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Sunday, 25 January 2015

Ancient underwater forest discovered off Norfolk coast, UK

Underwater Forest

© Rob Spray and Dawn Watson

Nature experts have discovered a remarkable submerged forest thousands of years old under the sea close to the Norfolk coast.

The trees were part of an area known as 'Doggerland' which formed part of a much bigger area before it was flooded by the North Sea.It was once so vast that hunter-gatherers who lived in the vicinity could have walked to Germany across its land mass.

The underwater forest was discovered by Dawn Watson and Rob Spray from Sea Search on a diving trip to study marine life.The prehistoric forest lay undiscovered until it was exposed by the extreme storms along the east of England coast in December 2013.

BBC Inside Out's David Whiteley reveals exclusive underwater footage of the submerged forest which experts believe could date back more than 10,000 years.

Chomsky: We Are All – Fill in the Blank.

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Now encircled, U.S. scrambling to protect its terror hordes in Syria

© Unknown

One of many U.S.-supported, terror-ravaged scenes in Aleppo over the past two years.

The Syrian Arab Army is reportedly close to completely encircling militants that have occupied the northern city of Aleppo since they invaded it from NATO territory in 2012. Once the encirclement is complete, analysts believe the the city will be finally liberated, in a process similar to the retaking of Homs further south.

The desperation of militants facing this final phase in the Battle for Aleppo is indicated by their Western sponsors' attempts to broker a ceasefire and arrange "aid" to reach them. Similar attempts were made in vain during the closing phases in the Battle for Homs in mid-2014 - with the city of Homs having been an epicenter of terrorist activity beginning in 2011, and now under the control of the Syrian government. Small pockets of militants have been isolated within Homs, allowing order to be restored across the majority of the city and the surrounding region.

As the Syrian government systematically regains control of a nation up-ended by Western-backed terrorists flooding the country accompanied by a seemingly inexhaustible torrent of cash, weapons, and equipment, the desperation of these Western interests has visibly increased.

, chief among the many propagandists distorting the conflict since it began in 2011, is now attempting to form a narrative extorting global security by claiming only by NATO establishing a no-fly-zone over Aleppo and repelling Syrian government forces, can "moderate rebels" hold on to the city and repel lingering "Islamic State" (ISIS) forces.

In a report titled, "Syrian rebels prepare to defend ruined Aleppo as troops and militias close in," the claims:

Of course the reality is that the US has merely used ISIS as a pretext to violate Syrian airspace, with the next step being to establish long-planned no-fly-zones, if possible, to thwart the Syrian Arab Army. Just as in Libya, the no-fly-zone would simply hand the rest of Syria over to ISIS and other Al Qaeda affiliates - clearly the most dominate militant force engaged in fighting the Syrian government, and clearly the recipients of the vast majority of material support supplied by NATO and their regional partners, most notably Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and Israel.

It should be noted, that while the Guardian claims the remaining encircled militants in Aleppo are at odds with ISIS, the same report admits these same militants coordinate with US State Department listed foreign terrorist organization, Al Nusra. would admit:

The fight for Zahraa, one of the few Shia enclaves in northern Syria, is being led by the al-Qaida-aligned Jabhat al-Nusra, with whom the Islamic Front have an understanding but no formal alliance. After barely holding ground for much of the past year, al-Nusra recently seized large chunks of territory near the Turkish border, reasserting itself as a power player at the expense of non-jihadist groups. The fast-changing dynamic is forcing a new reckoning with the Islamic Front, which says it has waited fruitlessly for help from Arab states that was promised but never delivered.

These same ISIS forces that are allegedly at odds with "moderate rebels" have seen thousands of so-called "moderates" defecting into their ranks recently bringing with them large sums of Western cash and weapons. That Al Qaeda - both Al Nusra and ISIS - seems to thrive along the Turkish border indicates that NATO support is not at all going to "moderate rebels," but instead, intentionally to Al Qaeda, or to moderate groups NATO knows is working with, or soon to join Al Qaeda.

With a menace of the its own creation - perpetuated to this day and thriving along the borders of NATO, seeking safe-haven in NATO territory and receiving an uninterrupted line of supplies from NATO territory with absolute impunity - the West seeks to extort from the world through fear of ISIS' spread, greater direct military intervention, up to and including no-fly-zones, and perhaps more muscular policies including the carving out of "safe havens" within which ISIS can stage larger and more effective military operations deeper into Syria.

As exposed in 2007 by two-time Pulitzer Prize winner and veteran journalist Seymour Hersh in his report titled, "The Redirection," the West conspired to intentionally build up and unleash terrorist mercenaries affiliated with Al Qaeda across the Arab World to fight a proxy war against Iran and its growing arc of influence. US support was to be laundered through Saudi Arabia as to maintain a veneer of plausible deniability and operational compartmentalization. Clearly, what is unfolding in Syria today, is the verbatim manifestation of Hersh's meticulous, 9-page report.

To confound this criminal conspiracy, Syria and its allies must ensure that the ongoing conflict is exposed as a terrorist invasion, not a "civil war," and that any strategy formulated to combat this terrorist scourge must include the Syrian government - demonstrably the most capable force confronting Al Qaeda in the Levant since 2011. Thus, the more aid the West and its regional allies supply this terrorist front with, the greater support Syria has upon the global stage to fight it - painting Western foreign policy into a corner, and allowing Syrians to finally restore order to their besieged nation.

"New Eastern Outlook".

Chomsky: We Are All – Fill in the Blank.

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Study finds: "Very Strong" correlation between GMOs and two dozen diseases

It's no secret that we are living in a time where chronic disease continues to rise at an exponential rate, especially within the past couple of decades. New evidence continues to mount suggesting that Genetically Modified Organisms (more specifically GM food) might have played, and do play a key role in those statistics.

A new study recently published in the last September examined US government databases, researchers searched for GE (Genetically Engineered) crop data, glyphosate application data, and disease epidemiological data while performing a "correlation analysis" on a total of 22 different diseases.

Researchers reached an alarming conclusion:

"These data show very strong and highly significant correlations between the increasing use of glyphosate, GE crop growth and the increase in a multitude of diseases. Many of the graphs show sudden increases in the rates of diseases in the mid-1990s that coincide with the commercial production of GE crops. The probabilities in the graphs and tables show that it is highly unlikely that the correlations are a coincidence. The strength of the correlations shows that there is a very strong probability that they are linked somehow." (1)

If you're thinking you are right, but it's important to consider taking into account the multitude of studies that clearly indicate the potential dangers associated with ingesting genetically modified foods. There is a lot of information out there, and our lack of support for GE foods comes from examining a multitude of information instead of just "a study." It's always important to look at a wide variety of data and evidence when trying to make the best possible decisions for you and your family when it comes to GE foods. The science suggesting that they should not be deemed completely safe for consumption is quite large, and goes beyond the correlation analysis that was performed in this study.

If you take glyphosate, for example, it was introduced in 1974 and its use is accelerating at an alarming rate. Over the decades, strong scientific evidence has shown how glyphosate disrupts the endocrine system and the balance of gut bacteria, that it damages DNA and encourages cell mutations that can lead to cancer . It's also been linked to autism, Alzheimer's disease, Parkinson's disease and various other detrimental human health ailments. This fact alone gives more credence to the main study mentioned in this article.

The actual study contains more information and visuals for anybody who reads it, you can access it within the sources.

