Are police officers allowed to lie to you? Yes the Supreme Court has ruled that police officers can lie to the American people. Police officers are trained at lying, twisting words and being manipulative. Police officers and other law enforcement agents are very skilled at getting information from people. So don’t try to “out smart” a police officer and don’t try being a “smooth talker” because you will lose! If you can keep your mouth shut, you just might come out ahead more than you expected.

Sunday, November 29, 2015

Protests Continue In Russia And Turkey


Demonstrators, holding a Syrian opposition flag and a defaced poster of Russia's President Vladimir Putin, shout slogans during an anti-Russian protest in Istanbul, Nov. 27, 2015. A slogan in Turkish and Russian on the poster reads: "Killer Putin!" Reuters/Murad Sezer
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan was burned in effigy Friday during a protest as tensions continue to mount between Ankara and Moscow, AFP reported. Anti-Turkey rallies were held in Moscow and Crimea with shouts of “down with ISIS [the Islamic State group]” as Erdogan again warned the Kremlin over its actions in the region and Moscow backed away from the idea of a grand coalition to fight ISIS.

“It is playing with fire to go as far as mistreating our citizens who have gone to Russia,” Erdogan said Friday, commenting on reports that Turkish businessmen had been detained in Russia. “We really attach a lot of importance to our relations with Russia ... We don’t want these relations to suffer harm in any way.”

The protests in Russia come after Turkey downed a Russian aircraft near the Syrian border Tuesday. Russian President Vladimir Putin called the downing a “stab in the back.” Turkish officials claimed the aircraft had entered their airspace while Russian officials maintain that the aircraft stayed in Syrian airspace.

Russia began airstrikes in Syria at the end of September under the pretext of fighting ISIS, however Western leaders have said that Russia has also targeted opposition groups who pose the biggest threat to longtime Russian ally Syrian President Bashar Assad. Following the downing of the aircraft, Moscow claimed the moment was not right for forming a coalition to fight ISIS.

“At the moment, unfortunately, our partners are not ready to work as one coalition,” said Dmitry Peskov, Putin’s personal spokesman, the Washington Post reported.

The remarks come after Putin met with French President Fran├žois Hollande and said Moscow was ready to work with the West to combat ISIS. Both France and Russia have suffered attacks at the hands of ISIS with 130 people killed in attacks in Paris earlier in November and 224 peopled killed with the downing of Russian Metrojet flight 9268 in October over Egypt.

Moscow said Friday it would cancel its visa-free travel for Turkish tourists starting Jan. 1 and has also threatened further economic retaliation. Russian social media was full of vitriol after the downing of the aircraft with one Twitter image saying, “Have you purchased a Turkish product? You’ve sponsored ISIS.”

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Hundreds of Russian truck drivers head to Moscow for protest

By Irina Titova

ST. PETERSBURG, Russia (AP) -- Hundreds of the Russian truck drivers who have been protesting around the country were driving their rigs toward Moscow on Sunday to demand that the government cancel a new road tax, one protest leader said.
The truck drivers, many of whom own and operate their vehicles, say the hefty road tax for long-distance haulers threatens to put them out of business. They have little faith that the money will go toward maintaining Russia's notoriously bad roads.

Alexander Rastorguyev, one of the leaders of the protesting drivers in St. Petersburg, said Sunday that more than 200 trucks were driving toward Moscow to take part in a demonstration on the outskirts of the capital on Monday. He said they would be joined by others from other parts of Russia.

In some regions, however, local authorities have blocked trucks from traveling to Moscow. Rastorguyev said he was unable to join the St. Petersburg truckers because he was detained by police for several hours on Sunday.

Truckers have been protesting across Russia for nearly three weeks. In some cities, including the southern city of Volgograd, they have blocked traffic by driving slowly across all lanes of a major road. In other regions, the truckers have parked along roads and refused to work.

Ilya Lvov, who heads the St. Petersburg branch of the opposition party Democratic Choice, said the road tax would increase transportation costs by 15 to 20 percent, which would put further pressure on Russia's already high inflation rate.

Russia's northern cities depend on fruit and vegetables brought from southern parts of the country.

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Montenegro's NATO Bid

By Charles Recknagel

Pro-Russian parties in Montenegro are stoking unrest in an apparent bid to sabotage Podgorica's hopes of receiving an invitation from NATO next week to join the alliance.

For weeks, pro-Russian protesters led by the right-wing New Serbian Democracy (NOVA) party, have taken to the streets of Podgorica to demand the resignation of Prime Minister Milo Djukanovic and either snap elections or an interim government.

Djukanovic, who refuses to step down, has accused Russia and Serbia of instigating the turmoil in the run-up to the meeting of NATO's foreign ministers in Brussels on December 1-2.

He has suggested the goal is to make Montenegro look unstable, discouraging NATO from taking it in. The alliance itself has not committed to issuing an invitation but has offered Podgorica strong encouragement in its quest to become a member while linking progress to reforms.

Asked by media earlier this month to explain why he accuses Moscow over the protests, Djukanovic said, "there is no need for an interpretation, Russia has sent three very clear and very direct messages through its Ministry of Foreign Affairs." 

Moscow, which accuses the prime minister of "demonizing" Russia, has repeatedly encouraged Montenegrins to look askance at NATO. It has called the alliance's extension into the Balkans a "provocation" and warned that closer integration with Europe will not lead to Montenegro's prosperity.

Most recently, on November 23, the Russian Foreign Ministry said Montenegro's entry into NATO would be "another blow to European security and to relations between Russia and NATO."

Destabilizing Montenegro?

Analysts say it is impossible to know for certain if Moscow is actively encouraging the protests in Montenegro.

"Russia is definitely against the NATO membership of any country [and] we know that [the issue] started the conflict in Georgia [and] it has played a very important role in the conflict with Ukraine," says Wolfgang Petritsch, president of the Austrian Marshall Plan Foundation and a former top international representative and negotiator in the Bosnian and Kosovo crises of the 1990s.


"The Western Balkans is not considered by Moscow as a first-rate strategic priority [but] wherever there is an opportunity, Moscow takes advantage of it," Petritsch adds.

Russia has a strong potential for influence in Montenegro because Montenegrin society itself is divided over whether to join the alliance.

A public opinion poll conducted by the Podgorica-based Center for Democracy and Human Rights (CEDEM) on November 12 showed respondents evenly split, with 36.5 percent in favor of joining NATO and 36.2 against -- an insignificant difference given the poll's margin of error. 

However, the number of Montenegrins saying they support NATO membership has steadily grown with time. A poll conducted by the same group last year found 45 percent of respondents opposed joining the alliance.

Channeling Anger

In organizing protests against Podgorica's efforts to join NATO, pro-Russian parties have combined that issue with remaining anger among many ethnic Serbs in Montenegro over NATO's bombing of targets in Serbia in 1999.

The bombing forced the then-president of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, Slobodan Milosevic, to stop operations by security forces that were driving hundreds of thousands of ethnic Albanians from Kosovo.

Montenegro was united with Serbia until 2006, when Montenegrin voters decided by a narrow margin for independence.

The protests have at times turned violent since they began in late September.

In the worst incident, some 5,000 demonstrators massed around the parliament hurled Molotov cocktails at police on October 24. Dozens of demonstrators and police were reported injured.

Since then, the protests have moved off the street and into assembly halls, where they continue to take place but on a much smaller and more peaceful scale.

Police remove a protester from one of the demonstrations, which have occasionally been marred by violence.
Police remove a protester from one of the demonstrations, which have occasionally been marred by violence.

The party leading the protests, NOVA, is Montenegro's second-largest party, with deputies in parliament and a large support base among ethnic Serbs. It has a pro-Serbian, anti-NATO, and pro-Moscow platform and includes many former supporters of Milosevic. Another small party with a similar support base, Movement for Change (Pokret za Promene), is also taking part in the demonstrations.

Many other opposition parties, however, have refused to join the protest coalition. They object to NOVA's right-wing, anti-NATO stance even as they support early elections or the formation of an interim government.

Ironically, NATO's insistence on making any invitation to Montenegro contingent on Podgorica's progress in tackling corruption and improving the rule of law could directly answer some of the protesters' own demands for change.

"Montenegro is a very strong aspirant for membership," NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said on October 15 on a visit to Podgorica. But, he added, "Full implementation of reforms is key."

The protesters accuse Djukanovic and his Democratic Party of Socialists, which has dominated Montenegrin politics for 25 years, of corruption and cronyism as they demand he step down to prevent Montenegro's further European integration.

NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg has said that he is encouraged by recent reforms in Montenegro and that he sees "growing support" for inviting the Balkan country to join the military alliance.

A formal decision on Montenegro’s membership bid is due to be made at a meeting of NATO foreign ministers in early December.

Speaking at a gathering of lawmakers from NATO member states in Norway’s southwestern town of Stavanger, Stoltenberg said he would "not prejudge the decision," but said he senses "some kind of growing support for inviting Montenegro."

He said: "Montenegro is really making progress both when it comes to the rule of law, when it comes to establishing an independent judiciary but also when it comes to modernizing its armed forces and its intelligence services."

Stoltenberg is due to visit Montenegro's capital, Podgorica, later this week.

NATO already includes three Balkan states as members: Albania, Croatia, and Slovenia.

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Police engaged in sex acts with hookers and you're footing the bill

By Steve Russell

One of many problems with policing private sexual conduct is that the government has to gather evidence. Minnesota Public Radio reported that the Minneapolis Police Department has had prostitution cases tossed out on the basis of “outrageous governmental conduct” because the male police officers trolling for cases in massage parlors actually engaged in sex acts to “gather evidence.”

When I was an active judge in Texas, the Houston Police Department was doing the same, but they had an excuse. They were not going for misdemeanor prostitution arrests but rather the felony of keeping a house of prostitution, which required making several prostitution cases at the same location. If officers made a deal and did not go though with it, the owner would catch on. The “outrageous governmental conduct” argument did not work in Texas, so the police were allowed to have their sex and prosecute it too.

“It’s a hard job,” my cousin Ray Sixkiller snickered, “but somebody has to do it.”

The San Antonio Express-News reported that USAF Capt. Christopher Hill pled guilty to having sex with one of his flight students at Laughlin AFB, among others, but his case got stranger when he took his wife and newborn daughter for a weekend in San Antonio…and brought his mistress along. He complicated things further by lying to investigators and concealing evidence by burying an external hard drive, an iPad, and a cell phone on the grounds of Del Rio International Airport. Facing more than 20 years, he cut a deal for 90 days and a dishonorable discharge.

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Police bust online gun ring, seize 1,180 guns

SHANGHAI (Reuters) - Police in China, where gun possession by ordinary people is illegal, have busted an online gun selling operation, seizing 1,180 guns and more than 6 million bullets, the state news agency Xinhua reported on Saturday.

A seven-month investigation that started when police happened across suspected gun parts in a package netted 18 people involved in the sale of guns in China via a website hosted on a U.S. server, Xinhua said.

The gun selling ring had made more than 4 million yuan ($625,537) in profit since 2012, according to a police officer quoted by Xinhua.

The manufacture and sale of guns is strictly regulated in China and individuals can be sentenced to up to seven years in prison if convicted of illegally possessing a gun. With such strict controls, private gun ownership is almost unheard of and gun crime is rare.

In April, police found items believed to be gun components in a package when inspecting a courier service, Xinhua quoted Lyu Ming, a police officer in the northern region of Inner Mongolia, as saying.

In the following months, police traced packages to five suspects in the central province of Hunan and raided a house they had used to sell guns, it said.

One suspect confessed that they had been in the online gun business since 2012, using a rented server in the United States. They posted advertisements online and recruited sales agents nationwide, Xinhua said.

Thirteen others were also detained, it said without giving details.

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Los Angeles considers 'john letters' to fight prostitution


LOS ANGELES (AP) — A Los Angeles City Hall proposal to send "john letters" to the owners of cars seen in areas known for prostitution has drawn criticism from a California civil liberties group.

The City Council voted Wednesday to have the city attorney's office analyze the proposal to use license numbers to determine who owns the vehicles.

The letters would be written to discourage those who were soliciting prostitutes from returning to the area while posing no harm to those who were there for legitimate reasons, Councilwoman Nury Martinez said.

"If you aren't soliciting, you have no reason to worry about finding one of these letters in your mailbox," she said.

The collection of license plate data is opposed by the nonprofit Electronic Frontier Foundation, the Los Angeles Daily News reported (

The San Francisco-based foundation has an ongoing lawsuit against the Los Angeles Police Department and the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department over the issue.
"What happens if you have legitimate reason to be in a neighborhood?" asked Dave Mass, an investigative researcher with foundation.
Some other cities have used "john letters" to combat prostitution. In some communities, residents are encouraged to jot down the license numbers of cars they see engaging in suspicious activity and provide it to police.
The "john letters" are typically written in a cordial tone and make it clear that police do not assume the owner of the vehicle was the person driving it.
"It is a common myth that prostitution is a 'victimless crime' or that it is 'an act between two consenting adults,'" one sample letter used by a police agency in Florida states. "Prostitution is a crime which is linked to drugs (use and sale), acts of violence toward prostitutes and their customers, and in the worst case, human trafficking in juveniles for the sex trade."
The letters also warn about potential exposure to sexually transmitted diseases.
Some business owners praised the proposal in Los Angeles.
"Let's say that letter comes in and your wife, your girlfriend or mother gets it," said Cindy Sower, a Sun Valley business owner who applauded the proposal. "Maybe it's a wake-up call."

EDITORS NOTE: Talk about government intrusion into personal lives! If this holds, you are guilty by association. Isn't that banned by our Constitution. You do have a lot to fear. This is an illegal process. It assumes that you are guilty no matter what the letter says and may well end up losing a wife or girlfriend over it. Why not send letters to all people spotted on Wall Street - after all we know that is where the crooks who caused the economic collapse all are.

As far as most problems with prostitution, they occur because it is illegal. Make it legal as it is in some places and the problems go away. Only because of people's antiquated religious beliefs was it made illegal in the first place. So much for separation of religion and State, huh?

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FBI identifies marijuana distribution ring

By Alfonso Chardy

A chance encounter in June between a U.S. government source and a drug-trafficking suspect eventually led to the discovery of a hydroponic marijuana distribution ring in South Florida, according to federal court documents in Miami.

It also led to the arrest of an 18-year-old Fort Lauderdale resident, Jordan Campo, who allegedly had links to the drug distribution ring that imported high-grade hydroponic marijuana from California and Colorado, according to a criminal complaint filed by an FBI special agent.

The arrest of Campo in late October opened a window into what could be a national hydroponic marijuana distribution system featuring growers on the West Coast and distributors in South Florida, according to the complaint.

The case against Campo began in June when an FBI informant met a drug-trafficking suspect identified in the criminal complaint only by the initials V.B.
“V.B. was involved in the importation of high-grade hydroponic marijuana from primarily California and Colorado to the vicinity of South Florida for distribution and resale,” according to the complaint.

But V.B. also had an ulterior motive in talking to the informant, whom he did not know was gathering information for the FBI. The informant was identified in the complaint as S-1. “V.B informed S-1 that he was actively attempting to recruit an individual to perform a home invasion robbery of a ‘competitor’ of V.B.’s in the distribution of narcotics in the South Florida area,” the complaint said. Later at a second meeting in which the FBI informant was joined by an undercover law enforcement officer, V.B. said “he and his partner had become angry with their out-of-state supplier” when the supplier began selling to another local distributor after promising V.B. and a partner exclusive distribution rights in Florida. The complaint identified the local distributor as Jordan Campo.

The complaint said the distribution rights applied to a marijuana byproduct known among drug traffickers as liquid THC, shatter or clear. THC stands for tetrahydrocannabinol, which is extracted from marijuana .

V.B. then told the informant and the undercover officer where Campo lived and what kind of car he drove.

“V.B. made detailed handwritten notations on a paper napkin with Campo’s name, the make/model/color of Campo’s car (a BMW), and the address of the residence V.B. wanted robbed, as well as a hand-drawn map showing how to get there,” the complaint said.

In late September, agents contacted Campo at his home in Fort Lauderdale. The criminal complaint said Campo acknowledged dealing in drugs and profiting from the sale of narcotics. He also consented to a search of his residence where law enforcement found a loaded pistol and a small safe containing $25,027 from the sale of liquid THC and about 5,000 grams of liquid THC, according to the complaint. “Law enforcement also seized Campo’s BMW automobile during this search,” the complaint said. “Campo advised law enforcement that he possessed the firearm in order to protect his drugs and drug proceeds.”

Campo was arrested Oct. 23, one day after he turned 18, according to court records.

He was indicted Nov. 5 and pleaded not guilty four days later, the records show. His trial has been tentatively scheduled for January.

The FBI declined comment saying the case is still under investigation. Campo’s attorney could not be reached for comment.

EDITORS NOTE: The FBI clams to have busted a drug ring but they only arrested one teenager.

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Saturday, November 28, 2015

Arrested journalists urge EU not to compromise on rights in Turkey talks



Istanbul (AFP) - Two Turkish journalists charged with "spying" over their reports about Ankara's alleged arms supplies to Syrian rebels urged the EU on Saturday not to compromise on human rights and press freedom as it looks to Turkey to help stem Europe's migrant crisis.

European Union and Turkish leaders including Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu will meet in Brussels on Sunday in a bid to complete a deal aimed at stemming the flow of refugees from Syria into the bloc.

Turkey hosts more than two million Syrian refugees and is the main gateway for people trying to get to the EU, via the short sea crossing to the Greek islands.

Writing from the Silivri prison near Istanbul, the opposition Cumhuriyet daily's editor-in-chief Can Dundar and Ankara bureau chief Erdem Gul said they hoped the meeting would produce a lasting solution to the crisis "that has concerned and touched all our hearts."

But they added: "We would also hope that your desire to end the crisis will not stand in the way of your sensitivity towards human rights, freedom of press and expression as fundamental values of the Western world."

"The Prime Minister of Turkey, whom you will meet this weekend, and the regime he represents are well known for policies and practices that have flouted human rights and freedom of the press," they said.

The letter was addressed to EU leaders as well as German Chancellor Angela Merkel, French President Francois Hollande and the British Prime Minister David Cameron.

Ankara is negotiating with the EU an action plan envisaging Turkey preventing refugees from leaving for the EU, in exchange for financial aid, visa liberalization for Turkish citizens and boosting Ankara's bid to join the bloc.

Turkey itself is sheltering over two million Syrian refugees.

A court in Istanbul on Thursday arrested Dundar and Gul for spying over the publication of footage from January 2014 purporting to show Turkey's secret services helping send weapons to Islamist rebels in Syria.

They face up to 45 years in jail if convicted.

The revelations, published in May, caused a political storm in Turkey, with an enraged President Recep Tayyip Erdogan vowing Dundar would pay a "heavy price".

There has been growing concern about deteriorating press freedoms in Turkey under Erdogan and in particular over the numbers of journalists facing legal proceedings on accusations of insulting or criticizing top officials.

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Burger King manager: Police erased video of Chicago shooting

CHICAGO (AP) — A Burger King manager who accuses Chicago police of erasing surveillance video in the case of a black teenager shot last year by a white officer says he has testified before a federal grand jury investigating the shooting.
Jay Darshane told the Chicago Tribune ( ) that the FBI also took the video recorder containing all of the restaurant's surveillance images.

It's not clear what that video might have shown, but the accusation of tampering has fueled the anger of protesters who say the city, the police and local prosecutors have mishandled the case. After months of refusals, the city released police squad car video of the shooting on Tuesday in response to a judge's order. But both the police chief and the Cook County state's attorney deny the Burger King video was altered.

The Burger King is just yards from where 17-year-old Laquan McDonald fell when the first few rounds struck him. It took just minutes for police to demand to see the restaurant's password-protected video, Darshane said.

"I was just trying to help the police with their investigation," Darshane said. "I didn't know they were going to delete it."

He said that when the officers left, almost two hours later, there was an 86-minute gap in the recording, including the time surrounding the shooting.

Darshane told the Tribune he testified about the missing video before a grand jury earlier this year. The Associated Press could not reach Darshane for comment on Saturday.

Federal prosecutors said this week that their investigation is continuing, but would not comment further.

The Cook County state's attorney this past week announced a state-level charge of first-degree murder against the officer.

McDonald was shot 16 times after being pursued by police responding to a complaint about car break-ins. He was carrying a knife. The officer's attorney says his client fired because he feared for his life, and that he acted lawfully and within police department guidelines.

At a news conference announcing the charge, State's Attorney Anita Alvarez said forensic testing found no evidence that anyone intentionally erased the Burger King video. Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy called the allegation "absolutely untrue."

Information from: Chicago Tribune,

EDITORS NOTE: Juries in the past have been white and uptight and hand picked by the prosecution. They don't convict cops, generally. To hang a jury the cop only needs one vote and to convict him you need twelve. Burning down Chicago won't change that but neither will not burning down Chicago. Amazing, after 500 years of oppression blacks still remain peaceful, no riots, no violence. How many kids will you let these pigs harass, falsely accuse, terrorize and murder before ya'll act like men and put a stop to this bullshit? We can't wait for some fake ass politician to fix things because that's what your daddy and my grand daddy did and we're still stuck in the same blood bath.

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Thousands attend protests against UK airstrikes on Syria


Thousands of people gathered outside Downing Street and in cities around the UK on Saturday to protest against the government’s plans to bomb Islamic State targets in Syria.

The protests, organized at short notice by the Stop the War Coalition, followed renewed calls for military action against the terror group in the wake of the attacks in Paris two weeks ago.

Parliament is expected to vote on the issue as early as next week after David Cameron urged MPs to back military action. Jeremy Corbyn, the Labour leader, has said the government has failed to make a convincing case for airstrikes.

A stretch of Whitehall was brought to a near standstill by the protest outside Downing Street, which passed off peacefully. The actor Mark Rylance, musician Brian Eno and the shadow international development minister, Diane Abbott, were among the speakers at the event.

About 4,000 people attended the demonstration. Stop the War said before the event that up to 8,000 people were expected to take part. Smaller protests were planned for more than a dozen towns and cities including Bristol, Coventry, Manchester, Milton Keynes, Norwich and Swansea.

A quiet start to the demonstration in London gave way to loud chants of “Don’t bomb Syria” and “Not in my name”. David Beall, 33, came from Croydon to take part and was carrying a homemade placard reading: “Who do you think you are kidding Mr Cameron?”

He said: “I came down today to voice my disagreement with the proposed war on Syria. Dropping bombs didn’t work in Iraq, it didn’t work in Afghanistan, and it’s not worked in Libya. We’ve stoked up more extremism, more anger and more discontent among the populations of these countries.”

Beall said he was “very pessimistic” about preventing the military action. “Sadly I think there will be strikes, I think David Cameron is determined to go in one way or another.”

Lois Davis, 61, a retired university lecturer, said she had attended every anti-Iraq war protest and it was “quite obvious we’re doing the same thing all over again”.

She said: “It’s crazy and we have to do something about it. But unfortunately I think there will be strikes, unless Labour MPs realize they have a popular leader who represents public opinion.”

Davis said she was disappointed the protest had not completely closed Whitehall to traffic. “To stop a war you’ve got be able to stop traffic,” she said.

Chloe Radford, 20, from Brighton, said she fully supported Corbyn’s stance against the strikes but said she was pessimistic that he would prevail. “More and more Labour MPs seem to be coming out in favor of strikes so I’m not hopeful. But I’m here anyway, worth a shot isn’t it?”

Daisy, 22, from Lewisham, carried a homemade placard calling for peace and love, in English and Arabic. She said she was worried that bombing in Syria would foster greater division among British society.

“Fighting war with war is not the answer and fighting hatred with hatred is not the answer. We need to unite with the Muslims in our community,” she said.

Addressing the crowd, Eno said bombing Syria would “make Isil’s dreams come true”. Rylance chanted: “Don’t bomb Syria, don’t attack Syria, not in my name!”

The actor said: “I’m tired with being associated with terrorism. I’m tired of my tax money going towards violent solutions to problems of injustice.”

Abbott, a close ally of Corbyn, said bombing in Syria would not make the country safe, “any more than bombing Iraq made Iraq safe”.

Stop the War has urged its members to lobby MPs to vote against the strikes, and on Friday it said 28,000 people had used a web form to send letters to their local MP.

Lindsey German, who organized the Downing Street protest for Stop the War, said it was a “good start”.

She said: “We’ve got thousands of people here and we’ve blocked Whitehall, and there are dozens of demonstrations going on around the country. I’m very pleased.”

German said Stop the War would be back on the streets on the eve of a Commons vote if Cameron calls one. “There are a whole number of protests planned for this week and we will be lobbying MPs and doing everything we can to try to stop this bombing,” she said.

The issue has caused a high-profile rift within the ranks of the Labour party, with Corbyn publicly at odds with his shadow foreign secretary, Hillary Benn. Labour has yet to confirm if it will grant its MPs a free vote or impose a whip.

