Sorry for being away from the keyboard for such an extended period of time, but for much of this day I didn't have one. A keyboard, that is. Bloody things choose the worst times to go out on you.
It's starting to seem as though the Bureau is out to kill everyone involved with the Boston bombing case. And yes, I know I said I didn't want to talk about this incident any further -- but you have to admit: The latest news is really, really weird
We've been given two very dissimilar tales
about the death of Ibragim Todashev, associate of the Tsarnaevs. In the first version, Ibragim went for a knife; in the second, a ceremonial sword.
Perhaps more importantly, we were first told that Agents were pressuring
him to confess to...something. In version two
, we are told...
Todashev became violent as he was signing a written statement based on his confession to the triple murder...
That's a pretty big damn difference. Did he confess or not? Why wouldn't the guy demand a lawyer?
In the most recent version
, the sword (originally a knife) has become a broomstick. Perhaps tomorrow the feds will claim that Ibragim rushed forward with a banana, leaving the agents with no choice but to unleash the tiger.
is taking a careful look at this bizarre incident, and she has picked up on another notable oddity:
When the FBI first admitted that it had killed Ibragim Todashev, it indicated there were at least 5 people at the scene: Two Massachusetts State cops, the FBI Agent being blamed for shooting Todashev, and “law enforcement personnel” — plural — whom it chose not to describe at all.
Okay. If they weren't feds and they weren't staties, then...who? Were they just local cops?
In this Washington Post version
, those "other law enforcement" officials stepped out of the room (why?
) before the shooting began. According to the AP, these other lawmen
-- the ones who stepped out -- were responsible for the original "knife lunge" report.
Three law enforcement officials, speaking on condition of anonymity, said Todashev had lunged at the FBI agent with a knife. However, two of those officials said later in the day it was no longer clear what had happened. The third official had not received any new information.
What may we deduce from this brief passage? First, it is clear that reporters know who these other lawmen are -- even though journalists refuse to humor us with such details. Second, the Three Other Lawmen (the ones who left the room for unspecified reasons) were the ones who told journalists about the knife attack. Why did they speak of a knife? Obviously, because that's what the FBI agent(s) told them
If the FBI agent(s) who shot Ibragim Todashev lied to local cops about why the shooting occurred -- well. That's big
Maine stands up for privacy. This is the best news I've seen in ages.
Finally, a real pro-privacy movement is starting to shape up.
On Wednesday, the state House voted 113-28 in favor of legislation that would in all but exceptional cases prohibit law enforcement agencies from tracking cellphones without a warrant. If enacted, LD 415 would make Maine the first state in the country to require authorities to obtain a search warrant before tracking cellphones or other GPS-enabled devices. The law would also require that law enforcement agencies notify a person that she was tracked within three days, unless they can prove that secrecy is necessary, in which case a delay can be granted for up to 180 days. LD 415 would additionally require the publication of an annual report online detailing the number of times location data were sought by law enforcement agencies.
Every state in the union should follow the Maine example. More than that: We need a Constitutional amendment.
Why they hate us.
A couple of days ago, Naked Capitalism published an excellent piece
explaining the real reasons for the continuing animus toward the United States. Are we finally mature enough to discuss these matters truthfully without fear of being called traitors or terror-enablers?
If you have a hard time thinking of cross-border drone strikes as a form of occupation, consider this, my own comment from the same post:
Honey. Is this true?
It’s hard to come to grips with that last point from the comfort of your chair — without putting yourself in the shoes of those who constantly watch the skies in fear of soulless, pilotless American planes. If a foreign nation sent a drone to kill someone in your neighbor’s house — in Albuquerque, say, or a Cleveland suburb — and your daughter were visiting at the time, and died … what would be the odds you’d immediately think of revenge?
What this says is, they don’t hate us for our freedom, they hate us for our bombs, our support of their dictators, our bases, our need for their oil, our need to make the entire world comply with our desire never to lose and never to change.
I’d put those odds at just below 100%, assuming you still had a pulse and weren’t blown up yourself. After all, did not the invasion of Iraq ride a national tidal wave of revenge for piloted attacks against New York and Washington, in other words, “9/11″?
Put more simply, is “terrorism” the comforting name we give to what in many cases is, in fact, the growing third-world war against worldwide empire? Is the empire creating its enemies? If so, America is indeed “at a crossroads” — but not the one Obama envisioned.
Saperstein then lays his finger on exactly why this matters, why a change of direction, if it were real and the right one, provides a point of hope:
[E]ven in this mostly great speech, [Obama] fails to come to grips with the gratuitous disaster, the self-inflicted wound, that the Iraq War has been for the US and the huge amount of damage it did to America’s standing in the Middle East. Among other things, the approval of America’s foreign policy in Turkey went from more than 70% to 10% and in Pakistan to 5%, and the war removed Iran’s natural enemy and moved Iraq close to Iran politically...
Is it really possible that most of the honey we consume is a fake corn syrup concoction?
Much of the honey hitting supermarket shelves is derived from an ultra filtering procedure that heats honey to high temperatures, forcing the natural substance at high pressure through extremely small filters to remove pollen. In this way, manufacturers conceal the identity of the source of the honey, which is a technique used by the Chinese, who have illegally dumped tons of their honey on the U.S. market for years. The Chinese are responsible for dumping dangerous antibiotics, artificial sweeteners, and leeching copious amounts of heavy metals into imported honey products.
• 100 percent of Winnie the Pooh sold in Walmart stores had all pollen removed.
• 100 percent of honey from individual packets from KFC and McDonald's had all pollen removed.
• 77 percent of honey from big box stores like Costco, Sam's Club, and Target had no traced of pollen.
• 100 percent of honey from drugstores like Walgreen's and CVS Pharmacy had all the pollen filtered out.
The pollen-removal signifies that you are getting artificial Chinese glop.
By using in-house private testing, some US manufacturers have found out that their Asian imported honey is watered down with high fructose corn syrup and a myriad of illegal sweeteners and antibiotics.
Remember the great dog food contamination scandal? I'm starting to wonder if there is any actual Chinese food in Chinese food. How do you know that you have genuine Kung Pao Chicken in that white container? Maybe it's a spiced-up globule composed of rice, plastic, Neosporin and a bunch of stuff swept up from the barbershop floor...
Conspiracy theory run amuck.
People wonder how I can get so pissed off at our growing "conspiracy culture," even though I believe that the JFK assassination was a coup d'etat. (Right now, this blog is running an ad for an invaluable new book about the JFK assassination. Check it out!
) What ticks me off is the sheer weirdness
of the claims one now finds floating through paranoia-land. For a choice example, see this YouTube offering
by someone calling himself "Dallasgoldbug," who has a few strange things to say about the Underwear Bomber.
(Why are right-wing conspiracy freaks so obsessed with gold? They constantly tell us that only gold carries "real" value, even though you can't eat the stuff and you can't use it fill up your gas tank. Maybe Will Cuppy was right: "It's so shiny.")
According to Dallasgoldbug, Kurt Haskell -- the man who has offered eyewitness territory which inconvenienced the official account -- is really "a cointelpro." That's the name of an FBI project Hoover was running decades ago. Using the name of a program
to describe an individual
reminds me of the scene in The Campaign
in which one candidate accuses another of being "an Al Qaeda." What idiocy!
I hereby proclaim the Haskell-as-spook claim to be the stupidest conspiracy theory of the week.