* NATO INVADES CHICAGO: WHERE IS RESPONSIBILITY TO PROTECT?
NATO Invades Chicago: But Where is the “Responsibility to Protect” (R2P) for Citizens in this War-Zone City?
By Ross Ruthenberg, StopNATO
The city of Chicago will be invaded by a NATO conference next month, costing US taxpayers up to $100 million for the provision of facilities and security for 50 delegations comprising some 100 dignitaries and thousands of advisors.
But instead of providing ring-of-steel security for the NATO bureaucrats in attendance, what the hard-pressed citizens of Chicago would appreciate more is a little application of the “Responsibility to Protect” (R2P) doctrine that NATO powers are so keen on bestowing on other parts of the world wracked by violence.
Chicago’s notoriety as a violent city has gone into overdrive in recent years with an epidemic in fatal shootings. Last year, nearly 2,300 people were shot in the Windy City, resulting in 441 homicides, including men, women and children. In the first three months of this year, some 656 were shot, with 145 homicides. At that rate, the victims of gun crime will amount to over 2,600 shootings and 580 homicides by the end of this year alone.
With this level of violence, the people of Chicago do not feel safe in their own city, and the state and federal authorities are conspicuously inadequate in their duty to protect citizens. […]
* STATE DEPARTMENT REVEALS 21st CENTURY NATO’s GLOBAL PRIORITIES
By Richard Rozoff, StopNATO
The State Department’s top Eurasia hand addressed the House Committee on Foreign Affairs’s Subcommittee on Europe and Eurasia on April 26 to present Washington’s perspective on and expectations of next month’s summit of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization.
In a presentation titled “The Chicago Summit and U.S. Policy,” the Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for European and Eurasian Affairs, Tina Kaidanow, laid out what the military alliance’s main powerhouse and financial backer demands of its 27 allies and in so doing indicated many of the top geopolitical objectives of her department and the U.S. government as a whole for the upcoming years.
Commenting on the fact that the May 20-21 gathering of over fifty heads of state from nations supplying troops for the longest war in her nation’s history, that in Afghanistan, will occur in Chicago, only the second NATO summit in the U.S. and “the first ever outside of Washington,” Kaidanow reiterated the main purpose of the world’s only military bloc:
“Our hosting of the Summit is a tangible symbol of the importance of NATO to the United States, as well as an opportunity to underscore to the American people the continued value of the Alliance to the security challenges we face today…NATO is vital to U.S. security. More than ever, the Alliance is the mechanism through which the U.S. confronts diverse and difficult threats to our security…Our experiences in the Cold War, in the Balkans, and now in Afghanistan prove that our core interests are better protected by working together than by seeking to respond to threats alone as individual nations.” […]
* LOCAL NATO HOSTS RED-FACED OVER ‘RED ZONE’ MILITARIZATION PLAN
By Fran Spielman, Chicago Sun-Times
The head of Chicago’s NATO Host Committee said Thursday she was blindsided by the federal government’s decision to create a militarized “Red Zone” in the Loop to protect federal buildings in the run-up to the May 20-21 summit at McCormick Place.
The image of federal agents on downtown streets far from McCormick Place — in battle gear, weapons slung — three weeks before the summit is certain to have a chilling effect on those who live and work in the Loop. It also calls into question Host Committee Executive Director Lori Healey’s oft-repeated message that Chicago will remain “open for business” during the summit.
On Thursday, Healey found herself in the difficult position of having to convince the public that a scary headline that blindsided even her is not an indication that the feds are bracing for weeks of trouble. […]
* NATO SECURITY PERIMETER: CHICAGO SUMMIT PROTESTERS REPORTEDLY LEAK SECRET SERVICE’S PLAN
Activists preparing to protest the NATO summit in Chicago next month leaked what they claim is the Secret Service’s security perimeter for the event on Tuesday.
