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Sun, 25 Sep 2016
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Bomb threat closes West Point Academy visitor center

© Hudson Valley News
A bomb threat closed West Point's Visitor Center in Highland Falls temporarily on Thursday.

U.S. Military Academy officials say they evacuated the visitor control center after a man claimed there was a bomb in his vehicle near the Thayer Gate in Highland Falls.

Officials immediately evacuated the area and closed down Main Street near the installation.

Military, state and local police conducted a full search of the grounds, and determined that there was no explosive material.

Once the bomb squad gave the all-clear, the visitor control center resumed normal operations.

The scare is the second false alarm at West Point within the week. On Monday, a tipster called authorities claiming a man resembling bombing suspect Ahman Khan Rahami entered West Point.


Abandoned rice cookers prompt bomb squad responses in Vacaville and San Francisco

© Sarah Ravani/San Francisco Chronicle
A rice cooker left at a bus stop on South Van Ness Avenue at Mission Street prompted bomb-squad response and the shut down of the major intersection Thursday morning for about two hours. Police determined that the cooking device was not a threat.
A rice cooker left at a bus stop on South Van Ness Avenue and Mission street prompted a police bomb squad response Thursday morning and the shut down of the major intersection and surrounding streets for about two hours before the kitchen device was determined not to be a threat.

Just 30 minutes after the rice cooker was declared safe in San Francisco, the Vacaville Police Department received a call about an abandoned rice cooker discovered under the I-80 overpass on Mason Street between Peabody Road and Depot Street.

A Muni bus driver called the San Francisco police around 7:30 a.m. after spotting the first abandoned rice cooker at the bus shelter in front of a Goodwill store at the intersection.

Police blocked off the intersection and called in a bomb squad to investigate the cooking device, authorities said. The squad's robot was deployed and found the rice cooker was empty and did not pose a threat.

Traffic was blocked off in the area until about 10 a.m., although pedestrians were allowed to return to the area about 9:30 a.m.

Heart - Black

European bison 'Sauron' poisoned, decapitated at wildlife reserve in Spain

© Sky News
A half-ton bison was poisoned and decapitated so that his head could be used "as a trophy".
Sauron, named after the Lord of The Rings character, was found on Friday in the 800-acre Valdeserillas reserve in Spain's eastern region of Valencia.

Sauron's head was missing, with reserve spokesman Rodolfo Navarro saying the attackers wanted it for a trophy. Mr Navarro said the animal had been "the biggest and most powerful" of the herd and had become a "sort of symbol of the reserve".

El Pais reported that investigators had not found any bullets or cartridges at the scene. They quoted the Civil Guard's nature protection group - Seprona - as saying there had been at least two people involved and they used an axe. Mr Navarro agreed, adding: "It must have been a gang because one person couldn't commit this kind of brutality on their own."

Three other bison are missing, presumed dead, and five others are ill with diarrhoea but responding well to treatment. Mr Navarro said the 12 bison were brought to Spain from the Netherlands, Ireland and the UK after years of planning. "It was like a murder," he told The Guardian of the attack.

"It's just senseless and it has really damaged not only our image and Valencia's, but also Spain's." The European bison were hunted to extinction in the wild, with the last of the animals shot in Poland in the 1920s, but they have been reintroduced across Europe from captivity. There are now about 5,500 around the world, according to the World Wildlife Fund.

Comment: Have humans forgotten the basic tenets of empathy?

Bad Guys

Wannabe martyr: Philadelphia mom arrested after planning to abandon kids and join ISIS

© Elizabeth Robertson/Staff photographer
The FBI arrested Keonna Thomas in April 2015 at her three-story brick-and-stucco rowhouse, on 10th Street near Brown, in the Richard Allen Homes public-housing project.
A North Philadelphia mother of two admitted Tuesday that she planned to abandon her children and travel to Syria to pursue "martyrdom operations" with an ISIS fighter she married over the internet.

Keonna Thomas, 32, pleaded guilty to attempting to provide material support to a terrorist organization during a brief hearing in federal court. She acknowledged her plans were derailed last year only when federal agents raided her home the day she was scheduled to leave the country.

"I believe that I'm guilty of this charge," said Thomas, dressed in a head scarf and green prison jumpsuit, when asked by U.S. District Judge Michael Baylson why she was changing her plea.

Federal authorities had couched the case as the latest in a string of prosecutions to combat what they describe as a "more decentralized, more diffuse, more complicated" homegrown terror threat from U.S. citizens radicalized over the internet.


Israeli troops caught on camera beating unarmed Palestinian during 'routine check'

© Mussa Qawasma/Reuters
Israeli soldiers detain Palestinian during searching raid by IDF, West Bank city of Hebron
Israeli soldiers have been photographed brutally detaining a Palestinian man in Hebron on Tuesday. One of the five troops in the vicinity could be seen kicking the man, while another soldier pinned the Palestinian to the floor with his knee. The incident took place near a Jewish neighborhood in Hebron, with the Israeli soldiers saying that the man was resisting arrest.

"During a routine security check, the Palestinian who was documented [in the photos] refused to be frisked. The forces had arrested the suspect. The troops' conduct is being looked into and the incident is being investigated," the military said in a statement, as cited by Haaretz. However, the photographs, which were shot as the detention was taking place, shows what seems to be unnecessary force being used by the Israeli soldiers. The Palestinian man was not wearing any shoes, and was dressed in a T-shirt and pants.

The troops, who were from the Nahal 50th battalion, surrounded the man with one of the soldiers pinning him to the ground with his knee.

Another photograph shows a soldier appearing to kick the man, who was unarmed, with either his foot or his knee.
© Mussa Qawasma / Reuters
Israeli soldiers' method of detainment.

Comment: When atrocities become routine and then mundane, Israel is one of the best examples to never be emulated.


Criminal cops: Autopsy shows child killed by police was shot three times - in the back

Thirteen-year-old Tyre King was "more likely than not" running from Columbus, Ohio, police when Officer Bryan Mason fatally shot him, an independent medical examiner retained by the child's family has now found.

Because results of the completed autopsy performed by the local coroner will not be revealed for another six weeks, King's family hired Francisco J. Diaz, a forensic pathologist from Michigan, "to evaluate the number, characteristics and location of the gunshot wounds on Tyre," the Guardian reported.

According to a statement from the family, published by attorneys Shawn L. Walton and Chanda L. Brown, Diaz said:
"Based on the location and direction of the wound paths, it is more likely than not that Tyre King was in the process of running away from the shooter or shooters when he suffered all three gunshot wounds."

Mr. Potato

Jimmy Carter's newest op-ed is a re-branding of the same old "Assad must go!" nonsense

It's amazing how effective a good marketing campaign can be.

Take, for example, your favorite variety of artificial cheese crackers. They now contain "10x more cheese!", which is true of course because they never contained cheese to begin with and zero multiplied by ten still equals zero. It's the same high-fructose corn syrup garbage, but sales are up, up up.

The same holds true when selling the American public unappetizing wars in far-away lands that they cannot find, not even on their smartphone apps. When the initial claptrap justifications for war lose their appeal, simply dress up the old claptrap in a dainty new outfit. We're not trying to be condescending — marketing and re-branding garbage is a true art form worthy of your admiration and respect.

This is why we tip our proverbial hat to Jimmy Carter, who has ingeniously repackaged tired Pentagon talking points used to rationalize our unconditional support for the "moderate rebels" fighting gloriously for "democracy" in Syria.

Using his dubious credentials as a man of peace and understanding, Carter writes in the New York Times that the new cease-fire agreement in Syria is in grave danger:
Over the weekend, the United States accidentally bombed Syrian government troops. On Monday, the Syrian military declared it would no longer respect the deal, resumed airstrikes on Aleppo, and even a humanitarian aid convoy was bombed.


The targeting of the humanitarian convoy, a war crime
, should serve as an added impetus for the United States and Russia to recommit to the cease-fire. The two parties were well aware of the difficulties as they spent a month negotiating the cease-fire's terms.

The agreement can be salvaged if all sides unite, for now, around a simple and undeniably important goal: Stop the killing. It may be more likely than it sounds.
To summarize Carter's brilliant observations: Peace in Syria cannot be achieved until everyone agrees to stop questioning the Pentagon's narrative. Yes, bombing Syrian troops under siege from ISIS for the last two years is a regrettable "accident"; let's not forget Assad's bloodthirsty air strikes against aid convoys, though.


Mamba ransomware locks your PC unless you pay up

© LinkedIn
Mamba ransomware infects the MBR to display a custom decryption prompt before Windows starts.
A potentially devastating new ransomware discovered in the wild goes to new lengths to convince you to pay up. After encrypting your entire hard drive, Mamba overwrites your PC's master boot record, preventing it from starting Windows.

The malware was found on machines in the United States, Brazil and India by researchers at Morphus Labs. It was discovered on computers owned by an energy company in Brazil with subsidiaries in the U.S. and India. Renato Marinho, one of the researchers who uncovered Mamba, detailed the ransomware in an article on LinkedIn.

Most ransomware utilities encrypt the files in your personal folders but leave the computer's operating system intact. A popup window is then displayed to allow you to purchase a decryption key and retrieve your data. Mamba goes a few steps further. It prevents your computer from starting up, displaying a custom prompt for a decryption key before loading your machine's OS.

Mamba achieves this by overwriting your computer's master boot record (MBR). The MBR essentially stores a list of all your installed operating systems. When you turn your computer on, the default OS stored in the MBR is started up. By inserting itself into the MBR, Mamba can display a custom prompt to the user before the usual operating system starts.


Shots fired on 2nd night of protests in Charlotte over cop killing of Keith Scott - UPDATES

Shots fired as violence breaks out at Charlotte protests
As demonstrators gather for a second night of protests in Charlotte, North Carolina, multiple witnesses have reported gunshots in the downtown area.

One person has been taken to a nearby medical center with life-threatening injuries. According to the city police chief, speaking to Fox News, the victim has died. Police in riot gear have amassed near the entrance to the Omni Hotel, where the incident took place.

Comment: Update (Sept. 22):

Yesterday, North Carolina's Governor declared a state of emergency and called in the National Guard to deal with the protests. The man reported as killed is now said to have survived, and is on life support - the city tweeted that the shooting was "civilian on civilian", but bystanders point out that he was standing between two ministers, and police were close by. Bank of America employees were told not to go to work on Thursday, the Transit System was shut down. The deceased Scott's wife called for protestors to do so peacefully, and not damage property. Some ignored that call. Charlotte's mayor is considering implementing a curfew.

Last night 9 people were injured and 44 were arrested. The city's police chief refused to make public the tape of Scott's shooting.

The media is having a field day reporting on the antisocial segment of the protestors, who were mostly peaceful for the first day, until police started firing tear gas. For example, Charlotte's CW affiliate WCCB reported that protesters tried "to throw still photographer into fire". A photographer was attacks, but there's no evidence he was almost immolated.

For example, there are several reports about CNN reporter Ed Lavandera getting body-slammed by a protester. What they don't all report is that it was an accident, and the man later gave Lavandera a hug and apologized.

A video of a homeless man in London getting beaten up by violent youths is even floating around as evidence of the violent "black thugs" in Charlotte.

If you can't control dissent, you can always control the media.


Rochester, NY cops go on rampage: Assault, pepper spray then arrest innocent bystanders for filming them

A video uploaded to Facebook last week is causing an uproar as it shows multiple Rochester police officers assault and pepper spray innocent bystanders for exercising their first amendment rights.

As the video begins, a man inside his car is filming two officers on top of an apparent suspect. Becoming agitated with the way police are treating that suspect, bystanders voice their opinion — from a distance more than enough to be considered non-threatening.

However, that does not stop police from targeting the woman who is standing on the sidewalk in front of her own home. As the officer approaches the woman, he becomes enraged that she is not immediately submitting and giving into his demand to stop practicing her first amendment right to film — and speak.