Last night, in a Washington Post op-ed, President Obama announced that he was banning the use of solitary confinement "for juveniles and as a response to low-level infractions" in federal prisons, citing the practice's "potential to lead to devastating, lasting psychological consequences."
But as FRONTLINE's Sarah Childress reports today, Obama's action will have limited impact: one of the president's most significant steps -- banning the use of isolation for those under age 18 -- won't extend to the bulk of young people currently subjected to solitary confinement.
A US military base in Syria commits America to a prolonged military occupation in the country, which parallels its decade-plus long military involvement in Iraq and Afghanistan. The predictable military drift from air strikes to taking territory provides a perpetual pretext for US intervention in Syria and the region, as the Rmeilan airfield borders both Iraq and Turkey.
"It is almost impressive to see how quickly US policymakers have forgotten that the rise of ISIS is a direct result of the 2003 US invasion of Iraq, even after high-level architects of that war have conceded the point. Apparently, truth never penetrates the thinking of the deep state as the desire to continually and mindlessly expand the US military footprint appears to be all-consuming" writes Daniel Wright @ Shadowproof.
"Rather than creating another military base, the US should be doing everything possible to extricate itself from these on-going tragedies, many of which are a result of US intervention in the first place."
"There are certain human needs that are so basic and fundamental that they are often not mentioned when we speak of human rights. Every man, woman and child needs clean water to drink and bathe in, air to breath and decent shelter."
Not Something To Be Proud Of
Calling the Islamic State "killers and fanatics
who have to be rooted out, hunted down,
and destroyed," Obama boasted: "With nearly
10,000 air strikes, we are taking out their leadership, their oil, their training camps, and
their weapons. We are training, arming, and supporting forces who are steadily reclaiming territory in Iraq and Syria."
"All things considered, given the scope of U.S. actions in the Middle East since 9/11 -- by my count we've toppled three governments, launched a drone war stretching from Somalia to the Philippines, and sent hundreds of thousands of troops to Iraq and Afghanistan -- a 0.0003 percent per capita risk of terrorism is quite modest, even if it feels much higher to some critics of the president," writes Peter Certo, editorial assistant for Other Words and Foreign Policy In Focus at the Institute for Policy Studies.
Release the Unjustly Held Prisoners
"These practices at Guantanamo, Chicago, and elsewhere at prisons across the country where indefinite detention, solitary confinement, and other brutal tactics exist are not just allowed; they are structural and necessary to the project of empire," says Erin Corbett. "Torture against black bodies has been a technology of dominance used by the United States since slavery. The expansion of these practices to Muslim men who are illegally detained at Guantanamo Bay is an extension of institutional racism and violence."
The Nation's legal affairs correspondent and author of The Torture Memos: Rationalizing the Unthinkable David Cole agrees:
"Although at one time we could blame President George W. Bush's unilateral assertions of unchecked executive power for the abuses there, the continuing problem that is Guantánamo today is shared by all three government branches, and ultimately by all Americans... Guantánamo will not close until we insist that our government heed the calls for justice that the world has rightly made."
San Francisco's police chief wants to arm his department with tasers in response to public outrage over the "officer-involved" death of Mario Woods.
Great! Arm murdering cops with more lethal weapons!
The Idriss Stelley Foundation and the Anti Police Terror Project invite you to a forum to revive and revitalize the former SF Anti Taser Taskforce, that demonstrated, time and time again, that David can and will win over Goliath!
Saturday January 16, 10 AM
Latino Conference Room
Main Library - 100 Larkin St, San Francisco
"A state that allows its agents to kill, to beat, to tase, without any real sanction, has ceased to govern and has commenced to simply rule," writes Ta-Nehisi Coates, author of Between the World and Me.
TASERS KILL. "Thomas A. Swift's Electric Rifle" deaths are on the rise. Between 2000 and 2011, the number of U.S. agencies purchasing tasers rocketed from 500 to more than 16,000. In 2007, following a sudden spike in taser-related deaths, a report from a meeting of the United Nations Committee Against Torture noted that the committee "was worried that the use of Taser X26 weapons, provoking extreme pain, constituted a form of torture, and that in certain cases it could also cause death, as shown by several reliable studies and by certain cases that had happened after practical use."
According to Amnesty International, between 2001 and 2008, 351 people in the United States died from being shocked by police tasers. Electronic Village has documented another 283 taser-related deaths in the United States from 2009- October 2014. That means there have been at least 634 documented deaths by taser in America since 2001, and there have definitely been more since the list was curated.
Will the killing of Mario Woods be exploited by the SFPD to acquire tasers? HELL NO! The killing of Black People must STOP! We demand justice for Woods and the dwindling number of Black San Francisco residents left to fight for their right to live and work in this city without fear of persecution or execution, and promise to "fight for the right to be Black in San Francisco."
The World Can't Wait to arrest and prosecute murdering cops.
"Soon the world will witness a remarkable sight: a beloved Nobel Peace Prize winner presiding over 21st-century concentration camps," writes NY Times Op-Ed Columnist Nicholas Kristof. No, he's not referring to Obama here, but if the shoe fits...
"Obama and Hillary Clinton helped lure Myanmar to democracy and a pro-Western orbit -- significant achievements -- and it might spoil the parade to fuss too much over 67 quasi-concentration camps in which many Rohingya are confined.
"There is something particularly horrifying about a government deliberately targeting an ethnic group for destruction, locking its members in concentration camps and denying them livelihood, education and health care. When kids are dying in concentration camps, after being confined there because of their ethnicity, that's not just one more problem of global poverty. It's a crime against humanity, and addressing it is the responsibility of all humanity."
The notion that it is permissible, wise, moral, or advisable to kill a person as a method of de-escalation, to kill because one was afraid, did not really exist among parents in Ta-Nehisi Coates' community...
What we have made of our police departments, what we have ordered them to do, is a direct challenge to any usable definition of democracy.
A state that allows its agents to kill, to beat, to tase, without any real sanction, has ceased to govern and has commenced to simply rule:
Saturday, January 9th
90th Avenue & International Boulevard
March to Bancroft Avenue
Richard Perkins Jr. became the 1,000th database entry in The Counted, an ongoing investigation by the Guardian to record every fatality caused by police and other law enforcement officers in 2015, to monitor the demographics of the people who died and detail how and why they were killed.
The shooting was also the 183rd death recorded in California, by far the greatest total of any state...
An analysis of [national] statistics collected so far found the rate of deaths currently stands at 3.1 per day.
The greatest threats to Western countries have come from those seeking to limit rights in the name of fighting terrorism, not the terrorists themselves...
"My family and I are in pain and devastated by the non-indictment of officers Timothy Loehmann and Frank Garmback for the murder of our beloved Tamir. After this investigation--which took over a year to unfold--and Prosecutor McGinty's mishandling of this case, we no longer trust the local criminal-justice system, which we view as corrupt.
Prosecutor McGinty deliberately sabotaged the case, never advocating for my son, and acting instead like the police officers' defense attorney. In a time in which a non-indictment who have killed an unarmed black child is business as usual, we mourn for Tamir, and for all of the black people who have been killed by the police without justice. In our view, this process demonstrates that race is still an extremely troubling and serious problem in our country and the criminal-justice system.
I don't want my child to have died for nothing and I refuse to let his legacy or his name be ignored. We will continue to fight for justice for him, and for all families who must live with the pain that we live with.
As the video shows, Officer Loehmann shot my son in less than a second. All I wanted was someone to be held accountable. But this entire process was a charade.
I pray and hope that the federal government will investigate this case."
Bay Area Residents Protest AIPAC Fund-raiser
Elaine Pasquini, Washington Report On Middle East Affairs
Demanding an end to Israel's suppression of Palestinian human rights, some 200 San Francisco Bay Area residents protested the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) fund-raiser dinner at the Westin St. Francis Hotel December 14. Opposed to AIPAC's influence on U.S. foreign policy, activists also demanded an end to the $3 billion in annual U.S. aid to Israel, which amount is scheduled to increase in 2016.
Attendees entering the hotel walked by activists holding signs reading "Boycott Israeli Goods" and "Free Palestine." One man displayed his placard stating "Jews Say AIPAC Doesn't Speak For Us." Many passersby showed support for the protest. Passing motorists honked their horns and a cable car conductor rang his bell in solidarity.
The powerful pro-Israel lobbying group solicited for even more funds while Israel escalated its level of attacks on Palestinian civilians in East Jerusalem, Hebron and other areas of the occupied West Bank. The Palestinian Health Ministry reports that since October 1, 2015 Israeli military forces have killed at least 118 Palestinians and injured more than 2,500. The number of Palestinian children in Israeli detention has doubled, with many being tortured and denied adequate food and medical services in violation of Israeli law.
In solidarity with community concerns, several San Francisco supervisors rejected invitations to the gala, including John Avalos, London Breed, David Campos, Jane Kim and Eric Mar.
"We asked public officials to join the effort to challenge apartheid and racist policies in Israel, just as San Francisco did during apartheid South Africa," said Omar Ali of the Arab Resource and Organizing Center, one of the coordinators of the protest. Others included Bay Area Women in Black, Jewish Voice for Peace, ANSWER, National Lawyer's Guild, General Union of Palestine Students and Northern California Friends of Sabeel.
Praising Israeli security forces as "the best" in counter-terrorism, a group of 15 senior U.S. police officials just came back from studying Israel's occupation-and-counter-insurgency-style policing - complete with militarized gear, tactics and mindset - in hopes of emulating their expertise in racial profiling, excessive force, mass incarceration, collective punishment and other human rights abuses. The Americans, including several big city police chiefs, sheriffs and US Customs and Border Protection personnel, met with elite units from the Jerusalem Police, border police and Israeli Security. This trip was sponsored by the U.S. Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs (JINSA), a security think tank that works primarily with military personnel; similar training trips have been organized in recent years by the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) and the American Jewish Committee's Project Interchange.