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Posts Tagged ‘Wikileaks’

Pfc. Bradley Manning is believed to be the man responsible for leaking most of the Iraq, Afghanistan, and diplomatic cables to WikiLeaks. Thanks to an entrapping series of online chats with ex-hacker and likely government agent Adrian Lamo, Manning was arrested last spring. Since then, he has been held in solitary confinement  for seven months. Mind you, Manning has never been charged with a crime and likely will not be in the near future.

Glenn Greenwald was the first person I saw really address this topic. He hit all of the most horrifying points: that Manning is kept in his cell for 23 hours a day, that he is denied even sheets and a pillow, that he may not exercise in his cell, that he is forbidden from any access to the news, etc. Most importantly, Greenwald pointed out that solitary confinement, especially for this length of time, has a demonstrable effect on mental health and could likely be considered torture.

More details were added by Manning’s lawyer, David Coombs (H/T: Lew Rockwell). Coombs revealed that Manning is kept awake from 5 a.m. to 8 p.m. by guards walking past his cell and asking him to verify his status every five minutes. Can you imagine how horrible this must be? To be kept awake in a cell with nothing to do for 15 hours straight? It is amazing that Manning is not already insane, though if Manning visitor David House’s report that Manning wants to some day use the GI Bill to get a B.A. in PoliSci and a grad degree in Physics is true, maybe insanity has already arrived. There are draconian restrictions on his access to reading materials. His clothes are taken away from him each night.

And yet somehow the U.S. government that treats a man, let alone a man convicted of no charges, in this manner has the gall to criticize other countries for torture. There was a time when those criticisms might have rung true. That time is long since past with this country’s shameful collapse into a police state.

The good news, if there is any, is that the efforts of people like Greenwald and Coombs have led the UN to investigate Manning’s treatment. There is little reason to expect any sort of fast action from such a bureaucratic organization, and even less reason to suspect any sort of satisfactory action from an organization run by imperialists, but at least maybe it will shame the U.S. government into doing something to ameliorate Manning’s condition.

We must not forget Bradley Manning, as I am afraid some of us, myself included, did in the excitement of the diplomatic cables being released. That this man remains imprisoned without charge in such shameful conditions is a moral outrage. Together maybe we can do something to rescue him.

In the meantime, I love what Kevin Carson at Center for a Stateless Society wrote: “If there’s a soldier anywhere in the world who’s fought and suffered for my freedom, it’s Pfc. Bradley Manning.”

