Uganda suffered unspeakable atrocities under Idi Amin’s government that was installed by Britain under Prime Minister Edward Heath. The British government did not like the socialist policies of President Milton Obote. Idi Amin killed many Ugandans. They included the Anglican Archbishop Janani Luwum.
After the overthrow of Idi Amin, there emerged Joseph Kony, leader of what he calls the Lord’s Resistance Army. Kony has murdered thousands of Ugandans. This included kidnapping hundreds of Ugandan children who he forced to join his army to fight the Ugandan government. Many of those children were killed in the senseless war. This has gone on for over 20 years.
The US government never approached Uganda or the African Union or its predecessor, the Organisation of African Unity, to ask how the United States could help. Now there is discovery of oil in Uganda. Almost immediately, there are reports that US government has sent an army to Uganda to find Joseph Kony and rescue Uganda’s children. Why did America not make this offer long before Uganda discovered this oil wealth? Acquisition of Africa’s resources is the chief purpose of Africom, not the development of Africa.
In a 5 to 4 vote, the Supreme Court ruled on Monday that it is permissible for jailers to strip search people arrested and jailed on minor offenses, even if they have not violated the law.
Justice Kennedy wrote for the majority when he said that when an arrested person is to be put into the general jail population, “courts must defer to the judgment of correctional officials unless the record contains substantial evidence showing their policies are an unnecessary or unjustified response to problems of jail security.”
Justice Stephen Breyer dissented. He said strip searches improperly “subject those arrested for minor offenses to serious invasions of their personal privacy.”
The case reached the Supreme Court after Albert Florence was strip searched following his arrest on a warrant for an unpaid fine. In fact, the fine had been paid. It is not a crime in New Jersey not to pay a fine. After six days, Florence had not received a hearing on the case. He was transferred to another jail in Newark, New Jersey, where he was strip searched again. The following day, all charges were dropped and Florence was released.
The case represents a further erosion of the Fourth Amendment. For over thirty years, U.S. appeals courts have uniformly held that strip searches without suspicion violate the Constitution. Unless there is a reason for suspicion, the Constitution forbids searches without a court warrant.
In 2008, in the first appellate rulings on strip searches since September 11, 2012, appeals courts in Atlanta, Philadelphia and San Francisco ruled that the need of the state to maintain security justified a wide-ranging search policy, no matter the reason for someone’s detention and despite the protection afforded by the Fourth Amendment.
The United States is planning on building nuclear-powered drones. The innovation will allow an increase in flying time “from days to months,” leaving more power available for operating equipment.
Research for the project was conducted by Sandia National Laboratories, the US government’s principal nuclear research and development agency, and defense contractor Northrop Grumman, the Guardian reports.
The technology is to deal with three problems facing the US’ current drone arsenal: insufficient flying time over a potential target, lack of power for running surveillance and weapons systems, and lack of communications capacity.
The team looked at numerous different power systems for large- and medium-sized drones before settling on the nuclear solution.
The research summary deems the technology as highly efficient, saying the results of the research are “to be used in the next generation of unmanned air vehicles used for military and intelligence applications.”
However, there is a big concern over safety as drones have a tendency to crash – and should a nuclear-powered drone fall into the hands of terrorists or unfriendly powers, the consequences could be devastating.
During a March 20 hearing in Salt Lake City, U.S. District Judge Clark Waddoups described as “astounding” the FBI’s claim that critical video of the 1995 Oklahoma City Bombing had simply gone “missing” – an assertion that buttresses attorney Jesse Trentadue’s belief that the Bureau has spared no effort to cover up critical facts about the atrocity.
Trentadue, whose brother Kenney was murdered by federal agents in Oklahoma shortly after the 1995 terrorist attack, filed a Freedom of Information Act request for surveillance video of Timothy McVeigh parking the truck bomb outside the Murrah Federal Building, and dashcam video of his arrest by a state trooper 90 minutes after the explosion. The FBI claims that these indispensable pieces of evidence regarding what was at the time the worst terrorist act in U.S. history have simply vanished in the tenebrous depths of an official warehouse, much like the Ark of the Covenant was at the end of the first Indiana Jones film. The attorney filed his first FOIA request in December 2006, and the Bureau has done its formidable best to ignore, mislead, misdirect, and otherwise obstruct efforts to produce the records, as it is required to by law.
“The FBI has submitted several declarations from its top records manager to show the agency has searched electronic databases and evidence warehouses without success,” reports the Deseret News of Salt Lake City. “But Waddoups said the declarations lack credibility because they do not include firsthand knowledge or details about who, when, where or how the searches were conducted.”
Law enforcement tracking of cellphones, once the province mainly of federal agents, has become a powerful and widely used surveillance tool for local police officials, with hundreds of departments, large and small, often using it aggressively with little or no court oversight, documents show.
The practice has become big business for cellphone companies, too, with a handful of carriers marketing a catalog of “surveillance fees” to police departments to determine a suspect’s location, trace phone calls and texts or provide other services. Some departments log dozens of traces a month for both emergencies and routine investigations.
With cellphones ubiquitous, the police call phone tracing a valuable weapon in emergencies like child abductions and suicide calls and investigations in drug cases and murders. One police training manual describes cellphones as “the virtual biographer of our daily activities,” providing a hunting ground for learning contacts and travels.
But civil liberties advocates say the wider use of cell tracking raises legal and constitutional questions, particularly when the police act without judicial orders. While many departments require warrants to use phone tracking in nonemergencies, others claim broad discretion to get the records on their own, according to 5,500 pages of internal records obtained by the American Civil Liberties Union from 205 police departments nationwide.
Less than a month after their 30-minute Kony 2012 video was released on the Internet only to go viral, California-based advocacy group Invisible Children say they will unleash a follow-up film this week.
Invisible Children’s director of ideology, Jedidiah Jenkins, told reporters over the weekend that his non-profit group is readying a sequel to last month’s documentary on Ugandan warlord Joseph Kony. After releasing the Kony 2012 film in early March, the group made the leader of the Lord’s Resistance Army a household name, essentially succeeding in an attempt to raise awareness of the wrongdoings of the LRA commander. Now the group’s next attempt at immortalizing Kony in an effort to bring justice to the Ugandan people is expected to be released on Tuesday, says Jenkins.
Only weeks since the first Kony 2012 film became a worldwide sensation, however, there are doubts on what success the next flick by way of Invisible Children will have at ousting the Ugandan warlord. In the wake of last month’s movie, the directors behind the documentary were met with a backlash of criticism from skeptics concerned over the true intentions of the filmmakers. Stories were quick to circulate revealing that only a fraction from the non-profits revenue goes towards advocacy work, the damage of which was enough to prompt Invisible Children to release a follow-up film attempting to answer questions of their internal operations. Before the group could reclaim the support that came immediately following the release of Kony 2012, however, co-founder Jason Russell notoriously was nabbed by police after making a scene in downtown San Diego, California.
The Harper government has been monitoring political messages online, and even correcting what it considers misinformation. One local expert says the government is taking things too far.
Under the pilot program the Harper government paid a media company $75,000 to monitor and respond to online postings about the east coast seal hunt.
UBC Computer Science professor and President of the BC Freedom of Information and Privacy Association, Richard Rosenberg, says it seems unnecessary for the government to be going this far. “The government has a lot of power, that it feels the need to monitor public bulletin boards, or places where people express views and then to respond to that, seems to me going beyond a reasonable action the government should be taking.”
Runaway government debts have triggered uncontrolled money printing that in turn will lead to inflation that will decimate portfolios, according to the latest forecast from “Dr. Doom” Marc Faber.
Investors, particularly those in the “well-to-do” category, could lose about half their total wealth in the next few years as the consequences pile up from global government debt problems, Faber, the author of the Gloom Boom & Doom Report, said on CNBC.
Efforts to stem the debt problems have seen the Federal Reserve expand its balance sheet to nearly $3 trillion and other central banks implement aggressive liquidity programs as well, which Faber sees producing devastating inflation as well as other consequences.
“Somewhere down the line we will have a massive wealth destruction that usually happens either through very high inflation or through social unrest or through war or credit market collapse,” he said. “Maybe all of it will happen, but at different times.”
Noted for his pessimistic forecasts and gold advocacy, Faber nonetheless lately has been telling investors that stocks are a good choice as central bank policies pump up asset prices.
He reiterated both his commitment to stocks and gold, but said investors also can find value in other hard assets, particularly in distressed properties in the U.S. South.
“In Georgia, in Arizona, in Florida their property values will not collapse much more and will stabilize, so I think to own some land and some property, not necessarily in the financial centers but in the secondary cities, these are desirable investments relatively speaking,” Faber said.
As for stocks, Faber said Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke’s policies will be friendly toward equity investors, at least for now.
The stock market is in the middle of an aggressive bull run that has seen the major indexes rise more than 25 percent from their October lows.
“I think that people should own some gold and I think that people should own some equities, because before the collapse will happen, with Mr. Bernanke at the Fed, they’re going to print money and print and print and print,” he said. “So what you can get is a bad economy with rising equity prices.”
Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood has announced its presidential candidate. The move has caused a tide of public discontent, with many seeing it as a threat to democracy – and some even accusing the Islamist group of conspiracy plans.
Khairat el-Shater, the Brotherhood’s chief strategist, and a business tycoon, has been announced as the party’s presidential candidate in the upcoming elections, in May.
Shater was imprisoned multiple times under Mubarak’s rule, but the ruling Military Council pardoned him and cleared him of all charges so that he could participate in the elections.
The group has repeatedly said it would not field a presidential candidate because it is not seeking to dominate the new Egypt.
The Brotherhood already holds nearly half the seats in the nation’s newly elected parliament; with the presidency in their pocket they will face no obstacles to imposing their will onto the country.
Therefore, the announcement has alarmed many, who see the Brotherhood’s decision as a step towards a totalitarian regime.
Nobel Peace laureate and former presidential candidate Mohamed ElBaradei denounced the move.“Egyptians sacrificed their lives 4 freedom & dignity not 4 military or religious hegemony nor 4 tyranny of majority,” he said via Twitter.
Prominent Muslim Brotherhood member Kamal Helbawy publicly resigned as the news came. The politician declared he was disappointed that the group was seeking power the same way Mubarak’s National Democratic Party had.
A major donor to President Barack Obama has been accused of impersonating a banker and defrauding a businessman, touching off another controversy connected to his reelection campaign as it tries to deal with questions regarding another top contributor.
The donor, Abake Assongba of New York, and her husband contributed $50,000 to Obama’s reelection bid this year, according to campaign finance records, The Associated Press reported Monday. Assongba is currently dealing with a civil court case in Florida, where she has been accused of stealing $650,000 to build a new multimillion dollar home there, a charge her husband has denied.
Obama is the only candidate so far who has released his list of “bundlers” – those who arrange big-dollar donations for his campaign – but it has come at a price. Last month the campaign returned a $200,000 donation to Carlos and Alberto Cardona because they are brothers of a Mexican fugitive wanted on drug-related charges, AP reported.
Obama campaign spokesman Ben LaBolt declined to comment to the AP, but told the wire service some 1.3 million people had donated to the president’s reelection bid and that the campaign deals quickly with donation issues.
GOP presidential candidate Ron Paul said on CBS’ Face The Nation Sunday that he is determined to continue his campaign in an effort to “save the Republican Party from themselves”.
The Congressman declared that there was no way he would quit because he is the only candidate who wants to restore the Republican party to its founding principles of limited government.
“I am talking to a whole generation, which is expanding,” Paul said.
“When I can get 5,200 people out on a college campus as wildly enthusiastic to hear the message of liberty and freedom and less war and curtailing the Federal Reserve, there is no way I’m going to quit speaking out on this and there is no way I’m going to give up on the effort to get the Republicans back to their roots.”
“In some ways they say, ‘well why don’t you give up and this will help the Republican Party.’ The truth is I’m trying to save the Republican Party from themselves because they want perpetual wars,” Paul added.
“They don’t care about presidents who assassinate American citizens, they don’t care about searching our houses without a search warrant and these are the kind of things that people care about.”
“I think Republicans have dug a hole for themselves because they’re trying to out-militarize the President, saying we should do more,” Paul said.
“Yet 75 percent of the American people have said we’ve had enough, it’s cost us too much money, it’s time to come home.”
When asked by Host Bob Schieffer if he would support Romney should he win the nomination, Paul responded: “I haven’t made that decision yet, I’m still campaigning.”
The Congressman also once again addressed the far flung notion that he could be invited to take on the role of vice president on a Romney ticket:
“I don’t see how that would happen. There’s too many disagreements … I have no common ground on economics.” Paul said.
On January 23, 2012 the United States Supreme Court decided unanimously that Antoine Jones’ 4th Amendment right to be secure against unreasonable search was violated. The court ruled planting a Global-Positioning-Systems (GPS) on Mr. Jones wife’s Jeep Grand Cherokee, for the purpose of obtaining information constitutes a search. The United States District Court for the District of Columbia approved the warrant, allowing ten days for the placement of a tracking device on the vehicle. The Keystone cops responsible for placing the tracking device did so on the 11th day and in the State of Maryland. Opening the door for the appeals court to overturn the lower court and finally for the Supreme Court to uphold the appeals court’s decision.
This case brings us to the discussion of rampant police abuse of cell phone tracking. A survey released by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) found that “the overwhelming majority of law enforcement agencies that responded engage in at least some cell phone tracking.” ACLU attorney Catherine Crump stated, “What we have learned is disturbing. The government should have to get a warrant before tracking cell phones. That is what is necessary to protect Americans’ privacy, and it is also what is required under the constitution…the fact that some law enforcement agencies do get warrants shows that a probable cause requirement is a completely reasonable and workable policy, allowing police to protect both public safety and privacy.”
The ACLU explained further that tracking can be lucrative for cell phone operators, clarifying many charge fees to law enforcement to provide tracking data. This indeed has led to a surge in bills introduced in the United States Congress demanding police respect location privacy. Most cell phones, laptops and tablets contain GPS or alternatively can be tracked by cell phone tower triangulation. Privacy advocates say police, despite the murkiness of the law, use these methods to track suspects. Christopher Slobogin of Vanderbilt Law School said one study indicated that US police have made eight million requests to phone companies for help in carrying out cell phone tracking.
The antioxidant flavonoid compounds found in citrus fruits like oranges and grapefruits offer protective benefits against blood clot-related strokes. These are the findings of a new study published in theAmerican Heart Association(AHA) journalStroke, and ones that could help many people who currently take heart drugs to get off them and instead integrate these and other nutritional approaches to improve heart health.
A team of researchers fromBoston’s Harvard Medical School,Brigham and Women’s Hospital, andNorwich Medical Schoolin the U.K. evaluated 14 years worth of data from 70,000 female nurses that participated in a national study on women’s health. They found that women whose diets included the most citrus fruits were 19 percent less likely to suffer a stroke than women whose diets included the least citrus fruits.
“Our study supports the conclusion that flavonones are associated with a modest reduction in stroke risk,” said Kathryn M. Rexrode, M.D., M.P.H., who helped head up the research. “This is very provocative research which suggests that including citrus fruits in your diet could lower stroke risk.”
Producers of toxic BPA are now boasting $8 billion in sales for 2012 thanks to the FDA rejecting a potential ban on the cancer-linked chemical on March 30th. According to GlobalData, manufacturers will produce 4.7 million metric tons of BPA this year to be dispersed into the daily lives of millions worldwide. BPA now goes into everything: plastic bottles, canned foods, DVDs, plastic wrap, and much more. Despite being linked to about as many serious health conditions as the amount of products it contaminates, the FDA has decided once again to side with mega corporations over protecting the health of the people.
Even Campbell’s Soup and the Heinz corporation are removing BPA from their products in an effort to reclaim consumers who are fully aware of the issues surrounding BPA. California is also banning the substance from baby bottles and sippy cups in attempts to protect newborn babies whose developing bodies are majorly affected by the estrogen-mimicking chemical. But the FDA? They recognize that BPA may be breeding disease among the public, but they’re still perfectly okay with letting it contaminate the food supply. Instead of taking action over the threat, the FDA decided to pick at the hundreds of peer-reviewed studies that have linked BPA to everything from cancer (in over 130 studies) to depression and diabetes.
“While evidence from some studies have raised questions as to whether BPA may be associated with a variety of health effects, there remain serious questions about these studies, particularly as they relate to humans,” the FDA says.
This is the same agency that has no trouble going after nutritional supplements containing 100% organic and natural super-nutrients that have been used for thousands of years. It is also the same government powerhouse that has allowed for mercury to lurk in the processed food supply for years despite major consumer groups demanding action. The list can go on and on — the FDA simply does not seem to care about legitimately threatening items like GMOs and artificial sweeteners, so why would they care about BPA? After all, the carcinogenic chemical has the backing of an $8 billion industry.
Obviously there is no room for GMOs in truly healthy food products, which is why it is truly vital that you understand the nature of GMOs and how they are oftentimes hidden in commercial food products. It may very well shock you to know just how prevalent GMOs are within the food supply. It’s truly amazing that modified products continue to go unlabeled despite being linked to organ damage — among a barrage of other conditions — in a prominent review of 19 studies.
In fact, nearly 93-95% of US soybeans are genetically modified in order to resist powerful weed-killers that were found to be killing the actual soybeans as well as the weeds. Following current trends, genetically modified food products will makeup the majority of the future food supply if a change is not made. For now, that change has been shot down by the FDA — the very organization tasked to defend public health. Just recently, the agency deleted around 1 million signatures from the GMO labeling campaign ‘Just Label It.’
This move means that consumers will continue to stay in the dark about whether or not what they’re eating is compromised of genetically modified ingredients. And it’s not just corn and soybeans, other commonly modified food staples include:
- Sweet corn
- Hawaiian Papaya
Statistics show how GMO crops and ingredients have skyrocketed in even the past few years. Here are statistics as of 2009-2010:
Genetically modified soybeans currently make up for 93-95% of the US soybean supply.
Genetically modified corn currently makes up for 86% of the US corn supply.
Genetically modified cotton currently makes up for 93% of the US cotton supply.
Genetically modified Hawaiin papaya currently makes up for 93% of the Hawaiian papaya supply.
When viewing these statistics, it is easy to see how many consumers are being tricked into consuming genetically modified foods. Amazingly, in a poll conducted by ABC, more than 93% of Americans feel that products containing GMOs should be labeled – meanwhile, these individuals are actually unknowingly consuming GMOs on a daily basis. What it comes down to is that as long as the threat is not visible, many consumers will simply purchase commercial products without thinking about the consequences. This is exactly why Monsanto and others have been squelching attempts to label products that contain GMOs.
Do those depressed pursue fast food or is it the fast food that creates depression? According to a recent study headed by scientists from the University of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria and the University of Granada, eating commercial baked goods and fast food is linked to depression.
Published in the Public Health Nutrition journal, the results reveal that consumers of fast food, compared to those who eat little or none, are 51% more likely to develop depression.
Furthermore, a dose-response relationship was observed. In other words this means that “the more fast food you consume, the greater the risk of depression,” explains Almudena Sanchez-Villegas, lead author of the study, to SINC.
The study demonstrates that those participants who eat the most fast food ((hamburgers and hotdogs) and commercial baked goods are more likely to be single, less active and have poor dietary habits, which include eating less fruit, nuts, fish, vegetables and olive oil. Smoking and working more than 45 hours per week are other prevalent characteristics of this group.
Rebels fighting the government of President Bashar al-Assad in Syria will be paid salaries, the opposition Syrian National Council has announced.
Money will also be given to soldiers who defect from the government’s army, the SNC added, after a “Friends of the Syrian people” summit in Turkey.
Conference delegates said wealthy Gulf Arab states would supply millions of dollars a month for the SNC fund.
The meeting recognised the SNC as the “legitimate representative” of Syrians.
Damascus dubbed the gathering of some 70 Western and Arab foreign ministers in Istanbul as the “enemies of Syria”, and key players remained absent, including Russia, China and Iran.
According to Ryan Crocker, the American ambassador to Kabul, if the United States does not continue to occupy Afghanistan, al Qaeda would be able to plan and carry out another September 11, 2001-style attack.
Of course, this is hindered by the fact that in reality, neither al Qaeda nor Afghanistan can be held responsible for the tragic events of that day, based on the fact that there is clear evidence of a long-term cover-up and the official story is nothing short of farcical.
Setting aside the fact that the official story we have been sold by our government is full of more holes than Swiss cheese, it is still clear that Crocker is putting forth the same ludicrous fear mongering and disinformation as so many other current and former government officials have.
I have attempted to make it clear to my readers that the supposed date when coalition troops will leave Afghanistan is completely fictitious.
THE biggest forum for sex trafficking of under-age girls in the United States appears to be a Web site called Backpage.com.
This emporium for girls and women — some under age or forced into prostitution — is in turn owned by an opaque private company called Village Voice Media. Until now it has been unclear who the ultimate owners are.
Goldman Sachs was mortified when I began inquiring last week about its stake in America’s leading Web site for prostitution ads. It began working frantically to unload its shares, and on Friday afternoon it called to say that it had just signed an agreement to sell its stake to management.
“We had no influence over operations,” Andrea Raphael, a Goldman Sachs spokeswoman, told me.
Let’s back up for a moment. There’s no doubt that many escort ads on Backpage are placed by consenting adults. But it’s equally clear that Backpage plays a major role in the trafficking of minors or women who are coerced. In one recent case in New York City, prosecutors say that a15-year-old girl was drugged, tied up, raped and sold to johns through Backpage and other sites.
Backpage has 70 percent of the market for prostitution ads, according to AIM Group, a trade organization.
Village Voice Media makes some effort to screen out ads placed by traffickers and to alert authorities to abuses, but neither law enforcement officials nor antitrafficking organizations are much impressed. As a result, pressure is growing on the company to drop escort ads.
After my last column on this issue, 19 U.S. senators wrote the company, asking it to stop abetting traffickers. On Thursday, antitrafficking campaigners protested outside the Village Voice newspaper (which is owned by Village Voice Media). A petition on Change.org criticizing the company has gathered 220,000 signatures.
In Washington State, the governor signed a bill into law on Thursday that could expose Backpage to criminal sanctions if it advertises under-age girls for sex without verifying their ages. (There’s some uncertainty about the constitutionality of the law.)
Village Voice Media has been able to resist pressure partly because, as a private company, it doesn’t disclose its owners. But I’ve obtained documents that, with some digging, shed light on who’s behind it.
Azerbaijan has angrily denied allegations by a US magazine that it has granted Israel access to its airbases to launch an attack on Iran or to return its fighter jets there after a strike.
“We have stated on numerous occasions and we reiterate that there will be no actions against Iran… from the territory of Azerbaijan,” Azerbaijani Deputy Prime Minister Ali Hasanov told journalists in Baku. A senior official at Azerbaijan’s presidential administration added that such speculation was “aimed at damaging relations between Azerbaijan and Iran,” AFP reported.
Few institutions incite the kind of populist anger that Bank of America does, even as the Occupy movement stokes rage at Wall Street in general. And with good reason – in an industry that is known for being corrupt, immoral, and ungrateful leeches of taxpayer dollars, Bank of America stands out. The bank, it seems, is constantly making headlines for some new form of corruption or act of greed that screws consumers while padding its executives’ pockets. And it gets away with it every time.
The bank was at the forefront of the dubious practice known as “robo-signing” – hiring third-party companies staffed by underqualified foreclosure “experts” to cut corners during the foreclosure process, processing thousands upon thousands of foreclosures a month and wreaking havoc on homeowners’ lives.
Two different forensic experts have concluded that the person screaming for help on the 911 tapes was not George Zimmerman’s in another blow to the Zimmerman story.
A Forensic voice analysis of the voice screaming for help on the 911 calls in the killing of Trayvon martin reveals the voice screaming for help was not the voice of George Zimmerman. The forensic analysis was performed by two different experts according to MSNBC.
The experts could not say whether Trayvon Martin was the person screaming for help because they did not have audio of Trayvon’s voice to compare the 911 audio to.
After the US military tried to prevent access, reporters have been able to interview Afghan Massacre witnesses who report multiple soldiers assisted by helicopter support. The first western media journalists have gained access to interview witnesses to the Afghan massacre after the US military tried to prevent them from conducting an interview.
The witnesses give first hand accounts saying that a group of 20 soldiers participated in the attack and where assisted by a helicopter that was giving air support, which corroborates the findings of an Afghanistan investigation panel.
The US government’s official version says there was only shooter involved, but news broke earlier that the accused shooter’s attorney is being denied access to the witnesses and information about the incident to defend his client.
The ACLU of Maryland on Friday said it was “appalling” that Baltimore police officers arrested and handcuffed three 9-year-old girls and an 8-year-old boy at an elementary school.
The officers arrested the children Thursday afternoon inside Morrell Park Elementary School on aggravated-assault charges. The charges were based on a schoolyard fight that occurred nine days earlier.
“The actions of Baltimore City police in arresting and handcuffing eight and nine year old children at school are appalling, and also in plain violation of state regulations regarding school arrests,” Sonia Kumar, an attorney with the ACLU. “Even if it was appropriate to treat the fight between children as a criminal justice matter, there is no excuse for treating eight and nine year olds the same way we treat adult criminal suspects.”
Speculation by large investment banks is driving up food prices for the world’s poorest people, tipping millions into hunger and poverty. Investment in food commodities by banks and hedge funds has risen from $65bn to $126bn (£41bn to £79bn) in the past five years, helping to push prices to 30-year highs and causing sharp price fluctuations that have little to do with the actual supply of food, says the United Nations’ leading expert on food.
Hedge funds, pension funds and investment banks such as Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley and Barclays Capital now dominate the food commodities markets, dwarfing the amount traded by actual food producers and buyers. Purely financial players, for example, account for 61 per cent of investment on the wheat futures market, according to the World Development Movement report Broken Markets.
Speculative investment in agricultural commodities in 2011 was 20 times the amount spent by all countries on agricultural aid. Goldman Sachs, the largest player in the agricultural commodities market, earned £600m from food speculation in 2009, and Barclays Capital, the world’s third-largest player and largest British bank in this market, earned up to £340m in 2010, according to the report. Goldman Sachs and Barclays Capital declined to comment.
Before it was deregulated in the year 2000, the agricultural commodities futures market was used mainly by farmers and food buyers seeking to insure themselves against changes in the prices of products such as wheat, maize and sugar. When George W Bush passed the Commodities Futures Modernization Act 12 years ago, there was an influx, led by Goldman Sachs, of purely financial players who had no interest in ever buying food, but who sought solely to profit from changes in food prices, says Olivier De Schutter, the UN special rapporteur on the right to food.
Global investment, securities and sex. Goldman Sachs has long been a big name on Wall Street, but an investigation tying the banking giants to a website linked with sex trafficking has left the firm scrambling to say goodbye to some stock.
Goldman Sachs signed a deal on Friday to begin unloading its share in Village Voice Media, a privately held media conglomerate that oversees some of the biggest alternative newspaper in America. Also on the firm’s client list though is Backpage.com, a site that has become essentially synonymous with the online sex trade. After The New York Times revealed last month that Goldman Sachs owned a 16-percent stake in Village Voice Media, the bank was begging for a solution to settle what quickly snowballed into a PR-disaster. Sachs now says that they are in a deal to sign of its share back to the management at Village Voice, but only after investing upwards of $30 million.
According to classified advertising consultants the AIM Group, nearly 80 percent of online revenue generated through prostitution ads is made possible by Backpage.com, a classified site which offers a bevy of legitimate services to an international Internet audience in addition to some x-rated ads. While Backpage is indeed brimming with calls for work, apartment postings and other listings for much of North America and Europe, in recent years the site has become the stomping ground for online escorts. Both men and women are pimped out on page after page of prostitution ads and strip shows for hire, with some even alleging that the site has hosted ads showcasing underage girls illegally trafficked for sex.
NBC disclosed today that it will be launching an internal investigation into a segment about the Trayvon Martin case that appeared on theToday show, in which a call between George Zimmerman and a 911 dispatcher prior to Martin’s death was edited in such a way that it portrays Zimmerman as a racial profiler. The editorial decision under review involves the removal of the dispatcher’s inquiry about the race of the person Zimmerman was following — Martin. Absent that question, Zimmerman’s comments get strung together as if he said, in sequence, “This guy looks like he’s up to no good. He looks black.”
The Washington Post provides the full transcript of that part of the call:
Zimmerman: This guy looks like he’s up to no good. Or he’s on drugs or something. It’s raining and he’s just walking around, looking about.
Dispatcher: OK, and this guy — is he black, white or Hispanic?
Zimmerman: He looks black.
Of course Zimmerman goes on to follow Martin against the advice of the dispatcher, but in this version of the call, it doesn’t appear that he’s awkwardly offering the information or in effect, profiling. Zimmerman still might have been, but the truncated call left much less doubt.
The Post‘s Erik Wemple writes that in a case where few facts are undisputed, it was particularly egregious to misrepresent one of them, the phone call. “To portray that exchange in a way that wrongs Zimmerman is high editorial malpractice well worthy of the investigation that NBC is now mounting.”