Andy Thayer, spokesman for the Coalition Against NATO/G8 protest group, said, according to NBC Chicago, that the Secret Service told activists that their security boundaries around McCormick Place would extend west from Lake Michigan to the Dan Ryan Expressway. The northern boundary, Thayer claimed, is fluid, varying between 21st Street and West Roosevelt depending on summit activities and the southern boundary is I-55.
Secret Service told ABC Chicago that they met Tuesday with protest groups, but would not confirm whether the security perimeter protesters detailed was accurate or disclose any additional details.
Because of the security perimeter, protesters’ May 20 protest march, beginning at Grant Park’s Petrillo Music Shell, is now slated to end at the intersection of Cermak Road and Michigan Avenue, a block west of where initially outlined in the route the city and protesters agreed to, CBS Chicago reports. That plan was, of course, contingent upon Secret Service’s plan.
Protesters are not pleased that their demonstration will no longer be within sight and sound of the summit site.
“We’ll be blocks away,” Thayer told Reuters. […]
* ARE CAMERAS THE NEW GUNS?
By Wendy McElroy, Freeman
In response to a flood of Facebook and YouTube videos that depict police abuse, a new trend in law enforcement is gaining popularity. In at least three states (Illinois, Massachusetts, and Maryland), it is now illegal to record an on-duty police officer even if the encounter involves you and may be necessary to your defense, and even if the recording is on a public street where no expectation of privacy exists.
The legal justification for arresting the “shooter” rests on existing wiretapping or eavesdropping laws, with statutes against obstructing law enforcement sometimes cited. Illinois, Massachusetts, and Maryland are among the 12 states in which all parties must consent for a recording to be legal unless, as with TV news crews, it is obvious to all that recording is underway. Since the police do not consent, the camera-wielder can be arrested. Most all-party-consent states also include an exception for recording in public places where “no expectation of privacy exists” (Illinois does not) but in practice this exception is not being recognized.
Massachusetts attorney June Jensen represented Simon Glik who was arrested for such a recording. She explained, “[T]he statute has been misconstrued by Boston police. You could go to the Boston Common and snap pictures and record if you want.” Legal scholar and professor Jonathan Turley agrees, “The police are basing this claim on a ridiculous reading of the two-party consent surveillance law — requiring all parties to consent to being taped. I have written in the area of surveillance law and can say that this is utter nonsense.” […]
* THE GLOBAL WAR ON TERROR, IN THE ORIGINAL GERMAN
By David Swanson, War Is A Crime
[…] Now, history does not actually repeat itself. It’s far too complex and unpredictable. But a few facts leap out at us today:
We are at war with the world without end for the sake of war itself.
We have given power over from the Congress to the President.
We have allowed the Supreme Court to give power over the President to financial and weapons interests.
We have developed a central corporatist and militarist communications system.
Our government operates in great secrecy, censoring and prosecuting whistleblowers.
Our military conducts criminal trials that people strain themselves not to laugh at or condemn, thereby training themselves in a new kind of behavior.
Our president claims the power to imprison, torture, or murder.
Our society has labeled a class of people “illegals” and subjected them to a secondary and abusive status.
Our police have been militarized, nationalized, and empowered to strip-search us or assault us with tasers.
A soldier was just dismissed for speaking unacceptably of the President.
Our government and large corporate partners spy on everything we say on a telephone or near a cell phone, and everything we do or type on the internet.
Our government kills people all over the world with drones and is now putting drones in our own skies.
And we’ve advanced from lying about wars to joking about the lies about the wars to not even bothering with the lies or any legal pretense whatsoever.
Have we killed as many people as Hitler did? No, not in the same manner. But by sins of both commission (Iraqis bombed and shot, for example) and omission (children starving and suffering from preventable illness, for example) of course we have. And we have the potential to quite easily kill many more.
I can still write this.
I can still post this on marginal websites unseen by the masses.
I can still say these things openly on the street.
