Archive | December 30th, 2014

If I See You Post This On YouTube


”I’ll Find A Way For The D.A.’s Office To Arrest You”

Chris | InformationLiberation

A camera-shy New York State trooper threatened to “find a way” to arrest a man if he posted video of the officer conducting a routine traffic stop to YouTube.

Predictably, the video was uploaded to YouTube earlier this week.

The video starts with driver John Houghtaling sitting in his car waiting for the cop to approach.

When the officer arrives, he politely asks the cop, “how’s it going?”

“Put the phone down,” Trooper Rosenblatt barks.


“Because I said so.”

After the trooper asks for his license and registration, Houghtaling complies as he is legally required to do so during a traffic stop, but he does not stop filming despite the officer’s threats, as recording police is perfectly legal.

The officer then asks Houghtaling if he “was the same one who thought it was a good idea to come to my station and videotape us for some reason?”

Houghtaling asks if he’s “legally obligated to respond” to his question.

“How about if I see you post this on YouTube, I’ll find a way for the D.A.s office to arrest you,” the hotheaded Rosenblatt responds.

The squabbling goes back and forth, with the officer showing zero professionalism and doing everything he can to create a conflict where there is none.

In the description to the video Houghtaling says the “real reason for [his] being pulled over was the fact that [he’s] been known by their organization to film all of [his] interactions with police,” which seems to be true as the officer asked if he “was the same one who thought it was a good idea to come to my station and videotape us.”

Watch the video:

The video eventually cuts off with the trooper saying he’ll “be back with him in a minute,” he was probably just checking for outstanding warrants or working to write up a ticket for his loud exhaust, there’s no details what happens after, but the important part of the interaction is where the officer threatens to “find a way” to arrest this man simply because he doesn’t like being filmed.

Such “finding a way” has unfortunately become the norm in the New America™.

I’m reminded of a quote from Atlas Shrugged:

“There’s no way to rule innocent men. The only power any government has is to crack down on criminals. Well, when there aren’t enough criminals, one makes them. One declares so many things to be a crime that it becomes impossible for men to live without breaking laws.”

The US government has turned every petty infraction into an arrestable offense, giving police and prosecutors total leeway to charge anyone with anything for any reason, and they face no repercussions for filing such false charges. Meanwhile, the victims they pile charges against must spend their entire life savings to defend themselves from the state in the state’s own courts, with the entire system rigged against them.

Other cops have been caught doing the same as this officer, though most are not so brazen as to openly admit they’ll seek retaliation while actively being filmed. In a particularly inflammatory (and entertaining) case from 2007, a man secretly recorded a cop threatening to manufacture a litany of charges for “getting smart with him” by asking what he did wrong. The officer, Sgt James Kuehnlein of the St. George police in Missouri, was filmed making the threats by the victim’s own dash-cam which he installed for safety reasons.

“You wanna go to f*****g jail for some reason I come up with?” Kuehnlein threatened to a young Brett Darrow.

“You wanna try me boy?”

“Try and talk back to me again, I bet I could say you resisted arrest, or something!”

Watch a story on the hilarious and disturbing incident below:

Kuehnlein was later fired over the incident, but the neighboring Velda City police department liked what they saw and hired him right up. After he was accused, and found guilty of domestic abuse in 2011 for beating his girlfriend and pulling a chunk of her hair out, the Velda City police were forced to fire him as well.

For the average pleb, filing false charges is considered a felony for which serious jail time may result, for our rulers, filing false charges is a matter of routine.

With this latest video, considering it was just posted to YouTube and has yet to go viral, we will have to wait and see if the cop makes good on his threats.

Posted in USAComments Off on If I See You Post This On YouTube

UNSC rejects resolution on Palestinian state


Bid to end Israel’s occupation of Palestinian territories by 2017

defeated by eight to two votes, with five abstentions.

The resolution had needed a minimum of nine votes in support for
adoption [AP]

The UN Security Council has rejected a Palestinian resolution calling

for peace with Israel within a year and an end to Israel’s occupation

by 2017.The resolution failed to muster the minimum nine “yes” votes

required in the council for adoption.It received eight “yes” votes, two “no”

votes from the United States and Australia, and five abstentions, from the UK

, Lithuania, Nigeria, South Korea and Rwanda.

The US, Israel’s closest ally, had reiterated its opposition to the draft

resolution earlier on Tuesday.

Washington said it could not support the draft because it was not

constructive and failed to address Israel’s security needs.

Read more of our coverage on Palestine

The resolution

had called for

occupied East

Jerusalem to be

the capital of

Palestine, an

end to Israeli


building and

settling the

issue of Palestinian prisoner releases.

The resolution also called for negotiations to be based on territorial lines that

existed before Israel captured the West Bank, East Jerusalem and the Gaza

Strip in 1967.

Israel had said the Security Council vote, following the collapse in April of US

-brokered talks on Palestinian statehood, would deepen the conflict.

The Palestinians, frustrated by the lack of progress on peace talks, have

sought to internationalise the issue by seeking

UN membership and recognition of statehood via membership in international


Several European parliaments have adopted non-binding motions calling for

recognition of Palestine.

The Palestinians had warned that if the bid to win support for a UN resolution

failed they were prepared to join the International Criminal Court to file suits

against Israel.

Posted in Palestine AffairsComments Off on UNSC rejects resolution on Palestinian state

The Islamic State Stumbles


Last summer, there was widespread hysteria across Official Washington over the seemingly unstoppable expansion of the brutal Islamic State – and handwringing over President Obama’s limited military response – but the jihadist momentum now shows signs of stalling, writes ex-CIA analyst Paul R. Pillar.

By Paul R. Pillar

The fortunes of the extreme and violent group known variously as ISIS/ISIL/Islamic State seem to have changed markedly during the past few months. This summer the group was commonly portrayed, amid much alarm, as a relentless juggernaut that was scooping up so much real estate that it was a threat to overrun Baghdad and much else far beyond.

But the progress that was so frightening to follow in maps in the newspaper has stopped. The juggernaut has stalled. There will be endless debate about the causes of this change of momentum, ranging from military measures that the United States has taken to the somewhat more enlightened policies of the Iraqi central government. These and other influences have their effects, but the larger phenomenon of the decline of ISIS — decline not just that has happened so far but is yet to come — can be explained most of all by the group’s own policies and practices.

Journalist James Foley shortly before he was executed by an Islamic State operative.

Journalist James Foley shortly before he was executed on Aug. 19, 2014, by an Islamic State operative.

The abhorrent and inhumane methods of the group are a major part of that explanation. Just as we abhor such methods, it should be no surprise that most people in the Middle East abhor them, too. Methods such as the highly publicized killing of individual captives have, besides terrorizing ISIS’s adversaries, increased the prominence of the group and probably impressed would-be foreign recruits by showing that ISIS is the meanest, baddest, and most consequential organization engaged in the conflicts in Iraq and Syria.

But living under the rule of such a vicious group can be at least as repulsive to the locals as watching it from afar is to us. Such a way of exercising power locally is ultimately not a good way to win support. We saw a similar reaction in an earlier phase of the Iraqi civil war.

It behooves us to learn what we can, as those charged with directly confronting ISIS evidently are trying to do, about the basis for whatever appeal the group does have, and especially about any appealing ideas it offers. The good news is that ISIS offers hardly anything in the way of such ideas. It cannot become an ideological lodestar the way Osama bin Laden and his al-Qa’ida did, because ISIS offers nothing as original as Bin Laden’s idea of hitting the far enemy as a way of getting eventually at despised near enemies.

The appeal of ISIS to its recruits has been based not on ideology but on directly and brutally establishing facts on the ground. The appeal reduces to the principle that everybody loves a winner. But ISIS has stopped winning. It is like a shark that must keep moving forward to survive, but it is not still moving forward.

The establishment by ISIS of a de facto mini-state was widely seen as an accomplishment and a sign of strength, but it also is a vulnerability. If you run a state, you are expected to make the trains run on time, and you will lose popularity if you don’t. ISIS is demonstrating that it lacks the ability to manage a state, and people in the areas it controls — including even Raqqa, Syria, the major city it has held the longest — are suffering from a collapse of public services. Trying to run, however unsuccessfully, the mini-state also represents for the ISIS leadership a drain on attention and resources that might otherwise be used for expansion.

The proclamation of a caliphate, although it has had some value for the group in impressing and attracting foreign recruits, lacks the sanction and recognition that in the eyes of the vast majority of Muslims such a move is supposed to have. Mainstream Muslim scholars and religious authorities have avoided anything that even hints at recognition.

Some fundamentalist Salifis have even likened ISIS and the moves it has made to extremist outcasts at the time of the Prophet. To the extent that the self-styled caliphate is seen more as a usurpation of Muslim aspirations than a fulfillment of them, the proclamation of a caliphate will turn out to be more of a liability than an asset.

When an adversary is hurting his own cause, generally the most effective thing to do is to stand aside and not get in the way. This is true of political debate, civil wars, and many other forms of conflict. The United States cannot get entirely out of the way of this one, insofar as it can do a few things that, tactically and on a piecemeal basis, limit the short-term harm that ISIS inflicts.

But taking a longer-term and more strategic view, which recognizes how ISIS is hurting its own cause, for the United States to do less rather than trying to do more (especially more that is visible and kinetic) is apt to be the wisest course. Injecting new focal points for controversy and collateral damage, on the basis of which ISIS can make new appeals, is apt to slow the process of the group greasing the ramp of its own decline. It also is apt to make the United States more of a direct target of whatever harm the group is still able to inflict.

Posted in Middle East, Iraq, SyriaComments Off on The Islamic State Stumbles

US Marine in Philippines faces trial for murder of trans woman

By Jackie Mautner
US Marine in Philippines faces trial for murder of trans woman

On Dec. 15, the Philippine government charged U.S. Marine Pfc. Joseph Scott Pemberton with the murder of Jennifer Laude, a Filipina transgender woman. Pemberton was there with 3,500 other American soldiers and sailors for military exercises as part of the Visiting Forces Agreement signed earlier this year.

Pemberton was out bar-hopping with his colleagues on Oct. 11 in Olongapo, a city northwest of Manila, just before he went with Laude and her friend to a hotel. Laude’s friend had left before Pemberton strangled and drowned Laude in a toilet bowl.

The killing of Jennifer Laude is enraging for several reasons. First, reading through all the news reports it becomes clear that the media’s representation was and continues to be disrespectful, often using her former name and putting her name in quotation marks as if to imply that her identity is fake. Even Time published an article with the headline “Witness Says Suspect U.S. Marine Didn’t Know Murdered Filipina Was Transgender,” as if to suggest that his reaction could possibly be justified. This kind of reporting is a dominant facet of a culture that supports violence against trans and gender non-conforming people.

This tragic death is sadly an all too common occurrence, a worldwide phenomenon of trans people—particularly trans women of color—being murdered. Every 32 hours, a trans woman is killed. The actual statistics about violence against trans and gender non-conforming people is likely much higher, as they are rarely filed as hate crimes.

Jennifer Laude’s case is intimately tied up with imperialism generally and the recent VFA specifically. The occupation of the Philippines by the U.S. began in 1898 when Spain ceded the country to the U.S. The people of the Philippines fought for independence throughout the Philippine-America war, and held elections in 1935. The U.S. recaptured the Philippines in 1945 but then formally recognized its independence in 1946. Permanent U.S. bases were phased out in the early 1990s, but the VFA allows a rotation of thousands of troops to perform drills there. The U.S. government considers its military presence in the Philippines as a strategic placement because of its proximity to China.

One thing is for sure, wherever occupation exists, people will struggle to break free. Protests have broken out in the area of the Philippines where Jennifer Laude was murdered, as well as solidarity demonstrations across the U.S.—all calling for the scrapping of the VFA. All progressive people should stand in solidarity with those struggling against imperialism around the world as well as those fighting for an end to anti-trans bigotry and violence.


Posted in Far EastComments Off on US Marine in Philippines faces trial for murder of trans woman

“There is no honor in hurting unarmed people! How do you sleep at night”


Sgt. Shamar Thomas served in the US Marine Corps in Iraq. Upon his return to his hometown of New York City, he witnessed the police state that had been growing up around him.

The occupy movement helped to gain worldwide exposure of what the police have evolved to in the US.

As a veteran of the USMC myself, I know the effectiveness of veterans speaking out against, not only the police state, but the warfare state in general.

Perhaps that is why veterans are so often the target of the state’s violence.  The credibility of someone speaking out against the very system they were once a part of, can move mountains; which happens to pose a large threat to the powers that be.

If you have been silent in the face of this rising police state, we encourage you to speak out against it, not only veterans , but all free thinking individuals. Use your voice now before you no longer have one.

Let this guy serve as a bit of a motivator.

Hopefully, now that nearly 3 years have passed, Thomas has opened his eyes to the global industrial war machine as well.

Posted in USAComments Off on “There is no honor in hurting unarmed people! How do you sleep at night”

Hollywood Plays with Fire


By Patrick J. Buchanan

In July of 1870, King Wilhelm sent Foreign Minister Bismarck an account of his meeting with a French envoy who had demanded that the king renounce any Hohenzollern claim to the Spanish throne.

Bismarck edited the report to make it appear the Frenchman had insulted the king, and that Wilhelm rudely dismissed him. The Ems Telegram precipitated the Franco-Prussian war Bismarck wanted.

Words matter. And if a picture is worth a thousand words, how much greater impact can a motion picture have? We are finding out.

Egypt has banned “Exodus: Gods and Kings,” the $140 million 20th Century Fox biblical epic. Cairo’s culture minister Gaber Asfour condemns it as “a Zionist film” containing “historical inaccuracies.”

The depiction of enslaved Jews building the pyramids and Moses parting the Red Sea to enable the Jews to flee and drown the Egyptian army is false, says Asfour. Historians date the pyramids to around 2540 B.C., 500 years before Abraham, the father of Judaism.

Paramount’s “Noah” was banned in Egypt, Indonesia and Malaysia, for taking liberties with the Quran.

Islamabad is in an uproar over the Showtime series, “Homeland,” where Pakistani intelligence services are portrayed as colluding with Islamists trying to kill ex-CIA director Saul Berenson and station chief Carrie Mathison. In the season’s final episodes, the U.S. cuts ties to Pakistan and closes the embassy.

The Showtime series “maligns a country that has been a close partner and ally of the U.S.,” a Pakistani embassy spokesman told the New York Post, and “is a disservice not only to the security interests of the U.S., but also to the people of the U.S.”

The 2014 “Homeland” finale was aired just after 140 Pakistani school kids were massacred in Peshawar by the Taliban.

Islamabad is “a quiet picturesque city with beautiful mountains and lush greenery,” said one Pakistani, yet is “portrayed as a grimy hellhole and war zone where shootouts and bombings go off with dead bodies scattered around. Nothing is further from the truth.”

Angrier than Egypt or Pakistan is North Korea over Sony’s “The Interview.” Why would a film company owned by the Japanese, who are not beloved in Korea, think it would be a great fun to make a comedy out of a CIA plot to assassinate North Korea’s head of state?

The North Koreans are serious people. They massacred half of the South Korean cabinet in the Rangoon bombing.

They have brought down airliners and sunk warships without warning. They have plotted to assassinate South Korea’s president.

Their megalomaniac ruler, Kim Jong-Un, just had his uncle-mentor executed, along with his family. Kim has atom bombs and seeks to miniaturize them to put atop missiles able to reach the United States.

He is the most erratic and dangerous ruler on the planet and this assassination-comedy is just the thing to set him off.

Says Adam Cathcart, a North Korea expert at Leeds University, “In North Korea it’s more or less a fait accompli that the Americans are trying to kill our leader.” To sustain its Stalinist dynasty, says the Washington Post, Pyongyang has created a “personality cult that is anything but a laughing matter.”

In retaliation for “The Interview,” North Korea, says the FBI, hacked into Sony’s computers, published confidential emails and threatened retaliation against any who showed the film.

The North has repeatedly denied it hacked into Sony. But it now appears the U.S. has retaliated by disrupting Internet service in North Korea, much to the cheers of the War Party, which wants President Obama to put the Hermit Kingdom back on the list of state sponsors of terror.

North Korea is now using racial slurs to describe Obama.

There is an aspect of reckless immaturity here.

While the Wall Street Journal thinks it would be fun to send DVDs of “The Interview” by balloon into the North, the Washington Post says possession of the film there would be regarded as treasonous, and could bring a death sentence.

No one denies Sony the right to produce a comedy about blowing up Kim Jong Un. Nor was anyone denying theaters or Internet sites the right to show it. What Sony seemed to want was to produce a movie that made the assassination of a dictator appear hilarious, but to be exempt from any consequences.

But we live in a world today where if you produce cartoons of the Prophet with a bomb for a turban, or disparage Islam in videos, books or movies, you can get yourself and others killed.

Dutch filmmaker Theo Van Gogh was butchered in Amsterdam by an enraged Muslim for “Submission,” a 10-minute film that excoriated Islam’s treatment of women.

In this weekend’s Washington Post, Joe Califano, a confidant of President Johnson, writes of how the new film “Selma” demeans LBJ’s crucial role in enacting the Voting Rights Act of 1965.

To enrich itself, Hollywood is playing games with religious beliefs and historical truths — and making enemies, not all of whom believe in turning the other cheek.

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Third USAID plot to destroy Cuba exposed

By Estevan Hernandez
Third USAID plot to destroy Cuba exposed
People are outraged by a recently uncovered scandal implicating the U.S. in another ridiculous covert operation to overthrow the Cuban government. This is the third plot exposed in less than one year.

In this most recent scandal USAID, the United States International Agency for Development, paid for Cuban rappers to create dissent against the Cuban government. The operation lasted over two years in secret within the hip hop movement but was reportedly a profound failure.

The operation was lead by Serbian contractor Rajko Bozic. He recruited Cubans in the hip hop scene to build a network that could be used by U.S. reactionaries against the Cuban government.

Bozic was himself recruited because of his involvement in a musical movement that was reportedly used against Serbian President Slobodan Milosevic, who’s own rise to power was made possible by the U.S.-led breakup of the former united Yugoslavia.

Bozic recruited hip hop groups like Los Aldeanos. The duo had a following on the hip hop scene and had at times been critical of the Cuban government. Bozic and his counterrevolutionary funders hoped they could use the group as puppets to dupe Cuban youth into a pro-capitalist platform.

Bozic sent Los Aldeanos to Serbia for political training. He tried to build up their reputation, and organize a festival in a right wing direction as a platform for the group to spout lies against the Cuban revolution.

According to documents uncovered by the news agency Associated Press, USAID contracted Washington D.C. based Creative Associates for the operation. Creative was “paid millions of dollars to undermine Cuba’s communist government” said the AP.
Creative Associates used Bozic and a complicated network of organizations including a front company in Panama and a Lichtenstein bank. The network is reminiscent of an espionage film’s plot, yet Creative Associates claims that the program was not covert.

This network didn’t stop Cuban security officials, used to underhanded US schemes, from quickly learning of the plot and putting a stop to it.

The uncovered documents and Creative Associate’s previous sordid history show that the operation was in fact covert. The secrecy was used to conceal any ties from the hip hop groups to USAID, an organization which would have alerted the Cuban government immediately.

USAID is well known by Latin American and independent or left wing governments as an organization acting on behalf of U.S. imperialism. It has already been ousted from countries like Bolivia for its operations.

USAID was instituted under the Kennedy administration. Along with the Alliance for Progress and the U.S. Peace Corp, all begun in 1961, these entities were part of the U.S. public strategy to counter the influence of the new Cuban Revolution and rising popular struggles throughout Latin America.

Although USAID has been touted for giving health, disaster and food assistance, the aid is always tied to U.S. political influence and demands.

This scandal is the third uncovered in just one year. In April and August Liberation News published articles detailing other USAID lead operations. This included the creation of a social media site “ZunZuneo,” and the hiring of young Latin Americans to enter Cuba posing as tourists and use the guise of HIV prevention seminars. Both operations were aimed at subversion.
The Atlantic commented on this history writing: “The United States has infamously plotted to shower Cuba with gifts ranging from exploding cigars to conch shells, poisoned wetsuits to milkshakes, in an effort to undermine and end the regimes of Fidel and Raul Castro.”

The imperialist United States will use whatever means at its disposal to overthrow countries. Whether through outright warfare like in a Libya, fomenting civil war in Syria or covert operations, the aim is the same.

This scandal also shows that the recent Obama announcement of changing U.S.- Cuba relations represents the same imperialist agenda via different means. The changes are made by the liberal capitalists who want to destroy Cuban socialism through corporate “pro-democracy” programs.

The blockade against Cuba still stands, and new covert plots are exposed. Meanwhile Cuba provides a revolutionary example in contrast to U.S. capitalism. At these times it’s incumbent upon us here in the heart of imperialism to oppose all forms of U.S. imperialism and to stand with Cuba!

Posted in South AmericaComments Off on Third USAID plot to destroy Cuba exposed

The #ThinBlueLine between protest and cop coup

By Frank Lara
The #ThinBlueLine between protest and cop coup

NYPD show defiance towards liberal mayor De Blasio

“The mayor’s hands are literally dripping with our blood because of his
words actions and policies and we have, for the first time in a number of
years, become a ‘wartime’ police department. We will act accordingly.”

These were the infamous words written in a statement by the Police Benevolent Association of New York, the “union” of NY Police Department in reaction to the killing of two cops on December 20. Such an unusually public division between the elected façade of the capitalist state and its armed repressive apparatus gives us a rare glimpse into the potential for a heightened period of overt, violent class conflict.

That the police have felt so threatened by the increasing effectiveness of the anti-police brutality movement’s message and have reacted in such a disproportionally aggressive manner towards a liberal politician who showed even some sympathy towards that message is informative of the struggles to come. The anti-police brutality movement has yet to develop even a weak anti-establishment voice in the bourgeois state apparatus; it has no politicians or judges pushing for the prosecution of racist killer cops or writing laws to remove the power of union protections or punish the withholding of critical police incident reports. Yet, even this current grassroots push back against the the largest police force in the U.S., a force which the former millionarie mayor Bloomberg referred to as “my own army…which is the seventh biggest army in the world,” drew from them the declaration of war on the people.

Cop coups are rare in the modern era of capitalism, especially in imperialist countries. Given that the police are first and foremost the protectors of property, the apitalists and the politicians who work for them understand the need to guarantee their absolute protection under their laws. However, in developing capitalist countries which seek to defend themselves against imperialist domination, the divisions amongst the bourgeoisie coupled with vibrant and militant social movements deteriorate the unity of the state, in some cases resulting in the rebelling of cops. Such was the case in Ecuador on Sept. 30, 2010.

Unlike the U.S., Ecuador has experienced numerous rebellions by revolutionary and progressive movements in the past two decades. In reaction to neo-liberal policies of the early 1990s which plummeted the country’s economy into several crises, the movements forced the destabilization, overthrow and/or resignation of seven presidents in less than 10 years until Rafael Correa, a radical nacionalist, was elected in 2007. Correa, in the tradition of the Latin America anti-imperialist left exemplified by Fidel Castro, Hugo Chavez and Evo Morales, got rid of U.S. military bases and Drug-War policies. Ecuador, under Correa, has sought to develop its national industry, eliminate extreme poverty and raise the standard of living for its population.

Such an approach to intervening in the capitalist state is not agreed upon by all capitalists. Often the competing forces, especially those tied to transnational corporations or U.S. interests, take advantage of political crises to undermine social change. Such was the case of the attempted police coup in 2010. The Correa administration had announced a new Public Service Law, which would restructure some of the salaries and benefits of all public workers. The police, who felt threatened by the new law, protested. Correa went to the National Police Headquarters in an attempt to have a dialogue but was welcomed instead with tear gas canisters and threats against his life. As documented in a stunning video, Correa dared the cops to kill him and vowed that the people would respond accordingly.

The police held the President captive at the National Police Hospital until a special unit of the military fought through police lines and rescued him. Mass protest had already taken to the streets in support of Correa. As  investigations later showed, the police uprising had been supported by the Ecuadorian right-wing with close consultation of USAID organizations. The cop rebellion, which claimed to be fighting for better salaries and working conditions, was actually the embryo of reactionary counter-revolution seeking to overturn the progressive developments in Ecuador.

So what is to become of the reactionary embryo represented by the cop protests, protest which can easily be organized into coups? The U.S. does not have a mass social movement grounded in years of class and revolutionary struggle. Those in control of the settler capitalist slave state of white-supremacy are not remotely progressive, let alone revolutionary. The only elements to the right of the current power structure are the Tea party conservatives with fascistic tendencies whose ideologies already permeate through the police and the military.

A comrade who participated in the social justice movements in Latin America once said “You know, people in the U.S. think this country’s politics are so pure because no one (at the head of political parties, state agencies or heads of capitalist industry) ever goes to jail. They think there is no corruption. Then they claim Latin America is so much more corrupt, but that is because the state is often influenced by dividing interest, whether capitalist or social movement in character. So they fight amongst each other all the time.”

Comparing the attempted Ecuadoran cop coup with the war declaration by the NYPD here in the U.S., affirms this statement. There is massive corruption in all police departments around the country. From drug trafficking to money laundering to Klan occupations of neighborhoods to outright racist murders, the police act with impunity. In fact not only are they protected, they are rewarded for their role in defending the rights of the equally corrupt 1%. Here in the U.S., this unity of the violently corrupt has historical roots in male-dominated white supremacy.

Abroad, U.S. imperialism has sold the idea of dominance and superiority to even the second-class bourgeoisie that carry the face of the oppressed. So in twisted irony, the age of Obama has not forced the cracking of the racist colonial U.S. State,  but rather has in fact solidified and strengthened its most repressive elements.

These elements of the state are held to the highest regard, financially and socially by all those in power no matter what level of the state, local or national. In San Francisco, for example, no police officer takes home less than $100,000 while teachers, whose salaries are too low for them to afford to live in the City, make an average of around $65,000. No capitalist politician or non-profit ever questions the fact that police salaries allow the vast majority of the SF police force live outside of the  communities they police in enclaves of white entitlement like Walnut Creek or Pleasanton. Teachers on the other hand, yearn to stay in the neighborhoods where they teach but are called greedy by the capitalist establishment for wanting a salary or housing subsidies that make this possible. Given that teachers don’t protect the wealth the capitalists extract from working people, their unions are not held in the same esteem as police unions.

Revolutionaries in the U.S., the heart of the Empire, have a huge task ahead. Unlike Latin America, the social movements in the U.S. have not fully fruited. Our predecessors were viciously crushed in the 60s and 70s. Today, thanks to the rise of the anti-war movement, the Occupy movement and the anti-police brutality movement, non-bourgeois aligned progressive and  revolutionary organizations are being created. We must build. We must expose the hypocrisy of the system and the real violence forced upon us by those who claim to uphold bourgeois “peace and laws.” We must win over the people who are now in motion to revolutionary organization. We must build leadership, not the bourgeois self-interested kind, but the one that finds inspiration in and is accountable to the people. It may be years before our efforts build structures strong enough to effectively fight against the growing repressive state, but let us all remember that the inspirational Latin American left, which today holds power in a growing list of countries to the South, is the result of mass revolts by young angry revolutionaries who had hope and gave their lives for a better and more just future.

Posted in USAComments Off on The #ThinBlueLine between protest and cop coup

Cuba refuses to extradite Assata Shakur

By Nick Powell

As news broke of the release of the three remaining members of the Cuban Five and the “normalization” of relations between the United States and Cuba, the fate of another former political prisoner came to many people’s minds.

Assata Shakur, who was a leading member of the Black Panther Party and the Black Liberation Army, was one of many Black revolutionaries of the 60s to come under fire from COINTELPRO. By making the Black Panther Party one of its primary targets, COINTELPRO, the Counter Intelligence Program, was one of many manifestations of how this racist system of capitalism doesn’t respect that “#BlackLivesMatter.” By targeting, arresting and killing many of those who committed themselves to the total liberation of Black people the U.S. government then, just as it does today, made clear its disregard for Black life.

The traffic stop that ended with the capture of Assata Shakur and eventually another Black Liberation Army member, Sundiata Acoli, and the killings of both fellow BLA member Zayd Malik Shakur and New Jersey State Trooper Werner Foerster, was itself the product of racist police practices. On May 2, 1973 Assata, along with Zayd and current political prisoner Sundiata Acoli, was pulled over for a supposedly faulty tail light, although it’s been stated that Trooper James Harper actually pulled them over because of his raised suspicions of three Black people driving with a Vermont license plate.

While certain details of the incident are difficult to pin down, what is clear is that Assata was unarmed and shot twice while holding her hands up and Zayd Malik Shakur was shot and killed– both at the hands of New Jersey State Police. In a disgusting move by the state, during the trial, they not only pinned Trooper Foerster’s murder on Assata and Sundiata, but also that of their dear friend and fallen comrade Zayd. Prior to her capture, with little to no evidence, the FBI attempted to tie Assata to numerous robberies and violent crimes that happened anywhere throughout the state of New York involving a Black woman; in all of theses cases, for lack of evidence, she was either acquitted or had the charges dismissed. At trial, these lies continued.

In stark contrast to the recent non-indictments of Darren Wilson and Daniel Pantaleo (though there was never a question of whether or not they had respectively killed Michael Brown and Eric Garner), Assata and Sundiata were eventually convicted by an all-white jury and sentenced to life plus 33 years with little evidence they had even committed any crimes. This wasn’t the first time Assata faced this sort of oppression, but rather, the reason she began struggling for liberation in the first place–a struggle that continues to be a guiding force in her life today.

Fearing for her life and knowing that she’d always be denied justice under this system, on November 2, 1979 she managed to escape with the help of comrades in the Black Liberation Army. In the years after Assata’s escape, the FBI’s tactics in their hunt were not unlike those we continue to see today in the so-called “War On Drugs;” sweeping through entire neighborhoods in New York on a regular basis and surveilling anyone with even peripheral contact to the movement.

It would be nearly five years before Assata fled the country to seek refuge and protection in Cuba. In 1984, the same year she arrived there, the revolutionary government of Cuba granted her political asylum and the Cuban people welcomed her with open arms.

This week, as news spread of the possibility of ending the inhumane and decades-long blockade the U.S. has forced on the Cuban people, a wave rose up of just concern over Assata’s safety. All across social media and progressive Black news sites, many activists worried about whether or not she would be extradited. These concerns seemed to be justified when the NJ Attorney General’s office released a statement of its own, stating that the FBI is continuing its pursuit of ‘”justice” and its hopes that the thawing in U.S.-Cuba relations would bring them closer in their quest to extradite Assata.

It’s important to take this with clear perspective and knowledge of past extradition attempts made by the U.S., otherwise this news could sound a little disheartening. In 1997, a year before Pope John Paul II’s visit to the island, the superintendent of the New Jersey State Police wrote a letter to the Pope asking him to bring up the extradition of Assata in his talks with then-president Fidel Castro. In 1998, it’s rumored that the U.S. State Department offered to go so far as to end the blockade in exchange for 90 political exiles, including Assata. If true, it’s quite clear that there was swift rejection of this deal. That same year, the U.S. Congress passed a resolution asking for Cuba to return Assata. In 2005, on the 32nd anniversary of her initial capture, the FBI classified her as a domestic terrorist which raised the award for aiding her capture to $1,000,000– the largest amount placed on an individual in the history of New Jersey.

Assata came back into public consciousness when, over the summer of 2013, it was announced that she would be the first woman to be placed on the FBI’s most wanted terrorist list and the reward for her capture was doubled to $2,000,000. The background of this announcement was the report, put together by the Malcolm X Grassroots Movement, which showed that in the U.S. a Black person is killed by police or security forces every 28 hours–the very same conditions Assata and the Black liberation movements of the past sought to change through actions that left many either imprisoned or dead.

Throughout it all, Cuba has remained steadfast in its protection of Assata’s freedom, further solidifying their solidarity with the global struggle for Black liberation. Their own nation has seen billions funneled into countless failed projects of the United States to break the revolutionary process of the Cuban people, direct military attack, hundreds of assassination attempts on their political leaders,and an outright economic blockade. Meanwhile the Cuban people–and the revolution they continue to advance–have become the epitome of resistance and resilience.

In response to new calls from New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, urging President Obama to demand Assata’s return before fully restoring relations, Josefina Vidal, Cuban foreign ministry’s head of North American affairs, has stated “Every nation has sovereign and legitimate rights to grant political asylum to people it considers to have been persecuted, we’ve explained to the U.S. government in the past that there are some people living in Cuba to whom Cuba has legitimately granted political asylum.”

The announcement of Cuba’s continued stance in solidarity with Assata and its declaration of a continued path of socialism have proven only to be a step forward in, not away from, Cuba’s revolutionary process. Resisting imperialism and building a new revolutionary society just 90 miles from the US, Cuba has proven time and time again that it truly is, in the words of Assata Shakur, “One of the largest, most resistant and most courageous Palenques(Maroon Camps) that has ever existed on the face of this planet”.


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‘End’ of Afghanistan occupation a lie

‘End’ of Afghanistan occupation a lie

Taking a break from his Christmas vacation in Hawaii, President Obama gave a speech at a Marine base claiming that “Next week, we will be ending our combat mission in Afghanistan.” This is not true. Nominal control over military bases may have been handed over to the Afghan government, but the U.S. government is set to continue its occupation indefinitely with nearly 11,000 troops. They will be joined by thousands of soldiers from other NATO member countries.

The term “combat mission” is used in a highly misleading way by generals and politicians to sell their strategy to a U.S. public that has largely turned against the war. U.S./NATO forces in Afghanistan have been gradually withdrawing from the country, but by the end of 2014 this process will end. It will be immediately followed by a mission with an indefinite mandate that will supposedly focus on training and “advising” the soldiers of the pro-imperialist Afghan government.

Operating under the mandate of a Bilateral Security Agreement signed by the United States and the Afghan government, the stay-behind mission was initially supposed to involve 9,800 troops. However, after intensification in the fighting, U.S. Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel announced that an additional 1,000 soldiers would remain deployed, and emphasized the flexibility they will have to engage in combat if their commanders decide it is necessary.

Imperialism fails to stabilize the situation in its favor

On Dec. 28, a ceremony was held to mark the formal end of the occupation. This event, however, was held in secret for fear that it would be attacked. The supposed end of the combat mission in Afghanistan is by no means a clean victory for the coalition of imperialist and imperialist-aligned governments that invaded the country in 2001.

For the first 13 years of the U.S.-led occupation, the leader of the internationally recognized Afghan authorities was Hamid Karzai. Although he was hand-picked by imperialism for the job, towards the end of his presidency Karzai became an increasingly vocal critic of U.S./NATO atrocities committed against Afghan civilians, a sign not of his principled support for independence but the inability of the United States and others to defeat the forces resisting the occupation.

However, presidential elections were held in April and June, ending Karzai’s term. His replacement is U.S.-educated former World Bank official Ashraf Ghani. However, Ghani was only able to take office after a tense standoff over electoral fraud that threatened to turn into a major crisis for the puppet authorities.

After three months of threats and negotiations, which caused the inauguration ceremony for the new president to be delayed for weeks, an agreement was finally reached between Ghani and his opponent Abdullah Abdullah. Abdullah would recognize Ghani’s victory in the election, and in return a new post—called Chief Executive Officer—would be granted to Abdullah. The crisis has been defused, but it remains very much in question whether these two bitter rivals can work together in government. The government still has not named a cabinet despite being in office for three months.

Meanwhile, the people refuse to accept the occupation or the Afghan authorities installed by it. As they take over the bulk of responsibilities in the war, record numbers of Afghan government soldiers are dying as the fighting sharpens—approximately 5,000 were killed this year alone. Over the same period, the United Nations estimates over 3,100 civilians have been killed.

While the resistance forces are composed of many organizations with a range of ideological orientations—not exclusively the Taliban, as media in the United States portray it—there is always an intensification of the conflict in the “summer fighting season.” With a much smaller contingent of foreign troops present, there are concerns that the government will suffer serious defeats next summer.

Regardless of the proclamations made by the managers of this system, the occupation of Afghanistan continues, and so should opposition to this injustice. During the current period of increasing struggle inside the United States, progressive organizations and individuals can show solidarity with our sisters and brothers in Afghanistan and point out that freedom and self-determination need to be respected everywhere.

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