Onion Dispatches from Ferguson

1416945465-covernytevawfSource: The Onion

Nation Doesn’t Know If It Can Take Another Bullshit Speech About Healing

In the wake of a grand jury’s divisive decision not to charge Ferguson, MO police officer Darren Wilson in the shooting death of unarmed black teenager Michael Brown, a weary American populace told reporters Tuesday that they are not sure if they can take another bullshit speech about healing. “If I have to watch some politician, law enforcement official, or pretty much anyone regurgitate the same meaningless platitudes about setting aside our differences and coming together as a nation, I might just lose it,” said Atlanta resident Samantha Hubbard, echoing the sentiment of hundreds of millions of Americans who are uncertain if they can stomach even a single empty call for respect and civility. “I honestly don’t know if I’m physically capable of listening to another community leader recite the same unbearable garbage about how it’s time for an open and honest dialogue. I swear to God, if I hear even one goddamn person assert there’s more that unites us than divides us, I will immediately blow my brains out.” At press time, the nation was particularly apprehensive at the prospect of a bullshit speech that declared words were not enough.


Ferguson Decision Reaffirms Right Of Police To Use Deadly Force When They Feel Sufficiently Inclined

Following a legal precedent established over the course of decades, the St. Louis County grand jury decision Monday to not indict officer Darren Wilson in the shooting death of an unarmed teen reportedly reaffirmed the right of police to use deadly force whenever they feel sufficiently inclined. “The outcome of this grand jury investigation further supports a police officer’s right to shoot to kill if, and only if, he feels absolutely willing to do so and it suits his purposes,” said Georgetown law professor Adrienne Hoffman, adding that reasonable suspicion to use lethal force is 100 percent optional when an officer fires on a suspect, regardless of circumstances. “This decision makes it completely clear that, when confronted in the line of duty, police are legally justified in using extreme force against a suspect whenever they need to or just feel like it.” Hoffman added that the decision further asserts an officer’s right to claim self-defense against anyone within range of his weapon.


Heavy Police Presence In Ferguson To Ensure Residents Adequately Provoked

FERGUSON, MO—Ahead of a grand jury’s decision over whether to indict officer Darren Wilson in the shooting death of unarmed black teenager Michael Brown, police in the city of Ferguson have reportedly heavily increased their presence this week to ensure residents are adequately provoked. “We’ve deployed additional officers throughout Ferguson in order to make absolutely certain that residents feel sufficiently harassed and intimidated,” said St. Louis County police chief Jon Belmar, assuring locals that officers in full riot gear will be on hand to inflame members of the community for as long as is necessary. “It’s absolutely essential that the people of Ferguson have full confidence that law enforcement is committed to antagonizing them every step of the way.” At press time, the Missouri National Guard was on standby with tanks and urban assault vehicles in case Ferguson residents required additional incitement.

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Two for Tuesday

The MC5

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Darren Wilson Wasn’t the First: A Short History of Killer Cops Let Off the Hook


The U.S. has a long history of allowing police to walk free after vicious racist violence.

By Flint Taylor

Source: In These Times

The Ferguson grand jury’s decision not to indict Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson for the killing of African-American teenager Michael Brown is heartless but unsurprising. But it is important to place the case in context with the history of police violence investigations and prosecutions in high profile cases—and the systemic and racist police brutality that continues to plague the nation. In doing so, there are lessons for the movement for justice in the Michael Brown case, as well as for those who are engaged in the broader struggle against law enforcement violence.

What follows, then, is a brief history of similar high profile cases where public outrage compelled the justice system to confront acts of racially motivated police violence—with, to say the least, less than satisfactory results.


Over the past 45 years, Chicago has been a prime example of official indifference and cover-up when it comes to prosecuting the police for wanton brutality and torture.

On December 4, 1969, Black Panther leaders Fred Hampton and Mark Clark were slain in a police raid that implicated the Cook County State’s Attorney and the FBI’s Cointelpro program. A public outcry led to a Federal Civil Rights investigation. Despite finding that the raiding police fired more than 90 shots to one by the Panthers, the Grand Jury in 1970 did not indict, but rather issued a report that equally blamed the police perpetrators and the Panther victims.

Outrage at this decision led to the appointment of a Special Prosecutor who, in the face of extreme official resistance, obtained an indictment against the police and the State’s Attorneys who planned and executed the raid—not for murder and attempted murder, but rather for obstruction of justice.

The case came to trial in front of a politically connected judge who dismissed the case without even requiring that the charged officials put on a defense. Again, the outrage, particularly in the African-American community was so extreme that the chief prosecutor, Edward V. Hanrahan, was voted out of office a week after the verdict was rendered in 1972.

The Jon Burge police torture scandal provides another stark example. Evidence that had been unearthed over the years demonstrated that a crew of predominately white Chicago police detectives, led by Jon Burge, tortured at least 120 African-American men from 1972 to 1991.

Cook County State’s Attorney Richard M. Daley was tendered powerful evidence of this torture as early as 1982, but did not investigate or prosecute Burge and his men. Daley’s office continued to use confessions tortured from the victims to send scores of them to prison—10 of whom went to death row, though they were later saved by a death penalty moratorium in 2000 and by a grant of clemency in 2003 by then-Governor George Ryan—during the next seven years.

