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Judge: California Is Mistreating Mentally Ill Inmates

Thu, 04/10/2014 - 20:46

A federal judge ruled on Thursday that California is violating the Constitution in its treatment of mentally ill patients in correctional facilities. He said that too much use of pepper spray and isolation constitutes cruel and unusual punishment, according to the Associate Press.

U.S. District Court Judge Lawrence Karlton in Sacramento said the corrections department would have to update its policies on pepper spray and isolation within 60 days. The ruling came after videotapes were released to the public showing prison guards pumping copious amounts of pepper spray into cells and throwing chemical grenades. Some of the mentally ill patients in the video are screaming. “Most of the videos were horrific,” Karlton wrote in his order. He also concluded that too much isolation can cause ill inmates psychological harm and increase their risk of suicide.

Mentally ill inmates make up 28% of California’s 120,000 total prisoners. The ruling is only one of many changes in the California prison system prompted by a 24-year-old lawsuit.

[AP]

Categories: Magazines

Anti-Racism Activists on Colbert: We Will Protest This Until It Ends

Thu, 04/10/2014 - 20:20

The cross-promotion of more white male celebrities prove it: The entertainment industry has perfected the development of white, cis, straight, male characters. The marginalization of “other voices” — except when those “others” are brought in only to aid in the cheap punch line of a joke — is complete. This is aggression that we do not have to accept. We will protest this until it ends. MoreThere’s a Reason There’s So Much Rape on Your Favorite TV ShowsThe CultureMen Charged With Toppling Ancient Rock Formation Avoid Jail Time Huffington PostHere's An Updated Tally Of All The People Who Have Ever Died From A Marijuana Overdose Huffington PostAmerican Idol: Another Contestant Is Sent Home People

Many dismissed the protest we undertook last month with #CancelColbert, a hashtag we set up in response to a blatantly racist Tweet about Asians from the Colbert show’s account.

We think people are surprised to see that their monolithic view of Asian Americans as a model minority is being challenged. We are not the problem. Your stereotypes and narrow roles for us are the problem.

Some Asian Americans were quick to protect the myth of our being a model minority. They disowned us and said we do not speak for them. We agree. Asian Americans are not a monolithic group, and we do not speak for anyone but ourselves.

Others wanted to silence us immediately. Young Asian American women, with little institutional power, are not supposed to be this loud. Our voices are not expected to be raised — and when they’re raised, they’ve not meant to travel.

Our age and appearance have led to us being infantilized — and therefore our political ideals have been treated as incoherent and immature. We are accused of being ungrateful sidekicks of honorary whiteness. It is baffling that we would reject this role to instead critique white supremacy.

We are supposed to express appreciation for our honorary whiteness by remaining silent and accepting breadcrumbs in return. But accepting the role of model minority only reaffirms the logic of racism. We reject our honorary whiteness.

As women of color, we are rarely heard unless we bend to the conduct codes of whiteness — a way of speaking and operating that massages power. If we reject these politics of respectability, we are easily dismissed and slotted into the crazy/angry Asian archetype.

Our role in mainstream media is the perpetual race commentator — unable to exist in a way that isn’t reactionary and defensive to whiteness. We were only heard when we responded to a beloved white man.

People seem to think that what we’re calling for is fake and overly positive representation of our own minority and others — which would amount to a humorless landscape. That is not what we want.

The irony is that we want complexity, we want nuance, we want critical representations of race, gender, class, sexuality, disability, and more. But we reject the idea of representation being our end goal. We will not mute who we are in order to be accepted into the mainstream. If our liberation is dependent on getting our oppressors to humanize us, then we have already lost.

The main thing we’ve learned from #CancelColbert, and the outcome we now see as Colbert is elevated once again, is that the belittling the voices, activism, and writing of women of color is a profitable venture.

There is so much to gain by correcting us, dismissing us, rewriting our narratives. Duly noted, white, neoliberal heteropatriarchy — we will be sure to march forward with new tactics and strategies. We are not accidental or frivolous; we are intentional and unrelenting. We do not depend on a beloved white man to begin, end, or continue our protest.

This is a distinction between liberalism and radicalism — between reform and the dismantling of structures.

We will never apologize. Apologize for settler colonialism. Apologize for anti-blackness. Apologize for orientalism.

Suey Park (@suey_park) is a writer and activist currently living in Chicago. Eunsong Kim (@clepsydras) is a writer, researcher and educator mostly residing in San Diego.

Categories: Magazines

Who Should Be on the 2014 TIME 100?

Thu, 04/10/2014 - 20:03

While TIME’s editors will choose the TIME 100–our annual list of the most influential people in the world–we want readers to have a say, too. Cast your vote in the following categories for the people you think have changed the world this past year, for better or worse:

Voting closes at 11:59 p.m. on April 22, and the winner of our reader poll will be announced April 23. This year’s official TIME 100 list will be announced April 24.

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Which Movie and Television Entertainers Should Be on the 2014 TIME 100?

Thu, 04/10/2014 - 20:03

While TIME’s editors will choose the TIME 100–our annual list of the most influential people in the world–we want readers to have a say, too. Cast your vote here for the movie and television entertainers you think have changed the world this past year, for better or worse. Voting closes at 11:59 p.m. on April 22, and the winner of our reader poll will be announced April 23. This year’s official TIME 100 list will be announced April 24.

Click here to vote in other categories: World, U.S. Politics, Business & Tech, Culture & Fashion, Music, Media, and Sports.

Categories: Magazines

Which Musicians Should Be on the 2014 TIME 100?

Thu, 04/10/2014 - 20:02

While TIME’s editors will choose the TIME 100–our annual list of the most influential people in the world–we want readers to have a say, too. Cast your vote here for the musicians you think have changed the world this past year, for better or worse. Voting closes at 11:59 p.m. on April 22, and the winner of our reader poll will be announced April 23. This year’s official TIME 100 list will be announced April 24.

Click here to vote in other categories: World, U.S. Politics, Business & Tech, Culture & Fashion, Movies & TV, Media, and Sports.

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Which Business and Tech Titans Should Be on the 2014 TIME 100?

Thu, 04/10/2014 - 20:02

While TIME’s editors will choose the TIME 100–our annual list of the most influential people in the world–we want readers to have a say, too. Cast your vote here for the business or tech people you think have changed the world this past year, for better or worse. Voting closes at 11:59 p.m. on April 22, and the winner of our reader poll will be announced April 23. This year’s official TIME 100 list will be announced April 24.

Click here to vote in other categories: World, U.S. Politics, Culture & Fashion, Movies & TV, Music, Media, and Sports.

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7 Chimps Escape Kansas City Zoo

Thu, 04/10/2014 - 20:00

According to NBC affiliate, @41ActionNews the chimpanzees are back in captivity ksn.com/2014/04/10/chi… http://t.co/0QUXbjyHrE


KSN News Wichita (@KSNNews) April 10, 2014

A group of chimpanzees made a break from the Kansas City zoo on Thursday. One of the chimps placed a 5-to-6-foot log against the wall, allowing he and six of his compatriots scurried up the log and over the wall. They landed in an area only zookeepers can enter.

Zoo officials evacuated the zoo as a precaution, though zoo director Randy Wisthoff said at no time was anyone in danger, according to the Kansas City Star. They eventually coaxed the animals back into their enclosures using carrots, celery, lettuce and malted milk balls.

[Kansas City Star]

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Which World Figures Should Be on the 2014 TIME 100?

Thu, 04/10/2014 - 19:46

While TIME’s editors will choose the TIME 100–our annual list of the most influential people in the world–we want readers to have a say, too. Cast your vote here for the people who you think have changed the world this past year, for better or worse. Voting closes at 11:59 p.m. on April 22, and the winner of our reader poll will be announced April 23. This year’s official TIME 100 list will be announced April 24.

Click here to vote in other categories: U.S. Politics, Business & Tech, Culture & Fashion, Movies & TV, Music, Media, and Sports.

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Department of Inevitable Acquisitions: Amazon Buys ComiXology

Thu, 04/10/2014 - 19:46

When it comes to mergers and acquisitions in the tech world, there are deals nobody saw coming. And then there are the ones you kind of assumed would happen all along. MoreWith Carousel App, Dropbox Wants to Preserve All Your Photos, ForeverMeet Comic Neue, a Comic Sans-like Typeface Without a Comic Sans-like ReputationMen Charged With Toppling Ancient Rock Formation Avoid Jail Time Huffington PostHere's An Updated Tally Of All The People Who Have Ever Died From A Marijuana Overdose Huffington PostMickey Rooney's Burial Fight Resolved; Star to Be Laid to Rest in Hollywood People

Today’s news that Amazon is buying ComiXology, the biggest purveyor of comics in digital form, is that second sort of deal. It’s so natural a business for Amazon to covet that it’s a wonder it took this long. (ComiXology was founded in 2007.)

The prospect of yet another form of digital publishing being dominated by Amazon is not inherently appealing to me. The company has a reputation for playing hardball with the content companies whose work it licenses. Aside from the Marvels and DCs and Dark Horses of the world, comics publishers tend to be small, fragile outfits; if Amazon wants to push them around, it can. And owning ComiXology will only make it more powerful.

Then again, the industry had already largely standardized on ComiXology as its mechanism for getting comics to owners of computers, tablets and phones. Whether owned by Amazon or not, it’s likely to stay digital comics’ 800-pound gorilla for the foreseeable future.

Rather than taking on ComiXology directly, alternative platforms take different approaches: Madefire, for instance, publishes comics with so much animation and audio that they feel like movies that happen to be broken up into panels. ComiXology’s approach has been relatively conservative, giving other companies an opportunity to be innovative, maybe even disruptive.

I chatted about the merger this afternoon with ComiXology co-founder and CEO David Steinberger and David Naggar, Amazon’s vice president of content acquisition and independent publisher. They both stressed that ComiXology will be operated as a standalone business, with its brand, management team and headquarters in New York City intact.

“Amazon, when it buys a working company that’s doing a good job, tends to let them spread their wings,” says Steinberger. “It gives them resources and lets them go on the same path, only faster, better and stronger.”

Naggar points out some examples of past Amazon acquisitions that followed this model: IMDb, Zappos and Audible. When I heard that last one, I calmed down a little: Similar to ComiXology’s position in the comics world, Audible was the leader in digital audiobooks long before Amazon bought it. And it still retains its own identity after six years of Amazon ownership. If the ComiXology story follows a similar arc, I’ll be happy.

Of course, there are obvious opportunities for synergy: It would be startling if some flavor of ComiXology didn’t wind up as a standard feature of Amazon’s Kindle Fire tablets, for instance. (Naggar told me that the company will continue to sell comics outside of ComiXology–graphic novels are already a major Kindle category–but that even there, cross-pollination is possible.)

It’s not tough to envision a happy outcome here: If Amazon helps get ComiXology comics in front of more paying customers, it can be a boon for Amazon, ComiXology, comics publishers and comics readers. As a member of that last constituency and a voracious consumer of digital content, I’m keeping my fingers crossed.

Categories: Magazines

Which U.S. Political Figures Should Be on the 2014 TIME 100?

Thu, 04/10/2014 - 19:41

While TIME’s editors will choose the TIME 100–our annual list of the most influential people in the world–we want readers to have a say, too. Cast your vote here for the people in U.S. politics you think have changed the world this past year, for better or worse. Voting closes at 11:59 p.m. on April 22, and the winner of our reader poll will be announced April 23. This year’s official TIME 100 list will be announced April 24.

Click here to vote in other categories: World, Business & Tech, Culture & Fashion, Movies & TV, Music, Media, and Sports.

Categories: Magazines

Which Culture and Fashion Influencers Should Be on the 2014 TIME 100?

Thu, 04/10/2014 - 19:37

While TIME’s editors will choose the TIME 100–our annual list of the most influential people in the world–we want readers to have a say, too. Cast your vote here for the people from the worlds of culture and fashion you think have changed the world this past year, for better or worse. Voting closes at 11:59 p.m. on April 22, and the winner of our reader poll will be announced April 23. This year’s official TIME 100 list will be announced April 24.

Click here to vote in other categories: World, U.S. Politics, Business & Tech, Movies & TV, Music, Media, and Sports.

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That’s Not Happiness to See Me: Hillary Clinton Greeted With Flying Shoe

Thu, 04/10/2014 - 19:30

Hillary Clinton’s speech at the Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries meeting in Las Vegas on Monday was interrupted by a shoe flying through the air and towards the former Secretary of State. Clinton dodged the shoe, and the thrower was escorted from the room.

“Is that somebody throwing something at me? Was that part of Cirque de Soleil?” Clinton joked after the shoe flew past her. “My goodness, I didn’t know solid waste management was so controversial. Thank goodness she didn’t play softball like I did.”

Witnesses say the shoe-thrower walked down the aisle until she was about six rows from the stage area. After throwing the shoe, she put her hands in the air and walked towards the back of the room at the Mandalay Bay hotel-casino before ushers stopped her, according to the Associated Press. Security officers ushered the woman who claimed to have thrown the shoe out of the room. Authorities said she will not be arrested.

Clinton isn’t the first politician to be the target of an airborne shoe. Former President George W. Bush had to duck not one but two shoes thrown at him in Iraq in 2008.

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Which Media Figures Should Be on the 2014 TIME 100?

Thu, 04/10/2014 - 19:18

While TIME’s editors will choose the TIME 100–our annual list of the most influential people in the world–we want readers to have a say, too. Cast your vote here for the media people you think have changed the world this past year, for better or worse. Voting closes at 11:59 p.m. on April 22, and the winner of our reader poll will be announced April 23. This year’s official TIME 100 list will be announced April 24.

Click here to vote in other categories: World, U.S. Politics, Business & Tech, Culture & Fashion, Movies & TV, Music, and Sports.

Categories: Magazines

Which Athletes Should Be on the 2014 TIME 100?

Thu, 04/10/2014 - 19:18

While TIME’s editors will choose the TIME 100–our annual list of the most influential people in the world–we want readers to have a say, too. Cast your vote here for the athletes you think have changed the world this past year, for better or worse. Voting closes at 11:59 p.m. on April 22, and the winner of our reader poll will be announced April 23. This year’s official TIME 100 list will be announced April 24.

Click here to vote in other categories: World, U.S. Politics, Business & Tech, Culture & Fashion, Movies & TV, Music, and Media.

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Sebelius Resigns After Botched Obamacare Rollout

Thu, 04/10/2014 - 18:46

Kathleen Sebelius, the embattled Health and Human Services Secretary whose oversight of the health care reform law’s troubled rollout made her a lightning rod for Republican critics, will announce her resignation Friday, officials confirmed. MoreUninsured Rate Drops to Lowest Point Since 2008Obamacare: Mend it, Don’t End itMen Charged With Toppling Ancient Rock Formation Avoid Jail Time Huffington PostHere's An Updated Tally Of All The People Who Have Ever Died From A Marijuana Overdose Huffington PostRoseanne Barr Shows Off Slim Figure at California Press Event People

Her resignation, coming just days after the end of the first open enrollment period for the Affordable Care Act, ends a turbulent five years in the Obama administration for the former Kansas governor. After her agency oversaw the botched launch of the HealthCare.gov website last year, she became a frequent target of members of Congress in both parties. Republicans repeatedly called for her to resign over the website issues. Sebelius, 65, submitted her resignation to President Barack Obama this week.

Sylvia Mathews Burwell, who took over as the director of the Office of Management and Budget a year ago, will be nominated to replace on Sebelius Friday, an administration official said.

The news comes with the White House taking a victory lap over exceeding Obamacare enrollment targets—something that had seemed impossible after the dysfunctional launch—with Sebelius telling lawmakers this week that more than 7.5 million people will have signed up for private insurance under the law. But the website controversy proved to be a costly political weight for the president and his entire party, causing Democrats’ poll numbers to plummet from highs after last year’s government shutdown and once again making the law the centerpiece of Republicans’ campaign for the midterm elections.

Administration officials also still begrudge Sebelius for the rocky start to enrollment, crediting a SWAT-team of outside experts with fixing the website and veterans of Obama’s re-election effort with devising the targeted campaign to encourage the uninsured to get coverage.

The White House said last year that Obama would hold off on “Monday-morning-quarterbacking” the rollout until after the end of the enrollment period. Last week, when the President celebrated enrollments breaking the seven-million target, he thanked congressional leaders but not Sebelius, who was sitting several feet in front of him in the audience in the White House Rose Garden.

In a statement, Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus said replacing Sebelius would not solve the problems with the law—a centerpiece of the GOP’s election-year messaging.

“Secretary Sebelius oversaw a disastrous rollout of Obamacare, but anyone can see that there are more problems on the way,” Priebus said in a statement. “The next HHS Secretary will inherit a mess—Americans facing rising costs, families losing their doctors, and an economy weighed down by intrusive regulations. No matter who is in charge of HHS, Obamacare will continue to be a disaster and will continue to hurt hardworking Americans. It’s time for President Obama to admit that Democrats’ signature law is a failure and heed Republican calls for patient-centered healthcare reform.”

-with reporting by Kate Pickert

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Los Angeles Police Accidentally Kill TV Production Assistant

Thu, 04/10/2014 - 18:42

Officers of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department accidentally shot and killed a production assistant on the Comedy Central show Tosh.0 on Monday Night in West Hollywood.

John Winkler, 30, had reportedly gone to a West Palm apartment to help neighbors who had been taken hostage. Authorities confused Winkler for a stabbing suspect as he rushed out of the apartment with another victim and the suspect, the sheriff’s office said in a statement. Three deputy officers shot three times at Winkler. He was hit once and killed, according to Variety.

“The apartment door suddenly opened and a male victim came rushing out,” the statement said. “He was covered in blood and bleeding profusely from the neck. Simultaneously, victim Winkler ran out of the door, lunging at the back of the fleeing victim. Both ran directly at the deputies.”

[THR]

[Variety]

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Scenes from India’s Mammoth National Elections

Thu, 04/10/2014 - 18:32
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First Patients Get Laboratory-Grown Vaginas

Thu, 04/10/2014 - 18:30

Four teen girls have received successfully transplanted laboratory-grown vaginal organs, scientists reported Thursday in the journal the Lancet.

The girls, who were between the ages of 13 and 18, underwent the vaginal organ implant surgery between 2005 and 2008. All of them had Mayer-Rokitansky-Küster-Hauser (MRKH) syndrome, a rare genetic condition in which the vagina and uterus are either underdeveloped or absent. At follow-up, the organs were functioning normally, and the girls surveyed expressed normal sexual desire.

The vaginal organs were engineered with muscle and epithelial cells from biopsies of the women’s genitals. The cells were taken from the tissues, grown, and put into a biodegradable material that is then formed into the shape of a vagina and fit to each patient. When the vagina is placed into the bodies of the patients, the nerves and blood vessels help expand it into tissue. The biodegradable material is absorbed into the body, and cells form a new structure and organ.

Reconstructive surgery, the more common alternative to re-creating a vagina with existing tissue, can lead to complications as much as 75% of the time in young patients, the researchers report.

“In addition, this study is one more example of how regenerative medicine strategies can be applied to a variety of tissues and organs,” said study author Dr. Anthony Atala, the director of Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center’s Institute for Regenerative Medicine in a statement.

Other researchers have used similar procedures to create other body parts like windpipes, bladders, and urethas.

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Stabbing Suspect’s Family Is ‘Like the Brady Bunch’

Thu, 04/10/2014 - 18:27

Stabbing suspect Alex Hribal is a nice kid from a normal family, says his lawyer. “This is not a dysfunctional family,” Patrick Thomassey told CNN on Thursday. “They’re like the Brady Bunch. These parents are active with their two sons, and we’re trying to figure out what happened.” MoreLos Angeles Police Accidentally Kill TV Production AssistantDriver In Deadly Florida Day Care Crash In CustodyMen Charged With Toppling Ancient Rock Formation Avoid Jail Time Huffington PostHere's An Updated Tally Of All The People Who Have Ever Died From A Marijuana Overdose Huffington PostRoseanne Barr Shows Off Slim Figure at California Press Event People

Police charged Hribal as an adult with four counts of attempted homicide and 21 counts of aggravated assault after a stabbing spree on that left 22 people (including Hribal) injured in a high school outside Pittsburgh on Wednesday. Authorities are still struggling to decipher the motive behind Hribal’s alleged crimes.

Hribal had a reputation as a quiet teenager at his school. Some have alleged that Hribal was bullied in school, pushing him to his limit. His lawyer denied that that was the case. “I heard these rumors about being bullied. I don’t believe that’s true,” Thomassey said. “I’m sure that at a certain point, we’ll find out what caused this. Maybe there is something that was going on at school that I’m not aware of yet or his parents aren’t aware of yet.”

Thomassey said that he wants a psychiatrist to evaluate his client and that he plans to file a motion to have the case moved to juvenile court. “I’m not sure he knows what he did, quite frankly,” Thomassey said, adding that Hribal is remorseful. “He’s scared. He’s a young kid.”

Police also had little insight into the reasons for the attack. “We believe, through the investigation, that this was random,” Murrysville Police Chief Tom Seefeld told CNN. “We don’t have anybody that was targeted, as far as we know at this point.” Police are investigating a possible phone threat made by Hribal the night before the incident but have not yet confirmed that such a call was made.

A student who witnessed the incident said the attacker was silent as he stabbed his victims with kitchen knives. “He was very quiet. He just was kind of doing it,” Mia Meixner said. “And he had this, like, look on his face that he was just crazy and he was just running around, just stabbing whoever was in his way.”

Hribal allegedly wounded 20 students and a security guard before the assistant principal, Samuel King (a neighbor fo the Hribals), tackled him, according to the police. Students outside the school heard a fire alarm go off during the attack, and one student, Matt DeCesare, saw two of his classmates emerge from the school covered in blood. He then saw teachers running in to pull other students out of the bleeding. “We all took our hoodies off and handed them to the teachers to use as tourniquets to stop the bleeding,” DeCesare said.

One of the stabbing victims, Brett Hurt, said everything happened quickly. He was goofing off with a classmate, Gracie Evans, when he was stabbed from behind. “I didn’t even know it was going on at the time. I was just walking down hall and he stabbed me with a knife,” Hurt said in a press conference Thursday, according to ABC News. “Everything went…I didn’t even know it was going on. I couldn’t move.” Evans took Hurt into a classroom and put pressure on his wounds, saving his life.

Hurt said he didn’t know Hribal well and had only met him a few times. “I don’t know his reputation, but after today he’s going to have a bad one,” Hurt said.

Westmoreland County District Attorney John Peck argued in front of a judge against bail Thursday. He cited “statements [made by Hribal] when subdued by officials that he wanted to die.”

Hribal is being held without bail at a juvenile detention center. He has been treated for injuries to his head and hands.

Many of the victims have been hospitalized and at least four were in critical condition on Wednesday, though all are expected to survive.

[CNN]

Categories: Magazines

Syrian Rebels Appear to Have a New Type of U.S.-made Anti-Tank Weapon

Thu, 04/10/2014 - 18:01

For all the weapons currently in use in the Syrian war, few are American made. It’s emblematic of strict U.S. control over the manufacture and distribution of weapons of war. But the recent appearance on YouTube of a uniquely American anti-tank missile being launched by a moderate rebel group fighting the government of President Bashar Assad in Syria has fostered speculation that the U.S. or its allies may have finally started arming the rebels. For months, U.S. security officials have leaked information to journalists about the supply of light arms to moderate rebels in Syria’s southern areas, and congressional approval for further deliveries through September. This is possibly the first evidence of the American armaments in use in Syria, though their appearance in the northern province of Idlib, far from the U.S. approved rebel group’s area of operations is a disconcerting development. So far only three instances of the BGM-71 TOW anti-tank guided missile in rebel use have appeared on social media sites coming out of Syria, so it’s impossible to know how widespread the weapon’s distribution is, or if its just a one-off. Still, it raises questions about whether or not such weapons would even make a difference in a war that is nearing unshakable stalemate. MoreUnholy ChoicesChristians and TyrantsMen Charged With Toppling Ancient Rock Formation Avoid Jail Time Huffington PostHere's An Updated Tally Of All The People Who Have Ever Died From A Marijuana Overdose Huffington PostRoseanne Barr Shows Off Slim Figure at California Press Event People

“It’s potentially a very significant development. These missiles have not been seen before in Syria,” says Charles Lister, a specialist on the Syrian conflict and a visiting fellow at the Brookings Doha Center think tank, who first wrote about the missiles in IHS Jane’s Defense Weekly. Even if the weapons were passed to the rebels from a government that bought them legitimately from the U.S., strict regulations apply to their transfer. “Even if country like Saudi had decided to send these to the rebels, technically the U.S., and [President] Obama would have known about it and given its blessing,” says Lister. It is of course possible that the missiles in question were bought on the black market, and as long as the number of star turns on social media sites run by rebels stay low, that is the most likely scenario. Even if the U.S. or its allies didn’t want to advertise the fact that they were supplying weapons to the rebels, the ubiquity of social media on the Syrian battlefield would mean that their distribution wouldn’t stay secret for long.

Either way, the missiles will not turn the war, says Lister. Anti-tank missiles are a formidable weapon, to be sure, but they can’t take down the aircraft or helicopters that give the Syrian military its superiority. A missile may be able to take out a tank five kilometers away, “but in terms of the entire conflict, even in large numbers they will not be a game changer,” says Lister. More reassuringly, should they fall into the wrong hands, they are unlikely to be useful for terror groups in Syria bent on attacking Western targets.

If anything, says Lister, the appearance of these particular weapons in the Syrian battle space only serves to underscore the futility of arming rebels this late in the conflict. Now that the Syrian military has regained control of most of the southwestern parts of the country, linking the capital, Damascus, to the coastal enclave of Latakia that is home to Assad’s Alawite sect, the government is feeling much more secure. Meanwhile, the opposition has cemented control in the east of the country, and it is unlikely that the government will ever be able to take it back. “We are now at the stage where the stalemate is well consolidated,” says Lister. “Should the U.S. or its allies want to change that dynamic, it would be an inherently complex and mammoth effort, and I am not sure the United States wants the opposition to win militarily anymore.” That doesn’t necessarily mean that the U.S. will cut off supplies. More likely, it will only keep the tap open enough to allow the rebels some maneuvering room for future negotiations.

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