Progressive Lawmakers Push Biden To Stop Transferring Military Weapons to Cops

Congressional progressives this week urged top Biden administration officials to end the transfer of military weapons to local law enforcement agencies under a program that critics say disproportionately harms communities of color.

In a letter led by Rep. Ayanna Pressley (D-Mass.), Sen. Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii), and Rep. Hank Johnson (D-Ga.), the 22 lawmakers called on Cabinet members to implement part of a May executive order signed by President Joe Biden aimed at reforming federal policing standards.

“Police militarization has never made our communities safer,” Pressley tweeted. “It’s time to stop transferring military-grade weapons to local police.”

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‘Remember Abu Ghraib,’ MbS Tells Biden When Pressed on Khashoggi: Report

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman reportedly told President Joe Biden during their meeting in Jeddah Friday that while the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi is “regrettable,” U.S. hands are not clean and other journalists are killed with impunity.

Bin Salman specifically mentioned the torture scandal at the US military prison at Abu Ghraib, Iraq and the killing of Palestinian-American Al Jazeera reporter Shireen Abu Akleh by Israeli forces in May, according to Al Aribiya, which is owned by the Saudi government.

The de facto Saudi ruler also said that the CIA – which along with other American intelligence agencies concluded that Khashoggi’s gruesome 2018 murder was likely ordered by bin Salman – makes mistakes, as it did when it falsely claimed Iraq had an active weapons of mass destruction program prior to the 2003 U.S.-led invasion and occupation.

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House Votes Down Amendments To Cut ‘Outrageous’ Military Budget

Progressive campaigners rebuked members of Congress who on Wednesday night voted down a pair of amendments to the latest National Defense Authorization Act that would have significantly limited the U.S. military budget.

With the US House of Representatives set to vote this week on the NDAA for fiscal year 2023, progressive Reps. Barbara Lee (D-Calif.) and Mark Pocan (D-Wis.) sought to include two amendments in $839 billion bill.

One of the measures would have reduced the overall Pentagon budget by $100 billion, while the other would have rescinded the $37 billion in additional Pentagon funding added in committee to President Joe Biden’s topline request. The former measure was defeated by a vote of 78-350, while the latter was voted down 151-277.

“We are racing toward a trillion-dollar military budget that tolerates and encourages mind-blowing waste, rewards military-industrial complex political spending with unfathomably large contracts – and fails to address priority national security needs,” Robert Weissman, president of the consumer advocacy group Public Citizen, said in a statement.

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‘You Don’t Got This’: Peace Group Blasts NYC’s New Nuclear Survival PSA

Peace advocates on Tuesday derided a New York City public service announcement meant to prepare residents for a nuclear attack as a 21st-century version of the absurd Duck and Cover civil defense film of the early Cold War era.

“So, there’s been a nuclear attack,” the narrator of the NYC Emergency Management video begins. “Don’t ask me how or why, just know the big one has hit.”

“So what do we do?” she continues before instructing viewers to “get inside, fast,” “stay inside… and get clean immediately,” and “stay tuned; follow media for more information.”

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‘Sad Day for Western Democracy’: Chomsky, Ellsberg, Others Denounce Assange Extradition

As supporters of Julian Assange held a news conference Friday at the United Kingdom’s consulate in New York to demand freedom for the jailed WikiLeaks founder, a trio of leading leftist figures decried the British government’s approval of the ailing Australian’s extradition to the United States.

In a statement published ahead of Friday’s press conference, the three chairs of the Assange Defense Committee – linguist and political dissident Noam Chomsky, Pentagon Papers whistleblower Daniel Ellsberg, and Pulitzer Prize-winning author Alice Walker – blasted U.K. Home Secretary Priti Patel’s greenlighting of Assange’s transfer to the U.S. earlier in the day. Assange plans to appeal the decision.

“It’s a sad day for Western democracy. The UK’s decision to extradite Julian Assange to the nation that plotted to assassinate him – the nation that wants to imprison him for 175 years for publishing truthful information in the public interest – is an abomination,” the trio said, referring to an alleged 2017 CIA scheme to kidnap or kill the WikiLeaks founder.

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Israeli Cops Won’t Be Punished for Attack on Shireen Abu Akleh’s Funeral

No Israeli police officers will be punished, despite brutally assaulting mourners at last month’s funeral procession for slain Palestinian-American journalist Shireen Abu Akleh, a leading newspaper in Israel reported Thursday.

According toHaaretz, the decision to not hold any police commanders or officers accountable for their misconduct during Abu Akleh’s May 13 funeral was made in advance of the official investigation.

As thousands of mourners made their way through occupied East Jerusalem, Israeli police attacked the cortege with batons, stun grenades, and tear gas, while stealing Palestinian flags from mourners and smashing the window of the hearse carrying Abu Akleh’s coffin. At one point, officers assaulted pallbearers carrying the casket, nearly causing them to drop it to the ground.

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