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Police Raid Homes, Headquarters of RNC Protesters

August 31st, 2008 - by admin

oe Garofoli / San Francisco Chronicle & The Huffington Post – 2008-08-31 22:55:11


5 Arrested, Dozens Detained in Pre-RNC Raids
Joe Garofoli / San Francisco Chronicle

ST, PAUL Minn.(August 31, 2008) — Activists planning protests around the Republican National Convention say they are being targeted in a heavy-handed attempt to chill dissent after police arrested five people, detained dozens of others, and seized computers and protest guides in raids Friday night and Saturday on private homes and the major meeting center.

The “RNC Welcoming Committee,” an organization of dozens of activist groups and individuals from around the country, has been planning demonstrations for over a year at the convention. The largest, which activists said could draw up to 50,000 people, is scheduled for Monday, the opening day of the convention.

At around 9:15 p.m. Friday, Ramsey County sheriffs and St. Paul police officers kicked in the door of a former theater in St. Paul that the group had rented as a central planning office, said Lisa Fithian, a nonviolence coordinator working with the protesters. They ordered the 50 people inside onto the floor, where they were handcuffed, photographed and asked for identification, then had their possessions searched.

Police kept at least three laptops, plus schedules and 7,000 “welcoming guides” organizers planned to distribute to people coming to the Twin Cities for demonstrations, Fithian said. Those inside were released within two hours, she said.

On Saturday, police raided four other homes and arrested five people. They were being held at the Hennepin County jail in Minneapolis Saturday on suspicion of conspiracy to riot, conspiracy to commit civil disorder and conspiracy to damage property.

“The ‘Welcoming Committee’ is a criminal enterprise made up of 35 anarchists who are intent on committing criminal acts before and during the Republican National Convention,” Ramsey County Sheriff Bob Fletcher said in a statement. “These acts include tactics to blockade and disable delegate buses, breaching venue security and injuring police officers. They have recruited assistance in their criminal conspiracy from other anarchists groups throughout the country.”

Activists who gathered Saturday evening at the Rivertown Events Center, where the Friday night raid occurred, said they were shaken by the raid but not deterred. Some shared stories – and photos – of police arresting and handcuffing other suspected activists around the area.

“I think (Friday night’s raid) was a scare tactic to not go to the big demonstration Monday,” said Monica Trinidad, a 22-year-old University of Illinois at Chicago student who was handcuffed outside the center Friday night as she was returning to see what was going on. “But I don’t think it’s going to work.”

Hal Muskat, a 61-year-old San Franciscan and member of Veterans for Peace, said the arrests might attract even more protesters.

“It was a tactic to try and take out the leaders,” he said. “I know some people don’t like to go out in the streets. But when anybody within a 12-hour drive hears about what’s going on here, they’re going to want to be here with us on Monday.”

E-mail Joe Garofoli at jgarofoli@sfchronicle.com.
© 2008 Hearst Communications Inc.

Twin Cities Cops Crack Down on Activists
Joe Garofoli / SF Chronicle Blog

St. Paul — Activists in the Twin Cities are really concerned about an ongoing series of police raids Friday night and Saturday that are targeting top organizers behind the “RNC Welcoming Committee” — an umbrella group that has spent the last year planning protests this week. Check out the search warrant.

But this chilling of dissent before the protest goes deeper than the raids. Several people arriving in town for Monday’s demonstration came to the Rivertown Events Center, aka the “Convergence Space,” site of Friday’s raid, to share stories and photos of police pulling over people who fit the profile of activists. A bit of DWAA — driving while anti-authoritarian, if you will. Police can hold the protesters without a charge for 36 hours, I was told, plus weekend time. That would keep them out of action for Monday’s big demonstration.

Said Alexis Baden-Mayer, a Washington, D.C.-based activist who saw the same thing as Cummins: “It makes me think about Monday. Should I go to the convergence? Am I being watched? I wonder if I’ll be safe there. When you see something like that, it makes you wonder all these things.”

Also met David and Cecelia Secor, the parents of Nathanael Secor, one of the activists arrested in the raids. They were in town from their home in suburban Chicago to visit his sister, who lives in the region and him. Cecelia, Nathanael’s mother, said that “he may look like a wacko, with these long dreadlocks down his back, but he’s really a peaceful person,” who regularly cooked meals for the group Food Not Bombs. He had worked as a teacher’s assistant in the Twin Cities area, but had been working fulltime on the protests for the past few months.

He’s a college graduate, “a vegan, very concerned about animal rights, and an Eagle Scout,” said David Secor, who served a two-year hitch in the Army in the late 1960s.

But they were concerned about the upcoming demonstrations. A few weeks ago, Cecelia said, Nathanael told her that “a friend of a friend of a friend” had been approached by the FBI about infiltrating the group.

So far, they haven’t been able to see their son in jail.

RNC Protest Sites Raided By Police:
Five people Arrested and more than 100 Detained in
Raid Targeting the RNC Welcoming Committee

The Huffington Post

(August 31, 2008) — Federal Government Involved In Raids On Protesters: Glenn Greenwald reports that it is increasingly clear the federal government is involved in raids on protesters at the Republican National Convention:

As the police attacks on protesters in Minnesota continue — see this video of the police swarming a bus transporting members of Earth Justice, seizing the bus and leaving the group members stranded on the side of the highway — it appears increasingly clear that it is the Federal Government that is directing this intimidation campaign. Minnesota Public Radio reported yesterday that “the searches were led by the Ramsey County Sheriff’s office. Deputies coordinated searches with the Minneapolis and St. Paul police departments and the Federal Bureau of Investigation.”

Today’s Star Tribune added that the raids were specifically “aided by informants planted in protest groups.” Back in May, Marcy Wheeler presciently noted that the Minneapolis Joint Terrorist Task Force — an inter-agency group of federal, state and local law enforcement led by the FBI — was actively recruiting Minneapolis residents to serve as plants, to infiltrate “vegan groups” and other left-wing activist groups and report back to the Task Force about what they were doing. There seems to be little doubt that it was this domestic spying by the Federal Government that led to the excessive and truly despicable home assaults by the police yesterday.

AUG 31 — Protest Groups File Court Order: Protesters try to prevent police from seizing equipment.

(August 31, 2008) — Two organizations said today they filed an emergency motion with the court Saturday to try to prevent police from seizing video equipment and cell phones used to document officers’ conduct….

The release said “examples of police interference with the right to document their conduct” included seizure of equipment in Minneapolis from three journalists with Glass Bead Collective and targeting of journalists during a raid in St. Paul on Saturday.

The National Lawyers’ Guild have volunteers to deter and document police abuse at the RNC.

AUG 30
Ramsey County authorities conducted raids across Minneapolis and St. Paul Friday and Saturday as a pre-emptive strike against disruptive protests of the Republican National Convention.

Five people were arrested and more than 100 were handcuffed, questioned and released by scores of deputies and police officers, according to police and elected officials familiar with the raids.

In a statement Saturday morning, Ramsey County Sheriff Bob Fletcher said the St. Paul raid targeted the RNC Welcoming Committee, a group he described as “a criminal enterprise made up of 35 self-described anarchists…intent on committing criminal acts before and during the Republican National Convention.”

There were five raids conducted over 24 hours, the Minnesota Independent reports.

Posted in accordance with Title 17, Section 107, US Code, for noncommercial, educational purposes.

Why Was Cheney’s Guy in Georgia Just Before the War?

August 31st, 2008 - by admin

James Gerstenzang / Los Angeles Times – 2008-08-31 22:50:23


(August 30, 2008) — What was a top national security aide to Vice President Dick Cheney doing in Georgia shortly before Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili’s troops engaged in what became a disastrous fight with South Ossetian rebels — and then Russian troops?

Not, according to the vice president’s office, what you might think — if your thinking takes you into the realm of Cheney giving his blessing to the Georgian’s military operation.

To be sure, Cheney has been a leader of the hardliners in the administration when it comes to standing up to Russia — to the point that the man who ran the Pentagon as the Cold War came to an end during the administration of the first President Bush has been seen as ready to renew that face-off with Moscow.

It was Cheney who visited the Georgian embassy in Washington last week to sign a remembrance book as a demonstration of the administration’s support.

And yes, Joseph R. Wood, Cheney’s deputy assistant for national security affairs, was in Georgia shortly before the war began.

But, the vice president’s office says, he was there as part of a team setting up the vice president’s just-announced visit to Georgia . (It is common for the White House to send security, policy, communications and press aides to each site the president and vice president will visit ahead of the trip, to begin making arrangements and planning the agenda.)

The White House disclosed on Monday that Cheney would hurry over to Azerbaijan , Georgia , Ukraine and Italy next week, almost immediately after addressing the Republican National Convention on Labor Day.

And so it was that a team from the vice president’s office, U.S. security officials and others were in Georgia several days before the war began.

It had nothing to do, the vice president’s office said, with a military operation that some have said suggests a renewal of the Cold War.

Disclaimer: The views expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of the Centre for Research on Globalization. The contents of this article are of sole responsibility of the author(s). The Centre for Research on Globalization will not be responsible or liable for any inaccurate or incorrect statements contained in this article. www.globalresearch.ca

© Copyright James Gerstenzang, Los Angeles Times, 2008

Georgia On My Mind: From West Point to the Caucasus

August 31st, 2008 - by admin

Conn Hallinan / Democratic Underground – 2008-08-31 22:45:23


(August 18, 2008) — One of the major causes of the recent war in Georgia has nothing to do with the historic tensions that make the Caucasus such a flashpoint between east and west. Certainly the long-stranding ethnic enmity between Ossetians and Georgians played a role, as did the almost visceral dislike between Moscow and Tbilisi. But the origins of the short, brutal war go back six years to a June afternoon at West Point.

Speaking to the cadets at the military academy, President George W. Bush laid out a blueprint for U.S foreign policy, a strategy lifted from a neocon think tank, the Project for a New American Century. In essence, the West Point Doctrine made it clear that Washington would not permit the development of a “peer competitor,” and that, if necessary, the U.S. would use military force to insure that it maintained the monopoly on world power it had inherited after the collapse of the Soviet Union.

The 21st Century was to be an American century.

Some of the building blocks of this strategy were already in place before the President’s address. Rather than dismantling the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) following the disintegration of the East bloc’s Warsaw Pact in 1991, the alliance was expanded to include former Pact members Poland, Hungary and the Czech Republic. Latvia, Lithuania, Romania, Slovakia and Bulgaria followed in 2004. On the eve of the latest Caucasus war, Washington was lobbying hard to recruit Georgia and the Ukraine.

It is important to keep in mind the deep paranoia – a state of mind well founded in historical experience—that the Russians have over their borders. Those borders have been violated by Napoleon, and by Germany in both WW I, and WW II. In the later conflict, the Russians lost 27 million people.

Besides expanding NATO from a regional military pact to a worldwide alliance-the organization is deeply engaged in Afghanistan and is currently moving into the Pacific Basin–the Bush Administration began dismantling East-West agreements, including the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty (ABM). The demise of the Treaty allowed the U.S. to deploy an ABM and to recruit nations to sign up for the system, including Japan, India and Australia. Lastly, NATO has just agreed to build an ABM system in Eastern Europe.

In spite of the way it is portrayed, an ABM is not a defensive system and is certainly not aimed at ‘rogue states,- since none of them have missiles than can threaten the U.S. or Europe. An ABM is designed to absorb a retaliatory attack following a first strike. U.S. nuclear doctrine is based on this first strike, or ‘counterforce,- strategy.

Russia and China—currently the only two nations that can seriously challenge the idea of an American century—find themselves surrounded by U.S. bases from northern Europe, through the Middle East and Central Asia, to the north Pacific. At least in theory, the U.S. ABM system pretty much cancels out China’s modest nuclear capability, and, fully deployed, a European system could neutralize much of Russia’s.

The Bush Administration says that its ABM system is not large enough to stop Russia’s thousands of nuclear warheads, but it fails to mention that a first strike would destroy all but about five percent of those weapons. All an ABM would have to do is handle the handful of warheads that survived a counterforce strike.

The Russians and the Chinese have made it quite clear that they consider the ABM system a threat to their nuclear deterrence ability.

The Russians are also deeply angry over the European Union and NATO’s support for dismembering Yugoslavia and the forcible removal of the province of Kosovo from Serbia

‘I think we have underestimated the anger in Moscow over the increasing NATO involvement in Russia’s backyard,- says Christopher Langton of the International Institute for Strategic Studies in London.

This is the context in which the recent fighting took place. While the western media has largely portrayed the war as the mighty Russian bear beating up on tiny Georgia, Moscow sees Tbilisi’s attack on South Ossetia as yet another move aimed at surrounding it with hostile powers.

U.S. non-governmental organizations, some, like the National Endowment for Democracy, close to the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency, played a key role in helping to bring Georgia’s current president Mikhail Saakashvilli to power. For all the Bush Administration touts him as a ‘democrat,- the Georgian president has exiled his political enemies, closed down opposition newspapers, and turned his police on peaceful demonstrators.

Following his election, the U.S. and Israel poured military aid and trainers into Georgia. Some 800 U.S. and 1,000 Israeli trainers are currently working with the Georgian military.

While the U.S. claims that it strongly advised the Georgians not to use force in Ossetia and Abakhzia, just a few weeks before the attack Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice visited Tbilisi and made it clear that the Bush Administration fully supported Georgia claim over the two provinces.

The U.S. pledge was made despite the fact that Saakashvili broke a 2005 agreement not to use force in the two provinces. In 2006, the Georgian president sent troops into Abkhaza to occupy the Kodori Valley. Did it occur to the U.S. that backing Saakashvili’s adventurism in Abkhaza might encourage him to consider a similar move in South Ossetia?

Besides the trainers, 1,000 U.S. troops recently carried out joint exercises with the Georgian military. How would Americans feel about Russian troops training in Mexico, particularly if the latter government was demanding back the lands seized by the U.S. in the Mexican-American War? And what were those troops training for? An invasion of South Ossetia? Defense against a Russian counterattack?

U.S. trainers say they had no inkling that the Georgians were going to attack Ossetia, a denial that is hard to swallow given the buildup of ammunition, armored vehicles, and supplies that the Georgians must have made in preparation for the invasion. It strains credibility to think that U.S. advisors did not know what was up, but if they did not, it bespeaks a sobering level of incompetence on the American military side.

The Israelis are not so coy.

According to the DEBKA File, a publication close to the Israeli military and intelligence agencies, Israeli advisors “were undoubtedly deeply involved in the Georgian Army’s preparations to conquer the South Ossetian capital.”

The Israeli interest in Georgia is over the two oil and gas pipelines that transit the country, bypassing Russian pipelines to the north. Israel takes on oil at the Turkish port of Ceyhan and ships it to a refinery at Ashkelon.

So who knew what, and when did they know it? This is not an abstract exercise. Had Georgia been admitted to NATO, the war would have triggered Article 5 requiring alliance members to use “collective force” against Russia. Such a scenario could well have led to a worldwide thermonuclear war.

Did the Georgians think they could attack Ossetia, kill civilians and Russian peacekeepers, and get away with it? Unless President Saakashvili and the people around him are snorting something that turns reality upside down, they must have known that Georgia’s army was no match for Russia’s.

Could the Georgians have been working under the illusion they had the full backing of the U.S? What Rice told Saakashvili during her July 10 trip becomes critical. Did she really tell the Georgians in private not to attack as she claims? Or did Tbilisi take Rice’s public rhetoric supporting Georgia’s claim of sovereignty at face value?

Shortly before Georgia attacked, the Russians tried to get a resolution through the UN Security Council calling on Ossetia and Georgia to renounce the use of force. The U.S., Britain, and Saakashvili torpedoed it. Why?

Might the U.S. have snookered the Georgians into making an attack Washington knew would end in disaster? Political commentator Robert Scheer suggests the war was a neocon election ploy aimed at getting John McCain elected president. On one level the charge seems far-fetched, but as Scheer points out, the McCain campaign is filled with neocons and Georgia boosters, and some of McCain’s recent statements seem as if they were lifted from the depths of the Cold War.

Is the Georgia War the “October surprise” for the fall elections as Scheer suggests? The Republicans need a crisis so they can argue that only McCain has the experience to handle it. The Iran bugaboo is wearing thin, and the polls show overwhelming opposition to a war with Teheran. China is playing nice, and, in any case, it is not a good idea to pick a fight with someone who can call in its loans and bankrupt you.

But there is always the big, bad Russian bear.

This is an inordinately dangerous situation. The Bush Administration has sent U.S. troops into Georgia, and it is not inconceivable that Russians and Americans might end up shooting at one another. Wars have a tendency to get out of hand, which is one reason why it is good to avoid them.

But avoiding war means avoiding the kind of policies that make war a possibility. If you have a strategy that says you have the right to determine what happens in the world, and then go about surrounding your potential competitors with military bases and destabilizing weapons systems, sooner or later someone is going to push back. A hundred years ago that would lead to tragedy. In today’s nuclear-armed world, it is an existential issue.

In the short run the solution is a ceasefire, withdrawal of troops, and a pledge not to use force in the future.

But the problem that brought about the recent war is the result of policies that the U.S. and its allies have followed since the end of the Cold War. A real solution would be:

• Dissolve NATO;

• Revive the ABM Treaty;

• Enforce the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty, which means dismantling the world’s supply of nuclear weapons and embarking on a course of general disarmament.

To do less it to hold the world hostage to the actions of a few who might at any moment hurl us all into a war that none would survive.

Posted in accordance with Title 17, Section 107, US Code, for noncommercial, educational purposes.

Putin Accuses US Over Georgia; Warns of US Naval Build-up a ‘Declaration of War’

August 31st, 2008 - by admin

Nabi Abdullaev / Moscow Times & London Daily Mail – 2008-08-31 22:39:36


Putin Accuses US Over Georgia
Nabi Abdullaev / Moscow Times

MOSCOW (August 28, 2008) — Prime Minister Vladimir Putin on Thursday accused the United States of orchestrating the military conflict in Georgia in order to boost the chances of a US presidential candidate.

In an interview that was to air on CNN late Thursday, Putin said Washington had encouraged Tbilisi to attack South Ossetia to give one presidential candidate an edge in the hotly contested US election, CNN said on its web site.

Republican John McCain, a weathered foreign policy hawk and a staunch critic of Russia, is in a neck-and-neck race with Democrat Barack Obama for the White House.

Putin did not specify a candidate. Reached by telephone, Putin’s spokesman Dmitry Peskov declined to say which one he was referring to.

McCain is an ally of outgoing US President George W. Bush. Following Russia’s invasion of Georgia, McCain lashed out at Russia, calling on the Bush administration to pull out from a joint space exploration project with Russia and repeating a demand that Russia be kicked out of the Group of Eight.

The White House press office had no immediate comment on Putin’s statement.

At the onset of the conflict with Georgia earlier this month, Sergei Markov, a Kremlin-connected spin doctor and United Russia deputy in the State Duma, described the escalation as a strategy by US neo-cons to boost McCain’s popularity. In televised comments, Markov accused US Vice President Dick Cheney of masterminding the strategy. Cheney will visit Georgia next week.

Speaking at the Black Sea resort of Sochi, Putin told CNN that Russia had to send its troops into South Ossetia to rebuff Georgian forces in order to avert a humanitarian catastrophe.

He also rebuked the US administration for not having done more to stop Georgia’s attack early Aug. 8. Led by US-educated President Mikheil Saakashvili, Georgia is the most enthusiastic US ally among the former Soviet republics.

“In the interview with CNN, there were lots of tough but truthful comments,” Peskov said. “But in the interview, you also can see a desire and readiness to cooperate with all countries.”

Putin has stepped into US elections before. In June 2004, when Bush was struggling for re-election amid criticism for going to war with Iraq without just cause, then-President Vladimir Putin announced that Russian secret services had obtained information that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction. Putin’s announcement appeared to stun the White House, and analysts at the time dismissed it as a clumsy attempt by Putin to help Bush win re-election.

The formal pretext for the US invasion of Iraq — spelled out by Bush in 2003 — was Iraq’s possession of weapons of mass destruction and its refusal to allow United Nations monitors to inspect them. No traces of the weapons of mass destruction have been found in Iraq.

Separately Thursday, Putin announced that 19 US poultry companies would be banned from exporting to Russia after Russian health and agriculture officials randomly tested their products and discovered they were full of antibiotics and arsenic, CNN reported.

The ban is unrelated to the Georgia conflict, Putin said.

© Copyright Nabi Abdullaev, Moscow Times, 2008

Russia Warns US Naval Build-up
May Lead to War and Accuses America of
Shipping Arms to Georgia

Daily Mail

LONDON (August 28, 2008) — Tensions between Russia and the West were ratcheted even higher today after Moscow warned that the American naval build-up in the Black Sea could be seen as a ‘declaration of war’.

As the fallout over the Kremlin’s invasion of Georgia continued, Russian military chiefs warned that they were monitoring closely the appearance of US warships in the region.

Russia’s foreign minister also accused Foreign Secretary David Miliband of being ‘hypocritical’ in his criticism of Moscow, pointing out that Britain had itself rushed to defend the Falklands. But today Mr Miliband said there was ‘no question’ of a war with Russia.

He also said the situation marked ‘a clear end to the relative and growing calm in and around Europe since the collapse of the Soviet Union’, telling the BBC that the conflict heralded a new instability.

The rhetoric flew as a South Ossetian interior minister claimed an unmanned Georgian spy plane had been shot down in the territory this morning.

Mikhail Mindzayev said the drone was shot down over South Ossetia today by local forces. He said it had crossed into South Ossetia from the south, meaning it was of Georgian origin. A Georgian official denied that the country had sent any drone over South Ossetia. Georgian Interior Ministry spokesman Shota Utiashvili says Mindzayev is ‘seeing things’.

Adding to the tension, French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner said European Union leaders are considering imposing sanctions against Russia ahead of a summit on Monday to discuss the situation in Georgia.

Russia hit back, saying such talk was the product of a ‘sick imagination’ and Western confusion. ‘Apart from that my friend Kouchner also said that we will soon attack Moldova and Ukraine and the Crimea,’ Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said today. ‘But that is a sick imagination and probably that applies to sanctions as well,’ Lavrov told reporters in the Tajik capital.

‘I think it is a demonstration of complete confusion,’ he said.
At the same time Russia’s fellow members of the G8 group of rich nations – Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United States and the UK – issued a statement deploring ‘Russia’s excessive use of military force’.

Meanwhile, Russian president Dmitri Medvedev threatened to use his country’s military machine to respond to the deployment of an American anti-missile defence system in Poland and the Czech Republic.

A senior Russian general, Anatoly Nogovitsyn, criticised the arrival of the US Coastguard cutter Dallas at the Black Sea port of Batumi today, the second of an expected three US ships sent to deliver aid to Georgia.

The Dallas had been due to land in the Georgian port of Poti, where Russian troops are still manning checkpoints. But without explanation it docked 50 miles south in Batumi, a port outside Russian control.

Nato has said it is also undertaking pre-arranged exercises in the Black Sea involving US, German, Spanish and Polish ships.

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev accused the Americans of bringing in weapons for war-torn Georgia under the guise of humanitarian aid — a charge dismissed by the White House as ‘ridiculous’.

Mr Miliband, asked whether NATO would go to war against Moscow if it were to attack a neighbouring country or ally again, said: ‘We don’t want all-out war with Russia … There’s no question of launching an all-out war against Russia.’

With Russian newspapers and TV stations today highlighting maps showing the build-up of Western forces in the region, General Nogovitsyn warned the NATO presence could not be allowed to grow ‘indefinitely’.

Dmitry Rogozin, Russia’s ambassador to Nato, warned against Western interference in Georgia’s breakaway regions, which were recognised as independent by Moscow on Tuesday.
‘If Nato takes military actions against Abkhazia and South Ossetia, acting solely in support of Tbilisi, this will mean a declaration of war on Russia,’ he said.

Prime minister Vladimir Putin reasserted his own influence as he met president Medvedev. Mr Putin’s spokesman said: ‘Certainly some measures of precaution are being taken. It’s not a common practice to deliver humanitarian aid using battleships.’

Russian foreign minister Sergei Lavrov last night lashed out against Britain and Nato following Mr Miliband’s heavy criticism of Russia’s conflict with Georgia.

‘The moralising that we hear from our Western colleagues is not based on facts,’ Mr Lavrov said. ‘It’s strange that our actions to defend our citizens right on our borders should be criticised by Britain, considering its actions in the Falkland Islands, which are the other side of the world.’

In one small gesture of co-operation, Russian forces turned over 12 Georgian soldiers on the border of Abkhazia.
Georgia’s former president Eduard Shevardnadze — who was also foreign minister in the former Soviet Union — said Russia would live to regret its recognition of rebel regions and called for a boycott of the 2014 Winter Olympics in the Russian city of Sochi.

As the drama unfolded, the Foreign Secretary urged the West to make Russia pay for its decision to use military force to carve up the fledgling democracy on its doorstep.

Mr Miliband accused the Russians of encouraging the ‘festering divisions’ of the Cold War after they used military might to impose their authority in the Caucasus region.
His provocative intervention came in Kiev, the capital of Ukraine, which diplomats fear could be the next target.

On a day of rising tensions yesterday:
• Ukraine threatened to increase the rent it charges the Russian fleet for the use of its Black Sea port;
• France predicted that Ukraine and Moldova could be the next Russian targets;
• Mikhail Gorbachev compared the showdown to the 1962 Cuban missile crisis, when the world teetered on the brink of nuclear war.
Mr Miliband told the Ukrainians: ‘We need to support your rights, and raise the costs to Russia of disregarding its responsibilities.’

The Foreign Secretary flew to Kiev to stage a show of support for the Ukraine, which like Georgia has a pro-Western president with ambitions of joining both Nato and the European Union, a move away from Moscow’s sphere of influence which has angered the Kremlin.

Ukraine also has a large Russian-speaking population, but is much bigger than Georgia.

Mr Miliband said: ‘Russia is more isolated, less trusted and less respected than two weeks ago. It has made military gains in the short term. ‘But over time it will feel the economic and political losses.

‘If she truly wants respect and influence, and the benefits which flow from it, then Russia needs to change course.’
He said Russia was breaking the terms of a ceasefire and suggested Moscow could be made to pay a heavy economic price for its actions.

Mr Miliband accused Mr Medvedev of trying to ‘redraw the map’ of the Caucasus through his unilateral recognition of the breakaway provinces of South Ossetia and Abkhazia and said he had a ‘big responsibility not to start’ a new Cold War.
The response of the EU and Nato to such ‘aggression’ should be one of ‘hard-headed engagement’ in reviewing relations with Russia.

‘That means bolstering our allies, rebalancing the energy relationship with Russia, defending the rules of international institutions, and renewing efforts to tackle “unresolved conflicts”,’ he said.

And Mr Gorbachev urged political leaders in the Kremlin and the West to act now to stop matters running out of control.
‘The time is ripe to stop scaring each other and to do something constructive,’ he said. ‘It is a vital need to warn of the disastrous effects any impulsive, ill-considered step may trigger.’

Earlier, Ukraine said it wanted to discuss charging Russia more for the lease of a Black Sea naval base at Sevastopol in the Crimea.

Russia has said any renegotiation would break a 1997 agreement between the two countries, under which it leases the base for £50million a year until 2017.

Gordon Brown will attend an unprecedented meeting of leaders of the EU’s 27 member states on Monday to discuss their response to Russia’s actions.

Posted in accordance with Title 17, Section 107, US Code, for noncommercial, educational purposes.

Has the US Crippled NATO?

August 30th, 2008 - by admin

Murray Dobbin / TheTyee.ca – 2008-08-30 21:23:02


TORONTO (August 26, 2008) — With the end of the Cold War, many analysts and policy makers imagined that the developed world might actually move away from its irrational attachment to militarization and war. The most optimistic envisioned a huge, international peace dividend, shifting untold billions previously spent on conventional and nuclear weapons to tackling poverty and inequality around the world.

Alas, the US had no intention of dismantling NATO. For the US, it was simple: NATO provided the sheen of legitimacy for the extension of US power well beyond its original mandate of Europe.

But ironically the Bush administration — the most imperial of US governments in generations — may well go down in history as the one that crippled NATO and effectively left the US isolated.

If there is a silver lining to the grotesque destruction of human life in Iraq and Afghanistan and the inexplicably stupid adventure in Georgia, it is the possibility that the US will lose its already reluctant EU partners in making the world safe for US oil companies.

NATO risks, if not outright dissolution, then certainly a credibility crisis leading to political and military paralysis. NATO watchers repeatedly declare that losing in Afghanistan simply “isn’t an option.” But as virtually every analyst not on mind-altering drugs is saying, losing in Afghanistan with the current commitment of NATO partners is, in fact, the only option. The longer they stay, the more inept and indecisive they appear.

To even maintain the status quo there needs to be a doubling of the troop levels, and this simply will not happen. European populations have no stomach for body bags from a war that is not in Europe’s interests. France is now rethinking its existing commitment, despite its president’s statement to the contrary.

When, not if, the EU members of NATO pack their bags, it will be the end of any extra-territorial adventures. The US will be totally on its own, save for Israel and, regrettably, Canada.

Boosting Putin’s Popularity
The situation in Georgia presents even greater problems for NATO as it exposes a widening gulf between the dominant EU powers — Germany, France and Britain — and the US While the US and its client state Georgia have so far won the media war in framing the conflict, this does nothing to change the facts on the ground. The US seems completely oblivious to a reality that everyone else recognizes: Russia is now the hegemon in the region and is back on the world stage with a vengeance. Bush’s huffing and puffing and issuing of repeated empty ultimatums makes the “sole remaining superpower” look weak and confused.

The Russian leadership, both Putin and Medvedev, show sneering contempt for the US for one reason: they can. There is virtually nothing the US can do.

To be sure, Putin is ruthless and authoritarian. But he is also enormously popular, about four times as popular as George Bush is in the US Why? Because the US and the West in their efforts to turn the former Soviet Union into a free-market wild west, humiliated Russia and created the conditions for a resurgent nationalism that Putin plays like a fiddle. Russians don’t care that much if he runs roughshod over democracy if he re-establishes their pride in Russia a great power.

Winning the media spin might just be the worst outcome for the West as it will undoubtedly fan the flames of national grievance in Russia even more. The facts are clear enough. Georgian President Saakashvili unleashed a brutal, 12-hour assault with hundreds of rockets and artillery shells on the largely defenceless South Ossetian capital of Tskhinvali, destroying apartment blocks, hospitals and other civilian infrastructure. It was utterly unnecessary destruction for the operation’s stated purpose of occupying the territory.

Despite US denials, it is inconceivable that the Bush administration did not know and approve of the invasion plans. The US and Israel have hundreds of military advisors embedded at virtually every level of the Georgian army.

Georgia and the Encirclement of Russia
Georgia was simply playing its assigned role as an outpost of US neo-con ambitions to encircle Russia with free-market client states and isolate it. The media portrays Saakashvili as a democrat. There is no reference to his increasingly authoritarian rule — the brutal put-down of peaceful demonstrations last November, the widely reported abuse of state resources, controls on the media, the arrest of opposition activists, and the suppression of civil liberties. Some democrat.

There is also no reference to the fact that Saakashvili came to power in 2003 largely thanks to millions of dollars from the American Soros foundations poured into organizations that attacked former president Eduard Shevardnadze and promoted the pro-American Mr. Saakashvili for president.

For years, the US could afford to dismiss Russian declarations that such encirclement was a threat to its national interests and would be resisted. Russia was weak. But the US occupation of Iraq, instead of unleashing its huge oil supplies, and being a bonanza for American oil companies, has severely weakened the US and contributed to the huge increase in oil prices — giving back to the Russian state the financial power it had lost. The Bush administration, still addled by ideology, apparently didn’t notice and continued to dismiss Russia as if it were still a bankrupt state.

The Georgian attack was either a wag-the-dog strategy to help the Republicans win the White House, or one of the most spectacularly incompetent applications of foreign policy in US history. In either case, the US miscalculated not only Russia’s response, but more importantly, the entire geo-political balance of power in the region. Someone, such as the usually astute Israelis, should have told the US that in this confrontation, Russia holds virtually all the cards.

Why the US needs Russia
The US needs Russia much more than Russia needs the US Russia actually supports America’s determination to defeat the Taliban and allows non-lethal military supplies to travel through its territory.

It continues to play a critical partnership role with the US in persuading both Korea and Iran to abandon any plans for nuclear weapons. It co-operates with US counter-terrorism and counter-narcotics efforts. And it has a veto in the UN — an institution the US has suddenly found very useful and which Russia can neutralize with the raising of a hand.

Russia has a huge arms export capacity and currently sells to Iran, Venezuela, and Syria. So far, it has not sold its most sophisticated weapons systems, like its S-300 anti-aircraft missile system. But that could change, as a worried Israel knows full well. In fact, Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad met with President Medvedev in Russia on Aug. 20, less than two weeks after the Georgian assault, to talk increased co-operation.

It was no coincidence. Al-Assad knows all about geo-political power imbalances and how they can be manipulated. As Russia criticized Israel for providing a wide variety of arms to Georgia, al-Assad attacked Georgia as the aggressor and declared publicly: “Our position is that we are ready to co-operate with Russia in any project that can strengthen its security.”

But the biggest casualty of this historic US blunder has already taken place. US plans to expand Georgia’s current role as a transit point for Caspian basin oil and gas pipelines to Europe is already in tatters.

Private companies hate uncertainty, and it will be a long time, if ever, before they consider building another pipeline through a country with such unreliable leadership — one possibly headed back into Russia’s sphere of influence. This was the principal reason the US poured so much military assistance into Saakashvili: European dependence on Russian oil and gas (now standing at 40 per cent of EU consumption) gave Moscow too much power.

Resurgent Russia
The disastrous military adventure OK’d by the US gave Putin the excuse he needed to declare the return of Russia as a regional power and nip American energy plans in the bud, with huge consequences. Now more than ever, the EU countries will be loathe to anger Russia. America’s recent signing of the missile defence agreement with Poland has further angered Putin, and it is European countries that could suffer the consequences.

European members of NATO recently moderated the aggressive American push for membership for the Ukraine and Georgia by saying it would come “eventually.” But that now looks to be a very long way off. Would the European members of NATO really want to engage in a war with Russia over another incursion into tiny Georgia? They would be obliged to do so if Georgia was a member.

US foreign policy disasters in Iraq, Afghanistan and now Georgia threaten to drive NATO — corporate globalization’s most legitimate policeman — back into its old barracks and with its old, narrow mandate. So just as the US is being forced to recognize that its superpower status can be regionally challenged, it could be virtually alone in trying to police the planet.

Ideology Makes You Stupid
The rigid adherence to ideology — any ideology — ultimately makes its adherents stupid. The neo-cons behind the Project for the New American Century — Dick Cheney and company’s blueprint for American global dominance — so fervently believed in their project that they dismissively rejected the conventional approach to foreign policy.

The PNAC, by simply believing the US had the right to police the world, assumed that it could. The resulting doctrine of “full-spectrum [military] dominance” over the entire planet was effectively immune to any real-world evidence to the contrary. In part because the PNAC brain trust and their president had contempt for the role of government, they simply bypassed the judgment of conventional state institutions and replaced reason with faith.

One Bush aide ridiculed what he called the “reality-based community” which consisted of people who naively “…believe that solutions emerge from your judicious study of discernible reality.” He told American writer Ronald Suskind: “We’re an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality.”

Indeed they do. But it is looking less and less like the one their faith led them to imagine.

Posted in accordance with Title 17, Section 107, US COde, for noncommercial, educational purposes.

New Evidence Contradicts Official Explanation for US Spy Satellite Shoot-Down

August 30th, 2008 - by admin

Kevin Whitelaw / US News & World Report – 2008-08-30 21:17:23


Newly released documents show that officials knew a satellite falling towards Earth posed no threat

(August 26, 2008) — When the Pentagon ordered a Navy ship to shoot down a crippled US spy satellite last February, it claimed the operation was necessary to prevent a harmful fuel from being dispersed in the atmosphere. At the time, critics charged that the Bush administration was using the toxic fuel as an excuse to demonstrate missile-defense and anti-satellite capabilities.

Now, there is new evidence that the critics were very likely right.

Astrophysicist Yousaf Butt obtained US government documents showing that NASA’s own analysis concluded that the satellite’s fuel tank was expected to burn up completely during re-entry °X even though NASA probably overestimated the tank’s chances of survival.

“Despite its optimistic oversimplifications, the released study indicates that the tank would certainly have demised high up in the atmosphere,” Butt, a staff scientist at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, writes in an article for the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists.

Up to now, US officials had refused to release any of the pre-launch analyses regarding the fuel tank, claiming they contained sensitive information.

But Butt says that the newly released documents clearly contradict the official explanation for the shoot-down, which was seen at the time as provocative and risky. The Bush administration had protested loudly when China conducted its own anti-satellite weapons test by shooting down an aging weather satellite in January 2007. One major concern was the amount of space debris generated by the fragmented satellite.

Beyond the stated concern about the toxic fuel, US officials also were probably trying to prevent any fragments of the highly classified National Reconnaissance Agency imagery satellite from falling into the hands of US adversaries.

There were some additional inconsistencies surrounding government officials’ accounts of the operation. In the days before the launch, several US officials warned that bad weather could delay the mission.

But when US News interviewed the captain of the guided-missile cruiser that fired the sophisticated Aegis missile into space, he was puzzled by those reports. “I’m not sure where all of the heavy weather reports came. It was never really heavy weather,” Capt. R. M. Hendrickson said at the time.

Global Network Against Weapons & Nuclear Power in Space
PO Box 652, Brunswick, ME 04011, (207) 443-9502
http://space4peace.blogspot.com (Blog)

Haitian Activist Asks Brazil to Halt UN Killings

August 30th, 2008 - by admin

Alan Benjamin / Forum Haiti – 2008-08-30 21:14:57


Haitian Activist David Josue
Begins Brazil Tour to Demand
UN/Brazil Troops Out of Haiti

Alan Benjamin / Forum Haiti

SAN FRANCISCO, Aug. 18, 2008 — Haitian human rights activist David Josue initiated today a week-long tour to Brazil, where he will speak before mass rallies and official governmental bodies in four cities to demand the immediate withdrawal of UN troops, which are under Brazilian command, from Haiti.

Brother Josue issued an Open Letter to Brazilian President Inacio “Lula” da Silva earlier this year at the Second Continental Conference Against Free Trade, Privatizations and War in Mexico City. The Brazilian delegation to this conference subsequently distributed this Open Letter widely across Brazil, winning many supporters for this stance among federal deputies in the Brazilian National Assembly and among the leadership of the main trade union federation: the CUT.

UN troops in Brazil — known as the MINUSTAH forces (or UN Mission for the Stabilization of Haiti) — have occupied Haiti since 2004. Brazil is in command of these occupation forces and also has the largest contingent of troops in Haiti — 1,210 troops, according to the UN figures released for June 2008.

