Sott.net Edition for Sat, 03 Dec 2016

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Puppet Masters

Iraqi war against Daesh: UN says death toll in Mosul is ‘staggering’

Middle East Monitor
2016-12-02 13:02:00

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The United Nations Assistance Mission in Iraq (UNAMI) has described casualty figures it released on the ongoing battle for Mosul as « staggering ».

Figures for November showed that 1,959 members of the Iraqi Security Forces (ISF) and its allies were killed in the battle for Mosul, while the UN’s data for October, when the operation to recapture Mosul from Daesh began, showed that 672 ISF and other units were killed.

This brings the total death toll suffered by the Iraqi alliance against Daesh to 2,631, and the United Nations also said that the figures are likely to be much higher due to troubles with collating reliable data from highly unstable Iraqi provinces such as Anbar.

The number of Iraqi military deaths for the battle for Mosul, now nearing the end of its seventh week, emerged yesterday with UN officials describing additional hundreds of further civilian casualties, reporting that 926 non-combatants had been killed.

Comment: Interesting: Almost a thousand citizens of Iraq killed by Daesh during an Iraqi-led mission and barely a word about it in the Western press. If you think the blackout is because it has no propaganda value against the Russians, you’re probably right!

Comment

WARNING: US House passes bill to censor Russian propaganda sites. War on « fake news » begins!

Alex Christoforou
The Duran
2016-12-03 20:11:00

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First it’s the war of words. Then it’s a shooting war. This is how it all begins.

It is strikingly curious, and hypocritical, that the neo-liberal left and neocon right, continuously talk about alt-right fascism seeping into American society, are now the ones actively creating a US fascist state… where « books are burned » and any dissenting voices will be considered Kremlin stooges. Smoke and mirrors.

The Duran has reported extensively on the « fake news » war that was conjured up by Soros, Clinton and the main stream media after a surprising election victory by Donald Trump.
Comment

Washington passes intelligence bill, Russia’s alleged attempts to « exert covert influence over peoples and governments »

RT
2016-12-01 16:20:00

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The House of Representatives has passed an intelligence authorization bill containing a provision aimed at tackling what Washington claims is political interference by Russia on a global level.

The 93-page HR 6393, passed by the House in a 390-30 vote on Wednesday, calls for setting up a new, interagency panel to suppress Russia’s alleged attempts to « exert covert influence over peoples and governments, » the Washington Post reported.

The panel would be tasked with « countering active measures by Russia to exert covert influence, including exposing falsehoods, agents of influence, corruption, human rights abuses, terrorism and assassinations carried out by the security services or political elites of the Russian Federation or their proxies, » the draft legislation goes on to say.
Comment

Pa. releases Trump electors’ contact info, GOP slams « unprecedented harassment »

Christian Alexanderson
Penn Live
2016-12-02 21:34:00

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Republican Party officials say they believe the Pennsylvania Department of State willfully disregarded open records protections when it released the contact information of President-elect Donald Trump’s electors, opening them up to harassment.

The Department of State says certain information, including a list of Electoral College electors, is publicly available as part of the Pennsylvania Election Code. That list, provided by the president-elect or his representative, included the electors’ contact information, according to the department.

PennLive spoke to an elector said she received 18,000 emails, 130 letters and postcards and numerous phone calls after her address and phone number was released. She said she hasn’t attempted to read all the emails, but most were urging her to cast her vote for Hillary Clinton.

The elector asked not to be identified, out of fear of further harassment.
Comment: See also: What happens if an electoral college voter switches their vote on Dec. 19?
Comment

Iran’s Supreme Court confirms death penalty for billionaire Zanjani, money laundering through oil sales deals

Sputnik
2016-12-03 14:54:00

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A death sentence for Iranian billionaire Babak Zanjani charged with fraud and money laundering has been upheld by the Iranian Supreme Court, court’s senior official Gholamreza Ansari said on Saturday.

« The main verdict on Zanjani oil case was confirmed, » Ansari was quoted as saying by Iranian IRIB broadcaster.
Comment

What happens if an electoral college voter switches their vote on Dec. 19?

Scott Bomboy
Constitution Daily
2016-12-02 21:24:00

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There is a distinct possibility that at least one Electoral College member will switch votes on December 19. So what happens to an elector when a person doesn’t vote for their pledged candidate and to the election in general?

