Sunday, 31 August 2014

Protect democracy in New Zealand!

Please sign this AVAAZ petition HERE!

It is about the future of democracy in this country. If this is not acknowledged and faced full-on by responsible citizens we will HAVE NO DEMOCRACY.

Governor General of New Zealand: Investigate all the allegations of corruption in the National government
This petition is awaiting approval by the Avaaz Community
Governor General of New Zealand: Investigate all the allegations of corruption in the National government
281 signers. Let's reach 10,000

Why this is important to me

People at all levels of the National Government of New Zealand, including the Prime Minister, have been reported to be undermining the democracy of New Zealand by using their power to sway justice, influence the media and compromise the privacy laws of New Zealand. Conspiring to defeat justice is a very serious crime.

We, the people of New Zealand, would like an immediate official Royal Commission run by the Crown. As the results will influence the pending election it is essential that this inquiry takes place before the election. We demand that the investigation be completely independent and without any Political interference.

We would like all the allegations of corruption including those in the book 'Dirty Politics', written by world-renowned investigative journalist Nicky Hager, and any other allegations that have been raised that relate to the National Party and opposition parties in New Zealand to be thoroughly investigated. We want democracy to reign in New Zealand. We want our government to be free of corruption.

Please sign this AVAAZ petition HERE!

ISIS: Behind the headlines

The Covert Origins of ISIS

Evidence exposing who put ISIS in power, and how it was done 

The Islamic militant group ISIS, formerly known as Al-Qaeda in Iraq, and recently rebranded as the so called Islamic State, is the stuff of nightmares. They are ruthless, fanatical, killers, on a mission, and that mission is to wipe out anyone and everyone, from any religion or belief system and to impose Shari'ah law. The mass executions, beheadings and even crucifixions that they are committing as they work towards this goal are flaunted like badges of pride, video taped and uploaded for the whole world to see.This is the new face of evil

Would it interest you to know who helped these psychopaths rise to power? Would it interest you to know who armed them, funded them and trained them? Would it interest you to know why? This story makes more sense if we start in the middle, so we'll begin with the overthrow of Muammar Gaddafi in 2011.

The Libyan revolution was Obama's first major foreign intervention. It was portrayed as an extension of the Arab Spring, and NATO involvement was framed in humanitarian terms
The fact that the CIA was actively working to help the Libyan rebels topple Gaddafi was no secret, nor were the airstrikes that Obama ordered against the Libyan government.However, little was said about the identity or the ideological leanings of these Libyan rebels. Not surprising, considering the fact that the leader of the Libyan rebels later admitted that his fighters included Al-Qaeda linked jihadists who fought against allied troops in Iraq.

These jihadist militants from Iraq were part of what national security analysts commonly referred to as Al-Qaeda in Iraq. Remember Al-Qaeda in Iraq was ISIS before it was rebranded.
With the assistance of U.S. and NATO intelligence and air support, the Libyan rebels captured Gaddafi and summarily executed him in the street, all the while enthusiastically chanting "Allah Akbar". For many of those who had bought the official line about how these rebels were freedom fighters aiming to establish a liberal democracy in Libya, this was the beginning of the end of their illusions..
Prior to the U.S. and NATO backed intervention, Libya had the highest standard of living of any country in Africa. This according to the U.N.'s Human Development Index rankings for 2010.However in the years following the coup, the country descended into chaos, with extremism and violence running rampant. Libya is now widely regarded as failed state (of course those who were naive enough to buy into the propaganda leading up to the war get defensive when this is said).

Now after Gaddafi was overthrown, the Libyan armories were looted, and massive quantities of weapons were sent by the Libyan rebels to Syria. The weapons, which included anti-tank and anti-aircraft missiles were smuggled into Syria through Turkey, a NATO ally. The times of Londonreported on the arrival of the shipment on September 14th, 2012. (Secondary confirmation in this NYT article) This was just three days after Ambassador Chris Stevens was killed by the attack on the U.S. embassy in Benghazi. Chris Stevens had served as the U.S. government's liaison to the Libyan rebels since April of 2011.

While a great deal media attention has focused on the fact that the State Department did not provide adequate security at the consulate, and was slow to send assistance when the attack started, Pulitzer Prize winning journalist Seymour Hersh released an article in April of 2014 which exposed a classified agreement between the CIA, Turkey and the Syrian rebels to create what was referred to as a "rat line". The "rat line" was covert network used to channel weapons and ammunition from Libya, through southern turkey and across the Syrian border. Funding was provided by Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Qatar.
With Stevens dead any direct U.S. involvement in that arms shipment was buried, and Washington would continue to claim that they had not sent heavy weaponry into Syria.

It was at this time that jihadist fighters from Libya began flooding into Syria as well. And not just low level militants. Many were experienced commanders who had fought in multiple theaters.

The U.S. and its allies were now fully focused on taking down Assad's government in Syria. As in Libya this regime change was to be framed in terms of human rights, and now overt support began to supplement the backdoor channels. The growing jihadist presence was swept under the rug and covered up.

However as the rebels gained strength, the reports of war crimes and atrocities that they were committing began to create a bit of a public relations problem for Washington. It then became standard policy to insist that U.S. support was only being given to what they referred to as"moderate" rebel forces.

This distinction, however, had no basis in reality.

In an interview given in April of 2014, FSA commander Jamal Maarouf admitted that his fighters regularly conduct joint operations with Al-Nusra. Al-Nusra is the official Al-Qa’ida branch in Syria. This statement is further validated by an interview given in June of 2013 by Colonel Abdel Basset Al-Tawil, commander of the FSA's Northern Front. In this interview he openly discusses his ties with Al-Nusra, and expresses his desire to see Syria ruled by sharia law. (You can verify the identities of these two commanders here in this document from The Institute for the Study of War)
Moderate rebels? Well it's complicated. Not that this should really come as any surprise. Reuters had reported in 2012 that the FSA's command was dominated by Islamic extremists, and the New York Times had reported that same year that the majority of the weapons that Washington were sending into Syria was ending up in the hands Jihadists. For two years the U.S. government knew that this was happening, but they kept doing it.

And the FSA's ties to Al-Nusra are just the beginning. In June of 2014 Al-Nusra merged with ISIS at the border between Iraq and Syria.

So to review, the FSA is working with Al-Nusra, Al-Nusra is working with ISIS, and the U.S. has been sending money and weapons to the FSA even though they've known since 2012 that most of these weapons were ending up in the hands of extremists. You do the math.

In that context, the sarin gas attacks of 2013 which turned out to have been committed by the Syrian rebels, makes a lot more sense doesn't it? If it wasn't enough that U.N. investigatorsRussian investigators, and Pulitzer prize winning journalist Seymour Hersh all pinned that crime on Washington's proxies, the rebels themselves threatened the West that they would expose what really happened if they were not given more advanced weaponry within one month.
By the way, this also explains why Washington then decided to target Russia next.

This threat was made on June 10th, 2013. In what can only be described as an amazing coincidence, just nine days later, the rebels received their first official shipment of heavy weapons in Aleppo.

After the second sarin gas fiasco, which was also exposed and therefore failed to garner public support for airstrikes, the U.S. continued to increase its the training and support for the rebels.
In February of 2014, Haaretz reported that the U.S. and its allies in the region, Saudi Arabia, Jordan and Israel, were in the process of helping the Syrian rebels plan and prepare for a massive attack in the south. According to Haaretz Israel had also provided direct assistance in military operations against Assad four months prior (you can access a free cached version of the page here).

Then in May of 2014 PBS ran a report in which they interviewed rebels who were trained by the U.S. in Qatar. According to those rebels they were being trained to finish off soldiers who survived attacks.

"They trained us to ambush regime or enemy vehicles and cut off the road,” said the fighter, who is identified only as "Hussein." "They also trained us on how to attack a vehicle, raid it, retrieve information or weapons and munitions, and how to finish off soldiers still alive after an ambush."

This is a blatant violation of the Geneva conventions. It also runs contrary to conventional military strategy. In conventional military strategy soldiers are better off left wounded, because this ends up costing the enemy more resources. Executing captured enemy soldiers is the kind of tactic used when you want to strike terror in the hearts of the enemy. It also just happens to be standard operating procedure for ISIS.

One month after this report, in June of 2014, ISIS made its dramatic entry, crossing over the Syrian border into Iraq, capturing Mosul, Baiji and almost reaching Baghdad. The internet was suddenly flooded with footage of drive by shootings, large scale death marches, and mass graves. And of course any Iraqi soldier that was captured was executed.

Massive quantities of American military equipment were seized during that operation. ISIS took entire truckloads of humvees, they took helicopters, tanks, and artillery. They photographed and video taped themselves and advertised what they were doing on social media, and yet for some reason Washington didn't even TRY to stop them.

U.S. military doctrine clearly calls for the destruction of military equipment and supplies when friendly forces cannot prevent them from falling into enemy hands, but that didn't happen here. ISIS was allowed to carry this equipment out of Iraq and into Syria unimpeded. The U.S. military had the means to strike these convoys, but they didn't lift a finger, even though they had been launching drone strikes in Pakistan that same week.

Why would they do that?

Though Obama plays the role of a weak, indecisive, liberal president, and while pundits from the right have had a lot of fun with that image, this is just a facade. Some presidents, like George W. Bush, rely primarily on overt military aggression. Obama gets the same job done, but he prefers covert means. Not really surprising considering the fact that Zbigniew Brzezinski was his mentor.
Those who know their history will remember that Zbigniew Brzezinski was directly involved in the funding and arming the Islamic extremists in Pakistan and Afghanistan in order to weaken the Soviets.

By the way Osama bin Laden  unintended side effects.
By the way Osama bin Laden was one of these anti-Soviet "freedom fighters" the U.S. was funding and arming.

This operation is no secret at this point, nor are the unintended side effects.Officially the U.S. government's arming and funding of the Mujahideen was a response to the Soviet invasion in December of 1979, however in his memoir entitled "From the Shadows" Robert Gates, director of the CIA under Ronald Reagan and George Bush Senior, and Secretary of Defense under both George W. Bush and Barack Obama, revealed that the U.S. actually began the covert operation 6 months prior, with the express intention of luring the Soviets into a quagmire. (You can preview the relevant text here on google books)
The strategy worked. The Soviets invaded, and the ten years of war that followed are considered by many historians as being one of the primary causes of the fall of the USSR.

This example doesn't just establish precedent, what we're seeing happen in Iraq, Afghanistan and Syria right now is actually a continuation of a old story. Al-Nusra and ISIS are ideological and organizational decedents of these extremist elements that the U.S. government made use of thirty years ago.

The U.S. the went on to create a breeding ground for these extremists by invading Iraq in 2003. Had it not been for the vacuum of power left by the removal and execution of Saddam, Al-Qaeda in Iraq, aka ISIS, would not exist. And had it not been for Washington's attempt at toppling Assad by arming, funding and training shadowy militant groups in Syria, there is no way that ISIS would have been capable of storming into Iraq in June of 2014.

On every level, no matter how you cut it, ISIS is a product of U.S. government's twisted and decrepit foreign policy.

Now all of this may seem contradictory to you as you watch the drums of war against ISIS begin to beat louder and the air strikes against them are gradually widened Why would the U.S. help a terrorist organization get established, only to attack them later?

Well why did the CIA put Saddam Hussein in power in 1963?, Why did the U.S. government back Saddam in 1980 when he launched a war of aggression against Iran, even though they knew that he was using chemical weapons? Why did the U.S. fund and arm Islamic extremists in Afghanistan against the Soviets?
There's a pattern here if you look closely. This is a tried and true geopolitical strategy.

Step 1: Build up a dictator or extremist group which can then be used to wage proxy wars against opponents. During this stage any crimes committed by these proxies are swept under the rug. [Problem]

Step 2: When these nasty characters have outlived their usefulness, that's when it's time to pull out all that dirt from under the rug and start publicizing it 24/7. This obviously works best when the public has no idea how these bad guys came to power.[Reaction]

Step 3: Finally, when the public practically begging for the government to do something, a solution is proposed. Usually the solution involves military intervention, the loss of certain liberties, or both. [Solution]

ISIS is extremely useful. They have essentially done Washington dirty work by weakening Assad. In 2014, while the news cycle has focused almost exclusively on Ukraine and Russia, ISIS made major headway in Syria, and as of August they already controlled 35% of the country.

