OAKLAND CLASH FIERCE: Marine Vet wounded, tear gas & flash-bang grenades thrown in downtown Oakland (VIDEO)

An impertinent question: Why do Americans seeking to demonstrate their grievances according to the Constitution-protected rules of free speech are treated as delinquents and denied this elementary democratic right?  Isn’t the behavior of police a direct denial of Constitutional freedom to assemble and petition? Where are the courts?  Where is the Obama justice department? Hmmm.  These things can’t happen in America, eh? The American people have been gradually robbed of their free speech guarantees by creeping municipal and state “permitization.” No prior permit is required by the Constitution and to accede to this practice is to insure its continuity. —Eds

A BROADER SEGMENT OF AMERICANS of all races and classes (except the top) 
are beginning to taste police repression for the first time. It’s clear that the ruling orders think that the two-pronged approach, intimidation and co-optation, will succeed in controlling this burgeoning movement. While some will undoubtedly stop open participation, many will go on putting pressure on the system, as it is the system’s core dynamic that created the crisis and it’s not ready to abandon it any time soon. Watch video below


Six First-Hand Observations From Last Night’s Chaos in Oakland

By Joshua Holland, AlterNet

I spent most of yesterday in Oakland bearing witness to a hectic day of protests that featured a good deal of violence. Here are some observations.

Again and Again

I heard this spiel blasted over loud speakers so many times last night that I have it memorized:

This is Sgt. Whatever with the Oakland police department. I hereby declare this to be an unlawful assembly. You must leave the area of such-and-such (mostly 14th Street and Broadway) immediately. You can disperse via X street, heading in X direction (mostly 14th Street heading East). If you do not disperse immediately, you will be subject to arrest, regardless of your purpose. If you do not disperse immediately, chemical agents will be used. If you do not disperse immediately, you will be subject to forcible removal, which may result in serious injury.

The problem is that we’re taught from an early age that we have a right to peaceably assemble and protest, and that this right is guaranteed by the Constitution and can’t be over-ridden by the city of Oakland. It’s not an accurate view of the law, which is more nuanced, but it is pervasive. So protesters did not acknowledge that they were assembling unlawfully, remained, and then the tear gas came flying. And this happened again and again for much of the night.

Missing the point

That’s not to say that a few idiots in the crowd didn’t throw some objects at police.

In the age of camera phones and Youtube, finger-pointing inevitably follows clashes between police and protesters. Who instigated what? Who provoked whom? Which came first — that protester throwing a water-bottle at cops, or the cops deploying teargas at protesters. And these debates not only miss the central point, they obscure it entirely.

Long before any act of violence occurs on the streets, a series of command decisions are made, and it is those decisions which ultimately determines whether a protest will be largely peaceful or descend into chaos. Smart crowd control requires letting protesters protest – giving them an outlet. Yesterday evening in Oakland, long before anything bad happened, police decided to deny Occupy Oakland that outlet. A peaceful, if rowdy march was headed from the main library towards Frank Ogawa Plaza – the location from which they’d been forcefully evicted the night before. They were headed off by a hastily assembled line of police clad in riot gear. The protesters decided to change course and head towards the jail where, according to a National Lawyers’ Guild legal observer on the scene, 105 protesters were being detained.

Again, the police blocked their route. They made another turn – I don’t know what the objective was at that point – and were again blocked. The police did not have the manpower to actually block the many cross-streets that we crossed, but somewhere a commander decided to put 5 or 6 cops on every side street. This was a stupid move, as 5 officers cannot keep 500 protesters, now angrier than they had been at the onset, at bay.

It was only then that I witnessed the first violence. Protesters swarmed around these 5 officers, they started swinging battons, made two arrests and then found themselves completely surrounded. I am certain it was a scary moment for those officers. There was another line of riot police a block away – a thicker line. And at some point they realized their comrades were in a jam, and maybe two dozen came running and responded with extreme force (it was at this point that a flash-bang grenade came flying towards me, gong off about 3 feet away and leaving me shaking for about an hour). One officer, at the front, was firing less-than-lethal projectiles wildly at the crowd – which, at that point, was in full retreat — until he was physically restrained by another (maybe a supervisor). There were injuries and arrests, and I think none of it would have happened had they decided to let the protesters chant, ‘let them go!’ for a while in front of the jail instead of forcing them – seemingly arbitrarily– to walk around in circles facing off against line after line of police blocking their way.

As I mentioned several times on Twitter last night (follow me!), the police response last night was not the most brutal I’d seen, but it was the most inept. By hyper-aggressively boxing in protesters again and again, they just ratcheted up the pressure for no readily apparent purpose.

The Costs of Eviction

You could of course take this a step further: the entire exercise was unnecessary. One can only guess how much resources the cash-strapped city devoted to evicting Occupy Oakland in the first place. And not just Oakland. Various reports have suggested that 10 or 15 different law enforcement agencies were involved – I saw officers from at least 5 agencies myself. I have no idea how much this is costing in overtime, but it must be a fortune. An then there’s the opportunity cost – police clad in riot gear standing a line against protesters aren’t out catching bad guys, writing speeding tickets, etc.

These protests aren’t ending anytime soon, and Oakland finds itself having to guard a small chunk of public property with dozens of riot cops. Protesters appear resolute about reclaiming that space as soon as they can. So this vast drainage of resources may go on indefinitely. I’m not sure City Hall considered what the end game might be, but if they thought the Occupy Movement was going to go away, they made a stunning miscalculation.

Oakland’s Justification Rings Hollow

On that point, there have been two justifications given for the eviction: health and safety violations – I’ve heard a lot about rats – and at least one reported incident of violence at the camp.

