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- With the alleged brutal murder of American journalist James Wright Foley, a wave of anger and aggression across Western audiences has been generated. Upon that wave rides two objectives. One is to create plausible deniability for the West which created the Islamic State in Syria and Iraq (ISIS), the other is to create a further pretext to justify a resurgence of direct US military intervention across the region.
- While the focus has been on ISIS in Iraq, there is still another war -linked directly to Iraq’s current conflict – being waged across the border in Syria. Syrian forces have continued making gains across the country, routing NATO-backed terrorist forces and restoring order in cities and towns that have been ravaged by war for years. ISIS strongholds in the eastern Syrian city of Raqqa, have until now long escaped the focus of Syrian forces occupied by more urgent campaigns around Hama, Homs, Damascus, Daraa, Idlib, and Aleppo. Now, the Syrian Army is shifting forces east.
- While the West feigns an adversarial position regarding ISIS, it was the West itself that created it, specifically to confront the Iranian arc of influence stretching from Tehran, through Baghdad, Damascus and along the Mediterranean in Lebanon. The elimination of ISIS and other terrorist organizations fighting under or alongside its banner without first achieving regime change in Damascus would effectively mean defeat for the United States and its collaborators in the Middle East.
- To intervene before the deathblow is delivered to NATO-backed terrorists in Syria and before the tide is turned against them in Iraq, the West may attempt to provoke, stage, or otherwise create a pretext to militarily intervene in Syria, and expand its operations in Iraq.
- More Dead Journalists, Another Downed Airliner…
- The alleged death of James Wright Foley has created significant outrage amongst public opinion. It has created the illusion of confrontation between ISIS and the United States, and has served to further vilify ISIS itself. The Western media is still struggling to maintain the illusion that ISIS stands apart from other terrorists operating in Syria, and with that narrative, the West is simultaneously bolstering ISIS in Syria under the guise of arming and aiding “moderates,” while it conducts token airstrikes on ISIS in Iraq.
- At the end of the video production featuring Foley’s death, it was revealed that ISIS was also holding missing TIME reporter Steven Sotloff. He was last seen in Aleppo and is believed to have been held in the now besieged Syrian city of Raqqa. The Epoch Times reported in an article titled, “Steven Sotloff: Missing TIME Journalist Steven Joel Sotloff Has been Threatened by ISIS, Report Says,”stated:
- According to The Wire, he went missing near Aleppo, Syria, on Aug. 4, and his family said they were aware of the situation but did not want to publicize the information. He was being held in Raqqa.
- Another dead American reporter could perhaps tip the scales in terms of public support for a possible US military intervention in Syria at a critical juncture in the near future. Within the same report, an AP update indicated that (emphasis added):
- Warnings from an international research group and the Federal Aviation Administration underscore the rising threat to commercial aircraft posed by hundreds of anti-aircraft weapons that are now in the arsenals of armed groups in Syria and could easily be diverted to extremist factions.
- Armed groups opposing the Assad regime in Syria have already amassed an estimated several hundred portable anti-aircraft missiles that are highly mobile, difficult to track and accurate enough to destroy low-flying passenger planes, according to a new report by Small Arms Survey, a respected Switzerland-based research organization that analyzes the global flow of weapons.
- Of course, while AP attempts to continue differentiating between armed groups and “extremist factions,” the fact that “extremist faction” ISIS had captured Sotloff in Aleppo where these alleged “armed groups” are supposedly operating, indicates that it has been “extremists” fighting Damascus all along and that it is “extremists” who now possess a large number of anti-aircraft weapons, thanks to the US, Europe, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, and Qatar.
- Warnings that these weapons might be “diverted to extremist factions” when they have been in their hands for years, portends a possible gambit involving the downing of yet another civilian airliner to serve as a pretext to further advance the West’s agenda. The tragic MH17 disaster in Ukraine has long been buried and forgotten by the Western media after baseless accusations against Russia allowed the West to push forward further sanctions against Moscow and further military aid for the regime in Kiev.
- The potential downing of a civilian aircraft in the Middle East – or anywhere in the world – attributed to “extremists” operating in Syria and Iraq would give the West a pretext to possibly intervene with direct military force in either country.
- The West has proven that it will stop at nothing to advance its agenda in even the most incremental ways. The loss of human life is of no more of consequence to them and their hegemonic designs than the loss of a pawn is in a chess game. That their staged provocations still manipulate large segments of the population and still effectively manipulate public perception is precisely why these tragedies continue on in earnest. Exposing them and disarming global hegemons of this weapon is essential in preventing more tragedies like MH17 and the senseless death of Foley, and thousands of Syrians and Iraqis who have died like him, in the near future.
- It seems like the police state is using protests in Ferguson as a testing ground for all of their crowd-control weapons. Many are obvious like the curfew enforced by platoons of soldiers, armored tanks mounted by snipers, stun, tear and smoke grenades, no-fly zone, sound cannons, and designated free speech zones and media zones (apparently they’re different now).
- However, some weapons are less obvious like technology to kill livestream feeds during questionable police activity. And that’s precisely what happened last night according to Ferguson’s most prolific livestreamer Argus Radio.
- The GIF above, taken from the final seconds of Argus Radio feed from last night, shows the moment the police bum rush the crowd and create mass panic in an attempt to catch someone. Moments later the livestream feed was cut and registered a network error, according to Argus Radio.
- The Argus livestream has been filming the protests non-stop for the last week manned by volunteer University of Missouri post-grad student Mustafa Hussein.
- A week ago, Hussein reported live “We’ve just been told by the St. Louis Police Department to turn off our cameras. We will not be turning off our cameras. We will continue to broadcast, even if it is at our own peril.” So the cameras continued to film.
- Flash forward a week and on early Wednesday morning just after midnight, Argus had no choice in the matter as their feed was cut off. Hussein reported afterward:
- As soon as the conflict happened there was an over-running of the media station by the protesters who were fleeing from the police. We don’t know what the agitation was, but we do know that we lost signal.
- We reset the broadcast three times and it keep saying “no network error”. We had a foreign reporter on the roof with us and she wasn’t able to get a signal on her cell phone. And people on the ground were saying “I can’t tweet out, I can’t tweet out.”
- Use of a government “kill switch” during protests is precisely what civil liberties groups warned makes this technology so dangerous. It’s important to note that this kill switch appears to have jammed the cell signal rather than shutting down the entire Internet or specific digital equipment. A recent California bill requires smartphones to have kill switches to prevent theft, but critics worry the government can use them to remotely shut off phone cameras and 4G access.
- Regardless, last night the digital surveillance state seemed to merge with the militarized police state in a spectacular show of power.
- Interestingly, the evening before authorities tried another bizarre tactic. The police created what appeared to be a two-tiered “free speech” zone; one area for protesters and another for the press. Protesters marched in circles on the street and journalists took pictures from the sidewalk. The journalists far outnumbered the protesters and it all seemed very staged.
- The police eventually got tired and claimed that everyone must disperse, except for the “credentialed media,” who were allowed to stay. It was eerily similar to journalists who’re embedded with the troops. As the militarized police assault began in the “free speech” zone, many protesters hid with media to use them as human shields. Surreal. Later, State Police Captain Ron Johnson said that they identified credentialed press as those with $50,000 cameras. Apparently violating the rights of elite journalists is forbidden, but crushing peaceful assembly and citizen journalists is just fine. Maybe they just can’t hack the satellite signal on expensive cameras?
- The very root of the uproar in Ferguson is the lack of accountability for a police officers’ actions, and that outrage is being met with new and improved ways to hide unethical police actions, now including information kill switches. The ultimate police state weapon is one that hides its brutality from the public, at least until they come to a town near you.
- There’s no doubt that domestic law enforcement agencies on every level have been ramping up their militarization efforts in recent years. In fact, it’s gotten so bad that it has prompted Senator Rand Paul to call for a demilitarization of domestic police departments. “The images and scenes we continue to see in Ferguson resemble war more than traditional police action,” notes Paul in a recent article.
- We know that the Department of Homeland Security has been buying up billions of rounds of ammunition, military grade rifles, armored vehicles, riot gear and a host of other supplies. But local police stockpiles have remained fairly hidden from the public, save for the brief peeks we get during mass policing actions like those in Ferguson, Missouri over the last week.
- But if you’re interested in what your local county has been stockpiling compliments of The Department of Homeland Security, a database from the military’s Defense Logistics Agency can help.
- The Law Enforcement Support Office, under the 1033 program authorized by the National Defense Authorization Act, helps local police departments obtain military equipment for use in their cities. As reported by The Detroit Free Press, over 8,000 participating agencies have taken advantage of LESO offerings from the U.S. military and DHS since the program’s inception:
This law allows for the office to transfer excess Department of Defense property to law enforcement agencies across the United States and its territories.
Since its inception, the 1033 program has transferred more than $5.1 billion worth of property.
In 2013 alone, $449,309,003.71 worth of property was transferred to law enforcement.
- Simply choose your State and your County and you’ll have complete access to see how well militarized your local and county police departments are.
- You may or may not be surprised to find everything from mine resistant vehicles and grenade launchers to night vision goggles and high powered assault rifles.
- As an example of the heavy militarization efforts of domestic law enforcement agencies, The Detroit Free Press utilized the LESO database to see what Michigan police have been up to in recent years:
A Free Press review of items transferred from the military since 2006 shows Michigan law enforcement agencies have received 17 Mine Resistant Ambush Protected Vehicles or MRAPs, built to counter roadside bombs; 1,795 M16 rifles (5.56mm), the U.S. military’s combat weapon of choice; 696 M14 rifles (7.62 mm); 530 bayonet and scabbards; 165 utility trucks; 32 12-gauge, riot-type shotguns; nine grenade launchers; and three observation helicopters.
- James Quinn of The Burning Platform did a similar investigation into his local area and found that cops in his county of Montgomery, Pennsylvania now have a $733,000 mine resistant vehicle and a $245,000 armored personnel carrier. “I sure hope they will be able to clear all the land mines in my upper class suburban county,” notes Quinn.
- The U.S. government has long been war-gaming large-scale economic collapse scenarios and civil unrest simulations, leaving many Americans wondering if they know something we don’t.
- Use the LESO database above to find out what they’ve been stockpiling and what you can expect to see in your local neighborhood if the worst happens.
- Stoking popular outrage and setting the stage for Syrian intervention
- The corporate media is employing adverbs – purportedly, seemingly, apparently – to describe the reported beheading of American freelance journalist James Wright Foley.
- Foley was reportedly abducted in Syria. Soon after his disappearance the Columbia Journalism Review said he was “almost certainly being held by the Syrian government in a detention center near the capital city of Damascus.” It was later said he was taken by ISIS, now known as IS, or the Islamic State.
- Fox News: “We need to go into Syria.”
- On Tuesday a video was posted to Youtube allegedly showing Foley’s beheading. The video is titled “A message to America” and shows a man said to be Foley on his knees, dressed in an orange jumpsuit, next to a black-clad man British authorities believe is a Briton.
- Photos and videos also appeared on Twitter accounts linked to IS groups.
- “I call on my friends, family, and loved ones to rise up against my real killers, the US government, for what will happen to me is only a result of their complacency and criminality,” the man said to be Foley declares.
- “My message to my beloved parents — save me some dignity and don’t accept any meagre compensation for my death from the same people who effectively hit the last nail in my coffin from their recent aerial campaign in Iraq,” a reference to the Obama administration’s token bombing campaign directed at IS in Iraq.
- “I call on my brother John, who’s a member of the US Air Force, think about what you are doing.”
- “I died that day, John. When your colleagues dropped that bomb on those people, they signed my death certificate.
- “I guess all in all, I wish I wasn’t American.”
- British Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond said the executioner in the video is probably a British citizen.
- “On the face of it, it appears to have been a British person. We’ll have to do some more analysis to make quite certain that that is the case,” Hammond said.
- The British Prime Minister David Cameron “cut short his summer vacation to return to London and chair urgent meetings on the threat posed by ISIS in Iraq and Syria,” according to NBC News.
- Precisely Timed War Propaganda
- The alleged beheading is now dominating the establishment news cycle, overshadowing events in Ferguson, Missouri. The media invariably engages in wall-to-wall coverage when a journalist is killed, especially in such a sensational and grotesque manner.
