Politics


New details on what befell US diplomats

17th Sept 2017
THE bizarre attacks come out of nowhere and leave victims with lasting injuries. But no-one can explain what’s going on or why the victims are being hit.

US President Barack Obama became the first sitting president to visit Cuba in 88 years when he arrived in Havana on Sunday, March 20. Obama emerged from the plane with first lady Michelle Obama and their daughters Sasha and Malia following behind them.

The Obamas were greeted by a small Cuban delegation before climbing into their car that would take them to their next event. The president is scheduled to attend a meet and greet at the US Embassy before a sightseeing tour in Old Havana, which will include a visit to Cathedral de San Cristobal de la Habana. Obama is to visit the Palace of the Revolution and meet Raul Castro on Monday, and a state dinner is scheduled for the evening.

Obama will visit dissident leaders on Tuesday before taking in an exhibition baseball game between the Tampa Bay Rays and the Cuban national team. He then leaves for Argentina in the evening. One thing Obama will not do during his visit is see Fidel Castro, Cuba’s former leader for many years since the 1959 revolution. The Obama trip to Cuba is the latest step in normalization of relations between the two countries since December 2014. Among the changes are that the US re-established its embassy in Havana and opened travel for Americans to Cuba. Mail was also re-established between the US and Cuba this week. Credit: YouTube/Cuban Foreign Ministry

UNITED States diplomats are sustaining curious brain injuries while posted in Cuba and the US government can’t figure out exactly what’s behind the astonishing international mystery.

The attacks allegedly began in late 2016 and were initially thought to perhaps be inflicted by some sort of unknown targeted sonic weapon.

The affected diplomats have sustained permanent damage to their hearing, mild traumatic brain injuries, and possibly even damage to their central nervous system.

The mystery over the bizarre situation only continues to deepen with baffled US officials claiming the facts and the physics don’t add up.

This week, the Associated Press spoke with a number of US and Cuba personnel with insight into the investigation around the alleged attacks and the revelations only make everything seem weirder.

At least some of the curious incidents were confined to specific rooms or even parts of rooms with laser-like specificity, the report said, detailing the experience of one US diplomat who was targeted by the unknown weapon.

“The blaring, grinding noise jolted the American diplomat from his bed in a Havana hotel. He moved just a few feet, and there was silence. He climbed back into bed. Inexplicably, the agonising sound hit him again. It was as if he’d walked through some invisible wall cutting straight through his room,” the AP reported.

Pretty soon, the diplomat was exhibiting speech problems and hearing loss. So far there have been 21 further victims reporting similar symptoms, including problems concentrating and recalling certain words.

The attacks seem to come at night and are delivered in short bursts.

The lobby of the Hotel Capri in Havana, Cuba. Picture: Desmond BoylanSource:AP

‘MYSTERY AFTER MYSTERY AFTER MYSTERY’

Cuba has a storeyed history with its powerful neighbour to the North. Cuba’s capital city Havana lies just 144 kilometres south of Florida’s island city of Key West.

The United States and Cuba restored diplomatic relations in July 2015, which had been severed in 1961 during the height of the Cold War. However the US continues to maintain its commercial, economic, and financial embargo with the country which makes it illegal for US corporations to do business with Cuba.

Fulton Armstrong, a former CIA official who served in Havana long before America reopened an embassy there is mystified by the spate of curious ailments befalling US diplomats in the country.

“None of this has a reasonable explanation,” he said. “It’s just mystery after mystery after mystery.”

Suspicion initially focused on a sonic weapon however the diagnosis of mild brain injury is considered unlikely to result from sound.

The Trump administration still hasn’t identified a culprit or a device to explain the injuries. So far it continues to confound the FBI, the State Department and US intelligence agencies involved in the investigation.

Muddying the waters further is the fact that a handful of Canadian diplomatic houses in Cuba were also affected and unlike the US, Canada has maintained friendly relations with the island state for decades.

The US investigators have explored a range of theories around who’s behind the whole thing. They range from attacks perpetrated by a rogue faction of Cuba’s intelligence services, or with the help of a third party country like Russia, to far less nefarious explanations such as the possibility of an advanced espionage operation gone horribly wrong.

SOME VICTIMS HEARD AND FELT NOTHING

The personal accounts of victims, as well as their resulting injuries, vary.

Some felt vibrations, and heard sounds — loud ringing or a high-pitch chirping similar to crickets or cicadas. Others heard the grinding noise. Some victims woke with ringing in their ears and fumbled for their alarm clocks, only to discover the ringing stopped when they moved away from their beds, the AP reported.

Yet others heard nothing, and felt nothing only to have symptoms appear later.

Sound and health experts are just as baffled as investigators. Targeted, localised beams of sound are possible, but the laws of acoustics suggest such a device would probably be quite large and not easily concealed. And no single, sonic gadget seems to explain such an odd, inconsistent array of physical responses.

“Brain damage and concussions, it’s not possible,” said Joseph Pompei, a former MIT researcher and psychoacoustics expert. “Somebody would have to submerge their head into a pool lined with very powerful ultrasound transducers.”

 

 

source/read more : http://www.news.com.au/technology/gadgets/cuba-mystery-grows-new-details-on-what-befell-us-diplomats/news-story/474338e66cb601e1ed22a1a86c6713c2

Anarchists Plead With Antifa: Please Stop Making Us Look Bad

31st Aug 2017

Anarchists on Reddit’s anarchism subreddit pleaded with Antifa Wednesday not to get into the habit of assaulting elderly disabled veterans, while protesting the rise of violent fascism.

A video posted to the anarchist subreddit Wednesday morning from April showing Antifa throwing water on a disabled vet has attracted internal criticism from the leftist community, with one user complaining about the act of petty violence and proclaiming, “We need to be able to confront the toxic elements in our own groups if we want to be able to confront the world’s scum.”

“This is a serious problem,” Reddit user buttmunchnbutterflys wrote. “The macho posturing against regular and vulnerable folks is bad, and not just because it makes us look bad. It’s called being mean and a bully. I have only seen this kind of behaviour in videos, but everytime I do I don’t see any antifa even try to tell them to stop which is disheartening. We need to be able to confront the toxic elements in our own groups if we want to be able to confront the world’s scum.”

One California cop who spoke to The Daily Caller News Foundation on background said purely from an analytical perspective there were at least two chargeable acts visible in the video, the first being theft and the second being battery.

Confronting the bullying of vulnerable individuals is a challenge because there’s a strong chance that anyone standing up to Antifa would run the risk of being labeled a secret fascist or agent provocateur.

“I’m afraid that if someone were to try and stop the jerk they may get mistaken for an undercover Fascist or agent provocateur, or perhaps the jerk has friends with him and with the mob mentality going on they might get beat up themselves,” said swoleprole, who originally posted the video.

Another poster named ProleLivesMatter with an affinity for “queer liberation” came out and acknowledged that “there is the hatred in the air among comrades in organizing left groups toward veterans. It’s important to educate people on the matter that vets are also victims of the system and potential comrades.”

ProleLivesMatter added in a separate post: “No matter what they said to antifa, you should not beat up somebody with a disability.”

That comment received numerous downvotes.

Others in the thread mocked the complaints about violence and surmised that the veteran in the wheelchair was likely “saying some really vile shit.”

source/read more:http://dailycaller.com/2017/08/30/anarchists-plead-with-antifa-please-stop-making-us-look-bad/

CIA ‘torture psychologists’ avoid trial with secret settlement

20th Aug 2017

Two psychologists who helped design the CIA’s post-9/11 interrogation program settled a lawsuit Thursday by detainees alleging they were illegally tortured.

The secret settlement in the suit, brought on behalf of two living ex-detainees and one who died of hypothermia after brutal questioning in US custody, avoided what would have been the first public trial of the Central Intelligence Agency’s use of torture on suspected Al-Qaeda members.
Related SearchesCIA World FactbookAmaryllis Fox CIA Arrested

But it also allowed the two psychologists who supplied the CIA with “coercive” interrogation techniques, James Mitchell and Bruce Jessen, to maintain that they personally had nothing to do with the use of waterboarding, extreme stress positions and beatings on detainees.

“Neither Dr. Mitchell nor I knew about, condoned, participated in, or sanctioned the unauthorized actions that formed the basis for this lawsuit,” Jessen said in a mutually agreed statement attached to the settlement.

“We served our country at a time when freedom and safety hung in the balance.”

The American Civil Liberties Union brought the suit in 2015 against Mitchell and Jessen, who were recruited by the CIA in 2002 to design and help conduct interrogations of war-on-terror suspects captured in Afghanistan and elsewhere.

– CIA paid $80mn for their expertise –

The two were paid around $80 million for their work, which included helping interrogate Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the mastermind of the September 11, 2001 attacks by Al-Qaeda, and Abu Zubaydah, another top Qaeda suspect.

The suit accused Mitchell and Jessen of responsibility for the CIA’s use of torture methods on the three detainees, Tanzanian Suleiman Abdullah Salim, Libyan Mohamed Ahmed Ben Soud, and Gul Rahman of Afghanistan.

Rahman died of hypothermia in a CIA prison cell in November 2002, after what the ACLU says were two weeks of brutal torture.

The ACLU had sought to pin responsibility in part on the psychologists, as well as gain a significant financial award for the men and Rahman’s family. The trial had been set to begin on September 5.

The ACLU and lawyers for the defendants declined to give any details of the settlement, including whether any money would be paid as part of it.

In the settlement statement, the plaintiffs stood by their allegations that Mitchell and Jansen had responsibility for the extreme interrogation methods used on them.

However, they said afterward, “We brought this case seeking accountability and to help ensure that no one else has to endure torture and abuse, and we feel that we have achieved our goals.”

“We were able to tell the world about horrific torture, the CIA had to release secret records, and the psychologists and high-level CIA officials were forced to answer our lawyers’ questions,” they said.

James Smith, the main lawyer for Mitchell and Jensen, said the treatment of the three, while regrettable, was not the fault of his clients.

“If this case had gone forward, the facts would have borne out that while the plaintiffs suffered mistreatment by some of their captors, none of that mistreatment was conducted, condoned or caused by Drs. Mitchell and Jessen,” Smith said.

source; https://www.yahoo.com/news/cia-torture-psychologists-avoid-trial-secret-settlement-170038297.html

 

 

 

International “anti-vaxxers” banned from Australia

Make no mistake on our stance, a documentary about potential adverse effects, injured children and flawed testing is NOT an ‘anti vax’ film. – TMN

 

9th aug 2017

INTERNATIONAL anti-vaccination ringleaders have been banned from returning to Australia for a “substantial” period after a controversial film tour.

US anti-jab radicals Polly Tommey and Suzanne Humphries staged several secret meetings in Melbourne and nationwide in which Vaxxed: From Cover-Up to Catastrophe, was shown, and parents were encouraged to expose children to deadly diseases.

“Australia to me is literally the worst country I’ve visited. Not the people, the government,” she said in a video.

“I had my phone taken away as I left Australia. They confiscated my phone and took photographs of all my emails and texts. They also told me I am banned from Australia for three years.”

 

 

read more/ source:http://www.heraldsun.com.au/news/international-antivaxxers-banned-from-australia/news-story/e1a00e0af748d115a57b5eaae5d5c804

Public servants face tough new social media rules

7th Aug 2017

PUBLIC servants who “like” or share a Facebook post critical of the government could find themselves in hot water — even if they select the “angry face” reaction.

Government employees could also be in breach of the public service code of conduct for material they send in a private email, or for failing to remove “nasty comments” posted by other people to their social media pages.

The new social media guidelines, published on Monday by the Australian Public Service Commission, reinforce that while APS employees “have the right to participate in public and political debate”, it is “not an unlimited right”.

“If you ‘like’ something on a social media platform, it will generally be taken to be an endorsement of that material as though you’d created that material yourself,” the guidelines read.

“‘Sharing’ a post has much the same effect. However, if you’re sharing something because you disagree with it and want to draw it someone else’s attention, make sure that you make that clear at the time in a way that doesn’t breach the Code itself. It may not be enough to select the ‘angry face’ icon, especially if you’re one of thousands that have done so.”

In the case of a private email to a friend, the guidelines state that there is “nothing to stop your friend taking a screenshot of that email, including your personal details, and sending it to other people or posting it all over the internet”.

“Again, the breach of the Code is not in their subsequent publication of your material, but in your emailing that material in the first place,” it says. “In fact, there’s nothing to stop your friend from forwarding your email directly to your employer and reporting your behaviour.”

And for “nasty comments made by someone else on my social media pages”, the guidelines state that “doing nothing about objectionable material that someone else has posted on your page can reasonably be seen in some circumstances as your endorsement of that material”.

“If someone does post material of this kind, it may be sensible to delete it or make it plain that you don’t agree with it or support it,” it says. “Any breach of the Code would not come from the person making the post. It would come from how you reacted to it.”

Posting anti-government content anonymously or outside of work hours is also a no-no. “Posting material anonymously or using a pseudonym doesn’t guarantee your identity will stay hidden,” it says.

“Even if you don’t identify yourself you can still be identified by someone else. It’s a simple fact: agencies often receive dob-ins about comments made by their employees. Often those employees are shocked to find they’ve been linked back to their employer so easily.”

An employee’s “capacity to affect the reputation” of their agency and the APS “does not stop when you leave the office”. “APS employees are required by law to uphold the APS Values at all times,” the guidelines say.

Even joining the wrong Facebook group could get public servants in hot water, they add. “People will draw conclusions about you and your ability to work impartially from a range of factors. This can include the nature of any online communities that you join.

“For example, if you work as a Customer Service Officer in Centrelink while being a member of a Facebook group that is opposed to current laws about the payment of welfare benefits to migrants. This might raise a concern about whether you would deal with all of your clients fairly and professionally in your APS role.

“People would reasonably be concerned about your ability to implement Government policies in a way that is free from bias and in accordance with the law.”

Nadine Flood, national secretary of the Community and Public Sector Union, described the new policy as “overreach”, saying it “clearly does not strike the right balance between giving our community faith in the Commonwealth public service and allowing people who work in public services to undertake normal, everyday activity in a democracy”.

“The notion that the mum of a gay son who happens to work in Centrelink can’t like a Facebook post on marriage equality without endangering her job is patently absurd,” Ms Flood said in a statement.

“It is one thing to say that public servants working on a particular Government policy shouldn’t be publicly criticising that policy, quite another to say they have no right to engage on social media on anything that could be a community issue.”

Ms Flood said government “acts in every area of life”, so the situation could not be compared to the private sector. “It’s completely unreasonable for a worker to face disciplinary action over a private email or something as benign as ‘liking’ a social media post,” she said. “Of course there need to be limits but [this] policy goes too far.”

 

 

source;http://www.news.com.au/finance/work/at-work/public-servants-face-tough-new-social-media-rules/news-story/db2893503fa0cb7997f9e066936c322c

95 Per Cent of Gang Criminals in Stockholm Have a Foreign Background

4th July 2017

Amidst a wave of bloody, gang-related murders in Stockholm, and police warnings that the situation is likely to get worse, a report has found 94.5 per cent of people identified as being involved in the Swedish capital’s violent, organised crime scene have a migration background.

Stockholm has been the site of 552 shootings linked to criminal gangs since January 2011, 46 of which were deadly. Swedish newspaper Expressen reports that the city has seen a “record number of unsolved murders amidst seemingly endless gang shooting incidents” in recent years.

Expressen’s analysis of the situation, which included mapping 192 individuals who police confirmed to be part of gangs in Stockholm and the city’s organised crime scene, uncovered striking statistics about mass migration’s effect on crime in the Swedish capital.

According to the study, 94.5 per cent of people involved with organised crime had at least one parent born abroad. 40.6 per cent of the criminals looked at by the newspaper were themselves born overseas, whilst both parents of 82.2 per cent of gang members were foreign-born.

The report notes the main country of origin for gang criminals was Iraq, but other overrepresented nations which stood out to researchers include Somalia, Syria, and Turkey.

Criminologist Manne Gerell, a researcher at Malmö University, said that “structural racism” is what lies behind the massive overrepresentation of migrants from poor and violence-plagued third world countries in Sweden’s crime statistics.

“Many people who come from other countries and living in deprived areas feel they are discriminated against,” he told Expressen.

Adam Marttinen, an MP for the populist Sweden Democrats, offered a different explanation for the figures, asserting that “irresponsible levels of immigration lead to crime”.

“Other political parties’ indulgence of such policies have enriched organised criminal gangs,” he posted to Facebook, commenting on the Expressen report.

The latest police efforts to map and prevent gang violence, Project Mareld, estimates that between 500 and 700 gang members in 49 different networks are connected to the wave of violence in the city in recent years.

“Criminal gangs can be found throughout Stockholm, in all suburbs. The common denominator with gang members is that they all live in the same area and engage in crime. It is what links them together. Criminals in a specific area form a network,” said Inspector Gunnar Appelgren, coordinator of Project Mareld.

Noting that these 49 networks are currently involved in 17 conflicts in the Swedish capital where the police believe there is a risk of lethal violence, Expressen reports that gang crime is a growing problem across the entire nation.

In the 61 areas they have categorised as “vulnerable”, police say there are around 5,000 criminals who are active in around 200 organised crime networks, in a new report.

“In these areas, criminals rule,” said Linda Staaf, head of National Police intelligence. “In the past, they would shoot people in the leg to intimidate, whereas now, they aim for the head  — to kill.”

 

 

source: http://www.breitbart.com/london/2017/07/04/95-per-cent-gang-crime-stockholm-foreign/

Majority says national security behind Trump’s travel ban

21st Jun 2017

majority of American adults believe guarding the country against potential security threats is the driving force behind President Trump’s travel ban, according to a poll conducted by The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research.

Six in 10 adults said guarding the country against potential security threats is behind Trump’s travel ban, which would temporarily halt individuals from six Muslim-majority countries from entering the United States. A majority of individuals polled support the courts that have blocked the president’s executive order.

Views of Trump’s order are split among partisan lines, with 41 percent of Democrats thinking national security is behind the travel ban and 87 percent of Republicans agreeing. While 82 percent of Democrats back courts’ decisions halting the ban, 73 percent of Republicans think the courts are meddling with Trump’s authority.

While 34 percent of Republicans polled believe the order is to keep Muslims out of the United States, 64 percent of Democrats think this.

The survey was conducted from June 8 to June 11, polling 1,068 adults. It has a margin of error of 4.1 percentage points.

 

 

 

source:http://thehill.com/homenews/administration/338540-majority-says-national-security-behind-trumps-travel-ban