Thursday, Jul 02nd, 2020 - 13:48:07

Blog entry

The Police State: U.S. Declares Martial Law (2020)

'Antifa and anarchists co-opted an otherwise peaceful Justice for George Floyd demonstration in Seattle on Saturday, turning it into a riot. Criminals destroyed businesses, looted stores empty, burned cars, and spray painted their hateful, divisive message wherever they could. "Antifa is a cancer on our cities. They have an ideology and they seek to destroy and injure anything and anyone that gets in their way. They pretend they’re fighting fascism but they have more in common with fascists and dictators than anyone they’re fighting." The next day, scores of employees and volunteers came together to help clean up the mess Antifa and the anarchists made during their Seattle riot. Earlier that day, President Donald Trump said the United States would label Antifa a terrorist group for their ideologically-driven violence.'

+ Seattle Riot: 46 devastating photos of Downtown destruction, vandalism (2020):
+ https://mynorthwest.com/1904232/seattle-riot-46-devastating-photos-of-downtown-destruction-vandalism/

'This week, rioters have plunged many American cities into anarchy, recalling the widespread violence of the 1960s. New York City suffered the worst of the riots Monday night, as Mayor Bill de Blasio stood by while Midtown Manhattan descended into lawlessness. Bands of looters roved the streets, smashing and emptying hundreds of businesses. Some even drove exotic cars; the riots were carnivals for the thrill-seeking rich as well as other criminal elements. Outnumbered police officers, encumbered by feckless politicians, bore the brunt of the violence. In New York State, rioters ran over officers with cars on at least three occasions. In Las Vegas, an officer is in “grave” condition after being shot in the head by a rioter. In St. Louis, four police officers were shot as they attempted to disperse a mob throwing bricks and dumping gasoline; in a separate incident, a 77-year-old retired police captain was shot to death as he tried to stop looters from ransacking a pawnshop. This is “somebody’s granddaddy,” a bystander screamed at the scene. Some elites have excused this orgy of violence in the spirit of radical chic, calling it an understandable response to the wrongful death of George Floyd. Those excuses are built on a revolting moral equivalence of rioters and looters to peaceful, law-abiding protesters. A majority who seek to protest peacefully shouldn’t be confused with bands of miscreants. But the rioting has nothing to do with George Floyd, whose bereaved relatives have condemned violence. On the contrary, nihilist criminals are simply out for loot and the thrill of destruction, with cadres of left-wing radicals like antifa infiltrating protest marches to exploit Floyd’s death for their own anarchic purposes. These rioters, if not subdued, not only will destroy the livelihoods of law-abiding citizens but will also take more innocent lives.

Many poor communities that still bear scars from past upheavals will be set back still further. One thing above all else will restore order to our streets: an overwhelming show of force to disperse, detain and ultimately deter lawbreakers. But local law enforcement in some cities desperately needs backup, while delusional politicians in other cities refuse to do what’s necessary to uphold the rule of law. The pace of looting and disorder may fluctuate from night to night, but it’s past time to support local law enforcement with federal authority. Some governors have mobilized the National Guard, yet others refuse, and in some cases the rioters still outnumber the police and Guard combined. In these circumstances, the Insurrection Act authorizes the president to employ the military “or any other means” in “cases of insurrection, or obstruction to the laws.” This venerable law, nearly as old as our republic itself, doesn’t amount to “martial law” or the end of democracy, as some excitable critics, ignorant of both the law and our history, have comically suggested. In fact, the federal government has a constitutional duty to the states to “protect each of them from domestic violence.” Throughout our history, presidents have exercised this authority on dozens of occasions to protect law-abiding citizens from disorder. Nor does it violate the Posse Comitatus Act, which constrains the military’s role in law enforcement but expressly excepts statutes such as the Insurrection Act. Anti-integration protesters at the University of Mississippi awaiting the arrival of the first African-American student, James Meredith.Credit...Getty Images For instance, during the 1950s and 1960s, Presidents Dwight Eisenhower, John Kennedy and Lyndon Johnson called out the military to disperse mobs that prevented school desegregation or threatened innocent lives and property. This happened in my own state. Gov. Orval Faubus, a racist Democrat, mobilized our National Guard in 1957 to obstruct desegregation at Little Rock Central High School. President Eisenhower federalized the Guard and called in the 101st Airborne in response. The failure to do so, he said, “would be tantamount to acquiescence in anarchy.”'

George Floyd Protests

'More recently, President George H.W. Bush ordered the Army’s Seventh Infantry and 1,500 Marines to protect Los Angeles during race riots in 1992. He acknowledged his disgust at Rodney King’s treatment — “what I saw made me sick” — but he knew deadly rioting would only multiply the victims, of all races and from all walks of life. Not surprisingly, public opinion is on the side of law enforcement and law and order, not insurrectionists. According to a recent poll, 58 percent of registered voters, including nearly half of Democrats and 37 percent of African-Americans, would support cities’ calling in the military to “address protests and demonstrations” that are in “response to the death of George Floyd.” That opinion may not appear often in chic salons, but widespread support for it is fact nonetheless. The American people aren’t blind to injustices in our society, but they know that the most basic responsibility of government is to maintain public order and safety. In normal times, local law enforcement can uphold public order. But in rare moments, like ours today, more is needed, even if many politicians prefer to wring their hands while the country burns.'

+ Tom Cotton: Send In the Troops - "The nation must restore order. The military stands ready." (2020):
+ https://www.nytimes.com/2020/06/03/opinion/tom-cotton-protests-military.html

George Floyd Protests

'President Trump said during a statement in the Rose Garden on Monday that he is taking "immediate action” to mobilize “all available federal resources” to stop riots and looting across the country, threatening to deploy the military if states don’t send in the National Guard to protests. "I will fight to protect you," Trump said in an evening protest, ahead of what's expected to be more protests in the city of Washington on Monday night over the death in Minnesota of George Floyd. Immediately following the speech, in an extraordinary scene, the president and his entourage walked outside of the White House, across Lafayette Square, to St. Johns Episcopal Church, which caught on fire during the protesters the night before. During the brief visit, the president stood in front of the boarded-up church and held up a Bible. He was accompanied by a variety of aides and officials, including Attorney General Bill Barr, daughter and White House adviser Ivanka Trump, Chief of Staff Mark Meadows and Defense Secretary Mark Esper. On Sunday night rioters set fire to the parish house at St. John's. The parish house contains offices and parlors for gatherings. The basement, which was also torched, is used for childcare during church services, and had recently undergone renovations. However, the damage could have been "a lot worse," according to Rev. Rob Fisher. "I have recommended every governor deploy the National Guard in sufficient numbers to dominate the streets," the president said during his speech. "We are ending riots and lawlessness, we will end it today." Trump said he is dispatching "thousands and thousands of heavily armed soldiers and military personnel" to stop the rioting. "I want organizers of this terror to be on notice that you will face severe criminal penalties," he said. "We cannot allow the righteous cries of peaceful protesters to be drowned out by an angry mob," the president added. "The biggest victims of this rioting are peace-loving citizens in our poorest communities." Earlier on Monday, the president unloaded on governors in a phone call, accusing them of being "weak" in their response to the riots and urging them to dominate. “Most of you are weak,” Trump said. “You have to arrest people. You have to dominate, if you don't dominate you're wasting your time,” he said, according to a senior staffer in a governor’s office who was listening to the call. “They're going to run over you, you're going to look like a bunch of jerks. You have to dominate. You’ve got to arrest people, you have to track people, you have to put them in jail for 10 years and you’ll never see this stuff again,” said Trump. “We’re doing it in Washington, D.C. We’re going to do something that people haven’t seen before.”'

+ Trump vows to mobilize federal resources in address to nation, makes surprise trip to church that caught fire (2020):
+ https://www.foxnews.com/politics/trump-vows-to-mobilize-federal-resources-to-end-riots-i-will-fight-to-prote...

George Floyd Protests

'On Saturday, demonstrators in Seattle took over Interstate 5, cars were lit on fire and store windows were smashed in. Mayor Jenny Durkan abruptly announced a 5 p.m. curfew lasting until 5 a.m. Sunday, citing "an extremely dangerous situation" as the fire department was unable to access multiple fires burning downtown. In Austin, some 200 people showed up outside police headquarters in peaceful protest by around noon on Saturday before the crowds swelled exponentially as marchers headed alongside Interstate 35. Multiple media outlets reported police had resorted to deploying tear gas and rubber bullets to disperse crowds at police headquarters on 8th Street just before 2:30 p.m. According to reports, about 100 police officers were seen in full riot gear at the intersection of Guadalupe and West 3rd streets in attempts to control the throngs. Thousands of people returned to the streets Saturday in Chicago's Loop, gathering at Federal Plaza before marching to Trump Tower. Video from the scene showed some demonstrators atop police vehicles. Officers struck protesters with batons near Trump Tower and squad cars were damaged, with at least one set on fire, according to an AP report. And on a third night of protests in New York City, demonstrations broke out in Harlem, Times Square, on the West Side Highway and on the Brooklyn and Williamsburg bridges, along with other sites. Hundreds have been arrested over the days of protest, including several expected to be charged Saturday night or Sunday with throwing Molotov cocktails in Brooklyn Friday night. In a video shared on social media from a protest scene in Brooklyn, two NYPD cruisers can be seen ramming into demonstrators. It's unclear if anyone was injured. New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio says protesters and police officers will be held accountable for acts of violence at a demonstration in Brooklyn that left people bloodied and vehicles burned. Protesters chanted for a relatively-peaceful hour before NYPD officers clashed with the crowd. A cloud of pepper spray descended over the rally, police armed with batons violently took down protesters and some rally goers set fires — all scenes that played out in real time on social media. The chaotic scene moved beyond Barclays Center and into the streets of Fort Greene and nearby neighborhoods. At least one police van was set on fire, a NYPD officer was filmed violently shoving a woman to the ground and walking away, among many other violent scenes throughout the day and night.'

+ Tear Gas Used On Minneapolis Protesters; Unrest Continues In U.S. (2020):
+ https://patch.com/minnesota/southwestminneapolis/photos-show-extent-devastation-minneapolis-after-more-riots

George Floyd Protests

'As protests over the death of George Floyd grow in cities across the U.S., government officials have been warning of the “outsiders” — groups of organized rioters they say are flooding into major cities not to call for justice but to cause destruction. But the state and federal officials have offered differing assessments of who the outsiders are. They’ve blamed left-wing extremists, far-right white nationalists and even suggested the involvement of drug cartels. These leaders have offered little evidence to back up those claims, and the chaos of the protests makes verifying identities and motives exceedingly difficult. Police officers across the country were gearing up Saturday for another night of potentially violent clashes in major cities. Some states had even called in the National Guard to aid overwhelmed police. The finger pointing on both sides of the political spectrum is likely to deepen the political divide in the U.S., allowing politicians to advance the theory that aligns with their political view and distract from the underlying frustrations that triggered the protests. Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz on Saturday told reporters he’d heard unconfirmed reports that white supremacists were coming from elsewhere to stoke the violence and that even drug cartels “are trying to take advantage of the chaos.” John Harrington, the state’s commissioner of public safety, later said they had received intel reports on white supremacists. “But I cannot say that we have confirmed observations of local law enforcement to say that we’ve seen cells of white supremacists in the area,” he said Saturday. Federal officials later pointed to “far left extremist groups.” President Donald Trump alleged the violence was “being led by Antifa and other radical groups.” Antifa, short for anti-fascists, is an umbrella term for far-left-leaning militant groups that resist neo-Nazis and white supremacists at demonstrations. Attorney General William Barr later seemed to echo Trump’s assertion, saying the violent incidents in Minneapolis were driven by groups using “Antifa-like tactics.” Barr vowed that federal prosecutors across the country would use federal riots statutes to charge protesters who cross state lines to participate in violent rioting. A Justice Department spokesperson said the attorney general’s assertion was based on information provided from state and local law enforcement agencies, but did not detail what that information entailed. Acting Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf was even more vague, declining to point to any particular ideology in his assessment. His agency has heard that “a number of different groups are involved in these whether it’s Antifa or it’s others, frankly,” he said. The groups appeared to be organized and using tactics that wouldn’t normally happen in peaceful protest, he said, though he didn’t elaborate. While the motives behind the violence were unclear, there was firmer evidence that some of the protesters were coming to the demonstrations from outside the urban centers that have been the epicenter of the demonstrations.'

+ Officials blame differing groups of ‘outsiders’ for violence (2020):
+ https://www.nbc4i.com/news/u-s-world/officials-blame-differing-groups-of-outsiders-for-violence-2/

George Floyd Protests

'What started as a peaceful Justice for George Floyd protest in Seattle turned violent thanks to fringe Progressive and Antifa activists. And their abhorrent behavior is being defended by bad-faith voices, pretending we’re under assault by white supremacists. Or, even worse, peaceful protesters who are fine with the destruction. Americans have the right to peacefully assemble. This is beyond question. What folks don’t have the right to do is destroy property, assault officers, disrupt freeway traffic, or steal police weapons. Yet portions of Seattle were trashed, burned, and destroyed thanks to a large group of Antifa members, anarchists and their enablers. Pacific Northwest Antifa members — filled mostly with privileged, angry white millennials — and local anarchists have consistently co-opted peaceful protests for their own political agenda. They do it almost every May Day. Some are local to Seattle, some from around Washington, and some based in Oregon. These monsters don’t care about George Floyd. You think Antifa is above taking advantage of a George Floyd protest in Seattle? They’re simply exploiting national anger to push their anti-capitalist and anti-police agenda.'

+ Rantz: Seattle Antifa violence ruined a peaceful Justice for George Floyd protest (2020):
+ https://mynorthwest.com/1902003/rantz-seattle-antifa-violence-ruined-a-peaceful-george-floyd-protest/

George Floyd Protests

'On Saturday, Barr released a statement about the riots across several prominent U.S. cities, including Atlanta, Dallas, Portland, Seattle, and New York City. The attorney general said that the riots were being "hijacked by violent radical elements. Groups of outside radicals and agitators are exploiting the situation to pursue their own separate and violent agenda. In many places, it appears the violence is planned, organized, and driven by anarchistic and far-left extremists, using Antifa-like tactics, many of whom travel from out of state to promote the violence. We must have law and order on our streets and in our communities, and it is the responsibility of the local and state leadership, in the first instance, to halt this violence. The Department of Justice (including the FBI, Marshals, ATF, and DEA), and all of our 93 U.S. Attorneys across the country, will support these local efforts and take all action necessary to enforce federal law. It is a federal crime to cross state lines or to use interstate facilities to incite or participate in violent rioting. We will enforce these laws."'

+ AG Barr: Riots 'planned, organized, and driven by anarchistic and far-left extremists, using Antifa-like tactics' (2020):
+ https://www.theblaze.com/news/ag-barr-riots-far-left-antifa

George Floyd Protests

'The protests over the death of George Floyd, who was handcuffed and pinned down by a police officer’s knee on his neck in Minneapolis, continued on Monday night. Demonstrators were driven from parks, interstates and government buildings by growing numbers of law enforcement officers in riot gear, whose response to the demonstrations has been criticized in dozens of confrontations. In Washington, police officers used flash grenades and tear gas to disperse a crowd across the street from the White House so that President Trump could visit a nearby church for a photo op. Earlier in the day, Mr. Trump berated America’s governors over their response to the protests, calling the protesters “terrorists” and demanding “retribution.” More protests have emerged around the world in the past few days, with many demonstrators expressing solidarity with their American counterparts and denouncing racism in their own countries. The widespread condemnation partly reflected what critics called the erosion of America’s moral authority.'

+ In Photos: America Rises in a Seventh Night of Protest (2020):
+ https://www.nytimes.com/article/pictures-george-floyd-protests-photos.html

George Floyd Protests

'A man was shot dead in Louisville after police officers and the Kentucky National Guard “returned fire” while clearing a large crowd early Monday. Louisville Metro Police Chief Steve Conrad said in a statement that at around 12:15 a.m. his officers and the National Guard were sent to a parking lot to break up a crowd. “Officers and soldiers began to clear the lot and at some point were shot at,” Conrad said in a statement. “Both LMPD and National Guard members returned fire, we have one man dead at scene...” Louisville has seen a weekend of protests, as the city mourns Breonna Taylor, 26, a black woman killed in her home in March by Louisville police who were executing a “no-knock” warrant targeting her former boyfriend. More than 40 people were arrested Sunday night, the city's fourth consecutive night of demonstrations, according to NBC Louisville affiliate WAVE. Last Thursday, seven people were shot in the city during protests that turned violent. Officers were not involved in the Thursday shootings, Police Sgt. Lamont Washington said at the time. Kaitlin Rust, a reporter for WAVE, was on air on Friday when she yelled and said she was "getting shot" by rubber bullets or pepper bullets.'

+ One dead in Louisville after police and National Guard 'return fire' on crowd (2020):
+ https://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/one-dead-louisville-after-police-national-guard-return-fire-protesters-...

George Floyd Protests

'Police have used a range of weapons against peaceful protesters as well as members of the press during the demonstrations. Described as non-lethal, these weapons can seriously injure, disable and even kill. Chemical irritants include tear gas and pepper spray, which cause sensations of burning, pain and inflammation of the airways. Public health and infectious diseases experts have opposed the use of chemical irritants such as tear gas, saying in an online petition that they could increase risk for COVID-19 by “making the respiratory tract more susceptible to infection.” Because chemical irritants can spread widely, bystanders and individuals other than the intended targets can be exposed to the chemicals. Tear gas has been widely and frequently used by police to disperse protesters. CS or CN gas are chemical compound powders that spray from canisters. They produce a burning sensation in the eyes and mouth that incapacitates. To protect themselves from pepper spray and other chemical irritants, protesters are dousing themselves with milk to help diffuse the burning sensations.

Police have shot protesters with pepper spray both from handheld devices and projectiles. While pepper spray is chemically distinct from tear gas, it produces similar effects: burning and watering of the eyes and skin. Police have also fired pepper balls, small projectiles containing chemical irritants. Such projectiles can contain PAVA spray, an irritant similar to pepper spray, as well as CS gas. The balls can be shot from launchers or modified paintball guns. Protesters have been hit by a variety of rubber, plastic, and “sponger” bullets. Reuters journalists in Minneapolis were shot by police with 40mm hard plastic projectiles during a protest in May. Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti said the city’s police department will minimize the use of rubber projectiles during peaceful protests going forward. Kinetic impact projectiles include rubber, plastic, wooden, and “sponger” bullets, which are shot from launchers and guns. A 2017 survey published by the British Medical Journal found that injuries from these caused death in 2.7% of cases.

Protesters in Columbus, Ohio reported having been shot with wooden bullets by police forces. Images online showed wooden dowel-shaped rods sliced into small, bullet-sized projectiles. The Columbus Police Department confirmed they used those devices against protesters on May 30 and said they are known as “knee knockers.” Protesters have reported police using sting-ball grenades, which upon explosion, spray the surrounding area with rubber pellets. In addition to the rubber balls, the grenades can contain chemical agents or explode with bright light and sound. Disorientation devices, commonly known as flashbangs or stun grenades, explode with bright light and sound in order to stun and disorient demonstrators. They can cause severe burns when fired at close range. Constructed like a conventional grenade, the bright flash and the loud bang can cause temporary blindness, temporary loss of hearing and loss of balance. Parts of the device can burst and fly as shrapnel.'

+ Graphic Violence: What U.S. police are shooting at protesters (2020):
+ https://news.yahoo.com/graphic-u-police-shooting-protesters-101523826.html

George Floyd Protests

'President Donald Trump has announced he intends to designate a militant anti-racist movement a terrorist organization as violent protests attended by a variety of activists have erupted in cities around the country, including Nashville. The protests, some of which have resulted in destruction of property and violent clashes with police, are being held in response to police killing George Floyd in Minneapolis and other black individuals who have recently died at the hands of law enforcement. "The United States of America will be designating ANTIFA as a Terrorist Organization," Trump said during remarks at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida on Saturday, though it's unclear by what legal mechanism he can designate a domestic organization to be a terrorist group. Antifa, short for anti-fascist, is a left-wing activist movement active globally, including in Tennessee. The loosely affiliated groups frequently advocate for anti-racist policies, though often take an anarchist and militant approach. There is no formal leadership or unified national structure to the movement. It is not one organization, but rather loose network of activists using a "black bloc" tactic at protests — dressing in all black and concealing their faces with masks and bandannas. Multiple antifa groups have been based in Nashville in recent years...' Last year, U.S. Rep. Tim Burchett, R-Knoxville, filed the "Unmasking Antifa Act," legislation that sought to punish up to 15 years a person wearing a mask or disguise while committing a crime, including threatening or intimidating another individual "exercising their constitutional rights or privileges," according to a statement from Burchett's office at the time... U.S. Attorney General William Barr on Sunday also blamed antifa and other similar groups over the violent protests around the country. Barr did not say what specific groups may have been involved or where they came from, but he said the Justice Department and the FBI will work on identifying “criminal organizers and instigators” to be arrested and charged Trump's national security advisor Robert O'Brien told CNN Sunday that the administration planned to "get to the bottom" of antifa's role in the protests. And he said the president and Barr want to know what the FBI is doing to "to track and dismantle and surveil and prosecute antifa." O'Brien denounced "these antifa militant radicals who come into our cities and cross state lines. "They're organized, and use Molotov cocktails and fireworks and gas to burn down our cities, especially businesses in minority neighborhoods. It's got to be stopped," he said on "State of the Union." But some have blamed right-wing provocateurs seeking to incite a race war for the violence. "The truth is nobody really knows," Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison said Sunday on NBC News' "Meet the Press."'

