Tag Archives | Military

America Is Built on Torture, Remember?

takomabibelot (CC BY 2.0)

takomabibelot (CC BY 2.0)

via Pacific Standard Magazine:

The release of the Senate Intelligence Committee report has sparked a great deal of outrage—and justifiably so. The details are grim and sickening: The report says that the CIA tortured innocent people, threatened to murder and rape the mothers of detainees, and used rectal feeding or, essentially, anal rape, as a punishment. The report paints a picture of heedless brutality, cruelty, and sadism.

Given the details from Abu Ghraib, and the long-known, supposedly sanctioned techniques like waterboarding, these revelations aren’t exactly surprising. But they still have the power to shock. Andrew Sullivan, who has been a bitter and committed critic of American torture, summed up the reaction of many when he suggested that readers “reflect on a president [George W. Bush] who cannot admit to being the first in that office to authorize such an assault on core American values and decency.” To numerous critics on the left and some on the right as well, the torture seems like a violation of the basic American commitment to freedom, justice, and human rights.

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World should be skeptical of China’s announcement to end organ harvesting from executed prisoners by January 1, 2015

Cory Doctorow (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Cory Doctorow (CC BY-SA 2.0)

via Dafoh:

WASHINGTON, Dec. 5, 2014 — Just days before International Human Rights Day on Dec. 10th, the news that the People’s Republic of China will end its internationally-condemned practice of harvesting organs from prisoners by 1 January 2015 is hardly credible given the government’s long history of breaking similar promises, according to the global humanitarian watchdog group Doctors Against Forced Organ Harvesting.

There is no indication that China, under the current circumstances, will be able to live up to its latest promise, which was reported Thursday in state media. The Chinese Medical Association first made this promise in 2007, a year before the Olympic Games were held in Beijing. Multiple plans to end the inhumane practice that harvests and allocates organs in secrecy—which is disproportionately aimed at political prisoners, and members of ethnic and religious minorities like the Falun Gong—have followed ever since, all of them unfulfilled.

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Rocket Fuel from Human Waste

Matt Biddulph (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Matt Biddulph (CC BY-SA 2.0)

via IEEE Spectrum:

Getting rid of human waste has been a problem for NASA since the earliest days of space exploration. That’s why the U.S. space agency is funding researchers to figure out how to transform such waste into rocket fuel for future space missions.

The human waste of astronauts and cosmonauts aboard the International Space Station has usually been dumped with other trash in space capsules that burn up in the Earth’s atmosphere, according to SPACE.com. But engineers in Florida have developed a anaerobic digester process that can turn such organic waste into biogas—a mix of methane and carbon dioxide. Additional processing can also create water and oxygen.

“The idea was to see whether we could make enough fuel to launch rockets and not carry all the fuel and its weight from Earth for the return journey,” said Pratap Pullammanappallil, an associate professor of agricultural and biological engineering at the University of Florida in Gainesville, in a press release. “Methane can be used to fuel the rockets.

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I Told a Grand Jury I Saw a Cop Shoot and Kill an Unarmed Man. It Didn’t Indict.

Elvert Barnes (CC BY 2.0)

Elvert Barnes (CC BY 2.0)

via Mother Jones:

Many years ago, during the 1980s, I witnessed a killing: a New York City cop shooting an unarmed homeless man near the Metropolitan Museum of Art. I was later called as a grand jury witness in the case. The grand jury did not indict the officer.

It was a summer evening. I was heading to play softball in Central Park. At the corner of Fifth Avenue and 79th Street, I got off my bicycle to walk toward the Great Lawn. The west side of Fifth was crowded with New Yorkers enjoying the beautiful night. People were streaming in and out of the park. Sidewalk vendors were doing brisk business. The vibe was good. And in the midst of the hubbub, I spotted a fellow wearing dirty and tattered clothing. His hair was filthy, his face worn. It was hard to determine his age.

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It’s going to be hard for the DOJ to prosecute the cop who killed Eric Garner

STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. -- Protesters at the "We Will Not Go Back" march and rally called by Al Sharpton and the National Action Network to demand justice for the family of Eric Garner whose death was declared a homicide by the NYC Medical Examiner. Garner died on July 17, 2014 while being arrested by police. The ME ruled the cause of death was an illegal chokehold (applied by P.O. Daniel Pantaleo) and "chest compression" - prompting civil rights advocates to organize this very large protest (approximately 4000 demonstrators).

STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. — Protesters at the “We Will Not Go Back” march and rally called by Al Sharpton and the National Action Network to demand justice for the family of Eric Garner whose death was declared a homicide by the NYC Medical Examiner. Garner died on July 17, 2014 while being arrested by police. The ME ruled the cause of death was an illegal chokehold (applied by P.O. Daniel Pantaleo) and “chest compression” – prompting civil rights advocates to organize this very large protest (approximately 4000 demonstrators).

via Vox:

After calls from New York Senators Charles Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand, Attorney General Eric Holder and New York Mayor Bill de Blasio announced a federal investigation into the death of Eric Garner.

Demanding a federal investigation is a good way for politicians like de Blasio, Schumer and Gillibrand to show their concern about police violence. Unfortunately it’s not likely to bring justice for Garner.

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Tanzania evicting 40,000 people for Dubai royal family

US Army Africa (CC BY 2.0)

US Army Africa (CC BY 2.0)

via Salon:

40,000 Masai people will be evicted from their homeland in Tanzania, because the Dubai royal family has bought it with the intention of using it as a reserve to hunt big game. Last year, the Tanzanian government had resisted the purchase, proposing instead a “wildlife corridor” dedicated to hunting near the Serengeti national park. However, the deal will still reportedly go through, and the Masai will have to leave by the end of the year.

The deal was brokered by the Ortelo Business Corporation (OBC), a luxury safari company with a number of elite clients.

The Guardian’s Africa correspondent David Smith has the story:

Masai representatives will meet the prime minister, Mizengo Pinda, in Dodoma on Tuesday to express their anger. They insist the sale of the land would rob them of their heritage and directly or indirectly affect the livelihoods of 80,000 people.

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Youth in Revolt: America Rises Up Against Police State and Drug War

Jason Taellious CC BY-SA 2.0)

Jason Taellious (CC BY-SA 2.0)

via The Anti Media.org:

(TheAntiMedia) Young people are tired of the police state that America has transformed into following the passage of the Patriot Act. The true implications of the Patriot Act, which was passed following the 9/11 attacks, are now being showcased in Ferguson, MO and all over the country in a small town near you.

Militarized police forces that see the US public as the enemy now have the weapons to wage war on American streets.

This militarized mentality has spread among the police thanks to the post-9/11 all-encompassing national security state that the U.S. has become. Every move is recorded by the NSA, police locking people away for victimless crimes, cops gunning unarmed people down in the street; these are all symptoms of authoritarianism. The battle in Ferguson, ignited by the killing of Mike Brown, has kicked off a national movement of young people willing to challenge this police state.

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Veterans Day and the Last Day on Earth

Aaron Dames writes for Divided Core:

On the eve of Veterans Day, President Obama announced that he will send another 1,500 Americans troops to Iraq to advise the Iraqi military on how to fight militants in a civil war.

While not seeking Congressional approval for the troop surge, the White House intends to request $5.6 billion for this latest military campaign, the end of which is nowhere in sight. This at a time when cost of the decade-long war in Iraq has exceeded $2 trillion ($6,250 for each American citizen), which makes it one of the most expensive clusterfucks in modern history. Yet war spells profit for numerous weapons manufacturers (roughly half of all the weapons in the world are sold by the United States), military contractors, and oil companies, all of which have joined hands with the mainstream media to churn out war propaganda and lies while funding the election campaigns of unscrupulous politicians who later vote to re-direct taxpayer dollars to their corporate sponsors.… Read the rest

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Burma: Body of human rights journalist Mr Aung Kyaw Naing found with possible evidence of torture

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via Front Line Defenders:

On 5 November 2014, during the exhumation of the body of human rights journalist Mr Aung Kyaw Naing, witnesses observed clear signs of torture which are believed to have been committed by the Burmese military forces during the time the journalist was held in incommunicado detention. He was later killed on 4 October 2014.

Aung Kyaw Naing, a freelance journalist from the city of Rangoon, regularly reported on human rights and ethnic issues along the Burma-Thai border and was a contributor for several local media groups, includingThe Voice, Eleven Media, and Yangon Times. On 30 September 2014 he was detained by governmental military forces in the Kyaikmayaw Township of Mon State, south-eastern Burma, when he returned there from insurgent-controlled territory. Prior to his detention the journalist was covering armed clashes in a region between Karen ethnic insurgents and the Burmese state army.

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Our Souls Turned into Weapons

By Jayel Aheram via Flickr (CC by 2.0)

By Jayel Aheram via Flickr (CC by 2.0)

Robert C. Koehler writes at Common Dreams:

“During basic training, we are weaponized: our souls turned into weapons.”

Jacob George’s suicide last month — a few days after President Obama announced that the US was launching its war against ISIS — opens a deep, terrible hole in the national identity. George: singer, banjo player, poet, peace warrior, vet. He served three tours in Afghanistan. He brought the war home. He tried to repair the damage.

Finally, finally, he reached for “the surefire therapy for ending the pain,” as a fellow vet told Truthdig. He was 32.

Maybe another war was just too much for him to endure. Military glory — protection of the innocent — is a broken ideal, a cynical lie. “Times for war veterans are tough because we know exactly what is going to happen with the actions that Obama talked about in his recent speech,” his friend Paul Appell told Truthdig.

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