The US Surrendered Its Right to Accuse Russia of War Crimes a Long Time Ago

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by Darius Shahtahmasebi
The Anti-Media

Renowned journalist Glenn Greenwald recently tweeted the three rules of American exceptionalism:

3 rules of US Exceptionalism: 1) Our killing is better than theirs; 2) Nothing we do can be “terrorism”; 3) Only enemies are “war criminals”

Greenwald’s astute observations were presumably made in response to Secretary of State John Kerry’s recent remarks that both Russia and Syria should face war crimes investigations for their recent attacks on Syrian civilians.

“Russia and the regime owe the world more than an explanation about why they keep hitting hospitals, and medical facilities, and women and children,” Mr. Kerry said in Washington, where he spoke alongside French Foreign Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault, as reported by the Independent.

Unsurprisingly, Russia responded by urging caution regarding allegations of war crimes considering the United States has been waging wars in a number of countries since the end of World War II. It has picked up a number of allegations of war crimes in the process.

Kerry’s continuous accusations that Russia bombed hospital infrastructure are particularly hypocritical in light of the fact the United States has bombed hospitals in Iraq and Afghanistan on more than one occasion over past decade.

Further, former congressman Ron Paul’s Institute for Peace and Prosperity hit back at Kerry, accusing him of completely fabricating the most recent alleged hospital attack. As the Institute noted:

In a press event yesterday, before talks with the French Foreign Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault about a new UN resolution, he said (vid @1:00) about Syria:


“‘Last night, the regime attacked yet another hospital, and 20 people were killed and 100 people were wounded. And Russia and the regime owe the world more than an explanation about why they keep hitting hospitals and medical facilities and children and women. These are acts that beg for an appropriate investigation of war crimes. And those who commit these would and should be held accountable for these actions.’


No opposition group has claimed that such an extremely grave event happened. None. No press agency has a record of it. The MI-6 disinformation outlet SOHR in Britain, which quite reliably notes every claimed casualty and is frequently cited in ‘western media,’ has not said anything about such an event anywhere in Syria.

However, the most disturbing aspect of Kerry’s allegation is that the accusations against Russia run in tandem with Saudi Arabia’s brutal assault on Yemen. Saudi Arabia, with the aid of a few regional players — and with ongoing American and British assistance (not to mention billion dollar arms sales) — has been bombing Yemen back into the Stone Age without any legal basis whatsoever. Often, the Saudi-led coalition has completely decimated civilian infrastructure, which has led a number of groups to accuse the coalition of committing war crimes in the process.

Civilians and civilian infrastructure have been struck so routinely that the world has become increasingly concerned the actual targets of the coalition strikes are civilians (what could be a greater recruitment tool for al-Qaeda and ISIS in Yemen?) As noted by Foreign Policy:

“The Houthis and their allies — armed groups loyal to Saleh — are the declared targets of the coalition’s 1-year-old air campaign. In reality, however, it is the civilians, such as Basrallah and Rubaid, and their children, who are predominantly the victims of this protracted war. Hundreds of civilians have been killed in airstrikes while asleep in their homes, when going about their daily activities, or in the very places where they had sought refuge from the conflict. The United States, Britain, and others, meanwhile, have continued to supply a steady stream of weaponry and logistical support to Saudi Arabia and its coalition.

Yemen is the poorest, most impoverished nation in the Arab world. The Saudi-led coalition has been striking refugee camps, schools, wedding parties and well over 100 hospitals to date. The coalition has been strongly suspected of using banned munitions such as cluster bombs. The country now has more than half a million children at serious risk of malnutrition. More than 21 million out of the total population of 25 million are in serious need of basic humanitarian assistance.

Just take one example of the cruel and disproportionate use of force that Saudi Arabia has used in Yemen (using American-made and supplied aircraft and weapons) — against Judge Yahya Rubaid and his family. As Foreign Policy reported in March of this year:

“According to family members, Rubaid was a judge on a case against Yemeni President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi, for treason in absentia. It is unclear whether his house was attacked for this reason. What is clear, however, is that there was no legally valid basis for bombing his home, as he and his family were civilians and under international law should not have been deliberately targeted.

At the time this article’s publication, over 140 Yemenis had been killed and another 500 injured in a Saudi-coalition aerial attack on a funeral over the weekend. The civilian death toll continues to rise in Yemen, completely unchallenged by any major players at the U.N. When the U.N. does attempt to quell Saudi actions, the Saudis threaten severe economic retaliation.

How Kerry can accuse Russia of committing war crimes in Syria with a straight face is unclear, as reports of atrocious crimes committed in Yemen continue to surface.

This is not to say Russia and Syria should not be investigated for war crimes – but maybe, just maybe, we could live in a world where everyone responsible for committing these gross acts could be held accountable, instead of just those who pose an economic threat to the West.

Source: The Anti-Media (cc)

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Investigation confirms rampant fraud, money laundering, and tax evasion in Canada’s housing market

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Out of the shadows

by Kathy Tomlinson
Globe & Mail : September 10, 2016

Demetre Lazos says he couldn’t just stand by and watch real-estate speculation, as he puts it, destroy his city.

Convinced that his boss, a local speculator, was dodging taxes and misleading lenders, he decided to act, approaching both the police and the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) to divulge what he knows. Mr. Lazos, who has built luxury homes in Vancouver for three decades, offered documented evidence of possible fraud and tax evasion.

And yet, as he tells it, both the cops and the tax men blew him off: A CRA official who met him in the lobby of the agency’s downtown office told him to write to Ottawa; at Vancouver police headquarters, he was advised to call the Crime Stoppers hotline. (He did, he says, and got no results.)

“I am very angry at the system,” says Mr. Lazos, who has since quit his job. “I love this country – and it is my country – but I think we are Mickey Mouse.”

And so, next, he came to The Globe and Mail and, over the course of several months, delivered a large, and disturbing, cache of documents that expose how speculators can maximize – and conceal – their profits.

As a result of Globe investigations into Vancouver’s supercharged real-estate market, others have come forward, too, including a federal tax auditor, as well as an accountant who says he regularly files tax returns for wealthy clients who buy and sell houses – and appear to declare far less than they earn. “Canada,” he says, “is like a Swiss bank account” for his clients.

Ottawa says it is studying the issue, and B.C. has brought in a tax on foreigners who buy residential real estate in Vancouver. But those who see firsthand how real estate is traded like stocks and bonds say this isn’t nearly enough. “We have governments that are not doing their job,” argues Mr. Lazos, who acquired his inside knowledge while working for Jun Gang Gu, also known as Kenny Gu, a former civil servant originally from Nanjing, near Shanghai.

Mr. Gu came to Canada in 2009 under Ottawa’s now-defunct immigrant-investor program, which gave permanent residency to applicants who agreed to lend a significant amount of money to the federal government. He started out here as a developer, but the documents show that his business evolved to buying homes – using other people’s money– and then flipping them. His deals are financed with investor money from China and mortgages issued to those investors by Canadian banks.

The papers that Mr. Lazos provided The Globe paint a fascinating picture, revealing a network of players – local and foreign – who are parking money in Canadian real estate. They also show how loopholes and lax oversight make it easy for the speculators to play the system – and profit tax-free – by obscuring their ownership and earnings, all the while treating the properties as commodities, not homes.

    Hidden ownership</ul>

    Many people assume that speculators flip homes very quickly, but Mr. Gu and others have created a unique market in which they hold properties long enough for them to rise significantly in value. The Globe has examined numerous transactions involving properties held for years while prices in the city rose as more investors bought in. Some properties were developed, some rented out, and others left vacant.

    Mr. Gu did not respond to several requests for an interview, but Chinese-language contracts with his clients provide key insights into how his system works.

    Translated for The Globe, they show that Mr. Gu, or his companies, are hidden – the legal term is “beneficial” – owners of certain properties, even though absentee foreign clients bankroll everything from the down payment and mortgage payments to property-related taxes and other expenses. The homes and mortgages are registered in the names of his clients, their companies or spouses.

    The financing Mr. Gu’s companies receive from those clients comes in the form of loans that are not taxable, and that fall within what’s known as “shadow banking” – an unregulated system that has exploded in popularity in China, and now appears to be getting a toehold in Canada. Such “peer-to-peer” loans, as they are also called, sidestep banks entirely, and promise lenders significantly higher returns than they can get elsewhere.

    Mr. Gu’s lender clients earn their wealth primarily in China, while coming and going from Vancouver, according to Mr. Lazos. Records show that they give Mr. Gu power of attorney to facilitate everything through his small, nondescript Vancouver office, but his stake in the properties remains hidden. And although he is not licensed to broker mortgages or manage investments, records suggest he does both.

    Those records also link him and his clients to activity involving at least 36 properties over the past five years. Yet Mr. Gu, 45, paid next to nothing in taxes last year, while millions of dollars flowed through his business and personal accounts.

      ‘Unless it changes, this will get worse’

    An in-depth look at five of his deals this year reveals that he sold the properties for a cool $5-million more, in total, than he paid for them. One of those homes sat vacant for three years, in a city where many people can’t find a place to live. (The documents include two orders from the city to clean up the site.)

    In addition, Mr. Gu has billed some clients up to $1.2-million, per property, for “management” and “commissions,” in the last two years. Over that same period, he and his wife have moved large sums of money between their bank accounts, up to $600,000 at a time. As well, Mr. Gu made credit-card payments totalling $310,000 in a brief period. The family’s vehicles include a BMW and a Mercedes.

    Tax returns, among the documents, show that Mr. Gu, now a Canadian citizen, reported personal income of $45,865 last year. His wife, Min Tang, reported $23,612.

    And yet, Ms. Tang recently bought a brand new house in West Vancouver – one of Canada’s richest municipalities, known for its mansions and stunning views – for $2.1-million. She listed her occupation on the title as “homemaker.” And she didn’t need a mortgage. Records show she bought the property from one of Mr. Gu’s clients – and for significantly less than the market value for other homes in the upscale area.

      ‘Pervasive and systematic’

    Mr. Gu’s three corporations all reported losses, in unaudited financial statements ending last year. Photocopies of some cheques made out to his companies – a fraction of the total – show that those companies received a minimum of $7.6-million in large payments between 2014 and 2016, many marked as “loans” from clients.

    When Mr. Gu flips a property, his contracts stipulate that lender clients get back what they put in, plus a set return – 15 per cent in one instance. After the mortgage and the bills are paid, Mr. Gu keeps whatever is left, which, in some cases, appears to be hundreds of thousands of dollars.

    According to legal and tax experts, this arrangement would allow him to avoid taxes, because the properties are not in his name. Mr. Gu can also maximize financing, because individual clients applying for mortgages, ostensibly to buy the homes, can borrow more money collectively than Mr. Gu could if he tried to finance properties on his own.

    On the tax front, records suggest that the clients classify some of the properties as their principal residences, even though they do not live in them. That’s despite the fact that Canadian rules stipulate that a taxpayer cannot call a home a principal residence and sell it tax-free, unless they purchased it to live in it, and didn’t sell it within the same year.

    “If you are buying and selling these homes as a business practice, that is business income and it’s taxable,” says Toronto-area accountant David Cramer, one of several experts The Globe consulted while reporting this story. He suggests that both Mr. Gu and his clients should be declaring that income. “If these guys paid proper taxes, these transactions would not go on as they do,” he explains. “It wouldn’t be nearly as profitable as it is.”

    Tax lawyer Jonathan Garbutt estimates that the tax revenue lost through such activity is massive, particularly in pricey Toronto and Vancouver. “I think this is yet another example of non-enforcement of penalties under the law. It’s pervasive and it’s systematic,” Mr. Garbutt says. “Unless it changes, this will get worse. We will have a corrupt system.”

      ‘This has become a huge mess’

    While many Canadians have come to resent the impact of foreign buyers on the real-estate market, the documents suggest that Mr. Gu pocketed much more than his clients did on some of his deals.

    In one contract involving a rental property, his client was guaranteed a return of one per cent a month for paying the down payment and property-transfer tax upon purchase. Mr. Gu would collect the rent and pay the mortgage, then keep the rest of the profits when the duplex sold.

    Mr. Gu sold the property two years later for $850,000 more than he paid for it, because the market price had jumped by that much. But according to the terms of the contract, his client stood to receive less than $90,000 of that windfall.

    Documents show some of Mr. Gu’s clients also pay very little tax in Canada, despite having significant cash flow and assets. For example, in 2014, records show that client Shen Lin Zhang paid $2,594 in Canadian taxes on $59,711 in reported income, while his “homemaker” wife owned and lived in a Vancouver house worth $2-million.

    In the same period, Mr. Zhang sold another house worth $3-million and backed the purchase of two more, worth almost $4-million, in deals facilitated by Mr. Gu. Documents show that Mr. Zhang also owns foreign property and has almost $3-million in Canadian and Chinese banks.

    Mr. Lazos says that Mr. Zhang earns his living in China. His CRA tax filing shows he is not a Canadian citizen, but he claims in it that he’s a B.C. resident. That allows him or his family members to classify any Canadian property as a principal residence and not report the profit when they sell.

    Mr. Zhang declined The Globe’s request for an interview.

    A Chinese-Canadian accountant in Vancouver estimates that he has filed tax returns for 1,000 clients just like Mr. Zhang in the past five years. He does not want to be named because he fears repercussions, but says the CRA is partly to blame for lost revenue, because it doesn’t require taxpayers to report the sale of any principal residence.

    “Every one of [those client families] has more than one house – two, three, four, sometimes more,” he says. “They don’t have to tell me. The CRA says they don’t have to tell anybody.”

    The accountant says that people like Mr. Zhang who work abroad but declare on their Canadian tax returns that they are residents of Canada are legally required to report their worldwide income as well. He says that most, however, do not, and because those financial records are in China, they are impossible to check.

    “They say, ‘I just want to pay around $5,000 in tax. How much does that work out to be in income?’ he says. “And then they say, ‘I have this much interest income from money I deposit with the Canadian bank or the company or whatever.’ That’s it.”

    “I have in my hands people who claim to be residents. They never live here for more than a month of the year,” he says. “These people can be buying and selling homes and claiming to be a resident all the time without getting into any trouble. The CRA doesn’t look to find out.”

    In fact, he believes the problem is so huge that the government should overhaul the tax code to get rid of the principal-residence exemption in its current form, which he acknowledges would be a very unpopular move. And one that would be a political non-starter: If the exemption were removed entirely, millions of Canadians would face the prospect of going deeply into debt – or, at minimum, forfeiting a major portion of their planned retirement incomes.

    Another Vancouver accountant told The Globe that she and her colleagues see questionable real-estate transactions all the time, which they believe have contributed to skyrocketing prices. “This has become a huge mess. You have no idea how angry I am,” says Corina Ciortan. “A generation of people has been screwed. It’s so obvious. Everyone I work with is so angry because there is a select group of people who have profited from this.”

    Federal figures reviewed by The Globe and confirmed by the tax agency show that auditors discovered $14.3-million in unpaid taxes from 339 individuals and companies last year through increased scrutiny of flips and other real-estate transactions in Vancouver.

    A CRA auditor who came forward to The Globe with concerns about enforcement said that that is barely scratching the surface of the dodging going on. “CRA will catch very few people, because the [inexperienced] auditors … have no idea of foreign income and how individuals hide income,” says the auditor, who requested anonymity, for fear of being fired.

    Management has known of this issue for at least three years but did not want to pursue the real-estate flips, because most of the auditees were Chinese in descent. They were scared of being racist … I can confirm this fact, based on meetings held.”

    In a statement sent to The Globe, the CRA said that 2,203 files related to real estate were audited last year in Ontario and B.C., and that the agency plans to do “as many or more” next year. “The Canada Revenue Agency takes non-compliance very seriously, and is committed to protecting the fairness and integrity of the tax system,” it says.

      Richer banks, poorer Canadians

    In addition to holes in the tax system, speculators like Mr. Gu also rely heavily on Canadian financial institutions to give their clients multimillion-dollar loans. “They are using this money temporarily – to make more money – instead of using their own money,” Mr. Lazos says. “Then prices go up. We are making the bank richer and the Canadians poorer.”

    Correspondence in the documents that Mr. Lazos supplied suggests that lenders think they are approving mortgages for his investor clients, not for Mr. Gu. If lenders are in the dark, experts say, they may be unwittingly violating anti-money-laundering laws, which require them to know detailed information about all their clients – which, in this instance, should include Mr. Gu.

    “If the client defaults, who are they going to collect from? Because they don’t know who the beneficial owner is of these properties,” says Christine Duhaime, an expert on anti-money-laundering laws. “The bank thinks it’s complying with anti-money-laundering laws in knowing its client, but it isn’t. No bank likes being lied to.”

    E-mails in the records show that RBC questioned Mr. Gu when it realized mortgage payments from a bank client were coming from Mr. Gu’s business account, but let it continue after the client gave his permission for the payments to continue. The Globe asked RBC about this; it declined to comment.

    (read the full article including images at Globe & Mail)

    Related articles:

    How Vancouver Is Being Sold To The Chinese: The Illegal Dark Side Behind The Real Estate Bubble (March 10, 2016)

    Vancouver’s Housing Market Money Laundering Fraud (February 6, 2016)

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The Great 9/11 Coverup

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Eric Zuesse
Off-Guardian : September 7, 2016

Did you happen to notice that after more than a decade of the ‘news’ media’s demanding publication of “the missing 28 pages” (which turned out actually to have been 29 pages) from the U.S. Congress’s investigation into 9/11, the document’s press-coverage, finally, on 15 July 2016, turned out to have been little-to-none? And did you notice that the little there was, said it contained nothing important? Perhaps you didn’t get to know even this much about the press-coverage of it, because the U.S. Congress, which had been hiding the document ever since 2003, dumped it on a Friday night, in order for it to receive as little press-coverage as possible.

Well, what that document actually showed, and proved (and cited FBI investigators who could then have testified in public, if requested), was the opposite of unimportant: that the Saudi Ambassador to the United States, Prince Bandar bin Sultan al-Saud (who was known in Washington as “Bandar Bush,” because of his closeness to the Bush family), had secretly been paying the Saudi handlers of at least two of the 15 Saudis among the 19 9/11 hijackers, and that Bandar’s wife and other relatives were also paying those hijackers-to-be, and their families — thus enabling the future hijackers to obtain the necessary pilot-training etc., for the 9/11 attacks.

How much news-coverage of this was there in the U.S.’democracy’ that is supposed to be informing the public about such things, instead of continuing the cover-ups of them?

Why do U.S. ‘news’ media hide it — after having demanded for more than ten years that the ‘missing 28 pages’ become published?

But that’s not all there is to the cover-up: As I mentioned and documented in my July 20th news-report on “9/11: Bush’s Guilt and the ’28 Pages’,” U.S. President George W. Bush was also involved in the 9/11 operation: He had instructed his National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice to block his obtaining from U.S. government sources any specific information about what the attacks would entail, or about the date on which they would occur. (Presumably, he already knew, via his private communications with Prince Bandar or someone else who was in on the event’s planning, all that he had wanted to know about the coming event.)

When CIA Director George Tenet, on 10 July 2001, was practically screaming to Rice to allow him into the Oval Office, to meet privately with the President to inform him of how urgent the situation had become to take action on it, she said: “We’re not quite ready to consider this. We don’t want the clock to start ticking.” Tenet was shocked, and dismayed. That encounter with Rice was intended to urge the President to establish a hit-team to take out bin Laden, so as to avert the operation — whatever it was, or would turn out to be. The way that Chris Whipple put this, in his terrific report in Politico magazine, on 12 November 2015, titled “The Attacks Will Be Spectacular”, was that, “they did not want a paper trail to show that they’d been warned.”

Apparently, “Bandar Bush” knew the details, but his friend George W. Bush did not — Bush needed “deniability” — it’s not for nothing that he was able to say, after the event, as Condoleezza Rice was to put it when speaking to reporters on 16 May 2002, “This government did everything that it could in a period in which the information was very generalized, in which there was nothing specific to react to … Had this president known of something more specific, or known that a plane was going to be used as a missile, he would have acted on it.”

How does she now square that statement with her having told Tenet, on 10 July 2001, “We’re not quite ready to consider this. We don’t want the clock to start ticking.”? What ‘clock’? Why not? No one asks her — especially not under oath.

Is that the way things happen in a democracy, even 15 years after the event?

On 10 September 2012, Kurt Eichenwald, who had reported for The New York Times, was then issuing his new book on the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks, 500 Days: Secrets and Lies in the Terror Wars, and he headlined an op-ed then in his former newspaper (which thus could hardly have declined to accept it), “The Deafness Before the Storm”, describing the most puzzling aspect of the lead-up to 9/11:

It was perhaps the most famous presidential briefing in history.

On Aug. 6, 2001, President George W. Bush received a classified review of the threats posed by Osama bin Laden and his terrorist network, Al Qaeda. That morning’s “presidential daily brief” — the top-secret document prepared by America’s intelligence agencies — featured the now-infamous heading: “Bin Laden Determined to Strike in U.S.” A few weeks later, on 9/11, Al Qaeda accomplished that goal.

On April 10, 2004, the Bush White House declassified that daily brief — and only that daily brief — in response to pressure from the 9/11 Commission, which was investigating the events leading to the attack. Administration officials dismissed the document’s significance, saying that, despite the jaw-dropping headline, it was only an assessment of Al Qaeda’s history, not a warning of the impending attack. While some critics considered that claim absurd, a close reading of the brief showed that the argument had some validity.

That is, unless it was read in conjunction with the daily briefs preceding Aug. 6, the ones the Bush administration would not release. While those documents are still not public, I have read excerpts from many of them, along with other recently declassified records, and come to an inescapable conclusion: the administration’s reaction to what Mr. Bush was told in the weeks before that infamous briefing reflected significantly more negligence than has been disclosed. In other words, the Aug. 6 document, for all of the controversy it provoked, is not nearly as shocking as the briefs that came before it.

Those “briefs” still are not published. And now, after the revelation, by Chris Whipple, that Condoleezza Rice was under instruction from her boss not to allow him to be informed too early for “the clock to start ticking,” we can understand why there is still so much that hasn’t yet been released to the public, in our ‘democracy’, about who was really behind 9/11.

On 17 April 2016, Paul Sperry in the New York Post headlined “How US covered up Saudi role in 9/11”, and he reported that his own investigation showed: “Actually, the kingdom’s involvement was deliberately covered up at the highest levels of our government. And the coverup goes beyond locking up 28 pages of the Saudi report in a vault in the US Capitol basement. Investigations were throttled. Co-conspirators were let off the hook.” But isn’t it time, now, to demand that Bush’s role also be explored — not only that the Saud family’s (especially Bandar’s) role in it be prosecuted? After all, Bush was the one who took a Presidential oath.

Or: Is the U.S. not enough of a democracy, for that to happen — for the Constitution to be enforced, by the U.S. President after Bush (the President who will not prosecute his intended successor)? How total must the non-accountability at the top be, before we call the country a “dictatorship” — only a fake ‘democracy’?

Regarding the actions that brought down the three World Trade Center Buildings, WTC1, WTC2, and WTC7, there also is good reason to distrust the official ‘history’. Witness accounts both by firefighters and by the general public were videoed at the time saying that they heard multiple explosions, which indicated controlled demolitions after the two plane-crashes into WTC1 and WTC2. Other witnesses of the WTC7 collapse also heard explosions. Regarding WTC7, there was testimony from the owner of the WTC, Larry Silverstein, saying that he instructed the Fire Department not to go into WTC7 but simply to “pull it.” (And his subsequent statement saying he didn’t really mean that and he meant only to “pull” the firefighters from that building, which actually had none, was debunked.)

Even the government’s “Final Report on the Collapse of World Trade Center Building 7” acknowledged (p. 48) that there had been “(2) a freefall descent over approximately eight stories of gravitational acceleration for approximately 2.25 s[econds]” meaning that that 8-story segment had been blasted so that, throughout those 8 stories, there was zero resistance to the collapsed portion falling through it from above.

This alone constitutes solid and conclusive physical proof of the official lie, though itself published in the official source. And yet on the very next page in that official document is stated, “Blast events did not play a role in the collapse of WTC 7. … There were no witness reports of such a loud noise.”

But there were such witness reports; and, anyway, the very admission (on the prior page) that there was free-fall over an 8-story segment of the building, constitutes acknowledgement of physical proof that there had been controlled demolition on WTC7. Further, there has even been expert testimony that nano-thermite was used to bring down each of these buildings. But clearly, whatever the truth of the matter is, the U.S. Government has been lying, and continues to lie, about 9/11.

(full article at off-guardian

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Canadian Medical Association likes gangs selling pot to kids

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September 8, 2016

Canada’s doctors are calling for strict limits on legalized pot smoking, saying the minimum age should be 21, while home growing and smoking non-medical marijuana in public places should be prohibited, the Toronto Star reports. They also want the amounts and potency of products sold to those under 25 to be tightly controlled.

Of course, if the federal government listens to these suggestions, it will simply encourage the continuation of the black market, particularly among youth.

Prohibition doesn’t work, that’s a big part of why Cannabis is about to be legalized in Canada. The Canadian Medical Association is encouraging policy which will maintain the black market for Cannabis in schools and continue to criminalize kids for doing what kids do.

Not only would such asinine policy continue to subject our kids to unnecessary police harassment, but the cost of enforcing these policies would negate much of the economic benefit of legalization. How many taxpayers want to pay for police officers to hunt down pot smokers to verify their age and test potency? How many taxpayers want teens arrested for enjoying a joint instead of alcohol?

Cannabis is a plant, with lower toxicity than a tomato plant. Children can become ill and in extreme cases die if they consume too much tomato plant leaves. Children can also die from consuming energy drinks, in fact an international research team, led by Dr. Fabian Sanchis-Gomar of Madrid, Spain, has concluded that energy drinks are the cause of many sudden cardiac deaths in young, healthy individuals. Cannabis has never killed anyone, it is safer than alcohol, it is safer than energy drinks, it is safer than tomato plants.

The Liberal government has promised repeatedly to “regulate and control” cannabis, so I have no doubt that they will adopt most of these asinine prohibitionist policies.


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Why the Media Isn’t Reporting on the US Soldiers Nearly Hit by a Syrian Airstrike

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Darius Shahtahmasebi
the anti media: August 25, 2016

On August 19, American troops in Northern Syria nearly lost their lives. A joint team of elite American special operations troops and Kurdish fighters on the ground in Syrian territory were fired upon by a Syrian Su-24 warplane. One would think that given the Obama administration’s previous aspirations of going to war with Bashar al-Assad’s regime in Syria, the mainstream media — in tandem with government officials — would be loving the opportunity to immediately hit back at the Syrian regime.

