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Cult

Syria's Grand Mufti: "Erdogan & Davutoglu are behind abduction of two Aleppo archbishops"

© Unknown
The Grand Sunni Mufti of Syria, Ahmad Badreddin Hassoun, discusses on camera the circumstances that led to the infamous abduction of the two Archbishops of Aleppo, Yohanna Ibrahim for the Syriac Orthodox and Boulos Yazigi for the Greek Orthodox. He accuses the current Turkish government of sending a Chechen group that was trained in Turkey to abduct the two Archbishops, after dissatisfaction with the Syriac Orthodox Archbishop Yohanna Ibrahim several years prior.


Stormtrooper

Rule of the jungle: How Blackwater survived Iraq probes of being "Above the Law" - by threatening to kill investigators

© Unknown
Just weeks before Blackwater guards fatally shot 17 civilians at Baghdad's Nisour Square in 2007, The NY Times reports that the State Department began investigating the security contractor's operations in Iraq. However, as James Risen reports, a senior official of the notorious private security firm allegedly threatened to kill a government investigator leading the probe into the firm's Iraqi operation. Stunningly (or not), the US embassy sided with him and forced the inspector to cut the visit short.

As The Times reports, based on documents which were turned over to plaintiffs in a lawsuit against Blackwater... According to the documents, the investigators found numerous violations, including changing of security details without the State Department's approval, reducing the number of guard details and storing of automatic weapons and ammunition in Blackwater employees' private rooms.

There were also discipline problems, with guards having parties with heavy drinking and female visitors, including one episode in which an armored Blackwater car was requisitioned by four drunken employees, who drove to a private party and crashed the $180,000 vehicle into a concrete barrier.

Eye 1

Police state: Britain to deploy 10,000 officers at NATO summit

Britain is planning to deploy 10,000 police officers to shut out anti-war protests during NATO's summit in the Welsh city of Newport, documents reveal.

The Police Federation briefing documents released on Friday showed that there will be one officer for every protester at the Celtic Manor Hotel, which will host the NATO summit on September 4 and 5.

"To ensure the safety and secure passage of the event a mutual aid authority has been agreed to secure the deployment of nearly 10,000 officers," it said.

This would be one of Britain's biggest police operations since the 2012 Olympics and the biggest in Welsh history.

Peace activists, who have pledged to descend on the summit venue to express their outrage at NATO's warmongering policies, criticized the British government's decision, saying it is spending millions to protect NATO leaders from peaceful protesters.

Comment: While cutting wages, ignoring mass unemployment, reducing social services and fleecing the populace with ever more taxes, the UK government is spending millions to "protect" corrupt politicians from peaceful protesters - that is, if they don't deploy their own troublemakers to "heat" things up, to give them an excuse to clamp down violently on protesters. All the while military spending is going through the roof and banks rake in record profits ... The "people" they are supposed to represent are an impediment to their plans, we are their enemy!


Pistol

Ukraine president Poroshenko unilaterally terminates ceasefire

© Unknown
Video Link
Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko has decided to not prolong the ceasefire with Donetsk and Lugansk People's Republics, announcing an end to a fragile deal to deescalate tensions in the eastern regions of the country.

"We will attack and will free our land," Poroshenko said. The ceasefire officially ended at 19:00 GMT, according to a statement that appeared on the president's website shortly after midnight.

Since then, heavy shelling and intense shooting was reported in the city of Kramatorsk in the Donetsk region.

"The shelling started at 22:25 local time," American photographer Patrick Lancaster told RT by phone from Kramatorsk. "We are in the basement of the Kramatorsk Hotel. About two hours ago, mortaring started on the center of the city. Each wave lasted anywhere between five to 20 minutes, and there were three different waves of mortars. I don't have any direct information about wounded or killed, but there were so many explosions that I really think there is large number of casualties."

USA

US supreme court declines to vindicate Google over street view violations

© Reuters / Gustau Nacarino
A man takes pictures with a Google Street View Camera in Plaza Sant Jaume in front of the town hall of Barcelona
The Supreme Court of the United States said Monday that it won't consider a request from Google to weigh in on a matter concerning the Silicon Valley giant's Street View map feature.

Refusal on the part of SCOTUS to grant Google's request for an appeal from the high court now leaves intact an earlier decision handed down by a federal appellate panel in California.

The case itself surrounds the Google Street View platform, which for years has photographed huge swaths of the US and abroad by sending camera-equipped cars down roads around the world. Google was hit hard with litigation concerning that program in 2010 though after acknowledging that had accidentally collected payloads from unsecure internet networks, including data consisting of usernames, passwords and email contents.

Google said that it did not intend to collect the data and promised it would never be used, but the San Francisco-based Ninth US Circuit Court of Appeals found the company at fault in 2010. Last year Google reached a settlement with 38 states in the US over the data collection valued at $7 million.

Comment: It is interesting to see that the US supreme court, which has been in bed with politicians and businesses until recently, starting to make these decisions against them.

Supreme Court limits President's ability to make appointments during Senate recesses

'Get a warrant' to search cellphones, says unanimous Superme Court Justices


People 2

Institutionalized sexism: Tennessee Baptist leaders to revoke pastor's credentials for licensing women ministers


No women allowed.
The leaders of Primitive Baptist Churches are considering whether to revoke the credentials of a Nashville pastor because he went against 100 years of church tradition by licensing women as ministers.

Pastor Frank Stevenson told WTVF that he broke St. Luke's Primitive Baptist Church's "don't ask, don't tell policy" when he licensed 15 women to be ministers earlier this month.

That decision prompted church elders and pastors in the Cumberland Association of Primitive Baptist Churches to call a meeting on Thursday to discuss Stevenson's future. In the end, they decided to put the fate of Stevens in the hands of a committee, which will consider the case over the next few weeks.

Stevenson argued that the 100-year-old tradition of not allowing women in the ministry had no basis in scripture.

"I was actually preparing for this before we licensed the ministers," he explained to WTVF. "I knew that there were some that would again hold to tradition versus the spirit of God. So we had already been praying and looking at all the avenues and aspects that we needed to address this very biased way of trying to orchestrate ministry."

Stevenson said that his congregation backed the decision to license women ministers.

Vader

Oh God, no... Jeb Bush catching up with Hillary Clinton in presidential polls

© Reuters / Jonathan Ernst / Mary F. Calvert
Former U.S. Secretary of State and chieftain of Hell Hillary Clinton, Former Florida Governor and demonspawn Jeb Bush.
Hillary Clinton may still be leading potential Republican rivals Jeb Bush and Rand Paul in polling for the 2016 presidential election, but a new poll shows her advantage is shrinking considerably.

According to a new Zogby poll taken between June 27 - 29, Clinton leads Bush by 12 points, 47 percent to 35 percent. That's a seven-point decrease when compared to poll results from early May, when her lead was 49 - 32.

Notably, Clinton's lead among key demographics is also taking a hit - all while she has spent the last two weeks promoting herself and her new book, Hard Choices. Among men, her lead is down from a high of 12 points over the last three Zogby polls to six. Her standing with independents has decreased from 17 points to 10, and from 60 points to 22 among Hispanics.

Writing at Forbes, pollster John Zogby also revealed Clinton has actually lost her lead among the "self-identified investor class" and married voters.

Comment: Rejoice! Clinton's points are falling. Repent! Bush's are rising. As one RT commenter put it, "Poor americans. They can only choose between plague and cholera." We couldn't agree more!


Map

Nothing to hide: Moscow will allow OSCE observers at Russia-Ukraine border checkpoints

© Reuters / Gleb Garanich
Ukrainian border guard stands guard at a checkpoint on the Ukrainian-Russian border near the village of Marynivka
Russia is going to offer the OSCE to put its observers at Russia's checkpoints on the eastern Ukrainian border in case the ceasefire is prolonged and observed, Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov has said.

"In the nearest future we [Russia] are ready to file a draft project to the OSCE permanent council that will authorize the placing of OSCE observers at Russian border crossing points, which would allow for monitoring the transparency and use of these border crossing points for illegal purposes," said Sergey Lavrov.

His statement comes shortly after Russia's President Vladimir Putin talked with the French, German and Ukrainian leaders on the phone.

During the conversation, the Russian president "offered that checkpoints on the Russian side" should be monitored by representatives of the Ukrainian Border service as well as OSCE observers for "the joint control of the border," Lavrov said.

Russia's proposal will only be effective if the ceasefire between Kiev and the southeastern regions is observed.

Comment: Over the course of the conflict, Kiev has demonstrated over and over that it just makes stuff up. Without firm evidence, take any statement that Russia is violating Ukraine's border with a few grains of salt. This latest maneuver on Russia's part is canny: "We aren't violating the border, and we can prove it. Just observe the ceasefire." Your move, Kiev.


Eye 1

Dangerous move or effective policy? Putin signs more anti-extremism laws into force

© RIA Novosti Alexéy Nikólskyi
New Russian laws introduce prison sentences for public calls in support of extremist activities as well as for providing extremists with financial assistance.

People found guilty of financing extremist activities could face up to six years in prison. The crime is defined as "providing or collecting means while knowing that these means would be used for financing the organizing, preparation or committing of at least one act of extremism or for maintenance of an extremist organization."

Public calls for extremism, or attempts to humiliate people, will be punished with up to five years in prison. This applies to internet posts as well as mass media publications.

Organizing and maintaining political or religious communities that spread extremist ideology is now punishable with up to eight years in prison, correctional work or heavy fines.

The law also provides immunity for those who turn against the organizations and prevent crimes or get rid of the extremist groups.

The new laws are in line with the Russia's anti-extremism strategy, prepared by the Interior Ministry and presented to public in mid-June. According to the document, the authorities see the internet as the main channel for spreading dangerous information, and want to counter the threat through intensive monitoring of the web and imposing traditional values on the young.

In the strategy, the police list radical Muslim movements, domestic nationalist groups, football hooligans, illegal immigrants and certain foreign NGOs and religious groups as the main threats to security.

The new laws were published on the official web portal on Monday and as such has come into force.

Comment: The U.S. uses similar laws to crack down on legitimate dissent, aid offered to humanitarian groups in Palestine, and other good causes. With similar laws, Russia could easily fall into abusing them for her own purposes. That said, it would be a glorious day to see U.S. coup-supporting NGOs, CIA spies, extremist Christian, Jewish and Muslim religious groups, and psychopaths who humiliate their victims, get a taste of their own medicine. We'll just have to wait and see what kind of fruit these laws bear.


Mr. Potato

Vladimir Putin would welcome Scottish independence because it leaves him 'in a stronger position to do he wants', claims UK Education Secretary

  • Education Secretary says 'Yes' vote would be cheered in Moscow
    © Stephen Simpson/LNP
    Education Secretary Michael Gove said Britain was the 'second principal beacon of liberty' in the world and Scottish independence would leave it weakened
  • The Tory Cabinet minister was born in Edinburgh and raised in Aberdeen
  • He says break up of UK leaves the West's enemies emboldened
  • Also attacks SNP for portraying England as a 'loads'a money' mean nation
Vladimir Putin would welcome Scottish independence because it would weaken Britain, the outspoken Education Secretary Michael Gove has claimed.

Mr Gove said a break up of the United Kingdom would put Russia in a 'stronger position' to dictate to the world.

He claimed Britain was the 'second principal beacon of liberty' in the world and its break up would weaken the West.

Comment: As the 'Yes Scotland' spokesperson correctly points out this is 'hyperbole' from UK Gov "trying to enlist Putin's support to oppose Scottish independence". It is a feeble attempt to associate the anti-UK Gov stance as being favourable to the current bogeyman of choice. Gove delusionally claims Britain is the 'second principal beacon of liberty' in the world - a sad and pathetic clinging on to nationalistic pride of empire days long gone by. Would Putin even care?