Tag Archives | Military

The Tragedy of the American Military

via The Atlantic:

In mid-September, while President Obama was fending off complaints that he should have done more, done less, or done something different about the overlapping crises in Iraq and Syria, he traveled to Central Command headquarters, at MacDill Air Force Base in Florida. There he addressed some of the men and women who would implement whatever the U.S. military strategy turned out to be.

The part of the speech intended to get coverage was Obama’s rationale for reengaging the United States in Iraq, more than a decade after it first invaded and following the long and painful effort to extricate itself. This was big enough news that many cable channels covered the speech live. I watched it on an overhead TV while I sat waiting for a flight at Chicago’s O’Hare airport. When Obama got to the section of his speech announcing whether he planned to commit U.S.

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Origins of the Police

The Five Points district of lower Manhattan, painted by George Catlin in 1827. New York’s first free Black settlement, Five Points was also a destination for Irish immigrants and a focal point for the stormy collective life of the new working class. Cops were invented to gain control over neighborhoods and populations like this.

The Five Points district of lower Manhattan, painted by George Catlin in 1827. New York’s first free Black settlement, Five Points was also a destination for Irish immigrants and a focal point for the stormy collective life of the new working class. Cops were invented to gain control over neighborhoods and populations like this.

Via Works in Theory

In England and the United States, the police were invented within the space of just a few decades—roughly from 1825 to 1855.

The new institution was not a response to an increase in crime, and it really didn’t lead to new methods for dealing with crime. The most common way for authorities to solve a crime, before and since the invention of police, has been for someone to tell them who did it.

Besides, crime has to do with the acts of individuals, and the ruling elites who invented the police were responding to challenges posed by collective action.

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$14 Million An Hour: War Costs Top $1.6 Trillion Since 9/11, Say Congressional Researchers

Moyan Brenn (CC BY-ND 2.0)

Moyan Brenn (CC BY-ND 2.0)

Via IBT

American taxpayers have shelled out roughly $1.6 trillion on war spending since 9/11, according to a new report from Congress’ nonpartisan research arm. That’s roughly $337 million a day — or nearly a quarter million dollars a minute — every single day for 13 years.

The $1.6 trillion estimate, which comes to $14 million per hour since 9/11, from the Congressional Research Service is up roughly half a trillion dollars from its 2010 estimate, which found that the post-9/11 military operations are second only to World War II in terms of financial cost.

In its report, which was released earlier this month, CRS finds that the 92 percent of the war-related expenditures since 9/11 have flowed into the Pentagon. Just 6 percent has been spent on foreign assistance and diplomacy, and 1 percent on medical services for veterans.

The report, which was posted on the website of the Federation of American Scientists, breaks down the war-related expenditures by different military operations.

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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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