Sunday
Jan172016

REDEYE 1/27/16

Obama campaign hunts and deports women, kids
NYT, 1/8 — Round-Up of Refugees — …a new year has dawned upon an appalling campaign of home raids by the Department of Homeland Security to find and deport hundreds of would-be refugees back to Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador….who arrived…fleeing shockingly high levels of…drug violence, hunger and poverty….
…the administration has been sending agents into homes…on the job of sending mothers and children on one-way trips to the deadliest countries in our hemisphere….
…Home raids…spread fear and panic in immigrant neighborhoods across the country….
The administration…greets [refugees] with family prisons and prosecution….Migrants with no money or lawyers…confront complexities of immigration and asylum law, and lose.
Four women are Murdered Daily in Colombia
El País (Spain) Dec 25—From 2009 to 2014 in Colombia 8,020 autopsies have been performed on women who were the victims of violence.  The majority were between 20 and 24 years of age.  44.48% were single and the majority of murders occurred on weekends.  The figures reveal a tragic reality: the continuing increase in violence against women with death as the ultimate outcome…
…the document also shows that 73% of these killings occur in larger towns, in public areas, on streets and on highways…(this report also)…references a study by the UN office of Drugs and Crimes (UNODC) which considers Latin America as the second most dangerous region in the world for women…
Bolivia, Colombia, Guatemala, the Bahamas, and Honduras are the countries of the region with the highest rates; each with more than six crimes per 100,000 women…
Kkkops murder 12-year-old, get off scot-free
NYT, 12/30 — Tamir Rice of Cleveland would be alive today had he been a white 12-year-old playing with a toy gun in just about any middle-class neighborhood…on Nov. 22, 2014.
But Tamir, who was shot to death by a white police officer that day, had the misfortune of being Black in a poor area of Cleveland, where the police have historically behaved as an occupying force that shoots first and asks questions later. To grow up Black and male in such a place is to live…hemmed in by forces that deny your humanity and conspire to kill you.
…A grand jury declined to indict Officer Timothy Loehmann in the killing and…the County prosecutor explained why he had asked the grand jurors not to bring charges….describ[ing]…Tamir’s death as a tragic series of errors and “miscommunications”….
…It reflects an utter disregard for the lives of the city’s Black residents….
The Police Department’s disregard for life was fully evident in the way the officers behaved after shooting Tamir….standing by the child for four minutes without giving medical assistance….Loehmann’s partner nonetheless tackled the wounded boy’s 14-year-old sister as she tried to rush to his side. One can only imagine her suffering as she watched in handcuffs from the back seat of the squad car while her brother lay bleeding on the ground.
…Portraying the killing as a result of a tragic misunderstanding…[has] the reprehensible effect of shifting the responsibility for his death onto the shoulders of this very young victim.
U.S. is world’s biggest arms supplier
NYT, 12/26 — Foreign arms sales by the United States jumped by almost $10 billion in 2014,…even as the global weapons market remained flat….
American weapons receipts rose to $36.2 billion in 2014,…bolstered by multibillion-dollar agreements with Qatar, Saudi Arabia and South Korea….The United States remained the single largest provider of arms around the world…controlling just over 50 percent of the market.
Profits from disasters capitalism: ‘the gold rush is on’
GW, 1/8 — Book Review of “Disaster Capitalism: Making a killing out of Catastrophe….
…Western governments outsource imperialism…to a variety of organizations — Halliburton, G4S, Serco and Capita…— that make their money from incarceration, the “processing” of asylum seekers or the provision of private “security” in conflict zones….Capitalism…thrives on the management of nightmares. Even the provision of disaster relief is transformed into profit.
