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Monday, 31 August 2015

How the US Can Stop ISIS Without Setting Foot in Syria

Increasingly difficult to cover-up or spin, it is becoming apparent even in Western media coverage that the so-called "Islamic State" (ISIS) is not sustaining its fighting capacity from within Iraq or Syria, but rather through supply lines that lead to and from adjacent nations. These nations include Jordan, Lebanon, Israel, and most obviously, NATO-member Turkey.

It was in Germany's international broadcaster Deutsche Welle (DW)'s report, "

'IS' supply channels through Turkey,

" that hundreds of trucks destined for ISIS held territory were videotaped waiting at Oncupinar, Turkey to cross over into Syria with apparently no oversight by the Turkish government. Later, 

TIME magazine would admit

 ISIS' dependence on the Syrian town of Tal Abyad, just across the border from Turkey, for supplies and the significance of its loss to Kurdish fighters in sustaining their fighting capacity both at the border and beyond.

AP's June 2015 report, "

Kurds move to cut off ISIS supply lines in Syria

," would state:

Syrian Kurdish fighters closed in on the outskirts of a strategic Islamic State of Iraq and Syria-held town on the Turkish border Sunday, Kurdish officials and an activist group said, potentially cutting off a key supply line for the extremists' nearby de facto capital.  
Taking Tal Abyad, some 50 miles from the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) stronghold of Raqqa, would mean the group wouldn't have a direct route to bring in new foreign militants or supplies. The Kurdish advance, coming under the cover of intense U.S.-led coalition airstrikes in the area, also would link their two fronts and put even more pressure on Raqqa as Iraqi forces struggle to contain the group in their country.

And while US airstrikes are credited for Kurdish advances against ISIS, one wonders why the US, whose military including a US airbase at Incirlik, Turkey and US special forces as well as the CIA are operating along and across the Syrian border in Turkey - hasn't done more to interdict ISIS supply lines before they reach Syria and awaiting terrorists.

The Kurds and Syria's military both realize the importance of stemming terrorist armies within Syria by cutting them off from their supplies at Syria's borders. However, both the Kurds and Syrian forces are increasingly limited from securing these borders due to an ever-expanding "safe haven" the US and its regional allies are carving out of Syrian territory. Turkey and Israel have both attacked Syrian forces in these "safe havens" creating a virtual sanctuary for Al Qaeda affiliates including Al Nusra and ISIS.

Efforts to "assist" the Kurds appear only to have been a pretext to violate Syrian airspace first, then Syrian territory on the ground second. America's meager "Division 30" of less than 60 fighters trained in Turkey then sent to fight the thousands upon thousands of terrorists the US and its allies have been arming, training, and sending over Syria's borders for years was yet another attempt to make ISIS and Al Nusra's gains appear a result of Western folly rather than of Western design.

How the West Can Stop ISIS Without Setting Foot in Syria 

An old military maxim states: "an army marches on its stomach." Logic dictates that an army with empty stomachs is unable to march. Napoleon Bonaparte who is credited with this quote, found out first hand just how true these words were when his army found itself deep within Russia without supplies, leading to its ultimate and catastrophic defeat. 

Likewise, ISIS' fighting capacity depends entirely on its supply lines. Cutting these supply lines will lead to its inevitable defeat. For the United States, who is either allied with or has troops operating in all nations bordering Syria, cutting ISIS' supply lines would be a simple matter - that is - if the United States was truly interested in defeating ISIS and other Al Qaeda affiliates.

While the United States has assisted Turkey in erecting missile defenses along its border with Syria in order to create a defacto no-fly-zone providing Al Nusra and ISIS with an invaluable sanctuary, little to no effort has been spent in increasing border security - specifically the searching for and interdiction of terrorist fighters, weapons, and other supplies. As 

German DW's report illustrated

, it appears Turkey's borders are not only dangerously wide open, but intentionally so, with little or no effort at all by Turkey to stem the torrent of obvious ISIS supply convoys from passing through.

DW would likely videotape a similar situation unfolding in Jordan near its border with Syria, close to Syrian cities like Daraa which have become battle-torn as Syrian forces desperately try to stem the torrent of fighters and weapons flowing over the borders there, aimed ultimately at Damascus. 

The US Can Stop ISIS in One Month... If it Wanted

By cutting off ISIS from its money, supplies, additional fighters, weapons, and essential equipment, it would quickly be overwhelmed by Syrian and Iraqi forces. Without cash to pay fighters, and without new fighters to replace those lost in fighting, morale would quickly falter. Without a constant torrent of weapons, ammunition, and fuel, ISIS and other Al Qaeda affiliates would quickly lose their tactical capabilities. Fighters unable to flee would be encircled and destroyed as has happened deep within Syria's interior where Syrian forces have been able to cut supply lines to key cities and starve out terrorist armies.

Syria is intentionally prevented from securing its borders through an increasingly overt "buffer zone" or "safe haven" the US and its regional allies are creating for the purpose of sheltering clearly non-existent "moderate rebels." What these "safe havens" are in actuality doing, is ensuring ISIS' supply lines remain intact. With the Kurds - the only effective force near the Turkish-Syrian border able to threaten ISIS' supply lines - now being attacked by Turkish forces directly, what little obstacles supplies had in reaching ISIS through Turkey is being swiftly negated.

The US and its allies could easily increase security along Syria's borders and permanently cut ISIS and other Al Qaeda affiliates supply lines without having to enter Syrian airspace or cross onto Syrian soil. Just as easily as the US built a line of missile defenses facing Syria, it could create border checkpoints and patrols within Turkey to interdict and effectively stem all weapons and fighters flowing to ISIS. It could, but it intentionally doesn't. 

The implications are obvious. ISIS is both a creation and intentional perpetuation of US foreign policy. Just as the US so many years ago colluded with Saudi Arabia in the creation of Al Qaeda in the mountains of Afghanistan in the first place, it to this day colludes with its regional allies to use Al Qaeda and its various rebrandings - including ISIS - to fight wars Western troops cannot fight. This includes dividing and destroying Syria - the 

overtly stated, true objective of US policymakers


Could Syria and its allies create their own "buffer zone" in northern Syria? Could international troops be brought in, with the inclusion of UN observers to secure the Syrian border and put in check attempts by both Turkey and the US to engage Syrian and Kurdish fighters attempting to restore order there? 

The incremental strategy of carving out northern Syria, claiming to shelter "moderate rebels" while in reality securing further ISIS' supply lines and providing them an increasingly unassailable safe haven from which to launch operations deeper into Syria, is inching along and will inevitably pay off at the expense of Syrian territorial integrity, stability, and perhaps even its existence as a functioning state if no measures are taken to counter this conspiracy. 

The basics of logistics and the simple fact that the US can both fight and defeat ISIS by simply securing Turkey and Jordan's borders must be repeatedly brought up by non-Western media and diplomatic circles - highlighting the fact that Syria's conflict is one of foreign invasion, not civil war. The conflict can be brought to an end, along with all the horrors associated with it, by simply checking ISIS' bags at the Turkish border. If the US and Turkey refuse to do this, someone must check them on the other side, someone the US and Turks may hesitate to attack as they have the Syrians and Kurds.

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


China Rocked By Another Massive Chemical Explosion, People's Daily Reports

Seriously, what the f##k is going on over there?


This is the second explosion in Shandong, which both follow the huge and deadly explosion in Tianjin.

We'll await the details which we imagine will suggest that, as was the case in Tianjin, many more tonnes of something terribly toxic were stored than is allowed under China's regulatory regime which apparently only applies to those who are not somehow connected to the Politburo.

After the last Shandong explosion, The People's Daily reported that the plant contained adiponitrile, which the CDC says can cause "irritation eyes, skin, respiratory system; headache, dizziness, lassitude (weakness, exhaustion), confusion, convulsions; blurred vision; dyspnea (breathing difficulty); abdominal pain, nausea, [and] vomiting."

This clip has just been posted to a Weibo account - reportedly showing tonight's explosion (we are unable to confirm this is not the previous Shandong explosion though that was more twlight than dead of night)...

Mass Protests In Tokyo As Tens of Thousands Reject Controversial Security Bills

"Sitting in front of TV and just complaining wouldn't do," said Naoko Hiramatsu, a 44-year-old professor of French.

"If I don't take action and try to put a stop on this, I will not be able to explain myself to my child in the future," she added, holding a four-year-old son in her arms. While the organizers estimated that some 120,000 people took part in the Sunday protests, the police provided a far lower figure of 30,000.

Against the Grain

The rally was held in response to a legal initiative pushed by Abe's government. The military bills would allow Japanese soldiers to engage in overseas combat to protect Japanese interests. However, many scholars say the initiative clashes with the Article 9 of the Japanese constitution, which prohibits the use of force to settle international disputes.

Officially, Japan does not have an army, and its troops are known only as the Japan Self-Defense Forces. "For 70 years, thanks to Article 9 of our constitution, Japan has not engaged in war or been touched by any aggression. Article 9 is our foundation," said demonstrator Masako Suzuki.

