Source: America’s $33 Mercenaries
Dr Stuart Bramhall
The mercenaries were contracted through extremely profitable private security agencies like Triple Canopy (later renamed Special Operations Consulting), who charged the US government $15,000 a month per mercenary and paid the mercenaries $1,000 a month ($33 a day). By 2011, SOC discovered they could recruit mercenaries from poorer countries for $11 a day and reduced the pay scale even further.
The film follows the plight of Peruvian mercenaries SOC deliberately misled into believing they would be working as security guards in the Baghdad Green Zone (which is protected by US troops). Instead they found themselves deployed to the Basra front line in Basra when they finished their training in Jordan.
Those who were injured were denied proper medical care, resulting in needless deaths and horrendous disabilities. At present, the Peruvians in the film are suing SOC for reneging on the health and disability benefits injured mercenaries were guaranteed in their contract.
The documentary is in 2 parts, with Part 2 starting automatically when Part 1 finishes.
Author Wolfgang Streeck describes the phenomenon as “a death from a thousand cuts.”
Photo Credit: Shutterstock.com/durantelallera
Some anonymous wise person once observed that it is easier to imagine the end of the world than the end of capitalism. But Wolfgang Streeck, a 70-year-old German sociologist and director emeritus of the Max Planck Institute for the Study of Societies, thinks capitalism’s end is inevitable and fast approaching. He has no idea what, if anything, will replace it.
This is the premise of his latest book, How Will Capitalism End?, which goes well beyond Thomas Piketty’s Capital in the 21st Century. Piketty thinks capitalism is getting back into the saddle after being ruined in two world wars. Streeck thinks capitalism is its own worst enemy and has effectively cut itself off from all hope of rescue by destroying all its potential rescuers.
“The end of capitalism,” he writes in the introduction, “can then be imagined as a death from a thousand cuts… No effective opposition being left, and no practicable successor model waiting in the wings of history, capitalism’s accumulation of defects, alongside its accumulation of capital, may be seen… as an entirely endogenous dynamic of self-destruction.”
According to Streeck, salvation doesn’t lie in going back to Marx, or social democracy, or any other system, because there is no salvation at all. “What comes after capitalism in its final crisis, now under way, is, I suggest, not socialism or some other defined social order, but a lasting interregnum — no new world system equilibrium… but a prolonged period of social entropy or disorder.”
Five developments, three crises
If we need a historical parallel, the interregnum between the fall of Rome and the rise of feudalism might serve. The slave economy of Rome ended in a chaos of warlords, walled towns and fortress-estates, and enclaves ruled by migrant barbarians. That went on for centuries, with warlords calling themselves “Caesar” and pretending the Empire hadn’t fallen. Streeck sees the interregnum emerging from five developments, each aggravating the others: “stagnation, oligarchic redistribution, the plundering of the public domain, corruption, and global anarchy.”
All these problems and more have grown through “three crises: the global inflation of the 1970s, the explosion of public debt in the 1980s, and rapidly rising private indebtedness in the subsequent decade, resulting in the collapse of financial markets in 2008.” Anyone of a certain age in British Columbia has vivid personal recollections of these crises and the hurt they caused. The strikes and inflation of the 1970s preceded the Socreds’ “restraint” era, and now we mortgage our lives for a foothold in the housing market. Streeck reminds us that it was nothing personal, just business. We weren’t just coping with one damn thing after another; given his perspective, we can see how it all fit together with an awful inevitability.
When the bubble pops
And it continues to fit together. Temporary foreign workers and other immigrants make unions’ jobs harder. “Recovery” amounts to replacing unemployment with underemployment. Education is an expensive holding tank to keep young people off the labour market. Women are encouraged to work so they can be taxed. But middle-class families need two incomes anyway to maintain their status, so they import underpaid immigrant women as nannies. At some point soon these nannies will be sent back to their home countries when Vancouver’s housing bubble pops.
Perhaps the middle-class families will then make their payments by taking in boarders. Streeck’s essays were written over the past few years, and are sometimes a bit dated. For example, he writes that “American oligarchs, unlike their counterparts in other societies like Ukraine or Russia, are of a ‘non-ruling’ type, since they are content to live alongside a public bureaucracy, a state of law, and an elected government run by professional politicians.”
That changed on Nov. 8, when the American oligarchs ousted noncompliant professional politicians and assumed direct power through Donald Trump and his cabinet. (We may yet see an analysis of Trump on Streeck’s blog.) In one essay, Streeck shows how the economic crisis of the 1970s led to the political crisis of today. Postwar Europe and America rebuilt the world by “Fordism” — mass production of durable goods at an affordable price, with few or no options. But Fordism eventually glutted the market with all-too-durable goods. In the 1960s, I wore the hand-me-down nylon socks my father had bought in the 1940s.
