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    Ibong Malaya’s “Unang Alay”

    October 20th, 2017

    Image © pilgrim friars

    A popular protest song during the Marcos dictatorship. It was usually sung during a “Misang Bayan” or People’s Mass or when a kasama passed away. I first heard this song in 1984 in honor of those who fell along the way to national liberation. This song remains relevant today as darkness reigns in our land while the masses once again fatally bear the brunt of the consequences of the indifference of the powers that be. This is one of the songs, according to Ma. Ceres Doyo, “that kept the fires burning before the break of dawn,” and I say it still does as dawn has not yet come.

     

    Music Video © YouTUBE

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    The Roman Catholic Church urges everyone to join EDSA procession for the victims of extrajudicial killings

    October 13th, 2017

    Lingayen-Dagupan Archbishop Socrates Villegas © http://philnews.ph

    THE Roman Catholic Church on Thursday urged the Filipino people to join in the one-kilometer procession on November 5 from EDSA Shrine to the People Power Monument to observe the start of the “healing campaign” in the country, which is plagued by death.

    In a statement, Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) President Lingayen Archbishop Socrates Villegas invited EVERYONE to participate in the march and prayer for the victims of extrajudicial killings.

    I am inviting you and the communities with you to participate in the second phase of this period of praying for the victims of extrajudicial killings. We will start on November 5 until December 8, the solemnity of the Immaculate Conception,” Villegas.

    Furthermore, the CBCP president said there will be a mass at the EDSA Shrine on November 5, at 3 pm. adding that this 33 day period will prepare us (the clergy) to make our act of consecration to the Immaculate Mother.

    We will call this 33-day period as the time to ‘Start the Healing,’” he said.

    Within this 33-day period, we are requested to pray the rosary and receive Holy Communion, if possible every day, for the healing of our bleeding nation and for the peace of the souls of all those killed,” Villegas pleaded.

    The historic EDSA Shrine in Quezon City. Image © http://www.orgph.com

    The CBCP started the “Stop the Killings” campaign on September 23 and is scheduled to last until November 1, during which every faithful are asked to light a candle and pray the rosary everyday. Church bells nationwide, on the other hand, will be tolled every 8 pm. during that same period.

    At the same time, Villegas said the CBCP will designate November 5 as the “Lord Heal our Land Sunday.”

    After the mass on November 5, Villegas revealed, the image of Our Lady of Fatima that was brought by devotees to EDSA in the 1986 People Power revolt will be brought in a candlelight procession to the People Power monument, a kilometer away from the EDSA Shrine.

    We believe that our national healing, which only the Lord can grant, will come to us through the hands of His mother,” he added.

    The Lingayen-Dagupan Archbishop also urged priests nationwide to hold masses in the provinces for those who cannot go to EDSA and join the procession.

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    Executive Action: Duterte Tells CIA ‘Kill Me or Get Out of My Country

    October 13th, 2017

    By Sputnik News

    President Rodrigo Duterte Image © AP Photo/ Aaron Favila

    PHILIPPINE President Rodrigo Duterte has accused the US Central Intelligence Agency of plotting his assassination, and not for the first time. Whether his allegations hold weight or not, the spying organization has demonstrably played a role in the slaying of numerous troublesome world leaders.

    Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte said October 12 the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) should be blamed in the event of his untimely death.

    “As for me, I’ll be telling Filipinos: if I die, it’s America [that’s behind it]. It’s the CIA. CIA, stop f***ing! One day, I will just drive you away. Either your cahoots here will have to kill me or you have to get out of my country. Choose,” the President said.

    It’s not the first time Duterte has trained his oratorical crosshairs on the CIA. In September 2016, he claimed he’d received reports the agency wanted him dead.

    Moreover, in August, the Philippines National Democratic Front alleged the CIA had been plotting to overthrow the president for veering towards Russia and China in world affairs.

    He went on to suggest his internal political opponents should join forces against him into “one command.”

    “I would be happy really if they would start to merge. These Communists and Liberal Party members. These others who want me out of office, should unite in one group. I think you share the same ideological whatever so things won’t get scattered-we can focus on all of you. This is no threat. I said it is my mandated duty to keep this country safe and sound,” he concluded.

    Historical Foundations

    Whatever the truth of the matter, it isn’t debatable that the Philippines has long had a strong CIA presence within its borders almost as long as the agency has existed — and US military bases continue to dot the country, despite ever-worsening relations between Manila and Washington under Duterte’s rule.

    Moreover, US involvement (often via the proxy of the CIA) in the assassination of world leaders since World War II is well-documented.

    For instance, the 1975 Church Committee concluded it had “solid evidence” of a plot to assassinate Patrice Lumumba, the first elected Prime Minister of the Republic of Congo, in 1961. Strong hostility to Lumumba, voiced at the very highest levels of government may have been intended to initiate an assassination operation — at the very least, it engendered such an operation.

    President Dwight Eisenhower expressed strong concern about Lumumba at an August 1960 meeting of the National Security Council, which was taken by then-Director of Central Intelligence Allen Dulles as implicit authority to assassinate Lumumba.

    In 1984, a CIA manual for training Nicaraguan Contras in psychological operations and unconventional warfare — “Psychological Operations in Guerrilla War” — became public.The manual recommended “selective use of violence to neutralize” government officials.

    Perhaps most notoriously, Cuban leader Fidel Castro was frequently a target for (ultimately failed) assassinations — perhaps as much as 638 times.

    Fabian Escalante, retired chief of Cuban counterintelligence, estimated the number of assassination schemes or actual attempts by the CIA among administrations to be 38 under Eisenhower, 42 under John F. Kennedy, 72 under Lyndon B. Johnson, 184 under Richard Nixon, 64 under Jimmy Carter, 197 under Ronald Reagan, 16 under George H. W. Bush and 21 under Bill Clinton.

    In 2006, US Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, a Miami Republican, who had been mooted as future top Republican on the House International Relations Committee, stated she “welcome[d] the opportunity of having anyone assassinate  Castro.”

    There have been frequent allegations of CIA direction, involvement and funding in and of many other assassinations, although strong evidence, much less conclusive proof, has proven elusive in most cases. Nonetheless, the Church Committee concluded the CIA widely employed the so-called tactic of “plausible deniability” during decision-making related to assassinations and other covert actions.

    Under this policy, subordinates would deliberately shield higher-ranking officials from any responsibility by withholding full information about planned assassinations, and CIA employees would obtain tacit approval for murderous acts via euphemisms and sly wording in communications.

    Read More:

    https://sputniknews.com/military/201710131058203819-duterte-cia-assassination-overthrow/

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    Joan Osborne’s “What if God was one of us”

    October 13th, 2017

    Joan Osborne Image © theoldreader.com

    A very contemporary song about faith

     

    Music Video © YouTUBE

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    Stop the killings, stop silencing dissent

    October 12th, 2017

    This is the statement of a seven-member delegation of the Progressive Alliance (PA) and the Party of European Socialists (PES)
    that have visited Manila this week to assess the situation and to demonstrate solidarity in support for democracy in the Philippines.
    The delegation was hosted by Akbayan Party, a member of Progressive Alliance.

    The delegation includes: Konstantin Woinoff (Coordinator, Progressive Alliance), Giacomo Filibeck (Deputy Secretary General,
    Party of European Socialists), Emilia Töyrä (Member of Parliament, Sweden), Thomas O. Melia (Deputy assistant secretary of state for
    democracy and human rights in the Barack Obama administration), Arne Lietz (Member of European Parliament, S&D Group), Conny
    Reuter (Secretary General, SOLIDAR), and Ben Maxfield (Australian Labour Party). The delegation met with political leaders from several
    parties, leaders of civic organizations and visited communities in Caloocan and Navotas.

    We, the seven-member human rights mission of Progressive Alliance (PA) and the Party of European Socialists (PES), are extremely alarmed at the mounting number of killings under President Rodrigo Duterte’s campaign against illegal drugs.

    The killings of persons accused, without evidence or trial, of involvement in the drug trade continue unabated even in recent days. Yet the Philippines government continues to deny it to the international community.

    The government’s campaign is marred with gross human rights violations that we fear are encouraged by the President himself in his public speeches. The killings have preyed on the most vulnerable: the youth and the poor.

    We are equally alarmed at the aggressive efforts being undertaken by government to silence dissent of those who stand bravely against the  lawless killings. We vehemently condemn the mounting cases of political persecution of the critics of President Duterte’s notorious campaign.

    The absurd cases against Akbayan Senator Risa Hontiveros, a vocal critic of Duterte’s deadly anti-drugs operations, is just the latest example of the government’s systematic silencing of dissent in this  country.

    Such trumped up charges follow similar misogynistic attacks to women critics of the government: from the unjust imprisonment of Senator Leila De Lima, highly regarded legal expert and former justice secretary, on preposterous charges, to the various threats being thrown at the women leaders of both the Supreme Court and the Office of the Ombudsman.

    The Catholic Church also becomes a subject of persecution, as it stands by the people, especially the poor who are heavily victimized by the rampant killings.

    If the Philippine government is to remain committed to democracy, it should cease all politically-motivated harassment against the peaceful
    political opposition.

    The responsibility falls squarely on President Duterte.

    If Duterte continues on his bloody campaign against drugs and its aggressive political persecution, he will be responsible in straining trading relationships with the international community, especially in light of the upcoming review of Generalized Scheme of Preferences (GSP+), a special trading instrument that allows around 6,200 Philippine products to enter the EU duty free.

    If the human rights standards are not upheld, then there may be consequences in the Philippines’ inclusion in this special trading instrument of the EU.

    We therefore reiterate our calls for this government to work for the immediate end of the killings, and to let the UN investigate without compromising conditions. The government must hold accountable police officers guilty of using excessive force in so-called “one-time big-time” operations and address the drug problem with a human rights lens and health-based approach.

    We also call on the government to cease its hostile attempts at silencing anyone who dares stand up against the government’s drug war. The voice of the people must never be silenced!

    We, in the Progressive Alliance and the Party of European Socialists, are committed to closely monitor the situation. For democracy and human rights, the international community unites!

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    PROJECT C.U.R.E. has a new home in Houston

    October 12th, 2017

    THE PROJECT Commission on Urgent Relief and Equipment-Houston, a non-profit humanitarian relief organization, has moved to a new and bigger distribution center in order to better facilitate its operations.

    To celebrate the move into its new home at 8303 Kempwood Drive, Houston, TX 77055; PROJECT C.U.R.E. will have an open house on November 2 from 5 to 8 pm. and its Chief Executive Officer and President Dr. Douglas Jackson, Ph.D. as guest of honor and speaker. Light appetizers and wine will be served.

    According to Wikipedia, a free internet encyclopedia; PROJECT C.U.R.E., a registered trademark of the Benevolent Healthcare Foundation, was founded in 1987 by James W. Jackson while working as an international economic consultant with heads of governments in developing nations.

    During a trip to Brazil, Jackson observed how many of the clinics in rural areas were unable to accommodate many of the patients due to the lack of medical supplies and equipment and the large number of people seeking medical attention.

    When he returned home to Colorado, he collected about $250,000 worth of donated, surplus medical supplies in under a month. He then personally paid for the shipping costs of the medical supplies to Brazil.

    Since that first shipment in 1987, PROJECT C.U.R.E. has expanded and now works in over 130 countries around the world.

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    US Withdraws From UNESCO – State Department

    October 12th, 2017

    By Sputnik News

    Image © http://wiki.seg.org

    THE United States has announced that it will withdraw from United Nations Education, Scientific and Cultural Organization at the end of 2018, citing a need for reform and an anti-Israel bias in the organization, State Department spokesperson Heather Nauert said in a statement on Thursday.

    “On October 12, 2017, the Department of State notified UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova of the US decision to withdraw from the organization … This decision was not taken lightly, and reflects US concerns with mounting arrears at UNESCO, the need for fundamental reform in the organization, and continuing anti-Israel bias at UNESCO,” Nauert said, adding that the decision would take effect on December 31, 2018.

    UNESCO  head Irina Bokova has said the organization had received an official notification from Washington that the United States will withdraw from the organization. She called Washington’s step a “loss to multilateralism”.

    “I wish to express profound regret at the decision of the United States of America to withdraw from UNESCO,” Bokova said in a statement, adding that the organization’s relations with the United States were based on shared values.

    Israel’s relations with the UN cultural body have been deteriorating over the recent months. Israel has reduced payments from the funds that the country annually transfers to the United Nations in response to a ruling in UNESCO, which labeled Israel an occupant country of Jerusalem

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    Beyond Deadlines has been viewed for more than 100,000 times since last year

    October 11th, 2017

    BEYOND Deadlines officially started its operation last February 17, 2016 in a bid to offer Filipinos an alternative news source. albeit in a much smaller scale, and initiate meaningful conversations in the hope that the ideas emerging from these dialogues would lead to the empowerment of those who truly need it — the poor, deprived and the oppressed.

     

     

    Our electronic news site hopes to positively contribute in the changing reading habits of Filipinos worldwide by making them aware of local and  international events sourced from alternative but reputable news sites. It is also for these reasons that Beyond Deadlines use English and Filipino on equal terms as it delivers news and opinions to the public.

    In a bid to measure our ability to reach the reading public in general and the Filipino in particular, Beyond Deadlines partnered with Google Adsense. Our 18-month partnership has enabled Beyond Deadlines to credibly gauge the extent of our reach worldwide.

