"The oppressive treatment of Manning is designed to create a climate of fear, to send a signal to those who in the future discover serious wrongdoing committed in secret by the US: if you're thinking about exposing what you've learned, look at what we did to Manning and think twice. The real crimes exposed by this episode are those committed by the prosecuting parties, not the accused. For what he is alleged to have given the world, Manning deserves gratitude and a medal, not a life in prison." - Glenn Greenwald
Allison Halataei (former deputy chief of staff for House Judiciary Chairman Lamar Smith (R-Texas)) and Lauren Pastarnack (former senior aide on the Senate Judiciary Committee) have cool new jobs. Having written the Internet-destroying Stop Online Piracy Act for their bosses while drawing a salary at public expense, they’ve now accepted massive raises to go work for the entertainment companies who stand to benefit from the law they wrote. Their new job? Helping to run the campaign to push their law through.
Halataei recently joined the National Music Publishers’ Association, and Pastarnack is jumping to the Motion Pictures Association of America, two lobbying groups pressing Congress to pass the proposals…
“This is one of those mega-fights where there is a lot of money at stake and whenever it gets to that, it’s kind of ‘Katy bar the door’ as far as what they’ll pay for talent,” said McCormick Group headhunter Ivan Adler. “This fits into the perfect scenario of why senior-level people from well-placed committees get hired, and it’s because they really know the three p’s: people, policy and process. And that makes them very valuable in the Washington marketplace.”
The former aides will face one-year lobbying bans, which means they cannot lobby the respective committees where they previously worked. But those bans don’t render the former aides useless to their new employers.
“They can provide invaluable insight to people on the outside — even in the consultation mode,” one tech industry lobbyist said, noting that Halataei had been Smith’s secondhand person and knows how the Texas Republican thinks and what would be an effective lobbying strategy.
While the Occupiers were dealing with such abuse, during civil disobedience, communities of color suffer these type of injustices simply because it’s Wednesday, and they may look like someone else. That’s what happens to us — and it’s accepted as if it were just a day of the week.
There have been discussions as to why there aren’t more blacks involved in the Occupy movement. I can’t speak for all of them, but I can speak about what I’ve read and the folks I’ve talked to directly about this. The type of outrage that pops up now at what many of us have lived with on a regular basis for years feels insulting.
It’s hard not to notice that once the right number of white folks are affected, people want to take to the street. Unemployment numbers are high? We’ve had high unemployment for years. People are living in or near the poverty line? Yeah — we know.
When minorities speak up and say there is an issue, we are told maybe we are doing something wrong. Perhaps we are targeted by the police because of what we are wearing. Perhaps we don’t look for jobs the right way. Maybe we aren’t educated enough. But now that it’s affecting other folks, now there’s a problem. Now we need to come together and fight the power. Someone tweeted at me that we need to come together and not point out silly differences like race because we’re in this together!
Yes, we can — and have (there is support from various folks of color) — come together within this movement, but you can’t expect us to throw away ‘race’ and ignore history. Even the violence that’s happening with the Occupiers right now is looked at differently because of race. You can’t be surprised that people have reservations about this when you look at how our issues have been dealt with before.
I’m not making an argument for ignoring the movement because a lot of the movement ignored us. But I am saying take a moment to walk away from your righteousness to understand that your newfound plight has been some people’s plight for generations.
Write to Bradley Manning
Bradley Manning can receive mail and (money order) donations now, with some very specific restrictions/conditions. However, if you wish to contact him you can. Follow the rules on his lawyer’s website.
After over 530+ days in captivity, Manning gets his first appearance, albeit at a military court, next month. Ironically, the appearance is simply a placeholder formality to determine if grounds exist to move forward. Yeah, right, after all this time, maybe it was all just a mistake, right?
From my own experience with prison correspondence rules, they are very specific and the people who administer them are very particular. Think about it– that is not a job sought by free spirits and creative thinkers. If the restriction says no more than five pages, they mean it. Prison administrators will either return the entire six page letter to you, destroy it, or at least throw away the last page. Don’t waste time writing in to Bradley’s busy lawyer (as people are doing on his blog) asking about exceptions, or “what five pages” really means.
Also, prisoners pretty much anywhere can’t receive goods. If you want to help Bradley with pens, stamps or whatever, follow the rules and send him a money order he can use at the prison store.
The good news is that this means Bradley is aware of the support he is receiving outside, as well as having some minimal situational awareness of what is going on in the world around him.
The Police might be blue-collar or part of the “99%,” but they enforce the laws that keep the divide between the rich and the poor intact. The police are the protectors of the 1%. The police are the ones firing tear gas and rubber bullets whenever a demonstration gets out of hand. They are the ones who stand between every hungry person and the corporate grocery shelves stocked with food, between every homeless person and the buildings standing empty, between every immigrant and her family. The police are the ones who beat Occupy Wall St. protestors, who gunned down Sean Bell and Oscar Grant, and who murdered Fred Hampton in his bed. They are the ones who once enforced segregation in the United States and who back the bosses and the 1% in every labor strike.
The Police are an institution, that is an extension of the 1%, and are fundamentally and very concretely in the way of what we really want-the end of a society based on class divisions. The downtown police officers might be the nicest people in the world, but they will still be the ones evicting us from the park. They are still part of that same extension.
This means they’re not to be trusted by any of us involved in the occupation.
Bloomberg and NYPD seize the Wikileaks truck (11/20/11) and now claim “not to be able to locate it.”
More on this as it develops.