633: Reverse the Curse

Adam Curry & John C. Dvorak

3h 14m
July 10th, 2014
Share at 0:00

Executive Producers: Sir Anthony Colangelo, Robert Wieda, Black Knight Sir Sab Swiss, Knight of the Zurich Highlands, Nathan Newberg, Daniel Serbus, Roy Pearce, Nick Johannes, Sir Roll_SK

Associate Executive Producers: Andrew Lemesany, William Doty, Matthew Yates

Cover Artist: 20wattbulb

Chapters

0:00
Start of Show
Woodstock
Suggest a new chapter
PR
hottdick
Julian Garthwaite
‏@Julznova
@adamcurry In celebration of your heteroflexibility I've redirected one of my old domains http://hottdick.com to http://noagendashow.com .
TODAY
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
New Hams
Monitoring REF033C
JCD REF014C on the San Jose Repeater - Old Dudes!
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Obama in Town
Robert Rodriguez - IMDb
Wed, 09 Jul 2014 14:27
Robert Rodriguez was born and raised in San Antonio, Texas, USA. At a very young age he showed an interest in cartooning and filmmaking and devoted all of his time towards developing this fascination. Finally, it paid off, resulting in him in making real movies; and just the first of them - El mariachi (1992) - made him the legend of independent, ... See full bio >>
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Director of the National Counterterrorism Center retires | National Politics | NewsObserver.com
Wed, 09 Jul 2014 23:22
Matt Olsen, the director of the National Counterterrorism Center, has retired, President Barack Obama announced Wednesday.
''Most Americans may not know Matt Olsen's name, but every American is safer because of his service,'' President Barack Obama said in a statement. Obama said Olsen was ''absolutely critical to our success in disrupting terrorist cells, thwarting attacks and protecting the American people from evolving threats at home and abroad.''
Olsen, a former prosecutor who worked in various roles at the Justice Department's Civil Rights Division, was the head of the Guantanamo Review Task Force, a commission set up to oversee the legal justifications of the detainees at the Guantanamo Bay detention camp. He later briefly served as associate deputy attorney general and as the general counsel of the National Security Agency.
Obama nominated Olsen to become the drector of the National Counterterrorism Center, in 2011.
James Clapper, director of the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, said Olsen ''developed a skilled, interagency workforce, arming it with the information and tools it needed to warn against terrorist attacks and to provide U.S. decision makers the intelligence they needed to counter this threat.''
Statement by the President on the Resignation of Matt Olsen | The White House
Wed, 09 Jul 2014 23:21
The White House
Office of the Press Secretary
For Immediate Release
July 09, 2014
Most Americans may not know Matt Olsen's name, but every American is safer because of his service. As Director of the National Counterterrorism Center for the past three years, Matt and the dedicated professionals he has led at the NCTC have been absolutely critical to our success in disrupting terrorist cells, thwarting attacks and protecting the American people from evolving threats at home and abroad. I've relied on Matt's wise judgment and counsel, and I am especially grateful for his work to ensure that our counterterrorism efforts remain consistent with the rule of law and our values as a nation. As he concludes 24 years of federal service, I thank Matt for a distinguished career that has left our nation more secure and even better prepared to meet the threats of our time.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Bullcrap @CIA tweets
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Book Club
Middle East recommendation from Knight
Adam,
After listening to the past few shows, your desire to learn more about middle east history really hit home with me.
In 2006 or 2007 I came across "United States and the Middle East: 1914 to 9/11 by Professor Salim Yaqub." Its about 12 hours of lectures dealing with the US/Middle East relations over the past 100 years (stopping at 2003).
I'd like to recommend this "book" for the NA Book Club. I hope you and other producers find this a valuable tool to understanding current US/Middle East relations.
Professor Salim Yaqub is an Associate Professor at UC Santa Barbra.
http://www.thegreatcourses.com/tgc/Courses/course_detail.aspx?cid=8593
Also on Audible.
Sir Andrew Greene (of Florida, not UK)
Founding Producer (since March 2009)
ITM LGY TYFYC
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
The Fix is In
Oranje moet hotel uit | Wk voetbal 2014 | Telegraaf.nl
Mon, 07 Jul 2014 03:15
Exclusieve artikelen van de Telegraaf redactie
zo 06 jul 2014, 21:58
RIO DE JANEIRO - Bert van Oostveen betreurt dat het Nederlands elftal maandag het hotel Caeser Park Ipanema moet verlaten. De directeur betaald voetbal van de KNVB noemt het ongepast dat Oranje niet tot het einde van het toernooi in het fraaie onderkomen in Rio de Janeiro mag verblijven. "Ik denk dat het niet in het belang van het voetbal is dat sporters moeten wijken'', zei hij.
De KNVB kon het hotel tot en met de halve finale vastleggen. Daarna wilde de FIFA hoogwaardigheidsbekleders en sponsors onderbrengen in de hotels aan Ipanema en Copacabana, de fraaie boulevards van Rio de Janeiro waar zondag de WK-finale wordt gehouden. "We moesten wel toestemmen. Als we een hotel tot aan het einde van het toernooi bij de FIFA wilden reserveren, dan moesten we geloof ik ergens 900 meter hoog in de bergen gaan zitten'', mopperde Van Oostveen.
De selectie van Louis van Gaal gaat maandag naar Sao Paulo voor het duel met Argentini in de halve finale. "Afhankelijk van de uitslag bekijken we naar welk hotel het Nederlands elftal verhuist'', vertelde Van Oostveen. "De finale is namelijk in Rio de Janeiro, de strijd om de derde en vierde plaats in Brasilia. Het is gewoon jammer dat het zo moet. De spelers zijn gewend aan het hotel. En dan moeten ze misschien voor de belangrijkste wedstrijd van hun loopbaan uitwijken. Vier jaar geleden in Zuid-Afrika was het niet anders.''
(C) 1996-2014 TMG Landelijke Media B.V., Amsterdam.Alle rechten voorbehouden.e-mail: redactie-i@telegraaf.nlGebruiksvoorwaarden | Privacy | Cookies | Cookie-voorkeuren
Van Gaal: 'Twee spelers wilden niet' | Wk voetbal 2014 | Telegraaf.nl
Thu, 10 Jul 2014 12:32
Exclusieve artikelen van de Telegraaf redactie
do 10 jul 2014, 08:00
Van onze TelesportredactieRon Vlaar was niet de eerste keuze voor Louis van Gaal om een strafschop te nemen in de halve finale met Argentini. De uitblinkende verdediger zette zich woensdagavond echter wel achter de eerste penalty van Oranje. Zijn inzet werd gekeerd en het Nederlands elftal werd uitgeschakeld.
"Dat heeft ook met geluk te maken'', zei Van Gaal. "Tegen Costa Rica namen we de strafschoppen geweldig. Dat zou vertrouwen moeten geven. Het is heel belangrijk dat je de eerste strafschop benut. Voor Ron Vlaar heb ik twee spelers gevraagd om de eerste penalty te nemen. Zij wilden niet. Vlaar was in mijn ogen onze beste speler. Helaas scoorde hij niet."
Robin van Persie, de spits die de eerste strafschop nam tegen Costa Rica, was al gewisseld voor Klaas-Jan Huntelaar. Door die wissel kon Van Gaal ook de keeper niet meer wisselen, terwijl hij dat liever wel had gedaan.
"Uiteindelijk stopt Romero twee strafschoppen'', stelde Van Gaal. "Dat is extra zuur. Als trainer van AZ heb ik hem naar Alkmaar gehaald. Ik heb hem geleerd strafschoppen te stoppen. Nee, dat is een grapje. Dit is natuurlijk zijn eigen verdienste. Natuurlijk is de teleurstelling groot nu. Maar we hebben het fantastisch gedaan hier. Dat mogen we niet vergeten.''
(C) 1996-2014 TMG Landelijke Media B.V., Amsterdam.Alle rechten voorbehouden.e-mail: redactie-i@telegraaf.nlGebruiksvoorwaarden | Privacy | Cookies | Cookie-voorkeuren
2 living popes, the last one from Germany, and this one from-Argentina
Art predicted the # of GER goals 3+4
Email from Captain Hindisght
I wish I could I say I came up with this before Brazil was decimated 7-1 by Germany, but I did not. So, in the spirit of Captain Hindsight here is my take on how the Word Cup was fixed.
First, while the idea that Brazil needed to win in order to avoid riots seemed to be the dominant theme, it did ignore the fact that the Brazil is also a part of BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa). A few days before the Germany-Brazil game, there was an article stating that BRICS was moving towards becoming an anti-dollar alliance:http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2014-07-02/brics-are-morphing-anti-dollar-alliance. Anytime anyone wants to challenge the dollar as a reserve currency, something bad happens to them. So, there was no need for Brazil to win to avoid riots, The Powers That Be wanted riots and wanted Brazil to put in its place.
Second, as you mentioned on the most recent show, their was a double agent discovered in Germany that was spying for the United States. The day after the Germany-Brazil game, another person was caught spying for the US against Germany:http://www.reuters.com/article/2014/07/09/us-germany-usa-spy-idUSKBN0FE16N20140709. Isn’t it convenient that the Germans can enjoy a huge win over a soccer power right at the time that two people from the US are found to spying on their country?
Third, Argentina is currently in a recession and may default on its debt obligations:http://www.reuters.com/article/2014/07/08/us-argentina-debt-idUSKBN0FD16G20140708. If any country needs a boost right now, it is Argentina. They also do not happen to be a country that is challenging the dollar as the reserve currency.
So, based upon the above, Brazil was made to lose to serve as a warning about continuing on the anti-dollar path, Germany was given a huge victory to distract their country over the spying mess, and Argentina will be given the final victory in order to help them through an economic crisis. Again, all of this was after the Germany-Brazil game and if the Netherlands win today, well my e-mail will be pointless.
Argentina's economy: Shrinking | The Economist
Wed, 09 Jul 2014 23:06
AMID the adulation of Lionel Messi and the angst over the country's ongoing battle with its holdout creditors, it was easy to miss another piece of news from Argentina this week. On June 23rd the country's statistics agency announced that Argentina's economy had officially entered recession, shrinking by 0.8% in the first quarter of 2014 after a 0.5% contraction in the final quarter of 2013. Many economists are expecting the first calendar-year recession since Argentina's devastating 2001-2002 financial crisis.
The economy's contraction can be attributed largely to a devaluation of 20% in January, accompanied by interest-rate hikes. That subdued output and spurred on inflation, predicted to reach almost 40% by year-end. For Miguel Kiguel of EconViews, a consultancy, expectations of devaluation also played their part, by pulling some economic activity into 2013: ''People stocked up on durable goods such as cars, and they were smart to do so given that prices have since spiked and the peso has lost value.''
Many of Argentina's problems are familiar. Inflation has plagued Argentina for much of the past decade; it still grew by an average of 5.6% from 2005-2013. Exchange and trade controls have long made it hard to get hold of primary materials, stifling production. But whereas in the past Argentina could maintain growth by propping up the peso and consumers' purchasing power, falling foreign-exchange reserves mean it can no longer afford to do so.
However it ends, Argentina's standoff with the holdout creditors is likely to exacerbate this problem. On June 27th the New York judge in charge of the case warned Argentina that its preparations to make a June 30th payment to its exchange bondholders, without also paying the holdouts, would not be allowed. If Argentina cannot find a way to pay its exchange bondholders by the end of a grace period on July 30th, it will be in default. According to Fausto Spotorno at Orlando Ferreres & Associates, defaulting would ''make a situation that is already unsustainable, less sustainable still''. Commercial credit lines would be cut off, he says; investment would drop to zero and access to dollars would be further strangled, putting more pressure on the peso.
Negotiating a settlement with the holdouts has its own costs. A cash payment to the holdouts would mean a further drain on the country's foreign-exchange reserves, again putting pressure on the currency. Argentina could try to pay the holdouts in bonds, as they recently did to compensate Repsol, the Spanish oil company, for the expropriation of its stake in YPF, another oil firm, in 2012. But with lots of new IOUs already in the market, that might make it less easy for the country to fund itself with new debt even if there is a rapprochement with the holdouts.
In any case, access to financing will not solve Argentina's deficit problems. The fiscal deficit swelled to 15 billion pesos ($1.85 billion) in the first quarter of 2014. To reduce this gap the Argentine government will need to curb spending, a task that would be tough politically and would do little to pep up the economy.
PreviousWorld Cup diary: Bras­lia: All eyes on the pitch
NextCannabis in British Columbia : The grass on the other side
Dutch World Cup team rewarded with free spaceflight'--if it wins | Ars Technica
Mon, 07 Jul 2014 20:28
The XCOR Lynx Mark II.
Further ReadingIf the Netherlands manages to make it to'--and then win'--the World Cup final on Sunday, XCOR Aerospace will award all the team's members with a free flight to space, according to a report from Forbes. The flights, which can only be taken by one person at a time, are valued at $95,000 each.
The Space Expeditions branch of XCOR was formerly an independent Dutch operation named Space Expedition Corporation (hence the focus on the Dutch team). XCOR, the American company that developed the Lynx Mark II sub-orbital space vehicle, purchased Space Expeditions at the end of June and made it a wholly owned subsidiary.
XCOR's rocket-powered Lynx hopes to take its passengers 100 kilometers up into the Earth's thermosphere'--when it launches in 2016. The Lynx should be able to achieve the same altitude as Virgin Galactic's SpaceShipTwo, which is set to provide its six passengers with six minutes of low-gravity flight time for $200,000 a seat.
XCOR's offer probably won't cost the company anything, however; the Dutch team's chances of winning the World Cup are the slimmest of the remaining teams, at 13 percent, according to FiveThirtyEight.
SPACEX Acquisition News
Mon, 07 Jul 2014 20:28
SXC to become ''XCOR Space Expeditions''An Open, Global Platform for XCOR® Lynx® Flights
June 30, 2014, Mojave, CA '--XCOR Aerospace announced today that it has closed the acquisition of all operational subsidiaries of Space Expedition Corporation, the previously independent Dutch company also known as SXC. SXC served as XCOR's general sales agent for XCOR®Lynx®flight sales and as their lead wet lease customer. The new sales entity, XCOR Space Expeditions, will continue to focus on sales, commercial partnerships and participant (customer) training on a global level, and will serve as an open sales channel available for all future XCOR Lynx wet lease clients.
The acquisition signals XCOR's commitment to being ''the most active space flight company in the world'' through a marked increase in integrated sales activities and multiple wet lease operations. As the most active spaceflight company in the world, XCOR is poised to become the company which delivers the most value for the price. With its high frequency of flights, XCOR will learn the most the quickest in the emerging commercial spaceflight industry and more customers will benefit from Lynx's incredible in-the-cockpit experience.
XCOR CEO Jeff Greason noted that ''For the past two years, SXC has provided XCOR Aerospace with an expanding roster of new customers and commercial partners. As XCOR Space Expeditions, we look forward to making the most of their expertise and insights with customers and commercial partners. With their sales and marketing engine now a part of the XCOR brand, we deepen the connection between customers and Lynx.''
''Both as a founder of SXC, and through my background in e-Business and Formula One, I understand that exceptional engineering and design are vital for performance and the overall customer experience,'' said SXC co-founder and XCOR Aerospace board member Michiel Mol. ''XCOR Aerospace is the best I've seen in spacecraft and rocket engine design. With this acquisition XCOR Space Expeditions will provide direct connection to the XCOR brand and more up-to-date information about Lynx for individual ticket holders, wet lease customers and commercial partners. The result is an integrated XCOR that will inspire our customers and investors, and deliver a more seamless and exciting experience overall.''
Detailed terms of the transaction were not disclosed. The all-stock transaction was reviewed by the United States Treasury Department's Committee on Foreign Investment in the US (CFIUS) which determined the acquisition and exchange of shares was not a''covered transaction.''
About
XCOR Aerospace:XCOR Aerospace is based in Mojave, California. It is currently creating a Research and Development Center in Midland, Texas, and will be establishing an operational and manufacturing site at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida with the assistance of Space Florida. XCOR®builds safer, more reliable and reusable rocket-powered vehicles, propulsion systems, advanced non-flammable composites and rocket piston pumps. XCOR works with aerospace prime contractors and government customers on major propulsion systems, while also building the XCOR®Lynx®. Lynx is a piloted, two-seat, fully reusable liquid rocket-powered spaceplane that takes off and lands horizontally. The Lynx family of vehicles serves three primary missions: research and scientific missions and private spaceflight in the Lynx Mark I and Lynx Mark II, and micro satellite launch on the Lynx Mark III. Lynx production models (designated Lynx Mark II) are designed to be robust, multi-mission (research/scientific or private spaceflight) commercial vehicles capable of flying to 100+ km in altitude, up to four times per day. Lynx production models are available to customers in the free world on a wet-lease basis for their own manned space flight programs. Learn more at www.xcor.com.
XCOR Space Expeditions:XCOR Space Expeditions, a wholly owned subsidiary of XCOR Aerospace, is based in Amsterdam with a regional office for Asia in Hong Kong. XCOR Space Expeditions supports a global network of 50 independent resellers with established Lynx flight sales experience. The company's space-focused training programs offer a variety of medical screening and specialty training missions for future XCOR Lynx flight participants. Strategic partnerships are currently active with global brands including KLM, Unilever, Luminox, Heineken and Sony Pictures Television.
ISIS Tells FIFA: Cancel Qatari World Cup Or Face Scuds | Vocativ
Wed, 09 Jul 2014 02:53
Before the winner of the Brazil World Cup has even been decided, the 2022 event is facing fresh threats. And this time, it's not down to construction delays or street protests, it's ambitious terrorists. The Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, the terrorist organisation currently wreaking havoc in the Middle East, issued a bizarrely polite threat to FIFA earlier this week, warning them not to hold the 2022 World Cup in Qatar.
The group claims that by that stage, Qatar will be a part of its newly-declared Islamic Caliphate, ''under the rule of the Caliph Ibrahim Bin Awad Alqarshi'' (the full name of ISIS leader Al Baghdady). Under that caliphate, football games will be considered ''a diversion from Islam''.
This map, circulated widely as outlining an ISIS five-year plan, has been largely debunked, but may be indicative of the widest extent of their ambitions.
After the message was released on Sunday, it spread virally on social media platforms. Given the violent ongoing devastation by ISIS in Syria and Iraq, resulting in masses of dead bodies the Al Qaeda-inspired group leaves in their wake, what is perhaps most surprising about ISIS's threat is its tone.
Regally addressing the FIFA President by his full first name ''Joseph'' (he goes by the moniker ''Sepp'') the terror group ''suggest'' Mr. Blatter had better find a replacement venue for the Qatar event, while nonchalantly mentioning the long-range scud missiles ISIS claims to have acquired, which would put the Kingdom well within their strike range. Having issued their warning, the group signs off with a ''thanks''.
The full message '' as posted on ISIS's forum alplatformmedia.com and reprinted in Egypt's Al Wattan newspaper reads:
''From the soldiers of the Caliphate state to the president of the international football association Joseph S. Blatter:
''Dear Joseph,
We had sent a message to you back in 2010, when you decided or were bribed by the former Amir of Qatar to have the 2022 world cup in Qatar. Now, after the establishment of the Caliphate state, we declare that there will be no world cup in Qatar since Qatar will be part of the Caliphate under the rule of the Caliph Ibrahim Bin Awad Alqarshi (Al Baghdady's full name) who doesn't allow corruption and diversion from Islam in the land of the Muslims. This is why we suggest that you will decide upon a replacement country instead of Qatar. The Islamic state has long-rang scud missiles that can easily reach Qatar, as the Americans already know.
Thanks.''
The warning follows revelations by The Sunday Times newspaper last month detailing a damning security assessment for Qatar. According to the statement, there was a ''high risk'' of the World Cup in 2022 being ''shut down'' altogether by a terror attack in the kindgom. Qatar has been mired in controversy ever since winning the bid to become the first Arab state to host a World Cup final in 2010. One of the key concerns has been the blisteringly hot summer temperatures in Qatar''exceeding 120 degrees Fahrenheit, which pretty much makes soccer unplayable.
Others have protested the corruption scandals surrounding Qatar's bid, as well as the Kingdom's problematic human rights record. According to an Amnesty International report from October 2013, migrant workers in Qatar are ''treated like cattle'' and placed in deplorable work conditions akin to modern day slavery.
The ISIS warning is far from the first of its kind''soccer fatwas from wingnut clerics are as rhythmic as the World Cup cycle itself. A 2010 Stratfor advisory, coming just after the Qatar announcement by FIFA, quoted an Islamic activist as saying: ''You fools, know that Al-Qaeda is on the threshold of establishing the shariah (Islamic law) of Allah the Almighty.''
Arab men sit at a shoemaker's stall with a replica of the FIFA World Cup trophy in the Souq Waqif traditional market in Doha, Qata.
Sean Gallup/Getty Images
The user, who went by the name Hafeed al-Hussein on the Shumukh al-Islam online forum, also had a few prescient lines about the future balance of power on the Arab peninsula.
''And who knows, Allah may empower al-Qaeda so that it takes control of matters after a year or two, or five years at most,'' he said. ''In 2022, there is no country with the name Qatar, and there is no province called Kuwait and there is no Saudi (Arabia). Instead, there is an emirate called the Islamic State,'' the post added.
Sounds familiar.
Deutschland Blitzkrieg
U.S. Scrutiny for Banks Shifts to Commerzbank and Germany
State and federal authorities have begun settlement talks with
Commerzbank, Germany’s second-largest lender, over the bank’s dealings
with Iran and other countries blacklisted by the United States,
according to people briefed on the matter.
Germany to spy on US for first time since 1945 after 'double agent' scandal - Europe - World - The Independent
Tue, 08 Jul 2014 01:30
The unprecedented change to Berlin's counter-espionage policy was announced by Ms Merkel's Interior Minister, Thomas de Maizi¨re. He said that Berlin wanted ''360'‘degree surveillance'' of all intelligence-gathering operations in Germany.
The intelligence services of the Allied victors, the United States, Britain and France, have hitherto been regarded as ''friendly'' to Germany. Their diplomatic and information-gathering activities were exempted from surveillance by Berlin's equivalent of M15 '' the Bundesnachrichtendienst (BND).
But Mr de Maizi¨re told Bild that he was now not ruling out permanent German counter-espionage surveillance of US, British and French intelligence operations. His remarks were echoed by Stephan Mayer, a domestic security spokesman for Ms Merkel's ruling Christian Democrats. ''We must focus more strongly on our so-called allies,'' he said.
The plan is in response to the scandal resulting from last week's arrest of a 31- year-old BND ''double agent'' who spent at least two years selling top-secret German intelligence documents to his US spymasters in return for cash payments of '‚¬10,000 (£7,940) per document.
Chancellor Merkel interrupted a current trade visit to China on Monday to describe the scandal as a ''very serious development''. She added: ''It is a clear contradiction of the notion of trustworthy co-operation.'' German politicians have been shocked that the Americans not only failed to report the ''double agent'' but recruited him.
Angela Merkel met Premier Li Keqiang in China to promote economic ties (AFP)
Several German MPs on Monday demanded the expulsion of the American agents in Germany who recruited the ''double agent''. Hans-Peter Uhl, a leading conservative, told Der Spiegel: '' It goes without saying that the [US] intelligence official responsible should leave Germany.''
The double agent is reported to have simply emailed Berlin's American embassy and asked whether officials were interested in ''co-operation''. He subsequently downloaded at least 300 secret documents on to USB sticks that he handed to his American spymasters at secret location in Austria.
He was caught by German counter-espionage agents only after he was found offering similar BND documents to Berlin's Russian embassy. The Germans had considered it ''impossible'' that one of their own intelligence men could be working as a '' double agent'' for the Americans.
New German counter-espionage measures would almost certainly result in the monitoring of ''listening posts'', which both the American National Security Agency (NSA) and its British equivalent, GCHQ, run from the roofs of their respective Berlin embassies.
Their existence was revealed at the height of the first spying scandal to dent Berlin's relations with Washington which erupted last year when evidence supplied by the US whistle-blower Edward Snowden revealed that NSA bugged Ms Merkel's mobile phone.
The US bugging operation was conducted from a listening post on the roof of the American embassy in Berlin, which is located only metres from the government district. Britain's GCHQ was operating an almost identical ''listening post'' from the top of the UK's embassy on Berlin's nearby Wilhelmstrasse.
Germany investigating second U.S. spy suspect: security sources
Wed, 09 Jul 2014 14:52
Germany investigating second U.S. spy suspect: security sourcesTop News
Germany investigating second U.S. spy suspect: security sources
Wed, Jul 09 09:00 AM EDT
BERLIN (Reuters) - Germany is investigating a suspected U.S. spy in its military, a security source said, days after the arrest of a member of its foreign intelligence agency as a double agent tested U.S. relations already strained by espionage.
The Federal Prosecutor's office said in a statement that authorities had begun conducting searches in Berlin on Wednesday morning in connection with a suspected spy, who had not been arrested. It gave no further details.
"The suspect is from the military," a security source told Reuters, speaking on condition of anonymity.
The new investigation comes just days after Germany arrested a 31-year-old employee of the BND foreign intelligence service who admits passing documents to a U.S. contact. The foreign ministry has called in the U.S. ambassador for an explanation.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel said on Monday that if it proved to be true that the BND officer was spying for NATO ally the United States, it would be a "serious case".
The documents include details of a parliamentary committee's investigation of former U.S. intelligence contractor Edward Snowden's allegations that Washington carried out surveillance in Germany, including of Chancellor Merkel's telephone.
The new case, reported on Wednesday, is believed to be more serious than last week's, Sueddeutsche Zeitung daily said in an advance copy of Thursday's edition.
The defense ministry confirmed an investigation was going ahead but declined to give any further details. The U.S. embassy in Berlin was unable to comment.
The latest allegations risk further straining ties with Washington, which have been sorely tested by reports last year of large-scale snooping by the U.S. National Security Agency.
Merkel said on Wednesday that there were talks with the United States, but she could not comment on their content.
Two U.S. officials familiar with the case of the arrested BND official matter told Reuters on Monday the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) was involved in a spying operation against Germany that led to the alleged recruitment of a German intelligence official.
Surveillance is a sensitive issue in a country where the memory of the Nazi's Gestapo secret police and communist East Germany's Stasi means the right to privacy is treasured.
After the Snowden revelations, Berlin demanded Washington agree to a "no-spy agreement" but the United States has been unwilling to make such a commitment. German officials also emphasize that they rely on intelligence from U.S. agencies.
(Reporting by Sabine Siebold and Thorsten Severin Writing by Alexandra Hudson; Editing by Stephen Brown and Ralph Boulton)
Germany investigating second U.S. spy suspect: security sourcesTop News
Germany investigating second U.S. spy suspect: security sources
Wed, Jul 09 09:00 AM EDT
BERLIN (Reuters) - Germany is investigating a suspected U.S. spy in its military, a security source said, days after the arrest of a member of its foreign intelligence agency as a double agent tested U.S. relations already strained by espionage.
The Federal Prosecutor's office said in a statement that authorities had begun conducting searches in Berlin on Wednesday morning in connection with a suspected spy, who had not been arrested. It gave no further details.
"The suspect is from the military," a security source told Reuters, speaking on condition of anonymity.
The new investigation comes just days after Germany arrested a 31-year-old employee of the BND foreign intelligence service who admits passing documents to a U.S. contact. The foreign ministry has called in the U.S. ambassador for an explanation.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel said on Monday that if it proved to be true that the BND officer was spying for NATO ally the United States, it would be a "serious case".
The documents include details of a parliamentary committee's investigation of former U.S. intelligence contractor Edward Snowden's allegations that Washington carried out surveillance in Germany, including of Chancellor Merkel's telephone.
The new case, reported on Wednesday, is believed to be more serious than last week's, Sueddeutsche Zeitung daily said in an advance copy of Thursday's edition.
The defense ministry confirmed an investigation was going ahead but declined to give any further details. The U.S. embassy in Berlin was unable to comment.
The latest allegations risk further straining ties with Washington, which have been sorely tested by reports last year of large-scale snooping by the U.S. National Security Agency.
Merkel said on Wednesday that there were talks with the United States, but she could not comment on their content.
Two U.S. officials familiar with the case of the arrested BND official matter told Reuters on Monday the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) was involved in a spying operation against Germany that led to the alleged recruitment of a German intelligence official.
Surveillance is a sensitive issue in a country where the memory of the Nazi's Gestapo secret police and communist East Germany's Stasi means the right to privacy is treasured.
After the Snowden revelations, Berlin demanded Washington agree to a "no-spy agreement" but the United States has been unwilling to make such a commitment. German officials also emphasize that they rely on intelligence from U.S. agencies.
(Reporting by Sabine Siebold and Thorsten Severin Writing by Alexandra Hudson; Editing by Stephen Brown and Ralph Boulton)
Following CIA spy revelations, German politicians turn on the US
Tue, 08 Jul 2014 23:47
By Peter Schwarz8 July 2014The unmasking of a spy who passed on internal documents of the German foreign intelligence service (BND) to the CIA for money has led to unusually sharp attacks by German politicians on the United States.
Last Wednesday, a 31-year-old BND employee was arrested and later that evening made a comprehensive confession to the Federal Prosecutor in Karlsruhe. On Friday, the first details of the affair were leaked to the press.
According to what has been published, the detainee is a man with mobility and speech impediments who worked in the registry of the BND ''Intervention Areas/Foreign Relations'' department in Pullach, near Munich. Allegedly he contacted the US Embassy in Berlin via email at the end of 2012 to offer his services. Since then he has passed on more than 200 documents classified ''confidential'' to ''top secret'' to the CIA in return for '‚¬25,000.
Initially, it was reported that the spy had concentrated on obtaining information on the German parliamentary committee currently investigating the activities of US intelligence agencies in Germany. Later, these reports were corrected. According to the latest reports, just two of the documents passed on were destined for the parliamentary committee.
The spy was allegedly discovered by Germany's domestic intelligence service, the Verfassungsschutz, when on May 28 he contacted the Russian Consulate in Munich by email to offer his services to Russia. On June 10, the responsible attorney general was informed. The spy was then put under observation for several weeks to track down his associates. Last Thursday, the day after his arrest, German Chancellor Angela Merkel was informed.
The political reaction in Berlin has been fierce. Last Friday, just before the official reception for the 4th of July, the American national holiday, US Ambassador John Emerson was summoned to the German Foreign Ministry.
On Saturday, Stefan Cornelius, who heads the foreign coverage department of the S¼ddeutsche Zeitung, warned: ''If it is confirmed that an American intelligence service led a BND employee as a double agent, then Germany and the US are sliding into a political crisis of hitherto unknown dimensions.''
''This is how alliances are destroyed,'' complained Cornelius, who is well-known for his pro-American sympathies. In order to limit the damage, he called upon Washington to ''now make plain publicly in whose name, and why, the German partner service was infiltrated.'' There had to be ''personal consequences,'' he insisted.
Other commentaries appealed to the federal government to ''finally put an end to its fawning diplomacy toward Washington.''
The Bild newspaper reported on an Interior Ministry document discussing the ''planning of countermeasures.'' In future, German Interior Minister Thomas de Maizi¨re would seek to monitor the communications of the United States and other allied countries, such as Britain and France, by German intelligence agencies.
Previously, the German chancellery had instructed German intelligence agencies not to spy on the country's NATO allies.
On Sunday, German President Joachim Gauck, who had remained silent on the extensive spy activities of the NSA until now, spoke out about the affair. If the espionage accusation proves to be true, ''then this is really playing with a friendship, with a close alliance,'' he told ZDF television. ''Enough is enough.''
Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier commented on the affair while on a diplomatic visit to Mongolia. If the allegations were true, ''then we're not talking about small things,'' he said. He urged the US government to carry out ''the fastest possible clarification'' of the matter, warning: ''In their own interest, the United States should obey their duty to participate.''
On Monday, German Chancellor Angela Merkel made a similar statement. Significantly, she did this during a joint appearance with Li Keqiang, the prime minister of China, whom the United States has targeted as its main international rival. Speaking in Beijing, she accused US intelligence services of a breach of trust. She spoke of ''a very serious event,'' which clearly contradicted her understanding of cooperation based on trust.
In reality, the unmasked agent is rather a small fish. He had no leadership function in the BND and his remuneration is regarded as modest in intelligence circles. Besides, the BND and the US secret services work so closely together that one wonders what secrets were left to reveal.
Just a week ago, BND President Gerhard Schindler defended his agency's cooperation with the NSA as indispensable. His remark came on the heels of revelations that between 2004 and 2007, the BND had delivered huge amounts of raw data collected at an Internet node based in Frankfurt to the NSA.
Two former NSA employees, Thomas Drake and William Binney, who testified last Thursday to the NSA Committee of the German Parliament (Bundestag), said ties between the two agencies were so strong that the BND could be called ''the appendix of the NSA.'' Drake even accused the BND of supplying data to the US for use in lethal drone attacks.
In comparison to the monitoring activities revealed by Edward Snowden, the latest spy case is rather small scale. The NSA and other US intelligence agencies spy on millions of people in Germany illegally, have tapped the Chancellor's cell phone, and continue to monitor government communications. Nevertheless, the federal government has consistently tried to downplay these issues.
Up to this day, Attorney General Harald Range has refused to launch a criminal investigation into the NSA's mass surveillance activities, even though he is obliged to do so by law. President Gauck, who began his political career as head of the Stasi Archives, has kept quiet on the monitoring activities of the NSA, although their scope far exceeds anything carried out by the former East German secret service.
The fierce reaction to the unmasking of a relatively low ranking agent has deeper reasons. It indicates a change in direction of German foreign policy.
Since the current government came to office late last year, Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier, Defence Minister Ursula von der Leyen, and President Joachim Gauck have intensively promoted a more active role for Germany in world politics and a revival of German militarism.
There is a consensus that a return to a more active imperialist German foreign policy can only take place together with, and not against the United States. However, the objective logic of this policy inevitably leads to conflicts over economic and geopolitical interests.
The debacle of US policy in Iraq has led to ever louder calls for German leadership. In addition, German government and economic circles are perturbed by America's confrontational course towards China. China is one of the most important markets for German industrial products and investments, and 2,500 German companies have invested around '‚¬40 billion in the country.
German business circles have also rejected US calls for economic sanctions against Russia. This question has split the EU, and Germany cannot hold the union together if it continues to unconditionally follow the American line. While Poland and other Eastern European states are calling for a tougher line against Moscow, Italy, which has just taken over the EU Presidency, France and other countries oppose such a confrontation.
At the end of June, the Austrian government even warmly welcomed Russian President Vladimir Putin in Vienna to sign a contract on the South Stream pipeline, which the US is determined to sabotage.
There is a vigorous debate in German ruling circles about the country's relationship with the United States. Under the headline ''The question of Alliance,'' the latest edition of Der Spiegel discusses whether a greater distance to the US and a closer relationship to Russia is desirable.
The news magazine had specifically commissioned a survey indicating that many Germans favor greater independence from the United States and increased cooperation with Russia. ''A lot has happened in recent years: the war in Iraq, Guantanamo, the executions with drones, the financial crisis, the NSA, the fear of Google,'' Der Spiegel writes.
The article advocates a more active geopolitical role for Germany and claims: ''The demand for more German responsibility is unanimous abroad.'' And if it is subsequently ''sharply attacked'--like any leading power ... that is part of the price to be paid.''
The article concludes that ''to break the alliance to the West [is] not an option,'' but nevertheless ''Germany could make itself more independent of the US.''
Germany has ''grown up in the last twenty years. It can no longer hide behind others. Instead, Germany can lead Europe to an independent political role.'' For America, such a Germany ''might not be an easy partner, but in the end it is more of a relief than a threat.''
The fact that this is not true is already demonstrated by the intense spying on Germany by the United States, which the German Interior Minister now seeks to counter by having the German secret services spy on the United States. The increasing tensions between Germany and the United States, which fought each other in two world wars, is a result of the growing crisis of global capitalism, which has exacerbated class tensions and international conflicts.
The only social force that can prevent this is the international working class. It must not subordinate itself to the anti-Americanism of the German and European bourgeoisie, nor to the imperialist aims of the American bourgeoisie. It must unite internationally, to oppose growing militarism and combine the struggle against war with the struggle for socialism.
Please enable JavaScript to view the comments powered by Disqus.
Note to bees: do not stop and smell the roses | Marketplace.org
Thu, 10 Jul 2014 14:03
Note to bees: do not stop and smell the roses.
A new study released by the environmental consulting firm Pesticide Research Institute and nonprofit group Friends of the Earth says about half of the garden plants sold at big box stores like Lowes, Home Depot, and Walmart contain neonicotinoids (neonics for short), a pesticide highly toxic to pollinating insects '' like bees.
Heather Leibowitz, director of Environment NY, a statewide citizen based environmental advocacy organization, says home gardeners are buying plants, completely unaware that they're laced with poisons.
"Gardeners are putting these in their homes," she says, "and there's no warning they could actually have a negative effect on bees."
There are no federal requirements necessitating that plants treated with neonics be labeled. Leibowitz says the lack of labels on plants is a big problem. Just imagine, she says, that you're a bee and all that yummy nectar you're drinking, and the pollen you're carrying back to the hive is laced with poison and you don't know it.
For bees, this is akin to a plot twist from a horror film. ''The flowers," says Leibowitz, "are killing the bees...They just had a little snack, had a little drink and they're going back to their hive and they're poisoning the queen.''
Leibowitz says it's not just farmers, but home gardeners who also now need to pay attention to pesticides.
Tim Brown, an Associate Scientistis with the Pesticide Research Institute and one of the authors of the new study, gets "super science geeky" when he explains how a neonic pesticide works.
''It targets the nicotinic acetylcholine receptors,'' he says.
For all the non scientists out there, those are within the teeny, tiny bee brain. But Brown notes, we humans have a lot riding on the wellbeing of the tiny brains of bees.
"A lot of the foods we enjoy eating," he says, "almonds, apples, blueberries, cherries -- there are a number of crops that are pollinated by bees and if we're not protecting their health then we're going to see impacts. Either we're not going to get the supply that we want or it's going to be a lot more expensive to get these foods."
Joe Bischoff, Regulatory & Legislative Affairs Director for AmericanHort, a horticultural industry association, says the pesticide question is a thorny one for growers. If we stop using neonics we'll also have a problem he says. Think of the white fly, or the asian long-horned beetle. Not all bugs, notes Bischoff, are helpful to plants.
''If you throw only one chemical class at many of these insects, they overcome it," he says. "In the long run this is a dangerous situation."
Bischoff says growers are worried about controlling problem insects, but he says we should remember that growers are businesses -- they wouldn't buy pesticides if they didn't have to.
And the study, he says, could be flawed. The research was based on the presence of pesticide in plant tissue - like flowers. "Bees don't consume flowers," says Bischoff, "they consume pollen and nectar."
The pesticide also has a half life, meaning it decays and loses its potency over a certain period of time. Instead of banning neonics outright Bischoff says growers should use it more wisely.
But some big box stores are taking anti-neonic action. BJ's Wholesale Club says it's working to sell plants that are neonic free and Home Depot will require all its suppliers to label plants that they have treated by the fourth quarter of 2014.
Brown says there aren't a lot of studies that look at how long the toxicity of a neonic lingers. One complication is that different varieties of plants metabolize poisons according to different time frames. A lot, he says, depends on the method of application. When a pesticide is sprayed on the surface of a plant the residue won't necessarily be broken down by enzymes, but the sunlight can cause its strength to fade. But still, a poison may linger for months or years presenting a harmful dining option for bees.
"We know for a fact," says Tim Brown, that if the pesticides are in the tissue of the plant, "it's in the pollen and nectar too."
Agenda 21
New report calls for ''deep decarbonization'' to stay within 2°C limit | Ars Technica
Wed, 09 Jul 2014 14:56
Many countries have publicly gone on record as supporting the goal of limiting future climate change to two degrees Celsius. Although that creates some risks for future generations, it avoids some of the potentially catastrophic changes that would come with a four degree Celsius rise.
Given what we know about the sensitivity of the climate to added greenhouse gases, it's possible to calculate how much more carbon dioxide we can admit while still having a reasonable chance of staying within the two degree Celsius envelope. What's striking about these calculations is how many large changes we'll have to make in order to get there. According to Jeffrey Sachs of Columbia University's Earth Institute, the per-capita emissions would have to drop from five tons annually (where they are now) to 1.6 tons by 2050.
To accomplish this, Sachs says that all nations will have to undergo a process he calls "deep decarbonization," which is part of the title of a report he's helped organize and deliver to the UN today. Pathways to Deep Decarbonization, prepared by researchers in 15 different countries, looks into what's needed to achieve sufficient cuts in our carbon emissions. The report finds that current government pledges aren't sufficient, and the technology we need to succeed may exist, but most of it hasn't been proven to scale sufficiently.
The 15 countries involved are Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Japan, Mexico, Russia, South Africa, South Korea, the UK, and the US. Collectively, they currently produce 70 percent of the annual greenhouse gas emissions. They also represent economies at various stages of development, each with distinctive challenges in cutting their carbon emissions to the required levels. Groups from each country analyzed what would be needed to do so.
Achieving this, the report's authors argue, will have to come with a normal pace of economic growth: "There is no prospect of winning the fight against climate change if countries fail on poverty eradication or if countries do not succeed in raising the living standards of their people." Although this may add to the challenge of lowering carbon emissions, the report concludes that "Robust economic growth and rising prosperity are consistent with the objective of deep decarbonization."
The report identifies what Sachs called "three pillars" of emissions reductions: low-carbon electricity, massive efficiency gains, and a greater electrification of transit and infrastructure. (Sachs also added that land use changes could also have a major impact.)
There are some differences in the precise implementation approaches among the countries involved. For example, the researchers from India focus on renewable and nuclear power, in part because they have less of a commitment to a fossil fuel infrastructure and in part because the potential for carbon capture and storage in India hasn't been examined. In contrast, the plans for Canada, China, Indonesia, Mexico, Russia, and the UK all include a heavy reliance on carbon capture and storage.
But the most important takeaways are the general lessons: every country will have to rely on technologies that aren't yet fully developed. Decarbonization strategies for things like freight and air transport aren't well developed. It's possible that some of this could be electrified. But air travel especially is likely to end up relying on advanced biofuels, which are still in the research stage. Pilot carbon capture and storage projects exist, but we have no real sense of the challenges of scaling them to a nationwide effort.
The list identified by the report's authors goes on. Electric vehicles are just starting to be scaled up, and they don't currently have the range to handle as many use cases as we'd need them to. Flexible load management on the electric grid, needed for high levels of intermittent renewable power, is also just in the testing phase. We'll also need a form of advanced nuclear power that's safe enough that it "sustains public confidence and support."
All of these require some combination of further research and government incentives to get them up to scale as quickly as possible. The report is careful to argue that the incentives have to be focused on emissions reductions, rather than any particular technology for achieving them: "Directed technological change should not be conceived as picking winners, but as making sure the market has enough winners to pick from."
The report also calls on governments to start acting like they're serious about achieving their stated goals. "Decisions made today with regards to, say, power generation and transport infrastructure," it states, "will have a long-term impact on future [greenhouse gas] emissions, which must be mapped out carefully and understood quantitatively."
Sachs was a bit more forceful as he discussed the report with the press, saying he wished that governments would get serious about cutting into carbon emissions and "stop promoting little gimmicks as a solution." More generally, Sachs said, the fact that this report was so far ahead of what government planning has achieved shows just how limited their efforts to tackle the challenges has been.
And Sachs really drove home how urgent the effort has to be, saying the goal of keeping things under two degrees Celsius is "achievable, but just barely." He pointed out that we do have the resources'--he said we devote over $30 billion dollars a year toward biomedical research, but less than a tenth of that to research into low-carbon energy. It's just that we're choosing not to use them at a pace that will help us achieve our goals.
Sustainable Development Solutions Network | Deep Decarbonization Pathways
Wed, 09 Jul 2014 14:57
Each Country Research Team develops a national Deep Decarbonization Pathway (DDP) analysis to 2050. The objective of this DDP analysis is to explore each country's possible transition to a low-carbon economy, taking into account national socio-economic conditions, development aspirations, infrastructure stocks, resource endowments, and other relevant factors.
The first phase of the DDPP focuses on the technical feasibility of DDPs. The next phases will analyze in further detail how the twin objectives of development and deep decarbonization can be met through integrated approaches; quantify the costs and benefits of deep decarbonization; identify national and international financial requirements; and map out policy frameworks for implementation.
The DDPP also organizes technology roundtables on some of the key technologies for deep decarbonization globally. The objective of these roundtables is to contribute to the mobilization of a global public and private Research, Development, Demonstration and Diffusion (RDD&D) effort to drive directed technical change.
Zero carbon and economic growth can go together, UN study says | Environment | theguardian.com
Thu, 10 Jul 2014 14:39
Australia could slash its carbon emissions to zero by 2050 and still experience average economic growth of 2.4% a year, according to a UN-backed study.
The Deep Decarbonisation Pathways report, released by the UN secretary general, Ban Ki-moon, analysed the 15 countries that account for 70% of greenhouse gases emitted into the atmosphere, which includes Australia, the US, Britain and China.
According to the report, compiled by academics from each of the countries, the 15 countries could make deep cuts to emissions while also tripling economic output.
These cuts are needed, the report notes, if the world is to avoid the ''catastrophic'' impact of failing to keep to the internationally agreed limit of 2C global warming on pre-industrial levels. The study concedes the world is on track to overshoot this.
The study notes that Australia has high per-capita emissions, with coal-fired power providing 69% of electricity generation, higher than most other industrialised countries.
Despite this dependence on fossil fuels, ''fundamental changes'' to Australia's energy system could allow it to cut its emissions to zero by 2050 while maintaining economic growth of 2.4% a year, on average. The report points out that Australia's greenhouse gases have remained stable over the past 20 years, while the size of the economy has doubled.
A further UN report in September will set out the monetary cost of a rapid increase in renewables to cut emissions to zero.
But the newly released study plots a path that involves phasing out coal use almost entirely, shifting electricity generation to renewable sources such as solar and wind, and powering vehicles and buildings with clean electricity rather than fossil fuels such as oil and petrol.
Industrial and farming processes that can't use such clean technology would be offset by large-scale storage of carbon in soils and trees.
Anna Skarbek, the executive director of ClimateWorks, which provided input to the report alongside the Australian National University, told Guardian Australia that emissions cuts and economic growth could go hand-in-hand.
''Australia has a higher emissions intensity than other countries, but it also has a huge natural endowment in renewable energy sources,'' she said.
''Unlike many other countries, we are blessed with multiple renewable sources, as well as a much larger capacity for carbon forestry and biofuels. We can change our focus in energy systems rather than change economic growth. Australia has made successful changes in the past, from gold to wool to wheat, even in the rise of the internet in the past decade.''
Skarbek said the transition would need to start soon to help avoid breaching the 2C limit, a temperature guardrail that has bipartisan support in Australian politics.
''The science is clear '' we know that the carbon budget is being rapidly used up and will be near zero by the middle of the century,'' she said. ''If we plan now we can achieve the transition in this time.''
Frank Jotzo, director of the ANU centre for climate economics and policy, said: ''Decarbonisation would mean that the energy system and some aspects of land management look quite different from what they would under a high-carbon scenario.
''But for every declining technology there are new opportunities arising, and most of the economy would simply motor on. Cleaning up the world's energy system does not stand in the way of economic prosperity.''
The Australian government has a minimum target of a 5% cut in carbon emissions by 2020, based on 2000 levels. Governments will gather in Paris next year to thrash out their emission cut commitments beyond 2020.
A spokesman for the environment minister, Greg Hunt, said: ''The government will review Australia's 2020 target in 2015, considering further action and targets on the basis of comparable real global action.''
Why Some Penguins Thrive in Climate Change - ABC News
Mon, 07 Jul 2014 05:22
Penguins are on the front line of climate change, as rising global temperatures melt the ice the iconic and lovable creatures call home.
Scientists who count the birds are finding that penguins are beginning to feel major impacts from the drastic changes to their habitat.
But, perhaps surprisingly, the breeding populations of three brush-tailed species of penguins inhabiting the Western Antarctic Peninsula, where the temperatures are warmest, are not all falling as the ice is quickly melting.
"We know two of the three penguin species in the peninsula, chinstrap and Ad(C)lie, are declining significantly in a region where, in the last 60 years, it's warmed by 3 degrees C. (5 degrees F.) annually and by 5 degrees C. (9 degrees F.) in winter," said Ron Naveen, the founder of Oceanites, a U.S. based non-profit and scientific research organization. He oversees the Antarctic Site Inventory which monitors penguin populations.
A third species, however, has not been losing numbers and in fact has even been expanding its range.
Counting penguins in the wild is a complicated art. Naveen's team makes repeated visits every year to the Antarctic Peninsula from November to February when egg-laying and chick creching are at their peak.
Since 1994, he has conducted 1,421 visits to the peninsula and collected data from 209 sites.
Naveen and fellow penguin counter Heather Lynch of Stony Brook University say the warming climate and the consequent loss of sea ice are contributing to the decline in Adelie and chinstrap, because the two species are dependent on the ice.
Kerry Calls Climate Change a 'Weapon of Mass Destruction'
Broad Concern about Global Warming Boosts Support for New EPA Regulations
With New Rules, Obama Climate Change Fight Heating Up
Warming temperature is only one part of the whole story, however, according to the Naveen.
"There are a number of possibilities," he said.
Adelies and chinstrap nest primarily near the ice and rely on krill as their main food source. These shrimp-like vertebrates live underneath the ice, feeding on the algae that grows there. As the ice retreats, the krill disappear.
Darci Amundson Photography
PHOTO: A Gentoo Penguin is seen in Antartica.
Other factors such as commercial overfishing and the expanding population of humpback whales, which also feed on krill, may also contribute to the loss of their main food source.
By contrast, gentoo penguins, the third of these species, are expanding both in numbers and in geographical range, according to Naveen and Lynch's research. There are an estimated 387,000 gentoo breeding pairs and their populations are moving southward along the peninsula.
"Gentoos are an open water species and can move southward as the declining ice concentration makes new habitat available to them," Lynch said.
Scientists warn parents to buy land two meters above sea-level if they plan to pass it down to their kids.
Tue, 08 Jul 2014 23:55
Paul Spence from the University of NSW says sea levels may rise faster than estimated due to strong winds in AntarcticaMelting Antarctic glaciers could raise sea levels by 3 metres over 200 yearsNew research found water up to 4°C warmer than current temperatures at base of ice shelvesDr Spence said it was a rare case where he hoped science was wrongBy Emily Crane
Published: 01:37 EST, 8 July 2014 | Updated: 05:37 EST, 8 July 2014
15shares
16
Viewcomments
Parents thinking of buying land in Australia to pass down to future generations should purchase something metres above sea level to account for climate change, a scientist has warned.
A recent study by Paul Spence, from the University of NSW's Climate Change Research Centre, has suggested sea levels may rise faster than previously estimated because climate models have failed to account for the effects of strong winds in Antarctica.
Glaciers on the Antarctic west coast may have begun melting and could raise sea levels by three metres over 200-500 years, according to Dr Spence.
Paul Spence, from the University of NSW's Climate Change Research Centre, says parents should purchase land metres above sea level to account for climate change
'If you were buying land in Australia and wanting to pass it down to your kids or your grandchildren, I suggest it's a couple of metres above sea-level,' he told the Sydney Morning Herald.
'It's the first time that I looked at my science and thought, "Oh my god, that is very concerning"!
Changes to winds have already been linked to southern Australia's drying climate but now it appears they may also have a profound impact on warming ocean temperatures under the ice shelves along the Antarctic coastline.
The study by Dr Spence has suggested sea levels may rise faster than previously estimated because climate models have failed to account for the effects of strong winds in Antarctica
'When we first saw the results it was quite a shock. It was one of the few cases where I hoped the science was wrong,' Dr Spence said.
When researchers included projected Antarctic wind shifts in a detailed global ocean model, they found water up to 4°C warmer than current temperatures at the base of the Antarctic ice shelves.
Recent estimates suggest the West Antarctic ice sheet alone could contribute 3.3 metres to long-term global sea level rise.
Glaciers on the Antarctic west coast may have begun melting and could raise sea levels by three metres over 200-500 years, according to Dr Spence
Prior to the research by Dr Spence and scientists at the UNSW and the Australian National University, most sea level rise studies focused on the rate of ice shelf melting due to the general warming of the ocean over large areas.
Using super computers at Australia's National Computational Infrastructure Facility the researchers were able to examine the impacts of changing winds on currents down to 700m around the coastline in greater detail than ever before.
Share or comment on this article
Iraq
KAGAN!-Allure of Normalcy: What America Still Owes the World | New Republic
Mon, 07 Jul 2014 03:48
I.Almost 70 years ago, a new world order was born from the rubble of World War II, built by and around the power of the United States. Today that world order shows signs of cracking, and perhaps even collapsing. The Russia-Ukraine and Syria crises, and the world's tepid response, the general upheaval in the greater Middle East and North Africa, the growing nationalist and great-power tensions in East Asia, the worldwide advance of autocracy and retreat of democracy'--taken individually, these problems are neither unprecedented nor unmanageable. But collectively they are a sign that something is changing, and perhaps more quickly than we may imagine. They may signal a transition into a different world order or into a world disorder of a kind not seen since the 1930s.
If a breakdown in the world order that America made is occurring, it is not because America's power is declining'--America's wealth, power, and potential influence remain adequate to meet the present challenges. It is not because the world has become more complex and intractable'--the world has always been complex and intractable. And it is not simply war-weariness. Strangely enough, it is an intellectual problem, a question of identity and purpose.
Many Americans and their political leaders in both parties, including President Obama, have either forgotten or rejected the assumptions that undergirded American foreign policy for the past seven decades. In particular, American foreign policy may be moving away from the sense of global responsibility that equated American interests with the interests of many others around the world and back toward the defense of narrower, more parochial national interests. This is sometimes called ''isolationism,'' but that is not the right word. It may be more correctly described as a search for normalcy. At the core of American unease is a desire to shed the unusual burdens of responsibility that previous generations of Americans took on in World War II and throughout the cold war and to return to being a more normal kind of nation, more attuned to its own needs and less to those of the wider world.
If this is indeed what a majority of Americans seek today, then the current period of retrenchment will not be a temporary pause before an inevitable return to global activism. It will mark a new phase in the evolution of America's foreign policy. And because America's role in shaping the world order has been so unusually powerful and pervasive, it will also begin a new phase in the international system, one that promises not to be marginally different but radically different from what we have known these past 70 years. Unless Americans can be led back to an understanding of their enlightened self-interest, to see again how their fate is entangled with that of the world, then the prospects for a peaceful twenty-first century in which Americans and American principles can thrive will be bleak.
To understand where America, and the world, may be heading, it is useful to remind ourselves where we have been'--of the choices that Americans made decades ago and of the profound, world-changing consequences of those choices.
For Americans, the choice was never been between isolationism and internationalism. With their acquisitive drive for wealth and happiness, their love of commerce, their economic and (in earlier times) territorial expansiveness, and their universalistic ideology, they never had it in them to wall themselves off from the rest of the world. Tokugawa Japan and Ming China were isolationist. Americans have always been more like republican Rome or ancient Athens, a people and a nation on the move.
When, roughly 70 years ago, American foreign policy underwent a revolutionary transformation, it was not a transformation from isolationism to internationalism. What Americans had rejected before World War II was a steady global involvement, with commitments to other nations and responsibilities for the general well-being of the world. That was what the so-called ''internationalists'' of the time wanted for the United States. Theodore Roosevelt, John Hay, Henry Cabot Lodge, Elihu Root, Henry Stimson, Woodrow Wilson, and many others believed that Americans ought to take on a much bigger role in world affairs, as befitted their growing power. The United States had become ''more and more the balance of power of the whole globe,'' Roosevelt observed, and it ought to behave accordingly. And indeed, following the Spanish-American War and for the first two decades of the twentieth century, the United States did pursue a wider and deeper global involvement than it had ever done before, culminating in the dispatch of two million troops to France. When World War I ended, Wilson, like Roosevelt before him, ambitiously set out to make the United States a central player in world affairs. Beseeched by all the European powers after the war'--for American financing aid to steady their economies and for American security guarantees against each other'--Wilson wanted the United States to commit itself to an enduring global role. The world, he warned Americans, would be ''absolutely in despair if America deserts it.'' Wilson's League of Nations (actually it had been Roosevelt's idea first), although couched in the idealistic language of universal principles and collective security, was meant above all to serve as the vehicle for American power and influence in support of a new liberal world order.
But Americans rejected this role. Disillusioned by the compromises and imperfections of the Versailles Treaty, mourning the loss of more than 100,000 dead soldiers, skeptical about American participation in the league, and spurred on by Republicans eager to defeat Wilson and recapture the White House, a majority of Americans came to oppose not only the league but also the internationalists' broad vision of America's global role. This was no absentminded lapse back into nonexistent isolationist traditions. It was a deliberate decision to turn away from the increasingly active global involvement of the previous two decades, to adopt a foreign policy of far greater restraint, and above all to avoid future military interventions beyond the Western Hemisphere. Wilson's Republican successors promised, and the American public welcomed, what Warren Harding called a ''return to normalcy.''
Corbis
Franklin Roosevelt urged Americans to look beyond their immediate physical security.
Normalcy in the 1920s did not mean isolation. Americans continued to trade, to invest, and to travel overseas; their navy was equaled in size only by Britain's, and had fleets in the Atlantic and the Pacific; and their diplomats pursued treaties to control the arms race and to ''outlaw'' war. Normalcy simply meant defining America's national interests the way most other nations defined theirs. It meant defending the homeland, avoiding overseas commitments, preserving the country's independence and freedom of action, and creating prosperity at home. The problems of Europe and Asia were not America's problems, and they could be solved, or not solved, without American help. This applied to global economic issues as well. Harding wanted to ''prosper America first,'' and he did. The 1920s were boom years for the American economy, while Europe's postwar economies stagnated.
To the vast majority of Americans, normalcy seemed a reasonable response to the world of the 1920s, after the enormous exertions of the Wilson years. There were no obvious threats on the horizon. Postwar Weimar Germany was a faltering republic more likely to collapse than to take another stab at continental dominance. Bolshevik Russia was wracked by civil war and economic crisis. Japan, though growing in power and ambition, was a fragile democracy with a seat on the League of Nations permanent council. To most Americans in the 1920s, the greatest risk to America came not from foreign powers but from those misguided ''internationalists'' and the greedy bankers and war profiteers who would involve the nation in foreign conflicts that were none of America's business.
This consensus was broad, deep, and bipartisan, and Americans stayed on the course of normalcy for two full decades. They did so even as the world order'--no longer upheld by the old combination of British naval might and a relatively stable balance of power in Europe and Asia'--began to fray and then collapse. The Japanese invasion of Manchuria in 1931; Hitler's rise to power in 1933; Mussolini's invasion of Ethiopia in 1935; Germany's remilitarization of the Rhineland, and the German and Italian intervention in the Spanish Civil War, in 1936; Japan's invasion of central China in 1937; Hitler's absorption of Austria, followed by his annexation and eventual conquest of Czechoslovakia in 1938 and 1939'--all these events troubled and at times appalled Americans. They were not ignorant of what was going on. Even back then information traveled widely and rapidly, and the newspapers and newsreels were filled with stories about each unfolding crisis. Reports of Mussolini's dive-bombers dropping their ordnance on spear-carrying Ethiopians; Germany's aerial bombing of the civilian population of Guernica; Japan's rampage of rape, pillage, and murder in Nanking'--they were horrific and regrettable. But they were not reasons for the United States to get involved. On the contrary, they were reasons for not getting involved. The worse things looked around the world, the more hopeless it all seemed, the less Americans wanted to have anything to do with it. The United States, it was widely believed, had no vital interests at stake in Manchuria, Ethiopia, Spain, or Czechoslovakia.
In fact, it was not clear that the United States had vital interests anywhere outside the Western Hemisphere. Even after the German invasion of Poland in 1939, and the outbreak of a general European war that followed, respected American strategic thinkers, priding themselves on ''realistic thinking,'' the ''banishment of altruism and sentiment'' from their analysis, and ''single-minded attention to the national interests,'' advised that, with two oceans and a strong navy standing between America and every great power in the world, the United States was invulnerable.A Japanese attack on, say, Hawaii, they ruled out as literally impossible. Republican Senator Robert A. Taft felt confident in saying that no power ''would be stupid enough'' to attack the United States ''from across thousands of miles of ocean.'' Nor would the United States suffer appreciably if Nazi Germany did manage to conquer all of Europe, including Great Britain, which by 1940 the realists regarded as a foregone conclusion. Taft saw no reason why the United States could not trade and conduct normal diplomacy with a Europe dominated by Nazi Germany just as it had with Great Britain and France. As the historian Howard K. Beale put it, nations ''do not trade with one another because they like each other's governments but because both sides find the exchange of goods desirable.''
Holders of such views were tagged with the disparaging label of ''isolationist,'' but as Hans Morgenthau later pointed out, they believed at the time that they were upholding the ''realist tradition of American foreign policy.'' The United States should not range ''over the world like a knight-errant,'' Taft admonished, ''[protecting] democracy and ideals of good faith and [tilting] like Don Quixote against the windmills of fascism.'' Taft insisted on seeing the world as it was, not as idealists wished it to be. The European war was the product of ''national and racial animosities'' that had existed ''for centuries'' and would continue to exist ''for centuries to come,'' he argued. To make a difference in the war, the United States would have to send millions of troops across the ocean, make an impossible amphibious landing on shores heavily defended by German forces, and then march across Europe against the world's strongest army. The very thought was inconceivable. Much as they might wish to help Europe, therefore, Americans had ''no power, even if we have the will, to be its savior.''
Associated Press/HWG
Hans Morgenthau led a slashing attack on Lyndon Johnson's Vietnam policy.
This view was so dominant and so politically popular that Franklin Roosevelt spent his first years in office muzzling his internationalist instincts and vowing to keep America out of another war'--''I hate war!'' he roared in a famous address in 1936. After Munich, however, he grew panicked, sensing that the Western powers, Britain and France, had lost the will to stand up to Hitler. And so he began trying to warn Americans of what he regarded as the coming threat. Yet it was difficult to counter the realists' hardheaded analysis. Roosevelt could not prove that American security was directly endangered by what was happening in Europe. He was left making a case that really did appeal more to sentiment and idealism than to demonstrable threats to the American homeland.
Even if the United States faced no immediate danger of military attack, Roosevelt argued, if Hitler, Mussolini, and Imperial Japan were allowed to have their way, the world would be a ''shabby and dangerous place to live in'--yes, even for Americans to live in.'' America would become a ''lone island'' in a world dominated by the ''philosophy of force.'' The ''institutions of democracy'' would be placed at risk even if America's security was not, because America would have to become an armed camp to defend itself. Roosevelt urged Americans to look beyond their immediate physical security. ''There comes a time in the affairs of men,'' he said, ''when they must prepare to defend, not their homes alone, but the tenets of faith and humanity on which their churches, their governments, and their very civilization are founded. The defense of religion, of democracy, and of good faith among nations is all the same fight. To save one we must now make up our minds to save all.''
Such arguments, along with the fall of France and the Battle of Britain, did help convince Americans that they had a stake in the outcome of the European struggle, but it did not convince them to go to war. That decision followed only after Pearl Harbor. The Japanese attack, Hitler's subsequent declaration of war, and America's full-scale entry into the conflicts in both Europe and Asia were a traumatic shock to Americans, especially for those in positions of power. That which had been deemed impossible had proved possible, and long-held assumptions about American security in a troubled world collapsed in a single day.
The events of 1941 forced a fundamental reassessment not only of America's global strategy but also of how to define America's interests. Even as they waged the struggle against Germany and Japan, Roosevelt and his advisers during the war began thinking of how the postwar world ought to be shaped, and they took as their guide what they considered the lessons of the previous two decades.
The first had to do with security. The Japanese attack had proved that vast oceans and even a strong navy no longer provided adequate defense against attack. More broadly, there was the realization'--or rather the rediscovery'--of an old understanding: that the rise of a hostile hegemonic power on the Eurasian landmass could eventually threaten America's core security interests as well as its economic well-being. As a corollary, there was the ''lesson of Munich'': would-be aggressors in Eurasia had to be deterred before they became too strong to be stopped short of all-out war.
Another lesson was that the United States had an interest in political developments in Eurasia. Walter Lippmann argued that, for Americans to enjoy both ''physical security'' and the preservation of their ''free way of life,'' they had to ensure that ''the other shore of the Atlantic'' remained always in the hands of ''friendly,'' ''trustworthy'' democracies. For two decades, people had sneered at ''Woodrow Wilson's demand that the world must be made safe for democracy,'' Lippmann commented, but Wilson had been right. Under the control of ''free governments the shores and waters of the Atlantic'' had become the ''geographical center of human liberty.'' The Atlantic Charter and Roosevelt's Four Freedoms reflected this revived conviction that the well-being of democracy in the world was not only desirable but important to America's security.
AFP/Getty Images
Henry Kissinger championed a ''concert'' of nations poised in rough equilibrium.
Then there was the global economy. In the late 1920s and throughout the 1930s, the United States had sought mostly domestic remedies for the Great Depression, raising its own tariffs, choking off lending abroad, refusing to join other nations in a common monetary policy, and generally protecting the American economy while ignoring the world economy. By 1941, however, Roosevelt and his advisers had concluded that both America's prosperity and its security depended on a healthy world economy. Poverty and economic dislocation had played a major role in the rise of both Hitler and Bolshevism. The United States bore much of the blame, for although it had been the world's leading economic power in the 1920s and 1930s, it had failed to play a constructive and responsible role in stabilizing the global economy.
Finally, there was the issue of American public support for global involvement. In the 1920s and 1930s, Americans had been allowed and even encouraged by their political leaders to believe that the United States was immune to the world's troubles. They could not be allowed to fall back into such complacency. They could no longer regard events thousands of miles away as of no concern to them. To Roosevelt, assuring public support for a larger and more consistent American role in the world was going to be among the greatest challenges after the war. Americans had to understand, as Reinhold Niebuhr wrote in April 1943, that ''the world problem cannot be solved if America does not accept its full share of responsibility in solving it.''
That share was to be sizeable. convinced that World War II had been the result not of any single incident but rather of the overall breakdown of world order, politically, economically, and strategically, American leaders set out to erect and sustain a new order that could endure. This time it was to be a world order built around American economic, political, and military power. Europeans had proved incapable of keeping the peace. Asia was entirely unstable on its own. Any new order would depend on the United States. It would become the center of a new economic system that would encourage open trade and provide financial assistance and loans to nations struggling to stay afloat. It would take a substantial and active part in the occupation and transformation of the defeated powers, ensuring that some form of democracy took root in place of the dictatorships that had led those nations to war. America would also have to possess preponderant military strength and when necessary deploy sufficient power to preserve stability and security in Europe, Asia, and the Middle East.
Military force played a central part in the calculations of Roosevelt and his advisers as they set out to establish and defend the new liberal world order. ''Peace must be kept by force,'' Roosevelt insisted. There was ''no other way.'' He anticipated that an American occupation force of one million troops would be necessary to keep the peace in Europe, for at least a year and perhaps longer. During the war, the Joint Chiefs envisioned establishing military bases around the world in ''areas well removed from the United States'' so that any fighting would take place ''nearer the enemy'' rather than near American territory.
Susan Biddle/White House/Time Life Pictures/Getty Images
George H.'‰W. Bush described American objectives in terms of national ideals, not national interest.
Roosevelt naturally hoped to avoid the repeated and extended deployment of American ground forces overseas, since he feared the public would not tolerate it. But he did expect that the United States would have to send at least planes and ships whenever called upon by the U.N. Security Council. As Cordell Hull insisted at the Dumbarton Oaks conference in 1944, American military forces had to be ''available promptly, in adequate measure, and with certainty.'' In fact, Roosevelt anticipated that requests from the Security Council would be so frequent that he did not want the president to have to go to Congress each time for approval of the use of force. The Security Council had to have ''the power to act quickly and decisively to keep the peace by force, if necessary,'' Roosevelt explained, and so the American representative had to be given advance authority to act.
Roosevelt supported the United Nations but was not a great believer in collective security. American power, he believed, would be the key. He saw the United Nations much as Wilson had seen the League of Nations, as a vehicle for U.S. global involvement. Indeed, as the historian Robert Dallek has noted, for Roosevelt the United Nations was partly meant to ''obscure'' the central role American power was to play in the new world order'-- obscure it, that is, from Americans.
II.This new American grand strategy for the postwar world could not have been a more radical departure from ''normalcy.'' Its goals were not simply defense of the territory, prosperity, and sovereign independence of the American people, but also the promotion of a liberal world order that would defend not only America's interests but those of many other nations as well. The rise of a Eurasian hegemon would threaten other nations long before it would threaten the United States, for instance, yet Americans now accepted primary responsibility for preventing it. The new strategy was not selfless or altruistic. American officials believed that it was in the best interest of the United States. But neither did it fit the normal definition of the ''national interest.'' As Dean Acheson explained, Americans had to learn to ''operate in a pattern of responsibility which is greater than our own interests.'' This was the real revolution in American foreign policy.
The new strategy was not directed at any particular nation or any specific threat'--at least not at first. The Soviet Union had not yet emerged as the next great challenge to the new global order. During World War II, Roosevelt and most other top officials expected mutual cooperation with the Soviets after the war, and even as late as 1945, Acheson still believed in the possibility of partnership with Moscow. Rather than responding to a specific threat, the new grand strategy aimed at preventing a general collapse of global order, which meant supporting an open international economic system, enforcing principles of international behavior, supporting, where possible, democratic governments, encouraging a minimum of respect for human rights, as defined in the U.N. Charter, and generally promoting the kind of world that suited Americans and those who shared their beliefs.
This new and wide-ranging set of goals and responsibilities completely reoriented the posture of American foreign policy. Instead of essentially leaning back, waiting for threats to emerge, responding, and then pulling back again, the new strategy required a constant and pervasive forward involvement in the affairs of the world. The new economic strategy aimed to prevent economic crises before they resulted in revolution or despotism. The new military strategy aimed to discourage would-be aggressors before they became aggressors, or as Roosevelt put it, to ''end future wars by stepping on their necks before they grow up.''
The new forward-leaning posture became especially pronounced as the postwar era transitioned into the cold war. The Marshall Plan aimed to shore up Western European economies and democracies before they collapsed and succumbed to communism. The Truman Doctrine aimed to bolster Greece and Turkey before they fell to communist subversion. When the communist revolution triumphed in China in 1949, American critics blamed the Truman administration for not doing enough to prevent it'--a charge, fair or not, that no one would have thought to make before World War II. The unanticipated North Korean invasion of the South produced panic in Washington and, in the minds of Truman and his advisers, powerfully reinforced the ''lesson of Munich.'' Henceforth the United States would have to be vigilant and ready to act, with force, anywhere in the world.
All of this was precisely what the anti-interventionist critics had warned about in the 1930s. Taft, a thoughtful and intelligent man, had indeed predicted that, once sent off to the war, American forces would never come home again. Victory would prove as much a curse as a blessing. American troops, Taft had warned, ''would have to police Europe or maintain the balance of power there by force of arms'' indefinitely. Beale had cautioned that, if freedom and democracy were the goals, as Roosevelt claimed, then the United States was going to have to ''maintain democracy by armed force on the Continent of Europe'' and keep a ''navy large enough to establish 'freedom of the seas' ... on all the oceans of the world.'' It was a prescription at once for bankruptcy and militarism at home and ''unadulterated imperialism'' abroad.
Roosevelt and other American statesmen originally hoped that the United States would not have to do everything by itself. Roosevelt planned to share global management among the ''Four Policemen'''--the United States, Great Britain, the Soviet Union, and China. And Truman in 1945 was bound and determined to slash the defense budget and bring as many troops home as possible. Yet within two years after the war ended, the new world order was already teetering on the edge of collapse along with hopes for global partnership with the other great powers. Britain quickly signaled its inability to play its historic role, even in the Mediterranean. China descended into civil war and revolution. And the Soviet Union emerged not as a supporter of the new order but, to American eyes, as its greatest opponent. The result was the disheartening realization that the United States was going to carry the lion's share of the burden, just as Taft had warned. As Acheson later put it, the United States was going to have to be ''the locomotive at the head of mankind,'' while the rest of the world was going to be ''the caboose.''
Roosevelt had always worried that the American people would never accept such an expansive and seemingly open-ended global role. Three months before he died, in his last State of the Union address, in January 1945, he attempted to rally them for the task ahead. ''In our disillusionment after the last war,'' he reminded the American public, ''we gave up the hope of gradually achieving a better peace because we had not the courage to fulfill our responsibilities in an admittedly imperfect world. We must not let that happen again, or we shall follow the same tragic road again'--the road to a third world war.''
That was the last time, before 1989, that an American statesman would think of American global responsibilities without reference to the Soviet Union or to international communism. The onset of the cold war, the panicked American response to Soviet policies in Eastern Europe and in the Middle East, and the recurrent American paranoia about the danger of communist subversion at home answered FDR's fears about public support. To many Americans, Soviet communism seemed an even more direct threat to their way of life than Hitler and the Nazis. Fighting it, therefore, proved an easier strategy to comprehend and support than shouldering ''responsibilities in an admittedly imperfect world.'' Although there was intense and often divisive debate over foreign policy during the cold war, and much dissent voiced by critics of anti-communist containment, especially during and just after the Vietnam war, a majority of Americans proved consistently willing to go to great lengths in the name of containing communism. In the late 1940s and 1950s, they provided billions of dollars for European reconstruction and made military alliances with former adversaries such as Japan and Germany and other European powers they had once disdained and mistrusted. They even extended nuclear guarantees to deter a Soviet conventional invasion of Europe, voluntarily making themselves targets of Soviet nuclear weapons in the event of a European war. In the 1950s and 1960s, they often spent 10 percent or more of their GDP on defense. They deployed hundreds of thousands of troops overseas, indefinitely, in Europe and Asia'--almost a million during the Eisenhower years. They fought in costly wars in Korea and Vietnam, with uncertain and unsatisfying results.
Associated Press
Bill Clinton proclaimed the United States to be the ''indispensable nation.''
Justifying everything in terms of the anti-communist struggle may have been, to borrow Acheson's phrase, ''clearer than truth,'' but it worked. Fear of communism, combined with fear of the Soviet Union as a geopolitical threat, allowed a majority of Americans and American policymakers to view practically any policy directed against communist forces, or even against suspected communist forces, anywhere in the world as directly serving the nation's vital interests. In 1965, even David Halberstam believed that preventing a communist victory in Vietnam was ''vital to our national interest.'' A decade and a half later, Jimmy Carter, who had come to office warning, not entirely unreasonably, against an ''inordinate fear of communism,'' was forced to announce a dramatic shift of policy in response to a Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, a country that not two Americans in a million could have found on a map and where no direct American interest could be identified, other than the fact that the Soviets were there. Yes, the general feeling went, the United States had taken on unprecedented global responsibilities, but it had done so because American interests were directly threatened by an unprecedented global challenge.
So Americans for more than four decades proved willing to support the expansive and active foreign policy that Roosevelt and his advisers had envisioned'--indeed, probably much more than they envisioned'--and the results were extraordinary. In the half-century following World War II, the United States successfully established, protected, and advanced a liberal world order, carving out a vast ''free world'' within which an unprecedented era of peace and prosperity could flower in Western Europe, East Asia, and the Western Hemisphere. Although tensions between the United States and the Soviet Union sometimes rose to dangerous levels, the period was characterized above all by peace among the great powers. The United States and the Soviet Union did not come to blows, and just as importantly, the American presence in Europe and East Asia put an end to the cycles of war that had torn both regions since the late nineteenth century. The number of democracies in the world grew dramatically. The international trading system expanded and deepened. Most of the world enjoyed an unprecedented prosperity. There was no shortage of disasters and near-disasters, as well as the two costly wars in Asia'--but the strategy was largely successful, so much so that the Soviet empire finally collapsed or voluntarily withdrew, peacefully, under the pressure of the West's economic and political success, and the liberal order then expanded to include the rest of Europe and most of Asia. All of this was the result of many forces'--the political and economic integration of Europe, the success of Japan and Germany, and the rise of other successful Asian economies'--but none of it would have been possible without a United States willing and able to play the abnormal and unusual role of preserver and defender of a liberal world order.
America's ability to play this role at all was due lessto the special virtues of the American people than to some remarkable advantages that put the United States in a historically unique position. The most important advantage was geography. For centuries the world's cockpits of conflict had been in Europe, Asia, and the Middle East, where multiple powers shared common neighborhoods, jostled for primacy, and engaged in endless cycles of military competition and warfare. When the United States emerged as a great power at the end of the nineteenth century, it alone enjoyed fundamental security in a neighborhood in which it was already the unquestioned hegemon. This, along with its wealth and large population, gave the United States the ability to dispatch the bulk of its armed forces thousands of miles away to engage in protracted military operations. It also allowed the United States to station large numbers of troops permanently overseas if it so desired. And it could do all of this without leaving itself vulnerable to a neighboring power.
No other nation in the world was ever so situated. Even that other great island superpower, Great Britain, sat too close to the European continent to be invulnerable to attack, especially when the airplane and the long-range missile became major tools of warfare. Nor had Britain succeeded in securing its core strategic requirement: preventing the emergence of a hegemon on the continent. Although successful for two centuries in maintaining and managing its overseas empire, Britain failed to prevent the rise of German hegemony twice in the twentieth century, leading to two devastating wars that ultimately undid British global power. Britain failed because it had tried to play the role of balancer in Europe from ''offshore.'' Britons' main concern was always defense of their far-flung empire, and they preferred to stay out of Europe if possible. Their inability or unwillingness to station troops on the continent in sufficient number, or at least reliably to guarantee that sufficient force would arrive quickly in an emergency, led would-be aggressors to calculate that decisive British military force would either not arrive on time or not arrive at all.
After World War II, Americans' unique geographical advantage made possible an unprecedented global strategy. The United States was able to move beyond traditional national defense and beyond offshore balancing. It was able to become effectively both a European power and an Asian power, with troops permanently stationed ''onshore'' in both theaters simultaneously. The presence of American troops acted to remove doubt by potential aggressors that the United States would fight if its allies were attacked. For the next seven decades, this American presence enforced a general peace and stability in two regions that for at least a century had known almost constant great-power conflict.
Just as remarkable was the degree to which the rest of the nations in the liberal world generally accepted and even welcomed America's overwhelming power. Again, the reason had as much to do with power and geography as with ideological affinity. It was true that for most nations in the world the United States appeared to be a relatively benign hegemon. But the core geopolitical reality was that other nations faced greater and more immediate threats from their neighbors than from the distant Americans. When those neighbors grew menacing, they looked to the United States as a natural partner'--comforting for its ability to project power and defend them but comforting also for its distance.
The United States thus violated some of the cardinal rules of international relations. For decades, realists had believed that the only peaceful and stable world order was one based on a multipolar balance of power, a ''concert'' of nations poised in rough equilibrium in a system that all the players regarded as necessary and legitimate'--like Europe in the years following the Congress of Vienna. This was the world with which Henry Kissinger felt comfortable and which he constantly predicted, even in the 1960s, was just right around the corner. Unipolarity was supposed to be inherently unstable and short-lived, because other great powers would always band together to balance against a power grown too strong'--as had happened in Europe in response to the rise of France and Germany in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Richard Nixon expressed this alleged realist truism in a speech, no doubt penned under Kissinger's influence, in 1972. ''We must remember,'' Nixon declared, that ''the only time in the history of the world that we have had any extended period of peace is when there has been balance of power. It is when one nation becomes infinitely more powerful in relation to its potential competitor that the danger of war arises. So I believe in a world in which the United States is powerful. I think it will be a safer world and a better world if we have a strong, healthy United States, Europe, Soviet Union, China, Japan, each balancing.'' But the United States was already disproving this thesis.
The broad acceptance of American power, best demonstrated by the large number of its allies and the absence of powerful nations joining the Soviet Union against it, created a unique situation in the world. No other nation in history had ever played such a role on a global scale, and arguably no other nation possibly could. The situation could not conform to a theory because it could not be replicated. It was sui generis.
Geography made it possible for the United States to play this unique role in the world, but as the 1920s and 1930s showed, the question of whether the United States would take it on was up to the American people. Nothing required them to play such an abnormal part in world affairs. During the cold war, they did it primarily out of fear of communism. But what would happen when the Soviet Union disappeared and the threat of communism vanished? The question seemed moot for four excruciatingly long decades when no one ever really expected the Soviet Union to give up the geopolitical competition. But the unanticipated fall of the Soviet empire and the collapse of international communism after 1989 inevitably raised anew the question of how to define America's purpose and its interests in the absence of an obvious threat. Suddenly, Americans were back to where Roosevelt had left off in the early 1940s, when the challenge had been to avoid the mistakes of the 1920s and 1930s. But would anyone remember the original grand strategy, devised in the brief moment before the Soviet Union arose to dominate American strategic thinking? Would the original grand strategy still seem relevant at the end of the twentieth century? Or had Americans, as the political scientist Robert Osgood worried in the 1950s, ''become so transfixed by their fears of communism'' that they had forgotten ''what they are for in their obsession with what they are against''?
III.When the cold war ended, many did believe that the United States could finally unburden itself of the vast global responsibilities that it had shouldered for more than four decades. As in the 1920s, the world of the early 1990s seemed safe enough. The former Soviet Union was in a state of economic and political collapse; China, following the Tiananmen Square massacre, was diplomatically and economically isolated. Americans' biggest concern at the time was the booming economy of Japan, which, as it turned out, was just about to fall into 20 years of stagnation. So what grave threat required America to continue its abnormal, outsized role in the world? Could not the United States return to being more of a normal nation with a more normal definition of its national interests?
In September 1990, in an article titled ''A Normal Country in a Normal Time,'' Jeane Kirkpatrick argued precisely that. With the Soviet Union collapsing, there was no longer a ''pressing need for heroism and sacrifice.'' The cold war had given foreign policy ''an unnatural importance'' in American life. The ''foreign policy elite'' had grown accustomed to thinking of the United States as having ''expansive, expensive, global purposes'' that ''transcended ... apparent American interests.'' It was time for the United States ''to focus again on its own national interests,'' by which she meant national interests as ''conventionally conceived'''--''to protect its territory, wealth, and access to necessary goods; to defend its nationals.'' This was the ''normal condition for nations.''
Kirkpatrick expressed what many felt after the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989, and not just the followers of Patrick Buchanan, who found much to praise in her essay. Francis Fukuyama also argued that with communism vanquished and democracy triumphant, there were no other great geopolitical or ideological challenges on the horizon. The chief threat of the future­'--as he suggested in his famous essay ''The End of History?'''--would be boredom, the empty tediousness of life lived under a vapid, soul-killing Western liberalism. Others noted Paul Kennedy's warnings about ''imperial overstretch'' and worried that America's extensive global military commitments, no longer justified by a Soviet enemy, would put it at a disadvantage in a world where geoeconomics trumped geopolitics. Realists called for a sharp retraction of American military commitments overseas, the withdrawal of troops from Europe and Asia, and even a return to what they called the ''offshore balancing'' of the 1920s and 1930s.
Still, and remarkably, for the first two decades of the post-cold-war era the United States pursued the original pre-cold-war grand strategy. The event that set the tone for the next dozen years was comparatively minor. In August 1990, Saddam Hussein's Iraqi army invaded Kuwait, and in a matter of days conquered and annexed it. Brutal though the action was, by comparison with the seismic events of the bloody twentieth century, it was small beer. The border between the two nations, like most boundaries in the Arab world, had been arbitrarily drawn by the British Empire. Kuwait had been under Iraqi suzerainty under the Ottomans, and leaders in Baghdad had long regarded it as an Iraqi province. Saddam further justified the invasion as support for an allegedly popular (though largely manufactured) rebellion against the Kuwaiti royal family.
Inside and outside the Bush administration, self-described realists argued that the United States draw the line not at Kuwait but at Saudi Arabia. Kuwait's oil was not that important, Colin Powell argued, and the risks of ''a major confrontation'' with Saddam and his army were high, so the ''most prudent'' option would be to defend the Saudis. ''We can't make a case for losing lives for Kuwait,'' Powell argued, ''but Saudi Arabia is different.'' Dick Cheney worried that driving Saddam out of Kuwait was going to cost ''one hell of a lot of money,'' that Americans had a ''short tolerance for war,'' and that, after all, ''the oil goes mostly to Japan.'' James Baker took a similar view, as did a majority of Democrats in Congress, as did a majority of Americans. A poll taken in November 1990 showed that 51 percent of Americans were opposed to trying to drive the Iraqis out of Kuwait by force and that only 37 percent were in favor of it. Most favored economic sanctions to punish Saddam.
Other Bush advisers, however, led by Brent Scowcroft, saw things differently. Saddam's invasion, they believed, was ''the first test of the postwar system.'' For half a century the United States had taken the lead role in deterring and punishing would-be aggressors. Although driving Iraqi forces out of Kuwait would be ''costly and risky,'' Scowcroft feared that failure to do so would set ''a terrible precedent'--one that would only accelerate violent centrifugal tendencies'--in this emerging 'post-Cold War' era.'' Appeasement of aggression in one region would breed aggression elsewhere. To President Bush, it was all reminiscent of the 1930s. This time, he recalled in his memoirs, ''I wanted no appeasement.'' Speaking to the American people on the eve of war, Bush described American objectives not in terms of national interests but in terms of a ''new world order,'' in which ''the rule of law, not the law of the jungle, governs the conduct of nations.'' Much like Roosevelt in 1939, he argued that ''a world in which brutality and lawlessness are allowed to go unchecked isn't the kind of world we're going to want to live in.''
Thus did Roosevelt's original grand strategy'--the defense of a liberal world order against collapse, responding not to any single, specific threat but to whatever political, economic, or strategic challenges might arise'--seem to reemerge after the long cold war. After 1990, the United States, despite occasional protectionist pressures at home, generally sought to expand free trade and worked in cooperation with other governments, even at moments of economic crisis, to prevent a collapse of the global economic system. The United States also undertook to expand its alliance system, especially in Central and Eastern Europe.
In the decade following the fall of the Berlin Wall, moreover, the United States also conducted a number of sizeable military operations'--seven to be precise, roughly one every 17 months: in Panama (1989), Iraq (1991), Somalia (1992), Haiti (1994), Bosnia (1995), Iraq again (1998), and Kosovo (1999). None were a response to perceived threats to vital national interests. All aimed at defending and extending the liberal world order'--by toppling dictators, reversing coups, and attempting to restore democracies in Panama and Haiti; preventing mass killing or starvation in Somalia, Bosnia, and Kosovo; deterring or reversing aggression in the Persian Gulf in 1991; and attempting to prevent the proliferation of nuclear or other weapons of mass destruction in Iraq in 1998. When Bush sent 30,000 troops to remove the corrupt dictator Manuel Noriega, it was not, as George Will wrote approvingly at the time, in order to pursue national interests ''narrowly construed,'' but to fulfill ''the rights and responsibilities that come with the possession of great power.'' When Bush then carried out in Somalia what was arguably the most purely humanitarian, and therefore most purely selfless, intervention in American history, he told the public, ''I understand that the United States alone cannot right the world's wrongs.'' But the ''people of Somalia need ... our help'' and ''some crises in the world cannot be resolved without American involvement.''
The United States, in short, was the ''indispensable nation,'' as Bill Clinton would proclaim'--indispensable, that is, to the preservation of a liberal world order. Such was the thinking behind most of Clinton's foreign policy initiatives: the enlargement of NATO, which included the extension of unprecedented military guarantees to such nations as Poland, the Czech Republic, and the Baltic states; the billions sent to try to save Boris Yeltsin's faltering democratic experiment in Russia; and the intense focus on containing North Korea, Iraq, and Iran, designated as ''rogue states'' because they defied the principles of a liberal world order. Conflicts in remote and troubled parts of the world were not considered irrelevant to American interests but were viewed within this broader context. After the massacre at Srebrenica in 1995, Clinton officials argued, according to David Halberstam, that ''Serb aggression'' was intolerable'-- not because it threatened American interests directly, which obviously it did not, but because it tore at ''the very fabric of the West.''
Even the American confrontation with Iraq, beginning in the late 1990s and culminating in the U.S. invasion in 2003, had begun as a world order issue, before it became subsumed by George W. Bush's ''War on Terror.'' When President Clinton ordered four days of bombing and missile attacks against suspected Iraqi weapons production facilities at the end of 1998, he warned that, if Saddam were not stopped, ''The community of nations may see more and more of the very kind of threat Iraq poses now: a rogue state with weapons of mass destruction, ready to use them or provide them to terrorists. ... If we fail to respond today, Saddam and all those who would follow in his footsteps will be emboldened tomorrow.'' In the twentieth century, Americans had ''often made the difference between chaos and community, fear and hope. Now, in the new century, we'll have a remarkable opportunity to shape a future more peaceful than the past.'' At the end of the day, George W. Bush's decision to remove Saddam Hussein, whether that decision was wise or foolish, was driven more by concerns for world order than by narrow self-interest. Of all the American interventions of the post-cold-war era, only the invasion of Afghanistan could be understood as directly related to America's own national security.
The long interventions in Iraq and Afghanistan certainly played a part in undermining American support, not just for wars but for the grand strategy that led to those wars. However, that support had been shaky from the beginning. Polls throughout the 1990s showed Americans wary of overseas interventions, even though the public generally supported their presidents when they used force. Opposition parties generally opposed the interventions undertaken by both Democratic and Republican presidents. Democrats voted against George H. W. Bush's Persian Gulf war; Republicans opposed the Clinton administration's interventions in Haiti and the Balkans as superfluous ''international social work'' and ''nation-building'' that were divorced from American national interests. Realists in the academy and the think tanks pecked away at successive administrations, warning of overreach and ''imperialism.'' Perhaps like the cartoon character that runs beyond the edge of the cliff and hangs with legs churning in the air before falling, support for the globally active policies of the 1990s was a kind of forward inertia, fueled by the energy of the late cold war, and gravity was eventually going to bring it to Earth.
The conventional wisdom these days is that Americans are war-weary. But it may be more accurate to say they are world-weary. During the cold war, after all, Americans had much greater reason for war-weariness'--Korea and Vietnam were 14 times more costly in terms of American deaths than Afghanistan and Iraq'--but they never fully rejected the global anti- communist containment strategy that had gotten them into the wars. Today's mood seems more analogous to the 1920s. More than 50 percent of Americans today believe that the United States ''should mind its own business internationally and let other countries get along the best they can on their own'''--the highest number ever recorded since Pew started asking the question 50 years ago.
At the core of this public attitude is no doubt the desire to avoid more wars. But as the 1920s and 1930s showed, a determination to stay out of war can affect broader foreign and economic policies. In the 1930s, the desire to avoid war led Congress to pass the Neutrality Acts, to prevent Americans from even trading with belligerents in a foreign war lest the United States be dragged in on one side or the other. Such an action may be inconceivable today, but the reasoning behind it is visible. Polls these days show that Americans are not only averse to using military force but also to actions short of war. More than 50 percent agreed that it was ''more important'' that the United States ''not get too involved in the situation in Ukraine'' than that it ''take a firm stand'' against Russia, which 29 percent found more important. Many of those not wanting to get ''too involved'' may fear that any involvement could eventually lead to a possible military confrontation'--and they're not entirely wrong. As in the 1920s and 1930s, Americans can see the slippery slope.
IV.Historians often refer to the ''maturing'' of American foreign policy since the nineteenth century. But if nations can learn, they can also unlearn. These days it is hard to watch both the conduct and the discussion of American foreign policy and not sense a certain unlearning, a forgetting of the old lessons on which the grand strategy was premised. Perhaps this was inevitable. World War II is as distant from today's ''millennials'' as the Civil War was from the generation of the 1930s. A generation that does not remember the cold war, but grew up knowing only Iraq and Afghanistan, is going to view America's role in the world differently. Combine that with the older generations that have tired of playing the old role, and it is hardly surprising that enthusiasm is flagging. Americans today are not isolationists, any more than they were in the 1920s. They favor the liberal world order insofar as they can see how it touches them. But they are no longer prepared to sacrifice very much to uphold it.
This is understandable. Americans have been Atlas carrying the world on their shoulders. They can be forgiven for feeling the temptation to put it down. Under the best of circumstances, playing the role of upholder of the liberal world order was always a monumental task. At the dawn of the American era, Truman called it ''the most terrible responsibility that any nation ever faced.'' George Kennan was convinced that the American people were ''not fitted, either institutionally or temperamentally, to be an imperial power in the grand manner.'' Actually, he underestimated them, for Americans maintained their global commitments for decades, better than most nations.
Yet the burden has been immense, and not just the obvious costs in lives and treasure. Americans have spent vast amounts on defense budgets, more than all other major powers combined. Can't U.S. allies carry more of the burden? The question has been asked since the dawn of the cold war, but the answer has always been: probably not. The same factors that have made the United States uniquely capable of supporting a world order'--great wealth and power and the relative security afforded by geography'--help explain why American allies have always been less capable and less willing. They have lacked the power and the security to see and act beyond their narrow interests. So where they failed before they will fail again. Even twenty-first-century Europeans, for all the wonders of their union, seem incapable of uniting against a predator in their midst, and are willing, as in the past, to have the weak devoured if necessary to save their own (financial) skins. There are moral costs, too. Like most people, Americans generally like to believe that they are behaving justly in the world, that they are on the side of the right. If possible, they like to have legal or institutional sanctions for their action, or at least the general approval of like-minded nations. On the two occasions in the past 100 years when the United States contemplated taking on a central role in global affairs, in 1918 and 1945, American leaders insisted on simultaneously creating world organizations that could, at least in theory, provide this legitimacy for American actions.
The problem is, the world lacks any genuine overarching legal or institutional authority, much less a democratic authority, to which all nations subordinate themselves. Questions of right and wrong are settled not according to impartial justice but usually according to the distribution of power in the system. Americans have usually had to use their power to enforce their idea of justice without any assurance beyond their own faith that they are right. This is a heavy moral burden for a democratic people to bear. In their domestic lives, Americans are accustomed to having that burden spread evenly across society. The people make the laws, the police enforce the laws, judges and juries mete out justice, and the prison officials carry out the punishment. But in the international sphere, Americans have had to act as judge, jury, police, and, in the case of military action, executioner. What gives the United States the right to act on behalf of a liberal world order? In truth, nothing does, nothing beyond the conviction that the liberal world order is the most just.
This moral conundrum was easier to ignore during the cold war, when every action taken, even in the most obscure corners of the world, was justified as being in defense of vital national interests. But actions taken in defense of world order are fraught with moral complexity. Americans and Europeans argue that Ukraine's sovereignty should be inviolate and that the people of Ukraine should be allowed to pursue their aspirations to be part of Europe. Vladimir Putin justifies his invasion of Crimea on the grounds of ancient historical ties and in response to American and European meddling in Russia's historical sphere of influence. Who is there to adjudicate between these competing claims of justice? Who can determine which side is right and which side is wrong? It does no good to invoke some allegedly superior twenty-first-century morality against an inferior nineteenth-century morality. No more in this century than in previous centuries is there either perfect morality or perfect justice to be found in the international system. Nor do great powers come to disputes with clean hands, in this or any other century. All are selfish; all are morally compromised. And indeed, the more power a nation has, the more it is likely to act in ways that cannot be squared with a Christian or Enlightenment morality.
Who is to say that even defense of the liberal world order is necessarily good? The liberal world order was never put to a popular vote. It was not bequeathed by God. It is not the endpoint of human progress, despite what our Enlightenment education tells us. It is a temporary and transient world order that suits the needs, interests, and above all the ideals of a large and powerful collection of people, but it does not necessarily fit the needs and desires of everyone. For decades many abroad and some Americans at home saw it as a form of Western imperialism, and many still do. Communism may have failed, but authoritarianism and autocracy live on. And it is that form of government, not democracy, that has been the norm throughout history. In recent decades the democracies, led by the United States and Europe, have had the power to shape the world. But who is to say that Putinism in Russia or the particular brand of authoritarianism practiced in China will not survive as far into the future as European democracy, which, outside of Great Britain, is itself only a little over a century old?
A liberal world order, like any world order, is something that is imposed, and as much as we in the West might wish it to be imposed by superior virtue, it is generally imposed by superior power. Putin seeks to impose his view of a world order, at least in Russia's neighborhood, just as Europe and the United States do. Whether he succeeds or fails will probably not be determined merely by who is right and who is wrong. It will be determined by the exercise of power.
This is a disturbing thought for a nation that has grown weary of exercising power. Hans Morgenthau once observed that Americans are attracted to the ''illusion that a nation can escape ... from power politics,'' that at some point ''the final curtain would fall and the game of power politics would no longer be played.'' Many escapes have been offered over the past two decades. In 1989, Fukuyama told Americans that with the end of history there would be no more ''serious ideological competitors left to liberal democracy.'' Liberal progress was inevitable, and therefore nothing need be done to promote or defend it. Such thoughts were echoed throughout the 1990s. The age of geopolitics had supposedly given way to the age of geoeconomics. What America needed in the new era was less ''hard power'' and more ''soft power.''
Such was the reigning conventional wisdom, at least from the end of the cold war until 2008 and the beginning of the financial crisis. Then the paradigm shifted. Suddenly, instead of the end of history, it was the end of America, the end of the West. Triumphalism turned to declinism. From the post-cold-war utopia it became the post-American world. Yet this, too, turned out to be a form of escapism, for remarkably, whether the liberal world order was triumphing or America and the West were declining, the prescription remained the same: There was nothing to be done. Whereas before it had been unnecessary, and even wrong, for the United States to use its power to shape the world, now, suddenly, it was impossible, because the United States no longer had sufficient power.
Today more than 50 percent of Americans believe the United States plays ''a less important and powerful role as a world leader than it did a decade ago.'' One senses that, for many Americans, this decline is not a reason for panic but comes as something of a relief. Less power means fewer responsibilities. A sense of futility, today as much as in the 1920s and 1930s, is both an invitation and a justification for a return to normalcy.
The sense of futility has affected policymakers, too. Senior White House officials, especially the younger ones, look at problems like the struggle in Syria and believe that there is little if anything the United States can do. This is the lesson of their generation, the lesson of Iraq and Afghanistan: that America has neither the power nor the understanding nor the skill to fix problems in the world.
This is also escapism, however, for there is a myth embedded in this plea of futility. It is that wielding power effectively was ever any easier than it is today. With rose-colored glasses we look back at the cold war and imagine that the United States used to get others to do what it wanted, used to know what it was doing, and used to wield such overwhelming power that the world simply bent to its will or succumbed to its charms. But American policy during the cold war, despite its ultimate success, was filled with errors, folly, many near-disasters, and some disasters. From the beginning, allies proved rebellious, resentful, and unmanageable. American domestic politics made sensible policies difficult and sometimes impossible to sustain. The world economy, and the American economy, lurched from crisis to crisis. American military power was at its best a most uncertain instrument. In Vietnam, whether inevitably or because of bad policymaking in Washington, it failed miserably. In Korea, it almost suffered a complete catastrophe. The most successful presidents of the era, from Truman to Reagan, did not always seem successful to their contemporaries and suffered significant setbacks in their foreign policies. Can the architects of today's foreign policies really believe that Acheson and his colleagues, or the policymakers in the Johnson or Nixon or Carter administrations, had an easier time of it?
Any nation's foreign policy is bound to fail more often than it succeeds. The attempt to influence the behavior of people even in the domestic setting is difficult enough. To influence other peoples and other nations without simply annihilating them is the most difficult of all human tasks. It is also in the very nature of foreign policy, as in human affairs generally, that all solutions to problems only breed more problems. This is certainly true of all wars. There is no perfect ending to any war, even those fought with the clearest and most straightforward of objectives. The Civil War did not put an end to the terrible plight of blacks in America, though it cost over half a million lives. World War II ended with the Soviet Union in control of half of Europe and opened the way to another four decades of superpower confrontation.
When a nation uses its power to shape a world order, rather than merely for self-defense or conquest, the tenuousness of solutions is even more pronounced. Military actions for world order preservation are almost by definition limited both in scope and objectives. World order maintenance requires operating in the gray areas between victory and defeat. The measure of success is often not how wonderful the end result is, but whether the unsatisfying end result is better or worse than the outcome if there had been no action. To insist on outcomes that always achieve maximum ends at minimal cost is yet another form of escapism.
Today, however, Americans seem overwhelmed by the difficulty and complexity of it all. They yearn to return to what Niebuhr called ''the innocency of irresponsibility,'' or at least to a normalcy in which the United States can limit the scope of its commitments. In this way America has perhaps returned to the mood of the 1920s. There is a difference, however. In the 1920s, it was not America's world order that needed shoring up. Americans felt, mistakenly as it turned out, that it was Britain's and Europe's job to preserve the world order they had created. Today, it is America's world order that needs propping up. Will Americans decide that it matters this time, when only they have the capacity to sustain it?
You never miss the water 'til the well runs dry, or so the saying goes. One wonders whether Americans, including their representatives and their president, quite understand what is at stake. When President Obama first took office five years ago, Peter Baker of The New York Times reported that he intended to deal ''with the world as it is rather than as it might be.'' It is a standard realist refrain and has been repeated time and again by senior Obama officials as a way of explaining why he decided against pursuing some desirable but unreachable ''ideal'' in this place or that. What fewer and fewer seem to realize, however, is that the last 70 years have offered Americans and many others something of a reprieve from the world ''as it is.''
Periods of peace and prosperity can make people forget what the world ''as it is'' really looks like, and to conclude that the human race has simply ascended to some higher plateau of being. This was the common view in Europe in the first decade of the twentieth century. At a time when there had not been a war between great powers in 40 years, or a major Europe-wide war in a century, the air was filled with talk of a new millennium in which wars among civilized nations had become impossible. Three-quarters of a century and two world wars and a cold war later, millennial thoughts return. Studies cited by Fareed Zakaria purport to show that some ''transformation of international relations'' has occurred. ''Changes of borders by force'' have dropped dramatically ''since 1946.'' The nations of Western Europe, having been responsible for two new wars a year for 600 years, had not even started one ''since 1945.'' Steven Pinker observes that the number of deaths from war, ethnic conflict, and military coups has declined'--since 1945'--and concludes that the human race has become ''socialized'' to prefer peace and nonviolence.
The dates when these changes supposedly began ought to be a tip-off. Is it a coincidence that these happy trends began when the American world order was established after World War II, or that they accelerated in the last two decades of the twentieth century, when America's only serious competitor collapsed? Imagine strolling through Central Park and, after noting how much safer it had become, deciding that humanity must simply have become less violent'--without thinking that perhaps the New York Police Department had something to do with it.
In fact, the world ''as it is'' is a dangerous and often brutal place. There has been no transformation in human behavior or in international relations. In the twenty-first century, no less than in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, force remains the ultima ratio. The question, today as in the past, is not whether nations are willing to resort to force but whether they believe they can get away with it when they do. If there has been less aggression, less ethnic cleansing, less territorial conquest over the past 70 years, it is because the United States and its allies have both punished and deterred aggression, have intervened, sometimes, to prevent ethnic cleansing, and have gone to war to reverse territorial conquest. The restraint showed by other nations has not been a sign of human progress, the strengthening of international institutions, or the triumph of the rule of law. It has been a response to a global configuration of power that, until recently, has made restraint seem the safer course.
When Vladimir Putin failed to achieve his goals in Ukraine through political and economic means, he turned to force, because he believed that he could. He will continue to use force so long as he believes that the payoff exceeds the cost. Nor is he unique in this respect. What might China do were it not hemmed in by a ring of powerful nations backed by the United States? For that matter, what would Japan do if it were much more powerful and much less dependent on the United States for its security? We have not had to find out the answers to these questions, not yet, because American predominance, the American alliance system, and the economic, political, and institutional aspects of the present order, all ultimately dependent on power, have mostly kept the lid closed on this Pandora's box.
Nor have we had to find out yet what the world ''as it is'' would do to the remarkable spread of democracy. Skeptics of ''democracy promotion'' argue that the United States has often tried to plant democracy in infertile soil. They may be right. The widespread flowering of democracy around the world in recent decades may prove to have been artificial and therefore tenuous. As Michael Ignatieff once observed, it may be that ''liberal civilization'' itself ''runs deeply against the human grain and is achieved and sustained only by the most unremitting struggle against human nature.'' Perhaps this fragile democratic garden requires the protection of a liberal world order, with constant feeding, watering, weeding, and the fencing off of an ever-encroaching jungle. In the absence of such efforts, the weeds and the jungle may sooner or later come back to reclaim the land.
One wonders if even the current economic order reflects the world ''as it is.'' A world in which autocracies make ever more ambitious attempts to control the flow of information, and in which autocratic kleptocracies use national wealth and resources to further their private interests, may prove less hospitable to the kind of free flow of commerce the world has come to appreciate in recent decades.
In fact, from the time that Roosevelt and Truman first launched it, the whole project of promoting and defending a liberal world order has been a concerted effort not to accept the world ''as it is.'' The American project has aimed at shaping a world different from what had always been, taking advantage of America's unique situation to do what no nation had ever been able to do. Today, however, because many Americans no longer recall what the world ''as it is'' really looks like, they cannot imagine it. They bemoan the burdens and failures inherent in the grand strategy but take for granted all the remarkable benefits.
Nor do they realize, perhaps, how quickly it can all unravel. The international system is an elaborate web of power relationships, in which every nation, from the biggest to the smallest, is constantly feeling for shifts or disturbances. Since 1945, and especially since 1989, the web has been geared to respond primarily to the United States. Allies observe American behavior and calculate America's reliability. Nations hemmed in or threatened by American power watch for signs of growing or diminishing power and will. When the United States appears to retrench, allies necessarily become anxious, while others look for opportunities.
In recent years, the world has picked up unmistakable signals that Americans may no longer want to carry the burden of global responsibility. Others read the polls, read the president's speeches calling for ''nation-building at home,'' see the declining defense budgets and defense capabilities, and note the extreme reticence, on the part of both American political parties, about using force. The world judges that, were it not for American war-weariness, the United States probably would by now have used force in Syria'--just as it did in Kosovo, in Bosnia, and in Panama. President Obama himself recently acknowledged as much when he said, ''It's not that it's not worth it. It's that after a decade of war, you know, the United States has limits.'' Such statements set the web vibrating. In East Asia, nations living in close proximity to an increasingly powerful China want to know whether Americans will make a similar kind of calculation when it comes to defending them; in the Middle East, nations worried about Iran wonder if they will be left to confront it alone; in Eastern Europe and the Baltic states, American security guarantees are meaningless unless Americans are able and willing to meet them.
Are they? No one has taken a poll lately on whether the United States should come to the defense of its treaty allies in the event of a war between, say, China and Japan; or whether it should come to the defense of Estonia in a Ukraine-like conflict with Russia. The answers might prove interesting.
Meanwhile, the signs of the global order breaking down are all around us. Russia's invasion of Ukraine and seizure of Crimea was the first time since World War II that a nation in Europe had engaged in territorial conquest. If Iran manages to acquire a nuclear weapon, it will likely lead other powers in the region to do the same, effectively undoing the nonproliferation regime, which, along with American power, has managed to keep the number of nuclear-armed powers limited over the past half century. Iran, Saudi Arabia, and Russia are engaged in a proxy war in Syria that, in addition to the 150,000 dead and the millions displaced, has further destabilized a region that had already been in upheaval. In East Asia, nervousness about China's rise, combined with uncertainty about America's commitment, is exacerbating tensions. In recent years the number of democracies around the world has been steadily declining, while the number of autocracies grows. If these trends continue, in the near future we are likely to see increasing conflict, increasing wars over territory, greater ethnic and sectarian violence, and a shrinking world of democracies.
How will Americans respond? If the test is once again to be ''national interests'' narrowly construed, then Americans may find all of this tolerable, or at least preferable to doing something to stop it. Could the United States survive if Syria remains under the control of Assad or, more likely, disintegrates into a chaos of territories, some of which will be controlled by jihadi terrorists? Could it survive if Iran acquires a nuclear weapon, and if in turn Saudi Arabia, Turkey, and Egypt acquire nuclear weapons? Or if North Korea launches a war on the South? Could it survive in a world where China dominates much of East Asia, or where China and Japan resume their old conflict? Could it survive in a world where Russia dominates Eastern Europe, including not only Ukraine but the Baltic states and perhaps even Poland? Of course it could. From the point of view of strict ''necessity'' and narrow national interest, the United States could survive all of this. It could trade with a dominant China and work out a modus vivendi with a restored Russian empire. Those alarmed by such developments will be hard-pressed, as Roosevelt was, to explain how each marginal setback would affect the parochial interests of the average American. As in the past, Americans will be among the last to suffer grievously from a breakdown of world order. And by the time they do feel the effects, it may be very late in the day.
Looking back on the period before World War II, Robert Osgood, the most thoughtful of realist thinkers of the past century, discerned a critical element missing from the strategic analyses of the day. Mere rational calculations of the ''national interest,'' he argued, proved inadequate. Paradoxically, it was the ''idealists,'' those who were ''most sensitive to the Fascist menace to Western culture and civilization,'' who were ''among the first to understand the necessity of undertaking revolutionary measures to sustain America's first line of defense in Europe.'' Idealism, he concluded, was ''an indispensable spur to reason in leading men to perceive and act upon the real imperatives of power politics.'' This was Roosevelt's message, too, when he asked Americans to defend ''not their homes alone, but the tenets of faith and humanity on which their churches, their governments, and their very civilization are founded.''
Perhaps Americans can be inspired in this way again, without the threat of a Hitler or an attack on their homeland. But this time they will not have 20 years to decide. The world will change much more quickly than they imagine. And there is no democratic superpower waiting in the wings to save the world if this democratic superpower falters.
Robert Kagan is a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution and a contributing editor at The New Republic. He is the author, most recently, of The World America Made.
Giant petroleum refining tower on its way through Turkey to Kurdish Iraq
Tue, 08 Jul 2014 23:50
ISTANBUL - Cihan News Agency
A giant petroleum refining tower that was dispatched from Dubai to Turkey's İskenderun port is now being transferred to northern Iraq using ''millipede trucks.''The 70-meter long, 250-ton tower is expected to arrive at its destination in the Kurdistan region of Iraq in 15 days. Cem Atıcı, one of the coordinators of the operation, said it was the first time that such a job has been undertaken by Turkey, adding that measures have been taken to ensure the safety of the tower along its journey.
After it crosses into Iraq's Kurdish region, the truck will be accompanied by peshmerga forces, Atıcı also said, adding that the planned route would not overlap with areas controlled by militants belonging to the Islamic State (IS), formally known as the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levent (ISIL).
July/07/2014
PHOTO GALLERY
BBC News - Iraq rebels 'seize nuclear materials'
Thu, 10 Jul 2014 14:36
10 July 2014Last updated at 07:48 ET Iraq has warned the UN that Sunni militants have seized nuclear materials used for scientific research at a university in the city of Mosul.
In a letter seen by Reuters, Iraq's envoy to the UN said nearly 40kg (88lb) of uranium compounds were seized.
The letter appealed for international help to "stave off the threat of their use by terrorists in Iraq or abroad".
But the UN atomic agency IAEA said the material was "low grade" and did not pose a significant security risk.
US officials have also reportedly played down the threat, saying the materials were not believed to be enriched uranium.
They added that it would be difficult for the rebels to use the materials to make weapons.
Chemicals seized"Terrorist groups have seized control of nuclear material at the sites that came out of the control of the state," Ambassador Mohamed Ali Alhakim said in the letter.
"These nuclear materials, despite the limited amounts mentioned, can enable terrorist groups, with the availability of the required expertise, to use it separately or in combination with other materials in its terrorist acts," he added.
However, International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) spokesperson Gill Tudor said on Thursday it "would not present a significant safety, security or nuclear proliferation risk".
But she said that "any loss of regulatory control over nuclear and other radioactive materials is a cause for concern".
Mosul, some 400km (250 miles) north-west of Baghdad, was last month seized by Isis-led (Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant) insurgents.
Maliki 'hysterical'The letter comes a day after Iraqi officials confirmed that the rebels were in control of a disused chemical weapons factory.
Please turn on JavaScript. Media requires JavaScript to play.
The ancient relationship between Iran and Iraq - explained in 90 seconds
Iraq said the Muthanna complex, north-west of the capital Baghdad, housed remnants of rockets filled with sarin and other deadly nerve agents.
The UN and US have said the munitions are degraded and the rebels will be unable to make usable chemical arms from them.
Meanwhile, tensions are building between the central Iraqi authorities and the autonomous Kurdistan regional government, one day after Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki said Isis militants were being harboured in the Kurdish city of Erbil.
A spokesman for Iraqi Kurdish leader Massoud Barzani said that Mr Maliki had become hysterical and urged him to step down.
He said: "You have destroyed the country and someone who has destroyed the country cannot save the country from crises."
Kurdish ministers have also said they would not attend cabinet meetings until further notice in protest at Mr Maliki's comments.
In recent weeks, Isis insurgents have seized huge swathes of north-western Iraq. Kurdish troops moved into areas abandoned by the Iraqi forces during the Isis onslaught, including the oil-rich region of Kirkuk.
The UN has said at least 2,417 Iraqis, including 1,531 civilians, were killed in "acts of violence and terrorism" in June.
More than a million people have fled their homes as a result of the fighting.
Syrian troops advance in key city of Aleppo
Tue, 08 Jul 2014 04:23
Syrian troops have advanced inside and near northern Aleppo in what appears to be an attempt to lay siege to rebel-held parts of the country's largest city, activist say.
Rami Abdurrahman, who heads the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, said on Monday that reinforcements, including members of Iran's elite Republican Guards and allies from Lebanon's Hezbollah group, had recently arrived in Aleppo.
"The latest attack does not mean that Aleppo will fall. It is going to be a very difficult battle,'' he said.
Abdurrahman's Syrian Observatory has a network of activists across Syria. Al Jazeera cannot independently verify the information because of reporting restrictions inside Syria.
Abu al-Hassan, an activist based in Aleppo, told Associated Press news agency that fighting mainly occured near an army infantry base that rebels captured two years ago.
If successful, the government forces' advance would be the biggest blow to the opposition since they entered the northern city two years ago.
Aleppo, once Syria's commercial centre, has been carved up into rebel- and government-controlled areas since opposition fighters launched an offensive in the country's north in mid-2012.
Monday's reported push also comes a month after fighters of the Islamic State group seized territories straddling Syria and neighbouring Iraq, mostly running across the Euphrates river where they have declared a self-styled caliphate.
Most of the land was seized in June during a push across Iraq.
Syrian government forces last week seized a key industrial area, allowing them to cut off rebel-held parts of Aleppo.
State-run news agency SANA said the army continued its crackdown on "terrorists" hideouts and had killed and wounded scores. The government refers to opposition fighters as terrorists.
Syria's conflict began in March 2011 as largely peaceful protest against President Bashar al-Assad's rule. It turned into an armed uprising after some opposition supporters picked up arms to fight a brutal government crackdown on dissent.
It gradually became a civil war, in which more than 160,000 people have been killed, according to activists, and nearly a third of Syria's population of 23 million has been displaced. A third of those killed have been civilians.
366
Kurdish operations unaffected by Iraqi violence, Oryx Petroelum says
Tue, 08 Jul 2014 23:40
CALGARY, Alberta, July 7 (UPI) --Canadian energy company Oryx Petroleum said Monday its operations in the Kurdish north of Iraq were unaffected by violence in the rest of the country.The Sunni-led Islamic State of Iraq and Syria declared an Islamist state in parts of Iraq in June after taking control of key cities in the north of the country. The northern provinces that make up the semiautonomous Kurdish region have been shielded from much of the violence.
"Our operations remain largely unaffected by the security situation in northern Iraq," Oryx Chief Operating Officer Henry Legarre said in a statement. "We continue to vigilantly monitor the situation and implement measures to mitigate risks."
Production from the Demir Dagh reserve area in the Kurdish north of Iraq started June 12. Production stands at around 4,000 barrels per day and Oryx said the field produced 38,000 barrels total last month.
Gross production should reach 25,000 bpd by the end of the year as operations proceed, the company said.
The company in June sold its first volumes of crude oil from the Demir Dagh reserve area to the domestic market.
(C) 2014 United Press International, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI's prior written consent.
Disavowing Kurdish independence, Turkey prepares for Kurdish energy future.
Wed, 09 Jul 2014 22:44
Turkey seems to have officially disavowed any support for the independence of the Kurdistan Regional Government in Iraq, despite AK Party deputy chairman H¼seyin ‡elik's June 28 comments to The Financial Times to the contrary. However, the KRG's recent export of oil to Turkey's Mediterranean oil port of Ceyhan, which after transshipment arrived in Israel's Ashkelon port, highlighted the economic benefit to Turkey of a Kurdish political entity in Iraq with sufficient autonomy to market its energy independent of the constraints of the Iraqi central government in Baghdad.Indeed, Ankara's far-sighted effort to become a leading energy transportation hub includes a new oil refinery on Turkey's Aegean coast and the Trans-Anatolian Natural Gas Pipeline that respectively can accommodate oil and natural gas from the autonomous Kurdish region of Iraq.
The new $5.6 billion STAR oil refinery is being built at the Petkim Petrochecmical Complex about 50 km north of the Turkish coastal city of Izmir. Petkim is the largest petrochemicals manufacturer in Turkey and currently accounts for approximately 30 percent of Turkey's market share for refined petroleum products.
Petkim is aggressively seeking to increase its market share by replacing imported products with its own products produced in Turkey. The STAR refinery will provide Petkim's plants with feedstock fuel that will enable Petkim to manufacture high value petroleum products at a considerable cost reduction with the effect of cutting down Turkey's dependence on imported refined petroleum products, particularly in critical sectors such as diesel fuel and jet fuel.
In addition to Azeri Light grade and Russian Urals grade oil, the STAR refinery is being constructed with the capability of refining Kirkuk grade crude oil allowing Petkim to manufacture high value petroleum products from crude oil imported from the KRG. Test production of the refinery will start in early 2017 and it is expected to become operational by 2018.
The Trans-Anatolian Natural Gas Pipeline (TANAP) also carries the potential for an independent Kurdish political entity to market its natural gas resources to Turkey and the EU.
The $10.5b. TANAP is being constructed by Azerbaijan's state oil company SOCAR and its junior partner the Turkish state-owned oil and natural gas pipeline company BOTAŞ, which owns a 30% stake in the project.
With an initial capacity of 16 billion cubic meters (bcm), TANAP will initially receive gas from Azerbaijan's Caspian Sea Shah Deniz field and then transport the gas across Turkey to the Turkish-Greek border where it will link with the Trans-Adriatic pipeline (TAP) for delivery to the European Union. Expected to be fully operational by 2018, Turkey will receive approximately 6 bcm with the remaining 10 bcm intended for the EU.
Once operational, the volume of natural gas transported via TANAP is expected to increase by one billion cubic meters per year. Since Turkey's domestic natural gas consumption has more than tripled, jumping from 15 bcm in 2000 to 46 bcm in 2010, the gas delivered via TANAP is of considerable importance to the continued functioning of the Turkish economy.
Additionally, the Turkish economy stands to benefit substantially from the lucrative transit revenues received for gas transported to the EU across its territory. Aside from natural gas from Azerbaijan, TANAP also will be able to transport natural gas from the KRG should it be sufficiently independent to sell its gas. Experts estimate that the KRG could export 10 bcm of natural gas to Turkey as early as 2020.
With the countries of the Arab Middle East embroiled in unprecedented political turmoil that is straining their relations with Turkey, the AKP government's deepening relationship with the KRG constitutes a foreign policy achievement with significance for Turkey's long-term geo-strategic position. Turkey's ambition to become a global energy hub would benefit from a Kurdish political entity sufficiently independent to market its hydrocarbon energy resources via Turkey.
While the exact political relationship between Turkey and an independent Kurdish government is yet to be determined, the infrastructure of the economic relationship is being established.
The author is a Fellow at Shalem College, Jerusalem, and at the Middle East and Asia Units of the Hebrew University's Truman Research Institute for the Advancement of Peace. He also teaches in Tel Aviv University's Department of Middle Eastern and African History.
Please LIKE our Facebook page - it makes us stronger:
ISIS Tells FIFA: Cancel Qatari World Cup Or Face Scuds | Vocativ
Wed, 09 Jul 2014 02:53
Before the winner of the Brazil World Cup has even been decided, the 2022 event is facing fresh threats. And this time, it's not down to construction delays or street protests, it's ambitious terrorists. The Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, the terrorist organisation currently wreaking havoc in the Middle East, issued a bizarrely polite threat to FIFA earlier this week, warning them not to hold the 2022 World Cup in Qatar.
The group claims that by that stage, Qatar will be a part of its newly-declared Islamic Caliphate, ''under the rule of the Caliph Ibrahim Bin Awad Alqarshi'' (the full name of ISIS leader Al Baghdady). Under that caliphate, football games will be considered ''a diversion from Islam''.
This map, circulated widely as outlining an ISIS five-year plan, has been largely debunked, but may be indicative of the widest extent of their ambitions.
After the message was released on Sunday, it spread virally on social media platforms. Given the violent ongoing devastation by ISIS in Syria and Iraq, resulting in masses of dead bodies the Al Qaeda-inspired group leaves in their wake, what is perhaps most surprising about ISIS's threat is its tone.
Regally addressing the FIFA President by his full first name ''Joseph'' (he goes by the moniker ''Sepp'') the terror group ''suggest'' Mr. Blatter had better find a replacement venue for the Qatar event, while nonchalantly mentioning the long-range scud missiles ISIS claims to have acquired, which would put the Kingdom well within their strike range. Having issued their warning, the group signs off with a ''thanks''.
The full message '' as posted on ISIS's forum alplatformmedia.com and reprinted in Egypt's Al Wattan newspaper reads:
''From the soldiers of the Caliphate state to the president of the international football association Joseph S. Blatter:
''Dear Joseph,
We had sent a message to you back in 2010, when you decided or were bribed by the former Amir of Qatar to have the 2022 world cup in Qatar. Now, after the establishment of the Caliphate state, we declare that there will be no world cup in Qatar since Qatar will be part of the Caliphate under the rule of the Caliph Ibrahim Bin Awad Alqarshi (Al Baghdady's full name) who doesn't allow corruption and diversion from Islam in the land of the Muslims. This is why we suggest that you will decide upon a replacement country instead of Qatar. The Islamic state has long-rang scud missiles that can easily reach Qatar, as the Americans already know.
Thanks.''
The warning follows revelations by The Sunday Times newspaper last month detailing a damning security assessment for Qatar. According to the statement, there was a ''high risk'' of the World Cup in 2022 being ''shut down'' altogether by a terror attack in the kindgom. Qatar has been mired in controversy ever since winning the bid to become the first Arab state to host a World Cup final in 2010. One of the key concerns has been the blisteringly hot summer temperatures in Qatar''exceeding 120 degrees Fahrenheit, which pretty much makes soccer unplayable.
Others have protested the corruption scandals surrounding Qatar's bid, as well as the Kingdom's problematic human rights record. According to an Amnesty International report from October 2013, migrant workers in Qatar are ''treated like cattle'' and placed in deplorable work conditions akin to modern day slavery.
The ISIS warning is far from the first of its kind''soccer fatwas from wingnut clerics are as rhythmic as the World Cup cycle itself. A 2010 Stratfor advisory, coming just after the Qatar announcement by FIFA, quoted an Islamic activist as saying: ''You fools, know that Al-Qaeda is on the threshold of establishing the shariah (Islamic law) of Allah the Almighty.''
Arab men sit at a shoemaker's stall with a replica of the FIFA World Cup trophy in the Souq Waqif traditional market in Doha, Qata.
Sean Gallup/Getty Images
The user, who went by the name Hafeed al-Hussein on the Shumukh al-Islam online forum, also had a few prescient lines about the future balance of power on the Arab peninsula.
''And who knows, Allah may empower al-Qaeda so that it takes control of matters after a year or two, or five years at most,'' he said. ''In 2022, there is no country with the name Qatar, and there is no province called Kuwait and there is no Saudi (Arabia). Instead, there is an emirate called the Islamic State,'' the post added.
Sounds familiar.
F-Russia / Ukraine / Syria
UCHR-sez Russia violated Georgia WTF
Thu, 10 Jul 2014 14:40
PARIS (AP) -- The European Court of Human Rights has ruled that Russia violated rights of Georgians with a coordinated campaign of arrests and expulsions ahead of the 2008 war between the two neighboring countries.The case focused on police roundups of Georgians in the fall of 2006, when bilateral tensions were running high. Relations have improved recently after the departure of Georgia's then-president, Mikhail Saakashvili.In a ruling Thursday, the court found that Russian authorities did not allow Georgians enough legal recourse against the arrests and expulsions, and detainees were held in inhumane conditions.The court found that the practices violated multiple articles of the European Convention of Human Rights. The court's rulings are binding. It will decide later on fines or other punishment.
Syrian opposition meets to elect new president
Tue, 08 Jul 2014 02:25
BEIRUT (AP) -- Syrian troops advanced in and around the northern city of Aleppo on Monday, in what appears to be an attempt to lay siege to opposition-held parts of the country's largest city, activists said.The troops faced rebels stretched thin by a two-front fight against government forces and Islamic militants encroaching on opposition-held areas. If rebels are driven out of Aleppo, it would be a near-fatal blow to an uprising that began in March 2011 as largely peaceful protests against President Bashar Assad's rule, but later turned into a full-fledged civil war.Aleppo is the last large urban area that Syrian rebels hold after losing territory to government forces over the past year, and it lies close to the border with Turkey, an important friendly supply route for rebels. Raqqa, further east, is held exclusively by Sunni extremists from the Islamic State group."If Aleppo falls, the Syrian revolution falls," said an Aleppo-based activist who uses the name Baraa Halabi, speaking to The Associated Press over Skype.Aleppo, once Syria's commercial center, has been carved up into rebel- and government-controlled areas since an opposition offensive in mid-2012.Rami Abdurrahman, who heads the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, said Monday that reinforcements, including members of the elite Republican Guards and allies from Lebanon's Hezbollah group, recently arrived in Aleppo.They appeared to be reinforcing Syrian government forces, which have been steadily seizing control of the city's entrances.Last week, troops seized the Sheikh Najjar neighborhood and a key industrial area, allowing them to choke off eastern entrances to rebel-held parts of Aleppo. They also captured the villages of Kafr al-Saghir and Moqbila, just north of Aleppo, tightening their grip on the city's entrances, said Abu al-Hassan Marea, an activist based near the city.They already control much of western Aleppo and have closed down most of the city's southern entrances.A Syrian army officer told state TV that troops now control a main highway north of Aleppo and said they had "closed a belt of up to 80 percent from the north." The officer did not provide his name, in line with Syrian military regulations.Activist Abdurrahman said he did not think Aleppo would fall quickly."It is going to be a very difficult battle," said Abdurrahman, whose group has a network of activists around Syria. He said the government's aim was likely to capture Aleppo's northern district of Handarat to further close in on rebels.The government push came just as Islamic militants began pushing into the northern countryside surrounding Aleppo last week.Islamic State group insurgents turned toward Aleppo's countryside after seizing western and northern swathes of neighboring Iraq last month. They already have strongholds along the eastern Syrian length of the Euphrates river and in the northern towns of Manbej and al-Bab. The insurgents declared a self-styled caliphate in an area straddling the two territories earlier this week.This week, Islamic State group fighters seized Kurdish villages on the Turkish border near the provincial town of Ayn Arab near the Turkish border. They are fighting for the towns of Akhtarin and Marea."You look to the right, and there's the regime. You look to the left, it's the Islamic State (group). We are caught in a pincer," said activist Halabi.Rebels were rushing to bring in convoys of fighters, according to Halabi and another activist, who uses the name Abdullah Ghannam."Rebels in the area aren't enough to fill all the fronts - we have four or five active fronts now," Ghannam said.Fears over the Aleppo front began about a month ago, said the activists, when forces loyal to the government began hammering away at the industrial area. The attacks came after rebel-held areas were badly weakened by bombardment with crude barrel bombs for months.Government forces were emboldened from a year of victories, most recently wresting back the central city of Homs from rebels. They had cut rebel supply lines into neighboring Lebanon, and their crushing blockades of rebel-held areas caused insurgents to surrender.Rebels have also been badly weakened after infighting against Islamic State group extremists began in December last year, the clashes killing thousands of people and diverting the fight.
Syrian opposition elects Bahra as new leader | News , Middle East | THE DAILY STAR
Wed, 09 Jul 2014 22:42
ISTANBUL: The main exiled Syrian opposition group elected Wednesday Saudi Arabia-based businessman Hadi al-Bahra as its new president in a bid to end internal divisions and breathe fresh life into its flagging struggle to oust President Bashar Assad.
The Syrian National Coalition, the main exiled opposition group seeking the overthrow of Assad, will be hoping Bahra enjoys greater success than his predecessor Ahmad Jarba in keeping up the pressure on the regime.
"Hadi al-Bahra was elected president of the coalition with 62 votes," the coalition said in a statement after the early morning vote at the meeting in the Black Sea resort of Sile outside Istanbul in Turkey.
His nearest rival, Mowafaq Nayrabiyeh, won 41 votes, while Walid al-Omari won just three votes, it added.
Delegates are expected to return later Wednesday to elect a vice president and a secretary general while Bahra is also expected to give a press conference.
Bahra will have the task of keeping alive the campaign to unseat Assad amid territorial gains by the regime and the rise of the radical jihadist group Islamic State of Iraq and Greater Syria (ISIS), which the coalition vehemently opposes.
Jarba headed the coalition from July 2013 but failed in efforts to unite the opposition and obtain significant Western military support.
Bahra was born in Damascus in 1959 and studied industrial engineering in the United States, according to the coalition's website. He speaks English fluently.
But he has spent most of his adult life in Saudi Arabia, where he has managed several hospitals and businesses and still lives.
He headed the opposition negotiating team in its delegation to the failed Geneva 2 talks between the opposition and the regime in Switzerland earlier this year.
In an interview with AFP at those talks, Bahra reaffirmed he was determined to reach a political solution, saying that the opposition was "not looking to seek power or impose an opinion."
Bahra is softly-spoken yet he has frequently publicly denounced human rights violations by the Assad regime, as well as the international community's failure to step up assistance to the Syrian people.
The Syrian opposition has been driven by internal conflicts linked to disputes between its main foreign sponsors, notably Saudi Arabia and its influential Gulf Arab neighbor Qatar.
But its members are now trying to reach a consensus and end the feuding which has exasperated the West and anti-Assad Syrians tired of being manipulated by outside powers.
As a Saudi based businessman, Bahra should enjoy the support of Riyadh but will have to show he can also be a figure of reconciliation within the opposition.
The president of the coalition changes on an annual basis partly in an effort to ensure no foreign power wields too much influence by keeping a pliable figure in power too long.
Most Syrians living in opposition-held areas believe the coalition has failed to secure either the political or military backing the rebels need to topple Assad regime, with many activists frequently accusing its members of being disconnected from reality on the ground.
Syrian opposition body elects new president - Middle East - Al Jazeera English
Wed, 09 Jul 2014 22:41
Syria's Western-backed opposition National Coalition has elected Hadi al-Bahra, chief negotiator at the Geneva peace talks, as its new president after a three-day meeting in Istanbul, the coalition said.
Bahra, a US-trained industrial engineer, will replace Ahmad Jarba, who has served the maximum two six-month terms.
Like Jarba, Bahra has close ties to Saudi Arabia and has lived there, the Reuters news agency reported.
"Hadi al-Bahra wins coalition presidency by 62 votes," a post on the Coalition's Facebook page said on Wednesday.
While designated as the main body representing the opposition by the US and other key powers, the National Coalition has little power inside Syria, where disparate armed groups outside its control hold ground.
Infighting within the opposition coalition has also undermined rebel efforts to take on forces loyal to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, playing into the hands of rival Sunni rebel groups that include foreign fighters.
US- and Russian-sponsored talks to end the three-year-old civil war stalled after two rounds in January and February, when the coalition and Assad's representatives failed to make substantive progress.
175
'‹US 'kidnaps' Russian MP's son to 'exchange him for Snowden'
Wed, 09 Jul 2014 00:03
Published time: July 08, 2014 10:39Edited time: July 08, 2014 15:40RIA Novosti / Aleksandr Utkin
A Russian MP claims the US kidnapped his son from the Maldives on bogus cyber-fraud charges and may be preparing to offer him as bait in a swap deal for Edward Snowden.
Roman Seleznyov, 30, was arrested at Male international airport as he was about to board a flight to Moscow. He was forced by US secret service agents to board a private plane to Guam and was later arrested. The Russian ministry slammed his detention as ''a de-facto kidnapping.''
Moscow considers the kidnapping "a new hostile move by Washington,'' and accused the US of ignoring proper procedure in dealing with foreign nationals suspected of crimes.
''The same happened to Viktor Bout and Konstantin Yaroshenko, who were forced to go to the US from third countries and convicted on dubious charges.''
In an interview to RT Russian MP Valery Seleznyov, Roman's father pointed to the illegality of the US kidnap.
''For all I know they may be demanding a ransom tomorrow. Or try to exchange him for [NSA whistleblower Edward] Snowden or somebody. One can only wonder.''
He cannot contact his son and claims American authorities are denying Roman his rights.
''They took him to Guam because American law is not fully applicable there,'' the lawmaker explained.
The MP said that his son has scant computer skills and could not be involved in any sort of hacking.
The US Department of Justice and US Secret Service announced Monday that Roman Seleznyov was indicted on charges including identity theft, bank fraud, illegally accessing information on protected computers and trafficking in unauthorized access devices.
He is charged with stealing and selling US citizens' credit card data between 2009 and 2011 and may face up to 30 years in prison if found guilty.
Seleznyov appeared in court on Monday, and will be held in custody until his next hearing in two weeks.
''This important arrest sends a clear message: despite the increasingly borderless nature of transitional organized crime, the long arm of justice '' and this Department '' will continue to disrupt and dismantle sophisticated criminal organizations,'' Jeh Johnson, Secretary of Homeland Security, said in a statement.
The Secret Service called Seleznyov ''one of the world's most prolific traffickers of stolen financial information.''
The Russian's ''scheme involved multiple network intrusions and data thefts for illicit financial gain," said the director of the Secret Service, Julia Pierson. "The adverse impact this individual and other transnational organized criminal groups have on our nation's financial infrastructure is significant and should not be underestimated.''
It is not the first time Mr Seleznyov has been in the news - he was injured in a 2011 bomb blast in Marrakech, Morocco.
The US has a record of taking drastic steps when it wants people held in custody. The methods may vary from the widely-criticized practice of ''extraordinary rendition,'' or the blatant kidnappings of terror suspects during the Bush era, to putting pressure on foreign governments to allow American agents a free hand on their soil.
GAS
EnergyWire from Sir Atomic Rod-NATURAL GAS: Low stockpiles stir jitters over future price shocks (Wednesday, July 9, 2014)
NATURAL GAS: Low stockpiles stir jitters over future price shocks (Wednesday, July 9, 2014)
Saqib Rahim, E&E reporter
Watermelon. Hot dogs. Suntan lotion and swimming pools.
Those are just a few of the reasons not to think about winter right now -- let alone the recent winter that many are still trying to forget.
Even so, Robert Ineson's got winter on his mind.
Ineson, managing director for North American Natural Gas at IHS, says the last cold season took an unusually deep bite out of the country's natural gas storage. Unless Mother Nature is kinder this year, serious price spikes could be on the way.
"If you have a normal or a mild winter, you get by," he said. "But if it's a cold winter, [if] it's a winter anything like last winter, you have a pretty big risk that there's not enough supply to get to the end-users in the time that it needs to be there."
He didn't say it was likely, but he couldn't rule out weather as an X factor, either.
"In a really severe crisis, you'd see factories shut down, you'd see Wal-Marts and elementary schools close, that kind of thing, to make sure the lights stay on and people have heat in their homes," he said.
Ineson is hardly sour on the natural gas revolution. His firm, IHS, has been one of the strongest advocates that the United States has unlocked decades, or even more, in natural gas resources. Gas is plainly seizing new roles in power, industry and transportation, partly due to policy.
Nevertheless, Ineson's analysis raises questions as to whether, in the near term, the United States remains exposed to gas's mood swings. Despite large and growing supplies, brief imbalances in supply and demand continue to appear. And when they do, they work themselves out through price.
Myriad factors go into that price, and storage is just one of them. Traders and analysts closely watch the amount of gas that's squirreled away in the non-winter months in preparation for the cold season.
Banking on normal weather
Storage doesn't often take center stage. But it did in early 2012, when markets saw storage levels nearly maxed out by prodigious supplies of shale gas. With oversupply looming -- the possibility of gas with nowhere to go -- natural gas prices crashed below $2 per million British thermal units.
This year, the question is whether gas stocks can recover from the deep drawdowns of last winter.
The Energy Information Administration currently estimates the United States has 1.93 trillion cubic feet (tcf) of working gas in storage. That's nearly 26 percent less than the level a year ago, and it's 29 percent below the five-year average.
A course correction is underway. Market observers already see large, even record-setting, injection numbers. Most are forecasting 3.3 to 3.5 tcf in storage by the end of injection season.
That's less than average. But evidently, it's not enough to give the market shivers.
"The market seems to be shrugging it off," Ineson said. "The collective wisdom in the market is that they don't seem to be that concerned about it, because they think there are things that will offset that problem."
But he wonders if they might be banking on another thing: hope.
If the winter is normal, he said, they're probably right. Marcellus production looks set for a bump this fall, which will aid stores.
And within a certain price range, the system can react with all manner of "little market corrections," he said.
But in a genuinely frigid winter, Ineson warned, markets could be caught flat-footed.
Prices would fly to levels that mean some get gas, and others don't. At the front of the line: households and businesses. Toward the back: factories and power plants, which would face tough choices.
Erica Bowman, chief economist for America's Natural Gas Alliance, wasn't spooked by that scenario. She said drillers can jolt production quicker than ever -- and that prices will tell them if they need to.
Storage is replenishing rapidly, she said. If the industry sees a price signal, it can respond within weeks.
"I think we're looking really good, actually. Our pace is a lot stronger than what a lot of people expected," she said. "I'd say that you're going to have prices mediate any kind of storage issue."
Rapid response
Drillers have complex reasons for ramping production up or down. But overall, she said, the industry has dramatically cut the time it takes to drill a well.
"If there is a strong price movement and we have certain plays or holdings that we're pretty much ready to go on" -- and the permitting is done -- "then you can certainly start drilling," Bowman said.
The problem is infrastructure, especially in the Northeast, Bowman argued. It's a perfect storm of gas constraints: high population, cold weather, traffic on the pipes.
All it takes is a peak demand period, she said, to blow prices sky-high.
"If you had more pipelines, you would not be seeing those high prices," she said.
Ineson was skeptical, however, that the industry could respond to a rapid attack by winter.
Over the course of a year, he said, gas supply and demand figures basically equal out. But if demand levels surprise -- as they can with weather -- it's difficult to react quickly.
Companies may not want to shift from their drilling budgets, he said.
"You're not going to get a 30 [billion cubic feet per day] increase over the winter just because you need it," he said. "In the short run, you're pretty much stuck with the rate of production you've got."
Kevin Petak, vice president of fuel markets analysis at ICF International, said drillers tend to take two to eight months to respond to higher prices.
Drilling doesn't take long, he said, but producers need that time to see if the price gain is real and adjust their budgets.
Combine that with the other factors -- storage, pipelines, weather -- and it's no surprise that natural gas still has its flighty character, Petak said.
"I've been saying for some time, too, price volatility is here to stay. It's not going anywhere anytime soon," he said. "In the future, I see a better balance where the market's growing and the supply's growing in tandem with it, and there's moderate price increases as a result."
In the meantime, he said, expect the system's evolution -- with gas exports, factory demand and the like -- to keep giving prices the jitters.
US company signs billion-dollar energy deal with Iran
Tue, 08 Jul 2014 02:55
Published time: July 06, 2014 13:51Edited time: July 07, 2014 11:11Iranian operators monitor the nuclear power plant unit in Bushehr, about 1,215 km (755 miles) south of Tehran (Reuters/ISNA/Mehdi Ghasemi)
US company World Eco Energy has signed a preliminary agreement to invest $1.175 billion to generate electricity in Iran. The plan is to turn solid waste into power.
Representatives from the American company and the Chaharmahal-Bakhtiari Province Governor General, Malek-Mohammad Qorbanpour, signed the deal, the Tehran Times reported.
It is expected the project will create 650 immediate jobs, with another 2,000 emerging over the next two to three years, Oorbanpour told the IRNA news agency. Local companies will also be investing the same amount of money into the project.
The Governor General went on to add that 80 percent of the workforce will be employed locally, while World Eco Energy will provide machinery, equipment and technical expertise.
The project aims to create around 250 megawatts per day, which will be generated by burning 1,500 tons of solid waste. Despite being rich in oil and gas, Iran is looking to diversify its energy sector by developing renewable energy. Last year, the country announced plans to construct three new wind farms, each with a power capacity of 350 megawatts.
The electricity generation project is scheduled to start in September 2014, AFP reported.
The deal marks a further thawing of relations between the US and Iran. Tehran has made steps since the New Year to curb its nuclear program, which has brought the country relief from tough sanctions implemented by the US.
Iran cut enriched uranium stockpile by 80% '' IAEA
In April, the US Treasury awarded American-based Boeing and GE a license to sell spare parts to Iran to help the country's ailing aviation industry. Iran needed new plane parts, as its jets have passed their service life and need proper replacements. Over the past two decades, Iran has had more than 200 aviation accidents, which led to more than 2,000 deaths, IRNA reported.
All business activity between the US and Iran was officially halted after the 1979 US hostage crisis, which was followed by US sanctions.
AQ Inc.
Enhanced security measures at certain airports overseas | Transportation Security Administration
Mon, 07 Jul 2014 04:02
Last week, Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson directed TSA to implement enhanced security measures at certain overseas airports with direct flights to the United States.
As the traveling public knows, all electronic devices are screened by security officers. During the security examination, officers may also ask that owners power up some devices, including cell phones. Powerless devices will not be permitted onboard the aircraft. The traveler may also undergo additional screening.
TSA will continue to adjust security measures to ensure that travelers are guaranteed the highest levels of aviation security conducted as conveniently as possible.
###
Shut Up Slave!
House passes bill to boost DHS use of social media in emergencies | TheHill
Wed, 09 Jul 2014 15:07
Legislation to establish Department of Homeland Security standards for emergency responses on social media during terrorist attacks passed in the House on Tuesday.
Passed 375-19, the bill would create a working group within DHS to provide guidance on the use of social media before, during and after terrorist attacks.
ADVERTISEMENT
Rep. Susan Brooks (R-Ind.), the bill's sponsor, said it was necessary for the federal government to determine how to use social media, like Twitter and Facebook, most effectively to communicate with citizens."Social media is transforming the way the nation responds before, during and after a terrorist attack," Brooks said.
Rep. Donald Payne Jr. (D-N.J.) gave examples of the use of social media among Americans during events like the 2013 Boston Marathon bombings or Hurricane Sandy. For instance, some Bostoners created a Google document to let people participating in the marathon who were unable to return to their hotels know that their homes were open.
"The Internet has changed the world," Payne said.
The measure would also require the group to submit an annual report to Congress that includes a review of current social media technologies used to support emergency preparedness and response activities and recommendations to DHS on its use of social media in such situations.
Social Media Working Group Act of 2014 (H.R. 4263) - GovTrack.us
Wed, 09 Jul 2014 15:10
GovTrack's Bill SummaryWe don't have a summary available yet.
Library of Congress SummaryThe summary below was written by the Congressional Research Service, which is a nonpartisan division of the Library of Congress.
3/14/2014--Introduced.
Social Media Working Group Act of 2014 - Amends the Homeland Security Act of 2002 to direct the Secretary of Homeland Security to establish within the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) a social media working group (the Group) to provide guidance and best practices to the emergency preparedness and response community on the use of social media technologies before, during, and after a terrorist attack.
Requires the Group to submit an annual report that includes:
(1) a review of current and emerging social media technologies being used to support preparedness and response activities related to terrorist attacks, of best practices and lessons learned on the use of social media during the response to terrorist attacks that occurred during the period covered by the report, and of available training for government officials on the use of social media in response to a terrorist attack;
(2) recommendations to improve DHS's use of social media and to improve information sharing among DHS and its components and among state and local governments; and
(3) a summary of coordination efforts with the private sector to discuss and resolve legal, operational, technical, privacy, and security concerns.
House Republican Conference SummaryThe summary below was written by the House Republican Conference, which is the caucus of Republicans in the House of Representatives.
No summary available.
House Democratic Caucus SummaryThe House Democratic Caucus does not provide summaries of bills.
So, yes, we display the House Republican Conference's summaries when available even if we do not have a Democratic summary available. That's because we feel it is better to give you as much information as possible, even if we cannot provide every viewpoint.
We'll be looking for a source of summaries from the other side in the meanwhile.
We could wipe memories of drug addicts, says top Cambridge neuroscientist - Health News - Health & Families - The Independent
Thu, 10 Jul 2014 14:37
According to new research by Cambridge University's Professor Barry Everitt: disrupting the memory pathways of drug users could weaken powerful ''compel'' cravings, reduce ''drug seeking behaviour'' and open a new field of addiction therapy.
Professor Everitt, who is this year's joint winner of the prestigious Fondation (CORR) Ipsen Neuronal Plasticity Prize, told this week's Federation of European Neuroscience Societies (FENS) how his research in rodents had found that targeting ''memory plasticity'' in rats was able to reduce the impact of maladaptive drug memories.
He added that this knowledge could offer a radical new method of treatment of drug addiction in humans, where researchers have already established that the path to addiction operates by shifting behavioural control from one area of the brain to another. This process sees drug use go from a voluntary act to a goal directed one, before finally becoming an compulsive act.
It was this process that Professor Everitt's research is trying to ''prevent'' by targeting ''maladaptive drug-related memories'' to ''prevent them from triggering drug-taking and replaces''.
In humans this could potentially be done by blocking brain chemicals.
''It's the emotional intrusiveness of drug and fear memoirs that can be diminished, rather than an individual's episodic memory that they did in the past take drugs or had a traumatic experience,'' he told The Independent. ''Conscious remembering is intact after consolidation blockade, but the emotional arousal [that] leads to drug seeking or distressing feelings of fear that are diminished.''
His research group discovered that when drug memories are reactivated by retrieval in the brain, they enter a pliable and unstable state. By putting rats in this state Professor Everitt was able to prevent memory reconsolidation by blocking brain chemicals or inactivating key genes.
In one study, the team diminished drug seeking behaviours by obstructing a brain chemical receptor linked to learning and memory, thus erasing memories, while in another study it found they could weaken drug use memories by altering a particular gene in the amygdala, a brain area processing emotional memory.
''Of course, inactivating genes in the brain is not feasible in humans,'' the professor told FENS. ''So we're directing our research to better identify the underlying brain mechanisms of memory reconsolidation.''
He added: ''We specifically examined how we could target these maladaptive drug-related memories, and prevent them from triggering drug-taking and relapse.''
LG unleashes a wearable that lets parents track their kids - CNET
Wed, 09 Jul 2014 15:14
The Kizon is worn by children but is really meant for parents -- letting them know where their kids are at all times with GPS, Wi-Fi, and a direct call button.
LG's Kizon wearable lets parents keep track of their kids.YU JANG-HUN/LG Electronics
LG Electronics is catering to parents who want to keep a closer eye on their children when they're not around. The company unveiled a new wearable designed for kids on Tuesday that's dubbed the LG Kizon.
The water-resistant polythiourethane wristband comes in bright colors and with kiddie accessory features, like a Hello Kitty cover. It was designed primarily for the small wrists of pre-school and primary school children. The software in the device lets parents track their children with GPS and Wi-Fi and get notifications regarding their kid's whereabouts throughout the day on a smartphone.
In addition to child tracking, Kizon also doubles as a way for parents and their children to communicate via a "One Step Direct Call" button. If a parent calls their child and there's no answer, Kizon will automatically connect the call and let the parents listen to what's going on with a built-in microphone on the device.
Kizon's battery is slated to run for 36 hours on one charge. It has 64MB RAM memory and can run on 2G and 3G networks.
"Children as well as the elderly are ideal customers for wearable technologies," LG Electronics Mobile Communications CEO Jong-seok Park said in a statement. "Wearables allow us to stay connected without the worry of losing a device or the inconvenience of having to carry a large item in a pocket."
LG has introduced a couple of other wearables over the past few months. It debuted the LG G Watch in June, which is outfitted with Google's customized OS for wearable devices called Android Wear. And, in May, it introduced its health tracker LG Lifeband Touch and Heart Rate Earphones.
Kizon will go on sale in South Korea on Thursday and will debut in North America and Europe in the fall. LG hasn't yet announced prices for the wearable.
Updated at 7:18 a.m. PT:LG clarified its press release, noting that the Kizon does not work with tablets.
US military studied how to influence Twitter users in Darpa-funded research
Wed, 09 Jul 2014 16:22
The activities of users of Twitter and other social media services were recorded and analysed as part of a major project funded by the US military, in a program that covers ground similar to Facebook's controversial experiment into how to control emotions by manipulating news feeds.
Research funded directly or indirectly by the US Department of Defense's military research department, known as Darpa, has involved users of some of the internet's largest destinations, including Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Kickstarter, for studies of social connections and how messages spread.
While some elements of the multi-million dollar project might raise a wry smile '' research has included analysis of the tweets of celebrities such as Lady Gaga and Justin Bieber, in an attempt to understand influence on Twitter '' others have resulted in the buildup of massive datasets of tweets and additional types social media posts.
Several of the DoD-funded studies went further than merely monitoring what users were communicating on their own, instead messaging unwitting participants in order to track and study how they responded.
Shortly before the Facebook controversy erupted, Darpa published a lengthy list of the projects funded under its Social Media in Strategic Communication (SMISC) program, including links to actual papers and abstracts.
The project list includes a study of how activists with the Occupy movement used Twitter as well as a range of research on tracking internet memes and some about understanding how influence behaviour (liking, following, retweeting) happens on a range of popular social media platforms like Pinterest, Twitter, Kickstarter, Digg and Reddit.
Darpa, established in 1958, is responsible for technological research for the US military. Its notable successes have included no less than Arpanet, the precursor to today's internet, and numerous other innovations, including onion routing, which powers anonymising technologies like Tor. However, thanks to some of its more esoteric projects, which have included thought-controlled robot arms, city-wide surveillance programs and exo-skeletons, the agency has also become the subject of many conspiracy theories, and a staple in programmes like the X-Files.
Unveiled in 2011, the SMISC program was regarded as a bid by the US military to become better at both detecting and conducting propaganda campaigns on social media.
On the webpage where it has published links to the papers, Darpa states the general goal of the SMISC program is ''to develop a new science of social networks built on an emerging technology base".
Darpa has a reputation for projects such as this robot, developed to handle rough terrain at high speeds. Photograph: HO/AFP/Getty Images''Through the program, Darpa seeks to develop tools to support the efforts of human operators to counter misinformation or deception campaigns with truthful information."
However, papers leaked by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden indicate that US and British intelligence agencies have been deeply engaged in planning ways to covertly use social media for purposes of propaganda and deception.
Documents prepared by NSA and Britain's GCHQ (and previously published by the Intercept as well as NBC News) revealed aspects of some of these programs. They included a unit engaged in ''discrediting'' the agency's enemies with false information spread online.
Earlier this year, the Associated Press also revealed the clandestine creation by USAid of a Twitter-like, Cuban communications network to undermine the Havana government. The network, built with secret shell companies and financed through a foreign bank, lasted more than two years and drew tens of thousands of subscribers. It sought to evade Cuba's stranglehold on the internet with a primitive social media platform.
Of the funding provided by Darpa, $8.9m has been channeled through IBM to a range of academic researchers and others. A further $9.6m has gone through academic hubs like Georgia Tech and Indiana University.
Facebook, the world's biggest social networking site, has apologised for the study, which involved secret psychological tests on nearly 700,000 users in 2012, and prompted outrage from users and experts alike, being ''poorly communicated'' to the public.
The experiment, which resulted in a scientific paper published in the March issue of Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, hid ''a small percentage'' of emotional words from peoples' news feeds, without their knowledge, to test what effect that had on the statuses or ''likes'' that they then posted or reacted to.
However, it appears that Facebook was involved in at least one other military-funded social media research project, according to the records recently published by Darpa.
The research was carried by Xuanhuai Wang, an engineering manager at Facebook, as well as Yi Chang, a lead scientist at Yahoo labs, and others based at the Universities of Michigan and Southern California.
The project, which related to how users understood and consumed information on Twitter, at one point analysed the tweets, retweets and other interactions spawned by Lady Gaga (described as ''the most popular elite user on Twitter'') and Justin Bieber (''who is extremely popular among teenagers'').
Facebook's CEO Sheryl Sandberg apologised for 'poor communication' over psychological experiments to manipulate users' emotions. Photograph: Money Sharma/EPAOther studies looked further afield. One, "On the Study of Social Interactions on Twitter", which was carried out by the University of South California, collected tweets from 2,400 Twitter users who had identified themselves as residing in the Middle East. It analysed how often they had interactions with other users and how these were spread.
Several studies related to the automatic assessment of how well different people in social networks knew one another, through analysing frequency, tone and type of interaction between different users. Such research could have applications in the automated analysis of bulk surveillance metadata, including the controversial collection of US citizens' phone metadata revealed by Snowden.
Studies which received military funding channeled through IBM included one called "Modeling User Attitude toward Controversial Topics in Online Social Media", which analysed Twitter users' opinions on fracking.
Discussing the applicability of their research, the study's authors stated: ''For example, a government campaign on Twitter supporting vaccination can engage with followers who are more likely to take certain action (eg spreading a campaign message) based on their opinions.''
''As another example, when anti-government messages are spread in social media, government would want to spread counter messages to balance that effort and hence identify people who are more likely to spread such counter messages based on their opinions.''
A similarly titled-project out of the University of Southern California, "The Role of Social Media in the Discussion of Controversial Topics", studied the behaviour of Twitter users posting about a 2012 vote in California on measures such as raising taxes, genetically modified organisms and the death penalty.
''Our findings suggest Twitter is primarily used for spreading information to like-minded people rather than debating issues,'' the authors wrote in their paper on the project.
A study at Georgia Tech, "Cues to Deception in Social Media Communications", involved an in-laboratory experiment using an experimental social media platform, "FaceFriend", and 61 paid participants. While past research had investigated ''written deception'' in communications such as email, the study expanded this into social media, and the researchers concluded: ''Breaking news stories and world events '' for example, the Arab Spring '' are heavily represented in social media, making them susceptible topics for influence attempts via deception.''
The use of social media during rapidly-developing world events with major consequences, as during Egypt's 2011 revolution, was studied by researchers. Photograph: Peter Macdiarmid/Getty ImagesSeveral of the DoD-funded projects went further than simple observation, instead engaging directly with social media users and analysing their responses.
One of multiple studies looking into how to spread messages on the networks, titled ''Who Will Retweet This? Automatically Identifying and Engaging Strangers on Twitter to Spread Information'' did just this.
The researchers explained: ''Since everyone is potentially an influencer on social media and is capable of spreading information, our work aims to identify and engage the right people at the right time on social media to help propagate information when needed.''
In the paper, which included data gathered through actively engaging 3,761 people on Twitter around the topics of public safety and bird flu, the researchers added: ''Unlike existing work, which often uses only social network properties, our feature set includes personality traits that may influence one's retweeting behaviour.''
In a statement, Darpa defended its funding of the research as essential to US defense interests.
''Social media is changing the way people inform themselves, share ideas, and organize themselves into interest groups, including some that aim to harm the United States,'' said a spokesman. ''Darpa supports academic research that seeks to understand some of these dynamics through analyses of publicly available discussions conducted on social media platforms.''
Sources said that data was from public streams in social networks, and was collected and stored by academics at institutions conducting the research, not by Darpa itself.
The Guardian approached a number of individuals involved in research, asking them for their views on why they believed the US military may be interested in funding research of this type, and asking about the extent to which consent was sought from people whose social media posts were recorded and analysed.
Among those who replied, Emilio Ferrara, who was involved in the research paper on "The Digital Evolution of Occupy Wall St", said: ''According to federal regulations of human experimentation, for studies that don't affect the environment of online users, and whereas one can freely gather online data '' say, from the public Twitter feed '' there is no requirement of informed consent. This is the framework under which our Twitter study was carried out; moreover, all our studies on Twitter look into aggregate collective phenomena and never at the individual level.''
A colleague, Dr Filippo Menczer, added: ''In our lab we study all aspects of the diffusion of information in social media.
''This work has broad applications as we strive to understand fundamental mechanism of social communication, such as how ideas and 'memes' compete for our attention, how they sometimes go viral, etc.''
Magic Numbers
LaGarde email
Hey Adam,
Here is a little canadavian "coup de main" for a question raised on episode 633. Just to confirm that we, in Québec, actually use an expression concerning the number 7 in relation to a coming bad period of time.
For instance, if you break a mirror in public, chances are pretty high some old lady will come to you, often with fear in her eyes, predicting 7 years of bad luck ...
In french, it would be : " sept ans de malheur".
My suggestion for a donation gimmick would be a twist from french (as you did for the 69)
LE SEVEN YEARS DE CACA
It could go as a reverse-karma thing or a curse for the unlimited supply of swines around the world.
What about : 7 (years) X 33 (magic crap) = 231$ (drop the 1) = 23
23 X 104 (NA episodes /year) = 2392
2+3+9+2 = 16
1+6 = 7
VOILÀ !
And for this 231$ donation, you pick a swine that deserves it and give him SEVEN YEARS DE CACA (poop in french)
As a shameful boner myself, I shall step in soon! (Thanks to the Canadian bureaucracy, I'm caught, as a teacher, in a kafkaesque insurance system providing (allegedly) a pay check between semesters...
MERCI POUR VOTRE COURAGE !!
YANNICK ESSIAMBRE ( To hear Jean-Claude D. messing up my name would be the greatest gift for my 38th birthday july 19.... (3+8= 11 just kidding !!
Biblical Context email
In the Old Testament Genesis 41, Jacob interprets a dream that Pharaoh had. The interpretation was that 7 abundant crop growing years are coming, followed by 7 years of famine. So the advice was to store up as much as possible during the abundant seven years to have enough for the seven years of famine. As a result, Egypt became the most rich and powerful country on earth because they controlled the food supply.
Lagarde was implying that the opposite was going to happen; 7 years down followed by 7 years up.
Good day,
Sir Chris
Stanist reversal email
Dear Adam Curry,
The mythic ideal about seven good years following seven magere jaren, comes from the bible and reference to the Nile floods.
See Genesis 41. (https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Genesis+41)
However, the Bible story says that FIRST come the abundant years, then come the LEAN years. The moral of the story is similar to the story of the Grasshopper and the Ant (save when times are good, in preparation for cycles of magere jaren). The spin is that in the Bible, Joseph - the Jew - got rich by hoarding food (see GEN 41: 53-57).
However, Lagarde - in typical reptilian style, reverses it, telling her audience to expect seven bountiful years.
Then again, as AJ urges us to buy seeds, is AJ - in going against the wisdom of the Jesuits - is he a child of Satan or Lucifer or is AJ on the right path because he is following the wisdom of the Goddess Sophia?
Happy Bible study
Dr. Jones (soon to be a math teacher, and donor, in Winston-Salem, NC)
Israel/Palestine
Knightwatch analysis
Israel: The Israeli Cabinet on 8 July authorized the defense forces to call up 40,000 reservists. Air strikes hit 260 targets on Tuesday and 160 on Wednesday morning. Arab press said they killed 27 and injured 100 civilians.
Air raid sirens went off in Jerusalem, Binyamina and Tel Aviv, all of which were targets of Palestinian rocket attacks. Israel's Iron Dome missile defense system intercepted a rocket fired at Tel Aviv. Israeli press said 160 rockets were fired at 20 Israeli cities on Tuesday. Israel reported no casualties.
Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon said that Israel will continue its military operations against Hamas until there are no more rocket attacks from the Gaza Strip.
Comment: The armed wing of Hamas threatened to fire rockets farther north into Israel and has done so. They still do almost no damage. Almost all the casualties are Palestinians.
One open source reported today that Hamas leaders are looking for an exit from further escalation because the Gaza Strip administration is broke; Hamas fighters are not prepared for the Israeli offensive and the air attacks are causing damage that Hamas cannot repair. Hamas leaders blame Islamic Jihad and other groups for the rocket firings.
Israel is holding the Palestinian population hostage so as to pressure the leaders to stop the attacks. Hamas might be getting close to agreeing to a ceasefire, but Israel does not appear to be ready.
Raoul Wallenberg - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Thu, 10 Jul 2014 05:04
Raoul WallenbergPassport photo from June 1944.
Born(1912-08-04)August 4, 1912Liding¶ Municipality, SwedenDiedpresumed July 17, 1947(1947-07-17) (aged 34)presumed Soviet UnionAlma materUniversity of MichiganOccupationDiplomatParentsRaoul Oscar Wallenberg & Maria "Maj" Sofia WisingRaoul Gustaf Wallenberg (August 4, 1912 '' July 17, 1947?[1][2][3][4]) was a Swedish architect, businessman, diplomat and humanitarian. He is widely celebrated for his successful efforts to rescue between tens of thousands and one hundred thousand Jews in Nazi-occupied Hungary during the Holocaust from Hungarian Fascists and the Nazis during the later stages of World War II. While serving as Sweden's special envoy in Budapest between July and December 1944, Wallenberg issued protective passports and sheltered Jews in buildings designated as Swedish territory saving tens of thousands of lives.[5]
On January 17, 1945, during the Siege of Budapest by the Red Army, Wallenberg was detained by Soviet authorities on suspicion of espionage and subsequently disappeared.[6] He was later reported to have died on July 17, 1947 while imprisoned by communist authorities and KGB secret police in the Lubyanka, a building located in Moscow, Russia, housing both the KGB headquarters and its affiliated prison. The motives behind Wallenberg's arrest and imprisonment by the Soviet government, along with questions surrounding the circumstances of his death and his possible ties to US intelligence, remain mysterious and are the subject of continued speculation.[7]
Due to his courageous actions on behalf of the Hungarian Jews, Raoul Wallenberg has been the subject of numerous humanitarian honors in the decades following his presumed death. In 1981, U.S. Congressman Tom Lantos, himself one of those saved by Wallenberg, sponsored a bill making Wallenberg an Honorary Citizen of the United States. He is also an honorary citizen of Canada, Hungary, Australia and Israel.[8] Israel has also designated Wallenberg one of the Righteous among the Nations. Monuments have been dedicated to him, and streets have been named after him throughout the world. A Raoul Wallenberg Committee of the United States was created in 1981 to "perpetuate the humanitarian ideals and the nonviolent courage of Raoul Wallenberg".[9] It gives the Raoul Wallenberg Award annually to recognize persons who carry out those goals. A postage stamp was issued by the U.S. in his honour in 1997. On July 26, 2012, he was awarded a Congressional Gold Medal by the United States Congress "in recognition of his achievements and heroic actions during the Holocaust."[10]
Early life[edit]Wallenberg was born in 1912 in Liding¶, near Stockholm, where his maternal grandparents, professor Per Johan Wising and his wife Sophie Wising, had built a summer house in 1882. His paternal grandfather, Gustaf Wallenberg, was a diplomat and envoy to Tokyo, Istanbul and Sofia.
His parents, who married in 1911, were Raoul Oscar Wallenberg (1888''1912), a Swedish naval officer, and Maria "Maj" Sofia Wising (1891''1979). His father died of cancer three months before he was born, and his maternal grandfather died of pneumonia three months after his birth. His mother and grandmother, now both suddenly widows, raised him together.[11] In 1918, his mother married Fredrik von Dardel;[12] they had a son, Guy von Dardel,[13] and a daughter, Nina Lagergren.
After high school and his compulsory eight months in the Swedish military, Wallenberg's paternal grandfather sent him to study in Paris. He spent one year there, and then, in 1931, he matriculated at the University of Michigan in the United States to study architecture.[11] Although the Wallenberg family was rich, he worked at odd jobs in his free time and joined other young male students as a passenger rickshaw handler at Chicago's Century of Progress.[14] He used his vacations to explore the United States, with hitchhiking being his preferred method of travel. About his experiences, he wrote to his grandfather saying, "When you travel like a hobo, everything's different. You have to be on the alert the whole time. You're in close contact with new people every day. Hitchhiking gives you training in diplomacy and tact."[15]
Raoul was aware of his one-sixteenth Jewish blood, and proud of it. Professor Ingemar Hedenius (one of the leading Swedish philosophers) recalls a conversation with Raoul dating back to 1930, when they were together in an army hospital during military service:
We had many long and intimate conversations. He was full of ideas and plans for the future. Although I was a good deal older - you could choose when to do your service - I was enormously impressed by him. He was proud of his partial Jewish ancestry and, as I recall, must have exaggerated it somewhat. I remember him saying, 'A person like me, who is both a Wallenberg and half-Jewish, can never be defeated'.[16]
He graduated from university in 1935, but upon his return to Sweden, he found his American degree did not qualify him to practice as an architect. Later that year, his grandfather arranged a job for him in Cape Town, South Africa, in the office of a Swedish company that sold construction material. After six months in South Africa, he took a new job at a branch office of the Holland Bank in Haifa.[17] He returned to Sweden in 1936 and obtained a job in Stockholm with the help of his uncle and godfather, Jacob Wallenberg, at the Central European Trading Company,[18] an export-import company trading between Stockholm and central Europe, owned by Klmn Lauer, a Hungarian Jew.
World War II[edit]Beginning in 1938, the Kingdom of Hungary, under the regency of Mikl"s Horthy, passed a series of anti-Jewish measures modeled on the so-called Nuremberg Race Laws enacted in Germany by the Nazis in 1935. Like their German counterparts the Hungarian laws focused heavily on restricting Jews from certain professions, reducing the number of Jews in government and public service jobs, and prohibiting intermarriage. Because of this, Wallenberg's business associate, Kalman Lauer, found it increasingly difficult to travel to his native Hungary, which was moving still deeper into the German orbit, becoming a member of the Axis Powers in November 1940 and later joining the German-led invasion of the Soviet Union in June 1941. Out of necessity Wallenberg became Lauer's personal representative, traveling to Hungary to conduct business on Lauer's behalf and also to look in on members of Lauer's extended family who remained in Budapest. He soon learned to speak Hungarian, and from 1941 made increasingly frequent travels to Budapest.[19] Within a year, Wallenberg was a joint owner and the International Director of the company.[17] In this capacity Wallenberg also made several business trips to Germany and Occupied-France during the early years of World War II. It was during these trips that Wallenberg was able to closely observe the Nazis' bureaucratic and administrative methods, knowledge which would prove quite valuable to him later.[20]
Meanwhile, the situation in Hungary had begun to deteriorate as the tide of the war began to turn decisively against Germany and its allies. Following the catastrophic Axis defeat at the Battle of Stalingrad (in which Hungarian troops fighting alongside German forces suffered a staggering 84% casualty rate) the regime of Miklos Horthy began secretly pursuing peace talks with the United States and the United Kingdom. Upon learning of Horthy's duplicity, Adolf Hitler ordered the occupation of Hungary by German troops in March 1944. The Wehrmacht quickly took control of the country and placed Horthy under house arrest. A pro-German puppet government was installed in Budapest, with actual power resting with the German military governor, SS-BrigadefuhrerEdmund Veesenmayer. With the Nazis now in control, the relative security from the Holocaust enjoyed by the Jews of Hungary came to an end. In April and May 1944 the Nazi regime and its accomplices began the mass deportation of Hungary's Jews to extermination camps in Nazi-occupied Poland. Under the personal leadership of SS-ObersturmbannfuhrerAdolf Eichmann, who would later be tried and hanged in Israel for his major role in the implementation of the Nazis' Final Solution, deportations took place at a rate of 12,000 individuals per day.[21]
Recruitment by the War Refugee Board[edit]The persecution of the Jews in Hungary soon became well known abroad, unlike the full extent of the Holocaust. In the end of May 1944, George Mantello publicized two important reports. One of the reports was probably Rabbi Chaim Michael Dov Weissmandl's five pages abridged version of the 33 pages full Auschwitz Protocols: both the Vrba''Wetzler report and Rosin- Mordowicz report. The reports described in detail the operations of the Auschwitz-Birkenau murdering factory.[22] The second was an 6 pages Hungarian report, that detailed the Ghetoization and deportation of 435000 already deported Hungarian Jews, updated to the 19 June 1944, town by town, to Auschwitz.[23] The reports publication resulted in Winston Churchill's letter: "There is no doubt that this persecution of Jews in Hungary and their expulsion from enemy territory is probably the greatest and most horrible crime ever committed in the whole history of the world...." [24]
Following the report's publication, the administration of US President Franklin D. Roosevelt turned to the newly created War Refugee Board (WRB) established as a result of activism by the "Bergson Group" led by Hillel Kook[citation needed] and later by Treasury Secretary Henry Morgenthau, Jr and team in search of a solution to the humanitarian crisis in Hungary. In spring 1944, President Roosevelt dispatched US Treasury Department official Iver C. Olsen to Stockholm as a representative of the WRB. Olsen was tasked specifically by the President with finding a way to aid the Hungarian Jews. This, however, was not the sole reason for Olsen being posted to Sweden. In addition to his duties with the WRB, Olsen was also secretly functioning as the chief of currency operations for the Stockholm branch of the Office of Strategic Services (OSS), the United States' wartime espionage service.[25]
In search of someone willing and able to go to Budapest to organize a rescue program for the nation's Jews,[26] Olsen established contact with a relief committee composed of many prominent Swedish Jews led by the Swedish Chief Rabbi Marcus Ehrenpreis to locate an appropriate person to travel to Budapest under diplomatic cover and lead the rescue operation.[20] One member of the committee was Wallenberg's business associate Kalman Lauer.
The committee's first choice to lead the mission was Count Folke Bernadotte, the vice-chairman of the Swedish Red Cross and a member of the Swedish Royal Family. When Bernadotte's proposed appointment was rejected by the Hungarians, Lauer suggested Wallenberg as a potential replacement.[20] Olsen was introduced to Wallenberg by Lauer in June 1944 and came away from the meeting impressed and, shortly thereafter, appointed Wallenberg to lead the mission.[15] Olsen's selection of Wallenberg was initially met with objections from some US officials who doubted his reliability, in light of existing commercial relationships between businesses owned by the Wallenberg family and the German government. These differences were eventually overcome and the Swedish Ministry for Foreign Affairs agreed to the American request to assign Wallenberg to its legation in Budapest as part of an arrangement in which Wallenberg's appointment was granted in exchange for a lessening of American diplomatic pressure on neutral Sweden to curtail their nation's free-trade policies toward Germany.[27]
Mission to Budapest[edit]When Wallenberg reached the Swedish legation in Budapest in July 1944, the campaign against the Jews of Hungary had already been underway for several months. Between May and July 1944, Eichmann and his associates had successfully deported over 400,000 Jews by freight train. Of those deported all but 15,000 were sent directly to the Auschwitz-Birkenauconcentration camp in southern Poland.[20] By the time of Wallenberg's arrival there were only 230,000 Jews remaining in Hungary. Together with fellow Swedish diplomat Per Anger,[28] he issued "protective passports" (German: Schutz-Pass), which identified the bearers as Swedish subjects awaiting repatriation and thus prevented their deportation. Although not legal, these documents looked official and were generally accepted by German and Hungarian authorities, who sometimes were also bribed.[19] The Swedish legation in Budapest also succeeded in negotiating with the German authorities so that the bearers of the protective passes would be treated as Swedish citizens and be exempt from having to wear the yellow badge required for Jews.[17]
Valdemar Langlet [lan'l(C)] (December 17, 1872 in Lerbo, Sweden '' October 16, 1960 in Stockholm) was a Swedish publisher, and an early Esperantist. With his wife Nina Borovko-Langlet in Budapest, he is credited with saving many Jews from the Holocaust, by providing Swedish documents saying that people were waiting for Swedish nationality. Raoul Wallenberg was inspired by Langlet and used the same method to save Jewish people when he came to Budapest. In 1965, Valdemar and Nina Langlet were recognized as Righteous Among the Nations by Yad Vashem.
With the money raised by the board, Wallenberg rented 32 buildings in Budapest and declared them to be extraterritorial, protected by diplomatic immunity. He put up signs such as "The Swedish Library" and "The Swedish Research Institute" on their doors and hung oversize Swedish flags on the front of the buildings to bolster the deception. The buildings eventually housed almost 10,000 people.[15]
Sandor Ardai, one of the drivers working for Wallenberg, recounted what Wallenberg did when he intercepted a trainload of Jews about to leave for Auschwitz:
.. he climbed up on the roof of the train and began handing in protective passes through the doors which were not yet sealed. He ignored orders from the Germans for him to get down, then the Arrow Cross men began shooting and shouting at him to go away. He ignored them and calmly continued handing out passports to the hands that were reaching out for them. I believe the Arrow Cross men deliberately aimed over his head, as not one shot hit him, which would have been impossible otherwise. I think this is what they did because they were so impressed by his courage. After Wallenberg had handed over the last of the passports he ordered all those who had one to leave the train and walk to the caravan of cars parked nearby, all marked in Swedish colours. I don't remember exactly how many, but he saved dozens off that train, and the Germans and Arrow Cross were so dumbfounded they let him get away with it.[29]
At the height of the program, over 350 people were involved in the rescue of Jews.[30] Sister Sra Salkahzi was caught sheltering Jewish women and was killed by members of the Arrow Cross Party. Swiss diplomat Carl Lutz also issued protective passports from the Swiss embassy in the spring of 1944; and Italian businessman Giorgio Perlasca posed as a Spanish diplomat and issued forged visas.[31] Berber Smit (Barbara Hogg), the daughter of Lolle Smit (1892''1961), director of N.V. Philips Budapest and a Dutch spy working for the British MI6, also assisted Wallenberg. According to her son, she had a romance with him.[32] Smit's other daughter, Reinderdina Petronella (1922''1945), died on 18 August 1945 in Bucharest.
Wallenberg started sleeping in a different house each night, to guard against being captured or killed by Arrow Cross Party members or by Adolf Eichmann's men.[33] Two days before the Soviet Army occupied Budapest, Wallenberg negotiated with both Eichmann and Major-General Gerhard Schmidthuber, the supreme commander of German forces in Hungary. Wallenberg bribed Arrow Cross Party member Pl Szalai to deliver a note in which Wallenberg persuaded the occupying Germans to prevent a Fascist plan to blow up the Budapest ghetto and kill an estimated 70,000 Jews and cancel a final effort to organize a death march of the remaining Jews in Budapest by threatening to have them prosecuted for war crimes once the war was over.[17][19]
People saved by Wallenberg include biochemist Lars Ernster, who was housed in the Swedish embassy, and Tom Lantos, later a member of the United States House of Representatives, who lived in one of the Swedish protective houses.[34]
Disappearance[edit]On October 29, 1944 elements of the 2nd Ukrainian Front under Marshal Rodion Malinovsky launched an offensive against Budapest and by late December the city had been successfully encircled by Soviet forces. Despite this the German commander of Budapest, SS Lieutenant GeneralKarl Pfeffer-Wildenbruch, refused all offers to surrender, setting in motion a protracted and bloody siege of Budapest. At the height of the fighting, on January 17, 1945, Wallenberg was called to General Malinovsky's headquarters in Debrecen to answer allegations that he was engaged in espionage.[35][36][37] Wallenberg's last recorded words were, "I'm going to Malinovsky's ... whether as a guest or prisoner I do not know yet."[38] Documents recovered in 1993 from previously secret Soviet military archives and published in the Swedish newspaper Svenska Dagbladet show that an order for Wallenberg's arrest was issued by Deputy Commissar for Defence (and future Soviet Premier) Nikolai Bulganin and transmitted to Malinovsky's headquarters on the day of Wallenberg's disappearance.[39] In 2003, a review of Soviet wartime correspondences indicated that Vilmos B¶hm, a Hungarian politician who was also a Soviet intelligence agent, may have provided Wallenberg's name to the NKVD as a person to detain for possible involvement in espionage.[40]
Information about Wallenberg after his detention is mostly speculative; there were many witnesses who claim to have met him during his imprisonment.[41] Wallenberg was transported by train from Debrecen, through Romania, to Moscow.[37] The Soviet authorities may have moved him to Moscow in the hope of exchanging him for defectors in Sweden.[42]Vladimir Dekanozov notified the Swedish government on January 16, 1945 that Wallenberg was under the protection of Soviet authorities. On January 21, 1945, Wallenberg was transferred to Lubyanka prison and held in cell 123 with fellow prisoner Gustav Richter, formerly a police attach(C) at the German embassy in Romania. Richter testified in Sweden in 1955 that Wallenberg was interrogated once for about an hour and a half, in early February 1945. On March 1, 1945, Richter was moved from his cell and never saw Wallenberg again.[11][43]
On March 8, 1945, Soviet-controlled Hungarian radio announced that Wallenberg and his driver had been murdered on their way to Debrecen, suggesting that they had been killed by the Arrow Cross Party or the Gestapo. Sweden's foreign minister, –sten Und(C)n, and its ambassador to the Soviet Union, Staffan S¶derblom, wrongly assumed that they were dead.[17] In April 1945, William Averell Harriman of the U.S. State Department offered the Swedish government help in inquiring about Wallenberg's fate, but the offer was declined.[15] S¶derblom met with Vyacheslav Molotov and Stalin in Moscow on June 15, 1946. S¶derblom, still believing Wallenberg to be dead, ignored talk of an exchange for Russian defectors in Sweden.[44][45]
Death[edit]On February 6, 1957, the Soviet government released a document dated July 17, 1947, which stated "I report that the prisoner Wallenberg who is well-known to you, died suddenly in his cell this night, probably as a result of a heart attack or heart failure. Pursuant to the instructions given by you that I personally have Wallenberg under my care, I request approval to make an autopsy with a view to establishing cause of death... I have personally notified the minister and it has been ordered that the body be cremated without autopsy."[46] The document was signed by Smoltsov, then the head of the Lubyanka prison infirmary, and addressed to Viktor Semyonovich Abakumov, the Soviet minister of state security.[2][11] In 1989, Wallenberg's personal belongings were returned to his family, including his passport and cigarette case. Soviet officials said they found the materials when they were upgrading the shelves in a store room.[47][48]
In 1991, Vyacheslav Nikonov was charged by the Russian government to investigate Wallenberg's fate. He concluded that Wallenberg died in 1947, executed while a prisoner in Lubyanka.[49] He may have been a victim of the C-2 poison (carbylamine-choline-chloride) tested at the poison laboratory of the Soviet secret services.[50]
In Moscow in 2000, Alexander Nikolaevich Yakovlev announced that Wallenberg had been executed in 1947 in Lubyanka prison. He claimed that Vladimir Kryuchkov, the former Soviet secret police chief, told him about the shooting in a private conversation. The statement did not explain why Wallenberg was killed or why the government had lied about it.[35][51] General Pavel Sudoplatov claimed that Raoul Wallenberg died after being poisoned by Grigory Mairanovsky, a notorious NKVD assassin.[52] In 2000, Russian prosecutor Vladimir Ustinov signed a verdict posthumously rehabilitating Wallenberg and his driver, Langfelder, as "victims of political repression".[53] A number of files pertinent to Wallenberg were turned over to the chief rabbi of Russia by the Russian government in September 2007.[54] The items were slated to be housed at the Jewish Museum and Tolerance Center in Moscow,[54] which opened in 2012.[55]
Disputes regarding his death[edit]Several former prisoners have claimed to have seen Wallenberg after his reported death in 1947.[56] In February 1949, former German Colonel Theodor von Dufving, a prisoner of war, provided evidentiary statements concerning Wallenberg. While in the transit camp in Kirov, en route to Vorkuta, Dufving encountered a prisoner with his own special guard and dressed in civilian clothes. The prisoner claimed that he was a Swedish diplomat and that he was there "through a great error."[46]
Nazi hunterSimon Wiesenthal searched for Wallenberg and collected several testimonies. For example, British businessman Greville Wynne, who was imprisoned in the Lubyanka prison in 1962 for his connection to KGBdefectorOleg Penkovsky, stated he talked to, but could not see the face of, a man who claimed to be a Swedish diplomat.[57] Efim (or Yefim) Moshinsky claims to have seen Wallenberg on Wrangel Island in 1962.[58][59] An eyewitness asserted that she had seen Wallenberg in the 1960s in a Soviet prison.[60]
During a private conversation about the conditions of detention in Soviet prisons at a party reception in the mid-1970s, a KGB general is reported to have said that "conditions could not be that harsh, given that in Lubyanka prison there is some foreign prisoner who had been there now for almost three decades".[57]
The last reported sightings of Wallenberg were by two independent witnesses who said they had evidence that he was in a prison in November 1987.[61] John Farkas was a resistance fighter during World War II and was the last man claiming to have seen Wallenberg alive. Farkas' son has stated that there have been sightings of Wallenberg "up into the 1980s in Russian prisons and psychiatric hospitals."[62]
Raoul Wallenberg's half-brother, Professor Guy von Dardel,[63] a well-known physicist, retired from CERN, was dedicated to finding out his half-brother's fate.[64] He traveled to the Soviet Union about fifty times for discussions and research, including an examination of the Vladimir prison records.[65] Over the years, Professor von Dardel had compiled a 50,000-page archive of interviews, journal articles, letters, and other documents related to his quest.[66] In 1991, he initiated a Swedish-Russian working group[67] to search eleven separate military and government archives from the former Soviet Union for information about Wallenberg's fate, but were not able to find conclusive information.[37][68][69] Many, including Professor von Dardel and his daughters Louise and Marie, do not accept the various versions of Wallenberg's death. They continue to request that the archives in Russia, Sweden and Hungary be opened to impartial researchers.
In 2012 Russian lieutenant-general Vasily Khristoforov, head of the Russian Federal Security Service said that the Wallenberg case is still open. He dismissed allegations of a continuing coverup; referring to the legacy Soviet agency from which his department sprang, Khristoforov said: "This is another state and a different special service."[70]
Show trial in 1953[edit]In April 1952, Hungarian State Protection Authority (Hungarian: llamv(C)delmi Hat"sg, VH) kidnapped Miksa Domonkos, Lszl" Benedek and Lajos St¶ckler, three leaders of the Jewish community in Budapest, to extract scripted confessions under torture.[71] Two purported eyewitnesses '' Pl Szalai and Kroly Szab" [72]'' were also arrested and interrogated using torture. This was in preparation for a show trial to be mounted in 1953 by the Hungarian VH to prove that Wallenberg had not been moved to the Soviet Union in 1945, but was the victim of cosmopolitan Zionists.[73]
This was after the Prague Trials or purge, when a group of mostly Jewish Communist leaders were executed in 1952 and at the time when the Soviets were planning a major antisemitic show trial in Moscow, the "Doctors' Plot". They accused mostly Jewish doctors of planning to murder Soviet leaders. Many Soviet Jews were fearful hearing that the Soviet plan was to have massive number of Jews deported to Siberia after likely execution of the doctors.
The idea that the "murderers of Wallenberg"[74] were Budapest Zionists was primarily supported by Hungarian Communist leader Ernő Gerő, demonstrated by a note sent by him to First Secretary Mtys Rkosi.[75] The show trial was to be held in Moscow. But, after the death of Stalin on March 5, 1953 and the execution of Lavrentiy Beria, the VH stopped preparations for the trial and released the prisoners. Domonkos spent a week in the hospital and died at home shortly afterward, mainly due to the torture he had suffered.[71] The Soviet doctors were also released after Stalin's death.
Possible connection to US intelligence[edit]In May 1996 the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) released thousands of previously classified documents regarding Raoul Wallenberg, in response to requests filed under the Freedom of Information Act.[25] The documents, along with an investigation conducted by the newsmagazine US News and World Report, appeared to confirm the long-held suspicion that Wallenberg was an American intelligence asset during his time in Hungary. In addition to Wallenberg's name appearing on a roster found in the National Archives[76] which listed the names of operatives associated with the CIA's wartime predecessor the Office of Strategic Services (OSS), the documents also included a 1954 memo from an anonymous CIA source that identified a Hungarian-exile living in Stockholm who, according to the author: "assisted'...in inserting Roul [sic] Wallenberg into Hungary during WWII as an agent of OSS".[27] Another declassified memorandum written in 1990 by the curator of the CIA's Historical Intelligence Collection William Henhoeffer, characterized the conclusion that Wallenberg was working for the OSS while in Budapest as being "essentially correct".[25]
More telling was a communique sent on November 7, 1944 by the OSS Secret Intelligence Branch in Bari, Italy which apparently acknowledged that Wallenberg was acting as an unofficial liaison between the OSS and the Hungarian Independence Movement (MFM), an underground anti-Nazi resistance organization.[77] The OSS message notes Wallenberg's contacts with Geza Soos, a high-ranking MFM leader and further explains that Soos "may only be contacted" through the Swedish legation in Budapest, which was Wallenberg's workplace and also served as the operational center for his attempts to aid the Hungarian Jews. The same message's assertion that Wallenberg "will know if he (Soos) is not in Budapest" is also curious, in that by November 1944 Soos was in hiding and knowledge of his whereabouts would only have been available to individuals closely involved with the MFM.[78] This conclusion is given further weight by additional evidence [78] suggesting that communications from the MFM to US intelligence were transmitted first to Stockholm and then relayed to Washington via Iver C. Olsen, the American OSS operative who initially recruited Wallenberg to go to Budapest in June 1944.
This particular disclosure has given rise to speculation as to whether, in addition to his efforts to rescue the Hungarian Jews, Wallenberg may have also been pursuing a parallel clandestine mission aimed at politically destabilizing Hungary's pro-Nazi government on behalf of the OSS.[27] This would also seem to add some credence to the potential explanation that it was his association with US intelligence that led to Wallenberg being targeted by Soviet authorities in January 1945.[76] Several other humanitarians who had helped refugees during World War II disappeared behind the Iron Curtain in the period 1949/50, several years after Wallenberg's disappearance. OSS ties may have been of interest to the Soviets, but is not a complete explanation because some of those detained, i.e. Hermann Field and Herta Field, had not worked for the OSS. All of these humanitarians, however, like Wallenberg, had interacted with a large number of anti-fascist and socialist refugees during the War, and this experience was used in the Stalin regime's factional politics and show trials.[79]
In 2009, reporter Joshua Prager wrote an article in the Wall Street Journal profiling the long-term toll that Raoul Wallenberg's disappearance had on his family. His mother Maj and his stepfather Fredrik von Dardel spent the rest of their lives searching for their son. They both committed suicide by overdosing on pills two days apart in 1979. Their daughter Nina Lagergren, Raoul's half-sister, attributed their suicide to their despair about never finding their son. Both Nina and Raoul's half-brother Guy von Dardel established organizations and worked to find their brother or confirmation of his death. At the request of their parents, they were to assume he was alive until the year 2000.[66]
Nina's daughter, Nane Maria Lagergren, married Kofi Annan, former secretary general of the United Nations, and is active in many humanitarian efforts.[3][17] Another of Wallenberg's nieces, Louise von Dardel, is the main activist in the family and dedicates much of her time to speaking about Wallenberg and lobbying various countries to help uncover information about her uncle.[80] The extended Wallenberg family remains an influential part of Swedish society as major shareholders in banks and corporations including Saab and Scandinavian Airlines.[81]
Honours[edit]Wallenberg was nominated twice for the Nobel Peace Prize, in 1948 by more than 50 qualified nominators[82] and in 1949 by a single nominator[82] At the time, the prize could be awarded posthumously, but the concept of such awards was controversial.[83][84]
Argentina[edit]In Buenos Aires, there is a monument in honour of Wallenberg at a park. It is a replica of the London monument by Philip Jackson, was unveiled in 1998 and can be seen from the Figueroa Alcorta Avenue, in Recoleta neighbourhood.[85]
Australia[edit]In Melbourne, a small memorial in honour of Wallenberg stands at the Jewish Holocaust Museum and Research Centre; a monument dedicated to him is on the corner of Princess Street and High Street, Kew; and a tree and memorial seat are at St Kilda Town Hall. The Australian Centre for Clinical Neuropharmacology in Melbourne adopted the name 'The Raoul Wallenberg Centre' on the occasion of Raoul Wallenberg's 89th birthday. In Sydney are a Raoul Wallenberg garden and sculpture in Woollahra, and a statue inside the Jewish Museum of Australia. Commemorative trees have been planted in front of the federal Parliament and in many other locations.[86]
Raoul Wallenberg Unit of B'nai B'rith in Melbourne, Australia, together with Max Stern & Co, a leading stamp dealer in Melbourne, and Australia Post, have released a limited edition Raoul Wallenberg Stamp Sheet and Envelope Set to mark the Unit's 25th anniversary in 2010. The Stamp Sheet shows a photo of Raoul Wallenberg together with a brief outline of his life, a monument in honour of Raoul Wallenberg by artist, Karl Duldig, in the Raoul Wallenberg Garden at Kew Junction, Melbourne, and ten 60 cent Australia Post stamps with tabs of Raoul Wallenberg from early childhood to adult soldier. The Envelope has a transparent front to show the Stamp Sheet; a Schutzpass is shown on the back accompanied by an explanation.
To commemorate the Centenary Year, a limited number of the Raoul Wallenberg Stamp Sheet will be stamped with a special Centenary cancellation. These will be available from Raoul Wallenberg Unit of B'nai B'rith in Melbourne from 1 July 2012.
Raoul Wallenberg Unit is requesting clergy around the world to speak about Raoul Wallenberg and his heroic deeds - 'One Person can Make a Difference' - from their pulpits over the weekend 3''5 August 2012 which coincides with the date of his 100th birthday, 4 August 2012.
Raoul Wallenberg Reserve in the neighbourhood of Yokine in Perth was dedicated in honour of Raoul Wallenberg. The small park is located in close proximity to many of Perth's Jewish institutions including a Jewish Day School, aged care facility, community centre, sports club and orthodox synagogue.
Wallenberg was named Australia's first honorary citizen in April 2013, during his centenary year.[87]Frank VajdaAM was saved by Wallenberg in 1944 from the pro-Nazi Arrow Cross Party and campaigned for decades for him to be recognised with the award.[62] A ceremony to mark the occasion was held on 6 May 2013,[8] and was attended by Governor-GeneralQuentin BryceACCVO, Prime MinisterJulia Gillard, and Opposition LeaderTony Abbott.[88] Vajda also attended the ceremony, as did the son of World War II resistance fighter John Farkas, who was the last person known to have seen Wallenberg alive.[62][88] George Farkas described the award as "recognition that some people can do unbelievable good in the face of reprehensible evil".[62]
Austria[edit]In the 22. district of Vienna a street was named "Raoul-Wallenberg-Gasse".
Canada[edit]Wallenberg was made the first Honorary Citizen of Canada in 1985;[89] and the government declared January 17, the day he disappeared, as "Raoul Wallenberg Day" in Canada.[90]
Numerous memorials, parks, and monuments honouring Wallenberg can be found across Canada, including the Raoul Wallenberg Memorial in Queen Elizabeth Park in Vancouver, Raoul Wallenberg Corner in Calgary, Raoul Wallenberg Park in Saskatoon, Parc Raoul Wallenberg in Ottawa, Ontario, and a memorial behind Christ Church Cathedral in downtown Montreal, where a bust of Wallenberg and a caged metal box, styled as a barbed-wire gate, stand beside each other.[citation needed] The main entrance to Earl Bales Park in Toronto, Ontario is named Raoul Wallenberg Road.
On January 17, 2013, which marks the 68th anniversary of Wallenberg's arrest by Soviet troops, Canada released a postage stamp in honour of Wallenberg.[91]
In 2008, the Tanenbaum Community Hebrew Academy of Toronto added "Wallenberg" to the name of the school, thus spawning the moniker, Tanebaum CHAT Wallenberg Campus.
Georgia[edit]In the center of Batumi a street was named "Raoul Wallenberg street".
Germany[edit]Streets were named after Wallenberg in both east and west Germany.
Hungary[edit]Budapest named Wallenberg as an honorary citizen in 2003. Several sites honor him, including Raoul Wallenberg Memorial Park, which commemorates those who saved many of the city's Jews from deportation to extermination camps, and the building that housed the Swedish Embassy in 1945.[92]
In July 2012, marking 100 years since his birth, Hungary paid tribute to Raoul Wallenberg in a ceremony at Budapest's Holocaust museum marking 100 years since his birth. Zoltan Balog, minister for human resources and social affairs, said that "evil must be rejected."[93]
Israel[edit]Israel granted Wallenberg honorary citizenship in 1986 and honored him at the Yad Vashem memorial as one of the Righteous Among the Nations; this designation recognizes Gentiles who saved Jews from the Holocaust.[94] Other tributes to Wallenberg in Israel include at least five streets named after him.[95] On Raoul Wallenberg Street in Tel Aviv, a statue identical to one in Budapest was installed in 2002 (see below), made by the sculptor Imre Varga.[96]
Russia[edit]A memorial to him stands in the courtyard of the Russian Rudomino Library of Foreign Languages in Moscow, and an educational institute in Saint Petersburg was named after him.[97]
Sweden[edit]In 2001, a memorial was created in Stockholm to honor Wallenberg. It was unveiled by King Carl XVI Gustaf, at a ceremony attended by then UN Secretary General Kofi Annan and his wife Nane Maria Annan, Wallenberg's niece. The abstract sculpture portrays people rising from the concrete, accompanied by a bronze replica of Wallenberg's signature.[98] At the unveiling, King Carl XVI Gustaf said Wallenberg is "a great example to those of us who want to live as fellow humans."[99] Kofi Annan praised him as "an inspiration for all of us to act when we can and to have the courage to help those who are suffering and in need of help."[100]
A memorial to Wallenberg was installed in G¶teborg, near Hagakyrkan (Haga Church). Kofi Annan attended the unveiling ceremony.
United Kingdom[edit]A Raoul Wallenberg memorial was installed at Great Cumberland Place in London, outside the Western Marble Arch Synagogue. On separate occasions in the 1990s and 2000s, Queen Elizabeth II and Charles, Prince of Wales paid tribute to Wallenberg at the Western Marble Arch site. A separate memorial stands near the Welsh National War Memorial in Alexandra Gardens, Cardiff.[citation needed] A bronze briefcase memorial by Gustav Kraitz with the initials RW is located in the garden of the Beth Shalom Holocaust Centre near Laxton in Nottinghamshire.
United States[edit]The US Congress made Wallenberg an Honorary Citizen of the United States in 1981,[101] the second person to be so honored, after Winston Churchill. In 1985, the portion of 15th Street, SW in Washington, D.C. on which the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum is located, was renamed Raoul Wallenberg Place by Act of Congress.[102][103]
In 1997, the United States Postal Service issued a stamp in his honor. Representative Tom Lantos, one of those saved by Wallenberg's actions, said: "It is most appropriate that we honor [him] with a U.S. stamp. In this age devoid of heroes, Wallenberg is the archetype of a hero '' one who risked his life day in and day out, to save the lives of tens of thousands of people he did not know whose religion he did not share."[104]
In Manhattan, a monument honoring him was installed on Raoul Wallenberg Walk, named in his honor, across from the headquarters of the United Nations. The Swedish consulate commissioned the piece, created by Swedish sculptor Gustav Kraitz. The sculpture, Hope, is a replica of Wallenberg's briefcase, a sphere, five pillars of black granite, and paving stones (setts) which were formerly used on the streets of the Budapest ghetto.[105] Another memorial stands in front of the Art and Architecture building at the University of Michigan, where he received his architecture degree in 1935.[106]
Places named after Wallenberg include Raoul Wallenberg Traditional High School in San Francisco, the PS 194 Raoul Wallenberg School in Brooklyn, New York, Raoul Wallenberg Avenue in Trenton, New Jersey, and Raoul Wallenberg Blvd in Charleston, South Carolina.
Since 2005, the International Raoul Wallenberg Foundation has campaigned to establish October 5 as Raoul Wallenberg Day throughout the United States, as this was the day Wallenberg was awarded Honorary U.S. Citizenship. By 2010, Raoul Wallenberg Day was being observed by the states of Colorado, Connecticut, Illinois, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, Michigan, Nebraska, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, West Virginia, and Wyoming.[107]
Wallenberg was posthumously awarded the Train Foundation's Civil Courage Prize, which recognizes "extraordinary heroes of conscience".[108]
On July 26, 2012 Wallenberg was posthumously awarded a Congressional Gold Medal by the United States Congress "in recognition of his achievements and heroic actions during the Holocaust."[10]
Awards in his name[edit]The Raoul Wallenberg Committee of the United States bestows the Raoul Wallenberg Award "on individuals, organizations and communities that reflect Raoul Wallenberg's humanitarian spirit, personal courage and nonviolent action in the face of enormous odds."[109]
The University of Michigan awards the Wallenberg Medal annually to outstanding humanitarians who embody the humanitarian values and commitment of its distinguished alumnus. The first Wallenberg Medal was presented in 1990 to Elie Wiesel. The twentieth Wallenberg Medal was awarded in October 2010 to Dr. Denis Mukwege.[110] The University's Taubman College of Architecture and Urban Planning also awards Wallenberg Scholarships to exceptional undergraduate and graduate students, many of which are given to enable students to broaden their study of architecture to include work in distant locations.
Schools named after him[edit]Argentina[edit]Raoul Wallenberg Educational CenterBrazil[edit]The Raoul Wallenberg Integral High SchoolCanada[edit]The Anne & Max Tanenbaum Community Hebrew Academy of Toronto Wallenberg CampusWallenberg Academy (formerly Wagar High School), Montreal, Quebec.[111]Ecuador[edit]Raoul Wallenberg Kindergarten & Primary SchoolGermany[edit]Raoul-Wallenberg Schule, DorstenRaoul-Wallenberg-Oberschule, BerlinHungary[edit]Raoul Wallenberg Humn Szakk¶z(C)piskola (C)s GimnziumSweden[edit]Uruguay[edit]US[edit]P.S. 194 Raoul Wallenberg School in Brooklyn, New YorkRaoul Wallenberg Traditional High School in San FranciscoRaoul Wallenberg Avenue, Trenton, New Jersey.Raoul Wallenberg Playground, Washington Heights NYCVenezuela[edit]Raoul Wallenberg Pre-School Educational UnitA number of films have been made of Wallenberg's life, including the 1985 made-for-television movie Wallenberg: A Hero's Story (1985), starring Richard Chamberlain, the 1990 Swedish production God afton, Herr Wallenberg (Good Afternoon, Mr. Wallenberg), featuring Stellan Skarsg¥rd, and various documentaries,[112] such as Raoul Wallenberg: Buried Alive (1984), the AFI Award winning Raoul Wallenberg, Between The Lines (1985) and Searching for Wallenberg (2003). He also appears in the Spanish television series El ngel de Budapest and is played by Ivn Fenyő. In 2006, the film "Raoul Wallenberg-l'ange de Budapest" (translated by Nigel Spencer as "Raoul Wallenberg: the Angel of Budapest"), featuring relatives and the Winnipeg lawyer still piloting inquiries into his case, was released in Canada and broadcast on the Bravo! network.
He is featured prominently in the work of esteemed painter and Holocaust survivor, Alice Lok Cahana. Her father was saved by Wallenberg.
Irish musician, Andy Irvine wrote the song "Raoul Wallenberg" which features on his album Rude Awakening[120]
See also[edit]References[edit]^The date of death is based on a letter given to his family by Soviet authorities in 1957 and is disputed by some.^ ab"German's Death Listed; Soviet Notifies the Red Cross Diplomat Died in Prison", New York Times, 15 Feb 1957; Retrieved on February 14, 2007^ ab"Raoul Wallenberg". Notable Names Database. Retrieved 2007-02-12. ^"Archives Throw Doubt on Wallenberg Death Date". The New York Times. April 1, 2010. Retrieved 2010-05-22. ^"Yad Vashem database". Yad Vashem. Archived from the original on 2007-02-07. Retrieved 2007-02-12. "who saved the lives of tens of thousands of Jews in Budapest during World War II ... and put some 15,000 Jews into 32 safe houses." ^Raoul Wallenberg's arrest order, signed by Bulganin in January 1945^"Unraveling Raoul Wallenberg's Secrets". Time. May 19, 2008. ^ ab"Honorary Australian Citizenship to be Awarded to Raoul Wallenberg". Prime Minister's Press Office, Commonwealth of Australia. 15 April 2015. Retrieved 2013-05-06. ^"The Raoul Wallenberg Committee of the United States '' Our Mission". Retrieved 2013-06-08. ^ ab"The Library of Congress: Bill Summary & Status 112th Congress (2011 - 2012) H.R. 3001". ^ abcdRachel Oestreicher Bernheim (1981). "A Hero for our Time". Archived from the original on 2007-02-06. Retrieved 2007-02-12. ^www.raoul-wallenberg.eu^"Guy von Dardel's introduction to the report of the Independent consultants Searching for Raoul Wallenberg". raoul-wallenberg.eu. Retrieved 2014-05-27. ^www.raoul-wallenberg.eu^ abcdSchreiber, Penny. "The Wallenberg Story". Retrieved 2007-02-14. ^John Bierman. Righteous Gentile. Penguin Books Ltd. London, 1981. P. 25^ abcdef"Raoul Wallenberg". Jewish Virtual Library. 2007. ^The company name is sometimes translated as the "Mid-European Trading Company"^ abcLester, Elenore and Werbell, Frederick E.; "The Last Hero of Holocaust. The Search for Sweden's Raoul Wallenberg", New York Times Magazine; March 30, 1980, ; Retrieved on February 14, 2007^ abcd"Raoul Wallenberg | Jewish Virtual Library". jewishvirtuallibrary.org. Retrieved 2014-06-28. ^The Holocaust Chronicle PROLOGUE: Roots of the Holocaust, page 526^"George Mandel-Mantello" The International Raoul Wallenberg Foundation^David Kranzler (2000). The Man Who Stopped the Trains to Auschwitz: George Mantello, El Salvador, and Switzerland's Finest Hour. Syracuse University Press. p. 87. ISBN 978-0-8156-2873-6. ^Winston Churchill, in a letter to his Foreign Secretary dated July 11, 1944, wrote, "There is no doubt that this persecution of Jews in Hungary and their expulsion from enemy territory is probably the greatest and most horrible crime ever committed in the whole history of the world...." "Winston Churchill's The Second World War and the Holocaust's Uniqueness", Istvan Simon.^ abc[1]^United States Holocaust Memorial Museum; Holocaust Encyclopedia; Retrieved on January 27, 2007^ abc[2]^Garger, Ilya (September 2, 2002). "Milestones: Died. Per Anger.". Time (magazine). Retrieved 2007-02-13. ^"The Wallenberg Effect". The Journal of Leadership Studies. Retrieved 2007-02-15. ^"Wallenberg Legacy". Raoul Wallenberg International Movement for Humanity. Retrieved 2007-02-14. ^Christoph Gann, Raoul Wallenberg and the rescue Mission "Budapest Jews'' 1944/45 Light in the darkness, retrieved 2008-09-19. Gann is the author of Raoul Wallenberg: So Viele Menschen Retten Wie Moglich (Germany, 2002). ISBN 3-423-30852-4^Arthur Max and Randy Herschaft (April 27, 2008). "Clues surfacing in Wallenberg disappearance / WWII hero may have had ties to White House; other data to be released". Associated Press. Retrieved 2009-05-17. ^"Final Report of the War Refugee Board from Sweden". Archived from the original on 2007-02-05. Retrieved 2007-02-14. ^"Lantos's list". Jerusalem Post. Retrieved 2007-02-15. "Born in Hungary in 1928 to assimilated Jewish parents, he escaped from a forced-labor brigade, joined the resistance and was eventually, with his later-to-be-wife Annette, among the tens of thousands of Hungarian Jews rescued by the Swedish diplomat Raoul Wallenberg." ^ abLaFraniere, Sharon; "Moscow Admits Wallenberg Died In Prison in 1947", Washington Post; December 23, 2000^"Jews in Hungary Helped by Swede". The New York Times; April 26, 1945, Thursday; Retrieved on February 14, 2007.^ abc"Report of Swedish Russian Working Group" (PDF). Retrieved 2007-02-13. ^"Well Taken Care Of".Time; February 18, 1957; Retrieved on February 14, 2007.^"SOVIET'S MEMO ORDERED WALLENBERG'S ARREST | Deseret News". deseretnews.com. Retrieved 2014-06-28. ^"Soviet double agent may have betrayed Wallenberg"; Reuters; May 12, 2003; Retrieved on February 14, 2007.^See Braham, Randolph (2004): "Rescue Operations in Hungary: Myths and Realities", East European Quarterly 38(2): 173-203.^"Wallenberg fate shrouded in mystery"; CNN; January 12, 2001; Retrieved on February 14, 2007^"Raoul Wallenberg, Life and Work". New York Times. September 6, 1991. Retrieved 2007-02-12. "The K.G.B. promised today that it would let agents break their vow of silence to help investigate the fate of Raoul Wallenberg, the Swedish diplomat who vanished after being arrested by the Soviets in 1945." ^"The Last Word on Wallenberg? New Investigations, New Question". Retrieved 2007-02-12. ^"Stuck in Neutral: The Reasons behind Sweden's passivity in the Raoul Wallenberg case" (PDF). Retrieved 2007-02-12. ^ abChronology - Who is Raoul Wallenberg? - The Raoul Wallenberg Committee of the United States. Retrieved 2008-09-19^"Soviets Give Kin Wallenberg Papers", New York Times; 17 Oct 1989; Retrieved on 14 Feb 2007^"Raoul Wallenberg, Life and Work". Retrieved 2007-02-12. ^Jonathan Brent, Inside the Stalin Archives, Atlas and Co, 2008^{{Country data {{{1}}} | flaglink/core | variant = | size = | name = | altlink = national rugby union team | altvar = rugby union }} L.A. Fedorov (Moskou: 2005). "ÐОÐ'ЕÐÐКОЕ БÐОЛОÐ'ÐЧЕÐКОЕ ОРУЖÐЕ: ÐÐÐОРÐЯ, ЭКОЛОÐ'ÐЯ, ПОЛÐÐÐКА - КРУШЕÐ'ÐЕ Ð'ОЕÐ'Ð'О-БÐОЛОÐ'ÐЧЕÐКОРÐÐ'ПЕРÐÐ: 4.2. КОÐ'У РЗАЧЕÐ' БÐЛА Ð'УЖÐ'А ÐЕКРЕÐÐ'ОÐÐЬ". Internationale Sociaal-economische Unie. ^"Cause of Death Conceded", Time (magazine); Monday, August 7, 2000^Vadim J. Birstein. The Perversion Of Knowledge: The True Story of Soviet Science. (p.138) Westview Press (2004) ISBN 0-8133-4280-5^"Russia: Wallenberg wrongfully jailed"; CNN; December 22, 2000; Retrieved on February 14, 2007^ ab"Moscow releases Wallenberg files". JTA. 2007. Retrieved 2007-07-29. [dead link]^Barry, Ellen (2012-11-09). "In Big New Museum, Russia Has a Message for Jews: We Like You". New York Times. Retrieved 2013-01-29. ^"Search for Swedish Holocaust hero"; BBC; January 17, 2005^ abAlan Levy: Nazi Hunter: The Wiesenthal File, London: Robinson, 2003.^Rosenfeld, Harvey (2005). Raoul Wallenberg: The Mystery Lives On. iUniverse. p. 164. ISBN 0-595-35544-7. ^Moshinsky, Efim (1987). Raoul Wallenberg Is Alive! The Amazing Autobiography of the KGB Officer Who Arrested Him In 1945. Jerusalem: Rescue Publishing. ^December 1993 interview by investigator Marvin Makinen of the University of Chicago. Makinen examined prison records and found additional evidence which seemed to possibly corroborate this. Arthur Max and Randy Herschaft, "Scholars run down more clues to abiding Holocaust mystery", Associated Press, April 28, 2008.^Keller, Bill (August 28, 1990). "Soviets Open Prisons and Records to Inquiry on Wallenberg's Fate". New York Times (Arthur Ochs Sulzberger, Jr.). Retrieved 2007-02-13. ^ abcdJudith Ireland (6 May 2013). "Man who rescued Jews becomes Australia's first honorary citizen". The Sydney Morning Herald (Fairfax Media). Retrieved 2013-05-06. ^Actions done by Raoul Wallenberg's brother, Guy von Dardel^of von Dardel's actions^Marvin W. Makinen and Ari D. Kaplan "Cell Occupancy Analysis of Korpus 2 of the Vladimir Prison"^ abPrager, Joshua (2009-02-28). "The Wallenberg Curse: The Search for the Missing Holocaust Hero Began in 1945. The Unending Quest Tore His Family Apart". The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 2009-03-04. ^[3], p. 15^"Missing in Action: Raoul Wallenberg"; Jerusalem Post^Excerpt from 1993 working group session^"Russia says the Wallenberg case is still open". Times-Picayune (Saint Tammany Edition) (New Orleans). 2012-05-29. p. A7. Retrieved 2012-05-30. ^ ab"Interview with Istvn Domonkos, son of Miksa Domonkos, who died after the show trial preparations".(Hungarian)^http://www.amazon.com/dp/B004UB36KG Who was the man in the leather coat?^Ember, Mria. Rnk akartk kenni. H(C)ttorony K¶nyvkiad". ^The ''murder'' of Swedish diplomat Raoul Wallenberg^Kenedi Jnos: Egy kill­ts hinyz" k(C)pei(Hungarian)^ ab"The Angel Was a Spy - US News and World Report". web.archive.org. Retrieved 2014-06-28. ^"Raoul Wallenberg's Unexplored Intelligence Connections In Hungary The International Raoul Wallenberg Foundation". raoulwallenberg.net. Retrieved 2014-06-28. ^ ab"The Angel Was a Spy - US News and World Report". web.archive.org. Retrieved 2014-06-28. ^[4] Subak, Susan Elisabeth, Rescue and Flight: American Relief Workers Who Defied the Nazis, University of Nebraska Press, 2010, 342 pp.^Louise von Dardel's February 2005 talks in the Knesset and the Jerusalem Begin Center and her interviews at the time to Israel TV English news, Jerusalem Post, VESTY (Russian) and Makor Rishon (Hebrew).^"FAM - In English". fam.se. Retrieved 2014-05-27. ^ ab"The Nomination Database for the Nobel Peace Prize, 1901-1956". nobelprize.org. Retrieved 2008-10-10. [dead link]^http://nobelprize.org/nomination/nomination_facts.html^"Mahatma Gandhi, the Missing Laureate". nobelprize.org. Retrieved 2014-05-27. ^"Raoul Wallenberg - monuments". web.archive.org. Retrieved 2014-05-27. ^raoulwallenberg net^"Holocaust hero Raoul Wallenberg made first honorary Australian". The Australian (News Limited). 15 April 2013. Retrieved 2013-04-15. ^ ab"Governor-General of the Commonwealth of Australia, Media Advisory: Governor-General to confer Honorary Australian Citizenship". Office of the Official Secretary to the Governor-General (OOSGG), on behalf of the Commonwealth of Australia. 1 May 2013. Retrieved 2013-05-06. ^"Government of Canada Honours Canadian Honorary Citizen Raoul Wallenberg". Canada. 2007. ^"A Tribute to Raoul Wallenberg". Retrieved 2011-01-16. ^"Canada to release Raoul Wallenberg stamp". The Times of Israel. August 13, 2012. Retrieved 2012-08-14. ^"Tributes in Hungary". Retrieved 2007-02-12. ^"Hungary commemorates Holocaust hero Wallenberg". AFP. Yedioth Ahronot. August 3, 2012. Retrieved 2012-08-03. ^"Visiting Yad Vashem: Raoul Wallenberg". Yad Vashem. 2004. ^Wallenberg Tributes Around The World - Israel The International Raoul Wallenberg Foundation. Retrieved 2008-09-24^Monument dedicated to Raoul Wallenberg was inaugurated in Tel Aviv - The International Raoul Wallenberg Foundation. Retrieved 2008-09-24.^"Institute of Special Education and Special Psychology in St-Petersburg". Retrieved 2009-02-01. [dead link]^Tributes in Sweden International Raoul Wallenberg Foundation. Retrieved 2008-09-19^Stockholm monument of Second World War hero defaced International Raoul Wallenberg Foundation. Retrieved 2008-09-19^"Tributes in United Kingdom". International Raoul Wallenberg Foundation. Retrieved 2007-02-12. ^"Honorary Citizens of the United States". U.S. Senate official site. Retrieved 2009-08-01. ^Raoul Wallenberg Place The Historical Marker Database. Retrieved 2008-09-19^Verified in an 1989 edition. (Guinness Rekordbok 1989, Bokf¶rlaget Forum Stockholm Sverige, 1988)^"Holocaust Hero Honored on Postage Stamp". United States Postal Service. 1996. ^"Raoul Wallenberg Playground". New York City Department of Parks and Recreation. ^"Sculptor's Campus Works Celebrate Humanitarian Ideals, Growth and Change"^"Raoul Wallenberg Days The International Raoul Wallenberg Foundation". raoulwallenberg.net. Retrieved 2014-05-27. ^"Honorees". Civil Courage Prize. 2010. Retrieved 2011-05-26. ^"The Raoul Wallenberg Committee of the United States". The Raoul Wallenberg Committee of the United States. 2007. ^"Wallenberg Medal and Lecture". The Wallenberg Endowment. 2007. ^"Former Wagar High in C´te St. Luc to be relaunched as Wallenberg Academy". web.archive.org. Retrieved 2014-05-27. ^"Raoul Wallenberg in film". Open Society Archives. Retrieved 2010-01-30. ^PERFORMANCES OF ERKKI-SVEN T''R'S OPERA 'žWALLENBERG'' IN GERMANY^Wallenberg>> in Estonian National Opera^Wallenberg>>. SEEN AND HEARD INTERNATIONAL OPERA REVIEW^Realit¤t und Fiktion^Opera Wallenberg>> in Badisches Staatstheater Karlsruhe^Gershon Kingsley '' Michael Kunze: Raoul>> - Theater Bremen^Holocaust education fund to honor Raoul Wallenberg>>^http://www.andyirvine.com/albums/RudeAwakening.htmlFurther reading[edit]Levine, Paul A. Raoul Wallenberg in Budapest: Myth, History and Holocaust (London: Valentine Mitchell, 2010)Matz, Johan. "Sweden, the United States, and Raoul Wallenberg's Mission to Hungary in 1944," Journal of Cold War Studies (2012) 14#3 pp 97''148 in Project MUSEExternal links[edit]PersondataNameWallenberg, RaoulAlternative namesShort descriptionDiplomatDate of birthAugust 4, 1913Place of birthSwedenDate of death(presumed) July 16, 1947Place of death(presumed)Soviet Union
Noura Erakat - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Wed, 09 Jul 2014 23:37
Noura Erakat is a Palestinian American scholar of the Middle East who will begin teaching as tenure track faculty at George Mason University in Fall 2014. [1] She is a human rights attorney and activist who specializes in refugee law, humanitarian law, national security law, the Palestinian-Israel conflict, and social justice. [1]
Erakat received her B.A. from the University of California, Berkeley in 2002 (Phi Beta Kappa), her J.D. from UC Berkeley School of Law in 2005 and her L.L.M from Georgetown University Law Center (with distinction and Dean's List) in 2012.[1][2] She currently serves on the board of the Institute for Policy Studies,[3]is a member of the Board of Directors for the Trans-Arab Research Institute, [4] and is a policy advisor with the Al-Shabaka Network.[5] Erakat is also one of six core figures who in September 2010 launched Jadaliyya, an ezine in English, Arabic, and French that is an initiative of the non-profit Arab Studies Institute (ASI) in Washington, D.C. and Beirut, Lebanon.[6][7]
Selected Works[edit]Print media[edit]Scholarship[edit]Radio interviews[edit]Video interviews[edit]External links[edit]PersondataNameErakat, NouraAlternative namesShort descriptionAmerican academicDate of birthPlace of birthDate of deathPlace of death
The Bombing of Palestine (Through The Eyes of a Neo-con Loon) | SCG News
Wed, 09 Jul 2014 23:22
What was the excuse this time? Oh right... three Jewish teenagers were killed by some unknown person or persons. Most assume that someone was a Palestinian, but there was no trial. Israel of course decided that they would be handling this like any civilized country handles a murder case: by bombing an entire city.
Obviously the fact that a Palestinian boy was burned alive by Israelis the following week would have no bearing on the collective punishment that was to be doled out. It was payback time, and this wasn't going to be a light tit-for-tat airstrike. No, they were going to do this right: full out bombardment and ground troops. Time to reduce the rubble of Gaza down to a more manageable patch of sand (or better yet smear it off the map completely).
So Tuesday it began, and so far forty or so Palestinians have been killed, at least eight of them children, but anyone who knows Israeli math understands that we still have a long way to go until the death of those three teenagers is balanced out. I can never remember how many brown skinned corpses a single white corpse is worth (algebra was never my strongest subject).
The good news is that we can count on the U.S. media to give us a play by play account of every homemade rocket being fired out of Palestine. So far no Israelis have been killed by them, but it's still very dramatic to hear about, and it helps keep the attention off the images of dismembered Palestinian women and children in the streets. Whatever is left of the collective consciousness is then sponged up by the World Cup. Can you believe how Germany ran up the score on Brazil last night? What an outrage!
That friendly media coverage is almost as helpful as the three billion dollars a year the United States sends Israel each year. Almost. Of course some will always say that Israel shouldn't be getting U.S. tax dollars like this, especially when you have cities like Detroit crumbling in on themselves, but I'm sure you'll agree that Israel's desire to bomb its neighbors significantly outweighs such petty concerns. Think of it as a down payment towards the glass crater we've been saving up for in the middle east.
We will of course continue whine about other discretionary spending, but our nation's commitment to propping up Israel (and Kiev, and the Syrian rebels) is sacrosanct. Why? Don't ask silly questions like that. Go watch Fox news and get back to me once you've rewritten what little you know about history. Geez.
Speaking of history I think it's worth commemorating the progress we've made over the past 50 years. Take a gander at the map below and just imagine what it will look like a decade. Inspiring isn't it?
Of course even once we've pushed these little cretins off their our land we'll still have a problem on our hands. It turns out that around twenty percent of Israel's current population is Palestinian. That's why it's so important that we force the Palestinians to agree that Israel is and will always be a "Jewish state" as a condition for not bombing them. That way we can deal with this pesky ethnic contamination as an immigration problem. Think Indian reservations 2.0, but with better PR cover.
Ooh another rocket! Sic em Bibi!
Get moreGet more content from us through facebook!
SnowJob
Senate committee adopts cybersecurity bill opposed by NSA critics.
Wed, 09 Jul 2014 22:35
The Senate intelligence committee voted Tuesday to adopt a major cybersecurity bill that critics fear will give the National Security Agency even wider access to American data than it already has.
Observers said the bill, approved by a 12 to 3 vote in a meeting closed to the public, would face a difficult time passing the full Senate, considering both the shortened legislative calendar in an election year and the controversy surrounding surveillance.
But the bill is a priority of current and former NSA directors, who warn that private companies' vulnerability to digital sabotage and economic data exfiltration will get worse without it.
Pushed by Dianne Feinstein and Saxby Chambliss, the California Democrat and Georgia Republican who lead the committee, the bill would remove legal obstacles that block firms from sharing information "in real time" about cyber-attacks and prevention or mitigation measures with one another and with the US government.
Worrying civil libertarians is that the NSA and its twin military command, US Cyber Command, would receive access to vast amounts of data, and privacy guidelines for the handling of that data are yet to be developed.
A draft of the bill released in mid-June would permit government agencies to share, retain and use the information for "a cybersecurity purpose" '' defined as "the purpose of protecting an information system or information that is stored on, processed by or transiting an information system from a cybersecurity threat or security vulnerability" '' raising the prospect of the NSA stockpiling a catalogue of weaknesses in digital security, as a recent White House data-assurance policy permits.
It would also prevent participating companies from being sued for sharing data with each other and the government, even though many companies offer contract terms of service prohibiting the sharing of client or customer information without explicit consent.
''To strengthen our networks, the government and private sector need to share information about attacks they are facing and how best to defend against them. This bill provides for that sharing through a purely voluntary process and with significant measures to protect private information," Feinstein said in a statement after the vote.
Intrusions into private data networks are on the rise, with enormous economic consequences. A perceived need for some sort of government response drove the Justice Department to indict five Chinese military officers in May.
Champions of a similar bill that passed the House of Representatives last year despite a White House veto threat urged the full Senate to follow the intelligence panel's lead.
"These attacks cost our country billions of dollars through the loss of jobs and intellectual property. We are confident that the House and the Senate will quickly come together to address this urgent threat and craft a final bill that secures our networks and protects privacy and civil liberties," said Mike Rogers of Michigan and Dutch Ruppersberger of Maryland, the Republican and Democratic leaders of the House intelligence committee.
But digital rights advocates warn that the measure will give the government, including the NSA, access to more information than just that relating to cyberthreats, potentially creating a new avenue for broad governmental access to US data even as Congress and the Obama administration contemplate restricting the NSA's domestic collection.
The bill contains "catch-all provisions that would allow for the inclusion of a lot more than malicious code. It could include the content of communications. That's one of the biggest concerns," said Gabriel Rottman, an attorney with the American Civil Liberties Union.
Provisions in the bill are intended to protect American privacy on the front end by having participating companies strike "indicators '... known to be personal information of or identifying a United States person" before the government sees it, but the draft version leaves specific guidelines for privacy protection up to the attorney general.
"Nobody knows whether the flow from the private sector will be a trickle or a river or an ocean. The bill contemplates an ocean, and that's what worries us," said Greg Nojeim of the Center for Democracy and Technology.
Two of the senators who voted against the bill, Democrats Ron Wyden of Oregon and Mark Udall of Colorado, said that they were prepared to work to improve the bill, which they said "lacks adequate protections for the privacy rights of law-abiding Americans, and that it will not materially improve cybersecurity".
They warned: "We have seen how the federal government has exploited loopholes to collect Americans' private information in the name of security."
A cybersecurity bill failed in the Senate in 2012, and observers like Nojeim doubted that a post-Edward Snowden environment was more conducive to passage, a point echoed reluctantly by leading NSA officials. Nevertheless, both NSA director vice-admiral Michael Rogers and his predecessor, Keith Alexander, have urged Congress to pass legislation along the lines of the Senate intelligence committee bill.
Greenwald's Underwhelming Surveillance Scoop :: The Investigative Project on Terrorism
Thu, 10 Jul 2014 07:01
In a story he touted for weeks as "the most important in the archive" of NSA documents given to him by NSA leaker Edward Snowden, Glenn Greenwald reported Wednesday that five Muslim American political activists have been subject to surveillance by the FBI or NSA.
The story casts the five as victims of unjust persecution solely because they are Muslims (with one exception), or because of their political activity.
"The five Americans whose email accounts were monitored by the NSA and FBI have all led highly public, outwardly exemplary lives," Greenwald and co-author Murtaza Hussain write.
That's not true in several cases, as we will show. But the story falls well short of Greenwald's hype, in part because it offers no evidence that the surveillance continued after 2008. And all the surveillance described resulted from court-approved warrants and not some unchecked rogue operation. What Greenwald and Hussain do not mention is telling, too.
If the problem were as rampant as they portray it, plenty of other prominent Muslim activists should have been identifiable. But no one from the Islamic Society of North America, which was founded by Muslim Brotherhood members in America, is mentioned. The same is true for the Muslim American Society '' which was linked to the Brotherhood in court testimony by Abdurrahman Alamoudi, once the most prominent Muslim political activist in America '' along with the Islamic Circle of North America, the Muslim Public Affairs Council and other organizations which share the same faith and engage in the exact kind of political activity as those spotlighted.
In addition, Greenwald and Hussain acknowledge there are many unknowns.
For example, "it is impossible to know why their emails were monitored," they write, but at the same time, the story's entire premise is that there could be no cause beyond some form of discriminatory focus to target people engaged in activity protected by the First Amendment.
Sources acknowledged "that political speech is sometimes viewed as a sufficient reason to launch an investigation," the story says. The example provided?
"If you are a political activist calling for violent jihad'--yes, that could trigger an investigation," a former FBI lawyer told them.
One would hope so.
Indeed, many of the email accounts on an index Snowden provided, and which provide the foundation for the story, "belong to foreigners whom the government believes are linked to Al Qaeda, Hamas, and Hezbollah." Other Americans identified on the list include al-Qaida cleric Anwar al-Awlaki and Samir Khan. Awlaki directly encouraged acts of terror against the United States, including communicating with Fort Hood shooter Nidal Hassan. Khan ran a glossy al-Qaida magazine, Inspire, which provided specific suggestions and instructions on how Muslims could carry out homegrown attacks.
Both were killed in a U.S. drone strike in September 2011.
In a joint statement issued Wednesday, the Director of National Intelligence and the Justice Department called it "entirely false" to say U.S intelligence is targeting anyone "solely because they disagree with public policies or criticize the government, or for exercising constitutional rights ... On the other hand, a person who the court finds is an agent of a foreign power under this rigorous standard is not exempted just because of his or her occupation."
As for the five people identified as targets of FBI or NSA surveillance, the Greenwald/Hussain story overlooks significant documented history showing Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) Executive Director Nihad Awad's connection to a Hamas-support network and his solicitation of millions of dollars from foreign countries.
The story notes that "Awad's surveillance appears to have coincided with the timing of the Holy Land Foundation case." That case involved the illegal funneling of millions of dollars to Hamas through a network of charities controlled by the terrorist group. Awad said he was "outraged" and "really angry that despite all the work that we have been doing in our communities to serve the nation, we are treated with suspicion."
That's disingenuous and an attempt to play off public ignorance of CAIR's history.
Internal documents admitted into evidence show that Awad was part of a group called the "Palestine Committee," created by the Muslim Brotherhood to support Hamas in the United States politically and financially. Awad's name is listed on the committee's phone list.
And he participated in a 1993 meeting of Hamas members and supporters in Philadelphia to discuss how they can "derail" the new U.S.-brokered Oslo peace initiative without exposing themselves as Hamas supporters. Awad was among those who used an ineffective code when referring to the terrorist group, reversing the letters and calling it "Samah."
That's just a fraction of Awad's "exemplary" record. Rather than address the evidence, Greenwald and Hussain dismiss the attention on CAIR as the product of it being a "primary target of hardline neoconservatives after 9/11."
Awad is quoted as saying CAIR itself has never been charged with any wrongdoing, yet numerous CAIR officials have been charged, convicted and/or deported for various offenses, including terrorism-related violations.
The story notes that the FBI cut off interaction with CAIR in the wake of the Holy Land case, and it quotes Awad saying, "The government knows very well that I am not a foreign agent."
Well, no, it doesn't.
In April 2009, an FBI official explained its justification for cutting off CAIR's outreach access. Holy Land trial evidence "demonstrated a relationship among CAIR, individual CAIR founders (including its current ... Executive Director) and the Palestine Committee," a letter from Assistant FBI Director Richard Powers to U.S. Sen. Jon Kyl said. "Nevertheless, until we can resolve whether there continues to be a connection between CAIR or its executives and HAMAS, the FBI does not view CAIR as an appropriate liaison partner."
In the story, Greenwald notes that he has spoken at CAIR conferences. Those appearances, and what he said during them, show an inherent bias. For example, at the CAIR-San Francisco chapter's 2012 banquet, Greenwald blasted prosecutions for providing material support to terrorists. "[W]hat you see is repeatedly prosecution based not on any acts that those people undertook, but on the ideology and political principles that they've expressed, which is a core violation of the First Amendment free speech guarantee," he said.
In a 2010 speech at the Brooklyn Law School, Greenwald said the very term "terrorist" is used for "mischief and so much of the evil that happens" because it has no real meaning. "It essentially means anybody who defies the will and the wishes of the United States and Israel," he said. "And the Israelis and the Americans are free to engage in pure acts of terrorism but have constructed the definition in a way both formally and culturally so as to inherently exclude whatever they do."
In the story, he minimizes the case against Sami Al-Arian, writing that "many civil libertarians regard as prosecutorial overreach motivated by anti-Muslim hysteria." He doesn't acknowledge that it's exactly the view he holds, celebrating the recent end of a contempt case against the former Palestinian Islamic Jihad board member on Twitter June 27.
Support for Al-Arian was offered by Agha Saeed, another of the five highlighted in the story, as a reason why he might have drawn scrutiny. But Saeed, also endorsed "armed resistance" for Palestinians: "United Nations has a resolution'...which says'... people in Palestine have the right to resist their oppression by using all means including armed resistance," he said during a 1999 ISNA conference.
Two years earlier, he spoke at a conference organized by the Islamic Association for Palestine (IAP). Like CAIR, the IAP is identified in internal documents admitted into evidence during the Holy Land prosecution as an arm of the Muslim Brotherhood's Hamas-supporting Palestine Committee.
None of this likely was sufficient to secure a Foreign Intelligence Surveillance warrant, but it shows Saeed endorsed violence and worked with people tied to a Hamas front network.
It may turn out that some, or all five, of the people in Greenwald and Hussain's story drew attention after some form of communication with someone outside the United States already on the radar of our intelligence services. Or, it might turn out that they were there in error. We're in no position to say. And that's the point. Neither is Glenn Greenwald.
Read More:Glenn Greenwald, Murtaza Hussain, NSA surveillance, CAIR, Nihad Awad, Palestine Committee
Greenwald not who he says he is
Submitted by Kris, Jul 9, 2014 20:25
Greenwald's link to the Muslim Brotherhood was news to me--but I'm not surprised. The whole "Snowden archive" stinks to high heaven. Crytome.org estimated that it will take something like 50 years to release all of the documents at the rate that they are being released. Something like 1% have been released thus far. Why dribble them out? Cryptome asks the same question, of which no one, Greenwald included, has an answer.
This may be an odd way of analyzing the documents thus far released, but the "documents" are not in fact valid NSA documents at all, which the NSA knows. Anyone that has been in business, college, etc., has had to sit through Powerpoint presentations put together by someone with minimal computer savvy. Text with run-on sentences, cheesy graphics, etc. But the NSA has the creme of the crop as far as computer geeks and we are to believe that most of the "documents," which are in fact slides from Powerpoint presentations, were prepared by high-level, computer savvy NSA operatives? Hardly likely.It looks like they were put together by a sixth grader after taking a computer class.
My guess is that the NSA "whistleblower" Edward Snowden is actually working for the NSA, as is Greenwald. As far as Greenwalld's link to the Muslim Brotherhood, we all know Eric Holder pushed the Holy Land Foundation case down the memory hole, that the Muslim Brotherhood met with Obama in April 2009, that he put the Muslim Brotherhood in the front row of the Cairo speech, etc., etc., so for Greenwald, and by extension the NSA, to be in bed with the Muslim Brotherhood is not some far-fetched theory. Just my opinion.
Glenn Greenwald Enraged that Muslims with Terror Ties Under Surveillance | FrontPage Magazine
Thu, 10 Jul 2014 06:54
Glenn Greenwald and his fellow jihad-enabling ''journalist'' Murtaza Hussain on Wednesday published a major expos(C), ''Under Surveillance: Meet the Muslim-American Leaders the FBI and NSA Have Been Spying On,'' about Muslim leaders who are being spied upon by the FBI and the NSA. The thrust of the article is that each one is as pure as the day is long, with the one sin of opposing U.S. government policies.
The idea, of course, that opposing U.S. government policies from the Left will get you placed under surveillance these days is beyond ridiculous: Obama's IRS is targeting conservative groups, not Leftists, and claiming that ''right-wing extremists'' are a terror threat, with nary a word about genuinely violent Left-wing extremist groups such as the Occupy movement and others.
And so it is no surprise that Greenwald and Hussain make their case by glossing over the genuine reasons why the FBI and NSA have placed these men under surveillance '-- surveillance which, if it is still going on at this point, is sure to end now as a result of this article. The article highlights these five men, glossing over the very real reasons why surveillance is justified:
' Faisal Gill, a longtime Republican Party operative and one-time candidate for public office who held a top-secret security clearance and served in the Department of Homeland Security under President George W. Bush;
' Asim Ghafoor, a prominent attorney who has represented clients in terrorism-related cases;
' Hooshang Amirahmadi, an Iranian-American professor of international relations at Rutgers University;
' Agha Saeed, a former political science professor at California State University who champions Muslim civil liberties and Palestinian rights;
' Nihad Awad, the executive director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), the largest Muslim civil rights organization in the country'....
Regarding Faisal Gill, Greenwald and Hussain write:
'...After leaving the Navy, Gill worked as a consultant for the American Muslim Council, which was founded by the political activist Abdul Rahman al-Amoudi to encourage participation by American Muslims in the political process. A Republican since high school, Gill joined the Bush Administration in the aftermath of 9/11, eventually moving to the White House Office of Homeland Security, where he briefly worked with Richard Clarke and obtained a top-secret security clearance. After roughly a year, he joined the Department of Homeland Security as a senior policy adviser, where he was cleared to access sensitive compartmented information, a classification level reserved for some of the nation's most closely held secrets.
In 2003, al-Amoudi was arrested for participating in a Libyan plot to assassinate Saudi Crown Prince Abdullah and for illegal financial transactions with the Libyan government, crimes for which he eventually pleaded guilty. Because Gill's name had turned up in al-Amoudi's papers, he was investigated by DHS security officials and asked not to report to work pending the outcome. He told investigators that he had met al-Amoudi only three or four times and didn't work closely with him during his time at the American Muslim Council. After passing a polygraph test, Gill says, he was told by DHS that he was ''good to go'' and returned to work.
Greenwald and Hussain here establish the pattern of their entire piece: they leave out crucial details of the background of each of their supposed innocent victims of surveillance, thereby obscuring why they were put under surveillance in the first place. Faisal Gill worked as a consultant for the American Muslim Council. He says that he only met Alamoudi a few times and didn't work closely with him.
Very well. But Greenwald and Hussain don't mention that, according to Discover the Networks, the plot to assassinate Abdullah involved ''two U.K.-based al Qaeda operatives,'' and that he ''ultimately pled guilty to, and was convicted of, being a senior al Qaeda financier who had funneled at least $1 million into the coffers of that terrorist organization.''
So here is Faisal Gill, who was a consultant for a group founded and headed by a confessed senior al Qaeda financier. He hardly knew him '-- fine. He was cleared of any wrongdoing '-- fine. But is it not possible that Alamoudi or someone connected to him might try to contact Faisal Gill, and win this upstanding American patriot over to their side, or try to use him in some way? Is there not, then, a case for placing Faisal Gill under surveillance, given his association with a senior jihad terror financier?
Also, would Greenwald and Hussain be enraged if the FBI and NSA placed under surveillance someone who had worked as a consultant for a group headed by a senior Ku Klux Klan financier, even if the consultant had been cleared of any wrongdoing? I doubt it. Nor should they be.
Likewise with Asim Ghafoor:
In 2003, the Al Haramain Islamic Foundation, a Saudi charity, hired Ghafoor after its U.S. assets were frozen by the Treasury Department over claims that it funded terrorist operations. The government alleged that there were ''direct links'' between the U.S. branch of the charity and Osama bin Laden. Al Haramain had previously been represented by some of the biggest and most prestigious American law firms, including the D.C. powerhouse Akin Gump. Ghafoor's work with Al Haramain led him to other controversial clients, including Mohammed Jamal Khalifa, a brother-in-law of Osama bin Laden who was the subject of FBI and CIA surveillance for years, as well as the government of Sudan.
This would seem to be enough in itself to keep Ghafoor under surveillance, in case one of his jihad terrorist clients gave out information that could stop a jihad terror attack. But there is more. Discover the Networks notes that ''Asim Ghafoor was a political consultant, spokesman, and public relations director for the Global Relief Foundation (GRF), which the U.S. government shut down in December 2001 because of the organization's ties to terrorism'....GRF is not the only organization with ties to terrorism with which Ghafoor has been involved. While he was with GRF, Ghafoor was also the spokesman for Care International. The December 6, 2002 Wall Street Journal reports: 'Records indicate close ties between [Care International] and the Boston branch of Al Kifah Refugee Center, the Brooklyn branch of which was named by prosecutors as the locus of the 1993 conspiracy to bomb the World Trade Center.''
Greenwald and Hussain don't mention any of that, of course. And their inclusion of Hooshang Amirahmadi is just bizarre. Greenwald and Hussain note that he ''does not self-identify as a Muslim and describes himself as an atheist.'' So why is he included in a piece entitled ''Meet the Muslim-American Leaders the FBI and NSA Have Been Spying On''? Apparently Greenwald and Hussain couldn't find enough Muslim leaders whom they could even with the remotest plausibility portray as innocent victims of unwarranted surveillance, so they figured an Iranian atheist was close enough.
If a foe of jihad terror were that careless of the facts, Greenwald and Hussain would be among the first to pounce.
Unlike in the other cases, with Agha Saeed, all the information needed to see why surveillance was deemed warranted is in the Greenwald/Hussain piece:
The only notable public controversy involving Saeed occurred in 2000, two days after the American Muslim Alliance announced its endorsement of Bush. The New York Daily News attempted to demonize a $50,000 donation the group made to Hillary Clinton's Senate campaign by highlighting Saeed's support for the right of Palestinians to armed resistance against occupation if peaceful means fail'--a right affirmed in a series of resolutions by the United Nations General Assembly.
Yielding to pressure, Clinton quickly condemned the remarks and announced that she was returning the donation. Her GOP opponent, Rick Lazio, attacked her for receiving ''blood money'' and criticized her and her husband for having invited Muslim-Americans who opposed the Middle East peace process to the White House.
''Saeed's support for the right of Palestinians to armed resistance against occupation if peaceful means fail'--a right affirmed in a series of resolutions by the United Nations General Assembly.'' The fact that the UN endorsed the ''Palestinian'' jihad is hardly a ringing affirmation of its moral rectitude, and in any case, the groups that pursue ''armed resistance against occupation'' are jihad terror groups such as Hamas, Hizballah, and Islamic Jihad. Saeed supports this ''armed resistance,'' so he may be in contact with some of the leaders or members of such groups, and surveillance could reveal something that could be used to stop their jihad terror attacks against civilians. So here again, surveillance is warranted.
Turning to Nihad Awad, Greenwald and Hussain write:
'...''I'm outraged as an American citizen that my government, after decades of civil rights struggle, still spies on political activists and civil right activists and leaders,'' says Awad. ''I'm really angry that despite all the work that we have been doing in our communities to serve the nation, we are treated with suspicion.''
The bulk of CAIR's work is devoted to protecting the civil liberties of Muslim-Americans. (Full disclosure: Glenn Greenwald, a co-author of this story, has given paid speeches before CAIR's regional affiliates.) The group frequently provides legal counsel to those who believe their rights have been infringed, and litigates constitutional challenges to state and federal laws. Awad says he is particularly incensed about the surveillance given the close cooperation that CAIR has provided the U.S. government in denouncing violent extremism. ''The government knows very well that I am not a foreign agent,'' he says.
Despite its political moderation and relationship to federal law enforcement agencies, CAIR became a primary target of hardline neoconservatives after 9/11. In 2007, the Justice Department named the group as one of more than 300 ''unindicted co-conspirators'' in its controversial prosecution of the Holy Land Foundation, then the largest Muslim charity in the U.S., which was eventually convicted of providing material support to Hamas. The Justice Department later attempted to justify its inclusion of CAIR by referring to wiretap evidence showing that in 1993, a Palestinian advocacy group that prosecutors believed was linked to Hamas met in a Philadelphia hotel and talked about founding CAIR. In 1994, Awad voiced public support for Hamas'--before the group's campaign of suicide attacks against civilians and subsequent placement on the State Department's terrorist list in 1997.
''I do not support Hamas,'' Awad says today, pointing out that the group was not involved in terrorist activities at the time he made the statement. ''It was not on the list of organizations that sponsor or conduct terrorism by the State Department. And when the organization took those acts, CAIR has condemned it, repeatedly.'''...
Very well. So Awad supported Hamas in 1994, but in 1997, when it was placed on the State Department's terrorist list, he stopped supporting it. Here is part of the old Hamas website's ''glory record'' of attacks against Israelis '' the terrorist organization's own record of its murderous actions. Here are some of Hamas' self-described exploits from before 1994, when Awad made his statement about supporting Hamas:
3. Boureen Operation: The militant Hamdan Hussein Al:najar, a member of Hamas, killed the Israeli settler Ya'coub Berey using a big rock as his weapon. The militant was shot down as a martyr after he had ambushed an Israeli patrol using the dead settler's weapon'....
6. Bus No. 405 Operation: Militant Ahmed Hussein Shukry, a member of Hamas, was able to lead an Israeli soldier to a secluded place in Tel Aviv where the militant hit the soldier with a chisel and killed him on 8 September 1989. The following day, the militant got on bus No. 405 and stabbed the driver to take over the bus; however, the passengers were able to stop the militant'....
12. Keryat Youval Operation: The militant Mohammed Mustafa Abu Jalala stabbed four Israelis and injured another at a bus station in Keryat Youval in Jerusalem before he was arrested by the Israeli forces.
13. Askalan Road Operation: While driving a taxi, the militant Jameel Ismail Al:baz, a member of Hamas, ran over a group of Israelis waiting on this road on 19 July 1991'....
15. Shailou Operation: A military group belonging to Al Qassam Brigades attacked an Israeli bus carrying some settlers on their way to Tel Aviv to participate in demonstrations organized by the extremist party Likud against the peace process. The bus was completely destroyed; two Israelis were killed and five more were injured'....
17. Eid Al-maskhara Operation: The militant Ra'ed Al:reefy attacked an Israeli crowd in Jaffa on 17 March 1992. He was able to kill 2 and injure 21 Israelis who gathered to celebrate Eid Al:maskhara, also known as Al:boureem.
18. Beit Lahya Operation: On the third anniversary of Sheikh Ahmed Yassin's arrest, a group belonging to Al Qassam Brigades attacked an Israeli settler at Beit Lahya and shot him down then withdrew safely'....
21. Carlo Factory Operation: Four militants belonging to Al Qassam Brigades broke into a citrus packing factory (Carlo) near Nahal Oaz at 2:30 p.m. on 25 June 1992. Three militants stabbed two Israelis while the other was guarding'....
So Greenwald and Hussain claim that Awad only supported Hamas ''before the group's campaign of suicide attacks against civilians'' began. Yet on Hamas's own website at the time Awad expressed his support for the group was a celebration of the murders of civilian Ya'coub Berey; the civilians on the bus to Tel Aviv; the civilians in the crowd in Jaffa; and the civilian at Beit Lahya; as well as the stabbings of the driver of bus No. 405, the Israelis at the bus station in Keryat Youval, and the citrus packers, as well as the victims of cabbie Jameel Ismail al-Baz.
Also, when Awad says that he and CAIR do not support Hamas today, it should be recalled that in March 2004, when Hamas leader Sheikh Yassin was killed by Israel, CAIR condemned his killing '-- without ever mentioning that Yassin was the mastermind and director of suicide killings for Hamas: ''We condemn this violation of international law as an act of state terrorism by Ariel Sharon's out-of-control government. Israel's extra-judicial killing of an Islamic religious leader can only serve to perpetuate the cycle of violence throughout the region. The international community must now take concrete steps to help protect the Palestinian people against such wanton Israeli violence.''
The way they deal with Awad is typical of the dishonesty of the entire Greenwald/Hussain piece. But it will no doubt accomplish its purpose: the ending of surveillance of these and other Muslim leaders, the further weakening of counter-terror operations in general, and the increased endangering of Americans.
Freedom Center pamphlets now available on Kindle:Click here.
Subscribeto Frontpage's TV show, The Glazov Gang, andLIKEit onFacebook.
White House: racial slurs in NSA intelligence material 'unacceptable' | World news | The Guardian
Wed, 09 Jul 2014 23:20
The White House has instructed US security agencies to review their training and policy materials for racial or religious bias after documents leaked by Edward Snowden showed training material for the intelligence agencies referring to "Mohammed Raghead".
After an extensive investigation by the Intercept on Wednesday reported that the NSA and the FBI spied on the emails of five prominent US activists and attorneys with Muslim backgrounds, White House spokeswoman Caitlin Hayden said that the administration took accusations of the slurs "extremely seriously."
"Upon learning of this matter, the White House immediately requested that the director of national intelligence undertake an assessment of intelligence community policies, training standards or directives that promote diversity and tolerance, and as necessary, make any recommendations changes or additional reforms," Hayden said.
It is at least the second time the White House has ordered a review of agency training materials said to include offensive language.
The Intercept cited the "Mohammed Raghead" epithet as a placeholder for a target in a surveillance training document from 2005.
Vanee Vines, a spokeswoman for the NSA, said that she would not comment on "the authenticity of any leaked material," but said the NSA "has not, and would not, approve official training documents that include insulting or inflammatory language. Any use of racial or ethnic stereotypes, slurs, or other similar language by employees is both unacceptable and inconsistent with NSA policy and core values."
Hayden declined to provide additional detail on the scope or duration of the investigation. But it is reminiscent of an earlier incident in which the White House ordered the government's vast counter-terrorism apparatus to find and purge inflammatory training material, particularly that which singled out Muslims for particular scrutiny.
In 2011, this reporter published FBI training material instructing newer counter-terrorism agents that Islam itself was a threat to US national security and compared the prophet Muhammad to a cult leader. Initial FBI pushback gave way to an inquiry, at the instruction of the White House, that removed significant quantities of offensive or imprecise training material.
That instruction came six years after the "Mohammed Raghead" material and stretched far beyond the FBI. Anti-Islam training material, including some urging "Hiroshima" tactics against Islamic nations, was found and removed from professional education courses for US military officers, at the behest of Army General Martin Dempsey, the chairman of the joint chiefs of staff.
The Obama administration has strained to reconcile the vast counter-terrorism bureaucracy with its policy declarations that the US is not at war with Islam and has attempted, with mixed results, to cultivate a less militarized and security-focused relationship with US Muslims, often preferring the term "countering violent extremism" over "counter-terrorism".
In some anti-Islam circles, the removal of the instructional material is infamous and considered evidence of an administration capitulation to Islam '' the exact opposite of the concern raised by the Intercept on Wednesday.
The Intercept report, by former Guardian columnist Glenn Greenwald, Murtaza Hussain and Josh Meyer, suggested a persistent counter-terrorism atmosphere in which the mixture of Muslim heritage or faith and political activism attracted the scrutiny of US security agencies, despite first amendment protections. It presented the cases of five American activists and attorneys of Muslim heritage who appear to have been targeted for surveillance, at least between 2002 and 2008. None have been charged with a crime.
The accusation is one of the gravest the US intelligence agencies have faced in the year since the Guardian and other news outlets began publishing material leaked by Snowden. A central aspect of the intelligence agency's public defense is that it cannot surveil US persons for constitutionally-protected activity and that its court-certified privacy protections are too robust to allow for privacy intrusions of the sort the Intercept reported.
The allegation threatens to sever the tenuous relationship between US law enforcement and surveillance agencies and American Muslim communities, many of whom have long suspected that their government views them as an internal threat and not a population to be protected.
The NSA, the Justice Department and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence sharply pushed back against the accusations that protected speech, unrelated to terrorism or espionage, turned American Muslims into counterterrorism targets.
"It is entirely false that US intelligence agencies conduct electronic surveillance of political, religious or activist figures solely because they disagree with public policies or criticize the government, or for exercising constitutional rights," the Office of the Director of National Intelligence and the Justice Department said in a joint statement.
A report by ABC News citing an anonymous former senior US official speculated that the five activists and attorneys may not have been surveillance targets themselves, but might instead have been caught in a data-collection net aimed elsewhere.
But without commenting on the specifics of the five activists and attorneys cited by the Intercept, the statement suggested judges on a secret surveillance court might have certified the security agencies possessed probable cause that the individuals were agents of a foreign power, raising questions about how the secret judicial determinations work in practice.
"No US person can be the subject of surveillance based solely on first amendment activities, such as staging public rallies, organizing campaigns, writing critical essays, or expressing personal beliefs. On the other hand, a person who the court finds is an agent of a foreign power under this rigorous standard is not exempted just because of his or her occupation," the statement said.
US Muslim leaders and civil rights groups reacted with fury to the Intercept report.
A coalition of 44 civil rights organizations wrote Obama on Wednesday to request a meeting with him, attorney general Eric Holder and FBI director James Comey.
"In short, the government's domestic counterterrorism policies treat entire minority communities as suspect, and American Muslims have borne the brunt of government suspicion, stigma and abuse," reads an open letter issued by a coalition that includes the ACLU, the Presbyterian Church (USA), the Arab-American Institute, and dozens of others.
In a statement, the law firm Muslim Advocates said the spying, apparently conducted between 2002 and 2008, "confirms the worst fears of American Muslims".
"The federal government has targeted Americans, even those who have served their country in the military and government, simply because of their faith or religious heritage," the group said. "The report clearly documents how biased training by the FBI leads to biased surveillance."
Vincent Warren, executive director of the Center for Constitutional Rights, issued a statement comparing the surveillance of Nihad Awad of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, named by the Intercept as one of the five surveillance targets, to the infamous surveillance of the Civil Rights Movement.
"The NSA's surveillance of Nihad Awad and CAIR fits the same pattern as the FBI surveillance of Martin Luther King Jr, Ella Baker, Jesse Jackson, Malcolm X, and other leaders of the civil rights movement. Then it was based on manufactured suspicions of associations with the Communist party. Now it is seemingly based on unproven claims of tangential associations with Hamas," Warren said.
The Justice Department and Office of the Director of National Intelligence rejected the contention.
"Unlike some other nations, the United States does not monitor anyone's communications in order to suppress criticism or to put people at a disadvantage based on their ethnicity, race, gender, sexual orientation or religion," they said.
Nihad Awad: Wiretap evidence from the Holy Land case puts CAIR's executive director at the Philadelphia meeting of Hamas leaders
Thu, 10 Jul 2014 06:46
A controversial Muslim lobby group known for its attempts to shut down criticism by labeling detractors ''Islamophobic'' is opposing a California resolution condemning anti-Semitism on the campuses of public universities in the state.
The California chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, or CAIR, was a signatory to a letter to members of the California state Assembly who passed a nonbinding resolution stating ''no public resources will be allowed to be used for any anti-Semitic or any intolerant agitation.''
CAIR's national office was named by the Justice Department an unindicted co-conspirator in the nation's biggest terrorist-financing scheme.
The letter argues the ''highly ideological'' resolution, HR 35, ''stifles robust political debate on university campuses'' and ''contributes to a climate of intimidation faced by Muslim and Arab students on California campuses.''
Along with CAIR, the letter is signed by American Muslims for Palestine, Asian Law Caucus Center for Constitutional Rights, California Jewish Voice for Peace, National Lawyers Guild-Los Angeles Chapter and Students for Justice in Palestine.
Islam expert Robert Spencer, director of JihadWatch.org, said that while he doesn't support restrictions on freedom of speech, CAIR's hypocrisy is ''striking.''
He pointed out that CAIR has worked for years to get him and others banned from college campuses and has refused to debate or discuss issues with him,
''The idea of their coming down in favor of 'robust political debate' made me grin,'' Spencer said.
Fight back against CAIR's attack on First Amendment by making a contribution to WND's ''Legal Defense Fund.'' Donations of $25 or more entitle you to free copy of ''Muslim Mafia'' '' the book so devastating to CAIR the group is trying to ban it.
Republican Assemblywoman Linda Halderman, who wrote the resolution with Democrat Bonnie Lowenthal, told the San Francisco Chronicle that California schools ''need to recognize that anti-Semitism is still a very real issue on college campuses.''
Halderman cited as an example the annual Israel Apartheid Week held on many campuses in which ''students pretending to be Palestinians collapse as if they had been murdered en masse by Israeli Jews.''
The resolution, passed Aug. 28 on a voice vote, was prompted by a study commissioned by the University of California after Nazi swastikas were found on several campuses.
Pro-Palestinian protests that combine swastikas with the Star of David have become common on many University of California campuses
The UC report, released in July, said that while students have a right to protest against Israel, demonstrations often have crossed the line into discrimination. The report urged UC to ban hate speech on campus and to adopt a definition of anti-Semitism.
The resolution, which has no force of law, also condemns the assertion that Israel is a ''racist'' state and that Jews ''wield excessive power over American foreign policy.''
Former federal prosecutor Andrew C. McCarthy, writing for National Review Online, called CAIR's opposition to the resolution a ''farce,'' contending the group ''has no real interest in hate speech per se.''
He noted that CAIR, which was formed by Muslim Brotherhood leaders, often collaborates with advocates of ''social justice'' on the left against what it calls ''Islamophobia.''
McCarthy, who led the prosecution of ''Blind Sheik'' Omar Abdel Rahman and 11 others on the 1993 World Trade Center bombing, pointed out the term ''Islamophobia'' was strategically created by the Muslim Brotherhood to slur as ''hate speech'' any criticism of Islamic supremacism.
''That includes the ideology's undeniable roots in Muslim scripture; its vow to destroy the West from within; and its promotion of terrorism against legitimate sovereign authority, spun as 'resistance' against 'occupation,''' McCarthy said.
CAIR's mode of operation, McCarthy said, along with other proponents of the global establishment of Islamic law, or Shariah, is protecting ''any cause that increases Islamic influence and protesting any effort either to reduce Islamic influence or to subject Islamic-supremacist doctrine to scrutiny.''
''Consequently, CAIR's precious fretting over hate speech extends only so far as Islam is advanced or imperiled,'' he said.
CAIR has sued a co-author, David Gaubatz, of a WND Books expose that presents evidence for the Islamic group's link to radical jihad. ''Muslim Mafia: Inside the Secret Underworld That's Conspiring to Islamize America,'' co-authored with Paul Sperry, recounts CAIR's origin as a front group for the Palestinian terrorist group Hamas and the Muslim Brotherhood, the worldwide movement that has stated its intent to transform the U.S. into a Saudi-style Islamic state.
FBI wiretap evidence from the 2007 Holy Land Foundation case showed CAIR Executive Director Nihad Awad was at an October 1993 meeting of Hamas leaders and activists in Philadelphia. CAIR was born out of a need to give a ''media twinkle'' to the Muslim leaders' agenda of supporting violent jihad abroad while slowly institutionalizing Islamic law at home.
Rogues gallery of terror-tied CAIR leaders
As former FBI agent Mike Rolf acknowledges in ''Muslim Mafia,'' ''CAIR has had a number of people in positions of power within the organization that have been directly connected to terrorism and have either been prosecuted or thrown out of the country.'' According to another FBI veteran familiar with recent and ongoing cases involving CAIR officials, ''Their offices have been a turnstile for terrorists and their supporters.''
A review of the public record, including federal criminal court documents, past IRS 990 tax records and Federal Election Commission records detailing donor occupations, reveals that CAIR has been associated with a disturbing number of convicted terrorists or felons in terrorism probes, as well as suspected terrorists and active targets of terrorism investigations. The list is long and includes:
Ghassan Elashi: One of CAIR's founding directors, he was convicted in 2004 of illegally shipping high-tech goods to terror state Syria and is serving 80 months in prison. He was also convicted of providing material support to Hamas in the Holy Land Foundation terror-financing trial. He was chairman of the charity, which provided seed capital to CAIR. Elashi is related to Hamas leader Mousa Abu Marzook.Muthanna al-Hanooti: The CAIR director's home was raided in 2006 by FBI agents in connection with an active terrorism investigation. Agents also searched the offices of his advocacy group, Focus on Advocacy and Advancement of International Relations, which al-Hanooti operates out of Dearborn, Mich., and Washington, D.C.Al-Hanooti, who emigrated to the U.S. from Iraq, formerly helped run a suspected Hamas terror front called LIFE for Relief and Development. Its Michigan offices also were raided in September 2006. In 2004, LIFE's Baghdad office was raided by U.S. troops, who seized files and computers. Al-Hanooti is related to Sheik Mohammed al-Hanooti, an unindicted co-conspirator in the 1993 World Trade Center bombing.''Al-Hanooti collected over $6 million for support of Hamas,'' according to a 2001 FBI report, and was present with CAIR and Holy Land officials at a secret Hamas fundraising summit held in 1993 at a Philadelphia hotel. Prosecutors added his name to the list of unindicted co-conspirators in the Holy Land case.
Although Al-Hanooti denies supporting Hamas, he has praised Palestinian suicide bombers as ''martyrs'' who are ''alive in the eyes of Allah.''
Abdurahman Alamoudi: Another CAIR director, he is serving 23 years in federal prison for plotting terrorism. Alamoudi, who was caught on tape complaining that bin Laden hadn't killed enough Americans in the U.S. embassy bombings in Africa, was one of al-Qaida's top fundraisers in America, according to the U.S. Treasury Department.Siraj Wahhaj: A member of CAIR's board of advisers, Wahhaj was named as an unindicted co-conspirator in the 1993 World Trade Center bombing. The radical Brooklyn imam was close to convicted terrorist Sheik Omar Abdel Rahman and defended him during his trial.''Muslim Mafia,'' citing co-author's Sperry's previous book ''Infiltration'' as well as terror expert Steven Emerson's research, reports that Wahhaj, a black convert to Islam, is converting gang members to Islam and holding ''jihad camps'' for them. With a combination of Islam and Uzis, he has said, the street thugs will be a powerful force for Islam the day America ''will crumble.''
Wahhaj was a key speaker at CAIR's 15th annual fund-raising banquet in Arlington, Va., in 2009.
Randall ''Ismail'' Royer: The former CAIR communications specialist and civil-rights coordinator is serving 20 years in prison in connection with the Virginia Jihad Network, which he led while employed by CAIR at its Washington headquarters. The group trained to kill U.S. soldiers overseas, cased the FBI headquarters and cheered the space shuttle Columbia tragedy. Al-Qaida operative Ahmed Abu Ali, convicted of plotting to assassinate President George W. Bush, was among those who trained with Royer's Northern Virginia cell.Bassam Khafagi: Another CAIR official, Khafagi was arrested in 2003 while serving as CAIR's director of community affairs. He pleaded guilty to charges of bank and visa fraud stemming from a federal counter-terror probe of his leadership role in the Islamic Assembly of North America, which has supported al-Qaida and advocated suicide attacks on America. He was sentenced to 10 months in prison and deported to his native Egypt.Laura Jaghlit: A civil-rights coordinator for CAIR, her Washington-area home was raided by federal agents after 9/11 as part of an investigation into terrorist financing, money laundering and tax fraud. Her husband Mohammed Jaghlit, a key leader in the Saudi-backed SAAR network, is a target of the still-active probe.Jaghlit sent two letters accompanying donations '' one for $10,000, the other for $5,000 '' from the SAAR Foundation to Sami al-Arian, now a convicted terrorist. In each letter, according to a federal affidavit, ''Jaghlit instructed al-Arian not to disclose the contribution publicly or to the media.''Investigators suspect the funds were intended for Palestinian terrorists via a U.S. front called WISE, which at the time employed an official who personally delivered a satellite phone battery to Osama bin Laden. The same official also worked for Jaghlit's group.In addition, Jaghlit donated a total of $37,200 to the Holy Land Foundation, which prosecutors say is a Hamas front. Jaghlit subsequently was named an unindicted co-conspirator in the case.Nihad Awad: Wiretap evidence from the Holy Land case puts CAIR's executive director at the Philadelphia meeting of Hamas leaders and activists in 1993 that was secretly recorded by the FBI. Participants hatched a plot to disguise payments to Hamas terrorists as charitable giving.During the meeting, according to FBI transcripts, Awad was recorded discussing the propaganda effort. He mentions Ghassan Dahduli, whom he worked with at the time at the Islamic Association for Palestine, another Hamas front. Both were IAP officers. Dahduli's name also was listed in the address book of bin Laden's personal secretary, Wadi al-Hage, who is serving a life sentence in prison for his role in the U.S. embassy bombings. Dahduli, an ethnic-Palestinian like Awad, was deported to Jordan after 9/11 for refusing to cooperate in the terror investigation. (An April 28, 2009, letter from FBI assistant director Richard C. Powers to Sen. Jon Kyl, R-Ariz. '' which singles out CAIR chief Awad for suspicion '' explains how the group's many Hamas connections caused the FBI to sever ties with CAIR.)Awad's and Dahduli's phone numbers are listed in a Muslim Brotherhood document seized by federal investigators revealing ''important phone numbers'' for the ''Palestine Section'' of the Brotherhood in America. The court exhibit showed Hamas fugitive Mousa Abu Marzook listed on the same page with Awad.Omar Ahmad: U.S. prosecutors also named CAIR's founder and chairman emeritus as an unindicted co-conspirator in the Holy Land case. Ahmad, too, was placed at the Philadelphia meeting, FBI special agent Lara Burns testified at the trial. Prosecutors also designated him as a member of the Muslim Brotherhood's ''Palestine Committee'' in America. Ahmad, like his CAIR partner Awad, is ethnic-Palestinian.(Though both Ahmad and Awad were senior leaders of IAP, the Hamas front, neither of their biographical sketches posted on CAIR's website mentions their IAP past.)Nabil Sadoun: A CAIR board member, Sadoun has served on the board of the United Association for Studies and Research, which investigators believe to be a key Hamas front in America. In fact, Sadoun co-founded UASR with Hamas leader Marzook. The Justice Department added UASR to the list of unindicted co-conspirators in the Holy Land case. UPDATE: In 2010, Sadoun was ordered deported to his native Jordan. An immigration judge referenced Sadoun's relationship with Hamas and the Holy Land Foundation during a deportation hearing.Mohamed Nimer: CAIR's research director also served as a board director for UASR, the strategic arm for Hamas in the U.S. CAIR neglects to mention Nimer's and Sadoun's roles in UASR in their bios.Rafeeq Jaber: A founding director of CAIR, Jaber was the long-time president of the Islamic Association for Palestine. In 2002, a federal judge found that ''the Islamic Association for Palestine has acted in support of Hamas.'' In his capacity as IAP chief, Jaber praised Hezbollah attacks on Israel. He also served on the board of a radical mosque in the Chicago area.Rabith Hadid: The CAIR fundraiser was a founder of the Global Relief Foundation, which after 9/11 was blacklisted by the Treasury Department for financing al-Qaida and other terror groups. Its assets were frozen in December 2001. Hadid was arrested on terror-related charges and deported to Lebanon in 2003.Hamza Yusuf: The FBI investigated the CAIR board member after 9/11, because just two days before the attacks, he made an ominous prediction to a Muslim audience.''This country is facing a terrible fate, and the reason for that is because this country stands condemned,'' Yusuf warned. ''It stands condemned like Europe stood condemned because of what it did. And lest people forget, Europe suffered two world wars after conquering the Muslim lands.''CAIR's founder Ahmad, while claiming to be a moderate and patriotic American, reportedly told a group of Muslims in Northern California in 1998 that they are in America not to assimilate, but to help assert Islam's rule over the country.
''Islam isn't in America to be equal to any other faith, but to become dominant,'' a local reporter paraphrased him as saying. ''The Quran, the Muslim book of scripture, should be the highest authority in America, and Islam the only accepted religion on Earth.''
Ahmad insists he was misquoted. However, the reporter stands by her story, and an FBI wiretap transcript quotes Ahmad agreeing with terrorist suspects gathered at the secret Philadelphia meeting to ''camouflage'' their true intentions.
He compared it to the head fake in basketball.
''This is like one who plays basketball: He makes a player believe that he is doing this, while he does something else,'' Ahmad said. ''I agree with you. Like they say, politics is a completion of war.''
Hooper, CAIR's communications director, also has expressed a desire to overturn the U.S. system of government in favor of an Islamic state.
''I wouldn't want to create the impression that I wouldn't like the government of the United States to be Islamic sometime in the future,'' Hooper said in a 1993 interview with the Minneapolis Star Tribune. ''But I'm not going to do anything violent to promote that. I'm going to do it through education.''
IMPORTANT NOTE: The CAIR legal attack on WND's author is far from over. WND needs your help in supporting the defense of ''Muslim Mafia'' co-author P. David Gaubatz, as well as his investigator son Chris, against CAIR's lawsuit. The book's revelations have led to formal congressional demands for three different federal investigations of CAIR. In the meantime, however, someone has to defend these two courageous investigators who have, at great personal risk, revealed so much about this dangerous group. Although WND has procured the best First Amendment attorneys in the country for their defense, we can't do it without your help. Please donate to WND's Legal Defense Fund now.
Bill designates Muslim Brotherhood as terrorist group
Thu, 10 Jul 2014 06:44
Never one to be shy about confronting the threat of Islamic jihad in the face of fierce political opposition, Rep. Michele Bachmann, R-Minn., plans to introduce a bill to designate the Muslim Brotherhood as a terrorist organization.
Bachmann pointed out that Egypt, where the Muslim Brotherhood was founded in 1928, has designated the movement as a Foreign Terrorist Organization, and she urged the U.S. to do the same.
''The U.S. needs to defund, sanction, do everything we can to delegitimize the Muslim Brotherhood,'' she said.
Reps. Louie Gohmert, R-Texas, Michele Bachmann, R-Minn., and Steve King, R-Iowa
The Brotherhood, which rose to power in Egypt in the ''Arab Spring'' revolution of 2011, was formed after the demise of the Ottoman Turkish empire with the intent of restoring the Islamic caliphate and advancing Islamic rule worldwide. Its stated goal for the U.S. is ''a kind of grand jihad'' aimed at ''eliminating and destroying the Western civilization from within'' so that ''Allah's religion is made victorious over all other religions.''
In a State Department briefing in February, deputy spokeswoman Mari Harf affirmed the Obama administration's stance toward the Muslim Brotherhood after the ouster of the Morsi government.
''The United States does not '' has not designated the Muslim Brotherhood as a terrorist organization,'' she affirmed. ''We have been very clear in Egypt that we will work with all sides and all parties to help move an inclusive process forward. We've also repeatedly, both publicly and privately, called on the interim government to move forward in an inclusive manner.''
Islam and counter-terrorism analyst Walid Shoebat believes that even if Bachmann's bill were to pass the House, it would never be brought to the Senate floor with Sen. Harry Reid, D-Nev., as majority leader.
That fact, Shoebat said, shows how far the U.S. is from actually confronting its enemies.
He said Muslim Brotherhood front groups in the U.S. should be stripped of their tax-exempt status. Among them, he said, are the Council on American-Islamic Relations, the Islamic Society of North America, the Muslim Public Affairs Council, the Muslim American Society and the Muslim Student Association.
Fight back against CAIR's attack on First Amendment by making a contribution to WND's ''Legal Defense Fund.'' Donations of $25 or more entitle you to free copy of ''Muslim Mafia'' '' the book so devastating to CAIR the group is trying to ban it.
Bachmann was one of five Republican Congress members who stirred bipartisan controversy in 2012 by raising concern about Muslim Brotherhood infiltration in the nation's capital. Along with Republican Reps. Louie Gohmert, Trent Franks, Thomas Rooney and Lyn Westmoreland, she signed five letters to five separate inspectors general.
She and her colleagues pointed to Hillary Clinton's top aide, Huma Abedin, as a possible Muslim Brotherhood influence on U.S. policy. The lawmakers asked the inspector generals at the departments of Homeland Security, Justice and State to investigate, prompting Democrats and Republicans to rush to Abedin's defense.
However, as WND reported, Abedin worked for an organization founded by her family that is effectively at the forefront of a grand Saudi plan to mobilize U.S. Muslim minorities to transform America into a strict Wahhabi-style Islamic state, according to an Arabic-language manifesto issued by the Saudi monarchy. Abedin also was a member of the executive board of the Muslim Student Association, which was identified as a Muslim Brotherhood front group in a 1991 document introduced into evidence during the terror-financing trial of the Texas-based Holy Land Foundation trial.
Human Abedin and Hillary Clinton
'Shame on you, Michele!'
Republican lawmakers who rebuked Bachmann and her colleagues in 2012 were Sens. John McCain, Scott Brown and Marco Rubio, and Reps. John Boehner, James Sensenbrenner, Mike Simpson, Richard Hanna and Mike Rogers.
Former Bachmann campaign chief Ed Rollins wrote a scathing letter to her.
''As a member of Congress, with a seat on the House Intelligence Committee, Mrs. Bachmann you know better,'' Rollins said. ''Shame on you, Michele! You should stand on the floor of the House and apologize to Huma Abedin and to Secretary Clinton and to the millions of hard working, loyal, Muslim Americans for your wild and unsubstantiated charges.''
Rollins said that as ''a devoted Christian, you need to ask forgiveness for this grievous lack of judgment and reckless behavior.''
Shoebat commented, however, evidence that has since arisen backs Bachmann's claims.
''Since Rollins penned those irresponsible words, Bachmann's five letters have aged like a fine wine of accuracy and foresight,'' he said. ''Muslim Brotherhood infiltration has become far more obvious. Yet, people like Rollins, McCain, Rogers, Boehner, et al., remain silent on the matter.''
An Egyptian magazine reported last year that six American Muslim leaders who work with the Obama administration are Muslim Brotherhood operatives who have significant influence on U.S. policy.
Egypt's Rose El-Youssef magazine, in a Dec. 22 story, said the six men turned the White House ''from a position hostile to Islamic groups and organizations in the world to the largest and most important supporter of the Muslim Brotherhood.''
President Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton tour the Sultan Hassan Mosque in Cairo, Egypt, in 2009.
As WND reported, Gohmert has pressed for an investigation of the Muslim Brotherhood's influence on the federal government, contending a probe is necessary because of the Obama administration's ''horrendous decisions'' in backing the ''Arab Spring'' revolutions in the Middle East.
Last year, CAIR urged the Obama administration to restore the Muslim Brotherhood-backed regime in Egypt that was ousted in a popular revolt.
CAIR wanted Obama to ''use the leverage of taxpayer funds being sent to that nation's military to push for a return to democracy,'' which would mean putting President Mohamed Morsi back in office.
Under its 12 months of dictatorial rule, Morsi's Muslim Brotherhood government pushed through an Islamic-law constitution, defied the courts and consolidated power to ward off opposition, prompting another revolution after the one that brought down Hosni Mubarak in 2011.
CAIR touts itself as a Muslim civil rights group, but federal prosecutors in 2007 named CAIR an unindicted co-conspirator in a plot to fund Hamas, and more than a dozen CAIR leaders have been charged or convicted of terrorism-related crimes.
FBI wiretap evidence from the Holy Land case showed CAIR Executive Director Nihad Awad was at an October 1993 meeting of Hamas leaders and activists in Philadelphia. CAIR, according to the evidence, was born out of a need to give a ''media twinkle'' to the Muslim leaders' agenda of supporting violent jihad abroad while slowly institutionalizing Islamic law in the U.S.
As WND reported in 2010, a federal judge later determined that the Justice Department provided ''ample evidence'' to designate CAIR as an unindicted terrorist co-conspirator, affirming the Muslim group has been involved in ''a conspiracy to support Hamas.''
The David Horowitz Freedom Center's Terror Awareness Project pointed to documents seized by the FBI confirming the goal of the Muslim Brotherhood has always been the establishment of a world global Islamic state.
Formed by a ''Hitler-admiring Muslim named Hasan al-Bannain in Egypt in 1928,'' the Muslim Brotherhood was ''designed to function as the spear point of the Islamo-fascist movement and its crusade against the West, spawning terrorist groups such as al-Qaida and Hamas.
WND has reported that in criminalizing the Muslim Brotherhood and prosecuting key Muslim Brotherhood leaders, Egypt's military government has sought to embarrass the Obama administration for the support it gave Morsi.
WND also reported evidence that Egyptian terrorists with ties to the Morsi government and the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt were perpetrators in the terrorist Sept. 11, 2012, attack on the U.S. special mission in Benghazi, Libya, that killed the U.S. ambassador and their other Americans.
American Muslim Council - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Thu, 10 Jul 2014 00:04
The American Muslim Council (AMC) is an Islamic organization and registered charity in the United States. Its headquarters is located in Chicago, Illinois.[citation needed]
An earlier organization with the same name was founded in 1990 by Abdul Rahman al-Amoudi with the support of the Muslim Brotherhood.[1] (Al-Amoudi is also the former leader of the Islamic Society of Boston.)[citation needed]
The AMC later reorganized itself under a new name and moved its national headquarters from Washington, D.C. to Chicago. The organization currently using the name "The American Muslim Council" is different from the AMC founded by al-Amoudi; it is much more moderate.[1]
AMC took part in the defense of South Florida Professor and Palestinian Islamic Jihad leader Sami Al-Arian and questioned the US government's allegation that the professor took part in terrorist activities.[2] AMC produced a pamphlet in which it said that "the FBI has a history of harassing and harming minority and immigrant communities".[3] On March 2, 2006, Al-Arian entered a guilty plea to a charge of conspiracy to help the Palestinian Islamic Jihad, a "specially designated terrorist" organization.[4] Al-Arian was sentenced to 57 months in prison, and ordered deported following his prison term.[5]
AMC is also a member of the American Muslim Political Coordination Council (AMPCC), along with the American Muslim Alliance (AMA), Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), and Muslim Public Affairs Council (MPAC). AMPCC's primary concern is to coordinate the member organizations on activism and lobbying.[6]
References[edit]^ abJohn Mintz; Douglas Farah (September 11, 2004). "In Search Of Friends Among The Foes U.S. Hopes to Work With Diverse Group". The Washington Post. p. A01. Retrieved February 13, 2007. ^Gaffney, Frank (June 28, 2002). "The Truth About The AMC". Fox News. Retrieved May 19, 2009. ^Levin, Jon (May 7, 2003). "Sami's Still Their Man". National Review. Retrieved May 19, 2009. ^"Plea Agreement; U.S. v. Al-Arian". February 28, 2006. Retrieved March 8, 2010. ^MegLaughlin, In his plea deal, what did Sami Al-Arian admit to?, St. Petersburg Times, April 23, 2006.^Arab-American faces and voices: the origins of an immigrant community, p. 261, Elizabeth Boosahda,University of Texas Press, 2003, ISBN 0-292-70920-X, 9780292709201, accessed November 30, 2009External links[edit]
Senators Inquire on Homeland Appointee | Fox News
Thu, 10 Jul 2014 00:02
WASHINGTON '' Two senators chairing committees with direct oversight of intelligence and terrorist-related issues have asked the chief internal watchdog at the Department of Homeland Security (search) to investigate the appointment of a top director at the agency and his brief suspension from it.
Faisal Gill (search) was forced to take a few days off in March after sources close to the FBI raised flags about Gill's former position as spokesman for the now-defunct American Muslim Council (search). He was then reinstated, and Republican Sens. Charles Grassley (search) of Iowa and Jon Kyl (search) of Arizona want to know why. They also are questioning why Gill is at DHS in the first place.
Sources described Gill's position at Homeland Security as director of policy for intelligence but a DHS spokesman called FOXNews.com to say his official title is special assistant to the undersecretary for the Information Analysis and Infrastructure Protection directorate.
Grassley and Kyl sent a letter dated Monday to Clark Kent Ervin, DHS inspector general, requesting answers to a number of questions regarding Gill, who served in 2001 as the spokesman for the AMC, whose founder just pleaded guilty to federal indictments related to illegal foreign financing and immigration fraud, and admitted to a role in a Libyan assassination plot.
Click here to read the letter written by Sens. Grassley and Kyl (pdf).
Aside from questioning whether this connection raised concerns among officials before Gill was hired, the letter draws attention to reports that Gill had omitted his affiliation with the AMC when he filed his employment application and requisite security clearances at the agency.
"Questions have been raised about Mr. Gill's previous associations with groups and individuals who are known or suspected to be involved with terrorism financing," the letter reads.
"Mr. Gill is reportedly director of intelligence policy in the Department's Information Analysis and Infrastructure Protection (IAIP) directorate," the senators wrote. "A person in such a position would likely have access to highly sensitive information about vulnerabilities in the nation's critical infrastructure."
The senators then ask: "What is the department's policy for employees who omit information, especially information considered important or material, from their security clearance background forms?
"What are the Department's general policies and procedures for considering employment of a person with previous links or associations to individuals or groups who are investigated or prosecuted for suspected crimes, especially terrorism matters or, who provides services to such individuals or groups?"
Grassley, who is the chair of the Finance Committee, which is investigating terrorist funding streams, refused further comment on the letter Tuesday.
Kyl, who chairs the Terrorism, Technology and Homeland Security Subcommittee of the Senate Judiciary Committee, was also unavailable for comment.
Gill has repeatedly refused calls and e-mails for comment.
A senior Homeland Security spokesman told FOXNews.com on Thursday that Gill was "thoroughly vetted at several levels. Mr. Gill did not withhold information on government forms required to initiate government security clearance processing and has been cooperative throughout the process."
The spokesman would neither confirm nor deny that Gill was suspended pending a more thorough background check. But the spokesman said department officials "went to great lengths to investigate his background and ensure there were no potential conflicts or inappropriate activities in relation to Mr. Gill."
To read the full Homeland Security statement, click here.
Sources told FOXNews.com in July that Gill's defenders in and outside of the agency claim that he listed on his applications AG Consulting Group, a firm that farmed out Gill to work with AMC and other groups. Shortly afterward, Gill's name began appearing on the group's press releases.
The senators point out in their letter that the principal lobbyist and operator of AG Consulting, Asim Ghafoor, has in the past worked with groups like the Global Relief Foundation (search), whose assets were frozen by the U.S. government in December 2001 because of terrorist-related concerns.
Meanwhile, AMC's founder, Abdurahaman Alamoudi, pleaded guilty in a U.S. federal court in July to charges ranging from illegally receiving cash from Libyan sources to tax evasion and passport fraud. He also admitted to being part of a Libyan plot to kill Crown Prince Abdullah of Saudi Arabia.
Court documents call Alamoudi an active supporter of Hamas, which the U.S. State Department has deemed a terrorist organization.
The senators' letter asks the watchdog office not only to answer a series of questions about Gill, but also to report back with the "practices, policies and procedures for handling internal security matters with its employees."
Reports about Gill have invigorated a smoldering debate among Republicans, some who say the administration has been too accepting of certain representatives of Muslim groups with dubious ties to terror funding and anti-American sympathies. Others say going after Muslims like Gill is akin to a political witch hunt.
According to a former federal counterterrorism official who asked not to be named, Gill had a brief non-defense/intelligence-related background with the federal government after graduating from law school and joining the Naval Reserves in 1997.
Press releases available on the Internet also show Gill quoted as a vice chairman of the Prince William County Republican Committee in Northern Virginia, a post he apparently no longer holds, as well as treasurer of the Prince William Taxpayers' Alliance in 2003.
Gill, 32, also worked with the Islamic Free Market Institute, which was co-founded by prominent Republican activist and lobbyist Grover Norquist and Khaled Saffuri, who also worked as AMC's government affairs director.
A lot of these groups work together for a common cause, like promoting Muslim-American understanding, or civil liberties for immigrants, say defenders, who complain that they are disparaged because a few within their ranks have been corrupted. They say people like Gill are the victims of guilt by association.
"I don't think working for an organization like the AMC in of itself is a bad thing," said Kit Gage, president of the National Coalition to Protect Political Freedom (search), whose founder, Sami Al-Arian is awaiting trial on charges he was a prime fundraiser for the Palestinian Islamic Jihad, an accusation he vehemently denies. Gage said the group has distanced itself from Al-Arian.
"There are always going to be people who are racist, who are anti-Muslim and feel threatened by groups like ours who do coalition work, because we stand up for groups that have taken on unpopular positions," she added.
Nevertheless, Grassley and Kyl want to know what Department of Homeland Security officials knew about Gill's background before they hired him and whether they were working with experts within the government who had knowledge of the intricate web of Muslim charity groups and terrorist financers before they brought Gill on board. Also, they want to know what qualifications Gill has for the job.
"Moreover," their letter states, "it is crucial that DHS have full and accurate information about the background of its employees so that it can judge whether their work for the department does not present any threats to security."
Why Bachmann's witch hunt matters - Salon.com
Wed, 09 Jul 2014 23:57
There's an understandable tendency to want to ignore Rep. Michele Bachmann's anti-Muslim witch hunt as just Bachmann being Bachmann '-- another loony grab for attention that is best dismissed and not taken seriously. But unlike her myriad other tales, this one has real consequences for the lives and careers of real people. Faisal Gill knows this firsthand. A former JAG officer in the Navy and a Bush White House official, Gill watched helplessly as his name was dragged through the mud and his career nearly destroyed in 2004 over phony insinuations of terrorist connections.
After leaving the military, Gill got involved in politics, serving as a spokesman for a Republican candidate for lieutenant governor in Virginia and two Muslim organizations, including the American Muslim Council. He was a prominent public face of American Muslims after Sept. 11. By 2004, he had joined the Bush administration and worked his way up from the Office of Personnel Management, to the White House, to the brand new Department of Homeland Security, where he was working as a senior advisor to the undersecretary for intelligence. ''That's where my issue started,'' he told Salon.
First, DHS questioned him on a former American Muslim Council official who had plead guilty to money laundering. He was quickly cleared. ''The whole thing took about a week; then I was back to work. No problems,'' he said.
His real problem, it turned out, was not anti-terror officials but the vigilantes. Building on a report (from former Salon writer Mary Jacoby) that Gill had ''failed to disclose'' his work for the American Muslim Council on security clearance forms, the man behind Bachmann's witch hunt got involved. ''Frank Gaffney took the ball and ran with it,'' Gill said. Gaffney is a former Reagan defense official who has made a career out of accusing anyone and everyone, including leading conservatives, of being terrorist agents. His organization was the primary source of Bachmann's accusations, cited prominently in the second paragraph of each of her letters to various national security agencies demanding investigations into alleged Muslim Brotherhood infiltration.
From Gaffney's agitating and writing on the case came a right-wingmedia storm, Fox News coverage and then, most damagingly, letters from leading Republican Sens. Jon Kyl and Charles Grassley to DHS calling for an investigation into Gill. Kyl was co-chairman of the board of Gaffney's organization at the time.
In reality, Gill had disclosed his work for the American Muslim Council on ethics forms but did not list it on security clearance forms because he was not supposed to. The form asked about employment '-- he was employed by a communications firm, not the American Muslim Council directly. For the same reason, he did not mention his work for the Virginia lieutenant governor candidate or the other Muslim organization. ''I'm a lawyer. The form asked you if you're employed. I know the meaning of 'employed.' I did not lie,'' he said. ''The ironic thing is that if I had put down that I had been employed [by the American Muslim Council] that would have been lie!''
The government cleared him entirely, saying in a statement in August: ''DHS is confident that our security clearance process is effective. Mr. Gill was thoroughly vetted at several levels. Mr. Gill did not withhold information on government forms required to initiate government security clearance processing and has been cooperative throughout the process '... Following a thorough investigation, we found that Mr. Gill exceeded all requirements.''
It didn't matter. Gaffney and his allies' campaign continued, and the damage was already done. Gill left DHS a few months later despite objections from Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge and the White House, both of whom were ''very, very supportive,'' Gill said.
But the charges followed him. He had been planning to leave the government anyway in order enter the private sector, where he could be more involved in Republican politics, but he soon found it was ''impossible'' to find work. He said he had gone through three or four interviews with a big law firm in DC that looked set to hire him but then abruptly backtracked when the allegations came out, explaining to him explicitly that it would be a PR problem for them to bring him on board.
''I'm unemployable by any big firms or anything like that,'' he said, though he slowly built up his own client list from friends and others. He now works for another law firm, a military contractor, and said the security clearance affair was a ''serious issue'' when he was being brought on board. ''Whenever I go try to do something else, this is the first thing that is asked,'' he said. ''Everybody Googles nowadays, and this is what happens when you Google me.''
In 2007, Gill ran for the Virginia House of Delegates as a Republican. When he won the nomination, other Republicans refused to support him, contested his nomination at the convention, and accused his son of rigging the election. His son was 16 years old at the time. ''It was a horrible experience,'' Gill said. That, despite the support of Ken Cuccinelli, who is now the state's very conservative attorney general, and others.
When Gill lost the Republican-leaning seat in November by a few hundred votes, the Potomac News admonished the party in an editorial: ''The fact that Gill is of Pakistani descent and a Muslim, plus his history working with Muslim groups and the mischaracterization of his relationship to one of those groups, led to his being beaten by a Democrat. If anybody else with the same political views and beliefs as Gill had run in his place, the Republicans would have kept the seat.''
To this day, people still ask Gill about the ''affair,'' as Gaffney called it. Even his kids get questions about it on occasion, so Gill went to his son's high school government class to explain it.
And Gill is hardly alone. There are several other Muslim former government officials who have been driven out or felt compelled to resign thanks to campaigns from Gaffney and others, and there are countless more Muslims still in government praying they're not next. Most choose not to speak out to avoid reliving painful memories and for fear of reopening old wounds. ''The only defense that I have now is to fully talk about it. You know, let them know that I'm not afraid of this. I don't want Gaffney to win thinking that he's got one over on me. I didn't do anything wrong, so I'm not going to be ashamed of it,'' he said.
After the bad election experience, his son asked him, ''Dad, why do you want to be a member of a party that hates you?'' ''That hit home to me,'' Gill said. He's now a Democrat.
How secure is the Department of Homeland Security? - Salon.com
Wed, 09 Jul 2014 23:57
The policy director for the Department of Homeland Security's intelligence division was briefly removed from his job in March when the Federal Bureau of Investigation discovered he had failed to disclose his association with Abdurahman Alamoudi, a jailed American Muslim leader. Alamoudi was indicted last year on terrorism-related money-laundering charges and now claims to have been part of a plot to assassinate Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Abdullah.
After a flurry of interagency meetings, however, Homeland Security decided to leave the policy director, Faisal Gill, in place, according to two government officials with knowledge of the Alamoudi investigation. A White House political appointee with close ties to Republican power broker Grover Norquist and no apparent background in intelligence, Gill has access to top-secret information on the vulnerability of America's seaports, aviation facilities and nuclear power plants to terrorist attacks.
The FBI raised concerns with Homeland Security officials in March after discovering that Gill had failed to list on security clearance documents his work in 2001 with the American Muslim Council, the officials said. The advocacy group, which was controlled by Alamoudi, has been under scrutiny in an investigation of terrorism financing. The lead agent in that investigation works for an arm of Homeland Security. Gill's omission of the information on his ''Standard Form 86'" national security questionnaire is a potential felony violation. There is no evidence, however, that Gill has taken any action to compromise national security.
A Department of Homeland Security spokeswoman would not comment on Gill or when he was hired, except to say that a ''thorough investigation'' by the department's Office of Security found no basis to deny the 32-year-old lawyer a security clearance. Among Gill's political patrons is Grover Norquist, head of Americans for Tax Reform and a key ally of the White House. Gill listed Norquist as a reference on employment documents, the government officials said. Gill also worked in 2001 for a Muslim political outreach organization that Norquist co-founded with a former top aide to Alamoudi. Norquist did not respond to phone calls, a fax and an e-mail seeking comment.
The Homeland Security spokeswoman, Michelle Petrovich, declined to say what qualifications or background Gill has for his senior position in the department's Information Analysis and Infrastructure Protection division. Citing privacy concerns, Petrovich also declined to make public any of the documents Gill submitted for government employment, including his Standard Form 86, the questionnaire Gill had to fill out to receive a security clearance. ''It's standard procedure across the government not to release personal background information on employees. I did check on that,'' Petrovich told me.
In response, I read to her the Privacy Act statement that is printed on the front of the form, which can be downloaded from government Web sites. It says: ''We may share this information '... with the news media and the general public when the disclosure would be in the public interest.''
Petrovich said: ''OK, but I also have to tell you that that is trumped by Freedom of the Information Act. There's a special exception. That's a federal law.''
''What is trumped?
''The Freedom of Information Act.''
''Trumps what?''
''Well, I can't see what you're reading from, so I just really don't know.''
Through Petrovich, Gill sent word that he would speak with me ''on background,'' meaning I could not identify him by name unless he was allowed to approve his quotes before publication. I did not agree to the conditions, and Gill declined to answer questions otherwise. The people with knowledge of the matter have been granted anonymity because they risk being fired if they are identified.
Mark Zaid, a lawyer in private practice in Washington who specializes in security clearance cases, said it would be unusual for an agency to overlook omissions on a security clearance application. ''Most agencies get really upset and suspicious and act antagonistically toward applicants if they find they withheld information,'' he said, adding that a minor violation might be forgiven. But he said if the issue concerned failing to list employment at ''a terrorist organization or one that's being investigated, all sorts of red flags would go up.''
Gill's placement in the sensitive intelligence job has alarmed government officials because it fits the operating theory of prosecutors and investigators that Alamoudi was part of a long-term scheme by Islamic extremists to place friendly, if perhaps unwitting, associates in key U.S. government positions.
A document seized in a 1995 raid of a close Alamoudi friend and political ally, former University of South Florida professor Sami Al-Arian, outlined a plan to ''infiltrate the sensitive intelligence agencies or the embassies in order to collect information and build close relationships with the people in charge of these establishments.'' The unsigned document, which authorities believe was authored by Al-Arian in part because it was found among his papers, added: ''We are in the center which leads the conspiracy against our Islamic world '... Our presence in North America gives us a unique opportunity to monitor, explore and follow up.'' It instructed members of the ''center,'' thought to refer to an Islamic think tank that Al-Arian founded, to ''collect information from those relatives and friends who work in sensitive positions in government.''
Al-Arian is in a Florida prison awaiting trial next year on charges he was the North American leader of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad, a group that has targeted Israel with suicide bombings. He denies all the charges. But investigators believe Al-Arian and Alamoudi were part of a broader political Islamic movement in the United States that connects sympathizers of Hamas, Islamic Jihad and al-Qaida.
This movement, the Muslim Brotherhood, is the umbrella under which terror groups have forged ''a significant degree of cooperation and coordination within our borders,'' former White House counterterrorism chief Richard Clarke told the Senate Banking Committee last year. ''The common link here is the extremist Muslim Brotherhood '-- all of these organizations are descendants of the membership and ideology of the Muslim Brothers.'' Alamoudi, for example, has spoken openly of his admiration for the anti-Israeli Hamas, which evolved from a branch of the Muslim Brotherhood. Al-Arian's circle of associates, meanwhile, overlaps with members of the Brooklyn, N.Y., precursor to al-Qaida that was responsible for the 1993 World Trade Center bombing.
The ties among Alamoudi, the Muslim Brotherhood and Gill help explain why officials are concerned about whether Gill was adequately vetted. These relationships are difficult to understand without immersion in the indictments, court transcripts and case exhibits; the concerned officials said they fear that busy political operatives in the administration simply do not grasp the national-security issues at stake.
''There's an overall denial in the administration that the agenda being pushed by Norquist might be a problem,'' one official said. ''It's so absurd that a Grover Norquist person could even be close to something like this. That's really what's so insidious.''
In 1999, a group of reformers ousted Alamoudi as AMC executive director amid questions about the group's opaque finances and mysterious Middle Eastern funding sources. Alamoudi took a position at the affiliated American Muslim Foundation but remained in control of the AMC through friendly board members, the reformers said. ''I had concerns about the reluctance to reveal information about the finances. They said they're not doing well, that they needed more money, but I looked at their office [in Washington], and it was very big,'' said one of the would-be reformers, Ikram Khan, a surgeon in Las Vegas. Khan said he resigned from the AMC board when his friend, Nazir Khaja, a Pakistani-American physician from California who was trying to open the group's books, told him that Alamoudi was not cooperating. ''I said, 'If this is the case, I cannot continue to serve in the group,' and I sent in my resignation letter,'' Khan said.
Then, last August, a man with a Libyan accent left a suitcase with $340,000 in cash for Alamoudi outside his hotel room in London, according to the October 2003 indictment of the American Muslim leader. Alamoudi was then arrested upon his return to the United States, the indictment said. The Alamoudi mystery deepened on June 10, when the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal reported that he had told authorities he was part of an alleged plot by Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi to assassinate Crown Prince Abdullah, the Saudi leader. Now, the U.S. Justice Department is examining whether Alamoudi was conspiring with a London group the Saudi government says is linked to Osama bin Laden.
''Who is Abdurahman Alamoudi? We really don't know,'' one of the concerned government officials said. ''So how can we say there is not a problem with his former aide? He [Gill] has access to information about all our vulnerabilities '-- aviation, ports. He knows what is protected and what is not.''
The Homeland Security spokeswoman, Petrovich, declined to discuss these issues. Instead, she released this statement: ''Prior to Faisal Gill's employment with the department, the [internal] Office of Security went to great lengths to investigate his background and ensure there were no potential conflicts or inappropriate activities in relation to Mr. Gill. Following a thorough investigation, we found that Mr. Gill exceeded all requirements set forth by the department's Office of Security for access to classified information, as prescribed by the intelligence community, that allows him to conduct his day-to-day duties for the department.''
Yet some officials remain concerned that Gill apparently enjoys the political protection of Norquist, the architect of the 1994 Republican election sweep that brought Georgia Republican Newt Gingrich to power as House speaker. Norquist speaks of ''crushing'' his political opponents and dismisses those who don't agree with his anti-tax, anti-government agenda as ''Bolsheviks.'' His power derives from a formidable coalition of evangelical, business and other conservative groups that he controls to push favored GOP issues, as well as from his close relationship with White House political chief Karl Rove.
In 1998, Norquist and a former deputy to Alamoudi at the AMC co-founded the nonprofit Islamic Institute as part of a drive to win Muslim voters for Bush in 2000. Alamoudi donated $35,000 to the institute, records show. Soon, the Islamic Institute, the AMC and Al-Arian were all working together on a top priority for American Muslims: an end to the use of classified intelligence to jail noncitizens as national-security threats. Al-Arian's brother-in-law had been jailed on the basis of such secret evidence linking him to Palestinian Islamic Jihad, and Al-Arian lobbied heavily on Capitol Hill to end the practice. In October 2000, through the efforts of Norquist and Rove, Bush came out against secret evidence in a debate with Al Gore, and the AMC endorsed Bush for president. Al-Arian would later claim that the Muslim votes he rounded up for Bush in Florida helped decide the election.
Gill was in the middle of these advocacy efforts. As director of government affairs at Norquist's Islamic Institute, Gill lobbied against the use of secret evidence, according to a May 2001 release on the institute's Web site. After the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, Gill was quoted in news articles as a spokesman for the AMC. A Washington Post article from May 2001, meanwhile, identified Gill as a spokesman for the ''fledgling'' Taxpayers Alliance of Prince William County, Va., which is affiliated with Norquist's Americans for Tax Reform. According to the Post article, Norquist was slated to appear with Gill at an anti-tax rally.
Gill is one of several former Alamoudi associates who have shuffled in recent years among Norquist's operations, the AMC, and government and politics. They include Abdulwahab Alkebsi, a former executive director of the Islamic Institute and a spokesman for the AMC who is now a program director for the National Endowment for Democracy, where he is responsible for administering millions of dollars in grant money for Iraq. What's more, in 2003 Norquist held a fundraiser at his Capitol Hill home for Alamoudi's former lawyer, Kamal Nawash, who was running for a Virginia state Senate seat. And Norquist's co-founder of the Islamic Institute, former AMC deputy director Khaled Saffuri, works closely with the White House on Muslim outreach issues.
These outreach efforts have put Norquist in an unusual defensive position. Former Bush speechwriter David Frum, conservative investigative journalist Kenneth Timmerman, and Center for Security Policy president Frank Gaffney, among others, have criticized Norquist's alliances.
Gaffney did not respond to my request for an interview. But his feud with Norquist spilled into public view in January 2003 at the Conservative Political Action Conference near Washington. According to an account in the National Review, Gaffney told the conference-goers: ''I'm sorry to say there is an active and, to a considerable degree successful, [radical Muslim] political operation aimed not least at the Bush White House.'' Norquist responded by calling Gaffney a bigot and barring him from an influential meeting of conservatives that Norquist holds on Wednesdays in Washington.
And there are other unexplained threads connecting Muslim leaders who are under investigation to Norquist's influence-peddling operation. In 2000 and 2001, for example, a firm with which Norquist has been registered as a lobbyist, Janus-Merritt Strategies, reported that Alamoudi had paid the company a total of $40,000 for lobbying on human rights issues and Malaysia. But in a Dec. 17, 2001, letter to the secretary of the U.S. Senate, which administers public lobbying records, a managing partner of the firm wrote that Janus-Merritt had erred in identifying Alamoudi as its client. The letter said the actual client was another Muslim leader who could be reached at 555 Grove St. in Herndon, Va.
Three months later, dozens of federal agents, with their guns drawn, burst through the doors of that office building in Herndon, seizing evidence in the United States' ongoing investigation of international terrorist financial networks.
Statement by the Press Secretary on S. 1681 | The White House
Tue, 08 Jul 2014 04:00
The White House
Office of the Press Secretary
For Immediate Release
July 07, 2014
On Monday, July 7, 2014, the President signed into law:
S. 1681, the "Intelligence Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2014," which authorizes fiscal year 2014 appropriations for U.S. intelligence-related activities and establishes and provides other authorities concerning U.S. intelligence and counter-terrorism activities.
S.1681 - 113th Congress (2013-2014): Intelligence Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2014 | Congress.gov | Library of Congress
Tue, 08 Jul 2014 04:01
Shown Here:Reported to Senate without amendment (11/13/2013)(This measure has not been amended since it was introduced. The summary has been expanded because action occurred on the measure.)
Intelligence Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2014 - Title I: Budget and Personnel Authorizations - (Sec. 101) Authorizes appropriations for FY2014 for the conduct of intelligence and intelligence-related activities of the: (1) Office of the Director of National Intelligence; (2) Central Intelligence Agency (CIA); (3) Department of Defense (DOD); (4) Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA); (5) National Security Agency (NSA); (6) Departments of the Army, Navy, and Air Force; (7) Coast Guard; (8) Departments of State, the Treasury, Energy (DOE), and Justice (DOJ); (9) Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI); (10) Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA); (11) National Reconnaissance Office (NRO); (12) National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA); and (13) Department of Homeland Security (DHS).
(Sec. 102) Provides that the amounts authorized to be appropriated by this Act and the authorized personnel ceilings as of September 30, 2014, for intelligence activities are those specified in the classified Schedule of Authorizations, which shall be made available to the House and Senate Committees on Appropriations and the President. Prohibits the President from publicly disclosing the classified Schedule of Authorizations or any portion of such Schedule except as provided in the Implementing Recommendations of the 9/11 Commission Act of 2007, to the extent necessary to implement the budget, or as otherwise required by law.
(Sec. 103) Authorizes the Director of National Intelligence (DNI) to authorize employment of civilian personnel in excess of the number authorized for FY2014 when necessary for the performance of important intelligence functions, limited to 3% of the number of civilian personnel authorized for each intelligence element. Requires notification to the congressional intelligence committees of the use of such authority.
(Sec. 104) Authorizes appropriations for the Intelligence Community Management Account for FY2014, as well as the authorized personnel levels for elements within such Account (855 positions as of September 30, 2014). Allows funds allocated for advance research and development to remain available until September 30, 2015. Authorizes additional appropriations and personnel for the Account as specified in the classified Schedule of Authorizations.
Title II: Central Intelligence Agency Retirement and Disability System - (Sec. 201) Authorizes appropriations for FY2014 for the Central Intelligence Agency Retirement and Disability Fund.
(Sec. 202) Amends the Central Intelligence Agency Retirement Act to expand the definition of "qualifying service," for purposes of creditable service determinations under the Federal Employees Retirement System (FERS) and the Central Intelligence Agency Retirement and Disability System, to include duties in support of intelligence activities hazardous to life or health or duties that are so specialized as to be clearly distinguishable from normal government employment.
Title III: General Intelligence Community Matters - Subtitle A: General Matters - (Sec. 301) Declares that the authorization of appropriations by this Act shall not be deemed to authorize any intelligence activity that is not otherwise authorized by the Constitution or the laws of the United States.
(Sec. 302) Permits appropriations authorized by this Act for salary, pay, retirement, and other benefits for federal employees to be increased by such additional or supplemental amounts as necessary for increases in such compensation or benefits authorized by law.
(Sec. 303) Amends the National Security Act of 1947 to extend protections against the disclosure of the identity of individuals under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) to the Inspector General of the Intelligence Community.
(Sec. 304) Directs the President to designate certain U.S. officers or employees as functional managers for signals intelligence, human intelligence, geospatial intelligence, and other necessary intelligence disciplines as the President determines necessary. Requires such designated officers or employees to report annually to the congressional intelligence committees and the congressional armed services committees concerning the performance of their respective functions.
(Sec. 305) Requires the Office of the DNI, the CIA, the DIA, the NSA, the NRO, and the NGA to undergo a full financial audit each year beginning with their FY2014 financial statements. Requires the chief financial officer of each such agency to provide the congressional intelligence committees an annual audit report on each audit conducted.
(Sec. 306) Requires the chief information officer of each element of the intelligence community to conduct, and the Chief Information Officer of the Intelligence Community to compile and report on, inventories of all existing software licenses of each element, including utilized and unutilized licenses.
(Sec. 307) Extends the authority for the Public Interest Declassification Board until December 31, 2018.
(Sec. 308) Amends the Inspector General Act of 1978 to permit an employee of an element of the intelligence community, or of a contractor to the intelligence community, who intends to report to Congress a complaint or information with respect to an urgent concern, to report such complaint or information to the Inspector General of the Intelligence Community.
Subtitle B: Targeted Lethal Force Oversight - (Sec. 311) Requires the head of an element of the intelligence community to notify the DNI upon determining that a U.S. person is knowingly engaged in acts of international terrorism against the United States such that the government is considering the legality or the use of targeted lethal force against that person.
Requires the DNI: (1) within 15 days after receipt of such notification, to complete an independent alternative analysis of the information relied on to support such determination; (2) to notify the Inspector General of the Intelligence Community and the congressional intelligence committees of the receipt of such notification; and (3) to notify such committees of the person's identity and the results of the independent analysis.
Directs the Inspector General to annually review, and report to the DNI and the congressional intelligence committees on, any notifications received and the compliance of each element of the intelligence community with all appropriate policies and procedures related to the use of targeted lethal force against a U.S. person.
(Sec. 312) Requires the President to prepare and make public an annual report on the total number of combatants and noncombatant civilians killed or injured during the preceding year by the use of targeted lethal force outside the United States by remotely piloted aircraft. Excludes from such report any use of targeted lethal force in Afghanistan prior to the end of combat operations or any use of targeted lethal force in a foreign country described by a future declaration or war or authorization for the use of military force.
Subtitle C: Reporting - (Sec. 321) Requires the Attorney General to provide an annual listing to the congressional intelligence committees of every opinion of the DOD Office of Legal Counsel that has been provided to an element of the intelligence community. Allows the President to: (1) limit access to information in such listing relating to a covert action, and (2) decline to disclose a particular listing on the ground of executive privilege.
(Sec. 322) Requires the DNI, the CIA Director, and each head of each element of the intelligence community within DOD to submit to specified congressional committees a copy of any plan pertaining to agency operations in the absence of appropriations that such officials have submitted to the OMB Director.
(Sec. 323) Requires the DNI to submit a report on the Syrian chemical weapons program.
(Sec. 324) Requires the DNI to establish procedures requiring each cleared intelligence contractor to report when a network or information system of such contractor has been successfully penetrated. Requires such procedures to provide for reports by contractors that describe the technique or method used in such penetration, a sample of the malicious software involved in such penetration, and a summary of information that has been potentially compromised by such penetration.
(Sec. 325) Repeals reporting requirements pertaining to: (1) the threat of attack on the United States using weapons of mass destruction; (2) commerce with, and assistance to, Cuba from other foreign countries; and (3) uncontrolled treaty-limited equipment.
Modifies reporting requirements to: (1) require the DNI to notify the congressional intelligence committees of the creation of an advisory committee (currently, an annual report is required); (2) terminate in 2014 (currently, 2015) the report on intelligence community business system transformation; (3) require semiannual (currently, quarterly) reports on the activities of privacy and civil liberties officers; and (4) require notification to congressional committees, rather than annual reports, of waivers of conditions for disqualification for security clearances.
Title IV: Matters Relating to Elements of the Intelligence Community - Subtitle A: National Security Agency - (Sec. 401) Amends the National Security Act of 1959 to require the Director of the National Security Agency (NSA) and the Inspector General of NSA to be appointed by the President with the advice and consent of the Senate.
Subtitle B: National Reconnaissance Office - (Sec. 411) Amends the National Security Act of 1947 to require the Director and the Inspector General of NRO to be appointed by the President with the advice and consent of the Senate.
Title V: Security Clearance Reform - (Sec. 502) Requires the DNI, in consultation with the DOD Secretary and the Director of the Office of Personnel Management (OPM), to conduct an analysis of the relative costs and benefits of improving the process for investigating persons for access to classified information.
(Sec. 503) Amends the Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act of 2004 to prohibit an agency from rejecting another agency's access determination on the basis that such determination is out-of-scope, unless the rejecting agency does not employ any personnel who have background investigations that are out-of-scope. Defines "out-of-scope" to mean a background investigation or reinvestigation that is more than 7 years old in the case of a top secret clearance, more than 10 years old in the case of a secret clearance, or more than 15 years old in the case of a confidential clearance.
(Sec. 504) Requires the DNI to report to Congress each year, through 2017, on the reciprocal treatment of security clearances, including: (1) the periods of time required by authorized adjudicative agencies for accepting background investigations and determinations completed by an authorized investigative entity or authorized adjudicative agency; and (2) the total number of cases in which a background investigation or determination completed by an authorized investigative entity or adjudicative agency is, or is not, accepted by another agency.
(Sec. 505) Requires the DNI, the DOD Secretary, and the OPM Director to submit to Congress a strategic plan for improving the process for periodic reinvestigations.
Title VI: Intelligence Community Whistleblower Protections - (Sec. 601) Extends whistleblower protections for employees of an intelligence community element (defined as the CIA, the DIA, the NGA, the NSA, the Office of the DNI, the NRO, and any executive agency that is determined to have as its principal function the conduct of foreign intelligence or counterintelligence activities, excluding the FBI).
(Sec. 602) Amends the Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act of 2004 to: (1) require the development of policies and procedures that permit individuals who, in good faith, appeal an adverse security clearance determination to remain employed while the appeal is pending; (2) require the development and implementation of uniform and consistent policies and procedures to ensure protections during the process for denying, suspending, or revoking a security clearance or access to classified information; and (3) prohibit the revocation of a security clearance or access determination in retaliation for a protected whistleblower disclosure.
Allows a defense intelligence employee to appeal an agency head's adverse final order or decision to the appellate review board established by this title. Grants the board authority to: (1) order corrective action and award compensatory damages and expenses if it determines that an adverse security clearance determination was retaliatory, and (2) recommend the reinstatement of an employee and a security clearance. Requires the review board to notify specified congressional committees of any orders it issues. Requires an agency to notify such committees if it does not follow the board's recommendation to reinstate a security clearance.
(Sec. 603) Amends the Inspector General Act of 1978 to require the Inspector General to submit a complaint or information submitted under the Intelligence Community Whistleblower Protection Act or the Central Intelligence Agency Act of 1949 to the DNI, or to the DOD Secretary if the intelligence unit is within DOD, upon determining that submission of the complaint or information to the agency head would create a conflict of interest. Requires the DNI to consult with members of the appellate review board regarding all submissions. Allows an individual who has submitted a complaint or information to an Inspector General to notify any Member of Congress, or congressional staff members, of the submissions made and the date of such submissions.
(Sec. 604) Defines "congressional oversight committees" to mean the congressional intelligence committees, the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs, and the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform.
Requires the DNI to: (1) prescribe regulations to ensure that a personnel action shall not be taken against an employee of an intelligence community element as a reprisal for any whistleblower disclosure relating to intelligence activities, (2) establish an appellate review board to hear whistleblower appeals related to security clearance access determinations, and (3) submit a report on the status of the implementation of such regulations to the congressional oversight committees.
Renders whistleblower protections under this Act inapplicable to terminations of intelligence community whistleblowers who are personally terminated by the DOD Secretary, the DNI, the CIA Director, or the head of any federal agency who determines the termination to be in the interest of the United States. Requires notification of any termination to the congressional oversight committees within five days of such termination.
Title VII: Other Matters - (Sec. 701) Eliminates the termination date for provisions requiring notification to congressional intelligence committees regarding the authorized disclosure of national intelligence or intelligence related to national security.
(Sec. 702) Amends the Central Intelligence Agency Act of 1949 to authorize the CIA Director to engage in fundraising for the benefit of nonprofit organizations that provide support to surviving family members of deceased CIA employees or for the welfare, education, or recreation of current CIA employees, former employees, or their family members.
(Sec. 703) Provides for the compliance of the budgetary effects of this Act with requirements of the Statutory Pay-As-You-Go Act of 2010.
BBC News - What emergency data law means for you
Thu, 10 Jul 2014 14:13
10 July 2014Last updated at 07:59 ET By Dave LeeTechnology reporter, BBC NewsThe UK is set to push through an emergency law so it can continue to have access to people's phone and internet records.
A European Court of Justice (ECJ) ruling earlier this year meant the powers to retain this data were under threat.
Prime Minster David Cameron said if the information were to be deleted, or no longer collected, it would seriously impede the UK's ability to fight crime and protect the country against terrorism.
However, privacy campaigners said it was another encroachment on the rights of people not to have their communications monitored.
Here is an explanation of the new law, and what it means to people who live in the UK.
What is the emergency legislation?The legislation is primarily aimed at the companies that provide us with telephone and internet connections.
It outlines their legal obligation to retain "communications data" on its customers. This metadata includes things like logs of when calls were made, what numbers were dialled, and other information that can be used, the government says, in investigations. It does not include the content of the communications.
The legislation also covers "legal intercept" rules. This is when authorities are able to listen in to the content of communications. This can only legally take place with a warrant signed by either the foreign secretary, the home secretary, the secretary of state for Northern Ireland, the defence secretary or the cabinet secretary for justice for Scotland.
The law has a "sunset clause", which falls at the end of 2016. When this happens, the law must be looked at again by the government at the time.
Additionally, a Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board will be set up to advise on government policy on counterterrorisim.
A transparency report will, each year, list the number and type of requests made to communication firms under the new law - similar to the way in which Google, Facebook and other technology firms publicise their actions relating to user privacy.
Why is it being introduced?The government said it needed to urgently put in place new laws to "plug a hole" in legislation following a ruling by the European Court of Justice.
The ECJ decided in April this year that communications service providers - the companies that get us online or set up our calls - did not have to adhere to the 2006 Data Retention Directive.
That directive, made in the wake of terrorist attacks in Madrid, London and New York, said that communications firms should keep data about the public's activities for between six and 24 months.
With the Data Retention Directive in effect binned by the European court, communications companies in the UK have been applying pressure on the government to clarify their legal requirements for storing customer data.
The emergency legislation, the prime minister said, is that clarity.
Will it mean the government can listen in to my calls? Can it see what I'm doing online?Not exactly. The vast majority of people will only have data collected on things such as the time a call is made and the number that was called - not the actual contents of that communication.
The government has said this is particularly useful in double-checking alibis, or tracking 999 calls when a mobile phone has run out of battery.
But the emergency law does go further - the law reinforces the ability of authorities to carry out what is known as a "legal intercept". This is when a target is identified for additional monitoring - including listening in to phone calls and other communications.
Only certain authorities are able to gain information this way, as covered by the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act (Ripa). As part of this new law, the number of organisations that are allowed to intercept calls is to be reduced.
All interceptions still require a warrant.
It is worth pointing out, however, that this law does not deal with separate interception and monitoring activities carried out by the UK's intelligence agency, GCHQ.
Who opposes this legislation? The issue of how much power governments should have to store data on its citizens has dominated global debate since the revelations made by whistleblower Edward Snowden about mass surveillance by the US and other governments.
Campaigners against this kind of data retention have, since the April ruling, been applying huge pressure on communications companies to stop retaining their data. More than 1,500 letters were sent to companies by campaigners, the Open Rights Group told the BBC.
The letters threatened to take further action unless their data was deleted and no longer collected - citing the European court decision as justification.
It is an escalation of this pressure that a source close to one UK communications company said was behind the emergency passing of this law.
While no communications companies are understood to have deleted any data, it is understood the firms - in the face of mounting pressure from campaigners - were pressing the government to act quickly to clarify the law.
The Open Rights Group has not launched legal action against communication firms, but it had signalled its intention to report the companies to the UK's data protection authority, the Information Commissioner's Office.
Jim Killock, from the Open Rights Group, said: "The government knows that since the ECJ ruling, there is no legal basis for making internet service providers retain our data so it is using the threat of terrorism as an excuse for getting this law passed.
"The government has had since April to address the ECJ ruling but it is only now that organisations such as ORG are threatening legal action that this has become an 'emergency'."
Follow Dave Lee on Twitter @DaveLeeBBC
Guardian's loss narrows after NSA snooping scoop
Wed, 09 Jul 2014 16:22
It's been quite a year for the media group, which won the highest accolade in U.S. journalism '' the Pulitzer Prize '' for its coverage of the NSA's surveillance activities, based on the leaks by Edward Snowden. After breaking the story, the Guardian worked together with The New York Times and ProPublica to report news from the leaked documents.
Read MoreForeign cloud companies will win big from NSA spying revelations
Neil Berkett, chairman of Guardian Media Group, which owns Guardian News & Media and reported a pretax loss of £26.1 million against a £43.9 million loss last year, said there was a shift underway as users increasingly moved to online media.
"The world is moving to a digital agenda -- the vast majority of our readers are purely digital," Berkett told CNBC on Tuesday. "There's a big shift in terms of users and the trick is to stay ahead of the game."
One way the Guardian is trying to do this is to focus on its digital strategy, he said. The group's digital revenue rose over 24 percent to £69.5 million over the year. Total group revenue rose from £196.8 million to £210.2 million.
Read MoreGuardian says Britain forced it to destroy Snowden material
The Guardian said its website clocked up 100 million monthly unique browsers for the first time in March this year, driven by strong international traffic. Online traffic from the U.S. grew 12 percent year-on-year, and Guardian Australia '' launched in May 2013 '' had garnered a "loyal following", the group said.
Berkett said he had seen "tremendous success" in the U.S. "America is an important part of what we're doing '' over a quarter of our readers are now in the U.S.," he added.
Guardian Media Group is in the middle of a five-year transformation plan in an effort to reduce costs. In January, it announced that it would sell its 50.1 percent stake in Trader Media Group, the owner of publications including Auto Trader and AdTrader, to private equity firm Apax Partner.
"It was the right time (to sell), we achieved the right value and we will put those funds to good use," Berkett added.
Unlucky Pierre: Logs show no more White House invitations for Omidyar after launch of The Intercept
Wed, 09 Jul 2014 00:08
By Paul CarrOn July 5, 2014
Back in March, I revealed that Pierre Omidyar, his wife Pamela and Omidyar Network's managing partner Matthew Bannick had received over a dozen invitations to the White House to meet senior Obama administration officials including the President, First Lady and a Senior Director of the National Security Council. These visits came in the run up to Omidyar Network co-investing with the US State Department in opposition groups which later were credited with triggering the revolution (and now full-on civil war) in Ukraine, and regime change elsewhere.
As I noted at the time, the visits seemed to have come to a shuddering halt once Omidyar announced he was launching First Look Media and hiring Snowden-ally Glenn Greenwald to head its anti-NSA vertical, the Intercept.
Now it seems clear this wasn't a temporary freeze-out. According to the latest batch of visitor data, released just a few days ago, and covering the first quarter of 2014, neither Pierre and Pamela Omidyar, nor any Omidyar Network executives or staffers whatsoever have been invited to 1600 Pennsylvania avenue since the announcement of First Look. This as the document show other tech titans like Mark Zuckerberg and Eric Schmidt continuing to come and go, along with fellow left-leaning philanthropists like George Soros and media bosses including CNN president Jeff Zucker.
Still, even if Omidyar and his Network are currently personas non grata in the Obama White House, echoes of his previous political influence continue to resonate. As Mark Ames revealed last month, Jayant Sinha, the former head of Omidyar Network in India had a secret second job helping to elect new Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Today Sinha no longer works for Omidyar, having taken a parliamentary seat, representing Modi's BJP.
In other words, even if Pierre Omidyar is apparently no longer welcome at 1600 Pennsylania Avenue in DC, he can at least rest assured of a guaranteed warm bed at 7, Race Course Road in New Delhi.
Wall Street Joins U.S. Intelligence Cronies To Form Fascist "Cyber War Council" | Zero Hedge
Wed, 09 Jul 2014 05:29
Submitted by Mike Krieger of Liberty Blitzkrieg blog,
Want to hear the worst idea in the history of horrible ideas? How about we take the industry responsible for destroying the U.S. economy and wrecking the lives of tens of millions of people, and then allow it to create a ''government-industry cyber war council.''
It appears that trillions in taxpayer bailouts simply wasn't enough for Wall Street. Noting that it can seemingly get whatever it wants whenever it wants, the industry is now positioning itself to overtly control U.S. ''cyber'' policy. What could go wrong?
The man behind the push appears to be ex-NSA chief Keith Alexander, who as I reported on last month, is now: Pimping Advice to Wall Street Banks for $1 Million a Month. As I mentioned in that post, one of Mr. Alexander's most high profile clients is Wall Street's largest lobbying group the Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association (SIFMA). Unsurprisingly, SIFMA is behind the latest push to formally merge Wall Street with the government intelligence apparatus. Mr. Alexander isn't wasting any time.
Bloomberg reports that:
Wall Street's biggest trade group has proposed a government-industry cyber war council to stave off terrorist attacks that could trigger financial panic by temporarily wiping out account balances, according to an internal document.
The proposal by the Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association, known as Sifma, calls for a committee of executives and deputy-level representatives from at least eight U.S. agencies including the Treasury Department, the National Security Agency and the Department of Homeland Security, all led by a senior White House official.
More centralization. This is the exact opposite of what we want or need. The establishment is very worried about the trend toward decentralization, and making its move on many fronts.
The trade association also reveals in the document that Sifma has retained former NSA director Keith Alexander to ''facilitate'' the joint effort with the government. Alexander, in turn, has brought in Michael Chertoff, the former U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security, and his firm, Chertoff Group.
Ah, Michael Chertoff again. One of the most shameless government cronies out there. His relentless desire to profit from the ''war on terror'' is one of the main reasons we have installed those useless naked body scanners at airports across the country. Recall I covered this in my post, License Plate Readers Stir Controversy in California as the NYPD Prepares to Use Drones, in which I noted:
Forrmer head of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), Michael Chertoff, has a private security company called the Chertoff Group, which stands to make lots of money from fear mongering the public about terrorism. As the Huffington Post reported in 2010:
Chertoff's clients have prospered in the last two years, largely through lucrative government contracts, and The Chertoff Group's assistance in navigating the complex federal procurement bureaucracy is in high demand. One example involves the company at the heart of the recent uproar over intrusive airport security procedures '' Rapiscan, which makes the so-called body scanners. Back in 2005, Chertoff was promoting the technology and Homeland Security placed the government's first order, buying five Rapiscan scanners.
Moving back to today's Bloomberg article'...
Alexander had been pitching Sifma and other bank trade associations to purchase his services through his new consulting firm, IronNet Cybersecurity Inc., for as much as $1 million per month, according to two people briefed on the talks.
He has made much the same argument to Sifma as the association is now making to the government about the emergence of new kinds of software assaults. For several months beginning in fall 2012, major U.S. bank websites were hit by what is known as distributed denial-of-service attacks, in which hackers flood systems with information to shut them down.
The government-industry group would develop plans for ''much quicker, near real-time'' dissemination of information from agencies to the private sector and ways to ''actively defend the industry'' if preparations for a cyber attack are discovered in advance. Sifma is also seeking ''pre-discussed and mutually understood protocols'' for the industry to request government help during and after an attack.
Merging of private business and government. Fascism.
Representative Alan Grayson, a Florida Democrat, said today he was concerned that industry members in such a joint group could improperly get involved in pre-emptive strikes against a person or state planning an assault on the U.S.
Or they could get involved in strikes against U.S. citizens they find undesirable or problematic.
''This could in effect make the banks part of what would begin to look like a war council,'' Grayson said in an e-mail. ''Congress needs to keep an eye on what something like this could mean.''
The Senate Intelligence Committee plans today to take up a bipartisan bill '-- sponsored by Senators Dianne Feinstein, a California Democrat, and Saxby Chambliss, a Georgia Republican - '' aimed at improving private-sector cyber-defenses. The bill includes rules that would insulate banks from liability arising from sharing information for cybersecurity, addressing a point financial institutions have raised in the past.
Naturally, Dianne Feinstein, one of Congress' most dangerous and authoritarian members is behind this travesty.
As I said in the beginning, this is one of the worst ideas of all-time. Two of the most powerful, out of control and corrupt segments of American society, Wall Street and the intelligence community, want to formally merge in order to better protect their power structure in a ''public-private partnership.'' As I noted on twitter the other day:
Although these partnerships are always a concern, this particular partnership is as dangerous as you get.
Full article here.
Average:Your rating: NoneAverage: 5(11 votes)
PedoBear
UK - 'Powerful elite' of at least 20 establishment figures may have been part of paedophile ring that abused children for decades.
Tue, 08 Jul 2014 23:59
Former child protection manager claims abusers operated for 65 yearsPeter McKelvie first raised alarm about paedophile politicians in the 1980sSays abusers may also include judges and people linked to Royal FamilyMcKelvie says victims may finally get justice after decades of being ignoredLord Warner says 'children's homes were a supply line' for paedophilesBy John Hall
Published: 02:21 EST, 8 July 2014 | Updated: 07:08 EST, 8 July 2014
949shares
333
Viewcomments
A 'powerful elite' of at least 20 prominent establishment figures formed a VIP paedophile ring that abused children for decades, a whistleblower claimed today.
Peter McKelvie - the former child protection officer who first raised the alarm about high profile individuals engaged in child sex abuse - said senior politicians, military figures and even people linked to the Royal Family are among the alleged abusers.
Mr Kelvie said that their campaign of abuse may have been going on for as long as 65 years but 'there has always been the block and the cover-up and the collusion to prevent an investigation.'
Speaking in public for the first time in 20 years, Mr McKelvie, whose claims led to Scotland Yard's 2012 Operation Fernbridge investigation into allegations of a paedophile network linked to Downing Street, said the alleged VIP child abuse ring may at last face justice, although several members may be dead.
Scroll down for video
Allegations: Peter McKelvie said abusers could include senior politicians, military figures and even people linked to the Royal Family. 'At the most serious level, we're talking about the brutal rape of young boys', he said
Speaking to BBC's Newsnight programme, Mr McKelvie said: 'For the last 30 years and longer than that, there have been a number of allegations made by survivors that people at the top of very powerful institutions in this country - which include politicians, judges, senior military figures and even people that have links with the Royal Family - have been involved in the abuse of children.'
'At the most serious level, we're talking about the brutal rape of young boys,' he added.
Describing the child abusers as making up a 'small percentage' of the British establishment at the time, Mr McKelvie admitted there was 'a slightly larger percentage' of people who knew about the abuse but did not report it to the police.
He said these people 'felt that in terms of their own self-interest and self-preservation and for political party reasons, it has been safer for them to cover it up than deal with it.'
Mr McKelvie, a former child protection manager for Hereford and Worcester council, has spent the past 20 years compiling evidence of alleged abuse by establishment figures.
His claims prompted Operation Fernbridge - the 2012 Scotland Yard investigation into allegations of a paedophile network with links to Downing Street.
In a separate interview with the BBC website, Mr McKelvie said child abuse by establishment figures may have been going on for as long as 65 years but added that a 'cover-up' has always prevented an investigation'
Following yesterday's announcement by Home Secretary Theresa May that there would be two public inquiries into how historical claims of child abuse were dealt with, Mr McKelvie said it was 'crucial' that victims have the biggest say on who carries out the investigations.
One of the inquiries, led by NSPCC chief Peter Wanless, is to review an investigation conducted last year into the Home Office's handling of past child abuse allegations.
But Mr McKelvie said he was sceptical that the involvement of the NSPCC would encourage victims to come forward because it is widely seen to be the 'charity of the establishment.'
'For many many years [the NSPCC] had people like Rolf Harris and Jimmy Savile associated with the fundraising side of it,' he added.
On BBC Radio 4's Today programme this morning, Lord Warner, who ran social services in Kent and was later an aide to Jack Straw when he was Home Secretary, was asked if he believed claims MPs and peers were among the 20 alleged paedophiles.
'I think they are possibly true. I haven't seen the evidence. What I do know is that the 1980s was a slightly strange period when what started to emerge was much more detail, many more cases, about children being sexually abused. Some of this abuse was actually taking place within families... but many others, as a pivotal point, in children's homes,' he said.
'We certainly know from the inquiry I did in 1992 for Virginia Bottomley children's homes were targeted by people in power, powerful people. It's possible that people who were authoritative, powerful, in particular communities did sometimes have access to children's homes,' he added.
'We know for historical purposes that children's homes were a supply line sometimes'.
A Whitehall inquiry found that £476,250 was granted to organisations connected to the Paedophile Information Exchange. The findings were released as Home Secretary Theresa May (above) announced a major inquiry
May announces Hillsborough-style investigation into abuse claims
Mr McKelvie's allegations come as it emerged the Home Office gave nearly £500,000 to groups linked to campaigners for sex with children.
A Whitehall inquiry found 'clear evidence' that £476,250 was granted over a decade to two organisations connected to the notorious Paedophile Information Exchange.
The findings were released yesterday as Home Secretary Theresa May announced a major inquiry into how public bodies dealt with historical allegations of child sex abuse.
As the paedophile scandal continued to engulf Westminster, it also emerged that:
A separate inquiry, led by NSPCC chief Peter Wanless, is to review an investigation conducted last year into the Home Office's handling of past child abuse allegations;Prosecutors decided in 1998 not to lay child abuse charges against Liberal MP Cyril Smith despite ruling they were likely to succeed;A former head of PIE hid documents inside the Home Office, where he was cleared to work as a contractor;A member of the Heath government suggested he could secure the loyalty of MPs by covering up scandals involving them and 'small boys';An unnamed minister in Tony Blair's government was alleged to have tried to help a convicted paedophile foster two boys;Former home secretary Lord Brittan insisted allegations that he failed to deal properly with allegations of child abuse were completely without foundation;One of the first MPs to call for an overarching inquiry, Lib Dem Tessa Munt, revealed she was a victim of child abuse.A Daily Mail investigation earlier this year revealed shocking links between PIE, which campaigned for the age of consent to be dramatically lowered, and three senior Labour figures who held key roles in the National Council for Civil Liberties.
Former health secretary Patricia Hewitt was forced to apologise for her dealings with PIE, although Labour deputy leader Harriet Harman and her husband, home affairs spokesman Jack Dromey, strongly denied giving any support to the pro-paedophile group.
Earlier this year former health secretary Patricia Hewitt (Above) was forced to apologise for her dealings with to the notorious Paedophile Information Exchange
Labour deputy leader Harriet Harman (left) and her husband, home affairs spokesman Jack Dromey (right), have previously strongly denied giving any support to the Paedophile Information Exchange group
But Lord Warner stopped short of describing the matter as a cover-up, saying: 'A cover-up to me means something is very organised. I think much more of this is about people being insensitive to some of these concerns and not being as preoccupied with protecting vulnerable people, children and adults.'
Last December a former employee accused the Home Office of giving tens of thousands of pounds to PIE through its Voluntary Services Unit, which provided annual grants for charities.
Civil servants launched a trawl through 35,000 documents to investigate the claims, focusing on the VSU's activities between 1973 and 1985.
Their findings were finally published yesterday, prompting concerns that it had been timed so it would be overshadowed by Mrs May's announcement of an over-arching inquiry.
It found that two groups associated with the child sex-supporting lobbyists did receive hundreds of thousands of pounds from the VSU.
The Albany Trust, which was founded to support 'sexual minorities', received £65,750 between 1974 and 1980.
The trust invited representatives from PIE and a group called Paedophile Action for Liberation to a series of meetings in 1975 to discuss setting up a paedophile support group and publishing an information pamphlet about paedophilia.
In 1977 the Home Office expressed 'some disquiet' about the way in which the trust was carrying out its work, the report noted. In 1970 the Albany Trust funded the translation of the findings of a Dutch government inquiry, known as the Speijer Report, which looked at lowering the age of consent for homosexuals.
A Whitehall inquiry found 'clear evidence' that £476,250 was granted to the organisations while the Home Office was situated in its former location in Petty France, Westminster (above)
It also emerged that prosecutors decided in 1998 not to lay child abuse charges against Liberal MP Cyril Smith (left) despite ruling they were likely to succeed and that former home secretary Lord Brittan (right) insisted allegations that he failed to deal properly with allegations of child abuse were completely without foundation
Keith Vaz says files had been lost 'on an industrial scale'
Campaigner Mary Whitehouse alleged that PIE obtained this English translation several years later and sold it for £1 per copy.
A second charity, Release, which offered advice on issues including drugs, medical and housing problems, was given £410,500 by the VSU between 1974 and 1984 via the Princedale Trust. In 1975 Release moved to 1 Elgin Avenue in London.
The same year Release allowed PIE to begin using the same address for correspondence.
The Home Office report said it was 'impossible to determine' whether VSU money given to the two charities was indirectly used to support PIE's work, although it noted no evidence was found to confirm that it did.
The report said the whistleblower's account of seeing a Home Office document from about 1980 that listed a grant renewal of £30,000 for PIE was 'credible'. But the review concluded that 'on the balance of probabilities' no money was given to PIE.
Simon Danczuk, the Labour MP for Rochdale who exposed Cyril Smith's abuse and led calls for a full inquiry into the alleged official cover-up of child abuse, said: 'This report raises as many questions as it answers about the Home Office's use of public funds to support groups linked to the Paedophile Information Exchange.
'This does little to end concerns about the Home Office's handling of child sexual abuse allegations over many years.
'Releasing the report on the same day that the Home Secretary announced a major public inquiry into these issues will make some people wonder whether there has been an attempt to bury its findings.'
The chilling claims that a paedophile ring may have been operating within the British establishment first emerged in an investigation by campaigning Conservative politician Geoffrey Dickens.
In November 1983, the MP for Littleborough and Saddleworth in Greater Manchester sent a 40-page document to then Home Secretary Leon Brittan detailing alleged VIP child abusers, apparently including former Liberal party chief whip Cyril Smith and other senior politicians.
In a newspaper interview at the time, Mr Dickens claimed his dossier contained the names of eight 'really important public figures' that he planned to expose, and whose crimes are believed to have stretched back to the 1960s.
November 1983:
Geoffrey Dickens produces a huge dossier detailing allegations of sexual abuse against prominent figures in the British establishment. He tells his family the claims will 'blow apart' the VIP paedophile ring.
March 1984:
Home Secretary Leon Brittan tells Mr Dickens that his dossier has been assessed by prosecutors and passed on to the police, but no further action is taken. The dossier is now either lost or missing.
May 1995
Geoffrey Dickens dies. A short time later his wife destroys his copy of the paedophile dossier. The only other copies - one received by Mr Brittan and another allegedly sent to the Director of Public Prosecutions - are believed to have been lost or destroyed.
September 2010
The 29-stone Rochdale MP Sir Cyril Smith dies aged 82 without ever being charged with sex offences.
2011/2012:
Following the death of Sir Jimmy Savile, dozens of claims of historic child abuse emerge - including a number of alleged victims of Smith, who is said to have spanked and sexually abused teenage boys at a hostel he co-founded in the early 1960s.
October 2012
During Prime Minister's Questions, Labour MP Tom Watson claims there is 'clear intelligence suggesting a powerful paedophile network linked to Parliament and No10'.
November 2012
Lancashire Police announced they will be investigating claims of sexual abuse by Smith relating to incidents before 1974, while Greater Manchester Police will investigate claims after 1974.
November 2012
The Crown Prosecution Service admits Smith should have been charged with crimes of abuse more than 40 years earlier. The CPS also admitted Smith had been investigated in 1970, 1974, 1998, and 1999 but rejected every opportunity to prosecute him.
November 2012
A former special branch officer, Tony Robinson, says a historic dossier 'packed' with information about Smith's sex crimes was actually in the hands of Mi5 - despite officially having been 'lost' decades earlier.
December 2012
Scotland Yard sets up Operation Fairbank to investigate claims a paedophile ring operated at the Elm Guest House in Barnes, southwest London, in the 1970s and 80s. Among those abusing children are said to have been a number of prominent politicians.
February 2013
Operation Fernbridge is established to investigate the Elm Guest House alleged paedophile ring.
February 2013
It is claimed a 'paedophile ring of VIPs' also operated at the Grafton Close Children's Home in Richmond, Surrey.
February 2013
Two men, a Catholic priest from Norwich, and a man understood to be connected to Grafton Close, arrested on suspicion of sexual offences and questioned by Operation Fernbridge officers.
June 2013
Scotland Yard claims that seven police officers are working full time on Operation Fernbridge and are following more than 300 leads.
June 2013
Charles Napier, the half-brother of senior Conservative politician John Whittingdale, is arrested by Operation Fairbank officers.
December 2013
Some senior Labour party politicians linked to pro-paedophile campaign group the Paedophile Information Exchange, which was affiliated with the National Council for Civil Liberties pressure group, now known as Liberty, in the 1970s and early 1980s.
December 2013
Police search the home of Lord Janner as part of a historical sex abuse investigation. He is not arrested.
February 2014
Current deputy leader of the Labour Party Harriet Harman, who was NCCL's in-house lawyer at the time of its affiliation with PIE and even met her husband Jack Dromey while working there, is forced to deny she supported the activities of the pro-paedophile collective.
February 2014
Patricia Hewitt, Labour's former Secretary of State for Health who was NCCL's general secretary for nine years, later apologised and said she had been 'naive and wrong' to consider PIE a legitimate campaign group.
June 2014
Lord Janner's Westminster office is searched by police. Again the peer is not arrested.
July 3, 2014
Labour MP Simon Danczuk called on Leon Brittan to say what he knew about the Dickens dossier. It emerges the dossier has now been either lost or destroyed and the Home Office admits it can find no evidence of any criminal inquiry relating to it.
July 5, 2014
More than 10 current and former politicians are said to be on a list of alleged child abusers held by police investigating claims of an alleged paedophile ring.
July 6, 2014
Home Office permanent secretary Mark Sedwill reveals that 114 files relating to historic allegations of child sex abuse, from between 1979 and 1999, have disappeared from the Home Office.
It is also revealed that former Home Secretary Lord Brittan was accused of raping a student in 1967. The 2012 allegation was not investigated until Director of Public Prosecutions Alison Saunders ordered the Met Police to re-open the case in June this year.
Share or comment on this article
'Paedophilia is natural and normal for males' - Telegraph
Tue, 08 Jul 2014 03:57
Another attendee, and enthusiastic participant from the floor, was one Tom O'Carroll, a multiple child sex offender, long-time campaigner for the legalisation of sex with children and former head of the Paedophile Information Exchange. ''Wonderful!'' he wrote on his blog afterwards. ''It was a rare few days when I could feel relatively popular!''
Last week, after the conviction of Rolf Harris, the report into Jimmy Savile and claims of an establishment cover-up to protect a sex-offending minister in Margaret Thatcher's Cabinet, Britain went into a convulsion of anxiety about child abuse in the Eighties. But unnoticed amid the furore is a much more current threat: attempts, right now, in parts of the academic establishment to push the boundaries on the acceptability of child sex.
Jimmy Savile exploited the trust of a nation for his own vile purposes
A key factor in what happened all those decades ago in the dressing rooms of the BBC, the wards of the NHS and, allegedly, the corridors of power was not just institutional failings or establishment ''conspiracies'', but a climate of far greater intellectual tolerance of practices that horrify today.
With the Pill, the legalisation of homosexuality and shrinking taboos against premarital sex, the Seventies was an era of quite sudden sexual emancipation. Many liberals, of course, saw through PIE's cynical rhetoric of ''child lib''. But to others on the Left, sex by or with children was just another repressive boundary to be swept away '' and some of the most important backing came from academia.
In 1981, a respectable publisher, Batsford, published Perspectives on Paedophilia, edited by Brian Taylor, a sociology lecturer at Sussex University, to challenge what Dr Taylor's introduction called the ''prejudice'' against child sex. Disturbingly, the book was aimed at ''social workers, community workers, probation officers and child care workers''.
The public, wrote Dr Taylor, ''generally thinks of paedophiles as sick or evil men who lurk around school playgrounds in the hope of attempting unspecified beastliness with unsuspecting innocent children''. That, he reassured readers, was merely a ''stereotype'', both ''inaccurate and unhelpful'', which flew in the face of the ''empirical realities of paedophile behaviour''. Why, most adult-child sexual relationships occurred in the family!
The perspectives of most, though not all, the contributors, appeared strongly pro-paedophile. At least two were members of PIE and at least one, Peter Righton, (who was, incredibly, director of education at the National Institute for Social Work) was later convicted of child sex crimes. But from the viewpoint of today, the fascinating thing about Perspectives on Paedophilia is that at least two of its contributors are still academically active and influential.
Prof Ken Plummer, left, and former PIE head Tom O'Carroll
Ken Plummer is emeritus professor of sociology at Essex University, where he has an office and teaches courses, the most recent scheduled for last month. ''The isolation, secrecy, guilt and anguish of many paedophiles,'' he wrote in Perspectives on Paedophilia, ''are not intrinsic to the phenomen[on] but are derived from the extreme social repression placed on minorities '...
''Paedophiles are told they are the seducers and rapists of children; they know their experiences are often loving and tender ones. They are told that children are pure and innocent, devoid of sexuality; they know both from their own experiences of childhood and from the children they meet that this is not the case.''
As recently as 2012, Prof Plummer published on his personal blog a chapter he wrote in another book, Male Intergenerational Intimacy, in 1991. ''As homosexuality has become slightly less open to sustained moral panic, the new pariah of 'child molester' has become the latest folk devil,'' he wrote. ''Many adult paedophiles say that boys actively seek out sex partners '... 'childhood' itself is not a biological given but an historically produced social object.''
Prof Plummer confirmed to The Sunday Telegraph that he had been a member of PIE in order to ''facilitate'' his research. He said: ''I would never want any of my work to be used as a rationale for doing 'bad things' '' and I regard all coercive, abusive, exploitative sexuality as a 'bad thing'. I am sorry if it has impacted anyone negatively this way, or if it has encouraged this.'' However, he did not answer when asked if he still held the views he expressed in the Eighties and Nineties. A spokesman for Essex University claimed Prof Plummer's work ''did not express support for paedophilia'' and cited the university's charter which gave academic staff ''freedom within the law to put forward controversial and unpopular opinions without placing themselves in jeopardy''.
Graham Powell is one of the country's most distinguished psychologists, a past president of the British Psychological Society and a current provider of psychology support services to the Serious Organised Crime Agency, the National Crime Squad, the Metropolitan Police, Kent Police, Essex Police and the Internet Watch Foundation.
In Perspectives on Paedophilia, however, he co-authored a chapter which stated: ''In the public mind, paedophile attention is generally assumed to be traumatic and to have lasting and wholly deleterious consequences for the victim. The evidence that we have considered here does not support this view '... we need to ask not why are the effects of paedophile action so large, but why so small.''
The chapter does admit that there were ''methodological problems'' with the studies the authors relied on which ''leave our conclusions somewhat muted''. Dr Powell told The Sunday Telegraph last week that ''what I wrote was completely wrong and it is a matter of deep regret that it could in any way have made things more difficult [for victims]''. He said: ''The literature [scientific evidence] was so poor in 1981, people just didn't realise what was going on. There was a lack of understanding at the academic level.'' Dr Powell said he had never been a member of PIE.
In other academic quarters, with rather fewer excuses, that lack of understanding appears to be reasserting itself. The Cambridge University conference, on July 4-5 last year, was about the classification of sexuality in the DSM, a standard international psychiatric manual used by the police and courts.
After a fierce battle in the American Psychiatric Association (APA), which produces it, a proposal to include hebephilia as a disorder in the new edition of the manual has been defeated. The proposal arose because puberty in children has started ever earlier in recent decades and as a result, it was argued, the current definition of paedophilia '' pre-pubertal sexual attraction '' missed out too many young people.
Ray Blanchard, professor of psychiatry at the University of Toronto, who led the APA's working group on the subject, said that unless some other way was found of encompassing hebephilia in the new manual, that was ''tantamount to stating that the APA's official position is that the sexual preference for early pubertal children is normal''.
Prof Blanchard was in turn criticised by a speaker at the Cambridge conference, Patrick Singy, of Union College, New York, who said hebephilia would be abused as a diagnosis to detain sex offenders as ''mentally ill'' under US ''sexually violent predator'' laws even after they had completed their sentences.
But perhaps the most controversial presentation of all was by Philip Tromovitch, a professor at Doshisha University in Japan, who stated in a presentation on the ''prevalence of paedophilia'' that the ''majority of men are probably paedophiles and hebephiles'' and that ''paedophilic interest is normal and natural in human males''.
O'Carroll, the former PIE leader, was thrilled, and described on his blog how he joined Prof Tromovitch and a colleague for drinks after the conference. ''The conversation flowed most agreeably, along with the drinks and the beautiful River Cam,'' he said.
It's fair to say the Tromovitch view does not represent majority academic opinion. It's likely, too, that some of the academic protests against the ''stigmatisation'' of paedophiles are as much a backlash against the harshness of sex offender laws as anything else. Finally, of course, academic inquiry is supposed to question conventional wisdom and to deal rigorously with the evidence, whether or not the conclusions it leads you to are popular.
Even so, there really is now no shortage of evidence about the harm done by child abuse. In the latest frenzy about the crimes of the past, it's worth watching whether we could, in the future, go back to the intellectual climate which allowed them.
'Paedophilia is natural and normal for males' - Telegraph
Tue, 08 Jul 2014 03:57
Another attendee, and enthusiastic participant from the floor, was one Tom O'Carroll, a multiple child sex offender, long-time campaigner for the legalisation of sex with children and former head of the Paedophile Information Exchange. ''Wonderful!'' he wrote on his blog afterwards. ''It was a rare few days when I could feel relatively popular!''
Last week, after the conviction of Rolf Harris, the report into Jimmy Savile and claims of an establishment cover-up to protect a sex-offending minister in Margaret Thatcher's Cabinet, Britain went into a convulsion of anxiety about child abuse in the Eighties. But unnoticed amid the furore is a much more current threat: attempts, right now, in parts of the academic establishment to push the boundaries on the acceptability of child sex.
Jimmy Savile exploited the trust of a nation for his own vile purposes
A key factor in what happened all those decades ago in the dressing rooms of the BBC, the wards of the NHS and, allegedly, the corridors of power was not just institutional failings or establishment ''conspiracies'', but a climate of far greater intellectual tolerance of practices that horrify today.
With the Pill, the legalisation of homosexuality and shrinking taboos against premarital sex, the Seventies was an era of quite sudden sexual emancipation. Many liberals, of course, saw through PIE's cynical rhetoric of ''child lib''. But to others on the Left, sex by or with children was just another repressive boundary to be swept away '' and some of the most important backing came from academia.
In 1981, a respectable publisher, Batsford, published Perspectives on Paedophilia, edited by Brian Taylor, a sociology lecturer at Sussex University, to challenge what Dr Taylor's introduction called the ''prejudice'' against child sex. Disturbingly, the book was aimed at ''social workers, community workers, probation officers and child care workers''.
The public, wrote Dr Taylor, ''generally thinks of paedophiles as sick or evil men who lurk around school playgrounds in the hope of attempting unspecified beastliness with unsuspecting innocent children''. That, he reassured readers, was merely a ''stereotype'', both ''inaccurate and unhelpful'', which flew in the face of the ''empirical realities of paedophile behaviour''. Why, most adult-child sexual relationships occurred in the family!
The perspectives of most, though not all, the contributors, appeared strongly pro-paedophile. At least two were members of PIE and at least one, Peter Righton, (who was, incredibly, director of education at the National Institute for Social Work) was later convicted of child sex crimes. But from the viewpoint of today, the fascinating thing about Perspectives on Paedophilia is that at least two of its contributors are still academically active and influential.
Prof Ken Plummer, left, and former PIE head Tom O'Carroll
Ken Plummer is emeritus professor of sociology at Essex University, where he has an office and teaches courses, the most recent scheduled for last month. ''The isolation, secrecy, guilt and anguish of many paedophiles,'' he wrote in Perspectives on Paedophilia, ''are not intrinsic to the phenomen[on] but are derived from the extreme social repression placed on minorities '...
''Paedophiles are told they are the seducers and rapists of children; they know their experiences are often loving and tender ones. They are told that children are pure and innocent, devoid of sexuality; they know both from their own experiences of childhood and from the children they meet that this is not the case.''
As recently as 2012, Prof Plummer published on his personal blog a chapter he wrote in another book, Male Intergenerational Intimacy, in 1991. ''As homosexuality has become slightly less open to sustained moral panic, the new pariah of 'child molester' has become the latest folk devil,'' he wrote. ''Many adult paedophiles say that boys actively seek out sex partners '... 'childhood' itself is not a biological given but an historically produced social object.''
Prof Plummer confirmed to The Sunday Telegraph that he had been a member of PIE in order to ''facilitate'' his research. He said: ''I would never want any of my work to be used as a rationale for doing 'bad things' '' and I regard all coercive, abusive, exploitative sexuality as a 'bad thing'. I am sorry if it has impacted anyone negatively this way, or if it has encouraged this.'' However, he did not answer when asked if he still held the views he expressed in the Eighties and Nineties. A spokesman for Essex University claimed Prof Plummer's work ''did not express support for paedophilia'' and cited the university's charter which gave academic staff ''freedom within the law to put forward controversial and unpopular opinions without placing themselves in jeopardy''.
Graham Powell is one of the country's most distinguished psychologists, a past president of the British Psychological Society and a current provider of psychology support services to the Serious Organised Crime Agency, the National Crime Squad, the Metropolitan Police, Kent Police, Essex Police and the Internet Watch Foundation.
In Perspectives on Paedophilia, however, he co-authored a chapter which stated: ''In the public mind, paedophile attention is generally assumed to be traumatic and to have lasting and wholly deleterious consequences for the victim. The evidence that we have considered here does not support this view '... we need to ask not why are the effects of paedophile action so large, but why so small.''
The chapter does admit that there were ''methodological problems'' with the studies the authors relied on which ''leave our conclusions somewhat muted''. Dr Powell told The Sunday Telegraph last week that ''what I wrote was completely wrong and it is a matter of deep regret that it could in any way have made things more difficult [for victims]''. He said: ''The literature [scientific evidence] was so poor in 1981, people just didn't realise what was going on. There was a lack of understanding at the academic level.'' Dr Powell said he had never been a member of PIE.
In other academic quarters, with rather fewer excuses, that lack of understanding appears to be reasserting itself. The Cambridge University conference, on July 4-5 last year, was about the classification of sexuality in the DSM, a standard international psychiatric manual used by the police and courts.
After a fierce battle in the American Psychiatric Association (APA), which produces it, a proposal to include hebephilia as a disorder in the new edition of the manual has been defeated. The proposal arose because puberty in children has started ever earlier in recent decades and as a result, it was argued, the current definition of paedophilia '' pre-pubertal sexual attraction '' missed out too many young people.
Ray Blanchard, professor of psychiatry at the University of Toronto, who led the APA's working group on the subject, said that unless some other way was found of encompassing hebephilia in the new manual, that was ''tantamount to stating that the APA's official position is that the sexual preference for early pubertal children is normal''.
Prof Blanchard was in turn criticised by a speaker at the Cambridge conference, Patrick Singy, of Union College, New York, who said hebephilia would be abused as a diagnosis to detain sex offenders as ''mentally ill'' under US ''sexually violent predator'' laws even after they had completed their sentences.
But perhaps the most controversial presentation of all was by Philip Tromovitch, a professor at Doshisha University in Japan, who stated in a presentation on the ''prevalence of paedophilia'' that the ''majority of men are probably paedophiles and hebephiles'' and that ''paedophilic interest is normal and natural in human males''.
O'Carroll, the former PIE leader, was thrilled, and described on his blog how he joined Prof Tromovitch and a colleague for drinks after the conference. ''The conversation flowed most agreeably, along with the drinks and the beautiful River Cam,'' he said.
It's fair to say the Tromovitch view does not represent majority academic opinion. It's likely, too, that some of the academic protests against the ''stigmatisation'' of paedophiles are as much a backlash against the harshness of sex offender laws as anything else. Finally, of course, academic inquiry is supposed to question conventional wisdom and to deal rigorously with the evidence, whether or not the conclusions it leads you to are popular.
Even so, there really is now no shortage of evidence about the harm done by child abuse. In the latest frenzy about the crimes of the past, it's worth watching whether we could, in the future, go back to the intellectual climate which allowed them.
'I won't quit', says head of sex abuse inquiry after brother is linked to paedophile cover-up | Mail Online
Thu, 10 Jul 2014 14:43
Baroness Butler-Sloss faced demands to resign hours after appointmentHer late brother, Sir Michael Havers, was Attorney General under ThatcherIt was during this time that the abuse claims were first madeSir Michael has been accused of presiding over 'cover-up of the century'By James Slack and Daniel Martin
Published: 18:38 EST, 9 July 2014 | Updated: 04:52 EST, 10 July 2014
774shares
147
Viewcomments
The retired judge leading an inquiry into historic sex abuse said she will not quit yesterday, after her brother was linked to an Establishment 'cover-up' of the paedophile ring she will be investigating.
Baroness Butler-Sloss faced demands for her resignation less than 24 hours after she was appointed to lead the Government's probe into abuse by politicians and other powerful figures.
MPs and legal experts said it was inappropriate for her to keep the post given that her late brother, Sir Michael Havers, was Attorney General under Margaret Thatcher when many of the abuse claims were first made.
Scroll down for video
Baroness Butler-Sloss faced demands for her resignation less than 24 hours after she was appointed to lead the Government's probe into abuse by politicians and other powerful figures
Sir Michael was accused of presiding over a 'whitewash' and 'the cover-up of the century' in the 1980s by Geoffrey Dickens MP, who led a campaign to identify members of a paedophile ring allegedly operating in Whitehall, and including an MI6 officer.
Actor Nigel Havers, Sir Michael's son, defended his aunt yesterday. He said she 'had no political ties to my father and knew nothing about what was going on in the House of Commons at that time', adding: 'She has every right to lead the inquiry.'
But Labour MP Simon Danczuk, who exposed Cyril Smith's abuse and led calls for a full inquiry into the alleged official cover-up of child abuse, said: 'It's astonishing the Government didn't realise they were appointing the sister of someone who had tried to deter the prosecution of a significant paedophile. It's far too Establishment '' and the Government need to think again.'
Further doubt was cast on Lady Butler-Sloss's suitability last night when it emerged she had made significant errors in an inquiry into a Church of England paedophile scandal three years ago.
Eight months after her report was published, the peer had to issue a six-page addendum in which she apologised for 'inaccuracies' that arose from her failure to corroborate information provided by senior Anglican figures.
MPs and legal experts said it was inappropriate for her to keep the post given that her late brother, Sir Michael Havers, was Attorney General under Margaret Thatcher when many of the abuse claims were first made
Mr Danczuk said the mistakes 'raise more concerns' about her ability to lead an inquiry into failures by Westminster, Whitehall, the BBC, Church and other public bodies to protect children from abuse. Alison Millar, a lawyer who has represented many victims of child abuse, added: 'The concern is that she is just too close to the Establishment and in particular, [there is] concern over her connection to Sir Michael.'
However, Lady Butler-Sloss '' who also headed the Cleveland inquiry into false accusations of child abuse '' said yesterday: 'If people think I am not suitable then that's up to them.'
Whitehall sources insisted the allegations relating to Sir Michael had been considered before her appointment was announced. A Downing Street spokesman said: 'She commands the very highest respect for her professional expertise and integrity.'
Labour MP Simon Danczuk, who exposed Cyril Smith's abuse and led calls for a full inquiry into the alleged official cover-up of child abuse, said: 'It's astonishing the Government didn't realise they were appointing the sister of someone who had tried to deter the prosecution of a significant paedophile'
Last week the Mail reported the story of Sir Peter Hayman, the deputy under-secretary of state at the Foreign Office, who was also believed to be a senior officer in MI6.
In 1978, Hayman '' a subscriber to the notorious Paedophile Information Exchange '' was caught sending and receiving obscene literature through the post after a package was found on a London bus.
He was named in a report submitted by the Metropolitan Police to the Director of Public Prosecutions '' but never prosecuted. Mr Dickens used Parliamentary privilege to name Hayman and asked Sir Michael if he would prosecute him. In a written answer, Sir Michael replied that he agreed with the Director of Public Prosecutions that there was no need to do so. Mr Dickens called his decision the 'cover-up of the century'.
n David Cameron yesterday backed the NSPCC's demand for new laws to make it an offence not to report child abuse in a children's home, hospital or boarding school. The charity's proposed rules would, however, be limited to so-called closed institutions, where children stay overnight.
Home Office accused of giving funds direct to PIEA whistleblower has accused the Home Office of giving tens of thousands of pounds of public money directly to the Paedophile Information Exchange.
Former civil servant Tim Hulbert said the payments were made to the group at the request of the Metropolitan Police's Special Branch.
His comments cast doubts on the credibility of an internal Home Office inquiry this week that found it did not give any grants directly to PIE, which wanted to decriminalise sex between children and adults.
Westminster whistleblower told to 'back off' over grants to PIE
Former civil servant Tim Hulbert has accused the Home Office of giving tens of thousands of pounds of public money directly to the Paedophile Information Exchange
The report found that while two groups linked to PIE received almost £500,000 from the Home Office, the paedophile group itself did not get any cash.
But Mr Hulbert believes paperwork that could prove grants were paid straight to PIE may be among 114 files relating to child sex abuse lost by the Home Office.
Breaking 35 years of silence, he said he had raised concerns with Clifford Hindley, his boss at the Voluntary Services Unit at the Home Office, when asked to renew a grant in 1979 for PIE, thought to have been worth around £30,000.
He told ITV News he went to Mr Hindley and said: 'Look, Clifford, what the hell are we doing funding an organisation like PIE?'
He added: 'I had young children and PIE were openly campaigning for the reduction of the age of consent to four.
'Secondly, it seemed crazy that we should be funding an organisation that was advocating a lessening of the constraints around child abuse when one of our constituent organisations was the Department of Health, which was spending a lot of money to prevent child abuse.
'I remember having a frank exchange with him about this and his arguments [for continuing payments] were, one, it was recognised as a legitimate if not necessarily appropriate campaigning organisation. Secondly, I have a very clear recollection that he told me it was being funded at the request of Special Branch.'
He said Mr Hindley ordered the grant to be paid.
But the fact that it was a renewal suggests money had also been paid by the Labour government of James Callaghan, which left office in 1979.
It is not known why Special Branch would request the payment, although suspicions have been raised that undercover officers were trying to infiltrate the group to find prominent members who could be blackmailed.
Share or comment on this article
THE PAEDOFILE: It's an Enquiry landslide'....nothing like a landslide for covering things up. | The Slog.
Wed, 09 Jul 2014 14:04
The British Establishment is still struggling with the meaning of the word 'Independent'. It likes to think of us as an independent Sovereign State, but wriggles like a ticklish teen out of every opportunity it gets handed on a plate '' from Juncker yomping to Rompuy revenge '' to leave the EU. Now further evidence is emerging that there seems to be some confusion in the Westminster/Whitehall Blackmailer Belt about whether a large number of obviously pre-programmed Enquiries = an independent outcome.
Mr Peter Wanless of the entirely unblemished NSPCC having been appointed by his fellow-Tory Theresa May to conduct an independent Enquiry into whether Theresa May's Tory Home Office antecedents destroyed, lost and variously rendered non-existent 114 documents relating to former Tory Home Secretary and paedophile suspect Leon Brittan, Elizabeth Butler-Sloss is to chair another Enquiry into historical sex abuse and institutional protection of children from it.
La Sloss is the late Lord Havers' sister'....as in, the same Lord Havers who spearheaded the first Elm House cover-up, and opposed the prosecution of prominent paedophile Peter Righton.
If that makes her independent, then clearly Crimea remains a State entirely independent of Russia.
So these are the new brooms who await us: the head of perhaps the only organisation in British sexual history (the NSPCC) suspected of both covering up and inventing cases of paedophilia at one and the same time; and the sister of the one Attorney General now suspected by almost everyone of having perverted the course of Justice, which was about its business of prosecuting Elm House-visiting perverts until he stuck his oar in.
Meanwhile, ultimate Met Police boss Tory Mayor Boris Johnson currently has his fat arse sitting on is Our Man in Richmond, ensuring that the guilty are found when it comes to the Elm House depravity.
Excellent. MP Simon Dancszuk has expressed dismay at her appointment, but an hour ago (at 11.23 am BST) Butler-Sloss was at a loss to understand why she should withdraw.
Previously on this topic at The Slog: Leon Brittan '' ever the interviewee, never the accused: https://hat4uk.wordpress.com/2014/07/06/brittan-rape-charge-is-this-a-case-of-rebekah-brooks-ii/
Like this:LikeLoading...
Related
UK: Children's homes were 'supply line' for paedophiles, says ex-minister
Wed, 09 Jul 2014 16:20
Link to video: Miliband: 'government slow and piecemeal' over child abuse inquiryPowerful people in the 1980s targeted children's homes that served as a "supply line" for paedophiles, a former health minister has claimed.
As a former child protection manager warned that a "powerful elite" of at least 20 prominent figures carried out the "worst form of abuse", the former health minister Lord Warner described the sexual abuse of children as a "power drive".
Warner, a health minister in 2003-07 who conducted an inquiry into child abuse in Birmingham in 1992, spoke out after the home secretary, Theresa May, announced a national inquiry into how the authorities may have ignored child abuse at Westminster.
The Labour leader, Ed Miliband, said the government's approach had been dilatory and piecemeal. He said: "The inquiry needs to recommend child protection measures for the future. If the government does all those things, we will support them."
He said: "They have been slow and piecemeal getting to this point. I think victims and others need to be able to give testimony and give their evidence.
"It is vital that the inquiry is sufficiently comprehensive and over-arching. The important thing is to get at the truth to get at justice, to get what happened in institutions, and to get the right answers for the future. The appalling examples of child protection abuse we have seen must never be allowed to happen again."
MPs on the home affairs select committee will question Mark Sedwill, the home office's permanent secretary, on Tuesday afternoon over the loss of 114 potentially relevant files on child abuse dating back to the 1980s.
Lord Warner, the former health minister. Photograph: Graham Turner for the GuardianWarner said his inquiry in 1992 showed how children's homes were targeted by powerful paedophiles. He told the Today programme on BBC Radio 4: "Some of these children's homes were targeted by people in power, powerful people. Indeed, sexual abuse of children is a power drive. That's what a lot of it is about.
"It is possible that people who were authoritative, powerful in particular communities did sometimes have access to children's homes. We know for historical purposes that children's homes were a supply line sometimes."
Warner, a director of social services in Kent in the 1980s, said insufficient action was taken to deal with child abuse in that decade because there was "disbelief in the public mind".
He said: "It is pretty distasteful stuff. Society has found it difficult to come to terms with this '... We still had an air of deference about people in authority.
"A cover-up means something is very organised. I think much more of this is about people being insensitive to some of these concerns and not being as preoccupied with protecting vulnerable people '' children and adults."
Peter McKelvie, a former child protection manager whose allegations about child abuse led to a police inquiry in 2012, claimed that at least 20 prominent people abused children.
McKelvie told BBC2's Newsnight: "I believe that there is strong evidence '' and an awful lot of information that can be converted into evidence if it is investigated properly '' that there has been an extremely powerful elite amongst the highest levels of the political classes for as long as I am alive, and I am 65.
"There has been sufficient reason to investigate it over and over again, certainly for the last 30 years. There has always been the block and the cover-up and the collusion to prevent that happening."
He added: "For the first time I have got a belief that survivors will come forward and justice will be served for a lot of survivors. Unfortunately it has been left so late that a lot of the abusers are now dead.
"We are looking at the Lords, we are looking at the Commons, we are looking at the judiciary, we are looking at all institutions where there will be a small percentage of paedophiles and a slightly larger percentage of people who have known about it but have felt that in terms of their own self-interest and self-preservation and for political party reasons it's been safer for them to cover it up rather than deal with it."
McKelvie, who served as a child protection manager in Hereford and Worcester, worked on the conviction of Peter Righton, a founding member of the Paedophile Information Exchange (PIE). Righton, who has since died, was convicted of importing child pornography. McKelvie told police in 2012 that West Mercia police had seven boxes of evidence including letters between Righton and other alleged paedophiles.
On Monday, May told the Commons she was establishing a public inquiry into how complaints of sexual abuse were treated, and sometimes ignored, in public bodies over several decades.
Ministers had been holding out against such a sweeping inquiry, but, facing charges of an establishment cover-up, succumbed and promised there would be no no-go areas for the investigation.
The inquiry will be able to examine the files of the security services and allegations that the Tory whips' office in the 1970s may have suppressed allegations of child abuse by members of the parliamentary party. It is also expected to take some evidence from victims.
Labour MPs pointed to a 1985 BBC documentary in which a former government whip between 1970 and 1973 said the Tory whips' office, when faced by an MP involved in "a scandal with small boys", would get him out of trouble, partly so the MP then felt obliged in the future to carry out the bidding of the whips.
May said she would look at plans, backed in principle by the Labour MP Tom Watson, to require public servants to report allegations of child abuse to officials in a form of mandatory whistleblowing. A duty to report would place some form of culpability on a public official if they knowingly withheld information concerning suspected child abuse.
Sex offenders account for almost half of the increase in people in jail, Chris Grayling suggests - Crime - UK - The Independent
Thu, 10 Jul 2014 14:36
Chris Grayling suggested that sex offenders including paedophiles accounted for almost half of the increase in people in jail over the last year.
Police and charities have said more victims are coming forward to report sex offences following the exposure of the abuse committed by Jimmy Savile and other high profile figures.
Mr Grayling said the trend had been reflected in English and Welsh prisons, whose population has jumped by about 1,600 in the last year.
He told the Commons justice select committee that 700 of the increase was accounted for by sex offenders.
He explained that there was a range of factors for the rising numbers behind bars, but added: ''The most obvious change is there's been quite a big increase in the number of sex offenders coming into our prisons, many of them historic sex abuse cases.
''I think it is something like 700 new people in our prisons in that category.''
The most recent police figures show a 17 per cent rise in numbers of reports of sex offences between 2012 and 2013. The upward trend is in contrast to falls for nearly every other category of crime.
Video: Grayling: offenders will go to jail 'in greater numbers'Police recorded 13,090 sexual offences involving a child under the age of 13, the highest total for a decade, and a 32 per cent rise on the previous 12 months. They include a 54 per cent increase in rapes and sexual assaults on boys aged under 13 and a 25 per cent increase in sexual attacks on girls aged under 13.
Statisticians said the increases were believed to be linked to the publicity surrounding the Savile case, whose prolific offending was first exposed in the autumn of 2012, as well as other celebrities.
Groups working with victims of abuse now feel more confident about speaking out.
The NSPCC said numbers of people ringing its helpline leapt by 60 per cent after Savile's crimes were revealed in a television documentary nearly two years ago. It said around 40 per cent were passed to police or social services for further investigation.
In 'sexting' case Manassas City police want to photograph teen in sexually explicit manner, lawyers say - The Washington Post
Wed, 09 Jul 2014 20:33
A Manassas City teenager accused of ''sexting'' a video to his girlfriend is now facing a search warrant in which Manassas City police and Prince William County prosecutors want to take a photo of his erect penis, possibly forcing the teen to become erect by taking him to a hospital and giving him an injection, the teen's lawyers said. A Prince William County judge allowed the 17-year-old to leave the area without the warrant being served or the pictures being taken '-- yet.
The teen is facing two felony charges, for possession of child pornography and manufacturing child pornography, which could lead not only to incarceration until he's 21, but inclusion on the state sex offender data base for, possibly, the rest of his life. David Culver of NBC Washington first reported the story and interviewed the teen's guardian, his aunt, who was shocked at the lengths Prince William authorities were willing to go to make a sexting case in juvenile court.
''The prosecutor's job is to seek justice,'' said the teen's defense lawyer, Jessica Harbeson Foster. ''What is just about this? How does this advance the interest of the Commonwealth? This is a 17-year-old who goes to school every day, plays football, has never been in trouble with the law before. Now he's saddled with two felonies and the implication that he's a sexual predator. I don't mind trying the case. My goal is to stop the search warrant. I don't want him to go through that. Taking him down to the hospital so he can get an erection in front of all those cops, that's traumatizing.''
Manassas City Police spokeswoman Adrienne Helms said the department would not comment, and Detective David E. Abbott, the lead investigator on the case, did not return a call seeking comment. And no one except a Prince William magistrate has seen the affidavit and search warrant for the photos '-- they aren't made public until after they are served and then returned to the courthouse. The Post is not naming the teen defendant.
Foster said the case began when the teen's 15-year-old girlfriend sent photos of herself to the 17-year-old, who in turn sent her the video in question. The girl has not been charged, and her mother filed a complaint about the boy's video, Foster said. The male teen was served with petitions from juvenile court in early February, and not arrested, but when the case went to trial in juvenile court in June, Foster said prosecutors forgot to certify that the teen was a juvenile. The case was dismissed, but police immediately obtained new charges and also a search warrant for his home. Police also arrested the teen and took him to juvenile jail, where Foster said they took photos of the teen's genitals against his will.
The case was set for trial on July 1, where Foster said Assistant Commonwealth's Attorney Claiborne Richardson told her that her client must either plead guilty or police would obtain another search warrant ''for pictures of his erect penis,'' for comparison to the evidence from the teen's cell phone. Foster asked how that would be accomplished and was told that ''we just take him down to the hospital, give him a shot and then take the pictures that we need.''
The teen declined to plead guilty. Foster said the prosecutor then requested a continuance so police could get a search warrant, which was granted by substitute Juvenile Court Judge Jan Roltsch-Anoll. Two days later, both sides were back in court. Foster had filed a motion to allow her client to travel out of state to visit family. Richardson wanted the teen to comply with the search warrant before he left. Juvenile Court Judge Lisa Baird declined to order that, and allowed the teen to leave the area. But he has another court date on July 15.
Despite the request by the prosecutor in court, Prince William County Commonwealth's Attorney Paul B. Ebert said that police told him ''these allegations [by the lawyers] lack credibility.'' He said he would look into the matter further.
Carlos Flores Laboy, appointed the teen's guardian ad litem in the case, said he thought it was just as illegal for the Manassas City police to create their own child pornography as to investigate the teen for it. ''They're using a statute that was designed to protect children from being exploited in a sexual manner,'' Flores Laboy said, ''to take a picture of this young man in a sexually explicit manner. The irony is incredible.'' The guardian added, ''As a parent myself, I was floored. It's child abuse. We're wasting thousands of dollars and resources and man hours on a sexting case. That's what we're doing.''
Foster said Detective Abbott told her that after obtaining photos of the teen's erect penis he would ''use special software to compare pictures of this penis to this penis. Who does this? It's just crazy.''
Tom Jackman is a native of Northern Virginia and has been covering the region for The Post since 1998. In 2011 he launched The State of NoVa blog, a state strictly defined as the boundaries of four counties and one city: Arlington, Fairfax, Loudoun, Prince William and Alexandria.
SECTION: {section=local, subsection=null}!!!INITIAL commentConfig: {includereply=true, canvas_permalink_id=washpost.com/8bvh5zpd9k, allow_comments=true, commentmaxlength=2000, includeshare=true, display_comments=true, canvas_permalink_app_instance=bg52e9xhqr, display_more=true, moderationrequired=false, includefeaturenotification=true, comments_period=14, defaultsort=reverseChronological, canvas_allcomments_id=washpost.com/km4ey0dajm, includevoteofftopic=false, allow_videos=false, includesorts=true, markerdisplay=post_commenter:Post Commenter|staff:Post Writer|top_commenter:Post Forum|top_local:Washingtologist|top_sports:SuperFan|fact_checker:Fact Checker|post_recommended:Post Recommended|world_watcher:World Watcher|cultuer_connoisseur:Culture Connoisseur|weather_watcher:Capital Weather Watcher|post_contributor:Post Contributor, childrenitemsperpage=3, includeheader=true, includeverifiedcommenters=true, defaulttab=all, includerecommend=true, includereport=true, maxitemstop=2, source=washpost.com, allow_photos=false, maxitems=7, display_ugc_photos=false, includepause=true, canvas_allcomments_app_instance=6634zxcgfd, includepermalink=false}!!!UGC FROM ARTICLE: !!!
FINAL commentConfig: {includereply=true, canvas_permalink_id=washpost.com/8bvh5zpd9k, allow_comments=true, commentmaxlength=2000, includeshare=true, display_comments=true, canvas_permalink_app_instance=bg52e9xhqr, display_more=true, moderationrequired=false, includefeaturenotification=true, comments_period=14, defaultsort=reverseChronological, canvas_allcomments_id=washpost.com/km4ey0dajm, includevoteofftopic=false, allow_videos=false, includesorts=true, markerdisplay=post_commenter:Post Commenter|staff:Post Writer|top_commenter:Post Forum|top_local:Washingtologist|top_sports:SuperFan|fact_checker:Fact Checker|post_recommended:Post Recommended|world_watcher:World Watcher|cultuer_connoisseur:Culture Connoisseur|weather_watcher:Capital Weather Watcher|post_contributor:Post Contributor, childrenitemsperpage=3, includeheader=true, includeverifiedcommenters=true, defaulttab=all, includerecommend=true, includereport=true, maxitemstop=2, source=washpost.com, allow_photos=false, maxitems=7, display_ugc_photos=false, includepause=true, canvas_allcomments_app_instance=6634zxcgfd, includepermalink=false}!!
SECTION: {section=local, subsection=null}!!!INITIAL commentConfig: {includereply=true, canvas_permalink_id=washpost.com/8bvh5zpd9k, allow_comments=true, commentmaxlength=2000, includeshare=true, display_comments=true, canvas_permalink_app_instance=bg52e9xhqr, display_more=true, moderationrequired=false, includefeaturenotification=true, comments_period=14, defaultsort=reverseChronological, canvas_allcomments_id=washpost.com/km4ey0dajm, includevoteofftopic=false, allow_videos=false, includesorts=true, markerdisplay=post_commenter:Post Commenter|staff:Post Writer|top_commenter:Post Forum|top_local:Washingtologist|top_sports:SuperFan|fact_checker:Fact Checker|post_recommended:Post Recommended|world_watcher:World Watcher|cultuer_connoisseur:Culture Connoisseur|weather_watcher:Capital Weather Watcher|post_contributor:Post Contributor, childrenitemsperpage=3, includeheader=true, includeverifiedcommenters=true, defaulttab=all, includerecommend=true, includereport=true, maxitemstop=2, source=washpost.com, allow_photos=false, maxitems=7, display_ugc_photos=false, includepause=true, canvas_allcomments_app_instance=6634zxcgfd, includepermalink=false}!!!UGC FROM ARTICLE: !!!
FINAL commentConfig: {includereply=true, canvas_permalink_id=washpost.com/8bvh5zpd9k, allow_comments=true, commentmaxlength=2000, includeshare=true, display_comments=true, canvas_permalink_app_instance=bg52e9xhqr, display_more=true, moderationrequired=false, includefeaturenotification=true, comments_period=14, defaultsort=reverseChronological, canvas_allcomments_id=washpost.com/km4ey0dajm, includevoteofftopic=false, allow_videos=false, includesorts=true, markerdisplay=post_commenter:Post Commenter|staff:Post Writer|top_commenter:Post Forum|top_local:Washingtologist|top_sports:SuperFan|fact_checker:Fact Checker|post_recommended:Post Recommended|world_watcher:World Watcher|cultuer_connoisseur:Culture Connoisseur|weather_watcher:Capital Weather Watcher|post_contributor:Post Contributor, childrenitemsperpage=3, includeheader=true, includeverifiedcommenters=true, defaulttab=all, includerecommend=true, includereport=true, maxitemstop=2, source=washpost.com, allow_photos=false, maxitems=7, display_ugc_photos=false, includepause=true, canvas_allcomments_app_instance=6634zxcgfd, includepermalink=false}!!
Report: Police Get Warrant To Photograph Teen's Erect Penis In Sexting Case
Wed, 09 Jul 2014 20:33
Police and prosecutors in Virginia allegedly obtained a search warrant to photograph the erect penis of a teenager who is facing child pornography charges in a sexting case, the Washington Post reported on Wednesday.
Lawyers for the 17-year-old boy, whose name is being withheld, complained to the newspaper about the search warrant, allegedly obtained by the Manassas City police and Prince William County prosecutors. The teen is facing felony charges for child pornography, stemming from an alleged instance of receiving sexual pictures from his 15-year-old girlfriend and sending a video to her, according to the Post. If convicted, he could be sentenced to incarceration and be forced to register as a sex offender, the newspaper reported.
One of the teen's lawyers, Jessica Harbeson Foster, said she was told that the police would "just take him down to the hospital, give him a shot and then take the pictures that we need.'' So far, a local judge has allowed the teen to avoid the warrant, the Post reported, letting him leave the area without complying.
''The prosecutor's job is to seek justice,'' Foster said. ''What is just about this? How does this advance the interest of the Commonwealth? This is a 17-year-old who goes to school every day, plays football, has never been in trouble with the law before. Now he's saddled with two felonies and the implication that he's a sexual predator. I don't mind trying the case. My goal is to stop the search warrant. I don't want him to go through that. Taking him down to the hospital so he can get an erection in front of all those cops, that's traumatizing.''
Law enforcement officials declined to comment to the Post. The next court date in the case is July 15.
Regime Change
REGIME CHANGE-Ashraf Ghani: From the World Bank to Afghanistan's next president? - Telegraph
Wed, 09 Jul 2014 16:38
He worked for the World Bank in the 1990s only returning to Kabul in 2001 as a senior United Nations official after the fall of the Taliban. He soon joined Hamid Karzai's government, putting his economic expertise to use as finance minister, persuading donors to invest in the country and setting up a new currency.
That did not help him in the flawed 2009 election when he polled less than 3 per cent of the vote during a campaign in which he was labelled ''Zana-e Bush'' or wife of George W Bush.
He learned from that experience.
This time around, at the age of 65, he allied himself with the notorious figure of General Abdul Rashid Dostum. Although it meant he was tainted with General Dostum's alleged crimes '' responsible for fuelling years of civil war in the 1990s and once claiming to have punished thieving soldiers by tying them to moving tanks - it delivered up hundreds of thousands of ethnic Uzbek votes.
For this election he also began using his tribal name of Ahmadzai, to highlights his roots among the majority Pashtun tribe who traditionally pick the winner.
And his young campaign team was by far the most visible on Twitter and Facebook, providing frequent updates and generating a sense of excitement lacking in his main rivals.
He is known for his disciplined daily routine, a legacy of his brush with cancer. The disease destroyed much of his stomach and immune system, forcing him to snack on rice and bananas through the day rather than consuming a full meal.
Question marks remain about his suitability for the top job, including accusations of impatience and arrogance when dealing with tribal Afghans '' who will need constant attention if he is to stay in power - rather than the Western educated diplomats or economists he encounters in Kabul salons. And he will struggle to shake off accusations of fraud after doubling his vote between April's first round and June's second round.
Most international officials refused to be drawn on who they wanted to win. They were content to say they could do business with both Abdullah Abdullah, the former foreign minister who led after the first round, and Mr Ghani.
Both were ready to sign a security deal with the US and had made the right noises on tackling rampant corruption.
But there could still be one difficulty for the brilliant technocrat brimming with ideas.
As one well-placed observer put it: ''Abdullah doesn't have many policies. Ashraf Ghani's problem might be that he has too many.''
U.S. Mediating Disputed Afghan Election Risks Blame.
Wed, 09 Jul 2014 22:34
The U.S. risks being blamed for taking sides in Afghanistan's election as Secretary of State John Kerry travels to Kabul this week in an effort to mediate the dispute between the country's rival presidential candidates.
Abdullah Abdullah, who came in second in an initial count that he says was tainted by fraud, said yesterday that Kerry planned to visit Kabul on July 11 to discuss the disputed results.
While the ultimate loser of the election and his supporters may fault the U.S. for stepping in, the Obama administration has no choice because a fractured Afghanistan would undermine American interests in the region, said David Sedney, a former Pentagon official who oversaw policy for the war-ravaged country.
''The risks of acting are high, but the risks of not acting are higher,'' said Sedney, who's now affiliated with the Alliance in Support of the Afghan People, a nonprofit group that favors a continued U.S. presence in the country.
The Obama administration, faced with foreign-policy crises from Ukraine to Iraq, is taking a renewed interest in Afghanistan after months of signaling that the U.S. was willing to pull out all of its troops early next year in the absence of a bilateral security agreement. Both of the presidential candidates have pledged to sign the accord that the departing President Hamid Karzai has spurned.
Photographer: Shah Marai/AFP/Getty ImagesAbdullah Abdullah, who came in second in an initial count that he says was tainted by fraud, said yesterday that Kerry planned to visit Kabul on July 11 to discuss the disputed results. Close
Abdullah Abdullah, who came in second in an initial count that he says was tainted by... Read More
Close
OpenPhotographer: Shah Marai/AFP/Getty ImagesAbdullah Abdullah, who came in second in an initial count that he says was tainted by fraud, said yesterday that Kerry planned to visit Kabul on July 11 to discuss the disputed results.
Obama's CallsAshraf Ghani Ahmadzai, a former finance minister, received 56 percent of about 8 million votes, with Abdullah getting 44 percent in the second-round runoff, according to the initial results announced on July 7 by Afghanistan's Independent Election Commission.
President Barack Obama has called both Abdullah and Ghani ''as part of our ongoing efforts to call for calm and emphasize the need for political dialogue as last month's election results are tabulated,'' the White House said last night in a statement.
While urging ''a thorough review of all reasonable allegations of fraud,'' Obama warned against a resort ''to violent or extra-constitutional means, which would result in the end of U.S. assistance to Afghanistan,'' according to the statement.
Abdullah, a former foreign minister, had led the first round of the election in April with 45 percent of 7 million votes cast, with Ghani taking 32 percent. Neither garnered the majority needed to avoid a runoff.
Auditing VotesThe increased number of ballots cast in the second round raised suspicions of fraud, Sayed Fazel Sancharaki, a spokesman for Abdullah, said by phone. The two sides have agreed to audit votes in 7,000 polling stations, or about a third of the total, Sancharaki said.
Abdullah has sought to void about 2.5 million votes in southern and eastern regions, saying the number of ballots exceeded the population in certain areas. A senior election official he had accused of fraud resigned last month.
Ghani has urged calm and asked his supporters to avoid celebratory gunshots. He said he welcomed an investigation into poll fraud and said he's open to political negotiations.
''We want a united, prosperous and stable Afghanistan,'' Ghani said. ''We expect Dr. Abdullah won't move the country into another crisis.''
Ghani is an ethnic Pashtun who served as Afghanistan's finance minister from 2002 to 2004 and finished fourth in the 2009 election. He holds a doctorate in cultural anthropology from Columbia University in New York.
Declaring VictoryAbdullah is half-Pashtun and half-Tajik. He was a close aide to Northern Alliance commander Ahmad Shah Massoud, an ethnic Tajik seen by many Afghans as a national hero for fighting against Soviet occupiers in the 1980s and the Taliban in the 1990s.
Abdullah has tried to strike a balance between pressure from his supporters and the risk of fracturing the country. He declared victory and threatened to announce his own government while calling on his backers to give him more time to negotiate an outcome.
Asked about Abdullah's decision to claim victory in the election, U.S. State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said, ''That is not acceptable.''
''We're not doing a day-by-day grading system here, but certainly we don't think that would be a productive step moving forward,'' Psaki said at a briefing in Washington yesterday.
Civilian DeathsAfghan civilian casualties rose 24 percent in the first half of 2014 from a year earlier, according to a report by the United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights in Kabul.
Seventeen people were killed and 12 wounded in clashes between Afghan forces and militants in Kandahar province, Dawa Khan Menapal, a spokesman for the southern province, said by phone. These include 11 suicide attackers, four civilians and two policemen, he said, adding that no group has claimed responsibility.
Beyond the U.S. role in helping to resolve the vote-count dispute, it could play a role in prodding both candidates toward forming a loose coalition government, said Zalmay Khalilzad, a former U.S. ambassador to Afghanistan and Iraq who's now president of Gryphon Partners, a Washington-based consulting firm.
Citing examples of coalition governments in post-World War II Europe, the losing side could be given policy making and non-executive branch roles, Khalilzad said at an event hosted by the Atlantic Council in Washington yesterday.
While the Obama administration may be reluctant to become involved in arranging such a coalition ''my own judgment is that you need progress on both strands to get this resolved,'' Khalilzad said in a brief interview.
''Regardless who is the winner, one could make progress on what will happen to the team that's not going to win,'' Khalilzad said. ''The Afghans have the lead on that, but we can play a catalytic role.''
To contact the reporters on this story: Gopal Ratnam in Washington at gratnam1@bloomberg.net; Eltaf Najafizada in Kabul at enajafizada1@bloomberg.net
To contact the editors responsible for this story: John Walcott at jwalcott9@bloomberg.net Larry Liebert, Justin Blum
Bank$ters
Spain Issues Retroactive 0.03% Tax on Bank Deposits to "Boost Economic Growth and Job Creation"
Wed, 09 Jul 2014 16:21
Via translation from Libre Mercado, Spain will retroactively tax bank deposits to January 1, 2014 stating the move will boost growth and job creation.
Guru Huky correctly labeled the tax for what it is "More than a tax, this looks like a mini seizure of deposits. Someone likely needs a few million and to balance the books."
The notion that a tax increase will boost the economy is of course absurd. But don't worry, it's only 0.03%, nudge nudge, wink wink ... for now.
Mike "Mish" Shedlockhttp://globaleconomicanalysis.blogspot.com
SDR
France Says Boosting Use of Euro Is Issue of 'Global Balance'
Wed, 09 Jul 2014 16:21
French Finance Minister Michel Sapin said euro area governments need to look at ways of bolstering the use of the euro in international transactions as a matter of ''global balance.''
The remarks come a week after Paris-based bank BNP Paribas (BNP) SA was slapped with a $8.97 billion fine by U.S. authorities for transactions carried out in dollars in countries facing American sanctions. The fine spurred debate in France about the right of the U.S. in extending its regulatory reach beyond its borders.
''This is not a fight against dollar imperialism,'' Sapin said in an interview with Bloomberg Television in Aix-en-Provence, France. ''We sell ourselves aircraft in dollars. Is that really necessary? I don't think so.''
Euro area finance ministers will discuss ways of increasing the use of the euro tomorrow in Brussels, Sapin said. The French finance minister received support from Christophe de Margerie, head of French oil company Total SA (FP), who said yesterday that he sees no reason for oil purchases to be made in dollars, adding that it makes sense to expand the use of other currencies in transactions outside the U.S.
''Nothing prevents anyone from paying for oil in euros,'' de Margerie said in Aix-en-Provence. ''The price of a barrel of oil is quoted in dollars. A refinery can take that price and using the euro-dollar exchange rate on any given day, agree to make the payment in euros.''
To contact the reporters on this story: Mark Deen in Paris at markdeen@bloomberg.net; Caroline Connan in London at cconnan@bloomberg.net
To contact the editors responsible for this story: Craig Stirling at cstirling1@bloomberg.net Vidya Root
Russia approves creation of BRICS foreign exchange fund
Wed, 09 Jul 2014 16:24
The new BRICS fund will have $100 billion, though it is formed only by five countries. Source: Alamy / Legion Media
The Russian Government signed a draft agreement on the creation of a $100 billion pool of currency reserves that the BRICS countries are forming to guard against financial shocks. According to the document, the countries' dollar reserves will remain on the balance sheets of their central banks. However, these reserves can be made available at the request of one of the parties.
Vasily Yakimkin, a senior lecturer at the Russian Presidential Academy of National Economy and Public Administration (RANEPA), says two substructures are being created under the project. The stabilisation fund with capital of $100 billion would be a direct competitor with the IMF. China would contribute $41 billion, Brazil, Russia and India, $18 billion each and South Africa $5 billion. The second substructure would be a new development bank will come into being with a start-up capital of $50 billion, with each country contributing $10 billion. ''As expected, the agreements on the creation of these structures will soon be signed at the summit of the heads of the BRICS countries in Brazil on July 15,'' Yamikin says. ''The structures will start functioning starting in 2015.'' He adds that each of the BRICS countries wants to host the headquarters of the new institution.
Yakimkin says that the development bank will fund various institutional or infrastructural projects in other countries, notably in Africa. The new currency fund will be a ''mutual aid fund'' to be used in case one of the BRICS countries encounters any financial problems. Russia, India, and Brazil can count on a loan equal to their contribution to the pool, while, as a rule, China's access to the liquidity is limited to half of its share. ''This project will significantly reduce the future volatility of the currency markets of developing countries, which several months ago endured a serious downturn while the IMF did not help,'' says Yakimkin. The fall of the BRICS countries' currencies began in summer 2013 when the Brazilian real and Russian rouble dropped to their four year lows in relation to the dollar and the Indian rupee tumbled to a historic low.
Key impacts
The total volume of funds in the IMF is currently $369.05 billion, but the new BRICS fund will have $100 billion, though it is formed only by five countries. ''The decision of the BRICS countries about the creation of a supranational organization analogous to the IMF seems logical and correct, says Anton Soroko, an analyst from the investment holding company FINAM. ''At the moment, the IMF has become something unwieldy and is practically not being reformed.'' Soroko adds that the US is blocking the recapitalization of the IMF by developing countries since it risks losing a considerable amount of influence.
Vasily Yakimkin says the IMF delays lending for infrastructural and investment projects in developing countries, while overcharging interest.
According to UFSIC macroeconomics analyst Vasiliy Ukharskiy, if the project for the creation of a rival to the IMF is realized, and the bank functions properly, this will definitely bring the BRICS group to a new level. ''The most important thing is for the new organization not to suffer from the same problems that the IMF has '' otherwise it will just be an attempt to gain control over the supranational economic superstructure,'' Anton Soroko adds. ''I think that the parallel existence of these structures may bring benefits as they will one way or another start to compete for member-participants, which will push them to the more thoughtful evaluation of problems, and consequently, their solutions.''
BRICS to launch New Development Bank next week: Russia.
Wed, 09 Jul 2014 22:46
The initiative became more acutely needed after an inflow of cheap dollars fuelled a boom in the BRICS for a decade and then reversed to a sharp outflow last year.
"We have reached an agreement that, in current conditions of capital volatility, it is important for our countries to have this buffer in addition to the International Monetary Fund," Siluanov said.
Read MorePE firms swap BRICs for SE Asia, Africa
But the framework agreement to be signed in Brazil will not include any direct commitments, which are due to come later when the central banks sign agreements.
A senior Brazilian official who participates in the negotiations said the pool could become operational as soon as in 2015.
According to the agreement, the cash will continue to be held in the reserves of each BRICS country, but it can be transferred if needed to another member to soften volatility in its foreign exchange market.
China, holder of the world's largest foreign exchange reserves, will contribute the bulk of the contingency currency pool, or $41 billion.
Read MoreLast 'BRIC' standing: Why analysts like India now
Brazil, India and Russia will chip in $18 billion each and South Africa $5 billion.
"It is to be a mechanism that could react swiftly to capital outflow by offering swap operations .. in dollars," Siluanov said.
If a need arises, China will be eligible to ask for half of its contribution, South Africa for double and the remaining countries the amount they put in.
"Some countries may put in less, but their needs are also greater, proportionally," Siluanov said.
A BRICS member would be able to immediately get 30 percent of its eligible share and the remaining 70 percent only with a stabilisation programme from the IMF, Siluanov said.
- By Reuters
Chiner$
Latin American Herald Tribune - Nicaraguan Lawmaker: Our Canal Won't Compete with Panama's
Tue, 08 Jul 2014 04:40
MANAGUA '' The interoceanic canal that Nicaragua plans to build will not compete with Panama's because it does not target the same market segment, a senior Nicaraguan ruling party lawmaker said.The statement by Edwin Castro, head of the Sandinista bloc in the National Assembly, comes in the same week that the government is expected to unveil the route of the canal.
The concessionaire, China's HKND Group, says the Nicaraguan facility will be able to accommodate ships of double the cargo capacity that the Panama Canal can allow.
''We're not entering into any market competition with Panama,'' Castro said in an exposition of the project to university students at the National Assembly.
Even once it is expanded, the Panama Canal will only be able to accept ships of up to 12,000 TEUs (20-foot equivalent units), a market not sought by the Nicaragua project, Castro said.
''Nicaragua's canal will have a much wider strip across the country, in other words, it will be able to admit much bigger ships than would fit in the Panama Canal, even when it's enlarged,'' the politician said.
HKND Group has said that its infrastructure could admit Super-Post-Panamax ships of up to 23,000 TEUs.
The company recently announced that it will also construct two ports, a free-trade zone, resorts, an international airport and several highways.
Nicaragua estimates an investment of around $40 billion, but HKND Group has not confirmed that figure.
Nigeria
Kidnapped Nigerian girls 'escape from Boko Haram abductors'
Tue, 08 Jul 2014 02:29
An official with a Borno state vigilante group said the group took a chance to flee when the insurgents went to attack soldiers and police officers in Bamboa on Friday night and Saturday morning.
''I have just received an alert from my colleagues in Damboa area that about 63 of the abducted women and girls had made it back home. They took the bold step when their abductors moved out to carry out an operation'', the official, Abbas Gava, said according to Nigeria's Premium Times.
''We don't have the details of their escape yet, but we believe God gave them the opportunity at the time the insurgents came in their large numbers to attack Damboa where about 12 soldiers, five policemen, over 50 Boko Haram members and unspecified number of civilians were killed yesterday (Saturday).''
He added that it was thought five women and two girls were still being held by the group.
A security officer told the Nigerian Bulletin that there was ''no doubt'' about the report.
''I guess it was during the time the gunmen were attacking Damboa; left behind just some few men to watch over the women, but the women took advantage of an opportunity when the guys were dozing off, and bolted away but quietly,'' he said.
Video: Who are Boko Haram? Kidnap and ransom is a major source of income for Boko Haram. In April, there was global outrage when a group of nearly 300 schoolgirls were taken from Chibok, also in Borno state. About 220 of those girls are still being held.
That sparked the international Bring Back Our Girls campaign with a number of prominent people, including US First Lady, Michelle Obama, joining in.
Vaccine$
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Family Planning - Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
Tue, 08 Jul 2014 01:37
We work with countries that are committed to expanding access to high-quality, voluntary family planning to reduce maternal and newborn mortality. Our deepest engagements are in India and Nigeria. We also work with public and private partners and make selected investments in Indonesia, Pakistan, Ethiopia, Kenya, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
In francophone West Africa, we are core members of the Ouagadougou Partnership for Family Planning, and support Senegal and Niger to implement supply and demand approaches that can inform practice across countries in that region.
We work to keep family planning on the global agenda and to hold donors and developing countries accountable for their commitments to support family planning. Our work in this area includes grantmaking, direct advocacy, communications counsel and support, and engagement with leaders.
To monitor changes in contraceptive use and help all FP2020 countries track annual progress toward their goals and improve program performance, we are investing in rapid surveys that will provide data on family planning use in 6- and 12-month intervals, supplementing country-wide health surveys that provide data only every 3 to 5 years.
A mother and newborn in Uttar Pradesh, India
We are also leading the effort to harmonize the way various organizations track family planning resources. The new data systems will use standard metrics and provide reliable data at the national and sub-national levels. Better data and monitoring are crucial to holding donors, governments, programs, and providers accountable.
Better service delivery is critical to expanding access to and use of contraceptives, particularly in the poorest countries with the weakest health service infrastructure. We build evidence about what works to address supply and demand barriers on a large scale and in multiple countries, promote collaboration between the public and private sectors on delivery solutions, and synthesize and communicate research findings to donors, countries, and partners.
Some women do not access or use contraceptives for a variety of reasons, even when they want to avoid pregnancy. They may have misconceptions about their risk of becoming pregnant, or be deterred by the cost, inconvenience, or concerns about side effects. In some cases, opposition from family members or a limited range of available methods can be a key factor in non use.
Less than 20 percent of women in Sub-Saharan Africa and barely one-third of women in South Asia use modern contraceptives.
Continued innovation in contraceptive technology is needed to address these barriers and meet the demands of women in different circumstances and at different stages of their lives. We support the discovery, development, and distribution of new technologies that address reasons for non-use, with a focus on improving acceptance and continued use among priority user groups: women who have achieved their desired family size, women who are not using an existing methods due to side effects, and young women. These long-term investments will address contraceptive needs far beyond 2020 and will also include collaboration with the foundation's HIV program to develop new technologies that prevent both pregnancy and HIV acquisition.
Remote-controlled chip could be the future of contraceptives - CNET
Mon, 07 Jul 2014 04:56
A tiny chip implanted under a woman's skin can deliver hormonal birth control for up to 16 years and is entering pre-clinical trials next year.
MicroCHIPS
If you could have safe, effective, long-term birth control that you didn't have to think about, would you jump at the chance? That's what's being proposed by a company called MicroCHIPS of Lexington Massachusetts -- in the form of a chip to be implanted under the skin.
The chip, just 20 x 20 x 7 millimetres, is designed to last up to 16 years -- about half of a woman's reproductive lifespan -- delivering a daily dose of 30mg of levonorgestrel, used in several hormonal contraceptives and emergency contraceptives. In the event a couple wants to conceive, the woman can use a remote control to turn the chip off, and then back on again when she needs to.
The implications of the technology go beyond contraceptives. Inside the chip is a reservoir array which contains and protects the hormone. In these reservoirs, however, any drug could be placed, to be released on demand, or according to a pre-programmed schedule.
"These arrays are designed for compatibility with pre-programmed microprocessors, wireless telemetry, or sensor feedback loops to provide active control," the MicroCHIPS web page reads. "Individual device reservoirs can be opened on demand or on a predetermined schedule to precisely control drug release or sensor activation."
The chip releases the contents of the reservoir when a minute electric current from a small internal battery is passed through the hermetic titanium and platinum seal, melting it and allowing the dose to release into the body.
So far, the chips have been tested in a human clinical trial, delivering osteoporosis medication to post-menopausal women over a one-month period, demonstrating that the technology works, producing no adverse immune reaction, and demonstrating the durability of the chip. The device was implanted using a local anaesthetic, and the procedure took no more than 30 minutes.
There are still some logistics to work out -- such as encrypting the chips to keep wireless data secure -- but the concept has been proven to work as desired.
Now, as part of the Bill & Miranda Gates Foundation Family Planning program, the team, led by MIT's Robert Langer, is adapting it for contraceptives, and hopes to have FDA approval for pre-clinical trials next year, with a view to have it available on the market by 2018.
MicroCHIPS Technology
Tue, 08 Jul 2014 01:36
TECHNOLOGYmicrochips' technology is based on proprietary reservoir arrays that are used to store and protect potent drugs within the body for long periods of time. These arrays are designed for compatibility with preprogrammed microprocessors, wireless telemetry, or sensor feedback loops to provide active control. Individual device reservoirs can be opened on demand or on a predetermined schedule to precisely control drug release or sensor activation.
Our reservoir-based platform can also be used in passive control systems without microprocessors or power sources. microchips' passive systems are designed to release or expose their contents based on the controlled degradation of polymeric matrices over time. These systems form the basis for miniature insertable devices that provide maximum flexibility for device placement.
Intellectual PropertyOur intellectual property portfolio supports our platform technologies and commercial products in development with approximately 140 issued or pending patents. These patents range from microreservoir fabrication and control, to long-term implantable technologies and wireless communications, as well as protein and peptide formulations for challenging delivery conditions.
microchips' intellectual property portfolio encompasses 140 issued or pending patents on platform technologies and commercial products in development.
1/3 of All Americans Already Implanted with RFID Chip | Zen Gardner
Wed, 09 Jul 2014 21:42
Red Ice Creations
In a shocking study it was recently revealed that 1 in 3 individuals tested had an active RFID in them, and they were unaware of it
In a publication from the Wyoming Institute of Technology (WIT) ''Analysis of Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) Chip Prevalence in 3 Discrete United States Populations'', it has been reported that doctors tested 2955 Americans from different geographic locations and walks of life.
The test subjects were stripped down and scanned bodily to see if RFID chips could be detected.
From the abstract: (emphasis ours)
''Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) Chips have been used extensively in wildlife ecology and conservation to identify and track individual specimens in a population. It has been unknown, however, how often RFID chips have been implanted in human populations for the tracking and identification of individuals. This study analyzed the prevalence of RFID Chips in 3 geographically discrete populations and found that, on average, 1 in 3 individuals carried an RFID Chip. Interestingly, there was a strong correlation with RFID Chip presence and previous dental work.''
Far from knowingly implanting the RFID chips in their hands as is often reported in the media, the majority detected by the researchers were from dental work - fillings, bridges, crowns, etc. The chips are often inserted during the manufacturing process, and the patient is never aware of its existence.
A report on RFID implants from The Open Dentistry Journal explains:
A general dentist without any special training or assistance from a laboratory technician can easily perform the incorporation of a microchip transponder in a denture and the procedure is extremely economical. Its inclusion offers many benefits in dental prosthetic labeling; allowing not only the storage of patient's medical records on a searchable database, but also information on the materials used and so providing traceability. Ultimately the chip could play an invaluable forensic role in assisting with human identification.
In the end, the WIT researchers conclude, ''Our work has shown that approximately 1 in 3 individuals in the United States is carrying an RFID microchip.''
Being implanted without knowledge or giving permission is not a new phenomenon. For years people have claimed to have inexplicable implants, but are often ridiculed or dismissed. Anthony Gucciardi from Activist Post writes about a man who took legal action against a government hospital for microchip implant:
A Danish man has filed a writ against Alexandra Hospital for secretly implanting a microchip inside of his body during a 1988 operation, which he says later caused him to hear voices.
After being stabbed in the lung, Mr. Mogens Tindhof Honore received surgery at the hospital in his chest and lung. Later, in 1997, X-rays revealed a metal instrument akin to a microchip present in his left lung. At the time of the operation, Alexandra Hospital was a government hospital under the Ministry of Health.
The former seaman said that after being discharged from the hospital in 1988, he kept hearing voices in his head and could not lead a normal life. In addition to feeling unwell and coughing up blood, Mr. Honore said that strange individuals would walk up to him on the street and speak to him about outlandish subject matters.
Honore may have been implanted with an RFID chip
'(Mr Honore) also discovered and experienced that strange people on the streets would approach and speak to (him) about strange subject matters or pass strange irrelevant comments,' according to the papers filed.
Feeling constantly tracked and plagued by unusual medical problems, Mr. Honore felt a ''perpetual state of apprehension and fear for the safety of his life.'' Unable to hold his job and live a normal life, Honore returned to Alexandra Hospital in order to investigate his condition. The hospital turned him away, stating that they had no record of his stay.
[...]
In a shocking study it was recently revealed that 1 in 3 individuals tested had an active RFID in them, and they were unaware of it
In a publication from the Wyoming Institute of Technology (WIT) ''Analysis of Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) Chip Prevalence in 3 Discrete United States Populations'', it has been reported that doctors tested 2955 Americans from different geographic locations and walks of life.
The test subjects were stripped down and scanned bodily to see if RFID chips could be detected.
From the abstract: (emphasis ours)
''Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) Chips have been used extensively in wildlife ecology and conservation to identify and track individual specimens in a population. It has been unknown, however, how often RFID chips have been implanted in human populations for the tracking and identification of individuals. This study analyzed the prevalence of RFID Chips in 3 geographically discrete populations and found that, on average, 1 in 3 individuals carried an RFID Chip. Interestingly, there was a strong correlation with RFID Chip presence and previous dental work.''
Far from knowingly implanting the RFID chips in their hands as is often reported in the media, the majority detected by the researchers were from dental work - fillings, bridges, crowns, etc. The chips are often inserted during the manufacturing process, and the patient is never aware of its existence.
A report on RFID implants from The Open Dentistry Journal explains:
A general dentist without any special training or assistance from a laboratory technician can easily perform the incorporation of a microchip transponder in a denture and the procedure is extremely economical. Its inclusion offers many benefits in dental prosthetic labeling; allowing not only the storage of patient's medical records on a searchable database, but also information on the materials used and so providing traceability. Ultimately the chip could play an invaluable forensic role in assisting with human identification.
In the end, the WIT researchers conclude, ''Our work has shown that approximately 1 in 3 individuals in the United States is carrying an RFID microchip.''
Being implanted without knowledge or giving permission is not a new phenomenon. For years people have claimed to have inexplicable implants, but are often ridiculed or dismissed. Anthony Gucciardi from Activist Post writes about a man who took legal action against a government hospital for microchip implant:
A Danish man has filed a writ against Alexandra Hospital for secretly implanting a microchip inside of his body during a 1988 operation, which he says later caused him to hear voices.
After being stabbed in the lung, Mr. Mogens Tindhof Honore received surgery at the hospital in his chest and lung. Later, in 1997, X-rays revealed a metal instrument akin to a microchip present in his left lung. At the time of the operation, Alexandra Hospital was a government hospital under the Ministry of Health.
The former seaman said that after being discharged from the hospital in 1988, he kept hearing voices in his head and could not lead a normal life. In addition to feeling unwell and coughing up blood, Mr. Honore said that strange individuals would walk up to him on the street and speak to him about outlandish subject matters.
Honore may have been implanted with an RFID chip
'(Mr Honore) also discovered and experienced that strange people on the streets would approach and speak to (him) about strange subject matters or pass strange irrelevant comments,' according to the papers filed.
Feeling constantly tracked and plagued by unusual medical problems, Mr. Honore felt a ''perpetual state of apprehension and fear for the safety of his life.'' Unable to hold his job and live a normal life, Honore returned to Alexandra Hospital in order to investigate his condition. The hospital turned him away, stating that they had no record of his stay.
[...]
In June 2011, Honore underwent an operation at Mount Elizabeth Hospital to remove the fragment.
The numbers of c hipped individuals must surely be on the rise in the U.S. and worldwide, as tracking chips are being used in many various fields, and patients and their families are lining up to receive them.
In June 2011, Honore underwent an operation at Mount Elizabeth Hospital to remove the fragment.
The numbers of c hipped individuals must surely be on the rise in the U.S. and worldwide, as tracking chips are being used in many various fields, and patients and their families are lining up to receive them.
MORE
===
zengardner.com
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Vials containing smallpox virus discovered in US - The Times of India on Mobile
Wed, 09 Jul 2014 14:18
LONDON: In a development that has left both the World Health Organization and US Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) worried, vials containing the deadly smallpox virus has been discovered by a US government scientist, lying forgotten in the cupboard of a building in Washington.This is the first time that unaccounted-for smallpox vials have been discovered in US. The virus, believed dead, was located in six freeze-dried and sealed vials.
Smallpox is extremely contagious and was eradicated from the planet in 1980 '-- the only human pathogen for which successful eradication has been achieved to date.
Since then, limited research focusing on diagnostic, antiviral and vaccine development, under close direction and oversight, has continued in two high-security laboratories '-- one in Russia and one in the US '-- the only places that are known still to have live variola strains.
An unidentified man with smallpox. (Getty Images photo)
However the CDC confirmed on Wednesday: "The vials appear to date from the 1950s. Upon discovery, the vials were immediately secured in a CDC-registered select agent containment laboratory in Bethesda. There is no evidence that any of the vials labelled variola has been breached, and onsite biosafety personnel have not identified any infectious exposure risk to lab workers or the public."
CDC said that on July 1, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) notified the division of select agents and toxins (DSAT) of the CDC, that employees discovered vials labeled "variola". commonly known as smallpox, in an unused portion of a storage room in a Food and Drug Administration (FDA) laboratory located on the NIH Bethesda campus.
A baby is vaccinated against smallpox at an emergency clinic in Karachi on January 11, 1962 during the worst epidemic of smallpox in Pakistan's history. (Getty Images photo)
The laboratory was among those transferred from NIH to FDA in 1972, along with the responsibility for regulating biologic products.
The FDA has operated laboratories located on the NIH campus since that time. Scientists discovered the vials while preparing for the laboratory's move to the FDA's main campus.
The vials appear to date from the 1950s. Upon discovery, the vials were immediately secured in a CDC-registered select agent containment laboratory in Bethesda.
The CDC said: "Late on July 7, the vials were transported safely and securely with the assistance of federal and local law enforcement agencies to CDC's high-containment facility in Atlanta. Overnight PCR testing done by CDC in the BSL-4 lab confirmed the presence of variola virus DNA. Additional testing of the variola samples is under way to determine if the material in the vials is viable. This testing could take up to two weeks. After completion of this testing, the samples will be destroyed."
A vial of dried smallpox vaccine is shown on December 5, 2002 in Altamonte Springs, Florida. (Getty Images phot0)
By international agreement, there are two official World Health Organization (WHO)-designated repositories for smallpox: CDC in Atlanta, Georgia in the US and the State Research Centre of Virology and Biotechnology (VECTOR) in Novosibirsk, Russia. The WHO oversees the inspection of these smallpox facilities and conducts periodic reviews to certify the repositories for safety and security.
CDC has notified WHO about the discovery, and WHO has been invited to participate in the investigation. If viable smallpox is present, WHO will be invited to witness the destruction of these smallpox materials, as has been the precedent for other cases where smallpox samples have been found outside of the two official repositories.
DSAT, in collaboration with the Federal Bureau of Investigation, is actively investigating the history of how these samples were originally prepared and subsequently stored in the FDA laboratory.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Ebola outbreak spreads in West Africa
Wed, 09 Jul 2014 22:31
By John Rowe9 July 2014In an ongoing outbreak that has been characterized as unprecedented in size, geographic distribution and location, the Zaire Ebola virus is currently infecting people throughout the countries of West Africa. Doctors Without Borders (MSF) has said the epidemic is currently out of control in Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia, where laboratory analysis has confirmed 759 cases with 467 deaths.
Ebola is a hemorrhagic fever whose first symptoms resemble those of the flu, making it hard to differentiate from other common infections. As it progresses, the disease causes internal and external bleeding, as well as multiple organ failure, often leading to death. The virus is spread through exposure to the bodily fluids of the infected and the ingestion of infected animal products, such as bush meat. There is currently no vaccine against the virus or treatment beyond that designed to alleviate the symptoms.
The fatality rate for the current Ebola epidemic is over 60 percent in lab-confirmed cases. In actuality it could be much higher due of underreporting, the hiding of cases by communities, and lack of surveillance in the beginning of the epidemic. According to MSF, Ebola death rates can be as high as 90 percent.
As of June 24, there were over 60 separate areas in West Africa with known Ebola outbreaks. This constitutes the largest and deadliest outbreak since the disease first appeared in Sudan and Zaire in 1976, according to the World Health Organization (WHO). The outbreak was first confirmed in Guinea on the western coast of Africa last February, though it may have been ongoing since December. It appears to have spread to Sierra Leone and Liberia mostly due to people trying to flee the infection out of fear.
The risk of the virus spreading to areas outside of Africa is the most significant it has ever been. In the past, Ebola has been isolated to rural areas and only a few locations. The current outbreak has affected multiple urban centers and border areas that are ill-defined and see a constant flow of people.
The WHO and representatives from the affected countries held emergency talks in Ghana last week to coordinate local, national and international responses to the epidemic. Primary concerns are isolating the infected from the general population and educating the populace about the nature of the epidemic. According to the Guardian, in Liberia those hiding family or friends with suspected cases of Ebola could face prosecution by the state.
The inability of West Africa's governments to contain the epidemic is a product of the terrible poverty in the affected area. Ebola, though hard to contract under normal circumstances, spreads easily in the inadequate medical infrastructure found throughout most of Sub-Saharan Africa, where needles and other medical equipment that contain bodily fluids are often reused.
A recent report by CBS revealed the inadequate conditions of the quarantine facilities where patients are isolated, which are often nothing more than plywood and tarps with a makeshift decontamination area. Doctors, nurses and other caregivers, who are more likely to contract the virus due to their close proximity to the infected, often work in clinics outside the larger cities that lack proper barrier protection and become ill as a result. Some clinics that had been set up to deal with treating and isolating the infected were later identified as sources of the infection and had to be destroyed.
The region does not have enough trained medical professionals or proper equipment. Local populations thus must rely on traditional healers, who cannot treat the disease and then become a new source of transmission. Burial practices in West Africa often bring victims' families into contact with the deceased's bodily fluids, further spreading the infection.
Doctors Without Borders has stated that it is currently stretched beyond its limit and cannot help people in all the affected areas, which requires a massive international mobilization of resources. Regardless of whether or not international agencies are able to contain the present Ebola outbreak, the miserable social and economic conditions that prevail in West Africa ensure that thousands more will die as a result of diseases that could otherwise be contained.
Please enable JavaScript to view the comments powered by Disqus.
WHO | Ebola virus disease, West Africa '' update
Wed, 09 Jul 2014 22:16
Epidemiology and surveillanceWHO continues to monitor the Ebola virus disease (EVD) outbreak in Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone. The current epidemic trend shows a mixed picture, as follows:
Liberia reported 16 new EVD cases and Sierra Leone, 34 new cases '' since 3 July. These numbers indicate that active viral transmission continues in the community.There has been a reduction in the number of new EVD cases reported in Guinea, with no new cases during the last 7 days.WHO continues to encourage and support outbreak containment measures in the three countries.
Health sector responseHealth Ministers and technical staff from 11 countries, representatives from WHO, and key international partner organizations met in an Emergency Ministerial meeting in Accra, Ghana July 2 and 3 to address the ongoing Ebola virus disease (EVD) outbreak in West Africa. After hearing technical updates and sharing country and field experiences, they agreed on a strategy for an accelerated operational response to control the outbreak with priority actions to address the serious threat to countries in West Africa.
In agreeing to priorities and actions, it was acknowledged that a number of gaps and challenges remain. To address these, the World Health Organization (WHO) will establish a Sub-Regional Centre in Guinea to act as a coordinating platform to consolidate and harmonize the technical support to West African countries by all major partners and to assist in resource mobilization. Delegates to the meeting also emphasized the importance of WHO leading an international effort to promote research on EVD and other haemorrhagic fevers.
Among the key priorities at this time are:
mobilization of community, religious, and political leaders to improve awareness about and understanding of EVD;strengthening surveillance, case finding, and contact tracing;deploying additional human resources with relevant qualifications to key hot spots;identifying and committing additional domestic financial resources;organizing cross-border consultations to facilitate an ongoing exchange of information; andworking together and sharing experiences with countries that have previously managed EVD outbreaks in the spirit of south-south cooperation.In addition, national intersectoral meetings involving key government ministries, national technical committees, and other stakeholders will be held to map out a plan for immediate implementation of a sub-regional response strategy. It has also been recommended that issues related specifically to the EVD outbreak be addressed at an upcoming summit of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Heads of States.
WHO does not recommend any travel or trade restrictions be applied to Guinea, Liberia, or Sierra Leone based on the current information available for this event.
Disease updateNew cases and deaths attributable to Ebola virus disease (EVD) continue to be reported by the Ministries of Health in the three West African countries of Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone. Between 3 and 6 July 2014, 50 new cases of EVD, including 25 deaths, were reported from the three countries as follows: Guinea, 0 new cases and 2 deaths; Liberia, 16 new cases with 9 deaths; and Sierra Leone 34 new cases and 14 deaths. These numbers include laboratory-confirmed, probable, and suspect cases and deaths of EVD.
As of 6 July 2014, the cumulative number of cases attributed to EVD in the three countries stands at 844, including 518 deaths. The distribution and classification of the cases are as follows: Guinea, 408 cases (294 confirmed, 96 probable, and 18 suspected) and 307 deaths (195 confirmed, 96 probable, and 16 suspected); Liberia, 131 cases (63 confirmed, 30 probable, and 38 suspected) and 84 deaths (41 confirmed, 28 probable, and 15 suspected); and Sierra Leone, 305 cases (269 confirmed, 34 probable, and 2 suspected) and 127 deaths (114 confirmed, 11 probable, and 2 suspected).
Confirmed, probable, and suspect cases and deaths from Ebola virus disease in Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone, as of 6 July 2014New (1)ConfirmedProbableSuspectTotals by countryGuineaCases02949618408Deaths21959616307LiberiaCases16633038131Deaths941281584Sierra LeoneCases34269342305Deaths14114112127TotalsCases5062616058844Deaths2535013533518(1) New cases were reported between 3 and 6 July 2014.The total number of cases is subject to change due to reclassification, retrospective investigation, consolidation of cases and laboratory data, and enhanced surveillance. Data reported in the Disease Outbreak News are based on best available information reported by Ministries of Health.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
TRUVADA-Governor Cuomo Announces Plan to End the AIDS Epidemic in New York State | Governor Andrew M. Cuomo
Wed, 02 Jul 2014 18:22
Printer-friendly versionThree-pronged Plan Focuses on Improved HIV Testing, Preventing the Spread of the Disease, and Better Treatment for People Who Have It
Albany, NY (June 29, 2014)Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced a three-point plan to ''bend the curve'' and decrease new HIV infections to the point where the number of people living with HIV in New York State is reduced for the first time. The end of the AIDS epidemic in New York will occur when the total number of new HIV infections has fallen below the number of HIV-related deaths.
The ''Bending the Curve'' three-point program includes:
Identifying persons with HIV who remain undiagnosed and linking them to health care;
Linking and retaining persons diagnosed with HIV to health care and getting them on anti-HIV therapy to maximize HIV virus suppression so they remain healthy and prevent further transmission; and
Providing access to Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP) for high-risk persons to keep them HIV negative.
"Thirty years ago, New York was the epicenter of the AIDS crisis -- today I am proud to announce that we are in a position to be the first state in the nation committed to ending this epidemic,'' said Governor Cuomo. ''New York State has reached an important milestone in controlling the AIDS epidemic, and through this comprehensive strategy, we are decreasing new HIV infections to the point where by 2020, the number of persons living with HIV in New York State will be reduced for the first time.''
The first report of AIDS occurred 33 years ago on Thursday, July 3, 1981, with some of the first AIDS cases occurring in New York. The momentum to bring the HIV/AIDS epidemic to a close already exists in New York State. New York has eliminated HIV transmission via blood products; virtually ended mother to child HIV transmission; and decreased new HIV diagnoses due to injection drug use by 96% since the mid-1990s.
While the nation as a whole has seen no decrease in the number of HIV diagnoses, over the last decade, New York State has achieved a 40 percent reduction in new HIV cases and significant decreases in HIV incidence across all categories of race, ethnicity, gender, age, and risk. Although the number of new HIV infections has been declining for a number of years, the total number of New Yorkers living with HIV/AIDS has continued to increase. This is because people with HIV can now live a normal life span and the number of HIV/AIDS deaths is also decreasing.
In 2014, there were 3,000 newly diagnosed HIV infections, down from 14,000 newly diagnosed AIDS cases in 1993. The goal is to reduce the number of new HIV infections to just 750 by 2020; about the same as the number of tuberculosis cases in New York State each year.
''Bending the Curve'' will precipitate a dramatic downward trend in new HIV infections beyond the current trend. Though this effort will result in increased HIV medication expenses, it is well worth the investment given the human cost, and over time the initiative will pay for itself. Each averted HIV infection saves almost $400,000 in lifetime medical costs, and by 2020, ''Bending the Curve'' will save the State an additional $317 million and prevent more than 3,400 new cases of HIV.
This plan would not have been possible without the support of our legislative leaders, and several key policies in support of ''Bending the Curve'' have already been enacted this year in the budget, including:
The removal of the requirement for written informed consent to get an HIV test, allowing HIV tests to be ordered through a verbal consent like any other medical test.Allowing data collected by the health department to be shared with health care providers to find persons with HIV who have fallen out of care.A 30% cap of the proportion of an HIV patient's income that can be spent on rent, keeping persons with HIV stably housed, which improves their ability to stay on their medication.
Additionally, the New York State Department of Health Medicaid Program has successfully negotiated supplemental rebates with the three pharmaceutical companies representing 70% of the HIV market, AbbVie, Bristol-Myers Squibb, and Gilead; this agreement will further decrease the costs to the state for ensuring all HIV-infected persons are on appropriate medications. Additional pharmaceutical companies may join the agreement.
Housing Works CEO Charles King said, "This step by Governor Cuomo, setting a clear goal to end the AIDS crisis in New York State, is absolutely courageous. In doing so, the Governor is reshaping the way we think about the AIDS epidemic and is setting a new standard for leaders of other jurisdictions in the United States and, indeed, around the world."
New York City Human Resources Administration Chief Special Services Officer Dan Tietz said, "On this LGBT Pride Day, I greatly applaud Governor Cuomo for boldly leading in our three decade long fight to end the AIDS epidemic. We have the science and means to bring HIV infections below epidemic levels and with the Governor's and Mayor Bill de Blasio's smart leadership, we can end AIDS in New York by 2020. HRA is now implementing the 30% rent cap, agreed to by the Mayor and Governor in February, which is another part of this effort to save lives and money. Today's game-changing action will push other leaders in the U.S. and beyond to take the necessary steps to end the HIV/AIDS epidemic for all."
Harlem United CEO Steven C. Bussey said, ''While we are heartened by the progress we have made in confronting the AIDS epidemic in New York State, we know that we still face an epidemic of crisis proportions for many communities. Governor Cuomo's announcement to create a plan to end AIDS demonstrates the leadership and political will needed to end the epidemic as we know it in New York State.''
Treatment Action Group Executive Director Mark Harrington said, ''The goal is ambitious, but grounded in reality. NYS has always been a leader and center of innovation in the fight against HIV/AIDS. We have seen an almost 40% decrease in new HIV diagnoses in the last decade, with fewer new infections each year, while nationally there has been no decline in the number of new HIV infections diagnosed each year. With continued implementation of the Affordable Care Act and the State's successful Medicaid reform, we've gained the momentum necessary to put more people living with, and at risk for, HIV into primary care and the support services necessary to achieve success.''
Gay Men's Health Crisis CEO Kelsey Louie said, ''We applaud the Governor for his decisive leadership and commitment to end AIDS as an epidemic on this 45th anniversary of the Stonewall Riots, a rallying cry to fight back against social injustice. The plan to end AIDS can hopefully result in a dramatic decrease in new infections among MSMs and transgender women, especially within the low income communities of color, some of our hardest hit populations.''
Acting Executive Director of AIDS Community Research Initiative of America Benjamin Bashein said, "ACRIA applauds Governor Cuomo for his bold plan to end AIDS in New York State. We now have the knowledge and the means to dramatically reduce new infections and promote optimal health for those with HIV. Governors Cuomo's leadership will make New York a model for ending AIDS across the country and around the globe."
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Fear, cash shortages hinder fight against Ebola outbreak.
Fri, 04 Jul 2014 03:54
By Kwasi Kpodo
ACCRAWed Jul 2, 2014 7:05pm EDT
Health workers carry the body of an Ebola virus victim in Kenema, Sierra Leone, June 25, 2014.
Credit: Reuters/Umaru Fofana
ACCRA (Reuters) - West African states lack the resources to battle the world's worst outbreak of Ebola and deep cultural suspicions about the disease remain a big obstacle to halting its spread, ministers said on Wednesday.
The outbreak has killed 467 people in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone since February, making it the largest and deadliest ever, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).
West African health ministers meeting in Ghana to draw up a regional response mixed appeals for cash with warnings of the practices that have allowed the disease to spread across borders and into cities.
Abubakarr Fofanah, deputy health minister for Sierra Leone, a country with one of the world's weakest health systems, said cash was needed for drugs, basic protective gear and staff pay.
Sierra Leone announced on Wednesday that President Ernest Bai Koroma, his vice president and all cabinet ministers would donate half of their salaries to help fight the outbreak, though the total amount of the donations was not disclosed.
"In Liberia, our biggest challenge is denial, fear and panic. Our people are very much afraid of the disease," Bernice Dahn, Liberia's deputy health minister, told Reuters on the sidelines of the Accra meeting.
"People are afraid but do not believe that the disease exists and because of that people get sick and the community members hide them and bury them, against all the norms we have put in place," she said.
Authorities are trying to stop relatives of Ebola victims from giving them traditional funerals, which often involve the manual washing of the body, out of fear of spreading the infection. The dead are instead meant to be buried by health staff wearing protective gear.
Neighboring Sierra Leone faces many of the same problems, with dozens of those infected evading treatment, complicating efforts to trace cases.
RED CROSS STAFF THREATENED
The Red Cross in Guinea said it had been forced to temporarily suspend some operations in the country's southeast after staff working on Ebola were threatened.
"Locals wielding knives surrounded a marked Red Cross vehicle," a Red Cross official said, asking not to be named. The official said operations had been halted for safety reasons. The Red Cross later said only international staff were removed.
A Medecins Sans Frontieres (Doctors Without Borders) center in Guinea was attacked by youths in April after staff were accused of bringing the disease into the country.
Ebola causes fever, vomiting, bleeding and diarrhea and kills up to 90 percent of those it infects. Highly contagious, it is transmitted through contact with blood or other fluids.
WHO has flagged three main factors driving its spread: the burial of victims in accordance with tradition, the dense populations around the capital cities of Guinea and Liberia and the bustling cross-border trade across the region.
Health experts say the top priority must be containing Ebola with basic infection control measures such as vigilant handwashing and hygiene, and isolation of infected patients.
Jeremy Farrar, a professor of tropical medicine and director of The Wellcome Trust, an influential global health charity, said people at high risk should also be offered experimental medicines, despite the drugs not having been fully tested.
"We have more than 450 deaths so far, and not a single individual has been offered anything beyond tepid sponging and 'we'll bury you nicely'," Farrar told Reuters in an interview. "It's just unacceptable."
(Additional reporting by Misha Hussain in Dakar and Umaru Fofana in Freetown; Writing by David Lewis; Editing by Joe Bavier, Toni Reinhold)
Link thisShare thisDigg thisEmailPrintReprints
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
'Humdinger': Swine flu virus which killed half-million modified to 'incurable' '-- RT News
Thu, 03 Jul 2014 05:35
Published time: July 02, 2014 10:07Edited time: July 02, 2014 11:37AFP Photo / Noah Seelam
A controversial flu researcher has modified the flu virus responsible for the 2009 pandemic to allow it evade the human immune system. His lab's previous works include recreating the Spanish flu and making a deadly bird flu strain highly transmittable.
The yet-to-be-published research by Professor Yoshihiro Kawaoka and his team is meant to give scientists better ways to fight influenza outbreaks, but gives chills to some people in academia, who are fearful that accidental release of the strain would result in a global disaster, according to a report by the Independent.
At his level-3 biosafety lab at Wisconsin University's Institute for Influenza Virus Research in Madison, Kawaoka experimented with the H1N1 flu strain that was responsible for the pandemic in 2009, dubbed the swine flu pandemic by the media. The work resulted in a mutated strain that is able to evade the human antibodies, effectively rendering humans defenseless against the virus.
''He took the 2009 pandemic flu virus and selected out strains that were not neutralized by human antibodies. He repeated this several times until he got a real humdinger of a virus,'' a scientist familiar with Kawaoka's research told the British newspaper.
''He's basically got a known pandemic strain that is now resistant to vaccination. Everything he did before was dangerous but this is even madder. This is the virus,'' he added.
H1N1 flu had caused serious outbreaks and two recorded pandemics, the first being the notorious Spanish flu of 1918. Kawaoka's newest work is partially derived from his experience in recreating the deadly strain.
The first H1N1 pandemic left between 50 and 100 million people dead, according to estimates. The 2009 pandemic death toll is debated, with some estimates putting the number as high as 560,000, most of them in Africa and Southeast Asia.
The professor assured the newspaper that the mutant virus is well under control in his lab and that making a strain that can beat human immune system will help epidemiologists be prepared for a contingency of a similar mutation occurring naturally.
''Through selection of immune escape viruses in the laboratory under appropriate containment conditions, we were able to identify the key regions [that] would enable 2009 H1N1 viruses to escape immunity,'' he said in an email.
''Viruses in clinical isolates have been identified that have these same changes in the [viral protein]. This shows that escape viruses emerge in nature and laboratory studies like ours have relevance to what occurs in nature,'' he added.
The research was approved by Wisconsin's Institutional Biosafety Committee, although a minority of the 17-member board is critical of Kawaoka's line of study. One such vocal critic at the committee is Thomas Jeffries, who argues that an accidental release of the virus from the safe lab is possible, citing the recent incident at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which potentially exposed some 80 people to anthrax bacteria.
"I think we can sometimes fool ourselves into thinking we have more control over a situation in a laboratory than we do," he told Wisconsin State Journal last week. "Accidents do happen."
When The Independent approached Jeffries for comments on Kawaoka's new research, he said he was not made aware of details of the study at the time the approval was given.
''What was present in the research protocols was a very brief outline or abstract of what he was actually doing'...there were elements to it that bothered me,'' Professor Jeffries said.
Rebecca Moritz, who is responsible for overseeing Wisconsin's work at the institute, said it is needed to create new vaccines.
''The work is designed to identify potential circulating strains to guide the process of selecting strains used for the next vaccine'...The committee found the biosafety containment procedures to be appropriate for conducting this research. I have no concerns about the biosafety of these experiments,'' she said.
Kawaoka said he presented preliminary results of his research to the World Health Organization and they had been ''well received.''
''We are confident our study will contribute to the field, particularly given the number of mutant viruses we generated and the sophisticated analysis applied,'' he explained.
''There are risks in all research. However, there are ways to mitigate the risks. As for all the research on influenza viruses in my laboratory, this work is performed by experienced researchers under appropriate containment and with full review and prior approval by the [biosafety committee],'' he added.
Flu virus strains are notorious for changing rapidly, with new strains emerging and causing seasonal flu epidemics. Scientists have to try and predict what kind of flu they would have to face each year and have a vaccine ready. When they succeed, an outbreak causes much less damage that it could have otherwise.
Research of 'gain of function' by viruses like the works of Kawaoka is focused on exploring how a virus can become deadlier and more transmittable or resistant to existing vaccines. Critics of such studies say they are too dangerous, both due to the risk of accidental or even deliberate release.
For instance some people in the academia called on Kawaoka to withhold parts of his research on H5N1 bird flu. Normally the virus is highly lethal, but does not transmit well, but a series of experiments with ferrets resulted in an easily transmittable strain. The experiments were simple enough for any person with expertise in microbiology to replicate, which critics said some group of would-be bioterrorists would eventually do.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Obama Nation
The Bear Is Loose email
Hi, all --
Going all the way back to the early days of the campaign, whenever President Obama shook off his schedule and busted out of the bubble, we would say "The Bear is loose."
Lately, the Bear has been loose a lot -- and this week will be no different.
The President is hitting the road on a three-day swing to Colorado and Texas, where he will meet with Americans who've written him letters and whose stories -- their challenges and successes -- resonate with folks from across the country.
So if you want to stay in the loop about what President Obama is up to and where he's traveling, sign up to get updates.
While congressional Republicans continue to block votes on important issues like equal pay and the minimum wage and undertake taxpayer-funded political stunts like Speaker Boehner's plan to sue the President for doing his job, the President will continue to do everything in his power -- with and without Congress -- to create economic opportunity for all Americans.
The day after the State of the Union, a woman named Alex received a raise from her boss, allowing her to pay rent and afford groceries without worry. Earlier this year, Alex wrote the President to say "thank you."
Tonight, the President will deliver his reply in person when he meets Alex for dinner in Denver. And tomorrow, she’ll introduce the President before his remarks in Denver.
Make sure you get updates about what President Obama is up to this summer.
On Thursday in Austin, TX, the President will highlight the actions his Administration has taken -- more than 40 since January -- to benefit hardworking Americans. From helping to create new manufacturing jobs, to expanding apprenticeships and job training, and from making student loan payments more affordable, to cutting carbon pollution, the President's used his pen and phone on behalf of folks all across the country.
We've come a long way since President Obama took office. Thanks to the grit and resilience of the American people, we've made progress and there's reason to be optimistic. Last week, our latest jobs report showed that we've undergone the fastest job growth in the United States in the first half of the year since 1999, with five consecutive months of job growth over 200,000. Yet, we know there’s still much more to do.
The President will continue to do his part -- focusing on growing our economy from the middle out, not the top down. And he'll continue to urge Republicans in Congress to join him in working for the folks he hears from every day -- Americans like Alex, whom the leaders in Washington were sent to serve.
Thanks,
Dan
Dan Pfeiffer
Senior Advisor
The White House
@Pfeiffer44
Elite$
What This Camera Captured Is One Of The Creepiest, Weirdest Things In White House History
Thu, 03 Jul 2014 05:16
While Americans struggling under a disastrous economy and rampant federal regulation might have plenty of reason to blame the Obama administration, many contend it is not the president but his closest advisor, Valerie Jarrett, who deserves the credit '' or blame '' for these and other policies.
NBC News recently devoted a segment to the influential woman, during which she discussed a number of issues including Obama's sagging approval numbers and the assertion that Fox News boss Rupert Murdoch is a staunch advocate for immigration reform.
''We're going through some tough times now,'' she admitted. ''But I'll tell you something that I learned very early in the first campaign is that you can't look at the daily polls. If we listened to the polls, he would've abandoned the race in the middle of the primary season.''
She also shared her assertion that, after two dinner meetings with Fox News boss Rupert Murdoch, she is convinced he is ''committed to immigration reform.''
What caught the most attention, especially among her conservative detractors, is not what she said but what NBC's cameras caught in an otherwise innocuous panning shot of her office. Though the network did not mention it, several sources picked up on an odd picture frame holding a headshot of Jarrett.
NBC News
Upon closer inspection, it is clear three figurines are bowing in front of her as though she is their god. Significant conversation resulted among right-wing blogs and other media outlets wondering whether the frame depicted a genuine reflection of her own perceived importance, or if it was simply a lighthearted gag gift as The Blaze posited.
Shortly after the story began gaining traction, Jarrett responded via her Twitter account.
That comment in turn sparked even more criticism from administration opponents.
Photo credit: World Economic Forum (Creative Commons)
Get the news the mainstream media doesn't report. Sign up to get our daily newsletter and like us on Facebook
DutchNews.nl - Nieuwe Revu ordered to pay damages to princess over hockey photo
Mon, 30 Jun 2014 23:06
Nieuwe Revu ordered to pay damages to princess over hockey photoMonday 30 June 2014
Populist news magazine Nieuwe Revu has been ordered to pay damages of '‚¬1,000 to princess Amalia after it published pictures of her on a hockey pitch.
A judge in Amsterdam ruled on Monday the publication breached the princess's privacy. The case was taken to court by the state information service RVD which says the magazine had not kept to the media code introdued by the royal family.
The magazine ran published two photographs of the princess, the oldest daughter of king Willem-Alexander in April. It argued it had published the photographs because it wanted to test the code, which, it says, have no place in a modern democracy.
Protection
The king welcomed the ruling, the RVD said. 'The court has honoured the wish of the king and queen to protect their family against breaches of privacy so that their children, like their peers, can enjoy their youth undisturbed as much as possible,' the RVD quoted the king as saying.
The damages will go to charity.
The media code was established in 2005 to enable the young princesses to have as normal a life as possible but also extends to other members of the family.
In the code, journalists agreed not to take photographs of the royal family outside official engagements. In return, the family agreed to pose for photographs at twice-yearly sessions; once in the summer and once at the start of their skiing holiday.
In 2009, the RVD took legal action against the American press agency AP for distributing photos of crown prince Willem-Alexander and his family.
(C) DutchNews.nl
Please enable JavaScript to view the comments powered by Disqus.
comments powered by
JPMorgan CEO Dimon Will Undergo Treatment for Throat Cancer - Bloomberg
Wed, 02 Jul 2014 02:10
Jamie Dimon, chief executive officer of JPMorgan Chase & Co.
Jamie Dimon, chairman and chief executive officer of JPMorgan Chase & Co. (JPM), told employees and shareholders in a memo that he's beginning treatment for throat cancer and will continue to run the company ''as normal.''
''The good news is that the prognosis from my doctors is excellent, the cancer was caught quickly and my condition is curable,'' Dimon said, according to a statement today from the company. ''The cancer is confined to the original site and the adjacent lymph nodes on the right side of my neck. Importantly, there is no evidence of cancer elsewhere in my body.''
Dimon, 58, has led New York-based JPMorgan since the end of 2005, making him the longest-tenured CEO among the six largest U.S. banks. He steered the lender through the financial crisis without posting a quarterly loss and acquired Bear Stearns Cos. and Washington Mutual Inc.'s banking operations as those firms collapsed.
Dimon will soon begin radiation and chemotherapy treatment at Memorial Sloan Kettering hospital in New York, he said in the statement. The treatment should take about eight weeks, he said.
''While the treatment will curtail my travel during this period, I have been advised that I will be able to continue to be actively involved in our business, and we will continue to run the company as normal,'' he wrote. ''Our board has been fully briefed and is totally supportive.''
The stock slipped 0.8 percent to $57.10 in extended trading as of 7:17 p.m. in New York.
About 27,000 cases of throat cancer are diagnosed annually with an estimated 6,100 deaths attributed to the disease each year in the U.S., according to the National Cancer Institute.
Throat cancer includes tumors discovered in a variety of areas including the larynx, the part of the throat between the base of the tongue and the trachea, and the nasopharynx, the upper part of the throat behind the nose. Prognosis depends on factors including the location and size of the tumor and the age and general health of the patient.
Treatment options include surgery to remove the tumor, radiation and chemotherapy, which is drugs that stop the cancer's growth or kill the tumor cells, according to the cancer institute.
Since Dimon became CEO, JPMorgan has emerged as the largest U.S. bank with a stock that's climbed 45 percent during his tenure. After sailing through the 2008 financial crisis, he overcame street protests, congressional hearings on the bank's derivatives bets and an investor campaign to split his dual roles as CEO and chairman.
The bank posted its first quarterly loss under his leadership last year as it agreed to pay $23 billion in penalties and settlements in 2013. Full-year net income fell 16 percent to $17.9 billion, while analysts estimate the firm to rebound to $21 billion of earnings this year.
To contact the reporter on this story: Michael J. Moore in New York at mmoore55@bloomberg.net
To contact the editors responsible for this story: Peter Eichenbaum at peichenbaum@bloomberg.net David Scheer, Christine Harper
Congress Quietly Deletes a Key Disclosure of Free Trips Lawmakers Take - NationalJournal.com
Wed, 02 Jul 2014 03:06
It's going to be a little more difficult to ferret out which members of Congress are lavished with all-expenses-paid trips around the world after the House has quietly stripped away the requirement that such privately sponsored travel be included on lawmakers' annual financial-disclosure forms.
The move, made behind closed doors and without a public announcement by the House Ethics Committee, reverses more than three decades of precedent. Gifts of free travel to lawmakers have appeared on the yearly financial form dating back its creation in the late 1970s, after the Watergate scandal. National Journal uncovered the deleted disclosure requirement when analyzing the most recent batch of yearly filings.
"This is such an obvious effort to avoid accountability," said Melanie Sloan, executive director of the watchdog group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington. "There's no legitimate reason. There's no good reason for it."
Free trips paid for by private groups must still be reported separately to the House's Office of the Clerk and disclosed there. But they will now be absent from the chief document that reporters, watchdogs, and members of the public have used for decades to scrutinize lawmakers' finances.
Related: Nancy Pelosi Says Decision to Delete Reporting Requirement for Free Trips 'Must Be Reversed'
"The more you can hide, the less accountable you can be," Sloan said of lawmakers. "It's clear these forms are useful for reporters and watchdogs, and obviously a little too useful."
House Ethics Committee Chairman Michael Conaway, R-Texas, did not return a call for comment; ranking member Linda Sanchez, D-Calif., referred questions to committee staff. The committee declined to comment.
The change occurs as free travel, which critics have criticized as thinly veiled junkets, has come back into vogue. Last year, members of Congress and their aides took more free trips than in any year since the influence-peddling scandal that sent lobbyist Jack Abramoff to prison. There were nearly 1,900 trips at a cost of more than $6 million last year, according to Legistorm, which compiles travel records.
Now none of those trips must be included on the annual disclosures of lawmakers or their aides.
The tabs for these international excursions can run into the tens of thousands of dollars. One trip to Australia earlier this year cost nearly $50,000. Lawmakers are often invited to bring along their husbands or wives, fly in business class, and stay in plush four-star hotels. In the wake of the Abramoff scandal, lobbyists were banned from organizing or paying for these travels. But some of the nonprofits underwriting them today have extremely close ties to lobbying groups, including sharing staff, money, and offices.
The only indication that these trips no longer need to be disclosed on annual reports came in the instructions booklet issued to lawmakers in 2014. The guidelines for the new electronic filing system tell lawmakers and staff they "are no longer required to report privately sponsored travel" on the form.
Perhaps because the ethics committee's edict was issued so quietly, disclosure remained uneven.
For instance, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, who led a GOP delegation of lawmakers to Israel last summer paid for by the American Israel Education Foundation, which is closely tied to the pro-Israel lobby, did not include the trip on his annual form. House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer, who led a similar trip for Democrats, did include it on his form. But some of the rank-and-file members who went on the trip with Hoyer did not.
Craig Holman, a lobbyist for the consumer group Public Citizen who closely tracks the international travels of lawmakers and the actions of the Ethics Committee, said he was "completely unaware" of the change until contacted by National Journal.
"There's seems to be no reason I could imagine why the Ethics Committee would minimize the amount of information that gets reported," Holman said.
Holman took solace in the fact that the post-Abramoff reform law included mandatory disclosure of such trips on the clerk's website. But he said he was still was concerned about their absence from the annual reports, which he called "a critical element for understanding the finances of our elected representatives."
"It's always good to have more disclosure than less," he said. "It just seems a little odd that the Ethics Committee would pass such a rule change."
Haiti
Haiti PM to donors: please honor aid pledges
Wed, 09 Jul 2014 16:35
Only half of the nine billion dollars in international aid promised to Haiti after a devastating earthquake in 2010 has been delivered, the prime minister told AFP.
So far, 48 percent of that amount has been handed over, mainly in emergency and humanitarian aid, while the country faces colossal rebuilding needs after the 7.0-magnitude quake, Prime Minister Laurent Lamothe, in power since 2012, said Thursday in an exclusive interview.
He called on the members of the international community to "continue to honor their commitments."
The quake killed between 200,000 and 250,000 people and displaced another 1.5 million from their homes in one of the world's poorest countries.
But Lamothe said some countries had in fact financed reconstruction projects to resurrect entire neighborhoods of Port-au-Prince that were flattened by the quake.
After the quake, "40 percent of the population of the capital, or 1.5 million people, lived in tents. Today there are only 125,000 people remaining in these camps," he said.
By 2015, Haiti will build 10,000 subsidized housing units with the help of international donors.
With its own "meager resources", he said, Haiti has already constructed 3,000 homes and rebuilt another 4,000.
Lamothe also said long-delayed legislative elections, which he announced earlier this month, will go ahead. The voting has been delayed for three years as the country struggled to get back on its feet after the earthquake.
The long wait has triggered a political crisis marked by anti-government streets rallies.
"Haiti today is enjoying a certain degree of stability which it did not have before," Lamothe said. "We must preserve it." The voting is scheduled for October 26.
The opposition wants a new election commission less biased toward President Michel Martelly than what it says the current one is.
More than 114 parties are registered. But major ones are threatening a boycott unless the election commission is reformed.
"We are going to continue to talk with all the sectors concerned. But holding elections on the scheduled date is essential and non-negotiable for the stability of the country," said Lamothe, seen as an heir to Martelly, whose term ends in 2016.
But Lamothe would not talk about the future, saying he preferred to concentrate on the day-to-day running of the country.
Haiti - Virus strikes hard in crowded shantytowns
Fri, 04 Jul 2014 05:15
PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti (AP) -- Within a dense cluster of flimsy shacks made mostly of plastic tarp and wooden planks, a young mother cradles her sick, whimpering toddler while trying to guard against a fierce tropical sun.Delimene Saint Lise says she's doing her best to comfort her 2-year-old daughter and control her spiking fever during what has quickly become a familiar agony in their makeshift community of shanties by a trash-clogged canal in the Haitian capital."For the last three days, her body gets very hot and she's hurting all over," Saint Lise said as she sat on a mattress inside their sweltering home with flapping plastic walls in the capital's dusty Delmas section. "I know because I had this awful illness before her."This latest scourge in Haiti is chikungunya. It's a rarely fatal but intensely painful mosquito-borne virus that has spread rapidly through the Caribbean and parts of Latin America after local transmission first started in tiny French St. Martin late last year, likely brought in by an infected air traveler.Haiti is proving to be particularly vulnerable because so many people live like Saint Lise and her neighbors, packed together in rickety housing with dismal sanitation and surrounded by ideal breeding grounds for the mosquitoes that carry the illness."Chikungunya has been merciless in Haiti. Lack of basic infrastructure, poor mosquito control measures, and deep social and economic disparities hampered prevention and treatment efforts," says a new report on Haiti's epidemic by the Igarape Institute, a Brazil-based think tank.Since the virus was first documented in Haiti in May, there have been nearly 40,000 suspected cases seen by health workers, the Pan American Health Organization says. The only places with higher numbers are the neighboring Dominican Republic and Guadaloupe.But there are many signs that the actual number is far higher in Haiti, a country of 10 million people that struggles with many burdens, from crushing poverty, lack of access to clean water and the fact that some 146,000 people displaced by the January 2010 earthquake still live in makeshift homes.The U.S. Centers for Disease Control is now assisting Haiti's health ministry to confirm new cases. But statistics are notoriously unreliable in Haiti, and public health experts say the number of people with the illness is unknown. Many poor Haitians don't bother seeking care at clinics so their cases go unrecorded, said Dr. Gregory Jerome of Zanmi Lasante, the Haitian program of the Boston-based nonprofit organization Partners in Health.It's clear the "attack rate of this infection is very high all over the country," Jerome said. And it's not just impoverished districts. People in wealthier areas such as the tree-lined Port-au-Prince suburb of Petionville and the scenic southern coastal town of Jacmel are complaining of cases.Instances of local transmission have been reported in about 20 nations or territories in the region, from the Virgin Islands, Dominica, Martinique and Puerto Rico to El Salvador in Central America and French Guiana, Guyana and Suriname on the northern shoulder of South America.In Haiti, it's gotten so bad so quickly that many people are resigned to catching the virus known in Creole as "kaze le zo," or "breaking your bones," for joint pain so intense some patients can barely walk or use their fingers for days. There is no vaccine and the only treatment is basic medication for the pain and fluid replacement for dehydration.Painful symptoms of chikungunya generally dissipate within a week and people develop immunity after getting infected. But some patients can develop severe and even life-threatening complications including respiratory failure. It can also contribute to the deaths of people with underlying health issues. Just last week, former Haitian President Leslie Manigat died after a long period of illness and a deputy secretary of his political party said his condition might have been complicated by a recent bout with the virus.Outbreaks of chikungunya have long made people miserable in Africa and Asia. In the Western Hemisphere, where the illness is new and advancing rapidly, health officials are working to educate the public and knock down the mosquito population. U.S. states are warily monitoring "imported" cases among residents who recently traveled to the Caribbean and were bitten by an infected mosquito.Haiti's government has stepped up fumigation and education campaigns. Public service announcements about the illness appear regularly on radio and TV stations broadcasting World Cup games. Officials also recently distributed free pain-relief medicine at public health facilities, especially because there were signs of predatory price increases by pharmacies and freelance pill vendors.But Dr. Gretta Lataillade Roy, head of a small public clinic in Delmas who was ill with the virus last month, said the free pain-relief medication ran out at her facility within 48 hours as a surge of patients showed up. Most people with the virus are now opting to suffer at home, she said, and high prices for acetaminophen are back.Many health clinic workers have been falling ill with chikungunya after being bitten by infected mosquitoes, resulting in temporary staff shortages.Although other mosquito-borne illnesses such as malaria and dengue exist in Haiti, simple precautions to deter bites are often not taken because many people can't afford bug repellant and window screens. The Igarape group's recent survey of 2,807 randomly sampled households suggested that treated mosquito nets, another recommended precaution, are seldom used.Complicating matters, nearly one in five respondents told researchers they believe rumors that chikungunya was intentionally brought to Haiti by businessmen as a way to make money or possibly as a form of social and political control."There are some difficulties in many parts of the population to accept the reality that the virus is transmitted by a vector," said Dr. Jean-Luc Poncelete, the Pan American Health Organization's representative in Haiti.In Delmas, Saint Lise and her neighbors say they've heard on the radio that mosquitoes spread the strange virus. But they say they are skeptical in part because the government has not been fumigating around their camp."They say it's the mosquitoes doing this," said Eliamese Derisier, whose 6-month-old son is struggling with the virus in a tent next door to Saint Lise's family. "But I'm not sure if I believe them."---David McFadden on Twitter: http://twitter.com/dmcfadd
Chikungunya - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.
Fri, 04 Jul 2014 05:15
Chikungunya (//CHI-kÉn-GUUN-yÉ; Makonde for "that which bends up") virus (CHIKV) is an arthropod-borne virus, of the genus Alphavirus, that is transmitted to humans by virus-carrying Aedesmosquitoes.[1]
CHIKV is transmitted similarly to dengue fever and causes an illness with an acute febrile phase lasting two to five days, followed by a longer period of joint pains in the extremities; this pain may persist for years in some cases.[2][3]
The best means of prevention is overall mosquito control and in addition, the avoidance of bites by any infected mosquitoes.[4] There is no specific treatment but medications can be used to reduce symptoms.[4] Rest and fluids may also be useful.[5]
Signs and symptoms[edit]The incubation period of chikungunya disease ranges from one to twelve days, typically two to three. The majority of those infected will develop symptoms.[6] Symptoms include a fever up to 40 °C (104 °F), a petechial or maculopapularrash of the trunk and occasionally the limbs, and arthralgia or arthritis affecting multiple joints.[7] Other nonspecific symptoms can include headache, nausea, vomiting, conjunctivitis, slight photophobia and partial loss of taste.[8] Ocular inflammation from chikungunya may present as iridocyclitis. Retinal lesions may also occur.[9] Pedal edema (swelling of legs) is observed in many patients, the cause of which remains obscure as it is not related to any cardiovascular, renal or hepatic abnormalities.
Typically, the fever lasts for two days and then ends abruptly. However, other symptoms'--namely joint pain, intense headache, insomnia and an extreme degree of prostration'--last for a variable period; usually for about five to seven days.[7] Patients have complained of joint pains for much longer time periods; some as long as two years, depending on their age.[10][11] Recovery from the disease varies by age. Younger patients recover within 5 to 15 days; middle-aged patients recover in 1 to 2.5 months. Recovery is longer for the elderly. The severity of the disease as well as its duration is less in younger patients and pregnant women. In pregnant women, no untoward effects are noticed after the infection.
Chronic disease[edit]Observations during recent epidemics have suggested chikungunya may cause long-term symptoms following acute infection. During the La Reunion outbreak in 2006, greater than 50% of subjects over the age of 45 reported long term musculoskeletal pain[12] with up to 60% of patients reporting prolonged arthralgia 3 years following initial infection.[13] A study of imported cases in France reported that 59% of patients still suffered from arthralgia two years after acute infection.[14] Following a local epidemic of chikungunya in Italy, 66% of patients reported myalgia, arthralgia, or asthenia at one year postacute infection.[15] Long-term symptoms are not an entirely new observation; long-term arthritis was observed following an outbreak in 1979.[16] Common predictors of prolonged symptoms are increased age and prior rheumatological disease.[12][13][15][17] The cause of these chronic symptoms is currently not fully known. Markers of autoimmune or rheumatoid disease have not been found in patients reporting chronic symptoms.[13][18] However, some evidence from human patients and animal models suggest that chikungunya may be able to establish chronic infections within the host. Viral antigen was detected in a muscle biopsy of a patient suffering a recurrent episode of disease three months after initial onset.[19] Additionally, viral antigen and RNA were found in synovial macrophages of a patient during a relapse of musculoskeletal disease 18 months post initial infection.[20] Several animal models have also suggested that chikungunya virus may establish persistent infections. In a mouse model, viral RNA was detected specifically in joint-associated tissue for at least 16 weeks post-inoculation, and was associated with chronic synovitis.[21] Similarly, another study reported detection of a viral reporter gene in joint tissue of mice for weeks post-inoculation.[22] In a non-human primate model, chikungunya virus was found to persist in the spleen for at least 6 weeks.[23]
Virology[edit]Chikungunya virus is an alphavirus with a positive sense single-stranded RNA genome of approximately 11.6kb. It is a member of the Semliki Forest Virus complex and is closely related to Ross River Virus, O'Nyong Nyong virus and Semliki Forest Virus.[25] In the United States it is classified as a Category C priority pathogen[26] and work requires Biosafety Level III precautions.[27]
Human epithelial, endothelial, primary fibroblasts and monocyte-derived macrophages are permissive for chikungunya virus in vitro and viral replication is highly cytopathic but susceptible to type I and II interferon.[28]In vivo, chikungunya virus appears to replicate in fibroblasts, skeletal muscle progenitor cells and myofibers.[19][29][30]
Type 1 interferon[edit]Upon infection with chikungunya, the host's fibroblasts will produce type 1 (alpha and beta) interferon.[31] Mice that lack the interferon alpha receptor die in 2''3 days upon being exposed to 102 chikungunya PFU, while wild type mice survive even when exposed to as much as 106 PFU of the virus.[31] At the same time, mice that are partially type 1 deficient (IFN α/β +/'') are mildly affected and experience symptoms such as muscle weakness and lethargy.[32] Partidos et al. 2011 saw similar results with the live attenuated strain CHIKV181/25. However, rather than dying, the type 1 interferon deficient (IFN α/β ''/'') mice were temporarily disabled and the partially type 1 interferon deficient mice did not have any problems.[33]
Several studies have attempted to find the upstream components of the type 1 interferon pathway involved in the host's response to chikungunya infection. So far, no one knows the chikungunya specific pathogen associated molecular pattern.[34] Nonetheless, IPS-1'--also known as Cardif, MAVS, and VISA'--has been found to be an important factor. In 2011, White et al. found that interfering with IPS-1 decreased the phosphorylation of interferon regulatory factor 3 (IRF3) and the production of IFN-β.[34] Other studies have found that IRF3 and IRF7 are important in an age-dependent manner. Adult mice that lack both of these regulatory factors die upon infection with chikungunya.[35] Neonates, on the other hand, succumb to the virus if they are deficient in one of these factors.[36]
Chikungunya counters the Type I interferon response by producing NS2, a non-structural protein that degrades Rpb and turns off the host cell's ability to transcribe DNA.[37] NS2 interferes with the JAK-STAT signaling pathway and prevents STAT from becoming phosphorylated.[38]
Diagnosis[edit]Common laboratory tests for chikungunya include RT-PCR, virus isolation, and serological tests.
Virus isolation provides the most definitive diagnosis, but takes one to two weeks for completion and must be carried out in biosafety level 3 laboratories.[39] The technique involves exposing specific cell lines to samples from whole blood and identifying chikungunya virus-specific responses.RT-PCR using nested primer pairs is used to amplify several chikungunya-specific genes from whole blood. Results can be determined in one to two days.[39]Serological diagnosis requires a larger amount of blood than the other methods, and uses an ELISA assay to measure chikungunya-specific IgM levels. Results require two to three days, and false positives can occur with infection via other related viruses, such as o'nyong'nyong virus and Semliki Forest virus.[39]Prevention[edit]The most effective means of prevention are protection against contact with the disease-carrying mosquitoes and mosquito control.[4] These include using insect repellents with substances such as DEET (N,N-diethyl-meta-toluamide; also known as N,N'-diethyl-3-methylbenzamide or NNDB), icaridin (also known as picaridin and KBR3023), PMD (p-menthane-3,8-diol, a substance derived from the lemon eucalyptus tree), or IR3535. Wearing bite-proof long sleeves and trousers also offers protection.
In addition, garments can be treated with pyrethroids, a class of insecticides that often has repellent properties. Vaporized pyrethroids (for example in mosquito coils) are also insect repellents. Securing screens on windows and doors will help to keep mosquitoes out of the house. In the case of the day-active Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopictus, however, this will have only a limited effect, since many contacts between the mosquitoes and humans occur outside.
Vaccine[edit]There are currently no approved vaccines available. A phase IIvaccine trial used a live, attenuated virus, developing viral resistance in 98% of those tested after 28 days and 85% still showed resistance after one year.[40] However, 8% of people reported transient joint pain and attenuation was found to be due to only two mutations in the E2 glycoprotein.[41] Alternative vaccine strategies have been developed and shown efficacy in mouse models but have so far not reached clinical trials.[42][43]
Treatment[edit]Currently there is no specific treatment.[4] Efforts to improve the symptoms include the use of NSAIDs such as naproxen, paracetamol (acetaminophen) and fluids.[4]Aspirin is not recommended.[44]
Chronic arthritis[edit]In those who have more than two weeks of arthritis, ribavirin may be useful.[4] The effect of chloroquine is not clear.[4] It does not appear to help acute disease but there is tentative evidence that it might help the chronic arthritis.[4]Steroids do not appear useful either.[4]
Epidemiology[edit]Chikungunya virus is an alphavirus closely related to the o'nyong'nyong virus,[45] the Ross River virus in Australia, and the viruses that cause eastern equine encephalitis and western equine encephalitis.[46]
Three genotypes of this virus have been described: West African, East/Central/South African and Asian genotypes.[47]
Chikungunya is generally spread through bites from Aedes aegypti mosquitoes, but recent research by the Pasteur Institute in Paris has suggested chikungunya virus strains in the 2005-2006 Reunion Island outbreak incurred a mutation that facilitated transmission by Asian tiger mosquito (Aedes albopictus).[48]
Concurrent studies by arbovirologists at the University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston, Texas, confirmed definitively that enhanced chikungunya virus infection of A. albopictus was caused by a point mutation in one of the viral envelope genes (E1).[49][50] Enhanced transmission of chikungunya virus by A. albopictus could mean an increased risk for chikungunya outbreaks in other areas where the Asian tiger mosquito is present. A recent epidemic in Italy was likely perpetuated by A. albopictus.[51]
In Africa, chikungunya is spread via a sylvatic cycle in which the virus largely resides in other primates in between human outbreaks.[46]
On 28 May 2009 in Changwat Trang of Thailand where the virus is endemic, the provincial hospital decided to deliver by Caesarean section a male baby from his chikungunya-infected mother, Khwanruethai Sutmueang, 28, a Trang native, to prevent mother-fetus virus transmission. However, after delivering the baby, the physicians discovered the baby was already infected with the virus, and put him into intensive care because the infection had left the baby unable to breathe by himself or to drink milk. The physicians presumed the virus might be able to be transmitted from a mother to her fetus, but without laboratory confirmation.[52]
History[edit]The word chikungunya is thought to derive from a description in the Makonde language, meaning "that which bends up", of the contorted posture of patients afflicted with the severe joint pain and arthritic symptoms associated with this disease.[53] The disease was first described by Marion Robinson[54] and W.H.R. Lumsden[55] in 1955, following an outbreak in 1952 on the Makonde Plateau, along the border between Mozambique and Tanganyika (the mainland part of modern day Tanzania).
According to the initial 1955 report about the epidemiology of the disease, the term chikungunya is derived from the Makonde root verb kungunyala, meaning to dry up or become contorted. In concurrent research, Robinson glossed the Makonde term more specifically as "that which bends up". Subsequent authors apparently overlooked the references to the Makonde language and assumed the term derived from Swahili, the lingua franca of the region. The erroneous attribution of the term as a Swahili word has been repeated in numerous print sources. Many other erroneous spellings and forms of the term are in common use including "chicken guinea", "chicken gunaya", and "chickengunya".[citation needed]
Since its discovery in Tanganyika, Africa, in 1952, chikungunya virus outbreaks have occurred occasionally in Africa, South Asia, and Southeast Asia, but recent outbreaks have spread the disease over a wider range.
The first recorded outbreak of this disease may have been in 1779.[56] This is in agreement with the molecular genetics evidence that suggests it evolved around the year 1700.[57]
In December 2013, chikungunya was confirmed on the Caribbean island of St. Martin with 66 confirmed cases and suspected cases of around 181.[58]This outbreak is the first time in the Western Hemisphere that the disease has spread to humans from a population of infected mosquitoes.[59] By January 2014, the Public Health Agency of Canada reported that cases were confirmed on the British Virgin Islands, Saint-Barth(C)lemy, Guadeloupe, and Martinique.[60] In April 2014, chikungunya was also confirmed in the Dominican Republic by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).[61] By the end of April, it had spread to 14 countries in all, including St. Lucia, and Haiti where an epidemic was declared.[62][63]
By the end of May 2014, over ten imported cases of the virus had been reported in the United States by people traveling to Florida from areas where the virus is endemic.[64]
On June 2014 six cases of the virus were confirmed in Brazil, two in the city of Campinas in the state of S£o Paulo. The six cases are Brazilian army soldiers who had recently returned from Haiti, where they were participating in the reconstruction efforts.United Nations Stabilisation Mission in Haiti.[65] The information was officialy released by Campinas municipality health secretary that has taken the appropriate actions.[66]
On June 11, 2014, a case was reported in Forsyth County, North Carolina.[67]
On June 16, 2014, Florida had a cumulative 42 cases.[68]
On June 17, 2014, Mississippi State Department of Health officials confirmed they are investigating the first potential case in a Mississippi resident who recently travelled to Caribbean nation of Haiti. [69]
On June 19, 2014, the virus had spread to Georgia, USA. [70]
On June 24, 2014, a case was reported in Poinciana/Polk County, FL.[68]
On June 25, 2014, The Arkansas Health Department confirmed one person from the Natural State is carrying Chikungunya. [71]
On June 26, 2014, a case was reported in Jalisco, Mexico.[72]
Society and culture[edit]Biological weapon[edit]Chikungunya was one of more than a dozen agents the United States researched as potential biological weapons before the nation suspended its biological weapons program.[73]
References[edit]^Lahariya C, Pradhan SK (December 2006). "Emergence of chikungunya virus in Indian subcontinent after 32 years: A review". J Vector Borne Dis43 (4): 151''60. PMID 17175699. ^Powers AM, Logue CH (September 2007). "Changing patterns of chikungunya virus: re-emergence of a zoonotic arbovirus". J. Gen. Virol.88 (Pt 9): 2363''77. doi:10.1099/vir.0.82858-0. PMID 17698645. ^Sourisseau M, Schilte C, Casartelli N, et al. (June 2007). "Characterization of reemerging chikungunya virus". PLoS Pathog.3 (6): e89. doi:10.1371/journal.ppat.0030089. PMC 1904475. PMID 17604450. ^ abcdefghiCaglioti, C; Lalle, E; Castilletti, C; Carletti, F; Capobianchi, MR; Bordi, L (Jul 2013). "Chikungunya virus infection: an overview.". The new microbiologica36 (3): 211''27. PMID 23912863. ^Fischer, M; Staples, JE; Arboviral Diseases Branch, National Center for Emerging and Zoonotic Infectious Diseases,, CDC (Jun 6, 2014). "Notes from the Field: Chikungunya Virus Spreads in the Americas - Caribbean and South America, 2013-2014.". MMWR. Morbidity and mortality weekly report63 (22): 500''501. PMID 24898168. ^Powers, Ann. "Chikungunya". CDC. Retrieved 12 May 2014. ^ abChhabra M, Mittal V, Bhattacharya D, Rana U, Lal S (2008). "Chikungunya fever: a re-emerging viral infection". Indian J Med Microbiol26 (1): 5''12. doi:10.4103/0255-0857.38850. PMID 18227590. ^Vatsal Anand (18 March 2011). "After effects of Chikungunya Fever". Retrieved 2012-06-29. ^Mahendradas P, Ranganna SK, Shetty R, et al. (February 2008). "Ocular manifestations associated with chikungunya". Ophthalmology115 (2): 287''91. doi:10.1016/j.ophtha.2007.03.085. PMID 17631967. ^Simon F, Parola P, Grandadam M, et al. (May 2007). "Chikungunya infection: an emerging rheumatism among travelers returned from Indian Ocean islands. Report of 47 cases". Medicine86 (3): 123''37. doi:10.1097/MD/0b013e31806010a5. PMID 17505252. ^Taubitz W, Cramer JP, Kapaun A, et al. (July 2007). "Chikungunya fever in travelers: clinical presentation and course". Clin. Infect. Dis.45 (1): e1''4. doi:10.1086/518701. PMID 17554689. ^ abG(C)rardin, P; Fianu, A; Michault, A; Mussard, C; Boussa¯d, K; Rollot, O; Grivard, P; Kassab, S; Bouquillard, E; Borgherini, G; Ga¼z¨re, BA; Malvy, D; Br(C)art, G; Favier, F (Jan 9, 2013). "Predictors of Chikungunya rheumatism: a prognostic survey ancillary to the TELECHIK cohort study.". Arthritis research & therapy15 (1): R9. doi:10.1186/ar4137. PMID 23302155. ^ abcSchilte, C; Staikowsky, F; Couderc, T; Madec, Y; Carpentier, F; Kassab, S; Albert, ML; Lecuit, M; Michault, A (2013). "Chikungunya virus-associated long-term arthralgia: a 36-month prospective longitudinal study.". PLoS neglected tropical diseases7 (3): e2137. doi:10.1371/journal.pntd.0002137. PMID 23556021. ^Larrieu, S; Pouderoux, N; Pistone, T; Filleul, L; Receveur, MC; Sissoko, D; Ezzedine, K; Malvy, D (Jan 2010). "Factors associated with persistence of arthralgia among Chikungunya virus-infected travellers: report of 42 French cases.". Journal of clinical virology : the official publication of the Pan American Society for Clinical Virology47 (1): 85''8. doi:10.1016/j.jcv.2009.11.014. PMID 20004145. ^ abMoro, ML; Grilli, E; Corvetta, A; Silvi, G; Angelini, R; Mascella, F; Miserocchi, F; Sambo, P; Finarelli, AC; Sambri, V; Gagliotti, C; Massimiliani, E; Mattivi, A; Pierro, AM; Macini, P; Study Group ''Infezioni da Chikungunya in, Emilia-Romagna'' (Aug 2012). "Long-term chikungunya infection clinical manifestations after an outbreak in Italy: a prognostic cohort study.". The Journal of infection65 (2): 165''72. doi:10.1016/j.jinf.2012.04.005. PMID 22522292. ^Fourie, ED; Morrison, JG (Jul 28, 1979). "Rheumatoid arthritic syndrome after chikungunya fever.". South African medical journal = Suid-Afrikaanse tydskrif vir geneeskunde56 (4): 130''2. PMID 494034. ^Sissoko, D; Malvy, D; Ezzedine, K; Renault, P; Moscetti, F; Ledrans, M; Pierre, V (2009). "Post-epidemic Chikungunya disease on Reunion Island: course of rheumatic manifestations and associated factors over a 15-month period.". PLoS neglected tropical diseases3 (3): e389. doi:10.1371/journal.pntd.0000389. PMID 19274071. ^Manimunda, SP; Vijayachari, P; Uppoor, R; Sugunan, AP; Singh, SS; Rai, SK; Sudeep, AB; Muruganandam, N; Chaitanya, IK; Guruprasad, DR (Jun 2010). "Clinical progression of chikungunya fever during acute and chronic arthritic stages and the changes in joint morphology as revealed by imaging.". Transactions of the Royal Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene104 (6): 392''9. doi:10.1016/j.trstmh.2010.01.011. PMID 20171708. ^ abOzden, S; Huerre, M; Riviere, JP; Coffey, LL; Afonso, PV; Mouly, V; de Monredon, J; Roger, JC; El Amrani, M; Yvin, JL; Jaffar, MC; Frenkiel, MP; Sourisseau, M; Schwartz, O; Butler-Browne, G; Despr¨s, P; Gessain, A; Ceccaldi, PE (Jun 13, 2007). "Human muscle satellite cells as targets of Chikungunya virus infection.". PLoS ONE2 (6): e527. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0000527. PMID 17565380. ^Hoarau, JJ; Jaffar Bandjee, MC; Krejbich Trotot, P; Das, T; Li-Pat-Yuen, G; Dassa, B; Denizot, M; Guichard, E; Ribera, A; Henni, T; Tallet, F; Moiton, MP; Gauz¨re, BA; Bruniquet, S; Jaffar Bandjee, Z; Morbidelli, P; Martigny, G; Jolivet, M; Gay, F; Grandadam, M; Tolou, H; Vieillard, V; Debr(C), P; Autran, B; Gasque, P (May 15, 2010). "Persistent chronic inflammation and infection by Chikungunya arthritogenic alphavirus in spite of a robust host immune response.". Journal of immunology (Baltimore, Md. : 1950)184 (10): 5914''27. doi:10.4049/jimmunol.0900255. PMID 20404278. ^Hawman, DW; Stoermer, KA; Montgomery, SA; Pal, P; Oko, L; Diamond, MS; Morrison, TE (Dec 2013). "Chronic joint disease caused by persistent chikungunya virus infection is controlled by the adaptive immune response.". Journal of Virology87 (24): 13878''88. doi:10.1128/JVI.02666-13. PMID 24131709. ^Teo, TH; Lum, FM; Claser, C; Lulla, V; Lulla, A; Merits, A; R(C)nia, L; Ng, LF (Jan 1, 2013). "A pathogenic role for CD4+ T cells during Chikungunya virus infection in mice.". Journal of immunology (Baltimore, Md. : 1950)190 (1): 259''69. doi:10.4049/jimmunol.1202177. PMID 23209328. ^Labadie, K; Larcher, T; Joubert, C; Mannioui, A; Delache, B; Brochard, P; Guigand, L; Dubreil, L; Lebon, P; Verrier, B; de Lamballerie, X; Suhrbier, A; Cherel, Y; Le Grand, R; Roques, P (Mar 2010). "Chikungunya disease in nonhuman primates involves long-term viral persistence in macrophages.". The Journal of Clinical Investigation120 (3): 894''906. doi:10.1172/JCI40104. PMID 20179353. ^Sun, S.; Xiang, Y.; Akahata, W.; Holdaway, H.; Pal, P.; Zhang, X.; Diamond, M. S.; Nabel, G. J.; Rossmann, M. G. (2013). "Structural analyses at pseudo atomic resolution of Chikungunya virus and antibodies show mechanisms of neutralization". ELife2: e00435. doi:10.7554/eLife.00435. PMC 3614025. PMID 23577234. edit^Powers, AM; Brault, AC; Shirako, Y; Strauss, EG; Kang, W; Strauss, JH; Weaver, SC (Nov 2001). "Evolutionary relationships and systematics of the alphaviruses.". Journal of Virology75 (21): 10118''31. doi:10.1128/JVI.75.21.10118-10131.2001. PMC 114586. PMID 11581380. ^"NIAID Category A, B, and C Priority Pathogens". Retrieved 1 January 2014. ^"Biosafety in Microbiological and Biomedical Laboratories (BMBL) 5th Edition". Retrieved 1 January 2014. ^Sourisseau, M; Schilte, C; Casartelli, N; Trouillet, C; Guivel-Benhassine, F; Rudnicka, D; Sol-Foulon, N; Le Roux, K; Prevost, MC; Fsihi, H; Frenkiel, MP; Blanchet, F; Afonso, PV; Ceccaldi, PE; Ozden, S; Gessain, A; Schuffenecker, I; Verhasselt, B; Zamborlini, A; Sa¯b, A; Rey, FA; Arenzana-Seisdedos, F; Despr¨s, P; Michault, A; Albert, ML; Schwartz, O (Jun 2007). "Characterization of reemerging chikungunya virus.". PLoS Pathogens3 (6): e89. doi:10.1371/journal.ppat.0030089. PMC 1904475. PMID 17604450. ^Schilte, C; Couderc, T; Chretien, F; Sourisseau, M; Gangneux, N; Guivel-Benhassine, F; Kraxner, A; Tschopp, J; Higgs, S; Michault, A; Arenzana-Seisdedos, F; Colonna, M; Peduto, L; Schwartz, O; Lecuit, M; Albert, ML (Feb 15, 2010). "Type I IFN controls chikungunya virus via its action on nonhematopoietic cells.". The Journal of experimental medicine207 (2): 429''42. doi:10.1084/jem.20090851. PMC 2822618. PMID 20123960. ^Rohatgi, A; Corbo, JC; Monte, K; Higgs, S; Vanlandingham, DL; Kardon, G; Lenschow, DJ (Dec 11, 2013). "Infection of myofibers contributes to the increased pathogenicity during infection with an epidemic strain of Chikungunya Virus.". Journal of Virology88 (5): 2414''25. doi:10.1128/JVI.02716-13. PMID 24335291. ^ abSchilte C, Couderc T, Chretien F, et al. (February 2010). "Type I IFN controls chikungunya virus via its action on nonhematopoietic cells". J. Exp. Med.207 (2): 429''42. doi:10.1084/jem.20090851. PMC 2822618. PMID 20123960. ^Couderc T, Chr(C)tien F, Schilte C, et al. (February 2008). "A mouse model for Chikungunya: young age and inefficient type-I interferon signaling are risk factors for severe disease". PLoS Pathog.4 (2): e29. doi:10.1371/journal.ppat.0040029. PMC 2242832. PMID 18282093. ^Partidos CD, Weger J, Brewoo J, et al. (April 2011). "Probing the attenuation and protective efficacy of a candidate chikungunya virus vaccine in mice with compromised interferon (IFN) signaling". Vaccine29 (16): 3067''73. doi:10.1016/j.vaccine.2011.01.076. PMC 3081687. PMID 21300099. ^ abWhite LK, Sali T, Alvarado D, et al. (January 2011). "Chikungunya virus induces IPS-1-dependent innate immune activation and protein kinase R-independent translational shutoff". J. Virol.85 (1): 606''20. doi:10.1128/JVI.00767-10. PMC 3014158. PMID 20962078. ^Rudd PA, Wilson J, Gardner J, et al. (September 2012). "Interferon response factors 3 and 7 protect against Chikungunya virus hemorrhagic fever and shock". J. Virol.86 (18): 9888''98. doi:10.1128/JVI.00956-12. PMC 3446587. PMID 22761364. ^Schilte C, Buckwalter MR, Laird ME, Diamond MS, Schwartz O, Albert ML (April 2012). "Cutting edge: independent roles for IRF-3 and IRF-7 in hematopoietic and nonhematopoietic cells during host response to Chikungunya infection". J. Immunol.188 (7): 2967''71. doi:10.4049/jimmunol.1103185. PMID 22371392. ^Akhrymuk I, Kulemzin SV, Frolova EI (July 2012). "Evasion of the innate immune response: the Old World alphavirus nsP2 protein induces rapid degradation of Rpb1, a catalytic subunit of RNA polymerase II". J. Virol.86 (13): 7180''91. doi:10.1128/JVI.00541-12. PMC 3416352. PMID 22514352. ^Fros JJ, Liu WJ, Prow NA, et al. (October 2010). "Chikungunya virus nonstructural protein 2 inhibits type I/II interferon-stimulated JAK-STAT signaling". J. Virol.84 (20): 10877''87. doi:10.1128/JVI.00949-10. PMC 2950581. PMID 20686047. ^ abc"Laboratory Diagnosis of Chikungunya Fevers". World Health Organization. Archived from the original on September 8, 2012. Retrieved May 20, 2013. ^Edelman R, Tacket CO, Wasserman SS, Bodison SA, Perry JG, Mangiafico JA (June 2000). "Phase II safety and immunogenicity study of live chikungunya virus vaccine TSI-GSD-218". Am. J. Trop. Med. Hyg.62 (6): 681''5. PMID 11304054. ^Gorchakov, R; Wang, E; Leal, G; Forrester, NL; Plante, K; Rossi, SL; Partidos, CD; Adams, AP; Seymour, RL; Weger, J; Borland, EM; Sherman, MB; Powers, AM; Osorio, JE; Weaver, SC (Jun 2012). "Attenuation of Chikungunya virus vaccine strain 181/clone 25 is determined by two amino acid substitutions in the E2 envelope glycoprotein.". Journal of Virology86 (11): 6084''96. doi:10.1128/JVI.06449-11. PMID 22457519. ^Plante, K; Wang, E; Partidos, CD; Weger, J; Gorchakov, R; Tsetsarkin, K; Borland, EM; Powers, AM; Seymour, R; Stinchcomb, DT; Osorio, JE; Frolov, I; Weaver, SC (Jul 2011). "Novel chikungunya vaccine candidate with an IRES-based attenuation and host range alteration mechanism.". PLoS Pathogens7 (7): e1002142. doi:10.1371/journal.ppat.1002142. PMID 21829348. ^Halleng¤rd, D; Kakoulidou, M; Lulla, A; K¼mmerer, BM; Johansson, DX; Mutso, M; Lulla, V; Fazakerley, JK; Roques, P; Le Grand, R; Merits, A; Liljestr¶m, P (Dec 26, 2013). "Novel attenuated Chikungunya vaccine candidates elicit protective immunity in C57BL/6 mice.". Journal of Virology88 (5): 2858''66. doi:10.1128/JVI.03453-13. PMID 24371047. ^"Chikungunya'--Fact sheet". European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC). Retrieved 2013-12-17. ^Vanlandingham DL, Hong C, Klingler K, et al. (May 2005). "Differential infectivities of o'nyong-nyong and chikungunya virus isolates in Anopheles gambiae and Aedes aegypti mosquitoes". Am. J. Trop. Med. Hyg.72 (5): 616''21. PMID 15891138. ^ abEnserink M (December 2007). "Infectious diseases. Chikungunya: no longer a third world disease". Science318 (5858): 1860''1. doi:10.1126/science.318.5858.1860. PMID 18096785. ^Powers AM, Brault AC, Tesh RB, Weaver SC (February 2000). "Re-emergence of Chikungunya and O'nyong-nyong viruses: evidence for distinct geographical lineages and distant evolutionary relationships". J. Gen. Virol.81 (Pt 2): 471''9. PMID 10644846. ^Martin E (2007). "EPIDEMIOLOGY: Tropical Disease Follows Mosquitoes to Europe". Science317 (5844): 1485. doi:10.1126/science.317.5844.1485a. PMID 17872417. ^Tsetsarkin KA, Vanlandingham DL, McGee CE, Higgs S (2007). "A Single Mutation in Chikungunya Virus Affects Vector Specificity and Epidemic Potential". PLoS Pathog3 (12): e201. doi:10.1371/journal.ppat.0030201. PMC 2134949. PMID 18069894. ^"(2007) Chikungunya virus: genetic change. Archive Number 20071209.3973". ProMED-mail. Retrieved 2014-05-19. ^European Centers for Disease Control Report Chikungunya in Italy.[dead link]^T Rath (2009). Trang hospital found Chikungunya transmitted from a mother to her foetus, 28 May 2009. Accessed: 29 May 2009.^Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (29 September 2006). "Chikungunya fever diagnosed among international travelers'--United States, 2005''2006". MMWR Morb. Mortal. Wkly. Rep.55 (38): 1040''2. PMID 17008866. ^Robinson MC (1955). "An epidemic of virus disease in Southern Province, Tanganyika Territory, in 1952-53. I. Clinical features". Trans. R. Soc. Trop. Med. Hyg.49 (1): 28''32. doi:10.1016/0035-9203(55)90080-8. PMID 14373834. ^Lumsden WH (1955). "An epidemic of virus disease in Southern Province, Tanganyika Territory, in 1952''53. II. General description and epidemiology". Trans. R. Soc. Trop. Med. Hyg.49 (1): 33''57. doi:10.1016/0035-9203(55)90081-X. PMID 14373835. ^Carey DE (July 1971). "Chikungunya and dengue: a case of mistaken identity?". J Hist Med Allied Sci26 (3): 243''62. doi:10.1093/jhmas/XXVI.3.243. PMID 4938938. ^Cherian SS, Walimbe AM, Jadhav SM, et al. (January 2009). "Evolutionary rates and timescale comparison of Chikungunya viruses inferred from the whole genome/E1 gene with special reference to the 2005-07 outbreak in the Indian subcontinent". Infect. Genet. Evol.9 (1): 16''23. doi:10.1016/j.meegid.2008.09.004. PMID 18940268. ^"Caribbean chikungunya outbreak grows, poses threat to US | CIDRAP". Cidrap.umn.edu. 2013-12-30. Retrieved 2014-05-06. ^"Mosquito-borne health alerts issued for St. Martin". Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. ^"Mosquito-borne chikungunya virus infects people on 5 Caribbean islands". Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. 2014-01-21. Retrieved 2014-02-01. ^"Pruebas de laboratorio confirman virus de Chikungunya en Nigua". Diario Libre. ^"Chikungunya now an epidemic in the Caribbean". Jamaica Observer. May 1, 2014. Retrieved May 2, 2014. ^"Caribbean hospitals overwhelmed with rapidly spreading virus". The Canadian Press. 2014-05-22. Retrieved 2014-05-22. ^http://www.floridahealth.gov/diseases-and-conditions/mosquito-borne-diseases/surveillance.html | accessed May 24, 2014^http://www.portalcbncampinas.com.br/?p=82823,^http://www.campinas.sp.gov.br/noticias-integra.php?id=23517^http://www.wxii.com^ ab"Illness Borne By Mosquitoes Reported in Polk County". The Ledger. 2014-06-23. Retrieved 2014-07-01. ^http://www.wjtv.com/story/25801486/mississippi-health-officials-investigate-first-possible-case-of-chikungunya-virus^http://www.cnn.com/2014/06/19/health/chikungunya-virus-cuba-united-states/index.html^http://www.katv.com/story/25873646/new-type-of-mosquito-virus-could-harm-arkansas^http://mexico.cnn.com/nacional/2014/06/26/la-secretaria-de-salud-confirma-el-primer-caso-de-chikungunya-en-mexico^"Chemical and Biological Weapons: Possession and Programs Past and Present", James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies, Middlebury College, 9 April 2002, accessed 18 June 2014.Further reading[edit]External links[edit]
Bill Clinton, Canadian movie mogul launch peanut supply chain in Haiti - Business - CBC News
Mon, 30 Jun 2014 20:02
Enterprise will improve nut yields in coming yearsThe Canadian PressPosted: Jun 29, 2014 10:26 PM ETLast Updated: Jun 29, 2014 11:53 PM ET
Former U.S. President Bill Clinton on Sunday toured a peanut depot in central Haiti that's part of a new enterprise aimed at helping roughly 12,000 small farmers.
Clinton visited the site in Haiti's Central Plateau with Canadian philanthropist Frank Giustra, a mining mogul who also founded Lions Gate Entertainment. The pair announced the launch of the Acceso Peanut Enterprise Corporation at the storage and service depot in Tierra Muscady.
It's one of a network of depots in central and northern Haiti designed to provide storage, a market, training, and supplies for peanut farmers. Five of 35 planned peanut depots are now open.
Clinton said the idea is to "empower farmers to meet the nutritional needs of people." His Clinton Foundation said the enterprise will help improve peanut yields in Haiti in coming years and increase income for farmers.
The project has potential to "scale up Haiti's peanut supply chain to meet the growing regional demand for peanuts without relying on imports," Giustra said.
Peanuts will be sold to regional buyers including the non-profit Partners in Health, which last year partnered with a health care company to open a factory in Haiti's Central Plateau to produce a peanut-based nutritional supplement for children with severe malnutrition.
Monster Presents ''Headphones for Haiti'': A Creative Initiative To Benefit The People and Arts Community Of Haiti and Spur Job Creation
Wed, 02 Jul 2014 17:24
New York, NY (PRWEB) June 25, 2014
Monster, the world leader in high-performance personal audio, today announced the launch of a creative new charitable initiative, ''Headphones for Haiti,'' to benefit the people, economy, and arts community of the Caribbean nation. This initiative is aimed at encouraging entrepreneurship within the arts and culture community of Haiti and help spur job creation and improve the quality of life as Haiti continues to rebuilds from the devastating earthquake of January 2010. Monster's ''Headphones for Haiti'' campaign will also serve as a way to generate positive awareness about the art, culture and people of Haiti.
To kick off the initiative, the company has teamed up with the Enigma Performing Arts Center of Haiti (EPAC HAITI), for a unique ''Headphones for Haiti'' fundraising event. Monster donated 100 pairs of its Inspiration' headphones to be used as ''blank canvases'' that have been hand-painted by ten renowned Haitian Master Painters, including Joseph Eddy Pierre, whose renowned mixed media works, focusing on trans-cultural experiences, are in great demand at galleries worldwide and Frantz Zephirin, St. Jean Saint Juste, Richard Barbot, Mario Benjamin, Patricia Brintle, Joseph Eddy Pierre, Yael Talleyrand, Pascal Merisier aka "Pasko", Levoy exil, Harold Dessalines, Pascale Monnin, Philippe Dodard and Patrick Ganthier aka "Killy".
Each Haitian Master Painter was given ten Monster headphones, which they have transformed into unique, personalized works of art. Ten of the hand-painted headphones will also have accompanying canvas paintings by the artists, to be auctioned at a celebratory launch event in New York City on June 25, 2014. The additional hand-painted headphone creations will be auctioned on eBay (ebay.com/headphonesforhaiti) from June 23 to July 1, 2014. All money raised at both the New York silent auction and the online auction will be used to help fund construction of the major new EPAC HAITI performing arts center. The ''Headphones for Haiti'' project is part of Monster Cares', Monster's charitable division that was created to support local charities with education, music, sports and technology.
Head Monster Noel Lee noted: ''The people of Haiti continue to show their strength of purpose and resilience and are rebuilding their country's economy, infrastructure and arts community. Monster is proud to help support this rebirth '' especially in the artistic community. As a country steeped in art and culture, where four out of every sixteen citizens are artists it was an obvious choice to donate 100 Monster Inspiration headphones. We created this headphone out of a desire to help music lovers elevate both their listening experience and their self-expression, with an artistic and emotional signature that strives to allure, inspire, and mystify, while also offering truly great audio performance. We're especially pleased and honored by the opportunity to donate our headphones so they can be used by Haiti's Master Painters to create pieces of art to help the people of Haiti, and to benefit an artistic project like EPAC HAITI, which is so important and vital to helping rebuild the country.''
EPAC HAITI: Helping Restore Haiti's Arts Community and Boost the Island's Economy
The EPAC HAITI Performing Arts Center, designed by world-renowned Pritzker-Prize winning architect Kevin Roche, is a groundbreaking project that will inspire and transform generations of young people, while providing a much-needed boost to the Haitian economy and creating over 4,000 jobs for Haitian workers. Haiti is a country steeped in art and culture, where four out of every sixteen citizens are artists. EPAC HAITI will be a true national cultural center that will educate, employ, entertain, while also creating a major tourist attraction in Haiti. The EPAC HAITI project enjoys full support of the Haitian artist community and see this project as a life line.
ABOUT MONSTERFor the past 35 years, Monster has been a catalyst for innovation and big ideas. Discovering that cables in hi-fi systems influenced the sound, Head Monster Noel Lee developed Monster Cable® - an immediate hit. Monster engineered the sound of Beats® headphones, and has since become the world's leading manufacturer of high-performance headphones, all featuring Pure Monster Sound® technology. Today, the company offers advanced connectivity solutions for professional musicians, home entertainment, computing, mobile and gaming, as well as high performance AC Power and conditioning products. Monster continues to lead in innovation with over 662 patents worldwide and 100 pending, offering more than 5,000 products in over 160 countries. Monster also prides itself in helping those who are in less-than-fortunate circumstances through Monster Cares®. Above all, Monster does what it does Because The Music Matters.
Explore the world of Monster at http://www.monsterproducts.com. To become a fan of Monster® products, please follow us on Facebook (http://www.facebook.com/monsterproducts) or Twitter (http://www.twitter.com/monsterproducts).
ABOUT EPAC HAITIEPAC HAITI is a state of the art performing arts and convention center that will be built in the country of Haiti. World-renowned Pritzker prize winning architect Kevin Roche designed the center. Soon EPAC HAITI will be a national Haitian cultural hub and entertainment destination for Haiti's people and tourist. With this initiative, EPAC HAITI will promote economic development by creating over 4,000 jobs and provide the highest caliber of arts education in the Caribbean. The center will include a 3,000 seat concert hall, a state of the art convention center, a school for performing arts, museum, gallery, Imax movie theater, a 500 seat theatrical theater, artisans market, TV studio and many more. EPAC HAITI was founded by Haitian-Americans Youdy Sanon (the entrepreneur) and Kishner Deprinvill (the photographer and film maker). Their passion envisions a modern and respected Haitian society driving by its rich cultural heritage.
ABOUT THE ARTISTSJOSEPH EDDY PIERRE: Much of Joseph Eddy Pierre's art deals with identity, trans-cultural existence, and African-Diasporic rituals. Working in mixed media, with an emphasis on painting and installation, Joseph Eddy Pierre's art is layered, luscious, and often dense. Joseph quality of work is in demand throughout galleries worldwide.
ANNICK DUVIVIER: A former student of the renowned Haitian painter Ralph Allen, Annick Duvivier studied Fine Art and Illustration at Altos de Chavon in the Dominican Republic. Many of her works have been shown in exhibitions throughout Haiti, Dominican Republic, United States and Europe. Annick is one of the most in demand young master painters around.
ABOUT EBAY GIVING WORKSFounded in 1995 in San Jose, Calif., eBay Inc. is a global commerce platform and payments leader connecting millions of buyers and sellers. As we help to drive the next generation of commerce, we believe in the power of our employees, technologies and global networks to also enable positive social and environmental change in the world. Integrated into eBay's regular buying and selling platform, eBay Giving Works is a program that allows fundraising for charity by giving consumers the ability to shop, sell and donate to the charity of their choice. Since 2003 the program has raised over $470 million for 30,000 nonprofits in the US, UK, CA and DE. The eBay Giving Works program is part of a portfolio of programs, resources, and tools across eBay Inc that are intended to enable and inspire online charity donations at a scale never seen before. Learn more at givingworks.ebay.com.
Headphones for Haiti
Wed, 02 Jul 2014 17:24
EPAC HAITI, INC. has partnered with Monster, Inc. and top Haitian master painters to create a limited and exclusive line of hand painted headphones from Monster's Inspiration line of headphones. Each headphone is one of a kind and hand painted by some of the most revered Haitian master painters whose works are recognized and are in high demand around the world. Here's your chance to own a pair!
Frantz ZephirinHis style is unique among the painters of the Northern School. He describes himself as a "Historic Animalist". Expand to see more 'º'º
JOSEPH EDDY PIERREMuch of Joseph Eddy Pierre's art deals with identity, trans-cultural existence, and African-Diasporic rituals. Expand to see more 'º'º
Levoy ExilExil's paintings are mystical and abstract and often depict Haitian Vodou Loas, suns and stars, birds, and Marassas. Expand to see more 'º'º
Mario BenjaminMario is one of Haiti's leading contemporary artists. Using videos and multimedia, and paintings and other mixed media he addresses issues of identity, ethnicity and race. Expand to see more 'º'º
Patricia BrintlePatricia's approach to painting is varied and reflects her feelings at the moment. Expand to see more 'º'º
Pierre Pascal Merisier AKA Pask¶Pask¶ has a plural training. He was the recipient of a grant from the French government to study printmaking in Montpellier. Expand to see more 'º'º
Yael TalleyrandI don't make art about anything in particular; I am more interested in ways of making art and ways of communicating through it. Expand to see more 'º'º
Philippe DodardPhilippe's works have been exhibited throughout Europe and the Americas. He received the first prize in drawing at the Junior Seminary of St-Martial's College in 1966. Expand to see more 'º'º
Pascale MonninPascale Monnin, is a wonderful artist. She received an intensive art education in Geneva, studying sculpture, painting and printmaking. Expand to see more 'º'º
Richard BarbotRichard Barbot is what you call a complete artist with proficient skills as a musician and a painter. Expand to see more 'º'º
EPAC HAITI, INC. has partnered with Monster, Inc. and top Haitian master painters to create a limited and exclusive line of hand painted headphones from Monster's Inspiration line of headphones. Each headphone is one of a kind and hand painted by some of the most revered Haitian master painters whose works are recognized and are in high demand around the world. Monster donated about 100 headphones and 10 will be auctioned live on June 25th, 2014 through a silent auction at Open House Gallery in New York City. The remaining headphones will be auctioned on eBay. Monster's support on this initiative fosters the fusion of technology and art. The goal is to create a positive awareness towards the country of Haiti and its rich art culture. The funds raised will go towards the construction fund of EPAC Haiti and the launch of EPAC Haiti's performing arts social programs targeting children living in remote locations in Haiti. This initiative does not purport to raise the full amount needed to build EPAC HAITI.
EPAC Haiti represents the evolution and transformation of a new and successful Haiti. EPAC envisions a modern and respected Haitian society driven by its rich cultural heritage. Our goal is to exploit the wealth of Haitian art culture by building a world class performing arts and convention center in the heart of Haiti.
EPAC plans to be the voice and platform for Haiti's youth and artist community; artists will showcase their talents deeply rooted in their cultural lineage to the entire world. EPAC Haiti will be a cultural hub and entertainment destination for Haiti's people and Haiti's tourism sector. The center will include a 3,000 seat concert hall, a state of the art convention center, a school for performing arts, art studios, dance studios, museum, gallery, a 500 seat theatrical theater, artisans market, and much more. With this initiative, EPAC will promote economic development by creating jobs and providing the highest caliber of arts education in the Caribbean.
EPAC Haiti, at the core, will initially launch as a social preforming arts development program in Haiti. EPAC will adopt town-by-town and develop art programs that empower education and harness the talents of Haitian youths. We look to transcend the mindsets and open the eyes of participating youths to new experiences and innovative ideas. The end result is to expand the endless possibilities for those living in locations where typically they would not have direct access to our programs.
Frantz ZephirinZephirin was born in Cap Haitien, Haiti on December 17, 1968. By his reckoning, he is the 24th of 48 children sired by his architect father (with 19 different women). As a toddler he sat and watched his uncle, the Haitian painter Antoine Obin, as he worked. By the age of seven, Frantz was filching paint in bottle caps to do his own paintings. Within a year he was selling paintings to the tourists from cruise ships that docked in Le Cap in those days and by age thirteen, lying about his age, he was selling work to galleries. Eventually he moved to Port-au-Prince and became associated with the Galerie Monnin.
His style is unique among the painters of the Northern School. He describes himself as a "Historic Animalist." He is entirely self-taught. Unlike many Haitian painters, he usually titles his paintings. Zephirin counts among his influences Leonardo da Vinci, James Darwin and the Lost Continent of Atlantis. His work is shown internationally. In October 1996 he was awarded the gold medal in the Third Biennal of Caribbean and Central American Painting, sponsored by The Museum of Modern Art of the Dominican Republic. This competition featured 144 artists from 37 countries in the region. He was one of five Haitians to be included in the V Biennal in Cuenca, Ecuador in 1996. Two of his paintings are featured in the wonderful show "Sacred Arts of Haitian Vodou" that toured the USA in 1997 and 1998. One of his paintings is featured on the cover of the bestseller "The Immaculate Invasion" by Bob Shacochis. His work was shown by the American Visionary Art Museum (Baltimore) in the exhibits "Holy H20" in 2005 and "Home & Beast" in 2006-2007. Zephirin lives outside of Port-au-Prince, but travels extensively.
After a very close call with the earthquake, Zephirin immediately went back to work recording his visions of a violently transformed world. His painting ''The Resurrection of the Dead'' was the arresting image chosen for the January 25th cover of the New Yorker magazine. Since the earthquake Zephirin has been featured in stories in the New York Times, Le Monde, the Wall Street Journal, the Los Angeles Times, the Times of London, the Guardian and the BBC - website and broadcast. During March through May, 2010, Zephirin has been exhibiting his work in the exhibit Haiti Art Naif: Memories of Paradise? at the art center Denkmalschmiede Hofgen in Gimma, Saxony, Germany. A portion of the sales of Zephirin's work will be donated to Haitian earthquake relief.
Levoy ExilLevoy Exil was born in 1944, in Fermathe, Haiti. He is a master Haitian artist and painter; He is one of the main contributors to the Saint Soleil art movement.
Exil's paintings are mystical and abstract and often depict Haitian VodouLoas, suns and stars, birds, and Marassas. His painting style is primitive and dreamlike and employs the Pointillism technique of applying small, distinct dots in a pattern to reveal an image. There are rarely unused portions of the canvas in his works and he draws from African, Haitian, and Vodou influences.
Along with Prospere Pierre-Louis, Dieuseul Paul, Denis Smith, and Louisiane Saint Fleurant he formed the renowned Cinq Soleil (Five Suns) art movement. The Five Suns group formed out of the Saint Soleil movement, of which Levoy Exil was a member and master painter.
His work is well regarded by collectors and has been exhibited in France, Rome, the United States, and parts of Asia. Haitian Art historian, Seldon Rodman, referenced Exil's paintings in his book ''Where Art is Joy: Haitian Art: The First Forty Years.''
In 2010, Exil was featured in a CNN article after the earthquake that struck Haiti. Later that year the Smithsonian Institution sponsored the Folklife Festival in Washington DC which featured presentations and artwork by Levoy Exil and other prominent Haitian artists.
Mario BenjaminMario Benjamin was born in 1964 in Port-au-Prince to an architect father and a pharmacist mother. Mario is one of Haiti's leading contemporary artists. Using videos and multimedia, paintings and other mixed media, he addresses issues of identity, ethnicity, and race. As an artist, he aims to challenge the preconceived notions of the driving influences and interest of Haitian artists. Benjamin is a self-taught artist but has frequented museums and galleries in the United States of America, Europe, Africa, and Asia, exposing him to international contemporary trends in art. In 1984 he participated in Festival Arts in Haiti and since then has represented Haiti in numerous prestigious biennials including: Havana in 1997, Johannesburg in 1997, Sao Paolo in 1998, Venice in 2001, 2007, and 2011, The Gwangju Biennial in 2008, Dakart in 2010, and The Contemporary Art Biennial of Martinique in 2014. He lives and works in Haiti.
Patricia BrintleSelf-taught artist, Patricia Brintle, was born and raised in Haiti and immigrated to the United States in 1964. Although she has made the US her residence, her colorful style reflects her native land. Her approach to painting is varied and reflects her feelings at that moment. Brintle's work is influenced both by personal and social experiences. Most of her portraits focus on the expression of the eyes and tell in one look the story of the person on the canvas.
She favors bright, vivid and vibrant colors and uses much symbolism in her work. Her medium is as varied as her subjects but she prefers acrylics because of its diversity. Brintle is a member of the United Haitian Artists and the Brooklyn Waterfront Artists Coalition. She exhibits in New York, Florida, Connecticut, Illinois, and California. She is represented by Agora Gallery in Chelsea NY, Medalia Gallery in NY, Nader Haitian Art in NY, Artists Haven Gallery in FL, Gallore Gallery in CT, Nicole Gallery in Chicago, and the Bridgeman Art Library in London, UK.
Pierre Pascal Merisier AKA Pask¶Pask¶ has a plural training. After studying painting and drawing in the art workshops of the Ecole Sainte Trinit(C) (1994-1996), he started attending the workshop Kay Tiga in 1997. He then progressively got trained in linocut, monotype, and ceramics (with Lissa Jeannot).
In 2006, he was the recipient of a grant from the French government to study printmaking in Montpellier.
In 2010, after the earthquake, he participated in a show selling artwork at the restaurant L'Espace-Temps in Carcassonne, France to benefit Haiti.
Yael TalleyrandI am a 20 year old, Haitian-based artist.
I wrote a normal artist bio/statement but cannot get myself to post it for I am really uncomfortable with referring to myself in the third person. And to be honest, the reason why I make art is to ultimately not have to communicate verbally.
I don't make art about anything in particular; I am more interested in ways of making art and ways of communicating through it. The human figure is the one common thing between all of my pieces. My art and my overall experience with life is really people oriented. It's always been interesting for me to talk about the different ways there are to feel about others, and the things there are to appreciate, hate or learn about them. Having spent years far away from people my age that I could interact with, had a huge impact on my ability to pick up on social cues as well as my interpretation or even awareness of certain clich(C)s. Images and symbols, however, seemed to me like a clearer way of getting a message across, because when you remove the connotation or the context, all human emotions are pretty universal. I even find that I am able to convey way more in a sketch than with sentences. It took me a lot of time to realize that most things I made art about, I had a really hard time having conversations about. And when I expressed things visually, people were more open to understanding what I was saying since they were able to have their own perception of it, rather than being limited by words. Starting to view art as more of a tool for communication enabled me to stop trying to pick a major, or a specific medium, but rather, considering being able to use different media, as being fluent in multiple languages. Just'... Just go look at the images.
Philippe DodardPhilippe Dodard (born 1954) is a Haitian graphic artist and painter. Born in Port-au-Prince, Dodard worked as an advertising illustrator. His works have been exhibited throughout Europe and the Americas.
He received the first prize in drawing at the Junior Seminary of St-Martial's College in 1966. He studied at the PotoMitan Art School with Jean-Claude "Tiga" Garoute, Patrick Vilaire, and Frido Casimir. In 1973, he entered the Academy of Fine Arts. Then he worked as layout artist and founded a studio of audiovisual graphic arts. In 1978, he received a scholarship to the International School in Bordeaux, France, enabling him to specialize in Pedagogic Graphic Design. Two years later he received a scholarship from the Rotary International Foundation and left on tour with the Group Study Exchange of Haiti to give conferences on Haitian culture. His artwork has evolved to include large sculptures, fine iron works and fine jewelry design. Philippe Dodard is a leading contemporary artist of the Caribbean and the African Diaspora. His artistic evolution was a series of steps, leading to major solo and international exhibitions including, Arte Americas (2008), the Venice Biennale (1999), Biennale of Latin American Drawings, Santo Domingo (1997), and the Biennale of Caribbean and Central America Art, Dominican Republic (1996). Dodard attained international prominence by rejecting the 'primitive', 'na¯ve' classification that dogged Haitian art. His paintings'-- Eternit(C) de Mes Songes, Parole d'Ile (2005), Fl>>te Enchant(C)e (1999), the Kosovo series, Femme aux Trois visages (1989), and Syncretism (1991)'--are not any kind of works, states Michelle Frisch, Director of the Marassa Gallery in Port-au-Prince, Haiti. ''They were like mnemonic devices . . . created at a moment of Philippe's coming to term with the forces that texture the Caribbean ethos.'' Dodard superbly blended Haitian, Caribbean and African iconographical elements to create deep complex forms. His recent choice of themes, Initiation, Consternation and Baron-Samedi reflects his transformation into ''a human Poto-Mitan,'' the channeling pole at the center of the Vodun temple through which the spiritual forces descend to the oumphor (temple). Dodard's strong graphic ink wash paintings inspired Donna Karan's Spring 2012 Collection. The MOCA exhibition brings together dresses from the Donna Karan Spring 2012 Collection with Dodard's paintings.
Pascale MonninPascale Monnin is a wonderful artist. She was born in Haiti in 1974, then she moved to Switzerland in 1977. She received an intensive art education in Geneva, studying sculpture, painting, and printmaking. In 1994 she returned to live in Haiti, where her uncle and aunt opened the Gallerie Monnin. Her paintings, prints, and instillations are pure magic. These ambiguous universes she creates, are infused with themes of death, life, and the dream state. The naive art scene of Haiti, mixed with the voodoo culture, and Pascale's European background, are the perfect ingredients for soulful art.
Haiti: EU signs new support for government reforms in Haiti
Wed, 02 Jul 2014 17:21
Source: European CommissionToday the EU will approve a direct payment to the government of Haiti of '‚¬34 million in order to support ongoing reforms to modernise the state administration and the public finance management. This will be done through, for instance, better internal and external controls and anti-corruption measures. The reforms will also improve access to primary education and reinforce its quality, including by providing vocational training to teachers.
European Commissioner for Development, Andris Piebalgs, commented:''Today's payment is a sign that the government of Haiti has made progress in reforming its public finances. The new EU funding will help to ensure that the necessary financial resources and institutional capacity are in place for further reforms. This will enable the government to better fulfil its responsibilities for the people of Haiti, through policies in the social sector and by meeting the needs of the population.''
Mr. Fernando Frutuoso de Melo, Director-General of the European Commission DG Development and Cooperation '' EuropeAid will sign the disbursement of '‚¬34 million in Haiti's capital Port-au-Prince in the presence of Prime Minister Laurent Salvador Lamothe, the Minister of Education, Nesmy Manigat, and the Secretary of state for finance, Ronald Decembre.
The payment forms part of a so-called 'State Building Contract' under which the EU plans to provide '‚¬100 million to the budget of the government of Haiti until 2016. The support programme will be complemented by '‚¬12 million of technical assistance to support those Haitian institutions that are involved in the reforms. Moreover, a permanent dialogue between the EU and the government on the progress and results of modernising the state will be established in the areas of public finances, (budgetary control), state modernisation and education.
Background
In Haiti, the EU has continuously worked on strengthening the institutions of the state to reinforce good governance and the ability of designing and implementing sound policies. Moreover, the EU has supported, among other things, road and water/sanitation infrastructure as well as addressing low education levels and food insecurity with a view of strengthening the resilience of the most vulnerable.The total of EU development funding to Haiti from 2008 to 2013 amounted to '‚¬889 million. Since the earthquake of 2010 which killed an estimated 265,000 people and destroyed parts of the physical infrastructure, the EU's cooperation has helped with the reconstruction of the country, as well as its longer-term development.
It has also provided humanitarian aid in several sectors including basic services in the camps for internally displaced persons, protection, support to their relocation and reintegration, fight against cholera, disaster risk reduction and disaster preparedness, as well as food security.
For 2014-2020 EU funding of '‚¬420 million is foreseen for Haiti under the 11th European Development Fund, with a focus on four sectors: support to state reform; education; urban development and infrastructure; food security.
Some results of EU cooperation with Haiti (between 2008 and 2013)
The EU has rehabilitated 100 km of roads between Port-au-Prince and Cap Haitien (the second biggest city of the country), significantly improving the security of this section of the highway and opening up isolated areas of the country's central region.
Food security has been improved for 750,000 people through the rehabilitation of irrigation systems, support to agricultural and livestock production, processing systems and marketing training. In addition, 3,000 farmers have benefited from micro grants to increase their production (in six districts of the country).Budget support helped to maintain basic state functioning after the earthquake and has helped to advance public finance management reforms.
EUROLand
Spain Issues Retroactive 0.03% Tax on Bank Deposits to "Boost Economic Growth and Job Creation"
Wed, 09 Jul 2014 16:21
Via translation from Libre Mercado, Spain will retroactively tax bank deposits to January 1, 2014 stating the move will boost growth and job creation.
Guru Huky correctly labeled the tax for what it is "More than a tax, this looks like a mini seizure of deposits. Someone likely needs a few million and to balance the books."
The notion that a tax increase will boost the economy is of course absurd. But don't worry, it's only 0.03%, nudge nudge, wink wink ... for now.
Mike "Mish" Shedlockhttp://globaleconomicanalysis.blogspot.com
Dozens of refugees suffocate in boat off the coast of Italy
Tue, 08 Jul 2014 02:31
By Martin Kriekenbaum7 July 2014On the night of Monday, June 30, the Italian coast guard discovered the bodies of 45 refugees in an overcrowded fishing boat. The 20-metre-long boat, which was jam-packed with the more than 600 refugees, was discovered about 160 nautical miles northwest of the Libyan city of Tripoli. The refugees had come from Syria, Eritrea, Mali, Gambia and the Central African Republic.
In another refugee tragedy that day more than 70 refugees drowned when their rubber dinghy capsized in the channel separating Sicily from mainland Italy. Some 27 of the surviving refugees were rescued by a merchant ship. According to figures from the refugee support organization, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), the number of refugee deaths during the crossing from Africa to Europe has increased to more than 500 since January this year.
The coast guard was confronted with a gruesome sight when members of its crew boarded the fishing vessel. Crammed together in the boat's 9-square-metre hold, otherwise used as a refrigerated room for fish, were numerous corpses.
Survivors told the Italian authorities that the Libyan people-smugglers had been extremely brutal, particularly with the refugees from sub-Saharan Africa. Because these refugees had apparently paid less money for the crossing, they were huddled together in the hold, while those from Syria were allowed to stay on deck.
However, when the quality of air worsened in the sweltering area below deck and engine fumes began to seep in, the desperate refugees tried to break out of the hold. Some of the refugees were pushed back because the people on deck were afraid that the overloaded boat might capsize.
A Syrian survivor described to the La Repubblica newspaper the desperate agony of the entrapped people. ''They were screaming, pleading for help, begging to be let out to breathe fresh air. They tried to climb out of the hold, in which they were penned like cattle, but the boat was rocking too much. Others on deck got scared and slammed the hatch shut right in their faces.''
A survivor from Gambia said the cries they heard went on hours, but they could not do anything about it. ''Shortly before the coast guard reached the boat, the screaming stopped and I realised that all the trapped people must have been dead. Among them is a cousin of mine and friends from my village'', she said.
The fishing boat was towed into the Sicilian port of Pozzallo to dispose of the dead. Much of the deck had to be pried open to get the corpses out. ''They were stacked on top of one another like bodies in a mass grave'', said the Pozzallo chief of police, overwhelmed by the sight. ''It reminded me of Auschwitz.''
Criminal investigation proceedings were opened against three Senegalese and a Ghanaian, who had been hired by traffickers to operate the crossing.
Still unclear are the circumstances under which a rubber dinghy with probably more than 100 refugees on board capsized around the same time as the other tragedy. The survivors reported that more than 70 refugees were missing, but the authorities are playing down the incident. A spokesman for the Italian navy said that, as far as he knew, a dinghy had not capsized and further investigations would be conducted.
The Italian authorities are anxious to keep the number of victims as low as possible, so as to continue to present Operation Mare Nostrum (Our Sea), which has been underway since October 2013, as a success.
Mare Nostrum was initiated after more than 400 refugees were killed in two naval disasters off the Italian island of Lampedusa last autumn. Since then, a large-scale naval and coast guard operation has been systematically scouring the waters between Italy and Libya for refugee boats.
The operation, which involves a massive military and surveillance mobilization at Europe's borders, is only superficially concerned with the rescue of refugees. Refugee boats are often simply intercepted and turned back to the Libyan coast, and even those refugees rescued by merchant or military ships are denied access to a fair asylum procedure and forced to live in inhumane conditions.
On June 10, Spiegel Online reported that two groups of 160 to 170 refugees, who had only recently been stranded on the Italian coast, had simply been dumped by the Italian authorities at parking sites outside Rome and Milan'--barefoot and without any money or food. The UNHCR reported that many of the refugees had been completely disoriented after hours of bus travel.
Mare Nostrum cooperates closely with the Libyan coast guard, and many of the refugees who were initially rescued from drowning were immediately deported back to Libya pursuant to a refoulement (returning) agreement between the two countries. Having returned to Libya, many refugees are subjected to arbitrary detention and systematic torture.
In late June, Human Rights Watch published the initial results of an investigation that was conducted in April 2014, which attempted to document the mistreatment of refugees in Libya. The human rights organization had inspected 9 of the 19 detention centres administered by the interior ministry's Department for the Control of Illegal Migration [DCIM] and interviewed 138 of the refugees confined there. Some 93 prisoners from eight camps showed signs of abuse and torture, and these included minors of 14 years of age. The refugees described how they were beaten with iron rods, sticks and rifle butts, whipped with rubber hosing and cables, and tortured with electric shocks. Prisoners in some camps even stated that they had been hung from a tree upside down and whipped.
The camps were also overcrowded with poor sanitation. The prisoners were denied access to medical treatment or any form of legal aid. They were detained without trial for months, their only ''crime'' being the accusation that they had entered Libya without documentation'--or were unable to provide any identity papers.
Such blatant human rights violations are not only commonplace at the gates of Europe; they are also strongly supported by the Italian government and the European Union [EU]. The EU provides '‚¬12 million alone for the maintenance of the Libyan admission and detention camps.
Cecilia Malmstr¶m, the EU commissioner for justice and home affairs, contends that the EU and its Frontex border agency lack the money to take over the financing of Operation Mare Nostrum and transform it into a rescue mission, because the EU member states refuse to increase Frontex's '‚¬90 million budget.
In the meantime, the Italian government has announced that the operation will be scaled back or entirely culminated unless it receives additional financial support from the European Union. In adopting this position, Prime Minister Matteo Renzi's government is yielding to the demands of right-wing and fascist parties that oppose the expenditure of the '‚¬9 million allocated to the rescuing of refugees.
Although hundreds of billions of euros from state coffers have been swallowed up by the banks and corporations over the past years, Europe's politicians continue to haggle over spending relatively tiny sums to rescue refugees from certain death. The haggling continues while the number of refugees trying to reach Europe has greatly increased. In particular, refugees are fleeing the worsening crises and wars in Syria, Iraq, the Central African Republic, Mali, Eritrea and Libya, which have been incited and supported by the US and European powers.
Given the mounting instability of social conditions in Libya and the growing numbers of refugees stranded there, attempts to cross the Mediterranean in overcrowded, unseaworthy boats will continue. More than 62,000 refugees have already landed on the coasts of Italy this year'--many times more than in the same period last year. According to a recent report by Save the Children, these include nearly 10,000 children, of whom 6,000 have fled unaccompanied by parents or family members from their regions of origin. Syrians and Eritreans constitute the largest contingent of all these refugees; more than 10,000 people have been forced to flee each of the countries.
But the European Union's response to the refugee drama unfolding at its doors is only to mount more repression. Measures for the admission of refugees are not being considered, nor is access to fair asylum procedures being facilitated. Instead, the Eurosur surveillance program, involving the newest drone and satellite technology, is being used to meticulously monitor border regions in order to observe the refugees' every movement and block their passage as early as possible. The EU also secures readmission agreements and so-called ''mobility partnerships'' with neighbouring states. These countries are rewarded with better access to EU visas if they are prepared to intercept and detain refugees on their way to Europe. The EU turns a blind eye to any mistreatment suffered by refugees in this process.
The expansion of ''Fortress Europe'' compels refugees to resort to ever more dangerous routes of entry into the EU. The European states thus encourage the ruthless business of traffickers and people smugglers, who cash in on the desperation of refugees. But it is not the small-time boatmen who should be standing in the prisoner's dock, as is now the case with the tragedy off Sicily. It is the leaders of governments of Europe, whose inhumane refugee policies have been responsible for the deaths of more than 23,000 refugees since the year 2000.
Please enable JavaScript to view the comments powered by Disqus.
Italy says it rescued more than 2,600 boat migrants over weekend. Do the math.
Tue, 08 Jul 2014 23:39
The Italian navy says it rescued 261 African migrants after their boats fell into trouble on Sunday (July 6) night off the coast of Sicily.
Over the weekend, more than 2,600 migrants were saved in separate missions of Italy's ''Mare Nostrum'' surge and rescue operation.
Some 63,000 migrants have reached Italy from North Africa so far this year.
Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi has called on the European Union for more investment in ''Mare Nostrum'', which costs around 9 million euros a month.
France to unveil tough new anti-jihadist laws
Wed, 09 Jul 2014 16:34
France is planning a crackdown on would-be jihadists. Photo: AFP
Under tough new anti-terrorism legislation to be announced on Wednesday in France, suspected radicals would be banned from international air travel and the government could order internet providers to block jihad recruitment websites.
France's interior minister is set to unveil a bill on Wednesday aimed at beefing up anti-terrorism laws and preventing aspiring jihadists from fighting abroad amid concern over the number of young nationals travelling to Syria.
The bill, part of which was seen by AFP, includes a ban on foreign travel by individuals suspected of being radicalized, for a duration of up to six months. It can apply both to adults and minors.
Under the proposal, their passports will be temporarily confiscated and invalidated.
Airlines will be banned from carrying targeted passengers and will have to notify French authorities the moment one of them makes a reservation.
If they do manage to go abroad, they will be the subject of an international arrest warrant.
The ban would be decided by the interior minister himself and could be extended as long as is necessary, the proposed bill says.
It also provides for tighter legislation against online recruitment, by for instance asking Internet service providers to block access to sites "that provoke acts of terrorism or praise them" -- modelled on existing rules against child pornography sites.
It will also allow investigators to use pseudonyms to enter pro-jihadist sites.
The law will also be tightened to make individual plans of terrorism a punishable offence, aimed at those identified by authorities as "lone wolves".
Current legislation targets those who associate with a group suspected of planning or staging terrorist acts.
The French government is deeply concerned about the radicalisation of its nationals after hundreds of citizens have gone to fight with jihadists in Syria.
In May, authorities arrested Frenchman Medhi Nemmouche who is suspected of shooting dead four people at the Brussels Jewish Museum after spending a year fighting in Syria.
They have also deported a Tunisian accused of recruiting young jihadists to fight in Syria.
Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve will unveil the bill at Wednesday's weekly cabinet meeting.
Out There
UFO on Mars is a 'hot pixel': Nasa confirms that mysterious white light landing on the red planet is just a camera glitch | Mail Online
Mon, 07 Jul 2014 13:34
Two images seem to show a white dot descending to the surface of MarsNasa, however, explains how they can be attributed to hot pixel anomalyOne Youtuber had claimed the images showed a UFO landing on the planetThe images were taken by cameras on Curiosity on 20 JuneThis was just a week before Curiosity celebrated its first Martian yearBy Jonathan O'Callaghan
Published: 07:38 EST, 7 July 2014 | Updated: 07:38 EST, 7 July 2014
In a series of images from Nasa's Curiosity rover, a white dot appears to descend to the surface of the Mars.
The images are claimed by one Youtuber to be evidence of a UFO landing on the red planet.
But, says Nasa, the anomaly can be easily explained as a so-called 'hot pixel' in one of the cameras.
Scroll down for video
This image was taken by the Curiosity rover's Navcam Right camera and appears to show a white dot hovering above a mountain on Mars. In reality, according to an Imaging Scientist at Nasa, it is more than likely just a hot pixel, which is a sort of anomaly in the camera during long exposure pictures
Claims of aliens on Mars are nothing new - many previous supposed sightings have been made.
WHAT IS A HOT PIXEL?Hot pixels can appear in a photograph as bright white, green or red spots that are out of place when compared to the rest of the image.
They are sometimes also called 'dead' pixels.
Usually these pixels, and other types of 'digital noise' appear in the darker or underexposed parts of images.
Images taken at longer exposure time are much more likely to have this issue too.
This latest 'discovery' was taking by the two cameras on the mast of the rover, its head and neck, known as Navcam Left and Navcam Right.
The images were taken by the rover on 20 June, 665 Martian days since Curiosity first landed on Mars in August 2011.
The white light appears to move downwards, suggesting it is moving towards the surface, in two images separated by 31 seconds.
In the first image from Navcam Right the white light is above a mountain.
But the next image from Navcam Left shows it is closer to the ground.
Youtuber UFOvni2012 boldly claims in a video that it is a sign of a UFO arriving on Mars.
Could THIS be evidence of UFOs arriving on Mars?
In the images the light appears to be moving downards, but it's likely just a hot pixel in each 'eye' of the camera. The first image (left) was taken by Navcam Right and the second (right) was taken by Navcam Left 31 seconds later, showing not a UFO descending but rather hot pixels in the camera that caused the anomaly
But speaking to the Huffington Post, Imaging Scientist Dr Justin Maki from Nasa explained what they thought the anomaly was.
CURIOSITY BY NUMBERSThe rover's top speed is 1.5 inches (3.8 centimetres) per second.
Curiosity is the fourth rover to visit Mars.
It took around seven minutes to land on the Red Planet.
The rover is fitted with 17 cameras.
It weighs about the same as a Mini Cooper at approximately 2,000lb (900kg).
Scientists considered 60 possible landing sites before deciding on Gale Crater.
'This is a hot pixel that has been around since we started using the Right Navcam,' he said.
A hot pixel can show up when sensors get hot during long exposures.
Why there would be a similar such hot pixel in both cameras at the same time though, is not known.
MailOnline is awaiting further comment from Nasa on the issue.
Other 'lights' in the past have been attributed to sunlight glinting off rocks or cosmic rays striking the surface.
Curiosity has been operational on Mars since August 2012 and is now on its way to Mount Sharp. This 'find' came a day before Curiosity celebrated a Martian year - 687 Earth days - on June 24, having accomplished the mission's main goal of determining whether Mars once offered environmental conditions favorable for life
Another infamous false claim of UFOs in the past was the 'Face on Mars.'
On 25 July 1976 Nasa's Viking 1 orbiter released an image of a region called Cydonia that seemed to show a human face on the Red Planet.
In reality it was nothing more than a phenomenon known as pareidolia, where the human brain picks out faces in an object, in this instance a chance aligning of shifting sand.
In 2006, the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) imaged the region and again and showed that the sand had continued shifting, erasing the 'face' from the surface.
In 1976 the Viking 1 orbiter snapped an image of a region of Mars that looked like a human face (left), leading some to claim it was a sign of intelligent life, but 30 years later it was proven to just be a sand dune (right)
Share or comment on this article
The scramble for Mars - President Obama and Congress can't even agree on the route to the red planet
Fri, 04 Jul 2014 05:22
WASHINGTON, July 3 (UPI) --The partisan divide between Democrat and Republican lawmakers has extended from Washington to the surface of Mars.While both sides of the political aisle want NASA to pursue a manned Mission to Mars, President Obama and congressional Republicans have very different ideas about how to get there.
President Obama believes the path to Mars is through NASA's proposed Asteroid Redirect Mission, the process of capturing an asteroid and extracting its solar radiation to create a fueling station between Earth and Mars.
In addition to providing a path to Mars, the ARM program would only cost $3 billion, overwhelmingly less than former President George W. Bush's $100 billion scrapped moon mission. President Obama pulled the plug on that mission after $10 billion had been spent.
"ARM achieves deep space operations experience much sooner, and at much lower cost than lunar exploration," explained Louis Friedman, co-founder of the Planetary Society. "ARM would move U.S. astronauts beyond the Moon, creating opportunities to proceed farther into interplanetary space, toward Mars."
"First, ARM would extend human space flight to a lunar distant retrograde orbit. Sorties into true interplanetary space to a near-Earth asteroid would follow, preparing for journeys to the Mars system (perhaps landing on Phobos or Deimos.) The Martian surface -- the goal -- would then be clearly visible, and clearly achievable."
House Republicans, however, want NASA to establish an American moon base. Newt Gingrich famously became the butt of jokes for suggesting this during the last presidential election cycle, but a base on the moon is a very real hope to some in the aeronautics community.
Proponents of a moon base say it would allow NASA to test landing technologies and surface operations, as well as make America the first country to test extraterrestrial physical energy resources, such as the water contained in lunar dust.
"I frankly don't think anyone would be pushing asteroid redirect if the U.S. embraced a return to the moon," John Logsdon, former director of George Washington University's Space Institute told the National Journal.
"The rest of the world is focused on going to the moon. We're the only country that's out of sync with that."
House Republicans are so enamored with the idea of a moon base, they say they won't expand funding for Mars exploration until it scraps the ARM plan, a claim Friedman warns is a red herring.
"I don't think there's an iota of indication [that funding would be raised with a renewed moon focus]. There are people who will talk about that idea," Friedman said.
"The idea of actually appropriating extra money, we haven't seen anything like that."
(C) 2014 United Press International, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI's prior written consent.
VIDEO-CLIPS-DOCS
VIDEO_ Second American SPY Caught Working Within German Government In A Week! - YouTube
Thu, 10 Jul 2014 13:59
VIDEO-BBC News - Emergency phone and internet data storage law to be brought in
Thu, 10 Jul 2014 12:35
10 July 2014Last updated at 03:44 ET Please turn on JavaScript. Media requires JavaScript to play.
Nick Robinson explains on Daily Politics why there is a rush to bring in the new law
Emergency legislation will be brought in next week to force phone and internet companies to log records of customer calls, texts and internet use.
Ministers say it is necessary so police and security services can access the data they need after a legal ruling which declared existing powers invalid.
The proposed law has the backing of Labour and the coalition parties.
A special cabinet is being held to agree the planned laws, which will only last until 2016.
Prime Minister David Cameron and his Lib Dem Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg will tell a special cabinet meeting on Thursday that emergency legislation is necessary to keep the country safe.
A recent ruling of the European Court of Justice has removed the obligation on telecoms companies to retain records of when and who their customers have called, texted and emailed.
Without a new law Mr Cameron and Mr Clegg will claim that that information could be destroyed within weeks by companies fearing legal challenges.
Labour is backing emergency legislation after all-party talks agreed that this law would enshrine existing rights and not be used to extend them by re-introducing the so-called "snoopers charter".
It will also bring in so-called safeguards including:
The creation of a new Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board to examine the impact of the law on privacy and civil liberties A review of the controversial RIPA - Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act Annual government transparency reports on how these powers are used The law will include a so-called sunset clause - ensuring that these powers will die in 2016 - so there will be a longer and wider debate about what replaces them. Critics will no doubt argue that the time for that debate is now. To pass any new law in just a week is rare. So too is it to have the backing of all three main parties even before it is published.
On a subject as sensitive as giving the police and security services access to phone and internet data this is bound to be controversial.
Update 08:45 BST: The emergency legislation will oblige telecom firms to retain data for 12 months. Under the European law which it replaces companies could be asked to retain data for 24 months.
More controversially the new law will also produce what is being described as a "clearer legal framework" to allow access to the content of calls, texts and emails after a warrant is signed by a senior government minister. Telecoms companies are said to have warned ministers that after the Edward Snowden revelations they are vulnerable to legal challenge by their customers.
The Labour MP Tom Watson has condemned the plans as a "stitch up" which prevent MPs from considering the legislation properly.
VIDEO-ABC News tells viewers that scenes of destruction in Gaza are in Israel | The Electronic Intifada
Thu, 10 Jul 2014 06:33
More than fifty Palestinians have been killed and another 450 wounded since Monday in Israel's ongoing assault on the besieged Gaza Strip, dubbed ''Operation Protective Edge'' by the Israeli army.
As usual, mainstream media outlets are straining to paint Israel as the victim, defending its people against irrational Palestinian rocket fire.
There is no equating the killing and maiming of dozens of innocent Palestinians with scared Israelis seeking shelter from crude rockets that rarely cause damage. But that hasn't stopped media outlets from trying, and in some cases, outright lying, to distort the violence.
In one stark example, ABC News' Diane Sawyer misidentifies scenes of the aftermath of Israeli missile strikes in Gaza as destruction caused by Palestinian rocket fire.
As Sawyer segues into the segment, she says, ''We take you overseas now to the rockets raining down on Israel today as Israel tried to shoot them out of the sky.'' Next to her is video footage not of Israelis or even Israel, but of Israeli airstrikes on Gaza.
Sawyer then incorrectly describes an image of a Palestinian family gathering belongings in the smoking debris of a missile-hit home in Gaza as ''an Israeli family trying to salvage what they can.''
Sawyer then describes an image of a Palestinian woman surrounded by destroyed homes as ''one woman standing speechless among the ruins,'' with the implication that she is Israeli.
Sawyer's bald misreporting reflects either a deliberate lie by ABC News or willful ignorance so severe that Palestinian death and misery is invisible even when it's staring ABC producers right in the face.
The segment in its entirety can be seen here.
VIDEO-State Dep't: Investigate 'Serious Allegations of Fraud' in Afghan Presidential Election | MRCTV
Thu, 10 Jul 2014 05:11
patrick.goodenoughPatrick covered government and politics in South Africa and the Middle East before joining CNSNews.com in 1999. Since then he has launched foreign bureaus for CNSNews.com in Jerusalem, London and the Pacific Rim. From October 2006 to July 2007, Patrick served as Managing Editor at the organization's world headquarters in Alexandria, Va. Now back in the Pacific Rim, as International Editor he reports on politics, international relations, security, terrorism, ethics and religion, and oversees reporting by CNSNews.com's roster of international stringers.
show more
VIDEO-Ronan Relates US Immigration Crisis To Jewish People Fleeing Hitler | MRCTV
Thu, 10 Jul 2014 05:04
MRC TV is an online platform for people to share and view videos, articles and opinions on topics that are important to them '-- from news to political issues and rip-roaring humor.
MRC TV is brought to you by the Media Research Center, a 501(c) 3 nonprofit research and education organization. The MRC is located at: 1900 Campus Commons Drive, Reston, VA 20194. For information about the MRC, please visit www.MRC.org.
Copyright (C) 2014, Media Research Center. All Rights Reserved.
VIDEO-NBC 'Nightly News' Takes Palestinian Side in Conflict | MRCTV
Thu, 10 Jul 2014 05:01
MRC TV is an online platform for people to share and view videos, articles and opinions on topics that are important to them '-- from news to political issues and rip-roaring humor.
MRC TV is brought to you by the Media Research Center, a 501(c) 3 nonprofit research and education organization. The MRC is located at: 1900 Campus Commons Drive, Reston, VA 20194. For information about the MRC, please visit www.MRC.org.
Copyright (C) 2014, Media Research Center. All Rights Reserved.
VIDEO- "WE MUST DO ALL THESE AWFUL THINGS OTHERWISE TERRORISTS WILL KILL YOUR CHILDREN!" - YouTube
Thu, 10 Jul 2014 01:06
VIDEO- WARNING GRAPHIC! MAN SELF-IMMOLATES AT ANTI MILITARY PROTEST IN JAPAN - YouTube
Thu, 10 Jul 2014 00:59
VIDEO-First Boston Marathon Bombing Trial Begins Today - YouTube
Thu, 10 Jul 2014 00:56
VIDEO- "Terrorists Plotting To Blow Up Inbound U.S. Jet" - YouTube
Thu, 10 Jul 2014 00:49
VIDEO- German Politicians Demanding U.S. Intelligence Officials Be Expelled From Their Country! - YouTube
Thu, 10 Jul 2014 00:23
VIDEO- Mr Speaker I Rise To State My Belief That ISRAEL CAN DO NO WRONG! - YouTube
Thu, 10 Jul 2014 00:16
VIDEO-Violent worker protests in Buenos Aires as Argentina stares second debt default in the face | euronews, world news
Wed, 09 Jul 2014 23:51
A protest by Argentine car workers quickly deteriorated into violence on the Panamericana highway leading into Buenos Aires as angry pickets confronted police.
The auto part company Lear has announced mass redundancies blaming them on the current recession.
Unions say its the fault of the government pandering to American companies in unpopular debt negotiations.
Union Secretary Laura Yampo:
''This is happening because President Christina Fernandez's government is doing business and negotiating with imperialists to pay the fraudulent external debt and for this reason it has to maintain good relations with the American company owners.''
The government has until July 30 to reach an agreement with hedge funds suing for full repayment of sovereign bonds which the country defaulted on in 2002.
It has been holding out but the American Supreme Court where the case was heard ruled in favour of the hedge fund holders.
Argentina says payment will send it into its second default in 13 years.
Background: Argentina defaulted on $93 billion of its debt in 2002. Two funds acquired some of that debt and have been pushing via the US courts for full repayment, unlike other creditors who agreed to discounts on what they were owed.
In June the US Supreme Court's ruling in favour of the funds also said Argentina cannot pay its other creditors if it doesn't pay the funds first.
VIDEO- "It's Misleading To Say This Is An Attack On Hamas It's Actually An Attack On Palestinian Civilians" - YouTube
Wed, 09 Jul 2014 23:37
VIDEO-Remarks at the Sixth Round of the U.S.-China Strategic and Economic Dialogue
Wed, 09 Jul 2014 23:16
MODERATOR: (Via translator) The Joint Opening Session of the sixth round of China-U.S. Strategic and Economic Dialogue now begins. We will have Vice Premier Wang Yang, Secretary John Kerry, Secretary Jacob Lew, and State Councilor Yang Jiechi. (Applause.)
VICE PREMIER WANG: (Via translator) Secretary of State John Kerry, Secretary of Treasury Jacob Lew, ladies and gentlemen, good morning. It is indeed a great pleasure for me to co-chair the sixth China-U.S. S&ED in Beijing, together with Secretary Kerry, Secretary Lew, and State Councilor Yang Jiechi.
Just now, President Xi Jinping attended the joint opening ceremony, and delivered an important speech. He talked about the importance of building a new model of major country relations, and also he expressed his expectations on this round of S&ED. State Councilor Yang and I, being President Xi's special representatives, are tasked to follow upon his expectations and ensure that this dialogue will produce positive results.
China is the largest developing country in the world. The United States is -- our two countries, in terms of national conditions and systems. This means our interests may diverge. And when we speak, we speak for our respective interests. We may look at things with our own perspectives, and sometimes we even have differences or disagreements. However, each year our two big countries, our two sides, get together and discuss the cross-cutting long-term and strategic issues. This, per se, is the best testament to the new model of major country relationship featuring no confrontation, no conflict, mutual respect, and (inaudible).
Dialogue has already become a symbol for this new model of major country relations. Dialogue is an effective way to improve the global (inaudible) structure. Here I want to borrow a few words from Ambassador Baucus during his recent speech. He said that, "The S&ED is our premier forum in talking through tough issues. Its main purpose is to bring coherence and predictability to our discussions on all issues in the bilateral relationship. Over the past five years, the S&ED has helped to (inaudible) our discussions with China's leaders. And it also helped build toward strategic trust." I agree with Ambassador Baucus's assessment of the S&ED.
Now, many people, they follow very closely on the differences between China and the United States, and they have failed to see so many commonalities we share on important issues. The S&ED is a vibrant -- it is the constructive interaction between two countries with a different culture, system, and point of views. So we have every reason to believe that this dialogue will produce fruitful results. And in the next two days we will make the utmost effort to make sure that the outcomes of the dialogue will create greater opportunities of cooperation for both countries.
I also understand that many people in the world are watching how China and the U.S. will perform on the issue of climate change in this round of dialogue. Today I want to respond to their concerns with concrete action. I am going to keep my remarks very brief, so that we will have an efficient opening session and (inaudible). (Applause.)
SECRETARY KERRY: Well, thank you, and good morning, Vice Premier Wang and State Councilor Yang Jiechi. It is a privilege to be here with you today. And I wanted to thank all of you today for the privilege for all of us to be able to be here to not just have this strategic dialogue, but also to celebrate the 35 (inaudible) years of diplomatic relations between the United States and China.
It's more than fair to say that the scope of our relationship was unimaginable when President Nixon made his historic visit, which President Xi Jinping referred to, back in 1972. And we are very grateful to President Xi Jinping for coming here and opening this session. It is a strong statement about the importance of this dialogue. And we will meet with him tomorrow and have an opportunity to talk further about the discussions that we had.
I had the privilege of coming here to this (inaudible) last year when I was honored by State Councilor Yang Jiechi, who (inaudible), where President Nixon and Mao Zedong met to open up this relationship. And it was a good reminder of the importance of what we are trying to achieve and, frankly, the importance of the things that we must achieve together.
Back in 1972 it was a handshake between two leaders that was the leading edge of America's engagement with China. Two hands, two leaders met across the great divide. Today, it's in all of our hands to be able to realize the full promise of our partnership. So, I want to welcome the other members of both the Chinese and the American delegations. I am particularly pleased to be here with my co-chair, the Secretary of the Treasury, Jack Lew; with Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen; with our Secretary of Commerce, Penny Pritzker; with the Secretary of Energy, Ernie Moniz; with our Trade Representative, Mike Froman. As I look down the line with many other members of government, the top advisors (inaudible) my deputy, (inaudible) Deputy Secretary of State William Burns -- in fact, as I looked at the (inaudible) of people from the American delegation here, it is obvious to me that not a lot is getting done back in Washington today. It is being done here.
The fact is that the strength of the delegation that has come here to have this dialogue with you is really a statement in and of itself that underscores that our shared prosperity will depend on how well we work together to attract trade, promote trade, bring investment to both of our countries, and facilitate commercial activity and innovation. Our shared security depends on the good-faith effort to understand each other's interests and our intentions. So it is not just a privilege to be here, it is a duty. It is a responsibility for all of us.
I heard many times President Xi Jinping just now talk about a great country relationship, a new model. I would say to you that a new model is not defined in words. It is defined in actions. The new model will be defined by the choices that we can make together. And that is why it is important for us to make the most of these next two days as we share the kind of inter-disciplinary experience that your delegation and our delegation have gained over the years.
I want to also underscore to you that every time that I visit Beijing my connection to the people of China and our connection, the United States's connection, I believe, is strengthened and it is renewed. There are actually ties that I can look at fondly within my own family, going back in China. My grandfather was born in Shanghai, and he spent his early years of youth here, with a father who was engaged in commerce, in trade here in China. And I would personally never forget, as a Senator, one of my earliest trips to China as a Senator in 1994 was leading a delegation of business executives from Massachusetts. And even then the satellite dishes and the construction, the cranes which reach all across the horizon, showed the untapped extraordinary dynamism of the Chinese people.
I heard the President talk a moment ago about taking mounds of earth and turning it into buildings. Well, I saw that firsthand when I looked across the Pudong. In the early 1990s there were mostly rice paddies. Now there is a city the size of Hong Kong, an extraordinary statement to the incredible capacity of China.
Today, China's rise is, obviously, no longer an abstraction. It is something that we are living with, not anticipating in the future. And it is as evident as those skyscrapers over the Pudong, or the different extraordinary architecture here in Beijing, or all across your country. It is a remarkable statement about your journey.
One thing is clear. One thing leaps out at us through all of this: We have a profound stake in each other's success. It is not lost on any of us that throughout history there has been a pattern of strategic rivalry between rising and established powers. But I will say to you today that President Obama, nor any of us who have come here to represent our country, believe that that kind of rivalry is inevitable. It is not inevitable. It is a choice. And so, being here this morning with Vice Premier Wang and State Councilor Yang, and with my counterpart, Foreign Minister Wang Yi, and with our ambassador, former Senator Max Baucus, I can tell you that we are determined to choose the path of peace and prosperity and cooperation and, yes, even competition, but not conflict. When the United States and China work with each other, we both stand to gain a great deal. And that's why we are committed to a new model of relations, of great country relationship, a mutually beneficial relationship in which we cooperate in areas of common interest and constructively manage the differences.
Now, I want to emphasize -- I mentioned this last night in our conversations at dinner -- when I read some of the commentary about the United States and China, when I listen to some of the so-called experts, and they talk to us about our relationship, too many of them suggest that somehow the United States is trying to contain China, or that things that we choose to do in this region are directed at China. Let me emphasize to you today the United States does not seek to contain China. We welcome the emergence of a peaceful, stable, prosperous China that contributes to the stability and the development of the region, and that chooses to play a responsible role in world affairs. We may differ on one issue or another. But when we make that difference, do not interpret it as an overall strategy. It is a difference of a particular choice. And we need to be able to continue to put the importance of this relationship, the world's two largest economies, we need to be able to understand the importance that we will play in choices for countries all across this planet.
President Obama sent a letter to the American and Chinese delegations here today. And in that letter he writes: ''We should use the S&ED to demonstrate to the world that even in a relationship as complex as ours we remain determined to ensure that cooperation defines the overall relationship. It also is why we need to build our relationship around common challenges, mutual responsibilities, and shared interests, even while we candidly address our differences.'' Both President Obama and President Xi remain committed to building a long-term partnership based on mutual interests and mutual respect. And I thank President Xi for his statement today making that absolutely clear.
Over the next two days our countries will exchange views on a range of bilateral, regional, and global challenges. The depth of our relationship is evident in our wide-ranging strategic track agenda, whether it's working towards denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula; peacefully resolving the Iranian nuclear issue; advancing the political solution to the crisis of Syria; or promoting peace in Sudan, South Sudan, Afghanistan. When the opportunities for a positive, open, and constructive relationship between the United States and China grow, the possibilities for peace and prosperity in the world grow even more.
As the world's two largest economies, our futures are inextricably entwined. No politician, no leader, could possibly put the genie of globalization back into the bottle. What we need to do is learn how to manage it. And we have to tame the worst effects of it, and put the best possibilities of it to use for all of us. If China succeeds in rebalancing its economy, the global economy will benefit and so will we. That is why China's progress towards a consumption-driven, market-based economy is so important.
Ultimately, the true measure of our success will not be just whether our countries grow, but how our countries grow. And that is one area where we have made real strides in the deepening of our relationship on climate change and clean energy. On my last visit to China I saw with my own eyes what's possible when we work together. We visited the Joint Foton-Cummins clean engine facility here in Beijing, and I saw that we're not just transforming the way we use and produce energy. We also saw that we are creating jobs, we are building clean engines, and strengthening our economies.
As part of our Climate Change Working Group, we've already launched five initiatives to zero in on some of the key drivers of greenhouse gas emissions. So, step by step, we are shifting our focus from the difficulty of compromise to the inescapable reality of a clean energy future. The solution to climate change is energy policy. And energy, as a market, is the biggest market the world has ever seen. So we both are sharing an enormous economic opportunity, even as we are looking at the possibility of providing jobs for our people, having healthier societies, cleaner air, and greater energy security for the long-term future.
The truth is that providing solutions to the challenge of our energy policies is not a brake, it is not a restraint on economic growth. It (inaudible) economic growth. It is the engine of economic growth. So, the importance of this dialogue that we are having these two days really couldn't be any clearer. I'm confident that the next two days are going to be productive, we are going to build on the dialogue that we have achieved over the course of the last five years. And, despite our differences, our two nations have the ability to find common ground. That is the foundation on which we need to build decades of prosperity in the future, and also build the possibilities of stability and peace at the same time. That is the road that President Obama commits us to follow, and that is the road that we look forward to defining with you, not just in these next two days, but over these next months and years together.
Thank you. (Applause.)
SECRETARY LEW: I would like to express our appreciation to President Xi, Vice Premier Wang, Councilor Yang, and the colleagues (inaudible) dedication on both sides for the -- so much effort into making this S&ED a success. And I would particularly like to thank Vice Premier Wang. He champions China's interests while working (inaudible) to build a positive, cooperative, and comprehensive bilateral economic relationship with the United States.
As President Xi Jinping just noted, since the United States and China first established diplomatic relations 35 years ago, economic relations between our two countries has grown beyond what anyone could have imagined. The U.S. and China trade exceeded $520 billion last year, 200 times the trade 35 years ago, which was then less than $3 billion.
We meet for the sixth round of the S&ED with the common goal of advancing economic opportunities for our workers and countries. As the world's two largest economies, we both depend on open, global trading, a system in which workers and companies can compete on a level playing field. It is our shared interest to foster productivity growth through research and innovation, to protect intellectual property, preserve open markets, and to build a more stable global financial system that is less prone to crisis.
In their historic meeting (inaudible) last June, President Barack Obama and President Xi agreed to build a bilateral relationship defined by practical cooperation in areas of mutual interest, while constructively managing differences. Their commitment marked an important (inaudible) point in the U.S.-China relationship, a chance to work together to establish the rules of the road that will mutually benefit our two nations, the Asia-Pacific Region, and the global economy.
It is the responsibility of great nations to rise to this challenge, and I am confident that both countries have the necessarily agility and resolve to achieve the vision of our two presidents. In the United States the economic recovery has continued to strengthen in 2013. Over the past 52 months, American businesses have created over 9.7 million new jobs, the longest period of job growth in our history. And June's employment numbers mark the first time since January 2000 that we have seen total job growth above 200,000 for 5 straight months.
These (inaudible) strengthen and further (inaudible) and household balance sheets in the housing market continue (inaudible). Of course, the Great Recession was deep, and there is still work to do. But we continue to see a strengthening recovery in the United States. Our economy and our people have once again proven their resilience and determination.
China is in the process of undertaking major economic reforms, recognizing that future economic growth requires a fundamental shift in economic policy, has laid out (inaudible) in November of last year. We welcome this commitment and China's economic growth. A prosperous China that grows in ways consistent with international rules and norms will contribute to the strong, sustainable, and balanced growth of the global economy. We support China's effort to allow the market to play a more decisive role in the economy and rely more on household consumption to drive China's economic growth. Moving to a market-determined exchange rate will be a crucial step, and we look forward to working with China as it deepens financial reforms and becomes more integrated with the global financial system.
The United States and China combined comprise (inaudible) half of the world's GDP. The United States-China bilateral relationship will, in large part, help shape the 21st century. And it is critical for us to continue building on our areas of economic cooperation and work together to tackle the challenges. We do not always agree, but our (inaudible) common interests are far more important than the individual challenges that we confront as part of our overall bilateral relationship.
The Strategic and Economic Dialogue has led to important tangible results for both sides, and I am sure that we will continue to make concrete progress during the sixth round. We look forward to working diligently and cooperatively and sincerely over the next two days, as we address the challenges that we face, and we build a strong foundation for continued cooperation with the United States. Thank you. (Applause.)
STATE COUNCILOR YANG: (Via translator) Secretary John Kerry, Secretary Jack Lew, Vice Premier Wang, friends, ladies, and gentlemen, let me, first of all, express my warm welcome to Secretary Kerry, Secretary Lew, and all other Chinese and U.S. colleagues present here.
President Xi Jinping's important remarks just now offered us many inspirations from the strategic perspective. He revealed the precious experience in the development of China-U.S. relations over the past 35 years, since the establishment of the diplomatic ties, and set out the blueprint for promoting a new type of major country relationship. Secretary Kerry also mentioned the great message from President Obama, which also provided important guidance to us. The two presidents have explicitly urged us to make this sixth round of China-U.S. Strategic and Economic Dialogue a successful one. The mission of this round of dialogue is focusing on the theme of creating a new model of major country relationship, to have (inaudible) straightforward discussions on a number of major strategic issues of common interest, to actively explore converging interests, reduce misunderstanding and suspicion, and expand consensus and cooperation, and to facilitate as many outcomes as possible so as to provide positive energy and a new impetus to our bilateral relations.
As part of the S&ED, the strategic dialogue, or dialogue on the strategic track, is an important platform for the two sides to build strategic consensus, avoid strategic misjudgement, and expand strategic cooperation. Since its launch in 2009, the Strategic Dialogue has produced over 200 deliverables, as well as a number of new mechanisms, including the strategic security dialogue, the Asia Pacific consultations, and a climate change working group. I am confident that, under the common guidance of the two presidents and these joint efforts (inaudible), this round of strategic dialogue will achieve new consensus and more outcomes.
We need to increase mutual understanding and trust for this round of strategic dialogue. We will have in-depth exchange of views on our bilateral relations with respect to Asia-Pacific policies, and the major regional and international issues of economic interest. I believe this will help both sides understand each other's strategic intention in a more accurate and comprehensive way, and avoid misunderstanding and misjudgement.
We need to reduce and resolve differences for the dialogue. China and the United States (inaudible). We have extensive and (inaudible) common interests, which have become much more (inaudible) over the past 35 years. (Inaudible) changes in the international situation have presented China and the United States (inaudible). Meanwhile, we also have differences and disagreements which should be managed on the basis of mutual respect and (inaudible) differences, and in a constructive way through dialogue, rather than confrontation.
China is happy to continue its discussions with the United States on this matter, and prevent any unintended disruption (inaudible) of our relations. (Inaudible) highlights (inaudible) on the ground. A new model of major country relationship (inaudible) strategic dialogue (inaudible) mechanisms within this framework (inaudible) and continue to enrich our bilateral relations for the benefit of our two countries.
Ladies and gentlemen, to build a new model of major country relationship between China and the United States has now become an important (inaudible). This process will not be successful overnight, nor will (inaudible) smooth sailing. What is needed is spirit of (inaudible) of making this round of S&ED successful. Let us work together to continue (inaudible) relationship between China and the United States. Thank you. (Applause.)
MODERATOR: (Via translator) This is the end of the Joint Opening Session of the sixth round of China-U.S. Strategic and Economic Dialogue.
VIDEO-U.K. PM David Cameron says failing to report child abuse could become illegal - UPI.com
Wed, 09 Jul 2014 23:11
LONDON, July 9 (UPI) --U.K. Prime Minister David Cameron said in a session of parliament Wednesday that the British government is considering making it illegal to neglect reporting child abuse.During the prime minister's questions, Labour party leader Ed Miliband raised the point that inquiries into child abuse allegations should be less inhibited.
"All of us have been horrified by the instances of child abuse that have been uncovered and the further allegations that have been made; and all of the victims of child abuse are not just owed justice but are owed and apology that it took so long for their cries to be heard," said Miliband.
Miliband was referring to a sting of child abuse scandals that have made international headlines, including the case of musician Rolf Harris who was recently found guilty of abusing children and keeping their pornographic images. Sky News reports that at least 10 prominent active and former politicians are currently facing accusations of child abuse.
An inquiry, led by U.K. judge Lady Elizabeth Butler-Sloss will investigate how authorities respond to allegations when they involve public figures.
"I think the horror of the Jimmy Savile and Rolf Harris cases just show what people were able to get away with. It was almost as if they were committing crimes in plain sight and it took far too long to get to the bottom of what happened and that is exactly what this government is committed to achieving," said Cameron.
Cameron said the reviews will help the government consider changing the laws in order to prevent cover-ups for the sake of avoiding criminal charges and scandal.
"Should we change the law so there is a requirement to report and make it a criminal offense not to report [child abuse]? The government is currently looking at that. Of course both reviews will be able to examine this particular point and advise us accordingly and I it may well be time to take that sort of step forward."
(C) 2014 United Press International, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI's prior written consent.
VIDEO-Power grab: EPA wants to garnish wages of polluters - Washington Times
Wed, 09 Jul 2014 22:55
The Environmental Protection Agency has quietly floated a rule claiming authority to bypass the courts and unilaterally garnish paychecks of those accused of violating its rules, a power currently used by agencies such as the Internal Revenue Service.
The EPA has been flexing its regulatory muscle under President Obama, collecting more fines each year and hitting individuals with costly penalties for violating environmental rules, including recently slapping a $75,000 fine on Wyoming homeowner Andy Johnson for building a pond on his rural property.
SEE ALSO: EDITORIAL: The EPA's outrage in the barnyard
''The EPA has a history of overreaching its authority. It seems like once again the EPA is trying to take power it doesn't have away from American citizens,'' Sen. John Barrasso, Wyoming Republican, said when he learned of the EPA's wage garnishment scheme.
Others questioned why the EPA decided to strengthen its collection muscle at this time.
Critics said the threat of garnishing wages would be a powerful incentive for people to agree to expensive settlements rather than fight EPA charges.
EPA officials did not respond to repeated questions by The Washington Times about why they thought it was necessary to garnish people's wages.
The EPA announced the plan last week in a notice in the Federal Register, saying federal law allows it ''to garnish non-Federal wages to collect delinquent non-tax debts owed the United States without first obtaining a court order.''
The agency cited authority under the Debt Collection Improvement Act of 1996 that centralized federal collection operations under the Treasury Department, which oversees garnishments of wages or tax refund checks.
PHOTOS: Obama's biggest White House 'fails'
Under the law, every federal agency has the authority to conduct administrative wage garnishment, provided the agency adopts approved rules for conducting hearings where debtors can challenge the amount of debt or terms of repayment schedule, a Treasury official said.
Still, the rule would give the EPA sweeping authority to dictate how and whether Americans could dispute fines and penalties, even as the amount of EPA fines collected from individuals, businesses and local governments steadily increase.
The amount of fines raked in by the agency has jumped from $96 million in 2009 to $252 million in 2012, a more than 160 percent increase, according to EPA annual reports.
Putting the collection powers on a fast track, the agency announced it in the Federal Register as a ''direct final rule'' that would take effect automatically Sept. 2, unless the EPA receives adverse public comments by Aug. 1.
The EPA said it deemed the action as not a ''significant regulatory action'' and therefore not subject to review.
The negative reactions began almost immediately.
In a comment letter submitted to the EPA, the conservative Heritage Foundation faulted the rule for giving the government ''unbridled discretion'' in controlling the process for challenging fines and wage garnishment, such as dictating the site of a hearing without consideration of the time and travel expense placed on the accused debtor.
VIDEO NEEDED-BBC News - Eric Holder of US warns Europe over Syrian fighters
Wed, 09 Jul 2014 22:32
8 July 2014Last updated at 16:43 ET The US attorney general has called on European governments to be stronger in preventing their own citizens from joining the fighting in Syria.
Eric Holder said the Syrian conflict had turned into "a cradle of violent extremism" that could threaten Western countries when fighters return home.
He made his remarks during a speech for Norwegian diplomats in Oslo.
US officials believes there are about 7,000 foreign fighters in Syria, including dozens of Americans.
In May, a 22-year-old man from Florida carried out a suicide bombing mission in the country.
And a Colorado woman was arrested at the airport in April after US officials said she was intent on providing support to the militant group Isis (Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant) in Syria.
In the speech, Mr Holder called on European governments to make it illegal to plan or support terrorist plots, catch potential fighters before they leave for Syria through undercover plots and share information about those who have travelled to Syria to fight, including through Interpol.
"Because our citizens can freely travel, visa-free, from the US to Norway and other European states - and vice versa - the problem of fighters in Syria returning to any of our countries is a problem for all of our countries," Mr Holder said.
Because the threat was spread across Western nations, Mr Holder said, Europeans governments needed to be proactive and collaborate with each other on the issue.
"If we wait for our nations' citizens to travel to Syria or Iraq, to become radicalised, and to return home, it may be too late to adequately protect our national security," the US top lawyer said.
The speech at the US embassy comes as the US has announced it will step up security at some European airports with flights to the US.
American intelligence officials told the Associated Press news agency they believe bombmakers from al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula and ISIS have begun developing explosives that could evade current airline security measures.
VIDEO- Detroit residents speak out on water shutoffs - YouTube
Wed, 09 Jul 2014 22:31
VIDEO-Civil servant admits Home Office 'probably' destroyed paedophile dossiers - Home News - UK - The Independent
Wed, 09 Jul 2014 22:26
Mark Sedwill, the department's permanent secretary, yesterday played down suggestions there was a sinister explanation for the disappearance of the 114 documents, but admitted he was concerned that they could not be found.
In a bruising appearance before MPs, he disclosed that the titles of the missing files still existed and was instructed by the Commons home affairs select committee to hand over the files' names by Friday.
The committee chairman, Keith Vaz, likened the episode to a convoluted spy novel by John Le Carr(C) and took several swipes at the quality of Home Office record-keeping.
He urged other organisations to examine material in their archives, including government whips' offices which may have received allegations in the 1970s and 1980s about the activities of MPs.
Mr Sedwill was summoned following accusations that the Home Office failed to act on detailed allegations about paedophile activity passed to it in 1983 by the late Tory MP Geoffrey Dickens.
An internal review found that the Dickens dossier appeared to have been destroyed and the department said 114 potentially relevant documents also disappeared. But the review, by an unnamed official, did not find evidence they had been wrongly thrown away.
Mr Sedwill said he had not seen the full review findings '' now subject to a fresh inquiry '' and said he had not told Mrs May of the files' disappearance until months later. He said he did not know who had ordered the disposal.
He told the committee: ''Most of these files were probably destroyed, because the kind of topics that they covered would have been subject to the normal file destruction procedures that were in place at that time. They cannot be confirmed to be destroyed because there is not a proper log of what was destroyed and what wasn't.''
He added: ''Most correspondence from this period was destroyed after two years. Of course, serious material of the kind we were referring to was handed on to the appropriate authorities, so it was not retained by the Home Office.''
Mr Vaz told him: ''This is like a John le Carr(C) novel. You appoint someone to conduct the investigation. You're asking a committee of parliament to rely on your good faith on the person and the report they've written. But when the report comes in, you don't look at the files.''
Commons home affairs select committee chairman, Keith Vaz (Getty)Mr Dickens also handed a copy of his papers to then Director of Public Prosecutions, Sir Thomas Hetherington, in the early 1980s.
The Crown Prosecution Service said yesterday it held ''no information'' and the passing of the documents happened several years before the service started operating. Prosecutions before that were handled by the police and complex cases were referred to the DPP. Sir Thomas died in 2007.
A CPS spokesperson said: ''Based on the details given, as far as we were able to ascertain from available records relating to the former office of the Director of Public prosecutions, we hold no information. However, we are now liaising closely with the Home Office to see if its investigations lead to any other lines of enquiry relating to records kept by the former Office of the DPP.''
Meanwhile Peter McKelvie, the whistleblower who took his concerns to Tom Watson MP in 2012 sparking the police inquiry, said that he had told police in 2012 that seven boxes of potential evidence were being stored by West Mercia police after the conviction of paedophile Tom Righton.
Mr McKelvie, a former child protection manager who helped convict Righton, said that the boxes included letters between Righton and other alleged paedophiles.
Former Conservative MP Geoffrey Dickens (Getty)The West Mercia force confirmed that it knew where the boxes were and as they ''remain part of an ongoing investigation'' declined to comment.
Righton, who is now dead, was a former teacher and child protection expert who used his respectability to forge close links with children before abusing them. He was also a member of the Paedophile Information Exchange, which campaigned to legalise sex between adults and children.
Mr McKelvie has claimed that at least 20 prominent paedophiles, including former MPs and ministers, abused children for decades and other establishment figures were involved in their cover up.
Mr McKelvie told the BBC: ''I believe that there is strong evidence, and an awful lot of information that can be converted into evidence if it is investigated properly, that there's been an extremely powerful elite among the highest levels of the political classes for as long as I have been alive.
''For the first time I have got a belief that survivors will come forward and justice will be served for a lot of survivors, but unfortunately it has been left so late that a lot of the abusers are now dead.''
VIDEO-The U.K. Political Pedophile Ring Scandal is Just The Tip of the Iceberg - The Full Story is Much More Disturbing [UPDATED] | SCG News
Wed, 09 Jul 2014 22:22
Numerous high ranking British politicians are being investigated for their involvement in an extensive pedophile ring, however the full scope of this scandal can't be fully appreciated without looking at the other side of the Atlantic
It wasn't that long ago that those who claimed that there was a massive pedophile ring involving officials in the highest levels of government were written off as conspiracy theorists and kooks. That is no longer the case, at least in the U.K. It turns out that this so called conspiracy theory was true, and is finally being officially investigated. The coverup isn't going well at this point. The British government is even coming under heat for the convenient disappearance of key files regarding the allegations. At least forty British MPs are implicated, but this is really just the tip of the iceberg.
The scandal, which initially centered around rape and child abuse accusations against the well connected BBC presenter (and knight) Jimmy Savile (who died in 2011) expanded in scope after victims testified that the abuse involved an organized pedophile ring which was operated out of the BBC. This organized pedophile ring apparently involved at least 40 British MPs. Another aspect of this scandal involves a close friend of Savile, former British MP Cyril Smith (also a knight). Police claim to have "overwhelming" evidence that Cyril physically abused young boys in the 1960s. It's worth noting that Savile wasn't just well connected, he was known to rub shoulders with the royal family itself.
Whether those involved actually get brought to justice or not is another story altogether. It's too late to bring down Jimmy Savile and Cyril Smith. They're both dead already. The question now, is whether the rest of the ring will be prosecuted. This is a scandal that has been successfully suppressed for decades in spite of testimony from numerous victims. Indeed the BBC fired the reporter who first attempted to expose the abuse in 2012. Once you look at the profile of those involved it's easy to see why. This time however, the internet seems to be making it a bit harder to sweep under the rug.
Regardless of how far the investigation goes officially, the fact that this nastiness is getting brought into the sunlight in England is a good thing. It establishes precedent, and opens up a range of possibilities that most people are unwilling to even consider until a story gets mainstream coverage. It might even prepare people psychologically for the full extent of this scandal.
You think this high powered pedophilia network only operated in the U.K.? I've got news for you, the United States government has been covering up their own pedophile network for decades. As in the U.K. case, the evidence surfaced years ago but nothing was ever done.
Exhibit A: This documentary was produced for the Discovery channel, but what it uncovered was so damaging that was never allowed to air in the U.S. Watch it and you'll understand why.
Exhibit B: The thousands of Pentagon employees implicated in a child pornography sting operation. That case was mysteriously dropped and never mentioned again.
Exhibit C: The NSA whistleblower Russel Tice exposed the fact that news organizations, the State Department, high ranking military officials and members of Congress and the Senate were being spied on extensively for years. (This may seem unrelated at first, but listen carefully to what Tice says, and consider the implications.)
Put it all together and and a very ominous picture emerges.
Each and every one of these predators are compromised in such a way, that whoever holds evidence that could expose them, would have total control over their actions. You would own them.
We generally think of blackmail as a means of extracting money, but to have the goods on a senator, an MP or a president is far more valuable. If you have the political elite, media, and the intelligence agencies under your thumb, anything is possible.
This is how you create puppets that are willing to start wars for you.
UPDATE: Just to give you an idea of how widespread this problem is, take a look at this video:
VIDEO- 'Kiev has right to use airstrikes to defend sovereignty' - Psaki - YouTube
Wed, 09 Jul 2014 22:08
VIDEO-Water-Guzzling Pot Plants Draining Drought-Wracked California - NBC News.com
Wed, 09 Jul 2014 22:06
California cannabis growers may be making millions, but their thirsty plants are sucking up a priceless resource: water. Now scientists say that if no action is taken in the drought-wracked state, the consequences for fisheries and wildlife will be dire.
"If this activity continues on the trajectory it's on, we're looking at potentially streams going dry, streams that harbor endangered fish species like salmon, steelhead," said Scott Bauer of the California Department of Fish and Wildlife.
Sign up for top Business news direct to your inbox.
Studying aerial photographs of four watersheds within northern California's so-called Emerald Triangle, Bauer found that the area under marijuana cultivation doubled between 2009 and 2012. It continues to grow, with increasing environmental consequences.
It has come to our attention that the browser you are using is either not running javascript or out of date. Please enable javascript and/or update your browser if possible.
Bauer presented data to CNBC indicating that growers are drawing more than 156,000 gallons of water from a single tributary of the Eel River, in Mendocino County, every day.
The average marijuana plant needs about 6 gallons of water a day, depending on its size and whether it's grown inside or outside, according to a local report that cited research. Pot growers object to that number, saying that the actual water use of a pot plant is much less.
Although the marijuana business has helped revive the local economy, residents may now be feeling the effects of living alongside growers. And, as growers'--some legal, some not'--face a severe drought, local law enforcement officers expect the fight over natural resources to intensify.
"I never want to see crime increase, but I have a feeling it will, because of the commodities that are up here," said Humboldt County Sheriff Mike Downey. "When we get to the end of the grow season, which is August and September, the need for enhanced water availability is gonna be there, and I don't think the water's going to be there, so you're going to see people, I believe, having some conflict over water rights."
Stream water rules in California are the same for growers of marijuana as they are for growers of any crop: Growers should divert no more than 10 percent of a stream's flow, and they should halt diversion altogether during late summer, when fish are most vulnerable to low water levels. But Bauer pointed out that those rules apply to permit holders, and most marijuana growers haven't bothered to get permits.
With so much of California's cannabis business operating in the more lucrative underground market, and with so many growers across the region, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife and the Humboldt County Sheriff's office say they lack the resources to take action against all offenders. So they target the most egregious.
"We get those calls daily. People are upset. Somebody has dried up a stream, somebody is building a road across sensitive fish and wildlife habitat, so that is happening on a daily basis," Bauer said. "And we do our best with the personnel we have to respond to those calls."
Sheriff Downey concurred with Bauer about the manpower challenge authorities face.
"We have a very active marijuana unit that is out there, especially during the grow season. But we have so many grows here that we have a hard time keeping up or making a valiant dent in the marijuana growing in the county," said Downey.
"With the increase in water usage and pressure upon that, that lucrative business becomes even more lucrative because the price of the marijuana, the value of it, goes up even though we've had a glut on the market the last few years," he added.
One increasingly popular solution among some growers is the collection of rain water during the wetter, winter months that they can use to water crops during the dry, summer season.
"As long as cannabis farms remain small and decentralized, there's no reason why we can't grow everything we need to meet the state's demands using all stored rain water," says Hezekiah Allen, an environmental consultant and director of public affairs for the Emerald Growers Association.
And for some, it's a business opportunity.
"I've heard people shut down their grow operations, bought water trucks and have changed from growing to supplying waters to the other growers," said Chip Perry, a consultant for MC2, a service that helps people obtain medical marijuana cards.
First published July 7 2014, 11:30 AM
VIDEO-Fox's Shep Smith to Greenwald on 'Bombshell' Report: This Is It? | Mediaite
Wed, 09 Jul 2014 21:48
On Wednesday, Glenn Greenwald's new site The Intercept released the latest revelations to come from Edward Snowden's NSA leaks. The new story, which Greenwald had been teasing and hyping for weeks, named five prominent Muslim-Americans on whom the NSA and FBI have been spying for years, despite the fact that they engaged in no known terrorist or criminal behavior.
Referencing his guest's appearance on Fox a few weeks ago, Smith told Greenwald, ''you were talking bombshells and fireworks and all that. Glenn, to be quite frank, in today's news cycle, this is being played below President Obama being offered a puff, puff pass in Colorado.''
''It's gotten a lot of play,'' Greenwald replied, a bit defensively, noting that his site just posted the report last night at midnight and the news has been prominently featured on The New York Times today.
''I mean, the fact is that there are people who look at the targets and will think, 'Oh, that's only Muslims. And even though they're my fellow Americans, I'm not really bothered by it,''' Greenwald added, ''I think sometimes that's part of it. But I think the implications are sinking in nicely.''
Later, Smith asked Greenwald, ''Is this the finale? Is there more we're going to learn from the Snowden documents, or is this the finish?''
Greenwald assured the Fox host that he has other stories based on Snowden's leaks already written and other journalists around the world are collaborating on further revelations. ''But for me, this fills in a really important part of the picture,'' he said, ''which is putting a human face on how '-- we all know that the Obama administration is bulk surveilling all of us, but this puts a human face on the kinds of dangers that can be presented to dissidents or people who criticize the government from the most invasive forms of surveillance. So it's important, but not the last.''
By the time they reached the end of the interview, Smith seemed more interested in Greenwald's on-the-ground report on how Brazilians are feeling after yesterday's World Cup loss to Germany than anything to do with government surveillance on Muslims.
Watch video below, via Fox News:
Please enable Javascript to watch.
[Photo via screengrab]
'' ''
>> Follow Matt Wilstein (@TheMattWilstein) on Twitter
VIDEO- ABC News says patients are lining up to take the Mark of the Beast - YouTube
Wed, 09 Jul 2014 21:44
VIDEO- Islamist rally at the Hague 9/4/2014 - YouTube
Wed, 09 Jul 2014 21:11
VIDEO- Hobby Lobby, Immigration Supplemental At Top of Reid's July Agenda - YouTube
Wed, 09 Jul 2014 20:23
VIDEO-Sherri Shepherd Explains Departure from The View with Bible | Mediaite
Wed, 09 Jul 2014 19:46
During their tearful goodbyes on The View this morning, Jenny McCarthy and Sherri Shepherd each gave various reasons for their departure (new projects, etc). Shepherd, however, explained her exit with some biblical weight.
''Seven in the Bible is the number of God's completion,'' she said. ''And I've been here seven years and my time at The View is complete.''
In order to quash some rumors that her contract negotiations had fallen through, Shepherd added that she'd planned her exit ''since spring,'' but stayed quiet so she wouldn't attract attention away from Barbara Walter's much-ballyhooed retirement extravaganza.
''I've been blessed to interview Barack Obama and Bill Clinton '-- he loved that I played a hooker in One For The Money, she joked. ''I get the chance to call Oprah Winfrey a friend, and that's a long way from being a legal secretary who wanted to tell jokes.''
Watch below via ABC:
Please enable Javascript to watch.
[h/t Deadline][Image via screenshot]
''
>> Follow Tina Nguyen (@Tina_Nguyen) on Twitter
VIDEO-Keynote address and discussion with WikiLeaks journalist Sarah Harrison | All media content | DW.DE | 02.07.2014
Wed, 09 Jul 2014 16:43
TOP STORIESGermanyWorldBusinessSci-TechEnvironmentCultureSports A - Z IndexMEDIA CENTERLive TVAll media contentLatest ProgramsPodcastsPROGRAMWhat's on TV?TV Program GuideTV ProgramsVideo on DemandLEARN GERMANGerman CoursesGerman XXLCommunity DTeaching GermanEXPLORE DWRSSReceptionSocial MediaNewslettersPodcastingMobileABOUT DWWho we arePressBusiness & SalesService & HelpMy DW DW AKADEMIEMedia DevelopmentMaster's DegreeTraineeshipTrainingAbout us(C) 2014 Deutsche Welle | Legal notice | Contact
VIDEO-USG Aurora Data Dump Digital Bond's SCADA Security Portal
Wed, 09 Jul 2014 14:45
Thanks Dan for the tip.
First a reading tip to save you time. Most of the 840 pages are weekly reports from the DHS Control System Security Program (CSSP). There is a ton of repetition as each week's report carries forward all of the previous week's items. So go straight to page 750 and you will see the reports going backwards from 19-23 Nov 2007 to 22-26 Jan 2007.
The most interesting excerpt is from the 12-16 March 2007 report:
The CSSP large scale validation test of a significant control systems vulnerability (Pandora) was successfully completed at the Idaho National Laboratory on March 4, 2007. Results and findings from the test are being documented and significant follow-on activities are anticipated. The Tiger Team formed to coordinate activities for this vulnerability will meet on March 13. to U/S Foresman is scheduled to be briefed the afternoon of March 13. Briefings to Secretary Chertoff, House Homeland Security Committee and White House Homeland Security Council are anticipated.
After that Pandora entry there is no other mention of Pandora in the weekly reports. It evidently was classified and changed its name to Aurora. A meeting to discuss the technical details of the Aurora vulnerability appears next in the 19-23 Nov 2007 weekly report on page 751.
There were mentions of this ''large scale validation test of a significant control system vulnerability (Pandora)'' in the weekly reports prior to the test. A few other tidbits:
It was a large scale test with an estimated cost of $2.8M (page 57).There are some good pictures of the physical site beginning on page 100.Pages 70 and 71 have some good examples of specific systems that could be affected by Aurora.There is mention of a Control System Malware Identification Team being formed by the CSSP back in Jan 2007 (page 233). Let's put this team on Havex.A Firmware Upgrade Vulnerability report is discussed on page 165. I don't remember this being issued, but it was seven years ago and DHS was calling these insecure by design features as vulnerabilities back then.The mention of CSSP working with JASON '' an independent group of scientists that advises the USG and particularly intelligence is interesting, especially back in 2007. Stu'....The mitigation strategy memos start on page 36. The early briefing milestones were met, but little else after that seems to have been accomplished and much of the detail on what was to be done is redacted. They do show a plan for software and hardware fixes being developed and deployed within two to three years.The technical team memo on page 821 is worth a read._____
It's been seven years since that turbine shook and the smoke came out, yet I always thought Aurora was a lost opportunity.
The real beauty of the Aurora demonstration was it clearly showed that a cyber attack could affect a physical process. The specific vulnerability they chose to achieve this, while not unimportant, was not the main point to take from Aurora. It was an effective and dramatic demonstration.
Aurora should have led a massive DHS and US Government push to address the insecure by design ICS that run the critical infrastructure. Instead of taking this and leading a massive PR and bully pulpit campaign building off of this expensive but effective demonstration, people lost their jobs because the video and secret got out.
Perhaps the idea of physical damage through a cyber attack struck too close to Stuxnet, or maybe it didn't have the internal support and program to leverage the successful demo. Whatever the reason it was a lost opportunity.
I knew it was lost during the Congressional Hearings. Senators and Representatives asked the august panel from DHS, NERC, utilities, etc. if the Aurora problem had been fixed. Rather than use the question to pivot and highlight Aurora is a small symptom of the larger problem, the experts would go into the plan in place to address Aurora.
I can't end this long post without a nod to my friend Joe Weiss. He has beating the Aurora drum harder and longer than anyone else. Perhaps this will give him more ammunition for his cause. It is difficult to reconcile Pandora being called ''a significant control system vulnerability'', being classified, resulting in all those briefings, tiger teams, remediation plans, '... and the relatively small expenditure and effort to address the ''Aurora vulnerability''.
and just in case you want to see the video again:
VIDEO-Operation Aurora | Muckrock
Wed, 09 Jul 2014 14:42
From Scott Ainslie on May 17, 2014:To Whom It May Concern:
This is a request under the Freedom of Information Act. I hereby request the following records:
I seek to obtain copies of material in the possession of the United States Department of Homeland Security - whether it be physical hard-copy, electronic format or another applicable format - which describes, cites, identifies, depicts or is particular to Operation Aurora or Elderwood Group, or other substantive documented correspondence describing, or specific to, the aforementioned subject, dated 1 June 2009 through 1 January 2012.
Operation Aurora consisted of coordinated Internet-based malicious activities and associated behavior against identified targets utilizing specialized malicious software. Targets cited in material and identified in media outlet articles describing Operation Aurora include Adobe Systems, Northrop Grumman, Juniper Networks and Rackspace.
Google published existence of Operation Aurora into public domain on 12 January 2010.
Operation Aurora-associated action continued for a persistent 6 month period prior to disclosure to public domain by Google.
http://www.wired.com/2010/01/operation-aurora/
I consider it useful if additional information or supplements be enclosed, as necessitated, to understand the context of the material provided, should it exist and be disclosed. I recognize that it is not a requirement nor is it obligated.
I also request that, if appropriate, fees be waived as I believe this request is in the public interest. The requested documents will be made available to the general public free of charge as part of the public information service at MuckRock.com, processed by a representative of the news media/press and is made in the process of news gathering and not for commercial usage. I am a credentialed journalist recognized by The Association of Chief Police Officers of England, Wales and Northern Ireland and Police Scotland.
In the event that fees cannot be waived, I would be grateful if you would inform me of the total charges in advance of fulfilling my request. I would prefer the request filled electronically, by e-mail attachment if available or CD-ROM if not.
Thank you in advance for your anticipated cooperation in this matter. I look forward to receiving your response to this request within 20 business days, as the statute requires.
Sincerely,
Scott Ainslie
From Day, Mia to Scott Ainslie on May 22, 2014:Greetings,Attached is our acknowledgment of your DHS FOIA request. If you need to contact this office again concerning your request, please provide the DHS reference number. This will enable us to quickly retrieve the information you are seeking and reduce our response time. This office can be reached at 866-431-0486.Regards,DHS Privacy Office Disclosure & FOIA ProgramSTOP 0655Department of Homeland Security245 Murray Drive, SWWashington, DC 20528-0655Telephone: 1-866-431-0486 or 202-343-1743Fax: 202-343-4011Visit ourFOIA website (http://www.dhs.gov/foia)
From to Scott Ainslie on June 3, 2014:Good Afternoon,Attached is our acknowledgment of your DHS FOIA request. If you need to contact this office again concerning your request, please provide the DHS reference number. This will enable us to quickly retrieve the information you are seeking and reduce our response time. This office can be reached at 866-431-0486.Regards,DHS Privacy Office Disclosure & FOIA ProgramSTOP 0655Department of Homeland Security245 Murray Drive, SWWashington, DC 20528-0655Telephone: 1-866-431-0486 or 202-343-1743Fax: 202-343-4011Visit ourFOIA website (http://www.dhs.gov/foia)
From FOIA, NPPD to Scott Ainslie on July 3, 2014:Mr. Ainslie, please find attached our final response to your FOIA request for Operation Aurora docs.
If you have any questions, please contact this office at 703-235-2211.
Sincerely,
Gayle WorthySenior FOIA Program SpecialistFax: 703-235-2052
Warning: This communication, along with any attachments, is covered by federal and state law governing electronic communications and may contain confidential and legally privileged information such as found under 49 CFR 1520 or the Privacy Act of 1974. It should not be communicated to any person, or agency, unless disclosure is in performance of official DHS duties and there exists a valid need to know. If the reader of this message is not the intended recipient, you are hereby notified that any dissemination, distribution, use or copying of this message is strictly prohibited. If you have received this in error, please reply immediately to the sender and delete this message.
From FOIA, NPPD to Scott Ainslie on July 3, 2014:2 OF 2
Gayle WorthySenior FOIA Program SpecialistFax: 703-235-2052
Warning: This communication, along with any attachments, is covered by federal and state law governing electronic communications and may contain confidential and legally privileged information such as found under 49 CFR 1520 or the Privacy Act of 1974. It should not be communicated to any person, or agency, unless disclosure is in performance of official DHS duties and there exists a valid need to know. If the reader of this message is not the intended recipient, you are hereby notified that any dissemination, distribution, use or copying of this message is strictly prohibited. If you have received this in error, please reply immediately to the sender and delete this message.
VIDEO-Whistleblower Snowden keen to return to US | euronews, world news
Wed, 09 Jul 2014 00:11
NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden would like to return to the United States, according to his lawyer.
Snowden is currently living in Russia, where he was granted a year's asylum in August 2013.
Speaking in Germany, Snowden's lawyer Wolfgang Kaleck: ''He is doing well, considering the circumstances. He was aware that he would be taking a risk and he is aware of the risk now.''
Snowden faces charges in the US of espionage and theft of government property.
VIDEO-Commerzbank and Deutsche Bank 'in sanctions busting settlement talks with US' | euronews, corporate
Wed, 09 Jul 2014 00:09
After BNP Paribas' record fine, US authorities reportedly have their sights on Germany's Commerzbank and Deutsche Bank over their dealings with countries under sanctions by the United States.
Settlement talks have just begun, according to media reports citing sources with direct knowledge of the investigations. The timing of a deal remains unclear.
After failing to land high-profile criminal cases stemming from the 2008-09 financial crisis, the US Justice Department and financial regulators in New York have been focusing on other types of criminal activity including money laundering, tax evasion and sanctions violations.
Commerzbank is accused by US authorities of transferring money through its operations in the states on behalf of companies in Iran and Sudan.
It could pay at least $500 million (367 million euros) in penalties, according to the New York Times, which first reported the settlement talks.
The paper said a deal could be struck as soon as this summer and could pave the way for an agreement with Deutsche Bank.
Neither bank would comment on the reports.
Deutsche Bank, which has already paid over five billion euros in fines and settlements in the past two years, said in June it had done nothing wrong in its Iran dealings.
Germany's largest lender stopped doing new business with Iran in 2007 but remains engaged in several long-term loans or financial arrangements, some of which conclude in 2019, Deutsche said in the prospectus for a rights issue.
''We do not believe we have engaged in activities sanctionable under these statutes, but the US authorities have considerable discretion in applying the statutes and any imposition of sanctions could be material,'' the bank said.
with Reuters
VIDEO-LiveLeak.com - Ukraine activates concentration camp according to reports.
Wed, 09 Jul 2014 00:07
from site: Ukrainian forces begin arresting people in Slavyansk and putting them into concentration camps.
http://reportage24.ru/news/19009
some time before this is what say the Minister of defense:
There will be thorough filtration of people.There will be special filtration measures put in place.We will filter out people, including women, who are linked to separatism,who were commiting crimes on Ukrainian territorycrimes related to terrorist activities.We have a lot of information regarding this,and we have formidable framework to combat this.And respective power structures will carry out this operation.Besides this is a serious issue, related to the fact, that peoplewill be resettled to other regions.
Loading the player ...
Embed CodeSwitch PlayerPlays: 1254 (Embed: 829)
this seems to keep the program leaked to press.MEMORANDUMOn the advisable course of action In use the peace plan fails
In case further negotiation with southeast Ukrainian insurgents should prove futile, the only practicable solution should be a swift crackdown on the separatists and terrorists, to be undertaken irrespective of public opinion or operation costs. Procrastination would dramatically reduce the operation's chances of success. Possible political and material downsides of an operation should be greatly outweighed by the following probable gains:
Activists of a pro-Russian political movement get decimated, pro-Russian voters get disorganized.[/*]A significant share of the region's coal industries get destroyed in the fighting, or are otherwise designated for a quick shutdown, thus relieving Ukraine's budget of the burdensome subsidy costs.[/*]Shutting down Donbas industries will mean a stark reduction in gas consumption, and therefore a lesser dependency on Russian energy imports.[/*]Rinat Alchmetov and his clan's political and economic clout is considerably weakened.[/*]Ukraine's current economic and social difficulties can be explained to the public as the unwanted yet unavoidable consequences of the military operation, which the Ukrainian government has been keen yet unable to avoid due to the terrorists' intransigence.[/*][/list]The Presumable Stages of a Military Operation
Stage One: Total isolation of the rebel region
Considering that any resident of the Donetsk Region and the Lugansk Region has had enough time and opportunities to leave the area of hostilities provided that they wanted to do so, anyone who has stayed behind should be regarded as complicit in the unrest, or supportive of it.
Martial law shall be introduced in the defiant regions. All local authorities shall have their competencies terminated, the Constitution shall be suspended. Direct presidential rule shall be imposed.
The region shall be encircled with troops and sealed off entirely from any flow of goods and persons, both incoming and outgoing. Special attention shall be given to areas that border on Russia. Broadcasting services, Internet connection, telephone and mobile communications in the region shall be shut down. A curfew shall be imposed between 20:00 and 06:00. International media staff working In the region shall be subject to a special procedure.
Stage Two: Mop-up
The circle of troops around the rebel region shall be tightened gradually. Ground assaults shall be preceded by air strikes against the enemy's strategk facilities, artillery and mortar teams, and bunched-up troops. The use of non-conventional arms shall not be ruled out in certain cases in order to ensure smaller causalities among our own personnel.
Settlements shall be liberated one by one, with armor going in first and wiping out the remaining pockets of resistance, shooting to kill anyone who bears arms. Infantry shall move in next to relocate male adults into internment camps. Anyone who attempts to resist shall be executed on the spot. Children aged under 13 and people older than 60 shall be moved to specially equipped facilities in areas that are further away from the zone of the anti-terrorist operation.
Internment camps shall set up outside the settlement that have been cleared, and guarded by units who are considered to be ideologically safe. People featuring traces of combat engagement, like bruises, scuff marks, gunshot and fragment wounds, traces of gunpowder and gun oil on the skin and clothes, shall be tried in court for separatism and terrorism. After a two-month period of internment, the remaining individuals shall be allowed to return to places of their residence and be placed under surveillance by security services.
Stage 3: Back to Normal
Military specialist shall be employed to restore water, heat, power supplies and communications.
The borders shall be strengthened, with checkpoint set up to avoid possible provocations by Russia and to prepare for a massive return of refugees. Those who fled the warzone shall be allowed to return to their place of residence. However, men aged 18-60 shall be checked for possible support for separatists in internment camps. The property of convicted and displaced residents of the Lugansk and Donetsk regions shall be nationalized by the state and later awarded to the servicemen who would be distinguished for valor during the and-terrorist campaign.
Special focus shall be made on information security, which means that the area of the anti-terrorist campaign shall be made off limit to foreign media. Stories of heroism and courage of Ukraine's armed forces, the National Guard and other armed units in saving civilians in the east of Ukraine from terrorists and armed gangs shall be spread as broadly as possible.
Note: If the active stage of the anti-terrorist operation ends no later than September 1, 2014, martial law shall be lifted no earlier than January 1, 2015.
http://newsvoice.se/2014/07/04/leaked-rand-corporation-terrifying-memo-about-swift-crackdown-in-ukraine-july-2014/
VIDEO-BBC News - 'Chance of justice for abuse victims' - Peter McKelvie
Wed, 09 Jul 2014 00:01
There is evidence at least 20 prominent paedophiles - including former MPs and government ministers - abused children for "decades", a former child protection manager has told the BBC.
Peter McKelvie, whose claims initially led to a 2012 police inquiry, said a "powerful elite" of paedophiles had escaped investigation for years, but there was now a chance of justice for the victims.
VIDEO-Border crisis could provide cover to ISIS operatives, say experts | Fox News
Tue, 08 Jul 2014 11:34
The border crisis could be the perfect opportunity for Islamic terrorists looking to sneak sleeper cells into the U.S., say experts.
Patrols on the Mexican border have been stretched to the breaking point in recent weeks by a tidal wave of immigrants from Central America. Among the estimated 60,000 people who have streamed across is a small percentage of what agents term "Special Interest Aliens," or SIAs. Terrorism experts say airport security is effective at keeping dangerous jihadists out, but the border breakdown could be America's Achilles heel - providing an entry point for groups like ISIS.
''It's impossible to say that ISIS will soon be active on our border, but some groups will be,'' said retired Army Lt. Col. Ralph Peters, a security and defense analyst and Fox News contributor. ''The one thing that all of the squabbling jihadi groups in the Middle East and North Africa have in common is that they want to strike the U.S., both for what they view as vengeance and because, in terrorist circles, striking the U.S. is how you confirm that you're a major player.''
''If you pay the cartels enough, they will sneak you across or assist in getting anything you want across the border."
- Shawn Moran, vice president and spokesperson for the Border Patrol Council
It's long been known that a percentage, albeit small, of illegals caught sneaking across from Mexico hail from terror-sponsoring states. And some of the Islamic terror groups have ties to Latin American drug cartels and gangs, including MS-13. The combination of terrorists' desire to infiltrate the border and gangs' know-how could prove dangerous to American security, say experts.
''It's obviously a concern,'' Shawn Moran, vice president and spokesperson for the Border Patrol Council, told FoxNews.com. ''If you pay the cartels enough, they will sneak you across or assist in getting anything you want across the border.
''It's definitely a nightmare scenario if they use the borders, north or south, to cross and conduct a terrorist attack,'' Moran added.
Texas Gov. Rick Perry said the record wave of illegal immigrants includes record numbers of SIAs.
''We have record high numbers of other than Mexicans being apprehended at the border,'' Perry told Fox News. ''These are people that are coming from states like Syria that have substantial connections back to terrorist regimes and terrorist operations. So we're seeing record, historic high numbers of these individuals being apprehended.''
Some policy experts say that, while it's possible for groups like ISIS to cross at the border, it may not be necessary for them to achieve their deadly means.
''Big picture, we need to look at how terrorist attacks have evolved since 9/11,'' Scott Stewart, vice president of tactical analysis for Stratfor, a geopolitical intelligence firm, told FoxNews.com. ''The old model was to sneak operatives in, but it has really changed in recent years. It's emanating from the grassroots. People who already reside in a targeted country are recruited or those who can enter a country legally with proper documentation.''
And ISIS, despite its bluster, is probably not yet capable of launching an attack on American soil, Stewart said.
''They really haven't shown a capacity to import their attacks,'' he said. ''They haven't worked towards conditioning operatives for terrorist attacks. It's a very different than the training for the insurgency.''
James Phillips, a senior research fellow for the Heritage Foundation, said the U.S. can never completely protect itself from terrorist infiltration.
''The real danger is Europeans that have already been recruited who could fly into the country legally,'' he said. ''I wouldn't rule out the Canadian border, either. Many operatives from other terrorist groups have entered the U.S. from the north.''
VIDEO-Review: Was Richard Linklater's 12 Year Production Worth the Wait? In a Word, Yes.|Filmmakers,Film Industry, Film Festivals, Awards & Movie Reviews | Indiewire
Tue, 08 Jul 2014 05:42
Twelve years ago, Richard Linklater started production on a movie following the development of a child from the age of seven through the end of his teenage years. If there was ever project that demanded to be informed by the history of its making, "Boyhood" is it. Epic in scope yet unassuming throughout, Linklater's incredibly involving chronicle marks an unprecedented achievement in fictional storytelling '-- the closest point of comparison, Michael Apted's "Up" documentaries, don't represent the same singularity of vision. Shot over the course of 39 days spread across more than a decade, "Boyhood" is an entirely fluid work that puts the process of maturity under the microscope and analyzes its nuances with remarkable detail.
The key to "Boyhood" lies with the smallness of its story, which revolves around the plight of Texan native Mason (Ellar Coltrane) along with his older sister Samantha (Lorelei Linklater, the director's daughter) and their divorced parents, Mason Sr. and Olivia (Ethan Hawke and Patricia Arquette). As we watch this quartet consistently age during the movie's justifiable 164 minute length, the subtle qualities of change become steadily crystallized. At its center, Mason's growth allows Coltrane to fully inhabit his character through the accumulation of his experiences and their recurring impact on his expanding awareness. As a child, he and his sister witness their parents' unruly separation from a limited perspective before getting whisked away by their mother to a new life in Houston.
That shift marks the first of several transitions that find the broken family unit moving from place to place while their desperate mother veers from one ill-fated relationship to another. In between, their free-spirited dad crops up for occasional visits, leading to a sharp contrast between the adults' meandering lifestyles and their kids' regular attempts to comprehend the fractured world around them. Alternately sweet and melancholic, "Boyhood" slowly unfurls with an enthralling trajectory, relying on the changes in its characters' physical appearances to connote the advancing years.
Beyond the inherent intrigue of this structural gimmick, however, "Boyhood" maintains a consistent focus. During Olivia's second marriage, to her graduate psychology professor Bill (Marco Perella), the children observe a far more upsetting breakup than the preceding one, with Bill growing dangerously moody under the influence of alcoholism. While this chapter constitutes the narrative's darkest hour, it also plants a seed of understanding that enables an increasingly self-reliant Mason to resist similar oppression from his mother's third and equally reckless husband. "Boyhood" owes much of its power to this network of cause and effect spread across its plot with fascinating nuances. As his voice deepens and he blossoms into a long-haired, deep-voiced, pot-smoking teen, gains a first love and develops a promising interest in professional photography, Mason embodies the rite of passage indicated by the title.
Watch: 'Boyhood' Director Richard Linklater and Star Ellar Coltrane Discuss Their 12-Year Collaboration
But "Boyhood" leaves ample room for its supporting characters to define the conditions of Mason's growth. Lorelei Linklater's assertiveness makes her character an equal source of interest for the way she quietly remains the family's backbone. Hawke's Mason Sr., a freewheeling lefty musician, crops up just frequently enough to offer a rich commentary on the advancing challenges faced by his kids. While their relationship never becomes strained, it's clear by the movie's later years that Mason has learned to view his father's nuggets of wisdom with a healthy dose of skepticism.
Hawke, who undergoes almost as much of a dramatic physical change as Coltrane, provides a nifty counterpoint to the soul-searcher he portrayed in Linklater's "Before" trilogy: He has muddled passion and politics to spare (in one hilarious sequence presumably shot in 2008, he encourages his kids to nab John McCain flyers off his neighbors lawn; in 2002, he fills their heads with anti-war ideology) but not much to show for it. Among the focused ensemble, only Arquette strains from certain unmistakable one-note aspects in the role of the flimsy, put-upon woman, but eventually gets the chance to show her assertiveness once her children stop being high maintenance.
While continually astute, "Boyhood" gets particularly engrossing during its final third, when Mason starts to pursue his professional interests and contemplate his future in light of the possibilities he has witnessed at home. A central conversation with his girlfriend, during a visit the duo pay to his sister at her college, illustrates his emerging cynicism about the next stages of his life. Even here, however, "Boyhood" leaves room for few more revelations that impact Mason's thought process. An ideological prequel to the "Before" movies, Linklater's sprawling approach tracks the evolution of Mason's intellect. Surrounded by expectations and vaguely worded advice from his confused elders, he finally obtains the ability to operate as a wholly independent thinker willing to push back. Linklater masterfully foregrounds the juxtaposition between Mason's inquisitive younger self ("There's no such thing as real magic in the world, right?" asks the 10-year-old) and the college-aged thinker in the closing act who rationalizes his increasing worldview.
Despite keeping its tantalizing premise in constant focus, "Boyhood" does feature the occasional lapses in quality: awkward lines of dialogue and some broadly scripted supporting characters come and go, but they're generally forgivable in light of the larger tapestry that never wavers in the slightest. Linklater glues together the discombobulated proceedings with distinct ingredients that define each period: changing video game consoles, flip phones, music cues that range from Coldplay and Weezer in earlier scenes to snippets of the recent Daft Punk album. These signposts are helpful for the sake of orientation, but rarely over-pronounced. Instead, the movie constantly sublimates its widening ideas into passing exchanges. "Any dipshit can take pictures," one of Mason's teachers tells him when he's been lapsing on his studies. "It takes a real genius to make art."
One assumes that Linklater felt similarly when he started "Boyhood," though the result hardly contains any indications of presumptuousness. Instead, Linklater relishes the small moments that epitomize Mason's flow of experiences. During a camping trip with his dad clearly shot years ago, the pair have a hilariously prescient exchange about the "Star Wars" franchise and determine it could never accommodate additional movies. Retroactively a sly commentary on the upcoming sequels, the conversation implies that not all ambitious filmmaking must be tethered to commercial intensions. It's one scene among many rendered insightful by the passage of time surrounding them '-- the central tenet at the heart of "Boyhood" that makes it Linklater's shrewdest accomplishment to date, and a de facto celebration of his ongoing commitment to moving forward.
Grade: AA version of this review ran during the 2014 Sundance Film Festival. IFC Films releases "Boyhood" in New York and Los Angeles this Friday ahead of a nationwide expansion.
VIDEO-Terror Concerns Prompt Increased Security For U.S. Bound Air Travelers CBS New York
Mon, 07 Jul 2014 04:04
TRI-STATE NEWS HEADLINESFrom our newsroom to your inbox weekday mornings at 9AM.
Sign UpNEWARK, N.J.(CBSNewYork) '-- Passengers headed to the United States can expect to encounter tighter security. The move comes amid the growing threat of terrorists sneaking a new type of bomb onto a flight.
As CBS 2'²s Don Champion reported, the security increase could have a big impact on your phone.
Enhanced measures that have come in the thick of the busy summer travel season mean that passengers flying to the U.S. will have to show screeners their cell phones and other electronic devices actually work.
Just days ago the Department of Homeland Security ordered stepped up security at certain airports overseas. The electronic devices of some U.S. bound passengers will now be checked.
''Listen it's a priority. I'd rather be safe than sorry,'' one traveler at Newark Airport said.
The increased scrutiny came amid concerns that terrorist groups in Syria and Yemen might try to sneak undetectable, non-metallic bombs onto U.S. bound flights.
In response, the TSA has required passengers at certain airports overseas to show screeners that their electronics actually turn on and off.
In an alert to passengers, the TSA said that powerless devices won't be allowed onto aircraft.
''Powerless devices will not be permitted onboard the aircraft. The traveler may also undergo additional screening,'' the alert said.
''You're stuck between a rock and a hard place, you know. Everyone's safety is really important,'' a passenger told CBS 2'²s Champion.
U.S. intelligence officials said that there is no specific threat, but that Al-Qaeda and offshoot terrorist groups have been trying to build a new generation of bomb in recent years, similar to the failed 'underwear bomb' that Al- Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula snuck onto a plane over Detroit on Christmas Day in 2009.
The TSA would not say which airports will be conducting the additional screening, but they will be airports with direct flights to the U.S.
Passengers departing American airports can also expect more random screenings.
You May Also Be Interested In These Stories
Testimony set for trial of Boston marathon suspect friend.
Tue, 08 Jul 2014 02:30
BOSTON (AP) '-- Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev told a friend a month before the deadly attack that he knew how to make a bomb and said it's good to be a martyr because you "die with a smile on your face and go straight to heaven," a federal prosecutor told jurors Monday at the friend's obstruction trial.
Tsarnaev also texted the friend, Azamat Tazhayakov, 90 minutes after the bombings and said, "Don't go thinking it's me," Assistant U.S. Attorney Stephanie Siegmann said.
Siegmann's comments came during opening statements at Tazhayakov's trial, a prosecution that promises to provide a glimpse into the government's case against Tsarnaev.
Tsarnaev is scheduled to go on trial in November on charges that carry the possibility of the death penalty. Prosecutors say he and his older brother, Tamerlan, built two bombs and placed them near the finish line of the 2013 marathon to retaliate against the U.S. for its actions in Muslim countries. The explosions killed three people and injured more than 260. Tamerlan Tsarnaev died following a shootout with police several days later.
Tazhayakov, 20, has pleaded not guilty to obstruction of justice and conspiracy charges. He and his roommate, Dias Kadyrbayev, went to Tsarnaev's University of Massachusetts-Dartmouth dorm room several days after the bombing and took a laptop computer and a backpack containing fireworks that had black powder spilling out or had been emptied of their powder, Siegmann told the jury.
"The government will prove to you that the defendant and his co-conspirator removed the backpack for one reason, and that reason was to protect their friend who they had just learned was one of the two suspected marathon bombers," Siegmann said.
Prosecutors acknowledge that Kadyrbayev is the one who actually put the backpack in the trash but said Tazhayakov agreed to get rid of it.
She described a conversation Tsarnaev had with Tazhayakov and Kadyrbayev a month before the bombings while they ate together at a restaurant.
"Tsarnaev told the defendant and Kadyrbayev that it was good to die as a shaheed, or a martyr, as you would die with a smile on your face and go straight to heaven," she said.
During that same meal, Siegmann said, Tsarnaev also told his friends he knew how to make a bomb and went on to list the ingredients, including gunpowder or explosive powder like what was found in the fireworks inside the backpack.
Tazhayakov's defense attorney, Nicholas Wooldridge, urged jurors not be swayed by the emotional impact of the marathon bombings. He asked them instead to focus on Tazhayakov's actions.
"Azamat's actions will show that he never intended to obstruct justice. As a matter of fact, he never intended to help the bomber himself," Wooldridge said.
As the lawyers outlined their cases to the jury, the mother of two men who each lost their right leg in the bombings listened in court. Liz Norden declined to comment afterward.
Wooldridge said Tazhayakov went to Tsarnaev's dorm room with Kadyrbayev three days after the bombings and hours after the FBI released video footage and photos of the brothers.
But he said Tazhayakov watched a movie while Kadyrbayev looked around Tsarnaev's room after receiving a text from Tsarnaev that said, "If you want, you can go to my room and take what's there," followed by a smiley face, which Wooldridge said was a symbol that meant marijuana to the friends.
Wooldridge said it was Kadyrbayev who threw the backpack away in the trash after his girlfriend learned it belonged to Tsarnaev and told him, "Get it out of the apartment."
"Azamat never even touched that bag," Wooldridge said.
Kadyrbayev's girlfriend is expected to testify against Tazhayakov under a grant of immunity from prosecutors.
Kadyrbayev faces his own trial in September.
Western drought: Pot plants slurp up California water supply.
Tue, 08 Jul 2014 23:55
Studying aerial photographs of four watersheds within Northern California's so-called Emerald Triangle, Bauer found that the area under marijuana cultivation doubled between 2009 and 2012. It continues to grow, with increasing environmental consequences.
Bauer presented data to CNBC indicating that growers are drawing more than 156,000 gallons of water from a single tributary of the Eel River, in Mendocino County, every day.
The average marijuana plant needs about 6 gallons of water a day, depending on its size and whether it's grown inside or outside, according to a local report that cited research. Pot growers object to that number, saying that the actual water use of a pot plant is much less.
Read MoreInvesting in pot: Pipe dreams or paths to profit?
Although the marijuana business has helped revive the local economy, residents may now be feeling the effects of living alongside growers. And, as growers'--some legal, some not'--face an ongoing, severe drought, local law enforcement officers expect the fight over natural resources to intensify.
"I never want to see crime increase, but I have a feeling it will, because of the commodities that are up here," said Humboldt County Sheriff Mike Downey. "When we get to the end of the grow season, which is August and September, the need for enhanced water availability is gonna be there, and I don't think the water's going to be there, so you're going to see people, I believe, having some conflict over water rights."
Stream water rules in California are the same for growers of marijuana as they are for growers of any crop: Growers should divert no more than 10 percent of a stream's flow, and they should halt diversion altogether during late summer, when fish are most vulnerable to low water levels. But Bauer pointed out that those rules apply to permit holders, and most marijuana growers haven't bothered to get permits.
Read MoreCramer is giddy about an overseas marijuana stock
With so much of California's cannabis business operating in the more lucrative underground market, and with so many growers across the region (see the map below), the California Department of Fish and Wildlife and the Humboldt County Sheriff's office say they lack the resources to eradicate all offenders. So they target the most egregious.

Art

Image
Load image
Image
Load image

Agenda 21

DDPP_interim_2014_report.pdf
Green Energy.pdf

AQ Inc

ABC-Package-turn on iphones-man on street.mp3

Deutschland Blitzkrieg

2nd US Spy damages relationship with GER.mp3
Germans want US officials out-2nd spy.mp3
GGReenwald-second source-not snowden-APPLEBAUM.mp3

F-Russia / Ukraine / Syria

Nudelman-Corker-Sanctions are bogative.mp3
Psaki-Kiev has right to kill civillians.mp3

Hobby Lobby

Harry Reid-5 white men.mp3

Israel Palestine

Fla REP Ros-Lehtinen-Jewish State.mp3
MSNBC-not hamas-palestinian citizens.mp3
NBC 'Nightly News' Takes Palestinian Side in Conflict.mp3

JCD Clips

brazil loses.mp3
fraud in afghanistan.mp3
funny blackwater story.mp3
jordan being set up.mp3
Michael Copps and political ads.mp3
michael copps irony of deregulation missed.mp3
NSA WaPo.mp3
phone bombs.mp3
terrorist crackdown in france.mp3

Obama Nation

Obama Immigration NOW.mp3
Obama Immigration THEN-2011.mp3

PedoBear

Milliband and Cameron on PedoBear i parliment.mp3
Peter McKelvie 2012 exposer of pedobear in UK on BBC.mp3
<