22 Jun

News and Analyses, A Foreign Perspective

English Online International Newspapers

Nearly all of these are English-edition daily newspapers. These sites have interesting editorials and essays, and many have links to other good news sources. We try to limit this list to those sites which are regularly updated, reliable, with a high percentage of “up” time.

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World Politics

Great Britain

United States

Trump says he doesn’t want a ‘poor person’ handling economy

President tells crowd during Iowa tour that economic adviser and commerce secretary had to give up a lot to work for him

The US president says he does not want poor people managing the economy. Trump told a rally of his supporters in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, on Wednesday, he feels a ‘very rich person’, such as former Goldman Sachs president Gary Cohn, was better qualified to be in charge of commerce

Donald Trump has said he doesn’t want “a poor person” to hold economic roles in his administration as he used an Iowa rally to defend his decision to appoint the wealthy to his cabinet.

The US president told a crowd on Wednesday night: “Somebody said why did you appoint a rich person to be in charge of the economy? No it’s true. And Wilbur’s [commerce secretary Wilbur Ross] a very rich person in charge of commerce. I said: ‘Because that’s the kind of thinking we want.’”

The president explained that Ross and his economic adviser Gary Cohn “had to give up a lot to take these jobs” and that Cohn in particular, a former president of Goldman Sachs, “went from massive pay days to peanuts”.

Trump added: “And I love all people, rich or poor, but in those particular positions I just don’t want a poor person. Does that make sense?”

He made the comments as he toured the state with agriculture secretary Sonny Perdue and Ross partly to celebrate a Republican congressional victory in Georgia being seen as an early referendum on his presidency.

Trump touched down Wednesday evening in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, and headed to a local community college and then to a campaign rally where he reveled in Karen Handel’s victory.

“We’re 5-0 in special elections,” said Trump in front of a boisterous crowd that packed a downtown arena. “The truth is, people love us … they haven’t figured it out yet.”

Supporters at a Donald Trump in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.

Supporters at a Donald Trump in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. Photograph: Tannen Maury/EPA

He also applauded Republican Ralph Norman, who notched a slimmer-than-expected win in a special election to fill the South Carolina congressional seat vacated by Mick Mulvaney, and mocked Handel’s challenger, Jon Ossoff, saying the Democrats “spent $30m on this kid who forgot to live in the district”.

Trump, no stranger to victory laps, turned his visit to a battleground state he captured in November into a celebration of his resilience despite the cloud of investigations that has enveloped his administration and sent his poll numbers tumbling.

With the appearance in Cedar Rapids, he will have held five rallies in the first five months in office.

The event underscores Trump’s comfort in a campaign setting. He laughed off the occasional heckler, repeated riffs from last year and appeared far more at ease when going after Democrats in front of adoring crowds than trying to push through his own legislative agenda from the confines of the White House.

Trump’s aides are making a renewed push to get the president out of Washington. The capital is consumed with the investigation into Russian meddling in last year’s election and Trump’s firing of his FBI director, James Comey.

Iowa, with its large share of independent voters, could be a proving ground for whether Trump can count on the support of voters beyond his base. Unaffiliated voters, or “no party” voters as they are known in Iowa, make up 36% of the electorate, compared with 33% who registered as Republican and 31% registered as Democrat.

Self-identified independents in Iowa voted for Trump over Hillary Clinton by a margin of 13 percentage points last year, according to exit polls conducted for the Associated Press and television networks. That margin helped Trump take the state by nearly nine points after Barack Obama won it the previous two elections.

Trump held a Des Moines rally in December as part of his transition-era “thank you” tour of states he had won, but has not been back to Iowa since.

Read Full Article>>

Leftwing Democrats say Jon Ossoff loss shows ‘massive failure’ of party’s elites>>

Congressional Black Caucus refuses to meet with Donald Trump>>

Supreme court to consider appeal to allow Trump’s travel ban>>

Healthcare bill Senate Republicans to release draft as details emerge>>

Greg Gianforte sworn in to House days after pleading guilty to assault>>

Data of nearly all registered US voters left unsecured for weeks in RNC trove>>

Chronicling homelessness: for better or worse, it’s in Ben Carson’s hands>>



Police killings: the price of being disabled and black in America

Normal police procedures often force people with disabilities to stay closeted, even to themselves. How can there be justice without addressing the stigma of disability and race?

by David Perry in Chicago, Illinois

 On Sunday morning, Charleena Lylescalled the Seattle police to report a burglary. She was a black woman, pregnant, the mother of four children (including a child with Down syndrome), living in housing for formerly homeless individuals.

