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12 hours ago

Nov 30 - Freddie Gray trial begins in Baltimore as police prepare potential riots

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| By RAZAH CUTS - 12 hours ago



The trial for the first of six Maryland police officers charged in the in-custody death of Freddie Gray has begun with jury selection. Officer William Porter, 26, faces charges of involuntary manslaughter, second-degree assault and misconduct in office.

“This is a different day for Baltimore citizens, to have police go to trial," Tessa Hill-Alston, the local NAACP's chapter president, told the Baltimore Sun. "This is a monumental thing."

Porter was not one of the three officers who initially arrested Gray, a 25-year-old man who ran from police after making eye contact with a bike cop on April 12. The 26-year-old officer was along for the 45-minute ride in a police transport van that made several stops between the arrest and arriving at the station, and is accused of failing to get medical assistance for Gray during those stops, despite pleas from the prisoner that he needed help and couldn’t breathe. Gray suffered a severe spinal-cord injury and died a week after his arrest.

On May 1, six days after the city exploded into riots, Maryland State's Attorney Marilyn J. Mosby announced criminal charges against all six police officers involved in the arrest of Gray, which she declared "a homicide" and “an illegal arrest.”

Jury selection in Porter’s trial began Monday, with the second of the six trials set to begin in a month.

In a September pretrial hearing, Baltimore City Circuit Court Judge Barry G. Williams denied a defense motion to move the proceedings to another Maryland jurisdiction, saying in his ruling that it was wrong to “assume [jurors] cannot be fair” without going through the voir dire process. He added that he was not convinced that the intense media coverage of the case and the April riots had influenced Baltimore’s citizens because the coverage had been “local, state, national, international.”

Williams has said he expects to question 75 to 80 potential jurors during the preliminary examinations, known as voir dire, on Monday. The process, which could take several days, will yield a jury of 12, with as many as four alternate jurors, the Baltimore Sun reported.

Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake said she is confident Porter can get a fair trial in Baltimore.

"This is a very tough time for our city,” she told the Sun. “I trust the judge that has been assigned to this case. He understands what justice is, what fairness is. I know he will uphold the highest standards."

Baltimore area civil rights activists also noted the importance of Porter receiving a fair and impartial trial in Baltimore.

"We just want fairness and justice for Freddie Gray in a legal, calm way, and the courtroom is where it's happening," Hill-Alston said.

At the beginning of September, the city government approved a $6.4 million wrongful-death settlement with Gray’s family, even though they had not yet filed a lawsuit. Defense lawyers have argued that the settlement, even though it specifically did not admit liability on the part of the Baltimore police officers, would affect their ability to receive fair trials.

Williams has left open the possibility of moving the trial out of the city if an impartial jury cannot be seated. Once the anonymous panel has been selected, the trial is expected to last for weeks, not days.

Porter, a black Baltimore native, has been on the city's police force since 2012. He is expected to take the stand in his trial, and is being tried first in part because prosecutors want to use him as a witness in the trials of several of the other officers, AP reported. At the beginning of September, Williams ruled that the six officers will be tried separately and consecutively.

Gray was known to police officers because “he was a drug dealer. I don’t know why people make him into a celebrity,” local resident Anthony Hughes told the Sun earlier in November. Nicknamed ‘Pepper’, Gray was struggling to break away from his life as a dealer on West Baltimore’s corners.

Porter indicated he was told of a previous arrest in which he was told Gray tried to kick out windows of a police vehicle.

"You know, so he was always, always, like, banging around," Porter said in the statement excerpted in the filing. "It was always a big scene whenever you attempted to arrest Freddie Gray."

Despite Gray’s previous run-ins with the law, prosecutors argue that Porter should have sought medical attention when Gray requested it. The 26-year-old officer told investigating detectives that he was not sure whether Gray was faking his injury.

Porter has pleaded not guilty, along with the five other officers involved in the arrest.

Before becoming a judge in Baltimore, Williams investigated and prosecuted police misconduct cases across the country for the federal government. In July, defense attorneys accused prosecutors of “judge-shopping” ‒ a method used by attorneys when filing the same lawsuit with several judges in order to get the judge of their choice, described by US Legal as reprehensible but not illegal. However, the claims appear to be linked to a rejected search warrant, rather than Williams’ past career.

Douglas Molloy, a former federal prosecutor in Florida who worked on a police misconduct case with Williams in 2004, told the Sun that Williams was the best fit to hear the trials for the six officers charged in Gray’s death.

"His expertise in all aspects of investigating, prosecuting these kinds of cases is certainly an advantage," Molloy said. "I don't know anybody better suited for this trial."

However, one of the people Williams prosecuted, former Washington, DC, police officer Lawrence Holland, told the Sun that if he were a defendant in the Gray case, "I'd want to move my trial" to another judge. He believes that Williams was overzealous in his case, when he was prosecuted three times before pleading guilty in 2001.

The verdict in Porter’s trial is likely to lead to major consequences in Baltimore: If he is acquitted there could be protests and possibly more unrest like those that devastated the western and poorer parts of the city at the end of April.

The trial will "make or break" the city, community activist Duane "Shorty" Davis told AP.

"If it doesn't go over well, what will Christmas be like? They'll shut things down," he said. "If we have more riots, who will feel safe? The world is watching Baltimore."

Yet a conviction could send shockwaves through the city's already demoralized police force, which saw its police commissioner fired in July and replaced by his second-in-command over protests from local residents.

"Everything is at stake. The future of the city is at stake," said Baltimore Police Commissioner Kevin Davis, according to AP.

The city government is hopeful for the best but preparing for the worst when it comes to the outcome of Porter’s trial.

"There's definitely a lot of pressure but it's hard to say what's at stake. I know what's important: that we have order in the city," Rawlings-Blake told AP.

"We're having constant conversations and planning sessions," she told the Sun. "The police have set up a joint information center. We've set up protocols for surrounding jurisdictions. We're ready."

Rawlings-Blake said police are monitoring social media and talking with community leaders.

"We're vigilant," she said. "Community members certainly don't want the city to erupt in violence again. We're listening." -trial-begins/

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14 hours ago

Image inside Nov 30 - Officer Charged With Murder of Laquan McDonald out of Jail on $1.5mill bond

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| By eazy253 - 14 hours ago

The Chicago police officer who was being held for the fatal shooting of 17-year-old Laquan McDonald was released on Monday evening, after posting the requisite 10 percent of his $1.5 million bail, or $150,000.

ABC News reported that Jason Van Dyke, charged last Tuesday with first-degree murder of the black teenager, walked out of Cook County Jail just after 6 p.m.


