Author Archive: mrdsk

Agricultural insecticides pose a global risk to surface water bodies, researchers find

Science Daily reports:

Streams within approximately 40 percent of the global land surface are at risk from the application of insecticides. These were the results from the first global map to be modelled on insecticide runoff to surface waters, which has just been published in the journal Environmental Pollution by researchers from the Helmholtz Center for Environmental Research (UFZ) and the University of Koblenz-Landau together with the University of Milan, Aarhus University and Aachen University. According to the publication, particularly streams in the Mediterranean, the USA, Central America and Southeast Asia are at risk.’

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American police brutality, exported from Chicago to Guantánamo

Spencer Ackerman reports for The Guardian:

Police brutality updatedWhen the Chicago detective Richard Zuley arrived at Guantánamo Bay late in 2002, US military commanders touted him as the hero they had been looking for.

Here was a Navy reserve lieutenant who had spent the last 25 years as a distinguished detective on the mean streets of Chicago, closing case after case – often due to his knack for getting confessions.

But while Zuley’s brutal interrogation techniques – prolonged shackling, family threats, demands on suspects to implicate themselves and others – would get supercharged at Guantánamo for the war on terrorism, a Guardian investigation has uncovered that Zuley used similar tactics for years, behind closed police-station doors, on Chicago’s poor and non-white citizens. Multiple people in prison in Illinois insist they have been wrongly convicted on the basis of coerced confessions extracted by Zuley and his colleagues.’

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The disappeared: Chicago police detain Americans at abuse-laden ‘black site’

Spencer Ackerman reports for The Guardian:

‘The Chicago police department operates an off-the-books interrogation compound, rendering Americans unable to be found by family or attorneys while locked inside what lawyers say is the domestic equivalent of a CIA black site.

The facility, a nondescript warehouse on Chicago’s west side known as Homan Square, has long been the scene of secretive work by special police units. Interviews with local attorneys and one protester who spent the better part of a day shackled in Homan Square describe operations that deny access to basic constitutional rights.’

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Code Blue For New York’s Homeless

How ‘Islamic’ Is the Islamic State?

Juan Cole writes for The Nation:

ISIS fighters in Raqqa‘Last week a debate erupted over how “Islamic” the so-called “Islamic State” group (ISIS or ISIL) in Syria and Iraq is, and whether it is legitimate to speak of “Islamic” terrorism. It was provoked in part by a Graeme Wood article in The Atlantic and President Obama’s speech to a conference on Combating Violent Extremism. Obama was slammed by former New York City mayor Rudy Giuliani as allegedly not loving America, in part because he declined to speak of “Islamic” terrorism. On Sunday, former defense secretary Paul Wolfowitz, interviewed on CNN’s State of the Union show, called Obama’s refusal to use the phrase “Islamic terrorism” “silly,” saying, “I think people understand that Islam has something to do with what we’re fighting, and when you deny it, you lose a lot of support.” This debate is actually about what philosophers call “essentialism,” and, as Giuliani’s and Wolfowitz’s own interventions make clear, it is about absolving the United States for its own role in producing the violent so-called “Caliphate” of Ibrahim al-Baghdadi.’

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Thom Hartmann on Henry Wallace and American Fascists

Why Brian Williams is a Distraction From True War Propagandists

‘Abby Martin juxtaposes the outrage over Brian Williams’ lie about his experience in Iraq with the lack of concern with lies peddled by journalists like Judith Miller in the lead up to the Iraq War.’ (Breaking the Set)

Fighting Among Hillary Clinton Donors Shows Money Matters More Than Voters

SEE ALSO: Clinton Foundation accepts funds from foreign governments, Keystone XL group: Interview with Cenk Uygur

Clinton Foundation accepts funds from foreign governments, Keystone XL group: Interview with Cenk Uygur

#AlbumoftheWeek ~ Liquid Swords by Genius/GZA (1995)

The Fight Against ISIS On Social Media

Is Political Correctness Hampering ‘Free Speech’ In UK Universities?

The TV Movie About Nuclear War That Depressed Ronald Reagan

Matthew Gault writes for Medium:

‘[…] This is Kansas in the ’80s, and America is an irradiated, nuclear hellscape. Welcome to The Day After, a TV movie ABC aired during prime-time in 1983. The film was so effective that it depressed Pres. Ronald Reagan.

He wrote about it in his diary, and some biographers speculated it had a direct effect on Reagan’s desire to end nuclear proliferation during the back half of his presidency.

The Day After is about a world in which the unthinkable happens—the U.S. and Russia finally launch all their nukes and ruin the world.

The film is set in and around Kansas City, and follows several families and individuals as they struggle to survive in America’s heartland.’

