30 Jun 2010

Hocus Pocus

Where are the stars now…

Music by Focus – video from nikefootball

Bangladesh garment protest spread to Dhaka streets

At least 15,000 protesting garment factory workers blocked key roads in the Bangladeshi capital Dhaka Wednesday, the latest in a string of protests over low wages and poor conditions.

bamgladesh

Police fired tear gas and used water cannons to disperse the workers, who sew clothes for some of the top names in Western retail, after they blocked a major intersection in the north of the city.

"There are 15,000 to 20,000 workers massing in the street, holding protests over benefits and wages. They blocked a main road and hurled bricks at police," Dhaka's deputy police commissioner, Salim M. Jahangir, told AFP. The trouble began at four factories, owned by one of the country's leading garment manufacturers, and then spread to all of the dozens of factories along a five-kilometre (three-mile) stretch of road in the Kafrul and Mirpur areas.

"All workers in the area have walked out of the factories and joined protests," he said. The unrest is the latest in a series of violent protests over low wages in Bangladesh's more than 4,500 garment factories -- the mainstay of the impoverished country's economy.

More on AFP

bangladesh

Bangladesh garment factories shut after wage protests. Bangladesh relies heavily on textile exports. Among factories shut were ones supplying Walmart, H&M, Zara, and Carrefour, manufacturers said. (BBC)

More on Bangladesh Center for Workers Solidarity On International Labor Rights Forum

EU states 'use outsourced torture'

Britain, France and Germany must stop using intelligence obtained through torture in third-party countries, a report from Human Rights Watch has said. The human rights body said on Tuesday that the practice is illegal, contradicts the EU's anti-torture guidelines and is self-defeating in the fight against "terrorism".

torture

"France, Germany and the United Kingdom ... demonstrate, through policy statements and practice, a willingness [even eagerness] to co-operate with foreign intelligence services ... notorious for abusive practices," the report said.
The report No Questions Asked: Intelligence Co-operation with Countries that Torture said that the use of such information and defending the legitimacy of doing so, "risks creating a market for torture intelligence".

The New York-based group has called on the three countries to publicly reject reliance on such intelligence and reaffirm the absolute prohibition on the use of torture evidence in any kind of proceedings.
"Berlin, Paris, and London should be working to eradicate torture, not relying on foreign torture intelligence," Judith Sunderland, a senior researcher at Human Rights Watch, said.

More on Al Jazeera 

Read the Report “No Questions Asked” Intelligence Cooperation with Countries that Torture

29 Jun 2010

Goal Line Technology (GLT) system

Not more on FIFA

Toronto a "dystopian future"

RTAmerica

'Femme Fatale' Rounded Up in Nest of Alleged Russian Spies

Anna-ChapmanA ring of 11 Russian moles right out of a Cold War spy novel was smashed Monday — and among those busted was a flame-haired, 007-worthy beauty who flitted from high-profile parties to top-secret meetings around Manhattan.

Russian national Anna Chapman — a 28-year-old divorcee with a masters in economics, an online real-estate business, a fancy Financial District apartment and a Victoria’s Secret body — had been passing information to a Russian government official every Wednesday since January, authorities charged.

In one particularly slick spy exchange on St. Patrick’s Day, Chapman pulled a laptop out of a tote bag in a bookstore at Warren and Greenwich streets in the West Village while her handler lurked outside, receiving her message on his own computer, the feds said. A similar exchange occurred at a Midtown coffee shop at 47th Street and 8th Ave. The FBI claimed the two were corresponding via a secret online network. More on FOXNews.com

28 Jun 2010

Afghanistan officials 'plundering aid'

The sum haemorrhaging from one of the poorest countries in the world has led officials to believe the money is from plundered Western aid projects and security or reconstruction contracts, it has been reported.

Hamid Karzai

Proceeds from the country's rampant opium and heroin businesses also account for part of the sum, which is more than the Afghan government's entire tax revenue.

The money is packed in suitcases or even stacked on pallets and flown mainly to Dubai.

Customs records for legally declared money leaving the airport showed £2.1 billion left between since the start of 2007 and the end of February 2010.

The declared cash is likely to be a fraction of what actually leaves the country. Customs records are incomplete and money is also smuggled out unregistered.

In December The Daily Telegraph reported that the Afghan ministry of finance estimated £6m a day was being smuggled out.

Afghanistan's endemic corruption and Hamid Karzai's failure to tackle the problem have angered his western backers who are pouring in money to defeat the Taliban insurgency.

More on The Telegraph

Dolphins and Whales basted in BP Oil!

“This was the most emotionally disturbing video I have ever done! A flight over the BP Slick Source where I saw at least 100 Dolphins in the oil, some dying. I also photographed a Sperm Whale covered in oil all around it's blow hole. … I want to piss off the world. Who will answer for these gentle creatures?”

BP Slick Blog

Oliver Stone: The US Has Launched Military Interventions and Political Coups Fifty-Five Times in Latin America

Critically acclaimed Hollywood Director Oliver Stone dropped by our studio for a Brave New Conversation, where Robert Greenwald spoke with him about his latest documentary South of the Border, scheduled to be released in over 30 countries this month. South of the Border begins by exploring the role that the corporate-owned mainstream media in the U.S. and Venezuela have played in shaping American’s perspectives on South America beginning with clips of the attempted coup on Venezuela’s Hugo Chavez.

Video's van Brave New Conversations - Facebook

26 Jun 2010

The Clash - Spanish Bombs

Unusual Decisions Set Stage for BP Disaster

It was a difficult drill from the start. API Well No. 60-817-44169 threw up many challenges to its principal owner, BP PLC, swallowing expensive drilling fluid and burping out dangerous gas. Those woes put the Gulf of Mexico project over budget and behind schedule by April 20, the day the well erupted, destroying the Deepwater Horizon rig and killing 11 men.

oilspill

Government investigators have yet to announce conclusions about what went wrong that day. The final step in the causation chain, industry engineers have said in interviews, was most likely the failure of a crucial seal at the top of the well or a cement plug at the bottom.

But neither scenario explains the whole story. A Wall Street Journal investigation provides the most complete account so far of the fateful decisions that preceded the blast. BP made choices over the course of the project that rendered this well more vulnerable to the blowout, which unleashed a spew of crude oil that engineers are struggling to stanch.

BP, for instance, cut short a procedure involving drilling fluid that is designed to detect gas in the well and remove it before it becomes a problem, according to documents belonging to BP and to the drilling rig's owner and operator, Transocean Ltd.  More on FOXNews.com

 

25 Jun 2010

Kiribati - A Climate Change Reality

Toronto turned into fortress for G8, G20 summits

Thousands of Canadian police threw a tight security net over eastern Ontario province Thursday as world leaders began arriving for key summits focused on economic recovery and development.

In one of the North American country's largest ever security operations, some 20,000 police have been deployed in the city of Toronto and the exclusive lakeside community of Huntsville, some 225 kilometers (140 miles) to the north.

toronto

Leaders from the Group of Eight leading economies will meet Friday in Huntsville, before joining up with other officials from the Group of 20 developed and emerging nations in Toronto on Saturday and Sunday.

In a huge operation, police combed Toronto's streets barricaded by wire fences and miles of concrete blocks, backed by overhead helicopters, with many schools and businesses closed, and the main Union Station partially shut down.

Local trains only were allowed to unload passengers, who arrived to find the platforms mostly deserted, and security personnel posted at every corner.

Protestors are planning days of demonstrations to focus attention on issues from the environment to the rights of indigenous peoples.

More on The Raw StoryCBC News

Also interesting: 2010 G8/G20 Summit: Upcoming Actions and Events on ActiveHistory.ca

Nazis - The Occult Conspiracy

Nazis: The Occult Conspiracy, is an English language documentary regarding the occult influences and history of the Nazi Era, (pre, during and post) in Germany. New evidence has suggested that Nazism was not just a political movement but an occult religion with Hitler as the Messiah.

24 Jun 2010

US Judge Who Ruled against Oil Drilling Moratorium Owns Oil Industry Stock

In throwing out the Obama administration’s moratorium on offshore oil drilling, U.S. District Judge Martin Feldman of Louisiana said halting production would negatively impact the industry and local economy. The ban also might have impacted Feldman’s own pocket book, based on the recent history of his investment portfolio.

judge-martin-feldman

Like many judges in the gulf region, Feldman has held stock in energy and drilling businesses. Disclosure forms for 2008, the most recent that are available, showed that the Reagan appointee owned shares in Transocean, owner of the Deepwater Horizon platform, and Halliburton, which performed construction on the rig before it blew up and sunk.

Other companies Feldman invested in include Ocean Energy, Hercules Offshore, Provident Energy, Peabody Energy, PenGrowth Energy, Atlas Energy Resources, Parker Drilling, EV Energy Partners, Chesapeake Energy and ATP Oil & Gas.

Source: AllGov.com

US Cop Beats War Veteran Senseless

The video taken from security cameras shows the 45-year-old housing cop beating an Iraq war veteran with is baton.
It happened at an Upper West Side public housing development. The victim, 28-year-old Walter Harvin had just returned from Iraq and was at his mom’s apartment complex.

The video is high quality and crystal clear that Housing Officer David London led an unprovoked attack on the Iraqi war veteran. Even beating the ex-soldier after he’s cuffed.

More on Infowars.com

Chinese Weapons Maker Signs Myanmar Deal

China North Industries Corp., a leading Chinese weapons manufacturer, signed a cooperation pact with the government of Myanmar to develop a copper mining project, the latest sign of growing commercial ties between the reclusive Southeast Asian nation and its giant neighbor.

Reconnaissance_Vehicle

The Monywa Copper Mine Project Cooperation Contract was signed during Premier Wen Jiabao's visit to Myanmar in early June, China North Industries, or Norinco, said in a statement on its website. The statement was posted on the company's website Wednesday, but dated June 10. It didn't disclose financial terms.

The deal underlines how the isolated military rulers of Myanmar are increasingly turning to the country's most important political and economic ally for support—and how China continues to seek natural resources from its southwestern neighbor to feed its industrialization.

The Norinco statement said Monywa is "abundant in copper mine resources with excellent mineral quality, which is of great significance to strengthening the strategic reserves of copper resources in our country, and to enhancing the influence of our country in Myanmar."

More on WSJ.com

Also see: Myanmar restricts political activity ahead of polls

Tibetans Fear a Broader Crackdown

Mr. Samdrup, 42, frail and gaunt after six months in police custody, was marched into a courtroom to face accusations of “tomb robbing,” a charge that had been originally dropped 12 years ago by the police.