Tension in the Region

Although the anti-war constitution was imposed by the US after World War II, many Japanese have grown attached to the country's pacifist position. The majority of people oppose the new military bills, surveys show. Obama's administration has welcomed Abe's initiative, which the Japanese government explains by safety concerns from North Korea and China. The bills cleared the lower house of parliament last month and are now being debated in the upper house. The lawmakers are expected to make their final decision in September.

Originally published by Deutsche Welle

Ukraine Reignites - 1 Killed, 50 Injured After Grenade Attack On Parliament

Amid the Ukraine government's vote for constitutional changes to give its eastern regions a special status (that it hopes will blunt their separatist drive) protests have turned deadly as RT reports 50 Ukrainian nation guards have been injured in a greande blast near parliament in Kiev.


The clashes began earlier in the day...


Following, as Reuters reports, Ukraine's parliament on Monday voted for constitutional changes to give its eastern regions a special status that it hopes will blunt their separatist drive...

At a rowdy session, a total of 265 deputies voted in favor in the first reading of a "decentralization" bill, backed by President Petro Poroshenko's political bloc and his government - 39 more than that required to go through.


But many coalition allies, including former prime minister Yulia Tymoshenko, spoke against the changes and it is open to question whether Poroshenko will be able to whip up the necessary 300 votes for it to get through a second and final reading later this year.


Approval of legislation for special status for parts of Donetsk and Luhansk regions, which are largely controlled by Russian-backed separatists, is a major element of a peace agreement reached in Minsk, Belarus, in February.


Though a ceasefire is under pressure from sporadic shelling and shooting which government troops and rebels blame on each other, Western governments see the deal as holding out the best possible prospect for peace and are urging Ukraine to abide by the letter of the Minsk agreement.

But they have not turned deadly as a greande attack leaves 50 national guard injured...

At least 50 Special Forces troops have been injured during clashes in front of the parliament in Kiev, the Ukrainian National Guard said. Crowds of protesters came to oppose amendments to the constitution that would provide for decentralization of the country.



"About 50 soldiers of the National Guard of Ukraine have been injured during clashes near Ukrainian parliament, four of them in serious condition,” the National Guard said in a statement.

Tweets from journalists at the scene said supporters of the radical group Right Sector were brutally attacking police officers.

“A combat grenade has been thrown at the Ukrainian special forces. Some of the servicemen from [Ukraine] National Guard have been seriously injured. Their life is in danger,” Anton Gerashchenko, an adviser to Kiev’s Interior Ministry, wrote on his Facebook page.

Another video of the hostilities developing in Kiev:

US considered nuking Afghanistan after 9/11 – German diplomat

U.S. President George Bush (2nd R) is pictured with Vice President Dick Cheney (R) and senior staff in the President's Emergency Operations Center in Washington in the hours following the September 11, 2001. © U.S. National Archives

U.S. President George Bush (2nd R) is pictured with Vice President Dick Cheney (R) and senior staff in the President's Emergency Operations Center in Washington in the hours following the September 11, 2001. © U.S. National Archives / Reuters

A nuclear strike against Afghanistan was on the table in Washington in the aftermath of the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001, a senior German diplomat told Spiegel magazine.

Michael Steiner, the current German ambassador to India, served as foreign and security policy aide to then-German Chancellor Gerhard Schroder at the time of the 9/11 attacks.

"The papers were written," he said, confirming that the nuclear option was under consideration. "They had really played through all possibilities."

There was a concern in Berlin that the Americans were so shocked by the attacks, which claimed nearly 3,000 lives, that they would overreact, Steiner told the magazine.

He added that he objected to Schroder's plan to express "unconditional support" for the United States, saying no nation should get carte blanche from Germany. The chancellor overturned his objections, Steiner said.

Washington's later war with Iraq, in which several European allies of the US, including Germany, refused to take part. 

The 9/11 attacks were a turning point for the post-Cold War world, sending the United States on a global war against Islamic terrorism. The invasion of Afghanistan and the ousting of the Taliban from power was the most direct consequence of the attack. It was globally welcomed as a just move, unlike Washington's later war with Iraq, in which several European allies of the US, including Germany, refused to take part. 

Sunday, 30 August 2015

Illinois Pays Lottery Winners In IOUs After $30K/Month Budget "Guru" Fails To Produce Deal

Much as Brazil is the poster child for the great EM unwind unfolding across emerging economies from LatAm to AsiaPac, Illinois is in many ways the mascot for America’s state and local government fiscal crisis. 

Although well documented before, the state’s financial troubles were thrown into sharp relief in May when, on the heels of a state Supreme Court ruling that struck down a pension reform bid, Moody’s downgraded the city of Chicago to junk. 

Since then, there’s been quite a bit written about the state’s pension problem and indeed, Reuters ran a special report earlier this month that outlined the labyrinthine, incestuous character of the state’s various state and local governments.

On Friday, in the latest sign that Illinois’ budget crisis has deepened, Governor Bruce Rauner apparently fired "superstar" budget guru and Laffer disciple Donna Arduin who had been making some $30,000 a month as an economic consultant.

And while Illinois apparently found the cash to fork over six figures to Arduin for just four months of "work", the budget stalemate means hard times for Illinoisans - including, apparently, lottery winners. The Chicago Tribune has more:

After years of struggling financially, Susan Rick thought things were looking up when her boyfriend won $250,000 from the Illinois Lottery last month. She could stop working seven days a week, maybe fix up the house and take a trip to Minnesota to visit her daughter.

But because Illinois lawmakers have not passed a budget, she and her boyfriend, Danny Chasteen, got an IOU from the lottery instead.

"For the first time, we were finally gonna get a break," said Rick, who lives in Oglesby. "And now the Illinois Lottery has kind of messed everything up."



Under state law, the state comptroller must cut the checks for lottery winnings of more than $25,000.


And lottery officials said that because lawmakers have yet to pass a budget, the comptroller's office does not have legal authority to release the funds.


Prizes of $25,000 or less will still be paid at lottery claim centers across the state, and people who win $600 or less can cash in their ticket at the place where they bought it.


But the bigger winners? Out of luck, for now.


While lottery officials could not immediately say how many winners' payments were delayed or provide the total amount of those payoffs, the agency's website lists multiple press releases for winners since the current fiscal year began July 1. Including Chasteen, those winners represent millions of dollars in prizes.


"The lottery is a state agency like many others, and we're obviously affected by the budget situation," Illinois Lottery spokesman Steve Rossi said. "Since the legal authority is not there for the comptroller to disburse payments, those payments are delayed."

Generally speaking, this just serves to underscore the extent to which gross fiscal mismanagement along with the perceived inviolability of pension "implicit contracts" is pushing Illinois further into the financial abyss, but what's particularly interesting about the suspension of lottery payouts is that the state is now effectively in default to its own citizens, something which, if the situation were reversed, would not be tolerated, and on that note, we give the last word to Rick (quoted above) and also to State Rep. Jack Franks:



Rick: "You know what's funny? If we owed the state money, they'd come take it and they don't care whether we have a roof over our head. Our budget wouldn't be a factor. You can't say (to the state), 'Can you wait until I get my budget under control?'"


"Our government is committing a fraud on the taxpayers, because we're holding ourselves out as selling a good, and we're not — we're not selling anything. The lottery is a contract: I pay my money, and if I win, you're obligated to pay me and you have to pay me timely. It doesn't say if you have money or when you have money."

Egypt sentences 3 Al Jazeera reporters to 3 years in prison

Baher Mohamed, a journalist with Al Jazeera English, in the court room on Saturday in Cairo. Credit Asmaa Waguih/Reuters

Baher Mohamed, a journalist with Al Jazeera English, in the court room on Saturday in Cairo. Credit Asmaa Waguih/Reuters

A judge in Egypt today delivered a verdict in the trial of three news reporters from Al Jazeera English. They are sentenced to three years in prison, on charges widely believed to be politically motivated and otherwise baseless.

From the New York Times account:

The verdict on Saturday was especially stunning because Egyptian officials had repeatedly signaled that they viewed the trial as a nuisance that had brought unwanted scrutiny of the government. The families of the journalists, Mohamed Fahmy, Baher Mohamed and Peter Greste, said they had expected that the men would either be exonerated on Saturday or sentenced to time already served.

But instead, the judge, Hassan Farid, upheld what human rights advocates said was among many baseless accusations leveled during the journalists’ long legal odyssey: that they had “broadcast false news” about Egypt on Al Jazeera.

Al Jazeera Journalists Sentenced to 3 Years in Prison in Egypt” [nyt]

Outrage at the verdict is widespread, and sparked a flood of social media condemnation.

Human rights lawyer Amal Clooney (who is also the wife of actor George Clooney) represented Canadian national Mohammed Fahmy, one of the three jailed reporters. The men were first charged in 2013 for allegedly being a part of the Muslim Brotherhood, and airing faked footage with the intent of harming national security.

"The verdict today sends a very dangerous message in Egypt," said Clooney after the ruling. "It sends a message that journalists can be locked up for simply doing their job, for telling the truth and reporting the news."

Saturday, 29 August 2015

Joe Biden's Son Blames "Russian Agents" For Ashley Madison Profile

Last night we heard the best 'excuse' yet if you are caught with an Ashley Madison account, from Dan Loeb - "due diligence." Today, not to be outdone by a married hedge fund manager, Vice-President Joe Biden's son "Hunter" has unleashed his own set of excuses for member ship of the extramarital affairs website, as Breitbart reports  - Biden thinks international agents, possibly Russian, who objected to his board membership with a Ukrainian gas company set up a fake account to discredit him. However, IP mapping suggests otherwise...

As Breitbart reports,

Vice President Joe Biden’s son Hunter Biden’s account on the extramarital dating website Ashley Madison was used and likely created on the Georgetown University campus while Biden was teaching there.

Business executive Robert “Hunter” Biden, reportedly an adviser to his father’s political career, told Breitbart News Monday that he suspected his enemies of creating a fake Ashley Madison account for him in order to discredit him. The email address provided for “Robert Biden’s” account matched a personal email address once used by Biden, the vice president’s son confirmed.

Biden thinks international agents, possibly Russian, who objected to his board membership with a Ukrainian gas company set up a fake account to discredit him. A source close to Biden told People Magazine after the first Breitbart story ran that the IP address for the account traces to Jacksonville, Florida.

But account information shows that the profile, which was confirmed by a credit card purchase in 2014, was used at the latitude/longitude point of 38.912682, -77.071704.

That latitude-longitude point just happens to exist on the Georgetown University campus, at an administrative building on Reservoir Road. And Hunter Biden just happened to be teaching there around the time the account was set up.

*  *  *
Faced with the new information, representatives for Biden said that the vice president’s son would not comment on the story beyond his original statements to Breitbart News denying that the account was his.

VIDEO: Cop Slams Mom’s Face to the Ground as She Dropped Her Kids Off at School Over Tinted Plate Cover


Tampa, FL — As Liz Vargas was walking her daughter into school on November 5, officer Kevin Fitzpatrick heroically swooped in to protect the citizens of Tampa from Vargas’ tinted license plate cover.

Not having done anything wrong, and upset that she was being harassed in front of her children, Vargas voiced her discontent.

“Then  because I was in my pj’s he called me bummy, and he accused me of illegal drugs, that’s why I got argumentative,” Vargas said of the incident.

Within 34 seconds of his encounter with Vargas, Fitzpatrick grabbed her wrist and had slammed the innocent woman to the ground, face first.

After being brutally assaulted in front of her child by police, Vargas retained attorney Brett Szematowicz.

“At best that could be explained away that he thought there was an officer safety issue with her pointing up at the sky, but he never said he ordered her back in the car, he never said he felt threatened by her actions at any point,” Szematowicz said.

As early as February, Szematowicz said they requested video of the incident from police, but he said they told him there was no tape.

According to WFLA,

The Tampa police department claims it never denied the video existed. In other cases it is common for officers to acknowledge there is video evidence, by writing “video” on criminal report affidavits.  Fitzpatrick put a slash mark through the “evidence box” indicating there was no evidence.  Hegarty isn’t sure why Fitzpatrick didn’t write in “video” but insists no one at T-P-D- denied that the video existed.

But if you watch the video, it becomes quite apparent as to why Fitzpatrick would have claimed it didn’t exist.

After repeated attempts at obtaining the video, it was finally released in July. The video clearly shows a uniformed assailant, Fitzpatrick, assault an innocent woman, Vargas.

Despite this video evidence, however, an internal ‘investigation’ into the incident cleared Fitzpatrick of any wrongdoing. Tampa police claim that Fitzpatrick had no other option to “control Vargas” other than slamming her face-first into the ground.

Szematowicz feels that the investigation is incomplete. “They left out why he was grabbing her in the first place and to us as her criminal defense attorneys that is the most critical part,” he said.

This entire ordeal was over a tinted license plate cover that can be purchased at auto parts stores throughout the state of Florida.

According to Florida Statute 316.605(1), 

“…all letters, numerals, printing, writing, and other identification marks upon the plates regarding the word “Florida,” the registration decal, and the alphanumeric designation shall be clear and distinct and free from defacement, mutilation, grease, and other obscuring matter, so that they will be plainly visible and legible at all times 100 feet from the rear or front.”

Despite the low quality of the video, we can see on the officer’s own dashcam that Vargas’ plate was legible.

The precedent set after failing to hold Fitzpatrick accountable is that police can initiate violence against citizens for no reason, even innocent mothers, in front of their children, and this is “following procedure.”

The One Chart The Military-Industrial Complex Is Hoping Mean Reverts

While most of the world will be hoping the following chart never (ever) mean-reverts to its previous historically devastating highs, there is one group that is 'banking' on it... The Military-Industrial Complex...

Source: @MaxCRoser

Of course, as Ron Paul recently explained recently, the current enemy of choice is Russia:

"The people have to have the propaganda convert them into someone they hate, so they can hate...so you had to have a Saddam Hussein, an Ayatollah, or somebody else, and right now it’s Russia."

Paul goes on to note that while the Cold War may have fueled the need for American military spending, its end has left Washington without a clear enemy to demonize. The US government is now spreading disinformation about subjects like the Ukraine crisis in order to paint Russia as a villain.

“All of a sudden the Cold War’s over, and there’s a full explanation of what’s going on in Ukraine, and it’s not all the Russians’ fault, I tell you,” Paul said. “But we have to have an enemy to keep on churning this.”

“Could you believe that maybe the military-industrial complex might have something to do with this?” he added. “Because they probably don’t deliberately say well this started a war, but this started some aggravation which ended up in a war much bigger.”

But we give the last word to Dwight Eisenhower...

Nothing has changed in 54 years... in fact it has just got worse.

Friday, 28 August 2015

The Police: Our Enemies in Blue?

Screen Shot 2015-08-27 at 10.10.00 PMKristian Williams is not a big fan of the police. His book Our Enemies in Blue: Police and Power in America, published by the ridiculously badass AK Press breaks it down like this:

“Let’s begin with the basics: violence is an inherent part of policing. The police represent the most direct means by which the state imposes its will on the citizenry. They are armed, trained, and authorized to use force. Like the possibility of arrest, the threat of violence is implicit in every police encounter. Violence, as well as the law, is what they represent.”

Kristian was kind enough to talk to me about why cops are bad.

Thanks for talking to me about your book “Our Enemies in Blue”. Your book is extremely critical of the police. What does the police department of the United States represent to you?

The police are specialists in coercive force.  Their distinguishing characteristic is the combination of surveillance and violence to make people do what people with power want them to do.  That usually gets described in terms enforcing the law, but what I found in my research is that the real distribution of power is a much better indicator of how the police will act in any given situation.  On the whole, they behave in ways that serve the interests of the powerful at the expense of the rest of us.

To me, a police officers main job is to keep things the way they are “supposed to be.” In your opinion, is the job of the police force to stop crime, or to control the working class?

Well, both, but the latter is more important.  In fact, what gets counted as “crime” is generally class-coded.  The disorderly behaviors of poor people get criminalized, while wealthy people see their misdeeds sanctified by the law, or handled as administrative matters, or – when they are considered criminal – met with loose enforcement and light penalties.  So, sleeping under a bridge is a crime, but evicting poor people from their housing is just good business.


Of course it’s not just class.  The police also work hard to maintain our society’s racial hierarchy.  Racial profiling affects people of color of all classes, limits their geographic (and therefore social) mobility, and so serves to marginalize them.  And, interestingly, every reputable study has shown that it has no use in terms of fighting crime.  It is purely a matter of preserving white supremacy.

You argue that acts of police brutality and violence are not aberrations, but are in fact the norm. Can you expand on this at all?

I devote an entire chapter to this question in the book, but the short version is that violence is inherent to policing.  They’re trained for it, armed for it, authorized to use it.  Their institutional culture supports it and to some degree their collective self-perception is centered on it. Viewed at the level of the institution, it is a routine aspect of police work, even if the average officer uses violence rather rarely.  The question of how much of that violence is legitimate and how much is abusive is a normative one; it depends on questions of law, policy, ethics, and social expectation.  But the point is, if you institutionalize violence in this way, it is fairly certain that the members of the institution will sometimes exceed the purported limits.  Looked at that way, even the excesses are part of the normal functioning of the institution.

Are there any solutions to this issue? Where do you see things going if this doesn’t change?

In the short term, I think it is worth pursuing reforms that make the police more accountable and that limit their access to violence.  In the long term, I think we need to abolish this institution and find some better means of ensuring public safety.  Since the police are both a product and a protector of social inequality, the abolitionist project requires an entirely different kind of society, one characterized by a radical egalitarianism.  Of course it is impossible at this stage to know exactly what that will look like, and it’s hard to see how we could get there from where we are at present.  That doesn’t make it any less pressing, however.  The only real check on power is popular resistance. Without it, things inevitably get worse.

Check out Our Enemies in Blue here, and see what other books about activism, anarchy and subculture AK Press has for sale here. 

Thursday, 27 August 2015

Fake Goldman Sachs bank found in China

A Goldman Sachs (Shenzhen) Financial Leasing Company was found operating in the country without any connection to the US investment giant.

“We don’t have any connection with the US Goldman Sachs, we just picked the name out, and it’s not intentionally the same,” a woman who answered the company’s listed phone number told AFP.

