By Dennis Loo | November 27, 2014
If we take Officer Darren Wilson’s grand jury testimony and treat it as 100% true and that he really was so frightened and intimidated by unarmed 18 year-old Michael Brown that he just had to shoot him to death, then this must also mean:
you have an officer who, despite being specifically trained to handle difficult and at times violent incidents – precisely what a cop’s job is – is too afraid to do his job and is the last person who should be given a gun and a license to kill.
As a colleague of mine put it in making this point to me recently, this would be like her going into class and saying “I’m sorry, I just can’t give a lecture.” This is her job. Lecturing is one of the things we do as professors. Handling physical altercations and conflict is what cops are supposedly trained explicitly to do without always resorting to unnecessary or disproportionate, including lethal, force. If, as my colleague further went on to point out, Wilson was indeed being physically assaulted by Brown while in the driver's seat of his police car while the car was running, then all he had to do is step on the gas pedal.
This is, of course, a conclusion that you will hear from almost none of those who are commenting on this case in mainstream media. Instead, you will hear again and again that police officers are trained to use their guns to kill if they use them at all and that the presumption under the law in Missouri and in general is always if the police used deadly force that they must have felt threatened enough to kill.
By Dennis Loo | November 26, 2014
Many years ago when a group of political activists (dubbed in the press the “Mao Zedong Defendants”) were arrested and put on trial for allegedly attacking a large group of police officers, I sat in the courtroom in Honolulu State Court on the defendants’ bench and listened with fascination at the parade of cops telling their version of the events of that day of our arrests.
I was fascinated by it because the cops’ accounts were a) all entirely consistent with each other, with not a single detail in any degree at variance or in contradiction to the others’ details (multiple eyewitness testimony is never entirely consistent when they're trying to tell the truth given the vagaries of individuals' observations and memories), and b) very vivid descriptions of how powerful my comrades were, two-thirds of them Asian females no taller than 5’ 1” tall and less than 100 pounds a piece, since according to these officers of the law, the officers had all been victims of a brutal assault by these Amazons.
To underscore how powerful and fierce my female activists must have been, the cops were to a man, at least 6' tall and weighed no less than 200 pounds a piece. It must be the intense study sessions of revolutionary science that my fellow activists spent so much time on because they had behemoth-like powers against these poor, defenseless officers of the law.
Tofu and veggies must beat coffee and donuts.
By Dennis Loo | November 25, 2014
Officer Wilson, why did you shoot and kill Michael Brown, when he had his hands up and was telling you he gives up, why did you have to shoot him six times?
“The only way I can describe it, it looks like a demon, that’s how angry he looked. He comes back towards me again with his hands up.”
Officer Wilson, what do you mean “it” looks like a “demon”? Why do you call Michael Brown “it”?
“At this point it looked like he was almost bulking up to run through the shots, like it was making him mad that I’m shooting at him.
“And the face that he had was looking straight through me, like I wasn’t even there, I wasn’t even anything in his way.”
We Stand With Shaker is a new campaign calling for the release from Guantánamo of Shaker Aamer, a legal British resident, with a British wife and four British children, who is still held at Guantánamo, even though he has twice been approved for release by the US authorities -- under President Bush in 2007 and under President Obama in 2009. In addition, the British government has been calling for his return since 2007.
Today Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel was sacked. News analysts on MSNBC explained that the Obama administration feels they need a more “war-prepared” secretary to lead the mission, which has changed from a draw-down in Iraq & Afghanistan to a new expansion of bombing and increased troop deployments.
On Monday, Missouri Governor Nixon declared a “State of Emergency” — mobilizing the National Guard, and authorizing violent suppression of protest — even before there is an announcement from the Grand Jury on whether they will indict Ferguson cop Darren Wilson for the murder of Michael Brown more than 100 days ago.
After many years of protest from within the organization, the American Psychological Association says it will review the organization's role in facilitating “enhanced interrogation” by the CIA and the U.S. military.
Or as the world knows it — torture.
Updated November 18: Upon hearing that Missouri's governor Jay Nixon has today called upon the National Guard, declaring a state of emergency for Ferguson and St. Louis, even before the grand jury issues its findings on whether or not to indict officer Darren Wilson for shooting Michael Brown, do you think to yourself:
Vice, the youth-oriented news/culture site, has broken new ground this week in featuring a series on Guantanamo. Extradordinary, because it gives voice to prisoners and disaffected former guards. See "What Happens When I Try to Give My Guantánamo Guards Presents" by prisoner Enad Hassan, and My Time as a Guantanamo Bay Guard by Terry Holdbrooks.
The evening of October 30, at the 92nd Street & in Manhattan — which has a reputation for being a center of culture and freedom of expression — Ray McGovern (the outspoken anti-war activist and former CIA analyst) was confronted by name and denied entry to an event where General David Petraeus was speaking. Very quickly after being blocked by 92nd Street Y security, Ray was injured by the NYPD, arrested, held overnight in Central Booking (formerly known as The Tombs), and charged with "criminal trespass" in the third degree, and "resisting arrest."