Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Might Makes Right vs. Democracy

Source: Tweet June 4, 2013 by  MARJİNAL ÇAPULCU  TURKISH police are erasing their id numbers on their helmets before torture citizens
In a democracy, the police and military are public servants. Their actions are accountable -- to be monitored and reviewed by those who pay their wages. To further this accountability system, they are required to wear identification on their uniforms as they perform public duties.

When state violence is turned against the people, what happens to those systems of accountability?

First, identifying marks are erased so that citizens have no way to identify the individual police or soldiers harming them.

Second, watchdogs, whistleblowers and journalists are especially targeted for repression and brutality.

Third, official lies are broadcast 24/7. One of my favorite tweets from June 2 as Taksim Square was being raided violently by Turkish police:

If millions are uprising but TV channels are broadcasting only Erdoğan, something's are wrong. Seriously wrong.
Fourth, communication channels used by the people are shut down: cell phones, Twitter, Facebook, even the entire Internet. It's a bit of a last resort, because it often backfires as those angered by feeling the heavy hand of repression on their own information feed spill into the streets, swelling the numbers of those protesting.
Source: Tweet on June 4, 2013 by  Melikeall Arınç says that the government can shut the Internet down in a second!
And if, like the Erdogan government, you've already got this kind of mass mobilization rising

Source: Spanish Revolution blog "June 1. The people crossing the Bosphorus at dawn. Photos via occupygezipics.tumblr.com"
you're in deep doo-doo. Even before the Confederation of Public Workers' Unions (KESK) calls a two-day solidarity strike citing "state terror implemented against entirely peaceful protests...continuing in a way that threatens civilians' life safety." The translation of today's trending hashtag #EylemVakti is "time for action."

It must be hard for ruling systems posing as democracies to know when to keep holding on to the illusion, maybe by having violent militias that appear to be acting independently do some of the regulating and terrorizing for you, at the risk of not being able to rein them in later. How do they decide when the time has come to stop pretending to be a democracy that fewer people each day can bring themselves to believe in?

From Agence France-Presse:

Erdogan has dismissed the protestors as “vandals” stressing that he had been democratically elected..."for me, democracy comes from the ballot box,” he said.
What's not difficult for repressive governments posing as democracies is knowing that truth must be suppressed as effectively -- and quietly -- as possible.
source: Salon.com article about the infamous Collateral Murder video which Bradley Manning admits he leaked.
Shout out today to epic leaker Bradley Manning, whose court martial trial enters its second day following 1,100 days of pre-trial detention with barely a whisper of corporate press attention. Press Freedom Foundation has published the first rush transcript made by a crowd-funded court stenographer denied access to the courtroom, and housed in a location with an audio feed that cuts in and out.

Watchdogs like the Center for Constitutional Rights keep pressing for more transparency in Manning's historic trial.

And the lies just keep rolling on...

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