In 1972 my wife and I bought a washer and dryer that still run reliably in 2016, without repairs. That couldn’t last, especially as the baby boom tapered off. Capitalism’s solution was to offer customized, short-lived products that didn’t just meet your needs, but met your wants as well. That meant avocado-coloured refrigerators in the 1970s and granite kitchen countertops today, but nothing that really made life easier. It just let consumers express their changing personal tastes and status. And it wasn’t just consumer goods — it was information as well. Streeck notes that public broadcasting systems and a few private networks dominated the media for decades. Now we have hundreds of private channels competing for our attention (and our money).
Public media like the CBC have tried to compete with private radio and TV, with generally awful results: instead of classical music, CBC Radio 2 gives us Mozart’s greatest hits plus Mozart gossip. Radio 1 promotes the careers of inarticulate hip-hop artists and reports commuter woes caused by housing prices and the lack of decent public transit.
Politics as personal fashion statement
What Streeck calls the “individualization of the individual” has afflicted whole nations, including Canada. We no longer vote for a party because our family always has, or because we support most of its policies. We want avocado-coloured day care programs, and granite-counter “world-class” pipeline safety, and if we don’t get both in one party, we stay home and sulk. In effect, we prefer to be consumers of politics as personal fashion statement rather than actually take part in running the country. Marx thought communism would see the withering-away of the state. Instead, capitalism has reduced the state until its chief functions are protecting the rich and policing the poor.
But in the process, capitalism has killed off its rescuers. Who’s going to save the banks in the next collapse? Who’s going to bail out the masters of the financial universe when artificial intelligence takes their jobs? And who’s going to police the poor when taxpayers can’t pay for the cops and the rich are hiring cops for their own gated communities? Wolfgang Streeck sees neither a single cause of capitalism’s collapse nor any obvious successor regime.
The European Union may break up. Climate change may drown south Florida, including Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago. Refugees will keep coming north; they will eventually overwhelm the fences and guards and create new enclaves in Europe and the U.S.A. and Canada.
New pandemics will sweep unchallenged around the world. No coherent political communities will be there to respond to such disasters. Such communities may arise centuries from now, but if Streeck is right, capitalism has ensured that we and our children will never live in them.
Our site, Voltairenet.org, has been proving for a long time that it is possible to communicate on political subjects without having to suffer the anathema of the major medias, Donald Trump has now taken the road we opened and that many others have also taken. If you want news about the next US administration, don’t read the New York Times, which wastes its time with caricatures, but Internet sites like Breitbart.com. The President no longer answers questions from the grand Press, but communicates on twitter.com/realdonaldtrump.
The rules governing modern political communication were imposed by the United States, which until now were dominated by the Puritan ideology (politically correct expressions, public apologies for faults passing for absolution, belief in having been chosen by God to enlighten the world, separation between the WASPs and the minorities, belief in wealth as a gift from God to those who serve Him, etc.). By overthrowing the Puritan ideology embodied by Washington in general and the Clinton dynasty in particular, Donald Trump has also put an end to the current rules of political communication.
He did not base his electoral campaign on grand shows, part-entertainment, part-politics. While his competitors paraded on stage with show-business stars, gobbling up colossal budgets, he concentrated on his message and spent 10 times less than others.
Considering that the medias were generally hostile to him, he gave them almost no interviews, and in each of his meetings, never ceased from denouncing their predjudice. His spokeswoman never tried to seduce the journalists, but on the contrary, relied on anti-establishment Internet sites, whether they had a public or not – his campaign director himself runs one of these sites, Breitbart.com.
Aiming his campaign against the political class in Washington, he did not rent auditorium space there, but stayed at home in Trump Tower, New York. Faithful to his own logic, he also rented no space in Washington to set up his transition team. Consequently, while the Obama administration handles current affairs from Washington, the future is being decided from New York.
Once elected, he gave no Press conference, and no interviews, but addressed US citizens directly via Twitter and YouTube. This is the first time that a head of state has addressed his people in this way, by short-circuiting the major medias.
As if the electoral campaign was not over, he undertook a thank-you tour of new meetings, which the Press has avoided mentioning. In his speeches, he first of all thanked the electors from the minority groups (women, Hispanics, Afro-Americans and gays) who voted for him depite the racist image that the major medias had tried to stick him with. He repeated his message, not against the elites, but against the methods they have adopted in Washington and the Puritan ideology that they incarnate. Finally, he announced his first decisions. In matters of foreign policy, he confirmed that he will end the Trans-Pacific Treaty which was concluded to the detriment of China; end the policies of régime change (including Syria); wherever possible, replace the current confrontations (including Russia) with cooperation; and reform the secret services, whose unique function today is to assassinate third-world leaders.
