Society's ChildS

Mr. Potato

Good job - not! FBI thwarts its own terror plot in Florida

James Gonzalo Medina
© Broward Sheriff's OfficeJames Gonzalo Medina
The FBI has thwarted a plot to bomb a Florida Jewish center on the last night of Passover. The suspect, who shared details of the planned attack with an informant, was arrested on his way to the synagogue carrying what he thought was an explosive.

On Monday, James Gonzalo Medina, 40, of Hollywood, Florida, was charged with attempted use of a weapon of mass destruction, which carries a potential life prison sentence. Department of Justice documents show he told an FBI informant in the run-up to the would-be attack, "I feel that I'm doing it for a good cause for Allah."

Comment: Ahh, the good ol' FBI, busy meeting their otherwise-unreachable quota of foiled terror plots! Just think about the absurdity of this drama: Medina is being charged with attempted use of a weapon of mass destruction. This is a legal fiction, because the weapon he used was utterly useless, created and provided by the FBI. But following the logic of this legal fiction, should not the FBI informant and his FBI handlers also be charged with building a WMD, trafficking in WMDs, and providing a WMD to a potential murderer? The only thing that made this 'bomb' a 'weapon of mass destruction' was Medina's belief that it was real. And since figures like George W. and Dick Cheney got away with murder for their own WMD delusion, maybe the justice system should re-consider Medina's charges and replace them with something more grounded in reality.

If any of our readers haven't noticed the pattern yet, please watch this TED Talk with Trevor Aaronson:

And read this article: The FBI honeypot entrapment of Khalil Abu Rayyan: Just another case of FBI incitement and radicalization

Eye 1

'Spying billboards' trigger calls for investigation

ClearChannel Billboard
© Flickr / Thomas Hawk
Senator Charles Schumer is calling for a federal investigation by the Federal Trade Commission into Clear Channel's "spying billboards," which access the mobile devices of those in close proximity.

The billboards use device data to determine the types of ads they display, based on the demographics of passersby, even to the point of whether those people end up in an advertiser's stores, CBS New York reports. Clear Channel currently operates over 675,000 of what Schumer has dubbed "spying billboards," globally.

Bad Guys

Slave master rules: Large oil field found in West Bank; Israel won't let Palestine drill for it

oil drilling
An Israeli energy company has announced that an oil field they have been surveying north of the Dead Sea is estimated to hold millions of oil barrels, worth 1.2 billion shekels ($321 million). The reservoir, known as Hatrurim, is estimated to contain seven million barrels of oil, while the high estimate is 11 million barrels, according to the company "Israel Opportunity."

Other partners in the Hatrurim project include Zerah Oil and Gas, Gulliver Energy, Ashtrom Group and Cyprus Opportunity. A previous company (Delek Group Ltd) had carried out an initial drilling at the same spot and discovered oil in 1995, but determined the field was not worth developing due to low oil prices.

The Israeli oil project in this area is expected to face opposition from the Palestinian government because the site is part of the Palestinian territory in the West Bank, which is classified as Area C under the Oslo accords. However, Israel prevents the Palestinians from drilling for oil and gas in the West Bank.


World Bank reports inadequate water supply may lead to global economic decline

Drinking fountain
© Flickr/ Martina Yach
Insufficient water supply could lead to a decline in the gross domestic product (GDP) in at least four parts of the world if governments do not make water management changes, according to a World Bank report released on Tuesday.

"If countries do not take action to better manage water resources, our analysis shows that some regions with large populations could be living with long periods of negative economic growth," World Bank President Jim Yong Kim said in a release about the report.

The report noted the regions of concern include Central Africa and East Asia, which do not have water scarcity problems at present, and the Middle East and the Sahel of Africa, where water is already in short supply.

Comment: Looks like banks and corporations want more control of the water supplies.

Heart - Black

Principal in German high school under investigation for ordering two students to strip naked

© Lionel Bonaventure / AFP
A principal at a high school in Germany is under investigation after he allegedly ordered two boys, 13, who were students of a neighboring school, to strip naked in front of him.

Prosecutors in Kleve, near Düsseldorf, are investigating why the principal at Kamp-Lintfort high school apparently instructed the students from the Europa School to take all of their clothes off.

The principal reportedly said the students were brought to his attention by a teacher on suspicion of theft, but he has not yet been questioned by investigators, according to The Local.

One of the students involved told WDR that the principal asked if they had stolen anything, which they denied and showed him their bags.

Piggy Bank

Bank of North Dakota reaping profits despite oil bust - a model for California?

Bank of North Dakota
© Dale Wetzel/Associated PressEven amid falling oil prices, by increasing its lending into a collapsing economy, the state-owned Bank of North Dakota has helped prop the economy up.
Despite North Dakota's collapsing oil market, its state-owned bank continues to report record profits. This article looks at what California, with fifty times North Dakota's population, could do following that state's lead.

In November 2014, the Wall Street Journal reported that the Bank of North Dakota (BND), the nation's only state-owned depository bank, was more profitable even than J.P. Morgan Chase and Goldman Sachs. The author attributed this remarkable performance to the state's oil boom; but the boom has now become an oil bust, yet the BND's profits continue to climb. Its 2015 Annual Report, published on April 20th, boasted its most profitable year ever.

The BND has had record profits for the last 12 years, each year outperforming the last. In 2015 it reported $130.7 million in earnings, total assets of $7.4 billion, capital of $749 million, and a return on investment of a whopping 18.1 percent. Its lending portfolio grew by $486 million, a 12.7 percent increase, with growth in all four of its areas of concentration: agriculture, business, residential, and student loans.

By increasing its lending into a collapsing economy, the BND has helped prop the economy up. In 2015, it introduced new infrastructure programs to improve access to medical facilities, remodel or construct new schools, and build new road and water infrastructure. The Farm Financial Stability Loan was introduced to assist farmers affected by low commodity prices or below-average crop production. The BND also helped fund 300 new businesses.

Heart - Black

Cop caught on video beating handcuffed woman while other cops stand by and do nothing

caught beating woman
Earlier this week, the Free Thought Project reported on the story of Officer Akinyemi Borisade who was caught on surveillance footage beating Mayra Martinez — while she was in handcuffs. The surveillance footage of the incident was brutal, but on Sunday, the department released dashcam footage of the arrest which shows an even more violent scene.

Martinez, 31, had a bad first day on the job at the local Scores Bar in Jacksonville. That afternoon, she became intoxicated, quit, and refused to leave, so police were called. When police arrived at the bar around 5 p.m., they arrested Martinez and charged her with trespassing and resisting.

According to the police report, Martinez was drunk and belligerent when two officers showed up to remove her from the property. When police tried to place her in handcuffs, Martinez tried to kick and bite officers, according to the report.

To deal with the unruly woman who was half their size, two officers, one of them Borisade, threw the intoxicated Martinez to the ground. In the video, Borisade is seen dropping fist after fist into the back, head and face of Martinez. He also slams the woman's face into the concrete repeatedly.

Red Flag

Quaker Oats facing lawsuit after tests find glyphosate in "100% natural" products

quaker oats
© Gary Cameron / Reuters
Quaker Oats is facing a new lawsuit following private tests that found trace amounts of the herbicide glyphosate on the company's products. Thus, plaintiffs argue, the company employs false marketing tactics in claiming its products are "100% natural."

A lawsuit seeking class-action status was filed in Federal District Courts in New York and California claiming that statements made by Quakers Oats about its products are misleading.

"Defendant aggressively advertises and promotes its oatmeal products as '100% Natural,' and claims its oats are grown using 'eco-friendly' methods that pose 'less risk of pollutants and groundwater pollution,'" the lawsuit says. "These claims are false, deceptive, and misleading."

The suit says Quaker Oats also uses the herbicide glyphosate, the main ingredient in Monsanto's Roundup weed killer that was deemed a "probable" human carcinogen by the World Health Organization last year, to dry its oats prior to harvest.

"There is nothing unlawful about Quaker Oats' growing and processing methods," the suit reads. "What is unlawful is Quaker's claim that Quaker Oats is something that it is not in order to capitalize on growing consumer demand for healthful, natural products."

Heart - Black

Dashcam video shows cop beating woman and her children while other officer laughs

Officer Jose Lopez caught smiling on dashcam video
© WBBM-TVOfficer Jose Lopez caught smiling on dashcam video while his partner attacks Catherine Brown in a May 2013 encounter
A Chicago woman is suing local police over a 2013 incident in which two officers threatened her with their guns and pepper-sprayed her while her children were in the car, WBBM-TV reported.

Rev. Catherine Brown said the two officers, Jose López and Michelle Morsi-Murphy, "beat me down to my underwear, pulled my skirt off me. They beat me with the sticks and hit me with their boots in my head."

According to Brown, the encounter on May 13, 2013 began when she honked her horn to avert a collision with the officers' squad car, which was speeding toward her in the alley leading to Brown's home.

Dashcam video shows Morsi-Murphy leaving her vehicle. Brown said Morsi told her, "B*tch, move that f*cking car back" while López pointed his gun at her head. Brown then called police dispatchers to ask for a supervisor. Audio of the call captures her childrens' screams.


Cop shoots cat; tells neighbor to clean up the mess

Sugar, the cat
© Facebook/ Justice for SugarSugar
A Pennsylvania cop who chose to shoot a man's beloved pet cat, rather than bring it to a veterinarian for a health check, will not be charged with animal cruelty — despite the rather murky circumstances of the animal's killing.

Tom Newhart and his wife rescued 'Sugar' at birth six years ago, but just over a week ago, the cat managed to slip out of their home.

"I found the cat sitting right here," said neighbor Mike Lienert, according to local 69 News, who also noted the cat appeared to be injured. Lienert then called North Catasauqua Police to help.