Hundreds protest to free Morocco’s northern activists

Demonstrators hold banners in Arabic reading "freedom" and "Death over humiliation" during a protest in Casablanca, Morocco, Sunday, Oct. 8, 2017. Hundreds of people from around Morocco protested Sunday in the nation's economic capital, Casablanca, to demand freedom for jailed activists. Photo: Mosa'ab Elshamy, AP / Copyright 2017 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

By : Reda Zaireg

CASABLANCA, Morocco (AP) — Hundreds of people from around Morocco protested on Sunday in the nation’s economic capital, Casablanca, to demand freedom for activists jailed for their roles in a protest movement that took off a year ago in a neglected northern city.

The demonstration was the latest of numerous protests demanding the liberation of activists from the city of Al Hoceima, in the northern Rif region where hundreds of protesters have been arrested.

Leading figures in the opposition movement known as Hirak will go on trial Oct. 17 in Casablanca. No trial date has been set for the movement’s leader, Nasser Zefzafi — arrested in June after a dramatic manhunt. An appeals court will decide this month whether a charge of attacking state security, which carries a risk of capital punishment, is maintained. The death sentence hasn’t been carried out in Morocco in decades.

Up to 1,000 protesters, led by organizers perched on a pickup truck with megaphones, gathered at a main Casablanca intersection Sunday, chanting “freedom, dignity, social justice.”

“We are here to say, ‘Enough,'” said Nabila Mounib, the president of the Federation of the Democratic Left. His federation of left-wing parties has rallied to the cause. “Release the detainees and open a debate on their demands, and above all fight the corruption that gangrenes the Rif region,” Mounib said.

The protest movement has become the biggest challenge to the North African kingdom, a U.S. ally known for its stability, since the Arab Spring in 2011 overthrew longstanding regimes in the larger region. Yet, its roots are local. Protests started a year ago when a fish monger in Al Hoceina was crushed to death by a garbage compactor while trying to save fish that officials had confiscated.

The government has promised development projects for the region, which has a long history of rebellion against Morocco’s leaders. King Hassan II, the father of monarch Mohammed VI, never visited the Rif region, something his son changed. At the end of July, the king, celebrating the 18th anniversary of his accession to the throne, included an undisclosed number of those arrested in the Al Hoceima region among the 1,178 inmates benefiting from annual pardons.

Source: http://www.ctpost.com/news/world/article/Hundreds-protest-to-free-Morocco-s-northern-12261761.php

Edited for mb3-org.com

Richmond Rally and Counter Protest End Quickly and Peacefully

A handful of protesters holds flags in front of the statue of Confederate General Robert E. Lee on Monument Avenue in Richmond, Va., Saturday, Sept. 16, 2017. The group of Confederate demonstrators were escorted out by police after a 50 minute protest.
CREDIT STEVE HELBER / AP

 

 MALLORY NOE-PAYNE

A small rally of Neo-Confederates was overwhelmed in Richmond Saturday by hundreds of counter protesters. Police had prepared for the worst but the event ended quickly, and peacefully.

A pro-Confederate rally that had been scheduled for 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. ended before noon when the group left early. About a half a dozen of them spent an hour waving Confederate flags and shouting back and forth with hundreds of counter-protesters.

Officers were out in full force and had sectioned off assembly areas around Richmond’s Robert E. Lee Monument. Richmond resident Ian Dunwiddie came out to counter protest.

“At every access point to the Monument there were minimum ten to twenty cops and they were all super polite and helpful, and not discouraging at all. It was actually pretty pleasant out here today,” he said.

The avenue remained shut down for much of the day. There was an almost picnic-like atmosphere among the lingering counter-protesters. In the afternoon, a group took to the streets and marched. Four were arrested for wearing masks.

Source: http://wvtf.org/post/richmond-rally-and-counter-protest-end-quickly-and-peacefully

Edited for mb3-org.com

Thousands protest in Bangladesh as Rohingya flee Myanmar

By JULHAS ALAM

More than 10,000 Muslims in Bangladesh have marched toward Myanmar’s embassy to protest the country’s crackdown on Rohingya Muslims.

At least 412,000 ethnic Rohingya have fled from Buddhist-majority Myanmar in the past month and are living in overcrowded camps in Bangladesh. Many say their homes were burned by Myanmar’s military or by Buddhist mobs.

The protesters chanted slogans and waved Bangladesh’s flag as they marched through the streets of Dhaka, the capital. One banner said, “Stop killing Rohingya.”

The march, organized by the hard-line Islamist group Hefazat-e-Islam, began at Bangladesh’s main mosque but was stopped by police well before the protesters reached the embassy.

The marchers were most vocal in chanting slogans against Myanmar leader Aung San Suu Kyi, calling her a “terrorist” and blaming her for not stopping the military-led attacks on the Rohingya Muslims.

The U.N. Security Council and many countries have condemned the violence.

Rohingya villagers arriving in Bangladesh, exhausted from their dayslong escape from mobs of attackers and armed soldiers, recounted stories of neighbors killed and homes set ablaze.

“They set fire to people’s homes and many elderly people got trapped inside. Young men fled home for the hills,” said Mohammed Zakaria, 70.

He said he saw many bodies lying on the ground, often with their throats slit, as he and 14 other members of his family made their way from their home in Myanmar’s Rakhine state.

Sitting outside a ramshackle tent in Balukhali, a hilly area recently designated by the Bangladesh government as the site of a new refugee camp, he said it took them 12 days to reach the safety of Bangladesh.

His son, Omar, 18, said their ordeal began about a month ago when Buddhist mobs attacked their homes.

“They didn’t say anything. They just slaughtered Rohingya people wherever they found them,” Omar said. “They have killed everybody, young and old.”

Traveling on foot, mostly at night to avoid detection by Myanmar soldiers, Zakaria said they crossed the Naf river that divides the two countries after paying a large sum to a boatman.

The U.N. and other aid agencies have begun building shelters for new arrivals at the Balukhali site to provide protection as monsoon downpours lash the area.

“We are working with the authorities and partners to build emergency shelters and coordinate the provision of relief supplies and basic services including registration, water, sanitation, and health care,” said Yante Ismail of the U.N. refugee agency.

But unexpected dangers lurked, even in the camps in Bangladesh’s border town of Cox’s Bazar.

On Monday, wild elephants attacked two makeshift tents near a camp, killing a man and his son who were sleeping inside, an official said.

Shamsul Alam, 55, and his 2-year-old son died instantly, said Mohammed Ali Kabir, a forest officer.

Alam’s wife and their two other children were injured and were taken to a medical camp, he said.

Wild elephants often cross the border between the forested hills of Myanmar and Bangladesh. The movement of thousands of Rohingya refugees may have upset the elephants, forest officials said.

Source:http://abcnews.go.com/International/wireStory/thousands-protest-bangladesh-rohingya-flee-myanmar-49925911

Edited for mb3-org.com

Chiapas: Omissions after Declaration of Gender Violence Alert

GVA.jpg

Photo: @chiapasparalelo

On September 4th, the network of social and civil organizations that compose the “Popular Campaign against Violence against women and Femicide” reported that, nine months after the declaration of the Gender Violence Alert (GVA), the “slow process” to shield women against femicide and other violent actions they suffer daily in the state continues.

In addition, they appealed to the authorities of the Chiapas government with competencies in the matter that while they progress in the measures of the Alert, that they do not make omissions and attend with due diligence cases of gender violence and feminicide that are presented in the state, as in August, the Center for Women’s Rights of Chiapas (CDMCH in its Spanish acronym) closed its monitoring with 27 cases of violence, ranging from threats, assaults, injuries, intentional homicides, suspicious deaths and femicides in various regions of the state.

On the same day at national level, the president of the National Institute of Women (INMUJERES in its Spanish acronym), Lorena Cruz Sanchez said that much progress has been with the Alert at the legislative level, however she recognizes that to eradicate femicides there is still a long way to go.

For more information in Spanish:

Campaña Popular contra la Violencia hacia las mujeres y el feminicio en Chiapas. (4 de septiembre de 2017)

ONG denuncian dilación y omisiones en puesta en marcha de alerta de género en Chiapas. (Proceso 4 de septiembre de 2017)

Alertas de Género no han erradicado feminicidios: titular de INMUJERES. (4 de septiembre de 2017)

For more information from SIPAZ:

Chiapas: Campaña Popular contra la Violencia hacia las Mujeres cuestiona falta de avances de Alerta de Violencia de Género.(SIPAZ, 28 de abril de 2017)

Chiapas: Mujeres decretan alerta de violencia de género. (SIPAZ, 9 de julio de 2013)

Oaxaca: Solicitan activación de Alerta de Violencia de Género ante el aumento de los feminicidios. (SIPAZ, 26 de febrero de 2014)

Edited for mb3-org.com

 

Venezuelan government says it put down military revolt

By: Patricia Mazzei, Associated Press

Venezuelan authorities quelled an apparent military rebellion early Sunday, a ruling socialist party leader said, the day after a new all-powerful legislative body condemned by the international community began targeting opposition opponents.

Socialist deputy Diosdado Cabello called the incident a “terrorist attack” at a military base in Valencia, a city west of the capital, Caracas. He wrote on Twitter that the situation had been brought under control and that several people were arrested.

His announcement came after the release of a video showing about a dozen men dressed in military fatigues and holding assault rifles declared themselves in rebellion and urged like-minded security forces rise up against President Nicolas Maduro.

Witnesses posted videos including what sounded like gunshots ringing in the dark at the Paramacay military base. After daybreak, neighbors gathered at the base entrance, cheering and singing the national anthem. At one point, they were dispersed with tear gas.

More tear gas was used against a spontaneous protest in a Valencia plaza. Helicopters belonging to security forces flew low over the base throughout the morning.

The military denounced a “paramilitary attack” and said seven men who had been detained were “giving up information.”

In the widely circulated video, a man identifying himself as Juan Carlos Caguaripano, a former National Guard captain, demanded “the immediate formation of a transition government.”

“This is not a coup d’etat,” he said. “This is a civic and military action to restore constitutional order. But more than that, it is to save the country from total destruction.”

Caguaripano was discharged three years ago, accused of conspiring against the government. He had been in hiding since. It was unclear if he was on the Paramacay base — and if so, how he might have gained entry. The rebellion was said to take place among troops from the 41st Army Tank Brigade.

A video later showed Bolivarian Army Commander Jesus Suarez Chourio — surrounded by troops he said were from the 41st Brigade on the base — declaring victory over the “mercenary paramilitary terrorist attack.”

“They assaulted us, but we suppressed them,” said Suarez Chourio, who is under U.S. sanctions for violently repressing political dissent.

(EDITORS: BEGIN OPTIONAL TRIM)

U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., who has been pushing for sanctions against Maduro’s government, said on Twitter that Cabello’s acting as the government’s principal spokesman on the incident “shows who’s in charge of security forces in Venezuela.” He called Cabello, who has long been the subject of allegations that he’s involved in drug trafficking, a “narco leader.”

Cabello responded that Rubio was the first “character” to “defend the terrorist attack.”

“Now we know where it all comes from,” he said, later calling the senator “Narco Rubio.”

“Diosdado ‘Pablo Escobar’ Cabello is unusually nervous and frantic this morning,” Rubio retorted.

(END OPTIONAL TRIM)

Cabello is among several socialist leaders threatened with being sanctioned by the U.S. in coming days.

On Saturday, a new constituent assembly elected under suspected fraud dismissed Luisa Ortega, the attorney general investigating the government, from her post and ordered her to stand trial. In response, the president of the opposition-held parliament urged the military to step in to restore the democratic order.

Late Saturday night, the government returned jailed opposition leader Leopoldo Lopez to house arrest.

Source:http://gazette.com/venezuelan-government-says-it-put-down-military-revolt/article/feed/482318

Edited for mb3-org.com

Moroccan women vow to continue protests

Female activists in Casablanca and Rabat have added their voices to a chorus of anti-government demonstrations.

By: 

Casablanca, Morocco – Female activists in Morocco say they will continue to press the government for justice, just days after stiff jail sentences were handed down to activists in the northern region of Al-Hoceima.

Hundreds of women demonstrated in Casablanca on Friday to demand the release of four political prisoners associated with the Hirak movement, who were recently sentenced to 18 months in jail. Scores more remain in “preventive detention”, according to government spokesman Mustapha El-Khalfi.

On Saturday, another group of women gathered in Rabat to denounce what they deemed to be politically motivated arrests. The demonstrators were forcibly dispersed by local police.

“Despite the repression, women’s mobilisation will not stop,” Khadija Ryadi, an activist with Morocco’s women’s movement, told Al Jazeera. “Al-Hoceima has shown us that [the governing establishment]’s repression will not be able to stop the upheaval. Both men and women have the same discourse; we will not stop until they answer our demands.”

Among those demands was the release of Silya Ziani, 23, a prominent Amazigh singer and a leading voice in the Hirak movement. She was arrested on June 5 in Al-Hoceima and transferred to Casablanca.

Tensions in Al-Hoceima have been simmering since October, after the death of a young fish vendor who was crushed in a rubbish compactor truck while trying to retrieve his wares, which had been dumped by local authorities.

The incident touched a nerve with Moroccans throughout the Rif region, which has long been under-served by the country’s government. A wave of protests against official abuses and corruption led to the birth of the Hirak movement.

Calling themselves Moroccan Women Against Political Arrests, the demonstrators in Casablanca said they were taking to the streets in solidarity with Hirak, chanting: “Freedom for prisoners.” Eight women chained their hands in an effort to portray governmental repression.

“We call upon the Moroccan women in the diaspora to stand with the women in Al-Hoceima and raise their voices to demand the immediate release of the political prisoners,” activist Soraya El-Kahlaoui told Al Jazeera.

A series of events will be organised at the international level in Italy and Brussels in solidarity with Hirak, she added.

“We want the voices of Moroccan women to [convey] those of Hirak’s political prisoners. Just as in Al-Hoceima women continue the fight, we will continue it,” Kahlaoui said.

The demonstrators also replicated a well-known form of protest in Al-Hoceima known as “tantana”, which involves repeatedly banging a ladle on a pot.

“[The demonstrations are] a Moroccan initiative against political arrests, called by different actors across the Moroccan political spectrum [who are] gathered and united around one goal, which is this quest for freedom, dignity and social justice and solidarity,” human rights activist Iqbal Chaqqaf told Al Jazeera.

Activist Bouchra Rhouzlani noted that Ziani’s release was one of the group’s key demands. The singer’s spirit could be felt throughout the protest, with a black-and-white portrait held up as a symbol as protesters chanted: “We are all Silya.” Ziani was scheduled to appear in court on Wednesday.

Last month, Moroccan authorities stifled a women’s protest calling for access to jobs and health services in Al-Hoceima, encircling demonstrators to impede others from joining. Organisers said that police had been increasingly attempting to quash protests since the arrest of Nasser Zefzafi, the 39-year-old leader of the protest movement, for “undermining the security of the state”.

Edited for mb3-org.com

U.S. Lawmakers Seek to Criminally Outlaw Support for Boycott Campaign Against Israel

Protest Cuomo's Attack on Palestinian Rights.Protest outside Governor Andrew Cuomo's office in New York City-June 9th, 2016. The protest Organized by Adalah-NY: The New York Campaign for the Boycott of Israel; Jewish Voice for Peace-NY; and Jews Say No! around 300 people attending the protest (Photo by Mark Apollo/Pacific Press) *** Please Use Credit from Credit Field ***

By : 

By : 

THE CRIMINALIZATION OF political speech and activism against Israel has become one of the gravest threats to free speech in the West. In France, activists have been arrested and prosecuted for wearing T-shirts advocating a boycott of Israel. The U.K. has enacted a series of measures designed to outlaw such activism. In the U.S., governors compete with one another over who can implement the most extreme regulations to bar businesses from participating in any boycotts aimed even at Israeli settlements, which the world regards as illegal. On U.S. campuses, punishment of pro-Palestinian students for expressing criticisms of Israel is so commonplace that the Center for Constitutional Rights refers to it as “the Palestine Exception” to free speech.

But now, a group of 43 senators — 29 Republicans and 14 Democrats — wants to implement a law that would make it a felony for Americans to support the international boycott against Israel, which was launched in protest of that country’s decades-old occupation of Palestine. The two primary sponsors of the bill are Democrat Ben Cardin of Maryland and Republican Rob Portman of Ohio. Perhaps the most shocking aspect is the punishment: Anyone guilty of violating the prohibitions will face a minimum civil penalty of $250,000 and a maximum criminal penalty of $1 million and 20 years in prison.

The proposed measure, called the Israel Anti-Boycott Act (S. 720), was introduced by Cardin on March 23. The Jewish Telegraphic Agency reportsthat the bill “was drafted with the assistance of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee.” Indeed, AIPAC, in its 2017 lobbying agenda, identified passage of this bill as one of its top lobbying priorities for the year:

 

The bill’s co-sponsors include the senior Democrat in Washington, Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, his New York colleague Kirsten Gillibrand, and several of the Senate’s more liberal members, such as Ron Wyden of Oregon, Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut, and Maria Cantwell of Washington. Illustrating the bipartisanship that AIPAC typically summons, it also includes several of the most right-wing senators such as Ted Cruz of Texas, Ben Sasse of Nebraska, and Marco Rubio of Florida.

[Update – July 20, 2017: Glen Caplin, senior advisor to Gillibrand, sends along the following statement: “We have a different read of the specific bill language, however, due to the ACLU’s concerns, the Senator has extended an invitation to them to meet with her and discuss their concerns.”]

similar measure was introduced in the House on the same date by two Republicans and one Democrat. It has already amassed 234 co-sponsors: 63 Democrats and 174 Republicans. As in the Senate, AIPAC has assembled an impressive ideological diversity among supporters, predictably including many of the most right-wing House members — Jason Chaffetz, Liz Cheney, Peter King — along with the second-ranking Democrat in the House, Steny Hoyer.

Among the co-sponsors of the bill are several of the politicians who have become political celebrities by positioning themselves as media leaders of the anti-Trump #Resistance, including three California House members who have become heroes to Democrats and staples of the cable news circuit: Ted Lieu, Adam Schiff, and Eric Swalwell. These politicians, who have built a wide public following by posturing as opponents of authoritarianism, are sponsoring one of the most oppressive and authoritarian bills that has pended before Congress in quite some time.

 

LAST NIGHT, THE ACLU posted a letter it sent to all members of the Senate urging them to oppose this bill. Warning that “proponents of the bill are seeking additional co-sponsors,” the civil liberties group explained that “it would punish individuals for no reason other than their political beliefs.” The letter detailed what makes this bill so particularly threatening to basic civic freedoms:

It is no small thing for the ACLU to insert itself into this controversy. One of the most traumatic events in the organization’s history was when it lost large numbers of donors and supporters in the late 1970s after it defended the free speech rights of neo-Nazis to march through Skokie, Illinois, a town with a large community of Holocaust survivors.

Even the bravest of organizations often steadfastly avoid any controversies relating to Israel. Yet here, while appropriately pointing out that the ACLU “takes no position for or against the effort to boycott Israel or any foreign country,” the group categorically denounces this AIPAC-sponsored proposal for what it is: a bill that “seeks only to punish the exercise of constitutional rights.”

The ACLU has similarly opposed bipartisan efforts at the state level to punish businesses that participate in the boycott, pointing out that “boycotts to achieve political goals are a form of expression that the Supreme Court has ruled are protected by the First Amendment’s protections of freedom of speech, assembly, and petition,” and that such bills “place unconstitutional conditions on the exercise of constitutional rights.” The bill now co-sponsored in Congress by more than half of the House and close to half of the Senate is far more extreme than those.

 

THUS FAR, NOT a single member of Congress has joined the ACLU in denouncing this bill. The Intercept this morning sent inquiries to numerous non-committed members of the Senate and House who have yet to speak on this bill. We also sent inquiries to several co-sponsors of the bill — such as Rep. Lieu — who have positioned themselves as civil liberties champions and opponents of authoritarianism, asking:

Congressman Lieu: Last night, the ACLU vehemently denounced a bill that you are co-sponsoring — to criminalize support for a boycott of Israel — as a grave attack on free speech. Do you have any comment on the ACLU’s denunciation? You’ve been an outspoken champion for civil liberties; how can you reconcile that record with an effort to make it a felony for Americans to engage in activism that protests a foreign government’s actions? We’re writing about this today; any statement would be appreciated.

This morning, Lieu responded: “Thank you for sharing the letter. The bill has been around since March and this is the first time I have seen this issue raised. We will look into it.” (The Intercept will post any response from Rep. Lieu, or any late responses from others, as soon as they are received.)

Sen. Cantwell told The Intercept she is “a strong supporter of free speech rights” and will be reviewing the bill for First Amendment concerns in light of the ACLU statement.

Democratic Sen. Chris Coons of Delaware, when asked by The Intercept about the ACLU’s warning that the bill he is co-sponsoring criminalizes free speech, affirmed his support for the bill by responding: “I continue to support a strong U.S./Israel relationship.”

Meanwhile, some co-sponsors seemed not to have any idea what they co-sponsored — almost as though they reflexively sign whatever comes from AIPAC without having any idea what’s in it. Democratic Sen. Gary Peters of Michigan, for instance, seemed genuinely bewildered when told of the ACLU’s letter, saying, “What’s the Act? You’ll have to get back to me on that.”

A similar exchange took place with another co-sponsor, one of AIPAC’s most reliable allies, Democratic Sen. Bob Menendez of New Jersey, who said: “I’d want to read it. … I’d really have to look at it.”

Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., a co-sponsor, said she hadn’t seen the ACLU letter but would give it a look. “I certainly will take their position into consideration, just like I take everybody’s position into consideration,” she said.

Gillibrand, the only senator in the 2020 presidential mix to co-sponsor the bill, told The Intercept she would have a statement to provide, which we’ll add as soon as it’s provided.

Perhaps most stunning is our interview with the primary sponsor of the bill, Democratic Sen. Benjamin Cardin, who seemed to have no idea what was in his bill, particularly insisting that it contains no criminal penalties.

But as the ACLU put it, “Violations would be subject to a minimum civil penalty of $250,000 and a maximum criminal penalty of $1 million and 20 years in prison.”

That’s because, as Josh Ruebner expertly detailed when the bill was first unveiled, “the bill seeks to amend two laws — the Export Administration Act of 1979 and the Export-Import Bank Act of 1945,” and “the potential penalties for violating this bill are steep: a minimum $250,000 civil penalty and a maximum criminal penalty of $1 million and 20 years imprisonment, as stipulated in the International Emergency Economic Powers Act.”

Indeed, to see how serious the penalties are, and how clear it is that those penalties are imposed by this bill, one can just compare the bill’s text in Section 8(a), which provides that violators will be “fined in accordance with Section 206 of the International Emergency Economic Powers Act (50 U.S.C. 1705),” to the penalty provisions of that law, which state:

That the bill refers to the fine, but not the prison sentence, is not enough to prevent a judge from applying the statute’s prison term, because the bill brings the statute into play, said Faiz Shakir, the ACLU’s political director, who authored the letter to the Senate. “The referral to the statute keeps criminal penalties in play, regardless of what their preference for punishment might be,” said Shakir.

The bill also extends the current prohibition on participating in boycotts sponsored by foreign governments to cover boycotts from international organizations such as the U.N. and the European Union. It also explicitly extends the boycott ban from Israel generally to any parts of Israel, including the settlements. For that reason, Ruebner explains, the bill — by design — would outlaw “campaigns by the Palestine solidarity movement to pressure corporations to cut ties to Israel or even with Israeli settlements.”

 

THIS PERNICIOUS BILL highlights many vital yet typically ignored dynamics in Washington. First, journalists love to lament the lack of bipartisanship in Washington, yet the very mention of the word “Israel” causes most members of both parties to quickly snap into line in a show of unanimity that would make the regime of North Korea blush with envy. Even when virtually the entire world condemns Israeli aggression, or declares settlements illegal, the U.S. Congress — across party and ideological lines — finds virtually complete harmony in uniting against the world consensus and in defense of the Israeli government.

Sen. Ben Cardin, D-Md., speaks to reporters following a briefing on Syria on Capitol Hill in Washington, Friday, April 7, 2017. Amid measured support for the U.S. cruise missile attack on a Syrian air base, some vocal Republicans and Democrats are reprimanding the White House for launching the strike without first getting congressional approval.(AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

Second, the free speech debate in the U.S. is incredibly selective and warped. Pundits and political officials love to crusade as free speech champions — when doing so involves defending mainstream ideas or attacking marginalized, powerless groups such as minority college students. But when it comes to one of the most systemic, powerful, and dangerous assaults on free speech in the U.S. and the West generally — the growing attempt to literally criminalize speech and activism aimed at the Israeli government’s occupation — these free speech warriors typically fall silent.

Third, AIPAC continues to be one of the most powerful, and pernicious, lobbying forces in the country. In what conceivable sense is it of benefit to Americans to turn them into felons for the crime of engaging in political activism in protest of a foreign nation’s government? And this is hardly the first time they have attempted to do this through their most devoted congressional loyalists; Cardin, for instance, had previously succeeded in inserting into trade bills provisions that would disfavor anyone who supports a boycott of Israel.

Finally, it is hard to put into words the irony of watching many of the most celebrated and beloved congressional leaders of the anti-authoritarian Resistance — Gillibrand, Schiff, Swalwell, and Lieu — sponsor one of the most oppressive and authoritarian bills to appear in Congress in many years. How can one credibly inveigh against “authoritarianism” while sponsoring a bill that dictates to American citizens what political views they are and are not allowed to espouse under threat of criminal prosecution? Whatever labels one might want to apply to the sponsors of this bill, “anti-authoritarianism” should not be among them.

Edited for mb3-org.com