Sunday news round-up: August 10th-16th

Top Story: Ferguson PD crack down on protests one year on: On the anniversary of the police murder of Michael Brown, Ferguson protesters making their case for civil rights have been violently suppressed by the local police force. Despite no violence on the part of the protesters, high-profile activists like Deray McKesson have found themselves behind bars for no reason, posting on Twitter beforehand that if they should die in custody, it is because they have been killed, not committed suicide as officers usually want the public to believe. Ferguson PD also opened fire on a friend of Mike Brown during the protests, 18 year old Tyrone Harris, whom they claim was about to pull a gun on them. To make matters worse, white self-described protectors of the Constitution going by the name of Oath Keepers have been patrolling the streets of Ferguson armed to the teeth with semi automatic rifles. No arrests or shots have been directed towards them since they arrived.

Palestinian political prisoner slips into coma after hunger strike: A Palestinian prisoner serving time for allegedly being a member of an outlawed group in Israel has rapidly deteriorated in health. Mohammed Allaan, imprisoned without trial or charges for possibly being a member of Islamic Jihad, has been on hunger strike for over sixty days to protest the mass incarceration of Palestinians without due process or formal charges being brought, but his life is now in danger due to his demonstration. Detention without trial is considered illegal under international law but Israeli forces regularly use it to squash discontent among the occupied territories, holding approximately 4,000 people in its prisons without charges, some of whom are children. Israeli officials are now contemplating force-feeding Allaan, taking a cue from American military officials who use the same tactic on prisoners in black sites across the world. The UN has previously decreed that hunger strikes are a fundamental human right.

Swedish sex crime investigation against Assange expiring: A rapidly approaching statute of limitations threatens to close the sexual assault charges currently levied against whistleblower Julian Assange. The brainchild of anti-secrecy website Wikileaks, who currently resides in the Ecuadorian Embassy in London, stands accused of committing four sexual assaults during a trip to Sweden in 2010, but a statute of limitations means he will soon be cleared of most charges. Assange initially agreed to stand trial in Sweden but backed out after prosecutors refused to rule out extraditing him to the U.S., where he will no doubt face life imprisonment without charges. The case saw some revival after the Swedes offered to interview Assange in the Embassy, but Ecuadorian officials refused them access, making the entire trial a diplomatic mess with no end in sight until now. Even if all charges are dropped, Assange still has little hope of leaving the Embassy.

American psychologists vote to ban complicity in state interrogations: The world’s largest association of psychologists, the American Psychological Association, have voted to ban complicity in government interrogations and torture, signalling a growing unrest within the medical community towards Washington’s use of mental manipulation on suspects. In a near-unanimous vote, APA members decided to abstain from participating in national security interrogations, which have often led to gross mental abuse, forced confessions, and faulty intelligence, especially in the aftermath of 9/11, meaning their only capacity in these interrogations now is to offer support for the victims. One of the few dissenting voices was retired intelligence officer Larry James, who has been complicit in the psychological abuse of detainees at Guantánamo Bay and the Abu Ghraib complex. The APA’s vote puts the association in line with international law and UN decrees which forbid the use of psychological abuse in interrogations.

Germany accused of poverty profiteering in Greece: The Leibniz Institute of Economic Research has accused German creditors of draining Greece of much-needed recovery money to balance its own budget. The non-profit made the accusations alongside a report which alleges that Germany made an enormous profit on the Greek credit crisis through low-interest payments, government bonds, and earmarked money for European banks in the bailout packages. According to LIER, Germany has saved over €100 billion through this clandestine approach to Greece, making its widely-praised balanced budget possible only through someone else’s misery. One of the most outspoken critics of Greece, German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble, has yet to comment on the revelations that the bailout package has saved European banks, not Greek people.

Monstrous blasts in Tianjin leave hundreds dead or injured: Explosive blasts in the Chinese port city of Tianjin have killed at least forty people and left hundreds more injured, as well as devastating the infrastructure of the vicinity. The blasts, caused by a shipment of explosives residing in an industrial park, shattered windows and left surrounding areas looking like post-apocalyptic wastelands, and vibrations could be felt up to 10km away. Over one thousand firefighters have been involved in tackling the blasts, whose fireballs soared into the air, while primary schools have opened their doors to serve as makeshift hospitals for the wounded. Photojournalists have taken harrowing pictures of car parks and other central locations that have been turned to rust and ash due to the enormous blasts.


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