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Boston Bombing News: Certainties, Absurdities, and Watertown

By: lauraw Wednesday November 26, 2014 2:43 pm

The tone of Judge O’Toole’s latest ruling is one of the certainties we have come to rely on. O’T has denied the defense’s request for additional info concerning, among other things: pre-2013 communication from the Russian government, forensic computer reports, and Waltham murder documents.

The judge did make one interesting comment: that Ibragim Todashev is of no use to the defense. Some of us wonder if Todashev, alive, might have been of great use … which may be why he is dead.

Is Watertown the clincher which makes the Tsarnaevs’ guilt a certainty? To me, this crazy saga makes the whole case look even MORE suspicious. In light of recent discussions, I think it would be worthwhile to revisit this topic, with updates.

Here’s a brief review of the Official Narrative: When Agent DesLauriers televised images of his suspects, the counter-terrorism agents who had been watching and interviewing Tamerlan for two years neglected to tell him who these guys were. DesL was forced to ask the public for help, though he knew this measure might force the suspects to flee.

When they saw their pictures on TV, the brothers indeed realized they needed to flee, but they didn’t have a plan for that. So they improvised. They decided to drive to Times Square to party, er, to bomb it. But they failed to get to New York because they did everything possible to ensure that they were caught before they got out of Boston.

First, they drove their Honda to a nearby 7-11 for snacks, unfazed by the massive police presence in Cambridge. Then they killed an MIT cop and dropped his gun near the murder scene instead of taking it with them. After that (perhaps thinking they had not yet drawn enough police attention to themselves), they hijacked an SUV, confessed their crimes to the driver, and took him hostage. They drove in circles for almost two hours. At a gas station in Cambridge, they carelessly let their hostage escape.

Then they drove to Laurel and Dexter and provoked a firefight with the entire BPD, shooting guns and hurling explosive devices. They only managed to take down one policeman (who may actually have been hit by friendly fire). The hordes of cops and “self-deployed” volunteer shooters really had to struggle to defeat these two Chechen Rambos, but they finally succeeded in killing one of them.

The other was wounded, but escaped and hid in a boat. Though weak with blood loss, he wrote a manifesto on the boat’s fiberglass surface, using an appropriate writing tool which he just happened to have with him. He then attempted suicide by shooting himself in the mouth with a magically disappearing gun. He confronted police, somehow managing to stay upright in spite of this very serious head injury. (The note, when revealed to the public, was artistically decorated with bright-red blood streaks, which strongly resembled red paint.)

How did the shootout begin? Option 1, the current official version: Tamerlan got out of the SUV and began firing at a cop who was slowly following him with his lights off. Option 2: Police fired at the speeding SUV trying to make it stop, while a passenger threw bombs out the window. Police scanner transcripts and Andrew Kitzenberg back up this account. (AK reported a wild car chase with a police car crashing into a house.)

What happened next? Photos and videos of the shootout are dark and murky. Audio is clearer than video. “We give up.” “We didn’t do it.” “Bang bang, pop pop.” Some witnesses said they heard a huge “boom.” The videos I have watched do not include the boom.

AK reported that a large object was thrown as a diversion, and that it filled the street with smoke. He thought it looked like a pressure cooker bomb. The bomb squad later found what appeared to be pieces of a PC bomb in a driveway. This object did not fully explode; it “low-ordered and mechanically scattered.”

If this PC bomb was like the ones at the Marathon, it must have weighed 30 pounds. One of the brothers apparently thought he could throw a 30-pound weight far enough away so that it would not kill him when it detonated. (So macho, these guys! Remember how Dzhokhar only gave himself 10 seconds to walk away from his bomb before he set it off?)

Is it possible that this metal container held, not nails and ball bearings which would have brought its weight up to 30 pounds, but only fireworks powder, which would have created a lot of smoke?

After the shootout, the bomb squad found “a crumb-line of weapons and frag, a sort of terrorist-fetish striptease” which included a switchblade, BBs, scrap metal, an empty 9-mm magazine and two handguns. “It looked like a crime scene they laid out for us in school.” Almost too perfect?

One bomb-squad member searched the Honda and found “a malign treasure trove including a computer bag containing ball bearings and components similar to those from the initial bombings.” By the time this reached a Congressional committee, the computer bag had expanded into six fully-ready bombs. (Not sure how that happened.)

