United States rabbi on Michael Brown’s death


This video from the USA says about itself:

New York Jewish Community Sings and Protests for Eric Garner

5 December 2014

A coalition of the Upper West Side Jewish community blocked traffic at the intersection of 96 and Broadway and sang Oseh Shalom in support of Eric Garner as NYPD and SWAT arrived.

From the Jewish Journal in the USA:

Rabbi Harold M. Schulweis: Why Ferguson matters to Jews, and what makes a rabbi’s life well-lived

by Janice Kaminer-Reznik

8 hours ago

Rabbi Schulweis was not just our rabbi and teacher and not just a social philosopher and idea generator; and, he was not just the man who called on our community to start an organization to fight genocide. For Jewish World Watch he has been so much more. He has been was an active leader in realizing the organization’s vision, day-in day-out for the past decade. …

He loved speaking with the priests, headmasters and students in Catholic and Christian schools; he forged our relationship with the Armenian community, making sure that JWW would become the first Jewish organization to support long overdue legislation (which sadly, still has not been enacted), recognizing the Armenian genocide. …

Of all of the visits and conversations I have had with Rabbi Schulweis, it is our very last conversation less than two weeks ago that was perhaps the most profound. It will stay with me forever. Already in quite a weakened state, Rabbi Schulweis was notably agitated about the events that lead to the death of Michael Brown in Ferguson Missouri, and the chokehold that killed Eric Garner in New York. He said that these police practices are intolerable and racially biased. He asked why he was not hearing a louder voice of protest from the American Jewish community.

Rabbi Schulweis was a man who simply could not tolerate injustice…even as his heart was fading — even as he knew his end was near…he would not give up his pursuit of and for justice. And his expectation of us was clear as well— to continue this sacred work:

“The fringes of the tallit placed on my body are torn, for the dead cannot praise You, O Lord.
The dead have no mitzvot.
But your tallit is whole and you are alive and alive you are called to mitzvot.
You can choose, you can act, you can transform the world.”

Eric Garner & Michael Brown News: More than 200 Children Stage Die-In in Busy Philadelphia Street to Protest Legal Injustices: here.

A MASS of demonstrators chanting: “Black lives matter” converged in the Mall of America rotunda in Minnesota on Saturday as part of the continuing nationwide protest against police brutality: here.

ACLU sues Kansas City Public Schools for punishing the Ferguson-related silent protest at Lincoln Prep: here.

How women are leading the #BlackLivesMatter movement: here.

The fatal shooting of an unarmed black teenager by a white police officer in the Ferguson County in the U.S state of Missouri four months ago and ensuing widespread protests drew mixed, particularly critical, reactions from the international community: here.

Millions of Eric Garner justice activists blamed for suicidal loner killing two policemen


This video from the USA says about itself:

Notre Dame Women’s Basketball Team Wear I Can’t Breathe T-Shirts During Pre-Game Warmup

20 December 2014

Notre Dame’s women basketball players came out for pregame warmups Saturday wearing “I Can’t Breathe” shirts.

The Irish joined a growing list of teams wearing similar shirts in support of the family of Eric Garner, who died in July after a New York police officer placed him in a chokehold while trying to arrest him.

By Sandy English in the USA:

New York City police pledge “wartime” response to killing of two officers

22 December 2014

The fatal shooting of two New York City police officers on Saturday has been followed by a series of extraordinary statements from the police union and its political allies. Charging that New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio has “blood on his hands,” the police are demanding a crackdown on protests and the criminalization of all opposition to police killings.

Officers Raphael Ramos and Wenjian Liu were sitting in their vehicle in the Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood of Brooklyn when, shortly before 3 pm on Saturday, the apparent shooter, Ismaaiyl Brinsley, approached the car and killed both.

Brinsley, 28, had driven from a suburb of Baltimore, Maryland to Brooklyn after shooting and wounding his former girlfriend. The young man, who was clearly mentally unbalanced and evidently suicidal, seems to have been motivated in part by the police killings of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri and Eric Garner in New York City.

After he shot Ramos and Liu, Brinsley was pursued by police into a nearby subway station, where he killed himself.

The response of the police has bordered on mutiny. As Mayor de Blasio walked to a press conference on Saturday, dozens of police officers demonstratively turned their backs on him.

Police have issued a series of denunciations of de Blasio for having indicated some sympathy for demonstrations against police violence held in the wake of a grand jury’s decision not to charge NYPD Officer Daniel Pantaleo for the chokehold death of Garner.

The Sergeants Benevolent Association tweeted on Saturday, “The blood of 2 executed police officers is on the hands of Mayor de Blasio.”

Patrick Lynch, the president of the Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association (PBA), the police union, echoed these remarks while seeking to link the anti-police violence protests to the killings by a mentally unbalanced individual. “Those that incited violence on the street, under the guise of protest, that tried to tear down what New York City police officers did every day. We tried to warn—‘it must not go on, it cannot be tolerated,’” he said on Saturday.

This is nothing less than a call to attack and ban any public criticism of police abuse as an illegitimate incitement to violence.

“That blood on the hands, starts on the steps of City Hall, in the office of the mayor,” Lynch declared.

A twitter post by a managing editor at AOL News reproduced a memo, attributed to the PBA, declaring: “The mayor’s hands are literally dripping with our blood because of his words, actions, and policies. We have, for the first time in many years, become a ‘wartime’ police department. We will act accordingly.”

A PBA spokesman has denied that the memo came officially came from the organization.

However, these remarks were immediately endorsed by former New York City Mayor Rudolph Giuliani, who declared on Fox News on Sunday: “We’ve had four months of propaganda starting with the president that everybody should hate the police. The protests are being embraced, the protests are being encouraged. The protests, even the ones that don’t lead to violence, a lot of them lead to violence, all of them lead to a conclusion. The police are bad, the police are racist. That is completely wrong.”

In response to these fascistic statements, which reek of a police-state mentality, de Blasio released a tepid statement criticizing the “irresponsible, overheated rhetoric that angers and divides people,” while reiterating his support for the police and “the entire NYPD community.”

The pledge of a “wartime” response from the police should be taken as an ominous warning. It is yet another manifestation of the enormous power that has been built up in these state institutions and the deep decay of democratic rights in the United States, fueled by endless war abroad and immense social inequality within the country.

The police forces act more and more as independent sources of authority. They have been given the power to kill with impunity—in the case of Brown, Garner and countless others. In response to popular outrage over these killings, the ruling class has deployed its highly militarized police against demonstrations.

The police themselves work in close coordination with the military and the intelligence agencies. In response to protests in Ferguson, Democratic Party Governor Jay Nixon activated the National Guard, a branch of the Armed Forces, and declared a preemptive state of emergency.

On Saturday, Governor Scott Walker of Wisconsin activated the National Guard in preparation for further protests over the police killing of Dontre Hamilton, an unarmed schizophrenic black man who was shot 14 times by a Milwaukee police officer in April.

A Republican senator attributed the assassination-style killing of two NYC police officers to the protests in Ferguson, Missouri following the killing of 18-year-old Michael Brown. Appearing on KMBZ in Kansas City on Monday, Sen. Roy Blunt (R-MO) speculated that criticism of police tactics from his own constituents in the aftermath of the shooting may have “led to the deaths of those two officers”: here.

NYPD AND THE CHOKEHOLD “The similarities are striking. Both Anthony Baez and Eric Garner, in their final moments, were put into chokeholds by officers from the New York City Police Department. Both of the cops involved were white, while Baez and Garner were minorities and unarmed. Both men’s deaths set off protests across the city, their names added to a long list of black and Latino men who have died in altercations with police. But Francis Livoti, the officer who killed Baez, ultimately spent seven years in a federal prison. In December, a Staten Island grand jury decided not to indict NYPD Officer Daniel Pantaleo in Garner’s death.” [HuffPost]

After Eric Garner’s killer, Jimmy Mubenga’s killers get impunity


This video from the USA says about itself:

Entire College Team Wears ‘I Can’t Breathe’ Shirts

13 December 2014

“Many high-profile NBA players have shown their sympathy for the late Eric Garner by wearing “I Can’t Breathe” T-shirts prior to recent games.

On Wednesday night, the Georgetown Hoyas became the first college team to join the movement by wearing “I Can’t Breathe” T-shirts prior to their home game against Kansas.

It’s fitting that Georgetown is the first college team to join the “I Can’t Breathe” movement because for much of the ’80s and early 90s, the Hoyas were a strong symbol of urban culture among the African-American community. Head coach John Thompson Jr., still an iconic figure in the Washington, D.C., area, was the first African-American coach to win a national championship, doing so in 1984.

The Young Turks hosts John Iadarola (TYT University), Ana Kasparian and Ben Mankiewicz break it down.

In New York City in the USA, Eric Garner, after saying: ‘I can’t breathe’ was killed by police. His killer was not indicted.

Now, something similar in Britain. Similar, but not the same. As the British case did not involve police, but the infamous ‘security’ mercenaries of G4S. And there was at least an indictment; but no conviction.

From daily The Morning Star in Britain:

G4S guards cleared of Jimmy Mubenga killing

Wednesday 17th December 2014

A TRIO of G4S guards accused of the 2010 manslaughter of deportee Jimmy Mubenga walked free yesterday after being cleared by an Old Bailey jury.

Campaigners branded the verdict “disappointing” and said questions remained over the death of the Angolan man onboard a plane on the Heathrow tarmac.

Terrence Hughes, Colin Kaler and Stuart Triblenig had all denied they acted improperly towards Mr Mubenga, who had allegedly been pinned to his chair face down for around 30 minutes before he died of a heart attack, with witnesses saying he’d complained that he was unable to breathe.

The father of five’s death in the custody of scandal-dogged security privateer G4S was ruled unlawful at an inquest last year, but his family’s search for a conviction failed yesterday.

Mr Mubenga’s wife Adrienne Makenda Kambana said: “Jimmy’s gone but we need justice for his children.

“My daughter was seven months at the time her father died. It breaks my heart, it makes me more determined to fight again to get justice for Jimmy and for my family.”

The guards’ solicitor Alex Preston said the trio were “delighted to have been found not guilty so quickly.”

But justice charity Inquest codirector Deborah Coles questioned how that verdict squared with the evidence.

“It is difficult to reconcile the verdict with the evidence heard at the trial that over 20 people heard Jimmy Mubenga say ‘I can’t breathe’,” she said.

“There needs to be a mechanism for state institutions and the private companies they employ to be held to account when people die. The lack of state accountability over black deaths in custody is a global issue and one that will not go away until urgently addressed.”

Amnesty International spokesman Oliver Sprague said the verdict was “extremely disappointing given the multiple failings” which led to the death.

Mr Hughes had earlier told the court that he had received no specific training in restraint techniques for use within the close confines of an aircraft.

In June, Immigration Minister James Brokenshire announced new guidelines for cases such as Mr Mubenga’s.

But Mr Sprague demanded a radical overhaul that would place “proper controls” on the firms paid by the Home Office to carry out deportations.

He added that Amnesty had documented “numerous cases of private security companies’ wholly inappropriate conduct over the last few years.

See also here.

Jimmy Mubenga: Judge refused to allow jury to hear about guards’ racist texts. Abusive and racist texts on phones of G4S security guards cleared of manslaughter of Angolan man not seen as relevant to case: here.

A JUDGE’S decision to withhold dozens of racist text messages on the phones of G4S guards acquitted of killing Jimmy Mubenga was condemned as “a shocking act of state racism” yesterday: here.

A DEMONSTRATION of over two hundred people took place on Thursday evening outside the Home Office to protest against the ‘not-guilty’ verdict for the G4S guards over the trial for Jimmy Mubenga: here.

Demonstrators outside the Home Office demanding the prosecution of G4S after the death of Jimmy Mubenga

Jimmy Mubenga verdict: Even terrorist suspects receive better treatment than immigrants in the UK. As well as allowing the use of ‘pain-based removal techniques’, Britain is the only country in the EU to detain immigrants indefinitely: here.

Californian police made 25 arrests on Monday as protesters chained themselves to the doors of the Oakland police headquarters. Demonstrators blocked streets around the building and chained shut four doors to protest against recent grand jury decisions not to indict white police officers who killed unarmed black men in Ferguson, Missouri, and New York: here.

USA: Boston College students are upset with the school administration’s choice to send out letters to demonstrators who participated in a “die-in” at a private campus building last week, threatening possible disciplinary actions for the act of civil disobedience. On December 9, dozens of BC students and faculty congregated inside of the St. Mary’s Hall residence, a place school officials said is privately owned and used for “prayer and solitude” by the Jesuit community, to protest two recent grand juries’ decisions not to indict white police officers in the shooting deaths of unarmed black men. The civil action was one of many that took place around the city in recent weeks in response to the lack of indictments in Ferguson, Missouri, and New York: here.

