My beat is drug trafficking and the American Drugs Lords, but there will be occasional digressions, as the spirit moves me. Last week, it moved me a lot…
Remember the pepper-spraying cop at that UC Davis Occupy Wall Street rally last November? The official government report was released last week, and it makes interesting reading.
Once again your government has failed you. Once again no one’s to blame. Once again, nobody’s going down.
44 years after the world watched squads of thugs wearing police uniforms at the Democratic Convention in Chicago commit felony assault with vicious intent to do bodily harm against Americans seeking redress for grievances (the generation-long Vietnam War), little has changed.
What protesters were doing in Chicago and at UC Davis was exercising a right explicitly granted to them by the Constitution of the United States.
They are apparently okay with Lt. John Pike nonchalantly strolling back and forth spraying military-grade pepper spray at point-blank range like he's killing cockroaches in his kitchen.
So much for "Don't Tread on Me."
"Hippies & non-affiliates" just doesn't sound the same
The surprising thing about the felony assault by pepper spray against peaceful protesters at UC Davis isn’t that fat cops and government officials (even ostensibly liberal officials) are still operating with impunity…
UC Davis’ police chief Annette Spicuzza excused her officer's actions, expressing concern that protesters were not students but “non-affiliates." She said some were wearing protective gear and some held batons.
Apparently, “non-affiliates” is a way of not sounding Nixonian when saying “outside agitators.” Needless to say, no batons or protective head gear can be seen in the videos.
The final insult was when she said: “Officers were forced to use pepper spray when students surrounded them,” adding, “There was no way out of the circle.”
At that point she was apparently still unaware that anyone with a computer and a modem could see just how non-threatened her officers were.
But the big news coming out of the release of the report was the extensive surveillance program the University of California has run with the collaboration of the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security, including an FBI-sponsored "Academic Alliance" providing "one-stop shopping" to campus police departments interested in deploying CS gas, beanbag rounds, and pepper pellets.
A Public Records Act request by a UC Davis student resulted in the release of documents which disclosed that University, State, and Federal officials from the FBI formed a network called the 'Activism Response Team' to keep close tabs on student activists, including monitoring student Facebook activity.
High-ranking administrators, and staff members, and leaders of the campus police department were conducting surveillance and infiltration programs “to monitor, and shape the protests, and also the narrative reported by the news media,” reported the ACLU.
After news of the until-now covert program broke, University administrators announced they have changed the team’s name from ‘Activism Response Team’ to ‘The Freedom of Expression Support Team.’
Perhaps the new name was coined by the anonymous genius who came up with "collateral damage."
A kinder gentler stonewall
The campus will commission an independent, top-to-bottom audit of campus police operations and will hold a forum on police accountability with an “internationally recognized expert.”
UC Davis spokesman Barry Shiller said Chancellor Katehi has no plans to grant interviews. "The entire administrative leadership team is very appropriately focused on digesting, taking stock and mapping out a plan going forward," he said.
She won't answer questions. Not because she doesn't want to, mind… she's just digesting.
One thing has changed. In none of the more than two dozen military operations or wars the U.S. has conducted since Vietnam was America’s national security at stake.
This time, it is. If Republican really were the party concerned with national security, they would have raised the alarm.
The impotence of American society as a whole to hold either public officials or their parasitic rich patrons to account for looting the American economy with impunity four years ago has imperiled America’s place in the world.
Forget Wall Street. Occupy Greenwich!
The US Government’s complete lack of response to the mass looting of the American Economy by people living in Greenwich Connecticut has rendered that leafy suburb the true seat of power in the fast-fading American Empire.
The closing line of Philip Glass's opera Satyagraha is, “When righteousness withers away and evil rules the land, we come into being, age after age, and take visible shape, and move, men and women together, for the protection of good, thrusting back evil and putting virtue on her seat again.”
Even the American Civil Liberties Union can occasionally be pithy: "When the cost of speech is a shot of blinding, burning pepper spray in the face, speech is not free."
This ain’t Syria. A paid vacation is not the way to deal with a chemical crackdown on your fellow citizens.
These people all need to be fired.