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Monday, 12 January 2015

Charlie Hebdo attack has nothing to do with freedom of expression  -  It was about war

Most white people don't like to admit it, but those cartoons upheld their prejudice, their racism, their political supremacy, and cut it how you will - images like that upheld a political order built on discrimination.

In less than an hour of the dreadful shooting of 12 people at the French magazine Charlie Hebdo, the politicians had already started to lie to their own public.

John Kerry, US Secretary of State, declared that, "freedom of expression is not able to be killed by this kind of act of terror."

The media lapped it up - the attack was now spun as an attack on 'Freedom of Speech'. That cherished value that the West holds so dear.

The British Government was so in love with it, that they were passing laws that demanded nursery school teachers spy on Muslim toddlers because they had too much of it. Toddlers were 'free' to speak their mind as long as it agreed with UK Government policy.

Still at least it was not as draconian as Western Governments routine harassment of those they thought spoke a bit too freely. Ask Moazzam Beg, the freed Guantanamo Bay Detainee and human rights campaigner, who was falsely accused of terrorism and imprisoned for months, after flying back from Syria with damning evidence of Britain's complicity in torture in the Muslim world.

A ‘free speech’ machine. It looks for people who do not have enough free speech and then gives them some.

Or for that matter the Al-Jazeera journalist Abdulelah Haider Shaye incarcerated in Yemen at the behest of the America for reporting the wrong type of facts.

They loved it so much, they kept spying on everyone , tapping their phones and arresting them for having the wrong sort of facts, or as Edward Snowden found out - having the right sort of facts!

Hypocritically even Charlie Hebdo, the magazine at the centre of the controversy, those 'champions of free speech',sacked a journalist in 2009 for making anti-Semitic comments but interestingly never took similar action for anti-Islamic comments, articles or cartoons.

The hypocrisy of French commentators took this absurd lie to new heights. The rapper Monsieur R was put on trial for 'insulting the French state '. Do you remember the Western world's outrage over that? - me neither. Attack the Prophet of the Muslims, OK - but the French state - NO!

But its not just the French State you cannot criticize, its their Allies! France that bastion of freedom, became the first country in the world to ban marching in support of those being ethnically cleansed in Palestine.

And as to those reading this and thinking 'yes but these journalists were killed, its different!' - let me remind you of Western complicity, in the murder of 17 journalists along with 2500 men, women and children in Gaza, by Israel, less than 12 months ago or the wilful murder of Al-Jazeera journalists in Iraq by American forces.

One rule for them and another for Muslims. That great overarching cherished Western principle that Muslims just didn't understand.

As usual there was no real depth in any of the analysis in the media. The public were left in shock and anger but without any real answers.

The elites' narrative was simple: a left-wing magazine, had produced 'satirical cartoons' about all religions and politicians, some of them about the Prophet of Islam - only Muslims took offence (subtext because their backward barbaric religion was alien and intolerant).

The argument sounded reasonable enough... if you lived in a bubble in the land of middle class white guy - sadly Muslims usually don't have that luxury.

Let me explain it from a different perspective, one that Muslims see all too clearly.

After all its only a joke! They make fun of white people as well!

In thirties America, when white people were burning black people on trees, whites could equally have used this argument. After all there were cartoons even about the president! However making insulting cartoons about white people who controlled the power structures was not the same as demonizing black people - a powerless underclass.

Imagery of black people being, dumb, violent, lazy, thieves who looked like monkeys - upheld a political reality, the very imagery re-enforced the prejudices of those in power and subjugated blacks.

The same with Jews in Nazi Germany - imagine today's spurious and conceited argument being used by the Nazis - could a German newspaper hide behind the claim it also made fun of white Germans? How unjustified that only the Jews complained so! After all Germans don't complain when they were made fun of -  those backward Jews and their greedy religion didn't understand free speech!

Most white people don't like to admit it, but those cartoons uphold their prejudice, their racism, their political supremacy , and cut it how you will - images like that upheld a political order built on discrimination.

Muslims today are a demonized underclass in France. A people vilified and attacked by the power structures. A poor people with little or no power and these vile cartoons not only uphold the narrative of power, but heighten racist prejudice against them.

After the Egyptian dictator seized power and started shooting Muslims who opposed him — the paper ran this headline “The Quran is sh*t it doesnt stop bullets” — Imagine if a Muslim paper did this about them now — still find it funny?

Even white liberals have acted in the most prejudiced way. It was as if white people had a right to offend Muslims and Muslims had no right to be offended? The difference was, when white people were offended, they have the state, white corporate media and the threat of a right wing mob to make their point - Muslims have nothing.

Cue some right wing media white dude (or some Zionist) to now accuse me of justifying the murder - After all, if you are Muslim, explaining things is justifying them right! ?

The truth is, this awful attack can not be explained in a vacuum, absent of the context around it. It has to be seen through the prism of events that are going on around the world. With eyes firmly fixed on the wars going on from Palestine to Pakistan.

A global view spreading across the Muslim world, is that the West is at war with them (propagandists say this is due to hate preachers  - nothing to do with more bombs being dropped on Iraq alone than were used in the whole of the first and second world war ).

This anger sweeping the Muslim world, is solidifying in the consciousness of millions, re-enforced by daily bombings, kidnappings and of course wars that the West has initiated and engaged in. These policies have lead to many Muslims abandoning the belief that they could bring any change peacefully - cue the rise of men taking up arms.

These images then, can be played down as just a 'bit of fun' as no doubt the least perceptive of you will try to argue, or it can be seen through the prism of the war on terror - just another front on the war against Islam that has claimed so many lives - and the demonology behind it.

Killing Muslim children doesnt make Muslims take up arms — its just they hate freedom of speech honest!

I argue, that we are creating extremists by the bucket load and have done so exponentially, since we declared this endless war of terror . Our policies are hardening views on all sides.

To justify its continuation, politicians have to keep lying to the public (via the pliant corporate media) saying Muslim violence is due to 'Islamists, Extremists, Hate Preachers - the evil Muslim fairy, or any other word that makes people think the problem is faith and not the real driver - War.

Palestine — a people erased due to Western policy

This false narrative is creating extremism in white communities too, because they now believe, that it is the Muslim religion that makes them act in this way, it is their backward pre-disposition to violence (note the rise of right wing neo-facists across Europe). And of course as the bombs fall like rain - it hardens opinions and creates extremists in the Muslim world. And both these people are expressing themselves in very ugly ways - and that's exactly what happened here.

The Orientalist racist stereotype of the Muslim humourless barbarian — in this image of the Prophet Muhammad PBUH — it says “100 lashes if you don’t die laughing!”

Twelve people are dead because the world we are creating is utterly polarised.

Our bombs don't leave much room for 'freedoms' and now neither do theirs.

Extremism leads to extremism - this is just another symptom of the world Bush and Blair gave us and our political classes are determined to keep it going. Read more on this here and here.

The two sides are set to clash unless we pull the foot off the accelerator - and our elites don't want to do that.

By the time the dust settles, there will more attacks against Muslims in the streets, mosques burned down, politicians introducing draconian laws against Muslims, media wall-to-wall demonization and France along with the rest of Europe will lurch right  - proving true the very thing these Muslims believe - that the West hates them - and they wouldn't be wholly wrong.

Someone, more powerful than you or I reader, in the political elites has to have the sense to change the mood music of war and hate, re-look at our policies and have the courage to say:

'Everyone chill out, put the guns down and lets talk'.

Even if I am wrong, one thing is for sure - to bring an end to this - we got to do something differently, because what we are doing now - isn't working.

I leave you with these short videos.

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To discuss you can find me on twitter at @AsgharBukhari

And Facebook on MPACUK (Muslim Public Affairs Committee)

Recommended article: Chomsky: We Are All – Fill in the Blank.

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'Mossad is behind Paris attacks' says Ankara Mayor Gökçek


Ankara Mayor Melih Gökçek saying it like it is.

According to a report from Anadolu circulating in the Turkish media, Gökçek attended the Justice and Development Party (AK Party) Gölbaşı youth branch fourth ordinary district congress on Sunday and mentioned the terrorist attacks in France. He said Israel was annoyed with the lower house of French parliament for voting for the recognition of a Palestinian state and with France's vote in favor of a United Nations Security Council (UNSC) resolution calling for the same recognition.

"Israel certainly doesn't want this sentiment to expand in Europe. That's why it is certain that Mossad is behind these kinds of incidents. Mossad enflames Islamophobia by causing such incidents," Gökçek said.

He claimed that after the Paris attacks, around 50 mosques and some Muslim individuals had been targeted but such incidents were not reported on by the international media.

"Palestine being recognized as a state is why these [attacks] have taken place," he concluded.

The Paris attacks, in which journalists and policemen were among those killed, began with a shooting at the satirical Charlie Hebdo newspaper on Jan. 7, and ended with people being taken hostage at a kosher supermarket on Jan. 9. The four victims killed in the supermarket attack were all Jews.

Gökçek, known for his controversial remarks, also recently claimed that black ice on the roads of Ankara, which caused more than 100 traffic accidents last month, was the work of unidentified people who deliberately turned on garden sprinklers by the roadside to cause ice to form.

Last summer, Gökçek also tweeted that the Israeli consulate in Turkey should be closed. "We don't want a representative of murderers in Turkey," he said.

In 2013, he launched a Twitter campaign against BBC Turkish service journalist Selin Girit for her reporting on a meeting held by protesters at Yoğurtçu Park in İstanbul via social media, accusing Girit of being an "English agent" and of engaging in "treachery to her nation."

Chomsky: We Are All – Fill in the Blank.

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Citizens of Stockton, CA enage in a new crowd-funded, direct action against police brutality

STOCKTON - Citizens in Stockton, California have taken a new approach to activism.

Rather than sticking to the traditional form of protest in which signs are held and slogans are chanted, these citizens have taken direct action and offered a grassroots, crowd-funded incentive structure to end police brutality in their community.

They have offered a $2,500 reward to anybody who submits information leading to the arrest or termination of cops who brutalize or kill people.

They were able to let people know about the offer by printing all the details on flyers and spreading them throughout their community.

The flyer specifically names 15 cops as a start, and includes pictures of at least 10 cops who have been involved in either the brutalization or killing of Americans.

The words "Know Your Killer Cops" are printed on the flyers, along with instructions to film any police brutality and a location where the footage can be submitted.

"Stockton police have been getting away with terrorizing our citizens for far too long," the flyer says.

"It is time to take back our streets."

There is also a Stockton Police Department Corruption Reporting page on facebook where citizens can submit the footage.

The flyers were given out at the local courthouse and seem to have motivated citizens even more to start scrutinizing the actions of police.

With a $2,500 reward and with so many Americans unemployed, it is not hard to imagine many spending all day in the streets monitoring cops and starting their own patrols to earn the money.

One wonders what would happen if such a reward system was increased, offered nationwide, crowd-funded online, or funded by wealthy anti-authoritarians.

Suppose a secure website were started where people donated in a currency such as Bitcoin, the donations would be anonymously pooled and verified, and the pool is offered to the first person who submits information leading to the termination or arrest of a specific officer.

Knowing that the funds are available, it is virtually guaranteed that citizens would take heightened measures to crack down on criminal cops. It would also empower communities to believe that with adequate training and resources, they can protect themselves rather than relying on a police state.

Police are deeply concerned about the idea, however. Stockton Police Chief Eric Jones said that the flyer "appears to invite retribution against our officers."

"I'm concerned that the flyer might be intended to put officers at risk, which would be reprehensible, and it is sad and disheartening to see a flyer like this with a $2,500 bounty," he added.

He then alluded to the recent assassination of two NYPD officers, and expressed disappointment that such a flyer would be created in the wake of growing anti-police sentiment.

It is difficult to see why this flyer would worry officers. The worries could be understood if there were a crowd-funded system that offered to anonymously deliver currency to the first person who, say, assassinates a specific officer, but that would be illegal and the flyer is doing no such thing. It is simply asking for video footage of and information about cops who break the law.

One of the activists who passed out the flyer replied:

The flyer is just informing the public that these people should be monitored and watched, and that it's your right and responsibility to film the police. If there's nothing that was done wrong, there's nothing to be afraid of. If you're calling a reward for accountability and wrongdoing a "bounty," then that implies that somebody did something wrong. If there's nothing to hide, they would laugh at it, but they know it's serious. Their golden image is tarnished. This type of activism is not good for them and their image. That's why they don't care for it.

Now that the idea is spreading, other communities are sure to implement similar incentive structures to curb police brutality - indeed, it wouldn't be surprising if a grassroots program like this is started nationwide.

What do you think about this kind of direct action activism? Would you monitor cops more closely if it meant earning $2,500? What about $20,000? How do you think the details of such a program would work? Do you think it's inevitable that something like this will start to become popular and end police brutality? Let us know know your opinion after the video.

Watch the video below to see an example of Stockton police brutality, where officers can be seen breaking a protester's arm and kicking him while he was restrained:

Chomsky: We Are All – Fill in the Blank.

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FLASHBACK: Flu shot? Forget about it.

kid picking nose

© unknown

Hand washing is important.

Tis' the "season" for the flu shot. It comes around every year - September turns into October and germs get the memo that your body is up for business, or maybe it's the government, CDC, and pharmaceutical companies that think your wallet is up for business and the organ you use for common sense and reasoning is on hiatus. I'm really not sure.

The only notice I get of "flu shot season" is a stack of masks my husband brings home for our family to decorate. We take great pleasure in searching "Google Images" for the year's latest fashions and we create the most eye-popping pieces so that people take notice, ask questions, and my physician husband gets the opportunity to inform others that he does not and will not get a flu vaccine. If you see someone selling insanely ingenious flu mask creations, know that it was my idea first.

You might think we're the only ones protecting our bodies from assault this flu season but truth be told, with the pressure from the government to improve the influenza vaccination rate, nurses, physicians, and parents at large are pushing back. Nobody wants this viral mystery concoction.

You might think it's no big deal. It's just a little flu shot right? And they make it look so fun when you can get incentives for shooting yourself up with viruses. You can even "drive by" and fill up with the flu on your way home from work. You want a side of mercury with that? You don't even have to have qualifications to jab your neighbor. You can increase their risk of Alzheimer's...for FREE.

Remember those police "check points" they had when we were growing up where they checked our cars for booze? The ones we all tried to drive 10 miles out of our way to avoid? Like the faithful friend who tipped you off and warned you to avoid that street (or chuck the booze altogether), I'm tipping you off about the flu shot.

The CDC asserts that a yearly flu vaccine for everyone 6 months of age and older is the first and most important step in protecting against this serious disease, but it's not.

Somebody needs to inform the CDC that germs only live in environments conducive to their growth. Have you ever seen a maggot or parasite hanging out in your clean house? No, you find them in trash cans where you'll also find dirt, poop, rotting food, and bugs. They are opportunistic scavengers by nature and cannot exist in a healthy body. Why do you think all infectious diseases are more prevalent in 3rd-world countries where conditions are unsanitary and nutrition is lacking? Same germ, different environment.

True disease prevention occurs by making the body so healthy that no germ can survive in it. Seriously, I suggest looking up the research from one of the world's greatest scientists of all time (Dr. Antoine Bechamp); instead, of pushing around a dead, partially plagiarized germ theory and using it as the foundation and justification for assaulting people with harmful and ineffective flu shots.

You might think you'll prevent the flu if you get the influenza vaccine, but you won't.

Just like we pretend immunization and vaccination are synonymous terms, everyone likes to pretend that the "flu" and "influenza" are the same thing. They're not. All influenza is the flu but not all flu (or flu-like sickness) is influenza. It's clever marketing not to distinguish the two so that every time you get sick you think it could have been prevented by a "flu shot." Truth be told you probably just had "the flu" from one of several hundred flu viruses for which the influenza vaccine does not "protect" against.

Influenza is not a serious disease unless...

you're pretending that all "flu-like" illnesses are influenza and you're using statistics from a hundred years ago. Currently influenza/pneumonia is the 8th leading cause of death. It's funny how they lump two "illnesses" in together like that to entice people to run out and get a flu shot. According to the CDC's National Center for Health Statistics , 62,034 people died from "influenza and pneumonia" in 2001; yet only 257 people actually died from the "flu" and of those, only 18 cases were connected to the influenza virus. The other 61,777 people died from pneumonia.

Of course they use that as a justification to push the flu shot too because pneumonia is an influenza related complication right? Maybe, but pneumonia is a factor in all sorts of medical conditions entirely unrelated to "influenza" and can also be caused by any number of pathogens, flu-like sicknesses, antibiotics, over-use of antibiotics (which wipe out good bacteria your body needs to prevent disease), vaccinations, and...wait for it...the flu shot.

The truth is, more people die from unintentional injuries like taking the stairs two-at-a-time, falling out windows, tripping over cracks in the sidewalk, and aspirating on orange juice, than they do from influenza. More people die from chronic lower respiratory infections (a listed adverse reaction of the flu shot), Alzheimer's (which flu shots contribute to), and cancer, strokes, heart attacks, and diabetes, all conditions that could be prevented with a healthy diet. Hey, do you know what else can be prevented by a healthy diet? Influenza. If "the flu" is something to sneeze about, you should ditch the flu shot and up your broccoli intake.

You're told the influenza vaccine is effective .

It is, if effective means cars can run on Oreos instead of gas.

An "effective" flu vaccine is one that introduces an antigen that triggers an antibody response that increases one's titers against a particular flu strain. It all sounds great doesn't it? Except that "effectiveness" varies from year to year and scientists have to "predict" which strains are going to be prevalent each season and they rarely make the mark. Even if you get titers to a particular strain, that doesn't mean you won't get sick from it or the 200 other circulating flu strains, which means you put yourself through an increased risk of brain damage, Alzheimer's, and death for nothing.

Flu shots are safe ...

said nobody who ever read the package insert, the ingredient list, or looked at the horribly lacking (non-existent) safety studies. Flu shots aren't safe for you, me, our children, Grandma, or pregnant women. Here are just a few of the adverse reactions you're subjecting yourself to if you opt out of the almost non-existent chance you'll get the strain of flu contained in the flu shot:

Exacerbation of mitochondrial encephomyalopathy, Guillain-Barré syndrome, Bell's Palsy, meningitis, eosinophilic meningitis, vaccine-associated encephalitis, respiratory disorders, rash, fever, vomiting, chills, muscle aches, anaphylaxis, convulsions, myelitis, optic neuritis, pharyngitis, rhinitis, cough, wheezing, throat tightness, Steven-Johnson Syndrome, encephalomyelitis, asthma, respiratory distress, and death.

For the flu shot to be deemed effective and safe, a double-blind, saline placebo-controlled study (preferably before licensure) is required (by an unbiased source might be asking too much). Finding one of these jewels is like searching for King Tut's Tomb in an Iowa corn field.

You can get the flu from the flu shot.

The CDC says, "You cannot get the flu from a flu shot." The package inserts say you could experience a runny nose, congestion, chills, headaches, muscle aches, sore throat, respiratory issues, cough, and fever higher than 100 degrees. Is there another name for the "flu" we don't know about?

You could also increase your risk for other non-influenza illnesses like respiratory infections (which could lead to pneumonia), rhinovirus, and coxsackie/echovirus infections.

The flu shot isn't safe or effective for infants or toddlers.

Would you strap your baby into a car seat that had not been crash-tested approved? Would you allow your child to be the test subject of Monsanto's newest sweetener? Would you mash up a bunch of dead viruses, some egg, monkey or doggy cells, acid, and MSG and rub it into their skin? Of course not.

Cochrane found only one study regarding the most commonly given flu vaccine in children under two despite the current recommendations to vaccinate children from six months of age. There was no safety data. Zip. Zero. Nada.

If immunisation in children is to be recommended as a public health policy, large-scale studies assessing important outcomes, and directly comparing vaccine types are urgently required.

Cochrane also found that the trials were funded by the industry, manipulated, and were cited over independent and publicly done studies that were less favorable towards vaccines. Oh yeah, they also found that the flu shot was no more effective than the placebo but did cause narcolepsy and febrile convulsions. Yet the Center for Death Control (CDC) says, that "the most important thing is for all people 6 months and older to get a flu vaccine every year."

Hello? Anyone?

Pregnant women should not get the flu shot.

It makes zero sense to inject a pregnant woman who is already in a state of immune suppression with something that could trigger an immune response and cause spontaneous abortion. Flu shots have not been tested or proven safe for pregnant women. Rats don't count.

Elderly people should not get a flu shot.

There is no credible data to suggest that pushing flu vaccines on the elderly is safe or effective - unless you count that one trial that showed a 50% efficacy in healthy older adults. (Most adults over 65 are not healthy.) Although elderly people are more likely to get "influenza," they're far more likely to get Alzheimer's (linked to flu shots)...the sixth leading cause of death.

Physicians and nurses do not have to get the flu shot to "protect their patients."

To date, there is no accurate data on rates of laboratory-proven influenza in healthcare workers, and live flu vaccines shed and can infect the most at-risk populations including the elderly and immunocompromised. That aside, there's a reason why medical professionals are opting out of flu shots and nurses are suing hospitals implementing mandates - they are dangerous and they don't work. You know what does according to the data? Hand-washing, masks, early detection of influenza with nasal swabs, antivirals, quarantine, restricting visitors, and not coming to work if you feel sick.

If you have to get a flu shot, it's not because someone cares about your patient's health (or your rights), it's because "The Not So Affordable Healthcare Act" ties reimbursement to employee vaccination rates.

You're told flu shots don't shed, but some do.

Live vaccines including the FluMist nasal spray they want to mandate for your school-aged children shed. Vaccinated children can get sick from the influenza vaccine and unvaccinated children (and the majority of children whose flu shot didn't provide "protection") are at risk of getting sick from vaccine associated viral shedding. But we'll blame the increase in flu outbreaks on the unvaccinated, instead of the viral shedding vaccine itself. I can't make this stuff up. Read the inserts.

But it's just a "weaker" virus though right? I'm sorry...I don't want ANY virus. No flu for me please...not even a sort-of-kind-of less-than version. Aint' nobody got time for that.

Here's a brief synopsis of why you should forget the flu shot from the CDC: It's not possible to predict what this flu season will be like.

  • Flu viruses are constantly changing so it's not unusual for new flu viruses to appear each year.

  • [The] CDC received reports of some people who became ill and tested positive for the flu even though they had been vaccinated. This occurs every season.

  • And my personal favorite: "There is still a possibility you could get the flu even if you got vaccinated."

So we've got a widespread practice based on prediction, that hasn't been proven safe, doesn't meet the standards of evidenced-based medicine, doesn't work, involves repetitively assaulting people with harmful ingredients, and is founded upon a horribly lacking germ theory they believes you're defenseless against pathogens.

Speaking of Pasteur, the prized accolade of the germ theory upon which infectious disease medicine is founded upon said this on his deathbed:

"Le germe n'est rien, c'est le terrain qui est tout."

Translation: The microbe is nothing, the soil [or inner terrain] is everything.

While we are talking about famous quotes from dead people, how about this one from the father of cellular pathology, Dr. Rudolph Virchow,

"If I could live my life over again, I would devote it to proving that germs seek their natural habitat - diseased tissues - rather than causing disease.

There you have it. If you want to prevent influenza (or the flu), it doesn't get more simple than this: Get some sunshine. Breathe fresh air. Eat good. Sleep well. Wash your hands. Flush your poop. Don't pick your nose and don't inject yourself with toxins and mysterious viral concoctions that are ineffective, not safe, can infect other people, and are founded upon a theory that is flawed at best.

Recommended article: Chomsky: We Are All – Fill in the Blank.

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Washington D.C.: L'Enfant plaza metro station fire leaves one woman dead and dozens hospitalized

L'enfant Plaza Metro

© unknown

L'Enfant Plaza Metro

One woman is dead and dozens of other people were hospitalized, two in critical condition, after the upper level of the L'Enfant Plaza Metro station in southeast D.C. filled with smoke Monday afternoon.

One Virginia-bound Yellow Line train was in the tunnel just south of the station when the smoke was reported about 3:20 p.m., according to Metro.

"There was a woman who was in distress on that train, and I'm sorry to say she's passed away," Metro General Manager and Chief Executive Officer Richard Sarles said.

The Metropolitan Police Department will take the lead in the death investigation, Sarles said.

Officials do not yet know the cause of the fire.

"It was just very smoky in there," said passenger Fitz Carter from aboard a Metro bus waiting to be taken to a hospital. "We couldn't see anything. The visibility was poor. Right now, there's a lot of burning in my throat and my chest. Everybody got as low as they possibly could to the ground because that's where the best possibility for oxygen was."

Another passenger described how the train went dark and then filled with smoke. The passengers were advised to keep the doors closed because it was smokier outside the train.

"People could barely breathe," passenger Denzel Hatch said. "They had to evacuate us through the tunnel and walk back through the front. No electricity, no visibility, nothing. Couldn't see anything at first."

They were trapped up to 40 minutes on the smoke-filled train.

Evacuations were completed before 5 p.m., according to Metro Transit Police.

A first aid bus and an evacuation bus were at the scene. Firefighters gained access to the tunnel at one of the evacuation points at Ninth Street and Maine Avenue SE. One firefighter was taken from that location in an ambulance.

According to D.C. Fire and EMS, 84 patients were taken to hospitals. Two went to George Washington University Hospital in critical condition. More than 200 people were evaluated.

D.C. Fire and EMS set up a decontamination center for its firefighters who went into the tunnel.

The FBI is assisting Metro Transit Police in determining a cause, which is standard procedure for incidents in the capital region.

The National Transportation Safety Board is investigating, too.

Green Line service is suspended between Navy Yard and Gallery Place, and Yellow Line service is suspended between Pentagon City and Mt. Vernon Square. Green Line trains are turning back at Navy Yard and Mt. Vernon Square.

Orange, Silver and Blue line trains are bypassing the station through the lower level.

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Chomsky: We Are All – Fill in the Blank.

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Remember when Paris Muslims helped Jews escape the Nazis?


© Alice Heartherb

Here's one they left out of the history textbooks. A recent French film, Free Men, brought to light the remarkable true history of how Muslims gave sanctuary to French Jews in Nazi-occupied Paris during Second World War. An untold "Oscar Schindler" story, the film is inspired by actual events and in this case, our 'Schindler' is Si Kaddour Benghabrit, the rector of the Grand Mosque of Paris until 1954.

Underneath the fortress of mosaics and tranquil gardens occupying an entire city block in the Latin Quarter, it is revealed the mosque's underground caverns once served as a refuge for resistance fighters and French Jews, where they could be provided with certificates of Muslim identity. Meanwhile upstairs, Benghabrit, a wise Algerian-born religious and political leader, was giving tours of the mosque to Nazi officers and their wives, unaware of what was transpiring right under their feet.

Watch the trailer for below:

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A North African Jewish man named Albert Assouline, who had escaped from a German prison camp, wrote about his experience hiding in the mosque:

No fewer than 1,732 resistance fighters found refuge in its underground caverns. These included Muslim escapees but also Christians and Jews. The latter were by far the most numerous.

Giving sanctuary for Jews was largely impulsive and did not result in an organised movement by the mosque, which is perhaps why historical records remain so bleary. Some claim thousands of Jews were saved, others say it was in the dozens. In 2006, the current rector of the Paris Grand Mosque, Dalil Boubakeur, was interviewed by Robert Satloff, director of the Washington Institute for Near East Policy. In Mr. Saltoff's book, Among the Righteous, Boubakeur confirms that 'up to 100 Jews' were likely given Muslim identity papers by the mosque and provides Saltoff with a copy of a typewritten 1940 Foreign Ministry document found in the French Archives, affirming the Nazi's suspicion of mosque personnel providing false Muslim identities to Jews.

The most notable case of the mosque refuge was Simon Hilali, a Sephardic Jew who survived the Holocaust by pretending to be an Arab named Salim with the assistance of Benghrabit and later went on to become the most popular Arab-language singer of the time. According to Hilali's obituary, Germans were so suspicious of the Jewish musician that Benghabrit had the name of Hilali's made-up Muslim grandfather carved on a headstone in a Parisian Muslim cemetery.

I missed the film in the cinemas when it came out last year because I never heard about its release, but what an important message to miss out on. The film's director is lobbying for it to be shown in schools. "It pays homage to the people of our history who have been invisible," he told the . "It shows another reality, that Muslims and Jews existed in peace. We have to remember that - with pride."

In case you're interested in learning about something your text books couldn't bring to your attention, the is available to download on iTunes here.

via The New York Times

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Paris: March of the hypocrites

paris march

Nice turnout! Leaders can't be mixing with the plebs, after all.

It was only natural that "world leaders" would place themselves at the head of the Paris "unity" demonstration held to express outrage at the vicious murders. Daniel Wickham, a student at the London School of Economics, compiled a list of the enemies of free speech who elbowed their way to the head of the march. Most hypocritical of all are the French themselves, who have laws against "hate speech" which are only selectively enforced and which have been used against the editors of Charlie Hebdo in the past. This cognitive dissonance was eloquently expressed by one Frenchman who carried a sign saying: "I'm marching but I'm conscious of the confusion and hypocrisy of the situation."

That politicians would steal the spotlight and turn the sincere outrage of millions into an opportunity for self-advertisement is hardly surprising. Sincerity has its uses, however, and these will become apparent in the days and weeks to come. Those marchers will soon be cheering their soldiers as they go marching off to war, with "Je suis Charlie" inscribed on their banners.

The target? Syria, where "links" have been found between the Paris attacks and the self-proclaimed "Caliphate"of Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. The reports:

Amedy Coulibaly, one of the three gunman responsible for the terrorist attacks in France last week, produced a video that appeared online on Sunday, two days after his death, showing him sitting below the flag of the Islamic State militant group and pledging allegiance to Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the organization's leader.

If you read the transcript of the video it reads almost like a script prepared by our biggest warmongers. It takes the form of an interview, with the invisible interviewer represented by words on a screen and Coulibaly answering:

Which group are you linked to and do you have an Emir?

Coulibaly: 'I am pledging my allegiance to the Caliph of the Muslims, Abu Bakr al Baghdadi. I have made a declaration of allegiance to the Caliph and the declaration of a Caliphate.'

The Islamic State has been trying to provoke a major military response from the Western powers for months now, executing American journalists and aid workers and posting videos of the executions on the Internet, but so far the US has reacted with caution. So they resorted to attacking the West on its own soil, and now the chorus of voices calling for an all-out invasion of Syria will become deafening, drowning out all reason. And Coulibaly dots all the i's and crosses the t's:

Are you linked to the brothers who attacked Charlie Hebdo?

Coulibaly: 'We are a team, in league together. I am with the team who did Charlie Hebdo. I went out a little against the police too. So that's that. We did some things together, some things separately to have most impact. [Sound of TV news in the background in which newsreader can be clearly heard talking about the attacks].

'We have managed to be synchronized together, to come out at the same time, because we are close in the same business.'

It's all so pat, an engraved invitation: Come and get us!

From his permanent pulpit on the Sunday morning TV talk-fest, Senator John McCain declared his intention to oblige them. Railing against the failure of the United States to defeat ISIS, McCain is asked by journalist Gloria Borger what exactly he has in mind, and his response is a preview of things to come:

ISIS right now is winning. And we need to go after them, and we need to have more boots on the ground. We need to understand that Syria and Iraq are the same. We need to arm the Free Syrian Army. We need a no-fly zone, which many of us have been calling for, for years, and a coherent strategy that can be presented to the Congress, because they're going to be wanting an authorization for the use of military force.

There's something more than a little counterintuitive about McCain's call for a no-fly zone: after all, ISIS doesn't have an air force, while the most effective counterweight to them - the Syrian government - does indeed. If McCain's concern is ISIS, then why go after Bashar al-Assad? And as for arming the Syrian Free Army: those arms are more than likely to show up in the hands of ISIS. As Debka File reports:

The Syrian rebel militia Al Yarmouk Shuhada Brigades, backed and trained for two years by US officers, mostly CIA experts, in Jordan, and supported by the Israeli army, has abruptly dumped these sponsors and joined up with the Islamic State in Iraq.

If McCain has his way, the next terrorist attackers who show up in the streets of a Western city are more than likely to have been trained by our very own CIA. A purer form of "blowback" could hardly be imagined.

In a more general sense, the principle of "blowback" operates in the terrorists' favor as the US and its allies get more deeply involved in Syria and Iraq: if the Western powers follow McCain's advice, jihadists will stream from Europe to the region in even greater numbers and the legitimacy of the "Caliphate" in the eyes of Muslims everywhere is increased. McCain and his fellow interventionists have a symbiotic relationship with the terrorists: both are legitimized on the home front by the actions of the other.

ISIS was itself birthed in the chaos that accompanied our invasion and conquest of Iraq, and McCain and the War Party are intent on duplicating that Orc factory in the territory of Syria.

So how does this policy of creating and succoring the very threats they rail against benefit the leaders of the West?

Without the threat of terrorism, our foreign policy of perpetual war would have zero public support. Without the excuse of having to monitor the ever-escalating activities of the Coulibalys of this world, the very idea that the government has the "right" to scoop up our communications and store them in a giant facility out in the Utah desert would be dismissed as a dystopian fantasy.

But then again, that's the world we live in, in the year 2015: a dystopia so absurd that no writer, prior to September 11, 2001, would have dared put it into print, either as fiction or speculative nonfiction.

And so the hypocrites march on, right over a cliff and into an abyss of their own making.

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Kadyrov blasts Europe for double standards on terrorism, points finger at West


© RIA Novosti/Said Tsarnaev

Head of the Chechen Republic Ramzan Kadyrov

The unprecedented public response to the Charlie Hebdo shootings in France could be organized by those who want to stir anti-Islamic sentiment and distract people from other problems, claims the leader of Chechnya Ramzan Kadyrov.

The head of the Chechen Republic explained his position through his longtime medium of choice - the Instagram photo sharing service. In an extensive post accompanying a picture of himself Kadyrov said that he welcomed the "single-hearted" denouncing of terrorism by world leaders as well as the millions of people taking part in demonstrations in Paris. He also condemned the killing of unarmed people by terrorists and considered the fight against terrorism the most important task in his life.

At the same time Kadyrov posed a question. Was the denouncing aimed at terrorism only in France or were the public figures and people targeting the evil all over the World?

"Why the presidents, kings and prime ministers have never led marches of protest against the deaths of hundreds of thousands of Afghans, Syrians, Egyptians, Libyans, Yemenis, and Iraqis? Why did they remain silent when terrorists exploded a bomb in the Chechen government HQ or when they blew up the Grozny stadium killing Chechen President Akhmad-Haji Kadyrov [Ramzan Kadyrov's father] and his aides? Why did they not react to the raid on the school in Beslan and the hostage taking at Moscow's Dubrovka Theater? Why keep silent when in December last year terrorists captured the House of Press and a school in Grozny, killing and injuring over 50 people?" Kadyrov writes in his latest address.

"It is impossible to secure Paris, London, Madrid and other European capitals if the whole society fails to condemn those who raise and sponsor terrorists all over the world masking it as support for opposition movements," Kadyrov stated.

The Chechen strongman wrote that he suspected some powerful forces of preparing the whole scenario in order to incite an anti-Islamic mood in Europe or to distract public attention from some brewing global problem.

A fervent believer in Islam, Kadyrov also wrote that he and his allies would not allow anyone to insult the Prophet, even if this would cost them their lives. "If we are still silent this does not mean that we cannot get millions of people onto the streets all over the world protesting against those who connive at the insults to Muslims' religious feelings. Is this what you want?" he stated, apparently addressing the political leaders of the Western world.

The head of the Chechen republic also suggested the mass media had "allowed themselves to get involved in the scandal," and should apologize to Muslims to end the controversy. "Peace and stability are more important for all peoples than the right of a handful of journalists to disrespect the Prophet," he wrote.

Comment: Indeed, where were the '3 million' when Western-sponsored Takfiri terror was unleashed on Afghanistan, Chechnya, Syria, etc.? The hypocrisy is astounding. The West, including France, has no scruples about funding these very same terrorists in countries like Syria, but when the same thing happens at home, it's a whole different story. Of course, as Kadyrov speculates, the Paris attacks were not an example of blow-back: they were fully scripted false-flag attacks: Charlie Hebdo: France's 9/11

See also: Chechen leader Kadyrov 'threatens' Radio Echo, Moscow, after poll support for Charlie Hebdo

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More of the nanny police state- town governments across the US ban sledding

[embedded content]

Local politicians in cities and towns across America have implemented laws that will ban children from sledding.

Town officials in Dubuque, Iowa for example, have banned sledding in 48 of its 50 parks because they fear that children will get hurt and that their parents could sue the city.

"We have all kinds of parks that have hills on them. We can't manage the risk at all of those places," Marie Ware, Dubuque's leisure services manager told reporters.

"Everybody likes sledding, OK? Everyone wants to promote outdoor activities, and we want people to be active. But everyone knows sledding is a risky activity, we want to manage that risk," she added.

In other cities such as Des Moines, Iowa; Montville, New Jersey; Lincoln, Nebraska; and Columbia City, Indiana, the local governments have not entirely banned sledding, but instead posted signs warning people that they are sledding at their own risk. This approach gives some level of legal protection to the city if someone happens to get hurt, without enacting an all out ban.

In places where these bans have been put into place, many children and family's have ignored the laws and engaged in civil disobedience. Town officials said that fines are expected for repeat offenders.

It is only a matter of time before the first arrests are made of those "rebel children" who dare to have fun outdoors.

The natural tendency of the state to control every aspect of our lives is constantly on the rise. The message from the state is clear, either you keep your kids locked up in the house or you very well may be the one locked up.

Children's book author,Kari Anne Roy, received an unexpected visit from Child Protective Services (CPS) and the Austin Police Department last year. She was being investigated for allowing her son Isaac, 6, to play outside unsupervised.

In June of last year, Jeffrey Williamson's 8-year-old son skipped church to play in the neighborhood. Williamson was subsequently arrested for child endangerment after a neighbor called the police to report an unsupervised child on the loose.

Also last year, there was the case of 5-year-old Eric Lopez, who was charged with sexual misconduct after he decided to drop his pants on the playground.

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Mystery mile-wide ring in Antarctica may be crater from house-sized meteorite

© Tobias Binder / Alfred Wegener Institute

The 2km (1.24 miles) wide ring above is thought to have been caused by a meteorite that smashed into the ice.

An enormous impact crater thought to have been created by a meteorite the size of a house smashing into Earth has been discovered in the Antarctic ice sheet.

Scientists conducting a routine aerial research flight above East Antarctica noticed a strange ring-like structure in the normally flat and featureless ice.

It appeared to be a series of broken 'icebergs' surrounded by a 2km (1.24 miles) wide circular scar, surrounded by a few other smaller circular scars in the ice.

The researchers later found two separate studies reporting that a meteorite fell in the area in 2004.

One reported a series of infrasound - low frequency sound capable of traveling huge distances below the limit of human hearing - detected on 2 September 2004.

Six detectors around the world detected this infrasound thrown out by the exploding meteorite, allowing scientists to pinpoint it somewhere over East Antarctica.

In a separate study, scientists at Davis Station, Australia's permanent base off the coast of East Antarctica, reported seeing a dust trail high up in the atmosphere around that time.

They estimated that the falling object would have landed on the ice shelf.

The findings suggests that a house-sized meteorite broke up in the atmosphere over Antarctica before the remains smashed into the ice sheet.

Dr Christian Müller, a geophysicist from surveying company Fielax, was the scientist who first spotted the impact crater.

He said: 'We were on a routine measuring flight near to the coast and we were flying above a small ice bluff.

'I looked out of the window and saw some unusual structures in the surface of the ice that were some broken ice looking like icebergs that is very unusual on a very flat ice shelf surrounded by a large wing shaped circular structure.

'I've never seen something like that before. My first thoughts were that it might be an impact structure from something from space like a meteorite.'

The researchers, who are part of the Alfred Wegener Institute in Germany, had been flying on a Basler BT-67 aircraft called Polar 6 over an area that is known as the Princess Ragnhild Coast of Queen Maud Land in Antarctica as part of a survey to study the rock beneath the ice.

The aircraft, which was flying from the Princess Elisabeth Antarctica Research Station, is equipped with ice penetrating radar that can map the geology beneath the ice sheet.

They were also using magnetometers to measure small disturbances in the magnetic properties of the bedrock to help determine more about the terrain.

As they flew over the Antarctic coast on 24 December 2014, Dr Müller spotted the large circular scar on the King Baudoin Ice Shelf, which forms over the ocean.

The team then later returned to the site on 26 December, taking photographs and video of the site as well as using a laser to create a topographical map.

They also used radar to help build up an image of the interior of the ice shelf beneath the circular structure in the hope of seeing what lies beneath it.

© Leo Delauncey / MalOnline

The remains of the impact site was found on an ice shelf off the Princess Ragnhild Coast of East Antarctica. The researchers had flown from Princess Elisabeth Research Station while scientists at the Australian Davis Research Station had spotted debris from a suspected meteorite heading towards the area in 2004.

© Stephen Arrowsmith et al / Earth Moon PLanet

Six infrasound stations (marked by black triangles, detected the noise waves created by the meteor as travelled around the world, allowed scientists to pinpoint the source above East Antarctica as can be seen where the lines cross in the diagram above from a research paper in the Journal Earth Moon Planet.

© Jos Van Hemelrijck / International Polar Foundation

The scientists were flying in a Basler BT-67 aircraft called Polar 6 (above) from the Princess Elisabeth Station.

They are still processing detail but Dr Graeme Eagles, a geophysicist and leader of the Alfred Wegener Institute's geophysical survey team at Princess Elisabeth Station, said that it appeared the ice and snow on the top part of the ice shelf had been disturbed.

He said that this data should help to confirm that it was a meteorite that had caused the crater.

He said: 'We can't say that with any confidence at this point. We can say we've found something very unusual.

[embedded content]

'However, there are two very promising prior results - the infrasound data and the observed dust trail in 2004 - which support the hypothesis that this structure could have been created by a meteorite impact and certainly support the decision to collect more data for further analysis and investigation.

'The Australian study estimates that the body that left the debris they measured would have likely been about the size of a house and that it may have broken up on its way though the atmosphere.

'Interestingly enough, when we flew out to the circular structure in the ice on December 26th, we also spotted a number of smaller circular and sub-circular structures in the ice as well, which is consistent with the conclusion of the Australian study.'

© A. Klekociuk / AAD/NASA

An image from NASA’s Aqua satellite of the meteor’s dust trail one hour after it is thought to have exploded above Antarctica in September 2004. The dust was spotted by Australian researchers in Antarctica at the time.

© Jos Van Hemelrijck / International Polar Foundation

Geophysicist Dr Christian Müller, above, spotted the impact crater from the window of the Polar 6 aircraft.

Research by the Australian scientists after they saw the meteorite debris above Antarctica in 2004 suggested that it was around seven to ten meters (23 to 33 feet) wide and weighted between 600 and 1,900 tonnes.

They estimated that it exploded in the sky above Antarctica with the force of 12,000 tonnes of TNT and was traveling at a speed of 29,080 mph.

The debris created by the explosion would then have crashed to Earth, smashing into the ice.

Dr Eagles said that the team were now considering drilling down into the ice beneath the crater to see if they can find out more about what caused it.

Dr Eagles added: 'if this object did break up before hitting the ice shelf, that perhaps some of the pieces were not traveling with enough energy to penetrate the ice shelf, and may have settled on or within it.

'We may find evidence of a dust layer in the ice surrounding the crater beneath 10 years of snow accumulation. I think that would be worth having a look at.'

The scientists used radar carried in the nose of Polar 6, seen above, to peer through the ice in the crater.

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BBC reporter faces calls to resign after he tells daughter of Holocaust survivors after Paris attacks: 'Palestinians suffer hugely at Jewish hands as well'



BBC reporter Tim Willcox (pictured) has faced calls to resign after he told the daughter of Holocaust survivors: 'Palestinians suffer hugely at Jewish hands as well' during a live broadcast from Paris yesterday

A BBC reporter has faced calls to resign after he told the daughter of Holocaust survivors in Paris: 'Palestinians suffer hugely at Jewish hands as well'.

Journalist Tim Willcox sparked anger during his coverage of yesterday's rally in Paris, held in memory of the 17 victims of last week's terror attacks, including four Jewish people in a siege at a Kosher supermarket.

During a live report from the streets of Paris, Willcox was speaking to a number of participants in the march, including one woman who expressed her fears that Jews were being persecuted, and 'the situation is going back to the days of the 1930s in Europe.'

Video here: Link

To this, Willcox, who was broadcasting on the BBC News channel replied: 'Many critics though of Israel's policy would suggest that the Palestinians suffer hugely at Jewish hands as well.'

When the woman, shaking her head, responded saying: 'We can't do an amalgam', he told her: 'You understand everything is seen from different perspectives.'

She was identified during the broadcast as 'Chava', and told Willcox when she was introduced on screen that she had lived in France for 20 years, but was originally from Israel.

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China commits $20 billion to Venezuela at first China-Latin America forum in Beijing

© REUTERS/Andy Wong/Pool

Venezuela's President Nicolas Maduro (front L) walks with China's President Xi Jinping as they arrive for a welcome ceremony at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, January 7, 2015.

President Maduro announced that China has agreed to invest 20 billion dollars in Venezuela following the China-Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC) meeting in Beijing. Venezuelan officials hope that increased Chinese investment will offset some of the shortfalls in the Venezuelan economy due to decade-low oil prices.

Xi Jinping, the Chinese president opened the First China-CELAC Forum by pledging US$250 billion in new investment in Latin America over the next decade. CELAC was formed in 2011 with the goal of consolidating regional integration and reducing the influence of the United States in Latin America.

Speaking to Latin America's shift away from the United States and towards China, President Maduro stated "This is a vital point. I told President [Xi Jinping] over dinner last night: there is unique opportunity in this moment in history we're living through."

Following the meeting in Beijing President Maduro told the Venezuelan News Agency "we rounded up more than $20 billion in investment." But the newspaper reported that "it remains unclear whether the sum represents a fresh arrangement or is part of pre-existing oil-for-loans deals."

China has already awarded US$50 billion of credit to Venezuela since 2007, most of which is paid through oil shipments. Venezuela ships 524,000 barrels of crude oil and derivatives to China per day, nearly half of which goes toward paying existing loans. This amount is expected to increase to one million barrels per day in the next year.

"It can be said that the development of China-Venezuela relations and win-win positive cooperation have been raised to a new level," Xi Jinping stated following the China-CELAC meeting. He added, "I am convinced that this meeting will render fruitful results and promote a shared development."

Speaking to Venezuela´s growing relationship with China, Venezuelan Vice president Jorge Arreaza stated "China is a great potential, and it is not imperialist. It is a great potential that wants for all of us to have a respectable and dignified living standards."

On the independent leftist news site , Jesús Silva R. raises questions about the implications of increasing economic agreements with Venezuela and China "as revolutionaries committed to popular sovereignty and the intransigent defense of the Bolivarian Constitution, we suggest rethinking the process in which agreements with China are made, especially since tens of billions of dollars are at stake, as well as control of our oil for years and future generations."

The Venezuelan President is continuing on his "international tour" to round up more economic support in the face of decade-low oil prices. After a fruitful visit in China, is headed to fellow OPEC nations. Since oil exports make up 95% of Venezuela´s GDP, Wednesday´s drop in oil prices (Brent Crude fell below US$50 per barrel for the first time since 2009), will have a strong impact on the Venezuelan economy.

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Greek farmers lose $46.7 million due to Russian food ban

greek exports

Greek farmers have lost $46.7 million in fruit and vegetable exports due to the food ban introduced by Russia in August 2014, a report published by Athens News Agency said.

"We have lost significant volumes of exports to Russia - 34,167 tonnes [37,662 tons] or 39.45 million euro [$46.7 million]," the Incofruit-Hellas association of Greek enterprises exporting fruit, vegetables and juices said in a report published Sunday.

Exports of Greek fruit and vegetables to Russia in the period from January-October 2014 dropped by 31.1 percent in volume and 35.1 percent in revenues compared with the same period in 2013, according to the report. Despite the drop, Russia is still the main recipient of Greek fruit and vegetables outside the European Union, the association said.

The Russian food ban has "negatively affected the global trade in vegetables and horticultural crops". Before the ban was introduced, Greek export to Russia was growing at an "impressive pace", the agency stressed in the report.

In August 2014, Moscow introduced a one-year ban on imports of a list of food products from the United States, the European Union and other countries that had earlier imposed economic sanctions against Russia over its alleged involvement in the Ukrainian conflict. The list of banned products includes meat, poultry, fish, seafood, dairy products, fruit and vegetables.

Comment: Greece has been suffering thanks to crippling austerity measures and things are deteriorating to the point that there appears to be a run on Greek banks. Clearly, the West's ill-conceived scheme to sink the Russian economy via sanctions is having deleterious effects on EU nations, however that does not seem to have caused EU rulers to re-think the wisdom of their actions as they seem intent on shooting themselves in the foot at every turn to pacify Washington.

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Enormous underwater lemur graveyard discovered dating back 1,000 years in Madagasgar


The lemur graveyard was found in a remote region of Madagascar.

What could be the largest single collection of lemur remains has been discovered in submerged caves in Madagascar.

A team of experts working with the National Science Foundation discovered the bone yard in a remote desert region of the island.

The complete lemur skeletons - all of extinct species - had remained intact for hundreds if not thousands of years, making it a unique site of great significance.

As well as vast numbers of lemur fossils, the remains of other animals were also found, including bats, rodents and carnivores.

[embedded content]


It is thought the find is the biggest collection of lemur remains ever found.

Brooklyn College anthropologist Alfred Rosenberger, who led the project, said: "It's really an enormous number of fossils all in one place. They're very complete which is unusual in palaeontology because you get broken bones frequently or you get different parts of the body separated from one another. Here everything is together in beautiful condition.

"The possibility of making very important and exciting discoveries is phenomenal because nothing like this has ever been found before."

Of the three caves explored, all contained fossils but one was found to have an "unprecedented number of recently extinct lemurs", the NSF said.


The discovery will further our knowledge of why lemurs went extinct.

One such lemur was the megaladapis, or koala lemur, a giant species that went extinct about 500 years ago.

Experts say the find will help us understand the environment of Madagascar as well as what led to the creatures extinction.

Laurie Godfrey, from the University of Massachusetts Amherst, said: "When you have a place where two thirds of the animals that live there only 1,000 years ago are gone, and replaced with other animals, what we need to know is what are the implications for the rest of the flora and fauna?"

Rosenberger said it marks a new era in underwater palaeontology and is a "remarkable discovery". "It's going to be wonderful for science and future generations"

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ISIS signals strategy change: Claims attack on Saudi Arabia border

© Islamic State Official Media House For Anbar

ISIS circulated photos claiming responsibility for Monday's attack on the Saudi Arabian border with Iraq.

For the first time since the Islamic State group formally announced its desire to conquer Saudi Arabia last month, government officials said terrorist elements had launched an attack on the Saudi border with Iraq. Four militants, one wearing a suicide vest, attacked a border fortification Monday, killing three Saudi border guards.

The militants' official media wing for Iraq's Anbar province published a photo essay taking responsibility for the attack, which is the closest ISIS has come to breaching the coveted Saudi Arabian border since it declared the existence of a caliphate in June. The suicide attack signals a change in the group's strategy to conquer the kingdom. It was both the first direct attack on Saudi armed forces and the first documented attempt by the militant group to infiltrate the country. Despite the government's past efforts to quell extremism, Saudi Arabia has become increasing vulnerable to ISIS advances.

Speaking to Reuters, Iraqi security analyst Mustafa Alani described the border attack as "the first attack by Islamic State itself against Saudi Arabia and is a clear message after Saudi Arabia entered the international coalition against it."

Saudi Arabia is an active member of the U.S.-led anti-ISIS coalition and a longtime U.S. ally. The kingdom is also the largest producer and exporter of oil and the region's Sunni powerhouse, making it a triple prize for ISIS and an essential part of its plans to expand the so-called caliphate. The government is well aware of the country's susceptibility to militant infiltration and has made various attempts to quell the rising extremism, that varies from a fence on the border to warming diplomatic ties with Iraq's Shiite-dominated government.

Saudi Arabia ramped up security at the border in June and more recently built a nearly 600-mile (1,000 kilometer) fence on the border with Iraq to keep out militants. Monday's attack hit the northern border patrol at al-Suwaif near the city of Arar, the reported. Arar is more than 700 miles (1,200 km) from Riyadh but territory between the two is not densely populated, and militants may face little opposition if they are able to cross the border and advance toward the capital through open desert.

To boost Saudi presence in neighboring Iraq, officials began talks Sunday on reopening the Saudi embassy in Baghdad, which has been closed since 1990, and a consulate in Erbil, the capital of Iraq's Kurdistan region. The diplomatic seats are to open "at the earliest opportunity," the Saudi Press Agency reported.

However, the militant group's ideology already has succeeded in infiltrating Saudi Arabia. Last month, ISIS claimed responsibility for killing a Danish national in the country and, in a separate incident, security forces arrested around 100 suspected ISIS militants accused of carrying out a November attack on the Saudi Shiite community in al-Ahsa. These attacks were likely carried out by ISIS sympathizers already in Saudi Arabia, who were heeding ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi's call to attack Saudi citizens, "embitter their lives and make them occupied with themselves instead of us."

Since Baghdadi declared the kingdom to be a new ISIS wilayat (province), the group's strategy has entailed boosting capabilities of those sympathizers and encouraging sporadic, lone-wolf attacks to shift the focus Saudi's security forces' focus away from battling militants in Iraq, Harleen Gambhir, an analyst at the Institute for the Study of War, recently told .

Whether the recent attack was the result of direct orders from Baghdadi or of a lone-wolf group of ISIS sympathizers, the threat to Saudi Arabia remains strong. Following the attack, the Saudi Interior Ministry released a statement reiterating the kingdom's security forces were "determined to thwart ... plots to undermine the security and stability of the homeland."

[embedded content]

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Saudi cleric condemns snowmen as anti-Islamic

A prominent Saudi Arabian cleric has whipped up controversy by issuing a religious ruling forbidding the building of snowmen, described them as anti-Islamic.

Asked on a religious website if it was permissible for fathers to build snowmen for their children after a snowstorm in the country's north, Sheikh Mohammed Saleh al-Munajjid replied: "It is not permitted to make a statue out of snow, even by way of play and fun."

Quoting from Muslim scholars, Sheikh Munajjid argued that to build a snowman was to create an image of a human being, an action considered sinful under the kingdom's strict interpretation of Sunni Islam.

"God has given people space to make whatever they want which does not have a soul, including trees, ships, fruits, buildings and so on," he wrote in his ruling.

That provoked swift responses from Twitter users writing in Arabic and identifying themselves with Arab names.

"They are afraid for their faith of everything ... sick minds," one Twitter user wrote.

Another posted a photo of a man in formal Arab garb holding the arm of a "snow bride" wearing a bra and lipstick. "The reason for the ban is fear of sedition," he wrote.

A third said the country was plagued by two types of people:

"A people looking for a fatwa (religious ruling) for everything in their lives, and a cleric who wants to interfere in everything in the lives of others through a fatwa," the user wrote.

Sheikh Munajjid had some supporters, however. "It (building snowmen) is imitating the infidels, it promotes lustiness and eroticism," one wrote.

"May God preserve the scholars, for they enjoy sharp vision and recognize matters that even Satan does not think about."

Snow has covered upland areas of Tabuk province near Saudi Arabia's border with Jordan for the third consecutive year as cold weather swept across the Middle East.

Chomsky: We Are All – Fill in the Blank.

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American manufacturing renaissance a complete myth

american manufacturing

The idea that the United States is going through a "manufacturing renaissance," although optimistically touted in the media and by experts, does not reflect reality, write the authors of a new report from a reputable Washington, D.C. think-tank, the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation (ITIF).

The authors of the report claim that the highly publicized media narrative of a rebirth in America's manufacturing sector is based on misleading interpretations of data that in fact paint a much bleaker picture of a temporary recovery within the context of the economic cycle, rather than structural growth.

America's unprecedented decline in manufacturing employment in the 2000s, which was caused not by increases in productivity, as was the case in previous decades, but rather outsourcing and decline in output, led to trade deficits in sectors such as high-tech production, which is typically brought up as an example of American manufacturing, write the authors.

"The lion's share of growth that has occurred appears to have been driven by a cyclical, rather than structural, recovery, and as such may represent only a temporary trend," the report states, pointing out that even compared to previous recessions, the recovery has only been partial, with both output and employment below 2009 levels when adjusted for lower costs achieved through outsourcing.

The authors also take a special look at what they believe is a myth of "reshoring" - companies that once outsourced production overseas bringing it back to the United States.

The authors point out is that rising labor costs in China do not mean an end to outsourcing of jobs, as Chinese wages are growing slower than its labor productivity, and that even if official Chinese statistics are to be believed, "the average Chinese laborer would still earn just roughly $4.40 an hour, a scant 12 percent of U.S. wages."

Additionally, the authors point out that the shale gas revolution has not reduced energy prices for U.S. manufacturers, saying that "The benefits are concentrated in oil and gas refining and energy intensive industries." Also, electricity costs are only marginally impacted by shale gas prices, which does not affect reshoring.

Lastly, the authors dispute the idea that U.S. productivity growth is cutting cost differences, as new production methods such as robotics and 3D printing are changing manufacturing and cutting labor costs, pointing out that productivity growth in the U.S. in 2010-2013 only amounted to an annual average of 2.5 percent compared to 8.5 percent in China and 5 percent in Germany.

As a solution, think-tank suggests that the U.S. adopt a comprehensive economic policy that promotes manufacturing and productivity growth.

Chomsky: We Are All – Fill in the Blank.

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