a system where few benefit from the misery of the many requires a great deal of force and particular ideologies that can justify such a system. Such a system has no real commitment to eradicate poverty and racism. According to Chris Parenti (1999), what lies at the heart of the matter is a contradiction: capitalism needs the poor (i.e., surplus populations of laborers) and creates poverty. Yet, capitalism is also directly and indirectly threatened by the poor. It is the role of police, prisons, and the criminal justice system to manage this contradiction (Parenti 1999:238).

As the new crime control policies took hold in the aftermath of a very explosive period of protest and rebellion in the 1960s, incarceration rates by the mid-1970s began to peak (Parenti 1999; Wacquant 2005). According to Glenn Tonry, the architects of the so-called “war on drug” were aware that this war would be fought mainly in minority areas of U.S. urban cities, which would result in a disproportionate number of young blacks and Latinos incarcerated (Wacquant 2005:21).  For Wacquant, the ghetto was were much of the “war on drugs” policies were carried out; it is an institution based on closure and power, whereby a population is deemed dishonest and dangerous and is at once secluded and controlled (1998:143). Pamala Oliver, for example, state repression includes mass incarceration, because of the role that prisons played as repressive agents on black males in the U.S. during the Black Power Movement (2004). The extension of state repression beyond “subversives” suggests that the most oppressed not only can disrupt the system (e.g., there were over 300 urban rebellions in the 1960s) but can become revolutionary (Oliver 2004). Parenti (1999), Oliver (2004), and Wacquant (2005) suggest that crime control is a form of state repression.

The system of capitalism is a system based on private ownership and profit, and competition (read: in most cases, corporate-state monopolies). Wealth development is not socially owned; it is individually owned, and for this system to exist, it requires ideologies that can justify why rewards and prestige are so unequally distributed. Where does wealth come from? It comes from the exploitation of labor, and the usurpation of land and resources.

The origins of policing are said to be in England in 1829 when the British state concluded that “what was needed was a force that could both maintain political control and help produce a new economic order of industrial capitalism” (Vitale 2017:36). Therefore, the police role was to manage the disorder from capitalism and to protect the “propertied classes from the rabble” (Vitale 2017:36). This policing was also used to manage the British colonial occupation of Ireland, seen as an innovative way to control insurrections, riots, and political uprisings. For Alex S. Vitale, the police in the U.S. are intimately tied to the management of inequalities of race and class, suppressing workers and surveilling and managing black and brown people have always been at the center of policing (2017).  The role of policing in the U.S. is about the protection of private property, the suppression of rebellions, and putting down strikes and other industrial actions. It had also aided the system of slavery, the colonization of the Philippines, the repression of native populations in Texas, as a means for U.S. state expansion, and represses and neutralizes protest (Vitale 2017:40-50).

The present use of policing has maintained its original goal, which is to manage the surplus populations and contain the poor and racial minority communities whose labor is considered redundant due to automation, deindustrialization, and deregulation.  As Parenti stated, the “war on drugs” has been the trojan horse for these policies (1999:10).

The political neutrality of policing or state coercion has always been questioned. Charles Tilly’s research identified a link between coercion and legitimacy. He wrote that whatever else states do (e.g., the idea of the social contract), “they organize and, wherever possible, monopolize violence” (1985:171). For Tilly, state legitimacy is obtained over time because eventually “the personnel of states purveyed violence on a larger scale, more effectively, more efficiently, with wider assent from their subject populations, and with readier collaboration from neighboring authorities than did the personnel of other organizations” (1985:173). Consequently, states, in part, maintain power by legitimizing themselves by creating ideologies, which socializes individuals to the norms and values of the state. As Tilly makes clear, control over the physical forces of violence is fundamental to nation-state’s authority, and the fact that legitimacy depends on the conformity to abstract principles such as the consent of the governed only helps to rationalize the monopoly of force (1985:171). After all, for Tilly, it is through the concentration and accumulation of capital and coercion and successful inter-state war waging that the present nation-state emerged (1992).

Stephanie Kent and David Jacobs argue that a society based solely on coercion could not survive, not even the most authoritarian use coercion by itself, but is often mixed with other means (2004). Kent and Jacobs’ research provide examples that illustrate what occurs when police suddenly become paralyzed (e.g., on strike) and do not respond; the poor tend not to accept the conditions of inequality and would engage in redistribution of wealth. Robert Cover provides an excellent example of the state’s reliance on force by illustrating how “a convicted defendant may walk to a prolonged confinement, but this seemly voluntary walk is influenced by the use of force. In other words, if he does not walk on his own, he will most certainly be dragged or beaten” (in Green and Ward 2004:3). As pointed out above, coercion a crucial component for the establishment and continuation of the political order. Stability is problematic even in the most democratic societies because resource distribution is so unequal that only a few genuinely benefit and have access to freedom, rights, and security. It is undeniable that race continues to be a significant marker of a person’s social, economic status, as well as the degree in which one is targeted and entangled in the criminal justice system.

Unequal relations are maintained in the U.S. by there being over 12 million members of coercive forces -e.g., policing and military and billions of tax-payer’s dollars allocated to this mission. Coercive forces that range from the police, corrections, national security, to the military. They are conjoined in their various task in upholding domestic and foreign policies designed to maintain the status quo in the U.S. and U.S. hegemony around the globe. As a result, there are approximately 7 million individuals under correctional supervision in the U.S. alone and many populations around the world that live in wretched conditions so that the U.S. state can maintain its global dominance (Montes 2016).

The U.S. population consists of approximately 12% black and 15% Latino; however, some reports illustrate that these two groups represent about 60% of those incarcerated. In 2012, the incarceration rate per 100,000 was 2,841 for blacks, 1,158 for Latinos, and 463 for whites (Carson and Golinelli 2013). The rate of incarceration by race demonstrates racial disparity within the criminal justice system. The U.S. incarceration rate is the highest in the industrial world, but it is even higher when aggregating for race. Yet, Bruce Western illustrates that mass incarceration affects the poorest of blacks, which points to the class element (2006:26). In short, one can argue that mass incarceration involves the containment of the most marginalized, in which blacks, brown people, and Native Americans are disproportionately the poorest. The groups that have the most significant distance from wealth and privilege are perceived as the greatest threats to the political order. This theorizing explains racial profiling and how race is a marker for criminality. As a result, there is more reliance on the policing of the poor and racial minority communities. However, the type of crime that should be the focus is the state crimes of omission; this is when state’s failure to protect the rights and to serve the needs of all people within the territory of a particular nation-state; thereby, creating the conditions for non-state crime (Barak 2011: 35-48). Essentially, when these needs are not met, as mentioned above, they can create a breakdown in the legitimacy of state authority, which creates conditions favorable for protest and rebellion.

Crisis in Legitimacy 

Image on the right: George Floyd Mattered graffiti along 38th St in Minneapolis on Wednesday, after the death of George Floyd on Monday night in Minneapolis, Minnesota (Source: Flickr)

The explosion of widespread protest over the killing of George Floyd has become a flashpoint of anger for all the other unarmed black males killed by the police in the United States. For many of the protesters, this had been yet another senseless and unjustified murder. In which the police would once again not be held accountable. The impunity of law enforcement has long enraged black, Latino, Native Americans, and poor communities across the United States.

Just about every community of color and poor community in the U.S. has a list of victims of police brutality. This tension and frustration have been building up for some time, and more recently, with the high media profile cases of Eric Garder (2014), Michael Brown (2014), and Freddy Grey (2016). For many, this problem could no longer be dismissed. As a result of protest and rebellion, ordinary everyday people had to take notice of the repeated police killing of unarmed black youth and men. According to tracking by the Washington Post, half of the people shot and killed by police are white. However, blacks are shot at a disproportionate rate. They account for less than 13% of the U.S. population but are killed by police at more than twice the rate of whites. Police also kill Latinos at a disproportionate rate. Overall, the police kill more people at a higher rate in the U.S. than do police in similar industrial nations. The circumstances of these killings vary – e.g., from being unarmed to being armed to being in the commission of a crime to being a suspect and racially profiled. However, what appears consistent is that law enforcement is not be trusted to investigate themselves. In many cases, had it not been civilians using their phone cameras and/or protesters forcing an investigation, many people would have accepted the official police and political officials’ narrative. What has been bought to light by afflicted black and communities of color has been the systemic nature of police brutality and how it is not restricted to a few police officers or a few police departments.

The system was confronted with a crisis in its authority once the U.S. state and the corporate media could no longer dismiss the protest as just black protest from marginalized areas. The success of the Black Lives Matter Movement (BLM) kept the murder of black men and youth at the center of their organizing efforts. The BLM linked together, the spontaneous protests and rebellion of black and people of color communities when they experienced police brutality, propelling these injustices to national and international levels of attention. The multicultural outpour of support, which has included celebrities and professional athletes, has lent their support. One cannot overlook how suddenly everyone appears now to be antiracist. Nor can one deny how this moment seems to have opened up the opportunity for political opportunism, particularly within the duopoly political party system, and the corporate media. It is at these times that the political elite from both parties and the corporate media attempts to angle their messages in such a way as to restore trust in the political order while being semi-critical of it. When politicians and news anchors of the corporate media -e.g., verbally condemn the killing of George Floyd, but at the same time, uphold the status quo. This angling lends itself to discussions about better training in police procedures, the firing and convictions of the officers involved, more racial sensitivity trainings, and pleas to channel the outrage into voting Democrat. Unfortunately, this negates an understanding of the fundamental role policing plays in the U.S. state and its task in upholding an unequal society.

Also, the conflating the outrage of the killing of George Floyd with the protesters who are not “peaceful,” disobey curfew, and loot and burn is another way in which the state officials and corporate media presenters attempt to restore trust in the U.S. state. So, what is absent is a focus on how the various means of protest, civil disobedience, and the destruction and defacing of the property of corporations, the U.S. flag, and the police are symbols of what many perceive is the problem. The problem is the U.S. state and how it is increasingly not protecting the freedoms, safety, and economic wellbeing of all its people, but is protecting its own interests, which includes the interests of corporations, which are interlocking. And configured in this equation is policing and the military, ensuring that the particular political order is maintained.

Discrediting protesters as thugs, terrorists, or the orchestration of external forces such as Russia, and/or Antifa is to absolve the U.S. state of any culpability. Even in the pre-Covid-19 world, there were millions of people in the U.S. who have long lost trust in the system and felt alienated from the political process because they believed that politicians represent their own interests and those interests are allied with the continuation of the political order. As Emma Goldman, a famous anarchist, stated, “If voting changed anything, they’d make it illegal.” As mentioned above, the racialized and exploitative system has long preceded the Trump administration. In fact, the rise of the Occupy Movement in 2011 and the rise of the Black Lives Matter Movement in 2013 was because they had no confidence in the political establishment. There is a reason why these movements were grassroots organizations and struggle to remain as such because the political elite did not act on their behalf. For example, the Obama administration did not use executive orders to step in during the many instances of police killings and protests, such as in Ferguson.  Furthermore, these movements had no interest in being co-opted by the politics of the duopoly political party system.

