1

Tesla’s Virtually Indestructible Solar Roof Tiles Are Literally Guaranteed For Infinity

By Claire Bernish | True Activist

Orders have now begun pouring in from around the planet for Tesla Inc.’s radical, renewable resource — solar roof tiles — which blend into to a structure’s architecture to provide energy from the Sun without the garish appearance that makes traditional panels stick out like sore thumbs.

According to Tesla’s website,

“Solar Roof complements your home’s architecture while turning sunlight into electricity. With an integrated Powerwall battery, energy collected during the day is stored and made available any time, effectively turning your home into a personal utility.”

But while Elon Musk’s announcement that his innovative corporation would begin taking orders Wednesday dominated headlines, one phenomenal detail about the solar roof tiles seemed to escape the media’s attention: These little powerhouse tiles are guaranteed, quite literally, forever.

“Glass solar tiles are so durable they are warrantied for the lifetime of your house, or infinity, whichever comes first,” the Tesla website proudly asserts.

To wit, Tesla includes simultaneous video loops at 2,500 frames per second of its Solar Roof and two, traditional roof tiles being slammed with a two-inch hailstone traveling near 100 miles per hour upon impact.

Both traditional materials shatter and disintegrate under the force of the speeding ice ball, while Tesla’s Solar Roof tile acts as an impenetrable shield — to the opposite effect — with the hailstone smashing to pieces against it.

Credit: Tesla

Musk’s Tesla has been subverting the system in order to speed the world toward renewable, sustainable energy sources as a part of everyday life and away from fossil fuels and their pernicious progeny — plastics and myriad other petroleum-based products.

While solar energy at the residence level has indeed become more pervasive in recent times, traditional panels jut out from roofs in obvious fashion — so much so, they have been called eyesores by some. Tesla’s Solar Roof tiles have a far lower height profile, smaller individual size, and are generally less obvious — with exponentially greater stability and endurance against the elements than their unsightly predecessors.

Just one drawback comes with purchasing these revolutionary solar powerhouses — the price tag.

But the sting to one’s wallet, Tesla asserts, is only temporary. Built literally for life — and guaranteed to be replaced should that lifespan be shorter than, well, yours — these durable solar roof tiles more than makeup for costliness through energy savings for the customer.

Interested in a renewable and durable, guaranteed solar roof?

“To get in line for a solar roof,” Reuters reports, “homeowners must put down a $1,000 deposit via Tesla’s website. There, they can also calculate the estimated upfront cost of a solar roof.

“A 1700-square-foot roof in Southern California, with half the roof covered in ‘active’ solar tiles, would cost about $34,300 after a federal tax credit, according to the calculator. Tesla estimates such a roof could generate $76,700 of electricity over 30 years.

“The company said its solar roofs would cost between 10 and 15 percent less than an ordinary new roof plus traditional solar panels.”

Tesla is taking orders from people all around the globe and asserts these amazing solar roof tiles will be delivered to customers in the United States beginning at the end of this year, with 2018 the target for deliveries elsewhere.

True Activist / Report a typo

Read more great articles at True Activist.




In Significant Shift from Criminalizing Homelessness, Judge Rules Man’s Vehicle Is Indeed His Home

Image Source: flickr/photos/300tdorg/

By Claire S. Bernish | The Mind Unleashed

A considerable and potentially momentous shift in the need for Seattle to confront its homelessness emergency occurred last week, when a judge invoked the 123-year-old Homestead Act in determining a homeless man’s vehicle is, in fact, his home — thusly, cannot be seized to satisfy an outstanding debt.

Further, King County Superior Court Judge Catherine Shaffer found the fines and fees applied by the city — first, $900 for towing and impound, in addition to a $44 ticket, and later reduced to $557, with the ticket waived — amounted to an insurmountable burden for Steven Long, 58, whose monthly income totaled between $300 and $600, and thus violated constitutional protections against excessive fines, as defined by the Eighth Amendment.

“We believe this case has a lot of implications for other people using their vehicles as homes,” Long’s attorney, Ali Bilow, of Columbia Legal Services, observed, according to Governing.

“I think Seattle municipal judges should follow this ruling and take a hard look when homeless individuals, who are living in their vehicles, are charged these really excessive fees.”

Where the condition of homelessness had previously been combated controversially through criminalization of its many iterations — prohibitions on campingvehicle-sleeping, and, at one time, panhandling, for instance — Friday’s decision forces officials to consider the full scope of its concomitant housing and homelessness crises.

Governing continues, noting the “decision could impact how cities across the state enforce parking regulations when people are living in cars. It also speaks to the complications people living in vehicles pose for the city as it deals with a growing homelessness crisis.”

Indeed, appeal remains an option, and although Assistant City Attorney Michael Ryan has yet to indicate whether or not it will come to fruition, his concern such a move creates the need for error on the side of leniency on the issue of city camping — vehicle-sleeping, being one form — was evident in court proceedings.

“Someone could park right here in front of the courthouse on Fifth Avenue,” he contended“and we couldn’t tow them, or if we did tow them, we couldn’t put them in impound.

“We’d have to put them somewhere else and we couldn’t charge them at all for it, because if we did, we’d violate the constitution if they were living in that vehicle.”

Writing similarly to the court on potential repercussions of its decision, Ryan asserted, according to the Seattle Times“Individuals will have the right to park wherever they want for as long as they want” — meaning the city “will be unable to enforce any number of laws against a certain class of individuals.”

Arguably, however, lumping homeless individuals as a ‘certain class’ ignores the plethora of pitfalls forcing people from housing — or preventing them from capably finding affordable housing once they’ve been evicted or forced out due to rising rents — and Long’s case evinces an all-too common conundrum where pay is insufficient to cover rent and basic needs.

To wit, skyrocketing rent had become unmanageable for the now-58-year-old man, and he was evicted in March 2014. But it wasn’t until 2016 — while he was employed at CenturyLink Field, cleaning after Seattle Sounders games — that his 2000 GMC pickup was snatched and impounded by authorities for violating an ordinance against parking in one spot for longer than seventy-two hours.

