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Interesting Links: May 28, 2015

Here are links to some interesting news articles that I came across today. They are mainly about the dismal state of criminal justice in the USA. While authors of the linked articles seem to think it can be reformed, I believe otherwise.

Link 1: Orange County Prosecutor Misconduct Implicates District Attorney

Prosecutorial and police misconduct are often dismissed as just a few bad apples doing a few bad apple-ish things. But what happens when it’s entrenched and systemic and goes unchecked for years? That looks to be the case in Orange County, California, where the situation got so completely out of hand this spring that Superior Court Judge Thomas Goethals issued an order disqualifying the entire Orange County District Attorney’s Office (that’s all 250 prosecutors) from continuing to prosecute a major death penalty case. After literally years of alleged misconduct involving jailhouses informants, as well as prosecutors’ repeated failures to turn over exculpatory material, Judge Goethals determined in March that the office can simply no longer work on the case of mass murderer Scott Dekraai, who pleaded guilty last year to killing his ex-wife and seven others at a beauty salon in 2011.

All this is happening right up the road from Los Angeles, home of one of the most massive jailhouse informant scandals in history. In 1989, in an infamous interview with 60 Minutes and an explosive piece in the Los Angeles Times, former jailhouse snitch Leslie Vernon White demonstrated how he fabricated the confessions of other inmates, then leveraged them for reduced sentences. The White revelations led to a grand jury investigation that revealed that jailhouse snitches often lied, and that police and prosecutors—knowing they were lying—used them anyhow. L.A. has since enacted significant reforms of its jailhouse informant policies. Not so Orange County. And both the scope and scale of the Orange County shenanigans are remarkable.

In an explosive moment following a hearing last year, Sanders revealed that the Orange County Sheriffs Department has maintained a massive, secret, 25-year-old computerized record-keeping system called TRED. These TRED documents were full of potentially exculpatory data, but the agency officials had systematically refused to turn any of them over, or even acknowledge their very existence, to defense counsel.

Link 2: Georgia Court Prosecutors Cut all Black Jurors out of Death Row Trial

The prosecutors seeking to send Timothy Tyrone Foster to death row went about their job in a curious manner. During jury selection, they highlighted each black prospective juror’s name in green—on four different copies of the jury list—and wrote that the green highlighting “represents blacks.” On each black juror’s questionnaire, prosecutors circled the response “black” next to a question about race. They also referred to three black jurors as “B#1,” “B#2,” and “B#3” in their notes. Finally, the prosecution’s investigator ranked each black juror against the others—in case “it comes down to having to pick one of the black jurors.” The prosecutors struck each black candidate, one by one, from the jury pool until none remained.

Because it’s so difficult to prove a state of mind, the Supreme Court has gradually allowed judges to look for clues that prosecutors struck jurors on account of their race. In one case out of Texas, the court cried foul when prosecutors used their peremptory strikes to exclude a stunning 91 percent of eligible black jurors at the trial of a black man. The court also noted some of the tricks the Texas prosecution used to keep blacks out of the jury. When a number of blacks sat toward the front of the room where the jurors were being chosen, for instance, the prosecutor “shuffled”—that is, rearranged where the candidates sat. Prosecutors usually evaluate potential jurors at the front of the jury panel first, so people toward the back are more likely to be dismissed. The prosecutor clearly shuffled the jury to move blacks from the front to the back. Somehow, this is legal under Texas law.

Link 3: The Myth of the Hero Cop

The second is the bevy of special laws around the country that are designed to shield police officers from the very tactics the police regularly use on ordinary suspects. For example, in most states, law enforcement officers cannot be questioned until they have been given a few days to get their stories straight. And many states have passed laws—such as Section 50-a of New York’s Civil Rights Law—that are specifically designed to make it almost impossible to obtain or use at trial records of a police officer’s prior brutality or misconduct. These two factors can make convicting police officers extremely difficult, and it is no accident; it is the direct result of the sustained effort by police unions to protect officers from even the most deserved discipline or prosecution.

The hero cop narrative is also belied by the facts. According to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, police work does not crack the top-10 list of most dangerous jobs. Loggers have a fatality rate 11 times higher than cops, and sanitation workers die in the line of duty at twice the rate that police do. Yes, police officers are sometimes shot and killed, but this is a fairly rare phenomenon. Indeed, according to the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund, of the 100 officers killed in the United States in the line of duty in 2013, far more crashed their cars or were hit by cars than were shot or stabbed. In fact, if you compare the murder rate among police officers with the murder rate in several American cities, you find that it is far safer to be a NYPD officer than an average black man in Baltimore or St. Louis.

What do you think? Comments?

NSFW Links: May 26, 2015

These links are NSFW.

Outdoor Nubiles: May 26, 2015 – Smooth slim cuties enjoying the outdoors

More Outdoor Nubiles: May 26, 2015 – More smooth slim cuties enjoying the outdoors

Enjoy! Comments?

Categories: Uncategorized

Interesting Links: May 23, 2015

May 23, 2015 3 comments

Here are links to some interesting news articles that I came across today. They are also about the Duggar family sexual abuse and molestation scandal.

Link 1: Founder of Josh Duggar’s ‘treatment center’ left after ‘sexually grooming’ teens and young women

The founder of a chain of Christian “treatment” centers Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar sent their eldest son to for molesting five girls — including his sisters — resigned in 2014 under a cloud of accusations that he had “sexually groomed” and harassed young women and teens in his ministry. According to RadarOnline Josh Duggar was taken by his father to the Basic Life Principles Training Center in Little Rock, for counseling after admitting to groping the young girls.

Gothard, and IBPL, has a colorful history with his Gothard’s brother Steve being forced out after having affairs with a few of the institute’s secretaries. Gothard himself left under a cloud in 2014, amid accusations that he had sexually harassed multiple women and failed to report allegations of child abuse at IBPL.

Link 2: Watch Michelle Duggar accept ‘Mother of the Year’ award from pastor who resigned for adultery

At the same time that Michelle and Jim Bob Duggar were covering up the fact that their eldest son Josh was molesting young girls — including his sisters — the mother of 19 was traveling around the country accepting awards for being “Mother of the Year.” One of the awards she received was from a pastor who later left his ministry after admitting to adultery.

“Michelle Duggar is the real deal,” said Doug Phillips, President of Vision Forum Ministries. “She embodies the very best of a Christian role model for women. She is a highly intelligent and gracious woman of God and a capable and faithful helpmeet to her husband Jim Bob. As a mother, Michelle is singular. She has modeled for millions a passion for God’s gift of the fruit of the womb and a tenderness and wisdom in raising her 19 children that have been downright inspiring.” Vision Forum leader Phillips stepped down from the ministry in 2013 after admitting to “an inappropriate extra-marital relationship with a woman.” He was later excommunicated by the church, and VisionForum Ministries was shuttered as donations dried up.

Link 3: Duggar Revelations Are Just the Latest Sex Abuse Scandal to Rock Far-Right Fundamentalism

Doug Phillips of the far-right group Vision Forum was forced to step down after admitting to “a lengthy, inappropriate relationship with a woman.” The woman in question, Lourdes Torres-Manteufel, claims it was more than “inappropriate,” noting that they met when she was 15 and that he “methodically groomed” by moving her into the house as a nanny and becoming “the pastor of her church, her boss, her landlord, and the controller of all aspects of her life” before pushing for sex. The Duggars were tight with Phillips and Vision Forum, which promoted a lot of Duggar-related material.

Another hardcore fundamentalist leader who had a mentorship relationship with the Duggars, Bill Gothard, was also caught up in a sex abuse scandal last year. Gothard was the leader of Institute in Basic Life Principles, an organization that promotes the “quiverfull” philosophy—particularly its emphasis on forsaking contraception and having as many children as possible. Gothard resigned after more than 30 women accused him of sexual harassment and abuse. Prior to this, Wire reports, the Duggars were “devotees of Gothard’s Advanced Training Institute seminars. Until recently, the Duggars’ official website called Gothard’s Embassy Institute (which he also founded) their ‘#1 recommended resource’ for families.

What do you think? Comments?

Interesting Links: May 22, 2015

May 22, 2015 7 comments

Here are links to some interesting news articles that I came across today. They are all about the most recent exposure of Josh Duggar’s propensity to sexually molest barely pubescent girls, including his biological sisters. Then again, what else would you expect from a white guy who keeps talking about his family values, his piety, his righteousness and other self-delusional bullshit. I should also mention that he was one of main public faces of a right-wing group called the “Family Research Council”, though on second thought- he has certainly researched some of his underage sisters pretty thoroughly.

Link 1: The Web Has Known About Josh Duggar for Years. When Did TLC Find Out?

Reading a Springdale police report filed in 2006 and released by InTouch yesterday, it seems clear Jim Bob and Michelle knew about Josh’s misconduct from the beginning—and helped him avoid prosecution. But they weren’t the only ones who knew of Josh’s predation. So did Oprah Winfrey, her producers, the Springdale Police Department—and, apparently, a huge community of message board posters online. All of which raises the question: When did Discovery Communications—the corporate parent of Discovery Health and TLC, which has profited off of every Duggar birth, courtship, and marriage announcement—find out?

Though Jim Bob and Michelle decidedly hid Josh’s misconduct from the press and protected him from arrest, the secret had gotten out. They told police in 2006 that “several members of their church were aware of the situation and had been supportive of the family.” In May 2007, the allegations surfaced online in a comment on a blog about the Duggars.

Alice added, “God’s honest truth that the molestation happened. It happened to four of his 5 sisters. The oldest daughter was not touched. The second daughter is the one who caught him doing this. There was no rape involved, but molested. I could go into detail, but I won’t. Of course, you can find nothing about the charges. The Duggar’s want to keep this hid. Wouldn’t you?” Since then, Duggar fans and haters have obsessively discussed these allegations on message boards like FreeJinger.org, a tongue-in-cheek anti-fundamentalist message board dedicated to watching and examining the Duggars. “Alice”’s comment wasn’t the only source of the rumor. A commenter on a 2005 blog (now inaccessible, but preserved here on FreeJinger) alleged misconduct by an anonymous son of a “political” man and leader at her church.

Link 2: Jim Duggar didn’t Report Son Josh’s Alleged Sex Offenses for More than a Year

Other bombshells in the police report are: Josh Duggar was investigated for multiple sex offenses — including forcible fondling — against five minors. Some of the alleged offenses investigated were felonies. Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar were interview by the Springdale Police department on Dec. 12, 2006. The report says that James told police he was alerted in March, 2002 by a female minor that Josh — who turned 14-years-old that month — had been touching her breasts and genitals while she slept. This allegedly happened on multiple occasions.

In 2006, Jim Bob told police that in July, 2002 Josh admitted to fondling a minor’s breasts while she slept. “James said that they disciplined (redacted, Josh) after this incident.” The family did not alert authorities.Jim Bob told police that about nine months later in March, 2003 “there was another incident.” Josh was again accused by a female minor of touching her breasts and genitals. Josh was accused by several minors of touching their genitals, often when they slept, but at times when they were awake.

Jim Bob told police in 2006 that when Josh returned home in 2003, Jim Bob, accompanied by some of his church elders, took Josh to Arkansas State Trooper, Jim Hutchens. Jim Bob knew Hutchens personally. Hutchens did not take any official action and instead gave Josh a “very stern talk.” As In Touch magazine reports exclusively in this week’s issue, Hutchens is now serving 56-years in prison for child pornography. He took no action on the Duggar case.

Link 3: Judge orders Josh Duggar’s record destroyed

Arkansas police have destroyed a record outlining a nearly decade-old investigation into reality TV star Josh Duggar, a spokesman said Friday, a day after the 27-year-old resigned his role with a prominent conservative Christian group amid reports about sexual misconduct allegations from when he was a juvenile. The Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, which obtained the offense report before its destruction, reports Duggar was accused of fondling five girls in 2002 and 2003. Duggar issued an apology Thursday on Facebook for unspecified bad behavior as a youth and resigned his role as executive director for FRC Action, the tax-exempt legislative action arm of the Washington-based Family Research Council.

Springdale Police spokesman Scott Lewis said Judge Stacey Zimmerman ordered the 2006 offense report destroyed Thursday. Zimmerman didn’t return a request for comment on Friday. “The judge ordered us yesterday to expunge that record,” Lewis said, adding that similar records are typically kept indefinitely. “As far as the Springdale Police Department is concerned this report doesn’t exist.” Neither Duggar nor his father, a former state representative, returned calls seeking comment Friday.

