COULD USE SOME END-OF-THE-MONTH DONATIONS! THANKS!
Posted on: Feb 04, 2023
"Morality is based on respect for your fellow human being. If you remember that one idea, then you need not bother memorizing endless lists of arbitrary rules and laws. You will know what is right and wrong." --- Michael Rivero
Just a month after the September 11 attacks, the CIA leadership gathered its army of lawyers and black ops people and came up with a plan to legalize torture. This was despite the fact that torture has long been patently illegal in the United States. But it didn’t matter. There was no thought to the long term. There was no worry about what would happen if prisoners were tortured and then actually did have to go on trial. Nothing they said would be admissible. But nobody cared.
On August 2, 2002, CIA officers and contractors began torturing Abu Zubaydah at a secret prison. That torture was well-documented in the Senate Torture Report, or rather, in the heavily-redacted Executive Summary of the Senate Torture Report. The report itself will likely never be released. But even in its redacted version, and with comprehensive footnotes, it paints a horrifying picture of what the CIA did to its prisoners. That torture, that policy, has come back to haunt the CIA.
Military trials have always moved at a glacial pace at the U.S. base at Guantanamo, Cuba, where the United States has kept a total of roughly 780 prisoners from the so-called “War on Terror” since early 2002. That number is down to a few dozen of what the government calls the “worst of the worst.” Only a small handful are cleared for eventual release, pending the identification of a country willing to take them. The rest will likely never be released.
The problem with charging a defendant at Guantanamo has proven to be several-fold. First, much of the evidence that the Pentagon wants to use against the likes of alleged September 11 mastermind Khalid Shaikh Muhammad, accused al-Qaeda facilitator Abu Zubaydah, accused September 11 facilitator Ramzi bin al-Shibh and others was collected by CIA officers and contractors through the use of torture. That in and of itself essentially doomed the cases from the start.
The House on Wednesday night voted down an amendment to the Pentagon appropriations bill introduced by Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) that would have banned the transfer of civilian-killing cluster bombs to other countries.
The amendment failed in a vote of 160-269, with only 85 Republicans and 75 Democrats supporting the measure.
Cluster bombs spread small submunitions, known as bomblets, over a large area. They are so hazardous to civilians because many of the submunitions do not explode on impact and can be found years or decades later, often by children. Due to their indiscriminate nature, cluster bombs are banned by over 100 countries.
China’s Taiwan Affairs Office said Wednesday that the purpose of recent large-scale Chinese military drills around Taiwan is to “combat the arrogance” of Taiwan “separatists,” referring to recent actions by Taipei to boost ties with the US and other Western countries.
“The purpose is to resolutely combat the arrogance of Taiwan independence separatist forces and their actions to seek independence,” said Taiwan Affairs spokeswoman Zhu Fenglian.
Zhu’s comments came after Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen hosted a delegation of six Australian members of parliament. Tsai was seeking Australian support for Taiwanese membership in the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership, an 11-nation trade agreement.
The North Korean Ambassador to the UN warned that tensions with the US have escalated so far that there is a realistic potential for a nuclear conflict. The head of the UN, Antonio Guterres, expressed concern that nuclear tension between several states risks a catastrophe of “epic proportions.”
Kim Song, Pyongyang’s representative at the UN, delivered an address to the General Assembly on Tuesday. “Owing to the reckless and continued hysteria of nuclear showdown on the part of the US and its following forces, the year 2023 has been recorded as an extremely dangerous year that the military security situation in and around the Korean peninsula was driven closer to the brink of a nuclear war,” he said. “Due to [Seoul’s] sycophantic and humiliating policy of depending on outside forces, the Korean peninsula is in a hair-trigger situation with imminent danger of nuclear war.”
Kim blamed Washington for attempting to create an “Asian NATO” that will bring a “new Cold War structure to northeast Asia.”
A US official spoke with a Druze spiritual leader to express support for protests against the government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad that have been taking place in Syria’s southern Suwayda governate.