On Thursday, two electors indicated in an op-ed on the political website The Hill that they could opt to vote for a presidential candidate during the December 19 Electoral College meetings other than the candidate they are pledged to vote for.

Polly Baca from Colorado and Levi Guerra from Washington state are electors, Democrats and pledged to vote for Hillary Clinton after the former Secretary of State won those two states on November 8 in the general election. « Though we come from different generations, as a retired elected official and the youngest 2016 Elector, we agree with millions of Americans that Donald Trump is unfit to be president, » they wrote.

Baca and Guerra may switch their Electoral College votes to a candidate other than Trump (and seemingly Clinton) if such a candidate emerges, or they may not vote at all. « Electors of good conscience should exercise their Constitutional right to elect the best person for the job of President or simply abstain from voting for either of the major party candidates, » they said.

Guerra, who is 19 years old, explained her decision at a Wednesday press conference. « I’m only 19 and this is my first time being involved in politics, but I hope that my willingness to put my country before my party will show that my generation cares about all Americans, » Guerra said.
Comment

Iran postures ‘wait and see’ regarding Trump administration after US Congress approves new sanctions

RT
2016-12-02 16:20:00

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As the Obama administration applies a series of tough new sanctions against Iran, contravening prior agreements, Iranians have no choice but to hope for the best from Donald Trump, Professor Seyed Mohammad Marandi from the University of Tehran told RT.

The US Senate has voted unanimously to renew sanctions against Iran for another decade. It’s been described as a symbolic move, but it allows the president to impose new restrictions on Tehran if it violates the 2015 nuclear accord. The vote was 99 to 0 and follows a similar ballot in the House of Representatives last month when only one person voted against the extension of the Iran Sanctions Act.

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Comment: The legislation implicates Obama has never intended to uphold the agreement with Iran. USA is above the law, so it can change agreements as it sees fit. US has symbolically stabbed Iran in the back. Can Trump see through the manipulations and regain this lost ground?
Comment

US House of Representatives passes bill targeting « Russian propaganda » websites

Tyler Durden
ZeroHedge
2016-12-03 11:55:00

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On November 30, one week after the Washington Post launched its witch hunt against « Russian propaganda fake news », with 390 votes for, the House quietly passed « H.R. 6393, Intelligence Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2017 », sponsored by California Republican Devin Nunes (whose third largest donor in 2016 is Google parent Alphabet, Inc), a bill which deals with a number of intelligence-related issues, including Russian propaganda, or what the government calls propaganda, and hints at a potential crackdown on « offenders. »

A quick skim of the bill reveals « Title V—Matters relating to foreign countries », whose Section 501 calls for the government to « counter active measures by Russia to exert covert influence … carried out in coordination with, or at the behest of, political leaders or the security services of the Russian Federation and the role of the Russian Federation has been hidden or not acknowledged publicly. »

The section lists the following definitions of media manipulation:

Establishment or funding of a front group.
Covert broadcasting.
Media manipulation.
Disinformation and forgeries.
Funding agents of influence.
Incitement and offensive counterintelligence.
Assassinations.
Terrorist acts.

As ActivistPost correctly notes, it is easy to see how this law, if passed by the Senate and signed by the president, could be used to target, threaten, or eliminate so-called « fake news » websites, a list which has been used to arbitrarily define any website, or blog, that does not share the mainstream media’s proclivity to serve as the Public Relations arm of a given administration.
Comment: Real ‘fake news’ is maneuvering to tighten the noose around alternative news sites, knee-jerking Congressional action into suppressing freedom of speech, or shall we more specifically say, freedom of reporting truths. When a government does what it protests against, it protests the loudest and makes the rashest moves.
Comment

Ghana: Fake US embassy closed; decade of issuing counterfeit visas and collecting fees

RT
2016-12-03 18:15:00

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A fake US Embassy in Ghana operated by organized crime gangs has been shut down after a decade of operations which included issuing counterfeit US visas. The US Department of State revealed in a statement that the sham embassy was run by Ghanian and Turkish criminals as well as a Ghanaian attorney who practiced immigration and criminal law.

The bizarre enterprise operated for around 10 years at a property in the capital Accra, where the real US embassy is also located. The fake embassy flew an American flag outside the building three days a week and hung a photo of President Barack Obama inside while it issued fraudulent documents at a cost of $6,000 to prearranged clients. Services were advertised through flyers and billboards in Ghana, Cote d’Ivoire and Togo. Customers were driven in from some of the most remote parts of West Africa and put up in a hotel during their visit to the fake embassy.

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In addition to visas, fake bank records, education records and birth certificates were also issued by the « consular officers, » who were English- and Dutch-speaking Turkish citizens. The operation ran without interruption due to the cooperation of corrupt officials and the ability to obtain legitimate blank documents to be doctored, according to the State Department. Two satellite locations, including a dress shop which acted as a front for the operation and a base for document production, were also used.
Comment: Any ‘government’ scam that can operate under the radar for 10 years, in this day and age of global intelligence spy-craft, is some sort of record. Or could it be…(think covertly).
Comment

Germany: Ruling parties attempt to block Snowden’s appearance to testify before Parliament

RT
2016-12-02 21:03:00

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Germany’s ruling CDU and SPD parties have filed an appeal to the Federal Supreme Court to revise its earlier decision that allowed the US whistleblower Edward Snowden to testify before the German parliament on the NSA scandal and Berlin’s ties to it.

The respective document was sent by the Christian Democratic Party (CDU) and the Social Democrats (SPD) to the Supreme Court on Thursday, Berliner Zeitung reports. Martina Renner from the opposition Left Party (Die Linke) has slammed the move, saying the government has « fear of the witness testimony, » the outlet notes.

In 2013 the former US National Security Agency (NSA) contractor Snowden, revealed that the agency widely spied on own citizens as well as international leaders and officials, while getting significant help from German intelligence agency, the Bundesnachrichtendienst (BND). In 2014 the German parliament launched a parliamentary inquiry and set up a special committee to investigate the matter. Snowden, who is currently living in exile in Moscow, is wanted by the US on espionage charges following his disclosures.

The CDU and SPD have staunchly opposed the questioning of the whistleblower in Germany, fearing that might lead to tensions with Washington. In order to avoid any « adverse » publicity for Merkel, the government simply « violated the rights of the minority, » the Green MP and parliamentary chief in the Bundestag, Konstantin von Notz reacted to Thursday’s BGH appeal, as quoted by the BZ.

Comment: « Adverse publicity for Merkel » Now what could that be?

Comment: Could they make this decision more obfuscating? How can you determine ‘truth and justice’ based on preconditions? And, of course, they are playing the delay game for as long as possible. Perhaps it comes down to who is protecting Merkel and who wants to give her up. Maybe the German people ought to have a say.
Comment

US govt being sued by the ACLU for making entire state of Michigan a ‘border zone’

RT
2016-12-01 20:42:00

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A lawsuit is accusing the US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) of turning the entire state of Michigan into a « border zone » where anyone can be detained and searched without a warrant, according to ACLU-Michigan.

The complaint is centered on the CBP’s interpretation of a 100-mile zone regulation and how it is applied in Michigan, according to documents filed in Detroit federal court on Wednesday. « CBP agents patrolling the ‘border’ could potentially subject anyone in Michigan – regardless of where he or she is within the state – to warrantless detention and search, » the complaint said.

Under federal law, CBP agents can conduct warrantless searches of vehicles « within a reasonable distance from an external boundary of the United States…for the purpose of patrolling the border to prevent the illegal entry of non-citizens, » the American Civil Liberties Union of Michigan (ACLU-Michigan) said in its complaint.

Michigan borders four of the five Great Lakes, although Lake Michigan is not on the international border. Many parts of the state are technically more than 100 miles from Canada. Federal authorities have said checkpoints elsewhere within the nation’s 100-mile border zone are crucial to catching human and drug smugglers who illegally cross into the US.

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Comment: Government agencies willingly give up information they want you to know and will take liberties with what you don’t know. Michigan is not the only state where the 100 mile perimeter is being violated. The reality is that Border Patrol’s interior enforcement operations encroach deep into and across the United States with more than 170 interior checkpoints. Adopted in 1953 without public comment or debate, the Border Patrol utilizes watch lists, database systems, automated targeting, traveler risk assessment, advanced identification and tracking systems including electronic passports, the « virtual border fence » and drone aircraft. In other words, the militarization of an unlimited US Border Zone and infringement on Constitutional rights.

For a primer on the 100-mile border zone and your rights, go here.
Comment

Trump-Tsai call was arranged, media and diplomats freak out

F. Brinley Bruton, Abigail Williams, Ed Flanagan, Eric Baculinao
NBC News
2016-12-03 20:46:00

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A phone call between Donald Trump and Taiwan’s leader that risks damaging relations between the U.S. and China was pre-arranged, a top Taiwanese official told NBC News on Saturday.

Trump — who lambasted China throughout the election campaign and promised to slap 45 percent tariffs on Chinese goods — tweeted that Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen had called him.

« Maintaining good relations with the United States is as important as maintaining good relations across the Taiwan Strait, » Taiwanese presidential spokesman Alex Huang told NBC News. « Both are in line with Taiwan’s national interest. »

He added that the call had not been a surprise.
Comment: The western media are writing about how « horrified » China’s diplomats are about the call. Scott Adams’s take on it is more level-headed:

Trump is « setting the table » for future negotiations with China. He just subtracted something from China’s brand that they value, and later he will negotiate with them to maybe give it back in some fashion. Probably in return for some trade concessions.

But what about the risk? Does it ever make sense to poke a nuclear power? In this case, probably yes. As I have said in this blog before, China’s leadership is both mature and competent. Many of them have engineering degrees. They understand what Trump is doing, and none of it is a path to war because neither side has any interest in war. None. Zero.

Don’t worry about China going to war over a phone call. They understand Trump, in part because they read my blog too. And look at the brilliance of China’s diplomatic response. Their Foreign Minister labelled the phone call, « a shenanigan by the Taiwan side. » That is exquisite diplomatic framing, Master Persuader-style. You can see why China and Trump respect each other; they both earned it.

Mutual respect is a safe place to be. Relax. Adults are in charge.

Comment

Police theory: San Bernardino terror attack triggered by Christmas party

Megan Christie, Rhonda Schwartz, Josh Margolin
ABC News
2016-12-01 12:38:00

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One year after the terrorist attack in San Bernardino, California, the ABC News Investigative Unit and Nightline are looking back, revealing never-before-seen videos and hearing from the first responders, the victims and the everyday people who prevented a terrifying day from getting any worse.

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Comment: There are many moments in these videos to pique a questioning viewer. Some aspects are just too slick. Comments and phrasings at times are odd. Some of the speakers have an ‘over-the-top’ element as if they are actors convincing the listener of the ‘facts’, compared to those who have true emotion and were horrified by the tragedy. Some ‘facts’ (inconsistencies) are introduced but left dangling. The San Bernardino shooting was a False Flag operation. They’ve had a year to work out the fabrication. Have a listen and see how good a truth detective you are!
Comment

Western media provides nothing but disinformation of the ongoing demonization of Russia

Paul Craig Roberts
paulcraig roberts.org
2016-12-29 20:16:00
This has come to me from the independent Donbass region. The Western media provides nothing but disinformation about this area of the world as part of the ongoing demonization of Russia.

I am surprised that Russian intelligence did not discover in advance the Obama regime’s coup against the Ukrainian government. I continue to believe that the Russian government made a mistake refusing the breakaway republics requests to be re-incorporated into Russia like Crimea, but I understand that Putin was counting on his refusal to calm the fear of a « revanchist Russia » that Washington was infusing into Europeans. Putin’s strategy made sense, but it failed because Europe hasn’t the capability of foreign policy independence. Western Europe did not lose its independence to Nazi Germany. Europe lost its independence to Washington. It was the US that defeated Europe and reduced Europe to vassal states of Washington’s empire.
Comment

North Dakota fracking company slapped with $2.1mn fine over pollution of Native American reservation

RT
2016-12-03 20:25:00

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A North Dakota oil drilling company has agreed to pay a $2.1 million fine imposed by the Environmental Protection Agency for causing air pollution on a Native American reservation.

Slawson Exploration Co, the largest oil producer in the Midwest, was hit with the fine for air pollution arising from 170 oil and gas wells, the majority of which were on the Fort Berthold Indian Reservation.

The EPA said that the company failed to adequately design, operate and maintain vapor control systems on its storage tanks which contributed to pollution, specifically smog. This pollution can increase susceptibility to respiratory illnesses, such as pneumonia and bronchitis, and exacerbates diseases such as asthma.
Comment

Society’s Child

FBI urged to investigate death threats on Trump electors

Joe Kovacs
WND
2016-11-30 21:15:00

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With death threats for presidential electors who plan to vote for Donald Trump continuing to be reported across America, the FBI is now being urged to investigate the rampant voter intimidation.

« Why isn’t the FBI investigating this? I’m serious, » radio host Rush Limbaugh said on his national broadcast Wednesday. « Why isn’t the FBI investigating all of these threats, these emails, these phone calls, this intimidation effort that’s under way against these electors? »

« I know who runs the FBI. [President] Obama runs the FBI, » he continued. « But still, why isn’t somebody demanding it or calling for it? … This is the kind of stuff the left does … they laugh at it, they shrug it off, they shove it way out to the extreme, [suggesting] ‘nothing’s gonna come of this,’ and something always does. »

Limbaugh noted, « This is a sleazebag effort if there ever was one. These are the kind of people that need to be pounded into the ground. They need to be defeated to the point that they’re demoralized and don’t ever try this again. I’m thinking sign surrender papers on the deck of the USS Missouri. »
Comment

Street kids given away to pedophiles in Berlin in 1970s – Reports

Sputnik
2016-12-03 21:14:00

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Homeless teenagers were given to the care of pedophiles in Germany in the 1970s, and the Senate of Berlin was aware of the « practice, » German media report.
Comment: We were unable to locate a copy of the Spiegal report in English. If you can find a copy and translate it please send a copy via email to sott [at] sott.net
Comment

The old college try: Electoral system shaken, calls for recounts underline tensions in US

RT
2016-12-03 21:24:00

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From recount efforts to criticism of the Electoral College as an institution and death threats to some electors, the aftermath of the US presidential election has become no less controversial than the campaign itself – and the heat is far from over.Jill Stein-initiated efforts to recount votes

The recount effort underway in three states – Michigan, Wisconsin, and Pennsylvania – spearheaded by Green Party candidate Jill Stein is being opposed in all states by lawsuits from Donald Trump supporters.

On Friday, a lawsuit was filed on the President-elect’s behalf to stop the ballot review in Michigan, the state where Trump defeated Hillary Clinton by 10,700 votes. Unless a court intervenes, a recount could start in that state as soon as next Wednesday.
Comment: « Now that we lost the election we insist the rules be changed to secure our victory! » – said a large number in the losing party in the 2016 US Presidential election. Have a cupcake, and be thankful that you weren’t drafted into what might have become Clinton’s plans to inflict World War 3 upon the world.
Comment

This is how you can stop fake news from spreading on Facebook

Craig Silverman
Buzzfeed
2016-12-03 20:11:00
After facing intense criticism about how misinformation ran rampant on Facebook during the US election, Mark Zuckerberg announced the company is working on new measures to fight fake news. While that’s underway there’s one thing you can do on Facebook right now to help.

Many people don’t realize that you can report fake news when you see it on Facebook. This helps stop it from spreading. The problem is that the option is kind of hidden. So here’s how to use it.
Comment

Three years and no trial: Man still in jail for killing cop in botched no-knock raid

Jack Burns
The Free Thought Project
2016-12-03 20:02:00

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As we have faithfully reported on numerous occasions, a man named Marvin Louis Guy sits in a jail cell in Killeen, Texas, awaiting trial for killing a police officer. Arguably, however, the police officer, Charles « Chuck » Dinwiddie, a beloved member of the Killeen Police Department, would still be alive had the KPD not chosen to serve a « no-knock » search warrant at Mr. Guy’s apartment home.

The first thing Guy likely heard, at 5:30 am, on May 9th, 2014, was the breaking of his bedroom window glass. Possibly startled by the fact someone was breaking into his home, and hearing someone attempting to break down his front door, Guy started shooting, striking three of the officers, and killing Dinwiddie with one fatal shot to the face. While Guy has never denied he did fire his weapon, he’s repeatedly maintained he did not know he was firing at police.

The cops were searching for drugs. Finding none, they took Guy into custody and charged him with capital murder in Dinwiddie’s death. With one police officer dead, and a would-be innocent man now charged with his murder, the community was understandably shaken, and so was the reporter covering the story.

