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U.S. Approves Targeted Killing of American Cleric

By Scott Shane
April 6, 2010
NYTimes.com

WASHINGTON — The Obama administration has taken the extraordinary step of authorizing the targeted killing of an American citizen, the radical Muslim cleric Anwar al-Awlaki, who is believed to have shifted from encouraging attacks on the United States to directly participating in them, intelligence and counterterrorism officials said Tuesday.

Mr. Awlaki, who was born in New Mexico and spent years in the United States as an imam, is in hiding in Yemen. He has been the focus of intense scrutiny since he was linked to Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan, the Army psychiatrist accused of killing 13 people at Fort Hood, Tex., in November, and then to Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, the Nigerian man charged with trying to blow up a Detroit-bound airliner on Dec. 25.

American counterterrorism officials say Mr. Awlaki is an operative of Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, the affiliate of the terror network in Yemen and Saudi Arabia. They say they believe that he has become a recruiter for the terrorist network, feeding prospects into plots aimed at the United States and at Americans abroad, the officials said.

It is extremely rare, if not unprecedented, for an American to be approved for targeted killing, officials said. A former senior legal official in the administration of George W. Bush said he did not know of any American who was approved for targeted killing under the former president.

But the director of national intelligence, Dennis C. Blair, told a House hearing in… Continue reading

UK Conservatives may reopen probe into Iraq war whistleblower’s death

Daniel Tencer
April 5, 2010
RawStory.com

The death of a whistleblower who said the UK government had “sexed up” a dossier on Saddam Hussein’s military capabilities in order to sell the Iraq war has been one of the most intriguing and confusing elements of the war’s history.

Now the UK’s Conservative Party is signaling that it plans to reopen the inquiry into the death of Dr. David Kelly if it wins the next election. The move could potentially harm the ruling Labour Party, which championed the Iraq war effort and is now trailing in the polls for this spring’s election.

On Sunday, Dominic Grieve, the Conservative Party’s “shadow” justice minister, said members of the public “have not been reassured” that Kelly’s death was a suicide, and if his government wins the election, he would want to reopen the case, reports the UK’s Daily Mail.

Kelly, a weapons expert with Britain’s Ministry of Defence, was found dead in a forest near his home in  Oxfordshire in 2003, shortly after he gave an interview to the BBC in which he said that the British government was lying about its claim that Saddam Hussein could launch biological and chemical weapons within 45 minutes of giving the order.

Kelly’s death sparked suspicions that he may have been killed for undermining the government of then-Prime Minister Tony Blair as the British leader stood with US President George W. Bush in pushing for an invasion of Iraq.

A former British ambassador quoted Kelly as having… Continue reading

French bread spiked with LSD in CIA experiment

A 50-year mystery over the ‘cursed bread’ of Pont-Saint-Esprit, which left residents suffering hallucinations, has been solved after a writer discovered the US had spiked the bread with LSD as part of an experiment.

Henry Samuel in Paris
11 March 2010
Telegraph.co.uk

Image of man holding cursed breadFrench bread spiked with LSD in CIA experiment: An American investigative journalist has uncovered evidence suggesting the CIA peppered local food with the hallucinogenic drug LSD

In 1951, a quiet, picturesque village in southern France was suddenly and mysteriously struck down with mass insanity and hallucinations. At least five people died, dozens were interned in asylums and hundreds afflicted.

For decades it was assumed that the local bread had been unwittingly poisoned with a psychedelic mould. Now, however, an American investigative journalist has uncovered evidence suggesting the CIA peppered local food with the hallucinogenic drug LSD as part of a mind control experiment at the height of the Cold War.

The mystery of Le Pain Maudit (Cursed Bread) still haunts the inhabitants of Pont-Saint-Esprit, in the Gard, southeast France.

On August 16, 1951, the inhabitants were suddenly racked with frightful hallucinations of terrifying beasts and fire.

One man tried to drown himself, screaming that his belly was being eaten by snakes. An 11-year-old tried to strangle his grandmother. Another man shouted: “I am a plane”, before jumping out of a second-floor window, breaking his legs. He then got up and carried on for 50 yards. Another saw his heart escaping through his feet and begged a doctor to… Continue reading

‘Sibel Edmonds: The Traitors Among Us’ in March Issue of Hustler (Now on Newsstands)

Originally published by Brad Friedman on February 6, 2010 at Bradblog.com

Brad's article on Edmonds published by HustlerYou’re welcome. My 2000+ word article on former FBI translator-turned-whistleblower Sibel Edmonds is now featured in the March 2010 edition of Hustler. Sorry, she’s wearing all her clothes. Go buy it anyway.

The article brings the story of Edmonds, who was twice-gagged by the Bush Administration‘s outrageous use/abuse of the “States Secrets Privilege,” fully up to date following her naming of names, finally, under oath, in remarkable testimony last summer. (Some of those names: Hastert, Burton, Blunt, Lantos, Schakowsky, Wolfowitz, Perle, Grossman, etc.)

The Hustler piece, “Sibel Edmonds: The Traitors Among Us,” also explores reasons for the perhaps-even-more-remarkable complete avoidance of her 4-hour,  detailed, video-taped testimony by the corporate media (Pat Buchanan’s American Conservative magazine excepted, if you consider them to be “corporate media”) concerning allegations of blackmail of sitting U.S. Congressmembers, the theft and sale of nuclear secrets to the foreign blackmarket, and other allegations of treasonous activities by top State and Defense Department officials over the last decade or more, as we have covered in great detail here at The BRAD BLOG over the years, as the story has unfolded.

So there’s your latest excuse to go buy Hustler. While you’re at the newsstand, please pick up a copy of the February issue of Maxim as well, featuring Simon Worrall’s feature article on the formerly-’censored’ story of the mysterious death of GOP IT guru Mike Connell, as detailed in our… Continue reading

Amid media blackout – Congressional hearing reveals US intelligence agencies shielded Flight 253 bomber

Originally published by Alex Lantier on February 3, 2010 at wsws.org

A January 27 hearing of the House Committee on Homeland Security established that US intelligence agencies stopped the State Department from revoking the US visa of Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab. The Nigerian student, whom US officials suspected of being affiliated with the Yemeni terrorist group Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, attempted to set off a bomb on Northwest Flight 253 into Detroit on Christmas Day. Revocation of Abdulmutallab’s visa would have prevented him from boarding the airplane.

The hearing was reported in a brief article posted January 27 on the web site of the Detroit News, headlined, “Terror Suspect Kept Visa to Avoid Tipping Off Larger Investigation.”

The revelation that US intelligence agencies made a deliberate decision to allow Abdulmutallab to board the commercial flight, without any special airport screening, has been buried in the media. As of this writing, nearly a week after the hearing, the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Washington Post and Los Angeles Times have published no articles on the subject. Nor have the broadcast or cable media reported on it.

This is despite–or perhaps more accurately, because of–the fact that this information exposes the official government story of the near-disaster to be a lie. President Obama, who has joined with top US intelligence, FBI and Homeland Security officials to insist that Abdulmutallab was inadvertently allowed to board the plane carrying explosives because of a failure to “connect the dots,” has… Continue reading

9/11, Deep Events, and the Curtailment of U.S. Freedoms

A talk delivered to the New England Antiwar Conference, MIT, January 30, 2010.

by Peter Dale Scott

Hello everyone! I’m honored to be invited to this important anti-war conference. As I am in the final stages of editing my next book, The Road to Afghanistan , I have been turning down invitations to speak. But I was eager to accept this one, and to join my friends and others in debunking the war on terror, the false justification for the Afghan-Pakistan war.

Let me make my own position clear at the outset. There are indeed people out there, including some Muslim extremists, who want to inflict terror on America. But it is crystal clear, as many people inside and outside government have agreed, that it makes this problem worse, not better, when Washington sends large numbers of U.S. troops to yet another country where they don’t belong. 1

A war on terror is as inappropriate a cure as a U.S. war on drugs, which as we have seen in Colombia makes the drug problem worse, not better. The war on terror and the war on drugs have this in common: both are ideological attempts to justify the needless killings of thousands — including both American troops and foreign civilians — in another needless war.

