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Plot Against Occupy: Government entrapment turned five misfits into hapless terrorist cell

Image
© John Ritter, David Maxwell/EPA/Landov
Thunder rumbled and rain pattered on the leaves as Connor Stevens tramped through the darkness down a wooded path to the base of the Brecksville-Northfield High Level Bridge. A sad-eyed 20-year-old poet from the Cleveland suburbs, Stevens was crouched in the foliage, his baby face obscured by a bushy lumberjack's beard. Beside him ducked two friends from Occupy Cleveland - the group that had come to define Stevens and his place in the world - both as gaunt and grungy as Stevens himself. Farther up the trail, Stevens knew, three other comrades were acting as lookouts. Gingerly, the young men opened the two black toolboxes they'd carried down from their van. Inside were eight pounds of C4 explosives.

They were actually going through with it. The six of them were going to blow up a bridge.

That they were on the brink of something so epic was surprising, even to the crew, a hodgepodge of drifters plus a pair of middle-class seekers: quiet Stevens and puppyishly excitable Brandon Baxter, also 20. Anarchists who had grown disenchanted with the Occupy movement, which they considered too conservative, they yearned to make a radical statement of their own - to send a message to corporate America, its corrupt government and that invisible grid underlying it all, the System. They'd joined Occupy Cleveland in the fall, but over the winter they'd waited in vain for the group to pick a direction before finally taking matters into their own hands. For weeks they'd fantasized about the mayhem they'd wreak, puerile talk of stink bombs and spray paint that had anted up to discussion of all the shit they'd blow up if only they could. But the grandiosity of their hopes stood in stark contrast to their mundane routine. They spent their days getting stoned at their Occupy­subsidized commune in a downtown warehouse, squabbling over dish duty and barely making their shifts at the Occupy Cleveland info tent; when they managed to scrounge up a couple of cans of Spaghettios for dinner, it was celebrated as an accomplishment. If not for the help of their levelheaded comrade Shaquille Azir, who at this critical moment stood as lookout, hissing, "How much longer is this gonna take?" the plot might never have come together.

Comment:
How COINTELPRO really works and destroys social movements: Open letter from former Tea Partier to Occupy Wall Street protesters
Case Study on COINTELPRO and Ponerization: Report from an 'Alternative Convention'
FBI Appears to be Unleashing a War of Entrapment Against the Occupy Wall Street Movement
The FBI, Elaborate Entrapment and Hannah Arendt on Secret Police


Padlock

Inhuman: Spanish authorities are locking up trash cans to prevent people from foraging for food

Spain food foraging

In Spain, Freeganism is not a choice
Here's how bad the economic crisis has gotten in Spain, according to the New York Times' Suzanne Daley:
"So pervasive is the problem of scavenging that one Spanish city has resorted to installing locks on supermarket trash bins as a public health precaution."
The need to ask for help is deeply embarrassing, Daley write.

Arrow Down

Exorcism gets everybody killed, female faith healer gets the gallows

Tokyo - Japan hanged two inmates this Thursday September 27th 2012, two months after the last executions took place on August 3rd.
Exorcism
© Japan Subculture.com
Sometimes, you can’t beat the demons out of someone without killing them in the process.
Sachiko Eto, 65, a faith healer and self-professed exorcist, was convicted for murder after the deaths of six believers in Fukushima Prefecture between 1994 and 1995.

According to Japanese media reports and The Associated Press, Sachiko Eto, her daughter and another accomplice had beaten their victims to death, using thick drumsticks designed for the Japanese 太鼓 (Taiko) and other blunt instruments. The beating were to "drive out demons hiding in their bodies" and conducted in her home.

At least one of the exorcism (悪魔払い)was apparently motivated by Ms. Eto's decision that the the victim was sleeping with Ms. Eto's lover. Another victim was "exorcised" after refusing to loan Ms. Eto money. There were also questions as to the vanishing of her husband in 1992, before she became a spiritual leader.

She was convicted on four counts of murder, and two counts of assault resulting in death. She was hanged this Thursday morning in Sendai detention center. At this point in the time, while Ms. Eto was blessed with magical powers, she has not successfully resurrected herself.

Sachiko Eto is reportedly the first female in Japan to be executed in more than 15 years. Her daughter and the other accomplice have both been sentenced to life in prison.

Pistol

Police: Shooter among 'several' dead in Minnesota


Minneapolis -- Officials say a shooter who opened fired inside a Minneapolis sign company is among 'several' people killed in the shooting.

Minneapolis Police Deputy Chief Kris Arneson says she can't immediately confirm how many people were killed in the shooting Thursday at Accent Signage Systems.

Arneson says the shooter died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound.

She told an evening news conference outside the company that there are "several victims inside that are dead." Pressed to say how many, Arneson said police still were investigating and refused.

Police had earlier said at least two people had been killed and four others wounded in the shooting.

Stormtrooper

New York police arrests Mona Eltahawy for 'defacing' an anti-Muslim poster

Eltahawy
© Observer
Eltahawy said she was held for 22 hours, longer that her detention in Egypt during the Arab Spring
Prominent Egyptian-American writer and activist Mona Eltahawy has been released from police custody after being arrested in New York on Tuesday for spray painting a subway poster that equates Muslims with "savages".

Eltahawy was charged with criminal mischief after she painted over a poster that read: "In any war between the civilized man and the savage, support the civilized man" and "Support Israel. Defeat Jihad."

The anti-Muslim American Freedom Defense Initiative paid for the posters that are in 10 New York subway stations. A US court ruled the statements are "political" and protected by the first amendment's guarantee for free speech.

Journalist Robin Morgan and Eltahawy tweeted information on the progress of her arrest throughout the night and Wednesday morning as she waited to appear before a judge.

Earlier Tuesday, Eltahawy said she was planning to spray paint the signs and expressed no regret following her release:

Mona tweeter

Comment: Read also: Prominent US-Egyptian columnist alleges police sexually abused her in detention


Attention

Syria exodus massive

Image
© Unknown
The number of refugees fleeing Syria could reach 700,000 by the end of the year, the UN refugee agency said on Thursday, almost four times its previous forecast. Most faced what was likely to be a bitterly cold winter living in tents with little prospect of returning to their homeland, it said.

About 294,000 refugees fleeing 18 months of conflict in Syria have crossed into four neighbouring countries - Jordan, Iraq, Lebanon and Turkey - or await registration there, it said.

"This is a significant outflow taking place, 100,000 people in August, 60,000 in September and at the moment 2,000 or 3,000 per day or night," Panos Moumtzis, regional refugee co-ordinator for the UN refugee agency UNHCR, told a news briefing.

About 5,000-6,000 Syrians have reached other parts of north Africa, mainly Egypt, while other refugees are turning up in southern Europe, including Cyprus and Greece, he said.

The previous forecast of 185,000 refugees was surpassed in August.

Arrow Down

"Bagel Head" trend is the newest fashion sensation

Tattoos, body piercings and implants have become the norm in today's society. However the newest trend in body alteration is "bagel head," which refers to a saline injection to an individual's forehead that is molded to resemble a bagel.

The new trend is created by injecting 400 cc of saline into the forehead until it swells up and then pressing the center of the swollen area in with a thumb. The results would reflect the appearance of bagel-like shaped bread stuck to an individual's head.


The process may take up to two hours to administer the saline injections. When the forehead is fully saturated with saline, the practitioner administering the saline then uses his or her thumb to form the shape of a bagel. This particular modification can last anywhere from 16 to 24 hours, when the saline is absorbed by the body, before an individual's forehead returns to normal.

Alarm Clock

Texas district expands corporal punishment policy

Jada Watt, a 16-year-old high school student
© Associated Press
Jada Watt, a 16-year-old high school student, shows a civil ticket
Springtown - Like many schools in Texas, "spare the rod and spoil the child" might be considered the motto at Springtown High School.

But when two teenage girls there reportedly suffered bruises after being paddled by male assistant principals, some parents complained. They weren't upset about the punishment itself, but instead that the school violated the policy requiring an educator of the same sex as the student to dole out the paddling.

So the school district has changed its policy - to expand, not abolish, corporal punishment. Board members voted Monday night to let administrators paddle students of the opposite sex, after Superintendent Michael Kelley cited a lack of women administrators to carry out spankings.

The new policy says a same-gender school official must witness the paddling, which is just one "swat," and that parents also can request one spanking per semester. In all cases, a parent must give written permission and request it in lieu of another punishment, such as suspension or detention.

Bad Guys

Mitt Romney Helped Monsanto's Toxic Takeover of the World

Image
© Romney: Chris Devers/WikiMedia Commons; Corn: Africa Studio/Shutterstock
Today, Monsanto looms over the global ag landscape like a colossus. It is the globe's largest seed purveyor - and its dominant vendor of genetically modified traits. How dominant? Here's NPR on the company's mastery over the US GMO market: "More than 9 out of 10 soybean seeds carry [Monsanto's] Roundup Ready trait. It's about the same for cotton and just a little lower for corn." It also sells nearly $1 billion worth of herbicides every three months.

But for all its clout, Monsanto is a relatively new player in the Big Ag game. While fellow ag giants like ADM, Cargill, Bunge, and BASF have been in the game for a century or more, as recently as the late 1970s Monsanto was known mostly as a chemical company; herbicides were a relatively small sideline, and genetically modified seeds were just the gleam in the eye of a few scientists in the R&D department. And its flagship chemical business had plunged into crisis. In 1976, Congress banned the highly toxic industrial coolant PCB - the US production of which Monsanto had enjoyed what the Washington Post called a "lucrative four-decade monopoly." According to the Post, Monsanto had been actively covering up the dangers of PCB exposure for years before the ban, opening the company to a thicket of lawsuits. To make matters worse, the company had also been heavily invested in the toxic pesticide DDT (banned in 1972) and the infamous Vietnam War defoliant Agent Orange - both of which carried their own legal and public-relations liabilities.

How did Monsanto pivot from teetering, scandal-ridden chemical giant to mighty high-tech (though still quite controversial) agribiz firm? As the veteran investigative reporter (and Mother Jones contributor) Wayne Barrett shows in a new Nation article, a young consultant called Mitt Romney helped push the firm on its highly lucrative new path.

Dollar

USA Harvest Founder Charged With Looting Charity

Stan Curtis

USA Harvest founder Stan Curtis
The founder of charity group USA Harvest, which has ties to celebrities Scarlett Johansson, Hillary Duff, the Goo Goo Dolls and Green Day has been charged by the Justice Department with stealing more than $553,000 from the organization.

Hugh "Stan" Curtis, the founder of USA Harvest, has been charged by the US Attorney's Office in Kentucky with mail fraud, money laundering and filing false income tax returns with the Internal Revenue Service.

Curtis allegedly stole over $180,000 between September 2005 and September 2007 of donations that he solicited on behalf of the organization-a tax-exempt charity. The theft included some large donations meant for the USA Harvest. According to the criminal charges Curtis allegedly deposited checks into his bank account for the charity that included a $20,000 and a $25,000 check from donors.

The charity provides food and meals for individuals in need by partnering with restaurants, hospitals to get leftover food to soup kitchens and food banks. According to the USA Harvest website, which highlights their ties with celebrities such as Johansson, the charity works with 5,400 agencies to provide food and notes that they have provided over 437 billion pounds of food to organizations since their founding in 1989.