In this News Shot, Joe Joseph discusses new research findings that suggest stressful life experiences can age the brain by several years. The research team found that even one major stressful event early in life may have an impact on later brain health.
So South Korean President Moon Jae-in has made up his mind — after his inauguration on May 10 and Pyongyang’s ICBM test on July 3.Pyongyang may also be inclined to talk — as it had already indicated. But there may be preconditions, as in the suspension of those provocative, annual US-South Korean military drills. The US will say no. Once again, it’s all about Washington.
It’s unclear whether US intelligence has 100% proof that Pyongyang, apart from the ICBM, is on the path to soon achieve other technological breaks, such as building a guidance system and a miniaturized, functional nuclear weapon capable of surviving both the missile launch and re-entry into the atmosphere.
Now for some crude, hard facts. Kim Jong-un very well knows that nuclear weapons are absolutely essential for the survival of the Kim dynasty. Beijing not only knows it — but also calculates that Pyongyang does not exactly see it as a trustful ally. During the Korean War — whose memory is pervasive all across the North — Mao’s key concern was to protect China’s borders, not the safety of its neighbor.
The open secret though is that a nuclear North Korea may represent a perennial dissuasion against the US, much more than a threat, but not against China. So that frames the case, once again, as a Washington-Pyongyang drama.Beijing’s margin of maneuver against Pyongyang is rather limited — something that President Trump as well as the US deep state still do not understand. And North Korea is not a Chinese national security priority — unless the regime would collapse and there would be an uncontrollable influx of refugees.
The only thing that matters for the Chinese leadership is — what else — trade. And as far as China-South Korean trade is concerned, business is booming anyway.
Feverish speculation in the US about a “strike” against Pyongyang is idle. Anyone with minimum knowledge of the Korean Peninsula knows that the response would be Pyongyang virtually wiping Seoul off the map. Not to mention that US intel is clueless on where all the dispersed North Korean nuclear and missile development sites are.
A minimally competent US “attack” would requires a lot of infiltrated US Special Forces, as in boots on the ground, with no guarantee of success. In a nutshell; Washington, realistically, is incapable of eliminating North Korea’s nuclear and missile programs.
So what to do? The only logical strategy would be to admit — just as with India and Pakistan in the late 1990s — that North Korea is a de facto nuclear power.Pyongyang’s strategy, after all, is actually a small marvel; you imprint the feeling you’re a totally unpredictable actor, and you scare the living daylights out of everyone while preventing any attempt at destabilization. As much as wishful thinking prevails, that a US surgical strike would be able to paralyze the North Korean political/military/command/communication structure, US intel is clueless when it comes to predicting Pyongyang’s actions.
A Western intel source familiar with the high stakes in the Korean peninsula adds a few stark observations; “The point that is not even touched upon is that South Korea already is within the range of North Korean nuclear bombs even if the United States is not, and can be liquidated by North Korea. We have to examine the nature of the defense alliance with South Korea. Does it mean that we can and will attack North Korea to protect ourselves when we cannot protect South Korea, triggering their destruction in our self-defense?”
The point is that if South Korea is virtually destroyed by Pyongyang’s response to American strikes, “then our allies around the world will have the uneasy feeling that they too would be sacrificed as allies should they get in the way. I would say that would be the end of the entire US alliance structure, which actually is already imaginary.”
The informed source is convinced that “the South Koreans have forced the United States to agree to forbear on any strike on North Korea, as to support such a strike would be national suicide for South Korea. The United States will do nothing.”
All this is happening just as what Seoul really wants is to do business — in a Korean variant of the China-driven New Silk Roads, renamed Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). Seoul wants to build a Trans-Korean Railway, and go even beyond, connecting it with the Trans-Siberian and, what else, the Chinese-built Eurasian land bridge. That happens to be the so-called Iron Silk Road concept, which South Korea has been dreaming about since an Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM) summit in 2004.
“Overcoming the land divide between Asia and Europe”, connected to the vast trans-Eurasia network, means the fifth-largest export economy in the world would be getting even more business. Handicapped by North Korea’s isolation, South Korea is de facto physically cut off from Eurasia. The answer to all this trouble? The Trans-Korean Railway. If only President Moon could entice Kim Jong-un towards a connectivity dream — and make him forget his nuclear toys.
The views expressed in this article are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official position of Sputnik.
“Journalists…suspect that the local population is suffering from the spread of Cynthia, the runaway flesh eating bacteria that was bred on demand by BP (British Petroleum) to combat its major oil spill in the same area back in 2010.”
“The fact that Cynthia was created in secret US laboratories only to be unleashed in the region without any prior studies into the possible consequences has already been reported.”
The Alabama Department of Public Health has recently announced that has observed a new pandemic involving a potentially deadly flesh eating virus spreading like wild fire in the Gulf of Mexico area. The majority of those infected were swimming in the Gulf of Mexico, and had minor cuts or bruisers or ate raw seafood from this area. Upon infecting a human being the so-called vibrio compromises kidney and liver functions before spreading further.
It’s been reported that symptoms include nausea, vomiting, fever, chills, blisters around the wounded areas infected, swelling and redness. American health officials claim that 80% of the time, if people receive medical assistance within the first 24 hours of infection, they should be fine. They suggest treating the affected area immediately after contamination, including thoroughly washing the area with soap and water and disinfecting it with rubbing alcohol. However, this infection is highly resistant to antibiotics and if a person infected fails to seek medical assistance within the above mentioned time window, chances of surviving the so-called vibrio in most cases barely reaches 50%.
However, it’s rarely reported that if a person was infected via cuts or bruisers on their limb, the infected areas are transformed into un-treatable swelling ulcers that force medical practitioners to amputate the infected limb in a bid to save the patient’s life. Colonies of this bacteria grow rapidly in warm water, so the majority of infection cases occur in summer. Those who are living along the Gulf of Mexico coastline are increasingly concerned for their well being, no longer eating raw seafood and avoiding the seashore altogether. Local health authorities have reported dozens of cases this year alone.