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  • LewRockwell.com: Three videos of police brutality. Take your pick, they are all horrible: an elderly disabled woman thrown to the ground, a cop pointing a gun at a woman’s head for getting in a car accident, a girl tased through her skull. Never forget: these thugs are not your friends.
  • National Post: Two Canadians are facing charges for desecrating an American flag as part of a bet over last year’s gold medal hockey game in Vancouver. The flag is just a stupid piece of fabric. It is only the false religion of nationalism that makes it anything more. I would encourage everyone to go out and burn five flags tomorrow just to knock the nationalists down.
  • Justin Raimondo at Antiwar.com: Best and worst of 2010. I am obviously going to love that Glenn Greenwald is one of his best, but I’m really more excited about seeing the repulsive Michael C. Moynihan of Reason as one of his worst. That a hateful little statist apologist like Moynihan works at Reason is appalling. The rot he has been churning out against WikiLeaks is awful, thus making me quite glad to see LRN.fm drop Reason.tv from their lineup.
  • Radley Balko at Reason: The Wisconsin Supreme Court upheld the decision to list a teen on the sex offender registry for forcing another teen to accompany him in collecting a debt. Wh-what? How is that a sex crime? Quiet, slave–do not question the wisdom of Leviathan!
  • Glenn Greenwald: What Glenn learned from his campaign of pro-WikiLeaks media appearances. Money quote: “From the start of the WikiLeaks controversy, the most striking aspect for me has been that the ones who are leading the crusade against the transparency brought about by WikiLeaks — the ones most enraged about the leaks and the subversion of government secrecy — have been . . . America’s intrepid Watchdog journalists.”
  • Via Conor Friedersdorf at Sullivan, USA Today: Railways are apparently the next target for the DHS/TSA fascists. The airport racket wasn’t a big enough employment program for fat skinhead knuckle-draggers, so they are going to need to start up unconstitutional and utterly pointless searches at subway stations to create some more jobs for their brethren.
  • NYT: Have you heard of Jamie and Gladys Scott? They had spent 16 years behind bars for an $11 armed robbery. Well, luckily for them, Miss. Governor (and GOP presidential hopeful) Haley Barbour went and said some vaguely racist crap a few weeks ago. Looking to prove he didn’t hate blacks after all, Barbour suspended their sentences, contingent upon one sister giving the other a kidney. I am glad these women have been released from their ridiculous sentences, but that Barbour did this for opportunistic reasons and that there is some sort of caveat attached pisses me off.
  • Western Standard: Highlighting the inspiring story of an incidence of de facto jury nullification in a Montana marijuana possession case. During jury selection, the drug warriors couldn’t find enough potential jurors in the pool willing to even consider locking someone up for having a sixteenth of an ounce. Not like the quantity should really matter, but still awesome.
  • Eugene Volokh: Phillip Greaves, the sick dude who wrote the infamously-banned-on-Amazon book The Pedophile’s Guide to Love and Pleasure, was recently extradited to Florida to face felony obscenity charges. Undercover cops baited him into sending them a copy of the book. Is Greaves  a sick puppy who should be ostracized by other adults? Probably. But is writing a book reason enough to entrap someone and then lock them up? Hell no.
  • Via Jacob Sullum at Reason, Michael Siegel: the top 10 anti-tobacco lies of the year. Why just talk about the realities of lung cancer when you can make up much worse lies? That seems to be the motto of the anti-smoking zealots. It’s mostly BS about secondhand smoke.
  • The American Conservative: A great parody poster, ridiculing America’s support of all manner of reprehensible regimes.
  • The Cincinnati Enquirer: Meet John Harmon, a diabetic who was repeatedly tased and beaten by Hamilton County cops during a groundless DUI stop. Cops suspected Harmon was drunk when really his blood sugar was low. It probably didn’t help that Harmon is black. Now he is suing. Good–punch the cop-bullies in the nose.
