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Good Stuff to Read
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October 2016 round-up of long-reads worth the effort


Mike Benitez & Mike Peitrucha, War on the Rocks, Oct21|16
Political Airpower, Part I: 
Say No to the No-Fly Zone

With Hilton strutting around thinking the election is practically in the bag and pushing harder for her idiot's gambit no-fly zone in Syria, one has to wonder whether she is hoping to use the NFZ to kill over a million Syrians in the same way Bilton used the one in Iraq to kill a million Iraqis.  The idea in Iraq was to make life so unbearable for the Iraqis that they would rise up against Saddam, only the Iraqis didn't see it that way.  The Iraqi NFZ accomplished absolutely nothing worthwhile for the USG or the West, and yet Bilton's Secretary of State, Madeline Albright had the gall to say publicly that the "price was worth it," the specific price being discussed at the time being 500,000 dead Iraqi toddlers.  

This Part I in a series is sub-titled: Say No to the No-Fly Zone.  While not speaking specifically against Hilton's insanity, these two fly-guys put forth the practical, operational case against NFZ's in areas, like Syria, where a NFZ would be hotly contested by advanced air defenses. These two throttle-jocks have about 400 combat missions between them and they know the operational limits of air warfare in today's high tech offensive and defensive air combat theatres.

Because they are Air Force guys, they don't discuss, and probably never think about, the moral issues that politicians should be considering, but from the practical case they lay out, a NFZ in Syria is a non-starter, even for a no-brainer president.  

This article is mostly a brilliant history of NFZs and is valuable on that basis alone, never mind the thought-provoking arguments against NFZs in many situations, including Syria. 

Rick Sterling, Dissident Voice, Oct20|16
The White Helmet Controversy 

It seems that with each passing week we get yet another shadow-casting article on the so-called "White Helmets," and with those shadows comes the deeper understanding that the WHs are little more than a propaganda-tool for Western countries wanting to set up a no-fly zone and take out Bashir al-Assad. Moon of Alabama has been tracking this WH bullshit for years, and they often report the vile lies perpetrated by the MSM in support of the WH's.  On Dec07|15 I contributed a bit of shadow myself to this WH fraud.

Rick Sterling is one of my favorite writers.  He's a retired aerospace engineer and he writes with the precision of an engineer.  His take-down of the WH's is well linked (27 links) and his points are specific. Mostly his piece is a point-by-point rejoinder of Franklin Lamb's Oct14|2016 Counter Punch piece, Political Defamation Campaign Targets Rescue Workers in Syria

Lamb, a lawyer, repeatedly asserts that those who are calling out the WH fraud are defaming the WH's, which is, as a lawyer myself, total legal bullshit. Lamb should know that one element of defamation is that the asserted defamatory speech must be objectively false. And yet, while he makes assertions of falsehoods, incredibly he does not provide one single link, reference, foot note or verifiable source to back up anything he says. Not a single source. I guess the guy's position is that since he's Franklin Lamb his readers are expected to take everything he says as the truth. I, for one, don't; neither does Sterling; neither should anyone.  

We owe a nod of gratitude to Sterling for pointing out Lamb's dubious, unsupported rhetoric. This WH issue is a fight that will surely continue until the end of the Syrian conflict, or until the WH's crawl back into whatever hole they came from and the likes of Lamb quit carrying their water.    

Denis O'Brien, LogoPhere, Oct13 & Oct17|16
Death, Lies, & Videos
Part I: The Gun
Part II: Murder?

Just in case you missed it, here is my 2-part piece on the Keith Lamont Scott homicide. Not to be overly immodest, but it's the best analysis I am aware of of the video evidence and the multiple lies related to Scott's killing by cop Brentley Vinson. 

Emperor Tigerstar, YouTube, Oct11|16
The History of Europe:
Year-by-year for the last 5000

Too good not to watch at least once: one screen for every one of the last 5000 years showing who controlled what in what is now Europe and the Mediterranean. Put the vid up on one screen and Wikipedia on the other because a lot of huge empires that have come and gone that you've never heard of.  Here are a few surprises for me:

  • Scotland came out early and held on for a loooong time.  Ireland, not so much. 

  • For centuries Cordoba was the largest city in Europe.

  • Britain once controlled just about all of France.

  • The Huns really kicked some white, European ass.

Brilliantly done Tigerstar, whoever you are.

Jamie Kalven, The Intercept, Oct06|16
  Code of Silence 

LAPD, NYPD, CPD are probably three of the world's -- and certainly three of America's -- most violent, most crooked, and most universally despised police forces. They are three of the best examples of why "pigs" is such a fitting a metaphor for "cops." And let me tell you this: if you don't understand why anyone would apply that metaphor to cops now, you will after reading Klaven's 4-part, inside story about the Chicago drug cops -- not the cops trying to stop criminal drug activity, the cops involved in criminal drug activity themselves, the ones getting rich off of it.  

Kalven is a hero for publishing this story about two hero Chicago cops -- Shannon Spalding and Danny Echeverria -- fighting from inside the belly of the blue breast. To many, or most, Americans it's very difficult to understand how a "rogue" cop like Christopher Dorner can go off the rails and murder three people, or how Micah Xavier Johnson can kill a bunch of cops in Dallas, but Kalven makes these cases of extra-judicial retribution against cops considerably more comprehensible. One comes away from this 4-part story a bit amazed as to why black snipers aren't taking out more cops.

In May2016 mayor Rham Emanuel claimed that the city settled a whistleblower suit brought by Echeverria and Spalding for $2M, not to keep Emanuel off of the witness stand but because it was the cheapest thing for the city.  If Emanuel doesn't give these two cops the highest award for bravery and outstanding duty to the city, then we will know without him taking the stand that he is a part of Chicago's disgusting culture of the "silent blue line." What Chicago mayor hasn't been?

Joel Handley, Chicago Reader, Sep29|16
Inside the Chicago Police Department's secret budget

Asset forfeiture stories always make for good reading, if by "good" one means revealing how the American Stasi works. Handley does that very well in this article on how asset forfeiture is used by the "justice system" in Chicago. However, the 2013 New Yorker article Taken by Sarah Stillman remains the gold standard in reporting on this criminal enterprise known as civil asset forfeiture

Here's a quote from Handley's excellent piece:

The Chicago Police Department doesn't disclose its forfeiture income or expenditures to the public, and doesn't account for it in its official budget. Instead, CPD's Bureau of Organized Crime, the division tasked with drug- and gang-related investigations, oversees the forfeiture fund in what amounts to a secret budget—an off-the-books stream of income used to supplement the bureau's public budget.

As a side note, Handley outs a cop named Nicholas Roti, a nasty upper-level Chi-cop who was also a major player in the CPD cover-up of its criminal narcotics cluster-fuck that was exposed in Jamie Kalvern's Oct06 Intercept piece featured above.

On December 31, 2014, Roti approved a request for $19,015.98 to pay for one month's worth of phones "used by undercover officers performing drug and gang enforcement operations." Similar requests were approved nearly every month, amounting to more than $3.2 million worth of forfeiture expenditures since 2010. 

In addition, the Guardian's ongoing expose' of Chicago's "dark-site," Homan Square, has also featured Roti, who was in charge of the facility until he resigned to work for the Illinois State Police. This is often referred to as a "gypsy cop:" one who jumps from one police department to another when the heat gets turned up.  Sleep tight, Illinois.

It is also worth mentioning that under the conservative Rhenquist and Roberts' court  there has been strong support on the USSCt for fascist policies and draconian outcomes of asset forfeiture. See Linda Greenhouse, NYT, 1996.  Even the so-called iconic liberal on the bench, Ruth Ginsburg, has consistently voted in favor of stripping Americans of their possessions irrespective of protections "guaranteed" by the 4th and 5th Amendments to the Constitution. See, for instance, Bennis v. Michigan, in which Ginsburg tipped the result by voting with the conservatives in a 5-4 decision that sanctioned cops' policies of taking property away from innocent third parties if the property was used in a crime, in this case a wife's car was taken because the husband used it to solicit prostitution.

But change may be on the way, not because of anything Chicago's changey/hopey Obama has done, mind you. In early 2016 New Mexico, for instance, unanimously passed HB 560, which drastically restricts when the authorities can confiscate a person's property.  The bill lays out circumstances that most Americans presume are the standard -- in fact NM bans civil forfeiture entirely.  Only forfeiture directly related to a crime which has been proven in court is now permitted. Unfortunately, most Americans don't live in New Mexico or a dozen or so other states that have fixed this enormous blight on the Constitution. Hopefully, this law will become the standard for all states.

Thanks, Joel Handley, for this important update. 

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Denis R. O'Brien, PhD/Esq.
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