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View Full Version : Have a Nice World War, Folks



Keith Millea
03-29-2010, 03:24 AM
http://www.commondreams.org/view/2010/03/28-5

Published on Sunday, March 28, 2010 by CommonDreams.org (http://www.commondreams.org/) Have a Nice World War, Folks

by John Pilger

Here is news of the Third World War. The United States has invaded Africa. US troops have entered Somalia, extending their war front from Afghanistan and Pakistan to Yemen and now the Horn of Africa. In preparation for an attack on Iran, American missiles have been placed in four Persian Gulf states, and "bunker-buster" bombs are said to be arriving at the US base on the British island of Diego Garcia in the Indian Ocean.
In Gaza, the sick and abandoned population, mostly children, is being entombed behind underground American-supplied walls in order to reinforce a criminal siege. In Latin America, the Obama administration has secured seven bases in Colombia, from which to wage a war of attrition against the popular democracies in Venezuela, Bolivia, Ecuador and Paraguay. Meanwhile, the secretary of "defence" Robert Gates complains that "the general [European] public and the political class" are so opposed to war they are an "impediment" to peace. Remember this is the month of the March Hare.

According to an American general, the invasion and occupation of Afghanistan is not so much a real war as a "war of perception". Thus, the recent "liberation of the city of Marja" from the Taliban's "command and control structure" was pure Hollywood. Marja is not a city; there was no Taliban command and control. The heroic liberators killed the usual civilians, poorest of the poor. Otherwise, it was fake. A war of perception is meant to provide fake news for the folks back home, to make a failed colonial adventure seem worthwhile and patriotic, as if The Hurt Locker were real and parades of flag-wrapped coffins through the Wiltshire town of Wooten Basset were not a cynical propaganda exercise.

"War is fun", the helmets in Vietnam used to say with bleakest irony, meaning that if a war is revealed as having no purpose other than to justify voracious power in the cause of lucrative fanaticisms such as the weapons industry, the danger of truth beckons. This danger can be illustrated by the liberal perception of Tony Blair in 1997 as one "who wants to create a world [where] ideology has surrendered entirely to values" (Hugo Young, the Guardian) compared with today's public reckoning of a liar and war criminal.

Western war-states such as the US and Britain are not threatened by the Taliban or any other introverted tribesmen in faraway places, but by the antiwar instincts of their own citizens. Consider the draconian sentences handed down in London to scores of young people who protested Israel's assault on Gaza in January last year. Following demonstrations in which paramilitary police "kettled" (corralled) thousands, first-offenders have received two and a half years in prison for minor offences that would not normally carry custodial sentences. On both sides of the Atlantic, serious dissent exposing illegal war has become a serious crime.

Silence in other high places allows this moral travesty. Across the arts, literature, journalism and the law, liberal elites, having hurried away from the debris of Blair and now Obama, continue to fudge their indifference to the barbarism and aims of western state crimes by promoting retrospectively the evils of their convenient demons, like Saddam Hussein. With Harold Pinter gone, try compiling a list of famous writers, artists and advocates whose principles are not consumed by the "market" or neutered by their celebrity. Who among them have spoken out about the holocaust in Iraq during almost 20 years of lethal blockade and assault? And all of it has been deliberate. On 22 January 1991, the US Defence Intelligence Agency predicted in impressive detail how a blockade would systematically destroy Iraq's clean water system and lead to "increased incidences, if not epidemics of disease". So the US set about eliminating clean water for the Iraqi population: one of the causes, noted Unicef, of the deaths of half a million Iraqi infants under the age of five. But this extremism apparently has no name.

Norman Mailer once said he believed the United States, in its endless pursuit of war and domination, had entered a "pre-fascist era". Mailer seemed tentative, as if trying to warn about something even he could not quite define. "Fascism" is not right, for it invokes lazy historical precedents, conjuring yet again the iconography of German and Italian repression. On the other hand, American authoritarianism, as the cultural critic Henry Giroux pointed out recently, is "more nuance, less theatrical, more cunning, less concerned with repressive modes of control than with manipulative modes of consent."

