Sliding down the slippery slope..

An article in this week’s East Bay Express: Counter-Terrorism Officials Helped Track Black Lives Matter Protesters highlighted the next phase in the progression of what is a historic, ongoing and escalating trend of using regressive laws and abusive practices against activists. Just as cointel-pro was designed to destroy the black power and anti war movements, the same attack is now taking place against the black lives matter movement – in addition to the regular and ongoing scapegoating/criminalizing of immigrants, Arabs and Muslims.
Across the board the goals are the same, but the methods, tools and tactics have rapidly accelerated, since 911 – giving free range for all levels of government (and corporations), to access quite literally unlimited amounts of information. Today never ending streams of data being transmitted and stored at local ‘fusion centers’, and as the article displays – are shared with and coordinated at the local, state & federal levels.
The article documented how, during the #BlackLivesMatter protests in December, law enforcement used tweets several activists, including one I posted, to justify their over reaching response in which an armed undercover officer in plain clothes that pulled out his gun in the middle of a nonviolent protest. The emails in question clearly display how the police use any and all means, no matter how far reaching, to justify regular abusive practices – with full impunity.
In Pasedena a dangerous, new precedent is being set, by charging BLM activist/ community leader Jasmine Richards with “terrorism” charges. Despite a shred of evidence pointing her to any violence or otherwise, this means ‘legally’ – she can be denied a trial, thanks to the National Defense Authorization Act(NDAA). The irony should not be lost on anyone that these protests originally formed as a result of police misconduct, and impunity. What is abundantly clear – from Ferguson to NYC, to Oakland and beyond, is that millions of American’s have had the exact same experience.
In this case, placing an armed undercover officer amongst protesters to provoke and threaten peaceful protesters is beyond troubling. If protesters had not reacted with such discipline, and instead in self defence – this situation could have deteriorated disastrously for everyone involved; and we’re all lucky that no one was hurt. In fact, no where in the police emails is there any reference to the authorities concern for public saftey, or restraining such methods. Yet, the main justification for increasing police, weapons and militarization costing countless trillions, is for public safety.In fact, last week the trial closed for the 400+ of us that the OPD illegally kettled and arrested in 2011 during occupy. I just received the email stating that we “were exonerated, and found factually innocent”, and they agreed to pay out thousands of dollars to settle our case – like countless millions of dollars paid by the OPD to settle claims of abuse. In fact, my arresting officer during the 2011 protest was a childhood friend, who I have seen drastically change, before and after he became an OPD.

In fact, neither the occupation of Palestine or the notorious Egyptian police state, would be possible without the full support of the US government. I witnessed in both of those places, how undercover thugs and agent provocoteurs are used to create chaos and disruption, and how social media activists end up in administrative detention in a dungeon indefinitely. This is of course made possible and paid for, with our hard earned tax dollars, to abuse, arm train, support and fund- the world over – and now more than ever, here at home.

The ultimate irony was that my tweet that was used in the surveillance, was clearly referring to “dreaming” of shutting it all down, not in any reference to an actual action or plan. In light of the overwhelming evidence that the system is not going to fix itself – it’s up to us to build a movement. I will continue to dream and work with to shut down the free ways, ports and the whole damn town – until justice is served. It is the only hope for a future for and by the people….rather inching ever closer to the very real police state. We the people, must work together to take back what’s all of ours, from those who as Noam Chomsky says – are the worlds biggest terrorists, the US government. We deserve nothing less.

Related article: We’re Living in a Police State

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Goals and demands of the War Resister’s League Facing Tear Gas campaign, to put an end to the Urban Area Security Initiative/Urban Shield: 

A new generation is fighting not only to hold individual police officers responsible for their violence, but to indict an entire system built around brutality and racism.

