Obama Signs The “Blue Alert System” into Law

  

While killing of unarmed people of color in the hands of the police continues without an end, averaging about two a day, President Obama on Tuesday signed the “Blue Alert” system, similar to the Amber Alert, to create a nationwide alert system to help capture “anyone who harms a police officer or makes a credible threat to do so”. “It’s important for us to make sure that we do everything we can to help ensure the safety of our police officers when they’re in the line of duty,” Obama said before signing the bill in the Oval Office. Amber Alert has been used to locate abducted children. 

Do you know who else President Obama signed a law to protect? Monsanto. He signed H.R. 933, the Monsanto Protection Act, into law, in 2013, over the urgent pleas of more than 250,000 Americans who signed a petition asking him not to sign it.

While he was signing the “Blue Alert” system to “protect” the police, news broke that a pipeline operated by Plains Pipeline, which is part of Plains All American Pipeline corporation, ruptured and spilled up to 105,000 gallons of crude oil in Santa Barbara County and tens of thousands of gallons into the ocean. As reported by Los Angeles Times, the Texas based company, which owns and operates nearly 18,000 miles of pipe networks in several states and reported $43 billion in revenue in 2014 and $878 million in profit, “has accumulated 175 safety and maintenance infractions since 2006, according to federal records”.

Also, as President Obama was getting ready to sign a bill “to protect” police officers, it was reported that the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) found the chemical company DuPont, which has a $60 billion revenue, responsible for failing to maintain the safety of its workers, which it said led to the death of four workers in November. For that, DuPont was fined $99,000! No, that’s not a mistype. The $60 billion company that caused the death of four workers was fined $99,000. 

President Obama, who signs legislation to “ensure the safety” of police officers and Monsanto, doesn’t see a need to protect the lives of workers who are in danger everyday or the environment that gets assaulted and damaged permanently through company greed and criminal negligence. And while no company executive will ever go to jail for causing the death of those workers and while Obama’s Justice Department refused to charge bankers who defrauded borrowers in hundreds of billions of dollars, Chelsea Manning received 35 years in prison for revealing US atrocities in Iraq and Afghanistan to the world and 85 year old Sister Megan Rice, 66-year-old Michael Walli, and 59-year-old Greg Boertje-Obed, have been in jail for 3 years for cutting through fences to reach the area of the Y-12 complex where much of the nation’s bomb-grade uranium is stored and hanging anti nuclear weapons banners and spray-painting anti nukes slogans!

Now, not only you will get jail time for revealing government atrocities and protesting against nuclear weapons, but also for “threatening to harm police officers” since of all the different sectors of the population including African American men, workers, the homeless and battered women and national treasures like beaches, oceans and underground waters that are being subjected to pollution, it’s the police officers that need a law to “ensure their safety”!

U.S. Presidents and Their Wars

  

With the candidacy of Jeb Bush for president, a new discussion of the decision to invade Iraq in 2003 has surfaced in U.S. media, a discussion that was conspicuously missing prior and during the invasion when all you could see and read in corporate media was enthusiastic support for the war. The belated discussion began when Jeb was asked if, “knowing what we know now”, he would have invaded Iraq, which he skillfully avoided the question that was asked and answered a question that wasn’t asked. He said “I would have, given the intelligence we all got at the time”, which obviously wasn’t what was asked. The reason this has become a difficult issue for candidates like Jeb Bush and Hillary is that most people have turned against that devastating and criminal war that destroyed the country. But the point I want to make isn’t how Jeb Bush or other politicians lie to the public. That’s rather obvious and all candidates of both parties do it. My hope in this piece is rather to put the issue of Iraq war in a more real and honest context than is being portrayed now in the media.

When Bush ordered the invasion, the pretext was to find and destroy Iraq’s nuclear weapons that Saddam Hussein was supposedly hiding. The reason that became an issue and the pretext for the invasion, which the “intelligence community” could have easily ruled out if it were independent of the political establishment, is that for years, US was adamantly pushing for inspections of Iraq’s military sites, not to make sure Iraq didn’t have a nuclear program – they already knew that it didn’t – but to learn of the location and amount of all their conventional weapons caches and sites in preparation for war. Pushing for the inspections thus had two purposes for the U.S.: to gain intelligence useful for the long planned invasion that was to come and to show to the world and especially their population that the purpose of the invasion was to eliminate Iraq’s nuclear weapons. When no “weapons of mass destruction” was found, “false intelligence” became the culprit and provided the out. 

Should “false intelligence” also fail, such “mistakes” can always be blamed on the president’s misjudgment (or Vice President’s), who happened to occupy the White House at the time. And that’s exactly what liberals and even some conservatives have been doing: blaming Bush and especially Cheney for the invasion. But the fact is: Presidents come and go. What stays is the military industrial complex with its multigenerational plans that get implemented by the political leadership with incredible continuity from one president to the next. The continuity has been especially unmistakable since WWII and even more consistent since Ronald Reagan’s presidency. The ruling class has various ways to ensure that continuity, from ensuring that only those who are on board with their overall and long term views and objectives get elected to providing to the administration the military, intelligence and “national security” advisors and think tanks and unleashing their army of high power lobbyists who brief and advise the president on a regular basis. They also have the Congress and the courts to make sure the Administration doesn’t deviate from their worldview and long term objectives. So, the idea that the president decided to invade Iraq by “mistake” and should therefore bear all the responsibility for it is naive and intended to mislead the public and move the focus away from the collective of corporations that really control the policies and politics.

The narrative that the Administration and especially Dick Cheney wanted the war and did everything to get it, including creating the false pretext and lying to the public and media is actually partly true: the Administration did tell lies to sell the war, but it didn’t make the decision. That decision and plans for the invasion had been made long ago. Moreover, Bush and Cheney did as they were supposed to and as would any other Administration at the time and in their shoes. It’s just that the timing coincided with the Bush presidency and the job of selling it fell on the shoulders of Bush and Cheney. This is not to say that Bush and Cheney weren’t personally for the war – most U.S. politicians, from both parties are and Cheney himself wouldn’t have missed it for the world – but such a decision with significant consequences for imperialism and the corporations it serves isn’t left to a president and his cabinet to make. Such decisions are often made before the president who ends up issuing the order becomes a candidate for president and sometimes before he’s even old enough to run for president.

This brings us to the war against Libya and the overthrow of Qaddafi. It mattered little that it was Obama and not Bush who was in office at the time. The opportunity came up for the regime change and the political/military leadership decided it was in line with the overall and long term plans and interests of the Empire to attack and the president issued the order to go ahead. They contemplated the same about Syria, but decided to hold off for now and let others – ISIS and other terror groups supported by Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Israel, Qatar, Jordan, Britain and the U.S., among others – do it, which ended up devastating the country, as it happened in Iraq and Libya, making all three nations ungovernable. Obama benefitted politically from his earlier position of not being for the war in Iraq when running for president, but when in office, continued both wars started by Bush and signed off on new ones of his own. And that was someone who unlike Bush and Cheney was originally against the Iraq war.

Still, many of the more skeptical liberals who don’t buy the argument that Bush and company had the best of intentions and wanted to take democracy to the people of Iraq and who are convinced instead that the invasion was for more sinister reasons such as for controlling Iraq’s oil, for removing an uncooperative dictator from a vital region, or for strengthening Israel by removing one of its nemeses, believe it was a mistake since, in their view, the invasion ended up harming US interests in the region, by strengthening Iran, for example. That also is false. Such big interventions as the Iraq war hardly ever end up exactly as they were envisioned or anticipated by the undertakers. There are almost always unforeseen consequences to such interventions some of which may be negative for them. But, overall, the Iraq war didn’t end up hurting US (or rather imperialism’s) interests. The U.S. built the largest embassy in Bagdad for a reason. They stationed military personnel, including military advisors and trainers and private contractors in the country and despite removing most of the troops, they can go back in anytime. They took away control of their oil and gave it to their corporations and ensured its cheap and uninhibited flow which is vital to their economy and military. They created a base in Kurdistan of Iraq, separating it from the central government and directed it to sell oil to Israel. They sold tens of billions of dollars of weapons to the installed Iraqi government. They removed a regime that unlike Saudi Arabia and Kuwait wasn’t controlled by the U.S. in its oil production, which gave it the ability and potential to join other OPEC members and cause volatility in oil prices and the U.S. dollar. And they devastated and weakened an Arab country, making it unable to enter any alliance against Israel or to challenge US interests in the region. Despite the existence of ISIS and Al Qaeda forces and despite Iran’s increased political influence in Iraq, the U.S. isn’t weaker in the region, but is stronger. They now control Iraq, its military and its oil to much larger degree than they ever did or could before, and their presence and readiness to send in the troops again anytime is testament to that.

