Posted by MEC on November 28, 2014
Posted by Phoenix Woman on November 27, 2014
Yet another story that you will never, ever hear about in American mainstream media:
Police deployed in riot gear fired tear gas directly at a coffee shop in St. Louis early in the morning on Tuesday.
The scene unfolded just hours after an announcement by St. Louis County prosecutor, Robert McCulloch, that a grand jury had found no “probable cause” to indict white Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson for killing an unarmed black teenager, Michael Brown, on August 9.
Rachel O’Leary, who is the Deputy Executive Director for Field Organizing for Amnesty International USA, was in MoKaBe’s Coffeehouse in the Shaw neighborhood with some members of a delegation of human rights observers. About 1 am—or just after—tear gas was fired.
“We noticed police behaving strangely,” O’Leary recalled. “They were squatting down in a group, and we couldn’t figure out what was happening. We were watching this out the window.”
A couple of people ran around the corner “from off of Grand” and a “militarized vehicle” followed quickly behind them. The vehicle shot a projectile at people who were running. The police then “turned their guns,” which had tear gas canisters, and “fired directly on the coffee shop,” according to O’Leary.
When the protesters who could still walk came out to yell at the cops for teargassing them, the cops teargassed them a second time.
Oh, yeah: There were children inside, as Amnesty International (which has observers on the ground there, including the coffeeshop) noted.
Posted by Charles II on November 25, 2014
Crossposted as a comment on DK regarding the decision of the Grand Jury not to indict in the shooting of Michael Brown by Officer Wilson in Ferguson Missouri:
It would be constructive… (1+ / 0-)
In situations like these, emotion is not very helpful. I would like to see a careful deconstruction of the narrative that McCulloch constructed.
One example is McCulloch’s claim that Mike Brown suffered a “graze wound” to his thumb. Yet, as I understood his presentation, blood and tissue were spattered all over the car, both inside and out. This does not sound to me like a graze wound.
A second example has to do with the question of whether Mike Brown “charged” at McCulloch after being shot several times. If that’s so, there should be a blood trail that is miniscule when Brown allegedly turned, then much larger when he was hit by several bullets, leading a considerable distance to the place where he collapsed.
A third question is whether Officer Wilson had heard about the theft. McCulloch said yes. The reporting I heard early on said no.
Without seeing all the evidence, it’s hard for me to know what basis the Grand Jury made its judgment.
The most powerful rebuttal to an opponent is to take what they claim happened and interrogate it– carefully, without pre-judging, and without hyperbole.
The narrative that much of white America understands is that a young man, high on drugs, robbed a store. A police officer confronted him with the intent to arrest him, the suspect feloniously attacked the officer, the officer shot him and then pursued a fleeing felon. If I as a Grand Juror believed that narrative, I’d support Darren Wilson. As much as I see the clear evidence of racial bias in Ferguson, a juror has to focus on the facts of one particular case. But I don’t believe McCulloch’s narrative, because of all of these threads hanging off of the story begging to be unraveled. By someone. Someone who can set aside their feelings and make the precise truth plain.
It would be constructive to see a careful, dispassionate deconstruction of the McCulloch narrative. I haven’t seen it anywhere yet.
I don’t think we’ll see this done about this case.
By the way, if you want to see the quality of evidence presented to the Grand Jury, consider Witness #40 (via Betty Cracker). If that link–which shows that this is a legitimate item–fails, try this one from Chris Canipe of the Wall Street Journal. Very strange.
Posted by Charles II on November 24, 2014
Consider the following claims, each of which in Washington circles has attained quasi-canonical status.
* The presence of U.S. forces in the Islamic world contributes to regional stability and enhances American influence.
* The Persian Gulf constitutes a vital U.S. national security interest.
* Egypt and Saudi Arabia are valued and valuable American allies.
* The interests of the United States and Israel align.
* Terrorism poses an existential threat that the United States must defeat.
For decades now, the first four of these assertions have formed the foundation of U.S. policy in the Middle East. The events of 9/11 added the fifth, without in any way prompting a reconsideration of the first four. On each of these matters, no senior U.S. official (or anyone aspiring to a position of influence) will dare say otherwise, at least not on the record.
Yet subjected to even casual scrutiny, none of the five will stand up.
Bacevich is a national treasure. An Army colonel who lost a son, he has spoken out against our dangerous and ineffective policy with great courage.
Posted by MEC on November 21, 2014
Posted by Charles II on November 21, 2014
Toshiba has developed technology to convert sunlight and carbon dioxide into an energy source at the highest efficiency to date, with a goal of commercializing it in 2020.
The artificial-photosynthesis technology combines a semiconductor with a gold catalyst. Oxygen and hydrogen ions are generated from water by applying sunlight to the semiconductor. The catalyst then creates carbon monoxide through a reaction between the carbon dioxide and the hydrogen ions. The carbon monoxide can be processed into such fuels as methanol.
