Home country: USA
Current location: VA
Member since: 2003 before July 6th
Number of posts: 42,848
Home country: USA
Current location: VA
Member since: 2003 before July 6th
Number of posts: 42,848
I\'m rested, I\'m ready... Is DU?
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Anna didn’t want to keep her feelings secret. As far as she knew, neither did D.J. In recent weeks, their relationship had changed, and it wasn’t clear when or how to share the news. ‘‘It’s your call,’’ she said to him in the lead-up to a meeting with his mother and older brother. ‘‘It’s your family. It’s up to you.’’
When she arrived at the house on Memorial Day in 2011, Anna didn’t know what D.J. planned to do. His brother, Wesley, was working in the garden, so she went straight inside to speak with D.J. and his mother, P. They chatted for a while at the dining table about D.J.’s plans for school and for getting his own apartment. Then there was a lull in the conversation after Wesley came back in, and Anna took hold of D.J.’s hand. ‘‘We have something to tell you,’’ they announced at last. ‘‘We’re in love.’’
‘‘What do you mean, in love?’’ P. asked, the color draining from her face.
To Wesley, she looked pale and weak, like ‘‘Caesar when he found out that Brutus betrayed him.’’ He felt sick to his stomach. What made them so uncomfortable was not that Anna was 41 and D.J. was 30, or that Anna is white and D.J. is black, or even that Anna was married with two children while D.J. had never dated anyone. What made them so upset — what led to all the arguing that followed, and the criminal trial and million-dollar civil suit — was the fact that Anna can speak and D.J. can’t; that she was a tenured professor of ethics at Rutgers University in Newark and D.J. has been declared by the state to have the mental capacity of a toddler.
Anna does not agree with this assessment. She does not deny (as no one could) that D.J. is impaired: His cerebral palsy leaves him prone to muscle spasms in his face, his neck, his torso and his arms and hands. She acknowledges that it’s hard for him to stay in one position, that muscle contractions sometimes twist his spine and clench his fingers in a useless ball. It’s clear to her, as it is to everyone, that he has trouble making eye contact and keeping objects fixed in view. She knows that he wears diapers and cannot dress himself; that he can walk only if someone steadies him; and that otherwise he gets around by scooting on the floor. She knows that D.J. screams when he’s unhappy and chirps when he’s excited, but that he can’t control his vocal cords. Anna understands that even now, at 35, D.J. has never said a word.
Posted by Blue_Tires | Wed Oct 21, 2015, 01:13 AM (3 replies)
They found him in the living room, crumpled up on the mottled carpet. The police did. Sniffing a fetid odor, a neighbor had called 911. The apartment was in north-central Queens, in an unassertive building on 79th Street in Jackson Heights.
The apartment belonged to a George Bell. He lived alone. Thus the presumption was that the corpse also belonged to George Bell. It was a plausible supposition, but it remained just that, for the puffy body on the floor was decomposed and unrecognizable. Clearly the man had not died on July 12, the Saturday last year when he was discovered, nor the day before nor the day before that. He had lain there for a while, nothing to announce his departure to the world, while the hyperkinetic city around him hurried on with its business.
Investigators stitched together Mr. Bell's life by gathering documents, photographs, letters and receipts found in his Queens home. Neighbors had last seen him six days earlier, a Sunday. On Thursday, there was a break in his routine. The car he always kept out front and moved from one side of the street to the other to obey parking rules sat on the wrong side. A ticket was wedged beneath the wiper. The woman next door called Mr. Bell. His phone rang and rang.
Then the smell of death and the police and the sobering reason that George Bell did not move his car.
Each year around 50,000 people die in New York, and each year the mortality rate seems to graze a new low, with people living healthier and longer. A great majority of the deceased have relatives and friends who soon learn of their passing and tearfully assemble at their funeral. A reverent death notice appears. Sympathy cards accumulate. When the celebrated die or there is some heart-rending killing of the innocent, the entire city might weep.
Posted by Blue_Tires | Wed Oct 21, 2015, 12:45 AM (4 replies)
I'll never forget the time I prevented a young Predator pilot from making an illegal shot. The incident stands in stark contrast with the expert conduct that I typically witnessed from professional aviators flying the U.S. Air Force’s remotely piloted aircraft (RPAs), commonly known as drones.
The Intercept’s recently released “drone papers” paint a picture of unprofessional and bloodthirsty behavior by the crews manning the Predator and other drones. Certainly, war is chaos, and mistakes do happen. But in my 11 years flying the Predator, I was satisfied to see how few actually did. While the “drone papers” would have you believe otherwise, drone pilots are subject to the exact same rigorous checks and balances used for all military operations—and then some. (After all, is there a difference between bombs dropped off a drone or a fighter?) And when we make a gross error, we also risk going to jail.
I’m not saying that the U.S. drone operation doesn’t have its problems. Its unmitigated success in providing crucial information on the battlefield has spiked demand for ground commanders and forced the Air Force to cut training time to the bare minimum. Graduating crews can fly combat missions within days of certification. Fighter pilots may fly for months or even years before their first combat mission.
And I’m not saying that the ramping up of drones strikes has been enormously successful: The military has quadrupled drone strikes over the past seven years; and now instead of hiding in Waziristan, al Qaeda is flourishing throughout the world, setting Africa, Asia and the Middle East on fire. This is due, in large part, to the expansion of attacks to mid-level coordinators that has resulted less in disrupting networks than dispersing them.
But I am saying this: Drone operators are licensed pilots. We are not terminators rampaging across the countryside like war’s a video game. We are not heartless; we are not brainless. And we do not like to make mistakes.
(waits for the insults and smears to fly)
Posted by Blue_Tires | Tue Oct 20, 2015, 05:55 PM (12 replies)
WASHINGTON — The Army's $5 billion intelligence network, which is designed to give commanders battlefield awareness but has been criticized for years as a boondoggle, was not working in Afghanistan during the recent American air attack on a hospital, according to a member of Congress who has been in touch with military whistleblowers.
Significant elements of the Distributed Common Ground System, a network of computers and sensors designed to knit together disparate strands of intelligence, were off line in Afghanistan when U.S. commanders approved an air strike Oct. 3 that killed 22 staff, patients and others at a Doctors without Borders hospital in Kunduz, Rep. Duncan Hunter wrote Tuesday to Defense Secretary Ash Carter.
"The purpose of DCGS is to enable commanders and service members to 'see and know' the battlefield and prevent incidents like the airstrike on the hospital in Kunduz," wrote Hunter, a California Republican, combat veteran and armed services committee member who has been a persistent DCGS critic.
"Senior Army leaders have gone to extraordinary lengths in recent years to deny evidence of the failures of the DCGS program, and I am asking for your help to prevent them from doing so following this tragic incident," he wrote.
It's unclear whether the breakdown of key DCGS systems contributed to the decision to approve the air attack, which Pentagon officials say was a mistake. But the coordinates of the hospital were entered into an intelligence database that is part of the DCGS intelligence network, according to a U.S. official who would not be quoted because he was not authorized to discuss the matter.
FIVE BILLION?? Did they try turning it off and turning it back on again?
Posted by Blue_Tires | Tue Oct 20, 2015, 04:33 PM (5 replies)
A 14-year-old girl has gone missing from a Dutch asylum centre. Police say Fatema Alkasem was nine months pregnant and may be in need of medical care.
She is also thought to be a "child bride", and her case has highlighted the problem that the Netherlands faces in providing asylum for girls who married in Syria but are below the Dutch age of consent.
The government in The Hague is rushing to close a loophole in the asylum law which has so far allowed child brides to be reunited with their husbands in the Netherlands. The practice has inflamed debate about how the Netherlands is responding to the refugee crisis, with some arguing it is condoning paedophilia.
As many as 20 girls between the ages of 13 and 15 have been given legal permission to join their older partners at Dutch asylum centres, according to regional news channel RTV-Noord. The figures were reportedly obtained from a leaked immigration service document.
Read more: http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-34573825
Posted by Blue_Tires | Tue Oct 20, 2015, 08:26 AM (36 replies)
A prosecutor called the $6 million Lufthansa terminal heist in 1978 the "score of scores" as the racketeering trial of alleged career mobster Vincent Asaro, the first person ever charged in the notorious "Goodfellas" robbery, began in federal court in Brooklyn on Monday.
Prosecutor Lindsay Gerdes told jurors that Asaro helped plan the heist at Kennedy Airport, waited in a "crash car" with plot mastermind Jimmy Burke -- the Robert DeNiro character in the movie -- while a crew carried it out, and received a $500,000 share.
"The defendant is a gangster through and through," she said in her opening arguments, explaining that his grandfather, father and son all were wiseguys. "He lived and breathed the Mafia ... What mattered to this defendant was money and power."
The Lufthansa heist is just one a series of crimes ranging from murder to loan-sharking that prosecutors have alleged that Asaro, 80, of Howard Beach, committed in his rise from a Bonanno family associate and "tough guy" to soldier and captain.
But a defense lawyer told jurors that Asaro was entitled to the presumption of innocence, and that the government's case was based on testimony from turncoat witnesses who have gotten $2 million in support from the FBI and who aren't believable.
Wait...We're only just *NOW* trying somebody for this after all these years?
Posted by Blue_Tires | Mon Oct 19, 2015, 04:43 PM (3 replies)
The Intercept’s “Drone Papers” leaker “believes the public has a right to know how the U.S. government decides to assassinate people.” Maybe so—or maybe public safety and the need for secrecy trump the public’s curiosity. Unfortunately, the leaker has unilaterally decided for all of us. One person with a thumb drive again trumps the democratic process.
Tant pis; the “Drone Papers” are out there (the name suggests a massive archive; in fact, there are only four documents, one of which is a shorter version of another). So what do they tell us about how the U.S. Government is targeting terrorist leaders in Somalia and Yemen for drone strikes—or, as The Intercept would have it, “decid how to assassinate people”? Unsurprisingly, The Intercept is out to convict; its focus is on the “shortcomings and flaws” of the program, as supposedly exemplified by its ingenuous account of the life and death of al Qaeda commander Bilal el-Berjawi.
But the documents themselves are hardly as damning as the breathless tone of the reporting suggests. In fact, for those concerned about oversight and accountability in the targeting process for AUMF-based strikes, the documents should reassure rather than unsettle. The overall impression is of thorough, individualized review, at the highest levels of government, that meaningfully constrains those developing and carrying out these operations...
...These slides do not suggest operators run amok, “assassinat” targets with little forethought or oversight. To the contrary, the “Drone Papers” suggest that these operations go forward only after a deliberate, individualized process. They confirm that senior political decisionmakers, including the President, review and approve each individual operation. And they reveal that operators view this review process as a significant constraint—a constraint that distinguishes these operations from the (presumably more liberal) operating environments in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Wow...It's almost like Scahill/Greenwald spun this story with as much sensationalized hysteria that they could muster to further an agenda... Why on Earth would they do that? Because that has certainly never happened before!
Posted by Blue_Tires | Mon Oct 19, 2015, 11:07 AM (6 replies)
Without a shred of evidence, without contradicting a word that I wrote, Jonathan Mahler in The New York Times Magazine this week suggests that the “irresistible story” that I told about the killing of Osama bin Laden in my 2012 book, The Finish (excerpted in Vanity Fair), might well have been a fabrication—“another example of American mythmaking.” He presents an alternative version of the story written by Seymour Hersh as, effectively, a rival account, one that raises serious doubts about mine, which is all but dubbed “the official version.” It’s not meant kindly.
Mahler’s think piece about the iffiness of reporting and the hazards of trying to shape history into a narrative is a great gift to conspiratorial thinkers everywhere. It’s not often that the most distinguished journalistic institution in America wades so fully into the crackpot world of Internet theorizing, where all information, no matter its source, is weightless and equal. Mahler is careful not to side with either Hersh or me, but allows that “Hersh’s version doesn’t require us to believe in the possibility of a government-wide conspiracy.”
In fact, that’s exactly what it does.
Hersh’s story, based on two unnamed sources: Bin Laden was being sheltered in Abbottabad by the Pakistani government. His whereabouts were reported to the U.S. government by a Pakistani source. The Pakistani government confirmed bin Laden was in the Abbottabad compound and allowed the SEAL team to raid it and kill him; the team later tossed his dismembered body from a helicopter. The Obama administration then concocted an elaborate lie, which they successfully peddled to a gullible American press (primarily, me).
My story, based on on-the-record interviews with primary sources: Osama bin Laden was traced to a compound in Abbottabad by a decade-long international intelligence effort by the C.I.A. and the military. While keeping the suspicion a secret from the Pakistani government, the C.I.A. tried for months without success to confirm with certainty that bin Laden was hiding in the compound. After weighing various alternatives, President Obama launched a very risky secret raid into Pakistan. A SEAL team successfully evaded Pakistani defenses to raid the compound, kill bin Laden, and fly his body out for burial at sea.
Posted by Blue_Tires | Sun Oct 18, 2015, 10:52 PM (5 replies)
“A few weeks ago at work,” Jennifer Lawrence wrote in an essay for Lenny (yup, I guess I’m subscribed to Lenny now! Well played, Lena Dunham). “I spoke my mind and gave my opinion in a clear and no- way; no aggression, just blunt. The man I was working with (actually, he was working for me) said, ‘Whoa! We’re all on the same team here!’ As if I was yelling at him. I was so shocked because nothing that I said was personal, offensive, or, to be honest, wrong. All I hear and see all day are men speaking their opinions, and I give mine in the same exact manner, and you would have thought I had said something offensive.”
“Woman in a Meeting” is a language of its own.
It should not be, but it is. You will think that you have stated the case simply and effectively, and everyone else will wonder why you were so Terrifyingly Angry. Instead, you have to translate. You start with your thought, then you figure out how to say it as though you were offering a groveling apology for an unspecified error. (In fact, as Sloane Crosley pointed out in an essay earlier this year, the time you are most likely to say “I’m sorry” is the time when you feel that you, personally, have just been grievously wronged. Not vice versa.)
To illustrate this difficulty, I have taken the liberty of translating some famous sentences into the phrases a woman would have to use to say them during a meeting not to be perceived as angry, threatening or (gasp!) bitchy.
“Give me liberty, or give me death.”
Woman in a Meeting: “Dave, if I could, I could just — I just really feel like if we had liberty it would be terrific, and the alternative would just be awful, you know? That’s just how it strikes me. I don’t know.”
Posted by Blue_Tires | Sat Oct 17, 2015, 06:29 PM (17 replies)
TEL AVIV, Israel — Earlier this month, Shia militiamen in Iraq dropped off an American-supplied Abrams tank at a US-supported repair facility where workers were surprised to find an attached Russian machine gun plus Iranian ammo, Defense News has learned.
The MIA1 main battle tank — one of 146 frontline tanks the US sold to Baghdad — was transported through the Green Zone to a US-supported Iraqi service facility at al-Muthanna that was established as part of the Pentagon’s Foreign Military Sales (FMS) program.
The tank was equipped with a Russian .50-caliber machine gun and Iranian-stamped 12.75-mm ammunition, according to a source at the facility.
“They brought it in through Iraqi checkpoints, back-rolled it off the trailer and then drove away,” recounted the source.
“Once all the ammo was removed, as per procedure, by Iraqi personnel, we noticed Iranian markings on the back of the shell casings. Seems they put a Russian machine gun with Iranian ammunition on an Abrams tank.”
As Washington scrambles to adapt to the myriad, Iranian-backed Shiite militias fighting alongside its US-trained and -supplied partners in Iraq, new manifestations of shifting alliances may threaten the relevance of US end-use monitoring in that war-torn country.
Posted by Blue_Tires | Sat Oct 17, 2015, 06:28 PM (5 replies)