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17 hours ago

Image inside Nov 30 - China Smog Hits Death levels. Factories stop, trucks Off the road, people inside

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| By mr_underground - 17 hours ago

*tweet embedded
*tweet embedded

Chinese President Xi Jinping arrived in Paris yesterday for the start of the COP21 UN Conference on climate change summit. During his two-day stay in Paris, Xi will meet with other heads of state, deliver a speech on Monday and try to breath in all the air he can before arriving back in Beijing on Sunday.

With Xi leaving the capital yesterday, Beijing issued its highest smog alert of the year, upgrading the yellow warning which has been in place for the past few days to orange, second only to red, you don't want to know what red looks like.
Under the orange weather alert mechanism, industrial plants are required to reduce or shut down production; construction sites should stop the transportation of materials and waste while heavy-duty trucks are banned from the roads.

The upgraded smog alert comes as China announces it has achieved the pollution reduction targets for major pollutants outlined in its 12th Five Year Plan six months ahead of schedule. It also comes after reports that China is burning 17% more coal than it says it is.

Cities in the northeast of China frequently experience high levels of air pollution during winter due to the concentration of heavy industry and coal-fired power plants in the region. Today the AQI in some parts of Beijing has soared to 500, its highest possible level. At levels higher than 300, residents are encouraged to remain indoors.

However, the problem isn't confined to the northeast. Earlier this year, the Ministry of Environmental Protection announced that in 2014 only eight of the country's 74 largest cities had passed the government's basic air quality standards.

According to the ministry, 23 cities across China have been seriously affected by the heavy pollution. They expect a cold front to come in on Wednesday and help clean up the air, but here's what it looked like last night.

For the climate's sake, maybe they should think about holding the conference in Beijing next time.

The lifetime risk of lung cancer among residents of Beijing has risen by 56% in the past decade. ate_summit.php


this is past dust mask level. this is 27/7 respiratory level:

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17 hours ago

Nov 30 - Cops: NY Man who was cleaning gun fatally shot infant

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| By Ham Rove - 17 hours ago


ROME, N.Y. -- A man has been charged with criminally negligent homicide in the shooting death of a 7-month-old baby in upstate New York on Saturday, CBS affiliate WBNG reports.

According to Rome police, Henry W. Bartle, 18, has been arrested for the fatal shooting. Police said Bartle and his girlfriend -- the mother of the child -- live in at the home where the baby was found.

Bartle was allegedly in the living room cleaning his 12-gauge shotgun on his lap and the muzzle pointed in the direction of the child before it went off. He loaded the weapon, installed an accessory grip and went to stand up. That is when the gun allegedly went off and a bullet hit the infant, who was found dead at the scene, according to police.

Another man was also in the home at the time.

"We are comfortable and confident and clear in stating that there is no indication that this was intentional at all," Rome Police Capt. Tim Bates told CNY Central Sunday.

The child has not been identified by police, pending notification of family and extended family.

Bartle is being held at the Oneida County Correctional Facility. y-shot-infant/

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17 hours ago

Image inside Nov 29 - Colorado shooter talked about baby parts to police after deadly attack

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| By RAZAH CUTS - 17 hours ago


The suspected Colorado Planned Parenthood gunman Robert Lewis Dear said “no more baby parts” after his arrest, and voiced his anti-abortion views, according to law enforcement sources.

Officials wouldn’t give more details and the shooter’s motives are under investigation.

However, witnesses told AP his opposition to abortion had motivated the killer.

Robert Lewis Dear killed three people and wounded nine during the shooting and the standoff that lasted hours on Friday.

The situation became very tense when it became known Dear was still inside the clinic. Initially, police thought the gunman had left the building after the shooting rampage.

Twenty-four people were evacuated from the Planned Parenthood clinic. Some 300 more people had to shelter at a nearby shopping center to avoid the gunfire.

Apart from firearms, propane tanks were also discovered in Dear’s car in the parking lot, and officials think the shooter was going to fire at them in order to cause an explosion.

Following the shooting, Attorney General Loretta E. Lynch called the shooting a "crime against women," while Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper said it's "a tragedy that is beyond speech."

READ MORE: Police chiefs call for universal background checks on all gun sales

The 57-year-old shooter is currently in custody without bail, and is set to appear in court on Monday.

After a public records search, authorities discovered Dear had lived in Colorado for about a year, with neighbors saying he had anti-government, as well as anti-abortion views.

Dear had lived in the Carolinas. He was charged with two counts of animal cruelty, but found not guilty in 2003.

In 1997, Dear’s wife accused him of domestic abuse, but no charges were filed, according to the local Sheriff’s Office. er-baby-parts/

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17 hours ago

Nov 29 - Psychedelics Show Amazing Promise as Cures for Addiction, Anxiety, Trauma

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| By RAZAH CUTS - 17 hours ago


The following is an excerpt from the new book Aldous Huxley's Hands: His Quest for Perception and the Original Return of Psychedelic Science by Allene Symons (Prometheus Books, 2016):

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A certain phrase often mentioned in any gathering where the topic is psychedelic science comes from Huxley’s final novel, Island. Ever the wordsmith, he borrowed one component from Indian philosophy (moksha, referring to emancipation or freedom from the cycle of birth and death) and added medicine, so that moksha-medicine becomes a balm for treating afflictions both physical and spiritual. A mushroom-based hallucinogen, this elixir is not consumed with casual disregard on Huxley’s fictional island. I recently reread the novel and was surprised to see how Huxley gives us a prescient glimpse of moksha-medicine at work today.

Eager to snag a good seat, I arrived early in Pasadena to hear a talk about “Psychedelic Science: From ’60s Counterculture to Modern Medicine,” a forum sponsored by Southern California Public Radio station KPCC on a warm September night in 2014.

I would soon sense, by catching the number of knowing expressions, that most audience members had experienced these substances firsthand. They, or rather we, knew about distortions in time and perception, how these drugs gave rise to visions, how they often induced profound feelings of interconnectedness.

Clearly, generational change is bringing a more accepting attitude toward substances banned for forty years, and the proof is that officially sanctioned human research is back. I had been following news reports and Google alerts, but unlike the ’60s, with its troika of mescalin, LSD, and psilocybin, the information streaming in needed translation, a guide for the psychedelically perplexed. I had questions. What about the dizzying roster of substances currently called psychedelic drugs—how did they fit the picture? How did a therapeutic session relate to neurological research, tell the imaging story of powerful substances acting on the brain?