Would Dzhokhar have been hauling around bomb-making materials in his car? Not if the brothers had no hand in making the bombs – a fact which the prosecution has now more or less admitted since there was no gunpowder residue in either Tsarnaev residence. (Possibly they went somewhere else to be instructed in bomb-making? Presumably the instructors would have already had the materials on hand.)

Do I “know” that someone planted the bag of ball bearings and the line of weapons and frag? No, but it’s possible … either during the two hours that the Honda was left unattended, or while those mysterious self-deployed shooters were busy helping to create chaos during the firefight.

Those of us who have trouble swallowing dozens of impossible or highly improbable things with our morning coffee, have speculated on alternative explanations for all of this craziness.

Did the Tsarnaevs go to the Marathon to do a drill with smoke bombs? Were they lured to Watertown by their alphabet-agency contact, for a conference of some sort? Did they already have smoke bombs and other drill paraphernalia in the Honda? Or, were the smoke bombs in the SUV, which really belonged to the “contact” and not to an innocent Chinese grad student?

Did they bring along a gun (or guns?) because they knew how much trouble they were in? If innocent, they must have realized that their religion, combined with a determined government and an unfriendly media, made it highly unlikely that anyone would believe their story.

Once upon a time, I was certain about the Tsarnaevs’ guilt. But today, in order to regain that certainty, I would need something a lot more persuasive than what I’m seeing now. If Dzhokhar stands up at his trial and confesses convincingly, explaining away all these questions and inconsistencies, then yes, I will return to my original stance. Until then, I will keep asking the questions.


I Just Won A Major Lawsuit Against The Pentagon, When’s My IRS Audit?

By: Lloyd Chapman Wednesday November 26, 2014 2:33 pm

I just won a landmark legal victory over the Pentagon yesterday. I’m forcing the Pentagon to release information that will prove they have cheated American small businesses out of hundreds of billions of dollars in federal subcontracts over the last 25 years.

Using the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), I requested the most recent information submitted to the Pentagon’s “sham” Comprehensive Subcontracting Plan Test Program (CSPTP) by one of the Pentagon’s largest prime contractors Sikorsky Aircraft Corporation. The information I requested will clearly indicate the Pentagon is cheating American small businesses out of billions. It will prove they are allowing their largest prime contractors to circumvent federal law that mandates a minimum of 23% of all federal contracts be awarded to small businesses.

This will be the first time in a quarter of a century the American people will be allowed to see how the Pentagon is spending trillions of their tax dollars.

The Pentagon adopted the CSPTP in 1990 under the guise of “increasing subcontracting opportunities for small businesses.” In reality it was designed to do just the opposite. The CSPTP removed all transparency and penalties on small business subcontracting programs for the Pentagons largest prime contractors.

If that’s not insane enough, the Pentagon has been testing this program to cheat small businesses for 25 years. In a shining example of how corrupt our government is, both the House and the Senate have voted to renew the anti-small business CSPTP into its twenty-eighth year of testing.

One of the nations leading experts on federal contracting law, Professor Charles Tiefer, released a legal opinion on the CSPTP that stated, “The program is a sham and its extension will be seriously harmful to vital opportunities for small business to get government contracting work… There is no doubt in my mind the CSPTP has significantly reduced subcontracting opportunities for small businesses. It should not have gotten its 25 years of extension as a never-tested ‘Test Program.’ Let it expire.”

In 2004, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) released the results of an investigation on the CSPTP that stated, “Although the Test Program was started more than 12 years ago, DOD has yet to establish metrics to evaluate the program’s results and effectiveness.”

The Chairman’s Mark of the 2015 National Defense Authorization Bill even stated, “However, after nearly 24 years since the original authorization of the program, the test program has yet to provide evidence that it meets the original stated goal of the program…”

So I’ve won a major Freedom of Information Act case against the Pentagon that will no doubt expose hundreds of billions of dollars in fraud and abuse against small businesses.

Should I expect a letter from the President congratulating me on my legal victory on behalf of the nation’s 28 million small businesses? Will I get an award from the Small Business Administration? Not likely.

What I will get is a massive campaign from the Feds to destroy my reputation and keep me off national television, radio, the internet and block any journalist that tries to write about this case and the last 30 Freedom of Information Act cases I have won against the federal government.

