Paris Shooting

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Gawker, CNN’s Jim Clancy Resigns After Twitter Rant About Israeli Propaganda, Jan. 16, 2015. CNN International correspondent Jim Clancy has left the cable news channel, where he worked for 34 years, according to an internal memo obtained by TVNewser. CNN confirmed Clancy’s departure in a separate statement: “We thank him for more than three decades of distinguished service, and wish him nothing but the best.” But the network declined to comment on a series of bizarre tweets—in which Clancy seemed to suggest that Israeli propaganda had a hand in the Charlie Hebdo massacre in Paris—which preceded his abrupt resignation. On January 7, Clancy began tweeting about why, exactly, Charlie Hebdo published cartoon caricatures of Mohammad; his personal theory was that the newspaper wanted to mock not the Muslim prophet but people who “distort his word”:

Cornell Daily Sun, Students Took Over Willard Straight Hall 45 Years Ago, Tyler Alicea, April 18, 2014. Forty-five years ago Saturday, approximately 100 black students took over Willard Straight Hall and ejected University employees and Parents’ Weekend visitors from the building. Over a day later, the students marched out of the Straight with rifles, leading to weeks of response from a divided University, which became known nationally as “Cornell’s capitulation.”

‘An Object on the Front Porch’

On April 18, 1969 at 2:53 a.m., the head of the Wari House, Charisse A. Cannady ’69, pulled a fire alarm. Minutes later, she called the University’s Safety Division, the policing body on campus at the time, to report that there was “an object on the front porch and the girls were afraid to go investigate.”

Once Ithaca Police Department Detective Edward Traynor arrived on the scene, he discovered a flaming cross on the building’s front porch. Traynor kicked the cross of the porch and extinguished the fire. None of the 12 residents of the Wari House were injured.

Blacks students blamed whites for the fire and denied allegations that they had set the cross on fire themselves. One Cornell administrator described the cross burning as a “Reichstag fire,” referencing the 1933 fire at the German parliament that Adolf Hitler used to justify taking power.

The Takeover

The next day, approximately 100 black students entered Willard Straight through an unlocked kitchen door around 5:30 a.m. The students divided themselves into three groups to evict the occupants of the Straight: one to remove maintenance workers, a second for dining workers and a third for guests.

Parents staying in the Straight for Parents’ Weekend were awoken by black students running through the halls shouting “Fire!” and banging on doors. Guests were given 10 minutes to gather their belongings and leave the Straight.

By 6:15 a.m., the black students had complete control of the Straight. Nearly an hour later, approximately 50 members of Students for a Democratic Society gathered outside the Straight in support of the occupants.

Administrators were notified and met throughout the day across campus to discuss the takeover. At 9:15 a.m., administrators announced through a bullhorn that the black students would be found guilty of trespassing if they did not leave the building. Later, the University opted to not take action on this issue.

Within the next hour, between 20 to 25 white fraternity members — mostly from the Delta Upsilon fraternity — attempted to enter the Straight from a broken window in the WVBR studios. A brother of Delta Upsilon later said that the purpose of entering the building was ultimately to talk to the black students to “find out what made them go to such extreme measures.”

The white students were ousted from the Straight and were driven out of the same window that they originally entered.

At 12:30 p.m., the AAS issued three demands to the University: that convictions against black students for previous protests be nullified, that Cornell reconsider a low-income housing project and that a full investigation of the cross burning incident at the Wari House be conducted.
Arming the Straight

Blacks inside the Straight had heard rumors that fraternity brothers were planning on attacking the Straight after the Delta Upsilon brothers were run out of the building. Between 9:45 and 10 p.m. the occupants received 17 rifles and shotguns from blacks outside the Straight, according to a Safety officer.

Vice President for Public Affairs Steven Muller Ph.D. ’58 said the administration chose not to act on the arming of the students in the Straight because the University “would have found [itself] in a position where [it] would have been open to the possibility of scuffling or incidents around the periphery.”

By the following morning, administrators concluded that if the students did not leave the Straight, someone would eventually be hurt. Negotiations began between Edward Whitfield ’71 and administrators early Sunday morning over the phone. Administrators ultimately met with an unarmed Whitfield and other AAS members to negotiate.

Later that afternoon, administrators returned to the Straight to discuss issues regarding the guns. Whitfield requested that the administrators walk beside them to the AAS headquarters located at 320 Wait Ave., where they would sign the agreement drafted between the two parties.
The Departure

At 4:13 p.m. on Sunday, April 20, the front doors of Willard Straight Hall opened and the students emerged. After occupying the building for 35 hours, 110 black students exited the Straight, some wrapped in ammunition and carrying rifles and shotguns.


Washington Post, Holder limits seized-asset sharing process that split billions with local, state police, Robert O'Harrow Jr., Sari Horwitz and Steven Rich, Jan. 16, 2016. Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. on Friday barred local and state police from using federal law to seize cash, cars and other property without warrants or criminal charges. Holder’s action represents the most sweeping check on police power to confiscate personal property since the seizures began three decades ago as part of the war on drugs. Since 2008, thousands of local and state police agencies have made more than 55,000 seizures of cash and property worth $3 billion under a civil asset forfeiture program at the Justice Department called Equitable Sharing. The program has enabled local and state police to make seizures and then have them “adopted” by federal agencies, which share in the proceeds. It allowed police departments and drug task forces to keep up to 80 percent of the proceeds of adopted seizures, with the rest going to federal agencies.

Washington Post, Author, survivor of 1984 rape at U-Va. now doubts Rolling Stone story, T. Rees Shapiro, Jan. 16, 2015. Liz Seccuro sees red flags in the magazine’s rape account, which has similarities to her own attack.
 
OpEdNews, Ruin Is Our Future, Paul Craig Roberts, Jan. 15, 2015. Americans need to understand that the only thing exceptional about the US is the ignorance of the population and the stupidity of the government. What other country would let a handful of Wall Street crooks control its economic and foreign policy, run its central bank and Treasury, and subordinate citizens' interests to the interests of the one percent's pocketbook?

Brookings Institution, On Immigration, House GOP Does What It Promised: Flexes Institutional Power, John Hudak | January 15, 2015. http://www.brookings.edu/blogs/fixgov/posts/2015/01/15-immigration-house-institutional-power-hudak?utm_campaign=Brookings+Brief&utm_source=hs_email&utm_medium=email&utm_content=15619921&_hsenc=p2ANqtz-_YVJUas7LiWP8RUoJf8rLqx3gvrEAYzmuXUBcbnAqn8Col0KqvBoLfW3c3ZtRqeHUGGi2kZ65cE65mZIMpIm7BtFH5Dg&_hsmi=15619921 Democrats and immigration advocacy groups reacted with anger as the House debated amendments to the Department of Homeland Security appropriations legislation this week—amendments that sought to reverse the president’s recent executive actions— The amendments are the latest battle in a war between the White House and Congress over immigration policy and the boundaries of power between the legislative and executive branches.

Previously on this blog, I have written that President Obama was acting within the constitutional, statutory, and legal bounds of his office in issuing the previous executive actions. Relying on prosecutorial discretion, exercising discretion in spending, and exploiting vague provisions within statutes is common practice among presidents trying to enact policy in areas where Congress has been sluggish or left open the door to change. Presidential power can be mighty in the American system, and Mr. Obama capitalized both on that power and on the promises he made in the 2012 campaign and after.

Now it is congressional Republicans’ turn. In the wake of the 2014 midterm elections, Republicans expanded their majority in the House of Representatives, picked up a majority in the Senate and now control both houses of Congress. They now have power, prerogative, and policy making capacity—in a more pronounced way than before—and they seek to wield it. President Obama has often spoken of elections having consequences, and he is absolutely right. The House’s efforts, this week, to reverse the President’s executive actions are among the consequences of the 2014 election.

Defenders of the President’s actions on subjective or public policy grounds surely have reason to be angry. Congressional efforts to undo these actions will have substantial effects on policy, if they go into effect. However, those who defended the President’s actions on the grounds of capacity, power, and the rule of law (as I have done repeatedly), must also defend what the Congress seeks to do.

The balance of power between the branches is not static. When Congress feels executive actions go too far, they have a series of paths to rein in the president. They can do so through limiting funding, by closing off the valves of delegated powers, or by filling in the blanks of vague statutory provisions upon which presidential power thrives. This is legislative power, and Congress is absolutely within its bounds to exercise this legislative power. In fact, those who believe the presidency has grown too powerful—regardless of their position on immigration policy—should applaud House efforts to limit the power of the executive.

The amendments in question came from Reps. Robert Aderholt (AL), Marsha Blackburn (TN), Ron DeSantis (FL), Matt Salmon (AZ), and Aaron Schock (IL). They try in different ways—and with varying capacities—to limit newly enacted immigration policies throughout the relevant agencies in the Department of Homeland Security.

Daily Mail, Turkish president accuses 'the West' of being behind Charlie Hebdo attacks and deliberately 'blaming Muslims' as conspiracy theories sweep the Internet accusing Israel of orchestrating it, Sara Malm, Jan. 13, 2015. The President of Turkey has suggested French security forces are to blame for the deadly terrorist attacks in Paris last week, since the culprits had recently served prison sentences. Recep Tayyip Erdoğan accused the West of 'playing games with the Islamic world,', warning fellow Muslims to be 'aware.' Erdogan said Muslims are 'paying the price' for the attacks on satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo and a Jewish kosher supermarket in Paris last week. 'French citizens carry out such a massacre, and Muslims pay the price,' Erdogan said yesterday.

Democracy Now, "Circus of Hypocrisy": Jeremy Scahill on How World Leaders at Paris March Oppose Press Freedom, Interview by Amy Goodman, Jan. 12, 2015. An estimated 3.7 million people rallied across France on Sunday in response to the Charlie Hebdo shootings and ensuing attacks that left 17 people dead. More than a million people marched in Paris, making it the largest demonstration in French history. More than 40 world leaders traveled to Paris to help lead the march. "What we saw on display on the one hand was very heartening, to see so many people come into the streets," says Jeremy Scahill, co-founder of The Intercept. "But on the other hand, this is a sort of circus of hypocrisy when it comes to all of those world leaders who were marching at the front of it. Every single one of those heads of state or representatives of governments there have waged their own wars against journalists."

Project Censored, Dr. Martin Luther King assassinated by US Govt: King Family civil trial verdict, Carl Herman, Jan. 12, 2015. Dr. Martin Luther King’s family and personal friend/attorney, William F. Pepper, won a civil trial that found US government agencies guilty of assassination/wrongful death. The 1999 trial, King Family versus Jowers and Other Unknown Co-Conspirators, is the only trial ever conducted on the assassination of Dr. King. The King Center fully documents the case, with full trial transcript. The overwhelming evidence of US government complicity found valid by the jury includes:

    US 111th Military Intelligence Group were at Dr. King’s location during the assassination.
    20th Special Forces Group had an 8-man sniper team at the assassination location on that day.
    Usual Memphis Police special body guards were advised they “weren’t needed” on the day of the assassination.
    Regular and constant police protection for Dr. King was removed from protecting Dr. King an hour before the assassination.
    Military Intelligence set-up photographers on the roof of a fire station with clear view to Dr. King’s balcony.
    Dr. King’s room was changed from a secure 1st-floor room to an exposed balcony room.
    Memphis police ordered the scene where multiple witnesses reported as the source of shooting cut down of their bushes that would have hid a sniper.
    Along with sanitizing a crime scene, police abandoned investigative procedure to interview witnesses who lived by the scene of the shooting.
    The rifle Mr. Ray delivered was not matched to the bullet that killed Dr. King, and was not sighted to accurately shoot.

Please read the above evidence twice to be clear on its overwhelming power.

The King family’s attempts for a criminal trial were always denied by state and federal government. Claimed suspect, James Ray, said that his government-appointed attorney told him to sign a guilty plea to prevent the death penalty and threatened arrests of his father and brother as co-conspirators for his only part in the assassination plot: delivering a rifle. Mr. Ray produced a letter from his attorney stating the promise that Mr. Ray would receive a trial. When Mr. Ray discovered that he was solely blamed for Dr. King’s assassination and would never receive a trial, Mr. Ray’s subsequent recants of his guilty plea and requests for trial were denied.

Daily Mail, Turkish president accuses 'the West' of being behind Charlie Hebdo attacks and deliberately 'blaming Muslims' as conspiracy theories sweep the Internet accusing Israel of orchestrating it, Sara Malm, Jan. 13, 2015. The President of Turkey has suggested French security forces are to blame for the deadly terrorist attacks in Paris last week, since the culprits had recently served prison sentences. Recep Tayyip Erdoğan accused the West of 'playing games with the Islamic world,', warning fellow Muslims to be 'aware.' Erdogan said Muslims are 'paying the price' for the attacks on satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo and a Jewish kosher supermarket in Paris last week. 'French citizens carry out such a massacre, and Muslims pay the price,' Erdogan said yesterday.

Democracy Now, "Circus of Hypocrisy": Jeremy Scahill on How World Leaders at Paris March Oppose Press Freedom, Interview by Amy Goodman, Jan. 12, 2015. An estimated 3.7 million people rallied across France on Sunday in response to the Charlie Hebdo shootings and ensuing attacks that left 17 people dead. More than a million people marched in Paris, making it the largest demonstration in French history. More than 40 world leaders traveled to Paris to help lead the march. "What we saw on display on the one hand was very heartening, to see so many people come into the streets," says Jeremy Scahill, co-founder of The Intercept. "But on the other hand, this is a sort of circus of hypocrisy when it comes to all of those world leaders who were marching at the front of it. Every single one of those heads of state or representatives of governments there have waged their own wars against journalists."


