Category Archives: Intolerance

IsraelSpin: How a Jew becomes an ‘antisemite’


We are all too aware of the way Ziocons deploy allegations of antisemitism to smear folks they see as potential impediments to what a reasonable outsider might see as the Great Israeli Land Grab.

Our last employment came as a reporter for the Berkeley Daily Planet, a now defunct newspaper done in in significant part by a campaign of intimidation directing against advertisers when the paper refused to stop running contributions from readers, many of them Jewish, who were critical of Israel’s unalloyed imperialism.

We conducted a detailed examination of the claimants and their claims and exposed them as either outright lies or as singular instances [notably one single letter to the editor which expressed some genuinely antisemitic tropes].

The Ziocons managed to cow hapless advertisers into withdrawing their ads, one local business telling us that she was left shaken and afraid and physical harm should she continue.

One of the campaigners even dug up a hoary trope usually employed by antisemites: Jews are rich and hold disproportionate economic power and were thus to be especially feared by stores struggling with the impact of the economic crash. The trope wasn’t raised so overtly, but rather by noting that the city’s Jewish population is concentrated in its wealthiest neighborhoods [leaving the obvious conclusion to the intimidated advertisers].

Sometimes te Ziocons were even more threatening, as when a Holocaust survivor who had written letters critical of Israeli policy found WE KNOW WHERE YOU LIVE scrawled on the sidewalk outside her front door.

Yep, in the distorted Weltanschauung of the Ziocon, even a Jew can be an antisemite.

And that was what American Jewish writer and Israel critic Max Blumenthal found on a trip to Germany, a discovery he relates to Abby Martin in this extended clip from RT America’s Breaking the Set:

How Germany is Using ‘Anti-Semitism’ to Shut Down Israel Criticism | Interview with Max Blumenthal

Program notes:

Abby Martin speaks with author and journalist Max Blumenthal about his recent trip to Germany and how he why he was treated like an anti-Semite for his criticism of the state of Israel.

One of the reason the antisemitism works so well is that publishers — and to a lesser extent journalists themselves — are all too easily intimated these days, when alternative media and hordes of unpaid bloggers claim the audiences once reserved for the corporate pillars of print and the airwaves, giving well-organized and zealous boycotters disproportionate power [a point the Left seems to have forgotten in an age of rampant consumerism].

One of the tropes constantly employed is this, drawn from a sarcastic comment by one of the Ziocons to one of our first posts here at esnl:

Many thanks for all of your thoughtful comments. We are comforted to learn that you are such a philosemite and that you are an equal opportunity America and Israel basher. We understand your “moral equivalency” argument about so-called terrorists. After all, one man’s freedom fighter is another man’s “terrorist.

But, even if it’s true that Zionism as a political movement (a state founded by “Jewish terrorists”) is just a mirror image of Hamas and Islamic Jihad, the question still remains why you feel so much more motivated to castigate the ills of Israel, its manifold missteps and crimes, but never find the same moral imperative to excoriate Israel’s adversaries.

Surely, you cannot deny that point in good conscience? Insofar as Richard Brenneman takes an interest in foreign nations, your interest seems delimited to demonizing Zionism. Again, please direct us to one blog post or anything else you have written in fourty [sic] years as a distinguished and award winning journalist in which you have taken Israel’s adversaries to task for any of their violent tactics and actions.

What was truly remarkable about the comment was the utter lack of self-awareness revealed when he linked to a panel from a Ziocon Israel cartoonist:

BLOG Greater Israel
All the answers were there, but neither he nor the cartoonist realized it.

The difference between Israeli and the Palestinians is precisely the same as the difference between the European colonists and the Native American: One was an alien invader using brutality, endless wars, and ceaseless land grabs to steal what belong to the other, who was offered the stark choice of meeting the invader on his own bloody terms or surrender.

Religion was the claim used by both imperial powers, with the New World hailed as the New Jerusalem by its colonizers, while the Jewish invaders of Palestine waged a war of terror based on an equally dubious claim to hold a divine quit claim deed on land the others had inhabited for millennia.

When claims are based on such absurdities, they can only be enforced by brutality. It happened here, it’s happening there.

The Palestinians are fighting for precisely the same reasons Native Americans did. And just as a few voices were raised on this side of the Atlantic over the bloody land grab of territory inhabited by Native Americans, so too voices like Blumenthals are raised in opposition to bloodthirsty self-righteousness on the part of those who claim a Jewish identity.

And to be clear, both our daughters are Jewish by self-definition [and by Jewish law, since their mom is Jewish], as is our best friend and two of the three other women with whom we’ve shared a roof and bed.

Zionism is not Judaism and Judaism is not Zionism, but to simply say or write those words is sufficient to win the epithet of antisemite [and, hey, aren’t Arabs by definition Semitic people too?]

None of this is to say that antisemitism isn’t real. Germany history is testament to that. And the genuine antisemite is about as loathsome as a human can get.

Just remember what Socrates said: Wisdom begins with the definition of terms.

InSecurityWatch: Protest, war, drones, hacks


Plus the showdown in Hong Kong and lots more. . .

We begin with the Los Angeles Times:

Protests over Ferguson shooting enter third day; arrests in St. Louis

Activists rushed into St. Louis City Hall on Wednesday to protest a grand jury decision not to indict a white police officer who fatally shot an unarmed black man in nearby Ferguson as the region moved into its third day of demonstrations.

Hundreds of people demonstrated in front of the municipal building, shouting “Shame, Shame.” Some then entered the building and police, carrying riot shields, quickly responded.

As many as five people were arrested, officials said.

The Los Angeles Times again, with some numbers:

183 Ferguson protesters arrested in L.A., many more than in other cities

Los Angeles police arrested 183 protesters overnight Tuesday — a much larger number than in other major cities in the nation on the second night of protests over the grand jury decision in the Michael Brown shooting case.

Los Angeles Police Department Chief Charlie Beck, at a news conference Wednesday morning, said he could not speak to what had occurred in other parts of the country but that the LAPD and CHP had been “extremely generous in allowing the expression of 1st Amendment activities.”

A bulk of the arrests occurred Tuesday night. Of the 183 held, 167 were arrested for disturbing the peace, 15 juveniles for violating curfew, and one person was taken into custody for alleged felony battery after throwing a frozen water bottle at a police officer’s head, Beck said.

And closer to Casa esnl, via the Oakland Tribune:

Ferguson protest: 92 arrests in Oakland during 2nd night of looting, vandalism

Merchants on Wednesday were mopping up after a second night of vandalism and looting in the wake of a Missouri grand jury’s decision not to indict a police officer in the shooting death of Ferguson teenager Michael Brown.

Tuesday night saw 300 march through downtown and North Oakland — vastly reduced from Monday’s estimated crowd of 2,000 — with protesters taking to the freeways two different times to block lanes.

Officials said officers arrested 92 people on Tuesday night, mostly on charges of obstruction and failure to disperse. Police had arrested 43 people the night before.

From BuzzFeed, across the Atlantic:

Ferguson Protest Brings Parts Of Central London To A Standstill

  • Hundreds of people marched through central London in solidarity with Michael Brown, who was shot dead by police in Ferguson

Hundreds of protestors congregated outside London’s US embassy in the early evening to protest about the death of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri.

Brown was shot dead by a police officer earlier this year. On Monday a grand jury decided that no charges would be brought against the officer involved.

Over 500 people were on the protest, which brought one of the capital’s main streets to a standstill.

A video report from RT:

London to Ferguson: Crowd protesting police racism tears down Parliament Square barriers

The McClatchy Washington Bureau makes connections:

Social media help take Ferguson protests national

“When you see people kneeling down on the highway, they’re trained to do that . . . it is just straight-up tactics from the civil rights movement,” James Peterson, director of Africana Studies at Lehigh University in Bethlehem, Pa., said in an interview Wednesday. “But social media certainly has been a great tool.”

Twitter, the popular micro-blogging service, has been engorged with Ferguson-related postings. Between Tuesday and Wednesday, 580,000 Tweets citing Ferguson were counted by the analytical service Topsy. One targeted hashtag, #BlackLivesMatter, was included in 72,000 Tweets in just one day.

Underscoring the reach of social media, prisoners at Boston’s South Bay Detention Facility held up signs reading “#BlackLivesMatter” to high-security windows. Other social media venues, such as Facebook, have likewise been aflame with Ferguson news and commentary. One page alone, called Justice for Mike Brown, had accumulated 43,934 “Likes” as of Wednesday.

Rounding out our Ferguson items, a graphic take from Jack Ohman, editorial cartoonist for the Sacramento Bee:

BLOG America

On to the war zones, now with Warthogs, via United Press International:

Air Force to deploy A-10s to combat Islamic State

  • “They’re going over there because there’s a need,” says the Air Force

A group of A-10 Thunderbolt fighter jets has arrived in the Middle East where they will be used to halt the spread of the Islamic State in Syria and Iraq.

The A-10s, or Warthogs, are currently the center of Washington debate — senior defense officials want to retire the 283 remaining A-10s to save nearly $4 billion, while many feel such a move would cut off one of the military’s more powerful tools.

“They’re going over there because there’s a need … to be postured for a combat rescue mission,” Air Force spokeswoman Jennifer Cassidy explained to Stars and Stripes.

Although slow and low flying, A-10s can transport and deploy massive amounts of fire power to support combat troops on the ground. The planes have armored bellies to protect pilots from ground fire, and can be armed with a 30mm Gatling cannon and a variety of bombs, missiles and other explosives.

The Christian Science Monitor has the hush-hush:

Why US is mum on special ops raid that rescued hostages in Yemen

  • Eight hostages were brought to safety Tuesday after an intense firefight at the cave in remote eastern Yemen where the hostages were being held by Al Qaeda

There are two good reasons the cover-of-night, US-led commando raid that rescued eight Al Qaeda hostages in Yemen Tuesday received none of the fanfare and public back-slapping of previous successful counterterror operations.

One is obvious: No Americans were among the hostages – six Yemenis, one Saudi, and one Ethiopian – brought to safety after an intense firefight at the cave in remote eastern Yemen where the hostages were being held.

But the other explanation is that the Obama administration is very much interested in seeing the successful operation, which included both US and Yemeni forces, reinforce Yemeni President Abdu Rabbu Mansour Hadi. He is a stalwart US ally in the fight against Al Qaeda in the region, but his grasp on power has been repeatedly shaken over recent months.

Al Jazeera America covers the latest drone attacks:

US drone strike in Pakistan kills five suspected Taliban fighters

  • Strike follows critical report on number of innocent civilians killed in US drone strikes

A U.S. drone strike on Wednesday killed five suspected militants in northwest Pakistan, a government official said, as an anti-Taliban offensive by the Pakistani military grew in intensity. The deadly strike comes one day after a human rights group issued a report drawing international attention to the number of innocent lives claimed by U.S. drone strikes.

The drone strike on Wednesday targeted a house in Datta Khel near the Afghan border. Pakistani fighters in the area allegedly used the residence as a safe house.

“The Government of Pakistan condemns the drone strike that took place in the early hours of Wednesday, 26 November 2014 at Garga, north of Shawal in North Waziristan Agency,” the government said in a statement.

An update from the Express Tribune in Karachi:

Eight suspected militants killed in North Waziristan drone strike

Eight suspected militants were killed in latest US drone attack in border area of North Waziristan on Wednesday, security officials said.

“The drone fired two missiles, killing at least eight people and injuring two others,” a security official in the area told AFP via phone on condition of anonymity.

“There may be more dead bodies under the rubble,” he said.

The identity of those killed could not be determined immediately, however, few of them are believed to be foreign militants.

The same story as seen by Iran’s PressTV:

US drone attacks kill 11 people in Pakistan, Afghanistan

Program notes:

US assassination drone strikes in Pakistan and neighboring Afghanistan have killed nearly a dozen people.

A drone attack killed eight people in Pakistan’s tribal region along the Afghan border. The unmanned aircraft fired two missiles at a compound in the town of Dattakhel in North Waziristan. Three Afghans lost their lives in a similar attack in Afghanistan’s Laghman province. The US military conducts deadly drone strikes in several Muslim countries including Pakistan, Afghanistan and Yemen. Washington says the air raids target militants, but a large number of civilians have been killed in the attacks.

Drone coverage from the domestic front from the Washington Post:

Near-collisions between drones, airliners surge, new FAA reports show

Pilots around the United States have reported a surge in near-collisions and other dangerous encounters with small drones in the past six months at a time when the Federal Aviation Administration is gradually opening the nation’s skies to remotely controlled aircraft, according to FAA records.

Since June 1, commercial airlines, private pilots and air-traffic controllers have alerted the FAA about at least 25 episodes in which small drones came within a few seconds or a few feet of crashing into much larger aircraft, the records show. Many of the close calls occurred during takeoffs and landings at the nation’s busiest airports, presenting a new threat to aviation safety after decades of steady improvement in air travel.

Many of the previously unreported incident reports — released Wednesday by the FAA in response to long-standing public-records requests from The Washington Post and other news organizations — occurred near New York and Washington.

The Hill clicks Undelete:

National Archives backs off plan to destroy CIA emails

The National Archives and Records Administration is taking a second look at the CIA’s proposal to delete its employees’ emails after they leave the agency.

The record-keeping agency “intends to reassess” the proposal to destroy old emails of all but 22 top officials at the spy agency, chief records officer Paul Wester wrote to the agency last week.
Citing concerns from top congressional overseers and transparency advocates, “we are concerned about the scope of the proposed schedule and the proposed retention periods,” Wester wrote in the letter, which was unearthed by the Federation of American Scientists’s project on government secrecy on Wednesday.

The National Archives had tentatively backed the agency’s proposal to destroy “non-senior” staffers’ emails three years after they leave the agency “or when no longer needed.” At the time, the records agency said that any important communications will likely exist in other formats, which will be catalogued for a permanent record.

The Intercept spins the spin:

The US/UK Campaign to Demonize Social Media Companies as Terrorist Allies

In May, 2013, a British Army soldier, Lee Rigby, was killed on a suburban London street by two Muslim British citizens, who said they were acting to avenge years of killings of innocent Muslims by the British military in, among other places, Afghanistan and Iraq. One of the attackers, Michael Adebolajo, had also been detained and tortured in 2010 in Kenya with the likely complicity of Her Majesty’s Government. The brutal attack on Rigby was instantly branded “terrorism” (despite its targeting of a soldier of a nation at war) and caused intense and virtually universal indignation in the UK.

In response, the British Parliament’s Intelligence and Security Committee resolved to investigate why the attack happened and whether it could have been prevented. Ensuring that nothing undesirable would occur, the investigation was led by the Committee’s chair, the long-time conservative government functionary Sir Malcolm Rifkind. Yesterday, Sir Malcolm’s Committee issued its findings in a 191-page report. It contains some highly predictable conclusions, but also some quite remarkable ones.

Predictably, the report, while offering some criticisms, completely cleared the British intelligence agencies of any responsibility for the attack. It concluded: “we do not consider that any of the Agencies’ errors, when taken individually, were significant enough to have affected the outcome,” and “we do not consider that, given what the Agencies knew at the time, they were in the position to prevent the murder.”

After the jump, the U.N. calls for releasing the CIA torture report, draconian new state security legislation in Old Blighty, France deprivatizes the phone tap, Google European breaking legal questions pondered, ap-tracking Twitter, Hookers in your cell phone, you annual cyberscam warning, China corporateers win disclosure in a U.S. court, Egypt sends children to prison for protesting, the death rattle of the Arab Spring in Cairo, Turkey clamps down on the Fourth Estate, the wrong song sends a Pakistani actress to price for decades, brutality allegations probed in Australian military academies,  Hong Kong police mass to block re-Occupation while some of the colleagues are busted for brutality, and tycoons seek their own Hong Kong asylum. . . Continue reading

Rudy, Rudy, Rudy: Giuliani sets MSM Ferguson spin


A fascinating segment from RT America focuses on the deft Ferguson semantic shuffle deployed by one of America’s more prominent Republicans, former federal prosecutor and New York Mayor Rudy Giulani, who after selling out his piece of a private security contracting firm has devoted his life to lobbying and lawyering for Big Oil and Big Pharma.

That his masters also share a vested interest in keeping folks of African and Latin American heritage off the voting roles also receives no attention whatsoever.

That television news turns to people like Giuliani without mentioning that his income comes from people who have every interest in preserving the corrupt status quo is a major journalistic sin, one that not even the RT producers interviewed in this segment bother to mention.

But their key point is valid: Giuliani deflects analysis of deep structural problems by endlessly harping on one theme that plays all too well with racist Republican base.

