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Fri, 26 May 2017
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Hands up or charging? Conflicting reports on shooting of Oregon militia spokesman, Robert "LaVoy" Finicum

© Jim Urquhart / Reuters
Ammon Bundy (C) meets with supporters and the media at Malheur National Wildlife Refuge near Burns, Oregon, January 7, 2016.
Conflicting information is emerging over what happened after a well-known member of the militia group occupying a nature preserve in Oregon died in a shootout with federal agents. The group's spokesman had tried to run a roadblock before he was killed.

Robert "LaVoy" Finicum, a member of the group occupying the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge since January 2, died Tuesday evening after a confrontation with federal law enforcement at a roadblock north of Burns, Oregon.

According to Victoria Sharps, a young woman who was in Finicum's truck, the rancher had his hands in the air when he was shot.

Comment: See also: Oregon militia occupying wildlife refuge tears down government fence


Alleged online child porn ring busted in Canada,12 arrests made in 7 cities

© Christinne Muschi / Reuters
Twelve suspects have been arrested in two Canadian provinces, mostly in Quebec, during a major bust on an alleged online child sexual exploitation ring. The operation was the result of a three-year-long investigation.

The suspects, aged 27 to 74, were detained on Wednesday in Quebec City, Montreal, Trois Rivieres, Toronto, Saint-Eustache and Richelieu-Saint-Laurent.

They are suspected of having online discussions about their sexual experiences with kids and sharing advice on where to meet children without causing suspicion, Quebec's provincial police force, Surete du Quebec, said.

Comment: See also: Anti-paedophile police fight child porn 'epidemic': Too bad they ignore the worst of the worst

Black Magic

The new normal: Martial law and the psychology of "lockdown" in the US

The establishment has been working hard over that past few years to make martial law the norm in the United States. A few events which are most responsible for the normalization of martial law stand out in most of our minds.

First there was the frightening gun confiscation and private home intrusion seen in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina in 2005. Particularly after the flooding in New Orleans. Many people witnessed for the first time the real horrors of martial law as militarized police, the National Guard and FEMA all operating until Federal orders bullied ordinary civilians around forcing them out of their homes and into a FEMA camp set up at public arenas. At the time, no one was used to seeing this here in America. But after a while people carried on with their business; but the memory of the arguably acceptable martial law scene playing out in the case of a natural disaster stayed in everyone's memory.

Then 8 years later on April 15, 2013 we had the staged Boston bombing pressure cooker detonations at the Boston Marathon. We all know the story, how within the following days the establishment cooked up the "chase" for the real perpetrators which they used to officially introduce the "lockdown" concept. I warned about this then. To this day I firmly believe the Boston bombing was set up to show America how an "event" can and will be used to lock down a town or a city.

Comment: Before the American Police State went into full overdrive these past few years, the only time one even heard the word 'lockdown' was when one was watching a crime drama or prison movie (unless of course one has experienced these things first hand). Nowadays, the crime drama or prison movie is not isolated; we're living it, or at least hearing and reading about some event occurring nearly every week; the prison has grown.

See this small sampling of articles we've carried with the word 'lockdown' in it:


No chance of Obama closing Gitmo - human rights lawyer

© Jonathan Ernst / Reuters
Protesters in orange jumpsuits from Amnesty International USA and other organizations rally outside the White House to demand the closure of the U.S. prison at Guantanamo Bay, in Washington January 11, 2016.
President Obama's final year in office marks the Guantanamo Bay detention facility's 15th year in operation. RT interviewed David Remes, a lawyer who has advised over a dozen Gitmo inmates, about the rising stakes facing the remaining prisoners there.

Remes, who left a lucrative position in corporate law in 2008 to pursue his newfound passion for defending human rights, told RT anchor Lindsay France that the chances of the prison camp being closed by the end of Obama's term were slim to none.

"Of course, if a Republican becomes president, there is, I'd say, no hope that Guantanamo will be closed as a detention facility, so Obama's plan is to transfer as many cleared detainees as he can," Remes said. "That is, detainees who are approved for transfer, and to review as many uncleared detainees as possible, so that he can transfer those cleared detainees, also, abroad."

"Those he can't transfer, or doesn't want to transfer, he wants to bring to the United States," a move which Remes called" moving Guantanamo, not closing it." Remes lamented that this idea was only "removing the symbol," but "not removing what it symbolizes."

Comment: See also: From Guantanamo to limitless war, Obama's failure to live up to his own five commandments


Ferries stopped as massive blaze breaks out at Cowes boatyard, UK

Fire at a boatyard on an industrial estate in Cowes, UK
Ferry services to the Isle of Wight have been disrupted after a large fire at a boatyard on an industrial estate in Cowes.

Explosions were reported after the blaze broke out at a marina workshop, containing flammable gas and 50 fibreglass boats, in Medina Village.

Plumes of smoke billowed as high as 200ft into the air while more than 30 firefighters tackled the blaze on Monday afternoon.

Smoke could be seen from Isle of Wight ferries and one operator, Red Funnel, was forced to cancel some services on safety grounds.

Isle of Wight Fire and Rescue Service were called to the scene at about 12.30pm.

Fifty fibreglass boats are believed to be on the premises, in addition to cars and acetylene cylinders.

Social media users posted pictures on Twitter of a pall of thick, black smoke visible around the town.

Snakes in Suits

Yair Lapid: Israel's pretty face of ultranationalism

TV presenter and author Yair Lapid - a prettier Netanyahu?
"My principle says maximum Jews on maximum land with maximum security and with minimum Palestinians", said Israeli Knesset member Yair Lapid in an interview with the right-wing newspaper Makor Rishon over the weekend.

This is a person who is a self-declared 'centrist' and 'liberal' politician. This would almost seem comic, perhaps ridiculous, if he was not a man ranked first on the list of the "Most Influential Jews in the World" by The Jerusalem Post in 2013.

But who is this man, who seems to challenge the very essence of the term "liberal"?

Yair Lapid seems to be every mother-in-law's dream. Handsome, charming, up-beat, often smiling and in good mood. He entered politics 2012 and won a storming victory for Yesh Atid party in 2013, with no substantial prior political experience. His credentials, and no doubt public appeal, were based upon his past as a TV presenter and news anchor, as well as journalist and author. His focus was very much on "social justice", which was a very hot item in Israel at the time - a term which naturally did not really include Palestinians as a part of its considerations. With a somewhat vague political agenda, his party suddenly became the second largest in the Knesset after Likud, with 19 seats.

Comment: Lapid seems to have read the Obama/Clinton blueprint for aspiring political leaders in the West: Appear progressive if possible, talk about social justice, try to be all things to all people - but when it comes down the brass tacks of militarism and empire-building - sound, act and support policies that are "strong" and "nationalistic". In other words, be a nice little archon for darkness and pathology where it involves anyone who isn't a part of the clan.


Austrian teacher replaces 'God' with 'Allah' in song to appeal to Muslim students, parents outraged

© Luke MacGregor / Reuters
Parents in the Austrian city of Wels are angered after a teacher substituted the word 'God' in a popular Christian children's song with 'Allah'. The teacher said the alternative version was meant to be sung only by Muslim kids in a mainly-Muslim class.

However, the controversial decision has caused outrage among parents, with some filing a complaint with the state council that oversees school activity.

"It isn't just about the use of the word Allah. It also means God! You just can't go about rewriting text like this," said the father of one of the pupils to Austrian newspaper Krone.

The original song, titled 'Gottes Liebe ist so wunderbar' (God's love is so wonderful) is extremely popular among Austrian Christian children.

Comment: See also: Austria suspends Schengen agreement, radically changes refugee policies


6 police officers fired over 2012 killing of 2 unarmed suspects that were shot at 137 times

© Ricky Rhodes / Getty Images / AFP
Six Cleveland police officers have been sacked over a deadly 2012 car chase, in which 137 shots were fired at a car in less than 20 seconds, killing two unarmed people. Another six officers have been suspended for up to 30 days.

Detective Steve Loomis, president of the Cleveland Police Patrolmen's Association, confirmed that legal action has been taken against the officers, who he identified as Wilfredo Diaz, Brian Sabolik, Erin O'Donnell, Michael Farley, Chris Ereg and Michael Brelo. The last was the only officer charged with manslaughter, but he was acquitted in May of 2015.

According to the investigation, Brelo stood on the hood of a car, which contained Timothy Russell and Malissa Williams, while firing at them - 49 times.

Thirteen police officers faced investigation over the incident, of which six were fired and another six were suspended from their duties for 21 to 30 days, whole one officer retired.

All had been accused of committing a range of violations, including failing to request permission to join a pursuit, leaving the city of Cleveland without notifying dispatchers, taking and sharing unauthorized photos at a crime scene, and violating firearms safety protocols.

Comment: Not only should the officers involved in this horrific murder be fired, they should have faced charges. If the city does not charge the officers, the families of the deceased should sue the city and the officers involved. They should all have to pay a price beyond just losing their jobs.


Police rescue 15 infants in raid on human trafficking ring in China

© Jason Lee / Reuters
Chinese police have carried out a raid on a human-trafficking ring in Sichuan province, rescuing 15 infants from the gang's clutches. The children were being sold for as little as $3,000. A total of 78 arrests were made in the bust.

According to a report by Xinhua, the gang was trafficking children from China's remote south-west to be sold to buyers in a coastal area situated some 2,000km (1,240 miles) away.

Suspicions were aroused when police spotted a couple in September that had made frequent commutes between Liangshan, Sichuan province, and Linyi, in Shandong, near the coast.

"The gang members were managed in an organized way and assumed different tasks, including trafficking infants, transportation and seeking buyers," an officer said on Tuesday. The wife was in charge of purchasing the infants in Liangshan, to then transport them to Linyi. The husband would seek out buyers in the city.

The children were priced according to gender: little boys fetched 50,000-60,000 yuan ($8,000-$10,000), and the girls 20,000-30,000 yuan. After their rescue, they were placed in the care of the local civil affairs department in Sichuan.

The police have taken blood samples to identify the children and bring them home to their biological parents.


HRW: Europe's refugee influx response violates basic rights

Human Rights Watch Director Kenneth Roth
Human Rights Watch (HRW) has criticized Europe's response to ongoing refugee crisis gripping the continent, saying the European governments' reaction to the problem has resulted in a crackdown on basic freedoms. HRW director, Kenneth Roth, made the remarks in his introductory essay to the New York-based rights group's annual report released on Wednesday. "Fears of terror attacks and of the potential impact of refugee influx led to a visible scaling back of rights in Europe and other regions," Roth said.

The official further warned that "a polarizing us-versus-them rhetoric" adopted by Europe and the United States has moved from "the political fringe to the mainstream. Blatant Islamophobia and shameless demonizing of refugees have become the currency of an increasingly assertive politics of intolerance," he added.

The HRW report raised concerns about the situation in France, where exceptional measures have been put in place under a state of emergency, giving authorities extra powers to keep people in their homes without trial and search houses without judicial approval. The measures were adopted after terror attacks in and around the French capital city of Paris on November 15, 2015. Some 130 people lost their lives and 350 others injured in the assaults claimed by Daesh Takfiri group.

The HRW report warned that these "potentially indiscriminate policing techniques" risk exposing blameless young Muslims to racial profiling. The right response to the inflow of refugees is not more repressive border and immigration enforcement, but a better controlled program for the resettlement of asylum seekers, according to the report. "The effect of European policy so far has been to leave refugees with little choice but to risk their lives at sea for a chance at asylum," Roth said.

Comment: The problem with scaling back the rights of those who were set up to scare us is that these same rights will slip away from us as well. Smoke and mirrors, propaganda and deception, slight of hand... Control. This is how it works.