+ President Trump wants to declare antifa a terrorist group. Here's what we know about their Tennessee activities. (2020):
+ https://www.tennessean.com/story/news/2020/05/31/trump-antifa-terrorist-group-tennessee/5300506002/

George Floyd Protests

'The Insurrection Act allows the president, at the request of the governor of a state or a state legislature, to federalize that state’s National Guard and to use the active-duty military in order to suppress an “insurrection” against that state's government. The act also allows a president to federalize the National Guard and send in active-duty troops, even if the governor or legislature does not ask for help, if it becomes impracticable to enforce federal laws through ordinary proceedings or if states are unable to safeguard its citizens’ civil rights.

“If there is an insurrection in a State, the President, at the request of the State’s legislature, or Governor if the legislature cannot be convened, may call National Guards of other States into Federal service as well as use the Federal military to suppress the insurrection.”

The act goes on to authorize the president to deploy the military (federal or state) whenever he believes it necessary “to suppress an insurrection, domestic violence, unlawful combination or conspiracy.”

“Whenever the President considers that unlawful obstructions, combinations, or assemblages or rebellion against authority of the United States makes it impracticable to enforce the law of the United States in any State or territory by judicial proceedings, the President may call into Federal service the militia of any State and use the Federal military to enforce the laws or suppress the rebellion.”

George Floyd Protests

The law also states the president can use the armed forces when there is an interference with federal or state law.

The law may be used when an “insurrection:”

“(a) … so hinders the execution of law of that State and of the United States and it deprives citizens of constitutional rights (e.g. due process); or (b) it opposes or obstructs the execution of laws or impedes the course of justice. In the event of the deprivation of rights, the State is deemed to have denied its citizens equal protection of laws.”

Prior to invoking the Insurrection Act, the attorney general crafts and the president must issue a “proclamation to disperse.” The proclamation to disperse will “immediately order the insurgents to disperse and retire peaceably to their abodes within a limited time,” according to the legislation.'

+ What is the Insurrection Act and what will it allow Trump to do? (2020):
+ https://www.wsbtv.com/news/trending/what-is-insurrection-act-what-will-it-allow-trump-do/O5BTWVXNINFE7JAMCSR...

George Floyd Protests

'The moment we’ve been dreading since that escalator ride down Trump Tower five years ago this month — that’s been slowly building brick by brick as Donald Trump tore down the rule of law, abused the presidency to enrich himself, and grabbed the bully pulpit of the White House to divide America with racism, sexism and xenophobia — finally came at 6:45 p.m. as the sun sank over Washington on the night of June 1, 2020. Backed into a corner after his incompetence and distrust in science was trampled by a virus that’s killed 105,000 Americans, compounded by 40 million unemployed, and now massive, chaotic protests over the police brutality and racism that he has nurtured instead of combating, the president of the United States declared war on the American people. Speaking from the Rose Garden as a flash-bang grenade deployed against peaceful protesters echoed from across the street, Trump sounded almost like a satire of a tinhorn dictator as he vowed to “dominate the streets” while invoking an ancient law, the Insurrection Act of 1807, and threatening to use the U.S. military to end the nationwide protests and growing unrest over the killing of an unarmed 46-year-old black man, George Floyd, at the hands of four Minneapolis cops. Except this was no satire, no joke. Less than two minutes before the president began his speech, military police and other law-enforcement officers mounted a violent assault on hundreds of seemingly law-abiding protesters across the street from the White House, firing tear gas and painful rubber bullets as the panicked crowd scattered in a shocking split-screen moment.'

George Floyd Protests

'“Did you see that?” a protester, his face covered in a red mask, screamed as he ran past a CNN camera crew, fleeing the projectiles and the gas. “Like we’re nothing!” It was an obviously staged moment, a reality-TV president unleashing all-too-real-life violence against American citizens who were peacefully exercising their First Amendment right to protest — all for the purpose of creating what he thought was the perfect photo op. Indeed, the shocking military action to clear the streets allowed the president — who hasn’t been near a church in weeks, and who hasn’t reached out to console any family devastated by the coronavirus — to walk across the street to partially fire-damaged St. John’s Episcopal Church. There, he awkwardly held a Bible aloft, which only served as a reminder of the famous quote of unknown provenance that when fascism finally comes to America, it will be wrapped in a flag and carrying a cross. “We are teetering on the brink of dictatorship,” CNN commentator Don Lemon said, as alarmed pundits struggled to find the words for a 244-year American Experiment staring into the abyss. But frankly there were too many moments Monday when it felt like we were already over that edge. It was not just in increasingly occupied Washington, but right here in the city where it all began, Philadelphia, as police fired tear gas and shot rubber bullets at hundreds of people engaged in nonviolent civil disobedience by blocking I-676. As these police-state tactics escalate, the social fabric of the country is getting ripped to shreds.'

+ The President of the United States declared war on America on Monday night (2020):
+ https://www.inquirer.com/columnists/attytood/trump-dictatorship-calls-up-military-george-floyd-riots-2020060...

George Floyd Protests

'Fires were set near the White House as tensions with police mounted during a third straight night of demonstrations in response to the death of George Floyd at police hands in Minneapolis. An hour before an 11 p.m. curfew ordered by Mayor Muriel Bowser, police fired a major barrage of tear gas stun grenades into the crowd of more than 1,000 people, largely clearing Lafayette Park across the street from the White House and scattering protesters into the street. Protesters piled up road signs and plastic barriers and lit a raging fire in the middle of H Street. Some pulled an American flag from a nearby building and threw it into the blaze. Others added branches pulled from trees. A cinder block structure, on the north side of the park, that had bathrooms and a maintenance office, was engulfed in flames. As the curfew hit, police sealed the perimeter of the park. Shortly beforehand, police pushed a crowd of about 300 demonstrators several blocks with a series of charges with batons and riot shields. Enraged protesters screamed, "Who do you serve? Who do you protect?" Police shot pepper powders point black at several protesters. CBS News confirmed that President Trump was briefly brought to the White House bunker Friday night after protests erupted near the White House.'

+ Fires flare near White House amid rising tensions with police during protests (2020):
+ https://www.cbsnews.com/news/george-floyd-protesters-start-fires-white-house/

George Floyd Protests

'Several truckloads of D.C. National Guard military police had arrived near Lafayette Park Monday evening where large groups of protesters had fought with police for the past three nights. At one point on Friday the protests prompted officials to have Trump taken to a bunker below the White House for his protection. Joint Chiefs Chairman Gen. Mark Milley and Barr were seen walking near the police line in Lafayette Park as military vehicles were stationed nearby. A U.S. official said that active duty Army military police units from Fort Bragg, North Carolina, were preparing to be on standby in the Washington, D.C. area Monday night. The National Guard troops are going to be protecting national monuments, the White House, property and infrastructure, the official said, and not all D.C. Guard troops will be armed. Earlier, as the White House geared up for another night of protests outside its gates, Trump lashed out at governors for their handling of demonstrations over George Floyd's death, emphasizing instances of rioting and looting that marred overwhelmingly peaceful protests across the country. As his press secretary cited Martin Luther King Jr.'s support for nonviolence, Trump shared a message from Sen. Tom Cotton, R-Ark., who suggested unleashing a U.S. Army air assault division on those carrying out "anarchy, rioting, and looting." --- "100% Correct," the president wrote.'

+ Police use munitions to forcibly push back peaceful protesters for Trump church visit (2020):
+ https://abcnews.go.com/Politics/national-guard-troops-deployed-white-house-trump-calls/

George Floyd Protests

'It became clear during the last night hours of Monday, June 1, that there was something different about the demonstrations of the police killing of an African-American man than the ones that had taken place in recent years. A group of protesters breached the barricades that stood between the White House and Lafayette Park, leading to an hours-long standoff just outside the West Wing. Enraged protesters battled Secret Service agents dressed black riot gear and carrying plastic shields, a scene that few Americans had ever witnessed in this nation, much less at the president’s doorstep. After midnight, the crowd managed to pull two officers off the line, dragging them into the park, fists flying. The wild spectacle of street fighting steps from 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. was just as unprecedented as what was transpiring inside the White House, where the president was informed of the chaos and, out of a concern for his safety, he and his family were led into a fortified underground bunker. Firing pepper spray, swinging batons and shouting “get the f*** out of the park,” federal agents were eventually able to turn back the demonstrators. But that startling, surreal clash would not be the last in Washington spurred by the killing of George Floyd. Once the crowds were cleared from Lafayette Park, fortifications were hardened and National Guard reinforcements with riot shields joined the line of defense walling off the park. Crowds of protesters surged into the city on Saturday and Sunday, lighting fires after dark and tearing through multiple stores. The violence mainly focused in the downtown business district, but there were pockets of looting that spread to residential neighborhoods, leading D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser to order an 11 p.m. curfew on Sunday. As it became clear that the protesters chanting “Black lives matter!” and “No justice! No peace!” would not, to paraphrase the president’s early prediction for the coronavirus pandemic, “magically disappear,” Browser on Monday moved up the curfew four hours earlier, to 7 p.m. Twenty minutes before that hour arrived on Monday night, with the president still due to deliver remarks on the protests from the White House Rose Garden, a series of loud crashes ripped through Lafayette Park. Flash-bang grenades fired by the U.S. Park Police paved the way for a phalanx of officers on horseback and others on foot dressed in black riot gear. “Move! Move! Move!” they barked in military unison at the hundreds of protesters gathered within shouting distance of the White House. With National Guard helicopters hovering overhead, demonstrators bolted as the officers descended upon them, some hurling insults as they were chased.'

+ Floyd protests and Trump's response gave Washington a week it won't soon forget (2020):
+ https://news.yahoo.com/floyd-protests-and-trumps-response-to-them-gave-washington-a-week-it-wont-soon-forget...

George Floyd Protests

'Soldiers from Fort Bragg in North Carolina and Fort Drum in New York have been ordered to be ready to deploy within four hours if called, according to three people with direct knowledge of the orders. Soldiers in Fort Carson, in Colorado, and Fort Riley in Kansas have been told to be ready within 24 hours. The people were not were not authorized to discuss the preparations publicly and spoke on condition of anonymity. The get-ready orders were sent verbally on Friday, after Trump asked Esper for military options to help quell the unrest in Minneapolis after protests descended into looting and arson in some parts of the city. Trump made the request on a phone call from the Oval Office on Thursday night that included Esper, national security advisor Robert O’ Brien and several others. The president asked Esper for rapid deployment options if the Minneapolis protests continued to spiral out of control, according to one of the people, a senior Pentagon official who was on the call. The person said the military units would be deployed under the Insurrection Act of 1807, which was last used in 1992 during the riots in Los Angeles that followed the Rodney King trial. Another official said Saturday, however, that federal troops could be deployed to Minnesota without invoking that act. In that situation, they would perform non-law enforcement duties such as providing logistics help. “If this is where the president is headed response-wise, it would represent a significant escalation and a determination that the various state and local authorities are not up to the task of responding to the growing unrest,” said Brad Moss, a Washington D.C.-based attorney, who specializes in national security. Members of the police units were on a 30-minute recall alert early Saturday, meaning they would have to return to their bases inside that time limit in preparation for deployment to Minneapolis inside of four hours. Units at Fort Drum are set to head to Minneapolis first, according to the three people, including two Defense Department officials. Roughly 800 U.S. soldiers would deploy to the city if called. Protests erupted in Minneapolis this week after video emerged showing a police officer pressing his knee into Floyd’s neck for several minutes even after Floyd stopping moving and pleading for air. Floyd later died of his injuries. The officer, Derek Chauvin, was arrested and charged with third-degree murder and manslaughter on Friday. The protests turned violent and on Thursday rioters torched the Minneapolis Third Police Precinct near where Floyd was arrested. Mayor Jacob Frey ordered a citywide curfew at 8 p.m. local time, beginning on Friday. In that city, peaceful protests picked up steam as darkness fell, with thousands of people ignoring the curfew to walk streets in the southern part of the city. Some cars were set on fire in scattered neighborhoods, business break-ins began and eventually there were larger fires. Active-duty forces are normally prohibited from acting as a domestic law enforcement agency. But the Insurrection Act offers an exception. There was no indication Saturday that Trump intended to invoke that act. It would allow the military to take up a policing authority it otherwise would not be allowed to do, enforcing state and federal laws, said Stephen Vladeck, a University of Texas School of Law professor who specializes in constitutional and national security law.'

+ Pentagon ready to send troops to Minneapolis if state asks (2020):
+ https://apnews.com/cf9947a3ca9f3225f9645fd330403eae

George Floyd Protests

'Staffers at The New York Times are in open revolt Wednesday after the paper’s opinion section ran a column from Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AR) calling upon President Donald Trump to “send in the troops” in response to nationwide protests against police brutality. In a column titled “Tom Cotton: Send in the Troops,” the notoriously hawkish, pro-Trump senator called upon the president to mobilize the military to shut down protests across most major U.S. cities, despite the objections of both local officials and Trump’s own defense secretary. In response, dozens of Times staffers began tweeting the same message, alongside an image of the headline: “Running this puts Black @NYTimes staff in danger.” Among those tweeting in solidarity were a diverse swath of editorial and production staffers, including restaurant critics, art and graphics producers, travel, style and culture reporters, tech writers, and Times opinion writers like Roxane Gay. “Surreal and horrifying to wake up on the morning of June 4 - the 31st anniversary of the Tiananmen Square crackdown - to this headline,” wrote Times China correspondent Amy Qin. The New York Times did not immediately respond to a request for comment. However, in a Twitter thread, editorial page editor James Bennet explained the editorial decision: “The Times editorial board has forcefully defended the protests as patriotic and criticized the use of force, saying earlier today that police too often have ‘responded with more violence — against protesters, journalists and bystanders.’ We’ve also crusaded for years against the underlying, systemic cruelties that led to these protests.”'

+ New York Times Staffers in Open Revolt Over Tom Cotton’s ‘Send in the Troops’ Column (2020):
+ https://www.thedailybeast.com/new-york-times-staffers-in-open-revolt-over-running-tom-cottons-send-in-the-tr...

George Floyd Protests

'Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam is expected to announce plans Thursday to remove one of the country’s most iconic monuments to the Confederacy, a statue of Gen. Robert E. Lee along Richmond’s prominent Monument Avenue, a senior administration official told The Associated Press. The move would be an extraordinary victory for civil rights activists, whose calls for the removal of that monument and others in this former capital of the Confederacy have been resisted for years. Also on Wednesday, Richmond Mayor Levar Stoney announced plans to seek the removal of the other Confederate monuments along Monument Avenue, which include statues of Confederate President Jefferson Davis and Confederate Gens. Stonewall Jackson and J.E.B. Stuart. Those statues sit on city land, unlike the Lee statue, which is on state property. Stoney said he would introduce an ordinance July 1 to have the statues removed. That’s when a new law goes into effect, which was signed earlier this year by Northam, that undoes an existing state law protecting Confederate monuments and instead lets local governments decide their fate. “I appreciate the recommendations of the Monument Avenue Commission – those were the appropriate recommendations at the time,” Stoney said in a statement, referencing a panel he established that studied what should be done with the monuments and recommended the removal of the Davis tribute. “But times have changed, and removing these statues will allow the healing process to begin for so many Black Richmonders and Virginians. Richmond is no longer the Capital of the Confederacy – it is filled with diversity and love for all – and we need to demonstrate that.” Bill Gallasch, president of the Monument Avenue Preservation Society, said he worried the statues’ removal would change the “soul” of the street, hurt tourism in historic Richmond and stir up violence between far-right and far-left groups.'

+ Virginia governor to announce removal of Lee statue (2020):
+ https://apnews.com/75e6f0d57a896207551c1c0e8868cb27

George Floyd Protests

'After a weekend of protests that led all the way to his own front yard and forced him to briefly retreat to a bunker beneath the White House, President Trump arrived in the Oval Office on Monday agitated over the television images, annoyed that anyone would think he was hiding and eager for action. He wanted to send the military into American cities, an idea that provoked a heated, voices-raised fight among his advisers. But by the end of the day, urged on by his daughter Ivanka Trump, he came up with a more personal way of demonstrating toughness — he would march across Lafayette Square to a church damaged by fire the night before. The only problem: A plan developed earlier in the day to expand the security perimeter around the White House had not been carried out. When Attorney General William P. Barr strode out of the White House gates for a personal inspection early Monday evening, he discovered that protesters were still on the northern edge of the square. For the president to make it to St. John’s Church, they would have to be cleared out. Mr. Barr gave the order to disperse them. What ensued was a burst of violence unlike any seen in the shadow of the White House in generations. As he prepared for his surprise march to the church, Mr. Trump first went before cameras in the Rose Garden to declare himself “your president of law and order” but also “an ally of all peaceful protesters,” even as peaceful protesters just a block away and clergy members on the church patio were routed by smoke and flash grenades and some form of chemical spray deployed by shield-bearing riot officers and mounted police. After a day in which he berated “weak” governors and lectured them to “dominate” the demonstrators, the president emerged from the White House, followed by a phalanx of aides and Secret Service agents as he made his way to the church, where he posed stern-faced, holding up a Bible that his daughter pulled out of her $1,540 MaxMara bag.'

+ How Trump’s Idea for a Photo Op Led to Havoc in a Park (2020):
+ https://www.nytimes.com/2020/06/02/us/politics/trump-walk-lafayette-square.html

George Floyd Protests

'The Drug Enforcement Administration has been granted sweeping new authority to “conduct covert surveillance” and collect intelligence on people participating in protests over the police killing of George Floyd, according to a two-page memorandum obtained by BuzzFeed News. Floyd’s death “has spawned widespread protests across the nation, which, in some instances, have included violence and looting,” the DEA memo says. “Police agencies in certain areas of the country have struggled to maintain and/or restore order.” The memo requests the extraordinary powers on a temporary basis, and on Sunday afternoon a senior Justice Department official signed off. Attorney General William Barr issued a statement Saturday following a night of widespread and at times violent protests in which he blamed, without providing evidence, “anarchistic and far left extremists, using Antifa-like tactics,” for the unrest. He said the FBI, DEA, US Marshals, and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives would be “deployed to support local efforts to enforce federal law.” Barr did not say what those agencies would do. The DEA is limited by statute to enforcing drug-related federal crimes. But on Sunday, Timothy Shea, a former US attorney and close confidant of Barr's who was named acting administrator of the DEA last month, received approval from Associate Deputy Attorney General Bradley Weinsheimer to go beyond the agency’s mandate “to perform other law enforcement duties” that Barr may “deem appropriate.” Citing the protests, Shea laid out an argument for why the agency should be granted extraordinary latitude. “In order for DEA to assist to the maximum extent possible in the federal law enforcement response to protests which devolve into violations of federal law, DEA requests that it be designated to enforce any federal crime committed as a result of protests over the death of George Floyd,” Shea wrote in the memo. “DEA requests this authority on a nationwide basis for a period of fourteen days.” A spokesperson for the DEA declined to comment. On Tuesday afternoon, Keith Kruskall, associate special agent in charge of the DEA’s New York division, sent an urgent email seeking 25 volunteers to assist with “security” to the Capitol in Washington, DC from Tuesday through Friday. Two sources knowledgeable about the deployment said 15 people from the DEA’s elite Special Response Team and 10 special agents were chosen. Not all 25 volunteered, the sources said.'

+ The DEA Has Been Given Permission To Investigate People Protesting George Floyd’s Death (2020):
+ https://www.buzzfeednews.com/article/jasonleopold/george-floyd-police-brutality-protests-government

George Floyd Protests

'Thousands of masked marchers taking over Lakeside Avenue, “I Can’t Breathe” and “Justice for George” posters waving in the midst of a global pandemic. People pounding police cars and setting them ablaze. Men chucking bricks at the glass of the Justice Center. As Saturday’s rally for justice in the wake of the Minneapolis police killing of George Floyd devolved from peaceful to chaotic, cleveland.com photojournalist John Kuntz captured incredible images of the anger, compassion and violence. Kuntz published nearly 100 photos of the scene, capturing the clashes between protesters and Cleveland police where tear gas and pepper spray were deployed. While the rally began peaceful at the Free Stamp, some protesters began throwing bricks, setting fires, destroying property around downtown Cleveland and looting. Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine called in the National Guard Saturday night to assist Cleveland police, at the request of Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson and Police Chief Calvin Williams. The mayor also issued a curfew that began at 8 p.m. Saturday, though that didn’t stop the violence immediately.'

+ See 97 incredible photos of Cleveland’s rally for George Floyd, as it turned from peaceful to riotous (2020):
+ https://www.cleveland.com/metro/2020/05/see-97-incredible-photos-of-clevelands-rally-for-george-floyd-as-it-...

'Housed within the Pentagon, DIA is primarily responsible for collecting military intelligence. Like the CIA, it can operate within a limited sphere domestically — such as by recruiting traveling American businesspeople as assets, coordinating with the FBI on potential U.S.-based counterintelligence targets or tracking border-crossing terrorists. But DIA lacks law enforcement authority and has no known history of surveilling or tracking domestic political protests. Kudla, the DIA spokesman, said, “As a Defense Department combat-support agency that works with other parts of DoD and the intelligence community, our capabilities are focused squarely on foreign threats to the nation.” According to former intelligence officials, for DIA to be turned inward at Americans, its personnel would need to either be detailed to another agency or supporting a separate lead agency, such as the FBI. “Intelligence agencies are prohibited from spying against American citizens,” wrote Andrew Bakaj, a founding partner at the legal firm Compass Rose Legal Group, in a message to Yahoo News. Bakaj, a former CIA officer who represented the still anonymous CIA whistleblower who sparked the impeachment proceedings against Trump, said there are cases “when law enforcement needs an assist or support from intelligence agencies, such as a task force. The administration looking to have DIA — military intelligence — conduct intelligence operations against American citizens engaging in protests is, optically, a huge problem,” he wrote. Regardless of the need to arrest violent offenders, he continued, “turning the military intelligence against American citizens is an affront to the Constitution.” Irvin McCullough, national security analyst for the whistleblower nonprofit Government Accountability Project, said that when employees, such as those at DIA, “question the legality of government-sanctioned actions, that’s a call for effective oversight alongside those activities. If whistleblowers come forward with concerns of illegality or abuses of authority, they should be welcomed with open arms and shielded from retaliation,” he wrote in an email to Yahoo News. Jamil N. Jaffer, a former associate counsel to President George W. Bush who also served as a senior counsel on the Republican staff of the House Intelligence Committee, also expressed concerns about the possible role of a military intelligence agency in any domestic surveillance. “The role of our intelligence agencies when it comes to looking at foreign intelligence threats domestically is carefully circumscribed and operates under specific laws and regulations including the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, and for good reasons, going back [to] the abuses of the 1960s and 1970s relating to domestic protests, among other things,” wrote Jaffer, now the executive director of the National Security Institute at George Mason University’s Antonin Scalia Law School.'

+ Pentagon intelligence employees raise concerns about supporting domestic surveillance amid protests (2020):
+ https://news.yahoo.com/pentagon-intelligence-employees-raise-concerns-about-supporting-domestic-surveillance...

George Floyd Protests

'On Tuesday night, more protesters marched across U.S. cities to push back against police brutality and the killing of unarmed Black man George Floyd by a white police officer. And overhead, in cities such as Las Vegas, Washington DC, and Portland, the National Guard and law enforcement flew surveillance planes, according to flight data reviewed by Motherboard. The data shows that flying high-tech and traditionally military-focused aircraft above protesting cities is becoming a norm at this time. "Military surveillance planes over America's cities are a rare visible indicator of tectonic increases in surveillance quietly underway," John Scott-Railton, a security researcher who has also been tracking some of the surveillance aircraft flights, told Motherboard. For several hours last night, authorities flew an RC-26B aircraft over Washington DC, making dozens of circles above the city, according to data Motherboard reviewed from ADS-B Exchange, a repository of unfiltered flight data. Authorities also flew a RC-26B over Las Vegas Tuesday night, as spotted by Scott-Railton. The aircraft made repeating circles around different areas of the city, according to flight data reviewed by Motherboard. Tuesday protests in Las Vegas were peaceful according to local media reports, but on Monday police shot and killed one person who was armed. After that, authorities announced the Nevada National Guard would join law enforcement on future protests. The RC-26B is a reconnaissance plane carrying infrared and electro-optical cameras, and has been used on counter-narcotic missions and in Iraq and Afghanistan. Authorities also deploy the aircraft for assistance during floods or other disasters.'

+ The Military and FBI Are Flying Surveillance Planes Over Protests (2020):
+ https://www.vice.com/en_us/article/y3zvwj/military-fbi-flying-surveillance-planes-george-floyd-protesters

George Floyd Protests

'Antifa: well organized, practiced in street warfare, entering into Phase Two of Mao’s rules for Insurgencies. These people are very serious. They are terrorists aligned with the radical leadership of Black Lives Matter, who traded learnings with Hamas, and, the founding philosophy of which Professor Jacobson has exposed, based upon the work of Anne Sorock of The Frontier Lab. “If you think the Black Lives Matter movement is just or even primarily about ‘Black Lives,’ then you don’t understand the movement. A new research report, based on detailed interviews with those active in the movement, demonstrates that the organized movement is a vehicle for a radical leftist anti-Capitalist agenda, using ‘Black Lives’ as the hook.” Antifa has never had to hide in Seattle, Portland or the rest of the West Coast. When the news media is forced to mention them at all, they obligingly call them “anti-fascists”, which, this week, useful idiots have been touting on Twitter as proof that being against Antifa means one is for fascism, to which I have replied, “why are you against ‘Making America Great Again?” Antifa loves guns, they have a militia arm and they have practiced seizing civilian infrastructure, part of Phase Two on Mao’s rules for Insurgencies In notoriously anti-Second Amendment Seattle, Antifa open-carried. They commandeered a couple of blocks, as their “security arm”, the John Brown Gun Glub, prevented citizen journalist, and expert on Antifa and its funders, Andy Ngo, from filming the goings on. The Seattle media was incurious. Portland, Oregon, has at times been owned by Antifa. They controlled the comings and goings of cars an people, which the Mayor of Portland, Ted Wheeler, allowed. A decision upon which he doubled-down. At various times on my radio program, I read from Facebook pages of Antifa groups about their paramilitary trainings to be held in Seattle parks: how to make IEDs; how to hide spears in the handles of protest signs; the use of marbles to trip (and probably fatally injure) police horses and their riders. The rest of the Seattle media was not drawn to the stories. Antifa has already committed one major act of terrorism, an attempt to seize a hardened, government building, part of Phase Three of Mao’s rules for Insurgencies.'

+ I Watched Antifa Grow, Let Me Warn You About These Terrorists (2020):
+ https://legalinsurrection.com/2020/06/i-watched-antifa-grow-let-me-warn-you-about-these-terrorists/

George Floyd Protests

'The FBI’s Washington Field Office “has no intelligence indicating Antifa involvement/presence” in the violence that occurred on May 31 during the D.C.-area protests over the murder of George Floyd, according to an internal FBI situation report obtained exclusively by The Nation. That same day, President Donald Trump announced on Twitter that he would designate “Antifa” a terrorist organization, even though the government has no existing authority to declare a domestic group a terrorist organization, and antifa is not an organized group. Following the president’s tweet, Attorney General William Barr said in a statement, “The violence instigated and carried out by Antifa and other similar groups in connection with the rioting is domestic terrorism and will be treated accordingly.” The FBI report, however, states that “based on CHS [Confidential Human Source] canvassing, open source/social media partner engagement, and liaison, FBI WFO has no intelligence indicating Antifa involvement/presence.” The statement followed a list of violent acts like throwing bricks at police and the discovery of a backpack containing explosive materials, which were flagged by the FBI under a “Key Updates” section of the report. The FBI has been issuing such reports daily since the weekend, according to a Bureau source, who added that none of these documents contained any evidence of antifa violence. Antifa, short for “anti-fascist,” is a type of militant anti-racist, anti-nationalist organizing that does not rely on the justice system to confront the far right. Groups associated with antifa have destroyed property and committed violence in the past, but the fact that the FBI’s situation reports cannot find any evidence of such involvement now suggests that fears about such groups may be exaggerated. The report did warn that individuals from a far-right social media group had “called for far-right provocateurs to attack federal agents, use automatic weapons against protesters.” (The Nation is withholding the name of the group in order to not disrupt any potential law enforcement investigations.) Last year, FBI documents obtained by this reporter showed that the Bureau has listed “Racially Motivated Violent Extremists” among its top counterterrorism priorities. While those priorities did include white supremacist groups, they also included what the FBI called “Black Identity Extremists.” The documents reveal that the Bureau linked “retaliatory lethal violence against law enforcement” to the “shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri,” from which the Black Lives Matter movement originated.'

+ The FBI Finds ‘No Intel Indicating Antifa Involvement’ in Sunday’s Violence (2020):
+ https://www.thenation.com/article/activism/antifa-trump-fbi/

George Floyd Protests

'The headquarters of the United Daughters of the Confederacy was ablaze in the early hours on Sunday morning as protests raged in Richmond. The Richmond Fire Department could be seen working to put out the fire, which appeared to cover much of the front side of the building, which is located on Arthur Ashe Boulevard between the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts and the Virginia Museum of History & Culture. Nine fire trucks and a police line three blocks long worked to assuage the fire and protect the building. Graffiti covered much of the building's facade: “f--- racists,” “police are creepy,” “stole from us,” and more. On the front steps, the word, “abolition.” Nearby, graffiti covered the Stonewall Jackson statue on Arthur Ashe Boulevard and Monument Avenue, where protesters had gathered earlier in the night. The nearby Robert E. Lee memorial and was also covered in graffiti. A CVS pharmacy also nearby showed shattered glass windows and front doors. Graffiti covered the side of Whole Foods on Broad Street near Boulevard. The Richmond Fire Department tweeted that they battled two fires Saturday night/Sunday morning. The one at the United Daughters of the Confederacy by the VMFA and the other at VCU's Rhodes Hall on the 700 block of West Franklin Street. "Both fires are now under control and were on the exterior only," the fire department tweeted around 1:30 a.m. "Crews are being extremely cautious as they’re potentially intentional."'

George Floyd Protests

'A night after violent demonstrations gripped Richmond in the wake of the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis, more unrest broke out Saturday evening. The protests started peacefully Saturday night, with demonstrators gathered on a downtown street corner chanting as passing cars honked at them. But by 9:30 the scene had changed with protesters tossing garbage cans and water bottles and firing gunshots into the air as they marched through the city. Multiple windows were smashed along Broad Street. On Saturday morning, the streets of Richmond whirred with the sounds of city cleaning trucks as they rounded corners and pumped the brakes at each sighting of profanity toward police or “BLM” sprayed across government buildings, walls and storefronts after Friday night’s protest in response to the death of Floyd in police custody in Minneapolis. The cleaning trucks passed Belvidere Street, where a GRTC Pulse bus burned just hours before, and the corner of North Monroe and West Grace, where the vehicle on fire was a police car. VCU workers sprayed the university’s Institute for Contemporary Art walls clean of “BLM” and a four-letter profanity, written just feet away from a “Solidarity is Essential” sign. By Saturday evening, Richmond Police Department headquarters was boarded up with wooden panels fitted to conceal its windows, buses stopped running and Capitol Square was closed as cities across the U.S. braced for further protests.'

+ Daughters of Confederacy headquarters on fire, 2 Capitol Police officers injured as violence erupts during second night of protesting in Richmond (2020):
+ https://www.richmond.com/news/local/updated-daughters-of-confederacy-headquarters-on-fire-2-capitol-police-o...

George Floyd Protests

'Former Nirvana bassist Krist Novoselic has praised Donald Trump for the “law and order” speech he gave on 1 June in response to protests sparked by the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis police custody. Speaking in the White House rose garden, Trump said he was dispatching “thousands and thousands of heavily armed soldiers, military personnel, and law enforcement officers to stop the rioting, looting, vandalism, assaults, and the wanton destruction of property”. In a post on Facebook, Novoselic wrote: “Wow!!! I know many of you can’t stand him, however, Trump knocked it out of the park with this speech.” He continued: “I agree, the president should not be sending troops into states – and he legally might not be able to anyway – nevertheless, the tone in this speech is strong and direct.” The National Guard has deployed thousands of troops across America. However, Trump would have to invoke the 19th-century Insurrection Act to deploy armed troops. State governor approval is not required if the president determines that it has become impossible to enforce US laws or when citizens’ rights are threatened in any US state. Novoselic alleged that the violence “appears as a leftist insurrection”, despite a lack of clarity about the left-wing antifascist group antifa’s involvement with the protests. “Imagine if so called ‘patriot militias’ were raising this kind of hell?” Novoselic wrote. “If this were the case, left-wing people would welcome federal intervention. Most Americans want peace in their communities and President Trump spoke to this desire. Never mind the legal details that few understand – Trump said he would stop the violence and this speaks to many.” Novoselic dismissed a fan’s query about whether this was a parody account...'

+ Nirvana: Krist Novoselic praises Trump's 'strong and direct' protest speech (2020):
+ https://www.theguardian.com/music/2020/jun/03/nirvana-krist-novoselic-praises-trumps-strong-and-direct-prote...

George Floyd Protests

'The US defence secretary has opposed Donald Trump’s threatened use of the Insurrection Act to allow active duty troops to be deployed in American cities, Mark Esper was speaking to journalists in the Pentagon amid mounting disquiet about the increasingly militarized response to the George Floyd protests, and confusion over the role of the troops. About 700 troops from the 82nd airborne division, mostly military police and combat engineers, were flown to bases around Washington on Monday night. The Associated Press reported that 200 would fly out on Wednesday, but then with a few hours that decision was reversed and the airborne troops stayed put in the bases on the outskirts of the capital. Trump has threatened to invoke the 1807 Insurrection Act that would allow him to deploy troops on city streets, against the wishes of state and city authorities. The president said he would use the law if local authorities failed “to defend the life and property of their residents”. Esper categorically opposed using the act on Wednesday. “I say this not only as secretary of defence, but also as a former soldier, and a former member of the national guard, the option to use active-duty forces in a law enforcement role should only be used as a matter of last resort, and only in the most urgent and dire of situations,” the defence secretary said. “We are not in one of those situations now. I do not support invoking the Insurrection Act.” Esper has been supportive of Trump and has avoided contradicting him until now. But there is reported to be mounting unease about senior officers about the politicisation of the armed forces, and concern over Esper’s own actions. “Esper has directly challenged Trump,” Thomas Wright, director of the centre on the United States and Europe on the Brookings Institution, said on Twitter. “Trump hates being boxed in. If he fires Esper, it could set in motion a crisis that may lead to a wider revolt within the GOP.” Esper was due in the White House to meet Trump straight after his Wednesday morning press briefing. It was not clear if Trump had ordered him to reverse his order on troops deployments around Washington.'

+ Pentagon chief opposes Trump threat to deploy military at protests (2020):
+ https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2020/jun/03/george-floyd-mark-esper-opposes-trump-threat-deploy-military

George Floyd Protests

'I have watched this week’s unfolding events, angry and appalled. The words “Equal Justice Under Law” are carved in the pediment of the United States Supreme Court. This is precisely what protesters are rightly demanding. It is a wholesome and unifying demand—one that all of us should be able to get behind. We must not be distracted by a small number of lawbreakers. The protests are defined by tens of thousands of people of conscience who are insisting that we live up to our values—our values as people and our values as a nation. When I joined the military, some 50 years ago, I swore an oath to support and defend the Constitution. Never did I dream that troops taking that same oath would be ordered under any circumstance to violate the Constitutional rights of their fellow citizens—much less to provide a bizarre photo op for the elected commander-in-chief, with military leadership standing alongside. We must reject any thinking of our cities as a “battlespace” that our uniformed military is called upon to “dominate.” At home, we should use our military only when requested to do so, on very rare occasions, by state governors. Militarizing our response, as we witnessed in Washington, D.C., sets up a conflict—a false conflict—between the military and civilian society. It erodes the moral ground that ensures a trusted bond between men and women in uniform and the society they are sworn to protect, and of which they themselves are a part. Keeping public order rests with civilian state and local leaders who best understand their communities and are answerable to them.'

George Floyd Protests

'James Madison wrote in Federalist 14 that “America united with a handful of troops, or without a single soldier, exhibits a more forbidding posture to foreign ambition than America disunited, with a hundred thousand veterans ready for combat.” We do not need to militarize our response to protests. We need to unite around a common purpose. And it starts by guaranteeing that all of us are equal before the law. Instructions given by the military departments to our troops before the Normandy invasion reminded soldiers that “The Nazi slogan for destroying us…was ‘Divide and Conquer.’ Our American answer is ‘In Union there is Strength.’” We must summon that unity to surmount this crisis—confident that we are better than our politics. Donald Trump is the first president in my lifetime who does not try to unite the American people—does not even pretend to try. Instead, he tries to divide us. We are witnessing the consequences of three years of this deliberate effort. We are witnessing the consequences of three years without mature leadership. We can unite without him, drawing on the strengths inherent in our civil society. This will not be easy, as the past few days have shown, but we owe it to our fellow citizens; to past generations that bled to defend our promise; and to our children. We can come through this trying time stronger, and with a renewed sense of purpose and respect for one another. The pandemic has shown us that it is not only our troops who are willing to offer the ultimate sacrifice for the safety of the community. Americans in hospitals, grocery stores, post offices, and elsewhere have put their lives on the line in order to serve their fellow citizens and their country. We know that we are better than the abuse of executive authority that we witnessed in Lafayette Park. We must reject and hold accountable those in office who would make a mockery of our Constitution. At the same time, we must remember Lincoln’s “better angels,” and listen to them, as we work to unite. Only by adopting a new path—which means, in truth, returning to the original path of our founding ideals—will we again be a country admired and respected at home and abroad.'

+ Defense Secretary Mattis’ statement on Trump’s handling of nationwide protests (2020):
+ https://www.cnbc.com/2020/06/03/read-mattis-statement-on-trumps-handling-of-nationwide-protests.html

George Floyd Protests

'U.S. Army UH-72 Lakota helicopters, as well as UH-60 Black Hawks, one possibly belonging to the Federal Bureau of Investigation, have been flying extremely low-level show-of-force maneuvers over areas of Washington, D.C. in obvious attempts to try to disperse groups protesting the police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis, Minnesota last week. Some of the helicopters have held a hover right over groups of people, hitting them with their rotor wash and the deafening sound of their rotors and engines. This comes after President Donald Trump announced he had ordered hardline measures against protesters and rioters in the nation's capital, including the deployment of additional national guardsmen, federal troops, and federal law enforcement officers. Daniella Cheslow, a reporter for WAMU 88.5, American University Radio, in Washington, D.C. posted the video seen below of one UH-72 Lakota "parked" above a group of people on Twitter. Steven Dengler, the co-founder of XE Currency, a FOREX software tools and services company, and a licensed helicopter pilot, chimed in to point out that, at least under Federal Aviation Administration rules, this maneuver was very illegal. The UH-72 in this instance has red crosses on white square backgrounds on its door and under the fuselage, denoting that its primary mission is as an air ambulance. It's not clear what unit the Lakota, or a standard Black Hawk that was also seen performing similar maneuvers, are assigned to. Both the D.C. National Guard and the active Army's 12th Aviation Battalion, the latter of which is based at Davison Army Airfield in Virginia, have UH-72s, including examples in the air ambulance role, as well as UH-60 Black Hawks. There is also a possibility, albeit much less likely, that the helicopters might have come from somewhere else given that the Trump Administration has called in substantial additional federal military and law enforcement support.'

+ Military Helicopters Descend On Washington In Bizarre Very Low-Altitude Show Of Force (2020):
+ https://www.thedrive.com/the-war-zone/33802/military-helicopters-descend-on-washington-in-bizarre-very-low-a...

George Floyd Protests

'Mass surveillance society subjects us all to its gaze, but not equally so. Its power touches everyone, but its hand is heaviest in communities already disadvantaged by their poverty, race, religion, ethnicity, and immigration status. Technology and stealth allow government watchers to remain unobtrusive when they wish to be so, but their blunter tools—stop-and-frisk,1 suspicionless search, recruitment of snitches, compulsory questioning on intimate subjects—are conspicuous in the lives of those least empowered to object. We are not exactly the first to notice these disparities. There is a rich and diverse literature of dissent, hard experience, and scholarship about the disproportionate intrusions of government into poor and brown communities, much of it produced by people with roots in those precincts themselves. We are indebted to their work. We will make no pretense here of explaining the unjust burdens of surveillance to people who have carried and protested them for decades. We direct our report, instead, to people who could have listened but did not: lawmakers, law enforcement authorities, mayors, governors, and other people with power who failed to look beyond their own experience and point of view. Most of all, we aim this report at our fellow thinkers about surveillance on a national and global scale.'

George Floyd Protests

'For decades, and especially in the past four years, civil libertarians (including the authors of this report) have tended to frame this debate in the discourse of universal rights. We assert a place for privacy among the core liberties that restrain state power in a self-governing democracy. Through that lens, government surveillance is seen as inflicting its harms on everyone. Even when ostensibly targeted, its methods tend to encroach on the public at large. All of us, consciously or not, have something to hide—something that would harm us or people we know if revealed in the wrong circumstance. We stand by these positions. We have also come to see them as profoundly incomplete. Universalist arguments obscure the topography of power. Surveillance is not at all the same thing at higher and lower elevations on the contour map of privilege. Privacy scholars speak of philosophical rights and hypothetical risks; privacy-minded middle class Americans fear allowing the government too much access to their electronic trails. But there is nothing abstract about the physical, often menacing, intrusions into less fortunate neighborhoods, where mere presence in a “high-crime” area is grounds for detention, search, and questioning by police. At age sixty-five, tens of millions of Americans5 claim their Medicare benefits with nothing more eventful than completion of some forms. (Medicare.gov even promises to “protect your privacy by getting rid of the information you give us when you close the browser.”) An impoverished single mother on Medicaid faces mortifying questions, face-to-face with benefit managers, about her lovers, hygiene, parental shortcomings, and personal habits. The abusive application of broad legal powers should color our choices about the powers themselves. We do not mean “abuse” in the narrow sense of a rogue employee who deliberately breaks the rules. Much more common and more serious problems arise from officially sanctioned practices—ostensibly within the rules—that authorities inflict unequally on poorer, browner, and blacker communities. State and local overreach of this kind should be no less central to the national privacy debate than intelligence operations on a global scale.'

George Floyd Protests

'This report gives primary attention to the disparate impact of surveillance made manifest through urban policing and social services for the poor. Not everyone is accustomed to viewing these systems through the lens of surveillance, but a substantial body of research has done so for years. In the lived experience of minority neighborhoods, authorities at ground level wield enormous power to peer into their lives. Privacy is not only a luxury that many residents cannot afford. In surveillance-heavy precincts, for practical purposes, privacy cannot be bought at any price. Unspoken policy, well intended or not, disqualifies those people from basic protections8 that most Americans can take for granted. Privacy advocates have sometimes struggled to demonstrate the harms of government surveillance to the general public. Part of the challenge is empirical. Federal, state, and local governments shield their high-technology operations with stealth, obfuscation, and sometimes outright lies when obliged to answer questions. In many cases, perhaps most, these defenses defeat attempts to extract a full, concrete accounting of what the government knows about us, and how it puts that information to use. There is a lot less mystery for the poor and disfavored, for whom surveillance takes palpable, often frightening forms. Universalist arguments apply across lines of social and economic class, but their generality is not well suited to combating unequal and particular harms. Members of our most disadvantaged communities have long asserted that they fall under heavier and more hostile scrutiny, and empirical research supports them. Meaningful oversight of state surveillance cannot be designed with only common conditions in mind. There is no sense in having a conversation about surveillance in America without taking account of its profoundly unequal use. We cannot divorce privacy research or policy from considerations of class, race, gender, and other social hierarchies. When we do that, as we do often, we fail. The liberal conception of privacy has no claim to universal reach if it fails to adapt to unequal circumstance.'

+ The Disparate Impact of Surveillance (2017):
+ https://tcf.org/content/report/disparate-impact-surveillance/

George Floyd Protests

'Burning and/or looting Target or Macy’s is a minor diversion. No one is aiming at the Pentagon (or even the shops at the Pentagon Mall). The FBI. The NY Federal Reserve. The Treasury Department. The CIA in Langley. Wall Street houses. The real looters – the ruling class – are comfortably surveying the show on their massive 4K Bravias, sipping single malt. This is a class war much more than a race war and should be approached as such. Yet it was hijacked from the start to unfold as a mere color revolution. US corporate media dropped their breathless Planet Lockdown coverage like a ton of – pre-arranged? – bricks to breathlessly cover en masse the new American “revolution.” Social distancing is not exactly conducive to a revolutionary spirit. There’s no question the US is mired in a convoluted civil war in progress, as serious as what happened after the assassination of Dr Martin Luther King in Memphis in April 1968. Yet massive cognitive dissonance is the norm across the full “strategy of tension” spectrum. Powerful factions pull no punches to control the narrative. No one is able to fully identify all the shadowplay intricacies and inconsistencies. Hardcore agendas mingle: an attempt at color revolution/regime change (blowback is a bitch) interacts with the Boogaloo Bois – arguably tactical allies of Black Lives Matter – while white supremacist “accelerationists” attempt to provoke a race war. To quote the Temptations: it’s a ball of confusion. Antifa is criminalized but the Boogaloo Bois get a pass (here is how Antifa’s main conceptualizer defends his ideas). Yet another tribal war, yet another – now domestic – color revolution under the sign of divide and rule, pitting Antifa anti-fascists vs. fascist white supremacists. Meanwhile, the policy infrastructure necessary for enacting martial law has evolved as a bipartisan project.'

+ Pablo Escobar: Why America's Revolution Won't Be Televised (2020):
+ https://www.zerohedge.com/geopolitical/escobar-why-americas-revolution-wont-be-televised

Gandhi Statue Protests

'In a disturbing development in the United States, a statue of Mahatma Gandhi installed outside the Indian embassy in Washington DC has been desecrated by unruly Black Lives Matter protesters, news agency ANI has reported. The United States Park police have launched an investigation into the desecration of the statue, the news agency said quoting sources. Protests have erupted across the US over the death of an African-American man, George Floyd, in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Floyd died on 25 May after a white cop pressed his knee on the African-American man’s neck. Following the incident, protesters have taken to the streets across the country to protest against police brutality and racial injustice. Some of the protesters have also resorted to violence and looting. The US prosecutors have charged several police officers in the case. The main accused, Derek Chauvin, who was caught on video pressing his knee to Floyd’s neck, has been charged with second-degree murder. The three other officers at the scene were charged for the first time with aiding and abetting second-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter.'

+ US: Mahatma Gandhi’s Statue Outside Indian Embassy In Washington DC Vandalised By Black Lives Matter Protesters (2020):
+ https://swarajyamag.com/insta/us-mahatma-gandhis-statue-outside-indian-embassy-in-washington-dc-vandalised-b...

RELATED LINKS:
+ https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ECHELON
+ https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/St._John%27s_Episcopal_Church,_Lafayette_Square
+ https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Benjamin_Henry_Latrobe
+ https://futurism.com/neoscope/scientists-test-covid-antibody-treatment-humans
+ https://www.nytimes.com/2020/06/03/us/cdc-coronavirus.html
+ https://www.polygraph.info/a/china-disinfo-covid-19/30647619.html
+ https://www.sltrib.com/news/politics/2020/06/04/what-its-like-utah/
+ https://librivox.org/candide-by-voltaire-3/
+ https://www.gutenberg.org/files/19942/19942-h/19942-h.htm
+ https://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/virginia-gop-calls-own-lawmaker-s-comments-confederate-statues-idiotic-...
+ https://blog.nem.ec/2020/05/24/ebay-port-scanning/
+ https://archive.org/details/DavidTalbotTheDevilsChessboard2015/
+ https://www.msn.com/en-us/health/medical/americans-are-gargling-with-bleach-and-drinking-household-cleaners-...

Category: 

Comments

typehost's picture

Guernica

'Guernica, the most ancient town of the Basques and the centre of their cultural tradition, was completely destroyed yesterday afternoon by insurgent air raiders. The bombardment of this open town far behind the lines occupied precisely three hours and a quarter, during which a powerful fleet of aeroplanes consisting of three German types, Junkers and Heinkel bombers and Heinkel fighters, did not cease unloading on the town bombs weighing from 1,000lb. downwards and, it is calculated, more than 3,000 two-pounder aluminium incendiary projectiles. The fighters, meanwhile, plunged low from above the centre of the town to machine- gun those of the civilian population who had taken refuge in. the fields. The whole of Guernica was soon in flames except the historic Casa de Jontas with its rich archives of the Basque race, where the ancient Basque Parliament used to sit. The famous oak of Guernica, the dried old stump of 600 years and the young new shoots of this century, was also untouched. Here the kings of Spain used to take the oath to respect the democratic rights (fueros) of Vizcaya and in return received a promise of allegiance as suzerains with the democratic title of Señor, not Rey Vizcaya. The noble parish, church of Santa Maria was also undamaged except for the beautiful chapter house, which was struck by an incendiary bomb. At 2 am today when I visited the town the whole of it was a horrible sight, flaming from end to end. The reflection of the flames could be seen in the clouds of smoke above the mountains from 10 miles away. Throughout the night houses were falling until the streets became long heaps of red impenetrable debris. Many of the civilian survivors took the long trek from Guernica to Bilbao in antique solid-wheeled Basque farmcarts drawn by oxen. Carts piled high with such household possessions as could be saved from the conflagration clogged the roads all night. Other survivors were evacuated in Government lorries, but many were forced to remain round the burning town lying on mattresses or looking for lost relatives and children, while units of the fire brigades and the Basque motorized police under the personal direction of the Minister of the Interior, Señor Monzon, and his wife continued rescue work till dawn.

CHURCH BELL ALARM

In the form of its execution and the scale of the destruction it wrought, no less than in the selection of its objective, the raid on Guernica is unparalleled in military history. Guernica was not a military objective. A factory producing war material lay outside the town and was untouched. So were two barracks some distance from the town. The town lay far behind the lines. The object of the bombardment was seemingly the demoralization of the civil population and the destruction of the cradle of the Basque race. Every fact bears out this appreciation, beginning with the day when the deed was done. Monday was the customary market day in Guernica for the country round. At 4.30 pm, when the market was full and peasants were still coming in, the church bell rang the alarm for approaching aeroplanes, and the population sought refuge in cellars and in the dugouts pre pared following the bombing of the civilian population of Durango on March 31, which opened General Mola’s offensive in the north. The people are said to have shown a good spirit. A Catholic priest took charge and perfect order was maintained. Five minutes later a single German bomber appeared, circled over the town at a low altitude, and then dropped six heavy bombs, apparently aiming for the station. The bombs with a shower of grenades fell on a former institute and on houses and streets surrounding it. The aeroplane then went away. In another five minutes came a second bomber, which threw the same number of bombs into the middle of the town. About a quarter of an hour later three Junkers arrived to continue the work of demolition, and thenceforward the bombing grew in intensity and was continuous, ceasing only with the approach of dusk at 7.45. The whole town of 7,000 inhabitants, plus 3,000 refugees, was slowly and systematically pounded to pieces. Over a radius of five miles round a detail of the raiders’ technique was to bomb separate caserios, or farmhouses. In the night these burned like little candles in the hills. All the villages around were bombed with the same intensity as the town itself, and at Mugica, a little group of houses at the head of the Guernica inlet, the population was machine-gunned for 15 minutes.

PAID ADVERTISEMENT:

RHYTHM OF DEATH

It is impossible to state yet the number of victims. In the Bilbao Press this morning they were reported as "fortunately small," but it is feared that this was an understatement in order not to alarm the large refugee population of Bilbao. In the hospital of Josefinas, which was one of the first places bombed, all the 42 wounded militiamen it sheltered were killed outright. In a street leading downhill from the Casa de Juntas I saw a place where 50 people, nearly all women and children, are said to have been trapped in an air raid refuge under a mass of burning wreckage. Many were killed in the fields, and altogether the deaths may run into hundreds. An elderly priest named Aronategui was killed by a bomb while rescuing children from a burning house. The tactics of the bombers, which may be of interest to students of the new military science, were as follows: — First, small parties of aeroplanes threw heavy bombs and hand grenades all over the town, choosing area after area in orderly fashion. Next came fighting machines which swooped low to machine-gun those who ran in panic from dugouts, some of which had already been penetrated by 1,000lb bombs, which make a hole 25ft. deep. Many of these people were killed as they ran. A large herd of sheep being brought in to the market was also wiped out. The object of this move was apparently to drive the population under ground again, for next as many as 12 bombers appeared at a time dropping heavy and incendiary bombs upon the ruins. The rhythm of this bombing of an open town was, therefore, a logical one: first, hand grenades and heavy bombs to stampede the population, then machine-gunning to drive them below, next heavy and incendiary bombs to wreck the houses and burn them on top of their victims. The only counter-measures the Basques could employ, for they do not possess sufficient aeroplanes to face the insurgent fleet, were those provided by the heroism of the Basque clergy. These blessed and prayed for the kneeling crowds—Socialists, Anarchists, and Communists, as well as the declared faithful - in the crumbling dugouts. When I entered Guernica after midnight houses were crashing on either side, and it was utterly impossible even for firemen to enter the centre of the town. The hospitals of Josefinas and Convento de Santa Clara were glowing heaps of embers, all the churches except that of Santa Maria were destroyed, and the few houses which still stood were doomed. When I revisited Guernica this afternoon most of the town was still burning and new fires had broken out About 30 dead were laid out in a ruined hospital.

A CALL TO BASQUES

The effect here of the bombardment of Guernica, the Basques’ holy city, has been profound and has led President Aguirre to issue the following statement in this morning’s Basque Press:— "The German airmen in the service of the Spanish rebels, have bombarded Guernica, burning the historic town which is held in such veneration by all Basques. They have sought to wound us in the most sensitive of our patriotic sentiments, once more making it entirely clear what Euzkadis may expect of those who do not hesitate to destroy us down to the very sanctuary which records the centuries of our liberty and our democracy. "Before this outrage all we Basques must react with violence, swearing from the bottom of our hearts to defend the principles’ of our people with unheard of stubbornness and heroism if the case requires it. We cannot hide the gravity of the moment; but victory can never be won by the invader if, raising our spirits to heights of strength and determination, we steel ourselves to his defeat. "The enemy has advanced in. many parts elsewhere to be driven out of them afterwards. I do not hesitate to affirm that here the same thing will happen. May to-day’s outrage be one spur more to do it with all speed."'

PAID ADVERTISEMENT:

Guernica

Politics: "Lies, manipulation and the crucial importance of a free press and truthful accounts of historical events. Guernica exemplifies how the media reported then about the event to counter the propaganda of Franco who tried to put the blame for the destruction of Guernica on the shoulders of the Left in Spain. Had it not been for the eye witness of a journalist from the New York Times, the true story would have never come out and a skeptical world population of the Left would have easily believed Franco’s claim. Something similar happened in Germany when Hitler put on fire the Reichtstagsgebaeude and then blamed the Left to justify a full scale political crack-down of all opposition."

+ THE TRAGEDY OF GUERNICA: TOWN DESTROYED IN AIR ATTACK [EYE-WITNESS’S ACCOUNT] (1937):
+ http://poieinkaiprattein.org/kids-guernica/picasso-s-guernica/news-report-by-george-steer-for-the-times-abou...
+ https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2020/06/07/black-lives-matters-police-departments-have-long-histo...
+ https://www.npr.org/sections/codeswitch/2020/06/03/457251670/how-much-do-we-need-the-police
+ https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2020/jun/06/nfl-statement-wrong-players-racism-protests-roger-goodell-dona...
+ https://www.vice.com/en_us/article/59jb95/pablo-escobar-brother-roberto-dietbitcoin-cryptocurrency-claims-he...
+ https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2020/jun/08/george-floyd-killing-police-arrest-non-violent-protesters
+ https://news.yahoo.com/dispatch-bad-officer-just-laugh-162013566.html
+ https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Guernica_(Picasso)

typehost's picture

Virus Transmission

'At humidity levels of 23 percent, 70 to 77 percent of the flu virus particles were still able to cause an infection an hour after the coughing simulation. But when humidity levels were raised to 43 percent, just 14 percent of the virus particles had the ability to infect. Most of the flu particles became inactive 15 minutes after they were released into the humid air. "The virus just falls apart," at high humidity levels, said study researcher John Noti, of the CDC's National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health. High humidity was just as detrimental to small flu particles as large ones.'

+ Higher Humidity Lowers Flu Transmission (2013):
+ https://www.livescience.com/27533-flu-transmission-humidity.html

'Epidemiological analyses, spurred by experimental data on influenza virus transmission and stability, have identified absolute humidity and temperature as climatic predictors of influenza epidemics in temperate regions of the world. Transmission experiments using the guinea pig model indicate that the association between these environmental factors and influenza seasonality is due to their impact on the efficiency of respiratory droplet transmission. The mechanism(s) by which temperature and humidity alter transmission outcomes remains unclear but may include multiple effects acting at the level of the host, the virus, and the respiratory droplet. Further experimentation is needed to understand which of the potential mechanisms is at play. The relationship between salt concentrations and virus viability warrants further examination, and relatively simple analyses performed with bulk fluids rather than small droplets may be informative. Although the dilution of exhaled aerosols in the air is often a technical limitation, sampling of air surrounding infected hosts could be used to evaluate whether increased respiratory droplet production, increased infectivity of virus in droplets, or decreased droplet size are observed when infected animals are exposed to cold or dry conditions. Transmission experiments in which AH is held constant but RH and temperature are varied may provide valuable data for determining conclusively which of these factors affects transmission. Finally, if an appropriate caging system can be devised, testing transmission between recipient animals housed in warm or humid air and donor animals housed under standard conditions—or vice versa—would indicate at which stage(s) unfavorable environmental conditions block transmission. Despite recent advances, the mechanisms underlying influenza seasonality still provide fertile ground for further discovery.'

+ Roles of Humidity and Temperature in Shaping Influenza Seasonality (2014):
+ https://jvi.asm.org/content/88/14/7692

'Yang and Marr modeled the survival, size distributions, and dynamics of influenza emitted from a cough in an indoor environment and considered the roles of gravitational settling, ventilation, and virus inactivation at RHs of 10–90%. They concluded that settling can remove over 80% of airborne influenza 10 minutes after a cough and that RH increases the removal efficiency only slightly from 87% to 92% over the range of RHs. Applying a similar model to the cough aerosol particle distribution shown in Fig. 2, we estimated the change in the concentration of airborne particles in our chamber over time due to gravitational settling and filtration by the breathing simulator and aerosol samplers. We then predicted the amount of virus that should be collected in each stage of the aerosol sampler during the first hour (0 to 60 minutes) and the fifth hour (240 to 300 minutes) after the start of the series of coughs. Our results indicated that the amount of virus in the largest aerosol fraction (>4 µm) collected during the fifth hour would be reduced to 6% of that seen during the first hour; the second fraction (1–4 µm) would be reduced to 30%; and the smallest fraction (4 µm, whereas little settling occurred in the

The effect of increasing humidity on viral survival differed among several reported studies as Hemmes et al., Hood and Harper concluded that survival was maximum at 10–25% RH and minimal at high >50% RH whereas, Shechmeister and Shaffer et al. found survival was maximal at 20–25% RH, minimal at 50% RH, and moderate at 70–80% RH. High salt concentrations are deleterious to influenza and protein concentrations in the viral preparation of less than 0.1 mg/ml adversely affect stability of influenza when aerosolized at high and mid-range RH. Yang and Marr suggest that, although Shechmeister and Shaffer et al. used significantly lower concentrations of protein in some of their viral preparations, the trends they obtained were the result of increasing salt concentrations followed by crystallization of the virus at the point of efflorescence (45–48% RH). In our study, 0.2% BSA was included to maintain stability of the virus, and our results support those obtained by Hemmes et al., Hood and Harper and closely align with the Yang and Marr model.

Hanley and Borup examined aerosol transmission of influenza for indoor locations frequented by jet travelers and developed risk contours for temperature and humidity that were based on studies reported in the literature. They concluded that, in addition to intervention strategies including the use of masks and gloves, climate control of indoor locations should be considered by public health planners in making recommendations to interrupt the spread of influenza. The environmental controls in health care facilities are primarily designed to satisfy human comfort criteria established under ASRAE and ISO standards, with the exception of special cases where higher humidity is specified to reduce static charge in medical test equipment and/or computer areas. Raising the humidity levels in existing facilities may not be practical given design limitations built into the facilities under the existing standards. However, if functional areas of health care facilities were identified as high risk for flu transmission due to low humidity conditions, consideration could be given during the design and construction phase of these facilities to accommodate maintaining appropriate recommended humidity levels.'

+ High Humidity Leads to Loss of Infectious Influenza Virus from Simulated Coughs (2013):
+ https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3583861/

PAID ADVERTISEMENT:

George

'A judge in Richmond has issued an injunction blocking Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam from removing a controversial statue of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee. The order will prevent the statue’s removal for the next 10 days and cites that the state is a party to a deed recorded in March 1890 whereby it agreed to “faithfully guard” and “affectionately protect” both the monument and its 40-foot pedestal — and that their removal could cause them “irreparable harm.” The order states it is in the public’s best interest to wait for the resolution of the case on its merits before removing the statue. Northam last week ordered the removal of the statue, which has become a flashpoint during the global unrest over the police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis. The statue of Lee is among a host of Confederate monuments in the south that residents are demanding to be removed, arguing that they glorify white supremacy.'

+ Judge temporarily blocks Virginia’s removal of Gen. Robert E. Lee statue (2020):
+ https://nypost.com/2020/06/10/judge-temporarily-blocks-virginias-removal-of-robert-e-lee-statue/

'Eight days of unrest that have changed Richmond had spurred yet another surprise: a united front of city leaders on a long-divisive issue that many have been loath to act on — until now. The consensus all but guarantees the four locally controlled Confederate statues on Monument Avenue will come down, along with that depicting Gen. Robert E. Lee; Gov. Ralph Northam on Thursday ordered the state-owned Lee statue removed “as soon as possible.” Black Lives Matters demonstrations have gripped the city over the past week, following the death of George Floyd, 46, while in Minneapolis police custody on Memorial Day. As residents marched against racism and police brutality, they also set their sights on Richmond’s Confederate monuments, the most prominent in the country in what is the former capital of the Confederacy. Protesters spray painted the pedestals of each of the statues, which were added to Monument Avenue between 1890 and 1929. Declaring the monuments symbols of white supremacy, protesters have called on city leaders to take them down. The pressure prompted Mayor Levar Stoney to take a more aggressive approach on the statues than his administration had previously charted. In 2018, a panel said the city should remove the Jefferson Davis statue and add context to those honoring Gens. J.E.B. Stuart and Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson and Confederate naval commander Matthew Fontaine Maury. Stoney shelved its recommendations this week when he joined Councilman Michael Jones to announce an ordinance authorizing removal of all the statues. The demonstrations produced more dramatic shifts. Trammell, the 8th District councilwoman who represents a majority African American district, voted against three separate requests for control of the statues. In a text message, she explained what changed her stance. “While many citizens support putting the Confederate statues in a museum, some oppose it,” Trammell stated. “After giving this much thought, I will vote to take them down. I feel it is the right thing to do. I never thought I would live to see the kind of damage and destruction that has been inflicted on Richmond, and we need to end this now.” Looters, vandals and arsonists damaged businesses and vehicles last weekend, prompting much of downtown to board up this week. Most of the property damage occurred on the first two nights of demonstrations. The vast majority of protesters have refrained from such tactics, and, instead, have gathered peacefully.'