However, there’s a number of journalists that remain convinced that those who were infected by a flesh eating bacteria are not suffering from the relatively harmless Vibrio Vulnificus, instead they suspect that the local population is suffering from the spread of Cynthia, the runaway flesh eating bacteria that was bred on demand by BP (British Petroleum) to combat its major oil spill in the same area back in 2010.
The fact that Cynthia was created in secret US laboratories only to be unleashed in the region without any prior studies into the possible consequences has already been reported. It’s clear now that oil spills were only the beginning, since now this bacteria is eating sea creatures and humans alike. The artificially created monster leaves little chance for survival to fish or seals, leaving both covered in swelling ulcers within hours after entering an infected area.
“Cynthia” is a synthetic bacteria, an artificial organism with an artificially engineered genome. Such artificial cells are rapidly multiplying, due to the properties of self-reproduction that were provided during the early stages of their design.
It’s curious that the entire coastline of the Gulf of Mexico is now covered with brownish,oily balls. According to a local chemist Bob Naman, those would infect anyone unfortunate enough to break them with their unprotected hands or would otherwise contact them. Should a person have an open wound, the contents of the ball will go straight into one’s system, warns the scientist.
A local blogger and activist, Alexander Higgins has cited a study conducted by to Columbia University, according to which after the oil spill in 2010, 40% of residents residing near the Gulf of Mexico acquired respiratory and skin diseases, and one in four thinks of leaving their current place of residence.
Cases of massive bird deaths, like the ones in Arkansas and New Orleans, just like massive fish deaths in the same region, are usually associated by the American media with Cynthia. However, when people become covered in ulcers only to die in agony after swimming in the Gulf of Mexico, they are being described as the victims of an unknown decease. Those infected have little chance of survival since Cynthia compromises their internal organs, causing profuse internal bleeding and death. Yet, the true scale of the tragedy remains hidden, while any mentions of human deaths caused by Cynthia are being suppressed at a governmental level.
Jean Périer is an independent researcher and analyst and a renowned expert on the Near and Middle East, exclusively for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook“.
“The Americans have known wars, but for the past 136 years, they have been wars on foreign soil, except for one Sunday in 1941 [Pearl Harbour].”
It is with this quote that I bring the attention to the countless deaths over not 136 years, but only those since World War II, that the United States of America can be partially held culpable.
Proxy wars, particularly, hold some of the highest numbers; there is barely a nation where the U.S. has not permeated its military might through borders.
Yes, wars are messy and incredibly complex. But it is important to recognize, that although Russia, China, North Korea and all the other nations accused of bloodshed are guilty in their own rights, the United States must share a large part of the responsibility.
One study, compiled by James A. Lucas, explains with hard evidence, 37 nations deeply affected by U.S. involvement.
However, anyone with a history book can see for themselves that the self-proclaimed freedom fighter – the U.S. – is not all that it seems.
Afghanistan and Russia
Most are familiar with the ‘Mujahadeen’ name. It conjures up Russians, war, and the Soviet Union invading Afghanistan.
What a lot don’t know is how the proxy war came about, or that Afghanistan – a secular nation at the time – was friendly with its Russian neighbors.
So what happened?
In 1998, Zbigniew Brzezinski admitted to a CIA-instigated battle which saw 12,000 deaths in Afghanistan directly attributed to the United States.
The Carter administration, at the time, had agreed to provide “secret aid” to rebels wanting to overthrow the pro-Soviet regime.
Well aware that providing this aid would create a Soviet military intervention, the act was signed off.
(ANTIMEDIA) — Last week, headlines were made around the world when it was reported that China had dispatched troops to the Horn of Africa in advance of establishing its first overseas military base. Reuters opened its article on the subject by noting that this latest move falls in line with others as “China’s rapidly modernizing military extends its global reach.”
China broke ground on the base in Djibouti, a tiny country on the northwestern edge of the Indian Ocean, last year. It’s a high-value patch of land, as the nation is located at the southern entrance to the Red Sea on the route to the Suez Canal. The strategic importance of the location is evidenced by the fact that the U.S., France, and Japan all have bases there.
In a brief post on Tuesday, China’s state-run Xinhua News Agency reported the news of the troop deployment. Citing comments made by Foreign Ministry spokesperson Geng Shuang, Xinhua wrote that the move is “conducive to China’s performance of international obligations” and will “assist China’s contribution to peace and stability both in Africa and worldwide.”
An editorial in the state-run Global Times, however, was far more assertive in stating the significance of China’s presence in Djibouti. The paper highlighted the fact that world leaders everywhere are taking note of China’s power projection, and said, basically, that they absolutely should:
“Certainly this is the People’s Liberation Army’s first overseas base and we will base troops there. It’s not a commercial resupply point. It makes sense there is attention on this from foreign public opinion.”
Still, the Global Times notes that China’s military development is about protecting its own security and “not about seeking to control the world.”
But the very fact that China felt, once again, the need to state it’s not out to rule the planet speaks volumes to the perception that China is on a path to surpass the United States as the dominant geopolitical power on Earth.
All this came hours after China made headlines for an entirely different reason in an entirely different field.
Last year, a team of Chinese scientists launched a satellite, the Micius, into a Sun-synchronous orbit so it would pass over the same spot on Earth at the same time each day. The Micius is a highly sensitive photon receiver that can detect the quantum states of single photons fired from the ground.
On Monday, the team behind the Micius — named after an ancient Chinese philosopher — announced the results of their first experiments. From the MIT Technology Review:
“The team created the first satellite-to-ground quantum network, in the process smashing the record for the longest distance over which entanglement has been measured. And they’ve used this quantum network to teleport the first object from the ground to orbit.”
The object teleported was a photon, and if you want the science behind how it all went down, MIT Technology Review — which spoke with the Chinese team about their findings — broke it all down very nicely. But anyone, regardless of technical background, can fathom the significance of something on Earth being beamed into outer space.
The folks at MIT Technology Review did something else in their coverage. In closing their report, they brought the whole thing back to the geopolitical level:
“It also shows China’s obvious dominance and lead in a field that, until recently, was led by Europe and the U.S. — Micius would surely have been impressed. But an important question now is how the West will respond.”
