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After 6 years! 38 journalist groups in US protest against suppression of media by White House

White House
© Flickr.com/Chris Oakley/cc-by
38 journalism groups in the US have sent a message addressed to President Barack Obama expressing protest against the "politically-driven suppression of news and information" about the activities of the American authorities. According to the capital's online newspaper The Washington Examiner, this is an unprecedented criticism of the White House.

It is particularly significant because immediately after coming to power, Obama promised to make his government the most transparent one in American history.

"You recently expressed concern that frustration in the country is breeding cynicism about democratic government," the authors of the letter to the owner of the White House write. "You need look no further than your own administration for a major source of that frustration - politically driven suppression of news and information about federal agencies. We call on you to take a stand to stop the spin and let the sunshine in."

The journalists specifically complain that in all branches of the US government officials were banned from communicating with them, especially "on the record," that their questions and requests for interviews regularly remain unanswered, and that judiciary journalists were even included in departmental black lists.

Comment: The journalists who are now writing this polite letter to the White House were silent for almost 6 years about the current administrations: drone wars, support to terrorists in Syria, war on Libya, propping up of the mafia banking sector, support for GMO, continued creation of the police state, support for extra-judicial assassinations, regime change in Ukraine, slaughtering of the middle class, support for torture, illegal detentions, massive surveillance on everybody, destruction of health care and education and the list goes on.

In fact these same journalists have for the most been active in selling the US foreign policy and the creation of the fascist police state that the US has morphed in to.

Pistol

Yet again! Six people dead following mass shooting outside Houston

Houston shooting
© Unknown
At least six people, including several children, were killed during a shooting near Houston, Texas on Wednesday. The suspect surrendered after a three-hour standoff with police.

According toABC News, the gunman shot seven people in the Houston suburb of Spring, Texas. Six people were reportedly killed, including four children, though Harris County police originally reported that five children had died.

The incident began Wednesday afternoon, when an alleged domestic dispute escalated into a violent episode that left three children and two adults dead at the scene by the time police arrived. A child and mother both survived the initial attack and were airlifted to a local hospital. The child has since passed away, while the mother is still battling for her life.

Comment: What would the police have done in the past without these humvee military trucks? Obviously they are needed, don't you see?

Heart - Black

Pastor, church members plead guilty to beating 13-year-old boy

  Lonny Lee Remmers, pastor
© CBS Los Angeles
Lonny Lee Remmers, pastor of Heart of Worship Community Church in Corona, is seen in court in 2012. He and two members of the church pleaded guilty Monday to state charges of beating and threatening the life of a 13-year-old boy.
Caitlin Owens Crime Pastor, two members of Corona church plead guilty to charges of beating a 13-year-old boyPastor,two church member drove 13-year-old boy to desert and forced him to dig his own grave

The pastor and two members of a Corona church pleaded guilty Monday to state charges of beating and threatening the life of a 13-year-old boy, who was forced to dig his own grave, authorities said.

Lonny Lee Remmers, 56, Nicholas James Craig, 24, and Darryll Duane Jeter Jr., 30, tortured the boy in the church-run group home where he lived, according to a witness report in affidavits for search warrants.
Binoculars

UK moves to legalize mass surveillance

Mass Surveillance
© Daniela Hartmann/Flickr/Creative Commons
The UK government is pushing to pass an emergency law that would allow for storing and tracking the public's phone calls, text messages, and internet use.

The bill, which is set for inter-party reforms later this week and is expected to pass, was created as a response to alleged domestic terrorism threats - although the validity of these threats and the likeliness of an attack are uncertain.

Recruitment propaganda and videos of alleged war crimes by British citizens in Syria that surfaced on social media this year have helped fuel speculation and reports of radicalization on the home front. However, former MI6 chief Richard Dearlove said Tuesday that recent fears of extremism in the West have been overblown by governments and media, with most terrorist activity having been refocused into the Middle East.

The bill closely resembles a previous plan, proposed in 2012 by Home Secretary Theresa May, that would have required telecommunications companies to retain detailed information about their customers' phone calls and internet use for up to 12 months. The proposal, called the Communications Data Bill, was dropped in 2013 after its tactics were deemed invasive and disproportionate by opposing members, including Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg.

Before being vetoed, the plan became known as the "Snooper's Charter."

Ministers from the Labour party and the Liberal Democrats have promised not to let the new bill become an updated version of the old one. A Liberal source told the Guardian, "There is no question of a snooper's charter, watered down or otherwise, being introduced by this government."
Blackbox

Weird! Alps murder victim had a 'secret' ex-husband who died on the same day in U.S.

alps murder
© Julian Simmonds

Police and forensics examine the BMW at the scene of the shooting in woods near Chevaline in the French Alps back in 2012
A British woman who was shot dead alongside her family in the French Alps had a secret American ex-husband, who died on the same day as her, it has emerged.

Iqbal Al-Hilli died along with her husband, Saad, and her mother Suhaila al-Allaf when a gunman opened fire on their car during a family holiday in September 2012.

A passing French cyclist, Sylvain Mollier, also died, but the couple's two daughters, aged four and seven, both survived the attack.

French police have been baffled by the murders and have explored a wide range of possible motives.

But it has now emerged that Mrs Al-Hilli had previously been married to an American oil worker called Jim Thompson, who lived in the town of Natchez in Mississippi.

In an extraordinary and sinister twist, Mr Thompson died on the very same day that the Al-Hilli family were gunned down.

According to his death certificate he died of a massive heart-attack, but members of his family have cast doubt on the cause of death, with one relative even suggesting he may have been killed with a poison dart.

Mr Thompson's daughter Joy Martinloch said her aunt had always suspected foul play and said there had been speculation that he had been poisoned.
Gear

Brooklyn District Attorney says people caught with small amount of marijuana won't be prosecuted if they have no criminal record

© Jesse Ward/for New York Daily News
District Attorney Kenneth Thompson released a statement Tuesday saying that those busted in Brooklyn with little or no criminal record for small amounts of marijuana will have their arrests dismissed before even seeing a judge

The order came from on high. Brooklyn District Attorney Kenneth Thompson on Tuesday said he won't prosecute people with little or no criminal record who get caught with small amounts of weed.

While the majority of such cases already are eventually dismissed, those arrested from now on - with some exceptions - will be released before seeing a judge, according to a DA memo. The revised approach is not shared by cops and could even cause tension between the DA and the NYPD.

"This new policy is a reasonable response to the thousands of low-level marijuana arrests that weigh down the criminal justice system, require significant resources that could be redirected to more serious crimes and take an unnecessary toll on offenders," Thompson said in a statement.

Comment:
  • US: Too Little, Too Late: Commissioner Kelly Tells New York Police Department to End Stop-and-Frisks That Led to Thousands of Bogus Marijuana Arrests


Arrow Down

Poverty and abuse in Cambodia's 'virginity trade'

Virginity Trade_1
© The Independent, UK
Danet* is fourteen, and lives in a house built on wooden stilts, with no walls, and only tarpaulin for shelter. There are eleven of them who live in the family home, next to a mosquito-infested pond in a poor, rural community in Phnom Penh, Cambodia. She loves to read fairy tales but she frowns a lot and her eyes have a haunted gaze.

At the age of ten, she was locked in a guesthouse bedroom for days, at the mercy of a British paedophile. Her mother sold her for a week for $750.

Her virginity was part of the allure, but surely that is irrelevant. This was a child sold by her parents to be raped by a sex offender. Unfathomable.

Danet describes Michael Leach - her convicted abuser, a former government advisor - as "big and cruel looking". She says: "He didn't look nice, he looked strange."

The 54 year old is now serving a twelve year jail sentence, so she is less afraid to talk about him.

"I hope he stays put away forever," she says.

Selling her virginity - her innocence - was a way to feed nine children and pay their debts. Danet's father earns $5 a day as a motorbike taxi driver and fruit seller.

Her mother was approached and coaxed into the deal by a "broker", a local driver, who worked for Leach to appease his urge to abuse minors.

"My mother took me there on the first day. The next, my father drove me there. I didn't want to go but I had to, for my family."

A mother and a father escorted their child to be raped.
Arrow Down

Selling donated blood is big business in U.S.

John Armitage
© Association of Donor Recruitment Professionals
OBI CEO John Armitage.
Donating blood is anything but a charitable act in the United States. Oftentimes, blood given for free by Americans gets turned into profitable deals by companies specializing in blood sales to hospitals. These days, a pint of blood can go for $180 to $300, depending on demand.

One business, General Blood based in Minnesota, serves as a middleman between blood donation centers and medical centers and research laboratories. Given that blood is such big business, it's not unusual for some of it to be spilled in the midst of legal battles.

Indeed, General Blood is currently caught up in a lawsuit with the nonprofit Oklahoma Blood Institute (OBI), which sells donated blood. OBI sued General Blood, claiming it is owed money, and General Blood counter-sued OBI for $14 million over alleged confidentiality issues.

The sale of people's donated blood for hundreds of dollars per pint explains how a nonprofit like OBI can make $86 million a year, according to The Oklahoman.

These earnings get passed down to the institute's top executives, who make six-figure salaries. Leading the team is OBI's CEO, John Armitage, whose annual salary is $421,561. General Blood founder Ben Bowman claims that non-profits like OBI are profiting on blood. But Armitage denies that OBI is doing so.

"We are providing a drug," Armitage explained to the newspaper. "On the business side of what we do, the comparison is to a pharmaceutical company. Technically, we like to say the blood is free, but they [hospitals] pay a service charge. It's arranged, so it's a service fee."

"We have a charitable side," he added, "which is trying to motivate people to do an amazing thing [donate blood] to help their fellow man or woman."
Hourglass

Utah cop drugged and raped wife repeatedly on video before killing his family and himself

© Facebook
A Utah police officer who killed his family before taking his own life had drugged and raped his wife on videotape repeatedly, according to an investigation into the January murder-suicide.

Spanish Fork police completed its 145-page investigation Monday into the deaths of 32-year-old Kelly Boren, 7-year-old Joshua "Jaden" Boren, 5-year-old Haley Boren, 55-year-old Marie King, and 34-year-old Joshua Boren, reported the Deseret News.

Police believe Joshua Boren, a Linden police officer who previously worked as a Utah County sheriff's deputy, used his department-issued handgun to kill his wife, children, and mother-in-law Jan. 16 in their home and then turned the gun on himself.

Investigators said Boren was a well-respected law enforcement officer considered a "teddy bear" by those who knew him, but they said the officer had a dark side he had apparently battled since childhood.
Black Cat

California pastor, parishioners plead guilty to forcing 13-year old boy to dig his own grave

© Press Enterprise/Stan Lim
A California pastor and two members of his congregation admitted in court that they physically abused a 13-year-old boy and made him dig his own grave.

According to affidavits published by The Los Angeles Times, 56-year-old Heart of Worship Community Church Pastor Lonny Lee Remmers, 24-year-old Nicholas James Craig and 30-year-old Darryll Duane Jeter Jr. said that they were following instructions to "scare" the victim. All three of the men had worked at a group home where the boy lived.

In March of 2012, the men reportedly took the victim to the desert where he was forced to dig a grave. After he got in the grave, the men threw dirt on him.

The men also rubbed salt into his wounds while he was showering, tied him to a chair with zip ties, and sprayed mace on his face until he bled.

At one point, the boy was made to sit in the middle of a Bible study group and pinch his own nipples with pliers, investigators said.
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