Recent Ukraine shelling (DAN News)
Six people were killed during the past week and 13 others were wounded in the Donetsk People’s Republic during the past week, reports the Donetsk News Agency (DAN) today. It cites a weekly report on the social and humanitarian situation in the region by the DPR ombudswoman Darya Morozova.
“Between July 11 and 17, 2015, six people died as a result of hostilities, among them one woman and five men. Also, 13 people were taken to hospital, among them 11 civilians and two soldiers,” the ombudswoman’s report says.
In addition to that, six people were reported missing and illegally detained between July 11 and 17. “This number includes five civilians and one military service member,” the DPR human rights ombudswoman’s office said.
TASS reports that Morozova earlier reported that the number of people detained by the Ukrainian side had reached 1,500. While prisoner exchanges have been effected between Ukraine and the rebel forces of Donetsk and Lugansk peoples republics, Ukraine has refused to include many of the political as well as military conflict prisoners it is holding. As well, the Ukraine has absolved itself from responsibility for the thousands of common prisoners held in its jails in the east of the country dating from before Kyiv launched its civil war.
On July 18, the DPR began to withdraw from the Minsk-2 ceasefire line to a distance of at least 3 km all weapons of 100 mm caliber or more. Exceptions to the withdrawal are areas where Ukraine continues to heavily shell, including the northern suburbs and further north of Donetsk city, including the area around Debaltseve.
‘People live here’, a 30-minute documentary film shot by two young Russian filmmakers in early 2015
In March 2015, television channel ‘Russia 24′ broadcast a 30-minute film produced by young Russian filmmakers about the effects of the war in eastern Ukraine on the people who live there. The film describes the destruction caused by nearly one year of artillery bombardments and ground attacks by the Ukrainian armed forces and militias against the people of Donetsk and Lugansk. It records the attitudes of people living there towards the country, Ukraine, and government in Kyiv that has waged war on them.
The filmmakers explain at the beginning, “People asked us, ‘Who are you? Why do you come here? Are you journalists?’ We answered, no, we are not journalists. We are here to film the truth.”
‘People Live Here’ is sub-titled in English, French, Portugese and German.
“I wasn’t a person… I was an object.”
Australian TV was thoughtful enough to ignore the embarrassing fact that at the time Lord Greville Jenner allegedly slept with young kids in his marital bed, he was also the Chairman of the BOD, a body that claims to represent British Jewry.
Iran and the United States after the Nuclear Deal: Hillary Mann Leverett, Seyed Hossein Mousavian, and Seyed Mohammad Marandi
Now that the P5+1 and Iran have concluded their Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), it is important to look not just at how the parties will go about implementing the deal but also at the JCPOA’s strategic impact. Hillary, the University of Tehran’s Seyed Mohammad Marandi, and Princeton University’s Seyed Hossein Mousavian engaged in a good discussion of these issues on CCTV’s The Heat, see here or click on the video links below.
Mohammad underlines what—not just from an Iranian perspective but from any perspective that values the possibility of rules-based international order—is certainly a key aspect of the JCPOA’s long-term significance:
“For the first time, really, the United States has been forced to accept the Iranian peaceful nuclear program. I think that is the most significant thing to come out of this… Despite the United States forcing the UN Security Council, in previous years, to impose sanctions on the country, and despite the fact that the United States applied punitive sanctions itself, and threatened other countries with sanctions if they did business with Iran, despite all that, ultimately the United States had to accept Iran’s peaceful nuclear program. And we have to remember that, in the past, the United States was saying that Iran did not have the right to enrich uranium…
The fact that Iran has been able to retain its peaceful nuclear program shows Iran’s inherent strength as an independent country. And I think it also vindicates the fact that Iran continued to pursue its peaceful nuclear program over the past few years. This has given Iran the capability to have a strong hand at the negotiating table.”
