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Sun, 01 Oct 2023
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War Whore

Beatings, sexual abuse, electric shock: US torture camps 'still operative'

Taliban insurgents
© Reuters / Mustafa Andalib
Three captured Taliban insurgents are presented to the media in Ghazni province.
A new report reveals that US forces continue to send detainees to prisons where torture is practiced, despite NATO's promise to suspend prison transfers last September.

­The report carried out by the Afghan Independent Rights Commission and the Open Society Foundation documents numerous cases of torture in Afghan detention facilities between February 2011 and January 2012.

The document has credible evidence in 11 recent cases where practices such as "beatings, suspension from the ceiling, electric shocks, threatened or actual sexual abuse, and other forms of mental and physical abuse" were commonplace. Researchers also discovered widespread violations of prisoners' rights were in evidence, "including the right to counsel and family notification."

According to the study, these techniques are "routinely used to obtain confessions or other information."


Toulouse gunman may have filmed the shootings

French interior minister says man who killed rabbi and three children at Jewish school had a video camera around his neck

The gunman who killed a rabbi and three children at a Jewish school in Toulouse on Monday was wearing a small video camera around his neck and may have filmed the attack, according to the French interior minister.

Claude Guéant said the attacker was wearing "a kind of filming apparatus" on his chest when he struck just before 8am and opened fire on children and adults outside the school. Asked whether the gunman recorded the scene, he said: "We can imagine that."

Guéant said on Tuesday that authorities were combing the internet to see if the killer had posted a video online, but had not yet found any traces.

The biggest manhunt in modern French history is under way to find the motorcycle gunman, who is still at large.

Schools across France held a moment of silence on Tuesday to honour the three children and a rabbi killed in Monday's attack.

Che Guevara

Outlaw Occupy: US set to strangle protests with jail threats

New York City police are investigating death threats made against staff through the phone and on twitter. This after officers forcibly arrested more than 70 people during an Occupy Wall Street protest. Since the start of the movement, nationwide protests have faced numerous cases of police brutality with batons and tear gas often used to disperse crowds. As the movement continues, so too does Washington's desire to silence the American public, as RT's Marina Portnaya explains.

Card - MC

As Sweden Goes, So Goes the World: The Beginning of the End of Cash

ATM's in Sweden
© Reuters/Scanpix Sweden

There are many, many things to dislike about analog money. Cash and coins are unwieldy. They're heavy. They're dirty. They leave no automatic record of the financial transactions that are made with them.

Here in the U.S., despite Square and PayPal and other services that would seem to herald the end of cash, bills and coins still represent 7 percent of our total economy. In Sweden, however -- which ranked first in this year's Global Information Technology Report from the World Economic Forum -- cash is scarcer. And it's becoming, the AP reports, scarcer still. While Sweden was the first European country to introduce bank notes in 1661, it's now come farther than any other country in the attempt to eradicate them. In most Swedish cities, the AP notes,
public buses don't accept cash; tickets are prepaid or purchased with a cell phone text message. A small but growing number of businesses only take cards, and some bank offices -- which make money on electronic transactions -- have stopped handling cash altogether.
Even houses of worship are becoming increasingly friendly to cash-free transactions: At the Carl Gustaf Church in Karlshamn, southern Sweden, Vicar Johan Tyrberg recently installed a card reader to allow worshipers to tithe in digital form.

Magic Hat

KONY Producer: This is Literally the Best Piece of Propaganda We've Ever Made


Jason Russell loses exposes his true nature

Comment: WARNING: If you see this man in the vicinity of children, call the appropriate authorities.

Kony 2012 Co-founder, Jason Russell, Arrested for Masturbating in Public

'Kony 2012′ filmmaker expected to be released from mental hospital soon

Arrow Up

Security alert raised to highest level in Midi-Pyrenees region (France) after school shooting

(This alert has been modified to upgrade its urgency level.)

PARIS, March 19, 2012 (AFP) - French President Nicolas Sarkozy said Monday he was putting the country's southwestern Midi-Pyrenees region on "scarlet" alert, the highest terror level, after the deadly school shootings in Toulouse.

It is the first time the level had been applied since the creation of France's current system of terror alerts -- Vigipirate -- in the 1990s and is the last step before the declaration of a state of emergency.

It gives authorities widespread power to disrupt daily life and implement sweeping security measures.

The move came after a scooter-riding gunman shot dead three children and a teacher at a Jewish school in Toulouse and police said the same gun and scooter had been used in the murders of three French paratroopers in the same area earlier this month.

Arrow Down

Swiss Judge Resigns From Court Trying Khmer Rouge

© The Associated Press/Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia, Nhet Sok Heng
Kaing Guek Eav, centre, who ran the notorious Toul Sleng prison, appears during testimony at the UN-backed war crimes tribunal in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, Monday, March 19, 2012.
Phnom Penh, Cambodia - A Swiss judge has resigned from the U.N.-backed tribunal prosecuting Khmer Rouge war crimes, a move Amnesty International blames on the Cambodian government's interference with the court's efforts to seek justice for victims of the 1970s atrocities.

Judge Laurent Kasper-Ansermet said Monday that he will step down in May because a Cambodian counterpart has opposed his investigations of new suspects. He said the conflict has created "a dysfunctional situation" on the court, which is seeking justice for an estimated 1.7 million people who died of starvation, exhaustion, lack of medical care or torture during the communist regime's rule.

In a statement Tuesday, Amnesty International called the latest resignation "a significant setback."

The former regime's chief jailer is in prison and three of its leaders are on trial, but Cambodia's leadership opposes extending prosecutions to more Khmer Rouge figures, some of whom have become political allies. The country's powerful ruler, Prime Minister Hun Sen, has publicly chided and threatened the tribunal several times.

"The victims of the Khmer Rouge atrocities must be feeling utter despair," said Rupert Abbott, Amnesty International's Cambodia researcher. "The U.N. must demand that the Cambodian government desists from this political interference, and make clear the consequences should it continue."

Kasper-Ansermet had replaced German judge Siegfried Blunk, who left in October, also citing government interference. Human Rights Watch, though, had accused Blunk of failing to conduct genuine and impartial research beyond the one suspect convicted last year and the top Khmer Rouge leaders currently on trial in the second case to go before the court.


Another Hidden Bailout: Helping Wall Street Collect Your Rent

© Justin Sullivan/Getty Images
A foreclosure sign sits in front of a home for sale in Stockton, California.

Here's yet another form of hidden bailout the federal government doles out to our big banks, without the public having much of a clue.

This is from the WSJ this morning:
Some of the biggest names on Wall Street are lining up to become landlords to cash-strapped Americans by bidding on pools of foreclosed properties being sold by Fannie Mae...

While the current approach of selling homes one-by-one has its own high costs and is sometimes inefficient, selling properties in bulk to large investors could require Fannie Mae to sell at a big discount, leading to larger initial costs.
In con artistry parlance, they call this the "reload." That's when you hit the same mark twice - typically with a second scam designed to "fix" the damage caused by the first scam. Someone robs your house, then comes by the next day and sells you a fancy alarm system, that's the reload.

In this case, banks pumped up the real estate market by creating huge volumes of subprime loans, then dumped a lot of them on, among others, Fannie and Freddie, the ever-ready enthusiastic state customer. Now the loans have crashed in value, yet the GSEs (Government Sponsored Enterprises) are still out there feeding the banks money through two continuous bailouts.

Star of David

Israel Targets Palestinian Solar Panels in Bid for West Bank Dominance

Palestinian mother & child @ solar panel
© n/a
Hundreds of Palestinians will be left without electricity should Israel's order for the demolition of 8 solar panels in the West Bank go ahead, in what many say is an attempt to drive Palestinians out of the Israeli-controlled part of the territory.

­"We are suspended between heaven and earth; the solar panels were a glimmer of hope for us," Ali Mohamed Ihrizat, the village head of Imenizil, one of the places where the solar panels are scheduled to be demolished, told Agence France-Presse.

The panels were constructed by international charities, but the Israeli authorities say they were built without permission.

Guy Inbar, a spokesman for the Israeli military, has explained the decision: "Using the backing of international assistance does not give immunity to violations."

This is just the latest standoff in Area C - a festering flashpoint of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict where the battles are fought not with guns and rockets, but permits and bulldozers.

Bad Guys

Climate + World Governance is a Match Made in Green Heaven

Protesting for world climate governance
© 350.org
Protesting for world climate governance - Manhattan Beach, USA.
To be effective, a new set of institutions would have to be imbued with heavy-handed, transnational enforcement powers.

Skeptics get scoffed at when we say the burdensome regulations that have been and have been sought to be imposed by the alarm over global warming are just a tool to secure a larger governance control. In today's society, if you control how energy is generated, used, and taxed, you pretty much control the modern world. People will do almost anything to keep that computer, iPhone, and electric heat and appliances.

Now in Scientific American, one writer just lays it all out for us to see, pulling no punches.
Effective World Government Will Be Needed to Stave Off Climate Catastrophe

Almost six years ago, I was the editor of a single-topic issue on energy for Scientific American that included an article by Princeton University's Robert Socolow that set out a well-reasoned plan for how to keep atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations below a planet-livable threshold of 560 ppm.

If I had it to do over, I'd approach the issue planning differently, my fellow editors permitting. I would scale back on the nuclear fusion and clean coal, instead devoting at least half of the available space for feature articles on psychology, sociology, economics and political science. Since doing that issue, I've come to the conclusion that the technical details are the easy part. It's the social engineering that's the killer. Moon shots and Manhattan Projects are child's play compared to needed changes in the way we behave.

Unfortunately, far more is needed. To be effective, a new set of institutions would have to be imbued with heavy-handed, transnational enforcement powers. There would have to be consideration of some way of embracing head-in-the-cloud answers to social problems that are usually dismissed by policymakers as academic naivete. In principle, species-wide alteration in basic human behaviors would be a sine qua non, but that kind of pronouncement also profoundly strains credibility in the chaos of the political sphere. Some of the things that would need to be contemplated: How do we overcome our hard-wired tendency to "discount" the future: valuing what we have today more than what we might receive tomorrow? Would any institution be capable of instilling a permanent crisis mentality lasting decades, if not centuries? How do we create new institutions with enforcement powers way beyond the current mandate of the U.N.? Could we ensure against a malevolent dictator who might abuse the power of such organizations?
Read it all here.