Aboriginal Australian genocide, online map


This video says about itself:

Australia: ‘No pride in genocide’ – 50,000 march in Melbourne for ‘Invasion Day

25 january 2017

Some 50,000 people gathered in Melbourne to mark ‘Invasion Day,’ on Thursday, commemorating the colonisation of Australia by the British and the subsequent loss of the continent’s indigenous culture.

By Ben Chacko:

Australia: Map spotlights sites of genocide against aboriginal peoples

Thursday 6th July 2017

AN ONLINE map detailing the genocide of Aboriginal Australians by white settlers was launched yesterday.

The tool, developed by researchers at the University of Newcastle, New South Wales, records more than 150 massacres, specifying the sites where killings took place, how many people were murdered, what weapons were used to kill them and who was responsible.

Professor Lyndall Ryan, who developed the resource, said: “Most massacres took place in secret and were designed not to be discovered, so finding evidence of them is a major challenge.”

She told Australian media that she and her team used “settler diaries, newspaper reports, aboriginal evidence and archives from state and federal repositories” to discover and corroborate claimed incidents.

They defined a massacre as the “indiscriminate killing of six or more undefended people,” and traced such events from settlement in 1788 until 1872.

While other online maps have been launched, Prof Ryan says this is the first that details sources and evidence as well as the only “coherent list of frontier massacres spanning 80 years.” As yet, Tasmania, Victoria, New South Wales and Queensland have been carefully documented but more work is needed on other states.

Prof Ryan said she hopes the research will spur an understanding of the genocide and prompt memorial monuments similar to those erected for Australians killed in wars.

A major summit of indigenous people at Uluru in May called for formal representation of Aboriginal Australians in parliament and work towards a treaty specifying their rights.

The Communist Party of Australia argued yesterday that the new tool should encourage progress towards that goal.

True equality required “acknowledgement of history: basically a policy of genocide has been followed,” the party reasoned in an editorial in its Guardian newspaper. That was followed by “assimilation” — an attempt to “eliminate 60,000 years of culture,” it charged.

Both policies sought to wipe out Aboriginal Australians as a people.

“What is needed is … recognition of aboriginal rights as a national minority in Australia, and above all their right to land so that there is work for young aboriginal men and women.”

The map can be viewed at mstar.link/AusMassacres.

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London Grenfell Tower disaster, Australian solidarity


Australians Judy and Jenny

From the World Socialist Web Site:

Australian workers and youth speak out on Grenfell Tower tragedy

By our reporters

3 July 2017

The June 14 Grenfell Tower fire in London, which is thought to have killed over a hundred residents, has produced widespread shock and anger by Australian workers and young people.

Many who spoke to WSWS reporters over the weekend denounced the conditions that led to the blaze, including the flammable cladding on the building, and the lack of sprinklers and other basic safety measures.

Some drew parallels with the undermining of building regulations by successive Labor and Liberal-National governments in Australia. Media reports since the Grenfell Tower disaster have warned that flammable Aluminium Composite Panels (ACP) cladding is prevalent in the construction industry.

Government authorities, at the state and federal level, however, have done virtually nothing to identify at-risk buildings, let alone take action to prevent a similar disaster. Like their counterparts in Britain, the major parties represent the interests of the property developers and financial entities that have made billions of dollars from an ongoing property boom.

A limited audit in 2014 found that up to 51 percent of high-rise buildings in central Melbourne had flammable ACP cladding. A leaked report by the New South Wales (NSW) Department of Planning and Environment last year estimated that up to 2,500 high-rise buildings in Metropolitan Sydney were fitted with ACP cladding.

The Lacrosse apartment complex in Melbourne—the scene of a potentially catastrophic fire in 2014—is among the buildings across the country identified as having ACP cladding. Others include the Royal Women’s Hospital and Victorian Comprehensive Cancer Centre in Melbourne, and the Foyer Oxford apartment building in Leerdervale, Western Australia, which houses at-risk young people and, possibly, the Princess Alexandra Hospital in Brisbane, Queensland.