  • NYT: Headline: “Abuses Cited in Enforcing China Policy of One Child.” Oh gee whiz, do you think? I don’t really know how you differentiate when the one-child policy is itself just one great instance of abuse. There is a story in this report about a woman carried off to a hospital and sterilized against her will. To the criminals perpetrating these crimes–I don’t often wish violence upon people, but may you end up first against the wall come the revolution.
  • Radley Balko at Reason: A how-to on recording the cops. Not exactly a thriller, but excellent for logistics. The recording front is one of the primary ones on which we are fighting right now.
  • Kevin Carson at Center for a Stateless Society: Headline: “Statism: An Unfalsifiable Religion.” Pointing out the endlessly self-perpetuating loop of statism. I liked this quote: “Market failures are taken as evidence that we need a regulatory state, but regulatory failures are used as a pretext for even more government.”
  • William Grigg at LewRockwell.com: Pausing to remember the horrific story of Derek Hale, executed by cops in 2006. Hale’s widow recently received a settlement from the City of Wilmington, Delaware, but that can scarcely bring back her tased-into-a-stupor, then-shot husband Derek.
  • Daily Anarchist: Ugh…a guy writes about how he no longer hangs out with his non-anarchist friends. I hate this crap. Saying that you don’t want to hang out with non-anarchists is just as collectivist as being a collectivist. People must be treated as individuals.
  • Juan Cole: Top ten myths about Afghanistan. Must-read. Cole just demolishes every one of the plot lines you hear articulated in White House briefings and mainstream reporting. It is an unwinnable war.
  • NYT: Remember the name Qian Yunhui. He began as no hero–a Communist Party apparatchik. But he later fought for his neighbors’ property rights, and this is why he may well have been killed by the regime.
  • NYT: Estonia joins the Euro. Poor Estonians. We’ve covered this story before. At a time when the euro is facing an existential crisis, let there be no doubt that this decision had nothing to do with the good of average Estonians and everything to do with bureaucrats and politicians seeking more goodies from the European Union.
  • Jacob Sullum at Reason: Covering the federal court ruling that NYC can’t force cigarette merchants to put up anti-smoking posters. This is one small victory for private business, but it comes in the midst of a losing war.
  • Via Conor Friedersdorf at Sullivan, The Washington Examiner: When it comes to for-profit colleges, no one wins. You have the colleges themselves fighting to keep their meal-ticket, the 87% of revenue they get from taxpayers. Then you have guys shorting the stocks of for-profit colleges fighting for more onerous regulation of them in Congress, just to make sure they make money on their short. Yuck.
  • The War Nerd Gary Brecher at The eXile: Lessons from the Pashtun. I don’t always love Brecher’s column, but this one was hilarious. Good example: “They still remember Timur in Herat, but they won’t remember us. Not even all the money we spent, because Afghans are not future software billionaires. They’ll spend it on guns or pretty little dancing boys, and it’ll all end up in the form of Muhajir merchant families, or the 32-foot Bayliners sitting in the driveway of some merc’s house in Tracy.”
  • NYT: Those who petition the Russian Orthodox Church to rescind Tolstoy’s excommunication either totally misunderstand his philosophy or just want to make a name for themselves. My guess is the latter. If Tolstoy knew that his great-grandson was campaigning for Putin and begging for the Patriarch to restore Tolstoy to good graces, he would implode.
  • John McWhorter at The New Republic: Fantastic essay on how ending the drug war–and not just on marijuana–would be a tremendous thing for black America. My only concern with McWhorter’s essay is that it’s a bit too pragmatic. The war on drugs should be ended because it is morally wrong, not because it leads to a lot of innocent black men going to jail. If fewer black men go to jail once this great wrong is eliminated from our society, then so much the better.
  • Daniel Larison: Pointing out the uncomfortable truth that Liu Xiaobo is a pretty lame stooge of Western imperialism (read: supported the war in Iraq). This news disappoints me, but like Larison, it does not diminish my belief that Liu Xiaobo should be freed immediately.
  • Radley Balko at Reason: Cornelius Dupree Jr. became the 21st man to be exonerated by DNA evidence…in just one county. He had been in prison since 1980. What a tragedy, 30 years stolen.

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Chances are you don’t know much about Central Asia, the club of five ex-Soviet “stans” located just north of America’s bloodiest and most corrupt fiefdom, Afghanistan. Kazakhstan is probably the most famous, thanks to the infamous Borat Sagdiyev. Kyrgyzstan gets a decent amount of news play because of the Tulip Revolution they had in 2005 and then the unnamed revolution and ethnic violence they had last summer. Of the five–Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan–only Kyrgyzstan can lay any sort of claim to being a democracy, and the Kyrgyz democracy is rotten with corruption and heavily dependent upon foreign powers.

The weirdest one has to be Turkmenistan. Turkmenistan is a sandy place that used to be quite poor until they discovered they sat on top of an untold wealth of natural gas. When the Soviet empire fell, the Communist First Secretary Saparmurat Niyazov just stayed on for the next 15 years until his death. But given the absence of a communist cult and the addition of natural gas money, the next 15 years were a wild time for the country. Niyazov rechristened himself Turkmenbashi (father of the Turkmen), wrote an autobiography that became a “textbook” for proper living, renamed months of the calendar after himself and his mother, changed the alphabet, and built golden statues of himself. It was a cult of personality so stupid and so eccentric as to almost invite laughter, had it not been paid for and foisted upon his unwitting subjects.

He died suddenly in 2006 and was replaced by an obscure dentist, Gurbanguly Berdimuhammedov. Surely things would be better under him than the ghastly Turkmenbashi!

WikiLeaks says no. WikiLeaks documents show U.S. authorities calling Berdimuhammedov an extremely paranoid intellectual lightweight who built a $79 million presidential yacht that would have been larger if only the Caspian Sea canals were bigger. This as the Turkmen people continue to live in poverty. Of course, his wife and daughters live in Western Europe.