What do you think? Comments?

Interesting Links: May 21, 2015

Here are links to some interesting news articles that I came across today. They are about how pretty much anything anything goes under the guise of “protecting” nation states. While such behaviors by self appointed protectors of nation states is not new- certain structural characteristics of the internet has greatly increased the frequency of uncontrolled exposures of such “official” behavior.

Link 1: The Case Against Matt DeHart

DeHart’s apparently psychotic ramblings in that ER weren’t delusional. He was being interrogated by the FBI, and those harrowing interrogations continued for almost a week. He wasn’t allowed to make a phone call until August 12, six days after the FBI nabbed him. “He was basically babbling on the phone,” his father, Paul, testified later in court. “It was apparent to me that he had been drugged in some way or another.”

In other words, the feds say DeHart got a minor to shoot a video of himself masturbating. The indictment doesn’t say why DeHart did this, nor does it allege he ever possessed said video. The original indictment is based on the affidavit of a police detective who interviewed the boy.

Link 2: The NSA Plan TO Find Bin L by Hiding Tracking Devices in Medical Supplies

The National Security Agency concocted a plan to find Osama bin Laden by hiding tracking devices in medical supplies, in an attempt to cross what officials called the “non-electronic moat” surrounding the reportedly ailing terrorist leader. The scheme is laid out in a top-secret NSA presentation dated June 2010 and titled “Medical Pattern of Life: Targeting High Value Individual #1,” which was among the files provided by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden. The presentation cites CIA reports on bin Laden’s poor health, including renal disease, urinary tract infections, kidney stones and intestinal problems.

The plot to go from “Pharma to Target,” as one slide puts it, fits into a history of U.S. spies tracking bin Laden’s health. In 2002, the FBI and CIA detained a Pakistani surgeon for a month, interrogating him about the times he had treated bin Laden. The medications reportedly found inside the Abbottabad compound after bin Laden’s death fueled more speculation about his health. One unnamed intelligence official told to the British tabloid Daily Star that an herbal aphrodisiac was significant because “his sexual performance is an indicator of his state of health and how active he may have been in other areas.”

Link 3: NSA Planned to Hijack Google App Store to Hack Smartphones

The National Security Agency and its closest allies planned to hijack data links to Google and Samsung app stores to infect smartphones with spyware, a top-secret document reveals. The surveillance project was launched by a joint electronic eavesdropping unit called the Network Tradecraft Advancement Team, which includes spies from each of the countries in the “Five Eyes” alliance — the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, New Zealand and Australia.

The newly published document shows how the agencies wanted to “exploit” app store servers – using them to launch so-called “man-in-the-middle” attacks to infect phones with the implants. A man-in-the-middle attack is a technique in which hackers place themselves between computers as they are communicating with each other; it is a tactic sometimes used by criminal hackers to defraud people. In this instance, the method would have allowed the surveillance agencies to modify the content of data packets passing between targeted smartphones and the app servers while an app was being downloaded or updated, inserting spyware that would be covertly sent to the phones.

What do you think? Comments?

NSFW Links: May 17, 2015

May 17, 2015 1 comment

These links are NSFW.

Selfies: May 17, 2015 – Nekkid cuties with smartphones.

More Selfies: May 17, 2015 – More nekkid cuties with smartphones.

Enjoy! Comments?

Categories: Uncategorized

Interesting Links: May 14, 2015

Here are links to some interesting news articles that I came across today. They are about the ongoing controversy about Seymour Hersh’s recent article on the Osama bin Laden killing.

Link 1: How the press tried to discredit Seymour Hersh’s bombshell reporting on CIA domestic spying

Hersh has pissed off some very powerful people and institutions with this story, and that means the inevitable media pushback to discredit his reporting is already underway, with the attacks on Hersh led by Vox Media’s Max Fisher, CNN’s Peter Bergen, and even some on the left like Nation Institute reporter Matthieu Aikins. Yesterday Slate joined the pile-on, running a wildly entertaining, hostile interview with Hersh. Such attacks by fellow journalists on a Sy Hersh bombshell are nothing new—in fact, he used to relish them, and probably still does. He got the same hostile reaction from his media colleagues when he broke his biggest story of his career: The 1974 exposé of the CIA’s massive, illegal domestic spying program, MH-CHAOS, which targeted tens, maybe hundreds of thousands of Americans, mostly antiwar and leftwing dissidents.

Hersh’s exposés directly led to the famous Church Committee hearings into intelligence abuses, the Rockefeller Commission, and the less famous but more radical Pike Committee hearings in the House, which I wrote about in Pando last year. These hearings not only blew open all sorts of CIA abuses, assassination programs, drug programs and coups, but also massive intelligence failures and boondoggles.They also revealed to the public for the first time the NSA’s secret programs targeting Americans, including co-opting all the major US telecoms and cable telex companies— AT&T, ITT, Western Union and RCA—in a program “vacuuming” all electronic communications, as well as “Project Minaret,” in which the NSA wiretapped hundreds or perhaps tens of thousands (depending on the source) of antiwar and leftwing American dissidents. Those hearings led briefly to some real reforms and some half-assed reforms in the intelligence community during the Carter years, all of which were undone as soon as Reagan came to power.