Why does America find itself, time after time, invading countries in distant oil-bearing regions, countries which have not invaded us? This is a vital issue on which we should seek a clear message for the American… Continue reading

Giuliani: ‘We had no domestic attacks under Bush’

by David Edwards and John Byrne
Raw Story

Photo of Giuliani, Bush, Pataki and Schumer at WTC on Sep. 14, 2001

Rudy Giuliani shows President Bush, Gov. George Pataki, second from left, and Sen. Charles Schumer, second from right, the World Trade Center site on Sept. 14, 2001. [AP File photo]


UPDATE: ABC’s George Stephanopoulos has taken responsibility for not challenging former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani on the mayor’s assertion on Good Morning America Friday that “we had no domestic attacks under Bush.”

As noted below, a Giuliani spokesman “clarified” the mayor’s statement later in the day, arguing that the mayor meant no attacks after 9/11.

“Whatever the mayor meant, it’s not what he said,” Stephanopoulos wrote on his ABC blog. “All of you who have pointed out that I should have pressed him on that misstatement in the moment are right. My mistake, my responsibility.”

Original story follows below

The former New York City mayor who has sometimes been mocked for using “a noun, a verb and 9/11″ in stump speeches appears to have forgotten — or has mentally reclassified — the worst terrorist attack on American soil. “We had no domestic attacks under Bush,” Rudy Giuliani told ABC’s George Stephanopoulos Friday.

Even if Giuliani doesn’t consider the attacks on 9/11 a “domestic” attack then surely he forgot about the anthrax attacks of 2001 or an Egyptian national who attacked the El Al ticket counter at Los Angeles International Airport in 2002.

While ABC’s George Stephanopolous let Giuliani get away with his misstatement both during the interview and on his blog, ABC’s Jake Tapper called the former mayor out.…

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Is Anyone Telling Us the Truth?

January 08, 2010
by Paul Craig Roberts
Information ClearingHouse.info

Photo of Paul Craig RobertsWhat are we to make of the failed Underwear Bomber plot, the Toothpaste, Shampoo, and Bottled Water Bomber plot, and the Shoe Bomber plot? These blundering and implausible plots to bring down an airliner seem far removed from al-Qaida’s expertise in pulling off 9/11.

If we are to believe the U.S. government, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the alleged al-Qaida “mastermind” behind 9/11, outwitted the CIA, the NSA, indeed all 16 U.S. intelligence agencies as well as those of all U.S. allies including Mossad, the National Security Council, NORAD, Air Traffic Control, Airport Security four times on one morning, and Dick Cheney, and with untrained and inexperienced pilots pulled off skilled piloting feats of crashing hijacked airliners into the World Trade Center towers, and the Pentagon, where a battery of state of the art air defenses somehow failed to function.

After such amazing success, al-Qaida would have attracted the best minds in the business, but, instead, it has been reduced to amateur stunts.

The Underwear Bomb plot is being played to the hilt on the TV media and especially on Fox “news.” After reading recently that The Washington Post allowed a lobbyist to write a news story that preached the lobbyist’s interest, I wondered if the manufacturers of full body scanners were behind the heavy coverage of the Underwear Bomber, if not behind the plot itself. In America, everything is for sale. Integrity is gone with the wind.

Recently I read a column by an author who has a “convenience theory” about the Underwear Bomber being a Nigerian allegedly trained by al-Qaida in Yemen.…

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The Airport Scanner Scam

by James Ridgeway Published by Mother Jones

Scan, baby, scan. That’s the mantra among politicians at all levels in the wake of the thwarted terrorist attack aboard a Detroit-bound passenger jet. According to conventional wisdom, the would-be “underwear bomber” could have been stopped by airport security if he’d been put through a full-body scanner, which would have revealed the cache of explosives attached to Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab’s groin.

Within days or even hours of the bombing attempt, everyone was talking about so-called whole-body imaging as the magic bullet that could stop this type of attack. In announcing hearings by the Senate Homeland Security Commitee, Joe Lieberman approached the use of scanners as a foregone conclusion, saying one of the “big, urgent questions that we are holding this hearing to answer” was “Why isn’t whole-body-scanning technology that can detect explosives in wider use?” Former Homeland Security chief Michael Chertoff told the Washington Post, “You’ve got to find some way of detecting things in parts of the body that aren’t easy to get at. It’s either pat downs or imaging, or otherwise hoping that bad guys haven’t figured it out, and I guess bad guys have figured it out.”

Since the alternative is being groped by airport screeners, the scanners might sound pretty good. The Transportation Security Administration has claimed that the images ” are friendly enough to post in a preschool ,” though the pictures themselves tell another story, and numerous organizations have opposed them as a gross invasion of… Continue reading

More Censored News

The Hyperrealilty of a Failing Corporate Media System

By Andrew Hobbs and Peter Phillips

Hyperreality is the inability to distinguish between what is real and what is not. Corporate media, Fox in particular, offers news that creates a hyperreality of real world problems and issues. Consumers of corporate television news–especially those whose understandings are framed primarily from that medium alone–are embedded in a state of excited delirium and knowinglessness.

Corporate Media hasn’t acted as a cohesive, protective “fourth estate” in several decades, instead gilding lilies such as the Iraq war, torture and the true extent of Hurricane Katrina’s devastation. Contemporary corporate news is best seen in a post-modern context of hyperreality. The news from US networks is based on the presentations of partially factual stories framed inside socio-emotional story lines that juxtapose “evil” with patriotism and Christian fervor. There are multiple examples of this, but we will examine two distinct cases.

The bias towards hyperreality inherent in modern media is so rampant, consumers only need turn on the TV to be exposed to the spin. Two notorious, controversial modern figures will be examined here to explain what we mean by a hyperreality of knowinglessness. News coverage of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez and right-wing radio personality Rush Limbaugh are unique examples, primarily because of their perceived opposing views and their unapparent similarities. But they are similar in that both should have little operable relevance to American policy, at least domestically, as one is an entertainer and the other is the leader of another country.…

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The Secret Global Empire(s): Russ Baker & John Perkins

GRITtv
December 26, 2009
http://www.blip.tv/file/2837830/

www.blip.tv/file/2837830/

U.S. history has seen many presidents elected on a wave of progressive promises, only to see them compromise again and again once in office, caving to the very interests, military and corporate, that they railed against so effectively. Barack Obama is only the latest to get elected on a promise to end a war and take care of working people, only to preside over an administration stacked with Wall Street types and wind up continuing a war he wanted to wind down. Americans voted for change and are getting frustrated with the lack of it, but our guests have both written about the powerful forces holding the status quo in place. John Perkins is the author of Hoodwinked and Confessions of an Economic Hit Man, and has written about how corporations push politicians around and even threaten them with violence. Russ Baker, meanwhile, is the author of Family of Secrets: The Bush Dynasty, the Powerful Forces That Put It in the White House, and What Their Influence Means for America and has written extensively about the military-industrial complex. They argue the only weapon we have is public opinion and public pressure–and we need to bring it to bear not just on the government, but on the corporations.

Russ Baker, ‘Family of Secrets’ Author on Boiling Frogs Podcast

Thursday, 17. December 2009
Sibel Edmonds’ Boiling Frogs

Podcast Show #16

The Boiling Frogs Presents Russ Baker

BFP Podcast Logo
Russ Baker discusses his book, Family of Secrets, the first complete historic portrait of the Bush dynasty, and provides us with an overview of how this dynasty shaped our politics. He tells us about the shadow government in the US, the real players, elites, and power centers within each president’s government, and the limitation on what and how much an American president can accomplish — considering the influence of these powerful and independent fiefdoms characterized by entrenched agendas and constant intrigue. Mr. Baker defines and explains the concept of Forensic Journalism, and talks about his nonprofit news organization WhoWhatWhy, the need for nonpartisan and independent journalism today, the current media landscape in the US, and more.

Photo of Russ Baker Russ Baker is an award-winning investigative journalist and the author of Family of Secrets — the Bush Dynasty, America’s Invisible Government, and the Hidden History of the Last Fifty Years. He has written for The New Yorker, Vanity Fair, The Nation, The New York Times, The Washington Post, the Village Voice and Esquire. He has served as a contributing editor to the Columbia Journalism Review, and is the founder of WhoWhatWhy, a nonpartisan, nonprofit investigative news organization.

