Saturday, December 24, 2011

So sorry, Breanna Manning...FREE BREANNA MANNING...

Why does the media still refer to “Bradley” Manning? The Curious Silence Around a Transgender Hero
By Emily Manuel

One of the most persistent threads throughout the two years of imprisonment of accused Wikileaks leaker Private Bradley Manning has been the rumour that he is in fact, she–a transgender woman.  Manning faces thirty charges, one of which “aiding the enemy” potentially carries the death penalty (though life in prison is more likely) for leaking hundreds of thousands of documents via the website Wikileaks including the shocking “Collateral Murder” video.  Dismissed by many as a smear or simply irrelevant to the case, this transgender story has nevertheless refused to die.
In June 2010, Wired published excerpted chat logs between Manning and hacker Adrian Lamo that suggested that Manning considered herself female.  Manning states quite clearly:
“ I wouldn’t mind going to prison for the rest of my life, or being executed so much, if it wasn’t for the possibility of having pictures of me… plastered all over the world press… as boy…”
Wired then followed this up a year later in published the full chat logs in which Manning very clearly states that she is trans, frets about accessing transitioning treatment and talks about being discharged as “adjustment disorder” rather than GID under Don’t Ask Don’t Tell.  Finally, she gives us a female name for herself: Breanna, stating that she’d set up a Twitter and Youtube account.
New York magazine added to the speculation by publishing a feature articlefocusing on Manning’s sexuality and gender identity in which an anonymous counselor claims that Manning had talked to him on the web about being transgender:
“Bradley felt he [sic] was female,” the counselor told me. “He [sic] was very solid on that.” Quickly, their conversation shifted to the practicalities: How does someone transition from male to female? “He [sic] really wanted to do surgery,” the counselor recalled. “He [sic] was mostly afraid of being alone, being ostracized or somehow weird.”
Despite this mounting evidence, Manning’s lawyers and supporters continued to make no mention of any preference for female identification, pronouns or the name Breanna, leaving Manning’s likely transgender status something of an open secret, and posing journalists with a conundrum: either the logs are true, and then we should be respectfully following APA protocol for transgender people and using female pronouns and possibly the name Breanna, or they are false and we should not.  Whether they believed in the logs’ veracity or not (and odds are, most who believe Manning to be a hero do), I have not found a single media source who appears to have considered the possibility of writing about Manning as a woman.
In the meantime, Manning’s name and image have become something of a rallying point for supporters–as in this image of Code Pink protesters carrying cut-out headshots of Manning “as a boy” and signs that say “I am Bradley Manning” shows.  The blogger JR Worsement pointed out that:
“ultimately I’m unable to stand with all the admirable and sympathetic solidarity activists who say they are Bradley Manning. I’m not Bradley Manning, and even B. Manning may not be Bradley Manning.”
I wrote in July for Tiger Beatdown that:
“What lawyer would advise someone accused of multiple crimes against their country to choose that time to come out as a trans woman? What is the likelihood that the Left would rally around a trans woman as a hero? Would there have been the kind of support that caused Manning to be moved from apparently torturous conditions in Quantico to Fort Leavenworth in Kansas? Would there be a wide movement caring about a trans woman being tortured? What if she wanted to be housed with female prisoners, would many people support that?
We can’t know any of that for sure, either, but we can guess. And my guess is: not bloody likely.”
Over the weekend, however, this has changed, with Manning’s trial beginning in the United States and Manning’s lawyers pursuing a gender identity disorder defense, while forensic investigators confirmed that they found copies of the Lamo chats on Manning’s own computer.  The timing of this revelation now is extremely telling, given that public support becomes rather less important in the notoriously closed trials.  At this point, Manning’s outing may be more useful to her lawyers as a kind of “mental instability” defense than harmful.
Nevertheless, the media and the vast majority of Manning’s supporters continue to refer to her as male  (for instance, this Glenn Greenwald segment on Democracy Now  still using male pronouns, and still conflating gay and transgender, or Michael Moore’s steady stream of supportive tweets and blog posts).  But at what point will progressive media, those who are at least pay lip service to the idea of being LGBT allies, decide to respect the most likely scenario of Manning’s preferred gender ID?  What does it mean that the burden of proof is this high to “prove” that a person is transgender?  Why do we assume that “hero” and “transgender” are mutually exclusive, and are unwilling or unable to imagine rallying around a transgender woman rather than a bright-faced young man?  If “Bradley” Manning deserves a medal, as Greenwald so eloquently argued last week, would Breanna?  And lastly: what does it mean that acknowledging Manning’s identity would have in all likelihood exposed her to even more violence?
Private Manning has endured horrendous treatment in prison waiting for trial.  But listen again to what she had to say, in chats whose validity would seem to have been proved over the weekend:  “I wouldn’t mind going to prison for the rest of my life, or being executed so much, if it wasn’t for the possibility of having pictures of me… plastered all over the world press… as boy.”
This kind of “ungendering,” as trans theorist Julia Serano has argued in her landmark book Whipping Girl, is itself harmful, an act of violence by a world that has little inclination for respecting the self-identification of transgender people and exposes them to violence in every sphere of society.
Now that we have entered the trial stage and the facts are being confirmed, it is mindboggling that her supporters continue to engage in this, in the very act of “support”–and it says everything about how we on the Left see transgender women.

if what you're reading here grips you, holds you, fascinates you, provokes you, emboldens you, pushes you, galvanizes you, discomfits you, tickles you, enrages you so much that you find yourself returning again and again...then link me.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Cynthia McKinney on AFRICOM...

if what you're reading here grips you, holds you, fascinates you, provokes you, emboldens you, pushes you, galvanizes you, discomfits you, tickles you, enrages you so much that you find yourself returning again and again...then link me.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Strategy sharing from Occupy Portland...

Occupy Portland Outsmarts Police, Creating Blueprint for Other Occupations
by Lester Macgurdy 

The Portland Occupation stumbled upon a tactical innovation regarding occupying public spaces. This evolution in tactics was spontaneous, and went unreported in the media. On December 3rd, we took a park and were driven out of it by riot police; that much made the news. What the media didn’t report is that we re-took the park later that same evening, and the police realized that it would be senseless to attempt to clear it again, so they packed up their military weaponry and left. Occupy Portland has developed a tactic to keep a park when the police decide to enforce an eviction.

The tactical evolution that evolved relies on two military tactics that are thousands of years old- the tactical superiority of light infantry over heavy infantry, and the tactical superiority of the retreat over the advance.

Heavy infantry is a group of soldiers marching in a column or a phalanx that are armed with weaponry for hand to hand, close quarters combat. Heavy infantry function as a unit, not individual soldiers. Their operational strength is dependent upon maintaining the integrity of that unit.

Riot police are heavy infantry. They will always form a line and advance as a unit. Light infantry are armed with ranged weapons for assault from a distance. Light infantry operate as individuals that are free to roam at a distance and fire upon the opposition with ranged weapons. Cops firing tear gas, rubber bullets, water cannons, bean bag rounds, etc. are light infantry. They remain to the rear of the phalanx of riot cops (heavy infantry) and depend upon the riot cops maintaining a secure front and flanks to provide them a secure area of operations.

Protesters function fluidly as either light or heavy infantry. Their mass, because it is lacking in organization, functions as a phalanx, having no flanks or rear. Lack of organization gives that mass the option of moving in whichever direction it feels like, at any given time. If protesters all move to the right, the entire group and supporting officers has to shift to that flank. While the protesters can retreat quickly, the police can only advance as fast as their light infantry, supporting staff can follow and maintain a secure rear (if the mass of protesters were to run to the next block over and quickly loop around to the rear of the riot cops, the organization of the cops would be reduced to chaos). If that police cannot assemble with a front to oppose protesters, they are useless. The integrity of that tactic is compromised, and unable to maintain internal organization, the cops revert to individuals engaging in acts of brutality, which eventually winds up on the evening news and they lose the battle regardless of whether they clear the park or not.

Because of the lack of organization in a crowd of protesters, light infantry cops firing tear gas, etc. has little effect because it just serves to disorganize a group that relies upon disorganization in the first place. All it really does is disorganize the riot cops, who then resort to brutality.

The lack of weaponry on the part of the protesters grants them the luxury of opposing riot cops at close quarters, or remaining at long range in a refusal to engage the heavy infantry riot police at all. They have the advantage of the retreat, they can quickly move away, or in any direction, and the heavy infantry riot cops lack the swiftness to respond.

So far, all the occupations have, in a grave tactical error, agreed to engage the riot cops when they march in to clear parks. This has been a show of bravado that has the tactical benefits of providing media coverage of the brutal methods of police and the benefit of draining the resources of the oppressor by forcing them to incur the expense of arresting and prosecuting people for trivial offenses. Now, to move on to the actual application of these tactical principles (that evolved by accident rather than conscious thought), we can take the example of Shemanski park on the 3rd. We occupied the park and set up a few tents and facilities to serve food and coffee. The police soon declared an emergency closure of the park and came out in force, with full riot gear and all the weaponry. The line of riot cops soon forced us out of the park, so someone decided that we ought to march to City Hall. It was about 9 pm on a Saturday night, so City Hall was closed, but we marched there anyway, 800 of us blocking traffic the whole way. Once there, the riot cops once again lined up to disperse the crowd. However, since City Hall was closed and there was no point in staying there anyway, someone had the idea to march down to the area of town where all the clubs were, so we took off marching again. The riot cops were trailing behind us, as was the truck with the giant speakers on the top repeatedly announcing “This street is open to traffic, individuals blocking traffic will be subject to arrest.” Announcing this repeatedly was useless. One principle of non-violent resistance is this: one person has to walk on the sidewalk, 500 people can walk wherever they please. The riots cops had no place to form a line, so they were crippled.

Since we had no clear destination, the police were unable to get ahead of us and set up roadblocks. They were helpless to do anything but trail along as an escort to the march. The only other response they could have had was for the riot cops to charge into the marching crowd and attempt to disperse it by brutality, which would have been mayhem that could have only resulted in a PR loss by the police department as the images of beatings and brutality hit the airwaves the next day.

The march, having no clear destination, marched wherever it willed through the downtown area, blocking traffic and light rail at will and growing larger as onlookers joined in. One of the participants of the march had a three-wheeled bike with a loud amplifier hooked up to batteries with which to hook up an iPod and blast party music the whole time. This kept the atmosphere enthusiastic and energized and served to motivate onlookers to join.

The ability of music to raise morale can’t be understated. Slayer, Metallica, etc. wouldn’t be good music for this because it would induce aggression. Rhythmic music that’s usually danced to or played in clubs works best. If a DJ would play it as the ball drops on New Year ’s Eve, then it’s perfect.

After marching for 3-4 hours, we eventually found ourselves a block away from the park that we’d been forced out of, so we took it again. The riot police lined up and prepared to take the park again, but the attempt was called off and the police just left. They realized that they would have to go through the standard military procedure of clearing the park inch by inch, only to have us go back out into the streets and march again while they, one more time, trailed along helplessly- their entourage functioning as a part of the march, creating an even larger disruption to traffic (the marchers covered a city block, the trailing police took up another city block, effectively doubling the size of the obstruction to traffic).

In summary: when the cops come to clear the park, don’t resist. As they are preparing for their military maneuver and use of force that the Occupiers cannot reasonably be expected to resist, the occupiers should be packing up their tents and baggage and loading them into wagons, bicycles, backpacks, etc.

Force the cops to clear the park inch by inch, but try to avoid arrest in so doing. Once they have cleared the park, rouse the crowd through loud amplification announcing that you intend to march (any destination will do). Get the music blaring and then march aimlessly, blocking traffic the whole way, for hours. The crowd will be energized and willing to march for a long time, being spurred on by energetic music and chants.

The police will eventually trim down their entourage because they realize that they are helpless. Eventually, work your way back to the park. Or, if the police have fenced off the park, head to another park. If the police force you out, march again and they will be forced to follow. Eventually, they will inevitably come to the conclusion that they would rather have you in a park than disrupting traffic.

The police have no response to this tactic, other than resorting to brutality. And if they do that, we win whether they clear the park or not.

if what you're reading here grips you, holds you, fascinates you, provokes you, emboldens you, pushes you, galvanizes you, discomfits you, tickles you, enrages you so much that you find yourself returning again and again...then link me.

Monday, December 12, 2011

I came across this bit of Hacktivist news via Censored News...

Hactivists become heroes of the voiceless

Censored News

The hacktivists at AntiSec are becoming the heroes for the voiceless, the only place to turn for those who are beaten by police, or victimized by the ruthless.
With their typical humor, and genius, AntiSec released 'Suckerpunching Sunday' today.
Those in power, who long believed themselves to be 'untouchables,' because of their positions and who they knew, now have a new entity to reckon with.
And, as they say, there's too many of them globally to arrest them all. They are modernday Robin Hoods, increasingly in demand. Here's their release today.
--Censored News

  1. Suckerpunching Security Sunday \$$$$$$ |
  2. \__| \______/
  3. Greetings, lulzlovers around the world.
  4. The American law enforcement's inhumane treatments of occupiers has caught our attention. You have shown through these actions that you are nothing more than puppets in the hands of your government. We have seen our fellow brothers & sisters being teargassed for exercising their fundamental liberal rights, the exact ones that were bestowed upon them by their Constitution. Due to this and several other reasons we are releasing the entire member database of (The Coalition of Law Enforcement and Retail). An organization who works to "encourage mutual cooperation between all law enforcement agencies and retail corporations". This fun little database dump includes hashed passwords, physical and email addresses, phone numbers etc. of many military, law enforcement officers, large corporations such as Microsoft, federal agents & security companies. Many of the users reuse their passwords elsewhere, so we encourage all of our lulz loving friends to deface & leak their twitters, facebooks and private email accounts as well as spreading their d0xes far and wide across the internet ocean. The website requires new members to be approved by an administrator, meaning the validity of this information is relatively high.
  6. ################ FORUM PM'S #################
  7. Link:
  8. We are Anti-Security
  9. We do not forgive police brutality
  10. We do not forget our brothers suffering
  11. We will avenge.
  12. You should have expected us.
  13. Remember - We are always inside your rootdir.
  14. Brought to you by your friendly lulz loving pirate - Exphin1ty (@exphin1ty on twitter)

if what you're reading here grips you, holds you, fascinates you, provokes you, emboldens you, pushes you, galvanizes you, discomfits you, tickles you, enrages you so much that you find yourself returning again and again...then link me.

Friday, December 09, 2011

But racism as a contributing factor goes unmentioned...

Report concludes British riots provoked by police brutality and poverty
By Julie Hyland

The first comprehensive investigation into the riots that swept London and other parts of England in August has confirmed that police brutality, poverty and social inequality were the primary motivating factors in their eruption.

The “Reading the Riots” study was undertaken by the Guardian newspaper and the London School of Economics (LSE) following the government’s refusal to establish an independent inquiry into the inner-city disturbances. It is the only report based on evidence gathered from those who were directly involved in the events.

The study involved a team of 60 academics, journalists and researchers. They conducted interviews with 270 people who took part in the riots in London, Birmingham, Liverpool, Nottingham and Manchester. A separate analysis of a database of more than 2 million riot-related “tweets” was undertaken by Manchester University.

Those interviewed were between 13 and 57 years of age, with most aged 16 to 24. They were drawn from all ethnic backgrounds and most had not been arrested for their involvement in the disturbances.

The accounts of those interviewed, who reside in some of the most socially deprived areas in England, refute the claims made by the Conservative/Liberal Democrat coalition government, with the support of the Labour Party and the media, that the upheavals were the product of the “criminality” of a “feral underclass.”

This libel was used to justify wholesale police and judicial repression against working class youth. Over 4,000 people were arrested. Specially convened kangaroo-style courts were set up in several areas, sitting for 24 hours in some instances, to dispense summary justice. Hundreds have been imprisoned, mostly for petty offences, and three young men have been jailed for four years for Facebook postings supportive of rioting.

Time and again, those interviewed identified police harassment, poverty and social injustice as the main causes of the riots.

Many described the disturbances as “anti-police” riots, citing the police killing of 29-year-old Mark Duggan in Tottenham on August 4 as the major factor that precipitated the eruptions.

At the time, it was claimed that Duggan had opened fire on the police and the officers shot him in self-defence. That account has been proven false, as Duggan was unarmed when he was killed. A whitewash inquiry by the Independent Police Complaints Commission is ongoing, while no police officer has been identified, let alone charged, in relation to Duggan’s death.

The investigation found a “deep-seated and sometimes visceral antipathy towards police,” with Duggan’s killing meeting up with the interviewees’ own experiences of police harassment and brutality. Of those interviewed, 73 percent said they had been stopped and searched in the last 12 months, a reflection of the common practice in which police arbitrarily harass working class youth.

Eighty-five percent said that poverty was an “important” or “very important” factor in causing the disturbances.

“Rioters identified a range of political grievances, but at the heart of their complaints was a pervasive sense of injustice,” the report stated. “For some this was economic: the lack of money, jobs or opportunity. For others it was more broadly social: how they felt they were treated compared with others. Many mentioned the increase in student tuition fees and the scrapping of the education maintenance allowance [a benefit paid to poorer college students that was abolished by the coalition government].”

The study confirms that those involved in the riots were generally poorer and less-educated working class youth, but it notes, “While general levels of achievement for the group as a whole were relatively low, many were highly articulate and politicised, particularly when it came to describing the problems they faced, the frustrations in their lives, and the lack of opportunities available to them.”

The findings flatly contradict the fraudulent “investigation” initiated by the government into the disturbances. The Riots Communities and Victims Panel was set up to deflect demands for an independent inquiry into the causes of August’s events.

Prime Minister David Cameron has insisted that no comparison can be drawn between the summer disturbances and the inner-city riots of the early 1980s. The latter were the subject of the Scarman Inquiry, which found that police brutality, especially against young black people, was the primary cause. Cameron’s assertion flies in the face of the facts, including the fact that the August 2011 disturbances were far more extensive, involving larger numbers of people in many different areas of the capital and the country, than those investigated by Scarman.

The Victims Panel took evidence only from those affected by the riots. Unsurprisingly, its report insisted that the disturbances were not “political” and could not be compared with those of 1981. Its main recommendations were for more robust policing, including a call for a review of police “emergency plans” to deal with similar “public disorder.”

An interim report by London’s Metropolitan Police claimed that it had been unable to respond with sufficient force to the riots because it feared criticism over “heavy-handed” tactics.

What unites the various reports is their conclusion that more riots can be anticipated. The Victims Panel said “riots will happen again if urgent action is not taken,” while 81 percent of those interviewed in the Guardian/LSE study said the same.

Earlier this week, the former Metropolitan Police chief, Lord Stevens, warned that Britain faced “years of public disorder.” Police would face a battle to keep control of the streets, Stevens said, as the economic crisis fuelled public disorder. “My gut feeling is it’s going to be a very difficult 18 months to three years,” he said.

The Guardian/LSE study was released at the same time as a report by the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development that detailed the huge growth in social inequality across its 35 member countries over the last three decades. The sharpest increase has occurred in the UK.

The study underscores the principled stand taken by the Socialist Equality Party at the time of the riots. Entirely alone in the UK, the SEP condemned the state repression being meted out against working class youth. From the start, the SEP explained that the disturbances were an “elemental eruption of social anger” against the “entrenched poverty, discrimination and police brutality faced daily by many working class youth.”

Well before the OECD reported, the SEP noted that the ruling elite and their political representatives had carried out a war against society for more than 35 years, during which every aspect of life had been subordinated to the interests of a parasitic elite. Now, their orgy of speculation and greed had produced an economic catastrophe that was destroying the living standards of billions.

The SEP warned that the repression employed against working class youth was symptomatic of the ruling elite’s increasing resort to anti-democratic, class-war measures against all working people.

The so-called liberals and “lefts” were entirely complicit in this development, the SEP stressed, as Labour’s Ken Livingstone and numerous “minority” and “community” spokespersons demanded the use of water cannon and worse.

“The political tragedy of the youth,” the SEP wrote, was that “their entirely justified indignation has been unable to find any organised, progressive expression because of the utter rottenness and bankruptcy of the Labour Party” and the trade unions.

This essential political point has been further underscored by Labour’s decision to select former Metropolitan Police chief Lord Stevens to head its own “independent commission into the future of policing.”

This, Labour’s sole initiative in the wake of the riots, doesn’t even make a pretence of concern over poverty, rising unemployment or other conditions of social deprivation, much less police brutality. To these conditions Labour is utterly indifferent. Instead, the commission is to be used to demand greater funding for the police along with other measures to prepare for the public disorder warned of by Stevens.

if what you're reading here grips you, holds you, fascinates you, provokes you, emboldens you, pushes you, galvanizes you, discomfits you, tickles you, enrages you so much that you find yourself returning again and again...then link me.

Wednesday, December 07, 2011

Perfect morning music...

if what you're reading here grips you, holds you, fascinates you, provokes you, emboldens you, pushes you, galvanizes you, discomfits you, tickles you, enrages you so much that you find yourself returning again and again...then link me.