Xing Shiku tortured ‘with chains’ and ‘electric shocks’ in psychiatric hospital
The Chinese government routinely uses psychiatric confinements as a tool to control dissidents, a Chinese human rights group said on Monday.
Chinese Human Rights Defenders (CHRD) highlighted the case of Xing Shiku, a Chinese petitioner who has been involuntarily detained at the Daowai District Psychiatric Hospital in Harbin City since February 2007.
CHRD says Xing was arrested in Beijing for filing complaints to government authorities about corruption and labor violations that occurred due to the privatization of the state-owned company where he once worked. He was then immediately transferred to the psychiatric hospital in northeast China.
The Chinese government claimed that Xing suffered from schizophrenia and “could have posed a threat to or adversely affected the maintenance of public order in Beijing.” CHRD maintains that doctors at the hospital have acknowledged that he does not suffer from any mental illness.
The group said Xing’s detention is politically motivated. Continue reading
BEIRUT: Militants from ISIS now control or threaten key facilities on the Euphrates and Tigris rivers, generating fears that the Al-Qaeda splinter group could turn off the taps to the Shiite south of Iraq, sparking a massive humanitarian crisis.Last month’s ISIS-led offensive across Iraq saw it overrun cities and battle for oil refineries as the national army melted away, but it has also been waging a war for water, trying to wrest control over rivers, dams and desalination plants in a bid to solidify its territorial gains.
Control of water is seen as key to the viability of the fledgling caliphate declared by ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. Without water, seasonal droughts cannot be managed, electricity cannot be generated, proper sanitation practices are near impossible and the local economy grinds to a virtual halt.
“When it comes to creating an Islamic state, it is not just about the control of geographic areas in Syria and Iraq. In order to form a viable state, one must control the state’s most vital infrastructure, which in Iraq’s case is water and oil,” said Matthew Machowski, a research fellow at Queen Mary University. Continue reading
Too little, too late.
America’s adversaries have deployed satellites that will physically dismantle US satellites and laser weapons that will pluck targets out of space. In reality and worst-case scenario, it doesn’t do much good to focus on satellites that merely ‘spot’ other satellites when the enemy has the means of destroying yours.
America abandoned the Star Wars system long ago because it cost too much and was deemed an impossible science fiction fantasy to develop and deploy. You can call it mothballing or sabotage. Meanwhile, America’s enemies have built theirs — namely Russia and China. Although they haven’t knocked yet, the barbarians are already at the gate.
But hey, no problem. As long as people can still go shopping and still watch the latest NBA game distraction it means threats can be whitewashed, right?
WASHINGTON — The Air Force is about to put a new advanced satellite into space to spy on other countries’ satellites.
On Wednesday, a Delta IV rocket will launch from Cape Canaveral Air Station, Fla., and place two Geosynchronous Space Situational Awareness Program satellites into orbit. They will be the first GSSAP satellites ever launched.
“This neighborhood watch twosome … will be on the lookout for nefarious capability other nations might try to place in that critical orbital regime,” Gen. William Shelton, the head of Air Force Space Command, told reporters at the Pentagon. Continue reading
The rise of the BRICS countries–Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa–may challenge the world order and lead to the end of US domination.
The five countries set up the New Development Bank during a recent summit in Brazil, which offers an alternative to the US-led International Monetary Fund and the World Bank.
The five countries participating in the economic cooperation forum are likely to deepen their cooperation in various fields, which may rival the dominance of the United States and G7 countries in the world.
The BRICS countries will also increase their sway if they can improve their governance, considering the fact that they account for 42% of the global population and their GDP and trade volume each make up for about 20% of the world’s total. Continue reading
The showdown with Russian president Vladimir Putin comes at moment of surging global supplies of LNG, which can be diverted to European markets and reduce the Kremlin’s political leverage. The price of LNG in Asia has crashed from $20 to $11 per British thermal unit since February.
The pan-EU group Gas Infrastructure Europe said the network of LNG terminals in Britain and the Continent is currently operating at just 20pc of its full capacity. It could in theory boost flows by 160bn cubic metres (BCM), if there is available gas.
This is more than Russia’s entire shipments, which reached 155 BCM last year. The European network of pipelines does not cover every region and would leave pockets in eastern Europe without supply.
“We have a lot of free capacity in LNG in Europe. It would be extremely difficult to replace Russian gas in a just a few months but it is possible to raise supply,” said one official. Continue reading
For decades Japan has been the world’s playground for design innovation. But now it may become ground zero for the future of something far more hostile: military drones.
Japan is not so quietly building a huge drone fleet
The country will invest ¥3 billion (approx $372 million) in the coming decade to drastically expand its virtually non-existent military unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) program, according to a senior analyst at IHS Jane’s, the leading defense and security agency. Continue reading
BERLIN/WASHINGTON/MOSCOW (Own report) – The EU and USA have expanded their sanctions against Russia and – in addition to individuals – have now also placed important Russian companies on their lists. Washington has restricted dealings, for example, with Rosneft and the Gazprombank. Brussels has announced the possibility of preventing EU companies from doing business with Russian companies and is planning to list them by the end of July. German business circles are protesting. They have already suffered billions in losses. Experts are warning that, with its sanctions against Russia, the West may experience, in the economic arena, an overreach similar to that experienced by the US in the military arena with its war on Iraq. With the power of the West obviously waning, it has already become noticeable that even close allies are defecting. Observers explain this with the Crimea conflict: NATO countries had been unable to retain the Crimea within the reign of its allied Ukrainian government; therefore it seems that an alliance with NATO countries would no longer be a reliable assurance against ones enemies. Defections can be noticed in Asia and Latin America, not least of all because of the recent founding of the BRICS development bank, rivaling the US-dominated World Bank. Russia and China are among the founders of this bank. Continue reading
By creating their own multilateral financial institutions, the BRICS emerging-market powers are shaking up global economic governance but remain far from dismantling the post-war system dominated by the West.
For the past 70 years, the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank have been the pillars of the world’s economic system, coming to the rescue of countries in trouble and supporting development projects, respectively.
China, the world’s second-largest economy, continues to have just slightly more voting power in the IMF than Italy, about five times smaller.
And, since their creation in 1944, the IMF and the World Bank have only been led by Americans and Europeans. Continue reading
A giant U.S.-led naval exercise with 22 nations from around the world got an unexpected visitor on Sunday — a Chinese spy ship perched in international waters.
The 24th Rim of the Pacific exercises (RIMPAC) in and around the Hawaiian Islands features more than 200 aircraft and 25,000 personnel. China is part of a host of nations taking part, which also includes Australia, Canada, France, Japan, the Republic of Korea, the Republic of the Philippines, the United Kingdom and others. Continue reading
With the decision by Bulgaria to suspend construction of the South Stream natural gas pipeline, there is more pressure on Serbia, which is balancing its longstanding ties with Russia against its desire to join the European Union.”The Serbian situation is the most difficult because it ‘paid ‘ the entrance to the pipeline by giving to Gazprom low prices for NIS (Naftna Industrija Serbia – Oil Company of Serbia) and Banatski Dvor (and underground gas storage in Vojvodina),” Jelena Milic, director of the Centre for Euro-Atlantic Studies for Belgrade, told SETimes.
“It is not regulated by the energy agreement with Russia what will happen if Russia gives up the project or if it will not be able to realise its obligations. Serbia counts on incomes of transit and to pay back its debts to Russia,” Milic said. Continue reading
In May 2013 the Chinese government conducted what it called a science space mission from the Xichang Satellite Launch Center in southwest China. Half a world away, Brian Weeden, a former U.S. Air Force officer, wasn’t buying it. The liftoff took place at night and employed a powerful rocket as well as a truck-based launch vehicle—all quite unusual for a science project, he says.
In a subsequent report for the Secure World Foundation, the space policy think tank where he works, Weeden concluded that the Chinese launch was more likely a test of a mobile rocket booster for an antisatellite (ASAT) weapon that could reach targets in geostationary orbit about 22,236 miles above the equator. That’s the stomping grounds of expensive U.S. spacecraft that monitor battlefield movements, detect heat from the early stages of missile launches, and help orchestrate drone fleets. “This is the stuff the U.S. really cares about,” Weeden says.
The Pentagon never commented in detail on last year’s launch—and the Chinese have stuck to their story. U.S. and Japanese analysts say China has the most aggressive satellite attack program in the world. It has staged at least six ASAT missile tests over the past nine years, including the destruction of a defunct Chinese weather satellite in 2007. “It’s part of a Chinese bid for hegemony, which is not just about controlling the oceans but airspace and, as an extension of that, outer space,” says Minoru Terada, deputy secretary-general of Japan’s ruling Liberal Democratic Party. Continue reading
Headline-grabbing “people’s war” on terrorism is a nationwide crackdown designed to show that president Xi Jinping’s Communist Party is taking charge
Thousands had packed the stands at the home of Yining FC but there was to be no football that morning.
Instead, as the sun rose high above the stadium and locals huddled under pink and purple umbrellas, a convoy of open-backed trucks rolled on to the Astroturf pitch and delivered an unusual cargo: 55 handcuffed prisoners flanked by rifle-toting guards.
From a platform high above, Communist Party leaders delivered the verdicts they hoped would send a clear message to the “rampant and unruly” criminals they had come to condemn.
All were declared guilty of charges related to separatism and terrorism. Three were sentenced to death for using knives and axes to slaughter the wife and two young daughters of a computer recycler rumoured to have discovered extremist material on a discarded hard drive. Continue reading
Intercepted phone calls purportedly between Russian military intelligence officers and members of a pro-Russian separatist group that appear to capture the moment the rebels realized the plane they shot down was a civilian passenger plane could be the smoking gun that helps prove Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 was downed Ukraine by the insurgents.
The tapes were released by SBU, Ukraine’s security agency, and transcript was published in the Kiev Post. It appears to capture the chaotic moments after the plane was shot down — and the realization that it was a passenger plane rather than a Ukrainian transport plane, which had been targeted in recent days by the Russia-backed separatists.
“We have just shot down a plane,” says a man the SBU identified as Igor Bezler, a Russian military intelligence officer and leading commander of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic. Continue reading
“The bear is loose!” President Obama has been saying, whenever he leaves the White House to visit Starbucks, or sandwich shops, or burger joints, or BBQ shacks, or neighborhood diners, in his increasingly rote and pathetic attempts to “connect” with “real people.” Obama, we have been told, is frustrated, “restless,” bored with the responsibilities and chores of office. He thinks of himself as the bear—intimidating, wild, untamed, roving—escaping his den. But he is flattering himself. Obama is not the bear. He is the cub: aimless, naïve, self-interested, self-indulgent, irresponsible, irresolute. The bear is in Moscow.
One can trace a line from any global hotspot to Russia and its authoritarian ruler. Iran? Russia has assisted its nuclear program for decades. Syria? Russia is Bashar Assad’s arms dealer. Iraq? Russia is sending men and materiel to the central government. Afghanistan? Putin muscled nearby Kyrgyzstan into closing our air base there, crucial for transport, resupply, and reconnaissance in the war against the Taliban. The contretemps between the United States and Germany is the result of Edward Snowden’s breach of national security. Where is Snowden? In Russia, where he has just asked to have his visa renewed. I wonder if Vladimir Putin will say yes. Continue reading