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General director of Doctors Without Borders: Bombing of Afghan Hospital No Mistake

In an exclusive interview with the AP, general director of Doctors Without Borders Christopher Stokes, says the attack on the Afghan hospital “should be investigated as a possible war crime.”

“The extensive, quite precise destruction of this hospital … doesn’t indicate a mistake. The hospital was repeatedly hit,” Stokes said.

Najim Rahim via AP:

The head of an international medical charity whose hospital in northern Afghanistan was destroyed in a U.S. airstrike says the “extensive, quite precise destruction” of the bombing raid casts doubt on American military assertions that it was a mistake.

The Oct. 3 attack on the compound in Kunduz city, which killed at least 22 patients and hospital staff, should be investigated as a possible war crime, said Christopher Stokes, general director of Doctors Without Borders, which is also known by its French abbreviation MSF.

The trauma hospital was bombed during a firefight between Taliban and government troops, as U.S.

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Meet Augustus Invictus, the Florida Libertarian Who Loves Paganism, Civil War, and Goat Sacrifice

Augustus Invictus. Screencap via YouTube

Augustus Invictus. Screencap via YouTube

Over at Vice, Drew Millard profiles August Invictus, the Libertarian running for Marco Rubio’s Senate seat. Invictus is so controversial that Adrian Wyllie, the chairman of Florida’s Libertarian Party, resigned after “the party’s executive committee refused to tell Augustus Invictus…that he couldn’t be a Libertarian anymore.”

Millard via Vice:

There are a few reasons why Wyllie finds Invictus such a distasteful character. “Mr. Invictus has repeatedly vowed that it is his destiny to start a second civil war in America,” Wyllie wrote in a Facebook post announcing his resignation. He continued, “He has described himself as an American Fascist… He has expressed support for a eugenics program… Many of his supporters are known members of Neo-Nazi and white supremacist groups.”

While the Florida Libertarian Party didn’t out-and-out eject Invictus from its ranks, it did issue a press release Monday condemning the Senate candidate’s views.

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The US should mandate gun insurance so the two monoliths fight to the death

Nana got a Gun
David Ferguson thinks one of the most effective ways to bring down the NRA is to pit them against America’s insurance companies. In essence, the US should mandate that all gun owners must insure their firearms, similar to how we must insure our cars, homes, and health.

Ferguson via The Raw Story:

I believe the insurance industry may be our only hope.

Let everyone in this country keep their guns, but force them to insure those guns. It seems so obvious when you think about it. We insure our cars, our houses, our boats and bodies, even our plane tickets and rental cars. And some of those policies are legally mandated. We should absolutely require gun owners to pay against the indemnity they might incur when their gun does what it is statistically most likely to do – kills or injures them, or someone else.

Unlike all of the other things that we insure – cars, major electronics or art collections – guns only do one thing.

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How black slaves were routinely sold as ‘specimens’ to ambitious white doctors

Stephen Kenny, University of Liverpool

The history of human experimentation is as old as the practice of medicine and in the modern era has always targeted disadvantaged, marginalised, institutionalised, stigmatised and vulnerable populations: prisoners, the condemned, orphans, the mentally ill, students, the poor, women, the disabled, children, peoples of colour, indigenous peoples and the enslaved.

Human subject research is evident wherever physicians, technicians, pharmaceutical companies (and others) are trialling new practices and implementing the latest diagnostic and therapeutic agents and procedures. And the American South in the days of slavery was no different – and for those looking for easy targets, black slave bodies were easy to come by.

Black bodies in the slave south

There is a rich and rapidly expanding scholarly literature examining the history of human subject research, including studies of the burgeoning bio-medical economy in the US in the 20th century. The Tuskegee experiment and other episodes of medical racism all feature prominently.… Read the rest

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ISIS Now Controls Two-Thirds of the Humvees the US supplied to Iraq to fight terrorists

"US Navy 060322-N-5438H-018 U.S. Army soldiers assigned to the Bravo Battery 3rd Battalion 320th Field Artillery Regiment along with Iraq Army soldiers from the 1st Battalion 1st Brigade 4th Division perform a routine patrol" by U.S. Navy photo By Photographers Mate 3rd Class Shawn Hussong - This Image was released by the United States Navy with the ID 060322-N-5438H-018 (next).This tag does not indicate the copyright status of the attached work. A normal copyright tag is still required. See Commons:Licensing for more information.বাংলা | Deutsch | English | español | euskara | فارسی | français | italiano | 日本語 | 한국어 | македонски | മലയാളം | Plattdüütsch | Nederlands | polski | português | Türkçe | 中文 | 中文(简体)‎ | +/−. Licensed under Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons.

Licensed under Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons.

ISIS now controls more than two-thirds of the Humvees the US supplied and they’ve wasted no time turning them into suicide car bombs.

Jeremy Bender via Business Insider/Yahoo Finance:

More than two-thirds of the Humvees the US supplied to Iraq to fight terrorists have ended up in the hands of Islamic State militants.

And the Islamic State (aka ISIS, ISIL, and Daesh, has not wasted any time in converting those vehicles into one of its deadliest and most nightmarish tools: suicide car bombs.

According to Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi, ISIS controls about 2,300 armored US Humvees. Most of those vehicles were seized after ISIS overran Mosul in June 2014.

In addition to being used in further attacks against Iraqi forces, these vehicles were sent over the border to Syria to help ISIS solidify its foothold there.

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Assassination as Policy in Washington and How It Failed, 1990-2015

Lauri Heikkinen (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Lauri Heikkinen (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Andrew Cockburn writes at TomDispatch:

As the war on terror nears its 14th anniversary — a war we seem to be losing, given jihadist advances in Iraq, Syria, and Yemen — the U.S. sticks stolidly to its strategy of “high-value targeting,” our preferred euphemism for assassination.  Secretary of State John Kerry has proudly cited the elimination of “fifty percent” of the Islamic State’s “top commanders” as a recent indication of progress. Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi himself, “Caliph” of the Islamic State, was reportedly seriously wounded in a March airstrike and thereby removed from day-to-day control of the organization. In January, as the White House belatedly admitted, a strike targeting al-Qaeda leadership in Pakistan also managed to kill an American, Warren Weinstein, and his fellow hostage, Giovanni Lo Porto.

More recently in Yemen, even as al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula took control of a key airport, an American drone strike killed Ibrahim Suleiman al-Rubaish, allegedly an important figure in the group’s hierarchy. 

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Solving the Four Corners Mystery: Probes Map Methane ‘Hot Spot’

The desert Four Corners region contains beautiful landforms like Shiprock in New Mexico. It's also the site of an anomalous blob containing high levels of methane. Credit: Wikimedia Commons

The desert Four Corners region contains beautiful landforms like Shiprock in New Mexico. It’s also the site of an anomalous blob containing high levels of methane.
Credit: Wikimedia Commons

Stephanie Pappas via Live Science:

A methane “hot spot” over the Four Corners region of the U.S. Southwest is undergoing serious scrutiny as scientists work to figure out why levels of the gas in the area are so high.

The mysterious methane was firstdetected from space, via a European Space Agency satellite that can measure this potent greenhouse gas. Researchers reported the discovery in October in the journal Geophysical Research Letters, but couldn’t explain where the extra methane was coming from. The “hot spot” persisted from 2003 until at least 2009. And the amount of methane was significant, the researchers reported — equal to nearly 10 percent of all U.S. methane emissions from natural gas.

Now, a team of researchers is tackling the mystery of the extra methane.

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Utah’s firing squad plan is another twist in America’s long quest for a perfect execution method

The death chamber at the state penitentiary in Huntsville, Texas. REUTERS/Jenevieve Robbins/Texas Dept of Criminal Justice/Handout

The death chamber at the state penitentiary in Huntsville, Texas.
REUTERS/Jenevieve Robbins/Texas Dept of Criminal Justice/Handout

Daniel LaChance, Emory University

Concerned that the Supreme Court may soon declare lethal injection unconstitutional, some states are making back-up plans.

In March, Utah’s governor signed legislation that will bring back the firing squad as the state’s official execution method in the event that injection – the method used by every state that still retains the death penalty – is no longer possible.

Utah’s legislation has received a lot of attention, in part because the state occupies a symbolically important place in the history of the modern American death penalty.

In 1977, it was the first to kill anyone after a ten-year suspension of executions in the United States. (The Supreme Court had found the death penalty capriciously applied, and thus unconstitutional, in a 1972 case. But it permitted executions to resume four years later when states presented the Court with new sentencing guidelines aimed at reducing arbitrariness.)

Standing in front of five rifles poking through a slotted wall, convicted murderer Gary Gilmore famously uttered, “Let’s do it,” and with his death, the modern era of executions in the United States was born.… Read the rest

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Police Chief Magazine: Possible New Revenue Streams For Law Enforcement

Elvert Barnes (CC BY 2.0)

Elvert Barnes (CC BY 2.0)

In the April edition of The Police Chief magazine, Paul LaCommare, Commander of the West Covina Police Department in West Covina, California, discusses new ways for law enforcement to raise money in light of dwindling revenue streams.

This article was sent to us by a reader who said, “If war is a racket, policing is even more so…”

via Police Chief Magazine:

The common reaction to a budget crisis is reducing personnel and cutting services. The focus of this article is to provide police agencies with an alternative to personnel and service reductions. This alternative could help the survival of a city and maintain or expand police service through generating new revenue streams as a proactive approach to meet the fiscal crisis of today and the uncertain future of tomorrow.

Possible New Revenue Streams

A group of experts in the fields of city government, business, real estate, and entrepreneurship assembled in April 2008 to identify possible new income streams that could be initiated by law enforcement.

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Syria’s President Assad: US Airstrikes a Recruiting Bonanza for ISIS

Charlie Rose and Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in Damascus. (Image: CBS News)

Charlie Rose and Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in Damascus. (Image: CBS News)

Jon Queally via Common Dreams:

In an interview with Charlie Rose that aired on CBS News’ 60 Minutes Sunday night, Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad said American airstrikes that began last year against Islamic State (or ISIS) inside his country are doing little to benefit his own fight against the militant force but are having the undesirable side effect of increasing the number of fighters from across the region (and the world) who are flocking to join the group.

“How much of a benefit are you getting from American airstrikes in Syria reducing the power of ISIS?” Rose asked in the interview that took place just days ago in Damascus.

Al-Assad responded by pointing out that the U.S. government and its allies want to “sugar coat the situation” inside Syria by telling the world that ISIS “is being defeated” and that airstrikes are making things better.

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