Jeffrey Haas, author of “The Assassination of Fred Hampton: How the FBI and the Chicago Police Murdered a Black Panther”, reflects on his successful lawsuit against the government in this 2010 conversation.
Full Documentary: The Murder of Fred Hampton (1971)
Fred Hampton was the leader of the Illinois Chapter of the Black Panther Party. This film depicts his brutal murder by the Chicago police and its subsequent investigation, but also documents his activities in organizing the Chapter, his public speeches, and the programs he founded for children during the last eighteen months of his life.
In this video a young man is sitting in his car when he tells the police officer asking him questions to “shut up.” What happens next is a cookie cutter case of power trip brutality caused by the cop escalating violence to unneeded levels. The man was not resisting in the least, yet this cop proceeds to pummel him with his night stick and then pepper sprays him.
It is unclear what exactly caused the cop to detain this individual but it is not at all unclear as to who escalated the situation to violence.
Imagine changing one single variable in this situation: the man doing the beating is not a cop.
How would those bystanders act differently? Doubtless they would come to the aid of the man being pummeled. The assailant is certainly outnumbered. And in those moments when it seems the brutal and unjustified beating would not end, it would be natural and right for either the victim or a bystander to use defensive violence to end the assault, even lethal force if necessary.
Instead, the assailant continues completely undisturbed. And, if history is any indication, he is likely to face very little repercussions (though he would surely face none, if not for this video recording).
And people continue to ask me why I hate cops, why I’m scared of cops, why I get anxious knowing one is around. It’s because I’ve seen this happen way too much. I know of too many people who have been brutalized by these statist thugs.
And I know if cops were to do something to me no one would even try to stop them.
So the better question is why isn’t everyone scared of them, why doesn’t every civilian hate them?
They’re able to kill with minimal repercussions. That’s fucked up.
If any civilian group did half the things they did and had uniforms like them they’d be called a street gang.
Dec. 3 2013
The editor of The Guardian has been forced to defend his patriotism, after he was bizarrely quizzed by MPs on whether he “loved” his country.
Alan Rusbridger was called to give evidence to MPs on the home affairs committee after his paper published a series of stories, based on leaks from Edward Snowden, revealing the activities of the British and American intelligence agencies.
David Cameron and British intelligence chiefs have accused The Guardian of damaging national security with its reporting. In November the head of MI6 told MPs Al Qaida and other terrorist groups have been "rubbing their hands with glee" over the information revealed by Snowden.
But Rusbridger insisted The Guardian had behaved responsibly and had acted carefully to protect the identities of intelligence agents. “This is not a rogue newspaper, this is a serious newspaper with long experience,” he said.
"It’s self evident if the president of the United States calls a review of everything to do with intelligence and that information only came into the public domain through newspapers, it is self evident that newspaper’s have done something that oversight has failed to do,” he said.
And he said the government had pursued actions, including the detention at Heathrow airport of the partner of journalist Glenn Greenwald, that had been “designed to intimidate” The Guardian.
Rusbridger was also taken aback when Labour MP Keith Vaz, the chairman of the committee, asked: “Do you love this country?”
"Yes, we are patriots," Rusbridger replied. "There are countries, and they are not generally democracies, where the press are not free to write about this and where the security services do tell editors what to write. That’s not the country we live in, in Britain, and it’s one of the things we love about the country."
Dec. 3 2013
British police are examining whether Guardian newspaper staff should be investigated for terrorism offenses over their handling of data leaked by Edward Snowden, Britain’s senior counter-terrorism officer said on Tuesday.
The disclosure came after Guardian editor Alan Rusbridger, summoned to give evidence at a parliamentary inquiry, was accused by lawmakers of helping terrorists by making top secret information public and sharing it with other news organizations.
The Guardian was among several newspapers which published leaks from U.S. spy agency contractor Snowden about mass surveillance by the National Security Agency (NSA) and Britain’s eavesdropping agency GCHQ.
Assistant Commissioner Cressida Dick, who heads London’s Specialist Operations unit, told lawmakers the police were looking to see whether any offenses had been committed, following the brief detention in August of a man carrying data on behalf of a Guardian journalist.
Security officials have said Snowden’s data included details of British spies and its disclosure would put lives at risk. Rusbridger told the committee his paper had withheld that information from publication.
"It appears possible once we look at the material that some people may have committed offenses," Dick said. "We need to establish whether they have or they haven’t."
David Miranda, the partner of journalist Glenn Greenwald who brought the Snowden leaks to world attention, was questioned under anti-terrorism law when he landed at London’s Heathrow Airport en route from Berlin to Rio De Janeiro, Brazil, and computer material he was carrying was seized.