In 1989, the local U.S. Attorneys’ office declined to prosecute, as did the Department of Justice in 1996 and Cook County State’s Attorney Richard Devine for the five years directly thereafter. In 2001, due to continuing public pressure, a politically connected Special Prosecutor was appointed to investigate the torture. But after a four year, $7 million investigation, he too refused to indict, instead issuing what is widely considered to be a whitewash report that absolved Daley, Devine, and numerous high Chicago police officials.
Finally, in 2008 the U.S. Attorney indicted Burge for perjury and obstruction of justice, and he was convicted in 2010, and sentenced to 4 ½ years in prison. However, the U.S. Attorney has subsequently declined to prosecute Burge’s confederates for similar offenses.

New Orleans

Chicago is by no means an isolated example of how difficult it is to obtain justice for wanton police violence through the judicial system. In New Orleans, a crew of white detectives responded to the killing of a white police officer in 1980 by terrorizing the black community of Algiers, killing four innocent people and torturing numerous others by “booking and bagging” them: beating suspects with telephone books and suffocating them with bags over their heads.

Seven officers were indicted by the Department of Justice for civil rights violations arising from the torture of one of the victims and three were convicted.  No officers were charged for the four killings or for the other acts of torture.

In 2005, in the wake of Hurricane Katrina, an NOPD officer fatally shot an unarmed black man named Henry Glover, then several of his fellow officers burned his body to cover-up their crime. NOPD officers also shot and killed two unarmed black men on the Danziger Bridge.

After state authorities botched their investigation, the Civil Rights Division of the Justice Department indicted the officers involved in the two cases and obtained convictions of some of the main police actors. However, the Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit overturned the verdict in the Glover case, and the trial judge, citing government misconduct, took the extraordinary step of granting the convicted officers a new trial in the Danziger case. 

New York

In 1997, an NYPD officer sexually assaulted a Haitian-American man named Abner Louima in a precinct station bathroom by shoving a broken broomstick up his rectum. Louima’s attacker was subsequently charged with federal civil rights violations, while three of his police accomplices were charged with covering up the crimes.

After Louima’s attacker pleaded guilty, his accomplices were convicted, but the Second Circuit Court of Appeals overturned their convictions on the grounds that the lawyers who represented the officers had a conflict of interest. After they were convicted a second time, the Appeals Court again overturned their convictions—this time on the basis that there was insufficient evidence of intent.

In 1999, four officers from the NYPD’s Street Crimes Unit fired 41 shots at Amadou Diallo, a Guinean immigrant who was reaching for his wallet, hitting him 19 times. The officers were indicted for second degree murder and the case was moved to upstate New York, where a jury acquitted the officers. 

In July of this year, NYPD officers arrested an African-American man named Eric Garner, allegedly for selling untaxed cigarettes. They put a prohibited chokehold on him, forced him to the ground face first with his hands behind his back, and shoved his face into the pavement, where he died a few minutes later of a heart attack. The deadly assault, which was captured on videotape, is now under investigation by a Special Grand Jury empaneled by the District Attorney’s Office.

Los Angeles

Among the most notorious cases was the brutal 1991 beating of Rodney King by five LAPD officers. A videotape captured most of the brutality and also showed several other officers standing by and doing nothing to stop the pummeling of a defenseless black man.

Four officers were charged at the state level with assault with a deadly weapon and use of excessive force. The trial was moved to a predominantly white suburban county, and three of the officers were acquitted of all charges, while the fourth was acquitted of assault with a deadly weapon and other lesser charges. But the jury failed to reach a verdict on his use of excessive force.

After an angry uprising in the Africa- American community of Los Angeles that left 53 dead and around 2,000 injured, the U.S. Justice Department indicted the four officers, and a federal jury convicted two of them, while acquitting the other two.

This past August, LAPD officers fatally shot an unarmed mentally ill African-American man named Ezell Ford, who witnesses said was shot in the back while lying on the ground. Despite massive protests, there has been no grand jury investigation to date, the autopsy report is yet to be released, and the LAPD has not completed its investigation.


In Oakland, California in the late 1990s, a unit of police officers dubbed the “Rough Riders” systematically beat, framed and planted narcotics on African Americans whom they claimed were dealing drugs. Four of the “Riders” were indicted by the District Attorney’s Office, and the trial was moved to a suburban county. The ringleader fled the country, and was tried in absentia.

After a year-long trial before a bitterly divided jury on which there were no blacks, the officers were acquitted of eight charges, and the jury was hung on the remaining 27 counts. At the urging of then-Mayor Jerry Brown, the officers were not re-tried.

Also in Oakland, in the early morning hours of New Years Day, 2009, a BART officer shot and killed a young black man named Oscar Grant, who was lying face down, unarmed,  in a busy transit station. The shooting was videotaped, and led to militant protests in Oakland.

Another jury with no black members rejected the charge of murder and instead found the officer guilty of involuntary manslaughter. As a result, Oscar Grant’s killer spent less than a year behind bars. The Department of Justice subsequently opened a civil rights investigation, but no charges were brought.


From 2007-2012 in Milwaukee, a unit of white police officers, spurred on by the Department’s CompStat program of aggressive policing, stopped and illegally body cavity searched more than 70 African-American men whom they claimed to be investigating for drug dealing. In conducting these searches, most commonly performed on the street, the searching officer reached inside the men’s underwear, and probed their anuses and genitals.

After this highly illegal practice came to light, the unit’s ringleader, Michael Vagnini, was indicted by the Milwaukee County District Attorney on numerous counts of sexual assault, illegal searches, and official misconduct, while three of the other unit officers were also charged for participating in two of the searches. The unit’s sergeant and several other members of the unit, all of whom were present for many of the searches, were not charged.

The charged officers were permitted to plead guilty to the lesser included offenses of official misconduct and illegal strip searches, with Vagnini receiving a 36-month sentence while the other three received sentences that totaled, collectively, less than a month in jail. By pleading guilty, they also received promises that they would not be charged with federal civil rights violations.

Pattern and Practice Investigations

These high profile cases represent only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to cases where racist police violence has not been subjected to equal justice under the law.

Recently, the Justice Department declined to prosecute Little Rock, Arkansas, officers who shot and killed Eugene Ellison, an elderly African American man who was walking out of his home with a cane in his hand, while there have been documented reports of unarmed black men recently being shot down by the police in Chicago; Houston; San Antonio; Beaver Creek, Ohio; and Sarasota, Florida.

In 1994, the United States Congress, recognizing that police misconduct and violence was systemic in many parts of the country, passed 42 U.S. Code Section 14141, which empowered the Justice Department to file suit against police departments alleging patterns and practices of unconstitutional conduct, and to obtain wide ranging court orders, consent decrees, and independent monitors in order to implement reforms to those practices.

Although understaffed, the Pattern and Practice Unit of the Justice Department has attacked systemic and discriminatory deficiencies in police hiring, supervision, and monitoring in numerous police departments over the past 20 years.  A particularly egregious act or series of acts of police violence often prompts the Unit to initiate an investigation, and its lawyers have obtained consent decrees or court orders in Cincinnati, Pittsburgh, Steubenville, Ohio, New Orleans, Puerto Rico, Oakland, and Miami.

Last month, lawyers handling the Little Rock cases requested that the DOJ do a pattern and investigation of the LRPD, and the Unit is reportedly now investigating the practices of the Ferguson Police Department. While these investigations are not a panacea, they offer a mechanism for exposing and reforming blatantly unconstitutional police practices, and have also demonstrated how pervasive the problem systemic police violence continues to be.

In light of this history, the pre-ordained failure of a biased local prosecutor to obtain an indictment against Darren Wilson should not surprise us. But the movement for justice for Michael Brown has brought widespread attention to the nationwide problem of systemic and racist police violence and highlighted the movement that has come together to battle against it.

Just two weeks ago, the Brown case, along with the Burge torture cases, was presented to the United Nations Committee Against Torture in Geneva. The movement should now turn its attention to the Department of Justice, demanding a federal civil rights indictment against Wilson a full scale pattern and practice investigation of the Ferguson Police Department, and, more broadly, an end to systemic and racist police violence.

As the history of the battle against racist police violence so pointedly teaches, the public outcry and agitation must continue not only in Ferguson but across the nation. Because as Frederick Douglas rightly stated many years ago, power concedes nothing without a demand.
Flint Taylor is one of the lawyers for the families of slain Black Panther leaders Fred Hampton and Mark Clark and together with his law partner Jeffrey Haas was trial counsel in the marathon 1976 civil trial. For more information on the Hampton/Clark case, the history of Black Panther Party, and the FBI’s Program to destroy it, visit peopleslawoffice.com.


Posted in Activism, civil disobedience, civil liberties, Corruption, culture, divide and conquer, History, Law, news, police state, Psy-ops, Racism, Social Control, society, State Crime | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Don’t forget Malala Yousafzai’s appeal to Obama: end the drone war


By Zack Beauchamp

Source: Vox.com

On Friday morning, 17 year-old Pakistani activist Malala Yousafzai won the Nobel Peace Prize. Yousafzai’s prize is well-deserved: she’s been a prominent campaigner for girls’ education for years, and survived a Taliban assassination attempt for her efforts.

But women’s education isn’t Malala’s only cause. She’s also waged a prominent campaign on a topic Americans aren’t talking much about nowadays: the drone war in Pakistan.

In characteristically bold fashion, Yousafzai brought these concerns up in a meeting with President Obama back in October 2013 — one that had originally been held to celebrate her commitment to education.

“I thanked President Obama for the United States’ work in supporting education in Pakistan and Afghanistan and for Syrian refugees,” Yousafzai said in a statement after the meeting — before turning to drones. “I also expressed my concerns that drone attacks are fueling terrorism. Innocent victims are killed in these acts, and they lead to resentment among the Pakistani people. If we refocus efforts on education it will make a big impact.”

The White House statement on its meeting with Yousafzai left that bit out.

The US drone campaign in Pakistan peaked back in 2010, but that hardly justifies forgetting about it in 2014. We should remember it because we still have no idea if the targeted killings are actually reducing militant violence in Pakistan. We should remember it because it may not actually weaken al-Qaeda in the long run. And, most of all, we should remember it because it’s killed hundreds, if not thousands, of Pakistani civilians:


Drone war casualties, civilian and militant. (New America Foundation)

In other words: Yousafzai was pointing to exactly the right issues. We don’t know if drone strikes are weakening al-Qaeda, but we definitely know that they’re killing people — including innocents.

Nowadays, the American public is more focused on the US military campaign against ISIS than they are on the campaign in Pakistan. Part of that is that the ISIS war is newer and more intense. Another part is that, for the first half of 2014, the US wasn’t hitting any targets in Pakistan. In fact, Peter Bergen, an expert on the drone war at the New America Foundation, said that “the program [in Pakistan] appears to have ended.”

Yet on June 11, the US began bombing Pakistan again. According to New America data, there have been five strikes in October 2014 alone.

So as Yousafzai gets her deserved accolades for her peace work, it’s worth remembering her concerns about one of America’s quieter wars. That’s especially true as the US government is ramping up another air campaign against an jihadi group that’s expected to last for years.


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Don’t Forget Why Marijuana Legalization Is Winning


By Maia Szalavitz

Source: Substance.com

When I first started writing about drugs in the mid-’80s—before I got into recovery in 1988—it was almost impossible to imagine an America where four states and DC have legalized recreational marijuana use, 58% of Florida midterm voters just cast their ballots in favor of legalizing medical use (the measure needed 60% to pass), and California passed a ballot initiative to lower drug and other nonviolent crime sentences. (Nineteen other states have legalized medical marijuana.)

The magnitude of the change is hard to understand without knowing a bit of recent history—and if we are going to continue to move toward rational drug policy, knowing where we’ve been and how it has changed is critical. I offer this perspective through the lens of my own experience covering the drug war for nearly 30 years.

My first national column was called, embarrassingly enough, “Piss Patrol.” I was assigned by High Times to write about corporate urine testing policies, starting around 1987, presumably as a service to stoned readers who were considering their employment options.

Over the next few years, the media would spill so much ink and airtime demonizing crack cocaine that by 1989, 64% of people polled by CBS News said that drugs were the country’s biggest problem—and Republicans and Democrats began tripping over one another to race to pass the harshest possible drug sentencing laws.

High Times itself was targeted by the DEA with frequent demands for its list of subscribers and raids on all of its biggest advertisers of growing supplies, nearly forcing the magazine to close.

Testifying before Congress, LAPD chief Daryl Gates said that casual drug users “ought to be taken out and shot,” and the DARE drug prevention program he founded saw nothing ominous in encouraging kids to turn their parents in to the police if they used drugs. Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall warned in a prescient 1989 dissent in a urine testing case that “there is no drug exception to the Constitution,” although Congress and the rest of the legal establishment apparently begged to differ.

Even today, police can confiscate cash and property they suspect to be involved in drug crimes, without convicting the owners and with virtual impunity. The surveillance revelations about the NSA’s spying on American citizens include cases where that agency has shared information with the DEA that was gathered from phones and computers without a warrant. In fact, the DEA has an official policy of basically lying to defense attorneys—and sometimes even prosecutors and judges—about the source of this data.

Yet even before the rage to pass tough drug laws took off in the 1980s, law enforcement efforts like mandatory minimum sentences were known to be ineffective. The federal government had quietly overturned one set of mandatory drug sentences in the late ‘60s—since they had clearly failed to prevent the late ‘60s.

And New York City would never have been one of the capitals of crack if the 15-to-life “Rockefeller law” mandatory sentences for selling even powder cocaine, which had been in place here since the mid-‘70s, actually suppressed drug use.

As is clear from this brief summary, for most of my adult life, the idea of a rational drug policy seemed literally to be a pipe dream (a term, by the way, from opium dens). So how did we go, in just a few years, from seeing drug users as demon enemies in a war who must be locked up to having the drug czar drop the military language and even speak at last month’s National Harm Reduction Conference in Baltimore?

Many factors are clearly playing a role. Two of the most obvious are the sheer economic burden of having become the world’s most prolific jailer and the drop in violent crime that hasn’t been paralleled by a fall in addiction rates or a reduction in the availability of drugs like marijuana, heroin and cocaine. Some of the crime decrease may, of course, be linked to the 500% rise in the number of prisoners since 1980—but research shows that violent crime fell more in states that have lowered incarceration rates.

Other influences have also been important. One has been the increasing recognition—driven especially by Michelle Alexander’s 2011 bestseller The New Jim Crow—of the racist nature of the drug war. When you know this history of the drug laws it is very hard to justify supporting them.

Another factor is the rise of the Internet. Early adopters of the net tended to be hippies and libertarians: Steve Jobs famously said that his use of LSD was one of the most important experience of his life, for example, and pro-legalization views dominated online before the mainstream media began to realize the web was the future of its business.

This gave legalizers a loud voice—one that had been previously drowned out by a media that had so bought into the drug war that networks and newsmagazines thought nothing of taking government payments to place stories with the “correct” anti-drug slant in lieu of running paid anti-drug ads.

The Internet has also allowed critics—including me—to directly attack inaccurate coverage as it appeared, exposing readers to truthful information about drugs and drug users that was previously hard to find. It is much harder to start a panic when debunkers immediately offer alternative perspectives.

Three other important forces should also be mentioned. First, the Drug Policy Alliance—helped by large donations from billionaire George Soros—spurred activism and funded ballot initiative measures that brought marijuana policy reform out of the fringes and into the mainstream.

Second, the harm reduction movement spurred by the AIDS epidemic quietly racked up successes. As it became clear that needle exchange hadn’t resulted in a massive increase in IV drug use—but had helped halt the spread of HIV—resistance to measures like naloxone to reverse overdose was pre-empted.

In contrast to the fight over needle exchange, when conservative politicians, drug treatment providers and religious leaders actively opposed expansion and claimed, without data, that it would encourage drug use, it’s actually hard now to find anyone who will argue that drug users and their families should not have access to the OD antidote for fear that preventing the deaths of users “sends the wrong message.”

Third, recovery activists have played a role. While there are still reactionary forces like Patrick Kennedy, many people who have come out about their own recovery have made clear that the criminal justice approach has failed. By putting a real face on drug users—not a stereotyped image of a criminal—recovering people have begun to help fight against, rather than support, their own oppression.

Of course, historically, fights for drug law reform have often resulted in backlash—marijuana was almost legalized, for example, under President Jimmy Carter, but instead we got Ronald Reagan’s war on drugs. But the strength and variety of the forces working against that possibility—particularly the rapid access to accurate information—give me hope that we may finally be starting to get drug policy right.

Maia Szalavitz is one of the nation’s leading neuroscience and addiction journalists, and a columnist at Substance.com. She has contributed to Timethe New York TimesScientific American Mindthe Washington Post and many other publications. She has also published five books, including Help at Any Cost: How the Troubled-Teen Industry Cons Parents and Hurts Kids (Riverhead, 2006), and is currently finishing her sixth, Unbroken Brain, which examines why seeing addiction as a developmental or learning disorder can help us better understand, prevent and treat it. Her last column for Substance.com was about why it is time to reclaim the concept of “recovery” from the abstinence-only establishment.

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Saturday Matinee: JFK Documentary Archive


Show notes by ConspiracyScope

The Men Who Killed Kennedy is a 9-part video documentary series about the John F. Kennedy assassination by Nigel Turner that began with two 50 minutes segments originally aired on 25 October 1988 in the United Kingdom, titled simply Part One and Part Two. The programmes were produced by Central Television for the ITV network, and were immediately followed by a studio discussion on the issues titled The Story Continues, chaired by broadcaster Peter Sissons. The United States corporation, Arts & Entertainment Company, purchased the rights to the original two segments. In 1989, the series was nominated for a Flaherty Documentary Award. The series was re-edited with additional material into three 50 minute programmes in 1991, which were again shown by ITV. A sixth episode appeared in 1995. The series typically aired in November every year, but also from time to time during the year as repeats. But in November, 2003, when three additional segments (“The Final Chapter”) were added by the History Channel, the consequences were so immense that the entire series is no longer aired, though the History Channel still sells DVD copies of the first six documentaries.

Fair Use:
“Copyright Disclaimer Under Section 107 of the Copyright Act 1976, allowance is made for “fair use” for purposes such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching, scholarship, and research. Fair use is a use permitted by copyright statute that might otherwise be infringing. Non-profit, educational or personal use tips the balance in favor of fair use.”

This is the mindblowing 6-part,10 hour, video documentary series Evidence of Revision whose purpose is to present the publicly unavailable and even suppressed historical audio, video and film recordings largely unseen by the American and world public relating to the assassination of the Kennedy brothers, the little known classified “Black Ops” actually used to intentionally create the massive war in Viet Nam, the CIA “mind control” programs and their involvement in the RFK assassination and the Jonestown massacre and other important truths of our post-modern time.




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US War on Iran Takes Bizarre Turn


By Tony Cartalucci

Source: Land Destroyer Report

It is not merely hyperbole when it is said the US created terrorist organizations like Al Qaeda or the so-called “Islamic State.” It is documented fact. The current conflict in the Middle East may appear to be a chaotic conflagration beyond the control of the United States and its many eager allies, but in reality it is the intentional, engineered creation of regional fronts in a war against Iran and its powerful arc of influence.

It is not Western policy that indirectly spurs the creation and perpetuation of terrorist organizations, but in fact, direct, intentional, unmistakable support.

This support would manifest itself in perhaps the most overt and bizarre declaration of allegiance to terrorism to date, US Army General Hugh Shelton on stage before terrorists of the Mujahedeen-e-Khalq (MEK) and their Wahabist counterparts fighting in Syria, hysterically pledging American material, political, and strategic backing. MEK was listed for years by the US State Department as a foreign terrorist organization, but has received funding, arms, and safe haven by the United States for almost as long.

General Hugh’s speech titled, “Making Iranian mullahs fear, the MEK, come true,” was most likely never meant to be seen or fully understood by Americans. In titled alone, it is clear that US foreign policy intends to use the tool of terrorism to exact concessions from Tehran. If the true nature of America’s support for terrorist organizations like MEK were more widely known, the current narrative driving US intervention in Iraq and Syria would crumble.

MEK Has Killed US Servicemen, Contractors, and Iranian Civilians For Decades

MEK has carried out decades of brutal terrorist attacks, assassinations, and espionage against the Iranian government and its people, as well as targeting Americans including the attempted kidnapping of US Ambassador Douglas MacArthur II, the attempted assassination of USAF Brigadier General Harold Price, the successful assassination of Lieutenant Colonel Louis Lee Hawkins, the double assassinations of Colonel Paul Shaffer and Lieutenant Colonel Jack Turner, and the successful ambush and killing of American Rockwell International employees William Cottrell, Donald Smith, and Robert Krongard.

Admissions to the deaths of the Rockwell International employees can be found within a report written by former US State Department and Department of Defense official Lincoln Bloomfield Jr. on behalf of the lobbying firm Akin Gump in an attempt to dismiss concerns over MEK’s violent past and how it connects to its current campaign of armed terror – a testament to the depths of depravity from which Washington and London lobbyists operate.