In NSW’s Central Coast, Jenny and Judy voiced their concerns. Both are forced to live on poverty-level Newstart unemployment benefits, despite being in their 60s.

Judy said: “When I saw the fire I was devastated and cried. I kept thinking of all the poor children and their parents killed in a terrible death. They could not be helped. It was disgusting. The council ignored the complaints from the residents about the fire hazard. They don’t care about the people, they just wanted them out.”

Jenny, who was recently kicked off disability benefits despite being partially blind, said the fire was an “attack on the working class.” She added: “It’s no different here. That cladding is used all over the world. How many more people will die before they do anything?”

Chris

Chris, 29, works in a dry-cleaning plant. He branded the Grenfell Tower fire as a “crime.” He commented: “I was surprised that a building could explode into flames like that, and spread so quickly. It was obvious then that there would be a lot of people trapped that would die. Even the firefighters were surprised and could do nothing to save the people.

“It was a crime because the council knew cheap inflammable cladding was on the building. I don’t think they cared because the building was home for lower-class struggling people.

“It didn’t surprise me when I heard that the council repeatedly ignored the complaints from residents that the building was a fire trap. They did nothing. They were willing to spend money to make the building look pretty because it was in a wealthy part of the city, but they didn’t want to spend money to protect the residents. They wanted the people out of the area. This was an attack on working people.”

Georgia

In Melbourne, Georgia, whose family is from Britain, said: “Austerity will continue to kill, to make the poorest people suffer for the gains of the rich. It is disgusting.

“The cladding on these towers is just the tip of the iceberg. It has been used on schools and many other buildings.

“Hopefully the anger over this will be a catalyst for something. Capitalism is a global problem. We have to change things by getting involved. I think we need a revolution.”

David, a retired social worker, said those responsible for the disaster should be “brought to justice.” He said: “It’s always the poor or the disabled that get screwed. Both parties that are responsible for the deregulation should be brought to court. Their legislation caused the death of people. It’s a horrible way to die.”

David denounced the response of the authorities to the tragedy, including demands that residents of other at-risk apartment buildings move out with no permanent alternative accommodation. “I was astounded that all these people from other towers are being told not to live there. But where are you going to put them and how would you like to be taken away from your home that you’re used to, and be put somewhere else?”

Valerie

Valerie, who lives in housing commission flats in Burnley, Melbourne, spoke out against the conditions facing public housing residents. “On this property everything is broken, including gates and doors,” she commented.

“We need a lot done. When you go to tell them [the housing commission] about it, they tell you to ring maintenance. Two months later they might send someone around! They’re not going to fix things. I’ve been here eight years and all my window sills are rotten. They should spend money on safety.

“Those poor people in London didn’t have any money. I feel so sorry. You aren’t safe anywhere. They just won’t spend money on the poor.”

Sam

In Sydney, Sam, who manufactures fire doors, said one of his friends previously lived in the Grenfell Tower. “After the fire happened he was very upset because he could have been living there,” he said. “He is a very good mate of mine, so it makes you feel bad when your workmate is upset.

“Working in the building-products industry, we use the fire code and I know how to deal with fire doors and fire ratings. If they didn’t check it [Grenfell Tower] properly, how did they get permission to build it in the first place?

“This was a big building so it should have been checked. They have electronic equipment that quickly tells you the fire rating of materials. If they weren’t following the instructions then the government should have cancelled their licence.

“It is a crime to play with other people’s lives and they should be punished,” Sam concluded. “If they are let go then it will happen again.”

Bill, an IT worker in Sydney, said: “It made me sick, just thinking about what happened and also what the government did afterwards—nothing. All those people had no place to go, it was absolutely shocking. It’s the rich and the poor. Big corporations making profit at the expense of ordinary people.

“The authorities don’t know, or they don’t want to know, how many people died. Ordinary people are saying it’s over 100 people dead. It’s indifference and a cover-up. This is a lot worse than the recent terrorist attacks in terms of how many people have died, but the response is completely different.”

Bill said he knew of at least one apartment building in Auburn, a working-class suburb in Sydney’s southwest, fitted with ACP cladding. He also recalled the Euro Terraces fire in Bankstown in 2012, which killed a young Chinese woman and seriously injured her friend. “There was no sprinkler system because the building was just under the required height for them,” he said. “They’d also had problems with the fire safety equipment, the building had failed an inspection.”

Bill commented on the broader erosion of building standards: “If you look at all the new buildings going up in Sydney, including in this area, they don’t check for a lot of things, including water-proofing. Property developers are just putting paint on them, and then the people who buy them have huge costs to fix up all the problems. The councils are not checking on that.”

Cardinal Pell, Vatican #3, charged with child abuse


This video says about itself:

Top Vatical Cardinal charged with multiple sexual assault charges

28 June 2017

Australian police say they have charged the pope’s chief financial adviser and Australia’s most senior Catholic with multiple sexual assault charges.

Cardinal George Pell is the highest-ranking Vatican official to be charged in the Catholic Church’s long-running sexual abuse scandal.

Read more here.

See also here.

TOP VATICAN OFFICIAL CHARGED WITH SEXUAL ASSAULT Australian Cardinal George Pell, who is third-highest official in the Vatican, has been charged with “multiple historical sex offenses.” [HuffPost]

An Australian support group for adult survivors of childhood abuse is applauding the decision by Australian police to charge a key Vatican aide with sexual assault: here.

From the BBC today:

Cardinal Pell: Vatican treasurer charged with sex offences

The Vatican treasurer and Australia’s most senior Catholic figure, Cardinal George Pell, has been charged with sex offences in Australia.

The charges relate to alleged “historical” incidents, police in the state of Victoria said.

The allegations were made by more than one person, said Police Deputy Commissioner Shane Patton. …

As Vatican treasurer, Cardinal Pell is considered the third-ranking official in the Holy See.

The Catholic Church worldwide has in recent years faced a damaging series of allegations relating to sex abuse by priests, and claims that these cases were covered up.

What are the charges?

Victoria Police said they had made the decision to charge Cardinal Pell after receiving advice from prosecutors last month.

“Cardinal Pell is facing multiple charges and there are multiple complainants,” Deputy Commissioner Patton said.

Details of the allegations were not revealed.

Deputy Commissioner Patton said police “process and procedures” had been no different from any other investigation.

“Cardinal Pell has been treated the same as anyone else in this investigation,” he said.

The charges were served on Cardinal Pell’s legal representatives in Melbourne on Thursday.

The cardinal would be required to face the Melbourne Magistrates’ Court on 18 July, Deputy Commissioner Patton said. …

Who is Cardinal Pell?

Cardinal Pell has been a strong supporter of traditional Catholic values, taking a conservative stance on same-sex marriage and contraception, and advocating priestly celibacy.

But his career has been dogged first by claims that he covered up child sexual abuse by priests, and then later that he was himself an abuser. He has always strongly denied any wrongdoing.

In 2014, Cardinal Pell was summoned to Rome to become chief of the Vatican’s finances, a new position created by Pope Francis in the wake of scandals at the Vatican Bank.

But he left behind growing anger over revelations of child sex abuse by members of the Catholic clergy in Australia.

Cardinal Pell repeatedly faced allegations from abuse victims of a cover-up and his critics accused him of appearing aloof and arrogant.

He was accused of moving one notorious paedophile priest – Gerald Ridsdale – around parishes rather than reporting him, and of attempting to bribe one of the victims to keep quiet.

He denied any wrongdoing but said he could have done more to investigate claims of abuse.

In 2016 the Australian Broadcasting Corp (ABC) aired allegations by two men who claimed Cardinal Pell had touched them inappropriately in the 1970s.

when they were children

Shockwaves – Hywel Griffith, BBC News Australia correspondent

Cardinal Pell is not just Australia’s most senior cleric, he is one of the highest-ranking officials in the Catholic world.

For two decades, he has been a frontline figure in the Church’s debate over controversial issues such as homosexuality, Aids and stem cell research.

He has also handled the Church’s official response to allegations of sexual abuse within its Australian ranks during a series of inquiries.

