Saturday, May 16, 2015

DEATH to Dzhokhar! So Sayeth the Jury!

Dzhokhar Tsarnaev has been sentenced to death by the jury in his Federal trial in Boston, Massachusetts, for the bombing attack by him and his older brother on the Boston Marathon two years ago. Dzhokhar was 19 at the time, now he’s 21. 

He was already convicted on all 30 counts, including 17 carrying the death penalty. The jury didn’t sentence him to death on all 17 death penalty convictions, just 6 of them.  They spent 14 hours deliberating on the sentence, and all 12 unanimously agreed. We are told that some were weeping.
Some media commentary has fatuously feigned surprise, because the State of Massachusetts has no death penalty and most people there oppose it. Of course this was a Federal trial, and any potential juror who opposed the death penalty was excluded from hearing the case. So I don’t see why there was anything surprising. And the judge acted as a hanging judge all along.

The defense conceded at the outset of the trial that Dzhokhar planted one of the two home-made pressure cooker bombs near the finish line of the race. Yet the judge allowed weeks of inflammatory testimony by maimed survivors and tear-jerking evocations of those killed, including a child. As the facts of the bombing, the deaths, the injured (we’ve never been given an exact number of those- it was “over 200” and kept creeping up until now it’s at “over 260,” with a dozen I believe losing parts of their limbs) and Dzhokhar’s culpability were STIPULATED by his defense, there was NO EVIDENTIARY REASON to spend weeks pushing the gore and “horror” in the jurors’ faces. It was done to manipulate the jury’s emotions so they would impose death.

Three people were killed in the bombing. We are being subjected to more bathos- a LOT more bathos- over these three deaths than over the 2,100 or so Palestinians killed by Israel in its most recent assault on Gaza, the now estimated one million Iraqis dead as a result of the 2003 U.S. invasion, the 3 or 4 MILLION Vietnamese -and another million Laotians and Cambodians- killed by the U.S.- because actually there’s zero bathos, and zero genuine remorse or sympathy, for those victims in the U.S. media. The word of the day is “closure.” The local U.S. attorney, Carmen “I Drove Aaron Swartz to suicide!” Ortiz, has invoked it. The Mayor of Boston has invoked it. The New York Times has invoked it. The “hope” is that the victims will find “closure” in the execution of Tsarnaev. (If snuffing out his life is supposed to make them feel better, they’ll have to wait a number of years while his futile appeals run their course.)

I’m certainly not saying those three deaths aren’t a tragedy. I wish total strangers no ill as a general rule. I don’t believe they “deserved” to die simply for being Americans. But unfortunately there is a brutal and remorseless logic to the targeting of random Americans, given the American habit, centuries old, of slaughtering so many other people. How, really, can Americans squeal like stuck pigs when they’re on the receiving end of violence? They believe (at least most of them do) that their violence is righteous.

Nor do I share jihadist ideology or goals, as any regular reader of this blog has surely noticed.  And I wish that rather than target a relatively enlightened part of the U.S. like Boston, jihadist terrorists would pick more worthy targets. 

I simply refuse to hypocritically condemn some crimes and not other (far, FAR more major) ones.
As a political matter, I don’t think terrorist acts inside the U.S. do anything to improve things. They only empower the military and secret police state we already are suffocating under here. And materially they do nothing at all to weaken the U.S. The only benefit for the jihadists- and it is a major strategic one- is to provoke more repression, and more attacks on Muslims, which plays perfectly into the worldview the jihadists are trying to sell to the mass of Muslims, namely that “the West” is waging war on Islam, and the U.S. is an implacable enemy.

As for executing Tsarnaev, it strikes me as a tawdry act of vengeance. He comes across as an empty vessel, filled with jihadi notions by his domineering older brother (who was killed days after the bombing). It was explained that the jurors were supposedly put off by his lack of remorse. How he was supposed to show remorse in the courtroom isn’t explained. Should he have sobbed? (When defendants do that, it is often interpreted by jurors and judges as self-pity, anyway.) Ortiz felt the need to relitigate the point of whether he was controlled by his older brother as the defense unsuccessfully argued in trying to get the jury to spare his life. At her presentation to the media after the jury decision on death, she reargued the point gratuitously. [1]

The truth is, by all accounts he is a bit of a cipher, showing little emotion in general. A wasted life, now he is a pawn, a symbolic token to be ritually put to death to make a political point, namely that “terrorists,” that is, people who kill for the wrong political reasons, are the lowest of the low, utter scum to be gotten rid of.

Remember the deluge of vitriol heaped on Rolling Stone for running a cover with his picture on it? For some reason the picture was considered flattering, and Rolling Stone was said to be “glamorizing” Tsarnaev and making him “cool.” Even slight deviation from the ideological diktat that The Enemy must be demonized at all times results in attacks to whip the offenders back into line.
According to Ortiz, “today is not a day for political debate,” just “reflection.” Okay Carmen, here’s some reflections from me. Let me know when we’re allowed to “debate” the endless “war on terrorism” and other political topics.

That damn Rolling Stone, glamorizing Tsarnaev by calling him a "Monster!"...Oh wait, "monster is BAD, right? 

Pretty Vacant
Surrendering to police after they tried and failed to kill him. This time they'll get it right.

1] "U.S.Attorney Carmen Ortiz speaks after death penalty decision, May 15, 2015.” Ortiz raised the matter of the dead university cop (the jurors didn’t sentence him to death for that), the fact that children were killed (I think just one), the “weapons of mass destruction.” If a home-made bomb made out of a kitchen pressure cooker is a “weapon of mass destruction,” I wonder what the cluster bombs the U.S. drops on civilians, and gives to Israel to drop on Palestinians and Lebanese, and sells to Saudi Arabia which is killing Yemeni civilians with, are. Or a 30,000 pound “bunker buster” bomb. Or nuclear weapons. It seems like a hysterical exaggeration to call this a “weapon of mass destruction.”

But these days the U.S. classifies just about anything as a “weapon of mass destruction” if a “terrorist” holds it. 

As for the heinousness of killing children, American apparatchiks defend it when they do it, or Israel or others they back do it. Even the cold-blooded murder of four young Palestinian boys playing soccer on a Gaza beach, blown up by an Israeli gunboat as they ran for their lives, is swept under the rug. (NBC immediately pulled its eyewitness reporter out of Gaza to shut him down.) The point isn’t that it’s okay to blow up kids in America. The point is the insufferable, monumental hypocrisy of the American power establishment. Over its two centuries of existence, the U.S. has killed quite a few children, and doesn’t show any sign of stopping. The self-righteousness of these apparatchiks is rather nauseating.

Ortiz also stressed that the death penalty was imperative because Tsarnaev had tried to "coerce and intimidate the United States." Well, Honey, if the U.S. scares that easily, maybe it should just curl up into a ball and suck its thumb. The Soviet Union had 20,000 nuclear weapons, but two homemade bombs in what amounts to small buckets is a mortal threat to the United States? 

I guess the message is Don't Mess With The U.S.! That should deter all the Islamic zealots who seek martyrdom.

Kerry Cautions China on Developing Reefs it Claims- China Tells Him to Shove Off

U.S. Secretary of State John “Skull and Bones” Kerry is going to caution the Chinese rulers about their seizures and development of scraps of land and coral reefs in the oceans bordering their country, which they claim as their territories. And a Pentagon apparatchik tried to sound menacing towards China while testifying in the Senate. The Chinese responded in advance with the back of their hand, throwing the word “hypocrisy” in the U.S.’ face for good measure. 

Gee, whatever might they have had in mind?

Well, how about Guantanamo Bay? The U.S. doesn’t even pretend that is U.S. territory. It is occupied Cuban land on which the U.S. keeps a military base and torture center. Cuba has been demanding the U.S. pack up and leave for 55 years now.  (And all the while the U.S. has been trying to assassinate Cuba’s president, launching terrorist attacks on Cuba, murdering Cuban and foreign citizens, striving mightily to wreck Cuba’s economy, assassinating a Cuban diplomat in New York City, and on and on.)

But just to show the Chinese that the U.S. means business, the Obama regime threatened to make a threat, planting a reminder to China of the iron fist inside the U.S. velvet glove, in the New York Times, a U.S. ruling class bulletin board. Here’s what the Times said the Pentagon apparatchik, David Shear, told the august Senators:

“A senior Pentagon official said this week that the United States might consider sending ships and aircraft to within 12 nautical miles of built-up reefs near the Philippines, an American ally, to demonstrate its commitment to freedom of navigation in one of the world’s busiest shipping lanes.”  (My emphases.)[1]

Right. As usual, U.S. military muscle-flexing (which is a threat) and intimidation is altruistic. In fact, even when the U.S. slaughters hundreds of thousands (or millions, as in Indochina) of civilians, it’s altruistic. Everything the U.S. does is in Defense of Freedom. Who could criticize that? (Oh, and by the way, the Philippines is more of a U.S. protectorate than an “ally,” contrary to the Great Euphemiser, the NY Times.)

Or was that threatening to threaten to threaten? They didn’t say “consider sending” combat forces to menace the Chinese, they said they might consider sending them. Can you hedge it with any more qualifiers than that? Seems kind of wimpy. Hell, you didn’t even get around to considering doing it yet! No wonder the Chinese aren’t intimidated.

Here’s the exact quote the NY Times was paraphrasing, uttered by the aforementioned assistant Secretary of “Defense,” David Shear, “We are actively assessing the military implications of land reclamation and are committed to taking effective and appropriate action.” 

Well good for you, David!

However, the NY Times portrays U.S. jawboning as quite stern. “State Department officials [NAMELESS AND FACELESS ONES] said Mr. Kerry arrived in Beijing with a similarly tough [sic!] message: China’s intensified island-building campaign threatens relations as both countries are seeking to cooperate on several issues, including military ties, bilateral investment and climate change.

“In a background briefing on Wednesday, a senior State Department official [LACKING A NAME OR A FACE] said Mr. Kerry would leave Chinese leaders with ‘absolutely no doubt’ where the United States stood on the issue of China’s territorial claims. [2]

“’He is going to reinforce to them the very negative consequences on China’s image, on China’s relationship with its neighbors, on regional stability, and potentially on the U.S.-China relationship,’ the [FACELESS AND NAMELESS] official said.” 

Ah, POTENTIALLY on U.S.-China relations. Maybe the U.S. will stop having its consumer goods manufactured in low-wage China! Or stop letting China fund U.S. government deficits by buying Treasury bonds! Or kick China out of the anti-Iran coalition that is strangling Iran’s economy! Or…what, exactly?

But Kerry’s gonna TELL THEM! Kerry’s Tough TalkTM worked wonders on the Israelis, and on blood-drenched Syrian dictator Assad. Oh, and on Vladimir Putin too. So you better WATCH OUT, CHINA! You are gonna get a tongue-lashing like you wouldn’t believe!

In other words, Kerry’s image-meisters were applying make-up to Kerry, and the NY Times, acting like a mirror, reflected the pretty picture of the tough Kerry taking it to the Chinese. This the NYT pretends is “news,” not State Department public relations imagery laundered through a “news”paper.
Speaking of Putin, the U.S. sabotaged its own encirclement-of-China strategy by ignoring core Russian geostrategic interests in Ukraine and brazenly seizing control of the country, causing it to split in two. Since then, they have been punishing and demonizing Russia and driving it into the arms of China. (Russia is already doing energy deals with China as a result of U.S.-EU sanctions and attacks.) Smart, U.S.

Arrogance makes people dumb. 

The same article contained evidence of the futility of U.S. verbiage. The Chinese ambassador to the U.S. had some choice words, bouncing the blame for tension back on the U.S. And the Chinese rulers did some ventriloquism in the Global Times, “a reliably nationalist newspaper in China,” which fulminated in an editorial that “If U.S. warplanes fly over China’s islands, and if its warships enter the waters 12 nautical miles from China’s islands, then we believe the Chinese military would prove that America’s pirate-style actions picked the wrong place and wrong people.”
Ooh, pirate-style! Harsh! Careful, you might hurt somebody’s feelings! Doesn’t sound like someone is ready to back off from gobbling up those islands, either! I hope this doesn’t all end up in tears.

May you live in interesting times.

1]Kerry Expected to Bring Up China’s Sea Claims During Visit,” New York Times, May 15, 2015.

2] Ibid. Another euphemism for what the Times calls a “background briefing” is the word “guidance,” which perhaps tells too much. It’s feeding the corporate propagandists the government line. The media organs then transmit that line, sometimes with a little skepticism, rarely with a lot of skepticism, but in any event with top-line promotion. Usually the majority of the sourcing in such “important” articles is anonymous, which any reader of the NYT knows, or should know if they’re paying attention to what they’re reading. That doesn’t stop the Times and other power establishment media from attacking reporting they don’t like by sneering that it is based on anonymous sources, as the NY Times and others just did with Seymour Hersh’s article in the London Review of Books on the assassination of Osama bin Laden. Interesting how the U.S. media immediately went on the attack against Hersh, rather than investigating his claims first. That’s a dead giveaway that they aren’t journalists, but rather propagandists.
Oh, gee, that word “hypocrisy” is coming up again! I better look that up in my thesaurus before I start sounding like a broken record!

Friday, May 08, 2015

Here's That Mysteriously Vanished NY Times Article, Resurrected from the Grave!

Most Bizarre- That NY Times Article Just Disappeared!

And now the link goes to an article from the POV of the Baltimore killer cops' defense lawyers!
When I searched on the Times' website for "Justice Dept Begins Inquiry into Baltimore Police" I get either no result, or an article about the Warren Commission from 1964!

Anyway, I already had downloaded the article, and I will post screenshots of it for your viewing

Loretta Lynch Tells Her First Whopping Lie as New Attorney General of the U.S.

“I don’t have drones.”

This bald-faced, outrageous lie was uttered by Obama’s newly-minted “chief law enforcement officer of the United States,” Loretta Lynch, in front of an assemblage of human drones from the corporate media. Then they all went off and played make-believe-it’s-true.

Lynch is the head of the Department of “Justice.” The FBI secret police is part of the Department of “Justice.” The FBI operates drones. So Lynch is being nakedly dishonest. (Of course, being a lawyer, if she was called on it, she would say she was being literal, that is, she doesn’t personally own a drone which she keeps in her garage. See? Not misleading at all! That would be a Clinton interpretation. Hey, what does “is” mean, anyway?)

Lynch had summoned the corporate media to hear her announce an investigation of the brutal Baltimore police, who just murdered Freddie Gray, the latest in an innumerable series of crimes. Had there not been violent demonstrations as a result, nothing at all would be happening. As usual, only violence forces the rulers to make concessions. I don’t say that as an endorsement of violence, just a sad fact in this repressive society. It must also be noted that only the violence of the oppressed is “violence,” not the much greater, ubiquitous, systematic, and deliberate violence of the state and its agents. The elites only decry “violence” when it comes from the underclass. [1]

The New York Times dropped Lynch’s lie into the last two paragraphs of a sixteen paragraph story that read as a complete non sequitur to the article itself.  Here are the last two paragraphs. Notice how the NYT dismisses the real life experiences of the eyewitnesses who were the targets of this sinister sneaky state surveillance as “rumors:”

“At the news conference, the attorney general refuted rumors about Justice Department drones conducting surveillance of the city during last week’s unrest.

“I don’t have any drones,” she said.

There it is, a whopping lie, stuck at the very end of the article. [2] The NY Times lets readers believe the lie is true. It doesn’t point out the blatant falseness of Lynch’s Lie. Thus it is an accomplice once again in perpetuating a nightmarish police state by pretending it doesn’t exist. And so is most of the rest of the corporate oligarchy’s propaganda system, with a few honorable exceptions. (McClatchy comes to mind.)

As far as “refuting rumors,” since the “refutation” consisted of a blatant falsehood, nothing was refuted. The eyewitness accounts of those on the ground still stand- even if the New York Times, instead of reporting them, airily brushes them away as “rumors.” What high-handed assholes. The Times wants to make sure that just in case any of its oh-so-respectable readers heard some truths they're not supposed to know, those readers realize those are just rumors.

Thus does the NY Times turn falsehood into truth, and truth into falsehood. And designates a naked lie as a refutation of the lived reality of those being targeted.

These days, it is standard operating procedure to use drones, and cellphone signal grabbers, and cameras, and facial recognition technology, and license plate readers, and on and on, to spy on ALL protests that those in power don’t like. The information is added to the police state databases, and software is then used to spot patterns, map social networks, and pick out individuals for personal destruction.