- The alleged murder will undoubtedly be exploited by the state as it ramps up re-intervention in Iraq under the humanitarian banner. In the meantime, it is the responsibility of the corporate media to produce public outrage and further demonize IS, a paramilitary group created by the U.S. and its Gulf Emirate associates and trained by the United States military in Jordan.
- “The extremists’ immediate goal was to use the shocking images to intimidate the Obama administration into halting U.S. airstrikes on ISIS strongholds in Iraq,” reports the International Business Times.
- In fact, as ISIS undoubtedly knows, the exact opposite will occur – the United States and its partners will step up their bombing campaign, using the video as a convenient propaganda tool and capitalizing on popular outrage over the group.
- The New York Post, owned by News Corp. magnate Rupert Murdoch, mustered its editorial board this morning and declared the “time for games is over” and the “horrific wake-up call” of Foley’s alleged murder demands military retaliation. “With American lives now being taken and even more at risk, America is now directly involved. No more playing footsie with butchers.”
- Johan Galtung, a Norwegian sociologist and the principal founder of the discipline of peace and conflict studies, has described how the establishment media exploits violence to propagandize the foreign policy objectives of the state.
- Manicheanism, the art of portraying one side as brutal and evil while the other is viewed as a chaste and innocent victim, plays a dominant role in war propaganda. This is the process we are now witnessing in regard to the alleged murder of James Foley.
- The establishment media will continue to employ this tactic, along with decontextualizing the violence – dwelling on irrational emotional responses while ignoring the underlying reasons for violence and, in the case of ISIS, omitting the fact the group and its mercurial leader are largely a creation of U.S. intelligence and its partners.
- A video has surfaced in which a man in the Saint Louis area, who has been involved in the protests in Missouri tells viewers that agent provocateurs are infiltrating legitimate protests in Missouri, all for the sake of the government growing its militarized presence in the area.
- We have had numerous reports that there are infiltrators in many of these protests and we have seen the police stand down against actual lawbreakers while at the same time throwing flashbang grenades, firing tear gas and rubber bullets at peaceful protesters. And what makes me sick about this is that “conservatives” cheer this on. I’m not one that will back lawbreakers, but honestly people, since when is simply protesting a bad thing?
- I couldn’t make out that guy’s name on the video because it was so mumbled. However, he began by stating that the protests were a “beautiful thing.” However, he quickly spoke out infiltrators among the people that were “plants.”
- “What they doing is bringing these national guards in today,” he said. “By next week, we will have St. Louis locked down. I’m trying to tell ya’ll that these protestors that they plant in these neighborhoods, they gonna plant them in Chesterfield… they gonna plant them in Clayton… they gonna plant them in Florissant… they gonna plant them in Hazelwood.”
- “They gonna have people standing outside that’s paid,” he continued. “They gonna walk up to bums, paying ‘em hundreds of dollars to stand and hold a sign to say ‘Free my people’ or ‘No fighting’ or ‘No shooting.’”
- “But that sh*t is propaganda,” he said. “It’s an agenda. They putting ya’ll in the hood. And in three days, it’s gonna be a big-ass group of people around here, and next thing you know, there’s gonna be some troops at the end of that light and some troops at the end of that light. They tryin’ to do this so they can get in these cribs.”
- I confess that after watching the video, he was reminiscent of what I told Bradlee Dean on his Sons of Liberty Radio show yesterday. This is all about stirring up a rebellion, so that the government can come in and be the savior and drop the hammer on these people.
- But there was more to be said. The guy in the video said that he believes this is being done so that the government can get into people’s houses.
- “Obama signed martial law in 2012,” he said. “The sh*t is gonna go down. There is no peace from here.”
- He concluded by saying, “Get your family, get your loved ones and love them. This is the heart of America. They chose this state for a reason.”
- “They plant people in our neighborhoods who look just like us. Niggas wearing Jays and saying ‘Go out there and protest’ and then they gonna have a nigga shoot in the air and then they gonna have assault rifles shooting at everybody on the block. That’s how they do it and that’s how the news gonna present it… the agenda is to shut St. Louis down. We the heart of America.”
- As I told Dean yesterday, I do believe that this entire event is being orchestrated by the federal government, not local government. We have seen how DHS has provided provocateurs and the New Black Panthers, who are very tight with Barack Obama and Eric Holder, have also been in Ferguson to incite more violence.
- Probably the best thing the people in the area can do at this point is arm themselves and simply stay inside. By doing so, they take away any advantage to use and manipulate them from their would be oppressors. Furthermore, if they protests continue, the people should be wise enough to root out infiltrators. Anyone that is not known to the crowd, should be immediately suspect and ostracized from their protests.
- While the Michael Brown shooting may have been the start of this issue, that is not the story here. The story is how the militarized police of the area are allowing the lawlessness of rioting and looting, while at the same time making criminals of peaceful protestors. Just watch the video below.
- Former Congressman – and Cleveland mayor – Dennis Kucinich wrote a must-read post yesterday:
- The Boston Massacre of March 5, 1770, was a catalyst toward the American Revolution. Five civilians were killed by the British soldiers. The Declaration of Independence, in condemning the offenses against liberty by George III, stated:
- He has kept among us, in times of peace, standing armies without the consent of our legislature.
- He has affected to render the military independent of and superior to civil power.
- He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his assent to their acts of pretended legislation:
- For quartering large bodies of armed troops among us
- For protecting them, by mock trial, from punishment for any murders which they should commit on the inhabitants of these states
- Indeed, the top expert on the militarization of America’s police forces – Washington Post writer Radley Balko, who has testified to Congress and written books on the subject – confirms that the Founders would have seen the militarized police as an unconstitutional standing army:
- Balko starts with the provocative proposition that police as we know them in modern America are unconstitutional. “The Founders and their contemporaries would probably have seen even the early-nineteenth-century police forces as a standing army, and a particularly odious one at that,” Balko writes. “Just before the American Revolution, it wasn’t the stationing of British troops in the colonies that irked patriots in Boston and Virginia; it was the England’s decision to use the troops for everyday law enforcement.”
- Balko links that decision to the oft forgotten Third Amendment, which forbids the quartering of troops in Americans’ homes against their will during peacetime. The Third Amendment is rarely litigated, and the Supreme Court has never heard a case primarily concerning the amendment, but Balko argues that it was included in the Bill of Rights out of a larger concern that a standing army could be used for the purposes of enforcing the law. “The actual quartering of British troops in the private homes of colonists was rare…It was the predictable fallout from positioning soldiers trained for warfare on city streets, among the civilian populace, and using them to enforce law and maintain order that enraged colonists.”
- In a post headlined, “Militarized Police: The Standing Army the Founders Warned About“, New American notes:
- In an essay published in the Wall Street Journal last August, Radley Balko presented chilling and convincing evidence of the blurring of the line between cop and soldier:
- Driven by martial rhetoric and the availability of military-style equipment — from bayonets and M-16 rifles to armored personnel carriers — American police forces have often adopted a mind-set previously reserved for the battlefield. The war on drugs and, more recently, post-9/11 antiterrorism efforts have created a new figure on the U.S. scene: the warrior cop — armed to the teeth, ready to deal harshly with targeted wrongdoers, and a growing threat to familiar American liberties.
- Balko rightly connects the menace of the martial police with the decline in liberty and a disintegration of legal boundaries between sheriffs and generals:
- Americans have long been wary of using the military for domestic policing. Concerns about potential abuse date back to the creation of the Constitution, when the founders worried about standing armies and the intimidation of the people at large by an overzealous executive, who might choose to follow the unhappy precedents set by Europe’s emperors and monarchs.
- A Google search for the following phrase turns up over 250,000 hits, including articles from across the spectrum, such as Newsweek, Daily Kos, the American Conservative and Truth-Out:
- “standing army” Ferguson
- The same search yields thousands of images. A comparison of photos of soldiers in war zones in Iraq and Afghanistan and police in Ferguson shows they are virtually indistinguishable.
- Someone identifying himself as an 82nd Airborne Army veteran, observing the Ferguson police scene, comment[ed] that “We rolled lighter than that in an actual warzone” …
- Remember, the Founding Fathers repeatedly warned against standing armies.
- Of course, it would be bad enough if the militarized police forces were only used in genuine emergencies. But Balko notes that the authorities have become “very antagonistic toward the very idea of free speech and the First Amendment“. And militarized swat teams are being used against people who commit copyright infringement … or credit card fraud. They’re being used “for routine warrant service in … nonviolent crimes“.
- And Balko notes:
- SWAT teams today are overwhelmingly used to investigate people who are still only suspected of committing nonviolent consensual crimes.
- And Ellen Brown argues that the police are being militarized to protect of the financial elites:
- When depositors cannot access their bank accounts to get money for food for the kids, they could well start breaking store windows and helping themselves. Worse, they might plot to overthrow the financier-controlled government. Witness Greece, where increasing disillusionment with the ability of the government to rescue the citizens from the worst depression since 1929 has precipitated riots and threats of violent overthrow.
- Fear of that result could explain the massive, government-authorized spying on American citizens, the domestic use of drones, and the elimination of due process and of “posse comitatus” (the federal law prohibiting the military from enforcing “law and order” on non-federal property). Constitutional protections are being thrown out the window in favor of protecting the elite class in power.
- Postscript: The Founding Fathers also fought the Revolutionary War for other reasons, such as stopping:
- The type of spying which the NSA is doing
- The type of banking which the giant banks are practicing
- The type of crony capitalism which the government and Wall Street are engaging in
- Interestingly, 3 times as many American colonists supported King George of England during the Revolutionary War as support our own Congress today.
- James Risen is not just a phenomenal reporter, he is also an extremely courageous and honorable American patriot. His case is a very disturbing one, and it has justifiably received a great deal of national attention. In a nutshell, the Obama Administration is threatening the pulitzer prize winning journalist with prison unless he reveals the source behind one of his stories. This is something no journalist worth his salt would ever do, but the fact our own government would resort to threats of incarceration in order to instill fear in the press to prevent it from doing its job is quite telling and extremely dangerous.
- Mr. Risen understands this danger more than just about anyone else, which is why he has previously stated he is prepared to go to jail in order to defend the First Amendment from Obama, who he calls “the greatest enemy to press freedom in a generation.”
- I’ve covered Risen’s struggle in the past, so if you care to get caught up check out:
- Battle Royale on Piers Morgan: Glenn Greenwald, James Risen and Jeffrey Toobin
- New York Times Reports – Blackwater Threatened to Kill a State Dept. Official and the U.S. Government Did Nothing
- Now the Guardian gets us up to speed on his latest thoughts:
- The New York Times reporter James Risen, who faces jail over his refusal to reveal a source and testify against a former CIA agent accused of leaking secrets, has called President Barack Obama “the greatest enemy of press freedom in a generation”.
- Speaking to his colleague Maureen Dowd, Risen accused the president of aggressively pursuing journalists, including himself, who report sensitive stories that reflect poorly on the US government.
- Obama and Holder said journalists should not be arrested or harassed for doing their jobs and covering “a story that needs to be told”. In May, Holder said of the Sterling case: “No reporter who is doing his job is going to go to jail.” Risen, however, could be behind bars within weeks.
- Dowd asked Risen how the Obama administration could use the Espionage Act to imprison reporters and whistleblowers while not acting on the acknowledged use of torture by the CIA on terrorism suspects and the same agency spying on the US Senate.
- “It’s hypocritical,” Risen said. “A lot of people still think this is some kind of game or signal or spin. They don’t want to believe that Obama wants to crack down on the press and whistleblowers. But he does. He’s the greatest enemy to press freedom in a generation.”
- Last week, groups campaigning for press freedom handed a petition with more than 100,000 signatures to the Justice Department, urging it to drop the case against Risen.
- “It’s surreal to be caught up in a news story instead of writing about one,” he told Dowd.
- America in 2014: Cops murder with impunity, banksters steal with impunity, reporters threatened with jail.
- The angry mobs have assembled early today, with KTVI reporting that moments ago the Justice Center in Clayton, MO has been put on lockdown. The reason: a flash mob has just appeared outside. We understand their anger, but what we don’t get is why don’t they just buy stocks instead: wouldn’t the protesters rather be wealthy than furious and screaming? Plus, it’s not as if there is any risk in buying stocks.
Crowd: Move Bob. Get out the way. Get out the way Bob. Get out the way. pic.twitter.com/aJTpnenuAs
— Jeff Bernthal (@JeffBernthal) August 19, 2014
Police just shut down Carondelet Ave in front of Justice Center.pic.twitter.com/4UDUXn3Iw7
— Jeff Bernthal (@JeffBernthal) August 19, 2014
- St.Louis city police are investigating a fatal police shooting in St.Louis City – around 10 miles from Ferguson – today at 1230pm. Residents heard at least 5 shots fired.
- As St.Louis Post-Disptach reports,
- City police are investigating a police shooting this afternoon in St. Louis.
- Police were called to Riverview Boulevard and McLaran Avenue in St. Louis city about 12:30 p.m.
The suspect is dead at the scene, police say.
Photo from officer involved shooting on Riverview in North St. Louis. #KSDK pic.twitter.com/QRjW9ZrvJl
— Darin Copeland (@dacopeland) August 19, 2014
St. Louis city police have The victim’s body behind orange barrier. pic.twitter.com/Z4lfrSVB7Y
— Adrienne Broaddus (@abroaddus) August 19, 2014
An officer involved shooting about 10 minutes from where #MikeBrown was killed. Location Riverview and McLaran Ave. pic.twitter.com/MXCxie2eUn
— Adrienne Broaddus (@abroaddus) August 19, 2014
- With National Guard now stationed in Ferguson, Missouri as the riots and protests there continue over the shooting death of an unarmed teen by police, Obama held a press conference where he said that citizens carrying guns undermines justice (Via the Chicago Tribune):
While I understand the passions and the anger that arise over the death of Michael Brown, giving in to that anger by looting or carrying guns, and even attacking the police, only serves to raise tensions and stir chaos,” Obama told a news conference. “It undermines, rather than advancing, justice.”
- Remember that game on Sesame Street? “Which of these things is not like the other…”
- The president mentioned looting, carrying guns and attacking the police. But these three things aren’t all the same. Two of these things are crimes. One of them is not.
- In fact, there are no Missouri state permit requirements for the purchase of a rifle, shotgun or handgun, and there are no state licensing requirements to possess these guns, either. Concealed carry is legal in the state with a valid endorsement or permit.
- Live feeds from Ferguson have already shown shop owners protecting their stores by standing guard at the entrances with guns; some shops that haven’t been looted or destroyed have actually been saved because of guns.
- It’s called the 2nd Amendment of the Bill of Rights, something we still have in this country.
- Beyond that, it’s sad and ironic that our president would even use the tragedy and subsequent fallout in Ferguson as an excuse to demonize guns in the hands of civilians, when the dead teen everyone is protesting over here was completely unarmed and shot at least six times by a police officer, including two shots to the head.
- So, according to Obama, a town that is angrily protesting what they feel is a shooting murder at the hands of the police of an unarmed teenager should just give up all their guns altogether…so that the only people who have guns in that town are those same police?
- Why would anyone in Ferguson want to be able to personally protect themselves? It’s not like the police are driving down city streets in mine resistant, ambush protected tanks straight off the battlefields of Afghanistan, equipped with .50 cals, LRAD weapons, tear gas, and rubber bullets or anything…
- …oh wait…
- As Iraqi forces retake control of the country’s largest dam, a video by Islamic State militants have vowed to “drown” American targets in blood if the United States continues to launch airstrikes against the group.
- Specifically, the militants said that they would launch attacks against Americans “in any place” if their members are killed by airstrikes, Reuters reported. The recording also showed images of an American man who was beheaded during the initial war in Iraq and flashed a message that read, “we will drown all of you in blood.”
- The video’s release comes as President Barack Obama announced Iraqi and Kurdish security forces, with the help of US air power, were able to regain control of the Mosul Dam, marking the most significant victory for Iraq’s military since American airstrikes began more than one week ago.
- “This operation demonstrates that Iraqi and Kurdish forces are capable of working together and taking the fight to ISIL [Islamic State],” Obama said on Monday. “If they continue to do so, they will have the strong support of the United States of America.”
- When the dam fell into the hands of militants earlier this month, officials and other experts became concerned since the Islamic State gained the ability to potentially cut off electricity and water to tens of thousands of people. If destroyed, the dam could have also overwhelmed two different cities with water.
- “If that dam was breached,” Obama said, “it could have proven catastrophic, with floods that would’ve threatened the lives of thousands of civilians and endanger our embassy compound in Baghdad.”
- The victory is something of a morale booster for Iraqi forces, who one official said will make recapturing Mosul their next priority.
- “The new tactic of launching a quick attack shrouded by secrecy proved successful and we are determined to keep following the new assault tactics with help of intelligence provided by Americans,” Sabah Nouri, a spokesman for Iraq’s counter-terrorism unit, told Reuters. “The next stop will be Mosul.”
- While Obama said the US military would continue to conduct airstrikes and provide humanitarian support, he once again noted that a long-term solution to the country’s problems could only come from Iraqis themselves. He expressed hope that incoming prime minister, Haidar al-Abadi, would help heal the sectarian strife plaguing Iraq.
- Outgoing prime minister, Nouri al-Maliki, was often criticized for freezing out Sunni Muslims from his Shia-dominated government, a problem that in some ways helped the Islamic State gain a foothold in the country.
- Disaffected Sunnis lent their support to or at least tolerated the militant group, which managed to make rapid gains through western Iraq. Once in control of large swathes of territory, IS militants threatened to kill anyone who did not convert to their extreme brand of Islam – an ultimatum that put tens of thousands of lives at risk and triggered renewed military action by the US.
- UPDATE: The Ferguson Morning After: Police “Come Under Heavy Gunfire”, Arrest 31 Including Photographer, Journalist
- UPDATE: Things just went turbo… Live fire from the direction of protesters, police unleash tear gas and stun grenades, drag people from car.