The company uses the same Chinese characters, gao sheng, as the real Goldman Sachs, and its English font is evocative of the US bank’s.

Bloomberg made a filing with the Shenzhen government that reveals the replica Goldman Sachs has been operating since May 2013.

Goldman Sachs China

It’s not the first case of setting up fake banks in China. A 39-year-old man in eastern China’s Shandong Province was arrested this month after starting a fake branch of the China Construction Bank with card readers, passbooks, teller counter and convincing looking logos, the Xinhua news agency reported. The bank was taking deposits but didn’t allow withdrawals.

“It’s notoriously difficult for an overseas claimant to persuade the Chinese courts that there has been trademark infringement. There’s still a practice of whoever registers first wins,” Paul Haswell, a Hong Kong-based partner at law firm Pinsent Masons told Bloomberg.

Basketball legend Michael Jordan lost a case in July against a local sportswear company that used his name in Chinese.

In 2012, Apple paid $60 million to Proview Technology (Shenzhen) that first registered the iPad trademark in China in 2001.

AP Sues FBI Over Impersonating An AP Reporter With A Fake AP Story

It later came out that the way the FBI used this was an undercover agent

pretended to be an AP reporter

and sent the suspect -- a 15 year old high school kid... -- a "draft" of the article to review. And when the kid opened it, the malware was deployed.

In response to this, FBI director James Comey

defended the practice

, saying that it was legal "under Justice Department and FBI guidelines at the time" and, furthermore, that this bit of deception worked. Comey also said that while guidelines had changed, and such impersonation would require "higher-level approvals," it was still something the FBI could do.

The AP

has now sued the FBI

, along with the Reporters Committee on Freedom of the Press (RCFP) over its failure to reveal any more details about this effort following a FOIA request. For reasons that are beyond me, even though it's the AP filing the lawsuit and the AP

writing about

the lawsuit, reporter Michael Biesecker apparently doesn't think its readers can handle the actual filing, so they don't include it (this is bad journalism, folks). However, you can

read the actual lawsuit here


In short, the AP made a FOIA request for documents related to this specific case above, as well as "an accounting of the number of times" that the FBI "has impersonated media organizations or generated media-style material" to deliver malware. The FBI said it was working on it, and then bizarrely told the AP that the request was being "closed administratively" because it was being combined with someone else's FOIA request, which left the AP reasonably confused, since they had not initiated that request and had no idea who had.

In a letter from Mr. Hardy dated December 10, 2014, the FBI stated that, even though the request had yet to be fulfilled, the AP Request was unilaterally “being closed administratively,” because the “material responsive to your request will be processed in FOIA 1313504-0 as they share the same information.”

The combining of Mr. Satter’s request with Request No. 1313504-0 occurred despite the fact that Mr. Satter had not filed Request No. 1313504-0 and was given no information about the identity of the requester underlying FOIA Request No. 1313504-0.

When the AP asked the FBI for more info, it was told that "the estimated completion time for large requests is 649 days." And still refused to reveal who had sent in the other FOIA request. The AP filed a formal appeal, and a week ago was told that there was nothing to appeal because the FBI had not completed Request No. 1313504-0 (which, again, the AP had not actually sent in). Hence the lawsuit.

The RCFP FOIA request received a somewhat more standard "no responsive records" response, to which the RCFP pointed out that the FBI was clearly lying, given that the earlier response (to the EFF FOIA, which kicked off this whole thing) showed that there was, in fact, such responsive results (I

know this experience

all too well).

And thus, both organizations are now suing to force the FBI to actually turn over the damn documents. Can't wait to find out all the national security reasons (or will they be redacted) for why the FBI won't respond, and why it combined the AP's FOIA request with some totally unknown party's.

Chinese Man Jumps From 17th Floor In First Stock Market Casualty

It appears the collapse of China's stock market has officially taken its first victim. While we have heard fromdesperate farmers who lost everything after realizing that making money in stocks is not easier than farmworkRT reports that a 57-year-old man has allegedly committed suicide in Shenyang, the largest city in Liaoning Province, by jumping off the 17th floor of a building with a black briefcase "full of stock-related materials," local press reported.

As we previously heard from one Chinese farmer,

From the hope-filled exuberance of early June to Yang Cheng's utter hopelessness, "I have lost everything," after he followed the government's 'grand plan' to open the economy and encourage stock market speculation.

Having piled his life savings (plus his relatives' money) into the market, thanks to encouragement from his broker he borrowed $1 million in margin and bet it all on one stock - a local mining company.

Now, after being forced to liquidate by the same risk-encouraging brokerage, he has suffered catastrophic losses... and he is not alone...

"I don't know what to do... I trusted the government too much..." he exclaims, adding "I won't touch stocks again, I have ruined everyone in my family."

And now, as RT reports, it appears the crash has claimed its first victim,

A 57-year-old man has allegedly committed suicide in Shenyang, the largest city in Liaoning Province, by jumping off the 17th floor of a building, possibly in response to a recent stock market crash in China, local press reported.

The building belongs to the city’s Chamber of Commerce and the 17th floor hosts a security exchange center, China.org reported citing a local newspaper. The incident took place Tuesday afternoon at around 2:00 p.m.

According to a witness, a black briefcase ‘full of stock-related materials’ was found on the ground next to the body of the man who was reportedly identified as a local resident.

While authorities are investigating the reason for the dive, it has been suggested that the suicide was connected to the recent stock market crash.

Be careful who you tell about this though...

Last month, Chinese authorities arrested a man who had allegedly been spreading rumors about people jumping off buildings in Beijing because of a stock market crash, China Central Television reported. The 29-year-old man allegedly wrote on social media that “there are people, because of the stock market crash, who have jumped off buildings in Beijing’s Financial Street.”

The post in question disappeared the day after it was created, thought to have been deleted by the state censors. Its author was detained for “disorderly behavior.”

*  *  *

Who's next?

India just turned off mobile internet for 63 million citizens amid protests in Ahmedabad

Restricting access to internet services isn’t the answer to such issues. Indian politicians need to encourage public debate and participation in creating policies that ensure equal opportunities for everyone.

Mobile internet services have been blocked in the Indian state of Gujarat (home to nearly 63 million people), following violent protests led by the Patel community after one of its leaders was detained by local police in Ahmedabad.

22-year-old politician Hardik Patel, the convener of the Patidar Anamat Andolan Samiti, led a rally to demand Other Backward Class (OBC) status for members of the Patidar community, in order to level the playing field in the competition for enrollment at universities and jobs in government organizations.

After he was detained on Tuesday, Patel sent out messages via WhatsApp urging citizens to maintain peace:

I make an appeal to maintain peace and keep calm. I give a call for Gujarat bandh tomorrow (Wednesday). This decision has been taken by Patidar Anamat Andolan Samiti considering widespread violence in the state.

Patel’s supporters have been using WhatsApp extensively to broadcast videos and make media announcements.

According to NDTV, a police officer said, “Last night, there were concerns of rumour-mongering and crowd mobilization through WhatsApp.”

The officer added that the service will resume only after the situation returns to normal. However, other reports indicate that all mobile internet services have been blocked across the state.

A slice of Ahmedabad. Gujarat is home to India's current Prime Minister Narendra Modi


A slice of Ahmedabad. Gujarat is home to India’s current Prime Minister Narendra Modi

Patel’s agitation aims to draw the nation’s attention to one of India’s major quandaries. While many members of his community are wealthy and politically influential, thousands of families are poor and don’t have easy access to quality education and high-paying jobs.

As the Patels are regarded as well off, all members of the community — including those from lower income groups — have to compete with citizens from across the country for a chance at proper schooling and lucrative careers.

It’s easier for groups with OBC and similar statuses, as seats at universities and jobs are reserved for them and often have significantly lower educational requirements.

Social Media Study Reveals Half Of Americans Hate Their Police Dept.

With the rise of digital technology, it has become easier and easier to document the transgressions of state enforcers like police – so it is no surprise that according to a social media analysis by drug treatment and awareness website drugabuse.com, almost half of Americans hate their local police department.

The study found that a little over 47 percent of Americans gave their police precinct a grade of D or F with states like Arkansas, Idaho, Missouri, Virginia, and Georgia exhibiting the most overall dissatisfaction.

37 percent of Americans gave their police department an F grade, with the national average being a D but grades of A relating the most overall satisfaction came from states like New Hampshire, North Dakota, West Virginia, Kansas, and Hawaii.

More than 19 percent of people, in states like Texas, Kentucky, Illinois, Michigan, and Oregon, gave their police departments a C or C-plus grade – and more than 19 percent of people gave police departments in states like Maine, Alabama, Oklahoma, Utah, and South Dakota a grade of B-minus, B, or B-plus.


The study also looked at the breakdown of expressed sentiment towards police by city.

Interestingly, despite that some states like Texas rank above the national average – when looking at data city by city – it exhibited three of the lowest ranked cities: San Antonio, Austin and Fort Worth – which all received an F grade.

Other cities that received an F score include Denver, New York City, Phoenix, Miami, Los Angles, and Ferguson, MO – who received the lowest recorded sentiment score in the nation.

Its important to note that no city or state received a positive overall sentiment score but the cities with the “least-worst” ratings were Columbus, San Deigo, and Seattle, who garnered A grades – and Houston, Washington, and Charlotte, who received grades of B-plus or B.


