Tag Archives: protests

Exclusive Interview: Kyle Rittenhouse Unfairly Smeared by Facebook and MSM?

I interview the attorney for Kyle Rittenhouse about the new video which claims to prove that the 17 year-old acted in self-defense during the shooting deaths of two men in Kenosha, Wisconsin. The full 11-minute video referenced in this interview can be seen at ISE Media by clicking here.

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Millions March in Berlin & London, PLUS: Only 6% of C0ViD Deaths actually from C0ViD?

We take a look at the millions of protesters marching in Berlin and London over the weekend and we break down the numbers from CDC that appear to show that only 6% of C0VlD deaths are actually not from C0VlD– it turns out that is not quite true. I’ll explain.

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Massive C0VID Protests in Ireland- and Will These Lockdowns Last Until End of 2021?

Thousands of protesters took to the streets of Dublin, Ireland over the weekend, demanding an end to lockdowns, social distancing and mask wearing. Plus, we take a look at the staggering jump in wealth for the world’s billionaires and take a look at why this “new normal” is working only for them.

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Truth In Media with Ben Swann, Episode 17: Facebook Bans Stay-At-Home Protest Posts, Calling Them “Harmful Misinformation”

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg says the company won’t allow promotion of protests “that defy government’s guidance” on social distancing.

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Mizzou Loses Around 1,500 Students, Faces Massive Budget Shortfalls

By Blake Neff – The University of Missouri (MU) is losing about 1500 students and is facing a huge $32 million budget shortfall four months after it attracted national attention as the site of massive race-based campus protests.

“I am writing to you today to confirm that we project a very significant budget shortfall due to an unexpected sharp decline in first-year enrollments and student retention this coming fall. I wish I had better news,” said MU interim chancellor Hank Foley in a Wednesday letter to school staff that was obtained by Fox Sports.

According to Foley’s letter, MU will have about 1500 fewer students in fall 2016 compared to last year, an unexpected drop that is in turn causing a big dip in the school’s tuition income.

Because of the abrupt and unexpected nature of the shortfall, Foley is taking immediate and severe steps to fix the situation: The school budget is being cut 5 percent across the board, all hiring is being frozen (barring exceptional circumstances), and annual raises have been canceled. He has also announced a new, more intensive effort to recruit potential Mizzou students by phone, email, and even via Skype.

Even with all these measures, Foley anticipates MU having a deficit of about $1o million,which he said would be made up using the school’s reserve funds.

In November 2015, MU was rocked by major protests led by the Concerned Student 1950 group, which accused President Timothy Wolfe of not doing enough to address racial tensions on campus. After black players on the school football team announced a strike, Wolfe resigned and the school caved to a host of other protester demands. Meanwhile, the same day of Wolfe’s resignation, communications professor Melissa Click grabbed headlines for attacking a student journalist who tried to cover the ongoing protests.

Now, while Click and Wolfe are gone, the consequences of that turbulent November continue to reverberate, not the least because Concerned Student 1950 continues to engage in very public protests while demanding even more concessions from the school.

It was already known that MU had seen a drop in applications following the protests, but Foley’s letter drives home just how big a blow the school has been dealt.

Foley doesn’t break down the 1,500 lost student by class year, but the bulk of the decline comes from a major dip in the size of the entering freshman class. How major? In 2015, MU had 6,200 freshman undergraduates, meaning its freshman class size may have shrunk by 20 percent or more, an incredible swing for a single year.

Notably, Foley’s letter makes no mention of the protests as a potential factor in Mizzou’s declining appeal.

Foley also is unlikely to have much luck in turning to Missouri lawmakers for support. Disgusted by the university’s actions last fall, Republicans have refused to increase its budget and have even been considering making a big cut to the school’s state support.

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Mizzou Diversity Director Tells Protesters To Grow Up, Stop Making Insane Demands

By Blake Neff – The chief diversity officer at the University of Missouri (MU) has authored a letter sharply reprimanding the school’s black activist movement, urging it to stop relying on threats and impossible demands.

“If you sincerely want better relationships, the time for demands, threats and arbitrary deadlines is over — you don’t need them,” said Chuck Henson, who was appointed as MU’s interim vice chancellor for inclusion, diversity and equity following massive campus protests last fall. The letter, written Thursday, was obtained and released by the Columbia Missourian Friday night.

