MatrixLeaks: November 2013

World of child cage fighting

   Kids as young as 5 fight in cages in disturbing legal sport

Kids' cage fighting is an unsettling event that has children fighting in cages after their parents sign them up to do this adult-type sport. According to Fox News on Wednesday, Nov. 6, kids as young as five years old are getting in cages and punching, kicking and even putting other children into chokeholds.

The Café Mom reports on Nov. 5 that the sport is growing in leaps and bounds and parents are standing by watching their young kids fighting in this MMA and Pankration organized sport. What goes through a parent’s head to put their child in a cage to kick and be kicked and to punch and be punched? This is a question coming from a lot of folks today who don't understand why anyone would put their child in potential danger and train them to be violent.

“Parents are signing kids up for MMA in droves to teach them how to defend themselves from bullies.” Boxing even looks like child’s play next to the kicking and punching witnessed in these cages.

Parents are witnessed urging their kids to stay in the cage despite their fears making them want to get out! Injuries are common and recently a pediatrician who appeared on “Good Morning America” said that the sport “can lead to significant injuries to the neck, bones and ligaments.”

This kid cage fighting is not at all like Karate that teaches mental and emotional restraint rather than physical dominance. Café Mom suggests that just in case you were wondering why kids are getting so violent these days, look no further.

The sport of kids fighting in cages is perfectly legal and believe it or not, it is not considered a form of child abuse by the law. All that is missing while watching these youngsters fighting is a window so the parents can bet on the outcome. What do you think, is this is a dangerous sport for such a young child? YouTube is full of these kids cage fighting matches. In the video above you can hear the parents cheering the kids on from the sidelines.

Parker, Arizona, United States: Kristofer "The Arm Collector" Arrey, 7, and Cross Betzhold, 6, prepare for their bout at a United States Fight League Pankration All-Star tournament held at the BlueWater Resort and Casino

   Children's MMA or Pankration is one of the fastest growing sports in the United States with an estimated 3 million kids involved

It is the heat of battle between two MMA fighters hemmed inside an industrial metal cage. One kicks, punches and strangles his way to brutal victory. His opponent breaks down and cries tears for his mother.

But this is not an unusual end to another televised brawl between two fully grown brutes, this is kids's MMA, or Mixed Martial Arts, which is rapidly becoming one of the nation's fastest growing sports among children.

It is estimated that three million boys and girls, some as young as five-years-old launch themselves at each other weekly across the nation engaged in Pankration - some wearing no head protection and throwing punches boasting gloves little more than one-inch thick.

Critics call it barbaric and fear for the children's safety and the effect on their behavior.

Supporters compare it's benefits to boxing and traditional martial arts and claim that it encourages self-discipline, fair play and exercise.

Tears: Mason "The Beast" Bramlette, 7, cries after receiving a punch during 2013 California State Pankration Championships Youth Division

A New-York based photographer, Sebastian Montalvo, traveled across the country and compiled a photographic essay in which he attempts to shine a light onto the ferocious sport, giving names and faces to the little children whose parents are encouraging their fighting spirit.

One such child, is Kristopher Arrey. He is seven years old and his success in the MMA ring is so fearsome that he has earned the nickname 'The Arm Collector'.

In one striking and arguably disturbing image from Montalvo, Arrey is on his back, inflicting a painful choke-hold on another boy.

Once this fight ends in victory for Arrey, his defeated opponent, Mason Bramlette, who is also seven, is seen crying - an illuminating image which reminds the viewer exactly how old the fighter's are.

Montalvo told CNN that parental encouragement is key to the growth of MMA.

'Are you OK?' Montalvo heard the referee asking Mason as tears streamed down his face. 'Do you want to stop fighting?'.

His father urged his son to stay in the ring.

Indeed, Montalvo said that the key aspect of kid's MMA was how competitive the parents are.

'They're mega-competitive,' Montalvo said. They 'love their kids 100%' and 'they just want them to win.'

And while critics may reel at the sight of children placed in a ring and asked to fight like adults, supporters say it encourages a culture of losing fair and winning well.

'After every match, the kids are supposed to shake hands,' said Montalvo. 'One father started screaming at his son because he didn't want to shake hands after he lost.'

As MMA classes pop up around the country, some catering for children as young as five, there are concerns about the safety risks of young children taking part in such a violent contact sport.

A quick search of YouTube throws up countless videos showing boys and girls competing in MMA. Some of the videos are more violent than others, boys and girls in cages punching, kicking and choking each other.

Effort: Kristofer "The Arm Collector" Arrey, 7, chokes Mason Bramlette, 7, during 2013 California State Pankration Championships Youth Division. Pankration is a version of the popular Mixed Martial Arts (MMA)-style fighting that is adapted for children

Chris Conolley is an MMA teacher, who owns Spartan Fitness in Hoover, Alabama, he is quick to point out that what the kids get taught is very different from the adult version.

