Tag Archives: Police State

Brazil: the day after

Our Brazilian friends are going to be needing us, a lot, in the coming years. We, and what is left of global civil society, have to be prepared and give shelter to those under attack.

By Francesc Badia i Dalmases.  Published 10-27-2018 by openDemocracy

“Courage is what gives meaning to freedom” reads this graffiti on the walls of the Cachoeira public university, in the state of Bahia, pictured in September 2018. Image: Francesc Badia. All rights reserved.

 

 

We have to prepare for the day after.

Brazil is already suffering from a tide of unbearable verbal and symbolic violence, and the incendiary hate speeches are already claiming their share of victims. Bolsonaro’s victory seems indisputable and is forcing us to get ready for a double action.

The first thing will be to protect ourselves and prevent verbal attacks from turning violent under the cloak of euphoria for the victory of a candidate who considers the losers not ideological or political rivals but enemies who must be eliminated. Communist worms, they call them. Continue reading

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For Next Weapon in Anti-Protest Arsenal, US Military Building Plasma Gun Capable of Vaporizing Human Flesh

At its highest setting, the new laser weapon would painfully vaporize the outer layer of skin from 100 meters away. Also, this so-called “non-lethal” weapon can kill people.

By Jon Queally, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 10-18-2018

Beyond NoDAPL March on Washington, DC. Photo: Rob87438 [CC-BY-SA-4.0] via Wikimedia Commons

From wood batons to stun batons to water cannons to sound cannons to. . .  frickin’ plasma lasers that can “vaporize” your skin?

Recent reporting out of the Pentagon reveals that the U.S. military is working on perfecting what they called a Scalable Compact Ultra-short Pulse Laser System (SCUPLS)—or plasma gun, for short—intended for mounting on a truck or a tank.

Billed as the military’s latest “crowd control” technology, what this has typically meant is a new “non-lethal” weapon designed for use by militaries or police forces against unruly demonstrators or those standing against powerful state actors or corporate forces. Continue reading

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Accusing Trump of Crossing Constitutional Line, PEN America Sues Over Threats and Reprisals Against Free Press

“When President Trump crosses the line and threatens to use his authority to punish the media, or actually does so, it is vital for the courts to step in and affirm that such threats and reprisals are unconstitutional.”

By Jon Queally, staff writer for  Common Dreams. Published 10-16-2018

The lawsuit filed by PEN America and its partners seeks “to stop President Trump from using the machinery of government to retaliate or threaten reprisals against journalists and media outlets for coverage he dislikes.” (Image: PEN America)

Arguing that President Donald Trump has crossed the line from “verbal attacks on the press” that are protected under the his First Amendment rights into using his authority to punish journalists and media outlets he dislikes with threats of intimidation or reprisal, the literary rights group PEN America has announced a lawsuit against the president in order to bring an end to such attacks.

The lawsuit (pdf) brought in a Manhattan federal court on Tuesday—with PEN joined by the nonpartisan nonprofit Protect Democracy and the Yale Law School Media Freedom and Information Access Clinic—states that while Trump has constitutionally-protected rights and “is free to criticize the press vehemently,” the president “is not free to use the  power and authority of the United States government to punish and stifle it.”   Continue reading

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Israel’s Education Minister Wants “Shoot to Kill” Policy Against Palestinian Children

Israeli Education Minister, Naftali Bennett [File photo]

By Middle East Monitor. Published 10-9-2018

Israel’s Education Minister Naftali Bennett said yesterday that he would impose a “shoot to kill” policy in Gaza, including against Palestinian children.

Bennett made the comment on Israel’s Army Radio after he was asked what he would do differently if he were the defence minister. Bennett replied:

“Everything. I would not allow terrorists to cross the border from Gaza every day… and if they do, we should shoot to kill. Terrorists from Gaza should not enter Israel… Just as in Lebanon, Syria or anywhere else we should shoot to kill.”

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Palestinians Mourn and Demand Justice After Israeli Snipers Murder Two Young Children in Gaza

“Israel’s use of deadly force against unarmed protesters on Friday is characteristic of its actions throughout the Great March of Return, during which more than 150 Palestinians have been killed.”

By Jake Johnson, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 9-29-2018

Nasser Musabah’s classmates mourn him. Photo: @Mohammed pal/Twitter

After Israeli snipers massacred seven Palestinians—including two young children—and injured over 500 during protests against Israel’s brutal occupation on Friday, thousands of Gazans on Saturday attended funerals for those who were killed and demanded justice from the international community.

