Hot off the press!
Hot off the press!
Reporter Who Brought Down General Stanley McChrystal Is Dead at 33
Michael Hastings, the journalist whose reporting brought down the career of General Stanley McChrystal, has died in a car accident in Los Angeles, Rolling Stone reports. He was 33.
Hastings’ 2010 profile of McChrystal in the pages of Rolling Stone, “The Runaway General,” captured the then-supreme commander of the U.S.-led war effort in Afghanistan openly mocking his civilian commanders in the White House. The maelstrom sparked by its publication concluded with President Obama recalling McChrystal to Washington and the general resigning his post.
Photo from the scene:
The Los Angeles Police Department said the crash occurred about 4:25 a.m. in the 600 block of North Highland Avenue.
The vehicle crossed a median, struck a tree and burst into flames in the Hancock Park area, LAPD Officer Christopher No said. The driver was pronounced dead at the scene.
“I was just coming northbound on Highland and I seen a car, like, going really fast and all of a sudden I seen it jackknife,” Luis Cortez, who witnessed the wreck, told KTLA News. “I just seen parts fly everywhere and I slammed on my brakes and stopped and tried to call 911.”
Photo source: http://www.economicpolicyjournal.com
Rand Paul Spars With CBS Reporters Over Gov’t Surveillance: ‘Just Because Congress Approved It, Doesn’t Make It Right’0
Posted by Judy Morris
Rand Paul Spars With CBS Reporters Over Gov’t Surveillance: ‘Just Because Congress Approved It, Doesn’t Make It Right’
Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky isn’t afraid to disagree with his fellow Republicans — and he’s certainly not squeamish about debating with members of the American left or the media. During an exchange with CBS’s “This Morning,” the congressman went back-and-forth with hosts Charlie Rose, Norah O’Donnell and Gayle King about the ramifications of government surveillance.
When King asked about a recent Pew Research poll that found that the majority of Americans support the collection of phone records, the congressman said that the public would not be so supportive if they knew the full extent of the program’s ramifications.
“Government has no right to this knowledge unless you’re accused of a crime, unless there’s probable cause,” he said, while going back and forth with the hosts.
At one point, Paul directly said, “You’re wrong,” as O’Donnell was claiming that there is no proof that the federal government is tracking beyond merely collecting the data we know about. The senator countered, noting that, while there is no definitive proof, history has shown that third-party records have not been properly protected.
“Just because Congress approved it, doesn’t make it right,” he said, responding to a question surrounding why some in Congress are choosing to complain now, when they have been extensively briefed about the program.
Read the rest and see the video at the Truth Alliance Network, here.
Posted by Judy Morris
CBS News: U.S. State Department Cover-Ups Range From Prostitution Charges To Drug Rings
WASHINGTON (CBS DC) – Uncovered documents show the U.S. State Department may have covered up allegations of illegal behavior ranging from sexual assaults to an underground drug ring.
CBS News reports that is has unearthed documents from the Diplomatic Security Service (DSS), an internal watchdog agency, that implicate the State Department in a series of misconducts worldwide.
The memo, reported by CBS News’ John Miller, cited eight specific examples, including allegations that a State Department security official in Beirut “engaged in sexual assaults” with foreign nationals hired as embassy guards and the charge and that members of former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s security detail “engaged prostitutes while on official trips in foreign countries” — a problem the report says was “endemic.”
Former State Department internal investigator Aurelia Fedenisn told CBS News, “We also uncovered several allegations of criminal wrongdoing in cases, some of which never became cases.”
Often times, other DSS agents were simply told to back off of investigations of high-ranking State Department members. Fedenisn told CBS that “hostile intelligence services” allow criminal behavior to continue.
In one such cover-up, investigators were told to stop probing the case of a U.S. ambassador who was suspected of patronizing prostitutes in a public park. The memo states that the ambassador was permitted to return to his post despite having, “routinely ditched…his protective security detail” in order to “solicit sexual favors from prostitutes.”
Read the rest at CBS, here.
Bush Administration Convicted of War Crimes – Dr. Francis Boyle
Posted by NextNewsNetwork
Published on May 29, 2013
Former U.S. President George W. Bush recently dedicated his Presidential Library in Dallas. The ceremony included speeches by President Obama, ex-President Bush, and every other living ex-president. But none of the speeches so much as mentioned to Iraq war — the undertaking that dominated George W. Bush’s presidency, and will define his historic legacy.
This omission might be due, at least in part, to the fact that Mr. Bush is now a convicted war criminal who dares not travel abroad out of fear of being arrested.
In February 2011, Bush was forced to cancel a scheduled appearance in Geneva, Switzerland after human rights groups filed a criminal complaint charging him with violating international treaties against torture.
His trouble increased dramatically a year ago when Bush — along with former Vice President Dick Cheney, former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, and several other top Bush administration officials — were convicted of war crimes in absentia by a special war crimes tribunal in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
The Kuala Lumpur War Crimes Commission was convened and conducted according to internationally recognized procedures and rules of evidence, and the week-long hearing ended with the five-member panel unanimously delivering guilty verdicts.
What is the significance of that tribunal? Is its verdict legally binding? Are there troublesome aspects to the idea that a foreign tribunal can sit in judgment of a U.S. President — whatever we may think of his actions? We will discuss these vitally important questions with Dr. Francis Boyle, a professor of international law at the University of Illinois College of Law. He served as a prosecutor at the tribunal.
The Associated Press | Posted: Feb 12, 2013 4:38 PM ET | Last Updated: Feb 12, 2013 7:39 PM ET
2 deputies shot, 1 killed, after shootout with suspect believed to be Christopher Dorner
A SWAT team has stormed a cabin where authorities believe a fugitive ex-Los Angeles police officer sought in three killings has holed up following a fierce gunbattle in the snowy San Bernardino Mountains.
The cabin was engulfed in flames moments after the SWAT team reportedly moved in, live aerial footage from Los Angeles television channels showed.
U.S. Forest Service spokesman John Miller said state game wardens confronted a man believed to be fugitive murder suspect SWAT, suspect, host33, prompting a fierce exchange of gunfire.
Two deputies were shot and airlifted to hospital. The Los Angeles Times reported one of the deputies has died of injuries suffered during the shooting.
Authorities responded to a report of a stolen vehicle at 12:20 p.m. local time. The people whose vehicle was stolen described the suspect as looking very similar to Dorner.
Police located the vehicle, and the suspect ran into the forest and barricaded himself inside a cabin. A short time later there was an exchange of gunfire between law enforcement and the suspect.
In Los Angeles, LAPD Cmdr. Andrew Smith urged Dorner to give up and end the situation without any more bloodshed.
“Enough is enough,” Smith said.
Smith said LAPD resources were being made available to assist with the standoff.
It’s unclear whether there is anyone in the cabin with Dorner, Smith said, and police are also unsure what weapons he has in his possession.
Home invasion led to standoff: police
It’s also believed Dorner previously committed a residential burglary of a cabin where a couple was tied up, an officer told The Associated Press.
The officer requested anonymity because the officer was not authorized to speak publicly about the ongoing investigation.
One of the people was able to get away and make a call.
The area is in the Big Bear region where a search for Dorner has been under way since his pickup truck was found there Thursday.
A KCAL-TV reporter in the Angelus Oaks area along Highway 38 reported gunfire in his vicinity. The noise of the gunbattle was broadcast by the station, and someone could be heard yelling at the reporter to get out of the area.
Road blocks were set up around Big Bear.
The shootout occurred in Seven Oaks off Highway 38, about eight kilometres from where Dorner’s pickup was found.
With files from CBC News
Republished with permission
The Associated Press Posted: Feb 5, 2013 8:47 PM ET Last Updated: Feb 5, 2013 9:51 PM ET
U.S. Geological Survey says the 8.0-magnitude quake struck west of Soloman Islands
The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center says an 8.0 magnitude earthquake in the South Pacific has generated a tsunami that may be destructive near the epicentre.
The Hawaii-based agency said sea level readings indicate a tsunami formed after the major quake struck Wednesday near the Solomon Islands. More distant coasts may be threatened.
