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Palestinian Authority shows its ‘authoritarian’ face through Cyber Crimes Law

Ma’an – August 22, 2017

BETHLEHEM – Palestinian prisoners’ rights group Addameer has joined a growing chorus opposition to the Palestinian Authority (PA) — which the NGO described as “an ever increasingly authoritarian regime” — for a new far-reaching law that effectively criminalizes “any form of digital dissent.”

The decree, issued by Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas on June 24, has been described by rights groups as “draconian” and “the worst law in the PA’s history,” for imposing jail time, hard labor, and fines for creating, publishing, and sharing information deemed dangerous by the PA.

In a statement last last week, the leftist PLO faction the Palestinian Front for the Liberation of Palestinian (PFLP) called the law “a repressive tool” against all who disagree, oppose, and “confront the misdeeds” of the PA.

The PFLP said the law’s passage came as “the (Israeli) occupation is waging a frantic campaign against journalists, including prosecutions, arrests and attacks, sometimes amounting to direct physical targeting leading to the death and injury of dozens of journalists,” and that that PA “is seeking to prosecute and arrest the same journalists.”

In detailed breakdown of the new law published Sunday, Addameer, which provides legal support to Palestinian political prisoners held by Israel and the PA, explained that the vague and far-reaching law could mean prison time, hard labor, and/or hundreds of dollars in fines for journalists, leakers, meme-sharers, and someone “watching Game of Thrones using a VPN.”

“The most troubling aspects of this document are its vague definitions of what constitutes a punishable offence, its extension of punishment to any individual who assists or agrees with what the decree considers a felony, and the clear attacks on dissenters, journalists, and leakers,” the prisoners’ rights group explained.

Addameer slammed the law for using quasi-legitimate restrictions on hacking and internet fraud as legal camouflage for serious curtailments of privacy and freedom of expression.

While the rights group said there was a “kernel of truth” that such a decree was needed to combat hackers and fraudsters, “it by no means represents a ‘necessity’ as stipulated in the Basic Law.”

Palestinian Basic Law says that presidential decrees may only be issued in a “time of necessity, if the situation is urgent enough as to not be able to wait until the next sitting of the Palestinian Legislative Council,” according to Addameer.

Since Hamas won parliamentary elections in 2006, the Palestinian Legislative Council has not convened in Ramallah, meaning that Abbas, who extended his presidency indefinitely in 2009, has been ruling solely by decree for a decade.

Prison time, fines, or both

The law mandates that “any person who…has abused any information technology” can face imprisonment, a fine 200 to 3,000 Jordanian dinars, or both. If the alleged offence affects government data, a minimum sentence of five years of hard labor and a minimum fine of 5,000 Jordanian dinars ($7,070) is called for, Addameer said.

This clause, according to Addameer, is clearly directed at journalists and leakers, though such “abuse” is undefined and open to interpretation.

A person who threatens to commit a felony or an undefined “immoral act” on the internet also faces temporary hard labor.

Anyone who creates or shares content that “infringes on public morals” faces a minimum one-year sentence or a minimum fine of 1,000 Jordanian dinars capped at 5,000 dinars ($7,070), or both.

The greatest threat to press freedoms in the law, Addameer said, is an article that punishes “anyone who creates or manages a website or an information technology platform that aims to publish news that would endanger the integrity of the Palestinian state, the public order or the internal or external security of the State” with a fine between $1,414 and $7,070 or at least a year of jail time, or both.

Anyone who shares such content would also be punished with a maximum one-year prison sentence or fine of between 200 Jordanian dinars ($283) and 1,000 dinars ($1414), or both.

“Something as simple as a share on Facebook could result in a fine, jail time, or both. The decree even goes as far as to criminalize the use of any means to bypass the blocking of certain websites, such as a VPN,” Addameer said.

The decree also demands website providers comply with the PA to block certain websites, enshrines the right for the PA to seize equipment allegedly used in cyber crime felonies, and allows the PA to monitor anyone’s communications and data for a renewable period of 15 days with magistrate’s court approval. Violators of these clauses can expect hard labor or temporary hard labor.

“In essence, besides the infringement on freedom of the press, the PA can now imprison and fine individuals for a Facebook share, watching Game of Thrones using a VPN, making an ‘offensive’ meme, posting a tweet against certain policies, or asserting political allegiances,” Addameer said.

2 known instances of law being used so far

Addameer said that the PA has already used the law to curtail press freedoms and freedom of expression at least twice.

Most recently, five journalists were arrested and accused of “leaking information to hostile entities,” and four others were also questioned. Initial claims said the arrests were not related to the decree, but the prosecutor later cited the law as the reason for their arrest.

The journalists were held for five days and were made to agree to a 1,000 dinar bond, the amount stipulated in the decree. “It is unclear if charges will be further pursued but, at this point, none have been officially issued,” according to Addameer.

The journalists, barring one freelancer, all worked for news outlets that were blocked by the PA in mid-August. The majority of the 30 affected sites were affiliated to PA rivals Hamas and discharged Fatah member Muhammad Dahlan, with a few others being associated with so-called Islamic State.

“The fact that these websites are run by political rivals to the current ruling faction of the PA indicates that that these laws are being and, will continue to be used, to stifle free speech, legitimate decent (sic), and discussions regarding the state of politics in Palestine,” Addameer said.

Despite not being detained under the decree, Addameer also cited the arrest of Palestinian Today journalist Jihad Barakat, as a violation of press freedoms since the law was enacted. He was detained for filming Palestinian Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah being searched by Israeli soldiers at a checkpoint.

Barakat was charged for a range of offenses, including panhandling, for which he will stand trial in the PA court system in September.

Addameer reminded the PA of its obligations under a number of human rights conventions the decree violates regarding freedom of expression, to which the Ramallah-based government has committed.

“Despite the ‘Electronic Crimes Law’ using the language of ‘national security,’ the decree itself is clearly contrary to the spirit of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. The fact that the limits on free speech have been applied to opposition voices, and critical journalists, is more than enough to conclude that the PA is currently in violation of their international commitments,” the prisoners’ rights group affirmed.

“Furthermore, Addameer urges that the Palestinian Authority must abide by the conventions to which it is a party, especially considering the ongoing deteriorating human rights situation in the occupied Palestinian territories.”

August 22, 2017 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Full Spectrum Dominance | , | Leave a comment

Another Palestinian, an American Citizen, Deported. No Homeland.

By Barbara Nimri Aziz | Radio Tahrir | August 20, 2017

Rasmea Odeh is either on an airplane out of her country. Or she’s in a federal holding cell in Detroit or New York awaiting deportation from the USA.

Odeh’s departure marks the end of a bizarre life, one that can evoke admiration. As a young Palestinian, Odeh fought against Israeli oppression. Now after a valiant legal battle in this country, her new homeland, she is departing (by force).

