Police in Boston Tuesday night reportedly destroyed three wheelchairs belonging to homeless city residents in a garbage truck compactor as part of a crackdown targeting the city’s transient population.
“Operation Clean Sweep” began August 2 after a county corrections officer was allegedly struck during a fight involving a number of people on “Methadone Mile”, a stretch of the city near Massachusetts Ave. and Melnea Cass Boulevard where there are a number of clinics and treatment centers. The area has a high homeless population, many of whom have been the target of the operation in the five days and counting it has continued.
This 26 June 2019 video from the USA says about itself:
Employees at Wayfair are protesting their company. Cenk Uygur and Ana Kasparian, hosts of The Young Turks, break it down.
“Hundreds of employees of the online home goods company Wayfair will stage a walkout on Wednesday in protest against its involvement in furnishing border camps. Employees organizing the walkout at the firm’s Boston headquarters say they demanded the company stop its partnership with a government contractor to provide beds for detained immigrants.
“We believe the current actions of the United States and their contractors at the Southern border do not represent an ethical business partnership Wayfair should choose to be a part of”, the letter, signed by 547 employees, said.”
Hundreds of employees of Wayfair walked off their jobs at the Boston-based online furniture retailer to protest the company’s decision to profit from sales to migrant detention centers. They were joined by hundreds of supporters, including many who had heard of the protest on social media, in a rally in Copley Square.
Members of the Democratic Socialists of America (DSA), who had promoted the protest on Twitter, were prominently represented … Campaigners for Democratic candidates, including Sen. Elizabeth Warren, also joined the protest. …
Last week 557 Wayfair workers sent a letter to Wayfair management demanding the end of operations that furnish detention centers. Employees learned last week that a $200,000 order of bedroom furniture was placed by private contractor BCFS for a detention facility in Carrizo Springs, Texas. They specifically demanded that Wayfair donate the $86,000 in profits it reportedly made from this recent sale to FAICES, a nonprofit immigrant justice nonprofit.
“We believe that the current actions of the United States and their contractors at the Southern border do not represent an ethical business partnership Wayfair should choose to be a part of”, the letter stated according to the Boston Globe. “At Wayfair, we believe that ‘everyone should live in a home that they love.’ Let’s stay true to that message by taking a stand against the reprehensible practice of separating families, which denies them any home at all.”
The company responded that it would not cease doing business with detention centers, and that “As a retailer, it is standard practice to fulfill orders for all customers and we believe it is our business to sell to any customer who is acting within the laws of countries within which we operate.” In other words, they defend their right to make a profit. …
“We have a humanitarian crisis going on, people are dying, and the fact that this is being tolerated and continues to go on is inexcusable.
“Effectively what Democrats are trying to do is make it seem as if they care. Because right now it’s very public and visible that horrors are going on. But it seems that if it’s out of people’s eyes that they will be going back to allowing it to happen.”
Cecil, who teaches at a private school in Boston, said, “As an educator I work with children every day and I think what the Trump administration is doing is absolutely horrendous. I think ICE should be defunded and abolished. And I applaud the workers for coming together, because when we come together as laborers and refuse to condone this activity and refuse to allow our labor power to promote these policies, that’s how we’re going to make a difference.” …
The walkout earned the support of DSA member and US Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who wrote on Twitter prior to the protest, “Wayfair workers couldn’t stomach they were making beds to cage children. They asked the company to stop. CEO said no.”
“Tomorrow, they’re walking out”, she continued. “This is what solidarity looks like—a reminder that everyday people have real power, as long as we’re brave enough to use it.” …
The urgent threat to the safety and lives of immigrants requires the mobilization of the working class.
DEMS DESCRIBE BORDER HORROR Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) said migrant women at a Customs and Border Patrol facility in Texas were held in cells without water and told by officers to drink out of the toilet. [HuffPost]
HONDORAN HELD BY ICE DIES IN CUSTODY A Honduran man held by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement for several weeks died Sunday after being found unresponsive in his detention cell. Yimi Alexis Balderramos-Torres, 30, was detained on June 6 after attempting to enter the U.S. for the second time this year, ICE said. [HuffPost]
BORDER PATROL HEAD CONDEMNS FACEBOOK GROUP The head of the U.S. Border Patrol on Monday slammed as “completely inappropriate” sexually explicit posts about Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and comments questioning the authenticity of a photo of a drowned man and his young daughter in a secret Facebook group for agents. [AP]
TRUMP: RAIDS BACK ON AFTER 4THTrump announced that the immigration raids he threatened to launch last month are back on. “After July 4, a lot of people are going to be brought back out,” he said. [HuffPost]
United Farm Workers Slam Trump For Plans To Slash Farm Workers’ Wages: here.
In the late 1980s, more than three-quarters of the winter flounder caught in Boston Harbor — one of the most polluted harbors in America — showed signs of liver disease, many of them with cancerous tumors. But now, a scientist at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) has documented a dramatic rebound in flounder health spurred by decades of remediation efforts, including a $3.8 billion project to construct a sewage treatment plant and a 9.5-mile discharge tunnel with a 6,600-foot-long outfall diffuser. The findings appear in the Nov. 20, 2018 issue of the journal Diseases of Aquatic Organisms.
“The last tumor we’ve seen in a winter flounder from Boston Harbor was back in 2004,” said Michael Moore, a biologist at (WHOI). “The fish aren’t getting liver tumors anymore.”
The turnaround, Moore said, is attributed to a number of major, long-term environmental cleanup efforts to reduce sewage sludge, nutrients, and toxins in the harbor and adjacent waters, including construction of the outflow discharge tunnel completed in 2000. The tunnel is wide enough to fit two semitrailers side by side and channels millions of gallons of effluent each day from the Deer Island Treatment Plant on Boston Harbor into Massachusetts Bay 9.5 miles offshore.
Moore has collaborated with the Massachusetts Water Resources Authority (MWRA), Battelle Norwell, and most recently, Normandeau Associates, to monitor the health impacts of contaminants on flounder since 1986 through annual fish surveys in and around Boston Harbor. The fish are caught, dissected, and their liver tissues are examined for signs of disease.
When the monitoring program began, the Harbor’s water quality suffered from a persistent buildup of pollutants: nitrogenous wastes, petroleum and pesticide chemicals, metals and nitrates from homes, commercial buildings, and industries were all discharged in millions of gallons of wastewater into the harbor each day. The toxic soup caused a spike in liver disease among flounder, and Boston Harbor, with its brownish tint and choked-off oxygen supply, became regarded as the “dirtiest harbor in America.”
Mounting pressure from local politicians, scientists, and residents to clean up the harbor led to a lawsuit filed by the city of Quincy, Mass., against local agencies responsible for sewage operations in the Greater Boston area. The landmark 1984 Boston Harbor Cleanup Case decision resulted in the creation of a new agency charged with the court-mandated, multibillion-dollar public works project aimed at improving sewage and runoff handling in the harbor.
The harbor’s water quality began responding within months of the first cleanup efforts as organic matter, nutrient and chemical loading into the harbor dropped, and dissolved oxygen levels climbed. During its monitoring, the MWRA noticed other signs that the harbor was starting to breathe easier: Fewer contaminants were penetrating sediments on the ocean floor where flounder live, and the quality of water, harbor bottoms, and beaches all improved.
“In government, you often debate shades of gray,” said MWRA’s executive director Fred Laskey. “But in this case, the empirical data are irrefutable. The clean-up of Boston Harbor is the greatest environmental achievement of this generation.”
Moore said that pesticides and other chemicals of particular significance to the flounder liver disease decreased, resulting in healthier fish. The liver tumor prevalence was also a good indicator that the harbor cleanup reduced human health risk, especially for seafood consumers. Moore said that the goal of cleaning up toxic chemicals in the harbor has been met. Importantly, while the health of flounder in the Harbor has improved, there has been no decline in the health of winter flounder caught near the long outfall. In fact, levels of disease associated with contaminant exposure are lower in flounder caught near the outfall than they were in the early 1990s.
“The amount of human endeavor that went into the project was staggering,” he said. “You don’t often see such a clear justification of the tax-payer cost for a public benefit when it comes to environmental protection, but the results of this study validate the idea that long-term investments in improving regional environmental quality actually work.”
This research was funded by the Massachusetts Water Resources Authority.
At a press conference on Tuesday, Trump insisted that the fascist mob included “very fine people” and declared that the violence was provoked by the antifascist demonstrators as well as elements among the far-right marchers.
The Boston protest was called in opposition to a rally by the ultra-right Boston Free Speech Coalition that had been scheduled months before the Charlottesville events. Several neo-Nazis had been listed as speakers.
The anti-Trump demonstrations attracted tens of thousands who came to express their outrage over the events of the last week. “I’m here because of what happened in Charlottesville,” Laura said. “I’m against fascism and, in particular, the KKK bothers me. That particular branch coming out into the streets again is really disturbing. It needs to be squashed down.”
She pointed to the reverse side of her sign, which read: “White silence is compliance.” She said, “I just think that people have to stand up and support and protect the people who are being attacked. But in particular, blacks are taking the brunt of police violence… I don’t want people thinking that that’s what white people believe.”
The Boston Police Department (BPD) organized a massive mobilization of city and transit police for the protest. Police Commissioner Bill Evans said there were 500 uniformed police on hand and many plainclothes officers in the crowd. Additional police cameras were mounted throughout the Common for surveillance.
Police ringed the Common and Public Works trucks were stationed to prevent vehicles from driving into the park. Streets surrounding the Common were blocked for vehicle traffic. The BPD threatened to close the protest down if it erupted in violence. In the end, police made 33 arrests, including four on weapons charges and the others for disturbing a public assembly, disorderly conduct, and resisting arrest.
Police separated the Free Speech rally from the counter-protesters with barricades and fences. Only a few dozen fascists showed up for their rally at the Parkman Bandstand. The rally, scheduled to begin at noon, was over by about 12:45 p.m. Police escorted the neo-Nazis out of the Common to jeers of “Go home, Nazi scum!”
Police ushered the “free speech” demonstrators to Boston police vans, to be driven to safety and released. Counter-protesters blocked their exit for about 45 minutes. Police wearing riot gear and carrying sticks finally pushed the counter-protesters out of the way, making room for the far-right protesters to leave. A number of arrests were made.
The counterdemonstration had largely wound down by about 2 p.m. and people began to make their way to the subway. At 3:22 p.m., Trump tweeted: “Looks like many anti-police agitators in Boston. Police are looking tough and smart! Thank you.”
The president then attempted to backtrack on his mischaracterization of the day’s events, tweeting later in the afternoon: “I want to applaud the many protesters in Boston who are speaking out against bigotry and hate. Our country will soon come together as one!”
