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Jim Hoft’s Unsourced Claim That Officer Darren Wilson Had an “Orbital Blowout Fracture of the Eye Socket” | Little Green Footballs

The entire right wing universe (including Drudge Report) is now screaming about this post by, yes, the Dumbest Man on the Internet again, claiming that anonymous sources told him officer Darren Wilson suffered an “orbital blowout fracture to the eye socket” in a struggle with unarmed teenager Michael Brown: BREAKING REPORT: Officer Darren Wilson Suffered “Orbital Blowout Fracture to Eye Socket” During Mike Brown Attack | the Gateway Pundit.

It’s possible that someone did leak this information to Hoft, but I’ll remind my readers that Jim Hoft is probably the single most dishonest right wing blogger on the Internet as well as the dumbest, with a very long history of distorting facts and completely making stuff up to push his far right, often overtly racist agenda. [Read more]

Turning America Into a War Zone, Where ‘We the People’ Are the Enemy | OpEdNews

“If you don’t want to get shot, tased, pepper-sprayed, struck with a baton or thrown to the ground, just do what I tell you.”–Sunil Dutta, an officer with the Los Angeles Police Department for 17 years

Life in the American police state is an endless series of don’ts delivered at the end of a loaded gun: don’t talk back to police officers, don’t even think about defending yourself against a SWAT team raid (of which there are 80,000 every year), don’t run when a cop is nearby lest you be mistaken for a fleeing criminal, don’t carry a cane lest it be mistaken for a gun, don’t expect privacy in public, don’t let your kids walk to the playground alone, don’t engage in nonviolent protest near where a government official might pass, don’t try to grow vegetables in your front yard, don’t play music for tips in a metro station, don’t feed whales, and on and on. [Read more]

The ultimate white privilege: Darren Wilson and being “afraid for your life” | Salon

On Wednesday, Matt Zoller Seitz shared an anecdote to illustrate how white privilege kept him from getting arrested or otherwise harmed by the police after he started a fight on the street. The full piece is worth your time, since it’s a frank accounting of how whiteness protects in the United States, but the most revealing moment in the story comes when Zoller Seitz — who admits he escalated a confrontation with the stranger, a Hispanic man loitering outside a deli — talks to the cops who arrived on the scene. After telling the two white officers that he had confronted the guy and punched him in the face after the stranger jabbed him in the chest with his fingers, the cops asked Zoller Seitz if he wanted to press charges for assault: [Read more]

The Militarization of Racism and Neoliberal Violence | truthdig

The recent killing of an unarmed 18-year-old African-American, Michael Brown, in Ferguson, Missouri, by a white police officer has made visible how a kind of racist, military metaphysics now dominates American life. His subsequent demonization by the media only confirms its entrance into the public consciousness as a form of vicious entertainment. The police have been turned into soldiers who view the neighborhoods in which they operate as war zones. Outfitted with full riot gear, submachine guns, armored vehicles, and other lethal weapons imported from the battlefields of Iraq and Afghanistan, their mission is to assume battle-ready behavior. Is it any wonder that violence rather than painstaking, neighborhood police work and community outreach and engagement becomes the norm for dealing with alleged “criminals,” especially at a time when more and more behaviors are being criminalized? [Read more]

One Apology in Ferguson | The Intercept

A grand jury heard evidence for the first time Wednesday in the case of the shooting death of unarmed African American teenager Michael Brown at the hands of white Ferguson, Missouri police officer Darren Wilson. Protesters and clergy members, meanwhile, descended on the Buzz Westfall Justice Center to call for St. Louis County Prosecuting Attorney Robert McCulloch to be removed from the case. McCulloch has deep family ties to law enforcement; his mother, brother, uncle and cousin have all worked for the St. Louis Police department.

Standing outside the justice center, the demonstrators chanted, “Hands up, don’t shoot.” As lightning flashing overhead, dozens of police and correction officers, nearly all of them white, could be seen inside the building watching the demonstration through the glass windows. On the concrete where the demonstrators stood, “BLACK LIVES MATTER” was written in green, pink and blue chalk, surrounded by stencils of splayed out bodies. [Read more]

The Killing of Kajieme Powell and How It Divides Americans | The Atlantic

The police officers who shot and killed Kajieme Powell, 25, in St. Louis, Missouri, on Tuesday did so while being recorded by a man with a cell phone camera. St. Louis Police Chief Sam Dotson and police union officials say the video is exculpatory and that the two officers on the scene followed proper protocol. Many who’ve watched the shooting grant that the police were put in a difficult, volatile, potentially deadly situation, but still feel that their actions were wrongheaded. The footage certain to be debated in coming days begins at the 1:20 mark. Be forewarned that the video shows a man being shot repeatedly and killed. Due to its disturbing nature some readers may prefer to skip watching it entirely. [Read more]

F-M agencies ready with mobile field force in case of civil unrest | Inforum

FARGO – The sight of police with military-style rifles and camouflage fatigues trying to control crowds of angry protesters in Ferguson, Mo., raises the question: How would police in the Fargo-Moorhead area handle a riot?

Local police officials say they have a plan that centers around what they call a mobile field force – scores of officers from various agencies trained in how to quash civil unrest. [Read more]

Tear Gas, Stun Grenades, Sound Cannons: Companies Profiting From Police Crackdowns Like Ferguson | Alternet

The tear-gas, rubber bullets and smoke bombs fired in Ferguson, Missouri have fed outrage over police militarization in the U.S. In response to the shocking images, Missouri Sen. Claire McCaskill said, “We need to de-militarize this situation.” Journalists reporting live on the demonstrations sparked by the police shooting of 18-year-old Michael Brown expressed befuddlement as to why the police needed high-caliber weapons better suited for war zones than protests in an American city.

But one group of people is decidedly happy about the militarized response in Ferguson: those who work in the weapons industry. The array of police forces–the Missouri State Highway Patrol, the St. Louis county and city police and local Ferguson officers–that descended on the largely black Missouri city have used the products these corporations are selling in abundance. Tear gas, rubber bullets, smoke bombs, stun grenades, armored personnel carriers, sound cannons and high-caliber rifles have all been deployed to quell the unrest, though they have contributed to anger over police tactics. [Read more]


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Viewing or sharing the harrowing video of James Foley’s beheading online could be regarded as a terrorist offence, Scotland Yard has warned.

A spokesman for the Metropolitan Police said specialists from the Counter Terrorism unit were continuing to examine the footage in order to look for clues as to the identity of the suspected British jihadist but said the public should refrain from viewing the video. [Read more]


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There are few places in the world that have the incredibly varying landscapes that Kenya has, which is what makes this small, yet breathtaking country such a magical place to visit. The range in temperatures, habitats and geography are the reason this country is home to so many different species of rare wildlife, many of which can be only be found in the grassy plains, rain forests and wooded savannas of Kenya. But it’s not just the wildlife that captivates you when you’re visiting; the incredibly rich culture, amazing food and humble and passionate people pull you in with an almost magnetic pull.

The sad truth about Kenya, however, is that the beauty of this place remains unseen to so many groups of tourists due to the scary, and somewhat fabricated, reputation that has sprouted up due to social and economic problems recently faced by the country. For a country just recently (within the past 50 years) liberated, there are bound to be some growing pains with establishing a government and status quo that works. But isn’t that the case with many countries? Sure, there are parts of Nairobi that are dangerous and some coastal villages are facing struggles between land and state, but why should that deter you from seeing the other 99 percent of the country that is not only safe, but welcoming and hospitable? Whether you’re in the very touristy areas or off the beaten path, you’ll be welcomed to Kenya with a warmth, openness and beauty that will have you truly speechless. [Read more] – Michael’s Blog

Two years ago, a blogger named Jonathan Corbett published a YouTube video that seemed to show a facepalm-worthy vulnerability in the TSA’s Rapiscan full-body X-ray scanners: Because metal detected by the scanners appeared black in the images they created, he claimed that any passenger could hide a weapon on the side of his or her body to render it invisible against the scans’ black background. The TSA dismissed Corbett’s findings, and even called reporters to caution them not to cover his video.

Now a team of security researchers from the University of California at San Diego, the University of Michigan, and Johns Hopkins plans to reveal their own results from months of testing that same model of scanner. And not only did they find that Corbett’s weapon-hiding tactic worked; they also found that they could pull off a disturbing list of other possible tricks, such as using teflon tape to conceal weapons against someone’s spine, installing malware on the scanner’s console that spoofed scans, or simply molding plastic explosives around a person’s body to make it nearly indistinguishable from flesh in the machine’s images. [Read more] – Michael’s Blog

You may not realize it, but you are participating in an unauthorized experiment—“the largest biological experiment ever,” in the words of Swedish neuro-oncologist Leif Salford. For the first time, many of us are holding high-powered microwave transmitters—in the form of cell phones—directly against our heads on a daily basis.

Cell phones generate electromagnetic fields (EMF), and emit electromagnetic radiation (EMR). They share this feature with all modern electronics that run on alternating current (AC) power (from the power grid and the outlets in your walls) or that utilize wireless communication. Different devices radiate different levels of EMF, with different characteristics.

What health effects do these exposures have?

Therein lies the experiment. [Read more] – Michael’s Blog

Two domestic stories have dominated American social media for well over a week: the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge and the ongoing protests in Ferguson. But as many have pointed out, where we’re getting news about each has broken down along platform lines: Facebook is the place to share ice bucket videos, while Twitter is the constantly refreshing stream of news from Ferguson.

The reason for the split, as Digiday and others have pointed out, may be that Facebook’s algorithm is specifically designed to show you feel-good stories—ones that you’re more likely to share. Violence and strife are bad for virality. When the Washington Post’s Tim Herrera cataloged every post served to him in his Facebook feed, he discovered that he was shown only 29 percent of the total posts made by people in his network. Facebook hid plenty of stuff Herrera wasn’t interested in, but also plenty of stuff he thought he cared about—posts from two of his hometown newspapers as well as one of his favorite blogs (or one that “I thought was among my favorite blogs,” Facebook’s algorithm having placed a seed of doubt in Herrera’s mind). [Read more] – Michael’s Blog

US Changing No-Fly List Rules | ABC News

The Obama administration is promising to change the way travelers can ask to be removed from its no-fly list of suspected terrorists banned from air travel.

The decision comes after a federal judge’s ruling that there was no meaningful way to challenge the designation, a situation deemed unconstitutional. In response, the Justice Department said the U.S. will change the process during the next six months. As of late last summer, about 48,000 people were on the no-fly list. [Read more]

U.S. Military Bans The Intercept | Firstlook

The U.S. military is banning and blocking employees from visiting The Intercept in an apparent effort to censor news reports that contain leaked government secrets.

According to multiple military sources, a notice has been circulated to units within the Army, Navy, Air Force, and Marine Corps warning staff that they are prohibited from reading stories published by The Intercept on the grounds that they may contain classified information. The ban appears to apply to all employees—including those with top-secret security clearance—and is aimed at preventing classified information from being viewed on unclassified computer networks, even if it is freely available on the internet. Similar military-wide bans have been directed against news outlets in the past after leaks of classified information. [Read more]

EFF to Ethiopia: Illegal Wiretapping Is Illegal, Even for Governments | EFF

Earlier this week, EFF told the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia that Ethiopia must be held accountable for its illegal wiretapping of an American citizen. Foreign governments simply do not have a get-out-of-court-free card when they commit serious felonies in America against Americans. This case is the centerpiece of our U.S. legal efforts to combat state sponsored malware.

In February 2014, EFF filed suit against the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia on behalf of our client, Mr. Kidane, an Ethiopian by birth who has been a U.S. citizen over a decade. Mr. Kidane discovered traces of Gamma International’s FinSpy, a sophisticated spyware product which its maker claims is sold exclusively to governments and law enforcement, on his laptop at his home in suburban Maryland. A forensic examination of his computer showed that the Ethiopian government had been recording Mr. Kidane’s Skype calls, as well as monitoring his web and email usage. The monitoring, which violates both the federal Wiretap Act and Maryland state law, was accomplished using spyware that captured his activities and then reported them back to a command and control server in Ethiopia controlled by the government. The infection was active from October 2012, through March 2013, and was stopped just days after researchers at the University of Toronto’s Citizen Lab released a report exposing Ethiopia’s use of use of FinSpy. The report specifically referenced the very IP address of the Ethiopian government server responsible for the command and control of the spyware on Mr. Kidane’s laptop. [Read more]

NSA, BND and MIT: Whose Big Brother is watching whom? | RT

When news broke last summer that a certain NSA contractor had “leaked” an inordinate amount of secret data to various media outlets, global public opinion suddenly realized that the world we live in today does resemble the Orwellian dystopia 1984.