Link 2: Podcast Extra: Seymour Hersh

This week legendary investigative journalist Seymour Hersh published an account of the killing of Osama bin Laden that directly contradicts the official narrative. Hersh’s use of anonymous sources have led many to cast doubt on the assertions in the article; CNN’s Peter Bergen called his story a “farrago of nonsense”. Bob talks with Hersh about the swirling controversy in this On the Media special podcast.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015 – 05:56 PM

GUESTS: Seymour Hersh
HOSTED BY: Bob Garfield

Link 3: Politico gives CIA’s worst WMD liar a platform to slam Seymour Hersh

What’s neither appropriate nor useful is to give former government officials the chance to attack Hersh’s story without giving readers the context of their track record of veracity. But that’s exactly what Politico did in this piece, “U.S. officials fuming over Hersh account of Osama bin Laden raid”: “If you were to believe Sy, you would have to believe this massive conspiracy that President Obama, Robert Gates, Leon Panetta and Mike Morell were all lying to you,” said Bill Harlow, the [CIA]’s former top spokesman, referring to two recent secretaries of defense and a former acting CIA director. “It makes absolutely no sense.” … The next paragraph would have been the right place for Politico to say this: In 2003, Harlow himself participated in a massive conspiracy to lie to you about Iraq’s purported WMD. Indeed, he personally engaged in some of most egregious government dishonesty on the issue when he blatantly lied about a Newsweek story published just before the war that strongly suggested Iraq had no remaining banned weapons. Since leaving the CIA, Harlow has co-written three books with former top CIA officials, all of which defend the agency’s use of torture, and Sen. Dianne Feinstein recently accused Harlow of making “false charges” about the Senate’s torture investigation.

Asked who had provided him with the misinformation in 2003, Harlow responded: “I genuinely do not recall” and “I have no intention to engage in an exchange about that single answer to one of the thousands of questions I handled in that job more than a decade ago.” However, Harlow said, he is not misinformed about Hersh’s bin Laden story because “The information on the bin Laden case is based not only on Mr. Morell’s participation in nearly every meeting at the CIA and White House leading up to the raid — but also detailed accounts from others like Leon Panetta, Robert Gates, and many others.” The website of 15 Seconds, Harlow’s communications consulting firm, states that it can give clients advice on “Methods of deflecting difficult questions designed to bait you.”

What do you think? Comments?

Interesting Links: May 13, 2015

May 13, 2015 2 comments

Here are links to some interesting news articles that I came across today. They are about real life issues willfully ignored by white morons who talk about “HBD” and similar bullshit.

Link 1: The school of failure

This school seemed like a jail, and level two – Butta’s floor – was the psych ward. Students bolting up and down the hallways, desks taking flight, a trail of graded and ungraded papers scattered everywhere, fight videos being recorded on cellphones, Rich Homie Quan turned to the highest level, crap games and card games going down with children named Bitch and Fuckyou everywhere – all bottled up and sealed with that same shitty smell, so bad it was loud enough to hear, a shit stench I hoped wouldn’t stick to my flannel.

It’s hard to receive a good education in this environment. I’d be hard pressed to believe a good teacher could be effective. The computers were ancient, the textbooks were decayed, and the classroom felt like it was 15 degrees Fahrenheit – 30 to 35 musky, puberty-drenched kids and it was still cold. How can you learn in the cold? How can we be in the United States, in 2014, in a major metropolitan city and not have temperature-controlled rooms? I mean, the main office was nice and cozy so why were the classrooms meat freezers?

Too often I hear people cry: ‘Our schools are broken, our schools are broken!’ But are they? Are our schools broken or is our system working perfectly for its creators? During the years I pursued a master of science in education at Johns Hopkins, I studied a theory called ‘social reproduction’, the brainchild of a Connecticut sociologist named Christopher Doob. His theory holds that we’ve got to produce a certain number of minimum-wage workers and inmates – a general collection of bottom-feeders – for capitalism to sustain, and so we build the social structures to keep that going.

I’m not saying that a small group of people are planning this; however, it strikes me as interesting that we continue to produce a huge number of people fit for these jobs and they tend to come out of these school systems.’ Schools such as the one Butta and I attended are funded by property taxes from neighbourhoods full of housing projects and boarded-up homes, where the poor pay to perpetuate their own misery. The age-old system, in conjunction with law enforcement, makes the pipeline from public school to prison a reality.

Link 2: Disproportionate number of black students being arrested in one Louisiana school district

For most children, swearing in school, throwing Skittles on a bus or walking around without a hallpass would get them sent to the principal’s office. But in the Jefferson Parish School District of Louisiana, many of these misbehaviors have resulted in arrest. A new report from the Southern Law Poverty Center found that schools and police are using a revised state statute to arrest students “under the charge of simple battery for horseplay and typical student roughhousing and fighting.” The report also finds that roughly 80 percent of students arrested in the 2013/2014 school year were African-American, though they only account for 40 percent of Jefferson Parish’s student population of 45,914.

On a different occasion, a 15-year-old boy and other students threw Skittles at each other on a bus. The 15-year-old was arrested the following day at school for “simple battery” and “interference with an educational facility.” He was then left in a juvenile detention center for six days. Another instance, also from March, details the arrest of a 10-year-old African American autistic girl who police handcuffed face-down on the ground, after she disrupted her classroom by climbing on top of tables and out a window onto a tree.

Link 3: Virginia’s pipeline to jail

Virginia is the most aggressive state in the nation in referring students to the criminal justice system. The commonwealth, according to a recent report by the Center for Public Integrity, sent students to law enforcement agencies at three times the national rate, many of them pre-teens arrested on charges of disorderly conduct or simple assault. Its police referral rate, nearly 16 for every 1,000 students, was far more aggressive than North Carolina, which was 12th with a rate of 7.5 referrals to police for every 1,000 students. One reason is because Virginia law requires schools to report a variety of crimes to law enforcement but offers no guidance on when behavior constitutes a crime and when it should be treated as a school discipline matter.

Sadly, once a student enters the justice system, his chances of coming back greatly increase. “Research shows that even one court referral can have devastating consequences, in some cases resulting in a juvenile justice record and placing children on a path toward prison rather than high school graduation and college,” according to Ciolfi and Sarah Gross, legislation chair for the Virginia PTA. The Center for Public Integrity’s study also found that in Virginia, minority and disabled students were disproportionately referred to police and the courts. Of those referred, 38 percent were African American; 30 percent were disabled.

It found that officers filed 3,538 criminal complaints against students over three years, starting in fall 2011. More than half were for simple assault or disorderly conduct; nearly half were against children 14 or younger. In 2011-12 alone, the report found, police in Chesterfield filed 1,499 complaints in a district of about 60,000 students. Compare that to New York City, which has 16 times as many students. Police filed 2,548 cases against students that year – a finding that prompted civil-rights groups to protest police aggression.

What do you think? Comments?

Interesting Links: May 12, 2015

Here are links to some interesting news articles that I came across today. They are about independent corroboration of Seymour Hersh’s article on the Osama bin Laden killing.

