29 Feb 2012

IDF raids Palestinian television stations

Israeli troops raided two Palestinian television stations in Ramallah in the occupied West Bank early on Wednesday, confiscating transmitters, computer hard drives and documents and eliciting angry condemnations from the Palestinian Authority.

idf raid tv

Officials at the two stations, al Watan and al Quds Educational Television, said that officials from Israel’s communications ministry accompanied by soldiers spent several hours removing the equipment and documents.

The Israeli ministry said in a statement that it had repeatedly warned both stations that they were using frequencies that violated Israeli-Palestinian agreements and that interfered with communications and transmission systems in Israel. An Israeli military spokesman said the interference was affecting airplane communication at Ben-Gurion Airport.

The Palestinian Authority replied that it had received no such warnings and that the stations were guilty of no violations.

NY Times - JPost

Big Brother Awards International

Government agencies and private companies are increasingly violating the privacy of people everywhere. Enormous amounts of personal data are being collected, stored and processed - often illegally - in the pursuit of more efficient marketing, greater social control, and more powerful mechanisms for monitoring of the citizen.

big_brother_awards
Fighting crime by committing one appears to be the future solution for law enforcement agencies in the information society of the 21 century. But - who watches the watchmen?
Every year Privacy International and a growing number of affiliate human rights groups present the Big Brother Awards to government agencies, private companies and individuals who have excelled in the violation of our privacy.

Big Brother Awards International

Belarus orders EU ambassador to leave in wake of sanctions

Belarus has asked the ambassadors of the European Union and Poland to leave the country after the EU extended sanctions against officials loyal to authoritarian president Alexander Lukashenko.

lukashenko-portrait

Minsk also recalled its envoys from Brussels and Warsaw in response to the EU’s decision to freeze assets held in member states by 21 Belarusian judges and senior police officers and to deny them visas for travel to the bloc. More than 200 officials in Mr Lukashenko’s regime are now barred from entering the EU as it raises pressure on Belarus’s leader to free political prisoners and end a crackdown on opposition parties and independent media.

“It has been suggested that the head of the EU delegation to Belarus and the ambassador of Poland to Belarus return to their capitals for consultations to communicate to their leadership the firm position of the Belarusian side that pressure and sanctions are unacceptable,” foreign ministry spokesman Andrei Savinykh said. Minsk would also ban EU officials responsible for imposing the sanctions from entering Belarus, he added, while stressing Belarus would never bow to EU pressure.

belarus_soldiers

“We have several times at all levels explained the pointlessness of this policy in regard to Belarus . . . If pressure continues to be exerted on Belarus, more measures will be taken to defend our interests,” Mr Savinykh said. Sweden’s foreign minister Carl Bildt responded on Twitter: “Lukashenko throws out ambassadors of EU and Poland. Dictator starts burning the last bridges. Normally does not end well.”

The Irish Times

28 Feb 2012

Bradley Manning is an American hero

manning punishment

The US military commits crimes. They aren't all bad people, but they are obsessed with image management, and take the Catholic Church approach to scandal handling (bury, bury, bury). I think a decent organization punishes those in its midst that go against its code of conduct. The US military doesn't.
Publishing the crimes of its company should not be considered defence information. Nor should it be called aiding the enemy. The people committing the crimes are aiding the enemy by giving just cause to their motives.
Anyone think he deserves life in prison for not waiting 20 years to whistle-blow like most do?

forum.japantoday.com

Occupy London protesters accuse St Paul's of betrayal

St Paul's Cathedral has been accused of "betraying" Occupy London activists after giving the City of London police permission to remove protesters from its steps and end the four-and-a-half month camp.

A-woman-prays

The cathedral's decision, coupled with a previous high court decision obtained by the City of London, meant police successfully removed the entire Occupy London Stock Exchange camp from the square outside St Paul's.

The canon chancellor of St Paul's, Giles Fraser, resigned in October over attempts by the cathedral to remove protesters by compulsion. Fraser was on the edge of the eviction, but police refused to let him cross a cordon to get closer to the cathedral.

Shortly after 3am police removed around a dozen protesters standing on kitchen shelving as a makeshift fortress as other officers with riot helmets and shields advanced along the cathedral steps removing protesters, some of whom were praying.

The Guardian

Illegal Everything

Everything is Illegal in the US

27 Feb 2012

Chariots, Gods & Beyond

The pilot of Ancient Aliens presents the views of author Erich von Däniken who theorized that advanced beings from another world visited primitive humans, gave them the knowledge of the solar system, concepts of engineering and mathematics, and became the basis for their religions and cultures as he claims are evidenced by ancient monuments such as the Nazca Lines, the Pyramids of Giza and the Moai statues of Easter Island.

More on YouTube

Homosexuality Like Necrophilia, Voyeurism, Pedophilia

Only in America…..

Vatican ruled by 'omerta' code of silence

The mole claims to be one of more than 20 people within the Holy See who have leaked sensitive documents to the Italian media in the last few weeks, in an affair that has been compared to the WikiLeaks scandal and dubbed "Vati-leaks".

The unidentified man, who said he had worked in the Vatican for more than 20 years, made the claims in an interview to be aired on Italian television on Wednesday night. His face was hidden and his voice digitally distorted when he appeared on the TV channel, La7.

Pope Benedict XVI

According to extracts of the interview, the whistle-blower said the Vatican was engulfed in intrigue, secrecy and a climate of intimidation. "Maybe there is a kind of omerta to prevent the truth from surfacing. Not because of a power struggle but maybe because of fear," he added.

He claimed to have worked in the State Secretariat, which is led by the powerful but unpopular Secretary of State, Tarcisio Bertone, who is reported to have fallen out of favour with the Pope and his supporters.

The whistle-blower said the Vatican is a place where "you can commit a murder and then disappear into the void" – a reference to a murky scandal in the Swiss Guard in 1998, when a young soldier shot dead the corps' commander and wife before apparently committing suicide. The mother of Cedric Tornay, 23, the alleged assassin, has never accepted that her son would have committed suicide and has called on Pope Benedict XVI, 84, to reopen the case, amid speculation that the real killer of the three may never have been caught.

More on Telegraph

The Global Intelligence Files

Today, Monday 27 February, WikiLeaks began publishing The Global Intelligence Files – more than five million emails from the Texas-headquartered "global intelligence" company Stratfor.

GIF

The emails date from between July 2004 and late December 2011. They reveal the inner workings of a company that fronts as an intelligence publisher, but provides confidential intelligence services to large corporations, such as Bhopal’s Dow Chemical Co., Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman, Raytheon and government agencies, including the US Department of Homeland Security, the US Marines and the US Defense Intelligence Agency. The emails show Stratfor’s web of informers, pay-off structure, payment-laundering techniques and psychological methods, for example :

"[Y]ou have to take control of him. Control means financial, sexual or psychological control... This is intended to start our conversation on your next phase"CEO George Friedman to Stratfor analyst Reva Bhalla on 6 December 2011, on how to exploit an Israeli intelligence informant providing information on the medical condition of the President of Venezuela, Hugo Chavez

The material contains privileged information about the US government’s attacks against Julian Assange and WikiLeaks and Stratfor’s own attempts to subvert WikiLeaks. There are more than 4,000 emails mentioning WikiLeaks or Julian Assange. The emails also expose the revolving door that operates in private intelligence companies in the United States. Government and diplomatic sources from around the world give Stratfor advance knowledge of global politics and events in exchange for money. The Global Intelligence Files exposes how Stratfor has recruited a global network of informants who are paid via Swiss banks accounts and pre-paid credit cards. Stratfor has a mix of covert and overt informants, which includes government employees, embassy staff and journalists around the world.

Wikileaks: The Global Intelligence Files - List of Releases

26 Feb 2012

China preparing for space warfare

Army Lt. Gen. Ronald L. Burgess, director of the Defense Intelligence Agency, disclosed new details of China’s space weapons programs last week, including information regarding China’s anti-satellite missiles and cyber warfare capabilities.

Burgess stated in little-noticed written testimony prepared for an appearance before the Senate Armed Services Committee that Beijing is developing missiles, electronic jammers, and lasers for use against satellites.

china in space

Much of the space warfare activity is being carried out under the guise of China’s supposedly non-military space program, he said. “The space program, including ostensible civil projects, supports China’s growing ability to deny or degrade the space assets of potential adversaries and enhances China’s conventional military capabilities,” Burgess said. “China operates satellites for communications, navigation, earth resources, weather, and intelligence surveillance, and reconnaissance, in addition to manned space and space exploration missions,” he said.

Washington Free Beacon

ORKA

The amazing new video for Aldan reyð by Heiðrik á Heygum. It was shot in the mountains of the Faroe Islands. As far as we are aware this is the first time Huldufólk are depicted in film. Huldufólk means 'hidden people' and they are supernatural beings which are part of Faroese folklore. Huldufólk are said to be tall and pretty, and always dressed in grey. They are neither good nor evil, dislike crosses, churches and electricity, and live in big rocks or mounds.

More Heiðrik á Heygum video on Vimeo

25 Feb 2012

Fact-check of a bizarre set of false claims by Rick Santorum

Erik Mouthaan, U.S. correspondent for the Dutch RTL News, joins Rachel Maddow to fact-check a bizarre set of false claims by Rick Santorum about the elderly and euthanasia in the Netherlands.

The Rachel Maddow Show

They Came For The Children-The Truth & Reconciliation Commission Of Canada

“In order to educate the children properly we must separate them from their families . Some people may say that this is hard but if we want to civilise them we must do that” .
Hector Langevin - Public Works Minister, Canada 1883

Canada native american children

The Truth and Reconciliation Commission in Canada have released an interim report “They Came For The Children” into the treatment of native American children in Canada from the late 1800s to the 1970s who were sent to government sponsored residential schools.

To say their treatment was appalling is an understatement . The children were taken from their families in a deliberate attempt to ‘christianise’ them and in effect kill off their customs and beliefs . At these schools a large number of children died from disease and ill treatment and they were subjected to both physical and sexual abuse.

Below a snippet from the report which hopefully will give you an idea of the children’s experience:

Although the death rates fell in the following years, there are no clear records as to how many children died while attending residential schools, and the total may reach into the thousands. As at Red Deer, many children were buried in school cemeteries. In some cases, parents never were told what had become of their children.
The memoirs of former residential school students are filled with remembrances of death and disease.

MeroveeRead the Report “They Came For The Children” (PDF)

Smack My Bitch Up

Performed by The Beatles (original by The Prodigy) - pleaseunhelpme

Heated Interview about Christians and Jews

More on this on Huffington Post Canada

New British Slaves: Jobseekers forced to clean private homes and offices for nothing

Unpaid jobseekers have been forced to clean private homes and offices for more than a month at a time under government employment schemes, despite mounting evidence that the controversial policy is reducing the overall availability of paid work by replacing temporary jobs and overtime for other staff.

scrubbing floor

A succession of high street shops have pulled out of the schemes this week amid criticism that using unpaid labour to carry out routine tasks such as filling shelves amounts to a public subsidy for employers, but the practice extends far beyond the retail industry.

The Guardian has now discovered through a freedom of information request that a major government contractor, Avanta, has compelled jobseekers to work as unpaid cleaners in houses, flats, offices and council premises under the work programme.

The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) has previously stated that all mandatory schemes must be for "community benefit". However, under government rules, this can be defined as increasing the profit of organisations where the unemployed are sent to work without pay.

Full story on The Guardian

24 Feb 2012

23 Feb 2012

British doctors agreeing illegal abortions based on the sex of their unborn baby

Doctors at British clinics have been secretly filmed agreeing to terminate foetuses purely because they are either male or female. Clinicians admitted they were prepared to falsify paperwork to arrange the abortions even though it is illegal to conduct such “sex-selection” procedures.

Foetus

The disclosures will add to growing concerns about the regulation of abortion clinics and the apparent ability of women to secure terminations “on demand”. The Daily Telegraph carried out an investigation into sex-selection abortions after concerns were raised that the procedures were becoming increasingly common for cultural and social reasons.

Telegraph

Tucker Carlson Calls For Annihilation Of Iran

Carlson tells Red Eye panel that Iran "deserves to be annihilated. I think they're lunatics, I think they're evil."

Would We Have Drugged Up Einstein? How Anti-Authoritarianism Is Deemed a Mental Health Problem

Anti-authoritarians question whether an authority is a legitimate one before taking that authority seriously. Evaluating the legitimacy of authorities includes assessing whether or not authorities actually know what they are talking about, are honest, and care about those people who are respecting their authority. And when anti-authoritarians assess an authority to be illegitimate, they challenge and resist that authority—sometimes aggressively and sometimes passive-aggressively, sometimes wisely and sometimes not. 

Some activists lament how few anti-authoritarians there appear to be in the United States. One reason could be that many natural anti-authoritarians are now psychopathologized and medicated before they achieve political consciousness of society’s most oppressive authorities.  

albert_einstein

Albert Einstein, as a youth, would have likely received an ADHD diagnosis, and maybe an ODD one as well. Albert didn't pay attention to his teachers, failed his college entrance examinations twice, and had difficulty holding jobs. However, Einstein biographer Ronald Clark (Einstein: The Life and Times) asserts that Albert's problems did not stem from attention deficits but rather from his hatred of authoritarian, Prussian discipline in his schools. Einstein said, “The teachers in the elementary school appeared to me like sergeants and in the Gymnasium the teachers were like lieutenants.” At age 13, Einstein read Kant's difficult Critique of Pure Reason—because he was interested in it. Clark also tells us Einstein refused to prepare himself for his college admissions as a rebellion against his father’s “unbearable” path of a “practical profession.” After he did enter college, one professor told Einstein, “You have one fault; one can’t tell you anything.” The very characteristics of Einstein that upset authorities so much were exactly the ones that allowed him to excel.

AlterNet

Long Way Home

DI-RECT

22 Feb 2012

Die Weiße Rose

The White Rose (German: die Weiße Rose) was a non-violent, intellectual resistance group in Nazi Germany, consisting of students from the University of Munich and their philosophy professor. The group became known for an anonymous leaflet and graffiti campaign, lasting from June 1942 until February 1943, that called for active opposition to dictator Adolf Hitler's regime.

weisse rose

The six most recognized members of the group were arrested by the Gestapo and beheaded in 1943. The text of their sixth leaflet was smuggled by Helmuth James Graf von Moltke out of Germany through Scandinavia to the United Kingdom, and in July 1943 copies of it were dropped over Germany by Allied planes, retitled "The Manifesto of the Students of Munich."

Today, the members of the White Rose are honoured in Germany amongst its greatest heroes, since they opposed the Third Reich in the face of death.

Total War Speech At Berlin Sportpalast 18 February 1943

On 18 February 1943, coincidentally the same day that Nazi propaganda minister Joseph Goebbels called on the German people to embrace total war in his Sportpalast speech, the Scholls brought a suitcase full of leaflets to the university. They hurriedly dropped stacks of copies in the empty corridors for students to find when they flooded out of lecture rooms. Leaving before the class break, the Scholls noticed that some copies remained in the suitcase and decided it would be a pity not to distribute them. They returned to the atrium and climbed the staircase to the top floor, and Sophie flung the last remaining leaflets into the air. This spontaneous action was observed by the custodian Jakob Schmid. The police were called and Hans and Sophie Scholl were taken into Gestapo custody. Sophie and Hans were interrogated by Gestapo interrogator Robert Mohr, who initially thought Sophie was innocent. However, after Hans confessed, Sophie assumed full responsibility in an attempt to protect other members of the White Rose. Despite this, the other active members were soon arrested, and the group and everyone associated with them were brought in for interrogation.

The Scholls and Probst were the first to stand trial before the Volksgerichtshof—the People's Court that tried political offenses against the Nazi German state—on 22 February 1943. They were found guilty of treason and Roland Freisler, head judge of the court, sentenced them to death. The three were execAuted the same day by guillotine at Stadelheim Prison. All three were noted for the courage with which they faced their deaths, particularly Sophie, who remained firm despite intense interrogation (however, reports that she arrived at the trial with a broken leg from torture are false). She said to Freisler during the trial, "You know as well as we do that the war is lost. Why are you so cowardly that you won't admit it?" When Hans was executed, he said "Let freedom live" as the blade fell.

Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

President of Abkhazia Survives Assassination Attempt

Unidentified assassins tried on Wednesday to kill the president of Abkhazia, a Russian-backed rebel Georgian enclave, employing automatic rifles, grenade launchers and a powerful roadside bomb in an assault that raised fresh questions about Moscow’s ability to preserve order there.

ankvab 
The president, Aleksandr Z. Ankvab, survived the attack without injury, but at least one bodyguard died and two more were seriously wounded. It was the sixth attempt on Mr. Ankvab’s life in less than a decade, a testament to the volatility of the enclave, Abkhazia.  

Reached by telephone at his office in Abkhazia’s capital, Mr. Ankvab’s voice was faint and shaky. “I’m sorry, I can’t talk right now, especially about this topic, ” he said, when asked about the assassination attempt.  

The attack was likely to provoke new anxiety in Moscow, which has been struggling to damper recent political tremors in Abkhazia and another breakaway Georgian enclave, South Ossetia. After its war with Georgia in 2008, Russia defied international condemnation and recognized both regions as independent.  

NYTimes.com 

From South Ossetia to War With Georgia - The Moscow Times

Journalists killed in Homs

Marie Colvin, the respected Sunday Times journalist, was killed today alongside French photojournalist Remi Ochlik in Syria.

colvin

The veteran correspondents were killed by a rocket as they fled the house they were staying in, which was hit during shelling in Homs, a witness told Reuters. Colvin, the only journalist from a British newspaper in the besieged city, had covered conflict for The Sunday Times for the past two decades.  French government spokeswoman Valerie Pecresse confirmed the deaths.

At least two other Western journalists, and seven activists were reported to have been injured after in excess of ten rockets hit the house. The Foreign and Commonwealth Office said it was investigating reports that a British photographer was also injured in the incident.

Yesterday government troops heavily shelled the districts of  Baba Amr, Khaldiyeh and Karm el-Zeytoun  in Homs, which is considered to be a stronghold of resistance. Ochlik, the founder of the picture agency IP3 Press, was an award-winning photojournalist who covered events including the 2004 rioting in Haiti and last year’s Arab Spring.

The Independent

Colvins last report on CNN yesterday:

21 Feb 2012

Homs, city of torture

In Bashar al-Assad's Syria, it is not just forbidden to speak, demonstrate and protest: it is also forbidden both to give medical treatment, and to receive treatment yourself. Since the beginning of the uprising, the regime has been waging a merciless war against any individual or institution capable of bringing medical aid to the victims of repression. "It's very dangerous to be a doctor or a pharmacist," a pharmacist from the Baba Amro neighbourhood of Homs tells me.

syria_Homs_violence

Medical personnel are imprisoned – like the nurse in the nearby district of al-Qusayr, arrested the day after he showed me around his hidden emergency-care centre, its carpets covered with plastic tarpaulins to protect them from blood – or killed, like Abdur Rahim Amir, the only doctor in that centre, murdered in cold blood in November by military security, while he sought to treat civilians wounded during the army's assault on Rastan to the north. Or tortured.

More on The Guardian

Meanwhile: Military Sends Tanks To Homs (HuffPost)

Election anger mounts in Senegal

Senegalese are continuing their protests against incumbent president Abdoulaye Wade's decision to seek a third term in office, erecting barricades and pelting police with rocks just days before a presidential election.

