31 Jan 2011

'Anxious' Israel backs Egypt regime

Israel has called on the United States and Europe to curb their criticism of president Hosni Mubarak "in a bid to preserve stability in Egypt" and the wider Middle East, an Israeli newspaper reports.
The Israeli daily Haaretz reported on Monday that the foreign ministry, in an urgent special cable, instructed its ambassadors to key countries, to "stress ... the importance of Egypt's stability".

Increasingly, president Mubarak has been isolated by swift and at times harsh criticism from Western leaders who called for reform. It is unclear how angry Egyptians will interpret Israel's apparent support for their government.
The protests in Egypt have reportedly thrown the Israeli government into turmoil, with military officials holding lengthy strategy sessions, assessing possible scenarios of a post-Mubarak Egypt. 
Binyamin Netanyahu, Israel's prime minister, said on Sunday that his government is "anxiously monitoring" the political unrest in Egypt, his first comment on the crisis threatening a government that has been one of Israel's key allies for more than 30 years.

Follow the reports at Al Jazeera

Rick Astley vs ….

More Rick Astley mash ups on YouTube

Bangladesh city to pay beggars during cricket World Cup

The authorities in Bangladesh's city of Chittagong say they will pay beggars a daily wage to keep them off the streets during next month's Cricket World Cup.

Some 300 disabled beggars would be paid about $2 (£1.20) a day for three months to compensate them for their loss of earning, Mayor Mansur Alam said. He added that the beggars would also be given a chance to move into rehabilitation centres.

Bangladesh is co-hosting the World Cup along with India and Sri Lanka.


Despite the government's efforts to abolish begging, the practice is rampant in Bangladesh: every day beggars can be seen on the roadside, at traffic signals and outside commercial buildings in Dhaka and Chittagong.

There is no official figure on the number, but estimates suggest that there are more than 700,000 beggars across the country, many of them physically disabled.

BBC News

30 Jan 2011

Mohamed ElBaradei: Globalist Pied Piper Of The Egyptian Revolt

The revolt in Egypt is an organically driven people-power movement to oust a dictator, restore universal freedoms, and wrestle the country free from the clutches of the US military-industrial complex, but the man now being positioned to form a new government is a pied piper working for the very same globalists and NGO’s that autocrat leader Hosni Mubarak has dutifully served for nearly 30 years.


Enter former top UN official and staunch Mubarak adversary Mohamed ElBaradei, who recently returned to Cairo in a bid to lead the protest movement.

ElBaradei serves on the Board of Trustees of the International Crisis Group, who today issued a press release protesting the decision on behalf of Egyptian authorities to place ElBaradei under house arrest.

International Crisis Group is a shadowy NGO (non-governmental organization) that enjoys an annual budget of over $15 million and is bankrolled by the likes of Carnegie, the Ford Foundation, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, as well as George Soros’ Open Society Institute. Soros himself serves as a member of the organization’s Executive Committee. In other words, this is a major geopolitical steering group for the global elite.

The fact that their man ElBaradei is being primed to head up the post-Mubarak government should set alarm bells ringing in the ears of every demonstrator who is protesting in the name of trying to wrestle Egypt away from the clutches of new world order control.

Paul Joseph Watson on Infowars.com

Frances Fox Piven defies death threats after taunts by Fox anchorman Beck

Frances Fox Piven is not going into hiding. Not yet.

The 78-year-old leftwing academic is the latest hate figure for Fox News host Glenn Beck and his legion of fans. While she has decided to shrug off the inevitable death threats that have followed, she is well aware of the problem. "I don't know if I am scared, but I am worried," she told the Observer as she sat in a bar on Manhattan's Upper West Side.


"At the start I thought it was funny, but now I know that is dangerous... their paranoia works better when they can imagine a devil. Now that devil is me."

For the past three weeks Beck has relentlessly targeted Piven via his television and radio shows as a threat to the American way of life, seizing on an essay that she and her late husband wrote in 1966 as a sort of blueprint for bringing down the American economy.

Called The Weight of the Poor, it advocated signing up so many poor people for welfare payments that the cost would force the government to bring in a policy of a guaranteed income. For Piven, a committed voice of the left, known in academic circles but little recognised outside them, it was just one publication in a lifetime dedicated to political activism and theorising.

For Beck, however, Piven is a direct threat to the US. In show after show, the rightwing commentator has demonised Piven and framed her as part of a decades-old conspiracy to take over the country that culminated in the election of President Barack Obama. Beck's heated language has provoked a tidal wave of death threats against both Piven and her academic colleagues at the City University of New York.

From The Observer

29 Jan 2011

The Human Zoo: Science's Dirty Secret

Only one hundred years ago, many of the world's leading scientists agreed with A. C. Haddon, when he wrote in his 1898 book Study of Man, that, "on the whole, the white race has progressed beyond the black race."
In the 19th and early 20th centuries, scientists were so fascinated by race that thousands of 'exotic' and indigenous people from all over the world were put on display in human zoos. They were not intended as merely entertaining freak shows but also scientific demonstrations of racial difference. Across the western world millions gawped in fascination at these 'uncivilized savages' and would depart convinced of the superiority of the white race.

Other parts on LiveLeak.com

Egypt protests


After the fourth and most deadly day of protest against Hosni Mubarak's 30-year rule, the Egyptian president is set to appoint a new government today. Follow all the latest developments and reaction here

Live updates on guardian.co.uk

28 Jan 2011

Israel lets convicted commander walk

Israel has cut loose an army commander who has been convicted of involvement in shooting a bound Palestinian point-blank in the occupied West Bank.

Instead of sentencing him to prison, a Tel Aviv military court announced on Thursday that Lieutenant Colonel Omri Burberg cannot be eligible for a promotion in military rank for two years and is not allowed to command troops for one year, Ha'aretz reported. The verdict comes while an active prison sentence had earlier been sought for Burberg.
Last July, the Israeli officer was found guilty after a video showed his involvement in the shooting of Palestinian demonstrator Ashraf Abu Rahman in the West Bank village of Na'alin back in 2008.
Abu Rahman was reportedly detained during a rally in protest at Israel's separation wall. Burberg took the Palestinian man to the entry of the village, where he was bound and blindfolded. The Israeli officer then stood the prisoner on his feet, led him to a nearby jeep and told Staff Sergeant Leonardo Korea, to fire a rubber bullet at his leg.

More on PressTV

David Kelly death: Personal items found had no fingerprints

Further questions have been raised over the death of Dr David Kelly after police admitted that two personal items found with his body – his mobile phone and a watch – did not have any fingerprints on them.


The news brings the number of objects without fingerprints at the site where the weapons inspector’s body was discovered to five – the other three being the knife he allegedly used to slash his wrist, the packs of pills he is said to have overdosed on, and a water bottle.

It had been suggested that the lack of fingerprints on the knife might be due to the presence of gaffer tape on it. But Thames Valley Police have now confirmed that the knife had no tape on its handle.

Dr Kelly is said to have killed himself in 2003 after being named as the prime source of a BBC report accusing Tony Blair’s government of lying to take Britain into war in Iraq. No coroner’s inquest has been held. Instead, a public inquiry found he killed himself in woods near his Oxfordshire home.

Full story on Mail Online

More on Dr David Kelly Weblog

Mid-East: Will there be a domino effect?

In the wake of the ousting of Tunisia's President Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali, observers have drawn parallels with other countries in the region. There is speculation about a possible domino effect similar to the collapse of Communist governments around Eastern Europe in 1989.


Egypt - Egypt has many similarities with Tunisia - tough economic conditions, official corruption and little opportunity for its citizens to express their dissatisfaction with the political system. President Hosni Mubarak, 82, has an almost complete monopoly on power, has been in office for three decades and is seeking re-election this autumn.

Yemen - There have been several days of protests in Yemen - the Arab world's most impoverished nation, where nearly half of the population lives on less than $2 a day.

Algeria - As the winter protests escalated in Tunisia, its western neighbour also saw large numbers of young people taking to the streets. As in Tunisia, the trigger appeared to be economic grievances - in particular sharp increases in the price of food.

Libya - "There is none better than Zine to govern Tunisia. Tunisia now lives in fear." Libyan leader Muammar Gadaffi's sharp reaction on Saturday to the overthrow of President Ben Ali would seem to reflect his own nervousness about a possible domino effect.

Morocco - Like Tunisia, Morocco has been facing economic problems and allegations of corruption in ruling circles. Morocco's reputation was damaged after Wikileaks revealed allegations of increased corruption, in particular the royal family's business affairs and the "appalling greed" of people close to King Mohammed VI.

Full story on BBC News

27 Jan 2011

US Grocery Store Finds Gay Parenting Magazine Cover Too Offensive For Kids


Last night Twitter user JennHudd tweeted out this photo she took at Harps, a grocery store in Mountain Home, Arkansas. Apparently US Weekly's cover shot of Elton John, his partner, and baby is just too shocking for children. Harps has over 60 locations in Arkansas, Oklahoma, and Missouri.

See Joe. My. God for full story - Press Release by Harps

'Arabising' the Chechens for maximum effect

In the aftermath of the suspected suicide bombing at Domodedovo airport which killed over 35 people and injured many others -  a grizzly image has appeared on Russian NTV television showing a photograph of what seems to be the severed head of the suspected suicide bomber.


It's said to be of a "man aged 30 to 35 and of North Caucasus or Arab appearance" according to the Moscow Times. Curiously, there's a big difference between the two, as there are big physical differences even among Arabs, for example between a Lebanese and a Yemeni or a Palestinian and a Northern Sudanese.

To say, "North Caucasus or Arab appearance" implies they are one and the same. I am no expert on genetics, but there is no doubt a reason why "white" people in general are referred to as "Caucasian". Chechens, are from the North Caucasus. Caucasus - Caucasian. No?

Blue and green eyes, pale white skin and somewhat Slavic features makes them look much like their Russian countrymen (Chechnya is an autonomous state within Russia and the fighters want it to separate completely), and I was informed once by a translator that large parts of their languages are mutually intelligible.

During the Chechen wars, scores of Arab jihadi fighters did join the Chechens in opposing Moscow's rule - but if they were referring to possible foreign fighters within Chechnya, might NTV and the Moscow Times not have been more specific?

It's quite likely that fighters from Chechnya, Dagestan or Ingushetia may have carried out the horrendous attack - especially those wanting the region to become an "Islamic Emirate".

Al Jazeera Blogs

Uganda gay rights activist Kato killed

A Ugandan gay rights campaigner who last year sued a local newspaper which named him as being homosexual has been killed, activists say. Police have confirmed the death of David Kato but say they are investigating the circumstances.


Uganda's Rolling Stone newspaper published the photographs of several people it said were gay next to a headline reading "Hang them". Homosexual acts are illegal in Uganda, with punishments of 14 years in prison. An MP recently tried to increase the penalties to include the death sentence in some cases.

Human Rights Watch (HRW) quotes witnesses as saying that a man entered Mr Kato's home near Kampala and shot him twice in the head before leaving. Mr Kato died on his way to hospital, they say.

BBC News

Unnecessary police violence backfires

Don't know if this video comes from Brazil or Portugal, because it seems to be in portuguese. LiveLeak.com

26 Jan 2011

Richard Dawkins makes the Interviewer Frustrated!

On CBC News Canadian Evan Solomon, a McGill University graduate with a masters in religious studies, goes head to head with Richard Dawkins.
He reveals a deep misunderstanding of evolutionary biology along with a lack of journalistic research. In response to Dawkins' calm reasonable responses, he reacts with frustration.

Tiananmen-like courage in Cairo

Egyptians are not afraid anymore from the police state they are living in. Egyptians protested against a 30 year-old dictatorship. Inspired by the Tunisian uprising and organized and coordinated using Facebook, Egyptians went to the streets in thousands. This video is an edit from an original found here.

Protests in Egypt - live updates

1.11pm: Twitter had already been blocked in Egypt, forcing people to use alternative IP addresses. Now Facebook, which hosts the popular opposition movement pages We are all Khaled Said and the April 6 Youth Movement, has also reportedly been blocked.


1.04pm: The Egyptian consulate in Britain was more forthcoming than the UK Home Office (see 12.38pm) on the reports that Gamal Mubarak (son of Hosni) and his family have fled to London amid the protests, my colleague Sam Jones tells me. A spokesman said to him:

We deny it. I assume he is in Cairo, but he's not in London. That's the truth of the matter.

The spokesman, who said the reports had originated on the US-based website, Akhbar Al-Arab, would not comment on whether Gamal Mubarak had any plans to flee Egypt.

Live updates on guardian.co.uk

U.S. Officials Have No Link Between Bradley Manning and Julian Assange, But They Continue to Imprison, Torture Manning Anyway

Well this is an unfortunate development for the officials who decided imprisoning Private Bradley Manning would be a sure-fire way to take down WikiLeaks: according to NBC, "investigators have been unable to make any direct connection between [Manning] and Julian Assange, founder of the whistleblowing website WikiLeaks."


Although Manning has admitted to downloading tens of thousands of classified government documents to draw attention to wrongdoings by the U.S. government, there is apparently "no evidence he passed the files directly to Assange, or had any direct contact with the controversial WikiLeaks figure."

Despite having been convicted of no charges, the 22-year-old Manning has spent months in a Virginia prison, where he is being held in solitary confinement and is only allowed to leave his cell one hour a day. He has been denied visitors and is being kept in conditions that are described as torturous and inhumane. Presumably, Feds were hoping Manning would break under the pressure and help bring down Julian Assange and his website. But that hasn't worked out.

More on AlterNet

Bradley Manning Support Network

Ex-China Foreign Ministry Official says Extraterrestrials live among us

In China the study and civic appreciation of Extraterrestrials are NOT systematically marginalized as the case in the industralized West, which tries to use dogma to ridicule community and academic UFO research initiatives, and also the work of 'Exopolitics' groups.


Hundreds of scientists and engineers in China conduct thorough studies of apparent Extraterrestrial phenomenon.

Chinese scientists also say that aliens live among humans. This includes Sun Shili, a retired foreign ministry official who is now president of the Beijing UFO Research Society who also concludes that waixingren (extraterrestrials) are living among us.

In order to appreciate the systematized denial of human extraterrestrial contact and influences on Human civilization, which prevails in the West, one needs to appreciate that "official science" and "institutionalized religion" in the West are two different "heads" of the same body politic. Yes, "official science" in the West talks of "evolution", and Western institutionalized religion talks of "Creation". However, both groups have reached an apparent consensus to disregard clear evidence of verifiable contact and influences by Extraterrestrials on Human civilization. This joint denial is based upon a shared oppressive ideology, which seeks to repress critical human knowledge of cosmic associations and interactions with Off-world Human and other ET civilizations.

Full story on The Canadian National Newspaper

25 Jan 2011

Swapping land in East Jerusalem

Al Jazeera's Clayton Swisher explains the Palestinian Authority's offer to concede most of Israel's illegal settlements in East Jerusalem.


U.S. government commits avian holocaust with mass poisoning of millions of birds

The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) is engaged in what can only be called an avian holocaust through its Bye Bye Blackbird program that has poisoned tens of millions of birds over the last decade. The USDA even reports the number of birds it has poisoned to death in a PDF document posted on the USDA website.

Bye Bye Blackbird
Anticipating the USDA possibly removing that document, we have posted a copy on Natural News servers (The original source URL of this file here). This document shows that, just in 2009, the following bird populations were poisoned and killed by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, using taxpayer dollars (Listed as "Intentional" and "Killed / Euthanized"):  
Brown-headed cowbirds: 1,046,109
European Starlings: 1,259,714
Red-winged blackbirds: 965,889
Canadian geese: 24,519
Grackles: 93,210
Pigeons: 96,297

...plus tens of thousands of crows, doves, ducks, falcons, finches, gulls, hawks, herons, owls, ravens, sparrows, swallows, swans, turkeys, vultures and woodpeckers, among other animals. The chart even shows that the USDA "unintentionally" euthanized one Bald Eagle. Also murdered in 2009 by the USDA are victims of other species: 27,000 beavers, 1700 bobcats, 81,000 coyotes, 2,000 gray foxes, 336 mountain lions, 1900 woodchucks, 130 porcupines, 12,000 raccoons, 20,000 squirrels, 30,000 wild pigs, 478 wolves. See the list yourself

natural news.com

24 Jan 2011

illumicorp Initiate Welcome Video

Daily Comic



More evidence of US war crimes

Military documents obtained by the American Civil Liberties Union after a lengthy lawsuit under the Freedom of Information Act provide important new evidence of American war crimes. The documents include autopsy reports and investigative reports on the deaths of 190 prisoners held by the US military at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba and in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The more than 2,600 pages of documents were turned over to the ACLU on January 14 and made public on the organization’s web site five days later.


An ACLU statement said that 25 to 30 cases were “unjustified homicides.” US military investigators themselves identified many of the deaths as homicides, although there were very few trials or convictions of the soldiers involved.

The ACLU issued a statement declaring: “So far, the documents released by the government raise more questions than they answer, but they do confirm one troubling fact: that no senior officials have been held to account for the widespread abuse of detainees. Without real accountability for these abuses, we risk inviting more abuse in the future.”

Some of the deaths are well known cases of atrocities committed by American soldiers, such as the killing of four prisoners who were shot and then thrown into a Baghdad canal in 2007. Others are previously unknown or not widely reported.

The autopsy reports make for gruesome reading. One document details the beating death in 2003 of Abid Mowhosh, a prisoner at Abu Ghraib, the infamous prison outside Baghdad that was the site of the largest number of deaths.

The autopsy report concludes: “This 56-year-old Iraqi detainee died of asphyxia and chest compression. Significant findings of the autopsy included rib fractures and numerous contusions (bruises), some of which were patterned due to impacts with a blunt object…”

full story on wsws.org

Secret papers reveal slow death of Middle East peace process

The biggest leak of confidential documents in the history of the Middle East conflict has revealed that Palestinian negotiators secretly agreed to accept Israel's annexation of all but one of the settlements built illegally in occupied East Jerusalem. This unprecedented proposal was one of a string of concessions that will cause shockwaves among Palestinians and in the wider Arab world.

A cache of thousands of pages of confidential Palestinian records covering more than a decade of negotiations with Israel and the US has been obtained by al-Jazeera TV and shared exclusively with the Guardian. The papers provide an extraordinary and vivid insight into the disintegration of the 20-year peace process, which is now regarded as all but dead.


The documents – many of which will be published by the Guardian over the coming days – also reveal:

• The scale of confidential concessions offered by Palestinian negotiators, including on the highly sensitive issue of the right of return of Palestinian refugees.

• How Israeli leaders privately asked for some Arab citizens to be transferred to a new Palestinian state.

• The intimate level of covert co-operation between Israeli security forces and the Palestinian Authority.

• The central role of British intelligence in drawing up a secret plan to crush Hamas in the Palestinian territories.

• How Palestinian Authority (PA) leaders were privately tipped off about Israel's 2008-9 war in Gaza.

As well as the annexation of all East Jerusalem settlements except Har Homa, the Palestine papers show PLO leaders privately suggested swapping part of the flashpoint East Jerusalem Arab neighbourhood of Sheikh Jarrah for land elsewhere.


Most controversially, they also proposed a joint committee to take over the Haram al-Sharif/Temple Mount holy sites in Jerusalem's Old City – the neuralgic issue that helped sink the Camp David talks in 2000 after Yasser Arafat refused to concede sovereignty around the Dome of the Rock and al-Aqsa mosques.

Much more on The Guardian and Al Jazeera

23 Jan 2011

Yemen arrests anti-government protest leader

Yemen sparked a new wave of protests today with the arrest of a female activist who led student rallies against the government in the capital last week.

Inspired by the ousting of Tunisia's president, Tawakul Karman led two protests at Sanaa University, criticising autocratic Arab leaders and calling on Yemenis to topple President Ali Abdullah Saleh.


Police stopped Karman on her way home early today and charged her with organising unlicensed demonstrations without permission, said her husband, Mohamed Ismail al-Nehmi, who was with her.

"I have no accurate information about her whereabouts," Nehmi said. "Maybe at the central prison, maybe somewhere else, I don't know."

More on The Guardian

US Artist Could Face 15 Years In Prison For Recording His Own Arrest

Chris Drew was finally ready to get arrested. An artist and activist, Drew had spent years protesting a Chicago ordinance that puts tight restrictions on where and how people can sell their art on the street. He was downtown, on State Street, selling silk-screened patches for $1 and defying the city to stop him.

He'd tried his act of civil disobedience three times before -- a First Amendment lawyer on hand to argue his case, a team of videographers ready to film the arrest -- but the police simply let it slide. When, on December 2, 2009, he finally succeeded in getting booked, Drew was ready for a few hours in lock-up on a misdemeanor, and a lengthy court battle. He was in no way prepared for what he would actually face.

The state charged Drew with a Class 1 felony, not for selling art on the street, but for violating the Illinois Eavesdropping Act by recording his own arrest. He faces up to 15 years in prison.

"Illinois has the worst eavesdropping law in the country," Drew said in a phone interview. If not the single most punitive, it's certainly in the top three.

