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‘We’re sorry’

Latest US War Crime is the Murderous Destruction of a Hospital in Afghanistan


Really? The best that Nobel Peace Laureate President Obama can do after the US bombs and destroys a hospital in Afghanistan, killing 22 people, including 12 volunteer doctors from Doctors Without Borders, is to say, “We’re sorry”?

No wonder people around the globe hate the US.

A decent human being in the White House would be calling for an independent international investigation into the incident and would be insisting that heads would roll! After all, the initial reports out of the Pentagon were that the strike had been called in to protect threatened American troops -- an action that would be a clear war crime since hospitals have special protected status under the internationally accepted laws of war. Only later did the Pentagon backpedal and claim that the strike was a “mistake” that had been called-in by Afghan government forces. But that alibi founders on reports from Doctors Without Borders that days before the assault on their facility in the Taliban-held city of Kunduz, their organization had provided the US with clear coordinates of the hospital, so as to avoid any such “accident.”

But hey, this is America. We don’t do justice. We don’t have to because, as “the exceptional nation,” we are always just in our actions. We kill and maim and then we say we’re sorry (but only if Westerners get killed and maimed as in this instance). And then we move on.

Hospitals? The US always claims it’s an accident, or “collateral damage,” when they get hit. It’s never a matter of deliberate targeting.

But people on the ground where the bombs and rockets fall know better: That the American military has been targeting hospitals and ambulances deliberately for decades. The US bombed hospitals in North Korea in the 1950s. And it bombed them in North Vietnam with a regularity that made a joke of claims to the contrary.

In fact, painting a red cross or a red crescent on the roof of a hospital in an area where the US is conducting one of its many illegal wars is simply an invitation to be bombed.
What's left of the Doctors Without Borders hospital in Kunduz following a 20-minute US bombing and gunship attackWhat's left of the Doctors Without Borders hospital in Kunduz following a 20-minute US bombing and gunship attack that killed 22, including 12 medical personnel and three children

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What's been raised so fare is not nearly the kind of money that would allow the dedicated members of this collective -- who put out the reports on this award-winning site for nothing, doing the reporting and writing in our spare time -- to cut back on our day jobs and actually devote serious time to alternative news reporting, but it's the start. If you, our readers, can get into the habit of occasionally supporting a site like this that you turn to regularly or even occasionally to know what's happening, big things will happen here.

We know this can work. You all clearly want what we are producing, and value our reports (we know that because you keep coming back and reading what we write), and yet still far too many of you, our readers, are just taking what we do for free. That isn't going to help build a movement. We need solidarity to build a new media model. And solidarity aside, just from the point of view of self-interest, we could provide so much more of the unique news we have been providing for almost four years if we had some serious money coming in to support us in that work.

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Wrongs In Wine-Land

Not Just in America: French Authorities Cover for Abusive Police Too


Editor’s Note:

This article from Ferguson In Paris, an anti-police brutality group in France, does not contain a byline. The reason for this is because members of that group say they must maintain anonymity as much as possible remain to avoid abusive retaliation from authorities and others in France. “We publish under the name of the organization because of fierce repression regarding activists dealing with police brutality,” explained a Ferguson In Paris member during a recent email exchange with ThisCan’ The claimed support by French government authorities and other for freedom of speech following the fatal shootings at the Charlie Hebdo magazine office last January 2015 apparently do not extend to French activists opposed to brutality by French police. (Ferguson In Paris, an organization that fights against police brutality and racism/discrimination in France, works in solidarity with anti-brutality groups in the United States.)


In 2005, the human rights monitoring organization Amnesty International published a report titled: “France: The search for justice.” That Amnesty report examined allegations of serious human rights violations by law enforcement officials across France between 1991 and 2005. Those human rights violations by law enforcers included unlawful killings, excessive use of force, torture, and other mistreatment. Racist abuse was reported in many cases examined by Amnesty and racist motivation appeared to be a factor in many more. As that report noted, the persistent targets of police abuse in France are "foreign nationals or French nationals of foreign origin."

On the basis of the evidence examined, Amnesty International concluded that a pattern of de facto impunity existed with regard to police and other law enforcement officials in France. Failures by French officials "to address" police abuses have created a "climate of effective impunity for law enforcement officers," the report stated.

That report identified a number of factors contributing to this impunity. Those factors included gaps or flaws in legislation; reluctance or failure of police, prosecutors and courts to thoroughly investigate and prosecute human rights violations involving law enforcement officials; and sentences which were not commensurate with the gravity of the crime. Like Ferguson and most other places in the United States, the Amnesty report stated that convictions of abusive police across France are "relatively rare, or when they occurred, sentences have mainly been nominal."
French cops spray teargas directly into a protester's face during a demonstration against police abuseFrench cops spray teargas directly into a protester's face during a demonstration against police abuse

Grieving and praying

Pray for the day
When the gun-god turns to salt
And melts away.
Grieve our helplessness
To change what we believe in.
I had a gun once
With a silver bullet,
A gold bullet,
A diamond bullet.
I loved my gun so much,
I loved the bullets.
I shot the silver bullet into a cloud
And it rained.
I shot the gold bullet into a dream
And it landed on my pillow.
I shot the diamond bullet at a star.
It circled the earth
And it came down
And told me stories.
But I wanted more from my gun and bullets.
I had one more bullet
That was made of clay.
I shot that bullet into the ocean.
It didn’t change a thing.
I threw away my gun.
I turned to the land of my home
And I walked
Toward the far horizon,
Grieving and praying.
--Gary Lindorff

Of scientists and charlatans:

Noted Argentine Chemist Warns of Climate Disaster


Republican presidential aspirants Jeb Bush, Marco Rubio and Rick Santorum all describe themselves as devout Catholics and, like most Republican candidates, they argue that religion should play an expanded role in American politics and government. However, on matters related to global warming, Messrs. Bush and Rubio both agree with Mr. Santorum, stating that we should, “...leave science to the scientists.”
Fortunately for these Republican candidates, Jorge Bergoglio, a chemist from Argentina, has stepped forward to address the concerns of those who think that global warming issues should be only confined to scientists. Recently, Bergoglio, analyzed the available data and produced a most remarkable treatise titled “Care for Our Common Home.” His book is well worth reading.

Bergoglio has an interesting past. In 1929 his family fled fascism in Mussolini’s Italy and migrated to Argentina, where he was born in 1936. He is well credentialed. He attended Wilfrid Barón de los Santos Ángeles, a school of the Salesians of Don Bosco, in Ramos Mejía, Buenos Aires, and entered the technical school Escuela Técnica Industrial #27. After graduation he began work as a chemist at Hickethier-Bachmann Laboratory in Buenos Aries (to finance his education, he also worked as a bouncer in an Argentine bar). 
Thanks to a most magnificent, almost lyrical writing style Bergoglio's book should be be easily understandable by the general public — and even by politicians. His words are firm. He resolutely reflects on the general state of our environment, and particularly on the contribution of modern society to environmental degradation. He writes:

Exposure to atmospheric pollutants produces a broad spectrum of health hazards, especially for the poor, and causes millions of premature deaths.” He continues, saying that society creates a  “… pollution that effects everyone, caused by transport, industrial fumes, substances which contribute to the acidification of soil and water, fertilizers, insecticides, fungicides, herbicides and agrotoxins in general. 

Seeing little hope in industrial technology as a solution, he states:

Technology, which linked to business interests, is presented as the only way of solving these problems, in fact proves incapable of seeing the mysterious network of relations between things and so sometimes solves one problem only to create another.

As global warming melts Greenland's massive ice cap, its surface exposes centuries of soot and ash, becoming ever darker and melting ever faster -- just one of myriad vicious climate change circles.As global warming melts Greenland's massive ice cap, its surface exposes centuries of soot and ash, becoming ever darker and melting ever faster -- just one of myriad vicious climate change circles.

The L.A. Times goes to Cuba:

OMG! The Food’s So Proletarian, and Pets are Hard to Find


The Los Angeles Times sent one of its managing editors to Cuba a few months ago, to report on the status of the society, culture, etc. Good that they sent a big gun, instead of just a run-of-the-mill reporter. Here are two of the stunning findings from this report. (brace yourself!):

If you travel to Cuba, be prepared for a squash fest. At every lunch and dinner, we were offered pumpkin soup or cooked butternut squash or squash stew. It was rarely bad but never great, which was true of much of the food we consumed.

Annnnnd. . .

Cuba doesn’t have the agriculture, the infrastructure or the economy to support anything resembling the flatbreads, house-cured pastrami and vinegared cauliflower that we’ve come to expect in Venice or Los Feliz or DTLA.

Well! That darn Cuba! Here the USA has reestablished relations, and Cuba does not even have the goddamned decency to offer squash stew that is "great." Sheesh. Harrumph! How dare those tyrannized, dirt-poor people! Good thing the LAT sent one of its managing editors to get this scoop. I mean, think of how an inexperienced reporter might have handled the assignment!


And then we have the vital, earth-shattering news that Cuba does not have the "agriculture, infrastructure, or economy" to produce the "flatbreads, house-cured pastrami, and vinegared cauliflower that we’ve come to expect in Venice, Los Feliz or DTLA” (the new “hipster” way of referring to downtown L.A..) Darn that Cuba again! Here Obama went to all that trouble to let American citizens haul their fat asses down there, and my God, those Cubans don't have the courtesy to produce pastrami as good as Venice, Los Feliz, and "DTLA." Unforgivable! Didn’t they know that U.S. citizens with big, rumbling guts and discriminating palates were coming? Thank God for this hard-hitting, incisive, pithy, empathetic, moving account of life in Cuba under Castro! Can a Pulitzer be far off?

The split between Europe and the U.S. just got wider!

EU Court Advocate General Deals Severe Blow to NSA Surveillance


A legal case, virtually unreported in the U.S., could very well unhinge a major component of this country's surveillance system. In any case, it certainly challenges it.

Yves Bot, he Advocate General of the European Court of Justice (the European Union's litigation arena) just published an "opinion" that the privacy and data sharing arrangements between the EU's 28 countries and the United States are "invalid", must be revised and cannot now be used to regulate data transfer.

This is to surveillance what an earthquake would be to a city: it wouldn't halt surveillance but it would destroy one of its major components. While the EU court's 15 justices have yet to issue their ruling on the opinion, they seldom deviate very much from their AG's advice and, given that they published his opinion and circulated it to the media, it's a good bet they are going to approve something close to it. They'll make that ruling later this year.

 taking on a giant!Maximillian Schrems: taking on a giant!

But the opinion alone is undoubtedly sending shudders through the halls of the NSA which gets all kinds of data from cooperating big-data companies (like Facebook and Google) and steals data from the ones that don't cooperate through a program called PRISM.

Mainstreaming the Preferential Option For the Poor

Pope Francis Drops a Bomb on Washington

A political society endures when it seeks, as a vocation, to satisfy common needs by stimulating the growth of all its members, especially those in situations of greater vulnerability or risk.
                              - Pope Francis speaking to the US Congress
Pope Francis' speech to the US Congress struck me as a message with strains long demanded in the corrupt halls of our government. It was a message that took me back 30 years to my travels in Central America during the Reagan years, which was a pivotal moment in modern US history for the rise of a money class and the problems of inequity we currently face.

Pope Francis arriving by Fiat and speaking in front of VP Joe Biden and House Speaker John BoehnerPope Francis arriving by Fiat and speaking in front of VP Joe Biden and House Speaker John Boehner

I was raised an atheist by a right-wing militarist. As a little boy, when my father worked in research for a pharmaceutical company in suburban New York, there came a time he aspired to enter the corporate end of the business. So I was sent to Sunday school for a brief period. There I learned that Jesus Christ was this cool guy in robes who loved people and was nice to them.

My father’s honeymoon with the corporate side of the company did not last long. I imagine it was a bitter affair, because soon enough he collected his wife and three sons and moved to a house in the truck farming area of south Dade County below Miami. I recall him saying he was going “bohemian.” He got a job lecturing in physiology at the University of Miami Medical School and he set up our rural property as an amateur nursery, where he worked a hobby of botany, treating seeds aimed at the creation of strange new versions of sub-tropical plants.

You might say dear old Dad was a bit eccentric. He had been a PT boat captain in the Solomon Islands, Peleliu and Okinawa for a couple years and, though it wasn’t an issue then, he must have had some variant of PTSD that contributed to his eccentricities. He and I fought most of our lives over politics, me taking a critical, leftist line, especially following my stint in Vietnam. Still, he was a complicated man and I recall him saying about me in public more than once, “Sometimes, at night, I wonder whether you might be right.” The one thing we saw absolutely eye-to-eye on was a disbelief in some kind of supernatural deity who knew or cared what we humans were thinking and doing. What he believed in was biology.

One of the things we regularly fought over was Ronald Reagan. “If I could I’d vote for him five more times,” he said at the end of Reagan’s second term. I once responded to him by saying, “When you were in your PT boat hiding in terror in the mangrove from the Japanese, some starlet was rubbing suntan oil on your hero Ronald Reagan’s ass beside a pool.” He grimaced and said, “You really know how to hurt a guy.”

Comedian's serial drug and rape scandal drags university ever deeper into the gutter

Law Professor Says Temple University Cosby Scandal Will Worsen, Not Fade

In a recent interview on Progressive Radio Network's "This Can't Be Happening!" program, Temple Law Professor Marina Angel says her university's president and board of trustees are deluding themselves if they think that by ignoring or denying the burgeoning scandal of celebrated Temple grad and (until recently) trustee Bill Cosby and his long history of drugging and then allegedly sexually assaulting young women, it will all go away. Rather, like the Penn State Sandusky scandal, she warns it will get worse, dragging the school down, and its dismissive leaders with it.

In the latest development, a prosecutor in neighboring Montgomery County, PA says she is considering whether to refile criminal sexual assault charges against Cosby, based on the release of his once-sealed deposition transcript in a civil suit brought by one of his victims, Andrea Constand, a Temple employee at the time. Constand's criminal case, once dropped by a prior Montgomery County DA who felt he didn't have enough solid evidence to convict, is still within the 12-year statute of limitations for the next four months, and Cosby's deposition, now public, is devastating, as is the testimony of some 47 other women who have subsequently come forward with similar stories of being drugged and then molested, assaulted or raped by Cosby while rendered unconscious or semiconscious.

Temple law Prof. Marina Angel, Andrea Constand,Bill Cosby and Cosby lawyer and Temple Board Chair Patrick O'ConnorTemple law Prof. Marina Angel, Andrea Constand,Bill Cosby and Cosby lawyer and Temple Board Chair Patrick O'Connor

Temple's problem, according to Prof. Angel, is that its current Board of Trustees Chair Patrick O'Conner was Cosby's attorney and a Temple trustee during the Constand case, which was settled out of court for an undisclosed payment by Cosby. Since Constand had to sign a non-disclosure agreement as part of that settlement, and the Cosby deposition was sealed, nobody outside the case knew of Cosby's admission under oath to providing knock-out drugs to the young women he was offering to "mentor," and with whom he admitted having sex. But clearly O'Connor, as Cosby's attorney at the time, knew exactly what Cosby had said. He also knew that before the case was settled out of court, 13 other women had offered to testify about similar alleged abuse by Cosby (no doubt a factor in Cosby's decision to settle).

Angel says Cosby's belated resignation from his trustee position is not enough. She further says O'Connor, partner in one of Philadelphia's most powerful law firms, had a serious conflict of interest in serving as as a trustee of the university at the same time as he was representing fellow trustee Cosby in a case involving abuse of a junior level employee of the university (a violation not just of law but of Temple's sexual abuse regulation). She says O'Connor should have either resigned his position or been forced out by the rest of the board. Instead the board later elevated him to chair of that body which runs the school -- a position he still holds, and from which he still defends Cosby.

Hear the full interview, which aired last week on's weekly program This Can't Be Happening!

Accommodating Abuse

Critics of BlackLivesMatter# Practice Defiant Denial


Over 1,500 miles separate Harris County, Texas and Harrison Township, New Jersey yet public officials in those two jurisdictions seemingly share a similar posture on persons who protest against abuse by police.

Recently Ron Hickman, the Sheriff of Harris County, Texas, blasted the Black Lives Matters movement blaming that surging anti-abuse entity for being an impetus for the brutal murder of a Harris County deputy.

Hickman readily acknowledged that he didn’t have all of the facts surrounding the murder of Deputy Darren Goforth, particularly the motive for that murder. However, that lack of facts didn’t stop Hickman from his hair-trigger blast at Black Lives Matters for that murder committed by a man known to have a long history of mental illness who had no involvement with Black Lives Matter.

Earlier this year, the governing committee of Harrison Township, NJ approved a resolution “Recognizing and Honoring” the service of law enforcement officers. But that resolution contained flawed assertions like most critics of police brutality are “career criminals and agitators who seek to divide our nation…”

Curiously overlooked by many critics of those who criticize police brutality is the fact that the overwhelming majority of persons who participate in anti-brutality protests are law-abiding citizens opposed to unnecessary use of excessive force by law enforcers. Persons that have led anti-brutality protests in South Jersey communities near Harrison Township have been respected members of the clergy and prominent community leaders, not the “career criminals” referenced in that resolution approved in February.

Although the Black Lives Matters movement certainly is not beyond criticism, it is disingenuous to bash that social justice protest as an initiator of attacks on police.

‘Calling Out’ police abuse is not the same as issuance of calls to attack police. Black Lives Matter does ‘assail repeated failures across America to corral police brutality but it does not ask people to attack police.

 No connection, no equivalenceTwo men shot and killed, one a fleeing man in South Carolina, one a Texas sheriff: No connection, no equivalence

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