    Thus, in this connection, it is with great joy that Beyond Deadlines informs you, our readers, that as of today, Oct. 10, 2017 @ 0804H (US Central Time), Google Adsense has reported that our site has already been viewed 100,037 times all over the world. This is a no mean feat for an outfit that runs only on the free time and talent of its writers and reporters.

    To our readers, I say thank you for the support rest assured that we will do everything to make Beyond Deadlines your worthwhile reading.

    To the writers and reporters of Beyond Deadlines, I take off my hat to you for your dedication to our craft. It is with much humility and gratitude that I thank you for all your services and I pray that you will continue to support our Beyond Deadlines family.

    God bless us all

    Rev. Nelson Flores, LL.B., MSCK
    Publisher, Beyond Deadlines

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    Stop killing the poor!

    October 9th, 2017

     

    Remember, O Lord, what has befallen us; look, and see our disgrace! (Lamentations, 5: 1)

    We, the Redemptorists of the Philippines composed of the Vice-Province Manila and Province of Cebu, express our outrage for the recent spate of killings in line with the government’s war on drugs. As missionaries dedicated to serving the poor and the most abandoned, we condemn the war on drugs as a war on the poor. Most of the victims of extra-judicial killings are poor people. The police have become more relentless as the President himself had on many occasions incited the police to carry out a murderous war on the poor and admitted that the target of his war on drugs is the poor.

    On the other hand, rich drug lords and politicians coddlers of drug suppliers are given the full extent of the due process of law. 6.4 billion pesos worth of shabu freely entered the country due to the connections of the rich drug lords to politicians and Custom officials. In all of these, there was no howl from the President and other high ranking government officials.

    As Christians, we are appalled by the utter loss of respect for the dignity of life and human rights of the police operations. We are utterly distressed that in a Christian country like ours, the killings is tolerated, even supported. We dread the reality that a split-level kind of faith exists among our people. Such faith sees no connection between the Gospel values and the wellspring of Christian faith and the suffering and killings of the people.

    As Filipinos we are gravely concerned with the kind of society we have become. What kind of people have we become? After more than a year of the war on drugs, our country has turned into a big killing field. Death is the order of the day. A culture of killing with impunity is the new normality. On the other hand, a culture of silence and a climate of fear prevail. In the midst of the daily killings, many people go on with their lives, show no empathy to the victims and accept the government war on drugs as necessary evil.

    Condemning the war on drugs does not undermine our stance against drugs. Even before the Duterte government, we have denounced the menace of drug addictions in our proclamations and programs. We did not just denounce, however; we also organized programs and services to victims of drug addiction like counselling, livelihood projects and community support mechanisms.

    We call on the government to respect the law and uphold life. We call on the government to stop the killings. The “war on drugs” which in reality is a war on the poor has to end. Now!

    We call on the church to defend the sanctity of life during these dangerous times. We call on all people of goodwill to assist the poor victims of the drug war and participate in building programs to counteract the evil effects of drug addiction.

    Our Mother of Perpetual Help, pray for us that the spate of killings in our country may come to an end!

    Signed:
    Fr. Ariel Lubi, CSsR (Vice-Provincial Superior)
    Fr. Nico Perez, CSsR (Provincial Superior)
    Redemptorist Vice-Province of Manila Redemptorist Province of Cebu

     

    Read More:

    Duterte asked: Where’s your outrage over the 6.4-billion shabu shipment?

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    At least 2.1 million people could immediately die should North Korea nukes its southern neighbor and Japan*

    October 8th, 2017

    By Sputnik News

    Nuke explosion Photo © Wikipedia

    AS MANY as 2.1 million fatalities would be the cost if North Korea delivered a nuclear strike on South Korea and Japan in the event of the military scenario amid the tensions over its nuclear program. An attempt by the US to resolve the crisis militarily would be a point of no return, according to a report by military analyst Michael Zagurek.

    Three Scenarios

    Since 2011, North Korea has conducted 98 ballistic missile tests, and the program culminated with the first-time tests of an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) on July 4 and July 28, 2017.

    According to Zagurek’s analysis, North Korea currently has an arsenal of 20-25 nuclear warheads.

    “Let us assume that North Korea has 25 operational nuclear weapons and that when under attack, it decides to launch its entire arsenal against both Seoul and Tokyo. The warhead yield ranges from 15 to 250 kilotons and are timed for airburst at optimal altitudes,” he said in his report published on 38 North, a website dedicated to analyzing events concerning North Korea.

    The military phase of the ongoing Washington-Pyongyang standoff could break out after any of the future North Korean nuclear tests. According to Zagurek, in order to test the capability of its new weapons, Pyongyang could detonate a bomb in air or under water. Such a scenario risks responsive measures from the US and other nuclear powers.

    The second possible scenario is a missile test that has the payload impact area too close to US bases in Guam. In this case, according to the analysis, Washington would be quick to react with force, including attempts to shoot down the missiles.

    Finally, the third scenario could be attacking North Korean missile and nuclear related sites and deployment areas.

    “The North Korean leadership might perceive such an attack as an effort to remove the Kim family from power and, as a result, could retaliate with nuclear weapons as a last gasp reaction before annihilation,” Zagurek wrote.

    Millions of Fatalities

    Pyongyang’s nuclear arsenal is too small and incapable of selective strikes on military bases, airfields and other facilities. As a result, in the event an open conflict, Pyongyang would have only one option – to launch the entire arsenal on the densely-populated capitals of its US-allied neighbors, South Korea and Japan.

    Zagurek calculated the consequences of hypothetical North Korean strikes on Seoul (24.1 million, population density – 8,800 per sq. km) and Tokyo (38 million, population density – 4,440 per sq. km) for seven scenarios, depending on the yields of the warheads.

    The expert also pointed out that not all of the 25 North Korean warheads would be able to reach the targeted areas.

    “South Korea has deployed one THAAD battery to help protect against a North Korean missile attack and Japan is in the process of acquiring the Aegis Ashore ABM system. Therefore, not all 25 North Korean nuclear missile warheads will detonate on their targets. Three levels of probability of detonation were used in calculating casualties: 20, 50 and 80 percent,” the analysis read.

    Among the scenarios calculated by the expert are a strike on one of the cities and a strike at both cities at the time as well as a strike with warheads with minimal or maximum yields.

    With a 20 percent probability of detonation, a strike with missiles of varied yields would immediately kill some 600,000 in both cities, with nearly two million injured. The same scenario according to the analysis, but with an 80 percent probability of detonation, would result in 2.1 million fatalities and 7.5 million injured.

    Muscle Flexing

    No matter how precise these estimates are the real possibility of nuclear conflict on the Korean Peninsula is next to none, according to experts. Despite their warmongering rhetoric, both US President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un are unlikely to take actions that could unleash global annihilation.

    “Time is now playing into the hands of the North Korean leader. The more various ballistic missiles Pyongyang has the more difficult it will be for Washington to impose a military solution. In fact, the US and its persistent threats are to blame,” Russian military expert Mikhail Khodarenok told Sputnik.

    In turn, Evgeniy Kim, a senior research fellow with the Institute for Far Eastern Studies at the Russian Academy of Sciences, pointed out that Pyongyang’s missile launches are not aimed at provocation or intimidation. The goal of the program is to upgrade the country’s deterrence capabilities to a decent level.

    “Once Pyongyang has obtained a capable nuclear arsenal the North Korean leadership will feel relatively safe and stop fueling tensions in a unilateral manner,” the expert suggested.

    Read More:

    https://sputniknews.com/analysis/201710071058029655-north-korea-nuclear-arsenal-report/

     

    * The opinion of this author/s is/are his/hers alone. It is not necessarily the views of Beyond Deadlines.

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    Asin’s “Himig ng Pag-Ibig”

    October 6th, 2017

    An endearing love song for those who are in love or touched by it. Banal para sa akin ang kantang ito.

     

     

    Music Video © YouTUBE

     

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    Marilou Danley tells brother: ‘I have a clean conscience’

    October 5th, 2017

    By Agence France Presse

    Marilou Danley (left) and Stephen Paddock (right) Image © REUTERS/PADDOCK FAMILY/CBS NEWS

    Washington, United States — Marilou Danley, a petite 62-year-old casino hostess from the Philippines, is in the crosshairs of the FBI as the authorities seek to determine what led her boyfriend to carry out the worst mass shooting in recent US history.

    Danley was out of the country when Stephen Paddock rained bullets down on concert-goers on the Las Vegas Strip on Sunday night, killing 58 and injuring hundreds more, she said she knew nothing about his diabolical plan.

    “I knew Stephen Paddock as a kind, caring, quiet man,” Danley said in a statement read out by her lawyer. “He never said anything to me or took any action that I was aware of that I understood in any way to be a warning that something horrible like this was going to happen.”

    Reynaldo Bustos, her brother, told ABC News that he spoke to his sister following the shooting.

    “I called her up immediately and she said, ‘Relax, we shouldn’t worry about it. I’ll fix it. Do not panic. I have a clean conscience,’” Bustos told ABC News in the Philippines.

    Danley returned to the United States from the Philippines on Tuesday night, according to US press reports, and was met by agents of the Federal Bureau of Investigation at Los Angeles airport.

    “I was grateful, but honestly, I was worried, that first, the unexpected trip home, and then the money, was a way of breaking up with me,” the woman said in her statement. “It never occurred to me in any way whatsoever that he was planning violence against anyone.”

    Police have not described Danley as a suspect but Las Vegas Sheriff Joe Lombardo said Tuesday that she was a “person of interest” and law enforcement hoped she could shed some light on the investigation.

    She is not under arrest or currently facing any charges.

    No motive has emerged yet for the deadly shooting spree by Paddock, a wealthy, 64-year-old retired accountant who liked to gamble for high stakes and owned a comfortable home at a golf course retirement community near Las Vegas.

    It was through his gambling that Paddock reportedly met Danley, when she was working as a hostess at a casino in Reno, Nevada, several years ago.

    ‘He loved her’ 

    “They were adorable — big man, tiny woman. He loved her. He doted on her,” Eric Paddock, Paddock’s brother, told The Washington Post.

    Paddock and Danley shared a home in the town of Mesquite, 80 miles (130 kilometers) northeast of Las Vegas, where the authorities found a number of guns while searching the property.

    Neighbors have said the couple mostly kept to themselves and were frequently away for weeks at a time on gambling trips.

    According to Australian authorities, the Filipino-born Danley has Australian citizenship and has family there.

    Interviewed with her face blurred so she could remain anonymous, one of Danley’s sisters told Australia’s 7 News she believed Paddock had deliberately sent her away.

    “I know that she don’t know anything as well like us. She was sent away. She was away so that she will be not there to interfere with what he’s planning,” she said.

    According to ABC News, Danley left the United States for the Philippines on September 15, about two weeks before Paddock checked into his room at the Mandalay Bay hotel and began the final phase of carrying out an attack that the authorities said was meticulously planned.

    Other reports have said she left the country on September 25.

    Nick Suarez, a spokesman for the Philippines’ National Bureau of Investigation, said the NBI was looking into reports Danley arrived in the Philippines last month, and that Paddock had sent $100,000 to her via a wire transfer.

    According to The Washington Post, Danley married a man named Geary Danley in Las Vegas in 1990 and they divorced in 2015.

    The New York Times said both Geary Danley and Marilou Danley had children from prior relationships and that Marilou Danley has a daughter who lives in California.

    “She’s probably one of the most happy, outgoing, full-of-life people I’ve ever known,” Dionne Waltrip, Marilou Danley’s former stepdaughter, told the Times. “Everyone who has ever met her likes her.”

     

    Read More:

    Girlfriend of Las Vegas shooter was in the PH at the time of shooting

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    Vegas shooter wired $100K to girlfriend before rampage

    October 3rd, 2017

    By Max Jaeger, New York Post; and wires

    Marilou Danley Image © facebook / New York Post

    THE week before to his rampage, Las Vegas shooter Stephen Paddock wired $100,000 to the Philippines — where his live-in girlfriend would be Oct. 1, when he opened fire on a crowded outdoor festival thousands of miles away, it was revealed Monday.

    It is not clear exactly what the money was intended for, NBC reported.

    Paddock’s 62-year-old gal pal, Marilou Danley, traveled to Hong Kong on Sept. 25 and then went on to the Philippines on Oct. 1, possibly to visit family, investigators have said.

    She is a native of the Philippines and an Australian citizen, according to Brisbane’s Courier-Mail, which reported she lived on the Gold Coast for 20 years before coming to America.

    Neighbors said Danley described herself as a gambler. Her LinkedIn page said she worked as a “high-limit hostess” at a Vegas casino. Her slot-machine card, which is used to rack up bonuses and other benefits through play, was found in Paddock’s suite, according to the Nevada Independent.

    She initially was considered a person of interest, but later was cleared when investigators determined Paddock acted as a “lone wolf.”

    Danley was in Tokyo on Monday afternoon. She is expected to return to the US for questioning, the Las Vegas Sheriff’s Department said.

     

    Read More:

    nypost.com/2017/10/03/vegas-shooter-wired-100k-to-girlfriend-in-philippines-days-before-rampage/

    Fifty dead, 200 injured in Las Vegas attack

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    The Metropolitan Manila Development Authority is set to manage waste disposal to improve flood control

    October 3rd, 2017

    THE Metropolitan Manila Development Authority set to co-implement the Metro Manila Flood Management Project with the Department of Public Works and Highways and other government agencies after the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank and the World Bank late last month approved the PhP23 billion loan for the project.

     

     

    Under the project, which is expected to improve flood management in Metro Manila, the DPWH will be responsible in the modernization of 36 MMDA-operated pumping stations and the construction of new ones.

    On the other hand, the National Housing Authority and the Social Housing Finance Corporation will provide for the resettlement of Informal Settler Families along the project’s technical footprint.

    The MMDA, for its part, will focus on carrying out community-based solid waste management activities in the vicinity of pumping stations, waterways and drainage channels. Improvement of solid waste collection services, community mobilization and awareness campaigns, incentive-based waste collection and the purchase of waste collection equipment are some of the identified activities for this component.

    The said component will support other existing MMDA flood control and clean-up operations such as the “Estero Blitz”, dredging of open waterways, de-clogging of drainage laterals, and de-silting of drainage mains and interceptors.

    The project which will be implemented from 2018-2023 is expected to benefit 3.5 million or 760,000 households living within the affected drainage areas.

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    Fifty dead, 200 injured in Las Vegas attack

    October 2nd, 2017

    By The Associated Press

    © REUTERS/ Las Vegas Sun/Steve Marcus

    LAS VEGAS – A gunman perched high on the 32nd floor of a Las Vegas Strip casino unleashed a shower of bullets down on an outdoor country music festival below, killing at least 50 people and wounding more than 200 as tens of thousands of frantic concert-goers screamed and ran for their lives, officials said Monday. It was the deadliest mass shooting in modern U.S. history.

    Country music star Jason Aldean was performing Sunday night at the end of the three-day Route 91 Harvest Festival when the gunman opened fire across the street from inside the Mandalay Bay Hotel and Casino. SWAT teams quickly descended on the concert and the casino, and officers used explosives to get into the hotel room where the suspect was inside, authorities said. The gunman died at the scene and was identified by Clark County Sheriff Joseph Lombardo as Stephen Paddock, 64. A motive was not immediately known.

    Aldean was in the middle of a song when the shots came rapidly: Pop-pop-pop-pop. Video of the shooting then showed Aldean stopping and the crowd getting quiet as if they were unsure of what had just happened. The gunman paused and then fired another volley of muzzle flashes from the gold glass casino as more victims fell to the ground while others fled in panic. Some said they hid behind concession stands and other crawled under parked cars.

    Kodiak Yazzie, 36, said the music stopped temporarily when the first shots began and the tune even started up again before the second round of pops sent the performers ducking for cover and fleeing the stage.

    “It was the craziest stuff I’ve ever seen in my entire life,” Yazzie said. “You could hear that the noise was coming from west of us, from Mandalay Bay. You could see a flash- flash- flash- flash.”

    Thousands in the crowd fled as the bullets ran rampant. Monique Dumas from British Columbia, Canada, said she was at the concert, six rows from the stage when she thought she heard a bottle breaking, and then a burst of popping sounds that may have been fireworks. She said as she made her way out, it was “organized chaos” as everyone fled. “It took four to five minutes and all that time there was gunfire.”

    In addition to Paddock, police said they located a woman who may have been his roommate — Marilou Danley, 62. Lombardo said they believe this was a “lone wolf” attack.

    “It’s a devastating time,” Lombardo said.

    Police shut down the usually busy Las Vegas Boulevard and authorities across the state and federal ranks converged onto the scene as dozens of ambulances ferried those struck by gunfire. Nearby Interstate 15 and flights at McCarran International Airport were briefly closed. Hospital emergency rooms were jammed with victims delivered by ambulance. Others loaded the wounded into their cars and drove them to hospitals.

    Jose Baggett, 31, of Las Vegas, said he and a friend were in the lobby of the Luxor hotel-casino — directly north of the festival — when people began to run, almost like in a stampede. He said people were crying and as he and his friend started walking away minutes later, they encountered police checkpoints where officers were carrying shotguns and assault rifles.

    “There were armored personnel vehicles, SWAT vehicles, ambulances, and at least a half-mile of police cars,” Baggett said.

    Among those killed were two off-duty police officers who were attending the concert. Two on-duty officers were wounded, including one who underwent surgery and was upgraded to stable condition early Monday, police said.

    Hours after the shooting, Aldean posted on Instagram that he and his crew were safe and said the shooting was “beyond horrific.”

    “It hurts my heart that this would happen to anyone who was just coming out to enjoy what should have been a fun night,” Aldean said.

    President Donald Trump extended condolences to the victims and their families.

    In a tweet Monday, Trump offered “My warmest condolences and sympathies to the victims and families of the terrible Las Vegas shooting. God bless you!”

    White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders said Trump was “briefed on the horrific tragedy in Las Vegas.”

    Sanders said that “we are monitoring the situation closely and offer our full support to state and local officials. All of those affected are in our thoughts and prayers.”

    The shooting at the sold-out Route 91 Harvest festival was the deadliest mass shooting in modern U.S. history. Forty-nine people were killed when a gunman opened fire at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando in June 2016.

    Sunday’s shooting came more than four months after a suicide bombing at an Ariana Grande concert in Manchester, England, that killed 22 people. Almost 90 people were killed by gunmen inspired by Islamic State at the Bataclan concert hall in Paris during a performance by Eagles of Death Metal in November 2015.

    Daesh claims responsibility for the attack – Sputnik News

    According to reports, Daesh terror group claimed responsibility for Las Vegas shooting attack. The US is investigating this report, however, so far are not able to confirm it.

    The Daesh terrorist group (banned in Russia) claimed responsibility for the deadly Las Vegas shooting that claimed more than 50 lives, media reported on Monday.

    The shooter, who was identified as 64-year-old Stephen Paddock, converted to Islam months ago, according to Reuters.

    Stephen Paddock showed no warning signs before carrying out the deadliest shooting in US history on Sunday night in Las Vegas, Nevada, and his motives remain unclear, the shooter’s brother Eric Paddock said on Monday.

    “There is no reason we can imagine why Stephen would do something like this,” Paddock told the Las Vegas Review-Journal. “All we can do is send our condolences to the people who died. Just no reason, no warning.”

    Paddock was said to have opened fire on a crowd of more than 22,000 concert-goers from his hotel room on the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay Hotel on Sunday evening.

    Currently, the United States’ officials are investigating the claim of alleged Daesh responsibility for the attack, but so far it can not be confirmed.

    The death toll of the mass shooting in Las Vegas stands at over 50, while more than 500 people were injured, Sheriff of the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department Joseph Lombardo said Monday.

    The Las Vegas police confirmed earlier on Monday that the suspect who’d been apprehended was “down.” The police continued to urge people to avoid the area; part of the highway was closed off.

     

    Read More:

    50 dead, 200 injured in Las Vegas attack

    https://sputniknews.com/us/201710021057876854-daesh-las-vegas-shooting/

     

     

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    PH President Rodrigo Duterte says he won’t submit to Ombudsman’s probe of his wealth

    October 1st, 2017

    By Agence France Presse News / Yahoo.com

    PH President Rodrigo Duterte Photo © AP Photo/ Aaron Favila

    PHILIPPINE President Rodrigo Duterte has said he would not cooperate with a special anti-corruption prosecutor’s investigation into allegations he acquired ill-gotten wealth, vowing he would “not submit” to its authority.

    The ombudsman said last week it was investigating claims Duterte’s bank accounts had hundreds of millions of pesos (millions of dollars) which he failed to disclose as required by law.

    Duterte responded by lashing out at the ombudsman, calling the agency “lousy” and saying allegations against him were “lies based on baseless” information.

    “I will not submit to the jurisdiction (of the ombudsman),” Duterte said in a curse-laden speech to local lawyers on Saturday night.

    “Waving fabricated evidence, lying to his teeth in front of the nation and then you want me to submit to the jurisdiction of the ombudsman,” Duterte said referring to Deputy Ombudsman Melchor Arthur Carandang who had announced the probe.

    Duterte’s remarks contradicted his spokesman’s statement last week that the president respected the ombudsman and trusted its impartiality.

    Duterte, 72, won last year’s presidential elections on a brutal law-and-order and anti-corruption platform.

    During the election campaign Duterte had said he came from a poor family and lived a modest lifestyle which boosted his image as an anti-establishment politician representing the common folk, analysts said.

    The ombudsman probe stemmed from a plunder complaint filed before the elections by opposition senator Antonio Trillanes who alleged Duterte embezzled government funds during his more than two-decade stint as mayor of the southern city of Davao.

    On Saturday, Duterte said his family had properties and businesses including an ice plant and lumberyard, adding his late father was a provincial governor.

    “All in all it would not go beyond 40 million (pesos or $785,000), my lifetime savings. A part of that was my hereditary — you people from Davao know this — property,” Duterte said.

    “I hate to say it (but) what do you think of us, poor? That we are that poor?”

    Duterte has launched tirades against the Supreme Court chief justice, the Commission on Human Rights, the Catholic Church and critical media outlets. He and his allies have then started campaigns to curb their powers or discredit them.

    Duterte last week said he would create a commission to investigate corruption in the ombudsman, a move an opposition congressman called an act of vindictiveness.

     

    Read More:

    https://sg.news.yahoo.com/philippines-duterte-says-snub-graft-probe-042522903.html

    Ombudsman to probe the source of wealth of PH President Rodrigo Duterte and his family despite presidential threat.

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    Majority members of the UN Human Rights Council urged PH President Rodrigo Duterte to end the killings and culture of impunity in the country

    September 30th, 2017

    Image © http://www.eyeradio.org

    THIRTY nine member countries of the United Nations Human Rights Council on Thursday urged the Philippine government under the Duterte administration to end the “thousands of killings and the climate of impunity associated with the war on drugs.”

    This developed following the rejection of the Philippine government of 154 out the 257 recommendations from UN member states to address the state of human rights in the country and after its top diplomat, Department of Foreign affairs Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano, tried to convince the UN General Assembly in New York City last Sunday that the Duterte administration is committed in protecting human rights

    The a joint statement was delivered by Iceland’s Ambassador Högni Kristjánsson during the general debate of the 36th session of the UNHRC in Geneva, Switzerland where the 39 signatory countries have expressed “serious concern” over the human rights situation in the Philippines and the intimidation of Human Rights Defenders (HRDs).

    Iceland ambassador to the United Nations Hogni-Kristjansson © http://www.iceland.is

    “We remain concerned about the thousands of killings and climate of impunity associated with the war on drugs, and note recent stated commitments to observe due process in investigating these crimes. We urge the government of the Philippines to take all necessary measures to bring these killings to an end and cooperate with the international community to pursue appropriate investigations into these incidents, in keeping with universal principles of democratic accountability and the rule of law,” Kristjánsson said.

    “We share concerns of the High Commissioner regarding intimidation against HRDs and call upon the Philippines to ensure their full protection and the right to freedom of expression and peaceful assembly is guaranteed without reprisals. We urge the government to pursue investigations of alleged human rights violations and abuses and to create a safe and secure environment for indigenous communities, journalists and HRDs,” he added.

    Kristjánsson said “it is essential that governments are open to discussing human rights concerns based on UN recommendations and those of the civil society.”

    “We welcome the engagement of the Philippines with the Universal Periodic Review process and encourage them to fully implement the 103 recommendations they have accepted, while expressing regrets that recommendations necessary to address serious human rights violations were not accepted,” he added.

    According to media reports, the Philippine government noted, instead of fully approving, the UNHRC recommendations on extrajudicial killings related to the Duterte administration’s war on illegal drugs. This is so because Ambassador Evan Garcia, the Philippines permanent representative to the UN Office (UNO), insists that the Philippines has “sufficiently” explained that the killings are not “extrajudicial.”

    Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte. © Erik De Castro / Reuters

    Garcia apparently is unaware or simply does not care over what Philippine HRDs claim that 13,000 mostly poor people suspected to be either illegal drugs user or pushers have already been killed by the police and vigilantes since President Rodrigo Duterte assumed office last year.

    Nevertheless, Iceland’s permanent ambassador to the UNO reiterated that as a member of the HRC, “the Philippines is expected to uphold the highest standards in the promotion and protection of human rights and to cooperate fully with the Council.”

    “We call upon the Government to work with civil society and the UN to promote and protect human rights, including by welcoming a visit from the SR on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions, without preconditions or limitations. We encourage the Philippines to request technical assistance in this regard, if necessary,” Kristjánsson said.

    Aside from Iceland, the 38 other signatories of the joint statement are:

    1. Australia
    2. Austria
    3. Belgium
    4. Bulgaria
    5. Canada
    6. Croatia
    7. Cyprus
    8. Czech Republic
    9. Denmark
    10. Estonia
    11. Finland
    12. France
    13. Georgia
    14. Germany
    15. Greece
    16. Ireland
    17. Italy
    18. Latvia
    19. Liechtenstein
    20. Lithuania
    21. Luxembourg
    22 Macedonia
    23. Malta
    24. Moldova
    25. Montenegro
    26. Norway
    27. Poland
    28. Portugal
    29. Romania
    30. Slovakia
    31. Slovenia
    32. Spain
    33. Sweden
    34. Switzerland
    35. The Netherlands
    36. United Kingdom
    37. Ukraine
    38. United States

    Meanwhile, ambassadors of the Philippine Mission to the UNHRC took offense and called the attention of European countries that criticized the human rights situation in the Philippines.

    “We take grave exception to the sweeping and politicized statement delivered by Iceland on behalf of a group of States,” the Philippine diplomats said as they deny that a culture of impunity exists in the Philippines.

    “We have internal mechanisms to investigate all law enforcement operations that lead to deaths,” another diplomat said.

    In a related development, Philippine HRDs welcomed the joint statement delivered by Iceland.