From the Huffington Post

UK Phone-Hacking Row: Ex-PM Called In Cops

Gordon Brown did ask police to investigate whether he was a target of phone hacking linked to the News of the World, Sky sources have confirmed.

The scandal has already cost No 10 spin doctor Andy Coulson his job amid claims he presided over the illegal action at the tabloid. The revelation comes after a lawyer told Sky News the phone-hacking row claims involve a string of newspapers - not just the Sunday tabloid.


Solicitor Mark Lewis said he is representing clients preparing to bring civil court cases against several newspaper groups over allegations of phone tapping. His claims suggest the practice of illegal eavesdropping is much more commonplace than first thought.

"I am absolutely positive - and I am not an advocate for the News of the World - that this wasn't a practice for one newspaper or even one newspaper group," Mr Lewis said. "It's fair to say that over the past 10 years or so most entertainment stories will have had some element of subterfuge. What happens is that if a celebrity is subject to a story there is a natural inclination to think that someone has sold their story or betrayed their confidence.

"But in fact it's their mobile phone or a bugging device that are the source of the story - that's how it got out."

Sky News

22 Jan 2011

The most awful creatures in nature


Even nature sometimes makes errors. And this series of pictures proves it well. The most terrible and unusual creatures of our planet. More here

Wikileaks Is A “Cognitive Infiltration” Operation

Awareness is growing around the world that the Wikileaks-Julian Assange theater of the absurd is radically inauthentic – a psyop. Wikileaks and its impaired boss represent a classic form of limited hangout or self-exposure, a kind of lurid striptease in which the front organization releases doctored and pre-selected materials provided by the intelligence agency with the intent of harming, not the CIA, nor the UK, nor the Israelis, but rather such classic CIA enemies’ list figures as Putin, Berlusconi, Karzai, Qaddafi, Rodriguez de Kirchner, etc. In Tunisia, derogatory material about ex-President Ben Ali leaked by Wikileaks has already brought a windfall for Langley in the form of the rare ouster of an entrenched Arab government.


At Foggy Bottom and Langley, a manic fit has been building since the flight of Ben Ali. US imperialist planners now believe they can re-launch their shopworn model of the color revolution, CIA people-power coup, or postmodern putsch against a whole series of countries in the Arab world and far beyond, including Italy. The color revolutions had been looking tarnished lately, as a result of the failure of the Twitter Revolution in Iran back in June 2009. Previously, the Cedars Revolution of 2005 had failed in Lebanon. The Orange Revolution in Ukraine had been rolled back with the ouster of NATO-IMF kleptocrats Yushchenko and Timoshenko. In Georgia, the Roses Revolution was increasingly discredited by the repressive and warmongering regime of fascist madman Saakashvili.

More of this at TARPLEY.net

Big Ears: 'Largest' secret spy hub uncovered in Israel

It's been described as Israel's 'big ears'. A huge facility where it's claimed phone calls and e-mails from all across the Middle East and beyond, can be monitored for intelligence. Hidden from prying eyes for decades in the desert, it's become a focus for investigative journalists.

RussiaToday's Channel

10,000 Cattle Dead In Vietnam: Cows, Buffalo Part Of Mass Die-Off

In the latest of a string of mass animal deaths, 10,000 cows and buffalo have died in Vietnam.

Vietnam's Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development confirmed the news this week that more than 10,000 cows and buffalos died nationwide due to harsh weather conditions.


Cattle have been dying throughout Vietnam, which has had a particularly intense winter. The northern mountainous province of Cao Bang was hardest hit with 2,260 dead cattle, per Thanh Nien News. Some have said the number of total dead cattle may be as high as 13,000.

Mass animal deaths have been in the news quite a bit lately. Hundreds of birds were found dead in South Dakota early this week, and before that birds were found dead in Italy and birds fell from the sky in Arkansas, among other incidents.

Some of the mass die-offs have been explained - for instance, indigestion is thought to be the cause in Italy and the U.S. government has admitted involvement in the South Dakota case. But others remain up for debate.

Huffington Post

US-Sino Currency Rap Battle

Lawyers condemn 'abuse' of suspected WikiLeaker Bradley Manning

The lawyer for Bradley Manning, the army private suspected of leaking hundreds of thousands of documents to WikiLeaks, has filed a complaint that he is being unfairly treated at the marine base jail in Virginia.

David Coombs, Manning's lawyer, said that holding him in maximum custody over the last five months and placing him on suicide watch amounted to abuse. Coombs called for his removal from such tight monitoring.


The complaint was filed on Wednesday and on Thursday the marines downgraded his classification from suicide watch to prevention of injury. But Coombs argues that prevention of injury is not significantly different in practical terms and is seeking his removal from maximum security.

Coombs, writing on his office website, said that on Wednesday, against the recommendation of two forensic psychiatrists, the commander of the Quantico jail, James Averhart, listed Manning as a suicide risk, which meant he was confined to his cell 24 hours a day. "He was stripped of all clothing with the exception of his underwear. His prescription eyeglasses were taken away from him. He was forced to sit in essential blindness with the exception of the times that he was reading or given limited television privileges. During those times, his glasses were returned to him," Coombs wrote.

Full story at The Guardian

21 Jan 2011

UK House of Commons speech

Drug-Friendly Netherlands to Close 8 Prisons -- Not Enough Crime

For years prohibitionists, including our own Drug Enforcement Administration, have claimed — falsely — that the tolerant marijuana policies of the Netherlands have made that nation a nest of crime and drug abuse. They may have trouble wrapping their little brains around this:
The Dutch government is getting ready to close eight prisons because they don’t have enough criminals to fill them. Officials attribute the shortage of prisoners to a declining crime rate.

Just for fun, let’s compare the Netherlands to California. With a population of 16.6 million, the Dutch prison population is about 12,000. With its population of 36.7 million, California should have a bit more than double the Dutch prison population. California’s actual prison population is 171,000.
So, whose drug policies are keeping the streets safer?


Doping Up the Troops

U.S. Central Command policy allows troops a 90- or 180-day supply of highly addictive psychotropic drugs before they deploy to combat, reports Nextgov.
The CENTCOM approved drug list is a mixture that includes drugs like Valium and Xanax, used to treat depression, as well as the antipsychotic Seroquel, originally developed to treat schizophrenia, bipolar disorders, mania and depression.
CENTCOM policy does not permit the use of Seroquel to treat deploying troops with these conditions, but it does allow its use as a sleep aid, and allows deployed troops to be provided with a 180-day supply.

In an e-mailed statement to Nextgov, Col. John Stasinos, chief of addiction medicine for the Army surgeon general, and Col. Carol Labadie, pharmacy program manager in the Directorate of Health Policy and Services for the surgeon general, said soldiers are supplied with up to 180 days of medications because they "serve in remote areas without easy access to pharmacies. It is important that soldiers on chronic medications do not run out of them during combat operations, because not taking the medications can be as dangerous as taking too much medication."

More on EconomicPolicyJournal.com

WikiLeaks confirms US drug abuse rate

FBI arrests 127 in its biggest ever Mafia crackdown

In a devastating blow to the organised crime families of the north-eastern US, more than 800 FBI and police officers made the largest roundup of Cosa Nostra bosses and soldiers in US history. Some 127 mafia members and their accomplices were charged.


The arrests in New York, Newark in New Jersey and Rhode Island were both an indication of the mafia's enduring power in the US and of the determination of the FBI to regain the initiative in its struggle with the organisation.

Announcing the arrests, Eric Holder, the US attorney general, said they "send a clear message that we are committed – and determined – to eradicate these criminal enterprises once and for all and to bring their members to justice".

The sweep struck seven families: all five with headquarters in New York – the Bonanno, Colombo, Gambino, Genovese and Luchese – as well as the largely New Jersey-based DeCavalcante family and the New England branch centred on Providence in Rhode Island and Boston. Among those in custody are top figureheads, including the former boss of the New England branch, Luigi Manocchio, 83.

The Guardian

20 Jan 2011

Lukashenko Preparing "Tough Measures" in Response to Sanctions

Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko instructed to prepare a response "up to the toughest measures" to the Western countries' possible sanctions against the official Minsk. As the head of state informed at the meeting on some domestic issues on January 20, the Government of Belarus will be responsible for the development of concrete steps.


"If someone tries to impose economic or other sanctions on the country, we must respond immediately, up to the toughest measures. We won't let anybody make us bow. This should affect absolutely everyone, trying to oppress and block the country - whether it's a separate group of countries or even the EU as a whole," said President of Belarus, BelTA informs.

Alexander Lukashenko instructed the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to develop and provide "concrete proposals to combat anti-Belarusian campaign abroad." "We need to develop a set of measures to prevent our country from being a pawn in someone else's game, as well as from destruction of our economy, security and sovereignty," added the President.


Swedish Government staff knew of Stockholm bomb threat

A Swedish government employee allegedly knew ahead of time about last month's suicide bomb attack in Stockholm, but failed to inform Swedish security service Säpo, according to new media reports. Citing several sources with knowledge of the on-going investigation of the bomb attacks carried out by Taimour Abdulwahab, Swedish tabloid Expressen reported that an employee at a government agency knew in advance about the attack.

The day following the December 11th attacks, Swedish news agency TT reported that an Armed Forces employee had sent a warning to an acquaintance several hours before the bomb attack. In the message, the military staffer warned the acquaintance to avoid Stockholm's main pedestrian shopping street. "If you can, avoid Drottninggatan today. A lot could happen there...just so you know," the message said, according to TT.
Following an internal investigation carried out by the Military Intelligence and Security Service (Militära underrättelse- och säkerhetstjänsten -- MUST) the Swedish Armed Forces (Försvarsmakten) dismissed the allegations, Expressen reported on Wednesday. Säpo, which is still investigating the reports, said it never received a warning. Despite the denial, Säpo is continuing its own investigation into the allegations.

Full story at The Local

Creating The Enemy

Propaganda and the endless pinpointing of enemies for war and profit. The Schell Perspective

China banks lend more than World Bank

The China Development Bank and the China Export Import Bank offered loans of at least $110 bn (£69.2 bn) to governments and firms in developing countries in 2009 and 2010.


Between mid-2008 and mid-2010, the World Bank's lending arm issued loans of just over $100bn (£63bn). The two Chinese banks do not publish a detailed breakdown of their overseas loans, so this research is based on public announcements about specific deals from them, their borrowers or the Chinese government.

That means the figure arrived at for the amount of Chinese lending is more likely an underestimate than an overestimate because some - more sensitive - loans will not have been made public. The Chinese lenders are so-called policy banks - they have a mandate to further whatever Beijing sees as its national interest.