Link 1: The Detail in Seymour Hersh’s Bin Laden Story That Rings True

Two years later, when I was researching my book, I learned from a high-level member of the Pakistani intelligence service that the ISI had been hiding Bin Laden and ran a desk specifically to handle him as an intelligence asset. After the book came out, I learned more: that it was indeed a Pakistani Army brigadier — all the senior officers of the ISI are in the military — who told the C.I.A. where Bin Laden was hiding, and that Bin Laden was living there with the knowledge and protection of the ISI.

After one of the SEALs’ Black Hawk helicopters crashed in Bin Laden’s Abbottabad compound, neighbors called the police and reported hearing both the crash and the subsequent explosions. The local police told me that they received the calls and could have been at the compound within minutes, but army commanders ordered them to stand down and leave the response to the military. Yet despite being barracked nearby, members of the Pakistani Army appear to have arrived only after the SEALs — who spent 40 minutes on the ground without encountering any soldiers — left.

Link 2: Pakistani Asset Helped in Hunt for Bin Laden, Sources Say

The NBC News sources who confirm that a former Pakistani military intelligence official became a U.S. intelligence asset include a special operations officer and a CIA officer who had served in Pakistan. These two sources and a third source, a very senior former U.S. intelligence official, also say that elements of the ISI were aware of bin Laden’s presence in Abbottabad. The former official was emphatic about the ISI’s awareness, saying twice, “They knew.” Another top official acknowledged to NBC News that the U.S. government had long harbored “deep suspicions” that ISI and al Qaeda were “cooperating.” And a book by former acting CIA director Mike Morrell that will be published tomorrow says that U.S. officials could not dismiss the possibility of such cooperation.

Link 3: Sy Hersh’S bin Laden story first reported in 2011 — with seemingly different sources

Bin Laden was killed by Navy SEALs on May 2, 2011. Three months later, on August 7, Hillhouse posted a story on her blog “The Spy Who Billed Me” stating that (1) the U.S. did not learn about bin Laden’s location from tracking an al Qaeda courier, but from a member of the Pakistani intelligence service who wanted to collect the $25 million reward the U.S. had offered for bin Laden; (2) Saudi Arabia was paying Pakistan to keep bin Laden under the equivalent of house arrest; (3) Pakistan was pressured by the U.S. to stand down its military to allow the U.S. raid to proceed unhindered; and (4) the U.S. had planned to claim that bin Laden had been killed in a drone strike in the border regions of Afghanistan and Pakistan, but was forced to abandon this when one of the Navy SEAL helicopters crashed.

Hillhouse also claims that one of her sources told her a particular detail that she did not include in 2011 because she could not confirm it: that the Navy SEALs threw bin Laden’s body out of the helicopter while traveling over the Hindu Kush mountains from Pakistan to Afghanistan. Hersh’s story includes an assertion from his main source that “during the helicopter flight back to Jalalabad, some body parts were tossed out over the Hindu Kush mountains.” While this seems bizarre in retrospect, it would be plausible if the SEALs had believed at the time that the Obama administration planned to say publicly that bin Laden had been killed in a drone strike.

What do you think? Comments?

On the Expose by Seymour Hersh on the Osama Bin Laden Killing

May 11, 2015 3 comments

Many of you might have heard about the recent expose by Seymour Hersh on the official government story about the american raid that resulted in the death of Osama bin Laden. As usual, the white house has issued a statement calling it “utter nonsense”. A few supposedly left-wing journalists have tried to refute the accusations made in the expose by making ad hominem attacks on Hersh. Others seem to have taken a more sympathetic attitude towards the accusations made by Hersh. Still other basically agree with his expose, but with some caveats.

In my opinion, the basic framework and course of events presented in the Hersh expose on the bin Laden killing are infinitely more plausible than the action-movie script published by the american government and promoted by its presstitutes. Here is why..

1: As some have noted, the basic narrative and main points of Seymour Hersh’s expose on the bin Laden killing are not new. Infact, another well-known journalist published a very similar series of reports on that event in August 2011, less than three months after the event. The journalist in question- R.J. Hillhouse is a former professor, Fulbright fellow and novelist whose writing on intelligence and military outsourcing has appeared in the Washington Post and New York Times wrote that bin Laden was betrayed by an informant from the main intelligence agency of Pakistan on August 7, 2011. She wrote a further update to that piece, a few days later, on August 11, 2011 in which she once again talked about the Saudis paying Pakistan for keeping bin Laden alive and under government surveillance. While a few newspapers outside the USA and many internet websites did carry this story, it was largely ignored by the “main stream media” in USA- both on the right and left.

2: The basic chain of events described by both Hersh and Hillhouse are almost identical, though they did not get information from the same sources. Moreover, they do fit the real nature of the relationships between USA, Pakistan and Saudi Arabia. As some of you might know, Pakistan was a client state of the USA from the early 1950s to 1972, when it realized that all the weapons and assurances of support from the USA could not prevent it from being defeated (and humiliated) by India. Since then, Pakistan has been increasingly dependent on Saudi money and Chinese weapons to keep itself from falling apart. Now this does not mean that Pakistani elite are averse to getting money and weapons from the USA. Indeed, they has no problems with doing all that as long as it serves their own interests. Also, all organisations contain more than a few greedy and duplicitous people, who would drop their proverbial trousers for the right price.

3: Though Pakistan has elections and is officially run by a democratically elected government, the armed forces and its intelligence agencies have always been the real and unaccountable power in that country. Even worse, there are many factions within those two organisations, who frequently work at cross purposes if large financial considerations are at stake. The idea that bin Laden was kept as a guest of one (or more) of those factions in exchange for payments from the Saudis and as leverage over some factions of the Taliban is therefore extremely feasible. Pakistani elite have no interest in letting Afghanistan remain peaceful or become a less regressive society because that would kill their cash,weapon and influence cow from the USA.

4: We also cannot forget that Saudi Arabia is a frenemy of the USA. Though it requires the support and security provided by USA, its own internal situation and dynastic policies result in it spending tens of billions each year to support islamic militancy and extremists all round the world. It is perfectly plausible, and even desirable, for them to have paid Pakistan for keeping bin Laden alive- especially if doing so would allow them to influence his actions. Furthermore, the peculiar master-slave like relationship between the higher echelons of the Saudi and Pakistani administrative are not exactly secret. Some of you might have heard that Saudi Arabia paid for part of Pakistan’s nuclear weapon program and is expected to receive a few ready-made warheads from it if Iran ever becomes a declared nuclear power.

5: It is also no secret that USA has no significant independent human intelligence assets in Pakistan. I mean, they have tons of assets- but almost every single one works in collaboration with somebody in one of the many factions in the armed forces and intelligence agency of that country. Also, the whole idea that a person like bin Laden could have purchased, built and lived in a large house in one of the poshest and most exclusive army towns in Pakistan without drawing attention from nosy neighbors is very hard to believe. I mean, that whole town is crawling with the security details of all those Pakistani elite who maintain their exclusive summer homes in that town. Do you really think that all those people living in Abbottabad were that stupid, incompetent or oblivious for many years?

6: The whole idea that you can fly two large, low-observability but NOT stealth, helicopters into a town crawling with security details, army personal and defended by multiple air defense systems (including non-USA sourced radar and weaponry) without raising any alarms is laughable- at the very least. I mean, even some guy living a km or two away from that house who was live tweeting the event remarked about the noise caused by these supposedly stealthy “top-secret” american helicopters. You cannot seriously believe that nobody in a town crawling with army personal noticed something very odd about all those noise and commotion at that location and put two plus two together. Either more than a few people in that town knew exactly what was going down or that town is filled with retarded and partially deaf people.

7: The killing of bin Laden in May 2011 did give all the involved parties an easy way out of what would otherwise have been a PR disaster. The USA, and Obama, got their Hollywood action movie ending and bragging rights for killing that guy. Pakistani elites were able to avoid a public, and likely costly, spectacle. Also, some of them received extra money and other favors from the USA in return their cooperation. The Saudis were able to quietly wash their hands of the whole affair and maintain their public facade. I mean, doing it the way they did it in the end was likely the most profitable and easy route for all the major players in that game. Everybody except that guy was happier at the end of that day.

It is therefore my opinion that the basic facts and narrative framework of the report by Seymour Hersh (and R.J. Hillhouse) are consistent with what we know about the countries, organisations and individuals involved in that event, including their motivations to do what is described by both of those journalists. The “official” story, on the other hand, requires potential believers to suspend their critical thinking abilities.

What do you think? Comments?

NSFW Links: May 10, 2015

These links are NSFW.

Outdoor Cuties: May 10, 2015 – Outdoor nekkid cuties.

More Outdoor Cuties: May 10, 2015 – More outdoor nekkid cuties.

Enjoy! Comments?

Categories: Uncategorized

How Blacks Stopped Caring about Respectability and Acceptability

May 8, 2015 40 comments

One of the more peculiar, if often ignored, feature of recent popular protests that have followed many of the seemingly routine extrajudicial executions of black men by cops and white vigilantes in the USA has been the profile of those killed. To put it another way, the majority of black protesters are no longer restrained by CONservative and LIEbral whites talking about the so-called “criminal histories” of those that were murdered. While some white readers of this post might believe that this was always the norm- even a little honest historical research will clearly show otherwise.

What changed? Why have so many blacks (especially those born after 1980) stopped caring about appearing respectable and acceptable to whites? Why haven’t the supposed “criminal histories” and “public personas” of Trayvon Martin, Micheal Brown, Eric Garner, Tamir Rice, Akai Gurle and Freddie Gray NOT put a damper on demands for justice for their executions? And perhaps more interestingly, why did so many blacks from previous eras and generations strive for white respectability and acceptability? As I will show you in the rest of this post- all those questions are closely linked to each other.

If you have ever read about the peaceful black civil rights movement from the 1950s and 1960s, it is hard to miss that many leaders of that movement went to great lengths to ensure that plaintiffs in cases of racial discrimination had a “socially acceptable”, “respectable” and “gentle” demeanor. This desire by blacks for “respectability” and “acceptability” by whites intensified after the 1960s and went on well into the late 1990s and early 2000s, when for some inexplicable reason, it started to quickly fade away.

You might have noticed that a lot of popular (and rich) black entertainers from the now-disgraced Bill Cosby, Eddy Murphy, Denzel Washington, Will Smith, Chris Rock, Tyler Perry and Dave Chappelle made a lot of money by either playing “respectable” black men or by criticizing “all those other” black men. Similarly a lot of political figures from Barack Obama and Colin Powell to almost every black cop they interview on TV after some black guy was murdered by cops try to avoid the central issue by talking about education, respectability, acceptability and other assorted bullshit.

So, what is going on? Why did most blacks initially embrace the idea that respectability and acceptability would somehow result in “true” equality with whites? Why did this quest for respectability and acceptability strengthen after the civil rights movement only to collapse in the last decade? And why did it collapse?

The genesis of the idea that respectability and acceptability would somehow result in “true” equality with whites is probably the easiest to understand. It probably came about due to a peculiar side-effect of post-1865 american apartheid. Basically, most white people who interacted with blacks (especially in northern states) came in two flavors- a minority who treated black people well and the majority who treated blacks as subhuman but did not have the balls to be honest about it. Consequently many blacks, who had limited exposure to white hypocrisy, wanted to believe that the racist majority of whites might ultimately them as equals like the non-racist minority did if only they could somehow show themselves to be respectable and acceptable. It goes without saying the racist white majority fed that lie by pretending to believe in it and treating supplicant blacks a bit better than those with self-respect.

Ironically, the aftermath of the civil rights movement as the numerous anti-discrimination legislations passed in that era in combination with the growing economy did actually increase the quality of life for a substantial percentage of the black population in USA. This trend maintained momentum through the 1980s and even the 1990s until it hit a series of not-so-unexpected roadblocks.

The first and most obvious roadblock was the massive increase in incarceration, socially sanctioned extrajudicial executions and legalized discrimination that followed the “war on drugs”. It is now no secret the so-called “war on drugs” was about reestablishing the ‘Jim Crow’ quo. However many blacks who had benefited from the civil rights movement were initially unwilling to see the “war on drugs” for what it really was. They thought that acting respectable and gaining more social acceptability would somehow insulate them from the abuse of ‘Jim Crow 2.0’.