This is Americanism, the only predatory ideology to deny that it is an ideology. The rise of tentacular corporations that are dictatorships in their own right and of a military that is now a state with the state, set behind the fašade of the best democracy 35,000 Washington lobbyists can buy, and a popular culture programmed to divert and stultify, is without precedent. More nuanced perhaps, but the results are both unambiguous and familiar. Denis Halliday and Hans von Sponeck, the senior United Nations officials in Iraq during the American and British-led blockade, are in no doubt they witnessed genocide. They saw no gas chambers. Insidious, undeclared, even presented wittily as enlightenment on the march, the Third World War and its genocide proceeded, human being by human being.

In the coming election campaign in Britain, the candidates will refer to this war only to laud "our boys". The candidates are almost identical political mummies shrouded in the Union Jack and the Stars and Stripes. As Blair demonstrated a mite too eagerly, the British elite loves America because America allows it to barrack and bomb the natives and call itself a "partner". We should interrupt their fun.

John Pilger (http://www.johnpilger.com/) was born and educated in Sydney, Australia. He has been a war correspondent, film-maker and playwright. Based in London, he has written from many countries and has twice won British journalism's highest award, that of "Journalist of the Year," for his work in Vietnam and Cambodia.

Magda Hassan
03-29-2010, 07:28 AM
SEATTLE (AP) - Three Seattle police officers were justified when they used a stun gun on a pregnant mother who refused to sign a traffic ticket, a federal appeals court ruled Friday in a case that prompted an incredulous dissent.

Malaika Brooks was driving her son to Seattle's African American Academy in 2004 when she was stopped for doing 32 mph in a school zone. She insisted it was the car in front of her that was speeding, and refused to sign the ticket because she thought she'd be admitting guilt.

Rather than give her the ticket and let her go on her way, the officers decided to arrest her. One reached in, turned off her car and dropped the keys on the floor. Brooks stiffened her arms against the steering wheel and told the officers she was pregnant, but refused to get out, even after they threatened to stun her.

The officers - Sgt. Steven Daman, Officer Juan Ornelas and Officer Donald Jones - then stunned her three times, in the thigh, shoulder and neck, and hauled her out of the car, laying her face-down in the street.

Brooks gave birth to a healthy baby two months later, but has permanent scars from the Taser. She sued the officers for violating her constitutional rights, and U.S. District Judge Richard Jones allowed the case to continue. He declined to grant the officers immunity for performing their official duties and said Brooks' rights were clearly violated.

But in a 2-1 ruling Friday, a panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals disagreed. Judges Cynthia Holcomb Hall and Diarmuid F. O'Scannlain held that the officers were justified in making an arrest because Brooks was obstructing them and resisting arrest.

The use of force was also justified because of the threat Brooks posed, Hall wrote: "It seems clear that Brooks was not going to be able to harm anyone with her car at a moment's notice. Nonetheless, some threat she might retrieve the keys and drive off erratically remained, particularly given her refusal to leave the car and her state of agitation."

They also noted that the force used wasn't that serious because the Taser was in "touch" mode rather than "dart" mode, which hurts more. They reversed the lower court's opinion and held that the officers were entitled to immunity from the lawsuit.

The officers' lawyers, Ted Buck and Karen Cobb, said the officers made the right decision under the circumstances they faced.

"Police officers have to have the ability to compel people to obey their lawful orders," Buck said. That's all the court recognized today. The 9th Circuit just applied the law instead of getting caught up in the otherwise unfortunate factual circumstances."

The majority's opinion outraged Judge Marsha Berzon, who called it "off the wall."

"I fail utterly to comprehend how my colleagues are able to conclude that it was objectively reasonable to use any force against Brooks, let alone three activations of a Taser, in response to such a trivial offense," she wrote.

She argued that under Washington law, the officers had no authority to take Brooks into custody: Failure to sign a traffic infraction is not an arrestable offense, and it's not illegal to resist an unlawful arrest.

Berzon said the majority's notion that Brooks obstructed officers was so far-fetched that even the officers themselves didn't make that legal argument. To obstruct an officer, one must obstruct the officer's official duties, and the officers' only duties in this case were to detain Brooks long enough to identify her, check for warrants, write up the citation and give it to her. Brooks' failure to sign did not interfere with those duties, she said.

Furthermore, Brooks posed no apparent threat, and the officers could not have known how stunning her would affect the fetus, or whether it might prompt premature labor - another reason their actions were inexcusable, Berzon said.

Brooks' lawyer, Eric Zubel, said he would ask the 9th Circuit to rehear the case.

"This is outrageous - that something like this could happen to a pregnant woman, in front of an elementary school, at 8:30 in the morning, to someone who posed no threat whatsoever," he said.

David Guyatt
03-29-2010, 02:55 PM
SEATTLE (AP) - Three Seattle police officers were justified when they used a stun gun on a pregnant mother who refused to sign a traffic ticket, a federal appeals court ruled Friday in a case that prompted an incredulous dissent.


Allow me to join the hordes of the incredulous. Gob-smacking unbelievable.

John Kowalski
03-29-2010, 08:46 PM
SEATTLE (AP) - Three Seattle police officers were justified when they used a stun gun on a pregnant mother who refused to sign a traffic ticket, a federal appeals court ruled Friday in a case that prompted an incredulous dissent.

Malaika Brooks was driving her son to Seattle's African American Academy in 2004 when she was stopped for doing 32 mph in a school zone. She insisted it was the car in front of her that was speeding, and refused to sign the ticket because she thought she'd be admitting guilt.

Rather than give her the ticket and let her go on her way, the officers decided to arrest her. One reached in, turned off her car and dropped the keys on the floor. Brooks stiffened her arms against the steering wheel and told the officers she was pregnant, but refused to get out, even after they threatened to stun her.

The officers - Sgt. Steven Daman, Officer Juan Ornelas and Officer Donald Jones - then stunned her three times, in the thigh, shoulder and neck, and hauled her out of the car, laying her face-down in the street.

Brooks gave birth to a healthy baby two months later, but has permanent scars from the Taser. She sued the officers for violating her constitutional rights, and U.S. District Judge Richard Jones allowed the case to continue. He declined to grant the officers immunity for performing their official duties and said Brooks' rights were clearly violated.

But in a 2-1 ruling Friday, a panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals disagreed. Judges Cynthia Holcomb Hall and Diarmuid F. O'Scannlain held that the officers were justified in making an arrest because Brooks was obstructing them and resisting arrest.

The use of force was also justified because of the threat Brooks posed, Hall wrote: "It seems clear that Brooks was not going to be able to harm anyone with her car at a moment's notice. Nonetheless, some threat she might retrieve the keys and drive off erratically remained, particularly given her refusal to leave the car and her state of agitation."

They also noted that the force used wasn't that serious because the Taser was in "touch" mode rather than "dart" mode, which hurts more. They reversed the lower court's opinion and held that the officers were entitled to immunity from the lawsuit.

The officers' lawyers, Ted Buck and Karen Cobb, said the officers made the right decision under the circumstances they faced.

"Police officers have to have the ability to compel people to obey their lawful orders," Buck said. That's all the court recognized today. The 9th Circuit just applied the law instead of getting caught up in the otherwise unfortunate factual circumstances."

The majority's opinion outraged Judge Marsha Berzon, who called it "off the wall."

"I fail utterly to comprehend how my colleagues are able to conclude that it was objectively reasonable to use any force against Brooks, let alone three activations of a Taser, in response to such a trivial offense," she wrote.

She argued that under Washington law, the officers had no authority to take Brooks into custody: Failure to sign a traffic infraction is not an arrestable offense, and it's not illegal to resist an unlawful arrest.

Berzon said the majority's notion that Brooks obstructed officers was so far-fetched that even the officers themselves didn't make that legal argument. To obstruct an officer, one must obstruct the officer's official duties, and the officers' only duties in this case were to detain Brooks long enough to identify her, check for warrants, write up the citation and give it to her. Brooks' failure to sign did not interfere with those duties, she said.

Furthermore, Brooks posed no apparent threat, and the officers could not have known how stunning her would affect the fetus, or whether it might prompt premature labor - another reason their actions were inexcusable, Berzon said.

Brooks' lawyer, Eric Zubel, said he would ask the 9th Circuit to rehear the case.

"This is outrageous - that something like this could happen to a pregnant woman, in front of an elementary school, at 8:30 in the morning, to someone who posed no threat whatsoever," he said.

Another stun gun (taser) story, this time the victim died.

Taser files scathing lawsuit against B.C. inquiry

CTV.ca News Staff


Date: Fri. Aug. 14 2009 2:38 PM ET


Stun-gun manufacturer Taser International filed a lawsuit in B.C. Supreme Court on Friday to try to overturn the recommendations of the Braidwood inquiry, accusing the inquiry of bias.The Arizona-based company says the inquiry into the death of Polish immigrant Robert Dziekanski at Vancouver International Airport, led by Justice Thomas Braidwood, was biased because it neglected to enter evidence brought forward by Taser.


In court documents, the U.S.-based company asks the court to throw out much of inquiry's report which was released last month."The commission breached basic principles of fairness and fundamental justice... both in its procedure and in the manner in which the report and its conclusions were reached," Taser International lawyer David Neave told CTV News in an interview at his Vancouver office ahead of the filing.Taser International also alleges that the inquiry's findings were unsupported by medical science.Neave says the company believes the stun guns are safe and the inquiry's rulings will place law enforcement and the public at greater risk.
Taser is asking the court to quash large portions of the 19 recommendations made by the commission. It is also asking for an injunction that would bar Braidwood from using the findings in any future rulings.



However, opponents say the company is using the lawsuit to intimidate its critics and protect its balance sheets."The Taser manufacturers are worried about losing profits... that's their sole motive here. It isn't about public safety, it isn't about whether Tasers kill or not. It's about how much money they make," Liberal MP and public safety critic Ujjal Dosanjh told CTV News.Police forces across Canada have already begun restricting the use of Tasers in response to the inquiry, which released its findings July 23 in a 546-page report. Some of those recommendations include tougher standards for the use of Tasers and a five-second time limit on the deployment of the devices.The 40-year-old Dziekanski died following an altercation with four Mounties at the Vancouver airport. The Mounties used a stun gun on him for more than 30 seconds in an effort to calm him; he died of cardiac arrest shortly after."Those recommendations are based on incomplete information with respect to the medical and scientific information that was available and that we provided to the commission," said Neave.



Officials with the Braidwood inquiry have not offered comment to the suit.
There is a still a second Braidwood commission of inquiry yet to come, due to start in the fall. While the first inquiry was commissioned to make recommendations on the appropriate use of Tasers in British Columbia, the second hearing will provide a complete record of the circumstances of Dziekanski's death.The lawsuit seeks to ban Braidwood from using material from his first report in any future reports.

Ed Jewett
03-29-2010, 10:04 PM
There is the case of Kenneth Howe, stopped at a sobriety checkpoint in front of the offices of the local newspaper on a busy bedroom community side road, in which he tried to hide his roach. A black man, he likely panicked, ran, and struck a pursuing officer, whereupon he was soundly thrashed and taken into custody. Autopsy results prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that he died from blunt trauma to the head, chest and thorax; the bootprint on his chest quite literally will probably provide a good forensic match. For interested parties and googlers, the event occurred at Thanksgiving time in 2009, the fellow was from the Worcester area, and it has received widespread (if hushed) local coverage.

Given attacks by gangs on police, the recent "events" around politicians post-health care debate, the arrest of the militia-men in Michigan, and a wide range of other examples and issues, I think it would be an understatement to say that -- here in America -- tensions are quite high and are being purposefully fanned by a wide variety of people, broadcasters, party "backers", pundits and commentators, and even elected officials. It is as if someone actually wants to see a widespread outbreak of civil disturbances. I might offer a guess as to who, but then I've read the histories behind the development of the ongoing preparations for martial law, "continuity of government", etc. that span all the way back to Nixon and the creation and staffing of the first national emergency management efforts at the height of "racial" tensions and amidst the ongoing war in Southeast Asia. The stated purpose and goal at that time was to prevent an outbreak of civil disobedience to such an extent that it forced an end to the wars or colonialism. There is a French phrase involving the words [I]plus, meme and change that fits here. Europe has Gladio; the US has COINTELPRO. This was rabidly and secretively continued by other folks under Ford (including SecDef/BigPharma executive and the Congresscritter from Wyoming-cum-VEEP) and carried forth through Iran-Contra, 9/11 and into today. Ed Encho's work on MainCore and PROmis fits in here nicely, as does Gaffney's work on the Doomsday Plane over DC on 9/11. The idea of Gladio and COINTELPRO is to generate a little chaos behind which one can run all sorts of shows; it appears to be that the "wizards" may have reached their "one bridge too far", and have lost control of their "escalation" machine. But then hubris will always get you in trouble. And poor Mr. Howe simply didn't want anyone to discover that he'd been driving and toking.

David Guyatt
03-30-2010, 09:24 AM
From Jan's post 4 above (my italics):


The Mounties used a stun gun on him for more than 30 seconds in an effort to calm him;

They calmed him to death.

An act usually known as murder...