Having done explanatory journalism in a former life, I aimed for immersion. This seemed about to begin when I stepped inside the theater-like ambiance of the “Psychedelic Science” forum, where blue lights evoked the dreamlike feeling that I was about to dive into an indigo pool. The setting made sense, with its moody tint and a soundtrack from before mind-altering substances were banned, like Jackie Wilson’s 1967 pop hit “(Your Love Takes Me) Higher and Higher.”

Wilson’s song hit the charts three years before psychedelic research went into full hibernation. That happened after LSD, psilocybin, and other drugs were banned under the sweeping prohibition of the Comprehensive Drug Abuse Prevention and Control Act of 1970. An amendment to the law established five categories or schedules, capped by Schedule I for drugs deemed to have no medical purpose, unsafe even under supervision, and with a high potential for abuse.

This designation partly explains why the operative phrase on this night was “modern medicine.” This panel was not mainly about psychedelics for expanding creativity (though the Beckley Foundation in England is funding a pilot study on creativity with University of California, Berkeley), nor about inducing mystical experience (though a three-part psilocybin study was conducted from 2001–2006 under the auspices of the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine). Nor did talk turn to recreational use, because the first matter of business in order to utilize a Schedule I drug is to demonstrate medicinal value.

Or, prove it once again. Before such prohibitions went into effect, circa 1970, mental health professionals had published an estimated one thousand clinical papers involving tens of thousands of participants. Such research often fell below today’s methodological standards, being mainly anecdotal accounts rather than double blind, randomized, and placebo-controlled studies with results tracked using specific questionnaires or psychological measures called inventories.

Despite design flaws, early studies showed good outcomes for patients suffering from afflictions ranging from depression and anxiety to alcohol addiction. Treatment with psychedelics was beneficial for improving the mental state of subjects suffering from deep trauma, as well as patients facing terminal illness. The two most recent studies, described in current terminology, examine psychedelics as a treatment for anxiety in advanced-stage cancer patients and look at psychedelic-assisted psychotherapy for posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and these two studies now lead the way in the rebirth of psychedelic science research in the United States.

LSD was formerly the preferred drug for such investigations. Holdover baggage from the ’60s means LSD is currently less likely to win research approval from US government agencies, though a LSD-assisted psychotherapy study with advanced cancer patients in Switzerland was recently completed, as was a pilot study in the United Kingdom.

Enter the lower-profile alternative, psilocybin, the active compound in magic mushrooms and a substance used in several categories of psychedelic research today. Another relative newcomer increasingly in favor is MDMA (3,4-methylenedioxy-N-methylamphetamine), which may seem an unlikely choice considering its dance-club reputation as Ecstasy. When I attended an event not long ago I overheard one difference described this way: “With LSD once you take it, you’re on your way. MDMA is gentler and easier to control.”

Similar in effect to marijuana, MDMA is structurally akin to mescalin but without its perception-altering qualities. MDMA, under the name Adam, became available in the mid-1970s and was found to induce an empathetic response beneficial in the therapist-patient dynamic. Consequently, it was prescribed to patients and clients by mental health professionals and, prior to restriction as a Schedule I drug in 1985, showed promise in psychotherapy for conditions ranging from phobias to depression.

The two compounds moving the field of psychedelic medicine forward are MDMA and psilocybin, according to Charles S. Grob, MD, chief of Child Psychiatry and professor of Psychiatry and Biobehavioral Sciences at UCLA’s David Geffen School of Medicine. Grob was the first researcher in decades to lead an approved study with MDMA. That pilot study was conducted in the mid-1990s, though much of his subsequent work has been with psilocybin. Grob is also co-founder of the New Mexico–based nonprofit Heffter Research Institute, which supports research of classical hallucinogens and related compounds.

If MDMA and psilocybin are the most promising drugs in this rapidly expanding field of research, then the type of study farthest along in the approval process turns out to be psilocybin-assisted therapy with advanced cancer patients. This study originated with Grob’s team at UCLA, and where it stands today gives an idea of how the process works.

“After our study began, two other research groups began studies at New York University and Johns Hopkins,” Grob told me in a telephone interview a few weeks before the Pasadena event. “They have just finished the treatment phase, and now we have to wait for a sixmonth follow up.” That would take it into 2015. “Then there will be analysis of their data, a pooling of data from our studies, and we will submit a proposal for a multisite grant.” Results involving a larger population of patients is likely to bring psilocybin closer to FDA approval as a treatment.

Such approval would not make psilocybin a prescription for the masses like Prozac nor sanction a last trip like Huxley’s (nor a dreamstate exit like the Edward G. Robinson character’s parting in the 1973 film Soylent Green). The application would be specifically for assisted psychotherapy in a medical setting during the period between diagnosis and the last months of life.

A reference to end-of-life and psychedelics naturally brings up the Huxley connection, because he left his mark in both literature and biography. “Huxley described it before any studies were done,” Grob told me, noting that the pioneering study by Eric Kast of the Chicago Medical School came after Huxley’s last book, adding to Huxley’s reputation as a futurist. “Huxley wrote about this in Island,” Grob said. “He walked the walk when it was his time.”

Whether applied to improve the last months of life or interrupt the grip of addiction, this field of old-is-new medicine is not about downing a pill and feeling better. Psychotherapy is an essential component in the process. In psychedelic-assisted therapy the drug opens the mind, which increases the chance of bringing about behavioral change. The hoped-for outcome may be smoking cessation, breaking free of horrific recurring memories of rape or a firefight in combat, or escaping an obsession or deep depression. On the procedural level, a course of treatment might involve several three-hour preparatory sessions before drugs are administered, subsequent psychotherapy sessions, and longer-term follow-up. -place-society

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20 hours ago

Video inside Nov 30 - Suspected burglar dies in chimney after resident lights fire

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| By Chedda - 20 hours ago

Authorities say a suspected burglar who became stuck in the chimney of a Central California home died after the homeowner unknowingly lit a fire in the fireplace.

Fresno County Sheriff's spokesman Tony Botti said an autopsy on Sunday concluded that 19-year-old Cody Caldwell died of smoke inhalation and burns.

Authorities said a homeowner in the rural town of Huron heard someone scream after lighting a fire in his fireplace Saturday afternoon and alerted authorities.

When the homeowner realized a person was stuck in the chimney, he extinguished the fire.

Lt. Brandon Pursell said Caldwell was responsive when firefighters smashed the chimney to get him out, but when they got to the young man he died.

Source: -fire-35482799

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20 hours ago

Nov 30 - Breaking: Putin Deploys 100,000 Troops as Turkey Blockades Russian Navy!

