29 Nov 2015

Protests Erupt Across Turkey After Killing of Kurdish Lawyer Tahir Elci

Protests erupted in several Turkish cities after a well-known Kurdish lawyer and human rights activist was killed along with two police officers on Saturday in the southeastern city of Diyarbakir. Tahir Elci, who was president of Diyarbakir Bar Association, died when gunmen clashed with security forces following a press conference. At least 10 people were injured, including journalists. The exact circumstances of the shooting remain unclear. Video footage from the scene shows Elci, wearing a grey suit, crouching as plain-clothed policemen fire pistols and take cover behind a car. Seconds later, a presumed attacker sprints past as the officers shoot at him. Elci is then seen lying face down on the pavement with blood coming from his head.

An initial forensic report said he had died when a single bullet fired from long range hit him in the back of the neck. One policeman was killed at the scene and another died from his injuries after being taken to hospital. Interior Minister Efkan Ala said in a press briefing that the shootout began when attackers fired on security forces from inside a car. But some opposition figures alleged that Elci had been deliberately targeted by the state. The Diyarbakir Bar Association described his death as a "cowardly assassination" in a press statement, while the pro-Kurdish HDP party said he had been "viciously murdered," and urged supporters to "raise their voice" in protest.

More at VICE News

28 Nov 2015

Freedom

Woodstock 1969, Richie Havens was the festivals first performer, he held the crowd for nearly three hours (in part because he was told to perform a lengthy set because many artists were delayed in reaching the festival location), and he was called back for several encores. Having run out of tunes, he improvised a song based on the old spiritual "Motherless Child" that became "Freedom".

Black day for press

Anger over the arrest of two prominent journalists is gathering steam in Turkey. Police used pepper spray to push back protesters in Ankara rallying in their support... while in Istanbul, hundreds also gathered outside the newspaper's headquarters in a show of solidarity. RT's Ilya Petrenko was at the newspaper's headquarters on what's been dubbed the black day of the press in Turkey. (But who is RT to say..)

Ben Carson's Sarah Palin Moment

Ben Carson has a "Sarah Palin moment" and can't name a single US ally - More at the NY Times

25 Nov 2015

Mad World

Tears For Fears (1983)

Cultural figures and rights groups call for release of poet facing execution

Leading international cultural figures have joined human rights campaigners in calling for the release of Ashraf Fayadh, the Palestinian poet and artist facing execution in Saudi Arabia.

ashraf-fayadh

Chris Dercon, the director of Tate Modern, British poet laureate Carol Ann Duffy, historian Simon Schama, playwright David Hare, and Egyptian novelist and commentator Ahdaf Soueif are among the those calling for the death sentence imposed on Fayadh by a Saudi court last week to be overturned.

More than a dozen organisations for artists, writers, musicians and freedom of expression from the UK, North America and Africa – including Index on Censorship, literary association PEN International and the International Association of Art Critics – have also signed a joint statement condemning Fayadh’s conviction for renouncing Islam, a charge which he denies. The statement, which will be delivered to the Saudi embassy in London by English PEN on Friday, says: “We believe that all charges against him should have been dropped entirely, and are appalled that Fayadh has instead been sentenced to death for apostasy, simply for exercising his rights to freedom of expression and freedom of belief.”

More at The Guardian

The Vikings

24 Nov 2015

NASA Fail Compilation

Glenn Greenwald on "Submissive" Media's Drumbeat for War and Anti-Muslim Scapegoating

In the aftermath of the Paris attacks, media coverage has seen familiar patterns: uncritically repeat government claims, defend expansive state power, and blame the Muslim community for the acts of a few. We discuss media fearmongering, anti-Muslim scapegoating, ISIL’s roots, and war profiteering with Glenn Greenwald, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and co-founder of The Intercept. "Every time there’s a terrorist attack, Western leaders exploit that attack to do more wars," Greenwald says. "Which in turn means they transfer huge amounts of taxpayer money to these corporations that sell arms. And so investors are fully aware that the main people who are going to benefit from this escalation as a result of Paris are not the American people or the people of the West —-— and certainly not the people of Syria — it is essentially the military-industrial complex."

Democracy Now! 

22 Nov 2015

Ukrainian nationalist leader: “ISIS is our ally in the struggle against Russia”

A Ukrainian nationalist, leader of the “Brotherhood,” Dmitry Korchinsky proposed to offer asylum to ISIS terrorists in Kiev, the former head of UNA-UNSO [Ukrainian National Assembly – Ukrainian People’s Self-defense] wrote on his social network page. According to Korchinsky, SSU (Security Service of Ukraine) must see ISIS as “allies in the struggle with Russia.”

Korchinsky

“At the G20 summit leaders of Western countries were talking to the Moscow terrorist, like he’s a human, asking him to bomb ISIS positions. That is, their attitude towards the terrorists is pragmatic. Ukrainian security services also has to be pragmatic, and therefore, effective. It is not our business to arrest the enemies of Moscow – Islamists. We should only ask them to shoot accurately at Moscow’s terrorists in the Caucasus and in Syria.

More at  Novorossia Today

20 Nov 2015

One in four children at risk of poverty in Europe

More than one in four children in Europe are at risk of poverty and social exclusion, which will have repercussions for them throughout life.

birmingham_poverty

Under the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, all children should be guaranteed the right to education, health care services, housing, leisure and a balanced diet. Yet in Europe things look rather different. According to Eurostat, about 26 million children (anyone under 18) were at risk of poverty and social exclusion in 2014. This represents 27.7% of all children in the EU. Children living in poverty can be found in every EU country, even if percentages vary. Children are at greatest risk of poverty in Romania (51%), Bulgaria (45.2%) and Hungary (41.4%), whereas the percentage is much lower in countries such as Denmark (14.5%), Finland (15.6%), Sweden (16.7%). UK and Ireland are doing worse than the EU average of 27.7% with 31.3% and 33.9% (figure for 2013) respectively.

child poverty

The problem of malnutrition among children is also growing in Europe. According to Unicef, the percentage of children who cannot afford to eat meat or fish every second day has doubled in Estonia, Greece and Italy since 2008.

More at the European Parliament

Blackstar

David Bowie

19 Nov 2015

While the World Focuses on the Islamic State, Assad Keeps Bombing Doctors and Civilians

The regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has been bombing hospitals and civilian targets, a situation made worse recently by the arrival of Russian warplanes. Russian airstrikes hit medical facilities at least 10 times during their first month of bombing in Syria, making matters even worse for doctors, nurses, and patients who have already endured repeated bombardment from Syrian government forces, according to a report from the non-profit group Physicians for Human Rights (PHR).

russian-su-25-fighter-jet

PHR said the Russian strikes, which began on September 30, included several in the vicinity of Aleppo, where 45 healthcare facilities have been hit in the past three years. According PHR, almost all of the city's doctors — 95 percent — have been killed, detained, or fled the area. The group said it documented 329 attacks on Syrian medical facilities through October, leading to the deaths of 687 medical personnel across the country. It attributed 90 percent of those incidents to the Syrian government. "Each attack, whether the bombing of a hospital or the detention and torture of a doctor for providing health care, is a war crime," said the report's authors.

More at VICE News

18 Nov 2015

16 Nov 2015

Syria's war: Who is fighting and why

Vox

Assange Reveals That The West is Behind ISIS And Ukraine Crisis And Israel Behind Hamas

Washington might hope that it has Julian Assange cornered, but despite the man’s inability to physically move anywhere, it would seem that it is he who is doing all the cornering. He explained to an Argentinian paper how US intervention in Ukraine had led to civil war, how the West had helped ISIS, and why Israel supported Hamas.

assange

The United States has spent “A lot of time Trying to Bring Ukraine to the West,” the WikiLeaks Founder said in an Interview to Pagina / 12, Argentinian newspaper on Monday. The intervention of Western countries in the Middle East had also led to  the creation of the Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS), an Islamist group that is currently gaining a massive following across the wider Middle East and Africa, Assange said. “The IS is A Direct result of the adventurism of the West,” Said Assange.

Isis-idiots

He says the “adventurism” of Western countries has already destroyed the Libyan and Syrian society and now is “destroying Iraq for oil and other geopolitical reasons.” He said that most people are aware of the fact that arms are being funneled into Syria, and that the same agitators who provide these are also focused on reducing Iran’s influence on Iraq. But “what we don’t know is that in recent years in recent years Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Turkey have increased their power and managed to gain certain independence form the US.” As a result, Washington stopped being “the only geopolitical actor “pushing developments in the Middle East, claims Assange.

hamas

Assange claims that Israeli authorities had supported the Hamas group at its early stages in order to divide the Palestinian resistance. “Our cables reveal that Israel supported Hamas in its infancy, that Hamas was used as an instrument to divide the Palestine Liberation Organization [PLO] and the Palestinian resistance,” Assange said.

