‘The troubled inquiry into historic child abuse is facing fresh criticism after it emerged that panel members were told what to say to MPs by a long-serving Home Office official.
Experts and abuse survivors were given a 23-page document advising them how to answer ‘difficult questions’ when they appeared before a high-profile committee, prompting fears that the huge Government-ordered investigation is not independent.
It can also be revealed that the woman in charge of administration for the inquiry was seconded from the Home Office, where she has worked for 36 years – even though the department is at the centre of many of the allegations of cover-ups and VIP paedophile rings.’
‘Russian and US spies compiled their own secret dossiers on paedophile MPs and other VIP abusers , it has been claimed.
Police are investigating missing files put together by UK campaigners which allege a powerful network at the heart of Westminister in the 1970s and 80s.
The Sunday People can reveal that agents from the Russian KGB and the American CIA were also said to have compiled their own intelligence in search of “dirt” on key individuals at the height of the Cold War.’
‘Much of the press commentary following Leon Brittan’s death last week has been confined to his record on the British political scene and recent allegations of sex abuse. Strangely absent amidst the obituaries of this ‘clever and hard-working’ man, however, is any meaningful discussion of Brittan’s ten-year stint as EU Commissioner for Competition and Trade.
While the Guardian’s commentariat ignored his EU career entirely, discussion elsewhere rarely ventures beyond vacuous statements, describing Brittan as ‘an “inspiring leader” who helped shape the EU’, and a ‘committed European’ whom the Tory Eurosceptics suspected of having gone ‘native’.
Yet, a closer look at Brittan’s role in EU politics reveals a rather more problematic record of the Bulldozer—his nickname in the Brussels bubble—than would appear from the platitudes.’
‘Ukraine wants the United Nations to brand Russia a terrorism sponsor amid bloody clashes between pro-Russian separatists and Ukrainian government troops.
The Ukrainian ambassador to the UN told Fox News he plans to submit a draft resolution asking the UN General Assembly to formally label “Russia as a sponsor of terrorism.”
Ambassador Yuriy Sergeyev gave no timetable for when he would present the resolution to the UN. He said government officials in Kiev are working on the text.’
‘Fighters of the notorious paramilitary battalion Aidar have rallied in Kiev against their disbandment, attempting to storm the Ukraine Defense Ministry’s HQ and accusing the regular army of deliberately shelling Aidar’s own positions with heavy artillery.
Ukraine’s most infamous volunteer squad, the Aidar battalion – condemned by Amnesty International for its unmatched brutality in eastern Ukraine – allegedly came under Grad and Smerch rocket fire by the regular military near the town of Schastya in Lugansk region.
“[Ukrainian] artillery is working against Aidar battalion’s positions,” said Aidar commander and MP representing Ukraine’s Radical Party, Sergey Melnichuk, during a protest outside the Defense Ministry’s building in Kiev. Citing his own fighter, Melnichuk claimed that Kiev’s artillery targeted the battalion’s positions “15-20 times.”’
‘The most recent military draft in Ukraine has been described as “problematic” by Kiev’s army spokesman. The recruitment effort, coming amid ever more intense fighting in the country’s east, sees a lack of enthusiasm on the part of potential soldiers.
“The fourth wave of mobilization is problematic,” Ukraine army spokesman, Vladimir Talalay acknowledged on Saturday, according to Tass. “The biggest difficulties are seen in Sumy, Kharkov, Cherkassy, Ternopol, Zakarpatye and other regions.”
The comment comes as Ukraine’s Joint Staff reported of the first stage of the draft – sending out conscription notices – being over. The military warn of blacklisting deserters and passing on the information to police.’
‘Tony Blair’s relationship with the Rwandan regime and its president, Paul Kagame, must remain secret because Blair is a “former prime minister,” according to the Times, after the Foreign Office rejected its Freedom of Information request.
The UK government refused to release information about Blair’s involvement with Rwanda and his Africa Governance Initiative charity when probed by Times journalists.
After a five-month delay – much longer than the usual 20 day waiting period – officials refused to disclose any details of the relationship.’
