The British government has announced that a chemical compound found in cannabis can be considered medicinal. The compound, known as CBD, does not produce a “high,” but is said to have beneficial effects.
Cannabidiol (CBD) is a cannabinoid which accounts for 40 percent of the marijuana plant’s extract. It does not contain the ‘high-inducing’ psychoactive THC, but is said to have the same health benefits as other forms of cannabis, according to the government’s Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA).
“We have come to the opinion that products containing cannabidiol (CBD) are a medicine,” an MHRA spokesman told The Huffington Post.
The agency found that Cannabidiol has a “restoring, correcting, or modifying” effect on “physiological functions” when administered to humans, The Independent reported. Campaigners claim the compound helps with diseases including cancer, depression, Crohn’s disease, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
MHRA stressed that any future products containing CBD “will have to meet safety, quality and effectiveness standards to protect public health.”
The body’s review of the cannabinoid followed discussions with CBD vaporizer company MediPen.
MediPen’s managing diretor, Jordan Owen, told The Independent that the company has “worked hard to obtain our goal of breaking down the negative connotations surrounding cannabis to lead to a reform in the law for medicinal use… now this is finally becoming a reality.”
It comes less than two months after a report by the All-Party Parliamentary Group of Drug Reform concluded that the refusal to recognize the medicinal value of cannabis is “irrational.” A petition in July 2015 gathered enough signatures to prompt a debate in parliament on the sale, production, and use of cannabis.
Human rights groups warned the United Nations this week that a new British law allowing police to see journalists’ communications could threaten sensitive sources and the freedom of expression.
The English Pen writers association and the freedom of speech group Article 19 told the UN Human Rights Council that the Investigatory Powers Bill would jeopardize journalistic sources, particularly whistleblowers.
The Bill, which has been dubbed the “snooper’s charter” by critics, would allow British intelligence agencies and police to intercept communications between anyone in the country, including mobile phone conversations and internet records such as websites visited.
The Investigatory Powers Bill “remains vague and lacks adequate protections for freedom of expression and privacy, and if enacted will introduce broad powers that threaten to undermine these rights,” a joint letter by the organizations to the UN said.
“There is no upper limit on the number of people whose private communications may be intercepted or whose data may be collected and retained.
“In many instances, anonymity is the precondition upon which information is conveyed by a source to a journalist (or human rights organization). This may be motivated by fear of repercussions which might adversely affect their physical safety or job security. When sources cannot be sure of protection, the public loses its right to know critical information.”
The letter branded such interference with journalists’ private communications “inherently disproportionate.”
Almost 4,000 people have signed a petition launched by the industry magazine Press Gazette demanding UK Home Secretary Amber Rudd guarantee more serious protections for journalists and their sources in the Bill. The call was also supported by several British media groups, the National Union of Journalists and the News Media Association
The Bill is currently at its report stage in the House of Lords, but the English Pen and Article 19 believe it should go back for “fundamental reconsideration” by its authors.
It emerged on Monday that the new shadow attorney general Shami Chakrabarti, who just a few months ago said the Bill needed redrafting, is now planning to abstain on the vote in the Lords.
The opposition Labour Party will not be tabling amendments and is not expected to vote against the new powers.
An Israeli archaeological expert has asserted that there is no relation between the Western Wall of the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound and an ancient Jewish temple, Al Jazeera reported today. This will likely serve to undermine Israeli excavations of the site.
Meir Ben-Dov, an Israeli archaeological expert who is author of many books about Jerusalem and the Temple Mount, further asserted that the Wailing Wall, the Jewish name for the Western Wall, has no sacred significance in the Jewish faith.
In related news, UNESCO members are expected to vote on a resolution that denies Jewish links to the Al-Aqsa Mosque and the Western Wall, known as the Buraq Wall to Muslims, agencies reported on Thursday.
Israeli newspaper Haaretz said that the resolution is expected to pass by a large majority, referring this to the inability of Israeli lobbying to persuade UNESCO members not to support the resolution.
