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Sun, 28 May 2017
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Eye 1

Michigan State Police accused of using social media to spy on critics of Flint lead contamination crisis

After needlessly contaminating Flint's water supply with lead, a new report reveals the government now monitors social media for hints subversive communications relating to the Flint Water Crisis.

According to MLive, officials with the Michigan State Police have been conducting online surveillance for comments about Flint's lead contamination crisis. One of over 127,000 emails released by Gov. Rick Snyder's office shows one man's allegedly threatening Facebook post concerning the government's mishandling of the Flint crisis — which led to the initiation of criminal proceedings.

"It's time for civil unrest. Burn down the Governor [sic] mansion, elimionate [sic] the capitol where legislators RE-INSTATED the emergency dictator law after the PEOPLE voted it down, and tell the Mich [sic] State Police if they use military force, we will return with same," the unnamed Copper City man's Facebook post stated, according to MLive.

Comment: Activist called to court for Flint water crisis Facebook post; 'threatening behavior' cited


Take 2

Turkey asked Swedish channel not to air film about WWI-era genocide

© www.crossmap.com
A programme director of Swedish TV4 television network said in a statement that the Turkish embassy called for the broadcaster to withdraw a film about the genocide of Assyrians, Armenians and other ethnic minorities in the Ottoman Empire during the World War I.

The broadcaster showed a documentary entitled "Seyfo 1915 — The Assyrian Genocide," on Sunday. Seyfo is a term that is used to describe mass killings of the Assyrian population in the Ottoman Empire that took place during the World War I alongside with the genocide of other ethnic groups, such as Armenians.

"Turkish embassy [to Sweden] has tried to exert pressure on TV4 to stop a documentary. They urged us to 'reconsider our decision' to broadcast the 'Seyfo 1915 — The Assyrian Genocide' in the evening," Viveka Hansson said in a statement published on Sunday. She added that the TV channel would never accept such demands and would protest against attempts to bring pressure on freedom of expression.

During and after World War I, the Ottoman government ordered a series of mass killings and starvation against the country's minorities, such as Assyrians, Armenians and Greeks. Turkey refuses to recognize the massacre as genocide, claiming that Turkish nationals were also victimized.

Turkey's attempts to impose restrictions on freedom of speech both within the country and abroad, have previously been criticized by the international community, including the United Nations, the United States, the European Union, Russia and the organization Reporters Without Borders (RSF). Turkey ranks 151th out of 180 countries in the RSF 2016 press freedom index.

Comment: Turkey's war with journalists and media has spilled over onto the rights and privilege of other countries. There is no way to rewrite history and no lessons to be learned if it is ignored or erased. Turkey should watch this film!


Arrow Up

Oklahoma police forced to return $53K cash seized from Christian band over trumped-up drug charges


Eh Wah, a Dallas resident who was born in Myanmar, challenged the seizure of more than $50,000 in cash by the Muskogee County Sheriff’s Department after he was pulled over for a traffic stop Feb. 27.
More than $50,000 seized by Muskogee County deputies in a traffic stop will be returned to a Dallas man and others who said the money was intended for a Thai orphanage and a Christian school in Myanmar.

Eh Wah, who lives in Dallas and is originally from Myanmar, was pulled over on U.S. 69 for having a broken brake light about 6:30 p.m. Feb. 27. Authorities seized $53,000 they found in his car and indicated that it would not be returned.

The Washington Post reported on the issue ahead of a press release issued by the man's attorneys Monday.

District Attorney Orvil Loge told the Tulsa World he has dismissed a drug-related felony charge and efforts to keep cash belonging to Wah, the tour manager for Burmese Christian rock band The Klo & Kweh Music Team. Money also will be returned to the band, its bassist, an Omaha, Nebraska-based church and an orphanage.

Comment: This is a rare and fortunate outcome. Civil asset forfeiture has become quite a lucrative business for U.S. police departments, where the funds and property of innocent people are routinely stolen and often never returned.


Bullseye

Israel outraged at UNESCO resolution's quotation marks referring to "so-called" Jewish sites

© tundratabloids.com
UN refers to Israel as an occupying power. Israel deems this vicious. UN deems it truth.
The language of a UNESCO resolution on Jerusalem describing "so-called" Jewish sites and putting the Western Wall Plaza in quotation marks has sparked outrage in Israel.

The resolution, adopted by the United Nations cultural agency's 58-nation executive board last week, condemns the Israeli government's stewardship of Jerusalem and decries the renovation of "so-called Jewish ritual baths" and the alleged creation of "Jewish fake graves". Sites are either referred to by their Arabic or English names, or, in the case of the Western Wall Plaza, the holiest site where Jews can pray, are put in quotation marks.

The Western Wall is in East Jerusalem's historic Old City, which was occupied by Israel along with the rest of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip during the 1967 Middle East war, though Israel's parliament, the Knesset, passed the Jerusalem Law, which in 1980 declared the city "complete and united".

However, the vast majority of the international community - including the United States, the European Union and the UN - do not recognise Israel's claims to sovereignty over East Jerusalem. The Israeli government described the resolution, which was voted for by 33 countries, as "hideous" and penned letters to all countries that signed the resolution, which included France, Russia and China.

"The UNESCO resolution has no practical validity. Nevertheless, we will not permit international entities to blur the Jewish people's connection to its eternal capital," Dore Gold, director general of the country's foreign ministry said in a statement on Thursday.


Comment: Israel, instead, is the one blurring the Jewish people's connection.


The United Kingdom and the US abstained from the vote.

Comment: If you are going to lie to the world, kill the innocent, rob others of their land, bomb the hell out of their neighborhoods, infiltrate, manipulate and blackmail governments...a few quote marks shouldn't bother you. Israel is way past being able to "manage its perception," and a wiser world is way past its "willingness to believe it."


People

Angry workers strikes across Europe in response to harsh austerity cuts

© REUTERS/ Benoit Tessier
Workers in France, Germany and Britain have joined others across Europe in a series of strikes amid bitter discord as the economies of Europe struggle to show strong growth years after the global financial crisis.

Railway workers in France Tuesday (April 26) staged the latest in a string of walkouts in a dispute over pay and working conditions. Employees of French state-owned rail company SNCF staged its latest walkout on Monday night and will not return until Wednesday, leading to half of its high-speed TGV services and a third of its Intercity trains running.

The walkout is being backed by all four unions: the UNSA, CGT, SUD and CFDT and is the result of a long-running dispute between SNCF and the unions over workers' pay and working conditions. There have been a series of national strikes in France, opposing French President Francois Hollande's proposed reforms to labor laws.

Comment: As more austerity measures are put in place due to slowing global economic growth, the strikes will only get worse.


Snakes in Suits

Norway to pay refugees $3,600 to return to war-torn countries

© AFP 2016/ Jonathan Nackstrand
Norwegian authorities offer 30,000 kroner ($3,600) to asylum seekers who wish to leave the country voluntarily, Integration Minister Sylvi Listhaug said.

"We need to entice more [people] to voluntarily travel back by giving them a bit more money on their way out. This will save us a lot of money because it is expensive to have people in the asylum centers," RT quoted the Minister as saying on Monday.

The program, which started on Monday, will run for six weeks. The money will be paid to the first 500 asylum seekers who apply for voluntary return to their home countries.

Comment: At least this is a more humane attempt than bills passed in Denmark and Germany, in which refugees have their valuables stolen confiscated in order to pay for their asylum. But here's an even smarter way to save money - stop spending billions on destroying their countries!

Further reading:


Cow

Mom forced to give up gallons of breast milk at Heathrow

Ever sighed at having to toss out a bottle of water at airport security? Then consider Jessica Coakley Martinez, who was forced to throw away almost four gallons of breast milk at London's Heathrow Airport, the Washington Post reports.


"This wasn't some rare bottle of wine or luxury perfume I was trying to negotiate as a carry on," Martinez writes in a 1,588-word Facebook post to Heathrow security. "This was deeply personal. This was my son's health and nourishment." In her post, Martinez says she balances motherhood with a job that involves travel by pumping whenever she can—in public bathrooms, conference rooms, closets, you name it. Here the Californian had amassed a big block of frozen breast milk while traveling without her infant on an eight-city, 15-day business trip through Europe, where four countries had already allowed the milk to pass, the Sunreports.

Comment: Heartless creatures do this.


Jet3

Symbolic? Norwegian F-16 jet mistakenly fires at its own control tower

© AP, File
The Norwegian Air Force says an F-16 fighter jet accidentally fired at a lookout tower near three military personnel during target practice earlier this month, but that no one was hurt.

Air Force spokesman Maj. Stian Roen said the incident occurred shortly after midnight on April 13 on the island of Tarva, off Norway's western coast.

Roen said Sunday that the aircraft was supposed to fire at a simulated target on the airfield some 500 meters (550 yards) away but that "something went wrong." The lookout tower was slightly damaged by the gunfire, he said.

Roen said he couldn't give further details pending the outcome of an investigation by a special commission.

Source: Associated Press

Handcuffs

NYPD targeting businesses owned by minorities for warrantless searches, police stings - report

© Eduardo Munoz / Reuters
Businesses owned by minorities in New York City are being targeted by police stings and essentially forced to pay large fines, allow warrantless searches, and establish security systems that grant authorities unlimited access, according to a new report.

The law allowing the New York Police Department to take such significant action against businesses is known as "nuisance abatement," which permits police to take aim at the locations where illegal activity has taken place. It was originally meant to be deployed against prostitution in Times Square, but a joint report from ProPublica and the New York Daily News found officers are now using it against small shops.

In one case, an undercover officer entered a laundromat and convinced a customer to purchase stolen Apple products. The individual was arrested and had no connection to store owner Sung Cho, but seven months later police returned to the business and threatened to shut it down if Cho did not agree to pay a $2,000 fine, set up cameras that the NYPD could have unfettered access to, and permit officers to conduct warrantless searches.

The core of the NYPD's argument against Cho was that people were using his store to "facilitate criminal possession of stolen property." However, Cho said he was never told about the sale of stolen Apple products, nor about other allegations that people were buying stolen goods in his store. "They say that I facilitate these activities, prove me so. How did I facilitate these things?" Cho told the Daily News. "In my view it was total entrapment."

Arrow Down

Culture of impunity: United Nations needs to accept responsibility for Haiti's cholera epidemic

© EPA/Orlando Barria
A medical centre for cholera victims in Port-au-Prince, Haiti.
What happens when a humanitarian organisation meant to protect people instead causes them grave harm? That has long been the question where it comes to the UN's peacekeeping operations. From sexual violence to looting, from deaths caused by drink-driving to property damage, a great many individuals have been harmed by peacekeepers, and the structures to provide protection and remedy range from threadbare to non-existent.

But it's another thing altogether when the harm done is attributable not to individual peacekeepers, but to UN operations in general. Two of the gravest examples of this have occurred in recent years: the Haiti cholera epidemic, and the poisoning of Roma in displaced persons camps in Kosovo.

For years, there have been fights to secure justice for both sets of victims. But while Haiti's struggle goes on, in the Kosovan case, it looks like a major breakthrough has been made.

It's now being reported that the UN will apologise and provide remedies for displaced Roma people forced to live in camps built on toxic wasteland in Kosovo. The poison in the earth under those camps caused significant damage to the health of those individuals and to children born within the camps. Although the camps were demolished in 2010, individuals had been forced to live there for a decade despite repeated warnings about lead poisoning from the World Health Organisation and from various human rights groups.

Comment: The United Nations has been completely ponerized because of its alliance with the West and the horrendous and despicable crimes they commit around the globe. For more on what the UN could have been, and the direction it was heading under the leadership of Dag Hammarskjold, listen to The Truth Perspective: Interview with Henning Melber: Dag Hammarskjold, why he died and why it matters.

Further reading: