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US Officials Now Believe Iran ‘Accidentally’ Shot Down Ukrainian Jet: What You Need to Know

This comes on the heels of a Reuters report which indicated the plane “suffered a technical malfunction and was not shot down.”

Emma Fiala

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Shot Down Ukrainian Jet

(TMU) — Iran’s civil aviation chief, Ali Abedzadeh, is rejecting U.S. claims that Ukraine International Airlines Flight 752 was shot down by Iranian missiles as “illogical rumors.” 

On Thursday, Newsweek was the first U.S. media outlet to cite an anonymous Pentagon official, an anonymous senior U.S. intelligence official, and an Iraqi intelligence official in a report claiming the Ukrainian jet that crashed shortly after taking off from Tehran was struck by an anti-aircraft missile system.

Newsweek’s report comes on the heels of a Reuters report which indicated that the crash of flight PS752 had “suffered a technical malfunction and was not shot down.” According to Times of Israel, the report quoted five unnamed security sources, three Americans, one European and one Canadian, as saying the initial assessment is that Iran’s explanation is accurate. However, an unnamed U.S. official later told Reuters that U.S. satellites detected the launch of two missiles before the plane crashed.

Shortly after Newsweek’s revelations began making waves, former Newsweek journalist Tareq Hadded tweeted the following:

On Tuesday, Hadded criticized the outlet’s new editor-at-large in a tweet, pointing out that Javeed Jamali is a former spy “with absolutely no background in real journalism.”

Last month, Hadded resigned from his position at Newsweek after the outlet impeded his attempts at publishing leaked documents related to a massive scandal at the U.N.-backed chemical weapons board, the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons.

Hadded explains on his website:

“The documents showed that the non-political scientists were unhappy that their findings from an alleged chemical weapons attack in Syria had been doctored and were changed to say that chlorine was present when it had not been—among other things—leading to implications that the U.S., U.K. and France launched an attack on the country on false grounds.

As attempts to publish this story failed, I discovered serious corruption at Newsweek: editors at the publication had links to the U.S. State Department and to powerful lobby groups who profited from war, thus leading to their decision to suppress the story. This is a major breach of journalism ethics and raises serious questions about freedom of press.”

Mainstream media in the United States often sources unverified information coming from anonymous officials rather than questioning their narratives and statements. These same outlets often employ or work closely with intelligence and Pentagon officials, either publicly or in back channels. Thanks in part to Haddad’s bravery and hard work, more proof of these relationships exist. As Hadded said himself, “Freedom of the press is dead.”

It is in this same vein that skepticism of Newsweek’s reporting Ukraine International Airlines Flight 752 must be met with skepticism, especially considering the report from Reuters only shortly before.

Here’s what we do know:

A Ukraine International Airlines Boeing 737-800 crashed only minutes after takeoff from Tehran’s Imam Khomeini International Airport en-route to Kiev, killing all 176 people on board. According to witnesses, the plane appeared to turn back or steer out of the way of a residential area before ultimately hitting the ground in a ball of flames. Footage purportedly showing the plane, already in flames, spread across social media.

As day broke, video and images of the large crash site were also made available.

Initial reports indicated that the Boeing 737-800 suffered a technical problem that lead to the fiery crash. Radar contact with the plane was lost at an altitude of about 8,000 ft (2,400 m). And while the pilot did not make a radio distress call, the Iranian aviation authority said it “turned right following a problem and was headed back to the airport at the moment of the crash,” corroborating eyewitness reports.

Iran’s aviation authority quickly announced that, while it is customary to provide the black box to the aircraft’s manufacturer in the event of a crash, it will neither be providing the flight recorders to Boeing or to U.S. aviation authorities.

While this decision is eliciting sharp criticism, Iran’s parliament on Tuesday unanimously passed a bill designating U.S. forces as “terrorists.” Reframing these events may be helpful in understanding why Iran may be reluctant to share the flight recorders—even without accusations flying, it is safe to say that the United States would not hand over something as important as a black box from a crashed airliner to ISIS or al-Qaeda to aid in the investigation.

It should also be noted that, while Boeing is indeed the manufacturer of the crashed airliner, it is also an American weapons manufacturer headquartered in Chicago, IL that just so happens to profit from war by designing, manufacturing, and selling airplanes, satellites, telecommunications equipment, rockets, and missiles across the globe. In fact, Boeing’s stock jumped immediately following Iran’s early morning ballistic missile attack on the U.S. military’s Ayn al-Asad in Iraq.

And while Iran is not sharing the flight recorders with the United States or Boeing, it is sharing them with authorities from other countries who have a stake in the crash, including Ukraine and Canada. In a statement issued on Wednesday, authorities from the two countries vowed to identify the cause of the deadly crash that killed 63 Canadians.

Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said:

“Our government will continue to work closely with its international partners to ensure that … [the crash] is thoroughly investigated, and that Canadians’ questions are answered.”

Thursday afternoon, Trudeau cited intelligence reports when he directly accused Iran of unintentionally shooting down the ill-fated flight.

Meanwhile, Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky is warning against “speculation or unchecked theories regarding the catastrophe.” Unfortunately today’s headline’s and television talking heads are spouting nothing but speculation.

Zelensky also said:

“All possible versions of what occurred must be examined.”

Save for not including the United States or Boeing in the investigation, Iran appears to be making an effort to be transparent throughout the investigation process.

On Thursday, Abedzadeh explained to CNN that Iran may indeed need outside help to investigate, but that “Iran has the potential and know-how to decode the black box. Everybody knows that.”

Abedzadeh revealed that Ukrainian Aviation experts arrived in Tehran on Thursday and will “start decoding the data” of the Boeing 737’s black box that, according to Abedzadeh, is “damaged.”

“If the available equipment is not enough to get the content,” Iran will outsource help from “experts from France or Canada.”

“Then whatever is the result will be published and publicized to the world,” Abedzadeh added.

During a Thursday White House event, U.S. President Donald Trump said that he has “suspicions” about what happened to the ill-fated airliner but appears to agree with Iran about the possibility of France’s involvement:

“Ideally they’d give it to Boeing, but if they gave it to France or if they gave it to some other country that would be okay, too.”

Trump denied that it had anything to do with the United States, saying:

“Somebody could have made a mistake on the other side … not our system. It has nothing to do with us.”

 

The U.S. president concluded by saying, “Something very terrible happened, very devastating.”

Unverified video claiming to show the midair explosion of Ukraine International Airlines Flight 752 surfaced on the chat platform Telegram, but not until after U.S. intelligence reports indicated that the airliner was shot down. The Telegram post read:

“The footage i’ve got from a source – the moment the missile hit the Flight PS752. I can’t verify the video yet! but please let me know if you find anything. I’m in contact with the person who send this video to see if I can get a version of video which has a meta data on it or at least show its a same location…”

In the midst of the early morning attack, the Federal Aviation Administration issued an emergency restriction for airspace in and around Iran due to “potential for miscalculation or mis-identification.” And important question that has yet to be answered is, regardless of what brought down Ukrainian flight PS752, why was a passenger airline flying so soon after an attack that may very well have warranted retaliation from the United States?

As the narrative appears to be shifting by the minute, with new details emerging at unprecedented speed, it is important to heed Zelensky’s warning and stray from “speculation or unchecked theories” examining “all possible versions of what occurred.” 

It is also important to not look at events such as this in a vacuum. Instead, a full understanding of the breadth conflict between the United States and Iran must be considered, including the 1988 downing of Iran Air Flight 655, in which an American Cruiser, the USS Vincennes, reportedly mistook the passenger jet for an enemy flighting, ultimately killing at 290 people on board, including 66 children.

By Emma Fiala | Creative Commons | TheMindUnleashed.com

Health

Humans May Have Found a Way To Not Only Stop Aging – But To Reverse It as Well

Elias Marat

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Humans have long to reverse the effects of aging and prolong their lives. Whether this was due to a love of power, a love of wealth or simple human anxiety about the loss of youth, tales about immortality can be found in the folk tales of countless cultures.

And while aging is a wholly natural process, humans have always struggled to fight against it – be it through science and medicine or through the search for supposed cures such as the mythical Fountain of Youth.

And now, Israeli scientists have claimed to have figured out a solution not only to the process of biological aging – but to reverse it as well, simply by administering pure oxygen in a pressurized chamber.

In a study published Nov. 18 in the peer-reviewed journal Aging, the scientists claim to have showed how aging could be reversed in two key biological clocks in humans related to aging and illness by administering high-pressure oxygen in a pressurized chamber.

When humans grow olders and their cells divide, the sequences of DNA at the end of chromosomes – known as telomeres – grow shorter with time. After the telomeres become too short, the cell is unable to replicate and eventually dies.

While telomere shortening can keep rogue cancerous cells from multiplying rapidly, this also results in genetic aging. As a result, geriatric cells that aren’t able to divide –  also known as senescent cells – accumulate throughout our lives, and are one of the key causes of aging.

In the clinical study, 35 people aged 64 or older were given hyperbaric oxygen treatments (HBOT) for 90 minutes a day, five times a week over the course of three months. Blood samples were collected from subjects prior to the treatment, after after the first and second months of the trial, and two weeks after the trial ended.

The patients didn’t have any lifestyle, diet, or medication changes during the study. However, their blood revealed major increases in the telomere length of their cells and a decrease in the number of their senescent cells.

For the researchers, the results of the study offered proof that the process of aging is reversible.

“Researchers around the world are trying to develop pharmacological and environmental interventions that enable telomere elongation,” Prof. Shai Efrati of Tel Aviv University told the Jerusalem Post. “Our HBOT protocol was able to achieve this, proving that the aging process can in fact be reversed at the basic cellular-molecular level.”

The groundbreak study, he added, “gives hope and opens the door for a lot of young scientists to target aging as a reversible disease.”

The oxygen treatment also improved subjects’ attention, ability to process information, as well as subjects’ executive functions, the researchers said.

While attempts to halt aging through modifying one’s lifestyle or intensively exercising can provide “some inhibiting effect on telomere shortening”, the hyperbaric oxygen treatment is more effective, said Efrati’s partner at the Shamir Medical Center, Chief Medical Research Officer Amir Hadanny.

“In our study, only three months of HBOT were able to elongate telomeres at rates far beyond any currently available interventions or lifestyle modifications,” Hadanny said.

The study could open the door to a radical new approach to medical problems and medicine in general.

“Today telomere shortening is considered the ‘Holy Grail’ of the biology of aging,” Prof. Shai Efrati of Tel Aviv University told the Jerusalem Post. “We are not [just] slowing the decline – we are going backwards in time.”

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Saturn and Jupiter Will Align and Create Extremely Rare ‘Christmas Star’ During Winter Solstice

Elias Marat

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The 2020 holiday season is widely expected to be one unlike any other, due in no small part to the ongoing public health emergency. However, Christmas celebrations will also be unique due to an extremely rare planetary alignment, the likes of which have never been seen since medieval times.

Star-gazers will be in for a major treat come December 21, 2020 – the date of the winter solstice – when Jupiter and Saturn will appear extremely close to one another in our night sky, making the planets appear that they might almost collide and becoming one extremely luminous point of light.

The rare celestial treat coinciding with Christmas week will see the Solar System’s two largest planets appear as a “double planet” for the first time in almost 800 years.

“Alignments between these two planets are rather rare, occurring once every 20 years or so, but this conjunction is exceptionally rare because of how close the planets will appear to one another,” said astronomer Patrick Hartigan in a press release from Rice University in Houston, Texas.

“You’d have to go all the way back to just before dawn on March 4, 1226, to see a closer alignment between these objects visible in the night sky,” he added.

