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The Case Against Bill Bratton

By Josmar Trujillo | Black Agenda Report | March 12, 2014

The first two months of the City’s post-Bloomberg era have seen little in the way of “progressive changes to the New York Police Department. While new(ish) Mayor Bill de Blasio may have seen his honeymoon period come to an end with a few notable controversies in February, the once-again commissioner of the NYPD, Bill Bratton, has largely stayed above the fray as he strategically manages the media and helps steer an embattled police department through a reform storm — one of his specialties.

Policing activists cheered last year when a federal judge ruled that the NYPD was engaging in (at least) “indirect” racial profiling and that reforms, including a federal monitor to oversee changes to the department, were needed. The idea of federal oversight, beyond the scope of City Hall, was music to the ears of many who questioned if the City could reform a police force whose reach stretched overseas. An appeal by the City would be the main obstacle to the court-order remedies.

Former Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s appeal of the Floyd v City of New York case was expected. Bloomberg was his famously unapologetic self to the very end. De Blasio, a self-proclaimed “progressive,” on the other hand, promised change and accountability for an NYPD that had been trampling the Constitution for years. Some activists, perhaps, felt they had an ally in de Blasio. After 12 years of Bloomberg, expectations for Hillary Clinton’s former campaign manager were informed by a sense of optimism–leading some to take “wait and see” approaches. At the end of his first month in office de Blasio and Bratton joined policing activists, civil libertarians and plaintiffs in the Floyd case to announce, to much fanfare, that he would instruct the City’s lawyers to drop the Bloomberg administration’s appeal.

Of course, simply not being Michael Bloomberg wouldn’t suffice in putting the brakes on a growing trend of police abuse, surveillance and militarization. Substantive changes are desperately needed to relieve communities of color living in what many see as a racialized police state. De Blasio, apart from his campaign rhetoric and the media narrative, had been speaking a message of only moderate reform. So moderate that many wondered if he was serious about changing the NYPD in meaningful ways.

The Returning Conqueror

The most obvious pause for alarm for community members and activists came in December when de Blasio announced he’d be bringing back Rudy Giuliani’s police commissioner, Bratton, for a 2nd run at the helm of the NYPD. Bratton is widely seen as the man who operationalized “Broken Windows” theory from an article in the Atlantic magazine into a philosophy that dominates law enforcement across the country today. His aggressive, pro-active approach, coupled with his introduction of CompStat, was the precursor to Stop and Frisk. A strange bedfellow for a “progressive” Mayor. For many who live in the front lines of aggressive policing, labels like “progressive” mean very little. Ditto for Stop and Frisk; police profiling and harassment of black and brown men is a time-honored tradition that preceded the policy. But the policy became a controversial issue the past few years and a central theme in last year’s mayoral election. De Blasio’s biracial son was featured in campaign ads touting his father as the only one who would “end the Stop and Frisk era.”

Bratton seemed an awkward choice to fulfill that pledge. Before the appointment, he said that cops who don’t do it “aren’t doing their job.” If you look back at Bratton’s cable TV appearances, his speeches and the philosophy of his little known consulting company, Bratton Group, he has never wavered from his support of the tactic. So far he’s been consistent: a few days into his second stint as commissioner, the famously media-savvy Bratton told CBS’s Norah O’Donnell that policing without Stop and Frisk is like a “journalist interviewing without asking questions.” In his most recent interview he said there’d be “anarchy” without it.

But New Yorkers were told that Bratton was different now than the Bratton of the past. A kinder, gentler Bratton wanted to save us from the excesses of the Ray Kelly era. Even Al Sharpton, who had famously been at odds with Bratton in the 90’s, gave his blessings to Bratton at an event honoring the late Nelson Mandela. An ACLU lawyer penned an op-ed in the New York Times praising Bratton. Bratton even met with his fiercest critics when he sat down with a small group of policing activists. It seemed many were willing to watch the Bratton sequel unfold–perhaps even support it. The architect of Stop and Frisk had also, to the outrage of some, invoked King’s “Letter from a Birmingham Jail” at a recent MLK day celebration in Brooklyn.

Then Bratton laid out some of his cards. It was reported that Bratton was looking to bring on George Kelling as a consultant. Kelling, a senior fellow at the conservative Manhattan Institute think tank, is both a friend of Bratton and one of the authors of the influential Atlantic magazine article that birthed “Broken Windows” theory and laid the framework for Stop and Frisk. Activists that had been tempered in their response to the Bratton appointment were now delivering some slightly stronger language as they criticized Bratton’s look to the past in shaping the NYPD’s future through the hiring of Kelling.

But whether you saw Bratton’s return as a change of direction from the approach of the Bloomberg-era, or as window dressing to business as usual, you couldn’t help but note that Bratton had now been linked with three police departments that have faced community outrage and subsequent legal challenges. Before re-joining the NYPD this year, Bratton had been hired (to significant protest) as a private consultant to the Oakland Police department, a department with a “pattern of resisting reform.” The OPD had been operating under a federal consent decree after scandal and corruption led to a legal settlement that required reforms. Before that he had been the police chief of the Los Angeles Police department, which had also been working under a federal consent decree following the infamous Ramparts scandals of the 90’s. In a case where both revolving-door and conflict of interest concerns were raised, he had just previously been working as a private consultant for Kroll Associates, the private independent monitor of the LAPD.

The fact that Bratton has been continually called in to help police departments navigate through legal oversight should raise questions for New Yorkers today who wonder if Bratton was brought in to reform or rebrand a police department that was facing legal and legislative pressure. A City Council bill that passed last summer would create potential oversight via the creation of an office of Inspector General for the NYPD. But this would be done under the auspices of the Mayor’s Department of Investigations and City Hall–offering a limited amount of independence. Similarly, the Floyd ruling called for a federal monitor to oversee reforms. But the de Blasio administration’s agreement with the Floyd plaintiffs made this a temporary role. Would a reform storm that activists, civil libertarians and outraged community members created in LA, Oakland and New York be something that Bratton would embrace–or simply get these troubled departments through

New York area activists of all stripes, but particularly those centered around policing, should keep in mind Bratton’s approach to protesters and marchers. Bratton’s LAPD violently quelled a May Day rally in 2007, and Bratton said he would have “cleared” protests in Wall Street “right away”–something not even Bloomberg or Ray Kelly did.

