News Releases

The U.S. Government Will Not Withdraw Forces from Afghanistan

New York Times headline claims: “Biden to Withdraw All Combat Troops From Afghanistan by Sept. 11” but deep in the piece acknowledges: “Instead of declared troops in Afghanistan, the United States will most likely rely on a shadowy combination of clandestine Special Operations forces, Pentagon contractors and covert intelligence operatives to find and attack the most dangerous Qaeda or Islamic State threats, current and former American officials said.”

Hoh is a senior fellow at the Center for International Policy and a member of the Eisenhower Media Initiative. He is a 100 percent disabled Marine combat veteran, and, in 2009, he resigned his position with the State Department in Afghanistan in protest of the Afghan War by the Obama administration. He was featured on an news release last month: “Biden Rejection of Afghan Agreement Means the ‘Taliban Will Resume Killing Americans.’

“Comparisons of Afghanistan to Iraq in 2014, play on the specious fear that a U.S. exit from Afghanistan will result in a comeback of Islamic militant forces, are disingenuous, and ignore the reality of what actually happened in Iraq after 2011.

“The success of the Islamic State in Iraq in 2014 was not due to the absence of U.S. forces in Iraq, but rather was due to the brutal sectarianism of the Iraqi government against the Sunni minority, and, critically, the the direct and indirect support of the Islamic State in Syria by the United States and its allies. The U.S. believed it could control the Islamic State, and other jihadist groups in Syria, in order to overthrow the Assad government. The U.S. also believed the Islamic State would not cross the literal line in the sand that divides Syria and Iraq, the country that most of the Islamic State leadership came from. The Obama administration decided it could control the Islamic State for its purposes, which resulted in another example of catastrophic blowback in U.S. military and foreign policy.

“Further, the idea Kabul will resemble Saigon in 1975 is again specious fear mongering. The Taliban, of course, want power, but they are not suicidal. They understand a violent takeover of Kabul, akin to the Islamic State takeover of Mosul or al Qaeda’s takeover of Aleppo, will result in Kabul being completely devastated by foreign air forces, just as occurred in Afghanistan in 2001, and in multiple cities in Iraq and Syria from 2014-2017, including Mosul and Aleppo. That is an outcome the Taliban are aware of and cannot want.

“Additionally, the Taliban cannot win in Afghanistan without the support of the Pakistanis. The Pakistanis want a client state in Afghanistan, but they also do not want the instability and chaos of Afghanistan to continue, particularly if a Taliban takeover of Kabul results in renewed resumption of a U.S.-led escalation of the war similar to 2001.

“The Pakistanis have an incentive to see stability and a power sharing agreement occur in Afghanistan, especially if their ally is given a prominent role. This outcome necessitates the need for negotiations and a peace process, and cannot occur if the Taliban are only given the option of victory or defeat.

“This is the first formal peace process in Afghanistan in over 30 years in a war whose violence goes back to 1978, prior to the Soviet invasion. This peace process is dependent upon foreign forces leaving Afghanistan. Regardless of whether the 3500 acknowledged U.S. troops leave Afghanistan, the U.S. military will still be present in the form of thousands of special operations and CIA personnel in and around Afghanistan, through dozens of squadrons of manned attack aircraft and drones stationed on land bases and on aircraft carriers in the region, and by hundreds of cruise missiles on ships and submarines.

“A peace process is what the Afghan people need and deserve after so many decades of cruel and unimaginable suffering, much of which has been perpetrated and sustained by foreign forces and intentions. Violence has proven to be counterproductive and horrifically destructive, a peace process is the only chance for Afghanistan, its neighbors and the world.”

The Case Against Fukushima Releasing Over One Million Metric Tons of Radioactive Wastewater

Folkers is radiation and health hazard specialist with Beyond Nuclear. Kamps is the radioactive waste specialist for the group.

Folkers stated: “On Tuesday, the government of Japan announced its decision to intentionally discharge, directly into the Pacific Ocean, 1.25 million metric tons (330 million U.S. gallons) of radioactively contaminated wastewater, enough volume to fill 500 Olympic-sized swimming pools. The contaminated wastewater has accumulated over the past decade at the triple-reactor meltdown site of the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant. It is currently contained in more than a thousand giant storage tanks onsite. The dumping will begin in a couple of years, and continue for decades.

“Tokyo Electric Power Company’s (TEPCO) data show that even twice-through filtration leaves the water 13.7 times more concentrated with hazardous tritium — radioactive hydrogen — than Japan’s allowable standard for ocean dumping, and about one million times higher than the concentration of natural tritium in Earth’s surface waters.

“TEPCO wants us to believe that the radioactive contamination in this water will be diluted in the ocean waters. But some of the radioactive isotopes will concentrate up the food chain in ocean life. And some of the contamination may not travel out to sea and can double back on itself. Dilution doesn’t work for radioactive isotopes, particularly tritium, which research shows can travel upstream.

“Tritium has a persistent hazardous life of about 123 to 246 years. Organically-bound tritium, can bio-accumulate in food, including seafood, and reside in our bodies for a decade, causing cancer, genetic damage, birth defects, and reproductive harm. Radioactive carbon-14, also present in the wastewater to be dumped, remains hazardous for 55,000 to 110,000 years. Women, children, and fetuses are significantly more susceptible to the hazards of radioactivity than are men.” See Folkers’ factsheet: “Tritium: a universal health threat released by every nuclear reactor.” See Folkers’ full press statement, as well as a list of relevant Beyond Nuclear and other backgrounders.

Kamps said today: “Tokyo Electric Power Company’s (TEPCO), the Japanese government, and the UN International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) are trying to justify the oceanic releases as being of ‘allowable’ or ‘permissible’ radioactive concentrations, that will then further dilute in the Pacific. But ‘allowable’ or ‘permissible’ does not mean ‘safe.’ The U.S. National Academy of Sciences have long held that any exposure to ionizing radioactivity carries a health risk, no matter how small the dose, and that such harm accumulates over a lifetime of exposure. Thus, ‘dilution is not the solution to radioactive pollution,’ as Dr. Rosalie Bertell of the International Institute of Concern for Public Health warned decades ago. Dilution is a delusion, when bio-accumulation, concentration, and magnification in the seafood supply is taken into consideration. Humans are at the top of that food chain, at risk of the most concentrated, hazardous internal exposures to ingested ionizing radiation.

“American spokesmen — such as former U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission chairman Dale Klein, and former U.S. Department of Energy official Lake Barrett — tapped by TEPCO to advocate for this tritiated wastewater ocean dumping, should be ashamed of themselves. So too should the Biden administration State Department, which has expressed support for this ocean dumping scheme in order to advance its own irresponsible pro-nuclear power agenda, which it shares in common with the Japanese government and the IAEA.

“The claim is made that there is no more room for storing ever accumulating quantities of radioactive wastewater. So arbitrary property lines are taking precedence over what is an ongoing radioactive emergency? The nuclear power plant host towns of Futaba and Okuma are already largely uninhabitable due to extensive radioactive contamination, and in fact are being used to store very large quantities of bagged radioactively contaminated soil, leaves, and other materials gathered from across a broad region. The radioactive wastewater should be stored in robust containers on solid ground for as long as it remains hazardous, even if this means beyond the arbitrary confines of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant property line.” See Kamps’s full press statement, as well as additional factual background information.

Did Biden’s Pick for Border Agency Cover-up Police Killings?

The New York Times reports in “Not Your Usual Police Chief: Biden Picks Trump Critic to Run Border Agency” that “Chris Magnus, the Tucson police chief who carried a Black Lives Matter sign at a protest, was chosen to lead Customs and Border Protection.”

But journalist Dennis Bernstein examined Magnus’s record as police chief in both Tucson and Richmond, Calif. Bernstein’s three-part expose, “Fatal Errors” examines Magnus’ record in the two cities where he held sway and scrutinizes his actions in two deadly cases where young Latino men died in custody when there was no justification for their deaths.

DENNIS J. BERNSTEIN,, @flashpointsnews
Bernstein is an award-winning journalist and executive producer of “Flashpoints,” broadcast from KPFA and syndicated on Pacifica Radio.

Last year he wrote an in-depth three-part series for Who.What.Why. titled “Fatal Errors.” The pieces included: “Police Brutality in Tucson,” “Shot by Police in Richmond, CA” and “Police Reformer — or Cover-Up Artist?”

    Bernstein said: “Magnus of the Tucson PD really wants you to think of him as a reformer. But while he was tweeting about how he would never allow this kind of in-custody police killing that he had witnessed in the 8:46 second killing of George Floyd, the chief’s men had done the Kenosha cops one better. Their in-custody suffocation of a brown man went on for over 12 minutes and the chief covered it up for over two months, even as he commented as a reformer about George Flyod.

“Carlos Adrian Ingram-Lopez desperately pleads as he drops to all fours, naked, disoriented, and terrified in a darkened corner of his grandmother’s Tucson garage. He wails and screams as three officers swoop down on him, forcing his face into the floor as they double handcuff his arms behind his back. He offers no resistance, apologizing, ‘I’m sorry, I’m sorry, I’m so sorry. I love everybody.’ He cries out for his grandmother to help, ‘Nana, ayúdame! … Please give me some water. … I can’t breathe!” See video.

“‘Tranquilo! Chill the f– out, man,’ shouts Officer Ryan Starbuck, bearing down on the man’s back.”

    Following the killing of Ingram-Lopez last year, his family settled for $2.9 million in December.

Israeli Attack on Iraqi Nuclear Facility *Began* Weapons Program

Now retired in Toronto, Khadduri is an Iraqi nuclear scientist. He is author of Iraq’s Nuclear Mirage: Memoirs and Delusions and Unrevealed Milestones in the Iraqi National Nuclear Program 1981-1991. He now blogs at Free Iraq and has written about the Iranian nuclear program.

The New York Times is reporting: “Blackout Hits Iran Nuclear Site in What Appears to Be Israeli Sabotage” and “Blaming Israel, Iran Vows Revenge for Blackout at Nuclear Site.”
In 1981, Israeli warplanes bombed the Iraqi reactor at Osirak and many in the U.S. cheered it on as a way of allegedly stopping Iraq from acquiring nuclear weapons. Khadduri was working at the time on the Iraqi nuclear program and says the effect was exactly the opposite. The Iraqi scientists didn’t trust Saddam Hussein with a nuclear weapon, so they refused to work on weapons for him — until the Israelis attacked.

Khadduri states: “I worked on the pre-1981 nuclear program and I was certain it would not be used for military purposes. But after the 1981 bombing, we were so angry that we were ready to work on a military program. The Israeli attack didn’t end the nuclear weapons program, it began it.” See past IPA news release with Khadduri for more background: “Iraqi Nuclear Scientist Debunks Nuclear Myths.”

Khadduri’s account is corroborated by the late Richard Wilson, who was Mallinckrodt research professor of physics at Harvard University. Wilson visited the Osirak Iraqi reactor in 1982 after it was bombed by Israel. He told IPA in 2006: “Many claim that the bombing of the Iraqi Osirak reactor delayed Iraq’s nuclear bomb program. But the Iraqi nuclear program before 1981 was peaceful, and the Osirak reactor was not only unsuited to making bombs but was under intensive safeguards. Certainly, Saddam Hussein would clearly have liked a nuclear bomb if he could have had one, but the issue is whether there were enough procedures for that reactor in place to prevent him from doing so and all the indications are that there were enough procedures.

“The Osirak reactor was destroyed in June 1981. It was not until early in July 1981 that Saddam Hussein personally released Dr. Jafar Dhia Jafar from house arrest and asked him to start and head the clandestine nuclear bomb program. The destruction of Osirak did not stop an Iraqi nuclear bomb program but probably started it.”

Israel Targeting of Iran the Result of U.S. Backing, Refusal to Acknowledge Its Nuclear Weapons

Kasrils was Minister for Intelligence Services in South Africa from 2004 to 2008 and was a leading member of the African National Congress during the apartheid era.

    He said today: “Israel is once again acting criminally as the hand behind the recent attack on an Iranian vessel in the Gulf and now as The New York Times reports: ‘Blackout Hits Iran Nuclear Site in What Appears to Be Israeli Sabotage.’ …

    “There can be little doubt that this attack on Iran is calculated to damage the prospects for a wider peace, seeming to sabotage the talks in Vienna about the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action on Iran which have started on a positive note in Vienna. [The New York Times reported Friday: “Iran Nuclear Talks Start on Positive Note in Vienna.”]

    “Israel is granted an effective green light for its illegal actions and dangerous war mongering whilst the U.S. government has time and again backed it. Just a few months ago South Africa’s emeritus Archbishop Desmond Tutu wrote, urging incoming President Biden, to end the USA’s ‘pretence over Israel’s secret nuclear weapons’ and that ‘the refusal of [the] U.S. administration to even acknowledge Israel’s massive nuclear weapons arsenal threatens the region and indeed the planet’.” See piece by Tutu in The Guardian: “Joe Biden Should End the U.S. Pretence over Israel’s ‘Secret’ Nuclear Weapons: The cover-up has to stop — and with it, the huge sums in aid for a country with oppressive policies towards Palestinians.”

    Kasrils added: “All this reminds us in South Africa that Israel worked with the apparethid government to enable it to develop its nuclear weapons. Such proliferation violates U.S. and international law, and should result in a cutoff of billions in U.S. taxpayer funding, which enables Israel to destabilise the Middle East and threaten even nuclear war, whilst it continues to brutally oppress the Palestinian people. The USA, and Western powers, allows Israel to act with chilling impunity and are therefore complicit in its crimes.” He wrote the piece “I Fought South African Apartheid. I See the Same Brutal Policies in Israel” for The Guardian.

GRANT F. SMITH,, @IRmep, Skype: grant.f.smith
Smith is director of the Washington, D.C.-based Institute for Research: Middle Eastern Policy and recently wrote the piece “Biden Could Reverse Six Harmful Israel Policies… With the Only Power That Stops Israel’s Lobby.”

    He said today: “During the Obama administration, Israel and its U.S. lobby did everything they could to sabotage the JCPOA, including spying on secret negotiations and coordinating opposition in the U.S. where the majority of Americans supported the deal.

“Archbishop Desmond Tutu called on the Biden administration to be forthright about the Middle East’s leading state sponsor of nuclear proliferation — Israel. Only by reentering the JCPOA and negotiating for a Middle East nuclear free zone — by dismantling Israel’s nuclear arsenal — will the U.S. be truly serving as an honest broker in the region.”

Amazon Union Vote

Elk is senior labor reporter for His latest piece is “Anti-Union Amazon Workers Explain How Mandatory Anti-Union Meetings Turned Them Against RWDSU [Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union].”

He said today: “As the union is trailing nearly 2-to-1 with almost half of the vote in, it appears likely that the union drive at Amazon in Alabama will be defeated.

“In our interviews with workers, we discovered that most workers weren’t so heavily anti-union as much as they just didn’t know anything about unions.

“This union failed to form a strong organizing committee that had a real plan to show how the union worked prior to the election. To win union elections, the election feels like more formality since the organizing committee has already been acting as a union, winning campaigns in the workplace to change things and standing up for co-workers facing unfair discipline.

“When the union election comes, workers already feel like they know the union and are a part of it. Instead, what happened at Amazon was that workers knew little; this allowed the company through anti-union meetings to create a fear of the change that unions could bring — from warning workers that their wages may actually decrease under a contract, or worse, the facility closes.

“Within 24 hours of the defeat of the union at Amazon appearing likely, non-union workers at Amazon went on a wildcat strike in Chicago. So while it may appear that workers at Amazon were defeated, they are still on the march as the strike in Chicago shows.

“Winning union elections is tough, but the key to winning them is to invest heavily in training workers in how to organize and mobilize workers before they even have a union. Otherwise, unions will never win these union votes because workers won’t feel already like they’re part of the union.”

Ban Killer Drones Campaign Seeks a Treaty to Prohibit Weaponized Drones

Veterans for Peace and other groups this week have held protests outside Creech Air Force Base in Nevada against killer drones coordinated from the facility. The demonstrators also held a vigil in support of military analyst Daniel Hale who will soon be sentenced for exposing drone killings to the public.

 As the Biden administration assesses the U.S. government’s use of drones to kill people, a grassroots global campaign — — was launched on Friday, declaring its “commitment to achieving an international treaty that will ban weaponized drones and military and police surveillance.” The campaign is being launched on the 12th anniversary of the first protest of U.S. drone attacks, when 14 activists were arrested at Creech Air Force Base. Since 2009, activists have sustained international protests at numerous military bases while also decrying military and police drone surveillance.

The campaign is endorsed by 1976 Nobel Peace Prize winner and Irish peace activist Mairead Maguire; international peace activist Kathy Kelly; CODEPINK co-founder Medea Benjamin; Christine Schweitzer, Coordinator of the German peace organization Federation for Social Defence; Ann Wright, retired U.S. Army colonel and State Department diplomat and many other peace and justice organizations.

Mairead Maguire, who visited Afghanistan in 2012, said, in support of the ban: “One Afghan youth told us how, when they went up into the mountains with their donkeys to collect wood for their fires, many of their friends were killed by armed drones. These drones are controlled by men in U.S. military bases far away, and with the switch of a computer they blow to pieces kids in Afghanistan trying to warm their families.”Nick Mottern, coordinator of said: “After 20 years of experience with drone killing and drone surveillance, we are at the point of awareness that the technologies that enable drone atrocities, endless war and wholesale violation of human rights, particularly against people of color, must be put back in the box.”

David Swanson of World Beyond War said: “According to the Bureau of Investigative Journalism, drone murder-strikes in Afghanistan climbed from at least 235 in 2015 to at least 7,167 in 2019. In Somalia the same pair of years saw an increase from at least 11 to at least 63. Yemen saw at least 21 drone murder-strikes in 2015, but at least 127 in 2017. The numbers are uncertain, because the U.S. public relies on reports from the receiving end, not being entitled apparently to any reports from the U.S. government. The numbers of people killed, injured, made homeless, driven to starvation, forced into a wider war, or traumatized are even less certain. But we do know enough to be certain that the people launching the missiles never identify most of the people they kill.”

    Terrell, who has served seven months in federal prison and local jails for his drone war protests, is one of the lead organizers of the campaign. He said: “Along with governmental and diplomatic efforts, an international agreement to ban killer drones will be made possible through sustained protest and petition at the grassroots level. Not an end in itself, a ban will have effect only when the private and state actors that profit from drone proliferation are held accountable by the world’s people.”

The Ban Killer Drones campaign will be working with other anti-war and human rights groups to organize protests, letter-writing, promotion of supportive legislation and other outreach in the U.S. and globally, engaging especially those who have experienced or are experiencing drone attacks, especially by the U.S., Israel, the U.K., France and Turkey, the foremost perpetrators of drone war.

Biden Re-ups Policies that Fuel Desperate Migration from Central America

Chomsky is professor of history and coordinator of Latin American studies at Salem State University in Massachusetts and a contributor to TomDispatch. Her book, Central America’s Forgotten History: Revolution, Violence, and the Roots of Migration, is being published this month. Her latest piece, “Will Biden’s Central America Plan Slow Immigration — Or Speed it up?” was just published by Salon.

She writes: “Read closely, a significant portion of Biden’s immigration proposal focuses on the premise that addressing the root causes of Central America’s problems will reduce the flow of immigrants to the U.S. border. In its own words, the Biden plan promises to promote ‘the rule of law, security, and economic development in Central America’ in order to ‘address the key factors’ contributing to emigration. Buried in its fuzzy language, however, are long-standing bipartisan Washington goals that should sound familiar to those who have been paying attention in these years.

“Their essence: that millions of dollars in ‘aid’ money should be poured into upgrading local military and police forces in order to protect an economic model based on private investment and the export of profits. Above all, the privileges of foreign investors must not be threatened. As it happens, this is the very model that Washington has imposed on the countries of Central America over the past century, one that’s left its lands corrupt, violent, and impoverished, and so continued to uproot Central Americans and send them fleeing toward the United States. …

“For almost two decades the United States has been bullying (and funding) military and police forces to its south to enforce its immigration priorities, effectively turning other countries’ borders into extensions of the U.S. one. In the process, Mexico’s forces have regularly been deployed on that country’s southern border, and Guatemala’s on its border with Honduras, all to violently enforce Washington’s immigration policies.

“Such outsourcing was, in part, a response to the successes of the immigrant rights movement in this country. U.S. leaders hoped to evade legal scrutiny and protest at home by making Mexico and Central America implement the uglier aspects of their policies. …

“The model Washington continues to promote is based on the idea that, if Central American governments can woo foreign investors with improved infrastructure, tax breaks, and weak environmental and labor laws, the ‘free market’ will deliver the investment, jobs, and economic growth that (in theory) will keep people from wanting to migrate in the first place. Over and over again in Central America’s tormented history, however, exactly the opposite has happened. Foreign investment flowed in, eager to take advantage of the region’s fertile lands, natural resources, and cheap labor. This form of development — whether in support of banana and coffee plantations in the 19th century or sugar, cotton, and cattle operations after World War II — brought Central America to its revolutions of the 1980s and its northbound mass migration of today. …

“In mid-March, President Biden appeared to link a positive response to Mexico’s request for some of Washington’s surplus Covid-19 vaccine to further commitments to cracking down on migrants. One demand: that Mexico suspend its own laws guaranteeing humane detention conditions for families with young children. Neither country had the capacity to provide such conditions for the large number of families detained at the border in early 2021, but the Biden administration preferred to press Mexico to ignore its own laws, so that it could deport more of those families and keep the problem out of sight of the U.S. public.”