The U.S. plan for Iran is also similar. They know Iran can’t afford to ever use nuclear weapons and won’t be a threat to anyone, especially to Israel, which has hundreds of nuclear weapons. US intelligence has also concluded that Iran has not decided to develop the nukes and is already being watched 24/7 and monitored by intrusive inspections. Nukes are just an excuse for sanctions which give them intelligence about the country’s military sites and the final pretext to attack. The purpose again is to weaken the country, as they’ve already done to a few other Middle Eastern and Asian nations. 

The point is: such attacks and interventions are long term and it won’t matter if the president is Hillary or Jeb Bush or anyone else. Imperialism as the collective rule of multinational corporations follows its long term plan for world domination and the president gets hired to sell and execute those plans, including wars. Such unchallenged domination could not be achieved without an unchallengeable military might which explains the incredible amount of money and resources used to maintain that might. What the ruling class also learned from the civil rights movement of the 1960’s is the need for them to be ready for the domestic front as well by beefing up their domestic surveillance, spying and crowd control capabilities by an ever increasingly militarized police, in order to counter any future unrest that might try to stand in its way and derail their plan for complete and total world domination. 

With enough military might, wars like the one against Iraq becomes fewer and direct attack on civilian populations of other countries become the norm as no government with its military will ever be able to stand against the Empire and its European allies and controlling the people everywhere will be the thing to do. That’s why more and more, the focus of the technology and tactics is to go after civilian targets by the use of drones and is why the military exercises are now mostly to train for urban and house to house combat, as well as targeting individuals rather than entire armies (although they still plan to confront Russia and China sometime down the line but that’s another discussion). 

They have also set up secret prisons in several countries where they can interrogate captured citizens of other countries. In other words, the Empire is moving to become the world’s dictatorship to rule over all people. This isn’t driven by some inexplicable and mysterious evil and sociopathic tendency, but by the unbridled urge and obsession to seek profits and accumulate wealth by all means necessary.

The Hypocrisy of Using Prejudice to Condemn Prejudice 

  

Ayelet Shaked is a member of Israeli Knesset and the former office director for the office of Benjamin Netanyahu. In 2012, she left the Likud Party to join the Jewish Home and on 14 May, 2015, she was appointed by Netanyahu to be Israel’s Minister of Justice. She posted an article on her Facebook page in June of 2014 in which she called Palestinian children “snakes” and seemed to suggest indiscriminate killing of Palestinians. She has also campaigned against immigration of Africans to “Israel”. Appointing her to the post of Minister of Justice says a lot about Netanyahu, as well as about US Congress that invites him to address their joint session.

A Facebook page displaying her photo drew many comments, which forced me to write this, not about her, but about those who made sexist comments about her, calling her “whore” and “bitch” and one man suggesting that she “needs a shave” and another saying that he “could give her something to suck on”. 

Two things: I’ve often said that you can’t be progressive and for social justice, or any kind of justice for that matter, and support “Israel”. But, you also can’t be progressive and for justice and make sexist comments about ANY WOMAN. Sexism and sexist comments about ANY WOMAN is an insult and attack on ALL WOMEN and therefore an insult against all humanity. To join or to even be silent about such chorus of hateful attacks is to choose one kind of hate and prejudice over another, instead of condemning all forms of hate and prejudice. Condemning such hateful and racist individuals as Ayelet Shaked with hate and prejudice of one’s own has no value and impresses me none and the person expressing such prejudice has no credibility to be the defender of the occupied and oppressed people of Palestine. I condemn such sexist comments even before I condemn the vile acts and atrocities committed by apartheid “Israel” against the besieged Palestinian people.

Secondly, even disregarding such sexist attacks, which I wouldn’t and won’t disregard, focusing on and venting out anger against an individual might make us feel better, but isn’t helpful or productive. Individuals aren’t really the problem. The problem which should be the focus of those who want to see justice in Palestine is the occupation, the racist and apartheid state of “Israel” and Zionism, which is causing all the unnecessary deaths, injustices and atrocities. Let’s not add our own injustice to the mix.

Obama and the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA)

Occupy

Once again, liberals are at a loss. How could this be? How could Obama, a Democrat, who was supposed to chart a new course for the US, push for another so-called “free trade” agreement, after similar ones in the past drove down and stagnated wages of American workers, shipped American jobs to countries with super low wages forcing them to compete with starving workers overseas, imposed draconian “austerity measures” on and further impoverished millions of already poor workers and reinforced sweat shop working conditions and accelerated the devastation of the environment, all for the benefit of giant and obscenely wealthy multinational corporations and their rich shareholders, who were behind these agreements?  How could he turn out to be so rightwing?  First, came his wars of aggression, which made Bush look like Mother Theresa; then came his endorsement of Bush’s warrantless searches and eavesdropping, followed by his severe punishment of whistle blowers and government secrecy and then the revelation of the most massive program of spying on all Americans; then came the provocation in Ukraine and escalation of tensions with Russia.  And now, the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), which has been called “NAFTA on steroids”, which makes “free trade” agreements before it look like a child’s play. Not only is Obama pushing for it, he wants “fast track”, which means a very quick passage at Congress with very minimal – almost none – debate and discussion, and he wants the contents of the agreement, which were all written by corporations, kept secret from the public. Yes, this is Obama. No one killed the real Obama and wore his skin. It’s he alright.

If they would stop to think for a moment, liberals would understand why this happened, why their hope for change turned into a nightmare. Sometimes what seems befuddling and stupefying has the simplest explanation. The truth of the matter is that Obama himself as breathing, walking man is not the issue and is irrelevant to the discussion. And so are his views. There might have been a time in US politics when the personal views of the president mattered – at least to some degree, anyway. But, this isn’t such time, anymore.

Most people have heard the phrase “military industrial complex” and have a vague idea as to what it means: the complex, conglomerate or collective of US military and the large corporations. But, that’s as far as most people’s understanding of what it really is, how it functions and what its ramifications are in the society will go, which leads them to confusion such as about Obama. The fact is that the military is not some independent, unbiased and indifferent force existing and operating above the society. The military, like other governmental organs and entities, such as the police, the courts and the Congress, belongs and answers to and works for and at the pleasure of a certain class of people. By necessity and by nature, the military as well as the police and Congress become part of that class. And it goes without saying, or should go without saying, that that class has to be the class of the most powerful and influential, the class of billionaires and multimillionaires, the major owners of the wealth of the nation, not ordinary working, wage earning people.

The military industrial complex or the corporate empire, with its military wing on its side ready to go to war with anyone that would dare stand in its way, once formed and established, creates, pursues and implements long term plans, strategies and programs, using a multitude of sources that include different think tanks, scholars, strategists, advisors, military planners and other military and civilian personnel. Their plans and programs are large scale and costly and the wealth of many powerful people to the tune of trillions of dollars depends on their timely, smart and flawless implementation. Giant corporations and their CEO’s and large shareholders are not about to risk their immense wealth with the election of an unknown young community organizer from Chicago who might upend their plans, and even if they do roll the dice and lose, they’re not going to say “oh well, we lost”, take the loss in stride and give up their immense power and wealth they have been accumulating. The giant aircraft carriers and multibillion dollar battleships and fighter jets and satellite systems and many other war equipment do not belong to the American people, any more than the tall buildings going up in city centers or giant banks belong to the people. Those who set fire on a CVS pharmacy during riots understand that well.  Those big banks or oil companies headquartered in skyscrapers rely on the battleships, fighter jets, tanks and helicopter gunships of the military as well as on urban police as their facilitators to keep their profits flowing. The American people have been taught to think geographically and nationalistically, meaning that if something is geographically close to them or claims to be “American”, it belongs to them. But, that kind of thinking is as accurate as thinking that you own the bank or Starbucks or gas station that you use in your neighborhood.