To this day MEK terrorists have been carrying out attacks inside of Iran killing political opponents, attacking civilian targets, as well as carrying out the US-Israeli program of targeting and assassinating Iranian scientists. MEK terrorists are also suspected of handling patsies in recent false flag operations carried out in India, Georgia, and Thailand, which have been ham-handedly blamed on the Iranian government by the United States and Israel.

MEK is described by Council on Foreign Relations Senior Fellow Ray Takeyh as a “cult-like organization” with “totalitarian tendencies.” While Takeyh fails to expand on what he meant by “cult-like” and “totalitarian,” an interview with US State Department-run Radio Free Europe-Radio Liberty reported that a MEK Camp Ashraf escapee claimed the terrorist organization bans marriage, using radios, the Internet, and holds many members against their will with the threat of death if ever they are caught attempting to escape.

US Has Been Eagerly Supporting MEK Terrorists For Years

Besides providing MEK terrorists with now two former US military bases in Iraq as safe havens, the US has conspired to arm, fund, and back MEK for years in a proxy war against Iran.

Covert support for the US-listed terrorist group Mujahedeen e-Khalq (MEK) has been ongoing since at least 2008 under the Bush administration, when Seymour Hersh’s 2008 New Yorker article “Preparing the Battlefield,” reported that not only had MEK been considered for their role as a possible proxy, but that the US had already begun arming and financing them to wage war inside Iran:

The M.E.K. has been on the State Department’s terrorist list for more than a decade, yet in recent years the group has received arms and intelligence, directly or indirectly, from the United States. Some of the newly authorized covert funds, the Pentagon consultant told me, may well end up in M.E.K. coffers. “The new task force will work with the M.E.K. The Administration is desperate for results.” He added, “The M.E.K. has no C.P.A. auditing the books, and its leaders are thought to have been lining their pockets for years. If people only knew what the M.E.K. is getting, and how much is going to its bank accounts—and yet it is almost useless for the purposes the Administration intends.

Seymore Hersh in an NPR interview, also claims that select MEK members have already received trainingin the US.

More recently, the British Daily Mail published a stunning admission by “US officials” that Israel is currently funding, training, arming, and working directly with MEK. The Daily Mail article states:

U.S. officials confirmed today that Israel has been funding and training Iranian dissidents to assassinate nuclear scientists involved in Iran’s nuclear program. Washington insiders confirmed there is a close relationship between Mossad and MEK.

In 2009, an extensive conspiracy was formulated within US policy think-tank Brookings Institution’s 2009 “Which Path to Persia?” report, proposing to fully arm, train, and back MEK as it waged a campaign of armed terror against the Iranian people. In their report, they openly conspire to use what is an admitted terrorist organization as a “US proxy” (emphasis added):

“Perhaps the most prominent (and certainly the most controversial) opposition group that has attracted attention as a potential U.S. proxy is the NCRI (National Council of Resistance of Iran), the political movement established by the MEK (Mujahedin-e Khalq). Critics believe the group to be undemocratic and unpopular, and indeed anti-American.

In contrast, the group’s champions contend that the movement’s long-standing opposition to the Iranian regime and record of successful attacks on and intelligence-gathering operations against the regime make it worthy of U.S. support. They also argue that the group is no longer anti-American and question the merit of earlier accusations. Raymond Tanter, one of the group’s supporters in the United States, contends that the MEK and the NCRI are allies for regime change in Tehran and also act as a useful proxy for gathering intelligence. The MEK’s greatest intelligence coup was the provision of intelligence in 2002 that led to the discovery of a secret site in Iran for enriching uranium.

Despite its defenders’ claims, the MEK remains on the U.S. government list of foreign terrorist organizations. In the 1970s, the group killed three U.S. officers and three civilian contractors in Iran. During the 1979-1980 hostage crisis, the group praised the decision to take America hostages and Elaine Sciolino reported that while group leaders publicly condemned the 9/11 attacks, within the group celebrations were widespread.

Undeniably, the group has conducted terrorist attacks—often excused by the MEK’s advocates because they are directed against the Iranian government. For example, in 1981, the group bombed the headquarters of the Islamic Republic Party, which was then the clerical leadership’s main political organization, killing an estimated 70 senior officials. More recently, the group has claimed credit for over a dozen mortar attacks, assassinations, and other assaults on Iranian civilian and military targets between 1998 and 2001. At the very least, to work more closely with the group (at least in an overt manner), Washington would need to remove it from the list of foreign terrorist organizations.”

Besides US Army General Hugh Shelton, other prominent US politicians to literally stand before crowds of baying MEK terrorists and their supporters include former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani, Howard Dean, Tom Ridge, John Lewis, Ed Rendell, former ambassador John Bolton, former FBI Director Louis Freeh, retired General Wesley Clark, Lee Hamilton, former US Marine Corps Commandant General James Jones, and Alan Dershowitz. US Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi would also stand in front of MEK terrorists to deliver to them an Iranian New Year “greeting.”

Blind Lust for Global Hegemony is Leading America Over a Cliff 

What it says about American foreign policy, to trick US servicemen and women into dying in far off lands to “fight terrorism” when US politicians in the highest positions of power openly pledge support to terrorism – using it as a battering ram against its enemies abroad, and failing to topple them by proxy, using their own terrorist hordes as a pretext for direct military intervention to do so – is that such policy is underpinned by nothing more than blind lust for power, wealth, and influence in senseless pursuit of global hegemony. There is no guiding principles of peace, stability, democracy, freedom, or any confining principles of humanity that prohibit US foreign policy from exercising the most abhorrent practices in order to achieve its goals.