Nuclear Weapons: “The Taproot of Violence”: Plowshares Activist Being Sentenced Friday

MARK COLVILLE, @kingsbayplow7
also via Mary Anne Grady Flores,

As the Biden administration assesses U.S. nuclear weapons policy, Colville is facing sentencing on Friday morning for entering the Kings Bay Naval Submarine Base in Georgia to protest such policy. Colville’s sentencing — the last one of the activists to be sentenced — will be conducted by phone on Friday, so the public will have access. The codes are below. The activists are known as the Kings Bay Plowshares 7. They sought to “nonviolently and symbolically disarm the Trident nuclear submarine base at Kings Bay, Georgia” on April 4, 2018, the 50th anniversary of the assassination of Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.

He said today: “Deep gratitude to everyone who wrote letters to the judge. I’m asking her to consider them as expressions of the conscience of the community regarding the criminal enterprise of nuclearism, as it continues to scourge humanity and creation beyond reason or accountability. My family, my neighborhood and I have a right to live without a nuclear gun on hair-trigger alert held perpetually to our heads, and this court’s failure to recognize that right has made it an accessory to crimes against humanity. This is the reality that I plan to confront as clearly and simply as possible on Friday — and the rest, as an old friend used to remind me, is God’s problem.”

Colville is co-founder of the Amistad Catholic Worker House in New Haven with his wife Luz Catarineau. In 2019 the New Haven Register wrote: “For their sustained, compassionate approach to building and supporting their community and for their lived opposition to war and violence, the Colvilles are the New Haven Register’s Persons of the Year.”

Colville has been profiled in the Yale Daily News: “The Church at the End of the World: In 2018, a group of Catholic anti-nuclear activists made national news when they broke into a naval base in Georgia. One of their members — a New Haven resident — now awaits his sentencing.” Though Catarineau stresses that the facility in Georgia is “not a ‘navy base,’ it’s a military facility that threatens all humanity.”

See interview with Colville in the New Haven Independent: “Jailed Activist Targets ‘Culture Of Death.'” He quotes Rev. Richard McSorely, S.J.: “The taproot of violence in our society today is our intention to use nuclear weapons. Once we have agreed to that, all other evil is minor in comparison. Until we squarely face the question of our consent to use nuclear weapons, any hope of large scale improvement of public morality is doomed to failure.”

Colville said nuclear weapons “contribute to the cheapening of life and inform the other forms of violence. … When we talk about school shootings, we don’t talk about the cheapening of life that permits this.” Colville used a hammer made from melted-down guns to smash parts of a shrine to nuclear weapons at the facility. See online “Festival of Hope” featuring Colville and other activists from Monday.

To listen to Colville’s sentencing on Friday at 10 a.m. ET: Dial 1-888-684-8852, enter the call access code 2296092 and enter the security code 1234 or dial 1-888-684-8852, enter the call access code 8878734 and enter the security code 1234. If one isn’t working or overloaded try the other access code. And remember to mute.

“Bad Apple” Argument Obscures Systemic Nature of Racist Police Violence

Cohn, professor emerita at Thomas Jefferson School of Law and former president of the National Lawyers Guild, just wrote the piece “Calling Chauvin a ‘Bad Apple’ Denies Systemic Nature of Racist Police Violence, which states: “As the murder trial of Derek Chauvin for killing George Floyd proceeds, the prosecution will try to portray the defendant as a ‘bad apple.’ In his opening statement, prosecutor Jerry Blackwell alerted the jurors that they would hear police officials testify Chauvin used excessive force in violation of departmental policy to apply restraints only as necessary to bring a person under control. However, this argument obfuscates the racist violence inherent in the U.S. system of policing. …

“Black people who are unarmed or not attacking police are 3.5 times more likely to be killed by police than white people, the Brookings Institution found. … More than 75 percent of the time, chokeholds are applied on men of color. …

“Prosecutors were compelled to bring charges against Chauvin because the whole world had seen him kill Floyd. After massive protests erupted following the horrifying video of Chauvin’s torture of Floyd — now known to have lasted nine minutes and 29 seconds — the MPD [Minnesota Police Department] fired Chauvin and prosecutors charged him with third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter. They later added a charge of second-degree murder.

“But what would have happened if eyewitnesses had not recorded Floyd’s death? Would Chauvin have been fired and charged with murder? …

“For nine minutes and 29 seconds, Chauvin continued to choke Floyd as several bystanders watched, many visibly recording the killing. Chauvin didn’t try to hide what he was doing. As eyewitness Genevieve Hansen testified, Chauvin looked ‘comfortable’ with his weight on Floyd’s neck.”

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