I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it. – Voltaire
Just don’t do it here, in the grand, United States Of America.
If you have been following my posts, you know that I have a grave concerns about how OWS is being treated in the media and how willing so many people are to label OWS protesters as thugs, drug addicts and criminals, and to thereby approve the Government’s efforts to stop free speech. (See You Can't Evict An Idea, Welcome to the United Police States of America, and Resurrection of the Holy Roman Empire).This is a follow up to those article and is intended to show, again, how Things are not Always as They Seem. What is the crime for which OWS is being arrested? Overnight camping – a misdemeanor, so why the need for para-military operations to arrest non-violent protesters?
Too many people are only willing to defend rights that are personally important to them. It's selfish ignorance, and it's exactly why totalitarian governments are able to get away with trampling on people. Freedom does not mean freedom just for the things I think I should be able to do. Freedom is for all of us. If people will not speak up for other people's rights, there will come a day when they will lose their own.
And don’t be caught video-tapping the police, you may go to jail for life.
75 Years in Prison For Videotaping Police.
There has been a great deal of media about how “wonderful” the LA Police were in dealing with OWS-LA. But how do we know for sure? The media were assigned designated areas in which they could report (limiting actual reporting of events). And what about what happened after?
This is state terrorism, plain and simple. It is using violence — torture, in fact — to intimidate potential dissenters. If you have any doubt as to that, you must read Yasha Levine’s article from The eXiled.
You can reach him at levine [at] exiledonline.com.. Cross posted from The eXiled.
I finally got home Thursday afternoon after spending two nights in jail, and have had a hard time getting my bearings. On top of severe dehydration and sleep deprivation, I’ve got one hell of pounding migraine. So I’ll have to keep this brief for now. But I wanted to write down a few things that I witnessed and heard while locked up by LA’s finest…
First off, don’t believe the PR bullshit. There was nothing peaceful or professional about the LAPD’s attack on Occupy LA–not unless you think that people peacefully protesting against the power of the financial oligarchy deserve to be treated the way I saw Russian cops treating the protesters in Moscow and St. Petersburg who were demonstrating against the oligarchy under Putin and Yeltsin, before we at The exiled all got tossed out in 2008. Back then, everyone in the West protested and criticized the way the Russian cops brutally snuffed out dissent, myself included. Now I’m in America, at a demonstration, watching exactly the same brutal crackdown…
While people are now beginning to learn that the police attack on Occupy LA was much more violent than previously reported, few actually realize that much—if not most—of the abuse happened while the protesters were in police custody, completely outside the range of the press and news media. And the disgraceful truth is that a lot of the abuse was police sadism, pure and simple:
* I heard from two different sources that at least one busload of protesters (around 40 people) was forced to spend seven excruciating hours locked in tiny cages on a Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Dept. prison bus, denied food, water and access to bathroom facilities. Both men and women were forced to urinate in their seats. Meanwhile, the cops in charge of the bus took an extended Starbucks coffee break.
* Everyone on my bus felt her pain–literally felt it. That’s because the zip-tie handcuffs they use—like the ones you see on Iraq prisoners in Abu Ghraib—cut off your circulation and wedge deep through your skin, where they can do some serious nerve damage, if that’s the point. And it did seem to be the point. A couple of guys around me were writhing in agony in their hard plastic seats, hands handcuffed behind their back.
* The 100 protesters in my detainee group were kept handcuffed with their hands behind their backs for 7 hours, denied food and water and forced to sit/sleep on a concrete floor. Some were so tired they passed out face down on the cold and dirty concrete, hands tied behind their back. As a result of the tight cuffs, I wound up losing sensation in my left palm/thumb and still haven’t recovered it now, a day and a half after they finally took them off.
* One seriously injured protester, who had been shot with a shotgun beanbag round and had an oozing bloody welt the size of a grapefruit just above his elbow, was denied medical attention for five hours. Another young guy, who complained that he thought his arm had been broken, was not given medical attention for at least as long. Instead, he spent the entire pre-booking procedure handcuffed to a wall, completely spaced out and staring blankly into space like he was in shock.
* An Occupy LA demonstrator in his 50s who was in my cell block in the Los Angeles Metropolitan Detention Center told us all about when a police officer forced him to take a shit with his hands handcuffed behind his back, which made pulling down his pants and sitting down on the toilet extremely difficult and awkward. And he had to do this in sight of female police officers, all of which made him feel extremely ashamed, to say the least.
* There were 292 people arrested at Occupy LA. About 75 of them have been released or have gotten out on bail, according the National Lawyers Guild. Most are still inside, slapped with $5,000 to $10,000 bail. According to a bail bondsman I know, this is unprecedented. Misdemeanors are almost always released on their own recognizance, which means that they don’t pay any bail at all. Or at most it’s a $100.
All of this for non-violent protesters trying to exercise their right to free speech?
* That means the harsh, long detentions are meant to be are a purely punitive measure against Occupy LA protesters–an order that had to come from the very top.
Lubyanka prison, where the KGB beat and tortured opponents of the Soviet regime, was noted for being blank to the outside world. This wasn’t because the secret police wanted to hide the fact they were brutalizing opponents of the regime. It was to keep the threat vague and thereby more fearsome.
The Gestapo, of course, worked almost exclusively at night and its prisons, also, were places where opponents were hidden from view.
Concealment is part of any criminal enterprise. While few people will instantly go to outrage (some will buy into the smokescreen), for most it will be one more step toward rejecting a gang posing as a government.
We should be encoring Free Speech, not allowing our Government to use violence to suppress speech.
He that would make his own liberty secure, must guard even his enemy from oppression; for if he violates this duty, he establishes a precedent which will reach to himself. - Thomas Paine (1737-1809), Dissertation on First Principles of Government, 1795.
All that is necessary for evil to triumph, is for good men to do nothing.