Lawmakers put it to Rusbridger that he had committed an offence under Section 58A of the Terrorism Act which says it is a crime to publish or communicate any information about members of the armed forces or intelligence services.
"It isn’t only about what you’ve published, it’s about what you’ve communicated. That is what amounts, or can amount, to a criminal offence," said committee member Michael Ellis.
Asked later by Ellis whether detectives were considering Section 58A offenses, Dick said: “Yes, indeed we are looking at that.”
Earlier on Tuesday, the Guardian published a letter of support from Carl Bernstein, the U.S. journalist who helped expose the Watergate scandal in the 1970s.
Bernstein, 69, said Rusbridger’s appearance before the committee was a “dangerously pernicious” attempt by British authorities to shift the focus of the surveillance debate from excessive government secrecy to the conduct of the press.
More and more countries are banning imports of American food products for safety reasons.
Last week, Indonesia became the first country to halt imports of US beef following the discovery of an American dairy cow infected with mad cow disease, or bovine spongiform encephalopathy. The disease is fatal to cows and can cause a deadly brain disease in people who eat tainted beef.
“We will lift the ban as soon as the US can assure us its dairy cows are free of mad cow disease,” said Rusman Heriawan, Indonesia’s vice agriculture minister. “It could be one month or one year. It depends on how long it takes to resolve this case.”
One would think the US government would immediately test beef to make sure it’s safe. But the USDA, which regulates the test, administers it to less than 1% of slaughtered cows. Worse, until 2007 it was illegal for private beef producers to test their own cows for the disease! Larger meat companies feared that if smaller producers tested their meat and advertised it as safe from mad cow disease, they too might be forced to test all their cows—so they persuaded USDA to block individual producers from doing the test. In 2007 a federal judge said this practice could no longer stand.
The highest risk occurs if animals or humans eat infected brain or nerve tissue. Meat unconnected to bone, milk, and hooves are supposed to be safe, but who knows for sure? The ultimate source of mad cow, of course, is the filthy and disease-ridden (not to mention inhumane) conditions in CAFOs, or concentrated animal feedlot operations.
In February, Taiwan began refusing meat products from the US because they contain ractopamine, a leanness- and growth-promoting drug used widely in pork and beef production in the United States. Taiwan has a zero-tolerance policy for the drug.
Ractopamine is banned in 160 nations including Europe because it is responsible for hyperactivity and muscle breakdown in pigs, and a 10% increase in their mortality rate. It was banned in China after more than 1700 people were “poisoned” from eating American pigs that had been given ractopamine. The drug bears the warning label, “Not for use in humans. Individuals with cardiovascular disease should exercise special caution to avoid exposure. Use protective clothing, impervious gloves, protective eye wear, and a NIOSH-approved dust mask’’—yet somehow it is considered safe in human food. How is this possible?
Most of the world’s developed countries ban, or have at least placed limits on, genetically modified organisms. The European Union and its member states, as well as Switzerland, Norway, Australia, New Zealand, Thailand, the Philippines, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Algeria, Brazil, and Paraguay all have restrictions or outright bans on the use or importation of genetically engineered seeds, plants, or foods. A detailed map with the specific products banned in Europe is available here.
This is one reason the California Right to Know 2012 Ballot Initiative is so important. If California requires labeling products containing GMOs, it will be difficult for most manufacturers to create separate labels for their products sold in other states, so the labeling will become national. This is why we are trying to help the Right to Know Campaign raise one million dollars to drop a “money bomb” on Monsanto—to combat the anti-GMO propaganda and get this proposition passed in November.
Sep. 24 2013
Five years ago this month, the firm TransCanada submitted a permit request to build the Keystone XL oil pipeline, which would bring tar sands oil from Canada to refineries on the Gulf Coast. The project has sparked one of the nation’s most contentious environmental battles in decades. The Obama administration initially appeared ready to approve Keystone XL, but an unprecedented wave of activism from environmentalists and residents of the states along its path has forced several delays. Among those pressuring Obama for Keystone XL’s approval is the Canadian government, which recently offered a greater pledge of reduced carbon emissions if the pipeline is built. We’re joined by one of Canada’s leading environmental activists, Tzeporah Berman, who has campaigned for two decades around clean energy, and is the former co-director of Greenpeace International’s Climate Unit. She is now focused on stopping tar sands extraction as a member of the steering committee for the Tar Sands Solutions Network. Berman is also the co-founder of ForestEthics and is the author of the book “This Crazy Time: Living Our Environmental Challenge.” Berman discusses how the Canadian government is muzzling scientists speaking out on global warming, quickly changing environmental laws, and why she believes the push for tar sands extraction has created a “perfect storm” of grassroots activism bring together environmentalists, indigenous communities and rural landowners.