Bratton and The Media

Whether it’s stopping and frisking large numbers of young black or brown males in the City or cracking down on squeegee-men (both tactics derived from Broken Windows), aggressive policing is gospel and Bill Bratton is clearly the pastor of the flock. Still, as an article recently pointed out, while Bratton may have some moderate policy differences with his predecessor, Ray Kelly, he’s more concerned with rehabilitating the NYPD’s tattered image than anything.

How does he do this? He’s by far the most media-savvy commissioner of any department this City has probably ever seen. Even his counter-terrorism chief, John Miller, has media credentials that blur the lines between being a journalist and law enforcement spokesman. Miller was formerly a spokesperson for the FBI as well as a correspondent for CBS News. But Bratton’s best strategy is feeding the public quotes that suggest changes are in the works–but that inspire little hope upon closer inspection. He’s made clear that he’s “needed to use the media” to get “certain messages through.” The media is a willing partner in this regard.

Let’s take a closer look at the news from the end of Bratton’s first month back in office: A New York Times headline read “Bratton Says Rookies’ Role in Anticrime Effort Will End.” The local NY1 news channel reported “Bratton Wants NYPD Rookies Out of Operation Impact.” By those headlines you’d think Bratton was aiming to curb police harassment in frontline neighborhoods (and the backlash against it) by swapping out rookies with gracious, polite veterans. First off, the headlines were misleading–“Let me emphasize: Operation Impact is not going away. It is an essential tool” he said (echoing the fine print on Stop and Frisk “reform” he had also cautioned). Rookies will still go out to high-crime areas, he said, but they’ll be “mentored” first. It’s important to note that no policing activist had ever suggested replacing rookies with veterans (who may be more problematic in terms of profiling–it was commanding officers that pushed for quotas, as Bratton has conceded) would reform policing behavior. When one thinks of a dirty or aggressive cop, veterans may come to mind more often than rookies.

Then there was also a widely cited video message that Bratton posted to the Policeman’s Benevolent Association website. The PBA have been staunch defenders of Stop and Frisk since the Bloomberg administration and have been highly critical of reforms. They now, thanks to Bratton, also enjoy office space inside 1 Police Plaza–which might be a first for a civil service union. In the video, Bratton speaks to relying less on “numbers.” Media insisted he “bags bust quota” (an unspoken–and illegal–system that encourages cops to stop high numbers of people). But he never actually mentions quotas or explicitly says they shouldn’t be tolerated, although the impression is that he’s steering the department away from the numbers crunch.

But Bratton has always been about numbers. In fact, in an interview he did with NYU Professor Paul Romer (perhaps best known as an innovator of charter cities in the poorest regions of Latin America) a month before his appointment, Bratton points to computer “algorithms” as the next step forward for “predictive policing.” In 2009, under Bratton, the LAPD received a grant from the Department of Justice towards predictive policing technology. Any future computer programs ostensibly “predicting” crime would owe much to the legacy of Bratton and CompStat, the data driven computer policing program he introduced in New York during the 90’s. That was all about numbers. So in spite of his video message, Bratton seems very comfortable with both numbers and technology (Bratton has also recently joined Twitter).

But few public figures or voices in the media are willing to probe “America’s Supercop” very much. Not only has Bratton and his philosophy come to dominate our City (and nation) through an echo chamber of uncritical media and politicians, they resemble the talking points of previous commissioner Ray Kelly. For starters, de Blasio and Bratton’s insistence that Stop and Frisk not be ended is based largely in an argument that there is a correlation between aggressive policing and crime reduction; that without Stop and Frisk and Muslim surveillance the City would descend into New Jack City, or that we’d have another 9/11. This is almost indistinguishable from the prevailing logic of the Bloomberg/Kelly era–and isn’t clearly supported by evidence. Upon closer inspection, de Blasio and Bratton’s approach tries to encapsulate the political rhetoric that said the previous administration was too cavalier–but without undermining its logic.

Fear of a city descending into a crime-ridden replay of the past may have indeed led to the hiring of a figure of the past in Bratton. Fear is a prime ingredient for a highly policed society and it clearly makes the appointment of a controversial figure like Bratton easier to swallow for some. But it also demands media coverage that defers to the celebrity and expertise of Bratton–rarely asking tough questions. Bratton does his part by carefully managing his words, saving substantive discussions for closed-door speeches. Some may remember that it was Bratton’s media-mastery that was at the root of his ouster from Giuliani’s NYC in the 90’s.

Bratton 2.0

Research tells us that communities of color will usually be disproportionately dealt the receiving end of police profiling and brutality. If they are being sold a rebranded NYPD–one that emphasizes “collaborative” policing over constitutional policing–by a recycled Bratton, it is important to understand how that translates onto the streets, not just in press conferences.

Two weeks into the job, Bratton announced that Stop and Frisk was “more or less solved” and cited data from the Bloomberg era that suggested the practice was already in decline (statistically) since 2013. If true, then candidate de Blasio’s rhetoric to reign in Bloomberg and Kelly’s abuse of the policy was at odds with Bratton’s analysis. Had Bloomberg already reformed the NYPD in 2013? Then why the political rhetoric?

Crime statistics can be politicized depending on what the political climate is and what the incentives are. Robert Gangi from Police Reform Operation Project recently remarked that any figures provided by the NYPD about itself should be taken with a healthy skepticism. The Chief-Leader, a weekly civil service newspaper catered to cops, firefighters and other civil servants, has also written about politicized policing statistics. There is, also, the possibility that some officers simply won’t document all stops or interactions. Of course this is hard to prove and would require in-depth, independent studies. In a recent article the New York Times revealed that officers already fail to properly report friskings of drivers they pull over.

