A former Marine and veteran of two wars, Brandon Raub was arrested late Thursday evening at his house in Virginia for inflammatory comments that he made on Facebook.

The arrest was made by numerous FBI agents in conjunction with the Chesterfield County Police Department. Raub was not read his rights, according to numerous witnesses, and was initially taken to an undisclosed location. It has since emerged that he is being held indefinitely and without charges at John Randolph Psychiatric Hospital in Hopewell, Virginia.

His mother, Kathleen Thomas, was reportedly contacted by FBI agent Sherry Grainger, who informed her of the following:

“We have taken your son. He has been arrested by the Chesterfield County Police Dept because he assaulted an officer and resisted arrest. He has been arrested and taken to the Chesterfield Police Department.”

However, upon contacting the CCPD, Thomas was told that her son was arrested by the FBI, and that “[the arrest] was an FBI matter and [CCPD officers] were just there to assist them.” Additionally, the CCPD states that Raub has not been charged with either resisting arrest or assaulting an officer.

Agent Grainger went on to tell Thomas that the comments which appeared on Raub’s Facebook page had been deemed “terrorist in nature.” Thomas then asked the agent whether or not free speech still exists in the United States of America, to which Grainger responded: “Yes, we still have freedom of speech.”

Brandon Raub had been outspokenly critical of the US government’s official story surrounding the events of 9/11, and was a vocal advocate of what some have referred to as “the Ron Paul Revolution.”

His Facebook comments included references to the coming of a new American revolution, a 9/11 cover-up, and the necessity of honest government. Some examples of his more recent posts follow:

Courage. Loyalty. And Honor. [August 16th]

The Revolution will come for me. Men will be at my door soon to pick me up to lead it. 😉 [August 14th]

Do you know why the American people will win the civil war that is coming? Because we are Americans. [August 12th]

Whether or not one agrees with the sentiments expressed by Brandon Raub, his defenders are quick to point out that what he has said on Facebook is not illegal, nor do his comments justify his indefinite detention without charges at a mental hospital.

His mother reports that Raub is due to see a judge on Monday, but as of now still has no idea why he’s been arrested or held against his will.

Civil rights activists are concerned that this arrest may be a sign of things to come under the government’s seemingly limitless power to detain American citizens without charges, as specified by the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), signed into law on New Year’s Eve 2011 by President Obama.

The Obama administration has been engaged in a fierce courtroom battle over the legislation since a May 2012 injunction against the “indefinite detention” provision was issued in federal court.

The injunction was issued after a lawsuit was brought against the federal government on behalf of such notable plaintiffs as Noam Chomsky and Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Chris Hedges, which argued that the NDAA was unconstitutional.

Judge Katherine Forrest agreed, saying that indefinite detention “failed to pass Constitutional muster” and issued an injunction barring the administration from arresting and indefinitely detaining American citizens without charges or trial. Judge Forrest stated:

“In the face of what could be indeterminate military detention, due process requires more. An individual could run the risk of substantially supporting or directly supporting an [anti-American] force without even being aware that he or she was doing so.”

The White House, however, is challenging the injunction and demanding that their power to indefinitely detain anyone they deem a “terrorist” be restored.

Worse, the Obama administration is refusing to disclose whether or not the government has abided by the federal injunction. Journalist Tangerine Bolen, a plaintiff in the suit filed against the NDAA, stated in an op-ed that:

“Obama’s attorneys refused to assure the court, when questioned, that the NDAA’s section 1021 – the provision that permits reporters and others who have not committed crimes to be detained without trial – has not been applied by the US government anywhere in the world after Judge Forrest’s injunction. In other words, they were telling a US federal judge that they could not, or would not, state whether Obama’s government had complied with the legal injunction that she had laid down before them.”

So despite a federal injunction prohibiting the Obama administration from acting upon the “indefinite detention” provision, could the arrest of Brandon Raub and others like him be the first sign of things to come in the new United States? And more importantly, what is our role now, as active and informed citizens of a democracy apparently under siege?

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At Moray, in front of the largest group of circular depressions, is a rectangular building (apparently) which was divided into two rooms. The length of the smaller room is 20.75 feet. The length of the larger room is 34 feet. The length of the entire building is roughly 55 feet. 55/34 = 1.617. 34/20.75 = 1.63. So, what looks like the ruins of an ancient building is actually a golden rectangle, laid out on the field in front of an enormous circular terracing system that archaeologists have no complete explanation for. I don’t have the time (or the technical expertise necessary) at present to fully work this out. The best I could do was create a golden spiral from said rectangle and see if that made any difference. It does seem to describe the placement of the other two main circular formations, with the tail of the spiral going through the center of one and touching on the edge of the other. But that’s all I’ve got. Any geometers want to have a go at this one?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Catholic church has had a tough week. And on Pentecost, too!

Rome was rocked by yet another in a series of scandals, as it emerged that Father Thomas Williams, the public face of the Legionaries of Christ, a religious order begun in 1941, fathered a child that the Church attempted to keep secret for at least the past 7 years.

The Legionaries suffered a similar humiliation back in 2009, when it was revealed that their founder, Father Marcial Maciel, had lead a double life throughout his association with the Church, and was not only a pedophile and drug addict, but started two families that he concealed from the Holy See.

Father Thomas Williams, an American based in Rome who has made numerous speeches and written several books on Christian morality, was allowed to continue his public ministry by the current leader of the order, Father Alvaro Corcuera, even after his illegitimate child was revealed.

Father Corcuera stated that he found out about Williams’s child “early in [his] new assignment” as leader of the order, in 2005. Although Corcuera had urged Williams to “start withdrawing from public ministry”, critics and activist groups charge that such a recommendation was not severe enough.

One such group, named the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP), released a statement calling strongly on the Pope to fire Corcuera, saying:

“Virtually nothing will change if the Pope and other Church officials continue to let their colleagues and underlings act recklessly and deceitfully – year after year after year – and get by with saying, when they’re caught, ‘Oops, sorry, I goofed.'”

The Legionaries scandal comes on the heels of the arrest of Pope Benedict’s personal butler on charges of spying. The butler, Paolo Gabriele, is accused of contributing to an enormous dump of classified information, since dubbed “Vatileaks”, which revealed internal financial corruption and bickering about money.

Additionally, it was reported last week that the chief Vatican exorcist, appointed by Pope John Paul II, has implicated the Church in the unsolved murder of a 15-year-old girl, allegedly to cover up regular orgies participated in by high-level Church officials.

The Vatican has yet to officially respond to each allegation.

The Vatican’s chief exorcist, appointed by Pope John Paul II, claims that the unsolved murder of 15-year-old Emanuela Orlandi, a case dating back to 1983, can be traced to underground sex parties organized for high-ranking members of the Catholic Church.

Father Gabriele Amorth alleges that at that time, regular orgies were organized by the a former archivist at the Holy See, monsignor Simeone Duca, as well as the Vatican gendarme (private security force) at the behest of Vatican officials. He states:

“Parties were organized, with a Vatican gendarme acting as the ‘recruiter’ of the girls. The network involved diplomatic personnel from a foreign embassy to the Holy See. I believe Emanuela ended up a victim of this circle.”

This is not the first time Father Amorth has ruffled sacerdotal feathers with his outspoken opinions. In 2010 he commented that the sexual scandals rocking Rome were proof that “the Devil was at work in the Vatican.”

The Orlandi case has stymied Italian police for nearly 30 years. Just last month, acting on an anonymous tip, they opened the coffin of notorious Italian gangster Enrico De Pedis, buried in Sant’Apollinare basilica near the center of Rome, in search of Emanuela’s remains. Bones found inside the tomb were tested and proven to belong to someone other than De Pedis, and DNA testing is currently underway to determine whether or not they’re Orlandi’s.

Father Amorth dismisses such notions, however. He remains convinced that after Emanuela was recruited to perform at a Vatican sex party, she subsequently fell victim to the criminal appetites of various Church officials:

“This was a crime with a sexual motive…I have motives to believe that this was just a case of sexual exploitation. It led to the murder and then the hiding of her body. Also involved are diplomatic staff from a foreign embassy to the Holy See.”

The Vatican has offered no comment on Father Amorth’s allegations, though they maintain that they have always complied with any official request regarding the Orlandi case.

 

 

A professional treasure hunter in California is actively seeking the remains of Osama Bin Laden, allegedly dumped from a U.S. Naval vessel after the raid that took the life of the terrorist leader last May.

Bill Warren, an adventurer and expert on shipwrecks, wants to recover the body of the infamous Bin Laden in order to subject it to DNA tests and prove or disprove the official government story of Osama’s death.

According to Gizmodo, Warren doesn’t buy the Obama administration’s narrative of the events of the night of May 1st, 2011, and hopes to come closer to truth by recovering the body (whomever it belonged to) that the Navy threw from a ship on that fateful night:

Warren—who claims he has discovered more than 200 shipwrecks during his career as a treasure-hunter—says that bin Laden’s body is still at that same location, deep under water. His thought is that, since the Navy weighted down the bag, the body hasn’t moved from where it was dropped. He is now trying to rent Russian deep diving equipment to locate his payload, and to conduct DNA tests once he finds him…Warren says he is doing this because he doesn’t “believe the Obama administration” and he wants to have proof that it is really his body.

Numerous individuals expressed disbelief and incredulity in the aftermath of the assassination of Al-Qaeda’s number one, just a little over a year ago today. Pakistanis are still reeling from the perceived violation of their national sovereignty, with many openly doubting the official version of events provided by the White House.

Tasvir Hussein, a resident of the Abbottabad neighborhood where Bin Laden was supposedly found, expressed his outrage:

“I’m not very sure whether Osama was here or not because the way his so-called dead body was dropped in the sea, what was the reason? Why did they have to do that? Why couldn’t they have produced evidence?”

Hussein´s views echo those of thousands of average Americans who doubt the veracity of the government’s story. Judicial Watch, a government watchdog group, was just denied a request that its members had submitted in District Court for the release of the photos of Osama Bin Laden’s body.

The presiding judge who denied the request issue the following statement with his ruling:

“A picture may be worth a thousand words. Yet, in this case, verbal descriptions of the death and burial of Osama Bin Laden will have to suffice, for this court will not order the release of anything more.”

President Obama agreed, saying in an interview on 60 Minutes that “we do not tout our trophies”.

Of course, it can be argued that this is not consistent with the government’s attitude following the execution of Saddam Hussein in Iraq or the brutal killing of Muammar Gaddafi in Libya, with pictures of the latter appearing on the front page of multiple national newspapers.

Treasure hunter Warren, for his part, is determined to locate Bin Laden’s supposed body, his only fear being that Obama administration might attempt to kill him or sink his boat before he can accomplish his mission.

With Obama’s recent murder of American citizens, his signing of the NDAA, and the destruction of civil liberties under his administration increasing at a breakneck pace, Warren can hardly be blamed for being concerned.

Today, May 1st,  is known and celebrated everywhere around the world as International Workers’ Day.

Well, almost everywhere. In the United States, President Dwight D. Eisenhower officially declared May 1st to be “Law Day” in 1958. This was on advice of his legal counsel, in order to avoid the populist and (eek!) socialist stigma of Workers’ Day.

Ironically, May 1st is commemorated as International Workers’ Day because of what happened in the streets of Chicago, Illinois, in 1886.

Prior to unionization and pressure from worker’s associations, most employees in the United States were forced to work upward of 12-14 hours per day following the industrial revolution. In 1810, Robert Owen, one of the early socialist thinkers, began advocating for the 8-hour workday as part of his utopian ideal, and introduced the rallying cry of “8 hours for work, 8 hours for recreation, 8 hours for rest.”

