A thought

Remember the Tea Party? Those belligerent retirees who don’t want health care, or education, or any of that socialist crap? Remember what their rallys and protest presence were like? Screamfests of “Kill Obama” slogans, with a lot of people wearing guns?

So why is it that those morons – packing assault rifles, shrieking murder – get a free pass from the police? Just a handful of fat cops standing around smiling, “observing,” dressed for a summer’s day.

But the Occupy protesters – non-violent, no guns, no homicidal bellowing about the president – are met with thousands of cops in riot-gear, indiscriminately beating and gassing anyone they like?

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If I was a thinking person, it would make me think.

update: Some thoughts (and much vid) from Garance Franke-Ruta at The Atlantic.

Glenn Greenwald weighs in on the reasons the police are reacting like hippos on meth.

And the silent protest directed at the UC Davis Chancellor:

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Organizing lessons from the Arab Spring

Mehrdad Azemun, Truthout

“…the most valuable organizing nugget I carried back with me is the continual necessity for acting and thinking boldly. As an organizer here in the US, I was taught to be pragmatic and practical – go for what you can win in a specific time horizon. As an organizer, we ask leaders to dream, to name the things that hold them back from being happy, free and prosperous. And then, we set limits on those dreams, or cut them into bite-sized chunks that are so small, they sometimes bear little resemblance to the massive, audacious canvas that the leaders first painted for us. We negotiate ourselves down before we even get to the real negotiation table.

“Before Egypt, I was taught that politics is the art of the possible. After Egypt, I question whether we should all be reaching for the impossible and ludicrous. Who knows who else might agree? A common call for the laughable and ridiculous widens the possibility for what can and should happen.”

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The Old Switcheroo, Pt. 2

Da Government Don't Like Youse, See?

Once again, let’s take an excerpt from this AP story:

November 19, 2011

Egyptian riot police beat protesters and dismantled a small tent city set up to commemorate revolutionary martyrs in Cairo’s Tahrir Square on Saturday.

The clashes occurred after activists camped in the central square overnight following a massive Friday rally. The military tolerates daytime demonstrations in the central square, a symbol of the country’s Jan. 25-Feb. 11 uprising, but claims that long-term occupation paralyzes the city.

The number of protesters swelled to nearly 600 people as news of the scuffles spread in the city, and thousands more riot police streamed into Tahrir Square blocking off the entrances and clashing with protesters.

Police were seen beating activists who challenged them and an Associated Press cameraman saw police arrest three people who refused to leave.

Stubborn protesters played cat-and-mouse with riot police as they were chased outside of the square and into side streets. “We are using side streets to pretend to run errands, but we are just regrouping and going back,” said Sahar Abdel-Mohsen, who joined in the protest on Saturday afternoon, after a call went out on Twitter telling people to come down to Tahrir.

Protesters were chanting anti-security slogans including, “Riot Police are Thugs and Thieves” and “Down with the Marshal” referring to Field Marshal Hussein Tantawi, Egypt’s military ruler.

And with a few minor alterations, we have this familiar-sounding story:

November 19, 2011

New York riot police beat protesters and dismantled a small tent city set up to commemorate the Occupy movement in Manhattan’s Zucotti Park on Friday.

The clashes occurred after activists camped in the lower Manhattan square overnight following a massive Thursday rally. The police tolerate daytime demonstrations in the downtown square, a symbol of the country’s two-month-long Occupy uprising, but claims that long-term occupation paralyzes the city.

The number of protesters swelled to nearly 600 people as news of the scuffles spread in the city, and thousands more riot police streamed into Zucotti Park blocking off the entrances and clashing with protesters.

Police were seen beating activists who challenged them and an Associated Press cameraman saw police arrest three people who refused to leave.

Stubborn protesters played cat-and-mouse with riot police as they were chased outside of the square and into side streets. “We are using side streets to pretend to run errands, but we are just regrouping and going back,” said Sandra Auerbach, who joined in the protest on Friday afternoon, after a call went out on Twitter telling people to come down to Zucotti.

Protesters were chanting anti-police slogans including, “Riot Police are Thugs and Thieves” and “Down with the Mayor” referring to billionaire Michael Bloomberg, New York City’s mayor and the 12th richest person in the United States.

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The Police Chief Who Led The 2000 Attack On WTO Protesters In Seattle has a few thoughts to share

Norm Stamper was Seattle’s police chief from 1994 to 2000, and a police officer for 34 years.

Worth reading what he has to say about the police reaction to OWS.

“…My support for a militaristic solution caused all hell to break loose. Rocks, bottles and newspaper racks went flying. Windows were smashed, stores were looted, fires lighted; and more gas filled the streets, with some cops clearly overreacting, escalating and prolonging the conflict. The “Battle in Seattle,” as the WTO protests and their aftermath came to be known, was a huge setback—for the protesters, my cops, the community.

More than a decade later, the police response to the Occupy movement, most disturbingly visible in Oakland—where scenes resembled a war zone and where a marine remains in serious condition from a police projectile—brings into sharp relief the acute and chronic problems of American law enforcement. Seattle might have served as a cautionary tale, but instead, US police forces have become increasingly militarized, and it’s showing in cities everywhere: the NYPD “white shirt” coating innocent people with pepper spray, the arrests of two student journalists at Occupy Atlanta, the declaration of public property as off-limits and the arrests of protesters for “trespassing.”

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The Old Switcheroo

This has already been done in video, but it’s still helpful to see it done in print, I think.

Here’s an excerpt from an article on the Minneapolis Examiner’s website:

Update: ‘Occupy’ crackdowns coordinated with federal law enforcement officials

Over the past ten days, more than a dozen cities have moved to evict “Occupy” protesters from city parks and other public spaces. As was the case in last night’s move in New York City, each of the police actions shares a number of characteristics. And according to one Justice official, each of those actions was coordinated with help from Homeland Security, the FBI and other federal police agencies.

The official, who spoke on background to me late Monday evening, said that while local police agencies had received tactical and planning advice from national agencies, the ultimate decision on how each jurisdiction handles the Occupy protests ultimately rests with local law enforcement.

According to this official, in several recent conference calls and briefings, local police agencies were advised to seek a legal reason to evict residents of tent cities, focusing on zoning laws and existing curfew rules. Agencies were also advised to demonstrate a massive show of police force, including large numbers in riot gear. In particular, the FBI reportedly advised on press relations, with one presentation suggesting that any moves to evict protesters be coordinated for a time when the press was the least likely to be present.

The FBI has so far failed to respond to requests for an official response, and of the 14 local police agencies contacted in the past 24 hours, all have declined to respond to questions on this issue.

But in a recent interview with the BBC, Oakland Mayor Jean Quan mentioned she was on a conference call just before the recent wave of crackdowns began.

“I was recently on a conference call of 18 cities who had the same situation, where what had started as a political movement and a political encampment ended up being an encampment that was no longer in control of the people who started them.”

At the time this story was updated, Mayor Quan’s office had declined to discuss her comments.

 

Now, a few substitutions:

Update: ‘Arab Spring’ crackdowns coordinated with Egyptian law enforcement officials

Over the past ten days, more than a dozen cities have moved to evict “Arab Spring” protesters from city parks and other public spaces. As was the case in last night’s move in Cairo, each of the police actions shares a number of characteristics. And according to one Egyptian Security official, each of those actions was coordinated with help from the Egyptian Military Police, the State Security Bureau and other Egyptian police agencies.

The official, who spoke on background to me late Monday evening, said that while local police agencies had received tactical and planning advice from national agencies, the ultimate decision on how each jurisdiction handles the Arab Spring protests ultimately rests with local law enforcement.

According to this official, in several recent conference calls and briefings, local police agencies were advised to seek a legal reason to evict residents of tent cities, focusing on zoning laws and existing curfew rules. Agencies were also advised to demonstrate a massive show of police force, including large numbers in riot gear. In particular, the State Security Bureau reportedly advised on press relations, with one presentation suggesting that any moves to evict protesters be coordinated for a time when the press was the least likely to be present.

The SSB has so far failed to respond to requests for an official response, and of the 14 local police agencies contacted in the past 24 hours, all have declined to respond to questions on this issue.

But in a recent interview with the Al Jazeera, Cairo Mayor Rashid Al-Hamim mentioned he was on a conference call just before the recent wave of crackdowns began.

“I was recently on a conference call of 18 cities who had the same situation, where what had started as a political movement and a political encampment ended up being an encampment that was no longer in control of the people who started them.”

At the time this story was updated, the mayor’s office had declined to discuss his comments.

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