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| By Ladklap - 20 hours ago


The Russian leader is reportedly mounting an enormous military mission to take control of the terror group's stronghold of Raqqa.

The city is the self-declared capital of ISIS in Syria and is patrolled by as many as 5,000 jihadi members.

Putin is set to mobilise 150,000 reservists who he conscripted into the military in September.

Yesterday, following the Paris attacks, Putin hinted he was ready to join forces with the West to tackle Islamic State.

He told David Cameron: "The recent tragic events in France show that we should join efforts in preventing terror."

An insider revealed: "It is very clear that Russia wants to sweep up the west of the country, taking Raqqa and all the oil and gas resources around Palmyra.

"This is fast becoming a race to Raqqa – to secure the oil fields they need to cleanse the region of insurgents, and the IS capital is vital to do that."

In a show of strength, Russian jets have previously obliterated nine ISIS outposts in just 24 hours using bunker-busting bombs.

Russian jets pounded terrorist targets and blew up a command centre, potentially killing dozens of fighters.

Confirming the successful raids, Andrei Kartapolov from the Russian army vowed to ramp up the pressure, saying: "We will not only continue strikes... We will also increase their intensity."

Speaking at the time of the attacks, in October, Russian Defence Ministry spokesman Igor Konashenkov said: "Over the past 24 hours, Sukhoi Su-34 and Su-24M fighter jets have performed 20 sorties and hit nine Islamic State installations.

Full Story: -jets-military

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20 hours ago

Nov 30 - Cops: Man took ambulance for joy ride, strands patient, EMTs

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| By phantomnation - 20 hours ago

YORK, Pa. (AP) -- Emergency workers in Pennsylvania got an unpleasant surprise when they wheeled a patient out of a home to their ambulance, only to find it wasn't there.

Police in York tell the York Dispatch ( ) 21-year-old Leonard Eugene Smith took the vehicle for a joy ride Friday before ditching it. They say an in-vehicle camera captured his actions and a tracking device led them to the ambulance.

Jim Arvin, president and CEO of White Rose Ambulance, says the video shows Smith "having a good time" behind the wheel, adding he "seemed excited."

Smith is charged with felony theft and a misdemeanor count of recklessly endangering another person. He's jailed on $75,000 bail.

The patient, who was having breathing problems, got to the hospital without much delay after another ambulance was called.

Source: AP

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20 hours ago

Nov 30 - Donald Trump Blames TV For Lack Of Video Showing NJ Muslims Celebrating 9/11

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| By Ham Rove - 20 hours ago


Donald Trump this morning blamed television for not yet producing proof of his claim that he saw a TV broadcast in which thousands of Muslims in New Jersey celebrated when the World Trade Center was downed by terrorists.

“Don’t forget … 15 years ago, it wasn’t like it is today, where you press a button and you play a video,” Trump told MSNBC’s Morning Joe this morning when asked again if he’s standing by the claim he made about a week ago. “Fourteen, 15 years ago, they don’t even put it in files, they destroy half of the stuff. You know, if you look back 14, 15 years, that was like ancient times in terms of cinemaand in terms of news and everything else. They don’t have the same stuff. Today you can press a button and you can see exactly what went on, you know, two years ago. But when you go back 14, 15 years, that’s like ancient technology, Joe,” he told Joe Scarborough.

“They’ll find something. They’re going to find something,” Trump insisted by phone during the morning telecast.

One day earlier, on NBC’s Meet The Press, Trump insisted his claim must be true because not only did he see the video on TV, “so did many other people — and many people saw it in person. I’ve had hundreds of phone calls to the Trump Organization saying, ‘We saw it. There was dancing in the streets.'”

“They want to agree with you – that doesn’t make it true,” host Chuck Todd at one point interjected.

“Why wouldn’t it have taken place?” Trump replied when Todd asked if he was standing by his claim. “I’ve had hundreds of people call in and tweet in on Twitter saying that they saw it and I was 100% right. I saw it and so many people saw it, Chuck. So why would I take it back? I’m not going to take it back.”

In the exchange, Trump told Todd: “I have a very good memory, Chuck. I’ll tell you, I have a very good memory. I saw it somewhere on television many years ago, and I never forgot it — and it was on television, too.”

It all started about a week ago, at a rally in Birmingham, AL, when Trump told followers: “I watched when the World Trade Center came tumbling down. And I watched in Jersey City, New Jersey, where thousands and thousands of people were cheering as that building was coming down. Thousands of people were cheering. So something’s going on.”

A few days later, Trump counsel Michael Cohen told CNN it is irrelevant how many Muslims in New Jersey celebrated the collapse of the World Trade Center, whether “it’s thousands and thousands or a thousand people or even just one person.”a t-list-wrapper

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20 hours ago

Image inside Nov 30 - Employee accused of killing baby after giving birth in store

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| By phantomnation - 20 hours ago

LIVINGSTON, N.Y. (AP) -- Authorities have charged a 20-year-old woman with killing her newborn after she gave birth in an upstate New York convenience store where she worked.

State police say Tara Tomlin, of Livingston, was charged with second-degree murder on Saturday, a day after her son's body was found in a plastic bag dumped in a trash bin outside an Xtra Mart in the Hudson Valley.

Troopers say they found the body early Friday during a search that was prompted by a 911 call from someone saying he suspected there was a baby outside the store.

Police say an autopsy determined the baby died from asphyxiation.

Tomlin is being held without bail. Her attorney, Michael Howard, called it a "tragic incident." He says she'll undergo a mental health exam to determine if she's competent to stand trial.

Source: AP

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20 hours ago

Nov 30 - High stakes for Baltimore as Freddie Gray trials begin

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| By phantomnation - 20 hours ago

BALTIMORE (AP) -- In Baltimore, this year can be divided into two parts: what came before Freddie Gray died and what happened afterward.

Gray, 25, suffered a mysterious injury in the back of a police transport van and died April 19, inspiring thousands to take to the streets to protest what they believed was the mistreatment by police of another young black man. The narrative of Gray's life and death instantly became a thread in the fabric of the Black Lives Matter national movement.

Six police officers were indicted in Gray's death. Jury selection in the first trial begins Monday. A verdict is likely to set the tone for the city: If Officer William Porter is acquitted there could be protests and possibly more unrest. A conviction could send shockwaves through the city's troubled police department.

"Everything is at stake. The future of the city is at stake," Police Commissioner Kevin Davis said.

The demonstrations were mostly peaceful for several days, but on the day Gray was buried, looting and rioting started. Businesses were burned down and the unrest ended up costing the city millions of dollars in property damage. The troubles forced an incumbent mayor in the throes of a re-election campaign to drop out of the race, and toppled the career of a reform-minded police chief who was unceremoniously fired. The homicide rate soared and the blood continues to spill on Baltimore's streets at a pace unseen in decades.

Porter faces charges of assault, manslaughter, reckless endangerment and misconduct in office. He is being tried first in part because prosecutors want to use him as a witness in the trials of several other officers.

Porter is accused of failing to get medical help for Gray during several stops the van made on its 45-minute trip. At the end, officers found Gray unresponsive and he was taken to a hospital. He died a week later.

Gray was initially handcuffed. Later during his van ride, his legs were shackled and he was placed back in the van without a seatbelt, a violation of department policy, prosecutors have said.

Porter told police investigators that arresting Gray "was always a big scene," according to a pretrial filing by defense attorneys. Porter indicated that he knew of a previous arrest in which Gray allegedly tried to kick out windows of a police vehicle.

"You know, so he was always, always, like, banging around," Porter said in the statement excerpted in the filing. "It was always a big scene whenever you attempted to arrest Freddie Gray."

Defense attorneys say that helps explain Porter's actions during Gray's April arrest.

Porter is black. Two other officers are black and the three others are white. They will be tried separately beginning in January; their trials are expected to last until the spring.

The trials, much like Gray's death, are a microcosm of larger, systemic issues within the city, and the verdicts will have consequences on the city's immediate future, as well as its healing. Nearly eight months after the city burned, the stakes for the police, the politicians and the public remain high.

When violent crime began surging in May, residents of predominantly poor black neighborhoods that bore the brunt of the bloodshed blasted the police for abandoning their posts- a side effect, some said, of the charges against the officers involved in Gray's death. The police union, in turn, criticized the former commissioner for failing to protect and support them during the riot.

An independent review of the police response revealed "major shortcomings," and painted a portrait of an overwhelmed and under prepared department that made tactical errors and endangered officers. Hours before Police Commissioner Anthony Batts was fired in July, the police union issued its own scathing report, and its president called for Batts to "step up." The U.S. Department of Justice announced a patterns and practice probe into the department stemming from allegations that officers hassled people and used excessive force. Davis stepped in as police chief in July, after a crime spike that saw 45 homicides in a single month.

Since then, Davis has tried to repair the broken relationship between the department and the public.

Apart from the police, the political landscape has changed since Gray's death. A Democratic primary in April will likely decide who will be the new mayor next November.

Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake was harshly criticized in the wake of the civil unrest for failing to publicly appear for five hours as the city burned and the images were displayed on national television networks. Her decision to enact and maintain a city-wide curfew aggravated protesters. In August, she announced that she would not seek re-election, instead pledging to focus her energy on helping the city heal in the riot's aftermath. She's made few comments about the Gray case and the impending trials.

"There's definitely a lot of pressure but it's hard to say what's at stake. I know what's important: that we have order in the city," she told The Associated Press. "I'm prayerful that justice will prevail and the officers will be given a fair trial by a fair and impartial jury, and that the citizens of Baltimore and the police can respect the decision."

The absence of an incumbent in the mayoral race has created opportunities for others. Sheila Dixon, the city's former mayor who was forced to resign after being convicted of embezzling about $500 in gift cards meant for poor children, announced her candidacy in July.

But no reputations hinge on the trial's outcome as much as state's attorney Marilyn Mosby and her husband, Nick Mosby, a councilman for Baltimore's west side who announced his mayoral candidacy shortly after Rawlings-Blake pulled out. Marilyn Mosby, who took office in January, announced charges against the officers in May, using language that led defense attorneys to argue that she was so biased she should recuse herself from the case.

"To the youth of the city: I will seek justice on your behalf," the prosecutor said then. "This is a moment, this is your moment. Let's ensure we have peaceful and productive rallies that will develop structural and systemic changes for generations to come. You're at the forefront of this cause. And as young people, our time is now."

In the months that followed she was the subject of a feature story in Vogue magazine that called her "a heroine and a lightning rod."

Mosby declined to comment on the Gray case citing a gag order.

The political and social agenda has changed, too. Since April issues including segregation, unemployment, poverty and housing inequality have been thrown into sharp focus. In October, a group of students staged an all-night sit-in at City Hall over a list of demands that included the firing of the city's housing commissioner over a lawsuit that alleges handymen traded sex for repairs for poor, black women living in public housing.

Duane "Shorty" Davis, a community activist, said the trial will "make or break" the city.

"If it doesn't go over well, what will Christmas be like? They'll shut things down," he said. "If we have more riots, who will feel safe? The world is watching Baltimore."

Source: AP

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1 day ago

Image inside Nov 29 - 79-Year-Old Shot Dead Hours Before Retirement

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| By RAZAH CUTS - 1 day ago


A robbery a month ago at the Liquor Market in Boynton Beach, Fla., helped Ali Arezoumandifar's family convince him it was finally time to retire. The 79-year-old liquor store clerk had chased after a man in a black mask who stole $300 worth of scratch-off lottery tickets on Oct. 27 and was knocked to the ground as the perpetrator sped away. "It shook up the plaza," an officer tells the Palm Beach Post. Arezoumandifar was the previous owner of the store and had stayed on after its sale to help the new owners get started, reports the Sun Sentinel. During his last shift on Sunday, family members gathered to prepare a celebratory dinner. But Arezoumandifar never showed. A customer found the man dead of a single gunshot wound behind the store's counter around 8pm.

A surveillance camera failed to capture the crime, but police say Arezoumandifar was shot while behind the counter. The cash register was found empty. Police aren't saying whether Sunday's crime has any link to the October robbery. In that incident, police traced the stolen lottery tickets to a couple, who face charges over another robbery at a 7-Eleven. The man is in jail, but the woman was questioned and is considered a person of interest, police say. "It's very sad," says a woman who works nearby, adding Arezoumandifar spoke little English but would kiss her hand to say hello. "I'm begging of anybody who knows anything to come forward," Arezoumandifar's daughter tells WPBF. "He didn't deserve the way he died." etirement.html

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1 day ago

Nov 29 - Deadly Russian airstrike hits Syrian market

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| By RAZAH CUTS - 1 day ago


At least 44 people killed and scores wounded in air attack on popular marketplace in town of Ariha, activists say.

At least 44 people were killed and scores wounded on Sunday in a suspected Russian air strike on a crowded marketplace in Idlib province, activists have told Al Jazeera.

The strikes hit the town of Ariha, which is controlled by the Army of Conquest, a rebel alliance which includes the Nusra Front, the UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.

In addition to the market, several other areas of the town were hit, the group said.

Local news channel Ariha al-Youm reported cluster bombs were used in the raid by a Russian fighter jet.

The pro-opposition Orient TV reported an initial death toll of 40.

However, Rami Abdulrahman, director of the observatory, put the death toll much higher, saying at least 60 people were killed and wounded in the attack.

Officials at the Russian defence ministry could not immediately be reached for comment.

The Army of Conquest alliance seized Ariha in May after heavy fighting with forces loyal to the Syrian army, in an offensive that resulted in the entire province falling into rebel hands.

The Russian air force has conducted air strikes in support of President Bashar al-Assad since September 30.

Moscow says it targets the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) and other "terrorists," but critics accuse it of targeting other rebel groups more than ISIL.

Russian air strikes have previously hit several Army of Conquest positions in Idlib province.

The province is not a stronghold of ISIL, which controls wide areas of eastern Syria.

Source: Al Jazeera And Agencies 082103978.html

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1 day ago

Image inside Nov 29 - Guy Leaves Town, Town Knocks His House Down

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| By RAZAH CUTS - 1 day ago


When a US Navy veteran traveled from Long Island to Florida for a knee replacement, his house was the last thing on his mind. Philip Williams' home was demolished in the spring by Hempstead town officials while he spent about six months recuperating in Fort Lauderdale. Back in New York, officials in the town deemed his modest home unfit for habitation and knocked it down. The 69-year-old has now waged a legal battle against the town. He wants reimbursement—for the house and all the belongings inside. "It's just wrong on so many levels," he said "My mortgage was up to date, my property taxes were up to date ... everything was current and fine." According to town officials, neighbors had been complaining the house was in disrepair and a blight. Hempstead officials, responding to those complaints, sent inspectors and determined the house was a "dilapidated dwelling" unfit for habitation. So they knocked it down.

"The town basically took everything from me," said Williams. Town officials say they tried to contact Williams and provided copies of letters they mailed to the home and to banks. They also held a public hearing before the demolition. But Williams contends he never received any notices and said he couldn't figure out why the letters were mailed to four separate banks where he never had accounts."Under the law, it should not happen," his attorney, Bradley Siegel said. "It's un-American. It just doesn't seem believable." Williams has filed a notice of claim, the first step in a lawsuit against the town, and also is fighting for public records he believes may show what happened. Williams has contacted police and the Nassau County district attorney's office and has asked for a criminal inquiry. "You see people who went through a tornado or a flood and they say they lost everything, but that's not preventable," Williams said. "This was preventable. The town took my house." ouse-down.html

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1 day ago

Nov 29 - Sineod O'Conners suicide facebook post.

6 people viewing this

| By wwnuts - 1 day ago

9hrs ago
There is only so much any woman can be expected to bear. What was done to me this week was appalling cruelty. By my husband, my family, by St Pats and by An Gardai Siochana, by my son, Jake and by Donal Lunny and Angela singleton, by my son's girlfriend, his friends... after everything I've been put through and been forced to go through alone .. And punished for having to go through since I had the surgery on August 26th. Or since Shane became unwell in March, This week has broken me. The withholding of my babies from me without any sound reason by their fathers, Frank and Donal, and by Jake and the rest of my family, is a horrific set of betrayals. And has been going on since I had my surgery. The last two nights finished me off. I have taken an overdose. There is no other way to get respect. I am not at home, I'm at a hotel, somewhere in ireland, under another name
If I wasn't posting this, my kids and family wouldn't even find out. Was dead for another fortnight since none of them bother their hole with me for a minute. I could have been dead here for weeks already and they'd never have known. Because apparently I'm scum and deserve to be abandoned and treated like sh*t just when I've had my womb and ovaries chopped out and my child is frighteningly sick. I'm such a rotten horrible mother and Person, that I've been alone. Howling crying for weeks. And been told by them all t go fu*k myself. I'm invisible. I don't matter a shred to anyone. No one has come near me. I've died a million times already with the pain of it. So yeah.. Strangers like me.. But my family don't value me at all. They wouldn't know if I was dead until weeks from now if I wasn't fu*king informing them now.
well done guys, you've finally got rid of me. Sorry the penny didn't drop sooner. I'm an idiot. When you planned to get me away from my babies did you plan for me losing my mind over it? It being the final straw? For how you're gonna explain why I died? Make sure you tell the truth. BARRY.. THEY WONT. YOURE THE ONLY ONE WHO KNOWS ME OR THE TRUTH. PLEASE STAND FOR ME AND TELL IT. i can't play twister. My children don't care if I live r die anyway. Neither do their dads. Everyone is better off. Never ever do this to a woman again. Let this be your lesson. I survived it when John waters did it.. I can't survive Jake doing it.

Remember the one about the people who didn't think about what might happen if they didn't stop tormenting a cripple? They found out real hard 'how far is too far' . They woke up next day as murderers, believing they'd gone to bed so high and mighty, and so superior to those they'd deemed 'unfit'.

Update: apparently she's safe. view/id/149933

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2 days ago

Image inside Nov 29 - Planned Parenthood Shooter Was Politically Motivated Heres What We Know

4 people viewing this

| By RAZAH CUTS - 2 days ago


"No more baby parts."

That's what Robert L. Dear, the man who killed three and wounded nine others at a Planned Parenthood clinic on Friday in Colorado Springs, Colorado, told police following the attack, according to NBC News.

If true, the remark clears any questions about Dear's motivation. The comment is apparently a reference to selectively edited videos released earlier this year by an anti-abortion group billing itself as the Center for Medical Progress.

The films purportedly show Planned Parenthood officials discussing the illegal sale of fetal organs, leading to a major political controversy and Republican threats of a government shutdown. Subsequent investigations have found no evidence the nonprofit did anything but accept legal reimbursements for donations of fetal tissue to research organization.

But as more information becomes available about Dear's past, a picture emerges of a man who may not have been particularly skeptical of the details surrounding the Planned Parenthood controversy.

Those who knew Dear describe him as an odd loner who sometimes displayed frightening behavior.

Ex-wife Pamela Ross told the New York Times Dear sometimes had a temper; she once called the police on him after a 1997 domestic violence incident. While she said he was conservative, abortion was "never really a topic of discussion. It never, ever, ever, ever crossed my mind" that he was capable of such violence.

However, novelist Leland Davis told the Times he was stalked by Dear in Swannanoa, North Carolina, after telling the authorities Dear had mistreated a dog.

"I think I would have thought he was a guy who would go on a rampage," Davis told the paper. "We were very, very wary."

Others who had known Dear in 2002 in Walterboro, South Carolina, complained about disconcerting behavior, including spying on neighbors, threats and a dog being shot at with a pellet gun, according to the Times.

"If you talked to him, nothing with him was very cognitive," James Russell, a neighbor in Black Mountain, North Carolina, told the Associated Press. Another neighbor from Black Mountain, John Hood, said Dear advised him to put a metal roof on his house to avoid government spying.

According to the Post & Courier, Dear handed out anti-Obama pamphlets to neighbors.

Dear is due in court on Monday
. now#.uhS53xoNe

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2 days ago

Nov 29 - These Are Some of the Best Online Cyber Monday 2015 Deals on the Internet

3 people viewing this

| By RAZAH CUTS - 2 days ago


Monday marks Cyber Monday, the annual online shopping spree that's historically one of the largest sales days in the United States. Following Black Friday, when consumers bust down doors across the country to get to the best deals, Cyber Monday is typically a quieter spree where consumers shop online via desktop and mobile devices. Here are some of the best Cyber Monday deals from top retailers, as advertised on social media.

Vail Ski Resort in Vail, Colorado, is jumping on board with Cyber Monday discounts this year, offering 50% off lodging for a ski retreat until Dec. 1.

PlayStation is offering 10% off any game during Cyber Monday. Click below to find the code.

Motorola is offering the 64GB Moto X for $300 and the second generation Moto G for $100.

BareMinerals is giving away a free collection of beauty products with a purchase of $75 or more.

Shoppers can find Air Jordan 1 Highs for $160 during Cyber Monday.

For those who can't wait for the day of online shopping to begin, Wal-Mart will begin its online discounts on Sunday.

For a day built around online shopping, e-commerce giant Amazon is a natural destination for Cyber Monday shoppers looking for discounts. According to Tech Times, here are some of Amazon's biggest Cyber Monday offers:

- Amazon Echo: $149
- Kindle and Kindle: $30 off
- Fire Kids Edition: $84.99
- Sony SmartBand 2: $35 off
- Motorola Moto 360 Smartwatch: $40 off
- Mira Wellness and Activity Bracelet: 30% off
- Pencil by FiftyThree: $20 off
- LED and curved monitor TVs from Samsung: $100 off
- Philips Fidelio Noise-Canceling Headphones: $100 off
- Intel-powered Lenovo 2-in-1 laptop: $200 off

Though some retail analysts say Cyber Monday and Black Friday are lessening in importance as deals get stretched out for days, or in some cases weeks, new data from comScore predicts an uptick in e-commerce this year.

Consumers browsing and shopping on mobile devices will generate more than $10 billion in sales during the months of November and December, comScore reported. According to their findings, desktop shoppers last year spent more than $53 billion in the United States but this year, ComScore estimates desktop shoppers will spend more than $58 billion shopping online, and that overall e-commerce in November and December will grow by 14% year-over-year to hit roughly $ 70 billion.

"That whole narrative of Black Friday not existing anymore, that's just not true," comScore's vice president of marketing Andrew Lipsman said, according to MediaPost. "What gets ignored is that just because promotions are happening earlier doesn't mean consumers are shifting spending earlier."

And in a press release, executive chairman emeritus of comScore Gian Fulgoni stressed the importance that mobile commerce will have on lifting overall sales during this year's Cyber Monday.

"We expect Cyber Monday — the first Monday after the Thanksgiving Holiday weekend — to surpass $3 billion in online sales and become the heaviest online spending day in history for the sixth straight year, with roughly half a billion of those dollars coming from mobile devices," Fulgoni said. net#.vGNi6thZd

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2 days ago

Nov 29 - Trump on Debunked 9/11 Claim: 'I'm Not Going To Take It Back'

4 people viewing this

| By RAZAH CUTS - 2 days ago


Donald Trump, orange-tufted sentient troll doll, is just going to “play cool” until we all get over his big fat lie about 9/11.

The Republican presidential frontrunner appeared Sunday on NBC’s “Meet the Press” to dredge back up his widely-debunked claim that Muslims cheered from New Jersey as the Twin Towers fell on Sept. 11, 2001.

“I saw it. So many people saw it ... So, why would I take it back? I’m not going to take it back.”

Earlier in the program, host Chuck Todd chided Trump, suggesting he focus a little more on truth-telling and a little less on racism.

“You’re running for president of the United States. Your words matter. Truthfulness matters.
To which Donald Trump, a man who is currently leading in the Republican polls, responded, “Take it easy, Chuck. Just play cool.” t-b-1745115760

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2 days ago

Video inside Nov 29 - 1 Journalist Dead, 3 More Arrested After Exposing Turkey Arming Syrian Extremists

3 people viewing this

| By RAZAH CUTS - 2 days ago


Istanbul, Turkey — Just over a week after Cumhuriyet Editor-in-Chief, Can Dündar, represented the Turkish daily news outlet in receiving a press freedom award, he and another top editor were arrested and jailed on charges of espionage. In question was a controversial article exposing arms shipments from Turkish intelligence to Syrian extremist rebels.

“We have been arrested,” tweeted Dündar on Thursday. “Don’t worry, these are medals of honor for us.”

He explained further: “We are accused of ‘spying.’ The president said ‘treason.’ We are not traitors, spy [sic], or heroes; we are journalists. What we have done here is an act of journalism,” said Dündar before testifying on Thursday. “Of course, this prosecution will help enlighten how these incidents took place, rather than how we covered this story.”

Now a third Turkish journalist has been arrested, according to local reports. Ertuğrul Özkök, a reporter for Turkish daily Hüriyet, has been arrested for a slanderous criticism of who is presumed to be Erdoğan — even though the president wasn’t explicitly named anywhere in Özkök’s article. As if more evidence of Turkey’s quashing free press and free speech were needed, Özkök potentially faces five years and four months in prison for expressing this opinion.

Dündar and Ankara correspondent, Erdem Gül, if found guilty on charges of spying, as well as aiding a terrorist organization, could spend the rest of their lives in a Turkish prison — for doing their job. There is a painfully ironic undercurrent in the charges considering the subject of the article is the Erdoğan administration’s complicity in arming Syrian extremists (read: terrorists).

Erdoğan himself sued Dündar and accused Cumhuriyet of releasing false information and spying when the story first exploded, stating at the time the journalist responsible would “pay a heavy price,” as the Wall Street Journal reported.

Despite Cunhuriyet’s recent honor from Reporters Sans Frontières (RSF, or Reporters Without Borders), under the paranoid, watchful eye of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, journalists — and dissenters — have faced sweeping general censorship. Dündar and Gül might be the most prominent recent examples of Erdoğan’s attempt to keep “state secrets” concealed from public scrutiny, but they’re not the first journalists to poke this particular sore spot.

In fact, the last time a reporter tried to expose Turkey’s complicity in arming Syrian extremists, she met an untimely and as-yet unexplained death under seriously suspicious circumstances that remain inscrutable to this day — even to her own family.

PressTV reporter Serena Shim, a U.S. citizen, had been investigating the flow of anti-Assad militants and weapons from Turkey’s border region into northwestern Syria amidst heavy fighting near the town of Kobanî. During this time, she attracted the attention of Turkish Intelligence (MiT — Millî İstihbarat Teşkilatı). Though locals knew her and the integrity of her reporting, MiT proceeded to question them and requested her whereabouts — under the unfounded guise Shim had been acting as a spy.

In reality, Shim had “uncovered evidence of secret Western assistance to the Islamic State” — a particularly touchy subject for Erdoğan, as seen in the arrests of Dünbar and Gül. Her video evidence of this assistance — reportedly “proof of Islamic State terrorists using United Nations World Food Program vehicles for a convoy” into Syria, likely akin to Dünbar and Gül’s discovery — has never been recovered. Her passport and wedding ring, seized by Turkish authorities sometime after her death, have never been returned to her family.

Serena Shim and her cousin, cameraperson Judy Irish, unlike the arguably more fortunate Dünbar and Gül, were ostensibly “hit by a truck after turning into the opposite lane on a highway access road,” as reported in Shim was killed, though discrepancies are plentiful in official reports, including whether she died at the scene or an hour later from heart failure in the hospital. Shim and Irish were inexplicably taken to hospitals over 25 miles apart from each other by Turkish military officials, not police, who ‘investigated’ the wreck. After outrage from Shim’s family, Turkish authorities — who first claimed they were unable to locate the vehicle responsible for hitting Shim and Irish — eventually produced photos of the accident, which they then claimed had been caused by a cement truck driver.

Shim’s family has yet to receive answers from either Turkish or U.S. authorities about her dubious demise. On October 20, 2014, Marie Harf of the State Department took questions from the press on a number of subjects, including rumors surrounding Shim’s death. According to the transcript:

QUESTION: Does the U.S. have any comment on reports the death of U.S. citizen Serena Shim in Turkey may be more than just a car crash, following her reports that ISIS militants are being smuggled across the Syrian border?

HARF: Yes. We can confirm that she died in Turkey on October 19th and extend our deepest condolences to her family and friends. Officials from the U.S. Consulate General in Adana are in contact with her family and providing all possible consular assistance. For any details or information about the investigation, I think local authorities in Turkey are handling that.

QUESTION: But I mean, the question was whether you believe that her death had anything other than to do than [sic] a car crash.

HARF: I just don’t have anything further for you than that.

QUESTION: Can you take the question?

HARF: I can, but I don’t think I’m going to have anything further.

On November 20th, the media again attempted to press for answers about Shim’s death during a daily briefing given by Jeff Rathke. Per the transcript:
QUESTION: It’s about the journalist Serena Shim, who died in Turkey under very suspicious circumstances. Did her death raise suspicions here at the State Department?

RATHKE: Well, I think we’ve spoken to this in the briefing room several weeks ago, after it happened. I don’t have anything to add to what the spokesperson said at the time, though.

QUESTION: But then she died several days after she claimed she had been threatened by the Turkish intelligence. Have you inquired about this? Have you asked questions? Is there really nothing new about this?
RATHKE: Well, I just don’t have any update to share with you. Again, this was raised shortly after her death. The spokesperson addressed it. I don’t have an update to share with you at this time.

This icy response sharply contrasts that given by the State for other ‘American’ journalists killed or captured in the area for whom President Obama’s administration appeared to react with care and criticism, such as with James Foley (who was beheaded by ISIS).

U.S. State Dept. spokesperson Mark Toner released a statement on Thursday concerning the arrests of Dünbar and Gül:

“We are troubled by the pre-trial arrest yesterday

“The investigation, criminal charges, and arrest raise serious concerns about the Turkish government’s commitment to the fundamental principle of media freedom. These events are only the latest in a series of judicial and law enforcement actions taken under questionable circumstances against Turkish media outlets critical of the government.
“We call on Turkish authorities to ensure that all individuals and organizations — including but not limited to the media — are free to voice a full range of opinions and criticism, in accordance with Turkey’s constitutional guarantees of media freedom and freedom of expression.”

Most troubling in the silencing of Shim, Dünbar, Gül, and now Özkök are the very real consequences the verity of their reports of the Erdoğan government’s complicity in arming and aiding the Islamic State could have in NATO operations in the region. Should their separate, same discoveries have merit — and considering Erdoğan’s swift and heavy-handed reaction, they likely do — Turkey’s agenda stands at cross purposes with the supposed coalition goal of stunting ISIS. Even Vice President Joe Biden implicated Turkish involvement in the ISIS arms trade, though he apologized and essentially recanted that claim shortly afterwards.

Shortly after Shim’s mysterious death, the Daily Mail revealed video of Turkish border police having friendly interactions with ISIS fighters — apparently further evidence supporting the journalists’ claims.


The U.S. and other allies of Turkey quickly reacted in solidarity with the recent downing of a Russian jet that apparently breached Turkish air space — but is it possible that alliance isn’t as committed to ending ISIS’ growth as it purports to be? Though mostly unstated by the media and State, it has been widely and critically rumored U.S. involvement in the Syrian imbroglio has far more to do with deposing President Bashar al-Assad than leveling the burgeoning Islamic State.

In one of Shim’s final reports from her investigation, she revealed local Turkish populations near the Syrian border simply want an end to fighting. She disclosed many refugee camps in that border region were, in actuality, training camps for militants.

In interviews with local residents, it became clear Erdoğan’s stance on Assad — whom they claim the president used to call “our brother” — sharply reversed after consulting with U.S. officials.

According to Shim, locals stated, “We want Turkey and Syria to be friends again. We want the Syrian militants outside of Turkey’s territory.” She also explained locals “blame their government for the entire chaos taking place across the border [in Syria], calling their Prime Minister a ‘puppet of Israel and the United States.’”


Shim’s family is still waiting for information from the U.S. about her death. Judy Irish survived the deadly ‘accident,’ but so far has not come forward with any public statements about the incident. Press freedom in Turkey, meanwhile, has become a bit of an oxymoron.

Perhaps Voltaire said it best:

“To determine the true rulers of any society, all you must do is ask yourself this question: Who is it that I am not permitted to criticize?” an-extremists/

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