Militarism is guns, armored tanks and drones, but it’s also a state of mind. Militarized mentalities have permeated U.S police departments and amplified dramatically the force of police violence against our communities. It has also begun to infuse emergency preparedness. Now Fire-fighters and EMT are training right along with heavily armed SWAT teams, all funded by the Department of Homeland Security (the original DHS).  Join us in challenging these harmful forces, striking at the $500 million (plus) grant program—UASI—that strengthens and unifies state repression. Support imagining a world where we get to decide how to take care of one another. Lift up community wellness, resilience, and safety. Together we can Demilitarize Health & Security!

GOALS

  1. Challenge U.S. militarism by dismantling police power in our communities & internationally.
  2. End the Urban Areas Security Initiative (UASI), a Department of Homeland Security grant program.
  3. Communities define priorities for public safety and emergency preparedness.

DEMANDS
ONE

  1. We demand city and state governments publicly report all collaborations with the Department of Homeland Security and the Department of Defense, such as weapons transfers, information and resource sharing, and training (e.g., SWAT).
  2. We demand city, state, and federal police agencies in the U.S. end all collaboration with the police, military, and intelligence agencies of other repressive states (e.g., Israel, the Philippines, etc.).
  3. We call on U.S. cities to reject all U.S. wars and occupations.

TWO

  1. We demand the federal government repeal UASI.
  2. We demand city and state agencies permanently withdraw participation in UASI programs.
  3. We demand participating city and state governments end all existing and pending contracts with UASI.
  4. We call on non-participating urban areas to commit to non-compliance with UASI.
  5. We demand private companies end existing and pending contracts with UASI programs.

THREE

  1. We demand city, state, and the federal government shift resources from policing and militarization toward community-based programs that promote common well-being and reduce harm.
  2. We demand emergency response agencies center care and community wellness, not repression and militarization, in their life-saving work.
  3. We call on each other to build on existing resistance to state violence and repression, and in doing so to create and strengthen healthy, resilient, and self-determining communities.

Help keep the massive locomotive, from derailing and destroying everything in its path

Support the national #USWstrike to keep the massive oil industry locomotive, from derailing and destroying everything in its path!

Yesterday yet another catastrophe occurred in Southern California where an Explosion Ripped Through the Torrence Oil Refinery.
detoit

Coincidentally(?) these disaster’s are occurring, just as the national #USWstrike of steel and oil workers, is getting under way over safety and working conditions and use of untrained contractors. This strike is critical in importance for us all to support, as they may be the only hope in keeping the massive locomotive of the oil industry from derailment. Not to mention, the key source of why/who we wage resource wars throughout the planet for, and now as we are seeing, one chemical spill and environmental disaster after another – due to the greed and profit above all, at any cost – attitude of the oil industry.
Yesterday the environmental justice movement, called on community supporters to join and support the picket, and present included those from local unions including the ILWU/longshoremen and several other concerned citizens and groups. The strongest allies of all, by far – were the nurses, who showed their strength in numbers and with their signs and chants and were very outspoken towards the scabs that crossed the lines.
‘Not about the money’
I asked workers about their conditions and several were quick to jump in and share horror stories about safety issues they are dealing with, including co-workers getting burned with acid. Unlike the major/national #fightfor15 and other strikes that are being fought over wages, USW workers state fatigue as hands down the most major concern. One worker wanted to make it abundantly clear that this was not about money, as he made just under ‘six figures’ in regular pay and almost double that with overtime, and only 1% of the company’s total profits go to paying wages. He stated that they work 12 hour days, and have mandatory over time–on top of the regular hours they work, they are required to work a minimum of 1500 additional hours. If they don’t they will be cited and eventually fired. So, they were more concerned about their safety, way of life and of course the strength and power of the union.

Unfortunately, there was no way to stop scabs and management from crossing the picket so trucks and buses with people (hidden) kept cruising by. Apparently they were concerned with legal issues and avoiding an injunction, which would shut down their entire picket. The workers were very happy the community was out there, I think it lifted their spirits and everyone repeatedly thanked me and others for the support. I asked what more we could do, and they just said do more of the same, all day everyday.