That Times article was also revealing in the context of Vision Zero, de Blasio and Bratton’s new initiative to crack down on drivers and pedestrians in the name of traffic safety. Public safety is often trumpeted when expansions of police power are rolled out. What in foreign policy is described as pre-emptive war can translate domestically into proactive policing. Who could oppose a plan to reduce traffic deaths–or keep ourselves safe from terror? But if police were focusing their attention on drivers and pedestrians with the latest enforcement crackdown, then what might the long term implications for New Yorkers be? In February, de Blasio placed a phone call to police officials after a member of his Transition Team, a black Brooklyn-based pastor and political ally, was jailed following an improper left turn stop by police.

While the Mayor took heat for the call and for a what many saw as a hypocritical driving detail that ran stop signs and sped over limit, Bratton’s NYPD was recovering from its own scandal in January when an elderly Chinese immigrant was roughed up and bloodied by cops after being targeted for jaywalking. Ironically it was the notoriously conservative New York Post that criticized the police crackdown–even as they have unabashedly championed aggressive policing most other times. In a recent interview George Kelling linked Vision Zero to Broken Windows as a “new threshold in terms of order maintenance.” He also may have inadvertently given an insight into the initiative’s other motivating factors: a crackdown on small crimes (jaywalking for pedestrians; improper turns and lane changes for drivers) as a “pathway” to uncovering other criminal behavior–what he called “side benefits.”

Amid the brewing controversies, it was becoming clear that Broken Windows was still the basis for policing in the five boroughs.

While for many New Yorkers, the term Stop and Frisk had become a dinnertime conversation topic, what did people know about Broken Windows? Back in September, de Blasio the candidate proclaimed himself a believer in the theory. Does it work? If you go by most mainstream media and Bratton, it’s death, taxes and Broken Windows. Criminologists and researchers aren’t too sure. In 2006, Bratton and Kelling reacted angrily in a written response for the conservative National Review magazine to academic research that had poked holes in their theory. In 2004, now-deceased James Q. Wilson, Kelling’s Broken Windows article co-author, tried to explain that “I still to this day do not know if improving order will or will not reduce crime… people have not understood that this was speculation.”

This year, in an apparent attempt to restore “order” in the City’s subway system, Bratton’s NYPD, along with the MTA, planned to make homeless sweeps in the subways. Bratton was known in the 90’s to target homeless New Yorkers and squeegee men with his quality of life policies. He had continued that trend with the LAPD in Skid Row where harsh quality of life crackdowns (like targeting homeless people for being on public grass) and gang injunctions raised questions of discrimination in the service of gentrification. The former transit top cop also targeted the transit system with his policies. In a recent article for the Times, spikes in arrests of panhandlers and peddlers included immigrant women selling Churros (Mexican pastries) in subway stations. It was clear that for Bratton some habits die hard.

But Bratton’s most recent homeless sweeps plans met outrage and push-back from community groups. A few grassroots groups, led by Picture The Homeless, a homeless-led advocacy organization, planned an action that apparently forced authorities to back off the early morning operation. In LA, Bratton’s policies had also met resistance from groups like the LA Community Action Network. So in spite of the generally fawning media coverage and relative ease with which he transitioned back into 1 Police Plaza, some activists were ready to oppose Bratton the commissioner as many had done to Bratton the consultant in Oakland and even Detroit. But would it be enough?

Most recently Mr. Bratton and the Mayor revealed a 7-point plan that instructed police officers to be more positive and courteous in their interactions with community members. Bratton indicated cops would be trained in “verbal judo.” And again this points to what is packaged as reform by the NYPD. Will training police along the lines of customer service reps (or verbal martial artists) address the constitutional concerns raised over the last few years? Lessons in civility sidestep demands that officers adhere to the standards of the Supreme Court’s Terry V. Ohio ruling. As noted civil rights attorney Norman Siegel pointed out, reforming Stop and Frisk wasn’t about a magic number of stops or simply the graciousness of police officers; it was about the legality of the stop. Kind words and improved language also wouldn’t make police accountable for abuses of power up to and including fatal shootings of unarmed New Yorkers–of which there were dozens during Bratton’s first stint.

But perhaps least inspiring is that this new initiative isn’t new–NYPD 2020 was spearheaded by Ray Kelly in the prior administration.

The World As a Battlefield

Apart from Bratton’s domestic resume, there are also some pretty telling indicators abroad.

Since the 90’s, Bratton’s police work has taken him across oceans. In 2001, Bratton was a special consultant to the capital of Venezuela when a failed coup d’etat briefly removed Hugo Chavez from the presidency. Bratton and the local police chief were at the helm when 17 pro-Chavez protesters were shot by police before Chavez returned, jailed the chief and sent Bratton packing. In 2007, Bratton tapped an LAPD Lieutenant who studied counterterrorism at Hosni Mubarak’s Egyptian National Police Academy to head that DOJ grant on predictive policing. In 2011, Bratton was in talks with UK Prime Minister David Cameron to help advise the police crackdown on race riots in London that were sparked by the police shooting death of a black man.

Finally, both Bratton and the Mayor share an affinity for Israel. De Blasio fancies his role as Mayor as one of a “defender of Israel.” Bratton, meanwhile, forged a “close relationship” with the controversial government while on official visits for the LAPD to browse through its counterterrorism technologies. It’s safe to say the Israeli government sees most matters of security and policing through a prism of anti-terrorism and militarism, but numerous human rights groups and scholars also say that Israel engages in racial apartheid. A region marred by violence, military checkpoints and concentrated poverty; Israel and the occupied territories is a true Tale of Two Cities. New Yorkers, particularly those that find themselves in communities of color, should take note.

Josmar Trujillo is an organizer with New Yorkers Against Bratton.

March 12, 2014 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Subjugation - Torture | , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on The Case Against Bill Bratton

West to accelerate proxy war on Syria: Report

Press TV – March 12, 2014

The West is planning a new push against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad through funding proxy war on the conflict-stricken country, a report suggests.

The British daily The Guardian reported that a fresh clandestine effort is under way for opening up a “southern front” against the Syrian president.

A secret command center for international operations in Amman is monitoring preparations for the offensive. This center is staffed by military officials from the US, Britain, Israel and 11 Arab states opposed to Assad.

The paper said its information is based on leaks from the United States, Israel, Jordan and some Persian Gulf Arab states.