With all of the information and science that's now been published, more specifically with regards to glyphosate, it's absolutely absurd, dangerous and irresponsible for any biotech corporation who manufactures these substances to tell the world that they are completely safe and harmless, yet they do. Don't you think? How could a corporation like Monsanto (a corporation charged with regulating our global food supply) claim that glyphosate is safe despite all of the evidence that confirms that it's not?

"It is commonly believed that Roundup is among the safest pesticides... Despite its reputation, Roundup was by far the most toxic among the herbicides and insecticides tested. This inconsistency between scientific fact and industrial claim may be attributed to huge economic interests, which have been found to falsify health risk assessments and delay health policy decisions."

- R. Mesnage et al., Biomed Research International, Volume 2014 (2014) article ID 179691

Keep in mind that the use of glyphosate rose 1500% from 1995 to 2005, and that 100 million pounds of glyphosate is used every year on more than a billion acres.
(Cherry B. GM crops increase herbicide use in the United States. Science in Society 45, 44-46, 2010)(source)


1. organic-systems.org/ [PDF]

Chomsky: We Are All – Fill in the Blank.

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CDC's own data: Vaccine-infant death link


© Unknown

If you believe the official pronouncements of top governmental health agencies like the CDC and FDA, all the vaccines in the present day schedule are safe and effective.

Not only are you told that they can't harm you, but that can kill you.

Parents are under even more pressure. They are told that refraining from vaccinating their infants or children will greatly increase their risk of dying or being disabled. Worse, they are increasingly labeled as 'crazy' and 'irresponsible' anti-vaccine zealots who are putting the lives of others in danger.

But what happens when the actual evidence from the scientific and clinical literature produced by these very agencies contradicts their own vaccine policies?

This is exactly what has happened with the publication of a new study in the titled ,"Adverse Events following Haemophilus influenzae Type b Vaccines in the Vaccine Adverse Event ReportingSystem, 1990-2013 ," wherein CDC and FDA researchers identify 749 deaths linked to the administration of the Hib vaccine, 51% of which were sudden infant death linked to the administration of Hib vaccine.

The CDC has boldly denied that there is any evidence supporting a causal link between vaccines and infant death, despite the fact that their own webpage on the topic acknowledges that "From 2 to 4 months old, babies begin their primary course of vaccinations. This is also the peak age for sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS)." Written off as coincidence, the CDC suggests that stomach sleeping is the primary modifiable risk factor.

Because SIDS is the 3rd leading cause of death in infants, and because the U.S. has one of the highest infant mortality rates in the developed world , one would think that more progress would have been made toward understanding its causes. Perhaps, as explored in this past article , the signal of harm is being ignored. Neglect and suppression of available data has recently been exposed with the confession of a top CDC vaccine scientist who was compelled to covered up data revealing an autism-MMR link in African-American boys .

In the new study, the CDC and FDA researchers themselves acknowledge "the scarcity" of postlicensure safety data on HiB vaccines in today's vaccination schedule. They evaluated reports involving the currently licensed Hib vaccines received from January 1, 1990, through December 1, 2013 available on the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS).

Presently, the CDC recommends 4 doses of the HiB vaccine at the following ages: 2 months, 4 months, 6 months, 12 months through 15 months.

The HiB vaccine is described on the CDC website as "very safe" and "effective" at preventing HiB disease, which it states can be deadly. They list "most common side effects as usually mild and last 2 or 3 days," including "redness, swelling, and warmth where the child got the shot" and "fever". Nowhere is there listed death or disability as a possible side effect.

In stark contrast to these statements the study uncovered the following highly concerning results:

VAERS received 29,747 reports after Hib vaccines; 5179 (17%) were serious, including 896 reports of deaths. Median age was 6 months (range 0-10.22 months). Sudden infant death syndrome was the stated cause of death in 384 (51%) of 749 death reports with autopsy/death certificate records. The most common nondeath serious AE categories were neurologic (80; 37%), other noninfectious (46; 22%) (comprising mainly constitutional signs and symptoms); and gastrointestinal (39; 18%) conditions. No new safety concerns were identified after clinical review of reports of AEs that exceeded the data mining statistical threshold.Consider also that VAERS is a passive surveillance system, which suffers from profound underreporting. According to the VAERS site's own disclaimer :

"Underreporting" is one of the main limitations of passive surveillance systems, including VAERS. The term, underreporting refers to the fact that VAERS receives reports for only a small fraction of actual adverse events. The degree of underreporting varies widely. As an example, a great many of the millions of vaccinations administered each year by injection cause soreness, but relatively few of these episodes lead to a VAERS report.

According to Barbara Loe Fisher, founder of the National Vaccination Information Center , underreporting may result in overlooking 99% or higher of all vaccine associated injuries:

"Former FDA Commissioner David Kessler estimated in a 1993 article in the Journal of the that fewer than 1 percent of all doctors report injuries and deaths following the administration of prescription drugs. This estimate may be even lower for vaccines. In one survey that our organization conducted in New York in 1994, only 1 doctor in 40 reported to VAERS."

Considering the influence of underreporting, these deaths represent only the tip of the iceberg of vaccine-induced infant morbidity and mortality caused by HiB vaccines. The study also mentioned an earlier analysis which found that infant death is the most common cause of death reported by all vaccine linked reports on VAERS, "accounting for almost one-half of all deaths reported."

Obviously, this is an appalling study. The death of even 1 child for a potentially ineffective medical intervention designed to prevent a rarely fatal illness is a tragedy. Nor can any single vaccine be proven to have prevented any single case of disease because the clinical outcome (end point) is a non-event. This is not the case, however, for vaccine side effects which can be linked directly to the vaccination event with plausible scientific mechanisms.

What is perhaps most astounding is the researcher's conclusion:

"Review of VAERS reports did not identify any new or unexpected safety concerns for Hib vaccines."

This callous disregard for the evidence -- evidence that clearly shows the CDC misrepresents the safety of the HiB vaccine -- speaks to the blind investment in vaccine policy decisions over human wellbeing. Millions of parents have listened to the CDC and FDA and believed that these vaccines not only work but are safe. Informed consent requires those undergoing a quasi-mandatory medical intervention like vaccination to know the true risks associated with it. Failing to do so is clearly a violation of this medical ethical protection against being abused, and in some cases disabled and even killed.

Chomsky: We Are All – Fill in the Blank.

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Panic in Kiev?


The following article appeared briefly at this URL on censor.net.ua and was quickly pulled down. Ironic? It would seem so. My translation. I bring it to you because it succinctly lays out the situation as I've been able to piece it together from multiple Russian- and Ukrainian-language sources, and because you are unlikely to come across anything this truthful from cough Western media cough.

"Panic in Kiev: Ukrainian forces surrender Donbass"

International observers report of growing panic in Kiev in connection with the successful counteroffensive of the separatists near Donbass.

Over a week of fighting the partisans have delivered a heavy blow to the Ukrainian forces. The group of Ukrainian fighters in Donbas suffered huge losses, the soldiers are demoralized, the officers are confused and unable to control the situation.

Ukrainian military leadership is seriously concerned of a new encirclement near Debaltsevo, as well as in other areas.

The situation is made worse by the fact that army and national guard reserves are almost completely depleted, and plugging the gaps in defense using small formations cannot stabilize the front. Besides, the Ukrainian forces are running low on ordnance, food and medical supplies.

In turn, the partisan field commanders report 752 killed Ukrainian military personnel, 59 destroyed tanks and a large number of people taken prisoner. In view of their combat successes, the partisans are refusing to take part in any further negotiations in the format of the Minsk agreements and threaten to continue the counterattack.

