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Jesse Taylor
Works at Unincorporated
Attended Siler Bald
Lives in Olympia, WA
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Jacob Applebaum in Hamburg, Germany
"To Protect and Infect, Part 2: The Militarization of the Internet"

#NSA #Surveillance #privacy #security  
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888,000 square miles (2.3 million square kilometers) of forest has vanished since 2000 .... roughly the area of land East of the Mississippi River.

#deforestation #forests #maps #GIS  
Jesse Taylor's profile photoYolanda Bertaud's profile photo
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Jesse Taylor

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They’re involved in Algeria and Angola, Benin and Botswana, Burkina Faso and Burundi, Cameroon and the Cape Verde Islands. And that’s just the ABCs of the situation. Skip to the end of the alphabet and the story remains the same: Senegal and the Seychelles, Togo and Tunisia, Uganda and Zambia. From north to south, east to west, the Horn of Africa to the Sahel, the heart of the continent to the islands off its coasts, the U.S. military is at work. Base construction, security cooperation engagements, training exercises, advisory deployments, special operations missions, and a growing logistics network, all undeniable evidence of expansion -- except at U.S. Africa Command.

To hear AFRICOM tell it, U.S. military involvement on the continent ranges from the miniscule to the microscopic. The command is adamant that it has only a single “military base” in all of Africa: Camp Lemonnier in Djibouti. The head of the command insists that the U.S. military maintains a “small footprint” on the continent. AFRICOM’s chief spokesman has consistently minimized the scope of its operations and the number of facilities it maintains or shares with host nations, asserting that only “a small presence of personnel who conduct short-duration engagements” are operating from “several locations” on the continent at any given time.

With the war in Iraq over and the conflict in Afghanistan winding down, the U.S. military is deploying its forces far beyond declared combat zones. In recent years, for example, Washington has very publicly proclaimed a “pivot to Asia,” a “rebalancing” of its military resources eastward, without actually carrying out wholesale policy changes. Elsewhere, however, from the Middle East to South America, the Pentagon is increasingly engaged in shadowy operations whose details emerge piecemeal and are rarely examined in a comprehensive way. Nowhere is this truer than in Africa. To the media and the American people, officials insist the U.S. military is engaged in small-scale, innocuous operations there. Out of public earshot, officers running America’s secret wars say: “Africa is the battlefield of tomorrow, today.”

The proof is in the details -- a seemingly ceaseless string of projects, operations, and engagements. Each mission, as AFRICOM insists, may be relatively limited and each footprint might be “small” on its own, but taken as a whole, U.S. military operations are sweeping and expansive. Evidence of an American pivot to Africa is almost everywhere on the continent. Few, however, have paid much notice.

If the proverbial picture is worth a thousand words, then what’s a map worth? Take, for instance, the one created by TomDispatch that documents U.S. military outposts, construction, security cooperation, and deployments in Africa. It looks like a field of mushrooms after a monsoon. U.S. Africa Command recognizes 54 countries on the continent, but refuses to say in which ones (or even in how many) it now conducts operations. An investigation by TomDispatch has found recent U.S. military involvement with no fewer than 49 African nations.

In some, the U.S. maintains bases, even if under other names. In others, it trains local partners and proxies to battle militants ranging from Somalia’s al-Shabab and Nigeria’s Boko Haram to members of Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb. Elsewhere, it is building facilities for its allies or infrastructure for locals. Many African nations are home to multiple U.S. military projects. Despite what AFRICOM officials say, a careful reading of internal briefings, contracts, and other official documents, as well as open source information, including the command’s own press releases and news items, reveals that military operations in Africa are already vast and will be expanding for the foreseeable future. [...]


Read the rest of the article here:

#AFRICOM #Africa #War #USMilitary #imperialism #Colonialism #SOCOM #CIA  
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In recent weeks, US officials have been falling over one another to denounce the brutality of the Bashar al-Assad regime in Syria. President Obama has accused it of committing "outrageous bloodshed" and called for Assad to stand down; Hillary Clinton has referred to the Syrian leader as a "tyrant"; Elliot Abrams, deputy national security adviser under George W Bush, has called Syria a "vicious enemy".

I can't help but wonder what Maher Arar must make of such comments. Arar, a telecommunications engineer born in Syria, moved to Canada as a teenager in 1987 and became a citizen in 1991.

On 26 September 2002, he was arrested at JFK airport in New York, where he had been in transit, on his way home to Canada after a family holiday abroad. Following 13 days of questioning, the US authorities, suspecting Arar of ties to al-Qaida based on flawed Canadian police intelligence, "rendered" him not to Canada, where he lived, but to his native Syria, from where his family had fled 15 years earlier.

For the next 10 months, he was detained without charge in a three-foot by six-foot Syrian prison cell where, according to the findings of an official Canadian commission of inquiry, he was tortured. Arar says he was punched, kicked and whipped with an electrical cable during 18-hour interrogation sessions. He received C$10.5m in compensation from the Canadian government and a formal apology from prime minister Stephen Harper for the country's role in his ordeal.

A decade on, the question remains: why did the US deport Arar to a "vicious enemy" country run by a "tyrant"? Was it because Canada couldn't use torture to interrogate Arar, so they decided to send him to Syria, which would? Human- rights groups have long believed the unstated aim of so-called "extraordinary rendition" was to subject terror suspects to aggressive methods of interrogation abroad that are illegal in America.

US officials cannot feign ignorance. They had every reason to believe the Syrians would abuse Arar. Six months earlier, in March 2002, the US state department's human rights report on Syria had concluded that "continuing serious abuses include the use of torture in detention". Arar claims his Syrian torturers were supplied with specific questions by the US government; he was asked the exact same questions in Damascus he had been asked in New York.

After his release, in October 2003, both Syria and Canada publicly cleared Arar of any links to terrorism. But the US government – first under Bush, and now under Obama – refuses to discuss the matter, let alone apologise. The Arar case wasn't a one-off. According to the New Yorker's Jane Mayer, who has spent much of the past decade investigating what she calls "the dark side" of the war on terror, Syria was one of the "most common" destinations for rendered suspects. Or, in the chilling words of former CIA agent Robert Baer, in 2004: "If you want a serious interrogation, you send a prisoner to Jordan. If you want them to be tortured, you send them to Syria."

Mohammed Haydar Zammar, a Syrian-born German citizen and alleged al-Qaida recruiter, was arrested in Morocco in October 2001 and rendered by the CIA to Syria, where he was held incommunicado in the notorious Far'Falastin detention centre. "US officials in Damascus submit written questions to the Syrians, who relay Zammar's answers back," reported Time magazine in July 2002. "State department officials like the arrangement because it insulates the US government from any torture the Syrians may be applying to Zammar."

The evidence is overwhelming: in the months and years after 9/11, the US collaborated closely with Syria, which became an ally in the war on terror and a frequent destination for victims of extraordinary rendition. Syrian torturers worked hand in hand with US interrogators.

These days, however, US politicians from across the spectrum piously condemn the Syrian regime for its crimes against humanity; two weeks ago, a bipartisan group of senators introduced a resolution condemning Assad for "gross human rights violations" and the use of "torture". Who says Americans don't do irony, eh?

#Syria #Torture #CIA #blacksites #HumanRights #WarOnTerror  
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Victims of the U.S. drone strike on December 12, which attacked a wedding party in Yemen, killing at least 15 people and wounding dozens more. 

This strike was authorized by Obama just two days after he gave his hollow speech praising Nelson Mandela and comparing him to MLK and Gandhi. Obama said that Mandela "makes him want to be a better man". A good first step would be to stop murdering people who are attending wedding parties.

#obama   #drones   #warcrimes   #yemen   #weddings   #cia   #murder  
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"While citing the important work of INCITE: Women of Color Against Violence, Law argues that "today, abuse is treated as an individual pathology rather than a broader social issue rooted in centuries of patriarchy and misogyny. Viewing abuse as an individual problem has meant that the solution becomes intervening in and punishing individual abusers without looking at the overall conditions that allow abuse to go unchallenged and also allows the state to begin to co-opt concerns about gendered violence."

Furthermore, "the threat of imprisonment does not deter abuse; it simply drives it further underground. Remember that there are many forms of abuse and violence, and not all are illegal. It also sets up a false dichotomy in which the survivor has to choose between personal safety and criminalizing and/or imprisoning a loved one. Arrest and imprisonment does not reduce, let alone prevent, violence. Building structures and networks to address the lack of options and resources available to women is more effective. Challenging patriarchy and male supremacy is a much more effective solution, although it is not one that funders and the state want to see," says Law.

In our new video interview, Law builds upon her earlier prison abolitionist critique by discussing practical alternatives for effectively confronting gender violence without using the prison system. She cites many success stories where women, not wanting to work with the police, instead collectively organized in an autonomous fashion. Law stresses that at the foundation of these anti-violence projects is the idea that gender violence needs to be a seen as a community issue, as opposed to simply being a problem for the individual to deal with.

One group spotlighted, Sistah II Sistah/Hermana a Hermana, in New York City, was formed to confront both interpersonal violence and state violence. They formed discussion groups where experiences are shared and the women collectively decide what tactics and strategies to employ. In one instance, they confronted an ex-boyfriend, who was stalking a member of the group, by going to his workplace, where they demanded he stop and successfully enlisted the support of his employer and co-workers.

Self-defense advocacy and training is another tactic employed by many of the groups cited by Law. For example, in the 1970s, two feminist martial artists founded Brooklyn Women's Martial Arts (BWMA), later renamed the Center for Anti-Violence Education in the 1980s. Along with teaching practical self defense techniques at sliding-scale classes, Law emphasizes that the Center also focused on the larger picture of how violence "holds different types of oppressions together," resulting in a complex situation for poor women of color."

Vikki Law: Resisting Gender Violence Without Cops or Prisons

#violence #domesticviolence #sexualassault #rape #selfdefense #police #prisons #gender
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The Egyptian army began demolishing homes along the country’s border with the Gaza Strip today, an Israeli-style tactic carried out under the pretext of creating a “buffer zone” to “reduce weapons smuggling and illegal crossings by militants.”

In fact, Egypt is tightening its side of the Israeli blockade of the Gaza Strip, deepening the economic and medical crisis faced by the territory’s almost 1.7 million Palestinian residents.

The dramatic effects of the tightening siege are revealed in the July monthly humanitarian report, published on 23 August by the UN’s Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA).

Meanwhile, the UN reports that Israel more than doubled its number of violent attacks on Gaza fishermen in the first half of this year.

Since the military coup that overthrew Egypt’s elected president Muhammad Morsi on 3 July, Egyptian authorities have kept the Rafah border crossing with Gaza closed for prolonged periods or operating far below normal levels.

“The average number of people passing per day in July was 540, less than 30 per cent of the approximately 1,860 who crossed daily in June,” OCHA notes.

“The crossing remains the primary exit and entry point to the Gaza Strip for Palestinians, due to the long-standing restrictions imposed by Israel on pedestrian movement via the Erez Crossing.”

Egypt has justified its restrictions often based on fabricated and baseless allegations demonizing Palestinians and claiming that Hamas and Palestinians in Gaza are engaged in hostilities against Egypt.

With the border so restricted, the effect on people traveling for medical care has been severe.

The Palestinian Authority health ministry routinely refers patients in Gaza for treatment at hospitals in Egypt or Israel – services for which it must pay – due to the inadequacy of health services in the occupied territory.

In July, however, “a total of 131 patients, of whom 22 were children up to 17 years old, were referred by the [health ministry] to Egypt, less than half the usual number,” OCHA reported.

But there were “no compensatory increases” in “referrals through Erez checkpoint to the West Bank and Israel, or to non-Ministry facilities within Gaza in July, suggesting that patients chose to delay medical treatment, rather than seek to obtain a permit to exit through Erez to alternative hospitals.”

Obtaining permission to travel through the Erez crossing into present-day Israel remains onerous and harrowing for Palestinians and, as OCHA states, “Patients aged 18-40 years, especially males, are most often required to submit to Israeli security interviews as part of the application process for permits to exit via Erez. Companions must also apply for permits, and may likewise be called for interviews.”

Israel has often attempted to blackmail Palestinian patients into becoming informers for its secret services in exchange for permission to receive life-saving medical care.

Along with medical patients, thousands of students and other travelers have faced long delays, or have been unable to travel at all.

Since the coup in Egypt, OCHA reports, “the Ministry of Health in Gaza began restricting X-rays and limiting certain drugs to emergency use only, due to low supplies and the unreliable flow of medical supplies via the Rafah Crossing.”

At the end of July, “27 per cent (128 items) of essential medicines were at zero stock in the Central Drug Store in Gaza and 16 per cent (78 items) were at low stock (between 1-3 months’ supply).”

#Palestine #Israel #Gaza #Apartheid #HumanRights  
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Jesse Taylor

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Radiated water leaking from tanks at Japan's crippled Fukushima nuclear plant is 18 times more dangerous than had been previously reported.

The Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO), which owns the Dai-Ichi Fukushima plant, originally said the radiation emitted by the leaking water was 100 millisieverts an hour.

Now, the company admits, the testing equipment used in the previously announced August 22nd testing could only read measurements of up to a maximum of 100 millisieverts.

Saturday's test, using a more accurate device, showed a level of 1,800 millisieverts an hour, a level that Reuters says is "enough to kill an exposed person in four hours."

In addition, TEPCO announced Sunday that it has discovered a leak on another pipe emitting radiation levels of 230 millisieverts an hour. TEPCO said it halted the leak from a pipe connecting two water storage tanks by patching it with plastic tape just hours after stumbling upon the potentially lethal radioactive hot spot.

Japan Times reports Sunday:

    The pipe, which was leaking a drop about every 90
    seconds, was sealed using absorption material
    and plastic tape.

    A puddle of giving off 230 millisieverts per hour was
    found below it, TEPCO said.

    “We have to suspect that the high radiation levels
     were caused by the toxic water oozing from the
     flange connections,” a TEPCO spokesman said,
     adding that no conclusions had been reached.
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Have him in circles
23 people
JESSE R TAYLOR III's profile photo
Doug Riddels's profile photo
  • Unincorporated
    Miscellaneous Taskmaster, 1984 - present
Map of the places this user has livedMap of the places this user has livedMap of the places this user has lived
Olympia, WA
Gardener, programmer, forest critter
  • Siler Bald
    Wilderness Skills / Adventure Studies, 2006 - 2007
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