30 Apr 2014
Producer Andrew Tkach and correspondent Christian Amanpour report on the hushed up eviction of the indigenous people of Diego Garcia to make way for one of America's most strategic air and navy bases.
A botched execution that used a new drug combination left an Oklahoma inmate writhing and clenching his teeth on the gurney Tuesday, leading prison officials to halt the proceedings before the inmate's eventual death from a heart attack.
Clayton Lockett, 38, was declared unconscious 10 minutes after the first of the state's new three-drug lethal injection combination was administered. Three minutes later, though, he began breathing heavily, writhing, clenching his teeth and straining to lift his head off the pillow.
The blinds were eventually lowered to prevent those in the viewing gallery from watching what was happening in the death chamber, and the state's top prison official eventually called a halt to the proceedings. Lockett died of a heart attack a short time later, the Department of Corrections said.
"It was a horrible thing to witness. This was totally botched," said Lockett's attorney, David Autry.
28 Apr 2014
Photos purporting to show Russian Special Forces operating in Eastern Ukraine were in fact an amateur fabrication on behalf of the post-coup Kiev government yet the New York Times blithely regurgitated them as part of the mass marketing campaign for World War III.
Check out this newly released video which purports to show a pilot landing with his chemtrails still turned on. If these ARE NOT chemtrails, then what are they? Though the source for this video is not always 100% trustworthy, have they somehow altered this video? It sure looks real to us and if not, can anyone else explain what we’re seeing in this video if not chemtrails?
A pilot of a commercial airliner made a mistake that irrefutably PROVES the existence of “CHEMTRAILS” — by forgetting to turn them off before he landed! Despite the fact that the plane is landing in foggy weather, the emission of chemtrails is unmistakable; their existence cannot be denied or explained-away by weather. First, the trails are NOT coming from the back of the jet engines. Second, the trails are not merely water trailing off the edges of the wings because as the plane passes, in addition to the wing trail emissions, there are clearly SPRAYS coming out of several sections at the rear of the wings in clear addition to any water that may be washing off the wing during landing. See for yourself.
A judge in Egypt has sentenced to death 720 men, including the head of the Muslim Brotherhood, in a pair of mass trials that were both completed after two brief court sessions. In the first case, 683 men – including the Brotherhood leader, Mohamed Badie – were sentenced to death on charges of killing a policeman in a southern Egyptian town last August.
Minutes later, in a second and separate case, the same judge, Saeed Youssef, upheld the death sentences of 37 of the 529 men he notoriously sentenced to hang last month. The remaining 492 had their sentences commuted to 25-year jail terms, with all 529 convicted of killing a second police officer in a neighbouring town on the same day.
In a separate development on Monday, a Cairo court banned the 6 April youth movement, the liberal protest group charged with playing a leading role in Egypt's 2011 revolution. A spokesman for the group, Ahmad Abd Allah, said the move highlighted the extent of Egypt's counter-revolution. "It shows that it's not just the Islamists who are being targeted, it's also liberal groups like us. And [the government] will continue all the way to close down all democratic forces," Abd Allah said. "What else did you think a military coup would do? It's something expected from a military regime that has killed thousands of people, and imprisoned thousands more. And it's just the beginning."
The secretary of state said that if Israel doesn’t make peace soon, it could become ‘an apartheid state,’ like the old South Africa. Jewish leaders are fuming over the comparison.
If there’s no two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict soon, Israel risks becoming “an apartheid state,” Secretary of State John Kerry told a room of influential world leaders in a closed-door meeting Friday.
Senior American officials have rarely, if ever, used the term "apartheid" in reference to Israel, and President Obama has previously rejected the idea that the word should apply to Jewish State. Kerry's use of the loaded term is already rankling Jewish leaders in America—and it could attract unwanted attention in Israel, as well.
It wasn't the only controversial comment on the Middle East that Kerry made during his remarks to the Trilateral Commission, a recording of which was obtained by The Daily Beast. Kerry also repeated his warning that a failure of Middle East peace talks could lead to a resumption of Palestinian violence against Israeli citizens. He suggested that a change in either the Israeli or Palestinian leadership could make achieving a peace deal more feasible. He lashed out against Israeli settlement-building. And Kerry said that both Israeli and Palestinian leaders share the blame for the current impasse in the talks.
Kerry also said that at some point, he might unveil his own peace deal and tell both sides to “take it or leave it.”
26 Apr 2014
The Iraq War is now eleven years old, still tearing up the country but no longer with the assistance of U.S. troops. Between 500,000 and 700,000 people died in 2003-2011. The monthly civilian toll now is as high as it’s been since 2008. It is a riven country, at odds with itself, fending off jihadists from Syria, morally and physically drained by more than twenty years of war (starting with Operation Desert Storm in 1991) and crippling sanctions.
And that’s not all. We now know, thanks to the courageous efforts of several researchers, that environmental toxins have likely poisoned the country, toxins that are also due to the U.S.-instigated war. The munitions the United States used in Desert Storm and Operation Iraqi Freedom are the apparent culprits, and, like the grim Agent Orange legacy in Vietnam, controversy and denial animate much of the discussion.
Two agents are at issue. One is depleted uranium, which is used to harden bullets and mortar shells to enable them to more easily penetrate the target. Depleted uranium (DU) is slightly radioactive and harmful if inhaled, though the extent of this hazard is unclear and most studies discount widespread impacts. The most likely effect is chemical (rather than radiological), and affects kidneys, according to studies conducted in manufacturing DU applications. Other metals used in munitions could have similar effects.
A second candidate is white phosphorous (WP), which was used extensively in Fallujah and possibly elsewhere by U.S. forces to light up a field of battle and as an incendiary. A known carcinogen, the army called its use of WP “shake and bake.” A shell containing WP could burn toxic smoke for 15 minutes. Israel also used WP extensively in its assault on Gaza in 2008-09, but said last year it would no longer use the agent.
24 Apr 2014
"A push for some social media love by the New York Police Department backfired badly, with Twitter users taking advantage of the invitation to mock the NYPD and other departments nationwide.
The department on Tuesday asked folks to post photos of themselves with its officers, using the hashtag #myNYPD. The response was swift and overwhelmingly negative as tweeters hijacked the hashtag to post photos they said showed police brutality or misconduct.
23 Apr 2014
The two main rival Palestinian factions have signed an accord designed to end seven years of sometimes violent division, paving the way for elections later in the year and the formation of a unity government within weeks.
The move, after a day of talks between Hamas and Fatah in Gaza that lasted until three in the morning, comes less than a week before the expiry of the deadline for US-sponsored peace talks between Israel and the Palestinian Authority on 29 April and is certain to complicate US efforts to seek another nine-month extension to those talks. Israel immediately responded by saying the Palestinian president, Mahmoud Abbas, was moving to peace with Hamas instead of peace with Israel. "He has to choose," said the prime minister, Binyamin Netanyahu. "Does he want peace with Hamas or peace with Israel? You can have one but not the other. I hope he chooses peace, so far he hasn't done so."
After the agreement was announced, Israel cancelled a planned session of peace negotiations with the Palestinians. It also launched an air strike on a site in the north of the Gaza Strip, wounding 12 people including children, which underscored the deep mutual suspicion and hostility that persists.
The ethnic cleansing by the British of an entire small population and culture – the Chagos Islanders – is probably the most despicable act by Britain of my lifetime. As if the Iraq War and Extraordinary Rendition were not enough, New Labour’s moral dereliction – or more properly evil – was confirmed by the breathtaking cynicism of David Miliband’s proclamation of a Marine Protected Zone around the islands, designed to protect the American base on Diego Garcia and make it impossible for the Chagos Islanders to return to their living as native fishermen, and keep away any eyes that might see the secret prison inmates.
Extraordinarily and to their eternal shame, a number of prominent British environmentalists and conservationists lent their support to the Diego Garcia marine protected zone. These purblind fools, obsessed with a single cause and blind to wider policy and justice, are in the same category as the ridiculous “feminists” who were co-opted by the neo-conservatives agents (be they propaganda media or secret service or both) to frustrate the aims of Julian Assange and Tommy Sheridan.
In truth, if colonial conquest and force majeure are legitimate grounds of sovereignty, and if extermination of a population can wipe out the legal right to self-determination, then in international law Britain has the right to Diego Garcia and to give it as tribute to their US overlords. But if international law has any relationship of any kind to principles of justice, then Britain should not be permitted to reap the dubious benefit of genocide. What international law actually is in the neo-conservative era is the real question before the UN tribunal now looking at the Diego Garcia question.
A backpack. Spare clothes. A notebook. Some keepsake photos. Crackers. Though they may not have a home in which to secure their stuff, homeless people still have possessions like everyone else.
Yet the city of Ft. Lauderdale, Florida is on the cusp of passing a new regulation that would make it illegal for anyone to store their personal things on public property. Specifically, it would empower police to confiscate any personal possessions stored on public property, provided they have given the homeless person 24-hours notice. If the homeless people wish to retrieve their items, they must pay the city “reasonable charges for storage and removal of the items,” though that fee is waived if the person is able to demonstrate he or she cannot afford to pay. The city may dispose of any possessions not retrieved within 30 days. One of the driving factors behind the measure, according to the legislation, is the city’s “interest in aesthetics.”
Last week, the City Commission gave unanimous preliminary approval to the measure, despite overwhelming opposition from local residents who testified.
One woman, Gazol Tajalli, told Commissioners that is “insanity that we are even here discussing whether an individual can put on the ground the few objects that they own.” Another citizen, Rev. Gail Tapscott of the Unitarian Universalist Church of Ft. Lauderdale, criticized some of the Commissioners for “demoniz[ing]” the homeless.
22 Apr 2014
One of the founding border members of the Creationist organization Answers in Genesis believes that dinosaurs accompanied Noah on his Ark as the entire world was flooded by God. Speaking to Bryan Fischer of the American Family Association on Thursday, Carl Kerby insisted it wasn't infeasible for the giant reptilian creatures to have been on Noah's Ark...
It’s really amazing how many people are waking up to the fact that “chemtrails” are different from “con-trails.” What was once considered a conspiracy to many is now a fact, chemicals are constantly sprayed into our atmosphere and have been for quite some time now. Not long ago, NASA personnel gave a lecture (that was also streamed live) at their Jet Propulsion Laboratory at the California Institute of Technology. It was a series of talks by scientists and engineers exploring the topic of Geoengineering and Climate Intervention. Some of you might be thinking, “Geoengineering, what is that?” Geoengineering encompasses strategies to combat and reduce the effects of global warming and climate change. It’s the deliberate and large-scale intervention in the Earth’s climatic system, and one of these methods, as illustrated in the lecture, is called Solar Radiation Management (SRM) by spraying stratospheric aerosols into the atmosphere. The lecture outlines how SRM would require the equivalent of airplanes spraying aerosols into our atmosphere for decades. You can see this at approximately the 32 minute mark. It seems it’s already happening. These programs are also considering spraying Aluminum into the atmosphere (if not already doing it).
“There might be some good reasons to think about aluminum. Aluminum has four times the volumetric rate for small particles as does sulphur. That means you have roughly 16 times less the coagulation rate, and that’s the thing that really drives removal.” – David Keith, Canadian Environmental Scientists, Professor of Applied Physics at Gordon McKay, Professor of Public policy, Harvard University, President of Carbon Engineering.
The idea of spraying aluminum into our atmosphere goes way back, patents exist that clearly demonstrate the consideration of such materials that include the oxides of metals which have high emissivity. These include harmful substances like aluminum oxide and thorium oxide. A great patent example is one from the Hughes Aircraft Company that dates all the way back to 1990, that’s over twenty years ago. You can take a look at it here.
20 Apr 2014
19 Apr 2014
*World leaders and Jewish groups condemned a leaflet handed out in the eastern Ukrainian city of Donetsk in which Jews were told to "register" with the pro-Russian militants who have taken over a government office in an attempt to make Ukraine part of Russia, according to Ukrainian and Israeli media. Jews emerging from a synagogue say they were handed leaflets that ordered the city's Jews to provide a list of property they own and pay a registration fee "or else have their citizenship revoked, face deportation and see their assets confiscated," reported Ynet News, Israel's largest news website, and Ukraine's Donbass news agency. Secretary of State John Kerry said the language of the leaflets "is beyond unacceptable" and condemned whomever is responsible...* Could this be a false flag operation, or propaganda? The Young Turks host Cenk Uygur breaks it down.
Read more here from Oren Dorell at USA Today
18 Apr 2014
Turkey's parliament voted Thursday to increase the powers of the National Intelligence Agency (MIT). The controversial new law gives the MIT broader authorities to conduct eavesdropping and foreign operations, and grants immunity to senior operatives. It also sanctions prison terms as punishment for leaking classified information.
Critics claim the legislation is as attempt by Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan to enhance his powers. Erdogan's Justice and Development Party (AKP) wields significant influence in parliament and was able to push the legislation through after heated debate.
Opposition parties expressed concern that the empowered MIT would transform Turkey into a surveillance state. Rights group Freedom for Journalists Platform argued that Erdogan was attempting to privatize the intelligence agency for his own use. The expanded spy powers comes as Erdogan and his power have been under investigation in a far-reaching corruption probe that began in December 2013.
A video that recently surfaced on Islamist militant Web sites shows a large group of al-Qaeda fighters — including the terrorist network’s second in command — taking part in a brazen open-air gathering, apparently unconcerned about the prospect of being struck by a U.S. drone.
U.S. officials said that the video appeared to be both recent and authentic and that analysts at the CIA and counterterrorism agencies are scrutinizing it for clues to potential plots. The officials declined to say why there had been no U.S. strike or whether U.S. spy agencies were even aware of the gathering before the video emerged.
15 Apr 2014
14 Apr 2014
13 Apr 2014
12 Apr 2014
At least five people have been attacked with acid in Colombia over the past two weeks. Until now, authorities have done little to address the problem. But a high profile case in the capital Bogota has pushed the government into restricting acid sales, and increase penalties. Al Jazeera's Alessandro Rampietti reports from Bogota.
10 Apr 2014
Top secret MI5 files on spies from the First World War – including the notorious exotic dancer Mata Hari – will go online today. The database will feature for the first time some of history’s most famous spies and the secrets in which they traded.
Among the names detailed in more than 150 digitised dossiers is Dutch-born Hari, tried for causing the deaths of 50,000 soldiers by spying for German intelligence. She was arrested in February 1917 in Paris before being executed in France aged 41. The files contain a detailed account of her interrogation by British police in the same year – in which she gives away nothing. Another MI5 memo, referring to the spy by her real name of Margreet Zelle MacLeod, says their contact in Paris warned the agency of his suspicions.
“He informs us that he has suspected her for some time and pretended to employ her in order, if possible, to obtain definite proof.” Evidence emerged decades later that she did compile reports for the Germans.
The files can be accessed at nationalarchives.gov.uk/first-world-war
A Chinese anti-corruption campaigner has gone on trial in Beijing, according to his lawyer, joining two others who appeared in court this week as China's government cracks down on activists.
Zhao Changqing, 45, faces a possible five-year prison sentence for supporting activists who unveiled banners in Beijing calling for government officials to disclose their assets - despite not being present, Zhang Peihong, his lawyer, said on Thursday. Zhao is associated with the New Citizens Movement, a loose-knit network of campaigners against corruption, among other issues. China jailed a founder of the movement in January, and more than 10 other members have been tried.
Zhao pleaded not guilty to a charge of "gathering a crowd to disrupt public order" for his alleged involvement in three small-scale protests in Beijing, which saw activists unfurl banners, Zhang said. "[Zhao] didn't disturb public order in any way, he didn't even appear on the scene of the protests, because he was worried about his family," he said, adding that the hearing lasted around three hours.
Fellow anti-corruption activists Ding Jiaxi and Li Wei were also put on trial this week over the protests. China's ruling Communist Party is in the midst of a highly-publicised anti-corruption campaign, which President Xi Jinping has pledged will target both high-ranking "tigers" and low-level "flies" in the face of public anger over the issue.
8 Apr 2014
Weeping and grimacing, dozens of spectators at the Rwandan genocide memorial in Kigali have had to be carried from the stands as the emotional turmoil of the ceremony left many overcome with grief.
In disturbing scenes, performers at the Amahoro stadium in Kigal re-enacted events of the 2004 genocide, which resulted in almost a million deaths. Actors dressed in grey and white played dead on the football field, while sorrowful wails and uncontrollable sobs resounded.
Thousands of Rwandans were in the country's main sports stadium on Monday to mark the 20th anniversary of the beginning of the devastating 100-day genocide. Global leaders, past and present, were also in attendance to remember the tragedy in which more than 800,000 ethnic Tutsi and moderate Hutus were slaughtered over an 100 day period, mostly with machetes.
7 Apr 2014
6 Apr 2014
"A rash of new laws issued in Saudi Arabia aim to blot out all political dissent — and in one case defines atheists as terrorists. The series of laws began in January of 2014. At the end of last month, Human Rights Watch issued a report explaining that "a series of related royal decrees create a legal framework that appears to criminalize virtually all dissident thought or expression as terrorism."
5 Apr 2014
4 Apr 2014
Israel has announced that it will not release the fourth batch of Palestinian prisoners because of renewed Palestinian efforts to join international organisations.
A spokesman for Tzipi Livni, Israel's justice minister and the government's chief negotiator, said on Thursday that the Israeli government had been working to finalise an agreement to free the prisoners when Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas signed letters of accession to 15 international conventions.
3 Apr 2014
National polls appear to show widespread support among Russians for the government's seizure and annexation of the Crimean peninsula last month. But not everyone in the country views the move as positive — and some see it as the last straw.
The takeover of Crimea, paired with the Kremlin's renewed crackdown on independent media outlets and opposition politicians, has prompted some people in Russia to make plans to leave the country in pursuit of a better life abroad.
The emigration of members of the intellectual elite has been a persistent problem for post-Soviet Russia, and several high-profile liberal figures have left the country in recent years, including opposition leader and former chess champion Garry Kasparov and economist Sergei Guriyev.
Russia also continues to rank among the top countries from which people flee seeking political asylum. Last month, the United Nations issued a report saying that Russia was the second leading country after Syria from which citizens ask for safe haven. According to the report, about 40,000 Russians asked for asylum in countries around the world in 2013, a 76 percent increase from the year before. Germany and Poland were the most popular destinations for Russian asylum seekers.
1 Apr 2014
Although they say they're concerned about inequality, economic policymakers continue to pummel low-income families and the jobless, and that’s bad for all of us.
A year ago I asked if Karl Marx was, in certain respects, right about capitalism, and argued that class struggle was making a comeback. The German philosopher believed the capitalist system was inherently unjust. Capitalism, Marx predicted, would inevitably concentrate wealth in the hands of a few while impoverishing everyone else. There is ample evidence that Marx’s theorizing is becoming reality.
Meanwhile in the US…
A report by the Senate Intelligence Committee concludes that the CIA misled the government and the public about aspects of its brutal interrogation program for years — concealing details about the severity of its methods, overstating the significance of plots and prisoners, and taking credit for critical pieces of intelligence that detainees had in fact surrendered before they were subjected to harsh techniques.
The report, built around detailed chronologies of dozens of CIA detainees, documents a long-standing pattern of unsubstantiated claims as agency officials sought permission to use — and later tried to defend — excruciating interrogation methods that yielded little, if any, significant intelligence, according to U.S. officials who have reviewed the document.
“The CIA described [its program] repeatedly both to the Department of Justice and eventually to Congress as getting unique, otherwise unobtainable intelligence that helped disrupt terrorist plots and save thousands of lives,” said one U.S. official briefed on the report. “Was that actually true? The answer is no.”
In the US a Delaware man convicted of raping his three-year-old daughter only faced probation after a state Superior Court judge ruled he "will not fare well" in prison.
In her decision, Judge Jan Jurden suggested Robert H. Richards IV would benefit more from treatment. Richards, who was charged with fourth-degree rape in 2009, is an unemployed heir living off his trust fund. The light sentence has only became public as the result of a subsequent lawsuit filed by his ex-wife, which charges that he penetrated his daughter with his fingers while masturbating, and subsequently assaulted his son as well.
Richards is the great grandson of du Pont family patriarch Irenee du Pont, a chemical baron.