Ismaaiyl Brinsley, a 28-year-old Afro-American, who was identified as the shooter by police, posted a picture of an automatic pistol and threatening messages on Instagram. They bore hashtags with the names of Eric Garner and Michael Brown, who were killed by police officers who were themselves later acquitted, sparking mass protests against police brutality across the US.
“I’m Putting Wings on Pigs Today,” Brinsley wrote. “They Take 1 Of Ours … Let’s Take 2 of Theirs.”
— RT (@RT_com) December 20, 2014
Early Saturday morning, hours before the attack on the police officers, Brinsley shot and seriously wounded a woman, presumably his ex-girlfriend, in Baltimore. He stole her phone and posted the threats from her Instagram account, Commissioner William Bratton of the New York City Police Department said at a press conference.
It was the victim’s mother who first noticed the posts and alerted Baltimore police, who were able to track the phone in the 70th precinct of New York and pass that information together with Brinsley’s description on to the NYPD.
— NYPD NEWS (@NYPDnews) December 21, 2014
"At approximately 2:45 in the afternoon, Baltimore authorities sent a fax, a wanted flyer, to the NYPD and other agencies," Bratton said. "Tragically, this was essentially at the same time as our officers were being ambushed and murdered by Brinsley".
Instagram said Saturday it was quick to take down Brinsley's posts as soon as the network became aware of them, apparently after they went viral in the wake of the murder, Reuters reported. Screenshots of the posts are circulating online.
Both the families of Eric Garner and Michael Brown, whose deaths Brinsley was apparently threatening to avenge, as gathered from his Instagram posts, have condemned the killings of police officers.
“I have spoken to the Garner family and we are outraged by the early reports of the police killed in Brooklyn today,” civil rights advocate Reverend Al Sharpton said in a statement. “Any use of the names of Eric Garner and Michael Brown, in connection with any violence or killing of police, is reprehensible and against the pursuit of justice in both cases.”
A statement released Saturday by the Parks & Crump law firm says Brown's family rejects "any kind of violence directed toward members of law enforcement. It cannot be tolerated," AP reported.
Last February, a 20-year-old man was subject to “assault by penetration" by a group of seven men, The Times reported.
In May, another soldier, 28, was attacked by his seven fellow servicemen, while three other young men in the army – one of them 18 years old – were the victims of penetrative sexual assaults over the last year.
All in all, there have been 25 assaults between October 2012 and October 2014, the report revealed.
The numbers were disclosed by Ministry of Defence under Freedom of Information requests. They refer only to information gathered by military police, meaning that the real numbers could be much higher.
The ministry said that it required more time to check if anyone had been prosecuted for the assaults disclosed in the latest data.
"It is over, above and beyond anything I could have ever imagined was happening. [The figures] reinforce all I have ever said about the total failure of the MoD to protect service personnel," Labour MP and anti-sexual violence campaigner Madeleine Moon told The Times, describing the figures as “horrific.”
Ex-army officer Major Ross McLeod provided details of how the incidents take place: broom handles and other objects are used for penetration to bully and scare the young servicemen.
"Sexual assault and male rape are unfortunately pretty routine army bullying tactics," he said. "The military culture which has been perpetuated and protected since time immemorial… is one in which these attacks are neither surprising or appalling, but rather entirely predictable.”
From 1995 to 2002, four trainee soldiers died from gunshot wounds at Deepcut Barracks in Surrey in mysterious circumstances. Though investigations concluded that all the four deaths were suicides, the probes have been criticized by the families and media. Des James, the father of one of the four trainees, said it depressed him “so much to have these things still happening.”
The ministry has insisted that there is no evidence that sexual assaults and rape happen more often in the army than in society in general.
"We recognize the courage it takes to come forward and report a sexual offense, which is precisely why we have extensive support systems in place and investigate any allegation thoroughly," the spokesman for the ministry said.
In total, over 200 sexual abuse allegations by colleagues have been filed by military personnel over the last three years: 75 claims of rape and 150 of sexual assaults, according to figures released by the MoD in March.
Read more of this story at Slashdot.
"It's the sort of UN decision that we're used to, mixing alternative history, manipulation politicization and self-interested narrow-mindedness," the Israeli mission to the UN said in a statement Friday night, AP reports.
"The UN has never stopped to check the cost of the war on Israel. Apart from the heavy cost in lives, the war caused huge environmental damage in the north of the country. All that, without even mentioning that the war was a consequence of a terrorist organization, Hezbollah," the statement said. "The time has come for the UN to look around and notice the real sources of the threats against it."
Calling the extensive pollution caused by the oil tanks’ destruction an "environmental disaster," the non-binding resolution was supported by 170 members of the General Assembly on Friday. Israel, the United States, Canada and Australia were among six countries voting against it, with three abstentions.
The resolution was initially based on a report in August by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon that estimated the damages at $856.4 million. It also asked Israel to provide "prompt and adequate compensation."
Israeli statement said: "This resolution has long outlived the effects of the oil slick, and serves no purpose other than to contribute to institutionalizing an anti-Israel agenda at the UN."
"Israel immediately responded to the oil slick incident by cooperating closely with the United Nations Environment Program, as well as other UN agencies and NGOs, addressing the environmental situation along the coast of Lebanon," the statement said.
Regarding the resolution as "major progress," Lebanese UN Ambassador Nawaf Salam said: "We affirm that Lebanon will continue to mobilize all resources and resort to all legal means to see that this resolution is fully implemented, and that the specified compensation is paid promptly."
The leak resulting from Israel’s airstrike on oil tanks at the Jiyeh power station, located some 30 kilometers south of Beirut, is considered to be the largest oil spill in the Mediterranean Sea. Approximately 12,000 to 15,000 tons of oil covered the entire Lebanese coastline and reached Syria. The 25,000 tons of oil that burned at the plant created a toxic cloud, and the ecological disaster threatened humans, fish and animals, such as the endangered green sea turtle and Atlantic bluefin tuna.
Archivist Rick Prelinger sez, "I'm sure Beany's Hamburgers weren't the healthiest food, but this eight-minute home movie from Prelinger Archives takes us inside a fast-food joint from the Korean War era. Filmed in Long Beach, California right across from the Circle Drive-In, this film shows cooks, customers and classic cars in loving detail." Read the rest
Here's a great tutorial for using ribbon, baubles, and googly eyes to honor the Christmas Spirit intrinsic in the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles with your festive Krampusbush. Read the rest
The Praise Cathedral Church of God's Gaylard Williams, of Seymour, Indiana, was arrested this week when he allegedly massaged a stranger's genitals in a park and asked him for oral sex; police found pornography in his car (which he claimed was being delivered to someone else) -- Williams is a noted homophobic preacher whose sermons condemn homosexuals. Read the rest