When he gave evidence via video link to a Royal Commission into abuse last year, some abuse survivors flew all the way to Rome to watch.

It is hard to overstate, therefore, the significance of the decision to press charges against him.

When he returns to face those charges in an Australian court, every second will be scrutinised not just by the Australian press, but by members of Catholic congregations across the globe.

CARDINAL GEORGE PELL APPEARED IN COURT OVER SEX ABUSE CHARGES Australia’s highest-ranking Catholic made his first court appearance over “multiple charges relating to historical sexual offenses.” [HuffPost]

Fossil giant brush turkey discovery in Australia


A reconstruction of Progura gallinacea (right), alongside a kangaroo and modern bush turkey (Alectura lathami). Image credit: Elen Shute / Kim Benson / Tony Rodd / Aaron Camens

From Sci-News.com:

Giant Flying Turkeys Lived in Australia 1-3 Million Years Ago

June 15, 2017

Progura gallinacea, a species of extinct giant brush turkey that lived in Australia during the Late Pliocene and Early Pleistocene (1-3 million years ago), is among five megapode birds described (or redescribed) by Flinders University paleontologists.

After carefully comparing megapode fossils from Queensland, New South Wales, South Australia and Western Australia, the paleontologists have concluded that the remains belong to five different extinct species: Garrdimalga mcnamarai (new species), Progura gallinacea and P. campestris (new species), Latagallina naracoortensis and L. olsoni (new species).

All five birds were chunky relatives of extant malleefowl (Leipoa ocellata) and brush turkeys (Alectura lathami), but Progura gallinacea soars above the others.

The earliest-described extinct megapode, Progura gallinacea had an estimated mass of 7.7 kg.

Progura campestris, Latagallina naracoortensis, Garrdimalga mcnamarai and Latagallina olsoni had average masses of 6.2 kg, 5.2 kg, 5.2 kg and 2.9 kg, respectively.

Progura gallinacea had long, slender legs. Latagallina naracoortensis and L. olsoni had shorter legs and broad bodies.

These giant megapodes lived during the Pleistocene, between 5 million and 11,000 years ago, alongside Australia’s giant extinct marsupials such as diprotodons, marsupial lions and short-faced kangaroos.

It seems that none of these birds built mounds like their living Australian cousins because they lacked the large feet and specialized claws seen in mound-builders.

It’s more likely that they buried their eggs in warm sand or soil, like some living megapodes in Indonesia and the Pacific.

Unlike many large extinct birds, such as dodos, these megapodes were not flightless.

While big and bulky, their long, strong wing bones show they could all fly, and probably roosted in trees.

“These discoveries are quite remarkable because they tell us that more than half of Australia’s megapodes went extinct during the Pleistocene, and we didn’t even realize it until now,” said Elen Shute, a PhD candidate at Flinders University and lead author of a paper in the journal Royal Society Open Science.

“Given several of the largest birds to have lived in Australia in recent times have escaped detection in the fossil record until now, our research shows how little we know of Australia’s immediate pre-human avifauna,” said co-author Dr. Trevor Worthy, an associate professor at Flinders University.

“Probably many smaller extinct species also await discovery by paleontologists.”

How kangaroos stay cool


This video says about itself:

Amazing Kangaroo Technique To Stay Cool – Planet Earth – BBC Earth

2 April 2017

Australia is the world’s most arid continent, and its blistering daytime heat can be a potential killer. Using thermal imaging, we are given a fascinating glimpse into how the Red Kangaroos cool their body temperatures and avoid the deadly effects of the mid day sun.

Australians, Floridians against Trump’s war on Syria


This video says about itself:

Thousands protest Trump as “sister marches” begin in Australia

21 January 2017

Thousands of protesters in Australia take part in one of the hundreds of womens’ marches planned around the world in a show of disapproval of U.S. President Donald Trump as he began his first day in office.

From the World Socialist Web Site:

Australian workers and youth speak out against US strike on Syria

By our reporters

10 April 2017

Workers, students and young people across Australia have reacted to the US bombing of a Syrian air base last Thursday with a combination of shock and intense opposition. Speaking to the WSWS, many noted the bloody record of US and Australian interventions in the Middle East over the past 15 years. Some expressed concerns that the direct targeting of a base at which Russian troops were present marked a dangerous turn towards a broader military conflagration.

