11-25-15 News Notes

TRNS News Notes is brought to you by Victoria Jones. Victoria Jones is the Chief White House correspondent and global analyst of the Washington DC based Talk Radio News Service, where her insight and analysis are made available to over 400 news talk radio stations around the country and internationally.

News Notes will be off for the next two days. Happy Thanksgiving, everybody!
 
News Now

  • Officer charged with murder in teen’s death
  • Turkey shoots down Russian warplane
  • Obama & Hollande at WH: Unity
  • Minneapolis police arrest 3: Shooting of 5 people
  • Pentagon: “Errors” = US airstrike on Afghan hospital
  • Trump’s 9/11 celebration claim: NYT dives deep
  • Turkey pardon: Tom One’s the lucky one
 
Officer Charged With Murder in Teen’s Death (Reuters, AP, me)
• A white Chicago police officer who shot a black teenager 16 times last year was charged with first degree murder Tuesday, hours before the city released a video of the killing. The relevant portion of the video runs less than 40 seconds and has no audio – police blamed technical issues for the lack of audio (uh huh – sounds legit…)
 
• Laquan McDonald, 17, swings into view on a four-lane street where police vehicles are stopped in the middle of the road. As he jogs down an empty lane, he appears to pull up his pants and then slows to a brisk walk, veering away from two officers who are emerging from a vehicle and drawing their guns
 
• Almost immediately, one of the officers appears to fire from close range. McDonald spins around and crumples to the pavement.The car with the camera continues to roll forward until the officers are out of the frame. Then McDonald can be seen on the ground, moving occasionally. At least two small puffs of smoke are seen coming off his body as the officer keeps firing
 
• Police have said the teen had a knife. Cook County State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez said Tuesday that a 3-inch knife with its blade folded into the handle was recovered from the scene. Groups of demonstrators marched through the streets of downtown and near South Side areas Tuesday night, gathering at one point outside the police dept’s District 1 HQ

 

• Dashcam video of Officer Jason Van Dyke shooting Laquan McDonald – contains disturbing, graphic images (this looks like an execution – it’s hideous, shocking and how the cop could have thought his life was in danger is absurd)

 

• City officials spent several months arguing that the footage couldn’t be made public until the conclusion of several investigations. After a judge’s order, the investigations were quickly wrapped up (!) and a charge announced. Alvarez defended the 13 months it took to charge officer Jason Van Dyke. She said cases involving police present “highly complex” legal issues
 
• But she insisted that she made a decision “weeks ago” to charge Van Dyke and the video’s release order didn’t influence that. The city’s hurried attempts to defuse tensions also included a community meeting, official statements of outrage at the officer’s conduct and an abrupt announcement that another officer who has been the subject of protests might now be fired
 
• Months after McDonald’s death, the city agreed to a $5 million settlement with his family, even before relatives filed a lawsuit. An autopsy showed McDonald was shot at least twice in the back and PCP was found in his system. (not a capital offense, btw, especially with no trial) Van Dyke was denied bond on Tuesday
 
• Alvarez said Van Dyke emptied his 9 mm pistol of all 16 rounds and that he was on the scene for just 30 seconds before he started shooting. She said he opened fire just six seconds after getting out of his vehicle and kept firing even though McDonald dropped to the ground after the initial shots. He was reloading when another cop told him to stop
 
• Van Dyke’s lawyer, Dan Herbert, says his client feared for his life (should have stayed in the car then) and acted lawfully and that the video doesn’t tell the whole story. Van Dyke has had 20 misconduct complaints made against him during the past 4-1/2 years, none of which led to any discipline from the Chicago PD

 

Turkey Shoots Down Russian Warplane (Reuters, AP, WaPo, TRNS, me)
• Turkey shot down a Russian warplane near the Syrian border on Tuesday, saying the jet had violated its air space. Russian President Putin said the plane had been attacked when it was 1 km inside Syria and warned of “serious consequences” for what he termed a stab in the back administered by “the accomplices of terrorists.” (played chicken too many times)
 
• In a letter to the UN Security Council, Turkey said it had shot down the plane while in Turkish air space. Along with a second plane, the aircraft had flown more than a mile into Turkey for 17 seconds, despite being warned 10 times in five minutes while approaching to change direction, the letter said (many Russian pilots don’t speak English – the international language)
 
• Each country summoned a diplomatic representative to the other. President Obama and French President Hollande, meeting in DC, urged against an escalation, while NATO Sec-Gen Jens Stoltenberg said the military alliance stood in solidarity with Turkey. Video footage shows the warplane going down in flames in an area known by Turks as “Turkmen Mountain”
 
• A deputy commander of rebel Turkmen forces in Syria said his men shot both pilots dead as they came down. A Syrian human rights monitoring group says one of the pilots is alive and in the hands of the Syrian army after being rescued by a Syrian army commando unit. Russian media says a second pilot is safe – developing
 
• Moscow’s decision to launch separate air strikes in Syria means Russian and NATO planes have been flying combat missions in the same air space for the first time since WWII, targeting various insurgent groups close to Turkish borders. President Obama said Tuesday that Turkey had the right to defend its airspace
 
• In Paris, prosecutor Francois Molins said Tuesday that Islamist militants who died during a shootout with police on 18 Nov had been plotting an attack on the capital’s business district for 18 Nov. Molins also said that Jawad Bendaoud, who provided lodging to ringleader Abdelhamid Abaoud, must have known of a militant plot. Belgium issued a warrant for a new suspect (Reuters)

Obama & Hollande: Unity (Politico, AP, Hill, TRNS, me)
• President Obama and French President Francois Hollande projected a message of unity at the WH on Tuesday. “This barbaric terrorist group, IISIL or Daesh, and its murderous ideology, poses a serious threat to all of us. It cannot be tolerated, it must be destroyed, and we must do it together,” “Make no mistake, we will win.” Obama said at a joint presser

• But the two leaders unveiled no strategy shift for the military campaign against ISIS, instead pledging modest steps like intensified air strikes and better intel sharing, including about airline passengers bound for the U.S. from Europe. They reiterated their opposition to placing foreign combat forces on the ground, and restated their support for a political settlement

• Amid the talk of a redoubled global effort against ISIS, Obama and Hollande – who is headed to Moscow Thursday – struck a cautionary note towards President Putin, whom they said is playing an unhelpful role in Syria

• While Obama and Hollande didn’t rule out eventually coordinating with Moscow against ISIS, they repeatedly said that Putin’s support for President Assad was only prolonging the conflict. Neither Obama nor Holland would offer a timeline for how long they might be willing to allow Assad to remain in power as part of a transitional process

• Interactive: Sorting out what Turkey and Russia say happened in the sky (NYT)
 

 

• Obama suggested Putin’s approach to Syria was the real cause for Turkey’s shootdown Tuesday of a Russian fighter jet. “It points to an ongoing problem with the Russian operations, in the sense that they are operating very close to a Turkish border and they are going after moderate opposition that are supported not only by Turkey but a wide range of countries.”

• Obama delivered a more emotional response to the 13 Nov Paris attacks than he has thus far, describing the events as “truly horrific.” He drew on the U.S.’ deep historical ties to France: “We know these places.” “This was not only a strike against one of the world’s great cities, it was an attack against the world itself,” Obama said

• Obama said, “Nobody who comes to America goes through more screening” than refugees, vowing to share security info with allies like France. Then he quoted from words on the Statue of Liberty: “‘Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses, yearning to

[breathe] free.’ That’s the spirit we need today.”

• Obama saluted the French people’s resilient response to the attacks. He called the decision not to cancel next week’s global climate summit in Paris “a powerful rebuke to the terrorists.” In his own remarks, Hollande said the conference would represent “no better symbol” to those wishing to disrupt their way of life

 

• Wow interactive: ISIS is likely responsible for nearly 1,000 civilian deaths outside Syria and Iraq (NYT)
 
Minneapolis Police Arrest Three: Shooting of Five People (Reuters, Minneapolis Star Tribune, TRNS, me)
• Minneapolis police on Tuesday arrested three arrested three men in the shooting of five people near a city police station where demonstrators have gathered for more than a week to protest the killing of unarmed Jamar Clark, 24, who was black, by officers on 15 Nov. A 23-year-old white man was arrested and two men aged 26 and 21, both white, turned themselves in
 
• Miski Noor of Black Lives Matter Minneapolis said Tuesday that four men wearing masks approached the site where protesters have been encamped. When the masked men wouldn’t identify themselves, they were escorted away, but about half a block from there they opened fire on the demonstrators (this is creepy – something very nasty is going on in this country)
 
• Kyle Loven, a spox for the FBI’s Minneapolis Division, said Tuesday that the FBI was aware of the incident, was coordinating with the Minneapolis force and would determine whether federal action was appropriate. He wouldn’t say if the FBI was investigating the shooting as a possible hate crime (well, not a love crime, is it)
 
• Clark’s family called for the demonstrations to end “out of imminent concern for the safety of the occupiers.” Hundreds of protesters marched in a rally Tuesday afternoon. Activists said the shooting hasn’t shaken the group’s resolve. “We will not bow to fear or intimidation,” Noor said at the rally
 
• Questions have been raised as to whether Clark was handcuffed when he was shot, which police have denied. Protesters have demanded that authorities release videos of the incident, but authorities said release of the videos and other evidence would be detrimental to the investigation. (how exactly…) The officers involved are on leave

 

Pentagon: “Errors” = US Air Strike on Afghan Hospital (NYT, Reuters, WSJ, me)
• A U.S. air strike that destroyed a hospital run by Medecins Sans Frontieres in the northern Afghan city of Kunduz last month resulted from “human errors, failures in procedure and technical malfunctions,” NYT reports, citing military officials briefed on internal investigation. The hospital wasn’t struck intentionally, the report concludes (so just a SNAFU and a FUBAR?)
 
• Instead, U.S. forces were attempting to target a nearby building that was known to be a Taliban position, they said, but a combination of mistakes – including in targeting info that was relayed verbally instead of by computer – resulted in the accidental bombing of the hospital, rather than the building in which the Taliban were hiding, officials say
 
• The 3 Oct attack, condemned by the charity as a war crime, killed 30 people and wounded at least 37. The findings of a U.S. military investigation into the incident will be made public today. Gen John Campbell, the senior general in charge of the Afghanistan war effort, still must make recommendations about any disciplinary action for decisions made
 
• Tim Shenk, a spox for MSF, said the organization won’t respond until it’s seen the report. MSF’s internal probe of the incident said there were no armed men or fighting in the area at the time of the bombing
 
• The military investigation concludes the bombing was an accident resulting from what is frequently called the fog of war, one official said. An official who hadn’t seen the report but was familiar with the incident, expressed sorrow for what happened but said, “Accidents happen, and it’s unfortunate, but they do.”

• Trump’s campaign manager Corey Lewandowski told Breitbart News that the campaign has provided the media with local media outlets that have covered scenes of Muslim Americans celebrating the 9/11 attacks, but that the media is trying to discredit “as many people as possible so they can have an establishment candidate come in” (Hill)

 
Trump’s 9/11 Celebration Claim – NYT Dives Deep (NYT, me)
• No images of “thousands and thousands” of Arabs in New Jersey celebrating were broadcast on TV on 9/11. Five men of Middle Eastern appearance who were arrested in New Jersey for “puzzling behavior” mistaken for joy were later released without charge. But there was actually a video of one small celebration broadcast on American TV that day
 
• The images, recorded by Reuters in East Jerusalem immediately after the attacks, showed a small number of Palestinians cheering on a street. Reuters provided the footage to clients including CNN, Fox News and NBC, who included it in their rolling coverage of the attacks, including at 11:58 am just after a live report from Lower Manhattan
 
• Although the images of children dancing in the streets of Jerusalem had been recorded earlier in the day, and the size of the crowd wasn’t large, in the chaos of the day it seems possible that some viewers might have mistaken what they saw for a live reaction to the collapse of the towers (NYT is writing very politely here)
 
• There was a report that as many as 3,000 Palestinians in the West Bank marched in celebration that day, but no footage of that rally was ever broadcast, since the AP cameraman who recorded it was threatened by militants who wanted it suppressed
 
• While Ben Carson’s campaign has said he was confused by the “newsreels,” Trump is sticking to his account. NBC reported that Trump had called its correspondent Katy Tur to insist he was certain that he had seen the video he described because he has “the world’s greatest memory.” (point is that it’s cleared up. time for Trump to ‘fess up)

 

• Watch: President Obama recognized 17 extraordinary trailblazers with the Presidential Medal of Freedom on Tuesday at the WH. They included veterans activist Bonnie Carroll, violinist Itzhak Perlman, baseball greats Yogi Berra (posthumous) and Willie Mays, human rights leader Minoru Yasui (posthumous), Barbra Streisand, Steven Spielberg, James Taylor, Gloria Estefan – many more – watch the video

 

Turkey Pardon: Tom One’s the Lucky One (CBS, AP, Hill, me)
• Tom One, a lucky turkey from a Modesto, California farm, has been chosen as the turkey to be pardoned this afternoon by President Obama. The president will grant the feathered friend an official pardon, clearing him from ever becoming Thanksgiving dinner. He’ll live out his life on a Virginia farm
 
• Tom One was chosen from a flock of turkeys specially bred for the annual pardoning event. He traveled to DC with a second turkey as well, named Tom Two, who will also be pardoned by Obama. The birds’ current names come from recommendations made by California students. The WH will give them official names
 
• The fortunate pair traveled on a special United Airlines flight from San Francisco to DC, nicknamed “Turkey One.” Joe Hedden, manager of the farm from which they were chosen, said they have a preference for country music and gobble when the radio is tuned to a country music station
 
• They’re acclimated to loud noises by listening to music – hence the liking for Hank Williams. The turkeys are trained to be around bright lights and crowds. While they’re being transported, the birds will be accompanied by mock secret service agents. The also have their own Twitter account @PrezTurkey
 
• The tradition of presenting live turkeys to the president for Thanksgiving has been going on since President Harry Truman. President George H.W. Bush was the first to actually pardon the birds in 1989. Obama admitted last year to being slightly “puzzled” about the tradition’s endurance – as it’s not clear that they’ve committed any crime for which they could be pardoned

 

• Watch – this is insane! Lucas Etter, 14, dragged the world record for solving a 3×3 Rubik’s Cube down to 4.904 seconds at Saturday’s River Hill Fall competition in Clarksville, Md. The World Cube Association verified the achievement. They’re allowed a little time to assess the cube before tackling it

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___________________
Victoria Jones – Editor

TRNS’ Loree Lewis, Brittany Gervais and Ebony Romero contributed to this report

 

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