It caught on. On May 1st of 1867, the workers of Chicago implemented a general strike which brought the city’s economy to standstill for an entire week. In 1872, the building trades workers of NYC struck until they won the eight hour day. But despite national popular support, and a slew of toothless legislation aimed at pacifying the labor guilds, the 8 hour work day remained a dream for the majority of the population.

On May 1st of 1886, the Federation of Organized Trades and Labor Unions passed a resolution in Chicago stating that “eight hours shall constitute a legal day’s labour from and after May 1, 1886, and that we recommend to labour organizations throughout this jurisdiction that they so direct their laws as to conform to this resolution by the time named.”

Three days later, on the 4th of May, a large assembly of workers and tradesmen met in Haymarket Square in Chicago to peacefully protest for the legal codification of the 8 hour day. The police were called to drive the protesters out. An unknown individual hurled a bomb at the police as they sought to deprive the workers of their Constitutionally guaranteed right to peaceful assembly. In response, the police opened fire indiscriminately on the crowd, resulting in the wounding of scores of protesters, along with the deaths of 4 civilians and 7 police officers (it’s not clear whether the police were killed in the bomb blast or were caught in the crossfire of the shooting that followed).

This became known as the Haymarket massacre. Numerous leaders of the labor movement were subsequently rounded up and arrested, and despite the court’s affirmation that not one of them had actually thrown the bomb, seven men were sentenced to death. Two sentences were commuted by the Governor, and one man committed suicide in prison. The remaining four were hanged November 11th, 1887.

The subsequent strikes around the country resulted, over the next 20 years, in an 8-hour workday for the majority of unionized trade workers. May 1st, 1886, is still looked upon as the date on which the movement truly found its feet, and the repercussions of the May 1st Chicago resolution gave the movement its first martyrs. International Workers’ Day commemorates their fight.

Sadly, the national implementation of the 8-hour workday for all citizens wouldn’t occur until the passage of the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 under FDR’s New Deal. This piece of legislation was also the first to mandate a Federal minimum wage to check the rampant growth of sweatshop labor in the industrial sector:

Before the minimum wage was introduced during the Great Depression of the 1930s, there was no national minimum wage, or indeed any legislation to protect workers from exploitation. Because of this lack of regulation tens of thousands of workers were routinely exploited in sweatshops and factories, forced to work in horrible conditions and for pennies a week. Early attempts by labor unions to create a mandatory minimum wage were ruled unconstitutional by the U.S. Supreme Court on the grounds that they “restricted the worker’s right to set the price for his own labor”. This allowed employers to continue exploiting their workers through the Great Depression of the 1930s, when incredible demand for jobs caused wages to drop even further to an all-time low.

Under the Fair Labor Standards Act, employees were legally guaranteed a fair wage for an honest day’s work for the first time in the history of the United States.

The important lesson to take away from both of the above stories is that our rights, even the most seemingly basic of them, were not given to us freely from above. We had to take them. Whether it was through protests, strikes, legal battles or even street brawls, our grandparents and great grandparents had to forcefully wrest control of their own destinies from the hands of the bankers and the industrial monopolies of the time.

As America continues its backward slide into 1920s-style corporatism, with more and more of our rights and civil liberties being stripped away in order to appease the wealthy and the powerful, now more than ever we need to bear in mind the incredible power we command when we stand united against the tyranny of moneyed interests and political corruption.

Something to think about, this May Day.

The 2012 Olympics, to be held in London, have been the focus of increased scrutiny from civil liberties advocates around the globe, due in the main to the intense and, according to some, excessive security measures planned for the event.

A recent article in the Daily Mail points out that police officers in London are beginning to look more like soldiers than cops. In response to last week’s attempted suicide bombing, members of the police force turned out sporting firepower that would be more at home on battlefields in Iraq and Afghanistan than in the streets of suburban London. The Daily Mail reports:

In addition to a Heckler and Koch MP5 sub-machine gun, [the police are] carrying not one but two Glock self-loading pistols and a CS gas grenade. It is difficult to imagine anyone further removed from the traditional bobby on the beat.

And this isn’t the extent of the security beef-up as the opening ceremonies for the 2012 Olympics approach. It’s emerged that the UK government is seeking to install surface-to-air missiles on the tops of numerous high-rise residential buildings which surround Olympic Park, in case of an aerial terrorist attack. Again from the Mail:

Surface-to-air missiles may be stationed on top of flats as the last line of defence against a suicide jet targeting this summer’s Olympic Games…From there, they could use a multi-million-pound laser-guided system developed for modern warzones to shoot down a helicopter attack or suicide bombers piloting an aircraft. The range of the missiles is 3.4miles, which means they could reach St Paul’s Cathedral, Canary Wharf or parts of the North Circular from the flats in Bow, East London.

This is cause for concern in the minds of numerous residents whose homes would be occupied and turned into defensive bunkers by the UK military:

Resident Brian Whelan, 28, said his suspicions were raised when he saw soldiers examining [a] water tower a few weeks ago.

He said: ‘I don’t think in a democracy the military go round occupying private property and turning it into a military base without communicating with people.’

Local MP Rushanara Ali said she would be raising the matter in Parliament tomorrow. She said it was ‘unprecedented’ for missiles to be placed on residential buildings, adding: ‘This is a heavily built-up area. There has been no consultation – people have been told that this is what is likely to happen and people are very worried.’

All of this in a country that has already come under fire from civil libertarians for its Big Brother style surveillance of the English people. A report from The Guardian in May of 2011 stated that there are currently 1.85 million CCTV cameras in the UK, amounting to 1 camera for every 32 people living in the country.

Is this increase in security a sign that London expects terrorist activity at the 2012 games?

Perhaps the most chilling piece of information to emerge regarding the upcoming Olympics is a prediction made by the Rockefeller Foundation in a study entitled Scenarios for the Future of Technology and International Development, first published in May of 2010.

The study, which ostensibly explores the ways in which “technology could profoundly alter how we address some of the most pressing challenges in the developing world”, presents four “very plausible” visions of the future, each of which explore the positive and negative consequences of our increasing reliance upon technology.

In the third hypothetical narrative, entitled “Hack Attack”, described as a vision of “an economically unstable and shock-prone world in which governments weaken, criminals thrive, and dangerous innovations emerge,” the time in which we’re currently living (2010-2020) is labeled “the doom decade” due to all of the disastrous events that are predicted to unfold over that ten year period.

An earthquake in Indonesia killing 40,000, a famine in China and a tsunami off the coast of Nicaragua are among the grim natural disasters which the Rockefeller Foundation puts forward as part of their dystopian vision of the future.

And on page 34, specifically, they describe a horrific terrorist attack which will claim the lives of 13,000 people at the Summer Olympics in London. The report reads:

Devastating shocks like September 11, the Southeast Asian tsunami of 2004, and the 2010 Haiti earthquake had certainly primed the world for sudden disasters. But no one was prepared for a world in which large-scale catastrophes would occur with such breathtaking frequency. The years 2010 to 2020 were dubbed the “doom decade” for good reason: the 2012 Olympic bombing, which killed 13,000, was followed closely by an earthquake in Indonesia killing 40,000, a tsunami that almost wiped out Nicaragua, and the onset of the West China Famine, caused by a once-in-a-millennium drought linked to climate change.

Some have compared this to the infamous Project for the New American Century report, published in early 2000 and authored by numerous soon-to-be members of the Bush administration, that called for a “new Pearl Harbor” in order to facilitate the authoritarian changes the report’s authors desired.

Is the Rockefeller prediction simply hypothetical speculation? Or could this constitute a veiled warning regarding a terrorist attack planned for the 2012 games?

Whether or not an attack occurs, we can all be certain of one thing: that governments around the world will continue to use the threat of terror to further consolidate their power, and to strip the citizenry of their rights and civil liberties.