Elsewhere in the region, WikiLeaks shows General Petraeus being told to suck up to Tajik dictator Emomali Rakhmon, a vile old drunk who has a strange habit of seeing opponents die in jail. Cables also show the U.S. standing idly by as Kazakh dictator and U.S. ally Nursultan Nazarbayev fixes another election.

These are the sort of things desperate empires do as they cling to power whilst fighting disastrous wars at the farthest fringes of their realms. The American war machine needs Manas AFB in Kyrgyzstan in order to keep fighting in Afghanistan, so politicians will be lied to and cheated and ultimately throw money at bad, corrupt contracts in Kyrgyzstan, just to keep the body bags coming. They will suck up to Nazarbayev, just to keep overflight rights. They will add Uzbek Islamists to terrorist watchlists, just to curry some favor.

The Ottoman Empire was once called the Sick Man of Europe. America is now the Sick Man of the World–still represented across the globe, but increasingly stretched thin, increasingly devoid of ideas and money. I look forward to the end of this empire that has brought economic ruin at home and death and destruction abroad.

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No, I didn’t forget about WikiLeaks, the TSA, and the FBI’s entrapment scam in Portland…there are just so many relevant links for each of those subjects that they deserve their own posts. So here’s the rest of the news.

  • Globe & Mail: I’m a non-violent person, but if a politician who runs a community of 87 people told me they deserved their $243k tax-free salary, I would be tempted to head-butt them in their obscene little mouth. And that’s precisely what a First Nations chief in Nova Scotia has just done. The only salary you deserve is the $0.50/hour you get for working in a prison laundry, you criminal.
  • Globe & Mail: One of the most interesting WikiLeaks cables was one showing the U.S. talking about how Canadian TV shows encourage “insidious” anti-American stereotypes. Seems the criminals running the U.S. don’t like the Canadians protesting against our border policies. Aww, poor little babies–our neighbors document exactly the way in which you humiliate and dehumanize innocent people every day and you don’t like it. Here’s an idea: stop doing it.
  • Globe & Mail: B.C. courts have essentially rewritten a man’s will because he wrote out his four daughters and made his son the sole beneficiary. The judge said that he was a “racist” (bad, but completely irrelevant here) and demeaned his daughters. Shouldn’t they just be glad he is dead, then? The idea that courts can play ex post facto referee on solemn contracts is deeply upsetting and creates a horribly slippery slope.
  • Globe & Mail: A wonderfully biting slam of American imperialism and the Harper government’s cooperation with it. This piece is a must-read. Sometimes, it takes a foreigner to make us see just how much of an incessantly war-mongering tyrant-state ours is. This is the Canada we need to be our neighbor.
  • NYT: Meet the chengguan, China’s unthinking, skullcracking, government-issue thugs who keep urban order. These people are sick. They beat a man to death for videotaping them. And now they are recruiting attractive young women to put a prettier face on it. Even if you put make-up and lipstick on police power, it’s still a giant “boot stamping on a human face forever.”
  • LewRockwell.com: Stupid fascist DHS secretary Janet Napolitano is now apparently forbidding all packages from Japan that “weigh more than .9 pounds, are not sent by a commercial enterprise, and do not have the receiver’s SS# written on the package.” All because a couple of explosive print cartridges got mailed once. Do you really think this will keep us safe, Napolitano? Of course not. You just want more power in your grubby little hands. Burn in hell.
  • Der Spiegel: Europe freaks out over Switzerland’s newest referendum, which authorizes authorities to automatically expel criminal foreigners. I like open borders, but I also like people who respect the culture and way of life that goes on inside those borders. If you are lucky enough to get into Switzerland and you can’t behave yourself, I don’t see any problem in them getting rid of you….even better if they replace you with me.
  • NYT: The Russian government has agreed to hand a ton of confiscated property back to the Russian Orthodox Church (ROC), an organization that suffered tremendously under the Soviets. But even this seemingly good news can still be bad as we are treated to the vile spectacle of the ROC happily taking over the deeds to confiscated Catholic and Lutheran churches in Kaliningrad, aka Koenigsberg, the former royal seat of Prussia that is only Russian today because Russia needed an ice-free Baltic port. Looks like Tolstoy was right about the ROC.
  • Vienna Review: meditations on Western tech companies and their cozy relationships with authoritarian dictators and censors. I wasn’t even familiar with the lead example–Russian police breaking up an opposition NGO because their server computers might have used pirated Windows software. Microsoft said nothing. They had intellectual property to look after, you know!
  • NYT: The yearly protests at the School of the Americas (now called WHISC) at Ft. Benning are dwindling in attendance. If you don’t know, SOA/WHISC is a friendly little place where American soldiers train Central American thugs how to crack skulls and disappear people. I remember my high school used to send protesters every year, and me, being the bien pensant nationalist that I was, was appalled. Now I’m sad to see the protests shrinking in yet another sign of the left rolling over now that Obama is in control.
  • NYT: The EU is proposing to deny visas to 60 Russian officials implicated in the jailhouse death of the the lawyer Sergei Magnitsky…and the officials are all butthurt about it. Awww, poor little babies, you won’t get to go blow stolen money in London anymore! Maybe you should have thought about that before you participated in what very much looks like a murder.
  • Via Andrew Sullivan, the Daily Beast: Meet Steve King, the Iowa Republican who will likely become the House’s top man on immigration. This guy is a real sickie: “He has dubbed illegal immigration not just a ‘slow-motion terrorist attack’ but a ‘slow-motion holocaust.'” All this from a jerk who lives in Iowa, eons away from the people in places like El Paso who should actually have a say in border policy.
  • Via Andrew Sullivan, Gawker: Meet a girl who has nearly $200k in student loan debt…just from undergrad. People worried about student loans don’t spend a year abroad, missy. Oh, and the $200k that bought you a diploma at a pretty average liberal arts school like Northeastern could have bought you a better diploma at a state school and left you probably $120-140k to play around with. It’s hard to feel bad for people this stupid.
  • Moscow Times: The artist who headed up the Voina (“War”) group that did so much to mock state power in Russia has been forced to escape into exile in Estonia. His name is Alexei Plutser-Sarno. I wish him well in continuing to mock the state.
  • Globe & Mail: Canadian courts are currently wrestling with the issue of polygamy. If the polygamists win, Canada could become the only Western country to permit polygamy. Predictably, people are saying how awful this would be and what it might do to attract polygamist immigrants. First thing–there is nothing especially bad about polygamy. It’s not something I would do, but it works for some people. If women are being forced into it, that’s something worth fighting. But if everyone is ok, let it go. Second thing–the idea that polygamists will suddenly just descend upon Canada is laughable. How will they get in? I would crawl to Vancouver on my knees to get a Canadian work permit and I’m a graduate degree-holding, English-speaking, non-criminal. It’s not like these people can just start showing up on airplanes and building polygamist colonies.

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I wonder what Glenn Greenwald would have turned out like in a different era. In this present era of surveillance, secrecy, war, and trampled civil rights, it’s like he is pathologically incapable of doing anything but speaking truth to power. He is one of the few people on the left to keep up the anti-torture, anti-war, anti-Patriot Act drumbeat that was so intense under Bush but immediately was silenced under Obama. He routinely spits in the eye of some of the most august publications we have, like The NYT. I. Love. Glenn. Greenwald.

Last week, he had three great columns in a row on the shambolic coverage that the American media gave to the WikiLeaks Iraq release. The Afghanistan one didn’t go so hot for the propagandists at the Pentagon. This time around, they had plenty of time to lean on their sycophants at the NYT and elsewhere. They got more subservient coverage and even an assault on Julian Assange in return.

When the documents dropped in the NYT and got pretty crappy coverage, they also included a hit piece on Julian Assange. Greenwald lost it. At first, I wasn’t inclined to agree with him. Assange is a public figure. If a paper wants to run a hit piece on him, fine, let them.

