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Sun, 15 Sep 2019
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Singer James Blunt: I disobeyed order from NATO Commander Wesley Clark to 'destroy' Russian troops in Kosovo

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© Unknown
James Blunt
James Blunt refused an order to attack Russian troops when he was a British soldier in Kosovo.

Kosovo, June 1999. Serbia has withdrawn from the campaign. Hundreds of thousands of refugees wait over the border to return to their homes. A column of 30,000 Nato troops is advancing towards Pristina airfield - a crucial strategic position.

Unexpectedly, the Russian forces, reach the airfield first; Russia, Serbia's patron, is hoping to stake a claim in the occupation. The soldiers are pointing their weapons at the incoming Allied troops. "Destroy!" orders the US general over the radio - instructions from the very top. World War Three is on the cards. Enter crooner James Blunt. Crisis averted.

Blunt was then 25, a captain in the Life Guards and the lead officer at the front of the Nato column. He risked a court martial by refusing to obey those orders from General Wesley Clark to attack the Russian forces.

In a BBC radio interview last night, Blunt said: "I was given the direct command to overpower the 200 or so Russians who were there. I was the lead officer, with my troop of men behind us... The soldiers directly behind me were from the Parachute Regiment, so they're obviously game for the fight.

USA

The Stench of American Hypocrisy

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Ten years of rule by the Bush and Obama regimes have seen the collapse of the rule of law in the United States. Is the American media covering this ominous and extraordinary story? No the American media is preoccupied with the rule of law in Burma (Myanmar).

The military regime that rules Burma just released from house arrest the pro-democracy leader, Aung San Suu Kyi. The American media used the occasion of her release to get on Burma's case for the absence of the rule of law. I'm all for the brave lady, but if truth be known, "freedom and democracy" America needs her far worse than does Burma.

I'm not an expert on Burma, but the way I see it the objection to a military government is that the government is not accountable to law. Instead, such a regime behaves as it sees fit and issues edicts that advance its agenda. Burma's government can be criticized for not having a rule of law, but it cannot be criticized for ignoring its own laws. We might not like what the Burmese government does, but, precisely speaking, it is not behaving illegally.

In contrast, the United States government claims to be a government of laws, not of men, but when the executive branch violates the laws that constrain it, those responsible are not held accountable for their criminal actions. As accountability is the essence of the rule of law, the absence of accountability means the absence of the rule of law.

Ambulance

Israel & South Africa: Netcare coughs up about illegal organ trafficking

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© Unknown
The biggest health care provider in South Africa has been involved in illegal kidney transplant operations.
After seven years of obfuscation and denial, South Africa's largest private healthcare group, Netcare, finally confessed to its role in a cash-for-kidneys scheme and to benefiting from associated international trafficking of living donors.

Immediately after Netcare admitted to having illegally profited from the scheme, Richard Friedland, Netcare's chief executive, publicly apportioned blame to St Augustine's hospital management and transplant coordinators acting in cahoots with surgeons and others -- basically every­one involved in the scheme, except Netcare itself.

See here for graphic describing the scheme.

Netcare's conviction in the Durban commercial crimes court is said to be a world first -- no other hospital group has been found guilty of supporting an organised trafficking scheme dealing in organs.

The scheme, dubbed the Israeli Transplant Programme, recruited living kidney "donors". They were flown to South Africa for harvesting and transplant operations at Netcare's facilities in Johannesburg, Cape Town and Durban.

Sherlock

Report: U.S. Doctors Still Too Cozy with Drug Industry

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© cbsnews.com
A study estimates drug companies pay doctors $57 billion a year in fees and services, causing some to worry that decisions on prescription are being unduly influenced.
Doctors in the United States are still too cozy with drug companies, although they have managed to break some of those ties, U.S. researchers said on Monday.

The team at Harvard University and Massachusetts General Hospital did a national survey of 1,900 primary care doctors in 2009 about their contacts with drug companies.

They found 84 percent reported some type of relationship with drug companies, compared with 94 percent in 2004.

Attention

Another Gaza aid mission sabotaged: Ken O'Keefe and Road to Hope humanitarian aid activists abducted, now facing terrorism charges!

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© Road to Hope
Irish Gaza aid activist Ken O'Keefe has been abducted along with companions and a dozen Libyan policemen by the captain of their chartered ship (which was supposed to transport the activists and their cargo of humanitarian aid to Al-Arish port in Egypt, from where the convoy would continue their journey by land to the besieged people of Gaza). The captain apparently pulled out of port in such a hurry that mooring ropes were snapped and one of the convoy's vehicles was left stranded at a 45 degree angle on the ship's loading ramp. Somebody, it seems, got to him at the last minute. The 'Road to Hope' organisation had paid $75,000 to the captain to sail their cargo of humanitarian aid to Egypt. Below O'Keefe speaks to Hasan Ghada of Press TV about the incident.

According to Ken's facebook updates, the aid workers are now being held by Greek authorities on suspicion of terrorism, even though it was THEY who were abducted from Libya!


Comment: UPDATE: As of 01:30 CET, Sunday November 14, all the charity workers have been arrested, handcuffed and imprisoned by Greek port police.

UPDATE 2: Ken O'Keefe sent the following message to his Facebook page at 07:30 CET:
We are free in Greece. It has been trying, but the Greek government has done the right thing in the end.
UPDATE 3: Monday November 15 - The Road to Hope crew have released this video footage of the bizarre moment when the Ukrainian captain of their chartered ship went bezerk and deliberately ran his own vessel into the pier at the port of Derna in Libya, before abducting them to Greece:




Bad Guys

McDonald's and PepsiCo to help write UK health policy

burger
© Murdo Macleod
McDonald's and other food companies will help write policy on obesity and diet-related diseases.

Exclusive: Department of Health putting fast food companies at heart of policy on obesity, alcohol and diet-related disease

The Department of Health is putting the fast food companies McDonald's and KFC and processed food and drink manufacturers such as PepsiCo, Kellogg's, Unilever, Mars and Diageo at the heart of writing government policy on obesity, alcohol and diet-related disease, the Guardian has learned.

In an overhaul of public health, said by campaign groups to be the equivalent of handing smoking policy over to the tobacco industry, health secretary Andrew Lansley has set up five "responsibility deal" networks with business, co-chaired by ministers, to come up with policies. Some of these are expected to be used in the public health white paper due in the next month.

Video

The Story of Electronics

Why "designed for the dump" is toxic for the people and the planet.


The Story of Electronics employs the Story of Stuff style to explore the high-tech revolution's collateral damage - 25 million tons of e-waste and counting, poisoned workers and a public left holding the bill.

Pills

MicroChipping the Population? Big Pharma to Begin Microchipping Drugs

Chipped drugs
© NaturalNews
The age of pharmaceutical microchipping is now upon us. Novartis AG, one of the largest drug companies in the world, has announced a plan to begin embedding microchips in medications to create "smart pill" technology.

The microchip technology is being licensed from Proteus Biomedical of Redwood City, California. Once activated by stomach acid, the embedded microchip begins sensing its environment and broadcasting data to a receiver worn by the patient. This receiver is also a transmitter that can send the data over the internet to a doctor.

The idea behind all this is to create "smart pills" that can sense what's happening in the body and deliver that information to the patient's doctor. Novartis plans to start microchipping its organ transplant anti-rejection drugs and then potentially expand microchipping to other pharmaceuticals in its product lineup. This same technology could soon end up in pills made by other drug companies, too.

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Toys

U.S. Study: Ban Toxic Toys & Other Kids' Products

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© Kevin Wolf/Associated Press
According to a new U.S. study, 17 million toys have been recalled in the U.S over high lead levels since 2007.
Toxic toys and other children's products containing harmful ingredients require an extensive overhaul of the legislation that governs them, says a new U.S. scientific paper.

Calling the epidemic of recalls of these products a "crisis," U.S. researchers at the University of Massachusetts, and Monica Becker and Associates Sustainability Consultants say the current response by government, advocacy and industry groups has been inadequate in restricting the entry of toxic toys into the market.

"Much of the response to the toxic toys crisis has been reactive and piecemeal," write the authors. "Taken as a whole, these responses have not been sufficient to ensure that toys and children's products are safe."

Cheeseburger

Study Shows Fast Food Companies Aggressively Market to Kids, Minorities

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© rodale.com
In what is the most comprehensive analysis of fast food nutrition and marketing to date, the Yale Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity released a study Monday indicting fast food restaurants for aggressive marketing campaigns targeted to youth and other vulnerable groups, and a lack of readily available healthy options on their menus.

In a telephone briefing on Monday, the authors of the study discussed why their research is so important. They cited statistics compiled over the past year, which show that one-third of U.S. children and teens eat fast food every day, accounting for 16 to 17 percent of their daily caloric intake. "Eating at fast food restaurants is ingrained in our culture. That's why the nutritional quality of these meals is so important," Marlene Schwartz, co-author of the study said on Monday. Jennifer Harris, lead author of the study added that they uncovered how the barrage of fast food advertising has made kids think that this kind of food is "normal and expected." Harris said:
"Kids think that they should be able to eat McDonald's all the time and this has a direct effect on obesity."