Aukus: Australia defends role in security pact amid French condemnation – BBC News

https://www.bbc.com/news/world-australia-58616759

… Prime

Minister Scott Morrison rejected accusations that Australia had lied,
saying France should have been aware it was prepared to break the deal.

France says the Aukus pact has led to a “serious crisis” between the allies.

Apologies and compensation are simply not good enough for the victims of drone attacks | Aletho News

https://alethonews.com/2021/09/20/apologies-and-compensation-are-simply-not-good-enough-for-the-victims-of-drone-attacks/

By Yvonne Ridley | MEMO| September 20, 2021

Palestine Action is, as its name implies, involved in direct action against some of the arms trade’s most deadly production lines, notably Israel’s Elbit Systems. Since it burst onto the scene, quite a few members have been arrested at some of Elbit’s ten known factories and offices in Britain.

Elbit Systems is Israel’s largest arms company; it makes deadly “unmanned aerial vehicles”, known as drones. Palestine Action’s trademark calling card is deep red paint; it has used gallons since last year, symbolising the blood of innocents spilled in drone strikes.

Recently, the group has expanded its brief from targeting weapons factories to spraying the tented entrance of Britain’s biggest arms fair — DSEI at London’s ExCel Centre — to remind those seeking to buy weapons of the bloodshed caused by the products marketed within. Key exhibitors such as Elbit Systems, Raytheon, BAE Systems, and Lockheed Martin use arms fairs to market their deadly technology and products to governments from around the world. Perhaps they should be the focus of police interest rather than members of Palestine Action.

Palestine Action activists dyed security tent blood red and threw red and green flares on the Excel exhibition centre in London – Sunday, Sept 12, 2021 [VX Photo/ Vudi Xhymshiti]

Like many others, I am sick and tired of half-hearted apologies from the armed forces which use (or misuse) their weaponry. There’s nothing “smart” about a precision-guided missile which kills innocent civilians as — and I hate this term — collateral damage. There is no such thing as a clinical kill, a point agreed by several protest groups which have criticised the arms fair for its role in enabling the destructive US-UK war in Afghanistan over the past twenty years.

According to US policy, attacks by drones are not to go ahead if there is a probability that innocent civilians will be killed or injured. As we found out a few days ago, the US doesn’t really have a clue who it’s blowing up. Call me naïve, but it seems that the only certain thing when a drone takes to the air is, that innocent civilians will die, whether they’re Afghani, Iraqi, Pakistani, Yemeni, Syrian, or Palestinian.

Drone attacks were much favoured by Barack Obama who joked about their efficiency. One news story illustrated how much he ordered their use by pointing out that it would take the former US president more than three years to get through them all if he apologised to one innocent person a day. Human rights groups have demanded transparency from all US presidents since the Bush administration launched its drone wars, but there remains very little clarity on the number of civilians killed.

I’ve suspected this for many years. After the most recent US apology for killing civilians, I had a sense of déjà vu. In April 2003, I travelled solo to Paktika in Afghanistan after hearing rumours of an atrocity against innocent civilians in a district called Bermal. All eyes were focused on Iraq so even though I got the story, it was difficult to find someone to publish it. There’s only so much injustice against the people of Asia and the Middle East that the media is prepared to broadcast or publish.

While I was investigating the atrocity in southern Afghanistan, a senior US army officer was also in the district with hush money to keep Afghan villagers quiet. He did not want people talking to me in case I found out that America had killed eleven children in another deadly blunder.

The Pentagon had claimed that it destroyed a Taliban stronghold when, in fact, US forces had destroyed a house. The grieving mother — Sawara was her name —lost all of her nine children in the attack. She was like an empty shell when I finally spoke to her.

She and her husband Mawes Khan had put their children to bed in the family home they shared with his brother Sardar, and his wife and their seven children. By morning, the corpses of eleven brothers, sisters, and cousins lay in a neat row in the courtyard. The Americans realised the full extent of their mistake and gave the family the equivalent of £6,350 and an apology.

That happened two years into the war when the number of dead Afghan civilians was not deemed important enough to register. How much compensation will the Americans pay to Zemari Ahmadi after wiping out ten members of his family, including eight children? The admission of guilt and an apology were only forthcoming because the world’s media was in Kabul on the day of the attack and had access to the scene of devastation as well as eyewitnesses and survivors to interview.

The media in Washington was briefed about how an unnamed ISIS-Khorasan fighter had been in a vehicle with an associate at the time of the strike, which was carried out by an MQ-9 Reaper drone. Captain Bill Urban, spokesman for US Central Command, assured journalists that the military had used specially chosen precision munitions in order to minimise civilian casualties. In essence, the compliant media was being fed propaganda packed with deceptive euphemisms.

The drone attack on the eve of the departure of the last US troops had come three days after Isis-Khorisan terrorists killed dozens of Afghan civilians, nearly 30 Taliban soldiers, and thirteen members of the US military in a suicide bombing at the gates of Kabul Airport. Civilians always suffer when the US rushes in to wreak revenge.

This week we heard US Defence Secretary Lloyd Austin apologise for a “horrible mistake” after he admitted: “We now know that there was no connection between Mr Ahmadi and Isis-Khorasan, that his activities on that day were completely harmless and not at all related to the imminent threat we believed we faced, and that Mr Ahmadi was just as innocent a victim as were the others tragically killed.”

Compare this with the narrative pushed out on 29 August when the US military claimed triumphantly to have taken out ISIS terrorists and that there had been “significant secondary explosions from the vehicle”, suggesting that explosives were on board. Journalists were told that there were “no indications” of civilian casualties. As I said, America would have got away with the lies had there not been so many foreign journalists on the ground.

It emerged that Zemari Ahmadi is an engineer for aid group Nutrition and Education International. He was observed placing large water bottles or jugs into the back of his white car. US intelligence (surely a contradiction in terms) interpreted this as an ISIS-K member packing explosives into a vehicle for another suicide mission.

It is time for the world to accept that there’s no such thing as a surgical strike and that unmanned drones are among the worst weapons for producing civilian casualties. It would, therefore, make more sense to listen to groups like Palestine Action rather than deploy deadly weapons which have a track record of killing innocent people.

The theme of the DSEI fair at the ExCel Centre was “Integrated Response to Future Threats”, with a focus on drone warfare and surveillance technology. Palestine Action says that this will mean a greater role for drones in British policing as the government enters new procurement and training contracts with the likes of Elbit Systems. According to the activists’ press release, the London fair and a similar exhibition in Liverpool “serve a similar purpose of normalising these firms’ operations and providing an open market for the exchange of the weapons of war. Palestine Action is calling for the cancellation of both events and the ceasing of these firms’ operations on British soil, failing which direct action will continue and will escalate.”

Drone strikes outside the declared war zones of Afghanistan and Iraq are the province of the CIA and the secretive US Joint Special Operations Command. Various US administrations have treated them as official secrets. In the absence of justice for the families of those killed accidentally and/or targeted in drone strikes, civil disobedience and resistance is thus the duty of all reasonable people in war zones like Palestine, Afghanistan, Syria, Yemen, Iraq, Somalia, and elsewhere.

It is easy for governments to demonise dead civilians as “terrorists” because most are killed in remote areas where the absence of justice or journalists makes it easier for the authorities to bury their mistakes. With governments prepared to lie or twist the facts, weapons manufacturers should be careful about those to whom they sell their arms, or be ready to be accused of complicity in war crimes.

We now suspect that the Palestinian children killed while playing on a beach in Gaza in 2014 were hit by an Israeli drone strike. The manufacturers are surely just as complicit as the Israeli soldiers who targeted young boys. Again, had journalists not been in an adjacent hotel when the strike took place, Israel might have got away with insulting everyone’s intelligence by claiming that Hamas “terrorists” were on active duty that day.

These are the sort of crimes that British police officers should be investigating, instead of arresting the people who draw attention to international war crimes and criminal negligence which led to the killing of Palestine’s 9-year-old Ismayil Bahar, 10-year-old Aed Bahar, 10-year-old Zacharia Bahar, and 11-year-old Muhammed Bahar on that Gaza beach; the Ahmadi family in Kabul earlier this month; and the Khan’s eleven children in Bermal in 2003, as well as the tens of thousands of others in-between. The law of universal jurisdiction exists to allow states to prosecute those responsible for international crimes committed elsewhere. The fact that few, if any such prosecutions go ahead, signals a degree of complicity at the highest levels of governments and judiciaries.

In such cases, it is not always the law that is an ass, but the people charged with implementing it and ensuring that justice is seen to be done for people like the Bahar, Ahmadi, and Khan families. Apologies and compensation are simply not good enough.

Elderly Australian woman knocked down & PEPPER-SPRAYED by police during Melbourne protest against lockdowns — RT World News

https://www.rt.com/news/535256-elderly-australian-knocked-melbourne-police/

Elderly Australian woman knocked down & PEPPER-SPRAYED by police during Melbourne protest against lockdowns

Elderly Australian woman knocked down & PEPPER-SPRAYED by police during Melbourne protest against lockdowns
Melbourne police and pepper-sprayed while she was on the ground during a
protest against Covid-19 lockdowns on Saturday.

As she held an Australian flag and stood on the road facing toward a
group of approaching police, one officer shoved the woman, sending her
tumbling to the ground. Another officer then pepper-sprayed the woman as
she laid motionless and unable to protect herself.

Seconds after
the attack – with the offending officers having already moved on –
another group of police officers came to the woman’s aid and attempted
to help her up.

Videos of the attack from multiple angles went viral on social media this weekend, with many Australians accusing the Melbourne officers of police brutality.

Australian MP Craig Kelly called the attack “despicable,” “disgusting,” and “ILLEGAL,” and tweeted, “This
is not my Australia… We cannot accept Police in Australia pushing to
the ground an unarmed 70 yr old woman (or anyone) who presents no threat
& then have 2 officers pepper spray the unarmed, defenceless person
in the face while on the ground.”

Former New South Wales Senator David Leyonhjelm also condemned the attack, calling the officers “gutless,” while journalist Ky Chow wrote, “I’ve watched several videos of this, and it’s hard to see how the Vic cops defend this.”

Several
other incidents of violence between police and protesters broke out
during the protest in Melbourne on Saturday and 235 people were reportedly arrested.

Melbourne police were also caught on camera pepper-spraying dozens of other Australians who were involved with the “unauthorized protest.”

Both
Melbourne and Sydney have experienced repeated protests over the past
few months in response to Covid-19 lockdown restrictions in the two
cities. In August, a man from the state of Victoria was sentenced to a maximum of eight months in prison for helping to organize a protest in Sydney, New South Wales.



Also on rt.com
Australian police clash
with anti-lockdown protesters after failing to suppress dissent with
overwhelming force, threat of arrests

Ford violating privacy law by storing driver’s private conversations and releasing them to cops and private company | Aletho News

https://alethonews.com/2021/09/20/ford-violating-privacy-law-by-storing-drivers-private-conversations-and-releasing-them-to-cops-and-private-company/

New Class Action Lawsuit Filed

By Anna Bradley-Smith | Top Class Actions | September 15, 2021

Ford Motor Company uses its infotainment system to secretly download and store drivers’ private text conversations, and then turns them over to law enforcement and the private company Berla, a new class action lawsuit alleges. The lawsuit was filed in Washington on Sept. 10 by lead plaintiffs Mark Jones and Michael McKee, who allege the company violated the Washington Privacy Act. The act, they say in the suit, forbids any entity in the state of Washington from intercepting or pre-recording any private communication without first obtaining consent of all the participants in the communication. But Ford, they allege, has been doing so illegally through software and hardware made by Berla Corporation. Berla then supplies those conversations to law enforcement, military, civil and regulatory agencies, and select private industry organizations, the lawsuit alleges. Berla does not give private citizens any means to access or delete their own conversations. “On information and belief, vehicle infotainment systems in Ford vehicles automatically download a copy of every text message stored on any phone connected to the system and store that copy in computer memory on the vehicle in such a manner that the vehicle owner cannot access it,” the lawsuit reads. Jones owns a 2021 Ford vehicle with an infotainment system he has used repeatedly. He says in the claim that he has never consented to Ford downloading and storing his text messages, and similarly did not consent to third parties such as Berla or law enforcement having access to copies of such text messages made by his Ford vehicle’s infotainment system. McKee sent messages to Jones and his messages have also been stored without his consent, the lawsuit states. Ford also Accused of Violating Privacy by Recording Conversations and Illegally Downloading Phone Data in Rental CarsThe same issue is true even with rental cars, the lawsuit says, with Ben LeMere, the CEO and founder of Berla, telling reporters the company has seen a number of messages stored in rental cars that were requesting drugs and sex. LeMere told the reporteres that as soon as a phone is plugged into a USB power port, the hardware and software will “start sucking all your data down into the car.” Jones argues Ford has violated their customer’s privacy and they are suing on behalf of all Washington Ford owners for violations of the Washington Privacy Act. He seeks certification of the Class, injunctive relief, declaratory relief, damages, legal fees and costs, and a jury trial.

