Archive | September 27, 2016

U.S. Taxation Deadline Looms for Trinidad and Tobago*

U.S. Taxation Deadline Looms for Trinidad and Tobago*

By Janine Mendes-Franco

The deadline for Trinidad and Tobago to become a signatory to the United States’ Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA) is September 30, 2016. The law, which the U.S. Congress enacted in 2010, strives to ensure that U.S. citizens and residents with financial assets outside of the country are paying taxes.

The legislation gives U.S. banks the power to withhold a portion (up to 30%) of payments made to foreign financial institutions that do not agree to release information on their customers who have U.S. accounts. In fact, they can even refuse to do business with them altogether. Non-compliance would therefore have far-reaching effects: critical banking services such as credit card use, wire transfers and remittances would be cut off, Trinidad and Tobago’s economy — already sluggish thanks to low energy prices — would further weaken, and the general cost of living and doing business would increase.

Yet, the bill has still not been passed in the country’s parliament. Even though the government is unanimously voting for compliance, the current opposition — which had put forward the bill when they were in government — now appears to be stonewalling its passage. The government has 23 members in the House of Representatives, but 26 votes are needed to pass the bill. Despite its insistence that “nobody wants to pass this bill more than [them]”, in the parliamentary sitting of September 23, 2016, every single member of the opposition voted “No” (54:46 on the timeline of this video). For its part, the opposition has accused the government of “politicising the issue”.

The leader of the opposition, Kamla Persad-Bissessar, explained that she and her colleagues are worried about “the draconian provisions in the Bill which are in no way necessary to give effect to the agreement”.

In his presentation to parliament, Minister of Finance Colm Imbert noted, “Clause 8 — the opposition has a problem with this. Nothing in Section 4 of the Income Tax Act, Data Protection Act or any other law of like effect prevents the disclosure of information. The opposition maintains that this strips our citizens of any protection that the law may give to them.”

Although the government has said that they addressed three of the opposition’s seven concerns, the matter never went to debate. After Imbert made his presentation in parliament last Friday, he asked the speaker of the house for a one-hour adjournment, during which time the two sides could sit down and hammer out the amendments to the bill. But the opposition refused. Soon after the parliamentary sitting resumed, the opposition leader was reprimanded by the house speaker and asked to leave. The rest of the opposition (save one member) — in an apparent show of solidarity — walked out.


Theoretically, parliament would be able to meet on September 30 and pass the bill just in time to meet the deadline — but that is the date on which the minister of finance will present the country’s 2017 budget, so there is no chance of FACTA being tabled for discussion then. Unless the United States agrees to extend the deadline, which at this point seems likely, Trinidad and Tobago will be left in a tenuous position. No matter what happens, though, netizens are incensed.

Wired 868’s news blogger Mr. Live Wire quipped:

“Quite unhelpfully, Finance Minister Colm Imbert booked his Budget speech on the same day. Presumably, Imbert did not foresee that the [opposition United National Congress] UNC would feign such a startling ignorance of what is at stake here.”

Of course, that is not to say that he agreed with the legislation so much as he resigned himself to the fact that compliance had to happen:

In essence, every bank in the world will become non-paid informants of the IRS.

The cost of America’s witch hunt for tax evaders was estimated to be around eight times the value of income the IRS expects to recoup. So, to make this exercise financially viable, the IRS will let the banks pick up the tab for their investigation of US citizens who are using their services. […]

So, should Trinidad and Tobago object to accepting such a costly and invasive excursion into its own banking system by the Yanks? Of course!

We should also refuse to fork out TT$300 for a plate of pasta at those stoosh [posh] restaurants in west Trinidad.

But if you are there already and want to get fed, you will pay. And if you want access to the U.S. banking system, you will do the same.

Otherwise, the IRS will start by withholding 30% of financial transfers—even Moneygram and Western Union—to locals, whether they are American or not, until they can prove they are not involved in tax evasion.

Meanwhile, the Bankers Association of Trinidad and Tobago supports the bill, the business chambers issued calls for compliance and the country’s Securities and Exchange Commission has provided its feedback.

Netizens, however, appear to be divided across political lines. One Facebook user, Gideon Charles, called the opposition’s refusal to vote for the bill a desperate attempt at destabilisation, speculating that the opposition does not want FACTA compliance “because it would divulge the pilfering, the embezzling of taxpayers’ money by the former, now Opposition UNC government”. Others were more tongue in cheek, while Facebook user Susan Charles called out the minister of finance on his political posturing:

Imbert stop playing games with the FACTA bill by saying you hoping for an extension yes the deadline is Friday but ent [didn’t] you already get an extension stop pretending… This is Trinidad and somebody always know somebody and so mark does bust [local saying which means what is done in the dark will soon come to light]”

Still, Imbert insisted that “the bill […] is identical to the bill prepared by the People’s Partnership government. It’s the same bill, word for word.”

With the passing of the bill still in limbo, social media users in the Caribbean nation wonder whether the government and opposition will come together for the greater good — or in the words of Mr. Live Wire:

Russia President Vladimir Putin also railed against FATCA, which he described as an attack on Russian sovereignty. Then, 24 hours before the U.S. deadline, Putin caved and signed on 30 June 2014.

