Monthly Archives: April 2016

Supreme Court Quietly Approves Rule to Give FBI ‘Sprawling’ Hacking Powers

Absent action by Congress, the rule change will go into effect in December

By Nadia Prupis, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 4-29-2016

The rule would allow a federal judge to issue a warrant for any target using anonymity software like Tor to browse the internet. (Photo: Ben Watkin/flickr/cc)

The rule would allow a federal judge to issue a warrant for any target using anonymity software like Tor to browse the internet. (Photo: Ben Watkin/flickr/cc)

The U.S. Supreme Court on Thursday quietly approved a rule change that would allow a federal magistrate judge to issue a search and seizure warrant for any target using anonymity software like Tor to browse the internet.

Absent action by U.S. Congress, the rule change (pdf) will go into effect in December. The FBI would then be able to search computers remotely—even if the bureau doesn’t know where that computer is located—if a user has anonymity software installed on it. Continue reading

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Outrageous Targeting’ as MSF-Supported Hospital in Syria Bombed

‘Where is the outrage among those with the power and obligation to stop this carnage?’

By Andrea Germanos, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 4-28-2016

In this image made from video and posted online from Validated UGC, a man carries a child after airstrikes hit Aleppo, Syria, Thursday, April 28, 2016. (Validated UGC via AP video)

In this image made from video and posted online from Validated UGC, a man carries a child after airstrikes hit Aleppo, Syria, Thursday, April 28, 2016. (Validated UGC via AP video)

Doctors Without Borders said Thursday that a hospital it supported in the Syrian city of Aleppo was bombed, destroying the key pediatric facility and killing at least 14 people.

The medical humanitarian aid group, also known by its French acronym, MSF, said in a statement that two doctors were among the casualties, including one of last pediatricians in Aleppo, and that other medical structures in the city had also been attacked this week.

Witnesses said the Al Quds hospital was hit by a missile from a fighter jet Wednesday, according to CNN. Continue reading

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Taking Page from Israel War Tactics, US Military Employs Controversial ‘Roof Knocking’

Tactic criticized by UN commission used “extensively” during Israel’s deadly 2014 bombing of Gaza

By Andrea Germanos, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 4-27-2016

U.S. Army helicopters arrive in Mosul. (Photo: United States Forces Iraq/flickr/cc_

U.S. Army helicopters arrive in Mosul. (Photo: United States Forces Iraq/flickr/cc)

An Israeli tactic deemed “ineffective” at preventing civilian causalities by a United Nations commission has now been adopted by the United States in its fight against ISIS, according to a U.S. military official.

Air Force Maj. Peter Gersten, the deputy commander for operations and intelligence for the U.S.-led coalition, explained at a press briefing Tuesday that the tactic dubbed “knocking on the roof” was, in fact, used during a strike in Mosul, Iraq against a “major distributor of funds to Daesh fighters.” A woman the military had seen come and go with her children from the building died in the strike—”an unfortunality,” as Gersten called it. Continue reading

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This Woman Woke Up To An Unidentified Cop Creepily Sitting on Her 4-Year-Old’s Bed

By Claire Bernish. Published 4-26-2016 by The Anti-Media

Cheryl Yurkowski. Photo: YouTube

Cheryl Yurkowski. Photo: YouTube

Ontario, Canada — If you woke to find someone in your four-year-old daughter’s bedroom who refused to identify themselves to you or explain their presence in your house, what would you do? In the case of Cheryl Yurkowski — who lives in Ontario, Canada — you attempt to defend your child, your home, and yourself.

Cheryl’s ordeal began after having an argument with her husband and his mother at a restaurant. Tired from the disagreement and wishing to avoid further conflict with the intoxicated man, she left separately to go home and go to bed. Not realizing his wife had already arrived at home and was asleep, Cheryl’s husband began yelling on a phone call — but his raised voice concerned neighbors, who then summoned the Kawartha Lakes Police. Continue reading

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With Call to Repeal ‘Hate Bill 2’, Thousands of Protesters Welcome Back NC Lawmakers

‘We cannot be silent in the face of this race-based, class-based, homophobic and trans-phobic attack on wage earners, civil rights, and the LGBTQ community.’

By Deirdre Fulton, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 4-25-2016

A few of the plaintiffs in the federal court challenge brought by Lambda Legal, the ACLU, and the ACLU of North Carolina. (Photo: ACLU of North Carolina)

A few of the plaintiffs in the federal court challenge brought by Lambda Legal, the ACLU, and the ACLU of North Carolina. (Photo: ACLU of North Carolina)

As North Carolina’s General Assembly began its new session on Monday, it was greeted by tens of thousands of people calling for the repeal of the state’s much maligned anti-LGBTQ House Bill 2 (HB 2), passed during a one-day special session on March 23.

The legislation, which opponents say is unconstitutional, requires that transgender people use bathrooms that match the sex on their birth certificates, and forbids cities and counties from enacting their own ordinances to prohibit discrimination against lesbian, gay, bi-sexual, and transgender people. Continue reading

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Calling Corporate-Backed Deals an “Indisputable” Good, Obama Makes Pitch for TTIP

Sitting next to Chancellor Angela Merkel during a summit in Germany, U.S. president continued to ignore opponents as he defended controversial agreement with European nations

By Jon Queally, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 4-24-2016

Photo: droppants

Photo: droppants

Despite the tens of thousands of people who marched against the deal in Germany ahead of his arrival and the steady drop in support for such neoliberal trade deals overall, President Barack Obama stood next to Chancellor Angela Merkel on Sunday and defended the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) and said similar past deals have been an “indisputable” benefit to the U.S. economy.

“It is indisputable that [“free trade”] has made our economy stronger,” Obama said during a joint news conference. “It has made sure that our businesses are the most competitive in the world.” Continue reading

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101 Years Later, Turkey Gets United States to Suppress Truth About Armenian Genocide

“Denial of genocide is the final stage of genocide because it strives to kill the memory of the event; denial seeks to demonize the victims and rehabilitate the perpetrators; denial creates what the psychiatrist Robert Jay Lifton has called “a morally counterfeit universe for the survivors and their legacy.”

Peter Balakian

Written by Carol Benedict.

"THOSE WHO FELL BY THE WAYSIDE. Scenes like this were common all over the Armenian provinces, in the spring and summer months of 1915. Death in its several forms---massacre, starvation, exhaustion---destroyed the larger part of the refugees. The Turkish policy was that of extermination under the guise of deportation." Picture showing Armenians killed during the Armenian Genocide. Image taken from Ambassador Morgenthau's Story, written by Henry Morgenthau, Sr. and published in 1918. Image Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons.

“THOSE WHO FELL BY THE WAYSIDE. Scenes like this were common all over the Armenian provinces, in the spring and summer months of 1915. Death in its several forms—massacre, starvation, exhaustion—destroyed the larger part of the refugees. The Turkish policy was that of extermination under the guise of deportation.” Picture showing Armenians killed during the Armenian Genocide. Image taken from Ambassador Morgenthau’s Story, written by Henry Morgenthau, Sr. and published in 1918. Image Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons.

President Barack Obama declined Friday to call the 1915 massacre of Armenians a genocide, breaking a key campaign promise as his presidency nears an end, reports now say.

“Armenian-American leaders have urged Obama each year to make good on a pledge he made as a candidate in 2008, when he said the U.S. government had a responsibility to recognize the attacks as genocide and vowed to do so if elected. Obama’s failure to fulfill that pledge in his final annual statement on the massacre infuriated advocates and lawmakers who accused the president of outsourcing America’s moral voice to Turkey, which staunchly opposes the genocide label.

“It’s a Turkish government veto over U.S. policy on the Armenian genocide,” Aram Hamparian, head of the Armenian National Committee of America, said in an interview. “It’s like Erdogan imposing a gag rule very publicly and an American president enforcing that gag rule.” He was referring to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.”

In 2015, during remarks observing the 100th anniversary of the event, Pope Francis describes it as “the first genocide of the 20th century.” Turkey responded by recalling their ambassador to the Vatican.

Turkey recalled their ambassador to Austria after the Austrian parliament passed a resolution recognizing the Armenian Genocide, also in 2015.

One hundred and one years ago this month, the Ottoman Empire began carrying out a systematic plan to exterminate its minority Armenian population. Approximately 1.5 million people were killed or died of starvation. On April 24, 850 intellectuals, doctors and writers of the Armenian community were rounded up in what was then Constantinople and later executed. That was just the beginning.

The spring and summer of 1915 became the bloodiest in Armenian history. Men and older boys were separated from the rest of the population and killed without question. Women, children the elderly and the disabled were forced into long death marches into the Syrian dessert with no food or water given them, and those that survived the march were placed in annihilation camps.

For a documentary that is worth watching, please view the following. We can not write a summary that can do better justice to the Armenian Genocide controversy than this.  The images and descriptions of the methods used to carry out the extermination of the Armenian peoples by the ruling Turkish government presented in this film are the blueprint for the subsequent genocides of the past one hundred years. Warning: Not for the weak of stomach or those who seek “quick videos” to explain things. Running time: 93 minutes.

The man who invented the word “genocide”— Raphael Lemkin, a lawyer of Polish-Jewish origin — was moved to investigate the attempt to eliminate an entire people by accounts of the massacres of Armenians. He did not, however, coin the word until 1943, applying it to Nazi Germany and the Jews in a book published a year later, “Axis Rule in Occupied Europe.”

Long before humanity knew about the horrors of Auschwitz, the Turkish government demonstrated the depravity of government force over vulnerable populations. Long before we knew of the term, genocide became a practice so routine that the Turkish government remains in denial of it to this day.

An article by the New York Times dated 15 December 1915 states that one million Armenians had been either deported or executed by the Ottoman government. Image via Wikipedia.

Even the Jewish community has taken pause. In a recent commentary regarding the Armenian genocide, Rabbi Jeffrey K. Salkin writes, “Why should Jews be talking about this? Because when we look at the Armenians, it is as if we are looking in the mirror.”

Standing on arguments of the numbers of deaths and whether it was intended to eliminate the entire Armenian group, the Turkish government refuses to accept the term “genocide” in reference to the Armenian slaughter. It is not part of their official recognized history; existing laws in Turkey basically prohibit and criminalize mentioning or talking about the Genocide. According to Turkey, “our memory does not support the Armenian narrative on the events of 1915, [but] it is only Turks and Armenians who can effectively address their issues together and work jointly to find ways forward. Turkey is ready to do its part”. They argue there is no “evidence”, no one is demanding the recognition, and that the death count could not possibly be as high as claimed.

The University of Minnesota’s Center for Holocaust and Genocide Studies has compiled figures by province and district that show there were 2,133,190 Armenians in the empire in 1914 and only about 387,800 by 1922. Figures don’t lie, but liars figure.

Entrenched so deeply in denialism, in 2007 the Turkish government threatened the United States with closing bases in their borders if the US were to officially recognize this as a genocide. We also know, “The United States isn’t the only target of this censorship effort. At their government’s prompting, Turkish diasporan organizations in 2009 mounted a campaign to stop the Toronto school board from including the Armenian genocide in a human rights curriculum. In 2010, Ankara succeeded in pressuring the Rwandan government to scrap a presentation on the Armenian genocide at a panel on genocide at the United Nations. In 2012, the Turkish government was successful in demanding that the British government order the Tate Gallery to remove the word “genocide” from the wall text of an Arshile Gorky exhibit.”

This year, the Wall Street Journal published a full page advertisement denying the event as a genocide.

Despite these efforts, currently there are 20 countries that officially recognize the Armenian Genocide.

In the United States, more than 40 states, including California, have passed proclamations recognizing the Armenian Genocide. Additionally, the House of Representatives has passed legislation also recognizing the Genocide, lastly in 1996.

Map of massacre locations and deportation and extermination centers. Image via Wikipedia.

Map of massacre locations and deportation and extermination centers. Image via Wikipedia.

In 1915, the New York Times alone ran 145 articles reporting the Armenian crisis. The world was aware. No one did anything.

Turkey is now doing this to the Kurds in SE Turkey. The main stream media remains silent. Will you?

READ MORE ABOUT IT: Resource Articles
Turkey Rights Groups Demand Apology, Compensation, and Restitution for Genocide
Amal Clooney’s latest case: Why Turkey won’t talk about the Armenian genocide
On Armenian genocide, go ahead and offend Turkey
UN: Slaughter of 1.5 million Armenians is not genocide
Why the Armenian genocide holds a lesson for Jews (COMMENTARY)

Editorial Note: This article is comprised of numerous quotes from the Resource Articles listed above. Review of these articles will provide even broader perspectives than those represented here.

About the Author:
Carol Benedict is an independent researcher and human rights activist. She has been studying Kurdish history, culture and politics for over 3 years.

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New Report Proves US Law Enforcement Preparing for Rioting on a National Scale

By Claire Bernish. Published 4-22-2016 by The Anti-Media

PORTLAND OREGON - NOV 17: Police in Riot Gear Holding the Line in Downtown Portland Oregon during a Occupy Portland protest on the first anniversary of Occupy Wall Street November 17 2011

Police in Riot Gear Holding the Line in Downtown Portland Oregon during a Occupy Portland protest on the first anniversary of Occupy Wall Street November 17, 2012. Photo: Facebook

Fascism doesn’t often sweep in overnight and take over some hapless nation’s government; rather, it gradually seeps into the cultural fabric — as is quietly taking place all around the globe, evidenced by an upsurge in sales of riot equipment that has gone largely unnoticed.

A new report from analysts with industry research group, Sandler Research, forecasts the Global Riot Control System Market for the next four years — but beyond a burgeoning market to parallel the expanding global police state, it appears world governments are also keenly aware of civilian discontent. Sandler predicts the market will have an annual growth of 3.5 percent, and makes a telling juxtaposition, emphases added, involving the United States: Continue reading

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The ‘Absolutely Disturbing’ New Normal: Earth Just Smashed Another Climate Record

‘Global temperature records are piling up,’ says NOAA

By Andrea Germanos, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 4-20-2016

Map: Land and ocean temperature departure from average for March 2016. (NOAA NCEI)

Map: Land and ocean temperature departure from average for March 2016. (NOAA NCEI)

Our ever-warming planet just passed another climate record.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) said Tuesday that March 2016 was the warmest March since records began in 1880.

It also marked an 11-month of streak of record-breaking global temperatures.

And at 1.22°C (2.20°F) above the 20th century average of 12.7°C (54.9°F), March 2016 distinguished itself from all 1,635 months on record by having the highest monthly temperature departure. Meteorologists Jeff Masters and Bob Henson wrote, “This is a huge margin for breaking a monthly global temperature record, as they are typically broken by just a few hundredths of a degree. The margin was just a shade larger than NOAA’s previous record for any month of 1.21°C (2.18°F) above average, set in February 2016.” Continue reading

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Brazil’s Elite Move Ahead with ‘Coup’ as Rousseff Impeached by Lower House

Workers’ Party president Dilma Rousseff is not accused of any crimes—while right-wing politicians voting to impeach her are investigated for corruption

By Nika Knight, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 4-18-2016

Dilma Rousseff at the 2010 Workers Party Convention. Photo: Valter Campanato/ABr (Agência Brasil) [CC BY 3.0 br], via Wikimedia Commons

Dilma Rousseff at the 2010 Workers’ Party Convention. Photo: Valter Campanato/ABr (Agência Brasil) [CC BY 3.0 br], via Wikimedia Commons

Brazil’s embattled leftist president Dilma Roussef watched on Sunday as right-wing opponents in congress voted in overwhelming numbers to impeach her, drawing cries of “coup, coup, coup!” from her supporters in the Workers’ Party (PT).

367 of the 513 members of Brazil’s lower house voted to impeach, surpassing the two-thirds majority required to send the proposal to the senate for a vote, which is expected to take place in a few weeks.

Critics of the process immediately decried the impeachment vote. Continue reading

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