According to Foreign Policy, U.S. military officials contacted their Russian counterparts also operating in Syria in response to the strikes, who offered their assurances that their planes weren’t operating in the area. “We made clear that Coalition aircraft would defend its troops on the ground if threatened,” said Marine Maj. Adrian Rankine-Galloway, a Pentagon spokesman in an email. “The Syrian Regime would be well advised not to interfere with Coalition forces or its partners,” he added.

Yet this story is hardly making headlines anywhere, and despite these warnings, no immediate action has been taken.

Why not?

The fact there are at least 300 U.S. commandos on the ground in Syria runs contrary to Obama’s repeated past promises there would be no boots on the ground in Syria. Anyone who has been following the Syrian crisis, however, knows there have been U.S.-NATO troops within Syria with little transparency.

If the corporate media ran with the story that U.S. troops almost lost their lives in Syria, it would open up a whole can of worms they probably could not contain. Stories of sending troops to Syria are supposed to fly under the radar with little media coverage.

How many U.S. troops are in Syrian territory? What is the legal basis for stationing troops in Syrian territory without a U.N. mandate or permission from the Syrian regime?

Most importantly, where are these operations headed?

Now that a top U.S. commander has gone on record to warn Russia and Syria that the U.S. will defend American special operations forces in Northern Syria if they come under fire from the regime again, it should be clear where this conflict is headed.

Together with the warning from Marine Maj. Adrian Rankine-Galloway that if Syrian planes should fly in certain parts of their own country the U.S. will use their “airpower as needed to protect coalition forces and our partnered operations,” this paints a grim picture of the future of the Syrian battlefield. “Partnered operations” includes Kurdish fighters who have recently been targeted by Syrian warplanes.

Most frightening, however, as it transpires, is that U.S. troops are also working in tandem with Turkish troops now fighting inside Syrian territory.Turkish tanks and warplanes are also accompanying the Turkish troops. If Syrian warplanes feel compelled to target an invading ground force such as the Turks, they officially risk being shot down by coalition aircraft.

It is the wartime equivalent of breaking into somebody’s home and sitting in their kitchen while at the same time warning the owner to stay clear of the kitchen or risk being shot by the perpetrator.

The U.S. has finally found their loophole to turn their missiles on Assad. Of course, this announcement should be no surprise to anyone who has been following the Syrian conflict. This was the goal of U.S. operations within Syria the whole time, given that the U.S. has been looking to unseat Assad from Damascus for years.

The fact this comes at a time when Russian, Chinese and Iranian involvement in Syria is growing and as a fierce battle over the strategic city of Aleppo is occurring is no accident.

Syria is becoming the battleground for the third world war. The American people were told this would be a war against ISIS but have been pushed into an expanded war against the Syrian government without their tacit consent, without the approval of the U.N., and without the approval of Congress.

The Obama administration has duped the U.S. that a war that could be the world’s last.

For what?

(Originally published at the anti mediacc)

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The Mainstream Media Has a Plan to Stop ISIS — but There’s Just One Problem

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Darius Shahtahmasebi
The anti-media : August 2, 2016

A recent article from the Guardian by Natalie Nougayrede, former executive editor and managing editor of French newspaper Le Monde, is another blatant attempt by the corporate media to pin all the blame for the Syrian crisis on the Syrian regime, as opposed to other powerful, meddling forces at play in Syria.

Nougayrede’s main thesis is that ISIS cannot be defeated simply through military action in Iraq and Syria or by intelligence operations throughout Europe. ISIS, she claims, “can be defeated only if the attraction that the militant group exerts on young, confused Sunni Muslims, in the Middle East and elsewhere, is somehow neutralised.”

The “attraction” she refers to is the regime of Bashar al-Assad in Syria. She states quite confidently:

“If Assad stays in power, which seems to be the ultimate goal of recapturing Aleppo, more – not less – radicalisation will ensue; the absence of political transition in Syria will fuel the Sunni anger that ISIS thrives on.”

But there’s just one problem: statements of this kind are the epitome of lazy, pro-corporate media nonsense.

Firstly, it may be the case that Assad’s secular, Alawite regime attracts radical jihadists, but those jihadists have to get their weapons from somewhere. Suppliers of these weapons are the United States, NATO members, and powerful regional players such as Saudi Arabia — and this is no accident. Even the Western-backed so-called Free Syrian Army (FSA) has been dominated by extremists for years, yet the U.S. has known this and still continues to support the Syrian opposition. Further, as the New York Timereported in 2012, the majority of weapons being sent to Syria have ended up in the hands of jihadists.

The U.S.-NATO establishment has asserted that the rise of groups like ISIS was regarded as an unintended consequence, ultimately pinning the blame on the Assad regime. But these assertions are a complete and utter falsity. A classified DIA report predicted the rise of ISIS in 2012, stating:

“If the situation unravels, there is the possibility of establishing a declared or undeclared Salafist principality in eastern Syria… and this is exactly what the supporting powers to the opposition want, in order to isolate the Syrian regime.”

Secondly, Nougayrede conveniently leaves out the fact that ISIS arose out of the U.S.-U.K.-led invasion of Iraq, not out of Assad’s policies within Syria. ISIS was formerly known as al-Qaeda in Iraq, which rose to prominence following the of power left after Saddam Hussein’s regime was toppled. Shortly after, when Paul Bremer was put in charge, he dissolved the Iraqi police and military, firing close to 400,000 former servicemen, including high ranking military officials who fought in the Iran-Iraq war in the 1980s. These generals now hold senior ranking positions within ISIS.

If it weren’t for these actions, ISIS wouldn’t exist.

Further, Nougayrede’s calls for Assad to step down are at direct odds with the will of the Syrian people, who, let’s face it, should be the only people to decide who leads them. As Anti-Media has documented, the fact remains that since the conflict erupted in 2011, Assad has held the majority support of his people despite the numerous atrocities he has been accused of conducting, including widespread torture.

The elections in 2014 – which Assad won by a landslide with international observers claiming no violations – demonstrate the majority of Syrians do not want him to step down. One could speculate that although the Assad regime is certainly no picnic, in the face of radical jihadist groups trying to destabilise the country, he may, in fact, be the most moderate choice. This was confirmed even last year when a poll conducted by Le Figaro found over 70 percent of the Syrian people still supported Assad.

Nougayrede also appears to absurdly imply that if Assad were to step down or be forcibly removed from power, terrorism would disappear. As previously stated, there was no al-Qaeda presence in Iraq until Saddam Hussein was forced out of power and his armed forces were reduced to rubble. There was no major al-Qaeda threat in Libya until the CIA began backing al-Qaeda-affiliated rebels to topple Muammar Gaddafi before misusing a U.N. Security Council Resolution in 2011 to bomb Libya — a rich country that had a high standard of living under Gaddafi  — back into the Middle Ages.

There was no al-Qaeda at all before the U.S. and Saudi Arabia invented it to counter the Soviet influence in the Middle East, but the mainstream media conveniently ignores all of these facts while selling another conflict like it’s going out of style.

Haven’t the Syrian people suffered enough?

the anti media (creative commons)

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Fukushima cover-up admitted by TEPCO president

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Japanese utility admits to ‘coverup’ during Fukushima nuclear meltdown

Mari Yamaguchi
The Associated Press : June 21, 2016

The utility that ran the Fukushima nuclear plant acknowledged Tuesday its delayed disclosure of the meltdowns at three reactors was tantamount to a coverup and apologized for it.

Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO) president Naomi Hirose’s apology followed the revelation last week that an investigation had found Hirose’s predecessor instructed officials during the 2011 disaster to avoid using the word “meltdown.”

“I would say it was a coverup,” Hirose told a news conference. “It’s extremely regrettable.”

TEPCO instead described the reactors’ condition as less serious “core damage” for two months after the earthquake and tsunami on March 11, 2011, wrecked the plant, even though utility officials knew and computer simulations suggested meltdowns had occurred.

An investigative report released last Thursday by three company-appointed lawyers said TEPCO’s then-President Masataka Shimizu instructed officials not to use the specific description under alleged pressure from the Prime Minister’s Office, though the investigators found no proof of such pressure.

The report said TEPCO officials, who had suggested possible meltdowns, stopped using the description after March 14, 2011, when Shimizu’s instruction was delivered to vice-president at the time, Sakae Muto in a memo at a televised news conference. Shimizu had a company official show Muto his memo and tell him the Prime Minister’s Office has banned the specific words.

Government officials also softened their language on the reactor conditions around the same time, the report said.

(read the full article at Toronto Star)

Previous articles about Fukushima

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Canada’s internal free-trade deal is a gift to corporations, paid for with your tax dollars

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They are calling it an “internal free-trade deal” between provinces, supposedly it’s purpose is to apparently remove protectionist barriers which inhibit competition….. of course they could just actually remove protectionist barriers which inhibit competition, but instead they are creating more regulations. Governments rarely repeal laws, instead they write new ones. Repealing laws would mean the government ceding power, while creating new laws provides them with more power.

This new Agreement on Internal Trade will likely have some positive results, but at what cost? It’s clear that the biggest change will be “a strengthened dispute settlement mechanism with increased monetary penalties”… meaning corporations will have increased ability to sue provincial governments for things like an environmental assessment that concludes a project is likely to cause significant and adverse environmental effects.

Investor-state dispute settlement provisions provide corporations with the ability to loot the public purse when they make poor business decisions and hinders governments ability to protect citizens and the environment.

1. Provinces negotiating final details of free-trade deal Globe & Mail

2. The Trouble With the TPP, Day 42: The Risks of Investor-State Dispute Settlement

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‘Something is Going On’ – And It’s Worse Than You Thought

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Anti-war : June 17, 2016
Justin Raimondo, June 17, 2016

I used to wonder why in the heck right-wing commentators on Fox News kept repeating the same mantra over and over again: sitting through the Republican debates, my eyes glazed over when I heard each and every candidate denounce the Obama administration for refusing to say the Sacred Words: “radical Islamic terrorism.” What are these people talking about, I thought to myself: they’re obsessed!

In short, I wrote it off as Fox News boilerplate, until the other day when, in the wake of the Orlando massacre, Donald Trump said the following on Fox: “Something is going on. He doesn’t get it, or he gets it better than anybody understands. It’s one or the other.” Reiterating this trope later on in the same show, he averred that the President “is not tough, not smart – or he’s got something else in mind.”

The Beltway crowd went ballistic. Lindsey Graham had a hissy fit, and other Republican lawmakers started edging away from the presumptive GOP nominee. The Washington Post ran a story with the headline: “Donald Trump Suggests President Obama Was Involved With Orlando Shooting.” Realizing that this level of bias was a bit too brazen, the editors changed it an hour or so later to: “Donald Trump Seems to Connect President Obama to Orlando Shooting.” Not much better, but then again we’re talking about a newspaper that has a team of thirty or so reporters bent on digging up dirt on Trump.

In any case, Trump responded as he usually does: by doubling down. And he did it, as he usually does, on Twitter, tweeting the following:

“Media fell all over themselves criticizing what Donald Trump ‘may have insinuated about @POTUS.’ But he’s right:”

The tweet included a link to this story that appeared on Breitbart: an account of a 2012 intelligence report from the Defense Intelligence Agency predicting the rise of the Islamic State in Syria – and showing how US policy deliberately ignored and even succored it. Secured by Judicial Watch thanks to the Freedom of Information Act, the document says it’s very likely we’ll see the creation of “an Islamic State through its union with other terrorist organizations in Iraq and Syria.” And this won’t just be a grassroots effort, but the result of a centrally coordinated plan: it will happen because “Western countries, the Gulf states and Turkey are supporting these efforts” by Syrian “opposition forces” then engaged in a campaign to “control the eastern areas (Hasaka and Der Zor) adjacent to Western Iraqi provinces (Mosul and Anbar).”

This is precisely what happened, and, as we see, the Iraqi Army is now in the field – with US support – trying to retake Mosul and Anbar, with limited success. Yet it’s not like we didn’t know this was coming – and didn’t have a hand in creating the problem we are now spending billions of dollars and even some American lives trying to “solve.” Things are turning out exactly as the DIA report said they would:

“[T]here is the possibility of establishing a declared or undeclared Salafist Principality in eastern Syria (Hasaka and Der Zor), and this is exactly what the supporting powers to the opposition want, in order to isolate the Syrian regime, which is considered the strategic depth of the Shia expansion (Iraq and Iran).”

And who, exactly, are these “supporting powers”? The anonymous author of the report points to “the West, Gulf countries, and Turkey.” Last I heard, the US is part of the West – although the way things are going, that may not be true for very much longer. And of course the US has had a policy of supporting the “moderate” Syrian Islamist “opposition,” which ended in massive defections from the so-called Free Syrian Army to openly jihadist outfits like al-Nusra and ISIS.

There was a split in the administration over this policy, with then Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and then CIA director David Petraeus arguing for a full-scale effort to overthrow beleaguered Ba’athist strongman Bashar al-Assad with massive aid to a loosely-defined “opposition.” Petraeus even openly argued for arming al-Nusra – the Syrian affiliate of al-Qaeda – and there were indications that, before Hillary left Foggy Bottom, an arms pipeline was opened up between the Libyan jihadists we aided in overthrowing Ghaddafi and their Syrian brothers.

Obama was reluctant to get more involved, but Hillary and Petraeus were gung-ho, along with the usual “humanitarian” interventionists in the administration and the media, who were accusing the President of standing by while “genocide” was being carried out by Assad. In reality, the jihadists were chopping off heads and wreaking just as much devastation as the Syrian army, but these facts didn’t make it into the media narrative.

In any case, the administration split was finally resolved when the President announced he was going to intervene in Syria with air strikes. This provoked a huge backlash from flyover country, with congressional switchboards tied up and protests coming in fast and furious. Clearly, the American people didn’t want another war in the Middle East, and, one by one, members of Congress who had planned on voting yes began to back down. The President backtracked – happily, I imagine. Hillary, who had alreadyleft the administration, was handed her final rebuke. Yet the seeds planted by her Syria policy would soon sprout into flowers of evil.

War was avoided, at least for the moment – but the prediction of that anonymous DIA agent was coming true. As thousands of US-trained –and-equipped rebels joined ISIS, along with the arms and other goodies provided courtesy of the US taxpayers, their leader declared the “Caliphate” and expanded its operations into North Africa, Europe – and the US.

The long reach of the Islamic State has been felt in this country twice in recent months: first in San Bernardino, and now in Orlando. Both terrorists traveled to Saudi Arabia, ostensibly for religious purposes, where they may have received training – and instructions.

When Omar Mateen opened fire in that Orlando nightclub, killing fifty people and wounding nearly one-hundred, the monster we created came back to haunt us. It didn’t matter that he may not have had direct links to ISIS: inspired by them, he carried out his grisly mission as he swore allegiance to Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the “Caliph” of the Islamic State.

The Washington Post, in its mission to debunk every word that comes out of Trump’s mouth, ran an article by Glenn Kessler minimizing the DIA document, claiming that it was really nothing important and that we should all just move along because there’s nothing to see there. He cited all the usual Washington insiders to back up his thesis, but there was one glaring omission: Gen. Michael Flynn, who headed up the DIA when the document was produced and who was forced out by the interventionists in the administration. Here is what Flynn told Al-Jazeera in an extensive interview:

Al-Jazeera: “You are basically saying that even in government at the time you knew these groups were around, you saw this analysis, and you were arguing against it, but who wasn’t listening?
Flynn: I think the administration.
Al-Jazeera: So the administration turned a blind eye to your analysis?
Flynn: I don’t know that they turned a blind eye, I think it was a decision. I think it was a willful decision.
Al-Jazeera: A willful decision to support an insurgency that had Salafists, Al Qaeda and the Muslim Brotherhood?
Flynn: It was a willful decision to do what they’re doing.”

Of course, Glenn Kessler and the Washington Post don’t want to talk about that. Neither do the Republicans in Congress, who supported aid to the Syrian rebels and wanted to give them much more than they got. They’re all complicit in this monstrous policy – and they all bear moral responsibility for its murderous consequences.

Gen. Flynn, by the way, is an official advisor to Trump, and is often mentioned as a possible pick for Vice President.

The idea that we could use Islamists to fight jihadists was always crazy, and yet that is what the foreign policy Establishment and the congressional warhawks in both parties have been pushing. The “Sunni turn,” initiated by the Bush administration, supported (and funded) by the Saudis, the Turks, and the Gulf states, and escalated by the Obama administration, has empowered our worst enemies and endangered the American people. And here is the ultimate irony: it was done in the name of “fighting terrorism.” This gives new meaning to the concept of “blowback,” CIA parlance for an action (often covert) that has the unintended consequence of blowing back in our faces.

It certainly blew back in the faces of those partygoers in Orlando – in a hail of bullets.

That Trump gets this is little short of amazing, and yet truth often comes to us in unexpected ways. He may be an imperfect vessel – and that is surely an understatement – but he is absolutely correct in this instance: this administration and this President either “doesn’t get it, or he gets it better than anybody understands. It’s one or the other.”

The media and the Never Trumpers leaped on this statement and translated it into the old Obama-is-a-secret-Muslim trope, but that’s not what he was talking about. He was talking about the largely unknown history of our intervention in Syria, where Hillary Clinton was the jihadists’ best friend and benefactor. It was she who led the charge to “liberate” Syria, to arm the “moderate” head-choppers and do to that war-torn wreck of a country what she had done to Libya. Obama knows it: and so does the media. But their lips are sealed.

Fortunately, mine aren’t.

So we finally unlock the Great Mystery: why oh why does is this administration and the Clinton campaign so reluctant to utter the words “radical Islamic terrorism”? Is it because of political correctness and a fear of inciting “Islamophobia”? Don’t flatter them: they’re not above that, when it serves their purposes. But it doesn’t serve their purposes this time.

What they’re afraid of is alienating their allies in the Middle East – not just the jihadists they’ve funded and succored in an effort to overthrow Assad, but primarily the Saudis, the Turks, and the Gulf sheikhs who are all in on the game and are playing it for all it’s worth. And of course there’s the Clinton Foundation, which has received millions in “donations” from the Saudi royals and their satellites.

The US policy goal in the region is to block the Iranians and their Shi’ite allies, including Syria’s Assad, from expanding their influence in the wake of the failed Iraq war. That war installed a Shi’ite regime in Baghdad, and in order to protect our vaunted ally Israel – which is set on regime change in Syria – we are backing and have been backing Sunni radicals, precisely those “radical Islamic terrorists” whose name will never pass Hillary Clinton’s lips.

(read the full article at anti-war)

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“It’s A Trojan Horse” – Thousands Of Germans Protest TTIP Trade Deal One Day Before Obama Visit

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Zero Hedge: April 23, 2016

Whether it is due to Trump’s increasingly vocal anti-free trade rhetoric or due to the ongoing deterioration in the global economy, there has been a big change in the public’s perception toward the transatlatnic deal known as TTIP in the recent months, with support for the agreement which was drafted by big corporations behind closed doors tumbling.

As Reuters reported last week, support for the transatlantic trade deal known as TTIP has fallen sharply in Germany and the United States, a survey showed on Thursday, days before Chancellor Angela Merkel and President Barack Obama meet to try to breathe new life into the pact.

The survey, conducted by YouGov for the Bertelsmann Foundation, showed that only 17 percent of Germans believe the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership is a good thing, down from 55 percent two years ago. In the United States, only 18 percent support the deal compared to 53 percent in 2014. Nearly half of U.S. respondents said they did not know enough about the agreement to voice an opinion.

To be sure, as Michael Krieger wrote on Thursday, “the writing was already on the wall a year ago, which is why politicians were scrambling to pass TPP fast track as quickly as possible, which, of course, they did. So the good news is the public is clearly waking up. What’s a bit depressing is that it’s taken so many decades. Yes, decades.”

But while Americans seemingly have more important things to be concerned about, in Germany the activists are once again making themselves heard. Recall that it was just last October when a stunning quarter million Germans packed the street of Berlin to protest Obama’s “Free Trade” deal.

Fast forward to today when one day before Obama visits Angela Merke in Germany to pitch the trade agreement, thousands of German protesters have once again come out on the streets of Hannover to say ‘No’ to the controversial TTIP US-EU trade deal. Many in Germany fear it will reduce consumer protection and undermine workers’ protection.

While the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) between the US and Europe is set to create the world’s largest free trade zone, many Europeans worry that the agreement would elevate corporate interest above national interest. TTIP opponents say that cheaper goods and services would only hurt the EU and help the US.

“People say the deal is going to compromise the European Union sovereignty, and would create much more secrecy, with one of the biggest concerns being that the agreement is wrapped in a big veil of secrecy that people are not happy with,” RT’s Anastasia Churkina reported from Hannover.

According to BBC, German police estimate that about 30,000 people are taking part in the peaceful protest rally in Hannover. Many are carrying placards with slogans that read: “Stop TTIP!”

The demonstrators have also been voicing their anger over the secrecy surrounding the ongoing TTIP negotiations.

TTIP between the American continent and Europe is very dangerous for
the democracy, for our nature and for the rights of the workers,”
protester Florian Rohrich told the BBC.

“The rights in America for
workers are much lower. It’s like the Trojan horse. They can’t change
our whole system. But they will – because TTIP is written by the groups,
by the companies, not by the politicians,” he added.

The negotiations were launched three years ago, and the next round is due to open on Monday in New York.

(read the full article at zero hedge)

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Elevated Radiation Consistently Found in Fukushima Areas Authorities Claim Decontaminated

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Greg McNevin, a photographer working with Greenpeace, explored areas of Russia and Japan that have been “decontaminated” and are apparently supposed to be safe for people to live and grow food. His work visualizes the radiation that persists in these so-called decontaminated areas. McNevin juxtaposes radiation data onto long exposure photographs.

“Using this tool in areas affected by Chernobyl and Fukushima,” McNevin states that, “we found that places decontaminated by the authorities consistently exhibit radiation levels elevated above official guidelines.”

“The reality is,” he continued, “resolution of the problem is no closer for many impacted communities in Chernobyl and this does not bode well for the people of Fukushima.”

(view the images and source article at Mashable)

Peer Reviewed Research Exposes Fukushima Cover-up By Japan’s Nuclear Safety Authority (January 2016)

TEPCO Admits Fukushima Radiation Leaks Have Spiked Sharply (December 2015)

Declassified Documents Show US Government Misled Public About Severity Of Fukushima Radiation (December 2015)

Fukushima scientists say radiation continues to wash into Pacific Ocean (November 2015)

Radiation Impact Studies – Chernobyl and Fukushima (September 2015)

Report says 70 to 100 percent of nuclear fuel in Fukushima No. 2 has melted (September 2015)

Fukushima Report Dangerously Downplays Ongoing Health Risks (September 2015)

Radioactive cesium from Fukushima detected in North America at highest levels yet (August 2015)

Fukushima Fallout? Whales are dying in Pacific Ocean (August 2015)

Radioactive isotope Strontium-90 spikes at Fukushima; highest reading ever(July 2015)

Japan delays nuclear fuel removal schedule for Fukushima plant(June 2015)

Fukushima: Record Levels of Radioactivity Detected in Seawater — Spiked “More than 200 Times” at Sampling Location(June 2015)

Fukushima’s “Caldrons of Hell”: More than 300 Tons of Highly Radioactive Water Generated Daily(May 2015)

TEPCO Admits Fukushima Is Leaking Again – Over 600x ‘Safe’ Radiation Levels(May 2015)

Fresh leak at Fukushima nuclear plant sees 70-fold radiation spike(February 2015)

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RCMP found wanting, if not negligent, in Duffy verdict

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Neil Macdonald
CBC News : April 23, 2016

Anyone who watched justice dispensed to Mike Duffy this week — and that is exactly what happened — should be thankful.

Ontario Court Justice Charles Vaillancourt proved that in Canada, the courts are there to protect citizens against the venal machinations of those in high office, and the terrifying power of the police and prosecutors who answer to them.

Vaillancourt fustigated them all, effectively characterizing the charges against Duffy as an abuse of power.

You’d think the RCMP would have a great deal to answer for. As a result of the Duffy case, the force’s motto, “Maintiens le Droit,” is that much more meaningless.

It did not defend the law. It defended the status quo, and genuflected to authority, using police discretion to toss a single newsworthy individual into the nightmare of the criminal system, essentially stealing two years of his life, while ignoring other senators who were doing just about exactly the same thing as Duffy.

And how in heaven’s name can you charge a person with accepting a bribe without charging the political enforcer in the Prime Minister’s Office who offered it?

The force today is behaving as though it is an impassive, disinterested public agency answerable to the law, and only to the law. It always does.

But when every single charge is thrown out by a judge who, from the bench, tears into the investigation the way Vaillancourt did, it takes considerable institutional arrogance to shrug and carry on as though nothing just happened.

That was a judge talking. Judges judge, and the Mounties have now been judged wanting, if not negligent.

The Canadian citizen they singled out for criminal treatment faced prison time, effectively for doing the bidding of former prime minister Stephen Harper and the inner circle of the PMO.

David Scott, a respected Ottawa lawyer who defended another individual many years ago against what amounted to RCMP persecution, says the Duffy decision was a delightful example of real justice:

“I’m frankly proud,” he says, “of the way this turned out.”

“It is completely unprofessional to have such an active animus at work in an investigation. The RCMP was lusting to do this [charge Duffy] because of the high-profile nature of the case. There was a hue and cry to ‘get this creep.'”

And, of course, because Harper had decided Duffy was in the wrong.

“It’s the power of authority,” says Scott. “I have no doubt that this was a case of pleasing the masters.”

Scott has seen the power of authority before.

In 1989, he defended Global News journalist Doug Small after the Mounties charged Small with possession of stolen goods. Small had obtained a copy of the federal budget and had broadcast its contents, robbing the finance minister of his big moment.

Senior ministers denounced it as theft, and the RCMP obediently swung into action. The fact that no other journalist had ever been charged for receiving a brown envelope mattered not at all.

When the case got to court, though, a Mountie named Staff Sgt. Richard Jordan took the stand and reminded Canadians what police integrity looks like.

He revealed that, as lead investigator, he’d defied the force’s management and refused to charge Small. First of all, Small had been doing his job. Second, he derived no financial benefit from the leak, and the paper upon which the budget was printed had no intrinsic value.

But Henry Jensen, then the force’s assistant commissioner, wanted Small punished. He yanked Jordan from the case and ordered a more junior officer to lay the charge.

And, just as happened this week, an independent-minded judge pronounced Small not guilty and said the story provided an “important public function.”

The force’s response, and that of the prosecutors at the time, was a few lines of boilerplate about respecting the court, and unfortunately not being able to comment further.

Which is just what the Mounties are doing today, nearly two years after Assistant Commissioner Gilles Michaud issued a long news release, with his picture, detailing the charges against Duffy and all the complicated sleuthing his officers had put in exposing the wrongdoing.

Asked on Friday what Michaud has to say after the censure by Vaillancourt, a junior officer said: “The RCMP respects the decision of the court. It would be inappropriate to comment further.”

Asked why it would be inappropriate to comment now when it was deemed appropriate to advertise and flaunt the charges in 2014, she replied it would be inappropriate to comment.

Of course it would. The power of authority, and the refuge of the badge.

(read the full article at CBC)

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Democratic Party Names Scapegoat in New York Primary Voter Suppression

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The purge of over 100,000 Brooklyn voters from the rolls is being pinned on Diane Haslett-Rudiano, the Board of Election’s chief clerk. The establishment is calling the incident “an epic screw-up”, but this is clearly targeted voter suppression driven by malicious intent.

Brooklyn lost 102,717 — or 8% — of its active voters from Nov. 1, 2015, through April 1, 2016, according to state stats. That appears to be a deliberate and successful attempt to purge Bernie Sanders supporters.

Now that the Democratic establishment has named it’s scapegoat, they expect us just to forget about calling it voter suppression. Apparently, we should accept this was just one person’s “epic screw up” and blindly accept Clinton as the Democrat nominee, regardless of whether the process was fair or rigged.

NY daily news

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RCMP ignorant of reality, wasting tax dollars researching useless roadside pot tests

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Police across Canada will be testing three roadside devices on suspected drug-impaired drivers, despite the fact that none of the three devices can measure impairment.

It seems the RCMP are either ignorant of, or ignoring reality. Proving that someone has consumed cannabis does not determine if someone is driving while impaired. A recreational user may have a strong enough tolerance to not be impaired, and a medical marijuana user may actually need their medication to drive safely.

Courts in other jurisdictions have already found that testing for Cannabis consumption does not prove impairment. Arizona’s Supreme Court ruled that while state statute makes it illegal for a driver to be impaired by marijuana, the presence of a non-psychoactive compound does not constitute impairment under the law.

Justin Trudeau’s Liberal Party claims to support science, but if that claim is in any way true, they will drop this silly notion that measuring THC levels can determine a driver’s ability.

In 1983 a study by the US National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) tested drivers on simulators, and concluded that the only statistically significant effect associated with marijuana use was slower driving.

A NHTSA study in 1992 found that marijuana is rarely involved in driving accidents, except when combined with alcohol, concluding, “the THC-only drivers had an [accident] responsibility rate below that of the drug free drivers. While the difference was not statistically significant, there was no indication that cannabis by itself was a cause of fatal crashes.”

A separate NHTSA study from1993 tested Dutch drivers high on THC on real Dutch roads, concluding, “THC’s adverse effects on driving performance appear relatively small.”

In 1998 a study by the University of Adelaide and Transport South Australia analyzed blood samples from 2,500 accidents, and found that drivers with cannabis in their system were less likely to cause accidents than those without.

A University of Toronto study from 1999 found that cannabis users typically refrained from passing cars and drove at a more consistent speed than sober drivers.

A 2014 study concluded “Cannabis smoking history plays a major role in cannabinoid detection. These differences may impact clinical and impaired driving drug detection.”

In 2015 the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration released a study concluding that driving after smoking marijuana does not make you more likely to get into a car crash — especially when compared to driving after alcohol consumption.

Source links for all of these studies can be found within our previous articles:

Study Shows THC Blood Tests Can’t Test Impairment

Arizona Supreme Court Rules Cannabis Drug Test Does Not Prove Impairment

Marijuana Doesn’t Make You More Likely To Crash Your Car

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A Great Awakening – Public Support for Fake “Free Trade” Deals Plunges in the U.S. and Europe

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Mike Krieger
Liberty Blitzkrieg: April 21, 2016

The plethora of “free trade” deals (TPP, TTIP and TISA) being promoted by the global robber barons in power are nothing more than fascist corporate handouts (links at the end). Calling them “free trade” deals is purely for PR, and primarily serves as a means for marketing these scams to the ignorant masses.

Fortunately, I have some good news to share. The public is not as ignorant as it used to be. There’s a massive awakening happening, and it’s sweeping these United States as well as Europe.

As Reuters reports in the article, Survey Shows Plunging Public Support for TTIP in U.S. and Germany:

Support for the transatlantic trade deal known as TTIP has fallen sharply in Germany and the United States, a survey showed on Thursday, days before Chancellor Angela Merkel and President Barack Obama meet to try to breathe new life into the pact.

The survey, conducted by YouGov for the Bertelsmann Foundation, showed that only 17 percent of Germans believe the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership is a good thing, down from 55 percent two years ago.

In the United States, only 18 percent support the deal compared to 53 percent in 2014. Nearly half of U.S. respondents said they did not know enough about the agreement to voice an opinion.

Those are absolutely incredible numbers, and can only really be explained by low information voters becoming educated. It reminds me of something I pointed out in last year’s post, As the Senate Prepares to Vote on “Fast Track,” Here’s a Quick Primer on the Dangers of the TPP:

Mr. McConnell could repeat the exercise with a different package, but the delay would add to the risk that the legislation stalls until after Memorial Day recess. That could weigh on the bill’s overall chances, since opponents are generating grassroots opposition across the country.

That just says it all doesn’t it? They need to pass it before the public has a chance to learn about it and oppose it. Typical Washington D.C. bullshit.

The writing was already on the wall a year ago, which is why politicians were scrambling to pass TPP fast track as quickly as possible, which, of course, they did.

So the good news is the public is clearly waking up. What’s a bit depressing is that it’s taken so many decades. Yes, decades.

As I was just entering my teenage years back in 1992, a quirky, billionaire named Ross Perot launched what remains the most successful third-party presidential bid of my lifetime. His core issue was opposition to the one-sided “trade” deal known as NAFTA, which he said would ruin the country.

Watch the video below. He predicted everything that was to come in the decades ahead.

(read the full article at Liberty Blitzkrieg

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Prohibition kills 5 people at music festival in Argentina

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At least five people have died and five others are in critically condition caused by drug use at a music festival in Buenos Aires say Argentine health officials.

At the Time Warp festival two people died on Friday, followed by three more deaths in an ambulance or at a hospital.

Repealing prohibition so that people can legally access drugs of verified purity, would likely prevent these types of death. Without a legal market, consumers will continue to be killed by lethal adulterants.

The Associated Press

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Canada plans $1.5 Billion of corporate welfare for fighter jet training

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Help wanted: Top guns for dogfights with Canada’s CF-18 fighter pilots

David Pugliese
Ottawa Citizen: March 11, 2016

Canada’s top guns are in need of some top guns to fight against.

And they’ll get such adversaries by the end of the year.

The Canadian government plans to award by December a contract, estimated to be worth as much as $1.5 billion, to a fleet of fighter jets to go toe-to-toe with the military’s CF-18s.

A private company will be selected to act as the training partner for Canada’s fighter pilots, as well as provide other aircraft to act as the enemy for the Canadian army and navy.

The project, known as the Contracted Airborne Training Services or CATS, will run over an initial 10-year period, followed by the option to continue for another five years.

The Canadian-based Discovery Air Defence has been providing such services for the Canadian military since 2005. It has also expanded its operations internationally and was recently hired to do the same thing for Germany’s armed forces.

But the Canadian government wants to open the competition up potentially to other firms. Pierre-Alain Bujold, a spokesman for Public Services and Procurement Canada, said the bids for CATS went in Feb. 16. “The evaluation, which includes aircraft inspection, is expected to take up to five months,” he explained. “The contract is expected to be awarded by the end of 2016.”

Two firms have publicly acknowledged they have submitted bids: Discovery Air Defence of Montreal, and CAE, also from Quebec, which has allied itself with Draken, a U.S. firm.

Garry Venman, vice-president of business development and government relations at Discovery Air Defence, said the company pioneered the concept in Canada of such airborne services and is now considered an industry leader throughout the world.

“We’ve flown more than 55,000 hours in support of the Canadian and German militaries,” he said. “We’ve got the experience of doing it for the last 11 years.”

Discovery Air Defence traces its lineage to 2001, when it was founded by three former CF-18 pilots.

The firm has what is considered the world’s largest fleet of operational fighter jets in private hands. The company is now looking to acquire U.S.-built F-16 fighters for more advanced training.

“We’re poised for significant growth,” Venman said. “We’re doing all the things the Canadian government says it wants Canadian companies to do — creating jobs and conducting business internationally.”

(read the full article at The Province)

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How Vancouver Is Being Sold To The Chinese: The Illegal Dark Side Behind The Real Estate Bubble

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Zero Hedge : March 10, 2016

One month ago, when describing the latest in an endless series of Vancouver real estate horror stories, in this case an abandoned, rotting home (which is currently listed for a modest $7.2 million), we explained the simple money-laundering dynamic involving Chinese “investors” as follows.

Chinese investors smuggle out millions in embezzled cash, hot money or perfectly legal funds, bypassing the $50,000/year limit in legal capital outflows.
They make “all cash” purchases, usually sight unseen, using third parties intermediaries to preserve their anonymity, or directly in person, in cities like Vancouver, New York, London or San Francisco.
The house becomes a new “Swiss bank account”, providing the promise of an anonymous store of value and retaining the cash equivalent value of the original capital outflow.

We also explained that hundreds if not thousands of Vancouver houses, have become a part of the new normal Swiss bank account: “a store of wealth to Chinese investors eager to park “hot money” outside of their native country, and bidding up any Canadian real estate they could get their hands on.”

This realization has now fully filtered down to the local population, and as the National Post writes in its latest troubling look at the “dark side” of Vancouver’s real estate market, it cites wholesaler Amanda who says that “Vancouver seems to be evolving from a residential city into almost like a lockbox for money… but I have to live among the empty houses. I’m a resident, not just an investor.”

The Post article, however, is not about the use of Vancouver (or NYC, or SF, or London) real estate as the end target of China’s hot money outflows – by now most are aware what’s going on. It focuses, instead, on those who make the wholesale selling of Vancouver real estate to Chinese tycoons who are bidding up real estate in this western Canadian city to a point where virtually no domestic buyer can afford it, and specifically the job that unlicensed “wholesalers” do in spurring and accelerating what is currently the world’s biggest housing bubble.

A bubble which, the wholesalers themselves admit, will inevitably crash in spectacular fashion.

This is the of about Amanda, who was profiled yesterday in a National Post article showing how a “Former ‘wholesaler’ reveals hidden dark side of Vancouver’s red-hot real estate market.” Amanda quit her job allegely for moral reasons; we are confident 10 people promptly filled her shoes.

* * *

Vancouver’s real estate market has been very good to Amanda. She’s not a licensed realtor, but buying and selling property is her full-time job.

She started about eight years ago as an unlicensed “wholesaler” in Vancouver.

She would approach homeowners and make unsolicited offers for private cash deals. Amanda made a 10-per-cent fee on each purchase by immediately assigning the contract to a background investor. It is seen as the lowest job in property investment, but it is low risk and very profitable. Amanda has done so well that she now owns two homes in Vancouver and develops property in the U.S.

Unlicensed wholesaling is an illicit and predatory business that is quickly growing in Metro Vancouver because enforcement is virtually non-existent.

It’s similar to a tactic currently being examined by B.C. real estate authorities known as “assignment flipping,” which involves legally but secretly trading homes on paper to enrich realtors and circles of investors.

However, unlicensed wholesaling is completely unregulated. Amanda estimates hundreds of wholesalers are scouring Metro Vancouver’s never-hotter speculative market — not including the realtors who are secretly wholesaling for themselves.

Amanda decided to step away from the easy money for moral reasons.

She’s most concerned that wholesalers are targeting B.C.’s vulnerable seniors who don’t understand the value of their old homes. She is also worried about offshore money being laundered, and the resulting vacant homes.

Because wholesalers are unlicensed, they have no obligation to identify their background investors or reveal the source of funds to Canadian authorities who fight money laundering.

“Vancouver seems to be evolving from a residential city into almost like a lockbox for money,” Amanda said. “But I have to live among the empty houses. I’m a resident, not just an investor.”

Amanda said she believes that unethical and ignorant investors are driving B.C.’s housing market at full speed towards a crash. For these reasons, and with the condition that we not use her real name, she came forward to reveal how wholesalers operate.
[…] “A lot of money is leaving China, so now every second day people are asking if I can go out and find places for them. They have tons of money,” Amanda said. “They are basically brokering business deals specifically for Chinese investors.”

She said the mechanics of wholesaling schemes work like this:

The investor behind the unlicensed broker targets a block, often with older homes, and gives the wholesaler cash in a legal trust.

The wholesaler persuades a homeowner to sell, offering immediate cash, no subjects, no home inspections, and savings on realtor fees.

While the wholesaler claims to represent one buyer, or in some cases to be the buyer, Amanda said three or four contract flippers are often already lined up, with an end-buyer from China who will eventually take title in most cases. These unlicensed broker deals appear to be illegal.

A veteran Vancouver realtor confirmed these types of deals. The realtors we spoke to have been asked by their brokerages not to comment to reporters, so we agreed to withhold their names.

“I work with some non-licensed flippers,” one said. “They walk on to the lawn of an older house, see the owner and yell, ‘We’re not realtors!’ The owner invites them in, thinks they’re saving a commission — which they are — and loses big-time on the actual sale. I’ve seen it first-hand.”

According to flyers obtained from across Metro Vancouver and interviews with homeowners who were solicited, wholesalers often say they have Chinese buyers willing to pay a premium for quick sales.

Homeowners in Richmond, Vancouver’s east and west sides, Surrey, Langley, Coquitlam, Burnaby, White Rock, Delta and North Vancouver confirmed such offers in interviews.

One resident of Vancouver’s west side Dunbar area said she was annoyed by wholesalers constantly soliciting her, and a man in Surrey said his elderly mother was bothered by wholesalers.

“A guy walked up and he offered $700,000 cash within a day, and he said I would save on the realtor fees,” said Zack Flegel, who lives near 119th Street and Scott Road in Delta.

“He also says he will give me $100,000 cash and move me into a $600,000 house. He said he has a bunch of properties. He was talking about my house like it was a trading card. We don’t have abandoned homes yet like Vancouver, but this is how it happens, right?”

After the offer is accepted, the wholesaler assigns the purchase contract to the investor for a 10-per-cent markup, Amanda said. But some wholesalers aren’t content with making $100,000 or more per sale.

“People were going in and offering, for example, an 80-year-old widow, she bought the house for $70,000 and it is now worth $800,000 and they were offering her $200,000,” Amanda said. “So they are making $300,000 or $400,000 (after assigning the contract).

“And you are socializing with other wholesalers, and it is hard to hear them say, ‘Oh this whole street is filled with seniors whose partners are dropping off like flies.’ Or, ‘They just want to get rid of it, they have no clue what their house is worth, and it’s the whole street.’”

Amanda said her father died recently. She pictured her mother being targeted by wholesalers and resolved never to play that role again.

“There are elements of this that are elder abuse, absolutely.”

In a recent story that deals with implications of rising property taxes rather than predatory real estate practices, the Financial Post reported that, especially in Vancouver and Toronto’s scorching markets, “it’s not uncommon for some Canadian seniors to be unaware of the value of their location.”

B.C.’s Superintendent of Real Estate, Carolyn Rogers, conceded the potential for elder abuse as reported by Amanda.

“We would welcome an opportunity to speak to (Amanda) and assuming she gives us the same information, we would open a file,” Rogers said. “The conditions in the Vancouver market right now present risks … and seniors could be an example of that.”

It is illegal for wholesalers to privately buy and sell property for investors without a licence, Rogers said. She said her officers have approached some wholesalers recently and asked them to become licensed or cease their activities.

A review of the superintendent’s website shows no enforcement orders, fines or consumer alerts filed in connection to unlicensed wholesalers making cash deals and flipping contracts.

Amanda said that over the past year she learned of new levels of “layering and complexity that I didn’t see five years ago” in wholesaling and assignment-clause flipping.

“Five years ago I didn’t see realtors wholesaling, and I didn’t see people calling me so that I would get them a property and not assign the property to them, but work as a ‘partner’ and I would attach a 10-per-cent fee.

“And then they would assign it to their boss and attach 10 per cent, and then that person’s boss would attach 10 per cent. I’ve been watching over the last month, and it has got astounding.”

Amanda said some wholesale deals involve only unlicensed brokers and pools of offshore cash organized informally, and some appear to involve realtors and brokerages hiding behind unlicensed wholesalers.

“I’ve seen it from the back end. We have friends in the British Properties and the realtor said he will buy their property for $2 million. And then six months later it was sold for $3.5 million. When I’m looking at that, it is a pretty clear wholesale deal.”

Darren Gibb, spokesman for Canada’s anti-money-laundering agency, FINTRAC, confirmed that unlicensed property buyers have no obligation to report the identity or sources of funds of the buyers they represent.

However, Gibb said, if realtors are involved in “assignment flipping” it is mandatory that they and unlicensed assistants make efforts to identify every assignment-clause buyer and their sources of funds.

Vancouver realtors confirmed that money laundering is a big concern in assignment-flipping deals, whether organized by an unlicensed wholesaler or a realtor.

“When you are a non-realtor broker you no longer have to play by any rules,” one Vancouver realtor said.

“There is a role for assignments, but nobody is asking where the money came from. We are creating vehicles for money laundering.”

“No person in their right mind wants to buy your house once, and sell it three more times in a small window of opportunity, unless they have a whole pool of people lined up trying to get their money out of the country. The higher the prices go, these vehicles to get money out of the country get bigger and bigger.”

NDP MLA David Eby and Green MLA Andrew Weaver commented that allegations of unlicensed brokers targeting seniors and participating in potential money-laundering schemes call for direct action from Victoria and independent investigation, because these concerns fall outside the jurisdiction of the B.C. Real Estate Council and its current ongoing review of real estate practices.

“It is very troubling to me,” Eby said, “that not only do we have a layer of real estate agents that are acting improperly and violating the rules, but there might be this additional layer who are not bound by any rule and have explicitly avoided becoming agents for that reason.

“This unscrupulous behaviour is targeting seniors who need money for retirement. What kind of society is that?” Weaver said.

Read the full article at: Zero Hedge/National Post

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