January 28, 2015

Day 28

Two murders a day, horrific kidnappings and even the police don't dare enter: Inside the ghost towns of Mexico's 'Murder Valley' - one of the deadliest places on earth

18-foot high fences separate Juarez Valley from American state of Texas

Vigilante forces who opposed 'Sinaloa' cartel were tortured and beheaded

'You get used to seeing dead bodies in the street,' says one local resident

Pictures of murdered relatives sent to families who failed to pay ransom

One man heard his kidnapped daughter, 17, being raped 'down the phone'

The police officers who were executed in 2009 have never been replaced

Only 5,000 of its 60,000 original inhabitants have dared to remain

by Alasdair Baverstock

As originally posted on: Daily Mail Online
January 21, 2015

The Juarez Valley on the Mexico-Texas border, a forty mile stretch of cotton fields and ghost towns, is so dangerous that even the police don't dare to enter.

Situated to the east of Juarez City – a town which held the title of the world's most violent for three consecutive years – the criminal cartels in 'Murder Valley' run drugs, weapons and illegal immigrants across the border, murdering in cold blood anyone who interferes with their business.

Today the Juarez Valley, which runs along the Rio Grande and is just a stone's throw from the eighteen-foot fence on the US border, sees more death and violence than anywhere else in North America. It has even been suggested that it could be the deadliest place on Earth

'You get used to seeing dead bodies in the streets', Alejandro Montes, an employee at the only petrol station in the town of Praxedis Guadalupe, told MailOnline.

'If you're away from your home and you hear gunshots then you could end up dead', he said. 'I've lost a lot of friends who were either caught in the crossfire or worse - they had spoken out against the criminals'.

The last of Praxedis Guadalupe's police officers were executed in 2009 by the controlling Sinaloa Cartel; they have never been replaced.

The Sinaloa cartel is currently thought to be under the control of a drug lord named Zambada, who replaced 'El Chapo' Guzman following his arrest early last year.

A community vigilante force subsequently established itself in the area, but following the kidnapping, torture and beheading of its chief Manuel Castro, the residents have lived in fear of the brutal treatment reserved for community heroes.

'The narcos, rather than the police, have become the authority in The Valley,' said Alejandro. 'If you want to survive, you have to live by their rules'.

Today, Juarez Valley averages 160 murders per 100,000 residents annually according to the authorities in San Agustin, the only town in the region with any police presence at all.

The valley was once home to a 60,000-strong community. Today only around five thousand of the original residents remain.

The rest have either fled or fallen victim to the cartel violence. Murder rates are higher in the region due to the cartels battling over territory - thugs arrive from elsewhere to kill each other in the streets.

The town of Praxedis Guadalupe looks like the set of a horror film, and for many of the residents of the region the lives they lead are not far away from the image of gang violence that Hollywood presents.

Every building on the town's main street makes some form of testimony to the violence they have witnessed. The metal shutters remain closed on the buildings' windows year-round, and the majority of the shops have been abandoned.

To get access to the town's only pharmacy, you have to state your business at the armoured front door's intercom.

Throughout the town one sees burned-down houses where only

the charred wooden beams still stand, bullet-ridden road signs, graffiti indicating the sites of murders, holes blasted in the sides of abandoned homes.

'In San Agustin we see on average two murders a day,' Police Supervisor Umberto Mata told MailOnline.

Supervisor Mata has seen many fellow officers die during his seven years in the Juarez region.

He added: 'The residents tend to stay indoors because of the violence. If on the rare occasion you do see someone in the street, they're probably one of the narco assassins'.

San Agustin is the most westerly town in 'Murder Valley', and battle lines between government forces and narcotraffickers lie in the No Man's Land between the next town to the east, Praxedis Guadalupe.

'We don't go past the limits of the town,' Supervisor Mata, who saw action in Juarez City during the period of greatest violence, told MailOnline. 'It's simply too dangerous.

'I'm a wanted woman three kilometres east of here,' said Marta Armas, the only female police officer on the San Agustin force. 'I've busted enough of the thugs driving through our town with drugs and weapons for a price to go on my head.

'If I step out of bounds here, it'll be torture before they kill me. That's how they deal with police officers on their side.'

The narco-traffickers who terrorise the region forbid the residents to talk to the authorities on pain of death.

'I can't talk about the terrible things they've done to me', one old woman with tears in her eyes told MailOnline. 'My husband and two sons are dead because of them. If I'm seen talking to a journalist I'll be dead within the hour.

'If I'm required to leave my office to visit another station in the valley', said Mario Fernandez, who runs the Mexican immigration checkpoint in Guadalupe, 'then I will cross into the United States and re-enter at the border I need to visit.

'If the narcos smell even the slightest hint of government forces or authority along the main road, there will be death.'

The construction of the eighteen-foot tall fence along the US-Mexico border by the American authorities seven years ago made the situation worse for many residents of Juarez Valley, they say.

Frustrated by the heightened security and greater difficulty of crossing into the United States, many of the narco-traffickers turned to kidnapping and extortion within the local community in order to continue earning.

The 17-year-old daughter of a pharmacy owner in the valley had been kidnapped on the day before MailOnline arrived in his town. He asked to remain anonymous for fear of repercussions.