Last week, Concerned Student 1950, the activist group that helped force out MU president Timothy Wolfe last fall, released a new set of demands, which largely reiterates previous commands that have gone unmet. Some of the demands that were emphasized included a call for an “academic bankruptcy program” (essentially letting students void the results of an entire term), an expansion in the number of black faculty and the erection of a statue of 1930s civil rights activist Lloyd Gaines on campus. Many of the demands have explicit deadlines, and the group has emphasized that the school will be made to fulfill them “by any means necessary.”

But according to Henson, the group is presenting its demands in a flatly unacceptable manner. Not only that, but many of them are impossible.

“[T]here are things, like hiring faculty or staff, or admitting students based on protected characteristics to meet a numerical target, [that] will not and cannot be done,” he said. “It is against state and federal law. It also is a bad model for a sustainable community.” Similarly, he said demands that course curricula be changed was purely the responsibility of faculty, and could not be meddled with by administrators without quashing academic freedom.

Henson also faulted activists for apparently avoiding a face-to-face meeting with school administrators.

“For my part, I have been seeking you out. I have invited you to come see me,” Henson said in the letter. “However, as yet we haven’t met. Had you accepted my invitation to meet face-to-face, you would already know the answers to most of the issues raised in your recent communication.”

The diversity director suggested that activists try attending meetings of The Working Group, a body created by MU’s administration in order to transparently reform the school following mass protests last fall. Despite its intention of changing MU with student input, few people seem to have attended Working Group meetings.

At the least, Concerned Student 1950 can’t accuse Henson of flaunting his white privilege, as Henson himself is a black man.

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Trade Ministers Sign TPP Trade Agreement in New Zealand Amid Massive Protests

Auckland, New Zealand – Trade ministers from the twelve nations involved in the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) met in New Zealand on Thursday to sign the final agreement.

The participating nations now have up to two years to ratify the agreement. The 12 nations include Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, the United States and Vietnam. Before becoming law in the United States, both the House and the Senate will need to vote to approve the TPP.

In late June 2015, President Obama signed into law the so-called “fast-track” bill that set the stage for approval of the TPP. “Fast track” limits Congress’ ability to alter the provisions of the trade deal and only allows a vote of yes or no. The final terms of the deal were agreed upon in October, and the full text of the agreement was released in November.

The TPP has been the subject of much controversy for the last few years, largely due to the fact that the trade ministers have negotiated the deal in secret with overwhelming influence from multinational corporations.

The Electronic Frontier Foundation writes:

“These officials have not been accountable to the public. They have remained steadfast in excluding public participation and ignoring all calls for transparency over the more than five years of TPP negotiations. Because of this opaque process, trade negotiators were able to fill the agreement with Hollywood and Big Tech’s wish lists of regulatory policies without having to worry about how they would impact the Internet or people’s rights over their digital devices.”

The EFF says that it is “critical that people in the U.S. demand congressional accountability over this deal and urge their lawmakers to vote no when the TPP comes before them for approval.”

While the trade ministers signed the TPP, thousands of protesters gathered in the streets of Auckland to protest the trade deal. TVNZ reports that no arrests were made. Detective Superintendent Richard Chambers stated that his officers were abused, had their clothing and hats pulled, but displayed “outstanding professionalism.”

auckland tpp protest
Protesters in Auckland, NZ

In the U.S. on Thursday, there was a wave of “Flush the TPP” protests as critics of the deal took to the streets of Washington D.C., Los Angeles and other American cities.

In October 2015, journalist Ben Swann released a Reality Check on the TPP, stating that it was worse than previously believed.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5K0k361pQoQ

In 2015, both the Anglican and Catholic churches of New Zealand demanded the government be more transparent about the negotiations. Radio NZ reports that bishops from the churches are concerned about the lack of openness and that corporate interests are influencing the agreement while the people are being excluded. The churches also called on the New Zealand government to make the draft text of the agreement public.

In early February 2015, doctors and health professional representing seven countries released a letter warning that the TPP will lead to higher medical costs for all nations. The letter, published in The Lancet medical journal, states that, “Rising medicine costs would disproportionately affect already vulnerable populations.” The doctors called on the governments involved in the trade deal to publicly release the full text of the agreement. They also demanded an independent analysis of the impacts on health and human rights for each nation involved in the deal.

Also in February 2015, an analysis by The Washington Post revealed the US government’s numbers on expected job increases from TPP are not factually correct. The Fact Checker examined several quotes from government officials, including Secretary of State John Kerry, and Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack. Both Kerry and Vilsack claimed the international trade agreement would create 650,000 new jobs. However, these numbers do not take into account income gains and changing wages. According to the government own sources imports and exports would increase by the same amount resulting in a net number of zero new jobs.

