Tag Archive: Zuccotti Park


Cecily McMillan, who faces up to seven years in prison, was immediately handcuffed and ‘whisked away’

– Sarah Lazare, staff writer

Cecily McMillan arrives at court in New York at the start of her assault trial. (Photo: Andrew Gombert/EPA)

Cecily McMillan—the 25-year-old Occupy Wall Street organizer who was allegedly sexually assaulted and brutalized by a police officer at Zuccotti Park, is facing up to seven years in prison after—in what her supporters say is a cruel twist—she was convicted Monday afternoon of “felony assault” of the very police officer she says is her perpetrator.

“This threatens a chilling effect over protest movements going forward,” said Stan Williams, media coordinator for Justice for Cecily, in an interview with Common Dreams. “I am so sad and raw right now.”

After four weeks of trial and just three hours of jury deliberation, the verdict was issued Monday afternoon, and Judge Ronald Zweibel immediately remanded McMillan into custody pending sentencing, rejecting her lawyer’s requests for bail.

The courtroom, which was packed with McMillan’s supporters and approximately 50 police officers, erupted into cries of “Shame!” as McMillan was handcuffed. According to Williams, people who stood up were pushed down and told to be quiet, yet the crowd “continued to shout and yell.”

“You could see Cecily over the heads of police officers who lined the front of the courtroom,” he added. “She looked upset and in shock over the verdict. Then she was whisked away.”

Williams said the scene was “extremely triggering” given the brutality of the March 2012 incident around which the trial orbited. According to a statement from Justice for Cecily,

[O]n March 17, 2012, Cecily’s attendance at Zuccotti was a point of party, not protest. It was St. Patrick’s Day and as a McMillan, she vowed for this one occasion to put down the bullhorn and pick up the beer. Cecily swung by the park to pick up a friend on her way to a nearby pub. Minutes later, she was sexually assaulted while attempting to leave Zuccotti in compliance with police evacuation orders. Seized from behind, she was forcefully grabbed by the breast and ripped backwards. Cecily startled and her arm involuntarily flew backward into the temple of her attacker, who promptly flung her to the ground, where others repeatedly kicked and beat her into a string of seizures.

McMillan is described by her supporters as “a 25-year-old organizer” who “has been politically active for over a decade — most notably in the Democratic Socialists for America, the anti-Scott Walker mobilization, and Occupy Wall Street.”

She earlier rejected a deal from prosecutors, in which she would plea guilty to second-degree assault of a police officer in exchange for a recommendation from prosecutors for no prison time.

McMillan’s supporters have slammed Judge Zweibel for imposing a gag order on her lawyers and showing strong favor to the prosecution.

McMillan will soon be on her way to Rikers Island, said Williams.

According to The Guardian, “Hers is believed to be the last of more than 2,600 prosecutions brought against members of the movement, most of which were dismissed or dropped.”

McMillan’s supporters say McMillan will fight the verdict in an appeals court. According to Williams, there will be a rally Monday evening at Zuccotti Park, and there is a separate fund being collected for her commissary costs.

In a statement immediately following the verdict, Justice for Cecily declared:

We recognize that, as poorly as Cecily has been treated these past two years, she was lucky enough to have an amazing support system comprised of representation from the National Lawyer’s Guild and Mutant Legal, as well as significant financial help from supporters of Occupy Wall Street and a team of ten who tirelessly worked to bring her case to light and support her through this trying time. It’s harrowing to imagine how many unfortunate people encounter this system without the resources Cecily had, though we know countless innocent people are forced to plea to felonies and ruin their lives every day in this building.

Reactions and reports are being posted on Twitter:

Below is an exclusive Democracy Now! interview with McMillan.

 

 

Exclusive: OWS Activist Cecily McMillan Describes Seizure, Bodily Injuries in Arrest by NYPD

 

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DAHBOO77

 

Published on Feb 11, 2014

Heads Up Folks! Justine Tunney is connected with Google!

http://pando.com/2014/02/07/occupy-wa…

 

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Occupy Wall Street leader now works for Google, wants to crowdfund a private militia

 

justineRemember Justine Tunney? The OWS-anarchist-turned-cultist-Google-employee who bashed my reporting on Google’s for-profit surveillance? Well, today she hit the big time.

Over the last few days, Tunney has been causing a Twitter outrage tsunami after she took full control of the main Occupy Wall Street (OWS) Twitter account, claimed to be the founder of OWS and then proceeded to tweet out stream of ridiculous anarcho-corporatist garbage. She railed against welfare, described the government as “just another corporation,” argued poverty was not a political problem but “an engineering problem” and told politicians to “get out of the way.” She also debunked what she thought was a misconception: people thought OWS activists were protesting against concentrated corporate power, and that, she claims, is simply not true.

As I wrote before, Tunney’s sudden epiphany that not all corporations are evil just happened to coincide with her decision to take a well-paid job at Google. Since then she has become an astroturfer par excellence for the company, including showing up in a comment section to bash my reporting on Google’s vast for-profit surveillance operation. “It never ceases to amaze me how far people have to stretch in order to denounce the one corporation that gives away everything for free,” she wrote.

It’s important to realize that, before taking her job at Google, Tunney wasn’t just an Occupy foot soldier, but a prominent spokesperson for the movement. She’s been written about in the New Yorker and The Nation as one of the founding members of OWS in Zuccotti Park, and was instrumental in setting up and  running OWS’s main Internet communication hub, OccupyWallSt.org. In media profiles, Tunney described herself as “just another geek trying to help out with the revolution,” and you can see her in photographs with other hi-tech revolutionaries occupying a table in Zuccotti Park, hunched over laptops, wires and computer gear.

And this week Tunney’s shift away from her former Occupy pals broke the Twitter troll barrier. Her tweets caused such a social media backlash that even Buzzfeed’s Rosie Gray felt compelled to cover it:

 

Read More Here

 

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democracynow democracynow

Published on Sep 19, 2013

http://www.democracynow.org – Two years after the Occupy Wall Street movement shifted the conversation on economic inequality, we look at its origins in New York City’s Zuccotti Park and its continued legacy in a number of different groups active today. We speak with Nicole Carty, actions coordinator with The Other 98 Percent, and a facilitator of general assemblies and spokescouncil meetings during Occupy, where she was a member of the Occupy People of Color Caucus. Also joining us is Nathan Schneider, editor of the website Waging Nonviolence, and a longtime chronicler of the Occupy movement for Harper’s Magazine, The Nation, The New York Times, and The Catholic Worker. Scheider’s new book, “Thank You Anarchy: Notes from the Occupy Apocalypse,” chronicles Occupy’s first year.

