Accommodating Abuse: Critics of Police Abuse Critics Practice Defiant Denial
by Linn Washington Jr. - This Can't Be Happening Over 1,500 miles separate Harris County, Texas and Harrison Township, New Jersey yet public officials in those two jurisdictions seemingly share a similar disdain for persons who protest against abuse by police.
Recently Ron Hickman, the Sheriff of Harris County, Texas, blasted the Black Lives Matters movement blaming that surging anti-abuse entity for being an impetus for the brutal murder of a Harris County deputy.
Hickman readily acknowledged that he didn’t have all of the facts surrounding the murder of Deputy Darren Goforth, particularly the motive for that murder. However, that lack of facts didn’t stop Hickman from his hair-trigger blast of Black Lives Matters for that murder committed by a man known to have a long history of mental illness who had no involvement with Black Lives Matter.
The classic definition of terrorism is the intentional killing of civilians to make a political point, as in planting bombs near the finish line of a marathon or crashing commercial jetliners into buildings filled with office workers.
Yet, the mainstream U.S. media has broadened the definition to include killing U.S. soldiers or allied troops even those operating in foreign lands. For instance, New York Times columnist Thomas L. Friedman on Wednesday cited as a supposed example of “Iran’s terrorism” the bombing of the Marine base in Beirut in 1983, “believed to be the handiwork of Iran’s cat’s paw, Hezbollah.”
New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman
And Friedman is hardly alone in citing the Marine bombing in 1983 as “terrorism” along with Iran’s support for Shiite militias who fought the American occupying army in Iraq last decade.
In the Atlantic, Matt Ford probes the works of William Bradford, the controversial (and now dismissed) West Point professor whose berserker visions of unhinged state terror, at home and abroad, in the “war against Islamism” give General Buck Turgidison (“I’m saying no more than 10 or 20 million killed, tops!”) a run for his money.
After a thorough examination of the views Bradford has been teaching the nation’s future military leaders, Ford ends in puzzlement at how this situation arose in the first place. But surely there is no mystery to that.
Bradford believes that all those who are guilty of “skepticism of executive power,” “pernicious pacifism” and “cosmopolitanism” — especially among his fellow law professors and their enablers in the media — can and should be targeted as “unlawful enemy combatants,” just like the Taliban and al Qaeda. Not only are the traitors themselves “legitimate targets,” but also the institutions that employ them or transmit their evil into the public discourse: universities, law schools, media companies.
What’s more, with iron Cheneyian logic, Bradford also says the traitors’ homes should be targeted too — presumably, as Ford notes, with the targets’ spouses and children inside.
Just what's wrong with the police? In recent years, on both sides of the border, we've seen the "boys in blue" come to resemble more a menacing occupier than your grandfather's friendly beat-walker. Maybe it's television, or the age we live in, but there's definitely been an attitudinal sea change.
My first guest can attest, and has attested in his LA Times political cartoon column, to the blue-to-black approach to "community" policing. It's a strange coincidence perhaps, that a personal account he wrote of abuse at the hands of the LAPD nearly fifteen years ago has escalated into a career threatening smear campaign against the vociferous critic of the "zero-tolerance" age we live in.
Ted Rall is the Pulitzer Prize-finalist; a journalist who having done his job at the LA Times calling out hypocrisy on both sides of American politics so well, now finds himself kicked off that venerable broadsheet with few allies.
Rall is more though than just a cartoonist in the LA Times' syndication stable, he's also a political cartoonist at ANewDomain.net, editor-in-chief of SkewedNews.net, and a prolific graphic artist and author, whose books include: 'After We Kill You, We Will Welcome You As Honored Guests: Unembedded in Afghanistan,' 'To Afghanistan and Back: A Graphic Travelogue,' 'The Book of Obama: From Hope and Change to the Age of Revolt,' and many more. His latest, just released title, 'Snowden,' is an illustrated biography of America's most wanted man, whistleblower Edward Snowden.
Ted Rall in the first half.
And; last month, Haiti made, according to the Organization of American States, a great "step forward" in holding long-delayed parliamentary elections. But was it the forward step the OAS would like the World to believe? Amid calls for investigations for massive vote suppression, ballot stealing and ballot-box stuffing, intimidation, violence and even murder it seems, if Haiti is moving it is in a direction leading down its well-worn path to despotism dressed as democracy in the service of trans-national capital as overseen by a ruthless local elite.
Kevin Pina is an American filmmaker, journalist, educator, and broadcaster with Pacifica Radio's public affairs program, Flashpoints. Pina's film credits include: 'El Salvador: In the Name of Democracy,' 'Berkeley in the Sixties,' 'Amazonia: Voices from the Rainforest,' 'Haiti: Harvest of Hope,' 'Haiti: The UNtold Story,' and 'HAITI: We Must Kill the Bandits.' Kevin has lived in and reported from Haiti, and was jailed by the infamous Baby Doc Duvalier for reporting on the abuses of that nefarious regime.
Kevin Pina and a faux democracy deja vu in Haiti in the second half.
And; Victoria Street Newz publisher emeritus and CFUV Radio broadcaster, Janine Bandcroft will join us at the bottom of the hour to bring us up to speed with some of what's good going on on our streets and beyond there too. But first, Ted Rall and the life and death of an LA Times column.
As I read the latest example of The New York Times’ propagandistic coverage of the Ukraine crisis on Tuesday, it struck me that if these same reporters and editors were around in 1953, they would have cheered the coup against Iranian Prime Minister Mohammad Mossadegh as a popular “revolution” putting the beloved and benevolent Shah back on the Peacock Throne.
Similarly in 1954, these credulous journalists would have written about another people’s “revolution” in Guatemala removing President Jacobo Arbenz and restoring law and order behind well-regarded military commanders. The Times would have airily dismissed any suggestions of U.S. manipulation of events.
And, for decades, that was how the Central Intelligence Agency wanted American journalists to write those stories – and the current crop of Times’ journalists would have fallen neatly into line. Of course, we know historically that the CIA organized and financed the disorders in Tehran that preceded Mossadegh’s removal and pulled together the rebel force that drove Arbenz from office.
And, the evidence is even clearer that U.S. government operatives, particularly Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland and U.S. Ambassador Geoffrey Pyatt, helped orchestrate the 2014 coup that overthrew Ukraine’s elected President Viktor Yanukovych. Indeed, journalists knew more about the coup-plotting in Ukraine in real-time than we did about the coups in Iran and Guatemala six decades ago.
“Had the economy been fundamentally sound in 1929 the effect of the great stock market crash might have been small…. But business in 1929 was not sound; on the contrary it was exceedingly fragile. It was vulnerable to the kind of blow it received from Wall Street. Those who have emphasized this vulnerability are obviously on strong ground. Yet when a greenhouse succumbs to a hailstorm something more than a purely passive role is normally attributed to the storm. One must accord similar significance to the typhoon which blew out of lower Manhattan in October 1929.” - Extracts from The Great Crash: 1929, John Kenneth Galbraith, First Published 1955, Chapter 10: “Cause and Consequence”, Page 204.
The virus that spread to stock markets around the world and nearly destroyed the global financial system in 2008 has reemerged with a vengeance sending global equities deep into the red and wiping out more than $5 trillion in market capitalization in less than two weeks.
On Tuesday, before the opening bell, major market index futures in the US plunged more than 400 points signaling another violent day of selling ahead. Worries that a slowdown in China will impact global growth pushed Asian and European markets deep into negative territory while US futures indicate that the Dow Jones is headed for its ninth triple-digit day in ten sessions.
The deluge of bad news has battered confidence in the Fed and “sent global equities to their worst monthly slump in more than three years”.
Millions of Mom and Pop investors have sold out already and are headed for the exits.
On July 20, 2015 the United Nations Human Rights Committee, in its seven-page Concluding Observations Report, adopted a number of critical observations of Canada's human right practices, treatment of Indigenous people and criticized Harper's policies on immigration and treatment of refugees.
The Report was termed "A wake up call" on Canada's human rights performance.
The Committee composed of 17 International Experts conducted the first review of Canada's human rights record in nearly a decade.
The committee heard representations from the Canadian government and also from Canadian non-governmental organizations like Amnesty International and the International Human Rights Program at the University of Toronto Faculty of Law. They had to review thousands of pages of documentation.
Overall, the Harper Conservative government was subjected to severe criticism over its short comings.
Colombia has received more US military aid — over $6 billion dollars in the past decade — than any country in the Western Hemisphere. For its part, Colombia allowed the Pentagon to build seven military bases, more than all the other countries in the region combined.
There are over 2,000 US military officers and private US ‘mercenary’ contractors engaged in military activities in Colombia – more than any other country in Latin America.
During the decade-long (2001-2010) regime of President Alvaro Uribe, (a drug trafficker and death squad jefe in his own right), more than one-thousand trade union leaders and activists were murdered — over one hundred a year.
Nevertheless, the ‘Colombian killing field’ regime under Uribe was described in glowing terms by all the major respectable Anglo-American newspapers, including the Financial Times, New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and Washington Post for having brought “stability and peace” (of the graveyard) to the country and making Colombia “safe for investors”.
Eventually Uribe’s excesses, his policy of ‘peace through terror’ policies frightened and appalled many Colombians and (most important for the oligarchs) he failed to defeat the armed insurgency When the regime’s new extractive export growth strategy called for massive expansion of foreign investment in guerrilla-controlled mineral and oil-rich regions tactics and key political leaders had to change.
After two terms in office, President Uribe’s former Defense Minister Juan Santos was elected on the promise of renewed peace negotiations with the principal guerrilla group, the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC.
Guantanamo prisoner Zaher Hamdoun (aka Zaher bin Hamdoun) in a photo included in the classified military files released by WikiLeaks in 2011.On Friday, the Guardian published words from Guantánamo written by Zaher Hamdoun (ISN 576), also identified as Zaher bin Hamdoun (or Zahir bin Hamdoun), a Yemeni held at the prison since May 2002. Hamdoun’s words were interspersed with commentary by his lawyer, Pardiss Kebriaei, a Senior Staff Attorney at the New York-based Center for Constitutional Rights.
I’m cross-posting the article below, which is worth reading not only for Hamdoun’s own words about his long ordeal, but also for Pardiss Kebriaei’s frustration with the review process — the Periodic Review Boards — established by President Obama in 2013 to examine the cases of all the prisoners still held when he took office who were not subsequently approved for release in 2010 by the high-level, inter-agency Guantánamo Review Task Force he appointed (44 of the 116 men still held) or who have not been put forward for trials (just ten of the men still held).
Hamdoun is one of 47 men awaiting a chance to pitch for his release through a Periodic Review Board, a process that, as Kebriaei notes, is appallingly slow. “At the rate prisoners’ reviews are going,” she writes, “the administration will not finish by the time Obama leaves office.”
Just 17 reviews have taken place since November 2013, and, as a result, ten men have been approved for release (but just two have been freed), four others have had their ongoing detention approved (but two are awaiting the results of a second review), and three others are awaiting the results of their reviews.