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Heart - Black

Red Cross diverted funds for hurricane relief to their own PR campaign

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© Reuters / Lucas Jackson
Red Cross volunteers walk past the remaining foundations of homes destroyed by the storm surge of superstorm Sandy in the Staten Island borough neighborhood of Oakwood in New York, November 28, 2012
The American Red Cross was ill-equipped to provide aid to victims of Superstorm Sandy and Hurricane Isaac, a new report suggests, and allocated resources not towards offering help, but on generating publicity.

A new report conducted jointly by ProPublica and NPR raises concerns about how the humanitarian group conducted itself in the wake of the storms that occurred in 2012 and 2011, respectively, and claims that the organization's actions were "politically driven" and not on par with how the Red Cross routinely acts in such situations.

Through internal documents obtained by journalists and interviews conducted with those close to the Red Cross' response to those emergencies, the reports published this week by both media outlets conclude that evidence depicts "an organization so consumed with public relations that it hindered the charity's ability to provide disaster services."

Among the allegations unearthed in the new report are claims that "as many as 40 percent" of the agency's emergency vehicles were used as backdrops during pressers, not for providing relief, during those emergencies, and accusations that Red Cross headquarters in Washington "diverted assets for public relations purposes." According to one of the truck drivers, Jim Dunham, relief vehicles were ordered by the dozens to be deployed not to assist, but "just to be seen" at press conferences.

Comment: As you can see below, the Red Cross' use of funds and general mode of operation has been questionable and self-serving for a while now:


Pistol

US Police state: 8 white cops, 1 black homeless man, 46 bullets in 2012 Michigan shooting

2012 Michigan shooting
© ACLUofMichigan
Still from YouTube video
A video has surfaced showing a homeless man being shot dead by eight police officers as he held a small penknife. 46 bullets were fired.

Milton Hall, 49, has been described as "a community worker, and he was always there speaking out for those whom he considered the weak, for those who did not have the strength to speak for themselves," according to the American Civil Liberties Union, which released the disturbing video.

Given such seemingly clean credentials, it's unfathomable to imagine such a person being shot over a dozen times for merely holding a pen knife at a safe distance from police officers. But that's exactly what happened in July 2012 in Saginaw, Michigan, after Hall got into an argument with police following an alleged fight with a store clerk.

The graphic video, taken by a bystander, shows Hall in a parking lot surrounded by eight police officers, all of whom have their weapons drawn and aimed at him. One of the officer's orders Hall to drop his weapon. He refuses. After a period of about 10 seconds the officers open fire, with Hall appearing to be dead before he hit the ground.

Of the 46 shots fired, Hall had been hit 14 times.

Comment: Police atrocities in US have surpassed third world countries: rape, murder, stealing people's money, nude photos and racism.


Health

Russian humanitarian aid arrives in Luhansk, Donetsk

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© RIA Novosti, Maksim Blinov
A Russian humanitarian aid convoy has reached the eastern Ukrainian city of Luhansk
Russian humanitarian aid convoys have reached the eastern Ukrainian cities of Luhansk and Donetsk, a RIA Novosti correspondent reported Friday.

The contents of the trucks are currently being unloaded into warehouses.

One hundred trucks, which were split into two convoys, carried about 1,000 tons of humanitarian aid including food, medication, construction materials and winter supplies.

Arrow Down

Racist Halloween 'lynching decor' removed from Fort Campbell military base

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© ClarksvilleNow
Disgusting display of idiocy
Military authorities removed a Halloween display that depicted a black family hanging in effigy from a tree at Fort Campbell.

A photograph of the display, which was set up at a residence on the base that straddles Kentucky and Tennessee, was sent to Army officials for investigation.

Authorities at the base said the occupant, who was not identified, told military officials the display was not intended to be offensive and agreed to take it down.

Comment: Whether it was intended to be racist or not, the damage done by the image of a lynching is real and it, and its undercurrent of racism, has horrific historical roots:


Star of David

Growing boycott movement forces SodaStream to close illegal West Bank settlement factory

sodastream boycott
SodaStream to benefit from Israel's displacement of Palestinians in Naqab
Retailers and investors dropped SodaStream over BDS pressure

Palestinian boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) activists today welcomed the news that SodaStream has announced it is to close its factory in the illegal Israeli settlement of Mishor Adumim following a high profile boycott campaign against the company.

sodastream factory location
© Shai Efrati/Who Profits
"SodaStream's announcement today shows that the boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement is increasingly capable of holding corporate criminals to account for their participation in Israeli apartheid and colonialism," said Rafeef Ziadah, a spokesperson for the Palestinian Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions National Committee (BNC), the broad coalition of Palestinian civil society organisations that leads and supports the BDS movement.

"BDS campaign pressure has forced retailers across Europe and North America to drop SodaStream, and the company's share price has tumbled in recent months as our movement has caused increasing reputational damage to the SodaStream brand," she added.

The news of this major success against a company famed for its role in illegal Israeli settlements broke amidst intensifying demonstrations against Israel's policies of colonisation in Jerusalem.

Grassroots boycott activism saw SodaStream dropped by major retailers across North America and Europe including Macy's in the US and John Lewis in the UK.

SodaStream was forced to close its flagship store in Brighton in the UK as a result of regular pickets of the store.

Soros Fund Management, the family office of the billionaire investor George Soros, sold its stake in SodaStream following BDS pressure.

SodaStream's share price fell dramatically in recent months as sales dried up, particularly in North America.

Comment: A "country" like Israel only understands through pain, in this case, economic. Boycotts worked in South Africa, and help here too. Unfortunately, Israel is currently being economically underwritten by the US, so it will take longer. When Israel starts costing the US more than it considers worth, watch Israel be cut loose.


Heart - Black

100 years of racist policies has turned Ferguson into a pocket of concentrated despair

Ferguson riots
© Reuters/Mario Anzuoni
Demonstrator Keisha Gray cries while protesting the shooting death of teenager Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri August 13, 2014.
Ferguson, Missouri, was a powder-keg waiting for a match long before August 9 and Michael Brown's fateful encounter with Police Officer Darren Wilson. It is one of many predominantly black communities across the United States plagued by highly concentrated poverty, and all of the social problems that accompany it.

White America has come up with a number of rationales for these enduring pockets of despair. An elaborate mythology has developed that blames it on a "culture of poverty" - holding the poor culpable for their poverty and letting our political and economic systems off the hook. A somewhat more enlightened view holds that whites simply fled areas like Ferguson - which had a population that was 99 percent white as recently as 1970 - because of personal racial animus, leaving them as hollowed-out, predominantly black "ghettos."

But a study by Richard Rothstein, a research fellow at the Economic Policy Institute, comes to a very different conclusion. In his report, "The Making of Ferguson," Rothstein details how throughout the last century a series of intentionally discriminatory policies at the local, state and federal levels created the ghettos we see today. BillMoyers.com spoke with Rothstein about the report. The transcript below has been edited for length and clarity.

Comment: The current crop of government psychopaths are profiting handsomely on the policies of their predecessors, setting one racial group against another. This is how the system is perpetuated.


Grey Alien

Former Lockheed Martin senior scientist on deathbed says aliens are real

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Aliens, some as old as 200 years, are real and have visited Earth, a former Lockheed Martin senior scientist has claimed. In his final moments, he provided "photo evidence" while sharing his personal experiences of UFOs and extraterrestrials.

The controversial 33-minute video was made shortly before Boyd Bushman died on August 7, 2014. However, the footage has only recently emerged and is starting to garner widespread attention.

"I do have a top secret clearance," he affirms at the beginning of the video. He goes on to state that incidents such as Roswell in 1947 - when a military Air Force surveillance balloon crashed - happened at the hands of aliens.

Bushman shared details about aliens, UFOs, and anti-gravity technology - which he says is being developed by US, Russian, and Chinese scientists at Area 51 (the US military facility).

In the video, Bushman is seen holding up second-hand "photo evidence" of aliens while describing them to viewers.

"They were approximately four and a half to five feet tall," the former top aerospace scientist said. "They have three back bones. They're actually cartilage," he added, stating that they had fewer ribs than human beings.

He went on to state that their eyes and noses are different from humans, and that they are telepathic mind readers.

"They're able to use their own voice by telepathy to talk to you," he said. "You walk in the room with one of them, and all of a sudden you find yourself giving the answer to your question in your own voice."

Comment: This video has gone viral on the internet. It has generated a lot of controversy. One thing to note is the personnel working around the claimed UFOs used full body suit protection from possible unknown organisms yet someone was handling the 'alien' bare handed when the photographs were taken.


USA

The world must judge America's human rights abuses

"If Eric Holder doesn't prosecute Michael Brown's killer any resulting violence ought to be called the Barack Obama Riots."
Police Brutality
© Global Research
Black people in this country are brutalized by police on a daily basis. That has always been true but thanks to modern technology there is a steady stream of proof caught on video. Accessing the internet means inevitably being confronted with awful imagery such as Marlene Pinnock being beaten by a highway patrolman in California. We see Eric Garner murdered by the NYPD, pleading that he couldn't breathe.

These videos may or may not assist with prosecutions. Footage showed the late Rodney King being beaten by California police in 1991. The officers were indicted, a rarity, but a jury acquitted them anyway, making a mockery of the old saying "seeing is believing." Common sense wisdom doesn't count for much if it threatens to upend white supremacy. No matter how seemingly iron clad the case, police rarely face criminal charges.

Such was the case of Milton Hall, a mentally ill black man shot to death by Saginaw, Michigan, police on July 1, 2012. A camera inside one of the patrol cars shows Hall, surrounded by police, armed only with a small pen knife. He is unable to harm anyone, given that he was surrounded by seven cops and a police dog, yet they fired forty-six shots with fourteen of them striking and killing Hall.

Local prosecutors did not charge the officers and the Obama/Holder Department of Justice did not see fit to do anything either. After investigating they concluded that prosecution was not warranted.

"Even if the officers were mistaken in their assessment of the threat posed by Hall, this would not establish that the officers acted willfully, or with an unlawful intent, when using deadly force against Hall. Accordingly, this tragic event does not present sufficient evidence of willful misconduct to give rise to a federal criminal prosecution of the police officers involved."
"No matter how seemingly iron clad the case, police rarely face criminal charges."
The ACLU of Michigan not only pushed for local and federal action, but has taken its protest to a new and very important level. On October 27, 2014, Mark Fancher, Racial Justice Project Attorney for the ACLU of Michigan, testified before an international body regarding the federal government's refusal to prosecute Hall's "death by firing squad." The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) is an arm of the Organization of American States. It is mandated to "promote the observance and protection of human rights in the hemisphere."

Airplane

Russia to open new Su-27 airbase in Belarus next year

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© Vitaly V Kuzmin
The Russian Air Force deployed four Su-27SM3 fighters to Belarus in December 2013
The Russian Defence Ministry will open a new airbase in Belarus in 2016, Russian Air Force commander colonel general Viktor Bondarev has said.

Speaking to reporters during his visit to Russia's under construction facilities, Bondarev said: "The Russian Air Force base in Belarus will open in 2016. Su-27 fighters will be stationed there."

The Su-27 fighters are expected to be deployed at a military airfield in the Belarusian city of Bobruisk. Russia has drafted a technical plan for the reconstruction of the airfield.

Russia deployed four Su-27SM3 fighter jets to the 61st air base in Baranavichi, Belarus, in December 2013, and is expected to increase the number to 24 by the year-end.

An upgraded variant of the Su-27 Flanker, Su-27SM3 jets are used to carry out tasks in support of the Union State of Russia and Belarus Air Force, ITAR-TASS News Agency reported.

Manufactured by Sukhoi, the Su-27 Flanker is a twin-engine super manoeuvrable fighter aircraft designed to provide general air defence in cooperation with ground and airborne control stations.

Evil Rays

Growing unease among parents, lawmakers over RFID biometric tracking of students

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© Eagnews.org
A growing number of schools are using special tracking chips embedded in student ID cards or biometric scanners to track students, and the new technology is making many lawmakers nervous about its privacy implications.

The relatively new tracking technology allows schools to more accurately follow student attendance, lunch purchases and students who ride buses, but lawmakers in many states have banned specific types of student data collection over privacy concerns, Governing.com reports.

"This year, Florida became the first state to ban the use of biometric identification in its schools. Kansas said biometric data cannot be collected without student or parental consent. New Hampshire, Colorado and North Carolina said the state education departments cannot collect and store biometric data as part of student records.

"New Hampshire and Missouri lawmakers said schools can't require students to use ID cards equipped with radio frequency identification (RFID) technology that can track them. The new laws are similar to one Oregon passed last year and what Rhode Island lawmakers passed in 2009," according to the news site.

Of the 110 bills considered in 36 states this year to address student data collection, 39 targeted biometric data specifically, and 14 of those bills passed, according to information from the nonprofit Data Quality Campaign cited by Governing.

At the same time, many private companies are quickly recruiting schools and have amassed a large clientele over roughly the last decade. More than 1,000 school districts in 40 states currently use biometric identification - from reading portions of student fingerprints, to iris scanners, to palm scanners - to track student lunch accounts, student bus travel, attendance and other activities, Jay Fry, CEO of biometric firm identiMetrics, told Governing.