Among those killed by Israeli forces on Friday were 11-year-old Naser Azmi Musbeh and 14-year-old Mohammed Naif al-Houm. Continue reading

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Free Press Advocates Alarmed by US Government’s “Terrifying” Secret Rules for Spying on Journalists

“It makes me wonder, what other rules are out there, and how have these rules been applied?”

By Jessica Corbett, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 9-17-2018

Press freedom advocates have obtained and released federal government documents detailing an invasive process officials can use to spy on journalists. (Photo: ACLU)

Journalists and free press advocates are responding with alarm to newly released documents revealing the U.S. government’s secret rules for using Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) court orders to spy on reporters, calling the revelations “important” and “terrifying.”

The documents—obtained and released by the Freedom of the Press Foundation and the Knight First Amendment Institute at Columbia University through an ongoing Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit filed last November—confirm long held suspicions that federal officials can target journalists with FISA orders. Continue reading

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‘Stunning But Not Surprising’: Trump Administration Slammed for Secret Meetings About Venezuela Coup

“There are few nations that can lecture other nations on human rights & democracy but the one nation that can never lecture anyone is the United States of America.”

By Jessica Corbett, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 9-9-2018

The New York Times reported Saturday that the Trump administration met with Venezuelan military officials who sought to overthrow their nation’s president, Nicolás Maduro. (Photo: Noticia al Día)

Critics across the globe are expressing alarm over the “stunning but not surprising” revelation reported by the New York Times on Saturday that, according to 11 American officials and a former Venezuelan military commander, “the Trump administration held secret meetings with rebellious military officers from Venezuela over the last year to discuss their plans to overthrow President Nicolás Maduro.”

Some called out the Trump administration for the United States’ record on human rights. American activist and political analyst Ajamu Baraka tweeted, “There are few nations that can lecture other nations on human rights [and] democracy but the one nation that can never lecture anyone is the Unite[d] States of America.” Continue reading

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‘Terrifying’: Poll Shows 43% of Republicans Think Trump Should Have Power to Shutter News Outlets for ‘Bad Behavior’

In an apparent win for the president’s hostile rhetoric, nearly half of Republicans also agree with his claim that “the news media is the enemy of the American people.”

By Jessica Corbett, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 8-7-2018

Screenshot: CNN

In the age of “media-bashing enthusiast” President Donald Trump—who regularly declares critical journalists and outlets “fake news” and “the enemy of the American people”—at least 43 percent of Republican respondents to a new survey said they believe “the president should have the authority to close news outlets engaged in bad behavior.”

The Ipsos poll (pdf), first reported by The Daily Beast‘s Sam Stein, also found that nearly half of Republicans agree with one of the president’s most common claims: that “the news media is the enemy of the American people.” As Stein notes, “members of the press, as well as top officials at some of the nation’s leading publications, have objected to the phrase, arguing that it is both wildly inaccurate and deeply dangerous.” Continue reading

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‘We Fully Support a Free Press, But…’: White House Suggests Reporter Harassed by Trump Rally-Goers Probably Had It Coming

“Increasingly, Trump supporters are demonstrating just how aligned they are with his view that the political press is the enemy of the people.”

By Julia Conley, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 8-1-2018

A crowd of Trump supporters heckled CNN reporter Jim Acosta at a rally in Tampa, Florida on Tuesday night. (Photo: @emilylgoodin/Twitter)

At a press briefing on Wednesday, the White House offered a defense of President Donald Trump’s implicit endorsement of anti-press vitriol that was on display at his rally in Tampa, Florida the previous evening, when several Trump supporters heckled CNN reporter Jim Acosta.

When asked whether or not it is wrong for the president’s “most vocal supporters to be menacing towards journalists,” Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders assured reporters that the president supports a free press, while appearing to suggest that Acosta and other journalists may be deserving of mistreatment. Continue reading

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Finnish Newspaper Greets Trump and Putin With Billboards Defending ‘Free Press’

With protesters in the streets of Helsinki, U.S. and Russian presidents get cold and critical greeting in nation’s capital city

By Jon Queally, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 7-15-2018

Finland’s largest newspaper put out clear markers for both President Donald Trump and President Vladimir Putin ahead of a one-on-one meeting in Helsinki on Monday. (Photo: Helsingin Sanomat/Finland)

Like every other place the U.S. president has traveled in Europe over the last week, large protests also took place in the Finnish capitol of Helsinki on Sunday—a day ahead of a highly anticipated and much-hyped meeting with his Russian counterpart, President Vladimir Putin.

Both leaders were also greeted with a large billboard advertisement purchased by Helsingin Sanomat, the nation’s largest newspaper, which bashed the Trump and Putin as being enemies of journalism and a free press. Continue reading

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