Obama does what he’s supposed to for the corporate empire that put him in office. And so will the next president.  What he thinks is irrelevant. He knows what he’s supposed to do and he does it. We must stop thinking about the individual president or congress-man or woman and think of the system as a whole: its requirements, its plans, its agenda and program. Anyone who goes to the White House is taking a job that’s offered, directed and paid for by the ruling class. His allegiance will not be to the people but to those who put him or her there and who control him or her and his or her plans and agenda.

As you read this, the corporate empire is on a dangerous path of escalating its provocation against Russia that could lead to a dangerous regional, if not worldwide, confrontation that could lead to a major and devastating war. The US is moving warships and missiles and other heavy weaponry to Baltic and Black Sea literally surrounding Russia with military bases, supposedly in the name of defending against its “threat”.  But, they know Russia is not the threat.  Russia’s annexation of Crimea, which used to belong to it and where most of its population is Russian, was only a reaction to NATO encroachment and provocation.  The initial military encroachment through NATO prompted the Russian reaction and was promptly and predictably – no accident here, everything was planned and foreseen years ago – followed by economic warfare through sanctions and dumping of cheap oil on the market  None of these moves are necessarily by Obama’s order. In fact, such plans are made and set in motion long before a certain president becomes a candidate and wins the elections as most such undertakings are planned many years and sometimes decades in advance. The war in Iraq and Afghanistan, likewise, was neither the work of Bush and Cheney, nor due to the terrorist attacks of 9/11. Nor were they some error in judgement.  Even the sanctions against Iran which are meant to weaken it are parts of a large scale and long term plan for world hegemony.  Such plans are usually perceived and started long before any president sits in the Oval office and gets briefed by military brass and spy agencies.

Likewise, when Obama pushes for a “trade agreement” that will exacerbate the growing income and wealth gap, intensify world poverty and hunger, ruin the environment even more than it already has been ruined and squeeze workers here and abroad even more, it must be understood in terms of the needs and desires and plans and programs of the corporate empire. Again, Obama is doing what he got hired to do: to continue the long-range plans handed down from president to president. What’s more, he chose the job knowing what it took and he’s performing his duties, just as a CEO who gets hired by shareholders and company board members to maximize company profits would.

What we must focus on is not just the CEO, but the corporation as a whole, not on the gambling or gambling men, but on the casino and its owners, not on the violent police who beat and kill innocent black men, but those who hire and use them like their hit men. We must challenge the notion of the collective of corporations, which owns the government as a vehicle for its aims and goals. Just as a parasite enters and takes control of the brain of its host animal and directs it to do what is beneficial to the parasite at the detriment of the host, so too the government gets taken over by parasitic capitalists and corporations that direct it to do their bidding: to make them rich at any cost, including mass hunger and poverty, devastation of the environment and catastrophic world wars which kill millions of people. What we must stop is not Obama or Hillary or Bush or Paul or Cruz or Warren or Sanders, per se, but the parasites, which own and control the government and all these servants and functionaries of the system. Obama is not the issue. The system is.

The Logic of Police Brutality and its Connection to Income and Wealth Gap: A Socioeconomic Analysis

 

Regardless of what you may think of police brutality and killings that are being discussed nationally after the recent murders of unarmed black men in the hands of the police and the protests raging as a result, there are a few points that we must all understand, if we want to reach a correct understanding of it.  

Every organization and institution within a society gets formed for a particular purpose and gets tasked with performing a particular function within the society. That includes, of course, the courts, the military, the Congress and the police, among others. While that goes without saying, what isn’t so easy to see is what exactly is the function of such governmental organizations in a capitalist society. I say “capitalist society” for a reason: the function of government agencies and organs in a society is tied directly to and answerable to the socioeconomic system in place within the society. In fact, not only individual institutions, but the government as a whole is a product of and subservient to the socioeconomic system that’s imposed on the society.  

This is true on a smaller scale as well. If you join an organization of investors, for example, that’s focused on maximizing the wealth of its members, you get very different rules, codes of conduct, values and priorities than if you join a society committed to eliminating hunger or homelessness. You can see such differentiation and contrast even among fraternities and sororities of college campuses. Their values and priorities depend on their mission and objectives. 