This crisis in legitimacy can also be seen in how both parties supported the bailout of Wall Street during the Great Recession. Bailouts of corporations are also occurring currently, amid the Covid-19 pandemic. Both parties were responsible for “tough on crime” legislation, such as the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994 passed by the Clinton administration. This act, in part, is responsible for furthering mass incarceration and for creating more laws that target racial minorities. Both parties are also responsible for creating more economic insecurity for the poor and people of color by implementing neoliberal policies. The Republican Party and Democratic Party both partake in the gutting of the safety net programs. The Clinton administration – e.g., Welfare Reform Bill of 1996, the repeal of the Glass Stiegel Act in 1999, and NAFTA in 1994. Also, the Obama administration supported the bailout of Wall Street, single-payer health care over universal health care, and the 2014 Farm Bill (that included cuts to food stamps).

Both are different wings of the duopoly political parties, maintaining the status quo of the state. Glen Ford’s astute analysis of what he refers to as the “racist-capitalist state” has remained intact even when political officials are no longer white. For Glen Ford, Obama’s legacy can be seen as protecting corporate power and advancing the imperial agenda, while promoting the myth of a post-racial society (Hedges 2017). During the 1960s, various state strategies were deployed to diffuse urban rebellion, one of them was the incorporation of blacks and other people of color in law enforcement and political office such as mayors to provide the illusion of reform (Katz 2007). The point made is a very sociological one. If the U.S. state does not change from being a capitalist-imperial state and is reliant on coercion to maintain the political order, then no amount of selective incorporation or mimetic reforms (Katz 2007) will change the role of policing.

It is safe to say that this crisis in legitimacy involves the distrust in two wings of the duopoly system (i.e., the government) because the police are but an arm of the state. And this can be seen repeatedly with the endless protest and demonstrations in the streets. A real important indicator of how deep this crisis will be is if the police themselves, from the top brass and the rank and file, find it difficult to hide behind the blue wall of silence. If there is the realization that what separates the people is not the thin blue line or the military mindset of us vs. them, but between equality vs. inequality. Many employed in coercive occupations receive state-sponsored elevated honorific statuses and stable employment with high salaries during insecure economic times. Besides being highly bureaucratic organizations that instill particular self-fulfilling ideologies, the state and other agents of socialization, such as the corporate media and educational institutions, all extend great deference to this institution, making them a difficult group to win over.

*

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Vince Montesis a lecturer in sociology. Earned a Ph.D. at the Graduate Faculty of New School for Social Research.

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Hedges, Chris. 2017. “President Obama’s Legacy with Glen Ford.” On Contact. Jan. 22. Video, https://www.rt.com/shows/on-contact/374680-obama-wars-corporate-interests/

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Katz, Michael. 2007. “Why Aren’t U.S. Cities Burning?” Dissent, Summer.

Kent, Stephanie and David Jacobs. 2004. “Social Divisions and Coercive Control in Advanced Societies: Law Enforcement Strength in Eleven Nations from 1975 to 1994.” Social Problems, Vol. 51, No. 3: 343–361.

Loury, Glenn C. 2008. Race, Incarceration, and American Values. Cambridge, MA: Boston Review.

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Marx, Karl. 2017 [1867] Capital (Volume 1: A Critique of Political Economy). Digireads.com.

Montes, Vince. 2016. “Coercive Occupations as State Facilitation: Understanding U.S. State’s Strategy of Control.” Radical Criminology, Issue 6, fall, 71-129. (http://journal.radicalcriminology.org/index.php/rc/issue/view/6/showToc)

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Race, Incarceration, and American Values. Cambridge, MA.: Boston Review. The original source of this article is Global ResearchCopyright © Vince Montes, Global Research, 2020

The implications of declining U.S. leadership

By Mahmood Monshipouri

June 5, 2020 – 20:14

The Trump administration’s ongoing policy of withdrawal from international institutions—including the 2015 Iran nuclear deal, the 2016 Paris Climate Change Accord, the Open Skies Treaty, and now the World Health Organization (WHO) in the middle of the greatest global health crisis—demonstrates the declining U.S. leadership ever since the post-World War II order was created.  This latest move is made at a time when the world relies heavily on the WHO’s leadership to steer the COVID-19 pandemic response.  

While as recently as two months ago praising China in the hope of salvaging bilateral trade ties between the two countries, Trump has now turned against China and the WHO.  The latter has been instrumental in managing and treating the worldwide spread of malaria, tuberculosis, SARS, HIV-AIDS, and other infectious and non-communicable diseases.  Trump’s recent announcement (May 29, 2020) to permanently end the U.S. contribution to the WHO, and even to withdraw U.S. membership, is yet another attempt to distract the public from his mishandling of the current coronavirus crisis—a move that will lead to further global U.S. isolation, ironically putting China in a much stronger position to influence that organization’s  policies.
      “Trump’s policies have been consistently unsuccessful both at home and abroad.”     
Over its more than seventy-year life, since its inception in 1948 within the UN framework, the WHO has had major achievements, such as eradicating smallpox, and failures, such as its sluggish reaction to the Ebola outbreak in 2014.  On balance, however, the World Health Organization’s raison d’être has never been called into question.  The significance of the organization will be amplified when and if a second wave of the coronavirus returns, again posing an existential threat to all the countries around the world.   Second waves have a history of striking back even harder than the initial outbreak, as was the case for the 1918 Spanish flue pandemic.
What does the U.S. withdrawal from this organization mean?  It means, among other things, that the United States is retreating from its global leadership role—morally and from the standpoint of its soft power.  On both accounts, the Trump administration’s unilateral approach has dramatically undercut the ability of the United States to influence the behavior of other states through the attractiveness of its culture and the persuasiveness of its policies.  The U.S. withdrawal from the WHO will further accelerate the ongoing decline in the perceived competence of the United States to effectively address new global challenges.  Most ominously, however, this development is likely to fuel a great-power discord between China and the United States, dehumanizing the former while damaging the long-term relationship between the two countries.
To fully understand the implication of the U.S. withdrawal from the WHO, one needs to note that the WHO relies on assessed and voluntary contributions from its member states.  In 2019, according to one study, the United States provided the WHO an estimated $419 million, representing roughly 15 percent of the World Health Organization’s total revenue over its current two-year budget period.  This move will most likely delay the discovery phase as well as clinical trials necessary to develop a global vaccine.  Perhaps, more importantly, this decision will weaken the effectiveness of the organization and the broader cooperation among countries to stem the spread of COVID-19 pandemic around the word.
“Instead of healing the wounds of racial and systemic discrimination and police brutality, Trump’s rhetoric, tweets, and public gestures have deepened the divides in an already polarized nation, significantly diminishing trust in his leadership skills and damaging his populist image beyond repair. “
Trump has ceaselessly harkened back to his outdated notions of building walls and imposing travel bans in pursuit of his populist policies at a time when the stakes have never been higher.  All of this flies in the face of the clear lesson to be learned from the COVID-19 crisis that the virus knows no boundaries and that walls and borders cannot separate one nation’s public health and safety from those of others.  Needless to say that a virus anywhere is potentially a virus everywhere in a world that has become increasingly globalized, hence the need for collaborative, multilateral governance.  Trump’s claim that virus is “going away very soon” runs counter to the growing spike in confirmed cases around the world.
Furthermore, Trump’s disregard for the detrimental effects of climate change, as well as his policies reversing pollution standards, have exacerbated the deleterious effects not only on environmental sustainability but also, more subtly, on human sustainability.  Earth scientists remind us that humans are altering the environment at a much quicker pace than at any other time in history, a fact that has contributed to the evolution, the mutation, and the spread of all types of viruses.  Human encroachment into animal habitats—consider, for example, how deforestation and forest degradation have contributed to global warming—has created further contact between humans and animals, rendering disease transmission more likely than ever before.At home, Trump’s mishandling of nationwide and global protests over the death of George Floyd—an African-American man who died at the hands of a white police officer while still in custody—was on vivid display on the Internet, as captured on several bystanders’ smartphones.  The incident has dramatically weakened Trump’s presidency, is likely to defang his entourage, and could possibly demoralize the riot police in the face of widespread national and global protests.  The nationwide and racially diverse protests, dominated by youth and vibrant civil society movements, have captured the world’s imagination, while posing the most serious challenge to the Trump administration.  Instead of healing the wounds of racial and systemic discrimination and police brutality, Trump’s rhetoric, tweets, and public gestures have deepened the divides in an already polarized nation, significantly diminishing trust in his leadership skills and damaging his populist image beyond repair.  The result has been obvious: Trump’s policies have been consistently unsuccessful both at home and abroad.           

Mahmood Monshipouri, Ph.D., is a professor of international relations at San Francisco State University and a lecturer at UC-Berkeley. He is the editor, most recently, of Why Human Rights Still Matter in Contemporary Global Affairs. (mmonship@sfsu.edu and mmonship@berkeley.edu) 

Militarized Police a Gift from Israel?

Training of American police in brutal tactics revealed

PHILIP GIRALDI • JUNE 9, 2020


The killing of black man George Floyd by white Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin has produced the highest level of national unrest seen in the United States since the 1960s. Tens of thousands of protesters are demonstrating against racism and perceived police brutality. As it also comes at a time of coronavirus pandemic and record unemployment, it has the potential to change the U.S. in fundamental ways. The core issue is that many on the left, as well as some on the right, see America’s police as something like an “occupying force,” increasingly self-serving enemies of the people rather than careful protectors of the taxpayers’ lives and property.

There are already calls to “defund” the police in an attempt to strip local forces of responsibilities and resources that have little to do with community policing relative to actual crime rates, which are low nationwide. And the concept of community itself is under scrutiny and is itself being “reimagined” in an effort to compel police forces and the citizens they interact with to work together more cooperatively for the good of all.

History teaches us that changes in seemingly entrenched attitudes and beliefs occur regularly, though they can sometimes move glacially slowly. Meanwhile, some loony birds on the left are also promoting more radical schemes. One of the more amusing was posted up recently by Alyssa Rosenberg at the Washington Post. Rosenberg maintained that it is now time for Hollywood and the entertainment media to get involved by shutting down all movies and television series that present the police in a positive light.

Rosenberg puts it this way “…there’s something Hollywood can do to put its money where its social media posts are: immediately halt production on cop shows and movies and rethink the stories it tells about policing in America. For a century, Hollywood has been collaborating with police departments, telling stories that whitewash police shootings and valorizing an action-hero style of policingover the harder, less dramatic work of building relationships with the communities cops are meant to serve and protect… The result is an addiction to stories that portray police departments as more effective than they actually are; crime as more prevalent than it actually is; and police use of force as consistently justified. There are always gaps between reality and fiction, but given what policing in America has too often become, Hollywood’s version of it looks less like fantasy and more like complicity.”

Rosenberg has a point, but television shows and movies are fiction and most people are quite capable of watching an entertaining story and not having it become a substitute for reality. And there is nothing particularly wrong in believing that cops should be good guys who solve serious crimes, which is in fact what many police officers actually do. She instead calls for more portrayal of cops as do-little-or-nothing jerks who spend most of their time writing traffic tickets and typing up reports. If she had been around in the nineteenth century, she would no doubt have been conventionally liberal knee jerk antiwar, if such existed at the time. She would have advised Leo Tolstoy to have his Russian soldiers in War and Peace spend most of their time peeling potatoes, smoking and bitching rather than marching off in columns heroically to confront Napoleon at Austerlitz.

One issue that has surfaced in a number of places is the militarization of police, which has been a reality of “maintaining public order” and “fighting terrorism” since 9/11. Police now receive surplus military equipment, to include armored cars, body armor and automatic weapons. One wonders, for example, what my semi-rural county here in Virginia has been doing with its armored car, which, as I recall, the local sheriff’s department did not even want. Ordinary policemen are also increasingly trained in anti-terrorist tactics, to include the increasing deployment of swat teams to perform actions that are not necessarily confrontational, to include serving warrants and collecting fines on library books. Many innocent civilians of all races have been killed as a result.

The militarization of American law enforcement has been in a sense institutionalized through programs set up by the federal government and the states to train with Israeli police, a mentoring relationship established by Michael Chertoff when he was Secretary of Homeland Security. Joint training programs run in Israel are being used to indoctrinate American police forces and are difficult to comprehend as related to normal policing as the Israelis are clueless when it comes to conducting investigations or protecting all of their country’s citizens. Israel’s cops are at the forefront of state violence against Palestinians as well as serving as protectors of rampaging heavily armed settlers who destroy Arab livelihoods so they can steal their land. The Israeli police are also quite good at using the “Palestinian chair” for torture when they are not shooting Arab teenagers in the back. They also invented skunk water, a disgusting smelling chemical spray initially used against Arab demonstrators, and were the first major police force to regularly employ so-called rubber bullets, which can kill or maim.

In fact, there have been suggestions that certain American policemen might well be picking up some unanticipated pointers from the Israelis. Georgia has been experiencing a surge in officer involved shootings, nearly half of the victims being unarmed or shot from behind. As this has unfolded, the state continues to pursue a “police exchange” program with Israel run through Georgia State University.

The police “exchange programs” began twenty-seven years ago in 1992 and are paid for through grants from the U.S. Department of Justice as well as from the state and local governments. Reportedly “law enforcement from [a number of] U.S. states have participated in the program, including those from Tennessee, Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, North Carolina, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Mississippi, Nevada, Michigan, New Jersey, New York, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Texas, Utah, Virginia, Washington, Washington, D.C., and West Virginia.” In some states and local jurisdictions, the Israel exchange program is managed by the Anti-Defamation League, which also sponsors propagandistic seminars on Israeli “counter-terrorism” practices throughout the U.S.

Some states and cities, however, concerned over being linked to Israel’s militarized police forces and their brutal occupation of Palestinian land, are beginning to withdraw from the training program. Recently the Vermont State Police, the Northampton, Massachusetts police department and the Durham North Carolina city police have canceled their planned training in Israel.

There has been particular concern expressed over the Israeli “us-versus-them” dual track mode of policing where the 20% of the country’s citizens that are Arab are regarded as an enemy while the settlers who prey on the Palestinians are automatically protected by police solely because they are Jewish. Selective policing based on race or ethnicity might be another gift from Israel that visiting American policemen bring home with them. In Israel, lethal force is frequently resorted to on a “shoot-to-kill” basis in any incident involving Arabs and Jews, even when there is no serious threat.

A favorite technique used by the Israeli police to subdue an Arab is the very knee on neck used by Derek Chauvin that killed George Floyd. Minnesota has been actively involved in training its police with the Israelis, to include participation by over 100 officers in a 2012 conference in Minneapolis hosted by Israel’s Chicago consulate. There, they learned the “restraint procedures” employed by Israelis. The conference was jointly hosted by the FBI, the facilities were provided by the city, and the meeting itself was funded by the federal government and the state.

While it is not known if Chauvin actually underwent the specific training, the Israeli techniques have made their way into the city’s police manual, which has been, not surprisingly, removed from online. An archived copy of the relevant section on how to control someone who is resisting arrest does still exist however and can be viewed at this site. It includes “Minneapolis Police Department Use of Force Policy: 5-311, Use of Neck Restraints: Non-deadly force option. Defined as compressing one or both sides of a person’s neck with an arm or leg, without applying direct pressure to the trachea or airway (front of the neck).” There are admittedly some caveats on the use of the technique, but it is generally approved for use in subduing someone who is resisting arrest, which may plausibly have been the case with Floyd.

That all means that Officer Derek Chauvin used a technique taught to American police by Israeli trainers even if his judgement can be seriously faulted in terms of how he did it and how long her sustained it. He may have received the training with the full cooperation and financial support of both the Federal government, the government of the state of Minnesota and the city of Minneapolis. His lawyers will be able to argue, which they surely will, that he used a technique that was endorsed by the city of Minneapolis’s police manual and was also part of officer training with Israel. This makes for an interesting back story and an unbiased judge and jury, if that can be found anywhere on the planet, just might find Chauvin and his three colleagues innocent, which would be a travesty but inevitable in a system where police have effectively been trained and licensed to kill.

Philip M. Giraldi, Ph.D., is Executive Director of the Council for the National Interest, a 501(c)3 tax deductible educational foundation (Federal ID Number #52-1739023) that seeks a more interests-based U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East. Website is https://councilforthenationalinterest.org, address is P.O. Box 2157, Purcellville VA 20134 and its email is inform@cnionline.org.

The Systemic Collapse of the US Society Has Begun

THE SAKER • JUNE 4, 2020 


Cops in DC

I have lived in the United States for a total of 24 years and I have witnessed many crises over this long period, but what is taking place today is truly unique and much more serious than any previous crisis I can recall. And to explain my point, I would like to begin by saying what I believe the riots we are seeing taking place in hundreds of US cities are not about. They are not about:

  1. Racism or “White privilege”
  2. Police violence
  3. Social alienation and despair
  4. Poverty
  5. Trump
  6. The liberals pouring fuel on social fires
  7. The infighting of the US elites/deep state

They are not about any of these because they encompass all of these issues, and more.

It is important to always keep in mind the distinction between the concepts of “cause” and “pretext”. And while it is true that all the factors listed above are real (at least to some degree, and without looking at the distinction between cause and effect), none of them are the true cause of what we are witnessing. At most, the above are pretexts, triggers if you want, but the real cause of what is taking place today is the systemic collapse of the US society.

The next thing which we must also keep in mind is that evidence of correlation is not evidence of causality. Take, for example, this article from CNN entitled “US black-white inequality in 6 stark charts” which completely conflates the two concepts and which includes the following sentence (stress added) “Those disparities exist because of a long history of policies that excluded and exploited black Americans, said Valerie Wilson, director of the program on race, ethnicity and the economy at the Economic Policy Institute, a left-leaning group.” The word “because” clearly point to a causality, yet absolutely nothing in the article or data support this. The US media is chock-full of such conflations of correlation and causality, yet it is rarely denounced.

For a society, any society, to function a number of factors that make up the social contract need to be present. The exact list that make up these factors will depend on each individual country, but they would typically include some kind of social consensus, the acceptance by most people of the legitimacy of the government and its institutions, often a unifying ideology or, at least, common values, the presence of a stable middle-class, the reasonable hope for a functioning “social life”, educational institutions etc. Finally, and cynically, it always helps the ruling elites if they can provide enough circuses (TV) and bread (food) to most citizens. This is even true of so-called authoritarian/totalitarian societies which, contrary to the liberal myth, typically do enjoy the support of a large segment of the population (if only because these regimes are often more capable of providing for the basic needs of society).

Right now, I would argue that the US government has almost completely lost its ability to deliver any of those factors, or act to repair the broken social contract. In fact, what we can observe is the exact opposite: the US society is highly divided, as is the US ruling class (which is even more important). Not only that, but ever since the election of Trump, all the vociferous Trump-haters have been undermining the legitimacy not only of Trump himself, but of the political system which made his election possible. I have been saying that for years: by saying “not my President” the Trump-haters have de-legitimized not only Trump personally, but also de-legitimized the Executive branch as such.

This is an absolutely amazing phenomenon: while for almost four years Trump has been destroying the US Empire externally, Trump-haters spent the same four years destroying the US from the inside! If we look past the (largely fictional) differences between the Republicrats and the Demolicans we can see that they operate like a demolition tag-team of sorts and while they hate each other with a passion, they both contribute to bringing down both the Empire and the United States. For anybody who has studied dialectics this would be very predictable but, alas, dialectics are not taught anymore, hence the stunned “deer in the headlights” look on the faces of most people today.

Finally, it is pretty clear that for all its disclaimers about supporting only the “peaceful protestors” and its condemnation of the “out of town looters”, most of the US media (as well as the alt media) is completely unable to give a moral/ethical evaluation of what is taking place. What I mean by this is the following:

By repeating mantras about how “Black anger is legitimate” the US liberal media is basically placing a seal of approval on the violence and looting. After all, if Black “anger” is legitimate, and if “White privilege” is real, then it is quite “understandable” that this “anger” “sometimes” “boils over” and leads to “regrettable” “excesses”. Just take a look at this image of Biden kneeling down before a Black demonstrator:

Of course, Biden and his supporters will claim that Biden was only kneeling before a cute little girl and her peacefully protesting father, but when combined with the attacks against Trump’s “law and order” rhetoric by Biden and his supporters (including four former US Presidents!), I believe that these kinds of photo-ops are sending a very different message: keep “protesting” as we are on your side which, coming from a guy like Biden, the ultimate symbol of the 1%er elites and a perfect example of “White privilege”, just goes to show that the hypocrisy of US politicians really knows no bounds or limits.

I have to note here that these riots also represent a potential danger for both factions of the Uniparty in power: for the Demolicans the riots probably represent the very last chance to prevent a Trump-reelection, but if the Demolicans are too obvious in support of the riots, then it could backfire against them and turn all the frightened “law and order” types against them. But if they do not support the riots, then the Demolicans will alienate their core constituency (a hodgepodge of various “minorities” pushing their narrow identity-politics agenda). Likewise, for Trump this is an opportunity to show his “law and order” credentials and promise the White people and the relatively fewer Blacks of his base that he will protect them. However, if he is too direct about this and if Trump orders what might be seen by many as unfair or excessive force (of which there has been a lot almost everywhere), then he risks pushing many moderate Republicrats over the edge and side with the Demolicans (or, at least, withhold their vote). In other words, both factions of the Uniparty feel that the riots are both an opportunity and a threat and this is why neither faction can come out and speak truthfully about the real causes of the riots.

The exact same message of weakness and even submissive impotence is, I believe, sent every time a cop kneels when confronting even peaceful demonstrators like on this photo. While this might be intended as a message of compassion, and maybe even an apology, the only thing the rioters will see here is a powerful sign of surrender of the local authorities and I find that extremely dangerous.

Yes, there are plenty of racist, violent and otherwise incompetent cops in the USA. And yes, many of my Black friends reported feeling singled out and treated rudely by cops. But having extensively traveled the world, I want to assure you that the US most definitely does not have the worst cops out there. In fact, I believe that most US cops are decent people. Much more importantly, these cops are the “thin blue line” which protects society against criminals. And while I do believe that US policemen ought to be better educated, better trained, better led and better supervised, I also realize that there is also no short term alternative to them. It is all very fine to dream about educated, peaceful and non-racist cops, but if you remove the existing police force from the equation, there are no other alternatives (the national guard or the regular armed forces do not qualify and don’t have the correct training to deal with civilians anyway), especially in those states which have successfully killed the 2nd Amendment by means of what I call “death by a thousand regulatory cuts” (including NY and NJ).

