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Who's accountable for Ferguson's crimes? No one, it seems

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© AP Photo/John Minchillo
This article is part of The Nation's 150th Anniversary Special Issue. Download a free PDF of the issue, with articles by James Baldwin, Barbara Ehrenreich, Toni Morrison, Howard Zinn and many more, here.

In the wake of the deaths of Mike Brown and Eric Garner, Fox News anchor Bill O'Reilly had some advice for black America: "Don't abandon your children. Don't get pregnant at 14. Don't allow your neighborhoods to deteriorate into free-fire zones. That's what the African-American community should have on their T-shirts." (That's either a very big garment or very small lettering.)

Whenever black kids get shot, black parents get lectured about personal responsibility. If you raised your kids better, goes the conservative logic, we wouldn't have to shoot them. Arguments about systemic discrimination and racist legacies are derided as liberal excuses for bad behavior. Neither history nor economics nor politics made Mike Brown grab Darren Wilson's gun—that was his choice. Individuals, we are told, are responsible for their own actions and must be held accountable for them.


Comment: Brown's grabbing Wilson's gun is a highly questionable data point, like all else Wilson asserted concerning the events of that fateful that day.


The vehemence with which this principle is held is eclipsed only by the speed with which it is abandoned when it becomes inconvenient. Discussions about choices and accountability change tenor when we shift from talking about the black and the poor to the powerful and well-connected.

Comment: "Confessions of collective guilt are the best possible safeguard against the discovery of culprits, and the very magnitude of the crime the best excuse for doing nothing." - Just one of the many ways in which the U.S. government and the pundits who defend the psychopathic behavior of Police and intelligence agencies deflect responsibility of the guilty. And why? Because to one degree or another they are complicit themselves.


Arrow Down

Police raid small New York family farm, charge family, seize animals because they were free range

© Facebook
Image from Friends of West Wind Acres Facebook Page.
Schenectady County - Earlier this month, a family farm in rural New York was raided by police after the owners were cited on a number of trumped up regulatory violations. Joshua Rockwood, the owner of the farm, is being accused of mistreating his animals, and the local government has began confiscating some of them.

Police initially visited Rockwood's property on February 25th to investigate reports of unlicensed working dogs, weeks before the raid. Unfortunately, Rockwood voluntarily showed local police around his property, which he had not yet tended to that day because of their unexpected interruption. After showing them around, they began to critically assess every aspect of the farm, writing a number of citations for arbitrary offenses.

The very next day, Rockwood had a veterinarian visit the farm to check on the animals to confirm that they were well taken care of and in good health. According to numerous reports, the vet said that the animals were just fine, and did not seem to share the concerns that the officers alleged during their walk-through.

A second veterinarian was also called in to verify the health of the animals and they also found them to be in perfect health.

A week later, police returned again to notify Rockwood that he was to appear in court the next Thursday on a number of charges relating to the animal's food and shelter. In total, 12 different charges were brought against Rockwood, but he has posted a number of photos to a Facebook support page, which shows the animals with sufficient housing, and plenty of food.

Cut

Bread and circuses: UK plans first public human dissection in over a century

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© AFP Photo / Timothy A. Clary
Scientists in Edinburgh will perform the first public anatomy lectures using human bodies since the 1800s, when serial killers Burke and Hare profited from selling corpses to a medical school.

Members of the public with a reason to study anatomy will be eligible for the day-long workshops, which will cost £100 each. Edinburgh University will offer six classes beginning next month with a dissection of the "upper limb."

Tom Gillingwater, professor of neuroanatomy, said the university is taking advantage of changes in the law to enable the public to "get under the skin of the real flesh and bones of anatomy."

He said in a statement: "If you go back to the early 1800s, the public were more clued up on anatomy than they are now. Back then, dissection was done publicly. You could buy tickets."

"For some it was entertainment, but for others it was a way of feeding curiosity and finding out what was going on."

Alarm Clock

Michigan mother freezes, kills children as punishment for molesting young relative

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© Via Youtube
Detroit children found dead and frozen in freezer. The bodies were wrapped in plastic bags. Police were in the process of evicting a family when they made this discovey. The children's mother is now under arrest.
A 35-year-old woman confessed to killing her two children a year apart and burying them in a freezer after she discovered they had been molesting a young relative, two police sources familiar with the investigation said Wednesday.

