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Thursday, 12 February 2015

The Minsk Peace Deal: Set up to fail

Judging by the report on RT http://bit.ly/1KR9a8n

I conclude that the Ukraine peace deal worked out in Minsk by Putin, Merkel, Hollande, and Poroshenko has little chance of success.

As Washington is not a partner to the Minsk peace deal, how can there be peace when Washington has made policy decisions to escalate the conflict and to use the conflict as a proxy war between the US and Russia?

The Minsk agreement makes no reference to the announcement by Lt. Gen. Ben Hodges, commander of US Army Europe, that Washington is sending a battalion of US troops to Ukraine to train Ukrainian forces how to fight against Russian and rebel forces. The training is scheduled to begin in March, about two weeks from now. Gen. Hodges says that it is very important to recognize that the Donetsk and Luhansk forces "are not separatists, these are proxies for President Putin."

How is there a peace deal when Washington has plans underway to send arms and training to the US puppet government in Kiev?

Looking at the deal itself, it is set up to fail. The only parties to the deal who had to sign it are the leaders of the Donetsk and Lugansk break-away republics. The other signers to the Minsk deal are an OSCE representative which is the European group that is supposed to monitor the withdrawal of heavy weapons by both sides, a former Ukrainian president Viktor Kuchma, and the Russian ambassador in Kiev. Neither the German chancellor nor the French, Ukrainian, and Russian presidents who brokered the deal had to sign it.

In other words, the governments of Germany, France, Ukraine, and Russia do not appear to be empowered or required to enforce the agreement. According to RT, "the declaration was not meant to be signed by the leaders, German foreign minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier said."http://bit.ly/1F4EfFl

The terms of the agreement depend on actions of the Ukrainian parliament and prime minister, neither of which are under Poroshenko's control, and Poroshenko himself is a figurehead under Washington's control. Moreover, the Ukrainian military does not control the Nazi militias. As Washington and the right-wing elements in Ukraine want conflict with Russia, peace cannot be forthcoming.

The agreement is nothing but a list of expectations that have no chance of occurring.

One expectation is that Ukraine and the republics will negotiate terms for future local elections in the provinces that will bring them back under Ukraine's legal control. The day after the local elections, but prior to the constitutional reform that provides the regions with autonomy, Kiev takes control of the borders with Ukraine and between the provinces. I read this as the total sell-out of the Donetsk and Lugansk republics. Apparently, that is the way the leaders of the republics see it as well, as Putin had to twist their arms in order to get their signatures to the agreement.

Another expectation is that Ukraine will adopt legislation on self-governance that would be acceptable to the republics and declare a general amnesty for the republics' leaders and military forces.

Negotiations between Kiev and the autonomous areas are to take place that restore Kiev's taxation of the autonomous areas and the provision of social payments and banking services to the autonomous areas.

After a comprehensive constitutional reform in Ukraine guaranteeing acceptable (and undefined) autonomy to the republics, Kiev will take control over the provinces' borders with Russia.

By the end of 2015 Kiev will implement comprehensive constitutional reform that decentralizes the Ukrainian political system and provides privileges of autonomy to the Donetsk and Lugansk regions.

Both Putin and Poroshenko are both reported as stating that the main thing achieved is a ceasefire starting on February 15.

The ceasefire is of no benefit to the Donetsk and Lugansk republics as they are prevailing in the conflict. Moreover, the deal requires the republics' forces to give up territory and to pull back to the borders of last September and to eject fighters from France and other countries who have come to the aid of the break-away republics. In other words, the agreement erases all of Kiev's losses from the conflict that Kiev initiated.

All of the risks of the agreement are imposed on the break-away republics and on Putin. The provinces are required to give up all their gains while Washington trains and arms Ukrainian forces to attack the provinces. The republics have to give up their security and trust Kiev long before Kiev votes, assuming it ever does, autonomy for the republics.

Moreover, if the one-sided terms of the Minsk agreement result in failure, Putin and the republics will be blamed.

Why would Putin make such a deal and force it on the republics? If the deal becomes a Russian sell-out of the republics, it will hurt Putin's nationalist support within Russia and make it easier for Washington to weaken Putin and perhaps achieve regime change. It looks more like a surrender than a fair deal.

Perhaps Putin's strategy is to give away every advantage in the expectation that the deal will fail, and the Russian government can say "we gave away the store and the deal still failed."

Washington's coup in Kiev and the attack on the Russian-speaking Ukrainians in the east and south is part of Washington's strategy to reassert its uni-power position. Russia's independent foreign policy and Russia's growing economic and political relationships with Europe became problems for Washington. Washington is using Ukraine to attack and to demonize Russia and its leader and to break-up Russia's economic and political relations with Europe. That is what the sanctions are about. A peace deal in Ukraine on any terms other than Washington's is unacceptable to Washington. The only acceptable deal is a deal that is a defeat for Russia.

It is difficult to avoid the conclusion that the Russian government made a strategic mistake when it did not accept the requests of the break-away provinces to be united with Russia. The people in the Donetsk and Lugansk provinces favored unification with the same massive majorities that the people in Crimea showed. If the provinces had been united with Russia, it would have been the end of the conflict. Neither Ukraine nor Washington is going to attack Russian territory.

By failing to end the conflict by unification, Putin set himself up as the punching bag for Western propaganda. The consequence is that over the many months during which the conflict has been needlessly drawn out, Putin has had his image and reputation in the West destroyed. He is the "new Hitler." He is "scheming to restore the Soviet Empire." "Russia ranks with ebola and the Islamist State as the three greatest threats." "RT is a terrorist organization like Boco Haram and the Islamist State." And so on and on. This CNN interview with Obama conducted by Washington's presstitute Fareed Zakaria shows the image of Putin based entirely on lies that rules in the West.

[embedded content]

Putin could be no more demonized even if the Russian military had invaded Ukraine, conquered it, and reincorporated Ukraine in Russia of which Ukraine was part for centuries prior to the Soviet collapse and Ukraine's separation from Russia at Washington's insistence.

The Russian government might want to carefully consider whether Moscow is helping Washington to achieve another victory in Ukraine.

was Assistant Secretary of the Treasury for Economic Policy and associate editor of the Wall Street Journal. He was columnist for Business Week, Scripps Howard News Service, and Creators Syndicate. He has had many university appointments. His internet columns have attracted a worldwide following. Roberts' latest books are The Failure of Laissez Faire Capitalism and Economic Dissolution of the West and How America Was Lost.

Chomsky: We Are All – Fill in the Blank.

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Former IMF Boss Admits Attending Sex Party But Never Paid Prostitutes

Former IMF Boss Admits Attending Sex Party But Never Paid Prostitutes

The former head of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), Dominique Strauss-Kahn has admitted before a French court that he attended a sex party at the IMF’s Washington Office but never paid for the services of the women involved.

The former IMF boss is on trial with 14 other people for sex offenses including the alleged procuring of prostitutes for sex party in Washington.

The court in the northern city of Lille heard testimonies from witnesses in the case including some of the prostitutes to uncover whether Mr. Strauss-Kahn did arranged for the prostitutes to attend sex parties in Paris, Brussels and Washington.

One prostitute from Belgium called Jade told the court that she received €2,000 to go to Washington to take part in a sex party with Mr. Strauss-Khan but failed to say whether the money had come directly from the former IMF boss. She said although she collected the money, she never took part in the sex party but was at the IMF’s office on invitation to take photographs.

Other unnamed witnesses at the alleged sex party also testified that the party was ‘carnage with a heap of mattresses on the floor’ with Strauss-Kahn enjoying ‘pure sexual consummation’ with up to eight prostitutes at a time.

However, Mr. Strauss-Khan on his part said he attended the sex party, but insists he was too preoccupied with his work at the IMF to consider paying the women involved.

He said he never knew that the women with whom he engaged were prostitutes but thought they were “free and friendly” and that he paying for sex at that time would have been too great a risk for a man at the head of the IMF, which he was busy “saving the world from an unprecedented financial crisis”.

Mr. Strauss-Khan also accused prosecutors of exaggerating his sexual activities, saying he had attended such sex parties 12 times in 3 years. Legal experts in France say although using prostitutes is not illegal in France, supplying them or assisting in supplying them is illegal and anybody who recruits individuals for sex party is liable and can be punished for up to 10 years in prison.

Dominique Strauss-Kahn, a member of the French Socialist Party was predicted by many of becoming the next French President but allegations upon allegations have been leveled against him.

He became the IMF chief in 2007, until 2011 when he resigned following allegations that he had sexually assaulted a hotel employee at the Sofitel New York Hotel.

After completing a lengthy investigation in that case, prosecutors filed a motion to drop all charges against Mr. Strauss-Kahn, stating that they were not convinced of his culpability beyond reasonable doubt due to serious issues in the complainant’s credibility and inconclusive physical evidence.

But when everybody thought he was free and can concentrate on his presidential ambition, French prosecutors announced in 2013 that Mr. Strauss-Kahn was to stand trial concerning allegations of “aggravated pimping” at the Carlton hotel in Lille.

The trial continues. Stay with AnonHQ

Researchers call for interstellar messages to alien civilizations

Alien Message

© Arne Nordmann/Creative Commons

A graphic message sent into space by the Arecibo radio telescope in the 1970s.

San Jose, California — Is it time to send deliberate messages to the stars, in the hopes of reaching alien civilizations? Advocates in the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence (SETI) say that moment is long overdue. But other researchers want to take a more cautious approach and seek an international consensus before outing Earth to the rest of the universe. Scientists in both camps faced off today at a debate held at a meeting of AAAS (publisher of Insider) here.

Douglas Vakoch, the director of interstellar message composition at the SETI Institute in Mountain View, California, doesn't dismiss the need to consider ethical or political issues, but says that it will be tough to achieve a consensus. "It's 'either-or' thinking," he says. "Either we have international discussion, or we transmit. We should be doing both." But David Brin, an astrophysicist and science fiction author here, says that Earth's relative radio quietude should not be changed so radically, so quickly. "If you're going to transform one of the major characteristics ... of our planet, we've learned that small groups shouldn't do that peremptorily."

Since the SETI movement began in the 1960s, it has mostly involved using radio telescopes to listen to bands in the electromagnetic spectrum for something out of the ordinary. In contrast, instances of active SETI, also called Messaging Extraterrestrial Intelligence, or METI—beaming deliberate messages to the heavens—have been much rarer. In 1974, a radio message was broadcast from the Arecibo telescope in Puerto Rico toward a cluster of stars 25,000 light-years away. Brin says there have been other "stunts." In 2008, for instance, the tortilla chip company Doritos sent an advertisement from a radar station in Norway to a potentially habitable star system 42 light-years away.

Advocates for active SETI say that keen-eared aliens could already pick up some of Earth's ambient transmissions. Current radio and TV transmissions could be heard only a few light-years away with the current radio telescope technology on Earth, but Vakoch says that an advanced civilization would have far more developed techniques for listening. Brin says this is the "barn door excuse" and adds that many active SETI techniques would send out focused, powerful messages that would travel many times farther than the day-to-day transmissions from Earth. He views active SETI messages as cosmic pollution, rather than exploration. Although he's not worried about alien invasions, he thinks the assumption of benevolence—or even the existence of aliens—is overstated.

Vakoch says the SETI Institute has no imminent plans to start transmitting messages, but he finds that other organizations are not taking the lead in holding international discussions on the issue. He says that one efficient way of transmitting messages would be by adding messages in the regular course of doing planetary science. When the Arecibo radar is used to study asteroids, for instance, messages could be sent to stars near the line of sight of the asteroid without much additional effort. What would these messages include? Seth Shostak, an astronomer at the SETI Institute, wants to beam the entire Internet. Vakoch would prefer something humble that conveys the challenges that humanity faces.

Brin doesn't see resolution to the passionate debate anytime soon. "It's an area where opinion rules, and everyone has a fierce opinion."

Chomsky: We Are All – Fill in the Blank.

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Georgia police shoot man, handcuff him to hospital bed and deny family access until he dies

© Davis Family

Kevin Davis and family

Police in Georgia who cuffed a man to his hospital bed for two days after he was fatally shot by an officer have been accused by his family of barring them from visiting him to stop full details of the shooting from being disclosed.

Kevin Davis was detained at Grady hospital in Atlanta after being shot three times by a DeKalb County police officer, who was responding to a 911 call made by Davis and his girlfriend when she was stabbed by another man at their apartment in the suburb of Decatur.

His sister, Delisa, said she spent his final hours begging police to allow her to see him, but that they refused until he died. "They denied us access to him because they didn't want him telling us what really happened that night," she told the . In his last known remarks, Davis told a medic that an officer simply arrived at his home "and began shooting".

Jeffrey Mann, the DeKalb County sheriff, said in a statement on Thursday that his department showed "appropriate compassion" to detainees' families. "It is mandatory, however, that security protocol is applied consistently in order to protect the safety of both the inmate and the general public," said Mann, who denied that his officers on duty had blocked relatives from visiting.

Davis had been arrested and charged with aggravated assault against the police officer, Joseph Pitts, because he allegedly ignored an order to drop a revolver he was holding. Davis's girlfriend, April Edwards, said he grabbed the unloaded gun and approached their front door after their dog was shot and they feared that her attacker may have returned with a gun.

Pitts shot Davis in disputed circumstances. Police have said that Davis approached Pitts, who was in the corridor outside the apartment, shouting: "You shot my dog." Pitts had shot the three-legged pitbull dead, later alleging it "charged" at him after he opened the door to Davis's apartment. Police also said Pitts ordered Davis twice to "put down the gun".

But according to hospital files obtained by the , after arriving by ambulance Davis told an emergency room medic in his last known remarks "that police came to his house after there was an altercation with his girlfriend and began shooting".

His family's attorneys said witnesses did not hear Davis say anything to the officer, and that the 44-year-old did not even make it past the threshold to his apartment. They said neighbours recalled hearing shots fired almost instantly after an order to drop the revolver.

Hospital officials confirmed that relatives were able to visit patients in custody if the law enforcement agency involved permission. The DeKalb County sheriff's office, which was responsible for Davis during his stay in hospital, said it granted permission "in the most grave situations", yet Davis's family said they were refused access even as he deteriorated fatally.

In Thursday's statement, Mann said his officers guarding Davis were not "asked by family members for visitation privileges". Delisa Davis said she asked one officer via a nurse over telephone on 30 December and heard him advise her to call senior officers at the sheriff's department, who did not return her calls.

Davis's niece, Barbara Davis-Colter, told the on Thursday that she, her sister and father then visited the hospital and asked to see Davis, but were not allowed past the front desk on the floor where he was being held.

After being sent to a "detention" department, they asked officers to let them see Davis, she said. "But they said only DeKalb County officers could let us see him, and there were no DeKalb County officers there."

Davis-Colter said that after returning to Davis's ward, and being sent once again to the detention department, they were finally given a DeKalb telephone number to call, yet got no response. "We were blocked at every turn," said Delisa Davis.

Despite being instantly paralysed by one of Pitts's bullets, Davis was cuffed by his ankles to his bed to prevent a possible escape. "From the time I found out he had been shot, I was calling Grady, I was calling DeKalb County, and I couldn't get anybody to give me a straight answer or let me see him," said his sister. "They just gave me the runaround."

Police have not said how many times he was shot. His sister said she was told by doctors that they had found three bullets in his body - one lodged in his spine, one in his stomach and another in an arm. Medical reports from the hospital detail five separate wounds.

Delisa Davis said that when she was told that her brother had "expired" on 31 December, a detective told her: "I guess you can go to Grady now." She said: "It was just so callous, like they weren't dealing with humans." Davis's case has only come to light in recent days after his family belatedly recruited attorneys.

Davis's family initially said he had been handcuffed. Asked to confirm this, Mann first said in a statement that his department "routinely restrain arrestees, generally with handcuffs" in the interests of "the safety of the public and inmates" in their custody. In the later statement, Mann clarified following an internal review that Davis was in fact in ankle restraints.

"It is also our practice not to allow inmate visitation except in the most grave situations, and then with the confirmation of that condition by the medical professionals at the facility," Mann said in his original statement. "Tragically, Mr Davis succumbed to his wounds while being treated at Grady Hospital."

Denise Simpson, a spokeswoman for Grady hospital, said she could not discuss specific detention methods used on patients in custody "as procedures may vary based on patient conditions, medical treatments required, etc".

"Grady policy requires that anyone wishing to visit a custody patient contact the appropriate law enforcement agency and obtain approval from that agency," said Simpson. "That agency then notifies our staff if visitation is approved."

Chomsky: We Are All – Fill in the Blank.

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Iowa widow faces federal charges because she deposited inheritance money in lumps

Justice in America

© Police State USA

Justice in America.

Dubuque — A widow's bank account was seized by the IRS and she now faces criminal charges for depositing her legal inheritance money in lumps instead of all together.

Janet Malone, 68, had $18,775 seized from her — money that was legally earned and was legally bestowed to her by her late husband, Ronald Malone. The problem, according to the government, was the fact that she deposited it in several lumps instead of all at once.

According to the Associated Press, Mrs. Malone deposited the cash in increments between $5,800 and $9,000. The widow's private financial affairs evidently set off red flags under the watchful gaze of the federal government.

The IRS sought out and obtained a warrant in 2013 to seize Mrs. Malone's bank account based on suspicion that the transactions were sized in strategic amounts meant to avoid federal reporting requirements, which take place on transactions valued at $10,000 or more. The crime is referred to as "structuring" one's deposits.

Police State USA described this offensive law in a previous article:

The federal government began surveilling Americans' banking activities under President Nixon with the The Bank Secrecy Act of 1970, which required that banks file "Currency Transaction Reports" to the IRS (specifically: FinCEN Form 112) on every individual who deposits or withdraws more than $10,000 in cash to or from a personal bank account on a given day. These reports indicate the financial activities that took place and include the individual's bank account number, name, address, and social security number.

The financial dragnet was pitched to America as a way to catch tax evaders and money launderers. It actually marked the end of financial privacy and soon evolved into a tool used to harass innocent Americans. The IRS enjoyed a battery of new powers, which were increased several times thereafter.

In 2001, the USA PATRIOT Act expanded financial surveillance efforts to the so-called War on Terror. The Patriot Act was said to contain a "package of unconstitutional expansions of the financial police state," according to one of bill's few dissenters, Congressman Ron Paul of Texas. Among other things, the law prohibited bankers from informing customers that they had been reported to the IRS. Paul said the bill had "more to do with the ongoing war against financial privacy than with the war against international terrorism,"

Once accused of structuring deposits, Americans are deprived of their bank accounts and forced to prove their innocence using whatever remaining resources they can scrape together. Some manage to eventually get their money back, after months of fighting in court. Due to the high cost of legal services, the victims sometimes decide to accept the loss and not invest thousands more into the ordeal.

"You won't prosecute a widow," Janet Malone pleaded, according to an affidavit. The government accepted her challenge.

Prosecutors not only declined to drop the civil forfeiture case against Mrs. Malone, but also slapped the widow with federal misdemeanor charges that she willfully structured her deposits.

The AP reported that Mrs. Malone is expected to plead guilty and let the government keep her money, in a plea exchange for her freedom. The charge carries up to one year in jail and a $250,000 fine.

Victims like Mrs. Malone are not unique. Police State USA wrote about another Iowa woman who recently had her entire bank account seized for the exact same reason. These women, and many other victims of forfeiture, harmed no one and were minding their own business.

One might observe the irony of demanding FinCEN reports, as it seems a bit redundant given the government's disturbing ability to surveil bank accounts and detect Americans "avoiding" the reporting requirements.

Chomsky: We Are All – Fill in the Blank.

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Ten reasons why we should celebrate the inevitable nuclear holocaust

So beautiful.

A hundred years ago, the world "sleepwalked" into the First World War, the war that wiped out an entire generation of Europeans. Aren't we repeating the same sleepwalking march again, this time with even deadlier consequences? The recent baiting and bullying of Russia and the Russian-speaking population of Eastern Ukraine; the proposals in Congress to supply lethal military aid to Ukraine coupled with the Defense Secretary nominee's enthusiasm for such help, all indicate a major dysfunction of rationality.

Russia has been sending signals that it is not backing off from this conflict, that the situation in Ukraine is too important to its national security. Recent signals of Russia's resolve include its reformulation of its military doctrine that views NATO expansion into Russia's neighborhood as the major threat; and the view of US policy in Ukraine as a proxy war against Russia.

While some scholars and journalists point to the possibility, if not inevitability, of the all out war, major news outlets prefer to underreport the depth of the conflict, treating it as something farcical rather than tragic. Maybe the press and politicians have the point? After all, how can a possible war with a nuclear-armed rival be serious? So let's learn from our political leaders and stop worrying. We might as well die laughing:

10. In regular wars, common people die in the trenches while those who send them there spend their time giving speeches at luncheons and making TV appearances. By contrast, a nuclear war will put everyone in the same boat. We, the people, should all rejoice in the fact that we'll finally witness the examples of personal courage and leadership provided by our brave politicians. To see a politician putting his money where his mouth is, is one of the greatest joys of citizenry. For many true patriots, it is a joy worth dying for.

9. A nuclear war will provide great satisfaction for messianic nations that take offense at America's self-proclaimed status of "exceptional" and "indispensable." The US's status as the only nation that had used nuclear bombs against civilians will no longer be exceptional.

8. Americans can celebrate the efficiency of their Congress that is frequently accused of not being efficient. The politicians who are voting for providing lethal military help to Ukraine are successfully killing two birds with one stone. (Maybe all the birds with one nuclear explosion, but that's beside the point). These two significant birds are: 1) the end of Russian aggression and expansion, and 2) the problem of impending climate catastrophe. Drastic reduction of populations of US and Russia, whose carbon emission per capita are the highest in the world, will surely reverse global warming. Talking about inefficient congress? Sheer nonsense. They really take care of things. Please write to your congressman that you intend to celebrate their achievements ... while you can.

7. George Soros, who at the ripe old age of eighty feels that he hasn't accomplished enough, and thus decided to get engaged in geopolitics, should immediately establish a Soros War prize, modeled on Nobel Peace Prize. Among the candidates might be New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman, known for his brave new slogan, "Give war a chance"; or the French intellectual Bernand-Henri Lévy, who travels around the world demanding its leaders to bomb various naughty countries; or the influential American political scientist and world-class hawk Zbigniew Brzezinski, who wrote in 1997 that "without Ukraine, Russia ceases to be a Eurasian empire, " thus giving Russia one more reason to fight for its survival. Yet, strong as these candidates are, I think that the War Prize should go to President Obama, so that we all can celebrate another of his "first time in history achievements"; this time as the recipient of both War and Peace Prizes.

6. Americans are accustomed to having a choice in everything. That's our fundamental value. So we should all welcome and rejoice in the plethora of choices that our politicians offer us. According to various climate scientists, in thirty years parts of Europe will be submerged underwater while other parts will be as dry and hot as the Sahara. Those who don't want the slow and painful death of being roasted alive can find a demise of their liking. Some people will find the choice of a more immediate departure more desirable. Furthermore, it is clearly more democratic. While it is easy to imagine how the rich and famous will create artificial environments with AC, synthetically produced food and so on, nuclear destruction would be an equal opportunity thing. It will touch rich and poor, powerful and powerless.

5. This equality dimension of nuclear war will trigger a great joy for the French, who would recognize that the coming onslaught will finally bring forth the cherished dreams of the French Revolution: , , and . As we embrace strangers and die in their arms, we'll have a chance at least to die like brothers. The ideals of the French Revolution will be achieved. "But where is liberty?"-- you might ask. But what about liberty from all the worries connected with our lives: mortgages, bills, shoveling the snow, buying a new car?

4. The millions of Ukrainians who scream "Glory to Ukraine" will finally have the reason to do so. Maybe Ukrainians did not start Western civilization (as many Ukrainian nationalist fanatics constantly claim), but they should feel comfortable and proud of themselves for ending it. And that's something worthy of celebration. "Glory to Ukraine!"

3. I can imagine the great joy and celebration of various neocons, endlessly pushing for Russia's weakening. With the destruction of Russia, which is always meddling in Middle East, Israel will be able to claim its status of the nuclear power house of the Middle East, no longer threatened by nasty regimes supported by Russia. Of course, there will be Pakistan, Iran, and other nuclear powers in the region, but without the neocon's endless meddling in Middle East affairs, Israel will find the way to negotiate and achieve long lasting peace. And if not, neocons would still rejoice knowing that Israel died following faithfully their overseas master. Millions of Israelis already want to live like Americans. At least they will have a chance to die like Americans.

2. The coming destruction will be the realization of the dreams of millions of people. Russians who hate the West can die peacefully, knowing that their enemy is destroyed. Numerous Russophobes from London to British Columbia will have a similar reason to celebrate, bringing to reality a well-known joke about one anti-Semite who on the verge of dying, decides to convert to Judaism. "Why are you doing it?" asked his relatives. "What's happened?" "I want to die knowing that there is one less Jew in the world," he answered. So rejoice my fellow Russians, my fellow Americans, my fellow Poles, and Ukrainians. There will be a drastic reduction of your enemies. You don't even need to convert or emigrate to realize this dream. Just stay put and watch your sworn enemy disappear. Most likely you'll disappear soon after, but what a glorious moment that would be: worthy of Faust's famous claim: "Ah, stay a while! You are so lovely!"

1. World equilibrium will be restored. Ancient civilizations like China and India will finally resume their old roles of leaders and innovators and will surely rejoice at the prospect. Of course, as these countries owe their recent prosperity to their ability to sell useless products to USA and EU, they might find themselves at a loss. They might even turn against each other in frustration. But one hopes that Ancient Civilizations became ancient precisely because of their wisdom, their ability to compromise and negotiate. So people of the world will have plenty of reasons to celebrate: life will go on, wisdom will prevail, while the fate of Western civilization will find continuation in the place where it truly belongs: the morality tales of narcissistic, militaristic self-righteous cultures that follow the way of ancient Athens and Rome.

Chomsky: We Are All – Fill in the Blank.

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Meteor-fireballs seen over Sonoma and Humboldt Counties, California


© http://bit.ly/1D1fsRK

Multiple North Coast residents from Valley Ford to Santa Rosa and Fort Bragg reported seeing what they described as a meteor streaking northwest across the sky toward the ocean on Saturday afternoon.

Emergency dispatchers began receiving calls just before 1 p.m., said Sgt. Cecile Focha, spokeswoman for the Sonoma County Sheriff's Office. The initial report was of an airplane crash, which turned out to be unfounded. Units from Valley Ford Fire, Bodega Bay Fire and Gold Ridge Fire and the Sonoma County sheriff's helicopter, Henry 1, were dispatched to an area 4 miles west of Valley Ford, but found no evidence of a meteor or other debris.

"Everyone responded as if it was a plane crash," Focha said. "There was no evidence of where the object landed. Something got lobbed at the earth."

Witnesses described seeing a glowing fireball streaking across the sky for about 10 seconds. Some said it burned bright white. Others said it changed color from red to blue to green."It was amazing," said Mark Morelli of Santa Rosa, who saw it while driving down Guerneville Road. "The tip was bright green and it had a really long tail."

Barbara and Nick Makris were walking on their ranch just north of Bodega Bay when they saw the light streak northwest out over the Pacific."It looked like a tadpole," Barbra Makris said. "We watched it for about 10 seconds, then it extinguished. It was pretty exciting."

Firefighters combed grassy fields and farms in the rolling hills near Valley Ford searching for any debris that may have sparked a blaze, Valley Ford Fire Chief Matt Epstein said."We never did find anything that came in contact with the earth," he said. "Once we realized it was not a crash, our biggest concern was if anything hit a structure or started a fire."

Many who reported seeing the object were on or near the coast, although it was observed at least as far inland as Rohnert Park. Jason Selvage was watching a youth baseball game in Rohnert Park when he saw the light in the sky."It looked like a firework exploding," he said. "It was really cool to see."

While most witnesses said they saw the object in the afternoon, others reported seeing a bright light in the sky just before dawn. The timing corresponded with a NASA satellite launch from Vandenberg Air Force Base in Santa Barbara County at 6:22 a.m.

Alan Buis, a spokesman with NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, said the morning launch would have been visible on the North Coast, but added that the afternoon event likely is unrelated."The launch was visible over a wide swath of coastal California," he said. Buis said meteor sightings are not uncommon.

No new events had been posted by Saturday evening on the website of the American Meteor Society, an organization of amateur and professional meteor scientists. The group says it receives daily reports about fireballs in the sky. The organization received 10 reports of a fireball over California last week. -

The Lost Coast Outpost received a report of a "meteor that...streaked east to west over bear river ridge" about quarter to 1 p.m. For fun we searched to see if there were any other reports. To our surprise, we discovered a report in the the . It said,

... emergency dispatchers have received multiple reports of an object falling from the sky and crashing in a field west of Valley Ford.

The first reporting party, who called dispatchers around 1 p.m. Saturday, said they had seen what looked like an airplane crash west of Valley Ford Road. At least two other callers reported seeing a bright flash of light and said what fell may have been a meteor, dispatchers said.

Units from Valley Ford Fire, Bodega Bay Fire, Gold Ridge Fire and the Sonoma County Sheriff's helicopter, Henry 1, were dispatched by have not yet located the object.

Our local emergency dispatch center did not receive any reports. But, the US National Weather Service out of Eureka said they had gotten a report around 11:30 a.m. of something bright in the sky over Humboldt Hill but nothing around 1 p.m.

We're curious. Did any of you see something odd?

UPDATE 2:16 p.m.: A woman who witnessed the possible meteor described coming into Ferndale (Humboldt County, CA) and seeing a bright light going fast and low along the hill line. She said it was headed east to west and appeared to disappear over the ocean. She said she saw it for four or five seconds —a bright light with a tail on it that dissolved in a "poof of smoke."

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Minsk 'agreement': Outcome depends on the Europeans, not Russia


Putin in Minsk.

Already there is debate about who has "won" and who has "lost" in the Minsk talks.

The short answer is that as the German foreign minister Steinmeier correctly said there is no breakthrough but the Russians and the NAF have made progress.

One point needs to be explained or reiterated (since I have explained it already and many times).

The agreement does not make provision for federalisation or autonomy for the Donbass but still only refers to the grant of a law according the Donbass temporary special status within the Ukraine.

There could not be an agreement for federalisation out of the Minsk negotiations because they are primarily a summit meeting of five powers - Russia, Belarus, Ukraine, German and France. The Russians have always insisted that this is an internal conflict and civil war within the Ukraine and between Ukrainians and it is for the Ukrainians and them alone to resolve their internal differences between them through negotiations.

Given that this is Russia's stance, Russia and the other powers cannot impose a federalisation scheme on the Ukrainians and they have not - at least overtly - sought to do so. What the stated objective of the Minsk talks is - at least from the Russian point of view - is to set up conditions and a process for the constitutional negotiations that the Russians have been pushing for (and which were supposedly agreed on 21st February 2014 and on 17th April 2014 and 5th September 2014) to take place.

The Russians have been insisting on these negotiations since the February coup. The Russians are not publicly pre-ordaining the outcome of those negotiations because were they to do so they would not be negotiations at all. Whatever a negotiation is, it is by definition not something whose outcome is preordained.

If the Russians sought to preordain the outcome of the negotiations by insisting on federalisation as the outcome they would be imposing their views on the parties and would be admitting that they are a party to the conflict, which is what they have consistently said they are not. They would in effect be doing what the US has tried to do in the Syrian conflict, which is insist on an outcome to negotiations (Assad's resignation) before negotiations even take place. The Russians have always opposed this sort of behaviour and they are being consistent in not openly adopting it now.

Depending on what the parties agree between them, the negotiations could in theory result in decentralisation, federalisation, a confederation or even outright independence for the Donbass (the Russians floated that idea as a serious possibility in the summer). The latter is not by the way contrary to the reaffirmation of respect or even support for the Ukraine's sovereignty and territorial integrity that we saw in the statement today. If the internal parties to the conflict were to decide on a formal partition as the solution to the Ukraine's conflict, then international actors like Russia could recognise it without calling into question their previous declared support for the Ukraine's territorial integrity, as they previously did when Czechoslovakia split up.

In reality everybody knows that the Russians' preferred option is federalisation and the Europeans are now edging towards that solution. Whether it is a viable solution is another matter.

Once this key point is understood everything else starts to fall into place.

Last spring and summer the Russians sought a ceasefire so the constitutional negotiations could begin. The Europeans are now also demanding a ceasefire (they were less keen on the idea last spring and summer). There is now therefore an agreement for a ceasefire.

Back in August the Russians demanded the withdrawal of heavy weapons from the Donbass. There is now an agreement for the withdrawal of heavy weapons from the Donbass.

If that happens it will be a major weakening of the Junta's position in the Donbass because it is the Junta whose military has the big preponderance in heavy weapons. If the opposing sides are left with light infantry forces, the advantage on the ground will pass decisively to the NAF.

The political machinery that was supposed to have been agreed in Minsk on 5th September 2014 to create the conditions for the constitutional elections is being revived. Thus there is to be a law of special status for the Donbass pending the constitutional negotiations to clarify its current legal status and provide legal mechanisms for its internal administration by the NAF (Ukraine passed one previously and then reneged on it), more elections etc.

There is a new provision, which is the first indications of some sort of timeline for this process with the constitutional negotiations supposed to have been concluded by the end of the year.

There are also some ideas for a beefed up monitoring process via the OSCE.

Will any of this happen? Highly doubtful I would say. Consider what happened after the Minsk process of 5th September 2014. The Junta did not withdraw its heavy weapons. It did not retreat to the agreed boundary line. It imposed an economic blockade on the Donbass (it is now obliged to lift it). It rescinded the law on the Donbass's special status. It reinforced its army and in January it attempted to renew its offensive.

Is there any more prospect of this process succeeding than did the one that was agreed in Minsk in September?

The big difference between this process and the previous process is that the Europeans are now formally involved. Its success or failure ultimately depends on whether the Europeans are going to insist on the Junta fulfilling its obligations. They spectacularly failed to do so before and I have to say I think it is very unlikely they will do so now. If the Europeans fail to insist on the Junta fulfilling its obligations then the process will unravel as the previous Minsk process did and with the balance of advantage continuing to shift every day on the ground towards the NAF we will see a further renewal of the fighting and a further NAF advance in the spring.

In the meantime control of the border, disarmament of "illegal armed groups" etc are now overtly linked to the successful conclusion of the constitutional negotiations, which is supposed to happen before the end of the year. Of course if the constitutional negotiations succeed, then when all these things happen we will have a different Ukraine from the one we have now. At that point the control of border posts etc will be in the hands of differently constituted authorities from those that exist today.

Will those negotiations actually happen? Will they succeed if they do? I doubt it. The Junta will resist them tooth and nail if only because those negotiations put in jeopardy the whole Maidan project and by their mere fact call into question the Junta's legitimacy.

It depends in the end on what the Europeans do. This has been true of the conflict from the start.

That it depends on what the Europeans do is in itself a good reason to doubt this process will succeed. The probability is more conflict down the road but in the meantime Poroshenko's admission that there is "no good news for the Ukraine" from this process tells us who is winning.

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Valentine's weekend blizzard to rage in Northeast; bitter cold, powerful winds, whiteout conditions possible

A storm moving through the Northeast during the Valentine's Day weekend will develop into a blizzard with snow, fierce wind and bitterly cold air.

While the first of two clipper storms this week will stay weak until swinging east of New England, the second clipper storm rolling in this weekend will strengthen significantly.

People on weekend ski trips or partaking in other travel from the Great Lakes to New England will run the risk of getting stuck in the storm and the frigid air moving in.

According to AccuWeather.com Senior Meteorologist Henry Margusity, "The storm could bring life-threatening conditions, especially in New England with very low temperatures and strong winds combining with snow to bring blizzard conditions."

Initially, light snow will move across the Midwest Friday night into Saturday. However, winds will increase after the snow begins as bitterly cold arctic air arrives and AccuWeather RealFeel® Temperatures plunge below zero F.

The snow and increasing wind will move into the central Appalachians during the day Saturday and will reach the Interstate-95 corridor in the mid-Atlantic and southern New England Saturday afternoon and evening.

As the storm reaches the Atlantic Ocean Saturday night, it will strengthen.

The storm has the potential to bring a moderate to heavy snowfall from the upper part of the mid-Atlantic to southern and central New England Saturday night into Sunday.

Officials and people with travel plans from New York City to Boston and Albany, New York, should monitor the progress of this storm and prepare for disruptions to daily activities.

Lesser snow or a couple of snow showers will occur farther south in the mid-Atlantic.

AccuWeather.com will continue to provide updates on the storm and expected snowfall through this weekend.

Even where a small amount of snow falls, there will be extensive blowing and drifting of the snow on the ground as the storm progresses and in its wake.

Roads may get snow covered and very slippery in some areas. The frigid air moving in will render most inexpensive ice-melting compounds ineffective. Areas of slush and standing water will freeze.

Strong winds in the absence of heavy snow can be enough to cause significant airline delays. Gusts topping 45 mph are possible from Chicago and Detroit to Cleveland, Pittsburgh, New York City, Philadelphia, Baltimore and Washington, D.C.

According to AccuWeather.com Meteorologist Mark Mancuso, "Bands of intense lake-effect snow will develop close behind the storm, especially downwind of lakes Michigan, Huron and Ontario."

Travel could be difficult and dangerous along portions of the I-80/90 corridor in Pennsylvania, New York state, New Jersey and the Midwest due to areas of snow, strong crosswinds and bitterly cold air.

Whiteout conditions are possible in parts of northern Indiana, Michigan, southwestern Ontario and upstate New York.

Some lake-effect snow will also occur off Lake Erie even though this shallow water body is mostly frozen over.

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Queen Elizabeth rips Chris Christie for stalling gay marriage bill

Queen Elizabeth

© Dan Kitwood/POOL/Reuters

Moments after approving a new law legalizing gay marriage in England and Wales, Queen Elizabeth II of Britain unleashed a blistering attack on New Jersey Governor Chris Christie for "lacking the guts" to do the same.

The British monarch's brutal evisceration of Gov. Christie stunned observers, who did not know that she was such a close follower of his gay-marriage stance.

"I don't like to badmouth people," she said. "But I'm the head of a monarchy that began in the ninth century, and I'm apparently more modern than Chris Christie."

After shocking observers with her opening salvo, she continued to tear Gov. Christie to shreds.

"Look, I know he has to appeal to the crazy right wingers in his party," she added. "But the fact is, he's not as forward-thinking as an eighty-seven-year-old lady who wears a crown on her head. It's pathetic."

Asked if she had advice for Gov. Christie, the British monarch said, bluntly, "Just sign the damn bill, Chris."

Responding to a reporter's question about the upcoming royal birth, Elizabeth replied, "Tell you the truth? I'm just glad the kid's not being born in New Jersey."

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South Front Ukraine Crisis updates: Clashes, shelling, and new offensives while politicians talk peace

E-mails sent to Sott.net become the property of Quantum Future Group, Inc and may be published without notice.

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World Gold Council reports Central banks' gold purchases close to 50yr high

© Reuters / Leonhard Foeger

Central banks across the world have purchased a record 477.2 tons of gold in 2014 as an attempt to reduce the influence of the US dollar amid global financial instability, according to World Gold Council.

It is the biggest amount of gold purchased by the central banks in nearly 50 years, the council said in a report.

The majority of the countries bolstering their gold holdings are from the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS).

Russia, with gold reserves of more than 1,200 tons, added 173 tons to its already sizeable stocks. Gold accounts for 12 percent of Russian overall reserves.

Kazakhstan and Iraq bought 48 tons each. Iraq has seen its gold reserves triple in a year.

Sales of gold by banks were more limited. Ukraine's sales of 19 tons was the most sizeable, but pretty understandable, as the current economic situation in Ukraine if forcing the government to sell.

The global economic slowdown, coupled with political unrest and falling oil prices have pushed monetary authorities across the world into so-called currency wars. Over the past year the EU, Russia, Ukraine, Singapore, and India have eased monetary controls, with the Russian ruble and Ukrainian hryvnia losing more than 50 percent of their value.

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Woman files lawsuit claiming cop caused miscarriage after slamming her to the ground and sitting on her

A Georgia woman claimed in a lawsuit that police officers in Albany beat her so badly that she had a miscarriage.

In a complaint filed in federal court, Kenya Harris explained that she went to the Albany Police Department in May 2011 to pick up her minor son after he was arrested, according to Courthouse News.

Harris said she waited five hours for her son before informing Officers Ryan Jenkins that she needed to return home to take care of her other children.

"Defendant Officer Jenkins stated that he did not appreciate the tone in which she was communicating with him, and further stated that if she continued he would take her head and 'put it to the floor,'" the lawsuit stated.

The mother once again insisted that she needed to leave, and that's when Jenkins decided to use force.

"Defendant Officer Jenkins, without provocation, grabbed plaintiff, who weighs less than one hundred twenty (120) pounds, by her neck and slammed her to the ground," the lawsuit said. "Plaintiff momentarily blacked out and came to with defendant Officer Jenkins sitting on her back, and with his knee on her arm. Plaintiff was pregnant at the time."

"Defendant Officer Jenkins put handcuffs on plaintiff and slammed her against the wall. Plaintiff was placed into an interrogation room after she was beaten and handcuffed."

Harris asked for medical attention, but officers denied the request. Instead, she was charged with obstruction, and spent one night in the Dougherty County Jail.

In the lawsuit, Harris asserted that excessive force caused her miscarriage. She also suffered injuries to her knee, neck and other areas.

"With malice, defendants Officer Jenkins and with the compliance of Officer Brown, repeatedly slammed Ms. Harris, causing her severe physical harm and the loss of her baby, when less force was required and should have been used," the complain noted.

The lawsuit names Officers Ryan Jenkins and Richard Brown, Jr., Police Chief John Proctor, and the City of Albany. Harris is seeking $50,000 plus punitive damages for excessive force, assault and battery and emotional distress.

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Cop who was fired after testing positive for cocaine after killing rape suspect could be charged


Former Allegheny County Sherrif's Detective Richard Dwyer

A Pennsylvania sheriff's deputy could be charged with manslaughter if investigators determine he was high on cocaine when he shot and killed a rape suspect last month.

Richard Dwyer was fired by the Allegheny County sheriff after he tested positive for cocaine shortly after he and a U.S. Marshal fatally shot Leslie Sapp as they attempted to arrest him Jan. 6 at his Knoxville home, reported the Tribune-Review.

The 44-year-old Dwyer fired at least one of the seven shots that struck Sapp, who was accused of sexually assaulting a young girl.

Prosecutors said Sapp took a shooting stance with what was later found to be a pellet gun as deputies and members of a U.S. Marshals task force attempted to take him into custody.

Dwyer could be charged if investigators are able to determine his cognitive abilities were impaired at the time of the shooting.

"If an officer is under the influence of drugs and it affects his cognitive skills, and somehow this person is dead because he didn't act properly because of the drugs, that could be involuntary manslaughter," said District Attorney Stephen A. Zappala Jr.

Drug tests are part of the standard investigative procedure during officer-involved shootings.

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Chapel Hill shooter Craig Stephen Hicks had ongoing parking dispute with victims

© AFP Photo/Sara D. Davis

Craig Stephen Hicks sits in the Durham County courtroom for his first appearance in the shooting deaths of three University of North Carolina students on February 11, 2015.

Police say that an ongoing dispute over parking may have led a triple murder on Tuesday night , but affiliate reports that the local prosecutor is not ruling out the possibility that the shooting was a hate crime. All three victims were reportedly Muslim.

Craig Stephen Hicks, 46, has been charged with first-degree murder in the shooting deaths of Deah Shaddy Barakat, 23, his wife, Yusor Mohammad, 21, and her sister, Razan Mohammad Abu-Salha, 19.

Sources told that all three victims were shot in the head.

Hicks turned himself in to the Chatham County Sheriff's Office following the shooting, which occurred shortly after 5 p.m., reports .

"Based on the brutal nature of this crime, the past anti-religion statements of the alleged perpetrator, the religious attire of two of the victims and the rising anti-Muslim rhetoric in American society, we urge state and federal law enforcement authorities to quickly address speculation of a possible bias motive in this case," said Nihad Awad, the executive director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, the nation's largest civil advocacy group for Muslims. "Our heartfelt condolences go to the families and loved ones of the victims and to the local community."

Chapel Hill's police chief Chris Blue said in a statement that the department understands "the concerns about the possibility that this was hate-motivated and we will exhaust every lead to determine if that is the case."

Hicks was being held without bond early Wednesday in the Durham County jail. He is scheduled to make a first court appearance Wednesday morning, and officials said he is cooperating with the investigation.

According to a statement on the UNC-Chapel Hill website, Barakat was a second-year dental student at the university. His wife, Yusor Mohammad, was set to begin dental studies in the fall.

reports that according to a page on YouCaring.com, a free online fundraising website, Barakat was one of the organizers of an effort to raise money to provide free dental care to students of the Salaam School in Turkey. Barakat and others were reportedly scheduled to travel to Turkey in the summer of 2015 to treat children who have become refugees due to the ongoing Syrian civil war.

According to , Abu-Salha, Mohammad's younger sister, is listed as a sophomore at NC State and a graduate of Athens Drive High School in Raleigh.

Comment: Killing over a parking dispute? This is purely a hate crime despite what Hicks' wife claims:

The wife of alleged Chapel Hill shooter Craig Stephen Hicks may have defended her husband in the wake of the murder of three Muslim students Tuesday, but Karen Hicks is now seeking a divorce from the suspect, according to a report from the Associated Press. After saying her husband "champions the rights of others," Hicks released a statement through her lawyer saying that she was divorcing Craig, who many believe targeted the students because of his anti-religion views.

Hicks, who had been married to the alleged shooter for seven years, told reporters Wednesday that the shooting had "nothing to do with religion" but was related to a long-standing parking dispute with the victims, reported. Her lawyers also asserted that the suspect, 46, was a "champion of Second Amendment rights" who "believed everyone is equal."

Hicks is accused of murdering Deah Shaddy Barakat, 23, his wife, Yusor Mohammad, 21, and her sister Razan Mohammad Abu-Salha, 19. The three were found shot dead in their apartment in the condominium complex where Hicks also lives. The killings have sparked outrage among people who view it as a possible bias attack based on Hicks' social media postings expressing anti-religion views.

"When it comes to insults, your religion started this, not me," Hicks wrote in a post on his Facebook page, according to the . "If your religion kept its big mouth shut, so would I. But given that it doesn't, and given the enormous harm that your religion has done in this world, I'd say that I have not only a right, but a duty, to insult it, as does every rational, thinking person on this planet." The father of the female victims said he believes the students were targeted for their Muslim faith and that his daughters had previously told him that Hicks "hates us for what we are and how we look," the reported.

Cynthia Hurley, the suspected shooter's ex-wife, told the AP that prior to their divorce 17 years ago, his favorite movie was "Falling Down," a 1993 film about a divorced unemployed engineer who goes on a shooting rampage. "That always freaked me out. He watched it incessantly. He thought it was hilarious. He had no compassion at all," she said.

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Minsk summit: Restrained optimism, new Russian sanctions off table?

hollande merkel

© Reuters / Grigory Dukor

Germany's Chancellor Angela Merkel (L) and France's President Francois Hollande address the media after taking part in peace talks on resolving the Ukrainian crisis in Minsk, February 12, 2015.

The ceasefire deal brokered by the so-called Normandy Four in Minsk has offered a "glimmer of hope" that the bloodshed in Ukraine can be halted and mend strained relations between Russia and the West.

The deal was reached following marathon overnight negotiations in the Belarusian capital, Minsk, which Russian President Vladimir Putin described as being "not the best night of my life."

Reactions to the ceasefire deal in eastern Ukraine, which will come into effect at 12am local time on February 15, were measured but hopeful.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel's spokesman Steffen Seibert reflected this sentiment on Twitter after the deal was struck.

"After 17 hours, negotiations in Minsk have finished: ceasefire from Feb. 15 at zero hours, then withdrawal of heavy weapons. Therein lies hope," he tweeted.

[embedded content]

Merkel also credited Putin for "putting pressure" on rebels in eastern Ukraine to agree to the ceasefire in a conflict which has claimed more than 5,400 lives in under a year's time.

She further credited Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko for doing "everything to achieve the possibility of an end to the bloodshed."

German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier responded in a similar vein, saying that while the summit was not exactly a breakthrough, it should "steer everyone away from the path of escalation" in Ukraine's eastern Donbass region.

"The most important thing is that Moscow and Kiev agreed on a ceasefire... we strengthened the Minsk accords of last September," Steinmeier said in a statement.

"For some this will not be enough. We also would have wished for more - but this is what the presidents of Ukraine and Russia could agree on."

French President François Hollande was more upbeat, calling the deal a "comprehensive political solution" which would engender "serious hope, even if everything is not done."

"All matters are addressed by this document," Hollande told journalists in regards to the agreement.

"The agreement regarding Ukraine in Minsk shows that we are on the right path," Hollande said.

He added, however, that there were no guarantees regarding the long-term success of the agreement. "The next few hours will be crucial for the agreement on Ukraine."

President of the European Council Donald Tusk also tweeted that Thursday's agreement "gives hope" in the run-up to an informal meeting of the members of the European Council on Thursday.

"Hope is important, essential, but not enough. Real test is respect of cease-fire on the ground Ukraine," he wrote.

He added that the situation in Ukraine and relations with Russia would be one of three major issues discussed at the meeting.

Council of Europe Secretary-General Thorbjorn Jagland has voiced his positive impressions of the progress made in Minsk. He said in a statement that a concrete basis for implementing the ceasefire has been set up. He also expressed hope for the constitutional reform that is to follow, and that it would respect the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine.

President of the European Parliament Martin Schulz has also joined the chorus of those welcoming the signing of the ceasefire agreement in Minsk, though with the caution which has typified reaction to the deal.

"Welcome Hollande-Merkel brokered ceasefire agreement in Minsk on Ukraine. All sides must now abide by agreement, turn words into actions," he tweeted.

Sanctions off the table? Not yet

Finnish Prime Minister Alexander Stubb, who was not a party to the negotiations, cautiously offered his praise for the deal.

"The ceasefire is great news; however we should see how it will be implemented. People should no longer be killed; heavy weapons should be withdrawn," he said.

Speaking from Brussels, where an EU summit is set to be held on Thursday, Stubb offered hope that a thaw in relations with Moscow could be on the table.

According to Stubb, if Merkel and Hollande are satisfied with the outcome of the Minsk talks, the EU will not discuss further sanctions against Russia.

"If they say that the talks have failed, sanctions will ensue," he added.

Vice-President of the EU Commission Federica Mogherini also said new sanctions against Russia were unlikely to be discussed at Thursday's meeting, which was postponed by several hours due to the Minsk talks.

"I don't think today we will discuss sanctions," Mogherini told reporters. Rather, she said the talks would center on how "all possible EU means" can be activated to help sustain the ceasefire deal once it goes into effect.

British Prime Minister David Cameron maintained a tougher line, saying he welcomed the second Minsk agreement, but added "Putin has to know sanctions will remain in place without concrete progress on the ground."

Lithuania President, Dalia Grybauskaite, however, said that the issue of actually changing the current EU sanctions regime against the Russian Federation would not be discussed until March.

A far more contentious issue on whether or not to send lethal defense arms to Kiev is also likely to be struck form the agenda in Brussels, Xavier Bettel, Prime Minister of Luxemburg, said.

Secretary General of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE), Lamberto Zannier, said the outcome of the meeting in Minsk was "important and necessary," adding that it would contribute to "stabilization and peace in Ukraine."

Speaking from the southeastern Ukrainian city of Dnepropetrovsk, he said that the outcome of the summit could have an impact on the current mandate and timeframe of the OSCE's current monitoring mission in the country.

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Man fatally shot by police for throwing rocks

The death of Antonio Zambrano-Montes at the hands of police has sparked protests.

Police in Washington fatally shot a man who was throwing rocks at them, officials confirmed Wednesday, as purported footage of his death sparked protests and online anger.

Officers responded to a busy intersection Tuesday after receiving reports that a man was throwing rocks at vehicles, according to Police Chief Bob Metzger of the Pasco Police Department.

Metzger said Antonio Zambrano-Montes threw at least one "softball size" rock and did not respond to the officers' orders to put down the projectiles. He said officers deployed a Taser, but that it had no effect on Zambrano-Montes.

Police said Zambrano-Montes was pronounced dead on the scene and identified the officers as Ryan Flanagan, Adam Wright, and Adrian Alaniz. The shooting is under investigation and the officers have been placed on administrative leave, according to the statement.

[embedded content]

Amateur footage was posted to YouTube but its authenticity could not be immediately verified by NBC News. A request to police for comment on the video was not immediately returned.

NBC station KNDO/KNDU reported that protesters began assembling outside Pasco City Hall at 1 p.m. Wednesday.

"We just want justice because today it happened to us, tomorrow it could be any other family," Blanca Zambrano, a cousin of Zambrano-Montes, told KNDO/KNDU. "It could have been avoided, there could have been other ways around it," she continued in Spanish. "[The family] can't believe it."

She said Zambrano-Montes, who had two daughters, worked at an orchard and had lived in Pasco for more than 10 years. She said he recently suffered from depression after breaking both wrists in an accident at work.

[embedded content]

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What's behind the mainstream media and Big Pharma measles and vaccination hysteria?

"It is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends upon his not understanding it!" - Upton Sinclair, anti-fascist, anti-imperialist American author who wrote in the early 20th century

"No vaccine manufacturer shall be liable...for damages arising from a vaccine-related injury or death." - President Ronald Reagan, as he signed The National Childhood Vaccine Injury Act (NCVIA) of 1986, absolving drug companies from all medico-legal liability when children die or are disabled from vaccine injuries.

"The AAP leadership knows very well that vaccines cause autism. We need not waste anymore efforts in trying to educate them; we need to indict them." - Dr David Ayoub

"When a well-packaged web of lies has been sold gradually to the masses ... the truth will seem utterly preposterous and its speaker, a raving lunatic." - Dresden James

"In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act." - George Orwell

"Power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely." - Lord Acton

Everybody is well aware of the fear-based, 24/7 media freak-out over the 150 cases of red measles in the US, an unreported number of which had already been fully or partially vaccinated against measles. Some of them may possibly have been exposed to a recent vaccinee who was still actively shedding the live virus from that inoculation.

No conscientious truth-telling person in a position of authority has been allowed to come forward with all the facts that we need to know before ignorant non-scientist legislators go off half-cocked and pass laws demanding that every child everywhere be forced to get every CDC-recommended shots that keep the "well-child" clinics humming (despite the fact that the "crisis" is only about measles).

The blitz has all the markings of an orchestrated campaign, perhaps a good example of "crisis capitalism" revealed to us in Naomi Klein's seminal work, "The Shock Doctrine". Whomever the hidden persuaders are, we know who will benefit from the freak-out. They are the Big Pharma megacorporations, their shareholders and others who are trying to shine up the honor of the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Academy of Family Practice, and other medical trade organizations, all of which are highly dependent on Big Pharma's largesse (in the form of advertising revenues and financial support for their medical conventions).

The 150 measles victims that everybody is talking about reside in the most highly vaccinated nation in the world. With 320,000,000 people as of January 1, 2015, there are still 320,000,850 unaffected people, many of whom have never been vaccinated against measles. I'm one of them, having gotten natural wild measles in childhood, which confers lifetime immunity, whereas the inoculations that contain the live measles virus does not confer lifetime immunity. A lot of people will take their chances, especially since the shots have become more and more unaffordable ever since corporations like the pharmaceutical companies have come to rule the nation, have bribed most of the politicians and have bought up most of the media.

At noon today (Monday, Feb 9) I heard Dr Michael Osterholm, MA, PhD give a speech on MPR about his perceived need for the American government to spend more money and effort preparing for the massive number of. infectious diseases that might theoretically threaten the US in the future. He claimed that more vaccines are needed and they might need to be forcefully administered to reluctant subjects. I didn't hear him say anything about the need for optimal nutrition, the main factor that made all the other infectious disease epidemics essentially disappear before the vaccines for them came on the market (see chart immediately below for one example).

Dr Osterholm is a non-physician epidemiologist, a member of the Council of Foreign Relations and a former director of the Minnesota Health Department who once worked with Merck Vaccine chief Dr Julie Geberding. Geberding did the revolving door thing - leaving her post as Director of the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) for a more lucrative position at Merck (one of the largest vaccine producers in the world and the company responsible for 60,000 cardiac deaths - with unknown millions more sickened - from their now banned blockbuster arthritis pill Vioxx).

I was offended when I heard Osterholm accuse as frauds and charlatans those well-respected and well-informed physicians and scientists like those listed below who are far more knowledgeable that he is about the neuroscience of the over-vaccination programs that our vulnerable and innocent children are subjected to. I'm sure the millions of vaccine-injured families were equally offended when he dismissed them as hysterical and misinformed by the internet research they have done.

I suspect that Dr Osterholm has never listened to any parent of a vaccine injured child, nor has he read the lectures and writings of such courageous, knowledgeable and articulate physicians and scientists like Dr Russell Blaylock, Dr Sherri Tenpenny, Dr Suzanne Humphries, Dr Kenneth Stoller, Dr Andrew Wakefield, Dr Mark Geier, or Dr Joseph Mercola, to name only a few.

I challenge my readers, and Dr Osterholm, to honestly study the research and insights of those scientists. But I doubt that he ever will, because, as Upton Sinclair said, "It is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary and job depend upon his not understanding it!"

Even On Point Radio has Joined the Cacophony

Also today I heard a very one-sided panel discussion on On Point Radio, one of my favorite public radio programs, hosted by the usually well-informed Tom Ashbrook, who today seemed quite cozy with the vaccine establishment. Ashbrook had a totally unbalanced panel of pro-vaccine professionals and apologists who did not reveal their financial or professional conflicts of interest. I very much doubt that Ashbrook will be inviting Dr Blaylock, Dr Tenpenny, Dr Humphries, Dr Stoller, Dr Wakefield, Dr Geier, or Dr Mercola to appear on his program. (In fairness to Ashbrook, he did say that he had invited Barbara Loe Fisher, the director of the National Vaccine Information Center (www.nvic.org) to join the panel, but she wisely declined to appear unless she was given adequate time (the full hour, which is actually woefully inadequate) to state her case about the unpleasant truth about the dangers and lack of efficacy of many vaccines.

One of the panel members on today's On Point Radio was a Democratic Party California state Senator from Sacramento, Richard Pan, who once was a practicing pediatrician.

Dr Pan's contribution to the program was actually a repetition of the old pro-vaccine talking points that supported non-individualized mass vaccination programs for any and every vaccine approved by the FDA. This was actually irrelevant because the hour was supposed to be about the outbreak of measles cases at Disney World.

Probably a good politician and a good speaker, Dr Pan did sound like he was just spewing memorized talking points from the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) and Big Pharma's lobbyists, who use the same arguments over and over again in order to convince ignorant legislative policy-makers in DC and in most of the state capitals. Dr Pan failed to reveal that the AAP and the medical journals he reads are heavily subsidized by amoral and very wealthy pharmaceutical corporations.

He also failed to reveal that many unnamed pharmaceutical corporations invested in his political campaigns or that the AAP strongly supported his campaigns, presumably also by financial contributions. Like most politicians who are beholden to their paymasters, Dr Pan is - not surprisingly - likely paying back his corporate supporters by introducing favorable legislation to deny parents (who may know the truth about the lethal and disabling vaccine injury epidemic) the chance to exempt their children for philosophical or religious reasons. Some observers would call that pharmacofascism.

A second panelist on the On Point Radio show was non-physician, biostatistician and computer science professor at Johns Hopkins University, Dr Steven Salzberg, who apparently blogs a lot but obviously knows far, far less that the Vaccine Truth group mentioned above (lately derogatively labeled "anti-vaxers". Salzberg uttered a number of typical pro-vaccine talking points as well, but then also failed to reveal any possible conflicts of interest.

The third panelist was Liz Szabo, another non-physician, and a health reporter for USA Today. Szabo has written many fear-inducing USA Today articles about vaccines. To cast doubt on the veracity of her reporting, it should be noted that USA Today earns huge fees from Big Pharma advertising. Those advertisers would not appreciate Ms Szabo doing any balanced reporting by, say, interviewing any of the parents of the millions of vaccine damaged children who are now permanently disabled because of their products. Unless she wants to risk losing her job, she will also not do any unbiased interviews with any of the aforementioned Vaccine Truth physician/scientist experts like Blaylock, Tenpenny, Humphries, Stoller, Wakefield, Geier, or Mercola. (See links to some of their work farther below.)

Thinking persons should be alarmed that the mainstream media is offering no balanced coverage, no real journalism, just one-sided propaganda and ad hominem attacks, and the pro-vaccine groups are doing exactly the same. The minority - and truthful - view gets excluded from the airwaves or shouted down when they are ever given a chance to speak truth to power.

Democracy Now did a More Balanced Discussion on the Issue

Last week on NPR's Democracy Now, Amy Goodman actually had a Vaccine Truth activist on the program, although she was sandwiched between two pro-vaccine folks, including Dr Paul Offit. The guest was an Age of Autism consulting attorney named Mary Holland, who is the mother of a child who unequivocally regressed from total normalcy into severe autism following an MMR vaccination. Ms Holland is the co-author of "Vaccine Epidemic: How Corporate Greed, Biased Science and Coercive Government Threaten Our Human Rights, Our Health and Our Children." Her website is VaccineEpidemic.com

The Democracy Now program can be heard here. The Age of Autism's comments about the program can be heard here.

Holland's segment was followed by a nearly hysterical rant by BigPharma's favorite son, the very biased Dr Offitt, who has made millions of dollars developing, licensing and selling Rototeq, a rotovirus vaccine that sheds in the stool for weeks after the shot. Rototeq has caused 350 deaths and was once found to be contaminated with pig viruses. Offit's vaccine was taken off the market temporarily because it caused occasionally fatal intussusception in infants. The highly compromised Offit is obviously working hard to save his honor and to justify his proposal that forced vaccinations be begun for infants for each and every infectious disease that Big Pharma can think of making a vaccine for.

Many Vaccine Ingredients Qualify for Hazardous Waste Designations

Incredibly, Dr Offit once proclaimed that vaccines are so safe that an infant could be given a thousand vaccine doses without harming the child! And yet, a few years ago, there was an $10,000 reward offer for any physician who would swallow the contents of a typical vaccine after being informed of the toxic ingredients. There were no takers. After all, why would a healthy person want to swallow such toxic stuff (and yet physicians are quite willing to inject the same toxic ingredients into their well babies!). It is interesting to note that if vaccines were to be dumped in an EPA monitored landfill, they would have to be labeled as hazardous waste, because of the presence of mercury, aluminum, formaldehyde, propylene glycol (antifreeze), squalene, viral particles and many other contaminants of many of the vaccines.

Offit's forced vaccination proposals, if enacted, would be disastrous for the neurologic, psychiatric and immunologic health of America's babies. Fully vaccinated American children are already among the most chronically ill group of children in the world (some say that, congruent with the autism epidemic, nearly 50% of America's over-vaccinated children have vaccine-induced chronic illnesses such as diabetes (both type I and type II), autistic spectrum disorders, ADHD, conduct disorders, brain damage, food allergies, asthma, arthritis, immune deficiency disorders, mitochondrial disorders, inflammatory bowel disorders and cancer and are doomed to be permanent disabled patients, having to see doctors regularly and take prescription drugs for the rest of their lives.

Since Ronald Reagan signed the 1986 bill into law, absolving every vaccine manufacturer of legal responsibility for death or damage caused by their vaccines, the Big Pharma has pumped out dangerous, poorly tested and often contaminated products, knowing that they will have no liability for the damage they might cause (we taxpayers are responsible for the damages!) Many of Big Pharma's vaccines are manufactured in China, which has a reputation for poor purity standards. The autism epidemic started just a few years after Reagan's law and the incidence of autistic spectrum disorders has risen precipitously - congruent with the increasing number of inoculations.

Dr Tenpenny says that the vaccine industry has 200 new vaccines in development at the present time. That will surely make things intolerably worse for our children, but the drug companies will profit immensely if Dr Offit's and Dr Pan's self-serving plan to force all parents to have their kids get inoculated.

Big Pharma's vaccine makers and marketers are worried about the bleak future for new patentable drugs in their "pipelines", and they see vaccines as their major growth potential. Big Pharma and their co-opted federal "regulatory" agencies also want to get the public's eyes off of an important, potentially explosive whistleblower lawsuit against Merck over false efficacy claims for the mumps portion of their MMR shot. That trial is certain to damage Merck's and the CDC's reputations. (For more information, see here).

Getting patients and legislators to believe Big Pharma's aggressive propaganda is essential for it and also important for the stock portfolios of many physicians and for-profit medical corporations. Share price is central to the industry and no bad news can be tolerated, especially in this volatile stock market.

When big money is involved, corporations are known to lie, cheat, steal, name call, threaten, smear and destroy other people's reputations in order to get their way or beat the competition (see information about the Dr Andrew Wakefield case by reading his two books "Callous Disregard: The Truth Behind a Tragedy" and "Waging War on the Autistic Child" or actually listening to his testimony about how the British Medical Journal, the Rupert Murdoch pseudo-journalist Brian Deer, GlaxoSmithKline (Murdoch's son was on Glaxo's board of directors) conspired together to smear and destroy Wakefield's profession for his "Crime" of doing honest research and publishing - along with a number of co-authors - a peer-reviewed Lancet journal article that proved a direct connection between Glaxo's MMR vaccine and a dozen disabled (with autism, chronic diarrhea and abdominal pain) autistic children whose bowels and lymph nodes were found to be infected with the vaccine's proliferating measles viruses. A lawsuit in Britain totally exonerated one of Wakefield's co-authors, but Wakefield, now an ex-patriot in America, was unable to afford legal counsel and therefore remains "guilty" of the trumped up charges.

The Plausible but Unproven Theory of Herd Immunity

When I went to medical school in the mid-1960s, we were taught the "plausible" theoretical concept of herd immunity. The theory says that if a certain majority of the population was immune to a communicable disease, there would be a decreased likelihood of epidemics for that disease. In the 1960s the goal to reach was 60 or 75%. Nowadays the goal has crept up to 90 or 95%, depending on how much the thought-leaders are influenced by the medical trade associations or the special interest lobbyists for the vaccine industry.

Exposing Big Pharma's Deeply Flawed Vaccine (Pseudo)science

Below is a collection of established vaccination information that ethical journalists need to know before blindly accepting - and then regurgitating - the disinformation that is coming from the mainstream media, the CDC, the US Public Health system, the AAP, the AAFP and the AMA. I am ashamed to see how low the professional organizations that I used to revere have stooped. Follow the money.

Immediately below are comments and research reports from 8 very knowledgeable (and therefore black-listed) physicians who have considerable expertise and experience regarding the dangers and lack of proof of efficacy of America's childhood (over)vaccination program.

These physicians have exposed as deeply flawed the perverted science of Big Pharma's "studies", the FDA's lapdog approvals and the CDC's propaganda campaign promoting America's obscenely profitable, immunotoxic and neurotoxic vaccination program.

Essential Reading and Viewing for Every Unbiased Person Who is Truly Searching for the Truth About Vaccines

Dr Russell Blaylock's video, "Vaccines & Brain Development". Blaylock's evaluation of the scandalous and illegal Simpsonwood Conference.

Dr Kenneth Stoller, MD - Video, entitled "Autism, Vaccines, Mercury and the Culpability of the American Academy of Pediatrics"

Dr Sherri Tenpenny, video lecture, entitled " What the CDC documents say about vaccines". This is the most thorough expose of the perverted science of America's vaccination program.. It is understandable to laypersons as well as medical professionals.

Dr Suzanne Humphries: Video presentation Article

Dr Gary Null, Video documentary "Vaccine Nation". (See trailer)

Richard Gale, co-author (with Gary Null) of review article - "Vaccine McCarthyism"

Dr Andrew Wakefield - videos of this tragic vaccine/autism researcher who was falsely vilified and smeared by BigPharma (especially GlaxoSmithKline, the British pharma giant and manufacturer of the MMR vaccine - and other pro-vaccine profiteers). Another lecture

Dr Meyer Eisenstein debunks the mythical "36,000 flu deaths per year". (Dr Eisenstein's Chicago-area Home First Clinic does not force vaccinations on his patients and he has had ZERO autism patients and very few chronically ill patients among those he has served over several decades!)

Dr David Ayoub wrote an article about the dangers of giving mercury-laden flu shots to pregnant women (and therefore to the brains and bodies of their highly vulnerable unborn babies)

Dr Mark Geier Video on the dangerous pseudoscience of the vaccine industry and the resultant willful ignorance of the medical profession about the dangers and lack of proof of effectiveness of most vaccines

Dr Joseph Mercola Video lecture on Influenza and Vit D prevention"

From NaturalNews.org: Video: "What toxic chemicals are in vaccines?"

The Autism Epidemic Began in 1988 Widely Believed to be Caused by Environmental Factors

10 inoculations for infants up to age 15 months was the norm back in 1986, when the incidence of autism was 1/10,000. This was just prior to Ronald Reagan's National Childhood Vaccine Injury Act of 1986 that absolved a bunch of very relieved Big Pharma corporations of responsibility for vaccine injuries or death.

Between 1988 and 1996, the following vaccines were eagerly added to the CDC schedule for children in the first 15 months of life, doubling and tripling the neurotoxic ingredients. Without any medico-legal liability restraining them, vaccine manufacturers saw huge economic opportunities to fast track vaccines through the "watchdog/lapdog" federal agency, the FDA. Each added vaccine increased the toxic burden on every baby to unsustainable levels and the autism and chronic illness epidemics began with a vengeance.

· HiB - Improved Hib conjugate vaccine licensed in December 1987, and single dose added to childhood schedule in 1988.

· DTaP - Additional dose at younger age added around 1990.

· HiB - Three additional doses added to schedule in 1991.

· Hep B - Three doses - Added to childhood schedule in 1992.

· Chicken Pox - Approved in 1995, added to schedule in 1996

And today the CDC mandates 36 vaccines by the age of 18 months, 68 vaccines until age 12 and the rate of autism, chronic illnesses and other neurodegenerative diseases has predictably soared from 1 out of every 10,000 to 1 out of every 88 American children. The guilty parties can be seen on every news report right now (even on NPR and PBS), desperately trying to convince the easily duped public that they are innocent of these crimes against humanity and also trying to convince the public that the vaccine damaged children and families are idiot conspiracy theorists rather than good, caring parents who know what really happened to their children and who did it to them.

Don't fall for it. Be skeptical of those opinion leaders who are on the side of the amoral corporations, who have done so much damage to America's kids. Do your independent research, starting with the above internet links.

Dr Kohls has spent many hours researching the obscenely powerful and profitable pharmaceutical industry and the many false claims that their lobbyists have been making. He knows many families whose lives have been devastated by vaccine injuries, including regressive autism that unequivocally began with routine vaccination. He practiced holistic mental health care for the last decade of his career. He writes a weekly column for the Reader Weekly, an alternative newsweekly published in Duluth, Minnesota, USA. The last three years of Dr Kohls' columns are archived here

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

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