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Monday, 16 March 2015

Police state Canada? The Reason all of those prisons are being built

Back in 2006, the newly elected Prime Minister of Canada, right-wing Conservative Stephen Harper warned that "You won't recognize Canada when I'm through with it." After nine grueling years, that's already true in many ways. But now, Harper is going even further in his re-make of the country. Under new and pending legislation, Canada is moving rapidly towards the creation of a police state, with major curtailments of civil liberties. In recent weeks, the Harper Conservatives have introduced and/or passed several pieces of legislation that run roughshod over Canadians' Charter of Rights and Freedoms and Constitutional rights, giving draconian powers to the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS).

There's Bill C-13, the highly unpopular online spying legislation, which received Royal Assent on Dec. 9, 2014. The Bill allows warrantless internet surveillance through the collection by CSIS of Canadians' everyday internet use. The Bill contains broad new police powers, including several new warrants for surveillance, tracking and gathering of bank information. Bill C-13 has been vehemently opposed by more than 60 Canadian organizations. OpenMedia's David Christopher says that "important parts of this legislation have already been ruled unconstitutional by the Supreme Court." [1]

There's Bill C-44, which expands the surveillance powers of CSIS globally, while granting anonymity protection to CSIS informants and allowing for new conditions under which Canadian citizenship can be revoked. This bill passed third reading on February 2 and is now with the Senate. The Canadian Civil Liberties Association (CCLA) has called this bill "highly problematic." [2]

There's Bill C-639, introduced on Dec. 3, which impinges on the Constitutional right of assembly and would criminalize people exercising their democratic right to public protest. And there's Bill C-51, the Anti-Terrorism Act 2015, introduced on Jan. 30, containing draconian measures that verge on the creation of a police state. These two bills are the focus in this article because they both refer to protection of "critical infrastructure."

They are therefore crucial with regard to ongoing Canadian protests against tar sands export pipeline proposals: Enbridge's proposed Northern Gateway pipeline (from Alberta to northern B.C.); Enbridge's Line 9 reversal (from southern Ontario to Montreal); TransCanada's proposed Energy East pipeline (from Alberta to New Brunswick); and Kinder Morgan's proposed Trans Mountain pipeline expansion (from Alberta to southern B.C.).

Being In the Way

On December 3, Conservative Member of Parliament (MP) Wai Young (Co-chair of the Canada-China Legislative Association) introduced Bill C-639, a private member's bill to amend the Criminal Code.

The Bill creates a new criminal office for anyone who "destroys or damages any part of a critical infrastructure; renders any part of a critical infrastructure dangerous, useless, inoperative or ineffective; or obstructs, interrupts or interferes with the lawful use, enjoyment or operations of any part of a critical infrastructure."[3] This amendment would criminalize peaceful and (currently) lawful protests if they interfere even temporarily with broadly defined "critical infrastructure." The Bill imposes a mandatory minimum sentence of two to 10 years and fines of $500 to $3,000.

Bill C-639 defines "critical infrastructure" as "services relating to energy, telecommunications, finance, health care, food, water transportation, public safety, government and manufacturing, the disruption of which could produce serious adverse economic effects or endanger the health or safety of Canadians." The bill received backing from Minister of Justice/Attorney General Peter MacKay, who said it would "help secure all facets of critical infrastructure." [4]

Toronto lawyer Ed Prutschi told the in December the fact that energy infrastructure was including in this definition has one obvious purpose: "It would have application for pipeline protests." [5] He noted that the legislation doesn't necessarily require any damage to have been done, just that a person be in the way - as many people were during a protest in Burnaby, B.C. late last year against Kinder Morgan's TransMountain pipeline expansion. As the noted, Wai Young is the MP for the Vancouver South political riding, which is adjacent to Burnaby Mountain, where protests occurred.

From November 19 to 27, at least 100 protesters were arrested for crossing a police line in a municipal conservation area on Burnaby Mountain where Kinder Morgan crews have been doing preliminary work - even before approval of the pipeline project - in preparation for tunneling.

During Question Period on Dec. 8, New Democratic Party (NDP) justice critic Francois Boivin, MP for Gatineau, Quebec, called Bill C-639 "scary" and said it "bans protests" and "has obvious constitutional problems. It defines critical infrastructure as being just about anything. In this country, people have a right to lawful protest and assembly. Legal experts are already raising concerns about the constitutionality of Bill C-639." [6]

Borrowing Tactics from Dictators

The B.C. Civil Liberties Association (BCCLA) considers Bill C-639 a direct attack on the Canadian Constitution and Charter rights, and says the Harper government is "borrowing tactics from dictatorial governments." [7]

The BCCLA slammed Bill C-639 while its Executive Director Josh Paterson was in Bangkok, having been invited to a UN meeting. "We are at the United Nations to cry foul on Canada's latest attempt to criminalize peaceful protest," Paterson said in a news release of Dec. 15. "Now striking flight attendants and kids protesting pipelines on Burnaby Mountain could be considered criminals? Either of these lawful protests could count as a crime under this law if they interfere with something of economic value. That is simply ridiculous and it violates the fundamental freedoms of Canadians."

The UN Special Rapporteur on the freedom on assembly and association is conducting a global investigation examining how the freedoms of peaceful assembly are being violated around the world to smooth the path for corporate resource development.

Paterson further stated, "We are meeting in Bangkok with representatives from non-democratic countries where protest is a serious crime. It is humiliated for Canada to be borrowing tactics from dictatorial governments." He added, "Canada has not only broken with our own constitution in criminalizing protest, spying on First Nations, and denouncing community groups, it's also breaking its international commitments to protect the freedom of expression and freedom of assembly of Canadians."


Justice Minister MacKay said in the Dec. 3 press release that Bill C-639 "is the product of extensive, cross-Canada consultation, consistent with our Government's priority to create safer communities." [8] But the bill is obviously based on a March 2011 report written by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) Critical Infrastructure Intelligence Team, which consulted primarily with private energy companies.

The document, recently obtained by Carleton University criminologist Jeff Monaghan, warned, "Environmental ideologically motivated individuals including some who are aligned with radical, criminal extremist ideology pose a clear and present criminal threat to Canada's energy sector...The Canadian law enforcement and security intelligence community have noted a growing radicalized faction of environmentalists who advocate the use of criminal activity to promote the protection of the natural environment." [9] This is the same RCMP Critical Infrastructure Intelligence team that spied on Quebec residents opposed to shale gas/fracking development, among others.

The RCMP report, and Wai Young's proposed legislation - which she said she crafted at the urging of industry [10] - dovetail with the Canada-U.S. Beyond the Border Action Plan. That Plan is the result of perimeter security and economic integration talks launched by Canada and the U.S. in 2010. The protection of shared critical infrastructure is listed as a priority in security documents on the government's Beyond the Border website.

The documents state: "Canada and the United States share a significant quantity of critical infrastructure assets and systems, including pipelines, the electric grid, and transportation systems. It is imperative that our countries work together to protect these assets. To effectively do this, our governments will require a close collaboration with the private sector, as they own much critical infrastructure in question. It makes sense to start with a pilot project, in this case New Brunswick-Maine, to learn how best to work together on each of the elements." [11]

That cross-border pilot project policing effort has been delayed since July 2013 because the U.S. requested that its cross-border police officers be exempt from Canadian law. Coverage by Canadian Press of internal RCMP briefing notes regarding this "sovereignty issue" temporarily stymied the project. [12]

But on October 28, 2014, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry was in Ottawa to express condolences for the loss of two Canadian soldiers killed in separate "lone wolf" attacks (deemed "terrorist") in Canada. Kerry said the U.S. and Canada would "work quietly and carefully" to strengthen security between the two countries, "making certain that every possible stone is turned over, every possible policy is reviewed because our obligation is obviously to protect our citizens." [13]

After Kerry's October visit, the Harper government had apparently been waiting for the right time to introduce a "critical infrastructure protection bill." That came during the Burnaby Mountain protests, leading to the tabling of Bill C-639.

Then came the Charlie Hebdo shootings in Paris on Jan. 7. Just weeks later, on Jan. 30, the Harper government introduced Bill C-51, the Anti-Terrorism Act 2015.

Bill C-51

The Canadian Civil Liberties Association says this bill "broadens CSIS's powers significantly" and "may criminalize legitimate speech." [14] The bill authorizes CSIS to block Canadian websites, and it defines "terrorist propaganda" as "any writing, sign, visible representation or audio recording that advocates or promotes the commission of terrorism offences in general." Because of the vagueness of the phrasing, the CCLA notes it could have a "potential chilling effect on academics and journalists and bloggers," who could face up to five years in prison if their writing is judged to have somehow encouraged "terrorism."

Bill C-51 vaguely defines "terrorism" as any "activity that undermines the security of Canada," including "interference with critical infrastructure," but also "interference with the capability of the Government of Canada in relation to...the economic or financial stability of Canada."

C-51 exempts "lawful advocacy, protest, dissent and artistic expression" from being considered as threat to the security of Canada, but as a Globe & Mail editorial (Feb. 1) stated, "...how well do governments define those things in times of 'great evil'?" [15]

The bill also lowers the threshold for "preventive arrests;" makes it easier to place people on no-fly lists; gives authorities the power to hold suspected "terrorists" without charge for seven days (instead of three); allows a judge to impose up to a year of house arrest on someone who has not been charged or convicted of any crime; and it allows CSIS agents to "disrupt" threats to Canadian security - a blatant extension of CSIS powers beyond intelligence-gathering and into policing.

Bill C-51 also allows people to be detained if they "may" have terrorist plans. As the BCCLA's policy director Michael Vonn warned in a news release, "Criminalizing people's words and thoughts is misguided and won't make Canadians any safer." [16] Vonn and others have said the bill is likely unconstitutional.

In Parliament on Feb. 2, Green Party leader Elizabeth May asked Public Safety Minister Steven Blaney if the new anti-terrorism Bill C-51 "will apply to nonviolent civil disobedience, such as that against pipelines?" Blaney did not directly answer the question, saying only that terrorism "is a criminal act and those who goes [sic] against the Criminal Code will meet the full force of the law." May told MPs they "must not allow the Conservatives to turn CSIS into a secret police force." She has written that Bill C-51 is not about terrorism, it's "about creating a secret police. It's the death of freedom." 17]

Current Hearings

On March 10, the federal Public Safety Committee began hearings on Bill C-51, with dozens of witnesses scheduled to give expert testimony on the bill during nine meetings in March. The Harper government is hoping to pass the legislation before summer.

The B.C. Civil Liberties Association has just released (March 11) its "Six Things Protesters Need to Know about Bill C-51" - a useful warning for people across Canada. [18] Their analysis notes: "When you think of being secure, you likely think of being safe from physical danger. But Bill C-51 defines security as not only safeguarding public safety, but also preventing interference with various aspects of public life or 'the economic or financial stability of Canada.' With this definition, a separatist demonstration in Quebec that fails to get a proper permit, a peaceful logging blockade by First Nations, or environmentalists obstructing a pipeline route could all be seen as threats to national security." Whether or not a group is deemed a national security threat "may hinge on whether their cause is politically popular or in line with the views of the government."

Regarding freedom of expression, the BCCLA states: "It's unclear even to experts exactly what kinds of speech and protest activity may be considered threats to national security if the bill passes; the average Canada has little hope of feeling confident that their legitimate political activity hasn't inadvertently crossed the line. Bill C-51's expansive language means many Canadians will likely choose not express themselves - even in completely legal ways - rather than risk prosecution. Legitimate speech will be chilled, and our democracy will be worse off for it."

Regarding "preventative arrests and detention," the BCCLA notes, "Innocent people could be arrested and detained on mere suspicion of future dangerousness."

Now we know why the Harper government has been building all those new prisons.

Joyce Nelson is an award-winning Canadian freelance writer/researcher and the author five books.


[1] http://bit.ly/1Gghcoz

[2] http://bit.ly/1O1rSwF...

[3] http://bit.ly/1GghawP...

[4] http://bit.ly/1GghawT...

[5] http://bit.ly/1O1rSwJ...

[6] http://bit.ly/1GghawW

[7] http://bit.ly/1O1rQ7U

[8] http://bit.ly/1GghawT...

[9] Shawn McCarthy, "Environmental extremism a rising threat, RCMP warn," The Globe & Mail, September 15, 2014.

[10] http://bit.ly/1GghcoC...

[11] Joyce Nelson, "Government's anti-terror laws target anti-pipeline foes," CCPA Monitor, March 2015.

[12] http://on.thestar.com/1O1rQ7V...

[13] http://bit.ly/1GghaNe...

[14] http://huff.to/1O1rSwL

[15] http://bit.ly/1GghaNg

[16] http://bit.ly/1O1rSwM...

[17] http://bit.ly/1GghaNh

[18] http://bit.ly/1O1rQ7Y

Cows Are Deadlier Than You Ever Knew

Every year, cows kill more people than sharks. And yet nobody ever makes a horror movie about them, and there’s no Cow Week. These deadly beasts have managed to stay completely under the radar… until now. Find out just why cows are so deadly.

Braune Kuh mit weissem Kopf.jpg

Photo: Mmemichi (CC)

Deliberate Attacks on People

In the United States, the CDC estimates that about twenty-two people are killed by cows each year, and of those cow attacks, seventy-five percent were known to be deliberate attacks. One third of the killings were committed by cows that had previously displayed aggressive behavior.

People know that bulls are dangerous, and it’s true. When animal behaviorists analyzed 21 cases that occurred across a four-state area, they found that bulls were responsible for ten of the deaths. Cows were responsible for six deaths. What’s really chilling is that, in five cases, people were killed by multiple cows in group attacks.

Group attacks can be surprisingly well-coordinated. When they’re feeling defensive, cows will gather in a circle, all facing outwards, lowering their heads and stamping the ground. When they’re feeling offensive, certain cows lead the charge. One man, who was attacked while walking his dog along a path, reported, “I fell forwards and rolled into a ball and every time I tried to get up they jumped on me; they were rolling me along the hill with their legs trying to get me to open up. There were seven or eight cows. There were a couple leaders.”

Even the people who survive cow attacks rarely brush them off. In 2014, a mountaineer and cyclist was leading a race through a pasture when a group of cows attacked him. He received fractures on eight ribs, a shoulder, and a part of his spine. A woman, attacked the same year, got six broken ribs and a punctured lung. Cows mostly trample and kick people, but if they get their head beneath their victim they can literally throw a person into the air and let them fall back down on the ground…

Body-cam footage shows officers gun down mentally ill man holding screwdriver


© Youtube

Body cam footage has emerged of a June 2014 Dallas police shooting showing officers gunning down a mentally ill man who was holding a screwdriver.

Family say 28-year-old Jason Harrison, who suffered from bipolar disorder and schizophrenia, was in need of 'mental help' when his mother called police after he began making 'violent threats.'

Body cam footage shows Dallas police employees knocking on the door of Harrison's residence before speaking with the man's mother who can be heard informing the officers of her sons medical conditions.

"He's just off the chain," the woman can be heard saying. "Bipolar schizo."

As Harrison exists the home after his mother, officers spy a screwdriver in his hand.

"Can you drop that for me?" one officer can be heard saying. "Drop it!"

Harrisons mother pleads, "James!" just before the officers open fire, killing the man.

Watch the raw footage(warning graphic):

[embedded content]

Police say Harrison lunged at the officers, though that claim cannot be substantiated by the video footage alone, which appears to fail to capture those crucial seconds.

Harrison's family attorney Geoff Henley, said the video is an example what not to do when dealing with a mentally ill individual.

"When you're dealing with someone who's bipolar you don't agitate [them]," Henley said. "You talk them off the ledge not shove [them] off of it."

The Harrison family released the footage Monday, as part of a wrongful death lawsuit filed against the department in October.

The suit claims Harrison did not pose a threat, in part because the screwdriver he held was a small one used for computers. "He had never been violent before," brother Sean Harrison said.

Dallas Police officials determined last year that the actions of the officers did not warrant criminal charges. After the videos release Monday however, the department says it has forwarded the investigation to the Dallas County District Attorney's Office for review.

There are no federal statistics on police shootings of the mentally ill, but according to an investigation published in 2012, a review of available reports indicated that at least half of the estimated 375 to 500 people shot and killed each year by police in the United States have mental health problems.

Harrison was shot five times.

Kerry says Assad must go until we need him to stay

In Washington DC, consistency is considered a vice, never a virtue. It is for this reason that many in Washington, especially the neoconservatives, consider their foreign policy one of virtue. You would think that our political leaders, both in the Republican and Democratic parties, would learn something from the devastating effects of our very inconsistent foreign policy, especially after the last 15 years. The chaos that we have brought to Iraq and Afghanistan should be a loud and clear message to anyone who has ears to hear.

We now get the message from our current Secretary of State John Kerry that it's time to "reignite" negotiations with Assad for the purpose of ending the conflict in Syria. I guess it's better late than never, but after more than four years of us needlessly meddling in the internal affairs of Syria, it's about time. Of course we as Americans, as well as the entire Middle East, would have been better off if we had never adopted the policy in August 2011 that "Assad must go." What is never realized is that, no matter whether we're intervening with good intentions or not, our involvement in countries halfway around the world only makes things worse.

Of course now it becomes "practical" for us to deal in an entirely different manner with Assad since we cannot handle the chaos in Syria that we helped bring about. As a consequence of our policy, ISIS has become a dominant force in the region to the point where we welcome military assistance, at least for now, from our stated enemy, Iran. Currently Secretary of State John Kerry is expressing his desire to bring about a successful diplomatic solution to this mess. Kerry has even acknowledged, "everybody agrees there is no military solution." He is in agreement now that there is only a "political solution." What is so aggravating is that there were plenty of people in this country who knew this five years ago -- and for that matter who had the same opinion about the insanity of our aggressive policy in Iraq, which started in 1990 but was greatly accelerated with the invasion in 2003.

Foolishly, and to me somewhat surprisingly, President Obama declared he was drawing a red line that President Assad was not to cross. His warning made in August 2012 was for Assad not to use any chemical weapons. But all this did was set the stage for the next escalation in the unnecessary military confrontation with Assad. A year later the war propagandists declared that indeed Assad did cross the red line and used chemical weapons against the rebels. Of course there was never any evidence that this actually occurred and more likely it was the rebels that use the gas in a minimal way. It was conceivably a false flag and served to escalate the war. However public pressure was then put on Obama to respond with force and start outright bombing of the Syrian government and getting rid of President Assad by force.

President Obama in September 2013 decided that he should get Congressional approval to proceed. Though it looked originally like it would be easy to get this authority, once the American people became aware of the seriousness of the problem, they expressed their outrage and President Obama was forced to withdraw his request. Approximately two-thirds of the American public opposed this military escalation and this obviously had a bearing on the change in policy.

So once again our leaders who are tolerant of inconsistencies have shifted to solving the problems in Syria through diplomacy rather than depending on military force. This is a better way to go than depending on expanding the war. But there is even a better way to deal with this. Consistently stay out of the internal affairs of other nations and avoid all entangling alliances that prompt our political leaders to consistently make mistakes by pursuing a foreign policy that makes no sense and is of no value to the American people. Eventually bankruptcy and anger directed toward America will dictate a total shift away from the policies

DPR says amendments to law on Donbas special status are violation of peace plan

Denis Pushilin

© ITAR-TASS/Zurab Javakhadze

Denis Pushilin

The authorities of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People's Republic (DPR) said on Monday a bill on amendments to the law on Donbas special status that has been submitted to the Verkhovna Rada (parliament) is a blatant violation of the complex of measures to implement the Minsk agreements.

"We consider Rada's draft resolution and a bill on amendments to article 10 of the law on the special status of Donbas as flagrant violation of the peace plan approved by the Contact Group and endorsed by the leaders of the Normandy Four. If these documents are passed, it might end up in the frustration of the implementation of the complex of measures and peace settlement in general," Denis Pushilin, DPR's representative in the Contact Group in Ukraine, said in a statement posted on the website of the Donetsk News Agency.

He reminded that in line with provision 4 of the complex of measures the Rada was to issue a list of district enjoying a special status under the law on Donbas special status. "But the draft resolution has no mention of any settlements endowed with a special status," Pushilin said.

Moreover, he stressed that the Minsk agreements provided for no possibility to amend the law on the special status of Donbas. "Nonetheless, such draft amendments are submitted as a supplement to the draft resolution. These amendments however emasculate the very idea of a special status and postpone it for an indefinite period. We have warned against such attempts before," Pushilin noted.

Moreover, he noted, these amendments "unilaterally set conditions for local elections in Donbas although provision 12 of the complex of measures highlights the necessity of dialogue to agree such issues with the DRP and LPR (Luhansk People's Republic) representatives."

"We once again call on the leaders of Germany, France and Russia to compel the Kiev authorities to embark on a path of honest work towards political settlement and an end to the civil war," Pushilin said.

Earlier on Monday, Ukraine's President Petro Poroshenko submitted to the Verkhovna Rada a bill on amending article 10 of the law on special procedure of self-government in some districts of the Donetsk and Luhansk regions. Thus, in line with the amendments the law might come into force only after local elections under Ukrainian constitution and Ukrainian laws.

The Rada is expected to consider this bill at its session on March 17. However in compliance with the complex of measures on the implementation of the Minsk agreements, the Ukrainian parliament was to pass a resolution on Donbass' special status before March 14.

LPR's envoy to the Contact Group Vladislav Deinego told TASS on Monday that his republic was against this law. He said these processes should be parallel. "If we don't solve the disagreements in the humanitarian sphere first, we will have no one to hold elections for," he said. "People will just die by that time. That's why these things should be parallel."

Minsk agreements

Marathon talks between the Normandy Four leaders — Russian President Vladimir Putin, French President Francois Hollande, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko — in Minsk on February 12 yielded a package of agreements, which in particular envisaged ceasefire between the Ukrainian conflicting sides starting from midnight on February 15.

Concurrently, the Belarusian capital hosted a meeting of the Contact Group on Ukraine involving Ukraine's ex-president Leonid Kuchma, Kiev's special representative for humanitarian issues Viktor Medvedchuk, the leaders of the self-proclaimed Donetsk and Luhansk People's Republics Alexander Zakharchenko and Igor Plotnitsky, and Russia's ambassador to Ukraine Mikhail Zurabov and OSCE's envoy Heidi Tagliavini, both acting as mediators.

As a result, a package of measures was adopted to implement the Minsk agreements. Thus, under provision 4 of the Minsk agreements, Kiev agreed that within a 30-day period the Verkhovna Rada would adopt a draft law on a special political and economic status for certain districts in Donbass. The deadline expired on March 14.

Why does gardening make people feel so good?


© unknown

Have you ever noticed how satisfying it feels to get your hands dirty in the backyard? Does working in your garden make you feel like everything is right in the world? Perhaps you've chalked it up to the sunshine and the exercise. After all, everyone knows that a good workout and a job well done is great for your self-esteem. But is there more to it then that?

There just might be if science has anything to say about it. As all experienced gardeners know, soil doesn't just consist of dirt and minerals. It is teeming with so much bacteria that it could be considered an ecosystem all by itself. And apparently, some of that bacteria might have an effect on your sense of well-being .

Did you know that there's a natural antidepressant in soil? It's true. Mycobacterium vaccae is the substance under study and has indeed been found to mirror the effect on neurons that drugs like Prozac provide. The bacterium is found in soil and may stimulate serotonin production, which makes you relaxed and happier. Studies were conducted on cancer patients and they reported a better quality of life and less stress.

Lack of serotonin has been linked to depression, anxiety, obsessive compulsive disorder and bipolar problems. The bacterium appears to be a natural antidepressant in soil and has no adverse health effects. These antidepressant microbes in soil may be as easy to use as just playing in the dirt.

The serotonin boost that is provided by this bacteria, might also aid our learning abilities. One study that was conducted with mice, found that if the rodents ate the bacteria, they could traverse a maze twice as fast as their fellow test subjects. The scientists also found that the mice "exhibited a reduction in anxiety behaviors as well."

With that said, I suspect most gardeners won't be deliberately eating their soil anytime soon. However, consuming the bacteria isn't the only way to feel the effects.

Gardeners inhale the bacteria, have topical contact with it and get it into their bloodstreams when there is a cut or other pathway for infection. The natural effects of the soil bacteria antidepressant can be felt for up to 3 weeks if the experiments with rats are any indication. So get out and play in the dirt and improve your mood and your life.

It's safe to say that modern life has done more than just separate us from mother nature. It has also removed us from an environment that is essential to our well-being, and done so without us even realizing it. While the modern world claims to provide all the solutions to our problems (in this case, stress and anxiety) it neglects to tell us that sometimes, the source of our problems.

So the next time you find yourself away from the concrete and pavement of civilization, dig your hands into the soil, and breathe deeply. That high you feel is exactly how our ancestors experienced the world on a daily basis, and being separated from it is, in all likelihood, unhealthy and unnatural.

Information war: Dueling media startups crowdfund opposing views on Russia

Russia vs USSA - Round 5, fight!

Washington says Moscow has a propaganda machine. Moscow says Washington owns American corporate media. Viewers and readers don't know what to believe any more. Something's got to give.

What if you woke up one morning to find America and American ideas in Russia, and irony like a Russian media mogul in America? What if a founding principle of American democracy, like freedom of the press somehow became a bone of contention between two countries?

Good morning, it just happened. Russian journalist and media startup notable Vladimir Yakovlev is crowd funding an alternative news source aimed at "countering the Russian state propaganda machine. Yakovlev, who lives in the US now, was the founder of Russian newspaper , and one of the Perestroika publicists who created Russian newspeak back in the 1990s.

What makes this news so interesting though is the twist of the fates that lead an American entrepreneur in Moscow to do exactly the same thing, only in reverse . Entrepreneur and venture capitalist Charles Bausman is editor and publisher of Russia Insider. This alternative news outlet fixated on Russia, "." I spoke with Bausman earlier today on his long-range intentions for the new media product. Here's what he had to say;

"We've seen a flood of traffic onto the site which means there is a huge untapped demand which is not being served by existing media. We could easily double or triple the amount of content, and there would be no let-up in traffic, in fact it would probably increase. This can go way beyond Russia, cover other countries, other subjects - the Middle East, NSA leaks, US domestic issues, you name it."

© Sott.net

Charles Bausman, the pro-Russian American of 'Russia Insider' (left), and Vladimir Yakovlev, the pro-American Russian founder of 'Kommersant'

Considering the current state of east-west détente and dialogue, perhaps we shouldn't be so surprised at these developments. I've witnessed a feverish litany from many readers over misinformation growing stronger these last months. The recent death or Russian political activist Boris Nemtsov, it's just the latest provocative moment in a media circus the likes of which we've never before seen. Invasions, the downing of a Malaysian passenger liner, Vladimir Putin stricken with everything from cancer and autism to insanity, news has become a tabloid nightmare for many. The drum beats from both directions, droning PR hype, sabers rattling continually; it's frankly scared a few million people to death.

What's far worse though, is the dumbfounding effect of mainstream media in total. Most people simply know not what to believe, and most feel utterly helpless. So it seems clear, for better or worse, these two media men have their fingers on the pulse at least. We're in an information war where something has to change, between the people; business, and government could be broken permanently. The last thing the world needs more of now is chaos. As the legendary American linguist, philosopher and cognitive scientist Noam Chomsky puts it:

"All over the place, from the popular culture to the propaganda system, there is constant pressure to make people feel that they are helpless, that the only role they can have is to ratify decisions and to consume."

This east-west and truth versus fiction divide we're witnessing is certainly nothing new. However, the gravity and volume of today's messages however, has raised many red flags. Vladivostok to Seattle, news today seems largely grounded in business or political strategies. If we are honest, this "beauty contest" between Yakovlev's and Bausman's mainstream substitutes, it has to happen sooner or later. It matters not from which side of the isle or ocean one gets information, nor does it matter who owns the pageant winner.

Looking at the two men's media enterprises crowd-funding efforts as I write this, the battle for alternative media loveliness stands with Russia Insider having collected some $14,000 in donation votes, and Yakovlev's most recent citizen voice at $13,000 plus contributions on Kickstarter.

I think we're in for a media shakeup of astronomical proportions, and this is justifiable for hundreds of millions of media consumers out there. As one colleague told me yesterday, "." To be sure, when I woke up the other day the last thing I expected to hear was nationalism, media, and ideals turned up-side-down. America meets Russia in a universal pageant where the contestants are swapped. This is an interesting, if scary, time.

Ancient UFO 'flying saucer' found 40 meters below ground in Siberia

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Coal miners in Siberia's Kuznetsk Basin, Russia, have found, buried 40 meters underground, a saucer-shaped object that UFO researchers claim is an ancient alien "flying saucer" craft that crashed to Earth from space thousands of years ago.

Coal miners with the mining company Kuzbassrazrezugol found the bizarre and mysterious circular or disk object while excavating deep underground. The object was described as "perfectly circular with a diameter of about 1.2 meters and weighing about 440lbs," that is, about 200 kilograms.

Boris Glazkov, 40, the company excavator, said he was surprised to find such mysterious object in "the middle of nowhere." "I have to say it wasn't hard to see as it was really distinctive and large. I've never seen anything like this object, which is obviously man-made out, here in the middle of nowhere before. It is a real mystery."

ancient ufo

Ancient UFO 'Flying Saucer'

Glazkov's colleague, 38-year-old Arthur Presnyakov, said they found two similar objects, but the first one broke up as they tried to retrieve it from the ground.

"There were actually two similar objects, but the first one broke as it was being pulled out of the ground by the excavator bucket. We thought we saw something sure, because it broke into pieces, but then when the second one appeared we stopped work and carefully removed it from the bucket." The miners called archeologists to examine the object.

Archeologists said they believe it is a man-made object. But given the depth at which it was found, about 40 meters underground, much deeper than the 25 meters depth at which mammoth bones thousands of years old were found in the area, the disk is possibly of prehistoric origins and thus thousands of years old.

But while archaeologists are studying the object, online UFO hunters and analysts have declared it a UFO flying saucer of extraterrestrial origins.

According to , a UFO researcher, OliPokro20, said, "It doesn't look man-made to me. Why on earth would a human create such a weird object and bury it so deeply? I think it must have come from outer space."

Scott Waring agrees with OliPokro20 that the object is an alien flying saucer. He thinks it could be an alien drone sent into Earth's atmosphere as a surveillance craft.

"This object does resemble an alien drone, a small disk that is sent out to monitor an area, but lighting can bring one down. I have never seen one this old before."

dzopa disks

© zetatalk.com

dzopa disks or dropa stones

He also speculates that it could be a dropa or dzopa disk.

"Also it could be a dropa disk — an ancient stone disk with alien information about their culture and life stored in the disk. Such dropa disks were confiscated by the Chinese Government and hidden from view. This disk needs to be tested, not just for what it's made from, but for any data that could be stored in it."

A dropa or dzopa disk is a prehistoric stone disk, thousands of years old, on which an alien race has inscribed information about itself — such its historical origins, culture and civilization — like a phonograph record stores information.

Michigan's bald eagles are the most contaminated birds in the world

Bald eagle.

Monday, March 16, 2015, 4:57 PM - A study published last month in the suggests the livers of Michigan's bald eagles are severely contaminated with phased-out flame retardant chemicals, more so than any other bird on the planet.

While the area's bald eagle population is stable, the chemicals have been known to impair reproduction and disrupt hormones.

Manufacturers began using polybrominated diphenyl ethers, or PBDEs, in furniture, electronics and clothing in an effort to make household products safer. The chemicals were phased-out in the early 2000s, but traces can still be found in the air, dirt and in people.

Nil Basu, associate professor at McGill University and lead author of the study, told Environmental Health News that PDBEs "are everywhere".

"They build up in the food chains so that top predators - such as bald eagles - accumulate high levels."

Scientists tested the liver tissue of 33 dead bald eagles collected between 2009 and 2011 by Michigan's Department of Natural Resources.

They were tested for the four most common types of PDBEs. All but two had had all four in their liver.

So far, the chemicals don't appear to be having a negative effect on the eagles, who appear to be reproducing at a healthy rate.

Researchers are more concerned with the long term, as they suspect PDBEs will be present in the environment for some time.

There's also a concern about exposure to other toxic chemicals, such as those found in fertilizers and pesticides.

At present, a lot remains unknown about how chemicals can impact long-term health.

"The market of flame retardants is a bit like a whack-a-mole game," Marta Venier, an assistant scientist with Indiana University, told Environmental Health Network .

"One gets phased out and another one is introduced keeping properties similar to the one it replaced. It goes on and on."

Intelligence Officer: Every terrorist attack in the US was a false flag or egged on by the government

Robert David Steele - a 20-year Marine Corps infantry and intelligence officer, the second-ranking civilian in U.S. Marine Corps Intelligence, and former CIA clandestine services case officer

Most terrorists are false flag terrorists or are created by our own security services.

In the United States, every single terrorist incident we have had has been a false flag, or has been an informant pushed on by the FBI.

In fact, we now have citizens taking out restraining orders against FBI informants that are trying to incite terrorism.

We've become a lunatic asylum.

Background Nations All Over the World CONFESS to Carrying Out False Flag Terrorism (info on 54 false flags in history)

Government Infiltrates Terror Cells Time and Again ... But Fails to Stop Attacks

Media and other reports on various false flag operation monitoring and response.)

[Note Video: advance to 16.00]

[embedded content]

In this episode of the Keiser Report, Max Keiser and Stacy Herbert discuss the business model of the war on terror in which the droning of wedding parties is nothing personal just business. Same goes for de-dollarization as China builds an alternative to SWIFT - nothing personal, just business. In the second half, Max interviews former CIA agent and open source advocate, Robert David Steele, about false flags and moral hazard. [begin at 16:00]

Comment: False flag attacks have always fooled the public into immediate reactionary behavior (according to plan), counting on emotions of horror, outrage, justice and retaliation to prod a lax or complacent society into involvement and action. False flags are despicable manipulations of events, countries and individuals to further a cloaked agenda. Those who suspect an operation to be false flag have been demonized as conspiracy theorists, a tag that has become an automatic dismissal mechanism and smacks of "traitor" innuendo. Many FFs may have come to light sooner had this stigma not been implemented by the PTB as one of its main lines of post-operational deflection. Why? Because no one really wants to believe this happens, especially by their own government.

National Security Advisor Zbigniew Brzezinski testified to the Senate that the war on terror is "a mythical historical narrative." -February 1, 2007 Senate Foreign Relations Committee Testimony

Jammu-Srinagar highway in India closed after heavy snowfall triggers landslide

© Indian Express

Vehicles stranded on the Jammu national highway on Thursday.

A 4-year-old girl was killed in a landslide triggered by snowfall and rains in the last 24 hours in Kashmir, which also forced closure of the Srinagar-Jammu National Highway even as air traffic remained suspended.

Huda Jan was killed when she was buried under a landslide at Sunergund in Awantipora area of south Kashmir, Pulwama district last evening, a police spokesman said.

While incessant rains lashed most parts of the Valley yesterday, moderate to heavy snowfall was reported since wee hours this morning.

A traffic department official said the 300-km Srinagar-Jammu Highway has been closed for vehicular movement following landslides at several places due to the heavy downpour in the Valley and along the Pir Panjal mountain range.

He said with adverse weather forecast for the next 24 hours, the road is unlikely to be opened for traffic today.

The arterial highway is the only all-weather surface link between Kashmir and rest of the country and gets closed during winter months due to landslides.

An official at Srinagar International Airport said no passenger flights have arrived here since morning due to inclement weather.

The downpour has led to snapping of electricity supply in many parts of the Valley, including Srinagar city, the summer capital of the state, officials said.

Waterlogging has also been reported from nearly two dozen areas of the city, they said.

Deputy Commissioner Srinagar Farooq Ahmad Lone said dewatering operations have been launched at 17 sites so far.

"We are making arrangements for dewatering from all areas where waterlogging has been reported," he added.

Traffic jams reported from several areas of the city even as traffic moved at a snail's pace in other parts of Srinagar.

The sociopath next door: Jeering crowd took selfies and goaded suicidal man to his death

© Mail Online

The man, aged in his 40s, was reportedly encouraged to leap from the top of the multi-storey car park outside Southwater Shopping Centre in Telford, Shropshire (above), by a crowd who shouted: 'Get on with and jump'

A suicidal man was told by a jeering crowd to 'get on with it and jump' as he perched at the top of a multi-storey car park before plunging to his death, witnesses claim.

The man, aged in his 40s, was reportedly encouraged to leap from the top of the car park outside Southwater Shopping Centre in Telford, Shropshire, on Saturday afternoon.

He spent more than two hours at the top of the building, during which time a crowd gathered in the car park below.

Witnesses have now revealed how some members of the public shouted taunts such as 'Get on with it', 'Go on, jump,' and 'How far can you bounce?'. Others took selfies at the scene on their mobile phones and recorded video footage of the incident.

West Mercia Police said the force had been notified about witnesses taking photos of themselves with the man in the background before uploading them to social media websites.

The force condemned the 'appalling' actions of the crowd and warned those who 'distastefully' uploaded photos that they could be investigated and prosecuted.

Witness Kelly-Anne Taylor, 35, from Telford, said: 'People were recording it with their phones and yelling at him to jump. 'I can't stop thinking about it. I was up town when it was happening and how much I wish I could have tried to help him. 'I am so heartbroken for him and his family. Onlookers were yelling at him to jump.'

'I am so disappointed in the actions of some of our citizens during a time of crisis. I am so incredibly sad for him.'

'I work in town and I am going to find it hard to be up there every day.'

Another witness, Kelly Porter-Smith, 20, added: 'I couldn't believe what I was hearing. I was disgusted at their actions.'

'Some of them were fully grown men, and should have known better.' 'It made me ashamed to be from Telford. I cannot understand how people can be so evil.'

Rosie Brown, 44, from Wellington, Shropshire, added: 'The people were goading the man to jump.'

'May you or any member of your family and friends never reach a point in your life where you reach a dark place and the only option you feel will make the pain go away is to end it. Never judge until you have walked in those shoes.'

Officers were called to the scene outside the busy shopping center at about 1pm on Saturday.

Despite attempts by specialist negotiators to talk the man down, he plunged to his death from the roof of the car park at 3.40pm.

West Midlands Ambulance Service confirmed the man was pronounced dead at the scene.

Detective Sergeant Mark O'Connor, from West Mercia Police, warned that officers would investigate anyone who took photos or videos of the incident.

He said: 'Following the tragic incident at the multi-storey car park at Southwater on Saturday, it has been brought to our attention of the distasteful and disrespectful actions and comments upon social media at the time and subsequent to the incident.

'We do not condone such behaviour, and would hope that the local community would work with our officers to provide information regarding those who committed the cruel taunts, this was clearly someone who was in need of support.

'In response to the activity on social media, the origin of any comments or material that is deemed to be unlawful will be investigated and appropriate police action will be taken against any identified individual.

'I would urge that any person who is in possession of any related material does not publish it any further and ensure it is disposed of. We would remind those to be respectful and think of the family and friends at this sad time.'

Inspector Ben Smith, from the West Mercia Police's operational control centre, said he was shocked by the sickening comments hurled at the victim. He said: 'Obviously we would certainly not be supportive of that kind of behaviour. It is pretty appalling because it is someone who is clearly in need of support and assistance. That behaviour is something we would condemn.'

'Clearly what that individual needed was time and space and a professional to help them out.'

'The individual would have been in need of care and support and appropriate intervention from medical professionals, so anything like that to encourage someone to jump should be unequivocally condemned.'

The car park was shut for several hours while police dealt with the incident.

A spokesman for Telford & Wrekin Council, which owns the site, said: 'Our thoughts are with the family and friends of the man who died at Southwater. On the upper tier of the car park there is perimeter fencing approximately six feet high which is topped with security wire.'

US govt's biggest lie: Ukraine and Putin - Is it really worth a nuclear war?

© Reuters

The American Government's biggest lie in 2002-2003 was about Saddam Hussein and Iraq. We've already seen what that lie produced. It cost the U.S. more than $3 trillion, produced ISIS, and caused death and destruction in Iraq that make Saddam Hussein's dictatorship look benign by comparison. Are Americans still fooling themselves about that? (Some are; but most are not.)

The American Government's biggest lie in 2014-2015 is instead about Vladimir Putin and Ukraine — and it's even worse, and far more dangerous, because this one can very possibly lead to a nuclear war, one with Russia that's totally unnecessary for America's national-security, and that actually places all of our nation's security at risk, for the shameful reasons of aristocrats ("oligarchs") in both the U.S. and Ukraine — not for any real reasons of the American people, at all.

But, that's where we are heading, nonetheless, because America's aristocrats overwhelmingly want it (as will be shown here).

Radio Free Europe, Radio Liberty, or RFE/RL, is a U.S. government broadcaster which, like NATO, was necessary when communism threatened the United States from the Soviet Union, and which, also like NATO, should have been disbanded when the U.S.S.R. and its communist ideology effectively ended. It, like NATO, is now really just a vile vestige of our war against communism, a war that's gone but which America's aristocrats want to continue fighting, because America's aristocracy want to conquer the entire world and want U.S. taxpayers to fund the effort. The ideological excuse is gone, and they want us not to notice that.

A good example of RFE/RL's current vileness was a story they ran on March 12th, "A Bipartisan Cause In Washington: Arming Ukraine Against Russia," and it reported that, "Consensus appears to be snowballing among Democratic and Republican lawmakers in the U.S. capital on at least one issue: arming Ukraine. One exception, however, is the figure who matters most: President Barack Obama."

The implicit thrust of this news article is that, as their propaganda-writer put it, "Obama has resisted providing such assistance despite the pressure from lawmakers and public statements by top military brass, including U.S. Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter, supporting lethal aid to Kyiv. 'The president has all the authority he needs to do it. He just needs to have the will to do it,' [Eliot] Engel [a House Democrat] told RFE/RL." In other words: the article presents Obama as being obstructionist against something that supposedly needs to be done, and should be done.

Earlier, RFE/RL had brazenly reveled in the international success of its campaign to vilify Russia's President, Vladimir Putin.

And, unfortunately, that entire propaganda campaign is based on blatant lies, just like the propaganda to invade Iraq in 2003 was. But this one is far more dangerous.

Furthermore, this propaganda campaign (including that article) ignores that the top leaders in Ukraine who are pressing for the U.S. and other Western nations to supply arms to the Ukrainian Government are Ukraine's ultra-nationalist outright nazis, especially the leaders of Ukraine's two nazi parties, both of which were created as local copies of Hitler's Nazi Party, and one of which even called itself the Social Nationalist Party of Ukraine, in order to signal to Ukrainians that it's in the tradition of Adolf Hitler but just the local, Ukrainian nationalist, version of it. That party's leader (Andrei Parubiy ) was the chief organizer of the Maidan demonstrations that were used by the Obama Administration as cover for the coup that the Obama Administration planned and carried out, which installed the current, rabidly Russia-hating, racist-fascist, Government in Ukraine.

It also ignores that the leader (Dmitriy Yarosh) of the other Ukrainian nazi party (also calling for America to send weapons), which party is called Right Sector, was the organizer of the gunmen whose shooting into the crowd of anti-corruption demonstrators actually brought down the democratically elected President of Ukraine , and thus enabled the Obama Administration to choose the new leader of Ukraine (which Obama's operative, Victoria Nuland, chose on 4 February 2014, 18 days before the coup).

It also ignores that the leader of Ukraine's most effective fighting force, the Azov Battalion (Andrei Beletsky), authored the official statement of "Ukrainian Social Nationalism," including:

"The historic mission of our Nation, a watershed in this century, is thus to lead the White peoples of the world in the final crusade for their survival. It is to lead the war against Semites and the sub-humans they use."

It also ignores that Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk, who on 4 February 2014 was selected for his post by Victoria Nuland of the U.S. State Department, was quoted by Ukrainian media on Thursday March 12th of 2015 as saying that, "Ukraine is in a state of war with a nuclear state, which is the Russian Federation." He blamed all of Ukraine's current problems on Russia, and urged "our Western partners" to send weapons.

Clearly, these people are eager to serve as the proxy-state for Washington's war against Russia.

It also ignores that, as headlined on March 15th, "Ukraine: Right-wing extremists boycott peace plans with Russia," reporting that several of the leading nazis in the Ukrainian Government (which America's coup installed and which still is enthusiastically supported by both President Obama and the U.S. Congress) employed such phrases as: "Russia is the 'eternal enemy' of 'civilization'." This is what America's Government wants to send yet more American weapons (we've already sent lots, some of which have already turned up destroyed on the battlefield when the Ukrainian forces have surrendered).

While it's true that there is virtual unity (more than 98% among members of Congress) in Washington to supply arms to Ukraine, the U.S. public, when polled about this matter, are more than 2 to 1 opposed to doing so.

In this regard, the U.S. public are far more in line with the leaders of the EU than they are with the leaders of the United States.

The RFE/RL propaganda-article ignored, of course, the overwhelming opposition of Europeans, and even of their leaders, to supplying weapons to Ukraine. It also ignored the overwhelming opposition of the American public to doing so.

Whereas the central focus of Obama's foreign policy is to weaken if not destroy Russia, some in Washington are not satisfied with the intensity of that campaign, and want it to be even more, but Obama is trying to avoid pushing European leaders so hard on this that he loses them altogether. The difference between Obama and the Republicans on this is merely tactical. Both want to destroy Russia; the debate is over how to get the job done.

Insane and globally suicidal isn't bad enough for some of the rotten people whom we in America elect into public office. But we, the public, are not to blame for it — the aristocrats who fund politics determine what the field of candidates will be from which we get to select our leaders. And, for example, only too late are the American public starting to recognize that the choice between Barack Obama and Mitt Romney in 2012 was really a choice between, as Ralph Nader lied in 2000 but which was true in 2008 and 2012, "Tweedledum versus Tweedledee." Obama turns out to be a dark-skinned Romney with prettier rhetoric.

The aristocrats determine the political choices that we have; and, now (in this century) in America, they're all bad.

As Martin Gilens and Benjamin I. Page found in their massive study published by the American Political Science Association during the Fall of 2014, today's United States is an aristocracy (or as they call their findings, an "oligarchy"), and the will of the public no longer counts for anything in determining the federal government's policies and laws: the aristocrats control the media so that they control the political personnel and outcomes that matter the most to politicians' sponsors.

And, now, they're even pushing the envelope of revolution, because nuclear war would harm everybody. Aristocrats' chief motive is dominance; the public aren't like that: mere survival is more important to the bottom 99% of the population. Nuclear war is too much of a risk to take for our aristocracy's global dominance, and we're heading now straight into that risk. They want us to do like Ukraine's nazis are doing, and play along with it. But we're not like Ukraine's nazis — nor like any. Nazis have the dominance-culture, just as aristocrats do; but we don't. So: the lies are coming, thick and fast, to make us go along, purely on the basis of deception.

If the public is deceived, then democracy is impossible. All choices become bad. And that's where we now are. Things like this just can't be explained any other way.

Oldest Roman fort protected soldiers from 'infamous pirates'

Ancient Roman Fort

© Image courtesy of Civil Protection of Friuli Venezia Giulia

Lidar (the laser equivalent of radar) revealed the oldest known Roman military camp called San Rocco (C). Also shown are the Roman military camps Grociana piccola (A) and Montedoro (B). Scale bars: 100 m.

Using airborne laser scanners, researchers have discovered ancient fortifications in Italy that make up the oldest known Roman military camp, where soldiers may have fought pirates more than 2,000 years ago.

This camp may help reveal clues about how the Romans developed their army, and the structures might have served as the foundations of the modern Italian city of Trieste, the researchers said in the new study.

The Roman army was among the most successful militaries on Earth, and helped to create an empire that spread across three continents. A key factor behind the strength of the Roman army was the art of building orderly military camps.

The origin of the Roman military camp remains unclear, the researchers said. Until now, the oldest confirmed Roman military camps had been located in Numantia and Pedrosillo in Spain, which date to about 154 B.C. and 155 B.C., respectively.

But the recently discovered Roman camp described in the new study was probably built in 178 B.C., thus predating the oldest Spanish camps by decades, the researchers said.

They suggested that these newfound fortifications may have provided the foundation for the colony of Tergeste, the ancestor of the modern city of Trieste. [In Photos: Ancient Roman Fort Discovered]

"They are probably the most ancient examples of Roman camps in the entire Roman world," lead study author Federico Bernardini, an archaeologist at the Abdus Salam International Center for Theoretical Physics in Trieste and the Fermi Center in Rome,told Live Science.

Looking with lidar

The scientists analyzed the Bay of Muggia, the innermost part of the Gulf of Trieste, located near Italy's northeastern border with Slovenia. This is one of the most protected natural harbors of the northern Adriatic coast, making it a good place to build a settlement, the researchers said.

The team used a laser scanner mounted on a helicopter to scan the area with lidar (short for "light detection and ranging") — the laser equivalent of radar.

"Lidar is like a new telescope, which allows you to see worlds that are not visible by the naked eye," said study co-author Claudio Tuniz, a physicist at the Abdus Salam International Center for Theoretical Physics in Trieste and the Fermi Center in Rome."It can reveal large ancient archaeological structures hidden under trees or other landscape features."

"It can provide unexpected results, even in relatively urbanized territories investigated for a long time," Tuniz told Live Science. "With lidar, we discovered in a few months more prehistoric archaeological structures than those discovered during one century of work with conventional archaeological methods."

With the help of lidar, ground-penetrating radar and archaeological fieldwork, the scientists discovered the remains of a military camp at San Rocco.

"After seeing the image of the first Roman camp, [Bernardini] ran to the site, 30 minutes from our institute, to search for direct evidence," Tuniz said. "Sure enough, after a brief stroll through the site, he found clear signatures of the Roman period, such as the characteristic hobnails used to make the military shoes of Roman soldiers and fragments of Roman amphorae, widely used to store oil, wine and other food products."

This military camp was relatively large — greater than 32 acres (13 hectares) — and was defended by imposing fortifications, such as wide ramparts up to about 80 feet (25 meters) wide, the researchers said in the new study. It was located on a hilltop in a strategic central position about 1.2 miles (2 kilometers) from the innermost present-day shore of the Bay of Muggia, they said.

Two minor forts flanked the main military camp. One rested on a large terrace on Montedoro ridge, overlooking access to the Rosandra River, while the other, at Mount Grociana, overlooked both the Bay of Muggia and routes leading from the Gulf of Trieste to what is now Slovenia and Croatia.

Infamous pirates

This is the first Roman military camp discovered in Italy, and the newly discovered fortifications were probably created during Roman wars against people known as the Histri, who controlled the nearby Istrian Peninsula, the researchers said.

"Their objective was also to protect the new neighboring city of Aquileia from the incursion of the Istrian peoples," Tuniz said. "Its port was an important emporium for the trade of wine, olive oil and slaves. Aquileia would later become one of the capitals of the Roman Empire."

The Roman historian Livy described the Histri as infamous pirates.

"According to Livy, in the first phase of the conflict, two legions of Roman Republic were defeated by the Histri, and the camp was lost," Bernardini said. "Livy reported that the Histri found a lot of wine inside the camp and got drunk, and this helped the Romans reconquer the camp very easily."

Pottery fragments at San Rocco revealed that the site dates to between the end of the third century B.C. and the first decades of the second century B.C. "Investigation of the sites will be crucial to study early Roman military architecture and the origin of Roman military camps," Bernardini said.

The age, size and location of the San Rocco site correspond to a military camp Livy wrote about that was built in 178 B.C., the researchers noted. This was "a crucial historic period at the borders of the Roman Republic," Tuniz said.

Ancient records suggest that the Romans may have used the camp until the foundation of Tergeste, the scientists added.

"Many European cities originated from ancient Roman military forts, including Bonna, or Bonn; Vindobona, or Vienna; Eburacum, or York; and Argentorate, or Strasbourg," Tuniz said.

The scientists plan to do full-scale archaeological excavations at these sites. They detailed their findings online March 16 in the journal

Russia stands by Venezuela against U.S. idiocy and interference

maduro putin

The Russian Foreign Ministry issued a statement Thursday in which it voices its solidarity with the Venezuelan people against "Washington's aggressive build-up of political and sanctions pressure on Caracas" and "its democratically elected government."

"We are aware with great concern of the increase in negative tendencies and the destabilization attempts against Venezuela, a country that is united with Russia by very close friendship ties and through a strategic association," the Russian foreign ministry said in press release.

It stresses that the declaration of national emergency announced by the US government against Venezuela is "a threat to democratic stability in that country and can have serious consequences for the situation in Latin America as a whole."

Likewise, it fully opposes "all forms of violence and coups as a tool to overthrow legitimate governments of sovereign states".

On Monday, the White House issued an executive order which declares Venezuela as an "unusual and extraordinary threat" to US national security and foreign policy.

Russia expressed its support for the initiative of the Union of South American Nations (UNASUR) to hold a meeting in the coming days to discuss the interventionist actions promoted by the government of the United States in the South American country.

Lawmaker urges Americans to pack an emergency 'go-bag'

go bag

Many of those so-called "go bags," medicine kits and boxes of canned food and water that Americans stockpiled after the 9/11 attacks have been lost, expired or gone bad.

Rep. Robert Pittenger, R-N.C., says it's time to pack a new emergency bag and draft updated evacuation plans in preparation for another terrorist attack. He's put together a "how to" handbook to help constituents and other members of the public plan what to do.

"I was a Boy Scout, and the motto of the Boy Scouts was to be prepared," Pittenger said.

The chairman of the Congressional Task Force on Terrorism and Unconventional Warfare said his handbook was inspired by growing concerns about terrorism and the Islamic State group. U.S. intelligence officials say that more than 100 people from the United States have traveled to Syria to fight there. Authorities fear those people might return radicalized and trained to carry out their own attacks.

Americans can alleviate anxieties by learning as much as they can about how to survive an attack, Pittenger said. But some who study terrorism threats see the manual, and its graphic pictures of mushroom clouds, as backhanded fear-mongering.

"The basic idea being to prepare for an emergency, that's a perfectly reasonable thing to do, and people are not very good at that," said John Mueller, an Ohio State University political science professor who studies terrorism threats. "But to heighten all this terrorism seems pretty irresponsible to me."

Pittenger's handbook has chapters on terrorist hazards, explosions and nuclear blasts. His home state of North Carolina experiences tornadoes, weather-related power outages and the annual threat of hurricanes. While he says the book is also intended to assist citizens with natural disasters, there are no chapters dedicated to them.

It's more likely that an American would be killed in a car accident or drown in a bathtub than die in a terrorist attack. The annual risk of being killed in a terrorism attack here in the United States is about 1 in 4 million, according to decades of data from the Global Terrorism Database analyzed by Mueller, author of "Overblown: How Politicians and the Terrorism Industry Inflate National Security Threats, and Why We Believe Them."

Americans were understandably rattled after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks and subsequent threat-level warnings about possible terrorism. At the time, government officials suggested people buy duct tape and plastic sheeting to protect themselves from chemical or biological weapons.

In October 2001, 46 percent of Americans saw terrorism as the most important problem facing the U.S., according to Gallup polls. The numbers fell as years passed with no significant attacks. By 2011, only 1 percent named terrorism as the top problem, Gallup found.

Fears are on the rise again, however. In February, after a rash of beheading videos from the Islamic State and a January attack on a French newspaper's offices, 8 percent of Americans named terrorism as the most important problem facing the United States, according to Gallup. And more people report dissatisfaction with security from terrorism.

Pictures of mushroom clouds don't faze Jack Tomarchio, former deputy undersecretary for intelligence and analysis operations at the Department of Homeland Security. It's important for officials to share good data with the citizenry, he said, which he thinks could offset fear, innuendo and rumor.

"The more good information that people can digest easily and quickly without getting into jargon is a good thing," he said.

Many Americans, including some Charlotte-area residents in Pittenger's district, don't see terrorism as a significant threat because they don't live close to hot spots such as New York or Washington. But Pittenger said that wasn't a reason to be complacent.

"We have a major banking center," Pittenger said, referencing the headquarters of Bank of America. "We have two nuclear power plants in this region. We have a major airport. We're not out in the middle of Kansas somewhere. We're in a major region."

Pittenger's handbook includes a common-sense list of items that would be useful in various emergencies and natural disasters.

They include first aid supplies, a flashlight, duct tape, a battery-powered radio with extra batteries, and special items such as medicine and baby formula.

Much of the list is compiled from the Federal Emergency Management Agency's Ready.gov website on emergency preparedness.

But the 22-page handbook also includes graphic photos of mushroom clouds and the damaged Pentagon after the 9/11 attacks. Pittenger said people could find much worse on television.

Former FEMA Director R. David Paulison said he'd likely have taken a softer approach with the language and layout, but that most people could benefit from an emergency plan.

"It doesn't matter whether it's a terrorist event or not. It could be a gas explosion," said Paulison, who served under President George W. Bush. "What do you do with a hurricane coming in? How do you prepare for an earthquake? How do you prepare if something catastrophic happens to your building? Where are you going to go?"

In North Carolina, Pittenger keeps his emergency kit - a metal box - in the basement near his tools, he said. The box includes water, canned food and a radio.

Americans can no longer feel protected by the surrounding oceans, Pittenger said.He called them a "false sense of security."

"Let's just think smart," he said. "Let's don't think after the fact."

SOTT FOCUS: Happy St. Patrick's Day: The Irish Holocaust: an untold history lesson

Tuatha De Danaan

Celtic (Irish)God of youth, love, and beauty. One of the Tuatha De Danaan, name means "young son". He had a harp that made irresistible music, and his kisses turned into birds that carried messages of love. His brugh, underground fairy palace, was on the banks of the Boyne River.

In The Secret History of the World , my Irish ancestors, the Celts, are described as:

...proud, imaginative, artistic, lovers of freedom and adventure, eloquence, poetry and the arts... and were VERY suspicious of any kind of centralized 'authority'.

Most knowledgeable among them were the Druids, who placed great value in living harmoniously with nature, in developing memory-based records, and who adhered to the principles of the 'Third Force' - simply put, there is good, bad and the specific situation that determines which is which'.

When I was younger I never really saw the relevance of history. It had no meaning in my life - no place in my 'history'. It was interesting to some extent, but I failed to appreciate its importance. What does the oft-quoted saying, 'those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it', actually mean? If we reflect on our own personal histories, we see that we learn our most important life lessons from making mistakes that invariably produce suffering, for ourselves and others. Yet how many times do we, or did we, keep making the same mistakes?

Sometimes we suppress painful episodes, but they can 'come back to haunt us' and negatively affect our present health. Gabor Mate explores this mind-body connection in When the Body Says No , which provides transformative insights into how disease can be the body′s way of saying 'No!' to what the conscious mind cannot or will not acknowledge. Regardless of what country we hail from, access to our true national history may enable us to learn, and therefore heal, collective wounds on this larger scale.

Skellig Michae

Skellig Michael (Sceilig Mhichíl in Irish Gaelic, meaning Michael's rock), County Kerry, Ireland. The Irish Celtic monastery was built in ca. 7th Century.

Historical Revisionism

In a wider context, knowledge of our national, planetary and perhaps even cosmic history is important for us to gain understanding of "ourselves and our wider environment," as Lobaczewski put it. I recently listened to this SOTT Radio show: 'Behind the headlines: Historical Revisionism in the 20th and 21st centuries', which reminded me of an episode of modern Irish history that I was never taught when attending school in Ireland, namely the 1845-1850 Irish Holocaust, or the 'Great Famine' (Irish potato famine), as it is still euphemistically termed.

Before I get into that, what is Historical Revisionism? According to Wikipedia it is:

...either the legitimate scholastic re-examination of existing knowledge about a historical event, or the illegitimate distortion of the historical record.

The latter is also sometimes called negationism. There are various techniques used to enable this distortion of history, mostly that of deception and denial:

The specific techniques of historical revisionism vary from using forged documents as genuine sources (or inventing reasons to distrust genuine documents), to exploiting opinions by taking them out of their historical context. Other techniques include manipulating statistical series to support the given point of view, and deliberately mis-translating texts into other languages. Instead of submitting their work to peer review, revisionists rewrite history to support an agenda, and often use fallacies to obtain the desired results.Because historical revisionism can be used to deny, deceive, or influence explanations and perceptions, it can be regarded as a technique of propaganda. Finally, techniques of historical revisionism operate within the intellectual battlespace in order to advance an interpretation or perception of history.

irish holocaust

© Google Images

Irish famine memorial in Ireland.

The Great Famine myth - or Irish Holocaust

What I was taught, and what my nephews in Ireland are learning nowadays, is that the Great Famine (Irish: an Gorta Mór) was fundamentally caused by dependency on the potato crop, which was decimated with blight - a natural phenomenon:

...a period of mass starvation, disease and emigration in Ireland between 1845 and 1852. It is sometimes referred to, mostly outside Ireland, as the Irish Potato Famine because about two-fifths of the population was solely reliant on this cheap crop for a number of historical reasons. During the famine approximately 1 million people died and a million more emigrated from Ireland,causing the island's population to fall by between 20% and 25%.

A prominent Irish author and journalist, Tim Pat Coogan, explores this shameful chapter in Ireland's rich history in his book The Famine Plot: England's Role in Ireland's Greatest Tragedy . In the final chapter, he recalls the xenophobic images and words commonly used to caricature the Irish in Victorian England. Colonial Administrator (and obvious psychopath) Charles Trevelyan, and other architects of the 'famine response', had a direct hand in filling the newspapers with the "oft-repeated theme that the famine was the result of a flaw in the Irish character ." And Punch, an English 'satirical' magazine, regularly portrayed "'Paddy' as a simian in a tailcoat and a derby, engaged in plotting murder, battening on the labour of the English workingman, and generally living a life of indolent treason," explains Mr Coogan. The result of such dehumanising propaganda was to make unreasonable policy seem reasonable and just - historical revisionism in action!
anti-irish propaganda

An Irishman, depicted as drunk, sits atop a powderkeg threatening to destroy the U.S.

Indeed, anti-Irish racism and anti-Catholic discrimination were an inherent part of British colonial rule in Ireland. Parallels can be drawn between Punch's so-called 'satirical' cartoons and today's racist 'Charlie Hebdo' publication. A distinct correlation can be seen between the treatment of the Irish under Victorian rule and the treatment of Muslims in modern-day France, or Britain (or just about everywhere, it seems, as Islamophobia is on the rise all over). Just to clarify, real satire is a humorous look at prevailing social injustices - highlighting, through ironic or sarcastic means - actions of the societal 'establishment' or elite; it is NOT a tool of racist or sexist propagandists and it is NOT the denigration of those marginialised by society. There will always be apologists though for these sadistic expressions, masked as 'satire' and defended with 'freedom of expression at all costs', as reported by Norman Finkelstein in 'Charlie Hebdo is sadism not satire'.

The official narrative of those dark days in 19th century Ireland could be summed up in these words from Punch and the Great Famine by Peter Gray:

Like Sir Charles Trevelyan, the assistant Secretary to the Treasury, Punch regarded the continuation of famine conditions in Ireland after this time as entirely due to indigenous moral and not biological failures. Ireland had been warned of the folly of potato dependence by a 'natural' disaster, but had perversely chosen to ignore the danger; no further responsibility could be undertaken by the 'imperial' government.

pig and the peer cartoon

"The Pig and the Peer". This cartoon shows a life-size pig with an Irish accent pleading with the English Prime Minister. During the Famine thousands of Irish peasants were evicted to make way for animals that could "pay rent".

It was not blighted potatoes that caused the Irish genocide of 150 years ago. Yes, there was potato blight at the time. It struck harvests in the autumn of 1845, and had begun in North Carolina, then spread throughout the Northern Hemisphere for several years - yet it did not cause famine or mass death anywhere, except in Ireland. Why was that?

Nor were potatoes the only major produce of Irish agriculture at the time; they were just the only produce which the Irish - 75 percent of whom were feudal tenants of mostly tyrannical British landlords, fanatical preachers of 'free trade' - were allowed to eat or to feed to their livestock! As the historian Arthur Young wrote, the Irish tenant farmers were, like so many others, effectively slaves.

"A landlord in Ireland can scarcely invent an order which a laborer, servant, or cottier [tenant farmer] dares to refuse... He may punish with his cane or his horsewhip with the most perfect security. A poor man would have his bones broken if he offered to lift a hand in his own defense."

'Free trade' decreed that no government surplus food - no 'welfare' - be given to the starving, in order to leave the market for food undisturbed. "We do not propose," Prime Minister Lord John Russell told the House of Commons, "to interfere with the regular mode by which Indian corn and other kinds of grain may be brought into Ireland."
A Family Evicted During the 'Great Famine'

A Family Evicted During the 'Great Famine' or the Irish Holocaust as it should be known.

Essentially, 'free trade' gave Irish farm families three choices when the potato crops failed:

  • starve on their farms, while selling their grain crops to pay their rent

  • report to the Public Works or the Poor Law workhouses to be worked/starved to death (as the Nazis did to the inmates of Auschwitz)

  • emigrate and take the 50/50 chance of surviving the passage across the Atlantic.

According to the definitions of the Geneva Convention, what happened in Ireland between 1845-50 was Genocide . During those 'potato famine years' - food was systematically removed from the shores of Ireland, a policy conducted in full awareness that it was starving the population. The result was a million deaths, with two million more emigrating.

Ireland starved because its food, from 40 to 70 shiploads per day, was removed at gunpoint by 12,000 British constables reinforced by the British militia, battleships, excise vessels, Coast Guard and by 200,000 British soldiers (100,000 at any given moment) The attached map shows the never-before-published names and locations in Ireland of the food removal regiments (Disposition of the Army; Public Record Office, London; et al, of which we possess photocopies). Thus, Britain seized from Ireland's producers tens of millions of head of livestock; tens of millions of tons of flour, grains, meat, poultry and dairy products; enough to sustain 18 million persons .

At the time, the population of Ireland was about 8 million.

In other words, the history still being taught to Irish children is a gross distortion of the facts. In a letter he wrote to an Irish peer - the 1st Baron Monteagle of Brandon, a former Chancellor of the Exchequer - Charles Trevelyan described the famine as an "effective mechanism for reducing surplus population " as well as "the judgement of God ". In recent years, former U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright expressed similarly unconscionable sentiments regarding the economic siege of Iraq in the 1990s. Here's another quote that embodies the psychopathic nature of Trevelyan, and the British Government he represented:

"British Coastguard Inspector-General, Sir James Dombrain, when he saw starving paupers, ordered his subordinates to give free food handouts. For his attempts to feed the starving, Dombrain was publicly rebuked by Trevelyan..."

The Trevelyan quote is: "The real evil with which we have to contend is not the physical evil of the Famine but the moral evil of the selfish, perverse and turbulent character of the people ."

This tragedy is beautifully captured in the Irish folk ballad, The Fields of Athenry, with its painful, haunting lyrics eloquently expressing those terrible times:

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Emigration - the 'coffin ships'

Emigration was thus a desperate necessity. On some of the 'coffin ships' the death rate was 30% or more. Besides overcrowding, starvation and disease, the dangers included, for those attempting to use the Liverpool route, unscrupulous middlemen and landlords, thieves, con men, and the extortionate tactics of ships' agents and owners. Exactly the same despicable tactics being used by 'people traffickers' of desperate people these days. Still, with the only other alternative being a slow death at home, hundreds of thousands faced, and largely overcame, these horrifying obstacles.

coffin ship

Depiction of life on a 'coffin ship'.

These days in our morally bankrupt Europe Union, people continue to flee from oppression and starvation. According to refugee organizations' estimates, since 1990 something in the region of 25,000 people have drowned while attempting to cross the Mediterranean to Europe. Since the Lampedusa migrant deaths of 2013, when hundreds drowned, thousands more desperate people have been rescued from these latter day versions of the 'coffin ships', then often detained in conditions amounting to a 'living hell'. Britain's Home Office estimates that some 30,000 migrants and asylum seekers are detained indefinitely in the country while their immigration status is 'resolved', with many being held for months or even years. The immigration removal centers in the UK have been described as 'proper prisons', with lack of medical care, routine physical abuse, and illegal indefinite detentions. Ireland today, still suffering the demise of its economy as the 'Celtic Tiger' was fattened then slaughtered by the same imperialist mindset that caused the famine, is undergoing another mass emigration, with as many as 400,000 people having left Irish shores since 2008... from a population of just over 4.5 million.

The theme of emigration is well represented in this song by The Pogues - Thousands Are Sailing - with lyrics here.

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Learning from history

Is it really any wonder that the same human rights abuses continue today when such horrific acts of genocide have been excised from the history books and the knowledge of them denied even to the descendants of those who suffered so terribly? It's an appalling travesty. Until we research objectively, uncover these horrific lies, and demand their inclusion in mainstream history books and the school curriculum - learn the lessons of history, in other words - absolutely nothing will change. We will continue to see the same agendas play out, just on a slightly different stage.

Perhaps this St Patrick's Day we can make a concerted effort to pass on knowledge of this despicable period in Irish history, sign the petition 'WHEN GENOCIDE BECAME 'FAMINE': IRELAND, 1845 - 1850', and celebrate those 'Celtic qualities' we may have forgotten or lost, but which we have in common with other 'tribes' worldwide. Perhaps this St Patrick's Day we can remember our shared suffering with all humanity - whatever their nationality, creed or colour - under the Global Pathocracy's relentless war against the weak.

"Our modern civilization suffers from amnesia. The psychopathic elites have stolen our heritage: the wisdom of our ancestors who knew about the cyclical nature of cosmic events and the role played by corruption in those catastrophes."

Only Our Rivers Run Free is a song written by Mickey MacConnell about the constitutional status of Northern Ireland. I feel the lyrics are relevant everywhere in this world though, as the "cold chains of bondage" take many different forms, perhaps the strongest being those that remain unseen because people do not know their true history.

Only our rivers run free

When apples still grow in November

When Blossoms still bloom from each tree

When leaves are still green in December

It's then that our land will be free

I wander her hills and her valleys

And still through my sorrow I see

A land that has never known freedom

And only her rivers run free

I drink to the death of her manhood

Those men who'd rather have died

Than to live in the cold chains of bondage

To bring back their rights were denied

Oh where are you now when we need you

What burns where the flame used to be

Are ye gone like the snows of last winter

And will only our rivers run free?

How sweet is life but we're crying

How mellow the wine but it's dry

How fragrant the rose but it's dying

How gentle the breeze but it sighs

What good is in youth when it's aging

What joy is in eyes that can't see

When there's sorrow in sunshine and flowers

And still only our rivers run free

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