Political Mojo | Mother Jones http://www.motherjones.com/Blogs/2011/03 http://www.motherjones.com/files/motherjonesLogo_google_206X40.png Mother Jones logo http://www.motherjones.com en Iowa GOP Official Warns That Child Migrants Might Be Highly Trained "Warriors" http://www.motherjones.com/mojo/2014/08/iowa-gop-official-child-migrants-secret-warriors <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>Iowa Republican National Committee member Tamara Scott has a special theory about the <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2014/06/child-migrants-surge-unaccompanied-central-america" target="_blank">flood of child migrants</a> entering the United States: What if they're secretly ninjas?</p> <p>Republican congressmen have previously argued that the 70,000 youths who will come across the border in 2014 are being brought over to <a href="http://www.mediaite.com/online/louie-gohmert-obama-lets-immigrants-into-u-s-so-theyll-vote-democrat/" target="_blank">bolster</a> Democratic voter rolls at some point in the distant future, or that they are carrying a deadly disease that <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/mojo/2014/08/andy-tobin-migrants-ebola" target="_blank">does not actually exist</a> in their home countries. Scott, in a Thursday radio segment flagged by <a href="http://www.rightwingwatch.org/content/gop-committeewoman-warns-child-migrants-highly-trained-warriors-who-will-rise-against-us-ame" target="_blank">Right Wing Watch</a>, sought to outdo them all:</p> <blockquote> <p>For us just to open our borders it's chaos we don't know orderly who's coming in, who's not. When we see these kids, you and I think young kids, we think maybe 12-year-olds, maybe even&hellip;middle-schoolers. But we know back in our revolution, we had 12-year-olds fighting in our revolution. And for many of these kids, depending on where they're coming from, <strong>they could be coming from other countries and be highly trained as warriors who will meet up with their group here and actually rise up against us as Americans.</strong> We have no idea what's coming through our borders, but I would say biblically it's not a Christian nation when you entice people to do wrong.</p> </blockquote> <p>This is a terrible idea for a <em>Red Dawn</em> sequel.</p></body></html> MoJo Immigration child migrants Fri, 22 Aug 2014 20:25:35 +0000 Tim Murphy 258991 at http://www.motherjones.com We're Still at War: Photo of the Day for August 22, 2014 http://www.motherjones.com/mojo/2014/08/were-still-war-photo-day-august-22-2014 <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p class="rtecenter"><em>The USS Theodore Roosevelt, an aircraft carrier in the Atlantic, performs a live-fire exercise to prepare for future deployment. (US Navy Photo)</em></p></body></html> MoJo Military Fri, 22 Aug 2014 17:47:15 +0000 258936 at http://www.motherjones.com Compton to District Security Guards: Go Ahead, Bring Your AR-15s to School http://www.motherjones.com/mojo/2014/08/compton-schools-allow-ar-15-rifles-security-guards <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>When students in the Compton Unified School District return to classrooms on Monday, some of them will have new pencils or notebooks. Their teachers will have new textbooks. But this year, the district's campus police will be getting an upgrade, too: AR-15 rifles.</p> <p>The board of the Los Angeles-area school district approved a measure to allow the campus cops to carry the new guns in July. The district's police chief, William Wu, told the board that equipping school police with semi-automatic AR-15s is intended to ensure student safety.</p> <p>"This is our objective&mdash;save lives, bottom line," Wu told the board.</p> <p>Crime is a serious problem in Compton, an independent jurisdiction south of downtown Los Angeles. In the 12 months preceding July, the city of nearly 100,000 experienced 28 murders, making it the 11th-deadliest neighborhood in the county, according to a <a href="http://homicide.latimes.com/neighborhood/compton" target="_blank">data analysis</a> by the <em>Los Angeles Times</em>.</p> <p>But the choice to make Compton school police the latest local law enforcement agency to adopt military-style weapons was less about dealing with street crime than it was about preventing more exotic incidents like mass shootings. At the board meeting, Wu cited an <a href="http://leb.fbi.gov/2014/january/active-shooter-events-from-2000-to-2012" target="_blank">FBI report</a> released in January that found that 5 percent of "active shooters"&mdash; or shooters which are conducting an ongoing assault on a group of people&mdash;wore body armor, which can stop most bullets fired from handguns. To make his case, Wu cited a range of examples, including the Mumbai terrorist attacks and the University of Texas shooting in 1966, in which a student killed 16 people from the campus clock tower, out of range of police sidearms. (The student was eventually killed when a group of police climbed the tower and shot him at close range.)</p> <p>"They will continue until they are stopped," Wu said, at which point a board member interjected.</p> <p>"No, they will continue until <em>we </em>stop them," he said. "Compton Unified School Police&hellip;holding it down."</p> <p>"These rifles give us greater flexibility in dealing with a person with bad intent who comes onto any of our campuses," Wu said in a statement. "The officers will keep the rifles in the trunks of their cars, unless they are needed."</p> <p>Compton is not the first district in the Southern California to allow AR-15s on its campuses. At the meeting, Wu said that Los Angeles, Baldwin Park, Santa Ana, Fontana, and San Bernardino all allow their officers to use the same weapons.&nbsp;</p> <p>Compton school police last <a href="http://articles.latimes.com/2013/may/13/local/la-me-compton-schools-lawsuit-20130514" target="_blank">made news in May 2013,</a> when a group of parents and students filed a suit against the department, alleging a pattern of racial profiling and abuse targeting Latino students. The complaint said that officers beat, pepper-sprayed, and put a chokehold on a bystander who was recording an arrest with his iPod. The group also claimed that Compton school police used excessive force against students and parents who complained that English-as-a-second-language programs were underfunded. (The case is ongoing.)</p> <p>Wu said at the board meeting that seven officers have already been trained to use the new weapons. He said all officers would be purchasing their own weapons. The guns will be the officers' personal property, but they could be bringing them to work as early as September.</p></body></html> MoJo Education Guns Top Stories Fri, 22 Aug 2014 10:00:11 +0000 Alex Park 258656 at http://www.motherjones.com Another GOP Candidate Says Migrant Kids Might Have Ebola. (They Don't.) http://www.motherjones.com/mojo/2014/08/andy-tobin-migrants-ebola <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>Arizona Speaker of the House Andy Tobin is the latest Republican politician to suggest migrants from Central America might bring the Ebola virus with them to the United States. Tobin, who is seeking the GOP nomination for the state's 1st Congressional District in Tuesday's primary, made the connection in an interview published in the <a href="http://www.tucsonweekly.com/tucson/judgment-day/Content?oid=4811097" target="_blank"><em>Tucson Weekly</em></a> on Thursday.</p> <p>Rep. Phil Gingrey (R-Ga.) started the GOP Ebola fearmongering trend last month when he <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/mojo/2014/07/phil-gingrey-migrant-ebola-vaccines" target="_blank">wrote a letter</a> to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention stating that "[r]eports of illegal immigrants carrying deadly diseases such as swine flu, dengue fever, Ebola virus and tuberculosis are particularly concerning."&nbsp; In August, Reps. Todd Rokita (R-Ind.) and Louie Gohmert (R-Texas) leveled the same charge.</p> <p>Although allegations of disease-ridden migrants are common throughout history, vaccination rates in Central America are higher than in Texas. And Ebola, which is difficult to contract, is not found in Central America. But Tobin was undeterred.</p> <p>Per the <em>Weekly</em>:</p> <blockquote> <p>&hellip;Tobin says he's hearing about worries from constituents that the recent wave of undocumented youth from Central America could cause an Ebola outbreak in the United States.</p> <p>"Anything's now possible," Tobin said last week. "So if you were to say the Ebola virus has now entered (the country), I don't think anyone would be surprised."</p> <p>Tobin acknowledged that Ebola has been limited to outbreaks in Africa, "to the extent that they're really aware of that. I think there is a reason we should be concerned about it and say, 'Hey, can you assure us the people crossing the border are not from the Middle East?'&hellip;So I use that as an example, that the public would not be surprised to hear about the next calamity at the border."</p> </blockquote> <p>But even if there were lots of people crossing the border from the Middle East, they still wouldn't be bringing Ebola, because Ebola is still confined to sub-Saharan West Africa. Here's a useful map:</p> <div class="inline inline-center" style="display: table; width: 1%"><img alt="" class="image" src="/files/ebola_0_0.jpg"><div class="caption"><strong>Central America is on the left. </strong>Google Maps</div> </div> <p>Fortunately for Tobin, though, the bar for misinformed comments on migrants is high in Arizona's 1st District. State Rep. Adam Kwasman, Tobin's chief rival for the nomination, became a late-night punch line in July when he <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/mojo/2014/07/gop-congressional-candidate-mistakes-ymca-campers-migrant-kids" target="_blank">protested</a> a YMCA camp bus he mistakenly believed was filled with undocumented youths.