At the time, Long had been unable to amass the funds needed to repair the stalled vehicle, his de facto home, so its impoundment under ransom of exorbitant fines left the man even worse off than before — particularly, as several tools he required to work manual labor jobs remained inside. He sued the city for the return of the truck, but Seattle Municipal Court ruled against Long in May 2017 — so he filed an appeal, on which Shaffer ruled Friday, additionally ordering the city to refund all payments he had thus far made.

Taken with an October 2017 Washington Court of Appeals decision in favor of unsheltered homeless man, William Pippin — who had been charged for possession of a controlled substance after a warrantless search of his tent by law enforcement investigating an unrelated incident turned up methamphetamine — the ruling in Long’s case has conjured fears Seattle will soon be a parking lot for those with no other place to go.

In fact, plans for two so-called vehicle safe lots to allow parking during overnight hours resulted in just one coming to fruition, located at Second Avenue South and South Spokane Street — albeit, under a cloud of controversy — and even it will be shuttered by the city as soon as April 30 this year, notes Governing.

Seattle isn’t alone in a lengthy history of criminalizing the condition of being without shelter or sustenance, shuffling homeless populations from place to place, nor in codification of strictures against sleeping in public — be it vehicle, tent, or bench — rather than allocating funds toward expanding and constructing shelters, assisting those with the desire to find more permanent residences, or any other of a plethora of potential solutions proposed by advocates around the nation.

However, the right to sleep — in essence, the umbrella legal theory under which advocates for the homeless have argued for years — received a substantial boost by the Department of Justice in 2015, writes Danny Westneat for the Seattle Times, when its “civil-rights division put out an opinion that a Boise, Idaho, ordinance banning homeless camping in public areas violated the Eighth Amendment’s protections against ‘cruel and unusual’ punishments.”

That opinion asserts, with emphasis added, “Sleeping is a life-sustaining activity — i.e., it must occur at some time in some place. If a person literally has nowhere else to go, then enforcement of an anti-camping ordinance against that person criminalizes her for being homeless.”

Elaborating on the DOJ statement  at the time, the Atlantic reported“Municipalities across America have now been notified: If a law criminalizes sleeping outside when shelter space is otherwise unavailable, then in the eyes of the DOJ that law violates the Constitution. Some cities are already acting to align themselves with this notion […]

READ THE REST OF THIS ARTICLE…




UK Reclassifies CBD Oil As Medicine Just As America Puts It In Class With Heroin

By Claire Bernish | True Activist

After the DEA moved to further constrain, Americans’ access to medically miraculous CBD oil by classifying it alongside heroin and cocaine, Britain chose compassion and common sense — and just classified Cannabidiol (CBD) as a medicine.

On Monday, Britain’s Medicines & Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) decided CBD — which can treat illnesses and conditions from severe childhood epilepsy to autism to cancer — warranted the classification as a medicine based on credible evidence of its efficacy.

Related Article: 50-Year-Old Man Cures Lung Cancer With Cannabis Oil, Stuns CBS News

Thus, unlike in the U.S. — where the substance is now considered devoid of medical benefit by the DEA — CBD meeting quality and regulatory standards may be legally obtained by any British citizens who need it, reports High Times.

“We have come to the opinion that products containing cannabidiol (CBD) used for medical purposes are a medicine,” an MHRA spokesperson said in a statement on the agency’s website.

“Our primary concern is patient safety and we wish to reiterate that individuals using cannabidiol (CBD) products to treat or manage the symptoms of medical conditions should discuss their treatment with their doctor.

“MHRA will now work with individual companies and trade bodies in relation to making sure products containing CBD, used for a medical purpose, which can be classified as medicines, satisfy the legal requirements of the Human Medicines Regulations 2012.”

This rational approach stands in sharp and tragic contrast to draconian drug laws in the U.S., where, as of January 13, CBD oil — which does not contain the psychoactive chemical THC, which gives people a high — and all cannabinoids will be considered dangerous substances.

Healthcare and cannabis rights advocates have excoriated the DEA’s brash and baseless move, noting lives will now be in jeopardy.

“The whole policy around this plant is just so illogical,” Robert J. Capecchi, Director of Federal Policies at the Marijuana Policy Project, told Vice. “Even when you look at the criteria you’re supposed to be looking at under the law, they’re just not following it. It’s just a stupid policy for lack of a better term.”

THC-containing cannabis — also medically beneficial for the treatment of post-traumatic stress disorder, among many other conditions — still remains as a Schedule I substance in the U.S., and is not considered medicine in Britain.

But the latter has taken steps in the right direction with the new classification for CBD — a complete reversal of cease and desist orders sent by MHRA to vendors only months ago, as High Times notes, ordering it to be “removed from sale in the UK.”

“The change really came about with us offering an opinion that CBD is in fact a medicine,” Gerald Heddel, director of inspection and enforcement at the agency, explained to Sky News, “and that opinion was based on the fact that we noted that people were making some quite stark claims about serious diseases that could be treated with CBD.”

Decades of government propaganda about the putative dangers of ‘marijuana’ — amplified exponentially by President Nixon’s administration’s agenda to, in essence, criminalize black people and the anti-war left — still linger in the stigmatization of all the cannabis plant’s myriad derivatives.

Despite the DEA’s war on cannabis and its users, onerous prohibition has been voted out in an increasing number of states — forcing those who need it to uproot their lives and move, in order not to face arrest over their medicine. Medical research into cannabis and cannabinoids continues to evince the miraculous assets the plant offers. In just one example, as High Times explains,

Related Article: Forrest Smelser and His Inspiring Journey with Cannabis Oil for Epileptic Seizures

“In early December, researchers from the University of Alabama found that CBD oil reduces both the frequency and severity of seizures in children and adults with with severe, intractable epilepsy. In two-thirds of the 81 participants, the severity was reduced by at least 50 percent.”

In classifying CBD as medicine, MHRA recognizes such benefits — and the improved health of British citizens — eclipse the value in blindly continuing dangerous and inaccurate propaganda.

Sadly, the highly profitable war on drugs and influence of pharmaceutical corporations have the DEA feigning ignorance about cannabis and CBD — at the expense of people’s lives.

What are your thoughts? Please comment below and share this news!