It said the planned offensive, dubbed Geneva Horan, is aimed at pushing back Syrian troops in the Daraa, Quneitra and As-Suwayda governorates in the southwest of the country in a bid to clear the way for militants to reach the capital Damascus.

The operation derives its name from the plains near Jordan’s border with Israel.

“The command centre, based in an intelligence headquarters building in Amman, channels vehicles, sniper rifles, mortars, heavy machine guns, small arms and ammunition to Free Syrian Army (FSA) units,” the Abu Dhabi-based National newspaper quoted militants as saying.

Syria has been gripped by deadly crisis since 2011. Over 130,000 people have reportedly been killed and millions displaced due to the unrest.

Saudi Arabia has been the main supplier of weapons and funds to foreign-backed militants inside Syria.

The United States is also constructing runways for reconnaissance aircraft near the border between Jordan and Syria to help with the operation against Syria.

The Guardian said the US hosted secret talks last month between President Barack Obama’s National Security Advisor Susan Rice and Saudi Interior Minister Prince Mohammed bin Nayef.

The talks, reportedly attended by spy chiefs from Jordan, Qatar, Turkey and other regional countries, focused on making a “stronger effort” to assist the militants in Syria.

March 12, 2014 Posted by | Militarism, Progressive Hypocrite, War Crimes, Wars for Israel | , , , | Comments Off on West to accelerate proxy war on Syria: Report

Making Mischief in Ukraine

The Neocons Ride Again

By Patrick Foy | CounterPunch | March 12, 2014

An important article, entitled Russia needs to defend its interests with an iron fist, appeared in the Financial Times the other day, to wit, March 5th. It is an analysis of the blowup in Ukraine from a Russian perspective.

The writer, Dr. Sergei Karaganov, makes perfect sense. He is a distinguished academic in Moscow and a leader of Global Zero, the international movement for the complete elimination of nuclear weapons. Sounds like a great idea and way overdue.

My own outlook is that the imbroglio in the Ukraine was orchestrated by Neoconservative elements in Washington. The Neoconservatives  as you may know, began infiltrating the U.S. Government and the American news media in earnest during the H.W. Bush Administration. They came into glory during the co-consulship of Dick Cheney and G.W. Bush.

In the present instance, Russian President Vladimir Putin has reacted in a predictable manner to a situation which the Neocons have brought about in Kiev, the capital of Ukraine, on the southern flank of Russia. Did the NSC expect Moscow to stand by while Russia’s Black Sea fleet headquartered at Sevastopol in the Crimea was put at risk? Does Washington want a new Cold War? If so, why?

Meddling by Washington in the internal affairs of other nations is certainly nothing new. Such activity must be seen in historical context. It has been the hallmark of U.S. foreign policy since the days of the Spanish-American war in 1898. The immediate consequences have rarely been salubrious for the people on the ground. Under Presidents from both political parties, America became a busybody nation, either looking for trouble or deliberately stirring it up.

Presidents Woodrow Wilson and Franklin Roosevelt are the prime exemplars of outsized trouble-making. Both deliberately lied America into war, while loudly proclaiming that they were trying to keep the country out of war. It is clear in retrospect that Wilson and Roosevelt had serious psychological problems, not the least of which was grandiosity.

In April 1917 Wilson came to the rescue of the gigantic, far-flung British Empire and of its obtuse, myopic leadership in Whitehall. American intervention in the Great War collaterally paved the way for the Soviet Union and handed Palestine, thanks to the Balfour Declaration, over to the Zionists. The outcome of World War I and the Paris Peace Conference of 1919 is a Pandora’s box that does not quit. The box continues to disgorge its contents to this day.

As for Roosevelt, he was uniquely responsible for the outbreak of war in Europe in 1939. I’m referring to FDR’s rule-or-ruin, sub rosa foreign policy from 1937 onward with respect to the internal borders of Europe, which borders were none of Washington’s business. Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain, France and Poland became pawns of White House intrigue. The result was a trumped-up crisis involving the German port city of Danzig in the summer of 1939, and the outbreak of war in September.

It took a few more years of machinations for FDR to provoke and maneuver the hapless Japanese into attacking Pearl Harbor. Using this “back door to war”  America was officially railroaded into the ongoing bloodbath in Europe.

In our own time, post Cold War, outbreaks of chaos, ruination and bedlam, in which Washington has had a hand, have been on a minor scale, when compared to the two colossal world wars of the 20th century. At least so far. For example, at the present moment both Iraq and Syria are self-destructing simultaneously, as a direct consequence of ill-advised U.S. foreign policy decisions.

For Iraq, putting aside the Iran-Iraq war of the 1980s, it all began with Saddam Hussein’s oil production dispute with the fake state of Kuwait in 1990. In the aftermath of crippling U.S. sanctions and a “shock and awe” invasion, the enterprise of Iraq is ending today in a gruesome, internecine war, waged by car and truck bombings. Oh, the fruits and the joys of Operation Iraqi Freedom!

As for Syria, that beautiful country has long been targeted by the Tel Aviv-Washington axis, because President Assad is an ally of Hezbollah in Lebanon and is on good terms with Iran. Assad also wants a return of the Golan Heights, which Tel Aviv annexed from Syria years ago. Assad has accordingly been placed at the top of Israel’s strategic hit list. Ironically, the project to destroy Syria has been outsourced to crazed Sunni Jihadists.

Tehran is also on the same list. The elaborate economic and financial sanctions now in place against Iran are designed to destroy the Iranian economy. The goal is regime change, pure and simple. Iran’s nuclear program is nothing more than a cover story to justify the sanctions.

There is no Persian Bomb and no Iranian nuclear weapons program. Obama knows this, but he allows the charade to go forward unabated for the simple reason that, being a front man, he has little choice. Were Obama to unmask the charade now, he would call into question U.S. foreign policy going back to 1990, not to mention exposing himself as a charlatan.

Vladimir Putin is also on the hit list, because, among other reasons, he is on good terms with Syria and Iran, and he does not play the game of geopolitics according to the same playbook as Washington and Tel Aviv. He has refused to drink their Kool-Aid.

