Lawlessness / Ruined – part 19

From ZeroHedge:
Islamic State still controls a pocket of territory in Deir Ezzor between the Euphrates River and the Iraqi border, and also has outposts across the vast Syrian desert. Meanwhile, the use of any incendiary munitions in populated civilian areas was banned by Protocol III of the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons, which the US signed the protocol back in 2009.

“Russia Accuses US Of White Phosphorus Attack In Syria” by Tyler Durden (ZeroHedge)

An excerpt from the above linked-to article follows:

President Trump has continued to threaten Syrian and Russian forces planning to take back the terrorist-controlled stronghold of Idlib in northwestern Syria, potentially bringing the world to the brink of World War III, as we explained yesterday. But Trump’s tweets about the potential “humanitarian catastrophe” have exposed a guiding principle of the US’s involvement in Syria (and indeed across the Middle East): A chemical weapons attack isn’t a “catastrophe” if it’s carried out by the US.

“Staged Filming of False Flag ‘Chemical Attacks’ Has Begun in Idlib: Russian MoD” by Tyler Durden (ZeroHedge)

An excerpt from the above linked-to article follows:

Russian state media channels, in a near simultaneous blitz of information, have issued breaking alerts this morning that anti-Assad insurgents in Idlib have begun filming “fake footage of chemical attacks” based on Russian Ministry of Defense (MoD) statements. The Russian Center for Syrian Reconciliation says the “fake footage of chemical attacks” is expected to be delivered to various TV channels and Western journalists before the end of the day Tuesday…

Meanwhile in Idlib, some truly strange theatrics have already begun, with Al Jazeera depicting locals preparing paper cups, bags and cotton, which are somehow supposed to serve as “chemical protective” gear. Reuters has also promoted some of the images of residents with plastic bags over their heads in recent coverage.

The Al Jazeera (AJ+) report aired late last week, and ranks as one of the more bizarre propaganda stunts we’ve seen from the Qatar-based channel.

For starters, nerve agents are absorbed through the skin, and quite obviously a little cotton and charcoal can do nothing to protect from a real gas attack.

The Al Jazeera filmed stunt seems to point to — at least on an anecdotal level — early conscious attempts by the armed groups controlling Idlib to stage exaggerated theatrics, and further points to international media’s willingness to promote such stunts with no critical review whatsoever.

From RT News:
A historic building ruined during a conflict, Benghazi, Libya, February 28, 2018 © Esam Omran Al-Fetori / Reuters

“Libya in chaos seven years after NATO’s ‘liberation’, but who cares?” by Neil Clark (RT News)

An excerpt from the above linked-to article follows:

Libya remains a lawless land, with rival militias fighting battles in the streets of Tripoli and over 1 million people in need of aid. But the West’s ‘liberal interventionists’ aren’t interested in the catastrophe they created.

“Hundreds escape prison amid deadly clashes in Tripoli,” a headline on the BBC News website declared this week.

Over 60 people have died in the current fighting with many more injured and hundreds of ordinary citizens displaced. The latest disturbances began after the Tarhuna’s 7th Infantry ”Kaniat’ Brigade made advances into the capital from the south and clashed with a coalition of Tripoli militias.

It’s really hard to keep up with who’s fighting who. If you think the situation in Syria is complicated, you haven’t been paying much attention to Libya. As the BBC article acknowledged: “Libya has faced continuing chaos since NATO-backed militia forces, some of them rivals, overthrew long-serving ruler Colonel Gaddafi in October 2011.”

Rona Achilles remains on a waiting list for subsidized housing despite being terminally ill. (Andrew Francis Wallace / Toronto Star)

“Even terminal illness won’t guarantee a spot in Toronto’s subsidized housing” by Gilbert Ngabo (Toronto Star)

An excerpt from the above linked-to article follows:

Achilles is dying. After beating cancer twice in her life, she was diagnosed with stage 4 breast cancer in January 2017. Doctors at Princess Margaret Cancer Centre told her it’s terminal.

She doesn’t know exactly how long she’ll live, but she wants out of here before her final days on Earth.

Seven years ago, Achilles applied for a space in the city’s subsidized housing program, as rent costs were becoming unaffordable for her after she retired. When she found out about her condition, she submitted the documents necessary to be placed on the priority lists — including a doctor’s note…

The waiting time for subsidized housing can be more than 10 years, according to Housing Connections, the city’s department in charge of managing centralized housing lists. Housing is provided on a first-come, first-served basis, with some notable exceptions.

Priority is accorded to survivors of domestic abuse and human trafficking, terminally ill people who have less than two years to live, youth and people who are homeless.

Patricia Anderson from the city’s shelter support and housing administration said there were about 1,000 people on the terminally ill category waiting list alone at the beginning of this year.

“Turnover in social housing is very low and there are almost no new rent-geared-to-income units being built to add to the supply,” Anderson said.

“Latest report on Canada’s shoddy child care is unlikely to reduce government neglect” by Ed Finn (Rabble)

An excerpt from the above linked-to article follows:

A recent report on Canada’s abysmal failure to protect and care for the country’s youngest and most vulnerable citizens — its children — made headlines and stirred ripples of shame and outrage.

Compiled by Children First Canada and the O’Brien Institute for Public Health, the study found that children in Canada suffer from shockingly high rates of poverty, obesity, infant mortality, abuse, suicide, and declining mental health.

Calling these grim statistics “deeply disturbing,” Sara Austin, director of Children First, pointed out that “Canada ranks as the fifth-most prosperous nation in the world, but there’s a big disconnect between the well-being of our country and the well-being of our children. All levels of government need to do more to ensure that children benefit from Canada’s overall wealth.”

This plea for decent high-quality child care in Canada is only the latest in a long list of such supplications. It is only the latest such report detailing the execrable extent of child poverty and dereliction that has blemished this country’s image for a very long time.

© Charles Platiau / Reuters

“Zuckerberg admits social media is a weapon, says Facebook in ‘arms race’ against ‘bad actors'” by Danielle Ryan (RT News)

An excerpt from the above linked-to article follows:
==== === == =
If you had any lingering doubt that Facebook has become little more than a vehicle for US government censorship and Western propaganda, a recent Washington Post op-ed by Mark Zuckerberg should remove any ambiguity.

In his short and snappy op-ed, Mark Zuckerberg admits that “protecting democracy” is an “arms race” and reaffirms Facebook’s commitment to winning. Put another way, Zuckerberg is telling us that social media is a weapon — and that he has picked a side.
= == === ====

Palestinian activist and campaigner Ahed Tamimi, 17, gestures during an interview with Agence France-Presse (AFP) in the West Bank village of Nabi Saleh on July 30, 2018, following her release from prison yesterday after an eight-month sentence for slapping Israeli soldiers, an episode that made her a symbol of resistance for Palestinians. / AFP PHOTO / ABBAS MOMANI

“Israel Bans Palestinian Activist Ahed Tamimi from Travelling Abroad” by ? (21st Century Wire)

An excerpt from the above linked-to article follows:

Israeli authorities banned Ahed Tamimi, a Palestinian activist and campaigner who became a resistance icon, and her family from travelling abroad, her father said on Friday.

Basim Tamimi told Anadolu Agency that he and his family had planned to travel to Europe via Jordan. But they were informed by Palestinian authorities that Israel had banned them from travelling abroad.

Are Palestinians in jail? Clearly, They are.

Chelsea Manning

“Widespread opposition to Australian government ban on Chelsea Manning” by Oscar Grenfell and James Cogan (WSWS)

An excerpt from the above linked-to article follows:

The Coalition government of Prime Minister Scott Morrison yesterday issued Manning with a “notice of intention” to reject her visa application, just days before she was set to address events in Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane.

The government is invoking Manning’s criminal conviction for leaking hundreds of thousands of military files and US diplomatic cables to claim that she fails the Migration Act’s “character test.”

As far as hundreds of millions of people are concerned, the actions of Chelsea (formerly Bradley) Manning were both justified and proved she is a person of the highest character and quality. The publication of the information she leaked by WikiLeaks and its editor Julian Assange exposed the staggering dimensions of the US-led war crimes in Iraq and Afghanistan, as well as the sordid intrigues by the American state around the world.

Manning paid an immense price for her courageous decision to let the world know the truth…

““Close Friend” Britain Doesn’t Object to Israel’s Vicious Piracy, nor Does the EU” by Stuart Littlewood (American Herald Tribune)

An excerpt from the above linked-to article follows:

Reports are coming in that Israel plans to sell off the four mercy boats it violently hijacked on the high seas a few weeks ago. The peaceful, unarmed vessels were sailing with desperately needed medical supplies to the besieged Gaza Strip which has been illegally blockade by Israel for 12 years.

The crews and passengers of these mercy boats were arrested by the Israeli military, beaten up, thrown in jail and had their money and personal belongings stolen while in custody. Among the passengers on the al-Awda, was British citizen Dr Swee Ang, a consultant at the famous Bart’s Hospital, who susteained two cracked ribs.

The boats were intended as a gift to the people of Gaza, probably the fishermen, but Israeli intelligence officials claimed they would end up in the hands of Hamas. So the Israeli Central Court has decided sell the boats – stolen property – and hand the proceeds to Israeli families illegally squatting on Palestinian land…

Israel is clearly acting illegally by interfering with the peaceful voyages. A UN fact-finding mission, investigating the assault on the Mavi Marmara, declared that “no case can be made for the legality of the interception and the Mission therefore finds that the interception was illegal…. and to constitute collective punishment of the people living in the Gaza Strip and thus to be illegal and contrary to Article 33 of the Fourth Geneva Convention”. It could not even be justified even under Article 51 of the Charter of the United Nations [the right of self-defence].

The Centre for Constitutional Rights also concluded that the Israeli blockade of the Gaza Strip was illegal under international law and amounted to collective punishment. “The flotilla did not seek to travel to Israel, let alone ‘attack’ Israel. Furthermore, the flotilla did not constitute an act which required an ‘urgent’ response, such that Israel had to launch a middle-of-the-night armed boarding… Israel could also have diplomatically engaged Turkey, arranged for a third party to verify there were no weapons onboard and then peacefully guided the vessel to Gaza.”

Tankers at Strait of Malacca

“Indonesia “Proudly” Joins US-Led Exercises to Antagonize China” by Andre Vltchek (New Eastern Outlook via Dissident Voice)

An excerpt from the above linked-to article follows:

Indonesia (RI), the 4th most populous nation on Earth and the country with the largest Muslim population is, and since the 1965 US-orchestrated anti-Communist coup has been, the most radically pro-Western and anti-socialist place in Asia.

This is where you could end up in prison for publicly declaring that you are a Communist, or just an atheist. And this is where Western pop music, junk food and brutally meaningless Hollywood blockbusters are rubbing shoulders with the Saudi-style interpretation of Islam; with Wahhabism, that has been spread with the direct involvement of the US, UK and other Western countries.

The more intolerant Indonesia gets, the more ‘tolerant’ it is called by its ally and patron – the West. The more miserable and unprotected the Indonesian masses get, the more their country is defined as a ‘democracy’…

Indonesia ‘absorbed’ a substantial number of Chinese post-revolution religious ‘exiles’, particularly right-wing Christian priests and preachers, who settled down in the cities like Surabaya, and who, while relying on Western support and funding, continue spreading anti-PRC and anti-Communist propaganda.

It is very little wonder that after continuous right-wing political indoctrination and religious ‘bombardment’, collaboration with the West has been accepted by the great majority of Indonesian citizens without any soul searching or second thought. Jakarta ‘cooperates’ openly and proudly with the US, UK, Australia and other Western countries (as well as with Japan) especially when it comes to politics, diplomacy, but also the economy and even military.

This fact is often overlooked by left-wing analysts, while it is being taken for granted by the West. But the aggressive/servile position of the country has been ruining tens of millions of lives in Indonesia itself, as well as abroad (the genocide committed by the Indonesian troops in East Timor killed approximately 30% of human beings there, while further hundreds of thousands have been murdered in an ongoing genocide in an occupied part of Papua).

“#Policetoo: 35 States Allow ‘Consensual’ Sex Between Police and Detainees” by Christopher Zoukis (Criminal Legal News)

An excerpt from the above linked-to article follows:

On September 15, 2017, 18-year-old Anna Chambers was taken into custody by two NYPD detectives on suspicion of smoking marijuana. According to Chambers, the detectives handcuffed her, led her into the back of an unmarked van with tinted windows, and raped her repeatedly. About an hour later, the detectives dropped her off, where surveillance cameras captured her slowly pacing up and down a dark street with her arms wrapped around her chest.

After borrowing a cellphone and calling friends, Chambers and her mother went to the hospital and reported the assault. A rape kit came back positive for semen from detectives Eddie Martins, 37, and Richard Hall, 33, two Brooklyn narcotics cops. Both Martins and Hall have been charged with rape, kidnapping, bribery, and official misconduct and have resigned from the force. The former cops also face a federal civil rights lawsuit by Chambers.

Given the fact that their DNA was found inside the teenager, Martins and Hall are not denying a sexual encounter. Instead, they are mounting a defense that has shocked the nation: They claim that the sexual activity was consensual, and therefore they did nothing wrong.

New York is, in fact, one of 35 states where a person detained by armed police can “consent” to sex while in custody.

Thomas Friedman praises brutal Saudi dictator

“Whitewashed Saudi ‘Reformer’ Prince Boosts Authoritarian Crackdown on Dissent” by Medea Benjamin and Ben Norton (The Real News Network)

An excerpt from the above linked-to article follows:

BEN NORTON: It’s The Real News. I’m Ben Norton.

New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman, a powerful journalist who has won three Pulitzer Prizes, wrote in November 2017, quote: “The most significant reform process underway anywhere in the Middle East today is in Saudi Arabia.” The Western corporate media has sung the praises of Saudi Arabia’s new Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, portraying him as a reformer and even a revolutionary who will supposedly transform not just his kingdom, but potentially the Middle East and Islam as a whole.

In reality, however, Mohammed bin Salman, who is known as MBS, has shown himself to be an extremely authoritarian despot who has killed, imprisoned, and exiled his political rivals in order to maintain an iron grip on power. And the internal repression inside Saudi Arabia has, in fact, only increased under MBS. Earlier this month the Saudi regime announced that it would punish critics who post satire on social media with up to five years in prison. This new draconian law targets anyone who creates or posts content that ridicules or mocks, quote: “religious values and public morals” through social media. That’s the language of the new law. Of course, the politicians and journalists who praised MBS as a supposed reformer and hero have been silent about this internal crackdown inside Saudi Arabia…

MEDEA BENJAMIN: You know, you’d want to laugh at this if it were not for the fact that people’s lives are really in danger because of these laws. I’m so glad that you started out with the Thomas Friedman quote, because it was an example of how the U.S. media has been wowed by Mohamed bin Salman. Or maybe because of all the lobbyists that do the PR work for him. And then when things like this happen you barely hear a peep from the media to show how repressive the government is. I mean, imagine having this law that says you could go to prison for five years and an $800,000 fine, almost a million dollar fine, for satire. For putting something on social media that mocked the government.

It is reminiscent of the fact that such laws really already exist on the books. Look at Raif Badawi, who is in prison for ten years, and was sentenced to a thousand lashes for having a blog in which he talked about how the country should be more liberal. So this restriction on free speech has always been the case, but to actually specify that satire can get you five years in prison is taking it to a new step.

From ZeroHedge:
Residents of Brookhaven complained to authorities about the machines last weekend, while two have been removed and one was partially destroyed by the community, according to WABC-TV.

“Mysterious Crack Pipe Vending Machines Baffle New York Authorities” by Tyler Durden (Zero Hedge)

An excerpt from the above linked-to article follows:

“You think you’ve heard of everything,” said Brookhaven Brookhaven Supervisor Ed Romaine. “I continue to be surprised by some of the audacity of those that would break the law in promoting drugs and drug paraphernalia.”

Local resident Scot Malz and a friend took a video of one of the vending machines on Saturday and posted it to Facebook.

“I wanted the community to see what was going on and try to get rid of it as quick as possible,” he said. “Because that’s actually a bad area for drugs.”

I think there’s a case to made for legalizing drugs. But that doesn’t mean that I think taking drugs is a good idea. I most certainly don’t.


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