Think Sarcastic Smurf [a snide reference to Imbert] can drive a harder bargain than a man who rides horses bareback in Siberia and invades neighbouring countries in his spare time? FATCA chance! Just sign the damn thing and done, Kamla!”


Related Topics:

U.S. Prolonging Dutch Neo-Colonialism in the Caribbean*

What Hillary Clinton Did To Haiti Should Scare any Voter*

Rothschild Billion Dollar Money Laundering Plot in Africa*

President Putin has Banned Rothschild Family from entering Russian territory “under any circumstances”*

IRS Agent Admits Income Tax is Unconstitutional and Illegal*

A Call for National Tax Disobedience*

U.S. Now Taxing Collection of Rainwater*

E.U. Passed Tax ID Numbers for Everyone*

U.S. Sued over $280bn Tax-deductible Aid Sent to Israel*

Police Now Illegally Seize More Money than the Criminals*

Puerto Rico the U.S. Colony Driven into Bankruptcy*

Puerto Rico: Push the Poor out so the Rich can Move in*

Puerto Rico Suspends all Payments on Public Debt to Wall Street*

The Continuing Colonial Pillage of Puerto Rico*

Tyranny of Taxation and Regulation without Representation*

Western Megabanks Are Now Stealing Depositors’ Money*

Replace the Gospel of Money*

Why Central Banks HATE Cash and Will Begin to Tax It Shortly*

U.S. Classifying Bitcoin as a Commodity So It can be Taxed and Regulated*

1980 Interview: How the Tax Exempt Foundation has brought about the Destruction of U.S.*

The Secretive Bank of England — Controlling the World’s Money Supply*

Syrian Army Seizes Aleppo’s Central District from Terrorists*

Syrian Army Seizes Aleppo’s Central District from Terrorists*

Syrian government forces have re-captured Aleppo’s central district of al-Farafirah from terrorists, state outlet SANA reported, citing army sources.

According to SANA, the Syrian Army is now in control of al-Farafirah with sappers currently clearing the area from “mines and improvised explosive devices planted by terrorists.”

“The army retook control of the entire al-Farafirah district northwest of the Aleppo citadel after neutralizing many terrorists. Units are now demining the area,” AFP quoted a military source as saying.

After their retreat, the terrorists left munitions and weapons, including large-calibre machine guns, RIA Novosti reports, citing another source with knowledge of the matter.

We have been able for the first time in several years to move the front in Aleppo,” the Russian news agency’s source said.

It added that the Syrian Army suffered no losses in the operation, which began in the early hours of Tuesday.

The district of Al-Farafirah is located north-west of Aleppo’s main historical landmark, the Citadel – a large medieval fortified palace in the center of the old city. Syrian troops are also demining in other districts in Aleppo, including that of al-Ramusi.

The area, liberated about three weeks ago, is considered extremely important since it is used by humanitarian convoys to deliver food and medicine to people in the war-ravaged city.


Related Topics:

U.S. -Backed Terrorists Shut Off Water for 1.5 Million Civilians in Aleppo*

Thirty Israeli, Foreign Intelligence Officers Killed in Russia’s Calibre Missile Attack in Aleppo*

Replica of Syrian Arch Destroyed by ISIS unveiled in New York City*

Syria has Proof U.S. Talked to ISIS before Airstrikes on Syrian Forces*

Over 700 Terrorists Lay Down Arms in Homs, Syria*

Turkish-backed Militants Torture a Boy in Northern Syria*

17th Summit of the Non-Aligned Movement Declare their Opposition to Unilateralism and Militarism*

Netanyahu Sues Own Office to Prevent Airing of Dirty Laundry*

Netanyahu Sues Own Office to Prevent Airing of Dirty Laundry*

Benjamin Netanyahu doesn’t want details of his dirty laundry aired in public – and he is suing his own office and Israel’s attorney general to try to prevent it.

Legal documents published on Tuesday showed that the prime minister, citing a right to privacy, is asking a Jerusalem court to overturn a decision to release his laundry bills and those of his family under the country’s Freedom of Information law.

Israeli media have focused in the past on food and beverage expenses at Netanyahu’s official and private homes.

Three years ago, he drew flak over a $127,000 charge to fit a bedroom into a chartered plane for a flight to London to attend the funeral of former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher.

The current case involves a request by The Movement for Freedom of Information, a group seeking greater public transparency in Israel, for details of all state-paid expenses in Netanyahu’s private home and official residence in 2014.

Netanyahu’s attorneys argue that the inclusion of laundry expenses would be tantamount to “peeping” into his private affairs, but Anat Revivo, who oversees compliance with the Freedom of Information law at the prime minister’s office, maintains that the public has a right to know.

When Revivo consulted Israel’s attorney-general on the matter, he agreed.

Netanyahu was given time to mount a legal challenge and on Monday filed a 27-page lawsuit against Revivo and Attorney-General Avichai Mandelblit.

In the petition, which the Movement for Freedom of Information posted on its website, Netanyahu’s lawyers cited Israel’s Protection of Privacy Law, as well as Britain’s Human Rights Act and the European Convention on Human Rights to support their case.

“No one shall be subjected to arbitrary interference with his privacy, family, home or correspondence, or to attacks on his honour and reputation,” the lawsuit said, quoting from the European treaty.

No date has been set for a ruling.


Related Topics:

Netanyahu Expected to Be Questioned as a Criminal Suspect*

Evidence Immaterial: Netanyahu’s wants to be Added to the Bush-Blair Club of War Criminals*

A Wounded ISIL Fighter Meets his Benefactor, Netanyahu in Golan Heights*

Israelis want Netanyahu to Leave*

Who is Netanyahu?*

Lawmakers Boycott Netanyahu Speech*

Israel: 30,000 in Anti-Netanyahu Rally*

A Rabbi Refers to Netanyahu’s Claim of All Jews ‘Identity Theft’

One Country that does not Cheat: Netanyahu said He fears Iran will Honour Nuclear Deal*

Desperate Netanyahu Launches Twitter Account for Iranians*

Netanyahu’s Temper Tantrum over Iran deal has Obama Bearing ‘Gifts’*

Netanyahu Arrest up for Debate as U.K. Petition Hits Target*

Spanish Court Issues Arrest Warrants for Netanyahu and Senior Israeli Officials*

Netanyahu to ‘punish’ Syrians who Attacked ISIL-ISIS Terrorists*

Netanyahu, 9/11 Black Op and Bernie Sanders*

Hack of Netanyahu Chief of Staff Shows Israeli Control of ISIS*

Former MOSSAD chief says End is Near for Fearmongering Netanyahu*

Dutch MP Refuses to Shake Hands with Netanyahu*

Gazan Down Syndrome Teacher Inspires her Disabled Students*

Gazan Down Syndrome Teacher Inspires her Disabled Students*

Heba el-Shurafa helps her young students during a lesson (MEE/Isra Namey)

By Isra Namey

Something special is going on in a classroom in the Shujaiya neighbourhood of Gaza city, and anyone lucky enough to be invited to sit in on a class is in for a unique experience. Watching the bond that is shared between young students and their teacher, Heba el-Shurafa, is inspiring; but it is more than just the usual student-teacher relationship. Heba connects with the children on a deeper level. She suffers from Down syndrome, as do they.

Having lived with the same genetic condition as her students, the 27-year-old teacher is uniquely placed to understand and meet the needs of her young charges.

Using all the teaching aids she has at her disposal, classes are basic but interactive and infused with compassion and patience. Shurafa teaches the children maths, religious studies, Arabic, and how to recognise their names written on cards; plus science classes for children in the primary grades.

“I could not be happier. This place is comfortable and I love my students. I like how I say the words and they repeat them after me,” Shurafa told Middle East Eye with a contagious grin on her face.

Heba Sharafa, Gaza’s first teacher with Down syndrome, is a thriving member of her community (MEE/Isra Namey)


Shurafa’s devotion towards her students is evident not only from the playful and caring way they all interact, but also from the fact that her composure never seems to waver. No matter how many times she has to repeat a lesson before they fully grasp it, she continues to go at their pace, knowing that she will ultimately be rewarded when she finally sees them comprehend her lesson and progress to the next level.

Stimulation is a key element in Shurafa’s teaching plan. She has no qualms about encouraging them with treats like chocolate and dessert, as well as loud applause for those who try extra hard. Her colourful classroom is also decorated with balloons and streamers in the hopes of making their work environment more appealing to them.


Lifelong support of family and friends

The direction Shurafa’s life has taken has not come as a surprise to those who know her. As a child, Heba’s eagerness to learn was evident. Her former teacher, Nawal ben Saied, who still teaches at the charity Right to Live Society –  told MEE that Shurafa has always been keen to learn and develop her life skills.

“She excelled in reading, writing, and counting. She could memorise songs, poems, and recite the holy Qur’an,” ben Saied said. Her teacher added that Shurafa used to enjoy performing. She would sing, read poems, and perform plays on the school’s stage.

Thanks to her family’s lifelong efforts and the encouraging atmosphere Shurafa received during her developmental years both at home and in her school environment, she is thriving and is fully integrated into her local community.

At home, Shurafa leads a normal life and is known to be a social butterfly. “I go to visit my relatives. We celebrate different occasions together and have fun. I have never felt excluded when I am in their company. Everyone likes to talk to me,” Shurafa said.

Shurafa’s mother, Nuha Abu-Shaban, can still remember the moment when she first learned of her daughter’s diagnosis.

“It was the first time I’d heard of this medical condition, and when the doctor explained it to me, my tears overflowed and I was extremely worried about how I was going to raise my baby,” she said.

However, ultimately deciding to take the news in a positive light, as a gift from God, she worked hard to develop her daughter’s cognition, behaviour and communication skills as best as she could.

I decided to deal with her as a gift from Allah. She is a special and precious one to me,” Abu-Shaban said.

“Parenting a child with Down syndrome has never been an easy task, but I did not lose hope.”

The challenges presented have not always been easy though, and progress has been slow at times. Abu-Shaban remembers a period when she would work with her daughter for three hours just to help her properly write out two lines.

Even when progress is made at a snail’s pace, Abu-Shaban urges parents and family members of children with Down syndrome to never give up.

I call on all parents who have similar cases to embrace their children and fully commit to their responsibilities toward them,” Abu-Shaban concluded.

Right to Live Society

Founded in 1993, The Right to Live Society aims to help integrate and rehabilitate children who are born with developmental problems such as Down syndrome and autism in Gaza.

