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Thu, 11 Feb 2016
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Playing number games with war deaths: Mainstream media's double standard in reporting civilian casualties

There's a double standard in how the U.S. mainstream media reports civilian deaths depending if the U.S. military is fighting the wars or not, accepting absurdly low numbers when the U.S. is at fault and hyping death tolls when "enemies" are involved, a manipulation of human tragedy, says Nicolas J S Davies.

How many people have been killed in the wars in Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Yemen and Somalia? On Nov. 18, a UN press briefing on the war in Yemen declared authoritatively that it had so far killed 5,700 people, including 830 women and children. But how precise are these figures, what are they based on, and what relation are they likely to bear to the true numbers of people killed?

Throughout the U.S.-led war in Afghanistan, the media has cited UN updates comparing numbers of Afghans killed by "coalition forces" and the "Taliban." Following the U.S. escalation of the war in 2009 and 2010, a report by McClatchy in March 2011 was headlined, "UN: U.S.-led forces killed fewer Afghan civilians last year." It reported a 26 percent drop in U.S.-led killing of Afghan civilians in 2010, offset by a 28 percent increase in civilians killed by the "Taliban" and "other insurgents."

Comment: No Western mainstream media source will ever accurately depict the true scale of carnage and devastation wrought by U.S. / NATO forces; to do so would create a political firestorm, incessant demands for an end to such wars and the removal and/or imprisonment of all who participated in these crimes. As war is such a lucrative racket, such truths rarely emerge, except in alternative sites such as here at SOTT.net


Robot

Technological advances could omit 5 million jobs by 2020 - report

© Stringer / Reuters
The World Economic Forum said advances in technology, combined with socio-economic demographic changes, could lead to the net loss of 5 million jobs in 15 major economies in 2020. The report said the job loss predictions were "relatively conservative."

"As many as 7.1 million jobs could be lost through redundancy, automation or disintermediation, with the greatest losses in white-collar office and administrative roles," the World Economic Forum stated in its 'The Future of Jobs' report released Monday."The loss is predicted to be partially offset by the creation of 2.1 million jobs, mainly in...Computer and Mathematical or Architecture and Engineering."

Comment: See more: Rise of the Machines? By 2035, half of all jobs in Japan could be performed by robots


Attention

Nuclear waste disaster: Ugly secrets emerging from Porter ranch methane leak

Here is a short heads-up regarding the San Fernando Valley methane leak, which is affecting the health of thousands of humans from radon dust and radiation damage, plus other aerosolized toxins and toxic ground water.

Please take 11 minutes to watch this video report:


Comment:


Fire

Anti-refugee rallies in Germany, Netherlands, Swedish mosque arson attack

© www.japantimes.co.jp
Dutch gather to protest plans to open a refugee center in Heesh, Netherlands
Anti-refugee protesters have held rallies in the Netherlands and Germany as Europe continues to grapple with an unprecedented influx of refugees mainly from war-torn Middle Eastern states.

On Monday, anti-immigration protesters took to the streets in the Dutch town of Heesh in protest at the planned opening of a refugee center in the town. The gathering turned ugly as police tried to disperse the demonstrators who were throwing fireworks. Police made several arrests. There were also a number of injuries. The rally came after officials held a meeting on Monday to discuss plans of accommodating some 500 refugees over the next 10 years. Demonstrators say the figure is a disproportionally high number for a town of some 12,500 people.

On Monday, far-right Dutch lawmaker Geert Wilders demanded that all Muslim male refugees be incarcerated in their asylum centers in Europe, claiming that such a move was necessary to protect women on the streets. Wilders made the remarks in a video for his Freedom Party (PVV) following the recent sexual assaults against women in the German city of Cologne on New Year's Eve.

Counter-rallies in Germany

Also on Monday evening, supporters and opponents of the German anti-Muslim and anti-immigrant PEGIDA movement held rallies in Munich to protest Chancellor Angela Merkel's refugee policies and what they call the Islamification of the European country. Several minor scuffles broke out as pro-refugees known as antifa attempted to block the far-right PEGIDA group's regular Monday march. However, police intervened to keep a distance between the two groups. A similar protest rally was held in the western city of Duisburg on Monday.

Europe is facing an unprecedented influx of refugees who are fleeing conflict-hit zones in North Africa and the Middle East, particularly Syria. Many blame major European powers for the exodus, saying their policies have led to a surge in terrorism and wars, forcing people out of their homes.

According to figures released by the International Organization for Migration (IOM), more than one million refugees reached Europe's shores in 2015. More than 3,300 people either died or went missing in their hazardous journey to the continent.

Comment: The emperors of chaos created this refugee problem and calculated the rising tide of fear and resentment, structured and fomented to lead the world into even greater turmoil and human toll. To make sense of it, we need to see behind the curtain to understand the turnings of the screw, the plan and who benefits.


Hearts

For all the children who drowned and keep drowning in the Aegean Sea

Well, it didn't take long for our prediction to come true. We warned back in September 2015 that sympathy for the Syrian/Arab/Muslim refugees would be transformed into hate to fuel geopolitical motives. Just four months separates the 'refugee rape epidemic' that, apparently, spontaneously broke out across Europe on New Year's Eve, from the date when 3-year-old Aylan Kurdi washed up on a Turkish beach. Like the 'horde' of Syrians fleeing their NATO-torn country, Aylan's family tried crossing the Aegean Sea in a rubber dinghy, in dire weather conditions. Aylan, his 5-year-old brother Galib, and their mother Rehana, drowned.

Just to remind you of the chronology of events here. A photo-journalist happened to be at the beach Aylan washed up on; Western journalists suddenly noticed refugees were dying in droves; and the public expressed outrage for the 'collateral damage' pouring out of Syria, Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya. Whether or not Aylan's fate was deliberately used as political capital, public sympathy flowed for those fleeing the shadow of imminent and violent death. So many other events have transpired since that dark day in September. These days, you can barely register sadness for the loss of innocent lives before fresh atrocities make new headlines.

Death toll

But children drowning in the Aegean soon became yesterday's news, to be replaced more recently by growing public anger at and hatred towards those same people. Does anyone feel like they're being manipulated?

Over at the Greek edition of SOTT.net, however, we didn't forget because we couldn't. Reports of new drownings came in almost daily. We kept track of them as best we could. Since Aylan's death, more than 180 child refugees are known to have drowned in the Aegean Sea. In most cases of mass drownings, a majority of the fatalities are children who don't know how to swim, and who are too small for their life-saving vests. For some of the refugees, even the parents, it was their first, and last, time seeing open waters. This list (with links to Greek reports) is long, unfortunately:

People

Muslims just donated 30,000 bottles of water to victims of Michigan poisoning

© The Washington Times
The city of Flint, Michigan, is grappling with a shocking water crisis. Republican Governor Rick Snyder's administration tried to save money by selling polluted Flint river water to the residents of Flint instead of using Detroit's water sources, and ended up poisoning a hundred thousand people with lead. Now that he's been exposed, the governor is suddenly extremely concerned about the situation that he was aware of but allowed to fester, only declaring a state of emergency and begging for help from the federal government after the whistles were blown.

Americans all over the country are joining together to send clean water to Flint in an inspiring show of compassion and unity. The Muslim community of the neighboring city of Dearborn has collected over 30,000 bottles of water for the Red Cross through an organization called "Who is Hussain?" Organizer Dr. Aziza Asakari said that "we saw what needed to be done and we decided to do it. We reached out to schools, neighbors, friends, mosques, anyone and everyone to help us by donating a case of water, or money towards a case."

Resident Mohammed Almawla shared his sentiments: "Prophet Mohammed (عليه السلام) taught us 'Your neighbor comes before your own household.' As a resident of Detroit this is not only a Flint problem this is a Michigan problem and I feel obligated to help to the best of my ability."

Comment: While the the city adds insult to injury by demanding residents pay for their own poison.


Stormtrooper

News station sues after NYPD tries to charge $36k for bodycam footage

© Shannon Stapleton / Reuters
The New York Police Department tried to charge a local television news station $36,000 to view bodycam footage, prompting the station to sue the NYPD under the state's Freedom of Information Law (FOIL).

Courtney Gross, a reporter for cable station NY1, sent a FOIL request to the NYPD last April for 190 hours of unedited body-cam footage. The police department responded by saying that it could only provide the station with redacted footage, and even that would cost them $36,000.

Now the network is suing the police department in New York state court, saying that such a price was "excessive" and "effectively bars public access to information that FOIL is intended to guarantee" according to the suit filed in the Manhattan Supreme Court.

Comment: Who in a police department earns $120 an hour / $250K per year? Wow. That tidbit aside, it sure sounds like the NYPD is trying to thwart access to video footage, and if they are then what might that footage contain?


Arrow Up

Syrian refugees saved American woman from sexual assault

© MARKUS BOEHM/AFP/Getty Images
Picture taken on 31 December, 2015 shows people gathering in front of the main railway station in Cologne
An American woman has told how she was rescued from being sexually assaulted on New Year's Eve in Cologne by a group of Syrian refugees.

Caitlin Duncan, a neuroscience student from Seattle, told the New York Times she had become separated from her boyfriend in the crowded square outside the city's famous cathedral and main railway station.

She described a man stealing her hat before another "grabbed" her from behind, searching through her pockets and a third man tried to kiss her face and neck.

The 27-year-old escaped and attempted to complain to police but they were busy trying to clear the square and shoved her back into the crowd, where another group of men started groping her and pulling her hair.

"I went into a kind of fighting mode, and kicked and hit and pushed until I got away," she said. "I was getting really scared."

That was when she was approached by a group of Syrian refugees offering help.

They formed a protective cordon around Ms Duncan to help her through the crowd, offered to phone her boyfriend and searched for him with her when she could not remember his number.

Comment: Watch out, this story may lead to outrage that Syrian refugees are now saving "our women"! But seriously, the conclusion should be obvious: "we know that there were bad boys and bad people. But the good people, nobody speaks about them." Even coming to that basic and obvious conclusion seems like rocket science for the nutjob demographic of European society. See also: New Year's in Cologne: Sexual crime and the radicalizing of European society


Pistol

Graphic body cam shows cop kill unarmed man in Alabama who posed no threat

Cameron Massey, 26, and Joshua Kelly, 30 were travelling through Eufaula, Alabama in October of 2013, when Massey's life was taken by a cop in search of a plant that is legal in some form in 23 other states.

Officer John Phillips, acting on information from a confidential informant that their car contained marijuana, pulled over the vehicle driven by Kelly, on the contrived charges of improper lane change and obscured registration tags.

As Phillips began to deprive the two individuals of their freedom for being suspected of travelling with an illegal plant, the situation became tense.

As Phillips puts Kelly facedown on the ground in handcuffs, he calls for backup and then proceeds to the passenger side of the vehicle to handcuff Massey.

Cult

Polygamous community under microscope in Arizona trial

© Rick Bowmer/Associated Press
Hildale, Utah, sits at the base of the Red Rock Cliff mountains, with its sister city, Colorado City, Ariz., in the foreground.
Government alleges city leaders, law enforcement serve at bidding of church leaders

A trial starting this week in Phoenix will pit a polygamous religious community against the U.S. government, which claims the community's public officers discriminate against people who don't share the sect's beliefs.

The Justice Department in 2012 sued Colorado City, Ariz., and Hildale, Utah, adjacent border towns populated by members of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, or FLDS, which broke away from the mainstream Mormon Church after it rejected polygamy in 1890.

The government alleges that city leaders and law enforcement in the towns serve at the bidding of church leaders and routinely fail to protect the constitutional rights of all residents. Opening statements are slated to begin Wednesday in what is expected to be a five-week trial.

Testimony from current and former residents, police department members, public officials and outside experts is likely to offer a rare view into the inner workings of the roughly 10,000-person community, located about an hour's drive from mountainous Zion National Park.

The alleged discrimination, according to the Justice Department, includes refusing to arrest church members who committed crimes against nonmembers, destroying crops on nonmembers' farms and failing to fairly provide housing and utility services like water to nonmembers, in violation of federal laws.