(From 46 minutes)
In days gone by, the Presidential Press enjoyed comfortable offices in the White House and decided on the themes that were to be discussed. Today, most of its members have deserted Washington, and wait all day at the foot of Trump Tower until «the» Donald feels like coming down, accompanying one of his guests to his car, dropping a few comments on his way.
The major medias, both written and audio-visual, persist in mocking the President-elect, accusing him of incompetence and extremism, but he doesn’t care. He has succeeded in climbing over their heads and now communicates directly with his compatriots.
With permission from
Oct 25, 2016
Is USA the most racist country in the world?
A land of so much diversity is also the most racist country in the world. Indians are the most racist people in the world and even today, a child born in the Indian family is taught to worship anyone with white skin and look down upon anyone with dark skin. And thus was born the Indian racism against Africans and other dark skinned people. A fair skinned foreigner gets treated like a god and a dark skinned one is treated very badly.Among Indians themselves too there are conflicts between castes and people from different regions like the problem between Marathi Manoos and Biharis. And yet, Indians won’t accept this fact and boast about the culture and diversity and acceptance. It is high time we open our eyes to what the situation truly is and take the saying “Athithi Devo Bhava” (Guest is God) in a positive manner.
Pakistan is an Islamic majority country and even then, there are many conflicts that take place there between the two sects of Shia and Sunni. There have been crimes between the two sects for ages and nothing is being done about it. Apart from that, the long war with the neighbor India is something that is known to all the world. There have been incidences of racism between Indians and Pakistanis. Apart from that, other races like Africans and Latin Americans are also discriminated against.
In Russia, a lot of Xenophobia and ‘nationalist’ feelings still prevail. Even today, Russians are racist towards the people whom they feel are not ethnically and truly Russians. Apart from that, they are racist towards Africans, Far Asians, Caucasians, Chinese etc. It culminates with hate and later develops into gross crimes against humanity. The Russian government, along with UN have tried to do their best to stop such incidences of racism but they still continue to take place in not only the remote places but also big cities.
Israel has been in the midst of controversy since its’ inception in 1948. And it has been so because of the crimes committed against the people of Palestine and the Israeli Arabs. After the World War 2, a new state was carved out for Jewish European immigrants, The original inhabitants of the land were forced to become refugees in their own land. Thus began the ongoing conflict between the imported peoples of Israel and the local indigenous Palestinian peoples. Today, we clearly see the clash of what many believe is their Euro-superior tribe over the so-called ignorant uncultured local peoples. Israel continues to struggle with treating its’ non-Jewish citizens and occupied peoples as pariahs.
(5) United States of America
The land of the free and the land of the brave also happens to be the land of some of the most racist people in the world. Although the picture some see of USA is through a rose-tinted glass and it all seems flowers and butterflies, the actual case is quite different.
In the Deep South and Mid-West regions like Arizona, Missouri, Mississippi etc, racism is an everyday thing. Be it against Asians, Africans, South Americans or even the actual people of USA – the Native Americans. Cases of hate and hate due to color of skin are ever-increasing.
And with the rise of race baiting self-described superior genes smarter than everyone else Josef Mengele-esque superior race national politician Donald Trump and his millions of followers who openly belong to racist organizations ie… Klu Klux Klan, the covers have been lifted of he USA where racism is proudly displayed out in the open and broadcast across the international airwaves for all to see.
Honorable Mentions: Saudi Arabia, United Kingdom, Rwanda, South Africa, Australia, Japan, Germany
As it relates to the USA, I have many questions. I mean who are we really? And what is the USA?
I mean, If one votes Trump and does NOT condemn his mocking of disabled, insulting people of color, and his confession of engaging in sexual abuse of women, can we assume one is openly a racist bigot who believes sexual abuse is acceptable?
And if America votes Trump, can we officially call USA the word’s # 1 most openly racist bigoted country who does not respect women?
Such a list shines a bright light on all of us. It forces us to look in the mirror. Clearly, the USA has made bold important steps forward. We certainly do NOT support the racist institution of slavery. So that’s a big improvement. And the civil rights laws of the 1960s really gave us an injection of equality in our system that we so desperately needed. But now, with the rise of Trump? Are we regressing and on our way to being labeled the # 1 racist country in the world? What do you think?