The Feds have even raided the home of a well-known investigative journalist to seize documents obtained under the Freedom of Information Act. I have already called my CPA and told him to prepare for an IRS audit. The IRS is one of the federal governments favorite weapons against whistleblowers and people that are sick and tired of fraud and corruption in our government.

The Obama Administration’s “War On Whistleblowers” has been well documented and exposed in a documentary and in numerous stories in the press. Here is a link to a good example.

Edward Snowden released information that exposed the federal governments campaigns to destroy the reputations of individuals that are successful and outspoken in their criticism of the government.

Glenn Greenwald and others have released stories that expose the specific tactics the Feds use to try and stop critics of the federal government. I have experienced many of those tactics myself.

Let me close with two of my favorite quotes. Thomas Jefferson said, “All tyranny needs to gain a foothold is for people of good conscious to remain silent.”

President John F. Kennedy said, “One person can make a difference, and everyone should try.”

My New Documentary Trailer

What’s The Value Of TV Journalism? Analysis Of Episode Two Of The Newsroom

By: spocko Wednesday November 26, 2014 1:00 pm

There was a scene in The Newsroom’s second episode this season where Charlie, the network president, explains to the two rich kids working on a hostile takeover that what the news division of ACN does and says is important. ACN, he explains, is like NBC and CNN, they are the face and voice of the parent corporation.

That really struck me. I liked it. Suddenly I was Fox Mulder quoting from the poster above my desk. “I want to believe.”

The rich kids didn’t care. If they could make more more money showing Foxy Boxing than the news, then why not?

Concurrently in the show, we see Will, The Anchor With Integrity, stand on the side of journalism, and telling the truth.

Then we see all the people and pressures that get in the way of the truth that Charlie believes in: other TV news divisions, lawyers, federal law enforcement and the people focusing on the financial bottom line.

Sorkin sets us up for conflicts and confrontations with each group. Do these issues and pressures come up in the real world? Is this really what people think, or do we just hope people think and act like this in the real world?.

While watching a gripping TV show I often feel like a passenger in the back of a cab. I feel like I have no control and no say about anything that is happening. In a cab I actually do have some control, if i speak up at the right time, am heard and the driver responds to my comments. Does the same feeling extend to watching the news? Can I have a say?

In this episode Sorkin shows us a potent way that we can have a say in the network news. He shows us what they care about, how it is pointed out to them and what they do in response.

One of the junior staffers says something about the Republicans after the Boston Marathon bombing being happy this tragedy didn’t involve guns. That comment clearly doesn’t match anyone’s idea of “The Voice” of the network or corporate parent. The people who point out the brand mismatch are other media. They see this as news. The network has to act to right the mismatch.

Interestingly in the other media the tweet is not attributed to the junior staffer at ACN, but to the face of the news division. This is a standard way people look at corporations, attributing to a person, often the CEO, actions or statements made by others on behalf of the company.

Because this comment clashes so significantly with what Charlie and others see as The Brand Voice, he does damage control by apologizing for the comment, firing the staffer then working to disassociate the network with the comment.

When asked what she was thinking she would get out of the twitter post her answer was simple. “Retweets.” This is an important comment.

To her, retweets are valuable. She didn’t see how the value of a highly rated retweet could translate to damage and a hit to other kinds of values, like journalistic values, the value of a corporate brand or the value of the stock price of the parent company.

Because her tweet made a nasty remark about the GOP, GOP guests said they wouldn’t appear on ACN because it looked to them like ACN was saying Republicans are horrible people who would celebrate the death of other people.

This episode shows us three different pressures the news division and its parent company are under. It also shows us how they respond…. on a fantasy TV show.

News Voice vs. Corporate Parent Voice.

Are the news divisions of networks really “The Voice” of the company these days? Do news divisions still feel that they are? In their own internal documents do they say,”This who we are and how we act?” If they fail to act on the values they say the believe in, what are the consequences? Does someone apologize and get fired or do they add weasel words to their stated values?

Do network parent companies want the newsroom Voice to represent them all the time, or only when it is profitable? Are the two mutually exclusive? Can they be profitable with a division whose values might be at cross purposes with other values such as Earnings Per Share?

Does a Network News Brand Failure Impact the Parent Company Brand?

I think Sorkin wants to show us what can happen if a TV network tries to play by ethical journalism rules. They are trying to be journalists doing stories because it’s their duty and responsibility. They will get interviews not for a quid pro quo, but because they have integrity.

As an example, during a train ride back from the Boston bombing a producer walks away from a potentially big story because she does the right thing. Her integrity gets an instant karma pay off.

On the other hand Sorkin seems to say that integrity doesn’t translate to ratings. What happens when maintaining your brand image gets in the way of quarterly profits? And what if the parent company only listens to shareholders who don’t care unless it hurts the larger company?

What Is To Be Done?

When a company doesn’t live up to the values they proclaim via their website we ask why. We point it out to them. “Hey, we didn’t say this value was important, YOU did. If you don’t choose to follow your stated values why not? Is there a bigger value that is more important? If so, why even bother to state your values?

Many people will instantly say, of course they are following a bigger value, money! But as we see, not all the pressures in TV news can be reduced to X makes more money than Y. If you can get big ratings this week on a hot tweet, or a quid pro quo blackmailed interview, but it destroys your brand image, is that a good thing to do?

We can alert people when all the networks news divisions aren’t living up to their own stated values. They will act to correct the mismatch, but first they will have all the usual excuses, including the big ones, “We won’t/can’t change if all the other networks won’t/can’t change.”
Or “This will cut into our ad revenue.” or “We will lose access to guests we want.” We’ll need to answer those excuses, but pointing out the brand mismatch is first.

I’ve talked before about the failure of the TV networks to disclose who is paying the retired generals going on the network TV shows. This is a clear mismatch in what the news divisions believe about themselves. It’s been pointed out to them by other media, most recently by Lee Fang at the Nation, So, taking a page from The Newsroom, the next step is to point it out to them when it happens again via Twitter, Facebook, blog posts, phone calls, email and faxes.

Can we make an impact? Can we get them to live up to their own stated journalism values? I want to believe we can.

The March for Ferguson: Houston

By: Coach Bill Wednesday November 26, 2014 9:24 am

The notice of the March for Ferguson and Michael Brown came through Facebook. It would begin in a park near where I work so I thought I would take a look.

When I arrived, I thought there might actually be more media and cops than demonstrators but the crowd slowly swelled. A few people spoke in turn through a megaphone but the chants soon took over, “ Hands up, don’t shoot”.

The leaders began to move the crowd toward the nearest intersection cautioning that once out of the park, their actions would be illegal. As the protestors moved into the intersection, blocking traffic in every direction, the police established a perimeter but did not interfere. After about 10 minutes, we began to march. The police formed an escort, ahead, behind and on the side, lights flashing but no sirens and most importantly no interference. There was also a sizable contingent of Mounties always present in Houston at crowd events.

As the march moved away from the park and headed toward the University of Houston, I noticed that a reporter from the local CBS affiliate had embedded herself in the march with her camera crew. She stayed with us till the end.

We marched through the campus and on to the Texas Southern University campus. At this point I realized how far we were from my car and I headed back to the park.

Two things left an impression on me.

Social media was everywhere in addition to members of the MSM and independent press. At one point as we marched through and blocked an intersection.  I noticed the drivers of the impeded cars holding their mobile phones out the window, recording us as we marched by. I was texting photos to a friend in Denmark who in turn was posting them on Facebook. Later my feed was full of photes from marches in cities across the country.

The police were out in force but they were clearly well prepared to facilitate the march. They provided an escort and at no time did they attempt to impede the march. None of those accompanying the marchers were wearing anything but their everyday uniforms and with the exception of one with a bag of large plastic wire ties. None was carrying anything but everyday police paraphernalia. I spoke with several and all replied with good humor and no evidence of rancor.

When I returned to the parking lot where my car was parked, I took a moment to speak to a group of officers still standing there. I observed that they were clearly well prepared for the event and had acted with professionalism in a situation that was potentially volatile.

I shook their hands and said thank you.

They smiled.

There Goes Virginia’s Climate

By: David Swanson Wednesday November 26, 2014 8:49 am

A snowstorm is the ideal time to write about climate disruption, as it allows us to immediately set-aside the cartoonish claim that if any spot on earth isn’t warmer than it was yesterday then all is well. The following things we know:

There are giant snowflakes falling outside my window.

Five-year averages of temperature in Virginia began a significant and steady increase in the early 1970s, rising from 54.6 degrees Fahrenheit then to 56.2 degrees F in 2012.