Brother Josue’s letter to Lula states, in part:

“Something untoward is going on with your soldiers in Haiti. Brazilian soldiers are conducting terrifying raids on residents of poor and defenseless communities throughout Haiti, leaving in their wake a trail of blood, tears, and death. The buck stops with you, President da Silva. You are their commander in chief. … This cannot possibly be the best that the Brazilian people have to offer. How can this happen when you are the President of Brazil? Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. reminded us that there comes a time when silence is betrayal. Will you and your Administration remain silent on these atrocities?”
[See full text of Brother Josue’s Open Letter below.]

Brother Josue will also mobilize support for the demand for the safe return of Haitian human activist Lovinsky Pierre Antoine, who disappeared in Haiti on August 12, 2007.

Brother Josue’s tour has been endorsed very broadly by trade unionists, federal and state deputies of Lula’s own party (the Workers Party), and by the country’s main Black and community organizations.

On Tuesday, August 19, Brother Josue will speak at a hearing of the Sao Paulo State Legislative Assembly, followed by a mass public rally that includes the following speakers: Federal PT Deputies Luis Couto and Fernando Ferro; Gegé, leader of the Union of Popular Movements; Milton Barbosa, a central leader of the Unified Black Movement; Gilberto Orlandi, representative of Revolution Youth; Markos Sokol, member of the National Directorate of the Workers Party for the O Trabalho Current; Renato Simoes, representative of the National Secretariat of the Popular Movements Coalition of the Workers Party; Rafael Pinto, representative of the National Secretariat of the Workers Party’s Struggle Against Racism Committee; and Claudinho, of the state committee of Struggle Against Racism.

On Wednesday, August 20, Brother Josue will speak at a Hearing at the Brazilian National Assembly’s Human Rights Commission in Brasilia, followed by a public rally and press conference. A press release by the Parliamentary Fraction of the Workers Party titled, “PT Leaders Wish To Debate Violation of Rights in Haiti” announces the hearing and rally with David Josue. The press release quotes PT Federal Deputy Luis Couto who, together with PT Federal Deputy Fernando Ferro, obtained the agreement of the Brazilian Human Rights Commission to host the Hearing.

The release goes on to refer to the letter sent from David Josue to President da Silva and then mentions that on April 30 this letter was presented by a PT leadership delegation to Lula’s Chief of Staff Gilberto Carvalho, who told the delegation that “Haiti is going through a very complicated situation, where the troops end up getting caught up in terrible situations.” Carvalho went on to state that “Josue’s letter could help the quest to establish other measures that could solve the problem.”

Brother Josue’s Open Letter, however, has still received no reply from Lula — which is one of the reasons for this week-long tour to Brazil: Lula must reply to this letter; he must commit to withdrawing Brazilian troops from Haiti!

On Thursday, August 21, Brother Josue will travel to Recife, in the northern state of Pernambuco, where he will address a meeting of the Pernambuco United Trade Union Confederation (CUT), followed by a labor-community rally and press conference.

On Friday, August 22, Brother Josue will be in Salvador, Bahia, the heart of the Black movement and struggle in Brazil. He will address various events sponsored by the unions and main Black organizations.

In a press statement issued on the eve of his departure for Sao Paulo, Brazil, Brother Josue noted the following:

“The occupation of Haiti, meaning the loss of Haitian sovereignty, is presented to the world as ‘humanitarian aid.’ But the Haitian government has no control over the Brazilian-led UN MINUSTAH troops. The UN troops are in charge of the Haitian police (PNH), prisons, courts and jails. This is dictatorship — not aid.

“Thousands of Haitians have been arbitrarily held in prisons without trial or hearings. The UN peacekeepers have, in their armored vehicles, created instability and enforced injustice. They mow down market women, shoot children, intimidate pedestrians, humiliate any lawful citizen they wish at will and on any whim with routine stop and searches, commit rapes and generally betray, violate and prey on the very population they were sent to protect. This cannot be called ‘humanitarian aid’ by any stretch.

“The Brazilian-led UN military presence has hurt, used unnecessary force and violence, abused and made Haiti more unsafe for the ordinary Haitian than ever before. This occupation must come to an end. I remain convinced that if the young citizens of Brazil who are living in the streets were subject to these atrocities, one would expect someone to speak up in their defense.”

Haitian Activist David Josue Concludes Successful 4-City Tour in Brazil to Demand Immediate Withdrawal of UN/Brazilian Troops from Haiti
Report by Alan Benjamin / Forum Haiti

• (Report compiled from correspondence/documents from Brother David Josue and from official tour report from Brazilian tour organizers; photos from the tour can be accessed online.)

On Saturday, August 24, Haitian human rights activist David Josue, a member of the Haitian Lawyers Leadership Network (HLLN), completed his one-week trip of Brazil. His tour, which was sponsored by leaders of the Workers Party (PT) and Central Workers Federation (CUT) of Brazil, was organized to promote the widest possible support for the call to withdraw all UN troops, which are under Brazilian command, from Haiti — so that the Haitian people can determine their own fate, without foreign intervention.

UN troops in Brazil — known as the MINUSTAH forces (or UN Mission for the Stabilization of Haiti) — have occupied Haiti since 2004. Brazil is in command of these occupation forces and also has the largest contingent of troops in Haiti — 1,210 troops, according to the UN figures released for June 2008.

On April 4, 2008, from the platform of the Second Continental Conference Against “Free Trade” and Privatizations at the hall of the Mexican Electrical Workers Union (SME) in Mexico City, Brother Josue had issued his Open Letter to Brazilian President Luis Inacio “Lula” da Silva.

In this letter, Brother Josue mentioned the heinous crimes by the UN-MINUSTAH occupation forces in Haiti and demanded that Lula take immediate action to put a halt to this situation, beginning with the withdrawal of Brazilian troops from Haiti. [See Appendix No. 1 for copy of Open Letter.]

On April 30, Gilberto de Carvalho, chief of staff of President Lula received a delegation in Brasilia led by PT Federal Deputy Fernando Ferro of Pernambuco and Markus Sokol, a member of the National Executive Committee of the Workers Party. The delegation delivered Brother Josue’s letter to Lula. Carvalho pledged that the delegation would receive a reply from Lula within one week.

But that reply never came. A campaign was then launched across Brazil in support of Brother Josue’s Open Letter and its main demand to withdraw Brazilian troops from Haiti. In a short period of time, 14,342 endorsers were gathered, about half from youth activists.

During his tour, Brother Josue also demanded that the Brazilian authorities press for an immediate investigation into the disappearance on August 12, 2007, of Haitian activist Lovinsky Pierre Antoine. For over one year now, an international campaign has been waged to demand the safe return of Brother Pierre Antoine.

The tour organizers have since issued a comprehensive day-by-day report on the tour. The following is an abridged and translated version of their report:

Monday, April 18:
Brother Josue’s tour was an overwhelming success.

It began with a meeting with the top leaders of the CUT trade union federation in Sao Paulo. Earlier, the CUT had adopted a resolution affirming that the “presence of Brazilian troops in Haiti does not create the conditions for rebuilding a country that has been destroyed,” reaffirming the need to safeguard the right of the Haitian people to self-determination, and calling on the Brazilian labor movement to discuss the proposal to withdraw Brazilian troops from Haiti.

Following this meeting, Brother Josue then spoke to journalists and elected officials, including PT Deputy Adriano Diago, at the Legislative Assembly in Sao Paulo. He also showed Haitian filmmaker Kevin Pina’s video “What’s Going On in Haiti,” which includes the images of the massacre by MINUSTAH troops of civilians in Cité Soleil, a shantytown in the capital city Port au Prince.

Brother Josue filed a report after his first day in Brazil that states, in part:

“A couple of hours after I arrived, I went straight to work with my host Markus Sokol and other members of the Workers Party. I brought with me the copies of the dvd that Brother Pierre Labossiere sent to me. I showed it ten minutes after my arrival. I was told by a member of the press that the Brazilian public has never been told of the atrocities committed by their soldiers in Haiti.

“They are all under the impression that Brazil is busy in Haiti building hospitals and caring for the population. Then I showed them Kevin Pina’s dvd. The dvd was very helpful, and it will be shown to a joint session of the Congress in Brasilia before my speech.

“I just finished a TV interview with the government television station. It went very well. There is a copy of Mrs. Lovinski’s letter in every press kit, and I will deliver one to the senators as well.

“I also met with the leadership of the CUT union federation. A resolution to ask for the withdrawal of the troops in Haiti was discussed. 600 delegates will sign the resolution, and I will sign as a delegate of Haitian Lawyers Leadership Network. I told the Brazilian press that we owe it to Kevin Pina who risked the ultimate price to bring us the true story of what occurred in Cite Soleil that day.”

Tuesday, August 19
The following day took Brother Josue to the capital city of Brasilia, where he met with Magali Naves, Secretary for the Promotion of Racial Equality in the Lula government. Mrs. Naves viewed the Pina video and pledged to work with Minister Edson Santos to put an end to this “Haitian drama.” [See Photo No. 4 in photo link site below.]

Brother Josue was then received by Senator Eduardo Suplicy in his congressional office. Senator Suplicy heard the message from Haiti, viewed the video and pledged to show the video to a session of the Senate the following day. Brother Josue also met with Valter Pomar, Director of International Relations of the Workers Party (PT).

The day ended with a public meeting for the Withdrawal of UN/Brazilian Troops from Haiti in the hall of the SINDSEP [public sector] trade union. Also addressing the gathering of 50 unionists and activists were Lucia Reis, of the executive committee of the CUT; Ismael César, representing the CUT in Brasilia; Oton Pereira, secretary-treasurer of SINDSEP; Edison Cardoni of the CONDSEF union, and Markus Sokol.

Wednesday, August 20
The day began with a meeting with Dr. Fermino Fechio, Coordinator of the National Human Rights Commission of Brazil, who received the 14,443 signatures in support of Brother Josue’s Open Letter to Lula.

Mr. Fechio pledged to study the full dossier presented by Brother Josue and said he would propose that the Haitian Lawyers Leadership Network participate in the December 2008 conference organized by the Brazilian Human Rights Commission. But he also stated, based on the grave accusations and images from the Kevin Pina’s video to address the Ministers of Foreign Affairs and National Defense to demand “clarifications.” [See photo nos 6 and 7. in linked photo gallery.]

