(TFC)— Michael Wood Jr. is a former US Marine and Baltimore cop of 11 years. In 2015, a year after leaving the force, Wood shared his experiences on Twitter. Those posts relayed various forms of misconduct he’d witnessed or done. As Read More
Interest in medicinal use for psychedelics is exponentiating within the confines of American consciousness. Perhaps successes in medical cannabis aided the humble psychedelics to transcend cultural stigma, but that’s less important.
What’s important is compounds like LSD and psilocybin have qualities besides medical benefits. Namely, the psychedelic experience: a journey through the self, outer world and, some report, those beyond. Psychedelic research oftentimes introduces scientists to a “god-line” separating simple medical curiosity, and “the other”. How is western– particularly American–science to navigate the god-line? Is our culture prepared for the consequences of crossing it?
The Electronic Frontier Foundation released a report days ago investigating questionable surveillance during Standing Rock protests. EFF’s inquiry involved numerous law enforcement agencies, from the feds to Morton County. What was gleaned only highlights the disturbingly redacted capabilities of the police surveillance state.
“Following several reports of potentially unlawful surveillance”, an EFF blog reads, “EFF sent technologists and lawyers to North Dakota.” Investigators compiled “anecdotal” reports of “suspicious cell phone behavior”, unusual battery drainage, and applications or phones crashing entirely.
“Some water protectors”, EFF noted, also observed login attempts to Google accounts. After the intrusions the IP addresses were usually linked to “North Dakota’s Information & Technology Department”, EFF reports. “On social media”, the blog continues, “many reported Facebook posts and messenger threads disappearing.” Live uploads, and uploads in general, normally failed to complete or disappeared once processed.
Tensions flare once more as North Dakota officials graduate their militarized tactics against protesters. Sheriffs have now threatened a blockade of people, food, and medicine to the camps.
The threats comes on the heels of the US Army Corps of Engineers warning protesters to leave by December 5th. Anyone remaining stay under fear of prosecution for trespassing. Fines have also thrown into the basket of incentives for the water protectors to surrender.
Establishing a blockade represents yet another ultra-militarized tactic used against peaceful American citizens. Denying nourishment and medical treatment is a classic strategy to degrade will and resolve. Combined with harsh weather conditions, water protectors are faced with a tormentingly deadly roulette.
More photos of clandestine American operators have surfaced from Syria’s war torn heart. The unidentified unit, sources report, were sighted outside ISIS-controlled Raqqa. These latest photographs come as offensives in both Iraq and Syria launch to reclaim militant towns.
Unlike photographs taken months ago, the journalists responsible have been identified. RT Arabic correspondent Muhammad Hassan’s team reported seeing “dozens” of Americans during their trip to Syria. “They have the latest weapons and vehicles.” he says, according to RT. Hassan also described how “they, as well as soldiers from European countries” are involved in “battles” for Raqqa. Other photos circulated by RT were taken by Reuters journalists.
The struggle at Standing Rock, North Dakota grabbed the world’s attention for a time. It’s a fight which isn’t halting, even though signs of scale-back are beginning to surface. Among the many things Standing Rock’s resistance has reminded us of is Native American heritage, and its place in our country. It’s for these reasons that I’ve played the traditional game of lacrosse recently as a kind of symbolic support. Hoping to reach into the game’s old role as remote spiritual reinforcement, hundreds of miles away.
For those unfamiliar, lacrosse is a sport often compared to field hockey. It’s very different, however, and has been modified over the decades. It’s always required a lacrosse stick, which is a metal pole with a head and net on one end. Many players customize their sticks, and with endless marketed varieties each one is unique. Pads, helmets, and other things were added and evolved respectively as time went on. The original game, however, was bare skinned and gritty.
Widespread outrage over both the construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline and violent police crackdowns rages on. That outrage is spreading even to police agencies now returning from deployment to the reservation. Two departments have already refused to return, citing personal and public objections. As if that wasn’t enough, an army of sympathizers is re-purposing social media to combat police efforts in Standing Rock.
Minnesota’s Hennepin County Sheriff’s Department is among that group. Lawmakers, according to MPR News, found police activities in Standing Rock “inappropriate”. It’s to the point where they’re considering rewriting legislation to avoid future deployments to incidents like the pipeline resistance.
Police officials, of course, declined to comment on their return from North Dakota or their feelings on what’s happening there. It’s also made the task of rebuilding trust with the community an even loftier uphill battle. “I do not support Sheriff Stanek’s decision to send his deputies to North Dakota”, says LT. Governor Tina Smith, “nor did we approve his decision to begin with. I do not have any control over the Sheriff’s actions, which I think were wrong, and I believe he should bring his deputies home if he hasn’t already.”
Since the beginning of Operation: Inherent Resolve, the Islamic State has shown itself to be a very shadowy force. Many people assume they know where the group originates, with some admitting to it’s connection to US foreign policy decisions and regional allies. Others ignore this, and even the curious will only go so far. Now, as the group’s stronghold in Mosul is surrounded, Iraqi forces find yet more IS stockpiles of Saudi and American weapons and supply.
Mosul has been under assault by Iraqi forces for around a month now, as they clash with IS. The offensive followed a surge in US troops to Iraq, the majority being special forces and accompanying marines. Exactly what those forces will be doing is unclear. Shortly after the battle’s activation, a US Navy SEAL was reported KIA (Killed In Action) by an IED blast. Officials were careful not to directly connect the operatives death with the Mosul battle.
Five other Americans–three marines, a Delta Force operative and another Navy SEAL–and a Canadian special forces soldier have died since 2014. This is only that we know of, since the statuses of thousands of military contractors and other forces are unknown.
The drug war’s casualties reach far beyond bloated penitentiary yards, fractured rehab facilities, and its own endless perpetuation. America’s opioid crisis, and its scale, is straining police, the policed, and the decades old rhetoric between them.
Heroin use and overdose in particular is climbing, indiscriminately rocking towns with barbaric fervor. Milwaukee Wisconsin is no stranger, nor its numerous nearby suburbs–like Wauwatosa. Perhaps now is the time for law enforcement to consider drug enforcement nuances cropping up elsewhere in the country.
“888 bodies and counting”, a morbid but fitting title to a recent report by Milwaukee’s alderman’s office. In 14 pages, the document presents detailed analysis of a overdose plague striking the city. “Milwaukee county alone has seen a 495% increase in heroin related deaths between 2005-2015”, it reads. As a point of perspective, Milwaukee’s opioid deaths, heroin and others, exceed deaths by car accidents and homicide.
Another US soldier has died as the result of Iraq’s third American-involved war. The operative’s death both shadows the new Mosul offensive, and a massive US troop surge launched shortly before. Those forces, like this most recent casualty, are almost entirely dark shades of special forces.
Chief Petty Officer Jason C. “JJ” Finan died as a result of wounds sustained by an improvised explosive device. Few details are currently available, and officials are cautious to admit Finan was directly involved in the battle. Islamic State militants have held Mosul, one of Iraq’s largest, since the beginning of the war. Militants seized the town with American arms and vehicles, with many Iraqi forces retreating without a fight. Many Iraqi soldiers stripped their fatigues, vests, and put down their guns fleeing the Islamic State’s hard-charge from Syria.
Authorities have only amplified an already ultra-militarized presence against water protectors at Standing Rock. Supporters and journalists are targeted, arrested, and charged with various crimes on a daily basis including renowned reporter Amy Goodman. Amy’s charges were recently dropped, but surveillance and abuse continue without halt by the government.
Democracy Now! has been on the forefront of Dakota Access coverage since construction of the pipeline began. The $3.8 billion dollar project has already destroyed sacred Native American lands and threatens water supplies. Although focus on water tainting revolves around native communities, they certainly aren’t the only one’s in danger. Dakota Access also flies in the face of pleas by climate scientists that literally no more oil or gas can be harvested from the earth, if we want to prevent climate catastrophic.
A massive surge in British and American forces is foreshadowing alleged preparations for an equally massive offensive. What exactly they’ll be doing is unclear, as most are special forces. The move invokes ongoing frustrations related to the blackening out of Iraq’s third war. Now, citizens worldwide unanimously question the role of special forces in Iraq and Syria.
Washington announced the recent deployment of over 600 American forces to “assist” indigenous fighters.They’ll arrive in time for a rugged offensive aiming to retake Mosul from the Islamic State.
Just when you thought psychedelic ventures couldn’t get weirder, a curve ball whips past. Researchers deep in Ecuador have discovered a new, mysterious species of psychedelic lichen. A cacophony of compounds exist within the species, renowned for cryptic effects on human consciousness.
This new species, Evolve Ascend reports, is the only known lichen to harbor psychedelic properties. Lichens are intriguing in that they exist due to a symbiotic, mutually beneficial algae-fungi relationship. Lichens are a kind of composite organism, making it all the more interesting that one is trip-capable.
Honey bee populations, after having dwindled over the last couple decades, have just taken a turn for the worst. Pesticides sprayed to kill mosquitoes suspected of carrying zika virus purged millions of bees from America. Now they’re being considered for the endangered species list, and few are talking about any of it. Not only that, but Zika fear is now fueling a pesticide spouting, water tainting, genetically modified mosquito breeding, corporate biotech industrial complex.
Zika pesticide has been sprayed across several states, including South Carolina and Florida, over the last month or so. The pesticide, called Naled, is being used to kill a specific species of mosquito which carries the virus. Similar poisons have been used in South America, where the virus is spreading.
In 2014, a Pew Research Center study revealed something perhaps viewed as impossible 10 years ago. Two-thirds of Americans felt that people shouldn’t be prosecuted for possession of heroin and cocaine. That trend has only spread, with even some police departments proposing radical new drug reforms. Seattle just raised the bar, however, and proposes safe spaces for addicts to use, and even get help.
City officials across the country are finding “radical” ideas like safe spaces more mainstream. Simply put, the body count of America’s opioid epidemic is ungodly staggering. In Gloucester, Massachusetts for example, police experimented with not sending addicts to jail. Instead, addicts are offered option to seek rehabilitation through it’s Angel Program.