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Saturday, 20 December 2014

Protesting police brutality is "stupid s**t," police across the nation lash out against opposition

The president of the New York Patrolmen's Benevolent Association, Patrick Lynch, was recorded in a private meeting last week candidly expressing his contempt and level of disrespect for those who wish to hold police accountable.

Lynch even went so far as to call those who dare criticize the violent nature of the NYPD, "enemies."

"If we won't get support when we do our jobs, if we're going to get hurt for doing what's right then we're going to do it the way they want it," he said. "Let me be perfectly clear. We will use extreme discretion in every encounter."

"Our friends, we're courteous to them. Our enemies, extreme discretion. The rules are made by them to hurt you. Well now we'll use those rules to protect us."

It didn't stop there, the us vs. them mentality, which is overt in Lynch's words, continued.

Lynch said Mayor Bill de Blasio acts more like the leader of than a city.

"He is not running the city of New York. He thinks he's running a f**king revolution, Lynch said, to which the delegates responded with applause and cheering.

The recording, obtained by the Capital, lifts a veil and shows how these police officers really feel about those who bring into question their violent and brutal tactics.

During the recording, Lynch voiced his antipathy for the congressional workers, who made such a powerful statement last week when they walked out on the steps of the Capitol to protest the recent police killings.

Lynch complained about those brave members of "the United States Congress on the steps of the Capitol raising their hand as if police officers aren't protecting their rights to do stupid sh*t like that.

Because calling out police violence is "stupid sh*t," right Lynch?

Lynch also encouraged officers to sign an affidavit saying that in the event they're killed in the line of duty, they do not want the mayor at their funeral or wake, a letter that has been criticized by the mayor, NYPD Commissioner and even Timothy Cardinal Dolan.

"If they're not going to support us when we need 'em, we'll embarrass them when we can," Lynch said.

Does this sound like a group of people who want to work with others to foster peace?

I don't think so. They sound more like a rogue group of spoiled children, throwing a temper tantrum after being scolded by their parents. Only these children can kill you with impunity.

Unfortunately the vitriolic lashing out by Lynch is not reserved solely for the New York Patrolmen's Benevolent Association.

Police Unions across the country are calling for apologies, or worse, from anyone who speaks out against the overt injustices in this country.

A St. Louis police association demanded that players actually be punished, for raising their hands in the air to bring attention to the Mike Brown case.

Gabe Crocker, president of the St. Louis County police association, while defending the decision to call for players being punished for their free speech said,

"What's interesting is that it's the same kind rhetoric that's used against us. Why can't a police union demand that, after what it deems as misconduct, why can't it demand discipline?"

Does Crocker really believe that calling for justice in the killing of an unarmed teenager demands the same kind of "discipline" that people feel a killer cop should face?

What is wrong with this picture?

Jeff Follmer, the president of the Police Patrolman Union in Cleveland is demanding an apology for Cleveland Browns player, Andrew Hawkins and his decision to practice free speech and wear a shirt that said, "Justice for Tamir Rice - John Crawford."

Follmer issued the following statement Sunday, after the game:

"It's pretty pathetic when athletes think they know the law. They should stick to what they know best on the field. The Cleveland Police protect and serve the Browns stadium and the Browns organization owes us an apology."

To demand an apology for someone asking that justice be served in the killing of a 12-year-old boy, or the execution of a man attempting to purchase a BB gun at Walmart, is sickening, to say the least.

There is also the case, not related to the killing of anyone, of a Spokane county deputy saying that they have armored police tanks so they can defend themselves against "constitutionalists."

When video of this incident went viral, the Sheriff responded by accusing those of us who covered it, of spreading dangerous hate speech.

Sherrif Knezovich actually put out an 8 minute video trying to convince people that being worried about his deputy saying he has armored vehicles to defend against constitutionalists, is somehow unpatriotic and hateful.

Police in this country are circling their wagons and it seems more than just a defensive move. It actually seems antagonistic.

"It strikes me as being very strident, more strident than usual," William King, a criminal justice professor at Sam Houston State University in Texas, told TPM in a phone interview of the Cleveland police union's statement specifically.

"Normally, it's a very procedural justice message: 'Just wait and see what the investigation finds,' he continued. "These messages are different. They seem almost, perhaps, maybe, just a little bit antagonistic."

TPM also spoke with another criminal justice profession at American University in Washing D.C., Ed Maguire, who said,

"Down to a person, what [police] they're saying is 'It's such a horrible time right now, such a difficult time to be a police officer. We're under attack from every angle." He continued, "So it does seem like some of the more vocal police unions are ramping up in a way that we haven't seen in the past."

In a time when there is so much public disapproval and mistrust in the American police system, why on earth would police not be apologetic, or at the very least diplomatic, instead of confrontational?

It seems that police have forgotten their role as public servants and instead have assumed a role of a third party, occupying force, accountable not to the people, but to their well connected Union bosses.

Want something else to read? How about 'Grievous Censorship' By The Guardian: Israel, Gaza And The Termination Of Nafeez Ahmed's Blog

12 cops raid the house of a mother and daughter after mistaking her for a male fugitive

Massillon, Ohio - An Ohio mother and her 3-year-old daughter woke up to the horrifying scene of a dozen men dressed in military attire, armed with assault rifles, standing over their bed last week.

Kaiti Glazier said she and her daughter Nadiah were sleeping inside their home on 10th Street Southeast when these paramilitary cops from the Northern Ohio Violent Fugitive Task Force stormed into her bedroom.

"When I woke up they were all in here (the bedroom) . . . I was like, 'What?' And it's just 'Hands up! Hands up!' " she said.

"I was like, 'What is happening? Is this real?' " she said.

Glazier said her 3-year-old also raised her hands up.

The task force mistook Glazier, a woman, for Christopher Williams, a Canton man wanted for a probation violation.

Williams was evicted from that house over a year and a half earlier.

"They did no homework at all. I can find Chris Williams on the internet. I can Google better than they can apparently," said Glazier.

This home invasion happened after police even came by their home in November and spoke with her husband, confirming that Williams no longer lived at this address.

According to ABC 5, Glazier said she repeatedly asked the officers to show her a search warrant. She said the lead officer responded by threatening to arrest her.

Had the U.S. Marshals office simply apologized for their incompetence and left, Glazier would have still been offended, but she said it wouldn't have been as bad.

However, no one apologized or acknowledged a mistake had been made.

Instead, Glazier said, the task force went through every room in her home, searching through drawers and even looked in her bread box.

"Obviously Chris Williams isn't in the bread box, so I don't know if they were looking for something to try and incriminate us," said Glazier.

They did not leave for an hour after entering her bedroom.

"Why not be the good cop? That seems to be a mythical thing these days," said Glazier.

Glazier points out the fact that had she tried to defend herself from these home invaders, she likely would have been killed; and the thugs who broke into an innocent woman's home and murdered her, would most likely go unpunished. Sadly she is correct.

The U.S. Marshals office released the following statement in regards to their dangerous negligence:

U.S. Marshals Service-led task forces adopt state and local warrants involving violent fugitives, usually the "worst of the worst" violent offenders. In fiscal year 2013, we arrested more than 110,000 fugitives nationally. Whenever U.S. Marshals deputies and task force officers enter private residences, they do so in accordance with the laws of the United States. We cannot comment on potential or pending litigation, but any member of the public who believes that a Marshals Service employee acted negligently may submit a claim under the Federal Tort Claims Act. - Lynzey Donahue, Office of Public Affairs

Glazier plans to file a complaint with the U.S. Dept. of Justice.

Want something else to read? How about 'Grievous Censorship' By The Guardian: Israel, Gaza And The Termination Of Nafeez Ahmed's Blog

Malaysian wannabe-IS members taking bank loans to fund 'one way trip' to martyrdom


Malaysian wannabe-IS members have been applying for loans in banks, as well as getting rid of most of their property, in order to fund what they believe to be a one way road to martyrdom, the citing investigation papers on five cases.