Here’s irrefutable evidence that these justifications are complete nonsense: Snow Park. Snow Park, on a grassy slope on the side of Lake Merritt, had a small satellite occupation. Whereas the main camp was densely packed with humanity, had a kitchen and was no doubt messy – as campsites tend to be after 3 weeks — Snow Park was just a few scattered tents on a hill. When I visited it on Saturday, it was clean and neat, and there had certainly been no reports of violence.

The courts have long held that the right to assemble isn’t without limits. Communities can determine the time, place and manner of protests. But – and this is a crucial “but” – any limits must be narrowly tailored o achieve a legitimate government purpose. If an act of violence occurred in the camp, they should have dealt with it like an act of violence at a private club – you don’t destroy the club, you arrest the perpetrator. If they wanted to clean up the park, they could have done it in shifts, or worked with the occupiers to address sanitation issues or taken any number of less restrictive approaches.

Oakland has effectively banned overnight protests within the city. As I wrote last week, this is, on its face, unconstitutional in the context of a movement whose defining act of political expression is occupying public space over an extended period of time.


Last night in Oakland I saw both law enforcement and protesters policing themselves. It is all but guaranteed that in any crowd – be it a group of protesters of a PTA meeting – there will be a few hot-heads. I saw a number of self-appointed ‘marshals’ among the protesters intervening – physically– to prevent damage to property or acts that would provoke police violence. These folks, I imagine, are sophisticated enough to understand that the media are never on the side of protesters, and can only get a semblance of a fair shake by remaining peaceful expression of outrage.

Where Does This End?

“You see all these people here?” asked a protester as we rinsed the residue of tear gas out of our eyes a few blocks from Frank Ogawa Plaza. “They’re all going home more radicalized than when they arrived.” I think that’s right – this kind of crowd control doesn’t deter protesters, it steels them. I only heard more resolve as the evening progressed. It may, however, intimidate the MoveOn types, leaving a harder core to continue challenging the police.

These Occupiers aren’t going away. I’ll be out in Oakland tonight to see what unfolds.


to real change in America why haven’t you sent at least a few dollars to The Greanville Post (or a similar anti-corporate citizen’s media?). Think about it.  Without educating and organizing our ranks our cause is DOA. That’s why our new citizens’ media need your support. Send your badly needed check to “TGP, P.O. Box 1028, Brewster, NY 10509-1028.” Make checks out to “P. Greanville/ TGP”.  (A contribution of any amount can also be made via Paypal and MC or VISA.)



The Sound and the Fury: A Critique of Occupy Wall Street

Posted by  on 9/25/11 
Annals of the Revolution manqué
The lack of a disciplined, politically mature, clear-sighted anticapitalist vanguard party is more painfully evident than ever.  And not only here, in the Belly of the Beast, but literally everywhere. —Eds.


So, if you’ve been reading any alternative news outlet this week, you know about the Occupy Wall Street protest. In a nutshell, the protest is taking the form of an occupation nearby Zuccotti Park (since the police knew about the Facebook group they blocked off Wall Street) as well as various marches around the Financial District. It began on September 17th and the organizers plan on an indefinite stay. But, what is really going on down there? What are the demands? What are the guiding principles? And most importantly, is all of this sound and fury going to signify anything? 

Well, let’s examine this, pro and con style.

Pro: The organizers want to develop demands in a democratic manner, via a general assembly. Con: It’s really hard to have a protest that doesn’t have a clear goal in mind. A general assembly of whoever happens to drift by is an unwieldy beast. Not to mention that the working class doesn’t have the time or resources to hang around in Lower Manhattan and dedicate their lives to assemblies. Saul Alinsky wrote that “The price of a successful attack is a constructive alternative.” They know what they are against, but they can’t decide on what they’re for. Something simple like the reinstatement of the millionaire’s tax or Glass-Steagall, or something bigger like the nationalization of the banks would work.

Pro: They seem to have an idea of the intersectionality of the economic issues facing America. Here’s a working draft of their manifesto.  Con: Pretty vague manifesto, huh? Also, adding every conceivable cause (environmentalism, anti-capital punishment, anti-war signs were all present) to an economic protest can easily distract from the main point if you don’t do it right. This is a common problem on the Left and can be fixed with one simple phrase: “Yes, that’s a really important issue, but we’re not talking about that now.”  Because they’re not making a clear connection between these related issues, the multiplicity of them makes Occupy Wall Street look like a confusing sounding board for every sort of complaint about America. Yes, we know that marijuana legalization is related to capitalism, but to the casual observer it’s left field.

Pro: They seem really interested in fostering a social relationship between the protestors. This is great because comrades aren’t comrades without camaraderie. Con: Assuming there is a universal activist culture is alienating. Look, some people might really like Bob Marley sing-a-longs, drum circles, and group yoga, but to some of us, those things make you look like a privileged, white, upper middle class hippie going through an “activist” phase. For some of us, this struggle is our lives. We literally live it every single day and find this treatment of it to be trivializing.

Pro: They’re not afraid to get arrested. On September 24th, almost ninety of them were carted off by the police and some of them were beaten, tasered, and pepper sprayed. Case in point: Here.  Con: They don’t know how to get arrested effectively. Initially, most people had no idea that the cops were looking to arrest them, or what kinds of actions were likely to lead to arrest. They also haven’t decided on a policy regarding interactions with the police. Some people goad them (shouting “fuck the pigs” and whatnot) and some ignore them. They have a table with legal information on it now, but there’s still no real consensus on how to interact with the law.

Pro: They’re willing to do something new and radical.   Con: They think that they’re doing something new and radical. As we well know, there is nothing new under the sun, including democratic general assemblies. They appear to be falling headlong into pitfalls that labor activists and ‘60s and ‘70s radicals know well. A conversation with these seasoned veterans could have helped to avoid them. There is an element of newness to what is going on, but they aren’t reinventing the wheel here. The old cliché about being doomed to repeat history applies to this. The Left needs to use its resources. One of those resources is the wealth of experience.

So, once again, is this going anywhere? We’re not sure. If they can get some demands together (which some protestors are actively opposing), several big unions will pledge support. An increase in age and class diversity would do them well. In addition, the media blackout has swept the actions under the rug, but Saturday’s blatant police brutality has made headlines. There are some really committed people there and hopefully they can get some organization going. Right now they have the sound and the fury; they just need something to signify. We’ll be back out there with them, but probably not until next weekend. After all, we have to work.


to real change in America why haven’t you sent at least a few dollars to The Greanville Post (or a similar anti-corporate citizen’s media?). Think about it.  Without educating and organizing our ranks our cause is DOA. That’s why our new citizens’ media need your support. Send your badly needed check to “TGP, P.O. Box 1028, Brewster, NY 10509-1028.” Make checks out to “P. Greanville/ TGP”.  (A contribution of any amount can also be made via Paypal and MC or VISA.)



6 Creepy New Weapons the Police and Military Use To Subdue Unarmed People

By Rania Khalek, Crosspost AlterNet

THE US IS AT THE FOREFRONT  of an international arms development effort that includes a remarkable assortment of technologies, which look and sound like they belong in a Hollywood science fiction thriller. From microwave energy blasters and blinding laser beams, to chemical agents and deafening sonic blasters, these weapons are at the cutting edge of crowd control.

The Pentagon’s approved term for these weapons is “non-lethal” or “less-lethal” and they are intended for use against the unarmed. Designed to control crowds, clear streets, subdue and restrain individuals and secure borders, they are the 21st century’s version of the police baton, pepper spray and tear gas. As journalist Ando Arike puts it, “The result is what appears to be the first arms race in which the opponent is the general population.”

The demand for non-lethal weapons (NLW) is rooted in the rise of television. In the 1960s and ’70s the medium let everyday Americans witness the violent tactics used to suppress the civil rights and anti-war movements.

Today’s rapid advancements in media and telecommunications technologies allow people to record and publicize images and video of undue force more than ever before. Authorities are well aware of how images of violence play out publicly. In 1997, a joint report from the Pentagon and the Justice Department warned:

“A further consideration that affects how the military and law enforcement apply force is the greater presence of members of the media or other civilians who are observing, if not recording, the situation. Even the lawful application of force can be misrepresented to or misunderstood by the public. More than ever, the police and the military must be highly discreet when applying force.”

The global economic collapse coupled with the unpredictable and increasingly catastrophic consequences of climate change and resource scarcity, along with a new era of austerity defined by rising unemployment and glaring inequality have already led to massive protests in Spain, Greece, Egypt, and even Madison, Wisconsin. From the progressive era to the Great Depression to the civil rights movement, Americans have a rich history of taking to the streets to demand greater equality.

Meanwhile, tens of millions of dollars have been invested in the research and development of more media-friendly weapons for everyday policing and crowd control. This has lead to a trade-in of old school weapons for more exotic and controversial technologies. The following are six of the most outrageous “non-lethal” weapons that will define the future of crowd control.

1. The Invisible Pain Ray: The ‘Holy Grail of Crowd Control’


Source: Pasadena Star News
It sounds like a weapon out of Star Wars. The Active Denial System, or ADS, works like an open-air microwave oven, projecting a focused beam of electromagnetic radiation to heat the skin of its targets to 130 degrees. This creates an intolerable burning sensation forcing those in its path to instinctively flee (a response the Air Force dubs the “goodbye effect”).

The Pentagon’s Joint Non-Lethal Weapons Program (JNLWP) says, “This capability will add to the ability to stop, deter and turn back an advancing adversary, providing an alternative to lethal force.” Although ADS is described as non-lethal, a 2008 report by physicist and less-lethal weapons expert Dr. Jürgen Altmann suggests otherwise:

” … the ADS provides the technical possibility to produce burns of second and third degree. Because the beam of diameter 2 m and above is wider than human size, such burns would occur over considerable parts of the body, up to 50% of its surface. Second- and third-degree burns covering more than 20% of the body surface are potentially life-threatening – due to toxic tissue-decay products and increased sensitivity to infection – and require intensive care in a specialized unit. Without a technical device that reliably prevents re-triggering on the same target subject, the ADS has a potential to produce permanent injury or death. ”

The weapon was initially tested in Afghanistan, but later recalled due to a combination of technical difficulties and political concerns, including the fear that ADS would be used as a torture tool making it “not politically tenable,” according to a Defense Science Board report. The tens of millions of dollars spent to develop the ADS did not necessarily go to waste, however.

While the weapon may be too controversial for use on the battlefield, it appears that nothing is too sadistic for use on US prisoners, so the ADS has since been modified into a smaller version by Raytheon, for use in law enforcement. Last year, the renamed Assault Intervention System (AIS) was installed at the Pitchess Detention Center’s North County Correction Facility at the behest of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department (LASD). Former LASD Commander, Charles “Sid” Heal had been lobbying for the pain ray for years, calling it the “Holy Grail of Crowd Control,” due to its ability to make people scatter almost instantly.

The device is operated by a jail officer with a joystick, and is intended to break up prison riots, inmate brawls and prevent assaults on officers. Sheriff Lee Baca added that it would allow officers to quickly intervene without having to physically enter the area to incapacitate prisoners.

The ACLU claims that use of such a device on American prisoners is “tantamount to torture.” The organization even sent a letter to the sheriff in charge, demanding he never use the energy weapon against inmates. “The idea that a military weapon designed to cause intolerable pain should be used against county jail inmates is staggeringly wrongheaded,” said Margaret Winter, associate director of the ACLU National Prison Project. “Unnecessarily inflicting severe pain and taking such unnecessary risks with people’s lives is a clear violation of the Eighth Amendment and due process clause of the U.S. Constitution.”

The pain ray’s use in the Pitchess Detention Center is a pilot program. If successful, the weapon could find its way into other prisons around the country. The National Institute of Justice has also expressed interest in a hand-held, rifle-sized, short-range weapon that could be effective at tens of feet for law enforcement officials.

2. The Laser Blinding ‘Dazzler’


Source: Air Force Fact Sheet
The Personal Halting and Stimulation Response rifle, or PHaSR, is a massive laser shooter. PHaSR technology is being co-funded by the National Institute of Justice (NIJ), Joint Non-Lethal Weapons Program (JNLWP), and the Office of the Secretary of Defense, and is being developed by the Air Force Research Laboratory. While JNLWP is interested in the technology for military applications, NIJ is focusing on its law enforcement use.

So what is the purpose of this light-shooting toy? Well, it won’t kill you, but it will temporarily blind you — or as the NIJ prefers to say, it will “dazzle” you into disorientation — by shooting you with two low­-power diode­-pumped lasers.

Protocol IV, the Blinding Laser Protocol of the United Nations Convention on Conventional Weapons, states that, “The use of laser weapons that are specifically designed, as their sole combat function or as one of their combat functions, to cause permanent blindness to unenhanced vision is prohibited.”

After the US agreed to the Blinding Laser Protocol in 1995 under President Clinton, the Pentagon was forced to cancel several blinding laser weapon programs that were in the works. But the PHaSR rifle can skirt this regulation because the blinding effect is apparently temporary due to its low-intensity laser.

According to a U.S. Air Force fact sheet, “The laser light from PHaSR temporarily impairs aggressors by dazzling them with one wavelength. The second wavelength causes a repel effect that discourages advancing aggressors.” The JNLWP website says that a significant amount of research and experimentation is still required to gain a full understanding of the safety, military effectiveness, and limitations of these future capabilities.

3. The Taser on Steroids


Source: Taser website
The Albuquerque Police Department now has Taser shotguns in its arsenal. Most of us are familiar with hand-held Tasers and understand that they only work if the police are standing pretty close to you (about 20 feet).

But Taser has developed the Taser X12, a 12-gauge shotgun that instead of firing lethal bullet rounds, is designed to fire Taser projectile rounds. Known as Extended Range Electronic Projectiles (XREP), the XREP cartridge is a self-contained, wireless projectile that delivers the same neuro-muscular incapacitation bio-effect (a fancy way of saying electric shock) as the handheld Taser, but up to 100 feet.

According to a July 21 press release, Taser International has taken the XREP to the next level, teaming up with the Australian electronic gun company Metal Storm to enhance the 12-gauge Multi-Shot Accessory Under-Barrel Launcher (MAUL).

The two companies will combine Metal Storm’s MAUL stacked projectile technology to “provide semi-automatic fire as fast as the operator can squeeze the trigger,” which boasts a full weapon reload of up to five rounds in less than two seconds. Picture five rounds of Taser XREP cartridges flying out in less than two seconds up to 30 yards away — that is the plan.

In September 2010 Raw Story reported that the rate of Taser-related deaths were on the rise. The story cited an Amnesty International report from 2008 that found 351 Taser-related deaths in the US between June 2001 and August 2008, a rate of just slightly above four deaths per month. About 90 percent of the victims were unarmed and did not appear to pose any serious threat, according to an article in the Boston Review. The Amnesty report points out that Tasers are “inherently open to abuse as they are easy to carry and easy to use and they can inflict severe pain at the push of a button without leaving substantial marks.“ In Amnesty’s US 2010 report, the Taser-related death toll had increased to 390. If the MAUL-Taser combined shooter find its way into police departments around the country, it may not bode well for the rate of Taser-related deaths.

Another project of Taser International, which was unveiled in 2009, is the Shockwave Area-Denial System, which blankets a large area with electrified darts, and a wireless Taser projectile with a 100-meter range, helpful for picking off “ringleaders” in unruly crowds. In 2007, Taser’s French distributor announced plans for a stun-gun-equipped flying saucer that fires stun darts at criminal suspects or rioters; however, it has yet to be unveiled. Clearly there is no limit to Taser International’s capacity for creativity.

4. Calmative Agents for Riot Control

Calmatives are chemical or biological agents with sedative, sleep-inducing or similar psychoactive effects. Although the 1997 Chemical Weapons Convention prohibits the use of riot control agents in warfare, JNWLP and NIJ have long considered calmatives for both military and law enforcement applications, such as dispersing a crowd, controlling a riot or calming a noncompliant offender.

The most well-known and widely used riot-control agents are tear gas (CS) and chloroacetophenone (CN), also known as mace. A few ways that more advanced non-lethal calmatives might be administered, depending on the law enforcement environment, would include a topical or transdermal skin application, an aerosol spray, an intramuscular dart, or a rubber bullet filled with an inhalable agent.

In the March 2010 issue of Harper’s magazine, Ando Arike gives an extensive overview of riot control technology in his article “The Soft Kill: New Frontiers in Pain Compliance.” He wrote:

Pentagon interest in “advanced riot-control agents” has long been an open secret, but just how close we are to seeing these agents in action was revealed in 2002, when the Sunshine Project, an arms-control group based in Austin, Texas, posted on the Internet a trove of Pentagon documents uncovered through the Freedom of Information Act. Among these was a fifty-page study titled “The Advantages and Limitations of Calmatives for Use as a Non-Lethal Technique,” conducted by Penn State’s Applied Research Laboratory, home of the JNLWD-sponsored Institute for Non-Lethal Defense Technologies.

Penn State’s College of Medicine researchers agreed, contrary to accepted principles of medical ethics, that “the development and use of non-lethal calmative techniques is both achievable and desirable,” and identified a large number of promising drug candidates, including benzodiazepines like Valium, serotonin-reuptake inhibitors like Prozac, and opiate derivatives like morphine, fentanyl, and carfentanyl, the last commonly used by veterinarians to sedate large animals. The only problems they saw were in developing effective delivery vehicles and regulating dosages, but these problems could be solved readily, they recommended, through strategic partnerships with the pharmaceutical industry.

Little more was heard about the Pentagon’s “advanced riot-control agent” program until July 2008, when the Army announced that production was scheduled for its XM1063 “non-lethal personal suppression projectile,” an artillery shell that bursts in midair over its target, scattering 152 canisters over a 100,000-square-foot area, each dispersing a chemical agent as it parachutes down. There are many indications that a calmative, such as fentanyl, is the intended payload—a literal opiate of the masses.

5. Screaming Microwaves That Pierce the Skull


Source: Wired
Researchers are in the process of developing the Mob Excess Deterrent Using Silent Audio or MEDUSA (that’s right, from Greek mythology), which uses a beam of microwaves to induce uncomfortable auditory sensations in the skull. The device exploits the microwave audio effect, in which short microwave pulses rapidly heat tissue, causing a shockwave inside the skull that can be detected by the ears. MEDUSA’s audio effect is loud enough to cause discomfort or even incapacitation. It may also cause a little brain damage from the high-intensity shockwave created by the microwave pulse.

MEDUSA’s intended purpose is deterring crowds from entering a protected perimeter, like a nuclear site, and temporarily incapacitating unruly individuals. So far the weapon remains in development and is funded by the Navy.

6. Ear-Splitting Siren


Source: Associated Press
The Long Range Acoustic Device, or LRAD, built by American Technology Corporation, focuses and broadcasts sound over ranges of up to hundreds of yards. LRAD has been around for years, but Americans first took notice when police used it in Pittsburgh to ward off protesters at the 2009 G-20 summit. It is generally used in two ways: as a megaphone to order protesters to disperse; or, if they disobey, as an “ear-splitting siren” to drive them away. While LRAD may not be deadly, it can permanently damage hearing, depending on how it’s used.

Similar sonic blasters have proven deadly. One is the Thunder Generator, an Israeli-developed shock wave cannon used by farmers to scare away crop-threatening bird. According to a Defense News report last year, the Israeli Ministry of Defense has licensed a firm called ArmyTec to market the Thunder Generator for military and security applications.

It works using gas from a cylinder of domestic liquid petroleum, which is mixed with air and then detonated, producing a series of high-intensity blasts. Patented “pulse detonation” technology ensures high-decibel blasts. With an effective range of up to 50 meters, the makers say it is extremely loud but will not do any lasting damage. They warn, however, that within 10 meters the Thunder Generator could cause permanent damage or even death.

The Impact

The application of pain to control or coerce people into submission helps achieve the desired aims of perception management, while sheltering the public from the brutality of such devices.

Perhaps these less-lethal tactics for crowd control do result in fewer injuries. But they also severely weaken our capacity to enact political change. Authorities have ever more creative ways to manage dissent, at a time when the need for change by popular demand is vital to the future of our society and the planet.

Rania Khalek is a progressive activist. Check out her blog Missing Pieces or follow her on Twitter @Rania_ak. Contact her at raniakhalek@gmail.com.

Pentagon Deploys Non-Lethal Weapons

From: USA Today | July 25, 2005

WASHINGTON – For Col. Joe Anderson’s soldiers in Mosul, the threat in 2003 was hostile crowds. Last year, Col. Ralph Baker’s troops in Baghdad faced another recurring problem: suspicious cars and trucks careening toward their checkpoints. Today, both those threats have increased, and insurgent bombs have grown more powerful.

Unable to distinguish suicide bombers from wayward civilians, troops fire to protect themselves. They sometimes hit innocent Iraqis, which only fuels the insurgency against the U.S. coalition and fledgling Iraqi government.

If you “have no other option but brute force, you don’t have a lot of options,” Anderson says.

More than two years after the invasion of Iraq, Pentagon officials say they are speeding deployment of non-lethal weapons that give troops more choices. Iraq is becoming the proving ground for devices, some radically new, that can protect troops without harming the people they were sent to help.

Shooting at tires

The need for non-lethal options was shown again this spring, when U.S. troops protecting Baghdad’s airport shot a car heading toward their checkpoint in the dark. It was carrying a freed Italian hostage, who was injured, and an Italian intelligence officer, who was killed. The incident damaged U.S. relations with Italy, a key ally in Iraq.

This month, Iraqi Prime Minister Ibrahim al-Jaafari said too many innocent Iraqis were dying because U.S. troops shot in error. He called for a more “civilized” approach, such as shooting out tires.

“That’s easier said than done,” Anderson says. Bullets ricochet off the road or cars and kill or injure bystanders — and they may not stop the vehicle before it gets too close.

Baker, who commanded a brigade of the 1st Armored Division in Baghdad, went on the Internet and ordered remote-controlled road spikes, which pop up and shred tires on command, because he was frustrated by the Pentagon’s delay in supplying alternatives.

Reducing needless deaths “is absolutely essential to the long-term success of our political objectives over there,” says Baker, stationed at the Pentagon.

Most Pentagon spending still goes toward improving ships, aircraft and other familiar weapons. But that’s changing, says Benjamin Riley, chairman of the Combating Terrorism Technology Task Force set up by Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld. Commanders in Iraq need technologies “that have not fallen in the traditional acquisition process.”

Sue Payton, deputy undersecretary of Defense for advanced systems and concepts, says 75% of her department’s $1.1 billion research budget was spent on developing traditional weapons. Now the focus has shifted to weapons to deal with urban combat in Iraq.

Contractors are under pressure to take non-lethal weapons from the laboratory into the field, says Mike Booen, vice president of directed energy weapons at Raytheon Missile Systems in Tucson. “It’s, ‘I need what you have in 60 to 90 days,’ or ‘I need what you have in eight months,’ as opposed to three or four years,” he says.

In the field, in the works

Some of the new, non-lethal weapons are in Iraq, and more are coming in a matter of months, says Raymond Grundy, deputy director of the non-lethal weapons program of the Marine Corps, based in Quantico, Va. Among them:

*Nets that pop up remotely from the road and ensnare the wheels and suspensions of oncoming vehicles.

*Instant oil slicks that cause vehicles to skid and crash and pedestrians to fall down.

*Military paint-ball guns that coat windshields to blind drivers of oncoming cars. Some troops are trying small lasers to temporarily blind opponents in cars or on foot.

*Venom, a system of small mortar-like tubes that fire rounds that explode like fireworks at a range of up to 200 yards away. The pyrotechnics keep suspect vehicles or people away. Although the rounds are still in testing, the Marines have committed $14 million to buy 250 units.

The military hopes to develop guns that fire energy pulses that destroy ignitions or other critical components to cause a car or truck to stop. A prototype of such a system is probably five years off, Grundy says.

A ray gun closer to deployment is a millimeter-wave radar beam that causes fiery pain when it hits the skin.

The first working prototype on a custom Humvee truck, called the Active Denial System, will be unveiled this summer. The command in Iraq has asked the Pentagon for 14 more vehicles with millimeter-wave weapons, under a program called Project Sheriff, as soon as possible.

Payton says she’s confident that the technology is safe and that there will be strict rules to avoid any chance the gun will be considered a torture instead of an alternative to gunfire.

Even so, Payton says, any ray gun that hits people is a concept that will stir public concern.

“The whole introduction of this could be misinterpreted. There could be disinformation about it,” she says. To allay fears, she says, Arabic media will be among those invited to a public demonstration of the system in a few weeks.

Set phasers on stun?

The Army and Marines want to develop a gun that fires an adjustable beam of energy. For situations like Iraq, it could emit just enough energy to stop an oncoming vehicle. On the battlefield, powerful blasts could destroy the enemy.

Energy beams fire in a straight line and at long range, with no need for reloading, obvious advantages. The big unsolved problem: a strong, portable power source.

Someday, handheld ray guns could be available to infantry troops, but such Star Trek weapons are years, if not decades, away.

Riley says much research won’t be done in time to help in Iraq. Among those showing promise: a laser that “sniffs” explosives at a distance and surveillance cameras that remember landscapes and “see” changes where bombs were planted.

Riley says development of non-traditional weapons will continue even when the Iraq war ends. “It’s not just an immediate problem in Iraq,” he says. “It’s a long-term kind of threat.”



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Martin Luther KING, Jr., Assassinated, Apr 4, 1968 @ 6:01 PM CT

ARCHIVES: Articles you should have read but missed the first time around.—

[First published: April 3, 2010—With select comments from original thread.]

The FBI and Martin Luther King, Jr.

MLK: He still casts a giant shadow.

In December 1963, four months after the large civil rights march on Wash, DC, a nine-hr conference was held at FBI HQ to discuss ways to “neutralize” Martin Luther King, Jr. A prepared list of 21 proposals was discussed – “using” ministers, “disgruntled” acquaintances, “aggressive” newsmen, “colored” agents, Dr. King’s housekeeper, & a suggestion to use King’s wife or “placing a good looking female plant in King’s office” to develop info for use “at an opportune time in a counterintelligence move to discredit him” w/o embarrassment to the Bureau. [Pepper, W. F. (2003). “An Act of State: The Execution of Martin Luther King.” London: Verso, p. 11].•••••

The reason King Finally had to be completely neutralized:

After King’s radical speech on April 4, 1967 against the Viet Nam War, that included a call for a revolution away from capitalism toward a socially just society, he began discussing strategies to address the widening gap between rich & poor, i.e., taking the class problem head-on. By November 1967, his plan for a Poor People’s Campaign was taking shape. This included a permanent tent city of as many as 500,000 people to be called “Resurrection City” encamped on Wash., DC’s mall starting May 1968, to remain until the government re-directed all its money devoted to the barbaric war to a new socially just society at home. The plan was based on need to “disrupt” cities to create a crisis without destroying life or property. King wanted to create an action that did “not count on government good will,” that would be a “force that interrupts its functioning.” The plan was to be “dislocative and even disruptive” because “pressureless persuasion does not move the power structure.” He had concluded that the “old style” kind of march on Washington “isn’t sufficiently crisis-packed.” King’s words were simply becoming too threatening to maintenance of the status quo: “There must be a radical reordering of our national priorities…We’re not going to Washington to beg. I hope we are beyond that stage. We are going to Washington to demand what is ours.” [Pepper, W. F. (2003). “An Act of State: The Execution of Martin Luther King.” London: Verso, p. 7; Garrow, D. J. (1988). “Bearing the Cross.” NY: Vintage, pp. 574-624].

On March 3, 1968, one month before King’s April 4 assassination, a memo by J. Edgar Hoover identified an FBI “Counter-Intelligence Program” directed against “Black Nationalist Hate-Groups:”

1. “Prevent the coalition of black nationalist groups…[which] might be the first step toward a real ‘Mau Mau’ in America, the beginning of a true black revolution.”

2. “Prevent the rise of a ‘messiah’ who could unify and electrify the militant black nationalist movement…King could be a very real contender for this position should he abandon his supposed ‘obedience’ to ‘white liberal doctrines’ (nonviolence) and embrace black nationalism…” [Trager, J. (1992). “The People’s Chronology.” NY: Henry Holt and Co., p. 1015].

Neutralization in Viet Nam

In Viet Nam at the same time in 1968, the US was carrying out a separate program called PHOENIX to “neutralize” as many as 3,000 Vietnamese community leaders/month, using CIA-trained assassination squads, some known as Provincial Reconnaissance Units (PRU). [Sheehan, N. (1988). “A Bright Shining Lie.” NY: Random House, p. 732]. As many as 87,000 Vietnamese were neutralized – imprisoned, tortured, murdered, or converted. [Prados, J. (1996). “President’s Secret Wars.” Chicago: Ivan R. Dee, p. 309].

US ORIGINS In Genocide/Extermination:

But this policy of eliminating people, whether in the form of genocide of whole peoples, or of key individuals who possessed followers, when they are perceived in the way of White Man’s “progress” – prosperity for the few through expansion at any cost – has been the guiding cultural ethos of USAmerica since our origins.

Starting in 1600s:

The British arrived in Jamestown, VA in 1607. A policy of intentional extermination of the native population began almost immediately. “Hundreds of Indians were killed in skirmish after skirmish. Other hundreds were killed in successful plots of mass poisoning. They were hunted down by dogs, ‘blood-Hounds to draw after them, and Mastives to seize them.’ Their canoes and fishing weirs were smashed, their villages and agricultural fields burned to the ground. Indian peace offers were accepted by the English only until their prisoners were returned; then, having lulled the natives into false security, the colonists returned to the attack. It was the colonists’ expressed desire that the Indians be exterminated, rooted ‘out from being longer a people upon the face of the Earth.’ In a single raid the settlers destroyed corn sufficient to feed four thousand people for a year. Starvation and the massacre of non-combatants was becoming the preferred British approach to dealing with the natives.” [Stannard, D. E. (1992). “American Holocaust: The Conquest of the New World.” NY: Oxford University Press, p. 106].

Long before Thomas Jefferson’s desire to “exterminate” the Indians,  and George Washington had said that Indians were “wolves and beasts” who deserved nothing from the whites but total ruin, the MASSACHUSETTS BAY COLONY in 1630 made it illegal to “shoot off a gun in any unnecessary occasion, or at any game EXCEPT an Indian or a wolf.” [Stannard, D. E. (1992). “American Holocaust: The Conquest of the New World.” NY: Oxford University Press, pp. 240-41].

“Founding Fathers”

In 1812, Thomas Jefferson, now a senior sage out of office, concluded that White Americans were “obliged” to drive the “backward” Indians” with the beasts of the forests into the Stony Mountains”; in 1813 Jefferson stated that the American government had no other choice before it than “to pursue [the Indians] to extermination, or drive them to new seats beyond our reach.” In other words, the Native Americans are to be given the choice “to be extirpated from the earth” or to remove themselves out of the White Americans way. Thus, to the majority of White Americans the choice for Indians was one of expulsion or extermination.  [Stannard, D. E. (1992). “American Holocaust: The Conquest of the New World.” NY: Oxford University Press, p. 120].

Scalping Bounties

Extermination was officially promoted by a “scalp bounty” on dead Indians. “Indeed, in many areas it [Indian-killing] became an outright business.”

Thomas Jefferson, writing to his Secretary of War in 1807, instructed that any native resistance to U.S. expansion into their territories should be overcome militarily, with the object that the Indians be “exterminated, or driven beyond the Mississippi.” This was sound policy, he claimed, because “in war, they [Indians] will kill some of us; we shall destroy all of them.” [Churchill, W. (1997). “A Little Matter of Genocide: Holocaust and Denial in the Americas, 1492 to the Present.” San Francisco: City Light Books, pp. 150, 181-182].

Washington’s Orders to Sullivan:

Continental Army Supreme General George Washington’s orders to General Sullivan in 1779 during the Revolutionary War made it clear he wanted the Iroquois threat completely eliminated:

Orders of George Washington to General John Sullivan, at Head-Quarters May 31, 1779:

“The Expedition you are appointed to command is to be directed against the hostile tribes of the Six Nations of Indians, with their associates and adherents. The immediate objects are the total destruction and devastation of their settlements, and the capture of as many prisoners of every age and sex as possible. It will be essential to ruin their crops now in the ground and prevent their planting more.

I would recommend, that some post in the center of the Indian Country, should be occupied with all expedition, with a sufficient quantity of provisions whence parties should be detached to lay waste all the settlements around, with instructions to do it in the most effectual manner, that the country may not be merely overrun, but destroyed.

But you will not by any means listen to any overture of peace before the total ruinment of their settlements is effected. Our future security will be in their inability to injure us and in the terror with which the severity of the chastisement they receive will inspire them.”

[Writings of George Washington. Washington, DC: Government Printing Office, XV, pp. 189-93; Drinnon, R. (1980). Facing West: The Metaphysics of Indian-Hating and Empire-Building. Minneapolis: Univ. of Minnesota Press, p. 331].

US Historical Operating Principles (several of which are explicit in George Washington’s orders):

1. Total War, civilians and combatants alike considered legitimate targets

2. Preventing/Not Wanting Peace

3. Preventive and Pre-emptive War

4. Terror

5. Torture

6. Revenge

S. BRIAN WILLSON is a prominent peace and social change activist. He blogs at S. BRIAN WILLSON.com, which “contains essays describing the incredible historic pattern of U.S. arrogance, ethnocentrism, violence and lawlessness in domestic and global affairs, and the severe danger this pattern poses for the future health of Homo sapiens and Mother Earth. Other essays discuss revolutionary, nonviolent alternative approaches based on the principle of radical relational mutuality. This is a term increasingly used by physicists, mathematicians and cosmologists to describe the nature of the omnicentric*, ever-unfolding universe. Every being, every aspect of life energy in the cosmos, is intrinsically interconnected with and affects every other being and aspect of life energy at every moment.”


  1. Posted April 4, 2010 at 9:54 pm | Permalink

    Hey my friend, what a great site you have with real great information. By the way I thought that the US founding fathers were not socialists, but i thought that they were bourgeoise-liberals from the bourgoise class of the late 1700s. But i didn’t know that Jefferson and Washington gave orders to eliminate American Indians. That’s something most people in USA dont know because if this is true, americans need a second revolution or at least a real independence. But since the enemy is international (Capitalism), i think that we need an international solution as a World Socialist Party.

    Take care

  2. Posted April 5, 2010 at 12:03 pm | Permalink

    Please, give some time for the web. We just started. I am a new US citizen. I was just approved as such and I had to pass an interview in which I was asked some of the history of this empire. I was also asked whether I was a racist!
    I am reading “The People’s History of the United States” by our dear Howard Zinn. Everybody in the USA should read this book! It amazes me that there are so many US citizens that have no idea about their own country’s true history. And then we want to teach the world democracy! The one we don’t have?

  3. Posted April 5, 2010 at 6:16 pm | Permalink

    Sorry i had to change the URL of my blog with the truth about Jefferson and Washington, how sad


  4. Posted April 7, 2010 at 8:43 am | Permalink

    Hello Mr Brian Willson again:

    I just have a simple question for you about a real change in the USA.

    How and when do you think that a Socialist Party can rise to government power in USA and change USA from capitalism to a socialist workers state.

    Because to tell you the truth i am damn tired of capitalist-America, of Mcdonalds, Burger Kings, Wendies, and KFC all over the place, of big hulking smelly SUVs and big trucks spending gas like there is no tomorrow.

    Of constant dollar devaluations (which lowers our personal liberty), of constant wars which also leads to poverty here at home, and of lack of personal-satisfaction and progress because who can progress and move foward in a capitalist american system where you have to be rich to join a College, and where every thing is literally banned and prohibited.

    Capitalist-America is literally a jail for the majority of US citizens, it is a death-penalty impossed by force on all americans.

    It is time to have a socialist system like Venezuela in the USA


  5.  billy the socialist
    Posted July 25, 2010 at 7:26 pm | Permalink

    I am in the process of rereading Dr. Pepper’s An Act of State to remind me of what happened that fateful day of Dr. King’s murder. Recently there was an interview on Fresh Air on PBS shilling for that disgusting piece of revisionist history by Hampton Sides entitled Hell Hound on His Trial. The “theme” of this book is that James Earl Ray was the sole person responsible for Martin’s murder and that he had been stalking Martin for over a year prior to the death. Not once during this interview was there any mention of An Act of State. In my humble opinion this book has been published because the power elites want to continue to confuse people as to the real reasons that MLK, JFK, RFK, Malcolm X and others were murdered. That is to contin ue the state of inequality that exists in so many areas of our society, while the same small group of plutocrats continue to stay at the top of the system. Fortunately there are web sites such as this where people can get the truth.

  7. Posted October 6, 2010 at 1:02 pm | Permalink




  8. Posted November 29, 2010 at 9:06 am | Permalink

    Thanks Brian. There is a related piece that I wonder if you’ve seen called ‘The Security State and the Assassination of JFK’ here:


    I’ve been reading about human evolution, and a striking element is the phenomenon of “emergence”–we are a rapidly changing species and traits and behaviors genuinely “emerge” that were previously no evident. It is quite possible we can emerge in to the light of compassion, intelligence, and love; there is a vague drift in that direction.

  9.  Dana Light
    Posted April 9, 2011 at 8:19 pm | Permalink

    Thanks for all you do Brian! Excellent piece!

  10.  Steve Borton
    Posted April 10, 2011 at 8:12 am | Permalink

    Nice piece Brian, thanks. Dana, there is a strong body of anthropological evidence that we already had that emergence you speak of a long time ago. We lost those qualities in the switch from hunter/gatherer to farmer. The bible speaks of this switch in Genesis. Their version speaks of leaving the Garden of Eden with Eve eating of the tree of the fruit of knowledge. This is probably one of the earliest pieces of revisionist history. Eve,(Women), the gatherer had an astounding knowledge of plants and their uses. It was most likely Eve that first figured out about seeding the ground on their annual migrations through certain territories. This eventually evolved into permanent habitations. Permanent habitations meant that you could acquire more possesions because you didn’t have to carry them with you. This eventually led to wealth and the desire for such. And on the story goes. What amazes me is that 6,000 years ago when Genesis was probably written it was already recognized as a bad move leading to all of the ills of modern culture.

  11. Posted May 20, 2011 at 10:42 am | Permalink

    What a joy to find such clear thinking. Thanks for posting!


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