03/31/12

Permalink Thousands in US to march to seek justice for Trayvon Martin

Thousands of people are expected to march in the US city of Sanford to call for justice for the slain African American teenager Trayvon Martin, who was shot by a neighborhood watch captain.

The rally organized by the prominent civil rights organization, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), is the third major rally in Sanford since the incident.

Protesters are expected to march about a mile to the steps of the Sanford Police Department on Saturday to demand justice and answers in the murder case of Trayvon Martin, an unarmed 17-year-old, who was shot on Feb 26 in his father’s gated community by George Zimmerman.

Zimmerman, who says he acted in self-defense, claimed that the victim punched him, knocked him to the ground and slammed his head into the pavement repeatedly before he fired the gunshot. He has not been charged.

Before the incident, Zimmerman told a police dispatcher he thought Martin, who was wearing a hooded sweatshirt, looked suspicious and said he had decided to follow the teenager.

Recently released police security video shows Zimmerman shortly after the shooting without any injuries to his head or face visible on camera.


Permalink Sen. Rand Paul blocks Iran sanctions bill, calls for ‘thoughtful debate’ before we start another war

The Senate was about to pass a bi-partisan bill imposing tough sanctions on Iran through "unanimous consent" - that means no floor debate or discussion. - But Rand Paul, Kentucky's 'Tea Party' senator, objected, which immediately prevents the easy passage. According to a notice from his office, Paul wants insert an amendment, "that would ensure that nothing in the act shall be construed as a declaration of war or an authorization of the use of force against Iran or Syria, and that any such use of force must be authorized by Congress." Manu Raju from Politico also has the story:

"Our young men and women, our soldiers, deserve thoughtful debate," Paul, the tea party freshman with libertarian leanings, said on the floor. "Before sending our young men and women into combat, we should have a mature and thoughtful debate over the ramifications of war, over the advisability of war and over the objectives of war."


Permalink US Blocking Investigation of Afghan Massacre, Bales’s Lawyer Says

The inconsistency of the official story and the Pentagon's apparent attempt to hide evidence smacks of a government cover-up. - The lawyer defending the U.S. soldier accused of murdering 17 Afghan civilians said on Friday U.S. authorities are blocking his ability to investigate the incident. “We are facing an almost complete information blackout from the government which is having a devastating effect on our ability to investigate the charges preferred against our client,” said John Henry Browne, who is defending the accused Staff Sgt. Robert Bales. Staff Sgt. Robert Bales has been charged with murdering eight adults and nine children in cold blood. But the official story – that he left his base to kill only once and that he acted alone – has been challenged by eyewitnesses and other Afghan villagers.


Permalink Why Does The Department Of Homeland Security Need 450 Million Hollow Point Bullets?

Somebody out there has decided that the Department of Homeland Security needs a whole lot of ammunition. Recently it was announced that ATK was awarded a contract to provide up to 450 million hollow point bullets to the Department of Homeland Security over the next five years. Is it just me, or does that sound incredibly excessive? What in the world is the DHS going to do with 450 million rounds? What possible event would ever require that much ammunition?


Permalink Attack on WikiLeaks mounts as cables are withheld

The Australian government has renewed its attacks on WikiLeaks, condemning the transparency group for "reckless, irresponsible and potentially dangerous" disclosures of secret information. The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade has also delayed release, under freedom of information, of sensitive Australian diplomatic cables relating to Julian Assange until after a legal challenge to the WikiLeaks founder's extradition to Sweden has been decided. The delay follows expressions of concern by United States authorities about disclosure of US-Australian discussions about WikiLeaks.


Permalink One Killed, 37 Injured, by Israeli troops Gunfire in Gaza Land Day Protests

A Palestinian 20 year old youth was killed, 37 injured, among them a journalist when Israeli troops opened fire at Palestinian protesters marking land day in the Gaza Strip.

Palestinian sources reported that soldiers opened fire at protesters who marched up to the borders with Israel near Gaza city killing Mohamed Zakout, 20, and injuring 37 others. Among those injured were 3 in critical conditions and a local journalist.

In the West Bank Israeli troops injured 100 civilians including an American activist who marked land day in different parts of the West Bank today.

Marking the 36th anniversary of land day today Palestinians and their supporters marched for Jerusalem demanding an end to the Israeli occupation of the city. Protests were organized near the Israeli Lebanese borders as well as the borders with Jordan.

The Land day commemoration started in 1976, when Palestinian residents of the Galilee to the Negev protested Israel’s plan to expropriate thousands of dunams of land for security and settlement purposes. Israeli military and police attacked the protests leaving 6 killed, hundreds injured.