</p></body></html> MoJo Elections Immigration child migrants Thu, 21 Aug 2014 21:01:02 +0000 Tim Murphy 258886 at http://www.motherjones.com The American Correctional Association Ushered Me Out of Its Convention With Armed Guards http://www.motherjones.com/mixed-media/2014/08/armed-guards-ushered-me-out-prison-convention <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>I've dealt with surly, armed prison guards in my reporting career, but Tuesday was the first time the encounter involved a PR man kicking me out of a convention I had personally requested to attend, paid for, and traveled across country to attend. On Tuesday, the director of government and public affairs of the <a href="http://www.aca.org/ACA_Prod_IMIS/ACA_Member/Home/ACA_Member/Home.aspx" target="_blank">American Correctional Association</a> (ACA), a prison trade group, pulled me out of a seminar at their conference in Salt Lake City, which I'd been attending for several days. Flanking him were two men in Utah Department of Corrections uniforms, with pistols and tasers on their hips.</p> <p>The convention is a twice-yearly affair, and I've been to it before. Hundreds of prison staff and members of the vast industry surrounding corrections touch down on an American city to discuss all things prison related. This week, Salt Lake City laid out the red carpet. Downtown restaurants posted signs welcoming the prison industry. Hotels printed the ACA insignia on their keys. Bars hosted parties sponsored by corrections companies. The local prison had inmates press an "ACA 2014" license plate for each convention guest.</p> <p>The ACA is the largest and oldest correctional association in the world, and their conventions offer a rare glimpse into the world of US prisons. Vendors in the exhibit hall openly discuss their increasing sales of SWAT-style equipment to prisons. Visitors can check out the new tech like drone-detection devices, surveillance systems, and shank-proof e-cigarettes. People hold workshops on issues like sex between prison guards and inmates and the problem of drug-dealing staff. Serious topics like suicide among transgender inmate populations are often revealingly discussed in terms of liability and cost.</p> <p>But in attending ACA conventions, I've also been surprised at how many reformists there are. When I attended an ACA convention in Tampa six months ago, the main plenary was composed of wardens and mental-health workers discussing the need to reform the use of long-term solitary confinement (called "restrictive housing" in ACA jargon). In Salt Lake City, prisoner mental health and the rampant problem of hepatitis C (affecting 40 percent of inmates) were major topics.</p> <p>For someone who writes about prisons and is accustomed to being stonewalled at every turn, the ACA conventions have felt refreshingly transparent. After workshops or at company-sponsored meet-and-greets, most people are very willing to speak to a journalist, and I have always identified myself as such.</p> <p>While in Salt Lake City, I was <a href="http://storify.com/smbauer1/american-correctional-association-convention" target="_blank">live-tweeting throughout the convention</a>, posting revealing tidbits from workshops and notes on a visit to a local jail. This may have had something to do with why, on the fourth day, a man named Eric Schultz, the ACA's director of government and public affairs, came into a workshop and asked me to step outside. Standing at each side of him was an armed Utah correctional officer. He told me I was going to have to leave.</p> <p>The guards ushered us into an empty room. The reason for my dismissal changed as Mr. Schultz and I talked. First, he told me I wasn't registered as media. I explained to him that when I called to register, I was told there were no media passes, and that I should register through the normal channels. He then told me the problem was that I wasn't displaying my <em>Mother Jones</em> credentials, which was required by policy (I still have not been able to find that policy). I told him that could easily be remedied. "It's nothing against you or <em>Mother Jones</em>," he said. "But you are just going to have to leave." The burly guard stepped in closer.</p> <p>After I left the convention center, I called the main ACA office in Virginia to ask again whether media were allowed to attend the convention. The man who answered told me yes, they were.</p> <p>"Any media?" I asked.</p> <p>&ldquo;Yes,&rdquo; he said. My editor, Monika Bauerlein, called Eric Schultz several times to discuss the matter, leaving voicemails and receiving no return calls. I later called up Schultz to ask whether he wanted to comment for this post. He hasn't responded.</p> <p>The ACA functions as the de facto oversight organization for our prison system. They set the professional standards and conduct audits. I've been told by many that their accreditation carries weight in court. What are we to infer when an institution whose purpose is to make sure our prisons are up to par doesn't allow the public to see what it's doing?</p></body></html> MoJo Human Rights Media Prisons Top Stories Thu, 21 Aug 2014 16:54:05 +0000 Shane Bauer 258811 at http://www.motherjones.com Here’s Why Bank of America’s $17 Billion Settlement Probably Won’t Cost It That Much http://www.motherjones.com/mojo/2014/08/bank-of-america-17-billion-settlement-not-that-much <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>On Thursday, the Justice Department <a href="http://www.justice.gov/opa/pr/2014/August/14-ag-884.html" target="_blank">announced</a> a record $17 billion settlement with Bank of America over accusations that the bank&mdash;as well as companies it later bought&mdash;intentionally misled investors who purchased financial products backed by toxic subprime mortgages. It's the largest settlement the US government has reached with any company in history, and it is roughly equal to the bank's total profits over <a href="http://online.wsj.com/articles/bank-of-america-reaches-17-billion-settlement-1408560100" target="_blank">the past three years</a>. But as is the case with similar settlements involving <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2014/07/7-billion-citigroup-settlement-department-justice" target="_blank">Citigroup</a> and <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/mojo/2013/10/jpmorgan-chase-13-billion-settlement-justice-department" target="_blank">JPMorgan Chase</a>, Bank of America probably won't end up paying that much.</p> <p>Potential tax deductions and tricky accounting techniques in deals like this often hide the real cost to banks. <a href="http://bigstory.ap.org/article/why-bank-america-deal-might-not-cost-it-17b?wpisrc=nl-wonkbk&amp;wpmm=1" target="_blank">The <em>Associated Press </em>explains</a>:</p> <blockquote> <p>Bank of America will pay $9.65 billion in cash and provide consumer relief valued at $7 billion&hellip;Whether cash payments are structured as penalties or legal settlements can determine whether targeted companies can declare them as tax-deductible business expenses. Also, consumer relief is an amorphous cost category: If Bank of America's deal resembles the department's previous settlements with JPMorgan and Citigroup, that part could be less costly to the company than the huge figures suggest.</p> <p>...[M]uch of the relief will come from modifying loans that the banks have already concluded could not be recovered in full. Reducing the principal on troubled loans often just brings the amount that borrowers owe in line with what the banks already know the loan to be worth.</p> <p>Settlement math also affects the actual cost of the deals, allowing banks to earn a multiple for each dollar spent on certain forms of relief. Under Citi's deal, for example, each dollar spent on legal aid counselors is worth $2 in credits, and paper losses on some affordable housing project loans can be credited at as much as four times their actual value.</p> </blockquote> <p>Banks generally regard the consumer relief portion of settlements as "stuff they're doing anyway," banking analyst Moshe Orenbuch told the AP.</p> <p>The Bank of America settlement resolves more than two dozen investigations by prosecutors around the country.</p></body></html> MoJo Crime and Justice Economy Thu, 21 Aug 2014 15:59:41 +0000 Erika Eichelberger 258831 at http://www.motherjones.com We're Still at War: Photo of the Day for August 21, 2014 http://www.motherjones.com/mojo/2014/08/were-still-war-photo-day-august-21-2014 <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p class="rtecenter"><em>The US Marines practice weapon proficiency during a crew-served weapons familiarization shoot to serve in the Asia-Pacific Region. <span class="meta-field photo-desc ">(US Marine Corps photo by Cpl. Henry Antenor)</span></em></p></body></html> MoJo Military Thu, 21 Aug 2014 13:56:25 +0000 258826 at http://www.motherjones.com Gun-Pointing Cop Who Threatened to Kill Ferguson Protesters Is Suspended http://www.motherjones.com/mojo/2014/08/gun-pointing-cop-ferguson-suspended <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>The protests in Ferguson, Missouri, were relatively calm yesterday, especially compared to <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2014/08/watch-livestream-ferguson" target="_blank">previous nights</a> where heavily armed police have responded to protests with tear gas and arrests. But there was at least one police officer who took things a little too far. In this video, an unidentified officer points a rifle at journalists and others walking in the street and warns, "I'll fucking kill you." (NSFW language in the clip.)