05 Dec

News and Analyses, A Foreign Perspective



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2nd night

Eric Garner case: New York protests continue through second night

Marchers take to streets in anger at chokehold verdict, with demonstrations also taking place in other major cities

We can’t breathe: the burgeoning Eric Garner protests – video

Protesters have swarmed the centre of New York and cities around the US in a second night of largely peaceful protest following the decision not to indict a white New York police officer over the death of Eric Garner, an unarmed black man he placed in a chokehold.

Thousands of marchers proceeded in waves throughout New York City, with one group stopping traffic as they marched from Manhattan to Brooklyn over the Brooklyn Bridge, and some carrying fake coffins with the names of police shooting victims. Groups also congregated at Times Square and at Staten Island ferry terminal………………


Seymour Hersh talking at The Logan Symposium in London.

Seymour Hersh talking at The Logan Symposium in London. Photograph: Stuart Dredge/The Guardian

Seymour Hersh attacks ‘useless’ NSA over surveillance

Veteran reporter advises young journalists not to run scared of bullying by governments and intelligence agencies

The role of investigative journalists remains crucial in holding power to account, even when that power is ‘incompetent’, according to veteran reporter Seymour Hersh.

“The whole purpose of what I think we should be doing is counter-narrative. They have their narrative, and we have to show there is another narrative,” said Hersh, in a keynote session at The Logan Symposium conference in London.

“Even if you can’t publish, the act of asking, the act of doing, the act of putting it down. It’s all about an informed society, and you’re not going to get informed by the leadership. That’s our function.”

Hersh, whose award-winning work include reporting on the My Lai massacre in south Vietnam and more recently the Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq, gave a sparky speech blending advice for young journalists and hackers with brickbats for the US National Security Agency (NSA)………………….


Beleaguered comedian Bill Cosby stripped of Navy title.

Beleaguered comedian Bill Cosby: stripped of navy title. Photograph: Evan Vucci/AP

Bill Cosby’s attorney says lawsuit stems from extortion as comedian loses navy honour

Service cites sex-abuse allegations in revoking chief petty officer title, while Martin Singer claims Judy Huth demanded $250,000 for silence

The US navy is revoking Bill Cosby’s title of honorary chief petty officer, saying allegations of sexual abuse made against the comedian are serious and conflict with the navy’s core values.

Navy Secretary Ray Mabus and Master Chief Petty Officer Michael Stevens made the announcement on Thursday in a statement.

Cosby enlisted in the navy in 1956 and served four years as a hospital corpsman before being honorably discharged in 1960 as a 3rd Class Petty Officer. The honorary title was awarded to Cosby in 2011………………..


US Senator Ted Cruz: Bill was ‘a meaningless show vote.’ Photograph: Yuri Gripas/REUTERS

Republican bill to reverse controversial immigration reforms stalls in Senate

‘Show vote’ by far right for symbolic protest bill reveals split in Republican party that may thwart attempt to pass budget legislation next week

A Republican protest vote over President Obama’s immigration reforms quickly ran out of momentum in the face of White House and Senate opposition, but the issue may yet return to haunt both parties in future.

The Preventing Executive Overreach on Immigration Act, drafted by Florida Republican Ted Yoho, passed in the House of Representatives by a vote of 219 to 197 on Thursday. It calls for a reversal of Obama’s controversial plan to grant limited legal status to an estimated five million undocumented immigrants.

Within hours, Democratic Senate majority leader Harry Reid and White House officials made clear the legislation would not being going any further for now by announcing there would be no parallel vote in the Senate – and that if there was, and the bill passed, the president would be advised to veto it anyway…………………


A still from the al-Qaida video shows Luke Somers

A still from the al-Qaida video shows Luke Somers, who was kidnapped in Sana’a in September 2013. Photograph: -/AFP/Getty Images

Al-Qaida’s Yemeni affiliate threatens to kill US hostage Luke Somers

US given three days to meet group’s demands after video emerges of photojournalist who was born in Britain

Al-Qaida’s affiliate in Yemen has threatened to kill an American hostage who was kidnapped over a year ago but not located in a recent US special forces rescue operation, giving Washington three days to meet its demands, which have not been made public.

The Site intelligence group said it had obtained a video by al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula (Aqap) featuring Luke Somers, a 33-year-old British-born American photojournalist. Somers was kidnapped in September 2013 in the Yemeni capital, Sana’a, where he had worked as a photojournalist for the Yemen Times………………….



Ebola treatment facility

Workers at an Ebola treatment facility. Photograph: Carl De Souza/AFP/Getty Images

American patient arrives at Atlanta hospital for Ebola testing

  • Spokeswoman confirms arrival of healthcare worker

  • Hospital has treated four of 10 Ebola patients treated in US

An American healthcare worker who may have been infected with the Ebola virus in west Africa has arrived at a hospital near Atlanta.

Emory University Hospital spokeswoman Holly Korschun said the patient arrived around 5.45am on Thursday. Details about the patient, who will undergo testing for the disease, were not released.

Emory houses a specialised isolation unit that handled four of the 10 Ebola patients previously treated in the US……………………


EPA administrator Gina McCarthy.

EPA administrator Gina McCarthy. Photograph: Gary Cameron/Reuters

Conservative lobby group Alec plans anti-environmental onslaught

  • Corporate lobbying network plans to draft bills attacking protections

  • Bills will reportedly aim to expand offshore oil drilling and cut EPA budget

The corporate lobbying network American Legislative Exchange Council, commonly known as Alec, is planning a new onslaught on a number of environmental protections next year when Republicans take control of Congress and a number of state legislatures.

The battle lines of Alec’s newest attack on environmental and climate measures will be formally unveiled on Wednesday, when the group begins three days of meetings in Washington DC.

Alec, described by its opponents as a corporate bill mill, has suffered an exodus of tech companies from its ranks recently because of its extreme positions – especially its promotion of climate denial.

Microsoft, Facebook, Yahoo and Yelp have all left Alec. Google flatly accused Alec of lying about climate change, when it severed its connections with the group last September.

Despite the setbacks, Alec remains focused on pushing back government regulation and blocking efforts to fight climate change in 2015, according to documents posted on its website in preparation for Wednesday’s gathering……………….



fox news eric garner

“I certainly hope nothing’s gonna happen here in New York City today,” Gretchen Carlson said after a grand jury decided not to indict the officer who killed Eric Garner. “We’ve got the tree-lighting ceremony.” That was just the beginning. Screenshots via Mediaite (top left);

Eric Garner + Mike Brown + Fox News = the White Knights talking backwards

Go ask Megyn Kelly. This is what happens when logic and proportion get subjected to six straight hours of victim-blaming

After any police controversy involving black people, the right-wing media turns to an exercise in brainstorming excuses synonymous with “the fog of war”. Maybe Mike Brown actually was a demon. Maybe the 911 caller who said that 12-year-old Tamir Rice’s gun might have been a toy was actually part of an elaborate conspiracy to get the cop shot with a real gun disguised as a toy gun because “kids will be kids. You can never be sure with these people.

Except Eric Garner. The trouble with his death, at least for the right-wing media’s instinctual denial complex, is that there’s video. You don’t need to do your Rust Cohle impression and reconstruct Ferguson grand jury evidence into something like a working crime scene. You can watch Eric Garner, and you can watch the men who made him die, and the men who made him die were police. After weeks of explaining away Ferguson as Mike Brown’s fault, outlets like Fox News faced a quandary: How do you make the unambiguous go away?

It turns out the answer is going back to the old playbook – where racism is the fault of its victims, where the discussion floats above the facts on the ground, and symbols are attacked with symbols. It doesn’t matter what happened to Eric Garner when what he represents is wrong. All the while, the right will admit to the tragedy and be concerned. Be very concerned. The concern is coming from inside their hearts.

It took a little while for Fox’s narrative machine to crank up to speed after this week’s terrible grand jury decision. Eric Garner’s killers going unindicted was suddenly foisted upon them – around drive-time, around the time I started watching Fox News – and the network had to reckon with the tonal disparity between its daytime/early-evening news programming and the 180 minutes of Having It Up To Here Already that runs from Bill O’Reilly, to Megyn Kelly, to Sean Hannity. You got the sense over the next six hours that this was a beta test of approaches until settling on one that worked………..



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