Author Archive | Breshvic

Exonerated Seventy Years After Execution

Earlier this week, a judge vacated the decision against George Stinney Jr, a black teen who was convicted of murdering two white girls in South Carolina. For Stinney, this came 70 years too late.

Despite not having evidence that Stinney committed the crime, and Stinney’s sister testifying that she was with him the entire day, it took the all-white jury just 10 minutes to convict and sentence him to death. At 14 years old, Stinney was one of the youngest people executed in the US and actually had to sit on a phone book to fit in the electric chair.

Unfortunately, Stinney is not the only innocent person which has been put to death. Today, it is estimated that 4.1% of all defendants sentenced to death in the US are, in fact, innocent.

Capital punishment is still widely supported in the United States and legal in 32 states.… Read the rest

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Twenty-Six Wrongfully Detained, Three Tortured More

Shortly after the release of the CIA Torture Report, I discussed the new details revealed about torture techniques used by the CIA.

Today, I feel it is important to raise awareness about those that were wrongfully detained and the egregious amount of time many were detained. The report lists 26 people who were “wrongfully detained,” three of which underwent “enhanced interrogation” tactics.

The report lists 119 detainees, 39 of which were subjected to enhanced interrogation techniques. These 119 detainees spent an average of at least 392 days in custody, while one detainee, Abu Zubaydah, was in CIA custody for at least 1,590 days.

What exactly has any of this accomplished except creating more enemies for our country?

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cia torture report, cia torture, interrogation techniques

CIA Torture Report

This week the Senate released nearly 500 pages of previously classified about CIA detention and interrogation. This report shows us new details about the C.I.A.’s torture techniques. Not surprisingly, the interrogation techniques used, are much more disturbing than originally portrayed.

Some other findings include:

  • The report reveals 20 names of detainees that “have not been previously acknowledged by the CIA to the SSCI”
  • At least 39 detainees of the 119 detainees given in the table “were subjected to the CIA’s enhanced interrogation techniques”
  • While the exact number of days in CIA custody was not entirely declassified, the average time in custody for the 119 detainees was at least 392 days; one detainee, Abu Zubaydah, was in CIA custody for at least 1590 days.

A full table of detainees in CIA custody between 2002 and 2008 can be seen below.

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drone strikes, drones,

Drone Strikes Under Obama

Since Obama has taken office, the use of drones in warfare has continued to increase. With that, we have also seen a tremendous rise in innocent civilians killed and some extremely disturbing tactics utilized during drone strikes.

In Afghanistan and Pakistan, one reason civilian deaths have been on the rise is because often times, residential buildings have been targeted.

As reported in the Bureau of Investigative Journalism, another tactic has involved following up one drone strike with a second, in an effort to target rescuers of the injured. Drones have also been deployed to target the funerals of those killed in previous drone strikes.

The use of drones to fight our wars will continue to be a controversial topic for sure. But targeting funerals and family members as well? For that, there should be no debate.

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WikiLeaks Spy Files

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via wikileaks.org/the-spyfiles

via Wikileaks Spy Files:

In early September 2014 WikiLeaks released its last batch of leaked Spy Files –  which it had started releasing in 2011. To mark this anniversary, data journalist Alice Corona cleaned and structured the data to build an interactive database combining the three Spy Files releases.

Currently, there are 559 leaked company documents, and 15 location tracking reports from WikiLeaks Counter Intelligence Unit (WLCIU). The 559 files disclose to the public internal documents from more than 100 companies specialized in intelligence and (mass) surveillance technologies.

These technologies are sold both to Western governments and to dictators, and have been used by the Syrian government. The 15 documents from WLCIU reveal the timestamps and locations of 20 members of these companies, whose whereabouts WikiLeaks has decided to track in order to show where the main surveillance contractors are sending its people.

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Propaganda Posters

U.S. Patriotism Poster

U.S. Patriotism Poster

One of my favorite things to collect are old propaganda posters. There’s something both chilling and comforting in the way that the systems of power have so crassly and transparently strived to manipulate us, using incredibly similar techniques for so many generations. And, of course, the illustration work is as fascinating as the history behind it.

