Society's Child


SOTT Exclusive: Cyber Berkut leaks video of Azov battalion crucifying, burning man alive

The pro-Kiev, ultra-Nazi Azov battalion in Ukraine has allegedly sent a snuff film depicting the brutal execution of a Ukrainian 'separatist' to militia fighters and hackers from the hacktivist collective known as Cyber Berkut. The video, shown below, is graphic, so be warned. It shows a group of armed men holding down a gagged man on a cross, tying him to it with duct tape. Nails are then hammered through the palms of his hands, the man's screams audible through the gag. While the actual nailing is not shown, the camera then moves in to show the nails in his hands. Then the cross is lifted, set in the ground, and the base is lit. The video cuts out as the fast-rising flames meet the crucified man's feet.

According to Cyber Berkut, the video had an accompanying message, stating the the footage was filmed near the village of Shirokino and warning that all separatists - 'traitors' to Ukraine - would face the same fate.

Cyber Berkut has been releasing leaked documents, audio, and video for the past year or so. They're the ones who released the phone call between EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs Catherine Ashton and Foreign Minister of Estonia Urmas Paet, in which they discuss the Maidan snipers. (You can see a list of some of their leaks on Wikipedia.) The video was then publicized by LifeNews in Russia, who confirmed its authenticity. LifeNews tends to be rather sensationalistic, but that does not necessarily imply the video is a fake.

Wine n Glass

Daily life in the Empire of Chaos inspiring increase in binge drinking?

© Medical Daily
Heavy drinking and binge drinking is becoming far more prevalent in the U.S. due in large part to rising rates of drinking among women, according to a new analysis published in the American Journal of Public Health.

By contrast, the percentage of people who drink any alcohol has remained relatively unchanged over time, according to the latest research by the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) at the University of Washington.

"We are seeing some very alarming trends in alcohol overconsumption, especially among women," said Dr. Ali Mokdad, a lead author of the study and professor at IHME. "We also can't ignore the fact that in many U.S. counties a quarter of the people, or more, are binge drinkers."

The study is the first to track trends in alcohol use at the county level. The findings, focused on people aged 21 and older, showed that heavy drinking among Americans has increased sharply, up 17.2 percent since 2005.

Comment: One could cite numerous examples of stressors that might be contributing to the increase in heavy drinking among the youth, such as low employment rates, underemployment and crushing student debt. However, it may well be that more and more young people are becoming painfully aware that they live in a soulless world run by elite psychopaths:

Epidemic depression as a wake up call to humanity


American Reflexxx - Shocking performance shows how easy it is to dehumanize someone

A disturbing video has begun to make the rounds on Facebook. Titled "American Reflexxx," it's the work of performance artists Signe Pierce and Alli Coates, and it involves the former walking through a city while the latter films her. The result is 14 minutes of deeply unsettling footage.

There have been several of these "a woman walks through a hostile environment" videos of late. Last year, there was the Hollaback video about walking in NYC as a woman, which was praised to the rafters and then hit with an almighty backlash in the space of about eight hours. A couple of weeks later, it was followed by the oh-so-21st-century spectacle of a social media bro posting a video about the treatment of an apparently drunk woman on Hollywood Boulevard, and sitting back to watch the clickzzz come in (that video later turned out to be a hoax, because of course it did).

"American Reflexxx" — which predates both of those videos but only appeared on YouTube this month — starts from the same place: a camera following a woman as she walks through a public space, recording the reactions of the members of the public she encounters. In this case, the woman is Pierce and the space is Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. Pierce certainly cuts a striking figure. She's wearing a skimpy blue dress and neon yellow heels, and most strikingly, her face is entirely covered by a reflective mask. She's also of apparently indeterminate gender; much of the video involves passersby trying to work out if she's a cisgender man or woman, or a trans woman, or what. (I actually have no idea what Pierce's gender identity is, which is kind of the point.)

The results are, as one might expect, pretty depressing. People seem genuinely terrified by her — several times groups of people scatter as she walks toward them, and at one point a girl shouts, "Oh hell no, don't walk this way!" As the film progresses, the reactions become more violent — she has water thrown on her, someone attempts to trip her, and eventually she is pushed head-first into the pavement. Notably, all the acts of violence against her are carried out by women. The film ends with a sort of survey of her body, lingering on the blood streaming from the knee she gashed open when she hit the ground.

Comment: One can criticize the video itself, certainly the time of day, location and the fact it was being filmed are all variables, the resulting violence against Signe is still a reflection of humanity at some level.

Stock Down

What will happen when the dollar collapses?

Historically, when a nation's debt exceeds its ability to repay even the interest, it can be assumed that the currency will collapse. Typically, governments exacerbate the situation by printing large amounts of currency notes in an effort to inflate the problem away, or at least postpone it.

The greater the level of debt, the more dramatic the inflation must be to counter it. The more dramatic the inflation, the greater the danger that hyperinflation will take place. No government has ever been able to control hyperinflation. If it occurs, it does so quickly and always ends with a crash.

Although there are observers (myself included) who frequently discuss what a reserve-currency crash would mean to the world, there is little or no discussion as to how this would impact people on the street level, and perhaps that discussion should begin.


The anti-surveillance state: Clothes and gadgets that make you (digitally) invisible

Last spring, designer Adam Harvey hosted a session on hair and makeup techniques for attendees of the 2015 FutureEverything Festival in Manchester, England. Rather than sharing innovative ways to bring out the audience's eyes, Harvey's CV Dazzle Anon introduced a series of styling methods designed with almost the exact opposite aim of traditional beauty tricks: to turn your face into an anti-face - one that cameras, particularly those of the surveillance variety, will not only fail to love, but fail to recognize.

Harvey is one of a growing number of privacy-focused designers and developers "exploring new opportunities that are the result of [heightened] surveillance," and working to establish lines of defense against it. He's spent the past several years experimenting with strategies for putting control over people's privacy back in their own hands, in their pockets and on their faces.

Comment: Another market developing out of fear. Buyer beware though because some of these technologies may not work as advertised.

Brick Wall

Ponerized education system: Large numbers of teachers leaving the profession with few inclined to replace them

© Shutterstock
A large number of teachers leave the profession each year.
A slew of policies and technologies promising to dramatically revolutionize teaching and education over the past decade has not only failed to produce desired results, it has also led to a decline in teacher morale, with large numbers leaving the profession.

A recent report for the Alliance for Excellent Education, a policy and advocacy organization, found that about "13% of the nation's 3.4 million teachers move schools or leave the profession every year."

The question is how did this happen? While the answers to the current problems are long and complex, some of them can be traced back to the road to reform starting in the 1980s when measurable academic standards were set up for students.

As a researcher and author of a 2012 book on education reforms in the US on top of being the father of children who are attending public schools, I have seen how these reforms have led to a situation in which teacher job satisfaction is at an all-time low and university graduates are less inclined to join the profession.

Comment: On top of Common Core and other policies that are stressing both students and teachers, teachers now must contend with an ever increasing police presence, the 'terror threat', and the difficulties posed by having a large majority of their students under stress due to hunger and poverty. It's no wonder that teachers are reporting less enthusiasm for their jobs.


British thugs (AKA soldiers) brutally beat civilians, get away with it

© Flickr/ Jonny
Shocking footage has been released showing two British soldiers - including one Buckingham Palace guard - brutally knocking one man unconscious and repeatedly pummelling another after a night of heavy drinking.

The two soldiers, Shaun Smith and Jason Collins, were caught on camera assaulting the two innocent men in April last year, while they were stationed at Catterick garrison in Northern England.

Today, the pair walked free from court with suspended sentences after the judge said he wanted them to continue their careers in the army.

Comment: This is exactly the type of 'human' the world's militaries need: violent sadists with a lack of impulse control.

The alcohol-fuelled incident shows the soldiers punching one man, leaving him knocked unconscious and lying in the middle of the road, before brutally attacking another innocent victim with a barrage of kicks and punches.

Smith, 25, was caught on security footage kicking one of the victims 18 times, while 21-year-old Collins threw countless punches at him as he tried to escape the beating, with police officials saying it was lucky that the victims didn't suffer brain damage or were killed in the brutal assault.

Despite the damning video footage, the soldiers claimed they feared they were going to be attacked and therefore wanted to "disable" the threat.

Comment: Seriously?! This is just too perfect a microcosm for the Western militarism. Better beat them them to within an inch of their lives, because we have 'solid' intelligence that they're going to attack! Where have we heard that before?


Profiting from barbarity: Hunger, solitary confinement the norm for imprisoned immigrant women and children

© AP / Eric Gay
A Spanish and English welcome sign in a secured entrance area at the Karnes County Residential Center in Karnes City, Texas.
Hundreds of undocumented families who have fled from poverty, violence and organized crime in Central American countries including Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador are locked up in "residential centers" in Karnes County and Dilley, Texas; Berks County, Pa.; and, until recently, Artesia, N.M. The families are imprisoned while awaiting their immigration hearings.

