1. Michael Dunn found guilty of first-degree murder in death of unarmed teen Jordan DavisOctober 1, 2014
Michael Dunn, the man who shot and killed African-American teen Jordan Davis, was found guilty of first-degree murder in a retrial on Wednesday.
Dunn made national headlines in November 2012 after he approached a vehicle at a Jacksonville gas station that was playing loud rap music. Words were exchanged between Dunn and the teens inside and at some point the 47-year-old pulled out a gun and fired ten shots into the car, mortally wounding Davis, who was unarmed. The gunfire missed the other teens, who were also unarmed.
Dunn claimed he saw someone aim a gun from one of the car’s windows. Police found no weapon at the scene.
Following the shooting, Dunn and his girlfriend drove back to their nearby hotel and ordered pizza. The next day the couple drove 175 miles south of Jacksonville to Dunn’s home where he was later arrested and charged with murder and attempted murder.
Dunn also reportedly described the teens he fired on as “thugs” and “gangsters” in his initial conversations with authorities about the incident. 
The case also took on added significance since it came just months after former neighborhood watch volunteer George Zimmerman shot and killed unarmed teen Trayvon Martin in Sanford, Florida.
Both cases struck racial cords and spurred national protests and added to a string of killings of unarmed black men that prompted dialogue about the often deadly interactions between armed whites and unarmed black men especially.
Last summer Zimmerman was found not guilty of all charges related to Martin’s death.
In February of this year, Dunn was found guilty of three counts of attempted murder and firing into an occupied vehicle. However, the judge declared a mistrial on the count of first-degree murder, which results in a retrial this month. The ruling angered many who saw the case as a slam-dunk, while discouraging others still in shock over the Zimmerman acquittal.
Dunn testified in his own defense, claiming that he feared for his life when he shot at Davis and his fellow passengers.
“He wasn’t shooting at the tires. He wasn’t shooting at the windows. He was shooting to kill, aiming at Jordan Davis,” prosecutor Erin Wolfson told jurors.
During court proceedings this week, Dunn told jurors reiterated what he’d said to law enforcement shortly after the shooting, that he saw a “very angry-looking young man” in the back seat, referring to Davis, who he said then raised a barrel of a gun to the window and threatened to kill him.
“I saw the barrel of a gun. I’m petrified. I’m in fear for my life. This guy just threatened to kill me — and he showed me a gun,” Dunn testified on the witness stand during his retrial, according to reports.The jury on Wednesday deliberated for less than five hours on Wednesday, a stark contrast from the 30 hours the jury in Dunn’s original trial took to return its decision.
Dunn, 47, already faces at least 60 years in prison for his earlier convictions.
Following the hearing Davis’s parents, Ron Davis and Lucy McBath told reporters that the verdict was not just their family’s victory alone.
“We are very grateful that justice has been served, justice not only for Jordan, but justice for Trayvon and justice all the nameless, faceless children and people that will never have a voice,” Lucy McBath, Jordan’s mother said after the verdict. “And Ron and I are committed to giving our lives to walking out Jordan’s justice and Jordan’s legacy.”
“We know that Jordan’s life and legacy will live on for others,” McBath said.
Ron Davis said he found solace and reassurance in the verdict.
“I wanted Jacksonville to be a shining example that you can have a jury made up of mostly white people, white men and to be an example to the rest of the world to stop the discriminatory practices, stop discriminating, stop looking where we have to look at juries and say what the makeup of juries are,” he said.
The names of both Trayvon Martin and Jordan Davis have been intoned in recent weeks as unrest continues in Ferguson, MO over the cop-killing of black teen Michael Brown.  Like Martin and Davis before him, Brown was unarmed at the time of his killing.
The list of cases involving unarmed young black men killed by white men or law enforcement continues to grow, as do the protests demanding justice in their name.
“All across this nation, every time there is a trial between a victim that is black and someone that shot him that is white, we look at what is the make-up of the jury. Is the black victim going to be represented? Hopefully this is a start where we don’t have to look at the makeup of the jury anymore,” Ron Davis said. “All we can do is look at the case, look at the minds and the souls and the hearts of people, of human beings, not of skin color, but of human beings.” 
Source

    Michael Dunn found guilty of first-degree murder in death of unarmed teen Jordan Davis
    October 1, 2014

    Michael Dunn, the man who shot and killed African-American teen Jordan Davis, was found guilty of first-degree murder in a retrial on Wednesday.

    Dunn made national headlines in November 2012 after he approached a vehicle at a Jacksonville gas station that was playing loud rap music. Words were exchanged between Dunn and the teens inside and at some point the 47-year-old pulled out a gun and fired ten shots into the car, mortally wounding Davis, who was unarmed. The gunfire missed the other teens, who were also unarmed.

    Dunn claimed he saw someone aim a gun from one of the car’s windows. Police found no weapon at the scene.

    Following the shooting, Dunn and his girlfriend drove back to their nearby hotel and ordered pizza. The next day the couple drove 175 miles south of Jacksonville to Dunn’s home where he was later arrested and charged with murder and attempted murder.

    Dunn also reportedly described the teens he fired on as “thugs” and “gangsters” in his initial conversations with authorities about the incident. 

    The case also took on added significance since it came just months after former neighborhood watch volunteer George Zimmerman shot and killed unarmed teen Trayvon Martin in Sanford, Florida.

    Both cases struck racial cords and spurred national protests and added to a string of killings of unarmed black men that prompted dialogue about the often deadly interactions between armed whites and unarmed black men especially.

    Last summer Zimmerman was found not guilty of all charges related to Martin’s death.

    In February of this year, Dunn was found guilty of three counts of attempted murder and firing into an occupied vehicle. However, the judge declared a mistrial on the count of first-degree murder, which results in a retrial this month. The ruling angered many who saw the case as a slam-dunk, while discouraging others still in shock over the Zimmerman acquittal.

    Dunn testified in his own defense, claiming that he feared for his life when he shot at Davis and his fellow passengers.

    “He wasn’t shooting at the tires. He wasn’t shooting at the windows. He was shooting to kill, aiming at Jordan Davis,” prosecutor Erin Wolfson told jurors.

    During court proceedings this week, Dunn told jurors reiterated what he’d said to law enforcement shortly after the shooting, that he saw a “very angry-looking young man” in the back seat, referring to Davis, who he said then raised a barrel of a gun to the window and threatened to kill him.

    “I saw the barrel of a gun. I’m petrified. I’m in fear for my life. This guy just threatened to kill me — and he showed me a gun,” Dunn testified on the witness stand during his retrial, according to reports.

    The jury on Wednesday deliberated for less than five hours on Wednesday, a stark contrast from the 30 hours the jury in Dunn’s original trial took to return its decision.

    Dunn, 47, already faces at least 60 years in prison for his earlier convictions.

    Following the hearing Davis’s parents, Ron Davis and Lucy McBath told reporters that the verdict was not just their family’s victory alone.

    “We are very grateful that justice has been served, justice not only for Jordan, but justice for Trayvon and justice all the nameless, faceless children and people that will never have a voice,” Lucy McBath, Jordan’s mother said after the verdict. “And Ron and I are committed to giving our lives to walking out Jordan’s justice and Jordan’s legacy.”

    “We know that Jordan’s life and legacy will live on for others,” McBath said.

    Ron Davis said he found solace and reassurance in the verdict.

    “I wanted Jacksonville to be a shining example that you can have a jury made up of mostly white people, white men and to be an example to the rest of the world to stop the discriminatory practices, stop discriminating, stop looking where we have to look at juries and say what the makeup of juries are,” he said.

    The names of both Trayvon Martin and Jordan Davis have been intoned in recent weeks as unrest continues in Ferguson, MO over the cop-killing of black teen Michael Brown.  Like Martin and Davis before him, Brown was unarmed at the time of his killing.

    The list of cases involving unarmed young black men killed by white men or law enforcement continues to grow, as do the protests demanding justice in their name.

    “All across this nation, every time there is a trial between a victim that is black and someone that shot him that is white, we look at what is the make-up of the jury. Is the black victim going to be represented? Hopefully this is a start where we don’t have to look at the makeup of the jury anymore,” Ron Davis said. “All we can do is look at the case, look at the minds and the souls and the hearts of people, of human beings, not of skin color, but of human beings.” 

    Source

  2. DOJ orders Ferguson police to stop wearing ‘I am Darren Wilson’ braceletsSeptember 30, 2014
A Department of Justice letter sent to the Police Chief Tom Jackson of Ferguson, Missouri on Friday instructed all officers to stop wearing “I Am Darren Wilson” bracelets. Another letter issued on Tuesday ordered members of the police department to wear readable name plates, after officers were seen wearing unidentifiable tags or none at all.
Protests have not stopped in Ferguson since officer Darren Wilson shot and killed 18-year-old Michael Brown, who was unarmed, in August. And in response to civil unrest, which gained steam again after Brown’s memorial was burned to the ground on Tuesday, and the use of the slogan “I Am Mike Brown,” officers werephotographed wearing the bracelets supporting the officer who killed him.
The DOJ letter sent to Jackson explained that the bracelets contributed to an “us versus them” mentality and “upset and agitated” others.
In a separate letter, the DOJ also said that officers must stop violating name tag protocol by obscuring or altogether not wearing their name tags. The practice, DOJ said, “conveys a message to community members that, through anonymity, officers may seek to act with impunity.”
Ferguson police previously drew national attention for the militarization of officers, which made the town look like a war scene and resulted in the arrest and attempted censorship of journalists on the ground. And clashes between police and protestors haven’t stopped.
Although Jackson gave Brown’s parents a video apology and joined protesters in the streets this week, Darren Wilson still hasn’t been charged, raising questions about the justice system and politics in the town. Ferguson has a history of racial tension, and research shows that justice is hard to come by for victims of police brutality. For example, a Supreme Court ruling gives police legal deference to determine “reasonable” force. But protestors say civil unrest will continue until the officer is held accountable.
Source
When will the DOJ say something about the unlawful arrests of protesters or… the murder of unarmed teenager Mike Brown?

    DOJ orders Ferguson police to stop wearing ‘I am Darren Wilson’ bracelets
    September 30, 2014

    A Department of Justice letter sent to the Police Chief Tom Jackson of Ferguson, Missouri on Friday instructed all officers to stop wearing “I Am Darren Wilson” bracelets. Another letter issued on Tuesday ordered members of the police department to wear readable name plates, after officers were seen wearing unidentifiable tags or none at all.

    Protests have not stopped in Ferguson since officer Darren Wilson shot and killed 18-year-old Michael Brown, who was unarmed, in August. And in response to civil unrest, which gained steam again after Brown’s memorial was burned to the ground on Tuesday, and the use of the slogan “I Am Mike Brown,” officers werephotographed wearing the bracelets supporting the officer who killed him.

    The DOJ letter sent to Jackson explained that the bracelets contributed to an “us versus them” mentality and “upset and agitated” others.

    In a separate letter, the DOJ also said that officers must stop violating name tag protocol by obscuring or altogether not wearing their name tags. The practice, DOJ said, “conveys a message to community members that, through anonymity, officers may seek to act with impunity.”

    Ferguson police previously drew national attention for the militarization of officers, which made the town look like a war scene and resulted in the arrest and attempted censorship of journalists on the ground. And clashes between police and protestors haven’t stopped.

    Although Jackson gave Brown’s parents a video apology and joined protesters in the streets this week, Darren Wilson still hasn’t been charged, raising questions about the justice system and politics in the town. Ferguson has a history of racial tension, and research shows that justice is hard to come by for victims of police brutality. For example, a Supreme Court ruling gives police legal deference to determine “reasonable” force. But protestors say civil unrest will continue until the officer is held accountable.

    Source

    When will the DOJ say something about the unlawful arrests of protesters or… the murder of unarmed teenager Mike Brown?

  3. mindthefilth:

Poster reads:
"WE DON’T wanna MARRY, WE JUST wanna FUCK (and flame, freak out, flaunt it, fuck up, figure it out, figure it out again, and do something with our lives that isn’t just about property rights and patriarchy, OK?)"
by QACC (Queers Against Capitalist Crap)

    mindthefilth:

    Poster reads:

    "WE DON’T wanna MARRY, WE JUST wanna FUCK (and flame, freak out, flaunt it, fuck up, figure it out, figure it out again, and do something with our lives that isn’t just about property rights and patriarchy, OK?)"

    by QACC (Queers Against Capitalist Crap)

    Reblogged from: mindthefilth
  4. Detroit water shutoffs continue after judge says poor have no right to waterSeptember 29, 2014
U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Steven Rhodes on Monday refused to block the city from shutting off water to delinquent customers for six months, saying there is no right to free water and Detroit can’t afford to lose the revenue.
Rhodes’s order served as a stinging rejection of arguments made by thousands of protesters who staged rallies last summer fighting shutoffs and argued that there is a fundamental right to water service.
"There is no such right or law," Rhodes said.
A six-month ban on water shut-offs would boost the rate of customer defaults and threaten Detroit’s revenue, the judge added.
"The last thing (Detroit) needs is this hit to its revenues," the judge said.
Rhodes issued his ruling after two days of hearings last week and said he lacked the power to issue a water shut-off moratorium. Regardless, a lawyer for 10 residents failed to convince him there was justification for such a drastic step, he said.
Rhodes said residents do not have a right to receive water service “let alone service based on an ability to pay.”
Alice Jennings, an attorney representing the 10 residents fighting water shutoffs, said she was “disappointed but not surprised” by the judge’s ruling. Rhodes, she said, missed the issue of safety and underscored the irreparable harm that comes with the shutoffs.
"We will be looking at an appeal," Jennings said. "We believe there is a right to water and there is a right to affordable water."
The city’s policy of shutting off water to residents in one of the nation’s poorest cities briefly overshadowed the city’s historic bankruptcy case and debt-cutting plan, which hinges on spinning off the Detroit Water and Sewerage Department to suburban counties.
The city started a more vigorous shut-off campaign in the spring compared to other years in an effort to get more people to pay their outstanding bills or get on a payment plan. Rhodes on Monday called the efforts a “bold, commendable and necessarily aggressive plan.”
About 24,000 city water accounts have been shut off this year. A month-long moratorium halting shutoffs ended in August and crews are now back to shutting off water to up to 400 accounts a day, DWSD officials said last week.
Residents, civic groups, and “The Avengers” actor Mark Ruffalo participated in mass protests in recent months fighting the city’s treatment of delinquent water customers. A pocket of protesters lined West Lafayette Boulevard outside federal court Monday.
Ten residents requested the moratorium, saying it would give the city time to establish a plan to better help those who can’t afford to pay their water bills. Lawyers for Detroit say such an order would encourage further delinquency, cause the department to lose revenues and lead to higher rates.
During closing arguments, Jennings argued the “hodgepodge” of programs designed to aid a limited group of residents facing water shut-offs isn’t good enough for the city plagued by widespread poverty.
Jennings told the judge that a “very brief” stop to shut-offs would give the city more time to craft a cohesive program.
Tom O’Brien, an attorney for the water department, has countered that a 10-point plan to educate and assist low-income residents wasn’t constructed overnight.
"It was developed," he said, and "was intended to be practical."
O’Brien also played up a fund outlined in the plan, and a separate pot of annual aid money called for in a proposed Great Lakes Water Authority.
"That’s significant money, it goes a long way," he said.
Detroit’s bankruptcy trial, meanwhile, resumes Monday, five days after City Council members reclaimed power over city government while agreeing to keep Emergency Manager Kevyn Orr in place for bankruptcy-related duties.
The deal means council will resume control over city departments, contracts and other day-to-day matters. Orr’s official removal will be effective if the city’s debt-cutting bankruptcy plan is confirmed.
Orr is expected to testify soon about the debt-cutting plan.
SourcePhoto

    Detroit water shutoffs continue after judge says poor have no right to water
    September 29, 2014

    U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Steven Rhodes on Monday refused to block the city from shutting off water to delinquent customers for six months, saying there is no right to free water and Detroit can’t afford to lose the revenue.

    Rhodes’s order served as a stinging rejection of arguments made by thousands of protesters who staged rallies last summer fighting shutoffs and argued that there is a fundamental right to water service.

    "There is no such right or law," Rhodes said.

    A six-month ban on water shut-offs would boost the rate of customer defaults and threaten Detroit’s revenue, the judge added.

    "The last thing (Detroit) needs is this hit to its revenues," the judge said.

    Rhodes issued his ruling after two days of hearings last week and said he lacked the power to issue a water shut-off moratorium. Regardless, a lawyer for 10 residents failed to convince him there was justification for such a drastic step, he said.

    Rhodes said residents do not have a right to receive water service “let alone service based on an ability to pay.”

    Alice Jennings, an attorney representing the 10 residents fighting water shutoffs, said she was “disappointed but not surprised” by the judge’s ruling. Rhodes, she said, missed the issue of safety and underscored the irreparable harm that comes with the shutoffs.

    "We will be looking at an appeal," Jennings said. "We believe there is a right to water and there is a right to affordable water."

    The city’s policy of shutting off water to residents in one of the nation’s poorest cities briefly overshadowed the city’s historic bankruptcy case and debt-cutting plan, which hinges on spinning off the Detroit Water and Sewerage Department to suburban counties.

    The city started a more vigorous shut-off campaign in the spring compared to other years in an effort to get more people to pay their outstanding bills or get on a payment plan. Rhodes on Monday called the efforts a “bold, commendable and necessarily aggressive plan.”

    About 24,000 city water accounts have been shut off this year. A month-long moratorium halting shutoffs ended in August and crews are now back to shutting off water to up to 400 accounts a day, DWSD officials said last week.

    Residents, civic groups, and “The Avengers” actor Mark Ruffalo participated in mass protests in recent months fighting the city’s treatment of delinquent water customers. A pocket of protesters lined West Lafayette Boulevard outside federal court Monday.

    Ten residents requested the moratorium, saying it would give the city time to establish a plan to better help those who can’t afford to pay their water bills. Lawyers for Detroit say such an order would encourage further delinquency, cause the department to lose revenues and lead to higher rates.

    During closing arguments, Jennings argued the “hodgepodge” of programs designed to aid a limited group of residents facing water shut-offs isn’t good enough for the city plagued by widespread poverty.

    Jennings told the judge that a “very brief” stop to shut-offs would give the city more time to craft a cohesive program.

    Tom O’Brien, an attorney for the water department, has countered that a 10-point plan to educate and assist low-income residents wasn’t constructed overnight.

    "It was developed," he said, and "was intended to be practical."

    O’Brien also played up a fund outlined in the plan, and a separate pot of annual aid money called for in a proposed Great Lakes Water Authority.

    "That’s significant money, it goes a long way," he said.

    Detroit’s bankruptcy trial, meanwhile, resumes Monday, five days after City Council members reclaimed power over city government while agreeing to keep Emergency Manager Kevyn Orr in place for bankruptcy-related duties.

    The deal means council will resume control over city departments, contracts and other day-to-day matters. Orr’s official removal will be effective if the city’s debt-cutting bankruptcy plan is confirmed.

    Orr is expected to testify soon about the debt-cutting plan.

    Source
    Photo

  5. Our feminism looks like an end to police repression of minority communities, access to quality public schools that do not expel our children for minor infractions, and an end to the prison industrial complex, which locks up far too many of our men and women, fracturing families and creating further economic burdens when our loved ones are released. We need comprehensive healthcare and access to abortion clinics, but we also need a robust mental healthcare system, that can address long centuries of racist, sexist, sexual and emotional trauma. We need equal pay, yes. But we also need good jobs, rather than being relegated to an endless cycle of low-wage work.
  6. mehreenkasana:

    Haunting portraits of the victims of America’s drone war in Pakistan.

    Reblogged from: maiqilai
  7. socialjusticekoolaid:

    Last Night in Ferguson (9.28-9.29): Last night’s protest was one of the in Ferguson this month, proving once again that the residents of Ferguson/STL County are some of the most resilient and inspiring in all the land. The police were literally holding peaceful protesters hostage late into the night (folks who were complying with all police requests) so they could negotiate with the remaining folks to leave, but the protesters didn’t back down. Eventually all arrestees were released, and many plan to be back out there tonight.

    Injustice in Ferguson continues, but despite it, community now thrives too. This is still happening. Are you still paying attention? #staywoke #farfromover

    You cannot jail the resistance!

    Reblogged from: ghostofcommunism
  8. oswaldofguadalupe:

    The Message - M.I.A.

    Connected to the Google
    Connected to the government

    Headbone connects to the neckbone
    Neckbone connects to the armbone
    Armbone connects to the handbone
    Handbone connects to the internet
    Connected to the Google
    Connected to the government

    Reblogged from: fuckyeahanarchopunk
  9. TW: Rape, transmisogyny - A transgender woman says she was locked in a cell with her rapistSeptember 29, 2014
The odds were already against Zahara Green when she entered prison on May 10, 2012. Prisons have long been plagued by a culture of sexual harassment and assault, but Green was a transgender woman in an all-male facility — making her about 13 times more likely to be sexually assaulted than a non-transgender inmate,according to a 2009 study.
Green told BuzzFeed News she distinctly remembers her first day in general population at Rogers State Prison, a facility about an hour and a half outside of Savannah, Georgia. It was two months into her sentence, and she said she can still envision the officer dropping her off at her dorm and walking away.
“I kind of just felt that he was letting me out with the wolves. You’re on your own. It clicked in my mind,” she said. “I found my bed, I placed my stuff on my bed, and then I sat there for about an hour and people were just coming in and out as if this was some kind of showcase.”
Under federal law, states must seriously consider transgender inmates’ safety concerns — and the Georgia Department of Corrections has said it has zero tolerance for sexual misconduct. Yet the state of Georgia placed Green in a men’s prison, where she faced a greater risk of being assaulted. Around the country, decisions on transgender inmates’ placement and their level of protection are ultimately made on a case-by-case basis. But according to her lawsuit, these often ambiguous decisions and lack of safety oversight may have played a role in Zahara Green’s alleged rape by another inmate — not while they mingled in general population, but while she was being secured in “protective custody.”
Green was approached by Darryl Ricard — a high-ranking gang member within the prison, she said — right after moving to the dorm at Rogers. He was in his seventh year of a life sentence for aggravated child molestation, rape, and kidnapping.
“He basically made me his property,” she said.
Over the next few weeks, as Ricard repeatedly coerced her to perform oral sex on him, Green would write to prison administrative staff about the unsafe environment for transgender and homosexual inmates, Green said. Rogers State Prison housed one other transgender woman at the time, to Green’s knowledge, although Green was the only one receiving hormone treatment. In one letter, she says she mentioned being sexually targeted by Ricard.
Shortly afterward, she requested to be put into protective custody, which is typically a solitary cell for prisoners who believe their safety is at risk, carefully monitored by prison officials. What allegedly happened next makes up the bulk of a lawsuit Green and her Atlanta-based lawyer Mario Williams filed in May against the prison’s warden, deputy warden, and two correctional officers. Last week, they filed another complaint against an additional 13 additional correctional officers.
On Sept. 21, 2012, Green and Ricard were separately admitted into protective custody. According to Green, Ricard was the chief reason she had requested the special security measures. But for still unclear reasons, when Green entered her protective custody cell around 4:30 a.m., “Ricard was waiting” there, the complaint says. “Ricard raped Green, and the Defendants to this action all knew Ricard was going to rape (or at the very least, sexually assault) Green yet permitted Ricard to sexually assault Green.” The correction officers allegedly “condoned” the rape.
According to Williams, Green’s attorney, Green and Ricard had been assigned to different protective custody cells, and Ricard should have never been allowed in Green’s cell. Nearly 24 hours passed, though security checks were supposed to be made at least every 30 minutes. Williams said he believes the Georgia Department of Corrections knew about the situation and did nothing to prevent Green’s assault. The department declined to comment on the case to BuzzFeed News, citing pending litigation.
“Everyone has to wonder how Green’s assailant got put in protective custody on the same day and same time as Green. Then permitted to be in Green’s cell for nearly 24 hours,” Williams said. “This case is about more than Ricard. There has been official misconduct.”In a court document responding to Green’s complaint, a lawyer for the defendants — repeatedly referring to Green as “he” — denied that the deputy warden had read any letter about Ricard’s “oral sodomy” of Green. The response noted that Green’s mother had contacted the prison about her daughter’s safety concerns, but alleged that when asked directly, Green said she “was not afraid.” The response also said that Green was “at some point … placed in the same cell as inmate Darryl Ricard.”
While the case moves forward, some local and national groups have begun rallying around Green. One of the first people to reach out to her was Kenneth Glasgow of the Ordinary People Society. He describes Green as “humble and quiet,” but also “tormented and traumatized,” unable to talk at length about the incident; while Green spoke to BuzzFeed News on Wednesday, she once paused to keep from crying.
After the alleged assault — when Green eventually got a guard’s attention — a sergeant came to the cell, she said. He apparently saw Ricard with a razor blade in his hand and stuck pepper spray through an opening in the cell door. Ricard quickly surrendered, Green said, and they were both separately removed from the cell. Later, Green was taken to a sexual assault examination nurse, who performed a rape kit.
Green was kept in protective custody for the next week and a half. Then she was transferred to Georgia State Prison, a facility down the street, where she immediately requested protective custody. Eventually she was placed in a unit made up a several single cells housing all transgender inmates. “I was the sixth or seventh on transgender hormone therapy,” Green said. She felt safe there.
But it wasn’t until her final transfer — to Atlanta Transitional Facility — that Green said she felt her life begin to change for the better.
Green was 17 when she began transitioning. It wasn’t long after that she began shoplifting from various Walmarts — landing her with a prison sentence and a life ban from the retailer. She says she doesn’t think this anymore, but at the time, theft felt like her only option.
“I did not think it was possible to find a job as a transgender person in Georgia. All the trans people I knew were either shoplifting, forging checks, or prostituting,” she said. “I didn’t know a single transgender person who had a job.”
At the transitional center, “they opened my eyes to another way,” she said. She’s been on parole since her release in March. In August, she began school, working to become a paralegal. She has a job at Walgreens. She’s helped her other transgender friends find jobs. She’s 25 now and said, “There’s a better life for me.”
She hopes one outcome of the lawsuit is that transgender people are not tested out in general population before officials decide it’s not a safe fit. While the federal Prison Rape Elimination Act forces states to take transgender inmates’ safety concerns into consideration, Harper Jean Tobin of the National Center for Transgender Equality said it’s not clear that they always do. (In Georgia, another transgender inmate is currently fighting for her access to hormone therapy in a high-profile case.)
“If institutions are able to make the culture shift … toward not making those auto assumptions but really focusing on what is keeping each person safe,” Tobin said, “they will start making those placements in women’s facilities more often.”
Source

    TW: Rape, transmisogyny - A transgender woman says she was locked in a cell with her rapist
    September 29, 2014

    The odds were already against Zahara Green when she entered prison on May 10, 2012. Prisons have long been plagued by a culture of sexual harassment and assault, but Green was a transgender woman in an all-male facility — making her about 13 times more likely to be sexually assaulted than a non-transgender inmate,according to a 2009 study.

    Green told BuzzFeed News she distinctly remembers her first day in general population at Rogers State Prison, a facility about an hour and a half outside of Savannah, Georgia. It was two months into her sentence, and she said she can still envision the officer dropping her off at her dorm and walking away.

    “I kind of just felt that he was letting me out with the wolves. You’re on your own. It clicked in my mind,” she said. “I found my bed, I placed my stuff on my bed, and then I sat there for about an hour and people were just coming in and out as if this was some kind of showcase.”

    Under federal law, states must seriously consider transgender inmates’ safety concerns — and the Georgia Department of Corrections has said it has zero tolerance for sexual misconduct. Yet the state of Georgia placed Green in a men’s prison, where she faced a greater risk of being assaulted. Around the country, decisions on transgender inmates’ placement and their level of protection are ultimately made on a case-by-case basis. But according to her lawsuit, these often ambiguous decisions and lack of safety oversight may have played a role in Zahara Green’s alleged rape by another inmate — not while they mingled in general population, but while she was being secured in “protective custody.”

    Green was approached by Darryl Ricard — a high-ranking gang member within the prison, she said — right after moving to the dorm at Rogers. He was in his seventh year of a life sentence for aggravated child molestation, rape, and kidnapping.

    “He basically made me his property,” she said.

    Over the next few weeks, as Ricard repeatedly coerced her to perform oral sex on him, Green would write to prison administrative staff about the unsafe environment for transgender and homosexual inmates, Green said. Rogers State Prison housed one other transgender woman at the time, to Green’s knowledge, although Green was the only one receiving hormone treatment. In one letter, she says she mentioned being sexually targeted by Ricard.

    Shortly afterward, she requested to be put into protective custody, which is typically a solitary cell for prisoners who believe their safety is at risk, carefully monitored by prison officials. What allegedly happened next makes up the bulk of a lawsuit Green and her Atlanta-based lawyer Mario Williams filed in May against the prison’s warden, deputy warden, and two correctional officers. Last week, they filed another complaint against an additional 13 additional correctional officers.

    On Sept. 21, 2012, Green and Ricard were separately admitted into protective custody. According to Green, Ricard was the chief reason she had requested the special security measures. But for still unclear reasons, when Green entered her protective custody cell around 4:30 a.m., “Ricard was waiting” there, the complaint says. “Ricard raped Green, and the Defendants to this action all knew Ricard was going to rape (or at the very least, sexually assault) Green yet permitted Ricard to sexually assault Green.” The correction officers allegedly “condoned” the rape.

    According to Williams, Green’s attorney, Green and Ricard had been assigned to different protective custody cells, and Ricard should have never been allowed in Green’s cell. Nearly 24 hours passed, though security checks were supposed to be made at least every 30 minutes. Williams said he believes the Georgia Department of Corrections knew about the situation and did nothing to prevent Green’s assault. The department declined to comment on the case to BuzzFeed News, citing pending litigation.

    “Everyone has to wonder how Green’s assailant got put in protective custody on the same day and same time as Green. Then permitted to be in Green’s cell for nearly 24 hours,” Williams said. “This case is about more than Ricard. There has been official misconduct.”

    In a court document responding to Green’s complaint, a lawyer for the defendants — repeatedly referring to Green as “he” — denied that the deputy warden had read any letter about Ricard’s “oral sodomy” of Green. The response noted that Green’s mother had contacted the prison about her daughter’s safety concerns, but alleged that when asked directly, Green said she “was not afraid.” The response also said that Green was “at some point … placed in the same cell as inmate Darryl Ricard.”

    While the case moves forward, some local and national groups have begun rallying around Green. One of the first people to reach out to her was Kenneth Glasgow of the Ordinary People Society. He describes Green as “humble and quiet,” but also “tormented and traumatized,” unable to talk at length about the incident; while Green spoke to BuzzFeed News on Wednesday, she once paused to keep from crying.

    After the alleged assault — when Green eventually got a guard’s attention — a sergeant came to the cell, she said. He apparently saw Ricard with a razor blade in his hand and stuck pepper spray through an opening in the cell door. Ricard quickly surrendered, Green said, and they were both separately removed from the cell. Later, Green was taken to a sexual assault examination nurse, who performed a rape kit.

    Green was kept in protective custody for the next week and a half. Then she was transferred to Georgia State Prison, a facility down the street, where she immediately requested protective custody. Eventually she was placed in a unit made up a several single cells housing all transgender inmates. “I was the sixth or seventh on transgender hormone therapy,” Green said. She felt safe there.

    But it wasn’t until her final transfer — to Atlanta Transitional Facility — that Green said she felt her life begin to change for the better.

    Green was 17 when she began transitioning. It wasn’t long after that she began shoplifting from various Walmarts — landing her with a prison sentence and a life ban from the retailer. She says she doesn’t think this anymore, but at the time, theft felt like her only option.

    “I did not think it was possible to find a job as a transgender person in Georgia. All the trans people I knew were either shoplifting, forging checks, or prostituting,” she said. “I didn’t know a single transgender person who had a job.”

    At the transitional center, “they opened my eyes to another way,” she said. She’s been on parole since her release in March. In August, she began school, working to become a paralegal. She has a job at Walgreens. She’s helped her other transgender friends find jobs. She’s 25 now and said, “There’s a better life for me.”

    She hopes one outcome of the lawsuit is that transgender people are not tested out in general population before officials decide it’s not a safe fit. While the federal Prison Rape Elimination Act forces states to take transgender inmates’ safety concerns into consideration, Harper Jean Tobin of the National Center for Transgender Equality said it’s not clear that they always do. (In Georgia, another transgender inmate is currently fighting for her access to hormone therapy in a high-profile case.)

    “If institutions are able to make the culture shift … toward not making those auto assumptions but really focusing on what is keeping each person safe,” Tobin said, “they will start making those placements in women’s facilities more often.”

    Source

  10. The Ferguson protests aren’t over. Here’s why they picked up again this week
    September 29, 2014

    A desecrated memorial and comments from a police chief this week brought the simmering tensions between the black residents of Ferguson, Missouri, and local law enforcement to a boil once again, sparking an escalation in protests in the St. Louis suburb during the past several days.

    These latest protests were the largest and most volatile since the initial demonstrations that took place for several weeks after Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson shot unarmed black 18-year-old Michael Brownon August 9. The first few weeks of protests, which played out through much of August, captured national media attention as demonstrators took to the streets to speak out against what many saw as a history of discrimination by the local government and police against the black community.

    Throughout most of September, the tensions appeared to die down. But a couple of events this week, starting with a burned memorial to Brown, were enough to reinvigorate the protests, indicating that the underlying issues and racial tensions in Ferguson are far from resolved.

    A desecrated memorial and comments from a police chief this week brought the simmering tensions between the black residents of Ferguson, Missouri, and local law enforcement to a boil once again, sparking an escalation in protests in the St. Louis suburb during the past several days.

    These latest protests were the largest and most volatile since the initial demonstrations that took place for several weeks after Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson shot unarmed black 18-year-old Michael Brownon August 9. The first few weeks of protests, which played out through much of August, captured national media attention as demonstrators took to the streets to speak out against what many saw as a history of discrimination by the local government and police against the black community.

    Throughout most of September, the tensions appeared to die down. But a couple of events this week, starting with a burned memorial to Brown, were enough to reinvigorate the protests, indicating that the underlying issues and racial tensions in Ferguson are far from resolved.

    Some residents suggested to St. Louis TV station KSDK that the fire was intentional. “We know it wasn’t an accident,” one protester told KSDK. “You know how many people live over there that seen it from the beginning? I mean it’s just a big old flame. You could tell the way it was set.”

    The ensuing protests at Canfield and West Florissant streets, where much of the initial demonstrations took place, at times got violent. CNN reported five arrests after people threatened police with gunshots, rocks, and bottles, and one person reportedly threw a Molotov cocktail at a parking structure. Two officers were injured, and one business was broken into, Missouri Highway Patrol Captain Ron Johnson told media.

    Perhaps in response to the Tuesday protest, Ferguson Police Chief Tom Jackson, in a video posted Thursday, recognized several of his police department’s mistakes in the aftermath of the shooting. The apology was long sought by the Brown family and protesters.

    Jackson apologized to the Brown family for keeping Brown’s body in the street for hours as officers investigated the scene. He also acknowledged the feelings of distrust toward the police within Ferguson’s black community, and he appeared to express some regret for how police, which at first responded with a militarized presence to largely peaceful demonstrators, handled the protests.

    "The right of the people to peacefully assemble is what the police are here to protect," he said. "If anyone who was peacefully exercising that right is upset and angry, I feel responsible, and I’m sorry."

    But the day before, on Wednesday, Jackson told CNN that police will continue using riot gear if the situation escalates. “We cannot have nights like last night,” he said “We can’t have actions like last night that can result in injury or death. Those will not be tolerated.”

    In another interview with CNN, Jackson also said that, despite his mistakes, he will not step down. “I’ve talked to a lot of people who have initially called for [my resignation] and then have changed their mind after having meetings and discussions about moving forward,” Jackson said. “Realistically, I’m going to stay here and see this through. You know, this is mine, and I’m taking ownership of it.”

    Demonstrators appeared to take Jackson’s video apology as too little, too late. They again took to the streets on Thursday night and the weekend, some reportedly demanding that the police chief resign. Despite Jackson’s attempt to march with protesters on Thursday night, the situation once again escalated into violent clashes and arrests.

    Full article

  11. Hong Kong’s unprecedented protests & police crackdown, explained
    September 29, 2014

    Protest marches and vigils are fairly common in Hong Kong, but what began on Friday and escalated dramatically on Sunday is unprecedented. Mass acts of civil disobedience were met by a shocking and swift police response, which has led to clashes in the streets and popular outrage so great that analysts can only guess at what will happen next.

    What’s going on in Hong Kong right now is a very big deal, and for reasons that go way beyond just this weekend’s protests. Hong Kong’s citizens are protesting to keep their promised democratic rights, which they worry — with good reason — could be taken away by the central Chinese government in Beijing. This moment is a sort of standoff between Hong Kong and China over the city’s future, a confrontation that they have been building toward for almost 20 years.

    On Wednesday, student groups led peaceful marches to protest China’s new plan for Hong Kong’s 2017 election, which looked like China reneging on its promise to grant the autonomous region full democracy (see the next section for what that plan was such a big deal). Protest marches are pretty common in Hong Kong so it didn’t seem so unusual at first.

    Things started escalating on Friday. Members of a protest group called Occupy Central (Central is the name of Hong Kong’s downtown district) had planned to launch a “civil disobedience” campaign on October 1, a national holiday celebrating communist China’s founding. But as the already-ongoing protesters escalated they decided to go for it now. On Friday, protesters peacefully occupied the forecourt (a courtyard-style open area in front of an office building) of Hong Kong’s city government headquarters along with other downtown areas.

    The really important thing is what happened next: Hong Kong’s police cracked down with surprising force, fighting in the streets with protesters and eventually emerging with guns that, while likely filled with rubber bullets, look awfully militaristic. In response, outraged Hong Kong residents flooded into the streets to join the protesters, and on Sunday police blanketed Central with tear gas, which has been seen as a shocking and outrageous escalation. The Chinese central government issued a statement endorsing the police actions, as did Hong Kong’s pro-Beijing chief executive, a tacit signal that Beijing wishes for the protests to be cleared.

    You have to remember that this is Hong Kong: an affluent and orderly place that prides itself on its civility and its freedom. Hong Kongers have a bit of a superiority complex when it comes to China, and see themselves as beyond the mainland’s authoritarianism and disorder. But there is also deep, deep anxiety that this could change, that Hong Kong could lose its special status, and this week’s events have hit on those anxieties to their core.

    This began in 1997, when the United Kingdom handed over Hong Kong, one of its last imperial possessions, to the Chinese government. Hong Kong had spent over 150 years under British rule; it had become a fabulously wealthy center of commerce and had enjoyed, while not full democracy, far more freedom and democracy than the rest of China. So, as part of the handover, the Chinese government in Beijing promised to let Hong Kong keep its special rights and its autonomy — a deal known as “one country, two systems.”

    A big part of that deal was China’s promise that, in 2017, Hong Kong’s citizens would be allowed to democratically elect their top leader for the first time ever. That leader, known as the Hong Kong chief executive, is currently appointed by a pro-Beijing committee. In 2007, the Chinese government reaffirmed its promise to give Hong Kong this right in 2017, which in Hong Kong is referred to as universal suffrage — a sign of how much value people assign to it.

    But there have been disturbing signs throughout this year that the central Chinese government might renege on its promise. In July, the Chinese government issued a “white paper” stating that it has “comprehensive jurisdiction” over Hong Kong and that “the high degree of autonomy of [Hong Kong] is not an inherent power, but one that comes solely from the authorization by the central leadership.” It sounded to many like a warning from Beijing that it could dilute or outright revoke Hong Kong’s freedoms, and tens of thousands of Hong Kong’s citizens marched in protest.

    Then, in August, Beijing announced its plan for Hong Kong’s 2017 elections. While citizens would be allowed to vote for the chief executive, the candidates for the election would have to be approved by a special committee just like the pro-Beijing committee that currently appoints the chief executive. This lets Beijing hand-pick candidates for the job, which is anti-democratic in itself, but also feels to many in Hong Kong like a first step toward eroding their promised democratic rights.

    Full article
    Photo 1, 2, 3

  12. rafi-dangelo:

    Alaska reporter quits on air to advocate for legal marijuana.

    After reporting on the Alaska Cannabis Club on Sunday night’s broadcast, KTVA’s Charlo Greene identified herself as the business’s owner and said she would be devoting all her energy to fighting for “freedom and fairness.” She then used an expletive to quit her job, and walked off-camera.

    (source)

    Mostly I’m just shocked that there are Black people in Alaska.  How did we get way up there?  Can you even get good collards?  Do they sell Luster’s Pink Oil Moisturizer in Alaska?  Is there a constant battle against ashyness?  I have so many questions for Charlo Green.

    But how many people haven’t dreamed of quitting a job just like that?  I’m jealous.  I mean obviously her career in broadcast journalism is over, but she owns a pot store anyway so she’s fine. Plus, she got that free advertisement in the moment and now she’s about to go viral.  Everybody with a weed card is gonna be hitting up Charlo for their weed because she’s a Boss, so good job girl.  Money couldn’t buy this kind of publicity.

    Reblogged from: rafi-dangelo
  13. Go, Emma, go!

    Go, Emma, go!