But reporters are being preemptively detained. Peace activists’ homes are being raided. And the number two excuse I get from people for their inaction (after futility, which is always number one) is fear (which is not always high on the list — it had to be put there). […]
* CRUSHING CUTS: COPS LASH OUT AS SPANISH RALLY
Spain has plunged into what the government calls a ‘crisis of huge proportions’, with its jobless rate rising towards a record one in four. Boasting the highest unemployment in Europe, the country’s deficit and the deteriorating economic situation are only likely to be met with a backlash from angry Spaniards. But as Jacob Greaves reports, the more public frustration grows, the harsher the authorities’ response becomes.
* 6 KINDS OF PILLS BIG PHARMA TRIES TO GET YOU HOOKED ON FOR LIFE
By Martha Rosenberg, AlterNet
Why has Big Pharma failed to produce new antibiotics for deadly infections like MRSA (methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus), VRE (vancomycin-resistant enterococci), C. Difficile and Acinetobacter baumannii even as they leap from hospital to community settings? Because there is no money in it.
Pharma executives “have shown less interest in medicines like antibiotics that actually cure disease than in those that only treat symptoms,” writes Melody Petersen, author of Our Daily Meds. “Most blockbusters are pills for conditions such as anxiety, high cholesterol or constipation that must be taken daily, often for months or years. They are designed for rich Americans who can afford to buy them.” Nor are medicines for tropical diseases like malaria, which kills a child every 30 seconds, a priority, notes Petersen. They also lack ka-ching.
Since direct-to-consumer drug advertising debuted in the late 1990s, the number of people on prescription drugs — especially prescription drugs for life — has ballooned. Between 2001 to 2007 the percentage of adults and children on one or more prescriptions for chronic conditions rose by more than 12 million, reports the Associated Press and 25 percent of US children now take a medication for a chronic condition. Seven percent of kids take two or more daily drugs. Who says advertising doesn’t work?
Of the top-selling drugs in 2011, led by Lipitor, Nexium, Plavix, Advair Diskus, Abilify, Seroquel, Singulair and Crestor, none is taken occasionally, or “as needed” and the treatment goal is never to get off the drug, like an antibiotic. Why would Pharma deal itself out of the game? […]
* CLINTON AND COLBERT AT TIME 100
TIME’S 100 MOST INFLUENTIAL PEOPLE
APRIL 24, 2012
SPEAKER: STEPHEN COLBERT
[…] Of course, all of us should be honored to be listed on the TIME 100 alongside the two men who will be slugging it out in the fall: President Obama, and the man who would defeat him, David Koch.
Give it up everybody. David Koch.
Little known fact — David, nice to see you again, sir.
Little known fact, David’s brother Charles Koch is actually even more influential. Charles pledged $40 million to defeat President Obama, David only $20 million. That’s kind of cheap, Dave.
Sure, he’s all for buying the elections, but when the bill for democracy comes up, Dave’s always in the men’s room. I’m sorry, I must have left Wisconsin in my other coat.
I was particularly excited to meet David Koch earlier tonight because I have a Super PAC, Colbert Super PAC, and I am — thank you, thank you — and I am happy to announce Mr. Koch has pledged $5 million to my Super PAC. And the great thing is, thanks to federal election law, there’s no way for you to ever know whether that’s a joke. […]
* ANONYMOUS VS CISPA: ‘BILL FIGHTS IMAGINARY THREAT’
Outcry from Internet users, over the controversial cyber security act ‘CISPA’, is set to spill onto the streets. The hacker group Anonymous is hitting back in response to the bill by launching what it calls ‘Operation Defense Phase two’. CISPA, having passed the US House of Representatives on Friday, is now a step closer to becoming law. It’s now heading to the Senate, as the White House continues to threaten a veto of the bill. The act could allow Internet companies to legally share sensitive user information with the American government – a move critics say infringes on privacy and civil liberties. Journalist David Seaman explains how this bill puts everyone at risk. Luke Samuel, from Online Magazine “Spiked” thinks the CISPA bill is one of the latest attempts by the US government to limit the first amendment rights of its citizens.