The fact that we have "family detention" centers in the U.S. to imprison whole families, including newborns, ought to frighten the hell out of us. How we treat the most vulnerable among us is a measure of our humanity. By the yardstick that these centers offer us, we are downright barbaric.

When President Obama took office in 2009, he rightly ended the practice of family detention, which began under President George W. Bush. Hundreds of families were being held at the notorious T. Don Hutto Residential Center, a former state prison in Taylor, Texas. Inside the center, which was privately run by the Corrections Corporation of America (CCA), conditions were appalling—particularly for children, who made up half the population. The New York Times described the policy change to end family detention as "the Obama administration's clearest departure from its predecessor's immigration enforcement policies."

Families apprehended at the border were once more allowed to stay with relatives in the U.S. while awaiting their court hearings for asylum and other immigration-related requests. Then, five years later, President Obama abruptly decided to resume family detention, a decision made public in an ill-timed announcement by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS)—on World Refugee Day in 2014. The change in policy was likely a response to the influx of unaccompanied Central American minors arriving in the U.S. last summer, which caused great controversy in Congress. Now, reported The Times, "Since June of last year, the Obama administration has upended that tradition [of allowing asylum applicants to live with family and friends]. Rather than release the families on bond to await a hearing, officials place virtually all women with children into the new detention facilities." That includes a baby as young as 14 days old.

Comment: The US has participated in the destruction of many Latin American countries, thereby creating the conditions that have caused many to seek refuge from hunger, poverty and violence. And what kind of treatment do they receive for their efforts in attempting to reach the 'land of the free'? More hunger, violence and trauma. Yes, America is certainly 'exceptional', but only in its inhumanity to the poor and vulnerable.


Israel's lies go unchallenged on BBC's flagship current affairs show


BBC's airwaves are always available for Israel's propaganda chief Mark Regev to spin his lies unchallenged.
In March, the BBC's flagship news program Today broadcast an interview with Moshe Yaalon, Israel's defense minister.

Yaalon was given free rein to disseminate lies and propaganda with not a single interruption or challenge from Today presenter, Sarah Montague.

In response, the Palestine Solidarity Campaign and many individuals complained to the BBC about the substandard level of interviewing. The replies received from the BBC have revealed the extent to which the organization is prepared to make a fool of itself in order to justify and protect its soft interviews with Israeli spokespeople.

Many had complained that Yaalon was allowed to deny the occupation and the siege on Gaza, and had falsely claimed the Palestinians have "political independence" with Israel not wanting to "govern them whatsoever" — and had done so without any challenging interventions from Montague.

Comment: You would think that the BBC would have, by now, at least attempted to seem fair and impartial towards the Palestinian plight after such events as 'Operation Protective Edge' in which thousands of Gazans were killed, maimed, and left in a horrific humanitarian crises.


Southwest Airlines flight diverted to Denver after pressurization problem

© Reuters/Lucy Nicholson
Southwest Airlines planes are seen in front of the Las Vegas strip, Nevada, United States on April 23, 2015.
A Southwest Airlines flight, traveling from Las Vegas to Milwaukee, was diverted to Denver late Friday, because of a pressurization problem. The latest incident follows Wednesday's emergency landing by a SkyWest Airlines flight, traveling from Chicago to Connecticut, after three passengers fell unconscious due to suspected pressurization problems.

Flight 100, with 175 passengers and six crew members on board, was diverted after flying for about 90 minutes. The passengers were evaluated after the plane landed, without any incident. The Denver Fire Department responded to gate C27 at the Denver International Airport (DIA) to assist the evacuation of the plane. Company officials said only one passenger required medical assistance.

The airline said the flight to Milwaukee will continue and the passengers will be accommodated in another aircraft set to arrive about two hours late.

Comment: Last week it was reported that the SkyWest Airlines flight, traveling from Chicago to Connecticut, Flight 5622, descended rapidly from an altitude of over 28,000 feet to 10,000 feet in a few minutes and had to make an emergency landing at Buffalo Niagara International Airport. However, an investigation into the incident later found that there was no problem in cabin pressure and that the oxygen masks did not release. A passenger Frank Angelo said the plane went into a "nosedive" and the "airplane was shaking."

So what caused this dramatic descent?

Recently a cargo plane, Carson Air Flight 66, crashed in Vancouver's North Shore Mountains following an "uncontrolled descent". According to Transportation Safety Board investigator Bill Yearwood:
"The radar track showed a very steep descent," he said. "The crew did not call, declare an emergency or have any stress, which gives us an idea that whatever happened, happened suddenly. The radar track gives us information on how fast it was descending ... and that is consistent with uncontrolled flight."