The 22 classrooms and facilities at the centre are all designed to meet the different aspects of their physical and psychological needs. The open spaces include a playground where they have their daily break where they are encouraged to move around and get some exercise.

Vocational workshops are also incorporated into the programme to help some master crafts by which they can one day make a living and live independently. Many children make bamboo and wooden products, while others focus on sewing and embroidery.

Nabil Junied, director of The Right to Live’s rehabilitation programmes, told MEE that the number of people who suffer from Down syndrome across the Strip is estimated to be around 1500.

The charity helps approximately 900 of these children, all of who have some sort of cognitive disability. Some 650 children are fully enrolled within the charity and have a daily timetable of activities, while the rest do not need to regularly visit the centre and get some kind of support at home.

“We are referred cases from newborns to those in their twenties. Our specialised teams work to help boost their potential for learning and development,” Junied said.

The psychological and behavioural therapies the children receive at the charity help them on various fronts, including how to articulate their speech and communicate constructively.

Maryam Abu Mslam, the speech therapist at the centre, told MEE each child has a specially tailored programme made for them after a meticulous assessment of their abilities.

“Down syndrome is always accompanied by a difficulty in speaking, usually accompanied by an obvious stutter. Our task is to help them overcome most of these problems, and speech impediments, but unfortunately not all cases can achieve so,” Abu Mslam said.

Junied noted that the skills and abilities of people with Down syndrome vary widely, as cases might be mild or severe. Unlike many of the others who benefited from Right to Live’s support, Sharafa took on an academic path, and is the first person in Gaza with Down syndrome to become a teacher.

“Heba did well because she had better skills, but certainly the special care that she has been lucky enough to receive from her family and the centre have enabled her to attain a higher achievement than many others,” Junied concedes.

Sharafa has made quite a name for herself and her accomplishments, and interest in her story has encouraged Right to Live to start an extra class – a teacher-training group – that consists of six Down syndrome students. The goal is to train these young people to be teachers themselves.

Breaking barriers

Junied explained that in the past, many families would shy away from openly discussing the issues related to having a child with Down syndrome and would keep their children at home. But thanks to the work of the centre, Shurafa and many others in the field, barriers are slowly being broken down and an increasing number of families are visiting the charity asking for help for their children.

To facilitate knowledge and give families an open forum for information, awareness sessions are held regularly where families with children with intellectual disabilities are encouraged to accept the hand dealt to them and focus on giving their children the best lives possible.

War and siege

Due to the suffocating Israeli restrictions enforced on the coastal enclave since the siege began in 2007, and the successive brutal assaults, all facets of life in Gaza are affected. And children who have Down syndrome are not an exception to the grave tolls.

Right to Live Society resides in the war-ravaged Shujaiya neighbourhood and barely survived the war that destroyed the Strip in the summer of 2014, when one of its main buildings was hit by Israeli shrapnel. The scars of the bombing remain visible on the walls.

Ahmad el-Helo, executive director of the charity, told MEE that the Israeli blockade had thwarted their plans to extend their centre to absorb more of those children.

“Israel has made it impossible to bring in the building materials to construct more facilities to administer a better service for larger numbers of children who had this condition,” Helo said.

The lack of vital financial resources also poses a further challenge. The director added that they were forced to lay off 50 of their employees, which has in turn impacted the quality of the services presented to the children.

The decrease in the number of staff has meant that the remaining teachers have become overloaded with work, having to focus on 10 students per class instead of a more manageable five. This leaves the centre overstretched and the teacher’s tasks have become more arduous.

“In each class there are not even two children who have the same cognitive level, so [a] great deal of work has to be done for each one of them,” Helo added.

Yet Shurafa takes it all in her stride. Her young students each feel valued and safe.

“They know they are cared for and valued by me. Therefore, they and I hope that we are given our chance to live freely and prosper in our own community,” Sharafa concluded.


Related Topics:

Against the Odds: Girl from Gaza Takes 1st International Math Prize*

Teacher Born With Down Syndrome Breaks Stereotypes*

Nine Year-Old Autistic Boy Speaks His First Words Thanks to ‘Controversial’ Cannabis Treatment*

Child’s Autistic Symptoms Miraculously Disappear after His Doctor Does This*

Autistic Artist Flies

Boy with Cerebral Palsy Memorized Entire Qur’an*

Operation Protective Edge: The Dead Have Names*

U.N. Deducts $30mn from Gaza Aid, Qatar Grants $40mn*

Israel floods Gaza villages, displacing a hundred families

Behind the False Flag: Israel’s After Gaza’s Natural Gas*

Intelligence Agents amidst UAE ‘Aid Convoy’ to Gaza*

Israel’s ‘Blood Diamonds’ Financing War Crimes in Gaza*

World’s Leading Medical Journal Sends an Open Letter to Gaza*

From Gaza: I’m a Human Being, Not a Human Shield*

God Gave Gaza Life not for Humans to Make Life Worthless*

Over 100 Gaza Civilians Killed When Missing IDF Soldier Died in Battle*

Israeli Corporal Imprisoned for Publicly Saying the Occupation of Gaza Corrupts Israel*

Gaza Being Pushed to Collapse*

Ramadhan amongst the Rubble of Gaza*

Israel Blocking Repair of Gaza Electricity Grids*

The Israeli Invasion and Gaza’s Offshore Gas Fields*

Israel is Bombing Gaza Again and Anonymous Just Hacked the Government In Response*

U.K. Bans Gaza Medical Experts from Joining Kingston University Conference*

‘Israeli Planes Spray Crop-Killing Chemicals On Gaza Farms’*

Gaza Unable to Export Produce*

Zionist Owned Guardian Told Journalist to Stay Clear of Gaza*

Navy Attacks Fishermen off Gaza Shore*

How Israel Makes Money from Blockading Gaza*

Israeli Jets Pound Gaza in Worst Violence since 2014 War*

Sufism Healing the Soul in Gaza*

Gaza Man’s DIY Solar Desalination Machine can Produce 2.6 gallons of Fresh Water Daily*

Former Mayor of London and Current Foreign Secretary has Ancestral Roots in Turkey*

Former Mayor of London and Current Foreign Secretary has Ancestral Roots in Turkey*

British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson during his first visit to Turkey as foreign secretary (AFP)


By Suraj Sharma

In the small village of Kalfat in the heart of Anatolia, residents say they would be more than happy to welcome the British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson by sacrificing sheep in his honour, repainting the buildings in the village, and giving him the full red carpet treatment.

Kalfat in Cankiri province is the ancestral homeland of Johnson’s paternal great-grandfather, Ali Kemal, and residents of the village take immense pride in the political achievements of someone they consider one of their own.

They are mostly happy to forgive him his anti-foreigner and specifically anti-Turkish stance since he became a campaigner for “Brexit”.

Prior to June’s referendum on whether the U.K. should remain in the European Union, leave campaigners had repeatedly argued that remaining in the E.U. would allow millions of Turks to move to Britain.

Johnson, who also gained headlines in May regarding a rude poem he wrote about Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, arrived in Turkey on Monday for his first visit to the country in a diplomatic capacity, including a meeting with Erdogan.

Yet despite those controversies, the affection he enjoys in Kalfat is such that he is not referred to as Mr Johnson or even Boris Johnson by many, but simply as “our Boris”.

“We will sacrifice many sheep in Boris’ honour. We will repave our roads, repaint our buildings. We will give him the complete red carpet treatment if he visits his ancestral village,” Adem Karaagac, the village headman, told Middle East Eye.

Kalfat headman Adem Karaagac holds a book signed by Boris Johnson that was presented to the village by his father, Stanley Johnson (MEE/ Suraj Sharma)


Karaagac says many of the village residents share the same genetic traits as Boris and that there are quite a few people in the village with blonde hair and pale skin.

“But what I have noticed on television is that his mannerisms and body movements also strongly resemble those of the people in our village,” said Karaagac.

“It’s a small village and many of the people are distantly related. Even my wife is somehow related to Boris. I am not sure of the exact connection though.”

According to Karaagac, the initial disappointment they felt when Boris didn’t directly succeed David Cameron, the prime minister who was forced to quit as a result of the leave campaign’s victory in the referendum, was replaced by a feeling that it might actually be for the better.

“Our Boris was ready to be prime minister. But now he can gain more experience as foreign minister before becoming prime minister. That will be better for him as well.”

The village is not a stranger to visits by the Johnson family. Boris’ father Stanley, a former MEP, visited in 2008.

“My predecessor sacrificed a sheep in his honour when he visited. I believe he spent a really nice day in our village,” said Karaagac.

Stanley Johnson’s visit was to trace his family’s roots, and at the time he told media that he was interested in tracing the lineage of all sides of his family, which included Turkish, Swiss and English roots.

Turkish roots

The Turkish side of his story started in Kalfat, some 350 kilometres east of Istanbul. Ali Kemal’s father was a wax merchant from Kalfat who traded in the then imperial capital Istanbul. Ali Kemal, born in Istanbul, went on to become a journalist and diplomat.

He married twice. Once to an Anglo-Swiss woman called Winifred Brun and the other to a Turkish girl called Sabiha.

The Turkish side of the family also took up a career in diplomacy. Sabiha’s son Zeki Kuneralp served in the Turkish Foreign Service and his son Selim, Boris’ cousin, was a Turkish ambassador until his retirement last year. However, unlike the others in their ancestral village, Kuneralp has spoken out against his cousin and his views, slamming his “little Englander” stance and saying that under Johnson’s policies “his own grandfather wouldn’t have been able to come to the U.K.”.

Kemal fled to exile in the U.K. in 1909 following a press crackdown but returned before the outbreak of the World War One. In 1919, he openly advocated for a British protectorate status in Turkey, something which caused him to be seen as a traitor by Turkish nationalists led by Mustafa Kemal Ataturk who went on to found the modern Turkish republic, and led to Kemal being lynched by an angry mob in 1922. Kemal’s son Zeki only returned to Turkey from exile in Switzerland after Ataturk’s death in 1938.

In 2015, Johnson also won himself the description of traitor in Turkey after he said that his sympathies lay with the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), an entity listed as a terrorist organisation by Turkey, the U.K. and the U.S. Turkey has been involved in an armed conflict with the PKK since 1984.

Stanley Johnson’s visit in 2008 was not his first to Kalfat village and one man who was there during the first visit is 69-year-old Recep Akdogan.

“It was 1961 or 1962 when Zeki Kuneralp and Boris’ father visited our village. I was in primary school then and didn’t understand what the fuss was about. I hadn’t yet read about Ali Kemal and all that,” Akdogan told MEE.

Akdogan is one of the few residents of Kalfat who says Boris is not welcome unless he retracts his support for terrorists.

“Boris Johnson better not think of visiting here after those things he said about supporting the PKK and posing with their members with a rifle in his hand. The people in our village are patriots and we don’t want him here,” he said.

Kalfat in Cankiri province is the ancestral homeland of Johnson’s paternal great-grandfather, Ali Kemal (MEE / Suraj Sharma)


Yusuf Islam Sekerci, a 19-year-old university student in Kayseri who returns home to Kalfat during the summers, is quick to interject and show that Akdogan is in the minority when it comes to Boris.

“Of course Boris is welcome here even if he said those unfortunate things. This is his village. We will display the legendary Turkish hospitality to him if he chooses to visit,” Sekerci told MEE.

Karaagac, the village headman, is more diplomatic about Boris’s PKK remarks and says it was just a political gimmick.

“He was made to speak such things. It was all part of a political game. The English are good at those kinds of political games,” he said.

“I don’t think Boris is a PKK sympathiser if has even one drop of Turkish blood, which he has plenty of as we know.”

While many in Kalfat were aware of Boris’ remarks concerning the PKK, few knew or appeared to care about the offensive poem he penned about the Turkish president in The Spectator magazine in May.

Bunyamin Mermerkaya, 35, told MEE that the village would gladly host Boris regardless of what he has done or said, and that the village would celebrate his achievement of becoming foreign secretary.

“We will welcome him. We will sacrifice a sheep in his honour. He is from here and he has made our village proud, first by becoming mayor of London and now foreign minister of England.”

On whether village residents would like Boris’ first visit to his ancestral village of Kalfat to be as foreign minister or prime minister, most seem to agree with Karaagac’s view.

“I don’t care if Boris comes here as foreign minister or prime minister. I want him to come here as a son of Kalfat, as a son of these lands. We will greet him dressed in our finest.”


Related Topics:

Secret History of the British People*

Turkey-Iran: An Ancient Language Rediscovered

Israeli Geneticist: Ashkenazi Jews come from Turkey, not Palestine*

Turkey must be Removed from NATO: U.S. Army General*

Turkey Bombards Kurdish-held Areas of Syria’s Aleppo Province*

99.9999999% of Your Body is Empty Space*

99.9999999% of Your Body is Empty Space*

By Ali Sundermier

Some days, you might feel like a pretty substantial person. Maybe you have a lot of friends, or an important job, or a really big car.

But it might humble you to know that all of those things — your friends, your office, your really big car, you yourself, and everything in this incredible, vast universe — are almost entirely, 99.9999999%, empty space.

Here’s the deal: As I previously wrote in a story for the particle physics publication Symmetry, the size of an atom is governed by the average location of its electrons — how much space there is between the nucleus and the atom’s amorphous outer shell. Nuclei are around 100,000 times smaller than the atoms they’re housed in.

If the nucleus were the size of a peanut, the atom would be about the size of a baseball stadium. If we lost all the dead space inside our atoms, we would each be able to fit into a particle of dust, and the entire human race would fit into the volume of a sugar cube.

So then where does all of our mass come from?


At a pretty basic level, we’re all made of atoms, which are made of electrons, protons, and neutrons. And at an even more basic — or perhaps the most basic — level, those protons and neutrons, which hold the bulk of our mass, are made of a trio of fundamental particles called quarks.

But, as I explained in Symmetry, the mass of these quarks accounts for just a tiny percentage of the mass of the protons and neutrons. And gluons, which hold these quarks together, are completely massless.

A lot of scientists think that almost all the mass of our bodies comes from the kinetic energy of the quarks and the binding energy of the gluons.

So if all of the atoms in the universe are almost entirely empty space, why does anything feel solid?

The idea of empty atoms huddling together, composing our bodies and buildings and trees, might be a little confusing.

If our atoms are mostly space, why can’t we pass through things like weird ghost people in a weird ghost world? Why don’t our cars fall through the road, through the centre of the earth, and out the other side of the planet? Why don’t our hands glide through other hands when we give high fives?

It’s time to reexamine what we mean by empty space — because, as it turns out, space is never truly empty. It’s actually full of whole fistfuls of good stuff, including wave functions and invisible quantum fields.

You can think about the empty space in an atom as you might think about an electric fan with rotating blades. When the fan isn’t in motion, you can tell that a lot of what’s inside of that fan is empty space. You can safely stick your hand into the space between the blades and wiggle your fingers in the nothingness.

But when that fan is turned on, it’s a different story. If you’re silly enough to shove your hand into that “empty space,” those blades will inevitably swing around and smack into it … relentlessly.

Technically, electrons are point sources, which means they have no volume. But they do have something called a wave function occupying a nice chunk of the atom. And because quantum mechanics likes to be weird and confusing, the volumeless electron is somehow simultaneously everywhere in that chunk of space.

The blades of the fan are akin to electrons zipping around the atom, occupying chunks of space with their wave functions. It’s a painful reminder that what might seem like empty space can feel pretty solid.

You’ve never really touched anything in your life

Are you sitting down for this? Well, you’re not, really. Your butt isn’t actually touching the chair you’re sitting on.