    Ellecer Carlos of the Philippine Alliance of Human Rights Advocates (PAHRA) and In Defense of Human Rights and Dignity Movement (iDEFEND) said “we appreciate the international solidarity against the deteriorating human rights situation in the Philippines, especially at a time when human rights defenders are vilified and threatened for the work that we do.”

    “Urgent action is needed as the ‘war on drugs’ has been compounded with threats to freedom of expression and political freedoms,” Carlos added.

    On the other hand, FORUM-Asia Executive Director John Samuel, in a press release, said the joint statement, welcome as it is, is only the “first step” to “pressure” the Philippine government to honor its international commitments. He added that if nothing changes, UNHCR must conduct an investigation of its own.

    “If the situation in the country does not improve, the UNHRC must pass a resolution at its next session in March, establishing an international, independent investigation into killings associated with the ‘war on drugs’,” said Samuel.

    The Human Rights Watch, another HRDs group, also backed the position set in the joint statement. It also lauded “the growing chorus of voices” condemning the thousands of killings in the Philippines brought about by Duterte’s campaign against illegal drugs.

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    How UK, France, Poland Unleashed Hitler and Paved the Way for WWII*

    September 29th, 2017

    By Ekaterina Blinova/Sputnik News

    “It is peace in our time” says then British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain as he wave a copy of the pact he signed with German Chancellor Adolf Hitler Image CC0 / Ministry of Information / Munich Agreement

    The Munich pact of September 29, 1938, paved the way for Nazi Germany’s dominance in Europe and its march eastward, Canadian professor Michael Jabara Carley told Sputnik. Present day efforts to re-write the history of WWII in the West is an attempt to justify grave mistakes committed by European states and pin all the blame on Russia.

    The Munich Agreement signed 79 years ago by Nazi Germany, Great Britain, France and Italy wrecked efforts to create an anti-Nazi coalition and opened the door to Adolf Hitler’s invasion of Europe and the nightmare of the Second World War, Michael Jabara Carley, a professor of history at the Université de Montréal and the author of “Silent Conflict: A Hidden History of Early Soviet-Western Relations,” told Sputnik.

    “Munich was indeed a betrayal,” Carley underscored. “The loss of the Czechoslovak position in central Europe was thus an important step in Hitler’s plan for German domination of Europe.”

    The Munich Pact as the Beginning of the Nazi Crusade

    The Munich Agreement permitted Nazi Germany’s annexation of the so-called “Sudetenland” — the regions of northern and western Czechoslovakia inhabited by ethnic Germans, which subsequently led to the occupation of the whole country in March 1939. Naturally, the Czechoslovak government was not invited to the conference.

    “Czechoslovakia was a functioning ‘liberal’ democratic state on Germany’s southern frontier. It possessed a well-motivated, well-trained army of approximately 40 divisions. It had a formal alliance with France dating to the 1920s and a mutual assistance pact with the USSR, conditional however on French military intervention on behalf of Czechoslovakia before Soviet commitments were engaged,” the Canadian professor pointed out.

    “Hitler had to eliminate the 40 Czechoslovak divisions before his armed forces could take further action to the east and west,” Carley highlighted.

    However, the British government led by Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain took efforts to remove this obstacle in Nazi Germany’s way, believing “that ‘Herr Hitler’ was a rational interlocutor with whom one could deal and come to agreement,” the academic noted, adding that “Chamberlain’s calculations were quickly disproved by events.”

    The Canadian academic emphasized, “Western elites were not of one mind about the dangers of Nazi Germany to European security.” While Chamberlain and his followers deluded themselves into believing that “Herr Hitler” was “a reasonable man,” the political opposition in Britain and France viewed the “fuhrer” as menace to European peace and security.

    “It was only in March 1939 after the disappearance of rump Czechoslovakia that Chamberlain’s position was weakened,” the academic said.

    However, “for the Anglo-French elites, uncertain of their own force and masculinity, fascism was both intimidating and inspiring. For them, the danger of communist revolution was greater than any danger of Hitlerite Germany,” he added.

    It was one of the reasons why the Soviet Union’s repeated attempts to create a defensive alliance against Nazi Germany had failed, according to the academic.

    The USSR Made Every Effort to Form Anti-Nazi Coalition

    Carley noted that the Soviet Union had pushed ahead with the plan to create an anti-Nazi coalition since December 1933.

    “For nearly six years the Soviet government worked tirelessly to promote collective security in Europe,” the Canadian professor highlighted. “Soviet policy was in effect a proposal to recreate the anti-German Entente of World War I, including fascist Italy.”

    However, Soviet offers of cooperation were spurned in France, Britain, Romania and Poland. The promising rapprochement between the USSR and the US after meetings between President Franklin Roosevelt and the commissar for foreign affairs, Maxim M. Litvinov, in the autumn of 1933 “was sabotaged by the Sovietophobe Department of State.”

    Carley refuted the assumption that it was “the Stalinist purges” that “undermined Anglo-French confidence in Soviet proposals for collective security”: Moscow’s key attempts to create an anti-Nazi alliance preceded “the first Stalinist show trial in the late summer of 1936.”

    Poland as ‘Spoiler and Saboteur’ of Efforts to Create Anti-Hitler Alliance

    The Canadian professor outlined the role of Poland in ruining efforts to form a defensive alliance against Hitlerite Germany.

    “Poland never showed any genuine interest in Soviet proposals for collective security against Nazi Germany”… furthermore it was “the spoiler of ‘collective security’ in Europe during the 1930s,” Carley underscored.

    “Time after time the Polish government, and most notably the Polish foreign minister, Józef Beck, intervened to block Soviet efforts to build an anti-Nazi alliance,” he highlighted.

    On January 26, 1934, Warsaw signed a non-aggression pact with Nazi Germany, while “in 1938 Poland was Hitler’s accomplice in dismembering Czechoslovakia before becoming Hitler’s victim in 1939,” the professor pointed out referring to Poland’s occupation of Zaolzie in October 1938.

    “The Polish elite always considered Russia to be the greater menace, no matter who governed it,” the Canadian academic remarked. “Beck was so complacent that he approved the Polish ambassador in Moscow’s annual leave as the European crisis was reaching its height in the summer of 1939.”

    “Poland acted as the spoiler and saboteur right up until August 1939…. One can only conclude that the Polish government brought defeat and ruin upon itself… and far more importantly on the Polish people,” the professor suggested.

    The Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact: Last on the List

    Despite Poland having been the first to conclude a non-aggression agreement with Nazi Germany, it used the most insulting language while addressing the conclusion of the so-called Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact, the professor noted.

    The German-Soviet non-aggression treaty struck on August 23, 1939, has repeatedly come under heavy criticism from Western historians who denounced it as an example of “Soviet-Nazi” collusion. However, the Soviet Union was the last to ink such an agreement among other European states.

