The American Bear

Sunshine/Lollipops

The enduring lesson of Dorner’s saga is that the transformation of the LAPD into a majority-minority police force does not change its nature as an army of occupation whose mission is racist to the core, regardless of its ethnic composition. That fact finally dawned on Christopher Dorner – and it killed him. Glen Ford, Christopher Dorner: The Defector Who Went Out With A Bang

The Christopher Dorner Complex

Bradley Manning: imprisoned, tortured. Marsha Coleman-Adebayo: lost her career at the Environmental Protection Agency. Karen Silkwood: died in a suspicious car accident. Gary Webb and Deborah Jeane Palfrey: committed suicide, the former having lost his career, the latter under threat of a 55-year prison sentence. Adrian Schoolcraft: involuntarily admitted to a psychiatric ward.

This isn’t a country that necessarily holds whistleblowers in the highest regard.

For the past week, the media has been struck by Dorner fever, anxiously covering the most minute developments in Southern California’s hunt for an ex-cop alleged to have killed four people: a daughter of an LAPD officer and her fiancée, and a police officer in Riverside county, and an officer involved in the shootout at a cabin in the wilderness.

We can infer that all this has taken place; there will never be a trial. Dorner’s “manifesto” has been selectively quoted, focusing on the sections where his mental illness and homicidal rage come into full view, while the allegations of racism and human rights violations by the LAPD have been slyly deemphasized.

What are those allegations, exactly? Usage of the n-word among colleagues, the lack of institutional self-reflection in the aftermath of Rodney King, retaliation against deputies for breaking the “blue line,” officers singing songs celebrating the burning of Jewish ghettos by Nazi stormtroopers, assaulting a woman in her 70s, and assaulting a man who suffers from dementia and schizophrenia by kicking him in the face. Throughout, Dorner attacks the LAPD’s pervasive culture of institutional racism: something that most Angelenos of color will confirm.

Two other black officers have since come forward, largely confirming Dorner’s account of the racism on the force (the former, however, defends the role of the current chief of police). No one seems to have seriously considered giving in to Dorner’s one demand: that the record be set straight by releasing all of the documents related to his disciplinary hearings, and clearing his name from the prior disciplinary actions against him. He pledged to end his warfare if the LAPD would do so. Considering his apparent death last night, one wonders if that life could have been saved at the price of the department’s momentary embarrassment. “A man is nothing without his name,” repeats Dorner.

Dorner’s reaction is partly rooted in a corrosive version of American masculinity — his response to institutional corruption is uniquely Jack Bauer and John Wayne. Gratuitous violence included. Dorner is a wholesale product of a society gone mad on racism and war, of a state that aggressively punishes dissent, of an intellectual milieu where telling the truth has become a dangerous act. There was no internal institutional outlet for him to address injustices against him: the blue line prevented that.

Dorner’s obsession with reclaiming his name made me go back and re-read James Baldwin’s signature essay “Nobody Knows My Name,” from the eponymous book. I paused on two passages.

I remembered the soldier in uniform blinded by an enraged white man, just after the Second World War. There had been many such incidents after the First War, which was one of the reasons I had been born in Harlem. I remembered Willie McGhee, Emmett Till, and the others. My younger brothers had visited Atlanta some years before. I remembered what they had told me about it. One of my brothers, in uniform, had had his front teeth kicked out by a white officer. I remembered my mother telling us how she had wept and prayed and tried to kiss the venom out of her suicidally embittered son. (She managed to do it, too; heaven only knows what she herself was feeling, whose fathers and brothers had lived and died down here.)

Baldwin’s mother was able to muster up the capacity to kiss the venom out of her deeply embittered son. Not all mothers are able to do so. It is very much in actuality a game of chance, given the realities of white supremacy and economic inequality. But the broader point here is this country continues to be a place where the lives of those on the receiving end of the class and color war are disposable.

If we can liken life, for a moment, to a furnace, then freedom is the fire which burns away illusion. Any honest examination of the national life proves how far away we are from the standard of human freedom from which we began. The recovery of this standard demands of everyone who loves this country a hard look at himself, for the greatest achievements must begin somewhere, and they always begin with the person.

The initial response to the Dorner phenomena — like most phenomena involving madmen — has been to isolate it as an individual event, extrinsic to our society. Why does he hate us? Indeed, the presentation of most criminality is as something monstrous. This formulation ignores something crucial: it is impossible to arbitrarily separate some parts of our lives from the others. It is as foolish to presume that criminality is monstrous as it is to presume that the leg operates independently of the hip.

And so the Dorner incident, like all incidents involving madmen, requires us to consider the madness that structures life in America.

Baldwin’s midcentury injunction still holds today, absent the male normativity: we do need to take a hard look at ourselves. Why has Dorner attracted such support online, especially in communities of color? Why have two more LAPD officers, at great risk, come forward to address the free-flowing racism that characterizes their worklife? The questions we might ask will be fraught with peril, but there could be great positives: one of the key things that this experience has exposed is that a broader social consideration of what it means to live life ethically is gravely absent.

In Dorner’s case, the allegory of life to a furnace takes literal weight — he has died, consumed by fire. The police will celebrate, the chorus will quiet, the lives of his victims mourned. It is unlikely that the fire that burned away Dorner will burn away any illusion: this is unfortunate, and disturbing. His allegations will be dismissed as the rantings of a lunatic, things will return to normal. Until the fire, next time.

(Source: jayaprada, via wozziebear)

LAPD hunting Dorner shot at innocent guy in second mistaken identity incident | Xeni Jardin

Los Angeles police looking for ex-cop and multiple homicide suspect Christopher Jordan Dorner have opened fire in a second mistaken identity incident, this time shooting at an innocent guy who was just trying to sneak in some surfing before he went to work.

David Perdue is white, the two newspaper delivery ladies the LAPD mistakenly shot are Latina, Dorner is black.

Perdue, like the unfortunate newspaper delivery ladies, is also significantly shorter and a hundred pounds or more lighter.

"I don’t want to use the word buffoonery but it really is unbridled police lawlessness," said Robert Sheahen, Perdue’s attorney. "These people need training and they need restraint."

Hot tip: if you live in West Torrance, California and you drive a pickup truck, DON’T.

The People’s Record Daily News Update

thepeoplesrecord:

Here’s a collection of news stories for February 9, 2013 that you may not otherwise have a chance to see/learn about.

Residents of the Saudi Arabian capital Riyadh say more than 100 people have demonstrated to call for the release of people detained without charge.

Dozens of security vehicles blocked the intersections of two streets Saturday where the demonstrations were taking place. North of Riyadh in the city of Buraydah, around 30 people — mostly women related to the prisoners — held a similar rally.

In past years, a small number of Saudis have demonstrated in Riyadh to demand the release of thousands of people detained without charge or trial on suspicion of involvement in militant activity. Some have been held for up to 15 years.

Turkish officers are resigning en masse to avoid arrest and sentencing for conspiracy against the government. The cabinet of PM Erdogan is winning the decade-long battle with the country’s once almighty generals.

Mass detentions of both serving and retired officers have been taking place in Turkey over the last decade. The country’s media is closely following a number of trials against top brass accused of plotting against the ruling government. Over at least the past half a century, the Turkish armed forces have been notorious for regular interference in domestic politics, organizing several coups to displace governments and generally having great influence on the political landscape.

In late January 2013 the exodus of Turkish officers from the army was given a new push. Turkey’s number-two naval commander Admiral Nusret Guner resigned, allegedly over the detention of hundreds of his colleagues. His premature voluntary retirement sparked yet another wave of resignations.

In the United States, a Los Angeles police officer who is under investigation for threatening women with jail time if they refused to have sex with him is now being sued by a man he and another officer beat nearly to death after trying to extort money from him last May.

Mulligan “suffered a broken shoulder blade and facial fractures requiring several surgeries at the hands of police officers after they stopped him in the city’s Highland Park neighborhood and forced him to check into a local motel and stay there against his will,” according to The Hollywood Reporter. 

In Russia, a Moscow district court ordered Sergei Udaltsov, a prominent opposition leader, to be placed under house arrest on Saturday, in one of the most aggressive legal measures to date against a leader of the anti-Kremlin protests that began more than a year ago.

Mr. Udaltsov, the leader of the radical socialist Left Front movement, faces a charge of conspiracy to incite mass disorder, under a statute that can bring a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison. According to Saturday’s ruling, he may not leave his house, use the Internet, receive letters or communicate with anyone outside his family and legal team until April 6, the current date for the end of the investigation of his case.

The ruling seemed to signal a new stage in the government’s effort to bring criminal cases against well-known critics of President Vladimir V. Putin.

In Palestine and the occupied territories, Israel’s army forced Palestinian activists to evacuate a West Bank encampment they had set up in protest against illegal Israeli settlement construction and declared the site a “closed military zone”.

Soldiers on Saturday destroyed tents that were being erected in two different areas near the southern West Bank town of Yatta and forced activists to leave, the Palestinian witness said.

At the first site no arrests were made, but soldiers used a cannon that shoots what is commonly referred to as “skunk” water because of its foul smell to disperse activists.

Six people were arrested at the second site, including two photographers.

WARNING: CISPA IS BACK!!!

The Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection act (CISPA) will be reintroduced before the US House next week following a spate of cyber espionage and hacking attacks. Civil liberties advocates have criticized the bill for violating privacy laws.

The House Intelligence Committee’s Chairman Mike Rogers (R-Mich.) and ranking member Rep. Dutch Ruppersberger (D-Md.) will attempt to breathe new life into CISPA on Wednesday.

The bill will be identical to the version of CISPA that passed the House last spring, but was defeated on the Senate floor in August mainly because the upper house was hammering out its own cyber security bill.

(via zeram-deactivated20130410)

LAPD takes on the Chalk Bloc | Charles Davis

What started out as a night of art, fun and food trucks ended with Los Angeles police creating a riot scene, assaulting unarmed protesters and firing rubber bullets seemingly at random into a crowd of bystanders, all — ostensibly — because people were “vandalizing the sidewalk and privately owned buildings [by] writing in chalk,” according to a spokeswoman for the LAPD.

That, friends, is what the LAPD says justified the department deploying helicopters with searchlights and more than 140 officers in riot gear. That is what justified officers shoving protesters and random pedestrians and firing potentially lethal “non-lethal” rounds into a crowd of civilians: people drawing in public spaces.

The message to the proles: Don’t bring chalk to a gun fight.

Like a lot of people caught up in the commotion Thursday night, I didn’t intend to get involved in a standoff with police. With the hours I work, I figured I had already missed all the subversive chalking, so I went straight from my office to an Occupy LA bail fundraiser instead — except when I go there, I found it was just me and the woman taking donations at the door. After milling about and staring at my phone for 15 minutes, I headed back outside and saw a helicopter shining a spotlight a few blocks away. I put two and two together.

With the police helicopter as my guide, I walked over to the scene of the crime. What I saw was a typical-looking LA crowd milling about an intersection, some people drawing things on the street, others passing joints and doing their part to maintain the constant sweet wafting smell of marijuana that seems to be omnipresent in California. Surrounding this crowd were lines of police menacingly wielding batons and rifles.

Within minutes of my arrival, the police started moving their line, pushing people out of the intersection with reckless macho abandon, roughly pushing people (like me) in the back even as they tried in the midst of all the confusion to comply with the order to leave. Several officers also started firing their weapons into the crowd, which is not a terribly great way to deescalate a situation, particularly when the “non-lethal” rounds one is firing sound exactly like the lethal rounds members of the LAPD are notorious for firing at the people they purport to protect. One man named Charlie (pictured) said he was shot just walking down the sidewalk and that he had no connection to Occupy LA or the dangerously subversive chalking that preceded the tiny cock-waving show of police force. Another man was jumped by police right in front of me, tackled and tasered as they moved the police line. Again, without any apparent cause.

Corporate media coverage will, predictably, focus on injuries allegedly suffered by police from bottles thrown at them by people in the crowd. The people the police attacked, such as [one] young man who was shot in the face, will be ignored or, like other victims, blamed for inviting the attack. But there’s a plus side: every time a cop brutalizes an innocent bystander, more people are made aware of the sort of state-sanctioned brutality that is a regular feature of life for the lesser privileged in American society. Last night, a lot of people who left their homes expecting a good time full of art and white wine ended up finding themselves in the middle of a police state dodging rubber bullets. That’s an experience that can’t be replicated by reading a radical political pamphlet.