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Mon, 28 May 2018
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Palestinian vineyard annihilated with chainsaws, investigators find chilling message in Hebrew

Vandals slashed hundreds of mature grape plants near Hebron

Vandals slashed hundreds of mature grape plants near Hebron, and the odds that the culprits will be caught are slim
The grapes are shriveled. The vineyard is dead. Reduced to a large, dried-out, yellowing stain in the heart of the verdant region along Highway 60 where the road runs past the town of Halhoul, north of Hebron. The "yellow wind" that David Grossman wrote about 30 years ago is a dying vineyard here. Two plots of land, with hundreds of vines that were slashed, their stems and shoots sawed off - and within a week everything here had withered and died.

This is a particularly horrible sight because all the damage was wrought by the hand of man. A wicked, loathsome hand that hates not only Arabs but despises the land itself. In fact, we can assume that it wasn't just one individual who raided and destroyed this vineyard late Tuesday night last week. To saw off that many plants in such a short time requires a few pairs of nasty hands. And someone also had to smear the threatening words in Hebrew on a rock: "We will reach everywhere." All before first light illuminated the dark deed.

When dawn broke, the owner of the vineyard, Dr. Haitham Jahshan, a hematologist, arrived and couldn't believe his eyes. His vines had been ravaged. First he saw one sawed trunk, then another and another - a sea of butchered vines, whose grapes were grown to be eaten, not for wine - until the full scale of the calamity hit home.

Comment: Jewish settlers, many who are there illegally according to international law, are free to terrorise Palestinians as they please and are merely tools of Israel's wider genocidal campaign: Also check out SOTT radio's: The Truth Perspective: Identity Politics on Steroids: How Zionism Outdoes Them All


Massive fire rips through Europe's 2nd largest theme park

Fire at Europa-Park in Rust, Germany, on May 26, 2018.
© Reuters
Fire at Europa-Park in Rust, Germany, on May 26, 2018.
A huge fire has broken out at Europa-Park in the German town of Rust, the second most visited theme park in Europe after Disneyland. The inferno prompted the visitors to evacuate as many lamented their favorite attraction online.

A huge plume of black smoke has risen hundreds of meters in sky as a warehouse near the attraction called "The Pirates of Batavia" caught fire on Saturday, the emergencies services said.

The disaster led to the evacuation of visitors from the Scandinavia area of the park closest to the blaze. The police said that, according to preliminary data, there were no deaths or injuries.

Comment: Other high profile blazes that occurred recently:

Control Panel

Civil service reform: White House cracks down on federal employee unions with executive orders

White House
© Flickr.com/Chris Oakley/cc-by
President Trump issued a series of executive orders Friday that could gut federal employee unions' ability to negotiate with agency leaders and represent workers, as well as reduce the time it takes for an agency to fire people for poor performance or misconduct.

Billed as the first step toward broad civil service reform, senior administration officials announced in a call with reporters on Friday afternoon three executive orders aimed at making it easier to fire poor performers and ordering harsher treatment of union representatives.

"Today, the president is fulfilling his promise to promote a more efficient government by reforming civil service rules," said Andrew Bremberg, director of the president's Domestic Policy Council. "Every year, the Federal Employee Viewpoint Survey shows that less than one third of federal employees believe poor performers are adequately addressed by their agency. These executive orders make it easier to remove poor performing employees, and ensure that taxpayer dollars are more efficiently used."

The first order, as described by a senior administration official speaking on background, would reduce the time it takes to fire poor performers and employees suspected of misconduct by standardizing the length of Performance Improvement Plans at 30 days across government. Currently, PIPs vary from agency to agency, and generally run between 60 to 120 days.


Brazilian president Michel Temer sends in army as truck protest causes fuel and food shortages

Brazil truck protest
© Mauro Pimentel/AFP/Getty Images
Brazilian truck drivers partially block the Washington Luiz road (BR-040) during the fifth day of their nationwide strike over rising fuel costs in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, on Friday.

São Paulo, the biggest city in South America, in state of emergency over fuel shortages while markets run out of food

Brazil's conservative president Michel Temer has ordered the army and federal police to clear highways blockaded by striking truck drivers after a protest over soaring fuel prices entered its fifth day.

The blockades have paralysed much of the country's economy and prompted São Paulo, the biggest city in South America, to declare a state of emergency over fuel shortages.

Comment: From Reuters:
South America's biggest city and main business hub declared a state of emergency on Friday, suspending non-essential administrative services to save fuel amid a trucking protest that has blockaded major Brazilian highways for five days.

In a statement, City Hall said the state of emergency would allow it to seize private goods such as fuel stored at a gas station and make purchases without going through standard budgeting and bidding procedures.

"I have actioned the federal security forces to unblock highways and I am asking governors to do the same," Temer said in a televised address on Friday. "We will not let the population do without its primary needs."

The protests began over fuel prices but have been further stoked by widespread anger over repeated graft scandals involving prominent politicians - including Temer himself.

In São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro, supermarkets and restaurants are running low on supplies. Some factories have shut down, bus services been reduced and even the Refugees World Cup, scheduled to take place in São Paulo on Saturday, has been cancelled.

Comment: More from Reuters:
The protest will stretch into its sixth day on Saturday. South America's largest city and economic hub Sao Paulo decreed a state of emergency, as did Rio de Janeiro.

Gas stations and airports across the nation ran out of fuel, supermarket shelves went bare and hospitals said they were running out of supplies. Public transport and trash collection was reduced or halted across the country, and many schools canceled classes as teachers could not get to work.

Lack of feed supplies may cause one billion birds and 20 million hogs to die, Brazilian meat group ABPA said.

"Those blocking the highways and acting in a radical manner are hurting the population," Temer said in a televised address. "We will not allow hospitals to run out of supplies to save lives. We will not allow children to be harmed by the closure of schools."

Yet Friday night, much of the country remained paralyzed.

Public Security Minister Raul Jungmann said at a Friday night news conference that there were over 500 blockades on roadways across Brazil, but that was half of those registered 24 hours before.

Brazil's oil regulator ANP said once roads are completely cleared, it would still take a week to normalize fuel supplies nationwide.

In response to the threat of military action, Abcam, a Brazilian truckers association that says it represents 600,000 drivers, called on them to no longer block roads.

However, it encouraged drivers to keep protesting and not deliver goods, meaning it was likely the situation would remain critical.

Accord, little action

Negotiators for several trucker groups agreed late on Thursday to suspend their blockages for 15 days after the government vowed to subsidize and stabilize diesel prices, which may cost 5 billion reais ($1.4 billion) this year.

To win over truckers the government promised to extend for 30 days a 10-percent diesel price cut announced by state-led oil company Petroleo Brasileiro SA.

Shares of Petrobras, as the company is known, closed down nearly 1.4 percent on Friday after plunging 19 percent in the prior two days, as the blockades continued.

But the Abcam trucking association that ignited the strike was not among the parties that signed the accord and insisted on Friday it would not do so until Congress puts diesel tax cuts into law, which would take several days at the quickest.

No trucks were able to enter the port of Santos, Latin America's largest, and oilseeds crushing group Abiove told Reuters that soy exports would halt on Saturday if truckers did not allow access to major ports.

ABPA said 152 poultry and pork processing plants had indefinitely suspended production.

Auto production, which contributes about a quarter of Brazil's industrial output, ground to a halt on Friday in the latest blow to a fragile economic recovery following the worst downturn in decades.

($1 = 3.65 reais)
This illustrates how easily infrastructure can collapse.

Arrow Down

With control of just over 20% of EU countries Social Democracy is dying in Europe

unión europea
During the last election cycle, a large portion of the US population became enticed by Bernie Sanders, who repackaged the old idea of socialism under a new name: Democratic Socialism. The younger generations, who don't have much of a perspective outside US politics, ate up the old socialist's dogma even though the world has seen these ideas fail before.

One of the most devastating failures of Democratic Socialism came from the Bolsheviks during the Russian Revolution. Their revolution turned into one of the worst genocides in world history. However, Europe has implemented a much tamer version of Democratic Socialism over the past several decades called Social Democracy. Although these attempts did not erupt into genocide, their failure now seems just as inevitable. Populism is the new ideology in Europe and it is now overwhelmingly defeating Social Democracy.

In the Italian election that took place just over two months ago, the populists and right-wingers handed the centre-left (Social Democrats and others) a decisive defeat. The Democratic party was expecting to do poorly in the election, but now senior figures within the party admit that it was much worse than they expected.

Comment: Since the economic doctrines of socialism and communism collapsed, the Left has been struggling to find its flag. A combination of capitalist practices with some 'socialist' safety nets looked like the best bet. But since this is not radical enough to thrill the masses, they have opted to focus on the politics of identity and minorities, with the unfortunate effect that divisions in society have been exacerbated rather than mitigated. No wonder people are now turning away from the Left.


Officer Scot Peterson, the officer who failed to confront Parkland shooter, accused of 'covering up' sexual assault by Broward Sheriff's son

Deputy Scot Peterson
© Michele Eve Sandberg/Corbis via Getty Images
A local Miami news station released an explosive report on Thursday night about a "disturbing assault" that happened at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School four years to the day before the tragic shooting in February. The alleged incident involved one of the sons of Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel and was allegedly "covered up" by Officer Scot Peterson, the resource officer who infamously failed to confront the Parkland shooter.

WPLG Local 10 investigative reporter Bob Norman reported Thursday that two 17-year-old students at the school allegedly bullied a 14-year-old freshman boy, with one of the 17-year-olds holding down the student while the other 17-year-old kicked the victim, grabbed his genitals, and then grabbed the victim's own baseball bat and began shoving it against his buttocks "simulating rape" through the boy's clothes.

Comment: See also:


Half of Americans won't take a vacation this summer due to financial and familial obligations

family vacation
Vacation is often a time to relax and refresh. Some experts think it could even make you more productive when you head back to work. But a whopping 49 percent of Americans won't be taking one this summer, and while lack of money certainly plays a role, it's not the only reason so many people are deciding to stay home.

Bankrate, which conducted a survey of 1,000 people aged 18 or older, found that, of the 49 percent who aren't planning a vacation, 50 percent said they can't afford it, 24 percent have other family obligations and 22 percent can't take time off work.

Younger people "are most likely to say they can't go on vacation because there's too much on their plates," the survey notes. "They're also more inclined to say that their financial situation is keeping them from taking time off."

A 2017 GoBankingRates survey found that millennials between 18 and 24 years old had less than $1,000 in savings, which doesn't leave a lot of room for discretionary spending. Nearly half of respondents had nothing saved at all.

Older Americans, on the other hand, are more likely to cite family obligations rather than work-related commitments as the reason they won't take a vacation.

Comment: See also: The average American worker gets less vacation time than a medieval peasant


Propaganda alert: FBI warns Russians hacked hundreds of thousands of routers

© REUTERS/Kacper Pempel/Illustration
FILE PHOTO: A man types on a computer keyboard in front of the displayed cyber code in this illustration picture taken on March 1, 2017.
The FBI warned on Friday that Russian computer hackers had compromised hundreds of thousands of home and office routers and could collect user information or shut down network traffic.

The U.S. law enforcement agency urged the owners of many brands of routers to turn them off and on again and download updates from the manufacturer to protect themselves.

The warning followed a court order Wednesday that allowed the FBI to seize a website that the hackers planned to use to give instructions to the routers. Though that cut off malicious communications, it still left the routers infected, and Friday's warning was aimed at cleaning up those machines.

Infections were detected in more than 50 countries, though the primary target for further actions was probably Ukraine, the site of many recent infections and a longtime cyberwarfare battleground.

In obtaining the court order, the Justice Department said the hackers involved were in a group called Sofacy that answered to the Russian government.

Comment: Before getting all worked up about Russia - let's take a look at what the CIA and friends are already doing:


Is the TSA a Milgram Experiment?

Transportation Security Agency
Everybody's least favorite homeland security goon squad, the Transportation Security Agency (TSA), is back in the news again this week, and for precisely the same reason as it always is: Engaging in the degradation, humiliation, dehumanization and molestation of innocent people which is its real raison d'être.

This time the victim was Jeanne Clarkson, a 96-year-old WWII veteran who the jackbooted thugs of the police state decided would be a fitting target for their "deluxe" treatment, i.e., a full six minutes of groping, patting and molestation. The only reason this even made it as a blip on the news radar (and even then, only in the tabloids and the alt media) was that her daughter had the sense to record the entire ordeal and post it to Facebook, where the post went viral.

Evil Rays

QAnon is a PsyOp designed to mislead Trump supporters and divide alternative news readers

q anon
The Alternative News Media community is deeply divided at this time, and I find it extremely sad that this division has occurred due to a PsyOp from within. Most of you are familiar with the QAnon movement consisting of true Patriots, who have been led by QAnon the Pied Piper.

The YouTube community became totally fixated on the false prophet, QAnon. I cannot begin to count the number of YouTubers, who reported on each "drop" of information the fake entity revealed.

He/she/them made endless errors, such as Hillary Clinton had been arrested and was wearing an ankle monitor, and it became gospel which should not be questioned.

If one did question the gospel of Q, one was immediately attacked - this I know for a fact. It was plainly not acceptable to question Q. Follow the "plan," do not question or doubt, and have "faith."

Errors could always be explained, if you asked the QAnon believers. There was always a reason if Q ended up being wrong, and the reason was never Q's fault. Just do not question the "plan."

Comment: The US intelligence community (and other agents of chaos) know exactly how to play on people's fears - and hopes. During such challenging times as these, all kinds of sophisticated and manipulative "information" is being put out there to drive 'truthers' away from the truth. Without rigorous examination, networking with others, and non-identification it is easy to fall prey to any number of ridiculous ideas; the resurgence of the absurd flat earth theory being one of them.

For more in-depth discussion on 'QAnon', visit this thread on Sott's research forum.