thinksquad:

Police departments across the Unites States have been losing large amounts of military gear including assault rifles, shotguns, handguns and even Humvees provided under a controversial Pentagon program.

The “1033 program,” which is now under White House review in the wake of the police response to riots in Ferguson, Missouri, has provided surplus military gear to police departments across the country in the aftermath of the Afghanistan and Iraq wars. The departments themselves, however, haven’t been keeping very good track of it.

Fusion reports 184 state and local departments have been suspended from the program for misplacing M14, M15 and M16 assault rifles, .45-caliber pistols, shotguns and two Humvees. It’s unclear whether the weapons, which were provided to assist police in the “wars on terrorism and drugs,” have been unintentionally lost or sold on the black market.

“[The program] is obviously very sloppy, and it’s another reason that Congress needs to revisit this promptly,” CATO Institute project on criminal justice director Tim Lynch told Fusion. “We don’t know where these weapons are going, whether they are really lost, or whether there is corruption involved.”

“That uncertainty is very unsettling.”

The Mississippi Meridian Police Department was suspended in February 2013 after an inventory showed four missing M14s. The Arkansas Lawrence County Sheriff’s Department was suspended the same month for a missing M14 and a damaged nightvision scope. Ten law enforcement entities in California have also been suspended including the Huntington Beach Police Department for losing an M16, the Stockton Police Department for losing two M16s, and the Sutter County Sheriff’s Office for losing two M15s and an M14.

In Arizona, the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Department lost more than 10 .45-caliber pistols and one rifle, and was suspended in September 2012. Georgia’s Sparta Police Department received reprimands twice for losing .45-caliber pistols before being removed from the program completely, and ordered to return all of its remaining inventory.

Missouri’s Ripley County Sheriff’s Department was also suspended last February amid an ongoing investigation, and seven departments in Florida were suspended for missing equipment earlier this year, which has since been located.

Suspended law enforcement agencies are typically allowed to keep remaining equipment acquired under the program, according to the report. The program does not designate at the federal level a specific state agency to handle the program’s coordination, resulting in a lack of consistent coordination and oversight all the way from the Pentagon to the individual departments, and making the tracking of allocated equipment exceedingly difficult.

http://news.yahoo.com/american-police-departments-losing-tons-military-grade-weaponry-174620174.html

(via thinksquad-news)

This report raises grave concerns about #fracking pollution’s threat to California’s air and water. But it also highlights the fact that government officials have never collected the data needed to determine the extent of the damage in our state. Using this report as a basis for continued fracking in California is illogical and illegal.

Kassie Siegel, director of the Center for Biological Diversity’s Climate Law Institute (via DeSmogBlog)

The Center for Biological Diversity, along with the Sierra Club, sued the federal government last year, arguing that the Obama Administration had broken the law when it decided to lease some 2,500 acres of public lands in Monterey County to oil and gas companies without properly studying the environmental risks of fracking.

High-res inothernews:

“About 80 percent of Russian gas exports to Europe pass through Ukraine. Europe, in turn, depends on Russia for 40 percent of its imported fuel.  According to Mikhail Korchemkin, head of East European Gas Analysis, a consulting firm in Pennsylvania, the most important pipelines that run through Ukraine are the ones leading to Slovakia. They will eventually take gas to Germany, Austria and Italy.”

— Some context on the Ukraine crisis via the New York Times

inothernews:

About 80 percent of Russian gas exports to Europe pass through Ukraine. Europe, in turn, depends on Russia for 40 percent of its imported fuel.  According to Mikhail Korchemkin, head of East European Gas Analysis, a consulting firm in Pennsylvania, the most important pipelines that run through Ukraine are the ones leading to Slovakia. They will eventually take gas to Germany, Austria and Italy.”

— Some context on the Ukraine crisis via the New York Times

(via thinksquad)

#environment - What this planet can’t support is the corrupt system that’s exploited by greedy corporations so they can extract the natural resources that exists under the ground. Even if it means destroying the ecosystem and poisoning indigenous tribes that live off the land.

#environment - What this planet can’t support is the corrupt system that’s exploited by greedy corporations so they can extract the natural resources that exists under the ground. Even if it means destroying the ecosystem and poisoning indigenous tribes that live off the land.

Jordanian parliament calls for prosecuting Israeli war criminals

occupiedpalestine:

Jordanian parliament calls for prosecuting Israeli war criminals

In a statement the parliament condemned the 'international silence towards daily Israeli crimes against the Palestinians,' and said Israeli war criminals have to be prosecuted.
MEMO | Saturday, 30 August 2014 12:02
In a statement the parliament condemned the 'international silence towards daily Israeli crimes against the Palestinians,' and said Israeli war criminals have to be prosecuted.

In a statement the parliament condemned the ‘international silence towards daily Israeli crimes against the Palestinians,’ and said Israeli war criminals have to be prosecuted.

The Jordanian Parliament called on Friday for accelerating the reconstruction of the Gaza Strip and exerting efforts to lessen the suffering of besieged Palestinians.In a…

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These Are the Alarming Charts Police Don’t Want You to See After Ferguson

thepoliticalfreakshow:

Tear gas. Armored transports. Military-grade weaponry. These are the images burned into our minds in the wake of the chaos in Ferguson earlier this month. 

Just one of the many disturbing revelations coming out of Ferguson is the militarization of local police departments across the U.S.

This statistic captures the trend: Despite a global recession that crippled city finances, the total spending on police per American increased by 28% between 2001 and 2010, according tofigures from the Bureau of Justice Statistics. And that’s the increase after taking inflation into account. 

The story gets more interesting when examining police spending at the city level. The map below shows how much it costs, per person, to support police departments in various cities.

Per capita spending is proportional to the area of each circle. Data is from 2010, the most recent year available.Source: Bureau of Justice Statistics

Are people in cities that spend more on police safer? No. This is clear from the interactive chart below, which ranks cities by their violent crime and property crime rates. Violent crimes are defined as murder, non-negligent manslaughter, forcible rape, robbery, or aggravated assault. Property crimes are burglary, larceny, or motor vehicle theft.

Detroit and St. Louis top the violent crime ranking, and both spend more on policing per person than most major cities.

Data from 2010. Crime rates are the number of incidences per 100,000 residents. Violent crime includes murder, non-negligent manslaughter, forcible rape, robbery, and aggravated assault. Property crime includes burglary, larceny, and motor vehicle theft.Source: Uniform Crime Reporting Statistics

Can we learn anything from relating police spending to city crime? No — and this chart proves it: 

Data from 2010.Source: Uniform Crime Reporting Statistics

Crime rates are all over the place, and show no correlation to police spending. Take Baton Rouge and Tulsa, which have about the same violent crime rate, but Baton Rouge spends $538 per resident on police and Tulsa spends $193.

If police spending reliably reduced crime, you would see a downward sloping trend from left to right. 

What about for property crime rates? Same story as violent crime — lots of variation between spending and outcomes. Randomness:

Data from 2010.Source: Uniform Crime Reporting Statistics

The takeaway: Throwing money at policing doesn’t necessarily make our communities safer.

The recent images of armored transport on suburban streets show that much of America wrongly approaches safety at home as a peacekeeping problem. More danger on the streets must mean we need better-equipped police to impose stricter order.

Our communities aren’t war zones though.

The random distribution of crime rates around the country signals that crime has complex causes. Yes, the police serve a critical function in safeguarding our communities, but only up to a point. Crime is a symptom of more complex community problems — like lack of educational and economic opportunity — rather than a cause. 

Every piece of body armor means fewer dollars going to the deeper problems in our communities. Fewer school textbooks, more pot holes, reduced hours at the community center. That’s the real price of “safety.”

Source: Chris Walker for Mic

After Ferguson, U.N. Calls on U.S. to Get Its Act Together on Race Discrimination | American Civil Liberties Union

dsandra:

After Ferguson, U.N. Calls on U.S. to Get Its Act Together on Race Discrimination
08/29/2014

By Jamil Dakwar, Director, ACLU Human Rights Program at 3:06pm

In the last several weeks, the state of Missouri has captured news headlines around the globe: first, with reports coming out of Ferguson of yet another unarmed African-American young man shot and killed by police, and then with accounts of a violent and militarized crackdown on protesters carried out by law enforcement in the aftermath.

Were they depicting a foreign crisis, these images would have been condemned by the U.S. State Department and policymakers as evidence of human rights violations. But when they come out of our own backyard, we don’t call them human rights abuses. They are, at best, labeled police misconduct and civil rights concerns.

After all, America is a champion of human rights. So why is the world so outraged?

Because much of the world is tired of the U.S. double standard when it comes to human rights. It should come as no surprise that people associated images from Ferguson – full of teargas, rubber bullets, and militarized police deployed to suppress protests – with countries with poor human rights records, like Egypt, Bahrain, Israel, and Turkey. Global opinion is informed and influenced by the internet and social media, with domestic human rights abuses quickly and easily disseminated. Even when the violator is a superpower, we are reminded, in the words of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., that “injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.”

These sentiments were on full display earlier this month when the United States appeared before a U.N. human rights body to defend its record on racial discrimination. Today, this body — the U.N. Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination — issued its verdict: a 14-page-long scathing report on the U.S. failure to fully comply with its obligations under the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (ICERD) in numerous areas affecting racial and ethnic minorities. While it commended the Obama administration for steps it has taken to combat racial discrimination, it highlighted the gaps between the administration’s stated commitments and the glaring reality of laws and practices that continue to discriminate against and disproportionately impact people of color and indigenous communities.

The committee’s findings are based on hundreds of pages of reports submitted by the U.S. government as well as advocacy groups, which are then produced after a public hearing in Geneva attended by a high-level U.S. delegation. The U.S. review coincided with the protests in Ferguson after the killing of unarmed black teenager Michael Brown, a development that did not go overlooked during the hearing. Members of the committee were also moved by testimonies from the parents of Trayvon Martin and Jordan Davis, who attended the review to share their loss and lessons to be learned from their own tragedies.

The recommendations released today address structural and pervasive forms of discrimination in the United States, which often go overlooked in public debates sparked by the loss of human life due to the unjustified use of force. They offer a blueprint to end racial discrimination and to promote equal opportunity. They include calls to:

End racial profiling by adopting the End Racial Profiling Act and swiftly revising the 2003 Justice Department Guidance on the Use of Race by Federal Law Enforcement Agencies.
Stop the militarized approach to policing, which has had a disproportionate impact on communities of color and to immigration law enforcement, which has led to killings at the border, mandatory detention of immigrants, and deportation without adequate access to justice.
Develop a comprehensive plan to reduce school segregation and address the school-to-prison pipeline.
End racial disparities in the criminal justice system at the federal, state, and local levels.

These recommended reforms aren’t just about changing policy. They’re about addressing the root causes of discrimination. The Race Convention, the report reminds us, “requires States parties to prohibit and eliminate racial discrimination in all its forms,” including legislation and practices that have disparate impact on racial and ethnic minorities.

The United States ratified the convention 20 years ago. It’s time to do it justice.