— PzFeed Top News (@PzFeed) August 19, 2014
— Breaking911 (@Breaking911) August 19, 2014
— Breaking911 (@Breaking911) August 19, 2014
— Keith Boykin (@keithboykin) August 19, 2014
— Jose Torres (@BigJPR) August 19, 2014
- With the curfew cancelled, the arrival of The National Guard has brought with it new ‘rules’ as standing become loitering and peaceful protests must keep moving. Several arrests have already been made including ‘white’ Getty Images photographer Scott Olson. St.Louis native and famous rapper Nelly is on the scene suggesting the people have ‘options’. Several protesters have been spotted carrying posters with the words “Negro Spring” on them and this term is beginning to gain traction on social media. As darkness falls (and with no curfew-induced deadline), we suspect the presence of the military will do nothing to resolve roiling tensions as the numbers of protesters is rising rapidly. Perhaps John Oliver said it best - “let’s totally demilitarize the police; and if and only if they can get through a month without killing a young black man can get their toys back.”
- “if you are standing in the street or not moving, you are unlawfully assembled… you will be subject to arrest”
- SHOTS FIRED ON CANFIELD DRIVE IN FERGUSON. SWAT RUSHING.
— Daniel Baggett (@hempmandan) August 19, 2014
— Amanda Wills (@AmandaWills) August 19, 2014
— RT (@RT_com) August 19, 2014
- The National Guard is in Ferguson…
— Shimon Prokupecz (@ShimonPro) August 19, 2014
— Alan Blinder (@alanblinder) August 18, 2014
Capt. Johnson said gas was used Sunday on peaceful protesters because Molotov’s were among the crowd in the back.pic.twitter.com/FWkWV4FxHy
— Alex Wroblewski (@alexwroblewski) August 19, 2014
- Marchers are chanting…
- And then there’s this…
Trayvon Martin’s mom to Michael Brown’s family: ‘If they refuse to hear us, we will make them feel us’ http://t.co/qZp2O4sn60
— TIME.com (@TIME) August 19, 2014
- At first the rioting was only in the “sleepy” St. Louis suburb of Ferguson. Now, the angry crowds have moved on to downtown St. Louis where moments ago a group of angry protesters rallied at Kiener Plaza.
Right now: #Ferguson rally at Kiener Plaza downtown #StL – chants of “hey hey ho ho, the Nat’l Guard has got to go” pic.twitter.com/Zo7guPMBQJ
— Chris Stanford (@StanfordKMOV) August 18, 2014
- … and then marched on to Governor Nixon’s office chanting “the National Guard has got to go.”
Protesters march towards Gov Nixon’s #StL office chanting “the Nat’l Guard has got to go” #Ferguson pic.twitter.com/NjushBrG1q
— Chris Stanford (@StanfordKMOV) August 18, 2014
- Unfortunately for the protesters, they hadn’t made a prior appointment, and were therefore not admitted into the building:
Protesters aren’t being let in, security told me they’re not here on “official business” – #Ferguson pic.twitter.com/6CleokqMnA
— Chris Stanford (@StanfordKMOV) August 18, 2014
- … while several people from the crowd were promptly arrested, such as this little old lady, who apparently is 90 year old Hedy Epstein, a Holocaust survivor.
Several protesters just arrested downtown #StL including this woman for “blocking the entrance” #ferguson pic.twitter.com/3Pjka8j0Tz
— Chris Stanford (@StanfordKMOV) August 18, 2014
And it’s not even dark yet.
- Meanwhile in Ferguson, things are just warming up.
Front of the march in #Ferguson pic.twitter.com/8iJvxMmwT1
— Anonymous Operations (@YourAnonGlobal) August 18, 2014
- With the National Guard deploying….
National Guard troops leaving base in #Ferguson
— John Boxley (@JBoxleyNBC) August 18, 2014
- And watching and waiting:
National guard troops deployed on roofs #ferguson pic.twitter.com/cnHgcjqoJJ Via @ShimonPro
— PzFeed Top News (@PzFeed) August 18, 2014
- Even if not many others are allowed to – presenting public enemy #1 (aside from Putin of course):
Getty photo of Getty photographer Scott Olson being arrested in #Ferguson (h/t @Walldo): pic.twitter.com/mAZpXWTPLS
— Neetzan Zimmerman (@neetzan) August 18, 2014
- We’ve been writing about the militarization of police, and why it’s problematic, for years — but the events of the last week in Ferguson, Missouri, have really shone a (rather bright) light on what happens when you militarize the police. Annie Lowrey, over at New York Magazine, highlights what may be most disturbing about all of it: all of this has happened while violence has been on a rapid decline, and, no it’s not because your local suburban police force now has a SWAT team and decommissioned military equipment from the Defense Department:
- Since 1990, according to Department of Justice statistics, the United States has become a vastly safer place, at least in terms of violent crime. (Drug crime follows somewhat different trends, though drug use has been dropping over the same time period.) The number of murders dropped to 14,827 in 2012 from 23,438 in 1990. The number of rapes has plummeted to 84,376 from 102,555. The number of robberies, motor-vehicle thefts, assaults — all have seen similarly large declines. And the number of incidents has dropped even though the country has grown.
- And there’s no evidence that giving police officers the weapons of war has had anything to do with that decline in crime, either, with researchers pegging it to a combination of factors, among them the removal of lead from paint and gasoline, an increase in abortion rates, and improved policing methods.
- So, instead, we get a very militarized police — and tons of cases where it is being used in cases that absolutely don’t warrant it. At all.
- And here’s the really disturbing thing. It may get a lot worse. As Vanity Fair notes, on June 19th, Rep. Alan Grayson had offered up an amendment on the Defense Appropriations bill, which would have limited the militarization of police. And it failed by a wide margin. Included in those voting against it? The guy who represents Ferguson.
- The amendment attracted the support of only 62 members, while 355 voted against it (14 didn’t vote). Included among those voting against it was Rep. William Lacy Clay (D), who represents Ferguson. Clay was joined by every senior member of the Democratic Party leadership team, including Reps. Nancy Pelosi (CA), Steny Hoyer (MD), and Assistant Democratic Leader James Clyburn (SC). Democrats did form the bulk of support for the amendment (with 43 votes in favor), with 19 Republicans supporting as well—led by libertarian-conservative Rep. Justin Amash (MI), who lamented that “military-grade equipment . . . shouldn’t be used on the street by state and local police” on his Facebook page.
- Apparently, arming the police with military equipment has powerful lobbying support. Because why expect people to think about what actually makes sense when there’s money and FUD on the line:
- Why was there such tremendous opposition to the Grayson-Amash effort? Two very powerful constituencies in Congress may be to blame: the defense industry, and the police lobby.
- Take Rep. Clay. He has been all over the news media calling for justice in his district, and demanding an investigation of Brown’s death. Yet like every House member, he is up for re-election every two years, and his fourth-largest donor is the political action committee of the weapons maker Boeing.
- So there’s that. And then, let’s take things up a notch. Scott Greenfield alerts us to the news that a judge over in Colorado has determined that the Cinemark Theater where James Holmes opened fired on the opening night of the Batman film “The Dark Knight Rises” may have some responsibility because it should have known that such an attack might happen. Despite the fact that there has never been such a shooting in a theater, the judge says that the theater should have been prepared for such a possibility:
- Noting “the grim history of mass shootings and mass killings that have occurred in more recent times,” U.S. District Court Judge R. Brooke Jackson ruled that Cinemark — owner of the Century Aurora 16 theater — could have predicted that movie patrons might be targeted for an attack. Jackson’s ruling allows 20 lawsuits filed by survivors of the attack or relatives of those killed to proceed toward trial.
- “Although theaters had theretofore been spared a mass shooting incident, the patrons of a movie theater are, perhaps even more than students in a school or shoppers in a mall, ‘sitting ducks,’ ” Jackson wrote.
- That makes absolutely no sense. But the inevitable result, as Greenfield notes, seems to be a lot more militarized police — and now, private security guards… everywhere. Just in case.
- Consider, if what happened in Aurora, the duty of businesses to be prepared for the act of a one-in-a-million crazy. The biggest growth job in America will be armed guard. Every theater will require its own SWAT team, perhaps a MRAP or Bearcat. Office buildings, parks, skating rinks, pretty much anywhere more than three people gather, could be the next target of a madman. They will all need security, armed with the weapons needed to take out any crazy.
- Don’t blame the businesses. They’re just trying to cover their foreseeable obligations. Sure, there is almost no chance, almost no possibility whatsoever, that they will be the target of the next insane shooter, but Judge Jackson says it’s still foreseeable. In fact, that no one has ever shot up a skating rink makes it even more foreseeable, by his rationale.
- It is difficult to comprehend how profoundly screwed up all of this is.
- Ukrainian forces are using chemical weapons in the embattled region of Donetsk, member of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic’s (DPR) parliament Miroslav Rudenko told Baltkom radio Monday.
- “According to our soldiers’ information, the Ukrainian forces are using chemical ammunition on DPR territory. Once a shell bursts, a gas affecting sense organs is emitted. We have this information,” the official told Latvia’s Baltkom radio.
- In early June, eastern Ukrainian independence forces claimed the army had used an unknown chemical weapon in the settlement of Semyonovka near the city of Slaviansk.
- On August 6 the Russian Investigative Committee claimed it had “irrefutable evidence“ of the use of weapons similar to phosphorous bombs by Kiev military forces against civilians. The eastern Ukraine independence supporters, which have been fighting Kiev government forces since April, have also repeatedly accused Kiev of using phosphorous weapons prohibited by the Geneva Conventions.
- The world has completely forgotten the latest round of disinformation spread by the Ukraine government, one which sent the “market” plunging, namely that a Russian military convoy was attacked and almost completely “eliminated” on Ukraine territory on Thursday night, a statement which was also “confirmed” by none other than the Ukraine president, yet where not a single trace of evidence was released showing any such convoy destruction. So it is time for yet another round of (dis)information warfare, which we got this morning when Ukraine accused pro-Russian rebels on Monday of hitting a refugee convoy of buses with rocket fire near the eastern city of Luhansk, killing people trapped in the burning vehicles.
- Eager to move on from Friday’s disinformation fiasco, Ukrainian military spokesmen said the bus convoy had been in an area of fierce fighting between government forces and the separatists. As Reuters reports, it had come under fire from rebel Grad and mortar launchers, they said, causing an unknown number of casualties.
- “A powerful artillery strike hit a refugee convoy near the area of Khryashchuvatye and Novosvitlivka. The force of the blow on the convoy was so strong that people were burned alive in the vehicles – they weren’t able to get themselves out,” military spokesman Anatoly Proshin told Ukrainian news channel 112.ua.
- Describing the attack as a “bloody crime”, another military spokesman, Andriy Lysenko, said: “A lot of people have been killed including women and children. The number of the dead is being established.”
- And in keeping with the endless flow of BS emanating from east Ukraine, where civilians are merely collateral damage to an epic information war, and just to confuse everyone if not the algos which today are stricly in “de-escalation” mode, the separatists promptly accused Ukraine of the attack, when a rebel leader denied his forces had the military capability to conduct such an attack, and accused Kiev forces of regularly attacking the area and also using Russian-made Grad missiles.
- “The Ukrainians themselves have bombed the road constantly with airplanes and Grads. It seems they’ve now killed more civilians like they’ve been doing for months now. We don’t have the ability to send Grads into that territory,” said Andrei Purgin, deputy prime minister of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic.
- Another rebel spokesman denied any civilian convoy had been struck, challenging the Kiev authorities to produce evidence.
- Alas, something tells us that in this propaganda warfare, “evidence” is the last thing that anyone can produce, considering the events from Friday, and considering that a month after the MH-17 disaster, Ukraine still has to release the confiscated air-traffic control recordings, which even the CIA would have been able to thoroughly fabricate by now.
- And now back to today’s market surge whose catalyst the few carbon-based traders describe as peace breaking out around the world once again.
- After three consecutive days of rioting and looting in Ferguson, MO, despite a second night of curfews which was honored by few if any, Missouri’s governor said on Monday he would send the National Guard into the violent suburb to “restore calm” after authorities forcibly dispersed yet another crowd overnight. Gov. Jay Nixon signed an executive order deploying the U.S. state militia, saying demonstrators had thrown Molotov cocktails and shot at police as well as a civilian, a description of the night’s events diverging widely from some eyewitness accounts.