Then there is what Solzhenitsyn called the “decline of courage” in the West: the vast majority US politicians have basically lost the ability to criticize Blacks, even when it is quite obvious that many of the current problems of the Black population of the US are created by Blacks themselves: I think of the truly vulgar, obscene and overall disgusting “rap culture” with which most Black youth are now “educated” in since early childhood or how many Black youth have been brainwashed into considering gang members and street prostitutes as the measure of what “looking cool” looks like in terms of clothes, language and overall behavior. I believe that it is pretty obvious to any person who lived in the US that Blacks are very often (mostly?) the cause of their own misery: I can tell you that my Jamaican and Sub-Saharan African friends (who live in the USA) have told me many times that a) they think that US Blacks have opportunities which they would never have in Africa or Jamaica and that b) local Blacks often resent Africans and Jamaican Blacks because the latter do so much better in the US society. I can also testify to the fact that I have seen a lot of anti-Latino feelings from US Blacks. As for how Blacks often feel about Asians, all we need to do is remember the LA riots in 1992. Finally, I do believe that many (most?) people in the US know that the strongest and most frequent form of racism in the US will be anti-White, especially from politically engaged Blacks.

I can personally attest that there is plenty of anti-White racism in the USA. Not only did I experience it myself (I lived in Washington, DC from 1986-1991), but it has been amply documented by people like Colin Flaherty whose books “White Girl Bleed A Lot: The Return of Racial Violence to America and How the Media Ignore It” and “Knockout Game a Lie?: Awww, Hell No!” are excellent primers on Black on White violence and racism. Yet, anybody daring to suggest that US Blacks themselves are at least partially responsible for their own plight will immediately be labeled a “racist”.

To those of you who live outside the USA, I would recommend this simple thought experiment: just take 20-30 minutes and watch the footage of BOTH the “peaceful protests” AND “the violent riots” and look carefully not only at what the folks you see in the footage are wearing, but also how they speak, how they act, what they say and how they say it and ask yourself a simple question: would you want to hire any of these guys and pay them a decent salary? I very much doubt that many of you would. Frankly, most of these rioters are unhirable, and “racism” has nothing to do with this.

The fact is that what is sometimes called the “MTV culture” is, in reality, nothing else than a systematic glorification of criminal mayhem. Forget about rap hits like the famous “Fuk Da Police” or “Kill d’White People“, I would argue that 99% of rap is a glorification of all the worst problems of Black communities in the US (drugs, violence, promiscuous sex, objectification of women, alcoholism, glorification of criminal behavior in the streets and in prisons, etc.). Yet most US politicians seem to be paralyzed and feel the need to pretend like they are absolutely charmed by this so-called “Black culture”. But it is even worse than that.

Combine an emasculated ruling polity which does not dare to call a stone a stone and which promotes a (pretend) “culture” which glorifies violence and hatred against all non-criminals, including law abiding Black who are called “Toms” and who are also singled out as in this “beautiful” rap which includes the following “verses”: “Then you got niggas that’s blacker then the night, Running around town saying their best friends are white, Niggas like that are gonna hang up from a tree, And burn them up alive and let everybody see” (check out this “beautiful” rap here and for the full lyrics, a truly fascinating read, here). Next, throw in a completely dysfunctional state which is owned and operated by a tiny gang of obscenely rich narcissistic bastards (of all races, very much including Blacks), add to it a total absence of any real social opportunities, then toss in the COVID pandemic and the worst recession in US history with record high levels of unemployment even among those who would be employable (folks with dropped down pants, excessive tattoos, past felony convictions and a comprehensively non-professional attitude would not even get a job even if the economy was booming). Then, you get a relatively localized “spark” (like the murder of George Floyd by a gang of arrogant imbeciles in uniform) to start a fire which will instantly spread throughout the entire country, especially since there are so many other groups besides Blacks who want to “piggyback” their personal agenda on top of the one of Black Lives Matter or Antifa (I am, of course, referring to the real cornucopia of Trump-haters which never accepted his election).

Conclusion 1: this is not the US version of the Gilets Jaunes!

Some might be tempted to say that what we are seeing in the US is a US version of the French Gilets Jaunes. I assure you that it is not. For one thing, the Gilets Jaunes had a pretty clear political program. US rioters do not. Next, the Gilets Jaunes were mostly peaceful and much of the violence was instigated by the French police forces (including the use of fake rioters). While there are definitely peaceful protesters in the USA, neither BLM or AntiFa have truly denounced the riots (and why should they when the US media and politicians don’t have the courage to do that either?). Finally, the French ruling classes and media did not show the kind of “understanding” of the riots which did take place although Macron did pose with two “gangstas” in an effort to look “cool” (which failed):

Not only Biden, in Europe too…

Not only Biden, in Europe too…

Conclusion 2: this is not a revolution or a civil war

Some are now fantasizing that what we are witnessing today is either a revolution or a civil war. I believe that this is neither.

For a revolution to take place there must be a force capable of changing not the person(s) in power, but fundamentally change the regime, the polity, itself and replacing it with another one. Declaring that “Black lives matter” or looting stores or even demanding that the police be defunded, does not have this kind of potential capability.

For a civil war to take place you need at least two sides, each with a clearly identifiable political agenda. Since the real power in the US is hidden from the public awareness, there is no potential for a “the people vs the rulers” kind of civil war in the US. A “Right/Conservative vs Left/Liberal” civil war is also not possible, because both the US Right and the US Left are, in reality controlled by a deep state which is neither liberal nor conservative. Finally, a “rematch” between North and South is not possible either because the modern US is not really split along North/South lines anymore. In terms of geography, there is somewhat of a “Big cities vs rural USA” split, but it takes place in both the north and the south of the country. Instead, what we do observe is a social breakup of the US into “zones” some of which will be doing much better than others (big cities with a strong Black population fare the worst, mostly White small towns fare best; that is even true within the same state). In some of these zones, we will see more of this kind of acts of self-protection:

This kind of confrontations, even if they are not violent, are yet another illustration of the state being simply unable to take charge and protect the people.

Conclusion 3: this is an insurrection which has initiated the systemic collapse of the US society

I call what is happening today an insurrection: a violent revolt or rebellion against the authorities as such. When you burn a police precinct you do not “protest” against the actions of a few cops, no, what you are doing is expelling the cops from your neighborhood (I know that personally. In Argentina I lived in a suburb of Buenos-Aires in which the police station was attacked so often that it closed and was never rebuilt). And since in a civilized society the state should have the monopoly on the (legal) use of force, you are basically rejecting the authority and legitimacy of the state which operates the police force. This insurrection is most unlikely to remove Trump from office (hence it is not a coup or a revolution), but the anti-Trump faction of the ruling elites have now clearly adopted the strategy of “worse is better” simply because they realize that these riots are probably their last chance to blame it all on Trump (and Russia, why not?!) and maybe, just maybe, defeat him in November.

Right now all we see can only be called a mob-rule (technically referred to as an “ochlocracy“). But mobs, no matter how violent, rarely succeed in achieving tangible political results as they act ‘against something’ and not ‘for something’. This is why the real (behind-the-scenes) ruling classes need to instrumentalize this mob-induced insurrection to their political advantage. So far, I would say that neither the Demolicans nor the Republicrats have succeeded in this. But there is a very long and potentially extremely dangerous summer ahead and this might well change.

Irrespective of whether either faction will succeed in instrumentalizing the riots, what we are seeing today is a systemic collapse of the US society. That is not to say that the US will disappear, not at all. But just like it took the Soviet Union a decade or more to fully collapse (roughly from 1983-1993), it will take the US many years to fully crash. And just like a New Russia eventually began taking form in 1999, there will be a New US coming out of the current collapse. Total and final collapses are very rare, mostly they just initiate a lengthy and potentially very dangerous transformation process, the outcome of which is almost impossible to predict.

However, just as the Russian people had to stop kidding themselves with silly dreams about “democracy” and had to tackle the real problems of Russia, so will the people of the US have to find the courage to deal with their real problems, frontally and deliberately. If they fail to do that, the country will most likely simple further disintegrate into numerous and mutually hostile entities.

Time will tell.

AMERICA FAILS PANDEMIC STRESS TEST

05.06.2020 

South Front

America Fails Pandemic Stress Test

Written by J.Hawk exclusively for SouthFront

It is well established in scholarly literature on international conflict that whenever a country behaves in an erratic, aggressive manner, it is nearly always a reflection of deep-seated internal social, political, and economic problems which the country’s leadership is unable or unwilling to address. United States is an example of what happens when that country is a superpower facing not only international decline, but also internal decay. Zbigniew Brzezinski infamously described the Soviet Union as “Upper Volta with rockets”. That was never a fair comparison, since USSR lacked the massive pockets of poverty, social exclusion, and downright police repression that the United States boasts. Likewise the Soviet health care system could have coped with a pandemic better than the US one or even the current Russian Federation one. Today’s America, however, is that country Brzezinski spoke about. Expanding its global influence through direct, proxy, and hybrid wars became the most attractive policy tool intended to restore the health of the US economy which, since the end of the Cold War, was kept alive mainly by extremely permissive monetary policies of the US Federal Reserve which in the end inflated several stock market bubbles. Even today the Federal Reserve’s main concern is keeping the Dow Jones rally going, because a collapse on the markets would permanently cripple the US economy.

This is Philly around 5:30 today. There is just no defense for this behavior. At all.


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However, at risk of mixing metaphors, an economy built on equity bubbles is a house of card that will collapse at the slightest shock. COVID-19 proved to be that shock, a “Black Swan” event that has been predicted for many years  that would precipitate a radical transformation of domestic political systems and of the balance of power in the international system. The pandemic became a test of not just public health systems, but of the strength of each country’s economy, the cohesion of its society, and the ability of its government to govern. Even though we are still in the early stages of the crisis, we can already see that some states are passing the test (so far) with flying colors, while others are being wracked by internal turmoil. To quote Warren Buffett, when the tide recedes you see who has been swimming naked. The United States has been revealed to be quite wardrobe-challenged in this instance.

America Fails Pandemic Stress Test

The callous slow-motion torture and murder of George Floyd in the Democratic Party stronghold of Minneapolis by four police officers with long histories of brutality against ethnic minorities was the spark that ignited the powder keg of US race relations. It certainly did not help that the United States created forty million new unemployed and failed to provide them with adequate financial support, due to the infamously miserly US social safety net. And just as COVID-19 is disproportionately lethal to US ethnic minorities who suffer from a higher level of underlying medical conditions due to poverty, malnutrition, and stress, so did the job losses disproportionately affect African Americans. The average black worker does not “work from home” on his laptop computer. Rather, the average black worker is employed in food service, hospitality, and retail, all of which have been crushed by the pandemic and, especially, the lockdown measures. It is no wonder that the conservatives wanted to “re-open” the economy as quickly as possible. Chasing millions of African Americans back to their menial jobs, even when it involved them facing greater risk of infection and death, would at least deprive them of the free time they have available to protest.


Just about an hour ago, police officers shove man in Niagara Square to the ground (WARNING: Graphic). Video from: @MikeDesmondWBFO


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The Fuel

The speed with which the protests spread across the country, affecting every state and most large cities, is a reflection of the universality of the problem that the events in Minneapolis revealed. In the face of slow-motion economic collapse and the destruction of the American middle class, the US political system at both state and federal levels has subtly but effectively sought to shift the economic pain to the minorities, in order to preserve the standard of living of the white middle class on whose support the legitimacy of the US political and economic system still rests. The armed white militias that protested at several state legislatures only a month earlier are an expression of that fear. The “don’t tread on me” Gadsden Flags quite clearly express who is to be tread upon, and who is not. They are a warning that should US elites attempt to economically marginalize the white middle class, they may expect a forceful response. The weak police response to law-breaking perpetrated by armed white militias was not lost on most commentators, either. But these politics of “economic triage” where the pain is shifted to the communities of color also implies the need for heavy-handed police repression which US police forces are all too happy to deliver. US law enforcement should not be seen as a collection of politically-neutral guardians of law and order. Rather, it skews heavily toward the right, even the far-right, and it is no surprise that Donald Trump enjoys the overwhelming support of American police unions and organizations. While these trends were evident for the last decade at least, since the 2008 crisis to which the US government never found an adequate response, the pandemic accelerated it to the point of the tensions and grievances finally boiling over.