An American article on this, using gallium phosphide with a cobaloxime catalyst, here.
So far, clean coal is a pipe dream, and not just because of CO2. Coal produces mercury and sulfur oxides among other pollutants.
But maybe some day.
Posted by Charles II on November 20, 2014
Matthew Taylor, The Guardian:
Human rights experts and technology groups have launched a new tool allowing members of the public to scan their computers and phones for surveillance spyware used by governments.
Amnesty says Detekt is the first tool freely available that will allow activists and journalists to find out if their electronic devices are being monitored without their knowledge.
Detekt was developed by German security researcher Claudio Guarnieri after discussions with human rights activists. It will be launched on Thursday in partnership with Amnesty International, British charity Privacy International, German civil rights group Digitale Gesellschaft and US digital rights group the Electronic Frontier Foundation.
Meanwhile, our freedom-loving Senate Republicans are blocking any limits on spying on Americans (although, paradoxically, this may possibly be good news). We can’t even get those radical leftist Senate Democrats to release the torture report even though 30 U.S. military generals have urged that it be released. Spencer Ackerman, The Guardian, from August:
Three of the Middle East’s most brutal and hated dictators participated fulsomely in pre- and post-9/11 renditions: Gaddafi, Hosni Mubarak of Egypt and Bashar al-Assad of Syria. Though the CIA cultivated robust relationships with their security services, cemented around counter-terrorism, the US would later abandon Mubarak, aid in Gaddafi’s overthrow and killing, and come within a hair’s breadth last year of attacking Assad.
Through those alliances, the US secretly permitted the architecture of rendition to encompass their partners’ enemies. Documents recovered by Human Rights Watch in the aftermath of Gaddafi’s overthrow showed the US capturing and interrogating Gaddafi’s opponents in the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group, whose ties to al-Qaida were nuanced and transactional, and then rendering them to Gaddafi.
“Interrogation” entailed, among other things, being sealed inside a small “confinement box,” repeated beatings and waterboarding – all within CIA custody, and all before transference to Gaddafi’s prisons for even more brutal treatment.
Posted by Phoenix Woman on November 19, 2014
Only a few years ago, Honduras had an increasingly functional democracy and a leader, Manuel Zelaya, who cared enough about his people to try and make sure they had something resembling a living wage. It now has, thanks to a coup whose chief propagandist was none other than Lanny Davis, slid down into the depths of neofeudalism and narcostatehood.
All because the rich pricks who pay Davis’ fees wanted to keep forcing their workers to make t-shirts for US export for pennies a day.
There have been untold thousands of tragic murders and other atrocities in the years since Davis’ golpistas kidnapped and deposed Zelaya. Almost none of the Latin American stories about them have been translated into American-English-language media, and it’s not because the US has a shortage of Spanish speakers.
The following set of murders has only slipped past the US’ media gatekeepers because one of the victims was a beauty pageant celebrity:
The bodies of Honduran beauty queen Maria Jose Alvarado, 19, and her sister have been found nearly a week after the two women disappeared.
Ms Alvarado and Sofia Trinidad, 23, vanished on Thursday after being seen leaving a party near the northern city of Santa Barbara.
They were shot and their bodies buried in a field by a river, police say.
Two men have been arrested, and one of them has reportedly confessed to killing and burying the women.
Ms Alvarado had been due to compete in the Miss World contest in London.
Honduras is now the most violent country in the world, a state it achieved as a result of the coup Lanny Davis worked to install and protect.
Posted by Charles II on November 16, 2014
Like a lot of other people, I started life comfortably middle-class, maybe upper-middle class; now, like a lot of other people walking the streets of America today, I am poor. To put it directly, I have no money. Does this embarrass me? Of course, it embarrasses me—and a lot of other things as well. It’s humiliating to be poor, to be dependent on the kindness of family and friends and government subsidies. But it sure is an education.
My income consists of a Social Security check and a miserable pension from the Washington Post, where I worked intermittently for a total of about twenty-five years, interrupted by a stint at a publishing house in New York just before my profit-sharing would have taken effect. I returned to the Post, won a Pulitzer Prize, continued working for another eight years, with a leave of absence now and then. As the last leave rolled on, the Post suggested I come back to work or, alternatively, the company would allow me to take an early retirement. I was fifty-three at the time. I chose retirement because I was under the illusion—perhaps delusion is the more accurate word—that I could make a living as a writer and the Post offered to keep me on their medical insurance program, which at the time was very good and very cheap.
Sometimes this country disgusts me, for its wanton waste of talent, for its hateful moralizing about poverty, for its prosperity gospel.