Wednesday, December 10, 2014

shock and anal probe...,

guardian |  The Senate’s report confirms what we’ve long known: the United States systematically tortured detainees, sometimes to the point of death, and relied on the complicity of health professionals to commit and conceal these crimes.

Psychologists developed and actively participated in the CIA’s torture methods, and both psychologists and doctors were used to create a fiction of “safe, legal, and effective” interrogation practices. In reality, health professionals monitored and calibrated the infliction of severe physical and mental pain, withheld medical treatment, and failed to document medical evidence of intentional harm.

Torture is always illegal and immoral and, as the report shows, it provided little to no actionable intelligence. It compromised everything the United States stands for as a country based on the rule of law, but torture betrayed the core tenet of the healing professions – to do no harm.

The report is a critical step in establishing a public record of the nature and extent of CIA torture, but the question remains: Will those responsible for the authorization and implementation of torture be held accountable to ensure that these crimes never happen again? Dr Vincent Iacopino, senior medical advisor, Physicians for Human Rights

While the torture report provides many new horrifying details, the saddest part is that even those who championed this much-needed report have failed to respond to its lessons going forward. Consider how casually the report describes that Abd al Rahim al-Nashiri – the alleged mastermind of the USS Cole bombing – went on a hunger strike. 

As if the response to a hunger strike should ever be to feed someone rectally!
Indeed, the comment – and the evidence such “rectal feeding” left on his body, suggests that Nashiri was anally probed as punishment for hunger-striking. Indeed, a doctor who recently testified about Nashiri’s torture as part of his military commission testified that he had the kind of “anal-rectal complaints” that “survivors of sexual assault experience”.

After 10 years of working on CIA abuses, I didn’t know it was possible to be shocked but not surprised.

We already knew of the brutal stress positions, forced standing, waterboarding and extended sleep deprivation with light and noise; now we know about the use of punitive “anal feeding” or “anal rehydration”, about forcing detainees with broken leg bones to stand shackled against a wall. Now we know about all the lies.

who was the first person to receive an alien anal probe?

jasoncolavito |  Why it is that aliens want to probe our butts; or, more specifically, when exactly did people start claiming that aliens gave them anal probes? I know this is a silly question, but silly questions often end up revealing hidden layers and secrets. And I have not been able to find a satisfactory answer to what should have been a simple question.

Anal probes are now such an established part of the UFO phenomenon that you’d think there’d be a clear answer to that question, but if there is, I can’t find one. Many UFO books refer to it, and many assume that it’s just a given during an abduction, but I can’t find a catalog of anal probing events or a timeline of when they supposedly started. Even the otherwise exhaustive Wikipedia lacks an entry for alien anal probes. There must be something about it somewhere, but since I am not as familiar with modern UFO material, I am not sure where to look for it.

Ufology isn’t much help in the matter. In his A UFO Hunter’s Guide (2012), Brad Lueder simply denies that there were any anal probes, dismissing the formulation as “misinterpreted and misunderstood” sex experiments. He’s wrong, of course, but it shows that some ufologists want to distance themselves from what Lueder calls the “sneers and jokes” of “modern popular culture.” On the other hand, Zen Benefiel self-published a book this year called Alien Agendas and Anal Probes that promised to investigate “the science behind the anal probes” and what these probes can tell us about why the aliens are really here. But his book isn’t a history so much as New Age-influenced fringe speculation.

We can probably put a terminus ante quem and terminus pro quem on our search by establishing that the trope was famous enough in 1997 to be the subject of South Park’s pilot episode, “Cartman Gets an Anal Probe.” The probing can’t be part of the abduction experience before there was an abduction experience, so it had to have developed after 1964, when under hypnosis Betty and Barney Hill claimed to have been subjected to surgical examination (Betty claimed a needle entered her naval) during a 1961 alien abduction. Or at least it would have developed after 1962, when claims that Antonio Vilas-Boas had been seduced into sex by an alien following a medical examination on a spaceship in 1957 were first published.

The interesting thing is that Barney Hill actually did claim to be anally probed, but because that claim was not included in The Interrupted Journey (1965), the account by John G. Fuller of the hypnotic regression he performed on the Hills, this claim was not generally known until a 1965 report by NICAP investigator Walter Webb was popularized much later. In that report, Webb stated that during the hypnotic regression, Barney Hill stated that “A cylindrical object was inserted up the rectum, and once again the witness believed something was extracted.” Fuller left this out of the book, along with a claim by Hill that a cup was used to extract sperm.

BD says there are NO rules - and stupid sheeple just go along with that...,

being a cop showed me just how racist and violent the police are and there’s only one fix

WaPo |  I won’t say all, but many of my peers were deeply racist.

One example: A couple of officers ran a Web site called St. Louis Coptalk, where officers could post about their experience and opinions. At some point during my career, it became so full of racist rants that the site administrator temporarily shut it down. Cops routinely called anyone of color a “thug,” whether they were the victim or just a bystander.

This attitude corrodes the way policing is done.

As a cop, it shouldn’t surprise you that people will curse at you, or be disappointed by your arrival. That’s part of the job. But too many times, officers saw young black and brown men as targets. They would respond with force to even minor offenses. And because cops are rarely held accountable for their actions, they didn’t think too hard about the consequences.

Once, I accompanied an officer on a call. At one home, a teenage boy answered the door. That officer accused him of harboring a robbery suspect, and demanded that he let her inside. When he refused, the officer yanked him onto the porch by his throat and began punching him.

Another officer met us and told the boy to stand. He replied that he couldn’t. So the officer slammed him against the house and cuffed him. When the boy again said he couldn’t walk, the officer grabbed him by his ankles and dragged him to the car. It turned out the boy had been on crutches when he answered the door, and couldn’t walk.