The police showed up, found her in a mental health crisis and allegedly armed with a knife, and killed her.

The killing has, appropriately, provoked widespread outrage across the nation – but how do we go beyond it? How do we, at once, untangle the connections between racism, classism and ableism, and police violence?

As the story of Lyles’ preventable death unfurled, a group of non-white and disabled activists in Chicago reacted with grim familiarity.

They know this story. And they’re worried that one of the best tools at their disposal to stop the violence is being taken away.

In 2005, Chris Huff tried to kill himself and was involuntarily committed to Michael Reese hospital on Chicago’s South Side. “My mom took me to go get evaluated. I was going to just get an evaluation and next thing I know, I’m getting checked in,” he said.

Institutionalization didn’t help. Three months later, he brought a gun to high school, filled, as he described it, with paranoia and fear. He got jumped, pulled the gun and used it. He was charged as an adult for attempted murder, aggravated battery and aggravated discharge of a firearm in a public facility.

He was 15.

Chris speaks at an event organized by disability activists.

Chris Huff speaks at an event organized by disability activists. Photograph: AYLP

Now 27, Chris lives in Ogden Park in Englewood, a neighborhood on the South Side of Chicago, where I drove to meet him. As the hot afternoon waned, we spent an hour in the shade of the sycamore trees, sitting on a slanted wooden bench, talking.

He was restless. He sat. He stood up. He paced and smoked. Piece by piece, Chris revealed his theories about disability, race, poverty, policing and the vicious cycle in which Chicago’s disabled black residents have found themselves.

Chris Huff is a member of Advance Youth Leadership Power (AYLP), an advocacy group organized through Access Living, one of Chicago’s leading disability rights organizations. They have taken on a complicated twofold mission.

First, they are trying to teach those concerned about police conduct, including the US justice department (DoJ) taskforce, to see the disability component in the broader narrative of an abusive Chicago police department – especially as a third to half of people killed by police have a disability. Second, and perhaps even more critically, these activists are hoping to help their own communities perceive the links between disability and racial and economic justice.

In 2015, the succession of the death by police shooting of LaQuan McDonald, followed quickly by other high-profile cases (Philip Coleman, Quintonio Legrier and Bettie Jones), sparked a wave of action in Chicago. The three men had a disability, and Jones was killed when the police came for Quintonio.

The political fallout eventually led to the resignation of the police chief, and the DoJ later came to town to investigate police procedure, holding open forums where people could discuss their experiences.

That’s where I first met Chris, standing in front of the crowd, telling his life story – teaching. Looking back on his arrest, he says: “I don’t think it’s a coincidence that three months after my diagnosis I was, you know, utilizing a weapon at a school.”

He’s lucky, he says, to have avoided serious prison time. Instead, his mother found him lawyers through a Northwestern institute, and a judge permitted him to move with his mother to Georgia and away from Chicago while awaiting trial.

In the end, he spent a few months in an Illinois facility as a juvenile, rather than a multi-decade sentence that might have followed had be been tried as an adult. When he turned 18, his record was expunged. College, down south, followed. Then the South Side called him back for graduate school and, now, his career with the Vera Institute of Justice, where he works with recently incarcerated youths.

No one knows how many of the victims of police violence are disabled.

We have some national data, which I pulled into a white paper for the Ruderman Foundation in 2015, but we’re far too reliant on anecdotes – only because police departments and state governments have been too resistant to tracking use of force. The anecdotes remain telling, though. The major cases behind the DoJ investigation of Chicago involved disabled black men.

We have some national data, which I pulled into a white paper for the Ruderman Foundation in 2015, but we’re far too reliant on anecdotes – only because police departments and state governments have been too resistant to tracking use of force. The anecdotes remain telling, though. The major cases behind the DoJ investigation of Chicago involved disabled black men.

Laquan McDonald had both PTSD and unspecified mental disabilities. Philip Coleman, who died in custody, had a mental health crisis and police arrived after parents called 911. The officers said: “We don’t do hospitals, we do jails,” and took him to prison. A video released in late 2015 shows a non-resisting Coleman being repeatedly tasered and dragged from his cell. He died not long after. A Chicago police officer killed Quintonio Legrier, a young black man in mental health crisis, while also shooting the neighbor who was keeping an eye on him (a black woman named Bettie Jones).

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Somali families repatriated from neighbouring Kenya feel let down by Nairobi and the UN refugee agency, and fear for their safety and survival

Families repatriated to Somalia from Dadaab refugee complex in Kenya say they feel abandoned and let down by the UN after officials used small cash payments to encourage them to return home, where a hunger and security crisis awaited.

Many travelled back to Somalia only to find themselves in a far worse position than they had been in the refugee camp, with no access to food, shelter or medicines. Having lost their legal refugee status by crossing the border, they were no longer entitled to any help.

Sacdiya Noor, 38, a mother of three children, said she felt betrayed by UN aid workers and the Kenyan authorities, who told her it was safe to go back to Mogadishu in 2015.

“There was no security in the city, no free services and nothing special [to help] returnees,” she said. “There are explosions every day. Food is expensive; you have to pay for everything, even if you are sick.”

Noor is among thousands of Somalis who have now made the long trek back to Kenya, where they felt safer. “I left my country the second time for the safety of my children. I feel betrayed because they [the UN High Commissioner for Refugees and the Kenyan authorities] told me it is safe to return. I tried my best but it was too much for me to bear as a single mother with no one to stand with me. I am stuck here with no rights. It is like they are saying, ‘You either die of gunshot in Somalia or come back to starve in Dadaab’,” she said.

The plight of repatriated Somalis who fled for the second time emerged as the UK announced a £75m, three-year programme, aimed at tackling the central Mediterranean transit route to Europe, to enable voluntary returns and repatriation and to assist governments in Africa to support asylum seekers.

Since the Kenyan government announced it would close the world’s largest refugee camp and stepped up its repatriation programme to Somalia in 2016, almost 60,000 people, roughly a quarter of the camp’s population, have left. The Kenyan government is no longer registering new arrivals from Somalia or processing asylum claims.

Dadaab camp has been a long-running sore between Kenya, Somalia and the UN, with the Kenyans claiming it represents a security threat. The Nairobi government has been accused of ramping up rhetoric on closure when it has been politically expedient, and currently it is appealing a decision by Kenyan high court judges that shutting down the camp is unlawful.

Noor said her situation has become unbearable since she returned to Dadaab 10 months ago, explaining that her lack of official refugee status means she has to rely on the generosity of others in sharing meagre rations with her and her children.

She is far from alone. Other asylum seekers and refugees who spoke to the Guardian from inside Dadaab, some of whom had been displaced twice, told similar stories. They talked of the danger, persecution and hunger they saw in Somalia.

The severe drought, which has brought Somalia to the brink of famine, comes alongside the UN’s own warnings that the country is in the grip of a cholera and measles outbreak. After the failure of this year’s rains, the number of Somali people forced to leave their villages and land has reached more than 1.7 million.

Last September, a Human Rights Watch report said refugees in Dadaab were effectively being forced to return to Somalia in a major breach of international law, since the 1951 refugee convention forbids the return or “refoulement” of refugees to countries where they may be at risk. HRW criticised the UNHCR for not giving refugees accurate information about the security situation.

Read Full Article>>

Half of my schoolmates are dead, in jail or battling addiction. My town does not have a mental health clinic so, faced with hopelessness, people self-medicate

Remote Area Medical And Dental Clinic

‘As opioids spread like a social contagion throughout the remaining community, a family member or friend who does not take painkillers can feel like an outcast.’ Photograph: Spencer Platt/Getty Images

Young Americans are dying from despair. After the Great Recession, people ages 25 to 44 started to overdose on opioids at an alarming pace. Overall death rates for this age group rose an astounding 8% between 2010 and 2015.

Younger people in Central Appalachia are not surprised by these statistics. Our friends and family members have been dying from these drugs for the past two decades. The region was the epicenter of the opioid epidemic that is now ravaging the entire country.

In the beginning, doctors needed a way to treat coal miners here for their debilitating pain so that the miners could go back to work underground. The synthetic opiate OxyContin was new and heavily marketed as a solution. Soon afterwards OxyContin started to be used for other chronic pain conditions like arthritis, migraines and injuries from automobile accidents.

Stacked onto medical pain are the economic and social problems that people in the region face, primarily underemployment. Doctors prescribed opioids and Appalachians in poverty found relief. And in the exam rooms doctors told their patients that a drug potent enough to relieve cancer pain did not create dependency. In reception areas of rural clinics across Appalachia a television played the video I Got My Life Back promoting OxyContin.

Many teenagers in the region in the late 90s had a family member or a neighbor with a bottle of OxyContin. Not understanding how addictive it was, students in my high school bought or stole pills and started to pop them in between classes at school and at parties. In 1999 my “holler” saw its first overdose from the drug. Josie was a cheerleader with natural pale blonde hair who had picked out her wedding dress that day for fun with her cousin. That night her life was over.

A significant number of young people were already dependent on opioids by the time the overdoses began. Still others started to illegally take the pills despite the risks. Many switched to abusing heroin once officials cracked down on painkiller prescriptions 10 years later.

A nurse at the local hospital told me that heroin is so powerful that patients “wake up resentful that the hospital staff revived them from an overdose.” “They don’t want to die”, she said, but “to stay blanked out of this world.”

Many young people in rural Appalachia struggle with a profound loss of purpose, especially if they do not go to college. They want to live in rural Appalachia or cannot afford to leave but face very few job prospects. The girl with the highest SAT score in my graduating class works at a Wendy’s in town.

Her purpose is to support her extended family with her meager wages. But tight-knit families and towns have broken up as many rural Appalachians do move away for work. Life loses deeper meaning for younger people who stay behind without their moms or nieces or lifetime playmates. As opioids spread like a social contagion throughout the remaining community, a family member or friend who does not take painkillers can feel like an outcast.

Loneliness and hardship compound as rural Appalachians live geographically isolated without a car or the Internet. Access to food is a persistent problem. Marriages fail. Young adults become depressed but don’t know to name it as such. My town does not have a mental health clinic. Faced with hopelessness and flooded with pills, people self-medicate.

Countless patients prescribed OxyContin did not “get their life back” either. In fact, the pills made their pain worse as their tolerance increased. The captain of a neighboring county’s basketball team suffered a back injury in high school and 10 years later his pain was so severe that in a desperate moment he ate his morphine patches and overdosed.

Half of my schoolmates are dead, in jail or battling addiction. It is often repeated in the holler as a solemn warning that your school years are the best years of your life. They may also be the last years of your life for an increased number of all young Americans, not just young Appalachians, for the first time in a century.

Read Full Article>>


22 Jun

United States Wars, News and Casualties

 United States Wars, News and Casualties


Our Country’s Treasure, Chapter One

Originally Published in 2007

“I regret they got hurt,’ Bush,the former president and war criminal said of the veterans.”

To the War Criminal Bush – And to the thousands upon thousands of innocent civilians?

Never, ever forget that the War Criminals Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld etc. founded ISIS and today are proud of what they did and feel no regret.

‘It was the right decision’: Bush says he has ‘no regrets’ about invading Iraq and Afghanistan when asked how he feels when he sees wounded veterans

Since the Iraq and Afghanistan conflicts began, at least 8,000 US and allied soldiers have died, according to CNN.

Tens of thousands of civilians are believed to have been killed in Afghanistan since 2001, according to the United Nations.

The civilian death toll in Iraq is estimated to be somewhere between 170,000 and 190,000, according to Iraq Body Count

The McGlynn


War News


Total Dollar Cost of War>>

Cost of War in Iraq>>

Cost of War in Afghanistan>>

Cost of Military Action Against ISIS>>

Cost of Pentagon Slush Fund>>

GUARD: Australia to resume air combat missions over Syria

The air force will recommence bombing of Isis targets after a suspension sparked by Russian threats to shoot down planes

Australia will resume air combat missions over Syria after the Australian Defence Force lifted a temporary suspension initially sparked by Russian threats to shoot down coalition planes.

The defence department declared the suspension on Tuesday after Russia threatened to shoot down any plane from the US-led coalition they spotted flying west of the Euphrates river.

The threat was seen as retaliation for the US downing of a Syrian air force jet on Sunday, as tensions in the region rose.

On Thursday the ADF announced it would resume airstrikes against Islamic State targets in Syria and Iraq.

Read full story »

GUARD: Destroying Great Mosque of al-Nuri ‘is Isis declaring defeat’

Iraqi PM denounces levelling of Mosul building where Islamic State leader declared a caliphate three years ago

The Iraqi prime minister, Haider al-Abadi, has said the destruction of the Great Mosque of al-Nuri in Mosul is an admission by the militants that they are losing the fight for the country’s second-largest city.

One of Islam’s most venerated sites, the mosque has been destroyed by explosions as Iraqi forces battled Islamic State fighters who had holed up nearby.

“Daesh’s bombing of the al-Hadba minaret and the al-Nuri mosque is a formal declaration of their defeat,” Abadi said, using the Arabic acronym for Isis.

Iraq’s military blamed Isis for levelling the mosque, almost three years after its leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, ascended a pulpit inside to proclaim himself leader of a new Islamic caliphate.

“The Daesh [Islamic State] terror gangs committed another historical crime by blowing up the al-Nuri mosque and its historic al-Hadba minaret,” the militarysaid.

Read full story »

BBC: Battle for Mosul: Destruction of al-Nuri mosque ‘shows IS defeated’

Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi says the destruction of an ancient mosque in the city of Mosul is “an official declaration of defeat” by so-called Islamic State (IS).

Iraqi forces say IS blew up the Great Mosque of al-Nuri and its famous leaning minaret as jihadists battled to stop advancing pro-government troops.

IS said American aircraft had destroyed the complex, a claim denied by the US.

Aerial photographs show the complex largely destroyed.

The mosque, which was more than 800 years old, was where in July 2014 IS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi commanded allegiance in his first and only public appearance following IS’ declaration days earlier of a “caliphate”.

Read full story »

REU: More than 5 million children need urgent humanitarian aid in Iraq: UNICEF


More than 5 million children are in urgent need of aid in Iraq, the United Nations said on Thursday, describing the war on Islamic State as “one of the most brutal” in modern history.

“Across Iraq, children continue to witness sheer horror and unimaginable violence,” the United Nations Children Fund (UNICEF) said in a statement.

“They have been killed, injured, abducted and forced to shoot and kill in one of the most brutal wars in recent history.”

In Mosul, children are being deliberately targeted and killed by Islamic State militants to punish families and deter them from fleeing, it said.

International organizations estimate that more than 100,000 civilians, of whom half are children, are trapped in extremely dangerous conditions in the Old City center, the last district still under the militants’ control in Mosul.

More than 1,000 children have been killed and more than 1,100 wounded or maimed since 2014, when the ultra-hardline militants seized large swathes of Iraq, it said. Over 4,650 children have become separated from their families.

Read full story »

BBC: Deadly car bomb targets Afghan bank

At least 20 people killed and dozens hurt as car bomb explodes outside bank in Afghanistan’s Helmand province

This breaking news story is being updated and more details will be published shortly. Please refresh the page for the fullest version.

Read full story »

Dozens killed, wounded in car bombing near a bank in Helmand

A car bomb explosion took place close to a bank in southern Helmand province of Afghanistan earlier today, leaving scores of people dead or wounded. The incident has taken place close to the Kabul Bank branch in Lashkargah city, the provincial capital of Helmand. The provincial governor’s spokesman confirmed the incident and said preliminary

Read full story »

Afghanistan and US hold talks regarding the framework of new bilateral cooperation

The top Afghan and US officials have held talks regarding the framework of the new bilateral cooperation between Kabul and Washington. The Office of the National Security Council (ONSC) in a statement said Afghanistan’s national security adviser and his US counterpart General Herbert McMaster discussed the current situation through a video conference on Wednesday evening.

Read full story »

Haqqani network and Taliban retain freedom of action in Pakistan: US

The United States Department of Defense says the notorious Haqqani terrorist network and the Taliban group retains freedom of action in Pakistan. “Pakistan is the most influential external actor affecting Afghan stability and the outcome of both the USFOR-A and the RS missions,” according to a new Pentagon report on Afghanistan. The report further added

Read full story »

Taliban release video of American university lecturers, demanding prisoners release

The Taliban insurgents group in Afghanistan released a new video of the kidnapped American University lecturers late on Wednesday. The video shows the two lecturers, Kevin King and Timothy Weeks, making pleas to the authorities for their release. According to the abducted university lecturers, the Taliban group demands the release of their prisoners from Bagram

Read full story »

Casualties, Exclusive of Civilians>>

Recent Casualties

Color Denotes Today’s Confirmation

DOD:  The Department of Defense announced today the death of three soldiers who were supporting Operation Freedom’s Sentinel.

They died June 10 in Peka Valley, Nangarhar Province, Afghanistan, of gunshot wounds sustained in Peka Valley, Nangarhar Province, Afghanistan. The incident is under investigation.

The Soldiers were assigned to Headquarters and Headquarters Battery, 3rd Battalion, 320th Field Artillery Regiment, 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault) and Company D, 1st Battalion, 187th Infantry Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault), Fort Campbell, KY.

Killed were:

Sgt. Eric M. Houck, 25, of Baltimore, Maryland;

Sgt. William M. Bays, 29 of Barstow, California; and

Corporal Dillon C. Baldridge, 22 of Youngsville, North Carolina

IIraq Coalition Casualties: Military Fatalities By Name>>

Afghanistan Coalition Casualties: Military Fatalities By Name>>

PTSD: National Center for PTSDPTSD Care for Veterans, Military, and FamiliesSee Help for Veterans with PTSD to learn how to enroll for VA health care and get an assessment.All VA Medical Centers provide PTSD care, as well as many VA clinics.Some VA’s have programs specializing in PTSD treatment. Use the VA PTSD ProgramLocator to find a PTSD program.If you are a war Veteran, find a Vet Center to help with the transition from military to civilian life.Call the 24/7 Veteran Combat Call Center1-877-WAR-VETS (1-877-927-8387) to talk to another combat Veteran.DoD’s Defense Centers of Excellence (DCoE) 24/7 Outreach Center for Psychological Health & Traumatic Brain Injury provides information and helps locate resources.Call 1-866-966-1020 or email resources@dcoeoutreach.orgMilitary OneSourceCall 24/7 for counseling and many resources 1-800-342-9647.Need further assistance? Get Help with VA PTSD Care, Benefits, or Claims.

21 Jun

News and Analyses, A Foreign Perspective

English Online International Newspapers

Nearly all of these are English-edition daily newspapers. These sites have interesting editorials and essays, and many have links to other good news sources. We try to limit this list to those sites which are regularly updated, reliable, with a high percentage of “up” time.

View All>>


World Politics


French defence minister resigns over inquiry into misuse of funds>>

Theresa May under pressure as DUP says: ‘Show some respect’>>

United States

Six bizarre moments we won’t let Sean Spicer forget – video report

Sean Spicer is said to be looking for another role in the Trump administration following an uneven tenure as press secretary. Since taking the position, Spicer has clashed with journalists over the Trump inauguration and even reportedly hidden in bushes outside the White House, leading to widespread ridicule ranging from Melissa McCarthy’s SNL impression to garden decorations

Republicans narrowly beat Democrats in Georgia’s special election – video>>

Georgia special election: Republican Karen Handel beats Jon Ossoff in runoff>>

Republicans say they will release draft of health bill amid pressure over secrecy>>

US broadens Russia sanctions as Ukraine president visits Trump>>

Wanted in China: Beijing courts Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner for visit>>

Ivanka Trump shoes slated for production at China factory despite brand’s denial>>

Philando Castile shooting: officer said he felt in danger after smelling pot in car

Castile posed a threat because he used drug in front of daughter, officer said

and in New York


Officer also failed to disclose that Castile said he wasn’t reaching for his gun

The Minnesota police officer who shot and killed Philando Castile told state investigators that he believed his life was danger because he smelled marijuana in his car, according to transcripts released on Tuesday along with dash-camera footage.

Officer Jeronimo Yanez said in an interview following the fatal traffic stop that Castile’s apparent willingness to use the drug in front of his young daughter and girlfriend led Yanez to believe that the 32-year-old posed a serious threat.

“I thought if he’s, if he has the, the guts and the audacity to smoke marijuana in front of the five-year-old girl and risk her lungs and risk her life by giving her secondhand smoke and the front-seat passenger doing the same thing then what, what care does he give about me?” he said.

The statement appeared in the transcript of Yanez’s questioning by investigators in July last year, in which the officer also failed to disclose that Castile had said out loud that he was “not reaching” for his handgun after being warned not to do so.

Dash-camera footage released along with the transcript clearly picks up Castile telling the officer “I do have a firearm on me”. He was licensed to carry the gun. The officer orders Castile not to reach for it and not to pull it out to which Castile replies: “I’m not pulling it out.”

The officer reaches his left arm into the vehicle, screaming, while he draws his weapon with his right hand and, all in one motion, fires seven bullets into the vehicle, killing Castile. Castile can be heard screaming as the shots ring out and says in agony “I wasn’t reaching” as the officer begins to yell “fuck” again and again.

Prosecutors in the case argued that Castile was merely trying to reach for his wallet so he could hand over the driver’s license Yanez had asked him to produce just seconds before the shooting.

This is also what Castile’s fiance Diamond Reynolds relayed in the Facebook Live video she began streaming just moments after the shots were fired, which went viral across the US.

Yanez was acquitted of manslaughter and other charges stemming from the shooting by a Minnesota jury on Friday.

He was fired by the St Anthony police department on Friday shortly after he was found not guilty.

Read Full Article>>

Fabian Urbina is first person to be killed by security forces during unrest

Supreme court announces charges against chief prosecutor Luisa Ortega Díaz

Venezuelans are bracing for a further escalation of violence after a 17-year-old protester was shot dead by the national guard, and the supreme court announced charges against the country’s attorney general – one of the most senior officials to speak out against the government of Nicolás Maduro.

Fabian Urbina died on Monday after security forces opened fire with handguns during clashes with demonstrators on a major highway in Caracas. Initial reports said six others were wounded – one of them critically – in the incident.

The interior minister, Nestor Reverol, confirmed Urbina’s death on Twitter, where he said the cause of death was presumed to be “excessive use of force” and added that those responsible would be “presented to their superiors to determine their responsibility”.

Video footage of the incident shows Urbina, wearing a beige hooded sweater, running alongside a group of young protesters carrying wooden shields and throwing stones at a line of national guardsmen.

One of the national guard members can be seen drawing what appears to be a 9mm pistol and shooting into the crowd. Another clip, filmed moments later, captures the moment when Urbina collapses to the ground.

Urbina’s cousin Clemedy Flores blamed the government for his death. “The impunity is too great. The government does what it pleases. I just want this to end,” she told the digital media outlet Caraota Digital.

“It’s always young kids. It’s just kids who say they want a free country,” she added while fighting back tears.

Venezuelan law prohibits the use of lethal weapons during street protests, but the country’s security forces have been accused of increasingly repressive measures during three months of political turmoil.

In 2015, a new law sought to modify existing legislation and allow for the use of “potentially lethal force” during street protests. After outrage from human rights groups, the attorney general promised to revise the decree, but no public statement has been made on the law since.

More than 70 people have died since protests first erupted in April, following the supreme court’s decision to strip powers from the opposition-led Congress. Violence has erupted nearly every day in clashes between the security forces and protestors hurling stones and petrol bombs.

The victims include members of the police and national guard, passersby, and demonstrators who have been struck by teargas canisters or targeted by government supporters, but Urbina is the first person to have been shot dead by security forces.

Read Full Article>>

Questions raised over why two police officers, who knew Charleena Lyles had mental health issues, used deadly force within minutes of arriving

Two Seattle police officers who shot and killed a pregnant woman inside her apartment had been trained to deal with people showing signs of mental illness or other behavior crises.

Officials also say the officers had at least one less-lethal way to handle the woman, who they knew had a previous volatile encounter with law enforcement and had been having mental health issues.

Still, within minutes of arriving Sunday to take a burglary report, the officers drew their guns and shot 30-year-old Charleena Lyles with three of her four children inside her apartment.

Authorities say Lyles confronted the officers with two kitchen knives – less than two weeks after she had threatened officers with long metal shears when they responded to a domestic disturbance at her home.

Family members say they want to know what happened Sunday and why police did not use a non-lethal option when they knew Lyles had been struggling with her mental health.

Police and the mayor say the shooting will be investigated.

The killing occurred as Seattle police are under federal oversight following a 2011 investigation that found officers were too quick to use force.

All Seattle officers now receive training on how to better handle those with mental illness or abusing drugs. One of the officers who shot Lyles had been certified as a crisis intervention specialist.

Detective Patrick Michaud said Seattle officers are required to carry a less-lethal option to subdue suspects and have a choice between a Taser, baton or pepper spray.

He said the officers who killed Lyles did not have a Taser and he was unsure which option they had at the time.

Near the beginning of a roughly four-minute police audio recording of the incident and before they reached the apartment, the officers discussed an “officer safety caution” about the address involving the previous law enforcement interaction.

The officers talked about the woman previously having large metal shears, trying to prevent officers from leaving her apartment and making “weird statements” about her and her daughter turning into wolves.

Seattle municipal court records show that Lyles was arrested on 5 June and booked into King County jail. She pleaded not guilty to two counts of harassment and obstructing a police officer.

She was released from jail on 14 June on the condition that she check in twice a week with a case manager and possess no weapons.

The audio recording and transcripts released by police indicates that the officers had spent about two minutes calmly speaking with Lyles before the situation escalated.

The transcript shows one officer yelling “get back!” repeatedly and Lyles saying “Get ready, (expletive)”.

An officer said “we need help” and reported “a woman with two knives”. He urged his partner to use a stun gun but that officer responded: “I don’t have a Taser.”

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20 Jun

Philando Castile Case Highlights Desperate Need for Reform of Lethal Force Laws

Philando Castile Case Highlights Desperate Need for Reform of Lethal Force Laws

©Getty Images/Stephen Maturen

“Unless our lawmakers get serious about reforming laws that govern lethal force by police, justice will continue to elude grieving families. International standards for the use of lethal force are simple and clear: it must only be an absolute last resort in the face of imminent death or serious injury. Not one U.S. state complies with this simple standard.

“It is unacceptable that communities must fear those that are sworn to protect them. And it is disgraceful that the law will allow the simple act of reaching for your identification when asked by police could be your last. We need reform now before more lives are lost with impunity.”

Amnesty International USA released the report “Deadly Force: Police Use of Lethal Force in the United States” in 2015 analyzing lethal laws in all 50 states. (See Below)

Deadly Force: Police Use of Lethal Force In The United States

Hundreds of men and women are killed by police each and every year across the United States. No-one knows exactly how many because the United States does not count how many lives are lost. The limited information available however suggests that African American men are disproportionately impacted by police use of lethal force. While the majority of the unarmed African Americans killed by police officers are men, many African American women have also lost their lives to police violence. Police officers are responsible for upholding the law, as well as respecting and protecting the lives of all members of society. Their jobs are difficult and often dangerous. However, the shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri and countless others across the United States has highlighted a widespread pattern of racially discriminatory treatment by law enforcement officers and an alarming use of lethal force nationwide.

Indeed, just 10 days after Michael Brown was fatally shot in Ferguson, Missouri, on August 9, 2014, St. Louis police officers shot and killed a young black man, Kajieme Powell, 25, who was reportedly holding a knife. Police claims that he was brandishing a knife were not borne out by the available video footage of the shooting. Some of the individuals killed by police in the United States include the following: Rekia Boyd, an unarmed 22 year old black woman was shot and killed by a Chicago police officer on March 21, 2012; Eric Garner, a 43 year old black man, died after being placed in a chokehold by New York Police Department officers after being approached by an officer who attempted to arrest him for selling loose, untaxed cigarettes on July 17, 2014; Ezell Ford, 25, an unarmed black man with a history of mental illness, was shot and killed by Los Angeles police officers on August 11 2014; Tamir Rice, a 12 year-old black boy, was shot and killed by officers in Cleveland, Ohio while playing in a park with a toy gun on November 22, 2014; Walter Scott, a 50 year old unarmed black man, was fatally shot in the back after a traffic stop for a broken light on his car in North Charleston, South Carolina on April 4, 2015; and Freddie Grey, a 25 year old black man, died from a spinal injury after being taken into police custody in Baltimore, Maryland on April 19, 2015. These are all cases that have received national media attention; however, there are many more including Hispanic and Indigenous individuals from communities across the country who have died at the hands of the police.

The use of lethal force by law enforcement officers raises serious human rights concerns, including in regard to the right to life, the right to security of the person, the right to freedom from discrimination and the right to equal protection of the law. The United States has a legal obligation to respect, protect and fulfill these human rights and has ratified the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination, which explicitly protects these rights.

One of a state’s most fundamental duties which police officers, as agents of the state, must comply with in carrying out their law enforcement duties, is to protect life. In pursuing ordinary law enforcement operations, using force that may cost the life of a person cannot be justified. International law only allows police officers to use lethal force as a last resort in order to protect themselves or others from death or serious injury. The United Nations (UN) Basic Principles on the Use of Force and Firearms provide that law enforcement officials shall not use firearms against persons except in self-defence or the defence of others against the imminent threat of death or serious injury, and that, in any event, “intentional lethal use of firearms may only be made when strictly unavoidable in order to protect life.” Furthermore, international law enforcement standards require that force of any kind may be used only when there are no other means available that are likely to achieve the legitimate objective. If the force is unavoidable it must be no more than is necessary and proportionate to achieve the objective, and law enforcement must use it in a manner designed to minimise damage or injury, must respect and preserve human life and ensure medical aid are provided as soon as possible to those injured or affected.

“States are required to respect and to protect the right to life… The police in any society will at some point be confronted with a situation where they have to decide whether to use force and, if so, how much. Enacting an adequate domestic legal framework for such use of force by police officials is thus a State obligation, and States that do not do this are in violation of their international obligations.”

– UN Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions

The first step to securing the right to life, according to the UN Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions, is the establishment of an appropriate legal framework for the use of force by the police, which sets out the conditions under which force may be used in the name of the State and ensuring a system of responsibility where these limits are transgressed. Furthermore, the UN Special Rapporteur notes that, “The specific relevance of domestic law in this context stems from the fact that the laws of each State remain the first line and in many cases effectively the last line of defence for the protection of the right to life, given the irreversibility of its violation. National and local laws play an important role in defining the understanding by law enforcement officials and the population alike of the extent of the police powers, and the conditions for accountability. As such, there is a strong need to ensure that domestic laws worldwide comply with international standards. It is too late to attend to this when tensions arise.”

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