‘We would like to bring the following basic facts about Paul Kagame to the attention of all Americans who are committed to peace and social justice:
In 1990, Gen. Paul Kagame invaded Rwanda heading a detachment of the Ugandan army dominated by Rwandan Tutsis like himself. He destabilized the country and committed numerous mass murders in the north of Rwanda.
In 1994, when the city of Kigali was surrounded by camps filled with desperate refugees fleeing Kagame’s army in the north, President Kagame pushed the country into a state of panic, terror and genocidal violence by ordering the assassination of the Rwandan and Burundian presidents as they returned from peace talks in Arusha, Tanzania, which were meant to end the conflict.’
‘Refusing to cooperate with an investigation into a government cover up isn’t the best way to persuade people of your innocence in the matter.
Unfortunately, that bit of common sense seems to have flown over the head of former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton who is refusing to hand over her notes on the Benghazi terrorist attack to Rep. Trey Gowdy and the select committee investigating the incident.’
‘John Fogerty’s classic rock song ‘Bad Moon Rising’, from the 1960s, could be the foreboding soundtrack for what is rumbling in America’s Midwest today.
Earthquakes have now become a daily occurrence in Oklahoma and other Midwest states. In the past, a baseline incidence of quakes was two or so a year. Now, the region is experiencing over 500 a year, according to official seismological records. So far, there hasn’t been “a big one”. Most of the quakes have registered around 3 to 5 on the Richter Scale. But it seems only a matter of time before the Earth lashes back with deadly force.
A report this week in the Washington Post tells of widespread structural damage and personal injuries from the “swarm of earthquakes” that residents in Oklahoma are having to endure. With trepidation, ordinary people are fearing that a final calamity is crescendoing.’
‘Fracking in Poland dealt a seismic blow as the last big energy producer left in Polish shale extraction leaves the sector.
Energy giant Chevron has said it is abandoning natural gas exploration in Poland’s shale formations, on the same day as it announced fourth quarter earnings for 2014 of $3.5 billion, down from $4.9 billion in the 2013 fourth quarter.
Chevron’s Polish subsidiary “has decided to discontinue shale gas operations in Poland as the opportunities here no longer compete favourably with other opportunities in Chevron’s global portfolio,” the company said in a statement quoted by Reuters.’
‘Tens of thousands of people have massed in central Madrid for a rally organised by radical Spanish leftists Podemos.
The “March for Change” is one of the party’s first outdoor mass rallies, as it looks to build on the recent victory of its close allies Syriza in Greece.
Podemos leader Pablo Iglesias told the crowd a “wind of change” was starting to blow through Europe.
Podemos has surged ahead in opinion polls, and has vowed to write off part of Spain’s debt if it comes to power.’
‘Amid ‘turmoiling’ stock markets on Friday, CNBC’s Simon Hobbs summed up the status quo’s thinking on the new Greek leadership when he noted, somewhat angrily and shocked, “The Greeks are not even trying to reassure the markets,” seeming to have entirely forgotten (and who can blame him in this new normal the world has been force-fed for 6 years) that political leaders are elected for the good of the people (by the people) not for the markets.
Yesterday saw the clearest example yet of Europe’s anger that the Greeks may choose their own path as opposed to following the EU’s non-sovereign leadership’s demands when the most uncomfortable moment ever caught on tape – the moment when Eurogroup chief Jeroen Dijsselbloem (he of the “template” foot in mouth disease) stood up at the end of the EU-Greece press conference, awkwardly shook hands with Greece’s new finance minister, and whispered…”you have just killed the Troika,” to which Varoufakis responded… “wow!”‘
‘As we noted before, not only has Greece already blocked all ongoing privatization processes, a clear snub of Merkel and the Troika which demands the piecemeal blue light special sale of Greece to western buyers as part of the “bailout”, but is also looking at plans to reinstate public sector employees and announce increased pensions for those on low incomes: further clear breaches of the Troika’s austerity terms.
But the most important message that Tsipras is sending to Europe is that (after meeting the Russian ambassador first upon his election) Greece is now effectively a veto power when it comes to future Russian sanctions!’
‘Doctors are set to get extra payments to hand out controversial statin drugs to patients who face a low risk of ever developing heart disease.
It could mean four in 10 adults, including most of those in late middle age, are put on regular doses in a move that “medicalises” healthy people, leaving them at risk of side-effects including diabetes and memory loss.
Medical experts are angry that doctors are being offered incentives to prescribe the drugs by a government watchdog, which they say is of “doubtful benefit and may cause harm”.’
‘Prisoners will make kit for the Armed Forces as part of a Government initiative to teach them the value of a “hard day’s work”.
The 10 year deal to produce equipment will save the Armed Forces money and give inmates valuable employment skills, Justice Secretary Chris Grayling said.
Offenders will be tasked with making sandbags, fence posts and other kit for the Army.
It comes as new reforms to rehabilitate offenders will see them given support at the prison gate when they finish their sentence.’
‘The US is proposing a government-backed DNA database composed of over a million volunteers’ genetic material. RT would report in their article, “Got genes: Obama proposes genetic biobank of 1mn Americans’ DNA to fight disease,” that:
A new $215 million US government proposal would seek more than 1 million American volunteers for analysis of their genetic information in an initiative to fight disease, while developing targeted health care based on one’s DNA.
Officials hope the biobank project, announced Friday by President Barack Obama, can merge existing genetic studies with a diverse range of new volunteers to hit 1 million participants.’
‘Starting Monday, thousands of Croatia’s poorest citizens will benefit from an unusual gift: They will have their debts wiped out. Named “fresh start,” the government scheme aims to help some of the 317,000 Croatians whose bank accounts have been blocked due to their debts.
Given that Croatia is a relatively small Mediterranean country of only 4.4 million inhabitants, the number of indebted citizens is significant and has become a major economic burden for the country. After six years of recession, growth predictions for Croatia’s economy remain low for this year.
“We assess that this measure will be applicable to some 60,000 citizens,” Deputy Prime Minister Milanka Opacic was quoted as saying by Reuters. “Thus they will be given a chance for a new start without a burden of debt,” Opacic said earlier this month.’
‘First Presbyterian Church of Orlando is about equidistant between Orlando Public Library and Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts. A few blocks north, the homeless pass the library with their bedrolls, backpacks and shopping carts. A few blocks to the south, patrons of the arts congregate in their high heels, tuxedos and tickets to Broadway plays.On the corner of Jackson Street and Rosalind Avenue, where those two groups intersect at First Presbyterian, is the future site of “Homeless Jesus” — a life-size sculpture of a Jesus as a homeless man sleeping on a park bench.
The bronze sculpture, by Canadian artist Timothy P. Schmalz, has sparked outrage and praise in the nine cities throughout the world where it has been installed. Churches in Toronto rejected it. Pope Francis blessed it.’
‘So, Iceland has had melting glaciers, OK we’ll accept that, but Iceland is not the world, and a good number of volcanoes that have erupted in the last century are in the tropical parts of the world where there are no glaciers on the volcanoes or magma fields, yet somehow, this writer, Jeffrey Kluger, extrapolates Iceland’s glacier melt to volcano link up to to the entire world.
To the uniniformed (such as Time Magazine writers), graphs like this one might seem to be “proof” of such Icelandic-to-global extrapolation:’
‘From the moment our senses first register the presence of our parents we are being shown the way that life apparently is. Through no fault of ours or theirs, our parents begin the programming process as their views of life, shaped by their education, employment and the media are imposed on us.
Formal education through schools, colleges and universities continues the systematic indoctrination where the ‘correct’ views and interpretations of science, history and society result in exam passes and the ability to ‘get on’ in life.
Alternative views and the rejection of establishment education lead to supposedly lesser jobs and a struggle against economic poverty. Our entire understanding of the world and current affairs is filtered through the mass media, interpreted by journalists and so-called experts. Their views become our views simply because we are not offered any alternatives.’
‘Earlier this month, four U.K. lords tried to sneak the text of a rejected piece of legislation popularly known as the Snooper’s Charter into a new anti-terror bill. After debate in the House of Lords produced heavy pushback, the peers withdrew the amendments that would have brought the surveillance law in by the back door.
And now, incredibly, they’re trying it again just days later. On Saturday, ahead of a “report stage” debate on Monday (the Counter-Terrorism and Security Bill is almost fully baked), Lords West, Blair, Carlile and King introduced a new amendment that appears to be nearly identical to the last, and to the Communications Data Bill before it.’
‘Alberto Nisman, the prosecutor who accused Argentina’s president of a cover-up plot over the 1994 bombing of a Jewish center before being found shot to death, met repeatedly with the US embassy in Buenos Aires during his investigation, leaked diplomatic cables show.
Nisman gave US officials advanced notice on his procedural moves and was apparently coached by the embassy in “improving” his requests for arrest warrants for Iranians that Nisman suspected of carrying out the deadly attack against the Argentine Israeli Mutual Association, or AIMA, according to cables published by Wikileaks.’
‘The ability to travel in the United States is about to become more restrictive as the TSA announces it will soon be enforcing new identification standards in American airports.
Beginning in 2016, passengers attempting to pass through a federal TSA checkpoint will be subject to the requirements of the REAL ID Act. To that end, the TSA will put higher scrutiny on travelers’ identities, and will only accept a federal passport or a “REAL-ID” card, which is issued by the states to meet federal requirements. Passengers will not be allowed to fly through an American airport without submitting to the advanced federal specifications.’
‘Federal agencies tried to use vehicle license-plate readers to track the travel patterns of Americans on a much wider scale than previously thought, with new documents showing the technology was proposed for use to monitor public meetings.
The American Civil Liberties Union released more documents this week revealing for the first time the potential scale of a massive database containing the data of millions of drivers, logged from automatic license plate readers around the US.
As President Obama’s nominee for attorney general prepared for a second day of confirmation hearings in Washington, senior lawmakers also called on the US Justice Department to show “greater transparency and oversight”.’
‘An internal ruling made by the Venezuelan Ministry of Defense, published on Tuesday, January 27, in state newsletter Gaceta Oficial, legalizes the use of lethal weapons by the national armed forces (FANB) against protesters.
Resolution 008610, signed by General-in-Chief and Defense Minister Vladimir Padrino López, establishes the “use of force, with a firearm or any other potentially lethal weapon” as the last resort to “prevent disorder, support the legitimately constituted authority, and counter all aggression, immediately confronting it with the necessary measures.”’
‘In a recent interview with investigative journalist Ben Swann, Hedges said that many inmates work eight hours a day for major corporations like Motorola, Chevron, Nordstrom’s and Target, but only earn up to $1.25 an hour. Also, he maintains, companies that provide services like phone calls to inmates often overcharge them for even the most basic of services, earning them hundreds of millions of dollars per year.
Meanwhile, as Swann notes in the introduction, offenders can also amass huge amounts of debt — “debt that can send someone back to prison, even if they’ve served their time.”‘
‘In the digital age, when governments including ours are increasingly concerned about waging the next war, in large part, via the Internet, Americans’ constitutional right to privacy seems a quaint anachronism. Successive presidential administrations, as well as Congress, appear to have ceded complete control to the intelligence community when it comes to deciding not when, but if, such protections are even warranted, and all in the name of “national security.”
What’s worse, though, is that American technology companies appear ready, willing and able to assist in the constitutional usurpation; one such company is Apple.’
‘In 2007, then 26-year-old Eric McDavid was sentenced to over 19 years in prison on charges of conspiring to commit environmental terrorism. Nine years into his sentence, on Jan. 8, 2015, he walked free, it having emerged that federal authorities withheld information pertinent to his case.
Just as improbable-seeming as McDavid’s release, 10 years ahead of schedule, are the circumstances that he and his lawyers say led to his conviction in the first place: His romantic feelings for a pink-haired, 18-year-old activist, “Anna,” who spent months encouraging him and two others to join her in committing acts of eco-terrorism — and who also happened to be a paid FBI informant.’
‘Israeli bulldozers, on Thursday, destroyed a water pipe being used in connecting the West Tubas district’s Atoof village with Khirbet Yezra, in the northern Jordan Valley.
Head of Al-Maleh local council, Aaref Daraghmeh, said that the pipe had length of 1,000 meters, and was donated by Agricultural Relief to provide the residents of Yezra with water, since the area has no water sources.
According to the PNN, Dr. Hanna Issa, professor and expert on international law, strongly condemned the action, saying that occupation authorities provide settlers with water, while depriving Palestinians of their own sources.’
‘Anyone paying attention knows that 9/11 has been used to create a police/warfare state. Years ago NSA official William Binney warned Americans about the universal spying by the National Security Agency, to little effect.
Recently Edward Snowden proved the all-inclusive NSA spying by releasing spy documents, enough of which have been made available by Glenn Greenwald to establish the fact of NSA illegal and unconstitutional spying, spying that has no legal, constitutional, or “national security” reasons.Yet Americans are not up in arms. Americans have accepted the government’s offenses against them as necessary protection against “terrorists.”
Neither Congress, the White House, or the Judiciary has done anything about the wrongful spying, because the spying serves the government. Law and the Constitution are expendable when the few who control the government have their “more important agendas.”’
‘The US helped Mossad assassinate a top Hezbollah figure in Syria in 2008 by lending bomb expertise and surveillance on the ground, Washington Post reported. The joint operation marked CIA’s post-9/11 drift toward modern-day drone killings.
The death of Imad Mughniyah on February 2008 was initially pinned on the Israelis. Hezbollah’s international operations chief, he was suspected of having a hand in many terrorist attacks, including the 1992 bombing of the Israeli Embassy and the 1994 attack on a Jewish community center, both in Argentina.
The suspicion that the CIA may have been involved in the assassination arose on several occasions. But now the newspaper Washington Post reports that this indeed was the case, citing five former US intelligence officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity.’
‘Back in October, I reported that, “A type of airplane, the A-10, deployed this month to the Middle East by the U.S. Air National Guard’s 122nd Fighter Wing, is responsible for more Depleted Uranium (DU) contamination than any other platform, according to the International Coalition to Ban Uranium Weapons (ICBUW). . . . Pentagon spokesman Mark Wright told me, ‘There is no prohibition against the use of Depleted Uranium rounds, and the [U.S. military] does make use of them. The use of DU in armor-piercing munitions allows enemy tanks to be more easily destroyed.’”’
‘The ISIL Takfiri militants have accepted defeat in Kobani, threatening a fresh attack against the strategic Syrian border town nearly a week after Kurdish fighters managed to liberate the embattled area from the terror group’s grip.
In a video released by pro-ISIL media outlets, militants with the ISIL terror group pledged to defeat the People’s Protection Units known as the YPG, which are the main Kurdish forces in Syria.
“A while ago we retreated a bit from Ayn al-Islam because of the bombardment and the killing of some brothers,” said a masked militant, using the group’s declared name for Kobani, which is known in Arabic as Ain al-Arab.’
‘The Palestinian resistance movement, Hamas, has condemned a decision by an Egyptian court to blacklist its military wing, the Ezzedine al-Qassam Brigades, as a “terrorist” organization.
“We reject the Egyptian court’s decision against Qassam Brigades. It is a political, dangerous decision that serves only the Zionist occupation,” Hamas spokesman, Sami Abu Zuhri, said on Saturday.
Earlier in the day, the Cairo Court of Urgent Matters claimed in a lawsuit that the group was involved in recent attacks against Egypt’s security forces.’
‘Israeli forces have killed a Palestinian man and wounded another in the northern part of the occupied West Bank, Palestinian sources say.
Ahmad al-Najjar, 19, was shot dead by Israeli troops near the city of Nablus late on Saturday, the sources said.
An Israeli army spokeswoman confirmed that soldiers had opened live fire on two Palestinians, adding that one of them was wounded in the leg.
She further noted that the second Palestinian had been “hit”, without giving more details.’
‘The Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) says units of its forces have launched a military campaign against Rwanda-based Hutu rebels in the east of the country.
“The action has started and will not stop until we have neutralized these negative forces,” Foreign Minister Raymond Tshibanda said on the sidelines of the 24th African Union Summit in the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa, on Saturday.
He added, “The determination of the government is such that there will be no letup until we have finished this group.”’