Rather than fighting each other, his pupils are taught the techniques to get in shape and have fun.

‘It's an outstanding way for them to get in shape, exercise. Childhood obesity now is a big issue [this can] get them on the right path conducive to fitness,’ Conolley said in an interview with Fox6 earlier this year.

Nevertheless injuries, especially concussions, are a constant risk and doctors recommend that children should always wear headgear even when training.

The kids of MMA are taking their cues from the 'Ultimate Fighting Championship' or 'UFC' where moves like the 'Ground Pound' and the 'Cobra Strangle' have millions tuning in every week.

Prominent critics of MMA for adults including Senator John McCain, who called it 'human cockfighting' and in 2008 wrote a letter to the governors of every state asking them to ban it.

'I think it's dangerous from a physical standpoint,' pediatrician Lisa Thornton told Good Morning America.

'It can lead to significant injuries to the neck and bones and ligaments.'

CNN photos -

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We're All Terrorists Now

British Accuse David Miranda, Glenn Greenwald's Partner, Of 'Terrorism'

British authorities claimed the domestic partner of reporter Glenn Greenwald was involved in "terrorism" when he tried to carry documents from former U.S. intelligence contractor Edward Snowden through a London airport in August, according to police and intelligence documents.

Greenwald's partner, David Miranda, was detained and questioned for nine hours by British authorities at Heathrow on Aug. 18, when he landed there from Berlin to change planes for a flight to Rio De Janeiro, Brazil.

After his release and return to Rio, Miranda filed a legal action against the British government, seeking the return of materials seized from him by British authorities and a judicial review of the legality of his detention.

At a London court hearing this week for Miranda's lawsuit, a document called a "Ports Circulation Sheet" was read into the record. It was prepared by Scotland Yard - in consultation with the MI5 counterintelligence agency - and circulated to British border posts before Miranda's arrival. The precise date of the document is unclear.

                                                                     David Miranda

"Intelligence indicates that Miranda is likely to be involved in espionage activity which has the potential to act against the interests of UK national security," according to the document.

"We assess that Miranda is knowingly carrying material the release of which would endanger people's lives," the document continued. "Additionally the disclosure, or threat of disclosure, is designed to influence a government and is made for the purpose of promoting a political or ideological cause. This therefore falls within the definition of terrorism..."

Miranda was not charged with any offense, although British authorities said in August they had opened a criminal investigation after initially examining materials they seized from him. They did not spell out the probe's objectives.

A key hearing on Miranda's legal challenge is scheduled for next week. The new details of how and why British authorities decided to act against him, including extracts from police and MI5 documents, were made public during a preparatory hearing earlier this week.

                                                                 Glenn Greenwald

British authorities have said in court that items seized from Miranda included electronic media containing 58,000 documents from the U.S. National Security Agency and its British counterpart, Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ).

Greenwald, who previously worked for Britain's Guardian newspaper, has acknowledged that Miranda was carrying material supplied by Snowden when he was detained.

In an email to Reuters, Greenwald condemned the British government for labeling his partner's actions "terrorism."

"For all the lecturing it doles out to the world about press freedoms, the UK offers virtually none...They are absolutely and explicitly equating terrorism with journalism," he said.

Separately on Friday, media disclosed details of an open letter Snowden issued to Germany from his place of exile in Russia, in which he says his revelations have helped to "address formerly concealed abuses of the public trust" and added that "speaking the truth is not a crime."

Snowden said he was counting on international support to stop Washington's "persecution" of him for revealing the scale of its worldwide phone and Internet surveillance.

Steven Aftergood, a secrecy expert with the Federation of American Scientists, said that given the nature of the material that Miranda was carrying, a harsh response by British authorities was not unexpected.

"It seems that UK authorities were attempting to seize or recover official documents, to which they arguably have a claim," Aftergood said. "The authorities' action was harsh, but not incomprehensible or obviously contrary to law."

In a separate document read into the court record, MI5, also known as the Security Service, indicated British authorities' interest in Miranda was spurred by his apparent role as a courier ferrying material from Laura Poitras, a Berlin-based filmmaker, to Greenwald, who lives with Miranda in Brazil.

"We strongly assess that Miranda is carrying items which will assist in Greenwald releasing more of the NSA and GCHQ material we judge to be in Greenwald's possession," said the document, described as a "National Security Justification" prepared for police.

"Our main objectives against David Miranda are to understand the nature of any material he is carrying, mitigate the risks to national security that this material poses," the document added.

A spokesman for the British Embassy in Washington had no comment on the court proceedings or documents.

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