As for Lynch’s crude lie, it doesn’t match the self-righteous unction of the lies of her predecessor, Eric Holder Jr. He beat his chest in public about his “opposition” to the death penalty, while unleashing his minions to pursue precisely that penalty in various cases. He claimed to oppose mass incarceration while making sure to continue it. He redefined due process to mean NO due process. He contemptuously refused to turn over subpoenaed documents to Congress in various DO”J” scandals and fulminated he was the victim of racist disrespect. He let the top echelon of the financial elite buy their way out of trouble, and offered up fatuous sophistries in justification. All in all, the po’ girl from the humble background (so we are told, and expected to celebrate how she rose to be a chief persecutor) probably lacks the sly cunning of corporate lawyer Eric Holder. But we shall see.

1] And when violence comes from revolutionaries, the elites get positively hysterical. They’re still denouncing the “violence” of “Sixties radicals.” Some asshole just wrote yet another book attacking the Weather Underground, the Black Panthers, the Symbionese Liberation Army, etc., and is getting a big boost from bourgeois media for his ideological effort. Talk about beating a dead horse. Perhaps they fear a return of such militancy, given the unrest their murderous police have managed to stoke, on top of the daily grinding oppression in a society in which the poor are preyed upon by the human hyenas who wield political and economic power over the powerless. I have no time for a book that wants to excoriate the Weatherpeople for planting a few bombs that killed no one (by design) while ignoring the six million tons of bombs dropped on Vietnam, which helped killed millions of people. It was those bombs that animated and radicalized the Weatherpeople in the first place.

2]Justice Department Begins Civil Rights Inquiry Into Baltimore Police,” New York Times, May 8, 2015. 

Update: the NY Times changed the title to the pro-police "Baltimore Case Is Full of Conflicts, Lawyers for Officers Contend." The link above goes to that article instead of the original one. The substituted article w deletes Lynch's lie.

And these smarmy, underhanded propagandists like to hammer the elisions and sneaky deletions from history of their opponents in Russia (and before that, the Soviet Union). Nothing like a pot calling a kettle black.

But I was a step ahead of the commissars at the NY Times and their Soviet-style journalism..I saved the article webpage in its original form before they pulled their switcheroo. You can view it at "Here's That Mysteriously Vanished NY Times Article, Resurrected from the Grave!"

Friday, May 01, 2015

Arkansas Police Plant Spyware on Lawyer’s Computer

Police in the town of Fort Smith in the U.S. state of Arkansas have been caught red-handed planting spying software on the computer of a lawyer, Matt Campbell, who is representing former police turned whistleblowers. (The details are at the references below.) [1] This latest outrage is probably an increasingly normal occurrence in the police state of America. It would be akin to the warrantless tapping of the lawyer’s phone (they probably did that too) or planting room bugs and hidden cameras in his office. The malware was planted in the guise of providing discovery documents to the attorney in the course of a lawsuit against the police department.
After Campbell, the lawyer who was the victim of this devious and malevolent computer attack, went to the Arkansas State police to lodge a criminal complaint, they blew him off, refusing to enforce the law.

We shouldn’t be surprised that police are doing this. After all, they can brutalize and murder certain classes of people with impunity. Why shouldn’t they feel empowered to spy on lawyers? They already know they are above the law, and that the alleged “guaranteed rights” in the U.S. Constitution place little restraint on them.

It’s degenerated to the point that even in some podunk Hicksville in rural America cops are acting as secret policemen against attorneys. It is implausible to think that these redneck coppers are innovative enough to be the first ones to do this. They’re just unsophisticated, crude and ham-fisted enough to be caught at it.

The U.S. establishment brainwashes people into believing that the people of this nation have “rights” that are “protected” by a Holy Relic called the U.S. Constitution. That scrap of venerated parchment does indeed intone limits on police powers and specifies requirements to conduct searches. In U.S. law there is also supposed to be something called attorney-client privilege, which means that communications between lawyers and those they represent are supposed to be inviolate to state intrusion. That has long been violated in political cases. From now on we should expect it to be violated in all manner of cases. [2]

What the Fort Smith police did was felonious under Federal law. So will the FBI secret police investigate the Fort Smith police criminally? Will the Department of “Justice,” now under the establishment-feted new attorney general Loretta Lynch prosecute the police?

No, and no.

How do I know this? Experience and knowledge, that’s how. The history of the FBI, DO”J,” and America virtually guarantees it. And if anyone wants to place a bet with me on this, get in touch through my blogsite.

“Law” in the U.S. (and in other places) is not someone that binds all people equally. It is used by those in power against their perceived enemies (such as those who interfere with their venal behavior, as do whistleblowers and whistleblowers' lawyers) and against those who must be ruled, namely us. They themselves are largely exempted from law, unless there is exceptional political pressure. Then a lower-ranking scapegoat must be sacrificed.

Ironically at the same time the news of the criminal activity of the Fort Smith, Arkansas police broke in mid-April, a hacker living in the borough of Staten Island, in New York City, was sentenced to three years for his computer crimes. (This was the article following the one about the Arkansas police on the Emsisoft website referenced in footnote #1.) Which nicely illustrated the dual-standard nature of the U.S. legal system. Laws and punishment are for Thee, not for Me who Rules.

Understand that fundamentally, “law” is nothing but a fine garment that power wears to cloak its nakedness. At least that is the reality. It should, and maybe could, be better than that. But it isn’t.

As a system of power becomes more decadent morally and politically, as in the U.S., those wielding power within the system become less and less restrained. This manifests itself not only in increasing attacks on dissidents, spreading to the general population over time, but in “scandals” such as orgies by DEA agents paid for by south American drug traffickers (and the use of children to make pornographic movies by agents) and drunkenness and patronization of prostitutes by Secret Service men supposedly guarding the president on his trips abroad. Moreover, there is scant or no punishment for these acts, except that the head of the agency may lose their job, as happened in these cases. The fact that people get away with such transgressions shows how deep the rot has spread. It means that the attack dogs of the establishment are out of control. In fact, they fear them. This is why the head of the policemen's union in New York City can openly attack the Mayor, claiming he has “blood on his hands” after a mentally ill man shot dead two cops in retaliation for the murder by the police of Eric Garner on Staten Island. And the bulk of the local media, controlled by plutocrats, sided with the police union and criticized the mayor for not apologizing, that is, for not groveling before the insubordinate, demagogic union boss. (The union being the so-called “Patrolmen's Benevolent Association,” headed by a fascist thug named Patrick Lynch, and the Mayor being the “progressive” Bill deBlasio, who came up through the Democratic Party ranks via the Clinton camp and who supports repressive police tactics and opposes outlawing chokeholds by police- a chokehold being how the NYPD murdered Eric Garner.)

Speaking of surveillance, New York City is in many ways a dystopian Total Surveillance State, with tens of thousands of cameras feeding directly into police headquarters, where software reads and stores license plate information and facial recognition technology tracks people the NYPD wishes to persecute in real time as they move physically through the city, among other malevolent software of repression. The NYPD maintains tight links with the FBI, CIA, and through them the NSA. American police are creating their dream state of total power for themselves and powerlessness for the citizenry- except for the tiny sliver of rich people whom they “protect and serve.”

1] The malware the police planted on the computer- and a lawyer FOR the police was involved, so at a minimum that lawyer should be disbarred, but he won’t be- stole passwords, kept the computer connected to the Internet in the background even if the user tried to disconnect, and allowed for the remote installation of additional malware. For the details of how the lawyer’s hard drive was infiltrated by the police and the specific malware used, see “Arkansas Police send malware-laden hard drive to lawyer representing whistleblowers,” Emsisoft blog, April 18, 2015. Emsisoft is a computer software company that produces security software such as anti-virus programs. For more information surrounding the police crime, see “Lawyer representing whistle blowers finds malware on drive supplied by cops: Says police department brass tried to infect him, seeks criminal sanctions,” ars technica, April 14.

The Alex Jones channel posted a one-minute video on youtube about the matter which is a summary in a nutshell and describes the malware. “Local Police Caught Acting Like The NSA,” April 16, 2015.
2] The evisceration of attorney-client privilege has been take to its logical extreme In the Kafkaesque burlesques of “trials” at the U.S. Naval base of Guantanamo Bay, on occupied Cuban territory, we have witnesses the total stripping away of any confidentiality between lawyers and the prisoners they’re supposed to represent and defend. Even in the “courtroom,” the CIA controls the video feed, and cut it off at one point, to the startlement of the military officer playing “judge.”