Paralyzed by torn spinal cord, grey is dragged to police vehicle after arrest 4.20.2015 CNN. CNN's AnneClaire Stapleton, Chuck Johnston, Miguel Marquez, Stephanie Gallman, Betsy Klein, Vivan Kuo and Janet DiGiacomo contributed to this report.
More than a week after Freddie Gray was arrested in Baltimore, and a day since he died, authorities are still scrambling to find out exactly what happened and why.
“I'll tell you what I do know, and right now there's still a lot of questions I don't know. I know that when Mr. Gray was placed inside that van, he was able to talk.
He was upset. And when Mr. Gray was taken out of that van, he could not talk, and he could not breathe,” Baltimore Deputy Police Commissioner Jerry Rodriguez told reporters Monday.
[Note the careful lie; he may have been able to “talk”; CNN reported on TV 4.20 that his spinal cord was “80% severed at the neck,” but as any fool can plainly see above, the damage was done before and nowhere near “a van.” T]
He spoke the same day an autopsy was done on the body of Gray, which showed that he died from a severe injury to his spinal cord. “What we don't know, and what we need to get to, is how that injury occurred,” Rodriguez said.
The Baltimore Police Department is investigating the death, and has asked for calm as the process unfolds. But many in the community, including the city's mayor, are angry.
“This is a very, very tense time for Baltimore City, and I understand the community's frustration. I understand it because I'm frustrated. I'm angry that we are here again -- that we have had to tell another mother that their child is dead,” Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake told reporters.
“I'm frustrated not only that we're here, but we don't have all of the answers.”
Police Commissioner Anthony Batts said that police plan to conclude their investigation by Friday, May 1. From there, the case will go to the state's attorney's office, which will decide whether or not to file.
Gray was arrested a week ago Sunday. He “gave up without the use of force,” according to Rodriguez.
An officer apparently took his Taser out, and was prepared to use it on Gray, but he never deployed it.
“None of the officers describe using any force against Mr. Gray,” said the deputy police commissioner. [Another careful lie; of course none of the officers “described” twisting his neck and ripping his spinal cord. What a surprise. Did they deny it, under oath? Of course not. T] A total of six officers were involved in the arrest, and all six have been suspended.
According to documents obtained Monday, Gray was arrested on a weapon charge.
While the court documents allege that Baltimore Police Department Officer Garrett Miller arrested Gray after finding a switchblade in his pocket, the Gray family attorney called the allegation a “sideshow.”
Gray was carrying a “pocket knife of legal size,” attorney William Murphy told CNN.
Police never saw the knife and chased Gray only after he took off running, the attorney said. That seems substantiated by the court documents, which said Gray “fled unprovoked upon noticing police presence.”
“The officer noticed a knife clipped to the inside of his front right pants pocket.” [Amazing; they could see a knife on the INSIDE of his pants, and THEN they chased him: see next boldface below. T] The defendant was arrested without force or incident,” the documents say. “The knife was recovered by this officer and found to be a spring assisted, one-hand-operated knife.”
Maryland law makes it illegal to “wear or carry a dangerous weapon of any kind concealed on or about the person,” including switchblades.
But Baltimore's mayor stressed that simply having a knife is not necessarily a crime.
“It is not necessarily probable cause to chase someone. So, we still have questions,” said Rawlings-Blake. Gray's death Sunday, following a week of hospitalization, has spurred outrage. At a Monday morning protest outside the Baltimore Police Department, demonstrators co-opted slogans from other high-profile police shootings. They chanted -- “Hands up! Don't shoot!” and “I can't breathe!” -- and carried signs saying, “Stop police terror” and “Black lives matter.”
Sharon Black, one of the rally's organizers, said police misconduct is routine in Baltimore, and described Gray's death as the “straw that broke the camel's back.”
“The police act in an unrestrained and abusive way,” she said.
Gray was in perfect health until police chased and tackled him in Baltimore over a week ago, his lawyer said. Less than an hour later, he was on his way to a trauma clinic with a spinal injury, where he fell into a coma.
Two witnesses hit record on their cell phones during what looked to be the 25-year-old's arrest. Police told CNN affiliate WJZ that they also have surveillance video of him.
But there appears to be a gap of some minutes left to account for.
Police, according to their own timeline, spotted Gray, gave chase, caught him, cuffed him and requested a paddy wagon in fewer than 4 minutes. The transport van left with Gray about 11 minutes after that, police said, and another 30 minutes passed before “units request paramedics to the Western District to transport the suspect to an area hospital.”
Gray died Sunday, a full week after the encounter.
When cell phones began recording, Gray was already on the ground with three officers kneeling over him. And he let out long, painful screams. Officers had encountered him a minute earlier, police said. They were working an area where drug deals and other crimes are common, Deputy Police Commissioner Rodriguez said.
They thought Gray may have been involved in a crime, but there was no evidence that he committed a crime, Gray family attorney Murphy said, and WJZ reported last week that police had not said what their suspicion was. “Officers were working in an area that is known for violent crime and drug sales. Officers went to make an encounter with Mr. Gray when he fled from them,” Baltimore Police Department spokesman, Capt. Eric Kowalczyk, said Sunday.
Pressed on why police initially stopped Gray, Kowalczyk said the department hadn't released that information because investigators are still conducting interviews. When officers approached Gray, he ran. They pursued and caught him quickly, at 8:40 a.m., according to a police timeline.
The officers called for a prisoner transport van. Cell phone video taken from two separate positions showed officers lifting Gray, whose hands were cuffed, up by his shoulders and dragging him to the back of the van.
He legs dangled behind him listlessly as he wailed.
Officers put more restraints on Gray inside the van, police said, while surveillance video recorded him conscious and talking.
That was at 8:54 a.m.
At 9:24 a.m., police called an ambulance to pick Gray up at the Western District police station. Murphy wants to know what happened in those 30 minutes in between.
At some point after his arrest, Gray requested medical attention, said Rodriguez, the deputy police commissioner. Gray also asked for an inhaler, Rodriguez said.
The ambulance took Gray to the University of Maryland Medical Center's Shock Trauma Center.
“He lapsed into a coma, died, was resuscitated, stayed in a coma and on Monday underwent extensive surgery at Shock Trauma to save his life,” Murphy said. “He clung to life for seven days.”
Tubes, wires and supports protruded from Gray as he lay in his hospital bed in a photo Murphy passed on to the media.
Rawlings-Blake said that she wants to see a thorough inquiry and that the city will release additional details as investigations are completed.
There will be two criminal investigations, said Deputy Commissioner Rodriguez: one to determine if the arresting officers broke the law, and one that pertains to Gray.
Police have not grilled the arresting officers on what happened for legal reasons, Rodriguez said.
“We cannot interview an officer administratively and compel them, if an officer is the subject of the criminal investigation. Every person has the right against self-incrimination, so for us to compel an officer to provide a statement, that could potentially taint the criminal investigation,” he said.
Investigators will submit their results to an independent review board, he said. There will also be a separate administrative investigation.
Police officials have attempted to speak with Gray's relatives to explain the investigation process, Police Commissioner Batts said.
But they have declined to meet.
AFGHANISTAN WAR REPORTS
Funeral Held For Massachusetts Soldier Killed In Afghanistan April 20, 2015 The Associated Press
NORTHBRIDGE, Mass. — Family, friends and dignitaries have honored a 22-year-old Army medic from Massachusetts who was killed in Afghanistan two weeks ago.
The Telegram & Gazette reports Cpl. John Dawson's father Michael thanked his son in a funeral eulogy “for the best 22 years of our lives.”
A Mass was held for Cpl. John Dawson on Monday in Upton, and he was buried with full military honors in the Northbridge village of Whitinsville where he grew up. Dawson leaves his parents and a sister.
Gov. Charlie Baker, Senators Elizabeth Warren and Edward Markey were among those attending his funeral.
Baker ordered flags flown at half-staff Monday. So did Gov. Steve Beshear of Kentucky, where Dawson served with the 101st Airborne Division at Fort Campbell.
Dawson died April 8 when his group was attacked on an escort mission.
POLITICIANS REFUSE TO HALT THE BLOODSHED THE TROOPS HAVE THE POWER TO STOP THE WAR
Afghan Bank Bombed In Jalalabad:
Many Civilian And Military Government Workers Blown Up April 18, 2015 By Associated Press. Associated Press writer Zarar Khan in Islamabad contributed to this report.
FAIZABAD and Kabul, Afghanistan — A bomb attack on a bank branch in the eastern Afghan city of Jalalabad has killed at least 33 people, officials said.
Ahmad Zia Abdulzai, spokesman for the provincial governor in Nangarhar province, said on Saturday that 105 people were also wounded in the attack in the provincial capital.
“There are reports of many wounded people in critical condition at the hospital,” Abdulzai said.
The attacker detonated an explosive-laden motorcycle, targeting a crowd of both military personnel and civilians who were gathered outside the bank to receive their monthly salaries.
The bank branch is located in the heart of a crowded commercial district, full of banks and government offices, Abdulzai said.
The force of the blast shattered windows miles away and damaged several businesses and cars in the vicinity. Security forces blocked off the area to allow ambulances and rescue crews to care for the wounded.
“More than 100 wounded and around 33 dead bodies have been brought to the hospital,” said Dr. Hamayon Zaheer, head of Jalalabad hospital.
Shir Aqha, an Afghan army soldier who was receiving treatment for wounds suffered in the attack, said that he had received his salary from the bank, but was still in the area when the blast took place.
“A motorcycle came in and I think a man in a suit entered inside the crowd and detonated his explosive. I hear two sounds of explosions and I can't remember after that,” he said.
April 21, 2015 Reuters
KABUL: Taliban militants attacked a police station in southern Afghanistan, killing three officers, and abducted 19 people working for a land mine clearance project in the country’s east, officials said on Monday.
Insurgents wearing police uniform entered a police station in Helmand province on Sunday and opened fire, killing three police, said provincial deputy police chief Pacha Gul Bakhtyar.
The attack took place in Lashkar Gah, the provincial capital. Afghanistan’s armed forces launched a major offensive against Taliban insurgents in Helmand this spring.
The kidnap of the de-miners in the eastern province of Paktia was the latest in a series.
Abdul Wali Sahi, deputy governor of Paktia, said the Taliban abducted the de-miners on Sunday while they were surveying an area on the outskirts of Gardez, the provincial capital.
The abducted de-miners were employees of Sterling Demining Afghanistan, Sahi said. The company holds mine-clearing contracts throughout Afghanistan.
Safi said the Taliban had taken them to Zurmat district, which is mostly under the militants’ control.
IF YOU DON’T LIKE THE RESISTANCE
END THE OCCUPATION
“Hundreds Of British Soldiers Suffering From Mental Illness After Command Knowingly Gave Them Discredited Toxic Anti-Malarial Drug”
“Psychosis, Suicidal Thoughts, Depression And Hallucinations Are Among The Problems Associated With Lariam”
“British Soldiers Falling Victim Each Year, As The MoD Continues To Give It To Troops”
“Continuing Use Of The Drug ‘Reckless, And Shows Callous Disregard For The Safety And Welfare Of Personnel’”
Lt-Col Alastair Duncan, who commanded British forces in Bosnia, is currently in a secure psychiatric unit (Corbis)
[Thanks to Clancy Sigal, who sent this in.]
15 April 2015 by Jonathan Owen, The Independent
The Ministry of Defence (MoD) has been accused of knowingly risking the mental health of its own soldiers after new figures showed that nearly 1,000 British servicemen and women have required psychiatric treatment after taking a discredited anti-malarial drug.
Psychosis, suicidal thoughts, depression and hallucinations are among the mental-health problems associated with Lariam, also known as mefloquine.
But the MoD has rejected all appeals to stop giving the drug to troops posted overseas – to the mounting fury of relatives, politicians and retired military figures who fear it could be responsible for an epidemic of psychiatric illness in Britain’s Armed Forces. The Independent can reveal that a retired major-general who was given Lariam prior to a deployment to Sierra Leone is among those struggling with the after-effects.
Maj-Gen Alastair Duncan, who commanded British forces in Bosnia, is currently in a secure psychiatric unit after a post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) episode over Christmas. His wife, Ellen, told The Independent: “Like others, I believe that this is a scandal. “If 1,000 troops have reported the effects then you can be sure there are others who have not. I know personally of several and anecdotally of many more.”
“The long-term effects of this will be more and more in evidence over the coming years,” she added, saying the MoD appeared to be “staggeringly unprepared to deal with the fallout”.
In October 2013, Roche, the manufacturer of Lariam, wrote to doctors in Britain warning that “hallucinations, psychosis, suicide, suicidal thoughts and self-endangering behaviour have been reported” and that the drug “may induce potentially serious neuropsychiatric disorders.
It was declared a “drug of last resort” by the US military two years ago, and the US Special Forces Command has banned its use.
Alternative anti-malarial drugs are available. Yet hundreds of British soldiers are still falling victim to the drug’s side-effects each year, as the MoD continues to give it to troops deployed to sub-Saharan Africa, and parts of South-east Asia and Latin America.
New figures released by the MoD in response to a Freedom of Information (FOI) request reveal that 994 service personnel – the equivalent of two infantry battalions – have been admitted to psychiatric hospitals or treated at mental health clinics after being prescribed Lariam since 2008.
Previous figures had suggested the number of personnel requiring treatment was substantially lower, at around 700.
The figures also show that Lariam was given to 1,892 British service personnel in 2014 – a year in which 263 needed medical treatment as a result of taking the drug. In total, 17,000 service personnel have been given Lariam over the last seven years.
The victims range from rank-and-file soldiers to senior officers. And the true scale of the problem is likely to be even greater than the new figures suggest, as they do not include those who were given Lariam prior to 2007.
Given the stigma which surrounds mental health issues in the military, many soldiers seek medical treatment as a last resort. Many cases are resolved by support from military social workers or padres “without the need for further referral”, states the MoD’s FOI response.
Since The Independent first revealed concerns over the military’s use of the drug 18 months ago, the MoD has ignored repeated calls from senior military figures and medical experts to discontinue its use. Responding to the new statistics yesterday, General Lord Dannatt, former head of the British Army, said: “It is extraordinary that the MoD continues with this policy given the mounting evidence as to the harmful effects of Lariam. The MoD should decide as a matter of urgency to no longer prescribe Lariam but use some other malaria prophylactic.”
And Madeleine Moon, Labour parliamentary candidate for Bridgend and former member of the Commons Defence Select Committee, said: “This is a horrific statistic and it beggars belief that the MoD is still refusing to stop dispensing Lariam.”
She added: “Our service personnel, who cannot refuse to take this drug, deserve better than the MoD imposing what is in effect a Russian roulette risk.”
The anti-malarial was developed by the US Army in the 1970s, but its reputation has suffered in recent years amid repeated warnings over its side-effects and the increasing popularity of alternatives.
Almost a decade ago Dr Franz B Humer, then chairman of Roche, told the company’s annual general meeting in 2007: “More effective anti-malarials with better side-effect profiles were now available, and these were generally used.” Maj-Gen Patrick Cordingley DSO, commander of the Desert Rats during the Gulf War, took the drug about 25 years ago. “It was a thoroughly unpleasant experience and I wouldn’t put anyone through it – I’m amazed that the Ministry of Defence allows it to be used.
“It had the most terrible effect on me, I wasn’t quite delirious but I was extremely unpleasant and out of my mind. That lasted for three or four days, and then I felt woolly headed for quite a long time.”
Maj-Gen Julian Thompson, who commanded 3 Commando during the Falklands War, said: “Having twice used Lariam myself when travelling to Africa, I switched to Malarone over 10 years ago, after I experienced hallucinations.”
Lariam is significantly cheaper than alternative drugs, being around half the cost of Doxycycline and a third of the cost of Malarone. “I can only come to the conclusion that the MoD has a large supply of Lariam, and some ‘chairborne’ jobsworth in the MoD has decreed that as a cost-saving measure, the stocks are to be consumed before an alternative is purchased,” said Maj-Gen Thompson. Public Health England’s current guidance on malaria states that “increased neuropsychiatric adverse events” have been found in those who take Lariam compared to people who take other anti-malarials, and that it “may increase the risk of psychosis and anxiety reactions”.
Lt-Col Ashley Croft, who served for more than 27 years in the Royal Army Medical Corps and is an expert on malaria, said: “It has been known since the early 1990s that mefloquine/Lariam causes neuro-psychiatric illness, including psychotic episodes, in some users.”
Defence ministries in Germany, the Netherlands, Denmark, and Canada have either banned the use of Lariam, or use it as a last resort, according to Lt-Col Croft.
“The French military, although with a large presence in the tropics, has deliberately and sensibly never used the drug, for malaria prophylaxis.”
He described the MoD’s continuing use of the drug as “reckless, and shows a callous disregard for the safety and welfare of its personnel”.
The Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency has received 2,248 reports of “adverse reactions” to the drug since 1986, in the form of “psychiatric disorders”. During this time, 44 people have become suicidal, with nine killing themselves.
Jane Casperson-Quinn’s husband Cameron, an infantry major, committed suicide in 2006 – five years after taking Lariam.
Responding to the new figures released by the MoD, she said: “Their continued blanket prescribing of this dangerous neuro-toxic drug represents a fundamental failure to protect those who are protecting us, and this is inexcusable.”
Yet there are no signs of the policy changing. In a statement, an MoD spokesperson said: “All our medical advice is based on the current guidelines set out by Public Health England. “Based on this expert advice, the MoD continues to prescribe mefloquine (Lariam) as part of the range of malaria prevention treatments recommended, which help us to protect our personnel from this disease.”
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“At a time like this, scorching irony, not convincing argument, is needed. Oh had I the ability, and could reach the nation’s ear, I would, pour out a fiery stream of biting ridicule, blasting reproach, withering sarcasm, and stern rebuke. “For it is not light that is needed, but fire; it is not the gentle shower, but thunder. “We need the storm, the whirlwind, and the earthquake.” “The limits of tyrants are prescribed by the endurance of those whom they oppose.” Frederick Douglass, 1852
“We have it in our power to begin the world over again.” -- Thomas Paine
Vietnam 1968 [Photo and caption from the portfolio of Mike Hastie, US Army Medic, Vietnam 1970-71. (For more of his outstanding work, contact at: (firstname.lastname@example.org) T]One day while I was in a bunker in Vietnam, a sniper round went over my head. The person who fired that weapon was not a terrorist, a rebel, an extremist, or a so-called insurgent. The Vietnamese individual who tried to kill me was a citizen of Vietnam, who did not want me in his country. This truth escapes millions.
U.S. Army Medic
December 13, 2004
April 21, 1856: Brilliant Anniversary
“The First Organized Workers In The World To Achieve An Eight-Hour Workday”
Carl Bunin Peace history April 20-26
Stonemasons and other construction workers on building sites around Melbourne, Australia, stopped work and marched from the University of Melbourne to Parliament House.
They advocated eight hours for work, eight hours for recreation, and eight hours for rest.
Their direct action protest was a success, becoming the first organized workers in the world to achieve an eight-hour workday, inspiring the celebration of Labor Day and May Day.
April 22, 1992:
Serbs Stand Up Against A Politician’s Plan For War:
“When The New Conscript Reached Barracks His Unit Had Already Split In Two – Between Those Who Agreed To Go To The Front And Those Who Were Refusing”
Carl Bunin Peace History April 16-22
June 1994 By Ivan Vejvoda, New Internationalist [Excerpt]
It may come as a surprise to many Westerners that there was a large, spontaneous opposition within Serbia and Montenegro to the war waged by the Milosevic regime.
Mostly it took the form of resisting conscription into the armed forces. In Belgrade only 10 per cent responded to the call-up to what was then, in 1991, still the Yugoslav People’s Army (JNA).
Thousands of young conscripts went into ‘internal exile’ hiding with friends and relatives. The latter would ignore knocks at the door so as to avoid receiving the call-up orders. Thousands of potential conscripts left the country and headed for Britain, France, Germany, Holland and Greece. Visas were not needed then – as they are today.
Even among those who did obey the draft, there was resistance. The story of young Miroslav Milenkovic from a small town in Serbia is a poignant example of the dilemma faced by many.
When the new conscript reached barracks his unit had already split in two – between those who agreed to go to the front and those who were refusing. Milenkovic went from one group to another, not knowing which group of friends and relatives to side with. At one point he stopped and, standing between the two groups, took his rifle and shot himself.
April 23, 1971:
Above And Beyond
Carl Bunin Peace History April 20-26
In the final event of Operation Dewey Canyon III, nearly 1,000 Vietnam War veterans threw their combat ribbons, helmets, and uniforms on the Capitol steps along with toy weapons.
CLASS WAR REPORTS
“Dear Putin, V.V. Four Months Without Pay”
“Workers Across Russia Are Starting To Protest Unpaid Wages And Go On Strike”
“The First Nationwide Backlash Against President Vladimir V. Putin’s Economic Policies”
APRIL 21, 2015 By ANDREW E. KRAMER, New York Times [Excerpts]
MOSCOW — In the far east, the teachers went on strike.
In central Russia, it was the employees of a metallurgical plant.
In St. Petersburg, autoworkers laid down their tools. And at a remote construction site in Siberia, laborers painted their complaints in gigantic white letters on the roofs of their dormitories.
“Dear Putin, V.V.,” the message said. “Four months without pay.”
After months of frustration with an economy sagging under the weight of international sanctions and falling energy prices, workers across Russia are starting to protest unpaid wages and go on strike, in the first nationwide backlash against President Vladimir V. Putin’s economic policies. The protests have been wildcat actions for the most part, as organized labor never emerged as a strong political or economic force in modern Russia. Under the Communist Party regime, labor unions had been essentially incorporated into management.
Unpaid wages, or wage arrears, an old scourge in Russia, rose on April 1 to 2.9 billion rubles, or about $56 million, according to the Russian statistical service. That is a 15 percent increase over a year earlier, but experts say that still does not capture the scope of the diminished pay of workers involuntarily idled during the slowdown.
Discontent over unpaid wages was tamped down for a while by a surge in national pride after the annexation of Crimea from Ukraine a year ago, and by repeated messages on state television that the hardship was an unavoidable price to pay for standing up for Russia’s interests.
The strikes, in any case, have not been widely publicized in the state news media.
Yet the strikes and protests in the hinterlands, like the huge graffiti addressed to the president, are posing a new challenge to Mr. Putin’s government, which presided over an energy-driven economic expansion for most of the past 15 years.
During that time, most high-profile antigovernment protests, including the so-called White Ribbon movement in Moscow in 2011, promulgated political causes rather than economic ones. Those were met with corresponding political measures by the Kremlin, such as arrests and stricter laws on staging rallies. A further chill fell over the liberal political opposition this winter after the assassination of a prominent leader, Boris Y. Nemtsov.
But the labor actions are putting forward financial demands, and are being staged in Russian rust belt towns where the government is unlikely to find easy economic solutions to resolve the grievances so long as the recession lasts and oil prices remain low. Regional newspapers described the teachers’ strike this month — in Zabaikal Province, bordering China — as the first such labor action by teachers in Russia in years.
The strike went ahead even though a regional governor had implored the teachers to work unpaid for patriotic reasons, which suggested some waning of the nationalistic pride over the Crimean annexation.
“Yes, it is serious when salaries are not paid, but not serious enough not to come to work,” the governor, Konstantin Ilkovsky, had insisted. Mr. Ilkovksy said the federal government had delayed transferring tax revenue to the region, causing the delay in payments.
In the Ural Mountains, workers at the Kachkanarsk metallurgical plant that enriches vanadium, a metal used in steel alloys, went on a work-to-rule strike in March over layoffs.
In the nearby city of Chelyabinsk, managers at the Chelyabinsk Tractor Factory, which has a rich and storied history as a showcase of industry in the Communist era, sent workers home on mandatory vacations for one day a week, presumably to spend in their apartments in the wintertime.
And not far from the Estonian border, automobile workers at a Ford assembly plant went on strike to protest cutbacks brought on by the dismal automotive market in Russia.
The actions are in line with economists’ predictions that the recession caused by the Ukraine crisis and falling oil prices will bite Russia hardest in rural areas and single-industry towns.
In those places, public-sector employees like teachers and postal workers, whose salaries are capped under austerity measures this year, make up a larger percentage of the population than they do in cities, according to Vladimir Tikhomirov, the chief economist at BCS Financial Group.
Russia’s one-factory towns, called monotowns, barely tread water economically in the best of times. After the collapse of the ruble in December, the rising cost of imported parts hurt manufacturers such as automotive assembly plants.
“If they are not laid off, workers could be sent on unpaid vacation because of falling demand,” Mr. Tikhomirov said.
The construction worker protest in Siberia was all the more remarkable for coming at a highly prestigious site, the new national space center, the Vostochny Cosmodrome. There, deep in a coniferous forest off a spur of the Trans-Siberian Railway, laborers laid concrete and built gigantic hangars for rockets long after salaries stopped being paid in December.
“We haven’t seen a kopeck since December,” Anton I. Tyurishev, an engineer, said in a telephone interview.
Some people walked away, but he stayed on his job burrowing tunnels through the frozen soil for communications wires near the launchpad, hoping to be paid. “The company should have laid people off if they didn’t have enough money.”
In all, 1,123 employees of a main subcontractor, the Pacific Bridge-Building Company, have not been paid since December.
Most work stopped on March 1, though dozens of employees stayed at the site to guard equipment.
Their labor protest took the form of writing the giant message to Mr. Putin on the roofs of their dormitories.
In a rare twist for Russia’s unpaid workers, somebody finally noticed this time.
After the message appeared, a Russian state television crew showed up to ask the workers to appear on a televised call-in show with Mr. Putin on Thursday. Hours before the show, the general contractor paid about 80 percent of the salaries to the 70 or so employees who remained at the space center, Mr. Tyurishev said. The contractor, Spetsstroy, had earlier paid a portion of back wages for all employees for December.
“Because of the indifference toward us, we just despaired and decided on this original means to appeal directly to you,” Mr. Tyurishev told Mr. Putin on the call-in show, referring to the sign the workers had painted. “So you saw us and helped in our situation, to resolve our problem.”
Mr. Putin said he would ensure the whole group was paid in full.
“It is one of the most important construction projects in the country,” he said of the new space center. “Not because I initiated the project, but because the country needs a new launchpad.”
Before the show, a boss had asked the remaining workers to paint over their message, to show that this dispute, at least, was resolved. Mr. Tyurishev said no, not until all the employees had been paid in full. But in a compromise, he agreed to update it to read, “Three months without pay.”
Palestinian Worker Stabbed By Zionist Fanatic Near Tel Aviv:
“Death To Arabs”
April 20, 2015 by IMEMC News & Agencies
An Israeli man stabbed a Palestinian worker at a construction site north of Tel Aviv on Monday, Israeli police and media reported.
The victim, a Palestinian worker for the Herzliya Municipality, told police that a man with a Russian accent shouted “Death to Arabs” before stabbing him in the shoulder.
The worker was transferred to hospital for treatment.
According to Ma'an, Israeli police are searching for the suspect, who fled the scene.
Anti-Palestinian attacks in Israel are frequent and often involve the desecration of holy sites in addition to physical assaults.
In February, suspected Jewish extremists set fire to part of a Christian seminary in East Jerusalem's Old City and sprayed “Jesus is a son of a whore” and “Redemption of Zion” on the walls.
A day earlier, extremist Jewish settlers set fire to a mosque in the southern West Bank town of al-Jaba and sprayed racist slogans calling for killing Arabs and Muslims on the walls in Hebrew.
Occupation Forces “Demolished Homes In The Bedouin Village Of Al-Araqib Village, In The Negev, For The 83rd Time”
“They Smile To Us After They Demolish Our Homes And Ask Mockingly, 'How Are You?'“
“We Will Stay Here Even If They Demolish Al-Araqib 100 Times” April 21, 2015 by IMEMC News & Agencies
Israeli bulldozers, Monday, demolished homes in the Bedouin village of al-Araqib village, in the Negev, for the 83rd time, in addition to a home in the Negev village of Atir, local activists said.
Bulldozers also leveled land in al-Khader, in southern Bethlehem.
Israeli police reportedly imposed a blockade on al-Araqib before carrying out the demolitions.
Activist Aziz Siyah Abu Mdeighem told Ma'an News Agency: “They smile to us after they demolish our homes and ask mockingly, 'How are you?'“
“It is disrespectful to Palestinians,” he said, “We will stay here even if they demolish al-Araqib 100 times.”
Meanwhile, in Atir in northeastern Hura in the Negev, bulldozers escorted by Israeli police demolished a home in which a family of 12 had been living. Ibrahim al-Afinsh, who owned the house, said the people of Atir and of the Negev would never give up their rights to their lands. The activist Abu Mdeighem called on Israel “to respect the law, as they claim their country is democratic.”
The activist said that demolitions in al-Araqib continue to take place, even after the Israeli Higher Court of Justice ruled that al-Araqib's lands do not belong to the state.He said that local Israeli authorities, who dispute the ruling, have filed a lawsuit demanding the court to order residents of al-Araqib to pay a daily fine of 5,000 shekels.
Abu Mdeighem added: “Israel is celebrating its independence by demolishing our homes,” referring to Israeli “Independence Day” which Israel celebrates on Apr. 23 this year based on the Hebrew calendar.
Palestinians will commemorate the same creation of Israel in 1948 -- known among Palestinians as al-Nakba, the catastrophe -- on May 15, according to the Gregorian calendar, remembering the violent expulsion of approximately 750,000 Palestinians from the newly created state.
This includes 90 percent of the Palestinian Bedouins who had until then lived in the Negev Desert. Israel confined the remainder to a closed reservation.
Demolitions, in addition to denial of basic services and access to infrastructure, are part of an ongoing campaign by Israeli planning committees against Bedouin villages in the Negev desert, where roughly 70-90,000 people live. In May 2013, an Israeli government committee approved a draft bill setting a framework to implement the evacuation of “unrecognized” Bedouin villages in the Negev, most of which existed before the state of Israel.
Both Al-Araqib and Atir are among some 40 Negev villages that Israeli authorities have deemed unrecognized, arguing that the 53,000 Palestinian Bedouins living in them cannot prove land ownership. Some 100 homes in unrecognized villages have been demolished since the beginning of 2015, while Israeli authorities have issued demolition notices to hundreds of others.
Israeli bulldozers also leveled land in the Palestinian town of al-Khader, in southern Bethlehem, on Monday.
Yassin al-Dadou, who owns the 18 dunams of land, said Israeli bulldozers had carried out the action even though he has documents proving his ownership.
He said that his family had spoken with lawyer Ghayyath Nasser in Jerusalem, who told them a court session would review the case on Apr. 28.
Al-Khader's mayor, Tawfiq Salah, said: “We have all papers that prove our ownership of these lands.”
He added that more than eight Israeli bulldozers are currently leveling land in the area.
Al-Khader has suffered heavily under the Israeli occupation.
Of the village's historic 22,000 dunams, about 20,000 are almost entirely cut off by the Israeli separation wall and house three illegal settlements, Efrat, Elazar and Neve Daniyyel, according to the al-Khader municipality. These settlements, which cover nearly 2,800 dunams, are part of a larger block, known as Gush Etzion, which accommodates more than 60,000 settlers. Once an agricultural village, Israeli settlers have seized large swathes of al-Khader's farmland, and have uprooted olive trees and regularly attack Palestinian farmers trying to reach their land. Of the village lands within the separation wall, the municipality says that 800 dunams are classified as Area A and 400 dunams Area B under the Oslo Accord.
The remaining 800 dunams are classified Area C, giving Israel full civil and military authority.
As a result, the village is unable to expand, despite a growing population, and Israeli authorities regularly carry out home demolition.
Brave Zionist Soldiers And Land Thieves Stop Palestinian Farmer From Plowing His Orchard:
“The Da’doa’ Owns The Orchard, And Have All Legal Deeds, Yet, The Soldiers Are Claiming It Is A ‘State Land’”
April 20, 2015 by IMEMC News & Agencies
Soldiers and settlers invaded a Palestinian orchard in the al-Khader town, south of Bethlehem, and prevented a farmer from plowing his land.
Ahmad Salah, coordinator of the Popular Committee against the Wall and Settlements in al-Khader, said the soldiers, and armed guards of Efrat illegal settlement, invaded the 10-Dunam olive orchard, and ordered the owner, Emad Ahmad Da’doa’, to stop plowing his land.
Salah said the Da’doa’ owns the orchard, and have all legal deeds, yet, the soldiers are claiming it is a “state land” - the family filed an appeal against an Israeli decision to illegally annex its land, but the Israeli court is yet to respond.
Israel recently started bulldozing sections of the orchard to build new illegal settlement units to expand the Efrat, an issue that would surround al-Khader with a chain of settlements and outposts, and prevent any natural growth of the town.
In related news, soldiers invaded Faqqou’a village, east of the northern West Bank city of Jenin, stormed three homes and violently searched them before interrogating the families.
Soldiers also invaded Jalboun and Sielet al-Harethiyya nearby villages, and conducted live fire drills near homes in the al-Jalama village, east of Jenin.
Furthermore, soldiers invaded Qaffin town, north of the northern West Bank city of Tulkarem, and kidnapped a former political prisoner identified as Khaled Yacoub Kittana.
Check out what life is like under a murderous military occupation commanded by foreign terrorists:
The occupied nation is Palestine.
The foreign terrorists call themselves “Israeli.”
DANGER: POLITICIANS AT WORK
Hillary Promises to Get Everyday Americans Foreign Money
Photograph by Win McNamee/Getty
4.20.15 By Andy Borowitz, The Borowitz Report
NASHUA, N.H.— Delivering a stirring populist message at a campaign appearance in New Hampshire, Hillary Clinton vowed that as President she would help everyday Americans obtain large cash payments from foreign governments.
“Like a lot of everyday Americans, many of you are struggling to pay your bills,” she told an audience here. “As President, I will work tirelessly to help you make ends meet—by getting foreign governments to pay you.”
“In cold, hard cash,” she added, to a standing ovation.
Growing emotional, the former Secretary of State spoke of the “transformative power of foreign money,” calling it “nothing short of magical.”
“I’ve seen up close how large sums of foreign currency can change people’s lives,” she said. “And I will not rest until every middle-class American partakes of the riches of the Emirates.”
Clinton said that she and she alone was qualified to disgorge heaps of cash from foreign governments, and took a swipe at two of her Republican rivals.
“Do you honestly think Ted Cruz could pry loose any Moroccan money—or Rand Paul?” she asked. “Come on. No one in Morocco knows those losers.”
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