Thursday, August 14, 2014

Police Escalate in Ferguson: Begin Arresting Reporters


Welcome to Obamastan. The aggressive actions of militarized police shock troops  in Ferguson, Missouri are entering the fourth day of operations and things are escalating. In addition to flooding the area with armed to the teeth, jacked up state police goons with their armored vehicles and automatic rifles news reporters are now being harassed and arrested. What is this, a banana republic? Obama's war on journalism long ago passed the level of former White House paranoid Richard M. Nixon and now with dear leader having set such a fine example the police are taking the war on the press to the streets. The arrests came as the police fired wooden and rubber bullets and unleashed tear gas, a chemical weapon on protesters.


Heavily armed police in Missouri fired teargas and rubber bullets to force hundreds of protesters out of the centre of Ferguson on Wednesday, as the crackdown on demonstrations over the killing of an unarmed 18-year-old intensified on their fourth night.

Dozens of officers, some carrying assault rifles, advanced with a pair of armoured trucks on the young and predominantly African American crowd, after two glass bottles were thrown at their lines from a largely peaceful protest against the shooting of Michael Brown by a city policeman.
 Demonstrators, who for hours had sniper rifles trained on them while they protested with their hands up as an emblem of peaceful protest, complained that they were subjected to military-style tactics as they fled through gas-filled residential side-streets.

Police clearing the main drag of the St Louis suburb also arrested two reporters, including one from the Washington Post, one of America's most distinguished newspapers. Marty Baron, its editor, condemned the arrest as "an assault on the freedom of the press to cover the news". A camera crew from al-Jazeera America said they were shot by rubber bullets.

Police in Ferguson have become increasingly hostile towards the press but the imagery and reports of the militarized crackdown continue to seep out, thanks largely due to the new era of cellphone cameras and social media. One of the reporters arrested was Wesley Lowery of the Washington Post who provides a first hand account of the incident:

An officer with a large weapon came up to me and said, “Stop recording.”

I said, “Officer, do I not have the right to record you?”

He backed off but told me to hurry up. So I gathered my notebook and pens with one hand while recording him with the other hand.

As I exited, I saw Ryan to my left, having a similar argument with two officers. I recorded him, too, and that angered the officer. As I made my way toward the door, the officers gave me conflicting information.

One instructed me to exit to my left. As I turned left, another officer emerged, blocking my path.
Go another way,” he said.

As I turned, my backpack, which was slung over one shoulder, began to slip. I said, “Officers, let me just gather my bag.” As I did, one of them said, “Okay, let’s take him.”

Multiple officers grabbed me. I tried to turn my back to them to assist them in arresting me. I dropped the things from my hands.

“My hands are behind my back,” I said. “I’m not resisting. I’m not resisting.” At which point one officer said: “You’re resisting. Stop resisting.”

That was when I was most afraid — more afraid than of the tear gas and rubber bullets.
 As they took me into custody, the officers slammed me into a soda machine, at one point setting off the Coke dispenser. They put plastic cuffs on me, then they led me out the door.

The reporter's full account is at the Washington Post website: "In Ferguson, Washington Post reporter Wesley Lowery gives account of his arrest".

The Obama years have made it pretty damned obvious that the Constitution no longer applies in America. Now we have heavily armed police thugs arresting reporters in a clear violation of the first amendment. It is just the latest skirmish in the war on the freedom of the press, an institution that is being rendered obsolete. Lowery's account states, he was not only arrested but also assaulted by the bullies in uniform. Washington Post editor Martin Baron called the arrests "an assault on the freedom of the press to cover the news". Maybe this will finally provide the wake up call that is needed to generate public outrage before an "emergency" situation turns the entire country into a miltarized police zone.

Obama was sufficiently troubled over events in Ferguson to temporarily consult with his corrupt and vicious hatchet man Attorney General Eric Holder. But it will quickly be back to the links and schmoozing with the deep-pocketed Democratic party donors at Martha's Vineyard as soon as he covers his ass by pretending to actually care.