They Can’t Outlaw the Revolution
by Chris Hedges – commondreams.org – 19 May, 2014
Cecily McMillan. (Photo by Lucy Parks CC-BY)RIKERS ISLAND, N.Y.—Cecily McMillan, the Occupy activist who on Monday morning will appear before a criminal court in New York City to be sentenced to up to seven years on a charge of assaulting a police officer, sat in a plastic chair wearing a baggy, oversized gray jumpsuit, cheap brown plastic sandals and horn-rim glasses. Other women, also dressed in prison-issued gray jumpsuits, sat nearby in the narrow, concrete-walled visitation room clutching their children, tears streaming down their faces. The children, bewildered, had their arms wrapped tightly around their mothers’ necks. It looked like the disaster scene it was.
“It’s all out in the open here,” said the 25-year-old student, who was to have graduated May 22 with a master’s degree from The New School of Social Research in New York City. “The cruelty of power can’t hide like it does on the outside. You get America, everything America has become, especially for poor people of color in prison. My lawyers think I will get two years. But two years is nothing compared to what these women, who never went to trial, never had the possibility of a trial with adequate legal representation, face. There are women in my dorm who, because they have such a poor command of English, do not even understand their charges. I spent a lot of time trying to explain the charges to them.”
McMillan says Grantley Bovell, who was in plainclothes and did not identify himself as a police officer, grabbed her from behind during a March 17, 2012, gathering of several hundred Occupy activists in Manhattan’s Zuccotti Park. In a video of the incident she appears to have instinctively elbowed him in the face, but she says she has no memory of what happened. Video and photographs—mostly not permitted by the trial judge to be shown in the courtroom—buttressed her version of events. There is no dispute that she was severely beaten by police and taken from the park to a hospital where she was handcuffed to a bed. On May 5 she was found guilty after a three-week trial of a felony assault in the second degree. She can receive anything from probation to seven years in prison.
“I am prepared mentally for a long sentence,” she told me this past weekend when I interviewed her at the Rikers Island prison in the Bronx. “I watched the trial. I watched the judge. This was never about justice. Just as it is not about justice for these other women. One mother was put in here for shoplifting after she lost her job and her house and needed to feed her children. There is another prisoner, a preschool teacher with a 1-year-old son she was breastfeeding, who let her cousin stay with her after her cousin was evicted. It turns out the cousin sold drugs. The cops found money, not drugs, that the cousin kept in the house and took the mother. They told her to leave her child with the neighbors. There is story after story in here like this. It wakes you up.”
McMillan’s case is emblematic of the nationwide judicial persecution of activists, a persecution familiar to poor people of color. Her case stands in contrast with the blanket impunity given to the criminals of Wall Street. Some 8,000 nonviolent Occupy protesters have been arrested. Not one banker or investor has gone to jail for causing the 2008 financial meltdown. The disparity of justice mirrors the disparity in incomes and the disparity in power.
Occupy activists across the country have been pressured to “plea out” on felony charges in exchange for sentences of years of probation, which not only carry numerous restrictions, including being unable to attend law school or serve on a jury, but make it difficult for them to engage in further activism for fear of arrest and violating their probation. McMillan was offered the same plea deal but refused it. She was one of the few who went to trial. …more
Robert D. Kaplan’s Geopolitical Bunkum: Inside the Fanciful World of Stratfor
16 May 2014 – By Steve Breyman – Truthout
Readers of Time were recently treated to an absurd take on Ukraine, Putin, “the West” and a bunch of other stuff by journalist Robert D. Kaplan, “chief geopolitical analyst” of Strategic Forecasting, Inc., popularly known as Stratfor.
Stratfor bills itself as a “private global-intelligence firm” that provides “strategic intelligence on global business, economic, security and geopolitical affairs.” Some bamboozled critics and fans call it “the shadow CIA.” Its mocking critics claim “Stratfor is just The Economist a week later and several hundred times more expensive.”
In addition to having its interns use Google to “gather intelligence,” Stratfor reportedly operates by paying corporate and foreign policy informants via Swiss bank accounts and prepaid credit cards for inside information that it then repackages as “analysis” and peddles to those of its 300,000 subscribers and clients – who include Dow Chemical, Lockheed Martin, Raytheon, the US Marine Corps, the Defense Intelligence Agency, Henry Kissinger, and Dan Quayle – foolish enough to pay for it. It also follows the online antics of activists (including PETA and the Yes Men), “monitors the media” (for, among other things, coverage of Union Carbide’s chemical massacre in Bhopal 20 years on) and provides “information on the financial sector.”
Anonymous hacked Stratfor servers two years ago. The hackers turned over five and a half million emails to Wikileaks, which published them on the web. From the emails, we learned that Russia and Israel sold out arms deal customers to their enemies, the United States has a sealed indictment against Julian Assange, unnamed Pakistani intelligence and military officials knew the whereabouts of Osama bin Laden and other such not very surprising nuggets.
Kaplan published “The Dangers of Peace,” in which he warned that the United States was at risk from peacetime’s “numbing and corrosive illusion.”
According to his Wikipedia page (from where this biographical background comes), Robert D. Kaplan, a national correspondent for The Atlantic, is a New Yorker who served in the Israeli army, traveled around a lot, and reported on fundamentalist resistance to the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan for Readers Digest. His 1993 book Balkan Ghosts allegedly convinced Bill Clinton “against intervention in Bosnia,” a result Kaplan found appalling. Kaplan or whoever wrote his Wikipedia entry, fails to explain how Clinton’s 1999 war against Serbia, complete with thousands of bombing sorties (including against the Chinese Embassy in Belgrade), massive industrial destruction, grievous civilian casualties and lasting environmental damage constituted nonintervention.
In 2000, Kaplan published the essay “The Dangers of Peace,” in which he warned that the United States was at risk from peacetime’s “numbing and corrosive illusion.” He’s consulted for the Army, Marines and Air Force. He’s lectured at war colleges, the FBI, the NSA, the CIA and the Joint Chiefs. These institutions embrace people like Robert D. Kaplan because he tells them what they want to hear. …more
lsa Alaali was released on bail on the 16th of May 2013; the amount being 200 Bahraini dinars. His case was to be taken up by the high court. Following his release, lssa AI-Aali was offered a financial incentive in exchange for his cooperation in acting as an informant; upon his refusal, lssa ai-Aali was threatened with prison and death.
lsa Alaali was arrested a second time on the 19th of September 2013, at a funeral procession in the village of AI-Dayah. Security forces entered the home that he was in, and he was subjected to physical abuse from the moment he was arrested until his arrival at the police station. The prosecution ruled that he be detained for 45 days whilst investigations are carried out.
He was then charged with the following:
1. Gathering and rioting
2. Attacking security officials
3. Injuring security officials
Isa Alaali was released on bail on the 29th of October 2013, for 100 Bahraini dinars, whilst his trial continues. He was arrested a third time on the 17th of December 2013 in Manama, after being abused physically and verbally. One day after his arrest, he appeared in front of the prosecution, who ruled that he be detained for 45 days whilst investigations are carried out. He appeared in front of the prosecution again on the 9th of January 2014, after 24 days.
He came to U.K three months ago on 14th February 2014 to claim political asylum but has been stuck in detention since arrival. Two other Bahrainis are at risk of deportation as the Khalifas try to stop activists settling in U.K. Whilst the Government and the royals are fawning over the Khalifas, we should recognise the real situation is in that unhappy country and their continuous attack of young people who want democracy.
Isa won’t have an M.P. as he hasn’t left the detention centre. If he’s at the centre near Heathrow, perhaps the local M.P. could help to find what stage of the procedure he’s at.
…on the occasion of Sheikh AlMahfoodh’s Arrest in 2011; “They broke into my home four times and told me it’s either your husband or your daddy”. On April 2nd police arrested her husband in what she says was a ‘hostage situation’ to secure the arrest of Sheikh Mohammed Ali. …more