As for the JCPOA’s impact on U.S.-Iranian relations, Hillary explains that this will depend very much on how Washington presents the JCPOA to its own public and the extent to which the agreement prompts a fundamental revision of U.S. strategy toward the Middle East:
“[The Obama administration] may try to sell it as a narrow arms control agreement. Well, there’s never going to be an agreement that’s good enough to contain what many in Washington see as this unreconstructed, ‘evil’ state, I think that’s going to fail. And I think that the attempt to say, ‘Well, the Iranians are going to abide by this, so you don’t have to worry,’ and, in the meantime, we’re going to continue to sell billions of dollars of weapons to Saudi Arabia and Israel—while Iran still has the arms embargo in place—could make for a more destabilized region, a more highly militarized region.”
Similarly, Mohammad points out that, if the United States were ready to “rethink” its policy toward the Middle East and toward Iran,
“if the United States changes its behavior toward the country, it would benefit a great deal. But we have to also keep in mind that the United States is still imposing a large number of sanctions against the country. U.S. policy in the region is still in conflict with that of Iran, because of U.S. support for Saudi Arabia and Turkey in their support for al-Qa’ida. So, Iranian-U.S. relations are pretty poor, and I don’t think they will change very quickly.”
As Hillary underscores, the only way to reap the full potential benefit of the JCPOA is for the United States to pursue real, “Nixon to China” rapprochement with the Islamic Republic of Iran. But, at the moment, there is no consensus in favor of that within the Obama administration.
The discussion is worth watching in its entirety.
With debris of Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777 still covering the crash site in eastern Ukraine, the investigation of the July 17, 2014 tragedy is surrounded by secrecy. RT talked to international experts and the victims’ families, still waiting for answers.
“He was a good man, a good brother. He promised to take me one day on board of his plane… He wanted to take me to Europe, but instead I brought his body home from Amsterdam on a plane,” the younger sister of flight MH17 captain, Wan Lailatul Mustarah Bt. Wan Hussin told RT Documentary (RTD).
RTD’s team visited Captain’s Wan Amran’s family in Malaysia. They couldn’t talk to the pilot’s wife, as she was sick, suffering from mental problems resulting from the trauma she experienced after her husband was killed in the crash.
“At first the youngest son couldn’t accept this all, he was always saying that his father would come back,” the captain’s older sister, Wan Aini Bt. Wan Hussin, told RTD.
The Malaysian captain’s family was shown a picture of his body, which they say “wasn’t damaged, just slightly burnt.”
“I was able to identify him. The person who cleaned the bodies told us that our brother’s body was in the best condition, with nothing missing,” Wan Lailatul Mustarah Bt. Wan Hussin said. The family, like all victims’ families, were not allowed to open the coffins by the government, they told RTD.
“The government is keeping quiet,” the captain’s sister said, adding that the family doesn’t blame anybody. “We just want and hope somebody will come up with something, especially from the black box,” she said.
“We want the facts, we don’t want propaganda,” Malaysian engineer Azahar Zanudin told RTD. “I’d like to know the real things about the disaster of MH17, because in MH17 case there is something wrong about the investigation,” the engineer said. Blaming the local media for “following the western media” bias, Zanudin has created a Facebook page, where he collects the news about the crash from around the world “for the people to see.”
“You can study the whole world behind your laptop, but the best thing you can do is check the spot yourself,” Dutch blogger Max Van Der Werff told RTD. The blogger has visited the crash site in Ukraine, and said that in the one week he spent there, he had learned more about the crash “than in a whole year behind my laptop.”
“The Netherlands is the official head of the investigation… (but) we are part of NATO, we are part of anti-Russian alliance, so we are not independent investigators,” Van Der Werff said, adding that the MH17 crash should have been investigated by the UN, “not a biased country like the Netherlands.”
Another independent researcher from the West also changed his opinion on the possible cause of the tragedy after visiting the crash site. “I thought that the story of (another) plane taking the Boeing was a propaganda of Russia,” German independent journalist Billy Six shared with RTD. Then he visited the site in eastern Ukraine and spoke to witnesses who claimed they saw military jets flying in the area, but no BUK missile launcher vapor trail.