This article (UK Reclassifies CBD Oil As Medicine Just As America Puts It In Class With Heroin) by Claire Bernish is free and open source. You have permission to republish this article under a Creative Commons license with attribution to the author and TheFreeThoughtProject.com

Read more great articles at True Activist.




Historic: Norway’s Parliament Votes To Decriminalize All Drugs

By Claire Bernish | Waking Times

In a bid to assist addicts, rather than lock users in cages, Norway’s parliament voted last week to decriminalize all drugs — citing Portugal and its general success lowering addiction and incarceration rates, getting those who need it into treatment, and drastically reducing crime and other issues related to the illegality of substances for personal use — thus, becoming the first Scandinavian nation to do so.

Four major political parties campaigned in favor of the revolutionary shift in policy, and a majority vote in Storting, Norwegian parliament, brought to fruition their efforts to, as Nicolas Wilkinson, health spokesman for the Socialist Left (SV) party, explained“stop punishing people who struggle, but instead give them help and treatment.”

“It is important to emphasise that we do not legalise cannabis and other drugs, but we decriminalise,” Storting Health Committee Deputy Chairman Sveinung Stensland told national publication, VG.

“The change will take some time, but that means a changed vision: those who have a substance abuse problem should be treated as ill, and not as criminals with classical sanctions such as fines and imprisonment.”

The Independent reports the parties backing the measure included the Conservatives (Hoyre), Liberals (Venstre), the Labor Party (Ap), and the Socialist Left (SV) — with those voting in favor of full decriminalization directing the Norwegian government to reform its drug policies accordingly.

It wasn’t just the relative success in Portugal that motivated Norwegian politicians to act in addicts’ better interests, but Norway’s own timid experimentations with decriminalization.

Newsweek reports of the historic vote, “It’s a big next step for the Scandinavian country, which has been dancing around the possibility of decriminalization for several years. In 2006, it started to test a program that would sentence drug users to treatment programs, rather than jail, in the cities Bergen and Oslo. In early 2016, the country gave Norwegian courts the option to do this on a national level.”

“The goal is that more addicts will rid themselves of their drug dependency and fewer will return to crime,” Justice Minister Anders Anundsen, quoted by Newsweek, asserted at the time. “But if the terms of the programme are violated, the convicts must serve an ordinary prison term.”

In the broadest strokes, this mimicked what Portuguese officials initiated on July 1, 2001, with its groundbreaking — indeed, all but unheard of at the time — decision to offer compassion and effective patient care for addicts wanting treatment, while saying no to the U.S.-led and utterly failed planetary war on drugs.

Mic elaborated on Portugal’s policies in February 2015, “If someone is found in the possession of less than a 10-day supply of anything from marijuana to heroin, he or she is sent to a three-person Commission for the Dissuasion of Drug Addiction, typically made up of a lawyer, a doctor and a social worker. The commission recommends treatment or a minor fine; otherwise, the person is sent off without any penalty. A vast majority of the time, there is no penalty.”

With nonviolent drug offenders cramped into overcrowded prisons, decriminalization frees space for violent criminals and others most traditionally given lengthy prison terms, while clearing overstuffed court dockets and freeing resources needed in other areas of law enforcement.

Portugal had experienced the worst of opioid crises and the highest proportion of drug-related AIDS deaths in the European Union prior to mass decriminalization, notes the Independent — which notes the nation now ranks second lowest in the same for all drug-related deaths.

Further, as journalist Glenn Greenwald, who authored an oft-cited Cato Institute white paper, Drug Decriminalization in Portugal: Lessons for Creating Fair and Successful Drug Policies, published in April 2009, reiterated for Newsweek two years ago, “none of the nightmare scenarios touted by preenactment decriminalization opponents — from rampant increases in drug usage among the young to the transformation of Lisbon into a haven for ‘drug tourists’ — has occurred.”

Nonetheless, decriminalization hasn’t garnered unanimous support among parliament — detractors cite both legitimate and propagandically false information in argument — and concerns linger over the ostensive message sent to criminals, addicts, and users, when punitive measures are considerably loosened.

Portugal, the Netherlands, Uruguay, and a smattering of locations and cultures around the world — and, now, Norway — have opted for the common sense and proven efficacious treatment of addicts as patients in medical need, instead of wholly useless punishment and incarceration.

Although a smattering of articles in the international press reporting on decriminalization in Norway included ‘several U.S. states’ among those having loosened drug laws, it must be noted the legalization and decriminalization measures in various states — and, almost exclusively pertaining to cannabis, only — come weighted with governmental red tape and sticky fingers in the form of questionable taxation codes, restrictions, and more. And the United States remains gripped in the dark vortex of a spiraling opioid crisis — a situation mirroring that of Portugal years ago.

In September, economist and professor, Jeffrey Miron, of Harvard University and the Cato Institute, opined for Fortune the probable benefits should America choose to examine the crisis sans the goggles of decades of anti-drug propaganda, asking, “Could Legalizing All Drugs Solve America’s Opioid Crisis?”

Miron concludes, appropriately, “Around the world, liberal drug policies have had great success in reducing the harms from drug addiction, such as HIV and overdoses. Faced with a raging opioid crisis, the U.S. would be wise to model its own drug policy after countries that have undergone similar experiences.”

Indeed.

About the Author

Claire Bernish began writing as an independent, investigative journalist in 2015, with works published and republished around the world. Not one to hold back, Claire’s particular areas of interest include U.S. foreign policy, analysis of international affairs, and everything pertaining to transparency and thwarting censorship. To keep up with the latest uncensored news, follow her on Facebook or Twitter: @Subversive_Pen.

This article (Historic – Norway’s Parliament Votes to Decriminalize All Drugs) was originally created for The Mind Unleashed and is published here with permission. It may be re-posted freely with proper attribution and author bio.

Read more great articles at Waking Times.




FOIA Docs Show CIA/Pentagon Influenced 1,800 Movies, TV Shows To Make America Love War

By Claire Bernish | Activist Post

Hollywood magic doesn’t percolate only in the minds of legendary producers and acclaimed directors to be brought to life on the big and television screens where actors’ adept performances capture our imaginations; rather, if the plot pertains to the military, it’s more than likely the Department of Defense had a hand in the script.

From Meet the Parents and America’s Got Talent, to Cupcake Wars and Zero Dark Thirty — even Iron ManOprahPatriot Games, and the James Bond thriller, Tomorrow Never Dies — if the production pertains to the War Machine or Surveillance State, it’s a veritable guarantee government significantly influenced the final product.

Censorship apparently reigns more supremely over Hollywood than we’d ever surmised — nearly 1,800 movies and TV shows have borne the fierce scrutiny of the eagle-eyed Pentagon and CIA.

In fact, according to documents obtained by Tom Secker and Matthew Alford for Insurge Intelligence, the DoD and CIA, and more frequently the NSA, don’t take kindly to portrayal in a negative light — even when that well-deserved derision and criticism covers past exploits long common public knowledge.

It may be better known how the Pentagon consults with Hollywood to ensure accurate portrayal of chains of command, military culture, proper use of equipment, and other obvious factors, but the DoD, it turns out, might as well pen the script — and, in many cases, that’s exactly what happens.

When applicable, films and television series must be rubber-stamped by the government — no seal of approval, no production.

Most often, DoD chief Hollywood liaison, Phil Strub, grants the ‘seal’ for productions where Pentagon guidance has been officially sought — anything amiss would require rewrites and adjustments to accommodate the military’s best interests. Instances where the two cannot come to agreement can mean scrapping the entire production — and it has happened before.

Secker and Alford — who obtained more than 4,000 documents pursuant to a Freedom of Information Act request, which admittedly are not included in the report — write:

If there are characters, action or dialogue that the DOD don’t approve of then the film-maker has to make changes to accommodate the military’s demands. If they refuse then the Pentagon packs up its toys and goes home. To obtain full cooperation the producers have to sign contracts — Production Assistance Agreements — which lock them into using a military-approved version of the script.

This can lead to arguments when actors and directors ad lib or improvise outside of this approved screenplay.

Lest there be any doubt, the DoD’s weighty presence in filmmaking extends to the most picayune of details. Insurge Intelligence describes several instances in which one-liners and dramatic repartee the average moviegoer wouldn’t necessarily think twice about featured as the subject of bitter, behind-the-scenes quarrels pitting itinerant directors against the PR interests of the U.S. military — with the latter, one way or another, forever the victor.

Tomorrow Never Dies provides a sound example, telling of the Pentagon’s fastidiousness as it lords over the silver screen, but more so in the State’s desire to remain a surreptitious influence.

When Bond is about to HALO jump out of a military transport plane they realise he’s going to land in Vietnamese waters. In the original script Bond’s CIA sidekick jokes ‘You know what will happen. It will be war, and maybe this time we’ll win.’

This line was removed at the request of the DOD.

Strangely, Phil Strub denied that there was any support for Tomorrow Never Dies, while the pre-eminent scholar in the field Lawrence Suid only lists the DOD connection under ‘Unacknowledged Cooperation’.

But the DOD are credited at the end of the film and we obtained a copy of the Production Assistance Agreement between the producers and the Pentagon.

So meticulous is the world’s most gargantuan military, even the ostensibly fictitious name of an operation to capture the Hulk in the eponymous 2003 movie had to be switched to “Angry Man” from “Ranch Hand” — because the latter “is the name of a real military operation that saw the US Air Force dump millions of gallons of pesticides and other poisons onto the Vietnamese countryside, rendering millions of acres of farmland poisoned and infertile.

“They also removed dialogue referring to ‘all those boys, guinea pigs, dying from radiation, and germ warfare’, an apparent reference to covert military experiments on human subjects.”

Past transgressions — no matter how publicly excoriated at the time — do not acceptable material for the Pentagon make. References to the Iran-Contra scandal ultimately sounded the death knell for a movie called Countermeasures, because, according to Strub in the documents,

There’s no need for us to… remind the public of the Iran-Contra affair.

Rather than risk summoning the specter of government indiscretion and corruption, production of Countermeasures ceased.

“The majority of the documents we obtained are diary-like reports from the entertainment liaison offices, which rarely refer to script changes, and never in an explicit, detailed way,” Secker and Alford write, adding so many documents remain undisclosed, it would be impossible to evaluate the extent of military censorship in Hollywood. “However, the documents do reveal that the DOD requires a preview screening of any project they support and sometimes makes changes even after a production has wrapped.”

Where the DoD issues official agreements with film production crews, the CIA exerts influence in an expectedly less formal manner through its entertainment liaison officer, Chase Brandon — who sometimes takes on quite more than an advisory capacity, even inserting himself at the foundational writing stages of the creative process. Insurge Intelligence continues,

Brandon did this most prominently on the spy thriller The Recruit, where a new agent is put through CIA training at The Farm — an obvious vehicle for inducting the audience into that world and giving them a glimpse behind the curtain. The original story treatment and early drafts of the script were written by Brandon, though he is only credited on the film as a technical advisor, covering up his influence on the content.

The Recruit includes lines about the new threats of the post-Soviet world (including that great villainous justification for a $600 billion defense budget, Peru), along with rebuttals of the idea that the CIA failed to prevent 9/11. And it repeats the adage that ‘the CIA’s failures are known, but its successes are not’. All of this helped to propagate the idea that the Agency is a benevolent, rational actor in a chaotic and dangerous world.

Why all of this matters comes down to censorship and propaganda — these are top government entities privileged with unhindered access to Hollywood — the result amounting to pro-war American exceptionalism, bereft of wrongdoing anywhere on the planet, where past wrongs vanish and a U.S. agenda can do no wrong.

And that’s at least problematic.

Hollywood beckons those weary of ordinary life — wage slavery, debt, eviscerated freedoms — all of it, gone, for a pricey ticket. Perhaps the penultimate captive audience, moviegoers likely don’t realize — much less, care — about the involvement of the Pentagon or CIA if it contributed to realism in film.

Depicting conflict, war, and clandestine exploits in an heroic manner not only betrays the raw messiness of reality, but erases the fuzzy lines over which the military frequently leaps — the delineation obviating human rights abuse, war crimes, corruption, mendacity, and other indiscretion made couth through the magic of the silver screen. Sometimes, that deflection is accomplished through the vilification of single bad apples — Pentagon and CIA consultants proffer a single patsy for scorn in film — rather than risking their entire existence over bad PR, even when earned and well-known.

“This idea of using cinema to pin the blame for problems on isolated rogue agents or bad apples, thus avoiding any notion of systemic, institutional or criminal responsibility, is right out of the CIA/DOD’s playbook,” Secker and Alford note.

Notably, it isn’t as if the military and CIA act in an official capacity as ‘censors’ — producers would be free to nullify their cooperative arrangements and receive no assistance — but that so many eagerly adopt government strictures and edits to see production completed indicates a power unfettered in Hollywood.

Glorification of war must be achieved with constant bombardment in advertising and the news to keep recruitment viable and service an appealing option — lest the Pentagon be unable to cull order-followers from freer thinkers among us.

Because, in fact, war isn’t glorious. It isn’t glamorous. It isn’t a series of epic battles between wholly honorable soldiers fighting coal-hearted villains at the behest of dictators whose only goal involves the crushing of spines.

War is ugly — impossibly complex, gruesome, duplicitous, savage at times — even from the sterility of a drone control room, the bombs fall on human beings, an interminable list of innocents killed by soldiers from every side fighting their various politicians’ wars can attest to its abhorrence.

And if you know that, you’re less likely to enlist, less likely to approve military escalation — less likely to protest a war in this patriotic wrapping and festooned with a ribbon of tradition.

War and spy games come to life on the big and little screens portray adventure, intrigue, drama, and suspense — but they are not real life — no matter how authentic the Pentagon affirms their details.

Claire Bernish began writing as an independent, investigative journalist in 2015, with works published and republished around the world. Not one to hold back, Claire’s particular areas of interest include U.S. foreign policy, analysis of international affairs, and everything pertaining to transparency and thwarting censorship. To keep up with the latest uncensored news, follow her on Facebook or Twitter:@Subversive_Pen. This article first appeared at The Free Thought Project.

Read more great articles at Activist Post.




Spain Sets Massive Precedent – Charges Its Central Bankers in Court

First, Iceland, and now Spain has taken on the Big Bankers responsible for financial calamity, as the country’s highest national court charged the former head of Spain’s central bank, a market regulator, and five other banking officials over a failed bank leading to the loss of millions of euros for smaller investors.

Claire Bernish | Humans Are Free

This, of course, markedly departs from the mammoth taxpayer giveaway — commonly referred to as the bailout — approved by the U.S. government ostensively to “save” the Big Banks and, albeit unstated, allow the enormous institutions to continue bilking customers without the slightest fear of penalty.

Errant bankers and financiers, it would seem, typically manage to either evade actually being charged or escape hefty fines and time behind bars.

Spain’s Supreme Court last year ruled “serious inaccuracies” in information about the listing led investors to back Bankia in error, thus the bank has since paid out millions of euros in compensation.

But Spanish authorities could not abide the telling findings of a yearlong investigation into the failed listing, as Wolf Street explains:

“As part of the epic, multi-year criminal investigation into the doomed IPO of Spain’s Franken bank Bankia – which had been assembled from the festering corpses of seven already defunct saving banks – Spain’s national court called to testify six current and former directors of the Bank of Spain, including its former governor, Miguel Ángel Fernández Ordóñez, and its former deputy governor (and current head of the Bank of International Settlements’ Financial Stability Institute), Fernando Restoy.

“It also summoned for questioning Julio Segura, the former president of Spain’s financial markets regulator, the CNMV [National Securities Market Commission] (the Spanish equivalent of the SEC in the US).

“The six central bankers and one financial regulator stand accused of authorizing the public launch of Bankia in 2011 despite repeated warnings from the Bank of Spain’s own team of inspectors that the banking group was ‘unviable.’”

As AFP reports:

“The National Court validated conclusions made by prosecutors who concluded that when ‘an unviable entity has been listed on the stock market, its administrators or auditor should not shoulder all the responsibility.’”

Specifics of the charges have not yet been made apparent, but as The Economist reports:

“The court is questioning why they allowed Bankia to sell shares in an initial public offering in 2011, less than a year before Bankia’s portfolio of bad mortgage loans forced the government to seize control of it.

“It said there was evidence the regulators had ‘full and thorough knowledge’ of Bankia’s plight. After its nationalization, it went on to report a €19.2bn ($24.7bn) loss for 2012, the largest in Spanish corporate history.”

Internal emails and documents played a crucial role in ultimately bringing the central banking officials to task for the failure of Bankia — inspectors bringing issues to the attention of superiors were allegedly ignored. One email cited by the Economist came from an inspector who warned Bankia was “a money-losing machine,” for which an IPO would not solve.

Read the rest of the article.




Army Corps Says It Won’t Forcibly Evict Standing Rock Water Protectors, But Refuse To Elaborate

free-speech-compressed

By Claire Bernish | Activist Post

In a follow-up of its letter to leaders of the Standing Rock Sioux and Cheyenne River Sioux Tribes, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers issued a statement Sunday clarifying it has no plans to forcibly evict water protectors from camps north of the Cannonball River on December 5.

Issued Friday to Standing Rock Sioux Tribe Chairman Dave Archambault II and Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe Chairman Harold Frazier, the original notice warned anyone presently occupying the Oceti Sakowin and other camps must vacate the land for a designated “free speech zone” south of the Cannonball River, as the area will be closed to the public with no further access allowed.

Sunday’s clarification putatively disputes the widespread assumption the eviction would have to be accomplished by force, stating:

The Army Corps of Engineers is seeking a peaceful and orderly transition to a safer location, and has no plans for forcible removal. But those who choose to stay do so at their own risk as emergency, fire, medical, and law enforcement response cannot be adequately provided in these areas. Those who remain will be considered unauthorized and may be subject to citation under federal, state, or local laws. This will reduce the risk of harm to people in the encampments caused by the harsh North Dakota winter conditions.

This transition is also necessary to protect the general public from the dangerous confrontations between demonstrators and law enforcement officials which have occurred near this area.

Army Corps Omaha District Commander Col. John Henderson claims the supposedly non-forceful eviction is necessary to protect the safety of those presently camped north of the Cannonball River, as well as law enforcement officers:

Unfortunately, it is apparent that more dangerous groups have joined this protest and are provoking conflict in spite of the public pleas from Tribal leaders.  We are working to transition those engaged in peaceful protest from this area and enable law enforcement authorities to address violent or illegal acts as appropriate to protect public safety.

Henderson did indeed express concern about the violent clashes between water protectors and police in the letter to the Tribes — but said the primary impetus was “due to the harsh North Dakota winter conditions.”

Indeed, he reiterated that point with the new press release, saying, “I am very concerned for the safety and well-being of all citizens at these encampments on Corps-managed federal land, and we want to make sure people are in a safe place for the winter.”

Reuters was unable to obtain further comment from the Army Corps for further explanation of its plans on December 5.

And while the statement it will not employ force appears fairly straightforward — not to mention somewhat mollifying for water protectors fearing a violent eviction — several details prompt imperative questions.

If Henderson’s honest consideration in the choice to close the camps pertained to winter weather, how would a new location just across the river into a designated “free speech zone” — obviously experiencing the same bitter conditions — alleviate worries about the weather?

“We fully support the rights of all Americans to exercise free speech and peacefully assemble,” he continued, “and we ask that they do it in a way that does not also endanger themselves or others, or infringe on others’ rights.”

Exactly whose rights had been infringed, in his mind, wasn’t entirely apparent — at least not in the letter sent to the Tribes’ chairmen. However, in Sunday’s statement, the Army Corps claims land occupied by several camps of water protectors “is currently leased to a local rancher for grazing” — but did not elaborate on whether that rancher had complained.

Additionally, it would seem the Army Corps has taken at face value ‘official’ accounts from the Morton County Sheriff’s Department stating water protectors have acted violently when witnesses in the camps — including journalists and first responders — say police have been responsible for escalating needless force repeatedly. Infiltrators and agitators have also been exposed and told to be peaceful and not act aggressively, or leave the camps.

Further, both Archambault and Frazier were shocked by the letter announcing the eviction — and had obviously not been consulted in the matter. However, dates surrounding a no-fly zone — currently in effect over the area — seem to imply the Army Corps’ choice to close the land and evict water protectors had been made days prior to notifying the Tribes.

According to the Federal Aviation Administration, the no-fly zone was issued on November 21, effective beginning November 26 — the day after the Corps informed the Tribes of its plans — and ending on December 2.

evictionThe last time a no-fly zone was issued for the area, militarized police forcefully and brutally evicted over 100 people occupying the burgeoning “1851 Treaty Camp” near Backwater Bridge to the side of Highway 1806.

No-fly zones can be issued for any number of reasons, but the parallel circumstances are, nonetheless, worth noting.

By some conservative estimates, more than 5,000 people — including elders, adolescents, and young children — have settled into the Oceti Sakowin and other camps for the duration of the struggle to halt construction of Dakota Access. While the Army Corps of Engineers states it will not use force to remove these dedicated water protectors, but that they will be subject to citation and loss of emergency responders, seems highly questionable.

All told, nearly every point highlighted by Henderson and the Army Corps stands in direct contradiction to the stated goal of public safety — leaving the looming December 5 deadline no less up in the air than the moment it was first announced.

Claire Bernish writes for TheFreeThoughtProject.com, where this article first appeared.

Image Credit: Banksy Art

Read more great articles at Activist Post.




RT’s Bank Accounts Frozen, Assange’s Internet Cut In Apparent Move to Silence West’s Critics

wikileaks-rt-bank

By Claire Bernish | Activist Post

In a major development being described as a brutal blow to free speech, RT — the Russian outlet formerly known as Russia Today — has now found its bank accounts allegedly blocked by the U.K.

“Our accounts in Britain have been blocked,” tweeted RT’s editor-in-chief Margarita Simonyan Monday morning. “All of them. ‘Decision not to be discussed’. Hail to freedom of speech!”

According to RT, Russian Foreign Ministry spokesperson Maria Zakharova said London abandoned any obligations to free speech when it moved to exit the European Union, as clearly evidenced in the inexplicable move by The National Westminster Bank.

In a statement from its press office on Twitter, RT announced:

RT has received a letter from Natwest, part of the Royal Bank of Scotland Group, which has a significant shareholding by the UK government, informing it that its UK banking facilities with the bank will be withdrawn without explanation or redress.

The decision is incomprehensible, and without warning. It is however, not at odds with the countless measures that have been undertaken in the UK and Europe over the last few years to ostracize, shout down, or downright impede the work of RT.

RT UK will continue its operations uninterrupted.

In the letter announcing its decision after reviewing the media outlet’s “banking arrangements,” NatWest indeed provides no explanation for the cancellation of its client relationship with RT, except to say:

We assure you that we have only reached this decision after careful consideration, however our decision is final and we are not prepared to enter into any discussion in relation to it.

Given the secretive nature of the sudden termination, speculation naturally must include RT’s function as a state-run media agency — and the worsening situations between the West and Russia in Syria, Yemen, and elsewhere — particularly, as RT notes, the U.K.’s ‘significant shareholding in NatWest.

Perhaps the baffling move would not be as suspect were it not for another apparent act of extreme censorship which began to unfold yesterday evening.

On Sunday night, WikiLeaks announced via Twitter that Julian Assange’s Internet connection had been purposely cut in his sanctuary-turned-prison home inside the Ecuadorian Embassy in London:

Julian Assange’s internet link has been intentionally severed by a state party. We have activated the appropriate contingency plans.

Prior to this accusation, WikiLeaks had tweeted a string of three tweets appearing to reference its ongoing October Surprise document leaks — including cryptic codes naming U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, Ecuador, and the U.K.’s Foreign & Commonwealth Office — in turn setting off alarm bells by those concerned the tweets indicated Assange’s ‘dead man’s switch’ had been triggered.

Although neither the cutting of Assange’s Internet access nor that a state agent was responsible have been proven, if factual, speaks to the power wielded in the government transparency WikiLeaks continues to provide when, for instance, President Obama’s administration has failed.

WikiLeaks assumedly already has possession of whatever documents Assange might have obtained and plans to release in the future, but the attempt to silence the controversial and vociferously debated public figure are at least concerning — and at worst disturbingly indicative of the trouble an unknown will go to silence free speech and press.

Related Article: Wikileaks Founder Reveals More Reasons Why the TPP Should Never Become Law

Attempting to gag RT — no matter its Russian state association — also presents a troubling aspect about increasingly limited and denigrated press freedom.

“We have no idea why it happened,” RT’s Simonyan told RBT, “because neither yesterday nor the day before yesterday, nor a month ago, nothing special happened to us, nobody threatened us in any way. Hypothetically, this may have something to do with new British and American sanctions against Russia, which may be announced soon. It may not. Our legal department is dealing with the issue now.”

Publisher Marcus Papadopoulos echoed that surprise, as well as concern for what amounts to abrupt censure.

“I sincerely hope that there’s no political motive for this, because we know that the British government isn’t happy with RT in Britain,” Papadopoulos asserted to RT.

RT has a lot of viewers in Britain. Many British people now tune in to RT to receive information on major topics around the world, including in Britain. And many British people believe that the alternative accounts that RT puts forward and covers are more truthful than what they’re hearing from, for example, Sky News.

If no bank in Britain would allow RT to be a customer, then that could spell the end of RT broadcasting in Britain, which would be a catastrophic event for freedom of speech in Britain.

Russia, currently home to asylum-seeker and controversial whistleblower Edward Snowden, might indeed face additional sanctions by the United States and U.K. if American politicians infuriated over a false narrative of Russian aggression in Syria and elsewhere have their way.

U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May responded to outrage over the sudden proxy censure of RT, stating, “It’s a matter for the bank and it’s for them to decide who they offer services to based on their own risk appetite.”

However, as Zero Hedge pointed out, with both RBS and thus NatWest essentially acting as ‘wards of the state,’ such a politically-significant mover surely had prior clearance from the government.

As the already-chilled diplomacy between the West and Russia continues to deteriorate, an announcement from White House spokesman Josh Earnest said Obama is considering a response proportional to alleged Russian state hacking into the Democratic National Committee servers — despite the lack of unassailable evidence backing that claim.

Related Article: Fakery: Major Media Preparing to Steal Election-night Outcome?

On Friday, unnamed and unverified CIA officials told NBC News the “Obama administration is contemplating an unprecedented cyber covert action against Russia in retaliation for alleged Russian interference in the American presidential election.”

Whether or not any state agent — of the U.S., the U.K., or Russia — is responsible for any of these events might never be known. But the circumstances and timing are worthy of consideration.

Claire Bernish writes for TheFreeThoughtProject.com, where this article first appeared.

Read more great articles at Activist Post.




60% of the US Government’s Billion Dollar PR Budget Goes to the Pentagon to Sell You War

murica-war-compressed

By Claire Bernish | Activist Post

Well over a half billion dollars is shelled out annually by the Pentagon to propagandize and galvanize public support of its wars based nearly entirely on lies — because, after all, war crafted to prop up the military-industrial machine’s profiteering can indeed be a tough sell.

In the latest report on Public Relations Spending from the Government Accountability Office (GAO), the United States’ government PR apparatus has been revealed to spend over $1 billion annually $626 million of which the Department of Defense allots to employ a massive propaganda army constituting roughly 40 percent of the more than 5,000-strong federal public relations workforce.

Related Article: Pentagon Caught Paying PR Firm $540 Million to Make Fake Terrorist Videos

In comparison, Health and Human Services — with the second highest spending of all federal agencies during the 10-year period the GAO studied — spent an average of $116 million to promote, for example, Obamacare, flu shots, and the like.

Pentagon spending accounted for over 60 percent of the federal government’s public relations hefty total budget between 2006 and 2015.

To put that figure in context, Senate Committee on the Budget Chairman Sen. Mike Enzi pointed out, the entire Department of Education had 4,081 employees in 2015.

Simply put, the Pentagon takes itself quite seriously and wants to make sure you do, too. In fact, the DoD spent more on unknown propaganda and PR efforts in the ten years of the study than all other government agencies — combined.

“With increasing pressures on limited federal resources, it is crucial to know how much is spent across the federal government on public relations activities and which federal agencies are spending the most,” Enzi said in a statement. “It is important to understand the primary purposes and reported benefits from the investments of tax dollars paid by America’s hardworking families. I look forward to GAO continuing its efforts to shine more light on these activities.”

While precisely how the Pentagon spends its massive PR budget could not be determined, the report explains, “Although there is no single, commonly-accepted definition of what constitutes advertising or public relations.” So the GAO describes Department of Defense advertising as “the placement of messages intended to inform or persuade an audience through various types of media, such as television, radio, digital media, direct mail, and others.”

In 2008, when the Department of Defense squandered $868 million on its public image, as Reasonreports, “it accounted for more than two-thirds of all taxpayer-funded advertising in the federal government.”

“With the increased popularity and accessibility of expanded media platforms,” GAO Acting Director of Strategic Issues Heather Krause wrote, “the federal government’s ability to publicize information has changed rapidly, but the total scope of federal public relations activities is largely unknown.”

For the Department of Defense, at least, the nature of that spending might never be fully accounted for — although a recent report revealed the Pentagon had forked over an estimated $540 million between May 2007 and December 2011 to an outside PR firm to craft fake terrorist videos. Worse, an audit proved the Pentagon somehow has no idea where $6.5 trillion went.

Generating support from an American populace growing weary of funding dubious military actions abroad, which have included a pattern of bombing hospitals, weddings, funerals, markets,schools, ambulances, and even the militaries of governments the U.S. hasn’t declared war upon, can certainly be difficult to pull off — especially in light of a recent Wikileaks email revelation the government has been aware its human-rights-abusing allies are actively funding and aiding the Islamic State they’re all supposedly fighting.

Related Article: WikiLeaks Exposes Hillary’s Stunning Connection to ISIS – Mainstream Media Blackout Ensues

Indeed the deception runs deep, and without transparency — or even accurate record-keeping — to rein in Big Government’s multifarious propaganda tentacles, the American public might never find out when, exactly, it’s being manipulated.

Claire Bernish writes for TheFreeThoughtProject.com, where this article first appeared.

Read more great articles at Activist Post.




Iceland’s Bankers Face 74 Years in Prison While US Banks Profit After Your Bailout

Claire Bernish | The Anti-Media

Iceland — You could ice skate in Hell sooner than see the United States follow in Iceland’s footsteps with this move: the 26th banker was just sentenced to prison for a combined 74 years between them — each of them jailed for their roles in the 2008 economic collapse.

Five top bankers from Iceland’s two largest banks — Landsbankinn and Kaupþing — were found guilty of embezzlement, market manipulation, and breach of fiduciary duties. Though the country’s maximum penalty for financial crimes currently stands at six years, the Supreme Court is currently hearing arguments to extend the limit. Most of those convicted have so far been sentenced to between two and five years.

Do those sentences sound light to you? Perhaps. Until you consider the curious method of punishment the U.S. employed for its thieving bankers.

While Iceland allowed its government to take total financial control when the 2008 crisis took hold, American bankers — in likely the only bail handout given to criminals of mass destruction — received $700 billion in Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) funds.

Thank you, Congress American taxpayer.

Iceland certainly didn’t make it through the crisis unscathed. It repaid the IMF (the final $332 million owed was paid in full, ahead of schedule, earlier this month) and other lenders for funds needed to prevent a complete financial meltdown nearly eight years ago. Icelandic bankers are still being held to task for their illegal market legerdemain that nearly brought down the financial planet.

Read the entire article here.




8 Revelations From 2016 That Completely Vindicate Conspiracy Theorists




Read This if You Don’t Want the Terrorists to Win

The Muslim Community demonstrates against every kind of terrorism in the name of Islamic religion on November 21, 2015 in Milan.

The Muslim Community demonstrates against every kind of terrorism in the name of Islamic religion on November 21, 2015 in Milan.

By Claire Bernish | The Anti Media

“As the blatantly rigged 2016 presidential elections prove, we can’t effectively change government — but we do harbor a unique capacity to thwart its ability to manipulate and pit us against one another by refusing to hate.”

(ANTIMEDIA Op-Ed) United States — We — not solely the U.S. government, but all of us — collectively drive a now-endless cycle of terrorism. Nearly all of us can claim the dubious distinction of creating the exact terrorists we claim to abhor.

We are, in fact, manufacturing terrorists each time we respond to massacres in Orlando, Paris, Brussels, San Bernardino, and elsewhere in the usual manner — with the implementation of strict gun laws, increased surveillance tactics, or even the absurd banning of every member of one religion entering the country — because the fierce division such responses elicit is precisely what terrorists intend.

Extremism relies on your outrage against the faith it claims to represent.

Broad targeting of one religion, particularly based on an absurdly simplified understanding of it — as opposed to focusing on the attackers as individuals — cements absolutist polarization. By demonizing the religion of Islam, in this case, as a whole, we advance the terrorists’ agenda.

If we hate Islam, or harbor unjustifiable suspicions against its adherents, we eliminate what Daesh calls ‘the Grayzone’ — the moderate, middle ground wherein the overarching number of Muslims practice their faith — damning the entire religion for the actions of a few who fallaciously claim to uphold its tenets.

“In other words, the gray zone is the realm of coexistence, communication, cooperation, and commerce among people of different creeds,” Dan Sanchezexplains. “The gray zone is where civilization resides.”

Without acknowledging and affirming the presence of this enormous segment of Islam, we allow an ambivalent atmosphere of our own making to drive policy and cultural acceptance of both stereotype and bigotry — in turn alienating those who would otherwise live peacefully among us without issue.

Terrorists of any religion comprise a tiny fraction of a miniscule percentage of that faith — and that might be their worst handicap, were it not for the polarization acts of terror ignite. As we witness social media exploding in vitriolic anti-Islam posts, consider Daesh’s own description of the benefits reaped in the vanishing gray zone:

“The grayzone is critically endangered, rather on the brink of extinction. Its endangerment began with the blessed operation of September 11th, as these operations manifested two camps before the world for mankind to choose between, a camp of Islam … and a camp of kufr — the crusader coalition.”

And 9/11, Daesh noted, as cited by Sanchez, “quickly exposed the different deviant ‘Islamic’ movements … as all of them rushed to serve the crusaders led by Bush in the war against Islam. And so, the grayzone began to wither […]

“The world today is divided into two camps. Bush spoke the truth when he said, ‘Either you are with us or you are with the terrorists.’ Meaning, either you are with the crusade or you are with Islam.”

While it may be well understood aggressive bombing campaigns and invasions of multiple largely Islamic nations undergirding U.S. foreign policy have fueled burgeoning interest in various radical groups, the willful forgetting by so many Westerners that Islam, itself, cannot logically be held accountable for individual acts of terror denotes the power in those acts.

Peacefully coexisting and maintaining a willingness to understand one another — or, at the least, ignoring others in their right to live undisturbed by bigotry — would knock terrorism directly in its supporting knees.

In contrast, succumbing to fearanoia propagated by mainstream media in its advancement of the government’s foreign policy goals — which, if history dictates the timeline of dying empire, isn’t likely to drastically change anytime soon — will manufacture the terrorism illogically claimed as the target of the massive, unhinged U.S. war.

As the blatantly rigged 2016 presidential elections prove, we can’t effectively change government — but we do harbor a unique capacity to thwart its ability to manipulate and pit us against one another by refusing to hate. Refusing to blame the undeserving. Refusing to allow fellow, ordinary civilians to be treated as if their existence begets terrorism.

Because it doesn’t. That responsibility falls on our shoulders.


This article (Read This if You Don’t Want the Terrorists to Win) is an opinion editorial (OP-ED). The opinions expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily represent the views of Anti-Media. You have permission to republish this article under a Creative Commons license with attribution to Claire Bernish and theAntiMedia.org. Anti-Media Radio airs weeknights at 11pm Eastern/8pm Pacific. If you spot a typo, email edits@theantimedia.org.

Read more great articles at The Anti Media.