Five Minutes Five Issues: Philando Castile, Edward Snowden, CIA Thieves, Yemen Torture, Free California
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The Ron Paul Institute for Peace and Prosperity welcomes you to Five Minutes Five Issues.
Starting in five four three two one.
Hello, I am Adam Dick, a Ron Paul Institute senior fellow.
Smoking in your car can be a capital offense in America.
Two years ago a cop in Texas forced Sandra Bland out of her car, threw her to the ground, handcuffed her, and sent her to jail. The cop had pulled Bland’s car over for changing lanes without using a turn signal. The last thing Bland did before the cop forced her out of the car was contest the cop’s request that she extinguish her cigarette. Bland died in a jail cell after three days of confinement. Here is how I commented on her death at the time: “suicide or murder — it is all but certain that the unjust system that created so much needless anguish for Bland in her final days, and individuals who carried out tasks to advance the injustice, are culpable for Bland’s death.”
Last week, a jury acquitted a cop in a court case concerning him killing Philando Castile in Minnesota last year. Castile, like Bland, was pulled over purportedly for a minor issue — a broken taillight. Also in the car were two passengers — Castile’s girlfriend and her young daughter. Questioned the day after the killing, the cop offered his belief he smelled marijuana in the car as a reason for shooting Castile. Here is what the cop said was going through his mind:
…I was gonna die and I thought if he’s, if he has the, the guts and the audacity to smoke marijuana in front of the five year old girl and risk her lungs and risk her life by giving her secondhand smoke and the front seat passenger doing the same thing then what, what care does he give about me. And, I let off the rounds…Issue two. This week on the Ron Paul Liberty Report, Ron Paul asked Edward Snowden about the deliberation Snowden undertook in deciding to reveal National Security Agency (NSA) information. As part of his answer, Snowden explained:
The bottom line is I found evidence again and again, as I went to deeper and deeper levels of government, higher and higher levels of clearances, that these programs were never about terrorism. That’s the public justification for them. They’re about economic espionage. They’re about diplomatic manipulation. They’re about social influence. They’re about power.Issue three.
Jason Leopold and David Mack reported Wednesday at BuzzFeed that documents recently obtained via the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) show that several Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) contractors were fired for stealing around $3,000 worth of snacks from vending machines.
Alex Emmons of The Intercept aptly responded to the revelation by commenting that he is “[p]retty sure this means more CIA staff have been held accountable for stealing from vending machines than for torture.”
The US government appears to be working with torturers in Yemen.
Maggie Michael reported Thursday at the Associate Press (AP) on hundreds of Yemeni individuals being detained in a network of secret prisons in southern Yemen. In the prisons, she writes, “[a]buse and torture are routine.”
Michael relates that US defense officials have confirmed “that U.S. forces have interrogated some detainees in Yemen but denied any participation in or knowledge of human rights abuses.”
In an April press release, Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA) commented about the potential secession of his home state of California. Rohrabacher had recently returned from a trip to Europe where he met with people including the president of Catalonia. Rohrabacher states that, while he thinks the outcome of a referendum on Catalonia independence from Spain should be accepted, he would not interject his opinion on how people should vote. Interestingly, Rohrabacher lists California among the places where he believes potential secession votes should be respected. Hopefully, many more people in the US government agree. The last time states seceded from the US hundreds of thousands of people died in a US war to conquer the newly-formed Confederate States of America.
That’s a wrap.
Transcripts of Five Minutes Five Issues episodes, including links to related information, are at the Ron Paul Institute blog.
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