After Massive Uprising, City Council Members Look to Entirely Disband Minneapolis PD

The Most Revolutionary Act

By Matt Agorist | The Free Thought Project

Minneapolis, MN — After a massive uprising in Minneapolis, Minnesota that subsequently spread to nearly every state in the country, significant change appears to be on the horizon. Several city council members in Minneapolis are reportedly in talks to disband the Minneapolis Police Department. This would be a revolutionary move to affect positive change and allow the city to start over with a police force designed around public safety instead of predation and extortion.

“Several of us on the council are working on finding out, what it would take to disband the MPD,” says Steve Fletcher, a member of the 13-person assembly that serves as the legislative branch of Minneapolis government, according to Alpha News Minnesota.

The talks over disbanding the police department come just days after one of the most chaotic weeks in American history…

View original post 145 more words

Cameroonian journalist Samuel Wazizi dies in gov’t detention: RSF

Cameroonian journalist Samuel Wazizi, who was arrested in August for criticising the government’s handling of a separatist revolt, has died in detention, rights group Reporters Without Borders (RSF) has said.  

Wazizi worked for CMTV, a local broadcaster based in Southwest Region, one of two areas where separatists in 2017 launched an armed campaign to establish an independent homeland for Cameroon’s English-speaking minority.

“Wazizi died in detention,” RSF said in a statement issued late on Wednesday that called for a “thorough and independent investigation” into what happened. 

He was arrested on August 2, 2019, and “accused of speaking critically on the air about the authorities and their handling of the crisis,” the watchdog said.  

Five days later, he was taken from a police station in the city of Buea to the local headquarters of the army’s 21st Motorised Infantry Battalion, but from then on, neither his family nor his lawyers were allowed any contact with him or given any information, it said. 

RSF said Wazizi’s death had been confirmed by two sources, including the head of the Cameroonian National Journalists’ Union, while a senior military officer said the journalist had been “ill” but gave no further details.

On Tuesday, privately-owned channel Equinoxe TV, quoting what it described as sources close to the military command, said Wazizi had died during transfer to the capital, Yaounde, at an unknown date after his arrest.  

RSF said Wazizi’s death in detention, while being held incommunicado, “is the worst crime against a journalist in the past 10 years in Cameroon”.  

“We call on the Cameroonian authorities to end the intolerable silence around this case, to return the journalist’s body to his family, and to conduct a thorough, independent investigation to establish the chain of responsibility and circumstances leading to this tragedy,” it added.

There was no immediate comment from the government.

#JusticeforWazizi

Cameroon ranked 134th out of 180 countries and territories in RSF’s 2020 World Press Freedom Index, three places lower than the previous year.

On social media, the hashtag #JusticeForWazizi was used by journalists, civil society figures and the opposition. 

Kah Walla, a Cameroonian opposition figure and social activist, wrote on Twitter: “300 days. A family was looking for their son. Loved ones were searching for him. 300 days. 300 days where his lawyers could not see him. 300 days where he did not show up for court. 300 days hope was kept alive. 300 days. They had already killed him.”

Buea is the capital of the Southwest Region, which, along with the neighbouring Northwest Region, has been gripped by violence since the separatist revolt began in October 2017.  

The conflict, rooted in long-standing perceptions of discrimination among Cameroon’s English-speaking minority by the French-speaking majority, has claimed more than 3,000 lives and forced nearly 700,000 people to flee their homes.

Rights groups say atrocities and abuses have been committed by both the separatists and the security forces.

The United Nations and Human Rights Watch on Thursday condemned intensifying attacks, abductions and extortion that humanitarian workers are experiencing in the two anglophone regions. 

The statement singled out “non-state armed groups” over the kidnappings, while saying Cameroon security forces had delayed the delivery of aid.

