China’s failed attempt to erase the Tiananmen square massacre

On Jun 4, 1989, Chinese troops stormed through Tiananmen Square in the center of Beijing, killing and arresting thousands of pro-democracy protesters in what would become known as the Tiananmen Square massacre. The Tiananmen massacre was precipitated by the peaceful gatherings of students, workers, and others in Beijing’s Tiananmen Square and other cities in April 1989 calling for freedom of expression, accountability, and an end to corruption. The government responded to the intensifying protests in late May 1989 by declaring martial law. This was but a prelude the the planned crackdown the Chinese Communist party unleased on the unsuspecting pro democracy protesters in Tiananmen Square.

Between June 3 and 4, 1989, the tanks rolled into the square and the military opened fire and killed untold numbers of peaceful protesters and bystanders. China’s statement at the end of June 1989 said that 200 civilians and several dozen security personnel had died in Beijing following the suppression of “counter-revolutionary riots” on 4 June 1989. Outside sources has put the number of at least several thousands, and up to 10,000 people who were massacred by the Chinese security forces, according to recently declassified documents. Following the killings, the government implemented a national crackdown and arrested thousands of people for “counter-revolution” and other criminal charges, including disrupting social order and arson.

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China Launches Massive Online Censorship Sweep Ahead of Tiananmen Square Anniversary

The Chinese Communist government is ramping up online censorship ahead of the anniversary of the June 4, 1989, massacre of student demonstrators in Tiananmen Square – an event that is illegal to commemorate or discuss in China.

Beijing scrubs China’s heavily sealed, policed, and censored backwater of the Internet of Tiananmen content every year, but this time they, scrubbed a bridge right off the digital map. Users of China’s Baidu search engine – which, like Google and other search providers, has a mapping feature – suddenly found themselves unable to locate Sitong Bridge in Beijing. Early this week, Baidu began claiming “no related places found” when the bridge is searched for, although some intrepid users were able to get around the clumsy censorship by using different versions of the Chinese alphabet.

Sitong Bridge became a political topic last October when a man began hanging banners from the bridge criticizing dictator Xi Jinping and his heavy-handed coronavirus lockdown policies.

“No PCR tests, but food; no lockdowns, but freedom; no lies, but respect; no Cultural Revolution, but reform; no dictator, but vote; no [to being] slaves, but we the people,” one of the banners read.

The Sitong Bridge banners helped to inspire the massive nationwide protests that ultimately prompted Xi to abandon his lockdown policies, even though the Chinese government had long insisted the lockdowns were perfectly conceived, deftly executed, and highly effective at restraining the Wuhan coronavirus.

The protesters adopted white sheets of paper as a symbol of defiance, borrowing a (literal) page from the Hong Kong pro-democracy movement of 2019, which taunted the island’s Beijing-controlled government by daring the police to arrest them for waving papers that bore no message at all. Protesters waving blank paper assembled on other bridges as a tribute to the Sitong Bridge dissident, and they chanted a slogan from one of his banners: “Freedom, Not Lockdown.”

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Even Pennsylvanians Can Now Buy Wine in Grocery Stores, but New Yorkers Still Can’t

When I lived in New York City a couple of decades ago, you could buy beer in grocery stores but not wine. Although that remains true, a bill introduced by state Sen. Liz Krueger (D–Manhattan) would finally allow New Yorkers to buy wine in stores that also sell food—an option that shoppers in most states (including Texas, where I live) already take for granted.

As usual, the opposition to alcohol liberalization in New York is led by independent liquor merchants, who see competition as an existential threat. The chief backer of Krueger’s bill is Wegmans, the Rochester-based grocery chain that also played a central role in making beer more accessible in my home state of Pennsylvania.

Both of these stories illustrate how a company pursuing profit can promote consumer choice while businesses that benefit from the legal status quo squeal in outrage at the possibility of new competition. These struggles against absurd alcohol rules also show how such irksome restrictions can inspire bipartisan support for deregulation, scrambling the usual assumptions about which party tends to favor government control over economic activity.

Pennsylvania’s alcohol regulations are even more restrictive and convoluted than New York’s. Distribution is controlled by the state, which operates stores that sell liquor and wine but not beer. Prior to 2007, Pennsylvanians had two options for buying beer: They could pick up an overpriced six-pack or two at a restaurant, or they could buy a keg or a case from a state-authorized distributor. But thanks to Wegmans and a Pennsylvania Supreme Court decision triggered by its innovative end run around the state’s arbitrary rules, Pennsylvanians were able to begin buying beer at grocery stores, like the residents of all but a few other states.

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The CLASSIFIED ‘Mosul Orb’ UAP Case: A New Chapter in Government Secrecy Tactics Unfolds

The Pentagon has maintained its silence on the leaked image of the so-called “Mosul Orb” depicting an alleged Unidentified Aerial [Anomalous] Phenomena or UAP seen over an active conflict zone in Iraq back in 2016. The case has been left unaddressed and unconfirmed by the Department of Defense (DoD) since the image and case details first appeared online in January 2023, despite the significant public interest UAP have generated, and the fact that the Pentagon has previously offered commentary on past leaks related to the same. The Pentagon would only say that, “We’re not going to comment on remarks by unnamed sources alleging leaks from a classified report,” in a statement received about the “Mosul Orb” by The Black Vault in January.

The “Mosul Orb”, obtained and released by investigative journalists Jeremy Corbell and George Knapp, shows what has been alleged as a UAP, captured by an MC-12, medium-to-low altitude, twin-engine turboprop aircraft over Mosul, Iraq, on April 16, 2016.

However, a new response to a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request filed by The Black Vault (23-F-0389), may indicate the classified and sensitive nature of the “Mosul Orb” case, which sheds light on why the Pentagon refused to comment. The DoD states in a FOIA denial letter received today by The Black Vault, that information relating to the case is “classified,” and it also relates to an ongoing “law enforcement investigation.”

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Plutocracy Uses Technology to Clobber the Poor

Technology wielded by oligarchic government is a nightmare. From killer police dog robots to facial recognition in public housing, it’s not just the poor who are targets, it’s everybody. But the poor and the left get smacked with it the worst. It’s open season on antifa, a season inaugurated by killer Kyle Rittenhouse shooting two Black Lives Matter protestors to death, getting off scott free and becoming the darling of far-right celebrities. As for how technology crushes the poor, just take the case of 33-year-old Tania Acabou, who found herself a victim of constant surveillance in her public housing project.

Cameras bought through the department of Housing and Urban Development have been installed in public housing, supposedly to fight crime. Instead, the poor domiciled there find themselves under continuous watch. “It got to the point where it was like harassment,” Acabou told the Washington Post after being evicted from her New Bedford, Massachusetts project due to this surveillance. The Post reported May 16 that Acabou received “an eviction notice in 2021 after the housing authority…used cameras to investigate her over several months…The housing authority believed her ex was living at the house without contributing rent [he was babysitting their kids]…violating a policy that restricts overnight visitors to 21 nights per year.”

In a Steubenville, Ohio project, the Post added, “One man was filmed spitting in a hallway. A woman was recorded removing a cart from a communal laundry room. Footage in both cases was presented to a judge to help evict the residents in court.” So if you’re poor, you live under a security microscope with the excuse that it fights crime, when really it just fights you. One woman, threatened with eviction “for lending her key fob to an unauthorized guest,” explained that her declining vision necessitated a friend bringing her groceries. She was allowed to stay.

HUD used federal crime fighting grants to buy the cameras. But as anyone with a brain can deduce, this surveillance is aimed at public housing residents, not criminals. Or maybe, as far as HUD’s concerned, the residents are the criminals…While several states have limited police use of facial recognition, as the Post notes, because it produces false matches, HUD does not appear to have caught on. “In rural Scott County, Va., cameras equipped with facial recognition scan everyone who walks past them, looking for people barred from public housing,” according to the Post. “In New Bedford, Mass., software is used to search hours of recordings to find any movement near the doorways of residents suspected of violating overnight guest rules.” So if you reside in public housing or visit someone there, you are treated as a potential lawbreaker.

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When Your Own Government CONFIRMS It Paid Censors to Silence You…

It’s hard to believe that I’m writing this about the government of the United States of America, but here we are in 2023 with our own government striving to make at least half the country out to be terrorists and second-class citizens. An exclusive report by the Washington Examiner states:

The State Department “stands by” its widely scrutinized grant to a group the Washington Examiner revealed is blacklisting conservative media outlets, according to a letter to Congress.

Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA) put the State Department’s Global Engagement Center on blast in a March letter to the agency and demanded an investigation into its $100,000 grant in 2021 to the Global Disinformation Index, which has fed conservative website blacklists to advertisers to defund disfavored speech. The agency issued a response to the congressman on Friday, telling him in a letter obtained by the Washington Examiner that it has no regrets over the taxpayer-backed award…

…As the Washington Examiner has reported since February 2022, the GDI was awarded $100,000 through the government’s U.S.-Paris Tech Challenge, which sought to “advance the development of promising and innovative technologies against disinformation and propaganda across the European Economic Area and the United Kingdom,” according to the Atlantic Council, a think tank that partnered for the challenge.

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Why The Media Is Attacking Free Speech

Governments around the world are cracking down on free speech. What they are demanding includes the ability to read private encrypted text messages and invade homes in search of wrongspeech. Their demands thus go far beyond what the Censorship Industrial Complex was able to get away with over the last six years.

And things are getting worse. Last week, the European Union announced it would punish Twitter for withdrawing from its supposedly “voluntary” censorship laws. “Twitter leaves EU voluntary code of practice against disinformation,” said the EU’s top censor, Thierry Breton, “You can run, but you can’t hide. Beyond voluntary commitments, fighting disinformation will be a legal obligation under [the Digital Services Act] DSA as of August 25. Our teams will be ready for enforcement.”

Politico begs to differ. The Censorship Industrial Complex, it wrote last week, is an “unproven conspiracy theory that a group of left-leaning academics, think tanks, tech workers and government employees coordinated to silence right-wing voters ahead of nationwide votes. To be clear (looking at you, Twitter Files), none of this has been proved, and there’s evidence that right-leaning voices have a larger, not smaller, presence online compared with those on the left.”

But it’s not unproven. In fact, the existence, funding, and actions of the Censorship Industrial Complex are extremely well-documented at this point. Across thousands of pages of Attorneys’ General lawsuits, thousands of pages of Congressional reports and testimony, and hundreds of pages of Twitter and Facebook files themselves, it’s clear that here was a highly coordinated campaign by top White House officialsgovernment agencies, and government-funded contractors to demand Twitter, Facebook, and other social media companies censor, in their own words, “often-true” content, including about drug side effects, both to prevent the public from seeing it but also to spread misinformation on behalf of a political agenda.

Politico did not, notably, provide any source or link to support its claim that “there’s evidence that right-leaning voices have a larger, not smaller, presence online compared with those on the left.” The reason might be that such “evidence” is a single highly selective study attempting to generalize about the whole of the social media experience through the lens of an outdated and simplistic Left-Right framework.

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Rejoice Georgians: You Don’t Need a Government Permit To Advise Breastfeeding Moms

Georgia’s Supreme Court today struck down a state law that required people who provide lactation consulting to obtain costly and time-consuming state licenses.

In a unanimous ruling, the justices determined that a law passed in 2016 unconstitutionally deprived Mary Jackson of work. Jackson had been providing lactation care consulting services for more than 30 years and started a nonprofit, Reaching Our Sisters Everywhere (ROSE), to provide breastfeeding education.

Georgia Supreme Court Chief Justice Michael P. Boggs wrote the ruling in Jackson v. Raffensperger, and he was critical of attempts to declare that the state has a “public welfare” interest for every licensing law it passes: “Georgia’s Due Process Clause requires more than a talismanic recitation of an important public interest.” Here the court examined whether the licensing requirement protected the public from unsafe or harmful health practices. They found the state’s evidence wanting:

Certainly, there is nothing inherently harmful in the practice of lactation care, and there is no evidence of harm to the public from the provision of lactation care and services by individuals who lack an [International Board Certified Lactation Consultant] license.

To get this license through a private credentialing body, the court notes, requires 14 different health courses (some college level), 95 hours of training, 300 supervised clinical hours, and up to $700 in costs. Boggs notes in his ruling that only 162 of Georgia’s 470 lactation consultants have gone through the process to get licensing.

The state admitted to the court that they had no evidence that anybody was harmed by unlicensed or incompetent lactation care before or after the law’s passage. An analysis of a version of the law that was considered in 2013 (and not passed) noted that there was no evidence of any harm caused by the state’s failure to license or regulate lactation consultants.

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ON WEDNESDAY MORNING, a heavily armed Atlanta Police Department SWAT team raided a house in Atlanta and arrested three of its residents. Their crime? Organizing legal support and bail funds for protesters and activists who have faced indiscriminate arrest and overreaching charges in the struggle to stop the construction of a vast police training facility — dubbed Cop City — atop a forest in Atlanta.

In a joint operation with the Georgia Bureau of Investigation, or GBI, Atlanta cops charged Marlon Scott Kautz, Adele Maclean, and Savannah Patterson — all board members of the Atlanta Solidarity Fund — with “money laundering” and “charity fraud.”

The arrests are an unprecedented attack on bail funds and legal support organizations, a long-standing facet of social justice movements, according to Lauren Regan, executive director of the Civil Liberties Defense Center.

“This is the first bail fund to be attacked in this way,” Regan, whose organization has worked to ensure legal support for people resisting Cop City, told me. “And there is absolutely not a scintilla of fact or evidence that anything illegal has ever transpired with regard to Atlanta fundraising for bail support.”

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Innocent Homeowner Calls 911 to Report Burglary, Cops Show Up and Execute Him

In an appalling incident that shatters the illusion of safety ostensibly provided by America’s mandatory security force, a man in Mantua, found himself fatally shot by the very people he called for help. Charles Sharp III, 49, dialed 911 in the early morning of Sept. 14, 2021, to report a couple of intruders lurking in his backyard. The emergency response he anticipated took a deadly turn when one of the officers arriving at the scene shot him dead — within seconds. This disturbing sequence of events serves as a potent reminder of the inherent risk involved in reaching out to law enforcement agencies, even in moments of dire need.

Mantua Township Police Officer Salvatore Oldrati, who fired the fatal shots, now faces a manslaughter charge. A state grand jury handed the indictment on Tuesday, which was publicized the following night. If found guilty, Oldrati could face up to 10 years behind bars. But for Sharp’s family, this potential sentencing offers little consolation for their unexpected loss.

Sharp had reported seeing two burglars in his yard, one of whom appeared to be armed. Two officers, Officer Oldrati and Cpl. Robert Layton arrived on the scene in separate vehicles. Sharp, still on the line with the 911 dispatcher, was in his front yard when the officers pulled up.

Officer Oldrati arrived shortly after Layton. As he stepped out of his vehicle, Layton shouted, “He’s got a handgun on him, right there,” according to a statement from the attorney general’s office. Oldrati reacted by opening fire on Sharp, hitting him multiple times. Despite being rushed to the hospital, Sharp succumbed to his injuries.

While a replica .45-caliber firearm was recovered near Sharp, Layton did not discharge his service weapon. Moreover, investigators found that Oldrati did not issue any verbal warning or command before filling the innocent man with taxpayer-funded lead.

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