The environmental justice movement is planning to show up on Wednesdays regularly. Imo, it would be good to have a regular day weekly to join picket, either weds and/or another day. We may not be able to stop the freight train, but we can definitely put the brakes on to slow it down considerably – the future of our planet may very well depend on it!

Here are the deets:
Join us
WEDNESDAYS’ at 12/noon 

Climate and Environmental Justice Solidarity Day! 
At the USW Local 5 picket line

150 Solano Way, Martinez (or Pacheco, according to Google maps)

In solidarity.

The whole system is guilty for Deah, Yusor and Razan’s murder

My heart breaks a little every time I look at these three shining, beautiful faces.

The lives of these three young people, who were pillars of their communities, were taken far too soon due to a culture that tolerates and one could argue even embraces/encourages – straight hate, targeted violence and white supremacy against arabs, muslims and Black lives/people of color.

hick Cold blooded killer Chris Hicks is not solely guilty in this heinous act, which has exposed the structures which allowed it to happen (is it a coincidence this happened so soon after the racist, top selling, violent movie American Sniper that glorified, and made it fashionable to kill Arabs/Muslims?).

While the media continues with their disgraceful coverage, without an ounce of fact finding, truth checking or outrage at this blatant double standard there is when Arabs or Muslim lives are so viscously taken–one can’t help but notice a pattern of in that respect, to the coverage of police killings of Mike Brown and Eric Garner.

As if/in case (& does anyone) actually believe this vicious cold blooded, pre-meditated murder was over a parking dispute–see the following article, which proves beyond a reasonable doubt this harassment was ongoing and a hate crime: Deah and Yusor didn’t even have a car. “On the day of the murders, Deah had just returned by bus. The only one with a car was the younger sister Razan, who had already parked earlier in the day. The point being: There was no ‘parking dispute’ in close proximity to the actual murders.” Not to even mention his ongoing harassment of the couple, and his countless anti-Islam/religion rants which have been widely documented.

Of all the sick and twisted coverage, Inside Edition takes the cake and epitomizes how demented this media culture has become. With a straight face, clearly without a trace of a conscious – they did a segment about the violent incident – followed up with a ‘how to’ guide on finding parking!

Most apparently, what should be on clear display for anyone paying the least bit of attention to the glaring hypocrisy of the injustice system + police/investigators. Almost as destructive as the crime itself, is the lack of outrage displayed by the news/media coverage (and lack thereof, real journalism). A sure sign of the times we are living in…

SHOW DOWN AT THE PORT OF OAKLAND

Last night for the first time, since my friend who has worked on the port for at least 25 years, the company(s) cut ALL night time shifts from the schedule…indefinitely! This is truly unprecedented, and it’s adding to growing chaos and everyone’s nervousness. Up and down the coast, workers have been increasing in slowing down the unloading of cargo. This has recently transpired in companies cutting shifts as a form of punishment, and now there are even talks of Federal intervention. Several articles and opeds in the SF Chron and other publications, have come out over the past several days talking about all of this.

All the while the ships at sea are backing up, waiting to be unloaded. Meanwhile the situation of workers slowing down in protest, has caused companies to retaliate by cutting hours, thus further delaying the unloading of cargo, cutting even more into their profits- ultimately punishing themselves! Of those most adversely impacted are the truckers who have had double and triple delay times, which were already intolerable to begin with.

ContainerYard-1992x753

The main issue seems to be that there is still no contract, and there is no end in sight as to if or when their will be any progress made. Making matters worse is that workers have absolutely no idea or details whatsoever, about anything such as what the issues are or what is being negotiated, creating growing distrust of management.

This complicated show down is causing tension, uncertainty and anxiety for all involved. Of course everyone’s concerns are for different reasons, depending on their interests. From an outsider’s perspective, it seems no one is in charge and that this chaos is due to no clear strategy by union management, employers or government officials to come up with real and lasting solutions.

As community activists, we should consider reaching out to workers and support the rank and files efforts to slow down and take a stand; as it seems possible the time is coming for a legendary ILWU fightback.
ilwu

End of an era, and some reflections on the road to tahrir…

After about about 14 years of working full time as an activist and nonprofit worker. . . the time has come, to make profit! I just passed my insurance exam and beginning Monday, will begin working for the Office Professional Employees International Union (OPEIU) selling life and health insurance to union reps.This is an end of an era for me that began soon after 9/11. Before that I was doing basic sales and marketing jobs that were rather unfulfilling but were fun and paid well, and I was able to have all the ‘things’ I thought I needed and save money. But when the Israeli government used the cover of 911 to, start massacring Palestinians en mass, bulldozing old people and children in their homes, while the international community of ‘leaders’ looked on, I realized then than I must drop everything and do all that was in my power to make it stop. That led me to join the International solidarity movement and use my body and my privilege to challenge the occupation, in a very direct way.

I no longer stand in front of occupation bulldozers or inhale tear gas for sport, but as I began to learn about all the injustices happening in the world and the deep level of systemic corruption and complicity esp here in the US-and how it’s all connected–it feels like being on the front line in a much different way.

detoit

This has been a most incredible journey with countless ups and downs, which has ultimately brought me up close and personal with some of the horrors that are going on in the world. What I have learned is that Palestine is a microcosm that and what those who do not accept poverty, oppression and imprisonment by the powers that seek to oppress, as we can see so clearly with the ratcheting up of the police state / state surveillance here.

Though it has been a rocky road with many twists and turns, what has been most profound and made it all worthwhile -is getting to know some of the people from all over the world, that also care deeply and are committed to spending their lives working for justice. Ultimately, I believe we the people of the world have far more in common than our so called leaders…and that if anything is going to change, we must all do everything in our power to make it so, and it is in all of our interest to work together. Also that it is the people in all of these places that are most directly impacted by these policies whether they are poor, people of color and working that must lead these struggles but for who it is so extremely difficult to fight the good fight, and so busy fighting for our survival. My biggest fear is that I will be all consumed with work, and not have time to balance with activism, and self care.

May 2015 be the time we all begin to fight not only for our survival, but to live…unafraid, and willing to stand up for what we believe. May we follow our hearts instead of the dollar, but still make enough to care for ourselves and families…while we support and struggle for justice. Here is my former blog and some observations, on my road to tahrir or liberation, and this journey we call life:  http://palestinehumanrights.blogspot.com/2006/06/caged-in-locked-out.html

To life, love and revolution yall <3

Israeli occupation forces strangle PA official Ziad Abu Ein to death, during olive tree planting

December 10, 2014 On this human rights day Ziad Abu Ein, Palestinian Authority minister and head of the Committee Against the Wall and Settlements, was murdered at a protest and olive-tree planting in Turmusayya village outside Ramallah after being hit, choked and tear-gassed by Israeli occupation forces today.

As we can clearly see here, vicious Israeli/zionist occupation forces train American police in every major city, with the same brutal tactics as used on Palestinians.

It doesn’t even matter that this man was a Palestinian minister that collaborated with the farce of a peace process and system to the extent in which the PA legitimated them. Still, the moment he stood up, even in the most symbolic way, they were quick to murder him as they do with so many other Palestinians. . with complete impunity.

STATEMENT: Murder of Ziad Abu Ein, Palestinian official and former political prisoner, must mean end to security cooperation.

Eric Garner being choked to death by NYPD

nakba
#ShutItDown #PalestinianLivesMatter #BlackLivesMatter  #JusticeForEricGarner

Bay Area Community’s Declare Decisive Victory Over Apartheid Israel!

October 28, 2014

San Francisco Bay Area Community’s Decisive Victory Over Apartheid Israel

Oakland has made history once again with another BDS victory for Palestine against the Israeli Zim shipping line. This latest round of organizing has been the most momentous and historic. Members of ILWU Local 10 informed Block the Boat organizers that the Zim Beijing which was headed to the Port of Oakland, has been re-routed to Russia to avoid disruptions at the SSA terminal. For the first time ever, an Israeli ship has been completely turned away before reaching its port of destination due to sustained overwhelming community organizing.

