Police and Taser Guns: A Bad Combination


taserTwo stories of police abuse/use of stun guns to share make me wonder whether an armed and polite society is better off without police.  Both cases should end up with all the law enforcement officers being charged with assault with a deadly weapon and removal from the force.  What do you think?

A Waffle House employee is suing the Gwinnett County Police Department over what he says was an unprovoked encounter with an officer who stunned him with a Taser.

The department’s internal investigation records reveal that the officer used the weapon like a toy with tacit approval from two superior officers.

Daniel Wilson, the 22-year-old waiter, spoke publicly about the encounter Wednesday at his attorney’s office in Snellville. The incident has already resulted in the arrest of Cpl. Gary Miles, 33, and the resignations of Sgt. Christopher Parry and Sgt. Joey Parkerson. None of the officers could be reached for comment this week because their phone numbers are unlisted.

Wilson said the officers often pointed the red laser from their Taser at him playfully. They would do so when Wilson picked a song they didn’t like on the jukebox or when telling him not to mess up their order, Wilson said.

“It was uncomfortable, but they are my customers and they tip pretty well,” Wilson said. “I just thought they were being foolish.”

Then on Feb. 16, Wilson was chatting with Parry and Parkerson when Miles sidled up behind him. Without saying a word, Miles zapped him with the Taser, Wilson said.

“I remember feeling the pulse go through my body,” Wilson said. “It hurt.”

Taser stun guns deliver a 50,000-volt electrical current capable of incapacitating a person. The weapon can fire barbed probes a distance of up to 35 feet, or it can be used in “drive stun mode” when pressed directly against a suspect. Gwinnett police checked the data recording from Miles’ Taser and found it was fired for one second at 2:48 a.m. on Feb. 16.

Miles told investigators that he only “spark tested” the Taser near the employee’s back “just to scare him a little bit,” according to the internal investigation file.

Parry, 41, and Parkerson, 39, witnessed the employee being shocked but did not report it. They laughed along with Miles, Wilson said. The sergeants later told investigators they didn’t realize the Taser made contact with Wilson’s body.

Wilson said he remembers telling Miles in the presence of the other officers, “Hey, you actually tased me.”

Wilson again sought an apology from Miles a few days later for accidentally stunning him. He said Miles replied, “Who says I did it by accident?”

This second story is even worse!

A 14-year-old Tucumcari girl is recovering at an Albuquerque hospital after being shot in the head with a Taser dart by Tucucmari Police Chief Roger Hatcher.

Now, her parents say they want the police department to review its policies for using the Taser.

The girl was hit in the head Thursday by one of two darts fired simultaneously as she was fleeing, Hatcher said.

The other dart lodged in her hip.

Hatcher said be believed he had no other option.

“There’s a lot of issues,” Hatcher said. “She committed a delinquent act. She was running from police across traffic without looking.”

Hatcher said he chased her, ordered her to stop and “then did what I had to do.”

Her mother, Stacy Akin, said her daughter underwent surgery Friday morning at University of New Mexico hospital in Albuquerque.

“One of the darts entered her skull,” said Akin, interviewed by telephone.

After a CAT scan, a hospital resident told her the dart was “in her brain a little bit, but not much,” Akin said.

She was in pediatric intensive care following the surgery, Akin said. “She seems OK, but she she’s in a lot of pain. Her head is hurting her real bad.”

Police were trying help Akin because she and her daughter had been fighting, Akin said.

Akin said while she could understand the use of a Taser on an adult, it shouldn’t be used on a child.

“She’s only 14, why?” Aikin asked.

Akin also said her daughter has epilepsy.

When law officers act like imbeciles they shouldn’t be police officers, and when they resort to tasers to stop a fleeing 14 year old girl who has epilepsy, they should get into a physical training class or give up their badge.   Is anyone else tired of these cliched expressions to justify criminal behavior.  “I did what I had to do”??!!  What kind of nonsense is that?  The lame excuses policemen and women use when they get caught are unbelievably stupid.  All four policeman in the two stories above should take their turns in the witness chair to explain their actions before doing time in their local prisons.   Oh, hat tip to Jonathan Turley’s blog.

Historical Revisionism-Changing the meaning of Words


wordsPeople are fond of saying words have meaning, and indeed that’s true.  Perhaps this notion of changing the use of words to serve a political purpose is something that’s been going on in America for some time, I don’t know, but with the onset of the war on terror, the politicization of words, applying them or changing them to mean something else and with a different value has been stark.  The first instance that comes to mind is the use of the word “insurgent” in place of the word “resistance fighter” because the latter signified opposition to American imperialism which in all of its form and substance is intended to be benign and beneficial for the people on whom it is imposed while the former was meant to signify an illegal opposition to authority, in this case ours.  Of course that is a subjective application of words, with a definite western leaning lexicography and Americans eventually applied  the term to all who fought against American and Iraqi forces on the ground which by default meant they were enemies of the State.  It was a nifty trick which seeped into our consciousness and made it possible for us to feel good about ourselves while fueling a rage for a people we went both to liberate as well as fight.

Now comes word of the change from the use of the word “torture” to “enhanced interrogation”. In an attempt to deny history the chance to note the United States as a country that used torture, which is in and of itself criminal,  many in media are now using words that don’t signify American culpability in criminal behavior.  Glen Greenwald does an excellent job dismantling this bizarre slow evolution from an America that used torture, and lied, to forge a new Iraq to a country that “interrogated: suspects,  and I strongly recommend you read his piece here and here.  That the media seems to be in lock step with this idea that torture doesn’t apply to what America does, but only to what our enemies do is nothing less than historical revisionism that puts the proponents of that idea on the same level as those who question the Holocaust or those who assert present day America has the right to its exceptionalism; meaning the United States is somehow  “above” or an “exception” to the law, even those laws which it drafts and codifies.  The people who accept  and pass on this change in the meaning of torture versus interrogation have made a mockery of themselves and the institutions they work for, ignoring all the treaties and laws the country has signed which obligates it to follow as well as  prosecute those among us who break these laws.   Any claim America has to moral relevancy or legitimacy is diminished each time we change the meaning of words through omission or otherwise to further political agendas that are not at all based in fact.  It is only a matter of time, as America becomes increasingly engaged in wars of aggression, before the same rationale and language will be used by America’s enemies  against us as they straddle and cross lines of legal and illegal behavior.

No Comment


European Selective Media Reporting


Hat tip to Niqnaq

Zionist Fanatics Practice Serial Vandalism in Paris

Thousands of books drenched in cooking oil – that is the latest exploit of the Zionist fanatics who regularly attack property and people in Paris and get away with it.

In the early afternoon of Friday, July 3, five men, mostly masked, stormed into the “Resistances” bookstore located in a quiet residential neighborhood of the 17th arrondissement in northwest Paris. To the startled women working in the shop, as well as two customers, they announcing that they were from the Jewish Defense League and began ripping books off shelves and tables, dousing them heavily with cooking oil, and then smashing four computers before leaving rapidly in a waiting vehicle.

The bookstore is owned and operated by Olivia Zemor and Nicolas Shashahani, who are also the leaders of the very active militant group CAPJPO-EuroPalestine (CAPJPO stands for Coordination des Appels pour une Paix Juste au Proche Orient).  In addition to a wide collection of books on the Middle East and other subjects, including fiction, the bookstore has a reading room and a lending library, gives courses in English and Arabic, and possesses a modest but well-attended auditorium where authors are invited to speak.

Two and a half years ago, on December 7, 2006, a similar attack squad threw teargas grenades into the bookstore as a crowd was gathering to listen to the late Israeli author Tanya Reinhart and her companion, the Israeli poet Aharon Shabtai. On that occasion, Shashahani had to be treated for effects from the teargas but material damage was slight. This time, the entire shop is a shambles, with countless ruined books, and damage runs to tens of thousands of euros, according to Shashahani.

But, he stresses, this is only one in “hundreds of violent actions” carried out by the French version of the banned US Jewish Defense League in recent years.  There is no reason to expect them to stop so long as they can count on indulgence on the part of French authorities and the silence of the mainstream media.  The vandalism on the Resistances bookstore was reported by the French news agency AFP, but the dispatch was apparently carried only by the small tabloid Le Parisien and not by the major newspapers, much less by television.  Usually, almost the only people who are informed about such events are in the politically active circles targeted for intimidation.

The general public remains ignorant of these aggressions, while it is regularly informed by television of even relatively minor acts of anti-Semitism – some of them imaginary (as the famous case a few years ago of the young woman who totally invented a story of being the victim of an

“anti-Semitic assault” by blacks in the suburban commuter train in order to get attention from her family, and got the attention of everyone in France all the way up to the President of the Republic).  Real “anti-Semitic acts” occur, but most are no more organized than school-yard insults. However, the publicity they receive serves to keep alive the notion that the very existence of Jews is under perpetual threat – the basic alibi used by the Jewish Defense League. The false claim that “the French government does nothing to protect Jews” is used as a pretext for aggressive “self-defense”.

As disciples of Meir Kahane, the JDL not only favors purifying an enlarged Eretz Israel of Arabs, but wants to bring the fight against Arabs and “Islamofascism” to France itself.  Debate is not their style. After training in Israeli martial arts, they carry on their fight by physical means, attacking Arabs, Muslims and defenders of the Palestinian cause.  The JDL is an informal group of a few hundred members, rather than a registered organization with a headquarters.  The French police, adept at infiltrating every sort of political group, certainly must know who and where they are, but they seem never to be disturbed after one of their raids. Moreover, unless the aggressors identify themselves, victims cannot be sure whether they are being attacked by the LDJ or by Betar, an older Zionist youth organization founded back in 1929 by Vladimir Jabotinsky and close to Likud.  Both use similar methods, and probably overlap, although the LDJ, as the more radical of the two, is said to be draining members from Betar.

In the rare cases when Zionist fanatics are actually arrested and put on trial, they are usually treated with uncommon indulgence. In December 2003, a group of pro-Palestinian students were violently attacked by the usual suspects.  A Palestinian student suffered grave eye injuries. Faced with lackadaisical police, the students carried out their own investigation, leading to the conviction on September 16, 2004 of one Anthony Attal.  He was given a suspended sentence of ten months.

LDJ or Betar members also have the advantage of a “sanctuary” – Israel. On October 25, 2006, a 68-year-old pro-Palestinian radical militant, Ginette Hess Skandrani, was attacked in her own home by three unknown men who beat her savagely, explaining only “you know why”.  Hospitalized, her head wounds required several stitches.  Last February 4, her aggressors were finally convicted and sentenced, but:

— one of them, Ruben Colleu, was sentenced to two years in prison, of which 18 months were suspended – but he had already fled to Israel.

— the second, Stevel Elie, was sentenced to three years in prison – but the French court had already given him permission to go to Israel “to do his military service” in Tsahal.

— Only the third, Mike Sfez, was still around.  Like Colleu, 18 months of his two year sentence were suspended, and the remaining six months could be transformed into social work.

Only recently, large squads of presumed LDJ thugs have attacked theater-goers outside a benefit for children of Gaza and attacked persons of Arab appearance on their way to a meeting of diverse groups scheduled to discuss the “Boycott-Divestment-Sanctions” movement.

The LDJ has its apologists in the police.  On June 5, 2006, the head of the small right-wing Christian union “Action Police CFTC”, Michel Thooris, praised the LDJ and Betar for “performing a public service mission by defending people and property”.  He was not publicly reprimanded by his big boss, the minister of the Interior at that time, Nicolas Sarkozy.

The double standards of Sarkozy’s tough “law and order” policy are all too obvious.  His ostentatious policy switch from a certain traditional French balance in the Middle East to strong support for Israel is only likely to encourage the LDJ in its feeling of impunity.  This spring, a commercially successful author, Paul-Eric Blanrue, was unable to publish his book on “Sarkozy, Israel and the Jews” in France, and was obliged to find a publisher in Belgium.  Still worse, the usual French distributor of his Belgian publisher refused to distribute the book in France.  His press conference in Paris was unattended by any journalist and his book, which carefully documents Sarkozy’s policy of wooing Jewish support in France by aligning with Israel and attacking the “riffraff” in the suburbs, has been ignored by French reviewers.

Even though the market is saturated, there is always room in the media, however, for laments that France’s secular tradition is threatened by the “communitarianism” of… Muslims.  The ideological and violent provocations of fanatic Zionists are rarely singled out as the main cause of this disturbing trend.  Of course, France’s many militant intellectual Zionists do not resort to the methods of the LDJ and Betar.  But the theme of Jewish victimhood, which is constantly present in schools, in cinema, in political discourse and in the media, provides a congenial atmosphere for the pathological violence of the Jewish militias in France, and for the indulgence with which they are treated.

The situation is scarcely improved by the extreme fragmentation of the Palestine solidarity movement in France – which can be seen as just one aspect of the endemic sectarianism of the French left.  The various victims of LDJ or Betar violence – such as CAPJPO, Ginette Skandrani, the comedian Dieudonné, etc., etc. – are often not on speaking terms with each other, so that even if they all profess solidarity with Palestine, there is very little or no solidarity between them.

However, one may hope that the July 3 attack on the Resistances bookstore may arouse a broader protest than other recent attacks, quite simply because of the strong connotations of destroying books.  A protest demonstration has been called for the evening of Wednesday, July 8, to demand that the government finally ban the JDL, just as it has already been banned in the United States and Israel.  This will be an opportunity to show solidarity in resistance to the most active form of fascism in France today.

Cynthia McKinney’s letter from an Israeli prison


gaza_swimming_pool-by-latuffThis is not the last word on McKinney’s attempts at trying to help the people of Gaza, she has already said she will join George Galloway’s attempt to enter Gaza from the Rafah crossing on the Egyptian border, but her letter is worth a mention and her sacrifice at great peril to her own personal safety should be noted.

This is Cynthia McKinney and I’m speaking from an Israeli prison cellblock in Ramle. [I am one of] the Free Gaza 21, human rights activists currently imprisoned for trying to take medical supplies to Gaza, building supplies – and even crayons for children, I had a suitcase full of crayons for children. While we were on our way to Gaza the Israelis threatened to fire on our boat, but we did not turn around. The Israelis high-jacked and arrested us because we wanted to give crayons to the children in Gaza. We have been detained, and we want the people of the world to see how we have been treated just because we wanted to deliver humanitarian assistance to the people of Gaza.

At the outbreak of Israel’s Operation ‘Cast Lead’ [in December 2008], I boarded a Free Gaza boat with one day’s notice and tried, as the US representative in a multi-national delegation, to deliver 3 tons of medical supplies to an already besieged and ravaged Gaza.

During Operation Cast Lead, U.S.-supplied F-16’s rained hellfire on a trapped people. Ethnic cleansing became full scale outright genocide. U.S.-supplied white phosphorus, depleted uranium, robotic technology, DIME weapons, and cluster bombs – new weapons creating injuries never treated before by Jordanian and Norwegian doctors. I was later told by doctors who were there in Gaza during Israel’s onslaught that Gaza had become Israel’s veritable weapons testing laboratory, people used to test and improve the kill ratio of their weapons.

The world saw Israel’s despicable violence thanks to al-Jazeera Arabic and Press TV that broadcast in English. I saw those broadcasts live and around the clock, not from the USA but from Lebanon, where my first attempt to get into Gaza had ended because the Israeli military rammed the boat I was on in international water … It’s a miracle that I’m even here to write about my second encounter with the Israeli military, again a humanitarian mission aborted by the Israeli military.

The Israeli authorities have tried to get us to confess that we committed a crime … I am now known as Israeli prisoner number 88794. How can I be in prison for collecting crayons to kids?

Zionism has surely run out of its last legitimacy if this is what it does to people who believe so deeply in human rights for all that they put their own lives on the line for someone else’s children. Israel is the fullest expression of Zionism, but if Israel fears for its security because Gaza’s children have crayons then not only has Israel lost its last shred of legitimacy, but Israel must be declared a failed state.

I am facing deportation from the state that brought me here at gunpoint after commandeering our boat. I was brought to Israel against my will. I am being held in this prison because I had a dream that Gaza’s children could color & paint, that Gaza’s wounded could be healed, and that Gaza’s bombed-out houses could be rebuilt.

But I’ve learned an interesting thing by being inside this prison. First of all, it’s incredibly black: populated mostly by Ethiopians who also had a dream … like my cellmates, one who is pregnant. They are all are in their twenties. They thought they were coming to the Holy Land. They had a dream that their lives would be better … The once proud, never colonized Ethiopia [has been thrown into] the back pocket of the United States, and become a place of torture, rendition, and occupation. Ethiopians must free their country because superpower politics [have] become more important than human rights and self-determination.

My cellmates came to the Holy Land so they could be free from the exigencies of superpower politics. They committed no crime except to have a dream. They came to Israel because they thought that Israel held promise for them. Their journey to Israel through Sudan and Egypt was arduous. I can only imagine what it must have been like for them. And it wasn’t cheap. Many of them represent their family’s best collective efforts for self-fulfilment. They made their way to the United Nations High Commission for Refugees. They got their yellow paper of identification. They got their certificate for police protection. They are refugees from tragedy, and they made it to Israel only after they arrived Israel told them “there is no UN in Israel.”

The police here have license to pick them up & suck them into the black hole of a farce for a justice system. These beautiful, industrious and proud women represent the hopes of entire families. The idea of Israel tricked them and the rest of us. In a widely propagandized slick marketing campaign, Israel represented itself as a place of refuge and safety for the world’s first Jews and Christian. I too believed that marketing and failed to look deeper.

The truth is that Israel lied to the world. Israel lied to the families of these young women. Israel lied to the women themselves who are now trapped in Ramle’s detention facility. And what are we to do? One of my cellmates cried today. She has been here for 6 months. As an American, crying with them is not enough. The policy of the United States must be better, and while we watch President Obama give 12.8 trillion dollars to the financial elite of the United States it ought now be clear that hope, change, and ‘yes we can’ were powerfully presented images of dignity and self-fulfilment, individually and nationally, that besieged people everywhere truly believed in.

It was a slick marketing campaign as slickly put to the world and to the voters of America as was Israel’s marketing to the world. It tricked all of us but, more tragically, these young women.

We must cast an informed vote about better candidates seeking to represent us. I have read and re-read Dr. Martin Luther King Junior’s letter from a Birmingham jail. Never in my wildest dreams would I have ever imagined that I too would one day have to do so. It is clear that taxpayers in Europe and the U.S. have a lot to atone for, for what they’ve done to others around the world.

What an irony! My son begins his law school program without me because I am in prison, in my own way trying to do my best, again, for other people’s children. Forgive me, my son. I guess I’m experiencing the harsh reality which is why people need dreams. [But] I’m lucky. I will leave this place. Has Israel become the place where dreams die?

Ask the people of Palestine. Ask the stream of black and Asian men whom I see being processed at Ramle. Ask the women on my cellblock. [Ask yourself:] what are you willing to do?

Let’s change the world together & reclaim what we all need as human beings: Dignity. I appeal to the United Nations to get these women of Ramle, who have done nothing wrong other than to believe in Israel as the guardian of the Holy Land, resettled in safe homes. I appeal to the United State’s Department of State to include the plight of detained UNHCR-certified refugees in the Israel country report in its annual human rights report. I appeal once again to President Obama to go to Gaza: send your special envoy, George Mitchell there, and to engage Hamas as the elected choice of the Palestinian people.

I dedicate this message to those who struggle to achieve a free Palestine, and to the women I’ve met at Ramle. This is Cynthia McKinney, July 2nd 2009, also known as Ramle prisoner number 88794.

Killed Because of Her Religion


marwaEurope is leading the way in racist, homo/Islamophobia, almost like a throwback to the days of a young Adolph Hitler who then targeted Jews.   The tragedy which occurred in a German court room in front of judges and lawyers reflects the depth of Europe’s fanaticism.  A young Egyptian wife, mother and academic, yes she was all three, who also practiced her religion as she interpreted it and wore a scarf on her hair, was stabbed 18 times in a crime that hasn’t graced the pages of main stream media in America.  She was killed because she was exercising her citizenship by taking her attacker to court for a previous assault he had committed against her.  What’s even more heinous is her husband who was in the court room at the time and who came to her aid was shot by German police as he tried to subdue the killer…….quite naturally because an Arab Muslim is more likely to be a criminal, than an unemployed  Russian German, was probably the rationale for the officer who shot him.  People who look different, who are  not quite WASPy in appearance in Europe have a tendency to be shot sight unseen by the local police force.

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Marwa al-Sherbini’s problem wasn’t with the police however, but with some German guy motivated by his hatred for Muslims who was able to assault his victim twice, once in a park where he first saw and interacted with her and again in front of the police and judicial authority.  This happened  because the atmosphere in Europe is fueled by hatred of Muslims and Islam, and part of that fuel is supplied by xenophobic politicans seeking a political advantage over their rivals in government by plying on the fears and hatred of their constituents.  This is accompanied by selective reporting by the media, which is obsequious to the power of government, which reports acts of racism and bigotry that target one group of people in which it is assumed real power is vested while ignoring acts of terror perpetuated against or by other groups.

Marwa was a victim and her perpetrator was a terrorist, but Marwa was also victimzed by a wave of anti-Islam euphoria which is promoted, tolerated and excused by large segments of European society.  The reaction of Muslims to the murder of al-Sherbini has been muted and dignified.  Had there been the hysteria most westerners associate with Muslim reaction to anything, it would have garnered front page coverage, featured prominently in every journal and newscast, while the reason for such outburst simply ignored.  The head of one of the leading Islamic universities in the world has gone on record saying that the Germans should exact the strictest punishment applicable under German law to the offender while family members echoed that refrain.  Indeed every citizen of Europe should feel and say the same.  For too long, western countries have talked a good fight when it comes to equality and liberty.  It’s now time to walk the walk and apply it against those who use terror as a weapon, whether they be the angriest of Muslims or the fairest skin  Europeans.