22 Aug 2014

Places That Don't Exist

Simon Reeve travels to a group of unrecognised nations -- countries so obscure they don't officially exist.

21 Aug 2014

20 Years on, Tyke’s Intense, Tragic Story Will Still Leave You Shocked

Tyke was an African elephant at a travelling circus in the US who had been abused for years. Like most elephants in circuses, her life consisted of endless beatings and constant confinement.

Eventually, she snapped.

On 20 August, 1994, she was forced to perform in Honolulu. This is what happened next.

Warning: upsetting footage

Tyke’s rampage killed her trainer and injured 13 other people. She collapsed and died after being shot nearly 100 times.

Animals do not deserve to live and die as Tyke did – abused, mentally and physically, until they go mad from the frustration, loneliness and pain.

More at Peta

Trouble In Mind

Sister Rosetta Tharpe

20 Aug 2014

US and UK try to identify Isis militant with British accent who killied James Foley

British and US security services are trying to identify the Islamic State (Isis) militant with a British accent who appeared in a video of the apparent beheading of US journalist James Foley, the UK foreign secretary, Philip Hammond, has said. Hammond said intelligence agencies were trying to unmask the fluent English-speaking militant in the propaganda footage.

foley2

Scotland Yard's counter-terrorism command, SO15, also launched an investigation into the video as leading linguistics experts said the man sounded like he was from London or the south-east of England. Hammond said: "All the hallmarks point to [the video] being genuine. We're very concerned by the apparent fact that the murderer in question is British and we are urgently investigating – agencies on both sides of the Atlantic – are first of all looking to authenticate the video, to make sure that it is genuine, and sadly it appears to be, and then to see if we can identify the individual in question."

The Guardian

foley

19 Aug 2014

Crackdown

Cabaret Voltaire

Ferguson, MO and Police Militarization

In the wake of the shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, MO, John Oliver explores the racial inequality in treatment by police as well as the increasing militarization of America’s local police forces.

Norman Finkelstein on Gaza conflict, Hamas goals and Iron Dome myth

As debate and international concern grow over Gaza, RT's Mona Zughbi sits down for an exclusive interview with American political scientist, activist, professor, and author Norman Finkelstein . We take a deeper look into the the war on Gaza that has left almost two thousand Palestinians, mostly civilians dead.
Finkelstein, who has extensively studied and written about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict for over 3 decades explains the reason behind this offensive and what the end game will be for Gaza. In addition to this analysis, he answers questions about Hamas' rockets and tunnels as well as Israel's Iron Dome. We take a look at how these components came together resulting in the deadliest attack in Gaza.

Also see: American Radical - The Trials of Norman Finkelstein

'UFO' photographed hovering above Houston's stormy skies

Could a UFO have visited Texas this week? Several people have taken it to Twitter to post pictures showing a strange object floating through the Houston clouds during a storm last Monday.

houston ufo

Some of the pictures show a bright oval object hovering. An unrelated picture shows a similar object through clouds. There are others, some showing what appears to be lights underneath the 'thing.'

houston ufo

'I think the trick in UFO's is figuring out what else they could be,' Dr. Carolyn Sumners, vice president for Astronomy at the Houston Museum of Natural Science, told KPRC.”If it's a real object and it looks like it is, the more people who see it in different directions, the more likely we are to 'figure out where it is, what it is and see if we can explain it,' she told KPRC. 'All the way back to recorded history, there are going to be things we can't explain,' she added.

More pictures at Mail Online

18 Aug 2014

Uncontrollable Urge

Devo

The Islamic State (Part 5)

On August 8, nearly three years after the United States pulled out of Iraq, President Barack Obama ordered airstrikes to commence on Islamic State positions in northern Iraq, as the group's fighters advanced towards the Kurdish capital of Erbil.

Other parts at VICE News

Saudi Arabia declares atheists terrorists under new laws

Saudi Arabia has officially identified atheists as terrorists in sweeping new laws that threaten up to 20 years in prison for almost any criticism of the government or Islam. The regulations place secular citizens who commit thought crimes in the same category as violent terrorist groups such as Al-Qaeda's Yemen branch and Saudi Hezbollah.

saudi atheist

Under the new decree by King Abdullah, Saudi Arabia will jail for up to 20 years anyone who fights in conflicts abroad - an apparent move to deter Saudis from joining rebels in Syria. But the law also applies to any Saudi citizen or a foreigner residing in the kingdom that 'calls for atheist thought in any form or calls into question the fundamentals of the Islamic religion on which this country is based.'

The laws have been denounced by human rights groups for making no distinction between religious expression and violent extremism. 'Saudi authorities have never tolerated criticism of their policies, but these recent laws and regulations turn almost any critical expression or independent association into crimes of terrorism,' said Joe Stork, deputy Middle East and North Africa director at Human Rights Watch.

More at Mail Online

17 Aug 2014

Wikipedia edits from government computers

Channel 4 News reveals controversial edits to the Wikipedia pages for Jean Charles de Menezes, Lee Rigby and Damilola Taylor have been made from government computers.

Israel Unleashes Death Ray on Gaza

Reports, including photographic evidence reveal that Israel is using an energy weapon to attack targets in Gaza.  The destructive beam, thought to be a high energy laser, is emitted from a plane identified as a Boeing KC707 “Re’em,” originally configured for Electronic Warfare.

x

Those observing the attacks cite a beam from a 4 engine jet hitting a target which immediately turns “white hot.”  After these attacks, the target area is then hit with either bombs or artillery to destroy evidence of the use of an American designed and built energy weapon illegally given to Israel.

Much more at Veterans Today

16 Aug 2014

91yo Dutch man returns Israeli WWII medal after Gaza strike kills his relatives

A 91-year-old Dutch man who was honored with Israel’s Righteous Among the Nations medal for rescuing a Jewish boy during WWII, has returned the award, after he learnt his six relatives were killed in the Gaza strip by an Israeli missile.

14 Aug 2014

American Nuclear Weapons

America has over 4,800 nuclear weapons, and they don’t take terrific care of them.
It’s terrifying, basically.

One nation under SWAT: How America’s police became an occupying force

“I wonder if I can get in trouble for doing this,” the young man says to his buddy in the passenger seat as they film the Saginaw County Sheriff Office’s new toy: a Mine Resistant Ambush Protected (MRAP) vehicle. As they film the MRAP from behind, their amateur video has a Red Dawn-esque feel, as if an occupying military were now patrolling this Michigan county’s streets. “This is getting ready for f**king crazy times, dude,” one young man comments. “Why,” his friend replies, “has our city gotten that f**king bad?”

In fact, nothing happening in Saginaw County warranted the deployment of an armored vehicle capable of withstanding bullets and the sort of improvised explosive devices that insurgent forces have regularly planted along roads in America’s recent war zones.  Sheriff William Federspiel, however, fears the worst. “As sheriff of the county, I have to put ourselves in the best position to protect our citizens and protect our property,” he told a reporter. “I have to prepare for something disastrous.” Lucky for Federspiel, his exercise in paranoid disaster preparedness didn’t cost his office a penny. That $425,000 MRAP came as a gift, courtesy of Uncle Sam, from one of our far-flung counterinsurgency wars. The nasty little secret of policing’s militarization is that taxpayers are subsidizing it through programs overseen by the Pentagon, the Department of Homeland Security, and the Justice Department.

vancouver

Take the 1033 program. The Defense Logistics Agency (DLA) may be an obscure agency within the Department of Defense, but through the 1033 program, which it oversees, it’s one of the core enablers of American policing’s excessive militarization. Beginning in 1990, Congress authorized the Pentagon to transfer its surplus property free of charge to federal, state, and local police departments to wage the war on drugs. In 1997, Congress expanded the purpose of the program to include counterterrorism in section 1033 of the defense authorization bill. In one single page of a 450-page law, Congress helped sow the seeds of today’s warrior cops.

A-SWAT-Team

The amount of military hardware transferred through the program has grown astronomically over the years. In 1990, the Pentagon gave $1 million worth of equipment to U.S. law enforcement. That number had jumped to nearly $450 million in 2013. Overall, the program has shipped off more than $4.3 billion worth of materiel to state and local cops, according to the DLA. In its recent report, the ACLU found a disturbing range of military gear being transferred to civilian police departments nationwide. Police in North Little Rock, Arkansas, for instance, received 34 automatic and semi-automatic rifles, two robots that can be armed, military helmets, and a Mamba tactical vehicle. Police in Gwinnet County, Georgia, received 57 semi-automatic rifles, mostly M-16s and M-14s. The Utah Highway Patrol, according to a Salt Lake City Tribune investigation, got an MRAP from the 1033 program, and Utah police received 1,230 rifles and four grenade launchers. After South Carolina’s Columbia Police Department received its very own MRAP worth $658,000, its SWAT Commander Captain E.M. Marsh noted that 500 similar vehicles had been distributed to law enforcement organizations across the country.

More about America’s police at Salon.com

Also see: The Military Occupation Of Ferguson, Missouri Is Just A Preview Of What Is Coming To America