More at RT.com

Liberté Egalité Fraternité

Rasheed Daci

John Oliver Paris Attacks

A life is a life

Jeremy Corbyn has suggested the British media under-played terrorist attacks in Beirut and Ankara compared to its coverage of the atrocities in Paris this weekend. The Labour leader claimed the events “got hardly any publicity” and the media should “report things that happen outside of Europe as well as inside”.

Paris media coverage

On Thursday evening, over 40 people died in Beirut in an IS terror attack a day before the Paris strikes. The extremists are also believed to have been responsible for the October suicide bombings in Ankara, Turkey, which killed over 100 people. Mr Corbyn told ITV’s Lorraine Kelly this morning: “I think first of all what happened in Paris was appalling, this is a vibrant, multicultural city, young people of all faiths, and older people as well, all there together, and cultures, and this terrible thing happened.

“Likewise, which didn’t unfortunately get hardly any publicity, was the bombing in Beirut last week or the killing in Turkey. I think our media needs be able to report things that happen outside of Europe as well as inside. A life is a life.”

More at Huff. Post UK – Also see The Conversation.

14 Nov 2015

Best of Carl Sagan Arguments And Comebacks

Carl Sagan

Disguised Israeli commandos raid hospital

Israeli security service operatives infiltrated a hospital in the Palestinian West Bank on Thursday, killing a bystander while attempting to detain a suspect who allegedly carried out a stabbing, local sources say - More on RT

Paris reels after multiple terror attacks

At least 120 people were killed in a wave of simultaneous attacks on Friday evening in Paris, in the deadliest violence to strike France since World War II.

paris

Gunmen and bombers attacked busy restaurants, bars and a concert hall at six locations around Paris on Friday evening, killing scores of people in what a shaken President François Hollande described as an unprecedented terrorist attack. The apparently coordinated gun and bomb assault came as the country, a founder member of the US-led coalition waging air strikes against Islamic State group fighters in Syria and Iraq, was on high alert for terrorist attacks ahead of a global climate conference due to open later this month.

More at France 24

12 Nov 2015

Top 10 Mistakes by Hitler Showing He Was An Idiot

TopTenz

Homelessness in Hawaii

honolulu

Lohe Akau, a 55-year-old homeless construction worker, carries his bodyboard through a homeless encampment in the Kakaako district of Honolulu. Homelessness in Hawaii has grown steadily in recent years, leaving the state with the nation's highest rate of homeless people per capita. There are estimated 7,620 homeless people living on the streets in Hawaii.

More pictures at Avax News

WTF (Where They From)

It's been seven years since the last single from the superstar rapper, producer and first black female entertainment mogul, Missy "Misdemeanor" Elliott. She broke that dry spell Thursday, dropping the "WTF (Where They From)" featuring Pharrell Williams, a high-energy dance track that boasts an almost hard rock edge at times. It comes with a characteristically loud, colorful video.

Music.mic

11 Nov 2015

Atheists

Dave Foley

Ukraine Chooses Homophobia Over Europe

On Nov. 10 the Verkhovna Rada refused to pass a law that would have allowed Ukrainian citizens to have the long-awaited privilege of visa-free travel in the European Union. The reason behind the legislation’s resounding defeat? A provision preventing discrimination against gays in the workplace. This provision, which is a precondition for visa-free travel set by the EU, ignited a vociferous outcry, and ultimately turned into a red line which the Rada refused to cross.

homophobic Ukraine

“As a country with a thousand-year-old Christian history, we simply cannot allow this,” is how Rada deputy Pavlo Unguryan, a member of Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk’s own party, explained it after a previous attempt to pass the legislation on Nov. 5 failed.

Stop discrimination

This isn’t the first homophobic news to come out of Ukraine this year: On June 6, members of the ultranationalist group Right Sector attacked Kiev’s gay pride parade, brutally injuring numerous marchers as well as police. In July, when a pair of gay activists decided to test the extent of Ukraine’s new Western values by holding hands in the middle of Kiev, they were quickly assaulted by thugs. On Nov. 2, the Kyiv Post profiled Mykola Dulskiy, the founder of a vigilante group called Fashion Verdict, whose mission, according to the article, is to “sweep promiscuity, gambling, sexual offenders and homosexuality from the streets of Ukraine’s cities.” The “verdict” is delivered in a rather straightforward manner: Members of the organization track down and beat anyone they deem degenerate.

More at Foreign Policy and Kyiv Post

The Censored Truth Of The Refugee Crisis

Today 60 million human beings are displaced from war and extreme poverty. Many European countries are responding to the crisis with racist hysteria, polices and police state measures.
Abby Martin exposes the facts that are left out of the mainstream reporting: the role of criminal wars, disastrous neoliberal economics and why mass displacement is a permanent feature under this system.

Empire Files - teleSUR English

I Can't Stand Up for Falling Down

British musician Elvis Costello and the Attractions covered the song in 1980 for his album Get Happy!!. It was one of three singles taken from the album in the UK and peaked at number 4 in the UK Singles Chart. It was supposed to be released on the 2 Tone Records label in the UK, but even though copies were pressed, contractual difficulties eventually halted its release on that label. The single was eventually released on F-Beat Records, accredited to Elvis Costello and the Attractions, but was originally a song by Sam & Dave released in 1967, written by Homer Banks and Allen Jones.

Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

10 Nov 2015

Pyramid Scan Shows Strange Heat Spots At Giza Could Reveal Hidden Chambers And Passages

Ancient hidden chambers and passages not explored for thousands of years could lie behind strange heat spots discovered during a scan of the Great Pyramid at Giza. The Egyptian Ministry of Antiquities has revealed that an international team of archeologists, architects and scientists have observed the phenomena deep within the structure's core buried within its stones.

Khufu_East_Low_IR

Despite the natural tendency of stone to be cooler than other materials, significantly higher temperatures were observed in three connected blocks at the base of the pyramid. Dating as far back as 2580 BC, the group of monuments at Giza were the final resting places of pharaohs Khufu, also known as Kheops, Khafre, known as Khephren, and Menkaure, as Mycerinus.

More at Huff. Post

9 Nov 2015

Gangsters

The Specials (1979)

The Primate Genocide Happening Right Now That The World Needs To Know About

The genocide of thousands of primates, as well as the destruction of some of the world’s most diverse and vital habitats is currently – and quietly – occurring. Palm oil is something the majority of use will use every day. It is an ingredient found in everyday products such as breadsticks, shampoos, toothpaste and chocolate. Many of the household products we use utilize palm oil because it is cheap to source. However, it seems this cheap produce comes at a devastating cost.

Orangutan

In order to clear the way for palm oil plantations, vast expanses of untouched rainforests in countries like Borneo, Sumatra, Indonesia and Malasia, are being destroyed and levelled, at a scale and speed which is staggering. Like many cases before this one, it is those without a voice – the poor, vulnerable and native residents, as well as the wildlife – which is paying the price. It is evident that the large companies simply do not care about the destruction homes, displacement of people and endangering of wildlife.

palm-oil

Deforestation workers are instructed to dispose of any wildlife which stands in their way – no matter how inhumane the process. Tragically, this involved running over orangutans with logging trucks. In the past 20 years, 90% of the orangutan habitat has been destroyed. Just look at the pictures, it may not be nice to learn, but this destruction is something we all should be aware of.

More at The Unbounded Spirit

The US norm of Police Violence

Early Friday morning, this man was slammed to the ground by Austin police – for jaywalking.

Bill Maher and “The Hateful Eight” filmmaker Quentin Tarantino discuss his recent efforts to call attention.

8 Nov 2015

British Queen faces legal battle over Koh-i-Noor diamond

The British Queen faces a legal battle over a £100million diamond which forms part of the Crown Jewels. India claims that the Koh-i-Noor gem was stolen by the British after colonisation of the Punjab. Now a group of Indian businessmen and Bollywood members have instructed British lawyers to begin High Court proceedings to force the UK government to return it.

queen-s-speech

They will argue that the 105-carat diamond is part of their country’s heritage. The gem, whose name means Mountain of Light, was a “gift” to Queen Victoria in 1850. It was first used in Queen Alexandra’s crown at her husband King Edward VII’s coronation in 1902.

It is now set in the late Queen Mother’s crown at The Tower of London. The case comes in the week India’s PM Narendra Modi is to visit the Queen.

From The Sun

7 Nov 2015

Former Putin aide Mikhail Lesin found dead in US hotel

A former aide to Russian President Vladimir Putin has been found dead in Washington DC, Russian officials say. Mikhail Lesin, 57, Russia's former press minister and a one-time head of the powerful Gazprom-Media Holding group, died on Thursday, they said. Russian media, quoting his family, said he suffered a heart attack.

