Police Say Teen Shot Self in Head…While Handcuffed Behind Back

Only in a nation of brain-dead sheep could police departments be getting away with such nonsense. Remember the forced anal probes that recently happened in New Mexico in an attempt to find non-existent drugs? You have to read this to believe it. Anyone got a borrow on The Onion? Permanent short.

From Salon:

A strange phenomenon has been occurring in police custody around the U.S., which seems to defy both the laws of physics and the limits of human physiology. Young people of color, handcuffed with their hands bound behind their backs, are able to shoot themselves in the head. For the critical observer, belief is beggared.

A Durham teen [17-year-old Jesus Huerta] died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head, Durham Police Chief Jose Lopez said…

“I know that it is hard for people not in law enforcement to understand how someone could be capable of shooting themselves while handcuffed behind the back,” Lopez said. “While incidents like this are not common, they unfortunately have happened in other jurisdictions in the past.”

Yep, I guess you need to be in law enforcement to understand the latest changes to the laws of physics.

Full article here.

In Liberty,
Mike

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There are Over 50,000 SWAT Team Raids Annually in America

Yesterday, Salon published a fantastic interview with Radley Balko, author of a new book, Rise of the Warrior Cop. The interview focused on the fact that the number of SWAT team raids has soared from a few hundred annually in the 1970′s to more than 50,000 per year by 2005. To make matters worse, most of these raids are focused on non-violent crimes.  Radley identifies three main forces behind this disturbing trend. The “war on drugs,” the national overreaction to 9/11, and the creation and massive funding behind the Department of Homeland Security. Moreover, once these SWAT teams are in place, the individual police departments feel pressured to use them in order to justify their existence. More from Salon:

Radley Balko’s new book, “Rise of the Warrior Cop,” details how America’s police forces have grown to look and behave more like soldiers than neighborly Officer Krupkes walking the beat. This new breed of police, frequently equipped with military weapons and decked out in enough armor to satisfy a storm trooper, are redefining law enforcement.

Since 9/11, the newly formed Department of Homeland Security has distributed billions in grants, enabling even some small town police departments to buy armored personnel carriers and field their own SWAT teams.

Once you have a SWAT team the only thing to do is kick some ass. There are more than 100 SWAT team raids every day in this country. They’re not chasing murderers or terrorists. For the most part they go after nonviolent offenders like drug dealers and even small time gamblers. As you’d expect when there is too much adrenaline and too much weaponry, there have been some tragedies.

Balko talked to Salon about the decline of community policing, the warrior cop mentality, why so many dogs get killed by police. This interview has been edited for length and clarity.

There are several levels of militarization. The rise of SWAT teams nationwide, the number of annual SWAT deployments in the U.S., has gone from a few hundred in the ’70s, to 30,000 per year in the early ’80s, to 50,000 in 2005. That’s 100, 150 times a day in this country you have these heavily armed police teams breaking into homes, and the vast majority of times it’s to enforce laws against consensual crimes.

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Meet the Contractors: America’s “Digital Blackwater”

The acronyms are seemingly endless.  From SAIC and CACI to CSC, there are many companies you’ve probably never heard of making billions of dollars spying on you and your friends and family.  As I mentioned yesterday when I highlighted how Booz Allen Hamilton earns 99% of its revenue from the U.S. government and that a substantial number of its contracts are “secret,” this entire thing is simply a gigantic racket and a very dangerous one at that.  It’d be one thing if these so-called “private” contractors were merely funneling billions of dollars of taxpayer money to themselves like the bankers and their allies at the Federal Reserve do each day, but these contractors are also destroying the Bill of Rights and Constitution at the same time.

Tim Shorrock has written an excellent article on all this for Salon.  Below are some excerpts:

Amid the torrent of stories about the shocking new revelations about the National Security Agency, few have bothered to ask a central question. Who’s actually doing the work of analyzing all the data, metadata and personal information pouring into the agency from Verizon and nine key Internet service providers for its ever-expanding surveillance of American citizens?

The revelation is not that surprising. With about 70 percent of our national intelligence budgets being spent on the private sector  – a discovery I made in 2007 and first reported in Salon – contractors have become essential to the spying and surveillance operations of the NSA.

From Narus, the Israeli-born Boeing subsidiary that makes NSA’s high-speed interception software, to CSC, the “systems integrator” that runs NSA’s internal IT system, defense and intelligence, contractors are making millions of dollars selling technology and services that help the world’s largest surveillance system spy on you. If the 70 percent figure is applied to the NSA’s estimated budget of $8 billion a year (the largest in the intelligence community), NSA contracting could reach as high as $6 billion every year.

But it’s probably much more than that.

With many of these contractors now focused on cyber-security, Hayden has even coined a new term — “Digital Blackwater” – for the industry. “I use that for the concept of the private sector in cyber,” he told a recent conference in Washington, in an odd reference to the notorious mercenary army. “I saw this in government and saw it a lot over the last four years. The private sector has really moved forward in terms of providing security,” he said. Hayden himself has cashed out too: He is now a principal with the Chertoff Group, the intelligence advisory company led by Michael Chertoff, the former secretary of Homeland Security.

So Hayden actually used the term “Digital Blackwater” in a positive sense.  What more do you need to know?

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Income Growth for Bottom 90% in America Since 1966 is…59 Dollars

We’ve all seen these statistics before in one form or another, but David Cay Johnston does an excellent job going into more detail for us in an article he published late last month.  As he correctly notes, when things get extreme like this you ultimately end up with serious social unrest.  Furthermore, as I have pointed out for years and years, this kind of disparity does not happen under free markets with rules and regulations applied equally to all.  It happens under totalitarian societies, whether fascism, communism or crony capitalist corporatism (which is the model in the USA).  It only happens when a very small oligarch class takes over the political process of a nation and then uses it to game the system.

However, I would take exception to Mr. Johnston’s conclusion that the root problem is the tax system.  While I do not for one moment deny that the oligarchs game the tax system to provide loopholes for themselves, this is not why the 1% of 1% has taken all the wealth of the nation.  This is much more related to the Federal Reserve and its policies of printing trillions of money out of thin air and distributing it to the oligarchs, either directly or through low interest loans.  If you tax the rich more, they will still make more because they will still have the access to the cheap money.  The Federal Reserve is the core cancer of the entire thing and they must be stopped.  Some excerpts below:

The average increase in real income reported by the bottom 90 percent of earners in 2011, compared with 1966, if measured at one inch, would extend almost five miles for the top 1 percent of the top 1 percent.

Remember, we got off the gold standard in 1971, after which the Federal Reserve could print as much as they wanted and distribute it wherever they wanted…and they have.

Incomes and tax revenues have grown from 2009 to 2011 as the economy recovered, but an astonishing 149 percent of the increased income went to the top 10 percent of earners.

If you wonder how that can happen, the answer is simple: Incomes fell for the bottom 90 percent.

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IKEA Recalls Almond Cake After Finding Fecal Bacteria

You thought horse meatballs were bad?  You haven’t seen anything yet.  The iconic Swedish furniture store, where apparently some people buy groceries, has been forced to recall a batch of its almond cakes in 23 countries “after Chinese authorities said they contained coliform bacteria, normally present in fecal matter.”  You know it’s bad when China calls you out on your food quality.  From Raw Story:

Swedish furniture giant Ikea pulled a batch of almond cakes from its restaurants in 23 countries on Tuesday after Chinese authorities said they contained coliform bacteria, normally present in faecal matter.

The Swedish-made cakes had failed tests “for containing an excessive level of coliform bacteria, according to the General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine,” the Shanghai Daily website wrote.

Ikea said 1,800 Taarta Chokladkrokant cakes — described on its website as an almond cake with chocolate, butter cream and butterscotch — were destroyed in December after being intercepted by Chinese customs.

God Aptit!

Full article here.

In Liberty,
Mike

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“Freiheit stirbt mit Sicherheit” – Project Camover Has Crossed the Atlantic

Ever heard of Project Camover?  Probably not.  It relates a movement to locate and destroy CCTV spy cameras that began in Germany, and since spread to many other countries in Europe such as Finland and Greece, and has finally reached the West Coast of the United States.  Their motto is “Freiheit stirbt mit Sicherheit,” which translates to “Freedom dies with Security.”  This is simply an inevitable reaction to the increased surveillance state around us, from things like “Trapwire,” to audio and video recording devices on public buses.  Apparently, they really enjoy using the fire extinguisher method to get the job done.  The U.S. offshoot has been identified as the “Barefoot Bandit Brigade” and is operating the Puget Sound region.  From Vice:

Have you ever walked down a street in a developed country? If yes, consider yourself the unsung star of a silent short, because someone, somewhere was almost certainly watching you as you did.

CCTV’s nothing new, which is probably why people seem to have either forgotten about or become disinterested in how creepy it is. Not so Camover, a group from Germany who have been running around Berlin smashing CCTV cameras to pieces, which isn’t surprising given that their slogan is: “Freiheit stirbt mit Sicherheit”, or “Freedom dies with Security”.

Watch these guys in action in the video below.


VICE: Hey, Camover – what’s with all the aggro?

Camover: We were bored. Just kidding. We’re critical of consumer society, where people swallow the opinions given to them by the media. They forget to think for themselves. And we thought it would be fun to motivate people to go out at night and get rid of these annoying cameras.

How many cameras have you destroyed?
We have no idea how many we’ve already destroyed. It’s not a big deal to destroy a camera – often you can do it quickly on the way home.

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Obama’s War on Whistleblowers Accelerates: Science Itself is Now Contraband

The Obama administration is evil.  Sorry, there is no other adjective to describe it at this point.  They know they are corrupt, they embrace their corruption and now they are doing everything possible to silence anyone who dares call them out on it.  The latest case of Obama’s war on whistleblowers relates to how the Scientific Integrity Officer within the Interior Department, Dr. Paul Houser, was attacked when he started raising some scientific and environmental questions.  According to Kate Sheppard of Mother Jones:

When he raised those concerns to then-DOI press secretary Adam Fetcher, Houser says he was told that he should not write anything about them in any electronic correspondence. “He wanted a hard copy, no email,” says Houser, in order to avoid creating any internal correspondence that could be subject to a Freedom of Information Act request. (Fetcher is now the deputy national press secretary for Obama’s reelection campaign.) Houser says his boss, who was out of the office during the initial exchange, also chastised him for emailing other scientists working on Klamath regarding the release. “I was told that the secretary of interior wants to remove the dams, so my actions weren’t helpful,” says Houser.

See how Mr. Fetcher was punished for covering up the truth.  He was promoted!  How about this revelation from Glenn Greenwald’s latest article on a related topic.

Recently disclosed emails revealed that Jim Messina — then-former White House deputy chief of staff, now the Obama campaign manager – deliberately met with lobbyists for the pharmaceutical industry at coffee houses rather than the White House when drafting the health care bill, and used his personal rather than official email account to communicate with them, in order to evade record-preservation and transparency obligations).

Wow.  We are in very big trouble.  This is not the time for silence; this is the time for action.  The United States is progressing into a mindset best characterized by the Middle Ages.  Spread this info far and wide.

Here is the Kate Sheppard article.

Here is Glenn Greenwald’s.

In Liberty,
Mike

NY Times Admits: Mainstream News is Basically Censored Propaganda

Important article from the NY Times demonstrating how real journalism covering the criminal political elite in America is basically dead.  Even better, is Glenn Greenwald’s article at Salon slamming the complete joke that is the mainstream media, and he shows us all exactly why alternative media is taking over.  After all, only an incredible 21% of Americans have confidence in television news, a new low according to a recent Gallup poll.

Key quotes from the Greenwald article discussing the NY Times piece (both are worth reading):

A common criticism of establishment journalists entails comparing them to stenographers, on the ground that most of them do little more than mindlessly write down and uncritically repeat what government officials say. But stenography is a noble and important profession: they’re the court-licensed officers who, with astonishing speed and accuracy, transcribe the statements of all witnesses, lawyers and judges in judicial proceedings. If establishment journalists were to replicate actual stenography, it would be an improvement on most of the work they produce.

It is beyond dispute that President Obama and his aides have an extreme, even unprecedented obsession with concealing embarrassing information, controlling the flow of information, and punishing anyone who stands in the way. But, at least theoretically speaking, it is the job of journalists to impede that effort, not to serve and enable it. Agreeing to grant veto power over quotes — whereby officials can literally alter what they actually said, and then have newspapers report the doctored, inaccurate quotes — is about as journalistically subservient and reckless as it gets. It’s not merely stenography: it’s inept stenography. No actual, ethical stenographer would ever agree to that.

Agreeing to grant veto power over quotes — whereby officials can literally alter what they actually said, and then have newspapers report the doctored, inaccurate quotes — is about as journalistically subservient and reckless as it gets. It’s not merely stenography: it’s inept stenography. No actual, ethical stenographer would ever agree to that.

Quote approval is something that publicists and lawyers give to their clients (I promise not to attribute anything to you publicly without your advance consent); in other words, it’s reflective of a relationship between those in a service profession and those who are served. And that explains why establishment journalists provide this service to these political officials: because they serve them as spokespeople, not report on them adversarially.

Full article here.