22 Dec 2014

Your Heaven

Sophia - (Christopher Hitchens tribute)

Christmas: Behind the Curtain

Is Jesus the reason for the season? Seth Andrews takes a look at the origins of the Christmas holiday in this 14-minute special produced for AtheistTV

18 Dec 2014

Barbaric slaughterhouses in China use the hide of pets slaughtered for food to make leather goods

Leather gloves, shoes and other goods being sold in British shops and online may be made out of dogs slaughtered in horrific factories in China, it has been claimed. Dog skin produced in the slaughterhouses are used in products, labelled real leather, destined for export to the West, according to an animal rights group.

Footage taken by People for Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) shows workers stood by a door at a slaughterhouse in the northern province of Hebei. As dogs are led through the door, the men kill them with a heavy stick. Sometimes it takes several blows to finish off the unwitting animals.

A pair of gloves made using dog skin. With dog meat restaurants popular in many parts of the country, several establishments later sell the animals' skin to leather producers, which likely sell to Western stores. 'Skin looks the same, whoever it comes from, and Chinese dog killers are not likely to advertise their skins honestly, so it's impossible to tell if those leather gloves or wallets are made out of dog, cow, pig, or goat skin.

'PETA is calling on British shoppers to consider the terror that dogs and other animals endure when they're mercilessly slaughtered and make the safe, vegan choice in clothing and accessories for the holidays and every day.'

Daily Mail Online - Peta

Sony Cancels Release Of "The Interview" After Hacking

15 Dec 2014

Bahrain: More Bloodshed

Earlier this year, VICE News correspondent Ben Anderson traveled to Bahrain undercover to document the ongoing protests there. Bahrainis — inspired by the Arab Spring — have been taking to the streets every night for almost four years, calling for democracy.
One of the people Ben interviewed was Yousif Badah. His son, Ali Badah, was killed while protesting three years ago, when a police SUV repeatedly ran into him, pinning him against a wall.
On the third anniversary of his son's death, Yousif and others held a vigil for Ali. That vigil turned into a march, and was similarly met with police violence, this time resulting in injury to Yousif himself.

Watch "Bahrain: An Inconvenient Uprising” on Vice News

14 Dec 2014

Martinez news conference in North Korea

In a video released by DPRK state media, Arturo Pierre Martinez, an American from El Paso, Texas, denounces the United States, he made a risky journey to North Korea "so that I can pass on some very valuable and disturbing information."

Voice of America

Timelapse video reveals massive size of New York City protests

The massive protest marches against police brutality on Saturday in Washington D.C. and New York City have received a fair bit of media attention, but just how big were those protests? Although some officials have released numbers, we still don't have a final, definitive call on just how many protesters came out. Some reports put the D.C. march at 10,000, while others, from the NYPD, put the New York march at 12,000 (a number that has been disputed by protesters on the ground).

But one aerial video of the MillionsMarchNYC march in New York, shot from a window overlooking 6th Avenue and 29th Street, offers a hint at just how large the march was. It's impossible to get an accurate count from watching the video, but the stream of humanity is impressive, whatever the final number.


The Birth of Humanity

12 Dec 2014

Was Alan Turing murdered?

Code-breaking genius Alan Turing was murdered, a new book claims. The brilliant mathematician who cracked Hitler's Engima wartime code machines was found dead in 1954 at the age of 41. Author Roger Bristow claims a note from the pathologist casts doubt over the official conclusion of suicide. The post mortem report said he died from cyanide poisoning, but the note adds that: 'Death appears to be due to violence.'


Mr. Bristow, a former mayor who has spent almost 30 years researching Turing and his work at Bletchley Park, said he was carrying out secret work before his death. He believes the code-cracker was killed by the FBI because he had information that would be 'extremely damaging or embarrassing.' Mr Bristow adds that Turing had been working on the top secret operation Verona, deciphering wartime radio signals to identify Russian agents in the United States. He describes how some of the agents managed to get themselves into highly prominent positions, with one even becoming a personal assistant to President Roosevelt.

Turing, who was prosecuted for being gay, was found dead in his bedroom in Wilmslow, Cheshire in June 1954. Two years earlier he had been convicted of gross indecency and sentenced to chemical castration. A post mortem found traces of potassium cyanide in his body - a substance he used for his chemical experiments.


'My theory is that he had stumbled upon some information that could be extremely damaging or embarrassing to certain people in America. 'His body was found on the Tuesday morning and he was buried by Wednesday afternoon. How could proper tests have been conducted in that time? 'Also there is no evidence he was depressed before his death. In fact there are reports from neighbours that he seemed cheerful. 'But the final sentence on the pathologist report says it all: 'Death appears to be due to violence.'

Daily Mail Online

11 Dec 2014

Gorbachev Warns That America And Russia Are Preparing For 'Many Years Of Confrontation'

The US and Russia are preparing for “many long years of confrontation,” according to former Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev. Writing on Wednesday in the Russian state newspaper Rossiskaya Gazeta, the 83-year-old delivered his grim assessment, warning that the frosty relations between Barack Obama and Vladimir Putin could have “terrible consequences”.


The "new Cold War", as Gorbachev recently described increasing tensions between Washington and Moscow, was brought about by the crisis in Ukraine, following Russia’s annexation of Crimea and its military encroachment into the state on the side of pro-Russian separatists.

The elder statesmen, whose policies of perestroika and glasnost led to the dissolution the Soviet Union in 1991, wrote: "The result of events in recent months is a catastrophic fall of the level of trust in international relations. Judging by the recent declarations, diplomats of both sides are preparing for many long years of confrontation. This is extremely dangerous."


He continued: “With such emotions running so high, as we have now, we may not survive through these years. Somebody may just lose control of himself. We must do our best to overturn this tendency.”

More at the Huff. Post

Uganda: Temples of Injustice

Al Jazeera's groundbreaking series Africa Investigates goes undercover to expose corruption at the heart of Uganda's judicial system.

10 Dec 2014

CIA torture report

The full, abhorrent scale of how the US used torture as an everyday weapon in the ‘war on terror’ was laid bare last night. On a day of shame for the West, a Senate investigation revealed the sadistic abuse of detainees in a network of secret prisons around the world. The devastating report – described as ‘a stain on the values and conscience’ of the US – last night triggered demands for a similar, full-scale inquiry in Britain to uncover its own secrets.


One detainee was so brutalised he was left unable to speak and on life support. Another, chained almost naked to the floor, died from hypothermia while a third was hung by his arms from an iron bar for 22 hours. The agency – which worked hand in glove with MI5, MI6 and the Blair Government – repeatedly lied and misled the White House, Congress and the public about its so-called ‘enhanced interrogation techniques’. In the long-awaited report, immediately rejected by the CIA, the Senate Intelligence Committee said the claims – repeated in public by former President George W Bush – had been ‘inaccurate’. In fact, the plots had already been foiled by the time any information was extracted from 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and others.

More at the Daily Mail Online

9 Dec 2014

Guns Of Brixton

The Clash

UN Declares 2014 A Devastating Year For Millions Of Children

The United Nations children's agency UNICEF declared 2014 a devastating year for children with as many as 15 million caught in conflicts in Central African Republic, Iraq, South Sudan, Syria, Ukraine and the Palestinian territories.

UNICEF Executive Director Anthony Lake said the high number of crises meant many of them were quickly forgotten or failed to capture global headlines, such as in Afghanistan, Democratic Republic of Congo, Nigeria, Pakistan, Somalia, Sudan and Yemen.
Globally, UNICEF said some 230 million children were living in countries and regions affected by armed conflict.
"Children have been killed while studying in the classroom and while sleeping in their beds; they have been orphaned, kidnapped, tortured, recruited, raped and even sold as slaves," Lake said in a statement. "Never in recent memory have so many children been subjected to such unspeakable brutality."

Bad water kills more children than war
Significant threats also emerged to children's health and well-being like the deadly outbreak of Ebola in the West African countries Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone, which has left thousands orphaned and some 5 million out of school.
"Violence and trauma do more than harm individual children - they undermine the strength of societies," Lake said.

The World Post

7 Dec 2014

US Pundits Blame Eric Garner For His Own Death

The death of Staten Island man Eric Garner after New York police Officer Daniel Pantaleo put him in a banned choke hold horrified civil rights advocates nationwide. When a grand jury declined to indict Pantaleo earlier this week, despite video evidence clearly showing that his actions led to Garner's death. The Young Turks

Jailed Greek student Nikos Romanos’s family fear son will be ‘martyr’

From behind the bars around his bed, on the third floor of Athens’s Gennimatas hospital, Nikos Romanos could hear the thousands who took to the streets last week screaming his name, as heavily armed police looked on. Monitored by machine-gun-wielding riot police himself, the 21-year-old anarchist, imprisoned for participating in an armed bank robbery two years ago, has no desire to become a “martyr”.


“He is a fanatical lover of life. He wants to live,” his father, Giorgos Romanos, said in an exclusive interview with the Observer. “But this is his 27th day without food and his condition is deteriorating. He is getting weaker.” Death is not a word that crosses the dentist’s lips as he describes the descent of his son – his only child – from being a ski-loving model student to mascot for a seething segment of Greeks baying for a fight with officialdom at large.

But “martyrdom” is a distinct possibility. As protesters marked the sixth anniversary of the police killing of teenager Alexandros Grigoropoulos – an event that would trigger weeks of violence widely seen as the prelude to Greece’s great economic crisis – the 58-year-old acknowledged that the desire for a martyr is real among the country’s growing contingent of angry, unemployed youth.

Clashes between 6,000 protesters and riot police erupted in central Athens on Saturday as teargas and water cannon were used to beat back protesters in the bohemian Exarchia neighbourhood, where about 200 black-clad youths hurled stones and molotov cocktails. A cloud of smoke billowed into the sky from the clashes. Dozens of shops were damaged and nearly 100 demonstrators were detained.

More at The Observer - Reverse Countdown by Nikos Romanos at The Anarchist Library