Local authorities in Ukrainian-controlled districts near the front report that Ukrainian soldiers are deserting with their weapons and taking to looting the countryside in increasing numbers.

In this critical situation the military is afraid to report to president Poroshenko the real situation in the southeast of the country, hiding from him the full scale of the catastrophe.

The head of state is still convinced that the situation is under control, and hopes that in case of a real threat he will still have the chance to ask the West for help.

And then there is this video evidence: American "boots on the ground" have invaded Eastern Ukraine. How do you say "Get out of my face, please!" in Ukrainian? I guess the grunts aren't taught that in Basic Training... are they too busy learning how to shell civilians and then blame the other side?

Comment: It looks like Kiev's fears have come true. Zakharchenko has announced an offensive on Ukrainian-occupied Mariupol:

I want to say the following: Today began an offensive on Mariupol [the crowd cheers], God willing in a couple of days Debaltsevo cauldron will be closed. And it will be the best answer to honor the memory of the dead. Because we will pay back everyone, we will pay those who pulled the trigger or pushed the button which launched the missiles that killed our countrymen here. Those who shot people in Gorlovka, Makeevka, Yenakievo, Shakhtersk, Zhdanovka, Kirovka. Will pay back for each of our murdered child, and each old man innocently killed here.

Now, the DPR and LPR armies have joined up and successfully encircled Ukrainian troops in Debaltsevo: that's 7,500 Ukrainians troops trapped.

Chomsky: We Are All – Fill in the Blank.

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The Unbearable rudeness of "Bibi" Netanyahu

With the front page of the paper being occupied by so-called Deflate-gate, Congress was quick to reclaim its rightful place with its own mini-tempest over House Speaker John Boehner's invitation to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin ("Bibi") Netanyahu to speak before a Joint Meeting of Congress without prior notice to and/or approval from the Obama administration.

Bibi Obama

© Unknown

The issue of a foreign head of state addressing a joint meeting of Congress is not in itself a huge deal. This would be the 115th time it occurred and would be Netanyahu's third appearance before the body.

What is a big deal, however, is that Prime Minister Netanyahu actively sought, and Speaker Boehner extended, the invitation entirely behind the administration's back to permit Netanyahu to advocate harsher sanctions against Iran that the administration (and even Mossad) opposes while a final resolution with Iran is being negotiated.

Even worse, the date selected (March 3) is only two weeks before Israel's election, so the administration will not be able to meet with Netanyahu due to longstanding policy of not meeting with foreign leaders too close to their election so as not to be seen as interfering.

As an administration official explained privately, "[t]there are things you simply don't do. He spat in our face publicly and that's no way to behave." Welcome to the .

When American Presidents speak of Israel, it is often expressing sentiments similar to President Clinton's when he said, "America and Israel share a special bond. Our relations are unique among all nations."

When Prime Minister Netanyahu speaks of the United States, however, it is to say that "American policy in the Middle East is based on lies and distortions " or to boast that America is easily manipulated and moved "in the right direction [so] they won't get in the way." He has also bragged about double-crossing President Clinton by reluctantly agreeing to adhere the Oslo accords but then taking measures to render it meaningless.

Secretary of State James Baker temporarily banned then-Deputy Foreign Minister Netanyahu from the State Department for his "lies and distortions comments," while Netanyahu's manipulation comments only prove President Clinton's initial impression after meeting with the new Prime Minister in which he said "[h]e thinks he is the superpower, and we are here to do whatever he requires." (Further supporting Clinton's assessment was the recent statement of one of Netanyahu's cabinet members who told the U.S. ambassador that Israel expects "unconditional" support "even when you think we're wrong.")

Time and time again, Netanyahu has shown little respect for American presidents, institutions or interests despite the fact that we provide Israel with over $3 billion in aid annually, use our diplomatic capital to block anti-Israeli measures at the United Nations and have had to endure a devastating oil embargo and terrorist attacks at home and abroad because of our support for Israel.

In 2010, Netanyahu announced the expansion of new settlements in occupied East Jerusalem on the same day that Vice President Joe Biden arrived to restart the peace process (ignoring the U.S.' request to to implement a settlement freeze as part of the resumption of peace talks with the Palestinians). Then Secretary of State Hillary Clinton condemned the announcement as an insult, while Vice President Biden privately scolded Netanyahu that he was "undermin[ing] the security of our troops who are fighting in Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan."

Bibi Obama 2

© Unknown

Netanyahu has lectured the President in front of the White House press corps and compared the administration's refusal to set a firm deadline for Iran to act on its nuclear program or face military action to the Roosevelt's administration rejecting calls from Jewish leaders to bomb Auschwitz.

He also has shown little reluctance about meddling in American politics. In 1998, when President Clinton was pushing Netanyahu to fulfill Israel's obligations under the Oslo accords, Netanyahu made a point of starting his U.S. tour by meeting with House Speaker Newt Gingrich and appearing at a political rally with Rev. Jerry Falwell (who at the time was selling a videotape called "The Clinton Chronicles,'' which accused the President of having been a narcotics dealer and user and involved in the death of Vincent Foster).

In 2012, Netanyahu was criticized in both Israel and the U.S. for actively supporting Republican challenger Mitt Romney. Romney and Netanyahu shared political consultants and Netanyahu's attempts to escalate the situation in Iran during the fall campaign were quickly translated into Romney attack ads in the final days of the campaign.

Less than a month before the 2014 midterm elections, Netanyahu appeared on CBS' and charged that he was "baffled" by President Obama's opposition to expansion of settlements in the Occupied Territories, a position he said was "against American values." , Israel's leading English newspaper, called the comments a "stink bomb" and condemned Netanyahu for playing the partisan during our election season when he "slammed the president as if he was a Tea Party brawler rather than the leader of a country with a 'special relationship' with America."

Netanyahu's comments also were a flat out lie, since every President since the 1967 War, from President Johnson to President Obama, has expressed opposition to expansion of the settlements in the Occupied Territories.

Netanyahu latest stunt seeks to fuel claims that President Obama is not "pro-Israel," an astounding charge since former Defense Secretary Gates, who served under three Republican Presidents and Obama once reminded Netanyahu that "no U.S. administration had done more, in concrete ways, for Israel's strategic defense than Obama's" (a view shared by former Prime Ministers Shimon Peres and Ehud Barak).

Bibi Kerry

© Unknown

For Netanyahu to disrespect the United States just after Secretary of State Kerry had called nearly 50 head of state to head off action against Israel at the United Nations is astounding. Waterboys are treated with more respect than that.

Maybe the better question is whether Netanyahu is a friend of the United States? In words and deed he clearly is not. As an American, I am deeply offended that a nation that we have given so much to and sacrificed for would show such a total lack of respect to our President. I am also appalled that so-called "loyal opposition" leaders were complicit in this scheme. Sadly, Republicans seem elated to see a foreign leader spit in the face of the United States (so much for "politics ending at the water's edge").

Israelis also are outraged since Netanyahu is alienating Israel's most important ally to salvage his reelection chances. As one Israeli columnist noted, the relationship between the Prime Minister and the President of the United States is "the greatest strategic asset that Israel has had since its establishment" and Netanyahu has "irresponsibly" "destroyed" that relationship.

Israeli voters may have the final say on this issue, since with Netanyahu running behind in the polls, they may send Bibi to a well-deserved retirement.

He will not be missed.

Chomsky: We Are All – Fill in the Blank.

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Woman, visiting family member in jail, held against her will, forced to strip for prison guards

Nashville, TN - A lawsuit filed on Thursday against Corrections Corporation of America, the largest private prison management company in the US, alleges that a visitor at a South Central Correctional Facility in Clifton, Tennessee, was forced to expose her genitalia to prison guards to prove that she was menstruating after she attempted to bring a sanitary napkin into a visit.

On April 20, 2014, the plaintiff was making her way through a second security screening point when guard spotted the feminine hygiene product partially exposed in her pocket. The woman was told she would have to get a "CCA-approved" pad instead. An annoying, but not terribly unreasonable requirement.

At this point, however, the male guard, along with another male guard standing beside him, told her, "But I'll have to make sure you are - I'll have to make sure you are actually - "

The male guards called over a female guard at the point, who upon arrival, asked what was going on. Jane Doe responded that she was on her period, to which the female guard sarcastically responded with "oh, great," before walking into a restroom.

According to the lawsuit, once inside the restroom, the plaintiff asked the guards what they wanted her to do, to which another female guard responded "show me."

The female guard stood infront of Jane Doe at this point, as the first female guard stood by the bathroom door and the two male guards waited outside the door.

The plaintiff then asked again, what the guard wanted to do, to which the guard responded with, "What do you think? Show me!"

Jane Doe then exposed her pelvic area and the guard squatted down so she was eye level with the woman's vaginal area. Once the guard was satisfied that the woman was in fact on her period she was finally permitted to exit the bathroom and go have her visit.

According to the lawsuit, the woman who has chosen to be identified only as "Jane Doe," due to the embarrassing nature of the incident, offered to leave the prison and was not permitted to. She also claims to have offered to leave the pad behind and end her visit early if she needed to change it, urinate in the toilet without flushing and show them her menstrual blood in the bowl, or show guards her used menstrual pad- and all of these reasonable compromises were denied.

Instead, she was sent into a bathroom stall where she was forced to drop her pants and underwear to allow a female guard to examine her vagina in violation of her Fourth Amendment right against unreasonable searches.

The woman says she called and spoke with the head of security at the prison the day after her visit, concerned about being subjected to another degrading search if she returned for another visit during that time of the month, and was told that strip searches of menstruating visitors were standard policy there.

"Plaintiff should not be forced to make the intolerable choice between abstaining from visiting an inmate in prison because she is on her period and visiting the prison with the risk of being subjected to another humiliating and degrading search of her exposed genitalia. The on-going constitutional violation and strong likely hood of future constitutional violations constitutes irreparable injury," the lawsuit states.

Jane Doe is suing for assault, false imprisonment, invasion of privacy, intentional infliction of emotional distress, and more. She is not only asking for damages, but for the court to order the prison to stop unconstitutional strip and body cavity searches.

The Fourth Amendment provides us a right against unreasonable searches. This means there must be reasonable suspicion before the state can humiliate and degrade you with a body cavity search. Not wanting to bleed all over your clothing and therefore carrying personal hygiene products does not provide reasonable suspicion.

Read the full 29 page complaint here.

Chomsky: We Are All – Fill in the Blank.

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Cops in the UK just as crazy as the US: System protects cop who assaulted mother of sick child

© Unknown

Sick and twisted cop, Warren Luke, was cleared of any wrong-doing after brutally assaulting a mother in a hospital.

A police officer who admitted to kicking and beating the mother of a sick child has just been cleared. The woman suffered over 40 injuries, but Officer Warren Luke, 38, has been cleared of causing her actual bodily harm.

Luke, a Metropolitan police officer in the United Kingdom, said that he had the right to attack the woman because hospital staff told him she would not leave the lobby when asked. Thursday, a jury in the Wood Green crown court cleared Officer Luke of committing any crime whatsoever.

The mother has not been named for legal reasons. What we do know was that she had been caring for her seven-year-old daughter. The young girl suffers from cerebral palsy, and was taken to the hospital for an incident related to this, back in December of 2013. The hospital had told the mother that she had to leave the hospital and an argument ensued. Officer Luke was one of four officers who came to "resolve" the incident, but he was the only one who chose to use violence to do so.

A security camera video was played for the jury. The video documents the cop saying to the mother: "'You've got to leave, you've got to leave'," the woman explained. "I kept playing with my daughter and then I saw him moving towards me. He was kicking me and kicking me. He had one hand on my head. When I fell on the bed he grabbed my hair and banged my head. I was screaming. I couldn't defend myself. My ex-husband ran in and shouted, 'why are you kicking my wife?'"

Officer Luke has been a police officer for over six years. He told the court that the woman's behavior was "escalating" the situation. He claims that he had to assault her, because the child's "safety" was at risk.

He admits to punching the mother repeatedly on her left bicep. He then admits that he struck her in different places. This, he said, was part of a continually evolving approach - throwing a "distraction strike" on the left side of her face, using his foot. He was wearing heavy combat style boots at the time.

"I did kick out at the left side of her face as trained to do. My footwear was a boot but it's light."

When he was asked how he caused the woman so many injuries if he was indeed trying to deescalate the situation, he replied: "I can't say exactly where and how her injuries were sustained, I can only say what I did."

The Guardian UK was told that the woman needed plastic surgery after the assault, and has been unable to work ever since.

The officer explains that when his punches didn't seem to have the desired effect, he decided to attack the woman with more fury and strength.

"I wouldn't say that I used full force but I do remember hitting harder because it had no effect. I used police tactics with good reason that were absolutely necessary. I didn't go too far. Whenever a police officer uses force you need to be accountable for it."

Security officers who witnessed the incident said they were appalled by the officer's action. Two police officers also testified against Officer Luke. Officer Mary Clark described the attack as "just horrific".

Still, Officer Luke was cleared of all wrong-doing.

Chomsky: We Are All – Fill in the Blank.

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A key day in the Ukrainian conflict?


© Presidential Press and Information Office

Meeting with permanent members of the Security Council.

This may turn out to be a critical day in the evolution of the Ukrainian conflict.

1. The Russian Security Council met today. We do not (obviously) have a full account but Putin's website has provided some details.

Strikingly, Putin referred to the junta as "official Kiev" and not "the Ukrainian government" or "the Ukrainian side". He also referred to the two east Ukrainian republics as "the Donetsk People's Republic" and "the Lugansk People's Republic".

This is the closest Putin has yet come to since Poroshenko's election in implying that the junta is not the legitimate authority in the Donbass and that the two NAF republics are.

2. Putin also pointedly referred to "criminal orders" coming from "official Kiev".

3. Putin has also had a telephone conversation with Lukashenko, who is a key partner in relation to the Ukrainian conflict. Again we have scarcely any information about what was discussed but Putin will have wanted to ensure that Lukashenko remains on board. I expect a phone call to Nazarbayev shortly.

4. We now know from comments made by Shuvalov at Davos that Beijing is being consulted all the time. The key point about what happened at Davos is that Shuvalov made it absolutely clear that Russia will not submit to sanctions and Kostin of VTB gave a very clear warning against any attempts to exclude Russian banks from the SWIFT payments system. The has a good summary of the comments Shuvalov and Kostin made and I attach it below.

5. The Russian Justice Ministry meanwhile has formally banned a number of Ukrainian organisations including Right Sector. Some of us are surprised that they had not been banned already. (ITAR-TASS)

6. Zakharchenko has said that the Minsk Memorandum no longer applies. This is not the same document as the Minsk Protocol, which was the original ceasefire agreement that was agreed on 5th September 2014. Rather, it is the technical follow-up document that purported to set out the ceasefire line and which provided for the withdrawal of heavy weapons, which was agreed on 19th September 2014. Neither the Minsk Protocol nor the Minsk Memorandum have ever been implemented. By saying the Minsk Memorandum no longer applies Zakharchenko has freed the NAF to pursue offensive operations, which is currently what it is doing.

7. Lastly, Zakharchenko has also again been saying that the DPR's/LPR's decision to secede from the Ukraine is final.

Now it may be that all these discussions and conversations and comments are uncoordinated and do not in total amount to anything. Perhaps there has been no change in Russian policy. However they do look like a hardening of position and perhaps give clues that the Russians have at least for the moment given up hope of the diplomatic approach. They also suggest a preparation for a battening down of the hatches in case another round of sanctions is on the way.


From the :

One of Russia's top bankers on Friday warned that excluding the country from the Swift banking payment system would be tantamount to "war".

The suggestion that Russia could be shut out of Swift triggered widespread alarm in Moscow's financial community when it was floated by western politicians last summer. Russia's banks rely heavily on the Belgium-based payments system for both domestic and international payments. However, the move was at the time considered too punitive a sanction, being described by one adviser as "the nuclear option".

Speaking at a panel in Davos on Friday Andrei Kostin, chief executive of VTB, Russia's second-largest bank, said: "If there is no Swift, there is no banking . . . relationship, it means that the countries are on the verge of war, or they are definitely in a cold war."

"The next day, the Russian and American ambassadors would have to leave the capitals," he added.

Mr Kostin's comments highlight how the west's sanctions regime is creating a sense of anger and defiance among the Russian political and business elite.

"The more you press Russia, I do not think the situation will change," he said, pointing out that the country was moving to reduce its reliance on western payment systems such as Swift.

"We have already created a domestic alternative to the Swift system . . . and we need to create alternatives internationally."

He drew attention to efforts under way between Russia and China to create a separate platform of their own, outside western control.

Igor Shuvalov, Russia's deputy prime minister, echoed this theme. "We are developing our eastern vector," Mr Shuvalov declared, pointing out that although efforts to build links with China had been under way before the crisis, they had dramatically intensified since sanctions started, as Russia looked for alternatives to the west.

Mr Shuvalov said that the so-called Bric countries (Brazil, Russia, India and China) were ready to help each other in a financial crisis too. "Large Chinese investors are coming to us," he said.

The "pivot to Asia" has become a key part of Vladimir Putin's foreign policy since the breakdown in relations with the west over Ukraine. While several flagship deals have been signed, such as the $400bn contract to supply Russian gas to China for 30 years last May, few Russian policy makers or businesspeople believe China can save the Russian economy from a painful recession.

"The present situation looks like it is softer than [the 2008-09 financial crisis] but we are going into a long crisis situation and it may be protracted," Mr Shuvalov said.

But he added that foreign pressure would not succeed in changing the political leadership of the country.

"We will survive any hardship in the country - eat less food, use less electricity," he said.

Alexei Kudrin, the respected former finance minister, predicted Russia could see capital outflows of $90bn this year after a record $151bn in 2014. "We should clearly understand the price we are paying for sanctions," he said.

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SOTT FOCUS: As Islamophobia Rises, Moral Values Decrease

© Carlos Latuff

"Islam is a religion that promotes death and violence!"

Sez who?

For years now in the US, and in European countries such as the UK, Germany, The Netherlands, and France, Muslims have experienced difficulty when it comes to finding a job, due to the ever-increasing islamophobia. And that's not all, a 2006 report by the European Monitoring Centre on Racism and Xenophobia, entitled "Muslims in the European Union: Discrimination and Islamophobia", concludes:

  • Regardless of their ethnic background and/or approach to religion, many European Muslims are facing discrimination in employment, education and housing.

  • Discrimination against Muslims can be attributed to Islamophobic attitudes as well as toracist and xenophobic resentment, as these elements are often intertwined. Hostility against Muslims must therefore be seen in the more general context of xenophobia andracism towards migrants and minorities.

  • It is evident that Muslims are experiencing Islamophobic acts, ranging from verbal threats through to physical attacks, even though data on religiously aggravated incidents is collected on a limited scale.

  • The available data on victims of discrimination show that European Muslims are often disproportionately represented in areas with poorer housing conditions, while their educational achievement falls below average and their unemployment rates are higher than average. Muslims are often employed in jobs that require lower qualifications. As a group they are over-represented in low-paying sectors of the economy.

  • Many European Muslims, particularly young people, face barriers to their social advancement. This could give rise to a feeling of hopelessness and social exclusion.

  • Racism, discrimination and social marginalisation are serious threats to integration and community cohesion.

Now that anti-Islamic sentiments have risen by 110% in France, and 'anti-islamization' demos have been held in several countries, chances are high that the disadvantageous position Muslims already were in prior to the Paris attack, will only get worse. Needless to say, this is far from fair, considering that the Muslim majority had nothing to do with the recent attack in Paris, just as they didn't have anything to do with the 9/11 attacks in the U.S. Yet they've become the very target of hatred, and it affects their daily lives quite significantly.

Take a moment to watch the following 5 minute interview with Jahangir Mohammad, Director at the Center For Muslims' Affairs, in order to get a glimpse of the situation British Muslims are in:

According to recent research, Muslim men are 76 percent less likely to have a job of any kind compared to white Christians of the same age and with the same qualifications. And Muslim women are 65 percent less likely to be employed than white Christian counterparts. The survey has found that religion is now causing more prejudice than skin color. The only religious group with better work prospects than white British Christians are British Jews. Experts say the situation seemingly stems from growing Islamophobia and hostility towards Muslims in the UK.

[embedded content]

Note what Mohammad said near the end: "The current terrorism bill which is going through Parliament is actually proposing to turn the present policy into law and the effects of that is, that the definition of extremism will make it a crime to support certain types of Islam, even to be politically active in some cases. It puts an obligation on all employers, whether at schools, colleges, universities... [It even puts an obligation on] your doctor, your G.P., to report people that they think are extremists. What's happening is that a whole culture is being created in which it is seen as normal to spy on Muslims for their political beliefs."

If this isn't extremely racist, then I don't know what is. Just how far are we from having Muslims "branded", and eventually sent into camps, in order to increase "monitoring efficiency"?

© Twitter

Liberal political commentator Sally Kohn saying what many won't.

Knowing that, so far, there have been about 28 attacks on Islamic places of worship in France, which included firebombs and pigs' heads being thrown into mosques, and knowing that 88 threats have already been made against French Muslims, and taking the recent increase in islamophobic incidents in British schools into consideration, one can't help but think: Just how different is a person who can't accept having Muslims walking on 'their' streets from a 'religious extremist' who in a similar way can't accept having Christians walking on 'their' streets?

Physical torture or discrimination - they're both forms of serious oppression. If people have started discarding their ability for compassion and understanding similarly to those who perform the most atrocious acts, then it's not looking good for Muslims around the world, much less for humanity at large.

In addition, in a report published in 2013, entitled "Legislating Fear: Islamophobia and its impact in the United States.", The Council on American-Islamic Relations have identified 37 organizations with an alleged anti-Muslim agenda, which appeared to have a total budget of $120 million to spread hatred and fear of Islam. Perhaps this partly explains why nearly half of all Americans believe that Islam is more likely than other religions to encourage violence among its believers, while only 2% of Americans indicated that they are "very knowledgeable" about the religion. Their opinion appears to be formed for them, and not by themselves.

© Carlos Latuff

The three faces of Islamophobia.

While Muslims have become a target for discrimination, oppression, and racism in the "more developed countries", elsewhere Muslim citizens continue to suffer tremendously at the hands of psychopathic individuals who continue with their unstoppable spree murders, whether it's by, for example, crashing a wedding party, dropping one of those 'humanitarian' bombs, and killing 47 civilians in the process, or by interrupting a playful soccer game on a beach, with the help of a 'self-defence' bomb, and causing the death of four children aged between 9 and 11-years-old. Whether it's in Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Libya, Syria, Palestine, or elsewhere, war crimes like these are committed daily.

[embedded content]

© RT

There never was a war on terror. On the contrary, these two U.S. invasions brought terror to those countries, destroying infrastructure, breaking families apart, and taking away people's bright futures, while looting the place.

Recently, a drone operator by the name of Brandon Bryant said:

'We didn't even really know who we were firing at' - former US drone operator

"There was no oversight. I just know that the inside of the entire program was diseased and people need to know what happens to those that were on the inside," he told RT's Anissa Naouai. "People need to know the lack of oversight, the lack of accountability that happen."

Bryant decried the "black hole putrid system that is either going to crush you or you're going to conform to it," and apologized to families of victims whose deaths he was responsible for. By his estimation, he helped kill some 1626 people. "I couldn't stand myself for doing it" he added.

"I'm sorry that the mistake happened. I'm doing everything that I can to prevent further mistakes from happening."

Like Brandon Bryant, other U.S. soldiers have stepped up in recent years to share their experiences as regards what really happens on the ground and in the skies of the countries that have been invaded, and which continue to be bombed to this day, namely that it is the civilians that are the biggest victims of these 'wars'. A tremendous amount of violence has been committed in the name of 'freedom' against Muslims, and yet, the majority of us stand by and watch, and have now seemingly turned to committing more violence and oppression against the same group, whether consciously or unconsciously, here in Europe or in the U.S.

If the majority of Muslims deserve anything, it is for others to place themselves in their shoes. The horrific attacks in NYC on 9/11 and the recent attack in Paris should not stop us from acting humanely towards a minority group that continues to be unrighteously blamed for these attacks via the mainstream media. To discriminate against them, to kill them, to harass them, to verbally abuse them, is exactly what any terrorist would do. And terrorists we certainly are not aiming to be. Plus, if we keep chasing the wrong people, we will never be able to bring the real monsters to justice.

That such oppression towards a minority group exists should be experienced as one big déjà vu moment by humanity. And when it comes to addressing this problem, we truly ought to look at ourselves. Let us remind ourselves of what V said in V for Vendetta:

And the truth is, there is something terribly wrong with this country, isn't there? Cruelty and injustice, intolerance and oppression. And where once you had the freedom to object, to think and speak as you saw fit, you now have censors and systems of surveillance coercing your conformity and soliciting your submission. How did this happen? Who's to blame? Well certainly there are those more responsible than others, and they will be held accountable, but again truth be told, if you're looking for the guilty, you need only look into a mirror. I know why you did it. I know you were afraid. Who wouldn't be? War, terror, disease. There were a myriad of problems which conspired to corrupt your reason and rob you of your common sense. Fear got the best of you, and in your panic you turned to the now high chancellor, Adam Sutler. He promised you order, he promised you peace, and all he demanded in return was your silent, obedient consent.

This is a good moment to ask ourselves whether we are part of the problem, or part of the solution. This is the right moment to ask ourselves what we can do to help diminish the increasing pressure of racism on our fellow citizens, whether Muslim, African-American, Jew, Christian, or otherwise. As Martin Luther King, Jr. said:

"We must learn to live together as brothers or perish together as fools."

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Hillary Clinton mocks Putin, gladly accepts $500K in jewels from head-chopping Saudi dictator

Monsters, Inc. A Pixar family picture. Bring the kids!

Hillary Clinton is a comedic genius. Just listen to her "impersonate" Vladimir Putin. Do you hear that husky, not-at-all-Russian voice? It's like she NSA wire-tapped into Putin's voice box and then temporarily share-wared his most inner thoughts. Amazing.

When she loses the 2016 elections, she will surely have gainful employment as a children's entertainer. She'll need that job, too, after her husband is through with the legal bills associated with his most recent flying sex slave scandal. The Clintons - America's living treasures.

And while Clinton is an outspoken, self-righteous Putin hater, she does love an occasional $500K in jewels from Saudi Arabia's newly-dead, head-chopping monster. As The Hill reported in 2013, Clinton received

white gold jewelry with teardrop rubies and diamonds containing a necklace, a bracelet, earrings, and a ring. Bestowed upon Clinton by King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz Al Saud of Saudi Arabia, the jewelry is valued at half a million dollars.

Diamonds are a Clinton's best friend! Especially when they come from a medieval dictator who executes people for sorcery. Sorcery! Sorcery isn't even real. That's like executing someone for being Santa Claus. Can we all appreciate why this is extremely disturbing? Of course not. "Free Pussy Riot!"

Also, free these people who had their heads chopped off by King Abdullah:

Too late. Their heads were chopped off.

Just remember: Russia is a backwards hell-hole. RIP King Abdullah.

Hillary Clinton and every respectable American politician will continue the war against sorcery. Don't get too comfortable, Dumbledore!

Chomsky: We Are All – Fill in the Blank.

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Obama will not meet US-bound Netanyahu, but Bibi will address US congress


© AFP Photo/Saul Loeb

US President Barack Obama speaks at Boise State University in Idaho on January 21, 2015

US President Barack Obama has refused to meet Israeli leader Benjamin Netanyahu, who will make a controversial visit to the United States in early March as he fights for re-election.

It is a "matter of long-standing practice and principle" that the president does not meet foreign leaders engaged in an electoral campaign, a White House spokeswoman, Bernadette Meehan, said Thursday.

Netanyahu will address a joint session of Congress in early March -- just a few weeks before Israelis go to the polls on March 17.

But the focus of Netanyahu's address -- Iran -- as much as his timing is giving the White House heartburn.

Obama's allies fear the trip could be used by Israel and by the US Republicans, who control Congress and issued the invitation, to undercut nuclear talks with Tehran just as they appear poised to bear fruit.

The West and Israel accuse the Islamic republic of trying to build a nuclear bomb, a charge it denies.

The complex agreement with the so-called P5+1 group of global powers would subject Iran to safeguards designed to ensure its nuclear program can only be used for power generation or non-military research.

In a statement, Netanyahu said he wanted the "opportunity to share Israel's vision" on how to deal with the threat from Iran and Islamic extremists.


© AFP Photo/Abir Sultan

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu talks during the weekly cabinet meeting at his Jerusalem office, January 18, 2015

View gallery Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu talks during the weekly cabinet meeting at his Jerusalem o ...

The White House initially gave an icy response to news of Netanyahu's trip, saying it had not been informed -- a break with protocol.

Twenty-four hours later, the Obama administration announced that neither the president nor his Secretary of State John Kerry would meet Netanyahu.

- Battle over new Iran sanctions -

The Israeli prime minister -- and his Republican Congressional hosts -- have expressed deep skepticism about a brokered deal, believing Iran cannot be trusted to keep its side of the bargain.

US lawmakers have even sketched plans to impose fresh sanctions on Iran, legislation Obama has said would wreck talks and which he has pledged to veto.

"The president has been clear about his opposition to Congress passing new legislation on Iran that could undermine our negotiations and divide the international community," said Meehan.

Four European foreign policy chiefs issued a joint call in support of Obama's position Thursday.

"Introducing new hurdles at this critical stage of the negotiations," they wrote in the Washington Post, "would jeopardize our efforts at a critical juncture."

Negotiators hope to have a framework deal in place by March 31, leaving the last technical details to be worked out by June 30.

While Israel and the United States remain close allies, Obama and Netanyahu have publicly clashed over Iran and issues linked to the Middle East peace process.

In a statement, Netanyahu tried to diminish the diplomatic damage caused by the controversy.

He said the speech would be an opportunity for him to "thank President Barack Obama, the Congress and the American people for their support of Israel."

The White House said Obama had talked to Netanyahu more than any other leader and the pair had had many conversations on the issue of Iran.

"I am sure they will continue to be in contact on this and other important matters," said Meehan

Comment: While Obama may not want to deal with 'chickenshit' Netanyahu, House Speaker John Boehner invited Bibi -- and the Israeli leader accepted - without any involvement from the White House.

In public, White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest politely describes this as a "departure" from protocol. He also says the president will not meet with Netanyahu when he visits in early March, but has attributed that decision only to a desire not to influence Israel's upcoming elections.

But in private, Obama's team is livid with the Israeli leader, according to .

"We thought we've seen everything," a source identified as a senior American official was quoted as saying. "But Bibi managed to surprise even us. There are things you simply don't do.

"He spat in our face publicly and that's no way to behave. Netanyahu ought to remember that President Obama has a year and a half left to his presidency, and that there will be a price."

This time Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu might have gone too far.

It's bad enough that John Boehner invited him to address a joint session of Congress and lobby for more sanctions on Iran - and directly seek to undercut the president's top diplomatic initiative. Far worse is that Netanyahu accepted the invitation; it was a demonstration of ingratitude and hubris rarely seen before in the annals of the US-Israel bilateral relationship.

It's politics as usual.

Bibi, Boehner Team Up Against Obama

But it is fair to say that, these days, there is a particularly close connection between the Republicans and the Likud. After all, Republican mega-donor Sheldon Adelson is one of Netanyahu's most avid supporters. And if the ties weren't obvious already, House Speaker John Boehner's announcement Tuesday that he's invited Netanyahu to address a joint meeting of Congress on February 11 makes the link perfectly clear (PDF). He's giving Netanyahu the chance to bask in the full glow of the Washington spotlight just weeks before the Israeli elections on March 17.

There are three takeaways from this ploy that are almost as stunning as they are obvious:

First, Boehner's invitation is motivated as much by hostility to Obama and to his Iran policy as by a desire to reelect Netanyahu as prime minister.


That takes us to the second point: Boehner is using Netanyahu as much as Netanyahu is using the invitation. It's not at all clear, of course, where the idea of the invite originated. It doesn't strain the bounds of credulity to imagine it arose from a quiet suggestion by Israel or its prominent supporters here at home. But, in any case, Netanyahu can rally support for the Republican mantra that Iran is the region's dangerous bad boy, and he's virtually guaranteed a rousing reception among both parties.


Third, it will help Netanyahu in the March elections. But how much? As my grandmother used to say about her chicken soup, "It probably couldn't hurt." The Israeli pundits hammered Netanyahu's visit to France in the wake of the massacre for what they believed to be a political exploitation of the Paris terrorist attacks. But that visit wasn't well orchestrated. This one will be very carefully stage managed, complete with media interviews.


The Washington excursion is just an extra flourish. Any time an incumbent has an opportunity to use the powers and prestige of office to burnish his prime ministerial image, particularly that close to an election, so much the better. It won't be determinative. Israelis didn't ride in on a bale of hay yesterday; they're all too familiar with their politicians' politicking. But in a close election, being feted and supported by your country's key ally with a focus on critical security issues in an age of jihadi terror, well.....that's not a bad photo op.

And if Bibi wins? We probably can expect to see more of him as both Democratic and Republican candidates for president of the United States fight for the title of Israel's best friend.

This attitude towards other independent nations is not new to Israeli politicians or celebrities. The world's 'mightiest' and 'wealthiest' nation is no exception. See:

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European parliament report: 'cooperation with Russia is more preferable than confrontation'

Parliament's rapporteur on the strategic situation in the Black Sea and the annexation of Crimea by Russia Ioan Mircea Pașcu has delivered his report to parliament's security and defence subcommittee.

In his report, Pașcu has argued that the annexation of Crimea by Russia is, "completely changing the strategic situation in the Black Sea". He claimed that Russia's move into Ukraine was prompted by NATO's eastward expansion.

Russia's annexation of Crimea and encroachment into eastern Ukraine has been met with widespread condemnation across the world. Its actions in the region have breached several international agreements to which it is party to, including the Helsinki accords, the Paris charter and the Budapest memorandum - the first two of which guarantee national sovereignty, while the latter protects Ukraine's independence and borders.

He went on to say, "Russia now poses a strategic threat to central Europe and to the entire southern flank of NATO and the EU". He highlighted the fact that Russia now shares a maritime border with an EU and NATO member in the Black Sea for the first time - Romania.

The rapporteur then raised several examples of actions that Russian forces had taken to destabilize the region and to increase their presence, including hybrid and cyber warfare, and the engagement of a naval arms race.

He suggested that a review of article five of NATO - which defines an attack on member one as an attack on all - was needed in order to deal with Russian aggression and the evolving nature of modern warfare so that new militaristic actions - such as hybrid and cyber warfare - would prompt defensive action from the organization.

Pașcu also said, "the annexation of Crimea has transformed the sea of Azov into a Russian sea", arguing that this could have economic consequences for the EU. The rapporteur cited the exploration of oil and natural gas and the control of energy trade routes and pipelines as motivating factors behind Russian policy in the region.

The rapporteur also highlighted the naval situation in the Black Sea. Currently only two multinational naval initiatives are in place in the region; the Black Sea naval force and operation Black Sea harmony, both of which Russia is a member of.

The scope of these initiatives is limited to small scale actions including search and rescue and surveillance. Therefore, it is difficult to see how either of these instruments could challenge Russia's aggressive naval build-up. Furthermore, Turkey's cessation of its naval development program could grant Russia a greater military presence in the region.

Pașcu concluded by drawing attention to the only instruments the EU has in place to challenge Russia; non-recognition of the annexation of Crimea, and sanctions, while comparing it to Russia's engagement in a naval arms race and exploration of oil and natural gas in the region. He said that, "in the long run, cooperation with Russia is more preferable than confrontation".

This is a view that would seem to be at odds with that of EU leaders, including British prime minister David Cameron and Dutch prime minister Mark Rutte, who argue that sanctions must remain in force if Russian aggression is to be reined in. However, the rapporteur's comments suggest that he believes the EU's current combination of approaches will not be enough to reverse the situation in the region.

Chomsky: We Are All – Fill in the Blank.

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San Diego cop punished for objection to racist cartoon

SDPD racist cartoon


Racist cartoon used by San Diego police during training exercise

A San Diego, California police officer is suing his supervisors for allegedly punishing him after he objected to the use of a racist cartoon in training sessions for supervisors, KGTV-TV reported.

Sgt. Arthur Scott said in his lawsuit against the city that he was transferred out of his division against his will after he complained to assistant police chief Todd Jarvis about the cartoon - a crude depiction of the department's first Black officer - being shown to sergeants and lieutenants during a mandatory week-long event he attended last August. The suit also said that Scott was threatened with disciplinary action and passed over for a promotion.

SDPD racist cartoon Full

© Unknown

The cartoon, published in the now-defunct in the early 1900s, shows an ape-like caricature of Officer Frank McCarter on patrol. The cartoon also depicts him walking into a neighborhood described as Asian through the use of similarly racist depictions, like dialogue from one character saying, "He no likee John China Man" and the use of a slur. The cartoon can be seen in full above.

reported that, according to Scott's lawsuit, the cartoon was shown during a discussion about McCarter's career, but without any mention of context regarding racism during that era.

Police Chief Shelley Zimmerman said in a statement that she only heard about the cartoon after Scott filed his lawsuit on Wednesday.

"We take these allegations very seriously," her statement read. "We will fully cooperate and support any and all investigations into this matter. At this time, it would be inappropriate for us to comment further on this case since it is in litigation."

KNSD-TV reported that both African-American and Asian-American groups criticized the department after the cartoon was revealed to the public.

"These racist cartoons have been around for centuries," said Gracelynn West, political advocacy coordinator for the local chapter of the National Asian Pacific American Womens' Forum, adding, "I find it really sad that it had to take a lawsuit for this issue to be addressed."

According to the lawsuit, Scott - vice-president of the San Diego Police Black Officers Association - was also criticized by superiors for being "hyper-sensitive" after objecting to other officers keeping what he called racist depictions of President Barack Obama inside their lockers.

"Obviously, the chiefs here don't particularly appreciate someone's right to speak out against racism," Scott's attorney, Dan Gilleon, told KGTV.

Scott's organization for Black officers has also lent its support to him, said fellow member Sgt. Bryan Pendleton, who also attended the class in which the cartoon was shown.

"This lawsuit is not simply about a cartoon," he said. "There are other issues that will come out throughout this process. When you take all of those together and compound them, then you'll see clearly that there is an issue."

Pendleton did not elaborate on the "other issues," but KGTV reported last year that artists commissioned to paint a mural inside the department's Southeast Division accused officers of complaining that it had "too many Black faces."

Watch KGTV's report on the lawsuit, as aired on Wednesday, below.

[embedded content]

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Pentagon dispatches first batch of US forces to train Syrian rebels

Syrian rebel fighters

© Reuters/Hosam Katan

Syrian rebel fighters.

Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel is sending the first wave of about 100 US forces to the Middle East in the coming days to train and equip Syrian opposition fighters battling Islamic State militants.

The US troops, mostly special operations forces from the US Special Operations Command (SOCOM), will begin arriving in countries outside Syria in the next few days, Admiral John Kirby, the Pentagon press secretary, said on Friday.

"They're going to ... take a look at what's there and prepare for further deployments," according to Kirby, who last week said several hundred troops from foreign governments were also expected to train the Syrian fighters.

The total number of US troops connected to the mission is expected to reach over 1,000 in the weeks ahead, including about 400 trainers and several hundred support forces.

The exact location of the training sites hasn't been revealed, but Turkey, Qatar and Saudi Arabia have offered to host facilities where American forces could train members of the Syrian opposition, ostensibly to battle elements of the Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL). However, given that the coalition governments have all proven their commitment to removing Syrian President Bashar Assad from power, some observers suspect an ulterior motive in the US-led plans.

In September last year, the United States, together with a loose coalition of Arab states, including Bahrain, Jordan, Qatar and Saudi Arabia, opened a bombing campaign in northern Syria against IS fighters. However, at the same time, the US has been reportedly arming members of the Syrian opposition, which has been engaged in a civil war against Assad's forces.

Syria Rebels

© Reuters / Stringer

US airstrikes have assisted Kurdish forces in their effort to liberate the Syrian town of Kobani near the Turkish border. Kirby told reporters that the Kurds now control about 70 percent of the town.

The Pentagon spokesman said Major General Michael Nagata had been appointed to oversee the training mission.

The US-led mission is expected to start as early as March, the , quoting Defense Department spokeswoman Cmdr. Elissa Smith, reported last week.

In addition to the 400 military specialists, so-called enabling forces which are to serve as a security detail, will also accompany the trainers, Smith said.

The Pentagon, which said it plans to train 5,000 Syrian fighters a year for three years, foresees the first batch of US-trained rebels returning to Syria around the end of the year.

According to the most recent UN statistics, the Syrian conflict has claimed 220,000 lives, placed 12 million people in severe need, left 7.6 million internally displaced, and rendered 3.3 million people refugees.

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Greece's Syriza party officially wins parliamentary elections

© Reuters/Marko Djurica

Supporters of opposition leader and head of radical leftist Syriza party Alexis Tsipras cheer at exit poll results in Athens, January 25, 2015.

Greece's radical leftist party, Syriza, is leading the country's parliamentary election, claiming 36.5 percent of the vote, and leaving the ruling New Democracy party in second place with 29.22 percent, according to the first official results.

The votes have so far been counted at 25 percent of polling stations across the country, the Interior Ministry of Greece said.

The exit-polls earlier revealed that Syriza, has won between 35.5 and 39.5 percent of the vote in the national parliamentary election, leaving the New Democracy party more than 10 per cent behind.

The New Democracy party, led by Greek Prime Minister, Antonis Samaras, has received between 23 and 27 percent of the vote.

The results of the exit polls were announced right after polling stations across the country closed at 1700 GMT.

The first official results have been announced at approximately 1920 GMT, with the outcome of the vote to be finalized on Monday morning.

Centrist party To Potami (The River) and the far-right Golden Dawn party are in tight competition for third place, with both attaining 6.4 to 8 percent of the vote, according to a joint poll by Metron Analysis, GPO, Alco, MRB, Marc.

Syriza (Coalition of the Radical Left), which is headed by 40-year-old Alexis Tsipras, rose to popularity after it promised to renegotiate Greek debt and put an end to austerity in the country.

In Greece, a political party requires between 36 and 40 percent of the vote in order to secure an outright win, with the exact figure depending on the share of the vote taken by parties that failed to pass the 3 percent threshold required to enter parliament.

According to the exit polls, seven parties are on the way to making it into the new Hellenic Parliament, which is comprised of 300 MPs.

The election was held earlier than scheduled because of the failure of the parliament to elect a new Greek president on December 29 last year.

The presidential candidate presented by the government, Stavros Dimas, had failed to secure the required majority votes from MPs across three rounds of voting.

This means that Syriza will occupy between146 and158 seats in the Greek parliament, while New Democracy will likely have to settle for between 65 and 75 seats.

One hundred and fifty one seats are required for a party to form a government on its own.

"It is a historic victory, we still have to see if it will be a big historic victory. It sends a message against austerity and in favor of dignity and democracy," Panos Skourletis, Syriza spokesman, told .

A senior New Democracy party member, health minister Makis Voridis, has conceded defeat to Syriza in the elections.

"We lost. The extent of that result is not yet clear," Voridis told Mega TV.

If the results of the exit polls are officially confirmed, Syriza will become the first ruling anti-austerity party in Europe.

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Hundreds of dead seabirds found in north Iceland

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Hundreds of dead guillemots were recently found by farmer Gunnar Óli Hákonarsson at Sandur in Aðaldalur, North Iceland. The birds, which were found on a beach east of the mouth of Skjálfandafljót river, are believed to have died from starvation due to bad weather in December. Foxes and ravens have been scavenging on the bird carcasses.

Böðvar Þórisson at the Natural Institute of the West Fjords told mbl.is this week that a large number of seabirds were found dead in Ísafjörður earlier this month. An increase in seagulls, which are more aggressive in their feeding habits, may be to blame, he said.

According to Róbert Á. Stefánsson at the Natural Institute of West Iceland, even seagulls have been hungry this winter.

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