14 Killed in Mass Shooting in
San Bernardino, CA
In San Bernardino, California, two shooters opened fire at a social services center, killing 14 people and wounding at least 17. Two suspects, identified as married couple Syed Farook and Tashfeen Malik, were later killed by police. The shooting took place about 60 miles east of Los Angeles at the Inland Regional Center, a facility that provides services to people with disabilities. It was the worst mass shooting in the United States since the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, when a gunman killed 20 children, six adults, his mother and himself. San Bernardino Police Chief Jarrod Burguan said one of the suspects in Wednesday’s shooting, Syed Farook, was a county health department employee who had attended a department holiday party at the Center earlier in the day. The chief said Farook left the party after some kind of dispute, then returned and opened fire. After the San Bernardino shooting, President Obama spoke with CBS News’ Norah O’Donnell.
President Obama: “The one thing we do know is that we have a pattern now of mass shootings in this country that has no parallel anywhere else in the world, and there’s some steps we could take, not to eliminate every one of these mass shootings, but to improve the odds that they don’t happen as frequently. We should come together in a bipartisan basis at every level of government to make these rare as opposed to normal.”
In 2015, there has been an average of more than one mass shooting a day, with a total of 462 people killed this year alone. We’ll have more on the shooting later in the broadcast.
Britain Begins Bombing Syria, Hours After Parliament Approves Strike
British warplanes have begun bombing Syria, only hours after British lawmakers voted 397 to 223 to support Prime Minister David Cameron’s plan to join the U.S.-led bombing campaign. Defense Secretary Michael Fallon says the strikes hit oil fields in eastern Syria controlled by the self-proclaimed Islamic State. The strikes began after a 10-hour debate in Parliament on Wednesday, which divided the opposition Labour Party, led by Jeremy Corbyn. We’ll have more on the vote and the airstrikes later in the broadcast.
Pentagon: 100 U.S. Special Operation Forces to Be Deployed to Iraq
Meanwhile, the Pentagon says the new team of U.S. special operation forces to be deployed to Iraq will likely include about 100 soldiers. Army Colonel Steve Warren announced the troop figure Wednesday.
Steve Warren: “Of course we are not going to get into exact numbers, but it will be probably around 100, maybe a little bit less, in fact, really fewer actual trigger pullers, fewer actual commandos. It’s really going to be a majority of support personnel.”
CIA-Trained Afghan Forces Killed 6 Civilians in Recent Home Raids
New Afghan government documents show that an elite CIA-trained Afghan force has killed at least six civilians during recent home raids in Khost province. In one raid on November 20, two U.S. advisers were present when two civilians, a woman and her husband, were killed. During another raid on November 7, the Afghan forces killed two innocent civilians: a 45-year-old man and his teenage nephew. When about 1,000 people attempted to march to the regional capital in protest of the Nov. 7 killings, they were allegedly told by the CIA-trained Afghan forces that they could be attacked by U.S. troops if they did not disperse. The CIA-trained Afghan forces have long been accused of carrying out human rights abuses and being unaccountable to the Afghan government.
Justice Dept. Drops Manslaughter Charges Against BP Supervisors
The Justice Department has dropped the manslaughter charges against two BP rig supervisors over the 2010 Deepwater Horizon rig explosion in the Gulf of Mexico, which killed 11 workers and caused the worst offshore oil spill in U.S. history. In total, four former BP employees faced criminal charges after the disaster. Two of the cases have already been resolved without the employees serving prison time. On Wednesday, prosecutors dropped the involuntary manslaughter charges against the other two employees, Donald Vidrine and Robert Kaluza.
Zurich: Top FIFA Officials Arrested in a Pre-Dawn Raid on Luxury Hotel
In Zurich, Swiss authorities have arrested a handful of top FIFA officials in a pre-dawn raid on a luxury hotel. The top officials were arrested on charges of taking millions of dollars in bribes. At least two are being extradited to the United States. Their arrests are part of a massive corruption scandal that has led to the arrest of about two-dozen top officials and the suspension of FIFA President, Sepp Blatter.
Brazil: Congress Opens Impeachment Proceedings Against Dilma Rousseff
In Brazil, the Congress has opened impeachment proceedings against President Dilma Rousseff amid a growing corruption scandal that has rocked the government. The impeachment proceedings, which are the first in Brazil since 1992, were brought by House Speaker, Eduardo Cunha, who faces his own corruption charges related to a million-dollar bribery scheme involving the state-run oil company, Petrobras.
Chicago: Mayor Rahm Emanuel Faces Increasing Pressure to Resign
In Chicago, Mayor Rahm Emanuel is facing increasing questioning over whether he will resign amid the scandal over the police killing of 17-year-old Laquan McDonald more than a year ago. McDonald was shot 16 times by white police officer Jason Van Dyke. Chicago authorities withheld the police dash cam video of the fatal shooting and only released it last week under a court order. Officer Van Dyke was indicted on murder charges the same day. The video clearly contradicts police claims about the shooting, instead showing the teenager posing no threat and walking away from the officers at a distance as Officer Van Dyke jumps out of his police car and opens fire. On Tuesday, Emanuel fired Chicago Police Chief Garry McCarthy. But allegations about a potential cover-up have continued to plague Emanuel, as he faces questioning about a pre-emptive $5 million settlement with Laquan McDonald’s family during the mayor’s re-election campaign. On Wednesday, Mayor Emanuel maintained he would not resign.
Minneapolis: Police Raid and Destroy
4th Police Precinct Protest Camp
Meanwhile, in Minneapolis, police have raided and bulldozed the protest site outside the 4th Police Precinct, where people have been camped out for weeks demanding the release of video footage of the killing of unarmed African-American, Jamar Clark. Police said Clark was shot after a scuffle with officers who responded to a report of an assault. But multiple witnesses have said Clark was shot while handcuffed. At around 3:45 a.m. Thursday morning, police in riot gear raided the camp. Video footage shows the police destroying tents with a bulldozer. About a half dozen people are reported to have been arrested. The destruction of the camp comes a little over a week after five Black Lives Matter protesters were shot and wounded at the encampment by alleged white supremacists.
Harvard Drops Title “Master” for
Dorm Heads after Student Protests
And Harvard University has announced it will stop using the title “house master” to describe the heads of its residential dorms, following protests by students who say the term is tied to slavery. Harvard is one of many schools nationwide where protests have erupted over racism on campus. Princeton has also dropped the title “master” for its residential dorm heads. At Princeton, students are also demanding the renaming of buildings currently named after Woodrow Wilson. As president, Wilson ordered the re-segregation of restrooms and cafeterias in Washington government buildings and mandated that screens be set up to separate black and white workers in federal offices. Wilson was also president of Princeton University. At Yale University, where administrators are also considering plans to abandon the title “master,” students are also demanding the institution rename the residential dorm Calhoun College, named after former Vice President John C. Calhoun, one of the most prominent pro-slavery figures in history.
“It was really something to be going on a luxury liner”, says Gisela Feldman. “We didn’t really know where we were heading, or how we would cope when we got there.”
At the age of 90, Feldman still clearly remembers the raw and mixed emotions she felt as a 15-year-old girl boarding the St Louis at Hamburg docks with her mother and younger sister.
“I was always aware of how anxious my mother looked, embarking on such a long journey, on her own with two teenage daughters”, she says.
In the years following the rise to power of Hitler’s Nazi party, ordinary Jewish families like Feldman’s had been left in no doubt about the increasing dangers they were facing.
Jewish properties had been confiscated, synagogues and businesses burned down. After Feldman’s Polish father was arrested and deported to Poland her mother decided it was time to leave.
Feldman remembers her father pleading with her mother to wait for him to return but her mother was adamant and always replied: “I have to take the girls away to safety.”
So, armed with visas for Cuba, which she had bought in Berlin, 10 German marks in her purse and another 200 hidden in her underclothes, she headed for Hamburg and the St Louis.
“We were fortunate that my mother was so brave”, says Feldman with a note of pride in her voice.
Tearful relatives waved them off at the station in Berlin. “They knew we would never see each other again”, she says softly. “We were the lucky ones – we managed to get out.” She would never see her father or more than 30 other close family members again.
By early 1939, the Nazis had closed most of Germany’s borders and many countries had imposed quotas limiting the number of Jewish refugees they would allow in.
Cuba was seen as a temporary transit point to get to America and officials at the Cuban embassy in Berlin were offering visas for about $200 or $300 each – $3,000 to $5,000 (£1,800 to £3,000) at today’s prices.
When six-year-old Gerald Granston was told by his father that they were leaving their small town in southern Germany to take a ship to the other side of the world, he struggled to understand what that meant.
The St. Louis in Antwerp, 1939
“I’d never heard of Cuba and I couldn’t imagine what was going to happen. I remember being scared all the time”, he says, now aged 81.
For many of the young passengers and their parents however, the trepidation and anxiety soon faded as the St Louis began its two-week transatlantic voyage.
Feldman, who shared a cabin in the lower part of the ship with her sister Sonja, spent her time walking around the deck chatting with boys of her own age, or swimming in the ship’s pool.
On board, there was a dance band in the evenings and even a cinema. There were regular meals with a variety of food that the passengers rarely saw back home.
Under orders from the ship’s captain, Gustav Schroder, the waiters and crew members treated the passengers politely, in stark contrast to the open hostility Jewish families had become accustomed to under the Nazis.
Six-year-old Sol Messinger, who was travelling with his father and mother, recalls how happy everyone seemed. In fact, he says, the youngsters were constantly being told by the adults that they were now safe from harm: “We’re going away”, he heard people say again and again on that outward journey. “We don’t have to look over our shoulders any more”.
St. Louis Porthole Dreaming
But as the luxury liner reached the coast of Havana on 27 May, that sense of optimism disappeared to be replaced by fear, then dread.
Granston was up on deck with his father and dozens of other families, their suitcases packed and ready to disembark, when the Cuban officials, all smiles, first came aboard.
It quickly became clear that the ship was not going to dock and that no one was being allowed off. He kept hearing the words “manana, manana” – tomorrow, tomorrow. When the Cubans left and the ship’s captain announced that people would have to wait, he could feel, even as a little boy, that something was wrong.
For the next seven days, Captain Schroder tried in vain to persuade the Cuban authorities to allow them in. In fact, the Cubans had already decided to revoke all but a handful of the visas – probably out of fear of being inundated with more refugees fleeing Europe.
The captain then steered the St Louis towards the Florida coast, but the US authorities also refused it the right to dock, despite direct appeals to President Franklin Roosevelt. Granston thinks he too was worried about the potential flood of migrants.
By early June, Captain Schroder had no option but to turn the giant liner back towards Europe. “The joy had gone out of everything”, Feldman recalls. “No-one was talking about what would happen now.”
As the ship headed back across the Atlantic, six-year-old Granston kept asking his father whether they were going back to see their grandparents. His father just shook his head in silent despair.
By then, people were openly crying as they wandered the ship – one passenger even slit his wrists and threw himself overboard out of sheer desperation. “If I close my eyes, I can still hear his shrieks and see the blood”, Granston says quietly.
In the end, the ship’s passengers did not have to go back to Nazi Germany. Instead, Belgium, France, Holland and the UK agreed to take the refugees. The American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee (JDC) posted a cash guarantee of $500,000 – or $8 million (£4.7m) in today’s money – as part of an agreement to cover any associated costs.
Click on Image to increase size for detailed reading!
On 17 June, the liner docked at the Belgian port of Antwerp, more than a month after it had set sail from Hamburg. Feldman, her mother and sisters all went on to England, as did Granston and his father.
They both survived the war but between them they lost scores of relatives in the Holocaust, including Feldman’s father who never managed to get out of Poland.
Messinger and his parents went to live in France but then had to flee the Nazis for a second time, leaving just six weeks before Hitler invaded.
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French Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve announced Wednesday that authorities had carried out more than 2,200 raids since a state of emergency was declared following the November 13 attacks that killed 130 people. Under the state of emergency, French police can raid any home without judicial oversight. In addition, police have held 263 people for questioning – nearly all have been detained. Another 330 people are under house arrest, and three mosques have also been shut down. The vast majority of those targeted in the raids have been Muslim. We speak with Yasser Louati, spokesperson and head of the International Relations Desk for the Collective Against Islamophobia in France.
This is a rush transcript. Copy may not be in its final form.
AMY GOODMAN: Here is Paris the French Interior Minister announced Wednesday French authorities had carried out more than 2,200 raids since the state of emergency declared following the November 13 attacks that killed 130 people. On Sunday, I sat down with Yasser Louati, a spokesperson and head of the International Relations Desk for the Collective Against Islamophobia in France.
YASSER LOUATI: We have several highly disturbing cases, for example, they raided seven mosques. At least three got thrashed by the police as they were, you know, searching them. And we all know that all mosques are under high surveillance, so why raid a place you already know has nothing to give you? And second, why add humiliation to it injury by thrashing the place? Now we also have cases of brutal raids being conducted, for example, a 6-year-old child was hit by shrapnels after the police shot two shotgun fires through the door. We had a restaurant being raided as people were having dinner, and now we even have, you know, several cases of just open humiliation of mothers in front of their children and husbands.
AMY GOODMAN: Can you explain under what legal grounds are these raids taking place? I mean, Hollande, the President of France, declared a state of emergency that’s continuing for months. What does that allow them to do?
YASSER LOUATI: First, the background of this law is, in 1955, during the Algerian war they declared a state of emergency. But, it was against dangerous activities. Now they raid people and put them under house arrest under the suspicion of, what can we say — no the suspicion of suspicious behavior. So now they are trying to criminalize even the intention of people and that’s why most of the raids did not bring anything tangible because now the local governor can decide which home can be raided, which restaurant and they barely have — they don’t have to even explain themselves. And now we see a blatant case of an authoritarian regime being implemented upon us.
Tabacco: Americans, who are appalled by this French Bad behavior, should try to remember those American Internment Camps, which were allotted to the Japanese-Americans during WWII,
but NOT to the German-Americans or Italian-Americans! So save your Shock & Amazement for yourselves!
AMY GOODMAN: I also understand that a number of climate activists, not Muslim, not French Arab, have been put under house arrest or have been arrested altogether.
YASSER LOUATI: Because all this, you know, retaliation from the government is spiraling out of control. Of course, to implement that they said we are going to target the Muslim minority, and all Muslims don’t worry. It’s just a tiny fraction of radicals amongst you without defining of what being a radical means. Now, once the Muslim minority bears the brunt of the retaliations, we had the COP21 coming, and now they have raided, for example, a farm selling organic food. They raided a place where you had, you know, ecologists militants, and now people are being scared of how far can the government take all these measures?
AMY GOODMAN: We have a video of a six-year-old child. Explain what happened!
YASSER LOUATI: Actually, they raided the place. It was in the city of Nice. They showed up, I think, at 2:00 in the morning or 4:00 a.m. They shot twice through the door to make their way in, and then I think they shot again through against one of the doors and the shrapnel hit the girl in the back of her neck.
AMY GOODMAN: A 6-year-old girl!
YASSER LOUATI: A 6-year-old child, yes! And then the police said, sorry, wrong house, and just walked away.
AMY GOODMAN: Let me go to that videotape! This is the father of the 6-year-old girl describing what happened.
FATHER: [translated] I was woken up by noisy pounding and shootings at the door. They were trying to break the door down. I did not know if they were the police or not. They did not give any warning. When they saw me they forced me to the ground to neutralize me. My daughter was hit in the neck, probably by some shotgun pellets. Fortunately, it could have been more serious. The wood of the bed stopped them somehow, but I was scared to death to see blood on my daughter. Imagine at 4:30 in the morning. I wish nobody to have such an experience.
AMY GOODMAN: That’s a videotape of a home that was raided where a 6-year-old girl was injured. Yasser Louati, did the government apologize for what they did?
YASSER LOUATI: Actually, we had to have videos before the government started speaking about this violence and this brutality. And so far the raid, or the equivalent of your SWAT teams in the U.S., they said, we take full responsibility for this excess. But we had to have videos because we have dozens of cases of being violently raided at night and the police were saying, sorry, wrong house, and walking away. And now the Minister of Interior, Bernard Cazeneuve, only spoke about this brutality after a video showed this restaurant being raided as people were having dinner and the owner handing the key to the police, and what they said, they prefer just smash the door to make their way in.
AMY GOODMAN: Let’s show a copy of that videotape!
RESTAURANT OWNER: I was serving my clients and, out of the blue, around 40 fully equipped riot police entered my restaurant. They had shotguns, bulletproof vests, etc. They proceeded to secure the perimeter.
AMY GOODMAN: That’s the videotape of a restaurant being raided, a Halal restaurant, being raided. You’re a leader in the community. Is the government reaching out to you?
YASSER LOUATI: So far, no! They just said, “Well bring all the cases of excesses you have, and we’ll see what we can do”. And now the Minister of Interior said we ask the police officers and the SWAT teams to respect human dignity, or something like that. But when you give them a blank check and when local governors decide who can be raided and when such violence is reported to you, nothing is being said or done. We had to wait for the videos to be shown until the government started actually taking that into consideration.
AMY GOODMAN: What about the effect of the mosques being raided on the Muslim community?
YASSER LOUATI: Oh, an outrage and deep humiliation and complete abandonment by the government. The question was like, why? You know what’s going on in mosques. The Minister of Interior knows radicalization does not happen inside mosques and they just came here, they found nothing and started, like, pulling off ceilings. They smashed the libraries, threw books on the floor and just walked away. If it isn’t a sense of vengeance, you know, you are applying against Muslims, then what is it? Why not respect human dignity. I mean, like, you know, these Muslims are the very same target as you are people. Well you are not Muslims. Why hit them again by government forces that show no respect whatsoever? And when the pictures went viral on social media, the government said nothing about that.
AMY GOODMAN: You’ve talked about feeling doubly, triply targeted, but talk about ISIS. I mean, overall ISIS has killed more Muslims than certainly people of any other religion.
YASSER LOUATI: Yes, this is where the trap lies, or actually the blindness lies, sorry. This so-called Daesh or ISIL or whatever they call themselves, you know, said they were doing this for Muslims, what French Muslims were experiencing in France as a minority. And I keep saying, if they really care about Muslims why they keep killing them by the thousands? And this has been going on for years. And now they came to France and they even killed Muslims here at home in Paris, so this is something we keep repeating over and over, but, if I were to take responsibility for their actions I would have loved for these anchors to take responsibility for what George W. Bush did to Iraq which ended up giving us these terrorist groups.
AMY GOODMAN: Yasser Louati, what do you think needs to happen now?
YASSER LOUATI: To fight terrorism or to fight, this, you know th—
AMY GOODMAN: Both.
YASSER LOUATI: We need to review our foreign policy, which is a disaster. You know, France was perceived — not long ago — like 10 years ago was perceived as a country promoting human rights and the friend of the oppressed, etc. Now since Sarkozy became president it became enemy of so many people around the world, France supported several dictatorships. We remember the example of Tunisia, for example. As the former dictator Ben Ali was losing his grip on the country, Nicolas Sarkozy was still showing support. We even had the Minister of Interior proposing to help him in order to crack down on all these protesters. So now France is perceived as this colonial country that still, you know, participating in the destabilization of many countries.
Look at Libya! Look at what is going on in Tunisia and, again, we keep paying the price for our completely unreliable foreign policy, and now we don’t want to address our socioeconomic policies here in France. We don’t want to address the problem of mass unemployment. We don’t want to address the problem of unequal access to education, unequal access to housing, and the government still thinks that by bombing foreign countries they will reach the result.
Terrorism evolved with our societies. They change their rhetoric, their dogma changed, their communications changed, but our strategies have remained frozen in time. You know, Einstein said something that I keep using: madness is when you keep repeating the same thing over and over again expecting a different result. But now we have a four-year failure on this war against terror and still the government thinks it might work again by bombing people. Definitely we are in a period of elections. We have the local elections in the summer and the presidential election coming in 2016. They are just positioning themselves to either get elected or get re-elected.
AMY GOODMAN: What about the refugee crisis?
YASSER LOUATI: They are paying the highest price. They keep saying we need to shut down our borders. The problem is that France had experienced terrorist attacks while borders were closed, before we even had the Schengen Agreement. So again —
AMY GOODMAN: Explain the Schengen Agreement?
YASSER LOUATI: It’s how you make people — it’s the right to free move throughout Europe. And we had attacks before the Schengen Agreement. So why use refugees as a scapegoat? And on top of that, and I will take it as an insult, if I were the French president or a minister, refugees don’t want to come to France. They keep saying, “we don’t want to come to your country. We just want to go to the U.K. or to Germany.” And even if France received, you know, accepted like 10,000 refugees, which is the lowest number throughout Europe, they keep using them as scapegoats to justify these liberticidal measures.
AMY GOODMAN: When talking about refugees being denied entrance into the United States, you can go back to WWII, and a Gallop poll was done in 1939 asking Americans if 10,000 Jewish refugee children, you know, this was the time of the Nazis, should be allowed into the United States and 60 percent of Americans said no. And then there was the Missouri, the ship, called Voyage of the Damned, and that took 900 German Jews as they were fleeing the Nazis. Cuba said they couldn’t come in and then the U.S. said they couldn’t come in. Hundreds of the people on this ship were returned to Germany and killed. Can you talk about this experience of Jews and how you relate to it as a Muslim?
YASSER LOUATI: As a Muslim, I’d like to make the connection with a similar story of Jewish refugees looking for a place to go to throughout Europe and they were denied access all over Europe but they keep going from one country to another. But let’s remember that, during WWII, as France was collaborating with the Nazis the Grand Mosque of Paris was actually harboring Jews while France was sending them or shipping them to Nazi Germany to be exterminated. And another Muslim person actually refused to give up his own citizens and that was the King Mohammed V of Morocco. And unfortunately, we keep forgetting history. What’s happening right now with Syrian refugees and even Iraqi refugees happened to Jews not long ago and, unfortunately, again we keep repeating the same mistakes because nobody teaches history to our children.
AMY GOODMAN: Yasser Louati, spokesperson for the Collective Against Islamophobia in France. Since the November 13 attacks that killed 130 people in Paris, French authorities have carried out more than 2,200 raids. Under the state of emergency French police can raid any home without judicial oversight, hundreds have been questioned, a number jailed, others are under house arrest. Three mosques have also been shut down. The vast majority of those targeted in the raids have been Muslim. That does it for our show.
The Willie Lynch Letter of 1712
Tabacco: 21st century Americans are more like Nazi Germans than anyone in America would like to believe! I don’t believe that Donald Trump as a Caucasian American is particularly unusual – with the exception of his dishonesty and bigotry! I meant to say that I don’t believe that Donald Trump as a Republican American is particularly unusual!
However the Good News is that Americans are not much worse today than we were in 1776! We pat ourselves on the back so much that it just seems otherwise.
Tabacco: I consider myself both a funnel and a filter. I funnel information, not readily available on the Mass Media, which is ignored and/or suppressed. I filter out the irrelevancies and trivialities to save both the time and effort of my Readers and bring consternation to the enemies of Truth & Fairness! When you read Tabacco, if you don’t learn something NEW, I’ve wasted your time.
Tabacco is not a blogger, who thinks; I am a Thinker, who blogs. Speaking Truth to Power!
In 1981′s ‘Body Heat’, Kathleen Turner said, “Knowledge is power”.
T.A.B.A.C.C.O. (Truth About Business And Congressional Crimes Organization) – Think Tank For Other 95% Of World: WTP = We The People