New York Catholic child abuse scandal


This video from New York City in the USA says about itself:

18 September 2018

The Brooklyn Diocese has agreed to pay a $27.5 million sex abuse settlement to four victims allegedly raped by a former church employee.

Translated from Dutch NOS TV today:

Four men who were repeatedly abused by a religious teacher when they were children have reached a settlement with the diocese of Brooklyn. The victims together will receive 27.5 million dollars, almost 7 million per person. It is one of the largest settlements that the Roman Catholic Church in the US has had to pay to individual victims.

The abuse took place between 2003 and 2009, the victims were then between 8 and 12 years old. The perpetrator is a 67-year-old volunteer who gave, eg, catechism lessons.

He was arrested in 2009 after one of the victims told his mother about the abuse. The teacher pleaded guilty and was sentenced to 15 years in prison.

Hundreds of settling cases

The victims started a case against the diocese 5 years ago. The diocese claimed it was not responsible because the perpetrator was a volunteer and not a paid church employee. Also, the abuse, they said, did not happen on church grounds.

This report says the abuse happened in the church, in the teacher of religion’s place behind the church and at the child care facility.

Lawyers of the victims argued that the abuser did receive money from the church and that he had his office in a diocese building.

The Brooklyn diocese has hundreds of other settlement cases. In most cases, the crimes are barred and the victims can no longer go to court.

Angelo Serrano

This photo shows Angelo Serrano, the perpetrator. Though on the photo his clothes suggest he is a priest, he apparently isn’t. His official title was director of religion at St. Lucy’s-St. Patrick’s Church. This report says other church people saw signs that Serrano abused children, but did not report him.

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US Murdoch muppet Hannity’s stupid attack on Ocasio-Cortez


This 28 June 2018 video from the USA is called Clueless [Rupert Murdoch Fox News mouthpiece Sean] Hannity Attacks [Alexandria] Ocasio-Cortez [who just won a New York City primary election by beating a Clintonite corporate Democrat politician] By Citing Her Awesome Policies.

DROP-OFF VOTERS DIDN’T DROP OFF Data on the New York Democratic congressional primary win for Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez suggests she was propelled to victory by the district’s gentrifying neighborhoods. [The Intercept]

LEFT SHOCKER IN BOSTON Boston City Council member Ayanna Pressley beat 10-term incumbent Rep. Michael Capuano (D-Mass.) to win the Democratic nomination for Massachusetts’ 7th Congressional District. Building on progressive momentum sparked by Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez in New York this summer, Pressley is likely to become her state’s first black congresswoman. [HuffPost] [Tweet | Share on Facebook]

HANNITY: BLAME DEMS Sean Hannity, the Fox TV entertainer and White House glove puppet, suggested that Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Calif.) was somehow responsible for a shooting at the Capital Gazette earlier in the day. Online, members of the far-right, who bathe daily in the anti-media froth peddled by propagandists such as Hannity, celebrated the deaths of the five journalists gunned down in Annapolis. [HuffPost]

Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Calif.) has canceled events in Alabama and Texas scheduled for this weekend due to a “very serious death threats”.

‘I COULDN’T GIVE A…’ A Capital Gazette reporter responded to Trump’s tweet offering thoughts and prayers for the victims, telling CNN live on air: “I couldn’t give a f**k” about your prayers. Here are details of the five victims who lost their lives. [HuffPost]

TRUMP REFUSES FLAG REQUEST Trump has declined a request from the mayor of Annapolis that he order U.S. flags be flown at half-staff to honor the five newspaper employees shot dead in Maryland last week. [HuffPost]

Bloody truck attack in New York City


This video says about itself:

31 October 2017

US President Donald Trump is vowing to step up so-called “extreme vetting” of foreigners, in response to a truck ramming attack on cyclists and pedestrians in New York.

Eight people were killed, five of them from Argentina. Several others were injured in the incident – which the police are treating as a “terrorist attack”.

The 29-year-old suspect was shot at the scene in Lower Manhattan and taken to hospital.

Al Jazeera’s Gabriel Elizondo reports from New York.

By Josh Varlin in the USA:

Truck attack kills eight in New York City

1 November 2017

In an apparent terrorist attack, a 29-year-old man drove a truck down a bicycle path in Lower Manhattan Tuesday afternoon, killing eight and wounding at least 11 people, as of this writing. Law enforcement identified Sayfullo Habibullaevic Saipov, an Uzbek national who came to the United States in 2010, as the driver of the truck.

According to New York City Police Commissioner James P. O’Neill, Saipov drove a rented Home Depot pickup truck some 20 blocks down a bicycle path along the Hudson River just after 3 p.m., hitting pedestrians and bicyclists. He then crashed the truck into a school bus at the intersection of Chambers Street and the West Side Highway, injuring four additional people, including two children.

According to O’Neill, Saipov then exited the truck with a paintball gun and a pellet gun, prompting a New York Police Department officer to shoot him. Saipov is currently in a local hospital. Federal officials are reportedly taking over the investigation into the incident.

Early reports of the attack indicated that there was an active shooter situation after the collision with the school bus, but only the police officer on the scene had a real gun.

Journalists and eyewitnesses reported seeing mangled bicycles and covered bodies on the scene. The 11 injured people reportedly suffered “injuries that were described as serious but not life-threatening,” according to CBS News.

According to NJ.com, “Police surrounded a mosque and surrounding garden apartments in Paterson [New Jersey] Tuesday evening.”

Beyond Saipov’s status as an immigrant from Uzbekistan, a former Soviet Republic in Central Asia, little is known of the suspected attacker. NJ.com interviewed one of Saipov’s neighbors in Paterson, who said that Saipov had just moved there for a few months. The neighbor said that he saw Saipov occasionally with the latter’s wife and children around town, including at the local mosque.

It is not clear how religious Saipov was. “Omar Khan, a 17-year-old who said he prays at the mosque five times a day, said he did not remember seeing Saipov,” reports NJ.com.

Saipov seems to have moved extensively since arriving in the United States in 2010. His van carried Florida plates, and ABC News said that multiple law enforcement officials identified him as hailing from Tampa, Florida.

The Cincinnati Enquirer reports that in 2011 Saipov incorporated a business in a suburb of Cincinnati, Ohio and also listed Stow, Ohio as a previous address. When stopped by police in 2012 and 2015 (both times in Pennsylvania), he gave a Paterson, New Jersey address.

Students from Borough of Manhattan Community College look down at the scene of the attack on West Street

Students from Borough of Manhattan Community College look down at the scene of the attack on West Street

According to anonymous statements from law enforcement, Saipov shouted “Allahu akbar”, which means “God is great”

No, “God is the greatest

in Arabic, during the attack. The phrase is often shouted during acts of Islamist-inspired terror.

It was shouted during a bloody Islamophobic attack on a Quebec mosque as well, to confuse police. Very often, “Allahu akbar” has nothing to do with terrorism. It is an expression like ‘Oh my God’ or ‘Jesus Christ!’ by people from Christian backgrounds.

Before the mechanism of the attack was clear, the reported phrase and Saipov’s immigration status were made the center of media coverage and politicians’ responses.

Two hours after the attack, and before any investigation had taken place, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio labeled it an “act of terror” and encouraged vigilance. “Be vigilant and know that there will be extensive additional employments of NYPD officers this evening and throughout the days ahead.”

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo echoed de Blasio’s remarks, calling the attack an example of “lone wolves who commit an act of terror” and saying that there is currently “no evidence to suggest a wider plot or a wider scheme.”

Cuomo then struck a particularly law-and-order tone: “We will be vigilant—more police everywhere, you’ll see them in the airports, you’ll see them in the tunnels. It’s not because there’s any evidence of any ongoing threat or any additional threat, it is just out of vigilance and out of caution.”

He then said that “New York is an international symbol of freedom and democracy,” which “makes us a target for those people who oppose those concepts.” Cuomo’s answer to this is the further militarization of the city.