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EU renews sanctions on Zimbabwe, Mugabe

Reuters reports:

‘[…] Since imposing sanctions in 2002 over electoral fraud and human rights abuses, the EU has eased measures to encourage political reform in Zimbabwe, although it has kept its ban on Mugabe and his wife Grace, as well as an arms embargo.

This week it gave Zimbabwe 234 million euros (173.62 million pounds) in aid, its first since sanctions were imposed. And earlier this month, EU officials said that the 90-year-old president might be allowed in on an exceptional basis during his year-long chairmanship of the African Union, if traveling on AU business.

The Official Journal, however, made clear EU governments are not yet convinced that Mugabe had changed enough to merit a final lifting of restrictions.’

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IDEX 2015: Arms exporters eye deals at Middle East’s largest defense show

Stanley Carvalho reports for Reuters:

‘International firms will scramble for new orders at the Middle East’s largest arms show which opens in Abu Dhabi next week as oil-rich Gulf states load up on weapons in a region rocked by instability and violence.

The Middle East is the largest market driver in the industry with billions of dollars spent annually on buying military equipment, from drones and jet fighters to guided missiles.

Around 1,200 companies from 55 countries are showcasing their latest military wares and technologies at the biennial International Defense Exhibition (IDEX), starting Sunday in Abu Dhabi, capital of the United Arab Emirates.’

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War College Study: “US Army officers lie” routinely

Jeremy Diamond reports for CNN:

Lying to Ourselves: Dishonesty... Cover ImageU.S. Army officers often resort to “evasion and deception,” and everyone at the Pentagon knows it, according to a new study conducted by the U.S. Army War College.

“In other words, in the routine performance of their duties as leaders and commanders, U.S. Army officers lie,” reads the study, which was conducted by the War College’s Strategic Studies Institute.

The 33-page report, compiled following interviews with officers across the Army, concluded that the Army’s culture is rife with “dishonesty and deception” at all levels of the institution — from the most junior members to senior Army officials.’

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Libya: Hillary Clinton’s WMD Moment?

Oil-rich Libya, torn by conflict, may be going broke

Missy Ryan reports for The Washington Post:

‘To the many existential threats facing Libya, it is now possible to add another: the oil-rich nation may be going broke.

Four years after its uprising against dictator Moammar Gaddafi, the North African country is buffeted from all sides: two competing governments vie for power and resources; militias and armed gangs impose their own capricious justice; targeted attacks have driven away investors and diplomats.

[…] Economists and Libyan and U.S. officials say Libya is burning through its international reserves at an alarming rate as the country scrambles to pay a huge bill for wages and subsidies without the benefit of normally ample oil revenues, virtually the country’s only source of income.’

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Egypt’s Sisi: It’s Time to Correct NATO’s Mistakes in Libya

All Africa reports:

President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi said on Monday that it is time to correct the mistakes made by the NATO in Libya.

“The NATO operation in Libya was not complete, which led the North African country to fall under the control of militant and extremist groups,” Sisi said during his meeting with French Defense Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian.

Sisi’s remarks came after the Egyptian air force carried out earlier on Monday airstrikes on Daesh hotbeds in Libya in retaliation to the beheading of 21 Egyptian nationals who had been kidnapped in the Libyan city of Sirte.’

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Libyan Chaos and the Un-Islamic State: Interview with Vijay Prashad

Editor’s Note: Vijay Prashad is a historian, journalist and commentator. He is the author of many books including “Arab Spring, Libyan Winter” ( which you can download here). In this interview, recorded Feb 17/18th, Prashad states that the 2011 NATO intervention in Libya destroyed the Libyan state and created the conditions for radical Islamist groups to thrive. He also says that Libya today reminds him of Afghanistan 25 years ago after the Soviet withdrawl which was awash with weapons and fighters jostling for control of the country

Obama, Republicans and the media concur: It’s time for war with ISIS

Trevor Timm writes for The Guardian:

After more than six months of virtually ignoring the fact that the war against Isis was illegal by almost anyone’s standards – given Congress’s cowardly refusal vote on it and the White House’s refusal to ask them first – the Obama administration has finally submitted a draft war authorization against Isis to Congress.

That means the media can go back to doing what it does best: creating a “debate” over how many countries we should invade, without any discussion of how our invasions created the very situation in which we feel we have to contemplate more invasions. It’s like the early Bush years all over again.’

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Ron Paul: U.S. Didn’t Really Want To Catch Bin Laden, Needed An Excuse To Invade The Middle East

Andrew Kaczynski and Megan Apper report for BuzzFeed:

‘Former Republican presidential candidate and congressman Ron Paul says he doesn’t believe the United States government wanted to catch Osama Bin Laden because they needed him as an excuse to build up the military and invade Middle Eastern countries.

“Matter of fact, can’t you just see the difference that might have occurred. Ya know, they knew where Bin Laden was. I don’t think they really wanted to catch him because he was used as the excuse for us, you know, invading various countries and building up the military,” Paul said on Scott Horton’s radio program.’

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Philomena Cunk’s Moments of Wonder: Climate Change

Editor’s Note: A hilarious piece on climate change by Philomena Cunk from Charlie Brooker‘s Weekly Wipe

Are Rap Fans Ruining Hip-Hop?

Matt G writes for Rap Rehab:

hip620x345I’ve been listening to Hip-Hop/Rap music for almost 20 years.  That’s longer than the average “rap consumer” today has been alive.  In that time I’ve seen the music transition through various stages into something that is of more controversy than ever before.  Instead of the unknowing masses debating the music’s content, now its become the genre itself in constant struggle with its own legitimacy.

Compare the prominent years of Hip-Hop/rap music in the early 90’s today and you’ll be noticeably looking at a Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde scenario.  What was once a promising young idealistic genre centered around social awareness and injustice has become a raging psychopath obsessed with feeding its own narcissistic needs and superficial hunger.  In that time the premiere idea of an “artist” whose specialty is that of the hip-hop/rap element has completely reversed in its perception.’

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Drug Addiction In Iran

Top 10 Bogus ISIS Stories

Adam Johnson writes for Fairness & Accuracy In Media:

ISIS’s violent bona fides are not in doubt to anyone paying attention. They’ve targeted religious minorities, beheaded aid workers, sold women into sex slavery and have been all-around devastating for those under their rule. But as America debates the possibility of a full-scale ground invasion of ISIS-controlled territory, it’s important to note that much of the ISIS threat — namely that which targets the West — has been habitually overstated by an uncritical media.’

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Nestlé to Remove Artificial Colours and Flavors from its U.S. Confectionery Products

Watching the Same Movie About American War for 75 Years

Peter Van Buren writes for TomDispatch:

‘In the age of the all-volunteer military and an endless stream of war zone losses and ties, it can be hard to keep Homeland enthusiasm up for perpetual war. After all, you don’t get a 9/11 every year to refresh those images of the barbarians at the airport departure gates. In the meantime, Americans are clearly finding it difficult to remain emotionally roiled up about our confusing wars in Syria and Iraq, the sputtering one in Afghanistan, and various raids, drone attacks, and minor conflicts elsewhere.

Fortunately, we have just the ticket, one that has been punched again and again for close to a century: Hollywood war movies (to which the Pentagon is always eager to lend a helping hand). American Sniper, which started out with the celebratory tagline “the most lethal sniper in U.S. history” and now has the tagline “the most successful war movie of all time,” is just the latest in a long line of films that have kept Americans on their war game. Think of them as war porn, meant to leave us perpetually hyped up. Now, grab some popcorn and settle back to enjoy the show.’

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The Bleak Science Bankrolled by the Pentagon

Nafeez Ahmed writes for VICE Motherboard:

Minerva Research InitiativeThe ​US military is increasingly concerned about the risk of social, political, and economic collapse due to resource stress and climate change. The Pentagon’s ​latest call for research throws light on where and how the military suspects that resource stress could fuel political grievances on a mass scale.

The call, whose deadline to receive proposals is today [Feb 19th], comes on behalf of the US Department of Defense (DoD) ‘Minerva Research Initiative,’ a multimillion dollar social science program. Minerva is designed so the Pentagon can draw on leading-edge academic expertise outside the military, on issues where it lacks sufficient internal knowledge on specific subjects or regions. By examining its areas of focus, we’re offered a rare glimpse into where and how the Pentagon fears conflict will grip the world in the future.’

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Global Challenges: 12 Risks That Threaten Human Civilisation

The Global Challenges Foundation just issued a report on ’12 risks that threaten human civilisation':

12riskThis report has, to the best of the authors’ knowledge, created the first list of global risks with impacts that for all practical purposes can be called infinite. It is also the first structured overview of key events related to such risks and has tried to provide initial rough quantifications for the probabilities of these impacts.

With such a focus it may surprise some readers to find that the report’s essential aim is to inspire action and dialogue as well as an increased use of the methodologies used for risk assessment.

The real focus is not on the almost unimaginable impacts of the risks the report outlines. Its fundamental purpose is to encourage global collaboration and to use this new category of risk as a driver for innovation.

The idea that we face a number of global risks threatening the very basis of our civilisation at the beginning of the 21st century is well accepted in the scientific community, and is studied at a number of leading universities. But there is still no coordinated approach to address this group of risks and turn them into opportunities.’

READ THE FULL REPORT…