Speaking of missions, you might have seen mission statements framed and posted prominently in the lobby of most corporations listing general and empty phrases like “commitment to excellence”, “pursuit of perfection”, “integrity”, etc. These are all, of course, a bunch of baloney that only the most gullible among us would believe. Corporations only have one mission and that’s to maximize profits for their already wealthy owners, or as they’re known in corporate world, shareholders. This discrepancy between what’s advertised and the reality and the need to twist the fact about their real mission is a microcosm of and permeates through the entire capitalist system and the reason is obvious: just like individual corporations that don’t like to say openly that all they’re about is making profits, so too the capitalist system as a whole that’s nothing but a collective or cartel made up of and organized for and around the constituent corporations that make up the system, can’t openly admit to the population that all it cares about and all it’s focused on is the collective of the corporations and their profitability, rather than people’s needs or well being or the environment. This is the first lie the government of the corporations has to tell, and as they say, you can never tell just one lie. The second is that people have the power to elect the government of their choosing, which is part of the bigger lie about “democracy”. I’ve written extensively why democracy and capitalism are incompatible in other articles, so I won’t get into it here. 

What we must understand is that the government can’t be both focused on maximizing profits for corporations that are the driving force of the system and at the same time be focused on meeting people’s needs. These two things are contradictory and irreconcilable. A system cannot do both at the same time. All the talk of inclusion, democracy, compassion and care for the poor and disenfranchised is just like corporate mission statements: a bunch of nicely wrapped thick boloney. And this is why I believe Democrats are a bigger barrier for achieving real and fundamental change than Republicans. The latter are more open and forthcoming about their objectives.

If maximizing profits for corporations is the main focus of the government which is their enabler and facilitator, then it follows that the function of just about all governmental organs and organizations must also be for and ultimately in the service of meeting that objective, either directly, as in the case of police, military and Congress or indirectly, as in the case of others like Environmental Protection Agency or Social Security Administration: to create and maintain conditions in society that are conducive to and useful for the smooth and uninterrupted running of the collective of the corporations and removing and blocking any social or economic threat to that order.

The “order” that the government of the corporations is after is not for all people, but for corporations and the protection the police provides is not intended for people, not certainly the poor and the minorities, but for corporations and their private property. What the police is really tasked with is to protect the interests and property of the corporations, not the lives of the people and to serve the wealthy not ordinary people. The latter not only isn’t their priority, they’re not even at the bottom of their priority list. The idea that the police is there to protect people is one of the biggest misunderstandings among the white liberals. Actually, those liberals are partly right: the more privileged a group, the more protection they receive from the police. That same protection that the privileged get turns into repression when it comes to the poor and the minorities living in the ghettos. There, the police is a bonafide occupation army tasked with suppressing and repressing the population. 

What most blacks have realized, on their skin and flash, no less, is that the police isn’t there to protect them, but to control and crush them, just as the military does to people it occupies. The similarity between the police and the military is much more than most realize, not just in what they’re designed and charged to do, but who their targets are. When the military occupies a country or when it overthrows a foreign government, often police officers from major US cities like Los Angeles, New York, Chicago and others are dispatched to train the local police to crush resistance. Likewise, when the police can’t keep the order in an American city, the military comes to its help, as we’ve been seeing in Baltimore. Despite all the jingoism propagated on corporate TV, corporations are anything but patriotic or even nationalistic. They have no favorites and make no distinction among the working classes of different countries, including their own. All the talk of patriotism is just for convincing the poor who have no stake in them to go fight the wars that are waged by and for the wealthy and kill people just like themselves.

The police and the military in the US have become even more indistinguishable in recent decades as the former’s militarization has accelerated with police departments acquiring millions of dollars of military equipment every year. Their tactics and mentality also closely resembles the military now. Their similarity also extends into the very purpose of their existence: they both are tasked with protecting the interests and properties of the rich, both here and abroad. They both have the function of confronting and removing all points of vulnerability or threats to the corporate collective. Whom would the police consider a threat to the functioning and profitability of the corporations? The poorest and the most disenfranchised, of course, those who have the least to lose and the most to gain from bringing down the system, those at the very bottom stratum, those who “have nothing to lose but their chains” (Karl Marx, “Communist Manifesto”, 1848).   

