Tag: violence

DC Guard ready for election violence, but no specific training underway

U.S. Army leadership responsible for any National Guard deployment in the capital region denied any special preparations were underway ahead of the Nov. 3 presidential election but asserted the Guard would be ready if needed.

“If we’re called upon, we will act in support of that, to protect federal property and support law enforcement,” Army Secretary Ryan McCarthy said when asked about D.C. National Guard deployment if civil unrest occurs surrounding the Nov. 3 presidential election.

“We support law enforcement,” he added at a Pentagon briefing Tuesday. “We don’t police American streets.”

Army chief Gen. James McConville clarified that no specific direction has been made to prepare Army military police ahead of the November election.

“There’s been no planning guidance given out from the Department of the Army directing any military police units to begin training for any situation,” he said.

The D.C. National Guard was criticized after it was called to assist law enforcement clearing Lafayette Square of protesters near the White House prior to a curfew on June 1 so that President Trump could walk through the park for a photo opportunity.

Two National Guard helicopters also flew low over protesters during the incident in an effort to disperse them.

McCarthy said the Army completed its portion of an investigation of the incident and turned it over to the Pentagon’s Inspector General. The Army Secretary declined to predict if the report would be released before the election.

“It’s my understanding that it’s imminent, and it’ll be released when it’s completed,” he said.

McCarthy also defended the use of the National Guard during the civil unrest in Washington, D.C. following the death of George Floyd.

“I wouldn’t characterize us being dragged onto the scene,” he said. “The protests became very violent on Sunday evening, in particular, of that week, and it was necessary to bring in the support to help local law enforcement and federal law enforcement officials, due to the tremendous damage, police officers, and Guardsmen being injured.”

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Government made mental health and domestic violence worse during COVID-19 pandemic

The U.S. reaction to the COVID-19 pandemic has negatively affected Americans more than the virus itself. It’s been well-documented that large percentages of businesses will fail, including some even in the medical profession due to the decimation caused shutdowns and essential procedure orders — but three of the most overlooked negative impacts of the shutdowns have been mental health, drug abuse and domestic violence.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, during the time period of April-June, nearly 40% of U.S. adults reported struggling with mental health of substance abuse. In a study published by the CDC on Aug. 14 due to stay at home orders, 40.9% of adults reported at least one adverse mental or behavioral health condition, 30.9% reported either anxiety or depression and 26.3% reported having something called trauma- and stressor-related disorder (TDSR). And those numbers are just the tip of the iceberg.

The same CDC study showed that 13% of people surveyed by the CDC during the same time said that they started or increased their substance use and 11% seriously considered suicide. The Washington, D.C.-based ODMAP (Overdose Detection Mapping Application Program) reported that drug overdoses during COVID rose 18%. And a study released by Pine Rest Christian Mental Health Services in June showed calls to suicide hotlines are up 47% nationwide during the COVID-19 pandemic with some crisis lines experiencing a 300% increase. 

These statistics are horrifying — but it doesn’t end there.

Not far from these numbers of increased mental health issues and substance use during COVID-19 is what the New England Journal of Medicine has labeled “A Pandemic within a Pandemic,” the rise and lack of reporting of domestic violence. With schools closed and people furloughed from work, stress levels were all-time highs in the home — and with it came higher numbers of violence. Typically, one in four women and one in 10 men experience domestic violence, but because of lockdowns, there were far less options to get away for either to report the other safely to the police. Worse is for children, who with school closures, lost teachers, guidance counselors and administrators they would once have an opportunity to report abuse to.

And how have the federal and state governments reacted? Not well. Many states are still closed, exacerbating all the issues I’ve mentioned. And similar to restaurant and small-business closures, many Americans will never recover from the damage that has been caused.

More egregious than our government not reacting is our government doing something even worse — chipping away services that could help those who find themselves in a hopeless or dangerous place. One such service at risk is the toll-free number. When I first heard about the potential to end the concept of toll-free numbers, I honestly blew it off. I, like many people that I know in my bubble, have an unlimited cellphone plan — toll-free numbers don’t come in to play for someone like me. But there are many who this would adversely affect.

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Civil Society Strengthening Platform Guidelines to better support women and girls victims of violence throughout the COVID-19 pandemic – Turkey

The current COVID-19 pandemic represents a great social and economic disruption to all human
beings, affecting disproportionally women and girls due to widespread pre-existing discrimination and
inequalities

. Every crisis creates inequalities and aggravates older ones, such as the inequalities
existing against women and girls. It is necessary for states to step up their efforts and increase the
measures to protect women and girls victims of violence.

Home is not always a safe place for women and their children, and they are especially at-risk during
lockdown, as they cannot escape their abusers. A grave concern is that social distancing and
confinement rules imposed by national governments have triggered additional risks of domestic
violence.

The present guidelines are to support the national government and service providers in Albania, Bosnia
and Herzegovina, Kosovo, Montenegro, North Macedonia, Serbia and Turkey to better respond to the
needs of women and their children, girls’ victims of violence to the effects of the lockdown measures
in light of the outbreak of the COVID-19 virus. These guidelines are to be applicable also after the
lockdown measures are lifted.

The guidelines are prepared by CSSP partners and WAVE Network, in frame of the Civil Society
Strengthening Platform project, a project ongoing in 7 countries in the Western Balkans and Turkey,
supported in frame of the European Union and UN Women programme ‘Implementing norms,
changing minds’
.

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Labour is standing by as the government sanctions state violence against its citizens

When a British woman declared she had been “raped by the state” after having a child with an undercover officer hiding behind a false identity, it should have been a national scandal, a catalyst for an urgent reckoning. She was one of a dozen women who had sexual relationships with men who pretended to be their companions and allies in order to spy on their political activities. They courageously fought for justice, yet last night parliament passed a bill making it legal for undercover MI5 agents and police officers to commit crimes – including sexual assault, torture and murder – if this prevents a more serious crime or threat to national security. Only 19 Labour MPs voted against the bill, defying Keir Starmer’s instruction to abstain.



a man standing in front of a sign: Photograph: Mark Thomas/Alamy Stock Photo


© Provided by The Guardian
Photograph: Mark Thomas/Alamy Stock Photo

Very few would dispute the need for undercover informants to break the law in certain circumstances to keep us safe. Campaigners have long argued for a legal framework for criminal acts committed by undercover agents, but while Canada prohibits undercover agents from engaging in killing, bodily harm or sexual assault, no such limits have been enshrined in UK law. The Human Rights Act exists as a safeguard against such offences, protests the government: an entirely disingenuous argument given that, as Reprieve’s executive director Anna Yearley tells me, “just a few months ago in court, and again last week in parliament, it argued that the act doesn’t apply to crimes committed by its agents”. Future survivors of abuses committed by undercover officers will be barred from seeking justice, because their abusers will be protected from civil liability for the rest of their lives.

It’s not scaremongering to claim that agents of the British state could commit crimes against the very people they have been tasked with keeping safe. Eight years ago, then prime minister David Cameron apologised to the House of Commons for “shocking levels of collusion” between agents of the British state and the loyalist murderers of Belfast lawyer Pat Finucane.

Some groups are more vulnerable than others to secretive infiltration, threatening citizens’ democratic right to protest against government action. According to research by the Guardian, of the more than 1,000 groups targeted by undercover police in the last five decades, just three belonged to the far right. The vast majority hailed from the left, and included trade unionists and climate activists. One of the three tests an authorising officer must be satisfied has been passed is to safeguard “the interests of the economic wellbeing of the UK”. Agents of the state could commit offences to defend business interests from, for example, campaigners desperately trying to urge action to confront the climate emergency.

If a police force wished to search a property for evidence, they would need to seek a warrant. But, as organisations such as Reprieve and the Pat Finucane Centre point out, the bill includes no system of warrants or independent judicial approval for the authorisation of crimes, meaning crimes by agents

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