On that note, let’s turn to U.S. news.
On July 10, it was reported that a campaign committee had been officially filed with the Federal Election Commission making Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson eligible for the 2020 presidential election. In an interview with GQ back in May, Johnson said he’d consider the idea of running, and he joked about it on camera a couple of times since then.
The man who created the committee, called “Run the Rock 2020,” is 26-year-old political consultant and freelance writer Kenton Tilford. Speaking to CNN, Tilford said the goal is “to build a grassroots community of Americans to show to Mr. Johnson that his incredible popularity as an actor and public figure can translate into politics seamlessly.”
A few days later, Robert James Ritchie, better known as Kid Rock, appeared to announce his intention to run for the U.S. Senate in his home state of Michigan. The 47-year-old self-described “American badass” has been injecting himself into politics in recent years, but many still wonder if it’s all some sort of marketing ploy.
Others, however, such as The New Yorker’s Amanda Petrusich, went further, asking readers to look at the broader societal implications on display:
“Yet that we are paying attention at all — that a belligerent, proudly debauched rock star suddenly seems as if he might be a viable candidate for public service — is a terrifying new normal.”
On Saturday, political analyst Julian Zelizer weighed in on the matter for CNN. His commentary, titled “Kid Rock, The Rock and our rocky future,” opened:
“It looks like these days everyone with a Wikipedia entry or a star on the Walk of Fame is thinking of running for public office.
“With the former star of ‘The Apprentice’ inhabiting the White House, the doors are wide open.”
After joking about one day seeing The Rock using his signature wrestling move, The People’s Elbow, on legislatures who don’t vote his way, Zelizer asked his audience if all the American political madness is finally coming to a head:
“Are we now entering an era of celebrity politics? Has all of the distrust in government and frustration with perpetual gridlock generated a moment when Americans would rather have telegenic entertainment stars making decisions about war and peace, rather than those who have spent their lives in politics learning about public policy, negotiation, deal-making and diplomacy?”
As Petrusich astutely pointed out in The New Yorker, the fact that all this is being taken largely at face value suggests the answer to Zelizer’s questions is yes.
So as China continues to strengthen and extend its geopolitical might while simultaneously pushing science to its absolute limits, the United States remains obsessed with the notion of elections — indeed, of the election cycle itself.
No one really seems to like what’s happening in America, and everyone has their own reasons why. The one thing people do seem to agree on, however, is that it can all be fixed if the right guy — their guy — is in charge.
And if that guy happens to be a former wrestler-turned movie star, a greasy rap-rocker prone to vulgarities, or a millionaire mogul and reality TV celebrity, the current prevailing attitude among the American populace seems to be…Sure. Why not? Anything is worth a try.
Because something within the American engine is broken. This much is all but irrefutable. And equally so is the fact that China’s engine, meanwhile, seems to be humming along just fine.
(Natural News) Most preppers don’t need a good reason to continue improving their chances of survival during any given national or global emergency. However, a new report definitely puts new urgency into doubling and tripling your current readiness efforts.
A group of experts led by Adam Liska, a biological engineering professor at the University of Nebraska, says that even the detonation of a single nuclear warhead could trigger massive climate-related changes that would lead to widespread drought followed by famine, costing a billion lives.
The report notes that for decades during the Cold War, the theory of MAD — Mutually Assured Destruction — kept the world’s two superpowers, the United States and the Soviet Union, from engaging in a hot war that most certainly would have gone nuclear. The theory went that no matter who struck first, the other side would retain enough of a capability to launch a massive nuclear counterstrike, thus wiping out both nations (and the rest of the world).
However, they argue, Cold War rules based on MAD no longer seem to apply, as smaller, less stable nations like North Korea, Pakistan and (eventually) Iran gain nuclear weapons and the means to deliver them anywhere in the world.
“We’re losing our memory of the Cold War and we’re losing our memory of how important it is to get this right,” observed co-author Tyler White, a political scientist professor at the university who specializes in international security and nuclear policy. “Even a conflict that doesn’t involve the United States can impact us and people around the world.”
Pakistan has a nuclear capability and the missiles with which to launch them. Though North Korea recently tested an ICBM-capable missile, Western military intelligence experts do not think Pyongyang has yet mastered the technology to miniaturize the nuclear devices it has and place them atop an ICBM. However, they also note that North Korea is getting closer to the day when it will master the technology and deploy nuclear-tipped ICBMs.
In addition to that threat, some analysts note that there are nuclear powers who have adopted first-use or limited-use policies regarding nuclear weapons as a way to make up for their lack of conventional military power. That includes Russian defense strategy, by the way.
But U.S. military planners also note that the Pentagon may recommend the same strategy to the White House if the country or an ally were under serious military threat or invasion; if a country used chemical or biological weapons against U.S. and allied forces; or to target rogue nuclear countries (like North Korea and Iran).
Using publicly available data on 19 types of weapons now held by five major nuclear powers — the United States, Russia, China, the United Kingdom and France — Liska and his colleagues calculated how many nuclear bombs in each category could be used before triggering conditions they describe as “nuclear autumn” or “nuclear drought.” Not as severe as the nuclear winter predicted by scientists in the 1980s, a nuclear autumn nonetheless would significantly impact Earth’s climate.
“The question is not if a nuclear drought can occur, but what factors increase its probability of occurring and what actions can be taken to mitigate the potentially devastating global impacts?” noted Liska.
Previous studies have concluded that a nuclear blast capable of destroying a large U.S. metropolitan area the size of Los Angeles (roughly 500 square miles) would release 5.5 million tons of soot and ash into the stratosphere, causing a loss of sunlight, decreased temperatures and less rainfall around the world for at least five years.
The effect of that one blast, analysts say, would significantly reduce growing seasons, while rainfall could decrease as much as 80 percent in some parts of the world.
J.D. Heyes is a senior writer for NaturalNews.com and NewsTarget.com, as well as editor of The National Sentinel.
On Friday the House overwhelmingly approved a massive increase in military spending, passing a $696 billion National Defense Authorization bill for 2018. President Trump’s request already included a huge fifty or so billion dollar spending increase, but the Republican-led House found even that to be far too small. They added another $30 billion to the bill for good measure. Even President Trump, in his official statement, expressed some concern over spending in the House-passed bill.
According to the already weak limitations on military spending increases in the 2011 “sequestration” law, the base military budget for 2018 would be $72 billion more than allowed.
Don’t worry, they’ll find a way to get around that!
The big explosion in military spending comes as the US is planning to dramatically increase its military actions overseas. The president is expected to send thousands more troops back to Afghanistan, the longest war in US history. After nearly 16 years, the Taliban controls more territory than at anytime since the initial US invasion and ISIS is seeping into the cracks created by constant US military action in the country.
The Pentagon and Defense Secretary James Mattis are already telling us that even when ISIS is finally defeated in Iraq, the US military doesn’t dare end its occupation of the country again. Look for a very expensive array of permanent US military bases throughout the country. So much for our 2003 invasion creating a stable democracy, as the neocons promised.
In Syria, the United States has currently established at least eight military bases even though it has no permission to do so from the Syrian government nor does it have a UN resolution authorizing the US military presence there. Pentagon officials have made it clear they will continue to occupy Syrian territory even after ISIS is defeated, to “stabilize” the region.
And let’s not forget that Washington is planning to send the US military back to Libya, another US intervention we were promised would be stabilizing but that turned out to be a disaster.
Also, the drone wars continue in Somalia and elsewhere, as does the US participation in Saudi Arabia’s horrific two year war on impoverished Yemen.
President Trump often makes encouraging statements suggesting that he shares some of our non-interventionist views. For example while Congress was shoveling billions into an already bloated military budget last week, President Trump said that he did not want to spent trillions more dollars in the Middle East where we get “nothing” for our efforts. He’d rather fix roads here in the US, he said. The only reason we are there, he said, was to “get rid of terrorists,” after which we can focus on our problems at home.
Unfortunately President Trump seems to be incapable of understanding that it is US intervention and occupation of foreign countries that creates instability and feeds terrorism. Continuing to do the same thing for more than 17 years – more US bombs to “stabilize” the Middle East – and expecting different results is hardly a sensible foreign policy. It is insanity. Until he realizes that our military empire is the source of rather than the solution to our problems, we will continue to wildly spend on our military empire until the dollar collapses and we are brought to our knees. Then what?
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and the Chair of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the Federation Council, Konstantin Kosachev have both made their feelings known. Both agree that Israel has no real argument to make against the ceasefire and accompanying de-escalation zones.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and the Chair of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the Federation Council, Konstantin Kosachev have both made their feelings known. Both agree that Israel has no real argument to make against the ceasefire and accompanying de-escalation zones.
Russian foreign policy makers have slammed Israel’s latest statements condemning the recently agreed ceasefire in south-western Syria between Russia, the United States and Jordan.
During his press conference with French President Emmanuel Macron, Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu expressed his opposition to the ceasefire under the guise that it would embolden Iran and its allies, even though Iran is not a party to the south-eastern ceasefire, it is instead a party to the de-escalation zones established with Russia and Turkey via the Astana Memorandum of May 2017.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov has responded by stating,
“I can guarantee that the American side and we did the best we can to make sure that Israel’s security interests are fully taken into consideration”.
Later, Konstantin Kosachev, the Chair of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the Federation Council, issued a Facebook post detailing his view of Israel’s position. Kosachev frequently offers public statements indicating Russia’s position in foreign affairs as he is among the top policy makers on such issues in the upper house of the Federal Assembly of Russia.
“The sharp disagreement between Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and the agreement between Russia and the United States on the ceasefire in Syria is, of course, a very unpleasant signal. It is extremely important that this important agreement be supported by all key Middle Eastern players. Earlier, Washington (Deputy Assistant to US President Sebastian Gorka) claimed that the terms of the agreement were negotiated with the participation of Israel and Jordan. It turns out that everything is not so simple.
Israel’s motives are not concealed: it is afraid of strengthening Iran’s position in the region, and also, it seems, restrictions on Tel Aviv’s ability to act against Assad. However, no one will cancel such an important document that gives hope for a turning point in the Syrian situation, only because of Israel’s assumptions about Iran’s hypothetical intentions. Tehran is just as weighty a participant in the Middle East processes, like Israel. And he secured his role in the Syrian settlement with an active position on this issue, both in a diplomatic format (in particular, in the negotiations in Astana, where Iran is a guarantor along with Russia and Turkey), and on the fields of military confrontation with the common enemy-terrorists.
Israel’s motives are not concealed: it fears the strengthening of Iran’s position in the region, and also, it appears, limited possibilities for Tel Aviv itself to act against (Syria’s President) Assad. However, nobody will be revoking such an important document that gives hopes for a breakthrough in the Syrian situation only because of Israel’s assumptions about Iran’s posthypnotic intentions
That is why, it would be more reasonable for Tel Aviv not to come down on the already reached agreement between Russia and the US, but instead find ways how to live with it and reap benefits from victory over Islamic State (ISIS) which benefit all countries of the region
Perhaps it would be prudent for Washington to conduct in-depth talks with its key ally in the Middle East in securing a truce, without which the promotion of the peace process in Syria is impossible. Perhaps, it would be worth it also for Moscow (to do so)”.
It is clear that Russia is perturbed by Israel’s opposition to the ceasefire. As Konstantin Kosachev alluded to, the regional commitment to security from terrorism that all states in the region ought to be concerned with, should take precedence over Israel’s rivalry with Iran which is not in fact a party to the ceasefire in question.
Thus far, Israel is the only country which borders Syria that has not faced any attacks from Salafist terrorists who are participating the Syrian conflict.
— With umpteen different factions with vested interests in the figures coming out different ways, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights has become one of very few groups even trying to document the overall death toll of the Syrian War. Today’s report put the toll at 331,765 people nationwide, starting in March of 2011, and continuing through Saturday.
Understanding the breakdown of these tolls is important to understanding which factions have borne the brunt of the conflict, and time and again, Observatory stats have shown the Syrian government and its allies as sustaining the largest losses.
116,774 pro-government forces were killed, including 61,808 soldiers. The rest would be various Shi’ite and Alawite militias, along with a handful of casualties from Iranian forces, and Russian forces. A lot of these militias were basically local defense forces trying to resist Islamist invasions of towns and villages.
Next among the deaths were civilian populations, at 99,617 killed. This included 18,243 women and 11,427 children. The civilians of course, were killed by the various combatant forces, whether airstrikes by various nations, as well as people caught in the crossfire or just executed by various factions for being seen as secretly in league with someone else.
The split among rebels is a bit more complex, with 57,000 being labeled proper rebels associated with international factions. This included Kurdish YPG forces killed in the war, even though they largely aren’t rebelling so much as fighting ISIS while trying to carve out autonomy.
The other 58,000 are jihadist rebels, which encompasses both ISIS and al-Qaeda’s Nusra Front, as well as other foreign Islamist groups. This is a complex figure to parse too, since ISIS and Nusra have at times warred with one another,as well as against other jihadist-leaning organizations.
The Observatory notes in its figures that these are only the deaths that they’ve actually been able to confirm with actual names associated with them, and speculates that the actual toll could be well higher. It’s difficult to know for sure, however, how much if any this amounts to.
By Jason Ditz / Republished with permission / ANTIWAR.COM /
The Queen’s granddaughter, Princess Eugenie, was offered a place at Newcastle University thanks to her royal status rather than her academic abilities, it has been claimed.
The princess applied for a BA in English literature at Newcastle in 2009, but was rejected as her application was deemed “not good enough.”
According to senior history lecturer Martin Farr, the university was “horrified” when it discovered the Duke and Duchess of York’s daughter had been rejected, and immediately offered her a place on an alternative course.
“We had at Newcastle University one of the Queen’s granddaughters, Princess Eugenie,” Farr said during the annual convention of anti-monarchist campaign group Republic, according to the Daily Mail.
“And a friend of mine who is Italian was the admissions officer for BA English literature and received one application for the undergraduate degree that was not good enough and so discarded it.”
When the university realized who the applicant was, it changed its tune, said Farr. He accused the institution of offering Eugenie a place or purely PR purposes.
The admissions officer had failed to recognize that “Princess Eugenie of York from Sandringham may have had more significance for the institution than another applicant,” he said.
Eugenie graduated from the university in 2012 after achieving a 2:1 on her BA degree in English Literature, History of Art and Politics.
A university spokeswoman said the institution did not comment on individual cases.
“If an applicant does not have the actual or predicted grades to meet the requirements for a particular program, it is common practice for them to be considered for alternative programs,” she said, the Times reported.
“Dr. Farr was not involved in the admissions process that took place at that time and he would have no knowledge or insight into any of the decisions.”
Farr also claimed the princess’ attendance had turned many fellow students against the Crown because of the preferential treatment she apparently enjoyed.
“So we had Eugenie parading around campus for the next three years. It’s struck me over the next three years that we had more people turning into republicans because they were barged out of bars and clubs – they realized how much further down the pecking order they were than someone like Eugenie,” he said, according to the Daily Mail.
“She was used by the university for publicity and even a tenuous link like that is worth burnishing.”
After graduating, the Princess – now 27 and eighth in line for the throne – went to New York to work for auction house Paddle8 before moving back to the UK two years ago to take up the job of associate director for contemporary art gallery Hauser & Wirth in London.
It is the second time in just a few months the princess has faced criticism. In May, she was accused of being lazy after reportedly taking 25 days off work in the first 10 weeks of her employment.
Despite the seriousness of a courtroom and everything that happens in it, this place also produces hilarious (unintentional) comedy. Charles M. Sevilla has compiled some of the funniest exchanges from justice halls between defendants and plaintiffs, lawyers and witnesses, juries and judges, and released a book called Disorder in the Court.
From witnesses taking questions literally, to lawyers formulating paradoxes instead of questions, these dialogues really happened and they’re just too good to not face the judgment of the internet. Scroll down to enjoy this priceless list and vote for your favorite entries!
ATTORNEY: Doctor, before you performed the autopsy, did you check for a pulse?
ATTORNEY: Did you check for blood pressure?
ATTORNEY: Did you check for breathing?
ATTORNEY: So, then it is possible that the patient was alive when you began the autopsy?
ATTORNEY: How can you be so sure, Doctor?
WITNESS: Because his brain was sitting on my desk in a jar.
ATTORNEY: I see, but could the patient have still been alive, nevertheless?
WITNESS: Yes, it is possible that he could have been alive and practicing law.
ATTORNEY: She had three children , right?
ATTORNEY: How many were boys?
ATTORNEY: Were there any girls?
WITNESS: Your Honor, I think I need a different attorney. Can I get a new attorney?
LAWYER: When he went, had you gone and had she, if she wanted to and were able, for the time being excluding all the restraints on her not to go, gone also, would he have brought you, meaning you and she, with him to the station?
OTHER LAWYER: Objection. That question should be taken out and shot.
LAWYER: Trooper, when you stopped the defendant, were your red and blue lights flashing?
LAWYER: Did the defendant say anything when she got out of her car?
WITNESS: Yes, sir.
LAWYER: What did she say?
WITNESS: ‘What disco am I at?’
ATTORNEY: This myasthenia gravis, does it affect your memory at all?
ATTORNEY: And in what ways does it affect your memory?
WITNESS: I forget..
ATTORNEY: You forget? Can you give us an example of something you forgot?
LAWYER: What is your brother-in-law’s name?
LAWYER: What’s his first name?
WITNESS: I can’t remember.
LAWYER: He’s been your brother-in-law for years, and you can’t remember his first name?
WITNESS: No. I tell you, I’m too excited. (rising and pointing to his brother-in-law) Nathan, for heaven’s sake, tell them your first name!
Dan Glazebrook is a freelance political writer who has written for RT, Counterpunch, Z magazine, the Morning Star, the Guardian, the New Statesman, the Independent and Middle East Eye, amongst others. His first book “Divide and Ruin: The West’s Imperial Strategy in an Age of Crisis” was published by Liberation Media in October 2013. It featured a collection of articles written from 2009 onwards examining the links between economic collapse, the rise of the BRICS, war on Libya and Syria and ‘austerity’. He is currently researching a book on US-British use of sectarian death squads against independent states and movements from Northern Ireland and Central America in the 1970s and 80s to the Middle East and Africa today.
The famines threatening many parts of the world today have one thing in common: Western aggression and destabilization.
In February of this year, the world’s first famine in six years was officially declared in South Sudan. A month later, the UN’s humanitarian chief Stephen O’Brien warned the Security Council that three other countries – Yemen, Somalia, and Nigeria – also stood on the brink of famine, with 20 million at risk of starving to death within months.
The world, he said, was now “facing the largest humanitarian crisis since the creation of the United Nations.” Unless $4.4billion in emergency funds was raised by the end of March, warned UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, 20 million would likely starve to death. When the deadline was reached, he had received less than a tenth of that, a paltry $423 million.
The amount raised has increased since then but stands at little above one-third of the target. It is almost certain not to be met, with donations dropping sharply since mid-May.
For context, the New York Times helpfully pointed out that $4.4billion is almost the same amount Britain has made selling weapons to Saudi Arabia in the past two years – most of which have been used against the famine-stricken Yemenis, and less than 10 percent of the $54 billion in additional spending Donald Trump pledged for the US military.
Yemen was in the news again this week, twice. First the announcement by the Red Cross that cholera cases in Yemen have now reached 300,000. Then came the ruling by Britain’s High Court – choosing to believe private government assurances over volumes of first-hand eyewitness accounts – that the UK government’s arming of the vicious Saudi war against the Yemeni people is perfectly above board. These two declarations are not unrelated. For it is precisely Britain’s proxy war against Yemen that has led to the medieval levels of famine and disease now sweeping the country.
In October 2015, the head of the International Red Cross wrote that “Yemen after five months looks Syria after five years.” Today, according to Save the Children, one Yemeni child is infected with cholera every 35 seconds. This epidemic comes hot on the heels of a dengue fever outbreak, which the World Health Organization struggled to control due to the “near collapse of the health system,” and “disruption of water supplies” resulting from the Western-supplied bombing campaign. Hospitals have regularly been bombed. Following Philip Hammond’s justification of bombing raids on three Yemeni hospitals in as many months, the MSF warned that targeting hospitals was now becoming the “new normal.”
The bombing of hospitals and grain distribution centers, however, is just part of the story of the West’s genocide against the Yemeni people. Yemen is dependent on imports for more than 80 percent of its fuel, food, and medicine, and 70 percent of these imports come through the Huydadeh port. This port was bombed in August 2015 by the Saudi-led coalition and has been blockaded ever since, directly creating the current situation in which 21 million suffer food shortages, including seven million facing famine. As the UN Special Rapporteur on human rights and international sanctions has noted, this blockade is “one of the main causes of the humanitarian catastrophe,” helping to lead to what he called “this man-made famine.” Needless to say, this blockade – along with every aspect of the Saudi genocide in the Yemen – is fully supported by the US and Britain.
Yemen is not the only place where Western policy is leading to famine.
This week marks the sixth anniversary of the independence of South Sudan. For the second year in a row, the planned celebrations have been canceled because, in the midst of starvation and civil war, there is nothing to celebrate.
The country’s descent into famine was officially announced on 20th February this year, with 100,000 starving and a further one million on the brink of starvation. The established criteria for a famine are that 20 percent of a population must be suffering “extreme food shortages,” 30 percent suffering acute malnutrition, and at least one per 5,000 dying each day. While those criteria are no longer being met; acute hunger has now reached six million, up from five million in February – over half the population. As in Yemen, this is a crisis of biblical proportions. As in Yemen, it is man-made. And, as in Yemen, it is the thoroughly predictable outcome of Western militarism.The US and Britain were instrumental in the partition of Sudan in 2011, and it is precisely this partition which has bequeathed the country’s current tragedy. Just as in Libya, in the same year, a loose coalition of rebels with no unified program was effectively placed in power by Western largesse. And just as in Libya, the inevitable collapse of this coalition has brought total devastation to the country.
The Southern People’s Liberation Movement was formed by rebel army colonel John Garang in 1983, and in the 1990s, under Clinton, the US began pouring millions of dollars into the insurgent movement. Although formally an uprising against the government in Khartoum, it has often relied on an appeal to ethnic chauvanism to galvanize support. According to former national committee member Dr. Peter Nyaba, for example, the movement’s very first mobilization “that took more than ten thousand Bor youth to SPLA training camps in 1983 was not for the national agenda of liberation but to settle local scores with their neighbors, the Murles or the Nuers.” Similarly, Riek Machar’s faction of the SPLM, based mainly within the Nuer community, conducted a massacre of thousands of Dinka civilians in 1991. Dr. Nyaba argues that political training was neglected in favor of, often very brutal, military training, leading to often horrific excesses against the population under their control. After liberating a particular area, said Nyaba, the movement should have instituted “democratic reforms: a popular justice system, a new system of education, health and veterinary services.” Such a move, he says, “would have given the SPLM the opportunity to prove itself to the people and the world and, therefore, to build a solid popular power base making the SPLM/A the authentic representative of the people…the ‘New Sudan’ would have been born in the physical and objective reality of the people, allowing the SPLM/A to acquire political sovereignty and diplomatic recognition.” These, indeed, are the normal steps taken by genuinely successful revolutionary movements the world over. But this is not what happened. Rather, says Nyaba, the SPLM “denigrated into an agent of plunder, pillage and destructive conquest.” It was at precisely this point that the US began funding the movement, with the initial $20 million provided by Clinton soon expanding to $100 million per year under Bush’s satirically-named “Sudan Peace Act” of 2002.
Just as in Libya, the impact of such US largesse has been to enable insurgent groups to achieve their aims without providing the visionary leadership or mass organizational skills necessary to galvanize genuine mass support. Put simply; US support has rendered mass support unnecessary. Genuine revolutions – that is, revolutions attained primarily through the efforts of the masses themselves, rather than through pressure applied by external patrons – can only succeed with a visionary program capable of winning the total commitment of the masses. In South Sudan, the SPLM, thanks to US support, were able to come to power without this. The long-term impact of this lack of popular, inspirational leadership has been an ideological vacuum into which have poured power struggles over patronage and resource networks.
Confident of external support, the SPLM – and its leader since Garang’s death in 2005, Salva Kiir – had no pressing need to win the support of all the tribes of the South. Without Western funding, Kiir would have to have reached out to the Nuer and the Murle and the other non-Dinka groups to secure enough support to force concessions from Sudan’s government. Had he done so, on the basis of a genuine mass program capable of galvanizing all the peoples of southern Sudan on a non-ethnic basis, this very program would have formed the basis of a viable unity government following independence. However, confident of US backing, Kiir had no need to develop any of this. Instead, his clear patronage from the US enabled him to impose a false unity on his Nuer and Shilik rivals, in which his proximity to the US alone was enough to force them to fall in line if they did not want to be completely excluded from the power and the money coming his way. Political struggles for mass support were to be eclipsed by factional rivalries over who would control the flow of resources.The same pattern has continued after independence. Assuming, correctly, US support would continue to flow, President Kiir has had no particular need to endear himself to those outside his primary Dinka constituency, even going so far as to sack his Nuer deputy Riek Machar in 2013, triggering the latest round of civil war. This latest round of war has taken on particularly nasty ethnic dimensions, as the SPLM’s rival factions, for years bound together by US dollars rather than by a genuine program of unity, unravels.
While Yemen’s near-famine was caused by the Western-directed bombing and blockade of that country, then, South Sudan’s actual famine is the result of years of proxy war funded by the West and the disastrous partition it produced. The situation in Nigeria is also a result of war, in this case, the Boko Haram insurgency – an insurgency which owes its massive spread in recent years directly to the NATO destruction of Libya, which opened up the country’s weapons dumps to Boko Haram and its partners. Have no doubt, the latest wave of famine is thus a direct by-product of Western aggression – creating another 20 million victims for whom US and British governments must be brought to justice.
The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.
US Navy F-18E Super Hornets fly over northern Iraq as part of the US-led coalition airstrikes against Takfiri Daesh terrorist group and other targets on September 23, 2014. (Photo by AP)
An Iraqi lawmaker has blamed the US-led coalition purportedly fighting the Daesh Takfiri terrorist group in the country and neighboring Syria for killing hundreds of army soldiers and pro-government fighters from the Popular Mobilizations during airstrikes against alleged militant hideouts.
Faleh al-Khazali, a member of the Iraqi parliament’s security and defense committee, said in a statement on Sunday that US-led military aircraft have struck Iraqi forces in many areas, and killed hundreds of them, Arabic-language Iraq News Network reported.
Khazali noted that the Western military contingent is “not serious about fighting Daesh militants, and seeks to support them through maintaining safe and accessible supply routes.”
The Iraqi legislator further called on the Joint Operations Command (JOC) to “coordinate, control and provide more accurate information regarding the strikes of the US-led coalition in a bid to reduce the loss of innocent civilians as well as government troops.”
Khazali underlined that the extent of the damage caused by the US-led coalition warplanes could be best surveyed in the troubled western province of Anbar, where the substantial level of destruction has delayed the return of displaced people to their native areas.
Iraqi police arrest female Daesh leader in Mosul
Meanwhile, Iraqi security forces have arrested a woman in the Old City of Mosul, who is considered as the female leader of Daesh terror outfit.
Arabic-language Shafaaq news agency reported on Sunday that the woman, identified by the nom de guerre Ahlam Mohsen Ali, was arrested less than a week ago with her brother, a prominent terrorist, as the pair were trying to escape from the western quarter of Mosul and sneak into the eastern side.
The woman grew up in al-Houd village of Qayyarah subdistrict, which lies on the western bank of Tigris River and some 60kilometers (35 miles) south of Mosul. She left her husband months before the fall of Mosul in June 2014, while collecting sensitive intelligence about Iraqi security personnel and their fortifications.
On July 10, Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi formally declared victory over Daesh extremists in Mosul, which served as the extremists’ main urban stronghold in the conflict-ridden Arab country.
In the run-up to Mosul’s liberation, Iraqi army soldiers and volunteer fighters from the Popular Mobilization Units, commonly known by the Arabic name Hashd al-Sha’abi, had made sweeping gains against Daesh since launching the operation on October 17, 2016.
The Iraqi forces took control of eastern Mosul in January after 100 days of fighting, and launched the battle in the west on February 19.
An estimated 862,000 people have been displaced from Mosul ever since the battle to retake the city began eight months ago. A total of 195,000 civilians have also returned, mainly to the liberated areas of eastern Mosul.
Elon Musk is no stranger to futurecasting a foreboding dystopia ahead for mankind, as we noted recently. But during a speech he gave today at the National Governors Association Summer Meeting in Rhode Island, Musk turned up the future-fearmongery amplifier to ’11’.
As a reminder, in the past, when he was asked about whether humans are living inside a computer simulation, Musk made headlines last year by saying he thinks the chances are one in billions that we aren’t.
“The strongest argument for us probably being in a simulation I think is the following: 40 years ago we had Pong – two rectangles and a dot,” Musk stated.
“That’s where we were. Now 40 years later we have photorealistic, 3D simulations with millions of people playing simultaneously and it’s getting better every year. And soon we’ll have virtual reality, we’ll have augmented reality. If you assume any rate of improvement at all, then the games will become indistinguishable from reality, just indistinguishable.”
Here Musk is referring to the exponential growth of technology, the lynchpin of the Singularity theory. If in 40 years we’ve gone from the two-dimensional pong to the cusp of augmented and virtual reality, imagine where we’ll be in another forty, or a hundred, or 400. And that is where he began today…
But today, Musk discussed a broad range of topics from energy sources in the future…
“It’s inevitable,” Musk said, speaking of shift to sustainable energy. “But it matters if it happens sooner or later.”
As for those pushing some other type of fusion, Musk notes that the sun is a giant fusion reactor in the sky. “It’s really reliable,” he said. “It comes up every day. if it doesn’t we’ve got (other) problems).”
To Tesla’s share price:
Musk said he has been on record several times as saying its stock price “is higher than we have any right to deserve” especially based on current and past performance.
“The stock price obviously reflects a lot of optimism on where we will be in the future,” he said. “Those expectations sometimes get out of control. I hate disappointing people, I am trying really hard to meet those expectations.”
Musk added that he won’t be selling any stock “unless I have to for taxes,” and said “I’m going down with the ship… I’ll be the last [to sell].”
Musk addressed government regulation and incentives:
“It sure is important to get the rules right,” Musk said. “Regulations are immortal. They never die unless somebody actually goes and kills them. A lot of times regulations can be put in place for all the right reasons but nobody goes back and kills them because they no longer make sense.”
Musk also focused on the importance of incentives, saying whatever societies incentivize tends to be what happens. “It’s economics 101,” he said.
And what drives him:
“I want to be able to think about the future and feel good about that, to dream what we can to have the future be as good as possible. To be inspired by what is likely to happen and to look forward to the next day. How do we make sure things are great? That’s the underlying principle behind Tesla and SpaceX.”
Within 20 years, he said driving a car will be like having a horse (i.e. rare and totally optional). “There will not be a steering wheel.”
“There will be people that will have non-autonomous cars, like people have horses,” he said.
“It just would be unusual to use that as a mode of transport.”
But what started off as the latest sales pitch for electric cars quickly devolved into a bizarre rant that among other things, touched on Elon Musk’s gloomy, apocalyptic vision of how the world could end… (via ReCode)
Musk called on the government to proactively regulate artificial intelligence before things advance too far.
“Until people see robots going down the street killing people, they don’t know how to react because it seems so ethereal,” he said.
“AI is a rare case where I think we need to be proactive in regulation instead of reactive. Because I think by the time we are reactive in AI regulation, it’s too late.”
“Normally the way regulations are set up is a while bunch of bad things happen, there’s a public outcry, and after many years a regulatory agency is set up to regulate that industry,” he continued.
“It takes forever. That, in the past, has been bad but not something which represented a fundamental risk to the existence of civilization. AI is a fundamental risk to the existence of human civilization.”
Musk has been concerned about AI for years, and he’s working on technology that would connect the human brain to the computer software meant to mimic it.
Full interview below (Musk begins talking around 42 minutes in)…
(ANTIMEDIA) — Iranian officials have struck back at the Trump administration’s verbal attacks on Iran, suggesting the U.S. should worry about its own domestic problems before turning its critical eye towards them. According to al-Monitor, an arguably pro-Tehran media site:
“Iranian officials have condemned US Secretary of Defense James Mattis for calling for regime change in Iran. During an interview with a high school newspaper, Mattis said US relations with Tehran will have to wait ‘until the Iranian people can get rid of this theocracy.’ He also referred to Iran as ‘the most destabilizing influence in the Middle East.’ The interview, published June 20, went viral July 10 and was picked up by a number of English-language media outlets.”
Mattis’ statements reek of hypocrisy considering the most extreme theocracies in the Middle East continue to maintain close relationships with the U.S. as the U.S. singles out Iran because of its independent foreign policy interests.
According to al-Monitor, Iranian Defense Minister Hossein Dehghan responded to Mattis’ comments on July 11.
“Instead of making decisions for other countries,” he said, “the secretary of defense and the American ruling party better think about their own domestic issues and review the causes of the collapse of its administration in the not too distant future.”
Iran’s foreign ministry spokesman, Bahram Ghassemi, also responded to Mattis’s comments, stating “Terrorism and extremism in the region and the world have roots in America’s ill-considered policies.”Rejecting the claim that Iran sponsors terrorism, he warned that the region would not forget what the U.S. did to Fallujah and Haditha. In 2004, U.S. Marines heavily bombarded Fallujah, and the effects of this assault are still plaguing local population in the form of dramatic increases in cancer and infant mortality rates.
The people and government of Iran also haven’t forgotten what America has done in the last century, let alone the last decade. Iran still remembers that the CIA overthrew its democratically elected leader in 1953, and this is why the country’s leaders continue to refer to the U.S. as the Great Satan. It is largely because of this 1953 interference that Iran became such an autocratically ruled country; the 1979 revolution was a result of the people’s desire to overthrow the American-backed Shah, Mohammed Reza Pahlavi, he a brutal dictator. And yet even Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has openly admitted that the U.S. is looking to try the exact same strategy again by supporting elements inside Iran to oust its current leadership.
Though Iran is hardly democratic by many standards, the country did boast over 70 percent voter turnout in its most recent elections. By comparison, the U.S. barely gets over 50 percent in election after election. A country in which roughly half of its eligible voters don’t vote at all has little standing to criticize or attempt to interfere in any country in the world in the name of democracy — especially one that enjoys greater democratic participation than the U.S. does.
Iran’s responses to Mattis’ comments ultimately somewhat well-founded. The U.S. should have no say in the internal politics of Iran (or Russia and Syria for that matter) and should at least address its own shortcomings before it goes on a global crusade to force countries into submission.
Even if all of the charges against Iran Trump administration continues to present are true, it does not absolve the U.S. of its own culpability in the very same allegations it hurls at Iran, nor does it absolve America’s allies, who continue to wreak havoc across the Middle East region.
“Our citizens should know the urgent facts…but they don’t because our media serves imperial, not popular interests. They lie, deceive, connive and suppress what everyone needs to know, substituting managed news misinformation and rubbish for hard truths…”—Oliver Stone