Aletho News

ΑΛΗΘΩΣ

Gaza war anniversary: ‘Aggressive’ UK police arrest 8 at Israeli arms factory protest

CJOZrBxWoAAzkPk

RT | July 6, 2015

Staffordshire Police have been accused of making a “heavy-handed” intervention during a protest outside an Israeli arms factory organized to mark the anniversary of last year’s Gaza conflict.

At least eight people were arrested Monday during the demonstration outside a factory in Shenstone, which is owned by a subsidiary of Israeli defense contractor Elbit Systems.

An activist with London Palestine Action, speaking in personal capacity, told RT that the demonstration was meant to be a “fun, creative” experience, but was met with “aggressive [and] forceful police tactics.”

Campaigners estimate 200 people attended the protest near Birmingham, which was the site of a similar blockade in August 2014.

The protest was timed to mark the one-year anniversary of start of the Gaza conflict. Activists held a memorial service for the 2,200-plus Palestinian victims, 490 of whom were children.

Protests were also held in Tamworth and Broadstairs in the UK, and Melbourne in Australia.

Shenstone protesters targeted the UAV Engines factory where engines for Hermes, one of Israel’s primary armed drones, are manufactured.

Drones owned by the Israeli Defense Force (IDF) may have been used in attacks that resulted in civilian deaths and violated international law, according to reports by Human Rights Watch and The Guardian.

A variety of campaign groups including War on Want, Campaign Against the Arms Trade and the Palestine Solidarity Campaign united under the umbrella movement “Block the Factory” to organize the day of action.

Protesters posted videos on Twitter indicating a heavy police presence. At one point, a police officer is seen dragging a man holding a megaphone out of a crowd and arresting him.

Speaking to RT, activist Alex Levan, 31, said organizers had intended the protest to be peaceful.

“There were lots of police from early on,” he said. “They were very rough, they manhandled protestors, [and] they were very heavy-handed.”

“The idea was to reclaim the space around the factory and to turn it into a real festival environment, a creative activist environment with workshops, with a family space, with arts and crafts.”

“But the police were heavy-handed, they’ve made at least 10 arrests, but there will probably be more. These were completely unprovoked arrests, these were peaceful protests,” he added.

“But we did spend the majority of the day, from the early hours of the morning, blocking the factory.”

The protest succeeded in halting factory production for the day.

Activists called on the British government “to initiate an immediate two-way arms embargo – to stop arming Israel and to stop buying weapons from Israel.”

The Hermes, which is partly produced in the UK, carries two Spike-MR (medium range) missiles, which are produced by Israeli firm Rafael Advanced Defense Systems.

It can stay airborne for up to 24 hours at altitudes of up to 18,000 feet (5,486 meters) and is equipped with optical, infrared and laser sensors that enable it to identify and track targets.

Human Rights Watch claim to have found evidence Spike missiles were used against two Red Cross ambulances during Israel’s conflict in Lebanon in 2006.

Six medical workers and three patients were injured in the attack. The Geneva Convention forbids armed forces from targeting medical staff or hospitals.

Staffordshire Police Chief Inspector Steve Smith said: “At Tamworth this morning, a number of individuals climbed onto the roof of a factory building as part of a protest. All seven voluntarily came off the roof. Police officers then directed them to leave the area under public order legislation. No arrests were made.

“At Shenstone, a number of protesters locked themselves to fencing and others blocked the road. A civil injunction is in place around this location so police have the power to arrest anyone breaching this injunction.

“So far eight people, seven men and one woman, have been arrested on suspicion of breaching a high court injunction.”

July 6, 2015 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Solidarity and Activism, Video, War Crimes | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Tories’ repeal of Human Rights Act will spark constitutional crisis, erode civil liberties – experts

RT | May 11, 2015

Newly appointed Justice Secretary Michael Gove will push ahead with Conservative plans to repeal the Human Rights Act – a move experts warn could spark a constitutional crisis and blight Britain’s reputation on human rights worldwide.

Conservative Party sources, fresh from last week’s general election victory, told the Guardian the human rights reforms are imminent.

Civil liberty advocates warn the soon-to-be implemented measures would erode the right to life, the right to privacy, the right to a fair trial, the right to protest and the right to freedom from torture and discrimination.

Although the Tories were keen to push ahead with the legal changes during their last term in government, the move was blocked by the party’s ex-coalition partner the Liberal Democrats. But as a majority government, the Conservatives are now poised to push ahead with the reforms.

Central to the Tories’ election manifesto was a pledge to repeal the Human Rights Act (HRA) and significantly curb the power of the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) in Britain. The legal reforms are expected to surface in PM David Cameron’s plans for his first 100 days, which will be outlined in the Queen’s Speech on May 27.

Under these changes, the Conservatives would replace the HRA with a Tory-styled British Bill of Rights. Britain’s Supreme Court would no longer be answerable to the ECHR, with the Strasbourg-based court losing the power to order changes to UK law.

The plans were drawn up in 2014 by then-Secretary of State for Justice Chris Grayling. At the time, Grayling proposed Britain withdraw from the ECHR if the Council of Europe rejects the Conservatives’ British Bill of Rights.

Constitutional crisis

Considerable doubt exists among experts that the Council of Europe, a human rights watchdog responsible for ensuring the Convention is upheld, will accept the Tories’ proposals. As a result, it is widely believed Britain will disengage from the European Convention on Human Rights and undermine Europe’s’ civil liberties framework in the process.

Britain’s withdrawal from the ECHR has been strongly opposed by former Secretary of State for Justice Kenneth Clarke and the UK’s ex-Attorney General Dominic Grieve. Grieve has long condemned the proposal, warning its consequences would be devastating.

In December, he said the government’s threat to potentially abandon the Strasbourg court undermines international law and could fray the constitutional fabric that holds the United Kingdom together. Echoing grieve, analysts warn such a withdrawal would spark a constitutional crisis in the UK.

They suggest the move would be flatly rejected by Nicola Sturgeon’s Scottish Nationalist Party (SNP) and would mean the Conservative government has violated Northern Ireland’s 1998 Good Friday Agreement.

Dr Paul O’Connell, a Reader in Law at the University of London’s School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), says the Conservatives’ proposed bill is shrouded with ambiguity.

“The notion of a British Bill of Rights is still quite vague, and more rhetoric than substance at present,” he told RT on Monday.

O’Connell, whose expertise lies in the field of human rights law, international law and the relationship between law and social change, said repealing the Human Rights Act would prove disruptive for Britain.

O’Connell rejected the notion such a move would breed a constitutional crisis in the UK, but argued the policy change would lead to a “recalibration of the culture of British law.”

“Withdrawing from the ECHR is difficult, it’s hard to imagine that the new government will, in fact, seek to do this,” he said.

“They may, however, take a harder line with decisions from the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR), and may lobby other members of the Council of Europe to reform the Court.”

Eroded civil liberties

Mairi Clare Rodgers, media director at human rights group Liberty, argued the Conservatives’ plans to scrap the Human Rights Act hold serious implications.

The Act has proven vital in protecting journalists’ sources, safeguarding British soldiers, offering much needed-answers to grieving families, and holding power to account, she said.

Mairi also emphasized the HRA’s role in defending those who suffer from domestic violence, rape victims and those who require specialist care.

Executive director at Reprieve, Clare Algar, said successive UK governments have undermined Britons’ ability to hold politicians to account.

“We hope that Mr Gove ignores the myths and spin that many others have used against human rights legislation, and considers instead the important central principles,” she told RT.

“This is something which helps defend the weak from the strong, and the individual citizen from the abuses of government.”

Amnesty International UK’s Allan Hogarth said the Human Rights Act has been misrepresented by a series of myths.

“Despite all the myths peddled about the Human Rights Act, this valuable piece of legislation has helped ensure that principles of fair trial, free speech and the right not to be tortured are properly respected in our country,” he told RT.

“Whatever the politicking in the coming weeks, the Human Rights Act should be protected and Michael Gove should stand firm over the Act’s fundamental principles of justice and decency.”

Read more: Human rights debate in Britain is ‘regressive’ – Scottish watchdog

May 11, 2015 Posted by | Civil Liberties | , , , | Leave a comment

Seattle faces $500k suit for pepper-spraying school teacher

RT | January 29, 2015

​A Seattle, Washington high school history teacher who was pepper-sprayed by police moments after speaking at a Martin Luther King Jr. Day rally is suing the city for $500,000.

Attorneys for Jesse Hagopian filed the claim against Seattle on Wednesday, nine days after the incident unfolded during, ironically, an anti-police brutality protest held in tandem with similar rallies across the United States on the holiday named for the slain civil rights leader.

Hagopian, a history teacher at Garfield High School who is known throughout the region for his activism, had just finished speaking during the January 19 event and was on the phone with his mother when a female police officer began discharging her pepper spray, striking multiple people.

An eyewitness was filming only a few feet away from where that officer and others had formed a barricade along a city intersection as law enforcement tried to control the crowd. A separate video filmed from above suggests that an officer had been knocked off their bicycle down the street, prompting the police to try and clear the area.

The ground-level footage appears to show Hagopian on the phone, walking towards the sidewalk, when he is blasted across the face with a stream of pepper spray.

“Ah, f**k. They just sprayed,”a voice on the video is heard saying as the officer barks to the crowd while attempting to clear the intersection.

Hagopian later got online and explained what happened in his own words:

“I was marching for Martin Luther King day today – amazing march! At one point after the big main march, group of bike cops set up a line to keep us from marching. Some people walked through the line, but I didn’t. When my phone rang, I turned away from the cops and began walking away to answer the phone. A cop then ran up in my face and pepper sprayed me right in the face.”

The close-up video recording of the incident has since been acquired by James Bible, the former president of the Seattle chapter of the NAACP, who in turn posted it to YouTube on Wednesday in concert with the announcement concerning the court filing. Bible is also serving as Hagopian’s attorney.

According to the Seattle Times, the suit alleges that Hagopian “instantly felt a burning sensation in his eyes and had some difficulty breathing.” The teacher later posted a photograph online showing him trying to tame the effects of the spray by dousing his face with milk.

“The main thing I’m upset about is that [I was on] the sidewalk when I was pepper sprayed so there’s really no reason at all they can use to justify what they did,” Hagopian told The Skanner News. … Full article

January 29, 2015 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Solidarity and Activism, Subjugation - Torture, Video | , , , , , | Leave a comment

UK police misuse pre-charge bail to ban activists from protesting – report

RT | December 25, 2014

UK police forces are misusing pre-charge bail by banning hundreds of protestors from attending lawful demonstrations, The Guardian newspaper has revealed. Of all bailed protesters, eighty-five percent are never charged with any crime.

Since 2008 police have arrested at least 855 people in England and Wales and then released them on pre-charge bail, setting a date to return to the police station. Until their return, those bailed are prohibited from attending any demonstration. However, 85 percent, or about 732 people, have never been charged, according to data the Guardian collected using the Freedom of Information Act.

Of the 500 arrests by the Metropolitan Police since 2008, only 15 people have been charged. In the same way the City of London, Essex and Sussex police banned 120 people. On average only one in seven has been charged.

Citing “additional research”, The Guardian assumed the actual number of bans imposed could be far greater as some of the bail conditions given by custody sergeants were not picked up by the scope of the newspaper’s information requests.

In the UK, no court permission is required for a custody sergeant to hand out a protest ban. Should a protester violate this restriction, an arrest for breach of bail could follow. However, people on pre-charge bail can appeal to a magistrate.

“Bail is becoming an instrument that is being used by people without recourse to the judicial process. It is essentially to punish protesters and curb their right to demonstrate,” Rachel Harger of leading human rights law firm Bindmans told the newspaper. “It is effectively the police conducting their own extra-judicial justice without going to court.”

In the meantime, police managed to prove that in 123 cases they had enough evidence to start proceedings against the suspects.

However, civil liberties and protest groups insist that using bail is just a way of “disrupting protest activity without the inconvenience of dealing with a formal legal process.”

“As a result of the police’s long track record of misusing pre-charge conditions against protesters in an irresponsible way, we believe the only solution is the complete withdrawal of this power for all protest-related offences,” The Network for Police Monitoring (Netpol), a group which seeks to monitor public order, protest and street policing, said.

According to the policy officer of civil liberties group Liberty, Rachel Robinson, “the lack of limits on police bail make it liable to abuse and misuse, and can act to frustrate, rather than further, prosecutions.”

“Its use against protesters raises particular concerns, potentially chilling peaceful dissent for protracted periods without any prospect of criminal conviction,” she added.

The Guardian has also cited an example of Kelly Rogers who was one of those affected by the ban. She said West Midlands Police issued her a “blanket ban on all protests.” However no criminal charges were ever pressed against her.

“Ultimately, their only aim could have been to stop us protesting again, even though it is our right to do so,” she said.

UK Justice Minister Mike Penning said there will be consultation on pre-charge bail reform.

“The Home Secretary has been clear that it is wrong for people to spend months, or even years, on police bail with no judicial oversight or accountability,“ he said.

He added that in parallel, the College of Policing “is developing evidence-based guidance to bring consistency, transparency and rigor to the way in which pre-charge bail is used in criminal investigations.”

December 25, 2014 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Full Spectrum Dominance | , , , | Leave a comment

UK Midlands outrage: Police teargas and ‘assault’ students protesting tuition fees

RT | December 4, 2014

A student protest at Warwick University against soaring tuition fees was broken up by police and security guards using tear gas and significant force. Protesters were threatened with a Taser, pushed to the ground and rammed against a wall, activists say.

The protest, organized by Warwick For Free Education, occurred on Wednesday as part of a nationwide chain of student demonstrations coordinated by the National Campaign Against Fees and Cuts.

The students had decided to hold a peaceful sit-in at the university’s Senate House in protest at rising fees for higher education that have been introduced under PM David Cameron’s government.

A spokesman for Warwick University said university security guards, who were monitoring the protest, were subjected to a “shocking and unprovoked act of violence,” which prompted them to call for a police presence. But the spokesman’s claims were contradicted by students who insisted the protest was quiet and peaceful.

One of the student protesters told OpenDemocracy.org that approximately 50 students attended a rally on Warwick University’s campus before making their way to occupy the reception area of the university’s Senate House. He claimed his fellow protesters were seated peacefully in a large circle, only to be besieged by security guards and officers.

Following the arrival of West Midlands Police officers, clashes ensued. A formal statement published on the Warwick For Free Education website alleges that “at least 20 students were assaulted by university security and police.”

Protesters were “punched, pushed onto the floor, dragged, rammed by their throat into the wall and kneed in the face,” the protest group claims.

‘Disproportionate force’

Footage published online shows an officer shoving the students with considerable force, while protesters shout, “What are you doing?”

The YouTube video reveals screaming students, visibly shocked and fearful, being forcibly dispersed by police.

One girl, who appeared to be filming the protest, was physically hauled forward by an officer and subsequently pushed away as she screamed in a terrified manner. A nearby student who witnessed the event shouted at the officer, “Get your hands off her! Mate, what are you doing? This is peaceful.”

The officer appeared to respond by lunging toward the young man in a threatening manner with a can of CS gas.

CS or tear gas is a commonly used agent for riot control. Exposure creates a sensation of burning, and causes excessive tearing of the eyes so that the subject’s vision is temporarily impaired.

One student who had attended the demonstration told the Coventry Telegraph that a police officer “took out his CS spray and sprayed it in one person’s eyes and then into a crowd of about 10 people.”

“A Taser was taken out and was being made to crackle by pressing the trigger, but it wasn’t used,” he added.

The student said the force deployed felt “particularly disproportionate.” “When the police came they didn’t say why they were there. A lot of younger students were visibly shaken and left in tears.”

The activist added the violence the students experienced was a “shock” because the protest was “quiet.” “We weren’t even shouting,” he emphasized.

‘Released without charge’

On Wednesday, just before 9 pm, a spokesperson for West Midlands Police declared on Twitter that the protest was still ongoing. The force had made three arrests, following what it claimed were “reports of an assault.”

“During the disorder, a Taser was drawn and an audible and visible warning was issued to prevent further incidents. The Taser was not fired,” another Tweet posted by the police force read.

Warwick University Students’ Union said in a statement that the force deployed by West Midlands Police was “disproportionate.”

“From the footage we have seen of this incident, we absolutely believe that disproportionate force was used against protesters. We stand in solidarity with the Warwick students who were unnecessarily harmed in this action.”

West Midlands Police arrested one person on suspicion of assault, while two others were arrested on suspicion of obstructing officers. All three have been released without charge, Warwick For Free Education announced on the group’s Facebook page Wednesday night.

Shocked and disgusted by yesterday’s events, staff and former students at the university have launched a petition calling for an “immediate review of the university’s police liaison policies,” and for the university to make “an unreserved apology” to the students who endured violence on university property.

It also demands that the university issue a firm guarantee it will assist “students in making complaints through the Independent Police Complaints Commission and, if necessary, pursuing legal action against the police.”

December 4, 2014 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Subjugation - Torture | , , , | 1 Comment

I’m confused, can anyone help me? Part Three

RT | November 18, 2014

I’m confused. The first thing I’m confused about is democratic legitimacy after elections are held in war-torn countries.

Western leaders have hailed the recent parliamentary elections in Ukraine, as a great triumph of “democracy.”

Barack Obama said it was “an important milestone in Ukraine’s democratic development.” Top EU officials said it represented “a victory of the people of Ukraine and of democracy.”

Yet large parts of war-torn Ukraine took no part in the vote. Turnout, according to the Ukraine Central Election Commission was just 52.42 percent.

In May’s presidential elections, turnout, according to official figures, was 60.3 percent. They were won by Petro Poroshenko with 54.7 percent of the vote. Again, western leaders hailed the results as a great victory for “democracy.”

Now let’s consider the case of Syria, another war-torn country where there were also important elections this year.

Unlike Ukraine’s elections, leading western politicians did not say the result of Syria’s first multi-candidate presidential election in over forty years represented an “important milestone in Syria’s democratic development”- even though, according to official figures, the turnout was much higher than in Ukraine, at 73.42 percent.

Far from it, the same people who hailed the elections in Ukraine haughtily dismissed the election in Syria as a “farce.”

“This election bore no relation to genuine democracy. It was held in the midst of civil war,” said British Foreign Secretary William Hague.

“Today’s presidential election in Syria is a disgrace,” said US State Department spokesperson Maria Harf.

French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius called Syria’s election a “fake.” Fabius did not telephone Bashar al-Assad, the winner, to offer his “warmest congratulations” as he did with Poroshenko.

How come one election held in a country divided by war is hailed as a “victory of the people and of democracy” but another election- where the turnout is higher -denounced? Why are Poroshenko and the Ukrainian Prime Minister Yatsenyuk deemed to be the legitimate representatives of the Ukrainian people but Bashar al-Assad, despite his higher level of popular support, denied any kind of democratic legitimacy? I’m confused. Can anyone help me?

At the recent G20 summit in Brisbane, Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper told Vladimir Putin to “get out of Ukraine.” Leaving aside the fact that there’s no hard evidence that Russia is in Ukraine – and that Harper didn’t produce any- the statement seems to imply that the Canadian Prime Minister doesn’t like other countries interfering in the affairs of others and believes in state sovereignty and the inviolability of state borders.

But in 2003, Harper was a strong supporter of the US-led invasion of Iraq (and wanted Canada to join in), a clear example of one county “getting” into another. He actually thought it was a “mistake” of the then Canadian government not to take part in the invasion of Iraq. Why is Stephen Harper so concerned about a non-existent Russian invasion of Ukraine, but happy to support a real, actual, and blatantly illegal invasion of Iraq?Does the Canadian Prime Minister support state sovereignty and the inviolability of state borders, or doesn’t he? I’m confused. Can anyone help me?

David Cameron tells us that ISIS poses a “clear and present threat to the United Kingdom.” Yet only last year he was trying desperately to persuade Parliament to vote for air strikes against a secular Syrian government that was fighting ISIS and other radical extremists associated to al Al-Qaeda. Cameron describes ISIS as “an evil against which the whole world must unite,” but even now the British government, in common with other western governments is still working for the violent overthrow of the government in Damascus whose forces are the only ones on the ground in Syria capable of defeating ISIS. If defeating ISIS really was so important, why is the west trying to topple the anti-ISIS Syrian government? Why, if “the whole world must unite” against ISIS, won’t the British and western governments work with the Syrian government? I‘m confused. Can anyone help me?

To coincide with the launch of RT UK, we’ve seen a wave of attacks on RT by self-proclaimed “democrats” and “liberals” in the British media.Some of these attacks have urged Ofcom – the broadcasting regulator – to take action against RT. I always thought that being a “democrat” and “liberal” meant support for alternative voices being heard, not trying to stop people from hearing them. John Stuart Mill, the author of On Liberty, a classic text on liberalism, wrote of the “peculiar evil of silencing the expression of an opinion” and that “all silencing of discussion is an assumption of infallibility.”

So how come western “liberals” want to silence the opinions expressed on RT? Why are those who claim to be anti-censorship, so censorious when it comes to RT? I would have thought people calling themselves “democrats” and “liberals” would welcome a wide variety of news channels for people to watch, yet instead of that supporters of “free speech” are attacking a channel which broadcasts opinions which they don’t agree with it. I’m confused. Can anyone help me?

Western politicians say that they are appalled by the “barbarism” shown by ISIS in the various beheading videos they have released.But if beheading people is so bad (as most people would agree that it is), why is there no similar condemnation of the beheadings which take place in Saudi Arabia? In August, Amnesty International reported a “surge” in beheadings in Saudi Arabia, amounting to at least 23 in three weeks. Why are beheadings by ISIS “savage” but the ones carried out in Saudi Arabia acceptable? I’m confused. Can anyone help me?

Pussy Riot, the Russian punk protest group who were jailed after a demonstration in an Orthodox Cathedral in Moscow are feted as heroes in the West, with a whole range of public figures including the pop star Madonna coming forward to express their support. But there was no such celebrity support for Trenton Oldfield, a protestor who was jailed for six months in Britain after trying to disrupt the Oxford- Cambridge University boat race in 2012. Oldfield said he was protesting against elitism, inequality and government cuts. If Pussy Riot’s cause is deserving of “progressive” support, then why isn’t Oldfield’s? Why are some anti-government protestors who go to jail hailed as heroes, but others totally ignored? I’m confused. Can anyone help me?

You can read I’m confused, can anyone help me Parts One and Two.

November 18, 2014 Posted by | Deception, Mainstream Media, Warmongering | , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Missouri governor unable to explain who’s in charge in Ferguson

RT | November 18, 2014

​The governor of Missouri activated the National Guard on Monday ahead of what could be a new wave of mass protests, but doesn’t seem certain at all about who will be in charge of law enforcement operations in the coming days.

Gov. Jay Nixon’s decision to call up the Guard and declare a state of emergency raised questioned on Monday about what authorities are anticipating will happen when a federal grand jury will decide — likely within days — whether or not to indict Ferguson, MO police officer Darren Wilson on charges related to the August shooting death of Michael Brown, an unarmed black teen.

Nixon was largely unable to provide answers during a telephone press conference that occurred with reporters later that day, though. Audio of that teleconference captured by Guardian journalist Jon Swaine is now causing concerns to mount further as reporters realize that the governor might have less of a grasp on the situation in Ferguson than many would like to believe.

The audio, published on the internet by Swaine late Monday, shows Nixon struggling to answer a question posed by Huffington Post’s Matt Sledge: “Does the buck ultimately stop with you when it comes to how any protests are policed?”

“Um, we’re, um, I, you know, it, uh, our goal here is to, you know, keep the peace, and allow all voices to, uh, to be heard,” Nixon replies with a rambling, 14-second-long attempt at a response.

“I don’t spend a tremendous amount of time personalizing this,” Nixon says later, adding, “I’d prefer not to be a commentator on it.”

Nearly two minutes after Sledge first asked Nixon to explain who will be in charge of maintaining the peace at any potential protests, he rephrased his question and attempted again to get an answer.

“Is there any one official or agency ultimately in charge here in terms of response?” Sledge wondered.

Again, Nixon is heard on tape meandering between words while failing to actually explain who will ultimately be tasked with responding to any civil unrest in Ferguson or elsewhere in the coming days — be it the National Guard, local police forces, county sheriffs or whomever — this time trailing off at moments for seconds at a time as he struggles to provide an explanation.

“Well, I mean, it uh, clearly [silence] I feel good about the… we worked hard to establish unified command, to outline our responsibilities now with the additional assets provided by my order today of the Missouri National Guard we have worked through, uh, a number of, uh, operational issues the folks have and, uh, I’ll only say, uh, our efforts today are on top of a lot of last hundred days to make sure we’re prepared for any contingency.”

Nixon’s reply without a doubt was ripe with uncertainty, which rightfully causes concern ahead of what may be mass protests of a caliber previously unseen in Missouri. Demonstrations waged for days in Ferguson for days, then weeks, after Brown was shot and killed by Wilson more than three months ago. Now as the city braces itself to hear whether or not Wilson will be charged with that shooting death, officials are expecting the worst, to say the least: not only has Nixon asked the National Guard for assistance during the coming days, but a warning to law enforcement agencies across the country from the FBI on Monday revealed that the bureau believes the grand jury’s impending decision “will likely” lead to attacks against the police.

November 18, 2014 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Subjugation - Torture | , , | Leave a comment

NYPD arrests, ‘brutalizes’ peace activist McGovern ahead of Petraeus speech

RT | October 31, 2014

The New York Police Department has detained prominent peace activist and former CIA agent Ray McGovern, with witnesses saying he was “yelling in pain” during arrest. McGovern was detained ahead of a David Petraeus speech that he planned to attend.

McGovern was detained before the start of a talk between former CIA director David Petraeus, retired US Army Lt. Col. John Nagl, and author Max Boot on American Foreign Policy at the 92nd St Y., an Upper East Side cultural community center.

Anti-war group ‘The World Can’t Wait’ said the activist was arrested “at protest of speech.” He was reportedly prevented by security from entering, charged with criminal trespass and disorderly conduct, and will not be arraigned until Friday. The group has called for McGovern’s release on Twitter and Facebook.

The World Can’t Wait alleged on Twitter that McGovern was “brutalized” by the NYPD and later reported “screams coming from backroom” where the activist was being held. RT has contacted the NYPD who have yet to respond to allegations.

It appeared that the activist was detained even before entering the venue, despite having a ticket for the event.

Independent journalist and filmmaker Cat Watters was due to film McGovern during the talk, asking a question of Petraeus, but as she arrived she saw McGovern being arrested by police, telling them “I have a ticket!” Watters told RT that McGovern has a shoulder injury and was apparently yelling in pain during the arrest.

According to Watters, two members of World Can’t Wait, which asked her to film, were to hang a banner from balcony written with the words “War Criminal Iraq Afghanistan” and covered with handprints in red ink – however, McGovern was not going to take part in this action.

“He [Ray] doesn’t cause a ruckus. He asks questions. He stands up and turns his back,” Watters described the protesters’ plan.

McGovern is a former CIA officer turned political activist. He worked with the agency for just under three decades, retiring in 1990. He was highly critical and public about President George W. Bush’s use of government intelligence in the lead-up to the Iraq war. In 2006, he returned his Intelligence Commendation Medal in protest against the CIA’s involvement in torture.

October 31, 2014 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Full Spectrum Dominance | , , , | Leave a comment

Riot control drone armed with paintballs and pepper spray hits market

RT | June 19, 2014

With drones designed to contain ‘unruly crowds’ and ‘violent protests’, a South African company is bringing riot control to a whole new high-tech level. The unmanned aerial system is able to shoot pepper spray and non-lethal paintballs to mark offenders.

Desert Wolf, based in Pretoria, has begun selling its Skunk Riot Control Copter, a drone it says “is designed to control unruly crowds without endangering the lives of the protestors or the security staff.”

The UAS has four high-capacity gun barrels, capable of shooting up to 4,000 paintballs, pepper spray balls and solid plastic balls at rates of up to 80 balls per second. The company notes that the frequency should usually be between one and 20 balls per second, and that the high frequency of 80 “will only be used in an extreme ‘Life threatening situation’.”

Skunk CAD design (courtesy Desert Wolf)

Skunk CAD design (courtesy Desert Wolf)

The paintballs can be used to “mark” people in the crowd. “The operator has full control over each marker. He can select the RED paint marker and mark the protester who carries dangerous weapons, he can select the BLUE marker to mark the vandalising protestors,” the Desert Wolf website said.

The Skunk Copter can also employ strobe lights, “blinding lasers” and on-board speakers to send verbal warnings to a crowd, though New Zealand’s 3News notes that the Geneva Convention prohibits the use of loudspeakers and laser pointers in combat. The UAS also uses a thermal camera with night-vision capabilities and two full-HD video cameras to record events as they unfold. The eight powerful electric motors with 16-inch propellers allow the drone to lift up to 45 kilograms (99 pounds).

“Our aim is to assist in preventing another Marikana, we were there and it should never happen again,” the Desert Wolf website said. Marikana was a wildcat miners’ strike at a South African platinum mine in 2012, where 44 people were killed in the violent protests. According to autopsy reports, many of the deaths occurred when strikers were fleeing police.

The company sold 25 drones to a mining company after it unveiled the Skunk at the IFSEC security exhibition outside Johannesburg in May.

“We cannot disclose the customer, but I am allowed to say it will be used by an international mining house,” Desert Wolf’s managing director Hennie Kieser told BBC News. “We are also busy with a number of other customers who want to finalise their orders. Some [are] mines in South Africa, some security companies in South Africa and outside South Africa, some police units outside South Africa and a number of other industrial customers.”

The International Trade Union Confederation, which supports workers’ rights, told the BBC it was horrified by the new technology.

“This is a deeply disturbing and repugnant development and we are convinced that any reasonable government will move quickly to stop the deployment of advanced battlefield technology on workers or indeed the public involved in legitimate protests and demonstrations,” International Trade Union Confederation spokesman Tim Noonan said.

“We will be taking this up as a matter of urgency with the unions in the mining sector globally,” he added.

The International Committee for Robot Arms Control (ICRAC) campaign group is also speaking out against the use of the Shark Copter and similar technology, such as the CUPID drone that employs an 80,000-volt taser dart.

Noel Sharkey, chair of the ICRAC, told the BBC he is concerned that the deployment of such drones risks “creeping authoritarianism and the suppression of protest.”

“The use of remote-controlled drones to police or attack civilian individuals or groups with violent force is an offense against human dignity and a threat to democratic sovereignty,” Mark Gubrud, a physicist with the ICRAC, told 3News. “It is also a potential precursor to scenarios in which the robots would operate fully autonomously, choosing their own targets outside of human control.”

“These weapons cannot be sufficiently well controlled to avoid causing serious injury, especially to eyes,” Gubrud told CNet. “Many existing ‘non-lethal’ crowd-control weapons can and often do kill.”

The first batch of drones, which cost about 500,000 South African Rand ($46,000) apiece, will be deployed to South African mines later in June, according to the Verge. Strikes against three of the country’s top three platinum producers have been going on for the last five months, though a wage deal between the mining companies and unions is imminent, Reuters reported on Friday.

June 20, 2014 Posted by | Subjugation - Torture | , , , | 1 Comment

300 arrested at Montreal protest against police brutality

RT | March 16, 2014

Canadian police surrounded an annual protest against police brutality in Montreal, arresting 288 people before the demonstration had barely started.

BiychNpIYAAWbQDThe police claim the protest was illegal as the participants did not warn the authorities of their itinerary.

Montreal’s 18th annual protest against police brutality was cut dramatically short Saturday when police rounded up the participants. Minutes into the demonstration, riot officers converged on Jean-Talon Street and began detaining protesters. According to protesters there was a strong police presence, with police horses, cars and a helicopter on the scene.

“It was a veritable army of police … who occupied the area surrounding the Jean-Talon metro when the protest was to start,” the Collective Opposed to Police Brutality, which organizes the annual protest, said in a written statement issued after the protest.

Police declared the demonstration was illegal and asked the protesters to disperse. However, the activists carried on marching, brandishing banners and chanting slogans, such as “They want us to respect them, but they don’t respect us!”

Riot police then encircled the protesters and began making arrests. The majority of the 288 people who were taken into custody were released shortly afterwards, but four people may be charged under the Criminal Code for assaulting an officer and obstructing the police. Several others could face charges of mischief.

One man sustained injuries to his face during the police intervention and was tended to by paramedics on the site, said officers.

“They refused to share their itinerary, and they refused to give us any details. When we got there, we asked them not to jump onto the street, and they answered by going into the street and yelling at us that they were not cooperating,” police spokesman Ian Lafrenière said. He added that the protest has a bad reputation with the authorities and on previous occasions the demonstrations had descended into violence and rioting.

However, activists had a different version of events and have accused the police of lying about the protesters’ activities.

BiyuANtCIAAx7OT“It looks good in the media — the police can say (all of these) people were arrested, were breaking windows and stuff, but it’s not true. They were doing nothing,” Claudine Lamothe told the Montreal Gazette.

The Collective Opposed to Police Brutality has staged a protest in Montreal every year for the past 18 years. This year they focused their protest on the issue of “social cleansing” where the authorities try to “get rid of people who are deemed unwanted,” the group writes on its website. The group cites an incident in January when an unnamed Montreal police officer threatened to tie a homeless man to a lamppost in temperatures of minus 30 if he did not move along. Following the incident, Lafrenière told the Montreal Gazette that the officer had been reprimanded for his “unacceptable” behavior.

March 16, 2014 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Subjugation - Torture | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Japanese protest against new state secrets bill

‘Don’t take away our freedom’

RT | November 22, 2013

Thousands of people protested in Tokyo against a bill that would see whistleblowing civil servants jailed for up to 10 years. Activists claim the law would help the government to cover up scandals, and damage the country’s constitution and democracy.

A 3,000-seat outdoor theater in a park in downtown Tokyo, near the parliament, was not enough to contain everyone who came on Thursday to denounce government plans to considerably broaden the definition of classified information.

For photos of the Tokyo protests, see RT’s Gallery.

According to organizers’ estimates, about 10,000 people crowded shoulder-to-shoulder in the isles of the theater and outside of it, holding banners that read: “Don’t take away our freedom.”

The adoption of the law, proposed by the government of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, would enable the authorities to put civil servants responsible for information leaks behind bars for up to 10 years.

This would seriously threaten the freedom of the press, as Japanese media would face serious problems gathering information on burning issues, because state employees would be reluctant to share information for fear of prosecution.

That’s why a group of Japanese journalists gathered at the Nagatacho District, close to the country’s parliament, to protest the proposed bill.

Currently, long prison terms for whistleblowers only apply to those Japanese citizens who leak classified data that came from the US military.

“The definition of what will be designated as secrets is not clear, and bureaucrats will make secrets extremely arbitrarily,” TV journalist Soichiro Tahara told Japan Daily Press.

Protesting journalists have submitted a petition to the Cabinet Office, calling for the bill to be scrapped.

The proposed law is conceived in such broad terms it allows wide interpretation and could be used for many purposes, for example such as hiding information about the situation at the crippled Fukushima nuclear power plant.

The bill could be adopted as soon as next week, because the ruling Liberal Democrat Party has a majority in both houses of the Japanese parliament.

“If this law comes to pass, our constitution is nothing more than a scrap of paper,” Reuters reported Yasunari Fujimoto, an activist with the Peace Forum NGO, as saying. “Without the right to know, democracy cannot exist.”

Many Japanese have been suspicious of the legislation, since it reminds them of the tough military secrecy laws that existed before World War II, when Japan’s hardline militarist government was engaged on an expansionist policy throughout Asia, until its defeat in 1945.

PM Shinzo Abe says that the new legislature is extremely important to secure cooperation with Japan’s major ally, the US, as well as other countries.

The data security bill resembles laws targeting whistleblowers in the US, and Abe is also considering setting up an American-style National Security Council, too, Reuters reports.

The protesters do not support Abe’s eagerness to copy repressive foreign laws.

“We have a right to know everything,” said Akio Hirose, a 54-year-old transport worker, adding that the proposed law is “absolutely unacceptable.”

November 22, 2013 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Deception, Timeless or most popular | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

‘Illegal’ Spanish protests to face huge €600,000 euro fines

RT | November 20, 2013

Unauthorized demonstrations near the Spanish Parliament could see participants being fined €600,000 ($810,000) under a new Citizen Security bill being introduced by Spain’s ruling rightist Popular Party, local media reported.

Under the legislation, which will likely soon be approved in parliament, “social uproar” leading to harassment or insults of officials is to be made a criminal offense. Masked disorderly conduct could also incur charges. The legislation will likely be drafted by the Cabinet next Friday.

Unsanctioned protests outside political offices will be outlawed, alongside disorderly conduct by people hindering any means of identification, while people offering sexual services in the vicinity of children’s play areas will also be made illegal, according to Spanish newspaper 20minutos.es.

Other offenses deemed serious are to include publishing images or personal data of policemen, interrupting public events, possession of illegal drugs, vandalism of public property and drinking alcohol in the street.

The fines will vary between €1,000 and €30,000 ($1350 – $40,000) for more minor offences. However, just insulting a policeman could see a citizen landed with a €30,000 fine.

“We’re not looking to punish [people] more, just to reduce the discretionary margin for illicit conduct and not stumble into judicial limbo for ‘new’ acts like the escraches,” Spain’s Huffington Post quoted the Interior Ministry as saying.

“Escraches,” a kind of demonstration popular in Spain and Latin America, where protesters lobby outside the homes or offices of officials, have escalated this year, most notably those staged by the Movement of Mortgage Victims. The group lobbied outside politicians’ homes to protest the repossession of homes.

The law will first have to pass through the commission of undersecretaries, then analyzed in the Council of Ministers, followed by a State Council opinion and the General Council of the Judiciary, before being sent back to be discussed as organic law in the courts.

November 20, 2013 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Full Spectrum Dominance | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment