The Tragic Story of a Texas Teen and the Marines Who Killed Him for No Reason

At first glance, the May 22, 1997 issue of The Big Bend Sentinel, a local newspaper in West Texas, appears unremarkable. “Good Luck, MHS Class of ‘97,” a banner reads on the front page, just above the nameplate. Five class photos of graduating seniors from Marfa High School are followed by stories announcing valedictorian, salutatorian, and “Miss MHS.”

But one class photo stands out from the rest—that of Esequiel Hernandez, Jr. He wears a white cowboy hat; he has a shy, close-lipped smile and wilting eyes. Above his portrait, the headline reads: “Marine kills Redford youth.”

Hernandez had been fatally shot two days prior in a tragic incident that not only rocked the 100-small community of Redford, where he was born and raised, but also made national headlines. “After Marine on Patrol Kills a Teen-Ager, a Texas Border Town Wonders Why” read the New York Times. “Fatal Error: The Pentagon’s War on Drugs Takes a Toll on the Innocent,” The Austin Chronicle reported.

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Nina Fedoroff: A secret weapon against Zika and other mosquito-borne diseases

Where did Zika come from, and what can we do about it? Molecular biologist Nina Fedoroff takes us around the world to understand Zika’s origins and how it spread, proposing a controversial way to stop the virus — and other deadly diseases — by preventing infected mosquitoes from multiplying.

ADL Rejects Anti-Israel Activist Linda Sarsour Over BDS

The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) issued a sharp rejection on Thursday of the pro-BDS positions advocated by Linda Sarsour – the controversial Palestinian-American activist who is scheduled to deliver the commencement speech at the graduating ceremony of the City University of New York (CUNY) School of Public Health on Thursday, June 1.

Sarsour, a co-organizer of the Women’s March held in Washington, DC in January, has enjoyed a rapid rise to prominence among progressives over the last year, despite an established record of violent outbursts against her political opponents on social media, as well as her ideological baiting of the Jewish community. Her statements have included the contention that “nothing is creepier than Zionism,” as well as her forthright insistence that pro-Israel women should be excluded from the feminist movement on the grounds that “it just doesn’t make any sense for someone to say, ‘Is there room for people who support the state of Israel and do not criticize it in the movement?’ There can’t be in feminism.”

“We profoundly reject Linda Sarsour’s positions that delegitimize Israel,” said ADL CEO Jonathan Greenblatt in a statement. “We have vigorously opposed efforts like the Boycott Divestment and Sanction (BDS) movement, which she supports and we oppose her stance that one cannot be simultaneously a feminist and pro-Israel.”

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Sweden: A Qatari Protectorate

On April 28, the Ministry of Awqaf and Islamic Affairs of the State of Qatar opened the Umm Al-Mu’minin Khadijah Mosque in Malmö Sweden. Qatar — the epicenter of Muslim Brotherhood and the base of its proselytizing megaphone, Al Jazeera — paid more than 3 million euros to build the mosque, which is almost 2,000 square meters and accommodates up to 2,000 people, making it the largest mosque in Scandinavia.

One astonishing fact about this new mega-mosque is that, according to Swedish mainstream media, the opening never happened. Not a single Swedish news outlet mentioned the opening. Swedish authorities were also completely silent on the topic. On her Facebook and Twitter accounts, Malmö’s Mayor, Katrin Stjernfeldt Jammeh, wrote about the opening of a new office for army recruits in Malmö and the Swedish coast guard moving its activities to Malmö harbor, but failed to mention the opening of the largest mosque in Scandinavia. The website of Malmö municipality was also silent on the topic.

For information on what goes on in Sweden, therefore, one has to turn to Qatar News Agency, which reported:

“Director of the Islamic Affairs Department at the Ministry of Awqaf and Islamic Affairs Khalid Shaheen Al Ghanim said that the mosque was built and furnished by the State of Qatar at a cost of over 3 million euros, under the supervision of the Ministry of Awqaf and in collaboration with the Wakf of Scandinavia in Malmo, Sweden.”

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Corbyn, terror’s useful idiot

Jeremy Corbyn will suggest today that British foreign policy causes Islamist terror attacks here at home.  Certainly, it would be absurd to claim that there was no connection at all between western military action in Iraq and Afghanistan and 7/7, or 21/7, or the attempted terrorist attack on Glasgow Airport in the same year, 2007.

But is is worth pausing at the start, as the Labour leader seeks to get ahead of his critics, to ask what our foreign policy is now, rather than what it was ten years ago.  We have withdrawn our soldiers from Iraq and Afghanistan.  We have no boots on the ground in Syria.  Indeed, the Government has spent a lot of time and trouble trying to persuade Russia to ditch Assad, the mortal enemy of Islamists like Salman Abedi, the perpetrator of the Manchester atrocity.  Mention of Abedi takes us to Libya, the country from which his Islamist father fled in 1992 to escape Gaddafi before Britain gave him and his family asylum.  A decade or so later, David Cameron’s Government played an indispensable part in the overthrow of the dictator who that father hated.

The main Islamist force against which our armed forces are engaged in military action today is ISIS, the terror group which is attempting to form a pre-modern state in Iraq and Syria, complete with bans on music at parties,  the teaching of evolution in schools, and  the display of photographs in shop windows and women appearing in public – all complemented by forced conversions, the murder of prisoners of war, religious cleansing, floggings, rapes, stonings, the throwing of people from tall buildings, beheadings, crucifixions, burnings-alive and the use of children as suicide bombers.  All this is expended on Alawites, Yazidis, Druze, Christians, Shia Muslims and indeed anyone ISIS disapproves of, including very many of their fellow Sunni Muslims.

A moment’s thought will confirm that there is no foreign policy Britain could introduce that could possibly appease the likes of Abedi.  We are damned if we intervene, and damned if we don’t.  If we intervene, we are accused of imperialism and wars for oil.  If we don’t, we are accused of indifference to the plight and slaughter of Muslims.  Either way, we lose.

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Manchester Attack: UK Counter-Extremism Program in Focus

The suicide bombing of Manchester Arena by a home-grown extremist has Britain grappling with many difficult questions — among them, whether the government is doing enough to prevent people like Salman Abedi from being radicalized.

Authorities reportedly knew of Abedi’s terrorist sympathies five years prior to Monday’s attack, BBC reports, but he nonetheless was still able to slip through the net and kill more than 20 people, many of them young girls, after an Ariana Grande concert. Abedi, a 22-year-old born in Britain to Libyan parents, fits a familiar profile of disaffected, often impoverished youngsters who are ripe to be preyed upon by jihadist recruiters. Residents of his Manchester community told the Washington Post he was an “isolated dark figure.”

As TIME reported this week, experts believe Britain is unlikely to strengthen its anti-terrorism legislation in the wake of the Manchester attack. David Anderson, the former independent reviewer of terrorism legislation, said police and intelligence agencies are broadly happy with the extremely robust laws they have in place – which Anderson says are “very strong by international standards.” Prime Minister Theresa May promised there would be no “knee-jerk style” crackdown on security. The current “critical” threat level is expected to be a temporary measure.

But if the Conservative Party wins the June 8 election, it could decide to renew its legal attempts to make extremism an offense. In its manifesto is a promise to create a “Commission for Countering Extremism” that would help the government “consider what new criminal offenses might need to be created, and what new aggravated offenses might need to be established to defeat the extremists.”

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Three Ring Fadeout

When Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus announced that it was turning out the spotlight after a 156-year run, the aura of nostalgia was so thick you could balance a family of sword swallowers on it. Newspapers were filled with pictures of circuses past, and dirges were delivered by television hosts, augmented with clips from movies like Trapeze and The Greatest Show on Earth (“Bring the children. Bring the old folks. You can shake the sawdust off your feet, but you can’t shake it out of your heart.”)

I did not join in these lamentations. Long ago, my parents took me to my first circus at Madison Square Garden. The Big Top played there every spring, ballyhooed with posters of gorgeous bareback riders, wondrous performing animals, the world’s strongest man, and the rest of its illustrious headliners. Such two-legged and four-legged celebrities had attracted crowds since P.T. Barnum packed the circus into railroad cars and toured the length and breadth of nineteenth-century America. In that benighted epoch, few of the paying customers had ever seen a pachyderm or a jungle feline. And hardly any had witnessed the vast array of showfolk in glittering costumes introduced by a barker with a megaphone, accompanied by a big brass band.

New York would seem an unlikely place for Ringling Bros. to flourish—after all, we already had Broadway, Carnegie Hall, the Bronx Zoo, and Radio City Music Hall. Yet every spring, the Garden overflowed with children, and on that particular April I was one of them.

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