Brother Josue then presented his remarks and video to the Commission of Foreign Affairs of the Brazilian Senate. The major Brazilian newspaper Folha de Sao Paulo reported as follows on this important session:

“‘The peace mission in Haiti, coordinated by Brazil, has witnessed the use of troops, tanks and helicopters to bombard the Cité Soleil neighborhood, where innocent children were killed,’ stated Senator Suplicy. … Senator Marina Silva echoed these remarks: ‘The images speak for themselves. The child who died at the hands of the UN troops is the child of every one of us. If no one has been brought to justice for these actions, it us up to us to push for an inquiry. Nothing can justify such atrocities.” (Folha Online, August 20)

In response to the testimony and video showing, the Senate Commission voted to communicate all this documentation to the Ministers of Foreign Relations and National Defense, and to summon Defense Minister Nelson Jobim to appear before the committee to respond to this evidence. The vote was reported widely around the world, and was reported even in Haiti by Radio Kiskeya.

The official Senate website and Senate Daily Journal reported on the meeting as follows:

“Yesterday Senator Eduardo Suplicy (PT-Sao Paulo) presented denunciations of human rights abuses committed by United Nations troops in Haiti under Brazilian command at a meeting of the Commission of Foreign Affairs and National Defense. The denunciations were made by David Josué, a Haitian residing in the United States, in the name of the Haitian Lawyers Leadership Network, and by Markus Sokol, a member of the National Executive Committee of the Workers Party (PT).

“Parliamentarians watched a video about events that occurred in 2007. According to David Josué, abuses continue to occur. In the video, troops with tanks and helicopters are bombing the slum quarter of Cité Soleil, in Port-au-Prince, leaving multiple residents dead, including children. ‘The authorities say that those killed were “outlaws or drug traffickers,’ Suplicy explained.

“The president of the commission, Heráclito Fortes (DEM-PI), considered the denunciations to be serious and reported that the Commission will set a meeting with the Minister of Defense, Nelson Jobim, to deal with the issue. Marina Silva (Workers Party-AC) said that the assassinated children represent “the children of all of us.” Parliamentarians will ask for clarification from the Ministries of Defense and Foreign Affairs.” [See photo No. 11, which is reprinted from the Senate Daily Journal. Also from Brasilia, see photo no. 5 and 10.]

Following the session in the Senate, Brother Josue spoke before the Commission on Human Rights of the House of Representatives, at a session also attended by elected officials, human rights organizations and Deputy Attorney General of Brazil Gilda Pereira de Carvalho.

Federal Deputy Luis Couto was so moved by the information on the real situation in Haiti that he announced he would propose that the Commission summon President Lula to appear before the committee to answer for these atrocities committed in the name of the people of Brazil.

At the same time, the Deputy Attorney General announced that she would initiate a lawsuit based on the Statute on Children and Adolescents, given the evidence of sexual trafficking and rapes committed by MINUSTAH troops in Haiti, under Brazilian command.

Later in the afternoon, the delegation returned to Sao Paulo, where Brother Josue spoke before a gathering of more than 200 people in the Franco Montoro auditorium of the Sao Paulo State Legislative Assembly. The event began with the presentation of the Kevin Pina video denouncing the criminal actions of the UN troops in Cité Soleil, in 2006 and 2007.

The event was sponsored by Federal Deputies Jose Candido and Adriano Diogo (Workers Party – Sao Paulo). The main speaker was David Josué, of the Haitian Lawyers Leadership Network, whose full presentation to the gathering is included as Appendix No. 2 below.

Other speakers included Federal PT Deputies Jose Candido and Adriano Diago; Gegé, leader of the Union of Popular Movements; Milton Barbosa, a central leader of the Unified Black Movement; Marcelo Buzzeto of the Landless Peasants Movement )MST); Gilberto Malukinho, representative of Revolution Youth; Renato Simoes, representative of the National Secretariat of the Popular Movements Coalition of the Workers Party; Rafael Pinto, representative of the National Secretariat of the Workers Party’s Struggle Against Racism Committee; and Claudinho, of the state committee of Struggle Against Racism, as well as Haitian activists Roosevelt Jean Felix, Kathia Ridore and Jean Milus Rocheman.

The closing speech was delivered by Markus Sokol, who reported on all the meetings held earlier that day in Brasilia and who concluded his remarks with the call to continue and deepen the campaign across Brazil to demand the withdrawal of all MINUSTAH troops from Brazil as well as the punishment of all those responsible for the criminal actions perpetrated against the civilian population.

Sokol also announced that the Third Caribbean Conference Against “Free Trade” and Privatizations, and in Defense of National Sovereignty would be held on December 12-13 in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, with the theme “By Defending Haiti, We Defend Ourselves!” [See photos nos. 2,3, 12 and 13 in linked photo gallery.]

Thursday, August 21
A meeting of 50 trade unionists of the CUT-Pernambuco union federation was held in the state’s capital city of Recife in northern Brazil to hear the presentation of Brother Josue. Leading trade unionists and community activists participated in the discussion. Jacqueline Albuquerque was one of the speakers.

She had met Brother Josue at the Second Continental Conference in Mexico City, where she was a delegate from Fenajufe workers’ union. Marta, a leader of the National Black Unified Movement, also spoke and joined the call for the immediate withdrawal of Brazilian/UN troops from Haiti. [See photo no. 1 in linked photo gallery.]

Friday, August 22
The final day of the tour took Brother Josue to Salvador, the capital of the state of Bahia. More than 70 people participated in this event, which was hosted by members of the City Council, trade union and community leaders, and by Juventude Revoluçao (Revolution Youth).

Among the many passionate speakers was Carmen Sacramento, a founding leader of the Workers Party, who underscored the fact that “what is occurring at the hands of the MINUSTAH troops in Haiti is occurring every day in the favelas of Brazil’s cities against poor Blacks and youth.” [See photos 8 and 9 in linked photo gallery]

Appendix No. 1
Presentation by David Josue to Second Continental Conference Against Free Trade, Privatizations and War (Mexico City — April 5, 2008)

Dear Sisters and Brothers:

I want to thank the organizers of this important Segundo Encuentro for providing me an opportunity to address this body and to put the issue of Brazilian conduct in Haiti on the table for discussion.

My comments are directed at President da Silva, and I ask the delegates here from Brazil to please relay my concerns to the government in Brasilia.

President Lula da Silva:

Something untoward is going on with your soldiers in Haiti. Brazilian soldiers are conducting terrifying raids on residents of poor and defenseless communities throughout Haiti, leaving in their wake a trail of blood, tears, and death.

The buck stops with you, President da Silva. You are their commander in chief.

What your soldiers are doing to the innocent people of Haiti is worse than what the armed forces of Haiti were accused of doing.

No one will attempt to mitigate the utmost importance of living in a state of law. No one objects to getting a proper warrant before the proper court seeks an arrest of the accused and brings him or her to justice. But a collective warrant that declares an entire community criminal is, in itself, criminal.

President Lula da Silva, what would you say to Fredi Romelus for the terrible loss of his one-year-old son, Nelson Romelus. What was his crime?

Why was he executed by your soldiers? His four-year-old brother Stanley, who died of a high-powered gunshot wound to the head, what was his crime?

Their mother, Sonia Romelus, who died still clutching her baby, Nelson, what was her crime?

Lelene Mertina, 24 years old, was six months pregnant when a bullet ripped through her abdomen, instantly killing her unborn fetus. What was she guilty of to deserve this?

President Lula da Silva, according to a U.N. after-action report, your soldiers spent seven hours shooting at an unarmed population. They expended over 22,000 rounds of ammunition, knowing they were striking unintended targets. This cannot possibly be the best that the Brazilian people have to offer. How can this happen when you are the President of Brazil?

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. reminded us that there comes a time when silence is betrayal. Will you and your Administration remain silent on these atrocities?

Appendix No. 2
Presentation by David Josue to
Public Rally in Sao Paulo on August 20

Honorable President of the Senate,

Distinguished Members of the Brazilian Congress, and citizens of the Federative Republic of Brazil; I am grateful, humbled and honored to speak before you on behalf of those in Haiti who are no longer alive to speak and all Haitians and friends of Haiti who desire a non military and peaceful solution to the situation in Haiti.

We all would like to turn the page and start anew with a New Haiti; a New Haiti where all Haitians everywhere, and people of Haitian descent everywhere can constitutionally participate in the Renaissance of Haiti.

It is time to silence the guns. It is time for lasting peace. For Haiti’s sake, it is time for a Truce in Haiti an end to the fratricidal strife. It is time for the current military presence in Haiti to end. Maintaining law and order in an urban area is a police matter, not one for military troops.

Haiti needs the assistance of police forces, financial aid, humanitarian workers and the assistance of Haitians from all over to participate in Haiti’s development. It is time for Haitians to pro-actively prepare to assume the responsibility that awaits them after the departure of MINUSTAH. Today, MINUSTAH represents Stabilization in principle but occupation in practice.

It is time for the soldiers to know when they will return home to their beloved Brazil, and the others, to their respective homelands. Too often, the deployment of Brazilian soldiers and other foreign speaking soldiers in the already impoverished neighborhoods of Haiti, for the arrest of one or two lawbreakers results in the unfortunate death of children, women and unarmed bystanders.

What Brazilian led UN soldiers have done to the innocent people of Haiti is worse than what the Armed Forces of Haiti were accused of doing. Imagine the already frightened and traumatized Creole speaking unarmed civilians trying to react to soldiers shouting orders in Portuguese, Arabic, Sinhalese, Tamil, or Spanish.

It has been four years now since families in Haiti are living in fear of foreign troops and also are being forced to pay large sums for the return of their kidnapped loved ones by the emergence of kidnappers, only to find their lifeless and mutilated bodies. Eyewitnesses and survivors reported that during a soccer match organized for peace in Martissant, many were methodically executed in the stadium while the troops stood by like in Rwanda and did nothing. What will it take to investigate what went wrong that day?

All that went to the tune of $535,372,800.00 a year, $44,614,400.00 a month, $1,593,371. a day, yes, that is $66,390 an hour to keep soldiers in Haiti; and it’s has been going on for four years. Yet, insecurity, hunger, political stratification have the upper hand and the deaths of innocent civilians are numerous.

Given the flimsy constructions in Cite Soleil and the powerful arms with projectiles that can penetrate the tin, wood and concrete shacks, how many targets were the troops expected to hit when they expended 22,000 rounds of ammunition in a populous civilian neighborhood?

That was scandalous, and excessive in light of the clear overall military advantage of the troops and the loss and damage to the civilian population that could have been avoided. On July 3, 2008, the world learned that 15 hostages were rescued from the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Columbia and not one shot was fired. General Freddy Padilla said” we wanted to have it happen as it did today, without a single shot, without anyone wounded, absolutely safe, sound and without a scratch. In contrast, the Brazilian led UN troops, entered Cite Soleil to arrest one man, who they claimed held the population hostage by intimidation and other allegations. 1

0,000 shots were fired from heavy automatic weapons and 30mm cannon in that populous seaside slum. The suspect they were looking for was not found. Yet, they left behind a trail of disaster and a terrible precedent. How can it be asked of us to put our trust in these soldiers when the world learned from Save the Children that UN soldiers are involved in rape, sexual trafficking and exploitation of women and children as young as 6 years old in Haiti and Sudan?

All the babies, children, unarmed men and women who met their untimely death from the Brazilian led mission will be remembered. They cannot be dismissed simply as Collateral Civilian Damages; Haiti is not at war.

But I would like Brazil to be remembered as the one that made peacemaking possible in Haiti without a military solution.

The stance of the soldiers does not instill faith in the civilian population that it is a peace Mission, but instill in the population the belief that the Mission has turned against unarmed civilians they swore to protect. Stabilization in name, but occupation in practice is a problem.

The Haitian solution is not a military one. I am not going to take an unreliably nationalist stance; we will need the assistance of our friends in various projects. We will need tractors for agriculture but we will not need tanks and other weapons of war.

We need to experience the implementation of people centered policies that will remake the Plaine du Sud and the valley of Artibonite the bread baskets of Haiti once again. According to an Associated Press article published in the Miami Herald on July 20,2008, that quoted a U.S Agency of International Development report “_of the outpouring of international pledges that included more than 40,000 tons of food intended to quell the emergency, as of early July of 2008, less than 2 percent of that had been distributed”.

President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva said that he did not want a repeat of the Rwanda killings and chaos in Haiti after the departure of MINUSTAH. These words are proof that he is a man of compassion and compassion is not only a virtue, it is a duty. History will thank his Excellency for leaving a legacy of moral courage for ordering the orderly withdrawal of the troops in Haiti and avoid the lost of lives he mentioned. Distinguished members of the Brazilian Congress, your country has accepted the role of Lead Nation in Haiti, and you must have reason for having done so.

I therefore ask you to please listen to your voters and support an Agenda for Peace and Reconciliation and end the military operations in Haiti. I ask the Churches not to remain silent in light of our trouble and the pulpits not to remain inept. Please end the occupation in memory of the innocent children who died and the orphans that are struggling to survive against all odds.

When Brazilian families talk about Haiti, it should be about vacations or business opportunities, but not where their loved ones lost their lives. When Haitian families think of Brazil, it should be about emulating the success story of this republic, but not of Brazilian soldiers who fired the weapons of war that killed their loved ones. No life should be written off. Not the life of any Brazilian soldiers and not the life of any citizens of Haiti.

We the peoples of Latin, South, Central America and the Caribbean Islands, must live in peace. Hunger, sickness, and death have been our burden for a long time, but nothing hurts more than the total indifference of others.

The new leaders will boast of the lives saved but not of the lives taken to earn their ranks. To all among you who support an immediate withdrawal of the troops in Haiti, I thank you in behalf of those who lives weren’t spared in Haiti. The Haitian people have many friends inside Brazil and around the world; we will always remember your generosity of heart. The Progressive communities around the world will remain vigilant in their support for a peaceful Haiti.

My warmest gratitude to the Workers Party of Brazil, Juventud Revolucao, L’Union General des Travailleurs de Guadeloupe, Association des Travailleurs et Peuples de la Caraibe, Travaye e Peyizan, Movimento Negro Unificado, elected officials of the Federative Republic of Brazil, students all over Brazil, to you and all others I say thank you for standing up for peace in Haiti.

My brothers and sisters in Haiti are starving for peace, order and union, and Haitians have not lost their resilience and determination to succeed. Our leverage is within us and we will draw strength from our past achievements and with the help of our friends, peacefully forge a way of this impasse.

Obrigado por convidar-me e viva a amizade brasileira-haitiano.

Military Analyst Warns of Coming ‘Climate Wars’ Unless Global Warming is Reversed

August 30th, 2008 - by admin

The World Today / ABC News Australia – 2008-08-30 20:56:42


* Audio: Military analyst predicts ‘climate wars’ (The World Today)

(August 25, 2008) — The prospect of global wars driven by climate change is not something often discussed publicly by our political leaders.

But according to one of America’s top military analysts, governments in the US and UK are already being briefed by their own military strategists about how to prepare for a world of mass famine, floods of refugees and even nuclear conflicts over resources.

Gwynne Dyer is a military analyst and author who served in three navies and has held academic posts at the Royal Military College at Sandhurst and at Oxford.

Speaking about his latest book, Climate Wars, he says there is a sense of suppressed panic from the scientists and military leaders. “Mostly it’s about winners and losers, at least in the early phases of climate change,” he said.

“If you’re talking about 1 degree, 2 degrees hotter — not runaway stuff — but what we’re almost certainly committed to over the next 30 or 40 years, there will be countries that get away relatively cost free in that scenario, particularly countries in the higher latitudes.”

But he says that closer to the equator in the relatively arid zone – where Australia is situated – there will be very serious droughts.

“[There will be] huge falls in the amount of crops that you can grow because there isn’t the rain and it’s too hot,” he said. “That will apply particularly to the Mediterranean… and so not just the north African countries, but also the ones on the northern side of the Mediterranean. “The ones in the European Union like Spain and Italy and Greece and the Balkans and Turkey are going to be suffering huge losses in their ability to support their populations.

Climate Refugees
He says a fall in crops and food production means there will be refugees, people who are desperate. “It may mean the collapse in the global trade of food because while some countries still have enough, there is still a global food shortage,” he said. “If you can’t buy food internationally and you can’t raise enough at home, what do you do? You move. So refugee pressures — huge ones — are one of the things that drives these security considerations.”

In Climate Wars, even the most hopeful scenarios about the impact of climate change have hundreds of millions of people dying of starvation, mass displacement of people and conflict between countries competing for basic resources like water. “India and Pakistan are both nuclear-armed countries.

All of the agriculture in Pakistan and all of the agriculture in northern India depend on glacier-fed rivers that come off the Himalayas from the Tibetan plateau. Those glaciers are melting,” Dr Dyer said. “They’re melting according to Chinese scientists to 7 per cent a year, which means they’re half gone in 10 years. “India has a problem with this. Pakistan faces an absolutely lethal emergency because Pakistan is basically a desert with a braid of rivers running through it.

“Those rivers all start with one exception in Indian-controlled territory and there’s a complex series of deals between the two countries about who gets to take so much water out of the river. Those deals break down when there’s not that much water in the rivers.” And then you have got the prospect of a nuclear confrontation, Dr Dyer says.

“It’s unthinkable but yet it’s entirely possible. So these are the prices you start to pay if you get this wrong,” he said. “Some of them, actually, I’m afraid we’ve already got them wrong in the sense that there is going to be some major climate change.”

Dr Dyer explains the least alarmist scenario for the next couple of decades still involves enormous pressures on the US border. “That border’s going to be militarised. I think there’s almost no question about it because the alternative is an inundation of the United States by what will be, effectively, climate refugees,” he said.

“They [US] are concerned actually about losing a lot of land and a lot of crop production within the United States itself. “A lot of Florida’s basically about six inches above sea level – and the Mississippi River Delta, well we’ve already seen what one hurricane did there — plus of course many interventions overseas by the American armed forces as much bigger emergencies occur in much bigger parts of the world.”

Worst-case Scenario
But the real insight into the US study is that the more severe climate change scenario is the one that analysts think is the more likely one.

“And it’s not just the analysts. I spent the past year doing a very high-speed self-education job on climate change but I think I probably talked to most of the senior people in the field in a dozen countries,” Dr Dyer said. “They’re scared, they’re really frightened. Things are moving far faster than their models predicted. “You may have the Arctic ocean free of ice entirely in five years’ time, in the late summer. Nobody thought that would happen until about the 2040s — even a couple of years ago.” Dr Dyer says there is a sense of things moving much faster, and the military are picking up on that. He also says we will be playing climate change catch-up in the next 30 years.

“The threshold you don’t want to cross, ever, is 2 degrees Celsius hotter than it was at the beginning of the 1990s,” he said. “That is a margin we have effectively already used up more than half of. It would require pretty miraculous cooperation globally and huge cuts in emissions.”

And if the world does not decarbonise by 2050, you don’t want to be there, according to Dr Dyer. “My kids will and I don’t think that is going to be a pleasant prospect at all, because once you go past 2 degrees — and you could get past 2 degrees by the 2040s without too much effort — things start getting out of control,” he said. “The ocean starts giving back to the atmosphere the carbon dioxide it absorbed. That world is a world where crop failures are normal.

“Where, for example, Australia does not export food any more, it is hanging on to what it can still grow to feed its own people but that is about all that it is going to be able to do, and many countries can’t even do that.”

He says China will take an enormous blow. “There is a study out from the Chinese Academy of Scientists and then swiftly disappeared again, but about two years ago, we predicted the maximum damage that would be done to China under foreseeable climate change in the 21st century was 38 per cent cut in food production,” he said.

