671: White House Moat

Adam Curry & John C. Dvorak

2h 57m
November 20th, 2014
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Executive Producers: Thomas Butterick - Sir ladyfingers of the displaced texans, Kristan Smith - Sir Kwisstan of Lincolnshire, Sir Don Tomaso DI Toronto, Patrick Hamilton

Associate Executive Producers: Mike Nicholaichuk, Stephanie Barlow

Cover Artist: dicktater


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EMAIL: No Agenda Meetup in Stockholm, Sweden
Thu, 20 Nov 2014 15:31
Hey Adam,Thanks for a great show! I=9;m just starting to put together a meetup in Stockholm, Sweden. But before= I go on I just want to make sure that you haven't heard about anyone e=lse doing the same thing in the near future? This town is not big enough fo=r two meetups. :)If not. I will go ahead with the= arrangements and keep you posted on the progress. It would also be awesome= if you could promote it on the show and maybe send a greeting video or som=ething as the event comes closer?How does that so=und?Once again - thaaanks for the show and for ma=king my life better!Peace!Mats WurnellStockholm, Sweden
John, I'm standing here in 18 feet of snow with a family of 33 undocumented immigrants and on behalf of the Curry Dvorak Consulting group and the No Agenda Show, I want you to know we have notified our lawyers to cancel all our contracts and projects with Bill Cosby
back to you in the studio john,
Smith Mundt Act - A reminder that you are living in a Smith-Mudt Act repealed media landscape
NDAA and Overturning of Smith-Mundt Act
The National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2013 (NDAA) allows for materials produced by the State Department and the Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG) to be released within U.S. borders and strikes down a long-time ban on the dissemination of such material in the country.[14][15][16]
Propaganda in the United States - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Sun, 21 Sep 2014 15:00
Propaganda in the United States is propaganda spread by government and media entities within the United States. Propaganda is information, ideas, or rumors deliberately spread widely to influence opinions. Propaganda is not only in advertising; it is also in radio, newspaper, posters, books, and anything else that might be sent out to the widespread public.
Domestic[edit]World War I[edit]The first large-scale use of propaganda by the U.S. government came during World War I. The government enlisted the help of citizens and children to help promote war bonds and stamps to help stimulate the economy. To keep the prices of war supplies down, the U.S. government produced posters that encouraged people to reduce waste and grow their own vegetables in "victory gardens." The public skepticism that was generated by the heavy-handed tactics of the Committee on Public Information would lead the postwar government to officially abandon the use of propaganda.[1]
World War II[edit]During World War II the U.S. officially had no propaganda, but the Roosevelt government used means to circumvent this official line. One such propaganda tool was the publicly owned but government funded Writers' War Board (WWB). The activities of the WWB were so extensive that it has been called the "greatest propaganda machine in history".[1]Why We Fight is a famous series of US government propaganda films made to justify US involvement in World War II.
In 1944 (lasting until 1948) prominent US policy makers launched a domestic propaganda campaign aimed at convincing the U.S. public to agree to a harsh peace for the German people, for example by removing the common view of the German people and the Nazi party as separate entities.[2] The core in this campaign was the Writers' War Board which was closely associated with the Roosevelt administration.[2]
Another means was the United States Office of War Information that Roosevelt established in June 1942, whose mandate was to promote understanding of the war policies under the director Elmer Davies. It dealt with posters, press, movies, exhibitions, and produced often slanted material conforming to US wartime purposes. Other large and influential non-governmental organizations during the war and immediate post war period were the Society for the Prevention of World War III and the Council on Books in Wartime.
Cold War[edit]During the Cold War, the U.S. government produced vast amounts of propaganda against communism and the Soviet bloc. Much of this propaganda was directed by the Federal Bureau of Investigation under J. Edgar Hoover, who himself wrote the anti-communist tract Masters of Deceit. The FBI's COINTELPRO arm solicited journalists to produce fake news items discrediting communists and affiliated groups, such as H. Bruce Franklin and the Venceremos Organization.
War on Drugs[edit]The National Youth Anti-Drug Media Campaign, originally established by the National Narcotics Leadership Act of 1988,[3][4] but now conducted by the Office of National Drug Control Policy under the Drug-Free Media Campaign Act of 1998,[5] is a domestic propaganda campaign designed to "influence the attitudes of the public and the news media with respect to drug abuse" and for "reducing and preventing drug abuse among young people in the United States".[6][7] The Media Campaign cooperates with the Partnership for a Drug-Free America and other government and non-government organizations.[8]
Iraq War[edit]In early 2002, the U.S. Department of Defense launched an information operation, colloquially referred to as the Pentagon military analyst program.[9] The goal of the operation is "to spread the administrations's talking points on Iraq by briefing ... retired commanders for network and cable television appearances," where they have been presented as independent analysts.[10] On 22 May 2008, after this program was revealed in the New York Times, the House passed an amendment that would make permanent a domestic propaganda ban that until now has been enacted annually in the military authorization bill.[11]
The Shared values initiative was a public relations campaign that was intended to sell a "new" America to Muslims around the world by showing that American Muslims were living happily and freely, without persecution, in post-9/11 America.[12] Funded by the United States Department of State, the campaign created a public relations front group known as Council of American Muslims for Understanding (CAMU). The campaign was divided in phases; the first of which consisted of five mini-documentaries for television, radio, and print with shared values messages for key Muslim countries.[13]
NDAA and Overturning of Smith-Mundt Act[edit]The National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2013 (NDAA) allows for materials produced by the State Department and the Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG) to be released within U.S. borders and strikes down a long-time ban on the dissemination of such material in the country.[14][15][16]
Ad Council[edit]The Ad Council, an American non-profit organization that distributes public service announcements on behalf of various private and federal government agency sponsors, has been labeled as "little more than a domestic propaganda arm of the federal government" given the Ad Council's historically close collaboration with the President of the United States and the federal government.[17]
International[edit]Through several international broadcasting operations, the US disseminates American cultural information, official positions on international affairs, and daily summaries of international news. These operations fall under the International Broadcasting Bureau, the successor of the United States Information Agency, established in 1953. IBB's operations include Voice of America, Radio Liberty, Alhurra and other programs. They broadcast mainly to countries where the United States finds that information about international events is limited, either due to poor infrastructure or government censorship. The Smith-Mundt Act prohibits the Voice of America from disseminating information to US citizens that was produced specifically for a foreign audience.
During the Cold War the US ran covert propaganda campaigns in countries that appeared likely to become Soviet satellites, such as Italy, Afghanistan, and Chile.
Recently The Pentagon announced the creation of a new unit aimed at spreading propaganda about supposedly "inaccurate" stories being spread about the Iraq War. These "inaccuracies" have been blamed on the enemy trying to decrease support for the war. Donald Rumsfeld has been quoted as saying these stories are something that keeps him up at night.[18]
Psychological operations[edit]The US military defines psychological operations, or PSYOP, as:
planned operations to convey selected information and indicators to foreign audiences to influence the emotions, motives, objective reasoning, and ultimately the behavior of foreign governments, organizations, groups, and individuals.[19]
The Smith-Mundt Act, adopted in 1948, explicitly forbids information and psychological operations aimed at the US public.[20][21][22] Nevertheless, the current easy access to news and information from around the globe, makes it difficult to guarantee PSYOP programs do not reach the US public. Or, in the words of Army Col. James A. Treadwell, who commanded the U.S. military psyops unit in Iraq in 2003, in the Washington Post:
There's always going to be a certain amount of bleed-over with the global information environment.[23]
Agence France Presse reported on U.S. propaganda campaigns that:
The Pentagon acknowledged in a newly declassified document that the US public is increasingly exposed to propaganda disseminated overseas in psychological operations.[24]
Former US Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld approved the document referred to, which is titled "Information Operations Roadmap." [22][24] The document acknowledges the Smith-Mundt Act, but fails to offer any way of limiting the effect PSYOP programs have on domestic audiences.[20][21][25]
Several incidents in 2003 were documented by Sam Gardiner, a retired Air Force colonel, which he saw as information-warfare campaigns that were intended for "foreign populations and the American public." Truth from These Podia,[26] as the treatise was called, reported that the way the Iraq war was fought resembled a political campaign, stressing the message instead of the truth.[22]
See also[edit]References[edit]^ abThomas Howell, The Writers' War Board: U.S. Domestic Propaganda in World War II, Historian, Volume 59 Issue 4, Pages 795 - 813^ abSteven Casey, (2005), The Campaign to sell a harsh peace for Germany to the American public, 1944 - 1948, [online]. London: LSE Research Online. [Available online at http://eprints.lse.ac.uk/archive/00000736] Originally published in History, 90 (297). pp. 62-92 (2005) Blackwell Publishing^National Narcotics Leadership Act of 1988 of the Anti''Drug Abuse Act of 1988, Pub.L. 100''690, 102 Stat. 4181, enacted November 18, 1988^Gamboa, Anthony H. (January 4, 2005), B-303495, Office of National Drug Control Policy '-- Video News Release, Government Accountability Office, footnote 6, page 3 ^Drug-Free Media Campaign Act of 1998 (Omnibus Consolidated and Emergency Supplemental Appropriations Act, 1999), Pub.L. 105''277, 112 Stat. 268, enacted October 21, 1998^Gamboa, Anthony H. (January 4, 2005), B-303495, Office of National Drug Control Policy '-- Video News Release, Government Accountability Office, pp. 9''10 ^Drug-Free Media Campaign Act of 1998 of the Omnibus Consolidated and Emergency Supplemental Appropriations Act, 1999, Pub.L. 105''277, 112 Stat. 268, enacted October 21, 1998^Office of National Drug Control Policy Reauthorization Act of 2006, Pub.L. 109''469, 120 Stat. 3501, enacted December 29, 2006, codified at 21 U.S.C. § 1708^Barstow, David (2008-04-20). "Message Machine: Behind Analysts, the Pentagon's Hidden Hand". New York Times. ^Sessions, David (2008-04-20). "Onward T.V. Soldiers: The New York Times exposes a multi-armed Pentagon message machine". Slate. ^Barstow, David (2008-05-24). "2 Inquiries Set on Pentagon Publicity Effort". New York Times. ^Rampton, Sheldon (October 17, 2007). "Shared Values Revisited". Center for Media and Democracy. ^"U.S. Reaches Out to Muslim World with Shared Values Initiative". America.gov. January 16, 2003.
Obama Calls Kassig Murder 'Pure Evil'
Thu, 20 Nov 2014 04:04
President Barack Obama called the Islamic State's execution of Abdul-Rahman Kassig, an American hostage also known as Peter, "pure evil" on Sunday.
Obama released the statement after the White House confirmed that an ISIS video showing Kassig's murder was authentic.
Below is Obama's full statement:
Today we offer our prayers and condolences to the parents and family of Abdul-Rahman Kassig, also known to us as Peter. We cannot begin to imagine their anguish at this painful time.
Abdul-Rahman was taken from us in an act of pure evil by a terrorist group that the world rightly associates with inhumanity. Like Jim Foley and Steven Sotloff before him, his life and deeds stand in stark contrast to everything that ISIL represents. While ISIL revels in the slaughter of innocents, including Muslims, and is bent only on sowing death and destruction, Abdul-Rahman was a humanitarian who worked to save the lives of Syrians injured and dispossessed by the Syrian conflict. While ISIL exploits the tragedy in Syria to advance their own selfish aims, Abdul-Rahman was so moved by the anguish and suffering of Syrian civilians that he traveled to Lebanon to work in a hospital treating refugees. Later, he established an aid group, SERA, to provide assistance to Syrian refugees and displaced persons in Lebanon and Syria. These were the selfless acts of an individual who cared deeply about the plight of the Syrian people.
ISIL's actions represent no faith, least of all the Muslim faith which Abdul-Rahman adopted as his own. Today we grieve together, yet we also recall that the indomitable spirit of goodness and perseverance that burned so brightly in Abdul-Rahman Kassig, and which binds humanity together, ultimately is the light that will prevail over the darkness of ISIL.
Statement by the President on the Death of Abdul-Rahman Kassig | The White House
Tue, 18 Nov 2014 05:29
The White House
Office of the Press Secretary
For Immediate Release
November 16, 2014
Today we offer our prayers and condolences to the parents and family of Abdul-Rahman Kassig, also known to us as Peter. We cannot begin to imagine their anguish at this painful time.
Abdul-Rahman was taken from us in an act of pure evil by a terrorist group that the world rightly associates with inhumanity. Like Jim Foley and Steven Sotloff before him, his life and deeds stand in stark contrast to everything that ISIL represents. While ISIL revels in the slaughter of innocents, including Muslims, and is bent only on sowing death and destruction, Abdul-Rahman was a humanitarian who worked to save the lives of Syrians injured and dispossessed by the Syrian conflict. While ISIL exploits the tragedy in Syria to advance their own selfish aims, Abdul-Rahman was so moved by the anguish and suffering of Syrian civilians that he traveled to Lebanon to work in a hospital treating refugees. Later, he established an aid group, SERA, to provide assistance to Syrian refugees and displaced persons in Lebanon and Syria. These were the selfless acts of an individual who cared deeply about the plight of the Syrian people.
ISIL's actions represent no faith, least of all the Muslim faith which Abdul-Rahman adopted as his own. Today we grieve together, yet we also recall that the indomitable spirit of goodness and perseverance that burned so brightly in Abdul-Rahman Kassig, and which binds humanity together, ultimately is the light that will prevail over the darkness of ISIL.
Our Story - SERA International
Mon, 17 Nov 2014 10:39
OverviewSERA (Special Emergency Response and Assistance) is a medically-oriented emergency relief organization that serves refugee populations and internally displaced persons (IDPs). Our efforts, however small, are focused on providing acute logistical support and assistance in areas too difficult for other humanitarian organizations to effectively operate. Typically, this means conflict zones. Our current operational focus is the civil war occurring in Syria.SERA was founded in 2012 by Peter Kassig, a former US Army Ranger who served in the Iraq War.ValuesSERA conforms to the Humanitarian Charter and Minimum Standards in Humanitarian Response as outlined by The Sphere Project. We are a neutral and impartial organization. We do not take sides in hostilities, and do not discriminate as to nationality, race, ethnicity, religious beliefs, class or political opinions.We believe lasting change occurs through local partnerships: both with representatives from the communities in which we work, as well as those organizations committed to civic reconstruction and protection of basic human rights.
OperationsSERA specializes in non-material aid and assistance: medical training, logistical support and coordinating relief for community development as well as individual, high-risk medical cases. Additionally SERA coordinates the delivery of medical aid (e.g. bandages, antibiotics, stretchers, splints and wheelchairs) and supplies for children and civilians (e.g. baby food, formula and clothing, food and cooking supplies) to field clinics, refugee camps and hospitals located in Lebanon and Syria. Each of these material aid operations begins with an on-the-ground needs assessment conducted by our personnel in order to provide specific, targeted solutions to populations in crisis.
SERA | Acute medical relief and training in areas of conflict
Mon, 17 Nov 2014 10:49
SERA (Special Emergency Response and Assistance) is an emergency medical relief organization that serves refugee populations and internally displaced persons. Our efforts are focused on providing acute logistical support and assistance in hostile or underserved areas. Headquartered in Gaziantep, Turkey, our current operational focus is the humanitarian crisis in Syria.
Reed Magazine | Training First Responders Amid Syria's Rubble
Mon, 17 Nov 2014 10:52
By Bill Donahue on September 23, 2013 11:38 AMEliot Stempf '11 works to aid the victims of Syria's civil war from Gaziantep, Turkey.
When surgeon Muhammad Abyad was killed in Syria on September 5, as he did humanitarian work for Doctors Without Borders, it was hardly an isolated incident. Hospitals are routinely bombed in the chaos of current-day Syria, and so far over 20 staffers for the Syrian Arab Red Crescent have perished while responding to disasters. On Monday, 50 medical professionals from across the globe united to publish an open letter in the Lancet saying that the Syrian health system is at a breaking point.
Somewhere in southern Turkey, Eliot Stempf '11 knowingly nodded his head'--and shifted in his low-rent desk chair as he contended with a glacially slow internet connection. Eliot lives in Gaziantep, Turkey, roughly 20 miles from the Syrian border, and is currently masterminding the launch of a humanitarian startup, SERA (Special Emergency Response and Assistance), which specializes in prehospital care and has so far trained roughly 50 Syrians to become emergency first responders.
SERA was founded in late 2012 by Peter Kassig, a 24-year-old Army Ranger and Indiana native who returned from Iraq intent on mitigating the carnage of war. Kassig, who's an EMT, lives with Eliot in Gaziantep and frequently forays into war-torn Syrian towns like Deir Ezzor to lead training sessions, distribute supplies, and provide basic medical care. Eliot, meanwhile, remains in Turkey, hunched at his computer, networking with care providers, such as the Red Crescent, and conferring with two Syrian doctors who advise SERA on, as Eliot puts it, ''how to deliver aid in a way that's sensitive, without exacerbating political tensions.''
Last week, Atlanta-based Conscience International gave SERA its biggest contribution yet'--$30,000 worth of medical supplies (mostly antibiotics and pharmaceuticals) to be distributed over the coming weeks.
''I've got a desk job'--that's all. It's no more dangerous than driving on an American freeway at night,'' Eliot says modestly, ''but it's very exciting. And we're meeting a very definite need. Right now, if someone gets hurt in Syria, the standard of care is you just throw them in the back of a truck and drive fast to the hospital. There's no one monitoring or caring for them on the way, and there's a serious risk of spinal injury.'' Medical care in Syria has become increasingly challenged in recent months as the well-financed, Al-Qaeda affiliate Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, or ISIS, has joined the fighting, with no compunction about killing medical providers that its leaders consider an enemy. ''The vast majority of NGOs have pulled their non-Syrians out of the conflict zones,'' says Eliot. ''That's why we're training Syrians to provide care.''
The road to Gaziantep began at Reed. Eliot took Religion 155, Intro to Islam, his first year from Prof. Kyriell Noon [religion 2005''07] and was inspired to spend a semester in Cairo learning Arabic. After Cairo, he spent two months traveling about the Middle East, and became so enchanted with Lebanon that, after graduating from Reed with a degree in religion, he moved to Beirut and became the managing editor of Entrepreneur Levant, the regional edition of the American magazine Entrepreneur. By the time he met Kassig at a bar last fall, he says, ''I'd been around entrepreneurs long enough that I wanted to launch my own startup.''
Eliot joined SERA and moved to Gaziantep in June. Today, he and Kassig share a $500-a-month apartment with SERA's only paid staffers, a British IT guy, age 23, and a Syrian interpreter and logistics expert, age 24. ''Our lifestyle is low-budget,'' Eliot says. ''You know, mattresses on the floor and plastic lawn chairs for furniture.''
Eliot spends very little time exploring Gaziantep, population 1.5 million. Mostly, he just works. When he talked recently to Reed magazine'--over Skype, from a Gaziantep cafe with reliable WiFi'--he was bleary-eyed, after staying up all night to writing a donor proposal letter.
He remains torn as to whether the U.S. military should intervene in Syria, and insistent that his friends back home tune into the complexities of the Syrian conflict. ''We can't just say, 'This is another Iraq. Let's stay out of it,''' he argues. ''That kind of knee-jerk isolationism doesn't work because Syria is a different country, and a different conflict. Every day, I talk to wonderful people, Syrians who are who seeing their country fall apart around them. These are people whose houses have been systematically bombed. They've seen their relatives indiscriminately tortured and killed, and their economy destroyed. I don't think we can say, 'Let's not get involved.' We need to do something to help.''
Tags: alumni, Syria, religion
About Us - Conscience International
Mon, 17 Nov 2014 10:55
Who We AreConscience International is a humanitarian relief and development organization that implements life-saving medical interventions, refugee assistance, and community development programs following wars and natural disasters. Since 1991 hundreds of volunteer teams have performed surgery, built houses, supplied food, medicine, tents, blankets, water, and hygiene kits to refugees, delivering millions of dollars of aid in over thirty countries.MissionTo help suffering people in the neediest parts of the world by networking cooperatively with agencies, organizations and individuals.
VisionTo communicate by word, deed, and symbol the role of conscience in the world; to demonstrate by individual and corporate action ways of changing conditions for human betterment; to inspire and motivate people to involve themselves in acts of conscience so that they develop a greater capacity to help others, become peacemakers, act on behalf of justice, and raise awareness of the problems of hunger, disease, homelessness, and denial of human rights worldwide.
To directly assist to those who suffer hunger, deprivation, and physical need.To demonstrate and communicate the role of conscience in the worldTo motivate people to perform acts of conscience.To encourage individuals and groups to make a difference for peace and justice in an increasingly impersonal and technologically-oriented world.To work for the relief and protection of victims of disasters, poverty, and injustice, whether caused by natural events, by criminals or governments, or imposed by economic and social systems.To strive for the protection of individual human and civil rights as enunciated in the universal declaration of human rights.Success is: multitudes of people motivated to act on conscience and minister to the needs of the world.What We DoConscience International supplies food, medicine, and shelter to refugees and other needy populations, transports and deliver aid, sponsors emergency and long-term relief and development programs, and educates people about global conditions, including poverty, medical emergencies, and human rights violations.Where We WorkWe go where the need is greatest. This means that teams often work in countries that are among the neediest and most difficult in terms of access and security. Conscience International is particularly active in disaster areas and zones of conflict where populations have been affected by earthquakes and wars. The neediest places in the world are often the most neglected because they are located in areas difficult to access, where sustenance is marginal, poverty and violence are rampant, borders are closed, security is uncertain, and population growth and disease are out of control.
Our Leadership - Conscience International
Mon, 17 Nov 2014 11:09
Our Leadership TeamFounder and President'--James E. Jennings, PhDFor much of the last two decades, based on a belief that acting on conscience is central to our humanity, Dr. Jennings has responded to disasters and worked to improve health care delivery in some of the neediest and most hazardous places on earth. He organized and led delivery of medical aid following wars and earthquakes in many places, beginning with the siege of Beirut in 1982, and including wars in Iraq, Afghanistan, Lebanon, Sudan, and Gaza, as well as earthquakes in Pakistan, Turkey, Iran, India, Haiti, and Peru. After the giant tsunami in the Indian Ocean, he helped staff medical clinics at Sigli and Banda Aceh, Indonesia, and built homes in Bansak, Thailand. Conscience International built 140 houses for earthquake victims in Haiti using an innovative method of recycling rubble, a program that was featured on Canada's Discovery Channel. In Ethiopia, Pakistan, and Afghanistan, Conscience International medical teams have performed surgery, including spinal surgery for crippled children. More recently, Conscience International teams have been engaged in responding to the Syrian refugee crisis in Jordan and Turkey, and to the famine in Somalia, as well as to the massive floods in Pakistan.
In Iraq, before, during, and after the war US-led war, Dr. Jennings led medical and public health teams that trained hundreds of physicians and nurses in child survival methods at hospitals and clinics in Baghdad, Basra, and Mosul. He has organized and led refugee and disaster assistance, medical aid, and health training programs in many other countries, including India, Jordan, Lebanon, Peru, Haiti, Turkey, Sudan, Iran, Syria, Ethiopia, and Pakistan. He has also organized and led US Academics for Peace conferences in Iran, Iraq, Syria, Jordan, Lebanon, Egypt, and Sudan.
US Academics for Peace, a division of Conscience International, engages in peacemaking efforts in regions of conflict, particularly in the Middle East. Dr. Jennings continues to advocate greater understanding of other cultures and increased humanitarian involvement in the developing world.
Kurt Giebel, ControllerKurt has been with Conscience International since late 2010, initially serving as a consultant providing accounting and tax services in an advisory role. He joined the staff as Comptroller at the beginning of 2013 taking a more active leadership role in financial support of leadership as well as providing support to program directors actively working on implementing programs with Conscience International.Kurt has a Bachelor of Business Administration degree in Accounting from Eastern Kentucky University. He has a wide realm of experience in both corporate and manufacturing/process accounting for a variety of large companies. He also has experience in working with smaller companies and startup organizations providing finance, accounting and tax support for companies just getting started as well as those companies working to turn operating results into profitable operations.He has made significant contributions by introducing budgeting processes and financial reporting working with other leadership team members and program directors in working to help manage program expenses within budgeted levels as well as working to continue the effective and efficient utilization of donor contributions to accomplish the overall goals of Conscience International.