A more recent analysis concluded that the TPP will lead to the loss of 448,000 jobs in the United States.

A look at the finally revealed text of the TPP reveals the most egregious portions relate to the Investor-State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) Mechanism, intellectual property, and food safety standards. ISDS will give corporations loopholes to escape accountability and empower international bodies, overriding national sovereignty of the signing nations. Under ISDS, foreign corporations would be allowed to appeal legal decisions to international tribunals, rather than face domestic courts. Critics fear this could lead to a loss of sovereignty and the enrichment of transnational corporations.

Recently, the Electronic Frontier Foundation also released a report on the dangers of the TPP. The EFF writes:

“Everything in the TPP that increases corporate rights and interests is binding, whereas every provision that is meant to protect the public interest is non-binding and is susceptible to get bulldozed by efforts to protect corporations.”

Delayed until 2017?

It was recently reported that the TPP might not be voted on until after the 2016 presidential elections, or possibly into the next presidential term.

In an interview with the Washington Post, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said he does not support the idea of voting on the TPP before the election. “It certainly shouldn’t come before the election. I don’t think so, and I have some serious problems with what I think it is,” he said. “But I think the president would be making a big mistake to try to have that voted on during the election. There’s significant pushback all over the place.”

“We will continue working with Congressional leaders to pass the Trans-Pacific Partnership as soon as possible next year,” Brandi Hoffine, a White House spokeswoman, told the Post.

On Friday, White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest told reporters, “Our view is that it is possible for Congress to carefully consider the details of this agreement and to review all the benefits associated with this agreement … without kicking the vote all the way to the lame-duck period.”

Bernie Sanders Won’t Apologize to Black Lives Matter Protesters

By Steve Guest (DC) Bernie Sanders doesn’t think an apology is necessary for the Black Lives Matter protesters, even though his campaign already issued one.

Appearing on “NBC’s Meet the Press” Sunday, Chuck Todd pressed Sanders about a Buzzfeed article that said, “I apologize it took our campaign so long.” Sanders replied that it “was sent out without my knowledge.”

Chuck Todd: Buzzfeed has an article out this morning. Headline is ‘Sanders’ Campaign Reaches Out To Black Lives Matter Activists. Quote, ‘I apologize it took our campaign so long.’ Tell me more about it.

Bernie Sanders: Well, that was sent out by a staffer, not by me. Look, we are reaching out to all kinds of groups, absolutely. I met with people at Black Lives Matter. We’re reaching out to Latino groups. We’re reaching out to the unions. We’re fighting to expand Social Security and we’re reaching out to senior groups. We’re reaching out to health care groups because we believe that everybody in America is entitled to health care. We’re reaching out to everybody. But on this issue of Black Lives Matter, let me be very clear, the issue they are raising is a very, very important issue. And there is no candidate for president who will be stronger in fighting against institutional racism and, by the way, reforming a broken criminal justice system. Chuck, we have more people in jail in the United States of America than any country on earth. And we need real changes. We need to do away with the militarization of local police departments. We need to do away with minimum sentencing. We needed indication and jobs for our young people rather than jails and incarceration.

Todd: I understand that. You said a staffer put it out but you felt an apology was necessary?

Sanders: No, I don’t. I think we’re going to be working with all groups. This was sent out without my knowledge.

Todd: Fair enough.

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Peaceful Protests End In Violence As Gunfire Erupts On Anniversary Of Michael Brown Shooting

Ferguson, Mo. – A day of peaceful protests commemorating Michael Brown, the 18-year-old unarmed man who was shot and killed by Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson one year ago on Sunday, turned violent after gunfire erupted Sunday night leaving one man in critical condition.

Police claim that gunfire was initially exchanged between two groups of protesters, and that officers only engaged after one of the protesters opened fire on four detectives in an unmarked vehicle. They returned fire, and the man was critically injured.

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported that gunfire erupted after police officers had threatened to arrest any protesters who stayed in the street, and at that point protesters were “estimated at fewer than 100 and were outnumbered by members of the media.”

At a 2:30 a.m. press conference on Monday, St. Louis County Police Chief Jon Belmar said that the groups exchanging gunfire “were criminals” rather than protesters, and that he believes there is a “small group of people out there that are intent on making sure we don’t have peace that prevails.”

The man injured by police has been identified as Tyrone Harris Jr., 18, from St. Louis. His father, Tyrone Harris Sr., told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch that his son went to high school and was good friends with Michael Brown, and that, regarding Sunday night’s shooting, he thinks “there’s a lot more to this than what’s being said.”

Belmar said that in addition to being in an unmarked vehicle, the four detectives were not wearing body cameras. This decision was criticized by coalitions such as the Ferguson Action Council, who said that “having plainclothes officers without body cameras and proper identification in the protest setting leaves us with only the officer’s account of the incident, which is clearly problematic.”

[RELATED: Ferguson Police Have Body Cameras… But Don’t Wear Them]

Reuters noted that the gunfire on Sunday night was in “marked contrast to a day of mostly subdued, peaceful commemorations” in Ferguson, where about about 1,000 people gathered together to share 4-1/2 minutes of silence in honor of the 4-1/2 hours Brown’s body lay in the street after he was shot, and to release doves and embark on a “silent march through Ferguson to honor Brown and others killed in confrontations with police.”

On Sunday night, a few local businesses were looted and robbed, and Post-Dispatch reporter Paul Hampel said that he was beaten and robbed while covering the protests.

Black Lives Matter Storms In, Takes Over Bernie Sanders Event In Seattle

By Blake Neff

The protest movement Black Lives Matter continued its attack on the most left-wing Democratic candidate for president Saturday, shutting down a Bernie Sanders event in Seattle and forcing him to cancel his speech.

Sanders was scheduled to speak Saturday afternoon at an event celebrating the 50th anniversary of Medicare. But he was ultimately only able to say a few words, thanking Seattle for being “one of the most progressive cities in America,” before a group of protesters ran up and took control of the microphone. Video of the incident’s beginning was captured by Seattle’s KIRO television station.

“If you do not listen to [us], your event will be shut down,” one protester said, while members of the audience booed. “Right now, right now. It’s your decision.” The sound feed of the microphone was then cut out while the protesters argued with organizers.

Following a short shouting match, an organizer of the event said he would let the protesters take a turn on the microphone, but only after Sanders was allowed to speak.

“We are trying to be reasonable,” the organizer said, which triggered an outburst of “We aren’t reasonable!” and “Stop talking!” from some of the protesters, who began grappling with the organizer for the microphone.

After enduring a barrage of verbal attacks, the organizer initially said the event was being shut down, while some in the crowd broke out into a “Bernie” chant. Apparently thinking twice, the organizer then decided to give the microphone over to the protesters. Things did not improve from there, as the protesters proceeded to verbally berate the audience:

“You guys are full of bullshit with your ‘Black Lives Matter,’” said lead protester Marissa Johnson, immediately earning cries of “You’re bullshit!” and more from the crowd.

“You’re never gonna hear Bernie speak unless I hear it silent here now,” she continued, which only threw the crowd into further uproar.

After the crowd finally quieted, she listed a series of local grievances and then demanded four-and-a-half minutes of silence in honor of Michael Brown, the teenager killed by police in Ferguson, Missouri last year (the length of the silence reflecting the four-and-a-half hours Brown’s body lay in the street after he died).

“Bernie says that he’s all about the people and about grassroots. The biggest grassroots movement in this country right now is Black Lives Matter,” Johnson added. “If you care about Black Lives Matter, as you say you do, you will hold Bernie Sanders specifically accountable for his actions.” Johnson attacked Sanders for his reaction when Black Lives Matter stormed a Netroots Nation event Sanders spoke at in July, and she also slammed him for not putting out a “criminal justice reform package” similar to fellow candidate Martin O’Malley. (RELATED: Sanders And O’Malley Shouted Off Stage At Progressive Conference)

Black Lives takes the mic.

Sanders eventually decided to stop waiting for his chance to speak, and instead left the stage to mingle with supporters. He then left for another rally he had planned for Saturday night, which a spokesperson for his campaign encouraged disappointed attendees to go to.

“I am disappointed that two people [there actually appear to have been at least three] disrupted a rally attended by thousands at which I was invited to speak about fighting to protect Social Security and Medicare,” Sanders said in a statement put out afterwards. “I was especially disappointed because on criminal justice reform and the need to fight racism there is no other candidate for president who will fight harder than me.”

This marks the second time, after the Netroots Nation event, that Democratic presidential candidates have faced a major disruption due to Black Lives Matter. Notably, though, Democratic frontrunner Hillary Clinton has yet to encounter any problems with the movement’s protesters.

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“This is NOT What Democracy Looks Like”- Sights and Sounds from Baltimore

With our heavy coverage of Baltimore and the riots, protests, activists and policing, TruthinMedia.com along with the crews at RT America have been covering the unrest in Baltimore since the very beginning.

RT America photojournalists have complied these sights and sounds from protests in Baltimore and New York City which gives a clear look at to what protestors are demanding.

Exclusive: Baltimore Teacher Discusses The Side Of The Protests MSM Ignored

Meghann Harris, a teacher at the Baltimore Design School who teaches graphic design and architecture classes to middle and high school students, recently received a great deal of publicity for her Facebook statuses pertaining to the recent protests in Baltimore, Md., and the effect they were having on students.

In an exclusive interview with Truth in Media’s Rachel Blevins, Harris discussed the side of the story that the mainstream media has completely ignored, and she shared the ways her students have responded to the recent rioting and destruction, and turned it into an opportunity to restore their community.

Harris said the first protest she attended was on Saturday, in the western district of Baltimore. She said she was part of a group of people who started near the neighborhood Freddie Gray was from, and then continued down North Avenue, where they joined thousands of others, who marched with them down to City Hall.

[pull_quote_center]“The whole protest was really peaceful,” Harris said. “In fact, at the beginning of the protest, there were two people who got into a fight and the protesters stepped in and helped them to break it up immediately, on their own, without needing any intervention from police. It was amazing, and that was the only altercation we saw all day.”[/pull_quote_center]

While peaceful protests, such as the one Harris was a part of, were held for several days following the mysterious death of Freddie Gray on April 19, those protests garnered little attention from mainstream media. Harris said she saw very few cameramen marching with protesters, and that most stayed near City Hall, waiting for something to happen.

What did receive a great deal of attention were the riots that broke out after a flier circulated through local high schools promoting a planned “purge” of police near Baltimore’s Mondawmin Mall at 3 p.m. on Monday.

Harris took to her Facebook account to post a status about what she witnessed:

Meghann Harris Facebook

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The post has received nearly 2,000 shares, and was quoted by websites such as Upworthy and the Washington Post.

Harris tells Truth in Media that many students were trapped when their school buses were declared “out of service” and they were stranded in the area where the “purge” was scheduled to take place.

Harris said that she heard her students talking about the flier on Monday morning, and several of them voiced concerns about not being able to get home after school, because they lived in the area where the “purge” was supposed to occur.

After contacting their parents, Harris agreed to transport two of her students who were from the Mondawmin area. She said they left the school at about 2:55 p.m. and were in Mondawmin by 3:05 p.m.

“When we pulled up, we saw that all of the streets in the area had been blocked off, and it took us about 30 minutes just to turn the corner,” said Harris, who went on to explain that while they didn’t see a lot of students in the area rioting, as the flier had promised, they did see lines of police officers, fully armed in riot gear, marching in preparation.

[pull_quote_center]“We saw a line of what looked like 15 to 20 buses that had pulled up and said ‘not in service,’ and the passengers were being evacuated from the bus, into the area where the ‘purge’ was supposed to happen,” Harris said. “Once all of the buses were shut down, there was really no way for a lot of the people to get out of the area.”[/pull_quote_center]

In addition to overlooking the peaceful protests that were held in Baltimore before, during, and after the Monday night riots, the mainstream media has also overlooked the community’s efforts on Tuesday to cleanup and restore the city of Baltimore.

Harris tells Truth in Media that she has been overwhelmed by the willingness from both her fellow teachers and her students to jump in and clean up. She said that she received multiple messages from students on Monday night, asking what they could do to help on Tuesday.

As a result of the riots, Baltimore schools were shut down on Tuesday, and Harris said that several of the teachers from Baltimore Design School joined the school’s principal to pass out lunches to students in need. She said that she and another teacher joined with the organization Communities United to clean up businesses and residential areas.

[pull_quote_center]“There are a lot of really good things happening, and none of those things are getting media coverage,” Harris said. “The most awesome thing we saw on Tuesday was that there were so many people out cleaning and helping out that there actually wasn’t enough to cleanit got to the point where people began cleaning up litter in the neighborhood.”[/pull_quote_center]

Harris said that while a lot of negative media attention has been directed towards the youth of Baltimore, she has witnessed the opposite of what has made headlines. “I haven’t heard a single student say that they weren’t willing to jump in and help,” said Harris, who explained that on Tuesday, there were groups of students all along North Avenue helping in the cleanup efforts.

Harris tells Truth in Media that the national media coverage of Baltimore has also prompted many of her family and friends to reach out to her and to ask if she is safe. She attributed this to the fact that that most people don’t realize that the neighborhoods being affected by the riots are the poor black neighborhoods “the city has forgotten until now.”

While she is frustrated with the public’s perception of Baltimore, Harris said that she couldn’t blame people who don’t live in Baltimore for not understanding it. She explained that all the public is seeing are “crazy perspectives on video cameras that are waiting around all day.

On top of that, the media is not showing what is inciting some of these things,” Harris said. “If you go past a crowd of protesters at Canyon yards, and the sports fans are calling out the n-word to some of the protesters, or they’re calling the white protesters ‘n-word lovers,’ people are going to get upset. But nobody really wants to show any of those things. They just want to show the response. They’re trying to make it look like something that it’s not.”

Harris said that students in Baltimore have PTSD rates that are considered higher than some military service members. She attributed this to extreme poverty, living in areas of drugs and high crime, having parents that have to work multiple jobs to provide for their family, and living in a country with a welfare program that “encourages black mothers to be single, because they receive more government assistance than they would if they had a supportive father in the home.”

Harris tells Truth in Media that while the protesters are demanding justice for Freddie Gray, they are searching for an answer to the bigger problem that is plaguing both the city of Baltimore and the country as a whole.

Freddie Gray is like the catalyst in the situation,” said Harris. She explained that while there are many Americans who are wondering “why all of the sudden are black people getting killed by cops,” this issue is nothing new for those living in poor black communities.

[pull_quote_center]“There are historic deep roots in this country that completely disenfranchise the black community and especially the black inner city youth,” Harris said. “Most of my students could tell me from day one, when I met them, that police brutality happens to black people in Baltimore city, and throughout the country.”[/pull_quote_center]

“You’re Making A Fool of Yourself!” Geraldo Battles Protesters Who Want Fox Out of Baltimore

Baltimore, MD- Fox News’ Geraldo Rivera arrived in Baltimore just before the Tuesday night curfew went into effect, and shortly after he went live Geraldo was surrounded by protesters demanding that he leave.

Geraldo was attempting to interview Maryland state Sen. Catherine Pugh (D). He quickly found himself in the middle of a group of protesters who were angry about Fox News’ recent coverage.

“Stop it!” Rivera continued to yell at the protester. “You’re making a fool of yourself!”

“We don’t need your false coverage!” he said back.

Speaking to the senator, Rivera referred to the protesters as “vandals.” He went on to say that “…they look like they want trouble.”

What Martin Luther King Jr. Said About Violence As Protest- 1964

-The Quest for Peace and Justice Martin Luther King Jr. Nobel Lecture December 11, 1964

“Violence as a way of achieving racial justice is both impractical and immoral. I am not unmindful of the fact that violence often brings about momentary results. Nations have frequently won their independence in battle. But in spite of temporary victories, violence never brings permanent peace. It solves no social problem: it merely creates new and more complicated ones. Violence is impractical because it is a descending spiral ending in destruction for all. It is immoral because it seeks to humiliate the opponent rather than win his understanding: it seeks to annihilate rather than convert. Violence is immoral because it thrives on hatred rather than love. It destroys community and makes brotherhood impossible. It leaves society in monologue rather than dialogue. Violence ends up defeating itself. It creates bitterness in the survivors and brutality in the destroyers.

In a real sense nonviolence seeks to redeem the spiritual and moral lag that I spoke of earlier as the chief dilemma of modern man. It seeks to secure moral ends through moral means. Nonviolence is a powerful and just weapon. Indeed, it is a weapon unique in history, which cuts without wounding and ennobles the man who wields it.

I believe in this method because I think it is the only way to reestablish a broken community. It is the method which seeks to implement the just law by appealing to the conscience of the great decent majority who through blindness, fear, pride, and irrationality have allowed their consciences to sleep.

The nonviolent resisters can summarize their message in the following simple terms: we will take direct action against injustice despite the failure of governmental and other official agencies to act first. We will not obey unjust laws or submit to unjust practices. We will do this peacefully, openly, cheerfully because our aim is to persuade. We adopt the means of nonviolence because our end is a community at peace with itself. We will try to persuade with our words, but if our words fail, we will try to persuade with our acts. We will always be willing to talk and seek fair compromise, but we are ready to suffer when necessary and even risk our lives to become witnesses to truth as we see it.”

king_splash2

The Powerful Baltimore Protest on Monday That Media Ignored

Baltimore, MD- It is the scene that most media is ignoring. While the wall-to-wall focus of national media on Baltimore is on the rioting and violent imagery, most media ignored the growing crowds calling for an end to the violence and demanding that young people stop burning buildings and looting stores. Over 100 clergy marched through the streets of Baltimore last night in an effort to end the violence, and they did it without riot shields and military vehicles.

As over 5,000 law enforcement officials are converging on Baltimore as well as another 5,000 National Guard troops, the nation continues to watch the city that exploded with violent riots on Monday. Images of a CVS looted and burning, buildings set ablaze, juveniles in the streets who have thrown rocks at police. These are the images that most of the nation will associate with Baltimore, and yet most media has all but ignored more than a week of peaceful protests demanding answers into the death of Freddie Gray.

The question that must be answered: how did Freddie Gray’s spinal cord become severed while in police custody? I had the chance to interview the attorney for the Gray family as the riots in Baltimore took place. Jason Downs points out the family of Gray has specifically called for no violence in the wake of Freddie’s death, and also points out that while media will turn their head to watch the violence, the Gray family continues to wait for answers.

Why Were ‘Counter-Terrorism’ Agents Tracking ‘Black Lives Matter’ Protesters?

Documents obtained by the East Bay Express reveal that California police and Counter-Terrorism officials  coordinated monitoring of activists associated with the ‘Black Lives Matters’ movement.

For journalists and activists, the monitoring of online conversation is a well-established fact. Not only should surveillance by law enforcement be expected for protests (seeing as the information is usually posted in public on social media) but those consistently involved in activism should be well aware their social media presence is being scrutinized. 

What we don’t know about these type of situations is who has access to intelligence gathered on protesters, how exactly police monitor social media and whether any information is stored.  However, new emails released through Freedom of Information Act requests shed some light on how police in Oakland recently monitored activists involved in protesting police violence and racism.

The Express reviewed hundreds of emails from the California Highway Patrol and found that Terrorism Liaison Officers with local fusion centers regularly work with the CHP to monitor activists via social media. Other departments listed in the emails include the Oakland Police Department, and the Alameda County Sheriff’s Office. The TLO was created in the aftermath of the September 11 attacks. These officers work within fusion centers – intelligence gathering and sharing centers which were also created after the attacks.  The emails show CHP was working with the California State Threat Assessment Center (Cal STAC) in an effort to stay aware of perceived threats related to the Black Lives Matter protests.

The Express reported on an email sent in December 12, 2014 where Elijah Owen, a senior intelligence advisor with Cal STAC tells  CHP officer Michael Berndl about an upcoming march. “Just so it’s on your folks’ radar,” Owen writes. Matthew Hopkins the deputy commander of Cal STAC the Express that the center assessed terrorism threats specific to the state of California.

Another email shows officers being advised “Do Not Advise Protesters That We Are Following Them on Social Media.” The internal email says that protesters were warning other social media users that  CHP was monitoring them.

“In the posts, protesters are stating that we (CHP) were claiming to follow them on social media. Please have your personnel refrain from such comments; we want to continue tracking the protesters as much as possible. If they believe we are tracking them, they will go silent.”

Several activist related twitter accounts were also being monitored for possible intelligence. The CHP was even monitoring candle light vigils in their search for terrorism. A December 10 email says, “”Supposed to be just a ‘vigil’ but it is occurring in Oakland.”

The monitoring did not end with the internet, however. An email from December 11 reveals that police in Oakland and Berkeley carried out undercover operations involving at least four CHP officers “[e]mbedded with protesters.” The email also reveals that up until that point the TLOs gathered their “intelligence on protesters through social media regarding dates, times, and locations of planned protests and of intentions to disrupt Bay Area freeways.”

This latest example of surveillance from supposed authorities might not be the biggest surprise you have heard recently but what we should take away from this is the fact that all of the activity that is being monitored in search for some terrorist boogeyman is perfectly legal and constitutionally protected. In today’s post-Snowden Era surveillance is a fact of life. When we put our information into the public sphere we open ourselves up to the watchful eyes of Big Brother. We should not let this curtail our free speech but we should remain educated about what we are facing.

After all, when CHP spokesperson Brandie Dressel spoke to the Express she specifically noted that the department has no policy that governs monitoring of social media and the department searches  “for any and all ‘open source,’ or publicly available, information related our public safety assessments.” This should be a lesson to those that remain ignorant to the growing surveillance state. Big Brother is watching, listening, following, and tweeting. 

Ferguson Shooting Suspect Recants Confession, Says He Was Abused by Police

On Tuesday, the attorney for Jeffrey Williams, the suspect in the shooting that wounded two police officers just after midnight on Thursday, claimed that not only had Williams not fired a weapon, but that his confession was made when he was in a great amount of pain, after being physically abused by police.

Jerryl T. Christmas, the attorney for the 20-year-old who was arrested Saturday night and charged with two counts of first degree assault and one count of firing a weapon from a vehicle, told Yahoo News that Williams claimed he was in a “tremendous amount of pain,” after he was pistol-whipped by police officers before being interrogated by detectives.

He told me that he never fired a weapon,” said Christmas, who explained that “under those circumstances,” he believed Williams would have said anything.

Anytime someone is questioned without counsel and then I see that kind of bruising, then I’m suspicious about any statements that he may have voluntarily given,” Christmas said.

While St. Louis Police have called the accusation that Williams was abused “completely false,” Christmas pointed to the bruising on the right side of Williams’ face in his mugshot. “I don’t see how they are denying it, it’s right there on their own mug shot,” Christmas said.

Christmas told Yahoo News that officers struck Williams “in the face, neck, back and head while arresting him at his girlfriend’s house late Saturday,” and that he has “a knot on the back of his head where he says they hit him with the butt of a pistol.”

At a press conference on Sunday, St. Louis County Prosecutor Bob McCulloch announced that Williams had been arrested and was being charged in the shooting that wounded two police officers outside the Ferguson Police Department as a protest from Wednesday night was coming to a close.

Protestors had gathered following the resignation of Ferguson Police Chief Thomas Jackson, who resigned in the wake of a scathing report that revealed the police department in Ferguson exercised discrimination against the black community.

He has acknowledged firing the shots,” McCulloch said, referring to Williams. “He was on probation here in St. Louis County for accepting stolen property.”

McCulloch also claimed that Williams was a regular protestor, and had attended several of the demonstrations in the Ferguson community that have occurred since an unarmed black teenager was shot and killed by a white Ferguson police officer on August 9, 2014.

Following Sunday’s press conference, journalists and activists took to Twitter and contested the claim that Williams was a “regular protestor.”

Activist DeRay McKesson wrote that he could not recall ever seeing Williams at any protests, including the night of the shooting, and Journalist Matt Pearce wrote that judging from what he and other reporters remembered, Williams was “no mainstay, if he had ever protested at all.

2 Officers Shot During Protest Outside Ferguson Police Station

St. Louis, Mo. – After midnight Thursday, two officers were shot during a protest held outside of the police department in Ferguson, Missouri.

At a news conference following the shooting, St. Louis County Police Chief Jon Belmar said that both officers were taken to the hospital, and are conscious. He said that their injuries were “very serious,” but stated no further details.

Sgt. Brian Schellman, a spokesman for the St. Louis County police, released a statement saying that after one officer, from the St. Louis County Police Department, was shot in the shoulder, and another officer from the suburban Webster Groves department, was shot in the face, both were in serious condition, but their injuries were not life threatening.

“I don’t know who did the shooting, to be honest with you,” Belmar said. He added that based on the path of the bullets, he believed “these shots were directed exactly at my officers.”

The Associated Press reported that the protesters gathered on Wednesday night following the resignation of Ferguson Police Chief Thomas Jackson, who resigned in the wake of a scathing report that revealed the police department in Ferguson exercised discrimination against the black community.

 

March 12, 2015, 10: 10 a.m. Eastern: UPDATE: On Thursday morning at a press conference regarding the shooting, St. Louis County Police Chief Jon Belmar said there were about 150 protesters gathered outside of the police department and 70 officers on the scene.

Belmar said that the muzzle flashes from the suspect’s gun came from about 125 yards away. He stated that the police department has some leads on who the suspects in the shooting are, but there is no one currently in custody.

 

March 12, 2015, 1:50 p.m. Eastern: UPDATE: The St. Louis County Police posted an update on its Facebook page, verifying that while both officers were in serious condition when they arrived at Barnes Jewish Hospital, they have been released.