The pepper-spraying of 11 peaceful protesters at the University of California, Davis, provides an opportunity to reopen questions long ignored. Is oleoresin capsicum, the key ingredient of pepper spray, known to be safe? And if so, why have the authorities never performed the health risk assessments that were required by law when the weapon was introduced in 1992? Are they afraid of anything?
The Peace Exchange Bulletin
Published by Tom Hayden, The Peace Exchange Bulletin is a reader-supported journal, critically following the Pentagon's Long War in Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Iraq, as well as the failed U.S. wars on drugs and gangs, and U.S. military responses to nationalism and poverty around the world.
The Senate, on Wednesday, called for an “expedited drawdown” of US troops from Afghanistan in an amendment to the FY 2012 National Defense Authorization Act. The amendment, offered by Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-OR) and 20 co-sponsors, was adopted by voice vote, as Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) shouted “no.”
Compared with the brutal police crackdowns against the Occupy movement in New York City, Oakland and even the pacific Davis campus of the University of California, the Los Angeles eviction last night was almost entirely peaceful. The question is, why and whether it can last.
This year marks the 50th anniversary of the Port Huron Statement, the foundational document of Students for a Democratic Society (SDS). The anniversary comes at a time of renewed interests of student-led democracy movements around the world, in an online context we never dreamed about. The Occupy Wall Street movement even invokes “participatory democracy” in its recent manifesto. There will be major conferences on the Port Huron Statement this year at UCLA (where I am teaching a class), UCSB, NYU and elsewhere. Documents prepared for the Port Huron events will be posted periodically at this website.
In a Sunday evening phone conversation, Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa elaborated on his gamble on the Los Angeles police being able to evict hundreds of protesters from Occupy LA with little violence or damage to the City’s reputation.
Afghan president Hamid Karzai is expected in Bonn, December 5, to appeal for another decade of international military support while a World Bank report describes his economy as a basket case.
Bradley Manning will appear at a pretrial hearing on Friday, December 16, at Fort Meade, Maryland, facing charges of violating the US Espionage Act by disclosing tens of thousands of classified cables exposing secrets of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars. He faces a maximum sentence of life imprisonment in the military trial.
The Occupy Wall Street uprising, and the economic crisis in general, places increased pressure on the US government to phase out the military interventions in Iraq and Afghanistan, draw back from the Pakistan abyss, and hesitate before sending more Special Forces across the world. There are signs that President Obama is weighing an increased American withdrawal before the November 2012 election, which causes intensified alarm among war hawks.
“The business community and its Republican allies in Congress went to war” against proposed smog control rules, according to the New York Times account of November 17. They defeated the Obama administration’s environmental officials, a “victory” for polluters projected to cause 7,200 annual American deaths which could have been avoided.