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Israeli detention of Palestinian youth causing widespread trauma and educational neglect

Israeli soldiers arrest a young Palestinian boy following clashes in Hebron on June 20.
2014 was a harrowing and devastating year for many people living in Israel and Palestine. Violations of human rights, racism, and hatred did not stop after the 2014 Gaza war and today are commonplace. Presently, there is imminent concern for the increasing numbers of wrongfully detained Palestinian children from East Jerusalem and the West Bank who are subject to ongoing state violence, severe psychological trauma, and denied the basic human right to education.

Throughout 2014, increasing numbers of Palestinian youth were targets of Israeli authorities' systematic raids, arrests, and violence. According to DCI-Palestine, an average of 192.8 Palestinian children per month were placed in Israeli military detention facilities from January through November 2014. However, there are likely several hundred more Palestinian minors (under age 18) from East Jerusalem under house arrest or in detention. Many of these children have been arrested during night raids by armed Israeli forces that remove them from their homes in a terrifying and often violent manner. They are frequently handcuffed, blindfolded, beaten, and heavily disoriented when transferred to interrogation. In most cases, the children's parents have no knowledge of their whereabouts, and the detainees receive no legal counsel. Minor detainees are often coerced into submitting a confession for a crime they did not commit. Some children are placed into solitary confinement, which is not only a breach of international law, but also considered a form of torture for minors.

Comment: It can probably be stated quite confidently that international law is a complete joke. It's a tool used by the U.S. to pressure non-compliant nations into bending to their will, but otherwise, if the country is an ally of the U.S. like Israel or a puppet state like Ukraine, a blind eye will be turned towards any violations of international law. The U.S. likes to tout itself as the "greatest country on Earth", but when they allow and even support human rights abuses, they no longer qualify as a moral nation and certainly cannot be an example to anyone.

A 2013 UNICEF report identified the maltreatment of Palestinian children in Israeli military detention as "widespread, systematic, and institutionalized." Sadly few reforms have been made since then. Laws continue to be violated and more children suffer. The Israeli Military Order 1651 defines a child as a person under age 12. Palestinian detainees ages 12 and above can be sentenced in Israeli military courts, which violate international law and Israeli juvenile law. The sentence for stone throwing and other offenses committed by Palestinian minors can result in a maximum of 20 years. These sentencing periods do not include jail time or house arrest prior to the trial. Furthermore, detainees are not permitted to attend school during pre-trial detention.

Two Philadelphia cops arrested after surveillance video proves they lied about brutal attack

Philadelphia Police officers Kevin Robinson(top) and Sean McKnight (bottom) have been charged with the assault of Najee Rivera(right)
Two Philadelphia police officers were arrested and publicly criticized by local officials after video proof emerged that they lied about pursuing and beating a man, WPVI-TV reported.

The footage shows Officers Sean McKnight and Kevin Robinson chasing 23-year-old Najee Rivera in their unlit patrol car and knocking him to the ground with a baton before pushing him against a wall and repeatedly hitting him. Rivera can be heard screaming throughout the attack.

"He never resisted. He never struck them," local District Attorney Seth Williams said of the May 2013 incident. "He never fought back. They just started hitting him."

The encounter began when the officers pulled Rivera over. Rivera reportedly fled out of fear for his safety. But the officers originally said that Rivera fell off of his scooter, then tried to grab one of their batons, forcing one of them to hit Rivera in the face. He was originally charged with resisting arrest.

Comment: It's becoming increasingly common for police to be found lying about what happens during arrests. At least in this case the victim was not only found innocent but the officers have been rightfully charged for the crime that they committed. Police commanders around the U.S. should sit up and take notice.


Pastor arrested for sexually abusing woman during exorcism

Pastor Wayne Marlon Jones
Police in Toronto say a local pastor has been charged after a woman was sexually assaulted during an exorcism.

The police said 53-year-old Pastor Wayne Marlon Jones of the United Spiritual Baptist Church offered what he referred to as "spiritual guidance" sessions to a woman between May 2011 and May 2013.

The woman was allegedly also tricked into giving Jones property and money. Jones has been charged with sexual assault and three counts of fraud over $5,000 dollars.

"We are encouraging anyone who has additional information to come forward to police," said Toronto Police spokesman Meaghan Gray.

Jones, born in Trinidad and Tobago, came to Canada and founded the United Spiritual Baptist Church in 2000, which the Toronto Sun reports appeared to be vacant earlier this week.

"Bishop Dr. Wayne M. Jones is a man who believes in gratitude, and because of this, he always talks about how grateful he is to everyone who has touched his life in some way to get him to where he is now," says his profile on the church's website.

Woman sues Seattle for $1 million after cop breaks her eye socket while she was handcuffed

Miyekko Durden-Bosley

Police brutality victim Miyekko Durden-Bosley
A Seattle woman who suffered a broken eye socket after a police officer punched her in the face while handcuffed in the back of a patrol car filed a $1m claim against the city, alleging assault and arrest without probable cause. The incident was captured by a patrol-car dashboard camera.

Seattle police officer Adley Shepherd responded to the scene of a domestic dispute in June 2014, where he arrested Miyekko Durden-Bosley, then 23. The woman allegedly became verbally abusive with the officer, and Shepherd can be heard accusing her of "escalating" the situation on camera. Shepherd handcuffed Durden-Bosley, and she appears to be tossed into the back of a patrol car.

Almost immediately after Durden-Bosley lands in the back seat Shepherd yells "She kicked me!" and lunges into the back seat of the car, on top of the woman, the video shows.

Shepherd punched Durden-Bosley so severely that she suffered a concussion and a broken orbital socket. Durden-Bosley told Seattle's KING5 that she had headaches and blurry vision from the punch seven months later. She told KING5 that she doesn't remember whether she kicked the officer.

Comment: She absolutely should sue the city. If they are unwilling to protect their citizens from police brutality, then they should be just as responsible as the police for encouraging and aiding police violence.


Light beam seen during Michigan power plant explosion

light beam over Escanaba Power Plant

Images of light beam over Escanaba Power Plant, Michigan on February 2nd 2015
Many Escanaba residents awoke Monday to find themselves without power after an explosion at a nearby utility plant substation

Around 1:30 a.m. Feb. 2, an explosion at an Escanaba Power Plant substation caused widespread power outages across the city, according to the Escanaba City Electric Department.

With the failure of the substation's main transformer, officials noted the repairs are expected to require a significant amount of labor to fix .

As crews work to repair the damaged electrical equipment, city staff are warning residents to expect rolling blackouts the next few days. Residents are advised to keep their heat at elevated levels, but to conserve energy elsewhere whenever possible.

The Escanaba School District was forced to close today as well, due to a lack of power.

Comment: So was this just an ordinary explosion, or could there be something more to the story? In Earth Changes and the Human-Cosmic Connection, Pierre Lescaudron presents the possibility that certain types of buildings or factories can act as attractors for dramatic electrical discharges, whether 'sparked' by incoming comet fragments or atmospheric electrical conditions. So could something similar be responsible for the odd lights seen in the video above? Without more data it will be hard to know for sure.

See also: Was the West Texas explosion a meteorite impact?

Bad Guys

Noranda plant in St. James Parish seeks permit to emit mercury

Release into air ongoing, under investigation

Noranda Alumina officials say they believe their nearly 55-year-old refinery in St. James Parish has been releasing mercury into the air without a permit, possibly since operations began in 1959.

The Tennessee-based owners of the once-bankrupt Kaiser Aluminum complex on the Mississippi River are asking state regulators for permission to release up to 250 pounds of mercury per year. That would make the plant one of the largest mercury polluters of Louisiana's air while Noranda officials figure out what is causing the air releases, state and federal records show.

Noranda officials told the state Department of Environmental Quality in April and May that they believe the mercury is rising from steam vents tied to plant heat exchangers, although DEQ has not permitted the release of mercury into the air from anywhere at the plant.

"If so, the facility has probably always emitted these small amounts of mercury to the atmosphere, and the emissions can be expected to continue into the future," Noranda Alumina President David P. Hamling wrote to DEQ on May 28.

John Parker, Noranda vice president of communications, said the emissions are not a risk to the public. Company officials have since "been working with DEQ at DEQ's pace to set up monitoring protocols for this," he said.

Bryan Johnston, senior environmental scientist in DEQ's Air Permits Division, said "there is no indication at this point that there is anything to be concerned about."

But the air permit that Noranda is asking for would make the plant Louisiana's second largest air emitter of mercury or mercury compounds, according to U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Toxic Release Inventory data. In 2013, the latest year for which data has been reported, only NRG's Big Cajun II coal-fired plant in New Roads, which released 486 pounds, would have surpassed the 250-pound limit Noranda is now seeking.

"Two-hundred-fifty pounds of mercury per year is not an insignificant amount because mercury is so highly toxic at very low concentrations," said John Walke, director of the clean air program for the Natural Resources Defense Council, a national environmental group.
Stock Down

Ukraine's currency in free-fall after central bank stops propping it up

hryvna, ukraine currency
© Reuters / Gleb Garanich
Banknotes of Ukrainian hryvna
The hryvnia lost 34 percent against the US dollar after the head of the central bank signaled it can no longer support the currency with regular interventions and will allow greater fluctuations. The hyrvnia hit a historic low of 24.5 per 1 USD.

"Get used to market volatility," National Bank of Ukraine (NBU) Governor Valery Gontareva told reporters in Kiev on Thursday.
Happening to Ukrainian #Hryvnia right now while John Kerry is arriving in Kiev for talks. The market is panicking
- Yury Barmin (@yurybarmin) February 5, 2015
With foreign exchange reserves at only $7.5 billion, the central bank "is changing its approach to monetary policy, while strengthening its rigidity," according to a statement published Thursday.
Ukrainian Central Bank cancels indicative Hryvna rate. Real Hryvna rate differed from indicative by 30%. Panic mood in markets - Gontareva
- *Russian Market (@russian_market) February 5, 2015
After the policy shift announcement, Ukraine's hryvnia fell to 24.5 against the dollar and 28.092 against the euro.

Comment: That IMF aid fund won't come without strings attached. Everyone knows the situation in Ukraine is the result of Western meddling. Now they're bleeding cash in aid while Russia sits back and smiles.


Atrocities in Ukraine: Shedding light on excusing ignorance

SOTT Exclusive: Courageous Ukrainian women speak out

Chart Bar

Just how dangerous is terrorism, really?

terrorism statistics
The terror threat is greatly exaggerated. After all, the type of counter-terror experts who frequently appear on the mainstream news are motivated to hype the terror threat, because it drums up business for them.

The same is true for government employees. As former FBI assistant director Thomas Fuentes put it last week:
If you're submitting budget proposals for a law enforcement agency, for an intelligence agency, you're not going to submit the proposal that "We won the war on terror and everything's great," cuz the first thing that's gonna happen is your budget's gonna be cut in half.

You know, it's my opposite of Jesse Jackson's "Keep Hope Alive" - it's "Keep Fear Alive." Keep it alive.
Fearmongering also serves political goals. For example, FBI agents and CIA intelligence officials, a top constitutional and military law expert, Time magazine, the Washington Post and others have all said that U.S. government officials "were trying to create an atmosphere of fear in which the American people would give them more power". Indeed, the former Secretary of Homeland Security Tom Ridge admitted that he was pressured to raise terror alerts to help Bush win reelection. Former U.S. National Security Adviser Zbigniew Brzezinski - also a top foreign policy advisor to President Obama - told the Senate that the war on terror is a "a mythical historical narrative".

Comment: Creating an atmosphere of terror in order to give those in power more power... Now, who does that remind you of?

Light Saber

Student government at University of California passes vote to boycott Israel

© Via twitter@ela_m
Pro-Palestinian students at the University of California, Davis, have celebrated after a student government vote to boycott Israel was passed overwhelmingly at the US school.

The student government resolution to boycott Israel passed 8-2 last week, which formally recommends the university to divest from US companies that conduct business with Israel, the Washington Times reported on Tuesday.

Following the vote, which was championed by the Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP), student activists waved Palestinian flags and celebrated as they left the meeting room.

The resolution is part of a larger movement, known as the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement, to increase economic and political pressure on Israel.

The BDS movement also seeks to end the Israeli occupation and colonization of Palestinian lands and respect the right of return of Palestinian refugees.

The boycott campaign against Israel began in July 2005 by 171 Palestinian organizations, which calls for "various forms of boycott against Israel until it meets its obligations under international law."

In 2013, two US academic groups -- the American Studies Association and the Association for Asian American Studies -- supported the boycott.

During the recent Israel war against the Palestinians in the besieged Gaza Strip, Israeli warplanes targeted a number of schools and hospitals in defiance of the Geneva conventions that ban such attacks.

Comment: Good for them!

Quenelle - Golden

More than 6,000 Athenians in the first pro-govt rally in recent years - No police, no baricades

syntagma pro-government demo

In Athens tonight, Feb. 5 2015
A demonstration largely different from those Athens has seen in recent years took place today in downtown Athens' Syntagma Square. The rally was called for 6.00 pm and was organized through social media. It was the first pro-government demonstration organized in Greece in recent years. Four years ago, in summer 2011 the Spanish-inspired movement of the "Indignados" attracted thousands of protestors rallying against austerity measures in the same square.

Once again, the protestors' request was the abolition of the austerity policies imposed upon Greece. The crowds gathered in front of the Greek Parliament in support of the new anti-austerity SYRIZA-led government's efforts to renegotiate the country's international debt. The chants were mostly against German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble, who earlier today met with his Greek counterpart in Berlin. Apparently, the two Ministers did not come to an agreement regarding the Greek bailout program's future.

On the opposite, Greek Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis, emerging lately as Greece's new "super star," was the protestor's favorite along with Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras.
Syntagma people for the government

"No more blackmails" chanted the crowds