EU Court Orders End to Sanctions on Iran Oil Shipping Company

EU Insists They’re Going to Keep Trying to Sanction Them

After the deadline for appeal to a July ruling lapsed, the General Court of the European Union has once again ordered that the block immediately lift all sanctions on the National Iranian Tanker Company (NITC).

IranNITC is the largest oil tanker company in Iran, and successfully challenged EU sanctions on the grounds that they are a private company owned by a privately-run pension company, not a state-run entity covered by sanctions on the Iranian government.

The court gave the EU 90 days to appeal, which they insisted they planned on doing, but which they never actually did. Despite this, EU officials insist they will continue to try to find ways to keep NITC on the blacklist.

Doing so seems like it’s going to be difficult, however, with the company having already decisively won their court challenge. The missing of the appeal deadline does not appear to have been an oversight, either, but rather a reflection of the lack of any basis to appeal.

by Jason Ditz

In Raqqa, ISIL governs with fear and efficiency

BEIRUT // In the cities and towns across north-east Syria, the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant has insinuated itself into nearly every aspect of daily life.

The group known for its beheadings, crucifixions and mass executionsprovides electricity and water, pays salaries, controls traffic, and runs nearly everything from bakeries and banks to schools, courts and mosques.

While its merciless battlefield tactics and its imposition of its austere vision of Islamic law have won the group headlines, residents say much of its power lies in its efficient and often deeply pragmatic ability to govern.

Syria’s eastern province of Raqqa provides the best illustration of their methods. Members hold up the province as an example of life under the Islamic “caliphate” they hope will one day stretch from China to Europe.

syriaIn the provincial capital, a dust-blown city that was home to about a quarter of a million people before Syria’s three-year-old war began, the group leaves almost no institution or public service outside of its control.

“Let us be honest, they are doing massive institutional work. It is impressive,” one activist from Raqqa who now lives in a border town in Turkey said.

In interviews conducted remotely, residents, ISIL fighters and even activists opposed to the group described how it had built up a structure similar to a modern government in less than a year under its chief, Abu Bakr Al Baghdadi.

The group’s progress has alarmed regional and Western powers – the UAE on Wednesday called on a clear strategy from the international coumminty to fight ISIL, saying the group “aims to kill, terrorise and displace civilians, ransack property, and demolish historic and religious sites”.

The fight against ISIL will take a group effort as it has embedded itself so thoroughly into the fabric of life in places like Raqqa that it will be all but impossible for US aircraft – let alone Iraqi, Syrian and Kurdish troops – to uproot them through force alone.

Last year, Raqqa became the first city to fall to the rebels fighting to overthrow Bashar Al Assad. They called it the “Bride of the Revolution”.

A variety of rebel groups ranging from hardline Islamists to religious moderates held sway in the city, although Islamists clearly dominated. Within a year, ISIL had clawed its way into control, mercilessly eliminating rival insurgents.

Activists critical of the group were killed, disappeared, or escaped to Turkey. Alcohol was banned. Shops closed by afternoon and streets were empty by nightfall. Communication with the outside world, including nearby cities and towns, was allowed only through the ISIL media centre.

Those rebels and activists who stayed largely “repented”, a process through which they pledge loyalty to Al Baghdadi and are forgiven for their “sins” against the ISIL, and either kept to their homes or joined the group’s ranks.

But after the initial crackdown, the group began setting up services and institutions – stating clearly that it intended to stay and use the area as a base.

“We are a state,” one commander in the province said. “Things are great here because we are ruling based on God’s law.”

Some Sunnis who worked for Mr Al Assad’s government stayed on after they pledged allegiance to the group.

“The civilians who do not have any political affiliations have adjusted to the presence of ISIL, because people got tired and exhausted, and also, to be honest, because they are doing institutional work in Raqqa,” a Raqqa resident opposed to ISIL said.

Since then, the group “has restored and restructured all the institutions that are related to services,” including a consumer protection office and the civil judiciary, the resident said.

In the past month alone, ISIL fighters have broadcast images of themselvesbeheading US journalists James Foley and Steven Sotloff as well as captive Kurdish and Lebanese soldiers, and machine-gunning scores of Syrian prisoners wearing nothing but their underwear.

But the group’s use of violence has not been entirely indiscriminate. The group has often traded with businessmen loyal to Mr Al Assad when it has suited its interests, for instance.

According to one fighter, a former Assad employee is now in charge of mills and distributing flour to bakeries in Raqqa. Employees at the Raqqa dam, which provides the city with electricity and water, have remained in their posts.

The group’s willingness to use former Assad employees displays a pragmatism residents and activists say has been vital to its success holding onto territory it has captured.

They have been helped by experts who have come from countries including in North Africa and Europe. The man Al Baghdadi appointed to run and develop Raqqa’s telecoms, for instance, is a Tunisian with a doctorate in the subject who left Tunisia to join the group.

Reflecting ISIL’s assertion that it is a government – rather than simply a militant group that happens to govern – Al Baghdadi has also separated military operations from civilian administration, assigning fighters only as police and soldiers.

Instead, Al Baghdadi has appointed civilian deputies called walis, an Islamic term describing an official similar to a minister, to manage institutions and develop their sectors.

Administrative regions are divided into waliyehs, or provinces, which sometimes align with existing divisions but, as with the case of the recently established Al Furat province, can span national boundaries.

Fighters and employees receive a salary from a department called the Muslim Financial House, which is something like a finance ministry and a bank that aims to reduce poverty.

Fighters receive housing, including in homes confiscated from non-Sunnis or from government employees who fled the area, as well as about US$400 (Dh1,470) to $600 per month, enough to pay for a basic lifestyle.

One fighter said poor families were given money. A widow may receive $100 for herself and for each child she has.

Prices are also kept low. Traders who manipulate prices are punished, warned and shut down if they are caught again.

The group has also imposed Islamic taxes on wealthy traders and families.

“We are only implementing Islam, zakat is an Islamic tax imposed by God,” said a militant in Raqqa.

Analysts estimate that ISIL also raises tens of millions of dollars by selling oil from the fields it controls in Syria and Iraq to Turkish and Iraqi businessmen and by collecting ransoms for hostages it has taken.

By Mariam Karouny

Here it is: how the US government admits vaccines cause autism

What? The government admits vaccines cause autism?

The extensive article is at childhealthsafety.wordpress.com.

Title: “Vaccines Did Not Save Us.” It’s well worth studying.

Halfway through the piece, we’re linked to a May 5, 2008, email, from Tina Cheatham at the US Health Resources Services Administration, to CBS reporter Sharyl Attkisson.

The email concerns the conditions under which the federal government will pay out compensation to parents whose children have been damaged by vaccines.

Here is the key quote. Follow the circuitous language:

“The government has never compensated, nor has it ever been ordered to compensate, any case based on a determination that autism was actually caused by vaccines. We have compensated cases in which children exhibited an encephalopathy, or general brain disease. Encephalopathy may be accompanied by a medical progression of an array of symptoms including autistic behavior, autism, or seizures.”

Official word-play at work.

Compensation for vaccine-induced autism? No. Compensation for vaccine-induced encephalopathy—“accompanied by” symptoms including autistic behavior and autism? Yes.

The government is paying compensation for a vaccine-induced “something” that just happens to progress to an array of symptoms which include, well, autistic behavior, and yes, autism.

You want to know a secret? Just switch labels. If, in America, there was a hue and cry about vaccines causing “encephalopathy,” if there were large groups of vocal mothers who were outraged because their children had vaccine-caused “encephalopathy,” the US government would never, ever pay out a dollar for a child with encephalopathy. Never.

Instead, the government would pay out compensation for children with something else no one had heard of, like, oh, autism.

Get it?

This is all a game to the government. A game of switching disease-labels. A game of avoidance. A game of denial. A game of protecting the reputation of vaccines.

Shuffle the words. Shuffle the disease-labels. Protect the vaccines.

But any sane person can see the government has, in fact, admitted that vaccines cause autism.

Which, translated means: vaccines damage brains, regardless of what you call that tragedy and that crime.

In fact, here is how that email from Tina Cheatham to Sharyl Attkisson begins:

“Hi Sharyl,
Here are the numbers of compensable cases [where the government has paid out $$ compensation] for encephalitis/encephalopathy and seizures in our database from October 1, 1988 to March 4, 2008.
Encephalitis/Encephalopathy 611”

Translation: This vaccine-caused “thing,” which we’re calling encephalopathy? We have paid out $$ to parents of children who have it. And, well, yes, this “thing” does involve “autistic behavior” and “autism.”

Government at work.

The CDC whistleblower, William Thompson, understands this label-switching game. Researchers at the CDC understand it. CDC executives understand it. Other federal officials understand it. Vaccine manufacturers definitely understand it. All sorts of lawyers understand it. Major media reporters and editors understand it. Parents of vaccine-damaged children understand it.

It’s an open secret— with the exception of the uninformed public.

Delivered by The Daily Sheeple


Contributed by Jon Rappoport of No More Fake News.

Microsoft Defies Court Order, Will Not Give Emails to US Government

Despite a federal court order directing Microsoft to turn overseas-held email data to federal authorities, the software giant said Friday it will continue to withhold that information as it waits for the case to wind through the appeals process. The judge has now ordered both Microsoft and federal prosecutors to advise her how to proceed by next Friday, September 5.

Let there be no doubt that Microsoft’s actions in this controversial case are customer-centric. The firm isn’t just standing up to the US government on moral principles. It’s now defying a federal court order.

“Microsoft will not be turning over the email and plans to appeal,” a Microsoft statement notes. “Everyone agrees this case can and will proceed to the appeals court. This is simply about finding the appropriate procedure for that to happen.”

Judge Loretta Preska, the chief of the US District Court in Manhattan ruled on July 31 that Microsoft was required to hand over email messages stored in an Ireland data center to US prosecutors investigating a criminal case. But she suspended the order temporarily amid complaints from international companies—and tech companies in the US—that argued that allowing US authorities to search and seize data held internationally was illegal.

On Friday, however, she lifted that suspension after prosecutors successfully convinced her that her order was not appealable. The removal of the suspension legally requires Microsoft to hand over the email immediately.

This is the first time a technology company has resisted a US search warrant seeking data that is held outside the United States.

In the view of Microsoft and many legal experts, federal authorities have no jurisdiction over data stored outside the country. It says that the court order violates Ireland’s sovereignty and that prosecutors need to seek a legal treaty with Ireland in order to obtain the data they want.

Judge Preska of course feels differently, and she has consistently agreed with the prosecution argument that the physical location of email is irrelevant because Microsoft controls the data from its base in the United States.

Of perhaps more importance is the faith and trust of Microsoft’s customers from around the world. Like other technology companies that are pushing cloud services, Microsoft has been negatively impacted by reports about US governmental spying and its ability to seize data stored in cloud datacenters. It has asked governments from around the world to stop these practices and respect privacy rights. And as its faced resistance on that front, Microsoft has grown increasingly more suspicious of governmental requests for data.

How Bitcoin Can Stop War

Roger Ver gave this speech at Coin Congress in Singapore in May entitled “Why Bitcoin is Important for the World.” It is a sort of quick introduction into the world of Bitcoin and how Bitcoin can be a powerful tool to promote global understanding and help stop nations from conducting war.

Hi everyone, my name is Roger Ver. I have a feeling I’m going to be preaching to the choir for the most part here, but can I see a real quick show of hands? Who here has wondered and is kind of interested in learning about Bitcoin, but doesn’t know a whole lot about it? Is there anybody that fits into that category? Okay, that makes it real easy for me. I see one guy that maybe was halfway raising a hand. Okay, don’t be shy. But basically I’m going to be talking about Bitcoin, as you may have guessed, and I’ve been saying it for years and years now, and I’m saying it because I don’t think it’s an exaggeration that Bitcoin is really one of the most important inventions ever. It’s really that important.

Bitcoin: Getting Started

It’s easy. There are all sorts of free wallets. The one I recommend is Blockchain.info. It’s easy to buy Bitcoins. There’s all sorts of places you can do that. If you’re from the U.S. or live in the U.S. or have a U.S. bank account, Coinbase.com, again, is fantastic. There are all sorts of places that you can use to spend your Bitcoins. In fact, I even bought my plane tickets to come here to Singapore with Bitcoins. You can buy just about anything at this point. A real question is what can’t you buy with Bitcoins at this point? And there aren’t too many things on that list.

Why it’s so important

Bitcoin, is the first time in the entire history of the world in which anyone can transact with anyone else anywhere in the world, and without asking for permission from any bank or government or politician or any other human being, for that matter. Two people can interact with each other anywhere on the planet without requiring permission from anybody else, and that’s really revolutionary. That’s never existed before, ever.

And the way it works is through this revolutionary invention called the Bitcoin Blockchain or the Blockchain in general, which is a public ledger that allows anybody to see what’s going on and make sure that people aren’t spending the same Bitcoins twice. It’s in an open, decentralized network. Anybody with programming skills can read the software code. If you can’t read it, you can read what all sorts of other people who can have to say about it. So you don’t have to just believe me or any one corporation or entity. It’s out there for the entire world to look at and audit and check. And the same is true of lots of the different Bitcoin clients as well.

I got so excited once I realized the characteristics of Bitcoin make it the best form of money the world has ever seen. And the characteristics of good money are that it’s harder – in Bitcoins’ case, basically impossible – to counterfeit. It’s scarce. There’s a limited supply. We cannot say that about the U.S. dollar or Euros or Yen. Governments can print them at will any time for any reason. Bitcoins are easily divisible. Currently, they can be divided down to a one hundred millionth of a Bitcoin. Homogeneous. All Bitcoins are the same. Each one is tracked individually, but at this point no Bitcoin is considered really to be worth more than any other Bitcoin, which is a characteristic that’s shared with gold.

Durable. Bitcoins are, I guess, more durable than pieces of paper in your wallet or even precious metals for that point. Bitcoins last forever, as long as you keep the information stored somewhere. Talk about easy to transport. You can send a million dollars worth of Bitcoin from Singapore to Moscow or London or South America or absolutely anywhere instantly for free, and it’s impossible for anyone to block you from sending or receiving that payment. Try doing that with a wire transfer or a suitcase full of pieces of paper or gold. You can’t do it. But with Bitcoin, you absolutely can. And with Bitcoin, it’s easy to store. You can keep any amount of Bitcoin right there in your pocket or on any other computing device, or you can even print them out onto pieces of paper. So all of those things together just make Bitcoin really, it’s the best form of money the world has ever seen.

But don’t lose your money

Be safe with your Bitcoins. All that’s required to spend a Bitcoin is the private key. So when you have Bitcoins, make sure that you’re storing that private key yourself. Don’t trust that to somebody else to store for you, unless you feel that you are not capable of doing that and you’re absolutely horrible at computer security, I suppose, or even physical security with pieces of paper. But the big problem, for those of you that are aware, with Mt. Gox recently was a Bitcoin exchange that lost somewhere around 600,000 to 800,000 Bitcoins of other people’s money. The reason that was possible is because other people entrusted them to hold their Bitcoins for them. With wallets likeBlockchain.info – the one I recommend – nobody but you has access to the private keys to spend your Bitcoins. So use a wallet like Blockchain.info or Electrum or the Satoshi QT client or Armory or any of these in which you’re storing the private key. If you have any significant amount of Bitcoins, that’s definitely the way to go. Don’t trust other people to hold your Bitcoins is the short version there.

Regulation is changing

I think we saw a real similar picture a presentation or two ago. We’ll see what happens in the future, but at the end of the day, Bitcoin is simply a peer-to-peer protocol. There’s no central office. There’s no central server. There’s no central place that even if all of these countries listed on the map here turn red and didn’t like Bitcoin at all, that wouldn’t stop Bitcoin. The only way to stop Bitcoin would be to shut down the entire internet in the entire world. And lots of people, we hear speculating, “Oh, Bitcoin’s going to be $10,000 or $100,000 or maybe even $1 million for one single Bitcoin. At the end of the day, it doesn’t really matter what price Bitcoin is. You can still use it to send money anywhere in the world instantly basically for free, whether one Bitcoin is worth one penny or $1 million. It still works the same.

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