Disaster Capitalism takes us [to]…the victims of this system: Greece, Afghanistan, [and] Haiti….It then turns…to the centers of outsourcing such as the US, the UK and…Australia. It charts the consequences of a double crisis: turmoil in the economic system following the financial crash, and the migration…effect of the wars in Iraq, Libya, Afghanistan, Syria and elsewhere….
…The “relief” that followed the Hatian earthquake of January 2010….the international response was quickly monetized, or, to quote the US ambassador to Haiti,…“the gold rush is on”….the intervention of celebrity-backed NGOs….efforts of rapper Wyclef Jean, actor Sean Penn, Bill Clinton and Bill Gates, unaccountable and aloof….
Disaster capitalism [is] a thuggish operation, largely based on low-wage, low-condition work….
Why did Hitler Bomb Four Peaceful Villages in Castellon, Spain?
El Pais (Spain) Dec. 26—On April 26th, 1937 the bombardment of Guernica by German aircraft served as an experiment of new weaponry.  126 people died, and the moment is remembered as an icon in the struggle for liberty…however, few know that in May of 1938 another Guernica occurred in the Spanish village of El Maestrat of Castellon.  
A year before the end of the Spanish Civil War, the Nazi Condor Legion bombed Benassal and other towns in the Castellon region, killing 38 and eliminating the small population of peaceful little Maestrat…At the time, no one could explain why the Germans dropped 500 Kg bombs on people living so far from any front or strategic enclave…until…Oscar Vives, visited the Freiburg military archives…
…he found a graphic 50 page document about the bombing of the town(s)…within was the evidence that the incursion was an experiment to test out the Junker 87 Stuka, the newest Nazi aircraft which would become the most dreaded of the second world war.
...The Stuka Experiment (documentary) project has revived this forgotten macabre historical event, this “Valencian Guernica”, for which justice has never been served.
Bosses exploit tax loopholes, make billions to control both parties
NYT, 12/30 — …The very richest Americans have financed a sophisticated and astonishingly effective apparatus for shielding their fortunes…— “the income defense industry,” consisting of a high-priced phalanx of lawyers, estate planners, [and] lobbyists…who exploit and defend a dizzying array of tax maneuvers, virtually none of them available to taxpayers of more modest means.
…This apparatus has become one of the most powerful avenues of influence for wealthy Americans of all political stripes, including…the liberal billionaire George Soros, who has called for higher levies on the rich while at the same time using tax loopholes to bolster his own fortune.
All are among a small group providing much of the early cash for the 2016 presidential race….
…The effect has been to create a kind of private tax system, catering to only several thousand Americans….
The ultra-wealthy…save in the tens or hundreds of millions in taxes….
Some…are…the most generous supporters of 2016 candidates. They include…hedge fund investor Robert Mercer, who gives to Republicans and James Simon who gives to Democrats….
Mr. Simon…and Mr. Mercer…saved their fund [Renaissance Technologies] an estimated $6.8 billion in taxes over roughly a decade….
Each of the top 400 earners took home, on average, about $336 million in 2012 [$134.4 BILLION!]….
The Soros family, which generally supports Democrats, has committed at last $1 million to the 2016 presidential campaign.
Brazil: Workers battle cops in protest over bus fare hikes
NYT, 1/9 —Protests flared in…Sao Paulo, Rio de Janeiro and Belo Horizonte…over increases in bus fares, reflecting resentment over efforts by the municipal authorities to cover budge shortfalls….Anti-riot police units clashed with protestors in downtown Sao Paulo…[where] demonstrators…destroyed buses, ransacked banking offices and threw rocks and bottles at the police , who used tear gas. Clashed also erupted…in downtown Rio de Janeiro.

Thursday
Dec242015

REDEYE 1/13/16

U.S. Special Forces specialty: torture and murder

 

NYT, 12/17 — Three Navy SEALS stomped on the bound Afghan detainees and dropped heavy stones on their chests….They stood on the prisoners’ heads and poured bottles of water on…their faces in what …appeared to be an improvised form of waterboarding….

A…medic…said one of them “jump-kicked this guy kneeling on the ground.” Two others joined in….They beat the detainees so badly that by dusk, one would die….

The SEAL command…cleared the Team 2 members of wrongdoing….[They]…and their lieutenant have since been promoted….

Even before the beatings, some of the SEALS had…amused themselves by tossing grenades over the wall of their base, firing high-caliber weapons at passing vehicles and even aiming slingshots at children, striking them in the face….

 

Once Militant, Now Millionaire. Next Up: South Africa President?

 

Bloomberg Business, Dec, 8-- Cyril Ramaphosa is the only serving politician in South Africa who’s led both a labor union and a business empire. Now chances are rising that he’ll lead the country.

 

The country’s biggest labor group last month cautiously backed Ramaphosa to head the ruling African National Congress in two years...(he) still has to persuade the ruling party, some of whose leaders are suspicious of his wealth and pro-business leanings, that he’s the right man…

 

In 2012, he made a failed 19.5 million-rand (15 rand = $1) bid for a prize buffalo cow and calf at a game auction, a move opposition parties said was scandalous given that 22 percent of the population goes hungry....

 

What’s clear is that Ramaphosa doesn’t need the president’s 2.75 million rand annual salary...He keeps a cattle ranch in the eastern Mpumalanga province and is building a hillside mansion overlooking the sea in Cape Town’s exclusive Fresnaye suburb…his family trust sold its 29.6 percent stake in Shanduka Group, the investment company he founded in 2001...worth 2.6 billion rand... (he) also disclosed to Parliament that he also owns 30 townhouses, two apartments and stakes in seven other companies with a nominal value of 76.6 million rand.

 

Capitalist China: strikes, protests hit bosses’ layoffs, wage fraud

 

NYT, 12/17 — …The biggest coal company in northeastern China announced it planned to lay off 100,000 workers….40 percent of the work force at 42 mines in four cities….

In April, even before the layoffs were announced, thousands marched on the streets of Hegang…to protest delayed salaries. The organizers were arrested and jailed.

In October, company management stifled a protest by locking workers in the mines….

…The number of strikes and labor protests nationwide nearly doubled in the first 11 months of this year, to 2,354….Strikes and workers protests hit a record high of 301 incidents last month.

 

The Precursors to Trump’s Proposal Against Muslims

 

El Pais (Spain) 12/9/15—US history cannot be understood without understanding the legacy of immigration…Despite this, Donald Trump’s proposal is not unusual…in barring the entrance of Muslims to the US...laws have existed in the past that restrict the arrival of immigrants.

 

…in 1882…(the) Chinese Exclusion Act…prohibited Chinese citizens from entering the US…(and those) already in the US could not become citizens…

 

…the 1917 Immigration Act…required all immigrants to pass literacy tests—which mainly effected poor Catholics, Jews, and Asians—and excluded anyone born in the so called “Asian Exclusion Zone” from entering the US…

 

…(in order to) slow down the arrival of Eastern Europeans, congress approved a quota system in 1921, limiting immigrants from entering the US…In 1924…The system was further toughened…(until)…the law was revised in 1952.

 

Imperialist wars imperil millions of babies at birth

 

NYT, 12/17 — Nearly 16.6 million babies were born in conflict zones this year, Unicef said….Newborns and mothers faced particularly acute risks in Afghanistan, the Central African Republic, Iraq, South Sudan and Syria. “Every two seconds a newborn takes its first breath in the midst of conflict, often in terrifying circumstances and without access to medical care,” said…Unicef’s executive director.

 

Student tuition hikes making college presidents millionaires

 

NYT, 12/7 — …The compensation of private college presidents continues to climb….

…Among the top 10 earners in 2013, included Columbia University’s Lee Bollinger… [whose] compensation totaled $4.6 million….

Ranking second is the University of Pennsylvania’s Amy Gutmann, who received just over $3 million….

Richard Joel, president of Yeshiva University in New York, regarded as the flagship college of Modern Orthodox Judaism… [received] $2.5 million,…notable in light of Yeshiva’s ongoing financial difficulties since 2008….

In 2009, Mr. Joel announced layoffs and a hiring and pay freeze….

In all, 32 university presidents received $1 million or more in compensation during the year….

 

 

CIA ‘advisors’ training killers in Afghanistan

 

NYT, 12/4 — A series of home raids by CIA-trained Afghan counterterrorism forces in the last month resulted in the deaths of at least six innocent civilians….

The deaths… [in] a Nov. 20 episode [included]…a husband and wife…killed with two American advisors present. The raids were conducted by…counterterrorism pursuit teams set up by the CIA….

…On Nov. 2…operatives…raided a home…killing a 45-year-old man and his 17-year-old nephew — both described as innocent civilians by… [the] deputy to the Khost governor.

About 1,000 people protested those killings, trying to carry the bodies of the two victims to the regional capital….They were stopped en route…and told to go back or face a possible assault by American troops….The protestors went home.

