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Wed, 25 Apr 2018
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Judge slams 'incompetent' police after SWAT raids innocent family for growing tomato plants

police raid garden
In a "huge and significant victory for the Fourth Amendment," the federal 10th Circuit Court of Appeals reinstated a lawsuit brought by a Kansas City couple who endured a SWAT raid over their tomato plants. Robert and Adlynn Harte - and their two young children - were caught up in a county-wide sweep of suspected cannabis growers, in a prohibitionist state which still has not even legalized any form of medical cannabis.

The judges not only reinstated the Harte's lawsuit against the Johnson County Sheriff's Office, which was dismissed by a federal judge in 2015, but went on to castigate the law enforcement agencies involved. They described the 2012 raid as an "unjustified government intrusion based on nothing more than junk science, an incompetent investigation and a publicity stunt."

In the realm of unlawful police raids, this one may take the cake. It began with a Missouri State Highway Patrolman staking out a garden store every day in Kansas City in hopes of catching some pot growers. Robert Harte visited the store with his two children to buy supplies for an educational vegetable garden project in his basement.

The sergeant shared Harte's information with a counterpart in the Johnson County Sheriff's Office (JCSO), which was planning to raid several suspected cannabis growers on 4/20. JCSO went through the Harte's trash on three occasions, eventually finding what officers believed was cannabis clippings soaked in THC extract.

But the "marijuana" was actually discarded tea leaves.


As Harvard academics prove, the truth is irrelevant when you are bashing Russia

Harvard University
© Global Look Press
Two Harvard University academics have seen dreadfully incorrect Russia-related tweets recently go viral. The fact neither has deleted their falsehoods sums up the low standards when it comes to the Western assessment of all things Russian.

In the information space, a lot of stuff goes out the window when it comes to Russia. Like ethics, decency, fairness, and facts. It's hard to recall a single incidence of a journalist, official or academic losing a position for being hopelessly wrong about the country.

That's why you end up with TV networks offering people who've never set foot in Moscow as "Russia experts," magazines presenting opposition figures on two percent in the polls as serious contenders for the presidency and outlets alleging Vladimir Putin is dating Wendy Deng.

It also explains how pundits can claim Russia is about to collapse and then a few months later, insist the Kremlin is about to invade another country. And why analysts who set exact time frames for these incursions, and are proven wrong, fall upwards rather than downwards subsequently. Because anything goes when it comes to Russia and fueling the hysteria is more important than telling the truth.

No Entry

Big Brother Google designs algorithm that restricts access to anti-war web sites

Big brother google
In the three months since Internet monopoly Google announced plans to keep users from accessing "fake news," the global traffic rankings of a broad range of left-wing, progressive, anti-war and democratic rights organizations have fallen significantly.

On April 25, 2017, Google announced that it had implemented changes to its search service to make it harder for users to access what it called "low-quality" information such as "conspiracy theories" and "fake news."

The company said in a blog post that the central purpose of the change to its search algorithm was to give the search giant greater control in identifying content deemed objectionable by its guidelines. It declared that it had "improved our evaluation methods and made algorithmic updates" in order "to surface more authoritative content."

Google continued, "Last month, we updated our Search Quality Rater Guidelines to provide more detailed examples of low-quality webpages for raters to appropriately flag." These moderators are instructed to flag "upsetting user experiences," including pages that present "conspiracy theories," unless "the query clearly indicates the user is seeking an alternative viewpoint."

Control Panel

Proposed gun bill causes chaos to erupt at City Hall hearing in Baltimore

Baltimore chaos
Chaos erupted Tuesday at a Baltimore City Hall hearing for a proposed mandatory one-year sentence for possession of an illegal handgun.

It took just minutes for rising tensions to overflow.

Council members had issued several warnings to unruly attendees, but police were called to move in as activists clashed with council members, and people pushed back.

It ended with two arrests and a lot of upset people.


Italy gets OK from Tripoli to deploy boats to combat human trafficking operations from Libya

Human traffickers
© Yara Nardi / Italian Red Cross / Reuters
The Italian government has been officially invited by the UN-recognized government in Tripoli to assist in anti-human trafficking operations designed to help stem the flow of migrants across the Mediterranean in an unprecedented move.

A plan for the rapid deployment of Italian ships could be presented to the Cabinet in Rome as early as Friday, with a parliamentary vote on the issue possible as early as next week, Reuters reports.

Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni held a meeting with military chiefs and ministers Thursday to discuss "security, immigration and the Libyan situation."

"It pleases me to know there is a lot of support in Europe to this new possibility," he said.

Comment: See also:


Germany buckles under new US sanctions: Abandons 5 projects of the Nord Stream-2

oil pipeline construction
Germany's Federal Network Agency Bundesnetzagentur, which is engaged in the development of the German gas transmission network until 2026, has decided not to include in their development plan five expansion projects of the "North Stream-2" due to their "unreliability."

It was assumed that the operators of the network would build a branch of the gas pipeline to the amount of 4.5 billion euros, but the implementation of five projects was rejected "due to uncertainty" in the construction of the second stage of the Russian gas pipeline.

The agency reports that the projects can still be included in the network development plan after the permissions for the expansion of Nord Stream-2 are received.

The department refused to clarify whether the requirements were caused to abandon projects related to the expansion of the "Nord Stream-2", with the threat of sanctions from the United States.


Saudi Arabia says they intercepted Houthi missile targeting Mecca, but Houthis say it was against air base

Aerial view of Kaaba at the Grand mosque in Mecca
© Ahmed Jadallah / Reuters
Aerial view of Kaaba at the Grand mosque in Mecca.
Saudi Arabian armed forces have successfully intercepted a missile launched by Yemeni Houthi rebels that was targeting the city of Mecca, considered one of the holiest places in Islam, the Saudi coalition said in a statement.

Air defense units stationed in the area of Taif, located not far from Mecca, intercepted a ballistic missile launched by Houthi forces from Yemen that was intended to hit the Muslim holy city, the coalitions said in a statement published by the official press agency.

It also specifically mentioned that Taif international airport was not affected by the incident.

In the meantime, Houthi media said nothing about the alleged missile launch targeting Mecca, but instead reported about a missile strike against a Saudi air base located in the same area.


Ohio cop's bodycam footage shows him luring 'playful' pup before shooting her dead

China the pitbull
For years, TFTP has been reporting on the disturbing practice of police shooting people's pets and claiming they 'feared for their lives.' However, the following account may be the worst we've ever seen. Not only did the cop shoot the dog, but called him close enough so that he wouldn't waste his bullets, presumably, when he dispatched the dog.

Alliance Ohio Police Officer Josh Tenney's body camera captured all the moments leading up to the dog's killing. For over 2 minutes, Tenney called out to the dogs who were not on their leashes. He appeared to be trying to get them to come to him. "Come here puppy!" he said quite affectionately.

But what happened next should give pause to any pet owner who's even considering calling 911 to get police to help corral their pet. Tenney approached a car wash, still calling out for the dogs to come to him. When, all of a sudden, one of the dogs ran to him.


Leading the way: China builds giant panda-shaped solar farm, plans another 100 along New Silk Road

First station is already up and running in Shanxi province as energy firm tries to show country's cuddly side
panda solar farm
In a country where you can find everything from chopsticks to slippers designed to look like pandas, one Chinese energy company is going a step further by building 100 solar farms shaped like the bears along the route of the ambitious belt and road trade plan.

Panda Green Energy Group has already connected one such 50-megawatt (MW) plant to the grid in the northern province of Shanxi, the first step in a public relations stunt that emphasises the cuddly side of the world's No 2 economy.

Built with darker crystalline silicon and lighter-coloured thin film solar cells, the plant resembles a cartoon giant panda from the air.


U.S. Justice Dept: Civil rights law doesn't protect gay employees from discrimination

Jeff Sessions
© James Lawler Duggan/Reuters
The Department of Justice has filed court papers arguing that a major federal civil rights law does not protect employees from discrimination based on sexual orientation in a case now being considered by a New York appeals court.

The department's decision to file a brief in the case was a rare example of top officials in Washington weighing in on gay rights in what is an important but essentially private dispute between a worker and his boss. Civil rights advocates criticized the filing not only for its arguments, but also for having been made on the same day that President Donald Trump announced on Twitter that transgender people would be banned from serving in the military.

The department's amicus brief was filed Tuesday in the case of Donald Zarda, a sky diving instructor who in 2010 was fired by his employer, a Long Island, N.Y.-based company called Altitude Express.