'They came in the night to our house and took her from her bed,' he said, speaking with tears in his eyes of his awful experience. 'We were held at gunpoint in our own room while they took her.

'This morning we had a phone call from her captors. They made us listen to her being raped down the telephone, before demanding four thousand dollars by the end of the week.'

Many residents in the area have been the victims of kidnapping, and say that the tactics of the kidnappers are very difficult to deal with.

'If you agree to a ransom price too quickly then the kidnappers will raise it,' said one man, whose father was the victim of kidnapping from which he never returned.

His father was found decapitated three weeks after he disappeared from a restaurant where he had flashed too much money under the noses of a group of cartel members.

'They send you pictures of the person being mutilated, and tell you the more you delay the worse they will be', said his son.

The murder was never reported by the Juarez newspapers, nor was the crime ever solved by police investigators, who many residents claim ignore much of the horrors in the valley as they concentrate on Juarez City.

'There were eight other kidnappings in the valley that week', said his son. 'How can we expect results when the police don't even come here anymore?'

Kidnap victims in Murder Valley rarely return to their families. 'It's easier for the cartels to kill them rather than instigate any sort of revenge plan when they return', he said.

'I can't go to the federal police', he added. 'They have the reputation of being involved with the criminals here. Even if I find a police officer who is honest and tell him my problem, the narcos will find out I have been talking and then kill me'.

'The federal police in this town are the ones who make trouble for the locals', said the young man, who continues to live with his widowed mother. 'They have no respect for anyone and beat me up if I do anything they don't like'.

In 2008, the Sinaloa cartel (run by 'El Chapo' Guzman who last year was detained by Mexican authorities) declared war on the Juarez cartel, leading to an explosion of gang violence in Juarez City.

As El Paso's neighbour soaked up the world's attention, few noticed the savagery being committed just ten miles to the east, in a farming region carved out of the Sinaloan desert.

As the authorities began to take control of the city again in 2012, much of the business of borderland narco-trafficking moved into the Juarez Valley.

Many residents of the valley fled as a result of the violence. The sudden drop in manpower put an end to local industry, and today unemployment rates are high.

Although the valley's arid fields and intense sunlight produces perfect conditions for cotton agriculture – indeed, the valley's cotton has been said to rival that produced in Egypt – farming produces little reward.

One kilo of raw cotton sells for just ten pence, and labourers are paid less than ten per cent of the profits for a back-breaking day's work in which they may pick two hundred kilograms.

'Many people from the region, or who come here from other parts of he country, end up working as killers for the cartel', says Supervisor Mata (whose surname translates to Supervisor Kill).

'When people are desperate and haven't been able to feed their family for months, the cartels offer them money to kill people, and they take it.

'Other people arrive here from other parts of Mexico thinking that by working for the cartel they will eventually become a powerful drug lord,' he said.

'This makes it difficult because anyone here could secretly be a narco assassin. In other troubled parts of Mexico such as Michoacan, the government have records of who the gang members are.

Here we have no idea because new killers are recruited just as soon as the previous ones are killed or arrested.

'At one point last year I was talking to an eighty-year old man I had pitied for his frailty. When I asked to conduct a routine search he pulled a gun on me. It's the fact that you never know who you're dealing with makes this area so dangerous.'

'We see a lot of ghosts', said Juan Valdez, a Praxedis resident who gave his name as a famous Colombian coffee brand in order to remain anonymous, 'especially in the old disco.'

In 2010 there was a terrible shooting in the town's 'Roses Disco', during which three young girls were killed.

The building is now completely abandoned, much like the rest of

the town's entertainment businesses. The floors are covered with the faeces of the pigeons and stray dogs which now inhabit the building, and the locals claim that in the evenings the ghost of one of the murder girls appears in a blood-stained dress, watching silently from the main entrance.

'I haven't moved away because my family lives here,' says Alejandro Montes who has seen many friends die as a result of the violence. 'It's possible to make a life for yourself here, it's just a different set of laws to what apply elsewhere.

'If you stay out of the narcos' way you'll survive,' he smiles. 'Just duck out of sight when you hear bullets.'

January 27, 2015

Day 27

Man Attacked by Two Police Officers While Standing in Hallway

by "Matt Agorist"

As originally posted on: informationliberation
January 26, 2015

Pittsburgh, PA — A disturbing video obtained by WPXI News shows two officers approach an otherwise completely peaceful man and begin to brutally assault him.

The video starts with two male officers and one female officer, walking down the hallway of the Renewal Halfway House in Pittsburgh. A black male is seen standing in the doorway on his cell phone.

As officers approach the man there is seemingly no warning before the two uniformed brutes begin waylaying on a this non-threatening individual. While the video is silent we can assume that the two officers were yelling, “Quit resisting” the entire time they were delivering haymaker blow after haymaker blow, with their metal asps.

Even if the victim was trained in the art of super obedience and police submission, it would be nearly impossible to calmly lay on one’s stomach and surrender as baton strikes rain down from all directions.

While it has been confirmed that this issue is now under investigation by Pittsburgh’s Office of Public Safety, the disturbing reality is that no one knew about it.

Pittsburgh Public Safety Director Stephen Bucar told Channel 11 News that he doesn't know why officers were called to the building.

This incident is an example of the complete lack of accountability of police departments. A serious use of force incident can be seen in this video, yet no one in the department knows why it happened, or even when it happened.

At the end of the video, 13 minutes after the man is accosted by police, he is then stood up and limps out of the building.

January 26, 2015

Day 26

Pinkie Pie beheaded by ISIS

by "Liki Weaks"

As originally posted on: Horse News
January 25, 2015

"Death to the singles-getting infidels!" proclaims one member of the Inbred Saddlearabian Infidels Society or "ISIS" in a recently-released video. The video, translated by youtube captions, features a warning to all who those who stand in their way and do not offer their praise and dubs unto Celestia.

What the pair of extremists did next was horrifying, as they proceeded to decapitate a prisoner, identified as Pinkie Pie, on-camera.

The United Nations has released a statement of condemnation of ISIS's actions in the form of a strongly worded letter. The extremists reportedly hung up on the refridgerator, noting that it was "cute" and that they were impressed that the UN could color inside the lines.

The 2 extremists in the photo were identified as being former leaders of the "Anti-Brony Brotherhood" - American teenagers who were fed up with their hard lives living in the suburbs who fled the country to join ISIS. "Todd" and "Steve" left manifestos on their Facebook pages before disappearing last Fall, detailing how "fed up" they were with "fucking bronies" for constantly beating them at "Call of Duty" online. Their parent's claim it was the last time they were heard from before appearing in the video.

Todd's parents have not yet commented on the fact the video appears to be shot in their kitchen in Wisconsin.

January 25, 2015

Day 25


As originally posted on: Filming Cops
January 24, 2015

COOK COUNTY — Officer Fernando Rodriguez was in court on Thursday after being charged with sexually assaulting a woman, according to reports.

The charges include attempting aggravated criminal sexual assault, aggravated unlawful restraint, and official misconduct.

The incident began when Officer Rodriguez, 52, instructed a 37-yr-old woman to get inside of his car, according to reports.

It was around 1 AM when the woman realized that after entering the officer’s car, he was trapping her.

She attempted to leave but he forced her to stay inside and began trying to sexually abuse her while he had his handgun nearby.

“Take care of me the right way and I’ll let you walk,” the officer told her, after showing her his handgun in an implicitly threatening manner, according to reports.

We don’t know what Officer Rodriguez was planning to do to her if she didn’t perform a sexual act on him, but apparently it involved his gun.

Because Officer Rodriguez was double parked while this incident occurred, his car got the attention of police who happened to be driving nearby.

When they approached his vehicle, he grabbed the woman’s left arm and told her “Be cool!” according to reports.

He then displayed his badge to the police officers to alleviate their concerns, saying “It’s OK guys, I’m on the job.”

The woman then abruptly managed to get out of the vehicle and told the officers what Rodriguez was doing.

Officer Rodriguez is now under disciplinary investigation by the sheriff’s office.

He has been given a bond and released, and is due to appear in court for possible conviction.

January 24, 2015

Day 24

Raqqa a year under control of ISIS

by Abu Mohammed

As originally posted: Raqqa is Being Slaughtered Silently
January 12, 2015

A year has passed over the city of Raqqa, under the rule of ISIS, the landmarks were lost, and the details were different, that year did not consist of days and months, it was empty from the light, full of destruction and tyranny, killing and arrest was its day, and injustice was its night, ISIS tried to blur identity and crush personality, they wanted to convert Raqqa to Tora Bora mountains and caves of Kabul, even humans or stone was not in safe from them, they wanted to recruit all women of the city in the project of al-Khansa battalion, and children to be the fuel for their barbarity fire.

Um Abdul Rahman told us the story of her son – Abdul Rahman – 9 years, she explained how the manifestations of ISIS and their mercenaries has influenced him a lot, even he was imagine himself one of princes of ISIS, so he applied their actions at home, abdul rahman, who nicknamed himself as Abu Zubair al-Ansari, demanded his family to call him this name, and he described his mother as an infidel and apostate because she did not let him to join ISIS camps which recruit children, and he threatened to slaughter her for this refusing, she said that “ISIS versions, which offers in the streets of Raqqa have affected him very much , and I’m thinking seriously to leave the city to keep the remainder of childhood inside my son”.

Ali, a university student, who was forced by ISIS to leave the studying of law, which the organization considered it as a blasphemous subject, he was arrested as he returned from his university, ” I am having a beard and wearing Afghan dress which is the customary clothes of ISIS, I do not like this look, but I want to make them satisfied on me after I was an infidel in their eyes for studying law, I wish to return to the last year, where I felt my humanity and my freedom, I felt that I was a Syrian not a Chechen”. he said to the team of “Raqqa is being slaughtered silently”.

ISIS does not affect only the humans, Churches was closed on the hands of them, so the Christians have deprived from practice their religion, and they made them a despised minority, after they were a component from the population of the province of Raqqa, ISIS imposed them the tribute, and they were hearing the word “infidels” using to describe them by the members of the organization but they were not able to utter a word, Jwan one of the followers of Catholic community, told us about his sufferance: “Maybe I was an infidel in their eyes, but I was right in my eyes, I’m not an infidel, I would not say that all Muslims are infidels, because they only do not follow my religion, I’ve seen how the Muslims have treated me without any discrimination, I wish the Lord to forgive my negligence in performing acts of worship, I have forced to do so.

Children have shared the largest part of ISIS injustice, since not too long some children slaughtered birds and crucified them, placing a paper saying:”an apostate who fought the Islamic state,” referring to incidents of executions carried out by ISIS in front of everyone eyes, and another group of children brought a stick and hit a donkey in the street, and when a member of the team of “Raqqa is being slaughtered silently” asked them for the reason, they answered him: “we whipped it because it smokes” in a tradition to ISIS members who whipped everyone smokes in the province.

Because of ignorance, ISIS members wanted each one of those around them to become like them, so they closed the schools and prevent education in the province of Raqqa, and put sanctions against who proved that he gave lessons in secret, therefore ignorance and illiteracy must be rampant in the community which ruled by ISIS, because they do not want there to be an educated nation can think scientifically, but they want a generation only thinking how to blow himself up.

Women of the city have thousands of tragedies and woes, like forced marriage from ISIS members, underage marriage, whipping and torture committed against them for the simplest reasons, battalion of al-Khansa , which is competent to prosecute women, innovated new methods of humiliation and pleasure of torturing them, and perhaps the story of the iron “biter” which consists of two sharp jaws and placed on the chest of women and pressed strongly, it is considered the worst case against women of the city, al-Khansa battalion did not only torture them physically, but it wanted to crash them psychologically also.

Barbarism stories abounded at the hands of ISIS, and it continue to blur Raqqa landmarks and separating it from Syria, and hide any evidence referred to the province last year, a year passed which all dropped it from the date of Raqqa, everyone reject this reality and all of them are hopeful that they will wake up from this dream one day.

January 23, 2015

Day 23


As originally posted: Reporters Without Borders
January 21, 2015

Reporters Without Borders is very concerned about the lack of progress and poor coordination in the investigation into the disappearance of Moisés Sánchez Cerezo, a blogger and online newspaper editor, who was kidnapped from his home in Medellín de Bravo, a municipality in the eastern state of Veracruz, on 2 January.

Nearly three weeks have elapsed without any light being shed on Moisés Sánchez Cerezo’s fate or the identity and motive of his abductors.

Reporters Without Borders is particularly disturbed by the time taken by the Veracruz state authorities to launch a search for Sánchez. They were notified within 40 minutes of his abduction but waited four or five hours before beginning their search.

We are worried about the lack of cooperation between Veracruz officials (the Procuraduría del Estado) and federal officials (the Fiscalía Federal de Atención a Delitos contra la Libertad de Expresión),” said Claire San Filippo, the head of the Reporters Without Borders Americas desk.

We urge the different authorities to work together in a constructive manner and to do everything possible to find Sánchez safe and sound. This includes assigning more resources to exploring the possibilities that his abduction was linked to his journalistic work, that organized crime was involved, and that local officials may also have been complicit.”

According to family members who were present at the time, four cars pulled up outside Sánchez’s home at around 7:30 p.m. on 2 January and six heavily-armed men in civilian dress got out. Three of them then entered the house, seized Sánchez and drove off with him.

After the family reported his abduction, the Commission for Protection and Attention to Journalists took measures to protect the family. Reporters Without Borders urges the authorities to reinforce these measures.

The journalist’s son, Jorge Sánchez, told Reporters Without Borders: “We know it was because of his work because they did not take any money, just all of his [journalistic] material.” Sánchez’s online newspaper was called La Unión de Medellín.

The local police and judicial authorities did not initially consider the possibility that his abduction was linked to his journalism because, they said, he earned his living as a taxi driver, not as a journalist, and “just posted on social networks.”

The family told Reporters Without Borders that Sánchez ended up using Facebook as his main method of communication after his blog had been blocked three times. He covered organized crime, criticized Medellín de Bravo’s high crime rate and accused the local authorities, especially mayor Omar Cruz Reyes, of not paying enough attention to this issue.

A few days before his abduction, a friend told him that the mayor was annoyed by his reporting and wanted to “scare” him.

Given the subjects he covered, those investigating his abduction must also consider other possibilities, including the involvement of organized crime. Sánchez was also a local activist who had organized a protest by the neighbourhood self-defence committee in an attempt to get the mayor’s attention.

One of Mexico’s most dangerous states for journalists, Veracruz has a high crime rate that is fuelled by various kinds of trafficking. Since 2010, four journalists have gone missing and ten have been killed.

The victims include Gregorio Jiménez de la Cruz, whose body was found six days after his abduction in February 2014. The Jiménez case was another example of the lack of coordination between local and federal officials that only too often hampers police and judicial investigations.

Several Veracruz journalists have reported being watched, harassed and threatened in connection with their crime coverage on social networks. The local authorities try to cover up the scale of violence.

Mexico is ranked 152nd out of 180 countries in the 2014 Reporters Without Borders press freedom index.

January 22, 2015

Day 22


As originally posted: Reporters Without Borders
January 20, 2015

The entire world was appalled by the 7 January massacre at Charlie Hebdo, which cost the lives of eight journalists and added the Paris-based magazine to the long list of media around the world that have been the victims of horrific levels of violence.

Here, Reporters Without Borders spotlights five other news media that have seen many of their employees killed for doing their duty to provide news coverage and comment.

Al-Iraqiya: collateral victim of the Iraq war (Iraq)

With 14 journalists killed from March 2003 to August 2010, the Iraqi national TV station Al-Iraqiya paid a higher human price than any other news media during the Iraq war. And three more of its employees have been killed in connection with their work since the end of the US occupation.

Al-Iraqiya is part of the Iraqi Media Network, which was created by the US government and then transferred to the Iraqi authorities, and which is still regarded as being allied with the ruling Shiite parties. As a result, Sunni rebels have targeted its employees, accusing them of being traitors.

The war in Iraq was the deadliest conflict for media personnel since the Second World War, with a total of 230 journalists and media staff killed from the start of the US invasion in March 2003 to the withdrawal of the last US combat troops in August 2010.

Express News: targeted by the Taliban (Pakistan)

Renowned for its professionalism and liberal views, Express News TV saw six of its journalists and other employees murdered in 2014 alone. No one keeps count of the threats and attacks on its offices or the homes of its staff members any more.

Most of the attacks have been claimed by the militant group Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), which sees Express News as an enemy because of its critical coverage. TTP is encouraged to pursue its campaign of terror by the impunity that prevails in Pakistan, one of the world’s deadliest countries for journalists.

Novaya Gazeta: the price of media independence (Russia)

The champion of independent investigative journalism in Russia, Novaya Gazeta pays dearly for the absence of the rule of law in this country, with five of its employees murdered since 2000. They include the famous Anna Politkovskaya and Natalia Estemirova, who tirelessly documented human rights violations during the two Chechen wars, and Igor Domnikov and Yuri Shchekochikhin, who covered corruption and organized crime. For the most part, the investigations into their murders failed to identify the masterminds.

Radio Shabelle: reporting amid chaos (Somalia)

Somalia’s best known radio station, Radio Shabelle is also the one that is most exposed to danger. No fewer than ten of its employees, including several of its managers, have been murdered since 2007. Islamist militias have repeatedly targeted it for refusing to bow to their demands. It is also hounded by the government, resulting in its temporary closure in August 2014.

Despite death threats, imprisonment and the flight of many of its journalists into exile, Radio Shabelle continues to tackle the most sensitive stories. When Reporters Without Borders awarded its Press Freedom Prize to the station in 2010, Shabelle Media Network’s director for international relations, Ali Abdi, said: “We will not be intimidated. We are determined to continue our struggle for independent journalism and respect for human rights.”

Radio Television of Serbia: 16 killed by targeted NATO bombing (Serbia)

Sixteen employees of Radio Television of Serbia (RTS) were killed when NATO deliberately bombed its Belgrade headquarters on the night of 23 April 1999, during the Kosovo war. RTS general manager Dragoljub Milanovic was sentenced to nine and a half years in prison in 2002 for failing to order employees to evacuate the building. But NATO never provided any compensation and never questioned the decision to bomb] RTS. The alliance regarded it as a “legitimate military target” because it was broadcasting propaganda.

January 21, 2015

Day 21

Journal: Why ISIS is killing teen boys

by John Robb

As originally posted on: Global Guerrillas
January 20, 2015

Here's some interesting outliers. Information that isn't easy to parse. Over the last week, local ISIS forces have:

- Publicly executed 13 teens in Mosul who were watching a soccer game (Iraq vs. Jordan).

- Rounded up 15 teen boys for raising pigeons as a hobby in Diyala. They executed three of them and burned the birds.

Why did they do this? It wasn't just because they were being strict. The key to unlocking this is found in this simple statement:

"It distracted them from a focus on Islam"

In other words, these activities made it more difficult for ISIS is recruit these boys for jihad. So, by making the distractions and

activities for teen boys prohibatively dangerous -- it makes peace boring.

PS: Indoctrination in the military and with cults begins by stripping all vestiges of normal life away until nothing is left but the ideology.

January 20, 2015

Day 20


by Kent McManigal

As originally posted on: Kent's "Hooligan Libertarian" Blog
September 11, 2006

If some mugger comes up to you, shoves a gun in your face and demands money, that is wrong. If a government demands money from you, and you refuse to pay, what happens next? The government will raise the stakes. First will come threats. Then
government will begin trying to take things from you by force of "law". If you keep resisting at each step of the process, there will come a time when government agents will come to your house with guns drawn to arrest you. Resist at this point, and they will kill you. How is this any different than the mugger? Morally, it is not any different. "Pay us or we will kill you" is the implied threat that keeps most Americans paying taxes of one form or another. Name one government program that is worth killing for. If you can, I would need to be convinced.

It really doesn't matter how many "laws" are passed to authorize this tax or that. Governments could pass laws allowing all people with red hair to be burned at the stake, but it would still be wrong. Theft is wrong; taxes are theft-by-government; taxes are wrong. So, how would government programs be paid for? First off, I will say I do not believe government should administer ANY programs, but for the sake of argument we will pretend. User fees would be a much more fair way to pay for the programs. If you refuse all dealings with government, you would not pay fees to support government. Remember: government programs are never really free. You pay for them, and pay much more than you would for the same "service" if it were provided by a private company or individual.

Follow your conscience where taxes are concerned, but if you don't pay up, do not be surprised when government throws everything it has into bringing you down. Judges know where their paychecks come from, so will rarely do what is right in these cases.

January 19, 2015

Day 19

Dozens kidnapped by Boko Haram militants in Cameroon

January 18, 2015

Militant group Boko Haram has attacked a village in northern Cameroon, killing three people and kidnapping dozens more.

The country's information minister, Issa Tchiroma Bakary, has confirmed that between 30 and 50 people were taken in the attack in Mabassa village and that some of the hostages are children.

About 80 homes were destroyed in the attack, which is the largest kidnapping in the country to date.

"We are dealing with barbaric people, lawless people," Bakary told the Associated Press.

"Nothing can prevent them from assassinating."

The attack occurred three days after Cameroon President Paul Biya announced Chad would send "an important contingent" to support Cameroon's army as it tries to repel the extremists' intensifying offensive.

Meanwhile, four people are dead and 35 others injured following a separate attack in neighbouring Nigeria, according to a Nigerian media outlet.

The attack in the northeast town of Potiskum, the largest commercial centre in Nigeria's Yobe state, occurred at around 10 am local time near a gasoline station.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility.

The suicide bombing was the third such attack this month in Potiskum, and came as Boko Haram has escalated attacks and seized more territory in Nigeria's northeast.

January 18, 2015

Day 18

Islamic State throws man to his death 'for being gay'

Pictures emerge of Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant fighters apparently throwing a man from a building because he was gay

by Ruth Sherlock

As originally posted: The Telegraph
January 16, 2015

Photographs have emerged that appear to show members of the Islamic State group in Iraq throwing a man from a building in punishment for being gay.

The graphic images, seemingly taken in the northern Isil controlled city of Mosul, show a man being pushed to his death before a large crowd that had gathered in the main square below.

One photograph, taken from the top of the building, shows the man from behind, blindfolded and with his hands tied across his back, being pushed to the ledge by his executioner.

In another photo, a jihadist, his face covered with a balaclava, is shown reading out the apparent sentence that was ruled in the extremists' "Sharia court".

A caption for another photo says the man had been convicted of the practices of the "people of lot", a euphemism for sodomy.

In punishment, the caption says, he must be "thrown from a high place".

The date of the execution is not clear. Photographs of a man being thrown from a roof by Isil members, apparently in the same place first emerged in December.

As the jihadists consolidate their control of parts of Iraq and Syria they have implemented increasingly strict, medieval forms of law.

January 17, 2015

Day 17

Former Irwindale police sergeant gets 9 years for assaulting woman

by Ruby Gonzales

As originally posted: San Gabriel Valley Tribune
January 12, 2015

IRWINDALE >> A former Irwindale police sergeant was sentenced Monday to nine years in prison for sexually assaulting a Chino woman during a 2012 traffic stop.

Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Ray Jurado also ordered David Paul Fraijo, 37, to register as a sex offender for life, according to Jane Robison, spokeswoman for the District Attorney’s Office.

She said the former officer was taken into custody after his sentencing.

“We’re just happy that it is behind us,” said Capt. Ty Henshaw of the Irwindale Police Department.

Fraijo took a deal and pleaded no contest on Oct. 3 to oral copulation under color of authority and sexual battery by restraint. As part of the plea agreement, charges of kidnapping to commit another crime, forcible oral copulation and assault under color of authority were dismissed Monday.

He faced a maximum life sentence if he had been convicted of all the charges.

Fraijo’s attorney couldn’t be reached for comment on Monday afternoon.

The assault occurred Oct. 20, 2012 near Azusa Canyon Road and Arrow Highway. The woman was delivering newspapers.

Fraijo pulled her and asked to see her driver’s license, according to the prosecution.

When the woman told him she didn’t have a license, he told her to drive to a parking lot where he then assaulted her.

The woman filed a lawsuit seeking $20 million in damages. The lawsuit was withdrawn in January 2014, and the city paid about $400,000 to the woman, according to a source with knowledge of the case.

Fraijo was fired from the Irwindale Police Department in February 2014. He was arrested March 10, 2014.

Irwindale Police has 28 sworn officers and nine civilian employees.

Staff writer Brian Day contributed to this report.

January 16, 2015

Day 16

ISIS Downs Squadron of My Little Ponies

by "Scott N. Towel"

As originally posted on: The Israeli Daily
January 16, 2015

In another demonstration of their growing military prowess, ISIS today announced that their fighters had successfully downed part of a My Little Pony Squadron invading their territory. “Allah be praised, our rockets struck home!” declared spokesman Ive ibn Drinkin. “The sky rained blood and brightly colored fur. Glory to the All-mighty.”

Early reports agreed that Merry May and Cloud Chaser were among the casualties. Others said Twilight Sparkle was among the dead, though those could not be confirmed. Beloved pony, Fluttershy, made it back to Dream Valley and spoke to reporters even as Doctor Hooves removed shrapnel from from her blood splattered wings. “The mission went tits up as soon as we entered air space,” said Fluttershy fighting back tears. “Before I knew it, a rocket blew Cloud Chaser’s head right off! Rainbow Dash tried to catch the body and got hit in the wing. Did she make it back!?!? Has anyone seen Rainbow Dash?!?” cried Fluttershy before fading into a morphine haze.

Statements of support poured in. “Cloud Chaser gone,” mused Brony, Bibi Netanyahu. “Sure she wasn’t a fan favorite, but I always loved her cutey mark. Any word yet on Fluttershy’s prognosis?” Closet Brony, King Abdullah, rose from his sick bed to call Fluttershy. “I pledged her my kingdom’s full support,” he reported before collapsing into tears.

New York Times foreign policy columnist and chairman of Bronies for Peace, Tom Friedman felt that this could be a turning point in the Conflict. “Yes, the Arab Israeli conflict is now over a century old and seemingly intractable,” wrote Friedman on his blog, “Bronies Must Fly, “Ponidom’s pulls on our shared humanity. The next few weeks could will be crucial. Merry May and Cloud Chaser can’t have died for nothing.”

January 15, 2015

Day 15

Roanoke Police Slaughter 5 Men Because Wives Were Not Wearing ‘Proper’ Islamic Headgarb

by "Hatesec"

As originally posted on: The Internet Chronicle
January 14, 2015

The Police State in Roanoke, Va. publicly executed five men in front of the Roanoke Star Tuesday because their wives were not wearing appropriate Islamic head covering, according to American media sources.

The jihadi group’s Roanoke Police Department, or the Hisbah, the individuals entrusted with enforcing their version of American

Hate Law are ordering women to wear Afghan-inspired hijab, where the entire face is covered.

Roanoke Chief of Police said face coverings which expose the eyes promote rape and social impurity.

“Everything they were wearing was fine,” the chief said, “except for a slutty, filthy slit where the eyes go. Sharia law is now active in Roanoke County.”

January 14, 2015

Day 14

Bankers Love War Because It Creates Massive Profits

War Makes Banks Rich

by "George"

As originally posted on: Washington's Blog
April 19, 2014

Bankers are often the driving force behind war.

After all, the banking system is founded upon the counter-intuitive but indisputable fact that banks create loans first, and then create deposits later.

In other words, virtually all money is actually created as debt. For example, in a hearing held on September 30, 1941 in the House Committee on Banking and Currency, the Chairman of the Federal Reserve (Mariner S. Eccles) said:

That is what our money system is. If there were no debts in our money system, there wouldn’t be any money.

And Robert H. Hemphill, Credit Manager of the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta, said:

If all the bank loans were paid, no one could have a bank deposit, and there would not be a dollar of coin or currency in circulation. This is a staggering thought. We are completely dependent on the commercial Banks. Someone has to borrow every dollar we have in circulation, cash or credit. If the Banks create ample synthetic money we are prosperous; if not, we starve. We are absolutely without a permanent money system. When one gets a complete grasp of the picture, the tragic absurdity of our hopeless position is almost incredible, but there it is. It is the most important subject intelligent persons can investigate and reflect upon. It is so important that our present civilization may collapse unless it becomes widely understood and the defects remedied very soon.

Debt (from the borrower’s perspective) owed to banks is profit and income from the bank’s perspective. In other words, banks are in the business of creating more debt … i.e. finding more people who want to borrow larger sums.

Debt is so central to our banking system. Indeed, Federal Reserve chairman Greenspan was so worried that the U.S. would pay off it’s debt, that he suggested tax cuts for the wealthy to increase the debt.

What does this have to do with war?

War is the most efficient debt-creation machine. For starters, wars are very expensive.

For example, Nobel prize winning economist Joseph Stiglitz estimated in 2008 that the Iraq war could cost America up to $5 trillion dollars. A study by Brown University’s Watson Institute for International Studies says the Iraq war costs could exceed $6 trillion, when interest payments to the banks are taken into account.

This is nothing new … but has been going on for thousands of years. As a Cambridge University Press treatise on ancient Athens notes:

Financing wars is expensive business, and the scope for initiative was regularly extended by borrowing.

So wars have been a huge – and regular – way for banks to create debt for kings and presidents who want to try to expand their empires.

Major General Smedley Butler – the most decorated Marine in American history – was right when he said:

Let us not forget the bankers who financed the great war. If anyone had the cream of the profits it was the bankers.

War is also good for banks because a lot of material, equipment, buildings and infrastructure get destroyed in war. So countries go into massive debt to finance war, and then borrow a ton more to rebuild.

The advent of central banks hasn’t changed this formula. Specifically, the big banks (“primary dealers”) loan money to the Fed, and charge interest for the loan.

So when a nation like the U.S. gets into a war, the Fed pumps out money for the war effort based upon loans from the primary dealers, who make a killing in interest payments from the Fed.

January 10, 2015

Day 10

Boko Haram Kills 'Too Many to Count' in Nigeria

According to Amnesty International, the group's assault on a Nigerian border town may be its "deadliest act" yet.

by Adam Chandler

As originally posted: The Atlantic
January 9, 2015

On Friday, Amnesty International released a report about a recent series of attacks by Boko Haram that killed hundreds, if not thousands of people in Nigeria. According to Daniel Eyre, the author of the Amnesty report, the terror groups raids on Baga, a border town near Chad, may constitute the group's "deadliest act" yet:

If reports that the town was largely razed to the ground and that hundreds or even as many as 2,000 civilians were killed are true, this marks a disturbing and bloody escalation of Boko Haram’s ongoing onslaught against the civilian population.

Additional remarks from survivors on the ground in Nigeria were no less chilling. "Too many to count," the Associated Press wrote of the bodies, adding that a district official "said most victims are children, women and elderly people who could not run fast enough when insurgents drove into Baga."

Other reports added that Boko Haram is thought to have "wiped out" another 16 towns outside of Baga, which the group reportedly emptied of its 10,000 residents. "A large number reportedly drowned as they crossed Lake Chad," the BBC relayed.

Following its takeover of Baga last week, Boko Haram has launched fresh attacks that have killed dozens, Reuters noted, adding that "the insurgency killed more than 10,000 people last year, according to a count by the Council on Foreign Relations in November." The raids coincide with the launching of Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan's campaign. Jonathan, who faces reelection on February 14, has been criticized for his handling of the Boko Haram offensive.

That nearly a week later we're hearing the vague details of an attack that possibly killed thousands speaks to the challenge of getting reliable information about the ongoing crisis in Nigeria. While the chaos has been wrought in large part by Boko Haram, which aims to establish an Islamic state in Africa and has infamously kidnapped countless girls seeking education, some of the other violence stems from long-standing sectarian tensions within the country.

"Herdsmen who are Fulani, who are Muslim, are fighting with farmers who are Christian, who are Berom," John Campbell, the former American ambassador to Nigeria, told The Atlantic last year.

He added that in addition to the difficulties of tracking the number of casualties, the quest to bring people to justice is even more arduous. "There is virtually no judicial process involved in this at all. Nobody has been held accountable for the murder of anybody."

January 09, 2015

Day 9

Boko Haram crisis: Nigeria's Baga town hit by new assault

January 8, 2015

Bodies lay strewn on the streets of a key north-eastern Nigerian town following an assault by militant Islamists, officials have told the BBC.

The Boko Haram group attacked Baga town on Wednesday, after over-running a military base there on Saturday, they said.

Almost the entire town had been torched and the militants were now raiding nearby areas, they added.

Boko Haram launched a military campaign in 2009 to create an Islamic state.

It has taken control of many towns and villages in north-eastern Nigeria in the last year.

The conflict has displaced at least 1.5 million people, while more than 2,000 were killed last year.

'Rotting corpses'

Nigerian lawmaker Maina Maaji Lawan said Boko Haram controlled 70% of Borno state, which is worst-affected by the insurgency.

Musa Alhaji Bukar, a senior government official in the area, said that fleeing residents told him that Baga, which had a population of about 10,000, was now "virtually non-existent".

"It has been burnt down," he told the BBC Hausa service.

Those who fled reported that they had been unable to bury the dead, and corpses littered the town's streets, he said.

Boko Haram was now in control of Baga and 16 neighbouring towns after the military retreated, Mr Bukar said.

While he raised fears that some 2,000 had been killed in the raids, other reports put the number in the hundreds.

Mr Lawan, the senator for northern Borno, called on government troops to stop "dilly-dallying" and to fight back to protect residents.

"The indiscriminate killings went on and on and on," he told BBC Focus on Africa.

Boko Haram's offensive continued on Thursday, with its fighters setting up checkpoints and killing people who were hiding in the bush, the senator said.

Fleeing residents spoke of the stench of rotting corpses on the streets and surrounding bushes, he said.

Some 10,0000 people had fled to Chad since Saturday to escape the violence, raising fears of a humanitarian crisis, Mr Lawan said.

A large number reportedly drowned as they crossed Lake Chad.

Others are fleeing to Maiduguri, the capital of Borno, in buses provided by the government, the senator said.

BBC Nigeria correspondent Will Ross says the crisis in north-eastern Nigeria is clearly deepening.

While President Goodluck Jonathan, who is seeking re-election next month, has condemned the attack on a French satirical magazine in Paris as dastardly, he has not commented on the violence at home, our reporter says.

Government troops abandoned the military base in Baga on Saturday.

It hosts the Multi-National Joint Task Force (MNJTF), made up of troops from Nigeria, Chad and Niger, although only Nigerian soldiers were there at the time of the attack.

Set up in 1998 to fight trans-border crime in the Lake Chad region, the force more recently promised to take on Boko Haram.

Mr Jonathan declared a state of emergency in Borno and two neighbouring states in 2013, vowing to defeat the militants.

However, Boko Haram has stepped up attacks since then and there are fears that many people in the north-east will not be able to vote in the general election because of the conflict.