Lil B has released a new single that takes its name from the protest movement that sprang up in the wake of Eric Garner‘s choking death at the hands of the NYPD: “I Can’t Breathe.” Except instead of just protesting Garner’s death, Lil B also appears to be protesting the oppressive hand of Mark Zuckerberg following his own alleged ban from Facebook. On Tuesday Lil B said he’d been blocked from Facebook for 30 days after going on a rant about rape, slavery, and animal rights. “Facebook has blocked me for 30 days for speaking my mind with no intent of hate or separation,” he tweeted: here.

Freedom Rider: Ferguson Reverberates Around the World: here.

Canada: I was racially profiled, roughed up, and detained by police for being Indigenous: here.

Big Michael Brown, Eric Garner protests today


This video from MSNBC News in the USA says about itself:

Michael Brown, Eric Garner protests hit Washington, D.C.

13 December 2014

MSNBC’s Trymaine Lee reports on the “Justice for All” march in Washington, D.C. and other protests sprouting up across the country in the wake of recent police killings.

CIA torture, Michael Brown and Eric Garner


This video from the USA says about itself:

On November 25th [2014], protesters took to the streets in Houston, Texas, to protest the non indictment of Darren Wilson for the shooting of Michael Brown.

By Bill Van Auken in the USA:

Torture, police killings and the militarization of America

12 December 2014

The fact that the Senate Select Intelligence Committee’s report exposing CIA torture has been released in the United States as the country is being swept by angry protests over a series of vicious and unpunished police killings has been little noted by the American mass media.

What are treated as unrelated stories are, in fact, two facets of the same phenomenon: the growth of a massive and criminal police state apparatus that enjoys absolute impunity. The crimes carried out abroad and the crimes carried out at home have a common source in an economic and social system that is in deep crisis and whose overriding features are social inequality, militarism and a relentless assault on basic democratic rights.

The cops who shot down unarmed teenager Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, strangled to death Eric Garner in Staten Island and killed defenseless individuals in Cleveland, Phoenix and elsewhere go unpunished as prosecutors employ a deliberate system of exoneration by grand jury to prevent them from ever being called to account for their crimes.

The actions in the Senate report are sufficient to require the immediate arrest and prosecution not merely of the CIA’s killers and torturers, but of George W. Bush, Dick Cheney, George Tenet, Condoleezza Rice and other top officials who authorized and oversaw a system of depravity and violence in violation of both US and international law.

Yet no one in the US Congress, the Obama administration or any other section of the American ruling establishment suggests that such prosecutions are even remotely possible. On Thursday, Obama’s CIA Director, John Brennan, himself implicated in the crimes, organized a press conference from CIA headquarters in Langley to defend the “enhanced interrogation” torture program and denounce the Senate report.

It was Cofer Black, the former director of the CIA’s Counterterrorism Center, who told an approving congressional committee in 2002 that “there was ‘before 9/11 and after 9/11.’ After 9/11 the gloves came off.”

The phrase, conjuring up the image of a bare-knuckled brawl, became a favorite cliché within both the Bush White House and the US military command. It was translated into far more gruesome forms of violence, ranging from waterboarding to hanging people from manacles and “rectal hydration.”

But the “gloves” that were taken off had more far-reaching implications. They involved dispensing with any adherence to the US Constitution, the Geneva Conventions or other bodies of domestic and international law.

The gloves came off not just for the interrogators at Guantanamo, Abu Ghraib, Bagram and CIA black sites scattered across the globe, but for every level of the state, down to the local police.

USA: Tamir Rice’s Death Ruled A Homicide By Medical Examiner: here.

The Senate Intelligence Committee report on its years-long investigation of the Central Intelligence Agency’s immoral torture-based interrogation methods says the CIA got no information that stopped terror attacks. Which is not surprising. Scientists have been telling us for a long time that torture is a lousy way to get people to tell you the things you want to know.. “The scientific community has never established that coercive interrogation methods are an effective means of obtaining reliable intelligence information.” Martin Robbins leads off his indignant post at The Lay Scientist with this quote from a 2006 report of the Intelligence Science Board, formed to give scientific advice to US intelligence services. The Board was abolished in 2010, ostensibly for the sake of efficiency and the budget. I can’t help wondering if it was dumped because it told intelligence agencies–a misnomer if ever there was one–things they didn’t want to hear. Such as: torture doesn’t work: here.

