Monday, 22 December 2014

Fukushima Reactor #1

Tepco released photos of Reactor 1 / Fuel handling machine barely hung just above SFP



Tepco released photos of Reactor 1 / Fuel handling machine barely hung just above SFP


Overhead traveling crane lies over the fuel handling machine. The machine is barely hung over the spent fuel pool of Reactor 1.


Tepco’s photos showed the reality of how Spent Fuel Pool remains in Reactor 1.


On 12/19/2014, Tepco released the photos of the inside of the upper part of Reactor 1. In order to remove the cover from Reactor 1, Tepco has been partially opening the building cover and investigating inside of the cover and the building. Those photos were taken from 11/21 to 12/3/2014.


As far as Fukushima Diary researches, this is the first time for Tepco to release the photos of the upper part of Reactor 1.

Those 16 photos revealed the entirely crippled building of Reactor 1.

From the photos and Tepco’s report, blasted roof of the building is scattered around the operating floor.

Overhead traveling crane lies over the fuel handling machine. The supporting fuel handling machine is bent and barely hung right above the spent fuel pool (See photo below).

Tepco announced none of the parts of fuel handling system dropped into the pool, however only one photo was released.

Additionally, even in the only published photo, a few pieces of debris are sticking out of the pool.

Other released photos of Reactor 1.

2 Tepco released photos of Reactor 1 : Fuel handling machine hung just above SFP to support

3 Tepco released photos of Reactor 1 : Fuel handling machine hung just above SFP to support

4 Tepco released photos of Reactor 1 : Fuel handling machine hung just above SFP to support

5 Tepco released photos of Reactor 1 : Fuel handling machine hung just above SFP to support

6 Tepco released photos of Reactor 1 : Fuel handling machine hung just above SFP to support

7 Tepco released photos of Reactor 1 : Fuel handling machine hung just above SFP to support

8 Tepco released photos of Reactor 1 : Fuel handling machine hung just above SFP to support

9 Tepco released photos of Reactor 1 : Fuel handling machine hung just above SFP to support

10 Tepco released photos of Reactor 1 : Fuel handling machine hung just above SFP to support

11 Tepco released photos of Reactor 1 : Fuel handling machine hung just above SFP to support

12 Tepco released photos of Reactor 1 : Fuel handling machine hung just above SFP to support

13 Tepco released photos of Reactor 1 : Fuel handling machine hung just above SFP to support

14 Tepco released photos of Reactor 1 : Fuel handling machine hung just above SFP to support


15 Tepco released photos of Reactor 1 : Fuel handling machine hung just above SFP to support

The Russian opposition

Putin fields a question from an “oppositionist”

I personally found the questions from Ksenia Sobchak (daughter of the ex- mayor of St Petesburg who was accused of corruption) that can be broadly characterised as "oppositional", of interest - and Putin's response. 

By the way the translation is rather bad - "rasprava" which is translated as "massacre" really means "harsh treatment" which might explain a lot.

The piece starts at 1'20"

At the end of the first question Putin jokes with Dmitri Peskov, "Why did you give her the floor" but goes on to answer her questions in full.

The question came up more than once: what is the difference between "opposition" and "fifth column"

The basic question is this is the action of a tyrant!?

Can you imagine Obama fielding similar questions.

The best thing I can think of is Stephen Cohen - the Russians run things from "their own narrative"

Listen to the next segment which is from a Russian Reuters correspondent.





Glamorous TV presenter who grew up with Putin says Russia’s young elite are fleeing the country because of his hardline policies
  • Ksenia Sobchak fears that Putin's hardline policies are bad for Russia
  • Her father Anatoly was Putin's mentor after the former spy left the KGB
  • Ms Sobchak said that many of her friends wanted visas to flee Russia 
  • Ms Sobchak has known Putin since she was a young girl in St Petersburg
  • Now she fears she may be arrested for supporting Putin's opponents 
  • Ms Sobchak said she is staying in Russia because she has nowhere to go 


7 November 2014

A glamorous TV presenter with close family ties to Vladimir Putin claims well-to-do young Russians are desperately fleeing the country due to his authoritarian policies.

Ksenia Sobchak, who has known the Russian president since she was a child, said growing numbers of people are leaving Moscow, seeking citizenship, residency or visas for western countries.

Ms Sobchak's father, Anatoly Sobchak, was a political mentor to Putin and introduced the ex-KGB officer into the world of politics.
  
Ksenia Sobchak, daughter of Vladimir Putin's mentor Anatoly Sochak said many of her friends were actively trying to flee Moscow because of the Russian President's hardline regime and the economic slump 
Ksenia Sobchak, daughter of Vladimir Putin's mentor Anatoly Sochak said many of her friends were actively trying to flee Moscow because of the Russian President's hardline regime and the economic slump 

Vladimir Putin, attending the funeral of Anatoly Sobchak with Mrs Sobchack and her daughter Ksenia
Vladimir Putin, attending the funeral of Anatoly Sobchak with Mrs Sobchack and her daughter Ksenia

Putin, holding flowers, was very close to Ms Sobchak's father Anatoly, whom he regarded as a mentor 
Putin, holding flowers, was very close to Ms Sobchak's father Anatoly, whom he regarded as a mentor 


Sanctions imposed by the West over the Kremlin leader's annexation of Crimea and military threats to Ukraine have led to major economic turmoil with the rouble plunging to its lowest-ever level, slashing the savings of many people.

Ms Sobchak said: 'This is the main society talk in good restaurants in Moscow. It is either getting citizenship, or residence permits, or the like.'


She said she would join new anti-Putin protests even though she is 'scared' of being sent to prison.

'My friends, all they are talking about is visas.'


She said: 'They keep sending me these messages, like "Ksenia, there is Bulgarian citizenship", "nine other options open until the end of November" or "I got mine in the Czech republic", or "I got mine somewhere else".'

Anatoly Sobchak, centre, was the Mayor of St Petersburg and taught Vladimir Putin law after he left the KGB
Anatoly Sobchak, centre, was the Mayor of St Petersburg and taught Vladimir Putin law after he left the KGB
Putin, left, was one of the most prominent mourners at Anatoly Sobchak's funeral in February 2000
Putin, left, was one of the most prominent mourners at Anatoly Sobchak's funeral in February 2000
Ms Sobchak is the daughter of Putin's mentor Anatoly Sobchak, former mayor of St Petersburg, who gave the strongman his first political post after he quit as a KGB spy when the Soviet Union collapsed. Earlier he taught law to Putin at Leningrad State University.
A grieving Putin stood alongside Ms Sobchak and her mother Lyudmila at his funeral in 2000.
Ms Sobchak, pictured, said she was willing to join anti-Putin protests but was afraid of going to prison
Ms Sobchak, pictured, said she was willing to join anti-Putin protests but was afraid of going to prison

Putin was so close to the family that earlier it was widely thought he was godfather to Ms Sobchak, though this is denied.

Ironically, in 1997, Putin helped Anatoly Sobchak flee Russia to Paris when he faced a criminal investigation.

The 33-year-old celebrity said in an interview with Echo Moscow radio that she had 'nowhere to run' and would stay in Russia, unlike many of her friends.

Her comments came as new statistics show an alarming surge of Russians leaving their country with the highest ever figure of 203,000 in first eight months of the year. Many believe it is an underestimate.

Many of those deserting Russia are the wealthy seeking to preserve their fortunes from the boom years, but also include 'qualified specialists' in management, technology and science, who are vital for the economy.

Capital flight - sending money abroad - is expected to hit a staggering £60 billion this year further crippling the Russian economy.

In a blistering critique of her father's protege, she criticised the increasing personality cult around Putin, arguing it was driving Russia to ruin.

'Our passion for relying on big personalities is what - sadly - is killing us,' she said.
Ms Sobchak - who also owns a magazine and a restaurant - said she is ready to join new street protests against Putin, even though state TV channels boycotted her after she took part in earlier demonstrations.

She also faced a probe of her finances.

'I can lose my magazine, my restaurant, I'm prepared to take these risks,' she said.
'I won't be going to set cars on fire with you, and I am not ready to go to jail for my beliefs.

'I am ready to lose my job, money, my social status, but there is a bit of an internal borderline. Mine is that I am not ready to go to jail.'
She admitted this could be seen as 'my weakness, cowardice'.

Anatoly Sobchak greets Prime Minister John Major right, while Vladimir Putin looks on in the background, third right, in 10 Downing Street on September 20, 1991, less than two years after he had left the KGB 
Anatoly Sobchak greets Prime Minister John Major right, while Vladimir Putin looks on in the background, third right, in 10 Downing Street on September 20, 1991, less than two years after he had left the KGB 

She warned: 'In every normal Western country, any person who is not prepared to go to jail can be politically active and even think about a political career.

'In our country everything is too tough. In other words if you are ready to be jailed, to be like Mandela, then you can claim a right to become the next president.
'And if you are not ready, then don't even try.

'This is why I am not doing it, and I honestly say I am not ready to experience a Russian jail even for my beliefs that are important for me. I am scared.'
She alleged Putin has 'so much money' that he is no longer interested in 'building another house in Crimea or getting another yacht'.

She did not say where the alleged money came from. Last year his official salary was around £65,000, a drop in the ocean compared with oligarchs who have made fortunes in his presidency.

The Kremlin has denied claims that Putin is once of the world's richest men.
He thinks of himself as a 'big patriot' and he seized Crimea because he believed the West 'let him down' by meddling in his sphere of influence in the former USSR, added Ms Sobchak.


If Ms. Sobchak is an "opposition figure" then Aleksey Navalny is definitely "fifth column" He is bought and paid for by the United States


Russian Navalny is "a corrupted anti-corruption activist".

Prosecutors seek 10yr jail sentence for opposition figure Navalny

Opposition politician Alexei Navalny.(RIA Novosti / Anton Denisov)

RT,
19 December, 2014

Russian prosecutors have asked that prominent anti-corruption activist Aleksey Navalny be sentenced to 10 years in prison for embezzlement from cosmetics giant Yves Rocher and laundering the money.

On Friday a district court in Moscow ruled to prolong Navalny’s house arrest to till January 15, but allowed him to send letters to state agencies and courts, including international ones.
The activist has remained in his apartment since February this year with a ban on using the internet and other means of communication, but continues to update his popular anti-corruption blog by proxy of his wife.
Prosecutors also sought to sentence Aleksey Navalny’s brother Oleg, who is suspected of being the main accomplice in the alleged scheme, to eight years behind bars.
They told the court the request for such harsh punishment was motivated by the “cynicism” of the crime and by the fact that it had been allegedly committed by an organized group.
The official charges are based on the statement made in 2012 by several senior managers from Yves Rocher. According to that record, Aleksey Navalny, along with Oleg, a senior manager in a subsidiary of the state enterprise Russian Post, tricked them into signing a transportation contract with their own company at inflated prices.
This company allegedly never provided the services, but instead relied on a subcontract executed by other firms. The scheme worked for four-and-a-half years. The overall amount of money paid by Yves Rocher to the brothers exceeded 55 million rubles (over US$1.6 million at the time) and the pocketed margin was over 20 million rubles ($600,000), according to the claim. Additionally the brothers are suspected of allegedly laundering the money with the help of a different family enterprise.
Both suspects have pleaded not guilty, saying that the scheme was an ordinary go-between business. They also repeatedly called the trial a political process instigated by the authorities as revenge for Aleksey Navalny’s constant and sharp criticism of senior officials and top managers of state corporations.

On Friday, defense lawyers again demanded that the court ruled the suspects not guilty on all charges saying that the process was politicized and prosecutors’ evidence was insufficient to prove their claims.
Alexey Navalny also expressed the disagreement with the court position on Friday by posting the following bitter tweet: “Terrific! Today is the last day of court and prosecutors want to prolong the house arrest!”

Офигенно. Сегодня последний день суда, а прокуратура требует продлить домашний арест.
He also said in his court speech that he considered it possible for the court to pass the sentence before January 15, 2015.
In mid-2013 Alexey Navalny already received a five-year probation sentence for taking part in a graft scheme involving a state-owned timber company in central Russia’s Kirov Region.
Alexei Navalny

Russian Facebook blocks event page for opposition rally


Page inviting Alexei Navalny’s supporters to attend a rally on the day his case’s verdict is announced is blocked to Russian users




Counting down to zero hour

WWIII - The Calm Before The Storm

In historical terms these are the final seconds of the 11th hour, and the clock is ticking.




SCG,
21 December, 2014


"World War III" is a loaded term (as are many historical references). It assumes that these tragic mass murders that humanity calls war, are isolated events with distinct beginnings and ends. This kind of over simplification obscures the multi-generational chain reactions that lead up to that moment when swords are drawn or missiles fly.

Of course, there is another reason that the public is rarely conscious of these chain reactions. The ruling classes learned long ago that the best way to take a nation to war, is to trick them into it.
Vietnam was an extension of the Cold War, which was an extension of World War II, which was a direct result of the terms imposed on Germany following World War I.
This multifaceted conflict that is unfolding right now between the declining powers of the West and geopolitical and economic upstarts from the East may not end up being labeled as "World War III" in the history books. Perhaps they'll continue to label each phase with a catchy name, like "Operation Baltic Freedom" or "Operation Siberian Storm". Whatever.
On the other hand, if someone does something stupid, history books may not make it through the aftermath at all. Of course I would never insinuate that the United States government would ever do anything stupid. It's not like the country is run by a gaggle of war mongering imbeciles. Well, actually, I suppose that depends on how you define the word "imbecile".
Congress did just pass Resolution 758, and the "The Ukraine Freedom Support Act of 2014" which lay the foundation for open and direct conflict between the U.S. and Russia (the law provides for lethal aid to Kiev), more sanctions are on the table, and of course if you've been paying attention you might have noticed that Washington is playing a game of high stakes chicken with oil prices,with a little help from our good friends the Saudis. All the while playing hardball with China in South East Asia, and ramping up production of nuclear weapons while their puppets in Kievcontinue to shell civilians in eastern Ukraine. What could possibly go wrong?



Heading into 2015, it may have appeared that we were having something of a calm before the storm, but that was an illusion (created by selective reporting). This war is already hot on multiple fronts. It has been for years. All it takes is one stupid move for proxy wars to cut out the middle man, and then all bets are off.
To even consider a direct military confrontation between the U.S. and Russia is insane. The consequences would be nothing short of unthinkable. Yet, humanity seems to be sleepwalking right into that very scenario.
Could we as a people stop this? Of course we could. These so called rulers don't actually have power, they just have your obedience.
Will you withdraw that obedience, on time, or will you continue to allow yourself to be distracted by bread, circuses, and pointless bickering?
If you were planning on shifting gears, now would be the time to do it. In historical terms these are the final seconds of the 11th hour, and the clock is ticking.

Song of the day

Always Look On The Bright Side Of Life




Compassion is universal

Watch: Monkey saves 'dying' friend


No more monkey business: this little guy refuses to give up on his mate


21 December, 2014


A monkey has seemingly saved the life of a fellow primate after it was hurt on railway lines in India.

The monkey was electrocuted as it walked on high tension wires in Kanpur's railway station, falling unconscious on to the tracks#

As commuters watched from the busy platform, the extraordinary footage shows a fellow primate apparently attempting to resuscitate the animal by repeatedly biting, hitting and dunking him in water


The electrocuted monkey, a bit soggier and groggier than normal, is eventually revived and the pair are filmed walking away

Racism in the United States

Angela Davis: ‘There is an unbroken line of police violence in the US that takes us all the way back to the days of slavery’

The activist, feminist and revolutionary explains how the ‘prison industrial complex’ profits from black people, that Barack Obama can’t be blamed for the lack of progress on race, and why Beyoncé is not a terrorist


Angela Davis, 1974.
Angela Davis, 1974. Photograph: Everett Collection/Rex

14 December, 2014

There is an unbroken line of police violence in the United States that takes us all the way back to the days of slavery, the aftermath of slavery, the development of the Ku Klux Klan,” says Angela Davis. “There is so much history of this racist violence that simply to bring one person to justice is not going to disturb the whole racist edifice.”

I had asked the professor, activist, feminist and revolutionary, the woman whom Richard Nixon called a terrorist and whom Ronald Reagan tried to fire as a professor, if she was angered by the failure of a grand jury to indict a white police officer for shooting dead an unarmed black man, Michael Brown, in Ferguson, Missouri earlier this year. “The problem with always pursuing the individual perpetrator in all of the many cases that involve police violence,” the 70-year-old replies, “is that one reinvents the wheel each time and it cannot possibly begin to reduce racist police violence. Which is not to say that individual perpetrators should not be held accountable – they should.”

We’re talking at the Friends Meeting House in London before a memorial service to her friend and colleague Stuart Hall, the black British cultural studies theorist and sociologist, who died in February. It was Hall, she tells me, as much as her mentor, the German Jewish philosopher Herbert Marcuse, who made her think about the structural issues in any given political struggle.

Not that Davis is insensitive to the outrage over specific cases of police violence against black men, be it the riots in Ferguson, the worldwide protests over the death of Eric Garner in police custody, or Trayvon Martin. Davis focuses on the latter to make an incendiary point about the racism endemic in Obama’s America. 

In 2012, she reminds me, Martin, a black high school student, was fatally shot at a gated estate in Florida by George Zimmerman, a white neighbourhood watch coordinator. Zimmerman, who was later acquitted of Martin’s killing, reminds her of “those who were part of the slave patrols during the slave era”.

"‘People like to point to Obama and hold him responsible for the madness’ … Angela Davis.
‘People like to point to Obama and hold him responsible for the madness’ … Angela Davis. Photograph: Richard Saker for the Guardian

Surely the lives of African-Americans in 2014 are better than during the days of slavery? Yet Davis isn’t the only black American intellectual to be less than sanguine. Professor Cornel West recently said that the US still has in effect a “Jim Crow criminal justice system” that “does not deliver justice for black and brown people”. Davis agrees. “You have this huge population of people who come up against the same restrictions that the Jim Crow south created,” she says. The segregation laws that existed until 1965 in the American south, where she grew up, might have gone but, as Davis points out, racist oppression remains.
One key feature of that racist oppression, Davis says, is what she and other leftist intellectuals call the “prison industrial complex”, the tawdry if tacit alliance between capitalism and a structurally racist state.

The massive over-incarceration of people of colour in general in the US leads to lack of access to democratic practices and liberties. Because prisoners are not able to vote, former prisoners in so many states are not able to vote, people are barred from jobs if they have a history of prison.”

But, lest Britons get complacent, Davis tells me, “the proportion of black people in prison in Britain is larger than the proportion of black people in prison in the United States”.

In Davis’s philosophy, this should come as no surprise; for her, the prison industrial complex is not just a racist American money-making machine, but a means to criminalise, demonise and profit from the world’s most powerless people. “I think it is important to realise that this is not just a US phenomenon, it’s a global phenomenon. The increasing shift of capital from human services, from housing, jobs, education, to profitable arenas has meant there are huge numbers of people everywhere in the world who are not able to sustain themselves. They are made surplus, and as a result they are often forced to engage in practices that are deemed criminal. And so prisons pop up all over the world, often with the assistance of private corporations who profit from these surplus populations.”

If structural racism and state violence against African-Americans, aided and abetted by global capitalism, are as rampant as Davis says, isn’t she disappointed in the failure of the US’s first African-American president to speak out when a case comes up that seems to dramatise what she is indicting? Davis smiles and recalls a conversation she had with Hall two months before his death. “We talked about the fact that people like to point to Obama as an individual and hold him responsible for the madness that has happened. Of course there are things that Obama as an individual might have done better – he might have insisted more on the closing of Guantánamo – but people who invested their hopes in him were approaching the issue of political futures in the wrong way to begin with. This was something Stuart Hall always insisted on – it’s always a collective process to change the world.”
Davis gives her first news conference after being released on bail, 1972.

Isn’t she letting Obama off the hook? “Perhaps we should always blame ourselves,” she says. “Why have we not created the kind of movement that would put more pressure on Obama and force the Obama administration to deal with these issues? We might have arrived at a much better healthcare plan if those of us who believe healthcare is a human right were out on the streets, as opposed to the Tea Party.”

This is classic Davis – offering bracing analysis that, instead of blaming someone else, puts responsibility for changing the world in our hands. For all that Davis was the late 60s/early 70s radical who stuck it to the man, for all that her indomitable spirit and iconic hairdo made her a poster girl for African-Americans, feminists and anyone with a radical consciousness, this is perhaps Davis’s key significance now – a woman who comes at the hottest political issues from unexpected and inspiring angles. For instance, the day before we meet, at a keynote lecture titled Policing the Crisis Today at a conference honouring Hall at Goldsmith’s, she spoke about racist violence, but focused on the case of Marissa Alexander, jailed for 20 years for firing a warning shot over the head of her estranged, unharmed husband, who attacked and threatened to kill her. “Let us ask ourselves what is so threatening abut a black woman in the southern United States who attempts to defend herself against so-called domestic violence,” said Davis, as she finished her speech to rapturous applause.

Why, I ask Davis, the day after, did you focus on Alexander’s case? “We rarely hear about the women,” she replies. “Just because the majority of the prison population is male doesn’t mean we need to start with their experience.”
Davis has long campaigned against prisons, regarding them as brutalising racist institutions from which, latterly, big bucks are to be made. After her speech, when she is asked why the white cops who shoot black men shouldn’t face jail, Davis stands her ground arguing that the institution of prison “only reproduces the problem it putatively solves”. Not that she has any answers about what the alternative to this prison industrial complex might be. “I don’t think there’s a predetermined answer, but I want us to think.”
Davis's wanted poster from 1970.
"Davis’s wanted poster from 1970. Photograph: Bettmann/Corbis

Someone else asks Davis if Beyoncé is a terrorist. The audience giggles, but the question is serious. During a panel discussion on liberating the black female body earlier this year, feminist activist bell hooks described Beyoncé as a terrorist and anti-feminist who was “colluding in the construction of herself as a slave”. In an emollient reply, Davis said that she liked the fact that Beyoncé had sampled Nigerian novelist Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s speech on feminism on her album.
The following day, I ask Davis more about it. “Whatever problems I have with Beyoncé, I think it is so misleading and irresponsible to use that word in connection with her. It has been used to criminalise struggles for liberation. But we don’t use the word terror and terrorism to describe US history and the racism of the pre-civil rights era.”

