(I admit to having breezed by some of the headlines on earlier stories, partially due to the fact that the Obomba administration was also fascistic enough to have caused Anthony Freda to create the above graphic years ago. But these Trumped-up charges and maximum sentences (some coverage names ’70 years’) is so punitive, obviously designed to quell any future dissent that I’m bringing it. And may I politely add: fuck Trump and his DoJ. I’ve also been working on a piece featuring epic screeds against Wikileaks, and the construction and (deconstruction when it seems necessary) research is going harder than I’d reckoned on.)
From Chris Steele at Truthout.org, Nov. 15, 2017
“Content Warning: This article contains descriptions of graphic sexual assault.
A combined total of 12,000 years in prison is what close to 200 protestors, journalists and legal observers are facing from attending a protest at the January 20 inauguration of President Donald Trump. After a superseding indictment, the US prosecution is seeking to charge each person with 60 years for allegedly urging a riot, breaking less than 10 windows and conspiracy charges. The US Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia claims that the property damage totals to more than $100,000. DC police spent $300,000 on weapons and equipment for the inauguration and just added $150,000 to the DC budget to review police conduct during the inauguration. While many lawyers are calling the blanket felonies and excessive charges unprecedented, civil liberty advocates are worried about the precedent these extensive charges and grandiose metadata subpoenas will have on chilling free speech and stifling dissent.”
Under the ‘Guilty by Association in the Age of Trump’ the author says that cellphones of the 230 arrested were seized and searched.
Repression, Harsh Sentencing and Sexual Assault
“The ACLU cited infringements of First Amendment rights in regards to the police “indiscriminately ‘kettling’ protesters, including journalists and legal observers,” for using pepper spray, concussion grenades and stingers extensively, including on people already detained, and for holding people outdoors “for excessive periods of time” without access to food, water or bathrooms. The ACLU filed a lawsuit in June accusing police of using sexual abuse as a form of punishment with four people arrested during the protests. At a press conference held in June, photojournalist Shay Horse who was detained explained that he was taken to a “training facility,” told to drop his pants and had his testicles “yanked on” and then the officer “stuck his finger up each of our anuses and wiggled it around.” Horse continued, “I felt like they were using molestation and rape as punishment. They used those tactics to inflict pain and misery on people who are supposed to be innocent until proven guilty.”
Shay Horse on Twitter: “Last Photojournalist detained by Obama/the first arrested by President Trump, godless savage (of the Chickasaw), also a scrumptious/rambunctious anarchist” (he mainly reTweets)
Via E.P. Milligan at wsws.org:
“The incident which sparked the police crackdown occurred when a small group of individuals smashed a series of windows and set a limousine on fire. Prosecutors allege a group called Disrupt J20 organized the protest and carried out the vandalism, describing rioters who used “black bloc” tactics such as wearing all black and masking their faces.”
“Assistant US Attorney Jennifer Kerkhoff is pressuring the court to issue the maximum sentence to all 194 defendants—even ones who were simply in the wrong place at the wrong time. “A person can be convicted of rioting without breaking a window,” Kerkhoff claimed at a hearing in July. “It is the group who is the danger, the group who is providing the elements.”
“The prosecution has already begun looking into a Facebook page used to discuss plans for the protest and profiles associated with Disrupt J20, potentially revealing information about thousands of people who expressed anti-Trump sentiments to the federal government.
The character of the trials so far and the severity of the charges make clear that the entire case is a frame-up aimed at intimidating protestors and silencing dissent.”
“The viciousness with which that state is pursuing Alexei Wood, a photojournalist and videographer, underscores the contempt with which the ruling class views the freedom of the press and the anti-democratic character of the trials. Wood faces up to 61 years in prison having been charged with felony rioting and the destruction of property.
Wood had posted a video of the demonstration to social media. Despite the fact that the video was clearly shot from the point of view of an onlooker and not an active participant in any of the acts of vandalism, DC Superior Court Judge Lynn Lebovitz has decided that his commentary on the video is tantamount to “statements of conspiracy.” [large snip]
“It is no coincidence that the vandalism which resulted in the mass arrest of protestors was associated with the petty bourgeois anarchist “Black Bloc.” The group is known to be rife with agent-provocateurs notorious for disrupting demonstrations by engaging in acts of vandalism and confrontations with police. This amalgamation of demoralized and politically confused middle class radicals has been shown time and again to have been infiltrated by the police in order to justify violent repression.”
He appears to be correct; this is ‘It’s going down’s’ description of the part they’ll play during the event, including diversity of tactics.
In other news, from colorlines.com, water protector ‘Standing Rock Sioux tribe member Chase Iron Eyes will argue that the Dakota Access Pipeline’s negative impact on Native communities justified his actions during the protests. If he’s convicted of ‘felony incitement to riot’ he could face nine years in prison.