IMEMC: On Land Day; Israel Orders West Bank Sealed For 24 Hours
PIC: IOF troops injure dozens of Palestinian, arrest 30 youth in Eisaweyyah
PIC: Palestinian youth killed and dozens, including journalist injured in Gaza

Tighe Barry: Commemorating Palestinian Land Day in Jordan
Ghada Karmi: THE GLOBAL MARCH TO JERUSALEM:
AN ACT OF HOMAGE TO A PRECIOUS CITY IN DANGER


Permalink Former head of Russian SVR foreign intelligence service commits "suicide"

(Wayne Madsen:) Veteran KGB officer in Iran, Afghanistan, and Pakistan. Former Russian spymaster Leonid Sherbarshin believed, along with British Foreign Secretary Robin Cook (head of MI-6 and GCHQ), that "Al Qaeda" was a notion, not a group. Both Sherbarshin and Cook died suddenly and suspiciously.


Permalink CORRUPTION IN SPAIN AND THE JUDICIAL ‘FRAMING’ OF JUDGE BALTASAR GARZÓN REAL (Part one)

Born in 1955, from a working-class Andalucian family, Baltasar Garzón Real was a radical newcomer in a court which was yet to recover from the Francoist dictatorship. - On 17 January 2012 Judge Baltasar Garzón Real walked into one of the ornate courtrooms of the Spanish Supreme Court, which is housed in the former convent known as the Palacio de las Salesas Reales, and followed his lawyer to the red velvet chair opposite the prosecution, and before seven judges of the Spanish Tribunal Supremo - Supreme Court. He was appearing as defendant in the first of three cases brought against him by private parties. This is possible under Spanish law. The case had been brought by defence lawyers and their clients, businessman Francisco Correa and his right hand man Pablo Crespo. Correa and Crespo cultivated links with officers of the Partido Popular - Popular Party, have been in gaol since 12 February 2009, and they and their associates are accused of bribery, money laundering and tax evasion. On 9 February the Court, in a sentence which is not subject to appeal, handed down an 11-year ban on Judge Garzón holding office. Judge Garzón is now 56; he will be 68 by the end of the debarment. The decision is likely to end his legal career.


Permalink US terror drone kills 18 in southern Somalia

At least 18 people have been killed and a dozen others injured in an attack by US assassination drones in southern Somalia, Press TV reports.

The causalities come after an unmanned aircraft fired several missiles at al-Shabab positions in the Daynile District in west Mogadishu on Saturday.

Hussein Mohamed Uraag, a Somali military official, confirmed the attack, saying the aerial strike happened early in the morning.

The US military uses remote-controlled drones in Somalia to carry out reconnaissance operations and targeted killings. The US has been using its drones in other countries including Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iraq, Yemen and Libya. The attacks have led to massive civilian deaths.

The UN has slammed the US drone attacks as targeted killing and says they pose a challenge to international law.


Permalink Sarkozy uses his propaganda bounce from the Merah false flag attacks to round up Islamists

Whether its the Frank Murrah Building or Mohamed Merah shootings, its false flags followed by false news, 24x7. Related story: Merah visited Israel. Merah visit approved by Israeli security. Just like Israel frequent visitor Mohammed Atta. (Wayne Madsen) - Police in France have arrested 19 suspected Islamist militants and seized weapons in a series of dawn raids, President Nicolas Sarkozy says. The raids were in Toulouse, the home of gunman Mohamed Merah, and other cities. Merah, who killed seven people in three separate attacks, was buried in Toulouse on Thursday after being killed in a shoot-out with police on 22 March. Police have been hunting possible accomplices but sources said there was no direct link with the raids. Mr Sarkozy told Europe 1 radio after Friday's raids: "It's our duty to guarantee the security of the French people. We have no choice. It's absolutely indispensable."


Permalink PetroChina overtakes Exxon as biggest oil producer

US giant Exxon Mobil has lost its crown as the world's biggest listed producer of oil to PetroChina, figures suggest. - The Chinese firm said it produced 886.1 million barrels of oil last year - the equivalent of 2.43 million barrels a day. In January, Exxon said it produced 2.3 million barrels a day. Exxon's production fell in 2011 by 5%, while PetroChina's rose 3.3%. Exxon remains the more valuable firm, with a market capitalisation of $400bn (£250bn) against PetroChina's $280bn. The development comes as US President Barack Obama proposed scrapping subsidies and tax breaks for oil companies "raking in record profits". Exxon remains more profitable than PetroChina, making a net profit in the final three months of last year of $9.4bn. According to figures from the Reuters news agency, state-owned PetroChina made $4.7bn over the same period.