But Greenwald won me over. The thing is, this media, our media, doesn’t do hit pieces anymore. Look at this NYT piece and how they smeared Assange with unsubstantiated crap from unreliable sources. Look at how his character is impugned. They don’t do this to establishment hacks. Oh, and it’s worth mentioning that the slimeball John Burns who wrote it criticized Rolling Stone freelancer Michael Hastings for his brave takedown of Stan McChrystal.

The next day, Greenwald did an unfortunately hilarious headline comparison for the WikiLeaks story from major news outlets. Nearly everyone emphasized Iraqi abuses we ignored. It was only the NYT that licked the regime’s boots and wrote “Detainees Fared Worse in Iraqi Hands.” Spinelessness. Wretch.

The third piece is a bit too long to be as interesting, but it’s another takedown of John Burns for his supposed fair story on Assange. I did find this line worth just about memorizing and repeating:

Of course, another major reason why these media figures are so eager to parrot the Government line — to try to destroy Assange and insist that there’s “nothing new” in these horrifying documents — is because they cheered for these wars in the first place.

Amen! I don’t think there’s a liberal bias in the American media. Sure, they might favor Democrats over Republicans, but what does that really matter when both parties love war and death? They just want a bigger helping of welfare state with their fat slice of imperialism and war.

Viva Greenwald.

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WikiLeaks has done it again, this time releasing over 400,000 pages of classified documents on the Iraq War. God bless you, Bradley Manning! Before I get into the new information, let me just say that I loved the Yahoo News headline today wondering why the Sunday morning talk shows essentially ignored the WikiLeaks documents. Is it really a mystery? Those spineless “journalists” are all tools of the American imperialist-security complex. Of course they are going to ignore these documents, they’ve got two wars to perpetuate!

The NYT and Der Spiegel both had preferential access to the documents. I liked the presentation employed by the Times more, sort of bundling big clumps of documents together into related portfolios. The two most interesting bundles were about the treatment of detainees and civilian casualty figures.

The documents on detainees are, unfortunately, almost all about their treatment by other Iraqis. The information is horrifying: torture, death, abuse, etc. The U.S. seems to have done a little wink-wink, nod-nod show most of the time and let the Iraqis “investigate” abuses for themselves. Oh, and the U.S. used the threat of Iraqi detention to intimidate detainees in our custody. This stuffy is horrifying, but it’s not surprising at all. It’s basically a carbon copy of the model the CIA has been employing around the world since whenever extraordinary rendition started. We don’t need to torture people ourselves when we can find all manner of thugs from failed authoritarian states who are unemployable in any career except for violence and who would love to torture fellow humans in places beyond U.S. jurisdiction. If the slaves back home get wind of it and try to do anything, just invoke state secrecy against them and let the courts take over!

The civilian casualties in the report add up to an additional 15,000 deaths. That pushes the Iraq Body Count to somewhere between 98-106,000 civilian deaths. That’s blood on our hands, guys. We didn’t have to fight this war. Saddam was no saint, but even his infamous gassing of the Kurds at Halabja amounted to something like 3000-5000 deaths. Keep our crimes in perspective.

Der Spiegel‘s best reporting was on unfair attacks conducted by Apache helicopters, of which the infamous Collateral Murder video was just the tip of the iceberg, it seems. It’s easy to point your joystick at people trying to surrender and click a button that will eliminate them. It feels just like a video game. Maybe you can even compare your kill stats with your buddies back at the base!

Don’t let the war-loving mainstream media fool you: the WikiLeaks Iraq documents reveal new and damning evidence about our awful war in Iraq. Don’t let the government fool you, either: these documents don’t put anyone in any more danger than our continued ignorance would. The Surge is unraveling. Chaos is returning. We broke Iraq, but sticking around indefinitely isn’t going to help anything. Don’t let the military fool you into thinking our conduct there is justified. End the war now, bring the troops home, and don’t forget to Free Bradley Manning and donate to WikiLeaks.

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The immense backlog of articles to read has been read. The requisite amount of head-shaking has occurred. And now, at long last, my sense of inertia has been overcome. We’re back online, folks. The Country Estate is now officially operating from a secret location tucked away on a Seattle hillside. Let’s get started with a record-breaking batch of links…and remember, some of them might be old since they’ve been accumulating for a while, but they’re all worth reading!

  • The Independent: Robert Fisk does a two-part series on “honor” killings. Worth reading every word. By the end, I didn’t know what was more horrifying–the crimes themselves (“One of the most terrible murders in 1999 was that of a mentally retarded 16-year-old, Lal Jamilla Mandokhel, who was reportedly raped by a junior civil servant in Parachinar in the North-West Frontier Province of Pakistan. Her uncle filed a complaint with the police but handed Lal over to her tribe, whose elders decided she should be killed to preserve tribal “honour”. She was shot dead in front of them.”) or the “justice” systems in the countries that witness most of these murders and routinely let the perpetrators off the hook.
  • Via David Schmader at Slog, Seattle Weekly: the cartoonist who drew the “Everybody Draw Mohammed Day” cartoon after the South Park controversy last year has gone into hiding. Because she drew a cartoon. Someone in the Slog comments thread was saying that we need to have an “I am Spartacus” moment and I couldn’t agree more. These medievalist thugs cannot be allowed to win.
  • Center for a Stateless Society: did you know border patrol skull-crackers can ask for your papers and lock you up even if you’re just near the border? Cops in Rochester are such happy little thugs that their department is endowed with increasing amounts of funding for their card-checking.
  • Jacob Sullum at Reason: the Las Vegas coroner clears a cop who killed a man in his home on a drug raid. Not only was the cop serving a warrant on the wrong guy, but also his explanation of what led him to shoot the man doesn’t match up at all with forensic evidence. So why did he get cleared? It’s their country, we just live in it, silly!
  • Via Reason, Paul Lukacs: an American citizen exercises his right to remain silent in an intrusive interrogation by U.S. border patrol thugs. Sample: “I’m not going to be interrogated as a pre-condition of re-entering my own country,” I said.
  • National Post: it’s old news out of my own Seattle, but the prosecutor who indicted non-violent freedom activist Marc Emery for selling marijuana seeds now says that the war on drugs is a waste of time and resources. Of course you would say that now, you schmuck…now that it comes at no personal cost to you, now that you’ve helped ruin another man’s life for a nonviolent “crime.” Whilst I’m at it, don’t forget to do your part in freeing Marc Emery, a true hero.
  • MacLeans: an absolutely bone-chilling account of a Canadian journalist who narrowly dodged an “honor” killing in her native Pakistan. Her own brother deceived her and would have killed her for marrying the wrong boy if she hadn’t been too smart to fall for it.
  • Via Lew Rockwell, Fox: the FBI bans a British teen from American shores for life…for sending an email with an obscenity to the president. Sticks and stones will break my bones, but words will get me banned from a country for life?
  • Der Spiegel: a profile on the recently-charged five-man U.S. murder squad busted in Afghanistan. These guys were horrible…planting weapons and evidence on innocent people after killing them for sport, collecting body parts as trophies, etc. But the thing we have to be most careful of is allowing the Pentagon and the media to convince us that this was a one-off deal. These guys just happened to get caught. What they did was egregious and sickening, but it’s only a shade morally darker than drone strikes that kill one bad guy and a family full of innocents. Innocent blood like this will continue to accumulate on our hands so long as we stay in Afghanistan.
  • NYT: the Department of Defense wants to use your money to buy and burn all 10k copies of a new Afghan war memoir because it contains classified information. What does classified even mean anymore, in the world of Dick Cheney’s “Treated as Top Secret?” This case is a perfect example of why we need WikiLeaks. They can burn books, but good luck burning hyperlinks.
  • Via Tyler Cowen, NYT: longshot Nevada gubernatorial candidate wants to let people submit to yearly vehicle inspections and then pay a daily fee to speed up to 90 mph. This might sound freedom-y, until you realize that it means you have to accept the notion that the state can tell you how to use your property and that you should pay them money to partially exercise a right that should be yours from inception.
  • Radley Balko at Reason: Mississippi wants to execute a man based on “expert” evidence from a disgraced forensic dentist. Clearly trials in government courts are not stacked against the defendant! Clearly no innocent man could ever be executed in our country!
  • Center for a Stateless Society: “State power is not a creative force, but a destructive one.” This goes out to all those smarties out there who want politicians to “create” jobs. Check out the Broken Window Fallacy or GTFO, dudes.
  • NYT: take a trip to Newark, the city so plagued by police abuse and corruption that they’re asking the feds to intervene. So you’re going to make a justice system stacked in favor of the state less stacked in favor of the state by bringing in….more state power? That’s a hell of a thought process.
  • Via the NYT, AP: it’s short enough to just give you the relevant details–“VIENNA (AP) — A jailed right-wing Austrian author has been found guilty of violating a prohibition on glorifying Nazi ideology and sentenced to an additional two years in prison. Gerd Honsik is already serving a four-year term, which began last year after he was found guilty of ”Wiederbetaetigung” — ”re-engaging” in Nazi-era beliefs. The crime is punishable by up to 20 years in prison.” Good Lord! Nazis, Holocaust deniers, fascists, racists, etc–they’re all repugnant people. But jailing someone for 20 years for having the “wrong” idea? America looks a lot freer all of a sudden.
  • NYT: a restaurateur in San Diego faces “up to 30 years in prison, almost $4 million in fines and the government seizure of his small French restaurant” for hiring illegal immigrants to work in his kitchen. Because it’s not the right of free and peaceful people to cross  borders.
  • NYT: profiling smokers in NYC. “There was a time, not so long ago, that no one lingered, cigarette in hand, between the MetLife buildings on East 24th Street. They smoked at their desks, or, later, in a smoking lounge. Then in 1995, City Hall started rolling out its restrictions and the herding began: big room to small room, inside to outside, public to private, acceptable to anathema. Today, the stigma runs deeper than ever. “They look at you like you just clubbed a baby seal,” Mr. Davila said.” Whoo, demonize minorities! It’s not discrimination when it’s for public health!
  • Center for a Stateless Society: cops react so harshly to people following the law and recording them in public places because the state doesn’t like competing narratives. Keep the cameras rolling, people. If I ever get enough money, I’d love nothing more than to pay an army of cameramen to follow every cop everywhere in some big city.
  • Center for a Stateless Society: great article on a trend I’ve noticed with disapproval, too–statist jerks appropriating the word “serious” to describe just about anything that supports or expands the state power status quo.
  • NYT: Did you ever notice how the oldest person in the world almost always seems to be Japanese? Well, it turns out that Japan’s count of people older than 100 was actually off by a bit….to the tune of 234,000 persons. Some of it was down to bad bookkeeping, but a substantial part resulted from people lying in order to keep deriving pension benefits in the name of the dead. Not that entitlements breed dependency or anything.
  • Matt Welch at Reason: Headline says it all–“Watching California’s Newspapers Line Up Against Legalizing the Pot That 90% of Their Employees Have Smoked.” It’s not really too surprising given that we’re in a country in which the last three presidents have admitted using pot and the last two have copped to cocaine. Cognitive dissonance is a favored past-time of the “serious” people in the country.
  • Via Rational Review, the Show-Me Institute: the limitless expansion of licensing cartels, from doctors to lawyers to nurses to hairdressers. This is what happens when established interests hate competition, lawmakers love more power and revenue and average Americans continue to love to be scared.
  • The Globe & Mail: a woman sues her employer for being told to dress a certain way. Ugh. I get your point. I probably wouldn’t want to work somewhere that asked me to dress in what I viewed to be a degrading way. But no one put a gun to your head and made you work there! You freely entered into a contract with them, under which these terms were specified! Passive-aggressive power-up bonus: she didn’t even complain to her employer before taking it to the authorities.
  • NYT: NYPD, which has long denied the existence of ticket and collar quotas, gets caught talking about quotas on tape. It’s not like we didn’t already know there were quotas, but boy, it is ever satisfying to see these liars caught red-handed.

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