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Opinions of Wednesday, 20 July 2016

Columnist: Clement Kpeklitsu

Frightening developments in US race relations

African Americans are still brutally murdered with impunity. In 2015, police in the United States continued to kill at a rate far higher than every other country in the world for which statistics are currently available.

That year, U.S. cops killed at least 1,200 people, more than three per day on average. A significant and disproportional number of these victims were African Americans.

The local law-enforcement agencies, the courts and the federal government have in most cases proved incapable of prosecuting those who engage in racist violence against the oppressed. The Justice Department has admitted that it does not accurately document police killings and their racial implications.

Until killer cops are held accountable for false arrests, extreme brutality, other forms of abuse and murdering Black youths, Dallas may prove a shot across the bow for what’s to come – a declaration of war against longstanding injustice.

Millions of people around the world have reacted with shock, outrage and revulsion at the latest videos and images of police murder in the United States. Thousands of people took part in demonstrations throughout the US.

The final horrific moments of Alton Sterling, 37, and Philando Castile, 32, have been watched and shared millions of times on Facebook and other social media.

On July 5, Sterling was shot by police officers in Baton Rouge, Louisiana at least three times at point-blank range as he was pinned down to the ground. The next day, Castile was shot at least four times during a traffic stop in Falcon Heights, Minnesota, as his girlfriend and child watched helplessly.

Both Sterling and Castile were African American.

In Warsaw, Poland attending an anti-Russia NATO summit, Obama’s pretense of concern for racial disparities and America’s criminal injustice system rang hollow.

Saying “we can do better than this” belies his phony war on terrorism, unbridled militarism, neoliberal harshness, destruction of fundamental freedoms, indifference to human suffering, Big Brother watching everyone, and favoring privileged interests over all others.

Cops in America serve and protect the powerful at the expense of most others, especially people of color.The nation’s gulag prison system, the world’s largest by far, attests to its barbarity – mostly filled with poor, disadvantaged Blacks and Latinos. Many are falsely convicted or locked in cages for illicit drug possession offenses too minor to matter.

Perhaps most significantly, the unending stream of police murders has taken place under the presidency of Barack Obama, an African American. The Obama administration has used federal investigations to whitewash police killings, has sided with the police in every use-of-force case brought before the Supreme Court and continues to oversee the transfer of military weaponry to local police forces throughout the country.

July 9, 2016 Micah Xavier Johnson, an Afghan War veteran who spent six years in the Army Reserves, opened fire on Dallas police who were escorting a demonstration of hundreds of people protesting the police killings of unarmed black men. He killed five police and wounded seven.

Johnson, a 25-year-old African-American, had told police negotiators during the lengthy standoff that he was angry over the killings of Alton Sterling on Tuesday in Baton Rouge, Louisiana and Philando Castile on Wednesday in Falcon Heights, Minnesota. “He said he was upset about the recent police shootings,” Dallas Police Chief David Brown said. “The suspect said he was upset at white people. The suspect stated he wanted to kill white people, especially white officers.”

The real problem is that public authorities do not protect the public from gratuitous violence. Therefore, hatred and disrespect for the police are growing. Routine murders by police–several each day, almost all of which go unpunished–are generating the kind of anger that causes people to snap and to reply to violence with violence.

The greatest threat to the world is American exceptionalism. It is the success of the indoctrination of this Nazi doctrine of exceptionalism that is the source of the violence in the world today. The problem of American police violence is that the police are now defined as exceptional and unaccountable.

They can kill the rest of us without accountability, just as Washington slaughters untold numbers of peoples in Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Libya, Somalia, Yemen, and Pakistan. Unexceptional peoples are dispensable. From the republic’s inception, America waged genocidal wars without mercy, rule of law principles discarded, conquest and dominance sought at any price.

At home, America’s native people were virtually exterminated, survivors consigned to concentration camp-like reservations, treated more like animals than people, impoverished, abused and denied their fundamental rights.

Abroad, one country after another was raped and destroyed, endless horrors continuing. Tens of millions of death attest to a ruthless state masquerading as democratic and peace-loving – an Orwellian world in fact, not fiction.

Cold hard reality exposes horrifying truths – a nation bent on world conquest and colonization, its resources looted, its people exploited, nonbelievers slaughtered, imprisoned, disappeared or otherwise eliminated. Syria is one of many US war theaters, using ISIS and other terrorist groups as imperial foot soldiers, backed by American air power, pretending to combat the scourge it supports.

Endless war continues, peace talks and cessation of hostilities farcical. Clinton, if elected president, and her likely secretary of WAR Michele Flournoy favor escalated conflict, including no-fly or no-bombing zones, along with greater numbers of US combat troops involved.

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