The study, which analyzed over 766,000 tweets about sentiment toward law enforcement during the first five months of this year, illustrates the reality that unlike a private or market entity, consumer sanctification has nothing to do with the prolonged longevity or success of government-run services like police departments.

Whereas unsatisfied customers of private security and protection firms can quickly withdraw their support if they find the actions of such businesses disagreeable – in government – repeated failures, abuses, and ineptitude only results in larger and larger budgets – paid for by the extracted wealth of citizens against their will under threats of force and violence.

Johns Hopkins University professor Philip Leaf says the reasons for the low scores vary, but maintains that new media interest, in conjunction with technology that can record incidents of police abuse, has led to new conversations about law enforcement – especially in neglected communities.

“There has been a negative perception of police in many communities for a long time, Leaf said. “There just haven't been conversations with these young people or in the media about it until recently.”

“There hasn't been an upsurge of disconnect with the police,” Leaf added. “With cellphones, there has been documentation of things that people have been talking about for a long time. People haven't been believed, and now it's hard not to believe it, if you see it on TV.”

Total War in Yemen Totally Ignored by Western Media

With almost a whimper, the Western media reported that the US-backed regimes of Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), and their auxiliary fighters drawn from Al Qaeda have begun carrying out what is the ground invasion of Yemen. Along with an ongoing naval blockade and months of bombing raids, the ground invasion adds a lethal new dimension to the conflict – for both sides.

Landing at the port city of Aden on Yemen’s southern tip, it is reported that an “armor brigade” consisting of between 1,000 – 3,000 troops primarily from the UAE are now moving north, their ultimate destination Sana’a, the capital of Yemen.

Columns of the UAE’s French-built Leclerc main battle tanks were seen moving out of the port city though their numbers are difficult to establish. Reports claiming that the UAE unit is brigade-sized might indicate as many as 100 tanks involved – a third of the UAE’s total armored force.

The bold move comes after months of frustrating failures for the two Arabian regimes. Their Yemeni proxies – loyalists of the ousted president Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi – have proven all but useless in fighting Houthi fighters across most of Yemen despite air superiority provided to them by their Arabian allies. And while it appears the well-equipped Arab forces are able to concentrate firepower, overwhelming Houthi fighters in pitched battles, the ability for Saudi, UAE, and Al Qaeda forces to actually hold territory they move through is questionable at best.


The Roman Empire throughout much of its reign was feared as invincible. After suffering several major defeats, the veneer of invincibility began to peel and along with it crumbled inevitably their empire. Likewise, Western hegemony has been propped up by the illusion of military superiority on the battlefield. By carefully picking its battles and avoiding critical defeats, the West, and the US in particular, has maintained this illusion of military invincibility

As the US moves against nations with larger, better equipped and trained armies, it has elected to use proxies to fight on its behalf. Thus, any humiliating defeat could be compartmentalized.

However, by most accounts the war in Yemen is not only a proxy war between Iran and the Persian Gulf monarchies, it is one of several such conflicts raging regionally that constitutes a wider proxy war between the US and its regional allies on one side, and Iran, Syria, Russia, and even China on the other.

With the presence of Western main battle tanks in Yemen attempting to move north, the opportunity now presents itself to punch holes through this illusion of Western invincibility. Yemen as the graveyard for an alleged brigade of French-built Leclerc main battle tanks would be one such hole. It would also set the UAE’s extraterritorial military ambitions back, if not overturn them entirely, and finally, would leave whatever fighting was left in Yemen to the Saudis who have thus far proven incompetent.

Perhaps this is one of the many reasons the Western media has decided not to cover the events unfolding in Yemen.

Yemen Vs. Ukraine 

One might ask how – in the context of international law – it is possible for unelected absolute autocracies like Saudi Arabia and the UAE to intervene militarily in Yemen with naval blockades, aerial bombardments, and now an overt ground invasion including armor columns to restore an ousted regime. This is done with seemingly little concern from the United Nations and with the enthusiastic support both politically and militarily of the United States.

The answer to this question becomes more confounding still when considering Western condemnation of Russia for any attempt to support or defend the ousted government of Ukraine, a nation now overrun by NATO-backed Neo-Nazi militias who in turn are backing a criminal regime in Kiev which includes foreigners assigned to cabinet positions and even as governors. Saudi and UAE military aggression in Yemen makes it increasingly difficult for the West to maintain the illusion of moral superiority regarding Ukraine.

Russia’s relative restraint when compared to US-backed aggression on the Arabian Peninsula exposes once again the pervasive hypocrisy consuming Western legitimacy.

This may be yet another reason the Western media refuses to cover the events unfolding in Yemen.

Responsibility to Protect…? 


After NATO’s attempt to invoke the “responsibility to protect” (R2P) as justification for the destruction of Libya, it became clear that NATO was merely hiding behind the principles of humanitarian concern, not upholding them. And while it may be difficult to believe, there are still those across the Western media and policy think-tanks attempting to use R2P to justify further military aggression against nations like Syria.

However, R2P is conveniently absent amid what little talk of Yemen that does take place in the Western media. US-backed blockades and months of aerial bombardments have tipped Yemen toward a humanitarian catastrophe. Not only does both the UN and the West fail to demand an end to the bombings and blockades, the West has continued to underwrite Saudi Arabia and the UAE’s military adventure in Yemen.

The carnage and injustice visited upon Yemen serves as yet another stark example of how the West and its institutions, including the United Nations, are the greatest dangers to global peace and stability, using the pretext of defending such ideals as a means to instead undo them.

Considering this, we discover yet another potential reason the Western media’s coverage of Yemen is muted.

It remains to be seen how the Houthi fighters react to the ground invasion of Yemen by Emirati troops. Dealing severe losses to the UAE’s armor while continuing to weather aerial bombardment may see the stalling or even the withdrawal of this latest incursion. Not unlike the 2006 Lebanon War where Hezbollah fighters expertly used terrain to negate Israeli advantages in airpower and armor, forcing an early end to the fighting, the Houthis may yet answer this latest move by US-backed proxies operating in Yemen.

Perhaps this possibility above all, is why the Western media would rather the general public knew little of what was going on in Yemen. It would represent yet another conventional Western-equipped proxy army defeated by irregular forces in yet another failed campaign fought in the interests of Wall Street and Washington. While the Western media refuses to cover the events unfolding in Yemen with the attention and honesty they deserve, the conflict is nonetheless pivotal, and may determine the outcome of other proxy wars raging across the Middle East and North Africa, and even beyond.

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

Wednesday, 26 August 2015

What If The "Crash" Is as Rigged as Everything Else?

Take your pick--here's three good reasons to engineer a "crash" that benefits the few at the expense of the many.

There is an almost touching faith that markets are rigged when they loft higher, but unrigged when they crash. Who's to say this crash isn't rigged? A few things about this "crash" (11% decline from all time highs now qualifies as a "crash") don't pass the sniff test.

Exhibit 1: VIX volatility Index soars to "the world is ending" levels when the S&P 500 drops a relatively modest 11%. The VIX above 50 is historically associated with declines of 20% or more--double the current drop.

When the VIX spiked above 50 in 2008, the market ended up down 57%. Now that's a crash.

Exhibit 2: The VIX soared and the market cratered at the end of options expiration week (OEX), maximizing pain for the majority of punters. Generally speaking, OEX weeks are up. The exceptions are out of the blue lightning bolts such as the collapse of a major investment bank.

Was a modest devaluation in China's yuan really that unexpected, given the yuan's peg to the U.S. dollar which has risen 20% in the past year? Sorry, that doesn't pass the sniff test.

Exhibit 3: When the VIX spiked above 30 in October 2014, signaling panic, the Federal Reserve unleashed the Bullard Put, i.e. the Fed's willingness to unleash stimulus in the form of QE 4. Markets reversed sharply and the VIX collapsed.

Now the VIX tops 50 and the Federal Reserve issues an absurd statement that it doesn't respond to equity markets. Well then what was the Bullard Put in October, 2014? Mere coincidence? Sorry, that doesn't pass the sniff test.

Why would "somebody" engineer a mini-crash and send volatility to "the world is ending" levels? There are a couple of possibilities.

1. The Shock Doctrine. Naomi Klein's landmark study of how manufactured crises are used to justify further consolidation of power, 

The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism

, provides a blueprint for how financial crises set the stage for policies that extend the power of central and private banks and various state-private sector players.

A soaring VIX and sudden crash certainly softens up the system for the next policy squeeze.

2. A "crash" engineered to set up a buying opportunity for insiders. When easy gains get scarce, what better way to skim a quick 10% than engineer a "crash," scoop up shares dumped by panicked punters and momo-following HFT bots spooked by "the world is ending" VIX spike, and then reverse the "crash" with another round of happy talk?

3. Settling conflicts within the Deep State. I have covered the Deep State for years, in a variety of contexts--for example:

Without going into details that deserve a separate essay, we can speculate that key power centers with the Deep State have profoundly different views about Imperial priorities.