</p> <p><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="473" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/3AFia3Uo0TQ?rel=0" width="630"></iframe><br> Somebody off-camera asks for his name and the officer replies, "Go fuck yourself." Soon afterward, a county police sergeant comes and ushers the officer away. Earlier today the <a href="http://www.aclu-mo.org/download_file/view_inline/1266/535/" target="_blank">ACLU asked for the officer to be removed</a> from Ferguson. The St. Louis County Police Department has announced that the <a href="http://www.washingtonpost.com/news/post-nation/wp/2014/08/20/police-officer-suspended-for-pointing-rifle-at-protesters-threatening-them/" target="_blank">officer has been suspended</a>, according to the <em>Washington Post</em>:</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"> <p>Update from <a href="https://twitter.com/stlcountypd">@stlcountypd</a> re: police officer's "inappropriate" actions overnight in <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Ferguson?src=hash">#Ferguson</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/KMOV">@kmov</a> <a href="http://t.co/c2QvSsqBA9">pic.twitter.com/c2QvSsqBA9</a></p> &mdash; Laura Hettiger KMOV (@LauraKHettiger) <a href="https://twitter.com/LauraKHettiger/statuses/502197359150112769">August 20, 2014</a></blockquote> <script async src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script></body></html> MoJo Civil Liberties Crime and Justice Race and Ethnicity Wed, 20 Aug 2014 23:13:06 +0000 AJ Vicens 258801 at http://www.motherjones.com We're Still at War: Photo of the Day for August 20, 2014 http://www.motherjones.com/mojo/2014/08/were-still-war-photo-day-august-20-2014 <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p class="rtecenter"><em>After a training mission, F-15 Eagles of the US Air Force fly over wildland fires in Southern Oregon. <span class="meta-field photo-desc " id="yui_3_16_0_rc_1_1_1408556087628_1472">(High-G Productions photo by Jim "Hazy" Hazeltine.)</span></em></p></body></html> MoJo Military Wed, 20 Aug 2014 17:40:20 +0000 258766 at http://www.motherjones.com Watch: Livestream from Ferguson: August 19 http://www.motherjones.com/mojo/2014/08/watch-livestream-ferguson-august-19 <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>The live stream <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=24e6RfL_jbg" target="_blank">feed via Vice News</a> and Tim Pool was largely mellow for most of the night, Aug. 19, until about 11: 50 p.m. CDT, when a thrown bottle led to police moving in. You can see the whole thing, as it happened, embedded below.</p> <p><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="354" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/24e6RfL_jbg" width="630"></iframe></p> <p><strong>12:04 p.m. CDT:</strong> <a href="https://firstlook.org/theintercept/staff/ryan-devereaux/" target="_blank">Ryan Devereaux of The Intercept</a> tweeted a picture of peacemakers trying to calm down a potentially violent moment:</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"> <p>Community members link hands to separate police from the crowd <a href="http://t.co/CxOoM9GSxo">pic.twitter.com/CxOoM9GSxo</a></p> &mdash; Ryan Devereaux (@rdevro) <a href="https://twitter.com/rdevro/statuses/501957897971302400">August 20, 2014</a></blockquote> <script async src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script><p><strong>12:15 p.m. CDT:</strong>Wesley Lowery tweets a picture of police forming a line against the press:</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"> <p>These officers are facing the media pen. The media pen <a href="http://t.co/PokR22pyRG">pic.twitter.com/PokR22pyRG</a></p> &mdash; Wesley Lowery (@WesleyLowery) <a href="https://twitter.com/WesleyLowery/statuses/501960750722588673">August 20, 2014</a></blockquote> <script async src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script><p><strong>12:30 p.m. CDT:</strong>Adam Serwer with some protesters being pushed back by police:</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"> <p>Crowd still chanting hands up don't shoot while being pushed back <a href="http://t.co/UBVeeNT43M">pic.twitter.com/UBVeeNT43M</a></p> &mdash; AdamSerwer (@AdamSerwer) <a href="https://twitter.com/AdamSerwer/statuses/501964575852728320">August 20, 2014</a></blockquote> <script async src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script></body></html> MoJo Wed, 20 Aug 2014 05:21:57 +0000 AJ Vicens 258731 at http://www.motherjones.com This Is Rick Perry's Mugshot http://www.motherjones.com/mojo/2014/08/rick-perrys-mugshot <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>Rick Perry was booked today on <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2014/04/rick-perry-texas-grand-jury-investigation-public-integrity" target="_blank">abuse of power charges</a>&nbsp;that look <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/kevin-drum/2014/08/rick-perry-indictment-highlights-hack-gap-once-again" target="_blank">pretty flimsy.</a></p> <p>Say what you will about his awful retrograde conservative politics, but Rick Perry is a handsome devil.</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-partner="tweetdeck"> <p><a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/BREAKING?src=hash">#BREAKING</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/GovernorPerry">@GovernorPerry</a> booking photo just released <a href="http://t.co/EQmoHi2lm3">http://t.co/EQmoHi2lm3</a> <a href="http://t.co/QSI2E0vKLy">pic.twitter.com/QSI2E0vKLy</a></p> &mdash; NBC DFW (@NBCDFW) <a href="https://twitter.com/NBCDFW/statuses/501860292402614273">August 19, 2014</a></blockquote></body></html> MoJo Crime and Justice Tue, 19 Aug 2014 23:02:11 +0000 Ben Dreyfuss 258711 at http://www.motherjones.com Amnesty International's Latest Hot Spot? Ferguson. http://www.motherjones.com/mojo/2014/08/amnesty-international-ferguson-turkey-protests <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>Amnesty International is best known for monitoring human rights conditions in places like Afghanistan and China&mdash;while active in the United States, it rarely makes headlines here. That's why the sight of yellow-clad Amnesty activists walking the streets of Ferguson, Missouri, is attracting so much attention: It marks the first time an Amnesty delegation has been dispatched to monitor a human rights crisis unfolding on American soil.</p> <p>Margaret Huang, deputy executive director of campaigns and programs for Amnesty USA, was in Ferguson earlier this week for what she called a "support mission" and says that Amnesty came at the request of the community. Huang and her colleagues did field trainings to educate protesters on their rights and how to respond to police. "The goal was not necessarily to produce a report, which is what Amnesty has typically done, but just to make sure things have been examined from a human rights angle and for people to understand international legal obligations," Huang says. She says the response from the community has been overwhelmingly positive; the police, however, haven't been as welcoming. On <a href="http://blog.amnestyusa.org/us/tense-night-in-ferguson-update-from-the-amnesty-team/" target="_blank">Monday night</a>, police forced Amnesty observers out of the protest area at gunpoint.</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-partner="tweetdeck"> <p>Jesus Christ. Amnesty getting ordered out of <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Ferguson?src=hash">#Ferguson</a> by police. (Photo via <a href="https://twitter.com/sdkstl">@sdkstl</a>) <a href="http://t.co/7UvP1LlXc5">pic.twitter.com/7UvP1LlXc5</a></p> &mdash; Gabe Ort&iacute;z (@TUSK81) <a href="https://twitter.com/TUSK81/statuses/501603963880628224">August 19, 2014</a></blockquote> <script async src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script><p>Amnesty began reporting on human rights in the United States in 1998, and it has since become just as vocal about conditions here as it is elsewhere. The <a href="http://www.amnesty.org/en/region/usa/report-2013" target="_blank">organization's 2013 report</a> on the US is a laundry list of alleged human rights transgressions, including solitary confinement, detention of prisoners in Afghanistan and Guantanamo, drone strikes, and police brutality. This tweet about the situation in Ferguson sums up the organization's angle:</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"> <p>US can't tell other countries to improve their records on policing and peaceful assembly if it won't clean up its own human rights record</p> &mdash; AmnestyInternational (@amnesty) <a href="https://twitter.com/amnesty/statuses/501600372847575040">August 19, 2014</a><br> &nbsp;</blockquote> <script async src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script><p>While the nature of Amnesty's mission in Ferguson is unprecedented in the United States, it's not the first time delegations have been on the ground in times of crisis. After Hurricane Katrina hit, teams went to New Orleans to interview residents, with the purpose of <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/04/09/amnesty-international-hurricane-katrina-human-rights_n_531349.html" target="_blank">producing a report</a> detailing how government was failing in its recovery efforts. Amnesty also helped organize protests and raise awareness leading up to <a href="http://www.amnestyusa.org/our-work/cases/usa-troy-davis" target="_blank">Troy Davis' execution in 2011</a>.</p> <p>To find the closest parallel to what Amnesty is doing in Missouri, though, you have to look abroad. Huang says that Amnesty's work during Turkey's <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2013%E2%80%9314_protests_in_Turkey" target="_blank">massive anti-government protests</a> in 2013 most resembles the Ferguson mission. In Istanbul, activists gave medical assistance to injured protesters and observed the violent clashes involving protesters, police, and sometimes members of the press. They ultimately produced <a href="http://www.amnesty.org/en/library/asset/EUR44/022/2013/en/0ba8c4cc-b059-4b88-9c52-8fbd652c6766/eur440222013en.pdf" target="_blank">a huge report</a> detailing the numerous human rights abuses carried out by Turkish police. Their concerns then&mdash;police brutality, harassment and detainment of the press&mdash;were also articulated in a <a href="http://blog.amnestyusa.org/us/amnesty-international-stands-with-ferguson-because-all-lives-matter/" target="_blank">statement about Ferguson.</a></p> <p>What's happening in Ferguson and what happened across Turkey last year aren't the same, of course. But the similarities between the two situations&mdash;and the fact that Amnesty is in Ferguson in the first place&mdash;are, for many, making what's unfolding now even more troubling. Huang didn't say how long the delegation plans to stay in Ferguson, calling the situation "very fluid," but Amnesty USA's executive director, Steven Hawkins, is there now.</p></body></html> MoJo Civil Liberties Crime and Justice Human Rights Race and Ethnicity Ferguson Tue, 19 Aug 2014 21:06:44 +0000 Sam Brodey 258626 at http://www.motherjones.com The Man Who Ran Contra Propaganda for Reagan Is Guatemala’s New DC Lobbyist http://www.motherjones.com/mojo/2014/08/guatemala-lobbyist-otto-reich-reagan-contras-propaganda <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>In late July, with <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2014/06/child-migrants-surge-unaccompanied-central-america" target="_blank">child migrants</a> still surging across the US-Mexico border, President Obama met with <a href="http://bigstory.ap.org/article/central-american-leaders-convening-white-house" target="_blank">Central American leaders</a> to discuss a response to the crisis. Not satisfied with Obama's plans, Guatemalan president Otto P&eacute;rez Molina took his agenda to the media, writing a <a href="http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2014/aug/03/child-migrants-to-us-guatamalan-president-on-human-rights-action-on-traffickers" target="_blank"><em>Guardian</em> op-ed</a> criticizing the United States for the lasting legacy of both the Cold War and the drug war in his country.</p> <p>Around the same time, Guatemala hired a lobbyist to help push its interests in Washington, DC. Given P&eacute;rez Molina's sharp criticism of the United States' history in the region, his choice&mdash;former Reagan official and <a href="http://www.odwyerpr.com/story/public/2900/2014-08-08/guatemala-taps-reich-for-new-narrative.html" target="_blank">noted Cold War propagandist Otto Reich</a>&mdash;was a shocker.</p> <p>If you've forgotten about the Reich, check out <a href="http://prospect.org/article/our-man-little-havana" target="_blank">this 2001 profile</a> from <em>The American Prospect</em>, this 2002 <a href="http://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2002/10/14/castros-shadow" target="_blank"><em>New Yorker </em></a>piece, or his National Security Archive <a href="http://www2.gwu.edu/~nsarchiv/NSAEBB/NSAEBB40/" target="_blank">page</a>. Highlights of his Latin American misadventures include:</p> <ul><li>Running the Reagan-era Office of Public Diplomacy for Latin America and the Caribbean (OPD), which, as historian Greg Grandin wrote in <em>Empire's Workshop</em>, "was officially charged with implementing a 'new, nontraditional' approach to 'defining the terms of the public discussion on Central American policy.'" What it actually did was work to ensure US support of the Nicaraguan Contras in their offensive against the Sandinistas.</li> <li>Overseeing OPD's <a href="http://www2.gwu.edu/~nsarchiv/NSAEBB/NSAEBB40/00940.pdf" target="_blank">"white propaganda" program,</a> which placed pro-Contra op-eds in the mainstream media without acknowledging their links to the Reagan administration.</li> <li>Confronting and intimidating those journalists Reich believed were sympathetic with the Sandinistas or the Salvadoran rebels. This included a memorable trip to the NPR office in DC&mdash;Reich referred to NPR as "Moscow on the Potomac"&mdash;during which he alerted reporters that OPD was listening to and transcribing their Central American reporting.</li> <li>Helping write the <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2001/03/09/world/in-filling-latin-post-bush-may-reignite-feuds.html" target="_blank">Helms-Burton Act</a> (which tightened the Cuban embargo) as well as lobbying for Bacardi to eliminate Cuban trademark rights so the rum maker could pilfer Cuba's official Havana Club brand. (Reich is Cuban American and staunchly anti-Castro.)</li> </ul><p>Perhaps this is stating the obvious, but hiring someone with Reich's history in the region is probably not the best way to, as the lobbying disclosure form puts it, "develop a strategy to move forward on the change of narrative from Guatemala to Washington, DC, allowing representatives in the North American political parties that are willing to abandon the reference to Guatemala of the 1970s and 1980s, as well as the last century, and are eager to talk about the present and future of Guatemala of the 21st century." (The rest of the form is embedded below.)</p> <p>Nor is it the best way for fellow cold warrior P&eacute;rez Molina to avoid references to his role as a military leader during Guatemala's 36-year civil war, which claimed the lives of more than 200,000 Guatemalans, many of them indigenous Mayans, with assistance <a href="http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/inatl/daily/march99/guatemala11.htm" target="_blank">from the United States.</a> But then again, trying to make sense of the country's politics can be futile. "Just as you think you understand," University of California-Santa Cruz prof Susanne Jonas <a href="http://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2011/04/04/a-murder-foretold" target="_blank">once wrote</a>, Guatemala will "show you that you understand nothing at all."</p> <div class="DV-container" id="DV-viewer-1276861-otto-reich-lobbying-disclosure">&nbsp;</div> <script src="//s3.amazonaws.com/s3.documentcloud.org/viewer/loader.js"></script><script> DV.load("//www.documentcloud.org/documents/1276861-otto-reich-lobbying-disclosure.js", { width: 630, height: 450, sidebar: false, text: false, container: "#DV-viewer-1276861-otto-reich-lobbying-disclosure" }); </script><noscript> <a href="http://s3.documentcloud.org/documents/1276861/otto-reich-lobbying-disclosure.pdf">Otto Reich Lobbying Disclosure (PDF)</a> <br><a href="http://s3.documentcloud.org/documents/1276861/otto-reich-lobbying-disclosure.txt">Otto Reich Lobbying Disclosure (Text)</a> </noscript> <p>(h/t CEPR's <a href="http://www.cepr.net/index.php/blogs/the-americas-blog/cold-warrior-criticizes-cold-war-and-drug-war-hires-cold-warrior-to-promote-drug-war" target="_blank"><em>The Americas Blog</em></a>)</p></body></html> MoJo Human Rights International Money in Politics Top Stories Tue, 19 Aug 2014 18:45:58 +0000 Ian Gordon 258616 at http://www.motherjones.com We're Still at War: Photo of the Day for August 19, 2014 http://www.motherjones.com/mojo/2014/08/were-still-war-photo-day-august-19-2014 <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p class="rtecenter"><em>A US Marine shouts out to his crew during a training mission in the Atlantic. <span class="meta-field photo-desc " id="yui_3_16_0_rc_1_1_1408457607381_1424">(US Marine Corps photo taken by Lance Cpl. Alex W. Mitchel</span>)</em></p></body></html> MoJo Military Tue, 19 Aug 2014 14:21:01 +0000 258636 at http://www.motherjones.com The Government May Soon Send This Reporter to Jail. Here Are the Embarrassing Secrets He Exposed. http://www.motherjones.com/mojo/2014/08/james-risen-operation-merlin-jail-cia <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>The Obama administration has fought a years-long court battle to force longtime <em>New York Times</em> national security correspondent James Risen to reveal the source for a story in his 2006 book <a href="http://www.powells.com/biblio/1-9780743270663-5" target="_blank"><em>State of War: The Secret History of the CIA and the Bush Administration</em></a>. Risen may soon serve&nbsp;jail time for refusing to out his source. The fight has drawn attention to Obama's less-than-stellar track record on press freedom&mdash;in a <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2014/08/17/opinion/sunday/maureen-dowd-wheres-the-justice-at-justice.html" target="_blank">recent interview</a>, Risen called the president "the greatest enemy to press freedom in a generation." But lost in the ruckus are the details of&nbsp;what Risen revealed. Here's what has the government so upset.</p> <p>In <em>State of War</em>, Risen revealed a secret CIA operation,&nbsp;code-named&nbsp;Merlin, that was intended to undermine&nbsp;the Iranian nuclear program. The plan&mdash;originally approved by president Bill Clinton, but later embraced by George W. Bush&mdash;was to pass flawed plans for a trigger system for a nuclear weapon to Iran in the hopes of derailing the country's nuclear program. "It was one of the greatest engineering secrets in the world," Risen wrote in <em>State of War</em>, "providing the solution to one of a handful of problems that separated nuclear powers such as the United States and Russia from the rogue countries like Iran that were desperate to join the nuclear club but had so far fallen short."</p> <p>The flaws in the trigger system were supposed to be so well hidden that the blueprints would lead Iranian scientists down the wrong path for years. But Merlin's frontman, a Russian nuclear scientist and defector then on the CIA's payroll, spotted the flaws almost immediately. On the day of the handoff in Vienna in winter 2000, the Russian, not wanting to burn a bridge with the Iranians, included an apologetic note with his delivery, explaining that the design had some problems. Shortly after receiving the plans, one member of the Iranian mission changed his travel plans and flew back to Tehran, presumably with the blueprints&mdash;and the note&mdash;in hand. Merlin did not wreck the Iranian nuclear program&mdash;in fact, Risen wrote, the operation could have accelerated it.&nbsp;</p> <p>In a <a href="https://www.documentcloud.org/documents/228603-jim-risen-affidavit.html" target="_blank">sworn affidavit</a> filed in 2011, and in a recently rejected appeal to the US Supreme Court, Risen has argued that his reporting served the public good. Published at a time when military action in Iran seemed possible, <em>State of Fear</em> revealed how much of the effort to gather information on Iran's nuclear capability was not just shoddy but dangerous&mdash;even, in the case of Operation Merlin, helping Iran get closer to building a nuclear weapon.&nbsp;</p> <p>The Bush administration did not see it that way. In 2008, Bush's Justice Department subpoenaed Risen, demanding that he reveal his source&mdash;or face jail time for contempt of court. After taking office in 2009, the Obama administration&nbsp;renewed the Bush-era subpoena&nbsp;and continued&nbsp;to try to identify and prosecute Risen's source. Justice Department staff believe they know who the source was&mdash;an ex-CIA operations officer named Jeffrey Sterling, who was previously an on-the-record source for Risen&mdash;but they want Risen to confirm their hunch and fill in a few details. In <a href="http://www.documentcloud.org/documents/96754-subpoena-of-james-risen.html" target="_blank">legal filings</a>, Justice Department lawyers have called Risen a witness to "serious crimes that implicate the national security of the United States" and argued that "there are few scenarios where the United States' interests in securing information is more profound and compelling than in a criminal prosecution like this one." &nbsp;</p> <p>If Risen is called to court to testify but fails to show up or refuses to talk, he's likely to become the first reporter from a major news organization since <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2005/07/07/politics/07leak.html?pagewanted=all&amp;_r=0" target="_blank">Judith Miller in 2005</a> to be sentenced to jail time for refusing to divulge a source. (In 2006, journalist Josh Wolf was <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2007/02/reporters-behind-bars" target="_blank">imprisoned</a> for 226 days after refusing to comply with a federal subpoena for a video he took of a San Francisco protest.)</p> <p><em>This story has been amended to clarify that Wolf, and not Miller, was the last journalist to be imprisoned for refusing to disclose a source.</em></p></body></html> MoJo Civil Liberties Crime and Justice Top Stories Tue, 19 Aug 2014 10:00:04 +0000 Alex Park 258556 at http://www.motherjones.com Senator Jim Jeffords Died Today. Watch the Moving Speech He Gave Defecting From the GOP. http://www.motherjones.com/mojo/2014/08/rip-jim-jeffords-one-of-the-marbles-the-gop-lost <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>Former Senator James Jeffords, who represented Vermont in Washington for 32 years, <a href="http://www.bostonglobe.com/metro/2014/08/18/former-vermont-sen-james-jeffords-dies/qbGtu8xRxxTwjb20wXlPeM/story.html" target="_blank">died Monday</a> at the age of 80. He made history when, five months after George W. Bush was inaugurated with a deadlocked Senate in 2001, he left the GOP to become an independent and caucus with the Democrats, thereby handing Dems control of the upper chamber. He did it because "more and more" he found he could not "support the president's agenda." The GOP was no longer the party he grew up in. "Given the changing nature of the national party, it has become a struggle for our leaders to deal with me and for me to deal with them."</p> <p>This was before the tea party, before Guantanamo, before Abu Ghraib, before so much of what we now think of when we think of Republican extremism.</p> <p>Here is the <a href="http://www.burlingtonfreepress.com/story/news/2014/08/18/leaving-republican-party-jeffords-speech/14239833/" target="_blank">speech</a> he gave announcing his defection, on May 24, 2001. It's a reminder that the GOP didn't just up and start losing its marbles after Obama's election. It had been dropping them one by one for years.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <object align="middle" classid="clsid:d27cdb6eae6d-11cf-96b8-444553540000" codebase="http://fpdownload.macromedia.com/pub/shockwave/cabs/flash/swflash.cab#version=9,0,0,0" height="500" id="cspan-video-player" width="630"><param name="allowScriptAccess" value="true"><param name="movie" value="http://static.c-span.org/assets/swf/CSPANPlayer.1405958893.swf?pid=164445-1"><param name="quality" value="high"><param name="bgcolor" value="#ffffff"><param name="allowFullScreen" value="true"><param name="flashvars" value="system=http://www.c-span.org/common/services/flashXml.php?programid=141340&amp;style=full&amp;version=2014-01-23"><embed align="middle" allowfullscreen="true" allowscriptaccess="always" bgcolor="#ffffff" flashvars="system=http://www.c-span.org/common/services/flashXml.php?programid=141340&amp;style=full&amp;version=2014-01-23" height="500" name="cspan-video-player" pluginspage="http://www.macromedia.com/go/getflashplayer" quality="high" src="http://static.c-span.org/assets/swf/CSPANPlayer.1405958893.swf?pid=164445-1" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" width="630"></embed></object> <p>&nbsp;</p></body></html> MoJo Tue, 19 Aug 2014 00:55:22 +0000 Ben Dreyfuss 258561 at http://www.motherjones.com It’s Like Yelp For Cops: Teens Make App To Rate Police http://www.motherjones.com/mixed-media/2014/08/these-teens-made-app-fight-police-brutality <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>Three teens in Georgia just made a mobile app they hope will help prevent the next police shooting of an unarmed young person.</p> <p>It's called <a href="http://pinetartinc.com/?p=44" target="_blank">Five-O</a>, after <a href="http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=five-o" target="_blank">the slang term for police</a>, and it's the brainchild of siblings Ima, 16, Asha, 15, and Caleb Christian, 14, who live in a suburb of Atlanta. Here's how it works: After interacting with a cop, users open the app and fill out a Yelp-like form on which they can grade the officer's courtesy from A to F, check a box if they were verbally or physically abused, and add details about the incident. They can view ratings on other cops and&nbsp;police departments across the country, participate in community forums, and check out a Q&amp;A titled "Know Your Rights."</p> <p>Ima Christian says their parents encouraged them to think about how they could respond productively to incidents like Brown's death. "One of the things they really stress is that we focus on finding solutions," she told&nbsp;<em>Mother Jones</em>. "We really hope that Five-O will be able to give every citizen a voice when interacting with the police."</p> <p>But the Christians say&nbsp;Five-O isn't just for outing bad cops; they hope it will help also highlight good policing.&nbsp;"We want people to be able to document if the police are very courteous or if they save your cat or something," Ima says.</p> <p>"You&rsquo;re never too young to learn, and you're never too young to make a difference," Caleb told <a href="http://www.businessinsider.com/fiveo-app-built-by-teenagers-to-document-police-abuse-2014-8?utm_source=slate&amp;utm_medium=referral&amp;utm_term=partner" target="_blank">Business Insider</a>. A similar app made in London to track "stop and search" incidents <a href="https://www.liberty-human-rights.org.uk/news/press-releases/liberty-honours-inspirational-human-rights-leaders-annual-awards-ceremony" target="_blank">earned a human rights award</a> in 2012.</p> <p>The siblings have been honing their coding skills since elementary school by participating in the MIT programs <a href="http://k12videos.mit.edu/" target="_blank">+K12</a>, <a href="http://scratch.mit.edu/" target="_blank">Scratch</a>, and <a href="http://appinventor.mit.edu/explore/" target="_blank">App Inventor</a>, and they've also taken programming classes at Georgia Tech and Emory, all with encouragement from their parents. They've started their own app development company, <a href="https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100006377103253" target="_blank">Pine Tart, Inc</a>., and they're currently working on two other projects: <a href="http://pinetartinc.com/?p=1" target="_blank">Froshly</a>, which will help incoming college freshmen meet their classmates, and <a href="http://pinetartinc.com/?p=37" target="_blank">Coily</a>, which will review hair-care products for black women.</p> <blockquote align="center" class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"> <p>while brogrammers make hook up apps/pizza delivery drones, kids from marginalized communities use tech for real needs <a href="http://t.co/dsQal4iFOa">http://t.co/dsQal4iFOa</a></p> &mdash; joanne mcneil (@jomc) <a href="https://twitter.com/jomc/statuses/500315683029536769">August 15, 2014</a></blockquote> <script async src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script><p>Here's a preview of Five-O:</p> <p><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="349" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/wH-Veei0jQM" width="620"></iframe></p></body></html> MoJo Civil Liberties Crime and Justice Mon, 18 Aug 2014 23:01:26 +0000 Rebecca Cohen 258571 at http://www.motherjones.com Pope Francis Backs Military Force Against Extremists in Iraq, Calls for UN Involvement http://www.motherjones.com/mojo/2014/08/pope-francis-endorses-force-stop-islamic-militants-iraq <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>President Obama's recent <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2014/08/iraq-us-citizens-evacuate" target="_blank">decision</a> to use force against Islamic extremists in Iraq has drawn some unexpected support. The AP reported <a href="http://bigstory.ap.org/article/pope-oks-protecting-iraq-minorities-wants-un-ok" target="_blank">Monday</a> that Pope Francis told reporters in response to questions about the US military intervention that "in these cases, where there is an unjust aggression, I can only say that it is licit to stop the unjust aggressor."</p> <p>But Francis stopped short of endorsing specific military actions. "I underscore the verb 'stop,'" he added, according to the AP. "I'm not saying 'bomb' or 'make war,' just 'stop.' And the means that can be used to stop them must be evaluated." And he made clear that he wanted the international community&mdash;not just the United States&mdash;to decide how to combat the violence in Iraq:</p> <blockquote> <p>"One nation alone cannot judge how you stop this, how you stop an unjust aggressor," he said, apparently referring to the United States. "After World War II, the idea of the United Nations came about: It's there that you must discuss 'Is there an unjust aggression? It seems so. How should we stop it?' Just this. Nothing more."