Sources close to the police investigation told the publication that many of the suspects have taken out the loans with no intention of ever paying them back as they believe they are on a one way road to martyrdom. This practice had been going for some time and sources said there were many Malaysian fighters in Iraq and Syria who had got there with bank loans.

One woman who was arrested as she was trying to leave Malaysia for Syria had got a loan for RM100,000 ($28,695).

Another 30-year old former National Service trainer, who was arrested at Kuala Lumpur International Airport on Wednesday, had taken out a RM20,000 ($5,739) loan.

Some of them subscribed to the idea that even if they do come back to Malaysia, they would be arrested and settling the loan would be the least of their problems one source said.


Datuk Ayob Khan Mydin Pitchay, the principal assistant director of Malaysia's Special Branch Counter-Terrorism Division (SB-CTD), said that this method of getting hold of cash was becoming popular with home grown IS members.

The trend of taking out personal loans from banks is on the rise. They include young militants, especially those in their early twenties. Those with low credit ratings will apply for personal loans for as low as RM5,000 ($1,434), he said.

He said that many jihadists who go to Iraq and Syria to fight with IS arm themselves and can buy a Kalashnikov AK47 assault rifle for as little as $570. While IS also pays foreign jihadists a comfortable monthly allowance.

Other sources told that counterterrorism detectives were also watching religious schools and orphanages, which had organized fund-raising activities to support IS in the past.

International Islamic University Malaysia's Department of Fiqh and Usul al-Fiqh's (Islamic Law and Jurisprudence) Wan Rumaizi Wan Husin said the militants did not have a thorough understanding of Islam.

"In Islam, even before you think of going for jihad, you must clear off all your debts and make sure your family is taken care of.

"If I may remind them of a quote from a hadith that says, 'The Prophet said all the sins of a martyr in the cause of Allah are forgiven, except debt'."

Want something else to read? How about 'Grievous Censorship' By The Guardian: Israel, Gaza And The Termination Of Nafeez Ahmed's Blog

Surprise! Another study confirms USDA Dietary Guidelines on fats are wrong

A study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine made waves through the mainstream media. In a stunning meta-analysis of the relationship between dietary fats and heart disease that included over 600,000 people, the researchers came to the following conclusion:

"Current evidence does not clearly support cardiovascular guidelines that encourage high consumption of polyunsaturated fatty acids and low consumption of total saturated fats."

This conclusion flies in direct contrast to the USDA dietary guidelines, which recommend polyunsaturated fats (think corn and soybean oils) as healthy, and saturated fats as unhealthy (think animal fat and coconut oil) in terms of cardiovascular health.

This is certainly not the first study that has been published in the past few years clearly showing there is no link between saturated fats consumption and heart disease.

In 2010, a meta analysis was published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition :Meta-analysis of prospective cohort studies evaluating the association of saturated fat with cardiovascular disease. This analysis looked at 347,747 patients from clinical studies during a 23 year period and found that there was no link between saturated fat and heart disease.

In 2013, a study was published inAdvances in Nutrition by Glen D. Lawrence, PhD, from the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry at Long Island University in Brooklyn, NY: Dietary Fats and Health: Dietary Recommendations in the Context of Scientific Evidence. Dr. Lawrence looked at several meta analyses regarding dietary fats and oils, including one meta-analysis regarding consumption of red meat that included over 1 million people, that showed no connection between saturated fat consumption and heart disease. He too concluded that dietary guidelines against saturated fats were wrong, and pointed out how the research actually showed that the consumption of saturated fats in dairy and coconut oil promoted better heart health (see: Study: Saturated Fat Not Associated with Risk of Coronary Artery Disease, Coconut Oil and Dairy Fat Healthy).

In this current study, it seems very obvious that the researchers were questioning conventional dietary advice encouraging the consumption of polyunsaturated fats and the avoidance of saturated fats as a way of preventing heart disease. This is what they wrote regarding the purpose of the study:

Background: Guidelines advocate changes in fatty acid consumption to promote cardiovascular health.

Purpose: To summarize evidence about associations between fatty acids and coronary disease.

Study Funded by Medical Industry Insiders

What is so surprising about this research is that it was published by pharmaceutical industry insiders, mostly from the U.K. Here is the list of universities the research authors are from: University of Cambridge and Medical Research Council, Cambridge, United Kingdom; Harvard School of Public Health, Boston, Massachusetts; University of Oxford, Oxford, United Kingdom; School of Public Health, Imperial College London, London, United Kingdom; Centre for Exercise, Nutrition and Health Sciences, University of Bristol, Bristol, United Kingdom; and Erasmus University Medical Center, Rotterdam, the Netherlands.

Note that Harvard is the lone U.S. research center in the study. Dr. Mozaffarian is one of a few researchers at Harvard who has begun to question the relationship between dietary fats and heart disease in recent years.

The study was funded with a grant from: "the British Heart Foundation, Medical Research Council, Cambridge National Institute for Health Research Biomedical Research Centre, and Gates Cambridge."

Will Government Dietary Guidelines Change?

So why are Big Pharma industry insiders publishing a study like this after years of promoting just the opposite? I don't know. So will official government advice regarding dietary fats now change?

In the U.K., perhaps. Most of the researchers were from the U.K., and most of the participants in the studies that were analyzed were also from Europe.

Last year, Sweden took some major steps towards moving away from the low-fat dietary advice with many researchers there encouraging a high-fat low-carb dietary approach (see: Sweden Becomes First Western Nation to Reject Low-fat Diet Dogma in Favor of Low-carb High-fat Nutrition). Also, last year British cardiologist Dr. Aseem Malhotra made waves when he published an article in the British Medical Journal stating that carbohydrates, not saturated fats, were the real problem associated with obesity and other diseases (see: Cardiologist Speaks Out On The Myth of Bad Saturated Fat, Stating Carbs Are More Damaging Than Butter).

What about the U.S. and the USDA dietary guidelines? Any chance they will change to reflect all of this modern research showing their advice is wrong?

To help understand the answer to that question, let's see how the mainstream U.S. media covered this story in the past 24 hours. Here is how Reuters covered the story, which was picked up by many U.S. media companies like Fox News:

Linda Van Horn, from the Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine in Chicago, told Reuters Health the study was well done and demonstrated that some fatty acids are better than others. But it's not enough to change current guidelines, she added.

Van Horn chaired the 2010 U.S. Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee which was involved in creating federal recommendations and is a spokesperson for the American Heart Association. She was not involved in the new review.

"People need to eat as has been recommended - this paper changes nothing about the adverse impact of saturated fat," she said.

Van Horn pointed out that there is no biological need for saturated fats. (Source.)

And here is what Fox News Big Pharma representative Dr. Manny Alvarez said:

From a standpoint of what is healthier for you, certainly, polyunsaturated fats are the way to go.... So don't get confused: If you give in to a diet high in saturated fats, your internal plumbing will become clogged. (Source. And yes, he was discussing this new study which concluded just the opposite.)

Here is a quote from a report in NPR:

Now, of course, not everyone is convinced by the new studies that question the link between saturated fat and heart disease. Groups including the World Health Organization and the American Heart Association promote a low intake of saturated fat.

And vegan groups do as well. "I think there is support for removing all animal products from the diet for health purposes," says of the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine, which advocates vegan diets. (Source.)

So do you think the U.S. government or medical system will change their dietary guidelines? Me neither.

Coconut Oil Saturated Fat Not Part of the Study

I did purchase the study and I read the whole thing, as I have learned to not trust what the media spins on published studies if it doesn't fit their agenda. Coconut oil was not included in this study at all, and it is nature's richest source of saturated fat, being over 95% saturated. Only long chain saturated fatty acids were studied, as contained in dairy and animal fats.

This is important, because we have published numerous studies here and at CoconutOil.com showing just how healthy coconut oil is in regards to cardiovascular health. So if some of the participants had been consuming healthy coconut oil as a source of saturated fat, it could have skewed the results a bit in terms of overall saturated fat consumption. Coconut oil is continually attacked in the mainstream media as "unhealthy" and dangerous simply because of its association with being a saturated fat. Those who dissent, usually point out that coconut oil is a different kind of saturated fat, which makes it healthy.

But even if the long-chain saturated fatty acids in animal fats and dairy are not associated with an increase in heart disease, how much more does that exonerate coconut oil? (See: Coconut Oil is Beneficial for Your Heart: Shining the Truth on Mainstream Media's Negative Attacks Against Coconut Oil.)


So why do Europeans seem to be coming around to the position that traditional saturated fats that our ancestors have enjoyed for thousands of years are not the bad guys we were all led to believe the past 40 years? And why are Americans not coming around to this position?

One reason: politics. It is not science at all, and it never has been.

Since post World War II we have had the technology to extract oil from seeds we never did before in the history of human nutrition. With the expeller-pressed technology developed during World War II, dietary oils from soybeans and corn soon became a big part of the American diet.

Today, these are also among the most subsidized crops in the U.S., which keeps the price of "vegetable oil" (almost exclusively derived from soy and corn) artificially low. They are almost completely derived from GMO varieties today as well. With such low pricing on these "vegetable oils," they are exported all around the world as native oils cannot compete in the market place. The companies controlling soybeans and corn in the U.S. have tremendous political power.

Europe is the #1 destination for exports of American soybean oil. Europeans also have GMO labeling requirements that the U.S. does not.

Could Europeans be waking up to the fact that they have been sold a false bill of goods over the past 40 years when it comes to these dietary standards regarding oils and heart disease? Could it be they are on to the game and finally understand that these policies have allowed cheap American imports of vegetable oils to flood their markets?

Europeans in general are much more savvy consumers than American consumers, and many of them never bought into the low-fat and polyunsaturated fat theories to begin with. The French, for example, stuck to their "Mediterranean diet" principles heavy in olive oil and butter, and historically have had lower rates of heart disease than Americans.

So maybe Europe has finally caught on to the game, and cheap imported vegetable oils from the U.S. may be on the way out.


About the author

Brian Shilhavy, BA, MA, is the CEO of Tropical Traditions and the Editor of Health Impact News . He learned first hand in the late 1990s and early 2000 that the truth regarding health and nutrition about fats and oils was NOT being published in the mainstream media. Living in the rural Philippines with his Filipina wife and children taught him a lot about native nutrition in general, and coconut oil in particular. Seeing people in their 70s and 80s who had consumed large amounts of saturated fats their entire lives still living and working on the farm instead of resting in nursing homes was a real eye-opener. It led Brian to start studying the whole issue of fats and oils, and the lipid theory of heart disease.

He started publishing this research on the Internet (CoconutOil.com ), and when he and his wife started offering organic Virgin Coconut Oil in the US market, the testimonies started pouring in. The Coconut Oil revolution had begun.

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Want something else to read? How about 'Grievous Censorship' By The Guardian: Israel, Gaza And The Termination Of Nafeez Ahmed's Blog

25 homes evacuate an unstoppable gas leak in another Ohio fracking 'incident'


© Unknown

Another day, another toxic spill thanks to fracking:

About 25 families in eastern Ohio have been unable to live in their houses for the past three days because of a natural-gas leak at a fracking well that crews cannot stop.

Bethany McCorkle, a spokeswoman for the Ohio Department of Natural Resources, the state agency that regulates oil and gas, said crews lost control of the Monroe County well on Saturday. [...]

The well is not on fire, but the gas could be explosive.

Ohio has had its share of fracking accidents this year. In May, a blowout resulted in an oil spill into an Ohio river tributary. And then this happened the following month:

On the morning of June 28, a fire broke out at a Halliburton fracking site in Monroe County, Ohio. As flames engulfed the area, trucks began exploding and thousands of gallons of toxic chemicals spilled into a tributary of the Ohio River, which supplies drinking water for millions of residents. More than 70,000 fish died.

In October, a well ruptured in eastern Ohio, spreading natural gas and methane, and resulted in the evacuation of over 400 families.

[This] incident was the third in three days tied to fracking operations in eastern Ohio. On Sunday, a worker at a fracking site in Guernsey County was burned in a fire. On Monday, a pipeline carrying natural-gas condensate ruptured in Monroe County, igniting several acres of woods.

Explosions resulting in frequent evacuations, leaks into drinking-water supplies, earthquakes - but don't worry, folks. Fracking is perfectly safe.


Want something else to read? How about 'Grievous Censorship' By The Guardian: Israel, Gaza And The Termination Of Nafeez Ahmed's Blog

U.S. sends four Guantanamo prisoners home to Afghanistan

© Reuters/Bob Strong

The frontier road parallels the security fence leading to the Northeast gate at Guantanamo Bay U.S. Naval Base, March 8, 2013.

Four Afghans held for over a decade at the U.S. military prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, have been sent home, the Pentagon said on Saturday, the latest step in a gradual push by the Obama administration to close the jail.

The men were flown to Kabul overnight aboard a U.S. military plane and released to Afghan authorities, the first such transfer of its kind to the war-torn country since 2009.

With the repatriation of the four Afghans, Guantanamo's detainee population has been whittled down to 132. Several more prisoners of "various nationalities" are expected to be transferred before the end of the year and a further unspecified number in succeeding weeks, according to a senior U.S. official.

Obama promised to shut the internationally condemned prison when he took office nearly six years ago, citing the damage it inflicted on America's image around the world. But he has been unable to do so, partly because of obstacles posed by Congress.

The repatriation of the four Afghans, identified as "low-level detainees" who were cleared for transfer long ago and are not considered security risks in their homeland, had been in the pipeline for months.

But in what one senior U.S. official described as an expression of growing confidence in the new Afghan president, Ashraf Ghani, who took over from Hamid Karzai in September, Washington pressed ahead with the transfer after he formally requested it.

The continued detention of Afghans at Guantanamo -- eight remain there -- has long been deeply unpopular across the ideological spectrum in Afghanistan.

The release comes at a time when most U.S. troops are due to leave Afghanistan by year-end, even as Taliban insurgents are intensifying their bloody campaign to re-establish their hardline Islamist regime that was toppled in a U.S.-backed military intervention in 2001.

All four men - identified as Shawali Khan, Khi Ali Gul, Abdul Ghani and Mohammed Zahir - were originally detained on suspicion of being members of the Taliban or affiliated groups.

But a second U.S. official said: "Most if not all of these accusations have been discarded and each of these individuals at worst could be described as low-level, if even that."

The Afghan government gave the United States "security assurances" for the treatment of the former prisoners and was expected to reunite them with their families, the official said.

Closing prison won't be easy

Guantanamo was opened by Obama's predecessor, George W. Bush, after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks on the United States, to house terrorism suspects rounded up overseas, with Afghans originally the largest group. Most of the detainees have been held for a decade or more without being charged or tried.

Two weeks ago a U.S. Senate report delivered a scathing indictment of the harsh Bush-era interrogation program used on terrorism suspects. Obama banned the techniques when he took office in 2009.

Thirteen other prisoners of various nationalities have been transferred from Guantanamo since early November, including six who were sent to Uruguay for resettlement earlier this month.

But emptying the prison will not be easy.

In a statement issued on Friday, Obama renewed his complaints about restrictions on Guantanamo transfers that Congress kept in place in a recent defense spending bill. "The Guantanamo detention facility's continued operation undermines our national security," he said. "We must close it."

Among the detainees released this weekend, Khan, 51, was sent to Guantanamo 11 years ago "on the flimsiest of allegations", according to the Center for Constitutional Rights. His lawyers said he had been a driver for the Karzai government.

According to a Guantanamo database compiled by the New York Times and National Public Radio, Gul, 51, was arrested in 2002 and accused of being a Taliban intelligence officer. He insisted he never worked for the group and that two of his "enemies" had turned him over to U.S. troops.

Ghani, 42, was captured in 2002 as a suspected member of a Taliban-linked faction and was originally accused of "war crimes". He said someone falsely accused him of carrying out a rocket attack, the documents show, and was cleared by an inter-agency review.

Zahir, 61, was arrested in 2003 and accused of links to Taliban weapons caches, but he denied any connection and was also cleared for transfer.

Want something else to read? How about 'Grievous Censorship' By The Guardian: Israel, Gaza And The Termination Of Nafeez Ahmed's Blog

Stratfor head: Yanukovich overthrow "most blatant coup in history"


In a December 19th interview in the Russian magazine , George Friedman, who is the Founder and CEO of Stratfor, the 'Shadow CIA' firm, says of the overthrow of Ukraine's President Viktor Yanukovych that occurred on February 22nd of 2014: "It really was the most blatant coup in history." Perhaps he is saying this because of the videos that were uploaded to the Web which showed it to be so, but this statement by him contradicts the description that is asserted by the U.S. White House and the European Union, and the Western press, which description is that Yanukovych's overthrow was instead just the result of the U.S. Government's $5+ billion expense since 1991 to establish 'democracy' in Ukraine.

Friedman further says that "The Russian authorities can not tolerate a situation in which western armed forces will be [in Ukraine] a hundred kilometers from Kursk or Voronezh [in Russia]", and that the goal of the U.S. is to "maintain the balance of power in Europe, helping the weaker party," which he says is Europe. He furthermore says, "The United States considers the most dangerous potential alliance to be between Russia and Germany. This would be an alliance of German technology and capital with Russian natural and human resources." So: the U.S. is trying to antagonize Germans against Russia. This will weaken both of them. However, that would be not a "balance of power" but an increasing imbalance of power in favor of the United States. The Russian interviewer failed to catch his inconsistency on that.

Friedman was consistent with the U.S. Government's line that Russia is a threat to the U.S.; he said: "No American president can afford to sit idly by if Russia becomes more and more influential." He said that this is especially the case in the Middle East, and regarding Syria. But he then clarified himself, "I'm not saying that Russia's intervention in the Syrian conflict was the cause of the Ukrainian crisis, it would be a stretch." Regarding Ukraine, he said: "The bottom line is that the strategic interests of the United States are to prevent Russia from becoming a hegemon. And the strategic interests of Russia are not to allow the US close to its borders." He avoided even to mention the United States as possibly being a "hegemon" itself, one which is trying, along with its NATO allies, to crush Russia for its resisting America's hegemony - that is, global dominance by America's aristocracy.

President Obama had something to say about this very question when speaking at West Point on May 28th and asserting (with loaded anti-Russian assumptions and false outright allegations): "Russia's aggression toward former Soviet states unnerves capitals in Europe, while China's economic rise and military reach worries its neighbors. From Brazil to India, rising middle classes compete with us. ... The United States is and remains the one indispensable nation. That has been true for the century passed [sp.: past [[somebody at the White House didn't even know the difference between 'past' and 'passed' and still don't, six months afterward]] and it will be true for the century to come." So: The U.S. President was telling West Point's graduating cadets that the U.S. is the only hegemon and will stay that way for at least a hundred years. This was their marching-order, from the U.S President himself, their own Commander-in-Chief, representing America's aristocracy (in this alleged 'democracy'), for whom they will fight and kill, and, some of them, perhaps even die, or else become crippled for life.

Friedman closed by saying, "Russia will not make concessions in the Crimea, this is obvious. But I believe that it could face serious problems with supplies to the peninsula. Yet Moscow can not retreat from some of its requirements with regard to Ukraine. It can not be allowed that Western military appear in Ukraine. This is a nightmare in Moscow. ... This is already happening, slowly but occurs. And it will be something that Russia does not accept ... The US is not aiming that you need to have control over Ukraine, but that it is important that it is not controlled by Russia." Here he was repeating his idea that America isn't seeking to achieve advantage over Russia - that the U.S. has no hegemonic intentions, just "balance of power," notwithstanding the Commander-in-Chief's charge, months earlier, to his troops, for them to extend America's hegemony another century.

He said that this overthrow in Ukraine was a coup aimed against Russia, but then he closed with this statement that Russia is hegemonic but that the U.S. is not, which contradicts it.

Apparently, Mr. Friedman was nervous about losing U.S. Government business by being too honest, but he had already been too honest about the coup, and his self-contradictions didn't help him at all. Perhaps he believed that the vast majority of people can be fooled, as Americans were about "Saddam's WMD" and still are about "torture aimed at finding truth," none of which ever was true, but all of which the aristocracy wanted people to believe to be true. Their rule seems to be: Fools never learn, it's what they are and will continue to be, no matter how often they've been fooled in the past. Perhaps George Friedman was relying on this rule. But why then did he say things that are true but that his paymasters say are not? Might this 'intelligence expert' not be intelligent after all? If so, he has fooled the U.S. Government into thinking that he is: he's succeeded.

Here is an attempt to address the same issues that Friedman did, but without internal contradictions.

Want something else to read? How about 'Grievous Censorship' By The Guardian: Israel, Gaza And The Termination Of Nafeez Ahmed's Blog

New York cop fired for stopping fellow officer from choking suspect; denied pension

© Countercurrentnews.com

Former Buffalo Police Officer Cariol Horne

She was fired for trying to stop a fellow officer from abusing a suspect. Now, former Buffalo Police Officer Cariol Horne is in a battle to get her pension.

"November 1, 2006, there was a call of an officer in trouble at 707 Walden," Cariol Horne recalls.

The officer in need of assistance was Gregory Kwiatkowski. He was responding to a domestic dispute at the aforementioned address, between Neal Mack and his girlfriend who was living with him.

But by the time that officer Horne got there, she says that Mack had already been placed under arrest.

"He was handcuffed in the front and he was sideways and being punched in the face by Gregory Kwiatkowski," Horne recounted.

There were nearly a dozen other officers at the scene, who dragged Mack from the home. Horne says that once he was outside, Officer Kwiatkowski lost all control.

"Gregory Kwiatkowski turned Neal Mack around and started choking him. So then I'm like, 'Greg! You're choking him,' because I thought whatever happened in the house he was still upset about so when he didn't stop choking him I just grabbed his arm from around Neal Mack's neck," Horne said.

First he put a chokehold of a handcuffed suspect, but then when officer Horne tried to stop him, she says that "he comes up and punches me in the face and I had to have my bridge replaced."

Horne was then fired and charged with obstruction for "jumping on officer Kwiatkowski's back and/or striking him with her hands," in self-defense after he punched her in the face.

Officer Kiwatkowski wrote in a sworn statement that "she never got on top of me," indicating that while she tried to stop him, the official report was pure fabrication and he was the aggressor at every turn.

Now, with her 19 year career destroyed for trying to stop a bad cop from abusing a suspect, this mother of five is told she cannot qualify for a pension.

"My daughter said, 'Mommy, why did you go to work that day?' She never said, 'Why did you do what you did?' or 'I wish you wouldn't have done it.' She just said, 'I wish you wouldn't have gone to work that day.' So I don't regret it."

Officer Kwiatkowski, for his part, was forced to retire after getting suspended for choking another police officer in a separate incident, as well as punching another officer when he was off the clock, in yet another incident. Still, in spite of this obvious validation of her claims about Kwiatkowski's insanity and brutality, Horne is still being blocked from her pension.

The City of Buffalo Common Council recently sent Horne's case to the New York State retirement system, saying that they lack the authority to restore her pension. That review is still underway and a determination has not yet been made. Help us spread the word! This is what happens to "good cops" when they try to stop bad cops: the bad cops force them out of their jobs!

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2 New York police officers shot dead in 'execution style' ambush

© Kena Betancur/Getty Images/AFP

Two NYPD officers have been shot dead by a suspect who ambushed their patrol car 'execution style' in Brooklyn. The perpetrator was chased by police and reportedly died of a self-inflicted gun wound.

Both officers succumbed to gunshot wounds to the head, City Councilman Robert Cornegy said at a news conference according to CBS New York.

The shooting took place in Brooklyn outside of the Tompkins Houses at around 3pm. The shooter reportedly came out of the building before shooting the officers patrolling the area. According to the witnesses he then ran away into the subway where he was either shot by police chasing him or died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound.

The wounded officers were rushed to Woodhull Hospital in "grave" condition as at least one of them was hit in the head.

It's an execution a law enforcement source told The Post about the ambush.

According to preliminary reports, the uniformed officers were working overtime as part of an anti-terrorism drill as they sat in their marked police car on a Bedford - Stuyvesant, Brooklyn, street corner.

Comment: Tompkins House is part of the New York City Housing Authority and was built in 1964. Not the friendliest of neighborhoods as there have been many shootings there. This execution style shooting is very disturbing and now that the shooter is dead, we may never know the reason for the shooting. But with all of the protests lately on police brutality, this is not a real surprise, especially during an anti-terrorism drill.

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Villagers in Kazakhstan use 'guard wolves' for protection

Mr Zhylkyshybay says he takes his wolf, Kurtka, for walks through the village

"You can buy a wolf cub for just $500 (£320), they say, and hunters are adamant that if treated well the wild animal can be tamed," the KTK television channel reports. Nurseit Zhylkyshybay, from the south-eastern Almaty region, tells the channel he bought a wolf cub, Kurtka, from hunters three years ago, and the animal is perfectly happy wandering the yard of his house. "He's never muzzled, I rarely put him on a chain and do take him for regular walks around the village. Our family and neighbours aren't scared of him at all," Mr Zhylkyshybay insists. "If the wolf is well fed and cared for, he won't attack you, although he does eat a lot more than a dog."

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But wolf expert Almas Zhaparov says the animals are "far too dangerous" to keep at home. "A wolf is like a ticking bomb, it can go off at any moment," he tells KTK.

"If nothing is done, the fashion could spread to wealthy Kazakhs," who might try to keep wolves in the grounds of their houses, with possibly deadly consequences, he warns. Social media users are overwhelmingly apprehensive about the trend, although a few accuse the government of failing to cull wolves in the first place.

"You can't blame villagers for using wolves to fend off wolves," says one person on the Nur news portal. Another user engages in a little black humour: "The sheep are in the pen, and the wolves have full bellies - but no one can find the shepherd."

Wolves might be playful, but one expert warns keeping them at home is potentially disastrous

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Ya think?! Ferguson prosecutor says witnesses lied under oath to grand jury

© Reuters/Cristina Fletes-Boutte

St. Louis County Prosecutor Bob McCulloch

Some witnesses obviously lied while testifying under oath to the Ferguson grand jury that ultimately declined to indict 18-year-old Michael Brown, said the St. Louis county prosecutor in charge of the case, Bob McCulloch.

Speaking with KTRS radio, McCulloch said his goal was to have any individual who claimed to be a witness testify before the grand jury.

"Clearly some were not telling the truth," he said.

Specifically, McCulloch noted that one woman in particular who said she witnessed the shooting but "clearly wasn't present." According to McCulloch, "she recounted a story right out of the newspaper" that matched up with the account of Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson, the officer who shot and killed Brown on August 9.

Notably, the account given by this witness, identified as Sandra McElroy by the , was scrutinized in great detail by investigators, who eventually concluded she could not have seen the shooting like she said she did. McElroy claimed she saw Brown charge at Wilson before he was shot.

Despite apparently knowing some witnesses were not telling the truth, McCulloch said he does not have second thoughts about the way he conducted the case, nor does he plan on pressing charges against those who lied.

"It's a legitimate issue," McCulloch said, as quoted by NPR. "But in the situation - again, because of the manner in which we did it - we're not going to file perjury charges against anyone. There were people who came in and yes, absolutely lied under oath. Some lied to the FBI - even though they're not under oath, that's another potential offense, a federal offense."

The comments comes as one Missouri lawmaker is pushing for an investigation into the prosecutor's behavior during the grand jury proceedings, citing allegations that he "manipulated" the situation.

"Many St. Louis-area residents believe - and there is at least some evidence to suggest - that Mr. McCulloch manipulated the grand jury process from the beginning to ensure that Officer Wilson would not be indicted," wrote State Rep. Karla May in a letter to Sen. Kurt Schaefer.

Schaefer's Senate committee is currently looking into Gov. Jay Nixon's response to the protests that raged following the grand jury decision, and May wants the review expanded to include McCulloch role as prosecutor.

"I don't believe he followed proper procedures when he presented evidence to the grand jury," May told the AP. "To me, he was working for the defendant in this case and not the victim."

For his part, McCulloch said he was "fully aware" of these concerns but called them

"unfounded." It's not clear if the prosecutor will be investigated.

Elsewhere in his interview, McCulloch defended the decision to announce the grand jury ruling at night, saying, the events that followed were out of his control and would have happened anyway.

"There was no good time to make the announcement," he said. "Those who were bent on destruction, they weren't demonstrators, they're common criminals."

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More meteor scribblings in the sky? Strange glowing cloud spotted in sky above Siberia

© Biysk

A strange-shaped cloud materialised in the early morning sky above Siberia just minutes after the launch of a rocket sending satellites into space. Glowing orange as it was touched by the rays of the rising sun, it cast a ghostly spectre against the clear winter sky.

For a while it was unclear what had caused the trails of vapour over the southern Altai region, with many even speculating about the possibility of UFOs.

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However, while no official confirmation has been given, it was almost certainly made by parts of the rocket falling to earth as it powered into orbit. Indeed experts have said that it is consistent with the second stage disengagement.

The Altai region is close to where the Proton-M rocket blasted off from its launch site in nearby Kazakhstan, with space debris regularly landing there. It was launched from the Baikonur Cosmodrone at 6.16am on December 15, carrying a Yamal-401 satellite.

A number of residents in the city of Barnaul, on the banks of the River Ob, took photos and videos of the subsequent glowing patterns, and uploaded them to social media. Extremely cold weather is required to create the clouds, with vapour from the hot falling debris meeting the freezing air.

Natalia Pavlova, the head of the Barnaul planetarium, said the patterns could have been caused by the rocket launch, but stressed falling meteors was another explanation.

Residents in Siberia and Urals are becoming used to seeing mysterious lights in the sky.

Meteorites, missiles, a plane crash, and even extra-terrestrial activity were among the many theories put forward to explain the incident on November 14.

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New bizarre-looking species breaks record for world's deepest fish

Aberdeen University researchers have set a new record for the deepest fish ever found (shown in red ring)

A never-before-seen fish has been caught on camera, setting a new depth record in the Pacific Ocean.

The world's deepest fish was captured on camera at depths of 8,145 meters (26,700 feet) in the Mariana Trench in the western Pacific Ocean. The newest discovery breaks a depth record set in 2008 by nearly 500 meters (1,640 feet).

The previously unknown creature, believed to be a snailfish, was filmed several times floating along the sea floor. It is a white translucent fish with an eel-like tale and wing-like fins.

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The footage was captured by a team of Scottish scientists aboard a vessel from the Schmidt Ocean Institute. It was caught on camera during a 30-day expedition in the Mariana Trench.

"It stunned scientists because in other trenches, there is only one fish species at this depth--a snailfish; this fish is really different from any other deep-sea fish that scientists have ever seen," posted the Schmidt Ocean Institute.

The institute states other rare creatures were also discovered on their expedition, including a "supergiant" amphipod - a very large crustacean.

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Snowy owl sightings on the rise across the upper US

If you have a passion for birds or even if you're so-so about them, you're going to love this. All the indicators are present telling us this year is going to be witness to another snowy owl eruption across the upper United States. That means for us up here on the Range, too!

Last year, 2013-2014, we saw what was possibly the largest eruption of snowy owls during the last century. This year could be even better. There have already been 44 snowy owls reported in Minnesota alone.

There are different theories on why Snowy Owls leave the Arctic. Some believe that due to such great nesting success, a shortage of food forces the younger owls to leave the area in search of better hunting territories. Others believe the younger owls leave because they have not perfected their hunting skills yet and would not be able to survive competing among older, wiser owls. No matter the reason, what this really means to most of us is this will be a great winter to get out and see one of these beautiful visitors from the Arctic Tundra.

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North Korea says it can prove it wasn't behind Sony hack

Kim Jong Un

© Reuters/KCNA

Kim Jong Un

North Korea has proposed a joint investigation with the United States into the hack attack against Sony Pictures, according to the state news agency, KCNA.

The offer comes as the FBI formally accused Pyongyang of the attack on Friday and US President Barack Obama promised to "respond proportionally" to the online breach.

North Korea says it can prove it has nothing to do with the cyberattack on Sony, the KCNA news release said.

sony pictures

© Sony Pictures

The statement by Pyongyang also warns of "" if Washington refuses to cooperate in the investigation of the attack and continues to accuse North Korea.

Sony's network was hacked in November, with masses of private data, including employees' emails, being made public.

The attack was followed by threats against movie theaters that planned to show "," a comedy in which the US intelligence seeks to kill North Korea's leader Kim Jong-un. Sony eventually refused to release the film.

Although North Korea has from the start denied being involved in the hacking and the threats, it still praised the cyberattack as a "."

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A source in the White House recently told the Wall Street Journal that the US was considering redesignating North Korea as a state sponsor of terror. The country had spent 20 years on the terror black list before being taken off it in 2008 by George W. Bush.

Nuclear boost to counter 'US hostile policy'

It's not only the allegations of masterminding the Sony hacking that are vexing Pyongyang. The recent UN General Assembly vote in favour of referring North Korea to the International Criminal Court over alleged crimes against humanity has been seen by the hermit state as an invasion attempt by the US.

North Korea warned on Saturday it would respond by boosting its nuclear power capability.

"," the North's foreign ministry spokesman said on KCNA, as cited by Reuters.

"," the spokesman said in a statement.

North Korea has so far carried out three nuclear tests, the latest one nearly two years ago. Pyongyang has claimed the nuclear activity is purely for self-defense.

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Hugging as form of social support protects people from getting sick

hugs can help stress

Psychologists go to surprising lengths in new study to show how much a hug can help.

Being hugged reduces the deleterious effects of stress on the body, according to new research which intentionally exposed people to a cold virus.

Hugging acts as a form of social support and protects people from getting sick and even reduces their illness symptoms if they do get sick.

The study, published in the journal , asked 404 healthy adults how much social support they perceived they had from other people (Cohen et al., 2014).

They were also asked about how often they were hugged and how often they came into conflict with others.

Participants were then exposed to a cold virus in the lab (they were well paid for this: $1,000 each).

Their condition was monitored in quarantine to see if they developed a cold and how severe their symptoms were.

Professor Sheldon Cohen, who led the study, explained its rationale:

"We know that people experiencing ongoing conflicts with others are less able to fight off cold viruses.

We also know that people who report having social support are partly protected from the effects of stress on psychological states, such as depression and anxiety.

We tested whether perceptions of social support are equally effective in protecting us from stress-induced susceptibility to infection and also whether receiving hugs might partially account for those feelings of support and themselves protect a person against infection."

The results showed that people who were hugged more often or who perceived they had greater social support were less likely to catch the cold in the first place.

Those who did get a cold had less severe symptoms they were hugged more and felt supported socially.

Professor Cohen said:

"This suggests that being hugged by a trusted person may act as an effective means of conveying support and that increasing the frequency of hugs might be an effective means of reducing the deleterious effects of stress.

The apparent protective effect of hugs may be attributable to the physical contact itself or to hugging being a behavioral indicator of support and intimacy.

Either way, those who receive more hugs are somewhat more protected from infection."

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Rare Arctic gyrfalcon seen in Madbury, New Hampshire

© Hanne & Jens Eriksen/VIREO

The largest of the falcons, a rare gyrfalcon, was seen in Madbury during the past week, according to the Audubon Society's rare bird alert.

Fast like a peregrine falcon and wearing a faint mustache, gyrfalcons live in the Arctic.

According to the Peregrine Fund, the birds of prey are very sensitive to changes in the environment.

The group said pesticides, loss of habitat or a decrease in prey can affect populations of gyrfalcons.

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Elder abuse: Anti-psychotics increasingly prescribed to make life easier for nursing home staff

elderly anti-psychotic drugs

Dignity for the elderly: The elderly are twice as likely to be prescribed anti-psychotic drugs as people in their 40s, even though they are linked to a higher risk of premature death in older people

More than half of prescriptions for anti-psychotic drugs in Britain are for conditions other than serious mental illnesses, say researchers.

And the elderly are twice as likely to be prescribed the drugs as people in their 40s, even though they are linked to a higher risk of premature death in older people.

The drugs, often dubbed the 'chemical cosh' because they are wrongly used to sedate dementia patients, are licensed for serious mental illnesses such as schizophrenia and bipolar disorder.

But a study of GPs' prescriptions between 2007 and 2011, using an electronic database of anonymous patient records, found that less than half were prescribed the drugs for these conditions.

Often they were handed out for anxiety, sleep problems and personality disorders, as well as dementia, even though doctors have been told to prescribe them only as a last resort.

This 'off label' or unlicensed prescribing resulted in older people with conditions such as dementia and anxiety getting them, says the study published online by the journal BMJ Open.

Study author Professor David Osborn, of University College London, said antipsychotics are not recommended for dementia because they can increase the risk of stroke and death in older age groups.

Although not licensed for dementia, they may be used to control agitation and aggressive behaviour, making life easier for carers and nursing home staff.

The Alzheimer's Society charity says antipsychotics should be prescribed for a minority of people with dementia and only for up to twelve weeks.

A Government-commissioned review found 180,000 people with dementia were prescribed antipsychotics, of which 144,000 were given them inappropriately.

elderly anti-psychotics

Care scandal: A review found 180,000 people with dementia were prescribed antipsychotics, of which 144,000 were given them inappropriately

The Daily Mail has long called for an improvement in the care of dementia sufferers as part of our Dignity for the Elderly Campaign.

The researchers analysed GPs' prescribing patterns for first and second generation antipsychotic drugs across the UK between 2007 and 2011, using data from The Health Improvement Network (THIN), a medical research database of anonymised electronic patient records.

Between 2007 and 2011, almost 48,000 people were prescribed these drugs.

Almost 14,000 were prescribed first generation antipsychotics, almost 28,000 second generation antipsychotics, and almost 6000 were prescribed both.

People aged 80 and above were more than twice as likely to be treated with an antipsychotic as those aged 40-49.

One in three prescriptions was for an older generation antipsychotic, but less than half of those prescribed them had been diagnosed with a psychotic illness/bipolar disorder.

Not everyone prescribed a newer, second generation drug had been diagnosed with a psychotic illness or bipolar disorder.

Risperidone, for example, was prescribed for anxiety in 14 per cent of cases, depression without psychoses (22 per cent), dementia (12 per cent), sleep disorders (11 per cent) and personality disorder (four per cent).

Doctors were told not to prescribe antipsychotics except as a last resort under NHS guidelines in 2004. Since then they have been repeatedly urged to limit prescriptions.

Last year the Government said it was considering a change in the law that might see doctors jailed for inappropriate prescribing.

The Department of Health says it wants to reduce the level of antipsychotic prescribing for people with dementia by two thirds and is awaiting the findings of a national audit on antipsychotics prescribing due later this year.

Prof Osborn said 'Reducing the potential harm associated with anti-psychotics in dementia has been emphasised as a priority by organisations such as the Department of Health in England and the US Food and Drug Administration.

'Our findings suggest that further effort is required to decrease primary care antipsychotic prescriptions in dementia, and that assessing time trends in anti-psychotic prescribing in this group is an important area for future research.'

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30 die as cold wave hits north India

© AFP Photo

An Indian local walks with his yak at Kufri, near Shimla, India, on December 13, 2014.

In some of the heaviest spells of snowfall Uttarakhand has seen in recent times, 30 people, according to the State Disaster Mitigation and Management Centre, have died in the hills in the last two days.

Himachal Pradesh also recorded heavy snowfall. The icy winds coming from these hill region swept Uttar Pradesh as well, leading to drop in temperatures. Lucknow was coldest in UP with minimum temperature 6.6 degrees Celsius.

People woke up to foggy morning in Lucknow. However, strong winds cleared sky by 9 am. These winds also kept mercury low during the day. The maximum temperature despite bright sunshine was 21.5 degrees Celsius, three degrees below normal. On Thursday, maximum and minimum temperature is expected to be around 21 and 7 degrees Celsius respectively. In the coming days, the Met officials said that the night temperatures would drop below five degrees Celsius.

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Heavy snowfall in Almora, Pithoragarh, and Bageshwar

Meanwhile, 13 people died in Uttarakhand's Kumaon region alone in the past two days. Administration sources said that while three people died in Nainital, two collapsed due to the biting cold in Haldwani, three in Bageshwar, including an agriculture officer, and one in Bhimtal. Officials in the Disaster Mitigation Centre said they are trying to get detailed figures, but in these weather condition that was proving tough.

In Pithoragarh district, a private car slipped on the snow and went down a deep gorge, leaving two people dead and three seriously injured.

Electricity supply was snapped in several parts of Kumaon as thousands of trees had fallen, many on power lines. Water supply, too, was non-existent as pipes froze.

Sources in the district administration said Almora had not recorded such snow in over 40 years. In Pithoragarh, for over nine years, snowfall has not been so heavy and so early. And there were reports that Bageshwar had broken a 46 year-record.

Snow piled up to about two feet in many areas of Kumaon, paralyzing life further.

Roads were hit equally badly, with traffic cut off in large swathes of the hills. Twenty roads in Almora, Pithoragarh, Bageshwar and Champawat were covered with a thick blanket of snow. Hundreds of passenger buses and jeeps are still stranded, with local people volunteering to offer those stranded food, water and shelter.

Almora DM Binod Kumar Suman said, "At least 5,000 trees have fallen in the district, many on top of houses. We have restored power in 60% of the urban localities and 40% of rural areas. Today, we managed to rescue hundreds of stranded people. Some roads in the district have been cleared and opened. We are working on the other roads."

The district magistrate said for any emergency situation, people could call the toll free 1077 for help.

Minimum temperature was one degree Celsius in Almora, minus 3 degrees Celsius in Pithoragarh, and minus 1 degree Celsius in Bageshwar.

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US: Northwest storms bring heavy rain, strong winds through Christmas; blanket interior West with snow

As the train of storms from the Pacific Ocean continues, rounds of rain and mountain snow will fall on areas from the Northwest to the Intermountain West and Rockies through Christmas Day.

A strong storm will affect the Northwest this weekend with gusty winds, heavy low-elevation rain and high-elevation snow.

A second storm will roll ashore on Tuesday with falling snow levels in the Northwest and heavy snow farther inland in the West.

Northwest Storm to Unleash Heavy Rain, Strong Winds This Weekend

According to AccuWeather Meteorologist Brian Lada, "The worst conditions this weekend will hit from the Cascades to the Pacific coast."

A general 4-8 inches (100 to 200 mm) of rain will fall from the upper Oregon coast to Washington's Olympic Peninsula and the southwestern part of Vancouver Island, British Columbia.

A general 2-4 inches of rain are forecast along Interstate 5, from Eugene and Portland, Oregon, to Seattle and Tacoma, Washington. Similar rainfall with locally higher amounts are possible along the west-facing slopes of the Cascades in Oregon and Washington.

Enough rain will fall to raise the risk of mudslides and flash and urban flooding. Small stream flooding is possible due to melting snow and heavy rain on the intermediate elevations of the Cascades.

Gusty winds will accompany the heavy rain, raising the potential for flight delays and localized power outages.

According to AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Dave Houk, "Gusts will reach as high as 60 mph along the Washington and Oregon coasts on Saturday. Gusts to 40 mph will be common along I-5 from Seattle to Medford, Oregon."

Drenching rain will dip into part of northern California, while some rain will soak northern Nevada and northern Utah this weekend.

After a snowy start to the weekend at the passes in the Cascades, rising temperatures, rain and fog are forecast.

Snow will continue in the high country of the Cascades and will spread to the Bitterroots and Clearwater Mountains this weekend. Several feet of snow may fall on the highest elevations of the central Cascades with a foot or more of snow possible in parts of Idaho.

During Monday into Monday, spotty snow will fall over the central and northern Rockies with a few inches possible around Denver. Meanwhile, a new storm eyes the Northwest.

Snowstorm to Blanket Interior West Christmas Eve, Christmas Day

Unlike the storm this weekend, which will trend warmer, the storm that arrives on Tuesday will trend colder as it pushes inland on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.

Snow will fall to pass levels in the Cascades and will drop down to the valleys across central and eastern Washington state, Oregon, Idaho, northern Nevada and northern Utah. Only rain will fall around Seattle and Portland.

Snow and slippery travel can progress to the southeast along I-84 and I-90 in this swath during the day and night on Christmas Eve. Rain will change to snow or snow showers, including around Salt Lake City and Boise, Idaho.

Snowy travel is in store for a long stretch of the I-15 and I-25 corridors in Idaho, Montana and Wyoming on Christmas Day.

While the snowstorm will cause travel problems, it will make for plenty of fresh powder on ski country.

The storm is likely to bring a bumper crop of snow from the northern Wasatch Mountains to the Colorado Rockies, northward to the Tetons, Bitterroots, Clearwater and Bighorns, centered on Christmas Day. From 1-2 feet of snow is likely to fall on the mountains with locally higher amounts possible in the high country.

The new round of accumulating snow may not reach Denver until later Christmas night or on Friday. Mild air preceding the Christmas storm will cause any snow around the city to melt.

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Conscienceless senator blocks suicide prevention act, saying it's too expensive

veteran suicide

22 Veterans a day are so broken by grief, shame, horror or trauma they resolve not to live another day.

Despite an epidemic of astonishing proportions - 22 veterans a day so broken by grief, shame, horror or trauma they resolve not to live another day - retiring, grandstanding, incoherent obstructionist Sen. Tom "Dr.No" Coburn, R-Okla., took his final stand against humanity by single-handedly blocking the Clay Hunt Suicide Prevention for American Veterans Act, which had broad bi-partisan support and would have cost $22 million, or about the same as three and a half-hours of the Iraq War. From Paul Rieckhoff, founder of Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (IAVA), "This is why people hate Washington."

The suicide prevention bill would expand access to mental health services for veterans suffering from depression and other forms of PTSD from their questionable service at a cost of $22 million over five years - a laughably small sliver of the estimated $6 trillion cost of the Iraq and Afghanistan Wars. It is named for Clay Hunt, a Marine who served in both wars, earned a Purple Heart, came home to be celebrated as a "poster boy" vet who served others in projects like Team Rubicon and Ride 2 Recovery but who, unable to heal, killed himself in 2011.

Hunt's parents and veterans' groups had tirelessly advocated for the bill, which had already passed in the House and was expected to pass in the Senate - until Coburn, a former doctor, blocked it with a baffling, ego-fuelled speech about his grandfather in World War 1 and how he too had treated patients "with the demons these young men and women have" and he had failed them and every veteran should get a smile at the V.A. "regardless of how long his hair is" and "the love...needs to be there" and so that's why he doesn't want to pay for them to maybe stay alive.

Veterans quickly blasted the move and supporters of the bill, which is almost everyone, vowed to bring it back in 90 days in the next Coburn-less Congress. By then, noted Rieckhoff, another 1,980 more veterans could die by suicide, a figure he entirely justifiably called "sickening." Covering the story, the usually calm Rachel Maddow was almost speechless with rage. Coburn's last despicable act, she noted, is "what he will be remembered for."

"Twenty-two veterans a day, Senator," she said, shaking her head. "Sleep well."

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SOTT EXCLUSIVE: Is President Hollande growing a spine?

Two weeks ago, French president Hollande decided to make an impromptu visit to Russia's president Putin. The visit in itself was, if not courageous, at least different from Western leaders' previous tactics of isolating the Russian president. The good mood of the Russian president made people wonder if something had happened and whether Hollande had been cured of the Bulgarian symptoms.
Hollande Putin


Has Hollande after the meeting with Putin started to stand up and act in favour of the interests of his country?

At the Brussels summit, which finished yesterday, it was Hollande who voiced the desire to scale back the sanctions regime on Russia. In doing so, he caused a split in the EU unity as Bloomberg reports:

Europe stumbled into a debate over the end of sanctions on the economically distressed Russia after French President Francois Hollande became the first major leader to dangle the prospect of easing the curbs.


Hollande urged the EU to offer early "de-escalation" to reward expected peace overtures by Russian President Vladimir Putin in eastern Ukraine, while others including German Chancellor Angela Merkel put off sanctions relief until a settlement emerges.

It is obvious that the sanctions would hurt the EU badly, but that has been known all along by anyone with two neurons firing, so the timing by the French President is interesting, especially given that Canada and the US have announced a new round of sanctions on Russia, although they have yet to be implemented:

Hollande warned that declining demand from Russia knocks out one of the props of Europe's economy.

No doubt! But the fact that a major European leader dared to question the sanctions regime is significant and made it easier for others to follow suit:

Europe's divisions were on display yesterday, with Austria joining the call for early sanctions relief and Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi saying: "New sanctions? Absolutely no!"

That Poland and the Baltic states want tougher sanctions or at least to keep the existing sanctions shouldn't come as any surprise, but their voice in the EU does not carry much weight.

Voices in Germany are split between those who seek to work with Russia on equal terms and those who seek to destroy Russia to benefit from the takeover of Russian resources. German chancellor Angela Merkel appears to have decided that her masters are in the US, or as Ekaterina Blinova wrote in a recent article:

It seems, however, that despite the domestic pressure German Chancellor Angela Merkel is set on "wasting" the valuable political and economic experience of 10-15 years of Russo-German mutually beneficial relations.

Blackmail from the Empire of Chaos undoubtedly play a significant role too as Putin is well aware of and mentioned recently in his Valdai speech.

As far as Hollande goes, he also appears to have sent a message to the US' favorite poodle nation:

French President Francoise Hollande will threaten to veto David Cameron's attempts to renegotiate Britain's relationship with the EU at a meeting on Thursday.

Hollande is expected to rebuff the prime minister's outlined plans by telling him he is "obsessed with his own problems" and block his request for a change to the EU treaty, the reports.


A French government source told the that France was not willing to pay for the UK's presence in Brussels.

"We will not pay an extra price to keep the UK in the EU," the source said.

Also this week the French police raided ISIS recruiting centers across France:

French anti-terror police Monday dismantled a recruiting network for Syria jihad and arrested 10 people on allegations of sending nationals to fight alongside Islamist insurgents in the Arab-torn country, interior ministry said.

In a nationwide raid, police units targeted presumed Jihad recruiters in the southern town of Toulouse, Paris suburbs and in Normandy, north France.

Official data showed more than 900 French nationals and residents either joined the Syrian civil war or planned to travel to the conflict-torn country.

Now if France is actually getting serious about stopping recruiting in France by the US and Israeli sponsored ISIS, that would be welcome news to Putin, who is well aware of the real source of Islamic terrorism.

So has Hollande come to understand that France does not have anything but chaos to harvest from its support for regime change in Syria and for supporting Syrian rebels, who invariably turn to ISIS?

It has also been encouraging to see that the Russian foreign minister, Sergei Lavrov had a long interview on French TV just a week ago and that even Syrian president Bashar Assad was interviewed by Paris Match. The French people have thereby been exposed to the views of the alleged enemy, whose downfall France has been actively supporting until now.

Whether Francois Hollande has grown a spine remains to be seen. Such a sea change in attitude does not happen overnight. It involves a lot of work and courage, but the news coming out of France this week has been a welcome change, even the motivation was largely self-interest. Then again, looking after their own interests and not those of the US is what French politicians are generally elected to do.


Aeneas Georg (Profile)

I'm a train manager and ticket inspector on international train routes in Europe. I've been reading SOTT since 2003 and first joined the editorial team in 2007 after realizing I had to do something about the deteriorating state of our world. I'm particularly interested in 'following the money' to track the machinations of the deceptive ones in high places. I suppose you could say I've taken my chosen profession to a new level, and now with SOTT I'm "inspecting the flows" of people and money in more ways than one.

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4 Dead and 14,000 evacuated after flooding on the Thailand - Malaysia border

© Bomba Malaysia

Flood evacuations in Kelantan, Malaysia.

Heavy rain and flooding has continued in southern Thailand and is now also affecting areas along the Thailand-Malaysian border. At least 4 states in Malaysia have suffered from severe flooding. Several southern provinces in Thailand have been under water for the last week.

Across the region a total of four people have been reported as killed in the floods and 14,000 people evacuated (12,000 in Malaysia). Two people remain missing in the floods in Thailand.

[embedded content]


In Thailand, the provinces of Songkhla, Surat Thani, Narathiwat, Yala, and Phatthalung continue to be among the worst affected. Rivers in Narathiwat, including the Golok, Bang Nara and Sai Buri, have overflowed.

Flooding from the Golok river has meant the border crossing between Thailand and Malaysia at Sungai Kolok has had to be closed. Flood water is said to be as high as 30 cm in the border towns along this stretch of the river.


In Narathiwat, a soldier died while helping villagers escape deep flooding. A young girl died in a landslide in Yala's Than To district.

Flood and Landslide Warnings for the South

More rain is expected and the National Disaster Warning Centre issued a warning yesterday that nine provinces in the South face the risks of floods and landslides.


The two states of Kelantan, Perak, Pahang and Terengganu are currently affected by the floods. A total of 12,000 people are said to have evacuated from their homes. Many of the displaced are staying in evacuation centres. Around 6,700 people have been evacuated in Kelantan, 4,600 in Terengganu and 825 in Pahang.

© Bomba Malaysia

Flood damage in Kelantan, Malaysia.


A young child died when she was swept away by flood water while being carried by her mother to a relief centre in Kelantan. The child's mother and 3 siblings survived.

A further victim, a man in his thirties, drowned in a swollen river in Kampung Lepa Limbat.

Anwarlicious @MustaffaMazlan_

Banjir area Green Town Ipoh,Perak right now.

10:59 AM - 19 Dec 2014


OPS #BANJIR : Lokasi Depan Sekolah Arab Banggol Kulim, Rantau Panjang #BOMBA

7:20 AM - 19 Dec 2014

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