An ongoing chronicle of communities of resistance around the world: anti-racism, anti-zionism, anti-imperialism, the Arab Spring, anti-austerity protests in Greece and across Europe, student movements all around the world, the Occupy Movement, anti-capitalist movements, anarchist movements, socialist movements, leftist communities and other relevant international news.
Woops! Police drone crashes into police… May 13, 2013
The Montgomery County (Texas) Sheriff’s Office had a big day planned. After becoming the first department in the country with its own aerial drone ($300,000!), they were ready for a nice photo op. And then the drone crashed into a SWAT team.
The Examiner reports a painfully contrived police action-athon:
As the sheriff’s SWAT team suited up with lots of firepower and their armored vehicle known as the “Bearcat,” a prototype drone from Vanguard Defense Industries took off for pictures of all the police action. It was basically a photo opportunity, according to those in attendance.
“Lots of firepower” and a “Bearcat” sure sounds like a good photo op. OK, time to launch the $300,000 drone. Here we go. Launch the drone:
“[The] prototype drone was flying about 18-feet off the ground when it lost contact with the controller’s console on the ground. It’s designed to go into an auto shutdown mode…but when it was coming down the drone crashed into the SWAT team’s armored vehicle.”
Not only did the drone fail, and not only did it crash, it literally crashed into the police. It’s no wonder we’re not able to find a video of this spectacular publicity failure. Luckily, the SWAT boys were safe in their Bearcat.
This would be a fine one-off blooper story if it weren’t for some upsetting implications. This is exactly why we have reason to raise multiple eyebrows at Congress, which wants to allow hundreds of similar drones to fly over US airspace. These drones are still a relatively young technology, relatively unproven, and relatively crash-prone. The odds of being hit by one are low, of course, but should a Texas-style UAV plummet ever happen in, say, a dense urban area, nobody would be laughing. Not all of us are driving around in Bearcats.
Mass brutal police repression during a protest against the cancellation of a teachers’ strike after an assembly with the Union of Education Professionals in Sao Paulo on May 10, 2013. Source 1 | Source 2
NAACP, clergy, and activists step-up activity in North Carolina against racist, oppressive austerity regime May 6, 2013
Human-rights activists against the vision of oppression offered by North Carolina’s Republican leaders say they’re stepping up the nonviolent demonstrations until they are rightfully heard. The protesters are resisting the oppresive, backward, Republican-ledeffort to block Medicaid expansion, cut unemployment, cut tax credits for the working class and promote policies that defund education, among other grievances.
The NAACP and other activists say they’re ready to be arrested again Monday as they protest decisions of the General Assembly. A prayer demonstration against the harmful, destructive policies last Monday led to 17 arrests.
Rev. William Barber, president of the NC NAACP, said the evening will begin with a news conference at Davie Street Presbyterian Church where protesters will introduce themselves and lay out their disagreement over GOP lawmakers’ plans for Medicaid, unemployment benefits, the earned income tax credit, voting rights, public education and the state’s pre-kindergarten education program. He expects the crowd to include Triangle-area college professors and clergy from Charlotte. Barber said those who were arrested last week will again try to get into the legislative building. He hopes lawyers for the NAACP and General Assembly Police can work out a plan ahead of time to keep the protest peaceful. Barber said last week that the NAACP is planning a tour of up to 20 counties that are home to lawmakers most associated with Republican policies.
A 61-year-old man was shot to death by police while his wife was handcuffed in another room during a drug raid on the wrong house in Lebanon, Tennessee.
Police admitted their mistake, saying faulty information from a drug informant contributed to the death of John Adams Wednesday night. They intended to raid the home next door.
The two officers, 25-year-old Kyle Shedran and 24-year-old Greg Day, were placed on administrative leave with pay.
“They need to get rid of those men, boys with toys,” said Adams’ 70-year-old widow, Loraine.
John Adams was watching television when his wife heard pounding on the door. Police claim they identified themselves and wore police jackets. Loraine Adams said she had no indication the men were police.
“I thought it was a home invasion. I said ‘Baby, get your gun!,” she said, sitting amid friends and relatives gathered at her home to cook and prepare for Sunday’s funeral.
Police say her husband fired first with a sawed-off shotgun and they responded. He was shot at least three times and died later at Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville.
Loraine Adams said she was handcuffed and thrown to her knees in another room when the shooting began.
“I said, ‘Y’all have got the wrong person, you’ve got the wrong place. What are you looking for?“‘
“We did the best surveillance we could do, and a mistake was made,” Lebanon Police Chief Billy Weeks said. “It’s a very severe mistake, a costly mistake. It makes us look at our own policies and procedures to make sure this never occurs again.” He said, however, the two policemen were not at fault.
The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation is investigating. NAACP officials said they are monitoring the case. Adams was black. The two policemen are white.
Family members did not consider race a factor and Weeks agreed, but said the shooting will be “a major setback” for police relations with the black community.
“We know that, we hope to do everything we can to heal it,” Weeks said.
Johnny Crudup, a local NAACP official, said the organization wanted to make sure and would investigate on its own.
Weeks said he has turned the search warrant and all other evidence over to the bureau of investigation and District Attorney General Tommy Thompson. A command officer must now review all search warrants.
Woman Missing! Police and Business refuse to help but YOU can! (Info from statement of Leslie Miller) March 16,2013
Victoria Darling, went missing Thursday March 14, 2013. She is about 5 and a half feet tall, Italian brunette with olive eyes and we care about her very much. She may well be in very real danger. She left for a liqueur store and never made it there. She was last seen at a Marathon gas station at 3200 W Warren Ave, Detroit, MI 48208. She was seen leaving with an older man whom she did not know. There is video surveillance footage of her and the man she left with. The workers at the Marathon gas station refuse to cooperate or release the security footage that can tell exactly when she was there and may be able to identify the man she left with. The police can’t help without this footage and the Marathon gas station will not cooperate in any way. When the only people who can help rescue someone refuse to cooperate you have to wonder why. Every minute is precious and the longer this takes, the less likely she will ever be found. The Detroit police and Marathon gas station are well aware of this. Occupiers and activists to do what we do best: spread this like a viral video and give ‘em hell. Demand that they cooperate and help find our fellow and ally, my good friend. Please help in every way you can.
Make a phone call
Call the Marathon Petroleum Business Integrity Helpline: 877-713-8314 Tell them that their store at 3200 West Warren Ave in Detroit, MI has refused to give vital footage to the police in the disappearance of Victoria Darling.
Call the Detroit Police department 313-267-4600 and ask them why they haven’t gotten a warrant to get the tape from Hamze Fuel in the disappearance of Victoria Darling
Chicago police terrorized six children in the wrong apartment, demanding at gunpoint that an 11-month-old show his hands, and telling one child, “This is what happens when your grandma sells crack,” the family claims in court.
Lead plaintiffs Charlene and Samuel Holly sued Chicago, police Officer Patrick Kinney and eight John Does in Federal Court, on their own behalves and for their children and children.
The six children were 11 months to 13 years old at the time. Plaintiffs Connie and Michelle Robinson are Charlene Holly’s daughters.
The complaint states: “On November 29, 2012 in the early evening hours Charlene Holly was in the first floor apartment at 10640 S. Prairie in the front room helping minor Child #1, Child #2, Child #4, and Child #5 rehearse songs for their church choir. Charlene was also caring for Child #3, who was 11 months old. Child #6 was in the upstairs apartment alone.
“Charlene and the children heard a loud boom outside and a voice cry out ‘Across the street!’
“Defendant Officers John Doe 1-8 burst through the door to the first floor apartment dressed in army fatigues and pointing guns at Charlene and the children. The officers yelled at Charlene and the children to ‘Get on the ground!’ The officers referred to Charlene and the children as ‘m—-f—-ers’ numerous times …
“Charlene continually asked what the purpose of the detention was,” the complaint states. “Finally, an officer produced a warrant and handed it to Charlene. The warrant was for an individual named ‘Sedgwick M. Reavers’ and the premises listed was ‘The second floor apartment located at 10640 S. Prairie Ave. A yellow brick two flat building with the numbers 10640 on the front of the building.’ In other words, the warrant clearly identified the proper location as the second floor apartment. Charlene, Samuel, and the children were in the first floor apartment …
The family claims that “the following day Charlene discovered the family dog, Samson, not in the basement where the family kept him, but in an upstairs laundry room. Samson could not have reached the laundry room without human assistance. On information and belief, defendant
Officers dragged and choked Samson from the basement with the dog pole and left him in the upstairs laundry room unattended, where he died.”
Samuel Holly also went to the police station the day after the warrantless search to complain, but “despite his numerous calls the night before, was told that he could not make a complaint and he ‘should have made a complaint last night,” the family says.
TW: Rape, violence: In some of the most disturbing and sickening news of the day, New York state police have decided that a 15-year-old girl who was sexually assaulted by three boys was in fact not sexually assaulted because both she and the boys are mentally handicapped.
In May of last year, three boys attacked a 15-year-old mentally challenged student at Martin De Porres Academy, a school for students with special needs in Long Island. According to the police report, one of the boys repeatedly banged her head against the table while the other two forced her to give them oral sex and then tried to have forcible anal sex with her. In interviews with the police, the girl explained how she repeatedly said “no” and “stop” but that the boys continued to assault her. When she came home from school that day, her mother noticed that she had blood on her underwear.
But the Nassau County Police Department recently decided to drop the case after learning that the boys also had learning disabilities and mental handicaps, which apparently made the situation far too complicated for the police department.
The department’s spokesperson told the New York Daily News , “It was more of a consensual situation with their mental capabilities.”
Of course, head-banging, blood and repeated pleas to “stop” are never consensual situations—regardless of the IQ level of the attackers. But, in this case, the police department is even further off target. As the family’s lawyer explained, the girl has an IQ of about 50 points, which puts her below the cognitive functioning level to consent to sex at all.
The school meanwhile, has played its own part in attempting to cover up the case. Only weeks after the assault occurred, the school sent a letter to the police department, that read:
“The school administration request (sic) no further police action and will handle additional behavioral and social issues with traning (sic) and additional counseling.”
The school did fire the teacher who was present in the classroom during the attack.
Women and girls with mental disabilities are frequently the targets for sexual assaults—and few of their aggressors are ever prosecuted.
According to one study, a staggering 80 percent of women with these disabilities are the targets of rape or sexual assault in their lifetimes.
People with disabilities are rarely brought into conversations about social justice struggles, like sexual violence, but that 80 percent statistic is outrageous & disgusting. If we are going to talk about rape culture, we need to include those most vulnerable to violence, including those with disabilities.
A Texas State Trooper who conducted an inappropriate and humiliating roadside body cavity search of two women has been suspended from her position while she is being investigated for violating the Fourth Amendment.
Trooper Kelly Helleson was suspended one day after two women filed a lawsuit against her for violating their bodies in search of marijuana. The two women had initially been pulled over by a male trooper for throwing a cigarette butt out the window. After claiming he smelled marijuana, he called his colleague, Helleson, to search the women’s bodies. No drugs were found.
Using the same latex glove on both women, Helleson searched their anuses and vaginas and irritated one of the women’s cysts, causing “severe and continuing pain and discomfort”, the lawsuit states.
But after the lawsuit was filed and the Dallas Morning News published a video of the search, the trooper was suspended with pay from her position.
All troopers are “obligated to act reasonably so as to comply with the Fourth Amendment of the United States Constitution as well as the Texas Constitution and other applicable statutory provisions,” Katherine Cesinger, Texas Department of Public Safety spokesperson, told CBS 11. “Any search that unreasonably invades the bodily integrity of a citizen is in violation of the Fourth Amendment and is therefore in violation of DPS policy.”
The Fourth Amendment protects against ‘unreasonable searches and seizures’ and prohibits authorization of invasive searches without probable cause. Helleson has not been accused of violating DPS policy, but is under investigation for it.
The two women who filed the lawsuit, 38-year-old Angel Dobbs and her niece, 24-year-old Ashley Dobbs, claim they were traumatized from the incident and consider it a case of public sexual assault.
“Angel Dobbs was overwhelmed with emotion and a feeling of helplessness and reacted stating that Helleson had just violated her in a most horrific manner,” the lawsuit states.
“I was molested, I was violated, I was humiliated in front of other traffic,” Angel Dobbs told WFAA. “I had to watch my niece go through the same thing and I could not protect her at that point.”
Scott Palmer, the women’s attorney, expressed disappointment that the DPS did not take any action against the trooper until after the lawsuit was filed, months after the incident.
“That shows me they’re being professional, but it’s still unfortunate that it takes a lawsuit to get that kind of attention, that remedial action to get her off the streets,” he said.
Seattle police plan to deploy spy drones October 27, 2012
The rainy skies of Seattle are likely to soon be a whole lot drearier. The FAA has approved the local police department to start using surveillance drones for law enforcement, but protesters are making it clear that they’re willing to put up a fight.
The Seattle Police Department displayed a small unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) on Thursday that they intend on using soon to monitor criminal activity across the city, but opponents of drone use came out in droves to protest the proposed plans.
The SPD is one of only law enforcement agencies given the go-ahead by the Federal Administration Agency to show officers the ins-and-outs of UAVs, and the department hopes that soon they will be able to save lives and make the city more secure by actually deploying drones across town.
So far the department has already outlined an operations manual that they hope they’ll have a chance to adhere to soon, describing in detail how they hope to install an unmanned aerial system across the city to help photograph crime scenes, conduct search and rescue missions, monitor traffic accidents and even aid with natural disaster responses. Putting an extra set of police eyes — remote-controlled ones, at that — has put a fair share of Seattle residents ill at ease, though.
“We are not going to tolerate this in our city. This is unacceptable,” anti-drone advocate Emma Kaplan told Assistant Chief Paul McDonagh at Thursday’s unveiling.
The Seattle Times says another protester in attendance, identified as General Malaise, said, “We don’t trust you with the weapons you do have,” let alone new ones that are still being developed.
According to the paper, Thursday’s community meeting held to identify the public opinion of the program “was taken over by protesters,” leaving McDonagh with only a small chunk of time to talk about his plans.
The city says they have no intent on using UAVs for any unlawful surveillance purposes, but the bad wrap drones have received as of late — made only worse with military versions of the drones overseas executing as many as hundreds of civilians in recent years — has left Seattle residents saying they have good reason to oppose domestic use.
Even if unarmed, drones are a cause of big concern for some. The Seattle Police Department says they have every intent “to make reasonable effort to not invade a person’s reasonable expectation of privacy,” and that never will any police drones “supersede the issuance of a warrant when needed.”
“UAS operators and observers will ensure and will be held accountable for ensuring that operations of the UAS intrude to a minimal extent upon the citizens of Seattle,” the drafted operations manual reads.
As the technology is still being tested, though, opponents say it’s not clear what the department could be able to get away with.
“The ways that they say they can use the drones is too broad,” ACLU of Washington Deputy Director Jennifer Shaw tells the Seattle Times. “They have a list of different emergencies and then a catchall phrase saying the drones can also be used in other situations if they get permission.”
Even what isn’t outline, she says, could eventually be added.
“So long as it is a policy, it can be changed. An ordinance cannot be changed at will and is the only way we can be sure there is meaningful input,” she said.
Earlier this month, the Sherriff of Alameda County, California asked the US Department of Homeland Security for as much as $100,000 in funding so he could add a drone to his own department’s arsenal. Sherriff Greg Ahern told NBC News that UAVs are “Very valuable to any tactical officer,” because they could aid in identifying everything from how a suspect is dressed to what avenues of escape are possible.
Thoughts about the future of OWS with Captain Ray Lewis
What are you expecting of OWS on September 17? I’m expecting one hell of a turnout, and that’ll tell me that this movement is still very much alive. That’s because the problems haven’t gone away. They haven’t even dissipated slightly. It’s the same amount of corruption and subsequently I don’t see people going away.
How do you think the movement can grow in the upcoming months? What I’m trying to do is get this occupation to grow by getting mainstream Americans to wake up and get involved. That’s one of the reasons for my sign, which advocates everyone to watch “Inside Job,” which is about the financial crisis. Once you watch this documentary, not only will you understand Occupy, you’ll be a full-fledged advocate.
What kind of resistance do you hope to see with the upcoming election? One of my big things is advocating pacifism. I don’t like any kind of violence. I don’t even like civil disobedience, in taking the streets and stopping traffic, even though I participated in that. That’s why I was arrested, but I did that to show solidarity with the young people. But we have to be careful with any action that can be interpreted by mainstream America as that can make us look like trouble makers.
What can be learned from OWS one year later? Everyone has learned that there’s a movement afoot. It’s here. It’s going to stay and it’s going to stay until the problems disappear and that won’t be for a while. What people don’t realize is you need to be patient. As you get older you get more patient, but the young people didn’t have the patience and wanted to see changes quicker. You have to realize this is going to be a long tour and you have to stay the course.
Ray Lewis is a retired Philadelphia police captain who was arrested last November during an OWS action in New York City.
Alcoa Italy workers clash with police over jobs September 10, 2012
Hundreds of workers from aluminum-maker Alcoa’s Sardinian smelter clashed with police on Monday to protest against the factory’s closure as the Italian government sought to avert the loss of more jobs.
Swiss industrial group Klesch offered a possible lifeline by expressing interest in the plant, but Alcoa in an email later said it had “not received any expressions of interest that are viable or different to those previously considered”.
Baton-wielding police beat back workers trying to break through their lines outside the industry ministry in Rome, where government officials, labor unions and Alcoa executives met in a last-ditch effort to head off the shuttering of the unprofitable factory.
About 600 workers whose jobs are threatened beat their hard hats on the gates, set off large firecrackers, and threw missiles at police. Riot police pushed them back when they tried to storm the ministry’s main gate, causing some minor injuries.
The factory supports about 1,500 jobs in Sardinia, and its closure would be a heavy blow for the Mediterranean island which is already beset by a 15 percent unemployment rate, well above the national average.
“The country’s industrial policies have been abandoned for 20 years,” Raffaele Bonanni, secretary general of Italy’s second-biggest union, said outside the ministry. “Alcoa is like many other examples throughout the country.”
Italy’s industry ministry said in a statement after the meeting that Alcoa had agreed to slow down the planned closure and that the ministry would be summoning companies that have expressed interest in the plant for talks.
At the end of July, the industry ministry was mediating in 131 other disputes between companies seeking to cut jobs and unions trying to preserve them, according to a ministry document obtained by Reuters. With more than 163,000 jobs at stake, Rome is likely to see more protests in coming months.
Alcoa said in its email it would go ahead with the gradual shut down of the pots used to make aluminum, which began on September 1.
“We will continue the curtailment process and remain open to discuss the sale of a curtailed plant,” Alcoa said.
The New York City Police Department (NYPD) really has gone rogue; at least that’s what a high-level FBI official believes.
September 05, 2012
Among the 5 million emails the group Anonymous hacked from the servers of private intelligence firm Stratfor in February, one seems to not only confirm the controversial NYPD surveillance activities uncovered by the Associated Press, but hints at even worse civil liberties violations not yet disclosed. Anonymous later turned the emails over to WikiLeaks, with which Truthout has entered into an investigative partnership.
I keep telling you, you and I are going to laugh and raise a beer one day, when everything Intel (NYPD’s Intelligence Division) has been involved in during the last 10 years comes out - it always eventually comes out. They are going to make Hoover, COINTEL, Red Squads, etc look like rank amatures [sic] compared to some of the damn right felonious activity, and violations of US citizen’s rights they have been engaged in.
The description of alleged NYPD excesses was leveled by an unnamed FBI “senior official” in late November 2011, in an email sent to Fred Burton, vice president for intelligence at the Austin, Texas-based Stratfor and former deputy chief of the counterterrorism division at the State Department. Burton then sent the official’s email to what appears to be a listserv known as the “Alpha List.”
Burton did not identify the senior FBI official in the email he sent to the listserv. He describes him as a “close personal friend,” and claims he “taught him everything that he knows.” He also instructs members of the listserv not to publish the contents of the email and to use it only for background.
Stratfor, in a statement released after some of the emails were made public, said some of the emails “may be forged or altered to include inaccuracies; some may be authentic” but “having had our property stolen, we will not be victimized twice by submitting to questioning about them.”
What’s particularly stunning about the FBI senior official’s description of NYPD Intelligence Division activities, is how he connects them to previous instances when his own agency bent and broke the law in pursuit of intelligence on perceived enemies of the state throughout the 20th century - and concludes the NYPD Intelligence Division’s violations are worse. As Pulitzer Prize-winning author and former New York Times reporter Tim Weiner writes in his new book, “Enemies: A History of the FBI,” the Bureau has been “America’s closest counterpart” to a secret police.