A prominent political analyst says that the US government and corporate elitists are brutally suppressing Occupy protesters who are questioning levels of rampant poverty and social inequality.
In an exclusive interview with Press TV, Debra Sweet, director of “The World Can’t Wait”, sheds more light on the US Occupy movement.
The following is a transcript of the interview.
Press TV: How do you read the statements by the US president when he encourages demonstrations, the right to assemble and freedom of expression, in some countries, while back at home people were dragged by their legs and hair, they were thrown into the police vans with tear gas and sound bombs which resulted in mass arrests occurring at what I’m referred to as Zuccotti Park?
Sweet: Well, I think President Obama and Secretary Clinton put themselves in the same camp with repressive governments all over the world including Tunisia, Egypt, Syria, Bahrain, Yemen, all these places where people are protesting in the streets. We’re dealing with the same situation that a certain level of protest is sometimes allowed, a certain type of speech.
Clearly, the occupy protests in the United States have been targeted for their message, not for health and safety violations, not because the populations that we’re appealing to were not supportive, but clearly because the authorities and the police, in particular, were mobilized to suppress the message of Occupy Wall Street and at least ten other Occupations around the country in the last few days.
Press TV: Exactly. When you talk about the reason that the New York mayor was actually cited, which was for sanitary reasons, this is something that perhaps they want to highlight. But they’re not highlighting, for example, the cultural of police violence, for example, in Oakland where the police department has been noncompliant with police standards. And this has been cited, having a history with planting evidence, framing arrested individuals and being trigger happy; the New York police being not much better in their report card.
And in terms of fairness of the US judicial system, we saw what happened with the restraining order the New York mayor came out with. What does that say, overall, even in terms of human rights and, of course, the legal and judicial system in the US?
Sweet: Well, of course, the Plaza where Occupy Oakland has been for a month or so has been renamed Oscar Grant Plaza which, of course, is the young man who was killed three years ago by the Oakland police.
You’re absolutely right, and so is [your other guest speaker] Paul. Thank you for talking about the history of US hypocrisy going back decades. It’s absolutely the case that every other government is guilty but that this government’s hands are always clean when they’re talking about themselves.
In terms of policing in the United States, you have a militarization of all urban police departments now. It really doesn’t matter to us whether a particular policeman agrees with the policy or not, these are institutional decisions made above the level of the police departments, above the level of Ray Kelley, above the level of mayors, probably, in terms of the needs of the powers that be in this country to suppress these protests.
They have no idea what to do with people who just say ‘look, we don’t care that you are rulers of the world, that you’re multi-billionaires, that you have all these palaces on Wall Street, we want a different world; we, human beings, don’t want to live this way anymore! And we are not afraid of your nightsticks, we’re not afraid of your jails’.
I really think, number one that they have no idea what to do with these protests in acting the same old ways. They’ve surveyed us from every single angle. They have many, many people’s names, and they’ve even had them when they went to the park yesterday morning. They knew who they were arresting.
This surveillance has not stopped the Occupies. It’s only grown them. And this is a big problem for the powers that be.
Press TV: Let’s look at the front page coverage that this is not getting, perhaps, and this is something I don’t know is getting front page coverage. Senator Tom Coburn highlighting that millionaires in the US receive 30 billion dollars in tax payer money in write-offs, in which some of them has been paid for gambling losses, vacation homes, babysitting.
As I mentioned, I don’t know if it’s making headlines there in the US, why would this happen? Are you aware of it? Is there a loophole in these tax write-offs, and how can it be stopped?
Sweet: Pardon me for laughing but that’s just every day. That is completely the way Washington and this whole system works. I would even disagree with [your guest speaker] Paul in saying that half of the politicians in Washington are bought off by Wall Street.
You don’t get into position to have any authority in this country if you’re not beholden to Wall Street and the whole system; and if you’re not buying into, it’s wars for empire, globalization, and the whole thing. It’s all part-and-parcel of a system that exploits and oppresses the rest of the world.
If we step back and look at the “99 percent”, and keep the whole world in our hearts, as a lot of people who are occupying right now, we realize that we have a tremendous basis to ally with people around the rest of the world against this system. Again, that’s what they’re concerned about.
Tom Coburn is a stone reactionary Republican. Whatever he’s exposing is solely for his own political gain or that of his party. He can’t tell us anything that we don’t really know about.
It is making front page news this morning. We have four or five pages in The New York Times today about what the Bloomberg administration did yesterday around the country.
And we also have a large article about Occupy Cal at UC Berkeley where there were many thousands of people out last night. I have been at that campus for years. It has been very apolitical for the last few years. And it is stunning and amazingly wonderful to see all of Sproul Plaza filled with students camping out in opposition to the arrests last week of their fellow students. Something is changing.