Friday 21st of July 2017

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by Gus Leonisky on Thu, 2017-07-20 21:27


CIA operations follow the same recurring script. First, American business interests abroad are threatened by a popular or democratically elected leader. The people support their leader because he intends to conduct land reform, strengthen unions, redistribute wealth, nationalize foreign-owned industry, and regulate business to protect workers, consumers and the environment. So, on behalf of American business, and often with their help, the CIA mobilizes the opposition. First it identifies right-wing groups within the country (usually the military), and offers them a deal: "We'll put you in power if you maintain a favorable business climate for us." The Agency then hires, trains and works with them to overthrow the existing government (usually a democracy). It uses every trick in the book: propaganda, stuffed ballot boxes, purchased elections, extortion, blackmail, sexual intrigue, false stories about opponents in the local media, infiltration and disruption of opposing political parties, kidnapping, beating, torture, intimidation, economic sabotage, death squads and even assassination. These efforts culminate in a military coup, which installs a right-wing dictator. The CIA trains the dictator’s security apparatus to crack down on the traditional enemies of big business, using interrogation, torture and murder. The victims are said to be "communists," but almost always they are just peasants, liberals, moderates, labor union leaders, political opponents and advocates of free speech and democracy. Widespread human rights abuses follow.

This scenario has been repeated so many times that the CIA actually teaches it in a special school, the notorious "School of the Americas." (It opened in Panama but later moved to Fort Benning, Georgia.) Critics have nicknamed it the "School of the Dictators" and "School of the Assassins." Here, the CIA trains Latin American military officers how to conduct coups, including the use of interrogation, torture and murder.

The Association for Responsible Dissent estimates that by 1987, 6 million people had died as a result of CIA covert operations. (2) Former State Department official William Blum correctly calls this an "American Holocaust."

The CIA justifies these actions as part of its war against communism. But most coups do not involve a communist threat. Unlucky nations are targeted for a wide variety of reasons: not only threats to American business interests abroad, but also liberal or even moderate social reforms, political instability, the unwillingness of a leader to carry out Washington’s dictates, and declarations of neutrality in the Cold War. Indeed, nothing has infuriated CIA Directors quite like a nation’s desire to stay out of the Cold War.

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by Gus Leonisky on Thu, 2017-07-20 08:36


Russian attorney Natalia Veselnitskaya told RT she is ready to testify before the US Congress on her controversial meeting with Donald Trump Jr. during last year’s presidential campaign in America.

The attorney, who met with Donald Trump Jr. during his father's campaign for the presidency, said she knows who was behind the "mass hysteria" related to the meeting.

She accuses Magnitsky Act lobbyist William Browder of masterminding the disinformation campaign, aiming to harm her as revenge for a recent defeat he suffered in a US court in at the hands of a team of lawyers that included Veselnitskaya.



I have absolutely no doubt that this whole information [campaign] is being spun, encouraged and organized by that very man as revenge for the defeat he suffered in the court of the Southern State of New York in the ‘Prevezon’ company case,”
 she said.



Veselnitskaya was one of the legal experts who represented Cyprus-based holding company Prevezon, owned by Russian businessman Denis Katsyv, in its defense against allegations of money laundering.

The case, which was launched in 2013, ended in a settlement in May this year with no admission of guilt by Prevezon.

"He wasn't able to convince the court with his lousy human tragedy that actually never happened, about the fate of a dead man – who he only learnt about after his death," Veselnitskaya said, referring to the 2009 death of Russian lawyer and auditor Sergey Magnitsky in a Moscow detention center.

Browder, the CEO of Hermitage Capital Investment company, is a big name in Russia, known mostly for his business dealings there in the 1990s and his economic crimes. He was also the boss of the late Magnitsky.

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by Gus Leonisky on Thu, 2017-07-20 08:24


Every winter thousands of giant Australian cuttlefish gather to breed in a stretch of shallow, rocky water off Point Lowly in South Australia. The phenomenon, known as an aggregation, is the only known instance of cuttlefish gathering in such large numbers – it is estimated there can be more than 150,000 in a 10km stretch of water – and has become a tourist as well as scientific attraction. This video, taken by, captures male cuttlefish as they display their brightest pigments in a bid to attract females. It is not known why the giant Cuttlefish aggregate in this area particularly but it is believed they are likely attracted to the shallow rocky area along the coast as it provides optimal habitat to lay their eggs. Video courtesy of

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by Gus Leonisky on Thu, 2017-07-20 07:51


President Trump has decided to end the CIA’s covert program to arm and train moderate Syrian rebels battling the government of Bashar al-Assad, a move long sought by Russia, according to U.S. officials.

The program was a central plank of a policy begun by the Obama administration in 2013 to put pressure on Assad to step aside, but even its backers have questioned its efficacy since Russia deployed forces in Syria two years later.

Officials said the phasing out of the secret program reflects Trump’s interest in finding ways to work with Russia, which saw the anti-Assad program as an assault on its interests. The shuttering of the program is also an acknowledgment of Washington’s limited leverage and desire to remove Assad from power.

Just three months ago, after the United States accused Assad of using chemical weapons, Trump launched retaliatory airstrikes against a Syrian air base. At the time, U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley, said that “in no way do we see peace in that area with Assad at the head of the Syrian government.”

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by Gus Leonisky on Thu, 2017-07-20 06:50

Some birds, especially parrots, songbirds and the entire crow family, are surprisingly intelligent - and not just compared to other birds. 
Compared with some of our close relatives, these birds have twice as many neurons per gram of brain!
So what's the story behind these smart birds' brains? Dr Karl is on the case.



If you carefully listen to bird calls, you would notice that lorikeets have several hundred calls expressing their mood and general chatter, in a very social environment. A group of thirty to forty birds makes a racket as they flock to the nearest flowering bottlebrush trees, in cities of Australia. Warning calls, love songs, gossip, pecking order, joy, aggression can be "sensed" even by us, dumb bird-brain humans.

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by Gus Leonisky on Thu, 2017-07-20 06:37

By the standards of the Francis papacy, things were rather quiet in Rome for much of 2017. The great controversy of the previous two years, the debate over communion for the divorced and remarried, had entered a kind of stalemate, with bishops the world over disagreeing and the pope himself keeping a deliberate silence. One long act of the pontificate seemed finished; the question was how much drama there was still to come.

The last month has supplied some. In rapid succession, four important cardinals have been removed from the stage. The first, George Pell, was both in charge of the pope’s financial reforms and a leading opponent of communion for the remarried. He has returned to his native Australia to face charges of sexual abuse — charges that either represent a culminating revelation in the church’s grim accounting on the issue, or else (as Pell’sdefenders insist) a sign that the abuse scandal has become a license for prosecutorial witch hunts.

The second cardinal, Gerhard Mueller, was the head of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, the office charged with safeguarding Catholic doctrine. Often sidelined by Francis, he had performed a careful tightrope walk on the pope’s marriage document, Amoris Laetitia, insisting that it did not change church teaching on remarriage and the sacraments while downplaying the signals that the pope himself thought otherwise. His five-year term was expiring; these are often renewed but his was not, and in a manner so brusque that the usually circumspect German publicly complained.

The third cardinal, Joachim Meisner, was a retired archbishop of Cologne and a longtime friend of Benedict XVI. He was one of the signatories of the dubia — the public questions four cardinals posed last year to Francis about Amoris Laetitia, effectively questioning its orthodoxy. He died in his sleep at 83 — shortly after Mueller, his fellow countryman, had called him to report the news that he had been cashiered.

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by Gus Leonisky on Thu, 2017-07-20 06:30

President Trump is having a tough time getting what he wants this week. First the Senate dropped the health care bill, and then, late on Tuesday, a House committee approved an appropriations bill that doesn’t go nearly as far as he sought in slashing the Environmental Protection Agency.

In Trump’s 2018 budget proposal, released in May, the EPA took the biggest hit of any federal agency. His proposed 31 percent budget cut was so extreme that EPA administrator Scott Pruitt encountered resistance from fellow Republicans when he defended eliminating more than 50 programs, including Great Lakes restoration, reducing diesel emissions, and grants for tribes. As Rep. Mark Amodei (R-Nevada) observed: “You may be the first person to get more than you asked for,” because “nobody is standing on the rooftops begging for dirty water and dirty air and dirty soil.” 

Yesterday, in a 30-21 vote, the committee advanced an appropriations bill that cuts funding to the Department of the Interior by 7 percent and the EPA by 6.5 percent. The bill moving through Congress does retain some popular programs like the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative that Trump wanted gone, but there are still plenty of blows to environmental protection.

Republicans are seeking cuts to science, environmental enforcement, clean water funds to states and other state grants, and cleanup programs for the Puget Sound and Chesapeake Bay—though they aren’t as steep as those Trump had requested. The bill also includes at least 16 additional provisions in which Republicans targeted Interior and EPA policies, including the Endangered Species Act, a clean water rule expanding protections for drinking water, and stricter ozone standards. The budget bill also includes a rider restricting how greenhouse gasses are calculated, and declared burning trees to be carbon-neutral.

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by Gus Leonisky on Thu, 2017-07-20 06:17

It was somewhat embarrassing to see Bob Brown go round the world as he was being interviewed on Lateline-ABCTV, about the latest cockup, fucup of the Greens, the party he used to run before retiring. In regard to citizenship, the Aussie Constitution is simple. Should you be born overseas and want to join parliament, you need to become Australian and renounce your former citizenship. This was designed to prevent conflicts of interests, especially from England in the early days. It's not hard: you are in the Australian parliament, you cannot be UnAustralian (holding another citizenship) as well. For years, this same problem was hanging over the head of Tony Abbott because he was born in England. It took till 2015 for him to get the official paper of what he did in 1993, but only released the form only recently (2017)... 


by Gus Leonisky on Wed, 2017-07-19 19:06

Cosmic rays are atom fragments that rain down on the Earth from outside of the solar system. They blaze at the speed of light and have been blamed for electronics problems in satellites and other machinery.

First discovered in 1912, many things about cosmic rays remain a mystery more than a century later. One prime example is exactly where they are coming from. Most scientists suspect their origins are related to supernovas (star explosions), but the challenge is that cosmic ray origins appear uniform when you look across the entire sky.

While cosmic rays were only discovered in the 1900s, scientists knew something mysterious was going on as early as the 1780s. That's when French physicist Charles-Augustin de Coulomb — best known for having a unit of electrical charge named after him — observed an electrically charged sphere suddenly and mysteriously not being charged any more.

At the time, air was thought to be an insulator and not an electric conductor. With more work, however, scientists discovered that air can conduct electricity if its molecules are charged or ionized. This would most commonly happen when the molecules interact with charged particles or X-rays.

But where these charged particles came from was a mystery; even attempts to block the charge with large amounts of lead were coming up empty. On Aug. 7, 1912, physicist Victor Hess flew a high-altitude balloon to 17,400 feet (5,300 meters). He discovered three times more ionizing radiation there than on the ground, which meant the radiation had to be coming from outer space.

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