“When I reached the crash site, my first impression was quite eye-opening. I saw that the mass media coverage claiming that it’s a very large field of 45-50 square kilometers (about 20 square miles) of wreckage – which gives a conclusion to people that the plane was smashed into pieces in the air – is not true,” Billy Six said, adding that he saw just two places where the MH17 wreckage was largely concentrated.
A lot of pieces of evidence can still be found in the area. On finding parts of the Boeing, people bring them to the local administration, which is said to be in touch with Dutch experts.
Whoever launched the rocket is “a different story,” Elmar Gimulla, a Berlin lawyer who represents the families of aviation crashes victims, told RTD. But the Ukrainian government “has failed” and is to blame for allowing the passenger plane to fly above the military zone, he said.
“Only two days before this crash occurred, a military plane was downed by the rebels. In that situation it was a responsibility of the Ukrainian government to close the air space for civilian flights,” Elmar Gimulla told RTD, adding that he had received threatening emails after news broke that he was aiding German families in launching a suit against Ukraine over the MH17 crash. Once, someone from Ukraine describing himself as “a Nazi” wrote the lawyer with the warning: “be careful what you do.”
“There is too much secrecy regarding the investigation,” former Malaysian PM Mahathir Mohamad told RTD. Saying that the country is “very neutral because there is no real evidence,” the politician said that the investigation of the Malaysia Airlines crash, which claimed the lives of all 298 people on board, was “quite unusual.”“Involvement of Malaysia is limited,” the ex-prime minister said.
Studies show that people are gullible enough to believe anything if it appears on TV and sounds authoritative. If this is really true, upper-echelon pharmaceutical companies may be using the media to bend the public’s perception.
Giant corporations—and other entities that act as though they own the entire galaxy—have a tendency toward the chameleonic behavior of astroturfing because it works so well.
Astroturfing involves an individual or organization masquerading as a grassroots movement while hiding the true wizardly sponsor and its intentions behind the curtain. It can get even more complicated with story layers—carefully constructed narratives—that include made-up groups “false flagging” themselves and co-opting a movement mimicking or debunking myths (that weren’t even myths in the first place) in order to sway public opinion.
Astroturfing can involve a deceptive or purposely controversial method of selling products all the way up to overthrowing governments with color revolutions. All of those goals can involve the use of online comments, blogs, studies, and social media to give the appearance of an organic effort with widespread support or to create confusion that lulls the audience into belief.
How far does it really go with Big Pharma?
Investigative journalist Sharyl Attkisson explains how to keep from getting duped by the newest in expertly deceptive propaganda techniques. She calls the prevalence of astroturfing and media manipulation a “Truman Show–esque alternate reality all around you.” With a probing, astute mind like hers, is it any wonder she was essentially shut down by CBS? Check out her new book: Stonewalled: My Fight for Truth Against the Forces of Obstruction, Intimidation, and Harassment in Obama’s Washington.
The TEDx Talk description explains that
“In this eye-opening talk, veteran investigative journalist Sharyl Attkisson shows how astroturf, or fake grassroots movements funded by political, corporate, or other special interests effectively manipulate and distort media messages.”
Remember to look for these four astroturfing techniques as you encounter health-related information online:
- Inflammatory and charged language – i.e., “quacks,” “kooks,” “pseudo,” or “conspiracy theorist”
- Made up myths that are “debunked,” which can wind up on Snopes (I call them Inception stories)
- Attacking the character of people or organizations instead of addressing the facts
- Those that reserve all of their public skepticism and criticism for those exposing the wrong-doers instead of directing that skepticism to the wrongdoers themselves. A prime example Attkisson mentions is those “skeptics” who, instead of questioning authority, question those that question the authority.
After watching this, you will never again read Wikipedia, Snopes, the news, blogs, Facebook comments, or Google results without a major guard. With just ten minutes and the tips above, you, too will be better at researching and spotting hidden propaganda and bots and not falling for the appearance of skeptics—which could actually be pharma-funded attackers on legitimate exposé.
I’m often asked the question about vaccines and I can make some observations and raise more questions.
There’s interest, a lot of growing enthusiasm for the Hygiene Hypothesis.
The Hygiene Hypothesis:
A lack of early childhood exposure to infectious agents, symbiotic microorganisms and parasites, increases susceptibility to allergic diseases by suppressing the natural development of the immune system.
Societies where the children are still getting their typical infections, Measles, Mumps, Rubella, Chicken Pox. As babies and toddlers, these society’s as adults have much less autoimmunity and the presumption is that there’s some important messaging that happens between these early childhood infections that we get from bacteria, viruses and parasites that speak to our immune cells that may help regulate a healthy immune response so later in life there’s less autoimmunity.
That’s a very important hypothesis. We may be altering the maturation process of our immune cells and increasing the risk of autoimmunity.
We have some other issues that I have concerns about, the vaccines are most effective when we use a live agent but when you use a live agent there will be some individuals whose immune functions are so compromised that that live vaccine could kill them or seriously harm them. So science has in the interest of not creating harm now used a killed infectious agent but our bodies know it’s dead, we don’t really mount much of an immune response.
So again, scientists wanting to help, decided that we have to give something that’s irritating to the immune system to get it to react to this dead infecting agent. These irritating compounds are generally fairly toxic. We usually had to use some mercury components, some aluminum components but whatever components we use will have some toxic effects.
Our vaccines are studied in their clinical trials one at a time or in a small number of vaccines at a time but when their scheduled there are many more vaccines clump together and I don’t know that we’ve had studies that look at these adjuvants that are added to a killed vaccine that had really identified how much adjuvant is safe in a single day or is safe in a lifetime. I think those are un-resolved questions.
Another factor that I worry about; it’s my recollection during medical school that I had read, the government decided that vaccines made such good public health policy that they would indemnify the vaccine makers from liability because of the public health benefits and that we needed to have the vaccines produced so we created more financial incentives to decrease the financial risk for vaccine production.
The unintended consequences of that is the development of vaccines that have less immediate public health benefit in terms of mortality. As we start creating vaccines for diseases that are not fatal but are inconvenient. Most of these vaccine studies are short term, immediate safety, we don’t have any vaccine studies that look over the life span of the human.
So I think there are unknowns, there certainly are public health benefits I will not disagree with but I think there are these public health risks that have not been adequately measured and quantified.
A personal and powerful account of the 1971 Ballymurphy Massacre in which British soldiers killed 11 civilians in a shooting rampage in West Belfast and the quest for justice by the families.
For two decades, Western elites have spun a tale of how Rwandan dictator Paul Kagame heroically ended the 1994 genocide in that country. That narrative has persisted despite the fact that a great deal of evidence shows that Kagame’s Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF) did much of the killing and has committed extraordinary levels of violence in neighboring Congo since invading that country not long after seizing power.
The recent BBC telecast of Rwanda: The Untold Story indicates that the truth about Kagame may finally be penetrating the mainstream. “Rwanda: The Untold Story” presents much information that contradicts the official narrative, specifically that the dramatic escalation in violence began not in April 1994 but in October 1990 when the RPF invaded from its outposts in Uganda; that RPF forces killed tens of thousands of people in the 42-month period from the invasion to April 1994; and that the RPF is responsible for the deaths of several hundred thousand more Rwandans during the three month period of bloodshed in 1994.
In contrast, the spinners of the “Kagame the Hero” tale have put the entire responsibility on the Hutu-controlled government and armed Hutu mobs. The RPF’s 1990 invasion, meanwhile, has been completely written out of history in the official narrative, as has RPF responsibility for the shooting down of a plane carrying Rwandan president Juvenal Habyarimana. It was immediately after the murder of Habyarimana that what has been known since as the Rwandan Genocide began.
Another part of the official narrative that was exposed long ago by Edward Herman, Robin Philpot, and others is that the U.S. didn’t do enough to stop the killing. In fact, Kagame was an imperial operative as early as the 1980s who trained at Fort Leavenworth and the U.S. was closely allied with the RPF even before the 1990 invasion. Throughout the spring of 1994, the Clinton administration was proactive in blocking the UN from taking measures that might have prevented much of the killing. Former United Nations Secretary General Boutros Boutros-Ghali, for one, has put the entire blame for what happened in Rwanda in the 1990s on the United States.
In addition, while the Rwandan government and France, its primary ally, supported international action to stop the killing, Kagame was so determined to take complete control of the country that he eschewed a ceasefire and negotiations. The inescapable conclusion is that the mounting deaths on both sides were acceptable to Kagame and, by extension, the U.S., so long as the end result was complete victory and the ascension of the RPF to power.
From the outset, both Hutu and Tutsi survivors, U.N. officials, and numerous investigators have presented an entirely different version of events. Those stories, which have been fortified by population studies and other means, reveal that both sides are each responsible for hundreds of thousands of killings. These dissident voices have been ignored and, in the case of several studies by human rights groups and the U.N., suppressed – at least until the airing of “Rwanda: The Untold Story.”
Perpetrators and supporters of empire, who have never seen a U.S. war crime they didn’t like, have attacked critics of the official narrative and obfuscated who really benefits from the ongoing warfare. It’s a neat trick practiced regularly: falsely accuse dissidents of denying atrocities and deny imperial atrocities, all the while obscuring the billions in U.S. business profits made possible by Kagame’s invasions of the Congo.
Western plunder of the region dates to the murderous rule of Belgian King Leopold II. No sooner did the Congolese independence movement succeed in 1960 than Congolese reactionaries and their Belgian and CIA helpers overthrew and eventually murdered Patrice Lumumba, the nation’s first elected prime minister. Eventually installed in Lumumba’s place was U.S. puppet Mobutu Sese Seko, who for 30 years served U.S. business interests as zealously as Kagame has. A succession of U.S. administrations have hailed Mobutu as a great man. The Clintons, Madeline Albright, George W. Bush, Samantha Power and Susan Rice all hail Kagame as “the man who ended the Rwandan Genocide.” Never mind the millions of Congolese who have been killed or died from starvation, disease and other causes traced directly to Kagame’s invasions.
The unraveling of the official Rwanda story has global implications, as the U.S. has invoked “preventing another Rwanda” to justify invasions of the former Yugoslavia, Libya and large swaths of the Middle East. With a population increasingly alarmed by endless wars of aggression, the fact that the foundation for those acts is one big lie brings us closer to the day when we can end forever imperial ambitions and war.
Andy Piascik is an award-winning author and is syndicated by PeaceVoice.
A US federal judge has released a video of police fatally shooting an unarmed Hispanic man in a city near Los Angeles, California two years ago amid intense public scrutiny of police shootings across the United States.
Stephen Wilson, a judge on the US District Court for the Central District of California, said on Tuesday that the public should be able to see what led the city of Gardena to pay $4.7 million to settle a lawsuit with the family of Ricardo Diaz-Zeferino and another man wounded in the shooting.
“The fact that they spent the city’s money, presumably derived from taxes, only strengthens the public’s interest in seeing the videos,” Wilson wrote in his 13-page decision. “Moreover, defendants cannot assert a valid compelling interest in sealing the videos to cover up any wrongdoing on their part or to shield themselves from embarrassment.”
Several US media organizations asked the judge to unseal the videos under a First Amendment right to access court documents.
A lawyer representing The Associated Press, the Los Angeles Times and Bloomberg had asserted there is intense public scrutiny of police shootings nationwide.
“We applaud the court’s decision to unseal the video,” AP spokesman Paul Colford said. “The Associated Press, joining with other news organizations, believes it’s important that the public has access to videos like this to better understand the actions of their police officers.”
Video footage recorded from three police-car cameras shows the shooting death of Zeferino, who was stopped with two of his Latino friends by police investigating a bicycle theft on June 2, 2013.
The stolen bike belonged to Zeferino’s brother and he was trying to find it, but he was shot when he did not obey officers’ commands to stand still with his hands in the air. Zeferino was shot eight times, and Eutiquio Acevedo Mendez was shot once. … Full article