The US Embassy in Syria wrote on X that Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Ethan Goldrich “spoke with Druze spiritual leader Sheikh Hekmat al-Hajari reiterating our support for Syrians’ freedom of expression, including peaceful protest in Suwayda.”
According to The Cradle, the protests in Suwayda, a Druze-majority area, broke out on August 16 after the Syrian government raised civil servant salaries but cut fuel subsidies amid a collapse in the value of the Syrian pound. The demonstrations have continued since then with calls for the overthrow of Assad.
In his speech at the UN General Assembly last week, Netanyahu said, “Above all — above all — Iran must face a credible nuclear threat. As long as I’m prime minister of Israel, I will do everything in my power to prevent Iran from getting nuclear weapons.”
Netanyahu’s office later said he misspoke, insisting the prepared speech said “credible military threat” instead of “credible nuclear threat.” Iran still issued a complaint, noting that Israel has an arsenal of nuclear weapons that it does not acknowledge.
Birds dip between low branches that hang over glittering brooks along the drive from Jalalabad heading south toward the Achin district of Afghanistan’s Nangarhar province. Then, the landscape changes, as lush fields give way to barren land.
Up ahead, Achin is located among a rise of rocky mountains that line the border with Pakistan, a region pounded by American bombs since the beginning of the war.
Laborers line the roadside, dusted with the white talc they have carried down from the mountains. A gritty wind stings their chapped cheeks as they load the heavy trucks beside them. In these parts of Achin, nothing else moves in the bleached landscape. For years, locals say this harsh terrain has been haunted by a deadly, hidden hazard: chemical contamination.
In April 2017, the U.S. military dropped the most powerful conventional bomb ever used in combat here: the GBU-43/B Massive Ordnance Air Blast, known unofficially as the “mother of all bombs,” or MOAB.
Before the airstrike, Qudrat Wali and other residents of Asad Khel followed as Afghan soldiers and U.S. special forces were evacuated from the area. Eight months after the massive explosion, they were finally allowed to return to their homes. Soon after, Wali says, many of the residents began to notice strange ailments and skin rashes.
The Biden administration is currently considering going where no other president has gone before: offering a formal security guarantee to Saudi Arabia and helping the kingdom develop a civilian nuclear program in return for Riyadh normalizing relations with Israel.
President Biden and his team argue that the United States has a national security interest in brokering such a deal, even if that means massive and unprecedented concessions to Riyadh.
Biden and his team are wrong. Entering into a mutual security agreement with Saudi Arabia would represent a catastrophic miscalculation. A security guarantee for Saudi Arabia would entrap Washington as Riyadh’s protector despite a fundamental disconnect between the interests and values of the United States and the kingdom.
Experts from the G7 and Belgium will discuss potential sanctions on Russian-mined diamonds this week on a visit to the Indian cities of Mumbai and Surat.
The trip is the latest step forward in months of negotiations among Western powers over how to impose sanctions that could transform a sprawling – and often controversial – global industry.
Around one-third of the world’s supply of diamonds are mined in the Siberian region of Yakutia by Russian state-owned company Alrosa. The diamond industry overall contributes around $4.5 billion to the Russian economy annually, making it one of the largest sectors in Russia to avoid the sweeping sanctions imposed by Western powers since the start of the full-scale invasion of Ukraine in 2022.
But this is not for lack of trying. Individual countries such as the US and UK have introduced their own sanctions on the luxury stones even while discussions over diamond sanctions among the EU stalled due to pushback from member state Belgium.
International mediators have stepped up efforts to prevent a new round of armed confrontation between Israel and the Islamist Hamas group, which runs Gaza, amid an escalation in violent protests along the border fence.
"The United Nations is talking to and working with all concerned to improve the lives of people in Gaza, particularly the most vulnerable," U.N. Middle East peace envoy Tor Wennesland said on social media platform X on Wednesday, a day after he met Hamas officials in Gaza.
"The situation inside the Strip is dire and we must avoid another conflict that will have grave consequences for all. The people of Gaza have suffered enough and deserve more than a return to calm."
A regional diplomat said Egypt, which brokered numerous truces between Israel and Gaza militants in the past, had also stepped up its efforts to prevent a slide into another war.
UK regulators approved on Wednesday the development plan for the Rosebank oil and gas project in the North Sea, paving the way for operator Equinor to proceed with a $3.8-billion investment in the field, which has stirred controversy in Britain amid debates about the need for new oil and gas projects.
The North Sea Transition Authority (NSTA) on Wednesday granted development and production consent for the Rosebank field northwest of Shetland, the largest discovered untapped resource on the UK Continental Shelf.
“We have today approved the Rosebank Field Development Plan which allows the owners to proceed with their project,” a spokesperson for NSTA said in a statement.
“The FDP is awarded in accordance with our published guidance and taking net zero considerations into account throughout the project’s lifecycle.”
White House spokesperson Ian Sams called the new allegations "bananas."
Responding to a journalist who called the allegations a "fake, would-be gotcha" because, allegedly, Hunter was living at Biden's Delaware home in 2019, Sams responded, "Imagine them arguing that, if someone stayed at their parents' house during the pandemic, listed it as their permanent address for work, and got a paycheck, the parents somehow also worked for the employer.
"It's bananas," he declared. "Yet this is what extreme House Republicans have sunken to."
But there's a significant problem with Sams' response.
The now-defunct plea deal that Hunter struck with federal prosecutors included a statement of facts that Hunter agreed is true when he entered into the deal. In that statement of facts, Hunter agreed that he was living on the other side of the country — in California, not Delaware — in 2019.
Apple on Thursday released urgent security updates for iPhones, iPads, Macs, Apple Watch, and Safari users to patch against three vulnerabilities that Apple says are being actively exploited.
The three vulnerabilities include a flaw in WebKit, the browser engine that powers Safari; a certificate validation bug that can allow a malicious app to run on an affected device; and a third bug that can be used to get broader access to the kernel, the core of the operating system. These three vulnerabilities form part of an exploit chain, where the bugs are used together to gain access to a target’s device.
Former Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan has been transferred to a jail near capital Islamabad after a court extended his custody by two more weeks in a state secrets case related to his 2022 removal.
Khan, 70, was moved to Adiala Jail in Rawalpindi city on Tuesday night after having spent more than three weeks in Attock Jail some 100km (62 miles) away where he was sent following his conviction in a corruption case last month.
Ahmed Eltantawy is a former Egyptian Member of Parliament who previously served as the chairman of Egypt’s al-Karama political party. In March 2023 he announced his intention to run in the upcoming Egyptian presidential election, stating that he planned to offer a “democratic” alternative to the current president. Following this announcement Eltantawy, his family members, and supporters have been subjected to harassment, including reported arrests of 12 family members.
Egypt’s current president Abdel Fattah el-Sisi has been in power since 2014, when he led the military overthrow of President Mohammed Morsi. Sisi has been widely described as an autocrat. Human rights groups, including Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch, have documented widespread human rights abuses under el-Sisi’s regime, including repression against civil society groups, activists, and political opposition.
Eltantawy became suspicious about the safety of his phone and reached out to the Citizen Lab. We performed a forensic analysis on his device. Our forensic analysis showed numerous attempts to target Eltantawy with Cytrox’s Predator spyware.
The Citizen Lab has previously documented Cytrox Predator infections targeting the devices of two exiled Egyptians: exiled politician Ayman Nour and the host of a popular news program (who chose to remain anonymous).
French Foreign Minister Catherine Colonna met Sylvain Itté on Wednesday (Sep. 27) "to thank him and his teams for his work in the service of our country under difficult conditions," the ministry said in a written statement to AFP.
The return of the ambassador comes two months after a coup in Niger ousted its president Mohamed Bazoum and prompted a souring in relations between France and its former colony, with Niger's new rulers demanding his departure.
Itté left Niamey with six colleagues "around 4:00 am" (0300 GMT), a diplomatic source had earlier told AFP.
On Sunday (Sep. 24), French President Emmanuel Macron had announced in a TV interview that the ambassador would leave "in the coming hours".
Niger's military leaders -- who overthrew the democratically elected president Mohamed Bazoum on July 26 -- welcomed the announcement.
In March 2023, Stan Grant, a First Nation Widjuri journalist, writer and ABC radio and television presenter, gave an iconic talk “Racism is Destroying the Australian Dream”. Grant’s talk was as moving and inspiring as it was furiously-angry about what continues to happen every day to humanity’s aboriginal peoples, not only in Australia but throughout the world.
His talk became a finalist in the United Nation’s Media Peace Awards for its role in stimulating a greater public awareness and understanding of the common plight of Australia’s native’s. Grant’s words speak to the upcoming October 14th Yes or No Referendum Vote to decide whether or not it is important enough to grant its First Nation peoples a special ‘Voice’ to Australia’s Parliament. Listen to his heart-felt talk in this preface.
Stan Grant’s intensely-personal testimony at once struck a chord in this writer’s own heart and soul; being as he is one of Irish descent, whose ancestors, long ago, were themselves dispossessed of their once sacred aboriginal homelands in the Old World, which still is the source of so much existential angst among himself and those of his kind, no matter how much time has since passed. The memory of indigenous peoples and the earth everywhere is simply an exceedingly long one not easily erased.
This writer’s Celtic grandfathers, grandmothers and kinfolk also once were forcibly-evicted from their own ancestral lands and forced to flee to wherever some safe harbour could be found in the New or Old World; forever after snubbed instead of honored and paid tribute to for their sacred lands that once were. Yet their memories in the minds of their descendants still possesses a vital, living resonance.
Especially each time they read again the cargo manifests of the ships that described them as “Vagrants”, instead of ‘Dispossessed Indigenous,’ as they were spirited away from that Green Emerald Isle of their ancient ancestry to parts unknown. A sad epitaph, to which many others in the world still can so readily attest.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is refusing to release updated information on reported cases of myocarditis and pericarditis following COVID-19 vaccination.
COVID-19 vaccines can cause the inflammatory conditions, the CDC previously confirmed.
The agency has regularly conveyed the number of post-vaccination myocarditis and pericarditis cases reported to the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS), which it helps manage, as it has consulted with its advisers on updates to the vaccines.
But during a meeting on Sept. 12, the CDC didn’t mention VAERS data.
Asked for the information, a CDC spokesman pointed to a CDC study that covers data only through Oct. 23, 2022.
That study identified nine reports of myocarditis or pericarditis following vaccination with one of the bivalent COVID-19 vaccines, which were introduced in September 2022. Seven of the reports were verified by medical review.
Asked for more current data, the spokesman acknowledged that the agency has it but isn’t making it public.
“When appropriate, the updated safety data will be published,” the spokesman told The Epoch Times in an email.
“The CDC has acknowledged that heart inflammation is a complication of mRNA COVID-19 shots and, yet, the only published data released by CDC officials about that complication is a seven-week study that ended on Oct. 23, 2022,” Barbara Loe Fisher, co-founder and president of the National Vaccine Information Center, said in an email to The Epoch Times.
“Where is more specific myocarditis/pericarditis data related to bivalent COVID shots for the past 10 months?”
n defiance of international norms and rules, U.S. officials are laying claim to the large oceanic area in the central Pacific Ocean that is home to the compact states.
Now that they are renewing the economic provisions of the compacts of free association with Palau, the Marshall Islands, and the Federated States of Micronesia, U.S. officials are insisting that the compacts provide the United States with exclusive control over an area of the central Pacific Ocean that is comparable in size to the United States.
“We control essentially the northern half of the Pacific between Hawaii and Philippines,” U.S. special envoy Joseph Yun told Congress in July.
For decades, the United States has overseen compacts of free association with Palau, the Marshall Islands, and the Federated States of Micronesia. Under the compacts, the United States provides the three countries with economic assistance while it maintains powerful military controls over the islands and their waters.
So, “approved” or not, the manufacturers, distributors and providers that administer the shots still won’t be liable for injuries. The agency has also issued emergency use authorization (EUA) for use of the reformulated jabs in children aged 6 months to 11 years.3
Reformulated Shots Are Obsolete Out of the Gate
The updated mRNA injections contain a single modified RNA said to correspond to the Omicron variant XBB.1.5., which was the dominant variant in the U.S. for most of 2023, but which has since been replaced by other variants.
According to cardiologist Dr. Peter McCullough, XBB.1.5 accounted for just 3.1% of the circulating strains as of September 2, 2023, and is “expected to be extinct by the time any American is injected.”4
The dominant strains right now are EG.5 and FL.1.5.1, and “There are no randomized clinical trials demonstrating either Pfizer or Moderna XBB.1.5 boosters would work” against these newer strains, McCullough told The Defender.5
Physician and biochemist Dr. Robert Malone agrees, adding that the newer variants appear to “have evolved even further to escape the antibody pressure elicited by the globally deployed leaky ‘vaccines.’”6,7
Linda Wastila, Ph.D., a professor of geriatric pharmacotherapy at the University of Maryland School of Pharmacy and director of research for the Peter Lamy Center for Drug Therapy and Aging, also criticized the decision to roll out yet another obsolete booster:8
“I do not understand why public health and political leaders are advocating for a booster that is already obsolete. The approved and authorized boosters are like dogs chasing their tails — the mild variants they are supposed to help mitigate serious disease are already waning, already being overtaken by the next generation of mild, mutated viruses.”
The U.S. Department of Justice ordered FBI and IRS investigators involved in the Hunter Biden probe to "remove any reference" to President Biden in a search warrant related to a Foreign Agents Registration Act probe, new documents released by the House Ways & Means Committee reveal.
Committee Chairman Jason Smith, R-Mo., led a vote Wednesday to release new documents provided by IRS whistleblowers Gary Shapley and Joseph Ziegler that "corroborate their initial testimony to the Committee and reinforce their credibility and their high esteem among colleagues."
"The Biden Administration — including top officials at the Justice Department — lied to the American public and engaged in a cover-up that interfered with federal investigators and protected the Biden family, including President Biden himself," the committee said.
The House Ways and Means Committee released documents Wednesday that Chairman Jason Smith, (R-Mo.), says reveals a deepening pattern of influence peddling by the Biden family and also underscores career Department of Justice officials' efforts to obstruct the investigation into Hunter Biden.
The Committee voted to release 700 pages of materials from the federal investigation into the Biden family that were provided by IRS whistleblowers Gary Shapley and Joseph Ziegler. In prepared remarks, Smith said that Hunter Biden and his family operated a "complex and lucrative enterprise" to "enrich themselves to the tune of at least $20 million."
"It is clear that then Vice President Joe Biden’s political power and influence was, quote, the brand that Hunter Biden was selling all over the world," he added.
Here are a dozen key revelations from the documents released by the committee:
Georgia Congressman Austin Scott gives his reaction to breaking news released today by the House Ways and Means Committee that James Biden, the brother of President Joe Biden told the FBI last year that the Biden family, including himself and Hunter Biden unsuccessfully tried to help a Chinese company buy U.S. energy assets that included a liquid natural gas port in Louisiana also admitting to the FBI that the family believed that this Chinese company was directly tied to the Communist Chinese President Xi Jinping. The members of the House Intelligence committee remarks that the documents released today just prove that, “its even worse than [he] thought it was, that the [Biden’s] would go that far.” Saying that with the ports in Louisiana, “a tremendous portion of the energy that we use inside the United States come comes through those hubs and the idea that you would help the Chinese acquire assets in that area, to give an adversary and again China is no longer a competitor, they are an adversary, the ability to control the energy supply inside the United States. And you're talking about an adversary controlling the flow of U.S. energy to American citizens and American industry. I don't understand how much more of a traitor you could be then to do such a thing.”
The three House chairmen leading the impeachment inquiry against Joe Biden told fellow lawmakers Wednesday night that the president’s family collected at least $15 million in foreign funds and that there is evidence the Justice Department “obstructed” federal agents from pursuing evidence leading to the White House.
“Department of Justice personnel blocked avenues of inquiry that could have led to evidence incriminating President Biden and impeded efforts to prosecute Hunter Biden for tax crimes relating to foreign business arrangements that could have implicated President Biden,” Reps. James Comer, Jim Jordan and Jason Smith wrote in a 30-page memo to colleagues on the eve of the first impeachment inquiry hearing in Congress.
The memo, obtained by Just the News, accused Joe Biden of having extensive knowledge of his son Hunter Biden’s business dealings, lying about them to the American public, and allowing his family to profit from foreigners seeking influence from his roles as vice president under Barack Obama and now as president.
House Republicans on Thursday officially launch their impeachment inquiry against Joe Biden, hoping to convince Americans that the 46th U.S. president presided over a family influence peddling scheme that collected at least $24 million from foreign interests, ran a campaign that deceived voters in the 2020 election and oversaw a Justice Department that covered up crimes by his son and possibly others.
Months in the making, Thursday's hearing will showcase a familiar TV pundit on impeachments, George Washington legal professor Jonathan Turley, as well as former DOJ tax lawyer Eileen O'Conner and a forensic accountant who can walk viewers through the legal labyrinth of limited liability corporations and suspicious activity reports unearthed in Hunter Biden's business empire by congressional investigators.
In short, they will try to boil down a complicated array of evidence into a simple narrative about 3 C's: Corruption; Credibility; and Coverup.
"To date, the House Oversight Committee has uncovered how the Bidens and their associates created over 20 shell companies and raked in over $24 million dollars," House Oversight and Accountability Committee Chairman James Comer is expected to tell the audience in his opening remarks. "We’ve also identified nine members of the Biden family who have participated in or benefited from these business schemes.
House Republicans moved to strip $300 million in Ukraine aid from their defense spending bill Wednesday night and set up a separate vote on the funds, reversing course ahead of an expected final vote this week and amid uncertainty about whether the bill would pass.
The House Rules Committee convened a last-minute meeting to remove the funding for the Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative — which is intended for training Ukrainian soldiers and purchasing weapons — from the Department of Defense appropriations bill. The panel approved it to move as a stand-alone bill.
The party-line vote to remove the funding from the bill was a transparent move to get enough support for the spending measure to pass in the slim House GOP majority amid opposition to funding Ukraine. Republicans can spare just a handful of votes, since all Democrats are expected to oppose the bill’s final passage.
“WHAT TIME WE GOING “SHOPPING”???” one person asked.
“We looting or not??!!” wrote another.
“I know they say tearing up our stuff ain’t right,” someone said, “but that’s the only way they hear us.”
Before the night was over, police said, groups had broken into businesses across Philadelphia, stealing, ransacking and leaving destruction in their wake. Dozens of people — including what police described as a caravan of “criminal opportunists” — broke into stores along popular shopping corridors from Center City to the Northeast to West Philadelphia, authorities said. They broke through metal door protectors and spliced locks with bolt cutters, then looted the stores and fled with electronics, shoes, clothes, liquor, pharmaceuticals, and other goods.
Webmaster addition: Left unmentioned in this article is that Eddie Irizarry was brandishing a knife, which made the shooting justified.