One of China Development Bank's specific tasks is to try to alleviate and, where possible, eliminate bottlenecks in supplies of raw materials or land for China's economy. It also tries to open up foreign markets for Chinese companies.

BBC News

19 Jan 2011

Berlusconi criticised for 'use of policewomen's outfits at "bunga bunga" sessions

Silvio Berlusconi, the Italian prime minister, today came under attack from a new and unexpected quarter when a police trade union objected to the reported use of policewomen's outfits for striptease shows at his home.


According to prosecution documents delivered to parliament, so-called "bunga bunga" sessions at Berlusconi's villa near Milan involved female guests putting on – and then gradually taking off – skimpy nurses' outfits and police uniforms.

Berlusconi, who denies any wrongdoing, said yesterday he had no intention of resigning because of the latest disclosures, adding: "I'm enjoying myself."

Giorgio Innocenzi, the secretary general of the independent police trades union confederation, said that, if the accounts were borne out, "it would be a very serious development that impugns the high levels of professionalism guaranteed by women in the police".

More on The Guardian

Extreme Russian Vacation

Gays Too Precious To Risk In Combat

Gen. McBrayer discusses how valuable homosexuals are, and why we must never put their lives at risk by allowing them in the military.

The Onion

Americans Face Guantanamo-Like Torture Everyday in a Super-Max Prison all over the USA

“They beat the shit out of you,” Mike James said, hunched near the smeared plexiglass separating us. He was talking about the cell “extractions” he’d endured at the hands of the supermax-unit guards at the Maine State Prison.


James’s story illustrates an irony in the negative reaction of many Americans to the mistreatment of “war on terrorism” prisoners at Guantánamo. To little public outcry, tens of thousands of American citizens are being held in equivalent or worse conditions in this country’s super-harsh, super-maximum security, solitary-confinement prisons, or in comparable units of traditional prisons. The Obama administration— somewhat unsteadily—plans to shut down the Guantánamo detention center and ship its inmates to one or more supermaxes in the United States, as though this would mark a substantive change. In the supermaxes inmates suffer weeks, months, years, or even decades of mind-destroying isolation, usually without meaningful recourse to challenge the conditions of their captivity. Prisoners may be regularly beaten in cell extractions, and they receive meager health services. The isolation frequently leads to insane behavior including self-injury and suicide attempts.

Editor's Note: Courageous WikiLeaks whistleblower Bradley Manning is reportedly suffering some of the same horrible experiences detailed in the article below, including 23 hours a day of solitary confinement, which has been labeled torture by numerous prison and psychological experts.

More on AlterNet

Romania border police


Romanian border police officers patrol a railway border crossing point between Romania and Moldova in Ungheni, Romania on Tuesday. Romania has accused France and Germany of discrimination after the EU's two most powerful countries joined forces to block the Balkan country from joining Europe's Schengen open borders zone.

All Eyes photo blog

Charges filed against 'Baby Doc' Duvalier in Haiti

Extraordinary drama unfolded Tuesday in Port-au-Prince as charges were filed against former Haitian dictator Jean-Claude "Baby Doc" Duvalier, government sources told CNN. The charges are related to financial corruption and may also include human rights violations, a source in the court told CNN.


A judge will have 30 days to investigate and decide whether the accusations merit moving forward with a case against Duvalier. Earlier in the day, the former leader was taken into custody at his hotel and transported to a downtown courthouse for a hearing. After hours of questioning, Duvalier was allowed to return to his hotel. A flurry of intense legal activity preceded Duvalier's emergence from the Karibe Hotel, where he had been since his mysterious return to Haiti on Sunday. More on CNN

Haiti's former leader Jean-Claude "Baby Doc" Duvalier has been charged with corruption and embezzlement during his 1971-1986 rule, prosecutors say.

Mr Duvalier was allowed to go free after questioning, but a judge will decide whether his case goes to trial. BBC

18 Jan 2011

Baptism of fire for horses at Spanish festival

Every year on the night of January 16, the eve of Saint Anthony's day, the patron saint of animals, the paved streets of San Bartolome de Pinares, Spain, of 600 people are transformed into a sort of racetrack in which the fences are burning logs.


"It's a festival in which the horses are sanctified by the flames, they are liberated from all their ills," said Quique, 30, who takes part in the festival every year.

Tree branches for the fires are collected for weeks ahead of the festival. The flames are regularly doused with water to produce columns of smoke intended to purify the animals. The tradition is under threat from animal rights groups, who say the horses suffer as they leap over the flames.

See Yahoo! News

Why Do US Political and Media Establishments Ignore Many Americans Economic Suffering?

This is what a broken economic model looks like: record profits for corporate America, Wall Street paying out fat bonuses to its execs and the wealthy doing well enough to create a surge in demand for luxury items, while most of the rest of us struggle just to make ends meet in a devastated economic landscape.

Sacramento Tent City

You've no doubt heard about the unemployment numbers and the alarming number of Americans losing their homes, but a series of reports that paint a stunningly vivid picture of the human toll of the meltdown – the intense pain felt by the unemployed, the under-employed and the working poor – have gotten less play, in large part because while most of the U.S. remains in the grip of what appears to be a Second Great Depression, the political and media establishment largely ignores -- or at least underplays – the economic catastrophe a huge number of families are experiencing.