One nexus of power engineers a trumped-up financial crisis (i.e. a convenient "crash") to force the hand of opposing power centers. As I have speculated here before, the rising U.S. dollar is anathema to Wall Street and its apparatchiks, while a rising USD is the cat's meow to those with a longer and more strategic view of dollar hegemony.

Take your pick--here's three good reasons to engineer a "crash" that benefits the few at the expense of the many.

Feds Go Door-To-Door To Inform Gun Owners Rights Not Absolute

Thank God criminals follow laws – otherwise we might be in trouble. This has always been the traditional attitude of government in regards to gun restrictions.

It is important to note that everybody believes in gun rights. – It is just a question of who has those rights. So-called “gun-control supporters” don’t support the absence of guns in society, they support gun ownership being monopolized and centralized in the hands of the state and their enforcers(police).

By criminalizing individuals 2nd Amendment right to defend themselves, governemnt exempts itself from its own rules and faces no repercussions.

This is certainly the case in victim disarmament areas like school zones where only magical costumes and shinny badges grant one the legal right to carry a firearm – consequently making schools a prime target for mass shootings.

Government revels in the idea of asserting itself over the population – so it is no surprise that a joint initiative launched in New Orleans is doing just that as the ATF, New Orleans Police Department and the Orleans Parish Sheriff’s Office go door-to-door across the metro area informing gun owners that they have no rights in school zones.

“Federal law makes it an offense to possess a firearm within a 1,000 feet of a school,” U.S. Attorney Kenneth Polite, who joined in the ridiculous display of hubris, said. “So we wanted to get the word out to the community about this work.”

The resource sucking initiative is being sold as “just a friendly reminder” by local media outlets but startled homeowners answered their doors over the weekend to costumed storm-troopers and plain clothes agents informing them that federal gun laws penalize self-defense in school zones with minimum fines of $5,000 and up to five years in prison.“This is the second time we have focused on a school here in New Orleans East,” Polite said of the 7th District. “[The area has certainly] suffered from a lot of crime over a long period of time.”

Brilliant! What better way is there to ensure the safety of schools than by going to homes and telling everybody no one can legally defend themselves there?

Whereas a genuine market-based security service would reward individuals with lower insurance premiums who took the necessary steps to ensure their own safety, government thugs are happy to revoke your rights and tell you its for the safety of your children.

As Austrian economist Dr. Hans Hermann Hoppe points out in his essay State or Private Law Society:

While states are always and everywhere eager to disarm their populations and thus rob them of an essential means of self-defense, private-law societies are characterized by an unrestricted right to self-defense and hence by widespread private gun and weapon ownership. Just imagine a security producer who demanded of its prospective clients that they would first have to completely disarm themselves before it would be willing to defend the clients’ life and property. Correctly, everyone would think of this as a bad joke and refuse such on offer.

Freely financed insurance companies that demanded potential clients first hand over all of their means of self-defense as a prerequisite of protection would immediately arouse the utmost suspicion as to their true motives, and they would quickly go bankrupt. In their own best interest, insurance companies would reward armed clients, in particular those able to certify some level of training in the handling of arms, charging them lower premiums reflecting the lower risk that they represent. Just as insurers charge less if homeowners have an alarm system or a safe installed, so would a trained gun owner represent a lower insurance risk.

ATF spokesperson Constance Hester said the initiative is “a good time to meet the community on a lighter note.” – And what lighter note is there than informing the tax-slaves that they will be extorted and imprisoned for attempting to protect their loved ones?

“One of the things that is very important for the community is to know we want to not only be reactive, but proactive,” 

Hester propagandized

. “We also want to build a better relationship with the community.”

Despicable! This is beneath the dignity of a free people…

Cops Shoot Man 'Holding Rifle,' Turns Out To Be Car Jack

The Bakersfield Police Department said the man fatally shot last weekend by an officer appeared to have a rifle, which turned out to be a car jack.

Jason Lee Alderman, 29, was shot to death by an officer at a Subway restaurant.

According to the department, a two-officer patrol unit heard breaking glass during an unrelated investigation.

The broken glass was from the front door of the Subway, and a white BMW was backed up to the restaurant.

According to police, Alderman was seen behind the counter of the restaurant with something covering his head.

The police department said Alderman refused several orders to “drop the gun.”

Alderman “raised the object in the direction of the officers,” and officer Chad Garrett shot him.

Garrett is on paid vacation while the use-of-force is being reviewed.

The family of Alderman has retained the services of a high-profile Los Angeles attorney, Mark Geragos, who said in a news release on Tuesday that the officer’s use of force was “unnecessary and unlawful.”

Geragos is accusing Bakersfield police of a cover-up in Alderman’s shooting.

Geragos says Chad Garret, the officer that shot and killed Jason Alderman, was also involved in the shooting death of a BPD informant in 2013.

Jorge Ramirez, working as a police informant, was shot and killed by Bakersfield police during a traffic stop.

Ramirez was with the person he was helping BPD capture.

Geragos also represents the Ramirez family, as well as the family of James De La Rosa, who was killed by BPD in 2014.
The tragic death of Jason Alderman has followed the BPD script of disparagement of their victims, conflicting portrayals of what occurred, and BPD playing fast and loose with the evidence," Geragos said in a statement.
According to Geragos, the Alderman family was told by the Sheriff's Department that Jason was shot because he had his hands in his waistband.

They were also told that no other officers witnessed the shooting, and that there wasn’t any video footage.
"BPDs current version of the facts is at odds with what was originally told. Employees at the location state that, contrary to what BPD has stated, the video surveillance was rolling and captured the incident but that BPD immediately confiscated the footage," Geragos said.
The Geragos firm says they have begun their own investigation and ask anyone with information to call the firm at 213.625.3900.

Supporters of the family are hosting a car wash to raise funds for Jason Alderman’s funeral expenses this Saturday, August 29th.  Join the event page on Facebook

What If Your Naked Eye Could See Wifi Signals?

I was reading earlier this morning about these parents suing their child’s boarding school in Massachusetts over their use of supposedly too strong wi-fi signals which they say are harming his health, causing nausea and nosebleeds. The parents claim that their 12-year-old son suffers from Electromagnetic Hypersensitivity Syndrome, a condition which is aggravated by electromagnetic radiation, even batteries. It’s what Michael McKean’s character in Better Call Saul believes is troubling him and there is even an entire town that is a wifi dead zone in West Virginia that has become a destination for EHS sufferers. Is Electromagnetic Hypersensitivity Syndrome all in the head? Perhaps, but the jury is still out. Maybe some people are “allergic” to radiation. It’s not completely outside the realm of possibility.

In any case, anyone who is a hypochondriac (or paranoic) reading this is advised to stop now, because I don’t want to burden you with something new to fret about because Dutch artist Richard Vijgen has introduced a new app called “The Architecture of Radio” which utilizes various local data sources to visualize “hidden” communications networks in a specific location. “We are completely surrounded by an invisible system of data cables and radio signals from access points, cell towers and overhead satellites. Our digital lives depend on these very physical systems for communication, observation and navigation,” he says.

In order to show you cell phone signals, the Architecture of Radio app parses wireless tower locations via OpenCellID, a ground mind mapping of cell towers. It uses NASA and JPL’s Ephemeris software to zero in on the locations of in-orbit satellites. There are hidden signals all around us. We can’t see them, but they, in a manner of speaking, can “see” us.

For now the app with only work at a site-specific exhibit that will be on display at the ZKM Media Museum in Karlsruhe, Germany, from September 4th of this year all the way until next April. There are plans afoot to make the Architecture of Radio appavailable publicly later this year.


North Dakota Becomes First State to Legalize Drones Weaponized with Tasers, Tear Gas, Rubber Bullets & Sound Canons

Screen Shot 2015-08-26 at 10.08.07 AM

It is now legal for law enforcement in North Dakota to fly drones armed with everything from Tasers to tear gas thanks to a last-minute push by a pro-police lobbyist. 

With all the concern over the militarization of police in the past year, no one noticed that the state became the first in the union to allow police to equip drones with “less than lethal” weapons. House Bill 1328 wasn’t drafted that way, but then a lobbyist representing law enforcement—tight with a booming drone industry—got his hands on it.

– From the Daily Beast article: First State Legalizes Taser Drones for Cops, Thanks to a Lobbyist

You could see the writing on the walls years ago. In an increasingly authoritarian, lawless, surveillance state like America, it was always inevitable that drones would be weaponized. In North Dakota, this is now a reality.

Although I haven’t written much about domestic drones as of late, I published many articles on the topic several years ago. In the 2012 piece, Drones in America? They are Already Here…I warned:

Like with any new technology, drones can be put to good use or to evil use.  Just like nuclear power can harness energy or destroy humanity altogether, drones could do a lot of good, but the problem is that the government is clearly moving more and more towards a surveillance state so we must be extra careful.  Stay vigilant.

Apparently, North Dakotans weren’t particularly vigilant, and now the state has become the first in the nation to legalize weaponized drones; not a distinction they should be proud of. What started out as a bill to require police using drones for surveillance obtain warrants, turned into a law that puts tasers and tear gas on them. Go ‘Merica.

The Daily Beast reports:


It is now legal for law enforcement in North Dakota to fly drones armed with everything from Tasers to tear gas thanks to a last-minute push by a pro-police lobbyist. 

With all the concern over the militarization of police in the past year, no one noticed that the state became the first in the union to allow police to equip drones with “less than lethal” weapons. House Bill 1328 wasn’t drafted that way, but then a lobbyist representing law enforcement—tight with a booming drone industry—got his hands on it.

The bill’s stated intent was to require police to obtain a search warrant from a judge in order to use a drone to search for criminal evidence. In fact, the original draft of Rep. Rick Becker’s bill would have banned all weapons on police drones. 

Then Bruce Burkett of North Dakota Peace Officer’s Association was allowed by the state house committee to amend HB 1328 and limit the prohibition only to lethal weapons. “Less than lethal” weapons like rubber bullets, pepper spray, tear gas, sound cannons, and Tasers are therefore permitted on police drones.

Even “less than lethal” weapons can kill though. At least 39 people have been killed by police Tasers in 2015 so far, according to The Guardian. 

And just in case you’re wondering why North Dakota rolled over so easily. The state is desperate for “economic growth,” even if that growth expands GDP via fascist panopticon surveillance.

Drones in North Dakota are a profitable enterprise in a state hit hard by the oil bust. Companies that market machines for agricultural and commercial use have been popping up in industrial parks on the outskirts of Grand Forks for the better part of the last three years. The university, one of the city’s largest employers, even offers a four-year degree in drones. The Air Force has partnered with the private sector to create a drone research and development park, too.

Drones are overwhelmingly seen as a good thing in North Dakota, which is perhaps why few noticed when HB 1328 passed with a clause allowing them to be armed with non-lethal weapons.

Because it’s imperative to national security that we make this, so much easier…

Screen Shot 2015-08-26 at 10.09.29 AM

Great work North Dakota. Let’s hope the rest of us aren’t so hopelessly stupid.

US Military Now Has Authority to “Capture and Punish” Journalists Who they Deem “Belligerent



Washington, D.C. — Newly adopted Department of Defense guidelines will allow military commanders to “punish journalists” and treat them as “unprivileged belligerents.”

The DoD’s 1,180 page Law of War Manual outlines provisions for military commanders to violate the rights of journalists who they disagree with in vaguely written legal speak.

According to the Associated Press:

The Law of War manual, updated to apply for the first time to all branches of the military, contains a vaguely worded provision that military commanders could interpret broadly, experts in military law and journalism say. Commanders could ask journalists to leave military bases or detain journalists for any number of perceived offenses.

“In general, journalists are civilians,” the 1,180 page manual says, but it adds that “journalists may be members of the armed forces, persons authorized to accompany the armed forces, or unprivileged belligerents.”

A person deemed “unprivileged belligerent” is not entitled to the rights afforded by the Geneva Convention so a commander could restrict from certain coverage areas or even hold indefinitely without charges any reporter considered an “unprivileged belligerent.”

The manual allows for the stripping of due process and reporters who are deemed “belligerent” could be carted off to Gitmo and never heard from again.

The manual states that they are not ruling out torturing journalists either. According to the manual:

“Reporting on military operations can be very similar to collecting intelligence or even spying. A journalist who acts as a spy may be subject to security measures and punished if captured.”

If a person is suspected of being an enemy combatant, then that person should be treated as an enemy combatant. Adding in this vaguely written language that specifically mentions ‘journalists’ can only be interpreted as a means to silence dissent.

The Mainstream Media is already heavily controlled by state interests. Antiwar protesters are portrayed in a negative light while the horrid atrocities carried out by the US government overseas are completely blacked out.


If Americans were shown the violent reality of US-led drone attacks on villages across the Middle East in which innocent women and children were slaughtered by remotely fired Hellfire missiles, you can rest assured the support for the war would have been waning long before now.

The fact is that anyone who does show the public the reality of war is already treated as an enemy combatant. If you doubt this claim, simply look at how fast Wikileaks was attacked after releasing the video Collateral Murder.  The video showed a team of two US AH-64 Apache helicopters in Al-Amin al-Thaniyah, New Baghdad gunning down an unarmed Reuters reporter and children.

Instead of launching an investigation into more instances of collateral murder, Wikileaks was declared an enemy of the state and the US began attempts to extradite Julian Assange.

“I’m troubled by the label ‘unprivileged belligerents,’ which seems particularly hostile,” said Kathleen Carroll, AP’s executive editor in regards to the Law of War Manual. “It sounds much too easy to slap that label on a journalist if you don’t like their work, a convenient tool for those who want to fight wars without any outside scrutiny.”

With the scrutiny from mainstream media all but non-existent, measures like this manual could prove to be a damning blow to anyone who attempts to shed light on the atrocities committed by the US.

As the AP reports, prior to the manual’s release, its own journalists have already been detained or thrown out of embed arrangements for reporting on issues that were not in lockstep with the official narrative.

“At a time when international leadership on human rights and press freedom is most needed, the Pentagon has produced a self-serving document that is unfortunately helping to lower the bar,” wrote Frank Smyth, senior adviser for journalist security at the Committee to Protect Journalists.

America is quickly becoming the very thing that it supposedly stands against. As politicians pay lip service to ‘freedom’ and ‘liberty,’ Americans are being locked in cages for possessing a plant, innocent children are blown to bits by a Nobel Peace Prize Laureate, and now the military says they can “punish” people for exposing it.

The next logical step for these tyrants is to begin rounding up and killing its dissenters. But that could never happen, not in the land of the free, right?


Virginia police say they found killer using license plate reader

This morning, the nation was horrified to discover that a Virginia local news reporter was shot dead, along with her cameraman, on live television. Hours later police released the name of the man they suspected as the killer. This afternoon, apparently after a police chase, the suspected killer shot himself and died.

Now one journalist is reporting that the police searching for the suspect found him by using an automated license plate reader. These devices, often mounted on top of police cars, take photographs of every license plate they pass by, and check those plate numbers against hot lists of people wanted by police. License plate readers also collect huge quantities of information about people suspected of no crime, creating massive databases containing the location histories of millions of ordinary people. Absent strict regulations requiring police to delete this information, license plate readers can be used to retroactively track the movements of every American driver, with no oversight or accountability.

In this case it appears as if the police added the suspect's name to the Virginia state police license plate reader hot list, and the machine alerted the officer to the presence of the suspect's car, jump-starting the police chase that ended with the suspect's suicide. That's a textbook success case for license plate readers, but I fear it will be used dishonestly to fight efforts to impose commonsense privacy rules.

If I was a betting person I would wager that license plate reader corporations and police departments nationwide will use this case to lobby against license plate tracking reforms. But doing so would fundamentally misrepresent the issues. Privacy advocates at the ACLU are not opposed to police using license plate readers to identify, in real time, people suspected of serious crimes like murder. The privacy bills supported by organizations like ours instead simply require police to delete non-derogatory information to ensure police aren't keeping detailed records of the movements of people suspected of no crimes.

You might soon hear police using this case as an example of why we cannot regulate license plate readers. But that's disingenuous. Privacy legislation like theLicense Plate Privacy Act, currently before the Massachusetts state legislature, would enable police to use the devices to find dangerous people while also preventing cops from keeping track of everyone else for no good reason. 

Literary Magazines for Socialists Funded by the CIA, Ranked


In May of 1967, a former CIA officer named Tom Braden published a confession in theSaturday Evening Post under the headline, “I’m glad the CIA is ‘immoral.’” Braden confirmed what journalists had begun to uncover over the previous year or so: The CIA had been responsible for secretly financing a large number of “civil society” groups, such as the National Student Association and many socialist European unions, in order to counter the efforts of parallel pro-Soviet organizations. “[I]n much of Europe in the 1950’s,” wrote Braden, “socialists, people who called themselves ‘left’—the very people whom many Americans thought no better than Communists—were about the only people who gave a damn about fighting Communism.”

The centerpiece of the CIA’s effort to organize the efforts of anti-Communist artists and intellectuals was the Congress for Cultural Freedom. Established in 1950 and headquartered in Paris, the CCF brought together prominent thinkers under the rubric of anti-totalitarianism. For the CIA, it was an opportunity to guarantee that anti-Communist ideas were not voiced only by reactionary speakers; most of the CCF’s members were liberals or socialists of the anti-Communist variety. With CIA personnel scattered throughout the leadership, including at the very top, the CCF ran lectures, conferences, concerts, and art galleries. It helped bring the Boston Symphony Orchestra to Europe in 1952, for example, as part of an effort to convince skeptical Europeans of American cultural sophistication and thus capacity for leadership in the bipolar world of the Cold War. By purchasing thousands of advance copies that it gave away for free, the CCF supported the publication of many of the era’s anti-Communist classics, such as Milovan Djilas’ The New Class. But its most impressive achievement was a stable of sophisticated literary and political magazines. The CCF’s flagship journal was the London-based Encounter, but it also publishedPreuves in France, Tempo Presente in Italy, Forum in Austria, Quadrant in Australia,Jiyu in Japan, and Cuadernos and Mundo Nuevo in Latin America, among many others.

Through the CCF, as well as by more direct means, the CIA became a major player in intellectual life during the Cold War—the closest thing that the U.S. government had to a Ministry of Culture. This left a complex legacy. During the Cold War, it was commonplace to draw the distinction between “totalitarian” and “free” societies by noting that only in the free ones could groups self-organize independently of the state. But many of the groups that made that argument—including the magazines on this left—were often covertly-sponsored instruments of state power, at least in part. Whether or not art and artists would have been more “revolutionary” in the absence of the CIA’s cultural work is a vexed question; what is clear is that that possibility was not a risk they were willing to run. And the magazines remain, giving off an occasional glitter amid the murk left behind by the intersection of power and self-interest. Here are seven of the best, ranked by an opaque and arbitrary combination of quality, impact, and level of CIA involvement.



7. The New Leader

The New Leader was founded in the nineteen twenties as a voice for American socialism, but by the dawn of the Cold War, it focused incessantly on establishing the totalitarian and imperialist character of the Soviet Union. During The New Leader’s heyday in the late forties and early fifties, its editor was Sol Levitas. The New Leader’s relationship with the CIA wasn’t always easy; the CIA actually thought that Levitas’s anti-Communism was too ferocious, unrelenting, and “conservative.” The New Leaderargued consistently that Soviet society was totalitarian in nature and Communism everywhere was controlled by the Kremlin, while the CIA wanted a more moderate and “sophisticated” voice that would appeal to the European left. In spite of its strident anti-Communism, The New Leader remained progressive in the context of U.S. domestic politics; it was one of the first publications to publish Martin Luther King, Jr.’s Letter from a Birmingham Jail.


6. Der Monat

Der Monat (“The Month”) was a German magazine founded in 1948 by New Yorker Melvin Lasky; the magazinewas his attempt to put his desired politics of “cultural freedom” into action. The year before, Lasky had caused a stir at the First German Writers’ Congress when he brought up the persecution and suppression of writers in Russia. He argued that those in the West should have sympathy for Russian writers, who had to continually worry about secret police actions and that shifting party doctrine might brand them overnight as “decadent counterrevolutionary tools of reaction.” Originally published under the authority of the U.S. military government in divided Germany, it became an important template for the magazines of the Congress for Cultural Freedom and was later incorporated into that network. Many have suspected Lasky himself of being a CIA agent, he denied it to the death.


Der Monat published the work of Theodor Adorno, Arthur Koestler, Hannah Arendt, Heinrich Böll, and Thomas Mann.


5. Kenyon Review

Probably the finest literary magazine in American history, the Kenyon Review was founded by John Crowe Ransom in 1939. The intellectuals and CIA officers who ran the Congress for Cultural Freedom loved Ransom, and used him and his literary networks to locate promising students and literary friends that it could recruit to work for it. Even Ransom’s technique of “New Criticism,” seen as a quintessentially conservative Cold War form of analysis because it eschewed examination of the social and political context of literary works, has sometimes been compared to the work of espionage, by which careful reading can unearth hidden plans and meanings.

A partial list of the nearly insuperable roster of the Kenyon Review’s authors includes Robert Lowell, T.S. Eliot, Flannery O’Connor, Thomas Pynchon, Nadine Gordimer, Randall Jarrell, and Joyce Carol Oates. It, as well as others, including the Hudson Review, the Sewannee Review, Poetry, Daedalus, Partisan Review, and The Journal of the History of Ideas, had hundreds and even thousands of copies purchased for distribution abroad by the Congress for Cultural Freedom, and sometimes received grants more directly. This was significant help for a small magazine; Kenyon Reviewhad to close for a decade beginning in 1969, just a few years after revelations of CIA involvement forced such support to be discontinued. Robie Macauley, who had been recruited by the CIA some years earlier, succeeded Ransom as editor of the Kenyon Review.

Paris Review4. Paris Review

Of all the publications on this list, the Paris Review may be the one with the weakest connection to the CIA. Like theKenyon Review, the Paris Reviewis one of the twentieth century’s finest literary magazines. Edited by George Plimpton, it published the likes of Italo Calvino, Samuel Beckett, Philip Roth, V.S. Naipaul, Jack Kerouac, Donald Barthelme, Jeffrey Eugenides, and Jonathan Franzen. Peter Matthiessen, one of the co-founders of the Paris Review, had been recruited into the CIA and the magazine initially served as part of his cover. But he maintained that the connections ended there, and that the Paris Review was certainly not a part of the Congress for Cultural Freedom. For a 2012 article published in Salon, however, Joel Whitney examined the archives of the Review and found a deeper-than-acknowledged relationship with the CCF and, therefore, the CIA. Some of this was inevitable: They shared a Parisian milieu and had common interests. But the record clearly shows that the Paris Review benefited financially from selling article reprints to CCF magazines. This was far from the CCF’s direct participation in management of Der Monat or Encounter, but the Paris Review did derive some benefit from the CIA, and there is circumstantial evidence that this affected the choices of authors for its interview series. In a way, the Paris Review case shows how difficult it was for “apolitical” highbrow literary periodicals to get through that period of the Cold War without some form of interaction with the CIA.

3. Partisan Review

Partisan Review was, for a few short years, one of the finest magazines produced. In the late thirties and early forties, when it was funded primarily by the painter George Morris, it was controlled by an avant-garde group of “literary Trotskyists” interested in fusing cultural modernism with political anti-Stalinism. Delmore Schwarz’s well-known short story, “In Dreams Begin Responsibilities,” was published there in 1937—and that issue alone contains work by Wallace Stevens, Edmund Wilson, James T. Farrell, Pablo Picasso, James Agee, Mary McCarthy, and Dwight Macdonald. George Orwell was another frequent contributor, and Partisan Review was first to publish many classic essays of criticism, including Clement Greenberg’s “Avant Garde and Kitsch,” and Susan Sontag’s “Notes on ‘Camp.’” The magazine, like so many, peaked early in its publication history. By the time that it received CIA support in the nineteen fifties, it had lost some of its initial energy, and its politics were growing increasingly “neoconservative,” although it continued on as a “little magazine” until 2003. (Boston University has made every issue of Partisan Review fully available online.)



2. Encounter

London-based Encounter was considered the crown jewel of the Congress for Cultural Freedom’s publishing program. Created in 1953, Encounter was edited by Irving Kristol and later, Melvin Lasky, while the literary pages were for many years curated by the poet Stephen Spender. It regularly published both British and American writers, including Isaiah Berlin, Mary McCarthy, Hugh Trevor-Roper, W.H. Auden, Daniel Bell, Arthur Schlesinger, Jr., Bertrand Russell, Stuart Hampshire, and John Kenneth Galbraith. It is often credited with helping shift the British intellectual scene away from socialism and towards an “Atlantic,” pro-U.S. outlook. Edward Shils worked out his ideas of “The End of Ideology” in its pages; C.P. Snow published his essay on the “two cultures” of the natural sciences and the humanities there; and it published Nancy Mitford’s “The English Aristocracy,” the classic essay about “U and non-U” describing differences in pronunciation between British classes. It also helped introduce English readers to authors like Jorge Luis Borges, and frequently featured the witty and erudite anti-Communism of Leszek Kolakowski. (See his “How to be a Conservative-Liberal Socialist”—the founding document of what he describes as “the Mighty International that will never exist,” for a reasonable distillation of the magazine’s ideology.)Encounter’s strength was such that it survived the CIA scandals of the late sixties and continued publishing on its own into the early nineties. The entire run of Encounter isfully available online.


1. Mundo Nuevo

The Congress for Cultural Freedom’s programs were not limited to Europe, and in the mid-sixties, it was trying to shift its Latin American operation from one that was ineffectively fighting the relatively unimportant pro-Soviet Communist parties of the region to one that would subtly undermine the appeal of Fidel Castro’s Cuba. It closed one magazine, Cuadernos, in 1965, and launched Mundo Nuevo a year later to try to appeal to more left-wing writers. The initial director ofMundo Nuevo, the Uruguayan Emir Rodríguez Monegal, insisted that he was trying to broker peace in the Cultural Cold War and have an honest dialogue about art and politics in Cuba.

Like other magazines affiliated with the Congress for Cultural Freedom, Mundo Nuevopublished essays critical of U.S. policy in Latin America and Vietnam. Its usefulness, from the U.S. government’s point of view, consisted in its defense of the responsibility of the artist as an independent critic of power, rather than part of a the machinery of revolutionary social transformation. Cuban intellectuals noted the magazine’s ties to the CCF and refused to participate; nonetheless, in its first few issues, Mundo Nuevo was an extraordinary success. Pablo Neruda, the Communist poet who only a few years earlier had been the subject of a CCF campaign to undermine his candidacy for the Nobel Prize, contributed several poems. There are interviews with Carlos Fuentes and Jorge Luis Borges, and fiction that would be foundational to the “boom” in Latin American letters from José Donoso and Guillermo Cabrera Infante. Most surprisingly, it published an early excerpt from the still unpublished One Hundred Years of Solitude, by Gabriel García Márquez. García Márquez, later famous for his close friendship with Fidel Castro, regretted his contribution when connections to the CIA were soon revealed. Nonetheless, José Donoso, in his memoir of the boom in Latin American literature, wrote that Mundo Nuevo was the “voice of Latin American literature of its time,” and at the center of a major phenomenon in world literature.