The National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden made material available to journalist Glenn Greenwald, and the British broadsheet The Guardian published its first Snowden-related article on 5-6 June 2013. Greenwald laconically wrote then that the “National Security Agency is currently collecting the telephone records of millions of US customers of Verizon, one of America’s largest telecoms providers,” revealing the tip of the surveillance iceberg that was made public by the contractor. Edward Snowden outed himself as the NSA leaker on 9 June 2013 “in a video interview with Glenn Greenwald and Laura Poitras.” [Read more]

Binney: ‘The NSA’s main motives: power and money’ | DW

Whistleblower William Binney recently made headlines when he told the German parliament that the NSA, his former employer, had become “totalitarian.” DW spoke to him about NSA overrreach and the agency’s power.

DW: In your testimony, you described the NSA as “totalitarian,” and many commentators say that Germany’s Stasi history has made the country more sensitive to NSA revelations. But others have suggested this comparison is too easy. After all, the Stasi also targeted intellectuals and general writers opposed to the East German regime. [Read more]


Related Articles – Michael’s Blog

Can you guess which books the wannabe jihadists Yusuf Sarwar and Mohammed Ahmed ordered online from Amazon before they set out from Birmingham to fight in Syria last May? A copy of Milestones by the Egyptian Islamist Sayyid Qutb? No. How about Messages to the World: the Statements of Osama Bin Laden? Guess again. Wait, The Anarchist Cookbook, right? Wrong.

Sarwar and Ahmed, both of whom pleaded guilty to terrorism offences last month, purchased Islam for Dummies and The Koran for Dummies. You could not ask for better evidence to bolster the argument that the 1,400-year-old Islamic faith has little to do with the modern jihadist movement. The swivel-eyed young men who take sadistic pleasure in bombings and beheadings may try to justify their violence with recourse to religious rhetoric – think the killers of Lee Rigby screaming “Allahu Akbar” at their trial; think of Islamic State beheading the photojournalist James Foley as part of its “holy war” – but religious fervour isn’t what motivates most of them. [Read more] – Michael’s Blog

The death of MH370 passengers was due to oxygen starvation experts suggested Tuesday following a new study of the disaster, according to the British daily news website Mirror.

All 239 people lost consciousness up to four hours before the Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777 disappeared as the pilot deliberately depressurized the cabin, the study suggested.

Although, oxygen masks would have dropped down automatically from above the seats, their supply was limited to just 20 minutes. [Read more] – Michael’s Blog

Medieval Cruelty in Modern Times: ISIS Thugs Behead American Journalist | The Daily Beast

The group known as ISIS has murdered American journalist James Foley, beheading him as if he were a captive taken in medieval combat. It posted a YouTube video designed for a 21st-century audience and threatened to kill another journalist hostage, Steven Joel Sotloff, if the United States continues its airstrikes against ISIS positions in Iraq.

The murderers, who now call themselves “knights” serving the “caliph” of the self-declared Islamic State that straddles northern Syria and Iraq, had Foley make a statement before he died. [Read more]

James Foley and the Last Journalists in Syria | The Atlantic

On the 636th day of James Foley’s captivity, and roughly the 1,250th day of Syria’s uprising-turned-civil-war, a video surfaced online that claimed to show the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria beheading the American photojournalist, in retaliation for U.S. airstrikes against the Sunni extremist group in Iraq (the militants also threatened to kill the missing American journalist Steven Sotloff, who seems from the footage to be an ISIS captive as well). The White House has yet to confirm the authenticity of the video, but the Foley family has already acknowledged its loss.

“We have never been prouder of our son Jim,” Foley’s mother posted on Facebook on Tuesday evening. “He gave his life trying to expose the world to the suffering of the Syrian people.” [Read more]

(Air) Striking the Right Balance in Iraq | War on the Rocks

As the forces of the Islamic State (IS) have solidified their gains after declaring the establishment of a new caliphate and are now conducting spectacular attacks in Baghdad, threatening Kurdish controlled areas, targeting minorities, and creating a humanitarian crisis, President Obama has approved air strikes in an attempt to stem the tide of their advance. The air strikes are a viable, albeit limited, option that have the potential to achieve three objectives: destroy IS forces, leadership, and materiel; disrupt the current offensive and prevent the massacre of innocent civilians; and boost morale within the Iraqi Security Forces (ISF) and the peshmerga. Tactically, they can also offer decisive support to forces on the ground engaged in key missions, as they appear to have done in the fight to recapture the Mosul Dam.

