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Thursday, Jun 29th

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Welcome To The World’s First Murdochracy

What is a murdochracy? It is where the fealty and augmentation of Murdoch’s editors and managers are undisguised, an inspiration to his choir on seven continents, where even his competitors sing along and wise politicians heed the Murdochism: “What’ll it be? A headline a day or a bucket of shit a day?”

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French bread spiked with LSD in CIA experiment

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

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Pope's brother admits hitting students

Monsignor Georg Ratzinger, brother of Pope Benedict XVI, admitted hitting students while he was director of the most prominent Catholic boys' choir in Germany. The allegations of abuse of children in Germany have raised questions about Pope Benedict, who spent his early career as a professor of theology and bishop of Munich before becoming a top Vatican official in 1982.

Ratzinger denied knowing boys were sexually abused. He said the choirmaster was "a king without a kingdom" in the school hierarchy and that the tone was set by the "very violent" headmaster who served from 1953 to 1992. One former student, Franz Wittenbrink, now a composer, has described the headmaster as a sexual sadist.

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New York City's Assassination Connection

Papers from Des Moines to London were reporting that his New York–based firm, Payoneer—which offers prepaid cards, mostly as a way for employers to compensate foreign workers without checks and wire transfers—had been linked to this year’s cinematically brash Hamas assassination in Dubai. In the open view of security cameras, wearing vaudeville-level wigs and mustaches, a group of at least 27 agents plotted the death of the Palestinian militant Mahmoud al-Mabhouh, who was drugged and smothered with a pillow in his hotel room on Jan 19.

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FBI indicts Colombo crime family members in extortion in World Trade Center demolition

The charges include the Colombo family’s use of a trucking company they controlled, All Around Trucking  to execute a kickback and extortion scheme for debris removal subcontracting from Testa Corporation, a demolition contractor headquartered near Boston. The Colombo family carried out the scheme at locations including the World Trade Center construction site, and the Newtown Creek wastewater treatment plant on the border between Brooklyn and Queens. Specifically, as detailed in the detention memorandum, Theodore Persico, Jr., Michael Persico, and others agreed that, in exchange for All Around obtaining debris removal subcontracting with Testa, All Around would kickback a portion of its profits as a commercial bribe to a Testa foreman. After All Around secured subcontracting work with Testa, Colombo family associates threatened Testa employees when Testa failed to pay All Around on the timetable set by the crime family. Consensual recordings captured defendant Michael Persico directing Bombino to threaten Testa employees, and captured Bombino reporting back to Michael Persico that, when Bombino made the threats, the Testa employees were “shakin’ in their boots over us.” Other charges in the indictment include an extortion of a furniture store owner, in which Michael Persico forced the furniture store owner to give Bombino control of the store until the owner repaid a loan owed to Colombo family associates.

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Jesse Ventura's piece on 9/11--KILLED BY HUFFPOST!

(By Mark Crispin Miller) As I noted in an item yesterday, Jesse Ventura has a new book out, co-authored with Dick Russell, called American Conspiracies, which includes an excellent chapter on election fraud and its connection to the likely murder of Mike Connell.

Well, this morning, Jesse had a front-page piece on 9/11 up at HuffPost: a front-page piece that quickly slipped off that front page--and then completely disappeared.

Here's what you'll find there now (or will, until they take that down as well):

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An Eviction Stirs Old Ghosts in a Contested City

Having been removed in favor of Israeli nationalist Jews, members of the Palestinian Ghawi family have been sheltering this winter in a tent on the sidewalk opposite their home of more than five decades in the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Sheikh Jarrah.

For those who want to see a peaceful resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, the eviction of the Ghawis has touched on two sensitive nerves: the fate of East Jerusalem, where Israel and the Palestinians vie for control, and the abiding grievances of Palestinian refugees from the 1948 war.

The circumstances of the Palestinians’ removal and the old ghosts it stirred have managed to arouse even Israel’s long-dormant peace camp. About 2,500 Israelis and Palestinians attended a demonstration here on Saturday night. Young Israeli and foreign activists have rallied around the cause. Increasingly, veteran members of Israel’s leftist establishment are also appearing at the weekly vigils held in Sheikh Jarrah every Friday afternoon.

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Waterboarding for dummies

Self-proclaimed waterboarding fan Dick Cheney called it a no-brainer in a 2006 radio interview: Terror suspects should get a "a dunk in the water." But recently released internal documents reveal the controversial "enhanced interrogation" practice was far more brutal on detainees than Cheney's description sounds, and was administered with meticulous cruelty.

Interrogators pumped detainees full of so much water that the CIA turned to a special saline solution to minimize the risk of death, the documents show. The agency used a gurney "specially designed" to tilt backwards at a perfect angle to maximize the water entering the prisoner's nose and mouth, intensifying the sense of choking – and to be lifted upright quickly in the event that a prisoner stopped breathing.

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Somalia Food Aid Bypasses Needy, U.N. Study Finds

As much as half the food aid sent to Somalia is diverted from needy people to a web of corrupt contractors, radical Islamist militants and local United Nations staff members, according to a new Security Council report.

The report, which has not yet been made public but was shown to The New York Times by diplomats, outlines a host of problems so grave that it recommends that Secretary General Ban Ki-moon open an independent investigation into the World Food Program’s Somalia operations. It suggests that the program rebuild the food distribution system — which serves at least 2.5 million people and whose aid was worth about $485 million in 2009 — from scratch to break what it describes as a corrupt cartel of Somali distributors.

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