Putin_Lesin

The Washington Post quoted Russian embassy officials as saying Mr Lesin's body was found in a room at the Dupont Circle hotel. It reported that police were investigating the death of a man but that he had not yet been formally identified.

Last year, Mississippi senator Roger Wicker called for an investigation into Mr Lesin, saying his fortune "raises serious questions". In a letter to the US Department of Justice, Sen Wicker said Mr Lesin bought property worth $28m (£18.6m) in Los Angeles for his family after finishing work as a civil servant. Sen Wicker asked how a former civil servant would have been able to buy and maintain expensive property, and expressed concern their purchase may have involved people and groups on a US sanctions list.

More at BBC News

The Lost Tribes Of Israel

The mystery of the 10 Lost Tribes of Israel has fascinated people through the ages. Explorers claim to have discovered evidence of the "lost tribes" all over the world, from Australia to Siberia, but few if any such claims have been backed up by solid evidence. But now a provocative possibility about the whereabouts of one of the tribes has emerged--and it's 4,000 miles from Israel--in Southern Africa. Host and explorer Josh Bernstein retraces the amazing journey that the Lemba people claim they made centuries ago. It stretches from the heart of modern South Africa to the ancient stone cities of Zimbabwe...and then onto the shores of the Mediterranean and the city of Jerusalem. And the evidence for this journey is more than anecdotal. As Josh discovers, recent DNA studies point to the Lemba's true origin in the Middle East.

4 Nov 2015

City of Refuge

Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds

Maldives declares state of emergency as turmoil deepens

The Maldives declared a state of emergency on Wednesday, as President Abdulla Yameen sought to shore up his power over the Indian Ocean island nation following a suspected assassination attempt. Citing a threat to national security, the foreign ministry announced on its official Twitter feed that emergency rule would remain in force for 30 days. The authorities acted after discovering explosive devices near Yameen's official residence and the main mosque in the capital Male, as well as stashes of weapons believed to have been stolen from army stores. "Because these would be a threat to the public and the nation, the National Security Council advised taking immediate steps to protect the people of Maldives," Attorney General Mohamed Anil said in a live televised address.

Abdulla Yameen

The imposition of emergency rule, for the first time under a constitution passed in 2008, came two days before a demonstration planned by the main opposition party. The string of tropical islands, home to 400,000 people and a favourite of tourists, has been in turmoil since a Sept. 28 blast on board Yameen's launch as it was about to dock at the capital, Male. Yameen was unhurt but his wife and two aides were injured in the explosion, which the government quickly concluded was an attempt on his life.

Maldives declares state of emergency

Senior ministers told Reuters the government would only make use of limited powers to restrict the right of assembly. There would no curfew or arbitrary detention. "Please go ahead with your holidays - the Maldives are a peaceful country," Foreign Minister Dunya Maumoon told Reuters. "There has never been a major incident targeting tourists."

More at The Star OnlineThe Guardian

3 Nov 2015

Shell accused of lying over Nigeria oil spill clean-up

Shell has been accused of making false claims about the extent of its oil spill clean-up operations in Nigeria and urged to take more action to help worst-hit communities. Amnesty International and the Centre for Environment, Human Rights and Development (CEHRD) charged the oil major with failing to implement recommendations from a critical 2011 UN report. Amnesty and the CEHRD's claims come in a new report, "Clean It Up: Shell's False Claims about Oil Spill Response in the Niger Delta".

shell-in-nigeria

The 38-page document said most of the recommendations of a UN Environment Programme (UNEP) report had not been implemented since its publication five years ago. Thirteen out of 15 areas visited between July and September this year were still "visibly polluted" or contaminated, despite claims to the contrary by Shell and the government. The inadequate clean up left thousands of people "exposed to contaminated land, water and air, in some cases for years or even decades," said Amnesty researcher Mark Dummett.

More at Al Jazeera English

Transmission

Joy Division (Peel Sessions 1979)

2 Nov 2015

Promises and Betrayals in the Middle East

Documentary on how British double-dealing during the First World War ignited the conflict between Arab and Jew in the Middle East.
This is a story of intrigue among rival empires; of misguided strategies; and of how conflicting promises to Arab and Jew created a legacy of bloodshed which determined the fate of the Middle East.

The Pride of Strathmoor

Extracts from the journal of Pastor John Deitman, Strathmoor, Georgia. June & July, 1927

From Einar Baldvin