The two surviving children, ages 11 and 17, knew their siblings were inside the freezer — one for nearly two years — two police sources told The News.

The woman, Mitchelle Blair, told detectives she killed her 11-year-old son two years ago, and her 14-year-old daughter in May 2014, after finding out about the sexual abuse, two sources said.

The Detroit News is not disclosing the identity of the relative who was allegedly molested in order to protect the victim's identity.

Detroit Police Chief James Craig briefly discussed the case during a press conference Wednesday morning at police headquarters. Craig said he couldn't go into great detail about the case because the investigation is active.

"While the desire to know what happened in that home is strong, I will ask you to be mindful of the two children who were in that home and are still alive," Craig said to reporters.

"They've been through a lot as you can imagine. It's been a tremendous trauma. I don't think there's anyone in this room who would want to cause any additional pain to these children."

Craig said detectives will present an investigative report to the office of the Wayne County Prosecutor for review.

Wayne County medical examiners are waiting for the bodies to thaw before performing autopsies to determine the cause of death, spokesman Ryan Bridges said.

Pistol

'Poor training' cited as an excuse for nearly 400 shootings by Philadelphia police

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© Reuters/Tom Mihalek

Poor training led Philadelphia police officers to the mistaken belief that fearing for their lives alone justified the use of deadly force, a new Justice Department review has found. That fear resulted in 394 shootings over a seven-year period.

The 'Assessment of Deadly Force in the Philadelphia Police Department,' released Monday, came with 48 findings and 91 recommendations by the Justice Department. It found that 81 percent of the victims of officer-involved shootings were African-American men in their twenties; 59 percent of the shootings were carried out by white officers; and most shootings occurred in majority black neighborhoods. Those neighborhoods in northern Philadelphia were also police districts with the highest patterns of gun violence and homicides.

Beaker

San Diego sues Monsanto for polluting the bay with banned carcinogenic chemicals

© http://www.koreatimes.com/photos/LosAngeles/20141206/sd-top(16).jpg
San Diego Bay, California
Lawsuit says toxins manufactured by agrochemical giant 'have been found in Bay sediments and water and have been identified in tissues of fish, lobsters, and other marine life'

San Diego authorities filed a lawsuit on Monday against the agrochemical giant Monsanto, accusing the corporation of polluting the city's bay with carcinogenic chemicals that are so dangerous to human health they were banned in the U.S. more than 30 years ago.

The lawsuit was filed in federal court by City of San Diego and San Diego Unified Port District and focuses on Polychlorinated Biphenyls (PCBs). "PCBs manufactured by Monsanto have been found in bay sediments and water and have been identified in tissues of fish, lobsters, and other marine life in the Bay," the complaint reads.

"PCB contamination in and around the Bay affects all San Diegans and visitors who enjoy the Bay, who reasonably would be disturbed by the presence of a hazardous, banned substance in the sediment, water, and wildlife," the document continues.

As the San Diego Reader notes, the city's lawsuit charges that "the risks did not deter Monsanto from trying to protect profits and prolong the use of PCB compounds such as Aroclor, as shown in a report from an ad hoc committee that Monsanto formed in 1969."

Comment: PCBs accumulate. PCB levels from Monsanto facilities in adjacent communities reported 940 times the federal level of concern in yard soils, 200 times that level in dust inside people's homes, 2000 times that level in Monsanto's drainage ditches. Fish die of exposure within seconds. There is no safe level. There were several lawsuits filed by schools and even one for PCBs in the chalk used by children. Swedish scientists identified traces of PCBs throughout the food chain, in fish, birds, pine needles, even children's hair. Having moved on, leaving death and destruction behind, Monsanto currently seeks to supply GMOs globally and reaps net sales of $11.8B per year with 404 facilities in 66 countries. We may never know the full extent of the devastation perpetrated on our planet and the life it supports from this company, nor ever, ever see it come to justice. How big a slap will Monsanto receive, if any at all? Untouchable.

See also:
Monsanto Hid Decades of Pollution
Monsanto, a corporate profile (Food and Water Watch PDF--This is mind boggling!)