Well.. it sorta did that for a time, especially during the 1980s. However the “war on drugs” kept on growing in scope and soon expanded into increasingly aggressive, violent and militarized policing of black-majority neighborhoods. Of course.. this was to justified under the guise of protecting “good and respectable” blacks from drug crazed and violent “n***ers”. By the later half of the 1990s, the children of “respectable” blacks found out that the police were incapable and not really interested in distinguishing between them and their “drug-dealing” poor counterparts.

However the biggest and most important blow to the idea that most whites are decent human beings came from a completely different source- namely, an increase in real life interactions with whites. You see, the most far-reaching effect of the civil rights movement was that it resulted in a vast and almost unprecedented increase in daily interactions between whites and blacks. Prior to the late 1960s, whites were able to exclude blacks from most of their lives and could therefore pretend to be more honest and nicer than they were. The ability to exclude blacks fell rapidly after 1965 and in the next two decades many got a chance to find out what white people really were like. The growth and spread of the internet after 1995 allowed blacks to appreciate the extent and depth of white racism.

Consequently the vast majority of black people born in the last 30 odd years have a very good and accurate understanding of what white people actually think about them. They understand that white racism is not driven by anything beyond the sadistic desire to hurt and kill more vulnerable people. They understand that whites hate blacks because they are alive. They understand that all that talk about education, respectability and social acceptability is just a smoke screen that whites use to justify racial discrimination. They also understand that whites are a rapidly aging and declining part of the population whose glory days are now just a memory. It is now a waiting game or failing that one of attrition- something that the rest of humanity is now as good at as whites used to be.

What do you think? Comments?

Interesting Links: May 7, 2015

May 7, 2015 3 comments

Here are links to some interesting news articles that I came across today. They are about two lies whites tell blacks and, sometimes, themselves believe.

A: Systemic racism in the USA is largely confined to the areas of the country where owning slaves was legal before 1865.

B: Black people can escape persecution by acting respectable and being engaged in respectable occupations.

Link 1: San Francisco Expands Racial Bias Inquiry Into Police

The text messages the officers exchanged discussed lynching African-Americans and proposing that African-Americans “should be spayed.” One text read “White Power.” Some referred to African-Americans using a racial slur. Other texts contained denigrating comments about gays, Mexicans and Filipinos, who make up a significant number of residents in one of the nation’s most culturally diverse cities.

In addition to the text messages, the task force is also investigating gladiator-style fights among San Francisco jail inmates that the city’s public defender, Jeff Adachi, has said were arranged by sheriff’s deputies. The jail guards, according to a report by Mr. Adachi, bet on the fights and threatened inmates with violence or withheld food if they did not take part. A third area being examined is the possibility that hundreds of convictions in criminal cases may have been compromised by analysts at the police laboratory who appear to have improperly handled DNA samples.

Link 2: Four black parole officers file civil suit against white police officers

Alexandre and his colleagues — Sheila Penister, Annette Thomas-Prince and Samuel Washington are all black New York State Parole officers. The parole officers have filed a civil lawsuit, alleging that they were racially profiled by the white officers and that their detainment was unnecessarily malicious and reckless. The parole officers contend that the Ramapo Police Department and the city “failed to adequately trains its police officers concerning the rights of citizens, in particular against racial bias/profiling and the use of force,” according to the lawsuit.

The parole officers state that they were all wearing their department-issued bullet proof vests with their gold badges displayed prominently around their necks. Additionally, they said their car had an official New York State placard displayed conspicuously on the dashboard, according to court documents. Alexandre and his colleagues were ordered to “raise their arms high in the air.” Alexandre stated he was “punched” by a police lieutenant and was “forced out of his vehicle despite having identified himself as a parole officer,” the documents state.

Link 3: Jersey Cops Let K9 Maul Man to Death, Then Try to Steal the Video

Policing in this country really seems to be going to the dogs. Yes, that’s a silly euphemism, at least unless you live in Vineland, New Jersey. A video filmed a week ago Tuesday appears to show local police allowing a K9 dog to tear into the face of what looks to be an unarmed black man while he is curled up on the ground. The man, identified as 32-year-old Phillip White, later died while in police custody.

This is the second death involving police in Cumberland County since last December, when Jeramie Reid was shot and killed by Bridgeton police during a traffic stop after officers allegedly saw a handgun. It was later revealed that Reid was suing the county for allegedly being assaulted by corrections officers while he was in the county jail.

Link 4: LAPD chief concerned about fatal shooting of unarmed man in Venice

Less than 16 hours after the deadly encounter, Los Angeles Police Chief Charlie Beck stood before reporters and said he was “very concerned” about the shooting, which was recorded by a security camera. “Any time an unarmed person is shot by a Los Angeles police officer, it takes extraordinary circumstances to justify that,” Beck said. “I have not seen those extraordinary circumstances.”

Tim Pardue, who manages a homeless center on Windward Avenue, said Glenn stopped by the center Tuesday evening and admitted he had been drinking since 11 a.m. He left about 8 p.m., thanking Pardue for the noodles and crackers he had given him. At some point, he stopped to visit with other friends, including Bill Hinson, 37. Hinson said his friend told him he wanted to find some money to buy a beer, and took off for the boardwalk. About 11:30 p.m., gunshots broke out. Pardue said he walked out of the center and saw Glenn on the ground.

What do you think? Comments?

Interesting Links: May 3, 2015

May 3, 2015 3 comments

Here are links to some interesting news articles that I came across today. They are about the widespread and persistent nature of racist mindset among whites in the USA.

Link 1: Here’s the Ron Paul newsletter on 1992’s L.A. riots and advice on killing black “animals”

That comment, and Rand Paul’s boast that “I am sympathetic to the plight of the police [in Baltimore],” prompted me to look back at his father and “hero,” Ron Paul, and how he reacted the last time urban blacks rose up in outrage against police brutality in a major city—the Los Angeles riots of 1992. In the newsletter, bylined by Ron Paul himself, black people were described as “terrorists,” “animals” and worse. A few months later Paul’s newsletter also passed along this advice on how to get away with shooting black teenagers.