Back at the department, I complained to the sergeant. I wanted to report the misconduct. But my manager squashed the whole thing and told me to get back to work.

Tuesday, December 09, 2014

michael vick did more time for dogfighting than the "rape by instrumentality" crew will do for crimes against humanity...,

motherjones |  On Tuesday morning, the Senate intelligence committee released an executive summary of its years-long investigation into the CIA's detention and interrogation program. President George W. Bush authorized the so-called "enhanced interrogation" program after the 9/11 attacks. The United States government this week has warned personnel in facilities abroad, including US embassies, to be ready in case protests erupt in response.

The full report includes over 6,000 pages and 35,000 footnotes. You can read the executive summary here. Here are some of the lowlights:

1. The CIA used previously unreported tactics, including "rectal feeding" of detainees (p. 100, footnote 584):
rectal feeding

2. CIA officers threatened the children of detainees (p. 4):
cia threatened children

3. Over 20 percent of CIA detainees were "wrongfully held." One was an "intellectually challenged" man who was held so the CIA could get leverage over his family (p. 12):
wrongfully held detainees

4. One detainee, Abu Hudhaifa, was subjected to "ice water baths" and "66 hours of standing sleep deprivation" before being released because the CIA realized it probably had the wrong man (p. 16, footnote 32):

abu hudhaifa sleep deprivation

5. The CIA, contrary to what it told Congress, began torturing detainees before even determining whether they would cooperate (p. 104):
torture before questioning

6. CIA officers began torturing Khalid Sheikh Mohammed "a few minutes" after beginning to question him (p. 108):
ksm tortured within minutes

7. The CIA planned to detain KSM incommunicado for the rest of his life, without charge or trial (p. 9):
incommunicado forever

8. During waterboarding sessions, KSM made up a story that Al Qaeda was trying to recruit African-American Muslims…in Montana (p. 118):
montana muslims

you're looking a little dry: dick cheney and all who came behind, KNOW you keepin secrets in'nat azz....,

digsbysblog |  But keep in mind that doctors and nurses have been performing "anal" torture duty in the CIA and the military for quite some time. Recall this from Jane Mayer's book The Dark Side:
"A former member of a C.I.A. transport team has described the 'takeout' of prisoners as a carefully choreographed twenty-minute routine, during which a suspect was hog-tied, stripped naked, photographed, hooded, sedated with anal suppositories, placed in diapers, and transported by plane to a secret location. A person involved in the Council of Europe inquiry, referring to cavity searches and the frequent use of suppositories during the takeout of detainees, likened the treatment to 'sodomy.' He said, 'It was used to absolutely strip the detainee of any dignity. It breaks down someone’s sense of impenetrability. The interrogation became a process not just of getting information but of utterly subordinating the detainee through humiliation.' The former C.I.A. officer confirmed that the agency frequently photographed the prisoners naked, 'because it’s demoralizing."
Or this, reported in the New York Times:
None of the approved techniques, however, covered some of what people have now said occurred. Mr. Kahtani was, for example, forcibly given an enema, officials said, which was used because it was uncomfortable and degrading.

Pentagon spokesmen said the procedure was medically necessary because Mr. Kahtani was dehydrated after an especially difficult interrogation session. Another official, told of the use of the enema, said, however, "I bet they said he was dehydrated," adding that that was the justification whenever an enema was used as a coercive technique, as it had been on several detainees.

rule of law: two psychologists received $81 million to run the cia torture program...,

marketwatch |  The Central Intelligence Agency’s torture of detainees was developed by two inexperienced contractors who were eventually paid $81 million for their work, according to a Senate Intelligence Committee report on the program released Tuesday.

The two psychologists were working at the U.S. Air Force Survival, Evasion, Resistance and Escape school prior to the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. They had no knowledge of interrogation techniques, al Qaeda, counterterrorism or “any relevant cultural or linguistic expertise,” the report said.

The report suggests that the program was poorly managed with limited oversight. A surprisingly small number of officials were running the program.

The two contractors played a central role — they developed, operated and assessed its interrogation operations. 

rule of law: useless as the war on drugs except for revealing ugly truths within...,

chicagotribune |  The Senate Intelligence Committee released a 499-page executive summary Tuesday, which includes graphic details about sexual threats and other harsh interrogation techniques the CIA meted out to captured militants in the years after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks on the United States.

The report also details how the CIA’s brutal interrogation program lost track of captives, led to false confessions and fabricated information, and produced no useful intelligence about imminent terrorist attacks.

The document, the result of a six-year investigation by Democrats on the committee, concludes that the CIA provided “extensive inaccurate information” to Congress about its interrogation techniques, that CIA management of the program was “inadequate and deeply flawed,” and that the methods were “far more brutal” than the CIA has acknowledged.

rule of law: pardons for patriots?

NYTimes |  BEFORE President George W. Bush left office, a group of conservatives lobbied the White House to grant pardons to the officials who had planned and authorized the United States torture program. My organization, the American Civil Liberties Union, found the proposal repugnant. Along with eight other human rights groups, we sent a letter to Mr. Bush arguing that granting pardons would undermine the rule of law and prevent Americans from learning what had been done in their names.

But with the impending release of the report from the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, I have come to think that President Obama should issue pardons, after all — because it may be the only way to establish, once and for all, that torture is illegal.
That officials at the highest levels of government authorized and ordered torture is not in dispute. Mr. Bush issued a secret order authorizing the C.I.A. to build secret prisons overseas. The C.I.A. requested authority to torture prisoners in those “black sites.” The National Security Council approved the request. And the Justice Department drafted memos providing the brutal program with a veneer of legality.

My organization and others have spent 13 years arguing for accountability for these crimes. We have called for the appointment of a special prosecutor or the establishment of a truth and reconciliation commission, or both. But those calls have gone unheeded. And now, many of those responsible for torture can’t be prosecuted because the statute of limitations has run out.

To his credit, Mr. Obama disavowed torture immediately after he took office, and his Justice Department withdrew the memorandums that had provided the foundation for the torture program. In a speech last year at the National Defense University, Mr. Obama said that “we compromised our basic values — by using torture to interrogate our enemies, and detaining individuals in a way that ran counter to the rule of law.”

But neither he nor the Justice Department has shown any appetite for holding anyone accountable. When the department did conduct an investigation, it appeared not to have interviewed any of the prisoners who were tortured. And it repeatedly abused the “state secrets” privilege to derail cases brought by prisoners — including Americans who were tortured as “enemy combatants.”

What is the difference between this — essentially granting tacit pardons for torture — and formally pardoning those who authorized torture? In both cases, those who tortured avoid accountability.

illegitimacy in team america's world police operations? say it isn't so....,

NYTimes |  “The president believes it is important for us to be as transparent as we possibly can about what exactly transpired, so we can just be clear to the American public and people around the world that something like this should not happen again.”

The administration appeared to have qualms Friday when Secretary of State John Kerry telephoned the Democratic chairwoman of the Intelligence Committee, Senator Dianne Feinstein of California, to warn her about unrest that might erupt because of the report.
The director of national intelligence, James R. Clapper, repeated those warnings in a briefing Saturday with several members of the Intelligence Committee. But Mr. Clapper told the senators that he favored the release of the report, officials said.
Mr. Kerry was not putting pressure on Ms. Feinstein to delay the report, administration officials said, but merely informing her about the latest assessment of the security risks, which at that time included a threat to an American hostage then being held in Yemen. The hostage, Luke Somers, a photographer, was killed by his captors several hours later during a rescue attempt by American commandos.

In addition to tightening security at embassies, the Pentagon will bolster the protection of its forces in Afghanistan, officials said. Intelligence agencies will ramp up their monitoring of the communications of terrorist groups like Al Qaeda and the Islamic State.

Among the administration’s concerns is that terrorist groups will exploit the disclosures in the report for propaganda value. The Islamic State already clads its American hostages in orange jumpsuits, like those worn by prisoners in C.I.A. interrogations. Hostages held by the Islamic State in Syria were subjected to waterboarding, one of the practices used by the C.I.A. to extract information from suspected terrorists.

Mr. Cheney, who was one of the Bush administration’s most outspoken champions of this tough approach, said on Monday he had not read the report, but from news reports about it had heard nothing to change his mind about the wisdom or effectiveness of the program.
“What I keep hearing out there is they portray this as a rogue operation, and the agency was way out of bounds and then they lied about it,” Mr. Cheney said in a telephone interview. “I think that’s all a bunch of hooey. The program was authorized. The agency did not want to proceed without authorization, and it was also reviewed legally by the Justice Department before they undertook the program.”

Mr. Cheney said he never believed the C.I.A. was withholding information from him or the White House about the nature of the program, nor did he think the agency exaggerated the value of the intelligence gained from waterboarding and other techniques widely considered to be torture.

“They deserve a lot of praise,” he said. “As far as I’m concerned, they ought to be decorated, not criticized.”

Monday, December 08, 2014

american overseeing became illegitimate a loooong time ago....,

rollingstone |  He was on the street July 17, selling untaxed cigarettes one at a time — which, as inconsequential as it seems, happens to be a crime.

The press and the people who don't live in these places want you to focus only on the incidents in question. It was technically a crime! Annoying, but he should have complied! His fault for dying – and he was a fat guy with asthma besides!

But the real issue is almost always the hundreds of police interactions that take place before that single spotlight moment, the countless aggravations large and small that pump up the rage gland over time.

Over the last three years, while working on a book about the criminal justice gap that ended up being called The Divide, I spent a lot of time with people like Eric Garner. There's a shabby little courthouse at 346 Broadway in lower Manhattan that's set up as the place you go to be sentenced and fined for the kind of ticket Staten Island cops were probably planning on giving Garner.

I sat in that courtroom over and over again for weeks and listened to the stories. I met one guy, named Andre Finley, who kept showing up to court in an attempt to talk his way into jail as a way out of the $100 fine he'd got for riding a bike on a sidewalk in Bedford-Stuyvesant. He couldn't afford the hundred bucks. It took a year and multiple all-day court visits to clear up.

I met a woman who had to hire a sitter so she could spend all day in court waiting to be fined for drinking wine on her own front porch. And in the case of a Bed-Stuy bus driver named Andrew Brown, it was that old "obstructing traffic" saw: the same "offense" that first flagged Ferguson police to stop Michael Brown. 

In Andrew's case, police thought the sight of two black men standing in front of a project tower at 1 a.m. was suspicious and stopped them. In reality, Andrew was listening to music on headphones with a friend on his way home after a long shift driving a casino shuttle. When he balked at being stopped, just like Garner balked, cops wrote him up for "obstructing" a street completely empty of pedestrians, and the court demanded 50 bucks for his crime.

This policy of constantly badgering people for trifles generates bloodcurdling anger in "hot spot" neighborhoods with industrial efficiency. And then something like the Garner case happens and it all comes into relief. Six armed police officers tackling and killing a man for selling a 75-cent cigarette.
That was economic regulation turned lethal, a situation made all the more ridiculous by the fact that we no longer prosecute the countless serious economic crimes committed in this same city. A ferry ride away from Staten Island, on Wall Street, the pure unmolested freedom to fleece whoever you want is considered the sacred birthright of every rake with a briefcase.

If Lloyd Blankfein or Jamie Dimon had come up with the concept of selling loosies, they'd go to their graves defending it as free economic expression that "creates liquidity" and should never be regulated.

Taking it one step further, if Eric Garner had been selling naked credit default swaps instead of cigarettes – if in other words he'd set up a bookmaking operation in which passersby could bet on whether people made their home mortgage payments or companies paid off their bonds – the police by virtue of a federal law called the Commodity Futures Modernization Act would have been barred from even approaching him.

correctional facilities urban school districts use metal detectors and stop and frisk to welcome students....,

NYTimes |  With a rapid-response team and regular lockdown drills, the school district here, like many across the country, has long been steeling itself for the nightmare scenario of a school shooting.
But over the past two years, a new high-tech approach has been tested at one of the schools here — officials will not say which one — to see whether it is possible to react more effectively.

Engineers from a company called Shooter Detection Systems have installed infrared sensors and microphones that can pick up the sound of gunfire and immediately notify school and law enforcement officials where and when it has occurred. It was installed free of charge, and school officials were hoping they could find the money to put the system, which costs between $20,000 and $100,000, into more schools.

It does not stop the first shot, but company officials say the system can shorten an attack by taking the human element out of alerting the authorities.
“The time it takes for police to even be notified can take many, many minutes,” said Christian Connors, the company’s chief executive. “What our device does is lessen the time.”

But there is debate about whether military-style measures like a gunshot-detection system are as valuable as more prevention-minded methods. Many experts say limited resources may be better spent on mental health services, training for teachers and students on what to do if their peers talk about bringing a gun to school, or on officers trained to keep schools safe.

Officials in this city of about 50,000, on the New Hampshire border, say their district’s five buildings are no more likely than any other to experience a mass shooting, although they do perimeter lockdowns from time to time when there is crime in the area. But Police Chief Joseph Solomon said he nevertheless tried to stay ahead on school safety practices.

“You can’t just look at your location — you have to look at how is the world changing,” Chief Solomon said. “You see a propensity for violence to increase.”

Sunday, December 07, 2014

are overseers killing folks like hotcakes and lying about it?

pbs |  HARI SREENIVASAN: The nation’s been focused on Staten Island, Ferguson, and Cleveland in the last few weeks as citizens and law enforcement assess how they have and how they should deal with one another.

This as a new investigation by the The Wall Street Journal reveals that accounting for killings by police might be grossly underestimated.

Wall Street Journal reporter Rob Barry joins us now. So, how did you do your reporting, and what did you find?

ROB BARRY: Thanks for having me. What we did was we asked about 105 departments to give us the number of people who have been killed over a five or six year period.

And we compared those numbers to what had reported to the FBI. And we found that there was a lot of stuff that wasn’t in the FBI’s information.

HARI SREENIVASAN: You said that at least 550 police killings between 2007 and 2012 never made it onto the books?

ROB BARRY: Yeah, and that’s only among the top 105, 110 largest agencies in the country.
So there’s 18,000 jurisdictions. So you know, that’s just a small estimate of the total.

HARI SREENIVASAN: OK, so for example, some jurisdictions could call something a justifiable homicide versus an unjustifiable homicide? Discrepancies in definitions? What do you mean?

ROB BARRY: Yes, it was a wide range of things. That was certainly one of the issues there, that what we’re dealing with here are essentially crime reports.

And agencies who are forced to report information about unfortunate events where officers take someone’s life. They don’t really want to include that in a crime report.

It’s not a crime in their eyes. It was a justifiable event. 

Saturday, December 06, 2014

tactical evolution is a two-edged sword: nypd uses military sonic weapon on civil rights 2.0 protesters...,

rawstory |  Shay Horse, an independent photojournalist who was on the scene, posted on the internet that “The NYPD began using it after glass bottles were thrown at them when they made several violent arrests when a march tried to cross Madison Ave.”

One person who was present at the scene, Moth Dust, a photographer, said people became aggravated after the LRAD was used and began throwing trash and rocks in the direction of police. She said she was affected by the sound waves.

“I thought I was fine until I realized I was getting dizzy and migraine was spreading to all over my face,” she said.

LRADs were used in the first days of unrest in Ferguson Missouri, and have been used by police at protests throughout the world. They were developed by the US military after an insurgent attack on the US.S. Cole in Yemen in 2000, and were used by the NYPD against Occupy Wall Street protesters.
According to Radio Free Europe Radio Liberty,

“The LRAD can reach decibel levels as high as 162. For comparison, a normal conversation is usually 60 decibels, while a lawn mower can reach to 90 decibels. A level of 130 decibels is typically considered the average pain threshold for most humans.”

Furthermore, Informed Health Online notes that a jet engine registers at about 140 decibels. Anything at or above this range, IHO explains, “is called acoustic trauma. Depending on how long the ears are exposed to the sound and how intense it is, it may damage the eardrum, the middle ear and/or the inner ear. Damage like this is usually temporary, but some hearing loss may remain.”

The head investor and media relations for the LRAD Corporation in San Diego, California, told Radio Free Europe Radio Liberty that the weapon is so precise that those “standing behind or next to” the device can hardly hear it. However, the YouTube footage shows dozens of people scurrying away from the sound blasts, which can be heard clearly on film.

No coverage of the LRAD use was reported in the mainstream media. Earlier in the night, around 11 PM, CNN correspondent Brooke Baldwin praised the behavior of protesters and the NYPD’s response to the protests, remarking on live television, “This is exactly how it’s supposed to be.”
Noel Leader, a former 20 year sergeant of the NYPD and co-founder of 100 Blacks in Law Enforcement Who Care, was incredulous about the possibility that an LRAD had been used.

“I haven’t heard anything about that,” he told AlterNet. “I’d be surprised if that was the case, because most of the protesters have been nonviolent and peaceful, even though they have been disruptive.

civil rights 2.0: the war on 99% liberties by 1% authoritarianism

theconversation |  Undeniably, African Americans are disproportionately affected by police violence – but it also affects people of all races. Within months of Michael Brown’s death at the hands of the Ferguson police, there were two less publicised cases of excessive police violence against white suspects in the surrounding area: Joseph Jennings, who was shot 16 times outside a Kansas hardware store, and 17-year-old Bryce Masters, who ended up in a coma after a police officer tasered him when he refused to roll down his window after being stopped.

Obama echoed this need to both recognise the racial dynamic driving much of this violence while also the importance of treating it as a national not just “black” or “minority” crisis. He maintained: “The problem is not just a Ferguson problem. It’s an American problem.”

In order to address the problem, we have to confront its deeper causes, ones that certainly involve but are by no means limited to the country’s ongoing structural racism. Rising inequality and poverty, especially in the wake of the financial crisis, have done much to contribute to police brutality. These economic factors have been exacerbated by the growing domination of US politics by elites.

Framing police violence as principally a “black problem” reinforces the underlying notion that African-Americans are somehow separate from other Americans and that authoritarian crackdowns on them are reactive, not active. This plays into an established tactic of strategically highlighting racial divisions within the country to distract attention from other issues such as class polarisation and oligarchy.

Ultimately, this is a way to freeze out solidarity across race, geography and even class, leaving Americans with an identity politics of distrust and conflict.

This strategy is part of the culture of fear that has driven much of the US government’s policy for decades. From the War on Drugs to the War on Terror, chronic and growing issues of unemployment, economic insecurity and declining social welfare are channelled into anger and action against existential “enemies” – most of whom are non-white, or in some way portrayed as less than “American”.

These policy “wars” have been mounted in the service of a growing authoritarianism in contemporary America. The militarisation of the police force, for instance, reflects the government’s need to neutralise urban areas marked by often extreme poverty and violence. Instead of an attack on the economic and social causes of ghettoisation and urban blight, we’ve seen a move away from “community policing” toward what has been called: “The United Police States of America”.

To overcome this strategy, then, it must be tackled as more than just a programme of racism. What must be emphasised is the authoritarianism and deeper shared disenfranchisement that motivates the state violence we see today – a tendency that certainly includes structural racism, but which is by no means limited to it.

In the words Obama used when responding to the Eric Garner case, it must be framed as an “American problem”.

Friday, December 05, 2014

conceptual beginnings of nanomachines

Motherboard | The shape of DNA is a double helix, right? That’s what we are taught. Well, now the answer is “not always.” Researchers at Massachusetts Institute of Technology have discovered how to program DNA so that it’s shaped like a bowl, or a spiral, or a ring, or a tile, or all sorts of different things.
It’s the latest in a string of discoveries about the underlying structure of life and the building blocks that make it up. We’ve learned that life might not even need DNA to exist, and a potential means to create life of that DNA-less nature was recently demonstrated when scientists created enzymes in a lab without the stuff. Then, you’ve got scientists who have been able to create new nucleotides (the “letters” in DNA) that do not exist in nature and insert them into a living organism. And now, this: DNA can look like just about anything.

yeah.., changing the language trumps para-military force and legal impunity every time...,

thenation |  So… now what? Not much, so long as the reverence paid to police officers lends itself to deference. They are not regarded as citizens also beholden to the law. They are an armed force charged with maintenance of a status quo steeped in white supremacy and anti-blackness. Key to the reign is the suspension of a belief in the rule of law. Whatever tools they require for to carry out their actual purpose, the public and the courts are eagerly ready to provide.

So… now what? Body cameras seem like a good idea when we think the issue is there isn’t enough evidence with which to hold police accountable. They’re a good idea if we think the issue is accountability. Other things get tossed around, like diversifying police forces (the NYPD is among the most diverse in the country). That sounds like a good idea if we think the problem is sensitivity or cultural miscommunication. We are thinking wrong.

We keep applying the language and framework of accountability, diversity and sensitivity to an issue of oppression. We are attempting to fly an airplane with the keys to a motorcycle. Our tools are woefully inadequate, and until we are ready to admit to ourselves that the police are an inherently oppressive force, and then use the language of anti-oppression and anti-racism in our analysis and solutions, it will not end today, as Eric Garner had hoped. The dead bodies of black folks will continue to line our streets and sidewalks, and they will be treated no better than the roadkill with whom they occupy those spaces.

Last night, at an event addressing racial profiling on the campus of Vassar College, a student told their administration that putting body cameras on security guards was like “Band-Aids to a bullet hole.” I was in attendance and was struck by just how literal that phrasing was. We are being choked and shot with impunity, and yet all that is being offered to us in response is a means to relive the experience over and over again. But we already do.

cleveland overseers been WILDING!!!

HuffPo |  In recent years, Cleveland police officers have punched a 13-year-old boy who was in handcuffs for shoplifting and shot at an unarmed kidnapping victim who was wearing only his underwear, according to disturbing allegations released Thursday by the Justice Department. The agency's investigation found that officers in Cleveland routinely use unjustifiable force against not only criminals and suspects, but also innocent victims of crimes.

The so-called “pattern or practice” report from the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division was released Thursday afternoon as DOJ and the city announced plans to develop a court-enforceable agreement that would impose an independent monitor on the Cleveland Division of Police.

"Accountability and legitimacy are essential for communities to trust their police departments, and for there to be genuine collaboration between police and the citizens they serve,” said Attorney General Eric Holder in a press conference on Thursday. 

Holder announced the measure during his trip to Cleveland, where police officers fatally shot an unarmed black child last month. In Cleveland, Holder has attended a series of meetings about rebuilding community trust between law enforcement and the public, even as protests erupted nationwide over the non-indictment of police officers who killed Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, and Eric Garner in New York City. Following his visit to Cleveland, Holder intends to visit Chicago and Philadelphia, as well as Memphis, Tennessee, and Oakland, California, for additional roundtable meetings.

In his remarks Thursday, Holder said that he and President Barack Obama believe there is more to be done on the issue of use of lethal force by police departments.

The Justice Department began investigating the use of force in Cleveland's police division in March 2013. A few months prior, Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson had requested that the agency look into the issue. Jackson's request came after a high-profile police chase in November 2012 that resulted in Cleveland police dispatching at least 62 vehicles, firing 137 bullets and killing two unarmed black suspects, who each sustained more than 20 gunshot wounds.

ny police benevolent association president comply or die...,

nbcnews |  The head of the New York police union said Thursday that a grand jury made the right call when it declined to indict an officer in the chokehold death of Eric Garner, an unarmed man, in July. 

"We feel badly that there was a loss of life," said Patrick Lynch, president of the Patrolmen's Benevolent Association. "But unfortunately Mr. Garner made a choice that day to resist arrest."
He praised the officer, Daniel Pantaleo, as a good man, a mature policeman and an Eagle Scout who "went out and did a difficult job, a job where there's no script, and sometimes with that there's tragedy that comes." 

"It's also a tragedy for this police officer who has to live with that death," Lynch said. 

He also praised New York police for their handling of protests on Wednesday night, when thousands who objected to the decision took to the streets. Lynch lashed out at Mayor Bill de Blasio, who said on Wednesday that the grand jury's decision not to bring charges was "one that many in our city did not want." 

He suggested that the mayor was teaching children to fear police officers, and he said the lesson instead should be to comply with police officers, even if they feel an arrest is unjust. 

"You cannot resist arrest," Lynch said. "Because resisting arrest leads to confrontation. Confrontation leads to tragedy."

Wednesday, December 03, 2014

don't hold your breath for that federal civil rights investigation of excessive use of force...,

Bodycams won't change a damn thing.

Eric Garner was targeted by police because his actions were understood as a kind of threat to local business. The violence carried out by these officers was to protect the local economy, not to serve the people in the community. And the grand jury decision is further proof that state violence is just another mechanism to maintain the economic status quo.

For decades—centuries even—we’ve been discussing the intimate relationship between racism and capitalism in America, the ways that our economic system creates and maintains an underclass. Critics dismiss such an idea as some kind of conspiracy theory and continue touting the same tired American Dream narrative that has sustained us since the days of Horatio Alger. 

Do you understand that such an assessment of our moment is not a conspiracy at all?

Do you have to look any further than the NYPD SOP execution of Eric Garner?

Those at the top know what kind of tumult this way comes, and desperately fear peasants with torches and pitchforks. The systematic inflammation of racial conflict and battles between the white working class (including racist police officers) and the poor (including minorities) is livestock management designed to deflect attention and growing understanding of their modus operandi. Their corporations and transnational capital manipulations are ruining the Earth, fomenting unheard of economic inequality. The use of corrupted government and the distorted rule of law to commit massive, systemic frauds on taxpayers has already been clearly demonstrated all across europe.

Perhaps you have a different explanation? Maybe it's just racism?

Eric Garner, father of six, choked to death on the street apparently for selling untaxed cigarettes. 

Wall Street banks? No arrests. Bailed out by taxpayers and deemed too big to fail by government "regulators", their corporate media handmaidens, and those who've forgotten the Occupy protests. 

speaking of crushing entire, twisted little fantasy worlds....,

theatlantic |  James Watson, the famed molecular biologist and co-discoverer of DNA, is putting his Nobel Prize up for auction. This sad final chapter to his career traces back to racist remarks he made in 2007, which led to his fall from scientific grace.

Watson is best known for his work deciphering the DNA double helix alongside Francis Crick in 1953. The discovery revolutionized biochemistry and earned the pair and their colleague, molecular biologist Maurice Wilkins, the 1962 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine. But in 2007 Watson made an incendiary remark regarding the intelligence of black people that lost him the admiration of the scientific community.

That year, The Sunday Times quoted Watson as saying that he felt “inherently gloomy about the prospect of Africa” because “all our social policies are based on the fact that their intelligence is the same as ours—whereas all the testing says not really.” He added that although some think that all humans are born equally intelligent, “people who have to deal with black employees find this not true.”

Watson’s remarks ignited an uproar. He had to retire from his position as chancellor of Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory. Sold-out gatherings in his honor were cancelled. Academic centers uninvited him for lectures. His peers condemned him: “He has failed us in the worst possible way. It is a sad and revolting way to end a remarkable career,” said Henry Kelly, president of the Federation of American Scientists. His competitors debunked him: “Skin color as a surrogate for race is a social concept not a scientific one,” Craig Venter, the scientist who raced Watson to sequencing the human genome, said to the BBC in 2007. “There is no basis in scientific fact or in the human genetic code for the notion that skin color will be predictive of intelligence.”

most legendary wild west outlaws were confederate guerrillas and bushwhackers...,

wikipedia |  Jesse Woodson James (September 5, 1847 – April 3, 1882) was an American outlaw, gang leader, bank robber, train robber, and murderer from the state of Missouri and the most famous member of the James-Younger Gang. Already a celebrity when he was alive, he became a legendary figure of the Wild West after his death. Some recent scholars place him in the context of regional insurgencies of ex-Confederates following the American Civil War rather than a manifestation of frontier lawlessness or alleged economic justice.[1]

Jesse and his brother Frank James were Confederate guerrillas, or Bushwhackers, during the Civil War. They were accused of participating in atrocities committed against Union soldiers, including the Centralia Massacre. After the war, as members of various gangs of outlaws, they robbed banks, stagecoaches, and trains. Despite popular portrayals of James as an embodiment of Robin Hood, robbing from the rich and giving to the poor, there is no evidence that he and his gang shared their loot from the robberies they committed.[2]

The James brothers were most active with their gang from about 1866 until 1876, when their attempted robbery of a bank in Northfield, Minnesota resulted in the capture or deaths of several gang members. They continued in crime for several years, recruiting new members, but were under increasing pressure from law enforcement. On April 3, 1882, Jesse James was killed by a member of his own gang, Robert Ford, who hoped to collect a reward on James' head.

like stick em up there's dirty history involved with overseers labor unions...,

jacobinmag |   Their profession is heavily unionized. Culturally, they have more in common with bus drivers than business executives. Many come from working-class backgrounds.