SOURCE: AL JAZEERA AND NEWS AGENCIES

U.S: Agent Provocateurs: Police at Protests All Over the Country Caught Destroying Property

Journal of People

by Alan Macleod

MintPress News | June 01, 2020

Police Agent Provocateurs Feature Photo

The United States is on fire. Since the police killing of George Floyd on May 26, millions have taken to the streets in protest, clashing with police. At least 11 people have died, and thousands have been arrested. 15 states (plus Washington, D.C.) have called in the National Guard to quash protests raging in over 100 cities. Violence has been widespread, particularly in the epicenter Minneapolis, where Floyd was killed, with buildings engulfed in flames, stores looted and vehicles destroyed.

View original post 1,008 more words

All 5 Iranian Tankers Deliver Their Cargo To Venezuela, Despite State Dept. Claims

The Most Revolutionary Act

There Are No Sunglasses

American mainstream media misinforms American people about State Dept. disrupting Iranian oil shipments to Venezuela.  (SEE: US disrupts Iranian fuel deliveries to Venezuela, official says )

[All 5 Iranian Tankers Deliver their cargo to Venezuela. One Iranian Tanker In Venezuelan Waters, While 4 More Watch From African Coast]

Iranian tanker Faxon is being escorted by Venezuelan Navy ships© Photo : Armada Bolivariana/twitter

Last Iranian Tanker With Gasoline Docks in Venezuela Despite US Opposition

by Tim Korso

Earlier, two American media outlets reported that several tankers carrying Iranian fuel to Venezuela were forced to turn around as Washington placed pressure on the ships’ owners.

The last Iranian tanker carrying fuel and components for its production has docked at a Venezuelan port after entering the country’s waters on 31 May. The vessel called Clavel arrived just three days after the previous tanker, Faxon, brought its much-needed cargo to the Latin American state.

Three other tankers, Fortune…

View original post 146 more words

Priced Out: 15 Years of Gentrification in Portland Oregon

The Most Revolutionary Act

Priced Out: 15 Years of Gentrification in Portland Oregon

Directed by Cornelius Swart (2016)

Film Review

As of 2015, Portland was the most “gentrified” city in the US. The term “gentrification” describes the large scare displacement of African Americans from their traditional inner city communities. It typically occurs when city authorities create significant amenities in Black neighborhoods to lure white residents back from the suburbs. This new trend reverses a 100 year process in which whites migrated great distances to avoid living near Black people.

Growing demand from white professionals for inner city homes, leads to exponential increases in house prices and rents that make homes unaffordable for low income African Americans.

In Portland the first area to be gentrified was Albina, a neighborhood just Northeast of downtown Portland. During the fifties and sixties, it was a thriving Black community with flourishing Black-owned businesses where most residents knew one another…

View original post 229 more words

Journalists demand end to harassment after US police launch over 100 attacks on the press this past weekend

The Most Revolutionary Act

Charles Davis

  • US police launched over 100 attacks on credential members of the press over the weekend, according to a count by the investigative news organization Bellingcat.
  • In a June 1 open letter, leading press organizations pleaded with law enforcement to “halt the deliberate and devastating targeting of journalists in the field.”
  • Aaron Miguel Cantú, a freelance journalist in Los Angeles who was arrested over the weekend, told Business Insider that reporters are now learning that “police have grown so powerful that there is nobody left to meaningfully hold them accountable for their actions.”
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

In Minneapolis, local law enforcement took aim at Linda Tirado, a photojournalist, and shot her eye out as she tried to cover protests over the police killing of George Floyd; they later subjected a black journalist from CNN to wrongful arrest. In Louisville, TV reporter Kaitlin Rust…

View original post 344 more words

Edo APC Primaries: Stay off, Obaseki warns Oshiomhole

Edo State governor, Mr Godwin Obaseki, has asked the National Chairman of his ruling All Progressives Congress, APC, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole, to steer clear of all the processes leading up to the June 22 governorship primary election of the APC in the state “because he is an interested party”. This came as he denied secretly obtaining the nomination and expression of interest forms of the opposition Peoples Democratic Party PDP following his face-off with Comrade Oshiomhole.

Speaking on Wednesday when he returned his forms to the APC National Organising Secretary, Emma Ibediro, the governor also dismissed claims that he betrayed his benefactor, saying apart from making sacrifices for his sake, the party’s national chairman was the one who betrayed the cause.

The governor asked the National Chairman to recuse himself from the activities leading up to the primary election in Edo state, saying he is an interested party and cannot sit in judgment over his own case. “However, I am using this opportunity to call on Comrade Oshiomhole to recuse himself from the Edo nomination process because he is an interested party. It is against natural justice for a man to be a judge in his own case. So I think the honourable thing to do is to recuse himself and let us have a free process and let us reconcile and build our party”.

Obaseki also spoke on why he is desirous of ruling the state for a second term, saying four years is not enough for him to crystallize his reforms. He said; “Three years is not enough, four years is not enough to crystalize all these reforms. So, another four years will give me that opportunity to consolidate on what we have done and that is the promise of APC. We are a reformist party, we are a progressive party. That is why I am here today to indicate my interest and my desire to run for another term as governor of Edo so that I can continue in the service of my people”.

I will win whether direct or indirect primary On the mode of primary, the governor said he would pick the party’s ticket irrespective of the method adopted in electing its candidate, but added that the party’s constitution must be obeyed with respect to the voting method. “The basis of any democracy are rules; that is why the most important document in our party is our constitution. Our constitution is very detailed and it spells out clearly how we should undertake our affairs as a party.

Son Heung-min: Tottenham forward says military service was ‘tough’

Tottenham’s Son Heung-min described his recent military service as “tough” and added that he is almost at peak fitness for the restart of the Premier League.

The 27-year-old forward performed three weeks mandatory service in South Korea in April, after recovering from surgery on a fractured arm.

“It’s been a very busy three months,” Son told the Spurs website.

“I don’t know how the people [with me] felt, but for me the three weeks have been long, but a good experience.”

He added: “I couldn’t say everything that I’ve done but I really enjoyed it. Those guys were nice. The period was tough, but I tried to enjoy it.

“The first day when we don’t know each other was a bit weird, but soon we got to know each other. We spent every day together in one room, 10 people very close, working together, we helped each other so the time was fantastic.”

Son injured his arm in mid-February, a month before the Premier League was suspended because of the coronavirus pandemic.

His manager Jose Mourinho initially feared that neither he nor striker Harry Kane would play again this season, but it now seems likely the pair will be part of the squad which is targeting a Champions League spot.

The club have nine league games remaining and are currently seven points behind fourth-placed Chelsea.

“I’m physically fine. I’m working really, really hard to be at my maximum level and I’m nearly there,” added Son.

“Now we can train together, we’re training more than the last two weeks and the players – Moussa [Sissoko] is back, Harry [Kane] is back, Stevie [Bergwijn] is back, everyone wants to play again and everyone is motivated.”

Rare rebuke for Trump from US evangelical Christian leader

Pat Robertson, an influential Christian leader in the United States, has rebuked President Donald Trump for his threats to call in the US military against civilians and his hardline stance against the recent protests over the killing of George Floyd, an unarmed Black man, at the hands of a white police officer on May 25.

Robertson opened his nightly “700 Club” television show on Tuesday by saying the political moment in the US now calls for compassion and reassurance, not the threats of dominance and military force that President Trump offered in recent days.

“It seems like now is the time to say, ‘I understand your pain. I want to comfort you. I think it’s time we love each other’. But the president took a different course. He said, ‘I am the president of law and order’,” Robertson said.

“And he issued a heads up. He said: ‘I’m ready to send in military troops if the nation’s governors don’t act to quell the violence that has rocked American cities’. Matter of fact, he spoke of them as being jerks,” Robertson said.

“You just don’t do that. Mr president. It isn’t cool,” he said.

The rebuke was surprising because Robertson, who is one the founding leaders of the white, evangelical Christian movement in the US, has been a consistent supporter of Trump. His television show, begun in 1966, is seen by an estimated one million Americans every day.

One in four American adults belong to an evangelical Christian denomination and they voted 81 percent for Trump in 2016, according to the Pew Research Center, a non-partisan group.

Trump sparked controversy earlier this week when he posed for photographs in front of an historic Episcopal church near the White House that had been briefly set on fire by protesters on June 1. Episcopalians are not considered evangelical Christians.

Federal police in riot gear and on horseback had forcefully cleared a city park so that Trump and top officials could walk to the church.

Trump, who is not particularly religious, casually brandished the Bible upside down and backwards in his hand.

The move was widely interpreted as a publicity stunt and drew criticism from Episcopalian and Catholic church leaders.

Bishop Michael Curry, the head of the Episcopal Church, released a statement, saying Trump had used the Bible and the church for “partisan political purposes” instead of coming to the church to pray, which many other presidents have done.

At “a time of deep political hurt and pain in our country … his action did nothing to help us to heal us,” Curry said.

James Martin, a Jesuit priest and author, criticised Trump in a national television news interview and on Twitter, calling the president’s appearance at the church “revolting”.

But in a Fox News radio interview, Trump rejected the criticism from church leaders as partisan.

“Most religious leaders loved it. I heard Franklin Graham this morning thought it was great. Most religious leaders thought it was great,” Trump said.

“It’s only the other side that didn’t like it, the opposition party as the expression goes,” Trump said.

Robert Jeffress, a Southern Baptist pastor who gave the sermon for Trump’s inauguration as president in 2017, defended Trump in an appearance on Fox News on Tuesday.

“It was unbelievable what happened Sunday night that anarchists would try to destroy that historic church,” Jeffress said.

“I believe President Trump was absolutely correct in walking over there … and standing in front of that church to show his solidarity not only with that congregation but with houses of worship all across America, demonstrating his intent to protect churches from those who would try to destroy them,” he said.

In his 700 Club monologue, Robertson also questioned Trump’s public threats to call in the US military against the protesters, which the Trump administration has now backed away from.

“The question is, does the president have the authority to call out the troops,” he said. “You have got to go all the way back to pre-Civil War days to find an ordinance to give him that authority.”

The Pentagon had deployed rapid response, assault troops to military bases in the Washington, DC, region as well as two brigades of military police.

Secretary of Defense Mark Esper said he did not believe invoking the president’s authority to put down insurrections by military force would be necessary. Defense Department officials told The Associated Press news agency troops would return to their home bases in North Carolina and New York.

There have been signs recently that Trump’s political support among evangelicals may be eroding.

An evangelical magazine founded by the late Reverend Billy Graham published an editorial on December 19 during Trump’s impeachment in Congress calling for his removal from office for “gross immorality and ethical incompetence”.

A survey conducted in late April and early May by Pew found that support among evangelicals for Trump’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic, while still strong, had slipped by 6 percentage points.

‘Wuhan is safe’: City tests 10 million, finds little coronavirus

The central Chinese city of Wuhan, where the coronavirus was first detected late last year, says it has tested nearly 10 million residents in an unprecedented 19-day campaign to check an entire city. 

The effort identified just 300 positive cases, none of whom had symptoms. None of the 1,174 people identified as close contacts of those patients was found to have the disease either, suggesting they were not spreading it easily to others.

That is a potentially encouraging development because of widespread concern that infected people without symptoms could be silent spreaders of the disease.

“It not only makes the people of Wuhan feel at ease, it also increases people’s confidence in all of China,” Feng Zijian, vice director of China’s Center for Disease Control and Prevention, told state broadcaster CCTV.

There is no definitive answer yet on the level of risk posed by asymptomatic cases, with anecdotal evidence and studies to date producing conflicting answers.

Batch testing

Wuhan, which was sealed off for months, was by far the hardest-hit city in China, accounting for more than 80 percent of the country’s deaths, according to government figures. 

China Wuhan
Wuhan decided to test everyone in the city for coronavirus after a cluster of cases emerged in a residential compound raising concerns about a second wave [Li Ke/EPA] 

A city official announced on Tuesday that the city had completed 9.9 million tests from May 14 to June 1. If those tested previously are included, nearly everyone over the age of five in the city of 11 million people has been tested, said Li Lanjuan, a member of a National Health Commission expert team.

“The city of Wuhan is safe,” she said at a news conference with city officials.

The 900 million yuan ($125 million) city-wide testing campaign began after a small cluster of cases was found in a residential compound, sparking concern about a possible second wave of infections as Wuhan emerged from its two-and-a-half-month lockdown.

The rapid testing of so many people was made possible in part through batch testing, in which samples from up to five people are mixed together, Xinhua reported. If the result is positive, then the people are individually tested.

National resources were also mobilised to help, said Wang Weihua, deputy director of the Wuhan Health Commission, according to Xinhua. Together, these efforts raised Wuhan’s daily testing capacity from 300,000 to more than one million, she was quoted as saying.

UN high commisioner on Human Rights blasts US for ‘structural racism’

UN rights chief Michelle Bachelete on Wednesday decried “structural racism” in the US, and voiced alarm at the “unprecedented assault” on journalists covering protests across the country.

Michelle Bachelet insisted that the grievances at the heart of the protests that have erupted in hundreds of US cities needed to be heard and addressed if the country was to move forward.

“The voices calling for an end to the killings of unarmed African Americans need to be heard,” Bachelet, the former president of Chile, said in a statement.

Bachelet stressed the need for clear and constructive leadership to bring the country through the crisis.

“Especially during a crisis, a country needs its leaders to condemn racism unequivocally; for them to reflect on what has driven people to boiling point; to listen and learn; and to take actions that truly tackle inequalities,” she said.

Autopsy report shows Floyd had tested positive for COVID-19

A full autopsy of Floyd showed that he had previously tested positive for COVID-19.

The report by Chief Medical Examiner Andrew Baker spelled out clinical details, including that Floyd had tested positive for COVID-19 on April 3 but appeared asymptomatic. The report also noted Floyd’s lungs appeared healthy, but he had some narrowing of arteries in the heart.

The county’s earlier summary report had listed fentanyl intoxication and recent methamphetamine use under “other significant conditions” but not under “cause of death.” The full report’s footnotes noted that signs of fentanyl toxicity could include “severe respiratory depression” and seizures.

Minneapolis
Terrence Floyd visits the site near where his brother George died in Minneapolis police custody in Minneapolis, Minnesota

Mattis says he’s ‘appalled’ at Trump’s response to Floyd protests

In an extraordinary rebuke, former Defense Secretary Jim Mattis on Wednesday denounced President Donald Trump’s heavy-handed use of military force to quell protests and said his former boss was setting up a “false conflict” between the military and civilian society.

“I have watched this week’s unfolding events, angry and appalled,” Mattis wrote.

The criticism was all the more remarkable because Mattis has generally kept a low profile since retiring as defence secretary in December 2018 to protest Trump’s Syria policy. He had declined to speak out against Trump, saying he owed the nation public silence while his former boss remained in office.

But he is speaking out after this past week’s protests in response to the death of George Floyd in police custody.

Mattis had a scathing description of Trump’s walk to a nearby historic church Monday to pose with a Bible after law enforcement forcibly cleared Lafayette Park of mostly peaceful protesters.

He said he never dreamed troops “would be ordered under any circumstance to violate the Constitutional rights of their fellow citizens – much less to provide a bizarre photo op for the elected commander-in-chief, with military leadership standing alongside.”

“Donald Trump is the first president in my lifetime who does not try to unite the American people – does not even pretend to try. Instead he tries to divide us,” Mattis wrote in a statement published by The Atlantic. “We are witnessing the consequences of three years of this deliberate effort. We are witnessing the consequences of three years without mature leadership.”

Mattis called on Americans to “unite without him, drawing on the strengths inherent in our civil society. This will not be easy, as the past few days have shown, but we owe it to our fellow citizens; to past generations that bled to defend our promise; and to our children.”

Mattis said of the protesters that Americans should not be distracted by a small number of lawbreakers. He said they are rightly demanding that the country follow the words of “Equal Justice Under Law” that are on display at the US Supreme Court.

“The protests are defined by tens of thousands of people of conscience who are insisting that we live up to our values – our values as people and our values as a nation,” Mattis said.

Mattis took particular issue with the use of force to move back protesters so Trump could visit St John’s Church the day after it was damaged by fire during protests.