Here is our guest Russ Baker unplugged!

Russ Baker on Boiling Frogs

Carlyle, Kissinger, SAIC and Halliburton: A 9/11 Convergence

Kevin Ryan

Careful investigation leads one to notice that a number of intriguing groups of people and organizations converged on the events of September 11th, 2001. An example is the group of men who were members of Cornell University’s Quill & Dagger society. This included Paul Wolfowitz, National Security Advisors Sandy Berger and Stephen Hadley, Marsh & McLennan executive Stephen Friedman, and the founder of Kroll Associates, Jules Kroll. Another interconnected group of organizations is linked to these Cornell comrades, and is even more interesting in terms of its members being integral to the events of 9/11, and having benefited from those events.

After the 1993 bombing of the World Trade Center (WTC), a company called Stratesec (or Securacom) was responsible for the overall integration of the new security system designed by Kroll Associates. Stratesec had a small board of directors that included retired Air Force General James Abrahamson, Marvin Bush (the brother of George W. Bush) and Wirt Walker III, a cousin of the Bush brothers. Other directors included Charles Archer, former Assistant Director in charge of the FBI’s Criminal Justice Information Services Division, and Yousef Saud Al Sabah, a member of the Kuwaiti royal family.[1]

Yousef Saud Al Sabah was also chairman of the Kuwait-American Corporation (KuwAm), which between 1993 and 1999 held a controlling share of Stratesec. The other owners of Stratesec were Walker and an entity controlled by Walker and Al Sabah, called Special Situation Investment Holdings (SSIH).[2] SSIH was said to form a group with… Continue reading

Yahoo, Verizon: Our Spy Capabilities Would ‘Shock’, ‘Confuse’ Consumers

By Kim Zetter
December 1, 2009
Wired.com

Want to know how much phone companies and internet service providers charge to funnel your private communications or records to U.S. law enforcement and spy agencies?

That’s the question muckraker and Indiana University graduate student Christopher Soghoian asked all agencies within the Department of Justice, under a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request filed a few months ago. But before the agencies could provide the data, Verizon and Yahoo intervened and filed an objection on grounds that, among other things, they would be ridiculed and publicly shamed were their surveillance price sheets made public.

Yahoo writes in its 12-page objection letter (.pdf), that if its pricing information were disclosed to Soghoian, he would use it “to ‘shame’ Yahoo! and other companies — and to ‘shock’ their customers.”

“Therefore, release of Yahoo!’s information is reasonably likely to lead to impairment of its reputation for protection of user privacy and security, which is a competitive disadvantage for technology companies,” the company writes.

Verizon took a different stance. It objected to the release (.pdf) of its Law Enforcement Legal Compliance Guide because it might “confuse” customers and lead them to think that records and surveillance capabilities available only to law enforcement would be available to them as well — resulting in a flood of customer calls to the company asking for trap and trace orders.

“Customers may see a listing of records, information or assistance that is available only to law enforcement,” Verizon writes in its… Continue reading

New Executive Order Aims to Avoid Declass Deadline

by Steven Aftergood
November 23rd, 2009
Federation of American Scientists Project on Government Secrecy’s Secrecy News

Development of a new executive order on classification of national security information is now proceeding at an accelerated pace in order to preempt a deadline that would require the declassification of millions of pages of historical records next month.

A revised draft executive order was circulated to executive branch agencies by the Office of Management and Budget on November 16, with agency comments due back today, November 23. A final order is likely to be issued by the end of this year.

There is an incentive to complete the development of the executive order before December 31, 2009 because of a deadline for declassification of historical records that falls on that date. Under the current Bush executive order, classified records that are at least 25 years old and that have been referred from one agency to another because they involve multiple agency interests are supposed to be automatically declassified at the end of this year. (See E.O. 13292, section 3.3(e)(3)).

But in order to meet this December deadline, several agencies would have to forgo a review of the affected historical records, which they are unwilling to do. And so it seems they will simply be excused from compliance. But in order to modify the deadline in the Bush order, it will be necessary to issue another executive order. If the comprehensive new Obama order on classification policy (which would assign processing of such records to a National Declassification Center that does not yet exist) is not ready for release by December 31, then another stand-alone order would have to be issued, canceling or extending the looming deadline.…

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The Higher Education Fiscal Crisis Protects the Wealthy

By Peter Phillips
November 22, 2009

Police are arresting and attacking student protesters on University of California (UC) campuses again. “Why did he beat me I wasn’t doing anything,” screamed a young Cal Berkeley women student over KPFA radio on Friday evening November 20. Students are protesting the 32% increase in tuition imposed by the UC regents in a time of severe state deficits. The Board of Regents claims that they have no choice. Students will now have to pay over $10,000 in tuition annually for a public university education that was free only a few decades ago.

The corporate media spins the tuition protests as if we are all suffering during the recession. For example, the San Diego Union Tribune November 20 writes, “These students need a course in Reality 101. And the reality is that there is virtually no segment of American society that is not straining with the economic recession. With UC facing a $535 million budget gap due to state cuts, the regents have to confront reality and make tough choices. So should students.”

Yet, the reality is something quite different. Our current budget crisis in California and the rest of the country has been artificially created by cutting taxes on the wealthiest people and corporations. The corporate elites in the US, the top 1% who own close to half the wealth, are the beneficiaries of massive tax cuts over the past few decades. While at the same time working people are paying more through increased sales and use taxes and higher public college tuition.…

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Wall Street Economic Death Squad Roundup [Reports & Videos]

November 10th, 2009
By David DeGraw
AmpedStatus

Wall Street Economic Death Squad Roundup [Reports & Videos]As most of you have noticed, we are primarily focused on covering the economic coup. We strongly feel that the theft of Trillions of taxpayer dollars by a small group of men on Wall Street is the biggest story of our time. We understand that these are very difficult times for most people and there are many pressing and vitally important issues confronting us. However, the theft of Trillions of dollars has to be the lead story every day until there are investigations and prosecutions to resolve it.

Many of the news sites that we link to on a daily basis have been covering this issue. However, these sites are not covering the issue sufficiently. There should be blazing headlines on a daily basis: ECONOMIC COUP IN THE US! TRILLIONS OF TAXPAYER DOLLARS STOLEN!

Think about all the vital issues you care about and then think about the Trillions of dollars that were stolen. How could a small fraction of that money directly affect the issues you care about most? We need to make this connection, and we need to make the theft of Trillions of dollars THE LEAD ISSUE RIGHT NOW!

Just think about how much can be done with this stolen money. The highest quality universal healthcare could be provided to everyone in the US. Every foreclosed mortgage in the US can be paid off, for that matter, it would take a fraction of the stolen money to provide a free house to every family in the US.…

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Pentagon pursuing new investigation into Bush propaganda program

by Brad Jacobson
Thursday, November 5th, 2009
RawStory.com

Image of Pentagon Briefing[Read Part I, Part II and Part III of this series.]

The Pentagon’s Office of Inspector General is conducting a new investigation into a covert Bush administration Defense Department  program that used retired military analysts to produce positive wartime news coverage.

Last May, the Inspector General’s office rescinded and repudiated a prior internal investigation’s report on the retired military analyst program, which had been issued by the Bush administration, because it “did not meet accepted quality standards for an Inspector General work product.” Yet in recent interviews with Raw Story, Pentagon officials who took part in the program were still defending it by referencing this invalidated report.

Gary Comerford, Inspector General spokesman for the Defense Department, told Raw Story last week that his office is conducting an investigation into the retired military analyst program and confirmed that the investigation began during the summer.

Asked when his office expects to conclude the investigation, Comerford said, “As a matter of policy we do not set deadlines since any number of variables or factors could result in a delay.”

He did confirm that investigators in his office have read Raw Story’s recent articles on the topic.

Congressman John F. Tierney (D-MA), Chairman of the Subcommittee on National Security and Foreign Affairs, issued a press release (cache link) this past June, announcing that Pentagon Inspector General Gordon Heddell had begun the new investigation.

Yet Raw Story and Comerford could find no other news… Continue reading