</p> </blockquote> <p>Two weeks ago, Obama <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2014/08/iraq-us-citizens-evacuate" target="_blank">ordered air strikes</a> against the Islamic State&mdash;a terrorist group that now controls parts of Iraq, Syria and <a href="http://www.vox.com/2014/8/4/5968181/lebanon-isis-town-arsal" target="_blank">Lebanon</a>&mdash;which at the time was threatening to seize control of of Irbil, the Kurdish capital. The group has waged a violent campaign against Iraqi religious minorities, stranding tens of thousands of members of the Yazidi sect in the mountains near Irbil without food or water. On <a href="http://www.cnn.com/2014/08/07/world/meast/iraq-isis-christian-city/" target="_blank">August 8</a>, the Islamic State seized the city of Qaraqosh, Iraq's largest Christian city, forcing thousands of Christians to flee, convert, pay a fine, or be murdered "by the sword," according to CNN. Many Iraqi Christians are <a href="http://www.cnn.com/2014/08/07/world/meast/iraq-isis-christian-city/" target="_blank">Chaldeans</a>, a branch of Catholicism.</p> <p>The Vatican's support for the US intervention, which includes strikes by drones and piloted US fighter jets as well as humanitarian aid for the Yazidis, seems to be somewhat unusual. Just <a href="http://darkroom.baltimoresun.com/2013/09/prayers-protests-military-action-in-syria/#1" target="_blank">last September</a>, Francis held a massive vigil urging the United States to refrain from engaging militarily in the conflict in Syria <a href="http://www.whitehouse.gov/issues/foreign-policy/syria" target="_blank">following massive chemical weapons attacks</a>, which killed more than 1,300 people. Francis described war <a href="http://www.news.va/en/news/francis-war-is-always-a-defeat-for-humanity" target="_blank">in 2013</a> as a "defeat for humanity," echoing the words of Pope John Paul II. In 2003, the Vatican condemned the US invasion of Iraq <a href="http://www.foxnews.com/story/2003/03/12/vatican-strongly-opposes-iraq-war/">as a</a> "crime against peace."</p> <p>But, <a href="http://bigstory.ap.org/article/pope-oks-protecting-iraq-minorities-wants-un-ok" target="_blank">as the AP points out</a>, "The Vatican has been increasingly showing support for military intervention in Iraq, given that Christians are being directly targeted because of their faith."</p> <p><em>This article has been revised.</em></p></body></html> MoJo Foreign Policy International Iraq Military Religion Mon, 18 Aug 2014 22:06:36 +0000 Jenna McLaughlin 258596 at http://www.motherjones.com What Do We Know So Far From Mike Brown's Autopsies? http://www.motherjones.com/mojo/2014/08/mike-brown-autopsy-baden-doj-explained <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>Normally, it takes weeks to get the results of an autopsy. But today, St. Louis County medical examiner Mary Case <a href="http://www.washingtonpost.com/news/post-nation/wp/2014/08/18/county-investigation-michael-brown-was-shot-from-the-front-had-marijuana-in-his-system/" target="_blank">announced</a> that Michael Brown, the unarmed teenager who was <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2014/08/police-shootings-michael-brown-ferguson-black-men" target="_blank">killed by a policeman</a> last weekend in <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2014/08/10-insane-numbers-ferguson-killing" target="_blank">Ferguson</a>, Missouri, was shot in the head and chest multiple times. Here's the information we know about Michael Brown's death, and a little background on why autopsies usually take so much longer.</p> <p><strong>What have the autopsies found so far?</strong><br> Three separate autopsies are in various stages of completion. The <a href="http://www.washingtonpost.com/news/post-nation/wp/2014/08/18/county-investigation-michael-brown-was-shot-from-the-front-had-marijuana-in-his-system/" target="_blank">St. Louis County</a> medical examiner's office announced on Monday that Brown was killed by multiple bullets to the chest and head. The office has not yet released information about the number or location of the bullets or their toxicology report. According to a confidential source reporting to the <a href="http://www.washingtonpost.com/news/post-nation/wp/2014/08/18/county-investigation-michael-brown-was-shot-from-the-front-had-marijuana-in-his-system/" target="_blank"><em>Washington Post</em></a>, Brown's toxicology test found that he tested positive for marijuana.</p> <p>The preliminary results of an <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2014/08/18/us/michael-brown-autopsy-shows-he-was-shot-at-least-6-times.html?hp&amp;action=click&amp;pgtype=Homepage&amp;version=HpSum&amp;module=b-lede-package-region&amp;region=lede-package&amp;WT.nav=lede-package" target="_blank">independent autopsy</a> arranged by the Brown family and performed on Sunday by former New York City Chief Medical Examiner Michael Baden found that Brown was shot six times: four times in his right arm, and twice in the head. One of the bullets entered the top of Brown's skull, indicating that his head was tilted forward when the bullet struck him and caused a fatal injury. According to <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2014/08/14/us/missouri-teenager-and-officer-scuffled-before-shooting-chief-says.html?_r=0" target="_blank">Benjamin Crump</a>, the attorney representing the Browns, the family wanted "an autopsy done by somebody who is objective and who does not have a relationship with the Ferguson police."</p> <p>US Attorney General Eric Holder announced on Sunday that the <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2014/08/18/us/michael-brown-autopsy-shows-he-was-shot-at-least-6-times.html" target="_blank">Justice Department</a> would conduct a third autopsy, because of "the extraordinary circumstances involved in this case and at the request of the Brown family." A department representative said the autopsy would take place "as soon as possible."</p> <p><strong>Why does it usually take so long to get autopsy results?</strong><br> An autopsy itself usually doesn't take too long, but often, medical examiners will wait to release the results until toxicology tests, which analyze the presence of drugs, are also complete. Toxicology tests usually take several weeks, in part due to the chemistry involved and in part because there's often a backlog of tests. Coupling the release of the toxicology and autopsy results is standard practice because it gives a more complete picture of what may have happened during the shooting, says Judy Melinek, a forensic pathologist and the author of <em>Working Stiff: The Making of a Medical Examine</em>r. Determining whether or not a person was under the influence of drugs "may help interpret a person's behavior and reaction time," she says.</p> <p><strong>What do toxicology tests entail?</strong><br> A basic screening often involves using <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Immunoassay" target="_blank">immunoassays</a> to test blood and urine (from inside the body) for drugs, including alcohol, marijuana, and opiates. If a test comes back positive, then a lab will run more complex tests, like <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mass_spectrometry" target="_blank">mass spectrometry</a>, to determine the exact concentration of the drug. Melinek says that "negative results come back faster," and "the more drugs found in a person's system, the longer it takes because each has to be verified and quantitated." If Brown only tested positive for marijuana, the tests would only take a few days.</p> <p><strong>Was Brown's case slowed down by an autopsy backlog?</strong><br> Autopsy backlogs do exist&mdash;last year in Massachusetts, for example, there were <a href="http://www.bostonglobe.com/business/2014/06/16/grieving-families-face-insurance-financial-problems-from-delays-state-death-certificates/CdqKPttNPvoDncewrajliN/story.html" target="_blank">nearly 1,000 unfinished death certificates</a> due to lack of qualified pathologists and state funding for toxicology testing. According to Suzanne McCune, a representative of the St. Louis County medical examiner's office, Brown's case was expedited through the system, as often happens for cases involving officers.</p></body></html> MoJo Crime and Justice Race and Ethnicity Science Top Stories Mon, 18 Aug 2014 19:26:09 +0000 Julia Lurie 258521 at http://www.motherjones.com The St. Louis Area Has a Long History of Shameful Racial Violence http://www.motherjones.com/mojo/2014/08/riot-east-st-louis-ferguson-history-race <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><div class="inline inline-center" style="display: table; width: 1%"><img alt="" class="image" src="/files/ESL-riot.jpg"><div class="caption"><strong>A mob blocks a street car during the East St. Louis Riot of July 1917 </strong>University of Massachusetts-Amherst Libraries</div> </div> <p>The shooting of Michael Brown in the St. Louis suburb of Ferguson, Missouri, and the subsequent riots, protests, and police crackdown have highlighted the area's <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2014/08/13/opinion/racial-history-behind-the-ferguson-protests.html" target="_blank">long history</a> of <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2014/08/10-insane-numbers-ferguson-killing" target="_blank">racial strife</a>. One chapter from that history, a century-old summer riot just fourteen miles away from Ferguson, in East St. Louis, Illinois, shows how black Americans were subjected to racial violence from the moment they arrived in the region.</p> <p>In 1917, East St. Louis was crowded with factories. Jobs were abundant. But as World War I halted the flow of immigration from Eastern Europe, factory recruiters started looking toward the American South for black workers. Thousands came, and as competition for jobs increased, a labor issue became a racial one.</p> <p>East St. Louis' angry white workers found sympathy from the leaders of the local Democratic party, who feared that the influx of black, mostly Republican voters threatened their electoral dominance. In one particularly <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2012/10/voter-id-laws-racism" target="_blank">striking</a> parallel to today's political landscape, local newspapers warned of voter fraud, alleging that black voters were moving between northern cities to swing local elections as part of a far-reaching conspiracy called "colonization," according to the documentary series <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7lZPGL1u0XI" target="_blank"><em>Living in St. Louis</em></a>.</p> <div class="inline inline-right" style="display: table; width: 1%"><img alt="" class="image" src="/files/East-st-louis-massacre-cartoon.jpg"><div class="caption"><strong>A cartoon from the time of the riot, lambasting then-president Woodrow Wilson for making the world "safe for democracy" while ignoring the plight of East St. Louis. </strong>Wikipedia</div> </div> <p>That May, a local aluminum plant brought in black workers to replace striking white ones. Soon, crowds of whites gathered downtown, at first protesting the migration, then beating blacks and destroying property. On July 1, a group of white men drove through a black neighborhood, firing a gun out their car window. (The perpetrators were never caught.) A few hours later, another car drove through the neighborhood. Black residents fired at it, killing two police officers.</p> <p>On July 2, as news of the killings got out, white residents went tearing through black neighborhoods, beating and killing blacks and burning some 300 houses as National Guard troops either failed to respond or fled the scene. The official toll counted 39 black and eight white people dead, but others speculated that more than a hundred people died in what is still <a href="http://www.stl250.org/crash-course-dry-weary-years.aspx" target="_blank">considered</a> one of the worst incidents of racial violence in twentieth-century America. Afraid for their lives, more than six thousand blacks <a href="http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/amex/garvey/peopleevents/e_estlouis.html" target="_blank">left</a> the city after the riot.</p> <p>That the United States was then fighting in Europe to defend democracy while failing to protect its own citizens was not lost on Marcus Garvey, soon to become one of the most famous civil rights leaders of his time: "This is no time for fine words, but a time to lift one's voice against the savagery of a people who claim to be the dispensers of democracy," he said to cheers at a <a href="http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/amex/garvey/filmmore/ps_riots.html" target="_blank">speech</a> in Harlem on July 8. "I do not know what special meaning the people who slaughtered the Negroes of East St. Louis have for democracy... but I do know that it has no meaning for me."</p> <p><em>Top image credit: <a href="http://www.stl250.org/crash-course-dry-weary-years.aspx" target="_blank">STL250</a></em></p></body></html> MoJo Labor Race and Ethnicity Top Stories Mon, 18 Aug 2014 13:45:05 +0000 Alex Park 258416 at http://www.motherjones.com How the Defense Industry Convinced Congress to Militarize Local Cops http://www.motherjones.com/mojo/2014/08/how-defense-industry-made-room-militarized-police-today <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>The Ferguson, Missouri, police department's display of armored cars, officers in riot gear, and assault rifles over the past week shocked Americans who didn't realize how much military equipment is now available to local police departments. But since the 1990's, more than 8,000 federal, state, tribal, and local police agencies across the country have armed themselves with the military's excess gear, free of charge. The inventory includes everything from office furniture and first aid kits to aircraft, armored cars, rifles and bayonets, <a href="http://www.dispositionservices.dla.mil/LESO/Pages/1033ProgramFAQs.aspx" target="_blank">according to</a> the Defense Logistics Agency, the Department of Defense office that manages the transactions under an initiative called Program 1033.</p> <p>In June, Rep. Alan Grayson (D-Fla.) introduced an amendment to de-fund aspects of the program. Grayson's bill would have exempted certain military equipment, including planes and armored cars, from Program 1033. That effort failed; just 62 members of the House of Representatives voted for the measure, with 355 voting no. Maybe the outcome shouldn't have been a surprise: According to a <a href="http://maplight.org/content/73514?utm_source=Data%3ADefense%20Industry-Backed%20Lawmakers%20Voted%20to%20Continue%20Police%20Militarization&amp;utm_campaign=Defense%20Industry_Militiarization%20of%20Police%20&amp;utm_medium=email" target="_blank">new analysis</a> of campaign finance data, the politicians who voted against Grayson's bill received, on average, 73 percent more campaign donations from defense industry sources from 2011 through 2013 than their peers who voted for it.&nbsp;</p> <p>The analysis&mdash;conducted by the Berkeley-based research group MapLight using data provided by the Center for Responsive Politics&mdash;also found that of 59 representatives who received more than $100,000 from the defense industry from 2011 through 2013, all but four voted against the amendment.</p> <p><iframe allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen" allowtransparency="true" frameborder="0" height="400" mozallowfullscreen="mozallowfullscreen" msallowfullscreen="msallowfullscreen" oallowfullscreen="oallowfullscreen" src="//mjdwcharts.s3.amazonaws.com/BKohI/4/index.html" webkitallowfullscreen="webkitallowfullscreen" width="630"></iframe></p> <p><em>Correction: The original version of this story said that three representatives who received more than $100,000 from the defense industry voted against the amendment. Four representatives in this category voted against it. </em></p></body></html> MoJo Civil Liberties Crime and Justice Military Money in Politics Top Stories Mon, 18 Aug 2014 10:00:07 +0000 Alex Park 258476 at http://www.motherjones.com This Guy Appears To Have Live-Tweeted Michael Brown's Shooting http://www.motherjones.com/mojo/2014/08/guy-appears-have-live-tweeted-michael-browns-shooting <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>Via<em> Rolling Stone </em>National Affairs reporter<em> (</em>and<em> Mother Jones </em>alumnus) <a href="https://twitter.com/7im/status/500347792418562048" target="_blank">Tim Dickinson,</a> Twitter user <a href="https://twitter.com/TheePharoah" target="_blank">@TheePharoah</a> appears to have witnessed&mdash;and <a href="https://twitter.com/TheePharoah/status/498152572062945281" target="_blank">live-tweeted</a>&mdash;Michael Brown's shooting on August 9 from his home in Ferguson, Missouri.</p> <p>(Scroll to the bottom, the tweets are in reverse chronological order.)</p> <p><a class="twitter-timeline" data-widget-id="500383652748865536" href="https://twitter.com/7im/timelines/499639344613695488">Witness to Brown killing</a> <script>!function(d,s,id){var js,fjs=d.getElementsByTagName(s)[0],p=/^http:/.test(d.location)?'http':'https';if(!d.getElementById(id)){js=d.createElement(s);js.id=id;js.src=p+"://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js";fjs.parentNode.insertBefore(js,fjs);}}(document,"script","twitter-wjs");</script></p> <p>In the days since the unarmed teenager was gunned down by police officer <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2014/08/16/us/darren-wilson-identified-as-officer-in-fatal-shooting-in-ferguson-missouri.html?_r=0" target="_blank">Darren Wilson</a>, Feguson has come to <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2014/08/images-ferguson-tear-gas-police" target="_blank">look increasingly like a war zone</a>, with the <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2014/08/america-police-military-swat-ferguson-westcott-tampa" target="_blank">highly militarized police department</a> squaring off against <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2014/08/peaceful-ferguson-rallies-mike-brown" target="_blank">peaceful protestors.</a></p> <p><em>(We've reached out to @TheePharoah and will update this post if we hear back.)</em></p></body></html> MoJo Fri, 15 Aug 2014 22:17:19 +0000 Ben Dreyfuss 258511 at http://www.motherjones.com GOP Obstruction Is Making It Harder To Catch Rapists—Mitch McConnell Would Rather Not Talk About It http://www.motherjones.com/mojo/2014/08/mitch-mcconnell-blocking-rape-kit-funding-amendment <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>Senate minority leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) will not say if he will stop blocking a major spending bill in the Senate that contains funding to help identify and prosecute rapists&mdash;or whether he would support a separate bill to break the log jam.</p> <p>As I <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2014/08/rape-kit-backlog-senate-republican-spending-bill" target="_blank">reported</a> last week, since June, Senate Republicans have held up a $180 billion <a href="http://bigstory.ap.org/article/reid-pulls-spending-bill-after-spat-gop" target="_blank">appropriations bill</a> that would fund several federal agencies, including the Department of Commerce, the Department of Agriculture, and the Department of Justice. Part of the funding allotted for the DoJ is supposed to go toward a $41 million grant to help states and localities go after rapists by funding jurisdictions to process <a href="http://www.endthebacklog.org/backlog/where-backlog-exists" target="_blank">backlogs of rape kits</a>, the samples of DNA evidence that are taken after a sexual assault and used to identify assailants. There are over <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2014/06/29/opinion/sunday/rape-evidence-backlog.html" target="_blank">100,000 untested kits</a> waiting to be processed at crime labs and police departments around the country, partly because states and localities don&rsquo;t have enough money to test them. The kits can go untested for <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2011/01/28/us/28ttkits.html?pagewanted=all" target="_blank">decades</a>, allowing countless rapists off the hook.</p> <p>The sweeping spending bill has hit a wall in the Senate because McConnell and other Senate Republicans want Dems to let them add several unrelated amendments to the legislation. The <a href="http://bigstory.ap.org/article/reid-pulls-spending-bill-after-spat-gop" target="_blank">amendment</a> McConnell introduced would make it harder for the <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/environment/2014/05/obama-carbon-rules-coal-plants-climate-epa-climate-plan-explainer" target="_blank">EPA to enact new rules on coal-fired power plants</a>. Democrats have <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2014/08/rape-kit-backlog-senate-republican-spending-bill" target="_blank">complained</a> that GOPers are abusing the amendments process to hold up a bill they don&rsquo;t like. "Regardless of the outcome of the amendment votes&hellip;Republicans have indicated that they are not willing to support the underlying bill," a Senate staffer told me last week.</p> <p>On Tuesday, the Louisville, Ky. <a href="http://insiderlouisville.com/uncategorized/mcconnell-touts-legislation-tackle-rape-kit-backlog-declines-questions-funding-held-senate/" target="_blank"><em>Courier-Journal</em> asked McConnell</a> if he would withdraw his amendment, which would indicate that he and fellow Republicans would be willing to vote for the underlying bill, including the $41 million in funding to process rape kit backlogs. McConnell dodged the question. His office did not respond when <em>Mother Jones</em> asked the same question this week.</p> <p>Lawmakers may be able to add the rape kit funding into an temporary spending measure in October. However, neither McConnell's office nor Republicans on the House and Senate appropriations committees <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2014/08/rape-kit-backlog-senate-republican-spending-bill" target="_blank">will say</a> whether they would support doing so.</p></body></html> MoJo Congress Crime and Justice Fri, 15 Aug 2014 15:47:21 +0000 Erika Eichelberger 258446 at http://www.motherjones.com Wondering What #NMOS14 Is? http://www.motherjones.com/mojo/2014/08/wondering-what-nmos14 <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>Starting tonight at 7pm&nbsp;Eastern time, a National Moment of Silence event will be playing out in gatherings&nbsp;big and small&nbsp;across the country. It's headed up by a New York-based activist and social worker who writes online as&nbsp;<a href="https://twitter.com/FeministaJones" target="_blank">Feminista Jones</a>&nbsp;and <a href="http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation-now/2014/08/14/national-moment-of-silence-nmos14/14045233/" target="_blank">talked to USA Today</a> about the event:</p> <blockquote> <p>After an activist posted on Twitter that there would be a vigil in downtown Manhattan for Brown, Feminista Jones reached out.</p> <p>"I wonder why they always have vigils so far removed from the people who are most likely to be affected by police brutality," she wrote back to the poster. "I just know that people in the Bronx and Brooklyn will struggle getting there on Sunday trains." (The correspondence is documented in a Storify.)</p> <p>Plans for the peaceful assemblies began through that platform, then moved to Facebook. It's an update to activism Jones compares to "phone banking and letter writing &mdash; just reaching 90,000 people."</p> <p>"We're having a national moment of silence &mdash; one chord, one silent voice &mdash; to honor not only Mike Brown, not only Eric Garner, but all victims of police brutality, especially those who have lost their lives," she said.</p> </blockquote> <p><em><a href="http://www.theroot.com/index.html?wpisrc=logo" target="_blank">The Root</a></em>, the online black culture and politics mag, is using the #NMOS14&nbsp;tag to <a href="https://twitter.com/TheRoot" target="_blank">post</a> heartbreaking&nbsp;photos of unarmed black men shot by police over the years, from Amadou Diallo&nbsp;to Kimani Gray to Oscar Grant to far too many others.</p> <p>To find an #NMOS14 event near you, check out the Twitter hashtag&nbsp;<a href="https://twitter.com/search?q=%23NMOS14&amp;src=tyah&amp;mode=users" target="_blank">#NMOS14</a>&nbsp;and <a href="https://www.facebook.com/search/more/?q=national+moment+of+silence+2014&amp;sid=0.9913936713710427" target="_blank">this&nbsp;Facebook listing</a> of local groups.&nbsp;</p></body></html> MoJo Crime and Justice Race and Ethnicity Ferguson Thu, 14 Aug 2014 23:08:23 +0000 Tasneem Raja 258426 at http://www.motherjones.com The Ferguson Shooting and the Science of Race and Guns http://www.motherjones.com/mojo/2014/08/michael-brown-study-racial-bias-weapon <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>On Saturday, a police officer in <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2014/08/images-ferguson-tear-gas-police" target="_blank">Ferguson, Missouri</a> gunned down unarmed black teenager Michael Brown. Eyewitnesses say Brown was killed while trying to run away or surrender, but Ferguson police claim that Brown <a href="http://www.nydailynews.com/news/crime/st-louis-police-chief-physical-confrontation-led-fatal-shooting-unarmed-teen-article-1.1898637" target="_blank">reached for the officer's gun</a>. It will be a long time before all the facts are sorted out, but research suggests that such claims may be rooted in something deeper than the need to explain actions after the fact: Race may literally make people see things that are not there, whether it's a gun or a reach for a gun.</p> <p></p><div id="mininav" class="inline-subnav"> <!-- header content --> <div id="mininav-header-content"> <div id="mininav-header-image"> <img src="/files/images/motherjones_mininav/protest-225.jpg" width="220" border="0"></div> <div id="mininav-header-text"> <p class="mininav-header-text" style="margin: 0; padding: 0.75em; font-size: 11px; font-weight: bold; line-height: 1.2em; background-color: rgb(221, 221, 221);"> More <em>MoJo</em> coverage of the Michael Brown police shooting </p> </div> </div> <!-- linked stories --> <div id="mininav-linked-stories"> <ul><span id="linked-story-258201"> <li><a href="/politics/2014/08/10-insane-numbers-ferguson-killing"> Ferguson Is 60 Percent Black. Virtually All Its Cops Are White.</a></li> </span> <span id="linked-story-258441"> <li><a href="/politics/2014/08/peaceful-ferguson-rallies-mike-brown"> "Hands Up, Don't Shoot:" Peaceful Protests Across the Country Last Night</a></li> </span> <span id="linked-story-258221"> <li><a href="/politics/2014/08/police-shootings-michael-brown-ferguson-black-men"> Exactly How Often Do Police Shoot Unarmed Black Men?</a></li> </span> <span id="linked-story-258296"> <li><a href="/politics/2014/08/3-unarmed-black-african-american-men-killed-police"> 4 Unarmed Black Men Have Been Killed By Police in the Last Month</a></li> </span> <span id="linked-story-258346"> <li><a href="/politics/2014/08/images-ferguson-tear-gas-police"> A Few Horrifying Pictures From Ferguson Last Night</a></li> </span> <span id="linked-story-258306"> <li><a href="/politics/2014/08/anonymous-releases-st-louis-police-dispatch-tapes"> Anonymous Posts St. Louis Police Dispatch Tapes From Day of Ferguson Shooting</a></li> </span> <span id="linked-story-258341"> <li><a href="/mojo/2014/08/incredibly-powerful-photo-taken-today-howard-university"> Incredibly Powerful Photo of Black Students at Howard University</a></li> </span> <span id="linked-story-258356"> <li><a href="/mojo/2014/08/michael-brown-study-racial-bias-weapon"> The Ferguson Shooting and the Science of Race and Guns</a></li> </span> </ul></div> <!-- footer content --> </div> <p>In a <a href="http://cdp.sagepub.com/content/15/6/287.short" target="_blank">2001 study</a>, participants were shown a picture of a white face or a black face followed immediately by a picture of a weapon or a tool. They were asked to identify the object as quickly as possible. Study participants more often identified weapons correctly after they saw a black face, and more accurately identified tools after seeing an image of a white face. What's more, "they falsely claimed to see a gun more often when the face was black than when it was white," the report's author wrote. He goes on:</p> <blockquote> <p>Race stereotypes can lead people to claim to see a weapon where there is none. Split-second decisions magnify the bias by limiting people's ability to control responses. Such a bias could have important consequences for decision making by police officers and other authorities interacting with racial minorities. The bias requires no intentional racial animus, occurring even for those who are actively trying to avoid it.</p> </blockquote> <p>This study has been repeated by <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/documents/1274404-effects-of-race-on-responses-and-response" target="_blank">several</a> <a href="http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20693386" target="_blank">different</a> groups of scientists with the same results. (When participants are primed with female as opposed to male African-American faces, however, they are <a href="http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20693386" target="_blank">less likely to assume</a> the object is a gun.)</p> <p>A <a href="http://psych.colorado.edu/~tito/Correll_et_al_2006.pdf" target="_blank">2005 study</a> by University of Colorado neuroscientists bolsters these findings. The scientists measured threat perception and response in the brains of 40 students to targets in a video game, some of whom were carrying pistols while others carried wallets or cellphones. The study authors predicted that because there is a cultural perception that African-Americans are "more threatening," participants' "shoot response" would come more naturally. Indeed that&rsquo;s how it panned out. The study found that the students shot black targets with guns more quickly than white targets with guns, and took longer to decide not to shoot unarmed blacks than unarmed whites.</p> <p>We may never know what was going on in the head of the officer who shot Brown&mdash;or, for that matter, in the heads of <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2012/03/what-happened-trayvon-martin-explained" target="_blank">George Zimmerman</a> or <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/mojo/2013/07/trayvon-martin-jordan-davis-stand-your-ground" target="_blank">Michael Dunn</a>, or many <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2014/02/21-things-you-cant-do-while-black" target="_blank">other</a> killers of unarmed African-Americans in disputed situations. But studies like the above suggest that the underlying problems run deep.</p></body></html> MoJo Crime and Justice Race and Ethnicity Top Stories Thu, 14 Aug 2014 18:03:25 +0000 Erika Eichelberger 258356 at http://www.motherjones.com