The Piedmont area, where I live, has seen the temperature rise at a rate of 0.53 degrees F per decade.

At this rate, Virginia will be as hot as South Carolina by 2050 and as northern Florida by 2100, and continuing at a steady or increasing pace from there.

Sixty percent of Virginia is forest, and forests cannot evolve or switch over to warmer-weather species at anything like that fast a pace. The most likely future is not pines or palm trees but wasteland.

From 1979 to 2003, excessive heat exposure contributed to over 8,000 premature deaths in the United States, more than all deaths from hurricanes, lightning, tornadoes, floods, and earthquakes combined, and dramatically more than all deaths from terrorism.

Between 1948 and 2006 “extreme precipitation events” have increased 25% in Virginia. Precipitation in Virginia is likely to increase or decrease dramatically overall, and is extremely likely to continue the trend of arriving in ever more intense bursts of storms interrupting droughts. This will be devastating to agriculture.

Acidity in the ocean has already increased by 30 percent and if current trends continue will hit a 100 to 150 percent increase by 2100 and continue to spiral upward from there. Oysters’ shells in the Chesapeake Bay have grown thinner as a result. The oyster population is 98 percent gone. Shell fish are becoming and will entirely become extinct, if current trends remain unaltered. By 2100 we can expect 60 to 100 percent of the world’s coral reefs to be gone.

Fish off the Virginia coast are moving north and east to survive, some species having already vanished from Virginia waters either by migrating or dying out. In Virginia 46 percent of fish species, 25 percent of birds, 46 percent of reptiles, 43 percent of amphibians, and 28 percent of mammals are listed as threatened or endangered.

Seventy-eight percent of Virginians live within 20 miles of the Chesapeake, the Atlantic, or tidal rivers. On the Eastern Shore and in the Hampton Roads-Norfolk area, flooding has already become routine. The sea level will rise, if current trends continue, between 3 and 18 feet by 2100. Already it has risen an inch every 7 or 8 years — 12 inches in the last century. Some 628,000 Virginians live within 6.5 feet of sea level. Paul Fraim, Mayor of Norfolk since 1994, says the city may need to soon establish “retreat zones” and abandon sections of the city as too costly to protect. Real estate agents are discussing the need to require disclosure of sea level as well as lead paint and other defects when selling property.

The famous ponies of Chincoteague live among trees killed and grasses weakened by risen saltwater, and will not live there much longer.

The U.S. military, headquartered largely in Virginia, the world’s largest Navy base in Norfolk, and the swamp-built Capital of the United States in Washington, D.C., face potential devastation directly contributed to by the endless wars for oil, and the consumption of that oil, despite the widespread belief that the results of the wars are distant. Just as ice melting in Greenland lifts water onto the streets of Norfolk, investment of trillions of dollars in pointless death and destruction not only diverts resources from addressing climate damage but heavily contributes to that damage. The U.S. military would rank 38th in oil consumption if it were a nation.

If any image can wallop someone with the need to adjust our priorities it is one of Wallops Island just south of Chincoteague but protected for the moment by a $34 million rock wall.  Wallops Island hosts tests for the $4 billion crash-prone Osprey helicopter, and all sorts of war training, plus a space port from which multi-billionaires can blow themselves up or launch themselves into space to starve in tin cans literally as well as subjectively above the rest of us.

There is no Planet B. Nobody has found anywhere for humans to live apart from earth, at least not remotely in the time frame of the current crisis.

Virginia has taken in thousands of refugees from Hurricane Katrina and can expect to take in many more and to create many refugees itself. The only thinking that says every future Hurricane Sandy will miss Virginia is wishful thinking.

The warming will bring the mosquito varieties (already arriving) and diseases. Serious risks include malaria, Chagas disease, chikungunya virus, and dengue virus. Look them up. The television won’t explain them until they’re here.

Virginians, like others in the United States, consume vastly more energy and produce vastly more warming per capita than do people in other countries, including countries in Europe that they don’t look down on. Proposals to actually halt the climate catastrophe generally call for Americans to start living like Europeans (the horror!).

Virginia’s Constitution requires the state to “protect its atmosphere, lands, and waters from pollution, impairment, or destruction, for the benefit, enjoyment and general welfare of the people.” In a decent court system, any member of the public could have that enforced through a massive emergency Marshall-Plan effort to preserve our climate.

Virginia’s Department of Environmental Quality does not concern itself with climate change.

Virginia lags significantly behind Maryland and North Carolina in addressing climate change.

Numerous reasonable steps can be quite easily taken if the political will is found, but they get harder with each passing year.

The financial corruption of state governments is not nearly as advanced as at the federal level, although some states lag behind the national average in intellectual awareness and enlightenment. The possibility certainly exists for Virginia to compete with Germany and Scandinavia in renewable energy, recycling, and reduced consumption.

If the day after being thankful for things, Virginians rush out to stores and buy crap, rather than rushing out to organize actions to save the climate, we will need to all be thankful we are not our kids or our grandkids. “Here’s a plastic toy. Glad I’m not you!”

Apart from the snow outside my window and a few odd remarks like “stop shopping!” everything stated above is well documented in a new book called Virginia Climate Fever by Stephen Nash, for which I am thankful and which I hope every Virginian reads before New Year’s resolution time.

Over Easy: Transcripts show #DarrenWilson Lied to the Grand Jury

By: Masoninblue Wednesday November 26, 2014 4:55 am
darren wilson

Darren Wilson

Officer Darren Wilson testified that he knew about the theft of a box of cigarillos from the Ferguson Market, before encountering Michael Brown and Dorian Johnson. However, Officer Wilson’s supervisor testified that he spoke to Wilson after the shooting, and that Wilson “did not know anything about the stealing call.” In an apparent effort to turn unreasonable actions into a reasonable excuse to pull the gun out, Wilson connected the stop to the call about the in-store theft.

First we have a transcript of his grand jury testimony:

Question by Prosecutor Ms. Whirley:

Q: Okay. Did you get any other calls between the time of the sick baby call and your interaction with Michael Brown and Dorian Johnson?
A: While on the sick case call, a call came out for a stealing in progress from the local market on West Florissant, that the suspects traveling toward QT. I didn’t hear the entire call, I was on my portable radio, which isn’t exactly the best. I did hear that a suspect was wearing a black shirt and that a box of Cigarillos was stolen.
Q: And this was your call or you just heard the call?
A: It was not my call. I heard the call.
Q: Some other officers were dispatched to that call.
A: I believe two others were.
Q: Was it a call you were going to go toalso?
A: No.
Q: So you weren’t really geared to handle that call?
A: No.
A: As I approached them, I stopped a couple of feet in front of Johnson as they are walking toward me, I am going toward them. As Johnson came along my driver’s side mirror I said, “why don’t you guys walk on the sidewalk?” He kept walking, as he is walking, he said, “we are almost to our destination.”
Q: Do you think he used those words destination, we are almost to our destination?
A: Yes, ma’am. He said we are almost to our destination and he pointed this direction over my vehicle. So like in a northeasternly (sic) direction. As he did that, he kept walking and Brown was starting to come around the mirror and as he came around the mirror I said, “well, what’s wrong with the sidewalk?” Brown then replied, um it has vulgar language.
Q: You can say it, say it.
A: Brown then replied, “fuck what you have to say.” And when he said that, it drew my attention totally to Brown. It was very unusual and not expected response from a simple request.
When I start looking at Brown, first thing I notice is in his right hand, his hand is full of Cigarillos. I looked in my mirror, I did a double check that Johnson was wearing a black shirt. These are the two from the stealing.
And they kept walking, as I said, they never once stopped, never got on the sidewalk, they stayed in the middle of the road.
So I got on my radio and Frank 21 is my call sign that day, I said Frank 21 I’m on Canfield with two, send me another car.
I then placed my car in reverse and backed up and I backed up just past them and then angled my vehicle, the back of my vehicle to kind of cut them off, kind of to keep them somewhat contained.

[GJ, Vol. V pp. 202-209]

Second, now we have a transcript of his direct supervisor’s testimony. Sergeant LNU* responded to the scene within minutes after the shooting and was the first person to interview him.

Question by a Prosecutor Ms. Alizadeh

Q: Did he know about it? Did he talk about knowing about the stealing?
A: He did not know anything about the stealing call.
Q: He told you he did not know anything about the stealing?
A: He did not know anything. He was out on another call in the apartment complex adjacent to Canfield Green.
[GJ, Vol. V, pp. 52-53]

Question by a GJ member

Q: Now, my question to you is this. Are you saying that because he told you he didn’t know about it or are you saying that because he didn’t mention It to you when you were talking to him?
A: He did not mention it to me again. I learned about it at a later time.
Q: Has he ever told you, yeah, I didn’t know anything about what happened up at the Ferguson Market?
A: Yes, he told me that in subsequent conversations.
Q: He told you he didn’t know about there being a stealing at the Ferguson Market?
A: Correct

[GJ, Vol. V, p. 58]

The shooting happened on Saturday, August 9, 2014. Wilson was not questioned by anyone else until after he conferred with his lawyer at the station house. Both witnesses testified before the grand jury on September 16, 2014, which was 5 weeks after the shooting.

My question is, how can anyone believe Officer Darren Wilson regarding any material issue of fact when he lied about the reason he stopped the boys to portray them as criminal thieves?

*LNU means last name unknown

Officer Darren Wilson’s story is unbelievable. Literally.

So Brown is punching inside the car. Wilson is scrambling to deflect the blows, to protect his face, to regain control of the situation. And then Brown stops, turns to his left, says to his friend, “Here, hold these,” and hands him the cigarillos stolen from Ferguson Market. Then he turns back to Wilson and, with his left hand now freed from holding the contraband goods, throws a haymaker at Wilson.

Every bullshit detector in me went off when I read that passage. Which doesn’t mean that it didn’t happen exactly the way Wilson describes. But it is, again, hard to imagine. Brown, an 18-year-old kid holding stolen goods, decides to attack a cop and, while attacking him, stops, hands his stolen goods to his friend, and then returns to the beatdown. It reads less like something a human would do and more like a moment meant to connect Brown to the robbery.

A prominent legal expert eviscerates the Darren Wilson prosecution, in 8 tweets

Documents and transcripts.

“I Hate That Oil’s Dropping”: Why Mississippi Governor Phil Bryant Wants High Oil Prices for Fracking

By: Steve Horn Tuesday November 25, 2014 9:14 pm

Cross-Posted from DeSmogBlog

Gov. Phil Bryant

Outgoing Interstate Oil and Gas Compact Commission (IOGCC) chairman Phil Bryant — Mississippi’s Republican Governor — started his farewell address with a college football joke at IOGCC’s recent annual conference in Columbus, Ohio.

“As you know, I love SEC football. Number one in the nation Mississippi State, number three in the nation Ole Miss, got a lot of energy behind those two teams,” Bryant said in opening his October 21 speech. “I try to go to a lot of ball games. It’s a tough job, but somebody’s gotta do it and somebody’s gotta be there.”

Seconds later, things got more serious, as Bryant spoke to an audience of oil and gas industry executives and lobbyists, as well as state-level regulators.

At the industry-sponsored convening, which I attended on behalf of DeSmogBlog, it was hard to tell the difference between industry lobbyists and regulators. The more money pledged by corporations, the more lobbyists invited into IOGCC’s meeting.

Perhaps this is why Bryant framed his presentation around “where we are headed as an industry,” even though officially a statesman and not an industrialist, before turning to his more stern remarks.

“I know it’s a mixed blessing, but if you look at some of the pumps in Mississippi, gasoline is about $2.68 and people are amazed that it’s below $3 per gallon,” he said.

“And it’s a good thing for industry, it’s a good thing for truckers, it’s a good thing for those who move goods and services and products across the waters and across the lands and we’re excited about where that’s headed.”

Bryant then discussed the flip side of the “mixed blessing” coin.

“Of course the Tuscaloosa Marine Shale has a little problem with that, so as with most things in life, it’s a give and take,” Bryant stated. “It’s very good at one point and it’s helping a lot of people, but on the other side there’s a part of me that goes, ‘Darn! I hate that oil’s dropping, I hate that it’s going down.’ I don’t say that out-loud, but just to those in this room.”

Tuscaloosa Marine Shale’s “little problem” reflects a big problem the oil and gas industry faces — particularly smaller operators involved with hydraulic fracturing (“fracking”) — going forward.

That is, fracking is expensive and relies on a high global price of oil. A plummeting price of oil could portend the plummeting of many smaller oil and gas companies, particularly those of the sort operating in the Tuscaloosa Marine.

Tuscaloosa and Oil Price

Governor Bryant’s fears about the price of oil are far from unfounded, serving as a rare moment of frank honesty from Mississippi’s chief statesman.