The sentiments of ordinary people stand in sharp contrast to the response of the Australian political and media establishment. Liberal-National Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and Labor Party leader Bill Shorten hailed the illegal act of aggression by the US.

The media, including its nominally “liberal” wing, has universally lined-up behind the fraudulent pretext for the US bombing—that the Syrian regime used chemical weapons last week—and has suppressed all information indicating that it was the US-backed Islamist opposition that had the most to gain from the alleged nerve gas attack.

WSWS reporters spoke to workers, students and young people over the weekend.

Amanda, a middle-aged healthcare worker from Newcastle, a regional centre in New South Wales, said: “The CIA is behind the bombings in Syria and probably the gas attack as well. They have their fingers in all pies. That is how they operate around the world. If they don’t like a government, they will change it.”

Amanda questioned the official pretext for the bombing. “I really doubt it was Assad [the Syrian president] who conducted the gas attack,” she said. “It is illogical. Why would Assad do that now, when he is regaining control over Syria? It doesn’t make sense.

“America has attacked every government in the Middle East that had gained some degree of independence. Iraq, Syria and Libya were some of the most civilized countries in the Middle East and all had secular governments. When they [the US] invaded Iraq in 2003, no one provided any proof about weapons of mass destruction.”

Asked about the dangers of a broader conflict, Amanda commented: “There is real likelihood for a major war here. Russia has never attacked the US and they have no overseas bases except in Syria. But the US has over 200 bases in every corner of the world. I imagine if Hillary Clinton had been elected US president she would have gone to war just a couple of days after the election.”

In the Latrobe Valley, in south-east Victoria, WSWS reporters spoke with residents about the relationship between the drive to war abroad and the assault on the social conditions of the working class. The region faces a deep social crisis, after decades of job cuts in the power sector, which will be exacerbated by the closure of the Hazelwood power plant last month and the destruction of 750 jobs.

Misty

Misty, a 22-year-old casual worker, said: “I think that war has gotten to the point where it’s not about protecting people. It’s about a selfish government.

“I wanted to go and fight in a war when I was young. I did 28 days of training. It’s only in the last two years I decided not to. I realised people are not fighting for freedom, but for money. I don’t think it’s right for some of us to suffer just for someone else to put money in their pocket.

“In Iraq, in 2003, there were no weapons of mass destruction. They said there were. It was a lie. I think this one in Syria is the same. There’s another reason they want to go to war in the Middle East. There’s a lot of money to gain from controlling the oil.”

Misty continued: “The government here spends all the money on war and things that aren’t necessary. They could be funding homes for people who are homeless. There isn’t enough done for the people who need it. I don’t see people as Muslim or Iraqi. We’re just people. We all have to work, we all have to survive.”

Jordan

Jordan, a 24-year-old demolition worker, said: “I think this whole thing in Syria is caused by the US. It’s just like Iraq. In 2003, it was all over oil. Saddam Hussein was a bad man but it wasn’t a reason to take over a country.”

Asked about the billions spent by the Australian government on war, Jordan said: “I believe money is spent in the wrong way. There’s nothing much out here. I came here to live with my girlfriend’s family. There are a lot of drug problems and there are no jobs. I find whatever work I can. I get work three out of seven days. It’s not enough to get by.”

Yvonne

Yvonne, a retiree, pointed to the illegality of the bombing. “The question in my mind now is, did Trump order the bombing?” she asked. “Trump has the formal title of president but he is not the government. I don’t know whether according to the US constitution he can make unilateral decisions and have them executed.”

Yvonne denounced the media, for uncritically peddling the claims of the major imperialist powers. “I know what the media is saying is tailored. It’s tailored by what is not said,” she commented.

Yvonne pointed to the persecution of refugees, many of whom are fleeing the Syrian conflict, by successive Labor and Liberal-National governments. “I just can’t bear to watch the television,” she said.