The quake occurred near Lata in Temotu province, the easternmost province of the Solomons, about a three-hour flight from the capital, Honiara. The region has a population of around 30,000 people.
“There was no immediate report of damages or any accidents,” said George Herming, a spokesman for the prime minister. “We’ve been hoping that reports will come in from the responsible authorities … very soon.”
The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center said the tsunami warning is in effect for the Solomon Islands, Vanuatu, Nauru, Papua New Guinea, Tuvalu, New Caledonia, Kosrae, Fiji, Kiribati, Wallis and Futuna.
A tsunami watch is in effect for American Samoa, Australia, New Zealand and eastern Indonesia.
The U.S. Geological Survey said the quake struck 81 kilometres west of Lata, at a depth of 5.8 kilometres.
British Columbia’s disaster alert centre sent out a tweet saying there was no impending threat to the province, but that officials were monitoring the situation.
The Canadian Press
A historical mystery that stumped British experts for centuries appears to have finally been solved, thanks to a DNA sample from a Canadian family.
Scientists say they have found the 500-year-old remains of England’s King Richard III under a parking lot in the city of Leicester.
University of Leicester researchers said today it is “beyond reasonable doubt” that a battle-scarred skeleton unearthed last year is the king, who died at the Battle of Bosworth Field in 1485.
Osteologist Jo Appleby said a thorough study of the bones provides “a highly convincing case for identification of Richard III.”
The skeleton showed signs of Richard’s famed spinal curvature and of fatal battle wounds.
Scientists compared its DNA with samples taken from a Canadian family that is a direct descendant of Anne of York, Richard’s eldest sister, and today they announced that the samples matched.
Jeff Ibsen says he was warned long ago that his family might be called upon if the king’s burying place was ever discovered. Archaeologists had long sought the monarch’s grave, which has been the subject of speculation for centuries.
They, along with historians and local tourism officials, had all been hoping for confirmation that king’s long-lost remains had been found.
And so had the monarch’s fans in the Richard III Society, set up to re-evaluate the reputation of a reviled monarch.
The last English king to die in battle, Richard was immortalized in a play by William Shakespeare as a hunchbacked usurper who left a trail of bodies — including those of his two young nephews, murdered in the Tower of London — on his way to the throne.
Many historians say that villainous image is unfair
“It will be a whole new era for Richard III,” the society’s Lynda Pidgeon said. “It’s certainly going to spark a lot more interest. Hopefully people will have a more open mind toward Richard.”
With files from The Associated Press
A UN human rights inquiry has called on Israel to remove all Jewish settlers from the West Bank and cease expansion. The report said the settlements violate international law, and are an attempt to drive out Palestinians through intimidation.
“Israel must, in compliance with article 49 of the Fourth Geneva Convention, cease all settlement activities without preconditions,” the report read, adding that Israel must immediately begin to withdraw all settlers from the occupied Palestinian territories (OPT).
The 1949 Geneva Convention prohibits the transfer of a civilian population into an occupied area – such an act could constitute war crimes if brought before the International Criminal Court. Following the UN’s de facto recognition of Palestine last December, Israel announced plans to build thousands of homes in the OPT.
“The mission believes that the motivation behind this violence and the intimidation against the Palestinians as well as their properties is to drive the local populations away from their lands and allow the settlements to expand,” said the report.
In response, Palestine wrote to the UN warning that Israel planned to commit more war crimes by expanding its settlements further into the occupied territories.
The UN investigators interviewed over 50 people who were driven from their homes. They described how their livelihoods were destroyed and their land was confiscated, and how they were subjected to continuous violence from Jewish settlers.
The report has the potential to significantly worsen the UN’s already-strained relationship with Israel, particularly after Israeli representatives failed to appear at a UN human rights review two days ago.
The Israeli government has repeatedly ignored international condemnations of its settlements in the occupied territories, and continues to bar the entry of a Human Rights Council probe to assess the impact of the settlements. Israel has insisted that the organization is biased in favor of the Palestinians, and claimed that historic and biblical ties justify its claim to the territories.
STAY TUNED TO http://rt.com FOR UPDATES TO THIS BREAKING STORY.
The Egyptian opposition has rejected a constitution referendum set for December 15, saying the it fails to represent all Egyptians. It comes after President Mohamed Morsi rescinded a decree granting himself sweeping powers.
The opposition says Morsi’s concession of the controversial decree is an empty gesture since it already achieved its main aim of ensuring the adoption of the draft constitution.
The referendum will go ahead as scheduled on December 15.
“One of our major demands is to postpone the vote on the constitution. Failing to respond to this will lead to more confrontation,” a senior official from the National Salvation Front told MENA news agency.
The opposition says the constitution – which was drafted by a Muslim Brotherhood-led assembly, ignores personal freedoms, disregards the rights of women, and fails to represent all Egyptians.
But Morsi supporters say the scrapping of Morsi’s decree should be enough to please the opposition.
“We ask others to announce their acceptance of the referendum result,” Brotherhood spokesman Mahmoud Ghozland said on the party’s Facebook page. He also asked whether the opposition would accept the “basics of democracy.”
But those who do not support Morsi are showing no signs of accepting the referendum. Egypt’s liberal opposition called for more protests earlier Sunday.
On Saturday, Morsi called a meeting with the opposition, in an effort to quell the violent protests that have shaken the country since the decree was announced on November 22.
“We have yet to see what will happen in the coming future, but if the president keeps by this referendum, then I’m sure the opposition forces won’t move either. So even though we had this [meeting], we’re still looking at a divided Egypt and political deadlock,” journalist Bel Trew told RT.
Opposition groups boycotted the Saturday talks, which lasted over ten hours, and called for protesters to step up demonstrations.
But many say the opposition is facing an uphill battle, as they come up against Morsi’s “hidden agenda.”
“If Morsi was genuinely honest about his goals, he would have [canceled the referendum] long ago. But he’s pushing a black, secret, hidden agenda on the population and the population – rightly so – smells a skunk,” author and publicist William Engdahl told RT.
But Selim Awa, an official who attended the Saturday meeting, said that Morsi is unable to change the date of the referendum on the draft charter – even if he wanted to.
Morsi says if the constitution is voted down in the referendum, he will call for an election within three months to choose a new constituent assembly.
Strong earthquake strikes off northeastern Japan
The Associated Press Posted: Dec 7, 2012 3:41 AM ET Last Updated: Dec 7, 2012 4:37 AM ET
A strong earthquake struck Friday off the coast of northeastern Japan in the same region that was hit by a massive earthquake and tsunami in March 2011. Authorities issued a warning of a possible tsunami.
The Japan Meteorological Agency said the earthquake had a preliminary magnitude of 7.3 and struck in the Pacific Ocean off the coast of Miyagi prefecture at 5:18 p.m. local time. The epicentre was 10 kilometres beneath the seabed.
After the quake, which caused buildings in Tokyo to sway for at least several minutes, authorities issued a warning that a tsunami potentially as high as two metres could hit. Ishinomaki, a city in Miyagi, reported that a tsunami of 1 metre hit at 6:02 p.m.
The West Coast/Alaska Tsunami Warning Center said there was no tsunami danger for British Columbia, Alaska, Washington state, Oregon and California.
Miyagi police said there were no immediate reports of damage or injuries from the quake or tsunami, although traffic was being stopped in some places to check on roads.
Coastal residents urged to flee
NHK television broke off regular programming to warn that a strong quake was due to hit shortly before the earthquake struck. Afterward, the announcer repeatedly urged all near the coast to flee to higher ground.
Buildings in Tokyo swayed for at least several minutes.
The magnitude-9.0 earthquake and ensuing tsunami that slammed into northeastern Japan on March 11, 2011, killed or left missing some 19,000 people, devastating much of the coast. All but two of Japan’s nuclear plants were shut down for checks after the earthquake and tsunami caused meltdowns at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant in the worst nuclear disaster since the 1986 Chornobyl disaster.
Immediately following Friday’s quake, there were no problems at any of the nuclear plants operated by Fukushima Daiichi operator Tokyo Electric Power Co., said a TEPCO spokesman, Takeo Iwamoto.
Republished with permission.