For America and the Western aligned nations and interests caught in its orbit, there is no future. Chasing hegemony for the sake of hegemony alone leaves no room for actual progress. When anything and everything obstructing the path to hegemony is seen as an “enemy” to be destroyed by any means necessary, that includes setting aside resources and attention to solving some of the most pressing issues of our time – health care, infrastructure, education, better jobs, peace, and prosperity. All of these are seen as obstacles toward hegemony, and the very same interests standing before MEK terrorists pledging America’s resources to their campaign of terrorism against Iran, are the same interests calling for and implementing austerity upon the American people to continuously fuel its foreign adventures.

Failure to identify these interests blindly chasing hegemony at the cost of global peace and prosperity leads not only America over a cliff into a ravine of madness, but the entire world as well. That a US general can stand before terrorists even as the US bombs two nations in the name of fighting terrorism, is but a glimpse into this madness.

Tony Cartalucci, Bangkok-based geopolitical researcher and writer, especially for the online magazine New Eastern Outlook”.

Posted in black ops, Empire, Geopolitics, History, society, State Crime, war, war on terror, wasted taxpayer dollars | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Ebola News Gives Me a Guilty Thrill. Am I Crazy?



Source: Pacific Standard

What it means to feel a little excited about the prospect of a horrific event.

Folks speak blithely about their guilty pleasures. But if you get a little thrill when you contemplate the worldwide obliteration of society in a horrific Armageddon, have you crossed a line from “person with a guilty pleasure” to “person who is a dangerous psychopath”?

This was a question that wrecked most of one afternoon following a discussion of Ebola with some co-workers. We were brainstorming ideas for stories about the awful pandemic, and the topic of American preparedness came up. Although Ebola seems decently isolated on our shores, public health officials are girding our infrastructure for worst-case scenarios.

I made the following confession: Although obviously the West African Ebola crisis sickens and saddens me, and although I of course don’t want Ebola to run rampant … whenever I hear about the idea of our nation crumbling in an apocalyptic plague, I get an amoral twinge of excitement. It’s a tiny but unavoidable rush, not unlike the burst one feels when a rollercoaster begins to crest a hill, or when Darth Vader flicks on his lightsaber for the climactic battle of The Empire Strikes Back. I feel a similar frisson when it seems like a geopolitical crisis is bringing us to the brink of World War III (all summer, every time I read about ISIS’s march, I felt a jolt). I’m not proud of the way I feel, but it never goes away.

“If it’s not in the hypothetical and you’re seeing the devastation and you’re more excited than distraught, then you’re in the psychopathic range.”

Surely, I thought, at least some of my journalist coworkers could relate. They could not. “Dude,” one muttered to me. “That’s kinda fucked up.” Red-faced, I took to Gchat and iMessage to see if any non-work friends felt a similar electricity when they considered a real-world apocalypse. “Not really,” said one. “I don’t get scared, but I don’t get excited, either,” said another. “I don’t even want to be homeless in America, much less experience The Road,” said one of my dearest pals.

My pondering had turned to mild panic. Was I crazy? Or at least, in the immortal words of Matchbox 20, just a little unwell? I sought journalists’ favorite kind of professional help: I called up some researchers, specifically, in this case, those who had studied humanity’s fixation on end-of-the-world scenarios. I began each interview by asking if I was crazy for having my shameful thrills about apocalyptic news.

“I have that, too!” exclaimed University of Minnesota neuroscientist Shmuel Lissek (to my great relief). The idea of Armageddon “wakens your autonomic nervous system,” he says. “Your heart starts beating faster, you start breathing faster, your sweat glands engage. There’s a certain exhilaration from that idea, and one can enjoy that kind of arousal, especially if there’s a part of you that knows it won’t happen.”

Lissek’s research on the human fear-response suggests that apocalyptic exhilaration is actually the product of useful evolutionary traits. “We’d rather have a false alarm than miss a potential threat,” he says. “Organisms endowed with brain circuitry leading them to take even minor threats”—such as the unlikely prospect of a worldwide Ebola outbreak—”seriously are more likely to pass on their genes.” Plus, he says, “Life gets boring with the in and out routine of our daily lives, so having something like [the apocalypse] be a possibility is exciting.”

Of course, cautions Lissek, some balance is in order here. “When the apocalypse is in the hypothetical, it’s normal for the excitement to be stronger than the fear,” he says. “If it’s not in the hypothetical and you’re seeing the devastation and you’re more excited than distraught, then you’re in the psychopathic range.”

But University of California-San Diego psychologist Nicholas Christenfeld has a slightly different take. He agrees that my feelings were in the normal range for humans, but said that those feelings were the result of an irrational aspect of human cognition.

“If you hear about a horrible tragedy that kills 1,200 people, there’s some part of us that thinks, Just 1,200? But 120,000 would be so much cooler!” Christenfeld says it’s part of a quirky divide in human thought when we experience or hear about any kind of massive event, be it a natural disaster or a well-executed air-show performance from the Blue Angels. On the one hand, we recognize the valence of our emotions—a judgment about whether the thing we’re experiencing is good or bad. But we also recognize the magnitude of the emotion—the degree to which it’s big or rare.

