Society's Child

Light Saber

U.S. Navy nurse who refuses to force-feed Gitmo detainee now faces expulsion

© AFP/Chantal Valery
A US naval medic holds liquid food supplement force fed to hunger strikers at the US Naval Base in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.
A Navy nurse who refused to force feed hunger-striking Guantanamo detainees over the summer, once threatened with court-martial, could now lose his career.

The nurse, a Navy lieutenant who has never been publicly identified, refused to force feed hunger strikers shortly before July 4 at Cuba's Guantanamo Bay prison complex. The decision reportedly followed months of him carrying out the painful procedure.

A Navy commander on Monday said he asked the board to determine whether the nurse should be allowed to stay in the US Navy.

"I can tell you right now that, after reviewing the investigation that was conducted in Guantánamo, I recommended that the officer be required to show cause for retention in the Navy. I chose not to do the court-martial route," the nurse's commander, Navy Capt. Maureen Pennington, told the Miami Herald.

It has been noted that a Board Inquiry, or administrative review, can keep details of the incident secret. A military trial, however, would have brought up questions about the military's hunger strike policy and a debate about the medical ethics over force feeding.

Pennington is the commanding officer for the nurse - one of more than 100 nurses from the Naval Health Clinic New England.

If the nurse is fired, any pension benefits will be forfeited.

Comment: Courageous conscientious objector: US Navy nurse refuses to force-feed Guantanamo detainee

Gold Bar

Discoverer of gold-laden shipwreck, SS Central America, mysteriously disappears

Tommy Thompson gold theft
© Al Behrman/Associated Press
US marshal Brad Fleming displays a wanted poster for fugitive Tommy Thompson in Columbus, Ohio.
  • Legal disputes had dogged finder of SS Central America trove
  • US marshals pursuing Tommy Thompson after disappearance
One of the last times anyone ever saw Tommy Thompson, he was walking on the pool deck of a Florida mansion wearing nothing but eye glasses, leather shoes, socks and underwear, his brown hair growing wild.

It was a far cry from the conquering hero who, almost two decades before, docked a ship in Norfolk, Virginia, loaded with what has been described as the greatest lost treasure in American history - thousands of pounds of gold that sat in the ocean for 131 years after the ship carrying it sank in a hurricane.

On that day in 1989, Thompson couldn't contain a grin as hundreds cheered his achievement. But his victory was short-lived.

For the past two years, the US marshals service has hunted Thompson as a fugitive - wanted for skipping a court date to explain to investors what happened to the riches. The rise and fall of the intrepid explorer is the stuff of storybooks, a tale receiving renewed attention amid a new expedition begun this year to the sunken ship.

SS Central America gold
© Uncredited/Associated Press
This undated drawing shows the SS Central America, which sank after sailing into a hurricane in September 1857.
"I think he had calculated it, whatever you want to call it, an escape plan," marshals agent Brad Fleming said. "I think he's had that for a long time."

Around 1983, Thompson grew obsessed with tracking down the SS Central America. When the ship went down off the South Carolina coast in 1857, 425 people drowned and gold worth millions was lost.

Thompson, an oceanic engineer at Battelle Memorial Institute in Columbus, convinced 161 people to invest in his quest, raising $12.7m (£7.8m). On 1 October 1988, he finally found the treasure, which he would later describe as "otherworldly in its splendour".

German investigation company offers $30 million for information on MH17 crash, does not disclose client

mh17 crash
© ITAR-TASS/Zurab Dzhavakhadze
The company said it has been tasked with investigating the air crash that killed all 298 passengers and crew, when the Malaysia Airlines Boeing was downed in south-east Ukraine on July 17

Germany's fraud investigation company Wifka is ready to pay $30 million for the information on those behind the shootdown of the Malaysian Airlines MH17 flight in eastern Ukraine on July 17, the company said on its website on Wednesday.

The company said it has been tasked with investigating the air crash that killed all 298 passengers and crew. Wifka did not disclose the name of its client who is providing the reward.

Wifka said the reward would be paid to those who know who had shot down the plane, who gave the order to shoot it down, what happened to the people involved in the shootdown and to the weapon used.

"The money is securely deposited in Zurich, Switzerland. It will be paid there or in a different neutral place of the whistleblower's choice," Wifka said.

The company said its work was absolutely confidential and advised "whistleblowers to take great care, that is to contact them through a lawyer".

Comment: From Wifka's webpage (where you can also find the contact information):
After the terrible assassination or "accident" all political parties, at home and abroad, said they owed it to the victims, their families and the public to clarify the circumstances of the crash and present evidence for what happened. None of this has yet been done.

Wifka wants to know:
- Who shot down MH17 on July 17?
- Who gave the order?
- Who covers up the shoot down? (Also, if it was by accident and not out of political, economic or military motivation)
- Who can provide details on the circumstances that led to the shoot down?
- Who was directly involved with the shoot down?
- What happened to the people that were involved with the shoot down? What happened to the weapon used?
- Who can name the people that cleared the shoot down?

Red Flag

Three black women accused of prostitution by hotel staff because men offered to buy them a drink

Standard Hotel High Line New York

Standard Hotel New York
Three black women say the staff at New York City's upscale Standard Hotel accused them of being prostitutes when several men offered to buy them drinks in the hotel restaurant.

Kantaki Washington, Cydney Madlock and J. Lyn Thomas told Alternet that they had just come down from the bar on the top floor of The Standard on Aug. 28, when several men in the lobby approached them and offered to buy them drinks.

When they sat down at a hotel restaurant a man approached Washington and introduced himself. She says moments later a security guard whispered something to the man and ushered him away.

The security guard later came to the table and said, "Come on, ladies. You can buy a drink but you can't be soliciting," Washington recalled in an interview with Alternet.

"We were like, 'Soliciting?' He said, 'Don't act stupid with me, ladies. You know what you're doing. Stop soliciting in here.' We were like, 'Soliciting what?'" she said.

"I'm a lawyer," Washington told the security guard, "and these women are educators. What the hell would I be in here soliciting prostitution?"

She says the man responded, "I don't know but that's what you're doing."

Washington said they were the only black females in the vicinity and she believes she and her friends were racially profiled.

Comment: There have been numerous disturbing incidents recently where black women and even children have been accosted and accused of prostitution for doing nothing more than appearing in public:


1 in 9 of world population still suffer from hunger


Over 800 million of the world's people struggle hunger.
The number of hungry people around the globe is alarming as one in nine of the world's population still does not have enough to eat, says a report by the United Nations.

A report issued by three UN food and agriculture agencies said the number of chronically undernourished people dropped by more than 100 million over the past decade. However, 805 million of people worldwide still struggle hunger.

"We cannot celebrate yet because we must reach 805 million people without enough food for a healthy and productive life," said World Food Programme (WFP) Executive Director Ertharin Cousin.

In Asia, the world's most populous region, the number of undernourished people has dropped nearly 50 percent since 1990. Nevertheless, over five hundred million people in the continent still go hungry, led by India with 191 million, according to the report by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), and the WFP.

Comment: If the world's resources and wealth were not controlled by a psychopathic minority in power, there would be enough for all of us. But investment in earth-destroying agriculture practices and lethal weapons has left us all poor. Add to the equation the extreme earth changes we are witnessing, and soon more of us will be hungry.


Nigerian preacher TB Joshua blames building collapse that killed about 67 people on 'suspicious aircraft'

TB Joshua church
© Associated Press
TB Joshua's church draws thousands of followers from all over Africa and many other parts of the world
Sixty-seven South Africans have been killed in a building collapse that occurred at the Synagogue Church of All Nations (SCOAN) in Nigeria, President Jacob Zuma said in a statement on Tuesday.

Scores more sustained injuries when the multi-storey guesthouse belonging to the church collapsed on Friday.

"This is a particularly difficult time for South Africa. Not in the recent history of our country have we had this large number of our people die in one incident outside the country," said Zuma.

"Our thoughts are with the families, friends and colleagues that have lost their loved ones in this heart-breaking tragedy.

"The whole nation shares the pain of the mothers, fathers, daughters and sons who have lost their loved ones. We are all in grief," he said.

Indonesian police chief: "I know what happened to MH370'. But will he tell us?

© Associated Press
A new mystery surrounding the disappearance of MH370 emerged today after a police chief claimed he knew what had happened to the Malaysian Airlines jet.

The head of the Indonesian Police Force, General Sutarman - who uses only one name - reportedly told a meeting of airline officials and senior police that 'I actually know what had actually happened with MH370,' giving rise to suggestions officials were aware of what caused the Boeing 777-200 aircraft to disappear but have chosen not to reveal the information.

His comment was witnessed by representatives of Lion Air and several high-ranking police officers in Jakarta, according to a report by the Indonesian news portal,

Comment: Fact is that when flight MH370 completely disappeared on March 12, 2014, it left no traces to be found. It would be interesting to see what General Sutarman knows, if he ever decides to share. For some clues, read:

Heart - Black

Psychopathic thoughts of Rush Limbaugh on consent for sex: 'No means yes if you know how to spot it'

Rush Limbaugh
© Fox News
Rush Limbaugh speaks to Fox News (screen grab)
Conservative host Rush Limbaugh on Monday suggested that sexual conduct policies stifled romance because sometimes "no means yes if you know how to spot it."

Last week, the Department of Education's Office for Civil Rights ended its Title IX investigation of Ohio State University when the school agreed to its strengthen sexual assault policies, The Washington Post reported. OSU said it would expand prevention training, and increase awareness of anti-discrimination laws.

For Limbaugh, however, "agreeing" to consent "takes all the romance out of everything," he said on his Monday show.

"Seduction used to be an art," he opined. "Now, of course, it's prudish, and it's predatory, it's bad."

The conservative talker noted that the new OSU rules described consent as "the act of knowingly, actively and voluntarily agreeing explicitly to engage in sexual activity."

"Consent must be freely given and can be withdrawn at any time. You have to be sober, not coerced," he continued, reading from the guidelines. "The absence of 'no' does not mean 'yes.' It must be asked every step of the way. It cannot be implied or assumed even in the context of a relationship."

"How many of you guys, in your own experience with women, have learned that no means yes if you know how to spot it?" Limbaugh asked his male listeners. "I'm probably - let me tell you something, in this modern [world], that is simply, that's not tolerated. People aren't even going to try to understand that one."

"It used to be a cliché, it used to be part of the advice young boys were given," he added.
Che Guevara

Chris Hedges: Sacrificing the vulnerable, from Gaza to America

© AP/Lefteris Pitarakis
A Palestinian stands in the rubble of destroyed houses Aug. 1 in the heavily bombed town of Beit Hanoun, Gaza Strip, close to the Israeli border.
Chris Hedges gave this speech Saturday at the Sauk County Fairgrounds in Baraboo, Wis., before a crowd of about 2,000. His address followed one there by U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders, a Vermont independent who seems to be preparing to run in the Democratic presidential primaries. The Fighting Bob Fest, the annual event at which they appeared, brings together progressive speakers from around the country and honors Robert "Fighting Bob" La Follette (1855-1925), a U.S. senator from Wisconsin who opposed the United States' entry into World War I. Parts of this talk were drawn from Hedges' past columns.

I would like to begin by speaking about the people of Gaza. Their suffering is not an abstraction to me. I was the Middle East bureau chief for The New York Times. I spent seven years in the region. I speak Arabic. And for much of that time I was in Gaza, including when Israeli fighter jets and soldiers were attacking it.

I have stood over the bodies, including the bodies of children, left behind by Israeli airstrikes and assaults. I have watched mothers and fathers cradle their dead and bloodied boys and girls in their arms, convulsed by an indescribable grief, shrieking in pitiful cries to an indifferent universe.

Mom harassed by CPS over seemingly harmless incident

Warning: Allowing your child to play outside alone could warrant a visit from Child Protective Services and the police.

That is reportedly what happened to children's book author, Kari Anne Roy, when she allowed her 6-year-old son Isaac to play outside, just up the street from their Austin home, unsupervised.

Roy documented what happened on her blog Haiku of the Day, when she responded to a knock on the door and found a woman she did not know standing there with her son:
The woman smiled. My son frowned. And as soon as the door opened he flew into the house, running as far away from the woman as he could.

"Is that your son?" she asked with a smile.

I nodded, still trying to figure out what was happening.

"He said this was his house. I brought him home." She was wearing dark glasses. I couldn't see her eyes, couldn't gauge her expression.

"You brought..."

"Yes. He was all the way down there, with no adult." She motioned to a park bench about 150 yards from my house. A bench that is visible from my front porch. A bench where he had been playing with my 8-year-old daughter, and where he decided to stay and play when she brought our dog home from the walk they'd gone on.

"You brought him home... from playing outside?" I continued to be baffled.

And then the woman smiled condescendingly, explained that he was OUTSIDE. And he was ALONE. And she was RETURNING HIM SAFELY. To stay INSIDE. With an ADULT. I thanked her for her concern, quickly shut the door and tried to figure out what just happened.