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Mon, 24 Feb 2020
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Michael Avenatti, aka 'creepy porn lawyer', found guilty on all counts in Nike extortion trial

© Spencer Platt/Getty Images
Celebrity lawyer Michael Avenatti was found guilty on all three charges he faced in relation to his scheme to extort over $20 million from sportswear and apparel giant Nike.

Avenatti was charged with threatening the sportswear giant that he would stage a news conference exposing its efforts to corrupt college basketball unless it paid him between $15 and $25 million to conduct an internal investigation into his claims.

Avenatti, who gained considerable fame representing porn star Stormy Daniels in her efforts to revoke a non-disclosure agreement against President Donald Trump, showed no reaction as the jury read his verdict Friday.

"I'm not fucking around with this, and I'm not continuing to play games. And I don't — you know, this isn't complicated," Avenatti told Nike representatives just prior to his arrest in March 2019. "You guys know enough now to know you've got a serious problem."

Comment: See also: The new Wild West: Avenatti, Wohl and the Krassensteins prove political media is a hucksters' paradise


Russia seeks Canada's aid in probing 95-yo Nazi death squad member over mass murder of vulnerable children

barbed wire
© Global Look Press / dpa / Britta Pedersen
A nonagenarian former Canadian citizen, whose appeal against deportation was turned down by the Supreme Court in December, is suspected of involvement in the cruel mass murder of vulnerable children by a Nazi death squad.

Russia's Investigative Committee has asked Canadian law enforcement to provide legal papers related to Helmut Oberlander, who may have been involved in the mass murder of 214 residents of a shelter for disabled children in the Nazi-occupied Krasnodar region in 1942. The dreaded Sonderkommando SS-10a, a death squad tasked with culling racially impure or weak people under Hitler's sick vision of German empowerment, herded kids into a mobile gas chamber and buried their bodies.

"In the 1940s and the 1960s several translators and other members of the Sonderkommando SS-10a were arrested and convicted," the committee said. "But Oberlander fled justice right after the German capitulation and escaped criminal punishment."

Russian Flag

Russia rapidly recovered from sanctions & drop in oil prices - British investment trust

Gorky park in Moscow
© Sputnik / Maksim Blinov
Gorky park in Moscow
The Russian economy has proven that it can withstand Western sanctions and falling oil prices, Matthias Siller, co-manager of the Barings Emerging Europe Fund, has said.

Despite the difficulties Moscow faced between 2010 and 2015, "things have picked up rapidly in the past five years," Siller said in an interview with the Daily Telegraph published on Friday.

"The region has performed incredibly well, so our Russian investments have grown and become a larger part of the portfolio," he noted.


Islamic faith marriages are now invalid under UK law leaving Muslim womens' rights at risk

muslim women
© Reuters / Luke MacGregor
Islamic faith marriages are not valid under English law, the country's Court of Appeal has ruled, in a move that could see many Muslim women denied rights when it comes to divorce.

The judgment delivered at the Royal Courts of Justice in London on Friday overturned an earlier High Court ruling that Islamic marriage - known as a 'nikah' - adhered to the core tenets of English matrimonial law. These are now legally "non-marriages," the appeal court's decision confirmed.

The landmark ruling could have widespread consequences for Muslim couples and in particular for women, as it now means women who married under Islamic law have no redress in the English courts over division of matrimonial assets such as the family home when divorcing.

A survey carried out in 2017 for Channel 4 documentary 'The Truth About Muslim Marriage', found that almost all married Muslim women in the UK had an Islamic marriage - with nearly two-thirds not having a separate civil ceremony.

Comment: See also: Home Office rejects recommendation to compel Muslim couples to register their Sharia marriages under UK civil law

No Entry

Army of tractors descends on Spanish city for mass protest

Traffic was paralyzed across Valencia, Spain as thousands of farmers descended on the capital to protest government inaction.

Disgruntled farmers blocked the entrance and exits to the main highway in Lucena near Malaga in the south, blocking off an entire section measuring approximately 22km (13.7 miles).

The farmers reportedly apologized to all those caught up in the protests and gave out oranges to help ease tensions.


'Actually dangerous': Samantha Bee's denunciation of PragerU shows liberals still don't get the allure of the forbidden

Samantha Bee
© Youtube / Full Frontal with Samantha Bee
Liberal comedian Samantha Bee has said she fears YouTube powerhouse PragerU is brainwashing kids by disguising right-wing propaganda as educational content - but her fear is the best endorsement the outlet could hope for.

Calling the popular conservative channel "actually dangerous," Bee warned it was "trick[ing] kids into thinking their videos are educational" in a tweet posted on Wednesday night. The post was a teaser for an entire segment about PragerU on her show 'Full Frontal', in which she warned that the channel was netting "billions of views" from "middle and high school children" who were unwittingly being programmed with right-wing dogma.