“That is only about three-fifths of the food they now eat and there will be a lot more of them. “I think we will end up having to do things that at the moment nobody would consider doing like geo-engineering, ways of keeping the temperature down while we get our emissions down.”

Adapted from an interview first aired on The World Today, August 25.

Press Conference Exposes Police Misconduct and Challenges Media Distortions

August 30th, 2008 - by admin

DNC/RNC Word Press.com – 2008-08-30 00:43:52

Press Conference Exposes Police Misconduct – Puts Denver Mayor and Police on Notice

Multi-million Dollar Lawsuit to be Filed for Violations of Civil lLberties: Puts Mayor and Police Chief on Notice

DENVER (August 26, 2008) — Representatives from the Recreate 68 Alliance, the Troops Out Now Coalition, and Code Pink organized a press conference today at 3:15 in front of the Denver Police Headquarters to denounce police violence and to answer distorted accounts by the media.

Glenn Spagnuolo, one of the co-founders of the Recreate 68 Alliance gave an account of Police attacks which occurred on Monday night and early Tuesday.

On Monday, at approximately 6:00, Denver police began marching through the Civic Center Park in military formation, pushing and harassing people gathered there. They also massed contingents of heavily armed police wearing riot gear at points encircling the city.

At about 7:00, they began pushing and hitting a group of mostly young people. They responded by beginning to chant “No Justice, No Peace!” The police charged the group, hitting several of them with pepper spray.

Attempting to get away from the club-swinging police, the group moved onto Cleveland Street, joined by many others from the park.

The Police then blocked both ends of the block, entrapping the group as well as many bystanders. They began hitting people with their nightsticks and spraying pepper spray and pepper balls. It took more than an hour of negotiations for Recreate 68 organizers to secure the release of most of the people trapped on the block. At least 85 were arrested, with some estimates saying as many as 100.

Spagnuolo also described an incident on Tuesday morning, when right-wing hatemonger Fred Phelps entered the Civic Center Park, screaming homophobic hate speech. One of the Recreate 68 organizers, Carlo Garcia, told him to leave.

The Denver Police responded by arresting Garcia, who has two brothers in Iraq. When Code Pink organizer Alicia Forrest questioned Garcia’s arrest, she was struck by police and arrested as well.

Spagnuolo put the Mayor, Police Chief, and Denver Police Department on notice that their acts of violence and acts of violence would be the subject of a lawsuit and that he and other organizers are meeting with attorneys to move forward with legal action. He noted several major protest-related lawsuits, such as those in New York and Washington, which have cost local governments millions of dollars.

Larry Hales, a leader of the Recreate 68 Alliance and of the youth group FIST (Fight Imperialism Stand Together), noted that any violence that has occurred during the protests has been initiated by the Denver Police. He said, “It’s amazing that this would happen during the DNC, with its platform of hope and change.” Hales reminded Denver and the Denver Police that “the whole world is watching. Is this the face you want to put on?”

Hales also stated since Recreate 68 has a permit to hold its activity in the Civic Center Park, that the police had no business there. He said that one of the demands of Recreate 68 is that all police be removed from the park.

Brian Vicente, of the Peoples Law Project, noted that the mass defense unit had received hundreds of calls reporting police misconduct. He noted that the police had engaged in arbitrary arrests the night before and had denied arrestees access to attorneys while at the Detention Center set up by Denver Police.

Ben Kaufman described the arrest of Carlo Garcia, who was assaulted and arrested by police. Kaufman noted the presence of highly-armed police, saying that “they are trying to play soldier, but Carlo has two brothers in Iraq who are real soldiers.”

Sally Newman of Code Pink described the arrest of Alicia Forrest, who was beaten and taken into custody for inquiring why Carlo Garcia was being arrested.

Mark Cohen, a co-founder of Recreate 68, questioned the role of the Democratic Party in suppressing civil liberties and attempting to silence protest.

Organizers noted that, even at the press conference, the city assembled a squad of riot police, some armed with automatic weapons.

Denver Police Attack US Vets; Arrest ABC News Producer

August 30th, 2008 - by admin

Above Top Secret & Brian Ross / ABC News – 2008-08-30 00:38:07


US. Marines/Iraq War Veterans
Cornered & Threatened
By Gestapo Storm Troopers at DNC

DNC- Iraq War Veterans March & Speak Truth About the War as Cops at the Democratic National Convention surround and threaten to gas and shoot them.

Why won’t Barrack Obama, the supposed ‘anti-war’ presidential candidate, talk to these people? Does he live in Israel’s pocket?

Ron Kovic (a paralyzed Vietnam vet and author of Born on the Fourth of July) is there in his wheelchair still speaking loud and strong.


Repression in Denver Highlights
Assault on Democratic Rights in US

The squashing of basic democratic rights at the Democratic National Convention (DNC) in Denver has been extensive. It has included:

* The formation of a new quasi-legal and multi-level police apparatus under the control of the executive branch of the federal government, made possible by the DNC’s status as a “National Security Event,” a designation established in 1997 by “executive order,” i.e., presidential fiat, by Bill Clinton.

* The militarization of a major US city. The size of the police force has been doubled by the recruitment of law enforcement personnel from the surrounding areas. Police in riot gear armed with machine guns, police dogs, watchtowers, helicopters, and armored personnel carriers are ubiquitous sights in Denver.

* The creation of a prison camp (dubbed “Gitmo on the Platte” by protesters, referring to the Platte River in Denver) designed to imprison thousands.

* The implementation of a separate assembly-line court system (“DNC courts”) designed to furtively and rapidly process thousands of prisoners.

* The building of a special “free speech zone” in a parking lot near the convention to limit all demonstrations. The zone resembles nothing so much as a prison camp. It is a small area surrounded by a steel security fence mounted on concrete barriers, all topped by razor wire.

* Police provocation, harassment, and intimidation of protesters.

* The suppression of freedom of speech and freedom of assembly through police barricades and arbitrary demands for dispersal from public sidewalks.

* Police violence against peaceful protesters. This has included the use of pepper spray and truncheons.

* The mass arrest of nearly 100 protesters, most of whom were charged with the catch-all “failure to obey a lawful order.”

* An attempt to process prisoners without providing the option for legal defense.

* Arbitrary and warrantless search and seizure of property.

* Police toleration of right-wing intimidation of protesters.

* Police harassment and arrest of the media.

If events such as these were unfolding in a foreign country targeted by the US, for example Russia or Venezuela, one can be sure that the media and politicians would be apoplectic in their denunciations of the suppression of political opposition. But this repression is instead taking place in an important US city under the auspices of one of the two parties of America’s ruling elite.

The national media has deliberately suppressed any coverage of the police state atmosphere in Denver going along whole-heartedly with the pretense that the convention—a stage-managed affair largely paid for by corporate America and protected by the police and armed forces from the people—is a expression of America’s democratic process at work. No significant representative of the Democratic Party—which purports to defend democratic rights—has denounced the political repression.

What is taking place in Denver should serve as a blunt warning to the working class. The vast numbers of police and military personnel is way out of proportion for the small number of peaceful demonstrations. The only explanation for this mobilization is that it is a dry run for measures to come.

It is a military exercise in the repression of the civilian population through a new combination of federal, state and municipal police and military agencies and bureaucracies. Indeed, though the Denver Police appear to be responsible for most of the heavy-handed actions, they are in fact operating under the Secret Service and at the behest of the Department of Homeland Security.

The consensus policies of the ruling elite—imperialist war abroad and class war at home—are thoroughly unpopular and will eventually drive millions into active defiance. The police methods being practiced in Denver will be the ready response to the coming mass struggles of the working class.

See Also:
Police continue repressive tactics in Denver
[28 August 2008]
Democratic convention meets with Obama campaign in crisis
[27 August 2008]
Police repress protesters at Democratic National Convention
[27 August 2008]
Democrats convene in Denver amid police state security and a sea of corporate cash
[26 August 2008]

ABC Reporter Arrested in Denver
Taking Pictures of Senators, Big Donors

Asa Eslocker Was Investigating the
Role of Lobbyists and Top Donors
At the Convention

Brian Ross / ABC News

• (Click here to watch video of the arrest.)

DENVER (Aug. 27, 2008) — Police in Denver arrested an ABC News producer today as he and a camera crew were attempting to take pictures on a public sidewalk of Democratic senators and VIP donors leaving a private meeting at the Brown Palace Hotel.

Police on the scene refused to tell ABC lawyers the charges against the producer, Asa Eslocker, who works with the ABC News investigative unit.

A cigar-smoking Denver police sergeant, accompanied by a team of five other officers, first put his hands on Eslocker’s neck, then twisted the producer’s arm behind him to put on handcuffs.

A police official later told lawyers for ABC News that Eslocker is being charged with trespass, interference, and failure to follow a lawful order. He also said the arrest followed a signed complaint from the Brown Palace Hotel.

Eslocker was put in handcuffs and loaded in the back of a police van which headed for a nearby police station.

Video taken at the scene shows a man, wearing the uniform of a Boulder County sheriff, ordering Eslocker off the sidewalk in front of the hotel, to the side of the entrance. The sheriff’s officer is seen telling Eslocker the sidewalk is owned by the hotel. Later, he is seen pushing Eslocker off the sidewalk into oncoming traffic, forcing him to the other side of the street.

It was two hours later when Denver police arrived to place Eslocker under arrest, apparently based on a complaint from the Brown Palace Hotel, a central location for Democratic officials. During the arrest, one of the officers can be heard saying to Eslocker, “You’re lucky I didn’t knock the f..k out of you.”

Eslocker was released late today after posting $500 bond.

Eslocker and his ABC News colleagues are spending the week investigating the role of corporate lobbyists and wealthy donors at the convention for a series of Money Trail reports on ABC’s “World News with Charles Gibson.”

• Pictures of greed and luxury

• Click Here for the Investigative Homepage.

• Complete Coverage: On The Money Trail at the DNC

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