The state-owned news service confirmed the death on Monday of a young man in a suburb of the capital Dakar as demonstrations intensified, and the opposition said they would organise more protests.
Several people have been killed since the street clashes began late last month after Wade's candidacy was validated by the country's top legal body.

The 85-year-old Wade, who came to power in 2000, is insisting on running again, despite the deepening unrest and calls from both France, Senegal's former colonial master, and the US to hand power to the next generation.

Wade will face more than a dozen rivals in the election, including former allies Macky Sall and Idrissa Seck. A runoff will be held if no candidate wins more than half the total vote. "We will not give Abdoulaye Wade any rest until he understands that he can't run in these elections.," Tidiane Gadio, an opposition candidate, told Al Jazeera.

New Released Moon Photos

Chinese "Google Earthlike" moon viewer

20 Feb 2012

Music Is The Weapon

Fela Kuti in a film by Green Grin

Rick Santorum fabricates statistics about euthanasia

Rick Santorum fabricates statistics about euthanasia in the US and Netherlands, appears nostalgic for days when abortions "were in the shadows."

YouTube comments:

You have got to be kidding me. Dear Americans, I try very hard to take you seriously, but HOW exactly did this man become presidential candidate? Every single word he says is untrue.

And still americans wonder why everybody hates them.. I'll give you one tip, americans: stop giving mentally disturbed primates and religious billionaire psychopaths political power.

Right Wing Watch

Richard Dawkins expresses disbelief over slave owner ancestor story

Richard Dawkins, evolutionary biologist and prominent atheist, is used to criticism from those who do not share his views on religion or the origins of mankind. But he has expressed surprise at the latest attack, which claims the scientist faces awkward questions because some of his ancestors were slave owners.

slavery

The Sunday Telegraph reported that Henry Dawkins had amassed more than 1,000 slaves in Jamaica by the time of his death in 1744, and quoted campaigners calling on Dawkins to pay reparations. But Dawkins hit back on his blog, describing the interview and subsequent article as "surreal".

"At the end of a week of successfully rattling cages, I was ready for yet another smear or diversionary tactic of some kind," said Dawkins, who clashed on the BBC Today programme with Giles Fraser, formerly canon chancellor of St Paul's cathedral, on Tuesday. "But in my wildest dreams I couldn't have imagined the surreal form this one was to take."

The Guardian

19 Feb 2012

Olympic VIPs take fast lane leaving English patients at risk

Sick and vulnerable NHS patients will be left stranded in ambulances in traffic jams while dignitaries and sponsors race past in a fleet of expensive cars on specially designated lanes during the Olympics, healthcare providers fear.

london-2012-olympics-lane

Games organisers have been accused of risking people's health by banning the routine use by ambulances of the "Games lanes" introduced to ensure that VIPs can travel quickly to events. The decision to reject a request for access from NHS London, the capital's strategic health authority, has led to a storm of anger. Medical Services, an independent business that transports patients for the health service, and whose clients include the hospitals closest to the Olympic stadium, says it fears that the ill, including those on dialysis, will be trapped in vehicles as London suffers unprecedented congestion, with traffic on key routes expected to slow to a crawl.

The Games lanes comprise 30 miles of road in central London on which only the "Olympic family" will be allowed to travel – athletes, officials and sponsors, including Coca-Cola and McDonald's. BMW has donated 4,000 3 and 5 series cars to be used during the Games. Following consultation with the NHS, ambulances will be allowed to use the lanes when they have their blue lights on, but critics say there are many urgent journeys that cannot justify the use of blue lights. They can only be employed in a genuine emergency and those entitled to use them generally require special training.

More on The Observer

Zeitgeist: Moving Forward

The Zeitgeist Film Series Gateway

Stand By Me

From the award-winning documentary, "Playing For Change: Peace Through Music", comes the first of many "songs around the world" being released independently. Featured is a cover of the Ben E. King classic by musicians around the world adding their part to the song as it travelled the globe.

playingforchange.com

The Nazis, A Warning From History

Arguably one of the most important documentary series ever made, The Nazis: A Warning from History sets out to show that, far from being a uniquely German aberration, Nazism fed upon and was fostered by the prejudices and lemming-like inclinations of ordinary people. Although culminating with the atrocities of the Holocaust, these programmes are equally good on the motives of otherwise perfectly normal people, who needed only the tacit encouragement of the regime to perpetrate horrors against their enemies, their neighbours, or their own family.

Other parts on YouTube

18 Feb 2012

PowerPoint Shows Drone Industry’s Lobbying Plan To Expand Over Domestic, Law Enforcement Markets

Drones are mainly associated with the Predator airships that patrol the Afghanistan sky. But thanks to a bipartisan vote last week, the public can expect 30,000 domestic drones flying over the United States in the next eight years.

The dramatic change in policy, which has raised concerns with everyone from civil liberties groups like the ACLU and Electronic Frontier Foundation to the pilot association and the Independent Institute, as well as conservative think tanks, occurred thanks to an aggressive and well-organized effort by drone makers and their lobbyists.

republicreport.org

Hitler had son with French teen

Jean-Marie Loret, who died in 1985 aged 67, never met his father, but went on to fight Nazi forces during the Second World War. His extraordinary story has now been backed up by a range of compelling evidence, both in France and in Germany, which is published in the latest edition of Paris's Le Point magazine.

Hitler is said to have had an affair with Mr Loret's mother, Charlotte Lobjoie, 16, as he took a break from the trenches in June 1917. Although he was fighting the French near Seboncourt, in the northern Picardy region, Hitler made his way to Fournes-in-Weppe, a small town west of Lille, for regular leave.

Hitler-1916

There he met Miss Lobjoie, who later told their son: "One day I was cutting hay with other women, when we saw a German soldier on the other side of the street. "I was designated to approach him." The pair started a brief relationship, which resulted in the birth of Jean-Marie, who was born in March 1918 after being conceived during a 'tipsy' evening in June 1917.

His real father would not recognise Jean-Marie, but continued to stay in contact with Miss Lobjoie. Incredibly, Mr Loret went on to fight the Germans in 1939, defending the Maginot Line before it was bypassed during the Nazi invasion which resulted in France being occupied from 1940 until 1944.

Mr Loret even joined the French Resistance, and was given the codename 'Clement'. Just before her death in the early 1950s, Miss Lobjoie finally told Jean-Marie that his father was arguably the most infamous dictator in human history.

More on Telegraph

17 Feb 2012

IOC and Saudi Arabian Ban on Women in Sport

As the world prepares for the 2012 Olympics, the Saudi government is systematically discriminating against women in sports and physical education, and has never sent a female athlete to the Olympics, with no penalty from the international Olympic authorities, Human Rights Watch said in a new report released today. Human Rights Watch called on the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to make ending discrimination against women in sports in the kingdom a condition for Saudi Arabia’s participation in Olympic sporting events, including the 2012 London Games.

Saudi-Female-Athletes

“‘No women allowed,’ is the kingdom’s message to Saudi women and girls who want to play sports,” said Christoph Wilcke, senior Middle East researcher at Human Rights Watch. “The fact that women and girls cannot train to compete clearly violates the Olympic Charter’s pledge to equality and gives the Olympic movement itself a black eye.”

Human Rights Watch - HRW report ‘Steps of the Devil’: Denial of Women and Girls’ Right to Sport in Saudi Arabia

Anger mounts over Honduran prison tragedy

Survivors of a Honduran prison blaze that killed more than 350 inmates have accused guards of leaving prisoners locked inside their cells while the fire burned them to death and even shooting at others who tried to escape the inferno.

honduras prison fire

The Honduran government has launched an investigation and suspended prison officials over Tuesday's blaze at a prison in the city of Comayagua, as bereaved relatives, survivors and experts blamed massive overcrowding, gross negligence by the prison guards and a failed justice system.

Reynaldo Moncada, a prison chaplain, described the tragic event as "total chaos" in a facility that was built for 250 inmates, but was holding at least 842 when the fire broke out. "People were running for their lives, shots were being fired. People were being burned alive," he said.

Rosendo Sanchez, an inmate of the Comayagua prison, awoke as the blaze started. He escaped his cell block and said he saw guards firing at other inmates trying to escape from. "It was hell here, seeing your friends, people you have known well, burn alive," said Sanchez, who added that firefighters had taken more than half an hour to reach the prison.

Other survivors said guards ignored the cries for help. Prison guards denied they had stopped inmates from escaping, while police say firefighters took only 15 minutes to arrive at the prison.

Al Jazeera English

16 Feb 2012

Warning on RnBXclusive.com threatens users with jail

Music-sharing site RnBXclusive.com has been shut down by the UK's Serious Organised Crime Agency and a man has been arrested.

soca

The site's home page has been replaced by a message saying, 'If you have downloaded music using this website you may have committed a criminal offence which carries a maximum penalty of up to 10 years imprisonment and an unlimited fine under UK law.' The site had been used by two million people a month, and was a leading file-sharing destination for R 'n' B and hip hop fans.

Mail Online

Florida executes killer after 31 years on death row

A American man convicted of raping a 29-year-old mother and dragging her into Tampa Bay's surf to drown more than three decades ago was executed by lethal injection Wednesday at Florida State Prison.

Death Row Florida State Prison

Twice-convicted murderer Robert Brian Waterhouse, 65, was pronounced dead at 8:22 p.m., 11 minutes after the execution began. He had been on death row for more than 31 years — longer than any inmate previously executed in Florida. Gov. Rick Scott signed his death warrant last month. His execution was delayed two hours as the U.S. Supreme Court considered a last-minute appeal before rejecting it. The court had rejected a similar appeal earlier in the day.

OrlandoSentinel.com

Heart & Mind-O-Matic

Mark Fiore on YouTube

Napoleon theme park

A theme park dedicated to Napoleon, just 40 miles from the Arc de Triomphe that le petit caporal commissioned in 1806: that's the latest project of rightwing French MP and former Sarkozy minister Yves Jégo. Abroad, observers could be forgiven for almost choking on hearing this news: why not a Stalin or a Kim Jong-il theme park too? In France, however, no raised eyebrows; the news just came and went. At my local cafe in Paris, a regular remarked: "What a good idea, and while we're about it, let's close down Disneyland. What did Mickey Mouse do for the world, exactly?"