Yet on the beat, police come in contact with — to question, to arrest, to brutalize — the most disadvantaged. This presents a problem for radicals. If the Left stands for anything, it’s worker emancipation and labor militancy. But police and others in the state’s coercive apparatus, workers themselves in many respects, are the keepers of class society. Their jobs exist to maintain social control and protect the status quo.

The introduction of unions to this portion of the state raises additional concerns. Can “coercive unions” ever advocate for the broader working class, rather than members’ narrow self-interests? Or are police unions irredeemably reactionary?

It’s easy to focus on the individual over the institution. Not a few police officers are drawn to the profession out of a desire to “serve the public.” Many genuinely want to serve, and take great pride in their chosen occupation. Police don’t have to enjoy breaking up protests; they don’t have to be racists or hate homeless people. But once they decide to do their jobs, institutional exigencies overwhelm personal volition. When there’s mass resistance to poverty and inequality, it’s the cops who are summoned to calm the panic-stricken hearts of the elite. They bash some heads, or infiltrate and disrupt some activist groups, and all is right in the world again.

Such is the inherent defect of law-enforcement unionism: It’s peopled by those with a material interest in maintaining and enlarging the state’s most indefensible practices.

It’s hard to imagine how it could be any different. Chicago teachers, exemplifying the kind of social-movement unionism that defends the working class broadly, organized the community before their strike by trumpeting a vision of equitable education. The Left cheered. How could anything similar be achieved by prison guards? A police strike would appear to signal an incipient authoritarianism, cops untamed by democratic dictates. How could empowering police — increasingly militarized and shot through with a culture of preening brutality — yield anything but stepped-up repression? How could the traditional socialist goal of worker self-management result in anything but a dystopia of metastasizing prisons, imperious cops, and Minuteman-esque border-patrol guards? The best we can hope for from police, it seems, is passivity.

As Kristian Williams documents in Our Enemies in Blue, professionalized policing arose in the United States amid urbanization in the 1820s and 1830s. Controlling “dangerous” classes (principally of the industrial working variety), more than ameliorating any pronounced spike in crime, was the reason for its formation. The institution had its roots in slave patrols, which were established to control the behavior of slaves — the “dangerous” classes of that day.

how police unions and arbitrators keep abusive overseers on the streets

theatlantic |  When Frank Serpico, the most famous police whistleblower of his generation, reflected on years of law-enforcement corruption in the New York Police Department, he assigned substantial blame to a commissioner who failed to hold rank-and-file cops accountable. That's the classic template for police abuse: misbehaving cops are spared punishment by colleagues and bosses who cover for them.

There are, of course, police officers who are fired for egregious misbehavior by commanding officers who decide that a given abuse makes them unfit for a badge and gun. Yet all over the U.S., police unions help many of those cops to get their jobs back, often via secretive appeals geared to protect labor rights rather than public safety. Cops deemed unqualified by their own bosses are put back on the streets. Their colleagues get the message that police all but impervious to termination.

That isn't to say that every officer who is fired deserves it, or that every reinstated cop represents a miscarriage of justice. In theory, due process before a neutral arbiter could even protect blue whistleblowers from wrongful termination. But in practice, too many cops who needlessly kill people, use excessive force, or otherwise abuse their authority are getting reprieves from termination.

Tuesday, December 02, 2014

la quenelle americain?

WaPo |  "'Hands up; don't shoot' is a rallying cry of people all across America who are fed up with police violence," Rep. Hakeem Jeffries (D-N.Y.) said from the floor of the House on Monday night. And to punctuate the point, he mimicked the gesture that goes with the cry. He put his hands up.

ok yankee, stick em up! (damn it's hard to find cowboy movie stick-up clips)

mcmillandictionary |  [transitive] very informal to steal money or goods from a person or place using a gun

an attempt to stick up a local bank

[spoken] Thesaurus entry for this meaning of stick up

stick 'em up spoken if someone with a gun tells you to stick 'em up, they are ordering you to raise your arms above your head, usually because they are going to steal money or goods from you

thai's give the three-finger salute to their gun-wielding stick-up kids in uniform...,

NYTimes |  A Thai theater chain has withdrawn the latest “Hunger Games” movie after several student protesters were detained for using a gesture taken from the films, a three-finger salute of resistance to authoritarian government.

The salute, which in the movies is a daring act of silent rebellion, began to appear here in the weeks after the May 22 coup. The authorities warned that anyone raising it in public could be subject to arrest.

The military government in Thailand has clamped down on all forms of protest, censored the country’s news media, limited the right to public assembly and arrested critics and opponents. Hundreds of academics, journalists and activists have been detained for up to a month, according to Human Rights Watch.

The arrests came on Wednesday, before the premiere in Thailand of “The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1.” Five students in T-shirts bearing the slogan “We don’t want the coup” flashed the sign during a speech by Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha, who led the coup and later became head of the military government.

The students were quickly detained by the police, who handed them over to military authorities.
Army officials later confirmed that the students were held for several hours for “attitude adjustment” and then released. They were told to report back the next day with their parents and still could be charged with violating martial law.

where oh where is dieudonné?

wikipedia |  Various public figures such as Tony Parker, Nicolas Anelka and National Front founder Jean-Marie Le Pen were pictured making the gesture.[13] A new trend has emerged, consisting of performing quenelles beside unwitting public figures identified as members of the establishment (such as Bernard-Henri Lévy, Pierre Bergé or Manuel Valls[20]) or in front of the media's cameras. TV host Yann Barthès publicly apologized for quenelles made by someone in the audience during his show and revealed the identity of the author. Shortly afterwards, a picture of Yann Barthès himself performing a quenelle surfaced on social networks. Barthès argued that he didn't know what he was doing when the picture was taken.[21] Several people have been fired for having published photos of them performing quenelles[22][23] and some people have been assaulted for the same reason.[24] Two teenagers were arrested for having performed a quenelle at school.[25]

While Dieudonné said in August 2013 that "the quenelle had taken on a life of its own and had become something he could no longer claim as his exclusively," his wife Noémie Montagne registered the quenelle as a trademark with the French National Industrial Property Institute.[13][26]

By professional athletes

When French footballer Nicolas Anelka of West Bromwich Albion F.C. performed the quenelle to celebrate scoring a goal on 28 December 2013, the gesture, which was already considered "something of a viral trend" in France,[27] became an international news story and one of the most searched terms on Google.[28] Anelka described the gesture as anti-establishment rather than religious in nature, and said he did a quenelle as a "special dedication" to his friend Dieudonné.[27][29] However, French minister for sport Valérie Fourneyron called his actions "shocking" and "disgusting", adding: "There's no place for anti-Semitism on the football field."[27] A subsequent statement released by West Bromwich said Anelka agreed not to perform the quenelle again,[30] but nevertheless on 27 February 2014, Anelka was banned for five matches and fined £80,000 for this action.[31] In response to the incident, club sponsor Zoopla announced that it would not continue its sponsorship deal with West Bromwich after the 2013–14 season.[29] Dieudonné, who intended to visit and support Anelka in England, was banned from entry to the United Kingdom in February 2014.[32] Anelka was subsequently sacked by West Brom on 15 March 2014.

In November 2013, a photograph of French footballer Mamadou Sakho performing the quenelle with Dieudonné was discovered. Sakho said he had been tricked into making a quenelle without knowing its meaning, and that the photo had been taken six months earlier.[33]

Following the Anelka incident, a photograph surfaced of Tony Parker, a French professional basketball player who currently plays for the San Antonio Spurs of the National Basketball Association (NBA), performing the quenelle alongside Dieudonné. Parker apologized, saying he didn't know at the time that "it could be in any way offensive or harmful."[34]

Monday, December 01, 2014

corrupt overseer rooda a thug union leader and legislator opposed to video evidence of overseer misconduct...,

slate |  After several members of the St. Louis Rams NFL team made a "hands up" gesture of solidarity with Ferguson protesters before the team's home game yesterday, a group called the St. Louis Police Officers Association issued a statement criticizing the players. The group's statement quoted its business manager, Jeff Roorda:
The SLPOA is calling for the players involved to be disciplined and for the Rams and the NFL to deliver a very public apology. Roorda said he planned to speak to the NFL and the Rams to voice his organization's displeasure tomorrow. He also plans to reach out to other police organizations in St. Louis and around the country to enlist their input on what the appropriate response from law enforcement should be. Roorda warned, "I know that there are those that will say that these players are simply exercising their First Amendment rights. Well I've got news for people who think that way, cops have first amendment [sic] rights too, and we plan to exercise ours. I'd remind the NFL and their players that it is not the violent thugs burning down buildings that buy their advertiser's [sic] products. It's cops and the good people of St. Louis and other NFL towns that do.
The St. Louis Police Officers Association is a union that represents city officers in collective bargaining and lobbies legislators; it appears to have been around for at least 46 years. Roorda himself has been in the news before: In 2001 he was fired from his police job in Arnold, a Missouri city about 20 miles from St. Louis, after making what an investigation determined to be a false accusation of abusive behavior against his police chief during a dispute over paid leave. The department's justification for his termination made reference to a previous incident in which Roorda had lied on a police report. From a Missouri Court of Appeals ruling upholding his firing:

google |  Jeffrey Roorda is a Democratic member of the Missouri House of Representatives and a corrupt police officer. He has been serving in the house since 2013. Wikipedia

gladiators worth far more than overseers on this chessboard...,

usatoday |  The NFL will not adhere to a request from the St. Louis Police Officer’s Association to discipline St. Louis Rams players who did the “hands up, don’t shoot” pose used by protesters in Ferguson, Mo. during pre-game introductions on Sunday.

“We respect and understand the concerns of all individuals who have expressed views on this tragic situation,” NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy said in a statement to USA TODAY Sports.

The police officer’s association issued a letter late Sunday condemning the players’ actions as “tasteless, offensive and inflammatory” given a grand jury’s decision not to indict Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson in the fatal shooting of black teenager Michael Brown.

Five Rams players raised their hands as they walked out of the tunnel onto the field at the Edwards Jones Dome before Sunday’s game against the Oakland Raiders.

Wide receiver Stedman Bailey said he and his teammates decided to make the gesture shortly before the game, and intended it to be something positive.

“Violence should stop. There’s a lot of violence going on here in St. Louis. We definitely hear about it all, and we just want it to stop,” Bailey told reporters after the game.

Tight end Jared Cook said he and his teammates wanted to show solidarity with protesters, because they had not been able to physically join them since the grand jury’s announcement was made last week. Cook said his family members went to Ferguson last week and reported back to him what they saw.

“It’s dangerous out there. None of us want to get caught up in that. We wanted to come out and show our respect to the protesters that have been doing a heck of a job,” Cook said.