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4 dead in shooting incident at Pensacola naval base; suspect was Saudi national, officials say - UPDATES

pensacola
© REUTERS / U.S. Navy/Patrick Nichols
The main gate at Naval Air Station Pensacola is seen on Navy Boulevard in Pensacola, Florida, U.S. March 16, 2016. Picture taken March 16, 2016.
Four people are dead including the suspect after an active shooting incident at a naval base in Pensacola, Florida, police said.

The shooter was identified as Mohammed Alshamrani, a Saudi national and member of the country's air force who was in the U.S. for flight training, law enforcement officials familiar with the investigation told ABC News. Investigators are trying to determine whether the shooting was terror-related, the officials said.

Authorities responded to reports of a shooting at Naval Air Station Pensacola at 6:51 a.m. on Friday, officials said. ATF and FBI also responded to the scene.

The shooting took place at one of the classroom buildings on the base, officials said. Officers with the Escambia County Sheriff's Office arrived on the scene and fatally shot the suspect after exchanging gunfire.

Three people, including the shooter, were pronounced dead on scene, police said. One victim was taken to the hospital and died from injuries.

Eight others injured in the shooting were transported to Baptist Hospital, police said. The condition of those victims has not been released.

Comment: Alshamrani allegedly left a manifesto online before the attack, at least according to "SITE Intelligence Group":
SITE, a private organization that monitors and tracks extremist groups' online presence, published the text of the manifesto on Friday. While officials have yet to name the attacker, he was confirmed to be a Saudi military officer stationed at the naval air station for training. Posted on Twitter shortly before the gunman carried out the shooting, the manifesto attacked what it calls an American "war of attrition" waged on Muslims around the world, citing the US drone war and the Guantanamo Bay prison in Cuba, where a number of terrorism suspects face indefinite detention.

"I'm not against you for just being American, I don't hate you because your freedoms," the post begins. "I hate you because every day you [support] funding and committing crimes not only against Muslims but also humanity," the manifesto, attributed to the attacker, read.

The document also takes aim at Washington's unmatched defense spending which, the author argues, only provides "Americans a false sense of security," warning that they won't be "safe" until US troops withdraw from "our lands."
...
The manifesto was released just as the New York Times reported that six Saudi nationals had been detained for questioning at the Pensacola naval base, some of which reportedly filmed the officer's shooting rampage, which injured eight in addition to the fatalities.
Either guys like this don't realize that saying things like this will only have the result of increasing the American establishment's resolve in the Middle East; or they know that's exactly what will happen, and that's why they write such things. Funny how the results of such manifestos align so well with the goals of the people behind SITE Intelligence...

See also: UPDATE (DEC 8)

Alshamrani reportedly hosted a dinner party in the week before the shooting where he played mass shooting videos for his guests:
A U.S. official on December 7 also told AP that the Saudi hosted a dinner party earlier in the week in which he and three others watched videos of mass shootings.

Federal investigators have not disclosed any motive behind the attack, which occurred on December 6 when the Saudi national is said to have opened fire with a handgun inside a classroom at the Naval Air Station Pensacola.

U.S. Defense Secretary Mark Esper said on December 7 that he was not ready to call it an act of terrorism.

Labeling an act by a Saudi national could be a sensitive topic. Sunni Muslim Saudi Arabia is closely allied with the United States, and Washington relies on Riyadh to be a counter to Shi'ite-led regional rival Iran.
...
One of the three students who attended the dinner party videotaped outside the building while the shooting was taking place, a U.S. official told AP on condition of anonymity.

Two other Saudi students watched from a car, the official said. All three are being questioned by investigators.
...
Officials said they have so far found no indications Alshamrani had links to international terrorist groups.
RT adds the following detail:
At least ten Saudi military students were being held at Naval Air Station Pensacola and several more were "unaccounted for" after the Friday shooting that left at least three dead and eight injured, an anonymous US official told AP on Saturday.
The FBI confirmed the shooter's identity:
"The NAS Pensacola shooter is identified as Saudi national Mohammed Alshamrani," the FBI field office in Jacksonville said in a statement on Twitter, accompanying it with a photo of the attacker that has been widely circulated on social media.


The US Navy also released the names of three sailors whose lives were claimed by the gunman as he went on a shooting rampage inside a classroom. All three victims were students of the Naval Aviation Schools Command.


The Navy said that the victims, identified as Ensign Joshua Kaleb Watson, 23, Airman Mohammed Sameh Haitham, 19, and Airman Apprentice Cameron Scott Walters, 21, attempted to neutralize the shooter, noting that "if not for their actions, and the actions of the Naval Security Force that were the first responders on the scene, this incident could have been much worse."
"When confronted, they didn't run from danger; they ran towards it and saved lives."
The FBI, which has been leading the investigation into the incident, said earlier that its Joint Task Force was involved in the process, but fell short of labeling the carnage a terrorist attack. "The shooter's motivation is still being determined," the FBI said on Saturday.
UPDATE (DEC 8) - #2

The FBI is now treating the shooting as an act of terrorism:






Pistol

Family slams police for killing Florida UPS driver carjacked by armed robbers: 'They murdered him'

Frank Ordonez dead UPS truck shootout police florida
© Frank Ordonez / Facebook
Frank Ordonez, taken hostage after his UPS delivery truck was carjacked by robbers and ultimately killed during a police shootout in South Florida.
A violent police response to a botched robbery in Florida has come under fire by one victim's family. The high-speed chase ended in a shootout in which officers gunned down the robbers, but also a hostage and a bystander.

At least 19 officers from five different agencies fired over 200 rounds at the robbers in the intense gun battle on Thursday, after a failed jewelry store holdup led police on a chase spanning several counties in South Florida.

Family members of one of the shootout victims, Frank Ordonez - who was taken hostage when the two thieves commandeered his UPS delivery truck to escape arrest - have been among the most vocal critics of the heavy-handed police response, which saw officers using cars stuck in traffic as cover from gunfire.

Comment: More from ZeroHedge:
As we reported earlier, four people have been confirmed dead, including the robbers and the UPS driver, since identified as 27-year-old Frank Ordonez, who unluckily had been taken hostage on a day he was reportedly filling in for another driver. Some of his own family members are blaming the "trigger happy" Florida police for killing him in their overeagerness to stop the criminals.

An investigation is underway which will also focus on the other innocent bystander that died an unidentified person shot while trapped at the intersection in one of the many surrounding vehicles.

"In addition to the UPS driver - who was on his knees - the innocent bystander was shot while sitting in a car waiting at the stop light in the intersection," CBS4 News in Miami reporter Jim DeFede has confirmed.

"The number of shots fired by the officers is not currently known but my source said it could exceed 200 rounds," he reported. The deceased bystander had been "inside an idle car at the scene."

DeFede concluded that though police were facing a "chaotic situation" it remains that "innocent people are dead" and "questions need to be asked".

A number of online commentators noted the dramatic scene of police immediately rushing into stalled traffic on foot and emptying their weapons in return fire appeared something more from a Hollywood action movie.


Viral video shows the UPS truck stopped amid heavy traffic with bystanders in their vehicles on either side. But the police response is now under criticism given that instead of hanging back and waiting for fewer civilians to be in the line of fire, or even establishing contact through a police negotiator, officers rushed the UPS truck in a blaze of bullets.

Police had the other option of backing off the easily identifiable and trackable large brown UPS truck in order to engage with it in a more open area.

It is as yet unclear whether a police bullet or one of the robbers actually killed Ordonez. But what is clear from overhead video is that some among the responding officers actually hid behind vehicles with bystanders and families in them, who were trying to flee as gunfire rang out.

Though in the initial press conference in the immediate aftermath the issue wasn't raised, national media is beginning to acknowledge the growing public outrage. NPR reports:
Former [U.S. Department] Department of Housing and Urban Development official Brandon Friedman described the shootout as "appalling." He said the department should be held accountable for "choosing to assault the vehicle in the middle of stopped rush hour traffic" and using occupied vehicles as "human shields."
From one of the overhead news chopper videos, one panicked blue SUV is seen attempting to ram its way out of being in the direct line of fire, between the suspects shooting at police and the police themselves.
UPS florida shootout
© CBS
Blue SUV trying to push out of the line of fire.
A family member who set up a GoFundMe page on behalf of the UPS driver victim Frank Ordonez's children and for funeral expenses, which has raised nearly 100,000 in 24 hours, had this to say:
"They [the robbers] kidnapped my brother and took him on a high speed chase, when they came to a stop he was gunned down like a criminal by the Florida police, he didn't deserve to die the way he did..."
The former State Department of Housing and Urban Development official also had this to say of the botched police response: "Here are a few things that those in charge of this disaster should be held accountable for" —
  • Choosing to assault the vehicle
  • Choosing to assault the vehicle in the middle of stopped rush hour traffic
  • Using civilian cars with people *in them* as human shields
Astoundingly, about a half-dozen police are seen crouching behind and shadowing the vehicle for protection despite what appears to be bystanders inside trying to get away.