Napoleon_retreat_from_Russia_by_Adam

Napoleon's case is an odd one in France, his place in history not exactly contentious. Although hardly taught in schools, his legacy is everywhere to be seen: from the "N" adorning almost every bridge in Paris and monument in France to the country's 2,626 lycées, one of his many creations. We owe him the civil code, the baccalaureate, but also the administrative, judicial and educational framework in France and many other countries.

The Guardian

Shut Down the Internet

The BBC News website is showing an article which recommends we should shut down the Internet . According to Professor Alan Woodward who is from the Department of Computing at the University of Surrey in England, the cyber-security situation has got so bad we should close it down and start again . This time it should be properly regulated and surprise, surprise he says “global governance” is needed.

Internet_blocked

From the article:

Last year, the level and ferocity of cyber-attacks on the internet reached such a horrendous level that some are now thinking the unthinkable: to let the internet wither on the vine and start up a new more robust one instead.

While not a popular view, I think that the current internet can only survive if adequate global governance is applied and that single, secure technology is mandated. This is obviously fraught with the much rehashed arguments about control of the internet, free speech, and so on.

Just a few observations .

Firstly, if the BBC has allowed this article on its website, then ‘someone’ is considering shutting the Internet down and that ‘someone’ normally is connected to government, big business and the military . I don’t know anyone who thinks the Internet should be closed down .

Secondly, the phrase ‘global’ is now being used for all sorts of repressive measures . From the austerity measures in Greece and the rest of Europe to Global Law, we are being asked to hand over power and control to organisations far, far away .

Merovee

15 Feb 2012

dictator

Former Scientologist youth decries Australian ‘forced labor camp’

An Australian man who spend much of his childhood in a facility run by the Church of Scientology told the Seven Network’s Today Tonight that conditions in the compound were inhumane and horrifying.

Shane Kelsey alleged that children kept at the facility — a Rehabilitation Project Force — were separated from their parents and forced to work up to 100 hours per week for no pay. Kids at the compound were forced to wear all black uniforms and required to run where ever they went. They were regularly subjected to forms of brainwashing and hard labor, according to Kelsey.

Independent Federal Senator Nick Xenophon has called for Scientology facilities in Australia to be investigated. “Shane’s story is one of shocking abuse, child abuse, it’s one of a child being enslaved,” he said. “What makes this worse is that this organisation is being subsidised by Australian taxpayers because it doesn’t pay any tax.”

Watch video, courtesy of the Seven Network, below:

The Raw Story

"Monsignors' mutiny" revealed by Vatican leaks

Call it Conspiracy City. Call it Scandal City. Call it Leak City. These days the holy city has been in the news for anything but holy reasons. "It is a total mess," said one high-ranking Vatican official who spoke, like all others, on the condition of anonymity.

concile

The Machiavellian maneuvering and machinations that have come to light in the Vatican recently are worthy of a novel about a sinister power struggle at a medieval court.Senior church officials interviewed this month said almost daily embarrassments that have put the Vatican on the defensive could force Pope Benedict to act to clean up the image of its administration - at a time when the church faces a deeper crisis of authority and relevance in the wider world.

Some of those sources said the outcome of a power struggle inside the Holy See may even have a longer-term effect, on the choice of the man to succeed Benedict when he dies. From leaked letters by an archbishop who was transferred after he blew the whistle on what he saw as a web of corruption and cronyism, to a leaked poison pen memo which puts a number of cardinals in a bad light, to new suspicions about its bank, Vatican spokesmen have had their work cut out responding.

Yahoo! News

The Art of Stand Up-Eddie Izzard

Eddie Izzard live at the Hollywood Bowl - Part 2 (is rather short...)

14 Feb 2012

Lov

Fitz & The Tantrums

Why are Israel and US on a Collision Course with Iran?

Is There Evidence Iran Is Building A Nuclear Weapon?

Sony raised prices on Whitney Houston’s digital music 30 minutes after her death

As much criticism as record labels receive for how they treat artists, Sony Music might take the cake. The company pulled the ultimate in shameful activities this weekend by raising the price on Whitney Houston’s Ultimate Collection album on iTunes and Amazon within 30 minutes of her death on Saturday.

whitney

Music mega-star Whitney Houston died on Saturday at the age of 48. And when a high-profile artist passes away, fans often look to re-experience their music, which causes digital and physical sales soar. Most recently, Michael Jackson’s catalog considerably jumped on the charts after his death.

But instead of reverence in the wake of Houston’s passing, Sony chose to raise the price of one of her most popular hits collections. The Ultimate Collection album in the U.K. jumped in price by more than 60 percent from £4.99 to £7.99 within 30 minutes of Houston’s death, according to Digital Spy.

VentureBeatOh, it wasn’t Oprah…

Valentine

Nils Lofgren (Live in Cologne 1991)

Binyamin Netanyahu accuses Iran over bombs targeting Israeli diplomats

Israeli prime minister Binyamin Netanyahu has accused Iran of being behind twin attacks on Israeli targets in India and Georgia on Monday in a move likely to further escalate tensions between the two countries and increase international pressure on the Iranian regime.

Israeli-embassy-car

The attacks, in which four people were injured, followed a warning from Iran's supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, earlier this month that the Islamic Republic would retaliate against international sanctions and would back "any nation or group" that sought to "confront and fight" Israel.

In Delhi, witnesses said they saw assailants on motorcycles attaching a device to a car when it stopped at a traffic light. In the Georgian capital, Tbilisi, an Israeli embassy driver discovered a device planted on the undercarriage of his car. The modus operandi in both incidents mirrored the assassination of an Iranian nuclear scientist in Tehran last month, which Iran claimed was carried out by agents for Israeli intelligence.

The Iranian regime also blamed Israel for a string of earlier assassinations and covert operations. Many in the international community have voiced alarm at the prospect of a low-intensity war between the two states conducted by intelligence operatives and their proxies.

The Guardian

Charleroi Airport Valentine's Day

Myth and Reality After the Genocide in Rwanda

Rwandan president Paul Kagame has been hailed as a liberator and highly principled leader. But his post-genocide record tells a different story. A distinguished panel attempts to separate myth from fact. open society institute

13 Feb 2012

'Greece doomed, economy total farce & fiction!'

The Greek parliament has approved new harsh austerity legislature needed to secure a 130-billion-euro bailout from the EU and the IMF in efforts to avoid devastating default. This comes amid violent riots against the vote in Athens. ­The lawmakers voted early Monday in favor of the bill that will cut 15,000 public-sector jobs and lower the minimum wage by 20 per cent. Patrick Young, from investment consultants, DV Advisors, says whatever happens in Greece, there's no saving it from a collapse that will be felt across Europe. (RT)

Mother

Pink Floyd on YouTube

12 Feb 2012

They're Out There, Man!

The UFO Guy remixed via MelodysheepOriginal footage

Mystery disease claims thousands in Central America

A mysterious epidemic is devastating the Pacific coast of Central America, killing more than 24,000 people in El Salvador and Nicaragua since 2000 and striking thousands of others with chronic kidney disease at rates unseen virtually anywhere else. Scientists say they have received reports of the phenomenon as far north as southern Mexico and as far south as Panama.

central america mystery disease

Many of the victims were manual laborers or worked in sugar cane fields that cover much of the coastal lowlands. Patients, local doctors and activists say they believe the culprit lurks among the agricultural chemicals workers have used for years with virtually none of the protections required in more developed countries. But a growing body of evidence supports a more complicated and counterintuitive hypothesis.

msnbc.com

It Gets Better

On Friday, in solidarity with Bay Area LGBT youth, the San Francisco Police Department released an "It Gets Better" video featuring more than a dozen LGBT sergeants, commanders, dispatchers and police officers.

Since 2010, the It Gets Better Project -- a viral series of homemade YouTube videos -- has aimed to prevent suicide by helping LGBT youths facing harassment see beyond the difficult teenage years.

Huffington Post

Four To Six

Math The Band

11 Feb 2012

Book of Enoch: Fallen Angels

To The Sea

Yello on VimeoYello Website

Unknown chemicals sprayed in Palestinian cars at checkpoints

By Abir Kopty (Palestine News Network)

“Lately I've been going to Jenin every two or three weeks with family members. We usually do our vegetable shopping in the city market.

israeli checkpoint

Last Saturday, on our way back from Jenin to Nazareth, we were surprised to find a new technology to check "suspicious" cars at the Israeli checkpoint.

The checkpoint examination usually goes like this: There are about six lines of cars going out through the checkpoint. At each line, there are one or two "security" officers that ask for IDs, and decide whether the car and its riders do or do not constitute a major threat to Israel's "security" and "existence." If they do not, the officer gives the car a white ticket, which means they are done with the "security" check. If they do, then the car gets a green ticket. Once you get the green one, you have to go to the far right line for a special check. You are asked to open all doors, take out all your belongings and go through a physical check while the car is separately searched.

You can't ever understand the logic and the considerations of any of the checkpoint's officers. Sometimes our car gets the green ticket, sometimes the white.

Last Saturday we got the green one. We went to the line that checks the cars and we were surprised to see this strange little machine that looks like a hospital's IV machine.

Spray device

We were asked to roll up all windows, leave one centimeter of the two front windows open, exit the car and go through the physical search. My brother and I started asking questions about this machine and what it does. The officers refused to answer.

According to Haaretz, this contraption is also used at a Bethlehem checkpoint, and I assume in many of the "privatized" checkpoints, where the state has outsourced the managing of the checkpoint to private "security" companies in order to "civilianize" the checkpoints – another failed attempt to whitewash the occupation.”

Full story on Palestine News Network