While many parents might be surprised to hear their children are deliberately seeking out educational programming - even if it turns out to be conservative propaganda in disguise - Bee repeated well-worn talking points to scare her audience, remarking on the "veneer of respectability" PragerU's rotating cast of D-list celebrities were placing over reactionary ideas like "Planned Parenthood wants to abort as many babies as possible."

PragerU didn't seem too broken up about Bee's critique, retweeting her video on its own account. Run by conservative radio host Dennis Prager, PragerU has indeed racked up billions of views by meting out bite-sized morsels of conservative doctrine to the all-important younger audience, but the liberal establishment, rather than attempt to compete with their own politicized internet-age version of 'Schoolhouse Rock', have thus far merely raged at the existing model.


Kirkuk, Iraq: K-1 base hosting US troops struck by 2 rockets

Kirkuk smoke
© Reuters/AKO Rasheed
Explosions of oil wells near Kirkuk in 2016
At least two unguided missiles have hit the K-1 base hosting US troops outside Kirkuk in Iraq. There are no reports of casualties or damage. A similar attack in December that killed a US contractor almost sparked a war with Iran.

Local media and international wires reported the strike on Thursday evening local time. It was unclear who was behind it, though some sources immediately blamed Shia militia Kataib Hezbollah.

It was the first attack on K1 since December 27, when about 30 rockets struck the base, killing one US military contractor. The US blamed that attack on Kataib Hezbollah, and proceeded to bomb the group. Angry militia members then protested outside the US embassy in Baghdad and tried to storm it.

Comment: See also:

Heart - Black

Israel-Palestine issue is glaring example of how some people have rights and some don't - Roger Waters to RT

Roger Waters
© Reuters / Mario Anzuoni
Pink Floyd co-founder Roger Waters, facing a campaign to deplatform him from SXSW after B'nai B'rith got his ads pulled from Major League Baseball, told RT the accusations of anti-Semitism are a distraction from human rights.

The musician and activist slammed the campaign by the pro-Israel activist group B'nai B'rith to smear him as an anti-Semite and have him removed from the South by Southwest (SXSW) music festival in Austin, Texas, where he is scheduled to give the keynote speech to an audience of hundreds of thousands of people.

In an interview with RT, Waters explained that the spurious anti-Semitism accusations are part of a deliberate and massive campaign to distract from Israeli human rights abuses.

"It muddies the waters over one very specific issue, which is the issue of the settler-colonial occupation of the land of Palestine by Israeli armed forces... human rights should be something that is fundamental, that applies to all people equally," Waters said. "Clearly the Israel-Palestine issue is a glaring example of somewhere where some people have rights and some people don't."

Comment: See also:


State endorsed police brutality and France's massive protests

france injury eye
© Lucas Barioulet/AFP via Getty Images
Jerome Rodrigues (L), one of the leading figures of the gilets jaunes movement, and four other protesters who claim to have been injured by police in recent months.
Since the appearance of the gilets jaunes (yellow vests) movement in December 2018, and with the recent demonstrations and strikes against pension reform, the question of police violence in France has entered the mainstream.

And the stream of shocking social media videos continues: at an anti-pension reform demonstration in Lyon this year, a police officer fired a teargas grenade at students filming the crowd from the balcony of their apartment. Another one fired a "flash-ball" at a demonstrator at point-blank range. At a gathering in the centre of Paris, police appeared to throttle Cédric Chouviat, a 42-year-old motorcycle courier, who later died with a broken larynx. These images - of the police beating vulnerable people, blinding others or blowing off their hands - have forced the authorities to admit that police violence actually exists.

Comment: Lest we forget that the police aren't responsible for the corruption in France's government that birthed some of the most popular and longest lasting protests France has seen in decades. It is precisely because the French state is losing control of the narrative that it has had to rely on police brutality - which it has ostensibly endorsed for well over a year without complaint - to suppress dissent and implement its neoliberal agenda. Were the police completely at ease in such a state of affairs there wouldn't be soaring suicide rates in their ranks.

See also: And check out SOTT radio's: NewsReal #26: Globalization vs Nationalism - The Hidden Causes of The Yellow Vest Protests in France


Video shows US Navy seizing Iranian weapons in Arabian Sea during "maritime security operations"

iran us weapons

US Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Michael H. Lehman
US Central Command (CENTCOM) announced Thursday afternoon that the USS Normandy (CG60) boarded a dhow in the Arabian Sea on Sunday and seized a "large cache" of Iranian-made weapons while conducting "maritime security operations."

"The weapons seized include 150 'Dehlavieh' anti-tank guided missiles (ATGM), which are Iranian-manufactured copies of Russian Kornet ATGMs," read the February 13 CENTCOM release. "Other weapons components seized aboard the dhow were of Iranian design and manufacture and included three Iranian surface-to-air missiles, Iranian thermal imaging weapon scopes, and Iranian components for unmanned aerial and surface vessels, as well as other munitions and advanced weapons parts."

Video footage released by CENTCOM Public Affairs shows US Navy personnel boarding the vessel during the February 9 operation in the Arabian Sea.

Comment: See also: