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

Sunday, 8 March 2015

SWAT cop guns down unarmed man for trying to answer door during pot raid

derek cruice

© Facebook

Witnesses say that they saw a murder happen right before their eyes when a Florida SWAT team gunned down an unarmed Deltona man over a tiny amount of marijuana.

They say that the SWAT raid looked more like a police-executed "murder" (their words) than anything that could be construed as "enforcing the law."

But Volusia County sheriff's deputies are defending the dawn SWAT raid where they shot and killed 26-year-old Derek Cruice, 26, even though he was unarmed and non-violent. Cruice became the 10th person to be executed by law enforcement officials in the so-called "War on Drugs" this year.

"They were met with resistance," Sheriff Ben Johnson said to local My News 13.

Johnson told local WFTV that the raid was part of an "ongoing narcotic investigation." Cruice allegedly "advanced on a member of the SWAT Team who was entering the residence," but friends and family explain that there wasn't a violent bone in Cruice's body, suggesting instead that he was going towards the front of his home when he heard the noise and was shot for this alone.

The shooter has now been identified as 10-year veteran Todd Raible, who police say "opened fire one time, shooting the suspect in the face while just inside the doorway of the home."

"It has since been determined that Cruice wasn't armed," the Sheriff's Office admitted in a statement last week.

One eyewitness who asked to not be identified say that the police story "is completely a lie. I was there; I watched the whole thing. There was no advancement. There was no reaching for anything."

Another witness said that Cruice was simply going towards the noise that the SWAT team made upon entering the house.

A witness told local network WESH that "the guy was wearing basketball shorts like I am. It's kind of hard to conceal anything or hide anything when this is all you have on."

Yet another witness who was actually inside the home at the time also claims that police are engaged in a cover-up of what amounts to murder. Matthew Grady, 24, says that Cruice never resisted arrest.

"There's a couple of seconds between opening the door, walking out, getting to my knee and halfway out there's gunfire," Grady added when interviewed by My News 13. "I look back as the guy's grabbing me, and my friend is dead or dying."

Another witness inside of the home told WFTV that an unnamed man also characterized the deputy's actions as "murder."

Police now admit that they only found only around seven and a half ounces of marijuana inside of Cruice's home.

Drone flies over French naval communications site airspace

© AFP Photo / Dominique Faget

An unidentified drone has been spotted over a naval communications center near Paris. A police helicopter deployed to the scene failed to intercept the intruder which had been surveying the strategically sensitive site.

The small drone made a total of three flights over the Sainte-Assise command and control centre over the weekend in yet another occurrence in a series of similar drones incidents in France in recent weeks, reported.

The sensitive facility, guarded day and night, features very high antennas - some over 200 meters high - and a powerful transmitter that ensures communication with French submarines at sea.

Police said on Sunday, that only two of the drone's flights were recorded, prompting a police helicopter dispatch which failed to intercept the drone - or what may have been two lookalike drones.

The triangular grey machine, about a meter and a half wide, was first spotted on Saturday above the D 346 highway near Cesson-la-Foret flying towards the base. Then, the drone "flew over the center of Sainte-Assise three times," the anonymous Le Parisien source said.

Police reinforcements were called in after the first reports of a suspicious UAV, but failed to intercept the same or a "similar" drone when it returned for another flyover. An official at local police headquarters told the French publication that, this was "the first time" they had faced "this type of situation."

Yet another source told that similar drone incidents had previously happened at the Sainte-Assise facility, claiming that one of the devices even crashed at the site.

Since last October at least 60 drone overflights have been recorded over sensitive sites in France such as nuclear power plants, or the city of Paris, according to the Interior Minister, Bernard Cazeneuve.

In January, suspicious drones had reportedly been detected several times near the military site of de l'Île Longue, home port of four nuclear submarines. The aviation police (GTA) is now responsible for the investigation of the latest incident.

Nemtsov murder suspect blows himself up with grenade

© Reuters

Zaur Dadayev, charged with involvement in the murder of Boris Nemtsov, speaks inside a defendants' cage in Moscow on Sunday.

A suspect in the murder of Russian opposition politician Boris Nemtsov blew himself up with a grenade as police tried to detain him in Chechnya, it has been reported.

Officers surrounded the man at an apartment in Grozny on Saturday evening, but he was killed by a hand grenade that exploded as he tossed it towards them, a law enforcement source told .

Another of the six suspects, Zaur Dadayev, reportedly admitted on Sunday that he was involved in the killing, the judge said.

The judge at Moscow's Basmanny court ordered that Dadayev be held in custody until April 28, a Reuters reporter in the courtroom said.

© AFP/Getty

An unidentified suspect is detained over the killing of Boris Nemtsov in Moscow.

Russia's Federal Security Service said on Saturday that two men, Dadayev and Anzor Gubashev, had been detained on suspicion of murdering Mr. Nemtsov, a former deputy prime minister who was shot dead as he walked on a bridge near the Kremlin with his girlfriend on February 27.

More were arrested in the latest operation, and five people in all appeared in court over the killing on Sunday morning.

The assassination prompted worldwide condemnation and thousands of people attended a memorial service for the politician in Moscow last week. Mr. Nemtsov was an outspoken critic of Vladimir Putin, Russia's president, and his family and friends believe he was killed for his political stance.


Russian policemen guard the yard of Basmanny district court.

The two suspects, who were reportedly detained in the North Caucasus republic of Ingushetia, are expected to be formally arrested at a hearing at Moscow's Basmanny Court on Sunday. Officials have suggested they are suspected hitmen and that the masterminds behind the murder are still at large.

Aymani Dadayeva, Mr. Dadayev's mother, told Russian media that her son served for ten years in the "North" battalion in Chechnya, an interior ministry unit headed by relatives of Ramzan Kadyrov, the republic's fiercely pro-Putin leader.

A press release from Mr. Kadyrov's press service shows that a Zaur Dadayev serving in interior ministry forces in Chechnya was awarded with a medal issued by Dmitry Medvedev, Russia's then president, in 2010. It was unclear if it was the same man and Mr. Kadyrov, who frequently accuses Russian opposition figures of being agents of Western intelligence services, has yet to comment on the detentions.

, a tabloid news website with links to Russian police and security services, said that Mr. Gubashev was a security guard at a supermarket in Moscow region. The site published video footage of the home he shared with his brother in Odintsovo district near Moscow, and of the two men during a recent visit to their grandmother in Ingushetia.

Albert Barakhayev, a senor security official in Ingushetia, told Russian news agencies that the two suspects were detained in the republic. He said that Mr. Gubashev's brother had also been taken into custody. said the brother was a truck driver.

In televised comments, Mrs. Dadayeva said she believed her son was innocent. "Please understand correctly," she said. "He served honourably and very bravely in the army of the Chechen Republic, for Russia. Please find the killer. This is a mistake, a very big mistake. He could not have done this."

Zurpan Gubasheva, Mr Gubashev's mother, said she would "never believe" that her sons were guilty. "They were never aggressive, they never took anything from anybody," she told . "When we needed to kill a chicken we had to ask the neighbours."

Ilya Yashin, an opposition activist and friend of Mr. Nemtsov, said on Saturday that it was too early to judge whether the detention of the suspects was a significant development in the investigation. He urged investigators to find those who ordered the killing.

SOTT FOCUS: Navigating the news - or how to cut through media lies

msm media

We are swamped with news every single day. We all say that the media lie, but there's a problem: most events are usually portrayed in a contradictory fashion in different media outlets. So while we have access to a lot of information and we know that a large part, maybe even the majority of the reported news in mainstream media (but also in alternative media), is either wrong or plain propaganda - COINTELPRO - how can we know what's really going on?

Take the recent murder of the Russian opposition figure Boris Nemtsov. Most Western mainstream media squarely point to the Russian state as the perpetrator, or some rogue elements within it, and by extension, to its president Vladimir Putin. At the very least, they suggest it and perhaps attribute some attitude of facilitation or laissez-faire in order to harvest any potentially beneficial political fall-out. The other side calls it a false-flag operation, aided and abetted by Western powers to create chaos and inflame tensions within Russia, to create a "critical mass" that would, at some point in the future, get rid of the current leaders of Russia and impose a new government more in line with Western economic and geopolitical aspirations.

How can we ever get a clear idea of the truth behind the news and where the responsibility lies for what happens in the world with any degree of certainty?

In order to get to a reasonable understanding of current - or past - events, and to get to a reasonably well-defined idea of who is pulling the strings behind any given event, we're going to need to need a useful methodology. Of course, for some events it is easier than others. Sometimes information is scarce and the party responsible will do everything to cover their tracks. Some events are buried in the past and much of the information is simply not easily accessible anymore, altogether missing, or available only to a handful of specialized individuals with the right access and accreditation.

The components of this methodology are the following:

  1. History tends to repeat itself

  2. Facts - especially, early facts

  3. Cui bono

  4. Bias

  5. Intuition

Let's have a look at each more closely.

1. History

false flag

It is a sad fact, that history tends to repeat itself. For any event there is likely another that has been orchestrated in a similar manner. False-flag operations are a good example. The history of false-flag events is as old as human history.

The burning of Rome in 64 AD is commonly attributed to the emperor Nero, although he probably wasn't responsible for the fire. It seems to have been a combination of strong winds and the geographical location of the fires that resulted in Rome burning for 5 days. Nero often is portrayed as a maniacal psychopath who sung from his balcony as the city was engulfed in flames. But whoever Nero was and whatever he did or didn't do, one thing that Nero certainly did, after the fire was under control, was to "not let a crisis go to waste": if anything bad happens, point the finger at your enemy. The enemy happened to be a new religious sect, whose followers refused to worship the emperor and who denied personal possession: the Christians, allegedly. If we can trust this bit of history, events were manipulated in a way to produce a scapegoat and use it for political expedience.

Another well-known false-flag operation was the burning of the Reichstag, the parliament house of the German Empire in 1933. Hitler assured everyone that the communists had started the fire, which the next day led to the proclamation of the Reichstag decree, which suspended most civil liberties and sent Germany firmly onto the road to fascism and ultimate destruction. Today it is quite certain that the Nazis were - directly or indirectly - responsible for the fire.

In modern times 9-11 comes to mind. For anyone who has studied the events only superficially, the official version is incompatible with reason, facts on the ground, and even the physical laws of nature. It is totally inconceivable that a bunch of Arab terrorists, armed with box cutters and operating out of caves in Afghanistan, would have been able to dupe and overwhelm the trillion-dollar military and security apparatus of the US. At present it is not entirely clear who really planned and executed the destruction of the World Trade towers (there were three, not two, destroyed in the attack, by the way), and how exactly they did it, but the evidence points to a mixture of "rogue elements" within the Bush administration, members of the financial elite and elements of the Mossad (Israeli secret intelligence service) and Saudi intelligence.

The point is, if something happens today that seems unique, it probably has happened before. The diligent student of history will be able to see parallels and gain insight from it.

The problem here again is that mainstream historians more often than not just toe the party line. A good example is the history of the First World War. Mainstream history teaches that Germany started WWI. In reality, as Docherty and MacGregor show in their seminal work Hidden History: The Secret Origins of the First World War, a secret cabal of British officials and financiers plotted and advanced an agenda to drag Germany into a war for over ten years before it officially broke out. At the turn of the 19th century, German industry had begun to outcompete the British and made an impact on territories abroad (mainly Africa) that the British traditionally viewed as "their own". The authors meticulously describe the strategies employed by this secret elite to further their war agenda.

And the same strategies are in place today, so history tends to repeat itself, as the same time-tested elements of control and manipulation are used again and again on an unsuspecting populace.

Briefly summarized, they are: control of the press; control of the political parties, so that it doesn't matter which party wins; control of the economy through banks and multinational corporations; and buying and corrupting "suitable" persons of influence, who then (willingly or forcibly) do the bidding of their masters.

And once you know these strategies, you can more easily see through the lies and deceptions. It's an old game.

2) Facts - especially early facts

warning conspiracy theory ahead sign

In the early stages of an event, when everything is chaotic and the pullers of strings haven't yet been able to scrub inconvenient facts (mainly from online publications and other internet sites) and guide the narrative into the direction they want, facts often surface that directly contradict one line of argumentation. They will later be removed from any official record, and will commonly be debunked as "conspiracy theories".

Whenever someone calls another a "conspiracy theorist" you can be pretty sure that they are protecting some vital piece of information or trying to keeping the public eye from some important fact, whether intentionally or not. "Debunking" inconvenient facts is most efficient when the person revealing them is actively ridiculed. That way, their information is rendered unimportant due to their perceived status or credibility. Who believes a clown, a crazy nut-job?

Take for instance the 2012 Aurora shooting, in which witnesses consistently spoke of there being two shooters present in the cinema - a fact that quickly was scrubbed from the internet and newswires. Again, the Aurora shooting had all the hallmarks of a false-flag event and the presence of two shooters directly contradicted the disseminated meme of the "lone nutcase" shooter, who allegedly perpetrated the crime. So it pays to note any details early in these events that might not fit the official narrative, again giving us some idea as to where the real perpetrators might be hiding. And these ill-fitting facts will quickly disappear in the fog of the events, as they unfold.

Some facts that have penetrated the public consciousness too far cannot be easily scrubbed, even by the Powers That Be. These inconvenient facts get a special treatment - again a time-honoured process. They either get vastly underreported, swept under the rug, or completely ignored. If that is not possible, they will be discarded as "irrelevant", as "anomalies", or they will again insinuate an evil agenda to everyone who rightly dares to bring them up for debate. Common practice is to denigrate the questioner as "unpatriotic" or as taking side with the "enemy" - "you are either with us, or you are against us!". Thus a discussion about the pertinence of these inconvenient facts is stifled. These inconvenient facts, once dropped from the official narrative, quickly vanish from public consciousness in our ever-faster news cycles. Another item - often very trivial in nature - is raised for pubic consumption, either a sporting event, or the misdeeds of some celebrity.

Facts speak their own language, and whoever wants to get to the bottom of things should pay attention to them - especially to those items that seem to suddenly go missing from the mainstream narrative and that are reported at the early phases of an event, when spin has not yet been able to cover the tracks.

3) Cui bono


The third point I'd like to raise is cui bono - Latin for "to whose benefit?" This is probably one of the most important points in analysing events in the world. Very few events - if any, with the exception of accidents - just happen randomly. Most of them are carefully staged and executed. The organisation of such events may be quite complex and require thorough preparation and a considerable amount of money. So there needs to be a benefit for the perpetrators to go to such lengths.

Take the above-mentioned murder of Nemtsov. It just doesn't make any sense that Putin would order this murder (or let it happen), as the Western MSM implies. Nemtsov was a political nobody, even within the not very strong political opposition in Russia. Russians firmly stand behind Putin, as recent polls have demonstrated - by the tune of up to 85% of the population (compare that to any Western leader!). What possible benefit could Putin ever derive by killing him? He would be pouring oil onto the fire and would make his own position even more difficult.

But take Washington - they have everything to gain from this assassination. They can point the finger at Putin again, compare him to Hitler and rouse anti-Russian sentiments within Russia and abroad. The West is hell bent on starting a war with Russia - through the proxy of the Ukraine crisis - because Russia is in the way of the hegemonic plans of the Western elites. The motivation in the general population to go to war is generally pretty low in most parts of the world, except for the psychopathic neoconservative hawkish elites in Washington, NATO and the EU, who try to save the downfall of the USA into political and financial oblivion by starting another war. To follow their leaders down the path of war, the people need to be whipped up into a frenzy. The best way to achieve this is through fear of an enemy that has only one wish - our own destruction. This legitimizes our "self-defence", a cause for which millions of young soldiers have gone to war and to their slaughter. War is always a distraction, and according to Clausewitz, the great strategist on war, always serves two fronts - within the country and without. And for the most part, the inner front is the more important.

So by answering the question of who benefits most from any controversial event happening in the world, we are already a big step closer to understanding who is pulling the strings. This is the extended version of "follow the money". Often it is not money directly that points into the right direction, but power over certain groups or countries and access to resources. Which in the end, of course, comes down to money.

4) Bias


Bias is human and affects all of us. Bias is defined as "an inclination of temperament or outlook to present or hold a partial perspective, often accompanied by a refusal to consider the possible merits of alternative points of view". Normally bias can be overcome by rational appraisal of the facts. When I hold a certain viewpoint, and I am presented with facts that directly contradict this view, and the facts prove to be grounded in objectivity, the obvious thing to do would be to change my view. Unfortunately, not all people seem to be able to do that. One personality type especially - the "authoritarian follower" as described by Bob Altemeyer in his book The Authoritarians - is unable to change his of her view in the face of contradictory facts. Altemeyer characterises authoritarian followers as follows:

They are highly submissive to established authority, aggressive in the name of that authority, and conventional to the point of insisting everyone should behave as their authorities decide.

They are fearful and self-righteous and have a lot of hostility that they readily direct toward various out-groups. They are easily incited, easily led, rather un-inclined to think for themselves, largely impervious to facts and reason, and rely instead on social support to maintain their beliefs. They bring strong loyalty to their in-groups, have thick-walled, highly compartmentalized minds, use a lot of double standards in their judgments, are surprisingly unprincipled at times, and are often hypocrites.

But they are also Teflon-coated when it comes to guilt. They are blind to themselves, ethnocentric and prejudiced, and as closed-minded as they are narrowminded. They can be woefully uninformed about things they oppose, but they prefer ignorance and want to make others become as ignorant as they are. They are also surprisingly uninformed about the things they say they believe in, and deep, deep, deep down inside many of them have secret doubts about their core beliefs. But they are very happy, highly giving, and quite zealous. In fact, they are about the only zealous people around nowadays in North America, which explains a lot of their success in their endless (and necessary) pursuit of converts.

The percentage of these authoritarian followers is about 25% of the whole population, so quite a high number. They will follow what authorities tell and demand of them without much thought, and without much moral reasoning. It's enough for them to know that orders come from "above", from the authority, whether this is the government, their religion or their boss. "Daddy knows best!" is their motto. And if they are presented with facts that run counter to their beliefs, they will become very aggressive and will attack "the messenger", and this will paradoxically increase their adherence to their erroneous beliefs.

So the first thing anyone who wishes to get to the bottom of events needs to do is to be conscious of their own beliefs and world views. We take a lot of things for granted, because that is what we were inculcated with in our formative years, and these often don't hold up to scrutiny. To change one's view, to "kill the sacred cows", is an enormously painful, but essential process, if one is to develop the faculty to analyse events in a dispassionate frame of mind. Only when we know our own vulnerabilities, our own mechanical beliefs, are we then able to accept viewpoints that might be contrary to what we held dear up to now.

5) Intuition


This last point is the most vague and also the most problematic. It is very much under the influence of bias.

Who hasn't heard this small niggling voice in their gut (gut-feeling) telling them that something just wasn't right? But we often disregard these voices, if we hear them at all - and wonder, after the fact, why we didn't heed their call. Intuition alone is not very precise and effective, but combined with rational thought it can be quite helpful. Intuition comes from the right hemisphere, which often can read things the left, more conscious hemisphere blissfully ignores.

But to be able to use it in an intelligent way, we first need to be aware of our biases and irrational beliefs, because these will otherwise completely overpower that small niggling voice or hunch.

In the same way, intuition can guide us in regards to information. The right hemisphere is able to recognize patterns that the left hemisphere is unaware of. But to fully engage this process, it is important to make it conscious. Once the pattern has seeped into the conscious mind, it's the left hemisphere's job to validate it with facts and reasoning.

These are the five components I try to engage when analysing news and trying to get a handle on complex events that unfold "in real time". More often than not you will see the MSM trying to obscure the facts, and if that fails, they'll just "disregard the screamers". The MSM in our world are controlled by only six corporations, and they are all firmly entrenched in the military-security-industrial complex. In that sense, the internet is a boon and a curse - a boon, because we get access to news agencies and bloggers outside the direct sphere of influence of the MSM; a curse, because the Powers That Be have of course realized the same thing and are actively managing and influencing the discourse on the net by inserting trolls, attacking dissenters and creating controlled opposition, thus effectively neutralising and drowning opposing voices.

And that is the reason why we need a methodology to sift through the heaps of rubbish, to extract that grain of truth that will lead us to a better understanding of current events.

Because after all - knowledge is power!

This entry passed through the Full-Text RSS service - if this is your content and you're reading it on someone else's site, please read the FAQ at http://bit.ly/1xcsdoI.

Europe, the morally bankrupt union


The European Union is busy accomplishing something truly extraordinary: it is fast becoming such a spectacular failure that people don't even recognize it as one. People have no idea, they just think: this can't possibly be true, and they continue with their day. They should think again. Because the Grand European Failure is bound to lead to real life consequences soon, and they'll be devastating. The union that was supposed to put an end to all fighting across the continent, is about to be the fuse that sets off a range of battles.

To its east, the EU is involved in a braindead attempt at further expansion - it has only one idea when it comes to size: bigger is always better - an attempt that is proving to be such a disaster that heads will roll in the Brussels corridors no matter what. Europe has joined the US and NATO very enthusiastically in creating not just a failed state, but a veritable imitation of Hiroshima, in Ukraine, right on its own borders. The consequences of this will haunt the EU (or if it doesn't last, which is highly plausible, its former members) not just for weeks or months or years, but for many decades.

The carefully re-crafted relationship with Russia, which took 25 years to build, was destroyed again in hardly over a year, something for which Angela Merkel deserves so much blame it may well end up being her main political legacy. Vladimir Putin, and Russia as a nation, will not easily forget the humiliation the west has thrown at them, the accusations, the innuendo, the attempts to draw them into a war they never wanted and in which they see no advantage for any party involved.

That US warmongers would try and set this up, is something Moscow has long known and expected; that Merkel would stand side by side with the likes of John McCain and Victoria Nuland is seen as a deep if not ultimate betrayal between neighbors and friends. Russia will present Germany with the bill when it feels the time is right. Obviously, all other EU countries that have behaved in the insane ways they have over the past year will receive that same bill, or worse.

To be sure, this week we've seen the first protest voices from Germany regarding NATO's vacuous attempts to draw Russia into the battlefields of Ukraine. But those voices are years too late. They can't undo the damage already done. They may keep American weapons from reaching Kiev - and even that's a big maybe - but they can't bring back either the lives of the victims, the Ukrainian economy or the trust lost between east and west.

To its south, the EU faces perhaps its most shameful - or should that be 'shameless'? - problem, because it doesn't do anything about it: the thousands of migrants who try to cross the Mediterranean to get to Europe but far too often perish in the process.

The Italians spend themselves poor, trying to save as many migrants as they can (170,000 last year!), and there are private citizens - Americans even - pouring in millions of dollars, but the EU itself has zero comprehensive policy as people keep dying on its doorstep all the time. The official line out of Brussels is that the EU polices only the European coastline, but the drownings mostly take place off the Lybian coast. At least Italy and others do sail there to alleviate the human misery.

And now the problem threatens to expand into a whole new and additional dimension, with Muslim extremists like ISIS set to travel alongside the migrants to gain entry into Europe with the aim of launching terror attacks. Having turned a blind eye to the issue for years, Europe will now find itself woefully unprepared for this new development. Still, expect more bluster and brute force where there was never any reason or need for it. That the EU's MO today.

It's not just in the south either that migrant problems are rampant: the Ukraine is a hotbed migrant route that Europe has lost control over for obvious reasons, and there have for example been thousands of African refugees camping out in the French port of Calais for what feels like forever, desperate to make it to Britain (I know, God knows why..).

To its west, the EU has Britain, which by the time it gets to vote on Europe may well have its belly so full of Brussels that no scare campaign helps anymore. Then Britain will make a sharp turn right, as many other countries will. Which is exclusively due to the EU, and to all the domestic politicians across the entire spectrum who are so blind to the failings of the Union that the only option voters have if they want out is to choose right extremism.

To its north, the EU doesn't seem to have much to worry about right now, but don't you worry: they'll think of something. Count for instance on Brussels to join Denmark in its Arctic land claims, and offend Moscow some more while they're at it.

But the biggest failure is not even in politics outside of its own territory. The union rots from within. Which starts with its moral bankruptcy, obviously. If you allow yourself to be an active accomplice in the death of over 6000 East Ukrainians, and you simply look away as thousands of migrants die in the seas off your shores, it should not be surprising that you just as easily allow for a humanitarian crisis, like the one in Greece, to develop within your own borders. It comes with the territory, so to speak.

And make no mistake: this absence of moral values is something Europe in its present form will never be able to claim back. Never. The EU has shown itself to be a gross moral failure, and that's it: the experiment is over. They can't come back in 10 or 20 years and say: now we want it back, we're different now. You'd need to have a whole new union, new rules and principles, and new leadership.

It's like the US, which once (post WW) had an enormous moral high ground in the world to walk on, and it's completely gone. Nobody trusts anything America says anymore. America has lost its place in the world as guardian of freedom and democracy, and so has Europe. All they can do now to exert influence is to engage in political scheming and military sabre rattling. Everything else is gone.

What will undo Europe from within is its economic policies. Which are strongly linked to the same moral values issue: inside a union, you cannot let thousands of people go without food and health care while others, a few hundred miles away, drive new Mercs and Beamers over a brand new Autobahn. That's not a union. That's a feudal society. And those don't hold.

In practical terms: Mario Draghi will launch ECB Q€ this month, and it will be as dismal a failure as the entire eurozone project. Because the ECB will need to drop interest rates into very negative territory to keep the ship afloat a little longer, and because Draghi won't find the sovereign bonds he wants to buy, available in the market.

If Draghi acted in the interest of the entire eurozone and all its citizens, he'd be busy restructuring bank debt in Germany, France, Italy, Belgium, all over the eurozone, instead of playing these monopoly money games. But Draghi's only pumping more 'wealth' into the broke banking system, €1.1 trillion more, to be specific.

Eventually, this refusal to restructure a bankrupt system will bring bail-ins like the one playing out in Austria right now, closer, across the currency zone (though mostly not before 2016). And by the time that process spreads to ever more banks, which is inevitable, it will have consequences Draghi cannot oversee. And they'll be of his own making. If he just did his work today, and forced banks to get healthy or close down, it wouldn't end nearly as messy and chaotic.

Europe's leaders across all of its institutions are completely lost, whether it comes to intelligence, morals or simple decency. They're all too willing to trample upon their own people in order to have access to power. And that can only lead to more misery.

Stick a fork in their ass and turn them over. They're done.

Terror 101: Scottish primary school kids get terrorism homework

Kids in school

© rt.com

Scottish school children and the topic of global terrorism. Children "A" - School "F"

A Scottish school has come under fire for issuing primary school kids homework featuring questions about global terrorist organizations. Children were asked to describe the various tactics of Al-Qaeda, the IRA and Hamas.

Children, some as young as seven at New Stevenston Primary in Motherwell, North Lanarkshire, were handed worksheets with a cartoon of an exploding bomb.

cartoon of bomb

© http://ind.pn/1AvHbrz

Homework that refers to Palestinians as 'terrorists.'

One of the exercises required pupils to consider why "Palestinians feel that they have the RIGHT to use terrorism against the Israelis." The students were encouraged to give two examples of why, and to describe two of the methods used.

Copies of the worksheets were later posted online, provoking complaints from parents and campaigners.

Another question - presented in a multiple-choice format - involved identifying the two most prominent terror groups in Northern Ireland. Pupils were asked to explain the aims of Loyalists and Republicans.

A North Lanarkshire Council Learning and Leisure Services spokesperson told the the homework, called "Terrorism and Terror - Case Study: Separatists," should not have been issued and is obsolete. The spokesperson said the council is "contacting all schools to ensure this particular material is no longer used."

They explained that the project had been part of a social studies program, which was meant to provide pupils with a "greater understanding of the nature of different conflicts and their regional, global and historical significance "

The incident comes only a day after another learning resource designed for use in British schools - this time about the British armed forces - was slammed by campaigners and military veterans.

The 58-page Armed Forces Learning Resource 2014 was branded a "poor quality learning resource"by the authors of a paper criticizing the Department of Education initiative.

They told RT: "If this was a warts-and-all look at the armed forces, it would not be a problem. Instead it is a glossy promotional brochure that glorifies 'military values' and sanitizes war and has no place in education."

GCC: The Muslim Judas

The file photo shows former Qatari Emir Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani (R) shaking hands with Tzipi Livni, Israel’s ex-minister for foreign affairs.

Suspicions have been growing for years about a growing behind-the-scenes relationship between Israel and members of the [Persian] Gulf Cooperation Council. The name that has come up a lot over the years is Qatar, with which the Israeli relationship is a lot more open and has spanned trade to even face-to-face meetings and handshakes between high-level officials.

The past numbers of years, though, have consistently brought forth two names in the more secretive relationship between Israel and the Persian Gulf Arab monarchies: The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.

The most recent example of a blurring of lines between Israeli and Saudi policies, for example, is Saudi media's 'tacit' support for Netanyahu's much derided speech at the US Congress in opposition to essentially any deal between the West and Iran over a falsely-hyped nuclear issue.

In fact, Saudi media attacks on Obama, and in support of Netanyahu, had already begun in the lead-up to the Israeli PM's US Congress address.

It may be an understatement for us to say that for the Saudi establishment to quite openly ask, 'Who could believe that Netanyahu has taken a better stand than Obama with regard to the Iranian nuclear file?' is 'tacit' support. This is an especially pertinent sentiment when seen in line with recent reports about the likely Saudi approval of Israeli flyovers over its territory in the hypothetical case of an Israeli attack on Iran.

To look further back, even with the death of King Abdullah, and the ushering in of King Salman onto the throne, 'analysts' and 'experts' were confident the secret aligning of Israeli-Saudi interests would continue unabated. The aligning has less to do with who is at the helm, but seemingly, the very core understood interests of both entities.

It is not just Iran which has been at the forefront of the Saudi sell-out of Muslim interests. Many said that during Israel's latest summer offensive on besieged Gaza, the Saudi monarchy's official silence as well as media campaign against Hamas was in line with supporting Israel for the invasion, among other reported forms of help the kingdom was forthcoming with.

Since the death of its founder, Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, the UAE has undergone a slow but noticeable transition. While even under Sheikh Zayed support for the Palestinian cause was always just limited to condemnations and the common aid shipments, since his passing, his sons and competing Emirates' Sheikhs have worked to align themselves more enthusiastically with US, and by default, Israeli interests.

It is now an open secret that the Emirati Sheikhs are obsessed with arms and security, and UAE media as well as behind-the-scenes dealings reflect this. At the end of 2014, a report came out about private undeclared flights between Abu Dhabi and Tel Aviv, all to further security-related trade between the UAE and Israel. The UAE has positioned itself such that it can collaborate with Israel on 'shared concerns.'

In case anyone thought that a stretch too far, the same media outlet then followed up with proof of such security trade in a more recent report on the use of an Israeli system of mass surveillance in the UAE's capital where 'every person is monitored from the moment they leave their doorstep to the moment they return to it.' .

Controversy at the beginning of 2014 due to the visit of the Israeli Energy and Water Minister Silvan Shalom to attend an International Renewable Energy Agency meeting in Abu Dhabi resulted in Kuwait pulling out of the meeting. The UAE had to assure everyone, after much criticism on social media, that its declared policy of not recognizing nor dealing with Israel had not changed. A sign that the governments of the region know that, for now, it is best to keep such things hidden.

What are we to conclude when countries that should be aligned more with Palestinian and Muslim interests increasingly align themselves with the interests of the settler apartheid entity known as Israel?

For all the pomp and ceremony in the Persian Gulf Arab monarchies, it is hard to escape their respective hypocrisy towards the Muslim world. While sitting comfortably in their gold-laced palaces, which they'd rather keep out of the public's eye, as observed in the Saudi anger at US media when it published pictures of the Saudi king's desert palace on an Obama visit, these men sell-out their nations and region.

That they have never seriously countered the Israeli occupation with any worthy move to defend oppressed Palestinians, regardless of their infinite riches and influence is truly shameful. Instead, they spend on arms and training to suppress those seeking freedom in Bahrain, and to support militants, many of whom have joined the [un-]Islamic State in Syria and Iraq.

Their obsession and hatred for the Islamic Republic of Iran blinds them to the realities on the ground. They are being used by an enemy who is taking advantage of the prize (the entire Middle East region, its resources, its peoples, its talents, and even its faith) they have awarded to it on a silver platter.

One must, at some point, ask these kings of the Arab world: where and with whom do your priorities lie? Why do your policies continue to align with that of Israel? When will you awaken from your slumber and blinding hatred?

Waqar Rizvi is a political critic, with a background in divinity, philosophy, and engineering. He's lived and studied in the UAE, Canada, and now Iran, and is originally from Pakistan, thus giving him a wide range of interests related to Islamic, North American, South Asian, and Middle Eastern Affairs. He has trained as a news presenter under Canadian broadcast journalist and voice coach, Cathy Sobocan. Before joining PressTV as a news anchor, a position which he currently holds, Waqar was an English teacher and radio host at the Call of Islam Radio station. He has also helped write, edit, and translate texts related to religion, as well as documentary and program scripts.

Interview with Katerina Sergidou of the Greek Syriza party

Katerina Sergidou, secretary of the coordination committee of Syriza in Athens

Katerina Sergidou, secretary of the coordination committee of Syriza in Athens, is currently in Spain to support the launch of the manifesto "For the change in Greece". "If he's a star that says no to the troika, then he's welcome," she says about Yanis Varoufakis. "Unfortunately, the KKE (Greek Communist Party) would be a very good ally but they didn't want to collaborate with Syriza." Interview by Mario Pais Beiro for eldiario.es

The new Syriza government in Greece has raised hopes across Europe. Their Finance Minister, Yanis Varoufakis, is in contact with the troika and Greece's creditors to renegotiate the payment of the country's debt. With this as a backdrop, Katrina Sergidou, member of the Syriza Coordination Committee in Athens is in Madrid. Her presence is motivated by the presentation of the manifesto "For the change in Greece", a platform seeking popular support for the new Greek government and its demands.

Right now in Greece we are going through a moment of history, the following days are crucial. The new government is working to break the isolation and respond to the blackmail of the troika and the lenders who don't want Syriza to apply the measures they have declared. They don't want Greece to become an example in Europe of a people who have won their dignity and say they aren't going to pay the debt, which isn't ours, and that we don't want memoranda.

For this we need the support of people from Spain and the whole of Europe, that's why the platform being organised here is very important. What we are thinking about now is to constitute these committees in Greece to support the new Government and that they coordinate with others emerging in other parts of Europe. Because behind the government and Yanis Varoufakis there is great support.

For now the EU has decided to blackmail the new government. We know it's a difficult fight. We are asking for more time and we won't turn back. We are fighting to bring down the memorandum. We want a bridging programme and we won't step back from this.

What I mean is that it isn't our responsibility what will happen if they don't accept what we're saying. They don't have a plan B either when they decided that a country such as Greece should have memoranda and such a big debt. That's why we want the support of everyone in Europe. We are going step by step. If they do something similar to what they did to Cyprus, such strong blackmail, then we will see what to do. But really I believe that they don't want a big crisis in the middle of Europe and if that's what they decide, they will have a big problem.

What happens is that when you are the Government, even if you are a left-wing party, you need all the allies you can get. It's a tactic. But our real allies are the people of the south, not the governments. But for now we don't have anything decided. It's a later step. Now we are all concentrating on the negotiations.

As the women that I am, of course I don't like the fact that there are few women in the government; six out of 40 members of the government. But here is a contradiction: yes there are few women in government, but on the other hand, Syriza is the only party that has a feminist policy. We have policies for the real liberation of women, rights for women who work, free child-minding facilities, the right to abortion...

We have many women in the front line of Syriza, but unfortunately not in the highest positions. There is Zoe Konstantopoulou, president of the Greek parliament, the first woman to occupy this position. But yes, it is a big problem, and many of us women who are coordinators and participate in Syriza don't like this decision. But it's a situation that is repeated in other left-wing parties of Europe, it's not just a Syriza problem.

© Alejandro Navarro

A moment from the interview with Katerina Sergidou.

We have achieved that Syriza is a democratic party, we have a lot of debate and we talk a lot about these matters. There are many currents and opinions within the party and we are in constant public discussion. There won't be a problem if we discuss this because when there is a disagreement in Syriza, we debate and we vote. But for now we have decided that we are going to focus on supporting the negotiations with the EU.

If he's a star who says no to the troika, to the memorandum and who fights to get rid of the debt, he's more than welcome.

As I've said before, in Syriza we have many opinions about different matters, among them the alliance with the Independent Greeks. There is one that I share: we must be careful with them, a party that has right-wing and patriotic ideas. But perhaps in this moment there was no other option to form a new government because unfortunately the KKE (Greek Communist Party), who would have been a very good ally, didn't want to collaborate with Syriza.

Also, perhaps in the future there will be laws that we take forward with the KKE and not IG. But as I indicated before, we are going step by step. It's a new situation that we are facing. After 40 years since the end of the dictatorship there hasn't been a left-wing government in Greece. Now is not the time to resolve these things.

The prime minister declared in parliament that one of the first measures to be taken is the citizenship of children of immigrants. This is a decision of the new government. The President of IG announced that he didn't agree and that he will not support this measure. But we hope, and this is very important, to vote it through with the support of the Communist Party. The new government has Syriza as an axis, a left-wing party, and the biggest decisions such as this we take, not IG.

Of course. In the Ministry of Rights and Immigration we have a woman who participated in the anti-racist and anti-fascist movements. We have said that we are going to resolve the immigration camps, that we will try so that all people can live with dignity, no matter where they come from. We have a policy very different to that which other governing parties have had until now.

The danger of fascism has always been there. In Greece a few months ago, Golden Dawn, the neo-Nazi group, had strength in the most densely populated neighbourhoods. But now they have legal problems, they are accused of being a party of criminals. And society bit by bit has started to understand that they are criminals. This is also a task for Syriza, to make the people conscious of the historical struggle of Greece against fascism.

The relationship between both forces is very strong. For example, in the electoral rallies in Greece the people were shouting, "Syriza and Podemos! We will win!" They are the two most important examples in Europe now of the left and radical movements. Obviously we are collaborating and interchanging experiences and, if Syriza achieves the measures that we are proposing to the EU, it will also be a victory for Podemos and the people of Spain.

Family secrets can make you sick: The link between childhood abuse and health

childhood abuse

© Maria Fabrizio / NPR

In the 1980s, Dr. Vincent Felitti, now director of the California Institute of Preventive Medicine in San Diego, discovered something potentially revolutionary about the ripple effects of child sexual abuse. He discovered it while trying to solve a very different health problem: helping severely obese people lose weight.

Felitti, a specialist in preventive medicine, was trying out a new liquid diet treatment among patients at a Kaiser Permanente clinic. And it worked really well. The severely obese patients who stuck to it lost as much as 300 pounds in a year.

"Oh yeah, this was really quite extraordinary," recalls Felitti.

But then, some of the patients who'd lost the most weight quit the treatment and gained back all the weight — faster than they'd lost it. Felitti couldn't figure out why. So he started asking questions.

First, one person told him she'd been sexually abused as a kid. Then another.

"You know, I remember thinking, 'Well, my God, this is the second incest case I've seen in [then] 23 years of practice,' " Felitti says. "And so I started routinely inquiring about childhood sexual abuse, and I was really floored."

More than half of the 300 or so patients said yes, they too had been abused.

Felitti wondered if he'd discovered one of the keys to some cases of obesity and all the health problems that go along with it.

That possibility made him very curious: What if having a bad childhood could affect health in other ways?

The idea that childhood abuse and neglect could affect adult health was a revelation to Felitti. But a poll released Monday (from NPR, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health) finds that the public widely believes this to be the case today.

How To Measure The Troubles Of Childhood

As he continued to explore the idea in the 1990s, Felitti got together with an epidemiologist named Dr. Rob Anda, who at the time was on staff at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. They came up with a set of questions to trace, in a larger group, how tough childhood experiences might affect adult health.

They called their work the study of Adverse Childhood Experiences, or ACE.

You can take the ACE quiz here.

First developed in the 1990s, the 10 questions of the Adverse Childhood Experiences test are designed to take a rough measure of a difficult childhood.

The 17,000 or so patients in this study were mostly middle-aged white people, upper- and middle-class, from San Diego. Felitti and Anda asked them to think back to their childhoods and list how many of 10 different types of adverse childhood experiences they'd had, including sexual, physical or emotional abuse; neglect; loss of a parent due to death, divorce or incarceration; mental illness in a parent; and drug or alcohol abuse by a parent.

The researchers wanted to get a sense of how being exposed to these different categories of adverse experience early in life might affect long-term health. So, on Felitti and Anda's score sheet, having undergone any one of those different categories of trauma or neglect before age 18 would add one point to a person's ACE score. Whether someone had been sexually abused one time, or dozens of times, the experience would count as one point in their study. Being habitually abused, and losing a parent to death, would add up to an ACE score of 2.

Even though Felitti and Anda were just getting a rough measure of the severity of the patients' experiences, when Anda's team at the CDC crunched the numbers, he was shocked.

One in 10 of the patients surveyed had grown up with domestic violence. Two in 10 had been sexually abused. Three in 10 had been physically abused.

"Just the sheer scale of the suffering — it was really disturbing to me," Anda remembers. "I actually ... I remember being in my study and I wept."

And then came the part where he found out what happened to all those people when they grew up: "very dramatic increases in pretty much every one of the major public health problems that we'd included in the study," he says.

Cancer, addiction, diabetes and stroke (just to name a few) occurred more often among people with high ACE scores.

Now, not everyone who'd had a rough childhood developed a serious illness, of course.

But, according to the findings, adults who had four or more "yeses" to the ACE questions were, in general, twice as likely to have heart disease, compared to people whose ACE score was zero. Women with five or more "yeses" were at least four times as likely to have depression as those with no ACE points.

When ACEs Are Very High

Carol Redding, one of Felitti's patients, answered yes to every single ACE question, and she ended up with an ACE score of 10. Ten out of 10.

Today Redding lives in a tidy, peaceful house outside San Diego. The walls of her home office are lined with degrees and certificates — at age 58, she's working on a Ph.D. From the outside, she's a success.

But inside — in her body as well as her mind, Redding says — she has been battling all her life.

She was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder, as a result of those childhood experiences. "I had the flashbacks," she says, "the depression, the anxiety — Oh, my lord! Anxiety, like ... if it were a tangible thing living in the house with me, I'd need another room just to house that."

In childhood, she was diagnosed with high blood pressure. In adulthood, she had a thyroid condition and has survived three different types of cancer: leukemia, breast cancer and lymphoma.

Learning about the ACE study and her own results made Redding wonder if all of that — maybe even the cancer — might be partly connected to her troubled childhood. After so many years, all of a sudden, "all those very confused, very scattered puzzle pieces of my life just locked together in one big, amazingly clear picture," she says.

This revelation meant so much to Redding that she started a newsletter about the ACE study and later worked for the CDC, publicizing the study's results.

And she did all that because one big question kept nagging at her: Why didn't more people know about this research?

Medical Community Initially Skeptical

Anda says that when he and Felitti first published their results in the late 1990s, the response from the medical community was frustrating.

"I thought that people would flock to this information," Anda says, "and be knocking on our doors, saying, 'Tell us more. We want to use it.' And the initial reaction was really — silence."

In fact, it took a long time to even get the study published. A number of top medical journals rejected the article, Anda says, "because there was intense skepticism."

Sarah Floud, an epidemiologist at Oxford University in England, says she understands that skepticism and thinks it may still be warranted.

"An association doesn't necessarily mean that one thing causes the other thing," says Floud. She thinks doctors and patients should take care not to overinterpret an ACE score — it's not a crystal ball that predicts health or illness.

Rather, Floud says, this rough indicator of a difficult childhood is just one risk factor in the mix with lots of others, such as your genes, your diet, whether you drink heavily or smoke, for example — factors known to be strongly related to some illnesses, like heart disease, diabetes and cancer.

So if you're otherwise healthy, not a smoker or a drinker, and not obese, can childhood trauma alone increase the likelihood of diseases like cancer and heart disease?

"I don't think there's quite so much evidence for that," Floud says. "But that's not to say that it might not be true. It's just that ... that seems to be harder to prove."

Now, 15 years after the ACE study came out, some scientists are trying to connect the dots — to get a clearer picture of what exactly adverse childhood experiences do to the body and why the study results came out the way they did.

"Well, you've reshaped the biology of the child," says Megan Gunnar, a developmental psychologist at the University of Minnesota who, for more than 30 years, has been studying the ways children respond to stressful experiences. "This is how nature protects us," Gunnar adds. We all become adapted to living in "the kinds of environments we're born into."

And if you have scary, traumatic experiences when you're small, Gunnar says, your stress response system may, in some cases, be programmed to overreact, influencing the way your mind and body work together. Research in animals and people suggests that the part of the mind that scientists call "executive function" — thought, judgment, self-control — seems to be most affected, she says.

"Over time, especially when you're young, experiences of neglect and abuse and stress impair those circuits," Gunnar says. "You're less able to tell yourself not to eat the ice cream, or smoke the cigarette, or have that additional drink. You're less capable of regulating your own behavior. And that seems to be terribly important for linking early experiences with later health outcomes."

This growing body of research indicates that, right now, the health of millions of children is being shaped by abuse and neglect. As they grow up, these children will be more likely than other children to use behaviors like smoking, drinking and overeating to cope with stress.

Preventing childhood trauma in the first place, Felitti, Anda and their proponents now believe, is one of the biggest opportunities to prevent disease — and save billions in health care costs. It's an opportunity, they say, that American medicine and the health care industry still seem to be missing.

The brain treats real and imaginary objects in the same way

Brain Perception

© Flickr/Raphael Labbe

Does your brain know the difference between your real friends and your imaginary ones?

The human brain can select relevant objects from a flood of information and edit out what is irrelevant. It also knows which parts belong to a whole. If, for example, we direct our attention to the doors of a house, the brain will preferentially process its windows, but not the neighboring houses. Psychologists from Goethe University Frankfurt have now discovered that this also happens when parts of the objects are merely maintained in our memory.

"Perception and memory have mainly been investigated separately until now", explains Benjamin Peters, doctoral researcher at the Institute for Medical Psychology in the working group of Prof. Jochen Kaiser. There are close parallels, for in the same way as we can preferentially process external stimuli, we are also able to concentrate on the memory content that is currently the most important. These are essential skills of our brain, which are closely connected to intelligence and which are impaired in various psychiatric illnesses.

In their study, Peters and colleagues examined "object-based attention", a well-known phenomenon in perception research. This refers to the fact that we automatically extend our attention to the whole object when we attend only part of an object - like the front door and the windows. In the experiment the subjects were asked to direct their attention alternately to one of four screen positions, which formed the ends of each of two artificial objects. In accordance with the principle of object-based attention the subjects were able to shift their attention more quickly between two positions that belonged to the same object than between those that were part of different objects. It was discovered that this effect also occurred when the subjects envisaged these positions only in short-term memory.

The researchers were able to describe the effect physiologically by examining the neuronal activity using magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). As expected, they initially found increased activity at those positions in the cerebral cortex where the currently focused position was represented (visual and parietal cortex). However, this increased activity also extended to the areas in the brain that represent the relevant associated position of the same object, despite the fact that the subject was not concentrating on it.

Peters explains the results of the experiment by saying: "It is remarkable that this effect was observed in regions of the brain that are normally involved in perception, despite the fact that here, objects and positions were only maintained in memory". On the other hand, the regions in which the equidistant positions of the other object are represented remained unchanged.

This concordance of an underlying principle of attention in perception and in memory suggests that it may be possible to attribute many functions of human cognition to a few basic mechanisms.

Goethe University Frankfurt

Star explodes 4 times in this rare phenomenon



Thanks to a rare cosmic phenomenon, astronomers were able to witness an ancient, distant star explode as a supernova not once or twice, but on four separate occasions, according to a research published online Friday in the journal .

According to Space Daily, the supernova occurred directly behind a cluster of large galaxies that had enough combined mass to warp space-time. This forms a cosmic magnifying glass similar to the phenomenon of gravitational lensing, but which creates multiple images of the star.

This effect is known as an Einstein Cross, and the explained that it was first predicted by Albert Einstein's General Theory of Relativity roughly a century ago. Because the cluster was located between the supernova (which was nine billion light years away) and the instrument imaging it, the same explosion showed up around the galaxy four times.

A Michael Bay star

Astronomers have seen Einstein Crosses made by galaxies and black holes before, but marks the first time that they've witnessed the phenomenon with an exploding star, the newspaper noted. In this case, since the supernova occurred so far away, it would have been too faint to be seen from Earth unless it was being magnified by multiple galaxies.

As it turns out, the explosions were actually subjected to gravitational lensing twice. The massive cluster of galaxies originally bent the light of the supernova, likely producing three images, and one of those was bent a second time to produce the fourth one. In all, the light from the explosion was magnified 20 times, and astronomers are calling it a dream discovery.

Dream discovery

"It's perfectly set up, you couldn't have designed a better experiment," Dr. Brad Tucker of The Australian National University's (ANU) Research School of Astronomy and Astrophysics and one of the study's authors, told Space Daily. "You can test some of the biggest questions about Einstein's theory of relativity all at once - it kills three birds with one stone."

While astronomers have conducted searches for this type of phenomenon many times over the last two decades, this Einstein Cross was actually discovered during a search for distant galaxies by Dr. Patrick Kelly of the University of California, Berkeley. Not only did the find allow Kelly and his colleagues to test the Theory of Relativity, it also provided new insight into the amount of dark matter and dark energy in the universe, as well as the strength of gravity.

"It really threw me for a loop when I spotted the four images surrounding the galaxy," Kelly said in a statement. "Basically, we get to see the supernova four times and measure the time delays between its arrival in the different images, hopefully learning something about the supernova and the kind of star it exploded from, as well as about the gravitational lenses.

"It's a wonderful discovery," added Alex Filippenko, a professor of astronomy at UC Berkeley and a member of the research team. "We've been searching for a strongly lensed supernova for 50 years, and now we've found one. Besides being really cool, it should provide a lot of astrophysically important information."

[embedded content]

The sinister treatment of dissent at the BBC


© Jonathan Brady/PA

The treatment of BBC staff involved in the breaking of the Jimmy Savile story is a scandal that has gone largely unnoticed.

Nobody from John Humphrys in the morning to Evan Davis at night dares mention a scandal at the BBC. It undermines their reporting of every abuse whistleblowers reveal. It reinforces the dirty common sense of British life that you must keep your head down if you want to keep your job.

The scandal is simply this: the BBC is forcing out or demoting the journalists who exposed Jimmy Savile as a voracious abuser of girls. As Meirion Jones put it to me: "There is a small group of powerful people at the BBC who think it would have been better if the truth about Savile had never come out. And they aim to punish the reporters who revealed it."

Jones was one of the BBC's best investigative producers. He had suspected that Savile was not the "national treasure" the BBC, NHS, monarchy and public adored, ever since he had seen Savile take girls away in his car from an approved school his aunt ran in the 1970s.

He broke the story which showed that Savile was one of the most prolific sex abusers in British history, and handed the BBC what would have been one of its biggest scoops. If it had run it. Which, of course, it did not. The editor of banned the report. Thus began a cover-up which tore the BBC apart.

A week ago, Jones's managers told him that a temporary assignment on was over. He should have been able to go back to his old job. But there was no old job to go back to. He had been fired.

Jones's reporter on the Savile film was Liz MacKean, who documents the sufferings of the powerless - whether it be raped children in Britain or persecuted gay men in Putin's Russia.

But she spoke out, so the BBC forced her out too. "When the Savile scandal broke," she told me, "the BBC tried to smear my reputation. They said they had banned the film because Meirion and I had produced shoddy journalism. I stayed to fight them, but I knew they would make me leave in the end. Managers would look through me as if I wasn't there. I went because I knew I was never going to appear on screen again."

The BBC press office bridled when I described Jones and MacKean as "whistleblowers". As the Pollard review of the Savile scandal had concluded that BBC management had acted in "good faith", I must not call them that.

If you are tempted to agree, consider the sequel. responded magnificently to the news that the BBC had killed the Savile scoop. It broadcast a special documentary, which earned the highest audience in the programme's history. Jones and MacKean described how their journalism had been suppressed, and went on to document Savile's crimes. How open the BBC is, I thought. What other institution would subject itself to the same level of self-criticism?

What a fool I was. Since then, BBC managers have shifted Tom Giles, the editor of out of news. Peter Horrocks, an executive who insisted throughout the scandal that the BBC must behave ethically, announced last September that he was resigning to "find new challenges". Clive Edwards, who as commissioning editor for current affairs oversaw the documentary, was demoted. The television trade press reported recently that his future is "not yet clear" (which doesn't sound as if he has much of a future at all).

Compare their treatment with those who did nothing to advance the public interest. As the Savile crisis deepened in the autumn of 2012, the BBC brought in Adrian Van Klaveren, the then head of Radio 5, to supervise news. He allowed to falsely imply that Lord McAlpine was a child abuser - an allegation that every journalist who had investigated the child abuse allegations in North Wales could have told him was ridiculous. The disaster of covering up the abuse by the BBC's own celebrity rapist and then falsely accusing an innocent man led to the resignation of the director-general George Entwistle.

But Van Klaveren has been promoted, not squeezed out. He is head of something called "strategic change". Helen Boaden, the BBC head of news at the time of the censorship, is now on the BBC's executive board. Peter Rippon, the editor who blocked Jones and MacKean, now has a comfortable job managing the BBC's archive.

I could go on, but I am sure you are weary of bog-standard jobsworths. The wider point is that the interests of those at the top of an organisation and the interests of the organisation can be miles apart.

If the BBC had exposed Savile, viewers would have admired its honesty. If it had bent over backwards to ensure that Jones and MacKean did not suffer for speaking out, everyone would say that it was behaving as a free institution should, rather than looking like the official broadcaster of a paranoid dictatorship or the board of directors of HSBC.

In the banks, the NHS, the police or the BBC, the greatest threats to those in charge, however, are not threats to the institution but threats to their status. If subordinates can contradict them, how can they justify their salaries and the prestige that goes with them? The Pollard review into Savile showed that status anxiety was generating real hatred at the top of the BBC.

A senior BBC press officer vowed to "drip poison about Meirion's suspected role". He was later promoted. Peter Rippon said that if Jones spoke freely: "I will throw shit at him".

The best aspect of modern culture is that it revolts against such hierarchical control. The computer revolution makes information sharing and cooperative ways of working easy to achieve. But hierarchies have men and women at their summits who will fight as ferociously as BBC executives to protect their position, and prevent democratic change.

The case of Jones and MacKean makes my point. I have reported on it in the and has covered it too. But the Tory press, which daily bashes the BBC, has avoided the story. You only have to look at the to understand why it does not want to encourage insubordination. Its journalists must resign before they can protest against HSBC's control of its news pages.

The power of hierarchies is hard to break. But if you want to fight fraud in the City or the rape of children, it has to be broken. A start can be made by insisting that everyone from John Humphrys in the morning to Evan Davis at night tells the truth about the purge of the BBC's truth tellers.

2014 saw sharp increase in torture of Palestinians detainees by Israel


© Reuters / Suhaib Salem

The instances of torture of Palestinian prisoners by Israeli services soared sharply in the second half of 2014, after the killings of three Jewish teenagers in June, says data from military courts and anti-torture bodies, collected by Haaretz.

All in all, 51 cases of torture were reported in the second half of last year, according to an attorney representing those accused of security offences. The data was obtained by from military courts, and the Public Committee Against Torture in Israel.

"In years past there were a few rare cases. But something has changed," the attorney said.

Twenty-three Palestinians sent a number of complaints of torture they had suffered in 2014 by Shin Bet, Israel's internal security service. Each of the plaintiffs said they experienced several methods of torture.

In the first part of 2014, eight instances of torture were reported. They included beatings and sleep deprivations. However, the second half of the year saw 'darker' methods of interrogation, which included tying up suspects in what is called "banana" and the "frog" positions.

Of fifty-one instances of torture, there were 19 complaints of sleep deprivation, 18 of tying, 12 of beatings and 2 of shaking.

2014 saw 59 torture complaints, which is a rise, compared to 2013 (16 instances of violent means), 2012 (30), and 2011 (27).

Thousands of Palestinian detainees were tortured by Israelis up to 1999, a year when the High Court of Justice prohibited the systematic use of torture. However, it left a small 'window' for Israeli services: an interrogator could claim that there was an urgent need to flout the law. The rules when this "need" can be implemented are not open to the public.

Different types of torture are mentioned in the Shin Bet documents, officials in the military court who saw them told . They include blindfolding, beating, slapping, forcing a suspect to stand for hours with hands at his sides and tying people up in the "banana" position. All these methods are less brutal than covering the head with a sack, tying in the "frog" position and sleep deprivation, say the documents.

draws an example of Mohammed Hatib, a childhood friend of Marwan Kawasme, one the two main suspects in the killings of three Jewish teens in June 2014. Hatib, a Hamas activist, was interrogated by Shin Bet.

At first, he denied any involvement in the murders, but then as his questioning quickly turned into torture, he confessed being a lookout for Kawasme and his accomplice Abu-Aisha on the night of the kidnapping.

However, his 'confession' turned out to untrue, the investigation found. Shin Bet believed that Kawasme and Abu-Aisha might commit another assault and so considered them a "ticking bomb."

"The High Court recognized the need in cases of a 'ticking bomb.'" But no one knows what level of suspicion must be present to use "urgent need" as a justification," Mohammad Hatib's attorney, Fadi Kawasme said.

"After the abduction, Shin Bet used the necessity [clause] in order to investigate people just because they were friends of the attackers," he added.

Shin Bet said it operates "only within the framework of the law and is under internal and external supervision."

All the detainees interrogated by the service "receive all humanitarian rights according to international conventions to which Israel is a signatory and according to Israeli law," the agency added.

Russian police arrest 5 suspects in Nemtsov murder - 1 has confessed

nemtsov suspects

© RIA Novosti / Maksim Blinov

Moscow's Basmanny district court has arrested five people in connection with the murder of Boris Nemtsov, a prominent opposition figure, who was gunned down last week. Two judges are reviewing the charges against the five people brought before the court by the prosecutors on Sunday.

Two of them are Zaur Dadaev and Anzor Gubashev, who were identified as key suspects in the killing of Nemtsov after their detention on Saturday. The prosecutors asked the court to arrest the duo by April 28, the current deadline for the investigation, saying that otherwise they may flee or interfere with the investigation.

According to the judge, who ordered Dadaev's arrest as requested by the prosecution, he confessed his involvement to the police. The accused didn't comment on this during the court session. Gubashev pleaded not guilty to the crimes he is charged with.

The other individuals, who may have had a hand in the crime, are Gubashev's brother Shagit and two identified as Ramzat Bakhaev and Tamerlan Eskerkhanov. The request for their arrest has been reviewed separately by another judge.

[embedded content]

"The suspects denied their ties to the crime, but we have evidence of their guilt. It includes forensic evidence and eyewitness accounts," an investigator told the court.

The trio denied their involvement, with Eskerkhanov claiming to have an alibi. But the judge ordered their arrests as well.

Eskerkhanov and Bakhaev have been remanded until May 8 and Shagit Gubashev - until May 7.

Nemtsov was killed by a gunman a few meters from the Moscow Kremlin, triggering a flurry of condemnations and calls for a swift investigation. The assassination happened two days ahead of an opposition rally, which Nemtsov helped to organize.

While political motive is considered the most likely in the killing, the investigators said they were considering other scenarios, including a business or personal conflict. Likely political motives behind the killing according to the investigators include a provocation aimed at destabilizing the situation in Russia, possibly by Ukrainian radicals, and revenge by Islamists for Nemtsov's support of the French magazine following an extremist attack.

The US and NATO are off the hook: Mainstream media says global warming sparked the creation of ISIS

jihadi penquin

© unknown

Jihadi penquin.

After five years of intense fighting and destabilization raging across Syria, Western mainstream press has finally discovered the true cause of the so-called "civil war." It turns out that all of the analysts in the alternative media suggesting that the situation in Syria was the result of a NATO destabilization campaign and foreign-backed invasion of terrorists in the form of al-Nusra, al-Qaeda, and ISIS were wrong. In fact, even those mainstream analysts who have suggested that the foreign invasion was actually a legitimate rebellion were apparently mistaken.

Thankfully, the mainstream press has discovered the true cause of the Syrian crisis - global warming.

No, this is not a joke. Mainstream outlets are actually suggesting that climate change is responsible, albeit indirectly, for the creation of ISIS and the scores of Western-backed terrorists flooding Syria as well as the now international military involvement in the war.

This is merely the latest silly narrative being promoted by the likes of Slate, Wired, The Telegraph, NBC, and The Guardian among many others.

Slate, by no means, is the sole purveyor of such abjectly stupid claims nor are the other media outlets listed above. Still, one need only read the Slate article to see how the "climate change is the real reason for the Syrian war" claim is being presented. Slate writes,

By now, it's pretty clear that we're starting to see visible manifestations of climate change beyond far-off melting ice sheets. One of the most terrifying implications is the increasingly real threat of wars sparked in part by global warming. New evidence says that Syria may be one of the first such conflicts.

We know the basic story in Syria by now: From 2006-2010, an unprecedented drought forced the country from a groundwater-intensive breadbasket of the region to a net food importer. Farmers abandoned their homes—school enrollment in some areas plummeted 80 percent—and flooded Syria's cities, which were already struggling to sustain an influx of more than 1 million refugees from the conflict in neighboring Iraq. The Syrian government largely ignored these warning signs, helping sow discontent that ultimately spawned violent protests. The link from drought to war was prominently featured in a Showtime documentary last year. A preventable drought-triggered humanitarian crisis sparked the 2011 civil war, and eventually, ISIS.

A new study published Monday in the Proceedings of the National Academies of Science provides the clearest evidence yet that human-induced global warming made that drought more likely. The study is the first to examine the drought-to-war narrative in quantitative detail in any country, ultimately linking it to climate change.

At this point, given the detailed nature of "climate science," I will spare the reader a summation of the thoroughly debunked theory of Anthropogenic Man-Made Global Warming, at least as it relates to the non-existent and entirely invented theory of CO2 as a poisonous and planet killing gas. I will spare the reader historical data that proves the earth was much hotter in the past, thus indicating that we are well within the norm of climate ups and downs. I will also spare the reader the details regarding the fact that global warming has not taken place in the last eighteen years despite the rigging of science equipment and faulty computer models to prove the opposite, thus calling into question whether the planet is actually still warming at all.

Unfortunately, Slate and its peers spared the readers the same information, leading hordes of hapless trendies to believe that CO2-Global Warming is actually a real issue and that it somehow is the guiding force behind terrorist cells, beheadings, and jihad. Leaving behind any and all knowledge of history of any form is generally important in order to be able to follow the logic provided by the recent mainstream press narrative about the Syrian war.

For instance, while US and UK media outlets attempt to suggest that global warming is responsible for the lagging Syrian agricultural sector and the fate of Syrian farmers, it conveniently fails to mention the US sanctions on Syria that helped plunge its economy into despair. While environmental factors undoubtedly play a role it is true that environmental factors always play a role in farming and agriculture in any country of the world at any time period. The false threat of CO2 does not change this fact.

Compounding the normal concerns and economic hardships of farmers with international sanctions, however, is not the result of too much CO2, it is the result of a concerted effort to destroy a sovereign and secular government for the purposes world hegemony.

Of course, these media outlets make no mention of the sanctions or the worldwide economic depression and place the blame firmly on the shoulders of Assad who allegedly "largely ignored these warning signs."

Thus, Slate writes that "A preventable drought-triggered humanitarian crisis sparked the 2011 civil war, and eventually, ISIS."


Global warming did not create ISIS. A drought did not create ISIS. The United States and NATO created ISIS.

As I have documented in my article, "The Roots of ISIS," ISIS is nothing more than a name change in a long line of many name changes for the same terrorist organization (al Nusra, al-Qaeda, IEIL, FSA, etc.) that the US openly funded since as far back as the late 1970s and has continued to fund, direct, control, and use across the world ever since.

The suggestion that a drought, global warming, or any other weather event created ISIS and its cannibal army is atrociously stupid and an unfortunate example of the intellectual depths to which we have sunk as a nation. The fact that such a claim can be written with a straight face by numerous major media publications is more of a sad comment on the state of the American public than it is on the state of the corporate media. After all, corporate media has always been garbage but, in the past, it was somewhat necessary to maintain a professional and respectable air so as to maintain some level of credibility.

Unfortunately, the reality is that the result of these articles and the frivolous study it cites will be that, in discussion of the Syrian crisis with trendies, hipsters, and academics, one will now undoubtedly be forced to endure having to debunk global warming along with the assertion that global warming created ISIS. Well done mainstream media. Well done.

Of course, if the study cited by Slate and other mainstream media outlets are correct in their claim that global warming produces terrorist outfits like ISIS and al-Nusra, then we have much more to worry about than the Syrian crisis. Surely we will soon be overcome by polar bear suicide bombings and penguins shouting "Allahu Akbar!!"

Still, Slate continues,

The study's authors are clear that global warming did not directly cause Syria's civil war—it took a mix of underlying social vulnerability and an antagonistic government to do that. But it does provide compelling evidence that, when combined with the effects of increased population pressure and the poor policies of the Assad regime, the drought made a bad situation worse.

To be fair, it is clear that the lack of availability of food, poor economic conditions and societal tensions can contribute and even cause mass social upheaval. This much is a fact.

However, to go to the lengths to which the mainstream press has gone, i.e. suggesting that global warming was the root cause of the Syrian crisis is absurd.

Its attempts to blame Syria and Syrians in general in regards to "the effects of increased population pressure" are nevertheless typical of Anglo-American population control and reduction initiatives as well as propaganda pieces that have been flooding Western culture in earnest since the early 1970s. Slate and its compatriots are therefore good Malthusians as much as they are good eugenicists because, apparently, the food issue never would have gotten out of hand if there been less Syrians to begin with. Fortunately for the mainstream press, its CIA advisers, and corporate owners, the problem of "too many Syrians" has been thoroughly dealt with.

But the question of the responsibility for the crisis lying with "an antagonistic government" is a bit more difficult to decipher. Antagonistic government? What does Slate mean? Is it referring to the Syrian government who has done nothing but protect minorities and its citizens from the likes of ISIS and the FSA and who was criticized by the majority of the Syrian people early on for not doing enough to destroy the so-called rebels?

Or is it referring to the United States who organized, directed, funded, trained, and facilitated the death squads for the last 5 years and even long before that?

Perhaps it is referring to Turkey, who has also funded, armed, and facilitated terrorists across its borders so that they can unleash hell on earth upon Syria?

Is Saudi Arabia a candidate for the title of "antagonistic government?" After all, the Saudis have been at the forefront of arming the jihadist fanatics dragging their knuckles across Syria today.

Or perhaps Slate meant Israel - the country that has bombed Syria numerous times in support of ISIS and has acted as a veritable Red Cross for injured jihadists?

No, clearly, Slate reserves its understanding of "antagonism" for the targets of NATO and US imperialism. In the eyes of the Western Press, Syria is antagonistic simply for having the audacity to exist outside the dictates of the Anglo-American purview.

While it is true that the world is facing an alarming environmental catastrophe, it is also true that the world faces an equally alarming economic crisis. Likewise, it is facing the possibility of total world war fought between nuclear powers.

But these impending catastrophes are not the result of CO2. They are the result of an insane world oligarchy.

Articles like those suggesting that Global Warming was the genesis of ISIS are nothing but propaganda pieces designed to draw the reader and the American public so far off track they begin to regurgitate utter nonsense where critical thinking once reigned supreme.

This entry passed through the Full-Text RSS service - if this is your content and you're reading it on someone else's site, please read the FAQ at http://bit.ly/1xcsdoI.