- “Tonight, a day of hope, prayers, and peaceful protests was marred by the violent criminal acts of an organized and growing number of individuals, many from outside the community and state, whose actions are putting the residents and businesses of Ferguson at risk,” Nixon said in a statement on his website.
- As we reported overnight, around dusk on Sunday, hundreds of protesters in Ferguson including families with young children fled to safety after police wearing gas masks and body armor fired tear gas and smoke canisters to scatter them hours ahead of the curfew.
- Reuters cites a protester who said that “The smoke bombs were completely unprovoked,” said Anthony Ellis, 45. “It (the protest) was led by kids on bikes. Next you know they’re saying, ‘Go home, Go home!’” Of course, one could say the gunshots that led to injured people were also unprovoked but that is merely in the realm of the rational, something the Ferguson situation has long gone beyond.
- The Missouri Highway Patrol said “aggressors” were trying to infiltrate a law enforcement command post and that armored vehicles were deployed to ensure public safety. “We ordered them back. We ordered them back again. After several attempts, we utilized the smoke to disperse these individuals,” said Highway Patrol Corporal Justin Wheetley. State Highway Patrol Captain Ron Johnson told a late night news briefing: “Molotov cocktails were thrown, there were shootings, looting, vandalism and other acts of violence that clearly appear not to have been spontaneous.”
- He was explaining the police tactics against what he said had to that point been a peaceful demonstration.
- “Coordinated acts” by a few in the crowd were “premeditated criminal acts designed … to provoke a response,” Johnson said. “I had no alternative but to elevate the level of our response.” He noted most of the protesters were peaceful and blamed the trouble on “a few people bent on violence and destruction.”
- Johnson said the trouble began after police responded to the shooting of a civilian at 8.25 p.m., which was followed by gunfire directed towards police and Molotov cocktails being thrown. At least one other person was shot, and several were arrested. No police were injured.
- One wonders, considering that virtually every provocation in the international arena in 2014 has been premediated and choreographed, usually by the intelligence forces of this superpower or that, whether the same applies to Ferguson, and whether this push to impose an even more active, blanket weaponized police presence in backwater “violent” US towns is all part of a bigger scheme to make already massive government even bigger?
- The biggest winner, however, from last night’s events: children. Officials said Ferguson schools would be closed on Monday.
- The authorities in Ferguson, Missouri, are still enforcing the curfew that bars residents, bent on venting their outrage at the murder of a black teenager by a police officer, from being on the streets after midnight.
- “We are trying to use the least amount of force to provide people the ability to speak while also protecting the property of the people of Ferguson,” Missouri governor Jay Nixon said on Sunday in an interview on CNN.
- Nixon didn’t mention if authorities are planning to cancel the curfew any time soon, adding it depends on the community. “We’d like to see it ratcheted down. What we’d like to see, that will be judged by the community,” he said.
- During the previous night, some of the most hardline protesters remained on the streets after the curfew, annoyed by what they say are the authorities’ efforts to quell the protest by imposing more restrictions on residents instead of addressing the issue.
- Police used tear gas and rubber bullets to disperse the crowd, and arrested seven people for disobedience. One person has also been shot and critically wounded, and the shooter is still at large, police said.
- The curfew was imposed following a week of racially charged protests after Darren Wilson, a Ferguson police officer, shot and killed unarmed 18-year-old Michael Brown. Authorities say the curfew is needed to separate peaceful protesters from the looters who marred rallies earlier in the week.
- However, critics maintain police are mishandling the aftermath and refusing to hear the community’s call for justice. Amnesty International also disagreed with the curfew being a viable option to ease tensions. Margaret Huang, deputy executive director of Amnesty International USA, said, “the people of Ferguson should not have their rights further restricted.”
- “It’s hard to build trust when the governor won’t meet with community members and restricts their movements with a curfew,” Huang said.
- The Ferguson tragedy not also triggered outrage in the town and massive vigils, but also saw thousands of people across the United States marching in solidarity with people who have been victims of police brutality.
- Authorities say that the US Department of Justice is increasing its efforts in the investigation, with FBI agents questioning witnesses and an additional autopsy will be performed by a federal medical examiner.
- Or, as we like to call it, a promotion for the latest Keynesian GDP-boosting voodoo cult: the busted Humvee falacy.
- We congratulate US Centcom on blowing up another Made in the USA Humvee. GDP boost: 0.001%.
- That said, it appears that the US humanitarian assault in Iraq, which has ‘mission creeped’ into supporting the Kurdish resistance, may have succeeded in regaining control of Iraq’s largest dam: moments ago Al-Sumaria TV cited Kurdish forces who insist they have captured the Mosul Dam from Islamic State fighters.
- The question is for how long, and what happens if ISIS decides to simply blow it up next time and put Baghdad under 16 feet of water? Will that be spun as another “mission accomplished” for US intervention in Iraq?
- An American peace activist says US counterterrorism officials’ claim that the ISIL terrorist group poses a clear and immediate threat to the United States is a “dishonest and disingenuous ploy” to justify the military intervention in Iraq.
- Rick Rozoff, manager of the Stop NATO International Network, made the remarks during a phone interview with Press TV on Saturday.
- On Thursday, US counterterrorism officials told reporters that new strategies are urgently needed to counter the surging ISIL threat.
- “We’re seeing an expansion of its external terrorist ambitions,” one US counterterrorism official said. “As its capabilities grow, it has attracted thousands of foreign extremists — some of whom are going home to start cells. As it carves out territory [in Iraq], it wants to go beyond that and do attacks outside.”
- Rozoff said, “This is a sleight of hand on the part of the White House in the first place that has been used over the past decades to justify the US military intervention/the US aggression.”
- He also said that it is “ludicrous” that the US and its allies support “an armed insurrection within a nation” while insisting the groups they themselves armed pose a threat to the West.
- “Nothing occurring in northern Iraq — as tragic and violent as it is — in any way presents a threat directly or even indirectly to the United States,” Rozoff stated.
- “This is, I believe, making the military intervention by the US more palatable to the domestic audience in America,” he noted.
- He went on to say that for the US “to claim that it is fighting terrorism, when it is one of the main supporters of exactly that, is another act of duplicity on behalf of the White House, on behalf of the US government.”
- “You know, people would be well-advised to take what the US government says with a grain of salt and investigate these matters on their own.”
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