Skip to Content

The predictable start of vigilantism

Reverse Course on Police Militarization or Reap the Whirlwind

 

Let me make it clear from the outset of this article: I’m against violence and killing, and I’m certainly no advocate of killing police officers.

But having said that, it must be stated that the combination of a national gun culture that makes obtaining guns and deadly bullets as easy as buying a newspaper, combined with the increasing availability of videocam evidence of infuriating police murders of innocent, unarmed people, including kids, is a recipe for the kind of vigilantism that we just witnessed in New York City, where a Baltimore man, Ismaaiyl Brinsley, took it upon himself to wreak what he considered deserved vengeance on the NYPD by randomly selecting and assassinating two New York cops sitting in their squad car.

Random acts of retributive violence like this are only to be expected when you have police treating the public -- and especially certain segments of the public, notably people of color -- like presumptive criminals or a people under occupation.

This is not a question of right or wrong. Hell, the two policemen killed by Brinsley, ironically a Chinese and a Latino cop, had nothing to do with the killing of Eric Garner, a black man, by white police officer Daniel Pantaleo. It’s simply a reality: If the growing murderousness and thuggishness of (especially white) police behavior towards people of color, and towards the public in general, continues in this country, it is totally predictable that such acts of vengeance or vigilantism will increase, perhaps even becoming more focused to target the actual perpetrators of unjustified homicides, such as the recent killings of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Garner in New York and 12-year-old Tamir Rice in Cleveland, should their uniformed killers be given a free pass by prosecutors.

Eric Garner being strangled by a NY police officer, and a squad care, its window blown out by shots that killed two NYPD cops in what was reportedly a twisted act of vengeance.Eric Garner being strangled by a NY police officer, and a squad care, its window blown out by shots that killed two NYPD cops in what was reportedly a twisted act of vengeance.
 

Obama’s Trojan Horse

US Recognition of Cuba after 54 Years of Hostility and War Does not Mean an End to US Subversion

 

There is a lot of congratulating of President Obama going on among people on the left in the US over the announced agreement reached between the White House and Raul Castro to end America’s half-century isolation of the only Communist nation in the Americas.

But the congratulations are premature and naive.

Whatever the reasons for the announcement that the US and Cuba are swapping some long-held prisoners and are going to exchange embassies (The US closed its embassy in Havana in 1962), the reality is that this will not end Washington’s obsession with overthrowing the socialist government installed in 1959 by Fidel Castro’s successful anti-imperialist armed rebellion.

Not only does having an American embassy in your country not mean your country will be left alone by the imperialist Washington -- it means that in the heart of your national capital, you will have a diplomatically protected headquarters for agents working for the CIA, the Defense Intelligence Agency, the National Security Agency and a host of other Washington three-letter spy outfits.

Look at Venezuela, where the US has an embassy out of which it has run operations ever since the initial election of the late Hugo Chavez seeking to topple the elected leadership of that oil-rich nation. Look at Honduras, where the US has long had an embassy which only recently played a key role in the overthrow and exile of that country’s progressive elected president. Look at Ukraine, where the US had an embassy that was the command center for a CIA-led program that ultimately orchestrated the overthrow of the elected government of President Viktor Yanukovich. And look at Pakistan, where a few years ago, with the arrest of a CIA contractor working undercover in the US consulate in Lahore for the brazen day-light cold-blooded murder of two young Pakistani intelligence agents, and the outing, over a short period, of three CIA station chiefs, all working under diplomatic cover, we learned that the US embassy was running a program of civilian bombings designed to foment fratricidal religious conflict in that country.
The US Embassy in Havana in 1961, when it was shut down by the Eisenhower administrationThe US Embassy in Havana in 1961, when it was shut down by the Eisenhower administration
 

A Hollywood Hack Holiday

Ending Torture One Dick At a Time

 

CAUTION! To paraphrase Bill O’Reilly, you are now entering a no-censor zone that discusses obscene activity.
 

The Christmas movie from Sony Pictures I want to see is Seth Rogan and James Franco rectally feeding Dick Cheney at the climax of a movie sequel called The Enhanced Interview: Saving the Homeland One Dick At a Time.

Rogan and Franco have a good track record at getting money for movies that break taboos. Both are actor/directors not queasy about biological functions. Rogan co-directed the movie The Interview that caused an international incident by having an actor play the real Supreme Leader Kim Jong-un and, among all the dick jokes, exploding his head into biological goo; and Franco just directed an excellent film called Child Of God based on a Cormac McCarthy novel in which a mentally ill, homeless redneck is shown from behind cleaning his dirty ass crack with a stick and, later, having sex with a female corpse for whom he has purchased a red dress. Rectal feeding and/or re-hydration of an actor playing Dick Cheney would not be much of a hurdle for these brave cineastes.