Moreover, Putin and Russia have been on a roll recently. I am referring to the Sochi Olympics,  to Russia’s second presidency of the G8  and to Putin’s pivotal role (and that of Russia’s able foreign minister Sergey Lavrov) in persuading Obama and Kerry to abandon a cruise missile attack on Syria, which was being justified by a crude false-flag operation. Such an attack would have been madness.

In truth, the know-it-all Neoconservatives and their dupes, camp followers and assorted busybodies in Washington have been stymied by Putin, and almost sidelined. They didn’t like it one bit. But now, thanks to the upheaval they have engineered in the Ukraine with U.S. taxpayers’ money, they are attempting a comeback.

They would love to slap some serious economic sanctions on Russia, just like they have done to Iran, damn the consequences to Europe, the Russian people, or anybody else. Sanctions, like Drones, are in. First destabilize, then destroy. There seems to be little downside. So far, Vladimir Putin has outsmarted the mischief-makers and warmongers, and not lost his cool. Let’s see if he can do it again.

Patrick Foy’s work can be found at www.PatrickFoyDossier.com.

March 12, 2014 Posted by | Deception, Progressive Hypocrite, Timeless or most popular, Wars for Israel | , , , , , , | Comments Off on Making Mischief in Ukraine

U.S. Propaganda

By Margaret Kimberley | Black Agenda Report | March 12, 2014

German chancellor Angela Merkel said that Russian president Vladimir Putin was not “in touch with reality” and was “in another world.” At least that is how the New York Times quotes an unnamed source. Those words have been repeated by reporters, bloggers, pundits and late night talk show hosts numerous times over the past week. Unfortunately there are a few problems with this often repeated quote. There is no proof that Merkel said such a thing at all, and if she did that she meant he was unstable, as many Americans happily and ignorantly assert. Logic and real reporting show that such a statement was highly unlikely. No matter. It has endlessly been reported as fact. Welcome to American style propaganda.

It is impossible for most Americans to think that their country and their government are not beloved around the world. That attitude is due to the relentless propaganda we are subject to our entire lives. We are told our nation is the best, richest, most just, and most deserving. After years of brain washing we are subject to a cynical collaboration between politicians and big business, the same big businesses who run our media outlets and determine what we’ll see and what we should think about what they choose to reveal.

This perversity has many negative consequences. Among them is the public acceptance and approval of nearly every crime committed by our government. If an American president decides that the elected head of state in other country must go, then go he must. The president of Haiti was literally kidnapped by the United States and taken out of his country, with hardly any outcry from Americans. If the Venezuelan people vote for a leftist government and make the same choice in election after election, we are told to ignore the will of that population and join our government in opposing another people’s choice.

The current target of government and media propaganda is Russian president Vladimir Putin. When George W. Bush was president he bestowed the silly moniker Putey Pute and the press followed right along in declaring Putin an A OK kind of guy. He was a friend of our president who knew how to do a deal when called upon and who wouldn’t rock America’s boat.

Fast forward another ten years or so. When the United States and NATO nations set their sights on making Ukraine a puppet fiefdom, the president of the superpower next door said not so fast. Suddenly he was no longer Putey Pute, but an enemy to be hated, feared or derided as a figure of fun. The Obama administration is determined to make good on neo-con fantasies of United States world domination, and anyone who stands in the way is the next target of propaganda from within the government and without.

Photos taken on one day five years ago showing a shirtless Putin are shown again and again. One gets the impression that he rarely wears any clothing. The same media who considered Putin good copy because he hunts, fishes, pilots planes, swims with dolphins and drives formula one race cars now use the same information to convince Americans that he is either a brute or a fool who can and should be bent to their country’s will.

The anti-Putin hysteria and joke telling began in earnest when he put a stop to Obama’s plan to attack Syria, Russia’s ally. Even the recent Winter Olympics became a victim of the United States propaganda machine. In truth, every Olympics is an opportunity for corruption, theft, and displacement of thousands of people. The Sochi games were no worse in those regards but tales of mismanagement and possible terror attacks were magnified because Uncle Sam’s enemy du jour was on worldwide display. When the United States and NATO attempt to make Ukraine a puppet fiefdom met resistance, no stone was left unturned in the anti-Putin propaganda fest.

Like good little scribes the media follow the White House line that German chancellor Angela Merkel would assist in bolstering the United States position vis a vis Putin. The networks and newspapers were so eager to curry favor that they omitted any mention of reports that the NSA tapped Merkel’s personal cell phone for a period of ten years. Of course bringing up that story would force coverage of whistle blower Edward Snowden’s revelations. That is a sore subject for the White House and has of course been relegated away from the front pages now that public compliance is so urgently needed.

The media also omitted the fact that Putin speaks German. The two leaders literally speak the same language and both are targets of United States efforts to control the world and turn everyone into a subject of domination or an enemy. It may be Obama administration wishful thinking that Merkel will carry America’s water but there is no reason for anyone else to believe such nonsense.

The New York Times happily picked up the bone left by the Obama White House but didn’t bother telling readers that Merkel’s staff disputed the account. The German newspaper Die Welt reported that “The chancellery was not pleased with the reporting on the conversation. They claim that what the chancellor said was that Putin has a different perception on Crimea, which is why she is pushing for a fact finding mission on the matter.”

We will never know her exact words but we do know the most important fact of all. The United States government creates and disseminates propaganda to assist in having its way with the world. They have ready and willing compatriots in the corporate media and an apathetic or uniformed public. That mixture is a recipe for lying to be undisputed and for wrongs to go on without protest. Propaganda is not a word meant just for other countries but for ours too. There is official propaganda right here in America and pretending it doesn’t exist only strengthens a system which will put itself and the rest of the world on a course of ultimate destruction.

March 12, 2014 Posted by | Deception, Mainstream Media, Warmongering | , , , , , | Comments Off on U.S. Propaganda

Iran and Pan Am 103/Lockerbie claims: the return of a serial fabricator

By Cyrus Safdari | Iran Affairs | March 12, 2014

I am having a nice chuckle at the latest bit of rubbish promoted by the Telegraph which was recycled through al Jazeera about Iran: that Iran was secretly behind the Pan Am 103 downing, according to a “former Iranian intelligence official.” Of course, this is just a rehash of a claim that is 14 years old.

What the Telegraph — and all the news outlets that repeated the story, often adding their own bit of dramatic flourish to the tale — don’t mention is that the witness in question, Abolghasem Mesbahi, is considered to be a serial fabricator who has a long history of making outrageous claims about secret Iranian shenanigans, which never quite pan out.

This is the same ‘Witness C’ who claimed that Iran was behind the Mykonos assassinations, but then withdrew his testimony, then claimed that Iran was behind the Argentina bombings, and 9-11, and now Pan Am 103 too. I’m sure I forgot a few more in there.

Gareth Porter noted this about Mesbahi:

“But in a November 2006 interview, the former head of the FBI’s Hezbollah Office, James Bernazzani, said that U.S. intelligence officials had concluded Mesbahi did not have the access to Iranian intelligence officials that he had claimed in his affidavits to Argentine officials. Bernazzani said intelligence analysts regarded Mesbahi as someone who was desperate for money and ready to ‘provide testimony to any country on any case involving Iran’.”

Do you think it is entirely a coincidence that this assertion gets rehashed now, along with the capture of yet another “Iranian arms shipment”? I don’t.

March 12, 2014 Posted by | Deception, Mainstream Media, Warmongering | , , , , , | Comments Off on Iran and Pan Am 103/Lockerbie claims: the return of a serial fabricator

Gaza missile seizure, Netanyahu’s latest anti-Iran joke

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By Finian Cunningham | Press TV |  March 11, 2014

Comedians say that the art of telling jokes relies on “timing.” Israeli’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, the world’s top comic politician, seemed to be proving the point with his “timely” claims about seizing Iranian rockets aboard a cargo ship in the Red Sea.

Standing in front of 40 pointed missiles, each carefully displayed on props (you sense the stilted exhibitionism here), the Israeli leader said the seized cache “showed the true face of Iran” in its support for terrorism. Netanyahu lashed out at Western leaders who are “shaking hands with Iran” and preparing to finalize a political settlement to the long-running nuclear dispute.

Iran swiftly denounced the Israeli allegations as orchestrated, indicating that the capture of munitions on a Panamanian-registered vessel was a set-up.

Even some of the Israeli media have grown weary of such “propaganda stunts,” as the newspaper Haaretz described Netanyahu’s melodramatic display of Iran’s alleged clandestine cargo in the port of Eilat at the weekend. Netanyahu’s corny sensationalist manner, standing in front of the green-colored rockets, was reminiscent of his previous presentation to the United Nations using a cartoon bomb in which he claimed then that Iran was “only months away from building a nuclear weapon.”

Netanyahu’s record of failure over the past 20 years in predicting “imminent” Iranian nuclear arms capability makes him a laughing stock. Some people watching the latest televised stunt of displaying “captured” Iranian rockets may have wished that one of the devices could have accidentally fired off during the Israeli premier’s speech.

The buffoonish Netanyahu cannot be taken seriously on anything he says. Nevertheless it is worthwhile defusing the latest Israeli propaganda hoax to reveal the mindset of those in Tel Aviv and their backers in Washington and the Western mainstream media who shamefully never fail to lend credibility to such reprehensible smear jobs. “Israeli forces seize rockets ‘destined for Gaza’ in raid on Iranian ship in Red Sea,” read a headline in the British Guardian.

It is amazing how much credence is afforded to baseless Israeli and Western government claims against Iran. In recent years, the Western public has been fed with tall tales of Iranian plots to assassinate diplomats in Washington, and involvement in bombings or attempted bombings in Argentina, Thailand, India, Georgia, Bulgaria and Kenya. Tellingly, none of these stories – always initially reported with ubiquitous fanfare in the Western media – are ever followed up or substantiated.

Yet the same absurd story line, with dramatic plot variations, is peddled over and over again. This systematic regurgitation shows that the Western media is nothing but an instrument of state propaganda.

Of course, Zionist lobby groups, sympathetic Zionist media owners, reporters, pundits are a big part of the charade. So too is the political agenda of Washington and its European allies who slavishly indulge Israel for geopolitical reasons, and who are only too glad to undermine Iran with regard to their support for Israel and the despotic Arab oil sheikhdoms, as well as in their covert war against Tehran’s ally, Syria.

The latest stunt may be also a pretext for the Western governments to procrastinate on the P5+1 settlement – and to subject Iran to further torturous illegal sanctions.

Let’s look at some of the claims in the latest smear job against Iran, which has seen US defense secretary Chuck Hagel also weighing in to accuse Iran of “destabilizing the region”.

The Israelis claim that Syrian-made M-302 rockets, with a firing range of 160km, were first flown by air cargo to Iran. Then Iran moved the ordnance to the port of Bandar Abbas, where it was loaded on to a ship, the KLOS-C. As mentioned, the ship is reportedly registered in Panama with an owner in the Marshall Islands. So what connection Iran has to the vessel is right away tenuous.

Next, the ship is said to have sailed north to the port of Umm Qasr in Iraq, where it was loaded with bags of cement conveniently bearing Iranian trademarks. The KLOS-C made its way out of the Persian Gulf and into the Red Sea, where Israeli Special Forces raided the ship last week off the coast of Sudan.

The Israelis claim – and Western media gave full vent to the claims – that the rockets were to be shipped over land from Sudan via Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula and delivered to Hamas in Gaza. Hamas, as well as Tehran, denies any involvement. It was even speculated in some Western media that the shipment of rockets could also have been intended by Iran for al-Qaeda groups based in Sinai.

This circuitous route, involving weeks of transport time over one of the most intensely surveyed sea-lanes in the world, does not bear serious scrutiny. The risk of such a smuggling plot being uncovered is so high as to make it implausible. Put another way, the chances of it being part of a stage-managed set-up are all the more plausible.

The destination aspect of the alleged plot does not hold water either. Egypt, under the military junta led by General Abdel al Sisi, has stepped up its collusion with Israel to seal off the Sinai Peninsula and all land crossings into Gaza. The notion of trucks carrying dozens of medium-sized surface-to-surface missiles driving into Gaza, undetected, is inconceivable to the point of ridicule.

So too is the Israeli-inspired sub-plot that Iran may have been trying to send the weapons to al-Qaeda in Sinai. This group is waging a Western-backed covert terrorist campaign against Syria and against Shia Muslims in particular. The idea that Shia Iran or its ally Syria would supply Syrian-made rockets to such enemies illustrates how moronic the thesis for this Israeli propaganda stunt is.

The Israeli seizure, by the way, was given the ever-so contrived title of “Full Exposure.” The give-away to this being a stunt is the timing. It came just as Netanyahu was in Washington trying to tell the world that the failure of Mid-East “peace talks” was all the fault of the Palestinians – not anything to do with the genocidal policies of Israel. In other words, it serves as a handy foil to shield Israel from international opprobrium. As Netanyahu was speaking in the White House, Israeli warplanes killed two Palestinians in air strikes on Gaza.

The second timed factor is that Iran is scheduled to complete the P5+1 negotiations for a final settlement over the nuclear dispute. EU foreign policy chief, Catherine Ashton, was in Tehran at the weekend when Netanyahu fired off rhetorical salvos about “Western hypocrisy in the face of Iranian support for international terrorism.” Israel is livid at the prospect of any nuclear deal being reached. And no doubt there are political forces in Washington and Europe that would relish an accord being sabotaged.

Netanyahu went on to warn about Iranian “armed nuclear suitcases” being sent to every port in the world.

Who needs imaginary nuclear-armed suitcases when we already have a nuclear-armed nutcase – Netanyahu and his apartheid regime?

Comic Netanyahu may have a dubious skill at timing, but his tedious jokes have by now become just stupidly bad. The latest one about “Full Exposure” of Iranian rockets has backfired.

March 12, 2014 Posted by | Deception, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Wars for Israel | , , , | Comments Off on Gaza missile seizure, Netanyahu’s latest anti-Iran joke

When Nadia’s Soul was Raped

By Tamar Fleishman | Palestine Chronicle | March 11, 2014

“Women shall be especially protected against any attack on their honor…or any form of indecent assault” – (Article 27 of the Geneva Convention)

Nadia didn’t have a permit and she wasn’t about to request one.

Nadia, a Palestinian resident, knew that being married to Imad, who as his father, his grandfather and his great grandfather was born in Jerusalem, isn’t reason enough for her to be able to live under the same roof with her husband in his home. She knew she doesn’t fit the “criterion” of the ‘temporary’ Citizenship Law.

Nadia and Imad also knew that according to the laws of the occupation, Nadia can’t cross Hizme Checkpoint (which is exclusively a checkpoint for owners of blue IDs). And in spite the prohibition and their fear, they decided to try driving together to Imad’s parents’ home in East Jerusalem. Perhaps they hoped the soldiers wouldn’t be sticklers, which sometimes happens at Hizme Checkpoint.

But the soldiers were sticklers and the “offenders” were caught and separated. Naida was placed inside a BP vehicle, Imad was told to move over to the seat beside the driver, a BP officer drove his car and the two vehicles headed to a military base not far from the checkpoint.

The gate to the base was closed. The officer driving Imad’s car wanted to stop but made a mistake and instead of pressing on the breaks he pressed the gas pedal. The car accelerated, it hit the gate so forcefully that the front of the car crashed and Imad sustained most of the blow. An ambulance that was sent for took Imad to the hospital, since he sustained injuries to his lungs and back.

In the meanwhile the BP officers got their stories straight in attempt to have Imad take the blame for the accident: “He (the officer driving the car) pressed the gas pedal instead of the breaks because the Palestinian (Imad) made a suspicious movement, and the driver thought he was trying to attack him”, one of them summed up the plan to incriminate Imad.

Nadia wasn’t allowed to join her husband. “An interrogation is needed” they said. I waited with her. After a while a female soldier came and took Nadia to a room (they sent me away but before leaving we exchanged our telephone numbers and promised to talk). Nadia went through a physical inspection. When it was beyond any doubt that she wasn’t carrying any explosives, the soldier got out of the room and the interrogator entered- a man dressed as a civilian that closed the door behind him. He was alone with Nadia.

When she exited the room after three hours, Nadia was a different person to the one she was when she entered it. During the three hours she spent in the room Nadia became a victim to severe verbal sexual assault.  Nadia’s soul was raped.

– Years ago a woman who suffered physical and mental abuse told me while she was staying in a shelter for battered women that: “The injuries heal. The words stick with you”.

When I inquired at the military’s and the police’s various telephone centers, the two branches in charge of maintaining the rule of law, whether there were no requirements to protect a person’s right to human dignity while in the interrogation room, and particularly women’s rights against any kind of sexual assault, I stumbled upon half answers: “It’s unadvisable to interrogate someone without a third party present… yes you are right but…”. A “but” was always attached to these answers. They had also informed me that they had insufficient manpower.

I spoke to the assistant of one of the MPs who promised that the MP would place a parliamentary question before the minister of defense regarding the right to human dignity inside interrogation rooms. I haven’t heard from him since.

Nadia, who didn’t receive a permit to visit her husband in the hospital, talked with me many times during the following days. Being lonely and vulnerable she consulted with me. I explained that she could place a complaint by herself or with the assistance of various organizations, we discussed the possibility of the army’s criminal investigation division taking the word of a Palestinian woman who to them was a felon, over the word of an Israeli interrogator who was one of their own.

This was never put to the test since the complaint was never filed.

With time we lost contact. Imad was discharged from the hospital and returned to his wife. Nadia tried to rehabilitate her life.

Perhaps there are those who will say that Nadia and Imad brought it all on themselves, that they knew what was permitted and what was forbidden, that they tempted fate.

But I have so much respect for people who even after so many years of occupation and oppression, continue to search for any cracks and rupture through which they might be able to pass and overcome the laws of darkness. I see them as people who are trying to survive and guard their dignity with any means possible.

(Translated from Hebrew by Ruth Fleishman.)

– As a member of Machsomwatch, once a week Tamar Fleishman heads out to document the checkpoints between Jerusalem and Ramallah. This documentation (reports, photos and videos) can be found on the organization’s site: http://www.machsomwatch.org. The majority of the Spotlights (an opinion page) that are published on the site had been written by her. She is also a member of the Coalition of Women for Peace and volunteer in Breaking the Silence.

March 12, 2014 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Subjugation - Torture, Timeless or most popular | , , , , , | Comments Off on When Nadia’s Soul was Raped

By making impossible demands, Netanyahu seeks to paint the Palestinians as intransigent and deflect international pressure

By Samira Shackle | MEMO | March 11, 2014

“Israel is the nation-state of the Jewish people, where the civil rights of all citizens, Jews and non-Jews alike, are guaranteed,” Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said at a speech in Washington earlier this month. “The land of Israel is the place where the identity of the Jewish people was forged…We never forget that, but it’s time the Palestinians stopped denying history.”

He went on to make his demand in no uncertain terms: “Just as Israel is prepared to recognize a Palestinian state, the Palestinians must be prepared to recognize a Jewish state.”

It throws a new stumbling block into a peace process that was already struggling to overcome the long-term sticking points of security, borders, the status of Jerusalem, and the plight of refugees. Many observers have suggested that Netanyahu, by making a demand he knows to be impossible, is attempting to paint the Palestinians as intransigent and deflect growing international pressure to reach a peace agreement.

Recognising the right of Israel to exist is not the same as recognizing Israel’s right to be a Jewish state. Netanyahu’s demand is untenable for Palestinian leaders because of the political implications. Accepting Israel’s definition of itself as a Jewish state would be to indirectly forgo the right of return for at least five million Palestinian refugees. (In his speech, Netanyahu advised Abbas to tell “Palestinians to abandon their fantasy of flooding Israel with refugees”).

It would also tacitly accept that Israeli Arabs have less right to citizenship or less stake in the state. And, indeed, it would be to accept Israel’s argument that biblical history gives them the right to the land. This strikes at the very heart of the conflict: Palestinians maintain that the events of the Bible do not override the thousands of years that they inhabited the land. Palestinian leaders have compromised a lot, but it is unlikely that they will concede that their version of history is incorrect. “This is like telling the Palestinians they did not exist all these hundreds and thousands of years, that this historically has been a Jewish land,” said Hanan Ashrawi, a senior member of the Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO).

Not everyone in the Israeli political establishment agrees with this piece of political manoeuvring by Netanyahu. Israeli president Shimon Peres has queried the wisdom of the stipulation, while Yair Lapid, Finance Minister and leader of the second-largest coalition party, has also challenged it.

Writing in Haaretz, the newspaper’s former editor, David Landau points out that many Jews in Israel and elsewhere do not agree with Netanyahu’s “imperious” version of Zionism, nor the decision to try to force Palestinians to agree with it. “Regarding the present Israeli-Palestinian impasse, many Israelis and Palestinians believe that Netanyahu’s broaching of the ‘Jewish state’ issue was intended deliberately to slow the negotiations or thwart an agreement,” he writes.

This recent push is not the first time that Netanyahu has made the demand that Palestine recognize Israel as a Jewish state. He made similar statements in Washington in 2011. Then, as now, US officials largely supported him.

Historically, though, this has not been a major issue in peace negotiations. The requirement was – in the words of UN resolution 242 – for Palestine to recognize “Israel’s right to live in peace within secure and recognized boundaries free from threats or acts of force”, which the PLO did in 1993. The idea that the Palestinian leadership should formally recognize Israel as a Jewish state was raised at the Annapolis Conference in 2007, and even George W Bush – a staunch defender of Israel – did not adopt it, referring to Israel in his speech as “a homeland for the Jewish people”.

Yet by 2011, Netanyahu was telling Congress: “It is time for President Abbas to stand before his people and say… ‘I will accept a Jewish state.’ Those six words will change history.” This is despite the fact that the issue was not raised during Israel’s peace negotiations with Egypt and Jordan, nor indeed at all during Netanyahu’s first term in office.

Writing in Foreign Policy magazine in 2011, Hussein Ibish pointed out that it is a strange demand, even apart from the political connotations: “The idea that a state – or in this case a potential state – should participate in defining the national character of another is highly unusual, if not unique, in international relations. The Palestinian position, stated many times by President Mahmoud Abbas, is that the PLO recognizes Israel, and that Israel is free to define itself however it chooses.”

Given this context, the suggestion of Landau (and many others) that Netanyahu is cynically playing for time and attempting to shift the emphasis of discussion – and deflect growing international pressure to reach a deal – seems highly plausible.

March 12, 2014 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism | , , , , | Comments Off on By making impossible demands, Netanyahu seeks to paint the Palestinians as intransigent and deflect international pressure

Paramilitary SWAT raid: 2 dogs killed (Columbia, MO)

COLUMBIA, MO — During a routine midnight raid on a residence over forbidden plants, police violently broke down the door, threw concussion grenades, pointed rifles in everyone’s faces, and shot 2 dogs.

During the raid, 5 concussion grenades were exploded in and around the home. One of the grenades exploded near the feet of the young lady visitor seen in the video who at the time was seated on the couch. […]

Both dogs were shot in the back while retreating. One of the dogs is shot as an officer tops the stairs, passes a suspect on the floor and steps into a bedroom. You can see a glimpse of the dead dog as the officer stands in the doorway. The dog is obviously facing away from the officer. Soon after you can see another injured dog struggling in the hall.

It is important to note that this raid took place before Chief Ken Burton accepted his position with the CPD. Due to the overwhelming public outcry stemming from a more recent yet similar raid under his command, Chief Burton has reigned in the use of his SWAT team to serve search warrants for non-violent crimes and criminals. While the prevalence of violent, paramilitary raids has waned in Columbia, this type of raid is happening somewhere in the United States right now. Please speak out against this government sanctioned domestic terrorism.

This video was recorded on March 7, 2008 at the residence of Jonathan March. He had no prior felonies. A small amount of the forbidden marijuana plant was recovered from the raid.

March 12, 2014 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Subjugation - Torture, Timeless or most popular, Video | , , , | Comments Off on Paramilitary SWAT raid: 2 dogs killed (Columbia, MO)