“I’m the daughter of refugees and I hate the appalling policies that our government carries out against asylum-seekers in the name of ‘border protection.’ They don’t listen to us. They’re Janus-faced. There’s the public face on the television with all the trimmings. And then there’s the reality which we never get to see.”

Anuj

Anuj, a 30-year-old IT worker originally from India but now living in Sydney, said: “I’m against the bombing, any bombing. It’s not something that should ever happen. I think Trump is someone who doesn’t really understand why he does a lot of things. He’s doing it to show he has power.

“The media is supporting what he’s done because he is president of the most powerful country in the world. The US has attacked the Middle East a lot, like they did in Vietnam. They have a history of meddling in other country’s affairs.”

Stuart, a transport worker in Sydney, said that US bombing was “disgraceful.” “There are so many machinations in this that you wouldn’t know what’s going on,” he said. “Western governments have created a lot of this mess. The whole region was split up by Britain at the end of World War I which started a lot of the mess.”

Stuart pointed to the anti-democratic character of US-led wars: “There is never any attempt to ask the people. It’s just the leaders that make the decisions and the ordinary people have to do all the dirty work for them. They are the ones sent to war and dying. The generals sit back in their ivory towers and once it’s all over, they move on to the next disaster and leave all the carnage behind them.”

Stuart said that there was a deepening social crisis in the US and Australia. “The US worker has been in decline for a long time,” he commented. “The steel industry has been decimated, they all lost their jobs and look at it now. It’s even creeping up to the high-paid and skilled workers, like the pilots in America. It’s hitting Australia as well and other Western countries. What do you do? You vote for Trump as a protest vote and you end up with a bigger disaster.”

This video from the USA says about itself:

9 April 2017

The Jacksonville Progressive Coalition protest Syrian strikes by Trump. JSO [Jacksonville Sheriff’s Offic] made errors and allowed provacateurs to create violence. JSO then arrested and brutalized anti-war protesters. The next day a protest was held at the county courthouse to bring attention to the arrest and brutalization and to show support for hospitalized and jailed protesters.

By Matthew Taylor in the USA:

Florida anti-war protesters attacked, arrested in police provocation

10 April 2017

Five protestors taking part in a demonstration against the Trump administration’s illegal bombing of Syria were arrested in Jacksonville, Florida on Friday afternoon and charged with multiple felonies, including inciting a riot. Video of the arrests and eyewitness testimony clearly show that the incident was provoked by the police in concert with a well-known right-wing provocateur.

The police assault was initiated when Gary Snow, a right-wing activist well-known for his frequent provocations, attempted to disrupt the protest by mounting the area used as a stage for the speakers with his own megaphone to shout pro-Trump slogans. Snow was allowed to do this by the police, who had at least a half a dozen officers surrounding the immediate area.

When one speaker, Connell Crooms, confronted Snow offstage with a sheriff’s deputy standing between them, he was shoved by Snow. Jacksonville police then began their assault on Crooms.

The video shows at least four officers pile on Crooms, who is deaf, violently dragging him to the ground. As Crooms was pinned to the ground by three officers, one of them repeatedly punches the incapacitated man in the ribs as the others hold him down. Snow can be seen standing unmolested over the dogpile of police officers as they viciously beat Crooms.

Crooms, who frequently participates in anti-war and anti-police violence protests in Jacksonville, was hospitalized for his injuries. Witnesses told the Folio Weekly that police could be seen dragging the limp body of Crooms into a nearby ambulance. Police absurdly charged him with two felonies: inciting a riot and resisting an officer with violence.

As the outraged crowd gathered closer and shouted at police to stop their assault, the sheriff’s deputies turned on the crowd and responded with brutal force. Toma Beckham, another local activist, was slammed to the ground and arrested. When another nearby activist, Christina Kittle, came to their aid she too was assaulted. The video shows a large sheriff’s deputy slamming the woman face down onto the ground and violently twisting her arm behind her back into a joint lock before arresting her.

Kittle was charged with two felonies: battery on a law enforcement officer and riot/incite or encourage. Beckham was charged with a felony count of resisting an officer with violence and a misdemeanor count of affray (fighting).

