The police department overseeing the protests in Ferguson, Missouri, over the killing of an unarmed 18-year-old has spent tens of thousands of dollars replenishing their stocks of teargas, “less lethal” ammunition and riot gear in advance of a potential revival in demonstrations. St Louis County police made the purchases amid concerns that hundreds of demonstrators will return to the streets if Darren Wilson, the officer who shot dead Michael Brown in August, is not indicted on criminal charges by a grand jury currently considering the case. A breakdown of the department’s spending since August on equipment intended for the policing of crowds and civil disobedience, which totals $172,669, was obtained by the Guardian from the county force.
More than twenty activists occupied the London offices of Airbus on Friday to protest the aerospace company’s military cooperation with Israel. “Staff were unable to arrive for work and senior executives agreed to meet the campaigners in a bid to end the occupation of the second floor office on the Strand,” says a statement from London Palestine Action. “The occupation lasted more than an hour, whilst others distributed leaflets and spoke to the public outside the offices.” The video shows activists inside Airbus’ offices and at a certain point police are called. “Airbus writes on its website that ‘contributing to the wellbeing of the communities in which it works is an ethical imperative,’ but there is nothing ethical about profiting from Israel’s war crimes against the Palestinian people,” London Palestine Action states.
Over the past several years, more than 120 law enforcement agencies across the state, from the NYPD to Tuckahoe, have obtained military-grade equipment through the Pentagon’s 1033 program, which transfers excess military equipment to state and local police across the country. Late last week, for the first time, state officials released a detailed inventory of the equipment obtained by individual agencies. A review of the data revealed: Since enrolling in 1995, the NYPD has obtained four armored trucks valued at $65,000 each and two former artillery vehicles known as mortar carriers valued at more than $200,000 each. The NYPD received one such heavily armored vehicle in June 2012.
This week, both houses of New Jersey’s legislature considered bills to make wireless, body-mounted video cameras part of the standard equipment for every state police officer. (The lower-house sponsor is Assemblymember Paul Moriarty, a liberal Democrat who famously pushed through dashboard cameras for all state troopers after one helped him beat a DWI ticket.) The Garden State is one of numerous states and municipalities considering such legislation, including Florida; DeKalb County, Illinois; Denver; Orange County, California; and Spokane and Bremerton, Washington. Most of these measures are proposed by liberal Democrats, and enjoy support on both sides of the aisle. This follows a broader pattern of progressives nationwide calling for wiring up the constabulary as a tool to keep police accountable.
We invite the people of Quebec and Canada to protest: Against a new illegal war that contributes to dismantling the existing world order and that threatens “world peace and security” while pretending to defend them; Against the security and humanitarian pretexts invoked by the new coalition: the protection of Iraq’s population has nothing to do with the real motives of this war, which will cause them more suffering and further deteriorate their living conditions; Against a Canadian foreign policy centered on intensifying conflicts and war; Against the hijacking of huge amounts of public resources to make war, promote the military industry, glorify the army and Canada’s military past, while for many years « austerity measures » have cut education, healthcare, public services, the promotion of women’s rights, the protection of the environment, international cooperation, etc.
Linda Sartor is not afraid to die. Dedicated to nonviolence, she spent 10 years after September 11, 2001 traveling to conflict zones throughout the world as an unarmed peacekeeper, with roles ranging from protective accompaniment to direct interpositioning between parties when tensions were running high. She documents her work across the world — in Israel/Palestine, Iraq, Afghanistan, Sri Lanka, Iran and most recently Bahrain — in her new book, Turning Fear into Power: One Woman’s Journey Confronting the War on Terror. Inwardly quiet and exceedingly humble (she chose to sleep outside for eight years of her adult life), her courage and conviction are not only refreshing, they’re infectious.
The Obama administration has until early December to detail its reasons for withholding as many as 2,100 graphic photographs depicting US military torture of detainees in Iraq and Afghanistan, a federal judge ordered on Tuesday. By 12 December, Justice Department attorneys will have to list, photograph by photograph, the government’s rationale for keeping redacted versions of the photos unseen by the public, Judge Alvin Hellerstein instructed lawyers. But any actual release of the photographs will come after Hellerstein reviews the government’s reasoning and issues another ruling in the protracted transparency case. While Hellerstein left unclear how much of the Justice Department’s declaration will itself be public, the government’s submission is likely to be its most detailed argument for secrecy over the imagery in a case that has lasted a decade.
A federal jury in Washington, D.C., returned guilty verdicts against four Blackwater operatives charged with killing more than a dozen Iraqi civilians and wounding scores of others in Baghdad in 2007. The jury found one guard, Nicholas Slatten, guilty of first-degree murder, while three other guards were found guilty of voluntary manslaughter: Paul Slough, Evan Liberty, and Dustin Heard. The jury is still deliberating on additional charges against the operatives, who faced a combined 33 counts,according to the Associated Press. A fifth Blackwater guard, Jeremy Ridgeway, had already pleaded guilty to lesser charges and cooperated with prosecutors in the case against his former colleagues. The trial lasted ten weeks and the jury has been in deliberations for 28 days.
Now, after a 10-week trial and 28 days of deliberation, a jury in Washington has found three of the men – Paul Slough, Evan Liberty and Dustin Heard – guilty of a total of 13 charges of voluntary manslaughter and a total of 17 charges of attempted manslaughter. The fourth defendant, Slatten, who was alleged to have been first to open fire, was found guilty of a separate charge of first-degree murder. Slough, Liberty and Heard were found guilty of using firearms in relation to a crime of violence, a charge which can alone carry up to a 30-year mandatory sentence. Prosecutors had claimed Slatten, the convoy’s sniper, viewed killing Iraqis as “payback for 9/11” and often “deliberately fired his weapon to draw out return fire and instigate gun battles” or tried to smash windscreens of passing cars as his convoy rolled through Baghdad.
The remarkable story of Chris Csikszentmihalyi was recently chronicled by tech journalist Luke Yoquinto in an article that now appears at the longform journalism startup The Big Roundtable. In it, Yoquinto describes how Csikszentmihalyi became a professor at the MIT Media Lab back in 2001, and how last decade, as he observed drones take over warfare and military interests dominate robotics research, he decided to fight back. But rather than take the Luddite route, he used technology to his advantage; he started to build robots to empower the powerless. To that end, he developed a fabric-wing UAV built of household products (the idea was that it would be devoid of military DNA), a four-wheeled telepresence robot designed to observe wars being fought, and a robotic kayak designed to protest at Guantanamo.
MOSCOW (AP) — A veteran activist who investigated the deaths and disappearances of Russian soldiers in Ukraine has been jailed, an advocacy group said Saturday. Ten Russian troops were captured in August in eastern Ukraine amid fighting between pro-Moscow separatists and Ukrainian troops after weeks of Moscow denying involvement in the Ukrainian conflict. Authorities insisted the captured soldiers got lost while patrolling the border, and the deaths were accidental and happened in Russia. The Soldiers’ Mothers of St. Petersburg, a highly respected non-governmental organization with a long history of working to defend the rights of soldiers, said Saturday that its colleague in southern Russia who was investigating the deaths and disappearances was detained on Friday.
As a young American student I am appalled by the war-mongers who continue to drop bombs, and use killer drones in over seven countries over a six year period. I will not stand by as my government continues to fuel the military-industrial complex that endangers the lives of so many. As a result, I am involved with a group of young activists with CODEPINK that launched a Youth Manifesto declaring that there is No Future in War. I urge my peers to take action against the individuals that use the drone industry to fill their pockets and demand that there is greater transparency on the real motives United States engages in military interventions. We deserve better. The world deserves better. And together we can reclaim our future.
On August 9, 1983, three people dressed as U.S. soldiers saluted their way onto a U.S. military base and climbed a pine tree. The base contained a school training elite Salvadoran and other foreign troops to serve dictatorships back home, with a record of nightmarish brutality following graduation. That night, once the base’s lights went out, the students of this school heard, coming down from on high, the voice of Archbishop Oscar Romero. “I want to make a special appeal to soldiers, national guardsmen, and policemen: each of you is one of us. The peasants you kill are your own brothers and sisters. When you hear a man telling you to kill, remember God’s words, ‘thou shalt not kill.’ No soldier is obliged to obey a law contrary to the law of God. In the name of God, in the name of our tormented people, I beseech you, I implore you; in the name of God I command you to stop the repression.”
Tufts University political scientist Michael J. Glennon, whose new book, National Security and Double Government (Oxford University Press), describes a powerful bureaucratic network that’s really pulling the strings on key aspects of U.S. foreign policy. The American public believes “that when they vote for a president or member of Congress or succeed in bringing a case before the courts, that policy is going to change,” Glennon told the Boston Globe in an interview published Sunday. “Now, there are many counter-examples in which these branches do affect policy… But the larger picture is still true—policy by and large in the national security realm is made by the concealed institutions.” Glennon argues that because managers of the military, intelligence, diplomatic, and law enforcement agencies operate largely outside the institutions meant to check or constrain them—the executive branch, the courts, Congress—national security policy changes very little from one administration to the next.
This month of October presents us with 13 years of permanent war for profit or, as the warmongers call it, the “war against terror”. This “operation” is killing and maiming millions of people especially in the oil rich Middle East. Simultaneously these Juggernaut nations “of the willing” are choking Mother Earth to death—polluting the air we breathe, the water we drink, the soil that spawns our food, and eradicating millions of species. Most people are clearly aware that the main cause of climate change, which is destroying the planet, is human motivated. And many are acting against this. But most environmental organizations and activists ignore the wars that kill people while they pollute the planet. People in the east and south are usually the major victims of the wars started or backed by the west, and they want no part of this violence. Most people in the west, however, are not upset enough about this warring to act against it, although when asked most acknowledge that they wish for peace.