Jeremy Holloman, Program Director, Latin America and CaribbeanJeremy Holloman is a veteran of the construction industry who has led Conscience International's reconstruction efforts in Haiti since the devastating January, 2010 earthquake, building 152 houses in Port-au-Prince and Grand Goave. He is an innovative pioneer in developing earthquake resistant shelter solutions using recycled rubble from the earthquake. Previously he led relief and reconstruction work in Honduras and Nicaragua in the aftermath of Hurricane Mitch, as well as in El Salvador following the earthquake of 2001. He has also worked in Chile and Guatemala. His relief experience includes the construction of houses, civic buildings and schools as well as water, sanitation and educational projects. He speaks Spanish and is conversant in French and Creole.
Cliford Gardner, Middle East ProgramsCliff Gardner is Senior Administrative Manager of Research in the Department of Medicine at the Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston. Prior to this position he was the Administrative Officer for the Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal Islamic Studies Program at Harvard University from 2007-2011. He has over thirty years of experience living, working and traveling throughout the Middle East and South Asia. He is fluent in Arabic and conversant in Turkish and Urdu. Previously he taught English in the USAID program for the Academy for Educational Development in Islamabad, Pakistan from 1986-1988. He taught and designed English courses for the USAID program at the American University in Cairo from 1989-1993. He was the founding director of the Council for Christian Colleges and Universities' Middle East Studies Program based in Cairo, Egypt from 1993-1996. He administered executive education programs at the Harvard Institute for International Development from 1997-2000. He has extensive experience as an administrator on development projects around the world and has over twenty years of proven experience in cross-cultural consulting, fund raising, grant writing and research administration. He has been actively involved in the following professional organizations: NAFSA:Association of International Educators, Middle East Studies Association, The American Academy of Religion and the National Council for University Research Administrators.
Richard Sarker, Southeast Asia Program DirectorRichard Sarker has extensive experience in administering aid and development programs in the Asia-Pacific region. From 1976-1985 he was a Field and General Services Officer for the UN Development/World Food Program in Dhaka, Bangladesh. Earlier he served for three years as Senior Office Manager for the Ford Foundation in Dhaka. Later (1985-93) he was Program Administrator for the Mennonite Central Committee (MCC) in Bangladesh. From 2008-2010 he was Global Representative for ELCA in India and Kuala Lumpur, with responsibility for monitoring and evaluation of health and development programs. His background includes training courses in management, rural development, and emergency relief from the UNDP/WFP and World Vision. He was educated at Dhaka University (BA) and London International College (MBA). Richard speaks his native Bengali and is conversant in Hindi and Urdu. He has traveled and worked in Europe and North America, as well as in other countries including Thailand, Singapore, Philippines, Pakistan, the United Arab Emirates, Indonesia, Nepal, and Malaysia.Senior Management Team
Other Program DirectorsDoug HansonPhilip Meinhardt
Stephen Bronner - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Mon, 17 Nov 2014 11:16
BiographyEditBorn in New York City, New York, United States on 19 August 1949, Bronner earned a Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) at City College of New York, spent a year at the Universit¤t T¼bingen in Germany on a Fulbright-Hays Fellowship in 1973, and completed his Master of Arts (M.A.) and Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in Political Science from the University of California, Berkeley in 1976, after submitting a dissertation titled "Authenticity and Potentiality: A Marxian Inquiry into the Role of the Subject."[2] He has been employed at Rutgers University since 1976, and has held visiting professor positions at the New School for Social Research (1989) the Universit¤t Leipzig (1998).[3]
Currently Director of Global Relations at the Center for the Study of Genocide and Human Rights at Rutgers University, Bronner is the Executive Chair of US Academics for Peace and an advisor to Conscience International. His activities in civic diplomacy led him to visit Iran, Iraq, Palestine, Syria, Sudan, and Darfur. Many of his experiences are discussed in works dealing with internal relations like Blood in the Sand (2005) and Peace out of Reach (2007). Bronner was the recipient of the MEPeace Award by the Network for Middle Eastern Politics in 2011.
Senior Editor of Logos, he is on the editorial board of more than a dozen journals in the United States and abroad. His various works include studies of contemporary political theory, political history, and cultural politics. Along with various teaching awards, the Bronner received the Michael A. Harrington Prize for Moments of Decision (1991) and Honorable Mention for the David Easton Prize, which honored the best work of political theory of the last five years, for Reclaiming the Enlightenment. Bronner's writings have been translated into more than a dozen languages and he received the Charles McCoy Lifetime Achievement Prize from the American Political Science Association in 2005.
Theoretical contributionsEditInfluenced by critical theory, existentialism, and liberal socialism, Bronner is best known his reinterpretation of tradition and a host of concepts like the class ideal and the cosmopolitan sensibility. He is perhaps the foremost contemporary proponent of developing the linkage of political theory, which has become increasingly academic and metaphysical in orientation, with practical and progressive political concerns. His work is discussed in Rational Radicalism and Political Theory: Essays in Honor of Stephen Eric Bronner, ed. by Michael J. Thompson (Lanham: Lexington Books, 2010).
BibliographyEditScholarly worksEditThe Bigot: Why Prejudice Persists (Yale University Press, 2014) ISBN 978-0300162516Modernism at the Barricades: Aesthetics, Politics, Utopia (Columbia University Press, 2012) ISBN 978-0231158220Critical Theory: A Very Short Introduction (Oxford University Press, 2011) ISBN 978-0199730070Peace Out of Reach: Middle Eastern Travels and the Search for Reconciliation (The University Press of Kentucky, 2007) ISBN 978-0813124469Blood in the Sand: Imperial Fantasies, Right-Wing Ambitions, and the Erosion of American Democracy (The University Press of Kentucky, 2005) ISBN 0-8131-2367-4Sketch for a New Critical Theory (Zurich: Diaphanes Verlag, publication pending)Reclaiming the Enlightenment: Toward a Politics of Radical Engagement (New York: Columbia University Press, 2004). ISBN 0-231-12608-5. Translation into Spanish: Reivindicaci"n de la Ilustraci"n, Pamplona, Laetoli, 2008. ISBN 978-84-935661-7-3.A Rumor about the Jews: Anti-Semitism. Conspiracy, and the Protocols of Zion (Paperback Edition''New York: Oxford University Press, 2004; Hardcover Edition''New York: St. Martin's Press, 2000; Translation into German''Berlin: Propylaen Verlag, 2000). ISBN 0-19-516956-5; Translation into Spanish: Un rumor sobre los jud­os, Pamplona, Laetoli, 2009. ISBN 978-84-92422-06-7.Imagining the Possible: Radical Politics for Conservative Times (New York: Routledge, 2002). ISBN 0-415-93260-2Of Critical Theory and Its Theorists (2nd Edition''New York: Routledge, 2002; 1st Edition''London: Basil Blackwell, 1994; Translation into Portuguese''Rio de Janeiro: Papirus, 1997). ISBN 0-415-93263-7Socialism Unbound (2nd Edition:''Boulder, Colorado: Westview Press, 2000; 1st edition''New York: Routledge, 1990). ISBN 0-8133-6776-XIdeas in Action: Political Tradition in the Twentieth Century (Lanham, Maryland: Rowman & Littlefield, 1999; Translation into Korean''Seoul, Korea: Ingansarang Publishers, 2003). ISBN 0-8476-9387-2Camus: Portrait of a Moralist (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1999; Translation into German''Berlin: Verlag Vorwerk 8, 2002). ISBN 0-8166-3283-9Moments of Decision: Political History and the Crises of Radicalism (New York: Routledge, 1992; Translation into German''Frankfurt am Main: Suhrkamp Verlag, 2000). ISBN 0-415-90465-XRosa Luxemburg: A Revolutionary for Our Times (3rd printing'' Pennsylvania State University Press, 1997; 2nd printing''New York: Columbia University Press, 1987; 1st printing''London: Pluto Press, 1980). ISBN 0-271-02505-0Popular worksEditAlbert Camus: The Thinker, The Artist, The Man (New York: Franklin Watts, 1996). ISBN 0-531-11305-1Leon Blum (New York: Chelsea House Publishing Co., 1986). ISBN 0-87754-511-1A Beggar's Tales (New York: Pella Press, 1978). NO ISBN.Afterword for Will Eisner's graphic novel, The Plot (New York: W. W. Norton, 2005). ISBN 0-393-06045-4Edited worksEditThe Logos Reader: Rational Radicalism And the Future of Politics (with Michael J. Thompson) (University Press of Kentucky, 2005). ISBN 0-8131-9148-3Planetary Politics: Human Rights, Terror, and Global Society (Lanham, Maryland: Rowman & Littlefield, 2005). ISBN 0-7425-4199-1Twentieth Century Political Theory: A Reader (Revised 2nd Edition''New York: Routledge, publication pending 2004; 1st Edition, 1996). ISBN 0-415-94899-1Re-Framing the International: Law, Politics and Culture, co-edited with Lester Edwin J. Ruiz and R. B. J. Walker (Editor) (New York: Routledge, 2002). ISBN 0-415-93175-4Vienna: The World of Yesterday 1889-1914, co-edited with F. Peter Wagner, (Atlantic Highlands, New Jersey: Humanities Press International, 1997). ISBN 0-391-03987-3Television and the Crisis of Democracy, co-edited with Douglas Kellner (Boulder, Colorado: Westview Press, 1990). ISBN 0-8133-0549-7The Letters of Rosa Luxemburg, edited, translated, and with an introduction (2nd edition''Atlantic Highlands, New Jersey: Humanities Press International, 1993; 1st edition''Boulder, Colorado: Westview Press, 1979). ISBN 1-57392-581-0Critical Theory and Society, co-edited with Douglas Kellner,(New York: Routledge, 1989). ISBN 0-415-90041-7Socialism in History: Political Essays of Henry Patcher (New York: Columbia University Press, 1984). ISBN 0-231-05660-5Passion and Rebellion: The Expressionist Heritage co-edited with Douglas Kellner (2nd printing''New York: Columbia University Press, 1988; 1st printing'' South Hadley, Massachusetts: Bergin & Garvey; New York: Universe Books; and London: Croom Helm, 1983). ISBN 0-87663-356-4Series editorEdit"Critical Political Theory and Radical Practice" (New York, NY: Palgrave/Macmillan)."Genocide, Atrocity, and Human Rights" (New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press)."Polemics" (Lanham, Maryland: Rowman & Littlefield)."Interventions: Social Theory and Contemporary Politics" (Boulder, Colorado: Westview Press).ReferencesEditExternal linksEditPersondataNameBronner, StephenAlternative namesShort descriptionPolitical Science Professor, critical theoristDate of birth19 August 1949Place of birthNew York City, New York, USADate of deathPlace of death
GuideStar Exchange Reports for Conscience International, Inc.
Mon, 17 Nov 2014 10:56
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Leadership(GuideStar Exchange,The GuideStar Exchange allows nonprofits to regularly update key information directly to GuideStar. It provides richer and broader information about their programs, impact, finances, people and more.
April 2014)Dr. James Jennings
James E. Jennings, PhD, taught Middle Eastern Studies in several universities before becoming involved in humanitarian work in 1982. He founded Conscience International in 1992 and led USAID-funded health care programs in former Soviet Uzbekistan from 1992-95, for which he was awarded an honorary doctorate in Medical Administration. He has conducted humanitarian work in over twenty countries, and speaks frequently at universities, churches, civic clubs, and on television on human rights issues.
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ProgramsProgram: Summary of Longterm Humanitarian Assistance (GuideStar Exchange,The GuideStar Exchange allows nonprofits to regularly update key information directly to GuideStar. It provides richer and broader information about their programs, impact, finances, people and more. April 2014)
Budget:--Category:NonePopulation Served:NoneNoneNoneProgram Description:
Conscience International has organized or participated in projects which have distributed food, clothing, vehicles, shelter, medical assistance, medical training, public health training, technical consultations, and financial support to refugees, needy families, service agencies, and government agencies in over twenty-five countries, including some of the most difficult of access such as Sudan, Afghanistan, Iraq, and Iran. In August 1999 a Conscience International medical-surgical team arrived in Turkey's earthquake zone 72 hours after the quake. CI also sponsored, funded, and led a US Center for Disease Control--CDC post-disaster public health program in Turkey. CI medical training teams trained 500 Iraqi doctors and nurses in updated child survival techniques and maternal-child health solutions in Baghdad, Basra, and Mosul during 1996-98. CI contributes to an ongoing maternal-child nutrition program in Afghanistan; has provided large semi-trailer trucks for relief work in Cameroon; village reconstruction work in Honduras and Senegal, and orphan relief assistance in Haiti. In early 2003, Conscience International led a large "US Academics" delegation to Baghdad University for a dialogue conference on peaceful ways to address the international crisis over Iraq. Conscience International provided three medical and disaster relief teams to assist earthquake victims in Bam, Iran, during 2004. Conscience International provided non-food relief supplies to victims of forced migration in Darfur, Sudan during 2004. Conscience International led efforts to negotiate cessation of human rights abuses in Eritrea with government officials, sectarian leaders, and the ruling political party during 2004. Conscience International staffed medical clinics in Sigli and Banda Aceh, Indonesia following the great Asian tsunami during 2005. Conscience International helped staff a construction project, building houses for tsunami victims in Khow Lak, Thailand, during 2005. Conscience International sponsored "US Academics" peacemaking dialogue conferences with Tehran University, The Iranian National (Shahid Beheshti) University, and Damascus University in September, 2005. Conscience International provided a medical team, medicine, and medical supplies following the devastating earthquake in Kashmir, Pakistan during October, 2005.
Program Long-Term Success:
Provided medical aid team to victims of Bam earthquake in Bam and Kerman, Iran.
Program Short-Term Success:
Program Success Monitored by:
Program Success Examples:
Program: Haiti Replacement Homes (GuideStar Exchange,The GuideStar Exchange allows nonprofits to regularly update key information directly to GuideStar. It provides richer and broader information about their programs, impact, finances, people and more. April 2014)
Budget:--Category:Latin America & the CaribbeanPopulation Served:HomelessPoor/Economically Disadvantaged, Indigent, GeneralNoneProgram Description:
In response to the devastation of the January 12, 2010, earthquake in Haiti, CI joined with other nonprofits to create Haiti Housing Network. The major goal is to provide homes for displaced families in the village of Grand Goave. Local civic and religious leaders select the families and the sequence of construction. Volunteer teams from the US provide the funding and some of the physical assistance in the building process. Approximately 30 Haitians have been employed and are being trained in the construction techniques that utilize rubble and wire "baskets" to achieve the restoration of demolished houses. The goal is to build 500 houses within three years using the rubble of former residences.
Program Long-Term Success:
Program Short-Term Success:
Employment of 20 Haitian workers being trained in rubble house construction methods and another six Haitians hired to learn how to provide lodging and meals for US volunteers. 140 houses were completed between May 2010 and January 2013. More than 800 volunteers have traveled to Grand Goave to assist in the construction.
Program Success Monitored by:
Haiti Housing Network and Conscience International staff.
Program Success Examples:
Strong partnership has been established with Grand Goave's mayor and other civic leaders; one school in a neighboring village has been built using rubble house technology; a concrete block structure (not rubble house) has been built in a nearby mountain village
Program: Bangladesh Community Development (GuideStar Exchange,The GuideStar Exchange allows nonprofits to regularly update key information directly to GuideStar. It provides richer and broader information about their programs, impact, finances, people and more. April 2014)
Budget:$40,000Category:Rural Economic DevelopmentPopulation Served:General Public/UnspecifiedGeneral Public/UnspecifiedGeneral Public/UnspecifiedProgram Description:
Response to community leaders who identified the need for construction in a remote village
Program Long-Term Success:
Responding to the request of a US donor organization, CI provided oversight and financial services to complete the organization's project in Bangladesh. The donor organization selected and vetted a Bangladeshi volunteer who was deployed to live and work for four months in a remote Bangladeshi village, By cooperating with this US donor organization and local Bangladeshi village leaders, CI leveraged its experience in humanitarian efforts and its expertise in providing financial oversight and accountability in international dealings, resulting in the establishment in that village of a community center, medical clinic and one dwelling for a community religious leader. Construction was planned and implemented by local residents. Materials were supplied locally. Oversight of the project was provided by CI's US-based volunteer who had grown up in that Bangladeshi region.
Program Short-Term Success:
Program Success Monitored by:
CI and its US partner sent the volunteer back to the village twice to participate in a community celebration of the project and to evaluate the lessons learned by participating in this joint effort.
Program Success Examples:
Perhaps the greatest accomplishment of this project is that it resulted in the hiring of the volunteer who oversaw this project to serve now as CI's Program Director for South East Asia.
EMAIL: Whois conscienceinternational.org
Thu, 20 Nov 2014 15:31
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Kassig JSOC? From Brian
Kassig's Book of Knowledge entry notes:
Kassig then became a U.S. Army Ranger, with an army special operations unit, 1st Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment.
According to the JSOC Book of Knowledge entry:
The Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC) also commands and controls the Special Mission Units (SMU) of U.S. Special Operations Command (USSOCOM). These units perform highly classified activities.[5][6][7] So far, only three SMUs have been publicly disclosed: The Army's 1st Special Forces Operational Detachment—Delta, the Navy's Naval Special Warfare Development Group (DEVGRU) – SEAL Team Six, and the Air Force's 24th Special Tactics Squadron.[8] Units from the Army’s 75th Ranger Regiment and 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment are controlled by JSOC when deployed as part of JSOC Task Forces such as Task Force 121 and Task Force 145.
The activities of the 1st Battalion of the 75th Ranger Regiment include:
Primary tasks include: direct action, national and international emergency crisis response, airfield seizure, airborne & air assault operations, special reconnaissance, intelligence & counter intelligence, combat search and rescue, personnel recovery & hostage rescue, joint special operations, and counter terrorism.
Notable members of the 75th Ranger Regiment:
General Stanley A. McChrystal; 10th colonel of the regiment; former commander, International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) and U.S. Forces Afghanistan (USFOR-A); former Director of the Joint Staff; former Commander of Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC).
Who was the Commander of JSOC during Kassig's time in the 1st Battalion of the 75th Ranger Regiment Unit?
Between September 2003 and August 2008, McChrystal commanded the Pentagon's Joint Special Operations (JSOC), tasked to set up death squads and paramilitary forces to terrorise communities and movements opposing the US and its allies in Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan. JSOC's Major General William Mayville described the operation in Iraq: "JSOC was a killing machine."
Michael Hastings famous Rolling Stone article on McChrystal shares:
"JSOC was a killing machine," says Maj. Gen. Mayville, his chief of operations. McChrystal was also open to new ways of killing. He systematically mapped out terrorist networks, targeting specific insurgents and hunting them down – often with the help of cyberfreaks traditionally shunned by the military. "The Boss would find the 24-year-old kid with a nose ring, with some fucking brilliant degree from MIT, sitting in the corner with 16 computer monitors humming," says a Special Forces commando who worked with McChrystal in Iraq and now serves on his staff in Kabul. "He'd say, 'Hey – you fucking muscleheads couldn't find lunch without help. You got to work together with these guys.' "
Finally, according to Alter Net: McCrystal's troops in Iraq: "do not distinguish between civilian and military oppositions, between activists and their sympathizers and the armed resistance."
Iraqi Kurds say West not providing enough arms to defeat Islamic State | Reuters
Thu, 20 Nov 2014 05:30
1 of 3. Kurdistan Regional Government President Massoud Barzani listens to U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry as he gives a statement to the media before a meeting at the presidential palace in Arbil, the capital of northern Iraq's Kurdistan autonomous region, June 24, 2014.
Credit: Reuters/Brendan Smialowski/Pool
After 13 years, 2 wars and trillions in military spending, terrorist attacks are rising sharply - The Washington Post
Wed, 19 Nov 2014 17:16
Last year saw the highest number of terrorist incidents since 2000, according to the latest Global Terrorism Index released by the Institute for Economics and Peace. Worldwide, the number of terrorist incidents increased from less than 1,500 in 2000 to nearly 10,000 in 2013. Sixty percent of attacks last year occurred in Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Nigeria and Syria.
The report suggests that U.S. foreign policy has played a big role in making the problem worse: "The rise in terrorist activity coincided with the US invasion of Iraq," it concludes. "This created large power vacuums in the country allowing different factions to surface and become violent." Indeed, among the five countries accounting for the bulk of attacks, the U.S. has prosecuted lengthy ground wars in two (Iraq and Afghanistan), a drone campaign in one (Pakistan), and airstrikes in a fourth (Syria).
The report defines terrorism as ''the threatened or actual use of illegal force and violence by a non-state actor to attain a political, economic, religious, or social goal through fear, coercion, or intimidation.''
The U.S. will invest somewhere between $4 and 6 trillion on the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, with untold additional resources spent on anti-terrorism efforts elsewhere, according to the Harvard Kennedy School of Government. While we haven't suffered any major terrorist attacks on U.S. soil since 9/11, the Global Terrorism Index numbers cast considerable doubt on whether that money's been well-spent. And they give some credence to the notion that our ham-handed foreign policy is actually a destabilizing factor in world affairs.
In other news, the Obama administration recently approved doubling the number of troops we currently have on the ground in Iraq.
Christopher Ingraham writes about politics, drug policy and all things data. He previously worked at the Brookings Institution and the Pew Research Center.
Six photos that raise serious doubts about Congress' resolve to defeat ISIS | WashingtonExaminer.com
Wed, 19 Nov 2014 15:16
Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel, left, and Joint Chiefs Chairman Gen. Martin Dempsey arrive on Capitol Hill in Washington, Thursday, Nov. 13, 2014, to testify before the House Armed Services Committee hearing on the Islamic State group. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)
Several members of the House Armed Services Committee on Thursday skipped out early from a hearing on the U.S.' war against the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, a terrorist organization that has overrun large portions of the Middle East, butchering everything in its way.
This was no minor congressional hearing involving witnesses from various and obscure think tanks. Both Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel and Gen. Martin E. Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, made appearances to testify on U.S. military action against the Islamic State, but even that was apparently not enough to keep committee members interested enough to stick around long for the full three hours.
The hearing, which started at around 10 a.m., saw many of its members present for the opening remarks.
But as time passed, more and more committee members started to slip away.
Here's what the chamber looked like after roughly 60 minutes of discussion:
At around the two-hour mark, all bets were off: House members started to slip away'...
and then:
And near the end:
On the same day that several U.S. House members couldn't be bothered to stick around for a full hearing with both the U.S. defense secretary and chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Islamic State leaders announced that they had struck an alliance with al Qaeda's Syria affiliate, the Nusra Front.
''Militant leaders from the Islamic State group and [al Qaeda] gathered at a farm house in northern Syria last week and agreed on a plan to stop fighting each other and work together against their opponents,'' the Associated Press reported.
''Such an accord could present new difficulties for Washington's strategy against the [Islamic State] group. While warplanes from a U.S.-led coalition strike militants from the air, the Obama administration has counted on arming 'moderate' rebel factions to push them back on the ground. Those rebels, already considered relatively weak and disorganized, would face far stronger opposition if the two heavy-hitting militant groups now are working together,'' the report added.
The accord comes after the Islamic State has dedicated most of its time to running roughshod over eastern Syria and northern Iraq, slaughtering thousands and annihilating entire villages.
BBC News - Erdogan's 'New Turkey' drifts towards isolation
Thu, 20 Nov 2014 04:42
19 November 2014Last updated at 21:35 ET By Mark LowenBBC News, IstanbulThere is an old saying in Turkish: "The Turk has no friend but the Turk." As this country drifts towards isolation under the leadership of Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the proverb is ringing uncomfortably true.
During his 11 years as prime minister, Turkey rose in prominence. It began negotiations for European Union membership. It hugely increased its diplomatic presence, particularly in Africa. Its biggest city, Istanbul, now hosts one of the world's largest airport hubs with an airline that flies to more countries than any other.
But in the past months, perhaps two years or so, something has soured. The world's statesmen still stop by - the US Vice President, Joe Biden, arriving this week - but Turkey today is distinctly lacking friends.
When the UN General Assembly voted last month for new non-permanent members of the Security Council, Turkey confidently assumed it would secure a seat. But, humiliatingly, it lost out to Spain and New Zealand: A slap in the face for Mr Erdogan, elected president in August.
It began with the "Arab Spring". Turkey placed the wrong bets, backing the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt and banking on a swift overthrow of President Assad. Now it has no ambassador in Cairo, Mr Erdogan denouncing his Egyptian counterpart Abdul Fattah al-Sisi as an "unelected tyrant".
And Turkey has been inexorably drawn into the nightmare in Syria, lambasted for allowing foreign jihadists to cross its borders. Ties with Iraq, Iran and Saudi Arabia have weakened.
And a former strategic partnership with Israel lies in tatters - the ambassador to Tel Aviv has been withdrawn, Mr Erdogan comparing the country's bombardment of Gaza to "genocide'...reminiscent of the Holocaust".
