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Monday, May 23, 2005

Third Degrees of Separation

The folks at the Marxist Internet Archive are hard at work reminding us that the 'Koran down the khazi' allegations have many historical precedents. Among these are a reprint of an article in the Worker snappily entitled "Exposes Third Degree: Lambkin Tells of Brutalities Following Arrest in Michigan Raid." [Oct. 21, 1922]: Cyril Lambkin, Detroit District Organizer for the Workers Party of America, was one of the 17 individuals arrested early in the morning of August 22, 1922, at the convention of the Communist Party at the Wolfskeel Summer Resort, near Bridgman, Michigan. This news report from the organ of the WPA, The Worker, quotes Lambkin's affidavit detailing police brutality following his arrest: a blow to the hip, grilling by multiple federal agents, a slap to the face, being hurled into another room, and being pulled up from the floor by his hair.
What does this tell us? That vacationing at the Wolfskeel summer resort was to be avoided? Possibly. That official brutality against the political opponents of the US authorities has a long history? Probably. But also that the violence against Cyril Lambkin is the kind of thing that opposition newspapers sought to expose, whereas the untrue Guantanamo Bay attrocity stories appearing in the pro-US Newsweek stem from the cynical malaise surrounding much of US journalism. Ironically, the cack-handed reporting in such magazines - now blamed for starting riots among Muslims - also deflects attention from Washington's existing disgraceful policy on political prisoners.


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