The problem for capitalism is that it has nothing to offer to those at the lowest stratum; that’s why it’s all stick and no carrot when it comes to dealing with the poorest of the poor. If you look carefully, you’ll see that the most heavily policed areas are the inner cities where the poor and especially African Americans live. That’s the group that gets frisked the most, beaten the most, arrested the most and gets incarcerated the most with longest sentences. The Guardian reported today that a juvenile, who participated in the riots in Baltimore on Monday and vandalized a police car and then, at the pressure of his step father, turned himself in, was slapped with eight counts of felony charges and half a million dollar bail, just for damaging a police car! Since his family can’t afford the bail or to hire a lawyer, the juvenile is looking to spend most of his life in prison. This is what the system does and this is how it treats the poor. But, this is logical: those who have nothing are considered a bigger threat than those with privilege. That’s why the latter aren’t frisked, their vehicles aren’t searched and their homes aren’t raided. If they were, they’d probably be caught with more guns and drugs than blacks, but that’s not the point.

Many among the whites, including many liberals, or maybe I should say especially among liberals, posit that the reason for higher arrest and incarceration rates among blacks is that they commit more crimes. That’s quite an interesting argument because targeted, oppressive and aggressive policing and racial profiling, even without planting of evidence on the “suspects”, which is common, sends a large percentage of black men to prison and then that very discriminatory practice and injustice is used as “statistics” to justify the discrimination! Quite an interesting logic!

Police brutality, like many other phenomena, stems from and is tied to the very logic and needs and requirements of the same economic system that prioritizes profits over people’s needs and results in the rich getting richer and the poor poorer, and then, as the gap between the two classes increases, it moves to fortify its power snd defend its interests against those it considers a threat, by any means necessary, including beatings, killings and mass incarceration. So, you see, the problem isn’t about lack of sufficient training or the need for body or dash cams. The problem is systemic and socioeconomic and tied directly to the income and wealth gap. That’s why the Occupy Wall Street movement of 2011 must be revived and join the anti police brutality protests since their issues are one and the same.  

Police Violence in America: What Is To Be Done Now?

  

All you need to look at to see how corrupt the Baltimore police are – as is every police department in the could try – is their own statements since Freddie Gray was violently arrested, handcuffed, put in police van without any reason or cause for suspicion and murdered. As soon as the video of the arrest emerged and people questioned why he was arrested, they said because “he made eye contact with the officers and ran”. When asked what was the probable cause for his arrest, they replied they “don’t need a probable cause”. When it was revealed that he suffered severe injuries, including a severed spine and crushed voice box and died a few days later, they implied it was all because he wasn’t buckled in when placed in police van, opening the way for them to argue that his death was simply due to oversight and involved no malice. They also said that they would “investigate” what happened to him and report their findings by this Friday, three weeks after the incident. Then, yesterday morning, they said they won’t be reporting anything on Friday. Then, in the afternoon, they leaked to Washington Post that according to another suspect, who was in the van at the time, Gray was banging himself around, even though that suspect did not see and could not have seen Freddie Gray and could only hear him. 

Baltimore Sun reported on September 28, 2014: “Over the past four years, more than 100 people have won court judgments or settlements related to allegations of brutality and civil rights violations. Victims include a 15-year-old boy riding a dirt bike, a 26-year-old pregnant accountant whose only crime was that she witnessed a beating, a 50-year-old woman selling church raffle tickets, a 65-year-old church deacon rolling a cigarette and an 87-year-old grandmother aiding her wounded grandson”. Continues the report: “Officers have battered dozens of residents who suffered broken bones — jaws, noses, arms, legs, ankles — head trauma, organ failure, and even death, coming during questionable arrests”. “And in almost every case”, says the report, the charges against the victims were dropped or dismissed, which means they were arrested and brutalized for no reason.

Jerriel Lyles, to cite just one example, had bought some food at P&J Carry Out and was about to leave the restaurant when several Baltimore policeman blocked his way and prevented him from leaving. They frisked him without any reason and told him to sit on the greasy floor. When he objected, Detective David Greene hit him in the face with his radio so hard that his “eyes swelled up”, he said and “blood was dripping down my nose and out my eye.” No reason was ever given for his arrest.

While after three weeks, they still can’t tell us how Freddie Gray was injured so badly that he died in their custody and can’t charge anyone for his murder, they could identify and arrest, without delay, those who damaged property or threw rocks at the police in Baltimore – 235 of them just on Monday.

Now that people have had enough and are revolting, all we hear from those same authorities who unleash the state terror and violence on people of color and the poor, is cries of nonviolence, that violence is not the answer. you see, violence is only reserved for them. But, people were marching peacefully in New York yesterday, when an officer was filmed punching demonstrators for no reason and dozens got arrested and taken to jail. 

As I watch the police angrily hit and punch protesters, I’m  reminded of the violent henchmen of Mafia bosses, who were more anxious and eager to beat and kill their bosses’ foes than the bosses themselves. It’s the same mindset and psychology. It’s also the mindset of an occupying army. You can’t reason with them, you can’t plead with them and you can’t expect any feeling of sympathy from them. They only understand and respond to violence. What we all need to understand is that violence is not something we choose; it’s what is imposed on us. In a society where police violence is the norm, resistance is the answer.

Police Brutality: An Issue of Human and Civil Rights

  

Baltimore police are apparently trying to prepare people that almost 3 weeks after the murder of Freddie Gary, they won’t be able to explain on Friday how he was severely injured resulting in his death, who did that to him and why he was arrested in the first place. Their spokesman hinted yesterday that they’re not able to conduct their investigation due to people throwing rocks at them! Since the start of the protests, all they have said is that he made an eye contact with officers and ran and to make it look like his murder was unintentional and due to simple oversight, they have implied that his death happened because he wasn’t buckled in when put in police van. But, people of Baltimore know better. Baltimore Sun reported on September 28, 2014: “The city has paid about $5.7 million since 2011 over lawsuits claiming that police officers brazenly beat up alleged suspects”. This trend could not have continued as it did without impunity and lack of accountability. Nor is this limited to Baltimore or Ferguson or New York. This is systemic and nationwide. While the authorities keep complaining of outsiders coming to Baltimore to join the protests, they bring in the National Guard, police from other cities and states and even troops in full military gear and armed with automatic machine guns. There was a scene where a young man stepped in front of a military tank to stop its movement, similar to a similar incident in Tienemen Square in China in 1989, and several soldiers got out with their weapons drawn and pointing at the young man.

So, will the Baltimore police file charges against any officer in relation to the killing? I for one am not holding my breath. It begs the question though: how come they can identify and arrest, without delay, those who damaged property or threw rocks at the police – 235 people just on Monday – but can’t identify and arrest their own for murder? The key phrase is “their own”. And they have the audacity to criticize other countries, like Russia, China, Iran and Cuba for human rights violations. Even the United Nations that’s loath to criticize the veto power holding empire has repeatedly raised concern over human rights violations by US police departments in inner cities. 

What’s also troubling is that the awareness of and indignation over police brutality, which mostly is directed against African Americans, Hispanics and the homeless, is glaringly along racial lines! Just as was the case before the Civil Rights movement of the 50’s and 60’s, once again, whites are asking: “what police brutality?” Former mayor of New York, Rudy Giuliani even suggested recently that the Ferguson officer who killed Michael Brown should be commended for what he did! The hosts of the “Morning Joe” show on MSNBC, which should be called “the White Show”, were most concerned about the fact that the baseball game was moved and “Baltimore is now a city without a baseball game”! God Forbid if the city also loses some of its golf courses! 

Police brutality is an issue of human and civil rights. What’s needed is a protracted and nationwide campaign of nonstop and militant protests, including acts of civil disobedience and resisting police, similar to the Civil Rights movement of the 50’s and 60’s. The movement must also address the fundamental issues of unemployment, poverty and mass incarceration and unite the white poor with the disenfranchised minorities and face the real enemy which is the corporate elite – the shareholders and CEO’s – behind the military industrial complex that are committing crimes against humanity overseas and human rights violations in cities throughout the U.S.

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