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Magic Wand

Best of the Web: Inventing Terrorists: FBI creates terrorist bogeyman out of Occupy Wall Street

From disorganised slackers to terrorists - the Occupy movement has seen its media image go from bad to worse over its nine months of existence. Protesters now even face accusations that they pose a threat not just to Corporate America, but to the country as a whole. But activists say it's all just scaremongering to stifle the movement.


Footage Reveals Terrorists' Role in Houla Massacre

A video footage released by different Arab and western media showed that terrorists, and not the Syrian army, launched an attack and killed over a hundred civilians in Houla area in Central Syria on Friday.

The amateur-looking footage which was sent to the western embassies in Damascus to be distributed among people and Arab media concurrent with its broadcast by numerous anti-Assad media in the western and Arab countries was taken off air and websites as soon as its gaffes came to be noticed by media and military analysts.

The footage shows a number of armed men, some of them in Jalbab (local clothes) carrying RPGs. It shows one of the armed men firing an RPG rocket and then standing next to a wall very calmly. The undamaged and actually intact wall seen in the footage reveals that Houla has never been cannonaded by the Syrian Army as alleged in the western media reports in the last two days.

War Whore

Hymns to the Violence: The New York Times' Love Letter to Obama's Murder Racket

obama drones
I must, at last, admit defeat. I simply have no words, no rhetorical ammunition, no conceptual frameworks that could adequately address the total moral nullity exposed in Monday's New York Times article on the death squad that Barack Obama is personally directing from the White House. ("Secret 'Kill List' Proves a Test of Obama's Principles and Will.")

It is not so much a newspaper story as a love letter -- a love letter to death, to the awe-inspiring and fear-inducing power of death, as personified by Barack Obama in his temporary role as the manager of a ruthless, lawless imperial state. In the cringing obsequiousness of the multitude of insiders and sycophants who march in goose-step through the story, we can see the awe and fear -- indeed, the worship -- of death-dealing power. This enthrallment permeates the story, both in the words of the cringers and in the giddy thrill the writers display in gaining such delicious access to the inner sanctum.


US Remembers The Dead, Forgets About The Living

soldier, PTSD
This Monday is Memorial Day in the US, a holiday observed in the US every year since the Civil War to remember American soldiers who died in the line of duty. Today, however, US servicemen continue to suffer as a result of incompetence and lawlessness on the part of the authorities. A raft of high-profile incidents of late demonstrates that the country's military elite, while ever ready to use the memory of the dead for their own time-serving purposes, tend to forget about the living.

The unprofessionalism and incompetence of the US military leadership and state-run organizations responsible for the maintenance of US soldiers has led to many a scandal recently. The report that triggered a particularly wide-ranging outcry said that the US army had been saving for years on servicemen who suffered from psychic disorders.

A journalistic inquiry revealed that military doctors intentionally refused to diagnose soldiers with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder in order to avoid paying compensation and pensions. Information leaked to the press that the medical leadership urged doctors to ignore the disorder in order to "save taxpayer money".

This budgetary money saving policy led to a tragedy. A US army soldier, Robert Bales, who was suffering from post-traumatic stress, killed 17 civilians in southern Afghanistan. The incident exacerbated the US' relations with Afghanistan, a key NATO ally in the struggle against global terrorism. Bales had repeatedly complained of health problems caused by a head injury in Iraq. Nevertheless, he was dispatched to Afghanistan and as it happens, was not the only victim of the money saving program. It turned out that doctors at the Lewis-McChord base to which Bales was assigned had canceled the diagnosis of a psychic disorder for 40 percent of servicemen thereby contributing to the dispatch of mentally ill people to conflict zones.

Beyond PTSD: Soldiers Have Injured Souls
Police Get Help With Confronting Veterans


WikiLeaks Founder Julian Assange to Receive UK Supreme Court Decision on Extradition to Sweden

assange, wikileaks
WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange will find out on Wednesday whether he can be extradited from Britain to Sweden, as the Supreme Court hands down its judgment at the end of a marathon legal battle.

Britain's highest court is the 40-year-old Australian's final avenue of appeal under UK law, having been detained in December 2010 on a European arrest warrant. He is wanted in Sweden for questioning over allegations of rape and sexual assault.

Since then he has been through round upon round of legal battles, culminating in what will be a short ruling at the Supreme Court in central London.

The judgment, expected to take around 10 minutes, will be handed down at 9:15am (1815 AEST) on Wednesday, streamed on the Sky News website and published online once delivered.

Assange will have been living under restrictions on his movement for 540 days when the verdict is handed down.

Assange's case rests on a single point -- that the Swedish prosecutor who issued a warrant for his arrest was not a valid judicial authority.


Bradley Manning Lawyers Charge Army with Withholding Evidence

Bradley Manning
© unknownPfc. Bradley Manning
Bradley Manning, the soldier accused of being behind the biggest leak of state secrets in U.S. history, is being denied a fair trial because the army is withholding from him crucial information that might prove his innocence or reduce his sentence, his defense team is arguing.

With Manning's court-martial approaching in September, his legal team has released details of what they claim is a shocking lack of diligence on the part of the military prosecutors in affording him his basic constitutional rights.

The stakes are high, with Manning facing possible life imprisonment for a raft of charges that include "aiding the enemy."

Manning's main civilian lawyer, David Coombs, has filed a motion with the military court in Fort Meade, Maryland, that sets out a catalogue of delays and inconsistencies in the army's handling of the case.

In particular, he claims the government has failed to disclose key evidence that could help Manning defend himself against the charges.

Source: Raw Story

Comment: Bradley Manning's treatment was cruel and inhuman, UN torture chief rules
Bradley Manning Nobel Peace Prize Nomination 2012

Hasn't Manning already served a life sentence, hasn't some part of him already been killed? Perhaps a photo will give us a clue.
Need we say more?


UK Arms Afghan Suicide Bombers?

© unknown
On March 11, 2012 a U.S. officer left his military unit and shot 16 civilians in the Panjwai district of Afghanistan's Kandahar province. Among the dead were 8 children, 4 women and 4 elderly men. The youngest victim of the night slaughter was only two years old.

U.S. authorities blamed U.S. Army Staff Sergeant Robert Bales, 38, for this assault saying he might have some mental disorder.

Affront to Afghan bodies, disrespect to their religious feelings and shooting of civilians will indeed strengthen the Taliban positions that saw only decreasing public popularity over the past years.

However, the British appeared to be far worse. Afghanistan's national police officer claimed that a representative of the British intelligence brought at least 15 suicide bomber "belts" to Kabul.

Comment: To learn about the origins of "suicide bombings", read this:
The British Empire - A Lesson In State Terrorism
Additional information:
The US Military Turns Out to Fund Taliban

Light Sabers

Anarchy vs. London Olympics: Radicals Prepare War on 'Police State'

© Reuters/Stephen Hird
Anarchists in Britain "don't want rich tourists," they want "civil war." As the London Olympics draw nearer, those flying the black flag are going for gold in sabotage.

On the eve of the Olympic Games, the Federazione Anarchica Informale (FAI) seems fired up by unprecedented security measures being taken by British police. The British cell of the Italian anarchist group finds the "escalating police state frankly offensive."

In line with their ideological convictions, the Games set for July are viewed as a rightful cause to act.

"We have no inhibition to use guerrilla activity to hurt the national image and paralyze the economy however we can. Because simply, we don't want rich tourists - we want civil war," reads a statement on their website.

The same very statement has been used to justify a rash of recent offences currently being investigated by UK police.


Blair to Explain Murdoch Ties at British Press Inquiry

Tony Blair
© Getty Images
London - The judicial inquiry into Britain's phone hacking scandal was set to hear testimony on Monday from Tony Blair, a former prime minister who sought the endorsement of Rupert Murdoch's newspapers but once described the press as "feral."

Mr. Blair's appearance may, paradoxically, offer welcome relief for Prime Minister David Cameron, switching attention from the close relationship between Mr. Murdoch and the current government to the tycoon's ties to its Labour Party predecessor.

For much of last week, the judicial inquiry headed by Lord Justice Sir Brian Leveson sought to probe what seemed a cozy relationship between the Murdoch empire and the office of Culture Minister Jeremy Hunt at a time when Mr. Murdoch's News Corporation was seeking to acquire full ownership of BSkyB, Britain's biggest satellite broadcaster.

Mr. Hunt, who was the minister overseeing the bid, has been depicted as favorable to the takeover at a time when his role required impartiality. He is to testify before the Leveson inquiry on Thursday.


Allies Quit Government as Nepal Crisis Deepens

© Reuters/Navesh ChitrakarNepalese Prime Minister Baburam Bhattarai addresses the nation from his official residence to declare fresh elections for November 22, 2012 for the Himalayan republic after political parties failed to finalize the new constitution, in Kathmandu May 28, 2012.
Three parties quit Nepal's Maoist-led government on Monday as the Himalayan republic slipped deeper into crisis after the prime minister called elections following the failure to agree on a new constitution aimed at ending years of instability.

Prime Minister Baburam Bhattarai has called for Nov 22 elections to resolve the constitutional impasse, sparking a backlash from politicians and Nepalis who have seen the country lurch from one crisis to the next after a civil war ended in 2006.

With political rivals calling for the prime minister's resignation, the desertion of three parties from his coalition may force Bhattarai to step down, but it is not likely to derail fresh elections.

However, the political row could trigger months of street protests and violence in one of the world's poorest countries, wedged between India and China.