Since the meat of your atoms is nestled away in nuclei, when you “touch” someone or something, you aren’t actually feeling their atoms. What you’re feeling is the electromagnetic force of your electrons pushing away their electrons.

On a very, very technical level, you’re not actually sitting on that chair — you’re hovering ever so slightly above it.

So to conclude: Your very important human body is really, kind of, in a way, just a misleading collection of empty spaces on an empty planet in an empty universe. But at least you have a big car.


Related Topics:

Mindwalk: The Turning Point

Love Even Affects the Size of a Child’s Brain*

Einstein’s Letter to His Daughter about the Universal Force of Love*

Your brain does not process information, or…*

“Don’t Hug Me I’m Scared” is About Brainwashing by Mass Media and … MKULTRA*

Similarities between the Brain and the Universe*


The Frequency of Everything*

What Frequency Am I Traveling on Right Now?

Schumann Resonance of our Being

The Healing Frequency, and the Frequency of Disharmony

Physics of Tawhid: A Quantum View of the World

Nestlé to Control Canadian Water Supply that Effect 6 Indigenous Tribes*

Nestlé to Control Canadian Water Supply that Effect 6 Indigenous Tribes*

Photo of the Elora Quarry

Corporate giant Nestlé continued its privatization creep on Thursday as it won approval to take over another Canadian community’s water supply, claiming it needed the well to ensure “future business growth.”


Nestlé purchased the well near Elora, Ontario from Middlebrook Water Company last month after making a conditional offer in 2015, the Canadian Press reports.

In August, the Township of Centre Wellington made an offer to purchase the Middlebrook well site to protect access to the water for the community. Consequently, the multinational—which claimed it had no idea the community was its competitor—waived all its conditions and matched the township’s offer in order to snag the well for itself.

Those conditions included conducting pump tests to determine if the watershed met the company’s quality and quantity requirements, the Canadian Press reports.

Moreover, Nestlé has stated that the Middlebrook site will only be a backup for its other nearby well and bottling plant in Aberfoyle, where the corporation already draws up to 3.6 million litres (roughly 951,000 gallons) of water a day. The company reportedly plans to extract as much as 1.6 million litres (almost 423,000 gallons) a day from Middlebrook to be transported to its bottling facility.

All this comes as parts of southern Ontario and British Columbia face severe drought conditions amid dwindling water supplies and Nestlé pushes to renew its permits for its Aberfoyle plant, the advocacy group Council of Canadians warned.

The organization on Thursday launched a Boycott Nestlé campaign which states,

 “Groundwater resources will not be sufficient for our future needs due to drought, climate change, and over-extraction. Wasting our limited groundwater on frivolous and consumptive uses such as bottled water is madness. We must not allow groundwater reserves to be depleted for corporate profit.”

Council of Canadians chairperson Maude Barlow told the Canadian Press about the Aberfoyle plant,

“Allowing a transnational corporation to continue to mine this water is a travesty, especially given that most local people can get clean, safe, and affordable water from their taps.”

In her new book Boiling Point: Government Neglect, Corporate Abuse, and Canada’s Water Crisis, Barlow writes that Nestlé makes more than $2 million a year in profits from its Aberfoyle facility alone.

She also noted to the Canadian Press that the Elora well “sits on the traditional territory of the Six Nations of the Grand River, 11,000 of whom do not have access to clean running water.”


Status of unresolved claims

In 1995, the Six Nations commenced litigation against Canada and Ontario for an accounting of what happened to its land, money and other assets and the manner in which the Crown managed and disposed of these assets.

In 2009, the Six Nations formally reactivated the 1995 litigation against Canada and Ontario. Their claims are now being pursued in the courts. –

 Related Topics:

Face It Canada has No Sovereignty*

Canada Forcing the Indigenous to Give Up their Land*

Nestle ‘Liberating’ Water from Drought Stricken Indian Reservation*

A Ruling that Highlights Indigenous Love of the Land and Canada’s Destruction of It*

Disappearing and Murdered: Canada’s Indigenous Women*

The Neo-Colonial Context of Canada’s Multiculturalism*

Nestlé Gets to Control a Town’s Entire Groundwater for up to 45 Years*

Nestle Being Sued for $100 Million Dollars over Hazardous Lead in Food*

Nestlé’s Bid To Squash a Child Slavery Suit Rejected*

Voters in Oregon Defeat Nestlé’s Attempt to Privatize Their Water*

First Nations in Canada and U.S. Sign Treaty Opposing Pipelines*

Banning Kratom: Dozens of Congressmen Speak Out against Tyranny on Health*

Banning Kratom: Dozens of Congressmen Speak Out against Tyranny on Health*

By Matt Agorist

As the Free Thought Project reported earlier this month, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) announced they will ban the popular pain relief supplement kratom by placing it on the Schedule 1 list, which denotes

“no currently accepted medical use and a high potential for abuse”

…  the most restrictive classification under the federal Controlled Substances Act. However, the tyranny of the DEA is now being questioned by Congress.

According to US News, Reps. Mark Pocan, D-Wis., and Matt Salmon, R-Ariz., recruited 45 signers in the House of Representatives on Friday afternoon for two letters, which will be sent Monday to Chuck Rosenberg, acting administrator of the Drug Enforcement Administration, and Office of Management and Budget Director Shaun Donovan.

