Ten years after the US invasion of Iraq, the humanitarian situation in the country is bleak. Critics say the hugely unpopular occupation of Iraq, and the lack of accountability for the officials responsible, has irreparably damaged America’s image.
On March 20, 2003, the United States – in defiance of the United Nations, which had weapons inspectors on the ground in Iraq – opened a military offensive against the Arab Republic on the premise that the Baathist government of Saddam Hussein was harboring weapons of mass destruction.
One decade later, the global community is aware that the intelligence claims of Iraqi WMDs were patently false at least – and a blatant fabrication at worst – but this knowledge has done nothing to erase the damage of the conflict.
The exact number of Iraqi civilians who lost their lives during the war varies considerably, depending on the source. The Iraq Body Count project (IBC), for example, puts the number between 110,937 and 121,227. But the Opinion Research Business (ORB), an independent polling agency based in London, has calculated the number of fatalities at over 1 million.
For the survivors, each of whom seems to know somebody who was killed or injured in the conflict, the physical aftermath of eight years of war and insurgency is visible everywhere.
In Fallujah, previously the site of fierce fighting between Iraqi resistance fighters and US forces, more than half of all babies conceived after the start of the war were born with heart defects, and the area has a disturbingly high infant mortality rate.
A World Health Organization (WHO) study published last year connected the grave situation with the effect of toxic substances prevalent in many conventional weapons. Hair samples taken from the civilian population of Fallujah showed levels of lead in children with birth defects five times higher than elsewhere; mercury levels were recorded at six times higher.
Joseph Goldstein’s New York Times article of February 3 outlines a request from US civil rights lawyers to federal judge Charles S Haight Jr for an independent evaluation of the New York Police Department’s counterterrorism techniques.
Writes Goldstein: “The lawyers said the police’s tactics have placed Muslim communities under surveillance in violation of longstanding federal court guidelines.” Among these guidelines is a prohibition on the retention of information collected during surveillance operations unless it pertains “to potential unlawful or terrorist activity”.
As the Associated Press revealed in 2011, Muslim populations in the New York area had been targeted by a pervasive spying apparatus known as the Demographic Unit, the fruit of collaboration between the NYPD and the CIA.
The network, which has since been promoted to the more politically correct title “Zone Assessment Unit”, relies on undercover officers and informants to perform critical national security tasks such as - the AP notes - “gather[ing] intelligence on cab drivers and food cart vendors, jobs often done by Muslims”."
Internet freedom activist Aaron Swartz was “killed by the government,” his father told mourners Tuesday during his son’s funeral in suburban Chicago.
Swartz, who help create Reddit and RSS, the technology behind blogs, podcasts and other web-based subscription services, was found dead Friday in his New York apartment. He was facing federal charges that alleged he illegally gained access to millions of articles from a Massachusetts Institute of Technology computer archive.
“He was killed by the government, and MIT betrayed all of its basic principles,” he said.
Swartz, 26, was facing charges that carried a maximum penalty of decades in prison. His trial was scheduled to begin in April.
U.S. Attorney Carmen Ortiz had no comment about Robert Swartz’s remarks, Ortiz spokeswoman Christina DiIorio-Sterling said.
Swartz’s family also lashed out against prosecutors Saturday, saying the death was “the product of a criminal justice system rife with intimidation and prosecutorial overreach.”
Swartz’s case highlighted society’s uncertain, evolving view of how to treat people who break into computer systems and share data not to enrich themselves, but to make it available to others.
Tim Berners-Lee, who developed the World Wide Web, and Harvard law professor Lawrence Lessig, director of the Safra Center for Ethics where Swartz was once a fellow, both spoke at the funeral.
“We felt the indictment was nonsense and that he would be acquitted,” Berners-Lee told the newspaper after the service.
In case you forgot what the NYPD stands for….
A group of homophobic cops committed “a hate crime” at a gay pride party in Brooklyn early Sunday, beating up the host while screaming hateful slurs, the alleged victim told the Daily News.
Officers from the 77th Precinct, responding to reports of noise at the Sterling Place party, “bum-rushed” Jabbar Campbell after he opened the door of his apartment.
“They were screaming and cursing saying things like ‘fag,’ ‘homo,’ ‘a—hole,’ just a bunch of anti-gay slurs,” Campbell, a 32-year-old forensic specialist, told The News.
Campbell said he was beaten by the officers, who bloodied his mouth, split open his lip and caused swelling to his left eye. He was then handcuffed and charged with resisting arrest — and spent 24 hours in police custody.
Campbell filed legal paperwork Wednesday revealing his intention to sue the city.
The incident began around 2:50 a.m. with two cops responding to a noise complaint at Jabbar’s Crown Heights building. The officers told revelers — some dressed in drag — outside Campbell’s home to keep it down.
Those officers left, but about 10 minutes later, another group of cops arrived, Campbell said.
The officers buzzed at the locked door — and one even reached out to disable the surveillance camera in the vestibule.
“They were trying to open the door, but it was locked,” Campbell said. “They were banging with their flashlights.”
After about 10 minutes, Campbell let the officers in.
“They said, ‘Stop resisting arrest.’ I said, ‘I am not resisting.’”
But the cops beat him up anyway, he said.
“I blacked out. I was concerned for my life,” said Campbell.
The victim’s lawyer said the officer’s attempt to disable the camera would be a key part of the case.
“They were trying to conceal the evidence by turning the camera away,” said the lawyer, Herb Subin. “They committed a hate crime inside a gay pride event.”
The NYPD did not respond to an initial request for comment.
Note: A protest will be held on Monday the 21st at 1313 Sterling Place Brooklyn @ 4pm to demand justice for Campbell.
Racist/Islamophobic ad at 157th and Broadway on the 1 train.
For more info read here.
New York City’s resident Islamophobe is back with yet another anti-Islam subway ad. Pamela Geller’s latest features a photo of the World Trade Center exploding in flames next to a quote from the Quran that reads, “Soon shall We cast terror into the hearts of the Unbelievers.”
When Geller last bought ad space in the NYC underground, New Yorkers didn’t react too kindly. Nearly all of the signs— which read “In any war between the civilized man and the savage, support the civilized man. Support Israel. Defeat Jihad“— were vandalized.
As a result, The Observer reports Geller doubled her ad buy this time, and that “the new ads will be plastered across at least 50 different locations.”
“I refuse to abridge my free speech so as to appease savages,” she said.
Additionally, Geller’s latest bout of vitriol will come with a MTA disclaimer:
“A cost of opening our ad space to a variety of viewpoints on matters of public concern is that we cannot readily close that space to certain advertisements on account of their expression of divisive or even venomous messages,” the MTA stated at the time of the “savages” ad. “The answer to distasteful and uncivil speech is more, and more civilized, speech.”
The MTA had previously rejected Geller’s “savages” ad, saying that signs, according to the Associated Press, “should not demean individuals or groups based on race, religion or other protected categories.”
Geller sued over the rejection and a judge ruled that the MTA standards violated the First Amendment.
Geller’s ads are paid for by American Freedom Defense Initiative, the umbrella organization for the Stop Islamization of America, which has been designated by the Southern Poverty Law Center as a hate group.
Disgusting. The mta sanctions islamophobia in NYC yet again
Killed (legally?!?!) for playing music too loud. Yeah. Race didn’t play into this one bit?
Less than nine months after Trayvon Martin was killed, another black teenage student was killed under suspicious circumstances.
The accused murderer is now claiming the same “Stand Your Ground” defense, over loud music.
Over. Loud. Music.
One of the most beautiful and painful moments of teaching on record… a student feeling comfortable enough to say that “if I came out as gay I’d be beaten and kicked out on the street in the clothes I was wearing.” In front of 12 classmates.
- 6 Train- 28th Street
- C/E Train- 23rd Street
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Anonymous asked: how does one get over an ex boyfriend? I'm literally going insane. its been more than a year since we broke up. he's with someone else now. and i cant stop thinking about him. what the fuck do i do?
Communism is not love. Communism is a hammer which we use to crush the enemy.
Leftists are not liberals.
Leftists are not liberals.
Leftists are not liberals.
Leftists are not liberals.
One of the worst things to happen to Islam is the Islamic revolution in Iran.
For all you undecided voters out there...
Take a look at Jill Stein in the Green Party… someone who has truly stood by her...
For the upcoming US elections, think about the way in which the American elites have been able to exclude a large and important amount of people...
Oh, snap.ROMNEY: Let's talk about the other big one --LEHRER (interrupting): No, let's not.