Franny, originally from New Jersey, attends Lesley College in Cambridge, outside of Boston. She explained why she attended the protest. “I’m Jewish, so naturally any gathering of neo-Nazis would offend me,” she said. “But I feel like this is one of the very few events where you can voice your opinions and can stand in a safe place.
“You’re constantly surrounded with news and media of hate, and all this negativity. So it’s really great that people are looking towards equality and a better world.”
She was outraged by President Trump’s comments following the events in Charlottesville: “His first official statement came from a golf club in New Jersey, not even from a press conference from the White House. And saying that you can’t see the difference between anger from white supremacists and anger from those who are angry about the gathering of neo-Nazis. They’re completely different types of hate and anger and to equalize them shows immaturity and ignorance.”
She disagreed, however, with the WSWS reporter’s argument that the working class, as a class, needed to unite politically to fight Trump and the Democrats.
“I feel each economic factor has to go against Trump, even if it’s from the 1 percent,” she said. “Why don’t we attempt to change their positions and their minds? It has to come from every single person, from every single class. Not just working class, not just lower class, not just upper class. This is a social movement.”
She agreed, however, that the political establishment was being pushed into crisis. “I think this is absolutely going to break the two-party system,” she said. “Because even now you see the splintering off of the Republicans.” …
The WSWS spoke to Valerie, a nurse from North Carolina who grew up in Brockton, Massachusetts. “Honestly, I cannot even believe that we’re here,” she said. “It’s so disheartening for me. Growing up in the ’60s and ’70s, I feel like we have taken a leap back from all our efforts for social equality and social justice.
“The only good thing that has come out of President Trump’s heinous behavior is that it has exposed how much racism there is in our country. Also, as we saw today, it shows how much more love and compassion and striving for equality there is. But we can’t address things unless they’re exposed.
“Capitalism, it doesn’t work. I mean, how many decades and hundreds of years do we need to show that it just doesn’t?”
Germany: Around 1,500 demonstrators blocked a march on Saturday of some 700 neo-Nazis from the northern Berlin district of Spandau to a former allied prison for war criminals, where they intended to commemorate Hitler’s deputy, Rudolf Hess. Condemned to lifelong imprisonment at the Nuremberg Trials, Hess committed suicide in the prison thirty years ago, on August 17, 1987: here.
The painting’s content, presentation, and emotional force secure its status as a groundbreaking, archetypal image of the horrors of war. Although it draws on many sources from both high and popular art, The Third of May 1808 marks a clear break from convention. Diverging from the traditions of Christian art and traditional depictions of war, it has no distinct precedent, and is acknowledged as one of the first paintings of the modern era. According to the art historian Kenneth Clark, The Third of May 1808 is “the first great picture which can be called revolutionary in every sense of the word, in style, in subject, and in intention”.
Goya: Order and Disorder: A comprehensive view of the work of the Spanish genius
12 January 2015
“Homo sum, humani nihil a me alienum puto” (“I am a human being, I consider nothing that is human alien to me.”) – Terence
The sentiment of the second century BCE Roman playwright Terence could equally describe the work of Spanish painter and printmaker Francisco Lucientes de Goya (1746–1828). The most comprehensive exhibit of the artist’s work in 25 years, including 170 paintings, prints and drawings, is on view at the Museum of Fine Art (MFA) in Boston till January 19, 2015.
Organized by themes rather than chronologically, the exhibit underscores the range of Goya’s artistic output over his long and prodigious life, a range so diverse that at times it hardly seems like the work of a single person.
On the one hand, Goya was royal painter to the Spanish court, beginning under Carlos III in 1774 and serving four monarchs until his self-imposed exile under Ferdinand VII in 1824. As such, Goya painted portraits of the Spanish royal family and aristocracy, designed tapestries depicting everyday pastimes of their subjects, and also produced Church altarpieces and numerous other commissions.
However, most influential in Goya’s work for subsequent generations—and for which he received virtually no recognition during his lifetime—are his unparalleled depictions of revolution and war. Living as the French Revolution and the Napoleonic wars that followed swept absolute monarchs—including Spain’s Carlos IV, a Bourbon cousin of Louis XVI—from their thrones, Goya’s work bears witness to these events. Or, as he entitled one of his prints: “ Yo lo vi!” (“I saw this.”) Feudal Spain in the late 18th century was uniquely unprepared for a bourgeois revolution, with little commercial or industrial development and subsequently a negligible native bourgeoisie. Much reduced from its Golden Age in the 15th-16th centuries, Spain’s economic decline during the period of European capitalism’s great expansion had by the end of the 1700s left Spain a backwater of impoverished provinces ruled by a weak absolute monarch bolstered by a fanatical Catholic Church, for whom the methods of the Inquisition were not necessarily things of the past.
The tiny light of the Spanish illustrados (artists and intellectuals associated with the Enlightenment) was quickly extinguished as Spain was ravaged by Napoleon’s invasion and the Peninsular War, which ended with the reinstitution of an even weaker, but for that very reason more threatened and more intolerant Bourbon monarch, Ferdinand VII, in 1814.
Goya’s Disasters of War (Los Desastres de la Guerra), a series of 82 prints created between 1810 and 1820, and his monumental paintings The Second of May, 1808 and The Third of May, 1808 (both painted in only a two-month period in 1814), depict Spanish popular resistance to the French occupation in horrific detail. A touchstone for subsequent generations of artists who have addressed the topic in their work, Goya’s images of the occasional heroism but more often desperation and atrocity of war are unrivalled.
Neither The Second nor The Third of May, 1808 paintings, which are in the Prado in Madrid, were included in the MFA exhibit. But a wall array of first edition prints from the Disasters of War series was displayed, including I Saw It (No. 44) of a woman clambering over a mound of corpses to fire a cannon; One Can’t Look (No. 26), of a group of civilian men, women and children about to be shot; Why? (No. 32), of a man being strangled by a group of French soldiers who have tied him by the neck to a tree; and The Consequences (No. 74), of a corpse being devoured by birds of prey. Despite their small format (most of the prints are 5 x 8 inches), this work is shocking, more so than many larger “anti-war” works of art, in part because of its almost dispassionate objectivity, aptly summed up by the titles.
Who was Goya, to have produced such a body of remarkable images?
Born near the provincial capital of Zaragoza in the Aragon region of Spain in 1746, Francisco José de Goya y Lucientes’ father was a craftsman who earned his living as a gilder, while his mother belonged to one of the multitudinous, usually impoverished families of minor Spanish nobility (hence the de Goya). In his late teens, the future painter studied in Madrid under Anton Raphael Mengs (1728-1779), the painter to the Spanish court, but he clashed with the master’s formal Academic approach, which emphasized copying the art of the past instead of the direct observation of life that was favored by the up-and-coming generation of Romantics. After being rejected twice by the Royal Academy of Fine Art, in 1763 and 1766, Goya travelled to Italy to study the masters of the Italian Renaissance on his own.
On his return to Spain, the ambitious young artist studied under Francisco Bayeu, whose sister he married in 1773, and whose membership in the Royal Academy led to Goya receiving royal commissions for tapestries to decorate the Escorial palace in Madrid. Goya submitted 42 full-size drawings (or “cartoons” as they were called, because they were on cartonne, i.e., paper) over a five-year period, which depicted scenes of everyday Spanish life.
But Goya’s scenes of rural taverns and local weddings often took a satirical or grisly turn—the pompous groom is far older than the village beauty who is to become his bride, the stage coach is held up by bandits and the noble occupants plead for their lives. Even a scene of young ladies tossing a straw mannequin up and down in a blanket to amuse themselves suggests more ominous interpretations. Indeed, the precariousness of social status remains a constant theme throughout Goya’s work.
However, this prescience seems to have been lost on Carlos III. By 1786, after painting several commissioned portraits of the Spanish aristocracy, including one of the Count of Floridablanca (1783), and of the family of the crown prince Infante Don Luis, which are included at the MFA exhibit, Goya was appointed to a full-time salaried position as court painter in 1789.
His remarkably unflattering portraits of his royal patrons—one of Carlos IV and his family was said to look more like a butcher’s family who had won the lottery—are less likely satirical than due to the technical challenges of creating large scale, multi-figure portraits of sitters who most likely didn’t pose in person or as a group. In any case, Goya’s paintings pleased the court. Other portraits of friends and acquaintances, like that of liberal statesman and fellow illustrado, Gaspar Melchor de Jovellanos (1798), are masterful evocations of 18th century ideals of learned and graceful rationality.
Better known are his portraits of the Duchess of Alba, one dressed in white (1795) and the other in black (1797). The proud, seductive woman in traditional Spanish black lace mantilla and crimson sash looks boldly at the viewer while pointing imperiously at the ground. There, between her gold and satin clad feet, the painter has written “Solo Goya” in the sand, declaring his own superiority as much as hers.
Goya’s output of aristocratic portraits—which number more than 50 in the years between 1800-08 alone, (although he may have had the help of workshop assistants)—along with commissions for altarpieces and a continued demand for tapestry designs, were all the more remarkable for having been achieved after a mysterious ailment in 1793 left the painter completely deaf.
Although he continued as court painter, the isolation of deafness that left Goya “with voices in the head” increasingly expressed itself in the nightmarish images he produced in numerous sketches, sometimes subsequently reproduced as prints. Lunatics fighting or locked away in thick-walled madhouses, survivors of a shipwreck at sea, as well as more humorous depictions of people tottering on skates or an old man swinging, speak to a sense of disequilibrium, whether physical, mental or social.
Los Caprichos, a suite of 80 allegorical etchings published by the artist in 1799, abound in all manner of witches, goblins, and other weird creatures engaged in bizarre diabolical behaviors. Goya undoubtedly shared the skepticism of the illustrados, but he was no atheist. Some of these images, like Witches Sabbath, may have been produced to indulge the vogue for ghoulish subjects among his noble patrons. However, Goya’s demons are disturbingly real, at least as embodiments of the darker side of the human psyche.
Vanity, lust, ignorance, duplicity, self-aggrandizement, hypocrisy—Goya satirizes our all-too-human faults and weaknesses in the Caprichos. Although in Goya’s view, even the well-intentioned are vulnerable, he reserved particular scorn for the clergy and the petty nobility.
The painter was profoundly shaped by the Enlightenment and by Romanticism. There is something reminiscent of Beethoven (the painter was about a quarter-century older than the composer, but they died only one year apart) in Goya’s somewhat anguished response to the revolutionary period in which he lived and worked. In what seems like a expression of uncertainty in the face of immense revolutionary upheavals, The Sleep of Reason Produces Monsters suggests that nightmares threaten to engulf Enlightenment ideals of reason and rationality.
While Goya remained the pre-eminent Spanish court painter of his day, after the restoration of the Bourbon monarchy in 1814 he increasingly distanced himself from the court. In 1819, at the age of 73, he retired with his much younger housekeeper Leocadia Weiss and her daughter to a country house overlooking Madrid, where he covered the walls with the so-called Black Paintings.
Painted on interior walls for no one to see, these intense, brooding and horrific images turned his earlier pastoral scenes of Spanish life into their nightmarish opposite. Humanity surges forward in an unending procession of hollow-eyed ghouls, no doubt like the refugees from a war-zone Goya either witnessed or imagined. And instead of enlightened figures of reason, giants preside over this social order. One, Saturn-like, devours his children, while another turns to look up from his ruminations as though startled by the faint light of the moon.
Rather than signifying the end of his days in bleak isolation, however, the Black Paintings may have served as a catharsis for Goya. One of his late drawings, an old man walking with sticks, is called I’m Still Learning (1824-28). And indeed Goya still was. In 1820, like many of the Spanish illustrados, he moved across the Pyrenees to France to escape the restoration of autocratic absolutism under Ferdinand VII.
Granted a permit to visit Paris on account of his health, Goya spent his time there mastering the newly developed printmaking technique of lithography. Settling back in Bordeaux, at the age of 80, he produced a series of large lithographs, The Bulls of Bordeaux, that are unprecedented in their dynamic compositions, conveying all the deadly excitement of the corrida. Goya’s exceptional insight into all aspects of human existence, from the lowly and mundane to the heights of pomp and circumstance, the innocence of childhood to the frailties of old age, from wicked perversity to the tenderness of friendship, from the depredations of war to the valor of resistance: one feels—“Yo lo vi”—that he has seen it all, and that nothing human is alien to him, or to his art.
Tamerlan Tsarnaev, 26, and his 19-year-old brother Dzhokhar are the only suspects to date in the twin bombings at the downtown Boston finish line of the race, which killed three people and wounded more than 160 others. Tamerlan was killed in a shootout with police on April 19. Dzhokhar is under arrest at a prison medical facility outside of Boston.
Testifying before the House Homeland Security Committee, Boston Police Commissioner Edward Davis said his department had been unaware that the Russian government contacted the FBI in 2011 to warn of Tamerlan Tsarnaev’s radical jihadist sympathies and his plans to travel to the northern Caucasus and link up with Islamist separatist and terrorist elements from Dagestan and Chechnya. Nor had he been told, he said, that the FBI had questioned the elder Tsarnaev brother and his family, or that Tamerlan subsequently, in 2012, spent six months in the volatile region of southern Russia.
Dzhokhar Tsarnaev is a United States citizen. He is called Chechen. But it seems he never was in Chechnya, a republic within the Russian federation. He spent the last, most recent, half of his life in the USA. And the first half, it seems, in the Russian federation republic of Dagestan, and in the independent former Soviet republic of Kyrgyzstan. It also seems that the Tsarnaev family is not only of Chechen, but also of Avar ancestry.
The Czech Republic and Chechnya are nearly 2,000 miles apart, but that didn’t stop people from mixing up their geography.
The Boston Marathon bombing suspects, the Tsarnaev brothers, are of Chechen ethnicity. When the similar sounding Czech Republic, a country in Central Europe, began getting buzz online, the country’s ambassador to the United States stepped in to clear up the social media confusion.
“The Czech Republic is trending because idiots are confusing it with Chechnya. If you’re not sure whether to laugh or cry, cry,” Chris Jones, a writer for Esquire and back-page columnist for ESPN The Magazine tweeted.
This reminds me of at least two things. First, people now attacking Czechs for the horrible Boston bombing are of course idiots. But one should also not attack Chechens in general for criminal acts, it seems, of only two people who apparently never lived in Chechnya.
The other thing these idiots now attacking Czechs remind me of is Islamophobes in the USA (and elsewhere). The impact of hysteria and violence against Muslims (overwhelmingly Muslims who have nothing to do with terrorism) was and is not limited to Muslims. It also hurts people who are not Muslims at all. But who are “Muslims” in the eyes of “idiots” (to quote the ABC article on anti-Czech hysteria). People like Sikhs, or Hindus.
Some background on the Chechen issue. Chechens had and have legitimate grievances against Russian czars, who conquered Chechnya in the nineteenth century, and against later Soviet and Russian governments. These grievances have been abused. During Hitler’s 1941-1945 war against the Soviet Union, the nazis tried to steer Chechens in the direction of extreme nationalism, violence and fanatical forms of Islam. Soon after that, during the Cold War, the CIA and other Western secret services tried to steer Chechens in the direction of extreme nationalism, violence and fanatical forms of Islam. Like they also did in Afghanistan.
Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, a suspect in Monday’s bombing at the finish line of the Boston Marathon, was captured yesterday after a massive manhunt by law enforcement agencies. Thousands of National Guard troops, FBI and other federal agents, and state and local police placed Boston in an unprecedented lockdown yesterday, after Dzhokhar, 19, and his brother Tamerlan, 26, engaged in a firefight with police.
In the space of a few hours, a major American city was transformed into a virtual armed camp and placed under the equivalent of martial law. The massive scale of the military and police mobilization—replete with Blackhawk helicopters, armored vehicles with machine guns, and SWAT teams pointing automatic weapons—seemed vastly disproportionate to the threat posed by one teenage youth.
Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick, a Democrat, issued a “shelter in place” order early Friday, shut down Boston’s mass transit, and recommended that businesses close. According to the “shelter in place” order, Boston residents had to stay inside with their doors locked and not open them to anyone but a properly identified police officer. The order was progressively extended over some 100 square miles of the Boston metropolitan area, covering approximately 1 million people.
Heavily-armed forces swarmed the city’s empty streets. Local reporters compared the scene to videos of US-occupied Baghdad.
Particularly in Watertown, police went house to house, carrying out searches with assault rifles drawn. The New York Times commented, “Watertown found itself an odd combination of ghost town and police state on Friday morning.”
Bus service between New York and Boston was shut down, and Amtrak train service north of New York City was halted. Taxis were ordered off the streets during the morning hours. The Boston Bruins hockey and Red Sox baseball games were cancelled.
Area universities—including Harvard, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Boston University, Suffolk University, Boston College and University of Massachusetts-Boston—were closed. UMass-Dartmouth, where the younger bombing suspect was a student, was shut down and evacuated, with some students with nowhere to go housed at the local high school. Area public schools were already closed for vacation.
Late Thursday afternoon, police had released videos from security cameras showing the suspects leaving bags near the scene of the bombing. According to the authorities, the Tsarnaev brothers carjacked a Mercedes sports utility vehicle later Thursday night, and police pursued them to the northwest Boston suburb of Watertown. Tamerlan was mortally wounded in a firefight with police, during which he reportedly hurled explosives, and died at Beth Israel Deaconess Hospital at 1:35 AM Friday. Dzhokhar fled the scene of the shoot-out.
According to early media reports, police had identified the Tsarnaev brothers as suspects after video emerged of a robbery at a convenience store at 10 PM Thursday. Shortly afterwards, a campus security officer at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Sean Collier, was found dead, shot in his police cruiser. A mass transit security officer was also shot and seriously wounded.
In a video interview with Russia Today, the brothers’ mother, Zubeidat Tsarnaeva, said she believed her sons had been “set up.” She claimed that the FBI had “controlled” her son Tamerlan over a period of three to five years, monitoring his Internet use and repeatedly visiting their house to question him.
Late yesterday evening, the FBI confirmed that it had interviewed Tamerlan Tsarnaev in 2011 at the request of an unidentified foreign government.
Bostonians had been told the “shelter in place” order was necessary because they had at all costs to avoid Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, who was described as “armed and dangerous.” At 6 PM yesterday, however, Patrick suddenly lifted the “shelter in place” order at a press conference attended by Boston Mayor Thomas Menino and Massachusetts Police Colonel Timothy Alben, although they had not apprehended Tsarnaev or any other suspect. They did not explain why they considered the streets to be safer after their press conference than before.
Alben also contradicted earlier reports that the Tsarnaev brothers had carried out the armed robbery at the convenience store.
Shortly after the lifting of the order, however, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev was found hiding under a tarp in a boat in the backyard of a private home in Watertown, covered in blood. Tactical police forces were called in, set up a perimeter, and fired a series of shots at Tsarnaev before taking him into custody and placing him in an ambulance. He is reportedly in critical condition.
Later in the evening, television outlets showed large numbers of people leaving their homes in relief and celebrating in the streets of Boston.
In carrying out this extraordinary and sinister police state exercise, the Obama administration, the military, the police and state and local officials relied on the media to create a climate of fear and anxiety so as to discourage careful consideration by the public of its long-term implications.
Notwithstanding the horrific character of the crimes involved in the Boston bombings, these implications are very real. The staggering police-military mobilization was clearly the result of years of planning and coordination between various military, intelligence and police agencies that have been relentlessly built up in the decade since the 9/11 attacks. It is now clear that, based purely on their say-so, a major American city can be placed under what would have been called, in a Latin American military dictatorship, a state of siege.
The events in Boston have lifted the veil on the degree to which, behind an eroding veneer of democracy, American society has been thoroughly militarized.
A Twitter message by Ingeborg Senneset from Norway:
Post July 22nd, Norway gave Breivik a good lawyer, a fair trial and human punishment. He took 77 lives, but we kept our dignity.
Boston Marathon suspect may never be able to be questioned, mayor says. Surviving suspect’s injuries prevent him from communicating as FBI faces scrutiny over contact with Tamerlan Tsarnaev in 2011: here.
5 of the worst reactions to the Boston manhunt, starring Ann Coulter, and Sen. Chuck Grassley: here.
Too early to jump to conclusions over Boston terror bombing: here.
Information coming to light about the background of the Boston Marathon bombings raises many questions about the relationship of US intelligence agencies to the alleged bombers, Tamerlan and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev: here.
It remains unknown whether the terrible crime was the work of one person or an organization, homegrown or foreign, although even some congressmen have acknowledged that several factors point to a rightwing domestic terrorist. These include the relatively crude character of the bombs, the lack of any prior threat alert or claim of responsibility, and the timing—on Boston’s Patriot’s Day and federal tax day and the same week as the 1995 bombing of the federal building in Oklahoma City.
Senator Saxby Chambliss (Republican of Georgia) said Wednesday, “There are a lot of things that are surrounding this that build an indication that it may have been a domestic terrorist.”
Let us, for the sake of argument, presume that the culprit, or small group of culprits, was indeed a Muslim, or a small group of Muslims. What would that say about the other 1.62 billion adherents of Islam, making up over 23% of the world population?
Nothing. Like the Oklahoma bombing by the Christian Timothy McVeigh did not make all Christians in the world criminals. Like war crimes by Buddhist soldiers in Sri Lanka do not make other Buddhists who have nothing to do with that, into criminals. Etc.
It Took Two Days for a Random Muslim to Get Assaulted in Boston, Please Retweet
A Palestinian woman said she was assaulted while taking a late morning stroll with her baby daughter and friend by a man who accused her of being a terrorist. We thought someone would’ve been publicly attacked and berated for secretly planning the Boston Marathon bombings within hours of the explosions, but nope — racists managed to contain themselves for two days. Bravo.
Heba Abolaban told Malden Patch that she and her friend, both wearing hijabs, were walking with their kids when a white male in his thirties punched her left shoulder and began shouting at them:
“He was screaming ‘F___ you Muslims! You are terrorists! I hate you! You are involved in the Boston explosions! F___ you!’” Abolaban remembered. “Oh my lord, I was extremely shocked.”
Bangladeshi man beaten at Applebee’s in ‘revenge attack’ over Boston Marathon bombings
A Bangladeshi man has claimed he was beaten at a New York City Applebee’s in retaliation for the Boston Marathon bombings – because of the color of his skin. Abdullah Faruque, 30, says that he was heading out of the restaurant to smoke a cigarette when he noticed a group of Hispanic men who had been at the bar followed him out.They then confronted him. He told the New York Post: ‘One of the guys asked if I was Arab. I just shook my head, said like, “Yeah, whatever.”‘ Mr Faruque said that when he tried to go back inside Applebee’s, one of the men said, ‘Yeah, he’s a f***ing Arab,’ and they attacked, beating him about the head and body.
Monday was a difficult day not just for America but for the world. Any time innocents die in the world we as a global community lose out. As an American my immediate sentiments are that we should act in such a way to honour those who have died, and those who are suffering now with the right action. While this sounds like another platitude echoed by countless news-people, I really believe that we should look hard at the suffering caused by the events in Boston. Indirectly that would mean that for me, (another no name blogger) the most important action for us as nation and global community, is to look and internalize what has transpired. This I am sure, will be an unpopular course of event. There is a need for justice, there is a need to make sense of these events, there is a need for action.
I remember the environment in NYC a day after 9/11. There was such an outpouring of love from the world to NYC, from NY’er to NY’er. It was a rather tender moment for me, because for once I could visibly see and participate in actions socially that challenged my cynicism about people coming together and a possibility for racial acceptance and religious tolerance. That moment was short-lived unfortunately. Soon Americans citizen of Middle Eastern decent across America were the targets of hate crimes. Whatever love was given was all to soon gone. Ten years later America as a whole is still recovering not just from the events of 9/11, but from how we chose to respond to the tragedy on our home turf. Two wars, trillions in debt, soldiers losing their homes and coping with PTSD, a great divide economic divide further marginalization of Muslims not to mention Americans of Middle Eastern decent, (to name a few) are some of the many pressing issues we do not have a handle on.
A Personal Lesson Learned
While I will be the first to admit that I do not know how to keep a nation state, I cannot,like many other Americans, help wondering if the two wars and all their political, financial, economic, and diplomatic ramifications worth it ? What have we learned as a nation after 9/11?
I will tell you what I have learned over this past decade. I have seen that (especially after the wake of the most recent presidential election) Americans are too divided to come together for an extended period of time. I feel we have reduced a person to just simple instruments to be used for the attainment of ideological goals. Before one is a republican or democrat or libertarian, American or, black white, latino, or whatever other label we like to use, one is a person. The Saudi national who was initially considered a suspect is a human being too. The Sikh person in your neighbourhood is a person. The Mexican Guy who may be cutting your grass is human being. The Muslimah that sports the hijab is a person. Surprising so these people may even be American like you or I which means we share an ideology and a vision.
Of course this is idealistic. Behind the sarcastic statements, the cynical quips, I am a idealist. I am a positive person. There will always be those amongst us who will will seek to disrupt us, to take from us the most precious things like our sense of security, the want to engage with our fellow human beings and country man, and sadly as the explosion in Boston have shown even our lives. History is littered with heinous acts, but if we look close enough we will see so many instances of self-sacrifice and benevolence.
An Important Anniversary
Tuesday April 16 was an important anniversary to me. Fifty one years ago on that day MLK wrote his letter from Birmingham Jail. That letter has always been a point of inspiration for me. It gave a voice to a sentiment I hold deeply, specifically that we can today with a greater sense of urgency and determination work to make a better America. The bombings in Boston are an opportunity for us to come together as a nation and talk about the human issues we are all facing.
I feel that it was irresponsible for a memo to the New York Post and other media outlets to tell people top be on the lookout for out for “dark-skinned” suspects. I feel, rather I am certain that the news is working people up to a frenzy. The president in a recent speech praised Boston for overcoming the face of evil.. But if Muslims are being attacked have we really overcome the face of evil or have we just brought out another evil face. Fire cannot be fought with fire. We need to change of view on things, we need to deliberate a little more as a whole before anyone else gets heckled or beaten up for being of middle Eastern descent. …
U.S. Muslims mobilize to prevent Boston backlash
It’s a familiar race against time for Muslim groups. Almost as soon as the smoke cleared around Copley Square, they knew from long experience that some would immediately point the finger of blame in their direction.
Still, conservative columnist and Fox News guest Erik Rush quickly sent out tweets blaming Muslims, adding in one, “Let’s kill them,” a post he subsequently deleted. “Jihad in America,” wrote anti-Muslim blogger Pam Geller. Speaking about the bombings on his ”700 Club” program, Pat Robertson was also furious: “Don’t talk to me about religion of peace” – the way Muslims describe their faith – “No way.” On his show, conservative host Glenn Beck opined that “no American citizen blows up random people; that’s a Middle Eastern scene, that’s not an American scene. When our crazies go off, they target the government, not streets that are crowded with people.”
While it’s difficult thing to do i will be writing about the ramification of the Boston as I see them in my life with the hope of generating actual discussion instead of hate-speak/News-Speak and double talk. Probably also when all is said and done I will go to Boston and lay soem flowers down , anyone who wants to join is welcome.
Moreover, I am cognizant of the interrelatedness of all communities and states. I cannot sit idly by in Atlanta and not be concerned about what happens in Birmingham. Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly. Never again can we afford to live with the narrow, provincial “outside agitator” idea. Anyone who lives inside the United States can never be considered an outsider anywhere within its bounds.
Swedish citizens stand in solidarity with pregnant Muslim woman after she was beaten: here.
Britain: Man who admits killing 82-year-old Muslim in Birmingham, UK, also says he plotted explosions near mosques: here.
The explosion of two bombs Monday afternoon at the Boston Marathon has been accompanied by a rush to judgment by the media, in which claims of a broad new terror attack are being made without any factual substantiation.
The bombs exploded near the finish line of the marathon in the heart of the city’s downtown area. According to media reports, at least three people were killed and 144 wounded, including 15 with critical injuries. Witnesses on the scene and at hospitals have reported that the injuries include amputated lower limbs.
The explosions took place within about 20 seconds of one another and 50-100 yards apart, while thousands of marathoners were still running and many thousands of spectators were lined up along the route. The blasts shattered storefront windows, sending shards of glass and other debris into the crowd.
No individual or organization has as yet claimed responsibility for this brutal and criminal act.
Copley Square was evacuated and will reportedly remain closed off for 24 hours. Parts of the city’s public transit system were shut down and aircraft grounded for several hours at Logan International Airport, but service resumed in the early evening.
The federal government increased security around the White House, and New York City announced it had elevated its security operations.
In a press conference several hours after the blasts, Boston Police Commissioner Edward Davis said there was a third explosion several miles away at the John F. Kennedy Library, which authorities were treating as related to the bombings at the marathon. However, officials subsequently said the incident at the JFK Library was “fire-related” and not connected to the marathon bombings.
There were also multiple press reports of a third bomb deliberately detonated by authorities following the initial blasts, and the Associated Press cited an unnamed intelligence official as saying at least one other device was found in the area of the race.
In the absence of clear facts or forensic evidence, many of the statements made by the media amounted to pure speculation, aimed at promoting an unstated political agenda and encouraging a mood of panic. Many assertions contradicted one another. For example, some commentators claimed the explosive devices were small and primitive, while others said they were sophisticated and indicated the work of a terrorist organization.
Some media outlets in particular seemed bent on steering the public toward the view that the Boston events were a terror attack along the lines of 9/11. CNN’s Wolf Blitzer directed the network’s reportage along these lines, encouraging his “expert” commentators to make wide-ranging claims within minutes of the explosions and while the mayhem on the streets of Boston was still unfolding. Jane Harmon, the former Democratic chair of the House Intelligence Committee, appearing as a CNN commentator, claimed the bombings pointed in the direction of Al Qaeda.
The Murdoch press’ New York Post ran a banner headline, “Clearly an Act of Terror,” and featured a second article headlined “Authorities ID suspect as Saudi national in marathon bombings, under guard at Boston hospital.”
NBC Evening News featured as its terrorism expert Michael Leitner, former director of the US National Counterterrorism Center under both the Bush and Obama administrations. Without any factual substantiation, Leitner declared that the bombings were the act of a “terrorist organization.”
However, President Obama, in a brief statement from the White House delivered at about 6 PM, pointedly refrained from labeling the incident as an act of terror. He said the “full resources of the federal government” and the “full weight of justice” would be deployed against those responsible, while admitting that the government did not know “who did this or why.”
There appeared to be an element of confusion or conflict within the state over the response to the bombings. The media widely reported that the Federal Bureau of Investigation had declared the bombings to be a terrorist act. And only minutes after Obama’s White House statement, a “senior administration official” told Fox News, “When multiple devices go off, that’s an act of terrorism.”
It is necessary to treat all of the initial reports by the media with extreme skepticism. Whether the Boston bombing was a terror attack by Al Qaeda or by a home-grown right-wing organization, or an act carried out with state involvement, remains unknown.
In maintaining a critical attitude and avoiding falling prey to media manipulation, it is useful to recall the role of the media in previous cases of alleged terrorist attacks. In the anthrax incidents that occurred shortly after 9/11, for example, the media made sweeping claims of Al Qaeda and Islamist involvement, none of which proved to be true.
The leading fighting group in the US-backed war against the Syrian government has announced its loyalty to Al Qaeda: here.
Havana, Apr 16 (Prensa Latina) The Cuban Government condemned today the terrorist attacks perpetrated yesterday near the finish line of a marathon in the city of Boston, in the United States, which killed three people and wounded another 176, including 17 reported in critical condition: here.
President Barack Obama used a briefing Tuesday to declare the bombings the day before at the Boston Marathon “an act of terror,” though the FBI and police still had neither suspects nor a motive for the attacks: here.
While the nation, including the people of Boston, have remained calm, deeply saddened and shocked by the bombings as they are, the media and their leading personnel present a picture of disorientation and panic: here.
As federal trial opens. Judge limits evidence on role of main perpetrator of Boston Marathon bombings: here.