Since ISIS largely based in Syria, this gives the U.S. a pretext to move into Syria. Sooner or later the U.S. will extend the airstrikes into Assad's backyard, and when they do U.S. officials are already making it clear that both ISIS and the Syrian government will be targeted. That, after all, is the whole point. Washington may allow ISIS to capture a bit more territory first, but the writing is on the wall, and has been for some time now.

The Obama administration has repeatedly insisted that this will never lead to boots on the ground, however, the truth of the matter is that anyone who understands anything about military tactics knows full well that ISIS cannot be defeated by airstrikes alone. In response to airstrikes ISIS will merely disperse and conceal their forces. ISIS isn't an established state power which can be destroyed by knocking out key government buildings and infrastructure. These are guerrilla fighters who cut their teeth in urban warfare.

To significantly weaken them, the war will have to involve ground troops, but even this is a lost cause. U.S. troops could certainly route ISIS in street to street battles for some time, and they might even succeed in fully occupying Syria and Iraq for a number of years, but eventually they will have to leave, and when they do, it should be obvious what will come next.

The puppets that the U.S. government has installed in the various countries that they have brought down in recent years have without exception proven to be utterly incompetent and corrupt. No one that Washington places in power will be capable of maintaining stability in Syria. Period.

Right now, Assad is the last bastion of stability in the region. He is the last chance they have for a moderate non-sectarian government and he is the only hope of anything even remotely resembling democracy for the foreseeable future. If Assad falls, Islamic extremist will take the helm, they will impose shari'ah law, and they will do everything in their power to continue spreading their ideology as far and wide as they can.

If the world truly wants to stop ISIS, there is only one way to do it:

1. First and foremost, the U.S. government and its allies must be heavily pressured to cut all support to the rebels who are attempting to topple Assad. Even if these rebels that the U.S. is arming and funding were moderate, and they're not, the fact that they are forcing Assad to fight a war on multiple fronts, only strengthens ISIS. This is lunacy.

2. The Syrian government should be provided with financial support, equipment, training and intelligence to enable them to turn the tide against ISIS. This is their territory, they should be the ones to reclaim it.

Now obviously this support isn't going to come from the U.S. or any NATO country, but there are a number of nations who have a strategic interest in preventing another regime change and chaotic aftermath. If these countries respond promptly, as in right now, they could preempt a U.S. intervention, and as long this support does not include the presence of foreign troops, doing so will greatly reduce the likelihood of a major confrontation down the road.

3. The U.S. government and its allies should should be aggressively condemned for their failed regime change policies and the individuals behind these decisions should be charged for war crimes. This would have to be done on an nation by nation level since the U.N. has done nothing but enable NATO aggression. While this may not immediately result in these criminals being arrested, it would send a message. This can be done. Malaysia has already proven this by convicting the Bush administration of war crimes in abstentia.

Now you might be thinking: "This all sounds fine and good, but what does this have to do with me? I can't influence this situation."

That perspective is quite common, and for most people, it's paralyzing, but the truth of the matter is that we can influence this. We've done it before, and we can do it again.

I'll be honest with you though, this isn't going to be easy. To succeed we have to start thinking strategically. Like it or not, this is a chess game. If we really want to rock the boat, we have to start reaching out to people in positions of influence. This can mean talking to broadcasters at your local radio station, news paper, or TV. station, or it can mean contacting influential bloggers, celebrities, business figures or government officials. Reaching out to current serving military and young people who may be considering joining up is also important. But even if it's just your neighbor, or your coworker, every single person we can reach brings us closer to critical mass. The most important step is to start trying.
If you are confused about why this is all happening, watch this video we put out on September 11th, 2012
If this message resonates with you then spread it. If you want to see the BIG picture, and trust me we've got some very interesting reports coming, subscribe to StormCloudsGathering on Youtube, and follow us on Facebook, twitter and Google plus.

BONUS ARTICLE (an interesting tangent): Were the Libyan rebels being led by a CIA plant.

Dirty Politics continued - more revelations

Dirty politics continues as emails continue to be released that reveal the corruption in this government.

Think “the Hollow Men” (the people are the same) and think fascism.

EXCLUSIVE: Déjà Vu All Over Again: John Ansell confirms his participation in anti-Green’s billboard campaign
THE MAN BEHIND the Iwi-Kiwi billboards that very nearly won the 2005 election for Don Brash and the National Party has confirmed his involvement in businessman John Third’s and former Act MP Owen Jennings’ campaign to drive down the Greens vote in the run-up to 20 September.

31 August, 2014

THE MAN BEHIND the Iwi-Kiwi billboards that very nearly won the 2005 election for Don Brash and the National Party has confirmed his involvement in businessman John Third’s and former Act MP Owen Jennings’ campaign to drive down the Greens vote in the run-up to 20 September.

In a comment sent to Chris Trotter’s blog, Bowalley Road, Mr Ansell states:
Chris, well spotted.
A big, bold campaign is required and justified to counterbalance the hundreds of thousands of dollars of free advertising being provided by the media to Nicky Hager’s attempt to gull the gullible into believing that the right play dirtier than the left.
As someone who has been involved in three ad campaigns for Labour, one for National and two for ACT, as you know, compared with Labour (they who stole the 2005 election then retrospectively legislated their theft), National are the gentlemen of the political spectrum – they just don’t have a Dotcom hacking their every conversation or a Hager receiving the stolen property and writing shock, horror stories about them.
And no, the Labour means Greens campaign is not being done for National or any other party.
I, for one, am disillusioned by all the right wing offerings at the moment. I left Key’s office when it became obvious to me that his motivation was self and party before country. I left ACT twice because they refused to grasp the nettles necessary for victory. And I don’t like the Conservatives’ intolerance of gays and such (though I do like Craig’s policy of a binding referendum on race-based seats).
So I don’t know who I’m going to vote for. But I shudder at the potential destructiveness of a Cunliffe cabinet that’s 30% Green.
And that’s what Labour means Greens is all about, Chris: to jolt what we call “the tradies and the ladies” awake to the frightening new political reality on the left: that a Cunliffe government is still very possible, and that it would be hugely damaging to the New Zealand way of life through no particular fault of Labour’s.
On current polling, Cunliffe is going to have no choice but to appoint five to seven Green cabinet ministers, some of them to very senior and influential positions.
(And, God help us, possibly even some of the Hone Harawiras, Annette Sykeses, Laila Harres and John Mintos from the even loonier left.)
I think you’ll find the main driver of the campaign, John Third, will be as open and honest about it as I’m being. He doesn’t mind if I talk about it, since we’ve got nothing to hide.
This is just a bunch of concerned Kiwis, none motivated by any party connections as far as I know, wishing to inform our countrymen and women of the true nature (no pun intended) of the not-so-cuddly Greens.
In the contest of ideas, I think you’ll agree, that’s perfectly legitimate.
To expand on those two target markets:
The “tradies” were brought up to believe in the class struggle. But they also believe Labour’s been taken over by what one of them colourfully referred to in my local the other day as “the feminazis and pillow-biters”.
In their socially conservative eyes, by comparison with the latter, a guy like John Key represents the voice of sanity. But their tribalism runs deep and they could vote either way. Especially if, in the Kiwi tradition of fairness, they reckon “it’s time we gave the other lot a go”.
We’re going to ask them not to – by showing them what that would mean for them, their family, and their country.
We’re going to boldly apprise them of the fact that, while they weren’t looking – distracted by the media beat-up over Hager the Horrible’s book – the left just got a whole lot lefter and redder (the Greens being nothing if not deepest red).
These sparkies and plumbers and builders are practical blokes who cut to the chase and come with very large dollops of common sense. They spend their days solving problems calmly and rationally. Then they go hunting and fishing.
And if there’s one group they can’t abide, it’s those knee-jerk enviro-panickers and exaggerators from the Green party who want to ban all forms of fun, for reasons which they haven’t properly thought through.
The “ladies” are the ladies of the Remuera Garden Circle and the like who believe it would be nice to have the planet represented in the corridors of power. They’d rather be out weeding their gardens than inside studying the communist infiltration of Greenpeace, so still believe the Greens are who they say they are.
They’ll be shocked to learn the truth, and we plan to do the shocking: informing them that the Greens’ love for the environment comes a very poor second to their desire to kneecap capitalism and put people last.
So far I’ve done about fifteen billboards which you’ll be seeing over the next three weeks. Any questions, just ask and I’ll do my best to answer in full.

Deconstructing Ferguson

What Happened in Ferguson
The Saker

Setting The Stage

To set the stage for what happened in Ferguson, it would probably be helpful to understand a bit about how the deck has been stacked against people of color in the United States.  Although slavery officially ended in 1863, it was ultimately replaced in the South by not only the state-sponsored terrorism of Jim Crow but unofficial re-enslavement via both the sharecropping system and arrest on trumped-up charges leading to unpaid labor on prison chain gangs. The Civil Rights Era brought an end to the worst of this but the War on Drugs ensured that African Americans continue to be arrested and imprisoned at more than twice the rate of whites for similar offenses even though drug usage is about the same for both groups.  And outrageously underpaid prison labor in for-profit private prisons is now replacing what little remains of American manufacturing.

Richard Nixon augmented white resentment in the way he "resolved" the implementation of Brown vs. The Board, the landmark 1954 Supreme Court decision on school desegregation, because he shrewdly realized that working-class white Democrats, North and South, would happily become Republicans if the Republican Party "took their side" on the issue.  The end result of that was that re-segregation occurred and black schools are now once again under-funded, with poorer facilities, out-of-date and sometimes even *no* books (!), and generally much worse teachers.  I.e., not much has really changed at all in terms of education either.

Worse yet, although blacks once lived in all areas of this country, beginning in the third quarter of the 19th century, they were herded into the cities and literally forbidden to be in many towns after dark.  And the parts of the cities they live in generally have far worse services -- less frequent garbage pick-up or snow-removal, streets and street lights not well-maintained -- but still very high rents, especially considering the quality of the housing.  Ostensibly these problems were to have ended with the passage of various Civil Rights laws but again, not really.  Redlining is an ongoing process by which blacks are prevented from buying homes in certain areas by making it far more difficult to obtain mortgages and setting higher interest rates for them than whites with similar qualifications.  Given that home ownership is generally the primary source of wealth for most American families, this arena too has been closed off to most African Americans.  And finally, jobs: given two candidates equally qualified for a position, the African American is significantly less likely to be hired.

White attitudes meanwhile have not shown much improvement either.  This is in part due to Nixon's Southern Strategy for re-empowering the Republican Party, and in part due to Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush's deliberate race-baiting (and vote-getting) strategies, including deliberately trumping up white fears of black violence and lying about the extent of welfare fraud by blacks.  But the Democrats, frightened at their loss of white voters, weren't much better:  Bill Clinton's Welfare Reform hurt a lot of innocent people, white and black, because he too wanted to look tough on black crime -- which had actually been declining -- while ignoring the serious and far more expensive crimes of wealthy whites.  Another factor here is due to the relative isolation of whites from blacks:  it's far easier to remain afraid of people you never get to know, especially if the media commentators you trust keep filling you with stereotypes instead of telling the truth.  And make no mistake about it:  the most prejudiced whites are also the most frightened whites.  Sadly, it is not only to the benefit of the Republican Party to keep them that way but, because few blacks vote Republican, the Democratic Party really doesn't have to work very hard to get the black vote  -- so they don't much bother either.  So it's a truly lose-lose situation there too. 

Now for the police.  Racial profiling and police brutality have always been a fact of life for people of color in this country.  This stems in part from the fact that traditionally the people recruited to be policemen have been quite likely to view blacks as inherently inferior, dangerous and more likely to be criminal.  Gun use is deeply ingrained in American culture, and those who hold such racist views are particularly likely to see their guns as essential for personal safety and the only real way to maintain public order.  It should also be noted that fears of a black insurrection as well as the desire to conserve one's human property led quite early to the formation of armed paramilitary slave patrols throughout the South, a primary reason for both the inclusion and peculiar wording of the Second Amendment. The growth of the American gun lobby over the past 25 years has both fed upon and reinforced these views but in point of fact, parents in the black community have traditionally had to sit their pre-teen children down for the rite of passage known as "The Talk", in which they're given very specific instructions on how to behave with sufficient meekness and submission to, hopefully, remain alive.  

However, the over-militarization of local police -- up to and including official instructions to consider and respond to non-violent protesters as terrorists -- is a disturbing new trend. The Department of Homeland Security has been a huge profit-making venture for the Military Industrial Complex, both in terms of providing taxpayer-funded grants to local police and fire departments ostensibly to protect us from terror attacks but in fact to ensure that items no longer needed for the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq could be sold somewhere.  So now the tiniest rural fire departments have armoured vehicles they can hardly afford to fuel, and local police have the latest in military equipment and Mossad training inculcating in them a genuine terror of the population -- i.e., us -- they are paid with our tax dollars to protect.

A commenter on the English version of this blog who lives in a Washington DC suburb recently called her local police department about a possible fraud case which ordinarily would have required simple fact-finding by a single detective.  Instead, a fully-armed five-man SWAT team arrived at the wrong address, ready to fire.  These events are increasingly common across the board, with innocent people of every age and color and sometimes even their pets being brutalized and/or murdered at traffic stops, in clearly non-violent situations in their own homes when simple medical or other assistance had been requested or again the police burst into the wrong home, and/or the simply because the policeman did not feel his (often quite arbitrary and illegal) orders were being sufficiently obeyed. There is also considerable  evidence to suggest poor screening for excess violence or poor behavioral controls, previous job infractions of this sort and/or drug and alcohol abuse among applicants for police work.

Add in a "normal" quantity of southern racism (also quite present in the North, of course, reinvigorated by Sarah Palin and deliberately amplified by various rightwing media in efforts to get Republicans out to vote), a large group of African Americans recently moved from the inner city to one of the few areas they were begrudgingly allowed to enter, and a town whose second-largest source of operating revenues comes from the fines and fees paid by African Americans disproportionately targeted for traffic stops and other low level offenses  and yes, Ferguson was a recipe for disaster.  The event itself though, while hardly atypical, is in some ways less interesting than its aftermath, which provides almost a Rohrschach test for America's people, media and governance at this point in time.

The Event

The evidence on which all parties agree is that Michael Brown was an unarmed 18-year-old highly regarded by his teachers who wanted to start his own business and had no criminal record.  He was shot and killed by Ferguson, MO police officer Darren Wilson while walking with a friend to visit his grandmother at approximately noon on Sunday, August 9, 2014, just two days before he was due to start college.  There is no police video of the shooting although an audiotape of several shots appears legitimate and many eyewitness tweets and a later video of Brown's body are also on record; nevertheless, many details of the incident remain unclear. What can be stated without dispute is that Wilson stopped the two teens and ordered them with rather questionable legality to get off the street and onto the sidewalk; accounts differ as to how hostile this confrontation was or whether Brown remained on the street, was pulled by Wilson towards or into the car or was at some point actually in the car assaulting Wilson as later claimed by the police. It is fairly well established, however, that Wilson was seated in his car when he first shot at Brown and his friend through the open car window but missed as they fled.  He then got out of his car, fired again at Brown and continued to shoot multiple rounds after the teen turned around with his hands up, ultimately killing him with a shot in the head as he fell. What happened next is like plate tectonics or watching a Greek tragedy unfold.

The Aftermath

Not trusting the hostile and overwhelmingly white power structure in Ferguson, Brown's family requested a private autopsy by a former NYC forensic pathologist; his results showed nine gunshot wounds (four on the right arm, three on the head and two on the chest) suggesting he had been shot at least six times though not from very close range since there was no gunshot residue on the body.   However, the full findings from the official autopsy by the St. Louis County medical examiner's office have not been made public, so the presence of any residue on Brown's clothing or in Wilson's car remains uncertain. The Justice Department was also asked to conduct an autopsy, though it is highly doubtful that additional information can be obtained. 

Michael Brown's body lay in the street for four hours afterwards at police insistence, Wilson's name was not revealed for another week and although the Ferguson Police Department filed an incident report on 8/15 alleging that Brown and his friend had committed a robbery just before he was killed, it took the department another full week to file even a highly-abbreviated report of his murder. It was acknowledged, however, that Wilson had no knowledge of the robbery at the time he ordered Brown off the street.  

Meanwhile, when the police finally allowed people to access the site of his death, Brown's family and other residents placed flowers and candles over the bloodstains on the street.  At that point, in gestures of contempt quite familiar to people who had lived through Jim Crow, one policeman let his dog urinate on the memorial and others re-blocked the street from cars and then deliberately drove their cars over the candles and flowers, scattering the petals, ruining the memorial and deeply horrifying the already shocked, grieving people.

Over the next few nights the unarmed mourners and protesters grew increasingly restless and perhaps a dozen of them began looting and vandalizing and set one business on fire. Accustomed to enforced deference but at this point genuinely afraid they might have a riot on their hands, the police refused to acknowledge any culpability, attempted with questionable veracity to place the entire blame on Brown, and responded to the protesters according to the Mossad training provided their chief.  This included riot gear, SWAT team tactics and helicopters the first night, followed by tear gas, wooden pellets, rubber bullets, smoke bombs, and flash grenades. The results were about as predicted, the governor intervened, steps were taken to calm things down, more people protested, the situation gained national attention, the media took their accustomed positions along predetermined political fault lines, the police over-reacted again, the intensity ebbed and flowed, the National Guard were called in, many people were roughed up, threatened and arrested, including several journalists, and statements by the Obama administration appeared more interested in the violence perpetrated by the protesters than against Michael Brown.  Things finally began to calm down after his funeral.  

The Fault Lines

Every single part of this tragedy, up to and including the poor training, judgment and violent behavior by some of the police, was utterly predictable; so too was the sensationalized and highly-slanted media coverage, the location, content and intensity of the public outcry on both sides of the Left-Right political divide with the typical uncaring indifference in the middle, and the far greater amount of money collected on behalf of Darren Wilson than Michael Brown.  The intensity of the protesters' response is likewise hardly surprising given the destruction of a simple memorial to a murdered teenager whose body was not yet cold, performed deliberately by members of the same organization as the man who had killed him under highly questionable circumstances.

It is equally important to recognize that what happened in Ferguson was hardly an anomaly:  not a single thing happened there that hasn't happened in many places in this country many times before.  In fact, taking a longer view, the biggest question is why the media chose to give it so much coverage.  And the answer to that most likely has more to do with their own increasingly precarious finances and the current state of our foreign rather than domestic affairs and their resulting assessment once again that the public really needs a strong diversion and the inculcation of yet more fear. 

Nevertheless, just as people all over the world are becoming increasingly aware of the Anglo-Zionist Empire's true role in taking over and/or destroying so many other countries, the ugly difference between myth and reality in American life -- essentially unchanged since our very beginning -- has been revealed for everyone to see.  The sad truth, however, is that the vast majority of Americans remain locked in to their own propaganda-induced preconceptions, and while efforts continue to be made to address the underlying issues of police militarization, brutality and unequal treatment before the law, the likelihood of genuine improvement in any of these areas is extremely low.

A Word About Sources

Please feel free to ask if you have any questions.  For more information on any of this, I will be happy to provide all sorts of URLS but for a deep and nuanced view of the African American experience I cannot more highly recommend a writer and blogger named Ta-Nehisi Coates.  He sees things clearly, thinks things through exquisitely well, and is a genuinely superb writer. 

Another good resource on this issue and others affecting African Americans is Professor Gerald Horne, interviewed here in a six-part series with transcripts:   

Alexander Reid Ross also provides an interesting and informative view of other developments in Ferguson that have an impact on this case,  

And finally, The Color Of Change, and Black Is Back Coalition are both good resources for anyone interested in the determinedly measured response by the African American community and its supporters to resolving these issues.