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Showing posts from February, 2015

Venezuelan Gov. Releases Audio of Coup Plotters

Leonard Nimoy, Star Trek's 'Mr. Spock,' dies at 83

Reuters - Leonard Nimoy, who won fame and fans with his portrayal of logic-bound, half-alien Mr. Spock in the "Star Trek" TV series and movies, died on Friday. He was 83. Nimoy, who had battled chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), died in the morning at his home in Los Angeles' Bel Air section, his agents, Bob and David Gersh, said in a statement.   Read more .

Violent arrests as hundreds rally over 43 missing students in Mexico (VIDEO) - Mexican police have violently arrested protesters rallying in the country's capital. The demonstrators are demanding a thorough investigation into the disappearance of 43 students in September. Clashes between police and protesters broke out during the organized demonstration on the five-month anniversary of the disappearance of the students, who were attending a teacher training college in Ayotzinapa, located in southwestern Guerrero state.   Read more .


The Intercept - Canada’s electronic surveillance agency is covertly monitoring vast amounts of Canadians’ emails as part of a sweeping domestic cybersecurity operation, according to top-secret documents. The surveillance initiative, revealed Wednesday by CBC News in collaboration with The Intercept, is sifting through millions of emails sent to Canadian government agencies and departments, archiving details about them on a database for months or even years.   Read more .

Apple makes its billions off the suffering and hardships of workers

Truthout - Apple made headlines in late January 2015 when it reported the largest quarterly profit ever in corporate history: $18 billion. A record-breaking $74.6 billion quarterly revenue generated this profit, thanks in large part to the sale of 74.5 million iPhones during the same period. For Apple, this is a great start to 2015, just as 2014 was a fantastic year for the company. Last year, they sold more than 169 million iPhones, (1) which earned them nearly $102 billion in sales. With $183 billion in total 2014 revenue, and $39.5 billion in profit, (2) Apple is the most valuable company in the world.   Read more .

ISIS Is Proof of the Failed "War on Terror"

Patrick Cockburn @ Quartz - Today al-Qaeda-type movements rule a vast area in northern and western Iraq and eastern and northern Syria, several hundred times larger than any territory ever controlled by Osama bin Laden. It is since bin Laden’s death that al-Qaeda affiliates or clones have had their greatest successes, including the capture of Raqqa in the eastern part of Syria, the only provincial capital in that country to fall to the rebels, in March 2013. In January 2014, ISIS took over Fallujah just forty miles west of Baghdad... read more .

Bill O'Reilly lied about Florida suicide in 'Killing Kennedy' (New York) - Questions over his reporting from the 1982 riot in Buenos Aires may be just the tip of the iceberg for Fox News' Bill O'Reilly. The embattled "O'Reilly Factor" host is facing new allegations of embellishing his connection to a key moment in the investigation of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy.  Read more .

Lawsuit Claims Beneful Dog Food Kills Pets

ABC News - A new lawsuit claims that Beneful dog food may be killing its customers' four-legged friends. Complaints about Beneful date back several years, James Young, a lawyer in Tampa, Florida, told ABC News. He added that lawyers across the country teamed up when they realized there was a "common denominator" in the dog illnesses and deaths.   Read more .

President Obama vetoes Keystone pipeline bill - As promised, US President Barack Obama has vetoed a bill from Congress which will halt construction of the controversial Keystone XL pipeline. Defying the wishes of the Republican-led House and Senate, the president on Tuesday rejected the years-in-the-making would-be legislation that sought to pave the way for a 1,179-mile pipeline to carry crude tar sands oil from Canada to the Gulf of Mexico.   Read more .

9 people dead in shooting spree at Czech pub - A restaurant shooting has left nine people dead, including the assailant, in the town of Uhersky Brod in the east of the Czech Republic. "My information is that there are several injured and about eight dead after the shooter's rampage," Mayor Patrik Kuncar told Czech Television.   Read more .

Net Neutrality Is the Civil Rights Act for the Internet

Mike Ludwig @ Truthout - The mainstream media has been marveling lately at the grassroots movement that took on the powerful telecom industry and has all but won the battle for net neutrality. Activists successfully rallied the public to put mounting pressure on the Federal Communication Commission (FCC) to do something that seemed nearly impossible a year ago: reclassify the internet as a "common carrier" telecommunications service subject to tough rules that would ensure that powerful companies can't control what we see and do online. The agency is expected to approve those rules on Thursday.   Read more .

5,000 Oil Workers Enter Third Week of Strike Over Safety and Working Conditions

The 'Corinthian 15' Take A Stand By Not Paying Their Student Loans

Campaign for America's Future (blog) - Many students graduating from universities face a mountain of student loans so large, escaping its shadow seems almost impossible. But a group of former students today is taking matters into their own hands. With the help of Rolling Jubilee, a campaign that purchases student loan debt and then forgives it, 15 graduates of Corinthian College are starting a student debt strike by refusing to pay their loans.   Read more .

The Corporate Debt to Society: $10,000 Per Household, Per Year

Paul Buchheit @ Common Dreams - That estimate is based on facts, not the conservative-style emotion that might deny the responsibility for any debt to the American people. Wealth redistribution to big business has occurred in a variety of ways to be explained below. And there's some precedent for paying Americans for the use of their commonly-held resources. The Alaska Permanent Fund has been in effect, and widely popular, for over thirty years. Read more.

Manipulate and Mislead: How GMOs Are Infiltrating Africa

Common Dreams - The most persistent myth about genetically modified organisms (GMOs) is that they are necessary to feed a growing global population. Highly effective marketing campaigns have drilled it into our heads that GMOs will produce more food on less land in an environmentally friendly manner. The mantra has been repeated so often that it is considered to be truth. Now this mantra has come to Africa, sung by the United States government and multinational corporations like Monsanto, seeking to open new markets for a product that has been rejected by so many others around the globe.   Read more .

The Rich Hide an Estimated 21 Trillion in Offshore Accounts

REACH: Stories of Black Men and the Communities that Shaped Them

Tracey Ross @ Talk Poverty - After the killing of Michael Brown last summer, the nation’s attention turned towards Ferguson, Missouri – a small town with a history mirroring that of many communities across the country. Over a period of just a few decades, white residents largely disappeared from the town, concentrated poverty became rampant, and the criminal justice system has disproportionately targeted black residents. In the months after the shooting, the town became a central focus in the media’s narrative, revealing how decades of disinvestment and a history of racially biased policies enabled this tragedy. In short, where you live matters.   Read more .

Malcolm X as Relevant Today as 50 Years Ago

Brian Gilmore @ The Progressive - Fifty years ago, on Feb. 21, 1965, Malcolm X was brutally murdered in New York City. With his assassination, the United States missed a chance to fully address some of the racial issues that persist to this day. He was born Malcolm Little on May 19, 1925, in Omaha, Neb. He was raised mostly in Lansing, Michigan, where his father, Earl, an outspoken follower of the black self-determination proponent Marcus Garvey, was killed, allegedly by white supremacists.   Read more .

The U.S. Empire and ISIS: A Tale of Two Death Cults

Glen Ford @ Black Agenda Report - President Obama is a master of military supply and demand. His operatives and allies supply jihadists with enough weapons, financing and, in the case of Libya, a Euro-American air force, to plunge vast tracts of Africa and Asia into bloody chaos, thus creating a demand for intervention by the planet’s only “indispensable” nation: the United States. It’s a diabolical formula for fomenting hell on earth, driven by a simple logic: Since the U.S. is superior to the rest of the world ONLY in military terms, Washington finds its ultimate advantage in turning the whole world into a battlefield. U.S. imperialism in terminal decay sees no salvation except through global war.   Read more .

Norway's Muslims form protective human ring around synagogue

Reuters - More than 1000 Muslims formed a human shield around Oslo's synagogue on Saturday, offering symbolic protection for the city's Jewish community and condemning an attack on a synagogue in neighboring Denmark last weekend. Chanting "No to anti-Semitism, no to Islamophobia," Norway's Muslims formed what they called a ring of peace a week after Omar Abdel Hamid El-Hussein, a Danish-born son of Palestinian immigrants, killed two people at a synagogue and an event promoting free speech in Copenhagen last weekend.   Read more .

Communities of Color Speak Out for Real Net Neutrality

Joseph Torres @ Free Press - A few years ago, the conventional wisdom in Washington was that communities of color oppose Net Neutrality. It wasn’t true then and it sure isn’t true today. Over the past two months, a number of events have further demonstrated that communities of color support strong open Internet protections.   Read more .

From ‘Demos’ to ‘Podemos’: Popular Uprisings in Greece and Spain

Amy Goodman @ Truthdig - In ancient Greece, the birthplace of democracy, power derived from “demos,” the people. Well, the people of contemporary Greece have been reeling under austerity for five years, and have voted to put an end to it. In January, the anti-austerity Syriza Party was swept to power in national elections. Greece is a member of the so-called eurozone, the nations that joined together with a common currency back in 1999. Following the economic crash of 2009, the Greek economy was in shambles. In 2012, I interviewed economist and Syriza member Yanis Varoufakis, who is now Greece’s minister of finance, and is at the center of the current crisis in the eurozone.   Read more .

Alive and Bleeding: We Cannot Kill Our Way Out of War

Robert Koehler @ Buzzflash - Good and evil leap from the headlines: “Egyptian planes pound ISIS in Libya in revenge for mass beheadings of Christians.” It’s nonstop action for the American public. It’s the history of war compressed into a dozen words. It’s Fox News, but it could be just about any mainstream purveyor of current events.   Read more .

Harvard Embattled as Students, Faculty, & Alumni Join Forces for Divestment

Jon Queally @ Common Dreams - The administration of one of the world's most elite higher education institutions has called the intensified tactics of its students a form of "coercive" protest and lawyers representing Harvard University will be in a court room on Friday as they try to persuade a judge to throw out a lawsuit which is part of the same effort: a push to get the Ivy League school to divest its $36 billion endowment from the fossil fuel industry.   Read more .

Finland president signs gender-neutral marriage bill, last among Nordic countries - Finland’s president has signed a law allowing same sex marriage. It’s the first law adopted by the parliament as a result of the initiative of citizens. Over 160,000 people signed a petition demanding it. President Sauli Niinistö rubber-stamped the gender-neutral marriage law on Friday, after it was supported by parliament last December.   Read more .

The History of Reparations for African Americans

Google Joins Civil Liberties Groups To Oppose Expansion of FBI Spy Powers

Jon Queally @ Common Dreams - Internet giant Google and the American Civil Liberties Union are among the various groups who have objected to a rule change by the U.S. Department of Justice that would give the FBI and other agencies sweeping new powers to perform search and seize private data from online users across the nation and the globe.   Read more .

White People Aren't Called Terrorists Unless They Liberate Animals, Apparently

Mark Karlin @ Buzzflash - It has been clear for years that the US government and mass media's application of the word "terrorism" is highly subjective. If the US kills civilians in drone attacks it is, according to the White House, not terrorism; it's self-defense. If a white male gun enthusiast kills three Muslim students, it's not terrorism; it's a dispute over parking.   Read more .

Why must low-level criminal activity by animal rights activists be prosecuted in federal court?

Deidre Fulton @ Common Dreams - Two activists are scheduled to appear in a federal district court in Chicago on Thursday, marking the first time that the Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act (AETA)—which criminalizes protected speech and protest activities that cause an 'animal enterprise' to lose profits—will be legally challenged as a violation of the U.S. Constitution.   Read more .

"Drastic Decline" Seen in World Press Freedom

Inter Press Service - A leading advocacy group warns of a "worldwide deterioration in freedom of information" last year. Out of the 180 countries being surveyed, two-thirds have slipped in standards compared to last year, according to the Reporters Without Borders' World Press Freedom Index 2015. The best have become less near-perfect, and the worst have gotten even worse.   Read more .

Snowden docs reveal mass cell phone hack through ‘Great SIM Heist’

The Intercept - American and British spies hacked into the internal computer network of the largest manufacturer of SIM cards in the world, stealing encryption keys used to protect the privacy of cellphone communications across the globe, according to top-secret documents provided to The Intercept by National Security Agency whistleblower Edward Snowden.   Read more .

'Nuclear Plants Are Like Time Bombs': Former Japanese Prime Minister

Andrea Germanos @ Common Dreams - "Nuclear plants are like time bombs," a former prime minister of Japan has declared. Speaking Tuesday, Junichiro Koizumi, who held the office from 2001-2006, said the plants "are never safe" when they are located in a country with earthquakes or active volcanoes, Koydo News reports.   Read more .

Explosion at Exxon Mobil refinery in Torrance, California, injures four

Reuters - An explosion and fire ripped through a gasoline processing unit at an Exxon Mobil refinery in Torrance, California, near Los Angeles on Wednesday, slightly injuring four workers and shattering windows of surrounding buildings, authorities said. Investigators were trying to determine the cause of the blast, which occurred shortly before 9 a.m. PST (12 p.m. ET), but there was no evidence of foul play, according to Torrance Fire Captain Steve Deuel.   Read more .

Haiti cancels carnival after at least 16 die in float tragedy

Miami Herald - Carnival festivities throughout Haiti were canceled Tuesday after at least 20 people were killed in an accident earlier in the day on the Champ de Mars near downtown Port-au-Prince.  Prime Minister Evans Paul declared a national period of mourning beginning Wednesday until Saturday when funerals will be held.   Read more .

Greece (and Europe) Deserve Democratic Ideals of Syriza

Jon Queally @ Common Dreams - As leaders of the Syriza-led government of Greece participate in high-stakes meetings with their European creditors in Brussels on Monday, New York Times columnist and Nobel Prize-winning economist Paul Krugman is among those urging the so-called Troika negotiators—representing the IMF, the European Central Bank, and the European Commission—to do what is right by giving Athens the chance to unburden itself from the harshest austerity measures and reach a compromise deal on future lending.   Read more .

Putin Heads Off A US-Russia War

Eric Margolis - Has Russia’s Vladimir Putin pulled Barack Obama’s chestnuts out of the fire for a second time? Will the shaky cease-fire in Ukraine that began this weekend hold up and end a conflict that was threatening a nuclear war between the United States and Russia?  Read more .

Copenhagen police say dead shootings suspect was 'Charlie Hebdo-inspired' - Danish police say they have identified the man they believe to be behind two shootings in the capital in the past 24 hours. They believe last month’s Charlie Hebdo massacre in France could have inspired him. The suspect in the Danish shooting is believed to have acted alone. Police searched the gunman’s home and say they have identified the man, but are not yet releasing that information to the public.   Read more .

One dead in shooting at Danish meeting with artist who drew Mohammad

Reuters - A civilian was killed and three police wounded on Saturday when a masked gunman sprayed bullets into a Copenhagen meeting attended by a Swedish artist threatened with death for his cartoons of the Prophet Mohammad. Prime Minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt said Denmark was on high alert after a "terrorist attack" police said was aimed at artist Lars Vilks, who stirred controversy in 2007 with published drawings depicting the Prophet Mohammad as a dog.   Read more .

New Zealand: After mass stranding and 70+ deaths, remaining whales catch high-tide escape

New Zealand Herald - There was hope for 64 stranded pilot whales last night when they were finally helped on their way to the safety of deeper water. An army of 300 volunteers worked from Friday to help the pod of 198 mammals beached along Farewell Spit at Golden Bay, near Nelson. At least 70 died overnight Friday. Yesterday morning, 70 live pilot whales were still stranded at Triangle Flat - but at high tide in early evening most were helped into the water.   Read more .

A Former Chief on How We Can Turn Back the Tide of Militarization

Norm Stamper @ Yes! Magazine - You’re in the kitchen. It’s a Saturday morning, still dark outside. Your partner, three-year-old son, and the family dog are all sound asleep at the back of the house. You’ve put the coffee pot on, are making sandwiches—a trip to the lake is planned, your son’s first fishing trip. Without warning, the pre-dawn quiet is shattered as your front door flies off its hinges, followed by back-to-back explosions and blinding light. Your local police department calling, decked out in cammies, ballistic helmets, and full-body armor... read more .

Jailed Whistleblower Chelsea Manning Wins Battle to Receive Hormone Therapy

Common Dreams - Chelsea Manning, the U.S. Army whistleblower who leaked thousands of internal military and State Department documents to help expose wrongdoing by the U.S. government, will receive the hormone treatment she has been fighting to receive since she was first sent to Ft. Leavenworth prison in 2013. Manning is serving a 35-year sentence for releasing, among other materials, video footage of U.S. soldiers gunning down civilians from a helicopter in Iraq in 2007.   Read more .

Oregon Governor John Kitzhaber announces resignation

Washington Post - When the end finally came, the most ubiquitous politician in the history of Oregon had all but disappeared from public view. Gov. John Kitzhaber (D) retreated from the State Capitol on Friday afternoon and announced his resignation in a letter, completing the sudden unraveling of his political career. Just one month after becoming the first Oregon governor to start a fourth term in office, Kitzhaber became the first to resign... read more .

Kate Brown: America's first openly bisexual govenor

The Atlantic - Oregon Governor John Kitzhaber submitted his resignation on Friday, just one month into his record fourth term in office. Kitzhaber's fate was all but sealed Thursday, after Secretary of State Kate Brown issued a statement describing his behavior, accurately, as "bizarre," top Democrats called on him to step down, and several of his closest advisers resigned. The resignation takes effect on Wednesday, February 18, and according to the state's succession law, Brown will take over his job—and becomes a pioneer. She is the nation's first openly bisexual governor. (Like Kitzhaber, she's a Democrat.) By some standards, she's also the first openly LGBT governor.   Read more.

Deep in the Amazon, a Tiny Tribe Is Beating Big Oil

David Goodman @ YES! Magazine - Patricia Gualinga stands serenely as chaos swirls about her. I find this petite woman with striking black and red face paint at the head of the People’s Climate March in New York City on September 21, 2014. She is adorned with earrings made of brilliant bird feathers and a thick necklace of yellow and blue beads. She has come here from Sarayaku, a community deep in the heart of the Amazon rainforest in Ecuador.   Read more .

Why Muslim Lives Don't Matter

Al Jazeera - Irrespective of what rallying cries, signs or adapted hashtags proclaim, Muslim lives in America don't matter. The aftermath of the murder of the three American students in Chapel Hill, and the broader context that spurred it, reconfirms this brutal truth.   The three victims - Deah Barakat, 23, his wife Yusor Mohammad, 21, and her sister Razan Mohammad Abu-Salha, 19, were killed at approximately 5:11pm on Tuesday. The identity of the killer, Craig Stephen Hicks, 46, was revealed roughly seven hours later.   Read more .

#MuslimLivesMatter: Protests over BBC’s Chapel Hill murders ‘silence’

BBC - A protest will take place outside the BBC on Thursday evening to condemn the broadcaster’s minimal coverage of the Chapel Hill murders in the US, which saw three Muslim students shot and killed. Organizers say the BBC’s coverage of the Chapel Hill murders in North Carolina on Wednesday was tantamount to silence in comparison to the corporation’s reporting on the Paris attacks last month.   Read more .

Chapel Hill shooting: 3 Muslims gunned down in N. Carolina - Three members of a Muslim family in North Carolina’s university town of Chapel Hill were gunned down in their home. What some are alleging was a hate crime has sparked grief and anger in the US and beyond. The victims in the triple homicide have been identified as Deah Shaddy Barakat, 23, his wife, Yusor Mohammad Abu-Salha, 21, and her sister, Razan Mohammad Abu-Salha, 19.   Read more .

Corporate News Is Not Trustworthy: The Problem Is Much Bigger Than Brian Williams

Mark Karlin  @ Buzzflash - The endless news analysis about the fate of Brian Williams is symptomatic of a larger phenomenon: The so-called television journalists and pundits in this country often eclipse the news that they are supposed to cover. Even more importantly, Williams' "misremembering" itself points to a greater problem: It threatens to expose the facade of corporate television, breaking down the notion that corporate TV truly informs us about real news priorities.   Read more .

The Re-Colonization of Africa

Jim Goodman @ Common Dreams - Most of the world's food is grown by small scale farmers. While it is called "traditional" agriculture, it is never static and farmers constantly adapt. This traditional agriculture relies on a varied and changing mix of crops, a polyculture, which provides a balanced diet, is affordable for local farmers and can accommodate changing local conditions. The Green Revolution relied on increasing acreages of monocultures, mostly cereal grains, which also increased the use of herbicides, insecticides and fertilizers as well as new varieties of high yielding crops. Inputs that small farmers, those who fed the people, were never meant to afford.   Read more .

President's Plan to Protect Arctic Ocean Won't Halt Oil Drilling

Oil layoffs abound, but American oil production is still booming

McClatchy News - American oil production is still booming in Texas and other energy-rich states despite the oil price crash and resulting mass layoffs and shuttered drilling rigs, raising the question of what it’s going to take to stop the fracking revolution. A worldwide oil glut has driven oil prices down more than half since the summer, one of the largest price collapses in history.   Read more .

A Dirty Link Between the Senate and the Keystone Vote

NBC news anchor, Brian Williams, has a lot to apologize for

Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting (FAIR) - NBC Nightly News anchor Brian William has apologized for falsely claiming (NBC, 1/30/15) that "during the invasion of Iraq…the helicopter we were traveling in was forced down after being hit by an RPG." "I made a mistake in recalling the events of 12 years ago," he told his audience on February 4 (Stars & Stripes, 2/4/15). "I don't know what screwed up in my mind that caused me to conflate one aircraft with another." Now that he's cleared that up, there are some other... read more .

FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler: This Is How We Will Ensure Net Neutrality

WIRED Magazine - After more than a decade of debate and a record-setting proceeding that attracted nearly 4 million public comments, the time to settle the Net Neutrality question has arrived. This week, I will circulate to the members of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) proposed new rules to preserve the internet as an open platform for innovation and free expression. This proposal is rooted in long-standing regulatory principles, marketplace experience, and public input received over the last several months.   Read more .

CIA Whistleblower John Kiriakou Released from Prison: Here’s His Final ‘Letter from Loretto’

FireDogLake - CIA whistleblower John Kiriakou has been released from the federal correctional institution in Loretto, Pennsylvania. He checked into a halfway house on February 3 and then went home to be with his family and serve the remaining 86 days of his sentence on house arrest. And, to mark his departure from the facility, he penned a final letter acknowledging everything he will not miss about being incarcerated.   Read more .

Wildlife Conservation Efforts Are Violating Tribal Peoples' Rights

Stephen Corry @ Truthout - Twenty years ago, fundraising publicity for the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) posed a very odd question: whether to send in the army or an anthropologist to stop indigenous people destroying the Amazon rainforest. Equally bizarre, it claimed that the media was "inundated with appeals to save native peoples" and asked, "Do they really deserve our support?" The world's leading conservation organization went on by saying that tribes had learned many things from outsiders, including "greed and corruption." WWF's answer to this apparent dilemma was thankfully not the army, but for concerned people to give it more money (its daily income is now $2 million) so it could "work with native peoples to develop conservation techniques."   Read more .

"I Was Pepper-Sprayed by Seattle Police on MLK Day"

Jesse Hagopian @ The Nation - Some of my early memories are of riding on my parents’ shoulders at the annual Martin Luther King Day march. Seattle’s annual rally on King’s birthday is often one of the largest marches of the year in our city, bringing thousands of people into the streets around the most pressing social-justice issues of the day. Organized by dozens of grassroots community and labor organizations, the event traditionally begins with a rally in the gym at legendary Garfield High School, my alma mater and where I now teach history.   Read more .

Obama Budget Plan Would 'Benefit the Worst Corporate Tax Dodgers'

Nadia Prupis @ Common Dreams - President Barack Obama on Monday announced a new proposal as part of his 2016 budget to tax the trillions in offshore profits made by U.S.-based multinational corporations, but critics say the plan leaves in place a system that "encourages companies to game the system to avoid U.S. taxes."   Read more .

Census says 16m US children are living on food stamps, double the number in 2007

Guardian UK - Even as Barack Obama tours the country to promote his middle-class economic plan, American families increasingly need public assistance to help put food on the table. A new report by the US census bureau found that 16 million children live in families that receive food stamps, a number that almost doubled between 2007 and 2014. The numbers imply that one in five US children would have gone hungry last year had their family not qualified for public assistance.   Read more .

Efforts to curb police brutality 'met with more force’ – pepper-sprayed teacher - Jesse Hagopian, a high school history teacher who was pepper-sprayed by a police officer in an unprovoked attack, says that what happened to him is reflective of the police brutality that is rampant across the United States. Hagopian – an activist promoting black causes in the Seattle area – was pepper-sprayed by a police officer after speaking at a Black Lives Matter rally on Martin Luther King Day. He was walking away from the gathering, on a sidewalk, when he was suddenly pepper-sprayed in the face.   Read more .