Author Archive | Good German

Animals in Conflict: Diesel, Dobrynya and Sentimental Security


Binoy Campmark writes at CounterPunch:

When it was realised that a police Belgian Shepherd by the name of Diesel had perished at the end of a last act of defiance in St. Denis by suspected ISIS militants, social media, allied to the sentimental industrial complex, took over. Extensive coverage scrolled across the screens, powered by such hashtags as #JeSuisChien. According to Jean-Michel Fauvergue, who led the assault, there was “little doubt that she saved the lives of police officers.”

The political chance to exploit this death was too good to miss, and canine solidarity was met in kind by a Russian gesture from the Interior Ministry to provide a puppy in turn. Dobrynya was duly described as the dog that melted French hearts.

Such animals duly suffered the indignity of anthropomorphic depiction. “Diesel,” it is noted, “had a distinguished career with the police and had been decorated with service medals.” Headlines featured the rather cynical suggestion that dogs “around the world” were paying their “own tribute to hero police canine killed in siege.”

Various dog owners, without a second thought, posted pictures on various media platforms featuring dogs on hind legs, sporting a French flag.

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ISIL and the West: A Clash of Savageries

Lamis Andoni writes at Al-Jazeera English:

In the post 9/11 days, the US unabashedly exploited fear and grief to unleash its own sophisticated campaign of terror, replete with all that military technology can offer, providing a “civilised” cover for what are essentially mass murders of innocent populations in Afghanistan, Iraq and Pakistan.

Unlike al-Qaeda and the self-styled Islamic State of Iraq and Levant (ISIL), Western civility rarely includes on-camera beheadings or burning captives alive in cages, but relies on the comfortable process of burning people through the simple pressing of a button – disassociating the murderer from the murder.

That does not exactly include Israeli criminal acts against Palestinians, often caught on camera, but “Israeli exceptionalism” absolves it from accusations of savagery.

In the West and according to Israeli political lingo, savagery is a trait confined to other nations who fall outside “shared values of democracy and freedom”, a propaganda concept that is used to camouflage – even whitewash – all Israeli and Western government crimes.

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Anonymous ‘Anti-Islamic State List’ Features Obama and BBC News


Grace Dean reports for the BBC:

Anonymous “declared war” on so-called Islamic State (IS) after the jihadist group claimed responsibility for the Paris attacks on Friday 13 November.

Hackers said they would take down “IS-linked” social media accounts.

A list, shared online by Anonymous, claimed it detailed more than 20,000 accounts which had already been disabled.

But among the thousands of Twitter names the list features Barack Obama’s official account and even BBC News.

The list has been stored on Pastebin, a web app commonly used to anonymously publish text online.

Who else is on the list?

Newsbeat has looked through the list and discovered many more unlikely targets.

Obama’s right-hand woman is there, presidential candidate Hillary Clinton (@HillaryClinton), as well as the White House (@WhiteHouse), the US State Department (@StateDept), a Twitter “help” account for people trying to get verified and America’s most famous newspaper, the New York Times (@nytimes).

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What Are Animals Thinking and Feeling?


Have you ever wondered what animals think and feel? Let’s start with a question: Does my dog really love me, or does she just want a treat? Well, it’s easy to see that our dog really loves us, easy to see, right, what’s going on in that fuzzy little head. What is going on? Something’s going on.

But why is the question always do they love us? Why is it always about us? Why are we such narcissists?I found a different question to ask animals. Who are you?

There are capacities of the human mind that we tend to think are capacities only of the human mind. But is that true? What are other beings doing with those brains? What are they thinking and feeling? Is there a way to know? I think there is a way in. I think there are several ways in. We can look at evolution, we can look at their brains and we can watch what they do.Read the rest

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Why US Defense Secretary Ashton Carter is the Biggest Threat to World Peace


Brian Cloughley writes at CounterPunch:

The terrorist threat posed by the barbarians of Islamic State is clearly of most serious concern to much of the world — but there are other threats of equal immediacy, not the least being the determination of Washington to continue confronting Russia and China.

The US Navy Times headline of November 5 summed up Washington’s policy as regards the South China Sea by recording that “Pentagon chief takes jab at China with aircraft carrier stop.”

This intriguing insight to America’s official thinking about China was one result of the visit by intellectual US Defense Secretary Ashton Carter to the USS Theodore Roosevelt, an enormous aircraft carrier in the South China Sea where, ten days previously, on  October 27, the guided missile destroyer USS Lassen had been ordered to try to provoke China to react to a coat-trailing confrontational incursion into territorial waters claimed by China.

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I Will Not Give You the Gift of My Hatred: On Guns Vs. Flowers


Abby Zimet writes at Common Dreams:

Tough week. The devastation in both Paris and the lesser-noted Beirut was swiftly followed by a flood of racist venom, victim-blaming, fear-mongering, zombie right-wing excess, corporate media propaganda, and sheer stupidity flying so blindly in the face of reason it became as deeply unsettling as the violence that sparked it. Thus did a righteous mindless clamor arise in the land to keep out desperate Syrian refugees victimized by and running from the same evil we suspect them of. Never mind facts, and for God’s sake forget compassion: Despite recent data showing that of 68 terror suspects charged in the U.S., none came from Syria, just three were refugees, and most were U.S. citizens, the GOP-controlled House, abetted by 47 Democrats, many local officials and a mob of citizen racists called for closing the doors to our shining land of opportunity.

Rhode Island State Sen.

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Why a Climate Deal Is the Best Hope for Peace

Kevin Dooley (CC BY 2.0)

Kevin Dooley (CC BY 2.0)

Jason Box and Naomi Klein write at the New Yorker:

Soon after the horrific terror attacks in Paris, last Friday, our phones filled with messages from friends and colleagues: “So are they going to cancel the Paris climate summit?” “The drums of war are beating. Count on climate change being drowned out.” The assumption is reasonable enough. While many politicians pay lip service to the existential urgency of the climate crisis, as soon as another more immediate crisis rears its head—war, a market shock, an epidemic—climate reliably falls off the political map.

After the attacks, the French government stated that the COP21 climate summit would begin as scheduled at the end of November. Yet the police have just barred the huge planned marches and protests, effectively silencing the voices of people who are directly affected by these high-level talks. And it’s hard to see how sea-level rise and parched farmland—tough media sells at the best of times—will have a hope of competing with rapid military escalation and calls for fortressed borders.

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The Koch Intelligence Agency

DonkeyHotey (CC BY 2.0)

DonkeyHotey (CC BY 2.0)

Kenneth P. Vogel writes at Politico:

The political network helmed by Charles and David Koch has quietly built a secretive operation that conducts surveillance and intelligence gathering on its liberal opponents, viewing it as a key strategic tool in its efforts to reshape American public life.

The operation, which is little-known even within the Koch network, gathers what Koch insiders refer to as “competitive intelligence” that is used to try to thwart liberal groups and activists, and to identify potential threats to the expansive network.

The competitive intelligence team has a staff of 25, including one former CIA analyst, and operates from one of the non-descript Koch network offices clustered near the Courthouse metro stop in suburban Arlington, Va. It has provided network officials with documents detailing confidential voter-mobilization plans by major Democrat-aligned groups. It also sends regular “intelligence briefing” emails tracking the canvassing, phone-banking and voter-registration efforts of labor unions, environmental groups and their allies, according to documents reviewed by POLITICO and interviews with a half-dozen sources with knowledge of the group.

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