Category: Corruption


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People Are Waking Up to the Dark Side of American Policing, and Cops Don’t Like It One Bit

Pushing back against a creeping police state.

If you’ve been listening to various police agencies and their supporters, then you know what the future holds: anarchy is coming — and it’s all the fault of activists.

In May, a Wall Street Journal op-ed warned of a “new nationwide crime wave” thanks to “intense agitation against American police departments” over the previous year. New Jersey Governor Chris Christie went further. Talking recently with the host of CBS’s Face the Nation, the Republican presidential hopeful asserted that the Black Lives Matter movement wasn’t about reform but something far more sinister. “They’ve been chanting in the streets for the murder of police officers,” he insisted. Even the nation’s top cop, FBI Director James Comey, weighed in at the University of Chicago Law School, speaking of “a chill wind that has blown through American law enforcement over the last year.”

According to these figures and others like them, lawlessness has been sweeping the nation as the so-called Ferguson effect spreads. Criminals have been emboldened as police officers are forced to think twice about doing their jobs for fear of the infamy of starring in the next viral video. The police have supposedly become the targets of assassins intoxicated by “anti-cop rhetoric,” just as departments are being stripped of the kind of high-powered equipment they need to protect officers and communities. Even their funding streams have, it’s claimed, come under attack as anti-cop bias has infected Washington, D.C. Senator Ted Cruz caught the spirit of that critique by convening a Senate subcommittee hearing to which he gave the title, “The War on Police: How the Federal Government Undermines State and Local Law Enforcement.” According to him, the federal government, including the president and attorney general, has been vilifying the police, who are now being treated as if they, not the criminals, were the enemy.

Beyond the storm of commentary and criticism, however, quite a different reality presents itself. In the simplest terms, there is no war on the police. Violent attacks against police officers remain at historic lows, even though approximately 1,000 people have been killed by the police this year nationwide. In just the past few weeks, videos have been released of problematic fatal police shootings in San Francisco and Chicago.

While it’s too soon to tell whether there has been an uptick in violent crime in the post-Ferguson period, no evidence connects any possible increase to the phenomenon of police violence being exposed to the nation. What is taking place and what the police and their supporters are largely reacting to is a modest push for sensible law enforcement reforms from groups as diverse as Campaign Zero, Koch Industries, the Cato Institute, The Leadership Conference, and the ACLU (my employer). Unfortunately, as the rhetoric ratchets up, many police agencies and organizations are increasingly resistant to any reforms, forgetting whom they serve and ignoring constitutional limits on what they can do.

 

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ISIL Ringleader’s Mobile Phone Speaks Loud of Turkey’s Support for Terrorism

ISIL Ringleader's Mobile Phone Speaks Loud of Turkey's Support for Terrorism

TEHRAN (FNA)- A commander of the Iraqi volunteer forces (Hashd al-Shaabi) revealed that a mobile phone found with one of the killed ISIL ringleaders proved the Turkish spy agency’s support for the terrorist group.

“The mobile phone was found with one of the killed ISIL leaders in the Northern parts of Salahuddin province two days ago,” Jabbar al-Ma’mouri told Soumeriya news on Monday.

He said that the mobile set and history files contain messages from the Turkish intelligence agency which show that Ankara supports the ISIL terrorist group through providing security at the points of entry used by ISIL militants from Turkey to Iraq.

“The mobile phone also contains other important information which cannot be disclosed now, and it has been delivered to the specialized security groups for further scrutiny,” Ma’mouri said.

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SHAMED AT LAST: AIDS-drug gouger Martin Shkreli is marched to court by FBI after securities fraud arrest for running a Ponzi scheme to pay debts – and freed on $5 MILLION bond

  • Martin Shkreli, 32, has been arrested on charges of securities fraud and running a Ponzi scheme to pay off debts from an old company  
  • It is also alleged he illegally used stock from the biotechnology firm he owned, Retrophin Inc., to pay off debts related to MSMB 
  • Retrophin and its investors suffered a loss in excess of $11million because of Shkreli’s scheme according to United States Attorney Robert Capers 
  • He earned the moniker of ‘most hated man’ in September after raising the cost of an AIDS and cancer drug from $13.50 per tablet to $750 overnight 
  • MSMB Capital Management was founded by Shkreli in 2009 and shuttered in 2012, the same year Retrophin was founded and Shkreli became CEO
  • He was released on a $5million bond after bring arraigned in federal court on Friday

Martin Shkreli was released on a $5million bond after being arraigned on charges of securities fraud in federal court in Brooklyn Thursday afternoon.

Shkreli, the son of immigrants, was also forced to forfeit his passport.

The price-hiking pharmaceutical entrepreneur was picked up by the FBI in the early hours of Thursday following an investigation into a former hedge fund and drug company he previously headed.

It is alleged he illegally used stock from the biotechnology firm Retrophin Inc. to pay off debts related to his struggling hedge fund and to pay back angry investors.

He is being charged with seven counts of fraud for running what United States Attorney Robert L. Capers of the Eastern District of New York is calling a Ponzi scheme.

Shkreli, 32, pleaded not guilty to these allegations.

He faces a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison if convicted on all charges.

 

Free: Martin Shkreli was released on a $5million bond Thursday afternoon

Free: Martin Shkreli was released on a $5million bond Thursday afternoon

Art: A courtroom sketch shows defendants Shkreli (C) and Greebel (R) a former partner at law firm Katten Muchin Rosenman (R) during their arraignment

Art: A courtroom sketch shows defendants Shkreli (C) and Greebel (R) a former partner at law firm Katten Muchin Rosenman (R) during their arraignment

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In Memoriam of Aaron Swartz and his dream to make the world a better place

Swartz smiling

11/8/1986 – 01/11/2013

 

Aaron is dead.

Wanderers in this crazy world,

We have lost a mentor , a wise elder. 

Hackers for right, we are one down,

we  have lost one of our own.

Nurturers, carers, listeners,

feeders, parents all,

we have lost a child.

Let us all weep.

~Sir Tim Berners-Lee, January 11th 2013

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PressTV News Videos PRESS TV

Mon Dec 14, 2015 11:29AM
The Obama administration relies heavily on Daesh (ISIL) to push ahead with its psychological warfare, Grossman says.

US President Barack Obama’s government has no intention of destroying the Daesh (ISIL) Takfiri group and is using the terror organization as an instrument to push ahead with its agenda through psychological warfare, an American analyst says.

It was announced on Monday that Obama was planning to visit Defense Secretary Ashton Carter later in the day to review the US-led military campaign against Daesh with his national security advisers.

This would be the American leader’s first visit to the Pentagon since the recent terrorist attacks in California and Paris.

The attacks that left scores of people dead are believed to have been carried out by people who share ideologies with the terrorist group.

“Few things in this mess are more clear than the fact that White House policy has been to contain and, many people argue, use ISIS (Daesh) to spread insecurity and perhaps to force regime change, rather than to destroy the phenomena,”  Barry Grossman, an international lawyer, told Press TV on Monday.

 

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Middle East

09:08 14.12.2015(updated 09:13 14.12.2015) Get short URL
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The US-led anti-terrorist coalition’s airstrikes on the Syrian Army may not have been an accident and could be repeated, Russia’s envoy to the UN Vitaly Churkin said.

UNITED NATIONS (Sputnik) — The Syrian Army confirmed earlier in December an airstrike on Syrian Army positions by US-led coalition aircraft in the Deir ez-Zor area that killed three and wounded 13 servicemen.

“Naturally, there is the suspicion that it was not accidental, that despite all assurances given to the Syrian government that these strikes would not target the Syrian government’s forces, the strikes could target government troops from time to time,” Churkin told RIA Novosti.

“This will intensify tensions and only complicate the situation in Syria. But let’s hope it won’t happen,” he added.

Churkin said that Moscow was not currently planning to raise the issue of coalition strikes on the Syrian army at the UN Security Council.

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ISIS driving Toyotas a little too often, US Treasury wonders why

© Stringer
 
ISIS has many faults, but it sure knows a good car when it sees one. The US Treasury is now pressing Toyota about why so many of its vehicles are being driven around by the terrorist group, as evidenced in their propaganda videos.

Toyota has issued a statement to explain that this is part of a wider probe into terrorist supply chains and capital flow, according to ABC. The company also says it does not know how its trucks ended up in ISIS hands in such a quantity, and is “supporting” the inquiry.

 

The model most popular with Islamic State drivers seems to be the Hilux, similar to Tacomas and Land Cruisers. This overseas version is a mainstay in ISIS propaganda videos, often loaded to the brim with heavy weapons.

The company says the cars in the videos aren’t recent models, but ABC spoke to the Iraqi ambassador to the US, Lukman Faily, who said that in addition to re-purposing old vehicles, the terrorist group has been acquiring “hundreds” of “brand new” ones in recent years.

“This is a question we’ve been asking our neighbors,” the ambassador said. “How could these brand new trucks… these four-wheel drives, hundreds of them – where are they coming from?”

Some of the other cars paraded in victory parade videos include Mitsubishi, Hyundai and Isuzu.

“Regrettably, the Toyota Land Cruiser and Hilux have effectively become almost part of the ISIS brand,” said Mark Wallace, a former US ambassador to the United Nations. Wallace is CEO of the Counter Extremism Project, a group specializing in tracking terrorist finance channels.

“ISIS has used these vehicles in order to engage in military-type activities, terror activities, and the like,” he said. “But in nearly every ISIS video, they show a fleet – a convoy of Toyota vehicles and that’s very concerning to us.”

But according to Lewis, “It is impossible for Toyota to completely control indirect or illegal channels through which our vehicles could be misappropriated.”

The current inquiry isn’t the first time somebody’s asked about Toyota popping up frequently in IS hands. A report last year by Public Radio International exposed a delivery by the US State Department of 43 Toyota trucks to Syrian rebels – the “moderate” ones, as has been the Western line since the start of the Syrian war in 2011. Australian media has also this year been circulating reports of some 800 vehicles stolen, and authorities believing they may have been shipped to war zones in the Middle East.

 

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This one Toyota pickup truck is at the top of the shopping list for the Free Syrian Army — and the Taliban

 

Hilux_FSA_.jpg

Rebels operating under the Free Syrian Army sit in a Hilux pickup truck on one of the battlefronts in Jobar, Damascus, August 2013

Credit: REUTERS/ Mohamed Abdullah

 

The Hilux, a pickup truck Toyota has built since the late 1960s, isn’t available in the US, but it’s popular around the globe, including with insurgent groups such as the Taliban, al-Qaeda and Boko Haram.

 

This story is based on a radio interview. Listen to the full interview.

Recently, when the US State Department resumed sending non-lethal aid to Syrian rebels, the delivery list included 43 Toyota trucks.

Hiluxes were on the Free Syrian Army’s wish list. Oubai Shahbander, a Washington-based advisor to the Syrian National Coalition, is a fan of the truck.

“Specific equipment like the Toyota Hiluxes are what we refer to as force enablers for the moderate opposition forces on the ground,” he adds. Shahbander says the US-supplied pickups will be delivering troops and supplies into battle. Some of the fleet will even become battlefield weapons.

“You can absolutely expect for many of those trucks to be mounted with crew-served machine guns or other type of equipment, military equipment, that the opposition forces have access to. I mean, that’s one of the reasons why the Toyota Hilux is such an important force multiplier, because it could be used both for humanitarian purposes and for operational purposes as well.”

Syria is only the latest war zone where the Hilux has been a vehicle of choice. The BBC’s Kabul correspondent, David Loyn, saw the Hilux put through its paces by the Taliban in the 1990s, and credits the truck with having given Taliban forces a battlefield edge.

 

Read More and Liste to the Interview Here

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‘Murderers’: Thousands gather in Montenegro capital to protest NATO membership (VIDEO)

© Ruptly
 
Shortly after Montenegro’s bid to join the North Atlantic Alliance was given the green light, thousands flooded the streets of the capital to protest the upcoming membership and remind people of lives taken during the NATO invasion of 1999.

Former Montenegrin President Momir Bulatovic and opposition leaders called the rally on Saturday in Montenegro’s capital, Podgorica. They gathered at least 5,000 supporters outside the parliament, according to the local Vijesti newspaper. The protesters held national flags while patriotic and pro-Russian chants ringing out from the assembled crowd.

Bulatovic, who was also prime minister of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia from 1998 to 2000, told the rally that joining NATO would mean “blood of innocent people on our hands,” and emphasized his country had been against the alliance’s wars until recently.

“What has Afghanistan done wrong, what has Iraq done wrong? Why has Libya been destroyed, what’s happening today in Syria? Can we close our eyes to that?” he said.

 

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PressTV News Videos PRESS TV

Thu Dec 10, 2015 10:15AM
A tank operated by Saudi-led forces fires at a position of Yemeni fighters in the Labanat area, between Yemen's northern provinces of al-Jawf and Marib on December 5, 2015. (Reuters photo)
A tank operated by Saudi-led forces fires at a position of Yemeni fighters in the Labanat area, between Yemen’s northern provinces of al-Jawf and Marib on December 5, 2015. (Reuters photo)

A new report says mercenaries and military advisers from the infamous US security firm, formerly known as Blackwater, are replacing UAE troops in the Saudi war in Yemen.   

The Beirut-based al-Akhbar newspaper said on Thursday UAE forces are being gradually replaced by recruits from the US-based private military contractor, which now goes by the name, Acamedi.

The move came after the UAE evacuated some of its military sites in Yemen following its failures in several operations, the Lebanese daily added.

According to al-Akhbar, UAE’s move to involve the private military contractor in the Yemen conflict has raised objections among some members of the Saudi-led coalition.

On Wednesday, Yemen’s Arabic-language al-Masirah news website said the commander-in-chief of Blackwater mercenaries in the country was killed in the al-Omari district of Ta’izz Province.

 

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Blackwater: Shadow Army

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Crippled in Syria, Turkey goes for a ‘Sunnistan’ in Iraq

© Fatih Saribas
Turkey’s “incursion” into Iraq is a cold, calculated move. And once again, the name of the game is – what else? – Divide and Rule.

Turkey sent to Iraqi Kurdistan – which is part of the state of Iraq – no less than a 400-strong battalion supported by 25 M-60A3 tanks. Now the Turkish boots on the ground at Bashiqa camp, northeast of Mosul, have reportedly reached a total of around 600.

The short breakdown: this is not a “training camp”– as Ankara is spinning. It’s a full-blown, perhaps permanent, military base.

The dodgy deal was struck between the ultra-corrupt Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) and then-Turkish Foreign Minister Feridun Sinirlioglu in Erbil last month.

Torrents of Turkish spin swear this is only about “training” Peshmergas to fight ISIS/ISIL/Daesh.

Absolute nonsense. The crucial fact is that Ankara is terrified of the “4+1” alliance fighting Islamic State, which unites Iran, Iraqi Shiites and the Syrian Arab Army (SAA), as well as Hezbollah, with Russia.

In Syria, Ankara is virtually paralyzed, after the “stab in the back”downing of the Su-24; the Russian revelations of complicity between Turkey’s first family and stolen Syrian oil (Bilal Erdogan, a.k.a. Erdogan ‘Mini Me’denies everything); and the Russian Air Force relentless pounding of Turkey’s fifth column Turkmen. Not to mention the deployment of S-400s and even a third-generation submarine complete with Kalibr cruise missiles.

So Ankara now switches the attention to Iraq with a “counter-alliance”, made up of Turkey; the KRG (which – illegally – sells oil to Turkey); and Sunnis in northern Iraq under the supposed leadership of the sprawling Nuceyfi tribe in Mosul.

© Stringer

This is textbook neo-Ottomanism in action. We should never forget that for the AKP in power in Ankara, northern Syria and northern Iraq are nothing but former Ottoman Empire provinces, an eastward extension of Turkey’s Hatay province. ‘Sultan’ Erdogan’s (unstated) wet dream is to annex the whole lot.

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Pepe Escobar
Pepe Escobar is an independent geopolitical analyst. He writes for RT, Sputnik and TomDispatch, and is a frequent contributor to websites and radio and TV shows ranging from the US to East Asia. He is the former roving correspondent for Asia Times Online. Born in Brazil, he’s been a foreign correspondent since 1985, and has lived in London, Paris, Milan, Los Angeles, Washington, Bangkok and Hong Kong. Even before 9/11 he specialized in covering the arc from the Middle East to Central and East Asia, with an emphasis on Big Power geopolitics and energy wars. He is the author of “Globalistan” (2007), “Red Zone Blues” (2007), “Obama does Globalistan” (2009) and “Empire of Chaos” (2014), all published by Nimble Books. His latest book is “2030”, also by Nimble Books, out in December 2015.