“Israel has made efforts to block the resolution or at least soften it, but succeeded only in swaying the positions of a few member states,” Haaretz stated.
The Palestinian Authority, Egypt, Algeria, Morocco, Lebanon, Oman, Qatar and Sudan pushed the draft resolution forward that declares that Jerusalem is holy for all the three Abrahamic religions of Islam, Christianity and Judaism.
The draft also includes a section that stresses that the Al-Aqsa Mosque is sacred only for the Muslims, referring to it as Al-Haram Al-Sharif, or the Sacred Sanctuary.
In April, UNESCO’s executive board ratified a similar resolution, which was supported by a number of European countries, including France.
However, after a “harsh” telephone call between Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and French President Francois Hollande, France promised not to support any such resolution in the future.
On September 29, 2016, the US Congress passed an act on Justice against Sponsors of Terrorism, overcoming the veto of Barack Obama. Although the act is mainly highlighted in the context of a possible cooling of relations between the US and Saudi Arabia, this story is also connected with yet another attempt to return North Korea to the list of countries supporting terrorism.
On September 14, the subcommittee on the Asia-Pacific region of the House Foreign Affairs Committee of the US Congress held a hearing on this matter, where speeches were given by Bruce Klingner, fellow partner of the American Heritage Foundation, Victor Cha, analyst at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, and other experts who held the appropriate political orientation. Mr.Klingner, now at the Asian Studies Center of the Heritage Foundation, worked in the CIA and the DIA for 20 years, where he also managed the CIA department, which was engaged in the analysis of North Korea during the first round of the nuclear crisis back in 1993. Then, in 1996-2001, he was the Deputy Director of Department of Korea, also in the CIA. Victor Cha is also a well-known conservative and a former employee of the US administration.
Its no wonder that, in the opinion of both experts, “there are no obstacles to placing North Korea back on the list of state sponsors of terrorism as there is plenty of evidence of such activities.” Victor Cha recalled the cyberattack made by North Korean hackers on the US film company Sony Pictures, which caused damage to the company and led to the leakage of information. Klingner went even further – his understanding of terrorist activities includes “threats to ordinary people for political purposes.” This alone appears sufficient for North Korea’s inclusion in the above list of countries, which, according to the official position of the US State Department, support acts of international terrorism.
This time, the experts had the opportunity to present their thesis, but the issue was not resolved in the first attempt, although South Korean media described the process as “the United States making increasing calls for the return of North Korea to the list of countries supporting terrorism. When North Korea was excluded from the list in 2008, many disagreed, but after Pyongyang conducted its 5th nuclear test, the issue was quickly brought back on the table.” However, if these actions bear any fruit, we will gain an impressive example of how the principle of official enemy classification works, where compliance with the formal criteria does not matter.
Normally a “sponsor of terrorism” is a state “assisting international terrorists by supplying weapons, providing bases, shelter or protection from punishment, or financing or organizing their training, provision of intelligence information, and providing other forms of assistance and support.” A more detailed explanation of “supporting terrorism” is as follows:
- Regular supply of weapons, money or other material resources to terrorists, without which their terrorist activity would not be so effective.
- Giving terrorists political support – from information campaigns in their favour to granting territory for training camps or bases, from which a terrorist organization can fight against a third country.
- The leading and guiding role of any political organization as it operates in the direct interest of the said country; it is important to note that in this case we are talking about a direct confirmed link, rather than indirect benefits, when the actions of terrorists simply aid a particular country, but have no control or support.
- Actual terrorist activities undertaken by the state intelligence, should it actually be engaged in terrorism, and not in diversion; these terms are somewhat different, in terms of the “target audience” because in the event of war, a large part of what is called a terrorist attack is regarded as “diversion”, an acceptable part of war aimed at the destruction of the enemy’s military or their property, including behind enemy lines.
Sometimes, in terms of state terrorism, a single situation can be highlighted, in which state intelligence agencies purposefully hunt for dissidents around the world: Again, it should be not a single or “excessive act,” but the systematic and proven practice of political assassinations in the territory of third countries.
As you can see, cyber attacks or vague threats are not included in this list. Thus, the fact that the notorious cyber attack on Sony Pictures as a major reason for inclusion in the list is Very Peculiar indeed.
First, too many experts confirm that the attack was impossible without an insider. Moreover, the author heard news that this insider had already been found and the suggestions of DPRK involvement are based on rather shaky assumptions about the use of certain software.
Second, even if we assume that the attack was mastered by Pyongyang, it was not intended to damage vital facilities. Unlike, for example, the actions of Styxnet, which caused real accidents at work. If North Korean hackers had caused an explosion at a nuclear power plant, or at least a large-scale blackout that incurred victims, destruction and serious economic damage, then this type of cyber-terrorist attack could be called a terrorist attack. But in the case of Sony there was no destruction to important information, the hackers simply dumped what they found online.
Third, if actions similar to the Sony attack are now considered not just hacking, but actually terrorism, then we are faced with a precedent which can be regarded as a double-edged sword. It will mean that the activities undertaken by Assange, Snowden, and the notorious hacks of the second half of 2016 related to the US presidential campaign are all terrorist attacks. Should we now put the United States and a number of other countries on the list of state sponsors of terrorism on the basis of exactly the same logic?
In response to the accusations, supporters of returning the DPRK to the list retaliate by saying that the North was removed from it purely for political reasons, and it is time to simply restore justice. Alas, this argument is also incorrect.
Yes, there were times when North Korean actions could be regarded as a terrorist attack, but even the basic, most well-known stories about it are only half truths. Let’s recall them.
A group of commandos attack the Blue House in 1968 – this is a well-known and proven fact. Just like the failed attempt at a response made by South Korea, which became the plot of the film “Silmido”.
Attempted homicide of Park Chung-hee in 1974, when his wife was killed. There has been no link found between the murderer and North Korean secret services. It is known that he was a Japanese Korean and belonged to a left-wing organization, but the most probable version is a non-affiliated terrorist. Generally, this story has a lot of grey areas linked with how an armed murderer managed to get into the closed session.
Attempted homicide of Chun Doo-hwan in 1983 in Burma – this is a fact. The man detained by the Burmese authorities gave confessions. Incidentally, after that Burma broke off diplomatic relations with North Korea.
The explosion of a South Korean plane in 1987, after which North Korea was put on the list – this is an extremely unclear story. We only have the testimony of a single witness who repented, was amnestied and then disappeared. Conspiracy theories put forward a provocation by the North Korean secret services, another version has it as a Japanese Korean girl from among the terrorists struck a deal with the investigation team and pretended to be a North Korean spy and then gave a politically correct testimony.
After that North Korea has not undertaken any actions that could be construed as terrorist support: North Korea’s involvement in the death of Yi Han-yong remained unconfirmed, and the story of the assassination attempt on Park Sang-hak was basically turned into a spectacle and cast the self-proclaimed “Dissident No.1″ in a bad light when the “specialist with poisoned needles” turned out to be an ordinary acupuncturist.
The answer is simple – the return of North Korea to the list will not only add to the demonization of the country, but also significantly increase the pressure of sanctions, which the opponents of Pyongyang actively strive for. Putting Pyongyang back on the list of state sponsors of terrorism will close off Pyongyang’s access to financial assistance from international organizations such as the IMF and the Asian Development Bank. And this is why the enemies of the DPRK will continue to misuse their own definitions, discrediting the very concept of the fight against state supported terrorist organizations.
Konstantin Asmolov, Ph.D. in History, Chief Research Fellow at the Center for Korean Studies of the Institute of Far Eastern Studies of the Russian Academy of Sciences.
By Brandon Turbeville | Activist Post | September 28, 2016
Throughout the entirety of the Syrian crisis, Western media outlets have misrepresented facts and presented outright lies to their audiences regarding virtually every aspect of the war but, particularly when it comes to specific occurrences used to gin up support for greater Western intervention in Syria, these outlets kick it up a notch, launching flurries of disinformation and misinformation designed to leave imprints of false narratives in the minds of half attentive audiences.
With the recent bombing of an aid convoy in Urm al-Kubra near Aleppo, the Western media (as well as the governments it speaks for) is conflating the convoy that was attacked with a convoy that never actually entered Syria and which appears to have been attacked by America’s rebels. Now, rogue generals within the U.S. military are declaring that the Russians are responsible for the attack despite having no evidence for their claims. In addition, these generals and the Secretary of Defense are saying that, even if the Russians didn’t drop the bombs, the Russians are guilty of attacking the convoy.
Seriously, they actually said that.
Chairman of the Join Chiefs of Staff, Gen. Joe Dunford lobbed the first nonsensical claim to the Senate Armed Services Committee when he stated that “There is no doubt in my mind that the Russians are responsible, we just don’t know whose aircraft dropped the bombs.”
Really? How do you know the Russians bombed a convoy if you admittedly don’t know who dropped the bombs?
Dunford even stated “I don’t have the facts.”
It’s good to know that military policy is decided without facts and that determinations are made regardless of them, isn’t it? Dunford’s statement was essentially “We want to blame the Russians and, regardless of who bombed this convoy, we will blame the Russians. Fuck the facts.”
Yet Secretary of Defense Ashton “Ash” Carter (appropriately named “Ash” since that will be all that is left of the world by the time the U.S. Empire is finished provoking every country in the world including nuclear powers) was not to be outdone by Dunford.
“[The] Russians are responsible for this strike whether they conducted it or not because they associated themselves with the Syrian regime,” he said.
Now, that’s an interesting point. Let’s say for the sake of argument that the Syrian “regime” was “killing its own people,” “bombing civilians,” and “torturing” Syrian civilians as the U.S. government claims it is. To be clear, there is no evidence of any of this but, for the sake of argument, let’s say the alternate universe of the Western corporate media and the State Department is reality for a second. If the Russians are then responsible for the behavior of the Syrian government, wouldn’t the United States be responsible for the behavior of the “rebels” because the U.S. is associating itself with them?
Indeed, by the logic of Ashton Carter (an oxymoronic statement to say the least), the United States is responsible for untold executions, implementation of violent Sharia law, genocide, rape, child molestation, beheadings, torture, and, of course, cannibalism. Ironically, whether we follow the logic of Ashton Carter or not, the end result is the same – the United States is indeed responsible for all of these crimes and more in Syria.
The Russians responded with a slight jab at the U.S. government with Igor Konashenkov stating:
Unlike the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff of the U.S. Armed Forces, we do have the ‘facts’, that is, data of objective control of the aerial situation in Aleppo on Sept. 19. And these facts unequivocally confirm the presence of an American unmanned fighting air vehicle Predator, launched from the Incirlik air base, in the area of the convoy’s passing by Urum al-Kubra.
Unfortunately, Konashenkov must be unaware that the facts don’t matter to the United States government or to the Western corporate media.
If facts mattered, the fact that there is no evidence of Russian or Syrian or any aerial bombardment of the Syrian Red Crescent convoy would be adequately reported. Indeed, evidence that the bombing was an attack against a completely different convoy than what the American media has painted as the actual victim and the fact that the Western-backed terrorists were the most likely culprits would be discussed all over the airwaves right now.
But, of course, if the facts actually mattered, America’s “moderate” rebels would have never been labeled “moderate,” “peaceful,” or “democratic.” Nor would America have armed “rebels” in the first place. Or invaded Libya. Or Iraq. Or Afghanistan. Unfortunately, however, facts and logic are an endangered species in America these days.
Brandon Turbeville – article archive here – is the author of seven books, Codex Alimentarius — The End of Health Freedom, 7 Real Conspiracies, Five Sense Solutions and Dispatches From a Dissident, volume 1 andvolume 2, The Road to Damascus: The Anglo-American Assault on Syria, and The Difference it Makes: 36 Reasons Why Hillary Clinton Should Never Be President.
An American arms dealer, previously indicted for arming Libyan rebels, accused the US of using him as a scapegoat to protect Hillary Clinton. He says the government used his plan to ship weapons to Libya, some of which wound up in terrorists’ hands.
“I would say, 100 percent, I was victimized … to somehow discredit me, to throw me under the bus, to do whatever it took to protect their next presidential candidate,” Marc Turi told Fox News.
He says that he had specifically been targeted by the Obama administration for years. Eventually, he said, he “lost everything – my family, my friends, my business, my reputation.”
Indicted with four felony counts in 2014, Turi’s trial would have start on November 8, but the Department of Justice suddenly dropped charges against him last week.
Turi now says that the abrupt move was not just good luck for him, but rather let the US government avoid unwanted revelations, “especially in this election year.”
“Those transcripts from current as well as former CIA officers were classified,” Turi told Fox’s Catherine Herridge, referring to what would have been the major evidence against the US government. After two years of sparring over the evidence, the DOJ opted to toss out Turi’s case with prejudice.
“If any of these relationships [had] been revealed it would have opened up a can of worms. There wouldn’t have been any good answer for the US government especially in this election year,” he said.
The transcripts Turi referred to reportedly included his email exchange with Chris Stevens, America’s envoy to the Libyan opposition, in 2011. Turi was offering the government to supply Libyan rebels with conventional weapons through Qatar and UAE, to bypass the UN’s ban on direct sales. He called it “a zero footprint scheme.”
However, he told Fox News that he neither ever “shipped anything,” nor “even received the contract.”
“So all I received was an approval for $534 million to support our interests overseas. And it would have been the United States government that facilitated that operation from Qatar and UAE by way of allowing those countries to land their planes and land their ships in Libya,” he said.
Shortly after Turi’s exchange with Stevens, Hillary Clinton wrote in response to her aide Jake Sullivan’s memo, “fyi. the idea of using private security experts to arm the opposition should be considered.”
Turi believes it was not a coincidence that Clinton sent her email that day.
“When you look at this timeline, none of it was a coincidence. It was all strategically managed and it had to come from her own internal circle,” he said.
However, as he also told Fox News, he thinks those emails that contained any information about the weapons programs were deleted by Hillary Clinton and her team.
“It would have gone to an organization within the Bureau of Political Military affairs within the State Department known as PM/RSAT (Office of Regional Security and Arms Transfers.) That’s where you would find Jake Sullivan, Andrew Shapiro and a number of political operatives that would have been intimately involved with this foreign policy,” Turi said.
The email that Clinton sent to Sullivan, dated April, 8, 2011, was declassified and released on May 22, 2015, but that line about “private security experts” was redacted. The Select Committee on Benghazi, however, said it was one of the emails that highlighted “significant investigative questions.”
Nearly two years later, Clinton testified in front of the Senate about the 2012 Benghazi consulate attack, telling Senator Rand Paul (R-Kentucky) that she did not know whether the US was involved in any weapons deals and arms transfers.
“With all the resources that they were throwing at me, I knew there would have to be some type of explanation of the operation that was going terribly wrong in Libya,” Turi said. “It is completely un-American … I was a contractor for the Central Intelligence Agency.”
Turi claims it was Clinton and the State Department that had the lead and people dealing with weapons flowing to Libya and Syria. What’s even more concerning is that, as Turi says, some arms might have ended in the hands of terrorists.
“Some [weapons] may have … [gone]out under control that we had with our personnel over there and the others went to these militia. That’s how they lost control over it,” Turi said. “I can assure you that these operations did take place and those weapons did go in different directions.”
He then did not rule out a possibility that terrorist groups like Al-Qaeda or Ansar al-Sharia and even Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL) could have acquired those weapons.
“All of them, all of them, all of them,” he responded to Fox News.
However, with charges against Turi dropped, it is most likely that emails that could have exposed Clinton’s support for his “zero footprint” plan will remain secret.
“Documents that would have come out would be very embarrassing to the administration,” Daniel McAdams, Executive Director of the Ron Paul Institute for Peace and Prosperity, told RT. “What happened in Libya is that the US was pretending to send weapons to moderates and it ended up that they are all jihadists, all extremists.”
Conn M. Hallinan, a columnist for Foreign Policy in Focus, also said that if Turi’s case ever made it to trial, Clinton’s campaign would be ruined.
“Of course the United States was supplying weapons to the Libyan rebels. It’s very common for the US to use private contractors,” he told RT. “Libya was Hillary Clinton’s operation, she designed the entire Libya operation. That would have been a complete catastrophe and so she has backed herself away from it.”
The Internet has lately been filled with pictures of American military pilots rushing towards US warplanes closely resembling Russia’s Su-34, painted in a recognizable light blue paint scheme that has never been used in the US military, but is routinely used by the Russian Air Force.
But this was not a demonstration of US pilots finally filling the seats of Russian hardware, provoked by the fact that US military contractors failed to deliver a competitive fifth-generation fighter, alas. Though it’s true that the Lockheed Martin F-35 has been a bitter failure riddled by criticism from all sides, including the American “hawk in chief” – Chairman of the United States Senate Committee on Armed Services, John McCain.
Regardless, what we’ve seen in the pictures is the direct implementation of the notorious American “plan B” in Syria, so now pro-American “eye-witnesses” can not simply claim that they’ve witnessed Russia’s involvement in alleged “war crimes” somewhere in Aleppo and other Syrian cities. They would now be able to provide pictures taken with their mobile devices to show the “evidence of criminal Russian activities in Syria.” Somewhere in Washington someone has assumed that the whole world would echo the demands of their obedient British and French client government to hold an “international tribunal regarding Russia’s aggression” after seeing such pictures.
In addition to the United States repainting its warplanes to resemble Russian military livery, it is also fairly obvious that America’s F-18 is fairly similar to the Russian Su-34 in appearance. In fact, only a military expert can tell the difference, but only when pictures are presented in high resolution. The folding wings of the American F-18 can only be seen in on the runway, and as for the vertical stabilizers of the F-18, they are only slightly different from the Russian Su-34.
Thus, if an American jet is to be filmed by somebody’s shaking hands on a smartphone, or even a semi-professional camera, it will be virtually indistinguishable from the Su-34.
The only notable distinguishing marks left on the repainted F-18 is a white star on a dark background. However, it’s tail features the bright red star all of Russian’s military jets bear.
In such circumstances, an American F-18, while being virtually indistinguishable from a Russian jet, can launch, wittingly or unwittingly, a classic false flag attack. The possible targets are plenty: humanitarian convoys, residential areas, or even US military personnel. Should this attack be filmed, Washington will end up having “irrefutable evidence” of “Russian aggression.”
As a matter of fact, Russia is already being accused of such aggression on a daily basis, but the problem is that nobody has seen any convincing evidence of such aggression. Repainting American planes to resemble Russian aircraft may be a solution to this problem.
But it must be pointed out that this attempt to launch a provocation against Russia comes from a very old book of CIA tricks. Back in 1962, during the Cuban missile crisis, Washington was also planning to use repainted aircraft,which would be used to take down a civilian airliner as a pretext for Washington to blame the Cuban Air Force. This story was told by US Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara in the documentary, “The Fog of War.”
But it’s a well-known fact that the US is an empire of lies, and there can be no doubt about that. Therefore, all the statements and actions of the White House should be taken with a grain of salt in order not to be fooled by yet another US-crafted lie.
A Yemeni military source denied on Thursday targeting US warship earlier this week, stressing that Washington uses such allegations as a pretext to escalate the aggression against Yemen.
Earlier on Thursday, the Pentagon announced that the US had bombed three radar sites controlled by Houthi revolutionaries in Yemen after the destroyer USS Mason was targeted by missile fire for the second time in four days.
“Those claims are baseless,” Saba news agency quoted the military source as saying.
“The army and the Popular Committees have nothing to do with this action,” according to the source.
“Such claims aim to create false justifications to step up attacks and to cover up for the continuous crimes committed by the (coalition) aggression against the Yemeni people,” Saba quoted the source as saying.