Society's Child


Retired Polish general u-turns on Ukraine over nationalist glorification

© RIA Novosti / Pavel Palamarchuk
Retired General Waldemar Skrzypczak, an influential figure in the Polish military, says he withdraws all words of support for Ukraine due to the country's sliding towards nationalism. Earlier he advocated supplying heavy weapons to Kiev.

The angry U-turn in attitudes towards the Ukrainian government was published on Friday in the Gazeta Prawna newspaper. Skrzypczak said he is outraged with a law that the Ukrainian parliament passed hours after Polish President Bronisław Komorowski spoke before the MPs to express support for Ukraine.

The law gave benefits to all people who fought for Ukraine's independence throughput history. Those include fighters of the Ukrainian Insurgent Army, or UPA, which was responsible for mass killings of Polish citizens in 1943-44. The tragic events are known as Volhynian slaughter in Poland.

"I realized that Ukraine has no concern for Polish people. I am talking about what happened in Volhynia, the slaughter of 100,000 Poles by the UPA," the ex-general said.

Comment: At least he can see what Ukraine is devolving into but has yet to understand Russia.

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World Bank infrastructure projects forcing millions off their land in developing countries

World Bank ventures in less developed countries are hurting the people the organization has sworn to protect, with almost four million people across the globe left homeless, forcefully evicted and relocated as a result of World Bank-funded projects.

A probe by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ), which examined World Bank's records in 14 countries, discovered that some 3.4 million of the "most vulnerable people" were forced off their land in the last decade.

The World Bank "has regularly failed to live up to its own policies for protecting people harmed by projects it finances," ICIJ states as one of its key findings.

The World Bank as well as the International Finance Corporation (IFC), which distributes the funds, have invested $455 billion in nearly 7,200 projects between 2004 and 2013 in the developing world, ICIJ says. More than 400 were confirmed to have caused the permanent displacement of local communities, while another 550 may have made locals homeless.

"An ICIJ analysis found that between 20 and 30 percent of all projects the bank funded from 2004 to 2013 were deemed likely to cause resettlement," report's summary reads.

Comment: The Worldbank and IMF seem to be in the business of inflicting untold misery on the residents of developing countries.

Food Emergency: How the World Bank and IMF Have Made African Famine Inevitable

Repeal, don't reform the IMF!

Light Saber

Princesses of Persia: Unveiling Iran's female ninja 'assassins'

© AFP 2015/Atta Kenare
Sputnik unravels the truth about Iran's all-female squad of martial artists three years after Western media published a story claiming Tehran was training ninjas to kill enemies of the Islamic Republic.

Three years ago, Reuters was kicked out of Iran after the news agency published a story, claiming that Tehran was preparing an all-female squad of professional killers trained in ninjutsu, a lethal martial art practiced by ninjas.

The original story caught the public's attention. Readers from around the world wanted to know more about the all-female squad of Iranian ninjas. Sputnik managed to get in touch with Tehran's "notorious" ninja-training club and spoke with head coach Akbar Faraji to reveal the secret that left many in awe after the original story was published in 2012.

Comment: Tehran was preparing an all-female squad of bloodthirsty terrorist-ninjas... really? This is just one of many unfounded claims that have been and continue to be made by Western media in order to show Iran - or any other country that is not to their liking - in a bad light.


"Tax the 1%": Political statements by suicide in DC shall not go down the memory hole

© wikipedia / Scrumshus
When 64-year-old Vietnam vet John Constantino burned himself to death on the DC Mall in October of 2013 I couldn't stop thinking about this man and his act. Who was he? What compelled him? What was his life's story? What were his political views, his life's station, etc? I wanted to write a blog then but didn't.

Then Saturday happened.

On the kind of beautiful sunny day when hope springs eternal, an older gentleman wearing a backpack walked over by the fountain in front of the Capitol Building in Washington DC. And a sign. According to people who saw him, it said simply:
"Tax The 1%."
The police captain on the scene who addressed the news cameras eerily avoided the question, mumbling that it was "something about social justice," as if he were annoyed to address any specifics. So we know nothing else. Not even a name was given. A dog run over by car might have gotten more respect and news coverage than this unknown man.