Certainly the terror, if that’s the word, that was perpetrated on African-Americans when Davis was a girl in pre-civil rights Birmingham, Alabama, is burned into her consciousness. She was born in 1944 in a city that was to become notorious during the civil rights struggles for setting dogs and turning hoses on African-Americans seeking the vote – and much much worse. “I grew up at a time when, as a response to an interracial discussion group I was involved in, the church where we were having the discussions was burned. I grew up at a time where black people would move in to the white neighbourhood right across the street from where we lived, and bombs would be set in those houses. I’ve never heard the word terrorism used in that context, but on the other hand it is used to evoke this sense of danger coming from the outside without ever recognising the extent to which the history of the United States has been a history of terror against indigenous people, a history of terror against people of African descent.”

Davis looks at me and laughs: “So, to call Beyoncé a terrorist just does not work!”

The word terrorist has a deeper personal resonance. That is what president Nixon called Davis when, 44 years ago, she was one of the FBI’s top 10 most wanted, a fugitive from so-called justice. She was finally arrested and faced charges of conspiracy to kidnap and murder, charges for which she could have been executed. At her trial in 1972, she was acquitted, while other co-defendants, former Black Panthers whom she insists are political prisoners, were less fortunate: “My former co-defendant Ruchell Magee has been in prison for 51 years now.” There are many other such political prisoners from that Black Panther era still languishing unjustly in jail, she says. George Jackson, whom she once called her “lifetime” husband (even though the pair never married), is not among them: he was shot dead in 1971 during an attempted prison breakout, three days before he was due to stand trial for the murder of a white prison guard. Davis has not married since.

I ask her about another Black Panther, Albert Woodfox, jailed for armed robbery and later convicted with two other men for the murder of a prison guard at Louisiana State Penitentiary (also known as Angola prison); last month, Woodfox had his conviction overturned after enduring 42 years in solitary confinement. “Of course I’m so happy, having been involved in the campaign to free the Angola Three for many many years, but why has it taken so long?”
Demonstrators protest against the death of Michael Brown, St Louis, November 2014.

"Demonstrators protest against the death of Michael Brown, St Louis, November 2014. Photograph: Jewel Samad

If the Black Panthers were active in 2014, Davis believes “they’d be on the receiving end of the war on terror”. She cites Assata Shakur, the activist and Black Panther supporter who was convicted as an accomplice to the murder 40 years ago of a New Jersey state trooper, and was put on the FBI’s most-wanted list earlier this year. “I think that the move to designate Assata a terrorist and to post a $2m reward for her capture, which means that any of the mercenaries from the new privatised security firms might try to travel to Cuba [where Shakur has been living for 35 years], capture her and bring her back for the $2m reward, that is not so much an attack on Assata – which it is – but it sends out a message to vast numbers of young people who identify with her. Her autobiography is very popular and it seems to me that that is the message to young people today: ‘Watch out! If you get involved in progressive struggles, radical movements, this is how you will be treated – you will be treated as a terrorist.’”

Still, Davis thinks young people now are made of sterner stuff than to be browbeaten by a terrorising state. “I’m very, very hopeful. I hear people repeatedly referring to the apathy of young people but there are probably more people who are actively involved in radical political projects in the US today than there were in the 1960s.”

She takes particular succour from the Occupy movement, at whose encampments she spoke repeatedly in 2011. “They didn’t know necessarily where they were going but they did know they were standing up to capitalism.” For a veteran communist (Davis stood twice as vice-presidential candidate for the Communist party USA in the 1980s), that anti-capitalism is especially heartening. 


“I think the influence of Occupy will continue even though the encampment could only exist for a very defined period of time. One can see the influence of Occupy in the Ferguson demonstrations now, in the sense that they recognise that it’s not only about demanding that this one individual cop be convicted but it’s also about recognising the connection between racist violence and the profit machine. That’s what we’re fighting against.”


Sony Hack Re-ignites Questions about Michael Jackson's Banned Song

D.B. Anderson


18 December, 2014


As the Black Lives Matter movement grew in reaction to the lack of indictments in the deaths of Eric Garner and Michael Brown, Michael Jackson's 1995 song "They Don't Care About Us" was resurrected at the grass roots level in many cities including Ferguson, New York, and California.


