Press**Watch: smash secret police.
listen to this while reading:
BEIJING, Sep.30 (Xinhuanet) -- As thousands of demonstrators marched in European capitals on Wednesday to protest recent austerity measures, officials in EU proposed stiffening sanctions for governments that fail to cut their budget deficits and debt swiftly enough.
The first general strike that Spain has witnessed for eight years ended Wednesday with a march through the streets of Madrid. The march, which was led by Union Leaders Carmona Mendez and Ignacio Toxo, began at the emblematic Plaza Neptuno, before moving along the city's main road the Paseo de la Castellana to Plaza Cibeles.
Tens of thousands of workers took the opportunity to join the march, organized in protest at the labor reform of Spanish Prime Minister, Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero and his Socialist Party ( PSOE).
Tens of thousands of workers marched through streets in Brussels on Wednesday to protest the budget-slashing plans taken by many European governments to rein in deficits.
The protest started at 1 p.m. local time (1200 GMT) at the Gare du Midi (south railway station). Workers headed for the Cinquantenaire Park near the European Union institutions, waving union flags and carrying banners saying "No to austerity," "No cuts" and "Priority for jobs and growth." The whole procession went peacefully and orderly.
Greek labor unions of civil servants and private sector employees marked on Wednesday the European Day of Action, stepping up protests over harsh austerity measures implemented by the government this year to overcome an acute debt crisis.
Thousands of commuters nationwide suffered, since the subway, trains and buses did not operate for four hours and dockworkers joined the protest with work stoppages at the ports earlier in the morning. Public hospitals across the country run on limited personnel all day due to a 24-hour strike organized by the doctors ' and nurses' unions.
By James Rupert
Sept. 30 (Bloomberg) -- Pakistan blocked the passage of supplies for NATO troops fighting in Afghanistan after an air strike killed three of its soldiers, government officials in its northwestern border region said.
The North Atlantic Treaty Organization acknowledged its forces entered Pakistan’s airspace as part of a raid on insurgents and responded to small arms fire, NATO’s International Security Assistance Force said in a statement. NATO and Pakistani officials are investigating the incident.
Supply trucks had been ordered to halt, said Umair Khan, a government official in Pakistan’s Khyber Agency, through which equipment for international troops fighting the Afghan Taliban flows. Half of all war supplies to Afghanistan pass through Pakistan, the U.S. military’s Transportation Command says, at a rate of 580 truckloads per day.
The incident underscores tensions between the U.S. and Pakistani armed forces after the American military escalated the number of missile strikes against Taliban and al-Qaeda militants in northwest Pakistan’s tribal region this month. Today’s incident took place in Pakistan’s Upper Kurram region.
NATO forces called in air support for a raid on insurgents in Paktia province, an eastern Afghan region bordering Pakistan. The NATO aircraft “received what the crews assessed as effective small arms fire” from within Pakistan.
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"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances."
The American secret police have been acting up.
The latest on the FBI free speech raids comes from World Socialist correspondent Tom Eley, who writes:
"Antiwar activists in Minneapolis and Chicago targeted in
for their support of nationalist movements defined by the US as “terrorist” say they have done nothing illegal and that the invasion of their homes came without warning.
"Most of those raided have been served with subpoenas to appear before a grand jury in Chicago on October 12. An unknown number of activists in other states, including Michigan, North Carolina, California and Wisconsin, have been approached by the FBI for interviews, although it is not clear if additional subpoenas have been issued." ....
This follows on reports in Democracy Now!
which detailed a nationwide attempt to crush free speech on the Left, particularly among activists against US and Israeli imperialism. Amy Goodman wrote in her column inTruthDig:
"Early in the morning on Friday, Sept. 24, FBI agents in Chicago and Minnesota’s Twin Cities kicked in the doors of anti-war activists, brandishing guns, spending hours rifling through their homes. The FBI took away computers, photos, notebooks and other personal property. Residents were issued subpoenas to appear before a grand jury in Chicago. It was just the latest in the ongoing crackdown on dissent in the U.S., targeting peace organizers as supporters of “foreign terrorist organizations.”
"Coleen Rowley knows about the FBI. She was a career special agent with the FBI who blew the whistle on the bureau’s failures in the lead-up to the 9/11 attacks. Time magazine named her Person of the Year in 2002. A few days after the raids in her hometown of Minneapolis, she told me, “This is not the first time that you’ve seen this Orwellian turn of the war on terror onto domestic peace groups and social justice groups ... we had that begin very quickly after 9/11, and there were Office of Legal Counsel opinions that said the First Amendment no longer controls the war on terror.”
"Jess Sundin’s home was raided. She was the lead organizer of the St. Paul, Minn., anti-war march on Labor Day 2008 that occurred as the Republican National Convention began. She described the raid: “They spent probably about four hours going through all of our personal belongings, every book, paper, our clothes, and filled several boxes and crates with our computers, our phones, my passport ... with which they left my house.”
"They smashed activist Mick Kelly’s fish tank when they barged into his home. The net cast by the FBI that morning included not only anti-war activists, but those who actively support a changed foreign policy toward Israel-Palestine and Colombia. The warrant for Kelly sought all records of his travel, not only to those countries, but also all his domestic U.S. travel since 2000, and all his personal contacts.
"No one was arrested. No one was charged with a crime. Days later, hundreds of protesters rallied outside FBI offices nationally." ....
These anti-free-speech surprise raids also come with grand jury abuse. The National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers complains:
"Rather than a bulwark against "hasty, malicious and oppressive prosecution," today's federal grand jury is a rubber stamp, leading many to agree that "a good prosecutor could get a grand jury to indict a ham sandwich." Rep. Henry Hyde (R-IL), former Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, noted that the federal grand jury, originally established by the Founding Fathers as a means of protecting American citizens against government excess, is today a captive of federal prosecutors.The prosecutor exercises enormous power, unrestrained by law or judicial supervision. The grand jury process itself is largely devoid of legal rules. The process has become one that wholly fails to protect ordinary American citizens."
Returning to the Eley article:
Jess Sundin, whose home in south Minneapolis was raided and who received a grand jury subpoena, spoke with the World Socialist Web Site about the government attack.
“At 7 AM I awoke to the sound of banging at my front door,” Sundin said. “My daughter and my partner were already awake. By the time I got downstairs, there were six or seven federal agents in our house.
“When they came in and asked if we had any guns in the house, my six-year-old said, 'We don't believe in guns'. She took offense at the suggestion. We don't even allow toy guns in our house.
“The agents showed me a search warrant and proceeded to go through everything in my house, every room. Among the things they seized, they took books, they took music CD’s, photographs, computers, my cell phone, check book, papers, camera and a lot more.
“We were very clear that we were not going to talk to them. They gave both my partner and me our subpoenas for the grand jury. They told us we were not detained, we could leave, but no one else was allowed in. We couldn’t use the phone, except to call a lawyer.
“They took my phone into their possession and kept it with boxes and lists. I could hear it going off but I wasn’t allowed to answer it. Steff, my partner, kept possession of her phone but we weren't allowed to use it to make or receive phone calls.
“They took about four hours to search the house. I don't know how many boxes they carried out. They gave me a receipt, but I refused to sign it. I said, ‘I don’t know what you’ve taken.’”
Sundin said it was “immediately clear” to her that she was being targeted for her antiwar activism, and, in particular, her activity against US foreign policy in Colombia and the Middle East.
“The US is heavily involved in Colombia,” Sundin said. “They've been building military bases and they've been funding the Colombian government’s war against its own people. It's the third largest recipient of US foreign aid in the world.
“Israel is the largest recipient of US foreign aid. And the Palestinian people have lived for generations—sixty-plus years—without an internationally recognized state. Their homes are bulldozed, they’re second-class citizens with no right to participate in the political process. And in places like Gaza bombs fall from the sky.”
Sundin said she is a member of the Freedom Road Socialist Organization, a founding member of the Anti-War Committee of the Twin Cities, and a member of AFSCME (American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees) Local 3800. She is a clerical worker at the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis.
Sundin’s opposition to US foreign policy took her to Iraq in 1998, where the sanctions regime imposed on the country by the Clinton administration and its allies had created a humanitarian disaster.
“We went to a children’s hospital where I was most struck by the empty shelves in the pharmacy and the stories that doctors shared of a health care system that had been the best in the Middle East, but had been paralyzed by the sanctions and the war,” she said. “So you had children that died because there weren't IV fluids to give them. You had people who died because they couldn’t get inhalers for asthma, antibiotics, heart medicine. These things just weren’t available there… The most striking thing I saw was Al Ameriya, which was a bomb shelter that was destroyed by two US smart bombs in 1991.”
Sundin said she does not know what sort of case the government intends to make against her. The search warrant indicates the FBI may well seek criminal prosecution based on the “Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996,” which, in effect, proscribes political speech in support of organizations the US president defines as “terrorist.”
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KBOO radio is certainly well within the parameters of what the FBI lyingly insinuates is terrorism or support for terrorism. I have been to Havana, Las Palmas, Santiago and Guantanamo, and my guests have been to Baghdad and any number of cities around the world seeking to expose and to stop US imperialism. Everyone at KBOO is guilty by association, and I can imagine a grand jury prosecutor inveighing against us for having a former manager who was a Black Panther, and a former news director who is a human rights activist for Palestinian causes. You, listening to KBOO radio, are best protected by standing together with us, because there is no end to smear tactics once a police state gets under way.
Now that we have embraced 9/11 fascism in the United States, we can join other totalitarian victim populations as we choose to resist or to collaborate. What would you do if the FBI came banging on your door? Would you let them in? Or would you resist as they called in the soldiers? I suggest we all resist in a far more effective way, by standing together. Decide now whether you're going to support KBOO in the membership drive, which starts tomorrow. We need volunteers to answer phones. We especially need to see an outpouring of financial support from the community we serve, and I hope you've decided to pitch in.
"Congress shall make no law ... abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances."
Stasi efforts with one agent per 166 citizens dwarfed, for example, the Nazi Gestapo, which employed only 40,000 officials to watch a population of 80 million (one officer per 2,000 citizens) and the Soviet KGB, which employed 480,000 full time agents to oversee a nation of 280 million residents (one agent per 583 citizens). When informants were included, the Stasi had one spy per 66 citizens of East Germany. When part-time informer adults were included, the figures reach approximately one spy per 6.5 citizens.
Full-time officers were posted to all major industrial plants (the extensiveness of any surveillance largely depended on how valuable a product was to the economy) and one tenant in every apartment building was designated as a watchdog reporting to an area representative of the Volkspolizei (Vopo). Spies reported every relative or friend that stayed the night at another's apartment. Tiny holes were bored in apartment and hotel room walls through which Stasi agents filmed citizens with special video cameras. Similarly, schools, universities, and hospitals were extensively infiltrated. After the mid-1950s, Stasi executions were carried out in strict secrecy, and usually were accomplished with a guillotine and, in later years, by a single pistol shot to the neck. In most instances, the relatives of the executed were not informed of either the sentence or the execution.
The Stasi had formal categorizations of each type of informant, and had official guidelines on how to extract information from, and control, those who they came into contact with. The roles of informants ranged from those already in some way involved in state security (such as the police and the armed services) to those in the oppositionalist movements (such as dissidents in the arts and the Protestant Church). Information gathered about the latter groups was frequently used to divide or discredit members. Informants were made to feel important, given material or social incentives, and were imbued with a sense of adventure, and only around 7.7%, according to official figures, were coerced into cooperating. A significant proportion of those informing were members of the SED; to employ some form of blackmail, however, was not uncommon."
I wouldn'twant to leave the subject of UStotalitarianism without this firther from the same Wikipedia article:
.... In the evening of 15 January 1990, a large crowd of people formed outside the gates in order to stop the destruction of personal files. In their minds, this information should have been available to them and also have been used to punish those who had taken part in Stasi actions. The large group of protesters grew and grew until they were able to overcome the police and gain entry into the complex. The protestors became violent and destructive as they smashed doors and windows, threw furniture, and trampled portraits of Erich Honecker, leader of the GDR. Among the destructive public were officers working for the West German government, as well as former MfS collaborators seeking to destroy documents. One explanation postulated as to why the Stasi did not open fire was for fear of hitting their own colleagues. As the people continued their violence, these undercover men proceeded into the file room and acquired many files that would become of great importance to catching ex-Stasi members."
Satisfying to contemplate, isn't it? When we overthrow US fascism, we're going to have to find and destroy a great many secret police headquarters. But you'll want to keep a copy of your file as a souvenir.........
For the American labor force, Wednesday was a brutal day in the US Senate. You can thank the Republican Party for that. In the waning days of the Senate's session, extensions of long-term unemployment insurance and an emergency fund subsidizing jobs around the country were blocked by GOP senators.
The unemployment insurance extension would've made it possible for jobless workers in states with high unemployment to collect 119 weeks of benefits. The current cut-off point is 99 weeks, the most in recent history. Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.) had for months pushed to add another 20 weeks onto the available 99 in states with 7.5 percent unemployment or higher. Joining her in demanding more relief for jobless workers were the "99ers," those out of work Americans who've exhausted all of their support funds and now have no safety net at all. But it was Sen. George LeMieux (R-Fl.) who stood in their way. LeMieux said Stabenow's proposal would add to the country's $13.5 trillion deficit and thus wasn't feasible:
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