William Wilder, a 74-year-old man, was beaten by another large deputy as he attempted to prevent him from assaulting another protestor. In a Facebook post from the Jacksonville sheriff’s office, the police admit punching the elderly man in the face “several times to obtain compliance,” after Wilder allegedly knocked the radio off of the deputies shoulder. Wilder was charged with two felony counts: aggravated battery on a law enforcement officer and depriving an officer with means of communication.

David Schneider, a local activist, was charged with a felony count of inciting a riot. Schneider was on the outskirts of the protest when police launched their assault on demonstrators.

The Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office (JSO) Facebook post that attempts to whitewash the arrests justifies Schneider’s arrest thus: “During the protest suspect David Schneider was identified to be the primary organizer of the protest. He was observed organizing and rehearsing chants with the crowd that they later repeated on his command during the time he addressed the crowd with an electronic megaphone. Mr. Schneider was also the main person observed engaging and coordinating with most of the [protester]s. The decision was made to detain the organizer of the protest. Suspect Schneider observed police looking at him and began to cross the street and leave. Police yelled multiple times to stop and he did not comply. An officer ran after him and grabbed his arm and told him he was being detained. Suspect Schneider was arrested for Inciting a Riot (felony).”

The JSO indicts themselves with their own words. They arrested Schneider for organizing the protest, exercising his constitutionally protected rights of free speech. Nothing in the preceding protest, which consisted of peaceful chanting and speeches, could be rationally seen as inciting a riot.

It is clear, however, that the JSO allowed a friendly provocateur to start a fight which they then used as a justification to assault the activists.

The fact that Schneider was targeted despite the fact that he was not in the immediate vicinity of the police assault suggests the arrests were planned in advance and the [protester]s were illegally targeted for their politics. Kittle, Beckham, Crooms, Wilder, and Schneider are all well-known activists who frequently participate in local anti-war and police violence protests.

A recent article in the Florida Times-Union exposed the JSO’S routine surveillance of demonstrations. Going back to at least 2015 the Times-Union established that sheriff’s office had a contract with the social media monitoring service Geofeedia. They used the service to notify them of any planned protests, particularly against police violence. The article also reveals that the JSO would film demonstrations, zooming in on the faces of speakers so as to better identify them. The article states that the JSO has access to facial recognition software, suggesting that they used the software to identify and target protest organizers.

On Saturday family members and friends who attempted to visit those arrested were turned away from the Duval County jail. Some had traveled from out of state to visit their imprisoned family members. Rather conveniently, the jail had been placed in lockdown and visitation canceled.

The provocateur, Snow, is also a frequent presence at local protests. He is known for provoking and intimidating protestors in his attempts to disrupt peaceful demonstrations and promote his right-wing ideology. At a rally at the Jacksonville courthouse Sunday in support of the imprisoned [activist]s, speakers called for his arrest, and several noted that at previous demonstrations the police had separated the counter-demonstrators from the main protest. The fact that they failed to do this at Friday’s protest indicates probable collusion between the police and Snow.

Further evidence of this can be seen in video from the incident. As the police scatter the terrified crowd, Snow can be seen sitting on the hood of a nearby police cruiser, calmly talking with officers.

The arrests in Jacksonville must be taken as a stern warning to the working class. Police collaboration with fascistic elements like Snow in assaults on workers is a frequent tactic of authoritarian dictatorships. As opposition to war and inequality grows, the state will increasingly rely on such methods.

White House threatens more strikes on Syria: here.

Following the declaration of support by the German government for the US attack on Syria on Friday, Germany’s media launched a campaign at the weekend for a massive expansion of aggression against the country: here.

TRUMP ON TRACK TO OUTSPEND OBAMA’S ENTIRE TRAVEL BUDGET IN ONE YEAR “President Donald Trump has spent 21 days of his 80-day presidency at his Mar-a-Lago resort in Palm Beach, at an estimated cost of $21.6 million in travel and security expenses, CNN reported. In contrast, Obama spent a total of just under $97 million during his entire presidency.” [HuffPost]