As discussed in Post Carbon Institute‘s recent report, “Drilling Deeper: A Reality Check on U.S. Government Forecasts for a Lasting Tight Oil & Shale Gas Boom,” the fracking industry relies on high oil prices to stay on the drilling treadmill and keep shale fields from going into terminal decline. Further, future projections of shale gas and oil fields are wildly over-inflated, argues the Post Carbon report.

Engelhardt: Iraq War 4.0?

By: Tom Engelhardt Tuesday November 25, 2014 5:58 pm

This article orginally appeared at To receive TomDispatch in your inbox three time a week, click here.

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Note as well that there will be no TomDispatch post on Thanksgiving. Tom]

Russians Invade Afghanistan (Again!), Chinese Fight Iraq War (Again!) 
What If It Weren’t Us? 
By Tom Engelhardt

Let’s play a game, the kind that makes no sense on this single-superpower planet of ours. For a moment, do your best to suspend disbelief and imagine that there’s another superpower, great power, or even regional power somewhere that, between 2001 and 2003, launched two major wars in the Greater Middle East. We’re talking about full-scale invasions, long-term occupations, and nation-building programs, first in Afghanistan and then in Iraq.

In both countries, that power quickly succeeded in its stated objective of “regime change,” only to find itself mired in deadly conflicts with modestly armed minority insurgencies that it simply couldn’t win. In each country, to the tune of billions and billions of dollars, it built up a humongous army and allied “security” forces, poured money into “reconstruction” projects (most of which proved disasters of corruption and incompetence), and spent trillions of dollars of national treasure.

Having imagined that, ask yourself: How well did all of that turn out for this other power?  In Afghanistan, a recent news story highlights something of what was accomplished.  Though that country took slot 175 out of 177 on Transparency International’s 2013 Corruption Perceptions Index, though its security forces continue to suffer grievous casualties, and though parts of the country are falling to a strengthening Taliban insurgency, it has for some years proudly held a firm grip on one record: Afghanistan is the leading narco-state on planet Earth.

In 2013, it upped its opium poppy cultivation by 36%, its opium production by almost 50%, and drug profits soared. Preliminary figures for this year, recently released by the U.N., indicate that opium cultivation has risen by another 7% and opium production by 17%, both to historic highs, as Afghanistan itself has become “one of the world’s most addicted societies.”

Meanwhile, where there once was Iraq (171st on that index of kleptocracies), there is now a Shiite government in Baghdad defended by a collapsed army and sectarian militias, a de facto Kurdish state to the north, and, in the third of the country in-between, a newly proclaimed “caliphate” run by a terror movement so brutal it’s establishing records for pure bloodiness.  It’s headed by men whose West Point was a military prison run by that same great power and its bloodthirstiness is funded in part by captured oil fields and refineries.

In other words, after 13 years of doing its damnedest, on one side of the Greater Middle East this power has somehow overseen the rise of the dominant narco-state on the planet with monopoly control over 80%-90% of the global opium supply and 75% of the heroin. On the other side of the region, it’s been complicit in the creation of the first terrorist mini-oil state in history, a post-al-Qaeda triumph of extreme jihadism.

A Fraudulent Election and a Collapsed Army

Though I have no doubt that the fantasy of relocating Washington’s deeds to Beijing, Moscow, Tehran, or any other capital crumbled paragraphs ago, take a moment for one more experiment.  If this had been the work of any other power we thought less well of than we do of ourselves, imagine the blazing headlines right now.  Conjure up — and it shouldn’t be hard — what the usual war hawks would be spouting in Congress, what the usual suspects on the Sunday morning talk shows might be saying, and what stories cable news networks from CNN to Fox would be carrying.

You know perfectly well that the denunciations of such global behavior would be blistering, that the assorted pundits and talking heads would be excoriating, that the fear and hysteria over that heroin and those terrorists crossing our border would be somewhere in the stratosphere.  You would hear words like “evil” and “barbaric.”  It would be implied, or stated outright, that this avalanche of disaster was no happenstance but planned by that same grim power with its hand on the trigger these last 13 years, in part to harm the interests of the United States.  We would never hear the end of it.

Instead, the recent reports about Afghanistan’s bumper crop of opium poppies slipped by in the media like a ship on a dark ocean.