NEPAL/

His real crime, say friends and relatives, was trying to save his brothers from labor camp and torture — their punishment for accusing a local police chief of hunting protected animals in a Tibetan nature preserve.

Exile groups and rights advocates say the prosecution of Mr. Samdrup and his brothers is part of a broader assault on prominent Tibetans around China, a campaign that has sent a chill through a community that once thought itself immune to the heavy hand of Beijing.

Their cases might have gone unnoticed outside Tibet if it were not for the stature of Mr. Samdrup, a darling of the official media whose organization has won grants from Ford Motor, Friends of the Earth and a foundation run by the film star Jet Li.

Full story at  NYTimes.com

22 Jun 2010

Under Pressure, Commission Discusses Lifting Whaling Ban

The International Whaling Commission on Monday began what promises to be a contentious, high-stakes meeting in Morocco on whether to maintain a 24-year-old moratorium on commercial whaling in the face of pressure from Japan, Norway and Iceland to permit the hunt.

Representatives of the convention’s 88 member governments gathered behind closed doors in the Moroccan resort city of Agadir to discuss a 10-year compromise plan proposed by the United States and other anti-whaling nations that would allow the three countries to continue whaling but at significantly lower levels and under tight monitoring.

It would also create a whale sanctuary in the Southern Ocean. Japan, Iceland and Norway have long defied the moratorium by claiming exemptions and conducting their whaling under unilaterally determined quotas. More than 33,000 whales have been killed since the ban took effect in 1986, undermining the commission in the eyes of critics.

More on NYTimes.com

Convenience food changes could save 'thousands of lives'

Tens of thousands of lives could be saved if major changes were made to processed and convenience foods, the UK's leading health watchdog will say today, challenging the government and the food industry to act to improve the nation's diet.

food

The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (Nice) will say in a major hard-hitting report that diet is not just a matter for the individual consumer. In what will be interpreted as a significant attack on the food industry, it recommends a series of changes

Full story at The Guardian

21 Jun 2010

Social Cleansing in Colombia

When Luz Marina Bernal’s 26-year old son went missing in February 2008, she immediately raised the alarm. Fair Leonardo Porras Bernal had a mental age of nine, could not read or write, and never strayed too far from his home in Soacha, a gritty satellite town of Bogot√°, the capital of Colombia.

“He would never go off on his own. He would only go out with someone from the family. We searched hospitals, refuges, jails and filed a missing person report with the police, but there was no news until that August,” remembers Ms Bernal.

The news, when it came, stunned her. Fair Leonardo was dead, and had been buried in a common grave hundreds of kilometres away in the far north of the country. The army said they had killed him during combat with a group of guerrillas just four days after he went missing.

medellin_police

For Ms Bernal, it made no sense. How had her mentally disabled son transformed himself into a uniformed, armed guerrilla ready to take on South America’s most battle-hardened military, just four days after suddenly disappearing from home?

She discovered her case was not an isolated one. Men, mainly poor youths, were disappearing from Soacha, only for families to later find out they had been shot dead by the army, which claimed they were narco-terrorists – the term Colombian authorities use for the country’s Marxist guerrillas.

All their families insist the dead men had no previous involvement with any of Colombia’s illegal armed groups. Their outcry at the details of their children’s deaths sparked a broader investigation into what are now referred to as “false positive” deaths, in which investigators suspect military personnel murdered civilians and claimed they were guerrillas killed in combat in order to win bonuses of up to €1,500.

The Irish Times

Also see: Prosecutors never really investigated social cleansing on Colombia Reports

Freedom in the USA

Read: “Lieberman: China Can Shut Down The Internet, Why Can’t We?” on Infowars.com

US cops shoot dog for no reason

US cops don’t like dogs. Also see US Cops Shoot Pets With Children Present.

China's gender imbalance

In the three decades that China's one-child policy has been in place, the Chinese government claims it has prevented 400 million births.
Its implementation has been relaxed over the years with numerous exemptions now permitted, but its longer-term consequences are becoming increasingly apparent - particularly in the country's growing gender imbalance.

china-gender imbalance

A report conducted by Chinese and Western scientists and published in the British Medical Journal last year found that in 2005 there were 32 million more males than females aged under 20 in China.

A by-product of China's 30-year-old family planning policies, this gender imbalance is now manifested most clearly among those of marrying age.

The Chinese Academy of Social Science estimates that by 2020, 24 million Chinese men will be unable to find a wife.

More on Al Jazeera and Fox News

19 Jun 2010

Blackwater Firm Gets $120M U.S. Gov't Contract

CBS News has learned in an exclusive report that the US State Department has awarded a part of what was formerly known as Blackwater Worldwide a contract worth more than $120 million for providing security services in Afghanistan.

Private security firm U.S. Training Center, a business unit of the Moyock, N.C.-based Blackwater, now called Xe Services, was awarded the contract Friday, a State Department spokeswoman said Friday night.

blackwater

Under the contract, U.S. Training Center will provide "protective security services" at the new U.S. consulates in Herat and Mazar-e-Sharif, Afghanistan, the spokeswoman said. The firm can begin work "immediately" and has to start within two months. The contract lasts a year but can be extended twice for three months at a time to last a maximum of 18 months.

Should the firm fulfill all 18 months available in the contract, it will be paid a total of $120,123,293, the spokeswoman said.

The awarding of the contract comes just more than four months after the government of Iraq ordered hundreds of Blackwater-linked security guards to leave the country within seven days or face possible arrest.

CBS News Investigates

Vatican beatifies Blues Brothers

Jake and Elwood, the loveable if hapless characters played by John Belushi and Dan Aykroyd in the classic 1980 film The Blues Brothers, have finally gotten Vatican recognition for their "Mission from God."

To mark this week's 30th anniversary of the film, which became a cult classic and spawned a fashion of wearing black hats and dark sunglasses to parties, the Vatican newspaper dedicated a full page and no fewer than five articles to it.

One of the articles says there is "no lack of evidence" that The Blues Brothers can be considered "a Catholic film."

It notes that Jake's release from prison and the commitment by him and Elwood to put their blues revival band back together to raise money to save an orphanage from forced closure has parallels with the Biblical story of the prodigal son.

Jake and Elwood -- who say they are on a "mission from God" to raise the money to pay a back tax bill for the orphanage -- and the band members, are symbols of "redemption obtained with sacrifice."

Reuters

18 Jun 2010

The Quantum Relationship

The Love Police at Downing Street gets searched under anti-Terror laws by a Policeman named Andy.

Freedom

Richie Havens, Live at Woodstock

(More recent version here)

Sea Shepherd Frees 800 Bluefin from Floating Cages Below Libya’s Infamous Line of Death

Sea Shepherd’s helicopter reconnaissance flight this morning found two fishing vessels. One was engaged in transferring bluefin tuna into one of the two nets being towed by the other vessel.

The bluefin fishery vessels were inside waters claimed by Libya and about 42 miles off the coast of North Africa.

At 1300 hours, the Steve Irwin came upon the Italian vessel Cesare Rustico towing two cages; one contained about 800 fish (the other was empty).

Blue_Rage

Their statement that all the catches were caught on the 14th sounded much too convenient, so we asked to examine the fish for juveniles. We were refused. I then put the bow of the Steve Irwin onto the cage so we could look into the cage from the bow to examine it further.

Suddenly, the Maltese vessel Rosaria Tuna rammed the Steve Irwin on the aft port side and slid alongside the port rail, as a fisherman tried to violently gaff Sea Shepherd crewmembers with a long, sharp-hooked pole.

The Steve Irwin crew retaliated with 8 liters of rotten butter forcing the fishing vessel to retreat and to stand off.

At 1530 hours, the two fishing vessels circled their cages defensively and the Sea Shepherd ship Steve Irwin stood off to notify ICCAT (International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tuna) of possible violations. They did not respond.

Sometimes it is necessary to do what needs to be done despite the risks. The risk of losing the bluefin tuna as a species is far more important than the risks to our own lives and freedom.

And so we decided to free the tuna.

bluefin-tuna

At 1600 hours, a five-person dive crew entered one of two cages being towed by the Italian fishing vessel Cesare Rustico.

As the Steve Irwin held off the Cesare Rustico and the support ship Rosaria Tuna, the Sea Shepherd crew dove into the net to identify the size, age, and quantity of the bluefin tuna within. Once it was clearly established that the cage was overstocked and that a high percentage were juveniles, Sea Shepherd divers freed the 700-800 tuna.  

Read the whole story at Sea Shepherd

BP Aware Of Cracks In Oil Well Two Months Before Explosion

BP was aware of cracks appearing in the Macondo well as far back as February, right around the time Goldman Sachs and BP Chairman Tony Hayward were busy dumping their stocks in the company on the eve of the explosion that led to the oil spill, according to information uncovered by congressional investigators.

The Mining and Mineral Services agency released documents to Bloomberg indicating that BP “was trying to seal cracks in the well about 40 miles (64 kilometers) off the Louisiana coast,” according to the report.

bp-oil

The fissures, which BP began to attempt to fix on February 13, could have played a role in the disaster, though this is a question still being explored by investigators. Improperly sealed, the cracks cause explosive natural gas to rush up the shaft.

“The company attempted a “cement squeeze,” which involves pumping cement to seal the fissures, according to a well activity report. Over the following week the company made repeated attempts to plug cracks that were draining expensive drilling fluid, known as “mud,” into the surrounding rocks,” states the report.

As previously highlighted, eyewitness evidence indicates that Deepwater Horizon managers knew that the BP oil rig had major problems before its explosion on April 20. A crew member who rescued burning workers on the rig told Houston attorney Tony Buzbee of a conversation between Deepwater Horizon installation manager Jimmy Harrell and someone in Houston. According to the witness, Harrell was screaming, “Are you fucking happy? Are you fucking happy? The rig’s on fire! I told you this was gonna happen.”

Full story by Paul Joseph Watson on Prison Planet.com

More on CNN.com

   

Somali pirates jailed by Dutch court

Five Somali pirates were sentenced to five years in prison by a Dutch court today in Europe's first trial for piracy at sea in modern times. A judge in Rotterdam found the men, aged between 25 and 45, guilty on the 300-year-old charge of sea robbery for their part in a failed attempt to hijack a ship off the Somali coast.

somali-pirates

Danish marines arrested the pirates after they approached the Samanyolu, a Dutch Antilles-flagged ship, in the Gulf of Aden in January 2009. The ship's Turkish crew destroyed the Somali boat with flares.

One of the pirates, 25-year-old Farah Ahmed Yusuf, claimed his boat was seeking help after suffering a mechanical failure during a shark fishing expedition. "The intention was to fish," he told the court. "As we came closer, we put our hands in the air. While we had our hands in the air, they shot at us. They attacked us."

The pirates were found to have been armed with automatic weapons and a rocket-propelled grenade launcher.

Prosecutors had argued for a seven-year sentence, but the court president, Jan Willem Klein Wolterink, sentencing, said he took into account the conditions in Somalia that had led the men to piracy.

Full story at The Guardian

Also see this:

Johann Hari: You are being lied to about pirates
Some are clearly just gangsters. But others are trying to stop illegal dumping and trawling (The Independent)

16 Jun 2010

Canadian model finds fame in Chechnya

The news in Chechnya has an unlikely Canadian face: a former fashion model with a catchy name who anchors the news in English on state-run TV.

"Good evening. This is Chrystal Callahan and these are the highlights of the week," says the smiling anchor at the start of her program. "The Chechen Republic is steadily becoming a region of example for other parts of Russia!"

Kadyrov Callahan

Aided by a constant stream of Chechen sub-titles, Grozny TV's English-speaking anchor from Toronto has arguably become the most famous foreigner in post-war Chechnya.

In 2010, the Paris-based watchdog organization Reporters Without Borders added Chechen President Kadyrov to its list of 40 "Predators of Press Freedom." For years human rights groups have accused Kadyrov and his security forces of kidnapping, torture and even extra-judicial killings.

The group pointed out vocal critics of Kadyrov keep getting murdered. Most recently, Austrian police linked one of Kadyrov's top aides to the fatal shooting of a Chechen dissident named Umar Israilov in Vienna, Austria.

Kadyrov routinely denies these charges. Callahan dismisses them too. "If there's no proof and there's no concrete evidence, who cares?" Callahan asks.

More on CNN.com

Religion is bullshit

George Carlin May 12 1937 - June 22 2008

North Korea Lashes Out

North Korea’s Ambassador to the United Nations accused the United States and South Korea of provoking war. In a rare news conference, Ambassador Sin Son Ho said his country was not responsible for the March 26 sinking of a South Korean navy ship and threatened military “follow up” if the Security Council decides to condemn or punish Pyongyang over the incident.

north-korean-propaganda

Ambassador Sin called the investigation, which included U.S. involvement, a “complete fabrication” and demanded that South Korea allow a North Korean investigating team to visit the site of the incident to determine the cause of the tragedy. So far Seoul has turned down such a request. “If South Korean authorities have nothing to hide, there is no reason for them not to accept our investigation group,” Sin said, adding that the South Korean investigation is “some kind of fiction.”

Jonathan Wachtel on Fox News

northkorea_WC2010

World Cup 2010: Fifa defends ban on 'political' questions to North Korea

15 Jun 2010

Bloody Sunday unjustified and unjustifiable

Describing the actions of soldier as "unjustified and unjustifiable", the British Prime Minister David Cameron told the Commons: "What happened should never ever have happened."  "I am deeply, deeply sorry."

Bloody_Sunday_(1972)

The Bloody Sunday Inquiry report found that all those killed were unarmed and that paratroopers had lost control and opened fire without warning. Some had been trying to flee when they were hit and soldiers had made up false accounts in a bid to cover up their actions, the report found.

A total of 13 unarmed civilians, seven of them teenagers, died in Londonderry when soldiers from 1st Battalion, the Parachute Regiment opened fire during clashes after the banned march was stopped from entering the city centre on January 30 1972. A 14th man died some time later from his injuries.

Full story on TelegraphWikipedia

Vice-Mayor of Odessa

Vice-Mayor of Odessa Vakhtang, during his visit to the landfill "Dalnyckiy career" opened fire with a pistol.

Soccer World Cup Pay Riot

Armed police have charged hundreds of World Cup security staff holding a protest over pay outside a stadium in Durban.

ITN News's YouTube Channel

14 Jun 2010

Bilderberg 2010: How political and business leaders are going to save the world – in secret

Charlie Skelton says on his  Newsblog: I know this sounds peculiar, or at least it does to me, but this year's Bilderbloggings have quite commonly been met with outrage at the idea that we should submit Bilderberg to greater scrutiny. You hear people talk about the delegates at Bilderberg as their "leaders", and you see the delegates mythologised as the greatest and the best – whose benign Olympian machinations should progress untroubled by the interference of public and press. "Leaders" like the CEO of Royal Dutch Shell, and the chairman of Kissinger Associates Inc.

This-fellow-in-his-limo-s-002

I'm baffled to the point of punching tree trunks to witness the determination of some folk to throw themselves in front of these heads of corporations and presidents of banks and to wave their arms protectively, yelping: "Leave them alone! Let them strategise for the good of the world in peace! How could they possibly have a frank discussion with our politicians if we were privy to it? Stop this unseemly prying!" I mean, seriously. The day that Marcus Agius, chairman of Barclays, strategises for my good is the day he repays me the hundreds of pounds of bank charges he's been levying on me since my schooldays. The day that Peter Voser, CEO of Royal Dutch Shell, sits around a table with the express concern of making the world a better, more beautiful place for all of us, is the day that my arse grows teeth and eats my hat.

Do this: Look at the list of participants and ask yourself one simple question: what's their bottom line?

Full story on Guardian.co.uk

Also see Bilderbergmeetings.org

Love hormone helps soldiers like each other and hate the enemy

Researchers have found that in the heat of battle they have the same chemicals running through their bloodstreams as protective mothers, meaning they develop incredibly strong bonds with each other but become extremely aggressive to outsiders.

soldiers

The effect resolves around the hormone oxytocin which is released at times of stress and when people socialise with each other.

But the scientists have found that this chemical, often referred to as the love or bonding hormone, also makes them – like mothers – incredibly aggressive to outsiders.

Using a computer simulation game they found that volunteers given a spray of the hormone bonded more quickly and deeply with their own group but became much more hostile to outsiders.

Dr Carsten De Dreu, of the University of Amsterdam, said that the phenomenon was known as "parochial altruism" or "tend and defend".

This meant that boosted levels of oxytocin produced "in-group love" and "out-group aggression", he said.

Dr De Dreu, who published the findings in Science, said: "Oxytocin is a double edged sword. It makes you kinder to your group but more aggressive to those outside."

More on Telegraph

12 Jun 2010

Pentagon hunts WikiLeaks founder in bid to gag website

American officials are searching for Julian Assange, the founder of WikiLeaks in an attempt to pressure him not to publish thousands of confidential and potentially hugely embarrassing diplomatic cables that offer unfiltered assessments of Middle East governments and leaders.

leaked-iraq-video

The Daily Beast, a US news reporting and opinion website, reported that Pentagon investigators are trying to track down Julian Assange – an Australian citizen who moves frequently between countries – after the arrest of a US soldier last week who is alleged to have given the whistleblower website a classified video of American troops killing civilians in Baghdad.

The soldier, Bradley Manning, also claimed to have given WikiLeaks 260,000 pages of confidential diplomatic cables and intelligence assessments.

The Guardian - Collateral Murder video

Kyrgyz leader asking for Russian peacekeepers to help quell violence

The Kyrgyz interim leader has asked for Russian peacekeepers to help stop ethnic violence in the south of the country, a government spokesman confirmed on Saturday.

kyrgyz

Kyrgyz interim government's press officer Farid Niyazov said the country's leader, Roza Otunbayeva, announced that an official request for the assistance be sent to Russian President Dmitry Medvedev.

"The situation has got out of control since yesterday evening and we need outside military forces to solve the situation, so, we are turning to Russia," Niyazov quoted Otunbayeva as saying.

"We are waiting for news from Russia and we are ready for active dialogue to bring outside forces in."

More on CNN.com

US Cops Shoot Pets With Children Present

This video shows a search warrant served by the Columbia Missouri police department. The cops bust in this guys house in the middle of the night and shoot his two dogs (one a pit bull that was caged in the kitchen and the other a Corgi) with children in the home. it turns out that rather than a big time drug dealer, this guy had a small pipe with some resin in it, a grinder, and what the cops here call “a small amount of marijuana” (meaning less than a few grams).

The Gates of Hell

Raw Footage of the Mavi Marmara Attack

On the night of Sunday, May 30, showing a terrifying disregard for human life, Israeli naval forces surrounded and boarded ships sailing to bring humanitarian aid to the blockaded Gaza Strip. On the largest ship, the Mavi Marmara, Israeli commandos opened fire on civilian passengers, killing at least 9 passengers and wounding dozens more. Others are still missing. The final death toll is yet to be determined. Cultures of Resistance director Iara Lee was aboard the besieged ship and has since returned home safely.
Despite the Israeli government's thorough efforts to confiscate all footage taken during the attack, Iara Lee was able to retain some of her recordings. Above is raw footage from the moments leading up to and during the Israeli commandos' assault on the Mavi Marmara.

Cultures of Resistance

Dozens dead in Kyrgyzstan clashes

At least 49 people have been killed and more than 600 others wounded in an outbreak of violence in the southern Kyrgyzstan city of Osh. The country's health ministry announced the updated death toll on Saturday, a day after the government imposed a state of emergency in the region.

Several buildings across Osh were ablaze, according to witnesses, in the wake of shooting that began on Thursday night.

"Clashes and exchanges of fire between groups of youths took place in Osh and the neighbouring districts of Karassu, Arava and Uzgen," Farid Niyazov, a government spokesman, said.

More on Al Jazeera

"I want to know whose ass to kick"

11 Jun 2010

Experts double estimate of BP oil spill size

As many as 40,000 barrels (1.7m gallons) of oil a day may have been gushing out from a blown-out Gulf of Mexico well, doubling many estimates.

pelican

The US Geological Survey says that flow rate could have been reached before a cap was put on the well on 3 June.

BP's chairman has been asked to meet Barack Obama next week, amid assurances from the UK and US that bilateral ties will not be affected by the crisis. UK PM David Cameron and President Obama will discuss the spill at the weekend.

Oil has been leaking into the Gulf since the Deepwater Horizon rig exploded on 20 April and sank off the coast of the US state of Louisiana, killing 11 workers.

BP said the device placed on the well collected 15,800 barrels of oil on Wednesday - slightly up on the 15,010 barrels collected in the previous 24-hour period. 