The Firehose

Whenever a fire breaks out, it is ultimately either put out or burns itself out due to lack of fuel. It is doubtful this is going to burn itself out on its own, given that the US law enforcement is now providing more provocation with its heavy-handed tactics on daily basis, and moreover neither the pandemic nor the economic crisis are going anywhere any time soon. Since the United States is now in the throes of domestic unrest not seen since the days of Vietnam War, it raises the question of what is to be done about it? Which leaders, which policies, might definitively address the grievances of the masses?

We can safely say Donald Trump will not be the one, because to the extent he is wielding a fire hose, it seems to be mostly spraying gasoline on the fire. Literally every action, every statement, every tweet, has served to polarize and exacerbate the problems. It may be Trump is doing this deliberately, hoping to replicate Richard Nixon’s “silent majority” strategy, an idea that is supported by Trump himself tweeting these words. Yes, the riots polarize, but the hope is that, when the smoke clears, Trump’s half is the bigger of the two and, like Nixon, he secures his re-election. Richard Nixon won his re-election by a landslide, even though after the fact almost nobody admitted ever voting for him. However, few things motivate voting for conservatives in the US more than the sight of black rioters and looters.

Of course, the problem Trump faces here is that Joe Biden has impeccable “law and order” credentials, complete with the ability to “dog whistle” to white conservatives. Biden, after all, is the politician who said in the 1970s he did not want his children to “grow up in a racial jungle”, and his support of anti-crime legislation which led to the mass incarceration of African-Americans in the last few decades suggests he is willing to put his money where his mouth is. Thanks to his role as Obama’s vice president, he also has certain sway among the African American community that has served him well in the primaries and obscured his previous racist record. But in the end Biden is no Obama, whose combination of personality and politics was just enough to keep America from blowing up. Biden does not have the same combination, and moreover he is presiding over an economic catastrophe that will not be as easy to rectify by throwing money at banks the way the 2008 crisis was.

The one politician who correctly identifies both problems and solutions and who also commands considerable popular support, Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders, has been effectively sidelined by the Democratic Party which is utterly uninterested in adopting policies of economic and social justice. It means that, in the longer term, America will move toward greater police repression which will be far more easily accepted by the white public when it is done during a Biden presidency. Given that neither Biden’s nor Obama’s public appearances were effective at demobilizing the protests, it means the United States is facing the prospect of its own Yellow Vest-style uprising, namely a continuous low-level anti-government uprising that will ebb and flow but never entirely disappear.

MORE ON THE TOPIC:

U.S. Urban Rebellions Revisited

An Analysis (31 May 2020) by Lawrence Davidson

Author - American Herald Tribune

What follows is an updated essay on the “perennial nature of U.S. urban riots” which I wrote a little over five years ago. The original version appeared on my blog on 9 May 2015 following racial rioting in the city of Baltimore. The murder of George Floyd, an African American, by police in Minneapolis on 25 May 2020, coming as it did within days of the killing of two other African Americans, largely replays events of 2015.

In those five years, despite having elected the nation’s first African American president in 2008, the U.S. is still a largely segregated society full of racist anger. Indeed, it would seem that with the culture wars of the past 30 years and the 2016 election of Donald Trump as president, things are getting worse rather than better. We are slipping back into a more primitive, angrily divided time.  

Part I – Unrest That is Almost Normal

If one goes to Wikipedia under the subject of “mass racial violence in the United States,” one will find a “timeline of events” running from 1829 to 2015. There are so many race-related riots listed for these 186 years that, from a historical point of view, rioting appears almost normal. Prior to World War II these outbreaks mostly involved ethnic, racial or religious groups going after each other: Germans, Italians, Poles, Jews, Hispanics, African-Americans, Chinese, Catholics, Protestants were all involved in these set-tos. Often the causes were economic with a territorial overtone – one group moving into the neighborhood of another group and/or taking their jobs. When the violence came, it was group against group. 

In the post-World War II era, the nature of the still numerous instances of rioting changed. The group-versus-group scenario gave way to group-versus-state. Most of the groups listed above had successfully assimilated under the heading “caucasian,” and religious affiliations no longer seemed worth bloody murder. As our present reactionary president has shown, immigrants can still instill anger in obtuse citizens who mistake foreigners for the cause of problems they themselves have caused, but in this case the result is state oppression. 

Actually, in the present era, the cause of rioting has mostly been African American resentment over prevailing inequality exemplified by frequent police brutality. It is a continuing fact that American society still places on most African Americans an economic handicap and segregation. Thus all too many African Americans, particularly men, have little opportunity for a decent life, while simultaneously having every opportunity to end up in confrontations with the police and then land in prison. It is these ubiquitous confrontations with agents of the state that are now the standard trigger to the phenomenon  of modern American rioting.

Part II – The Inadequacies of the Civil Rights Acts

The ongoing phenomenon of urban riots involving African Americans suggests that the civil rights acts that followed the widespread unrest of the mid-1960s have proved inadequate. In part this is so because their enforcement, such as it has been, was restricted to the public realm. That is, the effort to do away with discrimination went no further than areas serving the public: public schools and housing, restaurants, hotels, theaters, and the like. There were other aspects to the civil rights acts – grants to minority businesses, for instance – but they all just scratched the surface. As a result the number of African Americans made upwardly mobile by this legislation was less than optimal. A black middle class did emerge, but it was small relative to the numbers who needed help.

To say that the civil rights acts proved inadequate in the fight against nationwide discrimination points to the fact that they proved unable to reorient America’s discriminatory cultural mindset. That mindset was the product of, among other things, nearly three hundred years of institutional racism. To change things was going to take the consistent reinforcement of the idea of racial equality over at least three or four generations. This would have to be done mainly through the educational system, yet no specific efforts were made to this end. Indeed, even attempting to integrate the public school systems could provoke their own riots, as the “Boston busing crisis” of1974 proved.

Another sign of this problematic cultural mindset is that, as far as I know, there is nowhere amongst the vast, mostly white, population of the American suburbs, where one can find serious empathy for the fate of the inner cities. For instance, in the wake of the April 2015 riots in Baltimore, then mayor of Philadelphia, Michael Nutter, commented, “local government cannot itself fix problems of violence and unemployment.” This is absolutely true, but Nutter, and mayors who have followed him, have looked in vain for any meaningful help from a state legislature controlled by a hinterland of conservative whites who may not feel they belong to the same species, much less the same broader community, as those in the inner cities. The suggestion that they should send their tax money to help the residents of Philadelphia appears to be beyond their understanding. I doubt very much if it is different elsewhere in the country.

Part III – The Police

The police, of course, cannot stand outside the general discriminatory orientation of the culture. So the limited impact of the civil rights acts meant that the police were not reeducated to the new standards of public behavior. To do so would have required more than simply increasing the number of black officers to at least match the racial demographics of American cities. It would have required extensive retraining and testing of those who sought to be part of law enforcement. 

There is an entire industry out there to train and test people to safely drive cars. I know of nothing beyond piecemeal efforts to train police to act in an equable and lawful manner toward all the different sorts of people they come into contact with (plus to handle other problems that seem to affect the police as a group, such as stress and anger management). Nor are standardized ways of testing candidates applied so as to make sure that only those capable of impartiality and reasonable restraint are on the street. Because we do not do this, we guarantee having some police who themselves act in a criminal manner toward economically disadvantaged classes, thus expressing discrimination in a way that is violent enough to trigger mass unrest.  

Indeed, as of now the preferred personality type for the position of police officer seems to be the same as that for professional soldier, which may be why it has been so easy to “militarize” American police forces. This effort, along with the “home security” business, has become a multibillion-dollar industry (major players in which are Israel companies, which now train an increasing number of U.S. police departments in techniques developed while enforcing the illegal occupation of Palestine). Police departments and their suppliers have teamed up to lobby cash-poor municipalities for all manner of lethal gewgaws ranging from automatic weapons to armored cars. Military grade riot-control equipment is now de rigueur for most large police departments. So great is the demand for these deadly devices that the Defense Department now has a committee appointed by the president to look into what constitutes appropriate equipment to hand out to the cop on the beat.  

Part IV -The Need for Re-education

What this sad story tells us is that the United States has a very big problem of discrimination and exploitation of the urban poor that goes beyond the ideologically induced greed of a capitalist class. That is not to say that the capitalist structure of the American economy hasn’t played havoc with the aspirations of poor blacks seeking to get out of poverty. There is a very good essay by Richard Rothstein of the Economic Policy Institute that provides insight into the government’s role in this aspect of the problem.

However, it is wrong to believe that after three hundred years of racist acculturation, the problem of endemic discrimination would disappear if, however unlikely, the nation was to move in another economic direction. Americans would still have to retrain themselves in order to overcome the racist cultural addictions acquired over their history. 

It is relatively easy to write down some of the things that would have to be done to break these addictions. For instance:

(1) Tolerance and an attitude of community inclusiveness has to be taught to American children and done so consistently for multiple generations. In other words, this program must be a matter of national priority and not interpreted by the political efforts of those who believe teaching kids tolerance of other racial, ethnic and religious groups is somehow usurping parental prerogatives.

(2) The educational opportunities (including affirmative action programs), job training and meaningful low-cost housing programs that have been implemented piecemeal for the last fifty years have to be seriously revived, and seriously funded by taxing the wealthy upper 20% of the population. Alternatively, the money can be taken from the bloated defense budget. 

(3) No one should become a police officer (and while we are at it, a prison guard) without undergoing rigorous screening. And that screening should look to eliminate all those who have authoritarian personalities underlain with problems of impulsive anger. This is such a no-brainer that one wonders why it is not already being done. Perhaps part of the problem is that, in most cases, the police set their own criteria for admission into what has become a trade organization with the characteristics of an out-of-control college fraternity.  

Part V – Conclusion 

The rebellions of 2020 have now spread across the urban landscape of the United States. The governor of Minnesota, who has “fully mobilized” the states’ national guard to suppress the unrest has decided that the protests are no longer “about George’s death, this is about chaos being caused.” He is right that the the protests are no longer just about the murder of one African American. They are now about the inability of the justice system to deliver justice within an interminably unjust America. That system no longer has any legitimacy in the eyes of most African Americans and that view is spreading to other groups as well. When the state loses legitimacy in the eyes of citizens all that is left is the violence of mass suppression. And that is a one way road to hell for all us no matter what our race.

About Lawrence Davidson

Lawrence Davidson is professor of history emeritus at West Chester University in Pennsylvania. He has been publishing his analyses of topics in U.S. domestic and foreign policy, international and humanitarian law and Israel/Zionist practices and policies since 2010.

US Activist: Internal Crises Overwhelming Racist US, People Will Not Retreat

US Activist: Internal Crises Overwhelming Racist US, People Will Not Retreat 

By Elham Hashemi

The latest riots and looting in the United States of America were triggered by the cold-blooded killing of the US citizen George Floyd. The entire planet knows the sad story of Floyd no need to mention in it here.