    Reblogged from: amerykah
  14. Israel sprays “skunk water” into Palestinian homesSeptember 22, 2014
A new report highlights Israel’s use of supposedly “non-lethal weapons” against unarmed Palestinian protesters.
The report – “Proven Effective: Crowd control weapons in the Occupied Territories” – was published by the group Who Profits and launched at a conference in Jerusalem on 10 September.
Focusing on tear gas, skunk water and “The Scream” (a high volume acoustic device strapped atop Israeli military vehicles), the report documents their regular use to violently crush unarmed Palestinian demonstrators throughout the occupied West Bank, including East Jerusalem.
It begins by reiterating two immensely important facts reported time and again by The Electronic Intifada: firstly, that Israel’s “non-lethal” weapons, in fact, often kill Palestinians, and secondly, that the manufacturing of weapons used against Palestinians is an extremely lucrative business.
American supplier
Who Profits focuses on tear gas produced by the American company Combined Systems, Incorporated (also known as Combined Tactical Systems), which produces “less lethal” weapons and “provides support to military forces and law enforcement agencies worldwide,” according to its website.
CSI also produces tear gas grenades and sting-ball bombs, or small devices that explode and shoot out dozens of tiny steel balls at demonstrators.
Its tear gas canisters, clearly labeled with the initials CSI or CST, are often found in Palestinian villages after the Israeli military raids them or attacks protests.
CSI is represented by M.R. Hunter, a Tel Aviv-based company that claims to be “the largest provider of tear gas munitions to the Israeli army, prison service and police,” according to Who Profits.
Repression across the globe
As Alex Kane of Mondoweiss recently wrote, CSI tear gas was used last month against unarmed protesters in Ferguson, Missouri, where militarized US police forces laid siege after demonstrations erupted in response to a police officer’s killing of an unarmed black teenager.
During the 2011 Egyptian revolution, regime forces used CSI tear gas transported via Israel. Who Profits notes that at least forty Egyptians were killed by tear gas, and another 2,000 were injured either through inhalation or from being struck by the canisters.
CSI provides tear gas and other weapons to repressive regimes across the globe, including Bahrain, Tunisia and Yemen.
A 2008 cable published by WikiLeaks shows the US government’s direct involvement in transferring CSI weapons to Israeli occupation authorities. Though this was never a secret, the cable shows the lucrative nature of weapons sales.
The same cable also suggests that Israel transferred weapons shipments to departments not approved by the US Secretary of State.   
The Secretary of State’s Office of Defense Trade Controls Compliance, which seeks to ensure American weapons are being used in a pre-approved manner and setting, sought an investigation into whether weapons intended for Israeli police use were being used by Israeli prison authorities.
According to the cable, an investigation was necessary because “inconsistencies were noted in the license application supporting documents.” It includes an itemized list of such weapons – mostly “CS” tear gas – that amounts to a total worth more than $5.1 million.
Repulsive odor
The Israeli military has for years sprayed Palestinians in protest settings and outside of them with skunk water, a foul smelling liquid generally fired from a high power turret atop a military vehicle.
Known as “The Skunk,” the weapon’s safety data sheet concedes that it “causes skin irritation, eye irradiation and redness and abdominal pain,” Who Profits notes.
First employed by Israel against Palestinians in 2008, it has become a regular form of attack against unarmed protesters in West Bank villages like Nabi Saleh, Bilin and Kufr Qaddoum.
Mariam Barghouti, a Ramallah-based activist and writer, said the weapon “projects water at a high velocity so there is a risk of that injuring you,” adding that many have started referring to it as “the shitter” in Arabic.
“Due to its intense smell that gnaws at your nostrils, it makes it difficult to breathe,” she told The Electronic Intifada. “If you only get sprayed with it, that is an agony you have to live with for a few days to a few weeks. The water lingers on your skin to a point when you want to rip your skin off.”
“It smells like sewage mixed with rotten food,” she explained.
Passed out from the smell
Israel’s frequent use of skunk water “raises suspicions that The Skunk is being used punitively against villages where regular weekly demonstrations are held,” according to the Israeli human rights group B’Tselem.
B’Tselem also notes that in 2012 Israeli forces sprayed a funeral procession with skunk water in Hebron, a city in the southern part of the occupied West Bank. 
Who Profits and B’Tselem both point out that skunk water is often sprayed directly into the homes of Palestinians, despite Israel’s claim that it is used solely for “riot control” purposes.
In July 2014, Israeli occupation forces sprayed skunk water into 75-year-old Rubhiya Darwish’s home in Bethlehem’s Aida refugee camp.
“I saw a burst of water breaking through the window, when suddenly an intense odor hit and I passed out from the smell, so they had to take me to the hospital,” the elderly woman told Ma’an News Agency.
Israel’s targeting of homes and businesses not involved in demonstrations has been roundly denounced by Palestinian, Israeli and international human rights groups.
Israeli military forces also sprayed several other homes in the refugee camp and the surrounding area that day.
European involvement
The weapon was developed by Israeli police in collaboration with Odortec, an Israeli company that agreed to develop scent-based weapons for occupation authorities at a heavily discounted rate.
Though Odortec is owned by Israeli businessmen, Who Profits adds that the weapon’s production involves the German company MAN, which provides the chassis for the military vehicles that carry the weapon.
In 2013, MAN, which also sells its trucks and equipment across Europe, enjoyed a revenue of €16.7 billion Euros (more than $20 billion), according to a July 2014 Reuters report.
Another Israeli company, Beit Alfa Technologies, provides the actual military vehicles that carry the weapon. According to its website, it provides “riot control gear” to more than 35 countries across the world.
“The Scream”
Since 2005, Israeli occupation forces have also employed the use of “The Scream,” a device described by manufacturer Electro-Optics Research and Development as emitting “sound levels that are unbearable to humans at distances up to 100 meters.”
The Long Range Acoustic Devices Corporation (LRAD) has been providing a newer version of the weapon to the Israeli military since 2012. In 2011, LRAD announced that its first shipment of “The Scream” to Israel rang up a bill of $293,000.
Numerous victim testimonies contradict the claims of Israel and the manufacturers that the weapon is safe. 
According to Who Profits, the group Physicians for Human Rights – Israel collected several complaints that the weapon caused “dizziness, nausea, headaches, ataxia and a general sense of weakness.”
Lethal
All three of these weapons are part of a broader arsenal of “non-lethal weapons” that maim Palestinians. In some cases, these “non-lethal weapons” are lethal.
In January, Said Jasir, an 85-year-old Palestinian man from Kufr Qaddoum, died after reportedly inhaling tear gas fired liberally by Israeli occupation soldiers in the village.
Noha Qatamesh, a Palestinian woman who had asthma, suffered a similar fate when she died in April after Israeli forces attacked Palestinians with tear gas in Bethlehem.
In other cases, fatal injuries were inflicted when the tear gas canister was fired by Israeli soldiers at Palestinians from a close range. In April 2009, Bassem Abu Rahmeh died shortly after being shot at close range in the chest with a tear gas canister.
Other weapons, such as rubber-coated steel bullets, have also killed more frequently. According to a January 2013 B’Tselem report, Israeli forces’ use of rubber-coated steel bullets killed at least eighteen Palestinians (twelve of whom were children) between 2000 and December 2012.
“Human lab”
Yet even in cases when the “non-lethal weapons” don’t kill, they often inflict serious injuries on their victims and sometimes render them maimed and disfigured.
As I reported for The Huffington Post earlier this year, Israeli soldiers often ignore their own regulations designed to make these weapons “safe.”
In some cases, such as that of six-year-old Mousab Sarahnin, the damage is irreparable. Nowhere near a protest as he walked home with his mother and siblings, this child was shot in the face with a rubber-coated steel bullet, as reported by The Electronic Intifada at the time.
As a result of the shooting by an Israeli soldier, Mousab lost an eye.
These weapons “are first tested in labs, and then ‘monitored exercises’ are conducted on human beings, Palestinians, Israelis and foreign citizens demonstrating in West Bank villages,” Who Profits explains.
“After these experiments, the manufacturer can use the results to market the products.”
The use of these weapons in breach of regulations and in a reckless fashion can “violate numerous basic human rights of Palestinians, and in some cases may rise to the level of war crimes as defined by international law,” the Who Profits report concludes.
Source

    Israel sprays “skunk water” into Palestinian homes
    September 22, 2014

    A new report highlights Israel’s use of supposedly “non-lethal weapons” against unarmed Palestinian protesters.

    The report – “Proven Effective: Crowd control weapons in the Occupied Territories” – was published by the group Who Profits and launched at a conference in Jerusalem on 10 September.

    Focusing on tear gas, skunk water and “The Scream” (a high volume acoustic device strapped atop Israeli military vehicles), the report documents their regular use to violently crush unarmed Palestinian demonstrators throughout the occupied West Bank, including East Jerusalem.

    It begins by reiterating two immensely important facts reported time and again by The Electronic Intifada: firstly, that Israel’s “non-lethal” weapons, in fact, often kill Palestinians, and secondly, that the manufacturing of weapons used against Palestinians is an extremely lucrative business.

    American supplier

    Who Profits focuses on tear gas produced by the American company Combined Systems, Incorporated (also known as Combined Tactical Systems), which produces “less lethal” weapons and “provides support to military forces and law enforcement agencies worldwide,” according to its website.

    CSI also produces tear gas grenades and sting-ball bombs, or small devices that explode and shoot out dozens of tiny steel balls at demonstrators.

    Its tear gas canisters, clearly labeled with the initials CSI or CST, are often found in Palestinian villages after the Israeli military raids them or attacks protests.

    CSI is represented by M.R. Hunter, a Tel Aviv-based company that claims to be “the largest provider of tear gas munitions to the Israeli army, prison service and police,” according to Who Profits.

    Repression across the globe

    As Alex Kane of Mondoweiss recently wrote, CSI tear gas was used last month against unarmed protesters in Ferguson, Missouri, where militarized US police forces laid siege after demonstrations erupted in response to a police officer’s killing of an unarmed black teenager.

    During the 2011 Egyptian revolution, regime forces used CSI tear gas transported via Israel. Who Profits notes that at least forty Egyptians were killed by tear gas, and another 2,000 were injured either through inhalation or from being struck by the canisters.

    CSI provides tear gas and other weapons to repressive regimes across the globe, including Bahrain, Tunisia and Yemen.

    A 2008 cable published by WikiLeaks shows the US government’s direct involvement in transferring CSI weapons to Israeli occupation authorities. Though this was never a secret, the cable shows the lucrative nature of weapons sales.

    The same cable also suggests that Israel transferred weapons shipments to departments not approved by the US Secretary of State.   

    The Secretary of State’s Office of Defense Trade Controls Compliance, which seeks to ensure American weapons are being used in a pre-approved manner and setting, sought an investigation into whether weapons intended for Israeli police use were being used by Israeli prison authorities.

    According to the cable, an investigation was necessary because “inconsistencies were noted in the license application supporting documents.” It includes an itemized list of such weapons – mostly “CS” tear gas – that amounts to a total worth more than $5.1 million.

    Repulsive odor

    The Israeli military has for years sprayed Palestinians in protest settings and outside of them with skunk water, a foul smelling liquid generally fired from a high power turret atop a military vehicle.

    Known as “The Skunk,” the weapon’s safety data sheet concedes that it “causes skin irritation, eye irradiation and redness and abdominal pain,” Who Profits notes.

    First employed by Israel against Palestinians in 2008, it has become a regular form of attack against unarmed protesters in West Bank villages like Nabi SalehBilin and Kufr Qaddoum.

    Mariam Barghouti, a Ramallah-based activist and writer, said the weapon “projects water at a high velocity so there is a risk of that injuring you,” adding that many have started referring to it as “the shitter” in Arabic.

    “Due to its intense smell that gnaws at your nostrils, it makes it difficult to breathe,” she told The Electronic Intifada. “If you only get sprayed with it, that is an agony you have to live with for a few days to a few weeks. The water lingers on your skin to a point when you want to rip your skin off.”

    “It smells like sewage mixed with rotten food,” she explained.

    Passed out from the smell

    Israel’s frequent use of skunk water “raises suspicions that The Skunk is being used punitively against villages where regular weekly demonstrations are held,” according to the Israeli human rights group B’Tselem.

    B’Tselem also notes that in 2012 Israeli forces sprayed a funeral procession with skunk water in Hebron, a city in the southern part of the occupied West Bank. 

    Who Profits and B’Tselem both point out that skunk water is often sprayed directly into the homes of Palestinians, despite Israel’s claim that it is used solely for “riot control” purposes.

    In July 2014, Israeli occupation forces sprayed skunk water into 75-year-old Rubhiya Darwish’s home in Bethlehem’s Aida refugee camp.

    “I saw a burst of water breaking through the window, when suddenly an intense odor hit and I passed out from the smell, so they had to take me to the hospital,” the elderly woman told Ma’an News Agency.

    Israel’s targeting of homes and businesses not involved in demonstrations has been roundly denounced by Palestinian, Israeli and international human rights groups.

    Israeli military forces also sprayed several other homes in the refugee camp and the surrounding area that day.

    European involvement

    The weapon was developed by Israeli police in collaboration with Odortec, an Israeli company that agreed to develop scent-based weapons for occupation authorities at a heavily discounted rate.

    Though Odortec is owned by Israeli businessmen, Who Profits adds that the weapon’s production involves the German company MAN, which provides the chassis for the military vehicles that carry the weapon.

    In 2013, MAN, which also sells its trucks and equipment across Europe, enjoyed a revenue of €16.7 billion Euros (more than $20 billion), according to a July 2014 Reuters report.

    Another Israeli company, Beit Alfa Technologies, provides the actual military vehicles that carry the weapon. According to its website, it provides “riot control gear” to more than 35 countries across the world.

    “The Scream”

    Since 2005, Israeli occupation forces have also employed the use of “The Scream,” a device described by manufacturer Electro-Optics Research and Development as emitting “sound levels that are unbearable to humans at distances up to 100 meters.”

    The Long Range Acoustic Devices Corporation (LRAD) has been providing a newer version of the weapon to the Israeli military since 2012. In 2011, LRAD announced that its first shipment of “The Scream” to Israel rang up a bill of $293,000.

    Numerous victim testimonies contradict the claims of Israel and the manufacturers that the weapon is safe. 

    According to Who Profits, the group Physicians for Human Rights – Israel collected several complaints that the weapon caused “dizziness, nausea, headaches, ataxia and a general sense of weakness.”

    Lethal

    All three of these weapons are part of a broader arsenal of “non-lethal weapons” that maim Palestinians. In some cases, these “non-lethal weapons” are lethal.

    In January, Said Jasir, an 85-year-old Palestinian man from Kufr Qaddoum, died after reportedly inhaling tear gas fired liberally by Israeli occupation soldiers in the village.

    Noha Qatamesh, a Palestinian woman who had asthma, suffered a similar fate when she died in April after Israeli forces attacked Palestinians with tear gas in Bethlehem.

    In other cases, fatal injuries were inflicted when the tear gas canister was fired by Israeli soldiers at Palestinians from a close range. In April 2009, Bassem Abu Rahmeh died shortly after being shot at close range in the chest with a tear gas canister.

    Other weapons, such as rubber-coated steel bullets, have also killed more frequently. According to a January 2013 B’Tselem report, Israeli forces’ use of rubber-coated steel bullets killed at least eighteen Palestinians (twelve of whom were children) between 2000 and December 2012.

    “Human lab”

    Yet even in cases when the “non-lethal weapons” don’t kill, they often inflict serious injuries on their victims and sometimes render them maimed and disfigured.

    As I reported for The Huffington Post earlier this year, Israeli soldiers often ignore their own regulations designed to make these weapons “safe.”

    In some cases, such as that of six-year-old Mousab Sarahnin, the damage is irreparable. Nowhere near a protest as he walked home with his mother and siblings, this child was shot in the face with a rubber-coated steel bullet, as reported by The Electronic Intifada at the time.

    As a result of the shooting by an Israeli soldier, Mousab lost an eye.

    These weapons “are first tested in labs, and then ‘monitored exercises’ are conducted on human beings, Palestinians, Israelis and foreign citizens demonstrating in West Bank villages,” Who Profits explains.

    “After these experiments, the manufacturer can use the results to market the products.”

    The use of these weapons in breach of regulations and in a reckless fashion can “violate numerous basic human rights of Palestinians, and in some cases may rise to the level of war crimes as defined by international law,” the Who Profits report concludes.

    Source

  15. Climate change is war - and Wall Street is winningSeptember 22, 2014
Among the most iconic images to emerge from Hurricane Sandy’s assault on the Eastern Seaboard in 2012 were those of the Goldman Sachs building lit up like a torch by its own generator while a blackout left the rest of lower Manhattan in the dark. This proved a sign of things to come: Within days, the financial district was back to work, but Mayor Michael Bloomberg seemed far slower to notice what had befallen other areas of the city. He sought to go through with the annual New York Marathon just a week after the storm, until residents and runners rallied to inform him that coastal neighborhoods of his city had been devastated.
The images stuck in my mind from that period are of the devastation: Whole blocks burned down by electrical fire, overturned cars in the streets, sick people trapped in pitch-black buildings without medication, ruined furniture stacked in the front yards of uninhabitable homes, neighbors uniting around makeshift supply depots in church halls.
I no longer saw the warming oceans that exacerbate storms such as Sandy as abstractions or a matter of merely the environment or nature. Climate change is a crisis of justice among human beings. We all depend on this planet, but some are more insulated from its undoing than others. Some will be bailed out, but most won’t. Some will find a way to profit as the waters rise, but many more will drown. The challenge of stemming climate change is not just a matter of raising consciousness and spreading awareness; it is a struggle for democracy and survival. 
This weekend New York will host the largest climate-related march in history, with 100,000 people expected to take the streets on Sunday to call for meaningful action to come from the United Nations Climate Summit on Tuesday. The march boasts more than a thousand sponsoring organizations and has been aggressively publicized with subway advertisements and a documentary film. It could be a decisive moment to rally support for policies that will keep our planet habitable. But we need more than a festive march. That’s why the next day in the financial district, not far from where Goldman Sachs lit up the post-Sandy night, I’m helping organize a smaller action: Flood Wall Street.
I will be among the crowds of people on Monday morning dressed in blue (to mirror the rising tides) and interrupting the workday by bringing the crisis to its cause. The action was inspired by a call from communities at the front lines of the climate crisis to take nonviolent direct action against the corporations driving the extractive economy. To that end, we’re planning a mass sit-in at the symbolic center of the global economic order.
For years now, entrenched corporate interests have ensured that U.N. meetings on climate change accomplish next to nothing. The names of host cities have become a litany of false starts: Rio de Janeiro, Kyoto, Copenhagen, Cancún, Durban, Doha. This month’s meeting in New York is a prelude to a more ambitious session next year in Paris. Corporate lobbyists will be close at hand — through the mechanisms of the U.N. itself and by buying the inaction of leaders. Combating climate change means transforming an economic system based on short-term corporate profits and a political system that is all too eager to furnish them. And it all starts by taking on Wall Street.
Corporate America wants to claim that it’s coming around, that at long last it is going green. Lockheed Martin, whose hardware helps make the U.S. military one of the world’s top polluters, is a sponsor of Climate Week events surrounding the United Nations summit. So is Bloomberg, the former mayor’s company. Michael Bloomberg recently garnered headlines for co-organizing a report, “Risky Business,” on climate change as a threat to corporate bottom lines.
“It is our hope,” the report states, “that it becomes standard practice for the American business and investment community to factor climate change into its decision-making process.” One subway ad on behalf of the climate march asks, rhetorically, “What puts hipsters and bankers into the same boat?”
What we need now, though, are neither spectacle-seeking hipsters nor bankers in search of safe investments but for all human beings to band together to defend our right to subsist. We shouldn’t have to wait for the investor class to agree; the purpose of business is to meet our economic needs not to dictate them. That’s basic democracy. The climate struggle is a chance for the commoners of this planet to show what it means to be good stewards of creation. If the Goldman Sachses of the world try to stand aloof, we need to take their crisis to them.
The night that Hurricane Sandy struck New York City, Kalin Callaghan huddled with her husband and two young sons in their fifth-floor apartment. They live in the Rockaways, a narrow strip of land along the Atlantic Ocean at the far end of Queens. “We watched the entire peninsula submerge,” she remembers. In the months that followed, her neighbors mobilize to empty out ruined homes, get supplies where they were needed and clear hazardous mold. Politicians were slow to help, while real estate developers descended on the ravaged areas. She heard scientists explain the connections between Sandy and climate change; the unprecedented storm the Rockaways suffered was a sign of things to come.
Callaghan teaches at a local arts organization, and in recent weeks, with memories of the storm in mind, she has turned her art toward the climate. She has been helping create enormous banners and props that will adorn Sunday’s climate march, where she’ll be part of a oceanfront contingent of Sandy-affected New Yorkers. On Monday she’ll be wearing blue at Flood Wall Street.
“We learned that it wasn’t going to be the government coming to our rescue,” Callaghan said this week outside a planning meeting for Monday’s action. “It needs to be the people leading the charge.”
Source

    Climate change is war - and Wall Street is winning
    September 22, 2014

    Among the most iconic images to emerge from Hurricane Sandy’s assault on the Eastern Seaboard in 2012 were those of the Goldman Sachs building lit up like a torch by its own generator while a blackout left the rest of lower Manhattan in the dark. This proved a sign of things to come: Within days, the financial district was back to work, but Mayor Michael Bloomberg seemed far slower to notice what had befallen other areas of the city. He sought to go through with the annual New York Marathon just a week after the storm, until residents and runners rallied to inform him that coastal neighborhoods of his city had been devastated.

    The images stuck in my mind from that period are of the devastation: Whole blocks burned down by electrical fire, overturned cars in the streets, sick people trapped in pitch-black buildings without medication, ruined furniture stacked in the front yards of uninhabitable homes, neighbors uniting around makeshift supply depots in church halls.

    I no longer saw the warming oceans that exacerbate storms such as Sandy as abstractions or a matter of merely the environment or nature. Climate change is a crisis of justice among human beings. We all depend on this planet, but some are more insulated from its undoing than others. Some will be bailed out, but most won’t. Some will find a way to profit as the waters rise, but many more will drown. The challenge of stemming climate change is not just a matter of raising consciousness and spreading awareness; it is a struggle for democracy and survival. 

    This weekend New York will host the largest climate-related march in history, with 100,000 people expected to take the streets on Sunday to call for meaningful action to come from the United Nations Climate Summit on Tuesday. The march boasts more than a thousand sponsoring organizations and has been aggressively publicized with subway advertisements and a documentary film. It could be a decisive moment to rally support for policies that will keep our planet habitable. But we need more than a festive march. That’s why the next day in the financial district, not far from where Goldman Sachs lit up the post-Sandy night, I’m helping organize a smaller action: Flood Wall Street.

    I will be among the crowds of people on Monday morning dressed in blue (to mirror the rising tides) and interrupting the workday by bringing the crisis to its cause. The action was inspired by a call from communities at the front lines of the climate crisis to take nonviolent direct action against the corporations driving the extractive economy. To that end, we’re planning a mass sit-in at the symbolic center of the global economic order.

    For years now, entrenched corporate interests have ensured that U.N. meetings on climate change accomplish next to nothing. The names of host cities have become a litany of false starts: Rio de Janeiro, Kyoto, Copenhagen, Cancún, Durban, Doha. This month’s meeting in New York is a prelude to a more ambitious session next year in Paris. Corporate lobbyists will be close at hand — through the mechanisms of the U.N. itself and by buying the inaction of leaders. Combating climate change means transforming an economic system based on short-term corporate profits and a political system that is all too eager to furnish them. And it all starts by taking on Wall Street.

    Corporate America wants to claim that it’s coming around, that at long last it is going green. Lockheed Martin, whose hardware helps make the U.S. military one of the world’s top polluters, is a sponsor of Climate Week events surrounding the United Nations summit. So is Bloomberg, the former mayor’s company. Michael Bloomberg recently garnered headlines for co-organizing a report, “Risky Business,” on climate change as a threat to corporate bottom lines.

    “It is our hope,” the report states, “that it becomes standard practice for the American business and investment community to factor climate change into its decision-making process.” One subway ad on behalf of the climate march asks, rhetorically, “What puts hipsters and bankers into the same boat?”

    What we need now, though, are neither spectacle-seeking hipsters nor bankers in search of safe investments but for all human beings to band together to defend our right to subsist. We shouldn’t have to wait for the investor class to agree; the purpose of business is to meet our economic needs not to dictate them. That’s basic democracy. The climate struggle is a chance for the commoners of this planet to show what it means to be good stewards of creation. If the Goldman Sachses of the world try to stand aloof, we need to take their crisis to them.

    The night that Hurricane Sandy struck New York City, Kalin Callaghan huddled with her husband and two young sons in their fifth-floor apartment. They live in the Rockaways, a narrow strip of land along the Atlantic Ocean at the far end of Queens. “We watched the entire peninsula submerge,” she remembers. In the months that followed, her neighbors mobilize to empty out ruined homes, get supplies where they were needed and clear hazardous mold. Politicians were slow to help, while real estate developers descended on the ravaged areas. She heard scientists explain the connections between Sandy and climate change; the unprecedented storm the Rockaways suffered was a sign of things to come.

    Callaghan teaches at a local arts organization, and in recent weeks, with memories of the storm in mind, she has turned her art toward the climate. She has been helping create enormous banners and props that will adorn Sunday’s climate march, where she’ll be part of a oceanfront contingent of Sandy-affected New Yorkers. On Monday she’ll be wearing blue at Flood Wall Street.

    “We learned that it wasn’t going to be the government coming to our rescue,” Callaghan said this week outside a planning meeting for Monday’s action. “It needs to be the people leading the charge.”

    Source

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