“In humans, to some extent, the valence is secondary,” Christenfeld says. “One could run up the magnitude and make things more exciting and engrossing, regardless of whether the thing you’re thinking about is good or bad.” He compares it to the experience of enjoying a tragic movie in which the protagonists die. “You’ll say, ‘It was so gripping! I wept!’ It’s not that you liked that they died, but you liked the intensity of the emotion,” he says. “These apocalypses are tapping into that same two-factor experience. The vast scale of the destruction would be awesome, in the literal definition of that word.”

Other experts suspected my excitement might have to do with contemplating the world that would come after a society-destroying plague. “We’re so stressed and overloaded, that you can start to think, Wouldn’t life be simpler if things just broke down?” says Jeff Greenberg, a social psychologist at the University of Arizona. “As long as we’re among the survivors, life gets simpler. In a world like ours right now, the idea of being heroic and doing the right thing is so complex that we don’t know what it might even be. But in a post-apocalyptic world, we’d have simpler ways to know what the right thing is.”

Along similar lines, University of California-Davis sociologist John R. Hall drew a parallel between my thinking and people’s endless fascination with the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. “When you have a phenomenon like 9/11, it’s literally a disclosure, which is the Greek meaning of the word,” he says. “It unveils an understanding of the world that is beyond what any of us possessed before or could’ve imagined having. Apocalyptic events seriously draw into question people’s taken-for-granted understanding of their worlds.” In other words, the end of the world as we know it can show the world as it always really was, beneath the veneer of stability.

These conversations put me somewhat at ease about my own mental health (at least in this particular matter). And all of the experts I spoke with emphasized that, as long as I don’t have a desire to bring about the end times (I don’t), I pose no threat to society.

But a new question popped up: If humans are predisposed to find apocalyptic scenarios exciting, couldn’t that numb our feelings of urgency about preventing the apocalypse? Even if we don’t want to speed it along, would my (and others’) desire for thrills subconsciously keep me from wanting to avert disaster? None of the experts I spoke with had a conclusive answer, though none of them seemed too worried about it. However, guilty creature that I am, I raced to the website of Doctors Without Borders and made a donation. I, like all sane people, continue to hope the crippling crisis in Liberia, Sierra Leone, and Guinea will come to an end soon.

Speaking of guilt, there’s one last tidbit I should mention. Greenberg, the social psychologist, pointed out that my choice of profession might also predispose me to my extremely guilty pleasure. “You’re in a business where bad news is exciting, right?” he asks. “The apocalypse would give you more stuff to write about.” Touché.

Posted in culture, Psychology, Science, society | Tagged , , , , | 3 Comments

Paolo Bacigalupi’s “The Doubt Factory”


By Cory Doctorow

Source: BoingBoing.net

Paolo Bacigalupi is one of science fiction’s most versatile writers. From his justly lauded dystopian debut novel The Windup Girl to his environmental YA thriller Ship Breaker to his ha-ha-only-serious zombies-apocalypse-as-allegory-for-race-in-America Zombie Baseball Beatdown, he’s never been shy about switching modes and moods. All his books have a two things in common: technical brilliance and nuanced, important treatments of social issues. It’s a killer combination.

His latest novel, a YA thriller called The Doubt Factory, is right in the Bacigalupi pocket in that its storytelling is utterly different from anything else he’s published, deals with a vital social issue, and is a technical marvel of the form. Specifically, it’s a thriller about corporate distortion of communications whose third act is so tense, so taut, and so fantastically turned that I didn’t move a muscle except to turn the page for an hour while I read straight through about 150 pages’ worth of buildup and climax.

The Doubt Factory‘s protagonist is a girl called Alix who attends an elite prep school that is paid for through her father’s high-flying PR clients. As the book opens, Alix is bored in class, watching out the window, when she spies a young black man who exudes calmness and mastery. When the school’s authoritarian principal comes out to chase the intruder off the school lawn, the guy lays the principal out with one punch, eases him to the ground, and makes his way calmly off campus before the slow-moving rent-a-cops even know what’s going on.

This is Alix’s first encounter with “2.0,” a guerrilla protest group about which almost nothing is known, except that they appear to be attacking her dad’s clients. But as 2.0 grows more audacious in its actions at Alix’s school, it quickly becomes apparent that their real target is Alix’s family — and possibly Alix herself. Alix’s life becomes a benign jail of private bodyguards who shadow her every step, punctuated by ninja-like visits from the young black man, who has the ability to alter his appearance and slip right through even the tightest security cordons. And now, Alix is asking questions about her dad’s line of work — questions she’s never asked before.

In The Doubt Factory, Bacigalupi expertly tells the tale of how FUD-generating “communications consultants” have distorted our public discourse on behalf of their fantastically profitable clients, for whom a little delay in regulatory action is worth billions, and for whom the occasional class-action payout is just part of the cost of doing business, expertly calibrated and factored into the bottom line.

Bacigalupi also explores modern protest tactics, dramatizing an incisive critique of hacktivism and leaking and pointing to ways of stirring up trouble that might have a deeper and longer impact than what has gone before.

But as good as The Doubt Factory is as polemic, it’s even better as a novel. There is just so much nail-biting tension, so many unexpected turns and twists in the caper plots that run throughout the book, and it’s so well done, that it’s certain to find a large and appreciative audience. The combination of a book with a conscience and a set of serious adrenal glands is unlikely and extremely effective.

Posted in Activism, Art, culture, media, society | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Two for Tuesday

Marvin Gaye

Jimmy Cliff

Posted in Art, culture, Film, media, Music Video, Two for Tuesday, Video | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment