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Video of Seattle Cop Murdering Homeless Man Released By Court

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John Williams was gunned down by a psycho cop on a Seattle street last August
Under orders from a King County judge, police in Seattle, Wash., have released video footage of a police officer shooting a homeless man originally from Vancouver Island.

Wood carver John Williams was crossing a street when a police officer spotted him carrying a knife and a piece of wood.

Seattle police say Officer Ian Birk, 27, thought Williams was a threat.

Investigators say Williams had turned to face the officer but would not say if he had made any sort of move toward him.

Williams, 50, had been living in Seattle for 18 years, working as a carver at the Pike Place Market in the city's downtown tourist district, when he was shot Aug. 30.

He died after the officer shot him four times in the chest.

Audio recordings from the patrol car indicate Williams failed to comply with repeated orders to put down his knife, Seattle police said. A local art dealer said Williams was deaf in one ear and likely did not hear the officer.

Birk's lawyer did not agree with the release of the video, but King County District Court Judge Arthur Chapman ruled on Thursday that the footage should be released Friday.

Birk was recently asked to turn in his badge and his gun.

An inquest into the shooting is scheduled for January.


USA

Bloody Trophies

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We have an unprecedented capacity to absorb scandals. Wikileaks or no, Americans wake up each day to a new set of outrages, yet nothing changes. With hundreds of channels at our fingertip and a billion songs sloshing in our skulls, no crime against country, man or earth can linger long enough in any brain cell to matter. All synapses are currently busy with bullshit, yet again, thank you.

There have always been enough incriminating evidences to fill several Pentagons and CIA headquarters. It takes no dick or hacker to know that the U.S. government is duplicitous and sadistic. It lies and kills compulsively. Though hardly alone, America's unique in her reach and influence. As an empire, our sick tendencies become everybody else's problems. Without our "leadership," would Poles and Ukrainians kill and be killed in Iraq? Would Germans patrol Afghanistan? Would Georgia pick a fight with Russia, only to have its ass kicked? We don't just commit evils, we train many others to do it. We graduated thousands of torturers from The School of the Americas. After some bad press, it was niftily re-christened 'The Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation'. (Similarly, Blackwater is now Xe.) Our tactics haven't changed, and waterboarding, openly admitted to by our cynically sinister capos, is the very least of it. No criminal confesses to everything. "Ah, I only do some shoplifting on the side, Your Honor. No beating or rape or nothing."

Arrow Up

Italian Court Increases Sentences For 23 CIA Agents

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© Agence France-Presse
The lobby of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA)in Langley, Virginia. Osama Mustafa Hassan, a radical Islamist opposition figure better known as Abu Omar, was snatched from a street in Milan in 2003 in an operation coordinated by the CIA and the Italian military intelligence agency SISMI.
An Italian court upped the sentences for 23 CIA agents convicted in absentia of abducting an Egyptian imam in one of the biggest cases against the US "extraordinary rendition" programme.

The 23 CIA agents, originally sentenced in November 2009 to five to eight years in prison, had their sentences increased to seven to nine years on appeal in what one of the defence lawyers described as a "shocking blow" for the US.

They were also ordered to pay 1.5 million euros (two million dollars) in damages to the imam and his wife for the 2003 abduction.

Washington has refused to extradite the agents, who all remain at liberty but now risk arrest if they travel to Europe.

Osama Mustafa Hassan, a radical Islamist opposition figure better known as Abu Omar, was snatched from a street in Milan in 2003 in an operation coordinated by the CIA and the Italian military intelligence agency SISMI.

Butterfly

The Way Out is the Way In

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© Dreamstime.com
Reading Joe Baegent's brilliant essay - AMERICA: Y UR PEEPS B SO DUM? Ignorance and courage in the age of Lady Gaga - has added considerable weight to some thoughts I've had of late regarding so-called political activism. This issue has, of course, been brought to the fore by the Wikileaks/Julian Assange saga which is, as far as I can see, a truly devious set-up - a tar-baby - that puts a person in the position of either accepting lies delivered on the platform of truth, or rejecting the principle of truth along with the lies.

The social, cultural and resultant political problems we face have become such a Gordian knot of pathological influences that any political action along legal pathways appears to be doomed to fail. Human beings are so divided, so immersed in their illusions, that there is no possibility of any unified political action - and the ONLY action that would work would be, of necessity, unified - the majority of humanity acting as One against the tiny minority of Pathocrats. Baegent notes, quite accurately,
What America really needs is a wall-to-wall people's insurrection, preferably based on force and fear of force, the only thing oligarchs understand. And even then the odds are not good. The oligarchs have all the legal power, police, jails and prisons, surveillance and firepower. Not to mention a docile populace.
In short, the situation is pretty much as described in the movie "V for Vendetta" in this revealing exchange:
Dominic: What do you think will happen?
Finch: What usually happens when people without guns stand up to people *with* guns.

Question

Cass Sunstein, Wikileaks And The Public Right To Know

manipulation chess
© Unknown
So Julian Assange is in prison, for now. There appears to be no case against him that any authority in their right mind would waste time on, unless the goal is to simply prolong the drama, which it may well be. Wikileaks arrived on the scene at a very interesting time. In the US, unemployment at record levels (22% at least), massive numbers of foreclosures and trillions of taxpayers' money given to save the banks from their own greed. In Europe, similar 'banking crises' brought on government 'austerity' measures whereby the people would bail out the banks with the only currency really worth anything - the sweat of our brows and our standard of living. Human currency is the real 'wealth' of any nation or government on this planet.

So millions protested and called strikes in Greece, France, the UK, Ireland etc. Such demonstrations of people power are perhaps the only weapons we have left against the corrupt elite of this world. Of course, it is knowledge of the extent of the blatant lies and corruption of the elite that galvanise the people to act in this way, and therefore the right of the people to know what their government is doing is fundamental. The principle on which Wikileaks acts, therefore, is to be supported to the last. I do have a small problem with the current Wikileaks issue however and that is the massive media coverage that it is garnering. I find little in the leaks themselves to warrant such prolonged media exposure, and, from my reading of public comments on the contents of the leaks themselves, I don't see them leading to any sort of massive public demonstrations. We can only hope that they will encourage more and better leaks so that the truth will finally be known and that may lead to action in the public sector.

As a result of having copious evidence to hand regarding the reality of government conspiracies aimed at manipulating public opinion, I have to admit also to being somewhat conspiracy-minded. It's a weakness, I know. But bear with me, I have a few questions to put to you; I'll answer a few of them, but feel free to come up with your own theories of the conspiratorial ilk or not:

Manipulating public opinion - does anyone disagree that all governments engage in this to one extent or another?

If yes, why does the government wish to manipulate public opinion?

Question

UK: The Papers Which Could Finally Force Full Inquest Into the Death of Dr David Kelly

Dr David Kelly
© Daily Mail
Questions: Campaigners have been attempting to get a full inquest into the death of Dr David Kelly since 2004
Today, the Daily Mail publishes for the first time the legal document which could trigger a full coroner's inquest into the death of Dr David Kelly.

The document, formally known as a memorial was written by group of campaigning doctors who have been trying to secure an inquest since 2004.

It lists the sequence of events which led up to Dr Kelly's death and the legal reasons they believe an inquest ought to be held.

It was sent to Attorney General Dominic Grieve QC by the doctors' lawyers, Leigh Day & Co., in September. Mr Grieve, who has read the document, is now considering whether to allow an application to the High Court for an inquest. The Mail has learnt that he has recently appointed a medical expert to assist him. His decision is expected shortly.

Dr Kelly, a world-renowned weapons inspector, is said to have killed himself after being named as the prime source of a BBC report accusing Tony Blair's government of lying to take Britain into war.

His body was found in woods close to his home in Oxfordshire on July 18 2003. Uniquely, for an unexpected death such as his, no coroner's inquest has ever been held.

The Hutton inquiry into his death found that he killed himself after slashing his wrist with a blunt knife and overdosing on painkillers.

On Monday the Mail revealed that no fingerprints were found on the blister packs of pills which Dr Kelly supposedly took. No fingerprints were recovered either from the knife or a bottle of water found by his side. He was not wearing gloves when his body was found, nor were there gloves anywhere near the body.

Stormtrooper

London Student Protest - Police Horses Charge Students in the Battle of Parliament Square

On the frontline in Parliament Square on the 9th Dec 2010. It's all kicking off when the police move to the side and the horses charge towards us. There is not much I can do but film the ensuing mahem all around me. It's worth waiting until the end when the metal fences start to be passed forward and used as barriers against the police, one is passed over our heads, it's so heavy we all have to put our fingers through the mesh to hold it up, just as the police are battering our hands with their truncheons!


Star of David

'Our Lives Became Something We'd Never Dreamt': Former Israeli Soldiers Testify Against Army Abuses

Israeli army blows up building
© Atta Oweisat/AFP
Former Israeli soldiers who have testified against army abuses have for the first time given up their anonymity, to make their voices all the harder to ignore.

For anyone who has covered Israel, the West Bank and Gaza over the past few years, reading Occupation of the Territories, the new book from the Israeli ex-soldiers organisation Breaking the Silence, can be an eerily evocative experience.

A conscript from the Givati Brigade, for example, describes how troops in the company operating next to his inside Gaza during 2008 had talked about an event earlier in the day. After knocking on the door of a Palestinian house and receiving no immediate answer, they had placed a "fox" - military slang for explosives used to break through doors and walls - outside the front door. At that very moment, the woman of the house had reached the door to open it. "Her limbs were smeared on the wall and it wasn't on purpose," the soldier recalls. "And then her kids came and saw her. I heard it during dinner after the operation, someone said it was funny, and they cracked up from the situation that the kids saw their mother smeared on the wall..."

A second-hand story, of course; one without names, dates or supporting detail. Except that it stirred a memory I had of reporting the death of a Palestinian UN schoolteacher east of Khan Younis. Wafer Shaker al-Daghma was killed when the Israel Defence Forces (IDF) commandeered her house during an incursion in May 2008. Her husband had been out at the time. When we came to the house five days later, another incursion was under way and we could hear, uncomfortably close, the gunfire from Israeli armoured military vehicles while Majdi al-Daghma described his wife's death at the age of 34. When she realised troops were nearby, she'd ordered ' the children, Samira, 13, Roba, four, and Qusay, two, into the bedroom, put on a headscarf and prepared to open the door. "Samira heard a loud explosion and there was a lot of smoke," he explained. "She looked for her mother but couldn't see her."

It was surely the same incident. You have to assume that the laughter alluded to by the conscript was a nervous reaction, a manifestation of delayed shock from the soldiers. They had, after all, had the presence of mind to cover Mrs al-Daghma's mutilated body with a carpet, and to keep the children confined to the bedroom for the five hours they had remained in the house. Samira said she had asked one of them, "Where is my mother?" but had not understood his reply in Hebrew. She explained how, when the soldiers finally left after nightfall, "There were still tanks outside our house... I tried to call my father on my mother's Jawwal [mobile phone] but there was no line. I lifted the carpet and saw a bit of my mother's clothes. She was not moving. I did not see her head."

Gear

How Believing Lies Leads to Degradation of Mental Faculties: Climate Dignitaries and "Experts" Sign Petition to Ban Water, Harm US

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© Unknown
Climate dignitaries, "experts," and activists in Cancun for the United Nations COP16 global-warming conference were caught on film over the weekend signing a petition to ban water and another to cripple the U.S. economy if the American government refused to cooperate with the "international community."

Carried out by the student arm of a market-oriented non-profit environmental group known as the Committee For A Constructive Tomorrow (CFACT), the water-ban prank was meant to illustrate the gullibility of COP16 attendees. And according to the organization, it succeeded.

"It was designed to show that if official U.N. delegates could be duped by college students into banning water, that they could essentially fall for anything, including pseudo-scientific studies which claim to show that global warming is man-caused," the collegians reported on the CFACT website.

Arrow Down

24 Signs That All Of America Is Becoming Just Like Detroit - A Rotting, Post-Industrial, Post-Apocalyptic Wasteland

rusted car
© Unknown
For years, people have been laughing at the horrific economic decline of Detroit. Well, guess what? The same thing that happened to Detroit is now happening to dozens of other communities across the United States. From coast to coast there are formerly great manufacturing cities that have turned into rotting, post-industrial war zones. In particular, in America's "rust belt" you can drive through town after town after town that resemble little more than post-apocalyptic wastelands. In many U.S. cities, the "real" rate of unemployment is over 30 percent. There are some communities that will start depressing you almost the moment you drive into them. It is almost as if all of the hope has been sucked right out of those communities.

Meanwhile, the economic downturn has been incredibly hard on the finances of state and local governments across the United States. Unlike the federal government, state and local governments cannot use the Federal Reserve to play games with their exploding debt burdens. Facing horrific budget deficits, many communities have begun adopting "austerity measures" in an attempt to slow the flow of red ink. All over the nation, deep budget cuts are slashing police departments, fire departments and other basic social services, but it seems like no matter what many of these communities try the debt just keeps growing.

So when you combine economic hopelessness with drastic budget cuts, what you get are hordes of communities from coast to coast that are becoming just like Detroit. In the city of Detroit today, there are over 33,000 abandoned houses, 44 schools have been permanently closed down, the mayor wants to bulldoze one-fourth of the city and you can literally buy a house for one dollar in the worst areas. Many Americans thought that it was funny to make fun of Detroit, but little did they know that what happened there would soon start happening everywhere.