Asymmetrical Violence

Asymmetrical Violence

by digby

Remember when that psycho commander at Guantanamo insisted that prisoner suicides were a form of asymmetrical warfare? Well, it looks like that twisted logic has come home:

The videos taken by protesters, journalists and casual observers show UC Berkeley police and Alameda County sheriff's deputies in riot gear ordering students with linked arms to leave a grassy area outside the campus administration building Wednesday. When the students didn't move, police lowered their face shields and began hitting the protesters with batons.

University police say the students, who chanted "You're beating students" during the incident, were not innocent bystanders, and that the human fence they tried to build around seven tents amounted to a violent stance against police.

But many law enforcement experts said Thursday that the officers' tactics appeared to be a severe overreaction.

Both the ACLU and the National Lawyers Guild said they had "grave concerns about the conduct" of campus police.

"Video recordings raise numerous questions about UCPD's oversight and handling of these events, including whether law enforcement were truly required to beat protesters with batons," the two groups wrote in a letter to campus officials.

In total, 39 people were arrested Wednesday; 22 were students and one was a professor, police said. All but one were taken to jail and released.

"The individuals who linked arms and actively resisted, that in itself is an act of violence," UC police Capt. Margo Bennett said. "I understand that many students may not think that, but linking arms in a human chain when ordered to step aside is not a nonviolent protest."
It's interesting how malleable the authorities can make concept of "violence". Here's another one from that former Gitmo commander:

Rear Admiral Harris is adamant that the people in his care are well looked after and are enemies of the United States.

He told me they use any weapon they can - including their own urine and faeces - to continue to wage war on the United States.
If throwing urine is an act of war then surely forming a human chain is a violent provocation.

This is the sort of thinking that's pervaded our thinking ever since 9/11, when "terrorism" and "war" became fluid concepts, used to justify virtually any form of state violence. It was only a matter of time before it was turned on dissenting Americans.

If you build a police state they will use it.


Update: More on the Cal violence here.