The terrorist group that has been fighting against the Assad regime in Syria and conducting attacks within Iraq has matured into a formidable regional insurgency. While IS continues to conduct bombings in Baghdad and other major cities across the country as it has done for years, it now seeks to augment its violence by providing a viable alternative to the Iraqi government, administering governance in captured cities. In areas under its control such as Raqqa in Syria, IS continues to dole out brutal punishments for violating its extreme interpretation of sharia, but now also provides health and welfare services, public works, and even a rudimentary form of consumer protection. Perhaps most concerning, whereas earlier recruiting focused on calling for believers to wage violent jihad and become martyrs—jihadists have even adapted the Internet slang YOLO, using YODO (You Only Die Once) in online forums and twitter feeds to encourage martyrdom operations—IS is now encouraging like-minded extremists to flock to the newly established caliphate to live and join the new society. [Read more]

How Erdogan won the women’s vote | Al Monitor

On Aug. 13, A&G Research Center, one of the most prestigious research centers in Turkey, announced that 55% of women and 48% of men voted for Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan in the Aug. 10 presidential election. This was an important revelation for three reasons. First, the opposition parties and pundits in Turkey are still investigating why Erdogan won in the first round so easily. They are looking for someone to blame for Erdogan’s victory. The usual suspects are those who did not vote, particularly those on vacation who had the resources to come back to vote but not the willpower. Next was the revelation that some right-wing voters indeed preferred Erdogan to the joint candidate. Particularly, it was observed that many Nationalist Action Party (MHP) constituents opted for Erdogan’s Justice and Development Party (AKP). Now the latest suspect is “women voters.” How did Erdogan charm the female constituency? [Read more]

Syria conflict: President Assad finally turns on Isis as government steps up campaign against militant strongholds | The Independent

As the US military strikes Isis in Iraq, President Bashar al-Assad’s forces have significantly stepped up their own campaign against militant strongholds in Syria, carrying out dozens of air strikes against the Islamist group’s headquarters in the past two days.

While the government in Damascus has long turned a blind eye to Isis’s expansion in Syria – in some cases even facilitating its offensive against mainstream rebels – the group’s rapid march on towns and villages in northern and eastern Syria is now threatening to overturn recent gains by government forces. [Read more]

Palestinians say Israeli airstrike targets top Hamas commander in Gaza | Washington Post

Palestinians on Wednesday accused Israel of attempting to assassinate the top Hamas military commander in the Gaza Strip, killing his wife and child, a day after negotiations for a permanent truce broke down amid renewed rocket fire from Gaza and retaliatory strikes by Israel.

The military wing of Hamas, the militant Palestinian Islamist group that runs the Gaza Strip, said the Israeli missile strike targeted its top commander, Mohammed Deif, and “opened the gates to hell.” [Read more]

Iran lashes out at Egypt for blocking humanitarian aid to Gaza, Rafah closed | Jerusalem Post

Iran’s Deputy Foreign Minister, Hossein Amir Abdollahian, lashed out on Wednesday at Egypt for delaying its humanitarian aid to Palestinians in Gaza.

“Egypt has not issued a permit for Iranian planes carrying aid to Gaza despite the fact that it is now a long time Tehran has asked for this,” Abdollahian told Iran’s Fars News Agency. [Read more]

Eyes turn to Egypt, Algeria for possible Libya intervention | Al Monitor

Among its first acts, Libya’s newly inaugurated Council of Representatives called on all warring militias across the country to immediately cease fire or it will call on the international community to intervene to protect Libyan civilians. Unlike its predecessor, the notorious General National Congress (GNC), the parliament was up to its word. Barely three days after its cease-fire, the parliament, the highest credible legislative authority in Libya, voted for foreign intervention to protect Libyan civilians. Tripoli, the capital, has effectively been under siege since early July when the fighting erupted, leaving its residents hostages to a multitude of shortages of daily necessities, on top of the daily horror of indiscriminate shelling. [Read more]


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