03/30/12

Permalink Today is the day!!!

Day one in Beirut, where over one hundred human rights activists from around the world are gathering to join Lebanese and Palestinian activists in the Global March to Jerusalem on March 30, also Palestinian Land Day. Over 20 have come from North America and Europe, and an Asian caravan carries justice activists from 11 countries to join the March.

Local and international organizers have been working on the campaign for months, coming together under an umbrella of non-violent action against Israel’s policy of ethnic cleansing of Jerusalem—a holy city for all—which Israeli leaders have openly declared their intent of forcefully rendering more Jewish. The long and varied list of the March’s endorsers includes: Jamal Juma’a, coordinator of the Palestinian Grassroots Anti-Apartheid Wall campaign; Nobel laureates Archbishop Desmond Tutu and Mairead Maguire; Jewish activists like Rabbi Lynn Gottlieb and South Africa’s Ronnie Kasrils; a former member of the German Parliament; Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohammed, former Prime Minister of Malaysia; Princeton’s Dr. Cornel West, and Princeton’s Richard Falk; as well as numerous Jewish and Christian justice organizations, including Independent Jewish Voices, Not in Our Name (NION): Jewish Voices Opposing Zionism, Unitarian Universalists For Justice In the Middle East, and United Progressives. That said, Zionist media, as it always does towards non-violent actions, is accelerating its accusations that the Global Marchers will use violence, something refuted numerous times in the GMJ’s call-out and mandate. Excerpts from the website specifically state:

The Global March to Jerusalem is a global peaceful movement which does not use violence to achieve its goals. The Global March to Jerusalem does not represent any one faction or political party but we call for participation of all social forces, political factions, and ideologies.


Permalink Public information restricted in case of slain teen

A special prosecutor investigating the death of an unarmed black teenager in Florida invoked an exemption on Thursday that allows authorities to deny the release of otherwise public information to the media. - The national media has converged on this Orlando suburb to cover a story that has gripped the country and renewed a discussion about race relations in America. Despite this, public officials have told reporters not to bother asking questions.

HLNTV: Funeral director: No injuries on Trayvon’s hands
CLG: George Zimmerman son of judge with sealed closed arrest record in Fla.


Permalink US assassination drone kills four people in northwest Pakistan

A US assassination drone strike has killed at least four people in Pakistan’s northwestern tribal region near the Afghan border, security officials say. - The US drone raid targeted a house in a market area of Miranshah, the main town in North Waziristan, early Friday, according to the officials. An intelligence official also said the attack left four people dead and two injured. Washington has increasingly turned to unmanned aircraft to carry out strikes in several countries, including Pakistan, Yemen, and Somalia. On January 31, President Barack Obama confirmed that the United States used the unmanned drones in Pakistan and "other countries".

Jason Ditz: Obama Told Pakistan: US ‘Not Ready’ to Stop Drone Strikes


Permalink Israel stages attack on Iran from Azerbaijan

U.S. officials believe that the Israelis have gained access to airbases in Azerbaijan. Does this bring them one step closer to a war with Iran?

In 2009, the deputy chief of mission of the U.S. embassy in Baku, Donald Lu, sent a cable to the State Department's headquarters in Foggy Bottom titled "Azerbaijan's discreet symbiosis with Israel." The memo, later released by WikiLeaks, quotes Azerbaijan's President Ilham Aliyev as describing his country's relationship with the Jewish state as an iceberg: "nine-tenths of it is below the surface." Why does it matter? Because Azerbaijan is strategically located on Iran's northern border and, according to several high-level sources I've spoken with inside the U.S. government, Obama administration officials now believe that the "submerged" aspect of the Israeli-Azerbaijani alliance -- the security cooperation between the two countries -- is heightening the risks of an Israeli strike on Iran. In particular, four senior diplomats and military intelligence officers say that the United States has concluded that Israel has recently been granted access to airbases on Iran's northern border. To do what, exactly, is not clear. "The Israelis have bought an airfield," a senior administration official told me in early February, "and the airfield is called Azerbaijan."

Hürriyet Daily News: Baku denies granting Israel air base access
Haaretz: Azerbaijan denies granting Israel access to air bases on Iran border
Philip Giraldi: Lobbying for War + Dying for AIPAC
Stephen Lendman: Imperial Rage for War


Permalink Philadelphia student arrested for photographing police

A student in Philadelphia has been arrested for taking photos of a traffic stop outside his house. That’s despite of the fact that police officers were specifically instructed that people can take pictures of their activity in public. - Ian Van Kuyk, a Temple University photojournalism student, has been charged with obstruction of justice, resisting arrest and disorderly conduct. All for simply trying to do his course assignment. Van Kuyk relates the story.

He was sitting on the porch stairs of his home when police pulled a vehicle to the side of the street. As he was tasked with a night-photography assignment, Van Kuyk decided to use the moment, grabbed his camera and began shooting photos. A police officer then told Van Kuyk to move away from the scene, and the student followed the order but continued shooting. However, an officer soon demanded that Van Kuyk stop taking photos. When the student asserted his rights to film on public domain, an officer reportedly said: “Public domain, yeah we’ve heard that before!” Van Kuyk says the officer then started shoving him. “He was pushing me, and I kept taking pictures and he didn’t like it, and he … got real aggressive and threw me to the ground,” the student recalls.


Permalink Addameer and PHR-Israel Cannot Yet Confirm That Hana Shalabi Has Ended Her Hunger Strike


The mother of female Palestinian prisoner Hana Shalabi
holds the picture of her daughter
(PressTV)

Joint Press Release, Addameer Prisoner Support and Human Rights Association and Physicians for Human Rights-Israel.

Ramallah-Jaffa, 29 March 2012− In response to this evening’s reports in the media that Hana Shalabi has ended her hunger strike on its 43rd day and agreed to a deal in which she will be deported to Gaza for three years, Addameer and Physicians for Human Rights-Israel (PHR-Israel) cannot yet confirm this news. Addameer’s lawyers were deliberately denied access to Ms. Shalabi today and PHR-Israel’s doctor has been denied access to her tomorrow. Her family has also been denied permission to visit her. Addameer and PHR-Israel are first and foremost concerned about Ms. Shalabi’s health. Addameer and PHR-Israel are further concerned that her medical condition and the high danger on her life were used in order to threaten her to take the sole option of being deported.

AWIP: Hana Shalabi has been on hunger strike for 40 days– A call to action


Permalink Eurozone crisis live: Violence in Barcelona amid Spanish general strike - as it happened

Greece watches events in Spain with pan-European revolt in planning stages.

• Government refuses to back down
• Clashes in Barcelona tonight, but calm in Madrid and Valencia
• Reports of arrests and injuries
• Energy usage down 20% as workers down tools
• OECD says eurozone struggling, and UK in recession
• Today's agenda

Vicky Short: Millions join general strike in Spain


Permalink Afghan Witnesses Say Sgt. Robert Bales Did Not Act Alone

An 8-year old Afghan girl named Noorbinak, according to the MSNBC, “told Hakim that the shooter first shot her father’s dog. Then, Noorbinak said in the video, he shot her father in the foot and dragged her mother by the hair. When her father started screaming, he shot her father, the child says. Then he turned the gun on Noorbinak and shot her in the leg.”

“One man entered the room and the others were standing in the yard, holding lights,” Noorbinak said in the interview. A brother of one of the victims said the children who witnessed saw many soldiers. “They don’t know whether there were 15 or 20, however many there were,” he said in the interview.

Jason Ditz: US Military ‘Can’t Access’ Massacre Site to Collect Evidence - Officials say that “security issues” have kept them from going to any of the locations in the two villages near their base, and that they haven’t been able to get formal permission from the villages in the district to do so either. Bales’ lawyer, John Henry Browne, is expecting these circumstances to dramatically change the face of the trial, noting that “they haven’t been back there. So there’s no crime scene, there’s no DNA, there’s no fingerprints, there’s no confession.” Bales is facing 17 counts of murder and other charges over the massacre.


Permalink Paul Craig Roberts Admits Israel Controls America

Max Keiser Interview Russia Today.


Permalink An Executioner for Syria's Rebels Tells His Story

Human Rights Watch has condemned abuses committed by Syrian rebels in their stronghold of Homs. But one member of a rebel "burial brigade" who has executed four men by slitting their throats defended his work in an interview with SPIEGEL ONLINE. "If we don't do it, nobody will hold these perpetrators to account," he said. - Hussein can barely remember the first time he executed someone. It was probably in a cemetery in the evening, or at night; he can't recall exactly. It was definitely mid-October of last year, and the man was Shiite, for sure. He had confessed to killing women -- decent women, whose husbands and sons had protested against Syrian President Bashar Assad's regime. So the rebels had decided that the man, a soldier in the Syrian army, deserved to die, too. Hussein didn't care if the man had been beaten into a confession, or that he was terrified of death and had begun to stammer prayers. It was his tough luck that the rebels had caught him. Hussein took out his army knife and sliced the kneeling man's neck. His comrades from the so-called "burial brigade" quickly interred the blood-stained corpse in the sand of the graveyard west of the Baba Amr area of the rebel stronghold of Homs. At the time, the neighborhood was in the hands of the insurgents. That first execution was a rite of passage for Hussein. He now became a member of the Homs burial brigade. The men, of which there are only a handful, kill in the name of the Syrian revolution. They leave torture to others; that's what the so-called interrogation brigade is for. "They do the ugly work," says Hussein, who is currently being treated in a hospital in the Lebanese city of Tripoli. He was injured when a piece of shrapnel became lodged in his back during the army's ground invasion of Baba Amr in early March.


Permalink AFRICOM U.S. Special Forces Operating in Mali: US Troops now in 5 African Countries

Pentagon: All U.S. Elite Commandos in Mali 'Accounted For'. - The Pentagon confirmed Friday that all U.S. special operations forces in Mali are safe amid an attempt by rogue military forces to topple the east African nation’s civilian government. “We do have SOF personnel in country and they’ve ceased all activity,” says a senior Pentagon official. “I don’t know if they’ve departed, but as of [Thursday], they had not. Additionally, all were accounted for.” The Pentagon official did not disclose the number of SOF personnel in Mali, but special operations deployments typically include small numbers of troops.


Permalink 20 Signs That We Are Witnessing The Complete Collapse Of Common Sense In America

Many people seem to believe that if we could just get Obama out of office or if we could just reform our economic system that our problems as a nation would be solved, but that is simply not true. Our problems run much deeper than that. The societal decay that is plaguing our country is very deep and it is everywhere. We are a nation that is full of people that do not care about others and that just want to do what is right in their own eyes. We hold ourselves out to the rest of the world as "the greatest nation on earth" and an example that everyone else should follow, and yet our own house is rotting all around us. The words "crazy", "insane" and "deluded" are not nearly strong enough to describe our frame of mind as a country. America has become a sad, delusional old man that can't even think straight anymore. The evidence of our mental illness is everywhere.


Permalink George Zimmerman son of judge with sealed closed arrest record in Fla.

'Now we know why George Zimmerman didn't get arrested... No Words... According to court records, George Zimmerman is the son of retired Supreme Court Magistrate Judge Robert J Zimmerman, his mother Gladys Zimmerman is a court clerk... He has three closed arrests: 7/18/05 for resisting arrest with violence and battery on a law enforcement officer div 10... 8/9/05 for domestic violence div 44... And again on 8/10/05, domestic violence div 46 ***' (Live Radio Show)


03/29/12

Permalink Trayvon Martin killing: Bobby Rush escorted off floor of US Congress after hoodie tribute

Congressman Bobby Rush was escorted off the floor of the US House of Representatives after he donned a hoodie in tribute to the slain teenager Trayvon Martin.

The hooded sweatshirt has become a symbol of protest against racial profiling in the weeks since the 17-year-old was killed while wearing one by a Hispanic neighbourhood watch captain in Florida. Thousands of people in cities across the US wore sweatshirts as they marched to demand that George Zimmerman be arrested and charged for the killing. Mr Rush, an Illinois Democrat, took the floor to denounce the killing and speak out against vigilantism. Too often, this violent act that resulted in the murder of Trayvon Martin is repeated in the streets of our nation," Rush said in his statement. "I applaud the young people all across the land who are making a statement about hoodies, about the hoodlums in this nation, particularly those who tread on our laws wearing official or quasi-official clothes." As he spoke he removed his suit jacket to reveal a grey sweatshirt underneath. He pulled up the hood and replaced his spectacles with dark sunglasses as he spoke. "Racial profiling has to stop, Mr Speaker," he continued "Just because someone wears a hoodie does not make them a hoodlum." He was interrupted by the presiding speaker, Gregg Harper, who repeatedly banged his gavel as he warned Mr Rush that he was violating parliamentary rules by covering his head in the chamber.

Wikipedia: Shooting of Trayvon Martin
MSNBC: Police video shows George Zimmerman shortly after Trayvon Martin shooting
Boston.com: Video of handcuffed Fla. shooter adds to debate
Stephen Lendman: Stand Your Ground Laws Legalize Murder
WSWS: Parents of Trayvon Martin speak to the WSWS - VIDEO


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