Clay Thorp, reporter for the Killeen Daily Herald, was the newspaper’s crime reporter, and he’d been in the business for many years. Thorp has long since moved on from the KDH, and Killeen, TX, but hasn’t been able to shake off the unsettling concerns he’s had surrounding the treatment of Mr. Guy. The Free Thought Project had a chance to catch up with Thorp, get a better understanding of the impact Dinwiddie’s death had on the community, and to further explain the complexities of Guy’s case.
Comment

Looted Palmyra artifacts discovered in Geneva warehouse

Sputnik
2016-12-03 20:14:00

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Looted artifacts from Palmyra have turned up in Switzerland, Geneva state prosecutors announced on Friday.

Swiss police have seized several looted items from a duty-free warehouse in Geneva, some of which came from the ancient Syrian city of Palmyra, Geneva state prosecutors announced on Friday, Switzerland’s Neue Zurcher Zeitung reported.

A total of nine culturally and historically important artifacts were seized, and they should be returned to their place of origin, Swiss authorities said. In the meantime, they will be exhibited in the local museum for art and history. The operation recovered several looted artifacts from the ancient Syrian city of Palmyra, a UNESCO world heritage site which was overrun by the Daesh terror group in 2015 and liberated by Syrian government forces in March this year.
Comment

Afghan teenager detained in rape and slaying of German student

AP
2016-12-03 20:02:00

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German authorities say a 17-year-old Afghan who entered the country last year as an unaccompanied minor has been taken into custody on suspicion he raped and killed a 19-year-old university student.

Dieter Inhofer, prosecutor in the southwestern city of Freiburg, said Saturday that the teen asylum-seeker was identified as a suspect based on traffic video from near the crime scene.

Inhofer tells the dpa news agency that DNA evidence has tied the boy to the crime scene. He was living in the area with a family.
Comment: This incident is part of a series in Germany: Germany in tension: Four attacks in one week
Comment

Cops use excessive force on innocent woman in Walmart

Matt Agorist
The Free Thought Project
2016-12-03 18:55:00

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Homewood police department has launched an internal investigation after video of their officers assaulting a 59-year-old mother in Walmart has gone viral.

The victim, Brenda Rivers had done nothing wrong, committed no crime, and was minding her own business when she was targeted by police who mistook her for a criminal.

Without a warrant or reasonable articulable suspicion, as Rivers did not match the description of the actual suspect, police detained her and demanded they be allowed to search her belongings.

Knowing she had done nothing wrong, Rivers refused.

« He just accused her, » Rivers’ husband said, trying to explain to cops that they had just entered the store. « He wanted to go through her purse without a search warrant or anything. Our rights are being infringed. »

For demanding police get a warrant to search her, Rivers was assaulted, wrestled to the ground, placed in handcuffs, and humiliated as police detained her for nearly thirty minutes. All the while, her husband is demanding they stop the abuse.
Comment

Student stabs USC psychology professor

RT
2016-12-03 18:47:00

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A student has stabbed a psychology professor to death on the University of Southern California campus, Los Angeles police report. The incident was reportedly the result of a « personal dispute, » and not a random act, university authorities and police said.

The professor was found dead with several stab wounds in the campus’ Seeley G. Mudd building, Los Angeles Police Officer Meghan Aguilar said.

« We do believe this is not a random act and there is no concern for the safety of anyone on campus at this time, » Aguilar added.

The student suspected of carrying out the attack has been arrested, Los Angeles Police Department Officer Drake Madison said, as cited by the local media.
Comment

More insured people and higher drug prices drive up US healthcare spending

RT
2016-12-03 18:27:00

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The US paid an average of $10,000 in health care per person in 2015 according the Department of Health and Human Services, a 5.8 percent increase over 2014. The increased spending, $3.2 trillion, is partially due to more people receiving insurance under the Affordable Care Act.

A report from the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) found that national health spending increased by 5.8 percent in 2015, the highest increase since the 2008 recession. The rate of insured Americans grew from 86 percent in 2013 to 90.9 percent in 2015.

The DHHS report notes that, « the largest increases in the health spending share of the economy have typically occurred around periods of economic recession. » But as a result of the 15 million more people with insurance, federal spending on health care has increased by 21 percent over the course of two years.

In addition, the federal government became the largest spender of health care products by representing 29 percent which economic Anne B. Martin told the New York Times is partially due to an aging population that is increasing the number of Medicare recipients.
Comment: More about the US health care system:

Obamacare premiums jump: When does the death spiral blow up?
The UN-Affordable Care Act: Obamacare premiums to increase 25 percent in 2017
The dirty little secret of Obamacare and predictions that have come true
More than 1 million will lose Obamacare plans as insurers quit
Obamacare fail: Whitehouse plans to veto penalty exemption bill for failed co-op plans

Comment

‘I fed her to the pigs’: Accused murderer said he ‘felt normal’ after ‘chopping up’ mum-of-three, Police Constable claims

Robert Collins
The Sun
2016-12-02 21:06:00

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PC Michael Woodburn told the High Court in Glasgow how Steven Jackson confessed to dismembering the mum-of-three and feeding her to pigs

Murder accused Steven Jackson told cops he « felt normal » after cutting up mum-of-three Kimberley MacKenzie’s body and feeding her to pigs, it was claimed in court today.

PC Michael Woodburn, 29, told the High Court in Glasgow how Jackson had confessed to dismembering Kimberley MacKenzie’s body.

He said Jackson told him and his colleague he had cut her body at the wrist, knees, shoulder and sternum and « went into auto-mode ».

The officer told the court he noted Jackson saying he cut up Miss MacKenzie’s body and « took her to a silage pit and fed her to pigs ».

PC Woodburn giving evidence in the trial of Steven Jackson, 40, and Michelle Higgins, 29, who deny murdering 37-year-old Miss MacKenzie in Montrose, during October last year and then dismembering her body.
Comment: Though certainly shocking and repugnant as this story surely is, it is useful to remember that there exist articulate, educated and politically or financially powerful psychopaths who are surely guilty of far far worse than this. But, unlike the abhorrent Steven Jackson, they usually get away with their crimes.
Comment

Over 1mn South Koreans protest embattled President Park, opposition seeks impeachment

RT
2016-12-03 18:00:00

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Around 1.8 million people are attending protests in South Korea calling for scandal-plagued President Park Geun-hye to resign over alleged corruption. Meanwhile, opposition parties have introduced a long-promised impeachment bill.

Seoul is once again the scene of the largest of the demonstrations, with the Korea Times reporting that 1.5 million people attended the protest in the nation’s capital.

People march toward the Presidential Blue House during a protest calling for South Korean President Park Geun-hye to step down in central Seoul, South Korea, December 3, 2016.

Some of those gathered in Seoul carried huge banners depicting Park in a prisoner’s uniform, while thousands held up signs urging the president to step down.
Comment

Graphic bodycam footage: Mentally ill man shot in Baltimore for holding knives

Matt Agorist
The Free Thought Project
2016-12-02 00:00:00

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Baltimore, MD — For the first time since the Baltimore Police Department was equipped with 600 body cameras, they have released a video. In the graphic footage, Baltimore police officers are seen shooting a mentally ill man who appeared to pose no threat to officers at the time.

On Wednesday, police officials released the video and 911 call which led to the shooting of the unnamed mentally ill man. Baltimore Police Commissioner Kevin Davis noted that he released the video because he’d rather deal with criticism over how the police handled the situation rather than the criticism the department would face had they not released it.

« With transparency comes responsibility and it’s our responsibility, we believe, to share it with our community, » Davis said. « We believe it is making us better as an agency. We believe it is improving police-community relations and accountability. »

Following a 9-1-1 call about a mentally ill man on the street beating his cane against a pole, multiple officers responded. Only moments passed before the man would be shot.
Comment: These buffoons can’t even safely disarm a guy who is clearly mentally disturbed without firing shots, and then fumble around like schoolboys to administer supposedly life saving CPR, who employs these people!?

124 mentally ill people shot to death by police so far this year
California cops shoot unarmed, mentally ill man, then confiscate phones from witnesses who recorded incident
Licensed to kill: Los Angeles police not charged after killing mentally ill homeless man on Skid Row
Excessive force: Dashcam shows mentally-ill man shot 14 times as he flees Sacramento police
Aussie police shoot 3 bystanders while attempting to hit mentally ill man who was carrying a knife and shouting « Allahu Akbar »
Video incriminates false police report, shows cops execute unarmed, mentally-ill man terrified of officers
Bipolar woman gunned down by police after parents called 911 for help

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Milwaukee cop convicted of drunk driving with his 13yr-old child, letting her drive, is up for promotion

John Vibes
The Free Thought Project
2016-12-03 16:05:00

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Milwaukee police sergeant John P. Corbett was recently convicted and sentenced to jail time for driving drunk with his child in the car, and now he is up for a promotion. The 46-year-old police officer allowed his 13-year-old daughter to drive his vehicle while he was drunk, and after getting a slap on the wrist in the court, he still has his job and may even be getting a raise.

According to the police report, Corbett and his daughter took turns behind the wheel throughout the trip, and he took over the drive when she got lost.

Corbett was given a misdemeanor charge of « driving drunk with a child in the car » and only served 30 days on work release. Corbett did receive a 60-day suspension but was able to work while serving his sentence, working his shift at the police department by day, then sleeping in the jail at night. It is important to note that the average citizen would be looking a lengthy prison sentence, steep fines, and they would likely lose their job had then been caught driving drunk with their child in the car.

At the scene, Corbett refused to take a breathalyzer test and then was able to get that dismissed in court as a result of a plea agreement. Again, these are circumstances that would never be granted to the average citizen.

Corbett was seen smiling ear to ear in his mug shot because he knew that he would see no consequences.
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9 reported dead, 13 missing in huge blaze at Oakland concert venue hosting ‘Rave Cave’ party

RT
2016-12-03 15:46:00

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Fire officials dealing with a major blaze at a concert venue in Oakland, California have confirmed to local media there have been nine deaths, with 13 people still unaccounted for.

At least a dozen people were reported missing shortly after a massive fire broke out in a building hosting a warehouse party, prompting fears they became trapped inside during the inferno.

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The blaze broke out on 31st Ave in Oakland during a party advertised as a ‘Rave Cave’ as part of musician Golden Donna’s ‘100% Silk’ West Coast tour.
Comment

Secret History

U.S. government has used propaganda against the American people for a very long time

Washington’s Blog
2016-01-18 00:00:00

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The Government’s Been Deploying Propaganda On U.S. Soil for Many Years

The United States Senate Select Committee to Study Governmental Operations with Respect to Intelligence Activities found in 1975 that the CIA submitted stories to the American press:

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Wikipedia adds details:

After 1953, the network was overseen by Allen W. Dulles, director of the CIA. By this time, Operation Mockingbird had a major influence over 25 newspapers and wire agencies. The usual methodology was placing reports developed from intelligence provided by the CIA to witting or unwitting reporters. Those reports would then be repeated or cited by the preceding reporters which in turn would then be cited throughout the media wire services.

The Office of Policy Coordination (OPC) was funded by siphoning off funds intended for the Marshall Plan [i.e. the rebuilding of Europe by the U.S. after WWII]. Some of this money was used to bribe journalists and publishers.

In 2008, the New York Times wrote:

During the early years of the cold war, [prominent writers and artists, from Arthur Schlesinger Jr. to Jackson Pollock] were supported, sometimes lavishly, always secretly, by the C.I.A. as part of its propaganda war against the Soviet Union. It was perhaps the most successful use of « soft power » in American history.

Comment: See also: Modern Operation Mockingbird: « Everyone Who Disagrees with Me Is a Russian Propagandist »
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Scientists find signs of intelligent tool use 300,000 year old Qesem Cave

Ross Pomeroy
Real Clear Science
2016-11-30 22:30:00

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Sixteen years ago, road workers detonated a controlled explosive to remove a large limestone boulder blocking a planned roadway outside of Tel Aviv in Israel. Soon after the dust settled, it became clear that the road would need to be rerouted.

The workers had stumbled upon a vast cave, one that had been sealed off for more than 200,000 years! For the researchers who soon began exploring the cave’s expansive interior, it was the find of a lifetime.

Now called Qesem Cave, the site has delivered a number of discoveries that live up to its explosive origin. Archaeologists found a 300,000-year-old fireplace, along with tortoise shells that showed signs of burning. Apparently, whoever live there had a taste for roast tortoise.

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