The damage to Israel’s credibility can’t be exaggerated–the Zim line, though privately owned, is an Israeli “security asset.” Israel exerts control over the corporation through a “golden share” which it uses to prevent the sale of the company into foreign hands. The Zim line is mandated to be part of Israel’s critical supply chain during protracted military conflicts. The brand and economic impact on Zim has yet to be calculated, but is surely devastating. Goods have been rerouted, and undelivered for months. ILWU workers have honored our pickets and sided with the community against US complicity in Israeli apartheid. Zim has been disrupted and confronted by anti-Zionist protests in Seattle, Tacoma, Los Angeles, Vancouver, New Orleans, New York and Tampa. Ports all over North America are making it clear that Israel can no longer conduct business as usual because Zionism is simply not welcome on our coasts.

Zim‘s Maneuvers

The Zim Beijing, which was scheduled to arrive in Oakland on the morning of Saturday October 25, 2014, instead broke from its heading soon after it reached the north western coast of Mexico on Wednesday, October 22nd, and headed further northwest. Several sources, including Zim’s own online schedule, and port and union authorities confirm that the Beijing’s intended destination was Oakland, but that it changed its itinerary to avoid yet another humiliating defeat. In an article published on 10/26, headlined “Zim Beijing Avoids Oakland” the GulfShip News reported, “The ship was due to call on Saturday, but then delayed its call to today [Sunday]. Reports from Oakland suggest Zim has now decided to cancel the call altogether. Zim has been hit by protests at Oakland in August and September, disrupting its schedules.”

We also tracked the ship via satellite using an online marine tracking service and documented that the ship listed its destination as Oakland just minutes after it left the Panama Canal–the norm for Zim ships on the Asia Pacific line, which stop at either Los Angeles or Oakland before heading to China and Russia. Just days into its 9 day journey from the Canal, however, Zim abruptly removed Oakland from its online schedule, and headed northwest, taking it ever farther from Oakland.

Confronting Global Repression

It is clear that the Zim Beijing diverted course in response to the powerful Block the Boat organizing. In August, Block the Boat organized and inspired a series of historic night and day pickets, which with the support of ILWU workers, prevented the Zim Piraeus from unloading for 4 days, and eventually forced the ship to leave before even a fraction of its cargo could be unloaded. In September, Zim faced another set of pickets that forced the Zim Shanghai to offload in Los Angeles, rather than its intended Oakland destination. The Block the Boat coalition along with the broader Bay Area community has made it clear that we can determine what takes place in our towns. And business with the racist, exclusionary, Zionist state of Israel, which works alongside local and federal law enforcement to repress our communities, will not go unchallenged.

Activists remained focused throughout Zim’s obfuscations, organizing for a large turnout to picket the Beijing whenever it would arrive–Saturday, Sunday, or any day of the coming week. Given the convoluted maneuvers Zim used in August, in which it left the port under the cover of an Israeli consulate press release, only to return to another terminal less than an hour later, organizers now know to be thorough and patient. After tracking the Zim Beijing for several days, Block the Boat prepared for a week of possible pickets by staging a late day march of hundreds on Sunday to the Port of Oakland to show the strength and focus of this movement. It was a warning to Zim to keep going as it reached the 1000-mile mark from Oakland and a promise that the gates would be lined again with unstoppable anti-Zionist picketers if it returned.

As the Beijing sails beyond the horizon, it still bears the destination of Oakland, though it is over 1200 miles away from San Francisco Bay at the time of this statement. Our efforts have paid off; Zim Beijing does not appear to be turning around. Even if it did reverse course and head back to Oakland at this point, it would be a week late, and it would find us once again, prepared to stop it at the port.

BDS Victory

We are declaring a historic victory in our effort to block the Beijing. It is very likely that Zim has been completely prevented from doing any future business at the Port of Oakland. Only time will tell if Zim’s changes to its schedule reflect the real re-routing of its ships, or simply just another ruse to fool opponents of Israeli apartheid. Obviously, here in Oakland, we are ready for Zim’s return any time. Together with our brothers and sisters from Ferguson to Palestine, we are fighting back against state violence and apartheid and we are prepared to bring it down brick by brick, wall by wall, port by port.

Community organizing.

The damage to Israel’s credibility can’t be exaggerated–the Zim line, though privately owned, is an Israeli “security asset.” Israel exerts control over the corporation through a “golden share” which it uses to prevent the sale of the company into foreign hands. The Zim line is mandated to be part of Israel’s critical supply chain during protracted military conflicts. The brand and economic impact on Zim has yet to be calculated, but is surely devastating. Goods have been rerouted, and undelivered for months. ILWU workers have honored our pickets and sided with the community against US complicity in Israeli apartheid. Zim has been disrupted and confronted by anti-Zionist protests in Seattle, Tacoma, Los Angeles, Vancouver, New Orleans, New York and Tampa. Ports all over North America are making it clear that Israel can no longer conduct business as usual because Zionism is simply not welcome on our coasts.

Zim‘s Maneuvers

The Zim Beijing, which was scheduled to arrive in Oakland on the morning of Saturday October 25, 2014, instead broke from its heading soon after it reached the north western coast of Mexico on Wednesday, October 22nd, and headed further northwest. Several sources, including Zim’s own online schedule, and port and union authorities confirm that the Beijing’s intended destination was Oakland, but that it changed its itinerary to avoid yet another humiliating defeat. In an article published on 10/26, headlined “Zim Beijing Avoids Oakland” the GulfShip News reported, “The ship was due to call on Saturday, but then delayed its call to today [Sunday]. Reports from Oakland suggest Zim has now decided to cancel the call altogether. Zim has been hit by protests at Oakland in August and September, disrupting its schedules.”

We also tracked the ship via satellite using an online marine tracking service and documented that the ship listed its destination as Oakland just minutes after it left the Panama Canal–the norm for Zim ships on the Asia Pacific line, which stop at either Los Angeles or Oakland before heading to China and Russia. Just days into its 9 day journey from the Canal, however, Zim abruptly removed Oakland from its online schedule, and headed northwest, taking it ever farther from Oakland.

Confronting Global Repression

It is clear that the Zim Beijing diverted course in response to the powerful Block the Boat organizing. In August, Block the Boat organized and inspired a series of historic night and day pickets, which with the support of ILWU workers, prevented the Zim Piraeus from unloading for 4 days, and eventually forced the ship to leave before even a fraction of its cargo could be unloaded. In September, Zim faced another set of pickets that forced the Zim Shanghai to offload in Los Angeles, rather than its intended Oakland destination. The Block the Boat coalition along with the broader Bay Area community has made it clear that we can determine what takes place in our towns. And business with the racist, exclusionary, Zionist state of Israel, which works alongside local and federal law enforcement to repress our communities, will not go unchallenged.

Activists remained focused throughout Zim’s obfuscations, organizing for a large turnout to picket the Beijing whenever it would arrive–Saturday, Sunday, or any day of the coming week. Given the convoluted maneuvers Zim used in August, in which it left the port under the cover of an Israeli consulate press release, only to return to another terminal less than an hour later, organizers now know to be thorough and patient. After tracking the Zim Beijing for several days, Block the Boat prepared for a week of possible pickets by staging a late day march of hundreds on Sunday to the Port of Oakland to show the strength and focus of this movement. It was a warning to Zim to keep going as it reached the 1000-mile mark from Oakland and a promise that the gates would be lined again with unstoppable anti-Zionist picketers if it returned.

As the Beijing sails beyond the horizon, it still bears the destination of Oakland, though it is over 1200 miles away from San Francisco Bay at the time of this statement. Our efforts have paid off; Zim Beijing does not appear to be turning around. Even if it did reverse course and head back to Oakland at this point, it would be a week late, and it would find us once again, prepared to stop it at the port.

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