So, torture does not work to get reliable information. But according to Richard Seymour, it does work in other ways for anti-democratic tendencies.

Protest Meanings Expand Beyond Ferguson And New York: here.

Judge Limits Use of Tear Gas Against Protesters in Missouri: here.

London Eric Garner solidarity demonstrators intimidated


This video from England says about itself:

Eric Garner – London Peaceful Protest

11 December 2014

#die-in #icantbreathe #blacklivesmatter #london #ericgarner #nojusticenopeace

Some footage of yesterday’s peaceful protest at the White City Shepherd’s Bush Westfields shopping center!!!!! COMMENT & SHARE, join the cause, no justice no peace…Organized by the London Black Revolutionaries.

By Joana Ramiro in Britain:

Humiliated by the Met police

Friday 12th December 2014

Protester at anti-racism demo allegedly told she could only leave station if she took off her hijab

A YOUNG woman held in a police station for several hours claimed yesterday that she was told could not leave until she removed her hijab yesterday after a #BlackLivesMatter solidarity protest in London.

The campaigner, who asked to remain anonymous for fear of victimisation, was on her very first demonstration when she found herself kettled and arrested by Metropolitan Police.

She was one of 76 people taken into custody for “violent disorder” despite witnesses arguing the event was peaceful.

Photojournalist Neelam Khan Vela was among those arrested, spending a total of 13 hours under police custody.

“It was unexpected because the demo was not being violent at all,” she said about the sudden police escalation.

“They just did it to intimidate us.

“I was at the protest taking pictures and I was still charged.”

Legal Defence and Monitoring Group spokesman Andy Meinke told the Star the process of sudden kettle and mass-arrest had not been used by the Met in recent events.

Mr Meinke explained that demanding the removal of headscarves is not common, but isn’t technically illegal.

“There are codes of practice, rules on how it’s done, but there’s a potential challenge as it is an invasion of privacy,” he added.

Many other arrested protesters complained about the “surreal” conditions of the arrest.

Ali Sargent, another arrested protester, said she was taken on a police-driven routemaster on a two hour drive to Sutton police station.

“I have no idea how they commandeered a London bus, but it seems inappropriate, a waste of bus resources and downright weird,” she said.

“One thing I observed is that the police are comfortable with giving you incorrect information, such as the police officer who arrested me and told me there are many instances where they could interview me without a solicitor present.

“He also told me to dismiss information written on the bust cards (detailing what to do if arrested) distributed at protests.”

The arrests took place after a 600-strong demonstration took over Shepherd’s Bush Green, blocking part of the local traffic.

Protesters held placards reading “London can’t breathe” and the motto “black lives matter” in solidarity with African-Americans who have died at the hands of US police.

Over 200 demonstrators had managed to shut down Westfield shopping centre earlier by staging a die-in in the central atrium.

Despite mass arrest and freezing conditions, organisers London Black Revolutionaries were proud of the action.

Rally MC Shanice McBean said: “The protest was encouraging.

“What’s clear is that a new layer of young, angry but determined activists — full of working-class people, women and LGBT folk — are rising up against police violence and are creating the seeds of a movement against state violence and repression.”

Seventy-six protesters were arrested at the end of a protest in London last Wednesday against the police killing of Eric Garner in New York and the grand jury decision to acquit the officer: here.

USA: CONGRESSIONAL STAFFERS PROTEST GARNER, BROWN CASES Dozens of staffers walked out Thursday afternoon to show their solidarity with protesters across the country. [HuffPost]

Ferguson, Missouri, which is recovering from riots following the August shooting death of an unarmed black teenager by a white policeman, plans to close a budget gap by boosting revenue from public-safety fines and tapping reserves. The strategy by the St. Louis suburb, which suffered a second round of violent protests last month after a grand jury refused to indict the police officer, may risk worsening community relations with increased citations and weakening its credit standing by reducing a rainy-day fund: here.