Vital Signs: Stop Stop and Frisk Victory; An Electoral Rebellion in Israel
Stop Stop and Frisk Victory: On January 7, a federal judge declared unconstitutional the Bronx’s ‘stop-and-frisk’ policy, which allows NYPD officers to stop and search individuals in or around New York’s high crime areas. The ruling, a victory for the New York Civil Liberties Union, demands that officers have reasonable suspicion, based on ‘more than just a hunch’, to carry out trespass stops in or around private apartment buildings in the Bronx. The NYPD’s ‘Operation Clean Halls’, established in 1991, has according to the NYCLU resulted in 1,137 unreasonable and potentially unlawful stops in 2012, out of a total of 1,857 stops.
Northwest Grand Jury Resistance: Another Portland activist has announced that she is refusing to cooperate with a federal investigation of radical networks in the Northwestern United States. Kerry Cunneen has choosen not to appear before a grand jury after being subpoenaed in December, according to a statement released January 9. “I will not cooperate with this grand jury,” she said, “nor will I in any way aid the state in its efforts to imprison people. I stand in solidarity with...all action taken against the state and capital towards the goal of a more liberated society.” In Portland, at least nine subpoenaes have been issued, three houses have been raided, and three activists have been imprisoned in Portland since the Nakamura Federal Courthouse in Seattle was vandalized during a demonstration on May Day last year.
Kurds Protest Killings: On January 10, hundreds of Kurds protested in Paris and throughout France after the assassination of three Kurdish women active with the Kurdish Workers Party, or PKK, which has waged a struggle for independence from Turkey since the 1980s. Media sources have speculated that either the Turkish government or an infiltrator inside the PKK carried out the killings, which occurred at a Kurdish Centre in Paris. Amnesty International Europe released a statement urging that ‘no stone be left unturned’ in the search for the murderers of the three women, one of whom was a founding member of the PKK.
Electoral Rebellion in Israel: As Israel’s election draws near, some Israeli citizens are giving their vote to West Bank Palestinians through an online initiative. The Facebook page Real Democracy, premised on the idea that Palestinians living under Israeli occupation deserve to participate in the democratic process that determines crucial aspects of their lives, connects Israelis willing to give up their vote with counterparts in the West Bank so that they can vote in accordance with the latter’s wishes. Though the initiative is not projected to have an impact on the upcoming elections on January 22nd, the initiative's organizers hope that it will serve as a powerful symolic statement, and increase the support given to underrepresented candidates.