    The first on the list is Poland (1934), next came Great Britain, who concluded the Anglo-German Naval Pact in 1935 and inked the Munich Agreement with Berlin in 1938 together with Paris and Rome.

    The German-Romanian deal for economic cooperation was signed on March 23, 1939. About two months later, in May, Denmark struck its non-aggression pact with Hitler. The same month Rome and Berlin inked their “Pact of Steel” while in June Nazi Germany signed non-aggression agreements with Estonia and Latvia.

    However, the “chronology of the various non-aggression pacts is not the key issue,” according to the Canadian professor: The key issue is that “the Nazi-Soviet non-aggression pact was [in fact] the result of the failure of Anglo-Franco-Soviet negotiations for an alliance against Nazi Germany.”

    When Stalin later observed the Anglo-French hesitance to go to Warsaw’s aid when Nazi Germany invaded Poland in September 1939, “he could only have concluded that his putative ‘allies’ would have left the Soviet Union in similar straits,” Carley stressed.

    History Rewritten

    When Word War II was over the question arose as to whom to blame for the catastrophe. Incredible as it may seem, the Western powers pointed the finger of blame at the USSR, the very country that contributed the most to the victory over Nazi Germany and which lost 27 million people during the war.

    “When the United States and Britain resumed the Cold War after May 1945 (the Cold War having in fact begun in November 1917), the shameful conduct of the French and British governments and the despicable behavior of the Polish government during the 1930s had to be covered up or ‘justified,'” Carley said. “Likewise, the predominate role of the Red Army in destroying the Wehrmacht had to be erased from people’s memories.”

    According to the historian present day western hostility toward the Russian Federation and its president are fed by this bogus American and European “history.” However, one should keep in mind that the outcome of WWII was defined not by the Normandy invasion in June 1944, but by the Soviet victory in the battle for Stalingrad in February 1943, the Canadian academic stressed.

    Read More: https://sputniknews.com/analysis/201709291057809731-munich-agreement-uk-france-italy-nazi/

     

    * The opinion of this author is his/hers alone. It is not necessarily the views of Beyond Deadlines.

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    Stanislav Petrov: The Ignominious End of the Man Who Saved the World

    September 29th, 2017

    By Linda Pentz Gunter/Russia Insider

    Stanislav Petrov asked for nothing. Nevertheless, we owe him everything

    Retired Soviet Lt. Col. Stanislav Petrov, the man who saved the world. Image © edgardaily.com

    I just returned from the Nuclear-Free Future Awards in Basel, Switzerland, which this year were held in conjunction with a conference on Human Rights, Future Generations & Crimes In The Nuclear Age.

    The conference was hosted by IPPNW Switzerland. International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War won the Nobel peace prize in 1985. Fortunately, we can still envisage a nuclear-free future. In Basel, we honored individuals who have devoted their lives to ensuring that vision. Next year will be the 20th anniversary of the Award. Let’s hope we can still talk then about a future that is nuclear-free.

    The signing this week of the UN global nuclear weapons ban treaty is a hopeful step in the right direction. Although ignored by the nuclear weapons states, it brings the issue back to the international spotlight, introducing an unprecedented stigmatization of nuclear weapons within an international legal framework. It’s not perfect, but a necessary first step.

    Ironically, the day I returned from Basel, the news broke of the death of Stanislav Petrov. He had died on May 19, but we were only hearing about it now because it was never reported. A German documentarian had phoned to deliver birthday greetings to Petrov and had instead received the news of his passing from Petrov’s son, Dimitry.

    Without Petrov, we would have had no nuclear-free future and likely no future at all. He is possibly the single most entitled winner of the Nuclear-Free Future Award, although sadly it was never extended to him. Perhaps it can be offered posthumously. This would be a break with tradition, but it is worth giving pause to his contribution.

    Petrov was the lieutenant colonel in the Soviet Union’s Air Defense Forces who, on the night of September 26, 1983 just happened to be in charge of monitoring his country’s satellite system that watched for a potential launch of nuclear weapons by the United States. In the early hours, such a launch appeared to have happened.

    Petrov had only minutes to decide if the launch was genuine. He was supposed to report the alert up the chain of command. Doing so would almost certainly have led to a counterstrike, triggering a full-on nuclear exchange between the Soviet Union and the U.S. Instead, Petrov hesitated. And doubted.

    The alarm suggested five missiles, too few for an all-out nuclear attack by the U.S. But time was of the essence. If Petrov’s doubts were misplaced and this was a real attack, his duty was to inform his superiors so a retaliatory strike could be launched.

    But Petrov never made that call. Instead, he decided to check if there was a computer malfunction. This was later discovered to have been the case. A satellite had mistaken the sun’s reflection off the tops of clouds for a missile launch. The computer system had failed to make the distinction as well.

    His decision came on the heels of the shooting down of a commercial Korean airliner by the Soviet Union earlier that year. Petrov’s act of catching a mistake before catastrophe was instead viewed by Soviet officialdom as yet another embarrassment.

    Consequently, Petrov went unheralded in his country. Worse, he was reprimanded for mistakes in his logbook and lived largely in ignominy until his death. Even then, there was no official announcement.

    Because the Petrov event was classified for so long, it was the 1995 Norwegian rocket incident that gained wider attention, another close call that could have ended in our obliteration. The Norwegian-American rocket was launched to study the aurora borealis but was initially mistaken by Russian nuclear forces as a hostile nuclear launch, resulting in then Russian president, Boris Yeltsin, not known for his sobriety, opening and activating the Russian nuclear weapons command suitcase.

    Yeltsin had just minutes to decide if the rocket was a high-altitude nuclear attack and launch a retaliatory nuclear strike. Fortunately, the rocket changed course, making it clear that Russia was not being targeted.

    Later in life, after the fall of the Soviet Union, Petrov was finally heralded for his life-saving inaction, although by all accounts he was a highly modest man who did not necessarily welcome such accolades and attention.

    In 2006 he received an award at the United Nations from the Association of World Citizens for “the part he played in averting a catastrophe.”

    In 2013 he was awarded the Dresden Peace Prize. A 2014 Danish docudrama called Petrov “the man who saved the world.” When interviewed for the film, he said, “I am not a hero. I was just in the right place at the right time.”

    Next Tuesday will mark the fourth year of the UN’s Nuclear Abolition Day, a not uncoincidental choice of date.

    Stanislav Petrov asked for nothing. Nevertheless, we owe him everything.

     

    Read More: http://russia-insider.com/en/politics/stanislav-petrov-ignominious-end-man-who-saved-world/ri21070

     

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    Ric Manrique’s “Ikaw ang Ligaya ko”

    September 28th, 2017

    Ric Manrique Jr. Image © youtube.com

    The late Ric Manrique Jr. is a favorite kundiman crooner by my late father. This song is a tribute both to the singer and my dad. Mr. Manrique passed away last week.

     

    Music Video © YouTUBE

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