Comment: George Orwell, the author who invented the term "Memory Hole," was famous for saying "in times of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act." That police and media are deeply troubled by something as a simple as a protest sign shows just how tenuous the illusion of democracy and freedom is in the United States for the millions of people falling through the cracks every single day there.

Snakes in Suits

Private prison companies driving and profiting from harsh immigration policies

Companies spent millions in lobbying on immigration issues that led to a spike in incarceration levels and, in turn, boosted corporate profits

Private prison companies are spending millions of dollars to lobby the U.S. government for harsher immigration laws that, in turn, spike corporate profits by driving up incarceration levels, a new report from the national social justice organization Grassroots Leadership reveals.

Entitled Payoff: How Congress Ensures Private Prison Profit with an Immigrant Detention Quota, the report's release on Wednesday coincided with a renewed hunger strike at a privately-run immigrant detention center in southern Texas, where asylum-seeking mothers incarcerated with their children report inhumane conditions, including sexual assaults by prison guards and staff.

According to the report, for-profit companies are capturing an ever-increasing share of this immigrant detention center "market." In 2009, 49 percent of Immigration and Customs Enforcement detention beds were run by for-profit companies. Today, that number stands at 62 percent.

Now 90 percent of the largest ICE detention centers in the U.S. are privately operated, the study finds.

Comment: The United States has the highest incarceration rate in the world, and no nation in history has ever locked up more of its own citizens. This high incarceration rate is directly correlated with the advent of the private for-profit prison system. This highly profitable industry is rife with abuse, with the ACLU reporting numerous instances of poor medical care, lack of basic sanitation and a tendency to overuse extreme isolation of prisoners. The DHS recently gave Corrections Corporation of America, a private prison company with an above average risk of assault and abuse oversight of one of the largest detention centers for undocumented immigrants. No doubt we will be witnessing an ever increasing spiral of immigrants being detained as well as abused. Another grand example of American 'exceptionalism'.

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Systemic abuse uncovered at numerous California mental health institutions

© unknown
A 900-page report recently exposed physical, sexual, mental, and emotional abuse cases from five mental health institutes in California. Since 2002, 13 developmentally disabled (I/DD) people died as a direct result of abuse, neglect, and lack of supervision, according to the records released by the state's Department of Public Health. Men and women with severe autism, cerebral palsy, and other debilitating conditions are the primary developmental centers' residents.

Two developmentally disabled women were forced into oral sex and sexual intercourse with a male patient in their co-ed living areas, while another patient was unable to give sexual consent and was ultimately raped. The report notes the facility failed to protect clients from sexual abuse by not implementing abuse prevention, reporting, or supervision policies.

In another situation, a 44-year-old patient with I/DD and the cognitive level equivalent to a 10-year-old, broke a rule by not staying where he was told to. He left the group and returned to his room, where he was followed by a 6-foot-3, 400-pound employee with a history of violence. The report indicates he threw the patient to the ground, stomped on his back, and chocked him until he lost consciousness.

Comment: Incarcerating people is only beneficial for the owners of such institutions. They generally pay the staff low wages and it appears they aren't particularly interested in hiring employees who are conscientious and emotionally equipped to deal with the difficulties of caring for the mentally disabled. The saddest part of this is that many of those labeled with mental disabilities might be helped by psychotherapy and dietary changes, (elimination of gluten, dairy products and industrial oils) and could potentially lead normal lives outside an institutional setting.

The Epidemic of Mental Illness: Why?


Italian newspaper breaks silence over assassinations in Kiev

© AFP 2015
Italy's second largest newspaper La Repubblica has broken western media's silence over the latest wave of political murders in Ukraine.

In an unusual for mainstream western media frank assessment of Kiev's post-Maidan regime, La Repubblica has denounced "a ruthless sweeping away of every form of political opposition taking place in Kiev". The paper was reacting to yet another assassination in Ukraine — this time of a popular journalist Oles Buzina.

Comment: A glimmer of hope to awaken people to the realities in Ukraine.

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Sexual harassment rife on Paris trains

© Shutterstock
A Paris Metro train.
France's High Council on equality has penned a report urging the government to crack down on sexual harrassment on public transport, after a survey it carried out returned shocking responses from Parisian women.

The High Council for Equality between Women and Men (HCEfh) sent the report to France's Health Minister on Thursday asking for the issue to be addressed, and promptly.

The study found that a full 100 percent of the 600 women in Seine-Saint-Denis and Essonne, two areas in the outer suburbs of Paris, said they had experienced at least some form of gender-based sexual harrasment in their life while riding the train.

The Council defined "gender harrassment" as "the imposition of any kind of words of behaviour that are intended to created a situation that is intimidating, humiliating, degrading, or offensive". It added that these kind of actions aren't usually physical, and hence aren't punishable by law.

It added a raft of measures for how France could address the issue, including education programmes to let women know how to identify harassment, and how to react if they are a victim. It also suggested other measures like letting bus drivers stop at undesignated stops along the route to allow women to get off closer to home, and printing the number for a complaint hotline on transport tickets.

Health Minister Marisol Touraine acknowledged that the report was of a "high quality", telling French channel iTV that the government would "take action" in the coming weeks.


Supervisors told to falsify training records of reserve deputy charged in shooting

© Matt Barnard/Tulsa World
Robert Bates (center) turns himself in to authorities at the Tulsa Jail in Tulsa, Okla., on Tuesday, April 14, 2015. Bates, 73, is charged with second-degree manslaughter in the shooting death of Eric Harris.
Supervisors at the Tulsa County Sheriff's Office were ordered to falsify a reserve deputy's training records, giving him credit for field training he never took and firearms certifications he should not have received, sources told the Tulsa World.

At least three of reserve deputy Robert Bates' supervisors were transferred after refusing to sign off on his state-required training, multiple sources speaking on condition of anonymity told the World.

Bates, 73, is accused of second-degree manslaughter in the shooting death of Eric Harris during an undercover operation on April 2.

The sources' claims are corroborated by records, including a statement by Bates after the shooting, that he was certified as an advanced reserve deputy in 2007.

An attorney for Harris' family also raised questions about the authenticity of Bates' training records.

Additionally, Sheriff Stanley Glanz told a Tulsa radio station this week that Bates had been certified to use three weapons, including a revolver he fired at Harris. However, Glanz said the Sheriff's Office has not been able to find the paperwork on those certifications.

The sheriff's deputy that certified Bates has moved on to work for the Secret Service, Glanz said during the radio interview.

"We can't find the records that she supposedly turned in," Glanz said. "So we are going to talk to her to find out if for sure he's been qualified with those (weapons)."

Undersheriff Tim Albin was unavailable for comment Wednesday but in an earlier interview, Albin said he was unaware of any concerns expressed by supervisors about Bates' training.

Comment: Who in their right mind would allow a 73 year-old man to be even a reserve member of a police force? The gifts of equipment to the department look a little suspicious too.


Denver cop shoves innocent man down stairs and lies about it - "punishment" is a 30 day vacation

An 11-year veteran of the Denver police department received a 30 day vacation for brutally shoving an innocent man down a flight of stairs. Officer Choice Johnson was only "disciplined" after surveillance video showed that his report on the incident was completely fabricated. The incident started during a bachelor party for the brother of Brandon Schreiber. Schreiber's brother had a bit too much to drink and had fallen asleep at the bar. For this "crime," Officer Johnson was arresting him.

According to 7 News Denver,
"The report indicated that Johnson falsely portrayed the bar patron as taking a fighting stance toward the officer, when a surveillance video showed the man was standing with his hands in his pockets as the 260-pound officer violently shoved him backward down some stairs."
Schreiber was simply asking the officer to let them take him home. Johnson claimed that Schreiber "verbally challenged him" and "pushed his chest out in a defensive manner," but the video shows these claims to be lies. Johnson wrote in his report, that this man, with his hands in his pockets, made him sense "this is going to be a fight." So, he violently shoved him down the stairs and arrested him. Luckily Schreiber wasn't killed.

Comment: Nothing new in the 'Land of the Free and Home of the Brave'.