More on AlterNet

Abu Dhabi Now Creating ‘Man-Made Rainstorms’

Abu Dhabi now controls its weather with giant ionizers, the Telegraph reports: A secret £7 million weather project in Abu Dhabi has resulted in dozens of man-made rainstorms, according to reports.


Scientists employed by Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, president of the UAE and leader of Abu Dhabi, successfully created more than 50 rainstorms in the state’s Al Ain region last year, mostly in July and August when there is virtually no rain at all. It is believed to be the first time the system has produced rain from clear skies.

They have been using giant ionizers, shaped like giant lampshades, to generate fields of negatively charged particles, which create cloud formation.


17 Jan 2011

Bill Gates wants to register all new babies on the planet for vaccines

Bill Gates is promoting a plan to use wireless technology to register every newborn on the planet in a vaccine database.
In a keynote address to the mHealth Summit, which focuses on using mobile technology to improve health care, Gates said that improving survival rates among children under the age of 5 would benefit not just individual families, but societies and the planet as a whole.

"The key thing, the most important fact that people should know and make sure other people know: As you save children under 5, that is the thing that reduces population growth," he said. "That sounds paradoxical. The fact is that within a decade of improving health outcomes, parents decide to have less children."
The number of children who die before their fifth birthday has already dropped from 20 million in 1960 to 8.5 million today, a statistic Gates attributes mostly to vaccination.
"About one-third [of that improvement] is by increasing income," Gates said. "The majority has been through vaccines. Vaccines will be the key. If you could register every birth on a cell phone -- get fingerprints, get a location -- then you could [set up] systems to make sure the immunizations happen."


Sal the Cat summoned for service in US and court rules he 'must attend'

A pet cat has been summoned for jury duty in the U.S. - and has been told by courts he 'must attend'


Despite owner Anna Esposito's protestations that a mistake has been made, a jury commissioner has ruled that Sal must attend the court. She wrote that Sal was 'unable to speak and understand English' - and included a letter from her vet saying that the animal was a 'domestic short-haired neutered feline'.

There are ten statutory disqualifications preventing people from serving on a jury - and Mrs Esposito said Sal was not suitable because he could not understand the language. However, jurors are 'not expected' to have a perfect command of the English language. The other exemptions did not apply because Sal was not ill, too old or a convicted felon.

Mail Online

Hey You

Pink Floyd: The Wall (a complete analysis)

Ex-dictator 'Baby Doc' returns to Haiti

Ousted strongman Jean-Claude "Baby Doc" Duvalier returned to Haiti on Sunday after some 25 years in exile as the country wrestled with a post-election crisis.

Duvalier, wearing a blue suit and a tie and accompanied by his wife, was making his way through customs at Port-au-Prince's international airport after arriving on an Air France flight, an AFP journalist witnessed.


The 59-year-old ex-dictator was ousted from power in 1986 by massive anti-government demonstrations after his family and supporters were accused of plundering tens of millions of dollars of state funds. AFP/Yahoo! News

More about Papa Doc and Baby Doc

Ricky Gervais

Ricky Gervais Opening Monologue Golden Globes 2011

Gervais, 49, who was presenting the show for the second year running, caused some controversy with typically biting humour that targeted some of the biggest stars in Hollywood.

He opened proceedings with a sip from a beer glass and said: "It's going to be a night of partying and heavy drinking. Or, as Charlie Sheen calls it, breakfast."

Blue Monday

According to psychologists, a combination of filthy weather, financial strains and shattered new year's resolutions has conspired to make today the most depressing day of the year.

16 Jan 2011

The Great Dictator

The Great Dictator is about the violence of war, the corrupting influence of power, decency struggling against madness, and the persecution of Jews during World War II. It’s also one of the funniest movies ever made, and such a pleasure to watch that you’ll barely notice that it’s deeply political and deadly serious.

Charles Chaplin made the movie while the U.S. was still technically at peace with Nazi Germany, and many were still pushing to keep Americans out of the “European war.” The full horrors of the Holocaust hadn’t yet come to light, but Chaplin’s film was a prescient assault on Hitler and National Socialism. (About.com)

Also see the Charlie Chaplin website

Ben Ali flees to Saudi Arabia

Tunisia’s Constitutional Council has announced that ousted President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali, who fled the country on Friday and arrived in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia early on Saturday morning, has been officially removed from office and has appointed the speaker of parliament as the interim president.


On Saturday, the Constitutional Council declared that the head of state had “definitively” left power and appointed Foued Mebezza acting president under the constitution in a communiqué published by the official news agency TAP.
The council made its ruling at the request of Prime Minister Mohammed Ghannouchi. Responding to Tunisians’ mounting demands for him to step down, Ben Ali fled the country late on Friday in a dramatic end to his 23 years in power.
Saudi Arabia welcomed Ben Ali and his family on Saturday, a day after they fled a mass uprising in their country. A statement issued by the Saudi monarchy said the decision to welcome Ben Ali was based on appreciation of the “exceptional circumstances” in Tunisia. “Out of concern for the exceptional circumstances facing the brotherly Tunisian people and in support of the security and stability of their country… the Saudi government has welcomed President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali and his family to the kingdom,” the statement said.

Tehran Times

Oh remember:

On this day 16th January 1979 the Shah of Iran fled into exile never to return to Iran. Shah Mohammed Reza Pahlevi and his wife, Empress Farah fled Tehran flying to Aswan in Egypt to escape violent protests against his rule. His youngest children were flown directly to to the United States.  allvoices.com