All posts by Moderator

Don’t Bother Me (With The Beatles – Remastered)

  spoti.fi/2HqFSWt (click for album)   We had “Meet The Beatles!” before the band appeared on “Ed Sullivan.” The single of “She Loves You” on Swan backed with “I’ll Get You” too, actually we had that first. They called it “Beatlemania,” and it truly was. “I Want To Hold Your Hand” exploded out of transistors right…

Read More

The post Don’t Bother Me (With The Beatles – Remastered) appeared first on The Big Picture.

A US Ally Is Literally Beheading People Over Nonviolent Drug Charges

Submitted by Carey Welder of AntiMedia

Saudi Arabia, the United States’ main ally in the Middle East, has executed 48 people so far this year, half of them over nonviolent drug charges, Human Rights Watch reported this week.

“Many more people convicted of drug crimes remain on death row following convictions by Saudi Arabia’s notoriously unfair criminal justice system,” the advocacy organization said in a release.

Though Human Rights Watch did not specify the method of execution, the Guardian classified the 48 killings as beheadings, and the Saudi government has a reputation for this type of sentence.

Saudi Arabia has carried out nearly 600 executions since the beginning of 2014, over 200 of them in drug cases. The vast majority of the remainder were for murder, but other offenses included rape, incest, terrorism, and ‘sorcery,’” HRW noted.

As far back as 2004, CBS reported that “[t]he Saudi government beheaded 52 men and one woman last year for crimes including murder, homosexuality, armed robbery and drug trafficking,” adding that the Kingdom argues the practice is acceptable under Islamic law, which governs the country. At the same time, they condemned beheadings by militant groups. CBS noted that while Islam allows for the death penalty “few mainstream Muslim scholars and observers believe beheadings are sanctioned by Sharia, or Islamic law.

Nevertheless, the Saudi government has continued the practice, beheading 157 people in 2015, the highest since 1995, when 192 were executed. Nonviolent drug offenders were among those killed that year, as well.

Human Rights Watch (HRW) found that of the first 100 prisoners executed in 2015, 56 had been based on judicial discretion and not for crimes for which Islamic law mandates a specific death penalty punishment,” the Guardian noted at the time.

In its latest update, Human Rights Watch discussed the difficulty of obtaining a fair trial in Saudi Arabia, highlighting that, among other issues,  longstanding due process violations in Saudi Arabia’s criminal justice system that makes it difficult for a defendant to get a fair trial even in capital cases.

The organization said that in cases they analyzed, “authorities did not always inform suspects of the charges against them or allow them access to evidence, even after trial sessions began.

The Kingdom also criminalizes protest and received widespread condemnation in 2017 for its efforts to execute 14 Shia minority demonstrators who protested during the Arab Spring. One of those protesters was a Saudi student who was arrested on his way to study abroad in the United States, and an advocacy groups’ appeals to President Trump to intervene on his behalf, the White House offered no indication it intended to help him.

Others who have spoken out against the monarchy have faced floggings and crucifixion. Nevertheless, in 2015, the kingdom’s representative to the U.N. Human Rights Council, Bandar al-Aiban, insisted the death penalty is applied “only [to] those who commit heinous crimes that threaten security.”

Though the country’s Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman has expressed his intent to reform the country and reduce the number of executions, it’s extremist roots make this a daunting task that will likely take a significant amount of time.

Considering the Saudi kingdom has funded the spread of radical Islam around the world and has also been linked to financial sponsorship of ISIS and the 9/11 terror attacks, it is not surprising they continue to impose the death penalty against even nonviolent offenders and that they are one of the top executioners in the world.

Meanwhile, the U.S. government remains fixated on largely unsubstantiated claims of atrocities by geopolitical rivals in the region, failing to display a modicum of principle in its ultimately tepid opposition to oppression and radicalism as it continues to facilitate the sale of billions of dollars worth of weaponry to extremist regimes.

Joy Reid Backpedals On Internet Archive Hack, Cyber “Expert” Can’t Produce Proof

Joy Reid looks to be fairly screwed, after claims that a hacker “fabricated” homophobic and bigoted blog posts attributed to the MSNBC host has fallen apart.

After initially claiming that an “unknown, external party” hacked the Wayback Machine’s internet archive pages and “fabricated” the offensive comments from over a decade ago, the folks at the Internet Archive responded –  claiming they hadn’t identified anything “to indicate tampering or hacking of the Wayback Machine” versions of Reid’s blog.

This past December, Reid’s lawyers contacted us, asking to have archives of the blog (blog.reidreport.com) taken down, stating that “fraudulent” posts were “inserted into legitimate content” in our archives of the blog. Her attorneys stated that they didn’t know if the alleged insertion happened on the original site or with our archives (the point at which the manipulation is to have occurred, according to Reid, is still unclear to us).

When we reviewed the archives, we found nothing to indicate tampering or hacking of the Wayback Machine versions. At least some of the examples of allegedly fraudulent posts provided to us had been archived at different dates and by different entities.

We let Reid’s lawyers know that the information provided was not sufficient for us to verify claims of manipulation. Consequently, and due to Reid’s being a journalist (a very high-profile one, at that) and the journalistic nature of the blog archives, we declined to take down the archives. We were clear that we would welcome and consider any further information that they could provide us to support their claims.-Internet Archive

Now Reid is dropping the claim about the internet archive, per the Daily Beast, which reported Thursday night “Reid and her team no longer believe the archive was hacked, and the Internet Archive has denied any such manipulation could have occurred.”

Meanwhile, Washington Examiner‘s Becket Adams notes that Reid’s security “expert” is shady. 

I use quotation marks around the word “expert” because everything points to the likelihood that Nichols is a crank-for-hire. After all, he “had trouble producing the promised evidence” of a hack, the Daily Beast noted, adding that, “what he did produce failed to withstand scrutiny. … Blog posts that Nichols claimed do not appear on the Internet Archive are, in fact, there. The indicators of hacked posts don’t bear out.”

There’s also the fact he says he’s an “Information Operations soldier” whose expertise lies in “military propaganda” and “human intelligence.” He also says he is a “ senior” Psychological Operations operative who could have “influenced the propaganda mission of Libya” but “chose not to.” Lastly, it doesn’t exactly strike confidence in one’s heart to learn he scrubbed his social media accounts following the publication of his supposed findings.

The real takeaway, however, is that Reid and her team of supposed “experts” (who are not official MSNBC employees) are backing away from their earlier suggestion that secretive operatives manipulated the Wayback Machine. –Washington Examiner

And as we pointed out yesterday, the noose is closing around Reid – as the posts could have only been “manipulated” within a six-week time frame on the then-virtually unknown Reid’s blog. The hacker would have had to manipulate Reid’s entries 12 years ago and then just sit on them as Reid got famous – according to Joy’s account.

Library of Congress hacked too?

This is to say nothing of her Library of Congress problem. Like the Wayback Machine, the Library of Congress also archives Internet content. Their records show that at least one of the aforementioned anti-gay posts is definitely real. Reid hasn’t said whether she believes the Library of Congress has been hacked. –Washington Examiner

As The Intercept‘s Glenn Greenwald noted the other day – “Last week, the same left-wing Twitter user (Jamie Maz) who first unearthed Reid’s anti-gay tweets about Crist unearthed far more toxic, bigoted, and vicious anti-gay articles that appeared to be from Reid’s old blog.”

Reid has removed her blog from the internet, so Maz found the articles using the “Wayback Machine,” the internet digital archive that stores old online content even after it’s been removed or deleted by the publisher. Last night, the news outlet that reports on TV news media, Mediaite, published an extensive story on these newly found articles that appear under Reid’s byline.

But unlike the posts for which Reid apologized in December — which she said were intended to mock the hypocrisy of GOP officials who are simultaneously closeted gays, but also anti-gay in their politics — these newly discovered articles have nothing to do with GOP hypocrisy. They are just hateful, bigoted, and homophobic in their own right.

Some of the lowlights of Reid’s posts, as Mediaite itemized, include (via The Intercept):

  • “defend[ing] former NBA star Tim Hardaway’s aggressively anti-gay comments by writing that while such comments are stupid for a public figure to make: ‘most straight people cringe at the sight of two men kissing’”;
  • saying she “couldn’t go see [Brokeback Mountain] either, despite my sister’s ringing endorsement, because I didn’t want to watch the two male characters having sex. Does that make me homophobic? Probably”;
  • arguing that “intrinsic” to being straight is finding gay sex acts “gross”;
  • “defending Marine General Peter Pace after he condemned ‘homosexual acts’ as ‘immoral’ by suggesting his views are actually normal”;
  • opposing Harriet Miers’s nomination to the Supreme Court by implying she is a closeted lesbian and comparing her “lesbian haircut” to those worn by the presidents of NOW and GLAAD;
  • promoting the ugliest and most destructive stereotype of gay men as pedophile predators by suggesting that anti-gay attitudes are based in “concerns that adult gay men tend to be attracted to very young, post-pubescent types, bringing them ‘into the lifestyle’ in a way that many people consider to be immoral” and that “gay rights groups seek to organize very young, impressionable teens who may have an inclination that they are gay.”

 Oh Joy…