Intercept, In Solidarity With a Free Press: Some More Blasphemous Cartoons, Glenn Greenwald, Jan. 11, 2015. Defending free speech and free press rights, which typically means defending the right to disseminate the very ideas society finds most repellent, has been one of my principal passions for the last 20 years: previously as a lawyer and now as a journalist. So I consider it positive when large numbers of people loudly invoke this principle, as has been happening over the last 48 hours in response to the horrific attack on Charlie Hebdo in Paris. Sunday morning news channels report a huge “anti-terror” rally in France with 50 “world leaders” flown in to participate, including the Chancellor of Germany and the Prime Ministers of Great Britain and Spain. This looks more and more like an orchestrated affair. Assembling “world leaders” in such a short time reminds me of the 10,000 man army ready to occupy Boston in response to the Marathon Bombing. But this week’s defense of free speech rights was so spirited that it gave rise to a brand new principle: to defend free speech, one not only defends the right to disseminate the speech, but embraces the content of the speech itself. Numerous writers thus demanded: to show “solidarity” with the murdered cartoonists, one should not merely condemn the attacks and defend the right of the cartoonists to publish, but should publish and even celebrate those cartoons. “The best response to Charlie Hebdo attack,” announced Slate’s editor Jacob Weisberg, “is to escalate blasphemous satire.”

Some of the cartoons published by Charlie Hebdo were not just offensive but bigoted, such as the one mocking the African sex slaves of Boko Haram as welfare queens. Others went far beyond maligning violence by extremists acting in the name of Islam, or even merely depicting Mohammed with degrading imagery (above, right), and instead contained a stream of mockery toward Muslims generally, who in France are not remotely powerful but are largely a marginalized and targeted immigrant population. But no matter. Their cartoons were noble and should be celebrated – not just on free speech grounds but for their content. In a column entitled “The Blasphemy We Need,” The New York Times‘ Ross Douthat argued that “the right to blaspheme (and otherwise give offense) is essential to the liberal order” and “that kind of blasphemy [that provokes violence] is precisely the kind that needs to be defended, because it’s the kind that clearly serves a free society’s greater good.” New York Magazine‘s Jonathan Chait actually proclaimed that “one cannot defend the right [to blaspheme] without defending the practice.” Vox’s Matt Yglesias had a much more nuanced view but nonetheless concluded that “to blaspheme the Prophet transforms the publication of these cartoons from a pointless act to a courageous and even necessary one, while the observation that the world would do well without such provocations becomes a form of appeasement.”

To comport with this new principle for how one shows solidarity with free speech rights and a vibrant free press, we’re publishing some blasphemous and otherwise offensive cartoons about religion and their adherents:

And here are some not-remotely-blasphemous-or-bigoted yet very pointed and relevant cartoons by the brilliantly provocative Brazilian cartoonist Carlos Latuff (reprinted with permission):

Is it time for me to be celebrated for my brave and noble defense of free speech rights? Have I struck a potent blow for political liberty and demonstrated solidarity with free journalism by publishing blasphemous cartoons? If, as Salman Rushdie said, it’s vital that all religions be subjected to “fearless disrespect,” have I done my part to uphold western values?

When I first began to see these demands to publish these anti-Muslim cartoons, the cynic in me thought perhaps this was really just about sanctioning some types of offensive speech against some religions and their adherents, while shielding more favored groups. In particular, the west has spent years bombing, invading and occupying Muslim countries and killing, torturing and lawlessly imprisoning innocent Muslims, and anti-Muslim speech has been a vital driver in sustaining support for those policies.

So it’s the opposite of surprising to see large numbers of westerners celebrating anti-Muslim cartoons - not on free speech grounds but due to approval of the content. Defending free speech is always easy when you like the content of the ideas being targeted, or aren’t part of (or actively dislike) the group being maligned.

Indeed, it is self-evident that if a writer who specialized in overtly anti-black or anti-Semitic screeds had been murdered for their ideas, there would be no widespread calls to republish their trash in “solidarity” with their free speech rights. In fact, Douthat, Chait and Yglesias all took pains to expressly note that they were only calling for publication of such offensive ideas in the limited case where violence is threatened or perpetrated in response (by which they meant in practice, so far as I can tell: anti-Islam speech). Douthat even used italics to emphasize how limited his defense of blasphemy was: “that kind of blasphemy is precisely the kind that needs to be defended.”

Global Research, Police Commissioner Involved in Charlie Hebdo Investigation “Commits Suicide”. Total News Blackout, Michel Chossudovsky, Jan. 11, 2015. Police Commissioner Helric Fredou, Number Two Police Officer of the Regional Service of France’s Judicial Police (JP), Limoges, (Haute-Vienne), “committed suicide on the night of Wednesday to Thursday at the police station.” Commissioner Helric Fredou was part of the police investigation into the Charlie Hebdo terror attack. Terror suspects Cherif and Said Kouachi who were shot dead by police on January 9, spent their high-school years in the Limoges region. No doubt this was the object of Fredou’s police investigation. Yet police and media reports state that on that same Wednesday he was involved in a meeting with the family of one of the Charlie Hebdo victims. On Wednesday, as part of the Charlie Hebdo investigation, he dispatched a team of police officials under his jurisdiction. He is reported to have waited for the return of his team for a debriefing. Immediately following the police debriefing, he was involved in preparing his police report.

Haaretz (Israel), Hollande asked Netanyahu not to attend Paris memorial march, Absence sought as part of attempt to keep Israeli-Palestinian conflict out of European show of unity; After Netanyahu insisted on coming, French made it clear Abbas would be invited as well, Barak Ravid, Jan. 12, 2015. French President Francois Hollande conveyed a message to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu over the weekend asking him not to come to Paris to take part in the march against terror on Sunday, according to an Israeli source who was privy to the contacts between the Elysees Palace and the Prime Minister’s Office in Jerusalem. The fact that this message had been conveyed was first reported by Channel 2. Audibert made it clear that in light of Netanyahu's intention to arrive, an invitation would also be extended to Abbas. And indeed, several hours after Abbas announced that he would not be traveling to Paris, his office issued a statement stating that he would in fact be at the march.   


Netanyahu, Mali's President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita, France's President Francois Hollande, Germany's Chancellor Angela Merkel, EU President Donald Tusk, and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas march during a rally in Paris. Jan. 11, 2015.

After the French government began to send invitations to world leaders to participate in the rally against terror, Hollande’s national security adviser, Jacques Audibert, contacted his Israeli counterpart, Yossi Cohen, and said that Hollande would prefer that Netanyahu not attend, the source said.

Audibert explained that Hollande wanted the event to focus on demonstrating solidarity with France, and to avoid anything liable to divert attention to other controversial issues, like Jewish-Muslim relations or the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Audibert said that Hollande hoped that Netanyahu would understand the difficulties his arrival might pose and would announce that he would not be attending.

The source noted that one of the French concerns - not conveyed to representatives of the Israeli government - was that Netanyahu would take advantage of the event for campaign purposes and make speeches, especially about the Jews of France. Such statements, the Elysee Palace feared, would hurt the demonstration of solidarity the French government was trying to promote as part of dealing with the terror attacks.

According to the source, Netanyahu at first acquiesced to the French request. In any case, the Shin Bet security service unit that protects public figures considered the arrangements for the prime minister’s security to be complex. And so, on Saturday evening, Netanyahu’s people announced that he would not be flying to Paris because of security concerns. Netanyahu told the French he would come to France on Tuesday for a Jewish community event.

Netanyahu, Mali's President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita, France's President Francois Hollande, Germany's Chancellor Angela Merkel, EU President Donald Tusk, and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas march during a rally in Paris. Jan. 11, 2015. (AP)

The French apparently sent the same message to Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas. Like Netanyahu, Abbas acceded to the French request and released a strange statement about the same time Netanyahu released his, that he would not be attending the event because of the bad weather.

However, on Saturday night, Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman and Economy Minister Naftali Bennett announced their intention to go to Paris and take part in the march and meet with the Jewish community. When Netanyahu heard they were going, he informed the French he would be attending the march after all.

According to the source, when Cohen informed Audibert that Netanyahu would be attending the event after all, Audibert angrily told Cohen that the prime minister’s conduct would have an adverse effect on ties between the two countries as long as Hollande was president of France and Netanyahu was prime minister of Israel.

Catching Our Attention on other Justice, Media & Integrity Issues

FireDogLake, Guantanamo Bay: A ‘Battle Lab’ Where Personnel Experimented on Prisoners to Develop Torture Techniques, Kevin Gosztola, Jan. 12, 2015. On the thirteenth anniversary of the first prisoners brought to Guantanamo Bay, a report from the Seton Hall Law Center for Policy and Research examines how the United States government used the facility as a “battle laboratory.” Prisoners were treated like “test subjects” as personnel, including medical officers, engaged in experiments to develop new interrogation techniques.