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Break the Vengeance Cycle

Why We Should Not Go To War Over James Foley

 
Back in June 2011, James Foley gave an hour-long interview before an auditorium of students from the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois, where he had graduated three years earlier with a Master’s degree in journalism. It was 15 days after he had been released from 45 rough days of captivity in Libya. He was a handsome young hero returning to his alma-mater.

In a recent item in The New Yorker, Mark Singer quotes Foley that his Libyan captivity was “a cautionary tale.” He makes it clear to the journalism students at Medill that the business of covering wars was pretty new to him when he was captured in Libya in early 2011.

James Foley at Medill School of Journalism in June 2011, with Timothy McNultyJames Foley at Medill School of Journalism in June 2011, with Timothy McNulty

"I started as a leftist war protester," he tells interviewer Timothy McNulty, a Medill professor and former editor at the Chicago Tribune. Foley's brother was a soldier in Iraq, which led him to sympathize with his brother. He began to feel pulled to get into the middle of conflict himself; he aspired to become an active voice in the affairs of the world. So at Medill he took academic coursework on covering international conflicts. Singer points out he participated in something called the National Security Journalism Initiative, in which ex-British commandos grabbed him in a mock kidnapping and shot blanks by his head they'd covered with a bag.

In the interview, he says one thing the US military learned in Vietnam was the need to control journalists. So they came up with the "embed" idea. With a shiny Masters degree in hand, he got a job embedded with a US National Guard unit in Iraq. At one point, he worked for US-AID.

"You start to bond with these guys," he says. "You wonder about your objectivity sometimes -- especially with US soldiers." He fully appreciates the history and the thinking behind the military’s embed program, which relies on a reporter bonding with the soldiers he is covering. These same soldiers are protecting his life. He seems to understand the pressures this relationship puts on his ability as a journalist to be “objective.” By now, everyone in the journalism business knows there is no such thing as objectivity. I have a Masters Degree in Journalism from Temple University and I first learned the same lesson about objectivity in coursework there.

Foley next reveals the key to why many war journalists are so driven to do what they do.

“When you see something violent it doesn't always repel you. It can draw you close,” he says. Shots of individual students in the audience reveal young faces in rapt attention. “Feeling that you survived has a strange sort of force." There's the famous adrenaline rush.

What's the truth behind the Malaysian Flight 17 downing?

CIA Analysts Won't Support White House Claims of Russian Culpability

With the US continuing to push its submissive European “allies” towards an ever more confrontational stance against Russia over the crisis in Ukraine (a crisis initially provoked by the US itself through CIA and State Department actions that led to the overthrow of Ukraine’s elected government), the world appears headed towards a dangerous renewed Cold War between the world’s two nuclear superpowers.

A central part of that campaign by Washington has been the effort to blame the downing of Malaysian Flight 17, which killed all 298 passengers and crew, on Russia, or failing that, on pro-Russian separatist rebels in eastern Ukraine. This campaign has used innuendo, falsified evidence and, weirdly, spurious and sometimes absurd “evidence” circulating in various social media -- all of which which people like Secretary of State John Kerry and president Obama himself have tried to say “prove” that Russia, or at least a Russian-provided high-altitude BUK anti-aircraft missile, was responsible for the downing.
 

But increasingly, critics, including analysts within the CIA, have been throwing cold water on that theory. Suspiciously, the US, which had a spy satellite located directly over the Malaysian plane at the very time of the shoot-down, and which certainly has detailed photographic images of exactly what happened, has offered no a single photo to prove its contention that a missile was fired from territory under rebel control.

Meanwhile, there are multiple claims that the CIA -- and perhaps the National Security Agency too -- have evidence that it was Ukrainian forces, not separatists, who shot down the plane, either using one of the several dozen BUK launchers that they are known to possess themselves, or by two Ukrainian attack fighters that were known to be tailing the Malaysian commercial jet shoot it down with machine gun fire and/or air-to-air missiles. Significantly, a Canadian investigator with the international team sent to collect and examine pieces of the crashed airliner, has said he saw holes that appeared caused by heavy 30 mm machine-gun fire --the type of ammunition used by the fighter jets -- in a section of the front of the Boeing jet, as well as in both sides. Such holes in the nose and both sides of the doomed plane could not have all been caused by the projectiles released by a BUK missile, which would have all hit the plane from one direction -- reportedly normally from a location beneath the plane.

A week ago, this reporter interviewed Ray McGovern, a former CIA analyst with 27 years of experience at the agency, about the Ukraine crisis, on ThisCantBeHappening!’s weekly radio show that airs each Wednesday at 5 pm Eastern Time on the Progressive Radio Network (PRN.fm). McGovern says on that program that sources he knows who are still at the CIA say that the agency has refused to back the US claim that separatists or Russia were behind the shoot-down of Flight 17.