President Donald Trump, who used every alleged Islamist terrorist act during the 2016 election campaign to demonize Muslims and stoke his far-right base, continued this pattern after Tuesday’s events. “We must not allow ISIS to return, or enter, our country after defeating them in the Middle East and elsewhere. Enough!” the president tweeted a few hours after the attack. Trump subsequently tweeted that he had ordered the Department of Homeland Security to “step up our already Extreme Vetting Program. Being politically correct is fine, but not for this!”

While police reportedly found a note in the truck claiming that the attack had been carried out in the name of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), no direct link between Tuesday’s events and ISIS has been established.

The president’s response appears to put Uzbekistan and its population on notice that they could be the next target of US intervention or “assistance” as in Niger, while also dovetailing with Trump’s reactionary efforts to ban Muslims from entering the US.

New York City’s annual Halloween parade Tuesday night was the scene of additional militarization, with the attack serving as a pretext for a massive police deployment. NYPD Chief of Department Carlos Gomez told a news conference: “We will proceed with the parade and certainly we’ve added more resources, more police officers, heavy weapons teams, blocker vehicles on the street leading to the route as well as more sand truck[s]. There’s also heavy weapons teams being deployed throughout the city at key, iconic locations.”

Eric Philips, de Blasio’s press secretary, tweeted, “The Halloween Parade will go on, with NYPD dramatically increasing presence (personnel, blocker trucks, long guns etc).”

Tuesday’s attack was similar to previous attacks using trucks, including one in Nice, France in July 2016 and one on a Berlin Christmas market in December 2016, which have been used to justify the deportation of refugees and the curtailment of democratic rights. Recent investigations indicate that the latter may have been instigated by an undercover agent for the North Rhine-Westphalia State Criminal Bureau.

Here’s what we know about Sayfullo Habibullaevic Saipov, the suspect in custody, and the victims of the attack.

New York truck attack: Trump would consider sending suspect to Guantánamo: here.

President Trump has used Tuesday’s terror attack in New York City, in which the driver of a rental truck killed eight people and seriously injured a dozen more, to call for further attacks on immigration and democratic rights. At a press conference on Wednesday, he told the media that he had set in motion plans to eliminate the Diversity Lottery Program, under the auspices of which the driver, Sayfullo Saipov, entered the United States in 2010 from Uzbekistan. The program allows 50,000 immigrants from countries that have historically low rates of immigration to the US: here.

Pentagon wars come home to New York City


This video from the USA says about itself:

Many Vietnam veterans still struggle with PTSD

22 July 2015

New research shows more than a quarter-million Vietnam veterans are struggling with post-traumatic stress disorder, 40 years after the war ended. Kenneth Craig reports from New York.

By Eric London in the USA:

Veteran drives through crowd in Times Square: The war comes home

20 May 2017

On Thursday, a 26-year-old military veteran named Richard Rojas drove his Honda Accord through a crowded sidewalk in New York City’s Times Square, killing an 18-year-old Michigan woman and wounding 22. Rojas says he was on Phenycylidine (PCP) and that he intended to kill passers-by.

After crashing through the crowd, Rojas ran around screaming and waving his arms. He evidently told police that god told him to commit this horrible act. He had previously reported hearing voices in his head. He allegedly told police, “You were supposed to shoot me!”

At a press conference following the incident, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio announced, “There is no indication that this was an act of terrorism.”

By this, de Blasio meant that Rojas had no association with an organized terrorist group. But, in a larger sense, this tragedy is the product of the terror wreaked by US imperialism across the world, poisoning social relations domestically and breaking the minds of countless young enlisted people.

In an interview with the New York Times, Rojas’ childhood friend, Hansel Guerrero, explained that Rojas joined the Navy as “a journey out of the New York life.” Guerrero and Rojas lived in the same apartment building on Walton Avenue in the working-class neighborhood of Mount Eden, in New York’s Bronx borough.

Guerrero told the Times: “People go and they serve their country and they come back crazy and nobody helps them.”

Rojas, whose mother is Dominican, worked in auto shops and dreamed of graduating from college. He joined the Navy in 2011, working as an electrician’s mate until he was dishonorably discharged in 2014. It is not clear whether he served in a combat zone. While stationed at a Naval base in Jacksonville, Florida, Rojas was arrested in 2012 for threatening violence against police. In 2013, the Navy locked him up for two months in a military jail, though it has not been reported why.

Rojas’ friends explained that he wasn’t the same upon returning from the Navy. On April 15, 2015, he was convicted for driving while intoxicated.

Reuters spoke with another of Rojas’ friends, Harrison Ramos: “Rojas returned from his Navy service with a drinking problem and had posted ‘crazy stuff’ on social media,” the news service reported.

Ramos told Reuters: “Don’t make him out to be a terrorist or something. He served his country and when he came back, nobody helped him. He went through a real rough time. That’s my friend, and it hurts.”

“He finally came home, and it was hard for him to find a job,” Ramos added. “He was having a lot of bad nightmares. He was talking crazy. He was acting strange.”

The Times reported: “His mind was clouded with conspiracy theories. His dreams of opening his own clothing business had wilted. He lashed out at friends who challenged him; some thought his grasp of reality slipped and that he needed psychiatric help.

“During a string of arrests in recent years, Mr. Rojas once threatened to kill police officers, and last week accused a notary of trying to steal his identity and grabbed his neck, the authorities said.”

The sentiments expressed by Rojas’ friends are commonplace in a country where hundreds of thousands of veterans have been broken by the weight of a quarter century of war. There are many young people in the US who know a veteran who “came back crazy” with “nobody to help them,” as Rojas’ friends put it. Some counties have even set up special court programs for veterans convicted of crimes.

Last month, a 23-year-old Army veteran in North Carolina strapped her service dog to a tree and shot it five times before posting a video of the execution to Facebook. The dog was intended to help her with her Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), and the episode calls to mind the first line of Phil Klay’s Redeployment, a series of short stories about returning veterans and the ongoing wars: “We shot dogs.”

On May 16, 24-year-old Edwin Fuentes was shot to death by police following a stand-off in Tustin, California. Fuentes was an Afghanistan veteran who suffered from PTSD. His neighbor, another veteran, told the OC Register that Fuentes “was having problems and he wanted other vets to talk to.”

A 2016 study from the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) revealed that 20 veterans kill themselves every day—over 116,000 since 2001, roughly the size of the population of Michigan’s state capital, Lansing.

A survey of Iraq and Afghanistan veterans also revealed that a majority of veterans have contemplated suicide. A 2017 VA report found that female veterans are two to five times more likely to kill themselves than civilian women, in part due to the prevalence of rape and sexual abuse within the military.

The reactionary climate of nationalism and brutality engendered by the US military has transformed the social composition of the country.

The US Defense Department is the country’s largest employer, with 3.2 million employees, military and civilian. As the strike force of corporate America, the military exerts an immense power over all of the “official” institutions of American capitalism.

It’s reactionary culture, of idealizing violence and justifying its crimes in countries like Iraq and Afghanistan through hyper-nationalism, permeates into broader sections of society, altering not only the personal lives of millions of veterans, but also the social psychology of the country as a whole. No American is unfamiliar with the nauseating displays of militarism in everyday life: the bomber fly-overs before sporting events, Marine Corps recruiters in high schools, the use of tanks and assault rifles by local police.

In the words of Shakespeare’s Edward IV: “They shall have wars and pay for their presumption.” The personal breakdown of individuals like Richard Rojas exemplifies the breakdown of American society under the weight of US imperialism and capitalism.

Jewish school bus burnt in the USA


This video from New York City in the USA says about itself:

12 May 2017

Police say a man set fire to a Jewish school bus in Williamsburg.

The incident happened last month near Division and Bedford avenues. Police say the suspect got into the parked and unoccupied bus.

through its emergency door and started a fire that caused damage to the front area of the bus. He then took off.

“Our city has zero tolerance for violent acts of anti-Semitism,” the mayor wrote. “We must stand as one against acts of intimidation.”

Police say the suspect was last seen wearing a sweatsuit and dark-colored sneakers. Surveillance video of him was released on Wednesday.

Anyone with information can call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-577-TIPS.