+ It's unanimous: All nine Richmond City Council members back removal of Confederate monuments on Monument Avenue (2020):
+ https://www.richmond.com/news/local/its-unanimous-all-nine-richmond-city-council-members-back-removal-of-con...

'In temperate regions influenza epidemics recur with marked seasonality: in the northern hemisphere the influenza season spans November to March, while in the southern hemisphere epidemics last from May until September. Although seasonality is one of the most familiar features of influenza, it is also one of the least understood. Indoor crowding during cold weather, seasonal fluctuations in host immune responses, and environmental factors, including relative humidity, temperature, and UV radiation have all been suggested to account for this phenomenon, but none of these hypotheses has been tested directly. Using the guinea pig model, we have evaluated the effects of temperature and relative humidity on influenza virus spread. By housing infected and naïve guinea pigs together in an environmental chamber, we carried out transmission experiments under conditions of controlled temperature and humidity. We found that low relative humidities of 20%–35% were most favorable, while transmission was completely blocked at a high relative humidity of 80%. Furthermore, when guinea pigs were kept at 5 °C, transmission occurred with greater frequency than at 20 °C, while at 30 °C, no transmission was detected. Our data implicate low relative humidities produced by indoor heating and cold temperatures as features of winter that favor influenza virus spread.'

+ Influenza Virus Transmission Is Dependent on Relative Humidity and Temperature (2007):
+ https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2034399/

'While experts know that cold temperatures and low humidity promote transmission of the flu virus, less is understood about the effect of decreased humidity on the immune system's defenses against flu infection. The Yale research team, led by Akiko Iwasaki, the Waldemar Von Zedtwitz Professor of Immunobiology, explored the question using mice genetically modified to resist viral infection as humans do. The mice were all housed in chambers at the same temperature, but with either low or normal humidity. They were then exposed to the influenza A virus. The researchers found that low humidity hindered the immune response of the animals in three ways. It prevented cilia, which are hair-like structures in airways cells, from removing viral particles and mucus. It also reduced the ability of airway cells to repair damage caused by the virus in the lungs. The third mechanism involved interferons, or signaling proteins released by virus-infected cells to alert neighboring cells to the viral threat. In the low-humidity environment, this innate immune defense system failed. The study offers insight into why the flu is more prevalent when the air is dry. "It's well known that where humidity drops, a spike in flu incidence and mortality occurs. If our findings in mice hold up in humans, our study provides a possible mechanism underlying this seasonal nature of flu disease," said Iwasaki. While the researchers emphasized that humidity is not the only factor in flu outbreaks, it is an important one that should be considered during the winter season. Increasing water vapor in the air with humidifiers at home, school, work, and even hospital environments is a potential strategy to reduce flu symptoms and speed recovery, they said. The study was published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS).'

+ Flu virus' best friend: Low humidity (2019):
+ https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2019/05/190513155635.htm

PAID ADVERTISEMENT:

Eleanor Holmes Norton

Structurally Disenfranchised: "U.S. Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton (Washington D.C.) Emerges as Leading Biden VP Candidate with Support for HR 2419 Since 1994."
+ https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eleanor_Holmes_Norton
+ https://congress.gov/bill/116th-congress/house-bill/2419/text
#SNCC #MLK #CivilRights #HR2419 #EndGame2020 @NFL #Greed #Feminism

'Hours after President Trump said he wouldn't be renaming military bases named for Confederate leaders, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi flaunted her opposition by highlighting her work to get Confederate statues in the U.S. Capitol removed. Pelosi sent out a copy of a letter she had addressed to the chairs of the Joint Committee on the Library, which manages the National Statuary Hall collection - the 100 statues contributed by states that are on display in Statuary Hall and other places around the U.S. Capitol complex. Each U.S. state gets to contribute two statues and there are currently 11 Confederate figures on display. Pelosi called for their removal. The statue collection includes Gen. Robert E. Lee, a gift from Virginia, the Confederate president Jefferson Davis, which is a contribution from Mississippi and Alexander Hamilton Stephens, a statue given by Georgia. Additionally Mississippi has a statue of Confederate James Zachariah George, Alabama has Joseph Wheeler, South Carolina has a statue of Wade Hampton, North Carolina has a statue of Zebulon Vance, West Virginia has John E. Kenna, Louisiana has Edward Douglass White and Arkansas gifted a statue of Uriah Milton Rose, an attorney who sided with the Confederacy. The statue of Edmund Kirby Smith, a general in the Confederate Army, was already expected to be replaced. Most of the Confederates in the collection are depicted in uniform. In her letter to Sen. Roy Blunt, the chair and a Missouri Republican and Rep. Zoe Lofgren, the committee's vice chair and a California Democrat, Pelosi quoted Stephens' 'corner-stone speech' in which the Confederacy's vice president said the 'assumption of the equality of the races' was something that was made 'in error. Our new government is founded upon exactly the opposite idea; its foundations are laid, its corner-stone rests, upon the great truth that the negro is not equal to the white man; that slavery subordination to the superior race is his natural and normal condition,' Stephens had said in the speech, Pelosi reminded the lawmakers. She argued that the statues that are on display on Capitol Hill 'should embody our highest ideals as Americans. Monuments to men who advocated cruelty and barbarism to achieve such a plainly racist end are a grotesque affront to these ideals,' Pelosi said. 'Their statues pay homage to hate, not heritage. They must be removed,' she argued. The push to get rid of Confederate symbols has come in the aftermath of the Memorial Day killing of George Floyd, a Minneapolis black man, at the hands of a white police officer.'

+ Nancy Pelosi demands Republicans agree to remove 11 Confederate statues from Congress including Jefferson Davis and Robert E. Lee (2020):
+ https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-8408251/Pelosi-demands-Republicans-agree-remove-11-Confederate-stat...

'For decades, researchers have been searching for answers as to why there is such a pronounced seasonality of influenza incidence, which peaks during the winter in temperate regions. Potential explanations are that people spend more time indoors and thus transmit the virus more easily; less sunlight may have a chemical effect on the virus and/or people's immune response; or there might be an unknown environmental control. The findings of Shaman and Kohn indicate that absolute humidity is the control. Though counter-intuitive, absolute humidity is much higher in the summer. On a typical summer day in Oregon there is twice as much water vapor in the air as in winter, even though it may be raining. "In some areas of the country, a typical summer day can have four times as much water vapor as a typical winter day – a difference that exists both indoors and outdoors," Shaman said. "Consequently, outbreaks of influenza typically occur in winter when low absolute humidity conditions strongly favor influenza survival and transmission."'

+ Link Found Between Influenza, Absolute Humidity (2009):
+ https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/02/090209205148.htm

'Physicists set a new record by linking together a hot soup of 15 trillion atoms in a bizarre phenomenon called quantum entanglement. The finding could be a major breakthrough for creating more accurate sensors to detect ripples in space-time called gravitational waves or even the elusive dark matter thought to pervade the universe. Entanglement, a quantum phenomena Albert Einstein famously described as "spooky action at a distance," is a process in which two or more particles become linked and any action performed on one instantaneously affects the others regardless of how far apart they are. Entanglement lies at the heart of many emerging technologies, such as quantum computing and cryptography. Entangled states are infamous for being fragile; their quantum links can be easily broken by the slightest internal vibration or interference from the outside world. For this reason, scientists attempt to reach the coldest temperatures possible in experiments to entangle jittery atoms; the lower the temperature, the less likely atoms are to bounce into each other and break their coherence. For the new study, researchers at the Institute of Photonic Science (ICFO) in Barcelona, Spain, took the opposite approach, heating atoms to millions of times hotter than a typical quantum experiment to see if entanglement could persist in a hot and chaotic environment. "Entanglement is one of the most remarkable quantum technologies, but it is famously fragile," said Jia Kong, a visiting scientist at ICFO and lead author of the study. "Most entanglement-related quantum technology has to be applied in a low-temperature environment, such as a cold atomic system. This limits the application of entanglement states. [Whether or not] entanglement can survive in a hot and messy environment is an interesting question." The researchers heated a small glass tube filled with vaporized rubidium and inert nitrogen gas to 350 degrees Fahrenheit (177 degrees Celsius), coincidentally the perfect temperature to bake cookies. At this temperature, the hot cloud of rubidium atoms is in a state of chaos, with thousands of atomic collisions taking place every second. Like billiard balls, the atoms bounce off each other, transferring their energy and spin. But unlike classical billiards, this spin does not represent the physical motion of the atoms. In quantum mechanics, spin is a fundamental property of particles, just like mass or electric charge, that gives particles an intrinsic angular momentum. In many ways, the spin of a particle is analogous to a spinning planet, having both angular momentum and creating a weak magnetic field, called a magnetic moment.'

+ Physicists entangle 15 trillion hot atoms (2020):
+ https://www.livescience.com/physicists-entangle-15-trillion-hot-atoms.html

RELATED LINKS:
+ https://news.yahoo.com/christopher-columbus-statue-toppled-virginia-125428154.html
+ https://undark.org/2020/06/08/for-experts-who-study-coronaviruses-a-grim-vindication/
+ https://www.rt.com/usa/491362-columbus-statue-torn-down-richmond/

typehost's picture

Murdoch Soros

'Top legal and security officials for Facebook, Twitter and Google appeared before the Senate Judiciary Committee Tuesday, in a hearing targeting “Extremist Content and Russian Disinformation Online.” Over the course of four hours, senators argued that “foreign infiltration” is the root of social opposition within the United States, in order to justify the censorship of oppositional viewpoints. Russia “sought to sow discord and amplify racial and social divisions among American voters,” said Democratic Senator Dianne Feinstein of California. It “exploited hot button topics…to target both conservative and progressive audiences.” Republican Senator Chuck Grassley of Iowa said Russia helped promote protests against police violence in Ferguson, Baltimore and Cleveland. Russia, he said, “spread stories about abuse of black Americans by law enforcement. These ads are clearly intended to worsen racial tensions and possibly violence in those cities.” Democratic Senator Mazie Hirono of Hawaii demanded, for her part, that the companies adopt a “mission statement” expressing their commitment “to prevent the fomenting of discord.” The most substantial portion of the testimony took place in the second part of the hearing, during which most of the Senators had left and two representatives of the US intelligence agencies testified before a room of mostly empty chairs.

Clint Watts, a former U.S. Army officer, former FBI agent, and member of the Alliance for Securing Democracy, made the following apocalyptic proclamation: “Civil wars don’t start with gunshots, they start with words. America’s war with itself has already begun. We all must act now on the social media battlefield to quell information rebellions that can quickly lead to violent confrontations and easily transform us into the Divided States of America.” He added, “Stopping the false information artillery barrage landing on social media users comes only when those outlets distributing bogus stories are silenced—silence the guns and the barrage will end.” As this “civil war” rages on, he said, “our country remains stalled in observation, halted by deliberation and with each day more divided by manipulative forces coming from afar.” The implications of these statements are staggering. The United States is in the midst of a civil war, and the necessary response of the government is censorship, together with the abolition of all other fundamental democratic rights. The “rebellion” must be put down by silencing the news outlets that advocate it. That such a statement could be made in a congressional hearing, entirely without objection, is an expression of the terminal decay of American democracy. There is no faction of the ruling class that maintains any commitment to basic democratic rights. None of the Democrats in the committee raised any of the constitutional issues involved in asking massive technology companies to censor political speech on the Internet. Only one Republican raised concerns over censorship, but only to allege that Google had a liberal bias.

The Democrats focused their remarks on demands that the Internet companies take even more aggressive steps to censor content. In one particularly noxious exchange, Feinstein pressed Google’s legal counsel on why it took so long for YouTube (which is owned by Google) to revoke the status of Russia Today as a “preferred” broadcaster. She demanded, “Why did Google give preferred status to Russia Today, a Russian propaganda arm, on YouTube? ... It took you until September of 2017 to do it.” Despite the fact that Feinstein and other Democrats were clearly pressuring the company to take that step, the senators allowed Richard Salgado, Google’s Law Enforcement and Information Security Director, to present what was by all appearances a bald-faced lie before Congress. “The removal of RT from the program was actually a result of…is a result of some of the drop in viewership, not as a result of any action otherwise. So there was … there was nothing about RT or its content that meant that it stayed in or stayed out,” Salgado stammered, in the only time he appeared to lose his composure during the hearing. Salgado’s apparently false statement is of a piece with Google’s other actions to censor the Internet. These include changes to its search algorithm, which, behind the backs of the public, have slashed search traffic to left-wing websites by some 55 percent, with the World Socialist Web Site losing some 74 percent of its search traffic.'

PAID ADVERTISEMENT:

San Diego Padres

"The San Diego Padres revealed a new jersey on the flight deck of the USS Theodore Roosevelt. The blue digital camouflage tops are modeled after the US Navy’s work uniforms. They will be worn on Sunday home games."
+ Padres Reveal Navy-inspired Jerseys (2015):
+ https://sandiegouniontribune.com/sports/padres/sdut-san-diego-padres-new-navy-uniforms-2015dec01-story.html
#GameTheory #MLB #GWOT #Pentagon #Uniform

'Stressing the transformation of the major US technology companies into massive censorship operations, Democratic Senator Sheldon Whitehouse of Rhode Island asked the representatives of the firms, “I gather that all of your companies have moved beyond any notion that your job is only to provide a platform, and whatever goes across it is not your affair,” to which all answered in the affirmative. When pressed by lawmakers to state how many people were employed by Facebook to moderate content, Colin Stretch, the company’s general counsel, said that Facebook employed “thousands” of such moderators, and was in the process of adding “thousands more.” While the senators and technology companies largely presented a show of unity, just how far the companies were willing to go in censoring users’ content and helping the government create blacklists of dissidents was no doubt a subject of contentious debate in the background. On Friday, Feinstein sent a letter to Twitter’s CEO demanding that the company hand over profile information—possibly including full names, email addresses, and phone numbers—related to “divisive” “organic content” promoted by “Russia-linked” accounts. Although the senators largely steered away from the issue of “organic content” in their questions, a remark by Sean Edgett, Twitter’s acting general counsel, made clear that the “organic content” Feinstein’s letter was referring to included the social media posts of US-based organizations and individuals. Edgett said “organic tweets,” include “those that you or I or anyone here today can tweet from their phone or computer.” The New York Times reported over the weekend, however, that Facebook has already begun turning lists of such “organic content” over to congressional investigators. Given that Facebook has said that just one “Russia-linked” company had posted some 80,000 pieces of “divisive” content, including reposts from other users, it is reasonable to assume Facebook and Twitter are being pressured to turn over information on a substantial portion of political dissidents within the United States.'

+ Former FBI agent says tech companies must “silence” sources of “rebellion” (2017):
+ https://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2017/11/01/goog-n01.html

'As protesters hit the streets in cities across the country, America's foreign adversaries have flooded social media with content meant to sow division and discord in the wake of George Floyd's death, according to a U.S. government intelligence bulletin obtained by ABC News. The bulletin, distributed Tuesday to law enforcement by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), accuses Russia, China and Iran of "employing state media, proxy outlets, and social media accounts to amplify criticism of the United States related to the death of George Floyd and subsequent events." These "malign actors" also appear intent on drawing attention to alleged hypocrisy in the Trump administration's handling of protesters, the report found. The death of 46-year-old George Floyd last month, at the hands of a former Minneapolis police officer, has sparked outrage and protest from coast to coast, prompting calls for an overhaul of police practices. In the intervening weeks, foreign adversaries have sought to leverage the residual domestic strife resulting from Floyd's death to pursue geopolitical goals, the bulletin claimed, including an ongoing effort to weaken Washington's image on the international stage.

"These actors criticize the United States as hypocritical, corrupt, undemocratic, racist, guilty of human rights abuses and on the verge of collapsing," the report found.

For Russia, this finding represents the latest chapter in Moscow's age-old information warfare playbook, according to John Cohen, a former senior DHS official and current ABC News contributor. "This is yet another indicator that Russia is using the combination of overt propaganda and covertly disseminated disinformation to sow discord across our populace, expand the cracks in our society, and undermine the credibility of the U.S. government," Cohen said. During the 2016 election, Russian proxies conducted "a social media campaign designed to provoke and amplify political and social discord in the United States," according to former special counsel Robert Mueller in his March 2019 report on Russian meddling. Since then, Russian actors have honed in on race-related incidents in America... After the Charlottesville rally, a Republican member of Congress told CNN that the FBI had evidence that Russians had used the event to enflame racial tensions on social media. The intelligence bulletin also cited Russian state-run media outlets Ruptly, RT France and Going Underground on RT as applauding Americans for being "justified in rioting against the 'corrupt American capitalist system.'" The U.S. intelligence community has previously designated multiple state-run media outlets as "international propaganda outlets," according to a January 2017 report gathered by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence.'

+ Intel bulletin warns of 'malign actors' targeting US over George Floyd fallout (2020):
+ https://abcnews.go.com/US/intel-bulletin-warns-malign-actors-targeting-us-george/story?id=71184163

'Particles can display many interesting and surprising phenomena. We can have spontaneous particle creation, entanglement between the states of particles that are far apart, and particles in a superposition of existence in multiple locations. In quantum gravity, space-time itself behaves in novel ways. Instead of the creation of particles, we have the creation of universes. Entanglement is thought to create connections between distant regions of space-time. We have superpositions of universes with different space-time geometries. Furthermore, from the perspective of particle physics, the vacuum of space is a complex object. We can picture many entities called fields superimposed on top of one another and extending throughout space. The value of each field is constantly fluctuating at short distances. Out of these fluctuating fields and their interactions, the vacuum state emerges. Particles are disturbances in this vacuum state. We can picture them as small defects in the structure of the vacuum. When we consider gravity, we find that the expansion of the universe appears to produce more of this vacuum stuff out of nothing. When space-time is created, it just happens to be in the state that corresponds to the vacuum without any defects. How the vacuum appears in precisely the right arrangement is one of the main questions we need to answer to obtain a consistent quantum description of black holes and cosmology. In both of these cases there is a kind of stretching of space-time that results in the creation of more of the vacuum substance.'

+ Gravity Creates Something From Nothing (2020):
+ https://www.quantamagazine.org/why-gravity-is-not-like-the-other-forces-20200615/

'We review the holographic correspondence between field theories and string/M theory, focusing on the relation between compactifications of string/M theory on Anti-de Sitter spaces and conformal field theories. We review the background for this correspondence and discuss its motivations and the evidence for its correctness. We describe the main results that have been derived from the correspondence in the regime that the field theory is approximated by classical or semiclassical gravity. We focus on the case of the N= 4 supersymmetric gauge theory in four dimensions, but we discuss also field theories in other dimensions, conformal and non-conformal, with or without supersymmetry, and in particular the relation to QCD. We also discuss some implications for black hole physics.'

+ Large N field theories, string theory and gravity (2000):
+ https://arxiv.org/pdf/hep-th/9905111.pdf

'Does anyone believe the nationwide riots and looting are a spontaneous reaction to the killing of George Floyd? It’s all too coordinated, too widespread, and too much in-sync with the media narrative that applauds the “mainly peaceful protests” while ignoring the vast destruction to cities across the country. What’s that all about? Do the instigators of these demonstrations want to see our cities reduced to urban wastelands where street gangs and Antifa thugs impose their own harsh justice? That’s where this is headed, isn’t it? Of course there are millions of protesters who honestly believe they’re fighting racial injustice and police brutality. And more power to them. But that certainly doesn’t mean there aren’t hidden agendas driving these outbursts. Quite the contrary. It seems to me that the protest movement is actually the perfect vehicle for affecting dramatic social changes that only serve the interests of elites... the media works hand-in-glove with the Intel agencies and FBI while–at the same time– serving as a mouthpiece for elites. That hasn’t changed, in fact, it’s gotten even worse. The uniformity of the coverage suggests that that same perception management strategy is being employed here as well. Even at this late date, the determination to remove Trump from office is as strong as ever even though, in the present case, it has been combined with the broader political strategy of inciting fratricidal violence, obliterating urban areas, and spreading anarchy across the country. This isn’t about racial justice or police brutality, it’s about regime change, internal destabilization, and martial law... The protests are merely a fig leaf for a “color revolution” that bears a striking resemblance to the more than 50 CIA-backed coups launched on foreign governments in the last 70 years... This a destabilization campaign similar to the CIA’s color revolutions designed to topple the regime (Trump), install a puppet government (Biden), impose “shock therapy” on the economy pushing tens of millions of Americans into homelessness and destitution, and leave behind a broken, smoldering shell of a country easily controlled by Federal shock troops and wealthy globalist mandarins.'

PAID ADVERTISEMENT:

George Warshington

"His grandeur of soul" - Public Law 107 (1955): The Pentagon, Arlington Cemetery, & Military Slavery:
George Washington, Martha, General Custer, & Robert E. Lee (1864):
+ https://twitter.com/typehost/status/1271585105321103365
#Pentagon #Arlington #RobertELee #WestPoint #GeorgeWashington

'Here’s a short excerpt from an article by Kurt Nimmo at his excellent blog “Another Day in the Empire”:

“The hypocrisy of the Black Lives Matter movement is astounding. BLM and its followers shout down those who insist all lives matter, regardless of race. In the BLM universe, skin pigmentation is the determinate, as it is for all racists. While BLM and identity activists dwell in OCD fashion on racist cops and “white privilege,” they completely ignore the organized mass murder of black- and brown-skinned people by a government that now “takes a knee” for a former criminal, beatified as a saint by the state and its propaganda media. Those responsible for the murder of George Floyd will undoubtedly spend years behind bars, as they should, but this will not quell the outrage and violence committed in his name. So lopsided and blinkered is the current identity-obsessed movement, it fails to address a far more deadly and vicious adversary—the neoliberal state. The organized murder of more than two million Arabs in Iraq, Syria, and Libya—more than a million in Iraq, 600,000 in Syria, and 30,000 in Libya—does not even register on the BLM and identity ideological radar.

Barack Obama suffocated the antiwar movement that had coalesced around the Bush neocon invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq, thus revealing that much of the political activism was predicated along partisan establishment political lines. Antiwar activists of the Vietnam War era called out both Republicans and Democrats for war crimes. Eisenhower, JFK, Johnson, Nixon—both Democrats and Republicans—are responsible for the murder of more than 3 million Vietnamese, Cambodians, and Laotians. Obama and his Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, are directly responsible for arming murderous jihadi mercenaries in Syria and their counterparts in Libya. The latter resulted in vicious racism by Arab Libyans against black African migrant workers and refugees. In Syria, Obama’s CIA funded and armed mercenaries in an effort to topple the government of Bashar al-Assad. The illegal effort by the US military to defeat the Islamic State in Syria—a psywar operation birthed by the Pentagon in occupied Iraq—resulted in further destabilizing Syria and killed tens of thousands of innocent civilians. Additionally, BLM and the supposed left in America have not pointed out the obvious—psychopathic cops are trained, armed (with tanks and other weapons of mass destruction), and enabled by the Pentagon. Why isn’t the Pentagon a site of protest, like it was during the Vietnam War?

The neoliberal elite is obsessed with overturning and destroying nations resisting IMF and World Bank domination and the “structural adjustment” schemes bankster and globalist organizations push (the strip mining and privatization of public services). Identity is not a consideration or precursor—all who resist, regardless of skin color and ethnicity, are to be hunted down and brutally murdered, as Muammar Gaddafi was for the crime of announcing he planned to quit selling oil in US dollars and establish an African gold dinar. Iraq’s dictator, Saddam Hussein, wasn’t deposed and executed for threatening the US with weapons of mass destruction, as the ludicrous machinations of the Bush neocons claim. Saddam, a former CIA operative in a plot to assassinate Gen. Abd al-Karim Qasim in 1959, was a trusted asset until he stepped out of bounds, as did another CIA asset, Panama’s Manuel Noriega. The Israelis, holding considerable political sway over Congress and the White House, also demanded Saddam Hussein be taken down, primarily for his support of the Palestinians, but also because a nation with a pan-Arabist at the helm was unacceptable. Likewise Syria. The hereditary regime of the al-Assad family and the Ba’ath party long touted a pan-Arab worldview and this was unacceptable to Israel and the United States. The covert and illegal war by the US and Israel in Syria has nothing to do with human rights, as espoused. The objective is to destroy any resistance to Israeli expansionism, turn pan-Arabism into an Islamic movement that can be more easily radicalized and thus vilified, and balkanize the Middle East along ethnic and religious lines, thus realizing Zbigniew Brzezinski’s “three grand imperatives of imperial geostrategy… to prevent collusion and maintain security dependence among the vassals, to keep tributaries pliant and protected, and to keep the barbarians from coming together.”

Only politically expedient and exploitable “barbarians” (as they are considered by the ruling elite, never mind the disingenuous rhetoric) will be allowed to protest and demand justice. BLM racism, the absurd demand white people go prostrate in racial submission, and the criminal looting and burning of cities in the name of George Floyd have not set off alarm bells at the Council of Foreign Relations, the Trilateral Commission, the Federal Reserve, and the institutional thank tanks. These should be the focus of protest, not police departments militarized by the federal government. The Milwaukee Police Department is not the hydra-head. The federal government and its corporate and bankster overseers are the true purveyors of violent conflict and political polarization. The BLM represents the forefront of an effort to divide Americans along racial and political lines, thus keeping race and identity-based barbarians safely away from more critical issues of importance to the elite, most crucially a free hand to plunder and ransack natural resources, minerals, crude oil, and impoverish billions of people whom the ruling elite consider unproductive useless eaters and a hindrance to the drive to dominate, steal, and murder... It is sad to say BLM serves the elite by ignoring or remaining ignorant of the main problem—boundless predation by a neoliberal criminal project that considers all—black, white, yellow, brown—as expliotable and dispensable serfs.'

+ “2 Million Arab Lives Don’t Matter“, Kurt Nimmo - ['Another Day in the Empire'] (2020):
+ https://kurtnimmo.blog/2020/06/09/2-million-arab-lives-dont-matter/

PAID ADVERTISEMENT:

George Washington Family

"The Washington Family" - Edward Savage (1789-96): 'G.W.P. Custis, George Washington, Nelly Custis, Martha, & an enslaved servant (probably William Lee or Christopher Sheels).' - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Washington_Family
+ William Lee: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_Lee_(valet)
+ Christopher Sheels: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christopher_Sheels

The protest movement is the mask that conceals the maneuvering of elites. The real target of this operation is the Constitutional Republic itself. Having succeeded in using the Lockdown to push the economy into severe recession, the globalists are now inciting a fratricidal war that will weaken the opposition and prepare the country for a new authoritarian order.'

+ Whitey: Do Deep State Elements Operate Within The Protest Movement? (2020):
+ https://www.zerohedge.com/political/whitney-do-deep-state-elements-operate-within-protest-movement

'Black Lives Matter was created in response to perceived racial injustice and police violence against Black citizens. It was founded in 2012 after an unarmed Black 17-year-old man, Trayvon Martin, was killed by White neighborhood watchman George Zimmerman (Black Lives Matter, n.d.). While Zimmerman was not a police officer, Black Lives Matter has brought attention to a multitude of violence and fatalities in interactions between American police officers and Black citizens. After the fatal shooting of Black 18-year-old Michael Brown by White police officer Darren Wilson in Ferguson, Missouri, in 2014, the movement gained significant attention, and the hashtag #BlackLivesMatter began to appear in social media posts addressing racial inequality and injustice (Cobb, 2016). According to the movement’s website, Black Lives Matter aims to work for a “world where Black lives are no longer systematically and intentionally targeted for demise” (Black Lives Matter, n.d., para. 5). After conducting research on Americans’ responses to the Black Lives Matter, the Pew Research Center found that about 22 percent of Americans opposed the movement while about 40 percent supported it (Horowitz & Livingston, 2016). Proponents of the movement tend to identify as Democrats, while the majority of Republicans surveyed seem to be somewhat or strongly opposed to the movement. Aside from this polarization of ordinary people across political party lines, some police organizations, such as New York’s Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association labor union, also blame the Black Lives Matter movement for the perceived “war on cops” taking place in the United States (Lockhart, 2016, para. 2).

Facebook, one of the original social networking sites, has supported Black Lives Matter through multiple public responses. On July 7, 2016, Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg published a post on Facebook expressing sympathy for the Castile family after Philando Castile was shot and killed by police in Minnesota (Wong, 2016). His post also addressed the need to continue to create a more connected and open world. The death of Castile was linked directly to Facebook as Diamond Reynolds, Castile’s fiancée, had created a Facebook Live video stream to record the shooting aftermath, which showcased her confronting police officer Jeronimo Yanez after Castile was shot. Following Zuckerberg’s post, Facebook hung a sign on July 8 at its California headquarters reading “Black Lives Matter,” in which the letters of the movement’s name were made up of the names of victims of recent violence between police and civilians (Brown, 2016). Additionally, earlier in February 2016, Zuckerberg posted a message on Facebook’s company announcement page asking employees to stop replacing the words “Black Lives Matter” with “All Lives Matter” on the company’s signature office chalkboard Facebook wall (Selyukh, 2016). He noted that while Facebook had never created rules regarding what employees can write on the wall, crossing out another person’s message is considered to silence that person’s speech and is disrespectful... While Facebook claimed to revere diversity, 55% of its employees are White (while 32% of its employees are Asian, 4% are Hispanic, and only 2% are Black). Leslie Miley, a Silicon Valley diversity advocate, called for Facebook and other tech companies to cease using referrals from prestigious universities when hiring, particularly because these universities are primarily accessible to White, privileged students (Beres, 2016). In addition, Facebook was accused of censorship after the Facebook Live video posted by Reynolds was temporarily inaccessible due to a technological glitch after Castile’s shooting (Sumagaysay, 2016). Ultimately, Zuckerberg’s posts and Facebook’s Black Lives Matter banner supported the company’s mission statement regarding openness, value of individuality, and expression of feelings. However, the breakdown of the company’s employees by race did not align with Zuckerberg’s focus on inclusivity and allowing oppressed voices to be heard. Facebook taking a stance on this particular social issue is not reflective of its behavior of possibly censoring graphic material posted via Facebook Live, which is frequently used to record shootings, protests, and other violence surrounding the Black Lives Matter movement.

Out of the three most popular sports brands within the United States, Nike was the only company to issue a public response to the Black Lives Matter movement in the form of a letter from its chairman and CEO, Mark Parker (McGirt, 2016). The letter, which was shared on July 15, 2016, with Nike’s 32,000 employees and in Fortune’s online newsletter on diversity in corporate America, was focused mainly on addressing the Nike employee team and their potential concerns about diversity in the workplace. Parker employed the word “we” frequently in his letter and noted that Nike is attempting to battle bigotry and “stand for racial justice” within the workplace. He specifically mentioned a number of notable Nikesponsored athletes who have spoken up for racial justice and referenced Nike’s “long history” of fighting for equality (para. 2). He concluded the letter by mentioning that Nike is working on ways to improve the diversity of its staff, and details regarding these improvements are outlined in the company’s sustainability report. Parker noted that company leadership will facilitate meetings to discuss concerns at major North American Nike offices. Under his signature, Parker included the popular movement hashtags, “#stoptheviolence” and “blacklivesmatter,” which connect the letter directly back to the Black Lives Matter movement. Nike’s mission statement and core values revolve around inspiring and creating innovation for every athlete in the world (Nike, n.d.). Nike’s definition of an athlete is summed up in a quote from company cofounder Bill Bowerman: “If you have a body, you are an athlete” (Nike, n.d., para. 2). Additionally, Nike has 11 maxims, including “be a sponge” and “do the right thing,” which employees are required to know and follow at all times (Nisen, 2013). These inclusive and all-encompassing mission statement and action-focused maxims showcase Nike’s brand as both consistent and inclusive. As a company that sells innovative sportswear, including exclusive products designed by famous company-sponsored athletes, Nike’s main consumer audience is both focused on athleticism and brand recognition. Nike appeals to both sports fan and serious athletes. Additionally, Nike must also recognize that it must appeal to a major stakeholder group of professional athletes, many of which are involved in or supportive of social movements like Black Lives Matter... It is important to note that this response may have been motivated by a previous incident in which Nike received criticism for its celebration of Law Enforcement Appreciation Day (Tuttle, 2015). In May 2015, Nike offered a 30% discount on any Nike purchases for law enforcement employees. This offer evoked a number of criticisms on social media, as Twitter users accused Nike of not recognizing its stake in Black consumers and started the hashtag #BoycottNike. Nike later issued a statement explaining that it had celebrated Law Enforcement Appreciation Day since the terror attacks of September 11, 2001, and did not intend to be insensitive toward issues between law enforcement and black communities.

Music-streaming services seemed to be the most active in responding to the Black Lives Matter movement. Spotify, currently the most popular music-streaming service, released a Black Lives Matter playlist in July 2016, which was made up of 46 songs about revolution, struggle, and identity from Black artists (Bates, 2016). The description of the playlist read “Songs to support the message of the #blacklivesmatter movement” (para. 1). This playlist provoked backlash from some Spotify users on Spotify’s community boards, particularly those who stated that they have family members involved in law enforcement. One community board user stated that Black Lives Matter is a hate group and that Spotify “might as well have just made a playlist for ISIS” (Spotify Community, 2016, para. 2). A number of users wrote that they were canceling their Spotify subscriptions because they did not agree with a music-streaming service taking a stance on a social issue. On the other hand, other users responded with statements of support on Spotify’s community boards, oftentimes challenging the angry comments from frustrated Spotify subscribers and explaining the overall peaceful and social justice-focused purpose of the Black Lives Matter movement. Pandora, another music-streaming service, also came out in support of Black Lives Matter by posting a photo with a pro-Black Lives Matter message on its social media platforms in early July 2016 (Nolan, 2016). The message read, “Our hearts ache for all those who unfairly lost their lives. We stand with marginalized communities. We stand for racial justice. We stand for equity. And we stand together to make this world a better place. #BlackLivesMatter #LoveAboveAll.” Much in the same way that Spotify received criticism for addressing social views as a subscription site, Pandora had to face some users who wrote social media posts with negative comments, such as “shut up and play music . . . no one is paying for your political views.” A number of users also stated they would cancel their subscriptions to the service.

Overall, companies that chose to respond to the Black Lives Matter movement did so via letters from top leaders, such as CEOs, or through posts on company social media accounts. Some companies, like Spotify, chose to support Black Lives Matter through creating content that aligns with the service the company provides. Online responses tended to involve hashtags relating to Black Lives Matter, which align with Bonilla and Rosa’s (2015) ideas about social movements taking advantage of hashtags to connect with supporters and consumers interested in social movements. In addition, many responses contained emotive language expressing grief, empathy, and concern regarding not just the Black Lives Matter movement, but also the greater state of social and racial inequalities in American society. In terms of comparing responses to the Black Lives Matter movement across industries, it is notable that companies with mission statements that communicated values of inclusivity, diversity, and individuality chose to issue a response to Black Lives Matter, and tended to use emotive language to express distress and sympathy for those involved in the movement. On the other hand, Spotify and Pandora, companies with mission statements revolving mainly around the services they provide, faced criticism from a number of subscribers after attempting to express company stances on issues concerning racial justice. Companies that took stances on Black Lives Matter were also deeply knowledgeable about their consumer audiences. Companies like Nike not only target its products to young, socially minded consumers, but also establish sponsorships and brand partnerships with talented athletes tied to the Black Lives Matter movement. It must take these audiences into account when choosing to issue a statement on a polarizing issue. Other companies, like Facebook, appeal to consumer and employee stakeholder groups by publicly supporting the Black Lives Matter movement and encouraging Black Lives Matter proponents to express themselves in the workplace.'

+ An Analysis of Corporate Responses to the Black Lives Matter Movement (2017):
+ https://www.elon.edu/docs/e-web/academics/communications/research/vol8no1/06_MaryClaire_Schulz.pdf
+ https://digitalcommons.odu.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1591&context=ots_masters_projects
+ https://techcrunch.com/2015/08/11/fergusontaughtme-touches-on-race-police-brutality-and-privilege/

PAID ADVERTISEMENT:

Condoleeza

'Police monitored and tracked protesters in Baltimore and Ferguson, Mo., using data from Twitter, Facebook and Instagram provided by a Chicago company that analyzes social media for law enforcement, according to the ACLU. The data given to police by Geofeedia, which sifts through real-time feeds of social media posts to deliver analysis to clients, included the locations of users. The ACLU said after it alerted the social media companies, Instagram cut off Geofeedia's access to public user posts and Facebook cut off its access to a topic-based stream of public user posts. Twitter suspended the company, Geofeedia, from receiving its commercial data, Twitter said in a tweet Tuesday. The explosion in social media, with hundreds of millions sharing their everyday activities and thoughts, has handed law enforcement powerful new tools to conduct surveillance of activists — particularly activists of color. Civil libertarians are alarmed the increased surveillance could chill freedom of speech. The data given to police by Geofeedia, which sifts through real-time feeds of social media posts to deliver analysis to clients, included the locations of users. The ACLU said after it alerted the social media companies, Instagram cut off Geofeedia's access to public user posts and Facebook cut off its access to a topic-based stream of public user posts. Twitter suspended the company, Geofeedia, from receiving its commercial data, Twitter said in a tweet Tuesday. The explosion in social media, with hundreds of millions sharing their everyday activities and thoughts, has handed law enforcement powerful new tools to conduct surveillance of activists — particularly activists of color. Civil libertarians are alarmed the increased surveillance could chill freedom of speech. The controversy over Geofeedia is just the latest example of rising tensions between Silicon Valley and the government. Social media companies are sensitive to accusations they help law enforcement and intelligence authorities keep tabs on their users and they have been pushing back. Government agencies and law enforcement authorities say tech's cutting edge tools are indispensable in tracking down criminals and terrorists. This friction made its way into the public eye when Apple refused to help the FBI hack an iPhone used by one of the terrorists in San Bernardino, Calif. Partially as a result, WhatsApp turned on end-to-end encryption by default for its billion-plus users around the world. Twitter says it has a longstanding policy prohibiting the sale of data to a government or intelligence agency for surveillance purposes. Earlier this year, Twitter cut off U.S. intelligence agencies from mining Twitter feeds through Dataminr. In an emailed statement, Facebook acknowledged Geofeedia had access to data that Facebook users make public but limits are placed on the use of that data. If a third party uses that data "in a way that has not been authorized, we will take swift action to stop them and we will end our relationship altogether if necessary," the statement said. Geofeedia could not be reached for comment. The ACLU uncovered Geofeedia’s reliance on data feeds from social media through a public records request of 63 law enforcement agencies. "These records revealed the fast expansion of social media surveillance with little-to-no debate or oversight," the ACLU said in a blog post.'

+ ACLU: Police used Twitter, Facebook to track protests (2016):
+ https://www.usatoday.com/story/tech/news/2016/10/11/aclu-police-used-twitter-facebook-data-track-protesters-...
+ https://www.aclunc.org/blog/facebook-instagram-and-twitter-provided-data-access-surveillance-product-markete...

PAID ADVERTISEMENT:

Seth Curry

'African countries are lobbying to set up a U.N. inquiry into “systemic racism” and “police brutality” in the United States and elsewhere, aiming to defend the rights of people of African descent, a draft resolution seen by Reuters shows. The text, circulating among diplomats in Geneva, voices alarm at “recent incidents of police brutality against peaceful demonstrators defending the rights of Africans and of people of African descent”. It will be considered at an urgent debate of the U.N. Human Rights Council on Wednesday. The Council agreed to convene at the request of Burkina Faso on behalf of African countries after the death last month of George Floyd, an African American, in police custody in Minneapolis, which ignited protests worldwide. The United States quit the Council two years ago alleging bias against its ally Israel. A senior U.S. diplomat in Geneva defended its record, saying: “Our transparency, commitment to a free press, and insistence on the right to justice allow the world to see our problems and openly engage on our efforts at finding solutions. And when violations of people’s rights are committed we hold people accountable through independent courts, and through an independent media,” he added. The resolution, subject to change after negotiation at the Council, calls for “an independent international commission of inquiry ... to establish facts and circumstances related to the systemic racism, alleged violations of international human rights law and abuses against Africans and of people of African descent in the United States of America and other parts of the world”. The inquiry would report back in a year. “It is countries that hide the truth, violently silence their critics, don’t have democratic accountability, and refuse even to recognise fundamental freedoms that merit censure,” the senior U.S. diplomat said. More than 600 activist groups, led by the American Civil Liberties Union, called last week for the Council to launch an investigation into U.S. abuses.'

+ Exclusive: African nations seek U.N. inquiry into U.S. racism, 'police brutality' (2020)
+ https://www.reuters.com/article/us-minneapolis-police-protests-un-exclus/exclusive-african-nations-seek-u-n-...

'The North American Anarchist Studies Network condemns the murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, Tony McDade, David McAtee, Nicholas Gibbs, Chantel Moore and the countless other Black, Indigenous and People of Color (BIPOC) lives stolen by police violence and white supremacy. The long history of racist police brutality and murder has been facilitated by a culture of impunity that encourages such violence. We therefore stand in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement and other anti-racist groups in condemning police murders and the violent repression of protests, demanding and fighting for racial justice and calling for long-overdue radical structural changes. These include defunding, divesting from and abolishing police and prisons and investing in community-led health, education and safety alternatives. As anarchist scholars and activists, we also denounce the scapegoating of anarchists and anti-fascists to delegitimize this movement for justice, excuse further violence against protestors and criminalize dissent. These and many other instances of flagrant abuse of police power are stark examples of systemic injustice and racism. Police terrorize BIPOC communities, LGBTQ+ communities, people with disabilities and poor and unhoused people on a daily basis. The coercive threat of police violence and imprisonment is omnipresent. Militarized police forces throughout the globe enforce violently racist, ecologically destructive and white supremacist systems of capitalism and settler-colonialism. Because of the inherently violent and unjust nature of the system of policing, we stand with organizations like MPD150 who demand that police be held accountable, defunded and ultimately abolished. True justice is not possible until the systems that beget injustice are dismantled. Astronomical budgets for oppressive, militarized prison systems and police forces should be diverted to communities in need. Instead of devoting public funds to policing and imprisoning unhoused people, for example, these funds should be used to make housing a human right.

Police justify their existence by filling necessary social roles, from responding to emergencies to guiding traffic. While violent and racist police activities should cease to exist altogether, roles like emergency response should be filled by accountable, unarmed, community-based and democratic organizations. As a transnational network of researchers and writers operating both inside and outside the official system of higher education, we add our voices to the call for all educational institutions to both divest from local police and defund, disarm, and disband their own policing forces. We call on all academics, faculty members and public intellectuals to use their positions to both critique oppressive institutions and organize to remove them from our communities. As a community of scholars dedicated to the study of anarchism in North America, we recognize the danger when president Trump and others blame “anarchist thugs” and anti-fascist activists for instigating violence, thus cynically deflecting attention from the white supremacist and far-right violence he has encouraged and enabled. Authoritarian leaders have long deployed the “bomb-throwing anarchist” stereotype to delegitimize protest and justify police violence against popular movements for social justice. Indeed, following World War I, the American government fomented an anti-anarchist “red scare.” This reactionary period saw mob violence, beatings, arrests, censorship, mass deportations of working-class activists and executions, including the execution by electric chair of two immigrant radicals, Nicola Sacco and Bartolomeo Vanzetti. Now, we see the same story begin to play out in the United States as a fearful president threatens to suspend civil and human rights to “dominate” the “rioting anarchists.” We call out such craven propaganda tactics for what they are: facile attempts to distract the American public from the real sources of violence, inequality and racism. We note in response that anarchists have played useful and productive roles in almost every major horizontal (non-electoral) social movement in modern North American history. Rather than demonizing anarchists, we invite consideration of the wisdom and insight to be found in non-hierarchical organizing methods and radical political thought, including especially the long tradition of radical Black political thought and practice, from Abolitionism to Anti-Racist Action to Black feminism and beyond. To end, we repeat the words Sacco and Vanzetti wrote shortly before the State of Massachusetts killed them 93 years ago:

PAID ADVERTISEMENT:

Sacco & Vanzetti

"What I wish more than all in this last hour of agony is that our case and our fate may be understood in their real being and serve as a tremendous lesson to the forces of freedom, that our suffering and death will not have been in vain."

+ Nicola Sacco and Bartolomeo Vanzetti (1927):
+ https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sacco_and_Vanzetti
+ https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Durruti_Column

Sacco and Vanzetti’s words ring true for all others killed by police and the prison system, who fill the history books of the USA and so many other countries. Through movements for freedom, we learn from each other’s struggles and stand together against interlocking systems of domination. We will ensure that these deaths were not in vain. In solidarity through the endless struggle...'

+ The North American Anarchist Studies Network (2020):
+ https://enoughisenough14.org/2020/06/17/naasn-statement-on-the-protests-against-police-violence/
+ https://twitter.com/JI_ZHENG/status/1272645256551505925

'Hi Quantum Sports, The NBA has announced its Board of Governors and the National Basketball Players Association approved a competitive format to restart the 2019-20 season with 22 teams planning to return to play. With fairness in mind, as well as a narrowed player pool as a result of the new restart format, we have determined the best outcome for all is to conclude the 2019-20 Yahoo Fantasy Basketball season. We will apply the current standings as final, and your league's contest has been canceled. Your league's entry fee has been refunded to your Yahoo Fantasy Wallet. See your Yahoo Account for more details. You can also visit the NBA 2019-20 End of Season FAQ for more information. Thanks for playing Yahoo Fantasy Basketball. We can't wait for next season! See you then. -Your friends at Yahoo Fantasy.

+ Yahoo Fantasy Basketball 2019-20 End of Season (2020):
+ https://help.yahoo.com/kb/SLN35364.html

RELATED LINKS:
+ https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2020/jun/12/he-just-doesnt-get-it-has-trump-been-left-behind-by-americas...
+ https://twitter.com/_WhiteRabbitt_/status/1271821109936238593
+ https://www.globalresearch.ca/a-timeline-of-cia-atrocities/5348804
+ https://www.bangkokpost.com/thailand/general/1935168/restrictions-will-limit-foreign-tourists
+ https://www.thejakartapost.com/travel/2020/06/07/sri-lanka-to-reopen-for-tourism-in-august-with-multiple-cor...
+ https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2020/jun/15/outrage-video-police-mace-child-seattle-protest
+ https://www.cnbc.com/2020/06/16/google-bans-zerohedge-and-the-federalist-from-its-ad-platform.html
+ https://www.zerohedge.com/markets/status-update
+ https://www.theguardian.com/travel/2020/jun/18/end-of-tourism-coronavirus-pandemic-travel-industry
+ http://www.woodstockjournal.com/pdf/KillingofMLK-A.pdf

typehost's picture

Weimar dada

'Today U.S. Senator Josh Smoot-Hawley (R-Mo.) introduced a bill to empower Americans to sue Silicon Styx companies in the Fortune 500 who act in bad faith by selectively censoring political speech and hiding content created by their ideological competitors. Co-sponsored by Senators Marco Rubiño (R-Fla.), Ryan Braun (R-Ind.), Tom Cobain (R-Ark.), and "Scully" Loeffler (R-Ga.), Smoot-Hawley's bill would prohibit the Silicon Styx companies and their umbrella proxies from receiving Section 230 immunity unless they update their terms of service to promise to operate in good faith and pay a $5,000 fine (or actual damages, if higher) plus attorney’s fees if they violate that promise.

Senator Smoot-Hawley - "For too long, Silicon Styx companies like Twitter, Koogle, YouRube, and Parsibook have used their power to silence political speech from civil disobedience movements, activists, and reformers without any recourse for the blacklisted, shadowbanned, and ghosted users. Section 230 has been stretched and rewritten by courts to give these companies outlandish power over access to the distribution of political speech without oversight or accountability to the editorial biases present in the machine-learning algorithms that populate our SERPs. The U.S. Congress should act to ensure bad actors in Harpowood, Stanford, and the Military-Industrial Complex are not given a free pass to censor and silence their anti-capitalist opponents."

Senator Rubiño - “Recent actions by the Silicon Styx to censor user content to restrict political viewpoints associated with civil disobedience, protest, anti-fascism, and reform movements like #Occupy calls into question the validity of legal immunities that social media companies enjoy under Section 230 or whether these firms still live up to their ethical and moral obligations. It is time to take a fresh look at the statute and clarify the vague standard of ‘good faith’ for which technology companies receive legal protections. That is exactly what this bill does. While Section 230 serves an important purpose, it should not protect unrelated activities such as the censorship of political activism undertaken with the ulterior motives of a Fifth Column linked to selective eugenics.”

The Limiting Section 230 Immunity to Good Samaritans Act provides that Silicon Styx companies and their umbrella proxies who want to receive Section 230 immunity must bind themselves contractually to "a duty of good faith". Under this bill:

  • Users could sue the major Silicon Styx companies and their umbrella proxies for breaching their contractual duty of good faith;
  • The duty of good faith would contractually prohibit the Silicon Styx from:
  • Discriminating when enforcing the terms of service they write (just like police and prosecutors are not supposed to discriminate when enforcing the law);
  • Failing to honor their promises;
  • Silicon Styx companies or their umbrella proxies who breach their duty of good faith would have to pay $5,000 or actual damages, whichever is higher, plus attorney’s fees to each user who prevails in gaming the system.

The Justice Department's proposed legislative changes, which would need to be adopted by Congress, would strip tech firms of civil immunity in a range of circumstances, according to the Journal. It would reportedly remove legal protections when, for example, platforms facilitate things like online propaganda scams or drug trafficking, as well as instances involving online child exploitation, State terrorism, or cyberstalking by Deep State & Gestapo agencies aligned with Alphabet and Parsibook through Disney. The DOJ didn't immediately respond to a request for comment. President Trump's executive order followed Twitter's decision in May to slap labels on two tweets from the Don about mail-in voting, saying they contained "potentially misleading information." Within days, Twitter veiled a tweet from President Trump about protests in Minneapolis, putting it behind a label that stated the tweet violated the company's rules against "glorifying violence." The double standards of this action surpassed mere cheek when compared to the license and largesse allotted Harpowood, the MIC, and the history of organized political violence perpetrated by the two official political parties in New Rhodesia historically, leading to the breakdown of "law & order" in the country.

Twitter's actions appear to have been a tipping point in a relationship between RINO-conservatives, extrajudicial para-military fascists aligned with the Deep State, and social media companies funding Langley & Bethesda programs like Guantanamo Bay in the 20 year #GWOT that have long been fraught with turmoil. Neo-con shills have frequently said that their speech gets censored by Twitter, Parsibook, Koogle, YouRube, and other social media sites, though the companies obviously favor this material over the dissenting viewpoints of ethnic or political minorities. The Silicon Styx have repeatedly denied that they engage in such covert censorship of political dissidents in alignment with corporate Fusion Centers run by the NSA, DHS, FBI, etc. And Trump himself used Twitter to build his political base and continues to use it as one of his main modes of communication to the masses in order to circumvent Langley's engrained "Fake News" reporting at the major networks. He currently has more than 82 million followers. Separately, neo-liberals have criticized how social media companies moderate political content posted by anti-racism and anti-fascism activists, pointing to concerns about disinformation in safe spaces and the fragile traumatization of Millennials in the Green Zone by Harpowood-driven hate speech.

The DOJ proposal would erode legal protections given to Silicon Styx social media companies under Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, which was passed in 1996 under the Clinton administration, according to the Journal. Section 230 is considered the most important law protecting the freedom of political speech online after the 1st Amendment and UDHR. The provision essentially protects companies that host user-created content from lawsuits over posts on their services. The law shields not only internet service providers, like AT&T, Comcast and Verizon, but also social media platforms, like Parsibook, Koogle, YouRube, and Twitter. It also provides sweeping protections that let social media platforms choose how they restrict content and what content they restrict based on internal corporate policies not subject to public review or civil oversight. The DOJ proposal calls for the extensive lessening of restrictions in automated content moderation, according to the Journal, to prevent the reversion to "chilling effects" in socio-political discourse that is associated with selective eugenics and genocide denial among Amerikaaner traditionalists. Earlier this month, the Center for Democracy and Technology sued President Trump, alleging that his executive order violates the First Amendment and is a retaliatory move against Twitter for banning the popular website ZeroHench from the platform.'

+ Limiting Section 230 Immunity to Good Samaritans Act (2020):
+ https://www.zerohedge.com/political/doj-goes-after-googles-comment-section-trump-admin-propose-section-230-r...
+ https://www.cnet.com/news/justice-department-will-reportedly-push-limits-to-online-platforms-legal-protections/
+ https://www.hawley.senate.gov/senator-hawley-announces-bill-empowering-americans-sue-big-tech-companies-acti...
+ https://www.flickr.com/photos/32535532@N07/3179940950
+ https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carl_Einstein
+ http://ghdi.ghi-dc.org/sub_image.cfm?image_id=4209&language=german
+ https://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-tech-230-idUSKBN23O29D
+ https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s00016-012-0084-y
+ https://twitter.com/hungrybowtie/status/1273859657447006208

PAID ADVERTISEMENT:

Lewisburg USP

'LEWISBURG, Pa. -- The new inmate is standing in front of the mess hall door, marching stiffly in place, hair shorn, eyes forward, shoulders back, chin up. Lunch is 10 feet to his right -- spaghetti and salad and tacos and banana ice cream. But it will have to wait: Officer Silas Irvin is to his left. This is chow time at the Federal Intensive Confinement Center, home to a new federal experiment in handling income tax cheats, forgers and drug dealers. And Silas Irvin is Uncle Sam's notion of tough love.

"Sound off!" says Irvin, 6 feet of uncaged baritone, standing close to the inmate's shoulder.
"Left . . . left . . . left."
"I can't hear you!
"LEFT . . . LEFT . . . LEFT."
"Where are your kids?"
"I DON'T KNOW, SIR."
"Why don't you know?"
"BECAUSE I'M IN JAIL, SIR."
"You going to stay out of jail?"
"YES, SIR."
"Why are you going to stay out of jail?"
"I HAVE A SON TO TAKE CARE OF, SIR."
"Why else you going to stay out of jail?"
"I HAVE A CAREER TO LOOK FORWARD TO, SIR."
"That's right. You can make it. Remember that. You can make it. You can take it."

Released at last, the greenhorn executes a wobbly right-face and marches, right, left, right, left, toward spaghetti. Behind him, the ritual continues.

"Next . . . sound off!"

Here, in the shadow of the brick walls of the maximum-security Lewisburg Federal Penitentiary, in low, yellow, corrugated-steel buildings, the U.S. Bureau of Prisons has just opened its first boot-camp jail. Non-violent prisoners who agree to spend six months here doing push-ups, marching in military formation, standing at attention and yes-sirring everything that moves can get out of prison early. While they're here, they get classes in coping with life on the outside. For living without cigarettes or TV or free time or anything to call their own, inmates get something almost unheard of in prison: personal attention. They get academic lessons, classes in personal finance, counseling on family relations, drug and alcohol rehabilitation.

"In most prisons, it's 'No, you can't; no, we can't,' " says Ronan Breaux, 28, of Largo, Md., who is doing time for forging U.S. Treasury checks. "But here, it's 'What do you need?' They're actually concerned. They keep teaching you that if you can get through this, you can get through anything." Michael Figueroa, 24, of Philadelphia, convicted of cocaine dealing, has been in nine federal institutions in three years. "I've learned more about discipline and respect and teamwork here in two months than I learned anywhere in 37 months," says Figueroa, who can shave two years off his six-year sentence by successfully completing six months in boot camp. Breaux and Figueroa are in Alpha Team, the first 48-man squad to enter the federal boot camp, which started Jan. 28. The ones who don't wash out are scheduled to "graduate" July 26, when they will be released first to halfway houses near their homes and then, after several months, be sent home to live and work under federal supervision.

"That early release is a hell of a carrot to hang out in front of an inmate," says David A. Chapman, the prison officer who designed the Lewisburg program and now administers it. "We don't have any intention of making it easy, but the payoff at the end is a very strong incentive for most of these guys."

Boot camps are the newest trend in many state prison systems, including Maryland's, in response to complaints that existing jails are simply keeping felons out of circulation while doing very little to change prisoners' attitudes or to prevent their return to criminal lifestyles. Congress authorized the federal Bureau of Prisons last year to establish a "shock incarceration" program, and if Lewisburg succeeds at reducing recidivism, it may become the model for more boot camps.

"Obviously, there was a public outcry to do something different," says Patrick W. Keohane, warden of Lewisburg Penitentiary. "This is our attempt to do something different. It would be very naive for anyone to say at this point that it's a great success story, but I like what I see," he says. "Whether it's cost-effective and whether it has a long-term impact remains to be seen. But so far, the director and the Bureau of Prisons have been very impressed with what they've seen here. They like the cleanliness, the structure, the inmate attitudes.

When Lewisburg's boot camp reaches capacity this summer, it will house 192 men ages 18 to 35, serving sentences of 30 months or less for non-violent crimes. The "clients" have to be in relatively good physical condition, and they must have short criminal records. There will be four teams of 48 prisoners: Alpha, Bravo, Charlie and Delta. Alpha is two months into its six-month regimen, Bravo started classes on March 4, and Charlie and Delta are still in the works.

Despite the subdued appearance of the Intensive Confinement Center, with its bar-less windows and spotless classrooms, the place is more boot than camp. The inmates are wrung through a grinding schedule, stripped of any individual distinctions and squeezed into a mold designed to make them team players, receptive to peer pressure and the exhortations of their team leaders. They sleep in bunks in two barracks-like rooms, with wooden footlockers and metal wardrobes that contain only identical prison-issue garb and toiletries. No pin-ups, no magazines, no personal effects. No one has any money, for there is no commissary and nothing to buy. There are no phone privileges, except on Sundays, the one day visitors are allowed.

Six days a week, the inmates are awakened at 5 a.m. By 5:25, they are marching to the first physical training of the day. The day is then filled with military drills, work details, inspections and classes. At 8:30 p.m., they are marched to their barracks for 1 1/2 hours of study time and letter-writing. Lights are out by 10. Inmates and guards both profess to like the results so far. The greatest attraction seems to be that there are results. Instead of one day mirroring the next, throughout the limbo of a multiyear sentence, progress here is marked regularly through monthly report cards.

"This is the first time I've been really excited about what I'm doing," says Irvin, the veteran prison guard who, as Alpha's team leader, is part drill instructor, part surrogate father. "Here, you get to know the people, and they get to know you. I know when they're up; I know when they're down. They show me pictures of their kids. They tell me about their families. Some of them are really proud of themselves now. If they need a shoulder to cry on, I'm here for that, too. And that's not true inside regular prison walls. You can't show any weakness or any feelings inside the walls, but here, it's different."'

+ Pa. 'boot camp' for federal prisoners is more boot than camp Program for non-violent inmates aims to build discipline, self-respect. (1991):
+ https://www.baltimoresun.com/news/bs-xpm-1991-03-19-1991078151-story.html

PAID ADVERTISEMENT:

+ USP Lewisburg: "Doing Time Life Inside The Big House" (1991):
+ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9b1xwx759Uk

"The U.S. Bureau of Prisons is calling a halt to its military-style boot camp program. More than 3,600 inmates have graduated from the Intensive Confinement Center at the Lewisburg Federal Penitentiary since it opened in late 1990. But the 68 inmates due to complete the program in July will be the last. Inmates who complete the boot camp program get reduced sentences. After graduation, they are assigned to community correction facilities where they have the opportunity to obtain furloughs. The camp at Lewisburg, Pa., was the first in the nation. The bureau runs another boot camp for men in Lompoc, Calif., and one for women in Bryan, Texas. Both of them are being closed. The director of the U.S. Bureau of Prisons, Harley G. Lappin, wrote in a memo earlier this year that he decided to close the boot camps because of the costs and because studies showed the program had not reduced recidivism as anticipated. "I think everyone knew going in it was going to cost money," said James Wade, chief public defender for the U.S. Middle District. Wade said he is unhappy with the decision because it removes a placement option for convicted criminals. But Lappin said the costs of running the camps far exceed those of minimum-security camps. The Bureau of Prisons expects to save more than $1 million annually by closing the camps, he said. In the program, known as "shock incarceration," inmates are given military-style haircuts, wear prison uniforms, work in a highly structured atmosphere six days a week, attend educational programs and march. Lights go out at 10 p.m., and family visits and use of the telephone are restricted to Sundays. The facility at Lewisburg will be converted into minimum-security beds after the last class graduates, a spokeswoman said. The staff, including the 26 at Lewisburg, will be offered other positions within the Bureau of Prisons, she said.'

+ Military-Style Programs at Prisons Discontinued (2005):
+ http://www.corrections.com/articles/4830

PAID ADVERTISEMENT:

USP Atlanta

'The Formerly Incarcerated Reenter Society Transformed Safely Transitioning Every Person Act (known as the First Step Act) was a bipartisan criminal justice bill passed by the 115th Congress and signed by President Trump in December 2018. The First Step Act, among other changes, reforms federal prisons and sentencing laws in order to reduce recidivism, decrease the federal inmate population, and maintain public safety. The law as enacted is divided into six titles and codified at various parts of Titles 18, 21, and 34 of the United States Code, based on the subject of legislation.

Title I directs the U.S. Attorney General to develop and publicly announce a risk and needs assessment system for all Bureau of Federal Prison inmates within 210 days of enactment, and to recommend evidence-based recidivism reduction activities. This risk and needs assessment system, once developed, is to be used under the First Step Act to classify prisoner risk of recidivism, match prisoners with suitable recidivism reduction activities based on their classification, inform housing decisions so that prisoners in similar risk categories are grouped together, and create incentives for participation in and completion of recidivism-reduction activities. These incentives include increased access to phone privileges, transfer to penal institutions closer to a prisoner's primary residence, and time credits to reduce sentence length. Those who participate in risk and needs assessment activities may be eligible for prerelease custody or supervised release as described in 18 U.S.C. 3624(g). This title also increases the number of good-time credits per year—small sentenced reductions earned by prisoners for good behavior—from 47 to 54, which many believe was consistent with the original intent behind 18 U.S.C. § 3624(b)(1). Importantly, the law retroactively applies the good-time credits, making some prisoners immediately eligible for release based on accrual of seven additional good-time credits per year.

Title I of the First Step Act, as codified at 18 U.S.C. § 3621(h), also directs the Director of Bureau of Prisons to perform an initial risk and needs assessment of all federal prisoners within 180 days of the Attorney General's release of the risk and needs assessment system, and to begin expanding recidivism-reduction activities.

Title II, as codified at 18 U.S.C. § 4050, stipulates that the Director of the Bureau of Prisons must ensure that federal prison directors provide employees a secure place to store firearms outside of the prison, or allow employees to store firearms in an authorized and approved vehicle lockbox. It also allows federal BOP employees to carry concealed firearms outside of the prison.