But now even relations with old allies like the US have sunk. As Washington built a coalition to fight Islamic State, Turkey stayed on the sidelines, refusing to let the US use its airbases here for strikes unless it also targets President Assad and backs a no-fly zone in Syria.
A few hours after Mr Erdogan warned President Obama last month not to arm Kurdish fighters in Syria, the US airdropped weapons. There could hardly have been a clearer sign of discord.
'Unparalleled success'"There is the realisation in government of what ground has been lost," says Sinan Ulgen of the Edam think tank, "but Ankara justifies it by alleging Turkey's isolation is because it's the only country courageous enough to adopt the moral high-ground and a value-based foreign policy.
"That argument is bought by Erdogan's constituents - and for him, that's what matters."
That is, ultimately, what drives Recep Tayyip Erdogan. His unparalleled success at the ballot box has given him the unshakeable conviction that his policies are the right ones.
The mass street protests in June 2013 sparked by a construction plan in Istanbul's Gezi Park didn't alter his path - while senior figures around him called for dialogue, he labelled the demonstrators "riff raff".
And he even bounced back from a devastating leak of private phone calls a year ago that implicated him and close allies in corruption allegations.
'Weakened influence'He responded by denouncing an "attempted coup", firing thousands of judges and police and attempting to ban social media. He closed ranks, relying on arch-loyalists.
"The Gezi protests, followed by his reaction to the corruption claims, were when international opinion towards Erdogan turned," says Sinan Ulgen.
"Turkey's isolation is a problem for itself but also for the West. If the West wants to achieve its security aims in the region, potentially it has no better partner than Turkey.
"But with Turkey's influence weakened, the West is handicapped. Erdogan believes democratic legitimacy is about the ballot box. Others expect more from Turkish democracy - a free press, an independent judiciary and the rule of law."
In recent weeks, criticism at home has mounted - from the construction of a 1,000-room presidential palace costing over $615m (£392m) in protected forest - defying over 30 legal challenges - to verbal attacks on foreign journalists, to controversial statements about Muslims, rather than Columbus, founding America.
They have added to the sense of a government adrift.
'Economic powerhouse'And yet, among his faithful, he retains his support. The 52% who elected him president care little about a Twitter ban or claims of corruption, which they believe swirl around most politicians.
For them, the transformation of a financial basket-case to the world's 17th largest economy in the past decade is what matters - new hospitals, roads and schools.
His supporters, mainly religious conservatives, feel liberated by their president's encouragement to wear headscarves in schools and universities, previously banned by 80 years of secularist rule. And they love his strongman image - the leader willing to stand up to the West.
Mr Erdogan has made Turkey "a political and economic powerhouse", according to his adviser, Ibrahim Kalin, which has "empowered the middle class".
He started "a new process to settle the Kurdish issue, has taken a number of historic steps to recognise the rights of religious minorities and has fought against military tutelage" - a reference to his widely-praised moves to blunt an army which overthrew four governments since 1960.
But the early successes of his leadership have been forgotten with his growing authoritarianism.
"In private, he's quite charming," a European official told me, "and can listen to advice. But in public, it's all about winning the fight. Compromise, checks and balances are signs of weakness. He'll naturally go in combative - and then realise a different approach may be needed."
The initial favour with the EU has faded with concerns about freedom of expression. As Turkey's progress towards membership has stalled and enlargement fatigue has set in, the EU's leverage here has weakened, heightening the sense of isolation.
"The good feeling towards him has dissipated - there is more cautiousness," admits the official. "But we want to keep the accession process going - and we want a more substantial relationship. There is an understanding of the importance of Turkey."
And that, internationally, is what gives Mr Erdogan the confidence he needs: That Turkey is still a crucial player. It is the West's stepping-stone to a volatile Middle East and is a rising economy that no side can ignore.
"Erdogan's own ambition is to become the greatest Turk ever," says the European official. "And even if our enthusiasm for him has been tempered, he's still the guy you have to do business with."
Recep Tayyip Erdogan is building what he calls a "New Turkey". Others call it a polarised, unhappy Turkey - and one where friends at home and abroad are fading fast.
NA-Tech News
Home | Open Web Alliance
Mon, 17 Nov 2014 09:39
What is OWA?OWA develops requirements for an open service optimization proxy to meet the service needs of all stakeholders in the web ecosystem while supporting the goals of encryption and privacy.The initiative brings together all organizations with a stake in making integrated web service richer, faster and more secure to address the challenges SPDY brings. Membership is open to all who desire a more equitable and workable web.
Co-ConvenersSanjay Mishra
Distinguished Member of theTechnical StaffNetwork Infrastructure PlanningCorporate TechnologyVerizon
Kevin Shatzkamer
Distinguished ArchitectMobility, Web and MediaCisco
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Fitbit data is being used as evidence in court | The Verge
Tue, 18 Nov 2014 06:05
In Forbes, Parmy Olsen has uncovered what appears to be the first use of data from a personal fitness tracker in court, thanks to a personal injury suit currently under way in Canada. The plaintiff, a Calgary woman, plans to use data from her Fitbit to show how her activity levels have declined since the accident. Crucially, the data is being routed through a third-party analytics firm called Vivametrica, which will analyze the data and report its findings to the court, rather than submitting raw data directly into evidence.
Still, the case represents a new and unexpected use for personal data, and a potentially troubling precedent as the court's access to such data increases. It's easy to imagine the same data being used to establish or disprove a defendant's alibi in a criminal case. In this case, the subject volunteered her data to the court, but it could just as easily be obtained through by subpoena if the court deems it central to the case. The legal rules for such orders have yet to be set, but cases like this one make a huge difference in establishing those precedents. And while today's Fitbit customers don't think of their trackers as leaving a trail of evidence, that could quickly change as courts become more familiar with the devices.
Let's Encrypt
Wed, 19 Nov 2014 04:01
Let's EncryptFrom our blogNov 18, 2014Vital personal and business information flows over the Internet more frequently than ever, and we don't always know when it's happening. It's clear at this point that encrypting is something all of us should be doing. Then why don't we use TLS (the successor to SSL) everywhere? Every browser in every device supports it. Every server in every data center supports it. Why don't we just flip the switch?Read more
Brought to you byAbout ISRGInternet Security Research Group is a California public benefit corporation whose application for recognition of tax-exempt status under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code is currently pending with the IRS. ISRG's mission is to reduce financial, technological, and education barriers to secure communication over the Internet.
Half of Mount Ontake victims killed by erupting volcano in Japan were found clutching phones | Daily Mail Online
Thu, 20 Nov 2014 03:06
More than half of Mount Ontake victims were still clutching phonesOthers had taken photos of the ash cloud moments before they diedThe eruption left at least 57 dead, six people remain unaccounted forBy Sara Malm for MailOnline
Published: 05:48 EST, 12 November 2014 | Updated: 09:23 EST, 12 November 2014
The victims of the deadly Japanese volcano eruption earlier this autumn spent their final moments taking photographs of the catastrophic event, local media reports.
More than half of the 56 bodies recovered from the peak of Mount Ontake were found clutching mobile phones with photos of the deadly lava and ash on them.
The September eruption on the central Japanese island of Honshu, left at least 57 dead, and a further six people remain unaccounted for.
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Final photograph: Izumi Noguchi took this incredible photograph of a huge cloud of ash from Japanese volcano Mount Ontake just moments before he was killed
More than half of the victims were still holding their smartphones, while others were found to have taken snaps of the ash and lava with cameras or phones just moments before they died.
Among the victims of the volcano was 59-year-old hiker Izumi Noguchi, whose body was found near Mount Ontake's summit shrine compound.
Search and rescue teams recovering his body discovered his camera and among the photographs he had taken were images of a huge cloud of ash creeping ever closer to him following the eruption.
His wife Hiromi opted to make the images public as a tribute to Mr Noguchi's memory, but said 'I wish he had fled instead of taking pictures,' the Guardian reports.
Another hiker Hideomi Takahashi, 41, was found near the summit with his iPhone still working.
Last sight: Izumi Noguchi's images show the minutes immediately after the volcano on Mount Ontake erupted on September 27 this year
Izumi Noguchi, pictured shortly before his death on Mount Ontake, who took the photographs of the ash cloud. His wife Hiromi (right) opted to make the images public
Last snap: More than half of the 56 bodies recovered from the peak of Mount Ontake after the September eruption were found clutching mobile phones with photos of the deadly lava and ash on them
Another hiker Hideomi Takahashi, 41, was found near the summit with his iPhone still working.
A family friend posted the photographs online after Mr Takahashi's funeral, telling local media that the iPhone contained at least six photos from what would be the last few minutes of Mr Takahashi's life.
Most of the bodies were found near Mount Ontake's summit, where many climbers were resting or having lunch. Some bodies were retrieved from a trail at a slightly lower elevation.
Experts say hikers near the summit might have been hit by rocks flying as fast as 190 miles per hour. Most of the ash fell in the first hour of the explosion, according to the University of Tokyo's Earthquake Research Institute.
Survivors said they fled for their lives as rocks and debris rained down on them while they struggled with hot air and ash hitting their face.
Hiker films terrifying escape from erupting volcano in Japan
Deadly: The eruption on Mount Ontake, located on the central Japanese island of Honshu, on September 27 this year, left at least 57 dead, and a further six people remain unaccounted for
Medical experts who have examined some of the nearly 70 injured have said most had bruises, cuts and bone fractures on their back, an apparent sign they were hit by rocks flying out of the volcano. Some of the injured reportedly had damage to their lungs and other organs due to the impact of rocks hitting them.
The eruption at Mount Ontake, located on the central Japanese island of Honshu, around 120miles southwest of Tokyo, caught hikers by surprise.
Seismologists have said that increased seismic activity had been detected at Ontake, one of 47 active volcanoes in Japan that are under 24-hour monitoring, but that nothing signaled such a big eruption.
The death toll is the highest from a volcanic eruption in Japan's postwar history, exceeding the 43 people killed in the 1991 eruption of Mount Unzen in southern Japan.
Ontake, Japan's second-highest active volcano, last had a minor eruption seven years ago. Researchers say predicting a steam-driven explosion is especially difficult - and even harder with limited information about a peak's past volcanic activity.
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Lawsuit Claims LinkedIn Violates FCRA
Wed, 19 Nov 2014 21:16
A class action lawsuit has been filed against the professional networking site LinkedIn alleging that it violates the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA), reports Law Technology News. The plaintiffs have taken issue with LinkedIn providing prospective employers and others who pay for premium services a ''trusted references'' report containing employment history without verifying its accuracy.
According to the lawsuit, because LinkedIn provides reference reports for a subscription fee, it falls under the purview of the FRCA, which requires it to meet certification and disclosure requirements. The plaintiffs further contend that LinkedIn has failed to put procedures in place to ensure the accuracy of the information.
''Such secrecy in dealing in consumer information directly contradicts the express purposes of the FCRA, which was enacted to promote accuracy, fairness and the privacy of personal information assembled by credit reporting agencies,'' the claim says.
VoterMapping.com '-- Online voter selection and data purchases will never be the same again.
Wed, 19 Nov 2014 16:18
With the release of L2 VoterMapping', L2, the most trusted name in voter data processing, has created a voter analysis and selection tool unlike any other. This technology will be crucial for candidates, consultants, pollsters, political party organizations, government agencies and public affairs professionals and is available from no other source. Through the use of proprietary technology provided exclusively to L2 by Moonshadow Mobile, L2 VoterMapping allows users to display and analyze millions of voter records instantly, visualizing them geo-spatially over Bing Maps' in real time.
Watch the demo video:
Visually 'fly over' your state, viewing in great detail the location of every voter in your selection or 'zoom down' to the rooftop level to get information about the occupants of a single household. Voter file selections, even for millions of records, occur instantly. Simultaneously, detailed counts and percentages by all sub-demographic categories and boundaries are calculated and displayed. The selection and visualization speed is unprecedented and while you're already working with your newly-downloaded data files, your competitor will be waiting until tomorrow morning for his selection to finish and the file to be provided from outdated technology systems!
Within L2 VoterMapping you'll be able to create and save universes. You'll have the power to combine and de-dupe them, omit one from another or take only the intersection between the two. More importantly, you'll actually 'see' your final universe in ways never before possible. Where do the selected individuals live? Are they geographically concentrated by age? Which neighborhoods over or underperform in terms of voter turnout? Random samples taken from any universe and then visualized will instantly reveal their distribution patterns over the map. But there's more here than just analysis and selection. We know you need the data exported and formatted in a variety of ways. Multiple download formats are available for the data you purchase. You'll be able to output databases, telephone files, printable lists of all kinds, electronic and printable mailing labels, random sample lists and more.
Analyze Before You Order.The combination of the most accurately processed voter data available and the speed of the geo-spatial visualization gives users unprecedented analytical power. VoterMapping.com is a web-based tool that makes complete voter file data, commercial data enhancements and census data sets all available for visualizing and selecting. It is also a powerful research tool even if you never purchase and download a single record. Want to know where a particular zip code is located in the state? Done. Want to see how well-distributed your selection is within the displayed boundaries of a particular district? Done. Want to create a heat map revealing variations in the concentration of high frequency voters across the state? All done. . .instantly. The ways in which L2 VoterMapping can be used for research and analysis are nearly endless and of tremendous value to academic researchers, public affairs professionals and government agencies in addition to candidates and political operatives.
Included Data:' Current registered voter data from Labels & Lists' Complete Maps & Satellite Images from Bing Maps'' Census 2010 Data' Census 2000 Data' We can even add your own data to the mix!
Features Overview:' Powerful, super-fast and easy to learn intuitive website interface' Make selections of voter data records on over 100 demographic variables' Display boundaries for all major district types' Edit at any zoom level, see the results instantly' Edit from Map or Aerial view' The latest maps and satellite images available in Bing Maps'' Blazing speed as you zoom and pan through states, counties, precincts, census blocks' Counts are updated as you zoom, pan or move your mouse' Generate heat maps to view and analyze underlying data in a more meaningful way' Manipulate files through combining, omitting and selecting intersections' Save multiple selection universes then purchase only those you wish to have' Manage your personal or company account and pay for data downloads online' Output databases, telephone files, printable lists of all kinds, electronic and printable mailing labels, random sample lists and more.
Forty eight members of Congress are Apple investors
Thu, 20 Nov 2014 02:24
November 16, 2014, 10:06 AM ESTE-mailTweetFacebookGoogle PlusLinkedinShare iconsHere's a nifty piece of research from MapLight, a nonpartisan research organization based in Berkeley, Calif.
Drawing from the personal financial statements filed by the 113rd Congress, MapLight has assembled a spreadsheet that lists the politicians' individual investments in nearly 2,000 public companies. It's searchable by name and company.
Below: The Apple holdings of 48 senators, representatives and their family members.
Click to enlarge.
Note: Lawmakers are not required to disclose the exact value of the assets they hold, but rather a minimum and maximum value for each asset.
Source: MapLight. Thanks to ArsTechnica's David Kravets for the tip.
Follow Philip Elmer-DeWitt on Twitter at @philiped. Read his Apple AAPL coverage at fortune.com/ped or subscribe via his RSS feed.
DOJ: A child will die due to Apple's iOS 8 encryption tech
Thu, 20 Nov 2014 07:14
By Mikey CampbellWednesday, November 19, 2014, 06:00 pm PT (09:00 pm ET)
During a closed-door meeting in October, Deputy Attorney General James Cole told Apple its recently implemented iMessage encryption technology will one day result in a dead child, according to a report published Wednesday.Citing people who were at the Oct. 1 meeting, The Wall Street Journal reports Cole drew a grim picture for Apple General Counsel Bruce Sewell and others in attendance, saying the company is marketing to criminals.
As paraphrased by the publication, Cole reportedly read a portion of Apple's privacy webpage, which says the company is incapable of accessing data stored on hardware running iOS 8 as it no longer stores encryption keys. Apple repeats the claim in a guide to filling out government requests for customer data.
This, the DOJ second in command said, will one day result in the death of a child. Police will say they could have used information stored on an iPhone to save the child or stopped the perpetrator, Cole predicted.
Sewell called the theoretical circumstance inflammatory and inaccurate, pointing out police have more tools at their disposal when it comes to gleaning information from mobile devices. For example, phone records can be traced through cellular carriers, while other information may be found through iCloud or other storage services that are not subject to the same encryption policies. Just last week a report claimed the DOJ spies on mobile phone owners with airplane-mounted "dirtboxes" that scrape user ID data by posing as cell phone towers.
When asked why Apple can't create a backdoor to be used by law enforcement agents acting with proper court approval, Sewell said, "We can't create a key that only the good guys can use."
News of the October meeting comes as U.S. government agencies struggle to strike a balance between public sentiment and overcoming emerging consumer privacy technology that thwarts their own law enforcement operations. Days before Cole allegedly laid out his prediction to Apple, FBI Director James Comey said iOS 8 put users "above the law" and Apple was actively marketing that fact.
In the same interview, Comey alluded to a child's kidnapping, suggesting relevant information may one day save a life if provided in a timely manner. Comey further elucidated on the topic by using a real life example in a subsequent one-on-one with 60 Minutes less than two weeks later.
The situation isn't one that is new to Apple. Last year, it came to light that the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency was having trouble breaking Apple's iMessage encryption even when a legitimate warrant was served.
Shea to In-Q-Tel + Replacement HitJob
Teresa Shea taking a new job at In-Q-Tel as the NSA's Senior Representative to the company. What I've heard from someone I trust is that it was a hit; someone pointed this journalist in the right direction since this information has always been publicly available. Her replacement will be Major General (MG) Potter. This hasn't been announced yet as far as I've heard. Teresa had her going away party on Friday, so the new guy will probably be announced in the coming week or two. My friend alluded to this military guy coming in as someone high up putting military people in positions of power within the agency.
So What's This About a Private NSA Document Reading Room? | The Rancid Honeytrap
Wed, 19 Nov 2014 08:04
I know, I know you're tired of hearing about Snowden and Greenwald and Omidyar and First Look and I feel your pain, I really do. I want an end to this as much as you do, I do, but see we're in the final, definitive stages of a historic event, the country's first neoliberal whistleblowing. Yes, that's right! I mean, look, here we have a public resource in the form of government documents affecting everyone on earth and paid for by the good people of the United States, the only complete cache of which has been effectively privatized, by a bunch of rich white people, mostly dudes, who are also touting the private sector as the vessel of our deliverance from state surveillance evil. Yay Apple! Yay Google! Yay Whisper Systems! All of it wrapped in a tightly controlled, corporate mediated, relentlessly commodified narrative that is as much, if not more, about the self-actualization of the whistleblower and his inner circle as the global violation of human rights by the United States government. If that's not neoliberal, I'm Augusto Pinochet! To make matters even more disquieting, this is being presented as a grand act of disobedience, a leftist act of disobedience. Can you believe it?
Yes, apparently many of you can!
But sorry, I can't. You know me! Purist. I expect words to mean things. Words like ''left'', for instance. In my world, left presupposes a politics that are at least a little communal. This ain't that. This is the opposite of that. To be honest, I don't think I have seen anything defended as ardently by the anglophonic internet Left this year as Mr. Glenn Greenwald's right to squeeze every last dime and every ounce of social capital out of these leaks, no questions asked. Nevertheless, as grimly interesting as I find this ingenius neoliberal colonizing of left imaginations, I would happily acquit myself of blogging about it if something remotely like journalism were happening on the left in regard to it. But, of course, that is the great paradox of this renaissance in transparency and investigatish journaling we are so lucky to be witnessing: its own near-complete immunity from investigative journalism!!! Even Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting can't be bothered to raise any questions, let alone hard ones. Hell, FAIR's Peter Hart even applauded Ryan Devro's awful hit piece on Gary Webb. So as long as Team Omidyar keeps inadvertently trolling me with newsworthy bullshit, and people like Peter Hart still aren't taking it up, I will struggle somewhat unsuccessfully to ignore it.
Which brings me around to the inspiration for this post. You will recall that the recent New York Magazine piece on Omidyar's ''insurgency'', contained this enticing detail:
Greenwald says [The Intercept] also plans to share [the leaks] with outside reporters and is building a secure ''reading room'' in its Fifth Avenue headquarters building, where it is currently renovating three floors.
How exciting, for those who still give a shit what's in the leaks anyway. (Hint: Not me) But as I mentioned at the time and I'll mention again '-- when on this here blog I asked Greenwald why he didn't make the leaks available to other journalists, while publicly observing '' much to the Greenwald crew's apparently eternal chagrin '-- that the fewer people had the leaks, certainly the higher their value. In the frothy, fallacious comment that launched a thousand trolls, this was Greenwald's response at the time:
As for why we don't just hand out the documents like lolipops [sic] around the world, the answer is simple: we can't legally. If we were to do that, we'd become distributors or sources, not journalists. We can only publish the documents journalistically, which means we have to work in partnership with those media outlets as journalists.
So my question is, what's changed? Why couldn't this arrangement or something similar have been made before, especially since Snowden himself seemingly intended wider distribution early on:
If I have time to go through this information, I would like to make it available to journalists in each country to make their own assessment, independent of my bias, as to whether or not the knowledge of US network operations against their people should be published.
I was going to let this pass when it first came up in New York Magazine, but it came up again today, when Jillian York asked Greenwald about who would get to use the repository:
@jilliancyork@bbhorne Very broadly '' anyone who wants to engage in the act of journalism '' but it does take some trust that we need to see.
'-- Glenn Greenwald (@ggreenwald) November 18, 2014
This really seems to make it clear who owns these leaks and who will continue to shape the narrative. The irony is that just as the grip on the leaks is about be loosened, I've stopped caring myself about what's in them. I think we're getting diminishing returns. But it looks like we were lied to, and I think it's reasonable to seek an explanation. I also think that further privatization of the leaks should be resisted on principle.
Take Your Drip and Stick It
My Reply to Greenwald's Comments
The Pejorative Use of Dumping
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Agenda 21
EMAIL: ITM: Pocahantus reading Keystone XL pipeline vote tally analysis from a real Native American
Thu, 20 Nov 2014 15:31
=0A=0A =0A =0A ITM: Pocahan=tus reading Keystone XL pipeline vote tally analysis from a real Native A=merican=0A =0A body=0D=0A {=0D==0A font-family: Arial, Verdana, Sans-Serif ! important;=0D=0A = font-size: 12px;=0D=0A padding: 5px 5px 5px 5px;=0D=0A =margin: 0px;=0D=0A border-style: none;=0D=0A background-col=or: #ffffff;=0D=0A }=0D=0A=0D=0A p, ul, li=0D=0A {=0D=0A = margin-top: 0px;=0D=0A margin-bottom: 0px;=0D=0A }=0D=0A= =0A=0A=0A
My apologies I saw the CS=PAN clip on facebook but dont have the link. Im sure you can find it if n=eeded.
Dame Bang Bang (Who is currently getting our 15=mo old Human Resource back to sleep) watched the clip and had this to say=:
Immediately following the defeat of Keystone XL bill= there is chanting from the gallery. The first chanting is native america=n singing which is a sung prayer but Dame Bang Bang does not understand t=hat dialect to know the exact meaning. Interjected into that singing is a=n occupy sounding 'mic check' that seems to say "60 vote thr=eshold not met" or something like that which Pocahantus had just utt=ered.
Pocahantus is visibly flustered at this and want=s the bailiff (or whatever) to quiet the gallery. This may further errode= her native "cred"
This just in= from the global intellgience network. Thank you for your courage.
(Sir DH Slammer writing for) Dame bang Bang
---- ---- ---- ----
Se=nt from my personal network of geosynchronous satellites
Home | U.S. Climate Resilience Toolkit
Wed, 19 Nov 2014 06:33
Home | U.S. Climate Resilience ToolkitSkip to main navigationSkip to main contentSkip to search
Meet the Challenges of a Changing ClimateThe Climate Resilience Toolkit provides resources and a framework for understanding and addressing the climate issues that impact people and their communities.
Focus on climate stressors that threaten people,buildings, natural resources, or the economy in your area.
Identify the Problem 'ºIdentify specific populations, locations, and infrastructurethat may be impacted by the climate problem you identified.
Determine Vulnerabilities 'ºCompile a list of potential solutions, drawing on theexperiences of others who have addressed similar problems.
Investigate Options 'ºAssess risks and clarify values to analyze costs and benefitsof favored options, including the option of taking no action.
Evaluate Risks & Costs 'ºSelect the best option for your situation and make a plan. Establish roles,tasks, and timelines and monitor progress as you implement your plan.Be prepared to iterate, if needed.