To hear analyst McGovern’s interview, click here or click on the photo below:
 

Retired CIA analyst Ray McGovern and a section of Flight 17's cockpit panel, showing multiple bullet holesRetired CIA analyst Ray McGovern and a section of Flight 17's cockpit panel, showing multiple large-calibre bullet holes
 

Click here to join the campaign to comply with the UN resolution demanding a genuinely independent inquiry into the shooting down of Flight 17.

The ThisCantBeHappening! news collective loses a founding member

Charles M. 'Chuck' Young (1951-2014)

 

The ThisCantBeHappening! collective has lost a friend and a perceptive and peerlessly witty analyst of the American political and cultural scene, while Rock& Roll has lost its leading critic. Charles M. Young (Chuck to his friends), has died, following a year and a half of battling an aggressive brain tumor.

When Dave Lindorff decided back in the Spring of 2010, to convert his thiscantbehappening.net blog into a collectively-owned and collectively-run news site, he immediately contacted three friends and journalistic colleagues--John Grant, Linn Washington, Jr. and Chuck Young. All three immediately jumped for the idea. But Chuck's response was classic Young. His lip curling up in a sign that cued a listener that he was about to crack a joke, he said, "Wait, let me get this straight: a newspaper that has no editor? It sounds like a dream come true! Sign me up!"

Charles M. 'Chuck' Young, Presente!Charles M. 'Chuck' Young, Presente!

 

The Justice Option

How To Dissipate the Protest in Ferguson

There was a moment during MSNBC's live coverage of Ferguson, Missouri, Monday night through 2AM Tuesday morning when Chris Hayes and one of his guests conceded the police (now augmented by National Guard troops said to be guarding a police command center) begrudgingly deserved a good grade because -- unlike riots in Newark and Los Angeles -- no one had been killed. This was after cops had "barked" at Hayes and threatened him with macing if he and his camera crew dared again venture "in front of" the police.

It was about this time rumors surfaced that the police were planning to announce Tuesday morning new rules for media on the street. Frustrated police were beginning to take the usual position and blame the media for the persistent protests in Ferguson. Hayes wondered on-air what that might mean; he was concerned what the police would do without cameras covering their actions. Was the media creating disrespect for the police? Or was it the unaddressed murder of an 18-year-old African American manchild?

I've watched an awful lot of cable news over the past week, and Ferguson, Missouri, for me, is an amazing public collision of citizens rights and police power. One of the ironies of Monday night was how critical Shepard Smith of Fox News and a couple of his on-the-street reporters were of the police.

"There's not a bit of professionalism across the street from me," said one of the on-the-street Fox reporters live at around 10:30PM Ferguson time, referring to the gathered cops in military garb and gas masks. "I can't see what's provoking the police." Until that moment, protesters had been ordered only to keep moving -- not to stop and cluster up -- a command one might hear from guards in a volatile prison public area.

Michael Brown and Officer Darren Wilson receiving an award from Ferguson Police Chief Thomas JacksonMichael Brown and Officer Darren Wilson receiving an award from Ferguson Police Chief Thomas Jackson

Both MSNBC and Fox felt the police had not been provoked at 10PM Ferguson time when they suddenly collected en-mass in warrior mode and started demanding on loudspeakers for protesters to leave the area. Soon, the flash bang grenades came out, the tear gas, the use of spooky L-RAD sound blasters -- all intended to force protesters to flee. As Hayes pointed out with a chuckle, having gotten a snootful of tear gas and fled himself, as far as clearing a street "this stuff really works."

It seemed clear to me sitting at home as it did to the reporters on the street and to the angry protesters themselves, that the police authorities had decided at 10PM Ferguson time that aggressive police action would begin. A midnight-to-5AM curfew had been lifted, but in effect what they did amounted to the same thing, a midnight curfew as a fact-on-the-ground. Dissipated stragglers could be dealt with on a case-by-case basis.

This is what has become of the First Amendment of the Constitution of the United States of America. All of us opposed to the Iraq, Afghanistan and terror wars since 9/11 have seen it grow on our streets for over a decade. It can only be described as a police state of control as to when and how citizens will be permitted to express their First Amendment rights. By now, many of us are very familiar with one of the most absurd elements of this regime: The First Amendment Zone.

