Augustus Sol Invictus – Libertarian Realism: Folk, Culture & Borders Reply

Great interview with Augustus by Lana Lokteff. Listen here.

Augustus Invictus is an attorney and community leader in Orlando, Florida who is a candidate in the 2016 US Senate election. Best known as a radical philosopher and infamous social critic, he is Managing Partner of Imperium, P.A., the law firm he founded in 2013. As an attorney, Augustus has worked to defend those who have become collateral damage of America’s two longest-running wars: the War on Drugs and the War on Terror.

Augustus begins with an explanation of the name he has chosen to identify with, along with the mystical path that led him to study law and eventually pursue politics. He talks about his affiliation with the Libertarian Party (LP) and the problems he sees with its watered down, mainstream message. Augustus describes the main issues he aspires to tackle as Senator: the drug war, foreign policy, and the financial crisis. We get into the customary LP stances on open borders, immigration and equality, and we look at how these key concerns have been muddled with leftist contention. Augustus shares his view on the problems that will ensue for Libertarian ideals if non-Westerners continue to flood into America, and he also speaks to the Marxist degeneracy that has infected pop culture and the educational system. Then, we discuss the absence of natural law and hierarchy in the current US government system, along with the tyrannical forces pushing oppressive mandatory regulations, censorship and hate speech laws. At the end, Augustus sums up the actions he is taking to tackle the looney left’s war on White men and inspire a resurrection of the American front.

Ex-Cop and Ex-Con Bernie Kerik Calls Out Republicans On Criminal Justice Reform Reply

Apparently, the police state eats its own.

VICE News

Bernie Kerik is one of New York City’s most famous former police commissioners. He began his career in 1986 as an NYPD officer walking the beat, worked undercover for the DEA, and ran the Rikers Island jail before becoming New York’s top cop under Mayor Rudy Giuliani in 2000. It was Kerik who led the city’s police department during the 9/11 attacks.

He is also one of the city’s most infamous former police commissioners. Kerik’s fall from grace began in 2004, when he was nominated by then–President George W. Bush to head the Department of Homeland Security. The subsequent vetting process turned out to be Kerik’s undoing, and in 2009, he pleaded guilty to eight felony charges including corruption, tax fraud, and lying to White House officials. He was sent to a minimum security prison in Cumberland, Maryland, where he served three years and 11 days. The experience, he says, changed him.

“No one with my experience, my background… has ever been inside,” Kerik told VICE News in a recent interview. “The one thing that a cop or a law enforcement executive doesn’t see and doesn’t understand is the destruction that the system causes to individuals, to families, to children.”

Kerik emerged from prison with a mission to get criminal justice reform on the national political agenda. He wrote a book, From Jailer to Jailed, detailing his unusual trajectory, and he now leads the American Coalition for Criminal Justice Reform, a nonprofit organization that, according to its website, advocates for “common sense, statistic-based initiatives that will transform our outdated criminal justice system.”

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More Than a Whiff of Cologne 1

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More than you might wanna inhale!

~MRDA~


Opinions/Editorials:

How to deal with the sexual assaults in Cologne and Hamburg by Musa Okwonga

German Feminists: Forget Rapist Migrants, They’re Already Marginalised by Liam Deacon

Why We Can’t Stay Silent on Germany’s Mass Sex Assaults by Maajid Nawaz

The solution to Germany’s migrant problem is simple. But not easy. by Janet Bloomfield a.k.a JudgyBitch

Chaos and Violence: How New Year’s Eve in Cologne Has Changed Germany by Spiegel Staff

We need to talk about Cologne by Greek Forum of Refugees (et al)

The Charlie Hebdo cartoon about Aylan Kurdi and sex attackers is one of its most powerful and important by Jessica Brown

The false dilemma of the rapacious Muslim narrative by Hannah Wallen

Cologne and the ‘sexism of the other’: Why tougher migration policies won’t solve sexual abuse by Anne Jenichen

A reply to Anne Jenichen on the link between immigration and sexual violence by Daniel Falkiner

Is Europe Choosing to Self-Destruct? by Judith Bergman

Summary of the Coordinated Sexual Assaults by Immigrants Against Europeans on N.Y.E. by Govan Kilgour

After Cologne, Feminism is Dead by Phillip Mark McGough

Europa: When Feminism is Silent by NM Phoenix

Lie Back and Think of Brussels by Ann Sterzinger and Jamie Mason

Reports:

The Guardian: German minister suggests New Year’s Eve assaults were coordinated

Breitbart: Berlin, Cologne, Hamburg, Stuttgart, Dusseldorf… New Year’s Migrant Sex Assault In Every Major German City

The Huffington Post: German Train Station Attacks In Cologne: Ralf Jaeger Compares Right Wing Commenters To New Year’s Sex Attackers

BBC News: Cologne Mayor’s ‘code of conduct’ to prevent sexual assault angers many

Breitbart: Eyewitness Cologne: Germany Deploys 143 Officers To Stop Migrant Rape, 1,500 Officers To Stop Anti-Rape Protest

Daily Mail: UK celebrities furious as far-right group uses bloody pictures of them as examples of Cologne sex attacks

The Local: Backlash after women told not to go out alone

International Business Times: Cologne sex attacks: Syrian refugees take to streets to condemn mass assaults by migrants on New Year’s Eve

The Independent: Cologne attacks: American woman tells how Syrian refugees rescued her from New Year’s Eve sexual assault

Discussion:

The State of the Nation: A Dictatorship Without Tears Reply

By John Whitehead

Rutherford Institute

“There will be, in the next generation or so, a pharmacological method of making people love their servitude, and producing dictatorship without tears, so to speak, producing a kind of painless concentration camp for entire societies, so that people will in fact have their liberties taken away from them, but will rather enjoy it, because they will be distracted from any desire to rebel by propaganda or brainwashing, or brainwashing enhanced by pharmacological methods. And this seems to be the final revolution.”—Aldous Huxley

There’s a man who contacts me several times a week to disagree with my assessments of the American police state.

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Why Are Some Libertarians Rejecting the Nonaggression Principle? 1

I’d definitely prefer a legal system run by libertarians.

Listen to Tom Woods’ interview with Stephan Kinsella on the non-aggression principle here.

The comments thread that follows the interview also contains an interesting discussion of the way that libertarianism has split off into alt right/neo-reactionary/paleoconservative and social justice warrior factions. In other words, libertarianism has become just another strand within conservatism and/or liberalism. The real divisions in U.S. society today are not between statists and anti-statists or free-marketers and social democrats, but between the Red Tribe and the Blue Tribe, with both tribes having libertarians and quasi-libertarians in their camp.

It’s become fashionable in libertarian circles to ridicule the nonaggression principle. Stephan Kinsella and I speak in its defense. This one is long overdue.

About the Guest

Stephan Kinsella is a registered patent attorney, lecturer, and author. He is the Director of the Center for the Study of Innovative Freedom, Founding and Executive Editor of Libertarian Papers, and blogger at The Libertarian Standard.

Column Discussed

Six Reasons Libertarians Should Reject the Non-Aggression Principle,” by Matt Zwolinski

 

Keith Preston: Two Mideast refugees held in states on terror charges Reply

Press TV. Listen here: http://www.presstv.ir/Detail/2016/01/08/444980/US-arrests-Mideast-refugees-/

US arrests two Middle Eastern refugees on terror charges. (file photo)
US arrests two Middle Eastern refugees on terror charges. (file photo)

The United States has arrested two refugees from the Middle East on terrorism charges.

The two men who came to the US as refugees more than three years ago were arrested on federal charges in California and Texas, officials said on Thursday.

The detainees, arrested in Sacramento and Houston, were not involved in a single plot, but they may have been in contact with each other, Reuters cited a source familiar with the two cases as saying.

Both men are Palestinians who were born in Iraq.

The man arrested in Houston, Omar Faraj Saeed Al-Hardan, entered the United States as a refugee in November 2009, according to a court document.

In Sacramento, the US Department of Justice said Aws Mohammed Younis Al-Jayab, 23, came to the United States in 2012 as a refugee from Syria.

Texas Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick, a Tea Party Republican, cited the arrest in Houston as a reason why Texas has been seeking to block Syrian refugees from resettling there.

“This is exactly what we have repeatedly told the Obama administration could happen and why we do not want refugees coming to Texas. There are serious questions about who these people really are, as evidenced by today’s events,” Patrick said in a statement.

Now director and chief editor of the Attackthesystem.com tells Press TV that despite the fact that terrorism is a real and serious issue, one needs to approach such announced cases with skepticism as the charges brought against them are mostly vague.

Republican leaders have been calling on President Barack Obama, a Democrat, to move with caution in allowing refugees from Syria to resettle in the United States.

Al-Hardan was charged with providing material support to the ISIL militant group and for making false statements about ties to the group when seeking US naturalization, according to an indictment in federal court in Houston unsealed on Thursday.

In California, Al-Jayab was arrested on Thursday on a federal charge of making a false statement involving international terrorism, the US Department of Justice said.

The US attorney for Sacramento, Benjamin Wagner, said in a statement there were no indications Al-Jayab had planned any attacks in the United States.

In a criminal complaint, the Federal Bureau of Investigation said Al-Jayab lied about traveling back to Syria and about posting on social media his support for what the government said were terrorist groups.

The War Against the Cowboys: The Oregon stand off and US imperialism 1

Justin Raimondo puts the Oregon stand off in context.

By Justin Raimondo

Antiwar.Com

As our old republic fades into history, replaced by a voracious global Empire, the division between foreign policy and domestic policy is erased. A conquistador treats his helots on the home front with the same contempt he has for his subjects abroad. In both cases, conquest and subjugation is the goal – and rebellion is the inevitable result.

Just as the people of Iraq rose up and finally threw out the American occupiers, so the people in the American West are rising up against their federal overlords. This is the reason for the occupation of a federal facility in Burns, Oregon, where hundreds of protesters rallied against the jailing of ranchers Dwight Hammond and his son Steve.

The Hammond case has become a cause celebre West of the Mississippi, where federal control of huge swathes of real estate has become a life and death issue for ranchers and others who make their living off the land. As the feds encroach on their livelihood, they are pushing back, and nothing illustrates this better than the Hammond case.

In 2001, the Hammonds started a controlled burn on their own land to eliminate invasive junipers from ruining grazing for cattle: the fire spread to neighboring federal lands. As the Tri-State Livestock News reports:

“The first fire, in 2001, was a planned burn on Hammonds’ own property to reduce juniper trees that have become invasive in that part of the country. That fire burned outside the Hammonds’ private property line and took in 138 acres of unfenced BLM land before the Hammonds got it put out. No BLM firefighters were needed to help extinguish the fire and no fences were damaged.

“’They called and got permission to light the fire,’ Dwight’s wife, Susan, said, adding that was customary for ranchers conducting range management burns – a common practice in the area.

“’We usually called the interagency fire outfit – a main dispatch – to be sure someone wasn’t in the way or that weather wouldn’t be a problem.’ Susan said her son Steven was told that the BLM was conducting a burn of their own somewhere in the region the same day, and that they believed there would be no problem with the Hammonds going ahead with their planned fire. The court transcript includes a recording from that phone conversation.”

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Judicial Discretion and the Managerial State Reply

Sean Gabb describes the transformation of the Left from civil libertarians to totalitarian humanists.

By Dr. Sean Gabb

Libertarian Alliance

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Any system of criminal justice worth the name needs to reconcile humanity with certainty. On the one hand, part of the function of the criminal law is deterrent. When you know that you will go to prison for six months if you smash someone’s window, you may be less inclined to pick up the stone than if you believe you may get an absolute discharge or a whipping. Another part of the system’s function is to match severity of sentencing to the perceived gravity of offences. We need to see that breaking a window is less of a crime than breaking someone’s nose, and that murder is much more of a crime than either.

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Towards a New Civil Liberties Union 1

About a year ago, I published a piece calling for the creation of a coalition against consensual crime laws, which have long been a pet peeve of Libertarians. I was thinking of this earlier when a social media friend made the following observation concerning Libertarians:

No one will vote for open Libertarians who want open borders and unfettered capitalism, which is why they garner at best around 1% in national elections.

This is why people like Ron Paul, for instance, stick to talking about legalizing weed, ending the drug war, revoking the Patriot Act, and vague appeals to ‘freedom and liberty,’ but if he said, ‘my friends, we are going to remove all regulations from business, abolish the social safety net, cause you all need to be on your own, and get rid of minimum wage laws, support would plummet. I’ve seen Libertarian Party activists in action at fairs and other public events. They never talk about the economic aspects of their philosophy unless you confront them directly about it, and even then, they look mighty uncomfortable discussing the subject openly.

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Literature in a Locked Down Land 1

By William T. Hathaway

Prisons are one of the few growth industries in the USA today. They are becoming money-making institutions, and profits are rising. New ones are being built and old ones expanded to hold all the new slave laborers being captured. The prison-industrial complex is the epitome of capitalism.

The USA imprisons a far higher proportion of its population than any other country, 730 people per 100,000. As of 2011, our prison population was 2,266,832. (1)

As Glen Ford states:

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Ron Paul: Is Islam on the Verge of Engulfing Western Civilization? 3

In a better world, Paul would be POTUS.

(In an >even< better world, the concept of a POTUS – and other national equivalents – would remain just that.)

The Magical Bottomless Labor Pool Reply

GoHome

The Princess of Pessimism, Ann Sterzinger, on labour and…er, labour.


1,950 words

A few months back, publisher Chip Smith asked me to write a new intro for the upcoming second edition of my 2011 novel NVSQVAM. To write the essay I had to rethink my protagonist, Lester Reichartsen, whose youth and dreams came to a screeching halt when his girlfriend slyly quit taking her birth control pills.

Reviewers’ response to Lester’s depressive and unenthusiastic assumption of the role of family man surprised me. Many a columnist—both liberal and conservative, those who loved the book and those who hated it—declared him a disgusting human being.

Pushing aside the fact that the phrase “disgusting human being” may be redundant, I was forced to confront the contrast between reader responses and my own underlying assumption: that Lester is no more horrible than anyone else.

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Halal & Hypocrisy XIII: Remove Kebab? 1

 

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New from the Inferno: A tyrannical tale of kebabs and killjoys.


The south of France, and one man finds himself deeply disenchanted by the culinary delights on offer in his locale. So much so, in fact, that he took to the press, voicing his determination never to let another kebabish open in his town again.

Lushes and reprobates – I give you Robert Ménard: ex-secretary general of press freedom group Reporters Sans Frontières and currently disgruntled mayor of the supposedly shish-saturated town of Béziers. This blowhard first came to my attention a couple of weeks back, when I read about his distaste for döner at the Daily Sabah. Already something of a national celebrity for his animus towards Allahphiles—making a point of illegally collecting stats on Muslim schoolkids and personally declaring Syrian refugees in his town persona non grata—the somewhat megalomaniacal mayor now wants to obstruct the opening of any further lamb-spit houses in his locale.

Reading about this reminds me of one reason I kickstarted this series-within-a-series known as ‘Halal & Hypocrisy’: to shine a spotlight on those for whom fighting the Islamification of the Western world serves as a Trojan Horse for their own liberticidal bullshit. Whilst I may not be thrilled about the concept (and existence) of borders (at least not on a nation-state level), I’d be lying if I said I didn’t have some sympathy for those who view them as a means of preserving treasured cultural and civil liberties—not to mention life and limb—in their lands (a la the late Pim Fortuyn). That said, I find it tragicomic how fervently those of such a persuasion appeal to the very institutions responsible for their malaise to make everything alright, especially when the latter either double down with a “solution” that further feeds the beast or take it as an opportunity to play bait ‘n’ switch by adding their own encroachments.

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France’s False Choice Reply

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Atlantic article from January. Thoughtful overview of Dar al-Islam in the land of the Gauls.

Also, rather refreshing to see a mainstreamer who can tell the fucking difference between liberty and democracy!


The impressive and inspiring show of solidarity at France’s unity march on January 11—which brought together millions of people and more than 40 world leaders—was not necessarily a sign of good things to come. “We are all one” was indeed a powerful message, but what did it really mean, underneath the noble sentiment and the liberal faith that all people are essentially good and want the same things, regardless of religion or culture? Even if the scope is limited to Western liberals, the aftermath of the assaults in Paris on Charlie Hebdo and a kosher supermarket has revealed a striking lack of consensus on a whole host of issues, including the limits of free speech, the treatment of religions versus racial groups, and the centrality of secularism to the liberal idea. Turns out, we are not all one.

French schoolteachers were reportedly dumbfounded that (some) Muslim students refused to stand up for a moment of silence after the attacks. But this is where confusion seeps into the debate. Within France, there is not a cultural divide on the attack that left 12 dead at the offices of a satirical magazine. To even suspect that a significant number of French Muslims might support the slaughter of innocents is troubling. But beyond the killings themselves, there is, in fact, a cultural divide—one that shines light on some of the most problematic aspects of how we in the West talk about Islam, values, and violence.

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The Future of the Anarchist Movement in North America 11

These are the currents that will need to emerge within the context of North American anarchism if the movement is to eventually become politically competitive.

  1. A general consensus will need to develop in favor an an ecumenical approach that recognizes the legitimacy of the many different forms of anarchism even while individuals and groups retain their own specific orientations.
  2. The movement will need to be open to a variety of economic tendencies, and cease the endless bickering between an-caps and an-coms, perhaps combined with the recognition of the need for institutional or territorial separation of those with irreconcilable differences.
  3. The anarchist movement will need to get past the “rightist phobia” that exists in many corners, and recognize the legitimacy of the variations of anarchism with rightist leanings or influences.
  4. The future anarchist movement will not necessarily shy away from a radical leftist critique of the current order, much of which is quite valid, but will be much less consumed with dubious concepts such as microaggressions and “no platforming.” This would have the effect of marginalizing the more unsavory sectors of the anarchist movement, such as the antifa and the more extreme “social justice warriors,” who will likely be absorbed the liberal wing of the system in the process.
  5. The anarchist movement will subsequently become focused on addressing a much wider variety of issues, not just those of interest to run of the mill leftists, and organizing among a much wider range of demographics beyond those of interest to the Left.
  6. The central focus of the North American anarchist movement will be the development of a society-wide pan-decentralist consenus, and the development of effective tactics and strategies for achieving this goal.

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The Real Issues You Won’t Hear from the 2016 Presidential Candidates This Election Year Reply

By John Whitehead

Rutherford Institute

“Apparently, a democracy is a place where numerous elections are held at great cost without issues and with interchangeable candidates.”—Gore Vidal

The countdown has begun.

We now have less than one year until the 2016 presidential election, and you can expect to be treated to an earful of carefully crafted, expensive sound bites and political spin about climate change, education, immigration, taxes and war.

Despite the dire state of our nation, however, you can rest assured that none of the problems that continue to undermine our freedoms will be addressed in any credible, helpful way by any of the so-called viable presidential candidates and certainly not if doing so might jeopardize their standing with the unions, corporations or the moneyed elite bankrolling their campaigns.

The following are just a few of the issues that should be front and center in every presidential debate. That they are not is a reflection of our willingness as citizens to have our political elections reduced to little more than popularity contests that are, in the words of Shakespeare, “full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.”

The national debt. Why aren’t politicians talking about the whopping $18.1 trillion and rising that our government owes to foreign countries, private corporations and its retirement programs? Not only is the U.S. the largest debtor nation in the world, but according to Forbes, “the amount of interest on the national debt is estimated to be accumulating at a rate of over one million dollars per minute.” Shouldn’t the government being on the verge of bankruptcy be an issue worth talking about?

Black budget spending. It costs the American taxpayer $52.6 billion every year to be spied on by the sixteen or so intelligence agencies tasked with surveillance, data collection, counterintelligence and covert activities. The agencies operating with black budget (top secret) funds include the CIA, NSA and Justice Department. Clearly, our right to privacy seems to amount to nothing in the eyes of the government and those aspiring to office.

Government contractors. Despite all the talk about big and small government, what we have been saddled with is a government that is outsourcing much of its work to high-paid contractors at great expense to the taxpayer and with no competition, little transparency and dubious savings. According to the Washington Post, “By some estimates, there are twice as many people doing government work under contract than there are government workers.” These open-ended contracts, worth hundreds of millions of dollars, “now account for anywhere between one quarter and one half of all federal service contracting.” Moreover, any attempt to reform the system is “bitterly opposed by federal employee unions, who take it as their mission to prevent good employees from being rewarded and bad employees from being fired.”

Cost of war. Then there’s the detrimental impact the government’s endless wars (fueled by the profit-driven military industrial complex) is having on our communities, our budget and our police forces. In fact, the U.S. Department of Defense is the world’s largest employer, with more than 3.2 million employees. Since 9/11, we’ve spent more than $1.6 trillion to wage wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. When you add in our military efforts in Pakistan, as well as the lifetime price of health care for disabled veterans and interest on the national debt, that cost rises to $4.4 trillion.

Education. Despite the fact that the U.S. spends more on education than any other developed nation, our students continue to lag significantly behind other advanced industrial nations. Incredibly, teenagers in the U.S. ranked 36th in the world in math, reading and science.

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Author: Chris Combe from York, UK, who does not endorse this use of the work

Beyond Social Justice 8

A discussion with Ian Mayes, Nexus X Humectress, and Keith Preston about how social justice activism has led anarchist movements astray and lots of other stuff.

Topics include:

  • Anarcho-pacifism
  • Intentional communities
  • Beyond Social Justice: how historical opposition to valid injustices has now evolved into something absurd.
  • How totalitarian humanism’s focus on privilege and microaggressions forestalls social revolution.
  • Is feminism necessary in the West?
  • Radical gender equality.
  • How the men’s rights movement fits the dictionary definition of feminism.
  • MGTOW: Men Going Their Own Way, the new subculture of anti-marriage relationship nihilists.
  • No “hope” for revolution.
  • “Anarchist” as an identity.

More…

U.N., rights groups call on Saudi Arabia to spare man from beheading, crucifixion Reply

CNN.Com

A group of U.N. experts has joined rights groups in calling on Saudi Arabia to halt the execution of a Shiite man convicted of crimes reportedly committed as a teenager during protests inspired by the Arab Spring.

Ali al-Nimr, the nephew of firebrand Shiite cleric Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr, faces execution by beheading and an additional rare punishment of “crucifixion,” which means publicly displaying the body after death as a warning to others, according to Saudi state media.

“Any judgment imposing the death penalty upon persons who were children at the time of the offense, and their execution, are incompatible with Saudi Arabia’s international obligations,” the U.N. group said in a statement Tuesday, invoking the U.N. Convention on the Rights of the Child, to which Saudi Arabia is a party.

Arrested as a teenager

Ali al-Nimr was a 17-year-old high school student when he was arrested for taking part in Arab Spring-inspired protests in 2012 calling for social and political reforms in the country’s restive and predominantly Shiite province of Qatif.

A court later convicted him of charges including belonging to a terror cell, attacking police with Molotov cocktails, incitement, and stoking sectarianism, according to the state media report.

His final appeal was rejected when the Appeals Court and High Court ratified his verdict last week, the report said.

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After Beheading 100 People This Year, Saudi Arabia Joins U.N. Human Rights Council With U.S. Support Reply

This is beyond pathetic.

By Justin Salhani

Think Progress

President Barack Obama, right, meets with King Salman of Saudi Arabia in the Oval Office of the White House, on Friday, Sept. 4, 2015, in Washington.

The State Department has welcomed news that Saudi Arabia will head a U.N. Human Rights Council panel. Criticism has regularly been levelled at Saudi Arabia by human rights groups due to perennial human rights violations.

Saudi Arabia beheaded over 100 people this year through June. That’s already more than they beheaded in the entirety of 2014. The regime there is also known for its use of floggings and implementation of the death penalty against people convicted as minors. A group of U.N. experts called on Saudi Arabia as recently as this week to spare the nephew of a prominent Shia cleric from beheading and crucifixion. Furthermore, Saudi Arabia is regularly the target of international rights groups’ critiques due to their complete disregard for international human rights standards on free speech, freedom of religion, and a plethora of other violations.

“Saudi Arabia … systematically discriminates against Muslim religious minorities, notably Twelver Shia and Ismailis,” a Human Rights Watch (HRW) 2015 report on Saudi Arabia reads. This development has been widely denounced by figures who see the appointment as a way for Saudi Arabia to justify their current practices.

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Why Judges and Prosecutors Don’t Care If They’re Right Reply

By Matt Kaiser

AbovetheLaw.Com

Judge Alex Kozinski has written the preface for the latest edition of the Georgetown Law Journal’s Annual Review of Criminal Procedure.

Put simply, it’s a barn burner.

He lays out 12 views that are widely held by judges and lawyers to justify what happens in our criminal justice system — that forensic evidence is reliable, that juries follow jury instructions, that human memory is reliable, that the prosecution is at a disadvantage because of the burden of proof, that long sentences deter crime — and explains why there is substantial reason to doubt each of them based on what we know about the how the legal system actually works, what we’ve learned from empirical studies of how human brains function, and scientific literature casting doubt on much of what happens in the courtroom.

For example, on the reliability of forensic evidence, Kozinski quotes a piece in the journal Science that concludes that:

Spectrographic voice identification error rates are as high as 63%, depending on the type of voice sample tested. Handwriting error rates average around 40% and sometimes approach 100%. False-positive error rates for bite marks run as high as 64%. Those for microscopic hair comparisons are about 12% (using results of mitochondrial DNA testing as the criterion).

Another powerful Kozinski point is about jury instructions. More…

Prison Without Punishment Reply

The Germans are adopting a model of prison reform that ARV-ATS has advocated for 15 years.

By Maurice Chammah

Vice

Inmates attending a yoga class at Heidering prison, on the outskirts of Berlin. Photos by Julian Röder

Published in partnership with the Marshall Project

This article appears in VICE magazine’s upcoming Prison Issue, which will go online Monday, October 5

Last year, Gregg Marcantel, the secretary of New Mexico’s Corrections Department, voluntarily placed himself in solitary confinement for 48 hours. He was one of a rare few who could choose to do such a thing, and it was a very Gregg thing to do—dramatic, physically demanding, good for a story. Since taking the job a few years before, Marcantel had worked to reduce the number of prisoners held in their cells for 23 hours a day, and he wanted to better understand what these prisoners actually experienced. He told a reporter, “There are just things sometimes that you gotta feel, you gotta taste, and you gotta hear, and you gotta smell.”

The video footage of his two days in a 12-by-7-foot cell has an eerie intimacy. Wearing standard-issue yellow scrubs and a bright orange beanie, Marcantel, a former cop who resembles a bodybuilder, looms around the cell. He listens to the shouting and clanging outside his door, writes in a notebook, and picks at some rubbery breakfast meat. His face alternates between boredom and curiosity. He reads Night, the Holocaust memoir by Elie Wiesel, and a business book called Boundaries for Leaders.

The stunt was not Marcantel’s only effort to address solitary confinement, though it was the most public. Working with the Vera Institute of Justice, a nonprofit organization based in New York, his staff was implementing a program called Restoration to Population, which would allow inmates affiliated with prison gangs to renounce their membership and earn their way out of solitary confinement through good behavior. Another program would allow inmates who had been held in solitary for their own protection—informants and the young and weak—to live together in regular housing. The number of New Mexico state prisoners in solitary dropped from 10.1 percent in late 2013 to 6.9 percent in June 2015.

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