On the killing of Ezell Ford and the impotence of civilian review boards

The Los Angeles Police Commission said the two LAPD officers who in August 2015 shot and killed an unarmed, mentally man named Ezell Ford acted improperly — and I wrote about how that doesn’t mean a whole lot, unfortunately, given that the commission has no actual power to discipline anyone. Check it out at TakePart.

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Protests and prisons

Last month, I attended a protest outside a Nestlé water-bottling facility in South Los Angeles and spoke to a woman in an orangutan mask who objects to the world’s largest food and beverage company profiting from the out-of-state sale of drought-stricken California’s water. You can read my account here.

Earlier this week, California’s state senate approved a bill that would strictly limit the use of solitary confinement at juvenile detention facilities. When I asked the Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation to comment on the legislation, I was told that there is no such thing as “solitary confinement” in California, the people who say they experienced it apparently mistaken (the state says the presence of a television, or the ability to take correspondence courses, means one is not truly in isolation). Read my report here.

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A review of ‘Syrian Notebooks’

I read and then wrote things about journalist Jonathan Littell’s account of his trip to Syria in January 2012. Read those things at Inter Press Service.

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From Argentina to Iraq: I have an opinion

I had two pieces published recently by Inter Press Service: One is (nominally) a review of Muhammad Idrees Ahmad’s new book seeking to explain why the United States invaded Iraq; the other, co-authored with IPS’s DC bureau chief, Jim Lobe, is a response to The Washington Post editorial board claiming that the president of Argentina, Cristina Fernández de Kirchner, is an anti-Semite for having noted the financial ties between hedge fund manager Paul Singer and the various right-wing groups and hacks that have attempted to paint her country as a deadbeat ally of Iranian-backed terrorism.

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Hillary the Hawk

Medea Benajamin and I make the anti-imperialist case for Hillary Clinton. Or do we? Guess you’ll have to read it.

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What six weeks at Vice looks like

Pieces I wrote:

“America Helped Make the Islamic State,” by Charles Davis (August 12, 2014)

Israel’s War on Palestine: It’s Bad, but Is It ‘Genocide’?” by Charles Davis (August 13, 2014)

A Reddit Thread Claims a Hookah Lounge in Los Angeles Banned Jews,” by Charles Davis (August 14, 2014) [EDITOR’S NOTE: It didn’t; I investigated.]

Instead of Killing Lawns, We Should Be Banning Golf,” by Charles Davis (August 15, 2014)

“It’s Not Just Ferguson: Protesting Police Violence in LA,” by Charles Davis (August 18, 2014)

This Teen Wants to Abolish School as We Know It,” by Charles Davis (August 20, 2014)

The LAPD Thinks It’s at War and Now It Has Drones,” by Charles Davis (August 22, 2014)

The US Government Will No Longer Trick People Into Deporting Themselves,” by Charles Davis (August 27, 2014)

Hollywood’s Latest Garbage: Our Tax Dollars at Work,” by Charles Davis (August 28, 2014)

Liberals Won’t Let the Death Penalty Die,” by Charles Davis (August 29, 2014)

Immigrants Are Going to Have to Keep Waiting for Change,” by Charles Davis (September 3, 2014)

Why Should We Care What Mitt Romney Has to Say About Foreign Policy?” by Charles Davis (September 5, 2014)

The Establishment Turns Against the Drug War,” by Charles Davis (September 9, 2014)

Is Obedience the Only Way to Avoid Police Brutality?” by Charles Davis (September 15, 2014)

California Lawmakers Want to Limit Police Drones, but Activists Want Them Banned,” by Charles Davis (September 16, 2014)

Read the rest of my archive here: http://www.vice.com/author/charles-davis

Pieces I wrote during this time but were published elsewhere:

Payment on an Unpaid Basis,” by Charles Davis (The Baffler; October 1, 2014)

Why are banks opening branches… in high schools?” by Charles Davis (Salon; October 16, 2014)

Pieces I edited:

Seattle’s Former Police Chief Speaks Out Against Police Brutality,” by Leighton Woodhouse (August 18, 2014)

In New York City, Police Brutality Is Bringing People Together,” by Aaron Miguel Cantú (August 19, 2014)

Republicans Hate the New AP History Exam,” by Avi Asher-Schapiro (August 20, 2014)

People Are Blocking Cargo Ships to Protest Israel,” by Charlotte Silver (August 21, 2014)

We Asked a War Correspondent About the Origins of ISIS,” by Leighton Woodhouse (August 25, 2014)

Gross Old Men Are Hot and Bothered by War,” By Belén Fernández (August 26, 2014)

Al Sharpton Is a Huge Fraud,” by Michael Tracey (August 26, 2014)

The Police Aren’t So Brave When Someone Has a Weapon,” by Lucy Steigerwald (August 26, 2014)

We Asked an Iraqi Teen What She Thinks of ISIS and America,” by Zach Schwartz (August 29, 2014)

Can the Feds Fix Local Police?” by Lucy Steigerwald (September 2, 2014)

This Tribe Wants to Kick Rich People Out of the Hamptons,” by Justin Doolittle (September 3, 2014)

The Pentagon Is Giving Grenade Launchers to Campus Police,” by Hannah K. Gold (September 5, 2014)

Cops Can Take Your Stuff Without Convicting You of Anything,” by Lucy Steigerwald (September 8, 2014)

Rich Millennials on Trains Won’t Save America,” by Aaron Miguel Cantú (September 10, 2014)

Militarized Cops Pretend to Fight Terrorists in Oakland,” by Julia Carrie Wong (September 12, 2014)

It’s Time to Start Boycotting the NFL,” by Michael Tracey (September 12, 2014)

Anonymous Border Patrol Agents Keep Killing People,” by Lucy Steigerwald (September 15, 2014)

Child Refugees Are Pleading for Asylum in Downtown LA,” by Leighton Woodhouse (September 17, 2014)

Pieces I commissioned but which ran elsewhere:

Against Sharing,” by Avi Asher-Schapiro (Jacobin; September 19, 2014)

Prison Smells Like Balls: The Hidden Stench of Mass Incarceration,” by Elizabeth Renter (Playboy; October 28, 2014)

On and Off the Record with Graham Nash,” by Mr. Fish (Huffington Post; November 23, 2014)

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Netanyahu, Sisi and Assad: Peas in a pod

Israel:

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu likened Hamas to al Qaeda, ISIS and other extremist Islamist groups Tuesday as he implored the international community to hold Palestinian militants responsible for the bloodshed in Gaza. Israel’s top politician said Hamas must be held accountable for rejecting multiple cease-fire agreements and a relentless attack on Israeli civilians.

Netanyahu made his comments at a joint press conference in Tel Aviv alongside U.N. chief Ban Ki-moon. “What we’re seeing here with Hamas is another instance of Islamist extremism, violent extremism that has no resolvable grievance,” Netanyahu said. “Hamas is like ISIS, Hamas is like al Qaeda, Hamas is like Hezbollah, Hamas is like Boko Haram.”

Egypt:

A month after an Egyptian court ruled that Hamas’s armed wing, the Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades, was a terror organization, another court on Saturday branded the entire group — including its political wing — with the same designation.

Since Egypt’s military ousted Islamist president Mohamed Morsi in 2013, the authorities have accused Hamas of aiding jihadists who have waged a string of deadly attacks on security forces in the Sinai Peninsula.

Syria (note: Resistance State):

The Syrian regime no longer has any relationship with former ally Hamas and will never trust the movement again, Syrian President Bashar Assad said in an interview published Friday.

“There is no relation at all on the formal level or on the popular level,” the president told Swedish newspaper Expressen, adding, “I don’t think the Syrian people will trust them anymore.”

Assad alleged that the movement had allied itself with extremist militants fighting in Syria.

He said that recent events in Yarmouk refugee camp “have proved that part of Hamas, which is basically a Muslim Brotherhood organisation, supports al-Nusra Front.”

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