In many US communities, cops are the ‘terrorists’

Police Need to Be Demilitarized and Remade as ‘Peace Officers’

 

The apparent murder by a white police officer in Ferguson, Missouri, of Mike Brown, an unarmed 18-year-old black youth who was shot a number of times while he was allegedly on his knees with his hands up in the air, pleading “Don’t shoot, I’m not armed,” is exposing everything that is wrong with policing in the US today.

The Ferguson Police Department, reportedly nearly all white (50 of 53 officers), patrols a St. Louis suburban community that is 70 percent African-American, a situation that is already a recipe for disaster in a nation that is drenched in racism--and all too typical in communities across the country. The Ferguson PD has also been reportedly employing the kind of aggressive policing -- arresting people over minor infractions -- that can quickly escalate into violent confrontations. In this case, it appears Brown’s offense was jay-walking and perhaps talking back to the police officer -- the first being a citation offense, and the second not even illegal.

When this shooting happened, instead of immediately attempting to calm things down, the Ferguson Police Department went all paramilitary, sending massive numbers of up-armed cops in military gear, backed by police dogs, into the community. They also brought in armored vehicles, reportedly equipped with heavy machine guns mounted on top, which at one point were trained on protesters but fortunately not fired. (Hundreds of police departments in communities like Ferguson across the country now have such surplus military equipment, showered on them for free by the US Department of Homeland Security.) Ferguson cops responded to understandable community protests with tear gas and, later, with solid wooden and rubber bullets designed to hurt and injure but not kill (though clearly at close range there is always that danger). Several more people have already been shot by police, leaving them in critical condition.

Adding to community outrage is the refusal by police to release the name of the officer responsible for killing Brown, or even to release the initial report of his autopsy -- both the kind information that would be readily available were the shooter not a police officer.

What’s wrong here? So many things that it’s hard to know where to begin.

Confronting the 'enemy' in Ferguson, Missouri -- an iconic image of militarized police that has gone viral since the police slaying of 18-year-old Mike BrownConfronting the 'enemy' in Ferguson, Missouri -- an iconic image of militarized police that has gone viral since the police slaying of 18-year-old Mike Brown

New poem:

Close the gate

 

Close the gate

I’m tired.
Don’t visit,
I’m not home.
Why should I have to explain?

Now you show up.
I hear your voices.
You come in a group.
You turn on the tap.

I hear the squeak of the faucet.
I hear the water running
Through the pipes.
I go to the door.

There are a lot of you.
Go away.
Can’t you see I’m busy?
I’m working on something.

I can’t be disturbed.
Follow that path
Through the garden.
Close the gate.

none

Is your data and privacy really safe?

Of Russian Hackers and Google Cops

 

The recent news that Russian hackers have the usernames and passwords for over a billion users as well as a half billion email accounts wraps up a week of Internet craziness.

Last week, Google revealed that it had turned into police a Google user who had included child pornography on some of his emails. The company made clear that it had been investigating this guy and that its procedures for doing so "cannot violate the privacy of other users". This week, MicroSoft made a similar announcement about a similar investigation of data stored on its "Cloud" storage system.

Those zeros and ones are yours -- or are they?Those zeros and ones are yours -- or are they?
 

It seems these guys can't refrain from competing in whatever they're into. It also seems that, as usual, these companies are playing an informational shell game when they explain what they're doing and the threat it poses.

New Wasichu, Crossing

Announcing a new book by Gary Lindorff

 

New Wasichu, Crossing: Our Story is Just Beginning.
 

A Silent Spring for the new century? Gary Lindorff’s new book, New Wasichu, Crossing: Our Story is Just Beginning is, on one level, a bold attempt to disturb the silence of denial that has muted our ability to reverse Schweitzer’s curse quoted by Rachel Carson right at the threshold of her prophetic narrative: “Man has lost the capacity to foresee and to forestall. He will end by destroying the earth.” Perhaps if we had heeded Rachel Carson’s shot over bow of Western post-industrial “progress” we would not be where we are now. Silent Spring is one of those books that you don’t necessarily have to read anymore because it is in our bones, just like the strontium 90 that was falling with the rain back when Carson was writing. But what good did it do? Maybe that still remains to be seen. .
 
………………………………………………………………………………………………
 

Hello TCBH! readers. I am pleased to announce the publication of a book I have been writing for the last 3 years, spanning the deaths of both of my parents, a period of time fraught with disturbing change and upheaval across the board. I am no longer young but that’s not a bad thing. My heart is strong and, dare I say, wiser. I have read that a heart that reacts unpredictably (or spontaneously) to the emotional climate it finds itself in is a healthy heart. Our heart is not just a pump, it is the organ that gets us through the maze of multiple realities that has become our world. Sure, I use my brain but I have come to depend upon my heart for everything, especially since the head (our heads) seems to be running out of ideas.