More on BBC

10 Jun 2010

Geert Wilders on course for Dutch cabinet seat

The Netherlands' Muslim-baiting maverick Geert Wilders has staked a strong claim to a seat in a new Dutch cabinet after almost tripling his party's parliamentary presence in an election breakthrough.

Wilders

Wilders, the leader of the Freedom party, increased its seats from nine to 24 in the 150-seat second chamber in The Hague, seven fewer than the winning rightwing liberals of the VVD and six seats behind the Dutch Labour party.

"We want to be part of the new government. Nobody can bypass the PVV [Freedom party] any more," declared the tall populist with the shock of white hair, after pushing the Netherlands' traditionally ruling Christian democrats into a humiliating fourth place in the general election.

Wilders appeared serious about insisting on a government role, promptly dropping campaign insistence on keeping the retirement age at 65 in an attempt to narrow differences with the liberals, who have pledged to raise it to 67 as well as big spending and welfare cuts.

The Guardian

Catholic Childrens

See more video’s on Lucky TV

Also see: Catholic Children's Society

9 Jun 2010

There's a Monolith on Mars' Moon, Phobos

U.S. astronaut, Buzz Aldrin, the second man to walk on the Moon, alluded to a monolith detected on Mars' moon Phobos. Speaking on a U.S. cable television channel he said: "We should visit the moons of Mars. There's a monolith there - a very unusual structure on this little potato shaped object that goes around Mars once every seven hours. 'When people find out about that they are going to say, "Who put that there? Who put that there?" Well the universe put it there, or if you choose God put it there." In 2007 the Canadian Space Agency funded a study for an unmanned mission to Phobos known as PRIME (Phobos Reconnaissance and International Mars Exploration).

mars

Phobos is a vastly promising location for future exploration. The moon itself has long been an anomaly; its orbital characteristics suggest it may be hollow. More aggressive speculation suggests that Phobos may in fact be a derelict spacecraft of the "generation ark" variety described by science writers such as Isaac Asimov.  Unexplained surface features such as the numerous converging grooves, together with the conspicuous monolith-like formations, pose the possibility that Phobos harbours uneroded structures deserving of close attention.

The Daily Galaxy

8 Jun 2010

More Dead Fish

dead fish

A small dead fish floats on a pool of oil at Bay Long off the coast of Louisiana Sunday, June 6, 2010. Oil from the Deepwater Horizon spill continued to move inland along several gulf states.

Click to see all 20 photos on All Eyes, Reporting with a camera

More info on TampaBay.com

Why Helen Thomas had to resign

Fidel Castro was once asked to define the difference between democracy in Cuba and the United States. "I don't have to answer questions from Helen Thomas," the old revolutionary replied.

The grand dame of the White House press corps, who outlasted nine American presidential administrations – and Castro's rule – was finally forced to halt her determined, often opinion-laden questioning and into retirement this week over comments on the issue closest to her heart, the Middle East.

There were no fond farewells for the 89-year-old reporter remembered as a trailblazer for women in journalism but also as a grumpy old contrarian. Her front-row seat in the White House briefing room, in recent years uniquely tagged with her own name rather than that of an organisation, was left empty.

Reporters who variously described Thomas as cranky, stubborn and opinionated said they weren't surprised she'd finally overstepped the mark when she told a rabbi that Jews should "get the hell out of Palestine" and "go home" to Poland and Germany. But the torrent of anger and criticism was tempered by Thomas' lofty status.

The Guardian

Evidence Points To BP Oil Spill False Flag

- Sales of shares and stocks in days and weeks beforehand

- Halliburton link, acquisition of cleanup company days before explosion

- BP report cites undocumented tampering with well sealing equipment

- Government uses disaster to push for Carbon Tax, Nationalization talk

Troubling evidence surrounding the Deepwater Horizon explosion on April 20th suggests that the incident could have been manufactured.

deepwater

On April 12th, just over one week before the Deepwater Horizon rig exploded, Halliburton, the world’s second largest oilfield services corporation, surprised some by acquiring Boots & Coots, a relatively small but vastly experienced oil

well control companies.

The company deals with fires and blowouts on oil rigs and oil wells. It was responsible for putting out roughly one third of the more than 700 oil well fires set in Kuwait by retreating Iraqi soldiers during the Gulf War.

The deal itself is still under scrutiny with Boots and Coots facing an ongoing investigation into “possible breaches of fiduciary duty and other violations of state law”

More on infowars.com

Some Fear Bhopal Convictions 'Inadequate'

Multisource political news, world news, and entertainment news analysis by Newsy.com

Concrete Jungle

Bob Marley-Concrete Jungle

7 Jun 2010

Gaza convoy tapes edited, Israel acknowledges

Israel acknowledged Sunday that it edited recordings of what it said were anti-Semitic and anti-American radio calls by pro-Palestinian activists who tried to run the Gaza blockade and that it could not identify the origin of the broadcasts.

Gaza-flotilla-raid

The Israeli military released a 26-second recording Friday night in which a warning call to a ship in the flotilla was met with the reply of "Shut up -- go back to Auschwitz." After another voice reports that the convoy has the permission of Palestinian officials to dock in Gaza, a third voice responds, "We are helping Arabs going against the U.S. Don't forget 9/11, guys."

More on CNN.com

The Torture Reports

Experiments in Torture is the first report to reveal evidence indicating that CIA medical personnel allegedly engaged in the crime of illegal experimentation after 9/11, in addition to the previously disclosed crime of torture.

abughraib-torture

In their attempt to justify the war crime of torture, the CIA appears to have committed another alleged war crime—illegal experimentation on prisoners.

Download the white paper - Physicians for Human Rights

Sri Lankan government threatens to execute army commander

The Sri Lankan government is threatening to execute Sarath Fonseka, the army commander who delivered victory over the Tamil Tigers, if he continues to suggest top officials may have ordered war crimes during the final hours of the civil war.

sarath-fonseka

The threat, issued by Sri Lanka's defence secretary, Gotabaya Rajapaksa, is the latest sign of a bitter feud within the Sri Lankan political establishment, little more than a year after the end of the Tamil war.

Rajapaksa, who worked closely with Fonseka on the aggressive military strategy that crushed the Tigers and who is the brother of the president, Mahinda Rajapaksa, told the BBC's Hardtalk programme that the general had proved himself to be a liar and a traitor.

The Guardian

Bhopal verdict due after 25 years

A court in the Indian city of Bhopal is due to rule on whether a gas plant leak that killed thousands of people more than 25 years ago was a criminal act.

The leak at the Union Carbide plant was worst industrial disaster in history. Forty tonnes of a toxin called methyl isocyanate leaked from the factory and settled over slums on 3 December 1984.

BHOPAL

Campaigners say at least 15,000 people were killed within days, and say the horrific effects of the gas continue to this day. The site of the former pesticide plant is now abandoned. It was taken over by the state government of Madhya Pradesh in 1998, but environmentalists say poison is still found there.

More than a dozen judges have heard the criminal case since 1987, when India's leading detective agency, the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), charged eight people with "culpable homicide not amounting to murder

BBC NewsTehran Times

UPDATE - Verdict is in:

Eight jailed over India gas disaster

A court in the Indian city of Bhopal has sentenced eight people to two years each in jail over a gas plant leak that killed thousands of people in 1984.The convictions are the first since the disaster at the Union Carbide plant - the world's worst industrial accident.

More on BBC

Sarkozy asks Israeli PM to accept 'impartial' Gaza inquiry

French President Nicolas Sarkozy Sunday asked Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to accept "a credible and impartial inquiry" into the deadly raid on Gaza aid ships, in which France is willing to participate, the president's office said.

sarotzky

In a telephone conversation with Netanyahu, Sarkozy asked him "to follow the requests of the United Nations Security Council with regard to putting in place a credible and impartial inquiry on the conditions of the Israeli intervention against the 'freedom flotilla'" bound for Gaza last week, the presidency said in a statement.

Expatica France

6 Jun 2010

Engdahl on Bilderberg

F. William Engdahl

What drives Israel?

“Probably the most bewildering aspect of the Gaza flotilla affair has been the righteous indignation expressed by the Israeli government and people.

As someone who was born in Israel and went enthusiastically through the socialisation and indoctrination process until my mid-20s, this reaction is all too familiar. Understanding the root of this furious defensiveness is key to comprehending the principal obstacle for peace in Israel and Palestine. One can best define this barrier as the official and popular Jewish Israeli perception of the political and cultural reality around them.

A number of factors explain this phenomenon, but three are outstanding and they are interconnected. They form the mental infrastructure on which life in Israel as a Jewish Zionist individual is based, and one from which it is almost impossible to depart – as I know too well from personal experience.

The first and most important assumption is that what used to be historical Palestine is by sacred and irrefutable right the political, cultural and religious possession of the Jewish people represented by the Zionist movement and later the state of Israel.

JewsAgainstZionism

Most of the Israelis, politicians and citizens alike, understand that this right can’t be fully realised. But although successive governments were pragmatic enough to accept the need to enter peace negotiations and strive for some sort of territorial compromise, the dream has not been forsaken. Far more important is the conception and representation of any pragmatic policy as an act of ultimate and unprecedented international generosity.

Any Palestinian, or for that matter international, dissatisfaction with every deal offered by Israel since 1948, has therefore been seen as insulting ingratitude in the face of an accommodating and enlightened policy of the “only democracy in the Middle East”. Now, imagine that the dissatisfaction is translated into an actual, and sometimes violent, struggle and you begin to understand the righteous fury. As schoolchildren, during military service and later as adult Israeli citizens, the only explanation we received for Arab or Palestinian responses was that our civilised behaviour was being met by barbarism and antagonism of the worst kind.”

Read the whole essay by Ilan Pappe, professor of history at the University of Exeter, on the Herald Scotland website

Lesotho's people plead with South Africa to annex their troubled country

Thousands of people in the impoverished Commonwealth kingdom of Lesotho have asked South Africa in effect to annex their state because it has been bankrupted by the HIV pandemic.

lesotho

The move comes as South Africa, in a move to secure its borders ahead of the World Cup, which starts on Friday, has barred thousands of people from Lesotho from crossing its borders.

"Aids has killed us,'' said charity director Ntate Manyanye. "Lesotho is fighting for survival. We have a population of about 1.9 million but there may be as many as 400,000 Aids orphans among us. Life expectancy has fallen to 34. We are desperate."

More on The Observer