Some Americans may recall with satisfaction their support for Russian dissidents in the 1950s and 1960s when the Soviet Union exiled its critics. If they were not sent to Siberia, opponents of the USSR were denied residence in their homeland, involuntarily banished. However much the US and UK welcomed them and even lionized them, banishment is a hard punishment to bear. Today’s Russia no longer metes out such penalties; which is not to say Russia is completely tolerant of dissent.

In the US, one hardly hears of Americans being banished from these hallowed shores. However rare, it does occur. Often Palestinian Americans are the target of this injustice, with Israeli authorities (somehow, usually) involved in legal cases brought against those Palestinians in U.S. courts.

Perhaps the most widely publicized case is that of Professor Sami Al-Arian. Starting in 1993, after a long, noble struggle against false accusations, years in jail, support from an international campaign determinedly led by his own family, continued harassment from the US government, Al-Arian finally succumbed and left the country in 2015. Before him, his associate Mazen Al-Najjar also spent years attempting to secure justice before he too was deported. [I myself interviewed both men on several occasions between 1993 and 2003 on Radio Tahrir (www.RadioTahrir.org), WBAI, 99.5 fm. While Al-Arian’s case is well documented, Al-Najjar’s history is almost completely scrubbed from the public record.] Both men were brave advocates for US justice and for Palestinian rights.

Rasmea Odeh’s treatment is a troubling reminder that this happens to US citizens who have never committed a crime in this country and never threatened anyone in the US.

Odeh is the latest Palestinian banished from this country. Now 69, she moved to the US (where her father resided) and settled in the Chicago area in the 1990’s. She was pressed to leave her home in the Occupied Territories like countless Palestinians over the past half century, dispossessed people who lost homes, family and hope. They left under duress in search of peace and dignity.

In 1994 Odeh applied for an immigration visa, later for US citizenship. Unlike many immigrants, she dared to become a community leader. Any immigrant, whatever their background, who arrives here quickly learns to keep their head down and their mouth shut—civil rights-be-damned. Just join the American dream for a job and a house.

The long arm of Israeli injustice followed Odeh however, and perhaps because of her visibility, her history with Israeli authorities was disclosed. (Many years earlier, Odeh was convicted for involvement in an attack on Israelis. She was released in a prisoner exchange after serving ten years.) Her American crime? She’d failed to report that conviction in her immigration application, a serious oversight. So when her history came to light in 2013, US authorities brought a charge of “immigration fraud” against Odeh. In her defense a major campaign was launched, and in 2015 the conviction was set aside. Forces determined to destroy her stepped up the attack however and she faced yet another trial, set for May 2017. Although there was considerable public support for her, in March Rasmea’s defense team advised a plea deal. She would serve no jail time, but her citizenship was revoked and she’d be deported. Thus the court’s announcement last week of her removal.

While this conclusion was hardly noted in the regular US press, the Jewish press, in USA and in Israel, hailed the decision, using the news to highlight her 1969 terrorism conviction and to draw attention to a ubiquitous threat of Palestinian terrorism.

Such tactics are part of the ever present Israeli campaign coursing through US culture, a threat that smothers dissent, intimidates and drives academics out of the universities, and in response to the success of the BDS movement, is pressing ahead with S. 720– a bill in the US Congress, to prohibit Americans who will not countenance Israeli injustice– from participating in any boycott of Israeli products and institutions.

All the more reason to support vocal critics, including journalists, and American community leaders like Linda Sarsour

There will always be funds for shelter-less and malnourished children in refugee camps. Today, in the face of stepped up Israeli surveillance and political pressures, immense courage in needed to pursue justice for Palestine and free speech on behalf of their rights. Many Americans (including journalists), nameless and known figures–Arabs and non-Arabs— have moved into obscurity after years of threats and intimidation. Somehow new champions emerge to continue a just cause.

 

August 22, 2017 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Full Spectrum Dominance, Subjugation - Torture, Timeless or most popular | , , , | Leave a comment

Freedom for the Speech We Hate: The Legal Ins and Outs of the Right to Protest

By John W. Whitehead | Rutherford Institute | August 22, 2017

“If there is any principle of the Constitution that more imperatively calls for attachment than any other, it is the principle of free thought — not free thought for those who agree with us but freedom for the thought that we hate.”— Supreme Court Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes

There was a time in this country, back when the British were running things, that if you spoke your mind and it ticked off the wrong people, you’d soon find yourself in jail for offending the king.

Reacting to this injustice, when it was time to write the Constitution, America’s founders argued for a Bill of Rights, of which the First Amendment protects the right to free speech. James Madison, the father of the Constitution, was very clear about the fact that he wrote the First Amendment to protect the minority against the majority.

What Madison meant by minority is “offensive speech.”

Unfortunately, we don’t honor that principle as much as we should today. In fact, we seem to be witnessing a politically correct philosophy at play, one shared by both the extreme left and the extreme right, which aims to stifle all expression that doesn’t fit within their parameters of what they consider to be “acceptable” speech.

There are all kinds of labels put on such speech—it’s been called politically incorrect speech, hate speech, offensive speech, and so on—but really, the message being conveyed is that you don’t have a right to express yourself if certain people or groups don’t like or agree with what you are saying.

Hence, we have seen the caging of free speech in recent years, through the use of so-called “free speech zones” on college campuses and at political events, the requirement of speech permits in parks and community gatherings, and the policing of online forums.

Clearly, this elitist, monolithic mindset is at odds with everything America is supposed to stand for.

Indeed, we should be encouraging people to debate issues and air their views. Instead, by muzzling free speech, we are contributing to a growing underclass of Americans—many of whom have been labeled racists, rednecks and religious bigots—who are being told that they can’t take part in American public life unless they “fit in.”

Remember, the First Amendment acts as a steam valve. It allows people to speak their minds, air their grievances and contribute to a larger dialogue that hopefully results in a more just world. When there is no steam valve to release the pressure, frustration builds, anger grows and people become more volatile and desperate to force a conversation.

The attempt to stifle certain forms of speech is where we go wrong.

In fact, the U.S. Supreme Court has held that it is “a bedrock principle underlying the First Amendment…that the government may not prohibit the expression of an idea simply because society finds the idea offensive or disagreeable.” For example, it is not a question of whether the Confederate flag represents racism but whether banning it leads to even greater problems, namely, the loss of freedom in general.

Along with the constitutional right to peacefully (and that means non-violently) assemble, the right to free speech allows us to challenge the government through protests and demonstrations and to attempt to change the world around us—for the better or the worse—through protests and counterprotests.

As always, knowledge is key.

The following Constitutional Q&A, available in more detail at The Rutherford Institute (www.rutherford.org), is a good starting point.

Q:        WHAT LAWS GIVE ME THE RIGHT TO PROTEST?