About Johnny Punish: Former punk rock lead singer from 90s underground punk band Twisted Nixon (1996-2002), Punish is now pushing his artistic boundaries into the 21st century creating diverse music with a social justice activism that matters.
Friends label Punish a global social justice warrior, eco-activist, socially responsible businessman, and syndicated writer and broadcaster. He produces the irreverent political music podcast The Johnny Punish Show for VeteransTodayLive.com. In addition, Punish has penned over 300 articles on freedom, liberty, and justice around the world writing opt-eds for VeteransToday.com and other truth telling web sites.
Since 2000, Punish has delivered his global message from his self built eco-earthbag home studio dome on a dirt road with chickens. He lives relatively free in an unfree world pledging allegiance to the earth and all the human beings. To share the positive energy, Punish offers his 50 plus song very personal record trilogy The Strange Story of Johnny Punish, Volumes 1,2, and 3. (2000-2016). It is available now on on Itunes, Amazon.com, bandcamp.com and all digital platforms.
The Israeli government and some U.S. politicians are attacking the Obama administration for permitting a recent U.N. Security Council resolution that condemns Israeli settlements in the occupied Palestinian territories. Secretary of State John Kerry faced further ire on Wednesday after saying the settlements threaten prospects for peace in the region.
Yet part of the reason the administration decided to speak out forcefully about the settlements is because they are such a key feature of Israel’s occupation ― now approaching its 50th year. The occupation affects almost every aspect of Palestinians’ lives in the West Bank, the Gaza Strip and East Jerusalem.
1. Palestinians can’t live free of Israeli military presence.
When the Israel-Palestine conflict is referred to as an “occupation,” it’s not figurative — occupied Palestinian territories, specifically the West Bank and East Jerusalem, are constantly patrolled and controlled by the Israeli military. These armed soldiers have been accused of beating, detaining and torturing Palestinians.
Breaking the Silence, an organization of former Israeli soldiers who are critical of the occupation, alleged that Israel Defense Forces intentionally killed civilians during the last war in Gaza. Soldiers enforce checkpoints, blockades, curfews and other restrictions.
2. Palestinians in Gaza can’t control the flow of goods and supplies.
Israel maintains a strict blockade on Gaza that allows it to control what flows in and out of the territory. Israeli officials say the blockade aims to prevent Hamas, a militant political group that took over the territory in 2007, from acquiring weapons ― but the crackdown on imports and exports also extends to food and medicine.
Government documents show that from 2007-2010, the Israeli military calculated the number of calories people in Gaza needed to avoid malnutrition. Critics said the calculation appears to have been used to limit the food supply in Gaza, a charge the Israeli government denied. The limited food supply in Gaza has caused price inflation.
The blockade also restricts shipments of materials, such as wood and steel, that are needed to rebuild structures like schools and hospitals leveled in past wars with Israel. In 2011,a U.N. panel ruled the blockade constituted collective punishment, a violation of international law.
3. Palestinians can’t control their access to water in the occupied territories.
Since the beginning of the military occupation in 1967, Israel has controlled access to water in the occupied Palestinian territories. The majority of the water from the area’s two main sources goes to Israeli areas. There are frequent water shortages in the West Bank and poor water quality in Gaza, according to Israeli human rights organization B’Tselem.
When the demand for water increases in summer months, settlements are prioritized, Amnesty International found. Palestinians sometimes go days or months with water shortages. Bethlehem residents say they have experienced 40 days without running water ― affecting bathing, drinking, cooking and agriculture. Palestinians often resort to storing water, which can be unsanitary, or using bottled water, which can be expensive.
4. Palestinians can’t access certain life-saving health care.
Due to the blockade, many hospitals in the Gaza Strip lack critical equipment and resources. For cancer treatment, which is hard to come by in Gaza, Palestinians have to request permission from Israel to travel elsewhere ― usually to Israel, where the treatment is available. Israeli officials will only grant travel permits to patients who have “urgent humanitarian and life saving cases,” a representative from the prime minister’s office told Haaretz.
Even if people are granted entry, the process can be long, expensive and bureaucratic. The situation has left many cancer-diagnosed Palestinians, including children, stuck in Gaza. Hospitals there lack resources, and Israel has bombed many of them during past wars.
Israel has denied travel permits to Israel for hundreds of Palestinian women suffering from breast cancer this year, according to Middle East Monitor. In the first 10 months of 2016, 548 Palestinian women applied for travel permits to access breast cancer treatment — 287 were turned down for unspecified reasons, and 125 were rejected due to alleged security concerns. There are over 1,200 women suffering from breast cancer in Gaza, representing just under 20 percent of the cancer patients there.