Handcuffs

Pennsylvania cop charged with criminal homicide in shooting of unarmed man

This isn't something you hear very often.
© stamfordadvocate
Officer Mearkle
From ABC27 News:
A Hummelstown [PA] police officer has been charged with criminal homicide in the fatal shooting of a South Hanover Township man last month.

Dauphin County District Attorney Ed Marsico said following a state police investigation, he concluded 36-year-old Lisa Mearkle was not justified in using deadly force when she shot 59-year-old David Kassick.
This story is quite disturbing. On February 2, Mearkle attempted to stop Kassick for an expired inspection sticker. Instead of stopping, Kassick drove to his sister's home and fled on foot.

Mearkle chased Kassick and shot him with her stun gun, shooting him in the back:

Comment: Let's see if the charges stick.


Water

Ignoring 1.8 million Gazans struggling with 97% water contamination, the world celebrates World Water Day

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As the world marks the World Water Day, Gaza's 1.8 million-population is struggling to cope with lack of clean water.The coastal aquifer, Gaza's main water source, is heavily contaminated with various pollutants including high levels of nitrates.

Dumping of untreated sewage into the sea has been a major cause for the pollution. The reason: lack of electricity to operate treatment plants.

Water contamination levels are three times higher than the World Health Organization standards for safe drinking water.

Experts have warned of a humanitarian disaster as the water pollution levels have reached near one hundred percent.
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© EWASH 2010
95% contamination: Wastewater flowing through the Rafah regional waste dump.
During the recent Israel war on Gaza Israeli forces targeted the infrastructure of the territory including water and sewage networks.

Israeli restrictions on the entry of equipment and materials have also slowed the completion of water desalination and filtration stations.

The severity of Gaza's water crisis is likely to increase in the coming summer months.

With water pollution levels rising experts blame the problems on the Israeli blockade as well as Israel's stealing of Gaza Strip's underground water for many years.

Comment: Another sign of the ongoing worldwide denial of the misery, suffering, degradation and dehumanization of the Palestinian people.

An open air prison: Israel's decimation of Gaza


Birthday Cake

Case involving Christian bakery refusing to bake gay-themed cake could have far-reaching implications

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© Facebook
If an equalities watchdog wins a legal case against a Christian bakery that refused to bake a cake decorated with gay marriage slogans, the decision could force a Muslim printer to publish cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed, a lawyer claims.

The ruling could also mean a T-shirt company owned by lesbians would be obliged to print shirts with slogans describing gay marriage as an "abomination."

Leading human rights lawyer Aidan O'Neill QC said the implications of the decision concerning Ashers Baking Company would have far-reaching consequences for businesses that refuse custom based on principles.

O'Neill's legal opinion was commissioned by the Christian Institute, which is supporting the bakery's defense in a case due before a court in Belfast later this month.

Ashers, based in Newtownabbey, Northern Ireland, last year canceled an order for a cake from LGBT activist Gareth Lee featuring Sesame Street characters Bert and Ernie and the slogan "support gay marriage."

Dollar

Egypt signs natural gas deal with Gazprom

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© Reuters / Desmond Boylan
Russia's Gazprom Global LNG has signed a deal with Egyptian Natural Gas Holding Company (EGAS) to supply 35 shipments of liquefied natural gas (LNG) by 2020, according to the company and Egypt's Ministry of Petroleum.

Gazprom Global LNG and EGAS have agreed on LNG sales, the company confirmed on its website Tuesday, adding that both parties were in the final stages of a long term commercial arrangement.

35 LNG shipments will be supplied to Egypt over 5 years, according to Egypt's Ministry of Petroleum. Gazprom will start shipping to EGAS in the second half of 2015, with 7 cargoes arriving each year. EGAS has already signed contracts with Noble Group who will deliver a seven LNG cargoes and Vitol for nine shipments of LNG over two years.

As the West escalates its sanctions rhetoric against Russia, Egypt has shown it wants to align closer with Moscow. Last month Russian President Vladimir Putin paid a two-day visit to Cairo, where he agreed to bring the two economies closer and start working towards using domestic currencies in trade settlements. Both sides then said that they wanted to open up new prospects for trade and investment cooperation and reduce dependence on the trends in the world markets.