Link 2: Baltimore & The Walking Dead

Hillary Clinton is one obvious example of this: Her husband’s mass incarceration policies, which she supported, are policies she’s just now decided to campaign against. In her book “It Takes A Village,” Hillary 1.0 boasted about her husband’s tough on crime policies as if they were her own (h/t Zaid Jilani). Her replacement as Secretary of State, John Kerry, had caused some controversy just weeks before the LA riots with a speech he gave to Yale denouncing affirmative action and welfare programs, and defending resentful whites accused of racism. Kerry described inner city neighborhoods as “ruled not simply by poverty but by savagery.” And another up-and-coming New Democrat at the time, Bill Bradley, also scolded blacks to blame themselves after over a decade of Reagan-Bush mass incarceration policies.

As for Jeb Bush’s father—President Bush blamed the 1992 LA riots on liberal social welfare programs in the 1960s and 70s, and the breakdown of the family structure in black communities. While for Vice President Dan Quayle, the LA riots were his moment to shine. And shine he did, blaming the uprising on a popular TV character Murphy Brown, and single mothers everywhere (not too different from Rand Paul’s latest analysis, come to think of it). Quayle produced some startling insights into the causes of the Los Angeles uprising, such as:“Illegitimacy is something we should talk about in terms of not having it.”

Link 3: Few Conservatives Take Police Abuses Seriously

What’s vexing actually predates the riots: It is movement conservatism’s general, longstanding blindness to massive rights violations by police. The myopia has somehow persisted even in an era when an hour on YouTube provides incontrovertible evidence of egregious brutality by scores of thuggish cops. Per usual, let us acknowledge the many U.S. police officers who serve their communities with honor, courage, empathy, and restraint. One needn’t disrespect them to see that bad policing is common. It is more than “a few bad apples”.

Many conservatives show no evidence of caring. And many are complicit in abusive policing. (Conservative voters keep reelecting Sheriff Joe Arpaio, for example, despite his presiding over civil rights violations costing tens of millions of dollars, prisoners zapped with stun guns while strapped in restraint chairs,and the hiring of a private investigator to tail the wife of a federal judge, among many other sins).

What do you think? Comments?

Interesting Links: May 2, 2015

May 2, 2015 8 comments

Here are links to some interesting news articles that I came across today. These are on the apparent necessity of violence for any real changes, even if those changes are right, just or popular.

Link 1: There is no social change without coercion: Race, Baltimore, and how violence makes nonviolence possible

Beyond the firewall of rhetoric about the crisis in Baltimore lies a stark reality: There is no social change without coercion. Authoritarians do not step down because people are saying mean things about them on Facebook or Twitter; social elites do not relinquish their privilege simply because they saw people walking down the street, arms locked, singing kumbaya. One has to speak to power in a language it understands. It must be made clear that there are consequences for ignoring dissidents, that a return to the status quo is not an option. Shy of this, there is no change.

Mobilizing waves of the disenfranchised to assemble at seats of power underscores this threat further: right now, the angry mob at your doorstep is committed to non-violence. But should they grow disillusioned with pacifism, they may return with torches and pitchforks—and under the sway of revolutionaries who will not be placated with piecemeal reforms or patiently strive to accumulate small concessions, nor will they turn the other cheek in the face of repression. That is, it is violent movements (or other forms of coercion) that motivate elites to engage at all, even if progressives and pacifists are their preferred interlocutors.

Link 2: Why the CVS Burned

Informed by this history, when I look at the Baltimore riots of the past week, I see something more complicated than mere hooliganism. To me, the riots reflect fury not just at the police, but at the constraints of the ghetto’s retail economy, where the poor pay more. As I see it, the indignity of being roughed up by the cops is of a piece with not being able to afford to shop in your own neighborhood. Much of the violence that erupted this week took place at and around West Baltimore’s Mondawmin Mall, a retail stretch that is part of the same system of exploitation and humiliation rioters in ’68 stood up to fight.

Many poor Americans don’t cash their paychecks at banks (which typically require a minimum deposit), and are forced to use the services of cash-checking shops, which tend to take 2 percent off the top. On the 1600 block of North Avenue, where a police van held Freddie Gray on the night he was arrested, the storefront of payday lender Ace Cash Express advertises “PAY BILLS. CHECKS CASHED.” Last year, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau denounced Ace Express’ payday lending, which “used false threats, intimidation, and harassing calls to bully payday borrowers into a cycle of debt … drain[ing] millions of dollars from cash-strapped consumers who had few options to fight back.”

Link 3: Baltimore, and America’s double standard on violence

These days, riots are almost universally associated with black urban communities. But before the 1960s, “race riots” meant white riots, almost universally directed against blacks. Whether it was competition for jobs (Cincinnati: 1841), resentment at black veterans (Memphis: 1866; many cities: 1919), paranoia over black sexuality (Atlanta: 1906), or resentment at blacks moving into white communities (Detroit: 1943), American whites have historically needed little excuse to conduct mob violence against African-Americans.

This violence was not random or accidental. It was part of the American system of racial domination. It was not a coincidence that when a riot got going in 1921 in Tulsa, white mobs, assisted by local authorities, proceeded to loot and torch the entire black district of Greenwood — then the richest black community in the nation — burning over 1,200 homes and killing dozens. More generally, as Hamden Rice points out, semi-random psychotic violence against black men was the keystone institution of Jim Crow. It was what kept blacks in terrified submission, lest they be lynched on the slightest (or no) pretext.

Link 4: Is Violence Ever Justified? Does Violence Ever Solve Anything?

Relatedly, violence often does solve problems. The Native Americans cleansed from North America were “problems” to the settlers, and violence dealt with that problem just fine. Fascist Germany was a problem to most non-German countries, Jews, Gypsies, Socialists, Gays, and many others and violence solved that problem. Carthage was a problem to Republican Rome and violence solved that problem. And riots, rather better organized than the Baltimore ones, granted, solved the Parisian problem with the old Regime, while the Terror, terrible as it was, did make sure that there was to be no going back–even if France was to alternate between Republics and Empires for some time. Violence often solves problems and it often does so rather permanently.

I don’t know if violence is ever justified. But I do know that violence often does “solve” problems and I do know that peoples who insist on being entirely non-violent or bad at violence eventually discover that everything they have they hold at the sufferance of those who are good at violence.

What do you think? Comments?