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OpEdNews Op Eds    H3'ed 11/21/19

Where were Senators during the Standing Rock?: US Senators Condemn Hong Kong Police Ignoring Far More Brutal US Cops

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By Dave Lindorff

The Senate, by a voice vote with no opposition yesterday passed a bill condemning the Hong Kong government and Hong Kong police for their brutal treatment of students in the supposedly autonomous Chinese city protesting threats to Hong Kong's freedoms and it's promise from China of self rule until 2047. The bill, if signed into law, would assess trade and other penalties on Hong Kong for its treatment of Hong Kong protesters.

Now while I have no problem condemning police brutality in Hong Kong, which has included massive and indiscriminate use of tear gas, rubber bullets, beatings and even deaths, including from live gunfire, I must at the same time point out that police brutality in the US against peaceful protesters, which I have always condemned, has historically been much more violent and violative of the US Constitution's supposed guarantee of freedom of speech and assembly than what we've seen from the cops in Hong Kong.

I also have to point out that Hong Kong demonstrators have for some time now been responding (understandably) to the police violence against them with violence of their own, including widespread use of firebombs made from water bottles filled with petrol, and archery attacks with potentially deadly arrows as well as fire-tipped arrows, and with the use of powerful slingshots launching heavy and hard projectiles.

If such aggressive actions were adopted by US protesters, I can state with no hesitation that US police would quickly turn to the AR-15 combat weapons they all carry in their squad cars and vans and fatalities would be a guaranteed result. (Hong Kong police are being instructed not to shoot to kill if they use their weapons, while US police, almost universally, are instructed to do just the opposite: not just to shoot to kill if using a gun, but to empty their weapon into the "target" (that's why victims of police shootings don't usually get hit by one bullet, but by a number of them).

Looking at the mayhem in Hong Kong, as terrible and chaotic as it has been in recent weeks, there has been only one direct death attributable to the police, plus one accidental death and several apparent suicides. In the US cops kill people almost daily, and protester deaths, including peaceful protesters, are not uncommon at the hands of police.

Again, I am in no way excusing Hong Kong's government or its police force for their brutal treatment of student protesters. That things have become so violent in Hong Kong is a direct consequence of the hard line taken by the Beijing-puppet Chief Executive Carrie Lam and her police leaders, who from the outset met peaceful protests in the city over undermining of the city's freedoms with harsh resistance, an approach which predictably led to an increasingly militant response from passionate students in a cycle that has reached the level now, almost, of a civil war in the streets"

For the rest of this article by DAVE LINDORFF, a member of the ThisCantBeHappening! news collective who spent six years as a journalist in Hong Kong for Business Week in 1992-7, please go to: https://thiscantbehappening.net/sanctimonious-us-senators-condemn-hong-kong-police-ignoring-far-more-brutal-us-cops/

 

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Dave Lindorff is a founding member of the collectively-owned, journalist-run online newspaper www.thiscantbehappening.net. He is a columnist for Counterpunch, is author of several recent books ("This Can't Be Happening! Resisting the (more...)
 

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4 people are discussing this page, with 8 comments


Stephen Fox

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Okay. I stand corrected. There were four senators taking a stand. Ergo, 96 didn't give a crap about the violence.

Submitted on Friday, Nov 22, 2019 at 1:04:26 AM

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jim smith

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Many of the examples you cite re accurate and you are right. The police have engaged in acts against genuine peaceful protest that were wrong.

However, more often than not the protest were not peaceful.

Occupy was not a peaceful movement. They routinely harassed and terrorized people going to and from work. In other cases the protest was suppose to end yet the protesters continued to protest and harass innocent people.

Furthermore, protesters have at times harassed and terrorized innocent people because they have the audacity to disagree with them. Or they committed acts of violence against property or against other people.

Heck, look at the protest against certain right wing speakers at colleges. On several occasion people were hurt by the protesters.

You continual use the word militant to describe protesters that you like. You do realize that describing the protesters as militant tars them as violent.

Have the majority of the times the police overacted. Absolutely. However, the so-called peaceful protesters have at times been less than peaceful.


Submitted on Friday, Nov 22, 2019 at 1:10:39 PM

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You are making stuff up. I and my colleagues covered the Occupy Movement and at least one of us was on the scene, particularly during tense times, in Washington, on Wall Street, in Oklahoma City, in St. Louis, in Houston and several other locations. What you call harassment was argument, and none of it was violent, unless someone was punching an "occupier." If you can show examples, do, because it just was not the case. The movement was committed to nonviolence and was enforcing it, even under attack by police.

Also, your equation of the term militant with violent is simply wrong. A militant protest ignores what are often totally illegal and unconstitutional impediments to assembly or marching on public thoroughfares. The purpose of militant demonstrations is not to engage in violence, but to create situations that lead to mass arrests. A violent protest if it is by design, is just that, with protesters attacking police. These are exceptionally rare, not least because police respond with lethal force here. That's why we haven't seen protesters in the US doing what protesters in Hong Kong have been doing, using bottle gas bombs (molotov cocktails), or bows and arrows.


You are deliberatelay muddying the water here by conflating militant with violent. I have been to many militant demonstrations, and was arrested and jailed in my first, at the Pentagon in October 1968. We were never violent at that huge anti-war demonstration, but we marched right up to within a hundred yards of the Pentagon main entrance where we were confronted by a wall of federal troops. We were ordered multiple times to disperse or face arrest, and we refused, sitting down for a whole night on the spot, and were then beaten and arrested. There was no violence, but our stance was "militant." That is a militant demonstration.


Dave Lindorff

founding editor of ThisCantBeHappening.net

Submitted on Friday, Nov 22, 2019 at 1:56:54 PM

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'You are deliberately muddying the water here by conflating militant with violent. '

Definition of militant: engaged in warefare or combat. aggrasivy active, compative.

You are going to serious tell me that militant is not the same as violence. Especially considering the fact that militant protests includes throwing rocks and flaming cocktails, destroying windows and building, assaulting people, and obstructive public roads and streets, preventing people from going to work, or emergency services from doing their jobs.


I do agree, majority of the time, the police do overreact. However, sometimes militant/ violent protesters are the primary instigators of violence.


And I do know people who had to deal with occupy. The leaders might of gave lip service to non-violent protesters, but the memer did routinely harass people who were just walking by.


Submitted on Saturday, Nov 23, 2019 at 6:02:30 AM

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Here's the Oxford English Dictionary definition of militant:


militant. adjective. /ˈmɪlətənt/ using, or willing to use, force or strong pressure to achieve your aims, especially to achieve social or political change militant groups/leaders Some labor unions have a more militant approach to pay negotiations.


Here's the Collins dictionary definition:

1. adjective. You use militant to describe people who believe in something very strongly and are active in trying to bring about political or social change, often in extreme ways that other people find unacceptable.


These are far cries from firing arrows at or throwing petrol bombs at police. And this is how I am using the term.


I would define refusal to obey police demands to disperse to be "militant" resistance. I would define breaking the windows of a army recruiting storefront, or maybe even torching an empty police car, as "militant" resistance.


We've seen both over the years in US protests. More often the former than the latter, which are more common in European protests.


What the Hong Kong protesters has done is a lot more violent and, as I wrote, would have let to mass casualties if perpetrated here in the US against police or National Guard troops.


I stand by that analysis and comparison of police responses. The Hong Kong police, who have reportedly been instructed that if they are forced to use firearms should "not shoot to kill" are completely different from US police who in most, if not all jurisdictions follow the rule of "if you use your gun on someone, shoot to kill, and empty your revolver." We've seen the results of this approach. Rarely is a victim of a police shooting, whether dead or alive, found to have been hit with one shot. It's usually a volley of shots, and often from multiple police, who have learned that if they all shot, no one gets blamed.


Dave Lindorff

founding editor of ThisCantBeHappening.net



Submitted on Saturday, Nov 23, 2019 at 7:13:26 PM

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The point is the word militant implies violence. That is a valid definition.


'I would define refusal to obey police demands to disperse to be "militant" resistance. I would define breaking the windows of a army recruiting storefront, or maybe even torching an empty police car, as "militant" resistance.'

The first point is simply illegal, (ignoring police). It is wrong but not violent. First amendment rights do not mean you can run around and disrupting innocent people. It is not violent however. Just selfish.


The other two points are violence, pure and simple. There is NO difference between breaking an empty police car or destroying an army recruiter window and torching an abortion doctors car or destroying the window of a planned parenthood building. They are militant/ VIOLENT protests and not protected by the first amendment.


And I do agree, the police needs to be retrained and reorganized. I don't believe in radical solutions as a general rule, but the police do need to be radically organized.


My point is that when you support militant protests, you are supporting violence, like torching cars and breaking windows. It does not matter what you destroy. You are committing violence.


Submitted on Tuesday, Nov 26, 2019 at 11:57:46 AM

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Reply to jim smith:   New Content

Jim Smith (at one time, Jim Smith was the mayor of Nome AK, as well city

taxi operator). Anyway, that chap I knew is long gone.

I gather that you are a consummate reader. Not meaning that I see you as

being 'picayune', but if you follow Dave regularly, especially if you follow www.

thiscantbehappening.net (or Counterpunch), I don't think that you'd quibble

with what he says; he has had considerable experience in the Orient.

Submitted on Friday, Nov 22, 2019 at 4:26:16 PM

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