It is unknown at this point which among the vehicles had an innocent passenger shot and killed, or if it had been a police bullet or gunfire from the robbers inside the UPS truck.

The FBI is currently assisting an investigation into the incident, which involved officers from five different responding departments and agencies, most reportedly from Miami-Dade police department.



Light Saber

'I plan to seek justice': Max Blumenthal vows legal action after US govt drops 'bogus' assault charges against him

Max Blumenthal
© Facebook / Max Blumenthal; Reuters / Carlos Barria
(L) FILE PHOTO: Max Blumenthal; (R) FILE PHOTO: Activists opposed to US-intervention in Venezuela occupy the country's embassy in Washington, DC.
The US government has dropped all charges against Max Blumenthal, after arresting the journalist over a dubious 5-month-old warrant. But the Grayzone editor says the case is far from closed.

Blumenthal was detained for nearly two days after police raided his Washington, DC office in October. The month-old warrant for his arrest listed the journalist as "armed and dangerous," and police carrying out the warrant reportedly threatened to kick down his door.The government's case was based solely on an unsubstantiated claim made by a right-wing Venezuelan opposition activist, Naylet Pacheco, who alleged that Blumenthal and a friend had assaulted her during a protest at the Venezuelan embassy in Washington.

Comment: See also: US government drops case against Max Blumenthal after jailing journalist on false charges


Arrow Down

West Virginia employees suspended after photo emerges of correctional officers' Nazi salute

West Virginia state officials Nazi salute

This photo, released by West Virginia state officials Thursday, depicts most of a training class of roughly 30 correctional officers giving the Nazi salute.
Several West Virginia state employees have been suspended after a photo emerged depicting a training class of roughly 30 correctional officers performing a Nazi salute.

Department of Military Affairs and Public Safety Director Jeff Sandy sent a letter to all employees Wednesday describing the photo as "distasteful, hurtful, disturbing, highly insensitive, and completely inappropriate."

The photo, on state letterhead, shows almost all of Basic Training Class No. 18 displaying the Nazi salute. Text above the photo reads: "HAIL BYRD!"

Palette

Performance art: Banana bandit eats $120,000 'art' installation

David Datuna
© Reuters / Eva Marie Uzcategui
David Datuna shows off the remnants of his $120,000 snack.
A New York-based performance artist strode into a Miami art gallery and ate a banana. The banana, however, was a piece of art, and the slightly overripe fruit was worth a whopping $120,000.

Entitled 'Comedian,' the art installation consisted of a banana duct-taped to a wall, and was on display at Art Basel Miami in an exhibition run by contemporary art gallery Perrotin. According to Artnet, two of three editions have already been sold to two French collectors with the third now priced at $150,000, which will be sold to a museum.

Comment: That last sentence is the truly audacious part of the whole story. That they would admit that there is literally nothing special about the 'art', and that it could be replaced by any old grocery store banana just shows that this art is worthless (on many levels). Modern art is truly a scam and anyone who buys into it is an idiot.

See also:


Info

Bernie Sanders campaign staffer departs after anti-Semitic, other offensive tweets surface: reports

Bernie Sanders
© Associated Press
Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., speaks during a fundraiser for the Nevada Democratic Party, Sunday, Nov. 17, 2019, in Las Vegas.
A newly hired community organizer for the Bernie Sanders presidential campaign has left just days after taking the job - reportedly because some of his past tweets allegedly contained anti-Semitic and homophobic statements, as well as derogatory remarks about women and Asians.

Several of the tweets also reportedly included crude sexual references.

Darius Khalil Gordon had announced Wednesday that he had been named deputy director of constituency organizing for Sanders, the independent U.S. senator from Vermont who is among the top contenders for the Democratic Party's 2020 presidential nomination, the Washington Free Beacon reported.

Comment: It's too bad that Sander's decided to kow-tow to the 'past sins' police on this one. Assuming the old tweets were the reason for the dismissal, Sanders will probably find out the hard way that giving in to the demands of dirt-digging woke gestapo is the complete opposite of how situations like this should be handled. Society has to realize, and make it OK, that people have made mistakes in the past. Not everyone who has made a racist or sexist tweet or comment in the past is an irredeemable bigot.

See also:


Brick Wall

With people in the streets worldwide, media focus uniquely on Hong Kong

NYT hong kong protest

New York Times photo (11/17/19) of Hong Kong protesters with Molotov cocktail.
2019 may be remembered as the year of the protest, as demonstrations are engulfing the world. From the Yellow Vests in France to demonstrations in Lebanon, Gaza, Chile, Ecuador and Haiti, sustained movements all over the planet have taken to the street demanding change. Yet US corporate media have been disproportionately interested in only one: the Hong Kong protests.

As FAIR argued previously (FAIR.org, 10/26/19), this disparity in coverage can largely be explained by understanding who is protesting and what they are protesting against. The unrest in Hong Kong flared up in March in response to a proposed extradition treaty between the island city, the Chinese central government and Taiwan, which many residents feared would be used by Beijing authorities to arrest and persecute opponents of the Chinese state. Thus, the target of Hong Kong's protesting is an official enemy of the US, hence the extent and favorability of the coverage.

FAIR conducted a study of New York Times and CNN coverage of four important protest movements around the world: Hong Kong, Ecuador, Haiti and Chile. Those outlets were chosen for their influence and their reputation as the most important, agenda-setting outlets in the print and television media. Full documentation, including links to all articles in the sample, can be found here. All relevant results to "country+protests" on those outlets' websites were counted, except purely rehosted content, since each protest began. This was March 15 for Hong Kong, October 3 for Ecuador, October 14 for Chile and July 7, 2018, for Haiti. The end date for the study was November 22, 2019.

Comment: See also:


Propaganda

Journalist: Newsweek suppressed OPCW scandal and threatened me with legal action

newsweek opcw scandal
A Newsweek journalist has resigned after the publication reportedly suppressed his story about the ever-growing OPCW scandal, the revelation of immensely significant plot holes in the establishment Syria narrative that you can update yourself on by watching this short seven-minute video or this more detailed video here.

"Yesterday I resigned from Newsweek after my attempts to publish newsworthy revelations about the leaked OPCW letter were refused for no valid reason," journalist Tareq Haddad reported today via Twitter.

"I have collected evidence of how they suppressed the story in addition to evidence from another case where info inconvenient to US government was removed, though it was factually correct," Haddad said. "I plan on publishing these details in full shortly. However, after asking my editors for comment, as is journalistic practice, I received an email reminding me of confidentiality clauses in my contract. I.e. I was threatened with legal action."

Comment: See also:


Document

More than 500 legal scholars sign letter saying Trump committed 'impeachable conduct'

impeachment hearings
More than 500 legal scholars signed on to a letter published Friday accusing President Donald Trump of having "engaged in impeachable conduct" in his dealings in Ukraine.

"There is overwhelming evidence that President Trump betrayed his oath of office by seeking to use presidential power to pressure a foreign government to help him distort an American election, for his personal and political benefit, at the direct expense of national security interests as determined by Congress," they wrote. "His conduct is precisely the type of threat to our democracy that the Founders feared when they included the remedy of impeachment in the Constitution."

The letter comes after four other legal scholars testified at the first House Judiciary Committee impeachment hearing Wednesday, with three of them making the case for impeaching Trump.

Comment: See also:


Stock Down

Japan is again forced to stimulate its troubled economy

Japanese economy Tokyo
Japan faces a wall of debt that can only be addressed by printing more money and debasing its currency. This means they will be paying off their debt with worthless yen where possible and in many cases defaulting on the promises they have made. Japan currently has a debt/GDP ratio of about 250% which is the highest in the industrialized world. With the government financing almost 40 percent of its annual budget through debt it becomes easy to draw comparisons between Greece and Japan. While adding to the markets move higher across the globe the latest move by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe should do little to boost confidence in the small island nation.

Entering the third quarter of 2019 Reuters reported their monthly Tankan survey showed that Japanese manufacturers had again turned pessimistic about business prospects. Confidence in the service sector also plunged. Amid the escalating Sino-U.S. trade war, and problems in China the prospects for a global downturn remain large. Survey results showed the weakest sentiment reading since April 2013. Concerns about weakening global demand intensified after a closely watched bond market indicator pointed to the growing risk of a U.S. recession, and data revealed Germany's economy was in contraction.

Comment: See also: