A non-profit news blog, focused on providing independent journalism.

Saturday, 1 November 2014

Excellent idea! Lawmaker asks Nobel Committee to strip Obama of Peace Prize


© AFP Photo/Saul Loeb

US President Barack Obama walks to the Rose Garden of the White House in Washington, DC, on October 9, 2009 to address reporters after he won the Nobel Peace Prize.

A representative of the populist LDPR nationalist party claims in an official letter that the US President should be blamed for thousands of innocent people's deaths and therefore cannot keep his 2009 Nobel Peace Prize.

"More and more international experts are calling Obama's presidency dark times. The reason for that is the brutal policy that he is conducting all over the world, like Napoleon or Hitler had done before. But I want to warn Obama so that he pays more attention to history and understands that he can end up like Hitler," MP Roman Khudyakov said in an interview with .

The politician added that under Obama the United States participated in the "dirty war" in the Middle East, financed the armed conflict in Ukraine and violated international law by torturing suspected terrorists. All this makes the US President complicit in the violent deaths of several thousand innocent civilians and such a person cannot remain the holder of the Nobel Peace Prize, Khudyakov said.

In addition, the lawmaker suggested to pass the Peace Prize taken from Obama to Russian President Vladimir Putin. "He stopped the war in Iran, in Syria and he is still saving a lot of people from major bloodshed. He is a vivid example of a politician who preserves peace and love in the world."

Khudyakov is not the first Russian politician who has suggested stripping the US President of his 2009 Nobel Peace Prize. In August this year, the head of the LDPR party, Vladimir Zhirinovsky, wrote in a public address that Obama was not worthy of the honor.

Zhirinovsky stated that the fact that the Peace Prize was given to Obama in 2009 caused bewilderment from the very beginning - the award went to the man who had occupied his post for less than a year and had not claimed any real achievements, but instead started wars in the Mideast, Afghanistan and Ukraine. The Russian politician added that he himself had worked in the Peace Committee and previously the whole world had been proud of Nobel laureates. He noted that giving the Peace Prize to Obama "had done huge damage" but the mistake could still be corrected.

In March, senator, Lyudmila Bokova, asked the Nobel Committee to annul Obama's peace prize claiming that the double standard policy of the US administration helped develop the political crisis in Ukraine.

In November last year, two Russian military-related NGOs, Officers of Russia and Soldiers' Mothers, addressed the Nobel Committee with a request to evaluate Obama's inhumane statements about drone warfare - the US President had reportedly told his aides that he was "really good at killing people" while evaluating drone strike results.

So far, all calls from Russian activists and politicians have gone unanswered. It should be noted, however, that the statutes of the Nobel Foundation forbid the revoking of prizes as well as any appeals against Nobel Committee decisions.

More UFO's seen flying by Eiffel Tower

A UFO "fleet" speeding around the Eiffel Tower in Paris, France, was inadvertently caught on a tourist's cell phone video last week and posted on YouTube, where the video is still waiting for an explanation of what the three fast-moving objects it depicts might actually be.

The UFO-tracking site described the three objects, which as appear in the video as pinpoints of light, as a "fleet," apparently because the three UFOs appear to be flying one after the other - though they do not seem to be in any kind of formation or following a set flight pattern.

According to the description posted on October 24 by , the UFO video was shot by a young French girl who was part of a group of friends enjoying a night out in Paris. The illuminated Eiffel Tower appears in the background.

But no one reported a UFO sighting the night the video was shot, and the three darting objects in the sky behind the Eiffel Tower were not noticed until the video was viewed later.

[embedded content]

"The first UFO seems like it could be a plane, but clearly, the UFOs move fast and behave differently when flying," says the description of the video on its YouTube page. "These objects do not appear to be planes flying about in the night sky. To the far right one UFO seemingly falls and flies erratic as it heads down to the right side of the Eiffel Tower. The UFO almost appears to be floating down. The other UFOs veer off to the left of the famous tower, and they seemingly begin to fizzle out."

states that it "puts every UFO video we want under intense scrutiny and close analysis before releasing them."

While some commenters on the video were skeptical, with one even suggesting that the UFO fleet could actually be a trio of drone aircraft, others were impressed by this UFO clip.

"Wow amazing capture, there can be no doubt that these are not terrestrial crafts[!]"

Another commenter stated that on the same night, three UFOs were spotted flying around the moon - but the commenter provided no verification for this extraordinary claim.

The UFO lights do indeed appear to be moving extremely quickly and are spaced very closely, one after the other, which would not be the case with commercial aircraft.

In March of last year, a UFO was spotted buzzing the Eiffel Tower just four days before the world-famous landmark was evacuated due to a terrorist threat.

Comment: Maybe there are some extraterrestrial visitors who appreciate the Eiffel Tower and Empire State Building as much as we humans do? Or, another thought, maybe some of them to be seen - or just don't give a hoot about being seen? After all, if they have the technology to do what they are apparently doing, they have to know that everyone and their mother walks around these days with some kind of phone or device capable of capturing photos and/or video of them. If the pilots of these craft wanted to be discreet, why play peekaboo around some of the world's most famous structures - again and again.

The wrath of Draghi: First German bank hits savers with 'negative interest rates'

Mario Draghi

© Unknown

President of the European Central Bank Mario Draghi

Deutsche Skatbank, a division of VR-Bank Altenburger Land, which was founded in 1859, is not the biggest bank in Germany, but it's the first bank to confirm what German savers have been dreading for a while: the wrath of Draghi.

Retail and business customers with over €500,000 on deposit as of November 1 will earn a "negative interest rate" of 0.25%. In less euphemistic terms, they have to 0.25% per annum to the bank for the privilege of handing the bank their hard-earned money or their business cash.

Inflation has had a similar effect in the zero-interest-rate environment that the ECB and other central banks have inflicted on savers, but this time it's official, it's open, it can't be hidden. Instead of lending your moolah to the bank so that the bank can lend it out to businesses and retail customers for all sorts of economically beneficial purposes, you're financially better off hiding it in the basement. Grudging respect is due the ECB and other central banks: through the perverse regime of ZIRP, they have succeeded in transmogrifying "cash in bank" from an income-producing asset to a costly liability.

"Punishment Interest" is what Germans lovingly call this. It's the latest and most blatant step of the central-bank strategy to confiscate in bits and pieces and over time the wealth that prudent people and businesses have accumulated, and that should have re-entered the economy via the intermediation of the banks.

Last summer, the ECB imposed negative deposit rates on member banks. At first, it was 0.1%, which has now doubled to 0.2%. The reason? The ECB dragged out its "mandate," which is, as it said, "to ensure" that "price stability" is "below but close to 2% inflation," which in turn is "a necessary condition for sustainable growth in the euro area." Whatever. There is not a scintilla of evidence that inflation is requiredfor economic growth; however, there is plenty of evidence that economic growth can stir up inflation. The good folks at the ECB know this. It's just the official pretext for using inflation to eat up debt - along with savers.

"There will be no direct impact on your savings," the ECB announced five months ago. "Only banks that deposit money in certain accounts at the ECB have to pay." But it added ominously, "Commercial banks may of course choose to lower interest rates for savers."

And that would be good for savers:

The ECB's interest rate decisions will in fact benefit savers in the end because they support growth and thus create a climate in which interest rates can gradually return to higher levels.

Thank you hallelujah, ECB, for helping out the savers!

This is in line with its policy, as it says, to "punish savers and reward borrowers." No kidding. To bring some perspective to it all, it adds, "This behavior is not specific to the ECB; it applies to all central banks."

Now the wrath of Draghi is hitting German savers and businesses. The first bank is already trying it out. Other banks haven't yet jumped in line. They're taking a wait-and-see stance but refuse to exclude the possibility.

"There is no planning in that direction," Direktbank ING Diba told the Welt.

"We believe that negative interest rates on deposit accounts - whether for private or business customers - are a dangerous signal..." said a spokesman of the German Savings Banks and Giro Association (DSGV). But he did not rule out either that some member banks might not follow the same example in the future.

"The banks will try to avoid negative deposit rates," explained the Federal Association of German Cooperative Banks, but in this zero-interest-rate environment imposed by the ECB, negative rates on large deposits "cannot be excluded."

"At the moment, we are not imposing negative interest rates on retail customers," said the second largest bank in Germany, Commerzbank. At the moment....

"We cannot earnestly rule out punishment interest in the future," said Frank Kohler, CEO at the Sparda-Bank Berlin, the largest cooperative bank in Germany in terms of membership. He pointed out that the banks that are the most susceptible to punishment interest are those whose business model relies on pure banking with individuals and businesses, and whose earnings cannot be improved by investment banking, risk-taking, gambling, market-rigging, and other big-bank activities that "have triggered the financial crisis in 2007."

"So precisely those banks suffer the most that have never put the financial system at risk," he said. "This is unfortunately not free of bitter irony...."

The door to punishment interest has been cracked open. It starts with large deposits and small rates. Then step by step, deposit amounts get smaller and punishment interest rates get larger until everyone gets smacked with it, and no money is save. It's all part of the time-honored central-bank strategy to flog savers until their mood improves.

Germans don't get to do this, but the lucky Swiss get to: they get to go to the polls and tell their central bank what to do about gold. A yes-vote will send shock waves through the gold market and other central banks. Read... What the Swiss Gold Referendum Means for Central Banks

Green Acres, Florida police officer Jared Nash breaks 15-year old girl's arm in school over cell phone


(Left) Daniella Galindo lays in hospital room, her arm swollen from the breaks. (Right) X-rays show breaks in Daniella’s arm.

Less than a year after one of its police officers was arrested and charged with having unprotected sex with several women, knowing that he was HIV positive, the Green Acres, Florida Police Department is back in the spotlight.

In an exclusive story which I am breaking here on my blog, a young girl's father vows to seek justice for his daughter, after a Green Acres Police officer broke her arm.

The incident took place on Tuesday October 21, 2014 inside John I. Leonard High School.

That's where 15-year old Daniella Galindo was talking on her cell phone with her mom when Green Acres Police officer Jared Nash walked up to the teen, and asked her who she was talking to.

When Daniella replied that she was speaking with her mom, officer Nash demanded that she give him her phone.

When the teen refused, officer Nash grabbed the 4′ 11″, 90 pound young girl, slammed her against the wall, and twisted her arm, breaking it in two places.

Then, to add insult to injury, in the literal sense, as the young girl cried in pain with her arm broken, officer Nash pulled Daniella's arms back behind her back and handcuffed her.

Galindo says that it was then that a school sentry named Perez told officer Nash to remove the handcuffs.

"I want him fired," Jeremy Galindo, Daniella's father told me in a phone interview Sunday night.

"They (police) are saying that the officer's excessive force was justified because they say my daughter pulled away from him," Galindo said, adding, "So one of your officers breaks a minor's arm and you don't investigate?"

According to Jeremy Galindo, his daughter's assault by officer Jared Nash was caught on the school's video surveillance system, but school officials are refusing to release the video.

"They (school) have already admitted that there is a video, so they can't go back now and say that there isn't."

Galindo also told me that John I. Leonard High School officials never even told him what hospital his daughter had been taken to.

A police officer assaulting a child inside a school, a place that's supposed to represent a safe zone and a safe haven for children, is disturbing enough, but it's what Daniella's father told me during our phone interview which makes officer Jared Nash's rogue behavior and assault of an innocent child even more disgusting.

According to Jeremy Galindo, just a few days before officer Nash broke his daughter's arm, his daughter Daniella was chased by several girls after school, who wanted to jump her.

Galindo told me that as his daughter was running, she fainted, and a passerby came to her aid.

It was that same passerby who prevented her from being assaulted by the group of girls.

Galindo says he called Green Acres Police and filed a police report to document the incident, and that according to a Green Acres Police Sergeant, officer Nash went to the school because police believed that Daniella had a video on her phone of a fight that had occurred at the school days earlier.

But Galindo says it's ironic that officer Nash assaulted his daughter, and as a result, victimized the young girl, who just days earlier was bullied.

"My daughter was a victim," Galindo said.

"We initiated a police report, and they (police) ended up causing more harm than anyone."

Subconscious manipulators: Subliminal messages easily bypass conscious perception

The idea of someone or something controlling our every thought and action is so 1980s. Let's face it, we live out our modern, technological lives with access to instant communication and information that allows us to enjoy greater control and freedoms of thought and expression than at any point in recorded human history; right?

Each of us draws comfort from the decisions we make, sure in the knowledge that we are individuals, masters of our own destiny. We mock those that aren't as under the thumb, as easily lead, or weak. Underlying this attitude is the principle that no person or system has the right to influence or determine the free will of another. This may be true, but what if this truth was naive; that even the strong-minded could not trust the direction their thoughts were taking them?

A Fabric of Lies?

Why for instance do we accept laws that govern conduct and shunt every aspect of human experience into a narrow band of monotonous conformity? What if we were to strip society of its rules and regulations governing conduct; what then? Would we fall into anarchy? This social consensus maybe misplaced.

Consider road signs and signals. Substantial reductions in traffic incidents and fatalities have been recorded in communities that have adopted a rather novel approach to road safety by removing street clutter. If this idea of so-called 'naked roads' seems counter-intuitive to you, just ask the resident exhibitionists of Christiansfeld, Denmark.

In 2004, local libertarians stripped traffic lights and other road markings from a notorious crossroads in a bid to improve road safety. Surprisingly this simple act of faith saved Danish bacon, reducing the death toll to zero on a road which throughout the previous decade had claimed three lives every year. It is believed the fall in casualty figures was due to uncertainty over who had right-of-way.

The late Dutch traffic engineer Hans Monderman did much to inspire this rethink. He devised schemes in the Netherlands that removed all traffic lights, signs and markings, and other driver instructions from the small villages of Drachten, Makkinga and town of Oosterwolde; all with great effect. Perhaps unsurprisingly removing red lights from a particular district in Amsterdam has yet to catch on.

Interestingly, naked road studies like those in Christiansfeld suggest a re-think; that road signs, in some instances, offer about as much protection to the elements as the Emperor's new clothes. Of course the Danish subjects in Hans Christian Andersen's tale who saw through the head of state's veiled attempt at modesty were considered subversive. So are road signs as useful as non-existent clothing? Does that make me subversive?

Laws operate as a strong arm of social conditioning, in so much as they slowly undermine the ability of the individual to assess situations and make judgements based on past experiences. Laws make us passive; we look out to authority for answers rather than to ourselves within. The danger is we become easily manipulated and no longer able to question authority; not only because we have been conditioned to, but because we are being slowly stripped of the tools and acuity with which to do so.

This point is telling when put under the microscope with other basic freedoms that have been removed on the back of trumped up, often unfounded fears over public safety.

If this study asks us anything, it questions the extent to which we walk through life with little conscious free will at all. And that is not as stupid as it sounds according to some experts.

'I' is the One Per Cent

Dr. Bruce Lipton is a stem cell biologist and bestselling author who believes that the conscious mind governs less than it would like to think it does. "The major problem is that people are aware of their conscious beliefs and behaviours, but not of that belonging to the subconscious," says Lipton.

The conscious I might take credit for decisions, computations, realisations and reactions, but in reality credit must go to the subconscious. Neurological experiments carried out by the late pioneering scientist Benjamin Libet suggest that conscious recognition of a pain event, in this case a pinprick to the finger, lags up to half a second behind the prick itself. It takes half a second for us to become conscious of stimulation of the sensory cortex. In other words our conscious experience of pain at the moment in time that the prick occurs is a temporal fraud. Essentially we feel a prick after the event.

In his bestseller The User Illusion, Tor Nørretranders compares this fraud: that conscious experience is projected back in time in exactly the same way as a direct stimulation of the sensory cortex can be shown to project out onto the body. There is a good reason for this, he suggests: what we need to know is when our skin was pricked, not when we became conscious of it.

Of course, in reality we can't be half a second behind the eight ball and expect to stay in the moment, let alone in the game. Take, for example, the football midfielder that whips in a free-kick; he does not consciously calculate the angular projection and speed; he just whips, period. Pythagoras he is not. To perform, successful sports stars rely on instinct, automatic reactions based on subconscious programs ingrained by hours dedicated to practice and training. Conscious thought here is the bane of instinct, which experts say is not just left on the sports field.

"Most people don't even acknowledge their subconscious mind, that it is at play, when in fact this mind is a million times more powerful," says Lipton. "We operate up to 99 per cent of our lives from subconscious programs."

In short, your conscious I, the ego, might not like it, but it's under the thumb. Truth is it's only let out to play when time permits. And even then our thoughts and actions are often simply the result of consciousness fielding thoughts and ideas pitched from the infinite depths of the subconscious mind. Slip of the tongue? Ah, that would be a curve ball. More often than not consciousness doesn't even get to use what Nørretranders (and Libet) term as its veto, to otherwise accept or reject a choice or urge that the subconscious mind has already made. Many decisions and actions bypass our conscious mind altogether.

Should we give up on the idea of conscious free will? It has its veto, but on the whole the numbers are not encouraging. According to Nørretranders, every second our senses pass on and process about 11 million bits of information to our brain. The vast majority, 10,999,984 or so bits of information, we remain unaware of, processed as it is by our unconscious, or what I refer to herein as subconscious mind. Such events are disconcerting for an ego; it likes to think of itself as solely in charge. But how can it be? It has no eye for a ball and can't even hold down a job as a bouncer.

Truth is our subconscious is open to suggestion. Subliminal messages easily bypass conscious perception. During the 1920s when radio first aired in the UK it was unpopular and seen by many as a sinister intrusion. To persuade would-be listeners the BBC planted a backward message in its jingles. The message when played forward was hidden, but when reversed could clearly be heard to say, "This is not a noose, no really it's not." In normal play the subconscious picks up on what the conscious cannot. Audible messages can also be played beyond the normal frequency range of human hearing. In both instances the subconscious mind may be programmed beyond conscious perception or approval.

And it's not just on radio.

Remote Control

Typically television and film footage runs at 25 frames per second. As it turns out subliminal images of a single frame can be slipped into a sequence that avoid conscious detection. Who knew? Baby (George W) Bush apparently. One reported incident occurred during the 2000 US presidential race when a TV advertisement focusing on who should pay for prescription drugs for the elderly included the slogan "bureaucrats decide"; the slogan preceded for a split second by the word "rats" accompanied by an image of Al Gore.

"Television is a 'dream come true' for an authoritarian society," explains clinical psychologist Dr. Bruce Levine. "Those with the most money own most of what people see." Subliminal messaging is officially frowned on by most companies that operate in the public domain. Some companies have a code of ethics. Where there's a profit to be made however, there are always those that don't. Their behaviour is often modified simply by a fear of being found out. After all, technology today allows consumers to hit rewind, pause and dissect footage frame by frame.

And why expose yourself to bad publicity, when you can make fear work for you openly. The control industry even has a name for it: television programming. "Fear-based TV programming makes people more afraid and distrustful of one another, which is good for an authoritarian society adopting a 'divide and conquer' strategy," says Levine.

For example, fear-based broadcasts are the lifeblood of the corporate mainstream media and don't even pretend to hide from the conscious mind. The fact that large sections of society fail to see their underlying purpose could be argued is evidence of this affect. To such an extent, Lipton says, that people have been programmed to believe that they're victims. "We're programmed from childhood with beliefs. Since subconscious programs operate outside the range of consciousness, we don't experience ourselves playing out these behaviours that can sabotage our own lives." As a result, says Lipton, we don't take responsibility for the lives we lead. We see ourselves as victims of forces outside of our control.

"For instance, when we get sick, we were told that we must go to the doctor because the doctor is the authority concerning our health." Thus we learn in our formative years that we are victims of bodily forces beyond our ability to control. "The joke, however, is that people often get better while on the way to the doctor," says Lipton. "That's when the innate ability for self-healing kicks in, a perfect example of the placebo effect."

According to Lipton, medical institutions operate on fear. "The funding and regulatory elements know that within each of us is the power to heal," he explains. "For example, it is a proven fact that one-third of all healings are due to the placebo effect, which is controlled by the subconscious mind, but medical-related corporations based on making a profit don't want us to know this."

Have You Seen My Watch?

The effect of all this forces us to look outside for answers and guidance, rather than within - into the hands of those who program us further.

Reality TV is a perfect example. Money and fame is the panacea we are sold. When the 'I' buys into this culture, it allows the outside world to define it. I reflect its values, and buy into its marketing of me. And what happens with most marketing? Scratch the surface and there is nothing of substance beneath. When we buy into these outward distractions, our conscious mind rejects the subconscious, the part of ourselves that we unknowingly value the most. Here is the modern malaise, and why in those moments of quiet solitude, the 'I' feels so empty.

The idea of ego, of an independent me is empowering. But we are being sold a pup. The 'I', the conscious me, is not nearly all that I am. This is THE distraction. The 'I' is all of me, all of my subconscious urges, not just the conscious imposter that catches a reflective glimpse every so often of what the political class and its corporate masters will not even acknowledge to me exists. Thanks to this distraction one's connection is stolen, one's true voice. The sense of who I really am. The corporate elite is the pickpocket that distracts its victim before stealing his watch. And then how do you find out the time? That's obvious, says Levine:

"When you're isolated and watching TV it interferes with the connection to one's own humanity, which makes it easier to accept an authority's version of society and life."

Authority has my voice and chances are I don't even know it. According to Levine television achieves this by putting the viewer in a brain state that makes it difficult to think critically. It's all those alpha brain waves, now just relax and let your eyes follow my watch. Alpha brain waves, some experts claim, are the bridge between the conscious and subconscious; a highly suggestive meditative state. Problem is the viewer's focus is outward rather than within.

Television offers no quality time to quietly reflect on what makes us unique, the very same spark that unites us, beyond the tired old dividing lines of class, politics and creed. "Television isolates people so they are not joining together to govern themselves," says Levine. So we not only feel separated from ourselves, but from each other. Just what the doctor ordered. Now if we can just get back to erecting those religious divides, I've got a war to fight.

Do laws, rules and the governing norms of behaviour really cause more problems than they solve? According to Levine this is a question that will take people, at least those who take it seriously, on an acid trip. "If you spend a lot of time thinking about how unnecessary laws are, and then don't comply with these laws, eventually, logically, you will end up in jail," says Levine. "Or if you obey laws that you think are bullshit, you will lose self-respect, integrity, wholeness, and feel like a pathetic hypocrite and potentially have a nervous breakdown and end up in a mental hospital. And jail and mental hospitals have lots of television."

Talk about coming full circle.

Did You Look Inside?

OK, so jail is a relative term; so too madness. Some might argue that by giving in to outside pressures to conform we locked up our innate subconscious many moons ago. And it is that which has us howling like some insane wolfman at every full moon that passes.

Einstein once said that you can't solve problems with the same level of consciousness that created them. The conscious mind cannot solve problems that its separation from the subconscious created. If we value peace and harmony and only focus on fear, is it not surprising when we access the same old negative programs? Einstein was equally specific when he described what he believed was the only truly valuable thing: intuition.

According to bestselling author and intuitionist Laura Day, intuition is a faculty, like one of our five senses. In the same way that muscles waste when they are not used, education largely trains us to consider only what the system considers logical; what passes as the social consensus. As a result we do not take seriously and often throw away our best ideas, what make us different and potentially successful, because they come from flashes of insight.

Intuition is all possibility, all knowing, and is at the heart of human discovery. Insight often has us asking: where did that voice come from? Or who found my watch?

Scottish physicist James Clerk Maxwell not only summarised in four short equations all that was known about electricity and magnetism, but his equations succeeded in predicting phenomena that weren't considered anything to do with these fields of study until after his death. How was this possible? In a sense, Nørretranders writes, Maxwell gave his own answer saying, "What is done by what is called myself is, I feel, done by something greater than myself in me."

What Maxwell was suggesting is common to many great advances, in that they arise somewhere in the mind that is beyond the control of consciousness. Intuition is responsible for the arts and the sciences as we know them, and across the whole range of human advancement and endeavour, if only we'd see it.

The subconscious mind throws up answers that our conscious cannot even predict. The lesson here is to make informed choices; we must zone out from instructions, turn off the TV and tune in to within. Will this help us steer clear of acid trips? Maybe, maybe not. Intuition makes us resilient. It is our greatest teacher. It may trip us up, but it dusts us down. That comes from the freedom to choose. It does not do prisons or make prisoners of others. If that's acid, then it surely beats neutral, which we are conditioned to believe is the only reality that should concern us.

The author would like to thank Tor Nørretranders, Dr. Bruce Levine, Dr. Bruce Lipton, Dr. Kerry Crofton and Laura Day.

This entry passed through the Full-Text RSS service - if this is your content and you're reading it on someone else's site, please read the FAQ at http://ift.tt/jcXqJW.

$3.67bn will be spent on congressional elections this year, making it the most expensive mid-term election in US history

Up until recently this game had a limited number of players. Leaders from the two major US political parties, Republican and Democratic, controlled the money and devised the strategy.

Thanks to legislation and Supreme Court decisions over the past 12 years, however, the game has changed entirely. The power of political parties ebbed, while outside groups and individuals have been given new freedom to buy seats at the game.

They can run advertisements and develop get-out-the-vote organisations just like the parties did. And unlike their Republican and Democratic counterparts, they often have no caps on the funds they can raise and limited requirement to identify exactly where the cash comes from.

A chart showing the growth in mid-term campaign spending.

The result has been an explosion of money into the political system. According to projections by the Center for Responsive Politics, $3.67bn (£2.29bn) will be spent on congressional elections this year, making it the most expensive mid-term election in US history. In addition, independent expenditures are taking a larger and larger share of that total.

Leonardo legends: Master's self-portrait hidden from Hitler in case it gave him magic powers

leonardo da vinci

Self-Portrait by Leonardo da Vinci

One of the world's most famous self-portraits is going on rare public display in the northern Italian city of Turin. Very little is known about the 500-year-old, fragile, fading red chalk drawing of Leonardo da Vinci but some believe it has mystical powers.

There is a myth in Turin that the gaze of Leonardo da Vinci in this self-portrait is so intense that those who observe it are imbued with great strength.

Some say it was this magical power, not the cultural and economic value of the drawing, that led to it being secretly moved from Turin and taken to Rome during World War Two - heaven forbid it should ever fall into Hitler's hands and give him more power.

Whatever the reason, this was the only work from the entire collection of precious drawings and manuscripts to be removed from the Royal Library in Turin at the time.

The library's current director, Giovanni Saccani, says nobody even knows exactly where it was hidden. "To prevent the Nazis from taking it, an intelligence operation saw it transported in absolute anonymity to Rome."

Under such difficult circumstances, preservation was not properly considered, "nor did they have the same knowledge and techniques back then," says Saccani. "Naturally, this did not do its condition any good."

Inside the Royal Library a pristine red carpet lines the stairs - we follow the steps down to a secure underground vault with reinforced doors.

This purpose built caveau has been the home of Leonard's , and thousands of other priceless drawings and manuscripts, since 1998. The picture's treatment today could not contrast more strikingly with the neglect it suffered during the first half of the 20th Century.

The lighting is exclusively fibre optic - no natural light can enter this room - and the temperature is kept at a constant 20 degrees Celsius, the humidity at 55 per cent. The display cases are made of a type of glass which Saccani describes as "anti-everything", and the whole area is fitted with alarms and security cameras.

Using a special preservation torch, Saccani shines some light onto the drawing's surface to demonstrate the extent of the damage known as foxing, when small reddish-brown spots or marks appear on ancient paper.

"This case is particularly bad," he sighs - 200 years ago the foxing was less obvious. "On the bottom left of the drawing there was a red chalk inscription in Latin which said Leonardus Vincius, which has now completely disappeared."

Since the damage is so extensive and the paper so fragile, restoration would be extremely complex. Exhaustive analysis and discussion by world experts in restoration has led to "the decision to maintain the status quo," says Saccani.

And since coming to the caveau in 1998, the condition of the drawing has not deteriorated any further.

leonardo da vinci

Leonardo's Codex on the Flight of Birds is also on display at the exhibition

"This comforts us because we know we are getting it right now. You have to remember it's a good 500 years old. The pictures we drew at school probably don't exist anymore and this was a drawing done on ordinary paper, so I think it's pretty extraordinary that we can still display such a masterpiece today."

Equally extraordinary is the story of how this self-portrait ended up in Turin. It was part of a vast collection purchased in 1839 by King Carlo Alberto of Savoy. A passionate collector, he bought it from Giovanni Volpato, an art dealer and curator who had travelled extensively throughout Europe. How he came upon Leonardo's drawings is a mystery but it is known that he asked the king for the sum of 70,000 Piedmontese lire for the collection.

"A doctor earned 1,000 lire a year at the time so it was an astronomical figure," smiles Saccani. "The king managed to get him down to 50,000 but it still took him eight years to pay for it in installments."

But Saccani says Volpato was not the ruthless businessman he might sound.

"Volpato's aim wasn't simply financial because, in exchange for agreeing to give the king a discount, he asked to be allowed to become the unpaid curator of drawings in the Royal Library."

And since then Turin has remained the home of the red chalk .

Is it really a self-portrait?

leonardo da vinci

Generally dated around 1515, some experts believe the picture corresponds more with Leonardo's style in the 1490s, yet the subject of the drawing is an old man.

"He wasn't terribly keen on the idea of self-portraiture full stop," says James Hall, author of - he doesn't believe the portrait was drawn by Leonardo. "He didn't much like the idea that the art work should be a portrayal of the artist. He wanted the art work to represent an ideal."

Hall thinks this drawing has become famous at least partly because of the sheer lack of self-portraits by Leonardo. "People have latched onto this like the philosopher's stone and clung to it."

But others are less sceptical. "I'm quite happy to believe it is a self-portrait but I think it's for each person to decide when they see the real object," says Liz Rideal, the author of two books on self-portraits and a lecturer at the National Portrait Gallery in London and Slade School of Fine Art.

She says most people want to believe it is a genuine Leonardo "because he has this superman status... I think we are in awe of genius and therefore, if this is the self-portrait of a genius, then we want to see what he looked like."

As director of the Royal Library, Giovanni Saccani is in no doubt: "It is a self-portrait... anyone who finds themselves standing in front of this drawing is struck dumb. The first thing they say when they recover is 'this is giving me the shivers'. The expressive power of this face is absolutely connected to an emotion and an ability that only Leonardo could possess."

Leonardo's is considered so valuable that it is subject to a state decree of immovability.

It can only be moved with ministerial permission. In 2011 it was taken to the Reggia di Venaria Reale just outside Turin for an exhibition marking the 150th anniversary of the unification of Italy.

"Transportation involved a special 'clima box' able to maintain the same air conditioning systems present here in the caveau," says Saccani. "This 'clima box' was then put inside a case, which was in turn placed in an outer casing, all of which was able to avoid vibration." The package was then driven with an armed escort and constantly monitored using remote technology.

An extraordinarily complex, delicate and expensive undertaking, unlikely to be repeated very often in the future.

Leonardo's is on display as part of the King's Treasures exhibition

Over the coming weeks, 50 people will be allowed into the Royal Library's caveau every hour from 09:00 to 18:00 to see the self-portrait - the temperature of the vault has been lowered slightly to compensate for the body heat that people will give off.

Although there are more than 80 masterpieces on display in the King's Treasures exhibition - including further works by Leonardo, Raphael, Rembrandt, Perugino and Van Dyck - for most visitors, the highlight will be the rare chance to behold the face of the great Renaissance polymath.

And they might also bear one final myth in mind - it is said that just before taking an exam, students would do their last-minute revision in the Royal Library above the vault. Legend has it that studying near Leonardo's genius can somehow rub off.

Picture of a 14 month old on hook posted to Facebook leads to mother's arrest

A picture of a 14-month-old boy posted on Facebook has led to the mother's arrest.

The photo shows a Spotsylvania toddler suspended in the air hanging by his twisted t-shirt. The boy is hanging from a door frame crying and obviously uncomfortable.

14-month-old boy dangles from planter hook.

Investigators say the photo came to their attention when people saw the photo on social media.

"We had it assigned to a criminal investigation detective through the child victim unit. When she responded, she did an investigation and found that it wasn't a nail, it was actually a planter hook that the child was hanging from. But the child was absolutely fine," Sgt. James Konicki with the Spotsylvania County Sheriff's Office said.

Alexis Breeden

The picture was reportedly taken by the child's mother between Sept. 1 and Sept. 10.

According to WTVR, the toddler's mother, identified as 18-year-old Alexis Breeden, turned herself in Thursday afternoon after a felony warrant was issued for her arrest.

Investigators say the child's parents had an argument and in retaliation the father posted the photo on Facebook to get the mother in trouble.

Breeden is now facing a felony child abuse charge and recently pleaded guilty to an assault and battery charge against a family member.


USGS: Earthquake Magnitude 7.1 - 141km NE of Ndoi Island, Fiji

Ndoi Island Quake_011114


Event Time

2014-11-01 18:57:22 UTC

2014-11-01 06:57:22 UTC-12:00 at epicenter


19.698°S 177.794°W depth=434.4km (269.9mi)

Nearby Cities

141km (88mi) NE of Ndoi Island, Fiji

313km (194mi) WNW of Nuku'alofa, Tonga

432km (268mi) ESE of Suva, Fiji

470km (292mi) SE of Lambasa, Fiji

546km (339mi) ESE of Nadi, Fiji

Scientific Data

Recipe for disaster: Rabies and adenovirus being used in new Ebola vaccine trials


This story just popped up on this evening: "New Ebola vaccine study has begun in Maryland."

Paragraph 1:

The first human trials of a Canadian Ebola vaccine began Monday, part of a flood of experimental therapies rushed into testing to battle the Ebola epidemic.

Another experimental vaccine is being fast-tracked and rushed out thanks to a carefully planned fearporn propaganda campaign designed to ultimately make Big Pharma a lot of big profits. No one is talking about any natural alternatives, underlying nutritional deficiency issues or water treatment problems already plaguing Africa, or the fact that even the guy who designed the Ebola test says it's unreliable or the fact that stories have leaked out here and there in the African newspapers that people are purposefully poisoning city water wells with formaldehyde which, when ingested, can cause corrosive injuries that appear much like the symptoms of late-stage Ebola.

Also the phrase "a flood of experimental therapies" is perfectly timed for October, because it's scary as hell. Who knows what's in those syringes.

Paragraph 2:

Although the world has been fighting Ebola since 1976, major drugmakers showed little interest in the disease because outbreaks were small and sporadic, said Thomas Geisbert, a professor at the University of Texas Medical Branch, who has studied Ebola and tested drugs against it for many years.

Drugmakers "showed little interest" because poor dying Africans living in abject poverty can't afford expensive designer pharmaceuticals. Period.

For more on that, watch this clip of a doctor being interviewed by Bloomberg who straight up says that there wasn't enough panic and paying customers to necessitate the creation of an Ebola vaccine.

[embedded content]


"These all take a lot of money and right now in the history of what we know at least, there have been fewer than 5,000 people who have been infected with Ebola. It sounds scary, but I don't know that there's enough...uh...panic or enough people who are potential customers for these drugs to warrant a company - a private company anyway - putting the money it would take to develop this." [emphasis added]

Watch the video. The good doctor even struggles to find his words before he says he isn't sure there is enough and customers to warrant developing a vaccine.

A "small and sporadic" number of people dying - albeit in a horrible, awful way that's the stuff of nightmares - simply does not translate to profits.

Guess there's enough panic to rain Ebola money from the sky now, huh?

Because now, of course, every time a new American gets diagnosed with Ebola, the stocks for companies working on all these experimental drugs and shots shoot straight up. Motley Fool referred to this as "emotional trading."

" the site declared on October 1st after Ebola Patient Zero Thomas Eric Duncan was officially diagnosed.

Paragraph 3:

Ebola research got a jump-start after the terrorist attacks in 2001 as the government funded studies to prepare for possible bioterror attacks, said Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute for Allergy and Infectious Diseases.

. The events on 9/11/2001 were used to further all sorts of government agendas, weren't they? By the way, were those studies carried out in the Ebola hot zone countries? That's where U.S. bio-warfare researchers just so happen to have been hanging out studying Ebola for the last few years prior to this latest outbreak...

Paragraph 4:

Only the current Ebola outbreak in West Africa, the biggest in history, has succeeded in moving experimental drugs and vaccines into larger clinical trials. There are no approved drugs or vaccines on the market, so several Ebola patients have received experimental medications.

Sounds like all this mass public fear is smashing good timing, then! Reminds me of a another story I saw on The Guardian titled, "Ebola is in America - and, finally, within range of Big Pharma," byline: "Research into tropical diseases is chronically neglected, but the horror of this epidemic could transform the battle against them."

The USA Today story goes on to talk more about this vaccine and the other rushed-to-testing shots in play at the moment:

A vaccine developed by the Public Health Agency of Canada began testing Monday at the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research in Silver Spring, Md.

The vaccine uses a vesicular stomatitis virus (VSV) to deliver its payload and offers promise for preventing and treating Ebola, Hotez said.

VSV...isn't that in the rabies category? Better check it. Via Wikipedia:

Vesicular stomatitis Indiana virus (VSIV) (often still referred to as VSV) is a virus in the family Rhabdoviridae; the well-known rabies virus belongs to the same family. VSIV can infect insects, cattle, horses and pigs. It has particular importance to farmers in certain regions of the world where it can infect cattle. This is because its clinical presentation is identical to the very important foot and mouth disease virus. The virus is zoonotic and leads to a flu-like illness in infected humans.

Oh . Sounds like something straight out of the zombie horror movie 28 Days Later, doesn't it?

This vaccine isn't the only one, either. A researcher at Thomas Jefferson University, in a partnership with the National Institutes of Health (NIH), is currently working on an Ebola vaccine that will straight up piggyback off the actual rabies vaccine.

microbiologist Matthias J. Schnell said.

The Philly Inquirer article goes on to note that the Walter Reed Army Medical Center plans to have a 2,000-dose batch of Schnell's concoction prepared for testing by the end of next month.

Big Pharma giant Glaxosmithkline (GSK) is already working on another vaccine in conjunction with NIH using an adenovirus, a common cause of respiratory illness. GSK has already begun preparing 10,000 doses of the experimental vaccine for a World Health Organization emergency vaccination program, you know, if clinical trials (the short, fast-tracked kind rushed into testing due to the outbreak) go "well".

Dr. Fauci, the director of the NIH's National Institute for Allergy and Infectious Diseases (the government outfit working with GSK) has recently told The Canadian Press that he believes a mass vaccination program will likely be required to stop this Ebola outbreak (via Modern Healthcare):

"It is conceivable that this epidemic will not turn around even if we pour resources into it. It may just keep going and going and it might require a vaccine."

"As the epidemic gets more and more formidable and in some cases out of control it is quite conceivable, if not likely, that we may need to deploy the vaccine to the entire country to be able to shut the epidemic down. That is clearly a possibility." [emphasis added]

Scientists are now claiming that, to go about testing these drugs in the normal fashion with placebo groups etc. would be "unethical" because it would mean denying patients at high risk of death potential treatment. What that really means is ultimately a skewed set of data in a hard-to-lose situation for pharmaceutical companies testing out otherwise risky products on people like lab rats.

So does it follow then that if the treatment kills a few people in the process, they would've died anyway and that makes it all a-okay?

You know, ten years ago... Long before this Ebola outbreak and the resultant panic spreading like a global wildfire... was asking back in 2004, "How do you test that a human Ebola vaccine works?"

The answer given then?

Gee, a lot has changed in a decade, hasn't it?

Business as usual: Dysfunctional America

Bill and Hillary Clinton a couple without conscience

If you require more evidence that the United States is a dysfunctional society, observe American elections. Election season is slander season. Each party's attack teams focus on misrepresenting, defaming, and ridiculing the opposing party's candidates. Attack ads have replaced debates and any discussion of what the issues are, or should be, and how candidates perceive the public's interest. Each attack team tells lies designed to enrage various voters about the other team's candidate.

Whoever is elected is indebted not to voters but to the special interests that provided the campaign money. Once elected the official serves the private interest groups that put the official in office. In America the government can be bought and sold just like everything else. In its Citizens United ruling, a Republican Supreme Court put its stamp of approval on the right of corporations to purchase the US government.

Each state has its own dominant interest groups that win every election. In Florida real estate developers routinely defeat the environment and local communities. Developers have even been known to form organizations that pose as conservation supporters in order to misrepresent and defeat conservation measures.

Yet, despite their long string of losses to special interests, voters still participate in elections. I once read a theory that elections are a form of entertainment. President Clinton's encounter with the young woman on MTV - "boxers or briefs" - is one indication of the lack of seriousness that Americans bring to politics.

Perhaps the lighter moment of a young woman's interest in the president's underwear should be cherished. The Clinton years will be remembered as scandal after scandal with dark events unresolved and covered up. The Clinton years were transformative. For those who don't remember and those too young at the time to be aware, Ambrose Evans-Pritchard's book, (1997), will be an eye-opener. Perhaps the Democrats should read the book before nominating Hillary as the party's presidential candidate.

Evans-Pritchard was Washington bureau chief for the , one of the main British newspapers. He was stunned by how the American media ceased to function during the Clinton years. The Clinton years gave us such events as the federal government's murder of the Branch Davidians in their Waco compound and subsequent coverup, the Oklahoma City bombing and coverup, and the coverup of the apparent murder of White House counsel Vincent Foster.

Almost everyone who paid attention saw coverups, not investigations, of these extraordinary events. Evans-Pritchard was one who payed attention, and what he saw did not pass muster. Yet, there was no press asking questions.

For example, the official story was that Tim McVeigh was the "lone nut" responsible for blowing up the Murrah Federal Office Building with a truck bomb. Yet, at McVeigh's trial the prosecution did not call a single witness who could place McVeigh in Oklahoma City on the day of the bombing. "This is a rather astonishing fact," writes Evans-Pritchard, and indeed it is. The reason the prosecution could not provide a witness to place McVeigh at the scene of the crime is that the many witnesses all reported seeing McVeigh in the company of other men, and the prearranged official story was that McVeigh was alone. The FBI and the prosecution had to make this case, not conduct a real investigation and discover what really happened.

Experts who have examined the Oklahoma City bombing have concluded that the truck bomb was cover for explosives set inside the building. For example, US Air Force munitions expert General Benton K. Partin provided an extensive and detailed study and wrote to the US Senate: "The attached report contains conclusive proof that the bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, was not caused solely by the truck bomb. Evidence shows that the massive destruction was primarily the result of four demolition charges placed at critical structural points at the third floor level."

Miquel Rodriguez, the associate independent counsel assigned the investigation of Deputy White House Counsel Vincent Foster's mysterious death resigned after four months convinced that he was dealing with a FBI coverup and that his investigation was being sabotaged by personnel within his own office. The FBI's official story differed completely from the story of the witness who discovered Foster's body. Again, as in Oklahoma, the FBI's case required the creation of a make-believe scenario at odds with the evidence. With no interference from a silent press, the FBI created the story that was needed. Evans-Pritchard wrote that the Foster case was "taboo for American journalists. In private, many concede that the official story is unbelievable, but they will not broach it in print."

When Americans think of Clinton era scandals, they recall "Whitewater" and Clinton's sexual escapades with White House intern Monica Lewinsky. Evans-Pritchard writes that these two scandals were small potatoes compared to the Waco, Oklahoma City, and Vincent Foster coverups. Evans-Pritchard concludes that these minor events were used by the press to distract the public and perhaps Congress from inquiring into FBI coverups of criminal acts.

I remember asking my colleague Robert Bartley why he put so much energy and editorial ink into Whitewater, a minor scandal involving some real estate payoffs to the Clintons that did not pan out. Serious events were ignored while Clinton's affair with Lewinsky became a matter of impeachment.

From Clinton to George W. Bush and Obama was another transformative change. The crimes of the Clinton regime were covered up and not acknowledged. The crimes of the Bush and Obama regimes are openly acknowledged by the presidents themselves and by their attorney generals who assert that the "war on terror" frees presidents from the Constitution and from domestic and international statutory law. Thus, we have indefinite detention, torture and loss of protection against self-incrimination, destruction of privacy, and execution of US citizens without due process of law.

Almost overnight the US government became unaccountable, released from constitutional and legal constraints. Elections serve only to validate the unaccountability of government.

Hawaii Big Island beach closed: 12 foot tiger shark bites surfer's hand

© Matt Solomon

North Kohala, Hawaii - An aggressive shark bit a Big Island woman's left hand while she was surfing near Halaula Lighthouse in North Kohala. Kailua-Kona resident McKenzie Clark, 34, and her friend, Brian Wargo, were about 150 yards offshore catching waves just before 11:15 a.m. on Friday. Wargo told Hawaii News Now that he missed a wave and then turned around when he heard Clark screaming.

"She is lifted up out of the water on top of her board and being pushed out to sea," said Wargo.

"I was just scared. I didn't know what to do. The first time it bumped me I thought, 'What's happening? Did I hit a rock?' I was kind of in disbelief. It just happened so fast," Clark said.

A 12-foot tiger shark lunged at Clark three times, according to Wargo.

© Matt Solomon

"The shark comes back, grabs her board and her hand, and rips her off the board and she rips her hand out of the shark's mouth and the shark is pulling her board out to sea with her getting dragged by her leash leg," said Wargo.

According to Wargo, he grabbed the shark's dorsal fin once the animal let go of the board and started going after Clark again.

"I just started punching the shark and I punched it probably five times," Wargo said. "When I hit it that fifth time, it turned away from her and started going out to sea."

The pair paddled in and drove to North Kohala Community Hospital where Clark received several stitches on her two injured fingers.

"I'll probably have to fly to Oahu and get a skin graft on one of the fingers. They're pretty mangled, but I didn't lose them. I still have them all intact," said Clark.

The Department of Land and Natural Resources closed the beach and posted shark warning signs.

Dead whale found at the mouth of Maurice River, New Jersey

In Commercial Township Thursday night, officials discovered a large whale that washed up at the mouth of the Maurice River. Now the investigation into its cause of death begins. Officials say the process of examining and transporting the animal was not an easy one. It's not something you hear about everyday, a whale washed up near the mouth of Maurice River, and once discovered, officials transported it to a nearby landfill.

"It's not something you'd find in the Delaware River or this far up. Usually they are open water animals, not inland like this," said Bob Schoelkopf with the Marine Mammal Stranding Center.

"When I approached my guys about this yesterday, none of them could believe it until they came down and saw it for themselves," said Clint Miller, Manager for Commercial Township's Public Works.

Public works crews brought the whale to the landfill in Commercial Township. Officials cut up the whale and examined it to try and determine the cause of death.

"Looking at the condition internally of the animal, the only cause of death we could find is starvation. There's no food or anything inside of the entire intestinal track," said Schoelkopf.

But officials say it's possible the whale died from the Morbilli virus, which has killed many dolphins along the East Coast over the past two years. They will not know the exact cause of death until samples of the whale's body are further examined.

"We are always concerned that could be the problem with the whales as well. The Minke Whale in Atlantic City in may did test positive for Morbilli," said Schoelkopf.

Officials say although slicing up the whale and examining it is a rough task, Commercial Township's Public Works made the job just a little easier. Crews dug a massive hole, and buried the remains of the Minke Whale.

"We couldn't have done it without them. They are the ones who got it off the beach where it washed up," said Schoelkopf.

"We can all say that we buried a whale now I guess. That's different for the roads department," said Miller.

Officials say they should know the exact cause of death by next week.

Towards a new Intifada? 28 Palestinians injured as clashes with Israeli forces rage across Jerusalem overnight

JERUSALEM (Ma'an) -- At least 28 Palestinians were injured as clashes with Israeli forces continued into the late hours of the night on Friday across Jerusalem, as anger over a series of killings by Israeli police boiled over into the streets of the city's Palestinian neighborhoods.
Palestinian protestor

© AFP Abbas Momani

A Palestinian protestor throws a burning tire during clashes with Israeli forces at the Qalandia checkpoint between Ramallah and Jerusalem on Oct. 31, 2014

Clashes broke out in the occupied East Jerusalem neighborhoods of Silwan, al-Issawiya, al-Tur, and Wadi al-Joz, as hundreds marched and fought pitched battles with security forces in anger over the killing of Mutaz Hijazi, 32, early Thursday, as well as the killing of Abd al-Rahman al-Shaludi, 21, the week before.

Both men were suspected by authorities of involvement in violent incidents targeting Israelis. But Palestinians have been outraged by their killings, highlighting that instead of being arrested both were shot dead by police on sight.

An autopsy on Friday revealed that Mutaz Hijazi, 32, was shot 20 times by different officers and left to die on his rooftop, as Israeli police refused to allow locals to reach him -- and later forced an ambulance to surrender his body, before returning it to the family late Thursday.

On Friday evening, Israeli forces raided the area around Hijazi's home al-Thawri neighborhood in Silwan, and locals told Ma'an that soldiers attacked a tent set up by the mourning family where friends and relatives were dropping in to offer condolences.

Israeli forces reportedly fired stun grenades, tear-gas canisters, and rubber-coated steel bullets at mourners gathered at the tent, and several men and women suffered severe tear gas inhalation while many others were injured by rubber-coated bullets.

Activist Jihad Oweida told Ma'an that one mourner, Attiya Shabbaneh, was injured by shrapnel from stun grenades in his face and was taken to al-Maqasid Hospital for treatment.

In the Bir Ayyub neighborhood, Israeli soldiers fired rubber-coated steel bullets and tear-gas canisters at more than 200 Palestinian youths who had gathered to visit the mourning tent set up in Hijazi's home.

Many suffered from excessive tear-gas inhalation and one was injured and received a fracture in his foot. A Palestinian youth identified as Rami Salah was detained by Israeli forces.

An official responsible for ambulance and emergency services at the Palestinian Red Crescent, Amin Abu Ghazaleh, told Ma'an that 28 Palestinians suffered from light injuries, including from rubber-coated steel bullets injuries and tear-gas inhalation, while three were taken to hospitals after they were hit at close range with rubber-coated steel bullets in the head, legs, and stomach.

In the al-Issawiya neighborhood, meanwhile, dozens suffered from excessive tear gas inhalation after Israeli forces fired tear gas canisters heavily during clashes that erupted as Israeli forces detained an unidentified Palestinian.

Clashes also erupted in the Sur Baher village, Wadi al-Jouz neighborhood, and other neighborhoods in the Old City of Jerusalem.

An Israeli police spokesman did not immediately return a request for comment.

Israeli soldiers

Old City security tight

Also on Friday, Israeli police released the director of the Wadi Hilweh Information Center, Jawad Siyam, along with Yazan Siyam, Muntaser Faraj and Mahmoud Gaith who were all detained Friday on charges of "assaulting" Israeli settlers in September.

It was unclear why the arrests had taken place more than a month after the alleged assault, but some have speculated that the arrests were related to the political nature of the work of the Wadi Hilweh Information Center, which focuses on resisting settler encroachment in the neighborhood of Silwan.

The four were released on the condition to pay a 500 shekels bill each, and were sentenced to house arrest until next Monday.

The clashes and arrests across Jerusalem came after days of intense security across the city, where Israeli police have deployed heavily amid four months of tensions between local Palestinians and occupation authorities.

Police, some in riot gear, guarded a series of checkpoints leading from the Old City's outer gates all the way to the Al-Aqsa compound, an AFP correspondent said.

They checked identity papers of people passing between the barricades, both those on their way to pray and those who worked nearby.

Zuheir Dana, 67, said he was unable to get from his shop to his home.

"I wanted just to get home, which is about 50 meters (yards) away from the Al-Aqsa compound, but police didn't let me through," he said.

"It's been bad every day here since Ramadan," he added, referring to the Muslim holy month that fell in July.

Markets in the Old City, normally bustling on a Friday morning, were nearly deserted due to the security measures.

The security measures followed the unprecedented complete closure of the Al-Aqsa mosque compound -- the third-holiest site in Islam -- for the first time since 1967, which ignited protest across the Arab world and even from the United States.

Palestinian community officials say the wave of unrest gripping the city is fueled by a sense of hopelessness resulting from Israel's policies in occupied East Jerusalem, which have left many young people with a sense that they have nothing to lose.

The arrests of hundreds over summer for participation in protests against Israel's massive assault on Gaza -- which left nearly 2,200 dead in the tiny coastal enclave -- has only added fuel to the fire.

Although Palestinians in East Jerusalem live within territory Israel has unilaterally annexed, they lack citizenship rights and are instead classified only as "residents" whose permits can be revoked if they move away from the city for more than a few years.

They face discrimination in all aspects of life including housing, employment, and services, and are unable to access services in the West Bank due to the construction of Israel's separation wall.

East Jerusalem is internationally recognized as Palestinian territory, but Israel occupied it in 1967 and later annexed it in a move never considered legitimate abroad.

List of travel bans in reaction to Ebola - now issued by Australia and Canada too


© AFP Photo/Simon Maina

The deadliest outbreak on record of the Ebola virus has prompted some countries to respond with travel bans, in an attempt to curb the spread of the deadly virus.

The World Health Organization has recommended against any general ban on travel or trade with the West African countries that have been affected by the epidemic. The three countries most affected by the virus are Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone. There were a small number of cases in Senegal, Nigeria and Mali. The WHO declared Senegal Ebola-free on Oct. 18 and declared Nigeria Ebola-free on Oct. 19.

What follows is a list of travel bans imposed by various countries:

Zambia, Aug. 9: Bans travellers from countries affected by the Ebola virus

Kenya, Aug. 16: Bans travellers from Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone.

South Africa, Aug. 21: Restricts entry for non-citizens travelling from Guinea, Liberia or Sierra Leone; restrictions could be waived for "absolutely essential travel."

Gabon, Aug. 22: Restricting issuance of entry visas to travellers from Guinea, Liberia, Sierra Leone and Nigeria on case-by-case basis.

Rwanda, Aug. 22: Bans travellers who have visited Guinea, Liberia, or Sierra Leone in prior 22 days.

Senegal, Aug. 22: Bans flights to and from Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia. It also shut its southern land border with Guinea.

Ivory Coast, Aug 23: Closed land borders with Guinea and Liberia. Borders reopened in early October.

Seychelles, Aug. 26: Bans travellers who have visited Sierra Leone, Liberia, Nigeria and Democratic Republic of Congo "for any length of time." Also bans Seychelles nationals from travelling to Sierra Leone, Liberia, Guinea, Nigeria or Democratic Republic of Congo, unless permitted by Public Health Commissioner.

Guyana, Sept. 9: Stops issuing visas to citizens of Guinea, Liberia, Sierra Leone and Nigeria. Ban not announced until Oct. 16.

Haiti, Oct. 3: Bans volunteers from departing for African countries hit by the Ebola virus; issued after United Nations said it was recruiting volunteers to respond to the Ebola outbreak. It also bans entry to travellers who have been in Guinea, Liberia or Sierra Leone over the previous 28 days. Those who have visited the four countries more than 28 days before seeking to enter Haiti must present a government-certified health certificate and the results of a blood test for Ebola upon arrival.

Mauritius, Oct. 8: Bans travellers who have visited Nigeria, Sierra Leone, Guinea, Liberia, Senegal and Democratic Republic of Congo in the previous two months. Bans on Senegal and Nigeria lifted Oct. 10 and 17, respectively, provided no new cases of Ebola.

Colombia, Oct. 14: Denies entry to travellers who have visited Sierra Leone, Liberia, Guinea and Nigeria in past four weeks.

St. Kitts and Nevis, Oct. 15: Bans visitors from Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea. Travellers who have visited the three countries in the previous 21 days will also be banned.

Jamaica, Oct. 16: Bans foreigners arriving from Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone and bans foreigners who have visited any of the four countries within four weeks prior to arrival in Jamaica. Jamaicans who have visited those countries will be quarantined for 28 days.

Antigua and Barbuda, Oct. 17: Bans nationals of Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone, and bans entry to anyone who has been in those countries in the past 21 days.

Belize, Oct. 18: Stops issuing visas to nationals of Guinea, Liberia and Nigeria. Sierra Leone nationals, who do not need visa to enter Belize, are also banned. Anyone who visits one of these four countries in past 30 days will also be denied entry.

Dominican Republic, Oct. 21: Bans entry to foreigners who have visited countries where the World Health Organization has declared an Ebola alert in the last 30 days.

Suriname, Oct. 21: Bans non-Surinamers who have visited Sierra Leone, Guinea or Liberia in the previous 21 days.

St. Lucia, Oct 22: Nationals from Sierra Leone and Guinea banned from entering.

North Korea, Oct. 23: Bans entry to foreigners on tourist trips due to worries over the spread of Ebola. Later, North Korea says anyone entering the country from anywhere will be quarantined for up to 21 days.

Cape Verde: Bans travels by non-resident foreigners who have been in Sierra Leone, Guinea or Liberia in the past 30 days.

Equatorial Guinea: Denies entry to travellers whose trips originated in countries affected by Ebola.

St. Vincent and the Grenadines: Ban visitors from Guinea, Nigeria and Sierra Leone

Australia, Oct. 28: First developed country to shut its borders to citizens of the countries worst-hit by the West African Ebola outbreak. Bans visas for citizens of Sierra Leone, Liberia and Guinea.

Canada, Oct. 31: Stops issuing visas to people from Sierra Leone, Liberia and Guinea.

SOTT FOCUS: "Chickenshit" Netanyahu - King of the Jews - Evokes JFK assassination - Psychopaths Rule

Events in the world of "high politics" over the last week have been very revealing, and entertaining. The US-Israel 'special relationship' has, apparently, been souring for a while.

At the beginning of this year Israeli defence minister Moshe Yaalon accused John Kerry of being "obsessive and messianic" in his pursuit of a peace deal between Israelis and Palestinians. A few months later Kerry warned Israel that it was in danger of becoming "an apartheid state". Israel is, of course, already a full-blown apartheid state with even the warmongering daughter of Israeli terrorists and now, Israeli Justice Minister, Tzipi Livni, complaining about segregated buses for Palestinians.

Two weeks ago the Obama administration warned that Israel risked alienating its "closest allies", and last week Yaalon was pointedly snubbed by senior administration officials during a visit to Washington. Then, several days ago, American-Israeli journalist and former Israeli prison guard, Jeffrey Goldberg, published an article in that cited an unnamed Obama official describing Netanyahu as a "chickenshit" in terms of the moribund Israel-Palestine 'peace process' the alleged 'nuclear threat' from Iran.

Trouble in Psycho Paradise

"," said one official quoted by Goldberg. "".

The Atlantic Magazine has previously been exposed as being one target of Israeli attempts to promote Israeli foreign policy objectives in the US media and disrupt US peace proposals in the Israel-Palestine conflict, which makes us wonder if these 'leaks' by Goldberg were not part of a plan to damage Netanyahu's reputation but rather to garner sympathy for Israel from the many 'Israel-firsters' in the US Congress and Senate and thereby thwart any efforts by the Obama administration to pressure Israel to stop building settlements on Palestinian land and torturing and murdering Palestinians. By way of deception is, after all, the motto of the Israeli Mossad.

Netanyahu responded by saying he was "under attack simply for defending Israel", but that he "cherished" Israel's relationship with the US, and throwing in an oblique reference to the JFK assassination:

"When there are pressures on Israel to concede its security, the easiest thing to do is to concede. You get a round of applause, ceremonies on grassy knolls, and then come the missiles and the tunnels.

The term "grassy knoll" has only one connotation in the USA, and Netanyahu certainly knows that. The idea that he was referring to the 1993 Oslo Accords that saw Arafat and Rabin shake hands on the White house lawn is a stretch since that was the White House lawn, not a 'grassy knoll'. Was the reference then a veiled threat to the Obama administration, that assassination of a US president who falls out with Israel is an option for the Israeli Mossad?

Given the extent to which the Israeli lobby and Israeli intel agencies have infiltrated many areas of American life, including political and military, the idea is certainly not implausible. But in the event that such an extreme plan of action were on the table, it's unlikely that Netanyahu, who is more or less just a functionary, would be in on it. As such, we can probably classify Netanyahu's 'grassy knoll' comment as an idle threat from someone who, like the vast majority of Americans, realise that JFK was killed by his 'own people' and not Lee Harvey Oswald.

Netanyahu's comment was followed a few days later by a provocative cartoon in the Israeli daily newspaper that depicted Netanyahu flying a plane into a skyscraper with a US flag on top.

The cartoonist, Amos Biderman, explained his intention on Twitter, writing:


While Biderman's concerns are rather hysterical, the cartoon provided momentary grist for 9/11 investigators' mills, many of whom point to evidence for Israeli involvement in (or foreknowledge of) the 9/11 attacks.

King of the Jews

Weighing in to the polemic, Israel's far-right economics minister, Naftali Bennett, called for Washington to renounce the "chickenshit" comments and unwittingly revealed the true source of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict:

"If what was written [in The Atlantic] is true, then it appears the current administration plans to throw Israel under the bus.

"The prime minister is not a private person but the leader of the Jewish state and the whole Jewish world. Such severe insults towards the prime minister of Israel are hurtful to millions of Israeli citizens and Jews all over the world.

Bennett's comment reveals what the Jewish elite believe, and have believed for a long time: that the state of Israel is not really a 'democratic' state but, first and foremost, a Jewish state, and not just 'a Jewish state for a Jewish people' but a Jewish state for Jewish people, wherever they may be. To understand the inappropriateness of such a concept, imagine if British Prime Minister David Cameron, or any British Prime Minister, was deemed to be the leader of the white, protestant, English people, and those people, wherever they may be. And some people still wonder what the source of the Israeli-Palestinian problem is.

Psychopaths rule in a time of crisis

There's one final news story from today that ties into all of the above. The UK Independent reported that, in 1982, the British government carried out exercises to test how the country would cope after 300 megatons of nuclear bombs have been dropped within a 16-hour period. The exercises established that maintaining law and order would become increasingly difficult as police would be busy helping victims of the radiation fallout. "Players" in the war game would have been civil servants, police officers, fire fighters and members of the military. The files released by the National Archives revealed that a scientific officer in the Home Office, Jane Hogg, suggested that the police should recruit psychopaths to help restore order.

"It is generally accepted that around one per cent of the population are psychopaths. These are the people who could be expected to show no psychological effects in the communities which have suffered the severest losses." Ms Hogg suggested psychopaths would be "very good in crises" because "they have no feelings for others, nor moral code, and tend to be very intelligent and logical".

What is most interesting about this is that, back in 1982, at least some elements within the British government had a fairly keen understanding of the psychological profile of the psychopath and understood their 'usefulness' to maintaining 'law and order' in a time of national crisis or threat. The bombs never came of course, and, we , no psychopaths were ever inducted into the national management structures.

Nevertheless, today we live under a pervasive threat of 'global terrorism', and are constantly reminded of it by politicians who appear to have "" and who have displayed "" (like Iraq and Syria for example). Maybe what happened was that, when the Commies weren't up to providing the necessary threat for the rule of psychopaths, the psychopaths decided to create the threat themselves, thereby providing the perfect climate for the perpetuation of their rule.

US Police rape culture: 'Go ahead, call the cops. They can't un-rape you.' - Texas cop

females motorist with Highway patrol officer

© Shutterstock.com

Highway patrol officer and female motorist

In the video embedded below, two Austin, Texas police officers were accidentally recorded by a dashboard camera having what they thought was a private conversation.

After a brief back-and-forth between the two men about a minor collision they handled earlier in the day and other matters, an attractive woman walks by.

"Look at that girl over there," one officer says.

The Free Thought Project reported what followed:

Officer 1: Look at that girl over there.

Officer 2: (blows whistle) Go ahead and call the cops. They can't un-rape you. (laughter)

Officer 1: You didn't turn your camera off, did you?

Officer 2: They can't un-rape you.

Information on the dashcam screen says that the video was recorded on May 24. Austin's KXAN reached out to the Austin Police Department about the video and received a statement that said:

Thank you for bringing this matter to our attention. The attitude and commentary depicted within this video are not consistent with the level of professionalism we expect of our officers and does not represent the values of the Austin Police Department.

On Friday, the department acknowledged that the video is real. It was found by attorney Drew Gibbs, who was reviewing the cam footage for a case.

"The Carlson Law Firm obtained this video as a part of our standard investigation of a motor vehicle collision," Gibbs said in a statement. "The comments on the video struck me as inappropriate and I chose to allow the court of public opinion to decide if they agreed."

"Arguably even more inappropriate than the rape joke made by the police officer was the other officer's initial reaction, which was to hope that the video camera was not rolling," he wrote. "I would hope that when a police officer observes another officer acting inappropriately, or worse, illegally, that their initial reaction would be to correct that behavior and prevent its reoccurrence. Instead, it seems that all too often the reaction of many otherwise good police officers is to hide any evidence of misconduct."

After verifying the video, the APD released a second statement that said:

The Austin Police Department has validated the video/audio publicly released pursuant to the Texas Open Records Act. The officers in the video/audio have been identified as Austin Police officers. Upon learning of the video's contents, the Department immediately launched an internal investigation. The investigation will include a comprehensive audit of the involved officers' contacts with victims of sexual assault to ensure the actions taken during the contacts meet the expectations of the Department, the public and most importantly, the victims. Upon conclusion of the investigation, the Department will take appropriate corrective action.

As the Free Thought Project noted, police officers are committing too many acts of sexualized violence against women for the matter to be treated as a harmless joke.

On Friday, Florida police arrested officer Stephen Maiorino of the Boynton Beach Police Department for raping a woman at gunpoint on the hood of his police cruiser.

In August, Officer Daniel Holtzclaw of the Oklahoma City Police Department was arrested and charged with threatening women with arrest if they did not comply to his sexual demands. Seven women have come forward to testify against Holtzclaw, who has is being held on $5 million bail.

In Nevada, Marshal Ron Fox was caught on video assaulting a woman in a Clark County courtroom, then arresting her for trying to report the attack, accusing her of false testimony against a law officer.

Both officers in the Austin video are on currently on duty pending the outcome of the investigation.

[embedded content]

Google fined for capturing Canadian's clevarage on street view

google street view

© Reuters/Ints Kalnins

A Canadian woman has successfully sued Google for displaying her cleavage on Street View. The ruling stated her privacy had been disrespected - despite Maria Pia Grillo being in public, sitting on the steps of her house.

"In addition to malicious comments and humiliation she suffered at work, the plaintiff, in particular, has experienced a significant loss of personal modesty and dignity," the judge Alain Breault declared.

Google hasn't commented on the ruling yet.

Initially, Grillo had demanded $45,000 in damages, complaining about "mockeries, derisions, disrespectful and sexually related comments in relation to the photographs," due to the fact that she was identified using her house and car number plate, despite her face having been blurred.

"This puts me, my house, my vehicle and my family members that I live with at the mercy of potential predators. I feel very vulnerable knowing that the information is available to anyone with internet access. The damage has been done," Grillo stated in the court documents.

The images in question were taken in March 2009. Grillo actually saw the Google car passing by, but paid no special attention to it.

The pictures were then published on the website in October.

Grillo addressed the company, urging them to delete the picture in which she was leaning forward, exposing her cleavage. She received no answer.

A few "days or weeks later", court documents say, she sent the company a formal letter to its offices in Washington DC and Mountain View in California. She urged them to remove the license plate in "30 days."

Grillo filed a lawsuit in 2011, and later that year Google removed the photo.

It's not the first time that Google has been taken to court over privacy breaches. Earlier this year, Italy fined Google €1 million over concerns that cars filming the locations for Street View weren't recognizable as such. So people ended up in photos without their knowledge.

Also, last year, Germany fined the company for "unprecedented privacy violations," and the UK warned Google about removing data from Wi-Fi networks, or face prosecution by the Information Commissioner's office.

Street View is Google's mapping service, which allows users to browse streets and buildings at ground level in 360-degree viewing mode.