Fasting for Peace

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Today, on the 70th anniversary of the nuclear bombing of Hiroshima, the UK group Trident Ploughshares are beginning a four-day fast and protest campaign against nuclear weapons as part of remembering the terrible, unnecessary destruction of life that took place at the end of WWII. The protests will take place until the 9th of August, the 70th anniversary of the nuclear bombing of Nagasaki.

Although I think protesting against nuclear weapons in general is kind of pointless, the protests can provide a focus on the larger context – the war crimes committed by the United States at the end of WWII – and so are worth considering in that respect.

If you feel like fasting in solidarity with them, details about their campaign are available on the Trident Ploughshares website.

Sandra Bland – Victim of Psychopaths

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Joe Quinn over at highlights some important information regarding Sandra Bland’s murder in Waller County, Texas:

But the real questions here are why Bland was imprisoned at all. Why wasn’t she taken to a police station, charged and then released with a date for a court hearing? Why was she placed in a cell on her own rather with other detainees? Capt. Brian Cantrell of the Waller County Sheriff’s Office has stated that she was placed in a cell alone because she was deemed a “high risk” to the safety of others based on the nature of the charge against her. As we have seen however, the charge against her – “assaulting a public official” – is entirely bogus as it relates to Bland’s possible threat to other inmates. Bland was justifiably angry at the trooper; for anyone to suggest that this translates to her being a danger to other civilians is an obvious manipulation to justify placing Bland in a cell on her own. […]

The hand-printed document shows Bland confirming she had previously attempted suicide due to a miscarriage. A typed summary of Bland’s responses however shows the response to “Attempted suicide?” as “no.” The reason for the discrepancy is unclear. An inmate with a previous suicide attempt is routinely put on suicide watch and monitored every 10-20 minutes. Placing such a person in solitary confinement in a cell with a large plastic bag is also highly irregular. […]

Waller County District Attorney Elton Mathis stated that “looking at the autopsy results and toxicology, it appears she swallowed a large quantity of marijuana or smoked it in the jail.” This conflicts with the fact that there was no report of marijuana being found on Bland when she was booked into Waller County jail. It’s standard procedure for a prisoner to be extensively searched prior to being placed in a jail cell. The idea that a large quantity of marijuana would have been missed as part of this search, or that she could have smoked it during the 3 days she was incarcerated without jail personnel knowing, is implausible. […]

There’s then a gap in the footage — from 7:18 to 7:24 a.m. From 7:34 to 9:07 a.m., the video shows no movement in or out of cell 95. Or, to put it another way, the video camera recorded nothing since it is motion-activated. […]

Citing preliminary autopsy results that show no sign of a violent struggle, Waller County prosecutor Warren Diepraam said that the cause of Sandra Bland’s death was hanging; the manner of her death was suicide. Yet this conclusion fails to consider the relative ease with which a person can be incapacitated without a struggle and then ‘suicided’. After about 48 hours, chloroform, for example, is no longer present in a human body.

Although her funeral has been held, her family will surely continue the investigation.

Police State USA Redux

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So, you know how I just mentioned police in the US were reaching new lows? It seems pretty clear now that the police force there is infested with psychopaths:

FBI to probe death of black activist found hanging in Texas cell


The FBI has been asked to join the Texas Rangers in an investigation into how a routine traffic stop led to the arrest of an African-American activist – and how three days later she was found hanging dead [in her] cell.
The investigation comes after the sudden death of 28-year-old Sandra Bland. Request for FBI assistance came from the Texas Department of Public Safety.

Bland, an activist with the Black Lives Matter movement, was found hanging in her jail cell Monday morning. The Waller County Sheriff’s Office said she was “not breathing from what appears to be self-inflicted asphyxiation.” Although CPR was immediately performed, Bland was pronounced dead shortly after.

Bland was arrested after she had been pulled over by police during a routine traffic stop on Friday, July 10 in Prairie View, Texas, about 60 miles northwest of Houston.

Police said she failed to signal when changing lanes. During the stop, police said Bland became argumentative, uncooperative and combative. They also claimed she was arrested because she had assaulted a public servant.

However, a bystander’s video from a portion of the arrest shows no confrontation. Instead it shows two police officers pinning Bland to the ground, where she is heard arguing with them. […]

The video shows one officer leaving her to go to his police car, and telling the bystander to stop filming, which he does not. Then the video shows the officer returning to Bland, handcuffing her, and the two officers picking her up and dragging her to the police vehicle.

Bland was kept in Waller County jail over the weekend, but on Monday, July 13 she was discovered hanging from the ceiling of her cell by a noose made from a trash bag.

Waller County Sheriff Glenn Smith said video from the hall shows no one had gone into Bland’s cell before her death.

Family and friends of Bland said they are stunned by the news and that she would never hurt herself. They said she had been in good spirits and looking forward to starting a new job in the state. Bland was also known as a passionate social justice activist with the Black Lives Matter movement. The Bland family, who live in Chicago, where Sandra was from, have retained legal counsel to investigate her death. They are confident that she was murdered.

“How did a traffic violation end in death? What happened in that jail?” Bland’s friend LaNitra Dean told The Huffington Post. “What happened in that jail? That’s on everyone’s mind.

Even Waller County District Attorney Elton Mathis said he thought the circumstances of her death were strange.

“I will admit it is strange someone who had everything going for her would have taken her own life,” he told NBC affiliate KPRC in Houston. “That’s why it’s very important a thorough investigation is done and that we get a good picture of what Ms. Bland was going through the last four or five days of her life.”

“If there is something nefarious, or if there was some foul play involved, we’ll get to the bottom of that,” he said.

According to the Guardian, Sheriff Smith has a checkered history and is known for being a racist. He was suspended for two weeks without pay in 2007 when serving as Chief of Police in Hempstead, and ordered to take anger management classes. Smith was also placed on a six-month probation after returning to work, after it was learned he had “manhandled a black suspect” and exhibited “racist behavior.”

In 2008, the Houston Chronicle reported that Smith was fired as police chief after more accusations had surfaced, including accounts of young African-Americans being humiliatingly strip-searched. Later that year, Smith was elected as Waller County’s sheriff. He was re-elected in 2012, the same month James Howell, a 29-year old inmate, was found hanging in his cell at the Waller County jail in an apparent suicide.

The death is now being investigated as a murder.


Police State USA

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Police in America are reaching new lows, with an officer in Arizona arresting a naked woman after entering her home illegally.

If you want a quote that really gets to the crux of the matter of how these thugs think, you need look no further than:

“When a cop shows up, you’re not the one in charge; I don’t care if it is your house,” he [the officer] is heard saying.

As Bill Hicks said:

Go back to bed, America. Your government has figured out how it all transpired. Go back to bed, America. Your government is in control again. Here. Here’s American Gladiators. Watch this, shut up. Go back to bed, America. Here is American Gladiators. Here is 56 channels of it! Watch these pituitary retards bang their fucking skulls together and congratulate you on living in the land of freedom. Here you go, America! You are free… to do as we tell you! You are free… to do as we tell you.

So What Happened in Greece?

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By now, I suspect that many Greeks will have woken up this morning and discovered to their fury that their elected government last night totally betrayed its own principles and mandate from the people and voted to accept from the European Union (at the decree of neo-liberal German neo-fascists) what amounts to economic dismantlement of their country and ‘human sacrifice’ of the poorest and most vulnerable in their population.

Hell, I live on the other side of the planet from Greece and I’m spitting mad about it.

An overwhelming majority of Greek MPs voted in favor of the reform package, with 229 voting ‘Yes,’ 64 voting ‘No’ and 6 abstaining. This is despite a notable rift in the ruling party; 39 Syriza MPs spoke against the measures supported by their leader. The name of every member of the parliament was called, and their votes publically noted.

Effectively, the Syriza party have committed political suicide. Given that the Greek people were brave enough to vote en masse against new austerity measures despite an avalanche of scaremongering and propaganda, there is no way they will countenance a betrayal of this sort. If anti-EU sentiment had a sizeable presence in Greece (and indeed, many other EU countries) before last night, just wait and see what happens next. This is the sort of thing that causes civil wars and revolutions.

Yanis Varoufakis has been a most instructional presence throughout the process, and his blog entries of late are essential reading. I feel I have a ‘confession’ to make in this regard – I, like many others, no doubt, probably paid too much attention to Tsipras and not enough to Varoufakis during the last six months. I allowed the media reports of Varoufakis’ ‘controversial’ style to distort my perception of what the substance might be of his works, rather than doing more first-hand research and checking for myself. So, sorry Yanis. I’ve found your blog extremely informative over the past week or so, and I might just buy your book The Global Minotaur, too!

So what exactly happened? Varoufakis spoke in an interview on Australian radio (well worth listening to in its entirety) of an overwhelming atmosphere of gloom in the prime minister’s office after the recent Greek referendum, at a moment when they should have been celebrating. So it seems likely that either Tsipras was unable to cope with the idea that he would have to bear the responsibility for overseeing a ‘Grexit’ in order to protect the sovereignty of Greece, or he was given some kind of information (or, more likely, threat) in private that made him unwilling to refuse the creditors’ demands? Joe Quinn made some interesting speculations along those lines in his show on SOTT BlogTalkRadio, Behind the Headlines. He also summarises the situation in excellent recent articles on the Greek financial crisis.

Perhaps also Tsipras lacked knowledge about precisely the kind of ‘people’ he was dealing with. Varoufakis also may not have known exactly how far these creatures were/are willing to go as well, but a recent interview he gave shows that he may have some awareness of their nature. It seems quite clear though that Varoufakis knows that the ‘bailout’ deal just agreed to will not save the Greek economy, but only forestall and worsen an eventual collapse – assuming that it is not refused by the parliaments of other EU countries that need to approve it. If Varousfakis’ statement about German finance minister Wolfgang Schauble secretly pushing for a ‘Grexit’ all along is true, then perhaps Schauble now thinks that the necessary ‘example’ has been made of Greece in order to keep the other EU countries in line, so he will no longer pursue that outcome.

It is quite likely however, that Schauble’s psychopathic policies will have unintended consequences that may affect his little ‘orchestra’ more seriously than he thinks. In the meantime, it appears that the 1% oligarchic ‘elite’ will continue vacuuming up the wealth of the Western world. You certainly cannot deny their efficiency at what they do.

It seems that former Greek ambassador Leonidas Chrysanthopoulos may be right:

‘Greece deal is too tough, too late, the death of Greeks’

Alas. Perhaps the Greek people can at least take some small consolation that it was their government that failed them, and not the other way around. Hopefully that will motivate some of them to seek a way out of the labyrinth of debt slavery their country has fallen into.

Knowledge protects.

Occupied Territory

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Israeli Security Fence

Here’s a news item that encapsulates pretty clearly what can happen to Palestinians who physically resist the brutal occupation of their land by the psychopathic forces of Israel:

Israeli human rights group B’Tselem released a video allegedly showing an IDF commander killing a Palestinian who threw stones at his car. The commander didn’t call an ambulance, moved the fatally-injured teen “with his leg” and drove off, says the group.

It seems that the state of Israel has only spiralled further downwards into mass paranoid psychosis since the re-election of Netanyahu as their prime minister (looks like I held too much optimism about his chances of losing power). Along with their usual apartheid brutality, the Israeli government has also set new standards for any nation aspiring to a delusional persecution complex by:

Actually, the border fence around Israel doesn’t sound like such a bad idea. I’d like to suggest taking the idea further, by having them build the wall at least 200-300 metres high, constructing the wall from the toughest materials possible, excluding Gaza and the West Bank from the walled area (after all, they’re only full of ‘terrorists’ and ‘enemy combatants’ anyway), and increasing the security and structural integrity of the wall by ensuring there are no checkpoints to allow anyone or anything in or out of the country. They could further increase security by no longer having flights in or out of the country as well, and cancelling all shipping routes.

Not having any trade with other countries would further enhance their safety, as no bombs or weapons or narcotic drugs could be smuggled in. Cutting all Internet and telecommunication links would vastly increase their cybersecurity, plus, there would be many economic benefits! They could reduce the costs of government red tape by recalling and firing all their ambassadors and diplomats, and their media corporations would save money by no longer having to report on things happening elsewhere in the world. Grumpy or dissenting citizens? No problem! Anyone who complains can be put on cheap boats that need only be seaworthy enough for them to make a one-way voyage to another port on the Mediterranean. No need for any return journeys!

And the best part of this is, at this point, I think the rest of the world (well, barring maybe a small percentage of citizens of the US and the UK) would enthusiastically endorse this, and even help provide Israel with all the supplies and building materials necessary to help them make their dream come true! Inside their little walled-off nation, they could then dispense with the pretensions of democracy they are no doubt tired of maintaining just for the sake of ‘international relations’ and truly be the land of ‘Ein Reich, Ein Volk, Ein Fuhrer!’ they always dreamed of being!

I realise it would be tough for the rest of the world to no longer have access to all the porn and military-industrial technology that Israel supplies, but it would be a small price to pay to ensure Israel’s happiness and solve the decades-long Middle East crisis. No more rock-throwing teenagers need get gunned down!

What do you reckon everyone? Is this a great idea, or what! 🙂


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