While the North Korea movie may be an adolescent and politically irresponsible comedy, Child of God is a dark, small-budget gem. The kind of biological/psychological frankness the film engages in would have never been shown in theaters or on TV before the cell phone images of torture from Abu Ghraib in Iraq seeped into the American consciousness. Scenes of red-blooded American men and women torturing naked male Iraqi prisoners in one of Saddam Hussein’s hideous dungeons shocked the American aesthetic. Sadistic behavior bordering on sodomy as US military policy? Hey, that doesn’t comport with American values!

But, then again, I’m afraid it does.

Scott Haze in Child of God; Dick Cheney; James Franco, left, and Seth Rogan up the creek in North KoreaScott Haze in Child of God; Dick Cheney; James Franco, left, and Seth Rogan up the creek in North Korea
 

For this advancement (or degradation) in cultural aesthetics -- at its worse, there's the film series brand Saw -- we have to thank the advent of cell phone cameras and government torture facilitators like Dick Cheney, who as a young man was soft, delicate and privileged enough to willfully avoid service in Vietnam, but as an old man with a bum ticker became powerful and ruthless enough to advocate torturing human beings in dungeons with hooks in the ceiling and drains in the floor to whoosh away all the hosed off blood, piss and shit from the previous eight-hour work shift. Cheney is even cold-blooded enough to say on Meet The Press that he doesn’t care that innocent people were tortured under his program: “I have no problem as long as we achieve our objective.” This is a man comfortable in a secure and luxurious mansion who has never gotten any torturous biological matter on him.

New poem:

I Can't Breathe

 

I’m white.
But I can’t breathe.
I’m suffocating.
Maybe I’m dying.

 

I tried to run
But I got caught
Thinking terrible thoughts about my twisted country.
Dangerous and dark thoughts,
Like a German might have thought
When the Nazis were beating up Jews.
And the zeitgeist was shouting at me to stop.
Don’t shoot! I shouted,
Peeing my pants,
I’m white!
I’m the same color as Jesus!
But the zeitgeist
Wasn’t a Christian.
Wasn’t even a white cop.
He was a friggin’ octopus!
And he wasn’t interested in anything I had to say.
I only had enough air to get out one more lie:
I gasped,
America is awesome!
But I was falling
And my sight was obscured by a red curtain
As the zeitgeist pulled me down.

US sides with a colonizer

Africa's Forgotten (And Festering) Freedom Struggle in Western Africa

 

Algiers -- The Western Sahara is not just a section of the famous desert that dominates North Africa.

The Western Sahara is a country on the Atlantic Ocean coast of North Africa with the dubious distinction of being the “Last Colony” on the vast continent of Africa. The current colonizer of this mineral-rich nation is the neighboring country of Morocco, which for decades has been conducting a viciously brutal occupation. A long history of human rights violations by Morocco in the Western Sahara have drawn wide condemnation from diverse entities including Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch and the United States, ironically an ally of Morocco.

The plight of the Saharawi people, the indigenous population of the Western Sahara, was the focus of a conference in Algiers last weekend that attracted participants from across Africa , Europe and the Americas. That conference featured Saharawians who have been tortured and imprisoned by Moroccan authorities as well as experts who detailed various facets of Morocco's illegal occupation, including that country's failures to comply with United Nations mandates to conduct a voter referendum for determining the future of Western Sahara.

"Morocco confiscated our land. Built a wall dividing our country. It violates human rights while plundering our natural resources," Mohammed Abdelaziz, the President of the Western Sahara, said during his address at the opening ceremony of the 5th International Conference of Algiers. Called “The Right of Peoples to Resistance: the case of the Saharawi People," the conference was held at Algeria's Palace of Culture in the nation’s capital.

"We need a free, fair and just referendum to exercise the right of self- determination to create an independent state" President Abdelaziz said.
Mohammed Abdelaziz, president of the Western Sahara, and head of movement engaged in Africa's last anti-colonial struggleMohammed Abdelaziz, president of the Western Sahara, and head of movement engaged in Africa's last anti-colonial struggle (photo by Linn Washington)
 

Making a joke of the Supreme Court

Justice Antonin Scalia is a Publicity-Seeking Intellectual Midget

 

Sometimes you really don't need to write much to do an article on something. Writing about the inanity of Justice Antonin Scalia, the ethics-challenged, lard-bottomed, right-wing anchor of the Supreme Court, is one of those times.

Scalia just weighed in on the CIA torture issue in an interview for a Swiss broadcast network, saying that he didn't think there was anything in the US Constitution that would prohibit torture under all circumstances, and positing a situation -- a suspect with knowledge about a hidden nuke to be detonated in Los Angeles -- that he suggested would make torture an acceptable tactic.

First of all, if Scalia can say "I don't know what article of the Constitution" would "contravene" harsh treatment of suspected terrorists, he is either terminally ignorant, or has figured out some talmudic-like gymnastic reasoning to allow him to argue that the Eighth Amendment's ban on "cruel and unusual" punishment doesn't apply to torture. Perhaps he thinks that punishment can only refer to what is meted out to a person after conviction, but as he surely knows, for literally centuries the court has been clear that the treatment of suspects is also covered by that ban. Furthermore, the Founders Scalia claims to have such respect for, clearly had in mind the abuses British colonial forces visited upon arrested and detained colonists when they wrote that ban into the Bill of Rights.

But beyond that, the argument about a suspect who knew about a hidden nuke, or an Anthrax or Small Pox bomb, which is hardly an original idea of Scalia's, has always been silly. Establishing that torture is always illegal, and that its perpetrators are committing a heinous crime, would never stop some cop or FBI agent or CIA agent from torturing such a suspect if he or she thought it could produce the information needed to find and prevent such a bomb. Who would think about future punishment in such a crisis?

Nobody. And if such a situation came to pass, and the bomb was found and disarmed, no one would ever prosecute whoever came up with the information that saved the day. So it's not a valid argument against an absolute ban on torture at all.

What should be banned is idiots, jerks and self-aggrandizing ideologues like Scalia on the High Court -- especially ones who are happy to accept gifts from people who have cases pending before the court.

Justice Antonin Scalia, the intellectual light-weight who anchors the right-wing of the Supreme CourtJustice Antonin Scalia, the intellectual light-weight who anchors the right-wing of the Supreme Court

A White House infested with torturers and their abettors

The US Must Prosecute Torturers and their Enablers or Forever be Labeled a Rogue Nation

 

In all the media debate about the Senate Intelligence Committee’s release, finally, of a heavily redacted report on officially sanctioned torture by the CIA and the US military during the Bush/Cheney administration and the so-called War on Terror, there has been little said about the reality that torture, as clearly defined in the Geneva Convention against Torture which went into effect in 1987, is flat-out illegal in the US as a signatory of that Convention.

During the Bush/Cheney years, administration lawyers like the reprehensible John Yoo (now, incredibly, a law professor at UC Berkeley), tried through shameless legal gymnastics, to provide legal cover for, and to legally authorize “enhanced interrogation” techniques. But the Geneva Convention is clear on this point: It says torture means:
 

...”any act by which severe pain or suffering, whether physical or mental, is intentionally inflicted on a person for such purposes as obtaining from him or a third person information or a confession, punishing him for an act he or a third person has committed or is suspected of having committed, or intimidating or coercing him or a third person, or for any reason based on discrimination of any kind, when such pain or suffering is inflicted by or at the instigation of or with the consent or acquiescence of a public official or other person acting in an official capacity.”
 

All of the tortures cited in the Senate report, from rectal “rehydrating” to telling a captive he would later be killed if he didn’t talk, are unarguably torture under this broad definition, and call for severe punishment, not only of the perpetrators, but also of those who authorized their actions, or those who covered them up or failed to bring them to justice. And let me add that under the Geneva Conventions, torture during wartime has no statute of limitations.
US officially sanctioned and encouraged  torture at Abu Ghraib, while horrific, is only the tip of a very large and ugly icebergUS officially sanctioned and encouraged torture at Abu Ghraib, while horrific, is only the tip of a very large and ugly iceberg
 

When expediency calls for principles

Obama on Net Neutrality: Principle or Politics?

 

The week before last, our President made a pronouncement on Net Neutrality that pleasantly surprised activists and won him favorable coverage in the newspapers: both rare outcomes these days.

In both timing and content, the short speech (aptly broadcast over the Internet) was stunning. The President hit all the major points of contention and controversy in what has become a searing debate over the Internet's future and his talking points mirrored all the arguments progressive Internet activists have been making. It was among Obama's most forward-looking speeches.

Obama Speaks on the Internet over the InternetObama Speaks on the Internet over the Internet
 

Not only did he land on the right side of issues like assuring full and equal access and speed for all users and content providers but he came out in favor of the demand that has now emerged as the focal point for the Net Neutrality campaign: applying Title II to all Internet providers. In layperson's language, that means treating all Internet companies like FCC-governed utilities. That's what they did with phone companies and that's why phone service is, today, "service neutral" and the change would lay the groundwork for Net Neutrality's protection.

While calling it a victory for the Net Neutrality movement, however, activists salted their celebrations with a bit of skepticism. This is the man, after all, who has turned the Internet into the largest surveillance network in history while forging one of the most aggressive interventionist and homicidal foreign policies in the country's history. The speech was great but will it make a difference? And does the President really care? The President is, above all, a master politician and so the question arises: was this speech less policy than politics?

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 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

Syndicate content
Loading

Find more artists like Dave Lindorff at Myspace Music

This is the video tape of Davis in Lahore police custody


___________________________

___________________________


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)
________________________

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.

---------------

Have a comment to make?

You can write us at ThisCantBeHappeningMail@yahoo.com
We may not answer you, but we'll probably read it.



by Dr. Radut