Sott.net E-mail Edition for Thu, 08 Dec 2016
Thursday, 08 December 2016
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— Best of the Web
Aleppo: World’s biggest hostage crisis comes to an end – but the fake news continues
As Syrian government forces recapture more parts of eastern Aleppo, many civilians are risking their lives to flee the besieged opposition-controlled areas, telling the world that the so-called « rebels » stop at nothing to prevent people from leaving.
The Syrian government and its Russian allies have long accused armed opposition groups in Aleppo of holding civilians hostage, whereas western governments and media have been promoting a different narrative in tune with « rebel » and « activist » sources. This narrative is now falling apart.
When government forces first managed to encircle the opposition-held districts of Aleppo in July of this year, Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu announced the opening of humanitarian corridors « to aid civilians held hostage by terrorists and for fighters wishing to lay down their arms. »
Bashar Jaafari, Syria’s ambassador to the United Nations, said in a July 26 letter to the Security Council that « the Syrian Army informed the civilian residents of those neighborhoods that it has secured safe passages, for those who want to safely exit those areas, and that it has allocated temporary accommodation for them. »
Troubled waters: Trump, Taiwan and Beijing
Dr. Binoy Kampmark
There was much tittering in the US-China fraternity over the casual, yet infuriating engagement US President elect Donald Trump had with Taiwan’s President, Tsai Ing-wen. A reading of the reactions suggested meltdown, a terrifying, imminent apocalypse. An outrageous booboo, or an typically uncharacteristic move hardly worth a mention?
There are no covering laws on this, though international relations theorists attempt, desperately, to push the illusion that there are such magical rules. Be careful of the hidden laws; do not violate the cast iron protocols. If breached, a storm will be unleashed. In some ways, the absence of such governing guidelines makes diplomacy tantalisingly innovative, at points, and dangerous, at others.
With the sediment of international relations suspended after Trump’s victory, the fear about the brittleness in the US-China relationship is all too clear. This is a relationship of suspicion and wantonness, of acquisitiveness and desperation. Political ideologues have, for several generations, held sway in both Beijing and Washington. Suddenly, the ideological caravan has been ambushed, and currently lies in flames.
Comment: Also see: The rules of the Trump game
US Court of Appeal, Ninth Circuit confirms judges to hear argument on legality of Iraq War
Today the United States Court of Appeal for the Ninth Circuit confirmed that Circuit Judges Susan Graber and Andrew Hurwitz, as well as District Court Judge Richard Boulware (sitting by designation) will hear oral argument on December 12, 2016, in Saleh v. Bush.
Saleh v. Bush involves claims by an Iraqi woman, Sundus Shaker Saleh, that former President George W. Bush and other high ranking Bush-era officials broke the law when they planned and waged the Iraq War. Saleh alleges that former Bush Administration leaders committed the crime of aggression when they planned and executed the Iraq War, a war crime that was called the « supreme international crime » at the Nuremberg Trials in 1946.
Saleh is appealing the immunity provided to the Defendants by the district court in December 2014.
« We are pleased that the Ninth Circuit will hear argument. To my knowledge, this is the first time a court will entertain arguments that the Iraq War was illegal under domestic and international law, » Saleh’s attorney D. Inder Comar, legal director at Comar LLP, said. « This is also the first time since World War II that a court is being asked to scrutinize whether the war itself was an illegal act of aggression — a special war crime that was defined at the Nuremberg Trials in 1946. » Comar is handling Saleh’s case pro bono.
CrossTalk with Peter Lavelle – September 30, 2013
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Comment: The Justice Department lawyers argued that the case came under the Federal Tort Claims Act (Westfall Act) because the Bushies had acted within the « scope of their employment » in bringing about the war. Saleh’s response stated it wasn’t covered by that law because the president was pursuing a private ideological agenda that he had displayed in 1998, long before taking office in 2001. In addition, the Iraq War was not US self-defense and lacked appropriate authorization by the United Nations, categorizing it a « crime of aggression » under international law. If Saleh wins, it would mean the president of the United States is not above the law, does not get a free pass.