This move to ban yet another highly beneficial plant by the DEA has been met with heavy backlash and multiple petitions. The backlash is entirely justified as this plant has many amazing benefits — including a potential cure for opioid addiction.

“This significant regulatory action was done without any opportunity for public comment from researchers, consumers and other stakeholders,” the lawmakers say in the letter to Rosenberg. “This hasty decision could have serious effects on consumer access and choice of an internationally recognized herbal supplement.”

The DEA’s tyrannical move to ban this amazing and beneficial plant comes on the heels of peer-reviewed research showing that kratom could potentially be a much safer alternative to deadly prescription opioids.

The latest research indicates that the main component of the herb, the alkaloid mitragynine, and its metabolite and oxidation product, 7-hydroxymitragynine, produce an effect on certain opioid receptors separate from many of the mechanisms that precipitate many opioid side effects.

According to US Newspreliminary scientific analysis shows that kratom, despite DEA concern about safety and anecdotal reports about dependence potential, could offer substantial harm reduction — particularly as accidental overdoses of opioids including legal painkillers and illegal drugs like heroin killed more than 28,000 in 2014 alone.

Countless patients currently using kratom to treat their heroin, alcohol, and cocaine addictions, fibromyalgia patients, and people with arthritis and cancer would no longer be able to use this plant — and instead be forced back into dangerous pharmaceuticals or the black market.

“I feel a lot of hope because the amount of congress people who are paying attention to this issue and the media and the public are really weighing in our favour – it’s finally coming to light who the average kratom consumer is,” Susan Ash, founder of the American Kratom Association consumer group, which organized a Sept. 13 protest at the White House, said to US News.

The DEA claims that 15 deaths were attributed to kratom last month. And, if this were true it is still far safer than alcohol, tobacco, or even Tylenol. However, it’s not true.

The AKA actually hired a toxicologist who reviewed the cases and found that there was no evidence to support the assertion and that most, if not all, of the deaths may have been tied to other drug use.

In a bald-faced lie, DEA spokeswoman Barbara Carreno explained that

“it’s not that the DEA is unsympathetic to people who have chronic pain or who are addicted to opioids. We are people just like everyone else who get in a car accident and break our femurs and get cancer and have surgery and are in need of pain medicine. … It’s just that science says this is a problem and we need to keep people safe.”

How, exactly, does declaring the highly beneficial kratom plant, shown to be magnitudes safer than synthetic pharmaceutical opioids and heroin, as having no medical value “keep people safe”?

The answer is simple — it does nothing to keep people safe. However, it does keep the DEA’s masters in the pharmaceutical industry safe.

As the legal pain medication epidemic sweeps the nation killing thousands every year and converting its users into heroin addicts, the pharmaceutical companies are scrambling to find an alternative. Kratom could be that alternative.

However, since kratom can be grown by anyone, pharmaceutical companies can’t monopolize it — unless the government outlaws it.

On September 30, kratom will be illegal, but the synthetic patented and monopolized version will not.

As the Free Thought Project pointed out, pharmaceutical companies have been studying kratom for years to create synthetic versions of its alkaloids.

One of the plant’s alkaloids is Speciofoline was granted a patent on August 10, 1964. The patent claims the “alkaloid has useful pharmacodynamic activity, particularly analgetic and antitussive activity.”

The patent was filed by Smith Kline, of Glaxo Smith Kline, and French Laboratories.

Aside from a patent on Speciofoline, US 20100209542 A1 is an application that was entered for University Of Massachusetts Medical School, University Of Mississippi in 2010. The application recognizes kratom as a treatment for opioid withdrawal. US 20100209542 A1 goes on to claim that kratom could be used to help withdrawals from other drugs as well.

If the DEA actually cared about the safety of Americans, the last thing they would do would push this plant into the black market where it is not put in check by consumers and ethical business practices.

As Ash points out, “A lot of people say they are scared to death of relapsing without [kratom], and if this ban goes through there’s going to be an illicit black market, and who knows what people are going to be putting into this product, so deaths are going to increase by that in itself.”

Not only will its ban push kratom into the black market, it will create an entirely new stream of revenue for the police state. The millions of innocent people who currently use kratom will be turned into criminals — literally overnight.

We can expect to see armed raids on cancer patients and other people treating their pain with this plant. We can expect to see asset forfeiture rise and general wholesale theft.

And all of this tyranny, prohibition, theft, and violence, will be deemed necessary — to keep you safe — in the Land of the Free.

View the letter from Congress to the DEA on SCRIBD.


Related Topics:

Federation of State Medical Boards Seeks to Eliminate Alternative Medicine*

New Zealand’s ‘The Natural Health Supplementary Products Bill’ Bans Natural Products*

Scientists Discover what Traditional and Alternative Health Practitioners Know, the Immune System is Connected to the Brain*

Cancer Boy Ran Away from Chemo 20 Years Ago, is Alive and Well Due to Alternative Solutions*

The Real History of U.S. Modern Healthcare*

Big Pharma Myth Buster: High Cholesterol Makes You Live Longer*

Big Pharma Assassinations and New Toxin Found in Vaccine*

Western Medicine Is Rockefeller Medicine*

Neuroscientist Shows Fasting Bolsters Your Brain, but Big Pharma Won’t Study It*

A Year of Achievement for Cuban Healthcare*