 

Saturday
Dec122015

REDEYE 12/23/15

French fascism apes Nazi Colluders
NYT, 11/24 — …In the notorious S-files of the security services…the police are now free to pick up and interrogate suspects virtually at will….
Concern is rising…in Muslim communities being singled out…that has already long felt aggrieved and second class.
“These measures are going to place a spider’s web over all of France,” said…[a] professor of law at the University of Paris,…“in a discriminatory manner….It’s out of control….with all these people…under house arrest….”
“…the police can do whatever they want now….
…A state where the police have the upper hand has echoes in…the collaboration of the Vichy regime [with the Nazis] in World War II….
“Police searches and house arrests can now be ordered by the Interior Ministry and…local officials under the control of Paris…“without judicial warrant….”
…Xavier Nogueras, a Paris lawyer,…represents…people placed under house arrest…[and] are all Muslims and are in the S-files….
Mr. Nogueras says his clients…are shouldering an intolerable burden….Simple attendance at a mosque under surveillance can land someone in the S-files….a catastrophe for his clients….
…They must report to the local police station up to four times a day….For most of them who have a normal work life, they can’t even work any longer.
Demopublicans hand out $$$ in corporate welfare
NYT, 11/23 — It’s that time of the year again when Republicans and Democrats…dole out gifts of corporate welfare….
…The so-called tax extenders package…has more than 50 tax breaks affecting a variety of industries….
…The first…package…of 1998…. opened a door that lobbyists and lawmakers were all too willing to run through….handing out corporate welfare…to hide the long-term cost to taxpayers….
The tax-extender package…[has] overwhelming bi-partisan support….
One provision allows Hollywood producers to immediately deduct up to $20 million for shooting films in specific locations. The owners of racehorses…[will receive] a $95 million handout in 2016. Motorsports entertainment complexes also get…$95 million over ten years.
Another provision gives wind-energy producers a tax credit….to cost nearly $10.5 billion over the next decade….
The tax credit for research….costs $22.6 billion over ten years….a substantial portion…that businesses would have done even without the tax break….
…The [total] actual cost to taxpayers…will likely be closer to half a trillion dollars — if not more.
Workers Near Prez Live in Garbage
El País (Spain) 11/26 — 36-Year-old Maria Cristina Nariño lives in Barrio Ramirez…(among) a sea of plastic, tires, and boxes only a 15-minute walk from the official residence of Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos…for years these 6 hectares (15 acres) have been occupied “illegally” and have no paved roads or sewage pipes or electricity or running water.
According to a recent study Observations of the Informal Land Market in Bogota, there are more than 8000 such hectares (about 20,000 acres) constituting about 30% of Bogota’s urban area.  The poor of Barrio Ramirez arrived after the old brickworks that covered the area to the foot of the eastern mountains closed…(at) the end of the seventies and the majority of the families are “recyclers” who have very low incomes.
…a 2013 study of the area warned of risks such as “Mudslides, inundations, earthquake, structural collapses, forest fires, and floods”.
Prison industry impoverishes immigrant women
NYT, 11/27 — To the editor …Immigrant women [are] forced to wear ankle monitors….[and] many…are detainees…with children who are seeking asylum. They are asking to stay in this country — hardly a flight risk….
These women are forced to pay for the cost of their monitoring up to $500 a month. Private prison corporations are lining their pockets with these dollars. It is part of…the “treatment industrial complex,” in which the private prison industry branches out into…new income sources….to make …profits by creating unnecessary systems that profit off the backs of trauma survivors seeking asylum and refuge in the United States. (Caroline Isaacs, American Friends Service Committee-Arizona)
Myanmar Jade mines net billion$, kill 120 workers
NYT, 11/24 — Bangkok — It was known locally as Plastic Village, a sprawling encampment made from tarps and scraps of trash inhabited by workers who scavenged for jade in the rugged hills of northern Myanmar .
Rescue workers…continued to dig through…the encampment after a landslide…buried it along with at least 120 people.
The landslide…highlight[ed] the primitive conditions of an industry that is highly lucrative but notorious for its secrecy and hazardous working conditions….
…The secretary of the Kachin National Social Foundation [said], “We can’t say how many [died] because some bodies did not come out as whole pieces….”
Kachin State…is home to the world’s most valuable jade, the green rock prized for its luster….
The jade mines…produce mountains of waste that are deposited…at dumping sites.
The landslide…occurred at one of those sites. The inhabitants of Plastic Village….lived and worked on top of the waste pile….
Landslides are common in the open pit jade mines, especially during the monsoon season, when downpours loosen the soil….
After one landslide…rains prevented rescuers from recovering the bodies. “The victims were just left forgotten under the waste forever,” [said one resident]….
Global Witness…estimated that Myanmar sold $31 billion worth of jade in 2014….[detailing] connections between the jade industry and former generals as well as links to the illicit drug trade….
“Like the blood diamonds of Africa, this is Myanmar’s blood jade crisis,” [said a researcher at Eco Dev].
Racism in the ER
NYT, 12/1 — White patients receive more pain treatment in emergency rooms than African-Americans and other minorities, a new study reports….[from]….four years of data collected nationwide by the Centers for Disease Control….[of] patients…with acute abdominal pain.
White and black patients reported severe pain with the same frequency — about 59 percent. But…after controlling for…variables, the researchers found that compared with non-Hispanic white people, non-Hispanic blacks and other minorities were 22 percent to 30 percent less likely to receive pain medication…..Patients wee also less likely to receive pain medication if they…were treated at a hospital with numerous minority patients
French Muslims Experience Racism in Job Market
Washington Post, 11/23 —In the wake of the Paris attacks...the extent to which French Muslims experience discrimination... in the French job market...(is shown)...in experiments (where) researchers create résumés for fictitious individuals…and then submit applications to job openings. The question is how frequently those individuals receive a callback or an e-mail from the employer.  One such experiment was conducted in France in 2013-2014, and the results…published (by) Marie-Anne Valfort…(have some) important findings:

Only about 10 percent of Muslims were contacted, compared with 16 percent of Jews and 21 percent of Catholics.

In general, men are less likely than women to be called back…(and) only 5 percent of Muslim men received any contact from employers.

French Muslims are punished even if their names aren’t “foreign.”

Valfort’s new book … is “Why Muslim Integration Fails in Christian-Heritage Societies.”
Chicago police brass sanction racist cop torture and murder
NYT, 21/1 — In 18 years with the Chicago Police Department…Jerome Finnigan had never been disciplined — although 68 citizen complaints has been lodged against him, including…that he used excessive force and regularly conducted illegal searches.
Then, in 2011, he admitted to robbing…suspects…and ordering a hit on a fellow police officer he thought intended to turn him in…. “My bosses knew what I was doing out there, and it went on an on,” he said in court…. “And this wasn’t the exception to the rule. This was the rule….”
…From 2011 to 2015, 97 percent of more than 28,500 citizen complaints resulted in no officer being punished….
…Although black civilians filed a majority of the complaints, white civilians were far more likely to have their complaints upheld….
…In Chicago…the department has a well-documented history of officers physically abusing — including torturing — African-American men, and the fatal shooting of Laquan McDonald, an African-American teenager….who was shot 16 times in 2014 by Jason Van Dyke, a white officer.
…Van Dyke has had 18civilian complaints filed against him, including…using excessive force and racial slurs….and was not punished by either the Police Department of civilian police oversight investigators.
…The video of the shooting…shows Mr. McDonald lying on the ground as some of the shots are fired….
Racist policing for profit in St. Louis County
NYT, 11/15 — ….Towns in St. Louis County derived 40 percent or more of their revenue by repeatedly nailing citizens with traffic fines and fees for petty violations….
….Anyone…— cops, judges, city leaders — was in on the game. The losers were disproportionately African-Americans, who either paid the fines or lost their licenses or went to jail. That…could lead to job loss, eviction and destitution….
…[Now] towns…start looking for cash in violations of building codes and neatness ordinances….
…The town of Pagedale,…predominantly African-American, has done just that…with spectacular financial results….
…Pagedale…routinely threatens actions against people for offenses that are not even listed in the municipal code.
The city can fine or jail people for not walking on the right side of crosswalks; barbecuing in the front yard…; playing in the street;…and failing to have a screen on very door….[or] if it does not like the look of a homeowner’s drapes or if the window blinds are not “neatly hung.”
…The Pagedale municipal court…is in session…when low-income workers and single parents are often unable to appear….[making them] subject to an arrest warrant, [bringing]…additional fines, fees and court costs….While Pagedale has only about 3,000 residents, the municipal court…heard an astonishing 5,781 cases in 2013….
…The city hauled Valerie Whitner into court for…chipped paint and a missing screen door and…threatened to demolish her home. She…took out a ruinously priced payday loan to make the changes…
Mayor’s unfulfilled vow: homelessness surging under de Blasio
NYT, 11/27 —…Homelessness has worsened in New York City over the last two years.
The number of people entering city shelters has increased under Mayor Bill de Blasio, and…they are staying longer….
As of [Nov. 26], 57,448 people — more than 40 percent of them children — were sleeping in shelters….as cold weather sets in the numbers will return to December’s record high of 59,068….
The statistics reveal a picture far different from the one that Mr. de Blasio, a Democrat, promised days before he was sworn into office…..He vowed to curb the surge in homelessness….
…He said, “It will not happen under our watch.”
But it has happened.
The risk of driving while black
NYT, 10/25 — Greensboro, N.C. — Rufus Scales, 26 and black, was driving his younger brother Devin to his hair-cutting class…when they heard the siren’s whoop and saw the blue light in the rearview mirror….Two police officers pulled them over for minor infractions….
A black officer stunned him with a Taser…and a white officer yanked him from the driver’s seat. Temporarily paralyzed…he fell face down and the officer dragged him across the asphalt.
…[He] emerged…with four traffic tickets; a charge of assaulting an officer, later dismissed; a chipped tooth; and a split upper lip which required five stitches….
…Today….Rufus Scales instinctively turns away if a police car approaches.
“Whenever one of them is near,…I don’t feel safe,” he said….
…Those pervasive doubts about the police mirror those of millions of other African-Americans….
Here in North Carolina’s third largest city, officers pulled over African-American drivers for traffic violations at a rate far out of proportion with their share of the local driving population. They…search black drivers or their cars more than twice s often as white motorists — even they found drugs and weapons significantly more often when the driver was white.
Officers were far more likely to stop black drivers for no discernable reason. And they were far more likely to use force if the driver was black.
National surveys show that blacks and white use marijuana at virtually the same rate, but black residents here are charged with the sole possession of minor amounts of marijuana five times as often as white residents….
[Greensboro police] Chief Scott…said…. “I don’t believe there is an underlying systemic issue of” racial profiling.

Tuesday
Dec012015

REDEYE 12/09/15

France terrorizes workers
GW, 10/30 — Nadira Achab looked out across the curved concrete blocks of…La Grande Borne…south of Paris and sighed, “People here want to be treated like normal citizens, not second-class citizens….”
La Grande Borne…is…a byword for hardship and inequality where about half of the 13,000 residents live below the poverty line, and half of the children leave school with no qualifications. It is…the lack of services (even the post office closed…), the isolation of being hemmed in by motorways,…the feeling of abandonment… [and] the “stigmatization and discrimination” against people who live there….
It is ten years since.…the death of two boys hiding from the police in an electricity substation…outside Paris triggered weeks of unrest….More than 9,000 vehicles, dozens of public buildings and businesses were set on fire….evidence of the hopelessness of a generation of young people stuck in dismal suburbs, marginalized and jobless because of their address, skin color or parents’ immigrant origins.
Now, a decade on…the banlieues [slum neighborhoods] remain in crisis…. — “territorial, social and ethnic apartheid” in France….
France is ranked among the developed world’s most unequal school systems….
More than 4.4 million people live in…the banlieues…where, segregated along race and class lines, they face…”unbearable discrimination.” [In] Grigny, a town…south of Paris….three in five children live below the poverty line, unemployment — at 22 percent — is twice the national average,…more than 40 percent among young people….where private slumlords have been taken to court for housing people in fetid conditions.
Liar Obama: no help for child refugees
NYT, 11/6 — President Obama vowed a year ago to give Central American children fleeing violence a new, legal way into the United States by allowing them to apply for refugee status while in their own countries instead of accepting help from smugglers….
But not a single child has entered the United States…in the program since its establishment in December….
More than 5,400 children, most…trying to escape street violence, extortion and sexual assault…have applied to join their parents, who are already in the United States legally. So far the Department of Homeland Security has interviewed only 90 of them, and lengthy procedures for getting airplane tickets and processing paperwork have delayed those whose applications were approved.
Indonesia: bosses’ ‘slash-and-burn’ profits are toxic for 500,000
GW, 10/30 — Forest fires raging across Indonesia are…responsible for up to half a million cases of respiratory infection…now being described as a “crime against humanity.”
Tens of thousands of hectares of forest have been on fire fro more than two months as a result of slash and burn — …the fastest way to clear land for new plantations. Indonesia is the world’s largest producer of palm oil and fires are frequently lit to clear the land….
…Daily emissions from the fires have surpassed the average daily emissions of the entire U.S. economy….
…In…Sumatra and Kalimantan…levels of a pollutant standard index have pushed toward 2,000. Anything above 300 is considered hazardous….
…More than 500,000 cases of acute respiratory tract infections have been reported since 1 July….
…43 million people on the two islands had been inhaling toxic fumes….the number of unrecorded cases was likely much higher.
Bosses’ star wars
Stratfor, 11/15 — For most strategic planners, space represents the ultimate high ground...(and) in achieving military dominance, the United States came to increasingly rely on space-based infrastructure to wage war...However, the U.S. military is not the sole operator of space-based infrastructure...(and) the single biggest example of this threat to U.S. military orbital systems comes from China. A progression of Chinese anti-satellite missile tests carried out over the past few years has alarmed the Pentagon.
As militaries around the globe expand their capabilities, so will they increase their reliance on space-based systems. Thus space will become increasingly militarized.
History tells us that such opportunities for resources rarely go smoothly or unchallenged...(and has generally) led to perpetual conflict and military posturing, so it is logical that competition for resources elsewhere could inevitably lead to more conflict and could necessitate the ability to project military power there in one form or another.
Netanyahu blames Palestinian for Holocaust
GW, 10/30 — Binyamin Netanyahu…claim[ed] that the Palestinian grand mufti of Jerusalem had suggested the genocide of the Jews to Adolph Hitler….
…Historians…accused him [Netanyahu] of everything from fabrication to helping Holocaust-deniers’ cause.
“Hitler didn’t want to exterminate the Jews, he wanted to expel the Jews,” said Netanyahu. “And Haj Amin al-Husseini went to Hitler and said: ‘If you expel them, they’ll all come here [to Palestine].’” According to Netanyahu, Hitler then asked, “What should we do with them?” and the mufti replied: “Burn them.”
In reality Husseini did not meet Hitler until November 28, 1941, months after the mass killing of Jews had already begun.
Kids in jail suffer racist, sexual abuse
NYT, 11/11 — Vincent Schiraldi…accepted a job running a corrections department in Washington, D.C….
…For…19 years the department had been under court order for unconstitutional conditions:…Beatings  of children…were commonplace, inmates stuffed clothing around the toilets to keep out rats and cockroaches, young people were locked up for so long that they often defecated or urinated in their cells….Staff members were sexually harassing the kids….
The abuses are not meted out equally…with African-American and Latinos incarcerated at a far higher rate than whites. In my five years running the Washington system, I never saw one white youth…in may facility….
…Horrific institutional conditions are common….Systemic violence, abuse and excessive use of isolation and restraints have been documented in juvenile institutions in 39 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico.
Coal baron murdered 29 miners
NYT, 10/30 — Donald Blankenship,…baron of Big Coal in the mines of Appalachia, [assertion of] …profits above all else is at the core of…the Upper Big Branch mine explosion that killed 29 coal miners…in Raleigh County, W. Va….
…Under…Blankenships’s leadership, production demands trumped safety at Massey Energy, which owned the mine where a fireball of methane gas and coal dust exploded underground….
…Tape recordings reveal…Blankenship fretting about… [a] warning that the company is “plainly cheating” in its required sampling of the coal dust. “This game is about money,” he is heard to say.
The autopsies on victims of the…explosion….showed that 71 percent…suffered from black lung, the lethal coal dust affliction….Blankenship…dismiss[ed]…black lung…as “not an issue…worth the effort put into it.”

Friday
Oct162015

REDEYE 10/28/15

Catholic church: drill, baby, drill
Metro.us, New York, 9/23 — Claiming that the fight against climate change is an urgent moral duty, Pope Francis…urged the world to phase out fossil fuels. Yet in the heart of U.S. oil country, several dioceses and other Catholic institutions are leasing out drilling rights to oil and gas companies. In Oklahoma City, church officials have signed three new oil and gas leases since Francis’ public statement on the environment….
Oklahoma and Texas have been in the forefront of [the] boom in energy production, often through the controversial hydraulic fracturing production known as fracking….A spokesman for the Diocese of Forth Worth, Texas, said the diocese had received $31,661 from its leases so far in fiscal year 2015….
Church authorities receive [a] royalty ranging from 15 to 25 percent of the value of what is taken out of the ground….
Oklahoma City Archbishop Paul Coakley signed the most recent deal…giving privately held oil company Comanche Resources rights to operate on 100 acres in Major County in exchange for 18.75 percent of the value of the oil and gas produced….
JFK backed genocide in Indonesia
NYT, 9/30 — This week marks the 50th anniversary of the…mass slaughter in Indonesia. With American support, more than 500,000 people were murdered by the Indonesian Army and its…death squads. At least 750,000 more were tortured and sent to concentration camps.
The victims were…members of the Communist Party… [and] all likely opponents of the new military regime of Suharto….[The] perpetrators still hold power….
[Joshua Oppenheimer, documentary film maker]]…spent 12 years investigating the…genocide….I felt I had wandered into Germany 40 years after the Holocaust, only to find the Nazis still in power….
…A state of paramilitaries and intelligence agencies…together with its business partners…loots the national wealth….
…A 1962 meeting between United States and British officials result[ed] in the decision to “liquidate” President Sukarno, the populist…founding father of Indonesia. Washington wanted to replace him with someone more deferential to Western strategic and commercial interests.
When genocide broke out, Washington provided equipment, weapons and money — as well as lists with thousands of names of public figures likely to oppose the new regime…expecting they would be killed. Billions of dollars in aid to Suharto’s dictatorship began flowing while corpses still clogged Indonesia’s rivers. The American media celebrated Sukarno’s…campaign of death. Time magazine called it the “best news for years in Asia.”
GM kills for profit
NYT, 9/20 — With tough talk that its actions belie, the [U.S.] Justice Department announced…that it was bringing criminal charges against General Motors for “concealing a potentially deadly safety defect” and “misleading consumers regarding the safety” of GM vehicles, which caused or contributed to at least 124 deaths….
GM admitted it knew as early as 2004 that many of its vehicles contained defective ignition switches — and…had concluded by 2012 that the defective switches could cause airbags to fail. Yet GM did not recall the 2.6 million affected vehicles until nearly two years later and instead hid the fatal safety defects to increase sales….
All charges against GM will be dropped…and no company officials have been charged with crimes based on GM’s deadly concealment scheme….
…The United States attorney…insisted that GM deserved credit for its “fairly extraordinary” cooperation….
…In case after case…the Justice Department has treated the worst corporate criminals like first-time drug offenders, agreeing to dismiss or not bring charges if the companies clean up their acts.
How the FBI frames innocent people
The New Yorker, 9/21 — Joseph (the Animal) Barboza was a murderer for hire… [and] ultimately confessed to seven murders….
Barboza became a prized informant: he served as a [U.S.] government witness….When authorities began looking into a 1965 murder that Barboza had participated in, his contacts at the FBI engineered a scheme to protect him. Barboza was never prosecuted…instead, he took the stand as the government’s star witness and implicated four innocent men in the murder. His FBI handler…boasted…about the ease with which the bureau had set up four “pigeons” for a crime they did not commit. All four men ended up with life sentences. (They were cleared of the murder in 2001, by which time two of them had died in prison.)
Obama’s ‘collateral damage’ kills dozens at Afghan hospital
NYT, 10/5 — …The deadly American air strike on the hospital in Kundez, Afghanistan, run by Doctors Without Borders, killed 22 people….[A] Pentagon statement…[said] the strike may have caused “collateral damage”….
General Campbell said that Afghan forces fighting to retake Kundez….called the Americans for help….Initial reports…suggested that American reports were threatened…prompting him …to describe the strike as “justified….”
Officials with Doctors Without Borders said…Washington and Kabul were explicitly informed in advance of the hospital’s GPS coordinates.
U.S.-backed Saudi bombing
slaughters Yemeni wedding guests
NYT, 9/30 — Saudi Arabia’s…bombing campaign in Yemen…killed dozens of people at a village wedding on the Red Sea coast….
…Two local medical officials said as many as 81 people had died….
The [Saudi] coalition’s…naval blockade of Yemen’s main seaports….has left four out of five Yemenis requiring assistance, and 1.5 million people internally displaced….
…At least 2,335 civilians were killed from March 27….
The Obama administration…counts Saudi Arabia as one of its closest Arab allies…has provided intelligence to the war effort as well as logistical support, like refueling to coalition warplanes….
…It was unclear…whether the coalition was…intelligently targeting civilians.
“There is clearly no military value in a wedding party…”

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