5. Palestinians can’t live in Israeli settlements in the occupied territories.
Palestinians who are not citizens of Israel are barred from living in or even visiting the settlements, according to Diana Buttu, former legal adviser to the Palestinian Liberation Organization.
The Israeli settler population has grown 21 percent between 2009 and 2015, reaching almost 600,000 people in the West Bank and East Jerusalem. Additionally, many of the roads between and around settlements are restricted to Israelis, making efficient transit difficult for Palestinians. Thousands of Palestinians’ homes have been demolished in order for these settlements to exist.
6. Most Palestinians can’t enjoy the rights of citizenship.
Palestinians living under Israeli occupation are effectively a stateless people, who, for the most part, lack rights to citizenship in any sovereign nation.
Palestinians residing in East Jerusalem are technically eligible for citizenship, but Israel only granted citizenship to about half of Palestinian applicants from 2003 to 2013. And the application process has all but halted over the past three years, according to a Times of Israel report. Palestinian residents of Jerusalem can only vote in municipal elections.
For Palestinian residents of Gaza and the West Bank, gaining Israeli citizenship is all but impossible. It’s even difficult for Palestinians with an Israeli parent to gain citizenship. Being married to an Israeli does not grant Palestinians the right to live in Israel.
Under the Law of Return, anyone who is a non-Israeli Jew or is related to a non-Israeli Jew can be almost automatically granted citizenship. Palestinian refugees who fled Israel during the 1948 war are denied that opportunity and can’t reclaim the land and possessions they were forced to leave behind.
This is particularly important when it comes to voting rights in Israel. Israeli politicians and policies directly impact Palestinians’ lives, but without Israeli citizenship, Palestinians cannot vote in national elections. Palestinians from the occupied territories who live in Israel are only allowed to vote in municipal elections.
Meanwhile, the Palestinian Authority, a governing body that has some authority in parts of the West Bank, last held presidential elections in 2005.
7. Palestinians don’t have the same due process and civil rights as Israelis.
Palestinians can be imprisoned without charge for a period of up to six months under the Israeli policy of “administrative detention.” After the end of the six months, Israeli officials are allowed to renew the detention indefinitely ― a violation of international law, according to B’Tselem.
Many detained Palestinians are activists, protesters, politicians or journalists, sparking criticism from human rights groups that Israel is attempting to silence dissidents. In April, almost 700 Palestinians were under administrative detention, many loosely accused of being terrorists. Hundreds of minors were also in custody. Some detainees held under administrative detention have been tortured, according to Amnesty International.
While Israelis are required to be brought before a judge within 48 hours of being arrested, Palestinians can wait up to eight days. Palestinians are tried in military courts, while Israeli settlers living in the same territories are tried in civil Israeli courts.
At every stage of the criminal justice process, occupied Palestinians have fewer rights. Their trials can be longer, the threshold for their convictions is lower and they receive longer sentences than Israelis for similar crimes. As of 2011, the conviction rate of Palestinians in these military courts was almost 100 percent.
8. Palestinians can’t travel in, out and through occupied territories without restriction.
Israel has implemented strict travel restrictions in and outside the occupied Palestinian territories for decades, making it difficult for Palestinians to leave, return and travel through the areas.
Military checkpoints and roadblocks are scattered throughout the West Bank and East Jerusalem, some of which have lines that can add up to five hours to Palestinians’ daily commutes. There are almost 100 permanent checkpoints, according to B’Tselem. Checkpoints have been set up on roads following terrorists attacks, but also after children threw rocks. Occupying soldiers can arbitrarily deny passage through any checkpoint, which can make working, visiting family and planning travel almost impossible. Palestinians have died at checkpoints en route to a hospital on the other side, the U.N. reports.
Entering and leaving occupied Palestinian territories is also difficult for Palestinians. The border with Egypt is rarely open and has a waiting list of 30,000 people. Passage through the northern border is up to Israeli officials’ discretion. Travel between the Gaza Strip and the West Bank is extremely difficult. Traveling through Jordan has become more restrictive this year, as more travel permits are denied. Many of the people who attempt to leave are students or people seeking medical treatment.
Entering occupied territories as a foreigner is also difficult, even for Palestinians who were born or are living abroad. U.S. citizens report that they’ve faced discrimination for attempting to travel to occupied territories, and detention and interrogation are not uncommon. It’s particularly challenging for activists and journalists to enter the territories.
9. Palestinians aren’t equally protected by labor laws.
In 2007, the Israeli Supreme Court passed a law allowing Palestinian workers employed by Israeli businesses the protection of Israeli labor laws. But a new regulation passed in September requires Palestinians to pay a deposit to the court upfront before suing employers for labor law violations. The expensive fees and long process makes it harder for Palestinians to challenge mistreatment. Foreign workers, many of whom are Palestinian, hold the majority of working-class and service jobs in the Israeli economy.
Palestinians working for Israeli businesses in the settlements have experienced violations of Israeli employer standards. Human Rights Watch has documented incidents of child labor in settlement businesses as well as other abuses, like denying social benefits and paying below the minimum wage.
10. Palestinians can’t stay out late.
The IDF has, at times, imposed curfews on Palestinians. The curfews are usually put in place on Jewish holidays, like Rosh Hashanah in October, or following clashes between Palestinians and Israeli forces.
Israeli officials justify these curfews as necessary security measures, but human rights observers like B’Tselem say curfews constitute collective punishment — a violation of international law. Curfews are often the result of protests of the occupation itself.
This list of obstacles Palestinians face as a result of the occupation is not exhaustive — there are a number of other human rights concerns and restrictions imposed on non-Israelis in the West Bank, the Gaza Strip and East Jerusalem. Human rights groups like Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch and B’Tselem have said aspects of the occupation violate or disregard international law and human rights. There is no sign Israel plans to end the occupation any time soon.
Comment: When will the destruction and violence end? With Trump opposed to the UN resolution which states Israeli settlements have no legal validity and are a violation of international law, it’s doubtful that it will be anytime soon. At least the Israeli occupation is gaining traction in mainstream media nowadays, see the articles below for more info:
Just three words: Yemen cluster bombs.
“The ambition of IS or Daesh [Arabic acronym of Islamic State] is definitely mass-casualty attacks,” Wallace said in an interview with the Sunday Times newspaper, adding that “they want to harm as many people as possible and terrorize as many people as possible.”
Some 800 Britons are thought to have travelled to Syria since the outbreak of the civil war, many to join Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL), according to Reuters, citing official figures, which also show around 100 as being killed. A further 150 were prevented from travelling to Syria in 2015, and the figure for 2016 will be “very similar,” Wallace said.
“The big concern is if Mosul collapses and all the other bases of Isis collapse. We know there are a significant number of [Britons] fighting for IS in Syria. They will probably want to come home,” he warned.
“There will also be those people who wanted to go out there but no longer can get there. Their frustration may boil over,” the minister added.
“They have no moral objection to using chemical weapons against populations and, if they could, they would in this country. The casualty figures that could be involved would be everybody’s worst fear,” he noted, citing the dismantlement of an Islamic State cell in Morocco in February as evidence that the terrorists plan to carry out chemical attacks in Europe.
“Moroccan authorities dismantled a cell involving chemical weapons. They recovered toxic chemical and biological substances and a large stock of fertilizer. The substances found could have been used to produce homemade explosives and could have been transformed into a deadly toxin,” Wallace said, adding that UK security chiefs had recently held exercises to deal with the country’s “worst fear.”
The report said that, while no specific plot to unleash chemical weapons had been identified, security services had, nonetheless, been carrying out exercises to prepare for the possibility.
The Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) has previously confirmed reports that IS had been using chemical weapons against Kurdish forces in northern Iraq throughout 2015. It also confirmed that mustard gas had been deployed in neighboring Syria in 2015, saying “with the utmost confidence that at least two people were exposed to sulfur mustard [on August 21]” in the town of Marea, north of Aleppo. “It is very likely that the effects of sulfur mustard resulted in the death of a baby,” it added.
The sulfur mustard gas that was used in terrorist attacks in Syria and Iraq might have been manufactured by Islamic State on its own, Ahmet Uzumcu, head of OPCW, said in November.
The OPCW experts analyzed samples of mustard gas employed in the August 2015 attack and found that there’s grounds to believe “this substance may have been produced by ISIS itself,” Uzumcu told AFP. The officials said the terrorist-made substance was of “poor quality, but still harmful,” noting that it was an “extremely worrying” development.
Europol warned last month, citing intelligence sources, that there is evidence that IS has shown an interest in using chemical and/or biological weapons.
“IS is known to have used sulphur mustard gas in Syria and is thought to be able to produce the gas itself. IS is believed to include people who were formerly engaged in Iraq’s weapons program and it is assumed that the group has access to Iraqi and Libyan storage sites of chemical weapons. In addition, there are indications that IS is experimenting with biological weapons,” the report states.
With permission from
The internet is buzzing after a New Years Eve Tweet by Wikileaks claimed that 2017 will be an even bigger year for the whistleblowing organization than 2016.
Considering that Wikileaks revealed tens of thousands of DNC emails among numerous other high profile releases throughout 2016, the fact that they are telling their supporters that this year will be even better has many wondering what could possibly be next.
One has to wonder if this could point to the upcoming release of information that actually directly implicates failed presidential candidate Hillary Clinton in the numerous and documented criminal activities tied to her, her family, and her foundation.
The organization has been a target of the leftist establishment after their release of DNC emails was tied to Russia through disinformation published by the Washington Post and numerous other corporate news outlets. They are clearly preparing for an increase in attacks which also indicates that the information they plan to release is indeed explosive.
Here’s to a new year that includes Clinton finally facing the music for her career as a corrupt globalist puppet!
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Dec 31, 2016
With a loss of confidence looming over the Keystone XL pipeline, along with a drop in oil prices, many big companies are opting to halt their plans to extract oil from the Alberta tar sounds.
Within the last year alone, Shell, the French energy company Total, and SunCor Energy of Canada have stopped their contribution to the tar sands projects. Norwegian oil giant Statoil is now the most recent company to pull out.
Statoil pulled its investments from the projects after winning a contract to construct an offshore wind farm in U.S. waters. The company reportedly sold off its tar sand assets within hours of learning of its victory for the wind farm off the coast of New York state.
The option to develop the wind facility put Statoil in the spotlight, particularly as public opinion has shifted from supporting oil extraction to cleaner alternatives. The victory for the oil giant came after a stressful bid process, but the outcome proved worthwhile, and now Statoil has joined a new coordinated program that will develop a series of wind farms off the Atlantic coast.
The Keystone XL pipeline, according to Brian Palmer of OnEarth Magazine, is necessary in order for tar sands projects to become profitable. He said that, without it, “a marginally profitable business [turns] into a completely unprofitable business — and that’s scaring oil producers off of tar sands projects.”
Tar sands oil is a significantly lower quality of version of crude oil, and so it sells for much less than the conventional type. While conventional crude oil is currently being sold for about $80 a barrel, tar sands oil sells at $20 to $30 dollars less. Also important to note is that, while it costs about $25 per barrel to transfer tar sands crude by rail from Alberta to the Gulf of Mexico, the Keystone Pipeline would allow an immense cut, from $25 to $9 a barrel.
If the price of tar sands oil continues to drop, and companies have to pay that extra $15 to $20 for oil-by-rail indefinitely, then suddenly the long-term viability of tar sands project will become very dubious, Palmer says. He also notes:
You need to move huge amounts of equipment to a very remote place in northern Canada to get the tar sands out of the ground. You need additional equipment to separate the bitumen — the stuff that actually makes oil — from the sand and clay. Then you need even more equipment to cook that down and turn it into something that vaguely resembles crude oil. When all of that is done, you still have to get the stuff to a refinery.
Bruno Delgadillo suffered as many as 300 seizures a day before medical marijuana brought his condition under control.
Jan 1, 2017
Bruno Delgadillo, a young boy in the US state of Florida, suffered as many as 300 epileptic seizures per day but according to his mother a daily intake of medical cannabis oil has stopped them, allowing him to live a normal life.
Jacel Delgadillo told Al Jazeera that cannibas has succeeded in treating her son’s chronic disease after numerous other treatments failed and even made his condition worse.
“He has been through so many medications that had put him through vegetative states,” she said.
Delgadillo has risked being arrested by providing her son with a dosage amount of medicinal marijuana that exceeds Florida’s legal limits.
“I do not care what anybody says. I would rather have my child on medical marijuana and have him be a child than seeing his body seize and tremble every other minute,” she said.
However, her state is set to curb medical marijuana restrictions after 71 percent of Florida residents voted in favour of an amendment that takes effect on Tuesday.
As more scientific research in the United States and globally, as well as reported anecdotes such as Bruno’s improvement, suggest cannabis’ capabilities in treating a wide range of illnesses, an increasing number of US states are moving towards legalising marijuana for recreational or medical purposes.
More than half of the 50 American states now approve medical marijuana use.
However, the federal government still classifies cannabis as a narcotic and illegal for any type of usage, which has hindered research into its medicinal potential.
Source: Al Jazeera
Dear Washington Post, now you have no choice but close your doors, as you have proven that you are just a government mouthpiece. Now go get real jobs in the real world…
Jan 2, 2017
The Washington Post has retracted its story about Russian hackers penetrating the nation’s electricity grid with a virus found in a Burlington, Vt., electric company laptop.
“Authorities say there is no indication of that so far [that Russians had penetrated the US electric grid],” according to an editor’s note attached to a corrected version of the story on the paper’s Web site.
“The computer at Burlington Electric that was hacked was not attached to the grid,” the editor’s note read.
News of the supposed hack had set off a firestorm of recriminations, with Vermont leaders calling Russian President Vladimir Putin “a thug” earlier Saturday, after one of the state’s electric utilities found a virus on a laptop computer.
By Jonathan Cook
Jan 1, 2017
Is the CIA editing your newspaper? Here is a great overview by Ed Jones of OpenDemocracyUK of why corporate media are the arch-exponents of “fake news”. The media are overwhelming owned and controlled by billionaires and gargantuan corporations, who depend on the support of other corporations for ad revenue, and employ journalists from a narrow, privileged class whose careers depend on maintaining access to elite sources. It would be simply astounding in these circumstances if we had anything resembling a pluralistic media.
The data concerns UK outlets, but the same principles apply in the US.
One section makes especially disturbing reading. It is the little-discussed matter of the intelligence services’ deep penetration of most western, and in some cases non-western, media organisations. In short, US intelligence services – and to a lesser extent British ones – have for many decades fed information to sympathetic journalists in key positions inside the “free” media, working with them hand in glove. Additionally, the CIA has sought to put its own people into publications to shape directly editorial content and influence public opinion. In some cases, these people may have reached very senior positions.
Nick Davies, of the Guardian, dedicated a whole chapter of his book Flat Earth News to documenting these practices. Strangely, that chapter is rarely mentioned. Journalists who praise the book instead concentrate on his less revealing concept of “churnalism” – journalism compromised by constraints of time and resources.
Jones adds other sources who make much the same point: Richard Keeble, professor of journalism at the University of Lincoln, … has written on the history of the links between journalists and the intelligence services. … He quotes Roy Greenslade, who has been a media specialist for both the Telegraph and the Guardian [and is a former editor of the Mirror newspaper], as saying: “Most tabloid newspapers – or even newspapers in general – are playthings of MI5 [Britain’s FBI].” Keeble goes on to say:
“Bloch and Fitzgerald, in their examination of covert UK warfare, report the editor of ‘one of Britain’s most distinguished journals’ as believing that more than half its foreign correspondents were on the MI6 payroll [the British equivalent of the CIA – my emphasis]. And in 1991, Richard Norton-Taylor revealed in the Guardian that 500 prominent Britons paid by the CIA and the now defunct Bank of Commerce and Credit International, included 90 journalists.”
Keeble has given many more examples in his book chapter of the intelligence services infiltrating the media and changing the politics of the time, including around the miners strikes and Arthur Scargill in the 1980s and during the lead-up to the Iraq war in 2003. …
David Leigh, former investigations editor of The Guardian, wrote about a series of instances in which the secret services manipulated prominent journalists. He claims reporters are routinely approached and manipulated by intelligence agents and identifies three ways – providing examples for each in his article – in which they do it:
They attempt to recruit journalists to spy on other people or themselves attempt to go under journalistic “cover.”
They allow intelligence officers to pose as journalists “to write tendentious articles under false names.”
And “the most malicious form”: they plant intelligence agency propaganda stories on willing journalists who disguise their origin from readers.
Remember that those who should be exposing the intelligence services’ manipulation of the mainstream media are the very same mainstream media that are already compromised.
In other words, this story of is almost impossible for the media to tell because it would expose a very uncomfortable reality: that they are not, as they claim, watchdogs on power, but rather the lapdogs of the powerful.
If all this still seems hard to believe, please watch this video of a senior German journalist admitting that he was recruited by the US intelligence services (h/t Antonio Nascimento). Udo Ulfkotte covered the Middle East for the Frankfurter Allgemeine for 12 years, and says he regularly acted as a conduit for CIA propaganda. He adds that many of his colleagues were doing the same, willingly promoting CIA disinformation.
From leprosy in squirrels to arthritis drugs with strange side effects, here is a round-up of Live Science’s strangest health stories from 2016.
Dec 28, 2016
Credit: Peter Titmuss | Shutterstock.com
Do graduate degrees give you brain cancer? Not quite – but a new study from Sweden suggests that people with higher levels of education may be more likely to develop certain types of brain tumors.
The researchers in the study found that women who completed at least three years of university courses were 23 percent more likely to develop a glioma, a type of cancerous brain tumor, compared with women who did not go to a university. In addition, men who completed at least three years of university courses were 19 percent more likely to develop a glioma, compared with men who did not go to a university.
But before you give up on higher education, consider this: Amal Khanolkar, a research associate at the Institute of Child Health at the University College London and a co-author of the study, noted that “one possible explanation is that highly educated people may be more aware of symptoms and seek medical care earlier.” In other words, they’re more likely to be diagnosed, which may explain the difference found in the study.