"They Don't Care About Us" was denounced by The New York Times even before its release, and did not reach much of its intended audience because the controversy caused by the New York Times article would go on to overshadow the song itself. Radio stations were reluctant to play it and one of the short films Jackson created for the song was banned in the U.S.

Bernard Weinraub, husband of Sony Pictures Chief Amy Pascal, was the writer of the Times article.

"They Don't Care About Us" was Jackson's statement against abuse of power and the political corruption that enabled it. Two key events inspired the song:
  • In 1992, five white police officers who stood trial in Los Angeles for the videotaped beating of Rodney King were found not guilty by a jury with no African American members. Then, as now, there were riots and protests about longstanding policies of racial profiling and systemic police brutality.
  • The following year, Jackson, who had not been charged with any crime, was forced to undergo a humiliating 25 minute strip search by the same LAPD. The Santa Barbara District Attorney and police detectives arrived at Jackson's home in Los Olivos, California with a photographer who documented his private parts on film.
Black man, blackmail
Throw your brother in jail
All I wanna say is that
They don't really care about us

Bernard Weinraub's pre-release story accused Jackson of having "bigoted lyrics" in the song. He described the entire HIStory album as "profane, obscure, angry and filled with rage."

His piece touched off a firestorm of other negative media coverage. The criticism was disingenuous, as the lyrics were taken out of context and Jackson was very clear about his true intention. The critics were overwhelmingly white.

Many of Weinraub's email messages to Pascal were exposed in the Sony hack; one advised her to fire an executive which she promptly did; another stated outright that he had special access and influence with New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd.

Pascal was previously Vice President of Columbia Pictures, where Jackson, who wanted to star in films, had a motion picture contract that was never fulfilled. Later she became head of Sony Columbia Pictures. Jackson's recording contract was with Epic, a division of Sony.

Weinraub, who is now a playwright, was a respected New York Times reporter on the Hollywood beat until his relationship with Pascal created a conflict of interest that began to anger the subjects of his articles. Weinraub admitted to as much in his farewell column at the New York Times.

Weinraub's cozy relationships in Hollywood included David Geffen. Geffen had worked closely with Jackson, convincing him to replace his key advisors with ones hand-picked by Geffen, according to Zack O. Greenburg's Michael Jackson, Inc.

When the controversy over "They Don't Care About Us" arose, Jackson asked Geffen for public support, but he would not go on record. Jackson's manager, Geffen's pick Sandy Gallin, refused to speak on television. He fired Gallin and never spoke to either of the men again.

Geffen refused to be interviewed about Jackson for Greenburg's book.

Jackson and Spike Lee made two separate short films for "They Don't Care About Us." "He was not having good relations [with Sony/Epic]...there was friction there," said Spike Lee in a recent interview with Iconic magazine.

The first version, recorded in Brazil, features the Afro-Brazilian drumming group Olodum. If you're familiar with the song, this is the version you've probably seen. Already in production at the time of the controversy, it uses sound effects to obscure the objectionable words.

But the "Prison" version is a tour de force; Jackson had even more to be angry about. Jackson and Lee chose to film in a Long Island jail, said Lee, because "a lot of people in prison shouldn't be there. A lot of people are there for a much longer time too. In American prisons, there are more brown and black people than white."

All Jackson's frustrations seem to be on display in this raw and angry performance. Behold:

Jackson would not win though - at least not then: the Prison version was banned from American television.

Jackson would later go on to have a public feud with executives at Sony Music, accusing them of racism. His protests were eyed skeptically by many at the time.

One particularly vicious 1995 Newsday review of this song read in part: "When Michael Jackson sings 'They Don't Care About Us' you've got to wonder who he thinks 'us' is."

The Black Lives Matter protestors don't wonder.