Of course, these massive planets won’t be close to one another. Consider our own planet’s distance from the sun. Astronomers use what’s called astronomical units (au) to measure distances in the sprawling expanse of our solar system. Jupiter lies 5 au from the Earth, while Saturn lies 10 au away.

Since the summer, Jupiter and Saturn have been headed towards each other in our own night sky. And from Dec. 16-25, they will appear to be separated by only less than the diameter of a full moon.

While astronomers are recommending that the best views will be seen from around the equator, if good weather permits then the alignment will be clear from any location here on Earth.

Jupiter and Saturn will also be clear during the twilight, for roughly an hour after sunset every evening. However, a telescope tilted toward the western sky will be the best way to catch a glimpse of the extremely rare event.

“On the evening of closest approach on Dec 21 they will look like a double planet, separated by only 1/5th the diameter of the full moon,” Hartigan explained. “For most telescope viewers, each planet and several of their largest moons will be visible in the same field of view that evening.”

“The further north a viewer is, the less time they’ll have to catch a glimpse of the conjunction before the planets sink below the horizon.”

Websites like Stellarium will also be helpful in figuring out where you should look for the Jupiter-Saturn conjunction.

If you don’t get a chance to catch Jupiter and Saturn this close together, you can catch the pair again relatively soon – on March 15, 2080.

However, the next time Jupiter and Saturn will be so close in earthly night skies will be in 2400.

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Breonna Taylor Protest Leader, Suspect in Drug Case, Both Shot Dead Within Days

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Two people with close ties to the Breonna Taylor case have been shot and killed this week, and no suspects have announced in either case. Last Thursday, 28-year-old Adrian O. Walker was shot and killed in west Louisville, Kentucky, according to the Courier-Journal. Walker was one of the primary suspects in the investigation that led to the raid on Breonna Taylor’s home back in March. 

Adrian Walker entered a not guilty plea in late July to charges of engaging in a criminal syndicate, along with drug and gun charges, in connection with the investigation. He was one of the three people listed on the search warrant for Taylor’s home. 

Adrian Walker is not related to Breonna Taylor’s boyfriend Kenneth Walker, who fired back at police when the home was raided, they just happen to have the same last name. 

Police believed that Taylor’s ex-boyfriend, Jamarcus Glover, was storing cash and receiving packages of drugs at Taylor’s home, and that Adrian Walker was working with him.

Glover previously told reporters that he was offered a plea deal in which he would be promised a lighter sentence if he agreed to claim that Taylor was a criminal who belonged to an “organized crime syndicate.”

Glover turned down the deal. He believes that Taylor’s house may have been targeted because she bailed him out of jail when he was in trouble in the past. Police say that Glover was selling drugs out of a house nearly ten miles away from where the raid occurred, but he has pled not guilty to those charges and claims that the police are mistaken.

Adrian Walker, who was listed as an associate of Glover’s in the warrant, was found dead sometime in the afternoon on November 19th, on the 2300 block of Magazine Street, and police have not shared any details about the case with the public.

Just a few days later, one of the protest leaders behind the justice for Breonna Taylor movement was shot and killed, the Courier-Journal reported. On Monday, Hamza “Travis” Nagdy, was killed on the 2100 block of Crittenden Drive, also in Louisville.

Alton Strupp / Courier Journal

There are no suspects in his shooting either, and police have not revealed any details about the case.

In a post on Facebook, Nagdy’s mother and stepmother both confirmed his death. His sister, Sarah Nagdy, launched a GoFundMe for Nagdy’s funeral expenses, which has already raised over $17,000 in the first day that it was posted. A candlelight vigil in Nagdy’s honor will take place at Jefferson Square Park at 6 p.m. on Monday evening.

There is no indication that these two shootings are connected, but it is concerning that two people with connections to such a high profile case have died in unexplained murders.

So far this year there have been over 140 homicides in the city of Louisville, breaking the city’s record of 117 homicides in 2016 over a month before the end of the year.

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