Parliament votes to back Brexit and trigger Article 50 by March 31, 2017
British MPs have voted in favor of government plans to trigger Article 50 by March 31, 2017, meaning Britain will formally initiate the process of leaving the EU before that date. MPs voted 461 to 89 in favor of the motion on Wednesday.
The vote came following a motion from the Labour party, which stated that it is « parliament’s responsibility to properly scrutinise the Government while respecting the decision of the British people to leave the European Union, » adding that there « should be no disclosure of material that could be reasonably judged to damage the UK in any negotiations to depart from the European Union after Article 50 has been triggered. »
Added to the motion was a government amendment stating that parliament « recognises that this House should respect the wishes of the United Kingdom as expressed in the referendum on 23 June; and further calls on the Government to invoke Article 50 by 31 March 2017. »
Comment: Well now, the UK is beginning to come to grips with the popular vote to Leave and warding off those who would prolong triggering Article 50 as long as possible. As of now, there will be no second referendum nor input from the public constituency that voted Remain. It is a fallacy to expect any such action or maneuvers as ‘tyranny of the majority’ since the commoners (yea or nay) do not get to decide Article 50 terms.
Corbyn, Labour Party: Amend Brexit bill, avoid isolation from Europe
‘Brexit means Brexit’: Theresa May will trigger Article 50 without Commons vote
Ex-PM John Major: ‘Tyranny of the majority’ can’t decide Brexit terms
Greece refuses to extradite 3 Turkish servicemen, Ankara demands explanation
Ankara disagreed with the decision of the Greek Court to extradite solely three out of eight Turkish servicemen, suspected of having links with July’s coup, and insists on full extradition, Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said Wednesday. On Tuesday, the Court of Appeal in Athens decided to extradite three out of eight Turkish soldiers, who fled from Turkey by helicopter the day after the coup attempt.
On Monday, the Court ruled out extradition of three other Turkish servicemen with judges and a prosecutor having decided that the lives of the Turkish officers would be under threat in case of extradition. The future of the remaining two Turkish soldiers is yet to be decided.
« Why did it happen like that? We need to see the reason behind it. We are closely following the issue. Our expectation is that all of them would be extradited [to Turkey], » Cavusoglu said, as quoted by the Anadolu news agency.
All eight Turkish servicemen have denied their involvement in the coup attempt, but said they face prosecution in Turkey due to the government’s post-coup crackdown. Ankara has repeatedly demanded their extradition.
On July 15, a military coup attempt took place in Turkey. Ankara accused Islamic preacher Fethullah Gulen, who has been living in the US state of Pennsylvania since 1999, and his followers of playing a key role in the coup. Since July, Turkey has arrested hundreds of military personnel, activists and journalists
Comment: Erdogan is bent on a complete coup purge and unlikely to be discerning in circumstances or intent. He lives and operates from a ruthless and authoritarian end of the spectrum where moderation and filters rarely apply. Returning these soldiers to Turkey would likely end up in their demise.
French ex-PM Villepin: ‘Europe must come to grips with reality, start building bridges…’
France’s former Prime Minister Dominique de Villepin believes that France and Europe as a whole should strive to build political dialogue and an « atmosphere of trust » with the rest of the globe, especially Russia, with whom they share « common interests. »
Following the release of his latest book A Reminder of Peace in Wartime last month, Dominique de Villepin, who has served France in a variety of leading positions, including as prime minister and foreign minister in the government of Jacques Chirac, has spoken to RT France. He believes that international relations today are paralyzed by a lack of dialogue – a crisis which Europe is able to change.
« One of the biggest mistakes made in recent years is the cessation of all dialogue. You cannot hope for peace and stability on the world stage if you impose sanctions with such ease, isolating and pushing others aside. The deterrence policy pursued by the United States and Europe with regard to Russia and China is essentially a strategic mistake, which stems from a misunderstanding of the real international situation. In the case of the mentioned regimes, it does not lead to anything other than them tightening their positions, » the politician believes.
« We have punished our farmers [with sanctions against Russia]. What for? For what results? Can sanctions change Russian policies? We live in a time when sanctions, branding, and penalties, on the contrary, paralyze the balance of power, and sometimes reinforce the relationship between the people and their authorities. Never before has Russia stood so united around its leader, » Villepin noted.
Comment: It would be interesting to know if Villepin understands the current Western one-way ticket to unipolarity and the psychopathic forces at work to make this a reality. He puts forth a pragmatic way of solving problems, but these problems were set in motion by those he suggests revise their approach. Unless there is a rapid and dramatic turn-around, it is unlikely the epiphany will come, nor global relations find its Hakuna Matata. Can/will Trump make this difference a possibility? Villepin entertains this hope.
Is Donald Trump already president? Persona says yes
President-elect Trump has spent the month since his election victory engaging in some distinctly presidential-style behavior, including engaging with businesses on behalf of the American people, conducting a bit of foreign policy, and delivering sweeping public addresses — all before he holds the authority of the presidency.
With weeks to go until he takes office, Trump’s moves have tested the limits of his unofficial powers as the president-in-waiting. And although his activism has drawn scrutiny from detractors, his favorability ratings have hit new heights on the heels of several high-profile successes.
« I don’t think it’s normal for a president-elect to be out and about like this, but this is the era of Trump, and he is literally rewriting the rules, » said Ford O’Connell, a Republican strategist. « Things always change when you actually are sworn in, but at the same time, he is taking advantage of this and throwing his weight around while he’s got the momentum, » O’Connell added.
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Trump notched his first presidential-style win last week when he convinced executives at manufacturing firm Carrier to scrap their plans to move an Indianapolis plant to Mexico, saving somewhere between 700 and 1,100 jobs in the process. He did so through a combination of state-level tax incentives offered by Vice President-elect Pence, Indiana’s lame-duck governor, and the promise of impending federal tax cuts designed to boost the business climate. Trump had similarly claimed to have kept Ford Motor Co. jobs from leaving the country. And Trump followed the Carrier deal with an announcement on Tuesday that a Japanese telecommunications corporation, SoftBank, would soon invest $50 billion to create 50,000 jobs in the U.S.
Comment: According to Bloomberg, Americans who currently see the nation heading in the right direction is 37%. BUT, this is the highest level since February 2013. 49% think the country is headed in the wrong direction, but that is down from 68% in August, 2016. 55% are more optimistic about a Trump presidency because of his actions since the election. And, Americans are in favor of allowing Trump flexibility and re-calibration on his pre-election positions.
One thing is for sure, Trump has everyone guessing. And, asked who should be the leading voice for the Democrats, Killary Clinton comes in 4th behind Obama, Sanders and Elizabeth Warren. Sorry, snowflakes, she lost this one as well.
Azerbaijani theologian allegedly spied for Iran, faces 12-yr sentence
Two years after he was first arrested, the prosecution has demanded a 12-year prison term for respected Azerbaijani Shi’ite theologian Elsen Mustafaoglu on a charge of spying for Iran that he says was falsified and to which he pleads not guilty.
Mustafaoglu, 41, was sent by Azerbaijan’s Education Ministry to study in Iran, and defended his dissertation in 2007. In 2001, he founded the public organization Spiritual Purity, and in 2005 a research center. He also anchored a series of religious programs on various Azerbaijani TV channels. After two years studying in Norway, he returned to Baku in early 2014 and worked with the Spiritual Board of Muslims of the Caucasus. Fellow theologian Ilqar Ibrahimoglu, who heads the Center for the Defense of Freedom of Conscience and Belief, characterized him as « a very worthy and decent human being. »
Mustafaoglu was arrested in December 2014 and remanded in pretrial custody. His lawyer, Afqan Mamedov, said when the trial opened in July 2016 that his client was accused of having been recruited by Iranian intelligence in Iran in 1992. At that time, Mustafaoglu would have been just 17. Mamedov said Mustafaoglu did not travel to Iran that year, and the prosecution had not produced any evidence that he had. Mustafaoglu was subsequently said to have received unspecified instructions from Iranian citizens who travelled to Azerbaijan for that purpose. The prosecution’s case, Mamedov said, was based on vague statements by eight people who had not witnessed any crime committed by Mustafaoglu.
Comment: The National Security Ministry has amassed a profusion of human rights transgressions, which include assassinations of government critics and the jailing and harassment of hundreds of others without sufficient cause. It is likely Mustafaoglu is another victim of this corrupt system.
Mayor de Blasio requested $35M for Trump Tower security, gets $7M from Congress
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio estimated the cost of protecting the president-elect and his family living in Manhattan’s Trump Tower to be $35 million, but Congress is only offering to cover one-fifth of his request.
A haggling battle between Mayor de Blasio and Congress is drawing attention to the price of the Trump Tower’s security. While President-elect Donald Trump assembles his cabinet from Trump Tower, at least 100 police officers are patrolling the area, including 40 traffic and police officers stationed on the rooftops of nearby buildings watching the perimeter, according to DNAinfo New York.
De Blasio and City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito co-authored letters to President Barack Obama’s administration as well as numerous congressional leaders requesting a $35 million reimbursement from the federal government for the round-the-clock protection to the Trump family while they reside in Manhattan.
Comment: Protecting a presidential residence is a priority. Congress is wrong on this one.
At it yet again: Kerry says US, Russia working on possible Syria agreement
US Secretary of State John Kerry said that Moscow and Washington are working on a possible agreement on Syria, including the issue of Aleppo. Kerry and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov held talks in the German city of Hamburg on the sidelines of an OSCE meeting.
The meeting lasted about 10 to 15 minutes, according to media reports.
When asked whether he is certain of an agreement being reached, Kerry said: « We have to wait for certain feedback and input, but we are working on something. »
Kerry added that he was « hopeful » about a potential breakthrough, RT correspondent Peter Oliver reports from Hamburg.
This is Lavrov and Kerry’s second meeting in Hamburg. On Wednesday, following initial talks, Kerry told journalists that the two sides exchanged their ideas regarding the situation in Aleppo and agreed to continue the discussions on Thursday.
Comment: Poor Sergey Lavrov! Pity the consummate professional diplomat who has to go through the motions of listening to Kerry further attempt to spin his web of imperial bullshit as Russia already has the situation in Syria well in hand. We can take a little comfort in knowing that at least Lavrov is not being taken in by Kerry. See also:
Western powers continue their remarkable lies and diplomatic games as Jihadi resistance crumbles in Aleppo, Syria
and this just in: Foreign Minister Lavrov: Syrian Army suspends active military operation in Aleppo
India: Syrian crisis should be resolved in accordance with Assad government wishes
India believes the Syrian crisis should be resolved in accordance with the wishes of Syria’s government and people, Indian Ambassador to Russia Pankaj Saran told Sputnik, adding that New Delhi considers Moscow’s peace efforts very important.
He stressed that the world community should join efforts and together fight against terrorism in Syria.
« We feel that the Russian participation that is taking place in Syria, is very important and actions, that have to be taken in Syria, have to be taken in accordance with the UN resolutions and in accordance with the wishes of the government of Syria and the people of Syria through the dialogue which is inclusive and that is a position that we have conveyed to the international community and to the Russian Federation, » Saran said.
Comment: More countries not falling in line with the Western Syrian narrative of « Assad must go ».
Biting the hands that feeds it: Report claims up to 1,750 jihadists back in Europe from warzones, ready for attacks
A third of the 5,000 European jihadists who traveled to fight in Syria and Iraq are now back in Europe, with some on « specific missions, » a new EU report warns. The bloc’s authorities are raising the alarm over further Islamist attacks on European soil.
EU anti-terrorist chief Gilles de Kerchove will present the findings of the report, which has been already seen by the AFP, to European ministers on Friday.
It says that out of 5,000 Jihadists who joined terrorists in Iraq and Syria, around a third are now back in Europe. Although the document itself gives no exact figure, the number could reportedly be as high as 1,750.
Comment: From the mouth of a jihadist: Interview with a French ISIS member: « We’ll stop when France stops bombing the Middle East », beheading enemies of God is « a pleasure »
Ex-Trump adviser on his way to Moscow for talks with business men and ‘thought leaders’
Carter Page, who served as a foreign policy adviser to Donald Trump during his presidential campaign, told Sputnik he will have several meetings in Moscow with businessmen and ‘thought leaders.’
« I will be meeting with business leaders and thought leaders, » Page, who used to work with Russian energy giant Gazprom and is an American oil industry consultant, said.
Page said his trip to Moscow will last until December 13.
During the presidential campaign, Trump’s foreign policy adviser said that Washington and Moscow share common goals, but the US’ « arrogant » foreign policies have often ignored these interests.
Speaking to Sputnik in October, Page said that « many of America’s core national interests overlap significantly with the strategic priorities of Russia. But unfortunately, an arrogant foreign policy in Washington has quite often failed to consider America’s own fundamental priorities. »
NATO short of officers in Turkey after Erdogan’s post-coup crackdown
NATO remains understaffed after Turkey initiated a massive crackdown on its military, a top alliance general said, voicing concerns about the wellbeing of the purged servicemen and insisting that the talented and capable officers had nothing to do with the failed July coup.
Turkey, a major NATO member, launched a massive manhunt spanning all levels of society following the failed July 15 plot to topple the government. Authorities went on to detain close to 38,000 people while purging more than 100,000 employees from government jobs.
The military has also witnessed a large-scale crackdown on alleged followers of US-based Muslim cleric Fethullah Gulen, accused by the government of masterminding the plot. Ankara on a number of occasions has also accused the West of possibly being behind the coup.
Comment: And with good reason: Wolf in sheep’s clothing: Who and ‘what’ is Fethullah Gülen?
Commenting on the purges and the impact the crackdown is having on NATO operations, Curtis Scaparrotti, NATO Supreme Allied Commander in Europe, said that half of the 300 or so Turkish military staff assigned to NATO were detained, recalled or retired from the alliance from mid-July. About 75 of them have been replaced so far, Reuters reports.
House unanimously passes bill to include FBI whistleblower protection
The House bill amends a loophole in a whistleblower protection law to include the Federal Bureau of Investigation. The FBI was the only federal agency without whistleblower protection.
« HR 5790 would clarify Congress’s longstanding intent to protect whistleblowers when they make disclosures to the same supervisor who has the power to take personnel action against them, » said Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R, Utah), Chairman of the House Oversight and Government reform Committee, and lead sponsor of the bill, on Thursday.
The bill passed a house vote and had bipartisan support from co-sponsor Rep. Hakeem Jeffries (D, New York).
Support for Ellison signals end of the era of political assassination by Israel lobby
The most remarkable thing about the attack on Rep. Keith Ellison as an enemy of Israel and anti-Semite, led by the Anti Defamation League and Haim Saban at the Brookings Institution, is that it has not KO’d the Minnesota congressman’s bid to be chair of the Democratic National Committee.
We are used to seeing such campaigns gain traction and inevitability till the heretic falls into an abyss. Public servants such as Chas Freeman, Chuck Hagel, Charles W. Percy, Earl Hilliard, Paul Findley and Cynthia McKinney have all been marked and cashiered by lobby groups over criticisms of Israel. Both Jimmy Carter and George H.W. Bush are thought to have lost a second term as president in part because they crossed the pro-Israel crowd.
This time the narrative is playing out in a different fashion: Ellison is gaining broad support from leftleaning Democrats and liberal Zionists. He does not appear to have been undone by the smear campaign against him. One rightwing website says Ellison has a « clear path » to victory because pro-Israel forces are no longer strong enough to stop him inside the Democratic Party, while the Washington Post says that while Ellison has a « far rockier road » than he projected, he still might get the job.
John Glenn, first American in orbit, dies at 95
Former NASA astronaut and Democratic US Senator from Ohio , John Glenn, has passed away at the age of 95. He died at the Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center in Columbus, Ohio, according to local newspaper the Columbus Dispatch.
On February 20, 1962 Glenn flew the NASA mission Friendship 7, becoming the first American to orbit the Earth.
UK overseas aid department reportedly blows £1bn on contractors every year
Britain’s overseas aid department is scrutinizing its costs after the annual consultancy budget was revealed to have soared to £1 billion (US$1.25 billion), according to reports.
Analysis by the Times indicates that spending on private contractors by the Department for International Development (DfID) may have helped to as much as double spending since 2012.
The department was, for example, quoted £10,000 for a blog post and apparently paid £23,000 for a two-page policy report.
The paper also reports that celebrity speakers sent to a conference in Mexico cost £40,000, while elsewhere a bank and law firm split £1 million for advising a Nigerian state-owned investment fund.
Officer strikes man in bunny suit, is charged with assault
A New Jersey police officer has been charged with assault, following an incident in which he struck a man dressed in a bunny costume. The victim was in a police station when the incident occurred and in the process of handing himself in. Officer Nicholas Maresca, Jr. faces one count of simple assault, according to the New Jersey Herald. The video of the moment he struck Kevin Hemmerich was filmed on a cell phone by his brother and posted online.
In the video, 28-year-old Hemmerich can be seen at Hopatcong Borough Police Department station, dressed in a bunny outfit as he attempts to hand himself in to authorities. Hemmerich was wanted for failing to complete ordered time in the Sheriff’s Labor Assistance Program.
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Comment: The empowerment of radical bunny suits and annoying horn accessories…who knew.
Video proves cop, who fired AR15 rounds into victim, lied man was ‘charging’
The Free Thought Project
In a blow to police accountability, Lt. Daniel Stephenson was found by his own department to have acted in accord with department policy for shooting and killing Todd Browning.
The facts of the case are simple. On August 19, police were called because of reports of a man armed with a knife. Shortly after the call, police encountered Browning, 54, less than a mile away. Within less than a minute after Stephenson walked to the front of his cruiser, he would put four .223 rounds into the chest of Browning.
Browning was not holding a knife. Instead, he was ‘armed’ with a water main key — a thin metal rod used for turning on and of water meters and waste valves.
The police agree on all of the above. However, it is what happened after Stephenson killed Browning that is the subject of controversy. Police claim Browning charged the officer. But, from what we can see on the dashcam, this is a clear fabrication.
As the video begins, Stephenson is seen rounding the front of his cruiser. The two exchange words as Browning threatens Stephenson and vice versa. However, at no point do we see anyone charge anyone. In fact, Browning was barely inching toward Stephenson when the officer opened fire.
At no point was a less than lethal option even considered by Stephenson in the video. At no point did Stephenson back up. For slowly walking toward a police officer with a thin metal rod, Browning was put to death by his judge, jury, and executioner — Lt. Daniel Stephenson.
Immediately after the killing in August, police investigators released a statement to the media claiming that a man ran at the officer. And since the investigation, no one in the media has questioned it — even as the video clearly shows it is false.
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Comment: Clearly there is a programmed reactionary response paired with a disconnect between what is the ultimate solution to a victim/officer stand off and what is a reasonable and effective discharge of such situations. Police departments are increasingly on kill mode and rewarded for it.
ICRC and Red Crescent evacuate about 150 patients from Old Aleppo hospital
About 150 civilians, mostly people with disabilities or those in need of urgent medical care, were evacuated from a hospital in the Syrian city of Aleppo, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) said in a statement on Thursday.
The ICRC pointed out that among those evacuated there were six children who lost their parents. However, 11 people died before the SARC and the ICRC specialists reached Dar Al-Safaa center, accommodating patients with mental health needs and physical disabilities.
« Nearly 150 civilians, most of whom were disabled or in urgent need of care, were evacuated late night from a hospital in the Old City of Aleppo, in a joint operation by the Syrian Arab Red Crescent (SARC) and the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), » the statement read.
Racism and discrimination alive and well at CNN: Black employees file class-action lawsuit against company
Former and current black employees on Tuesday filed a class action lawsuit against Atlanta-based CNN, Turner Broadcasting and New York based parent company Time Warner for racial discrimination.
« As a result of the current discrimination lawsuit filed on behalf of DeWayne Walker vs. CNN, Time Warner & Turner, we have uncovered stories involving abuse of power, nepotism, revenge, retaliation and discrimination, » said Daniel Meachum said in a press release.
The press release provided a photo ofDeWayne Walker, a CNN producer who sued CNN individually in January for $50 million for racial discrimination and retaliation for filing a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. He accused CNN of not promoting him over 13 years because he is black, skipped over frequently for promotions in favor of white employees.
According to his LinkedIn page, Walker is an integrated marketing manager at CNN.
Walker is not actually a plaintiff in this particular case but is a client of Meachum’s and his individual lawsuit is still active. Celeslie Henley, a former executive administrative assistant at CNN, and Ernest Colbert Jr., a senior manager at TBS, are the only named plaintiffs though Meachum said 20 to 30 other unnamed current and former Turner employees helped him out with information about their experiences.
Comment: Funny how every time the rock gets lifted that’s covering one of these so-called « liberal » media or political establishments in the U.S., the ugly head of racism and elitism rears its ugly, over-sized and venomous head.
British football youth coach arrested after confessing to sex abuse
Former youth coach and Celtic kitman Jim McCafferty has been arrested in Belfast, Northern Ireland, after confessing to sexually abusing young footballers.
McCafferty, who worked in football in Scotland and Ireland from the 1980s, was arrested after walking into a Belfast police station.
« A 71-year-old male has been arrested by detectives after presenting himself at a station in Belfast, » Detective Superintendent Deirdre Bones said, as reported by Sky Sports News.
« He was arrested on suspicion of sexual offenses against children in Northern Ireland. He is currently helping police with their inquiries. »
Sexual Predators: Hundreds of UK police officers accused of sexually abusing victims
Hundreds of British police officers have been accused of engaging in the sexual abuse of victims, according to a report by UK top police watchdog ordered by then-Home Secretary Theresa May earlier this year.
The statement by lead researcher Mike Cunnigham branded the findings the « most serious form of corruption. »
According to the study done by Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary (HMIC), during the 24 months to March 31, 2016, there were 436 allegations of abuse of authority for sexual gain « received, or received and finalised, » by police forces in England and Wales, including instances of multiple allegations against a single member of police.
Opioid addicts overdosing in staggering numbers in Miami, FL
Opioid addicts are overdosing in staggering numbers across Miami-Dade County — and the ‘hot zone’ for the growing epidemic is the streets of Overtown.
On a sunny morning late last month, a 43-year-old homeless woman named Mary crumpled to the sidewalk along Northwest 17th Street, vomit smeared across her T-shirt and hair. Within minutes, Miami Fire-Rescue paramedics injected her twice with the life-saving antidote known as Narcan.
As they lifted her still-unconscious body into the ambulance, a telltale sign was revealed. On the sidewalk lay a silver burnt spoon used to liquify the powder heroin.
Mary was lucky to survive, and stories like hers have become increasingly common for overwhelmed first responders on the frontline of South Florida’s opioid crisis. Newly released statistics show that in the first nine months of 2016, the Miami Fire-Rescue stations in the neighborhood used Narcan nearly 1,000 times – nearly double the rate of last year.
But they don’t always make it in time.
Since 2015, at least 31 people have fatally overdosed in Miami’s Overtown neighborhood with heroin or fentanyl – often, both – in their blood. That makes it far and away the deadliest zip code for opioid deaths in Miami-Dade County. The city of Miami itself accounted for nearly a whopping 43 percent of all 236 county overdoses recorded since 2015.
Comment: Americans view opioids as biggest local drug epidemic in communities – poll
Unprecedented and horrific: Deaths from heroin use & overdose have tripled in the U.S.
‘Heroin epidemic’: US users at 20yr high
How did middle America become addicted to heroin?
Danish doctors rise against child circumcision
A doctor’s association in Denmark has made calls to ban child circumcision and the country’s government has made it obligatory to report circumcision to authorities, starting next year, in a move to tighten restrictions on the currently unregulated practice.
Circumcision must be « an informed, personal choice, » and therefore should be postponed until adulthood, the Danish Medical Association said in a press release. It believes the current state of affairs deprives boys of the ability to make their own decisions about their bodies and their cultural and religious beliefs.
« To be circumcised should be an informed, personal choice. It is most consistent with the individual’s right to self-determination that parents not be allowed to make this decision but that it is left up to the individual when he has come of age, » The Local quoted Lise Moller, the chairwoman of the doctors’ association’s ethics board, as saying.
Previously-hidden VA medical center quality ratings exposed is alarming – report
The Department of Veterans Affairs hid quality ratings for nearly 150 of its medical centers, but now USA Today is revealing them for the first time. Despite many facilities receiving just one star, the VA says that the « rating tool » is for internal use only.
According to the VA’s rating system, unveiled by USA Today on Wednesday, medical centers receive between one and five stars based on their performance. Texas and Tennessee have most of the lowest-performing medical centers, with VA hospitals in Dallas, El Paso, Nashville, Memphis and Murfreesboro marked with just one star for performance. Many of highest-rated facilities, which scored five out of five stars, are located in the Northeast of the country, clustered in Massachusetts and New York as well as the upper Midwest, in South Dakota and Minnesota.
USA Today managed to obtain the most recent ratings available from June 30, but it says that the VA has refused to provide a list of hospitals that received two, three or four stars.
The agency says its rating system would « hurt » veterans if revealed.
Comment: See also: Veterans in 2016: Backlogs, coverage gaps, and a vague Trump mandate
Aleppo residents: ‘Militants held us at gunpoint, withheld food and water’
An RT crew was among the first to speak to residents of Aleppo evacuated after spending months trapped in militant-held parts of the city. The residents had almost no food or water, and were told by militants they would be killed if they tried to escape.
RT has received first-hand accounts describing the atrocities and suffering Aleppo locals faced after the city fell into the hands of terrorists. People were starving, had no water and were forcefully prevented from running away.
« We’ve been in a very miserable situation. For four months no bread, no water, we’ve been treated very badly. But thanks to Allah, when the army came, we’ve moved here, » a resident evacuated from the Old City district in Aleppo told RT.
« We tried to escape twice before, but they [militants] threatened us with weapons and made us go back, » he said.
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Comment: A revealing look at the rebel positions captured by the Syrian Army (note the vast stores of supplies hoarded by the « rebels », and kept from the civilian population):
View on Sott.net
Trump’s top environmental adviser Myron Ebell says pesticides aren’t bad for you
To lead the transition of the Environmental Protection Agency, President-elect Donald Trump settled on notorious climate change denier Myron Ebell. The decision rattled climate activists—see Julia Lurie’s interview with Bill McKibbenand David Roberts and Brad Plumer on Vox. But it isn’t just greenhouse gas emissions that are likely to get a free ride under an Ebell-influenced EPA. Farm chemicals, too, would likely flow unabated if Ebell’s agenda comes to dominate Trump’s EPA.
Ebell directs the Center for Energy and Environment at the Competitive Enterprise Institute. The group runs a website,SafeChemicalPolicy.org, that exists to downplay the health and ecological impacts of chemicals.
FIFA boss Infantino demands ‘zero tolerance’ of sex abuse in football
FIFA President Gianni Infantino says there needs to be « zero tolerance » of child abuse in football, promising to investigate how the sport’s governing body can prevent it happening.
English football has been rocked by a scandal over accusations of historical pedophile activity within the game, with police forces across the country dealing with an increasing number of claims.
Comment: UK football child sex abuse hotline receives 860 calls in the first hour of operation
Comment: Child abuse and pedophilia is gradually being exposed and showing up everywhere.
Football pedophile scandal: Premier league club Manchester City launches investigation
Global pedophile rings hiding in plain sight
Busted! Politicians, police caught in huge Norwegian pedophile ring
Tip of the iceberg: 7,000 people have sought counseling and therapy for pedophilia in Germany in last 11 years
3 out of 4 of ‘underage’ asylum seekers in Denmark are adults, teeth & bone tests show
The Danish Immigration Service has questioned the age of some 800 asylum seekers who said they are younger than 18. In almost three out of four cases, ‘unaccompanied minors’ proved to be adults, according to a report.
Experts at the University of Copenhagen’s Department of Forensic Medicine have been investigating the age of unaccompanied asylum seekers who arrived in Denmark this year and said they are under 18, Jyllands-Posten daily reported.
The Danish Immigration Service suspected that 800 asylum seekers lied about their real age.
John Pilger: Pyramid Lake is Dying
1976. An investigation into the lamentable state of a paiute reservation in the Nevada desert.
Comment: In this 1976 documentary film, the son of the great Red Cloud, chief of the Sioux Nation, repeated the words his father spoke on behalf of all Indians:
Now that you have been forced to surrender, you must put aside the wisdom of your fathers. You must lay up food and ignore the hungry. And when your house is built, and your storerooms filled, you must look around for a neighbor to take advantage of and seize all he has. That is the way it is now, the way to get rich, the way of the white man.