Alabama Joins Ten States To Support Florida’s ‘Free Speech’ Law – Nwo Report

https://nworeport.me/2021/09/20/alabama-joins-ten-states-to-support-floridas-free-speech-law/

Source: Autumn Johnson

Alabama is the eleventh state to join Florida’s fight against Big Tech.

Florida S.B. 7072 allows Floridians to sue Big Tech companies if they feel they have been unfairly censored and also allows Florida’s attorney general to sue as well.

Steve Marshall, Alabama’s Attorney General, joined Florida, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Kentucky, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, South Carolina, and Texas in an effort to push back against Big Tech’s efforts to take legal action against the Florida law.

“For daring to protect her citizens’ freedom of speech, Florida is being demonized by the giants of Big Tech, which have the gall to claim that invalidating the Sunshine State’s anti-censorship law is necessary ‘to protect Florida consumers, small businesses, and free speech,’” Marshall said.

Marshall added that Alabama “is keenly aware of the menace of Big Tech censorship, and has recently launched — along with the State of Louisiana — a ‘Social Media Censorship Complaint Form’ that allows members of the public to file a formal complaint if they have been censored on social media.”

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis signed the bill into law in May, but a federal judge in June temporarily prevented the law from being enforced and said parts of the law may violate the First Amendment.

NetChoice, a trade association that sued under the law, said it was “elated” by the June ruling.

“America’s judiciary system is designed to protect our constitutional rights, and today’s ruling is no different, ensuring that Florida’s politically motivated law does not force Floridians to endure racial epithets, aggressive homophobia, pornographic material, beheadings, or other gruesome content just to use the internet,” NetChoice’s statement read.

OUCH! Richard Ebright and 15 Top Scientists Eviscerate Fauci and Daszak in Lancet Medical Journal — The Gateway Pundit | Truth2Freedom’s Blog

https://truth4freedom.wordpress.com/2021/09/20/ouch-richard-ebright-and-15-top-scientists-eviscerate-fauci-and-daszak-in-lancet-medical-journal-the-gateway-pundit/

The world‘s leading medical journal The Lancet has now published an article explicitly condemning the letter organized by Dr. Anthony Fauci, Peter Daszak of the EcoHealth Alliance, Jeremy Farrar of the Wellcome Trust, and others.

On February 2nd 2020, when confronted with first evidence the Covid pandemic may have originated in the Wuhan Lab he funded via Daszak’s EcoHealth Alliance, Fauci organized a conference call, apparently to discuss how to suppress this dangerous information, since the trail led straight to them.

On Feb. 19, 2020, Daszak, Farrar and others published a letter in The Lancet, saying that “We stand together to strongly condemn conspiracy theories suggesting that COVID-19 does not have a natural origin.”

This letter was then used to suppress and censor the Chinese lab leak theory in Mainstream Media and on social media for over a year. There was, and remains, no evidence for the “scientists’” claims.

Now, a new article in The Lancet by Jacques van Helden of Aix-Marseille University in France, Richard Ebright of Rutgers U. and 14 other authors has skewered the Fauci apologists’ unscientific Fake News “which claimed overwhelming support for the hypothesis that the novel coronavirus causing the COVID-19 pandemic originated in wildlife.”

“The authors associated any alternative view with conspiracy theories by stating: “We stand together to strongly condemn conspiracy theories suggesting that COVID-19 does not have a natural origin”. The statement has imparted a silencing effect on the wider scientific debate, including among science journalists,” Ebright and colleagues charge.

Contrary to the Fake Scientists’ claim, “there is no direct support for the natural origin of SARS-CoV-2, and a laboratory-related accident is plausible. There is so far no scientifically validated evidence that directly supports a natural origin.”

“Neither the host pathway from bats to humans, nor the geographical route from Yunnan (where the viruses most closely related to SARS-CoV-2 have been sampled) to Wuhan (where the pandemic emerged) have been identified. More than 80 000 samples collected from Chinese wildlife sites and animal farms all proved negative”, the researchers write.

In addition, the international research community “has no access to the sites, samples, or raw data” related to the Wuhan Lab and the Covid outbreak, the article attests. Even WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus has now declared “that all hypotheses remained on the table, including that of a laboratory leak.”

A lab leak origin of the pandemic is “plausible”, the authors find: “Some unusual features of the SARS-CoV-2 genome sequence suggest that they may have resulted from genetic engineering.”

Ebright and collegaues also skewered Fauci’s stooges for placing “unity” and their political agenda over critical evaluation and science:

“As scientists, we need to evaluate all hypotheses on a rational basis, and to weigh their likelihood based on facts and evidence, devoid of speculation concerning possible political impacts. Contrary to the first letter published in The Lancet … we do not think that scientists should promote “unity” (“We support the call from the Director-General of WHO to promote scientific evidence and unity over misinformation and conjecture”).

As shown above, research-related hypotheses are not misinformation and conjecture. More importantly, science embraces alternative hypotheses, contradictory arguments, verification, refutability, and controversy. Departing from this principle risks establishing dogmas, abandoning the essence of science, and, even worse, paving the way for conspiracy theories. Instead, the scientific community should bring this debate to a place where it belongs: the columns of scientific journals.”

It is hard to imagine how Fauci, Daszak, Farrar and their co-conspirators can remain in their positions after this brutal scientific takedown.

OUCH! Richard Ebright and 15 Top Scientists Eviscerate Fauci and Daszak in Lancet Medical Journal — The Gateway Pundit

The inhuman Covid extortion racket run by many Vietnamese hospitals

The inhuman Covid extortion racket run by many Vietnamese hospitals

by tonytran2015.

Despite the Vietnamese Congressional Law and Health Ministerial Order that the costs of Covid disease diagnosis and treatment are born by the government, and treatments should be free, Vietnamese Hospitals are still illegally charging the poor, uninformed Vietnamese patients (who have been sent there for isolation and treatment by the government) with sky high bills under the pretext of provisional payments by patients often in the order of USD 20,000 which is OUTRAGEOUS for a Country with an unequal nominal per capita GDP of USD 3,700 with many poor people earning less than USD 3.20 daily. One of such scandalous extortion case from Binh Tan Hospital in HCM City is well publicized in Vietnamese news sources. Some hospitals requires “voluntary contributions” and have asked the government to allow it. Even cremation costs for deceased patients also get doubled.

Hospitals are now ILLEGALLY retaining uninformed Covid patients and don’t release them with Green Cards (certifying that they had recovered from Covid) until they have paid the ILLEGAL “hospital discharge fees” which runs between USD 5000 to USD 20,000. Patients who cannot pay are retained in the dangerous infectious environment of the hospital and are left to sleep under the tents in the yard or the veranda of the hospital in cold and wet weather. Actually patients are allowed by Vietnamese laws to discharge themselved from hospitals although they are still liable to the bills but the uninformed patients don’t dare to challenge the hospitals.

“Hospital discharge fees” are currently acting as bribes collected by hospitals and letting to sleep under tents in cold wet weather is acting as a kind of torture of the retained patients.

In such ILLEGAL, DANGEROUS, torturous retention of patients by hospitals, the weakened patients may easily get reinfested with Covid or get infested from another disease for which the hospital can legally charge them with new bills.

Vietnamese authority should immediately stamp out this extortion racket.

US admits deadly Kabul blast killing multiple civilians, 7 children ‘was a tragic mistake’ – ABC News

Comment by tonytran2015: A face saving act to divert attention from a bungled retreat turns out to be another disaster. Can Biden’s team be trusted?

https://www.abc.net.au/news/2021-09-18/us-admits-kabul-air-strike-killed-10-civilians/100473122

  • A drone strike in Kabul last month killed 10 civilians, the US military says
  • The US previously said the drone targeted IS-K suicide bombers
  • General Frank McKenzie told reporters the blast “was a mistake”

Anti-lockdown protesters clash in inner Melbourne, with smaller gatherings in Sydney, Brisbane and Byron Bay – ABC News

https://www.abc.net.au/news/2021-09-18/melbourne-public-transport-suspended-for-anti-lockdown-protest/100472436

  • Public transport to central Melbourne was stopped between 8:00am and 2:00pm
  • Police estimate between 500 and 700 protestors marched through the streets of Richmond
  • Authorities say 10 police officers were injured in violent clashes with demonstrators