On Saturday the shadow chancellor, John McDonnell, indicated that the Labour leadership would allow a free vote on the issue. Speaking to BBC Radio 4’s Any Questions, McDonnell said Labour had made a “horrendous mistake” in whipping its MPs to vote for the conflict in Iraq.

A number of Conservative MPs are expected to rebel and vote against intervention in Syria. The Scottish National party has taken no formal decision about which way to vote, but a spokesman for the party said the “case for airstrikes in Syria has not been made”.

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Chicago police union stands by cop charged with murdering teen

CHICAGO (Reuters) - The main Chicago police union is standing behind the white officer who was charged this week with first-degree murder for gunning down a black teenager. It is facing a backlash from leaders of the city’s black community as a result.

On its website, the Chicago lodge of the Fraternal Order of Police (FOP), has posted a bail fund appeal for the officer, Jason Van Dyke, who is accused of shooting 17-year-old Laquan McDonald 16 times just six seconds after emerging from his patrol car on a street in Chicago on Oct. 20, 2014. An earlier link on the FOP's front page to a GoFundMe campaign was removed after the fundraising site said it violated a policy against its use by criminal defendants.

The FOP also is paying the lawyer representing Van Dyke, Daniel Herbert, himself a former FOP member the union pays to represent Chicago cops in misconduct cases. Funding such a defense is a common practice among U.S. police unions. 
The FOP’s support for Van Dyke appears to have support within the union, according to email and phone interviews Reuters conducted with a number of white and black active-duty and retired cops, as well as union and black police association officials.

They stopped short of defending Van Dyke’s actions - which were caught in a graphic video made public this week - but did say it was important to place them in the context of a racially divided city beset by violence.

Some of the officers say they are concerned the city’s police force has become a political football and is not getting enough support from Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel and police chief Garry McCarthy. These officers also say the decision by Cook County State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez to charge Van Dyke with first-degree murder, rather than the lesser charge of second-degree murder, was a politically motivated effort to head off outrage about the video.

"First degree is a high bar to set, and of course it's political," said one active duty police officer who asked not to be named, and who responded to written questions from Reuters by email.   

A second police officer said most people would not understand the pressures on Van Dyke and other cops when they are dealing with someone holding a weapon, in this case a knife, and have to make split-second decisions.

"A police officer sees that video and has a different mindset than the rest of the people out there. It could be one of us,” the officer said.


Dion Trotter, president of the Cook County chapter of the National Black Police Association, said a 13-month delay in releasing the video of Van Dyke shooting McDonald frayed relations with the community.  "Those kinds of things begin to break down the trust between police and community," Trotter said.
But Trotter backs the FOP’s decision to stand behind Van Dyke. "It's the FOP's job to support him,” he said.
The turmoil over the case – protesters blocked streets this week and disrupted Black Friday shopping on Chicago’s “Magnificent Mile” — has shone a spotlight on a police department unable to stanch violence in the city’s poor, black neighborhoods.
A group of African American aldermen last week called for the ouster of McCarthy, a key member of Emanuel’s administration. One also stated the police union contract, which expires in 2017, will now be scrutinized.
"Our caucus has vowed to work with other caucuses and other of our colleagues to review the FOP contract to make sure there are tougher policies and sanctions against police officers who do egregious or illegal acts,” said Alderman Pat Dowell.

McCarthy put Van Dyke on administrative duty soon after the shooting, but under terms of the FOP contract the cop still drew a police paycheck until he was charged with murder on Tuesday. 

The police chief and the mayor have defended the delays in charging Van Dyke and releasing the video. They said their hands were tied, in part by the city's agreement with the union.
Dean Angelo, president of the local lodge of the FOP, dismissed criticism from lawmakers who he noted had unanimously approved the FOP contract. “Now, because it's advantageous to their political career,  the FOP contract needs to go."
He also defended the FOP’s decision to post the appeal for a bail bond on its website, saying that no members have complained.

One concern among black city council members is the frequent use of lethal force by Chicago cops. In the seven years between 2008-2014, 74 percent of people shot by police in Chicago were black. Chicago police shot an average of 50 people a year in that period, against 31 a year for Los Angeles, 27 in New York City, and 14 in Houston. To be sure, though, Chicago's murder rate - at 17 per 100,000 people - is significantly higher than the other cities over the same period.

In almost all cases, investigations of the Chicago Police Department's officer-involved shootings find that lethal force is justified. However, the city spent $358 million from 2008-2014 to settle lawsuits against the city, the vast majority having to do with police misconduct. In the McDonald case, city lawyers preempted a lawsuit by agreeing to a $5 million settlement of all McDonald family claims arising from the case.

EDITORS NOTE: Seriously? The cop pumped 16 bullets into him in six seconds and was reloading when he was told to stop. Most of them were when the guy was already down and not moving. If they call that a clean shoot, I would hate to see what an unjustified one is.

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Putin, citing national security, signs Turkey sanctions decree

By Andrew Osborn and Polina Devitt

MOSCOW (Reuters) - President Vladimir Putin signed a decree imposing a raft of punitive economic sanctions against Turkey on Saturday, underlining the depth of the Kremlin's anger toward Ankara four days after Turkey shot down a Russian warplane.

The decree, which entered into force immediately, said charter flights from Russia to Turkey would be banned, that tour firms would be told not to sell any holidays there, and that unspecified Turkish imports would be outlawed, and Turkish firms and nationals have their economic activities halted or curbed.

"The circumstances are unprecedented. The gauntlet thrown down to Russia is unprecedented. So naturally the reaction is in line with this threat," Dmitry Peskov, Putin's spokesman, said hours before the decree was published.
A senior Turkish official told Reuters the sanctions would only worsen the standoff between Moscow and Ankara.
But aides to Putin say he is incandescent that Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan has yet to apologize for the Nov. 24 incident near the Syrian-Turkish border in which one Russian pilot was killed along with a Russian marine who tried to rescue the crew of the downed SU-24 jet.
Senior Russian officials have called the episode, one of the most serious publicly acknowledged clashes between a NATO member country and Russia for half a century, a pre-planned provocation.

Erdogan has been equally robust. He has said Turkey will not apologize for downing the jet, saying Ankara was fully within its rights to defend its air space. On Saturday, he appeared to soften his rhetoric a little, saying the episode had saddened him.
Putin's spokesman suggested the Russian leader was ready for a long standoff however, saying he was "fully mobilized" to tackle what he regarded as an unprecedented threat from Turkey.
The decree, posted on the Kremlin's website, spoke of the need to protect Russia's national security and Russian citizens "from criminal and other illegal activities".
In it, Putin ordered the government to prepare a list of goods, firms and jobs that would be affected. Some of the measures announced have already been informally introduced.
The government is expected to publish the list of banned imports on Monday, Interfax news agency reported, citing a government source. The list is likely to include food and some other products, a second government source said.
Turkey mainly sells food, agricultural products and textiles to Moscow and is also one of the most popular holiday destinations for Russians. Peskov, Putin's spokesman, said he thought up to 200,000 Turkish citizens could be on Russian soil.
Putin signed the decree days before a climate change summit in Paris. Erdogan said earlier on Saturday it could be a chance to repair relations with Moscow.
"Confrontation will not bring anyone happiness. As much as Russia is important for Turkey, Turkey is important for Russia," Erdogan said in a televised speech in the western city of Baliksehir.
Peskov said Putin was aware of a Turkish request for him to meet Erdogan on the sidelines of the Paris conference but gave no indication of whether such a meeting would take place.
He called the behavior of the Turkish air force "absolute madness" and said Ankara's subsequent handling of the crisis had reminded him of the "theater of the absurd."
"Nobody has the right to traitorously shoot down a Russian plane from behind," Peskov told Russia's "News on Saturday" TV program, calling Turkish evidence purporting to show the Russian jet had violated Turkish air space "cartoons".
Turkey's foreign ministry advised people on Saturday to postpone all non-urgent travel to Russia.
Peskov, according to the TASS news agency, also spoke on Saturday of how Erdogan's son had a "certain interest" in the oil industry. Putin has said oil from Syrian territory controlled by Islamic State militants is finding its way to Turkey.
Erdogan has spoken of slander and asked anyone making such accusations to back up their words with evidence.

EDITORS NOTE: Erdogan stated that he would resign if in fact it were proven Turkey is accepting oil shipments from ISIS, his resignation just might serve to cool things down between Turkey and Russia because everyone knows the oil is going somewhere and that Turkey supports ISIS.

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