From RT America:

Rampant media malpractice of Ferguson coverage

Program notes:

Coverage of the Ferguson, Mo. unrest spans the usual spectrum of media malpractice. With many examples of misinformation and oversimplication, just how much can viewers trust what they see and hear? RT’s Tabetha Wallace and Tyrel Ventura discuss.

Interestingly, the same thoughts about Giuliani also occurred to a member of the mainstream media, Lexington Herald-Leader editorial cartoonist Joel Pett:

BLOG Rudi

The anti-Blair, a man who really did save children


His name was Chinue Sugihara, and he saved more than 6,000 men, women, and children from Hitler’s Holocaust, far more than the 1,200 saved by the famous Oskar Schindler — yet Sugihara’s name is virtually unknown.

We knew his story only because we’ve been studying the Holocaust for the last half-century, accumulating a library of more than 900 books on the subject. We’ve also interviewed survivors and watched endless hours of documentaries driven by an imperative to understand how what had been regarded as the most civilized nation in Europe could descend into such barbarity.

And so we were delighted this afternoon to come across a brief documentary from Australia’s endangered SBS television focusing on Sugihara’s memorable accomplishments, and it serves as a refreshing anodyne for any bad taste left by thoughts of Tony Blair conjured up by our previous post.

Via Journeyman Pictures:

The “Japanese Schindler” Who Saved Thousands in WW2

Program notes:

The remarkable story of Japanese diplomat Chiune Sugihara has long been overshadowed by other heroes of WW2. Now, a new play is finally set to be memorialise his rescue of 6,000 Polish and Lithuanian Jews.

“Sugihara was an incredible person. He probably never saw a Jew before in his life and he saved so many families.”

91-year-old Holocaust survivor Lilly Singer was one of the thousands who would not be alive today without the intervention of Sugihara. She’s in the audience of a new play dramatizing his actions which saved thousands of lives. As the Nazi tanks rolled eastwards, Polish Jews began flooding into Lithuania – their only route of escape onward through Russia. Brian Liau is playing the part of Sugihara. “He asked the Japanese foreign office 3 times for permission to issue visas.” Despite being refused, Sugihara went on to issue over 6,000 visas for families trying to cross the border. Largely forgotten, for Lilly Singer he remains the hero of the conflict. “He saved me and that was the end of that”.

A final enigma. . .

In drafting this post we chanced upon an image at Sugihara’s Wikipedia page that leaves us hungry for more information. It is this Eastern Orthodox icon of the Japanese diplomatic, offered without further explanation:

BLOG Sugihara

Sugihara joined a politically connected Christian fraternity while in college in Japan, and we can only presume he took the Beatitudes in their purest sense.

But the question is the halo itself: Has he been declared a saint? We would love to know more. . .

Whatever the answer, it is people like Chinue Sugihara who are the real cause for hope and thanksgiving, and not loathesome, obsequious toadies like Tony Blair.

InSecurityWatch: Cops, war, spooks, hacks, zones


Plus a major crackdown on Hong Kong Occupy encampments after the jump.

We begin with American domestic security via the Associated Press:

Brown family blasts prosecutor’s handling of case

Attorneys for Michael Brown’s family on Tuesday vowed to push for federal charges against the Ferguson police officer who killed the unarmed 18-year-old, and they renewed their calls for peace following a night of violent protests in which several businesses were burned to the ground.

The attorneys said the grand jury process was rigged from the start to clear Officer Darren Wilson in the Aug. 9 shooting death of Brown. And they criticized everything from the types of evidence St. Louis County Prosecutor Bob McCulloch presented to the jury to the way it was presented and the timing of the grand jury’s decision. They also said they hope that a federal civil rights investigation will result in charges against Wilson.

“We said from the very beginning that the decision of this grand jury was going to be the direct reflection of the presentation of the evidence by the prosecutor’s office,” said attorney Anthony Gray, who suggested McCulloch presented some testimony, including from witnesses who did not see the shooting, to discredit the process.

A notable observation, from the U.N. News Center:

UN rights chief concerned over ‘disproportionate’ killings of African-Americans by US police

The decision by a Grand Jury in Missouri to absolve a police officer for the fatal shooting of an African-American teenager has spotlighted broader concerns about institutionalized discrimination across the United States, the top United Nations human rights official said today.

“I am deeply concerned at the disproportionate number of young African Americans who die in encounters with police officers, as well as the disproportionate number of African Americans in US prisons and the disproportionate number of African Americans on Death Row,” said UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein, in a statement issued by his office in Geneva this morning.

“It is clear that, at least among some sectors of the population, there is a deep and festering lack of confidence in the fairness of the justice and law enforcement systems,” Mr. Zeid continued. “I urge the US authorities to conduct in-depth examinations into how race-related issues are affecting law enforcement and the administration of justice, both at the federal and state levels.”

Another voice weighs in, via the Guardian:

French justice minister denounces US police killings after Ferguson decision

  • Christian Taubira tweets Bob Marley lyric ‘Kill them before they grow’ and references killings of Trayvon Martin and Tamir Rice

France’s black justice minister Christiane Taubira has waded into the conflict over racially charged killings in the US, quoting reggae legend Bob Marley on Twitter to express her anger.

“Kill them before they grow,” the minister tweeted, citing Marley who sang the phrase in his 1973 hit song I Shot the Sheriff.

Taubira’s tweet came as riots erupted in the suburb of Ferguson outside St Louis after a grand jury chose not to press charges against a white officer who shot dead black teen Michael Brown in what he said was self-defence.

From the Oakland Tribune, Monday night’s totals:

Ferguson protests: Oakland mops up after 47 arrests, several officers injured

The city was cleaning up Tuesday after hundreds of protesters took to the streets, vandalizing several stores, setting fires and attacking police following a grand jury decision not to indict a white officer in the fatal shooting of Michael Brown, a black teenager in Ferguson, Missouri.

Most of the damage took place in Old Oakland along Broadway and three police officers were injured, including one who was hit in the face with a brick, police spokeswoman Johnna Watson said.

At a Tuesday afternoon news conference, city officials said they were disappointed that protesters had not remained peaceful all night, but praised the conduct of police in the face of hostile crowds.

And they were back out again Tuesday night, blocking a freeway again.

Another demonstration, this one in Germany, via TheLocal.de:

Anti-refugee demo reveals xenophobia

German media were almost united this weekend in condemning demonstrations against refugee housing in the Berlin suburb of Marzahn-Hellersdorf – but can far-right sentiment ever really be overcome?

Left-wing newspaper taz noted the argument of conservative Berlin politicians that ordinary people’s concerns had been hijacked by extremists, but couldn’t agree that they were unknowingly instrumentalized.

“It’s questionable whether this, without the involvement of the organized far-right, would have led to the weekly aggressive marches,” the paper argued.

It also noted that the people at the heart of the demonstrations, from those running Facebook pages to speakers, all have close links to the far-right scene, including the National Democratic Party of Germany (NPD).

MintPress News covers a story to chill your spine:

How the Pentagon’s Skynet Would Automate War

Due to technological revolutions outside its control, the Department of Defense (DoD) anticipates the dawn of a bold new era of automated war within just 15 years. By then, they believe, wars could be fought entirely using intelligent robotic systems armed with advanced weapons.

Pentagon officials are worried that the US military is losing its edge compared to competitors like China, and are willing to explore almost anything to stay on top—including creating watered-down versions of the Terminator.

Due to technological revolutions outside its control, the Department of Defense (DoD) anticipates the dawn of a bold new era of automated war within just 15 years. By then, they believe, wars could be fought entirely using intelligent robotic systems armed with advanced weapons.

Last week, US defense secretary Chuck Hagel announced the ‘Defense Innovation Initiative’—a sweeping plan to identify and develop cutting edge technology breakthroughs “over the next three to five years and beyond” to maintain global US “military-technological superiority.” Areas to be covered by the DoD programme include robotics, autonomous systems, miniaturization, Big Data and advanced manufacturing, including 3D printing.

On to the military hot zone with the McClatchy Foreign Staff:

Key provincial capital in Iraq may be about to fall to Islamic State

Islamic State fighters on Tuesday penetrated to the core of Ramadi, the provincial capital of Iraq’s largest province, prompting local security officials to warn that the city was on the verge of falling to the extremists. Such a gain would be the Islamic State’s most significant victory in months.

Officials said that extremist fighters were only tens of yards away from entering the main government compound.

“The governorate building has been nearly cut off,” said a Baghdad security official in direct contact with the operations command for Anbar, the province where Ramadi lies. The official said that Islamic State forces had cut roads to the Iraqi Army’s 8th Division base to the west and the road to Habaniyya airbase to the east. The official spoke on the condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to talk to reporters.

And not so far away, via the New York Times:

As Bombing Toll Rises, Afghan Villagers Direct Anger at Government

Three years ago, villagers from the dusty Afghan district of Yahya Khel, near the Pakistani border, rose up against the Taliban, driving the insurgents away. They say they did it on their own, winning themselves a degree of security that felt tolerable.

Late Sunday afternoon, the insurgents exacted a horrific revenge. At a volleyball tournament here that drew teams and spectators from surrounding districts, a suicide bomber detonated his explosives just as fans were converging on the players to celebrate.

By Monday, the death toll had climbed to 61, according to the district governor, Musa Jan. Many were children. Some families were burying not just one member, but two.

Amid their grief, the men of Yahya Khel, a district in Paktika Province, were naturally angry at the insurgents who had sent the suicide bomber. But they were also critical of a national government they felt had offered them little over the past three years.

Getting censorious, via the London Telegraph:

Facebook ‘could have prevented Lee Rigby murder’

  • Facebook has been named as the internet company which failed to pass on crucial information that could have stopped the murder of Fusilier Lee Rigby

Facebook failed to pass on information that could have prevented the murder of Fusilier Lee Rigby and is a “safe haven for terrorists”, a report has concluded.

Michael Adebowale used the social networking site to express his “intent to murder a soldier in the most graphic and emotive manner” five months before the 2013 Woolwich attack.

The report found that Facebook had not been aware of that specific exchange.

However, Parliament’s intelligence and security committee discovered that Facebook had previously shut down Adebowale’s accounts on the site because he had discussed terrorism, but failed to relay concerns to the security services.

Rigby, 25, was run over and butchered by Adebowale and Michael Adebolajo outside Woolwich barracks in south-east London on May 22 last year.

War by other means, from TechWeek Europe:

Egyptian Cyber Group Attacks ISIS

  • The ‘Egyptian Cyber Army’ has joined those attacking the Islamic State’s online activities

A group of Egyptian nationalists has joined those attacking the online operations of the “Islamic State”, also known as ISIS, last week replacing a message from ISIS’ leader with a recording of a popular song.

The transcript of the message was replaced with an image recalling the Egyptian national flag, and a message in Arabic reading “Egyptian Cyber Army”.

ISIS has previously been attacked online by American and Iranian hackers, the Syrian Electronic Army and the hacktivist group Anonymous.

The New York Times covers a hack attack north of the border:

Hacker Disrupts Government Websites in Canada

Since Friday, people turning to the websites of Canada’s Parliament, its Supreme Court, the city of Ottawa and the Ottawa and Toronto police forces have been occasionally greeted by a gyrating, anthropomorphic banana or, more frequently, an error message.

The disruptions were prompted by a hacker or a small group of hackers supporting the cause of an Ottawa teenager who was charged last spring with making hoax telephone calls throughout North America. The calls led the police in a number of provinces and states to send out tactical squads in response to supposed emergencies, a practice known as swatting.

Using the name Aerith, with slight variations, the hacker claimed responsibility for the website disruptions in emails and a posting online. The sender claimed to be affiliated with the shadowy online collective Anonymous. When asked by email how many people were involved, Aerith, who said that he or she was in Brazil, replied, “We act as a group.”

Conceivably connected? Via CBC News:

Canada Revenue Agency privacy breach leaks prominent Canadians’ tax details

  • Business leaders, art collectors, authors and politicians among more than 200 on agency’s list of donors

Detailed tax information about the private lives of hundreds of Canadians — many of them rich and famous — was sent to CBC News by Canada’s tax agency in a major privacy breach.

The highly confidential details, including home addresses of taxpayers and the value of tax credits they were granted, are contained in a copy of a Canada Revenue Agency spreadsheet covering the years 2008 to 2013.

The 18 pages include information on donations made by such Canadian luminaries as author Margaret Atwood, former prime minister Jean Chrétien, grocery magnate Frank Sobey, cartoonist Lynn Johnston, pollster Allan Gregg, financier Stephen Bronfman, former CBC executive Richard Stursberg, Olympics chief Richard Pound and many others.

And video report on the leak from The National:

Revenue Canada privacy breach leaks prominent Canadians’ tax details

Program notes:

Detailed tax information about the private lives of hundreds of Canadians — many of them rich and famous — was sent to CBC News by Canada’s tax agency in a major privacy breach.

After the jump, major Hollywood hacks, perilous Flash-ing, the Chinese Google memory hole expands, France keeps Russian carriers in Ukrainian limbo, Colombian rebels release a pair but a general’s still Farced, the Brazilian cops’ growing civilian body count, on to Asia and allegations of torture in a Myanmar journalist’s death, a Korean naval drill provokes a Japanese rebuke, a Hong Kong Occupy crackdown — including a travel ban on its leaders, a censorious judgement from Beijing, followed by another round of arrests, China blows off criticism of its artificial island bases in contested waters, and Chinese ships cross the line. . . Continue reading

American perception: Another blast from long ago


The attitudes of white haves toward African American have-nots. embodied in this devastating panel created by R. Cobb, esnl‘s other favorite cartoonist, remains as true today as in 1968 when in first appeared in the late underground paper, the Los Angeles Free Press.

If you doubt, it, just turn on the tube and listen to subtext of all the talking heads analyzing the violence in Ferguson in the wake of the Michael Brown shooting death grand jury decision:

BLOG Fish 3

The tragedy of Ferguson and a failure of history


It was fifty years ago this month on 9 November 1964 that we had out first front page newspaper byline, and less than two years later we landed our first job in a metro daily, the Las Vegas Review-Journal.

We were 19 when we started in Vegas, and we created the first civil rights beat in Nevada’s history, covering the 25 percent of Las Vegas residents who were never seen dealing blackjack or operating the craps tables on the Strip or in downtown’s Glitter Gulch.

There were no black waiters or cocktail servers, and the only people of color you saw were mopping floors, changing sheets, and washing dishes. Such was the “natural order” pleasing to the Texas and Louisiana oil men who were the high rollers of the day.

Yet before we started our reporting, that glaring omission was never covered by either the Review-Journal or the Las Vegas Sun [whose publisher, Hank Greenspun, had started out as Bugsy Siegel’s PR man and went on to become a billionaire through dubious real estate deals bankrolled by Howard Hughes and an equally dubious cable television monopoly].

Within six months of our first stories, the first black dealer was hired by a downtown casino. More would quickly follow. For our coverage of civil rights and Lyndon Johnson’s War on Poverty, the Review-Journal would win the state’s top journalism award, a recognition by our peers that something had changed in the Silver State.

Yet in the half century since we won that prize, America’s race problem remains just as deeply embedded and poverty in the black community remains at abysmal level, while the quality of schools is plunging as whites enrol their children in private schools and refuse to fund aging schools, inadequate athletic facilities, and other critical infrastructure.

While the overt expression of racist had dwindled prior to the onset of anonymous Internet comments, the latest racism remains deeply embedded in a culture increasingly anxious because of the rise of non-white Asian economic power and an influx of immigrants from south of the border.

Yet the Republicans maintain that racism is dead, and that only lack of motivation [wink wink] holds African Americans from rising up the Jacob’s Ladder of the American Dream.

In other words, while they’ve learned new word games, they’re just as racist as ever. . .and they’re ruthlessly dedicated to destroying the last vestiges of those social programs we were covering way back in 1966.

Granted, some of them may not be deeply racist; rather, they’re simply following the dictates of plutocratic donors zealously pursing the elimination of any remaining hindrances to their gathering up what little remains of the wealth that was once part of the commons.

But the inflammation of prejudice is useful to folks like the Kochs and the Waltons, because it diverts attention to the Grand Theft Country they’re been conducting with a ruthless single-pointedness.

Waves of riots have swept the country in that half century, yet no real progress is made in addressing the deep structural problems that had driven angry people into the streets, rather to smash and burn.

And so it will continue until either those at the pinnacle sweep up all remaining wealth and restore the hereditary aristocracy of yore or until the rest of us wake up and realize that we have a lot more in common with people who don’t look like us than with the very few who resemble us only in the color of our skins.

We look at Ferguson and weep.