A:         The First Amendment prohibits the government from “abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.” Protesting is an exercise of these constitutional rights because it involves speaking out, by individual people or those assembled in groups, about matters of public interest and concern.

Q:        WHERE CAN I ENGAGE IN PROTEST ACTIVITY?

A:         The right to protest generally extends to places that are owned and controlled by the government, although not all government-owned property is available for exercising speech and assembly rights. However, beyond public or government property, a person cannot claim a First Amendment right to protest and demonstrate on property that is privately owned by someone else. This also applies to private property that is generally open to the public, such as a shopping mall or shopping center, although these areas sometimes allow demonstrations and other free speech activity with permission from the owner. You are also entitled to engage in protest activities on land you own.  The Supreme Court has ruled that the government may not forbid homeowners from posting signs on their property speaking out on a political or social issue.

Q:        WHAT ARE MY RIGHTS TO PROTEST IN A TRADITIONAL PUBLIC FORUM?

A:         Places historically associated with the free exercise of expressive activities, such as streets, sidewalks and parks, are traditional public forums and the government’s power to limit speech and assembly in those places is very limited. The government may not impose an absolute ban on expression and assembly in traditional public forums except in circumstances where it is essential to serve a compelling government interest.  However, expression and assembly in traditional public forums may be limited by reasonable time, place and manner regulations. Examples of reasonable regulations include restrictions on the volume of sound produced by the activity or a prohibition on impeding vehicle and pedestrian traffic.  To be a valid time, place and manner regulation, the restriction must not have the effect of restricting speech based on its content and it must not be broader than needed to serve the interest of the government.

Q:        CAN I PICKET AND/OR DISTRIBUTE LEAFLETS AND OTHER TYPES OF LITERATURE ON PUBLIC SIDEWALKS?

A:         Yes, a sidewalk is considered a traditional public forum where you can engage in expressive activities, such a passing out literature or speaking out on a matter of public concern. In exercising that right, you must not block pedestrians or the entrances to buildings. You may not physically or maliciously detain someone in order to give them a leaflet, but you may approach them and offer it to them.

Q:        CAN MY FREE SPEECH BE RESTRICTED BECAUSE OF WHAT I SAY, EVEN IF IT IS CONTROVERSIAL?

A:         No, the First Amendment protects speech even if most people would find it offensive, hurtful or hateful. Speech generally cannot be banned based upon its content or viewpoint because it is not up to the government to determine what can and cannot be said. A bedrock principle of the First Amendment is that the government may not prohibit expression of an idea because society finds it offensive or disagreeable. Also, protest speech also cannot be banned because of a fear that others may react violently to the speech.  Demonstrators cannot be punished or forbidden from speaking because they might offend a hostile mob. The Supreme Court has held that a “heckler’s veto” has no place in First Amendment law.

Q:        HOW DO THESE RIGHTS APPLY TO PUBLIC PLACES I TYPICALLY VISIT?

A:         Your rights to speak out and protest in particular public places will depend on the use and purpose of the place involved.  For example, the lobbies and offices of public buildings that are used by the government are generally not open for expressive activities because the purpose of these buildings is to carry out public business. Protesting would interfere with that purpose.  Ironically, the meetings of a governmental body, such as a city council or town board, are not considered public forums open for protest activities because the purpose of the meeting is generally to address public business that is on the agenda.  However, some government councils and boards set aside a time at the meeting when the public can voice their complaints.

The grounds of public colleges and universities are generally considered available for assembly and protest by students and other members of the institution’s community.  However, those who are not students, faculty or staff of the institution may be denied access to the campus for speech and protest activities under rules issued by the school.

Public elementary and secondary school grounds also are not considered places where persons can engage in assembly and protest.  However, students at these schools do not lose their right to free speech when they enter the school. The First Amendment protects the right of students to engage in expressive acts of protest, such as wearing armbands to demonstrate opposition to a war, that are not disruptive to the school environment.

Q:        DO I NEED A PERMIT IN ORDER TO CONDUCT A PROTEST?

A:         As a general rule, no. A person is not required to obtain the consent or permission of the government before engaging in activities that are protected by the First Amendment.  One of the main reasons for that constitutional provision was to forbid any requirement that citizens obtain a license in order to speak out.  The government cannot require that individuals or small groups obtain a permit in order to speak or protest in a public forum.

However, if persons or organizations want to hold larger rallies and demonstrations, they may be required by local laws to obtain a permit.  The Supreme Court has recognized that the government, in order to regulate competing uses of public forums, may impose a permit requirement on those wishing to hold a parade or rally.  Government officials cannot simply prohibit a public assembly according to their discretion, but the government can impose restrictions on the time, place, and manner of peaceful assembly, provided that constitutional safeguards are met. Such time, place and manner restrictions can take the form of requirements to obtain a permit for an assembly.

Whether an assembly or demonstration requires a permit depends on the laws of the locality.  A permit certainly is required for any parade because it would involve the use of the streets and interfere with vehicle traffic. A permit to hold an event in other public places typically is required if the gathering involves more than 50 persons or the use of amplification.

Q:        DO COUNTER-DEMONSTRATORS HAVE FREE SPEECH RIGHTS?

A:         Yes, they do. Just because counter-demonstrators oppose you and the viewpoint of your demonstration does not mean they have any less right to speak out and demonstrate. However, the same rules apply to counter-demonstrators as apply to the original assembly. The group cannot be violent and must assemble and protest in an appropriate place and manner.

Q:        WHAT CAN’T I DO IN EXERCISING MY RIGHTS TO PROTEST?

A:         The Supreme Court of the United States has held that the First Amendment protects the right to conduct a peaceful public assembly. The First Amendment does not provide the right to conduct a gathering at which there is a clear and present danger of riot, disorder, interference with traffic on public streets or other immediate threat to public safety. Laws that prohibit people from assembling and using force or violence to accomplish unlawful purposes are permissible under the First Amendment.

Q:       AM I ALLOWED TO CARRY A WEAPON OR FIREARM AT A DEMONSTRATION OR PROTEST?

A:         Your right to have a weapon with you when you protest largely depends on what is allowed by state law and is unlikely to be protected by the First Amendment’s guarantee to freedom of speech. Not all conduct can be considered “speech” protected by the First Amendment even if the person engaging in the conduct intends to express an idea. Most courts have held that the act of openly carrying a weapon or firearm is not expression protected by the First Amendment.

The right to possess a firearm is protected by the Second Amendment, and all states allow carrying a concealed weapon in public, although most require a permit to do so. Some states allow persons to openly carry firearms in public. However, it is not yet settled whether the Second Amendment guarantees the right to possess a firearm in public. Thus, the right to carry a firearm at a demonstration or protest is a matter that depends on what is allowed under state law. Carrying other weapons, such as stun guns, which are not firearms also is subject to restrictions imposed by state law. Possession of weapons also may be prohibited in certain places where demonstrations might take place, such as a national park.

Even if possession of weapons is allowed, their presence at demonstrations and rallies can be intimidating and provocative and does not help in achieving a civil and peaceful discourse on issues of public interest and concern. Demonstrations often relate to issues raising strong feelings among competing groups, and the presence of counter-demonstrators makes conflict likely.  In these situations, where the purpose of the gathering is to engage in speech activities, firearms and other weapons are threatening, result in the suppression of speech and are contrary to the purpose of the First Amendment to allow all voices to be heard on matters of public importance.

Q:        WHAT CAN’T THE POLICE DO IN RESPONDING TO PROTESTERS?

A:         In recent history, challenges to the right to protest have come in many forms. In some cases, police have cracked down on demonstrations by declaring them “unlawful assemblies” or through mass arrests, illegal use of force or curfews. Elsewhere, expression is limited by corralling protesters into so-called “free-speech zones.” New surveillance technologies are increasingly turned on innocent people, collecting information on their activities by virtue of their association with or proximity to a given protest. Even without active obstruction of the right to protest, police-inspired intimidation and fear can chill expressive activity and result in self-censorship. All of these things violate the First Amendment and are things the police cannot do to censor free speech. Unless the assembly is violent or violence is clearly imminent, the police have limited authority under the law to shut down protesters.

Clearly, as evidenced by the recent tensions in Charlottesville, Va., we’re at a crossroads concerning the constitutional right to free speech.

As Benjamin Franklin warned, “Whoever would overthrow the liberty of a nation must begin by subduing the freeness of speech.”

It must be emphasized that it was for the sake of preserving individuality and independence that James Madison, the author of the Bill of Rights, fought for a First Amendment that protected the “minority” against the majority, ensuring that even in the face of overwhelming pressure, a minority of one—even one who espouses distasteful viewpoints—would still have the right to speak freely, pray freely, assemble freely, challenge the government freely, and broadcast his views in the press freely.

This freedom for those in the unpopular minority constitutes the ultimate tolerance in a free society. Conversely, as I make clear in my book Battlefield America: The War on the American People, when we fail to abide by Madison’s dictates about greater tolerance for all viewpoints, no matter how distasteful, the end result is always the same: an indoctrinated, infantilized citizenry that marches in lockstep with the governmental regime.

Some of this past century’s greatest dystopian literature shows what happens when the populace is transformed into mindless automatons. For instance, in George Orwell’s 1984, Big Brother does away with all undesirable and unnecessary words and meanings, even going so far as to routinely rewrite history and punish “thoughtcrimes.”

Where we stand now is at the juncture of OldSpeak (where words have meanings, and ideas can be dangerous) and Newspeak (where only that which is “safe” and “accepted” by the majority is permitted). The power elite has made their intentions clear: they will pursue and prosecute any and all words, thoughts and expressions that challenge their authority.

This is the final link in the police state chain.

If ever there were a time for us to stand up for the right to speak freely, even if it’s freedom for speech we hate, the time is now.

August 22, 2017 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Full Spectrum Dominance, Timeless or most popular | , | Leave a comment

TSA facial biometric body scanners and government watchlists being used in train stations

MassPrivatel | August 22, 2017

The TSA is winning the war on Americans minds as commuters are being tricked into giving away their rights without a fight.

The above video warns that facial recognition body scanners are coming to a train station near you…

Soon you might have to pass through one of these to get to your train or subway.”

Last week, the TSA  Los Angeles Metropolitan Transportation Authority ‘voluntarily’ asked commuters to walk through facial recognition body scanners before being allowed to board a train.

If you watched the video you might have noticed that the mass media (CBS) did not interview a single person who was concerned about their privacy. Instead, they quoted passengers who think body scanners are a good thing.

Nothing suspicious about that, right?

CBS warned that if the LA Metro installs the body scanners next year, commuters won’t be able to opt-out. 

According to an article in the LA Times, the LA Metro has begun piloting biometric body scanners that send short-wave radio frequencies through commuters bodies to search for bombs and weapons.

A ‘pilot program’ is really a government euphemism for gauging the public’s response to another intrusive police search.

Bill Gates bankrolled high speed body scanners

According to an article in ‘The Guardian’, the start-up company Evolv Technology is pilot testing high speed body scanners at the Los Angeles’s Union Station, Union Station in D.C., and the Denver international airport.

Evolv has taken a page right out of the TSA playbook citing safety concerns and fear of terror to justify their usage.

Evolv CEO Michael Ellonbogen said, “I think we need to change our entire take on physical security and knit it into the flow of our daily lives”.

“It’s an unfortunate trend, but physical security is morphing and the problem is worsening”, said Lux Capital’s Bilal.

Corporations are using Americans fears of terror to make huge profits.

Evolv stands to make hundreds of millions of dollars if commuter train stations install their body scanners. A single scanner will cost taxpayers $60,000, while Bill Gates who helped fund Evolv Technoloy makes a nice profit.

Police use our fears of terror to justify losing of our rights

An LA Times article served as a mouthpiece to justify more government spying.

“While we’ll never become a fully secured environment like you’d have in the airport, we do want to find a way to more effectively screen passengers,” Metro security executive Alex Wiggins said. “We are trying to stay ahead of the threat.”

Mr. Wiggins isn’t done scaring the public just yet…

“Transportation is a very soft and attractive target,” said Wiggins,“Given the recent large-scale attacks at transit facilities in Europe, we need to see if there is technology that can screen large number of peoples and focus in on weapons and explosives.

Curiously, the LA Times devoted only one sentence to privacy concerns.

Three months ago, I warned everyone that California Transit Authorities have a history of using corporate spy gear to spy on commuters.

A class action lawsuit in California revealed that Transit Police are using a ‘Bart Watch’ app and Stingray surveillance to allegedly spy on commuters texts and emails.

Let’s make one thing perfectly clear, the war on terror is a for-profit business being led by private corporations and DHS. (The TSA is part of DHS.)

To learn more I recommend checking out Gary Jacobucci’s article that asked if, ‘DHS is a private offshore corporation.‘ Here are two companies that appear to be fronts for DHS: Homeland Security Solutions and Homeland Security Corporation. (Click here & here to find out more.)

Body scanners use government watchlists 

Evolve uses ‘Known Wolves’, watchlist software that can identify people of interest or anyone on a government watchlist.

“Stay on constant lookout for known wolves and other watchlist individuals using proven facial recognition and human IQ. Integrated video camera provides positive ID for alarm resolution. Send notifications and alerts to mobile team or operations center.”

Getting the public to accept facial recognition body scanners at airports and Disney World is only part of a much greater privacy nightmare.

Evolv’s facial recognition body scanners are being used at public area screenings, sporting events, and employee screenings.

Retail stores and conference centers are also using facial biometric cameras and scanners.

Imagine a future where the police use government watchlists, facial biometric scanners, Stingray cellphone surveillance, Bluetooth, and license plate readers to spy on our every movement.

This is our future unless we fight for our privacy rights.

image credit: CryHavok

August 22, 2017 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Full Spectrum Dominance, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Timeless or most popular, Video | , , , , | Leave a comment

US military constructing new base in Iraq’s Kurdish region: Report

Press TV – August 22, 2017

The US military is reportedly building a new permanent base in Iraq’s semi-autonomous Kurdistan region as part of attempts to perpetuate its occupation of the conflict-ridden Arab country indefinitely, regardless of all opposition from religious figures and people from all walks of life.

Iraq’s Kurdish-language Rudaw television network reported on Tuesday that the base is being constructed in Kariz village of Zummar district, located 60 kilometers northwest of Mosul, stressing that 60 percent of the work has already been done.

The report added that 120 US soldiers and 300 long-range artillery systems have also been stationed in the area.

Hassan Khalo Ali, a Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) official, said the base is being built on an area of ​​20 acres of land, local people can see helicopters continuously taking off and landing and entering the base is prohibited in every way to ordinary people.

The new US base would mark the fifth of its kind in Iraq’s Kurdish region.

A Kurdish military official, requesting anonymity, said US officials, President of the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) Masoud Barzani as well as officials from the Ministry of Peshmerga have reached a tripartite agreement on the construction of the base.

The Kurdish official went on to say that the base will help Americans to monitor movements in a vast expanse of land, which stretches from the western bank of the Tigris river to Tal Afar city, located 63 kilometers west of Mosul.

Meanwhile, Deputy Peshmerga Minister Sarbast Lazgin said the base will be a reinforcement facility for Tal Afar liberation operation.

On American bases in Iraq’s semi-autonomous Kurdistan region, Lazgin stated that a joint operations room is now operating in Erbil, noting that there are US military bases in Harir and Khazir sub-districts of Shaqlawa district.

The report comes as Iraq’s Kurdistan region plans to hold an independence referendum late next month.

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu told the state-run TRT Haber television news network on August 16 that the vote will lead to “civil war” in Iraq.

Hoshyar Zebari, a close adviser to Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) President Massoud Barzani, told Reuters on August 12 that Kurdish authorities were determined to hold the referendum on September 25 irrespective of all objections.

In June, Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi described as untimely the decision by Barzani to hold the referendum.

“We have a constitution that we’ve voted on, we have a federal parliament and a federal government… The referendum at this time is not opportune,” Abadi said on June 13.

Iran has also expressed opposition to the “unilateral” scheme, underlining the importance of maintaining the integrity and stability of Iraq and insisting that the Kurdistan region is part of the majority Arab state.

August 22, 2017 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Illegal Occupation | , , , | Leave a comment

UN ‘deeply concerned’ about US-led Raqqa airstrikes that reportedly killed dozens of civilians

RT | August 22, 2017

The UN has expressed “deep concerns” over the mounting number of civilian casualties in Raqqa inflicted by US-led coalition airstrikes, condemning “any attack directed against civilians or civilian infrastructure.”

“Our humanitarian colleagues tell us they are deeply concerned by unconfirmed reports of a high number of civilians killed by airstrike in Raqqa city over the last 24 hours,” Stéphane Dujarric, the spokesman for the UN Secretary-General, told reporters at a daily briefing Tuesday.

“In recent days and weeks scores of civilians have reportedly been killed and injured in Raqqa due to airstrikes and shelling and up to 25 thousand people remain trapped in the city,” Dujarric said.

At least 78 civilians have died in the al-Sakhani and al-Bado streets and al-Tawasuaeh neighborhood in Raqqa city as a result of the US-led coalition airstrikes over the past 24 hours, Syrian news agency SANA reported earlier Tuesday, citing local and media sources.

“The UN condemns any attack that is directed against civilians or civilian infrastructure. We urge all parties fighting in Raqqa and across Syria to take every possible measure to spare and protect civilians and civilian infrastructure as in line with obligations under international humanitarian law.”

“Yesterday unconfirmed reports indicate that over 30 people were reportedly killed in the Al-Sakhani neighborhood, while eight internally displaced people from the same family were killed in a separate attack in another part of the city. These attacks, if confirmed, are a shocking reminder that civilians continue to bear the brunt of the conflict in many parts of Syria.”

August 22, 2017 Posted by | War Crimes | , | 1 Comment

Afghanistan is ripe for proxy war

By M K Bhadrakumar | Indian Punchline | August 20, 2017

Russia has hinted in the past that the United States is covertly sponsoring the Islamic State in Afghanistan. On Thursday, the Russian Foreign Ministry spokesperson raised the bar by alleging that “foreign fighters” who were transferred by “unknown helicopters” have perpetrated a massacre of Hazara Shias in the Sar-e-Pol province in northern Afghanistan. The spokesperson said:

  • We can see attempts to stir up ethnic conflict in the country… Cases of unidentified helicopter flights to territory controlled by extremists in other northern provinces of Afghanistan are also recorded. For example, there is evidence that on August 8, four helicopters made flights from the airbase of the Afghan National Army’s 209th corps in Mazar-i-Sharif to the area captured by the militants in the Aqcha district of the Jowzjan province. It is noteworthy that witnesses of these flights began to fall off the radar of law enforcement agencies. It seems that the command of the NATO forces controlling the Afghan sky stubbornly refuses to notice these incidents.

From the above, it appears that sections of the Afghan armed forces and the NATO command (which controls Afghan air space) are hand in glove in these covert operations. No doubt, this is a very serious allegation. The attack on the Hazara Shias must be taken as a message intended for Tehran. Historically and culturally, Iran has affinities with the Hazara Shia community in Afghanistan. Possibly, the Trump administration, which has vowed to overthrow the Iranian regime, is opening a ‘second front’ by the IS against Iran from the east.

Interestingly, the Russian Foreign Ministry also issued a statement on Friday on the alarming drug situation in Afghanistan. It pointed out that:

  • A sharp increase in drug production is expected in Afghanistan this year and one-third of the country’s population is now involved in cultivation of opium poppy.
  • The geography of the Afghan drug trafficking has expanded and now reaches the African continent.
  • Tonnes of chemicals for processing narcotics are illegally imported into Afghanistan – with Italy, France and Netherlands “among main suppliers”.
  • The US and NATO are either unwilling or incapable of curbing the illegal activity.

Russia and Iran cannot turn a blind eye to the hostile activities by the US (and NATO) in their backyard, transforming the anti-Taliban war into a proxy war. They cannot but view the Afghan conflict through the prism of their deepening tensions with the US.

What are Russia’s options? The Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said at a meeting with the top brass in Moscow on August 18 that the Afghan conflict poses a threat to Central Asia’s stability. He said that Russia plans to hold joint military exercises later this year with Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan. Russia has military bases in Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan.

Again, Ambassador Zamir Kabulov, Russian presidential envoy to Afghanistan, said recently that if the Afghan government and the US are unable to counter the IS threat, Russia will resort to military force. Kabulov disclosed that Russia has raised in the UN Security Council the air dropping of supplies for the IS fighters in at least three provinces in northern Afghanistan by unidentified aircraft.

Of course, it is inconceivable that Russia will put “boots on the ground” in Afghanistan. But if the IS breaches the borders of the Central Asian states, it becomes the “red line”, Russia will hit back. Russia is reinforcing its bases in Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan. Significantly, in a joint military exercise with Tajikistan in July, Russia tested its Iskander-M short-range ballistic missiles, one of the most advanced weapons in the Russian arsenal, with a range of 500 kilometers and a payload of 700 kg. Iskander is equipped with terminal guidance systems with the capability to overcome missile defences. Iskander’s accuracy could be better than 10 meters. (Russia has deployed the deadly weapon to Syria.)

With the exit of White House strategist Steve Bannon, an inveterate anti-war ideologue in the Trump administration who wanted the Afghan war to be brought to an end, the generals now have the upper hand in controlling the US policy. Defence Secretary James Mattis and National Security Advisor HR McMaster favour deployment of additional troops to Afghanistan. The ‘known unknown’ is John Kelly, whom Trump recently appointed as his chief of staff. But there are enough indications that Kelly (a retired Marine Corps general and father of a fallen Marine, 1st Lt. Robert Kelly, who was killed in Afghanistan in 2010) almost certainly shares the opinion of Mattis and McMaster.

The more one looks at it, President Donald Trump’s real challenge is not about winning the war against the Taliban, but the high risk he’ll be incurring, by taking his generals’ advice, to put his imprimatur on a full-fledged proxy war in Afghanistan against Russia, Iran and China.

August 22, 2017 Posted by | Deception, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, False Flag Terrorism, War Crimes | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Israel’s Alarm over Syrian Debacle

By Daniel Lazare | Consortium News | August 22, 2017

There’s a rumor going around that the Syrian civil war is finally winding down and that the Baathist government is nearing its goal of driving out thousands of ISIS-Al Qaeda head-choppers financed and supplied – directly or indirectly – by the U.S., Turkey, Saudi Arabia, and the other Persian Gulf oil monarchies.

 (Screenshot from White House video)

It would be good news if true. But most likely it’s not. While one stage in the Syrian conflict is coming to an end, another is beginning, and this time the results could be even worse.

The reason is Israel, until now the odd man in the latest Mideast wars. Despite intervening sporadically on the rebel side in Syria, the Jewish state generally held itself aloof from the conflict in the belief that events were breaking its way regardless of whether it stepped in or not. After all, why go to war when your enemies are doing a fine job of tearing each other apart on their own?

With President Bashar al-Assad expected to step down eventually, Israel figured that it only had to wait and watch as a hostile regime collapsed under its own weight as it thrashed about unable to restore order to Syria. Never in the Arab-Israeli hundred years’ war had Israel seemed stronger and the Arabs weaker and in greater disarray.

But then the unthinkable happened. Assad not only survived but prevailed. Backed by Russia, Iran and the Lebanese Shi‘ite militia Hezbollah, he has bottled up Al Qaeda in East Ghouta and Idlib province in the extreme northwest and is racing to lift ISIS’s siege on Deir-Ezzor along the Euphrates. If successful, the effect will be to clear a path straight through to the Iraqi border some 30 miles to the east.

U.S. military enclaves may remain in the northeast and in the southern border town of Al-Tanf. But it’s hard to see how they’ll have much of an impact as the Damascus regime tightens its grip on the country as a whole.

Israeli Outrage

But rather than making a wider war less likely, the upshot is to make it even more. Having bet on the wrong horse, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu now finds himself facing a nightmare scenario in which Iran takes advantage of Assad’s winning streak to extend its reach from Iraq and Syria into Lebanon beyond. It’s not just a question of political influence, but of the emergence of a powerful Iranian-led military bloc.

Eleven years after fighting a vicious 34-day war in southern Lebanon, Israel thus finds itself facing not only Hezbollah but the Syrian Arab Army, Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards, and Iraqi Shi‘ite militias – all backed by Russian military might – in a front extending across its entire northern border. All are battle-hardened after years of combat, better armed, better led, and more self-confident to boot. Israel finds itself confronting a new threat that is many times more powerful than Hezbollah (or Syria) alone.

Israeli consternation is not to be underestimated. One news outlet says the official attitude is one of “grave concern” while an anonymous government minister heaped blame on the U.S. for sacrificing Israeli interests:

“The United States threw Israel under the bus for the second time in a row. The first time was the nuclear agreement with Iran, the second time is now that the United States ignores the fact that Iran is obtaining territorial continuity to the Mediterranean Sea and Israel’s northern border. What is most worrisome is that this time, it was President Donald Trump who threw us to the four winds – though viewed as Israel’s great friend. It turns out that when it comes to actions and not just talk, he didn’t deliver the goods.”

Netanyahu is meanwhile off to the Black Sea resort of Sochi to confer with Russian President Vladimir Putin while, in Washington, Israeli military and intelligence officials are meeting with top Trump officials such as National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster and special Mideast envoy Jason Greenblatt.

Israel has also engaged in saber-rattling with regard to a missile factory that it says Iran is building in the Syrian port city of Baniyas. Gadi Eisenkot, the Israeli military’s chief of staff, said that stopping efforts by Iran, Syria, and Hezbollah to equip themselves with accurate missiles capable of striking deep inside the Jewish state “is our top priority.”

Adds Avigdor Lieberman, Israel’s hard-right defense minister: “We know what needs to be done….  We won’t ignore the establishment of Iranian weapons factories in Lebanon.”

Neocon Chorus

Words like that should not be taken lightly. Meanwhile, influential neoconservatives are joining the me-too chorus. At the Atlantic Council – the hawkish Washington think tank partly funded by the United Arab Emirates and pro-Saudi interests that functioned as an arm of Hillary Clinton’s 2016 presidential campaign – former Obama administration official Frederic C. Hof recently argued that the U.S. wouldn’t be in such a pickle if it had invaded Syria years ago:

“A Syrian opposition recognized by Washington in December 2012 as the ‘legitimate representative of the Syrian people’ should have been tasked with preparing for post-ISIS governance, and assisted to that end by an American-organized, multi-national effort. An all-Syrian stabilization force should have been built in a protected eastern Syria to pacify the area, facilitate humanitarian aid, and spur reconstruction.”

But now the U.S. is seemingly “indifferent” to what comes next once Islamic State is gone. As a consequence, Hof said, the Trump administration is effectively “install[ing] Iran as Syria’s suzerain, with the Assad entourage sifting through the country’s ruins for spoils and setting the stage for successive waves and varieties of extremism arising in response.” The only solution, according to Hof, is a radical strategic change “to prevent Iran and Assad doing their worst for the security of the United States, its allies, and its partners.”

With the Zionists and their neocon yes-men agreeing that something must be done, it seems that something WILL be done sooner rather than later.

Of course, a few complications could get in the way. One involves Russian President Vladimir Putin who, despite his close alliance with Assad, enjoys a solid working relationship with Israel and is none too eager to see war break out between the two countries. Another is the Syrian government in Damascus, which, under the leadership of the careful and cautious Assad, is none too eager to rush into a conflict that could conceivably prove even more ruinous than the one it is trying to finish up.

A Sick Kingdom 

But even sober politicians like Putin and Assad may be unable to cope with the forces raging across the Middle East. The sectarian war that the Saudis unleashed more than a decade ago with U.S, help shows no signs of letting up. The kingdom is mired in an anti-Shi‘ite crusade in Yemen that it is desperate to escape, but doesn’t know how. It has suppressed a Shi‘ite uprising in Awamiyah, a city of 25,000 people in its own oil-rich Eastern Province, killing dozens according to Iranian sources and flattening an entire neighborhood, but dissent continues to bubble up ominously.

Saudi Arabia also has imposed an economic blockade on Qatar, and it is backing a repressive regime in Bahrain that has imposed a reign of terror on the country’s 70-percent Shi‘ite majority. Riyadh continues to engage in a dangerous war of words with Iran, which the royal family believes is engaged in an Elders of Zion-like Shi‘ite conspiracy to dismember the kingdom and wrest away control of Mecca and Medina.

The more paranoid Saudi leaders become, the more threatening Saudi Arabia grows – and the more resolved Iran becomes to make the most of its victory in Syria by fulfilling the ancient Persian goal of opening a corridor to the Mediterranean Sea. Aggression on one side leads to counter-aggression on the other, a process of mutual escalation that seems impossible to reverse.

Finally, there is the question of political stability – or, rather, an increasing lack thereof. In Iran, newly re-elected President Hassan Rouhani is locked in a growing confrontation with hardline Shi‘ite Islamists with little appetite for compromise.

In Saudi Arabia, power is in the hands of Crown Prince Muhammad bin Salman, a rambunctious 31-year-old who launched the disastrous war in Yemen in March 2015 – and then disappeared on a vacation in the Maldives as U.S. officials tried desperately to reach him by phone – and who more recently unveiled an ambitious economic reform program that so far has done nothing to stem the kingdom’s alarming decline. Despite vows to diversify the economy, non-oil revenue actually shrank by 17 percent this spring while foreign reserves have fallen by nearly a third since 2014. But that didn’t stop MbS, as he’s known, from committing himself to $110 billion in U.S. arms purchases in May or his father, King Salman, from spending a reported $100 million on a summer vacation in Morocco.

Saudi Arabia is thus becoming the sick man of the Middle East, one whose collapse could trigger a “geopolitical tsunami” sweeping across much of the region.

Trump’s Imbalance

Then there is the United States, where politics are even more unsettled. As President Trump careens from one disaster to another, foreign policy has grown both unpredictable and bellicose. One day, America’s second popular-vote-losing president in 16 years is calling for regime change in Tehran, the next he’s threatening Pyongyang with “fire and fury,” and then he’s blustering about some unspecified “military option” with regard to Venezuela.

The fact that Trump has so far demonstrated little follow-through is hardly reassuring. Sooner or later, rash rhetoric can only lead to rash actions, if not on America’s part then someone else’s. The shakier Trump grows, the greater the likelihood that he will engage in some risky adventure in order to strengthen his grip.

A number of forces are thus converging: political instability in Tehran, Riyadh and Washington, a growing thirst for more war on the part of Israel and the U.S. foreign-policy establishment, and a growing defensiveness on the part of a “Shi‘ite crescent” stretching from Yemen to southern Tehran. The United States, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, and others have already plunged Syria into death and destruction by sponsoring a murderous Sunni Salafist assault on one of the most diverse populations in the Middle East. The big question now is whether, with Israeli help, they are about to impose another.

Given the vicious cycle of violence in the Middle East, one that the U.S. has done its level best to worsen at every step of the way, it’s hard not to believe that even worse may be ahead.


Daniel Lazare is the author of several books including The Frozen Republic: How the Constitution Is Paralyzing Democracy (Harcourt Brace).

August 22, 2017 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Timeless or most popular, Wars for Israel | , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Scotland ‘wholly unprepared’ for nuclear weapons accident on its roads – report

© Nukewatch UK / Facebook
RT | August 22, 2017

Nuclear warheads surrounded by explosives are regularly transported on British roads, yet authorities are “wholly unprepared” to handle an accident, a damning report has revealed.

A “critical gap” in the protection of Britons has been identified by Nukewatch UK, amid claims public safety is being put at risk by the Scottish Government.

The report, ‘Unready Scotland’, reveals weapons of mass destruction (WMDs) are driven across the country around eight times every year, without police accompanying them and without public knowledge.

The convoys travel with a potentially-deadly cocktail of explosives and nuclear weapons packed inside – yet those traveling alongside the huge trucks remain blissfully unaware of the dangerous cargo.

Scottish councils have failed to carry out individual assessments of the routes taken by the massive convoys. This means vital evacuation time could be lost and the number of casualties could rise rapidly should there be an incident.

The potential contamination zone for an accident involving nukes is 24 miles, according to some experts, meaning entire villages and towns could be engulfed.

“The radioactive material in the warheads includes both plutonium and uranium, with a potential dispersal range of at least 5km,” Nuke Watch reports. “In addition to this, warhead materials include a number of toxic and hazardous substances.”

Unready Scotland suggests there is “no evidence” that authorities would be able to cope with a disaster on the route between the Aldermaston and Burghfield atomic weapon plants in Berkshire and RNAD Coulport on Loch Long.

In the event of nuclear fallout, the Ministry of Defence (MoD) would prioritize the mobilization of troops to secure the weapons – and the safety of the public would fall squarely on the shoulders of local authorities and emergency responders.

Yet the frightening report shows that those who would be first on the scene would be “unprepared” and unable to launch into action.

The researchers warn that police, paramedics and the Scottish Government, who would need to handle a mass evacuation, are “wholly unprepared to discharge that responsibility.”

Although some claim an accident involving a convoy is unlikely, there have already been underreported incidents. In May, a military convoy of nuclear warhead carriers was left stranded on the side of the M40 motorway when the escort broke down. Fortunately in this instance there were no live warheads onboard.

Despite authorities claiming potential terrorist plots make it impossible for them to reveal details of the convoys to the public, activists claim the information is already in the public domain.

The report claims there is “no justification for not informing the public about the existence of the convoy traffic and its attendant risks.”

“The simple fact that these trucks carry nuclear bombs on public roads is enough to cause very serious concern, amounting to alarm,” said Nuke Watch. The report says the police officers manning the convoy “very frequently” have no idea what they are protecting – and would be unable to react in an emergency, the report says.

Astonishingly, some authorities “rely on generic risk assessments conducted within their Resilience Partnerships.”

Practice runs have been carried out on a small scale, according to Local Authority and Emergency Services Information (LAESI) reports, but nowhere close to the scale of the potential damage.

In 1990 it was predicted by nuclear engineer John Large that an accident involving nuclear warheads could spread contamination “at least 40 kilometres.”

Nuke Watch has called for an urgent review into the country’s response to a nuclear accident.

It claims since community safety is wholly devolved to the Scottish Parliament at Holyrood, the Scottish National Party (SNP) Government has failed in its duty to put adequate plans in place.

RT has contacted the SNP for comment.

August 22, 2017 Posted by | Deception, Environmentalism, Militarism | | Leave a comment

Johnson & Johnson Hides Link Between Baby Powder and Ovarian Cancer

LA jury awards record $417mn in lawsuit linking J&J baby powder to cancer

RT | August 22, 2017

A jury in Los Angeles, California, has ordered Johnson & Johnson to pay a record $417 million to a woman who claimed the talc in the company’s iconic baby powder caused her ovarian cancer.

The verdict follows a series of court rulings against J&J over the product.

The plaintiff, Eva Echeverria, alleged that J&J had failed to adequately warn consumers about its talcum powder’s potential cancer risks when used for feminine hygiene.

Echeverria had used the baby powder on a daily basis since the 1950s until two years ago, according to court papers.

She was diagnosed with ovarian cancer in 2007. Her lawsuit said she developed the cancer as a “proximate result of the unreasonably dangerous and defective nature of talcum powder.”

“Mrs. Echeverria is dying from this ovarian cancer and she said to me all she wanted to do was to help the other women throughout the whole country who have ovarian cancer for using Johnson & Johnson for 20 and 30 years,” her attorney Mark Robinson said.

J&J will appeal the jury’s decision, claiming that scientific evidence supports the safety of Johnson’s baby powder, according to the company’s spokeswoman Carol Goodrich.

The Los Angeles jury verdict is the latest and largest in a series of rulings against J&J for its baby powder, the regular use of which hundreds of women claimed caused their ovarian cancer.

In May, a court in St. Louis, Missouri ordered J&J to pay over $110 million to a Virginia woman who claimed she developed ovarian cancer after decades of using its talcum powder.

Earlier, three other lawsuits in St. Louis against the company and its baby powder had similar outcomes — with juries awarding damages of $72 million, $70.1 million and $55 million, respectively.

While the verdicts were awarded to women who regularly used the company’s baby powder for feminine hygiene, the question whether the product does any harm to babies did not come up.

Over 2,000 lawsuits were filed in different US cities accusing J&J of insufficient warning to consumers about cancer risks connected to its talc-containing products.

Some of the lawsuits were tossed out. In March, a St. Louis jury rejected the claims of a Tennessee woman with ovarian and uterine cancer who blamed talcum powder for her cancers. A judge in New Jersey tossed out two similar cases saying the plaintiffs’ lawyers did not present reliable evidence linking talc to ovarian cancer.

August 21, 2017 Posted by | Corruption, Deception, Science and Pseudo-Science, Timeless or most popular, Video | , | Leave a comment

Tillerson: Taliban May Receive Legal Status Through Talks

Sputnik – 22.08.2017

WASHINGTON – The Taliban movement will be unable to achieve a military victory in Afghanistan, however, it may receive a legal status by means of talks, US State Secretary Rex Tillerson said Monday.

“Our new strategy breaks from previous approaches that set artificial calendar-based deadlines. We are making clear to the Taliban that they will not win on the battlefield. The Taliban has a path to peace and political legitimacy through a negotiated political settlement to end the war,” Tillerson said in a statement published by the State Department.

The State Secretary also said that the United States will support talks between the Afghan government and Taliban movement without preliminary conditions.

“We stand ready to support peace talks between the Afghan government and the Taliban without preconditions. We look to the international community, particularly Afghanistan’s neighbors, to join us in supporting an Afghan peace process,” Tillerson said in a statement published by the State Department.

Tillerson’s comments come after US President Donald Trump unveiled a new US strategy in Afghanistan which included expanded authorities to target terrorists. However, Trump said that the United States would not reveal the number of troops or any future military action plans in Afghanistan.

August 21, 2017 Posted by | Illegal Occupation, Timeless or most popular | , | Leave a comment

Should Anyone Believe U.S. State Department Promises on Syria?

By Sophie Mangal | Inside Syria Media Center | August 21, 2017

On August 18, during a regular briefing, the Spokesperson for the U.S. State Department, Heather Nauert, stated that the United States doesn’t intend to extend its stay in Syria after the Islamic State is defeated.

“That is our intent, to defeat ISIS and not do anything more than that. Syria must be governed by its own people and not by the United States or other forces,” Nauert added.

Thus, Ms Nauert commented on the statement of the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) official Talal Silo, who in interview with Reuters noticed that the U.S. military will remain in northern Syria long after the jihadists are defeated, predicting enduring ties with the Kurdish-dominated region.

According to Silo, Washington has a strategic interest in staying in the country following the defeat of terrorism for another several decades.

Actually, such a statement by the U.S. officials sounds a little bit strange and slightly hypocritical. Reuters correspondents have previously found out that seven American military bases are deployed on the territory of Syrian Kurdistan, which is located near the Syrian-Turkish border. However, the exact location of the bases is not revealed by the military command of the coalition, referring to security requirements.

Meanwhile, Reuters journalists witnessed how American military helicopters (Blackhawk and Apache) took off from the territory of a concrete plant to the southeast of the city of Kobani – where allegedly the largest American airbase in Syria is located. At the same time, the spokesman for Central Command Colonel John Thomas confirmed in April this year that this base is an additional location to launch aircraft to support U.S. and other anti-ISIS forces in the campaign to recapture the city of Raqqa.

After setting up the military bases in the northern part of Syria, Washington will unlikely hand over them to the Kurdish militia and moreover to the Syrian authorities. Most likely, even after theoretical victory over ISIS, the U.S. will reserve these areas as dividends for ‘fighting terrorism’.

Reserving vast territories in Syria, Washington will continue to wreak havoc and instability in the region by supporting the Kurds and attempting to dissect Syria and create several independent quasi-states on its territory.

The participation of Americans in military campaigns (Iraq, Libya and Afghanistan) shows us that if Washington comes into conflict it rarely leaves. But this pathological pattern can be broken in new geopolitical conditions.

August 21, 2017 Posted by | Illegal Occupation, Militarism, Timeless or most popular, Wars for Israel | , , | 2 Comments