Some associates have started a new resource for collecting together these old images, and I hope it will become a more robust database as time goes on. If Disinfonauts are interested, it’s free to edit and easy to upload images and info to propaganda.silk.co. As of writing this, so far there are only categories for US and UK WWII art, so I hope people soon add WWI, the Bolshevik Revolution, Soviet posters and anything else that is historically significant and visually stimulating. It may also become a good forum for discussing what propaganda is and how it works.… Read the rest

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How the Occupy Movement Helps Us Progress

Occupy Wall Street protesters have taken over Zuccotti Park as a base of operations. 17 September 2011 by David Shankbone via Wikimedia Commons.

Occupy Wall Street protesters have taken over Zuccotti Park as a base of operations. 17 September 2011 by David Shankbone via Wikimedia Commons.

The words ‘Occupy’, and the concept of the 99% and the 1% have become so enmeshed in our daily lives, hardly an American alive can deny their importance. Still, when pundits deign to look back upon the short history of the movement, and recent years’ progressive activism in general, they wonder “what good has it done”, and “where have they gone”, and “why couldn’t they just play by the rules?” The underlying implication is that such protests are somehow outside the ‘conventional wisdom’ of the political landscape, and therefore should be easily forgotten. But their ideas demand the attention of people everywhere, from Gezi Park to Taiwan, from Brazil to Ferguson, and anywhere citizens have been forced to exert their rights by literally occupying their own turf against tyrannical powers.… Read the rest

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Anti-“Redskins” PSA to Air

No word yet on whether the NFL will consider airing the “Proud to Be” spot, (which had been produced and put online in time for Super Bowl XLVIII), but it will play during the NBA finals, as it was deemed a “significant investment” by sponsors from the Yocha Dehe Wintun Nation. The group would not reveal how much it spent for the coveted advertising slot, only that it was necessary to further an important discussion of racism.

via AlterNet:

During this weekend’s highly anticipated NBA final, an ad that the NFL does not want to air will hit the airwaves. It is a powerful and moving plea to change the offensive Washington Redskins name and mascot produced by a group called the National Congress of American Indians.

The ad runs through a list of words that Native Americans actually call themselves: proud, forgotten, Navajo, mother, survivor, Inuit, patriot, underserved . . . and many more.

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America Comes Out With Student Debt

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Picture by flickr user Jagz Mario (CC)

Student debt activist Kyle McCarthy details some of the latest news  and personal stories in the ongoing battle against usurious corporations like Sallie Mae.

via Kyle McCarthy at Armchair Advocates:

For many today, higher education is being pushed further out of reach due to skyrocketing tuition and overwhelming student debt. In fact, from 1978 to 2011, tuition increased more than 900%, 650 points above US inflation.

And as tuition has climbed, so has student debt. Over the past eight years, total educational debt has nearly tripled in size and the average monthly student loan payment is $500. Today, nearly 40 million Americans hold more than $1 Trillion in student loan debt, which is having drastic effects on individual student-borrowers, families, and the American economy. With the increase in borrowing, people have delayed major purchases such as houses and cars. In 2011, first-time home purchases decreased for the first time since 2006, and One Wisconsin Now estimates that the student debt crisis translates into over $6 billion in lost automotive sales each year.

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Art Bell Returns!

Picture: Kelly Murphy for "Dark Matter"

Picture: Kelly Murphy for “Dark Matter”

No, he wasn’t in an underground bunker, and he wasn’t abducted!

Without much fanfare, the godfather of paranormal late night talk radio has returned to the airwaves. This time, beaming from an extraterrestrial satellite orbiting the globe and back into homes, Art Bell has signed a contract with Sirius/XM to bring spookiness back to dark nights huddled around the radio. Still operating from his desert enclave in Pahrump, the grizzled master of ceremonies proves that he’s still got the panache to handle topics scientific and… well, we’ll just say fringe.

His first interview back behind the mic was with Coast-to-Coast veteran and world-renowned physicist Michio Kaku, now famous as a popular science advocate for his work on Explorations in Science, Big Think and countless other outlets. An appropriate choice considering Art’s new show is named Dark Matter, and the CUNY Professor of Theoretical Physics opens our ears and minds to the cosmic, the subatomic, and the quantum in the same way that Art Bell had introduced us to the astral, the demonic, and the ghostly over his career.… Read the rest

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