“We know that we are better than the abuse of executive authority that we witnessed in Lafayette Square. We must reject and hold accountable those in office who would make a mockery of our Constitution,” Mattis said.

SOURCE: AP NEWS AGENCY

‘All four!’: Floyd protesters cautiously welcome new charges

Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA – The intersection where George Floyd was killed on May 25 has during the last week become a space for reflection, mourning and the honouring of the 46-year-old Black man, who died after a white officer knelt on his neck for nearly nine minutes as he called out, “I can’t breathe.”

Flowers, signs, cards, candles and a mural fill the pavement turned memorial at 38th Street and Chicago Avenue in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

In many ways, the atmosphere at the site on Wednesday felt the same as all the other days. Music filled the air. A few people danced. Small children played. But the heaviness that has been hanging around the intersection for the past week felt a bit thicker on Wednesday than it had felt before.

More than 1,000 people stood mostly silent as Floyd’s son, Quincy Mason, visited the site.

“No man or woman should be without their father,” Quincy Mason told the crowd.

Benjamin Crump, the prominent civil rights lawyer who is representing the family, stood by Quincy Mason’s side, urging the arrests of all four officers involved in Floyd’s death before Thursday, when the city is set to hold a public memorial.

“Not one minute, not two minutes, not three minutes,” Crump shouted out, referencing the time Floyd’s neck was pinned to the ground. By the time he reached “almost nine minutes,” the crowd chanted along with him. “Eight minutes and 46 seconds George Floyd begged for air.”

“We cannot have two justice systems in America – one of Black America and one for white America,” Crump said.

“Change is going to come in the tragic killing of George Floyd,” he added. “That change starts today.”

Moments after Crump and Mason left the area, someone in the crowd yelled, “They got all four!”

News had surfaced that prosecutors decided to upgrade the charges previously announced against Derek Chauvin, the now-fired officer who knelt on Floyd’s neck. They also announced charges against the three other fired officers involved.

Following the news, the heaviness of the day turned noticeably lighter, a collective sigh of relief from the crowd.

“I feel very very happy that they decided to charge them,” said Williametta Jallah, who used to live in the neighbourhood.

“Justice should prevail,” she said, as cheers rung out.

“I got really excited because, honestly, we never do get justice out here,” Tati Ampah said. “For me, as long as they do get jail time, and as long as they do like understand that they did something wrong and that one of them could have jumped in and stopped a man from dying.”

‘It should have been first-degree murder’

Chauvin, who has been in custody since Friday, had his third-degree murder charge increased to second-degree. He is also charged with second-degree manslaughter. 

The three other officers – Thomas Lane, J Kueng and Tou Thao – were charged with aiding and abetting second-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter. 

As initial news settled in, many at the memorial on Wednesday said the upgrade to the murder charge was not enough.

“Am I happy? No” said Tiffany, who flew out to Minneapolis from New York City on Monday. She acknowledged that “progress” was being made, but said Chauvin should have been charged with first-degree murder instead. It was a call made by Floyd’s family, as well.

In announcing the new charges on Wednesday, Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison noted that “you have to have to have premeditation and deliberation to charge first-degree murder”.

He added that “history shows that there are clear challenges here” in prosecuting police officers.

The second-degree murder charge carries a maximum 40-year sentence.

“I strongly believe that these developments are in the interest of justice for Mr Floyd, his family, our community and our state,” Ellison said.

Others at the memorial site were sceptical that the charges would result in convictions.

“Just because they’re charged, don’t mean that they’ll be found guilty, and just because they’re found guilty, [it doesn’t] mean they can’t be found guilty of a lesser crime and given a slap on the wrist, just like other police officers do,” said John Thompson.

“You gotta look at it from the eyes of a Black man,” he told Al Jazeera. “It sucks. To come in contact with the same people who are supposed to serve and protect you. They got the serving part down pat. They served the s*** out of [him].”

Still, many remained hopeful.

“We got a charge; we need a conviction,” the crowd yelled.

“I have hope,” Jallah, the Minneapolis resident who used to live in the neighbourhood, said.

SOURCE: AL JAZEERA NEWS