See all of the reports on Democracy Now! about Occupy Wall Street in our archive at http://www.democracynow.org/topics/oc….

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Read Full Transcript Here

This is a rush transcript. Copy may not be in its final form.

JUAN GONZÁLEZ: We turn now to look at the Occupy Wall Street movement and its legacy on its second anniversary. On September 17, 2011, thousands of people marched on the financial district, then formed an encampment in Zuccotti Park, launching a movement that shifted the conversation on economic inequality. Here in New York activists marked the occasion Tuesday with a march to the New York Stock Exchange and the United Nations highlighting a poll for taxing Wall Street transactions and directing the funds to public causes.

AMY GOODMAN: For more, we are joined by two guests. Nicole Carty is an actions coordinator with The Other 98%. During Occupy Wall Street she was a facilitator at general assemblies and spokes counsel meetings and she was a member of the Occupy People of Color Caucus. Nathan Schneider is also with us, editor of the website “Waging Nonviolence,” author of the new book “Thank You Anarchy: Notes From the Occupy Apocalypse.” We welcome you both to Democracy Now!. Why “Occupy Apocalypse,” Nathan?

NATHAN SCHNEIDER: That’s a great question. It’s a question I get a lot. The word in Greek meant unveiling, right? It described a moment in which something is revealed that changes our perception of everything and I think pretty accurately describes what happened with Occupy Wall Street, both for us a society in revealing the depth of income inequality, of the corruption of the political system and also of the power of the militarized police state; but also for so many individuals who took part across the country. I have been privileged to meet so many people and to watch them as their lives were changed by this movement, as they became activated and haven’t been able to go back to the way their lives were before.

JUAN GONZÁLEZ: Nathan, you write in the beginning of the book, you say for nearly two months in the fall of 2011 a square block of granite and honey locust trees in New York’s Financial District, right between Wall Street and the World Trade Center, became a canvas for the image of another world. Two years later how has that canvas been preserved and what are some of the activities that the Occupiers are now involved with?

NATHAN SCHNEIDER: Well, to talk about that canvas itself, it is interesting to see the ways in which the movement is memorialized kind of informally in the Financial District. There is still a wall of barricades around the Charging Bull statue. There are still regularly barricades in Zuccotti Park. There are still barricades around Chase Manhattan Plaza which was the original planned sort of decoy site for the Occupation. It is amazing how the security state is still living in fear of this movement. But at the same activists who were involved in it, many of them are spread out across the country in all kinds of networks that have formed through the course of this movement, putting their bodies in the way of the Keystone Pipeline, calling attention to issues like a financial transaction tax, bringing housing activists together around the country to create a stronger movement. There are a number of campaigns that have been profoundly strengthened by networks formed in the Occupy Movement.

AMY GOODMAN: Nicole Carty, where were you two years ago?

NICOLE CARTY: Two years ago I was working for the Sundance Channel doing content management. I was just one of many precariate who didn’t really have a solid job and I came in to Occupy because it was the first time I ever had seen people my own age, or anyone for that matter, talking about the deep inequality within this country. It was just kind of this secret and I feel like part of the legacy is that that so unveiled at this point. It is not even questioned.

AMY GOODMAN: So talk about what it was really like, what day did you go to Occupy and describe the community there.

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Reblogged  from :   LeakSurce

04/09/2013

Fans of justice will be glad to hear that New York City will pay for all those books and all that media equipment that the police trashed when it famously raided the Occupy Wall Street camp on November 15, 2011. The U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York just announced a $366,700 settlement in Occupy’s case against the city for the damage caused during the raid as well as all of the legal fees the movement’s poured into seeking retribution. Sound like a lot? Let’s itemize those expenses for you:

The People’s Library ($47,000 in damages, $186,350 in legal fees)

Ray Bradbury probably turned over in his grave, when the New York Police Department went after the 5,500 donated books that Occupy was keeping for the people in Zuccotti Park. First covered in the media by The New Yorker, the so-called People’s Library was so popular it even earned its own blog in the early days of the movement and maintained it long after Zuccotti was empty and the majority of its books destroyed. As Occupy’s lawyer put it, the settlement stood for a lot more than books. “This was not just about money, it was about constitutional rights and the destruction of books,” Normal Siegel told The Village Voice.

 

Read More  Here

Politics and Legislation

Outside View: Jobs. Obama and re-election

by Peter Morici
College Park, Md. (UPI)

Unemployment hangs stubbornly at more than 8 percent, yet, defying election history, U.S. President Barack Obama would handily win a second term if voters went to the polls today.

Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney hasn’t capitalized on the stagnant economy because after sewing up the GOP nomination, he failed to move quickly on issues critical to key demographic groups and act on the challenger’s imperative to offer a better alternative to the president’s policies.

To win conservative primary voters, Romney rejected the Dream Act, which enjoyed bipartisan sponsorship in Congress and would permit young adults brought to America illegally as children to earn citizenship by completing two years of college or military service.

After securing the nomination, Romney failed to define a compromise position more acceptable to Hispanic voters and permitted Obama to pre-empt the issue by suspending deportation of those young adults. Obama enjoys an overwhelming lead among Hispanic voters.

Romney vows to repeal ObamaCare but is vague about what would replace it. The president’s healthcare reforms may be too expensive and encourage private firms to offshore jobs to escape costly coverage for employees; however, the law contains provisions popular among the elderly and with women — for example, much improved Medicare prescription drug coverage and coverage for children with chronic conditions.

No surprise! Obama leads Romney in Florida — a must-win state for any Republican candidate, along with Texas, given the Democrats’ lock on California and New York. And the president enjoys a significant lead among women in battleground states.

On the economy, Romney sounds like a broken record, repeating an annoying theme and undermining his appeal. Constantly harping Obama’s economic policies have failed, he asserts his business experience qualifies him to create millions of new American jobs.

Voters recognize Obama inherited a bigger mess than any president since FDR, managed to stabilize the economy and created more than 3.6 million jobs since the recovery began in October 2009.

At Bain Capital, Romney earned his fortune reorganizing troubled companies — often shutting facilities, outsourcing jobs and firing employees. Little in that history indicates he knows much about shaping public policies to encourage new industries, attract private investment, instigate innovation and generally help U.S. companies compete in global markets and bring jobs to America.

During the early days of his campaign, he talked a lot about the right things — dealing with unfair competition from China and developing domestic oil — but since, he has loaded up on Bush administration economic advisers and emphasized broader themes like deregulation and tax and spending cuts.

Read Full Article Here

 

 

Egypt top court freezes Morsi decree: judicial source

by Staff Writers
Cairo (AFP)

Egypt’s Supreme Constitutional Court on Tuesday froze a decree issued by President Mohamed Morsi reinstating the Islamist-led parliament, a judicial source said.

The decision is expected to raise tensions between Morsi, the top court and the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF) which handed over power to the new president at the end of June.

“The court ordered the freeze of the president’s decree,” the source said.

On Sunday, just eight days after taking office, Morsi, a former member of the powerful Muslim Brotherhood, ordered the lower house to reconvene.

His move highlighted the power struggle between the president and the Supreme Constitutional Court which last month said certain articles in the law governing the parliament elections were invalid, annulling the lower house.

The judicial source added: “The court ordered that its previous ruling (invalidating the elections and annulling the lower house) be implemented.”

Read Full Article here

Obama’s executive order on communication violates US constitution: Analyst

Published on Jul 12, 2012 by

This edition of News Analysis reviews US President Obama’s move to issue a new executive order allowing the White House to control all private communications in case of emergencies.

Putin and the Future of Russia – Eric Draitser on GRTV

Published on Jul 12, 2012 by

Eric Draitser of StopImperialism.com joins us to discuss the geopolitical significance of the reelection of Vladimir Putin as Russian President. We talk about the differences between Putin and Medvedev, the future of Russian-American relations under Putin, and the future of Syria.

New York Police Department (NYPD) has attacked and brutalized OWS protesters near Zuccotti Park

Published on Jul 12, 2012 by

As the US presidential election draw near, the New York Police Department (NYPD) has attacked and brutalized OWS protesters near Zuccotti Park, not sparing journalists who were beaten and detained.

Press TV has conducted an interview with Giles Clarke, OWS Photographer from New York about the escalation in motivation by police to crackdown violently on unarmed peaceful protesters of the OWS movement and the systematic absence of coverage of OWS in US mainstream media as the US presidential election approaches.

Romania’s PM in Brussels to defend bid to oust president

Published on Jul 12, 2012 by

http://www.euronews.com/ Romania’s Prime Minister, Victor Ponta, has held talks with EU leaders in Brussels to explain his bid to oust President Triane Basescu.

Senior European officials remain deeply concerned over the political turmoil unfolding in Bucharest.

Promising to address those concerns Ponta said:
“I’ve committed myself to give answers on this either on Friday or on Monday, to once again offer reassurances that this political battle will not undermine the rule of law, the constitution and the stability of Romania’s governing institutions in terms of European standards.”

The visit to Brussels by Ponta follows Tuesday’s ruling by Romania’s Constitutional Court to uphold Basescu’s suspension last week.

It means a referendum to impeach the centre-right president will go ahead at the end of the month.

Basescu is accused of acting against the government and parliament by blocking Ponta’s policies.

Further political rallies are set to take place in Romania in the coming weeks to bolster support for Basescu, who could hang on to his job if the turnout in the referendum is less than fifty percent.

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Economy

Wells Fargo pays $175M to settle race discrimination probe

By msnbc.com staff and news services

The Justice Department says Wells Fargo & Co. will pay at least $175 million to settle accusations that it allegedly discriminated against qualified African-American and Hispanic borrowers in its mortgage lending from 2004 through 2009.

The settlement, which needs approval from a judge, would end the investigation into whether the fourth largest U.S. bank between 2004 and 2009 knowingly targeted minorities for risky mortgages that came with higher costs, according to documents filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia.

“The Department of Justice today filed the second largest fair lending settlement in the department’s history to resolve allegations that Wells Fargo Bank, the largest residential home mortgage originator in the United States, engaged in a pattern or practice of discrimination against qualified African-American and Hispanic borrowers in its mortgage lending from 2004 through 2009,” said a statement from the U.S. Department of Justice.

The settlement will provide $125 million in compensation for minority borrowers the DOJ said were steered into subprime mortgages, which usually carry higher fees. Wells Fargo will pay $50 million more in direct down payment assistance to borrowers in parts of the country where the DOJ identified large numbers of discrimination victims.

At a news conference, Deputy Attorney General James Cole said the government will ensure that borrowers hit hard by the housing crisis will have an opportunity to access homeownership.

Cole said the bank’s discriminatory lending practices resulted in more than 34,000 African-American and Hispanic borrowers in 36 states and the District of Columbia paying higher rates for loans solely because of the color of their skin.

Wells Fargo in May said it could face civil charges under laws that prohibit discrimination against minority homebuyers. At the time, the lender said in a securities filing it believed the charges should not be brought and said it was seeking to show the department that it is in compliance with fair lending laws.

The government investigation found that loans submitted to Wells Fargo by mortgage brokers had varied interest rates, fees, and costs based only on race and not correlated to the borrowers’ creditworthiness, according to the court document.

Wells Fargo noted in a statement that it has denied the claims.

“Wells Fargo is settling this matter solely for the purpose of avoiding contested litigation with the DOJ,” it said, “and to instead devote its resources to continuing to provide fair credit services and choices to eligible customers and important and meaningful assistance to borrowers in distressed U.S. real estate markets.”

Read Full Article Here

 

 

JPMorgan investors wait to hear about the ‘London Whale’s’ splash

Eduardo Munoz / REUTERS

Commuters are reflected in stone as they walk past the JP Morgan headquarters in New York.

By Roland Jones

When JPMorgan reports its quarterly results Friday morning, most investors will be eager to hear just one key piece of information: How much of a splash did the London Whale make for the bank?

In mid-May, the bank announced it had sustained a multibillion-dollar loss that originated in its London office because of a failed hedging strategy undertaken by Bruno Iksil, nicknamed “The London Whale” because of the size of the trading positions he took.

Since then, JPMorgan CEO Jamie Dimon has appeared on Capitol Hill to explain the massive loss, which the New York Times reports has grown from the $2 billion originally reported to about $5 billion.

“Investors want to understand what happened, who knew what and when,” Betsy Graseck, a managing director for Morgan Stanley, told CNBC Thursday.

Bank earnings don’t usually attract much attention outside the Wall Street community of analysts, traders and other financial industry observers. The JPMorgan report is likely to spur greater interest because of the massive trading loss, which has enraged public opinion and led to Dimon appearing on television and two Congressional panels to own up to his company’s mistakes.

Graseck said it will be important for Dimon, for investors and for the public to set the record straight on the trading loss. He needs to detail exactly how much of the disastrous trade has been “unwound” so the company can move ahead and avoid any future volatility in its stock price that may arise from uncertainly over deeper losses.

“The question is how much [of the trade] is left to go, and what is the volatility on what’s left,” Graseck said.

Investors and the public will want to hear details of how much money will be recovered from top executives at the bank involved in the botched trade.

When he appeared before lawmakers last month to explain his bank’s multi-billion dollar losses, Dimon said the trading debacle will lead to “clawbacks” — efforts to recover compensation paid to employees whose performance was later found to have harmed the company and shareholders.

Ina Drew, the former chief investment officer who oversaw the London office where the bank’s botched trade originated, is likely to see her pay curtailed, according to reports, and so is Iksil, according to a report in the U.K’s Telegraph newspaper.

Read Full Article here

 

‘Inept Congress’ and the stock market

Visit msnbc.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Stocks finish lower amid weak sentiment

By msnbc.com news services

Stocks closed Thursday’s choppy session lower, as diminished chances of monetary stimulus from major central banks prompted investors to shy away from risky assets.

The Dow Jones industrial average closed down 31 points, having lost over 100 points earlier in the day.

Market sentiment was weak, especially after the lack of any monetary easing by the Bank of Japan on Thursday, and few clues in the minutes from the Federal Reserve’s June policy meeting, released on Wednesday. The lack of policy moves suggested major central banks were still cautious about the need for further easing.

Technology shares have been among the worst performers recently, bogged down by profit warnings from companies such as Advanced Micro Devices Inc and Applied Materials Inc.

Read Full Article Here

 

 

California city to file for bankruptcy

Published on Jul 12, 2012 by

Investors in the U.S. appear to have shrugged off the news that the city of San Bernardino has voted to file for bankruptcy. This blue collar city fifty miles East of Los Angeles had already slashed salaries and cut twenty percent of its employees. San Bernardino still faced a 45 million dollar deficit when the city council called an emergency session and voted to file for bankruptcy. Al Jazeera’s Brian Rooney reports from San Bernadino.

Car makers’ dilemma: too many plants, too few buyers

Published on Jul 12, 2012 by

http://www.euronews.com/ Peugeot’s 8,000 job cuts and closure of a plant near Paris comes as cash strapped Europeans buy fewer new cars and the region’s manufacturers ponder what to do about their surplus of factories with too much capacity.

In addition, unemployment is highest among young people – under 25-year-olds – which means a lost generation of drivers.

In France deliveries of cars and light vans fell by 0.9 percent in June after a 17 percent plunge in May.

In the first half of the year Peugeot Citroen was hit hard with a 13 percent slump in deliveries.

Fellow French carmaker Renault’s sales slipped by 3.3 percent, while Germany’s Volkswagen increased its market share in France and overall sales rose 10.2 percent.

Analyst Brenda Kelly with CMC Markets blamed austerity: “You’re seeing the effect (of austerity measures) on the private sector at the moment, and of course, as the demand for these goods (cars) goes down, so there will be an effect on the employment levels. So you would expect to see unemployment in France rise somewhat over the next quarter or so.”

Around Europe carmakers say they need help from governments to reduce their overcapacity.

It is estimated more than a third of the region’s factories are not using enough of their capacity to be profitable so the industry expects more layoffs and plant closures.

Greek jobless hits record with worse predicted

Published on Jul 12, 2012 by

http://www.euronews.com/ Challenging Spain for the worst jobless total in Europe Greek unemployment has hit a record 22.5 percent of the workforce.

That was the figure for April, which was the latest available. Analysts said the country’s economy has worsened since then and unemployment will likely go higher.

Thirty-two year old Filia, an educated jewellery maker, has been out of a job for a year and has a 10-month-old daughter. ”It’s difficult. The parents help, I use my savings that I have put aside,” she said.

Michalis, 34, lost his job in Athens at a supermarket two years ago. He then went to France and found a job there, but was forced to return to Athens for family reasons and has not been able to find a job since his return a few months ago. ”There is always hope. But in Greece you see how things are, you cannot always save, save, save, that is why we want a united Europe, there has to be a social network, why don’t they go chase the people who spent all the money,” he said.

Bianca Tampouri, a translator, cannot find work, and her husband and 18-year-old daughter are also unemployed. “All my family we all have a problem, so yes I am concerned. About the future, our jobs, our lives, our psychology, you know dignity, everything,” she said.

But some Greeks are more optimistic; Nikos Govas, who was unemployed but opened a coffee shop, said: “If you want a job, you’ll find something. The problem here is everyone wants to work in a doctor’s office or as a civil servant. But it’s not like that. A rubbish collector or a CEO, they’re both jobs and bring in a wage.”

There could be some respite from jobs created by the summer tourism season, but even that is not guaranteed as visitors numbers and revenue were down earlier this year.

Strikes and violent anti-government protests have deterred tourists from visiting.

Tourism is a key sector which accounts for about one in five jobs in Greece.

 

 

Peugeot announces massive layoffs

Published on Jul 12, 2012 by

France’s largest carmaker, Peugeot Citroen, has announced it is cutting 8,000 jobs.

3,000 will go as a result of the closure of a car plant near Paris – the first to shut in France for 20 years.

It’s a blow for new President Francois Hollande’s jobs and growth agenda, as Simon McGregor-Wood reports from Paris.

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Wars and Rumors of War

By Christopher Torchia, The Associated Press July 11, 2012

ISTANBUL – The Syrian ambassador to Iraq has defected and is on his way to Turkey, the most senior diplomat to abandon President Bashar Assad during the 16-month-old uprising, a Syrian opposition figure said Wednesday.

Nawaf Fares, a former provincial governor, would be the second prominent Syrian to break with the regime in less than a week. Brig. Gen. Manaf Tlass, an Assad confidant and son of a former defence minister, fled Syria last week, buoying Western powers and anti-regime activists, who expressed hope that other high-ranking defections would follow.

Appointed to the Baghdad post four years ago, Fares was the first Syrian ambassador to Iraq in 26 years. Like Tlass, he is a member of the privileged Sunni elite in a regime dominated by Assad’s minority Alawite sect.

“It’s certain. Fares has defected. He declared his defection. … He’s moving toward Turkey,” said Khaled Khoja, a member of the opposition Syrian National Council who is based in Istanbul. Asked for details, Khoja said the information came from his own sources on the ground in Iraq.

There was no immediate confirmation from either Iraq or Syria. An operator who answered the phone at the Syrian Embassy in Baghdad said there was nobody at the embassy. When asked if the ambassador is currently in Iraq, the operator said he did not know.

White House spokesman Jay Carney said the U.S. had no confirmation of the defection as of Wednesday afternoon. But he said recent high-level defections from the Assad regime were “a welcome development.”

“That is an indication of the fact that support for Assad is crumbling,” Carney said.

State Department spokesman Patrick Ventrell said that if true, Fares would be the first senior diplomat from the regime to defect.

Iraqi government spokesman Ali al-Dabbagh also said he could not confirm whether Fares had defected.

Thousands of soldiers, most of them low-level conscripts, have deserted and joined the rebels. But despite the latest high-profile defections, Assad’s regime has largely held together in the face of the uprising — particularly compared with the swift hemorrhaging of Moammar Gadhafi’s inner circle in Libya in 2011.

The conflict in Syria has defied every international attempt to bring peace. Although the Assad government’s crackdown has turned the Syrian president into an international pariah, he still has the support of strong allies such as Russia, Iran and China.

A prominent Syrian opposition leader said Wednesday during a visit to Moscow that Russia’s resistance to international intervention in the conflict was bringing misery and “suffering” to the violence-torn country.

Two Syrian opposition delegations visited Moscow this week, raising hopes that Russia could be pushed to accept the ouster of Assad. But Syrian National Council head Abdelbaset Sieda said he saw “no change” in Moscow’s stance after meeting with officials including Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov.

“The Syrian people are suffering because of Russia, because of the position it has taken, because of its veto in the U.N. Security Council,” Sieda said at a news conference. “The current regime uses Russian weapons against its own people.”

Activists estimate 17,000 people have been killed since the uprising began, and as the conflict continues, the rebellion appears to be getting more and more radicalized and violent, making any peaceful resolution or transfer of power a long-shot.

Read Full Article Here

 

 

Syrian Ambassador Defects, Encourages Followers

Published on Jul 12, 2012 by

Syrian ambassador to Iraq defects and encourages others to follow suit.

 

 

DR Congo rebels ‘advance on Goma’

Confusion and fear has gripped Goma as rebels near the main eastern city.

The government of the Democratic Republic of Congo has expressed alarm as rebel forces advance towards the country’s main eastern city of Goma.

Witnesses told the BBC that rebels of the M23 group were 40km (25 miles) from the city, near the Rwandan border.

They said rebels appeared to be taking towns and villages with ease, with government troops usually melting away.

The Congolese government and the UN say Rwanda is backing the rebels, a claim Rwanda denies.

DR Congo has accused its neighbour of wanting to keep it unstable so it can exploit its rich mineral wealth.

The Congolese government has called on the international community to condemn Rwanda.

On Sunday, rebels were reported to have seized the strategic town of Rutshuru, 70km north of Goma.

A senior official at a national conservation park speaking on Monday just 40km north of Goma, told the BBC that “the rebels are very much in control of this area”.

Flexing muscles

 

Troublesome neighbors

map
  • April-June 1994: Genocide of Tutsis in Rwanda
  • June 1994: Paul Kagame’s Tutsi rebels take power in Rwanda, Hutu fighters flee into Zaire (DR Congo)
  • Rwanda’s army enters eastern Zaire to pursue Hutu fighters
  • 1997: Laurent Kabila’s AFDL, backed by Rwanda, takes power in Kinshasa
  • 1998: Rwanda accuses Kabila of not acting against Hutu rebels and tries to topple him, sparking five years of conflict
  • 2003: War officially ends but Hutu and Tutsi militias continue to clash in eastern DR Congo
  • 2008: Tutsi-led CNDP rebels march on North Kivu capital, Goma – 250,000 people flee
  • 2009: Rwanda and DR Congo agree peace deal and CNDP integrated into Congolese army
  • 2012: Mutiny led by former CNDP leader Bosco “Terminator” Ntaganda

BBC international development correspondent Mark Doyle says it is not clear if the rebels intend to attack the city.

If they do, there will be a new and massive humanitarian crisis, he says.

However, the rebels may only be flexing their muscles to strengthen their negotiating position with the government, our correspondent adds.

The rebels – who took up arms in April – named themselves the M23 after a failed peace agreement signed on 23 March three years ago.

They are supporters of renegade Gen Bosco Ntaganda, who is wanted for war crimes by the International Criminal Court (ICC).

Gen Ntaganda is an ethnic Tutsi – like the majority of Rwanda’s leadership – and a recent UN report accused Rwanda of backing the rebels.

Kikaya Bin Karubi, the Congolese Ambassador to the UK, told the BBC: “The United Nations Group of Experts last week published a report that says clearly that the so-called M23 are using Rwandan soldiers – and that’s the United Nations talking, not us.”

Rwanda has vehemently denied the accusations.

The M23 rebels defected from the army amid pressure on the government to arrest Gen Ntaganda.

An estimated 200,000 people have fled their homes since April, with about 20,000 crossing the border to Uganda and Rwanda.

Eastern DR Congo has been plagued by years of fighting.

In 1994, more than a million Rwandan ethnic Hutus crossed the border following the genocide in which some 800,000 people – mostly Tutsis – were slaughtered.

Rwanda has twice invaded its much-larger neighbour, saying it was trying to take action against Hutu rebels based in DR Congo. Uganda also sent troops into DR Congo during the 1997-2003 conflict.

 

 

US warns China of ‘conflict’ if it doesn’t agree to maritime code

Published on Jul 12, 2012 by

US secretary of state Hillary Clinton has warned of more conflict in the South China Sea if China doesn’t agree to a maritime code of conduct.

Clinton was speaking in Cambodia, at the Asia Pacific’s leading security forum.

Territorial claims in the South China Sea have dominated the agenda.

But as Al Jazeera’s Steve Chao reports, the talks ended with little meaningful agreement.

Mosaic News : Bosniaks Hold Mass Funeral on 17th Anniversary of Srebrenica Massacre

Published on Jul 12, 2012 by

Bosniaks hold another mass funeral on 17th anniversary of Srebrenica massacre, Bahraini activists rally in solidarity with Saudi protestors, suicide attack targeting police academy kills 25 in Yemen, and more.

Today’s headlines in full:

Bosniaks hold another mass funeral on 17th anniversary of Srebrenica massacre
BBC Arabic, UK

Bahraini activists rally in solidarity with Saudi protestors
Al-Alam, Iran

Yemeni tribal leaders meet to discuss US intervention in Yemen
Press TV, Iran

Suicide attack targeting police academy kills 25 in Yemen
Press TV, Iran

Saudis hold funeral for slain protestor
Press TV, Iran

Bicycle bomb attack targets Pakistan space researchers; one dead
Press TV, Iran

Syrian opposition and Russia fail to bridge gap in Moscow
New TV, Lebanon

Egyptians call for referendums on parliament dissolution, constitutional declaration
Dubai TV, UAE

Israeli state prosecutors debate proceeding with Olmert charges in real estate scandal
IBA, Israel

Israel: Migron outpost appeal hearing delayed for two weeks
IBA, Israel

Freed Palestinian soccer player Sarsak returns to Gaza
Al Jazeera, Qatar

Image: A Bosnian Muslim man sits and cries near the coffin of his relative at Memorial Center in Potocari before a mass burial, near Srebrenica July 11, 2012: REUTERS/Dado Ruvic

Mosaic is a Peabody Award-winning daily compilation of television news reports from the Middle East, including Egypt, Lebanon, Israel, Syria, the Palestinian Authority, Iraq and Iran. Watch more Mosaic at http://www.linktv.org/mosaic

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Articles of Interest

Vatican excommunicates ‘illicit’ Chinese bishop

by Staff Writers
Vatican City (AFP)

The Vatican on Tuesday said it was excommunicating a Chinese bishop ordained last week by state-sanctioned Church authorities in northeast China without Pope Benedict XVI’s consent.

“The Reverend Joseph Yue Fusheng, ordained without pontifical mandate and hence illicitly, has automatically incurred the sanctions laid down by canon 1382 of the Code of Canon Law,” the Vatican said in a statement.

Under religious law, both the bishop ordained and the bishop celebrating the ceremony without papal consent are excommunicated, meaning that they can no longer receive the Eucharist or take an active part in the liturgy.

“Consequently the Holy See does not recognise him as bishop of the Apostolic Administration of Harbin, and he lacks the authority to govern the priests and the Catholic community in the Province of Heilongjiang,” it added.

Read Full Article Here

British Army steps in as London 2012 defense plan falls short

Published on Jul 12, 2012 by

With just 16 days before the Olympic Games kick off in London, there’s been a major hitch in the much-hyped security plans. Thousands of extra British soliders have had to be drafted in after a private firm failed to supply promised guards. The company’s been paid almost 300 million pounds – but hasn’t trained enough staff. RT’s Sara Firth has more.

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  • [In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, this material is distributed without profit, for research and/or educational purposes. This constitutes ‘FAIR USE’ of any such copyrighted material.]

Published on Jul 12, 2012 by

As the US presidential election draw near, the New York Police Department (NYPD) has attacked and brutalized OWS protesters near Zuccotti Park, not sparing journalists who were beaten and detained.

Press TV has conducted an interview with Giles Clarke, OWS Photographer from New York about the escalation in motivation by police to crackdown violently on unarmed peaceful protesters of the OWS movement and the systematic absence of coverage of OWS in US mainstream media as the US presidential election approaches.

Politics and Legislation

Republicans shift from McCain on war

By Jeremy Herb and Carlo Munoz

Many Republicans are hesitant to align with Sen. John McCain’s aggressive stances on Afghanistan and Syria.

Facing a public that’s become increasingly war weary after a decade of conflict, most Republicans have not backed McCain’s call for action in Syria.

http://thehill.com/blogs/defcon-hill/policy-and-strategy/216525-republicans-shift-away-from-mccain-on-war-policy-in-afghanistan-syria

Schumer bill would create ‘passenger advocates’ to help with TSA disputes

By Pete Kasperowicz

Sens. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) and Susan Collins (R-Maine) said Friday that they would soon introduce legislation to create “passenger advocates” to help people who may be “inappropriately treated” by Transportation Security Administration (TSA) officers.

http://thehill.com/blogs/floor-action/senate/216539-schumer-bill-would-create-airport-passenger-advocates-to-help-with-tsa-disputes

Obama Executive Order: Peacetime Martial Law!

CONTRIBUTOR: Chris Kitze. Hattip: A BIN reader.

This article may be freely reproduced in its entirety provided a link is provided back to the original BIN story. This Executive Order was posted on the WhiteHouse.gov web site on Friday, March 16, 2012, under the name National Defense Resources Preparedness. In a nutshell, it’s the…

http://beforeitsnews.com/story/1906/406/Obama_Executive_Order:_Peacetime_Martial_Law.html

RFID Chip Implants – Hidden Secret In Obamacare – Coming 3/23/13

CONTRIBUTOR: John Rolls.

Polidics.com Reporting News the Main Media Refuses to Touch… by Mr. Carrington – May 26, 2011 On Sunday March 21, 2010 the Senate Healthcare bill HR3200 was passed and signed into law the following Tuesday. Like I said before, there are a legion of horrible and just plain evil aspects to this bill…

http://polidics.com/news/another-hidden-secret-in-obamacare-rfid-chip-implants.html

Economy

Spanish town plans to pay debts by growing marijuana

RASQUERA, Spain (Reuters) – A small town in northeastern Spain, believes it has found a novel way to pay of its debt: cultivating cannabis.

Tucked in the hills of one of Spain’s most picturesque regions, the Catalonian village of Rasquera has agreed to rent out land to grow marijuana, an enterprise the local authorities say will allow them to pay off their 1.3 million euro (1 million pound) debt in two years.

http://uk.news.yahoo.com/spanish-town-wants-grow-cannabis-pay-off-debt-131654270.html

Dems see ‘ammunition’ against Wall Street in Goldman resignation

By Peter Schroeder

Democrats have co-opted a fiery resignation letter from a Goldman Sachs employee to argue for rigid rules on the financial sector.

http://thehill.com/blogs/on-the-money/banking-financial-institutions/216545–dems-see-ammunition-against-wall-street-in-goldman-resignation-

Prediction: Crisis From Food Prices And Social Unrest In 2013

CONTRIBUTOR: BARRACUDA.

Via www.economonitor.com

The people at NECSI sent me the following interesting blurb on the relationship between the rise in food prices and social unrest:

necsi.edu/research/social/foodvideos.html.

These videos illustrate the correlation between increasing costs of food and worldwide food riots, especially from 2000 until the present day. Both prices and riots peaked in 2008 and 2011 after a brief drop in 2009. This month, NECSI is publishing the results of its food prices update, in which the institute extends its food price model to January 2012, entering no modifications to the model and continuing to use its dynamics.

http://beforeitsnews.com/story/1907/053/Prediction:_Crisis_From_Food_Prices_And_Social_Unrest_In_2013.html

Defiant North Korea says rocket launch to go ahead

(Reuters) – North Korea on Sunday rejected criticism of its planned long-range missile launch which threatens to upset its only major benefactor, China, and put relations with the United States back in the freezer just as they seemed to be starting to thaw.

http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/03/18/us-korea-north-missile-idUSBRE82H02U20120318

Wars and Rumors of War

Report: US sent detainees to Afghan prisons known for torture despite moratorium

A report released Saturday by two rights groups says the U.S. sent some detainees to Afghan prisons where torture was found despite an announced moratorium on such moves. The report by the Afghan Independent Human Rights Commission and the New York-based Open Society Institute suggests that Afghanistan’s international allies are still failing to ensure that people captured on the battlefield are treated humanely despite a massive reform program in recent months.

http://ca.news.yahoo.com/report-us-sent-detainees-afghan-prisons-known-torture-185849142.html

Syrian Rebels are Foreign-backed Terrorists

Latest terrorist attack in Damascus illustrates illegitimacy of both Syria’s rebels & the UN/NATO backing them.

By Tony Cartalucci

A twin terrorist bombing in the Syrian capital of Damascus, allegedly targeting government buildings, ripped through a Christian neighborhood killing an estimated 27, mostly civilians. A third bomb exploded, killing only the driver of the car it was placed in, in what was apparently an attempted triple suicide bombing. CBS News reports (1) that after other similar attacks, U.S. officials suggest Al Qaeda terrorists “may be” amongst the Syrian rebels.

http://www.blacklistednews.com/Syrian_Rebels_are_Foreign-backed_Terrorists/18499/0/38/38/Y/M.html

Panetta Confirms US Involvement in Potential Israeli War on Iran ‘Obviously’ the US Would Take Action

Confirming what has always been the implicit way in which the US is going to get sucked into its next major war, Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta confirmed that the US would definitely involve itself in a war on Iran if Israel decided to launch one.

http://news.antiwar.com/2012/03/16/panetta-confirms-us-involvement-in-potential-israeli-war-on-iran/

Banking group pressured to cut Iran ties

By Kevin Bogardus

Lawmakers will push forward with legislation targeting a worldwide banking cooperative despite its decision to stop doing business with some Iranian banks.

http://thehill.com/business-a-lobbying/216547-banking-group-pressured-to-cut-iran-ties

Tensions over Syria could slow legislation to normalize Russia, U.S. trade relations

By Vicki Needham

Rising tensions between the United States and Russia over the violence in Syria could slow legislation to expand trade relations between the two nations.

http://thehill.com/blogs/on-the-money/1005-trade/216549-tensions-over-syria-could-slow-legislation-to-normalize-russia-us-trade-relations

Gulf widens between US and a more volatile Karzai

By Rod Nordland, Alissa J. Rubin and Matthew Rosenberg

Ever since the Koran-burning episode on Feb. 20, the relationship between the United States and President Hamid Karzai of Afghanistan has lurched from one crisis to another.

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/03/18/world/asia/gulf-widens-between-us-and-an-increasingly-hostile-karzai.html?_r=1&ref=todayspaper

Lieberman: War with Iran a global nightmare

During official visit to China, foreign minister says ‘united international front’ can convince Tehran to abandon nuclear ambitions

“If, god forbid, a war with breaks out with Iran, it will be a nightmare. Everyone will be involved, including the Gulf states and Saudi Arabia,” Avigdor Lieberman told the Yedioth Ahronoth daily during an official visit to China.

http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-4204402,00.html

Environmental

Honeybee die-offs linked to insecticide, study says

A newly published study draws a stronger link between mass die-offs of honeybees and an insecticide widely used on corn. The study sheds more light on the worrisome phenomenon known as Colony Collapse Disorder. Bees play a critical role in the pollination of crops, and thus a threat to bee colonies can potentially affect entire ecosystems. The latest study, conducted by Italian researchers at the University of Padova and published in the journal Environmental Science and Technology, focuses on a class of pesticides known as neonicotinoids.

http://worldnews.msnbc.msn.com/_news/2012/03/17/10735129-honeybee-die-offs-linked-to-insecticide-study-says

Activism

Scores Arrested as the Police Clear Zuccotti Park

Scores of Occupy Wall Street protesters were arrested on Saturday night as police officers swept Zuccotti Park in Lower Manhattan and closed it. Dozens of demonstrators sat down and locked arms as officers moved in about 11:30 p.m. The operation occurred after hundreds of people had gathered in the financial district to observe the founding of Occupy Wall Street six months ago… At one point, a woman who appeared to be suffering from seizures flopped on the ground in handcuffs as bystanders shouted for the police to remove the cuffs and provide medical attention.

http://cityroom.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/03/17/arrests-made-as-protesters-mark-occupy-wall-streets-six-month-anniversary/

Occupy protest anniversary ends with police sweep

Protesters chanted and cheered down Wall Street to mark six months of the Occupy movement, ending the day with a police confrontation and numerous arrests at the park where the demonstrations against economic inequality began. Police declared Zuccotti Park closed Saturday night, and more than 100 officers swept through the excited crowd. At least one person was injured during the sweep, police said.

http://www.usatoday.com/news/nation/story/2012-03-17/occupy-wall-street/53595282/1

Cyber Space

UK teenager arrested for anti-war Facebook post

A British teenager has been arrested and is expected to appear in a UK court after he posted about the injustice of the occupation of Afghanistan on his Facebook page. Following the deaths of six UK soldiers in Afghanistan earlier this month, Azhar Ahmed from Ravensthorpe left his comment on the social networking site in order to indicate the hypocrisy of praising the UK soldiers, while thousands of Afghan civilians killed at the hand of Western troops who have occupied the country for over ten years claiming to protect the civilians.

http://www.presstv.ir/detail/232192.html

 

State department seeking to turn social media users into global government spies

By J. D. Heyes,
(NaturalNews) In an ongoing effort to prevent the proliferation of nuclear weapons in these unstable times, a top State Department official has proposed using social media as a way to keep track of the world’s most destructive devices. Rose Gottemoeller, acting Undersecretary of State for Arms Control, sees the concept as just another way to keep atomic bombs out of the hands of terrorists and under the control of responsible governments and regimes. As such, Gottmoeller says she wants ordinary…

 

 

Misc

Government takes 92-year-old woman’s money after believing she died

A 92-year-old woman from Port Angeles, Washington revealed Friday afternoon that she had lost thousands of dollars due to her bank and the government believing she was dead, according to KOMO-TV.?

http://www.komonews.com/news/local/Govt-mistakenly-declares-woman-dead-takes-her-money-142949255.html?tab=video&c=y

Exposed: Lobbyist Who Helped Kill California Pot Legalization Ballot Measure is Getting Rich Off Drug War

Ethan A. Huff, News Report:

After the Obama Administration enacted its American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, Lovell reportedly got busy sending notices to police agencies alerting them about “important opportunities” to generate more federal grants. These opportunities included $2.2 million in funding for implementing a “Marijuana Suppression Program,” and more than $7.5 million for a “Campaign Against Marijuana Planting” program.

http://www.naturalnews.com/035277_John_Lovell_California_marijuana_legalization.html

http://www.nationofchange.org/exposed-lobbyist-who-helped-kill-california-pot-legalization-ballot-measure-getting-rich-drug-war-13

Federal Regulator is Using Seriously Flawed Study to Deny Homeowners Mortgage Aid

Pat Garofalo, News Report:

Goodman cited several problems with the study, including that it did not factor in bank incentives from the Home Affordable Modification Program (HAMP) and underestimated the number of homeowners severely underwater by not using city level housing data. She said that it the study was done correctly, “it will be clear that forgiveness is the better solution for the bulk of the two-thirds of their book of business without mortgage insurance.”

http://www.nationofchange.org/federal-regulator-using-seriously-flawed-study-deny-homeowners-mortgage-aid-1332086225

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange to run for Australian Senate

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange is planning to run for election to the Australian Senate. Mr Assange, an Australian citizen, is on bail awaiting a British court decision on his appeal against extradition to Sweden on sexual assault allegations. He strongly denies the claims, saying they are politically motivated and linked to the activities of WikiLeaks, which has published thousands of confidential documents on the internet. The whistle-blowing website said it appeared that Mr Assange’s current legal situation did not rule him out of running for Australia’s upper house.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/wikileaks/9150013/WikiLeaks-founder-Julian-Assange-to-run-for-Australian-Senate.html

Is America preparing for an unprecedented crisis reminiscent of WWII?

by The Extinction Protocol

March 19, 2012 – WASHINGTON – The following excerpt is from a Executive Order signed by U.S. President Obama on March 16, 2012. The Executive Order coordinates and mobilizes all national resources, technological and industrial, under Federal auspicies in the event of a national emergency. This sounds like a major preparatory step before a crisis eerily reminiscent of WWII. An excerpt from the document reads: “The United States must have an industrial and technological base capable of meeting national defense requirements and capable of contributing to the technological superiority of its national defense equipment in peacetime and in times of national emergency. The domestic industrial and technological base is the foundation for national defense preparedness. The authorities provided in the Act shall be used to strengthen this base and to ensure it is capable of responding to the national defense needs of the United States. Each resource department shall act, as necessary and appropriate, upon requests for special priorities assistance, as defined by section 801(l) of this order, in a time frame consistent with the urgency of the need at hand. This is to help foster cooperation between the defense and commercial sectors for research and development and for acquisition of materials, services, components, and equipment to enhance industrial base efficiency and responsiveness.  In situations where there are competing program requirements for limited resources, the resource department shall consult with the Secretary who made the required determination under section 202 of this order. Such Secretary shall coordinate with and identify for the resource department which program requirements to prioritize on the basis of operational urgency. In situations involving more than one Secretary making such a required determination under section 202 of this order, the Secretaries shall coordinate with and identify for the resource department which program requirements should receive priority on the basis of operational urgency.” –The White House

http://theextinctionprotocol.wordpress.com/2012/03/19/is-america-preparing-for-an-unprecedented-crisis-reminiscent-of-wwii/