New Wasichu, Crossing: Our Story is Just Beginning, is the distillation of several decades of experience, study and practice in three over-lapping fields of access to certain wellsprings of creativity and transformation: Jungian Psychology, Native American wisdom traditions and shamanism. What is offered here is a way through the ominous darkness of our times. In this work I braid together a colorful, carefully researched, sometimes autobiographical narrative-lifeline that will guide the reader ever deeper into a landscape of dreams, intentionality, revelation and real answers to the problems that we face as human beings. Chapter by chapter the path to the future becomes less metaphorical and more substantial and walkable.

The writing explores certain archetypal themes. One such theme is crossing for spiritual survival. At the same time the reader is equipped to orient him- or herself by a new (or older than old) set of coordinates, facilitating participation in an epic crossing to something more human and more sustainable. Another recurrent theme is the return of the doppelganger or our soulful double, which, it turns out, embodies the template of the undamaged self.
The author and his book (Click on image to go to Amazon page)The author and his book (Click on image to go to Amazon page)

The latest 'ThisCantBeHappening!' Show on PRN.fm

An Interview with Charles M. Young

 

Journalist Charles M. Young talks with Dave Lindorff, host of PRN.fm's new program 'This Can't Be Happening!" about the Occupy Wall Street Movement, New York's last mayor, Michael Bloomberg, the NYPD vs. the LAPD, music & politics, getting groined by Hunter Thompson and interviewing Noam Chomsky.

You can hear the podcast of Wednesday evening's show by clicking on the image below:

Hear Dave Lindorff on 'This Can't Be Happening!' every Wednesday at 5 pm Eastern Time on PRN.fm or on the web at www.PRN.fmHear Dave Lindorff on 'This Can't Be Happening!' every Wednesday at 5 pm Eastern Time on PRN.fm or on the web at www.PRN.fm

Even in Los Angeles

Gentle Things

 

            In brutish, crass, profanity-spitting L.A., in developer-ravaged $2500-a-month “elegant density” L.A., in have-and-have-not ethnically separated L.A., in get-out-of-my-way-asshole, hit-and-run texting-and-primping-while-driving L.A. . . .

            Gentle things still happen.

            She sat at the front table at Papa Cristo’s, the Greek place at Pico and Normandie in the so-called Byzantine-Latino Quarter. Across the street from St. Sofia’s Greek Orthodox Cathedral and St. Thomas the Apostle Catholic Church, or, more appropriately considering that masses come with mariachis, Iglesia Santo Tomas Apostol.

            “This is excellent!” she said, and, really, it was amazing she could say anything at all, let alone in a clear, commanding voice. The withered and dry autumn leaves on the sycamore trees in the neighborhood were stronger. This was, to be indelicate, a corpse that hadn’t gotten around to officially dying. Stick limbs, prune skin, sunken cheeks. Talk about frailty, thy name is woman. . .

            “Okay, Babe,” said her companion, a young guy with brown curls pulled back in a pony tail. “I’ve got you.” And he steadied her as he removed her walker, and then helped her ease into a wooden chair at one of Papa Cristo’s wobbly tables. She didn’t seem comfortable.

            “Does your butt hurt?” said her companion.

            What butt, I wondered. Nothing there but bones.

Esther Cicconi, lifetime Communist and icon of LA's left fringe, says 'hello, not goodbye'Esther Cicconi, lifetime Communist and icon of LA's left fringe, says 'hello, not goodbye'

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This is the video tape of Davis in Lahore police custody


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Watch live streaming video from globalrevolution at livestream.com

Live Stream of the Occupation of Wall Street! The Revolution will be filmed after all! (Courtesy of Globalrevolution)
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Fightin' Cock FlyerFightin' Cock Flyer

Listen as Chuck, John, Dave and Linn Join Prairie Radical Mike Caddell of the Fightin' Cock Flyer on Radio Free Kansas

Here's the link to prairie radio radical Mike Caddell's Radio Free Kansas program, where you can hear the podcast of the whole group interview that was conducted on Saturday, May 8.

Also, listen to Dave Lindorff on Chris Cook's Gorilla Radio on CFEV Radio in Victoria, Canada.

Donate $50 to ThisCantBeHappening.net and get a free signed copy, postage paid, of Dave's classic tome The Case for Impeachment (St. Martin's Press, 2006). Just click on the cover image to go to the Paypal payment page, make your payment, and send a note to Dave calling his attention to the payment, and giving your mail address and the name you want the inscription addressed to.

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by Dr. Radut