This is an absolutely awful and mendacious article by Molly Crabapple in Vanity Fair. My God, their politics have gone downhill lately.
Trying to make Ceily McMillan, a labor activist and Occupy demonstrator into a human rights victim is a huge fail - like other huge fails trying to turn that radical, violent movement into a poster boy for human rights and democracy, when in fact it's about deliberate, Marxist-Leninist-style violent revolution antithetical to human rights.
Cecily McMillan was heavily intoxicated by her own admission in court when she got into an altercation with police trying to break up an attempt to reinstall Occupy, which had already legitimately been dispersed -- because months-long urban camping in public squares, replete with public urination, rats, rape, garbage, noise, etc. -- isn't guaranteed under the First Amendment; restrictions are allowed for time, place, and manner.
The pictures that Occupy show of another woman being supposedly grabbed by the breast are outrageous -- for one, it's a distraction because one policeman even if proven to have grabbed a woman's press isn't proof in a completely different case with McMillan.
But when you look at the photo, you see the cop has grabbed the woman *underneath* her breast as he's trying to round her up. Getting people from behind is a better method than trying to get them from the front when they might flail their arms.
McMillan's claims of having a bruised breast didn't hold up in court. Given that she was drunk and passed out and fell on the floor, the bruises could have come from something else, even her own hand if she fell on it. There just isn't any evidence of police brutality here as try as they might. Compare and contrast the New York Times and Village Voice versions of this story to understand what this is about: radical politics and Occupy rioters lying to get their way.
McMillan hit a policeman with her elbow when she was detained -- she was drunk and disorderly. She was properly arrested and charged. Is the sentence too long for a crime that wasn't deliberate? Perhaps. She has good lawyers and they can go for an appeal.
But this case has NOTHING to do with free expression at all.
Ditto the case of Barrett Brown, who was not arrested for journalism but for enabling hackers and for making threats to law-enforcers.
Snowden isn't a human rights victim, either; he's a wanted felon and fugitive. The Snowden team has not come up with a single case of human rights abuse involving an individual, as opposed to blanket, hypothetical hystericals about how a system *might* be used. Greenwald is promising to deliver some sort of list soon, but it's terribly lame, and he's already walking it back.
Snowden did not "have" to go to Russia, he could have gone to Latin America before exposing his identity.
Why the coyness about naming the organization? It's PEN Club. And they've really gone off the rails by not sticking to cases like Pussy Riot -- which also has some elements that make it not about free expression, too, because your right to invade other people's churches while they are excercising *their* free expression isn't unlimited, either. But they shouldn't have gotten heavy sentences.
And McMillan's sentence isn't an equivalent (Pussy Riot committed no assaults) and three months is considerably lighter than the 2-3 years the Russian women got. Pussy Riot took up this case as a balancing act to try to appeal to American leftists who were ignoring them and try to position themselves as not anti-government per se in Russia but just pro human rights. It's a fail. There is no moral equivalence between a country that perpetrates wars in the North Caucasus and Ukraine and jails protesters for years who weren't drunk and who didn't strike any policemen.
PEN should stick to really clear-cut classic cases of imprisoned writers. There are enough of them to keep them busy. Unless, of course, it was never really about that, but merely a vehicle for certain trendy liberals and leftists to use as their political hobby horse.
Human rights are not for overthrowing a state that in fact ensures those human rights, and replacing it with something far worse that is antithetical to human rights.
Sarah Kendzior is disgraceful -- she's just instigated a massive witch-hunt against a leftist magazine's writers and editors because they dared to link to her public tweet about rape threats -- which has resulted in an astounding suppression of freedom of expression all around.
All in all, a horrible intervention from radicals once again -- and we're unimpressed with Vanity Fair, which thinks if they put a positive article about Pussy Riot in the same issue by Masha Gessen, then it's all balanced.
If Occupy and people like Sarah Kendzior came to power, we'd learn what it's like to learn under bureaucratic and oppressive Bolshevik rule. Let's not make it easy for them and draw a distinction between violent revolution and human rights.