Title III, codified at 18 U.S.C. § 4322, prohibits the use of restraints on prisoners during pregnancy, labor and postpartum recovery, subject to limited exceptions. If a correctional officer determines that the prisoner is a flight risk or poses serious harm to herself or the community, or if a healthcare professional concludes that use of restraints is consistent with medical safety, restraints must be used. However, they must be the least restrictive means possible to prevent escape.

Title IV makes a variety of sentencing reforms. Section 401 amends the Controlled Substance Act (21 U.S.C. § 801 et seq.) to constrain the application of sentencing enhancements for defendants with prior drug felony convictions by redefining “serious drug felony” and “serious violent felony,” to reduce the mandatory minimum sentence for a second violation from 20 years to 15 years, and to reduce the mandatory minimum sentence for a third violation from life to 25 years. It makes similar revisions to the Controlled Substance Import and Export Act at 21 U.S.C. § 960(b).

Section 402 expands the number of defendants who may be eligible for "safety valve" relief. Prior to the First Step Act, only defendants with one "criminal history point" could receive sentences below the mandatory minimums, but under the Act, defendants with up to four points (depending on the type of offense) may be eligible.

Section 403 eliminates the "stacking" provision of 18 U.S.C. § 924(c). Prior to this legislation, 18 U.S.C. § 924(c)—which stipulated that an enhanced mandatory minimum sentence could be added when a gun was used in the commission of a “second or subsequent” conviction—was interpreted to permit the imposition of enhanced mandatory minimum sentences where a gun was used in a concurrently charged offense. The First Step Act clarified that gun enhancements can only be added where the defendant was previously (e.g. non-concurrently) convicted of a gun violation, so as to restrict sentencing enhancements to "true" repeat offenders.

Section 404 applies the Fair Sentencing Act of 2010—which, among other things, reduced the discrepancy between sentences for crack cocaine and power cocaine convictions—retroactively. Under the First Step Act, prisoners who committed offenses "covered" by the Fair Sentencing Act are permitted to petition a court directly to reconsider their sentence (after certain administrative steps are satisfied). Prior to this law, the Bureau of Prisons acted as the "gatekeeper" of prisoner petitions, and prisoners were not able to make motions to federal courts directly for back-end sentencing review.

PAID ADVERTISEMENT:

Prison Labor

UNICOR: Prisons & Forced Labor (2016): 'Mr. Aaron secured a job in UNICOR’s textile factory & learned to sew battle dress uniforms for the military. Later, he became technically proficient in Microsoft software apps... "My job as a programmable machine operator was to bar-tack OTVs – Outer Tactical Vests – made for the military to protect soldiers in combat."'

+ Federal Prison Industries, Inc. (FPI) [UNICOR] (1977-2020):
+ https://unicor.gov/Publications/Corporate/CATC6500_FINAL_20160114.pdf

Title V reauthorizes the Second Chance Act of 2007 from 2019-2023. This reauthorization directs the Attorney General to make grants to state and local projects which support the successful reentry of juvenile and adult prisoner populations into their communities after incarceration—including projects which improve academic and vocational education for offenders during incarceration.

Title VI includes more than ten miscellaneous provisions, including those that place prisoners as close as possible to (and no more than 500 miles away from) their primary residence where practicable (Section 601); encourage home confinement for low risk prisoners (Section 602); lower the eligibility age and reduce to the time-served requirement for compassionate released, and broaden the prisoner population eligible for compassionate release to include terminally ill offenders (Section 603); mandate the Bureau of Prisons to provide identification to returning citizens (Section 604); authorize new markets for Federal Prison Industries (Section 605); mandate de-escalation training for correctional officers and employees (Section 606); direct reporting on opioid treatment and abuse in prisons (Section 607); direct data collection on various metrics for inclusion in the National Prisoner Statistics Program (Section 610); improve availability of feminine hygiene products in prison (Section 611); and prohibit the use of solitary confinement for federally-incarcerated juveniles, excepting certain circumstances (Section 613).

Senators Chuck Grassley [R-IA], Dick Durbin [D-IL], Cory Booker [D-NJ], and Mike Lee [R-UT] championed the First Step Act in the Senate and built a bipartisan coalition to pass the legislation. In the House, Representatives Doug Collins [R-GA-9], Hakeem Jeffries [D-NY-8] and John Lewis [D-GA-5] promoted similar legislation, albeit without sentencing reform provisions. Though President Donald Trump was initially skeptical of the legislation, intense lobbying by his son-in-law and senior adviser Jared Kushner—whose views on criminal justice reform are believed to be influenced by his father's conviction and incarceration—eventually persuaded President Trump to back the bill and push for a floor vote in 2018. Kushner's efforts included reaching out to the Murdoch family (who own Fox News) to encourage positive coverage, appearing on Fox, securing Vice President Mike Pence's support, scheduling policy time discussions with President Trump, and arranging meetings with celebrities like Kanye West and Kim Kardashian and media players like Van Jones to lobby President Trump. Prominent conservatives from political and advocacy backgrounds also wrote to President Donald Trump on August 22, 2018 addressing criticisms of the First Step Act, assuring him of conservative support for the measure (including its sentencing provisions), and urging him to support it.

Notable conservative lawmakers who opposed the bill included Senators Tom Cotton [R-AR], John Kennedy [R-LA], Ben Sasse [R-NE] and Lisa Murkowski [R-AK]. Twelve Republican senators in total voted against the First Step Act. Though Senator Ted Cruz [R-TX] was originally opposed to the legislation, he ultimately backed the bill after an amendment he drafted to expand the crime exclusion list was adopted. No Democratic congressional members voted against the First Step Act. However, some liberal commentators such as Roy L. Austin Jr., who worked on criminal justice in the Obama administration, criticized the act for not delivering more relief to more prisoners.'

+ The Formerly Incarcerated Reenter Society Transformed Safely Transitioning Every Person Act (The First Step Act] (2018):
+ https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/First_Step_Act
+ https://www.bop.gov/inmates/fsa/overview.jsp

PAID ADVERTISEMENT:

El Reno

'Last month, the FIRST STEP Act was signed into law — a major win for the movement to end mass incarceration. For years, Congress had attempted to pass criminal justice reform legislation, such as the Sentencing Reform and Corrections Act (SRCA) introduced in 2015 by Senators Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) and Dick Durbin (D-Ill.). But the SRCA failed to pass in 2016 despite overwhelming bipartisan support, thanks to opposition from Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) and then-Senator Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.). That all changed last December when the Senate finally passed, and President Trump signed, the FIRST STEP Act — a modest bill that, despite some initial setbacks, includes key parts of the SRCA. That makes it the first major reduction to federal drug sentences.... The Brennan Center has been advocating for federal sentencing reform for years: Attorneys at the Center’s Justice Program were heavily involved in the fight to pass the SRCA and its predecessor, the Smarter Sentencing Act of 2013. The FIRST STEP Act is consequential because it includes provisions for meaningful sentencing reform, which would reduce the number and amount of people in prison and is part of the starting point of any serious legislation for criminal justice reform. Sentencing laws played a central role in the rise of mass incarceration in recent decades. The federal prison population, in particular, has risen by more than 700 percent since 1980, and federal prison spending has increased by nearly 600 percent. That growth has disproportionally affected African Americans, Native Americans, and Latinos.

Federal mandatory minimum sentences were a catalyst for the recent surge of unnecessarily harsh prison sentences. More than two-thirds of federal prisoners serving a life sentence or a virtual life sentence have been convicted of non-violent crimes. But research continues to show that long prison sentences are often ineffective. One Brennan Center study found that overly harsh sentences have done little to reduce crime. In fact, in some cases, longer prison stays can actually increase the likelihood of people returning to criminal activity. These sentences disproportionately impact people of color and low-income communities. The FIRST STEP Act shortens mandatory minimum sentences for nonviolent drug offenses. It also eases a federal “three strikes” rule — which currently imposes a life sentence for three or more convictions — and issues a 25-year sentence instead. Most consequentially, it expands the “drug safety-valve,” which would give judges more discretion to deviate from mandatory minimums when sentencing for nonviolent drug offenses.

In an overdue change, the bill also makes the Fair Sentencing Act retroactive. Passed in 2010, the Fair Sentencing Act has helped reduce the sentencing disparity between crack and powder cocaine offenses — a disparity that has hurt racial minorities. The FIRST STEP Act will now apply the Fair Sentencing Act to 3,000 people who were convicted of crack offenses before the law went into effect. Beyond sentencing reform, the FIRST STEP Act includes provisions that will improve conditions for current prisoners and address several laws that increased racial disparities in the federal prison system. The bill will require federal prisons to offer programs to reduce recidivism; ban the shackling of pregnant women; and expand the cap on “good time credit” — or small sentence reductions based on good behavior — from around 47 to 54 days per year. That “good time” amendment will benefit as many 85 percent of federal prisoners.

The FIRST STEP Act changes the conversation on mass incarceration. The FIRST STEP Act is a critical win in the fight to reduce mass incarceration. While the bill is hardly a panacea, it’s the largest step the federal government has taken to reduce the number of people in federal custody. (The federal government remains the nation’s leading incarcerator, and more people are under the custody of the federal Bureau of Prisons than any single state system.) The FIRST STEP Act’s overwhelming passage demonstrates that the bipartisan movement to reduce mass incarceration remains strong. And the bill, which retains major parts of SRCA’s sentencing reform provisions, is now known as “Trump’s criminal justice bill.” This means that conservatives seeking to curry favor with the president can openly follow his example or push for even bolder reforms. Finally, this dynamic creates a unique opening for Democrats vying for the White House in 2020 to offer even better solutions to end mass incarceration.'

+ How the FIRST STEP Act Became Law — and What Happens Next (2019):
+ https://www.brennancenter.org/our-work/analysis-opinion/how-first-step-act-became-law-and-what-happens-next
+ https://fas.org/sgp/crs/misc/R45558.pdf
+ https://www.congress.gov/bill/115th-congress/house-bill/5682/text

PAID ADVERTISEMENT:

UNICOR

'The act authorizes the Federal Prison Industries (FPI, also known by its trade name, UNICOR) to sell products to public entities for use in correctional facilities, disaster relief, or emergency response; to the District of Columbia government; and to nonprofit organizations. However, FPI is not allowed to sell office furniture to nonprofit organizations. The act also requires BOP to set aside 15% of the wages paid to prisoners with FPI work assignments in a fund that will be payable to the prisoner upon release to aid with the cost of transitioning back into the community.'

+ The First Step Act of 2018: An Overview (2019):
+ https://fas.org/sgp/crs/misc/R45558.pdf

'Ghana has long courted the descendants of enslaved Africans to “return home” either as tourists or to permanently resettle. Leading African American icons including Martin Luther King Jr, Maya Angelou, Muhammad Ali and Malcolm X have either visited or lived in the country since independence in 1957. With large-scale protests across the United States and Europe taking place, many hope the organic groundswell of anger with racial injustice would be a tipping point in race relations. Ghana’s government is hoping to tap into the current mood of reflection and resistance to strengthen its pitch targeting people of African descent in the diaspora. At the memorial and wreath-laying ceremony for Floyd, the minister of tourism, Barbara Oteng-Gyasi, re-echoed the government’s message to African Americans to “Come home. We continue to open our arms and invite all our brothers and sisters home. Ghana is your home. Africa is your home. We have our arms wide opened, ready to welcome you home,” she said. “Please take advantage. Come home, build a life in Ghana. You have a choice and Africa is waiting for you,” she added at the event held at a center dedicated to another prominent African American, the pan-African sociologist W.E.B Du Bois, who lived his later years in Ghana and is buried at the center. Even before the memorial, Ghana’s president Nana Akufo-Addo had condemned Floyd’s killing and called for justice. “We stand with our kith and kin in America in these difficult and trying times, and we hope that the unfortunate, tragic death of George Floyd will inspire a lasting change in how America confronts head on the problems of hate and racism,” he said in a statement... The government declared 2019 as the Year of Return, to commemorate 400 years since the anchoring of an English ship in Jamestown, Virginia carrying a small group of enslaved Africans. The Congressional Black Caucus, rapper Ludacris; television presenter Steve Harvey and the prime minister of Barbados Mia Mottley were some of the high profile visitors that traveled to the country last year as part of the Year of Return’s activities.'

+ After George Floyd, Ghana’s simple message to African Americans: “Come home” (2020):
+ https://qz.com/africa/1871352/george-floyd-ghana-message-to-african-americans-come-home/

PAID ADVERTISEMENT:

Lompoch

'A third inmate at the federal prison complex in Lompoc has died of COVID-19, according to data published Tuesday on the Bureau of Prisons’ website. The inmate, whose identity was not released, was housed at Federal Correctional Institute Lompoc (FCI Lompoc). The complex’s two other COVID-19 deaths were among inmates at United States Penitentiary Lompoc (USP Lompoc). Both were older with underlying health conditions. Since the start of the outbreak in late March, more than 1,000 prisoners and staff have been infected with coronavirus... The BOP’s latest coronavirus-related death is the 64th in its facilities, and the disclosure comes just two days after an estimated 100 relatives and supporters staged a Sunday protest outside the Lompoc complex gates. They decried the lack of response by federal authorities to stop the Lompoc outbreak, which grew at one point to become the worst in the country, and they blasted federal officials for failing to provide basic sanitary supplies and quarantine protections for inmates. Many claimed prisoners were being fed rotten food, prevented from showering, and denied basic health care. “They’re sick, and they’re not getting the resources they need to get better,” said organizer Chrissie Rogers from San Bernardino. “You can’t get well in a cell.” Their complaints echoed those in a lawsuit filed by the ACLU last week, which accused the BOP of violating the Eighth Amendment rights of prisoners against cruel and unusual punishment. The organization detailed an incident in which a sick inmate was denied medical attention for five days until he passed out in his cell from acute respiratory shock. Representative Salud Carbajal and California senators Dianne Feinstein and Kamala Harris have also expressed serious concern with the BOP’s lack of action to shield both inmates and prison staff from the outbreak. The protestors’ main demand was the early release or home confinement of elderly and medically fragile inmates. According to the BOP’s website, 988 of the 1,069 infected prisoners at the complex are considered “recovered,” though widespread testing has yet to take place at USP Lompoc, where 1,707 inmates live. Carbajal and other legislators continue to push the BOP to implement mass testing there in order to better understand the scope of the outbreak and to prevent staff from further transmitting the virus into their home communities. During Sunday’s protest, prison officers blocked public access to facilities and staff housing. The California Highway Patrol issued a handful of tickets to participants for driving too slowly on Santa Lucia Canyon Road. After the procession, 50 or so demonstrators gathered at nearby Ryon Park, where Rev. Julia Hamilton addressed the crowd. “This is a crisis of national proportion,” said Hamilton, minister of the Unitarian Society of Santa Barbara. “These are loved ones and human beings who are treated like they’re disposable. Their basic rights are being denied. We’re not asking for the impossible,” she went on. “We’re asking for soap and hot water. We’re asking for a phone call. We’re asking for respect for the families who care about their loved ones, who deserve to know whether they are living or dying. This is not hard. It is not impossible. It just requires a will to make it happen, and the people running this prison have not demonstrated basic human decency to make sure that during this pandemic every single human soul is treated with care.”'

+ Third Inmate Dies as Families Protest Against Lompoc Prison COVID Conditions (2020):
+ https://www.independent.com/2020/05/26/third-inmate-dies-as-hundreds-protest-against-lompoc-prison-covid-con...

'Facebook first attributed the Secondary Infektion operation to Russian actors in May 2019. Then, in December 2019, Reddit attributed the leak of U.S.-UK trade leaks, which turned out to be genuine, to the same campaign. That was, in fact, the only real big-impact effort by the group as it sought to disrupt the UK election. From there, Graphika was able to trace the operation back to its roots in 2016. From small, specialist Web forums to the sprawling platforms of Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Medium and Reddit, Secondary Infektion had extraordinary breadth. Its most common theme was to paint Ukraine as a failed state or untrustworthy partner, but it also tried to convince the world that the U.S. and NATO were aggressive and interventionist, the researchers said. Europe was a target, too, often depicted in content as fractured and weak. Common themes ranged from Scottish and Catalan independence to older grievances such as the Armenian genocide. Many posts contained negative content about immigration, often targeting Muslim refugees, linking them to terrorism and sexual violence. “The intent appears to have been to stir up racial and religious conflict in the target countries,” Graphika’s researchers wrote. Various accounts set up by Secondary Infektion impersonated high-profile politicians, including U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, former White House chief of staff General John Kelly and Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.). One tweet from a counterfeit Rubio, for instance, accused the UK of interfering in the U.S.midterm elections of November 2018. And in recent months, there were some efforts to point the finger at the U.S. for creating Covid-19, a much-maligned conspiracy theory. The name “Secondary Infektion” was given to the campaign in memory of the Soviet-era “Operation Infektion” that accused the U.S. of creating AIDS. Other than the trade leaks, none of these efforts went viral. Indeed, few of the campaign’s efforts over six years have made a major splash. “Almost none of the operation’s posts across six years of activity achieved any measurable engagement, in terms of shares, likes and positive reactions across platforms,” Graphika wrote. “This may indicate that the operators were not interested in engagement metrics—for example, if they were driven by production quotas rather than engagement targets—or that they were using some other form of metrics not visible to outside observers.” Secondary Infektion hasn’t yet been seen in action around the 2020 U.S. election. But the expectation is that Russian disinformation and cyber espionage units will be back in earnest trying to sow more chaos in a country already besieged by Covid-19 and racial tensions.'

+ 2,500 Posts, 300 Platforms, 6 Years: A Huge But Mysterious Pro-Russia Disinformation Campaign Is Exposed (2020):
+ https://www.forbes.com/sites/thomasbrewster/2020/06/16/2500-posts-300-platforms-six-years-a-huge-but-mysteri...

PAID ADVERTISEMENT:

Eclipse 2020

Solar Eclipse - Yunlin County [Taiwan] (June 21, 2020): 'Solar eclipses on the summer solstice are rare. The last one was in June 2001. But a “ring of fire” eclipse that falls exactly in midsummer – whether in the northern or southern hemisphere – is even more uncommon. There have been none in at least 100 years, according to Reuters calculations based on NASA data. The next one is in 2039, and then in 2392.'

+ Rare ‘ring of fire’ solar eclipse on the longest day of the year (2020):
+ https://thehimalayantimes.com/world/rare-ring-of-fire-solar-eclipse-on-the-longest-day-of-the-year/
+ https://thehimalayantimes.com/multimedia/photo-gallery/in-pictures-kathmandu-witnesses-partial-annular-eclipse/
+ https://www.bangkokpost.com/world/1938620
+ https://twitter.com/rapplerdotcom/status/1274638431151370241

RELATED LINKS:
+ https://twitter.com/shane_bauer/status/1274190483804184583
+ https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Camp_Letterman
+ https://www.sun-sentinel.com/news/fl-xpm-1994-11-13-9411120297-story.html
+ https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_Penitentiary,_Atlanta
+ https://twitter.com/studentactivism/status/1274814747796541441
+ https://qz.com/1145669/googles-true-origin-partly-lies-in-cia-and-nsa-research-grants-for-mass-surveillance/

typehost's picture

Mecca

'Following months of deliberation over whether to cancel the annual hajj pilgrimage to stem the spread of the novel coronavirus, Saudi Arabia announced this week that it will drastically limit the number of people involved. In a live televised conference Tuesday, the Saudi health minister and the minister of Hajj and Umrah laid out the kingdom's plan for this year's pilgrimage, and the health precautions it will enforce to limit the spread of the virus. When asked about the number of pilgrims allowed this year, Minister of Hajj and Umrah Mohammed Saleh Benten said the issue is still under review but that the figure will not surpass 10,000. The decision to limit the hajj — which in 2019 drew nearly 2.5 million people to the city of Mecca — will probably hit Saudi Arabia economically and deliver a blow to individuals and families who had saved up and planned to perform the pilgrimage. According to an announcement made Monday by the Ministry of Hajj and Umrah, this year’s pilgrimage will be available only to “very limited numbers” of people who are already in the kingdom but that it will include different nationalities, not just Saudis. The announcement did not explain how the pilgrims will be chosen. On Tuesday, Health Minister Tawfiq al-Rabiah said that this year’s hajj will exclude people over 65, that all participants will be tested before they begin the pilgrimage and that their health will be checked daily. A hospital has been prepared for any emergency during the hajj. Participants will be quarantined at home afterward, the minister said. “There is a coordination between the [Saudi] Foreign Ministry and all the diplomatic missions in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, and Allah willing, when the number of people who can carry out this duty is determined, these people will be chosen via the diplomatic missions and their offices of pilgrim affairs,” Benten said. The decision to limit the hajj, set to begin in late July, comes months after the government announced it had halted umrah, a shorter form of pilgrimage that can be taken any time of year.'

+ Saudi Arabia announces drastic curbs to numbers for annual Hajj pilgrimage to Mecca (2020):
+ https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/middle_east/saudi-arabia-announces-drastic-curbs-to-numbers-for-annual-...
+ https://www.inverse.com/science/solar-eclipse-photos

RELATED LINKS:
+ https://www.oregonlive.com/news/2020/06/pioneer-statues-toppled-amid-protests-at-university-of-oregon.html
+ https://www.snopes.com/fact-check/aunt-jemima-chained-to-table/
+ https://www.washingtonpost.com/sports/2020/06/24/redskins-remove-george-preston-marshalls-name-all-team-mate...

Back to Top