But this story is only the tip of the iceberg. For those who think that Floyd’s killing is the real reason that made streets of different US states and regions flood with protestors and rioters, you are mistaken. Underneath the tip of the iceberg is what has been accumulating for long years.

If you know the US well, you must know by now that there is no universal healthcare, there are starvation wages, there exists mass incarceration, the US has a long history of police brutality, there is a lack of opportunities, racist politicians are everywhere, a racist justice system exists, there are no reparations and there is no access to affordable education.

With the coming of Covid-19 and the state of chaos across the country, and the sad crime of killing Floyd, it seems that was the straw that broke the camel’s back.

Thanks to alternative and social media networks, nothing is hidden; information flows in specs of a second through fiber optic technology to reach millions across the world.

News activist and analyst Sam G. from the city of Michigan told al-Ahed news that “Information is not monopolistic anymore. People across the world have become news junkies contributing to the multiplicity of informative voices as well as provide information on first-hand experience and what is happening in each country.”

Sam told al-Ahed “Corona, the pandemic which probably should be thanked at a certain point, revealed the spirit of each country, that is, those who are interested in giving more importance to the economy, as is the case of the United States, while other countries such as Iran carried out a coronavirus control policy where the health of its people was given more importance despite being financially sanctioned by the United States where its people are suffering from the individualistic policies of their government.

“The difference is clear, economy versus health, money versus life and here are the countries that suffer the most that are setting the example.”

The activist noted “The United States has loads of internal crises that it needs to overcome. The political crisis has extended to reach US President Donald Trump; his own officials who can no longer support his statements and poor decisions.”

“We are talking about a government that is racist towards its people. It is a country that is sinking in problems and complex issues and has a government that is sort of living in a state of denial. The US suffers an economic crisis where unconventional oil companies declared bankruptcy and the state had to go out to subsidize them while people continue to die for not being able to access the health system that is private and segregating.” 

This, according to Sam, “leads to an unprecedented social crisis that proves once again that the Trump administration has no intention of improving its own country.”

According to Sam, this is only the beginning of change in the US as well as the world and its order. The activist thinks that people are not willing to retreat or stop protesting until they see the arrest of all officers involved in the killing of Floyd and see action in terms of protecting the rights of African Americans at least.

In many parts of the world, the death of yet another black man at the hands of the police in the United States set off mass protests against police brutality. For many activists and community organizers, Floyd’s death under the knee of a Minneapolis police officer was a blunt reminder of Chicago’s racial divide and history of police brutality against African Americans.

Between 2013 and 2019, police in the United States killed 7,666 people, according to data compiled by Mapping Police Violence, a research and advocacy group. In 2019 alone, more than 1,000 people were killed by police, according to Mapping Police Violence, a research group.

Several states have called in National Guard troops to help quell the protests, some of which have turned violent. Cities nationwide have also implemented curfews, but protesters appear undeterred.

The US has even failed in ensuring the right of citizens to protest, which is the simplest form of freedom of expression and human rights in the so-called land of democracies and freedoms. According to the human rights group Amnesty International, police tactics used so far can trigger escalating violence. “Equipping officers in a manner more appropriate for a battlefield may put them in the mindset that confrontation and conflict are inevitable,” read the statement, adding that police “should demilitarize their approach and engage in dialogue with protest organizers”.

Related

Protesting, corona-conscience, a good dole: the US is doing things it can’t & it’s chaos

June 03, 2020

Protesting, corona-conscience, a good dole: the US is doing things it can’t & it’s chaos

by Ramin Mazaheri for the Saker Blog

The US has recently been trying to become a modern, humane society – and this is one of the many great hard-won and predictable consequences from electing a corporate fascist like Trump – but the results are chaos.

The US cannot protest

Look at these tiny, piddling protests, rarely over 1,000 people. Millions of Iranians can march in silence, unity and respect; China has 3-500 protests a day; today at least 20,000 people in Paris protested against police brutality but no US city has even come close to that figure. Why is that?

Answer: There are no unions, no political parties, no NGOs, no churches who dare to join these protests to flesh it out and give it structure, leadership, a soul, determination, solidarity, history, etc.

Indeed, what on earth is the point of listening to US clergy, who limit their political activism to putting down Trump? They won’t get involved, they won’t get dirty, they won’t put themselves at risk – at best they might go pick up the rubble the day after. Similarly, France’s clergy is only on the streets when it’s about nonsense like gay marriage.

Unions and political parties showing up en masse with banners and flags to question the political status quo, which they game expertly and support to the hilt? In the US you probably have to go back to 1913 to find that.

The US and the West (especially Emmanuel Macron) talk so much about civil society and NGOs, precisely because they are almost always explicitly apolitical, and in America would never join any protest which had the remotest chance of violence. Are you really banking on the Shriners or the YMCA, LOL?

The US cannot protest because it just devolves to violence

What’s crystal clear is that the US police cannot handle what is going on, and that is really the most significant long-term development here. When a society cannot provide safety, it is not much of a society at all. (May I note here that Cuban journalists said I was the first non-Cuban journalist they ever personally saw who reported about the total physical security Cubans enjoy at all times.)

US cops are not used to anybody resisting, and because they don’t have overwhelming numerical superiority they are just standing around agape; people see this and that is why they are brazenly looting in broad daylight. When cops do actually try to earn their good pay, their early retirement, their incredible guaranteed pensions, their drooling adulation from the Mainstream Media – it is against peaceful protesters and not apolitical looters.

Contrarily, France has a dedicated squad of riot police who are terribly brutal, but in the US their police are not trained to handle protests at all because: why waste time – the US cannot protest. Again, US cops are showing just how cowardly they are, and this has huge long-term cultural implications in a country which has so many guns and soon even more willingness to use them.

The US is sending in piddling amounts of National Guard like it’s 1968 – you know, back when the army was actually drawn from all sections of society – and assuming that will solve everything. A big LOL to those who think a dentist or teacher with zero combat experience is going to go hand-to-hand with looters. The US doesn’t have an army since 9/11 – it has mercenaries and 18-year olds. Incredibly, calling out the National Guard is the “ace in the hole” US governors are relying on. Again, a big LOL to this hugely, hugely outdated Boomer notion.

The cops are scared, the Marines can’t be used, the National Guard may or may not show up: this is why the only defense against looters is now in neighbourhood committees.

Ohhhhhhhhhhh… so now the Basij isn’t looking so terrible, huh? Huh?

Or a Cuban Committee for the Defense of the Revolution. Or a Chinese Communist Party. Or ANYTHING which was a pre-existing grassroots organisation of concerned citizens who have the organisation to quickly defend their neighbourhood and stores from people who are not protesters but looters.

The difference between the Basij and these thrown together US neighbourhood watch gangs is that in Iran an Azeri neighbourhood is not laying in wait for an unknown Assyrian, Kurd or Turkman to cross to their side of the street – there is unity and 20th-century politics. In the US tonight Whites and Latinos are likely pouncing on an African-American first and asking questions later – that is the extent of American political knowledge and ideology: identity politics, racial politics and “you and me against the world, babyeeee!”

Just like in France during every protest, of course: all the resources are being sent to defend the downtown and the rich areas – this is why those areas are so very, very rarely touched.

Americans are being reminded that politics is on the ground and defending your rights, community and nation – the Basij say: “You really would be wise to not invade Iran, you know.…”

The US cannot give good unemployment

Half the county is making better income by being unemployed than they ever did at their abusive job with wages which have been depressed for four decades. The US 1% made an enormous tactical error during the corona hysteria by giving nearly $1,000 per week in unemployment benefits because this admitted the fact that the money IS there – my God is it there, America is such a rich country – but it is being hoarded by the 1%.

Huge, huge anger is only going to build as this realisation grows firmer, and it will firm even if the US MSM continues to totally ignore this issue.

But you have people who – thank God! – are finally getting a living income without working like a dog, and thus they have the time and latitude to get political: they can afford to protest. People in France can afford to protest; and thus they realise they can’t afford to NOT protest. See how it’s a vicious cycle (from a 1%er’s view)?

So count on people – especially the student/youth class, whom nostalgic Boomer Westerners so foolishly assume will do all the heavy lifting to carry their society to the promised land – to take these decent wages as a license to protest until at least August 1.

After that, when the dole goes back to $400 and the 40 million lost jobs don’t come back by half but bills remain the same – expect more protests!

The US cannot grow a conscience

The first article I wrote about corona was: Capitalist-imperialist West stays home over corona – they grew a conscience?

It’s like when some people meditate for the first time: they finally take an honest look inward and they are overwhelmed with guilt and shame over what jerks they were for so long. The US is a system which is proudly, brazenly, defiantly, dog-eat-dog, yet the Great Lockdown was based around an idea of humanely protecting the vulnerable. Moral awakening can be a very violent process, internally – the US 1% shouldn’t have given their debt-slaves this time to reflect.

The US is such a hyper-militarised culture that demanding an hyper-policed Great Lockdown despite having none of the collective unity, grassroots structures and pre-existing mechanisms of redistribution which socialist-inspired countries like Iran, China and others have (to repeat an idea I have boringly used at least 40 times in the past few months), naturally created enormous pent-up aggression. The US system is based around aggression, competition and instability – lock that up and deny an outlet – the dog will bite, because he has been chained for so long.

What was the US 1% thinking? That if everyone was ordered to stay at home to protect Grandma, that other classes wouldn’t get uppity and start to think that maybe they deserved some protection too? Spell it out with me: h-y-s-t-e-r-i-a. But like electing Trump: sometimes you gotta go backwards to go forward.

The US cannot end these rebellions anytime soon, much less permanently solve them

The West, despite their arrogance, is not strong enough to do whatever China does, and politics is not science but morality – the US cannot all of a sudden go from 1865 to 1949 (or in Iran’s case, 1979). This dog will chase its tail until at least the November election, and the rest of the world can truly be glad that the dog is not biting them for the time being.

It is not about race nor police brutality – but this old idea is so familiar and comfortable, which is why the MSM pushes it so hard: this is something entirely new. How can anybody look at the US and think that 2020 isn’t going to be a year of total chaos for them?

Which is why it’s so funny to hear the solution proffered by so many “woke” Americans during these rebellions: get out and vote.

Hahahahahahahaha, if you think telling “Joe Biden will save us” is a good answer to a protester, to a looter, to the half of the nation which is totally politically apathetic, to the quarter of the nation which is now unemployed, to the other quarter which is fed up with lousy wages, zero stability, skyrocketed costs to health care, tuition, rent, etc., then you are part of the reason why people are letting the US burn – because you foolishly believe in the Western liberal democratic aristocratic/bourgeois system.

The US system has no answer for what is going on, and this list was far from extensive.

Trump is not Huey Long but a hardcore corporate fascist, and he was so necessary to vote into office because he pulled the sheet off the American system.

How’s it look where you are?

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

Corona contrarianism? How about some corona common sense? Here is my list of articles published regarding the corona crisis.

Capitalist-imperialist West stays home over corona – they grew a conscience? – March 22, 2020

Corona meds in every pot & a People’s QE: the Trumpian populism they hoped for? – March 23, 2020

A day’s diary from a US CEO during the Corona crisis (satire) March 23, 2020

MSNBC: Chicago price gouging up 9,000% & the sports-journalization of US media – March 25, 2020

Tough times need vanguard parties – are ‘social media users’ the West’s? – March 26, 2020

If Germany rejects Corona bonds they must quit the Eurozone – March 30, 2020

Landlord class: Waive or donate rent-profits now or fear the Cultural Revolution – March 31, 2020

Corona repeating 9/11 & Y2K hysterias? Both saw huge economic overreactions – April 1, 2020

(A Soviet?) Superman: Red Son – the new socialist film to watch on lockdown – April 2, 2020

Corona rewrites capitalist bust-chronology & proves: It’s the nation-state, stupid – April 3, 2020

Condensing the data leaves no doubt: Fear corona-economy more than the virus – April 5, 2020

‘We’re Going Wrong’: The West’s middling, middle-class corona response – April 10, 2020

Why does the UK have an ‘army’ of volunteers but the US has a shortage? – April 12, 2020

No buybacks allowed or dared? Then wave goodbye to Western stock market gains – April 13, 2020

Pity post-corona Millennials… if they don’t openly push socialism – April 14, 2020

No, the dollar will only strengthen post-corona, as usual: it’s a crisis, after all – April 16, 2020

Same 2008 QE playbook, but the Eurozone will kick off Western chaos not the US – April 18, 2020

We’re giving up our civil liberties. Fine, but to which type of state? – April 20,

2020

Coronavirus – Macron’s savior. A ‘united Europe’ – France’s murderer – April 22, 2020

Iran’s ‘resistance economy’: the post-corona wish of the West’s silent majority (1/2) – April 23, 2020

The same 12-year itch: Will banks loan down QE money this time? – April 26,

2020

The end of globalisation won’t be televised, despite the hopes of the Western 99% (2/2) – April 27, 2020

What would it take for proponents to say: ‘The Great Lockdown was wrong’? – April 28, 2020

ZeroHedge, a response to Mr. Littlejohn & the future of dollar dominance – April 30, 2020

Given Western history, is it the ‘Great Segregation’ and not the ‘Great Lockdown’? – May 2, 2020

The Western 1% colluded to start WWI – is the Great Lockdown also a conspiracy? – May 4, 2020

May 17: The date the Great Lockdown must end or Everything Bubble 2 pops – May 6, 2020

Reading Piketty: Does corona delay the Greens’ fake-leftist, sure-to-fail victory? – May 8, 2020

Picturing the media campaign needed to get the US back to work – May 11, 2020

Scarce jobs + revenue desperation = sure Western stagflation post-corona – May 13, 2020

France’s nurses march – are they now deplorable Michiganders to fake-leftists? – May 15, 2020

Why haven’t we called it ‘QE 5’ yet? And why we must call it ‘QE 2.1’ instead – May 16, 2020

‘Take your stinking paws off me, you damned, dirty public servant!’ That’s Orwell? – May 17, 2021

The Great Lockdown: The political apex of US single Moms & Western matriarchy? May 21, 2021

I was wrong on corona – by not pushing for a US Cultural Revolution immediately – May 25, 2021

August 1: when the unemployment runs out and a new era of US labor battles begin – May 28, 2021


Ramin Mazaheri is the chief correspondent in Paris for Press TV and has lived in France since 2009. He has been a daily newspaper reporter in the US, and has reported from Iran, Cuba, Egypt, Tunisia, South Korea and elsewhere. He is the author of the books Ill Ruin Everything You Are: Ending Western Propaganda on Red China’ and the NEW Socialisms Ignored Success: Iranian Islamic Socialism.

Racism to the Maximum: Outrage in US after Photo Showing Police Leading Black Man by a Rope Goes Viral

By Staff, Agencies

Outrage erupted across the United States after a photo of two white police officers mounted on horseback walking a handcuffed black man by a rope – recalling the long history of violence, slavery and racism against African Americans during the era of segregation – went viral.

Vernon Hale, the police chief of the US city of Galveston in the state of Texas, issued an apology following the incident, but his statement drew more criticism for being “weak”.

Hale said the black man in the photo, Donald Neely, who was arrested on Saturday for trespassing, should have been taken to the station in a police car, instead of horse-mounted officers.

Neely was then escorted on foot, led by a length of rope and flanked by the two police.

“Although this is a trained technique and best practice in some scenarios, I believe our officers showed poor judgement in this instance,” said Hale, in a statement published on Monday on Facebook.

“First and foremost I must apologize to Mister Neely for this unnecessary embarrassment,” Hale said, adding that policy had been changed so that the technique would no longer be used.

Neely is free on bond. He has no listed telephone number and could not be reached for comment.

Hale told The Galveston County Daily News that he regularly talks to his officers about how their actions affect people’s perception of the department.

We have verified with law enforcement officials in Galveston, that the photograph taken in Galveston is real. It is hard to understand why these officers felt this young man required a leash, as he was handcuffed and walking between two mounted officers.

“You have to be aware of the images we portray,” he said. “We talk about it when we talk about use of force, when we talk about vehicle pursuits. Quite frankly, I never would have dreamed of it in the context of mounted officers.”

Hale’s statement, however, sparked frustration, with some activist groups saying his response was “weak” and “inadequate”.

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Nigeria Crackdown: Sheikh Zakzaky Granted Bail after Mass Protests

By Staff, Agencies

A Nigerian court granted bail to Muslim cleric Sheikh Ibrahim al-Zakzaky so that he can fly to India for medical care, his lawyer says.

“The judge has ordered that Zakzaky be flown to India for proper medical attention,” his lawyer Femi Falana told AFP on Monday.

Sheikh Zakzaky, the founder of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria [IMN], has been in detention since December 2015 after his residence in the city of Zaria was raided by Nigeria’s forces, during which he was beaten and lost vision in his left eye.

During the brutal crackdown, three of his sons were martyred, his wife sustained serious wounds, and some 350 of his followers were killed.

Since then, the government has been violently cracking down on the IMN and its members.

The Islamic Human Rights Commission [IHRC], based in London, said last month that the cleric’s health condition had further deteriorated, since he was reportedly poisoned in prison.

Sheikh Zakzaky was in dire need of medical treatment, as large and dangerous quantities of lead and cadmium have been found in his blood.

Recently, a Nigerian court granted the government permission to label the IMN as a “terrorist” group, a move that many believe would give the officials the opportunity to clamp down harder on it.

IMN members regularly take to the streets of the Nigerian capital to call for the release of Zakzaky.

In recent weeks, dozens of demonstrators were martyred after Nigerian troops used live ammunition and tear gas. The IMN says it has lost at least 20 of its members during the clashes.

Ethiopian Jews’ uprising (press TV)

Tens of thousands of Israelis of Jewish Ethiopian descent and their supporters staged protests across Israel after a member of the minority community was shot dead by police.

The protests turned violent as police started making arrests. Who are Israel’s black Jewish minority and why do they claim they’ve been marginalized?

Video

Police Suicide in France: the whistle was blown, but the Macron regime pretends to be deaf

July 25, 2019

by Ollie Richardson for The Saker Blog

Ollie's MacBook:Users:O-RICH:Downloads:65529449_548100765594065_4141423177240674304_n.jpg
Dear reader, if you enjoy my Yellow Vests reporting and want it to continue, then please consider becoming my Patron and helping me give the movement the fair English-language coverage it deserves. More information can be found here.

(Photo taken by me on June 29th in Paris during a Yellow Vests demonstration)

I think by now most people who are interested in geopolitics are familiar with the “Yellow Vests” movement and the social unrest in France, but one topic that receives almost no mainstream media coverage (neither in the Anglophone nor French press), and which the French government deliberately ignores, is police suicide. At the time of writing – July 25th – there have been 66 police suicides in France so far in 2019. According to the President of the association “Uniformes en danger” Christelle Teixeira, 88 police officers killed themselves in 2018. At the current rate in 2019 it means that every four days a police officer kills themselves. This epidemic of suicides in the ranks of law enforcement is becoming an endemic problem that some people sometimes like to compare to the suicidal tendencies of French farmers, who have also been hit hard by socio-economic distress and drought.

Thus, according to a Senate report from June 2018, the rate of suicide in the French police is 36% higher than what is seen in the general population. Concerning farmers, the same rate was 20% to 30% higher than the average for the French population, according to a study published by the “Public Health of France” agency in 2016. It is a similar trend, but with a big difference concerning police officers and gendarmes: they all have the same employer – the state; and the same boss, the Interior Minister Christophe Castaner. The plans that were launched in the past to try to solve the problem, especially in May 2018 under the leadership of Gerard Collomb, are considered to be too weak by some police officers, who cite the daily grind and the “social context that is currently tense in many socio-professional categories”, as Jean-Pierre Colombies explains.

“Christophe Castaner refused a hearing at the association ‘Angry Law Enforcement Wives’ on this topic in November 2018, which is quite evocative, but in any case, one finds oneself in such a context of social tension that one can hardly imagine fundamental work in our rigid administration. Meanwhile, in the police stations, it must be made clear that officials do not know how much they can trust their minister. These are the kind of ideas that come to us from the ground.”

“Concerning police suicides, the situation is catastrophic. A death every four days is unheard of, practically. It is unbearable for us to see this phenomenon boiled down to ‘personal problems’. When the Director of Public Order and Traffic, Alain Gibelin, resigned after a big burnout, we were told that it was the workload that caused his illness, but when it is a cop from the very beginning, we are told that it is the personal context that leads to suicide … It is therefore clear that the assessment of occupational pressure is variable depending on the department.”

Jean-Pierre Colombies proposed an idea that even he considers to be “utopian”:

“We should rethink the relationship between police and society, as well as the relationship between the administration and its police officers. Sometimes it works and there are some great service managers, I’ve known some, but you have to admit that some are real problems, very destructive people that make dialogue between the police and their administration often broken. In these cases, when occupational pressure adds to personal problems, some crack. That’s what we showed in our film.

On March 12th several police associations held a night gathering at Trocadero for the purpose of raising awareness of this cause. Despite the presence of some media, including RT France, two minority unions (VIGI and France Police), and two political figures (Senator François Grosdidier and the deputy Nicolas Dupont-Aignan), the government has not reacted to this new invitation for dialogue.

And this is not the only initiation for dialogue that has been sent to the Macron regime by a police officer. Alexandre Langlois, who was the head of a police union until recently, when he was suspended from his duties for dissent, is subject to a six-month temporary exclusion from the National Police (Police Nationale) after revealing internally and to the press a number of serious things concerning the Ministry of the Interior. Suicides, sexual assaults, falsifications of numbers, toxic tear gas (a new secret formulae being used by the police) – he rips into the government…

… whilst at the same time inviting Castaner for a debate.

After a policeman from the Cergy branch of the Regional Directorate of the Judicial Police of Versailles committed suicide in the armory of the drop-in center of the Police Judiciaire in Cergy-Pontoise (Val d’Oise) on July 24th, the “Alternative Police” union was received at Place Beauveau on July 25th by Fabrice Gardon, the police adviser of Christophe Castaner, “to address this painful subject.”

Through a press release, the “Alternative Police” union says it wants to “put an end to this slump and to this deadly crisis so that 2019 is not a year of sad recording breaking in relation to the last twenty years”. The union recalls that it alerts “the successive Interior Ministers” over the last 5 years about this situation, declares that it is necessary “to immediately tackle the causes that lead to suicide, and no longer the consequences via prevention plans whose effects remain to be demonstrated”.

Ollie's MacBook:Users:O-RICH:Downloads:EAURMOZW4AAv_fA.jpg

During this meeting, the union planned to send to the Interior Ministry a document entitled: “2019 -2022, the police flourish in their daily work for a national police at the height of social issues”. This “white paper” presents the “proposals” and “recommendations” of “Alternative Police” aimed at improving the working conditions and concretely fighting against the police suicide rate.

The union does not intend to stop at this meeting. It plans to catch “Emmanuel Macron’s police advisor, Mr. Hottiaux”, and “the Prime Minister in order to obtain a government commitment”. It also asks that the public authorities organize “without delay real high-level talks in the National Police”.

“Alternative Police considers that the whole of the government must face up to this suffering and this ill-being in order to meet the strong expectation of the police.”

Back in April Castaner announced the opening of a “warning prevention” hotline based in the 12th arrondissement of Paris, designed to prevent police suicides, and said that suicides in the police were not a “fatality” and that it was necessary “break the silence”. It is headed by a police officer, a member of the Inspectorate General of the Administration, and a psychiatry professor. However, it doesn’t appear that this hotline is making much of a difference.

On June 21st the politician Eric Ciotti criticised Christophe Castaner for not having settled the issue of overtime owed to the police, which he estimates to be at €300m. The Interior Minister retorted sharply by saying “No, I do not owe anything to them”.

As if this wasn’t bad enough, Christophe Castaner, who, like his colleagues, is also embroiled in scandal after scandal, actually awarded police officers that are involved in open police violence inquiries launched by wounded Yellow Vests. On June 16th he awarded at least 5 officers who are suspected of violating the law: Rabah Souchi, who led the police charge that caused the injuries sustained by Geneviève Legay, and Bruno Félix, who commanded the police who killed the peaceful resident Zineb Redouane in Marseille during a Yellow Vests protest, are two examples.

In reality I have only skimmed the surface of the police problem in France, but the main takeaway from this article should be the fact that there is a police suicide epidemic happening in the country. And in order to emphasise this point, I have consulted as many law enforcement unions as possible concerning information about the 66 (at the time of writing) suicides so far in 2019 and created the table below. Imagining what the data will look like by December 31st sends a shiver down my spine…

No. Date (2019) Region Department Name/initials and/or age (if known) Media report (if available)
1 January 1st La Rochelle Police Nationale J.B. charentelibre
2 January 2nd Cherbourg Police Nationale lamanchelibre
3 January 4th Reims Police Nationale actu17
4 January 7th La Rochelle Police Nationale L.M. charentelibre
5 January 15th Paris Police Nationale Jordan R. actu17
voltage
6 January 16th Saint Omer Police Nationale Stan, 42 actu17
7 January 16th Paris Police Nationale Julien actu17
8 January 17th Paris Police Nationale
9 January 20th Bédenac Surveillant pénitentiaire lefigaro
10 January 24th Le Mans Police Nationale actu17
11 January 27th Not disclosed Police Nationale
12 January 27th Not disclosed Police Nationale
13 February 14th Martinique Police Nationale actupenit
14 February 18th Louvigné/Laval Police Nationale francesoir
ouest-france
15 February 19th Grand-Quevilly Police Nationale Sebastien profession-gendarme
16 February 26th Montpellier Police Ferroviaire
17 March 4th Elancourt Police Nationale Mickaël leparisien
18 March 5th Dunkerque Police Nationale
19 March 5th Limoges Police Nationale ladepeche
20 March 7th Saint Saëns Police Nationale francesoir
21 March 9th Selles sur Cher Gendarmerie Nationale Romain, 32 actu17
22 March 13th Roissy en France Vigipirate 24 lavoixdunord
23 March 15th Limay Police Nationale Sébastien leparisien
24 March 19th Paris Police Nationale europe1
25 March 28th Bailleval Police Nationale francetvinfo
26 April 1st Paris Police Nationale
27 April 2nd Toulouse Surveillant Pénitentiaire centpourcent
28 April 2nd Marlieux Police Nationale Jean-François B. francetvinfo
29 April 6th Avignon Police Municipale midilibre
30 April 7th Conflans Police Nationale leparisien
31 April 7th Alès Police Nationale Christophe ladepeche
32 April 9th Orsay Gendarmerie Nationale Willy actu17
33 April 14th Paris Police Nationale leparisien
34 April 16th Metz Police Nationale Damien LCI
35 April 16th Bèziers Police Municipale francetvinfo
36 April 18th Montpellier Police Nationale Elisabeth G. francetvinfo
37 April 18th Paris Police Nationale 25 leparisien
38 April 24th Paray le Monial Police Municipale Jean-Christophe actu17
39 April 28th Gap Vigipirate rtl
40 April 30th La réunion Gendarmerie Nationale Ludovic D. lepoint
41 May 5th Cholet Police Municipale Eric francetvinfo
42 May 6th Aunay sur Odon Gendarmerie Nationale actu
43 May 11th Orange Police Municipale ledauphine
44 May 13th Briançon Gendarmerie Nationale Quentin lessor
45 May 17th Lons le Saunier Gendarmerie Nationale francetvinfo
46 May 22nd Lille Police Nationale Mickaël actupenit
47 May 24th Nice Police Municipale
48 May 25th Chessy Police Nationale Baptiste leparisien
actu17
49 May 31st Not disclosed Police Nationale Pascal B. actu17
50 June 2nd Fougères Gendarmerie Nationale Jean F. francesoir
51 June 13th Paris Police Nationale Benoit actu17
52 June 14th Fos sur mer Police Municipale Mickaël, 29 Syndicat de Défense des Policiers Municipaux
53 June 20th Paris Police Nationale Jean-Louis B. actu17
54 June 21st Toulouse Police Nationale nouvelobs
20minutes
55 June 25th Nimes Gendarmerie Nationale RT France
56 June 28th Bruay la Buissière Police Nationale Eric P.
57 June 29th Marseille Police Nationale Gérard B., 50 FranceInfo
laprovence
58 July 5th Bordeaux Police Nationale Caroline, 44 francebleu
59 July 8th Annecy Police Nationale ledauphine
60 July 12th Castelnau de Médoc Gendarmerie Nationale francebleu
61 July 14th Not disclosed Vigipirate
62 July 16th Douai Police Nationale Jean-Marc, 49
63 July 22nd Béthune Police Nationale Eric T. lavoixdunord
64 July 22nd Nimes Police Nationale Jamal Z.
65 July 23rd Isère Police Nationale Frédéric L., 49 acti17
66 July 24th Cergy Police Nationale S. actu17

 

 

America’s Collapse: Asset Forfeiture

Global Research, July 25, 2019

Readers aware that I, and Dmitry Orlov, have been chronicling America’s rapid decline ask me, “where did it all begin?”  To  answer that question would require a massive history such as Jacques Bazun’s From Dawn to Decadence: 500 Years of Western Cultural Life. All I can do for you is to show you recent evidence from our time.

Let’s begin an occasional series on the subject with asset forfeiture.  Asset forfeiture was one of those tactics that Sir Thomas More warned against in the play, “A Man for All Seasons.” Cutting down a protective feature of law in order to better chase after devils exposes the innocent to injustice along with the guilty.  The devil was the Mafia.  Asset forfeiture originated as a way to prevent gangsters from using their ill-gotten gains to hire better lawyers to defend them than the US Justice Department could hire to prosecute them.  In effect, gangsters were denied the use of their money in their defense. This was the beginning of an unconstitutional assault on private property and due process, but the judiciary, desiring that the Mafia be imprisoned, ignored their constitutional responsibility. The judges joined in the chase after devils.

A next step was to go further in the “war on drugs” and confiscate the property of those suspected of drug crimes.  The Comprehensive Forfeiture Act of 1984 declared forfeitable all real property, including any right, title or interest in anything associated in any way with the commission of a drug crime. 

As I have stressed and as legal scholars formerly stressed, the law unfolds to the limit of its logic.  Innocent people have had their cars confiscated because they picked up a hitch-hiker who was in possession of drugs discovered in a police stop.  Federal agents have confiscated real estate on the grounds of which they conducted a “drug sting.”  As one of the participants in the sting committed a crime, the property chosen for the sting can be confiscated on the grounds that the property  “facilitated a drug crime.”  Multimillionaire Donald Scott was shot dead by police in his home on his 200-acre estate in Malibu, California, because of a conspiracy to seize Mr. Scott’s home on the theory that there was “probable cause” to think that the heir to a vast European chemical and cosmetic fortune was growing marijuana somewhere on his estate (The Tyranny of Good Intentions, pp. 117-120).

Asset forfeiture soon jumped beyond drug crimes to all crimes.  A family lost their motel because a prostitute rented a room in which she conducted her business.  The motel had unknowingly “faciliated a crime.”  Asset forfeiture permits a person’s property to be confiscated even though the owner was not a participant in the crime and had no knowledge of the crime.

There have been vast numbers of innocent American tax-paying victims of police stealing their property under asset forfeiture law. Over the years I have reported cases, and Lawrence Stratton and I addressed police theft from the innocent public in The Tyranny of Good Intentions published in 2000 and a new edition in 2008.  The injustice done to so many Americans is one cost of asset forfeiture laws.  The criminalization of police departments is another cost.

Local TV stations in Tennessee, for example, have reported many instances of police from different local jurisdictions fighting over seizure rights on different stretches of Interstate 40.  The police stop cars with out-of-state tags, search the cars and passengers, and if they find cash in the amount of $100 or greater the police confiscate it on the grounds that the amount indicates the selling of drugs or the intended purchase of drugs. On other pretexts the police seize the cars leaving the family on foot in a strange land.

In The Tyranny of Good Intentions, Larry Stratton and I tell the story of Selena Washington who was stopped on I-95 in Florida on her way to purchase construction materials to repair her hurricane-damaged home. She doubted the building materials company would accept a large check from a black woman and had with her the insurance settlement of $19,000 in cash.  Police had set up roadblocks in order to rob people and confiscated her money without even taking her name. With the aid of an attorney and proof of insurance settlement, she was able to recover $15,000 or 79% of her money.  To get her money back, she had to agree that the police could keep $4,000.  I don’t know what the attorney’s fees were. Most likely, the bandit police prevented the full restoration of her home, just as when the police steal a person’s car they prevent the person from going to work and earning a living. Is the person still responsible for car payments when their car is stolen by police?

Clearly, neither the police nor the local governments that allegedly oversee the police are concerned  about the career-destroying impositions, along with the deaths, that they impose on the people who pay their salaries. Why do the idiot “law and order conservatives” romanticize the police?  How utterly stupid can a person be?

The Orlando Sentinel investigated police stops in Volusia County, Florida, and concluded that the police had used pretexts to confiscate tens of thousands of dollars from motorists.  Only four of the motorists managed to get all of their money back.

Despite massive police abuse, or is it merely enforcement, of forfeiture laws, the practice continues to expand.  The public acceptance of police as criminal organizations has resulted in new schemes for stealing people’s property.  Police stop motorists and on any number of pretexts impound their car. Impound and storage fees rapidly mount, making it impossible for anyone other than a well-to-do person to recover their car.  The cars are then sold to a contractor. The August 2019 issue of Car and Driver describes how this works in Chicago.  It is a tale of banditry.  And it goes on right in front of our eyes, and nothing is done about it.

When the police who are paid by the public to “serve and protect” instead rob and murder without accountibility, not even insouciant Americans can deny the devastating evidence of American legal, political and societal collapse.

*

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This article was originally published on the author’s blog site: Paul Craig Roberts Institute for Political Economy.

Dr. Paul Craig Roberts is a frequent contributor to Global Research.

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