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Iraq War embed Rob McClure, witness to war crimes he didn’t report, suffers phantom pain in gonads he never had.

DENVER, COLORADO- Today Occupy Denver political prisoner Corey Donahue was given a nine month sentence for a 2011 protest stunt. Judge Nicole Rodarte’s unexpected harsh sentence came after the court read the victim statement of CBS4 cameraman Rob McClure, who said he still feels the trauma of the uninvited “cupping [of his] balls” while he was filming the 2011 protest encampment at the state capitol. Donahue admits that McClure was the target of a “nut-tap”, but insists it was feigned, as occupiers demonstrated their disrespect to the corporate news crews who were intent on demonizing the homeless participants even as Denver riot police charged the park. Though a 2012 jury convicted Donahue of misdemeanor unwanted sexual contact, witnesses maintain there was no physical contact.

Of course simply the implication of contact would have humiliated McClure in front of the battalion of police officers amused by the antic. That’s authentic sexual trauma, just as a high school virgin is violated when a braggart falsely claims to have of engaged them in sexual congress. Donahue was wrong, but how wrong? Can professionals who dish it out claim infirmity when the tables are turned?

Ultimately the joke was on Donahue, because his mark turned out to be far more vulnerable than his dirty job would have suggested. The CBS4 cameraman who Donahue picked on was a louse’s louse.

Off limits?
While some might assert there is no context which would excuse touching a stranger’s genital region, I’m not sure the rule of no hitting below the belt is a civility to which folks facing riot cops are in accord. Protesters can’t shoot cops, they can’t spit at cops, in fact protesters have to pull all their punches. Some would have you believe demonstrators should do no more than put daisies in police gun barrels, all the while speaking calmly with only pleasant things to say.

Let me assure you, simply to defy police orders is already a humiliation for police. What’s some pantomimed disrespect? Humiliating riot cops is the least unarmed demonstrators can do against batons and shields and pepper spray. Should the authorities’ private parts be off limits for a public’s expression of discontent? Jocks wear jock straps precisely because private parts aren’t off sides.

It’s tempting to imagine that all cops are human beings who can be turned from following orders to joining in protestations of injustice and inequity. This is of course nonsense. But it’s even more delusional to think corporate media cameras and reporters will ever take a sympathetic line to the travails of dissidents. Media crews exploit public discontent just as riot cops enjoy the overtime. Media crews gather easy stories of compelling interest from interviewees eager to have their complaints be understood.

Corey Donahue
On October 15, 2011, Rob McClure turned his camera off when the narrative wasn’t fitting the derogatory spin he wanted to put on the homeless feeding team which manned Occupy Denver’s kitchen, dubbed “The Thunderdome.” Donahue observed the cameraman’s deliberate black out of the savory versus the unsavory and reciprocated with the crowd pleasing nut-tap. In the midst of this circus, Colorado State Troopers, METRO SWAT, and city riot police charged the encampment and made two dozen arrests.

It was hours later, perhaps after reviewing police surveillance footage, that McClure conferred with police commanders and agreed to press charges for the nut-tap. Corey Donahue was one of the high visibility leaders of the crowd. He’d been involved in multiple arrests, but this time his bond would be higher and harder to post because instead of the usual anti-protest violations, Donahue would be charged with sex crime.

Ultimately Donahue sought political asylum in South America rather than face having to report for the rest of his life as a sex offender. The offense was only a misdemeanor and his trial was a miscarriage of justice. Attorney friends later convinced Donahue to return to the US because this crime was arguably not sex related and was likely to be overturned on appeal. Likewise, a sentence was unlikely to exceed time served as the “nut-tap” paled in comparison to the police brutality and excessive force which has since ensued. Neither Judge Rodarte or victim Rob McClure got the memo, and it wasn’t the first time McClure failed to frame public outcry in the context of brutal militarized repression.

It turns out McClure’s own self respect was probably way too fragile to have ventured to cast stones at the slovenly homeless occupiers.

Rob McClure
Cameraman Robert McClure had been an embedded reporter in Iraq in 2004. You might expect such a experience to have toughened him up, or expanded his empathy for critics of US authoritarian brutality, but that is to underestimate the culpability of the corporate media war drum beaters.

And McClure’s guilt ran deeper that that. According to his CBS4 bio, McClure was reporting from a major military detention center. It turns out McClure covered Abu Fucking Ghraib. In 2004 McClure’s assignment was to distort what happened there as rogue misconduct. No thanks to fuckers like McClure, the Abu Ghraib techniques were later confirmed to be standard protocol. The US torture and humiliation of prisoners was systemic.

McClure’s coverage for CBS4 specifically glorified Dr. Dave Hnida, otherwise a family physician from Littleton, but in the service of the military as a battlefield surgeon assigned to treat prisoners of war. While it sounds commendatory to attend to the health of our sworn adversaries, in practice that job involves most commonly reviving prisoners being subjected to interrogation. Hnida’s task was to keep subjects conscious for our extended depredations. Medical colleagues call those practitioners “torture docs”. They shouldn’t be celebrated. They should lose their medical licenses.

So that’s the Rob McClure who wrote Judge Rodarte to say that after all these years, having witnessed unthinkable horror and sadistic injustice, while still spinning stories to glorify American soldiers and killer cops and power-tripping jailers, the memory of Corey Donahue’s prank made his balls hurt.

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