Take Action 'ºfirst slidesecond slidethird slidefourth slidefifth slidelast slideprevious slidenext slide
Find Out How People Are Building Resilience
A Toolkit to Help Communities Respond to a Changing Climate | The White House
Wed, 19 Nov 2014 06:31
Posted by Dr. John P. Holdren, Mike Boots, Lisa Monaco on November 17, 2014 at 12:45 PM EST
It's been a big week for the United States' efforts on climate change. On November 12, President Obama and Chinese President Xi Jinping announced historic actions to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Today, we're announcing important steps that the Administration is taking here at home to help communities respond to and prepare for a changing climate.
Today, the State, Local, and Tribal Leaders Task Force on Climate Preparedness and Resilience '' a group of leaders from across the country who are working to boost resilience efforts in their communities '' released recommendations on ways in which the federal government can support actions to address the impacts of climate change.
In response to early input from the Task Force, the Administration has developed the Climate Resilience Toolkit, a website that provides centralized, authoritative, easy-to-use information, tools, and best practices to help communities prepare for and boost their resilience to the impacts of climate change.
You can access the toolkit here: toolkit.climate.gov
The Climate Resilience Toolkit provides information from across the federal government to meet the information needs of communities, interested citizens, businesses, resource managers, planners, and policy leaders at all levels of government. It includes:
The Climate Explorer: A visualization tool that offers detailed maps of climate stressors and impacts, as well as interactive graphs showing daily observations and long-term averages from thousands of weather stations across the nation.Steps to Resilience: A five-step process that users can follow to initiate, plan, and implement projects to help make their homes, communities, and infrastructure more resilient to climate-related hazards.''Taking Action'' Stories: More than 20 real-world case studies describing climate-related risks and opportunities that communities and businesses face, steps they're taking to plan and respond, and tools and techniques they're using to improve resilience.Federal Resource Database: The Toolkit provides centralized access to federal sites for future climate projections, as well as freely available tools for accessing and analyzing climate data, generating visualizations, exploring climate projections, estimating hazards, and engaging stakeholders in resilience-building efforts.A screenshot of the Climate Explorer tool in the Climate Resilience Toolkit shows areas of cropland, overlaid on top of the current areas of drought across the United States.
The Toolkit is a key piece of the President's Climate Action Plan and builds upon the Administration's efforts to boost access to data and information through resources such as the National Climate Assessment and the Climate Data Initiative. Like the Climate Data Initiative, the Toolkit will evolve based upon the information needs of various sectors. Today, the Toolkit is launching with resources to help communities address coastal flooding, food resilience, human health, and ecosystem vulnerability, and in the coming months, it will be updated with resources to help decision-makers plan for climate impacts related to water security, energy, and transportation risks.
This Toolkit's resources are a perfect example of the kind of actionable information that the federal government can provide to address the growing challenges posed by climate change. We look forward to continuing to work with leaders from across the country to provide the tools, information, and support they need to build healthy and climate-ready communities.
Explosive Finding: Smaller Volcano Blasts Might Slow Global Warming - NBC News.com
Thu, 20 Nov 2014 15:25
By Linda Carroll
Global warming might be even worse were it not for the impact of a rash of smaller volcanic eruptions around the globe, a new study suggests.
Those eruptions are blasting more of an atmosphere-cooling gas into the lower stratosphere than scientists previously thought, according to the study, which has been accepted for publication in Geophysical Research Letters. The additional sulfur dioxide may at least partially explain the slowdown in global warming over the last 15 years, an international team of researchers reported.
Scientists have long known that the gases that bigger volcanoes spew out can cool the atmosphere, but they had assumed that smaller eruptions didn't have the explosive power to reach the stratosphere, said the study's lead author, David A. Ridley.
''We were looking at medium-sized eruptions like the one in Sarychev Peak in Russia,'' Ridley said. ''They turned out to be more powerful than we previously thought. And they're getting stuff into the bottom of the stratosphere.''
Once there, the sulfur dioxide combines with oxygen and forms droplets of sulfuric acid that can remain in the air for many months, reflecting sunlight away from the Earth and lowering temperatures.
Earlier studies missed the effects of the smaller volcanoes because they were based on readings from satellites that don't see down to the lower part of the stratosphere. Ridley and his colleagues examined data from a NASA network that is based on the Earth and can look up to the bottom of the stratosphere.
Over the last 15 years there have been far more eruptions of moderate-sized volcanoes compared to the previous two decades, Ridley said. And that can at least partly explain why global warming has slowed over the last decade and a half.
By the researchers' calculations, the moderate-sized eruptions have led to a decrease of about 0.22 degrees Fahrenheit (0.12 Celsius) in global temperatures. But the effect won't be lasting.
''This is just a brief intermission,'' Ridley said. ''You can be pretty sure we'll return to the predicted trend.''
First published November 19 2014, 2:50 PM
Linda CarrollLinda Carroll is a regular contributor to NBC News. She writes about health and science and her work has appeared in The Science Times, Newsday and The Los Angeles Times as well as national magazines including Smart Money and Health. She is coauthor of "The Concussion Crisis: Anatomy of a Silent Epidemic" and the recently released "Duel for the Crown: Affirmed, Alydar, and Racing's Greatest Rivalry." She lives in rural New Jersey.
... Expand Bio
White House #AskDrH Climate Social Media Campaign an #EpicFail | Somewhat Reasonable
Mon, 17 Nov 2014 09:52
On Thursday afternoon (Nov. 13), the White House's vaunted social media squad invited Americans to go on Twitter, Facebook, Vine, or Instagram and pose questions about climate change to the president's science advisor using the hashtag #AskDrH. Said the White House blog:
Dr. John P. Holdren, Director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, wants to answer any questions that you have about climate change '-- what it means, how bad it actually is, and what we can do to fight it.
Wait a minute! Holdren will answer ''any questions that you have about climate change'' '... but only if they conform to the notion that human activity is causing a climate crisis, and restricting human activity by government direction can ''fight it.'' I think the White House misspelled ''any.''
As it turned out, this was not going to be a ''live'' social media event anyway. At some point in the future, we're told, someone at the White House is going to hand pick a few questions Holdren to answer ''on camera'' for YouTube. As of Sunday evening, Holdren has provided no answers. Maybe that's because the White House social media experts are having a hard time sifting through the wreckage of their ill-conceived campaign and finding the very few that conform to Holdren's alarmist point of view.
The #AskDrH hashtag was hijacked by folks who had real, pointed, and scientifically based questions for Holdren. They also had a bit of fun at Holdren's expense. I haven't counted them all '-- that's impossible, because new questions keep coming in, even days later '-- but it's safe to say that '... um '... at least 97 percent of questioners don't believe in man-caused global warming, and want Holdren to explain some inconvenient truths.
If he's serious about his mission as ''Science Advisor'' to the President of the United States, he should address some of the many very serious questions on the science. The Heartland Institute has a long-standing challenge to Dr. Holdren to debate a skeptic climate scientist, and we threw that in to the #AskDrH stream many times.
No answer, so far.
Twitchy on Thursday, just hours after the call for questions went out, reported on the #EpicFail of the White House's latest effort to rally public support around the climate crisis meme. If they were surprised that the vast majority of questions would be actually challenges on the science '-- as well as Holdren's long public record of wildly goofy and wrong predictions about the climate '-- the person in charge of social media at the White House should consider another line of work. Perhaps barista.
Go here to see all the #AskDrH questions on Twitter. (You will have to scroll down, and down, and down '...) Here are some of our favorites:
Learn more about what's really happening to the climate from the Nongovernmental International Panel on Climate Change (NIPCC). These scientists have examined the data '-- that actual data, not the ''gamed'' or ''adjusted'' data to fit a long-standing political outcome. Read the Climate Change Reconsidered series, which amounts to some 3,000 pages (and thousands of citations from the peer-reviewed scientific literature) showing that there is no human-caused climate crisis.
And also visit the archive page of The Heartland Institute's nine international conferences on climate change, featuring 197 speakers since 2008.
'-- Jim Lakely
Jim is the the director of communications at The Heartland Institute. Prior to joining Heartland, he was an ink-stained newspaperman for 16 years with many stops in "old media." Jim covered Congress and The White House during the George W. Bush administration for The Washington Times, and worked as a reporter, editorial writer and columnist for newspapers in Pennsylvania, Virginia, and California. He has appeared on the Fox News Channel, CNN, MSNBC, C-Span, and many local and national talk radio shows to talk politics and policy.
Netherlands Temperature Controversy: Or, Yet Again, How Not To Do Time Series | William M. Briggs
Wed, 19 Nov 2014 15:30
Today, a lovely illustration of all the errors in handling time series we have been discussing for years. I'm sure that after today nobody will make these mistakes ever again. (Actually, I predict it will be a miracle if even 10% read as far as the end. Who wants to work that hard?)
Thanks to our friend Marcel Crok, author and boss of the blog The State of the Climate, who brings us the story of Frans Dijkstra, a gentleman who managed to slip one by the goalie in the Dutch paper de Volkskrant, which Crok told me is one of their ''left wing quality newspapers''.
Dijkstra rightly pointed out the obvious: not much interesting was happening to the temperature these last 17, 18 years. To illustrate his point and as a for instance, Dijkstra showed temperature anomalies for De Bilt. About this Crok said, ''all hell broke loose.''
That the world is not to be doomed by heat is not the sort of news the bien pensant wish to hear, including one Stephan Okhuijsen (we do not comment on his haircut), who ran to his blog and accused Dijkstra of lying (Liegen met grafieken''). A statistician called Jan van Rongen joined in and said Dijkstra couldn't be right because an R2 van Rongen calculated was too small.
Let's don't take anybody's word for this and look at the matter ourselves. The record of De Bilt is on line, which is to say the ''homogenized'' data is on line. What we're going to see is not the actual temperatures, but the output from a sort of model. Thus comes our first lesson.
Lesson 1 Never homogenize.
In the notes to the data it said in 1950 there was ''relocation combined with a transition of the hut''. Know what that means? It means that the data before 1950 is not to be married to the data after that date. Every time you move a thermometer, or make adjustments to its workings, you start a new series. The old one dies, a new one begins.
If you say the mixed marriage of splicing the disjoint series does not matter, you are making a judgment. Is it true? How can you prove it? It doesn't seem true on its face. Significance tests are circular arguments here. After the marriage, you are left with unquantifiable uncertainty.
This data had three other changes, all in the operation of the instrument, the last in 1993. This creates, so far, four time series now spliced together.
Then something really odd happened: ''warming trend of 0.11oC per century caused by urban warming'' was removed. This leads to our second lesson.
Lesson 2 Carry all uncertainty forward.
Why weren't 0.08oC or 0.16oC per century used? Is it certainly true there was a perfectly linear trend of 0.11oC per century was caused by urban warming? No, it is not certainly true. There is some doubt. That doubt should, but doesn't, accompany the data. The data we're looking at is not the data, but only a guess of it. And why remove what people felt? Nobody experienced the trend-removed temperatures, they experienced the temperature.
If you make any kind of statistical judgment, which include instrument changes and relocations, you must always state the uncertainty of the resulting data. If you don't, any analysis you conduct ''downstream'' will be too certain. Confidence intervals and posteriors will be too narrow, p-values too small, and so on.
That means everything I'm about to show you is too certain. By how much? I have no idea.
Lesson 3 Look at the data.
Here it is (click on all figures for larger images, or right click and open them in new windows). Monthly ''temperatures'' (the scare quotes are to remind you of the first two lessons, but since they are cumbrous, I drop them hereon in).
Monthly data from De Bilt.
Bounces around a bit, no? Some especially cold temps in the 40s and 50s, and some mildly warmer ones in the 90s and 00s. Mostly a lot of dull to-ing and fro-ing. Meh. Since Dijkstra looked from 1997 on, we will too.
Same as before, but only from 1997.
And there it is. Not much more we can do until we learn our next lesson.
Lesson 4 Define your question.
Everybody is intensely interested in ''trends''. What is a ''trend''? That is the question, the answer of which is: many different things. It could mean (A) the temperature has gone up more often than it has gone down, (B) that it is higher at the end than at the beginning, (C) that the arithmetic mean of the latter half is higher than the mean of the first half, (D) that the series increased on average at more or less the same rate, or (E) many other things. Most statisticians, perhaps anxious to show off their skills, say (F) whether a trend parameter in a probability model exhibits ''significance.''
All definitions except (F) make sense. With (A)-(E) all we have to do is look: if the data meets the definition, the trend is there; if not, not. End of story. Probability models are not needed to tell us what happened: the data alone is enough to tell us what happened.
Since 55% of the values went up, there is certainly an upward trend if trend means more data going up than down. October 1997 was 9.6C, October 2014 13.3C, so if trend meant (B) then there was certainly an upward trend. If upward trend meant a higher average in the second half, there was certainly a downward trend (10.51C versus 10.49C). Did the series increase at a more of less constant rate? Maybe. What's ''more or less constant'' mean? Month by month? Januaries had an upward (A) trend and a downward (B) and (C). Junes had downward (A), (B), and (C) trends. I leave it as a reader exercise to devise new (and justifiable) definitions.
''But wait, Briggs. Look at all those ups and downs! They're annoying! They confuse me. Can't we get rid of them?
Why? That's what the data is. Why should we remove the data? What would we replace it with, something that is not the data? Years of experience have taught me people really hate time series data and are as anxious to replace their data as a Texan is to get into Luby's on a Sunday morning after church. This brings us to our next lesson.
Lesson 5 Only the data is the data.
Now I can't blame Dijkstra for doing what he did next, because it's habitual. He created ''anomalies'', which is to say, he replaced the data with something that isn't the data. Everybody does this. His anomalies take the average of each month's temperature from 1961-1900 and subtract them from all the other months. This is what you get.
Same, but now for anomalies.
What makes the interval 1961-1990 so special? Nothing at all. It's ad hoc, as it always must be. What happens if we changed this 30-year-block to another 30-year-block? Good question, that: this:
All possible 30-year-block anomalies.
These are all the possible anomalies you get when using every possible 30-year-block in the dataset at hand. The black line is the one from 1961-1990 (it's lower than most but not all others because the period 1997-2014 has monthly values higher than most other periods). Quite a window of possible pictures, no?
Yes. Which is the correct one? None and all. And that's just the 30-year-blocks. Why not try 20 years? Or 10? Or 40? You get the idea. We are uncertain of which picture is best, so recalling Lesson 2, we should carry all uncertainty forward.
How? That depends. What we should do is to use whatever definition of a trend we agreed upon and ask it of every set of anomalies. Each will give an unambiguous answer ''yes'' or ''no''. That'll give us some idea of the effect of moving the block. But then we have to remember we can try other widths. And lastly we must remember that we're looking at anomalies and not data. Why didn't we just ask our trend question of the real data and skip all this screwy playing around? Clearly, you have never tried to publish a peer-reviewed paper.
Lesson 6 The model is not the data.
The model most often used is a linear regression line plotted over the anomalies. Many, many other models are possible, the choice subject to the whim of the researcher (as we'll see). But since we don't like to go against convention, we'll use a straight line too. That gives us this:
Same as before, but with all possible regression lines.
Each blue line indicates a negative coefficient in a model (red would have showed if any positive; if we start from 1996 red shows). One model for every possible anomaly block. None were ''statistically significant'' (an awful term). The modeled decrease per decade was anywhere from 0.11 to 0.08 C. So which block is used makes a difference in how much modeled trend there is.
Notice carefully how none of the blue lines are the data. Neither, for that matter, are the grey lines. The data we left behind long ago. What have these blue lines to do with the price of scones in Amsterdam? Another good question. Have we already forgotten that all we had to do was (1) agree on a definition of trend and (2) look at the actual data to see if it were there? I bet we have.
And say, wasn't it kind of arbitrary to draw regression line starting in 1997? Why not start in 1998? or 1996? Or whatever? Let's try:
These models are awful.
This is the series of regression lines one gets starting separately from January 1990 and ending at December 2012 (so there'd be about two years of data to go into the model) through October 2014. Solid lines are ''statistically significant'': red means increase, blue decrease.
This picture is brilliant for two reasons, one simple, one shocking. The simple is that we can get positive or negative trends by picking various start dates (and stop; but I didn't do that here). That means if I'm anxious to tell a story, all I need is a little creativity. The first step in my tale will be to hasten past the real data and onto something which isn't the data, of course (like we did).
This picture is just for the 1961-1990 block. Different ones would have resulted if I had used different blocks. I didn't do it, because by now you get the idea.
Now for the shocking conclusion. Ready?
Usually time series mavens will draw a regression line starting from some arbitrary point (like we did) and end at the last point available. This regression line is a model. It says the data should behave like the model; perhaps the model even says the data is caused by the structure of the model (somehow). If cause isn't in it, why use the model?
But the model also logically implies that the data before the arbitrary point should have conformed to the model. Do you follow? The start point was arbitrary. The modeler thought a straight line was the thing to do, that a straight line is the best explanation of the data. That means the data that came before the start point should look like the model, too.
Does it? You bet it doesn't. Look at all those absurd lines, particularly among the increases! Each of these models is correct if we have chosen the correct starting point. The obvious absurdity means the straight line model stinks. So who cares whether some parameter within that model exhibits a wee p-value or not? The model has nothing to do with reality (even less when we realize that the anomaly block is arbitrary and the anomalies aren't the data and even the data is ''homogenized''; we could have insisted a different regression line belonged to the period before our arbitrary start point, but that sounds like desperation). The model is not the data! That brings us to our final lesson.
Lesson 7 Don't use statistics unless you have to.
Who who knows anything about how actual temperatures are caused would have thought a straight line a good fit? The question answers itself. There was no reason to use statistics on this data, or on most time series. If we wanted to know whether there was a ''trend'', we had simply to define ''trend'' then look.
The only reason to use statistics is to use models to predict data never before seen. If our anomaly regression or other modeled line was any good, it will make skillful forecasts. Let's wait and see if it does. The experience we have just had indicates we should not be very hopeful. There is no reason in the world to replace the actual data with a model and then make judgments about ''what happened'' based on the model. The model did not happen, the data did.
Most statistical models stink and they are never checked on new data, the only true test.
Homework Dijkstra also showed a picture of all the homogenized data (1901-2014) over which he plotted a modeled (non-straight) line. Okhuijsen and van Rongen did that and more; van Rongen additionally used a technique called loess to supply another modeled line. Criticize these moves using the lessons learned. Bonus points for using the word ''reification'' when criticizing van Rongen's analysis. Extra bonus points for quoting from me about smoothing time series.
BBC News - Rich countries to discuss Green Climate Fund in Berlin
Thu, 20 Nov 2014 04:43
19 November 2014Last updated at 21:54 ET By Roger HarrabinBBC environment analystRich countries are meeting in Berlin on Thursday to pledge cash to smooth the way for a global climate change deal.
The Green Climate Fund is designed to help poor nations adapt to climate extremes like droughts and floods and to buy low-carbon energy sources.
Rich nations previously vowed that by 2020, developing countries would get $100bn (£64bn) a year from such a fund.
The Berlin conference aims to create a focus that will embarrass governments to come forward with contributions.
The fund is supposed to hold at least $10bn by the end of 2014.
President Obama has pledged $3bn, Japan has offered $1.5bn, and France and Germany have also offered significant sums.
It is thought that the UK will pledge around $1bn from existing aid budgets.
'Our moral duty'"The poorest and most vulnerable on the planet are already suffering the effects of climate change and it's our moral duty to act," UK Secretary of State for Climate Change Ed Davey told the BBC.
He said the aid could save lives by protecting low-lying islands and coastal settlements from the impact of rising sea levels and helping farmers hit by the weather effects of climate change.
"I urge other countries to be equally ambitious," he added.
UK Prime Minister David Cameron has been under pressure from critics who say the UK should spend the money helping combat the effects of extreme weather at home.
Benny Peiser from the fossil fuel lobby group GWPF said international climate finance for low carbon development was "a detrimental use of aid money".
"The international community should be encouraging the development of the cheapest forms of electricity generation that offer populations in the developing world the best chances of escaping poverty," he said.
The fund was agreed because developed nations have caused the majority of global warming so far - and their CO2 emissions stay in the atmosphere for 100 years. Poor countries asked for help to adapt to climate change they have not caused.
As greenhouse gas emissions are a global problem, rich nations acknowledged a degree of self-interest in helping developing countries to invest in clean technology too.
'A drop in the ocean'Asad Rehman from Friends of the Earth said: "Helping poorer nations to develop their economies cleanly and without wrecking our atmosphere is in all of our interests. As one of the nations most responsible for historic carbon dioxide emissions, the UK should be taking a lead in tackling climate change."
But he said the UK's pledge was "a drop in the ocean compared to what is desperately needed".
"Britain's contribution must also be new and additional money - not raided from existing aid pledges. Some of it should come from the hundreds of millions of pounds they hand over every year to dirty energy corporations," he added.
The middle income countries of Korea, Indonesia and Mexico have made voluntary contributions to the pot - Korea has pledged $100m. The climate-sceptic Australian government says it will not commit money.
Pa Ousman Jarju, Gambia's environment minister, said he wanted to hear significant pledges come out of Berlin.
"We expect a minimum of $15bn to come out of the pledging conference. We are glad that, with the recent US and Japan pledges, it has reached around $7.5bn," he said.
There has already been acrimony over the tardy contributions from some rich nations - and Mr Jarju warned mistrust would increase if rich countries failed to make proper contributions.
Rich nations and poor alike need each other if the world is to reach a global climate agreement scheduled for Paris next December.
Switzerland May Give Every Citizen $2,600 a Month | Motherboard
Thu, 20 Nov 2014 04:46
Update: According to '‹the folks behind the Basic Income campaign, Switzerland's government will start discussing the proposal in spring 2015, with the public vote likely to take place by fall 2016.
Switzerland could soon be the world's first national case study in basic income. Instead of providing a traditional social net'--unemployment payments, food stamps, or housing credits'--the government would pay every citizen a fixed stipend.
The idea of a living wage has been brewing in the country for over a year and last month, supporters of the movement dumped a truckload of eight million coins outside the Parliament building in Bern. The publicity stunt, which included a five-cent coin for every citizen, came attached with 125,000 signatures. Only 100,000 are necessary for any constitutional amendment to be put to a national vote, since Switzerland is a direct democracy.
The proposed plan would guarantee a monthly income of CHF 2,500, or about $2,600 as of November 2014. That means that every family (consisting of two adults) can expect an unconditional yearly income of $62,400 without having to work, with no strings attached. While Switzerland's cost of living is significantly higher than the US'--a Big Mac there costs $6.72'--it's certainly not chump change. It's reasonable income that could provide, at the minimum, a comfortable bare bones existence.
The benefits are obvious. Such policy would, in one fell swoop, wipe out poverty. By replacing existing government programs, it would reduce government bureaucracy. Lower skilled workers would also have more bargaining power against employers, eliminating the need for a minimum wage. Creative types would then have a platform to focus on the arts, without worrying about the bare necessities. And those fallen on hard times have a constant safety net to find their feet again.
Detractors of the divisive plan also have a point. The effects on potential productivity are nebulous at best. Will people still choose to work if they don't have to? What if they spend their government checks on sneakers and drugs instead of food and education? Scrappy abusers of the system could take their spoils to spend in foreign countries where their money has more purchasing power, thus providing little to no benefit to Switzerland's own economy. There's also worries about the program's cost and long term sustainability. It helps that Switzerland happens to be one of the richest countries in the world by per capita income.
The problem, as with many issues economic, is that there is no historical precedent for such a plan, especially at this scale, although there have been isolated incidents. In the 1970s, the Canadian town of Dauphin provided 1,000 families in need with a guaranteed income for a short period of time. Not only did the social experiment end poverty, high school completion went up and hospitalizations went down.
''If you have a social program like this, community values themselves start to change,'' Evelyn Forget, a health economist at the University of Manitoba, told The New York Times.
Similar plans have been proposed in the past. In 1968, American economist Milton Friedman discussed the idea of a negative income tax, where those earning below a certain predetermined threshold would receive supplementary income instead of paying taxes. Friedman suggested his plan could eliminate the 72 percent of the welfare budget spent on administration. But nothing ever came to fruition.
It's what makes the potential experiment in Switzerland so compelling. Developed countries around the world are struggling to address the issues of depressed wages for low-skilled workers under the dual weight of automation and globalization.
For German-born artist Enno Schmidt, one of the founders of the proposal, a living wage represents continued cultural progress along the lines of women's suffrage or the civil rights movement by providing dignity and security to the poor, while unleashing creativity and entrepreneurial spirit.
''I tell people not to think about it for others, but think about it for themselves,'' Schmidt told the Times. ''What would you do if you had that income?
NATO - News: Largest ever NATO cyber defence exercise gets underway, 18-Nov.-2014
Thu, 20 Nov 2014 02:25
NATO launched its largest ever multinational cyber defence exercise, ''Cyber Coalition 2014'' on Tuesday (18 November). The three-day training event will test the Alliance's ability to defend its networks from the various challenges that exist when operating in the contested cyber domain. ''This exercise will test our systems to make sure that NATO keeps pace with that evolving threat and that the skills and expertise of our cyber specialists are fully up to the task,'' said Ambassador Sorin Ducaru, NATO Assistant Secretary General for Emerging Security Challenges. ''Among the priorities highlighted in the Enhanced NATO Policy on Cyber Defence, endorsed at the Wales Summit, is training and exercises.''
The exercise involves over 400 technical, government and cyber experts operating from dozens of locations from across the Alliance and partner nations. For the first time, representatives from academia and industry have been invited as observers. The aim of the exercise is to test the rapid sharing of information about cyber incidents. The drill will also test the ability of the participating nations to coordinate a defence against a series of targeted cyber incidents involving a NATO mission network. ''The cyber threat is not just a potential threat, it is daily reality,'' Mr Ducaru said. ''Conflicts can be virtual but with consequences that are real and destructive.''
At the Wales NATO Summit, Allies agreed that cyber-attacks can reach a threshold that threatens national and Euro-Atlantic prosperity, security, and stability. Their impact could be as harmful to modern societies as a conventional attack. NATO leaders also affirmed that cyber defence is part of NATO's core task of collective defence.
''Cyber Coalition 2014'' is the seventh such annual exercise.
NSA Reform Bill Lives or Dies Tonight
Wed, 19 Nov 2014 07:56
Senate Republicans, ratcheting up their rhetoric about the threat posed by the Islamic State, on Tuesday night sank the only significant legislative attempt to rein in the National Security Agency in the nearly year and a half since American citizens first learned they were being spied on by their own government.
The procedural vote to move forward on the USA Freedom Act required 60 votes. It received 58. All but one Democrat and four libertarian-leaning Republicans voted in favor of the bill. The rest of the Republicans '-- including libertarian firebrand Rand Paul (R-Ky.) '-- voted against, along with Florida Democrat Bill Nelson. (Here's the rollcall of the vote.)
During a brief debate before the vote, Georgia Republican Saxby Chambliss warned that members of the Islamic State ''want people to walk the streets of New York'... and start killing people.'' And, displaying either a real or feigned ignorance of the extraordinary latitude the NSA will continue to enjoy when it comes to spying on international communications, he suggested that the bulk collection of domestic phone records was necessary to ferret out such plans. (Watch video of the debate.)
''God forbid we wake up tomorrow morning'... to the news that a member of ISIL is in the United States and federal agents need to determine who this person is coordinating with to carry out a potential attack upon the homeland,'' Florida Republican Marco Rubio said. ''I promise you, if God forbid a horrifying event like that would happen, the first question that would be asked is why didn't we know about it?''
Maine Republican Susan Collins asked: ''Why would we weaken the ability of our intelligence community at a time when the threats against this country have never been greater?''
Supporters of the bill noted that bulk domestic surveillance had not served any identifiable intelligence purpose.
After the vote, Vermont Democrat Patrick Leahy, who wrote the bill, decried the ''scare tactics'' used by the opposition. ''Fomenting fear stifles debate,'' he said. ''And doing it at the last minute is all the more regrettable.'' (Watch the video.)
''This nation deserves more than that. This nation should not allow our liberties to be set aside by passing fears,'' he said.
Looking around the chamber, Leahy concluded: ''If we do not protect the Constitution, we do not deserve to be in this body.''
Supporters of the USA Freedom Act, including privacy groups and technology companies, had considered it an essential first step toward ending the NSA's overreach. But Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell set the tone for the day in the morning, actively encouraging his caucus to block the measure, citing concerns that it would hurt the fight against such groups as the Islamic State. Republicans also took their cues from an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal, in which CIA and NSA director Michael Hayden and former attorney general Michael Mukasey descrbied the bill as NSA Reform That Only ISIS Could Love.
With Republicans taking control of the Senate in January, a vote during the current lame-duck session was widely considered the bill's last, best shot.
The USA Freedom Act would have ended the government's bulk collection of domestic phone records, forcing officials to make specific requests to phone companies. It would also have ended the law-enforcement monopoly on arguments before the secretive surveillance court by creating a role for a special advocate. And it would have required that significant court opinions be made public.
The arguments in favor of the bill on Tuesday night focused on the widespread support it enjoyed, real invasions of privacy, and the astonishing lack of any evidence that the bulk program had ever uncovered terror plots. ''We learned that the bulk phone records collection program had not '' as previously advertised '' thwarted 54 terrorist plots, or even dozens, or even a few. In fact, we learned through our public hearings that the number was maybe one,'' Leahy said.
''This is a carefully crafted bill that builds on the work of the House of Representatives, and has the unprecedented support of the Director of National Intelligence, the Attorney General, the Director of the NSA, American technology companies, and privacy and civil liberties groups across the political spectrum,'' he said. ''It is a reasonable and responsible compromise. There is no reason why we should not proceed to a debate.''
The Republican opponents indulged in dark fantasies about terror, and misunderstandings about the bulk surveillance program. ''If this amendment ever becomes law,'' Chambliss threatened, ''all of a sudden, all of these telcoms are going to be holding this information, as opposed to the NSA holding it.'' But the phone companies already hold the records.
Privacy advocates were dismayed. ''Tonight the Senate voted to maintain a status quo that undermines American technology and consumer privacy and hampers innovation,'' said Laura W. Murphy, director of the ACLU Washington Legislative Office. ''Though this vote is a setback, it will not stop the push for reform.''
Here are some tweets and earlier updates:
Glenn Greenwald's prediction:
More tweets:
Dueling Floor Statements
YouTube video of Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell's floor statement this morning, saying the USA Freedom act would strip tools needed to fight the Islamic State:
Bill author and Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy then responded, citing widespread agreement that ''bulk collection program has not been essential to keeping our country safe.'''' Dan Froomkin at 5:21 p.m. ET
Democrats Actually Appearing United
Not all Senate Democrats were a sure thing when it came to a vote in favor of the USA Freedom Act. There were rumblings that Sen. Ron Wyden of Oregon '-- one of the most outspoken critics of the NSA in the Senate '-- might vote against it because it was too weak. There was a more distinct possibility that Sen. Dianne Feinstein of California '-- who as chair of the Senate intelligence committee has been a key enabler of the surveillance regime '-- would find it hypocritical to turn around and say the NSA had gone too far.
But Dustin Volz and Brendan Sasso are reporting that Wyden and Feinstein both pledged their support today.
''I am going to vote for this bill,'' Feinstein told reporters Tuesday. ''The president wants it, the president has said that for several months, and the House, I believe'--it doesn't quite mimic their bill, but it's very close to their bill.'' Feinstein said she still prefers a reform bill she authored in her committee that would be more friendly to the NSA, but acknowledged that it wouldn't pass the Senate or House'.... ''Let's get started on this. I would characterize this bill as a beginning, but let's get started,'' Wyden said. ''Tonight is the beginning of reform.'''...
'' Dan Froomkin, 4:00 p.m. ET
Contact Your Senator. The following groups all want to help you contact your senator '' right now! '' about the USA Freedom Act. Quiz question: Which of these is not like the other?
'' Dan Froomkin, 3:30 p.m. ET
On the Editorial Pages
The Washington Post and New York Times editorial boards, which rarely see eye-to-eye on national security matters anymore, both endorsed the USA Freedom Act this morning.
The Times wrote that ''the bill is a good way to begin restoring individual privacy that has been systematically violated by government spying, revealed through the leaks provided by Edward Snowden.'' And, it pointed out: ''If the bill doesn't pass in the current lame-duck session of the Senate, still controlled by Democrats, it may never get past the 60-vote hurdle in the next session of Congress.''
The stridently hawkish Post hailed the bill's ''careful balance'' and expressed relief that the NSA could ''maintain its core, foreign-focused surveillance authorities without much change.''
The Los Angeles Times urged Congress '' and Senate intelligence committee chair Dianne Feinstein in particular '-- not to ''succumb to specious arguments from defenders of the status quo.''
The Wall Street Journal, however, published a particularly toxic bromide by former CIA and NSA director Michael Hayden and former attorney general Michael Mukasey, entitled: NSA Reform That Only ISIS Could Love.
'' Dan Froomkin, 2:33 p.m. ET
Tonight's LogisticsCharlie Savage and Jeremy W. Peters, in the New York Times, describe what's to come:
After a brief debate, the Senate is expected to vote around 8 p.m. on whether to proceed with the bill. If it receives at least 60 votes, up to 30 hours of additional debate would follow, with another vote Thursday on whether to proceed. It would also require the votes of 60 of the 100 senators to pass.
If it passes, the Senate will take up the bill itself in December, when it returns from its Thanksgiving vacation. That process could be unpredictable, with potential amendments that could either make it go much further in imposing new limits on N.S.A. surveillance, or significantly weaken the provisions in the bill now. The revamped version would still need to pass the House before this Congress closes at the end of December.
'' Dan Froomkin, 2:15 p.m. ET
Photo: Allison Shelley/Getty Images
EMAIL: The exploding generator explained
Thu, 20 Nov 2014 15:31
Howdy Adam,
=I wanted to try andclear something=E2=80=99s up for you and John that y=E2=80=99all covered on= Sundays show (episode671). You covered my last letter to you as well as discussing the INL Proje=ctAurora experiment. First let me say that this email will be far too short t=oexplain all the details you may require so feel free to ask questions if I =donot make things clear.
=A bit more back groundon me, so that you may know that I speak with some authority on the subject=. Incollege I studied Physics, but when I realized the politics involved in aca=demiaI chose to go into IT and then Cyber security. I have worked in the banking=,oil and gas, and now energy production sectors. The INL Project Auroraexperiment (or =E2=80=9Cexploding generator=E2=80=9D as John puts it) is a =combination ofissues. The lax security that I mentioned in my last letter, and the physic=sbehind a 3 phase motor / generator. =C2=A0The =E2=80=9Ca=ttack=E2=80=9Dis executed by accessing the breakers that connect the generator or motor t=othe grid. These breakers are usually controlled by an ICS (Indusial controlsystem AKA SCADA). The =E2=80=9CAttacker=E2=80=9D access the controls for t=he breaker and opensit; disconnecting the targeted device from the grid. Once the device (spinn=ing at60htz in the U.S.) is out of phase with the grid (approximately 12~15ms) th=ebreaker is closed. The result is increased torque exerted on the components= asthe device is force back in phase (see Mythor Reality =E2=80=93 Does the Aurora
VulnerabilityPose a Risk to My Generator?https://www.selinc.com/workarea/DownloadA=sset.aspx?id=3D8504).This is repeated until the targeted device literally shakes its self apart.=
The generators at a power plant are the most expensi=ve piecesof equipment on site and are not trivial to replace. An Aurora event at a l=argepower plant would cause massive damage and cost millions to replace. SEL an=dothers have developed some mitigations using changes in logic to the protec=tionrelays. However, I do not think the changes are enough to stop an attacker =whohad breached the control system and had access to the relays in place toprotect the motor / generator. =C2=A0Also mostolder plants have not implemented the =E2=80=9Cfix=E2=80=9D.
In July DHS =E2=80=9Cleaked=E2=80=9D information and= details on Aurora. Isent you an email then with a prediction that the information would be used(email subject: I'm a dude named Ben (power plant sys admin [SCADASEC] =[!!!]DHS released 840 pages about "Project Aurora" on Muckrock ). Also= seeNA show notes ep 633 VIDEO-USG Aurora Data Dump Digital Bond's SCADA Se=curityPortal (http://adam.curry.com/html/NoAgendaEpisode633Re-1405021465.html)
If you or John have questions please ask them. I rea=llybelieve something is up, and more people need to know the facts.
The scary reality is that our power grid is NOT prot=ected inany meaningful way.
Sincerely, Ben
Op-ed: Iran To Begin Selling Nat Gas To the E.U. in 2015
Tue, 18 Nov 2014 05:27
With Western countries showing more business accomidation towards Iran they will also begin to use Iranian nat gas. While President Hassan Rouhani stated Iran wasn't ready to ''replace'' Russia as the E'U.'s main supplier his use of the word replace is no accident. Iran by no means will replace Russia's dominance as the EU's nat gas supplier rather Iran will however be allowed to sell in the European community in 2015. We've already seen BP has committed to energy investments in Egypt as well. While experts debate the time frame the supporting infrastructure could take to build it's a good bet within the next year plans for an E.U. Iranian partnership are strong
The European Union is quietly increasing the urgency of a plan to import natural gas from Iran, as relations with Tehran thaw, while those with top gas supplier Russia grow colder.
Two ''ifs'' '' the removal of sanctions on Iran and the addition of some pipeline infrastructure '' are not preventing EU planners preparing, a European Commission source involved in developing EU energy strategy told Reuters.
''Iran is far towards the top of our priorities for mid-term measures that will help reduce our reliance on Russian gas supplies,'' the source said. ''Iran's gas could come to Europe quite easily and politically there is a clear rapprochement between Tehran and the West.''
Russia is currently Europe's biggest supplier of natural gas, meeting a third of its demand worth $80 billion a year. The EU has imposed sanctions on Moscow over the conflict in Ukraine, increasing the need for gas from elsewhere.
While sanctioned itself, Iran has the world's second largest gas reserves after Russia and is a potential alternative given talks between Tehran and the West to reach a deal over the Islamic Republic's disputed nuclear programme.
''High potential for gas production, domestic energy sector reforms that are underway, and ongoing normalisation of its relationship with the West make Iran a credible alternative to Russia,'' said a paper prepared for the European parliament.
However, the paper added that Iran was not a credible alternative energy supplier in the short-term due to sanctions and large infrastructure needs before exports become viable.
Internal EU energy security documents seen by Reuters also describe plans to tap new non-European gas import sources in central Asia, including Iran.
Iran, exploiting the reversal of old enmities caused by the upheaval of the Islamic State militants in the Middle East, is also keen to sell its gas.
''Iran can be a secure energy centre for Europe,'' its President Hassan Rouhani was quoted on Wednesday telling Austrian President Heinz Fischer in New York.
Tehran's assertions over reliable supply are likely to ring alarm bells at Russia's giant Gazprom, after interruptions to its exports via Ukraine in previous disputes scared Europe.
''Iran is trying to position itself in Europe as an alternative to Russian gas. It's playing a very sophisticated game, talking with Russia on the one hand about cooperation on easing sanctions and also talking to Europe about substituting Russian gas with its own,'' said Amir Handjani, an independent oil and gas specialist working in Dubai.
''Given Russia's current strategy politically, which is one of confrontation with Europe, I see the EU having little choice but to find alternative gas supplies,'' he added.
Sanctions and routes
The lifting of sanctions on Iran '' the game changer '' is unlikely to be soon. Diplomats are pessimistic over the odds that Iran and world powers will conclude a final agreement by a 24 November deadline.
Iran and six world powers '' the United States, Britain, France, Germany, Russia and China '' are trying to hammer out a long-term nuclear accord that would bring an end to international sanctions that have crippled the Iranian economy.
Analysts say Iran has already lost out on lucrative liquefied natural gas (LNG) exports in Asia, where customers pay the highest prices, to Gulf rival Qatar, so Tehran has to look to Europe.
''Iran's interest to deliver gas to Europe is very big. Parts of Iran's economical and political elite as well as Western companies are preparing for an end of the sanctions,'' said Frank Umbach, energy research director at King's College in London.
Mark Dubowitz, of US think tank Foundation for Defense of Democracies, said Iran was looking to exploit the situation in both Iraq and Russia to get concessions out of the West on the nuclear track.
''Washington should be wary of any attempt to further erode its negotiating position by opening up any more economic escape hatches for Iran until a comprehensive deal is reached, and enforced, that dismantles Tehran's military-nuclear programme,'' said Dubowitz, who has also advised U.S. lawmakers on sanctions.
The US State Department had no immediate comment.
The most feasible route for Iranian gas to Europe would be via Turkey, already a customer, although the existing Tabriz-Ankara pipeline would not be big enough for major exports.
Iran has long lobbied to build a designated pipeline that would connect its huge South Pars gas field with European customers '' the so-called Persian Pipeline.
''It's an extremely ambitious project,'' Handjani said. ''Even if half of it gets built it would be major accomplishment for both Europe and Iran.''
Investors in Europe, as well as the European Commission, favour the cheaper, and politically less controversial, option of importing Iranian gas to the EU via Turkey through extended pipelines that already exist or are currently being developed.
Energy majors Total of France and Italy's Eni have in the past expressed interest in developing South Pars, one of the world's biggest gas fields, shared by Qatar and Iran, with total reserves estimated around 50 trillion cubic metres (tcm), enough to meet European demand for over 100 years.
Independent feasibility studies show that if sanctions were to be eased and investments started soon, Iran could supply 10-20 billion cubic metres (bcm) of gas a year to Turkey and Europe by the early 2020s.
Diplomats are in place to ease a potential major shift in global energy trade.
''Our main point of contact with the Iranian government is through its embassy in Berlin, and its new ambassador there is a former member of Iran's energy ministry,'' the Commission source said.
Ali Majedi was named in July as Iran's ambassador to Germany. Before that he was deputy oil minister in charge of international affairs. Majedi could not be reached for comment.
Iran 'not ready' to replace Russian gas supplies to EU '' RouhaniPublished time: October 04, 2014 14:57
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani.(AFP Photo / Jewel Samad)
Iran is not ready to satisfy EU's gas demand and replace Russia as a key supplier if sanctions against Tehran are lifted, said Iran's President Hassan Rouhani. He added that the country lags behind in gas extraction.
''As you know, Iran has the largest deposits of gas,'' Rouhani said. ''But we lag behind in gas output and so we first think about the domestic demands,'' said Rouhani in an interview with Rossiya 1 news channel.
Rouhani added that ''from time to time'' Iran has problems with gas during winter.
''We have many buyers, clients around us'... All our neighbors to the east, west and south want to buy gas which we are yet to extract,'' he said.
According to the president, ''now the conditions are not like those when everybody thinks that if Russia stops gas supplies [to the EU], Iran would provide [Europe] with the same [amount of] gas.''
He added that the country's production is ''far from this stage.''
In the meantime, Rouhani said that Iran is willing to cooperate with Russia in the gas sector.
''We have been expanding our efforts in recent years so that gas-exporting countries can co-operate,'' he said. ''Competition should not be problematic. It should be healthy and should not bring profits only to buyers while damaging exporters.''
Iran has the world's largest proven gas reserves after Russia '' 29.6 trillion cubic meters or about 15.8 percent of world's total reserves, according to Iran's Petroleum Ministry.
In September, Reuters reported that the EU is quietly planning to import gas from Iran while two obstacles are still in the way '' Tehran is currently under sanctions and lacks the necessary pipeline infrastructure.
''Iran is far towards the top of our priorities for mid-term measures that will help reduce our reliance on Russian gas supplies,'' the source in European Commission told Reuters, ''Iran's gas could come to Europe quite easily and politically there is a clear rapprochement between Tehran and the West.''
Currently Russia remains the main supplier of gas to Europe, meeting about the third of its demand, worth $80 billion a year in total.
Iran has a project to build a 3,300km Persian (Iran''Europe) pipeline, aiming to transfer Iranian gas from Persian Gulf to European companies and markets. The pipeline will consist of two parts '' Iranian line and European line which will cross Turkey, into Greece and Italy.
The international community and Iran are currently working at a permanent agreement aimed at ending a dispute over Tehran's nuclear program before a November 24 deadline.
Iran to Double Gas Output by 2018
Tue, 18 Nov 2014 05:27
TEHRAN (FNA)- Iran is planning to nearly double its natural gas production by 2018 even if the western sanctions against the country stay in place, a senior energy official announced on Sunday.
''Over the next four years, our plan is to increase production to 330 billion cubic meters (bcm) per year,'' Managing Director of the National Iranian Gas Company (NIGC) Hamid Reza Araqi said today.
He noted that NIGC is working on four new phases of the giant South Pars gas field that will add an extra 100 mcm of gas per day to the country's output.
Last month, Iranian Oil Minister Bijan Namdar Zanganeh announced that Iran plans to boost production in the South Pars gas field to overcome the gas shortage in the country.
''We hope to add another 100 million cm/d to the country's national grid before the end of the year,'' Zanganeh told reporters.
The Iranian oil minister also said that the South Pars gas field's output will increase to 540mln cm/d by the end of the next Iranian year (March 2016).
The South Pars gas field, divided into 28 phases, is located in the Persian Gulf on the common border between Iran and Qatar. The field is estimated to hold 14 trillion cubic meters of gas as well as 18 billion barrels of condensates.
The field covers an area of 9,700 square kilometers, 3,700 square kilometers of which lie in Iran's territorial waters in the Persian Gulf. The remaining 6,000 square kilometers, better known as the North Dome, are located in Qatar's territorial waters.
Azerbaijan as gas mediator between Iran and Europe - AzerNews
Wed, 19 Nov 2014 05:14
By Seymur Aliyev
Gradual change of the West's attitude towards Iran opens new perspectives of cooperation, firstly, in economical area, for this country. For development of this cooperation, Tehran needs reliable partners which have close relations with Europe, which is more liberal towards Islamic Republic, and can be mediators in resuming and expanding of trade and economic ties.
Azerbaijan, which has proven itself as a reliable partner, can be one of such mediators. It is also confirmed by the statement of Iranian President Hassan Rouhani made during his visit to Baku. He said, that Iran can unite with Europe with Azerbaijan's help.
Today Iran with nearly 34 trillion cubic meters holds the first place of natural gas reserves in the world. And, as in every energy resources-rich country, hydrocarbons are one of the main income resources and they form economy.
Before sanctions were imposed Iran had been considered as one of the main natural gas providers to Europe, and after their cancellation this issue has become relevant again.
No one better than Azerbaijan can help Iran in this issue. Baku, being an initiator of Southern Gas Corridor, through which Azerbaijani gas will go to Europe, personally taking part in creation of necessary infrastructure, is already realizing a project of passing gas from new reserves to Europe. Iran can be one of these resources with its huge gas supplies.
Tehran would only need to build a pipeline to connect with the existing gas infrastructure.
In spite of early statements of the EU about rejection of Iranian gas, consumption growth, desire to reduce dependency from Russia and searches of new supplies can open European market for Iran - something that Iran just might be interested by itself.
While Iran has considered many other projects on providing Asian countries with gas, they virtually were never realized.
Today it is necessary for Iran to find a common ground with Europe, also through cooperative partners like Azerbaijan.
Halliburton to buy Baker Hughes in USD 34.6bn deal | Oil and Gas Technology
Wed, 19 Nov 2014 05:52
Halliburton Company and Baker Hughes Incorporated today announced a definitive agreement under which Halliburton will acquire all the outstanding shares of Baker Hughes in a stock and cash transaction
''We are pleased to announce this combination with Baker Hughes, which will create a bellwether global oilfield services company and offer compelling benefits for the stockholders, customers and other stakeholders of Baker Hughes and Halliburton,'' said Dave Lesar, chairman and chief executive officer of Halliburton.
''The transaction will combine the companies' product and service capabilities to deliver an unsurpassed depth and breadth of solutions to our customers, creating a Houston-based global oilfield services champion, manufacturing and exporting technologies, and creating jobs and serving customers around the globe.''
The transaction is valued at USD 78.62 per Baker Hughes share, representing an equity value of USD 34.6bn and enterprise value of USD 38.0bn, based on Halliburton's closing price on November 12, 2014, the day prior to public confirmation by Baker Hughes that it was in talks with Halliburton regarding a transaction.
The transaction combines two highly complementary suites of products and services into a comprehensive offering to oil and natural gas customers. On a pro-forma basis the combined company had 2013 revenues of USD 51.8bn, more than 136,000 employees and operations in more than 80 countries around the world.
Upon the completion of the transaction, Baker Hughes stockholders will own approximately 36 per cent of the combined company. The agreement has been unanimously approved by both companies' boards of directors.
''The stockholders of Baker Hughes will immediately receive a substantial premium and have the opportunity to participate in the significant upside potential of the combined company,'' said Lasar.
''Our stockholders know our management team and know we live up to our commitments. We know how to create value, how to execute, and how to integrate in order to make this combination successful. We expect the combination to yield annual cost synergies of nearly USD 2bn. As such, we expect that the acquisition will be accretive to Halliburton's cash flow by the end of the first year after closing and to earnings per share by the end of the second year. We anticipate that the combined company will also generate significant free cash flow, allowing for the return of substantial capital to stockholders.''
Martin Craighead, chairman and chief executive officer of Baker Hughes said: ''This brings our stockholders a significant premium and the opportunity to own a meaningful share in a larger, more competitive global company. By combining two great companies that have delivered cutting-edge solutions to customers in the worldwide oil and gas industry for more than a century, we will create a new world of opportunities to advance the development of technologies for our customers. We envision a combined company capable of achieving opportunities that neither company would have realised as well '' or as quickly '' on its own, all while creating exciting new opportunities for employees.''
Lesar concluded: ''We believe that the expertise of both companies' employees and leaders will be a competitive advantage for the combined company. Together with the people of Baker Hughes, we will establish a team to develop a detailed and thoughtful integration plan to make the post-closing transition as seamless, efficient and productive as possible. We look forward to welcoming the talented employees of Baker Hughes and are pleased they will be joining the Halliburton team.''
Transaction Terms and Approvals
Under the terms of the agreement, stockholders of Baker Hughes will receive, for each Baker Hughes share, a fixed exchange ratio of 1.12 Halliburton shares plus USD 19.00 in cash. The value of the merger consideration as of November 12, 2014 represents 8.1 times current consensus 2014 EBITDA estimates and 7.2 times current consensus 2015 EBITDA estimates.
The transaction value represents a premium of 40.8 per cent to the stock price of Baker Hughes on October 10, 2014, the day prior to Halliburton's initial offer to Baker Hughes. And over longer time periods, based on the consideration, this represents a one year, three year and five year premium of 36.3 per cent, 34.5 per cent, and 25.9 per cent, respectively.
Halliburton intends to finance the cash portion of the acquisition through a combination of cash on hand and fully committed debt financing.
The transaction is subject to approvals from each company's stockholders, regulatory approvals and customary closing conditions. Halliburton's and Baker Hughes' internationally recognised advisors have evaluated the likely actions needed to obtain regulatory approval, and Halliburton and Baker Hughes are committed to completing this combination.
Halliburton has agreed to divest businesses that generate up to USD 7.5bn in revenues, if required by regulators, although Halliburton believes that the divestitures required will be significantly less.
Halliburton has agreed to pay a fee of USD 3.5bn if the transaction terminates due to a failure to obtain required antitrust approvals. Halliburton is confident that a combination is achievable from a regulatory standpoint.
The transaction is expected to close in the second half of 2015.
Venezuela Puts $4 Billion China Loan in Foreign Reserves, Signs Major Oil Deal with Russia
Thu, 20 Nov 2014 04:35
Santa Elena de Uairen, November 19th, 2014. (venezuelanalysis.com)- In a television address yesterday evening, Venezuelan president Nicolas Maduro indicated that a $4 billion loan from China would be added to the country's international reserves. Meanwhile, as oil prices to continue to slide and with eight days to go to the next OPEC meeting, Venezuela has signed a major deal with the largest exporting non-OPEC member, Russia.
''Four billion dollars from the China Fund just entered belonging to the new tranche of financing, and I have ordered it placed in the strategic reserves fund to be counted as part of international reserves,'' Maduro said Tuesday.
The China Fund, created in 2008, has funneled billions of dollars into state projects in Venezuela in recent years. Venezuela ships 524,000 barrels of crude oil and derivatives to China per day, nearly half of which goes toward paying the loans. That amount is expected to increase to one million bpd by 2016.
This latest move to place this latest loan in foreign reserves is an attempt to improve transparency, the senior Andean economist with Bank of America, Francisco Rodriguez, told Bloomberg yesterday.
"It makes it clear that the money could be used for debt service," said Rodriguez.
Since September, investors have gone through cycles of panic as Wall St analysts cast doubt on the oil nation's ability to service its bonds. On November 14th, the amount of cash in Venezuela's foreign reserves had reached an 11-year low of $19.4 billion.
However, Maduro hinted that the latest boost is a sign of things to come.
''There will be more good news on the financing of our reserves, not just these $4 billion, but other things that we are working on,'' he said yesterday evening.
Multi-Polar Oil Diplomacy
On Monday, Venezuelan Foreign Minister Rafael Ramirez met with Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak. Russia is the largest oil exporter to not form part of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), whose member states will meet in Vienna on 27 Nov.
Novak told reporters yesterday that he and Ramirez discussed how to freeze the downward trend, a conversation he will relay to the Russian government to create a proposal for the next meeting with Venezuela; two days before the OPEC summit, also in Vienna.
Ramirez's visit to Moscow was the latest in an international tour meant to seek solutions for the tumbling prices. The foreign minister also visited Algeria, Qatar, Iran, and Libia this month.
President Maduro recently warned that the drop in Venezuelan crude, diving from $99 per barrel in June to about $70 this week, has caused a 30 percent loss in revenue. Oil makes up 95 percent of the nation's export earnings.
The shift comes from a boom in the United States and Canadian output, which has flooded the market with cheap oil.
The US practice of hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, has contributed to this upsurge by permitting oil companies to access new reserves of oil and natural gas previously out of reach. Stateside, analysts anticipate a boost for the consumer economy, as low-priced combustible within the US will free up more cash for the holiday season.
Meanwhile Venezuela, Russia and Iran have been the hardest hit by the falling prices, prompting Maduro to accuse the United States of overrunning the market to disrupt its those economies.
Ecuador, the only other OPEC member in Latin America, will reportedly support Venezuela's demand that the cartel heed its output ceiling of 30 million barrels a day.
While visiting Iran, Ramirez told a local news agency, "We believe that the prices are at a very low level and instability in the market is in no one's interest."
The former oil minister also said, in terms of his country's economic continuity, ''a hundred dollars per barrel is the desirable price for Venezuela."
A Monday report from the Credit Suisse Group concurred that for the petrol nation ''to continue paying its debts at the present rate of imports and oil production,'' the country needs $97 a barrel.
However, while presenting the 2015 federal budget last month, Venezuelan finance ministers claimed that calculations were made estimating the price of crude at $60 a barrel, for caution's sake.
While in Moscow, Ramirez also met with the chief executive of the predominately state-owned oil giant Rosneft. The Russian company signed a contract with Venezuelan state company PDVSA for the purchase of 1.6 million tons of petroleum and 9 million tons of derivatives of crude over the next five years. An advanced payment of $2 million was arranged.
The two companies have signed similar contracts in the past, and Sechin was present at the 2013 naming ceremony of an important Moscow street after Hugo Chavez.
The oil executive will also attend the pre-OPEC meeting in Vienna on 25 Nov, though other attendants have not yet been confirmed.
Published on Nov 19th 2014 at 6.18pm
BRICS' Brazil President Next Washington Target | New Eastern Outlook
Wed, 19 Nov 2014 06:43
Brazil's newly re-elected President, Dilma Rousseff, survived a massive US State Department disinformation campaign to win a runoff vote against US-backed Aecio Neves on October 26. However it is already clear that Washington has opened a new assault on one of the key leaders of the non-aligned BRICS group of emerging economies'--Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa. With a full-scale US financial warfare attack to weaken Putin's Russia and a series of destabilizations aimed at China, including most recently the Hong Kong US-financed ''Umbrella Revolution,'' getting rid of Brazil's socially-minded President is a top priority to stop the emerging counter-pole to Washington's New World (dis-)Order.
The reason Washington wants to get rid of Rousseff is clear. As President she is one of five heads of the BRICS who signed the formation of the US$100 billion BRICS Development Bank and a reserve currency pool worth over another US$100 billion. She also supports a new International Reserve Currency to supplement and eventually replace the dollar. Inside Brazil she is supported by millions of lower-income Brazilians who have been lifted out of poverty by her various programs, especially the Bolsa Familia, an economic subsidy program for low-income mothers and families. The Bolsa Familia has brought an estimated thirty-six million families out of poverty via Rousseff and her party's economic policies, something that creates apoplexy in Wall Street and Washington.
Her US-backed campaign rival, A(C)cio Neves of the Brazilian Social Democracy Party (Partido da Social Democracia Brasileira '' PSDB), serves the interests of tycoons and their Washington allies.
Neves' chief economic adviser who would have become Finance Minister in a Neves presidency was Arminio Fraga Neto, a close friend and former associate of Soros and his Quantum hedge fund. Neves' senior adviser, and likely Foreign Minister had he won, was Rubens Ant´nio Barbosa, former Brazil ambassador to Washington and today a Senior Director of ASG based in Sao Paulo.
ASG is the consulting group of Madeline Albright, former US Secretary of State during the 1999 US bombing of Yugoslavia. Albright, a Director of the leading US think-tank, Council on Foreign Relations, is also chair of the prime US Government ''Color Revolution'' NGO, the National Democratic Institute (NDI). Not surprisingly, Barbosa during the recent campaign called for a strengthening of Brazil-US relations and a diminishing of the strong Brazil-China ties developed by Rousseff in the wake of revelations of USA spying by NSA on Rousseff and her government.
Emerging corruption scandal
During the bitter election campaign between Rousseff and Neves, the Neves opposition began circulating rumors that Rousseff, who until now had never been linked to corruption so common to Brazilian politics, was implicated in a scandal involving the state oil giant, Petrobras. In September, a Petrobras former director alleged that members of Rousseff's government had received commissions on contracts signed with the oil giant which were then used to buy congressional support. Rousseff served on the company's board of directors until 2010.
Now on November 2, just days after Rousseff's hard-fought victory, the US major accounting firm, PriceWaterhouseCoopers, refused to sign Petrobras' third-quarter earnings. PWC demanded wider investigation into the corruption scandal involving the state-run oil company.
PricewaterhouseCoopers is one of the most scandal-ridden US accounting firms. It was implicated in 14 years of covering up fraud in the AIG insurance group which was at the heart of the 2008 US financial crisis. And the British House of Lords in 2011, criticized PwC for not drawing attention to the risks in the business model followed by Northern Rock bank, a major disaster in Britain's real estate financial crisis of 2008, a client which had to be bailed out by the UK government. The attacks on Rousseff are escalating we can be sure.
Rousseff's Global Strategy
It is not merely Rousseff's alliance with BRICS countries that has made her a prime Washington destabilization target. Under her tenure, Brazil is moving swiftly to decouple from US NSA electronic surveillance vulnerability.
Days after her re-election, the state-owned Telebras announced plans to construct a major underwater fiber-optic telecommunications cable to Portugal across the Atlantic. The Telebras-planned cable will run 3,500 miles from the Brazilian city of Fortaleza to Portugal. It represents a major break for trans-Atlantic communications with US technology domination. Notably, Telebras President Francisco Ziober Filho said in an interview that the cable project will be built without any US companies.
The Snowden NSA revelations in 2013 among other things revealed the intimate ties of key strategic IT companies like Cisco Systems, Microsoft and others to the US intelligence community. He stated that ''The issue of data integrity and vulnerability is always a concern for any telecom company.''
Brazil has reacted to the NSA leaks by making thorough audits of all foreign-made equipment to check for security vulnerabilities and accelerated the country's move toward technological self-reliance according to the Telebras chief.
Until now virtually all Trans-Atlantic IT traffic routed via the east Coast of USA to Europe and Africa a major espionage advantage for Washington
Reacting to the Snowden leaks, the Rousseff government ordered termination of contracts with Microsoft for Outlook e-mail services. Rousseff declared at the time that it was to help ''prevent possible espionage.'' Instead Brazil is going national with its own e-mail system called Expresso, developed by state-owned Servico Federal de Processamento de Dados (Serpro). Expresso is already used by 13 of the country's 39 ministries. Serpro spokesman Marcos Melo stated, ''Expresso is 100 percent under our control.'' If true or not clear is that under Rousseff and her party Brazil is pursuing what she sees as Brazil's best national interest.
Oil Geopolitics also Key
Brazil is also moving away from the Anglo-American domination of its oil and gas exploration. In late 2007 Petrobras discovered what was estimated to be a mammoth new basin of high-quality oil on the Brazilian Continental Shelf offshore in the Santos Basin. Since then, Petrobras has sunk 11 oil wells in the Santos Basin, all successful. At Tupi and Iara alone, Petrobras estimates there are 8 to 12 billion barrels of recoverable oil, which can almost double current Brazilian oil reserves. In total the Brazil Continental Shelf could contain over 100 billion barrels of oil, transforming the country into a major oil and gas power, something Exxon and Chevron, the US oil giants have tried hard to control.
In 2009 according to leaked US diplomatic cables published via Wikileaks, Exxon and Chevron were noted by the US Consulate in Rio to be trying in vain to alter a law proposed by Rousseff's mentor and predecessor in her Brazilian Workers' Party , President Luis Inacio Lula da Silva, or Lula as he is called.
That 2009 law made the state-owned Petrobras chief operator of all offshore blocs. Washington and the US oil giants were furious at losing key control over potentially the largest single new oil discovery in decades.
Making matters worse in Washington's eyes, Lula not only pushed ExxonMobil and Chevron out of the controlling position in favor of the state-owned Petrobras, but he also opened Brazilian oil exploration to the Chinese. In December, 2010 in one of his last acts as President, he oversaw signing of a deal between the Brazilian-Spanish energy company Repsol and China's state-owned Sinopec. Sinopec formed a joint venture, Repsol Sinopec Brasil, investing more than $7.1 billion towards Repsol Brazil. Already in 2005 Lula had approved formation of Sinopec International Petroleum Service of Brazil Ltd as part of a new strategic alliance between China and Brazil, a forerunner of today's BRICS organization.
Washington Was not Delighted.
In 2012 in a joint exploration drilling, Repsol Sinopec Brasil, Norway's Statoil and Petrobras made a major new discovery in P£o de A§ºcar, the third in block BM-C-33, which includes the Seat and Gvea, the latter one of the world's 10 largest discoveries in 2011. US and British oil majors were nowhere to be seen.
As relations between Rousseff's government and China as well as Russia and the other BRICS partners deepened, in May 2013, US Vice President Joe Biden made a trio to Brazil where his agenda was focused on oil and gas development. He met with President Dilma Rousseff who succeeded her mentor Lula in 2011. Biden also met with leading energy companies in Brazil including Petrobras.
While little was publicly said, Rousseff refused to reverse the 2009 oil law in a way suitable to Biden and Washington. Days after Biden's visit came the Snowden NSA revelations that the US had also spied on Rousseff and top officials of Petrobras. She was livid and denounced the Obama Administration that September before the UN General Assembly for violating international law. She cancelled a planned Washington visit in protest. After that US-Brazil relations took a dive.
Before Biden's May 2013 visit Dilma Rousseff had 70% of popularity rating. Less than two weeks after Biden left Brazil, nationwide protests by a well-organized group called Movimento Passe Livre, over a nominal 10 cent bus fare increase, brought the country virtually to a halt and turned very violent. The protests bore the hallmark of a typical ''Color Revolution'' or Twitter destabilization that seems to follow Biden wherever he makes a presence. Within weeks Rousseff's popularity plummeted to 30%.
Washington had clearly sent a signal that Rousseff had to change course or face serious problems. Now that she has won re-election and defeated the well-financed right-wing oligarchs and the opposition, Washington will clearly try with renewed energy to get rid of another BRICS leader in an increasingly desperate bid to hold the status quo. It seems the world no longer snaps to attention as it did in past decades when Washington gave the marching order. The year 2015 will be an adventure not only for Brazil but for the entire world.
F. William Engdahl is strategic risk consultant and lecturer, he holds a degree in politics from Princeton University and is a best-selling author on oil and geopolitics, exclusively for the online magazine ''New Eastern Outlook''
Is Russian Mystery Object a Space Weapon?
Wed, 19 Nov 2014 22:15
The orbital maneuvers of a mysterious object Russia launched earlier this year have raised concerns that the satellite may be a space weapon of some sort.
The speculation centers on "Object 2014-28E," which Russia lofted along with three military communications satellites in May. The object was originally thought to be space junk, but satellite trackers have watched it perform a number of interesting maneuvers over the past few weeks, the Financial Times reported Monday (Nov. 17).
Last weekend, for example, 2014-28E apparently met up with the remnants of a rocket stage that helped the object reach orbit. [The Most Destructive Space Weapons Concepts]
As a result, some space analysts wonder if Object 2014-28E could be part of an anti-satellite program '-- perhaps a revived version of the Cold War-era "Istrebitel Sputnikov" ("satellite killer") project, which Russian officials have said was retired when the Soviet Union collapsed in the early 1990s.
Military officials have long regarded the ability to destroy or disable another country's satellites as a key national-security capability. The Soviet Union is not the only nation known to have worked on developing such technology; China destroyed one of its own weather satellites in a 2007 test that spawned a huge cloud of orbital debris, and the United States blew up one of its own defunct spacecraft in 2008.
The concern about Object 2014-28E is legitimate, said Joan Johnson-Freese, a professor of national security affairs at the U.S. Naval War College in Newport, Rhode Island. But she cautioned against jumping to conclusions, saying that Russia could have a number of purposes in mind for the technology that 2014-28E may be testing out.
"Any satellite with the capability to maneuver has the potential to be a weapon," Johnson-Freese told Space.com. "But does that mean necessarily that all maneuverable satellites are weapons? No."
The United States has also worked to develop maneuverable-satellite technology, she noted, citing the Air Force's Experimental Satellite System-11 (XSS-11) and NASA's DART (Demonstration for Autonomous Rendezvous Technology) spacecraft, both of which launched in 2005. Further, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) managed a mission called Orbital Express, which launched in 2007 to test out satellite-servicing tech.
"When we did DART and XSS-11, other countries went into panic mode '-- you know, 'The U.S. has space weapons,'" Johnson-Freese said. "The first thing we did was assuage those concerns and say, 'No, no. That's not what it is. It's just a maneuverable satellite.' But any time you have dual-use technology, there are going to be concerns."
And pretty much all space technology is dual-use, said Brian Weeden, a technical adviser with the Secure World Foundation (a nonprofit organization dedicated to space sustainability) and a former orbital analyst with the Air Force. For example, spacecraft capable of orbital rendezvous operations could help a nation inspect, service and refuel its satellites, or deorbit defunct craft to help mitigate the growing space-junk problem.
Weeden thinks it's unlikely that Object 2014-28E is up to anything nefarious.
"The activities are much more in line with an inspection mission than with any sort of destruction mission," he told Space.com.
The secrecy surrounding the spacecraft helps fuel speculation about its mission, as does the fact that U.S.-Russian relations have deteriorated in the wake of Russia's military intervention in Ukraine this year, Weeden said.
"I think if this had happened in a different context, the speculation would be different," Weeden said. "But because it's occurring in the context of heightened tensions, there's more of a proclivity to assume the worst."
Russia likely regards Object 2014-28E's mission as a national-security activity in space, he added. The secrecy is thus unsurprising, as Russia tends to keep a tight lid on such missions as a matter of policy.
And Russian officials may be happy to keep quiet and let the mystery and speculation continue to build, Johnson-Freese said.
"I think that anything the Russians can do to provoke the United States right now, their government is supportive of," she said. "If this can cause concern in the United States, they're all for it."
Follow Mike Wall on Twitter @michaeldwall and Google+. Follow us@Spacedotcom,Facebook orGoogle+. Originally published onSpace.com.
ClubOrlov: It's official: US stole Ukraine's gold
Wed, 19 Nov 2014 07:17
This just in: it turns out that the rumors were right after all. At least part of the reason the US State Dept./CIA staged a coup in Ukraine that overthrew its democratically elected government and installed a neo-Nazi puppet regime was to steal Ukraine's gold. Rumor had it that shortly after the coup the gold was quietly loaded onto a plane that took it to the US. And now comes the official revelation: Ukraine has no gold reserves left. The gold was sold to pay for a failed military campaign in Eastern Ukraine, and to prop up the fake paper gold market for a little bit longer. One would expect that once the fix is off, the price of gold will skyrocket, the US dollar will drop like a rock, and Americans will need to add the word ''hyperinflation'' to their list of national woes.
Ukraine Admits Its Gold Is Gone: "There Is Almost No Gold Left In The Central Bank Vault" | Zero Hedge
Wed, 19 Nov 2014 07:17
Back in March, at a time when the IMF reported that Ukraine's official gold holdings as of the end of February, so just as the State Department-facilitated coup against former president Victor Yanukovich was concluding, amounted to 42.3 tonnes or 8% of reserves...
... and notably under the previous "hated" president, Ukraine gold's reserves had constantly increased hitting a record high just before the presidential coup...
... we reported of a strange incident that took place just after the Ukraine presidential coup, namely that according to at least one source, "in a mysterious operation under the cover of night, Ukraine's gold reserves were promptly loaded onboard an unmarked plane, which subsequently took the gold to the US." To wit:
Tonight, around at 2:00 am, an unregistered transport plane took off took off from Boryspil airport. According to Boryspil staff, prior to the plane's appearance, four trucks and two cargo minibuses arrived at the airport all with their license plates missing. Fifteen people in black uniforms, masks and body armor stepped out, some armed with machine guns. These people loaded the plane with more than forty heavy boxes.
After this, several mysterious men arrived and also entered the plane. The loading was carried out in a hurry. After unloading, the plateless cars immediately left the runway, and the plane took off on an emergency basis.
Airport officials who saw this mysterious "special operation" immediately notified the administration of the airport, which however strongly advised them "not to meddle in other people's business."
Later, the editors were called by one of the senior officials of the former Ministry of Income and Fees, who reported that, according to him, tonight on the orders of one of the "new leaders" of Ukraine, all the gold reserves of the Ukraine were taken to the United States.
Needless to say there was no official confirmation of any of this taking place, and in fact our report, in which we mused if the "price of Ukraine's liberation" was the handover of its gold to the Fed at a time when Germany was actively seeking to repatriate its own physical gold located at the bedrock of the NY Fed, led to the usual mainstream media mockery.
Until now.
In an interview on Ukraine TV, none other than the head of the Ukraine Central Bank made the stunning admission that "in the vaults of the central bank there is almost no gold left. There is a small amount of gold bullion left, but it's just 1% of reserves."
As Ukraina further reports, this stunning revelation means that not only has Ukraine been quietly depleting its gold throughout the year, but that the latest official number, according to which Ukraine gold was 8 times greater than the reported 1%, was fabricated, and that the real number is about 90% lower.
According to official statistics the NBU, the amount of gold in the vaults should be eight times more than is actually in stock. At the beginning of this month, the volume of gold was about $ 1 billion, or 8% of the total gold reserves. Now this is just one percent.
Of course, considering the official reserve data at the Central Bank has been clearly fabricated, one wonders just how long ago the actual gold "dmsplacement" took place.
We get some additional information from Rusila:
According to recent data, the value of Ukraine gold should be $988.7 million. That is the value of gold proportion of gold in gold reserves is 8%. If you believe Gontareva, it turns out there is a mere $123.6 million in gold remaining.
The figure is fantastic, considering that the amount of gold at the end of February (when the new authorities have already taken key positions) was $1.8 billion or 12% of the reserves.
In other words, since the beginning of the year gold reserves dropped almost 16 times. Gold stock in February were approximately 21 tons of gold, the presence of which was once proudly reported by Sergei Arbuzov, who led the NBU in 2010-2012. So what happened to 20.8 tons of gold?
Explaining the dramatic reduction in the context of the hryvnia devaluation through gold sales is impossible. After all, 92% of the reserves of the National Bank is in the form of a foreign currency that is much easier to use to maintain hryvnia levels and cover current liabilities. Besides since March the international price of gold has plummeted. Selling ??gold under such circumstances is a crime. In fact it would be more expedient to increase gold reserves through currency conversion in precious metals.
But apparently the result is not due to someone's negligence or carelessness. The gold reserve has been actively carted out of the country, as a result of the very vague economic and political prospects of Ukraine. Something similar happened to the gold reserves of the USSR - when the Gorbachev elite realized that perestroika is leading the country to the abyss, gold simply disappeared in an unknown direction.
The article's conclusion:
As history shows, the reduction of the gold reserves in the context of an acute political crisis is usually preceded by the collapse of the state.
Oddly enough there was no official gold reduction just prior to the time when Victoria "Fuck the EU" Nuland was planning Yanukovich's ouster, and as shown above, quite the contrary. It is a little more odd that it was during the period when Ukraine was "supported" by its western allies that several billion dollars worth of physical gold - the people's gold - just "vaporized."
In any event, now that the disappearance of Ukraine's gold has been confirmed, perhaps it is time to refresh the "unconfirmed" story that a little after the current Ukraine regime took power the bulk of Ukraine's gold was taken to the United States.
As of this writing, The NY Fed has still not answered our March request for a comment whether Ukraine's gold has been redomiciled at the gold vault located some 80 feet below Liberty 33.
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AP News : New US ambassador has tough job in Moscow
Thu, 20 Nov 2014 05:45
By LYNN BERRYPublished: TodayMOSCOW (AP) - Ask most Russians and they will tell you that the United States instigated the conflict in Ukraine with the ultimate aim of subjugating Russia. This is what they hear from President Vladimir Putin and in a steady stream of reports on state television.
Most in the West view it differently, of course. They condemn Russia for seizing the Crimean Peninsula from Ukraine, and accuse the Kremlin of arming the separatists whose battles with government troops in eastern Ukraine have claimed more than 4,000 lives. The U.S. and European Union have imposed punishing sanctions, but this has only made Russia more defiant.
With little common ground between these two narratives, tensions between Russia and the West are higher than at any time since the end of the Cold War. Diplomacy has stalled.
The arrival of new U.S. Ambassador John Tefft, a career diplomat with experience in Russia and Ukraine, offered some hope of improved lines of communication. But his reception Wednesday, when he presented his credentials to Putin, showed his job will not be easy.
Putin gave a slight smile as Tefft strode toward him across a vast, gilded Kremlin hall. His words, though, contained both a welcome and a warning.
"We are ready for practical cooperation with our American partners in all fields on the principles of respect for each other's interests, equal partnership and non-interference in our domestic affairs," Putin said during the Kremlin ceremony.
Rossiya state television sent a sharper message. The news presenter described Tefft as a "specialist in color revolutions," a reference to the Rose Revolution in Georgia and the Orange Revolution in Ukraine that ushered in Western-leaning governments a decade ago. Tefft has been the U.S. ambassador in both countries, in addition to having served in Russia and in other State Department posts with responsibility for the region.
"They call him a diplomat saboteur," the presenter said. The implication was that he was sent to Moscow to foment a popular uprising with the aim of overthrowing Putin.
The Western sanctions, which target Russian businesses and individuals, including some members of Putin's inner circle, are seen as part of this effort.
Tefft was one of 15 ambassadors to present their credentials Wednesday, but television reports unsurprisingly focused almost exclusively on him.
Russian television news broadcasts and talk shows seem obsessed with the United States. The state-owned channels churn out programs that portray the U.S. as the greatest threat to stability and security not only in Russia but throughout the world.
This message finds fertile ground with Russians still deeply bitter over the humiliation of the years following the 1991 Soviet collapse. The anti-Americanism also serves to rally Russians around Putin, a leader seen as strong enough to stand up to the West.
Tefft replaces Michael McFaul, the Stanford University professor who was the architect of President Barack Obama's effort to reset relations with Russia.
McFaul had the misfortune to arrive in Moscow in the middle of the mass anti-Putin protests of early 2012. A scholar who had long studied the development of democracy in Russia, he was an easy target for the Kremlin as it sought to portray the protests as a U.S. plot.
Tefft has been seen as more likely to be able to work with the Russians, who are accustomed to dealing with professional diplomats. This was the point he made Wednesday:
"As a U.S. diplomat for more than four decades, I am committed to maintaining open and frank lines of communication between our two great nations - helping explain Russia's perspective to Washington and expressing the U.S. government's views to Moscow," the new ambassador said in a statement.
Judging by the reception he received in the Kremlin and on state television, this will not be easy.
John F. Tefft - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Thu, 20 Nov 2014 05:46
John F. Tefft (born 1949) is a career U.S. Foreign Service Officer since 1972. He was confirmed as the United States Ambassador to Russia on July 31, 2014.[2] He has previously served as the United States' ambassador to Ukraine,[1]Georgia, and Lithuania, as well as charg(C) d'affaires of the Embassy of the United States in Moscow, Russia.
Diplomatic career[edit]Tefft is a career member of the U.S. Senior Foreign Service, with the personal rank of Minister-Counselor. He joined the United States Foreign Service in 1972 and has served in Jerusalem, Budapest, Rome, Moscow, Vilnius, Tbilisi, and Kiev.
Until his appointment as ambassador to Georgia, he was the Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for European Affairs since July 6, 2004. Tefft also served as International Affairs Advisor (Deputy Commandant) of the National War College in Washington, D.C. From 2000 to 2003, he was the United States Ambassador to Lithuania. He served as Deputy Chief of Mission at the U.S. Embassy in Moscow from 1996 to 1999 (when Pickering was Ambassador), and was charg(C) d'affaires at the Embassy from November 1996 to September 1997. Tefft served as Director of the Office of Northern European Affairs from 1992 to 1994, Deputy Director of the Office of Soviet Union (later Russian and CIS) Affairs from 1989 to 1992, and Counselor for Political-Military Affairs at the U.S. Embassy in Rome from 1986 to 1989. His other foreign assignments included Budapest and Jerusalem, as well as service on the U.S. delegation to the START I arms control negotiations in 1985.
In addition, he has served in a number of positions at the State Department in Washington, D.C. and held a fellowship, working in the United States Congress.
On September 30, 2009, PresidentBarack Obama nominated Tefft as the next ambassador to Ukraine[3] and he was confirmed by the U.S. Senate on November 20, 2009.[4] Tefft arrived in Ukraine on December 2, 2009[4] and PresidentViktor Yushchenko accepted Teffts credentials of Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary on December 7, 2009. The Ambassador expressed his hope for fruitful cooperation. Tefft delivered his speech in Ukrainian.[5]
On February 26, 2013, President Obama nominated Geoffrey R. Pyatt to succeed Tefft as Ambassador of the United States to Ukraine.[6] Pyatt was sworn in on July 30, 2013 and arrived in Ukraine on August 3, 2013.[1]
In July 2014, President Obama nominated Tefft as the United States Ambassador to Russia in Moscow, after receiving Russia's approval.[7]
The Senate confirmed Tefft in a voice vote on July 31, 2014.[8] The confirmation followed several attempts as a number of ambassadorial appointments were being held up at the time. Strained relations with Russia over pro-separatist activity in eastern Ukraine, the country's annexation of Crimea, and the shooting down of a commercial airliner, prompted senators to finally approve the nomination.[9]
Awards[edit]Tefft has received a number of awards, including the State Department Distinguished Honor Award in 1992 and the DCM of the Year Award for his service in Moscow in 1999. He received Presidential Meritorious Service Awards in 2001 and 2005.
Biography[edit]Tefft is a native of Madison, Wisconsin and holds a B.A. degree (1971) from Marquette University in Milwaukee, Wisconsin and a M.A. degree in history (1978) from Georgetown University in Washington, D.C.[10]
Tefft is married to Mariella Cellitti Tefft, a biostatistician and nurse. They have two daughters, Christine, a lawyer at the State Department in Washington, D.C., and Cathleen, a program analyst at the National Endowment for the Humanities in Washington, D.C.
Source and References[edit]^ abcYanukovych accepts credentials from new US ambassador, discusses with him Ukrainian-US relations, Interfax-Ukraine (15 August 2013)^Itkowitz, Colby. "Senate confirms nominee to be ambassador to Russia". www.washingtonpost.com. The Washington Post. Retrieved 1 August 2014. ^Ex- US ambassador to Georgia John Tefft to lead diplomatic mission in Ukraine, Interfax-Ukraine (September 30, 2009)^ abNew U.S. ambassador Tefft arrives in Kyiv, Interfax-Ukraine (December 2, 2009)^Yushchenko accepted credentials of US Ambassador and Ambassador of Turkey to Ukraine, UNIAN (December 7, 2009)^Office of the Press Secretary (February 26, 2013). "President Obama Announces More Key Administration Posts". The White House. Retrieved September 10, 2013. ^"Obama's new man in Moscow is former ambassador to Crimea". Moscow News.Net. Retrieved 11 July 2014. ^http://www.periodicalpress.senate.gov/^"John Tefft confirmed as new US ambassador to Russia". The US News. Retrieved 2 August 2014. ^"Wisconsin native and savvy diplomat Tefft picked for Russia ambassador". Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. July 10, 2014. Retrieved July 11, 2014. External links[edit]PersondataNameTefft, John F.Alternative namesShort descriptionAmerican diplomatDate of birth1949Place of birthMadison, Wisconsin, U.S.Date of deathPlace of death
Finland and Estonia confirm LNG terminal | Yle Uutiset | yle.fi
Thu, 20 Nov 2014 02:40
Gasum's Coral Energy LNG vessel at sea.Image: GasumAfter years of quibbling, Finland and Estonia have finally reached an agreement on the placement of a large liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminal that will serve as the base of new gas pipeline connecting the two countries. The terminal question was the final roadblock to moving ahead with the project. Prime Minister Alexander Stubb announced the accord on Monday evening, saying the LNG pipeline will be completed at the latest by 2019.
It was agreed that a LNG terminal would be built on both the Finnish and Estonian sides of the line, dependent on EU funding. If all goes according to plan, the Finnish terminal would be located near Inkoo. Finland's terminal would be significantly larger than its Estonian equivalent, something the Estonians resisted strongly at first.
Stubb negotiated the pact on Monday evening with Estonia's Prime Minister Taavi Rµivas. Stubb said the two statesmen discussed many issues, including Latvia's infrastructure ability to collect and store natural gas. He says the decision is very important for both Finland and Estonia and believes that 75 percent of the financing may be secured from the European Union.
''It is paramount that the pipeline and the terminals are built as quickly as possible,'' said Rµivas.
''LNG is the future,'' chimed in Stubb, who wouldn't reveal the total cost of the project, but estimated that it could run into hundreds of millions of euros.
Minister for Economic Affairs Jan Vapaavuori said the pipeline on its own shouldn't be built without local terminals.
''The whole thing must be economically viable, since at the end of the day, the costs of the investment will be transferred to the gas customers,'' says Vapaavuori.
Rµivas: Dependence on Russia a big problemStubb said that Estonia and Finland arrived at a consensus for two reasons.
''The first was a European Council decision a few weeks ago to improve gas and energy security, and the second was that this project has been in the works for several years and we needed to cross the finish line. We attained a satisfactory compromise with the Estonian Prime Minister, in cooperation with officials, that covers both the terminals and the pipeline,'' said Stubb.
Estonia's Prime Minister Taavi Rµivas noted that reliance on a single source of fuel is problematic in itself, but dependency on Russia is double the trouble. He maintains that the LNG agreement will benefit both countries.
''We already have excellent electricity grid connections that work as a positive example. Now we will follow suit with the gas equivalent,'' he said.
Gasum on board, competition growsGas company Gasum's Managing Director Johanna Lamminen says news of an agreement is a positive step in the right direction for Finland.
''Liquefied natural gas is a very clean alternative to oil-based products as we transition to a carbon-neutral future. Gasum is heavily investing in developing LNG networks,'' she says. The LNG would be transported in specially designed ships, while the pipeline would contain standard natural gas.
Antto Vihma of Finland's Institute of International Affairs says the LNG terminal and pipeline from Estonia will bring the country added competition on the natural gas market.
''I can't think of any downsides to this investment. It will diversify our fuel supply and bring much-needed competition,'' says Vihmaa, continuing, ''We could for example enter into agreements with Qatar, possibly the US and Norway, or other future LNG suppliers. We could maybe even get a better price. There have been precedents in Europe where the price of natural gas has gone down once there was more competition.''
Politicians sound offFinland's Finance Minister Antti Rinne was pleased to hear that the two countries have reached an agreement, even if EU funding is pending.
''It is important in terms of the security of our energy supply and gas in particular. It will also bring jobs, little by little,'' he said in a morning television appearance.
''I believe that the funding will eventually be a mix of private, public and EU money,'' said Rinne, but would not comment on how much the Finnish State would be willing to invest in the project.
Chair of the parliamentary finance committee Mauri Pekkarinen, a long-term Centre Party MP and three-time Minister in previous governments, is sceptical.
''We don't need any more pollutant natural gas in Finland. What we need is clean, emission-free biogas,'' said Pekkarinen in a radio interview.
''The project is extremely expensive. I think it would be smart to carefully assess the project many times before we go any farther. Is it a worthwhile project and does Finland really need so much of this kind of polluting energy in the future?'' he asks.
Ebola Strikes Mali Just as Vaccination Effort Gets Under Way
Thu, 20 Nov 2014 02:49
Public health officials in Mali are scrambling to trace over 200 people who may have been in contact with a religious leader who died of Ebola there this week. The 70-year-old imam had crossed the border from Guinea, where the current West African outbreak began last December and has now infected more than 14,000 and killed at least 5,000. (Related: "From Senegal and Nigeria, 4 Lessons on How to Stop Ebola.")
His caregivers in Bamako, Mali's capital, failed to recognize that he was infected with the deadly virus, and many people came to visit the religious leader while he was ill. After his death, his body was cleaned, again without realizing the risk for contagion.
His burial in the border town of Kour(C)mal(C), Guinea, was well attended. A nurse who treated him has already died, and a technician who gave him a sonogram is sick with the disease. Several other people who came in contact with the imam have died of unknown causes, including family members who rode in the car he was transported in.
Ironically, the cluster of new cases comes at the same time that an experimental Ebola vaccine is being tested on health care workers in Mali. Myron Levine, director of the Center for Vaccine Development at the University of Maryland's School of Medicine, has spent the past four decades developing, improving, and piloting new vaccines. Now Levine is collaborating with health officials in Mali to test the new Ebola vaccine. He talked with National Geographic about the new outbreak and the progress of the vaccine trials.
Why are we seeing Ebola in Mali now?
Mali shares a very long border with Guinea. It's a porous border. On the main crossing points there's control, but in the hinterland, anyone can go from Mali to Guinea and back. The countries are extremely similar. The tribal languages and customs'--the difference in nationality is pretty artificial for many parts along the border. (See "Mapping the Spread of Ebola.")
So, is a better question how have they managed to avoid it for this long?
We have been expecting for months and months that sooner or later there would be importations and some disease.
Mali seemed to have handled its one previous case well, tracing more than a hundred people who had come into contact with a sick two-year-old and tracking them for three weeks to confirm they did not fall ill.
We were feeling quite good about this. Then this other importation occurred, which is much more complex. It's really a Murphy's Law-type importation.
So what could go wrong, did go wrong. Not only was the victim's infection undetected, but he was someone whose body would likely draw contact after his death.
All bad luck. The planets are not well aligned on this one.
A new cluster of Ebola cases centers around the Pasteur Clinic in Bamako, Mali, where an infected man from Guinea was taken last week.
A situation like this would seem to underscore the urgency of finding a vaccine. I understand you were working with colleagues here in Mali testing a promising one when this latest outbreak occurred.
It's one of two leading candidates. It's the one associated with a big pharmaceutical vaccine manufacturer [GlaxoSmithKline], which has been able to tweak the production and manufacturing methods. (Related: "Long Quest for Ebola Vaccine Slowed by Science, Ethics, Politics.")
It's being tested now in people for the first time?
In the middle of August it had never been in a human being, but it had protected monkeys against a 100 percent lethal challenge of Ebola Zaire [the strain of virus responsible for the outbreak in West Africa]. Because of that, there was great excitement to get this vaccine tested.
First it was tested in healthy people in the United States and Europe, and now you've moved on to Mali. How many people have you vaccinated there?
As of Monday, we have immunized 50 subjects with three different dosage levels. We're waiting for more vaccine to come in. Had it arrived when we hoped, we would have been near 80 subjects. But it's been delayed several days now coming in. It's been a tough week in Mali.
After someone is vaccinated, how do you tell in healthy people whether the vaccine is effective?
We're looking for an antibody against a key virulence protein of the Ebola virus. When [specimens from all 80 people who have been vaccinated] are tested, it will be possible to make a final decision about what the dosage levels should be for field trials and future manufacture.
So far, you've seen no significant side effects from the vaccine?
No. [We] haven't.
You're also looking to see which dose is most effective?
It's the type of vaccine where a weakened virus that cannot replicate in a human being is used, but it's live. By being alive, the nonspecific immune system sees it as a pathogen, a bad germ, and mounts a nonspecific defense. The higher the dose you give, the stronger the immune response. We have tested moderate doses. We also want to use the lowest possible dose so we'll have enough to vaccinate more people.
And you'll be vaccinating health care workers first?
All the subjects are health care workers. In the three main affected countries, 10 percent of the deaths have been in health care workers. If there were some slip in the use of personal protective equipment (PPE) that health care workers wear when they're in contact with Ebola patients, we hope the vaccine can be life-saving.
That was always the goal when we started in August, to be able to come up with extra protection for this cadre of people. It doesn't mean they aren't going to use PPE, but we'll give them a bit of confidence or courage or hope that they have something more. (See "Doctors and Nurses Risk Everything to Fight Ebola in West Africa.")
Will the vaccine also work to help people who know they've already been exposed'--like family members or health care workers?
With the other leading vaccine, when someone inadvertently had a needle stick with a needle contaminated with Ebola, that person was given this other vaccine immediately and didn't get Ebola. But it's hard to know whether that was a real challenge [whether they would have developed Ebola without the vaccine] or not.
With the vaccine we're working with, we don't yet know whether giving it during incubation'--after exposure but before there's onset of disease'--whether you can build up enough immunity fast enough to be able to preclude onset of clinical disease. (Related: "Tracking a Serial Killer: Could Ebola Mutate to Become More Deadly?")
When you started the vaccine trial in Mali, you didn't know there would also be an Ebola outbreak there. How is the arrival of Ebola affecting your research and vice versa?
The person who drew the blood from the two-year-old [to confirm that she had Ebola], that doctor was the first vaccinee. A couple of weeks [after his vaccination,] this imported case came and we had to send someone up country to draw the blood. If you've got to send someone, why not send someone who, in addition to knowing how to use PPE, also is vaccinated?
So these vaccinated health care workers may be able to make a difference if more cases are reported in Mali?
Eighty vaccinations gives us a cadre that's big enough to be able to use them for treatment of Ebola patients and contact tracing where the contacts may be ill already or on their way.
Why did you choose to do the trial in Mali?
Originally for the reason that there was no Ebola in Mali and there was the possibility that it could or would cross the border. That would allow the very first trials to be done without any chance of contact with the Ebola virus.
During this testing phase, you need to make sure that the people you're vaccinating aren't already infected?
Having a population without subclinical infections that could confuse the readouts was why Mali was initially so attractive.
Do you worry that even if the vaccine is proved effective that we won't have enough supply? Can drug manufacturer GSK make enough of it to have an effect?
This is a disease where you would not expect to immunize the entire population, like you do with measles or [meningitis], where everyone is pretty much at risk. There's amplified transmission in health care settings, with traditional burials, and when you are in the home of a case taking care of someone.
A relatively small amount of vaccine used in a very propitious way could conceivably interrupt transmission if'--and that's capital I, capital F, underlined and bolded'--the vaccine shows efficacy similar to what was seen in monkeys. We'll know for sure by the end of December.
This interview has been edited and condensed.
Health workers spray disinfectants at a mosque in Bamako where the body of an infected imam was washed.
Ebola vaccine trials under way in Mali | World news | The Guardian
Thu, 20 Nov 2014 02:48
A health worker screens a man entering Mali from Guinea at the border, in Kouremale. Photograph: Joe Penney/Reuters
Health workers in Mali have been given an experimental vaccine against Ebola designed to boost the immunity of those on the frontline of the battle against the disease, which has so far claimed more than 3,800 lives in west Africa.
Mali has no Ebola cases but it borders Guinea, where the outbreak began. The trials are taking place to determine whether the potential vaccine is safe and that it does at least have some sort of protective effect.
It is particularly important to test its effects on health workers, who in Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia are at the sharp end of the battle against the virus.
Safety trials began at Oxford University and in the US a couple of weeks ago. The healthy people who volunteered have so far shown no ill effects, so the trials have moved into Africa itself.
''This research will give us crucial information about whether the vaccine is safe, well-tolerated and capable of stimulating adequate immune responses in the highest priority target population '' healthcare workers in west Africa,'' said Prof Myron Levine, director of the centre for vaccine development at the University of Maryland, which is running the trial in conjunction with the Malian ministry of health.
''If it works, in the foreseeable future it could help alter the dynamic of this epidemic by interrupting transmission to healthcare and other exposed frontline workers.''
At this point, the researchers hope to establish that there are no significant ill effects, beyond perhaps a temporarily sore arm. But they will also be testing blood samples of the volunteers to ensure there is an antibody response, which is the signal that the vaccine may teach the immune system to recognise the virus and fight it off. Until it is used in health workers treating people with Ebola, however, there will be no real proof that it works.
The trials are proceeding with unprecedented speed with the cooperation of a large number of international organisations and governments, in the hope of having something available that is at least partially protective before the end of the year.
Health workers, who are desperately needed on the Ebola frontline, have been worst hit by the disease because they are in close physical contact with sick patients. There are not enough protective suits, particularly in remote areas, and there are risks of coming into contact with the virus when the suit is taken off, unless it has been thoroughly disinfected while still worn.
Three health workers in Mali have so far been vaccinated and 37 more will follow in the next few weeks. The vaccine is delivered by a cold virus, which does not cause any illness but delivers a single Ebola virus protein that is harmless by itself but can teach the immune system to recognise and respond to the whole virus in the future.
The vaccine has been designed by the vaccine research centre of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases in Bethesda, Maryland. It is being manufactured by the British drug company GlaxoSmithKline and the funding is partly from the Wellcome Trust in the UK.
ANALYSIS: US Approaches Ebola With Militarism, Not Medical Intervention
Wed, 19 Nov 2014 20:46
The U.S. and Cuba take wildly different approaches to many issues. On Ebola and African development, the U.S. brings militarism to the table, while par for its revolutionary course, Cuba promotes education and health care.
Army Stf. Sgt. Samuel Hines, left, helps Cpl. Zachary Wicker tape gloves to his uniform in Fort Bliss, Texas, Tuesday, Oct. 14, 2014. About 500 Fort Bliss soldiers are preparing for deployment to West Africa where they will provide support in a military effort to contain the Ebola outbreak.
Addressing the United Nations during a Nov. 13 briefing on Ebola, Cuban Ambassador to the U.N. Rodolfo Reyes Rodriguez insisted upon sustainable development in Africa. Reyes' speech weaved together aspects of historical and contemporary Cuban internationalism '-- an element featured strongly in Fidel Castro's speeches, especially those condemning capitalist and imperialist exploitation.
Of particular significance is Fidel's Oct. 12, 1979 speech to the 34th U.N. General Assembly, in which he denounced capitalist exploitation and the degradation of human rights by powers perpetrating various acts of violence against subjugated nations. ''It is not possible to speak of peace in the name of millions of human beings who die yearly of hunger, of curable disease throughout the world,'' he told the U.N. General Assembly.
Cuban internationalism '' a response consistently given to impoverished and otherwise struggling nations '' has driven the island nation's response to a host of natural disasters and disease outbreaks, providing an alternative to the militarized approach of the U.S., which treats humanitarian crises as occasions to exploit nations and assert the country's dominance.
In his recent speech to the U.N., which provided an overview of the current situation in Africa within a global context, Reyes expounded upon Cuba's contributions to the continent. In the past 55 years, he said, more than 76,000 Cubans have served in 39 African countries '-- a reflection of what Fidel stated about the willingness of Cubans to export the internationalist aspect of the revolution in his autobiography ''My Life: Fidel Castro with Ignacio Ramonet.''
To date, 24,486 doctors from 33 countries have graduated following courses at the Latin American Medical School (ELAM), which bears the inscription of a quote by Fidel: ''This will be a battle of solidarity against selfishness.'' On Nov. 15, the school celebrated the 15th anniversary of its founding, honoring Fidel and President Raul Castro.
In line with the vision of both Fidel and Che Guevara with regard to the concept of revolution within the realms of education and health care, the school stands as an emblem of international cooperation and solidarity, offering an alternative approach that embodies the importance of emancipation and elimination of capitalist prestige attached to medical professions in the West.
Colonial dominance and AFRICOMAccording to a report on Granma, Cuba has sent three medical brigades to battle Ebola in Sierra Leone, Guinea and Liberia and trained 256 professionals from the Henry Reeve International Contingent of Doctors Specialized in Disasters and Serious Epidemics.
Reyes' speech to the U.N. delves further into the necessity of combating Ebola through an internationalist approach and one that opposes exploitation. Addressing the international community, Reyes stated: ''It is necessary to counteract Ebola; it is likewise necessary the allocation, in a sustained and predictable manner, of human, material and financial resources for Africa's development.''
Within a wider context that can be applied to the current epidemic in the aforementioned countries, Reyes' strong statement reflects centuries of colonial dominance and pillaging on the continent that, in recent years, has been characterized by imperial intervention from all ends of the political spectrum. Colonization and resource exploitation, as well as the U.S. support of dictatorial rule, have contributed to the subjugation of Africa '-- a continent that is constantly manipulated and highlighted within the contexts of poverty, illness and natural resources. Quite simply, Africa's existence within the imperialist framework is a commodity expected to safeguard the continuation of capitalism.
Meanwhile, AFRICOM '-- the U.S. African Command that provides logistical support to USAID in West Africa '-- has published a transcript of an Ebola briefing between the U.S. Department of Defense and the Pentagon on Oct. 7 which prioritizes, above all else, ''regional coordination of U.S. military support to the U.S. and international relief efforts.'' This follows a paraphrasing of President Barack Obama's statement that has defined prevention as a matter of national security. As Gen. David M. Rodriguez stated: ''The president considers containing the spread of Ebola to be a national security priority that requires mobilizing our collective resources to enable the success of the international effort.''
Success in U.S. terms, therefore, is determined by a military approach and a demand that the international community adhere to the dictate, rather than seek a solution to a humanitarian problem. Working in collaboration with AFRICOM is USAID '-- the allegedly humanitarian organization that, according to its Ebola page, partners ''to end extreme poverty and promote resilient democratic societies while advancing our security and prosperity.''
The Cuban perspective on preventing the spread of Ebola is, according to Reyes, based on the foundations of the Cuban health care system, thus requiring ''systematic and ongoing work, as well as discipline, rigor and exigency in the compliance with medical protocols.''
On the contrary, the U.S. prevention framework is limited to the security of its personnel. A considerable portion of the briefing transcript concerns security provisions for diplomatic staff in embassies, military protection for U.S. staff, contamination risk to U.S. staff working directly with Liberian personnel, and rules of engagement in the hypothetical event that Ebola patients would force their way into off-limits areas.
The internationalist approachJorge Perez, the head of Cuba's top tropical medicine institute, points to a map, showing the location of the field hospital set up to train doctors in the fight against Ebola, in Havana, Cuba, Friday, Oct. 17, 2014. Cuba has sent 165 doctors to Sierra Leone and plans to send 296 more to Liberia and Guinea, the largest commitment of medical personnel so far. Perez says Cuba is ready to send more doctors as long as there is enough funding and infrastructure to support them.
Meanwhile, as the U.S. persists in its security strategy, Cuba has been actively involved in the internationalist approach toward preventing the spread of Ebola through the same values that characterize the Cuban Revolution and its immediate goals: education and health care.
Last month, Cuba hosted a seminar to educate Cuban and international medical personnel on disease prevention. Representatives of international health organizations such as the Pan American Health Organization and World Health Organization were also in attendance. According to the Cuban News Agency, seminar participants also noted the importance of setting up epidemiological surveillance and logistics for the handling of infected patients, delivering specimen samples to labs keeping international references, as well as standardizing personal protection equipment and the protocol for pricing and distributing this equipment in the event of an emergency.
Further, the island nation is now offering an international course on preventing and fighting the spread of Ebola. The course, offered at the Pedro Kouri Tropical Medicine Institute in Havana, was organized based on suggestions made during the October seminar. It is the first initiative in the Americas to offer comprehensive education in this particular field.
In his address to the U.N., Reyes noted that Cuba is committed to continuing to provide assistance in prevention, training and counseling with regard to Ebola to all countries in Latin America and the Caribbean '' a stark contrast to the insular strategy outlined by the U.S.
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Recapturing Growth in Ebola-Stricken West Africa | USAID Impact
Wed, 19 Nov 2014 06:35
With funding and support from USAID, construction crews work quickly to build a new Ebola treatment unit in Monrovia, Liberia, in front of the former Ministry of Defense building, Oct. 1, 2014 / Morgana Wingard
Unlike a civil war or natural disaster, an epidemic does not destroy property. But it sharply increases the cost of doing business, with powerful effects on employment and investment.
This is happening in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone where the secondary impacts of the Ebola crisis have been seen in terms of shuttered businesses and closed schools. But just as economies can stall during an epidemic, we also know what expedites their recovery'--a robust business climate that encourages private sector investment.
New Ebola cases continue to be recorded in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone, but as health workers have begun to contain the epidemic, we are already turning our attention, in partnership with host governments, to the task of restoring business activity in these countries. Liberia and Sierra Leone had been growing strongly before the crisis, driven largely by foreign direct investment in the mining sector; Guinea's growth was weaker but had been expected to increase in 2014. All three economies have contracted sharply in the latter half of 2014, with full-year gross domestic products now expected to be at or below 2013 levels.
A first look at a 25-bed critical care hospital'--staffed by U.S. medical professionals'--in Harbel, Liberia, that will treat all Ebola health care workers in the country, Oct. 15, 2014 / Morgana Wingard
Public and private investment plans have been scaled back, suggesting that slow growth will linger through 2015 even if the epidemic is contained early in the year. This is actually not driven primarily by the loss of labor to sickness and health care, but rather by what economic epidemiologists call ''social distancing'''--when people avoid interacting with each other in order to avoid a perceived risk of viral transmission.
The benefits to workers, firms and farms to restoring normal economic activity can provide a powerful counterbalance to the effects of social distancing, suggesting that capacity utilization, employment and income will rebound as the epidemic is contained. But tomorrow's economy depends on today's investment. The pace of economic recovery will therefore depend crucially on how private-sector firms view the evolving business environment.
Containing the outbreak will do much to restore that environment, but firms across the size spectrum'--including potential new entrants'--will be wary of their exposure to health-related losses even as the overall health system is strengthened. Reforms that enhance the quality of regulation and reduce the costs of doing business are therefore crucial components of the recovery effort.
Pick-up trucks-turned-ambulances drive hours through dirt roads in Bong County, Liberia, to collect patients, Oct. 9, 2014 / Morgana Wingard
The World Bank's newly released business-climate survey of 189 economies'--Doing Business 2015:Going Beyond Efficiency'--highlighted sub-Saharan Africa as home to five of the 10 top reformers, four of which are in West Africa. ''Doing business'' reforms are changes in the procedure, time or cost of conducting business in a country, such as reducing the time it takes to get a construction permit or the number of approvals required to open a business. USAID has supported the Doing Business project since its inception in 2004.
Several of the highlighted business reforms from this year's top reformers in West Africa (Benin, Cote d'Ivoire, Senegal and Togo) were the result of coordinated harmonization efforts led by the Council of Ministers of the Organization for Harmonization of Business Law in Africa. These efforts encouraged business-friendly innovations throughout the region such as one-stop shops for registering a business, easier land registry and transfer processes, and improved credit information systems'--including in the countries most affected by the outbreak.
Liberia and Sierra Leone took the impressive step of establishing public credit registries in the past year, making it easier to get credit in these countries. The resolve demonstrated by member governments in setting a regional reform agenda and implementing meaningful changes for business also bodes well for increased regional trade, which USAID supports through its regional Trade Hubs in West, East and Southern Africa.
USAID has been working with many of the reformers highlighted in this year's report and will continue to partner with governments in the region as they tackle both the immediate challenges and the secondary effects of Ebola. Better regulatory environments, supported by governments taking the right steps to attract both domestic and foreign investment, will help these countries recover and prosper in the future.
ABOUT THE AUTHORStephen O'Connell is the Chief Economist for USAID
Ebola | U.S. Agency for International Development
Wed, 19 Nov 2014 21:25
The ongoing Ebola outbreak in West Africa is the largest and most-protracted ever recorded and it shows no signs of waning as the affected countries have been unable to control the outbreak on their own.
Since December 2013, Guinea, Liberia, Nigeria, and Sierra Leone have reported 14,068 suspected and confirmed cases. New cases continue to be recorded indicating that the outbreak '' which has an overall fatality rate of 55%'' has not been contained.
In response to the West Africa Ebola Outbreak, USAID has activated a Disaster Assistance Response Team (DART). The DART, comprising team members in Monrovia, Liberia, and Conakry, Guinea, will coordinate planning, operations, logistics, administrative issues, and other critical areas of the interagency response. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) will staff public health and medical response positions on the DART.
The United States is building a high-quality, 25-bed critical care hospital capable of treating EVD in Monrovia, staffed by licensed U.S. medical professionals for health care workers and international '‹responders on the frontlines. The United States is working with the UN, EU, and other partners to ensure necessary medical evacuation is available when indicated for our international partners should they contract Ebola or for other essential medical reasons. We are also taking concrete action to expand our capacity; so far the United States and our partners have met every medical evacuation request from an international responder. For more information click here.
The spread of the deadly Ebola virus in Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone is also a reminder of the vast development needs that persist in some of the region's poorest countries despite rapid economic growth and investment. As a development agency, USAID is very concerned about the current Ebola outbreak in West Africa '' and its potential for expansion '' because of the health, economic, and social impacts this disease is having in the affected countries. We are guided by our Agency's mission statement - we partner to end extreme poverty and promote resilient democratic societies while advancing our security and prosperity '' in our efforts to support countries' efforts to build their resilience to this threat.
BBC News - #BBCtrending: West African musicians produce their own Ebola appeal song
Thu, 20 Nov 2014 04:37
Band Aid 30 is the most famous song raising awareness about Ebola, with millions of online views and downloads. But in West Africa, where the epidemic is concentrated, a different song is gaining attention.
Some of West Africa's most famous musicians have joined forces to make an Ebola appeal song, with profits going to Medicins Sans Frontieres. Africa Stop Ebola is a home-grown project from the heart of the Ebola crisis.
Made before the recent release of the Band Aid 30 charity song, it has seen a surge in online views thanks to Bob Geldof's hit. But while the former aims to raise money to combat Ebola, the lyrics of Africa Stop Ebola are meant to educate Africans about the disease, as well as giving them hope.
#BBCtrending reports.
Video journalist: Greg Brosnan
Want more? You can watch all our videos on BBC Trending's YouTube channel.
You can follow BBC Trending on Twitter @BBCtrending. All our stories are at bbc.com/trending
public health detection infrastructure-Remarks by the President Before Meeting with National Security and Public Health Teams on Ebola | The White House
Wed, 19 Nov 2014 07:59
The White House
Office of the Press Secretary
For Immediate Release
November 18, 2014
Roosevelt Room
11:05 A.M. EST
THE PRESIDENT: Well, I've got my team here to talk about Ebola. But before I do, I want to just make mention of the horrific attacks that took place in Jerusalem.
We know that two attackers senselessly and brutally attacked innocent worshippers in a synagogue during their morning prayers. Obviously, we condemn in the strongest terms these attacks. A number of people were wounded, and four people were killed, including three American citizens. So this is a tragedy for both nations, Israel as well as the United States. And our hearts go out to the families who obviously are undergoing enormous grief right now.
Secretary Kerry has spoken to Prime Minister Netanyahu. President Abbas has strongly condemned the attacks. Tragically, this is not the first loss of life that we have seen in recent months. Too many Israelis have died. Too many Palestinians have died. And at this difficult time, I think it's important for both Palestinians and Israelis to try to work together to lower tensions and to reject violence.
The murderers for today's outrageous acts represent the kind of extremism that threatens to bring all of the Middle East into the kind of spiral from which it's very difficult to emerge. And we know how this violence can get worse over time. But we have to remind ourselves that the majority of Palestinians and Israelis overwhelmingly want peace and to be able to raise their families knowing they're safe and secure. The United States wants to work with all parties involved to make that a reality, and to isolate the kind of extremists that are bringing about this terrible carnage.
I now want to turn to the topic of this meeting, the Ebola situation. Obviously, some of the attention on the crisis has ebbed over the last several weeks, but the challenges remain. We have seen most recently Dr. Martin Salia, a surgeon who contracted Ebola in Sierra Leone -- he was flown back to the United States, to the Nebraska facility, to try to get treated. Unfortunately, he was already in critical condition, and, sadly, passed away early Monday morning. So our thoughts and prayers are with his family.
Beyond this tragedy, though, we've established that when Ebola is promptly diagnosed and treated, then we have a great chance of curing it. Of the eight patients who were treated promptly in the United States, all eight have recovered. They are Ebola free and they are back with their families.
And after the first incident of Ebola in Dallas, and the unfortunate passing of Mr. Duncan, we promptly acted based on some of the lessons that were learned from Dallas. We've put in place new protocols for protective gear for our health workers. We ramped up our training and outreach for health workers. We've added screening for travelers to the United States. We're funneling all these passengers into five airports. And we put in place rules for public health workers to monitor travelers for 21 days after they arrive here.
As we saw in New York with Dr. Craig Spencer -- one of the courageous health workers who has voluntarily traveled to the region to try to fight this disease -- our efforts to identify, isolate, and then treat Ebola patients can work. America has proven that it can handle the isolated cases that may occur here.
But as long as the outbreak continues to rage in the three countries in West Africa -- Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea -- this is still going to be a major -- not just for America, but for the entire world.
We are nowhere near out of the woods yet in West Africa. The good news is, in parts of Liberia, our efforts, both civilian and military, are really paying dividends, and we are seeing the curve bending so that we are on track, with diligence, dealing with the hotspots that may still reemerge, to actually get a handle on that disease.
We're still seeing an increase of cases in Sierra Leone, although our British counterparts are doing an excellent job working with us and the international community to coordinate the situation there. In Guinea, the numbers are lower than in Sierra Leone or Liberia, but they're often in very remote areas that are hard to reach, and some of the international coordination still needs to improve.
The bottom line, though, is that we know how to treat this disease given that it has emerged as such a large, significant outbreak in these areas, and we recently saw some cases in Mali. It underscores how important it is to continue to push forward until we stamp out this disease entirely in that region. Until we do, there are threats of additional outbreaks. And given the nature of international travel, it means that everybody has some measure of risk.
Here at home, we've made great progress in preparing our health care system to deal with any possible threat. Our scientists continue to make progress with vaccines and treatments, but we've got plenty of work to do.
So all of this means that, although we should feel optimistic about our capacity to solve the Ebola crisis, we cannot be complacent simply because the news attention on it has waned. We have to stay with it. And that's why I'm calling on Congress to make sure that it approves before it leaves the emergency funding request that we put forward to respond to Ebola, both domestically and internationally.
The funding is going to help us strengthen our domestic health systems so that we can respond to any future cases that may arise in the United States wherever they might happen. It's going to devote much-needed resources to sustain our efforts in West Africa. It will accelerate the testing and approval of Ebola vaccines and treatments. And it's going to help vulnerable countries to, in the future, prevent, detect, and respond to outbreaks of various communicable diseases before they become epidemics.
And that, ultimately, is good for our public health. The more we can catch these things early where they begin, the less risks we have over the long term. And as I've said before, in some ways, we are lucky Ebola is a very difficult disease to transmit. If we have a comparably lethal disease that is airborne, we have much bigger problems. So this gives us an opportunity to start putting in place the kind of public health detection infrastructure around the globe that is necessary should additional pandemics or epidemics or outbreaks arise.
All this makes it necessary for Congress to act. This is not a Democratic issue; it is not a Republican issue -- this is a basic issue of the health and safety of the American people. And so I hope that Congress is on the case on this issue before they leave.
Thank you very much, everybody.
END11:13 A.M. EST
As it happened: Water charges revealed to the nation - Independent.ie
Thu, 20 Nov 2014 02:15
Sheila Giles Mullan (left) joins protestors outside Leinster House in Dublin as the Government are due to announce new water charges. Photo: PAAfter months of speculation, questions and protests, the Government finally revealed the much-anticipated Irish Water charges for homes nationwide. Denise Calnan was on the live blog as the day's events and reaction rolled out.
Black Pete
'Recordomzet door discussie Zwarte Piet' | NU - Het laatste nieuws het eerst op NU.nl
Wed, 19 Nov 2014 18:19
Dat maakte de brancheorganisatie woensdag bekend.
Vorig jaar ging het om 515 miljoen euro aan extra omzet. De winkeliersvereniging schrijft de stijging toe aan ''de toenemende belangstelling voor het oer-Hollandse feest als gevolg van de discussie over Zwarte Piet.''
Ook het gestegen consumentenvertrouwen draagt bij aan de positieve stemming. ''Consumenten durven weer geld uit te geven en grijpen sinterklaas aan om weer eens flink uit te pakken.''
Beweeg de cursor over het diagram om de percentages te zien. De gegevens zijn afkomstig van Detailhandel Nederland. - (c)NU.nl/Jerry Vermanen
Vroeg beginDetailhandel Nederland zegt blij te zijn dat consumenten zich niet laten afschrikken door de commotie rond het sinterklaasfeest. ''Integendeel, het pakt goed uit. Nog nooit was er zo vroeg in het jaar al aandacht voor het leukste kinderfeest van Nederland'', stelt de organisatie.
Een woordvoerder van Detailhandel Nederland vertelt NU.nl dat consumenten meer "geframed" zijn om aan sinterklaas te denken als ze door een binnenstad lopen.
Onverminderd populair zijn dit jaar kleine cadeautjes die kinderen in de schoen krijgen, vanaf het moment dat de Sint in het land is.
Traditionele cadeausVoor pakjesavond op 5 december gaan volgens de winkeliers vooral traditionele cadeaus als speelgoed, spelletjes en parfum als warme broodjes over de toonbank.
Internetwinkel bol.com signaleert daarnaast ook veel vraag naar creatief en interactief speelgoed. Een nieuwe trend is volgens de internetwinkel Super Sand, 'magisch' zand dat eenvoudig is te bewerken, maar een structuur heeft waardoor het makkelijk hecht.
Vaste successen blijven verder Playmobil en LEGO. Voor volwassenen is er veel vraag naar gezelschapsspellen als Istanbul en De Legenden van Andor.
Hoewel de ondernemers verwachten dat de discussie positief zal uitpakken, ziet Detailhandel Nederland winkeliers ook worstelen hoe om te gaan met de berichtgeving over het feest. "Het is wel echt een belangrijk feest voor winkeliers."
"Dat er discussie over is, is natuurlijk heel vervelend, maar misschien is de stijgende omzet (C)(C)n van de weinig voordelen hiervan."
VoordeligDe Sint is dit jaar overigens voordeliger uit. Een zak met cadeaus voor zowel jong als oud is 0,2 procent goedkoper dan een jaar geleden, blijkt uit berekeningen van het economisch bureau van ING.
Het zijn dit jaar vooral de pakjes voor volwassenen waaraan de Sint minder kwijt is dan vorig jaar. Een zak met populaire cadeaus voor grote mensen werd 1,5 procent goedkoper.
Door: ANP/NU.nl
EMAIL: Danish news boardcast on influenza vaccine
Thu, 20 Nov 2014 15:31
Hi, I was listening to th=e latest No Agenda and when you played the doctor Kiki clip I was reminded =of a clip in the news the night before. The clip ( in Danish - sorr=y )http://nyhederne.tv2.dk/samfund/2014-=11-18-er-du-sund-og-rask-saa-drop-influenzavaccinationenSummery:The Danish board of health doesn't recommend that= healthy adult get the vaccine, because it doesn't actually do anything= ( not major at least ). You need to vaccinate 71 adult to prevent just one= person from getting sick. It's extremely interesting to =see people offering the vaccine try to defend it by claiming "Well tha=t's statistics, but we choose to offer it anyway" and "Everyo=ne has their reasons to get the vaccine".Here='s a link to the study that was the basis for the story:http://onlinelibrary.=wiley.com/doi/10.1002/14651858.CD001269.pub5/abstract;jsessionid=3D27782D67=0FC952E4D33913452C3F601B.f01t04-- Simon $5 a month douchbag giving level.
Shut Up Slave!
Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Mon, 17 Nov 2014 09:55
Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of CrowdsOriginal edition
AuthorCharles MackayCountryUnited KingdomLanguageEnglishSubjectCrowd psychology, economic bubblesGenreNon-fictionPublisherRichard Bentley, LondonPublication date
1841Media typePrintExtraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds is a history of popular folly by Scottish journalist Charles Mackay, first published in 1841. The book chronicles its subjects in three parts: "National Delusions", "Peculiar Follies", and "Philosophical Delusions". Despite its journalistic and rather sensational style, the book has gathered a body of academic support as a work of considerable importance in the history of social psychology and psychopathology.
The subjects of Mackay's debunking include economic bubbles, alchemy, crusades, witch-hunts, prophecies, fortune-telling, magnetisers (influence of imagination in curing disease), shape of hair and beard (influence of politics and religion on), murder through poisoning, haunted houses, popular follies of great cities, popular admiration of great thieves, duels, and relics. Present day writers on economics, such as Andrew Tobias and Michael Lewis, laud the three chapters on economic bubbles.[1] Scientist and astronomer Carl Sagan mentioned the book in his own discussion about pseudoscience, popular delusions, and hoaxes.[2]
In later editions Mackay added a footnote referencing the Railway Mania of the 1840s as another "popular delusion", of importance at least comparable with the South Sea Bubble. Mathematician Andrew Odlyzko has pointed out, in a published lecture, that Mackay himself played a role in this economic bubble, as leader writer in the Glasgow Argus; and wrote on 2 October 1845 that "There is no reason whatever to fear a crash".[3][4]
Economic bubblesEditAmong the bubbles or financial manias described by Mackay are the South Sea Company bubble of 1711''1720, the Mississippi Company bubble of 1719''1720, and the Dutch tulip mania of the early seventeenth century. According to Mackay, during this bubble, speculators from all walks of life bought and sold tulip bulbs and even futures contracts on them. Allegedly some tulip bulb varieties briefly became the most expensive objects in the world during 1637.[5] Mackay's accounts are enlivened by colorful, comedic anecdotes, such as the Parisian hunchback who supposedly profited by renting out his hump as a writing desk during the height of the mania surrounding the Mississippi Company.
Two modern researchers, Peter Garber and Anne Goldgar, independently conclude that Mackay greatly exaggerated the scale and effects of the Tulip bubble,[6] and Mike Dash, in his modern popular history of the alleged bubble notes that he believes the importance and extent of the tulip mania were overstated.[7]
AlchemistsEditThe section on alchemysts focuses primarily on efforts to turn base metals into gold. Mackay notes that many of these practitioners were themselves deluded, convinced that these feats could be performed if they discovered the correct old recipe or stumbled upon the right combination of ingredients. Although alchemists gained money from their sponsors, mainly noblemen, he notes that the belief in alchemy by sponsors could be hazardous to its practitioners, as it wasn't rare for an unscrupulous noble to imprison a supposed alchemist until he could produce gold.
Other chaptersEditModern PropheciesFortune-TellingThe MagnetisersInfluence of Politics and Religion on the Hair and BeardVolume IIEditCrusadesEditThe history of the crusades is described as a kind of mania of the Middle Ages, precipitated by the pilgrimages of Europeans to the Holy lands. Mackay is generally unsympathetic to the crusaders whom he compares unfavourably to the superior civilisation of Asia. "Europe expended millions of her treasures, and the blood of two millions of her children; and a handful of quarrelsome knights retained possession of Palestine for about one hundred years!"
Kurt Vonnegut'sSlaughterhouse Five quotes part of the introduction to this section: "History in its solemn page informs us that the crusaders were but ignorant and savage men, that their motives were those of bigotry unmitigated, and that their pathway was one of blood and tears."[8]
Witch maniaEditWitch trials in 16th and 17th century Western Europe are the primary focus of the Witch Mania section of the book, which asserts that this was a time when ill fortune was likely to be attributed to supernatural causes. Mackay notes that many of these cases were initiated as a way of settling scores among neighbors or associates, and that extremely low standards of evidence were applied to most of these trials. Mackay claims that "thousands upon thousands" of people were executed as witches over two and a half centuries, with the largest numbers being killed in Germany and Spain.
Other chaptersEditThe Slow PoisonersHaunted HousesPopular Follies of Great CitiesPopular Admiration of Great ThievesDuels and OrdealsRelicsInfluence and modern responsesEditThe book remains in print, and writers continue to discuss its influence, particularly the section on financial bubbles. Financial writer Michael Lewis includes the financial mania chapters in his book The Real Price of Everything: Rediscovering the Six Classics of Economics as one of the six great works of economics, along with writings by Adam Smith, Thomas Malthus, David Ricardo, Thorstein Veblen, and John Maynard Keynes.[1]James Surowiecki in The Wisdom of Crowds takes a different view of crowd behavior, saying that under certain circumstances, crowds or groups may have better information and make better decisions than even the best informed individual.[9] Robert Bartholomew and Hilary Evans wrote Outbreak! The Encyclopedia of Extraordinary Social Behavior to be like a modern extension of Mackay's work which is more sympathetic to the point of view of participants.Financier Bernard Baruch credited the lessons he learned from Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds with his decision to sell all his stock ahead of the financial crash of 1929.[10]Neil Gaiman borrows from the title in an issue of his popular comic series The Sandman, in a story featuring a writer whose novel is titled "...And the Madness of Crowds".[11]Author and executive coach Marshall Goldsmith discussed the book in depth in BusinessWeek, drawing extensive parallels between the financial bubbles Mackay wrote about and financial bubbles today.[12] Other writers also frequently point to the book to explain recent financial bubbles.[13][14][15]Author and journalist Will Self writes a column for New Statesman, 'Madness of Crowds', which Self says takes its title from Mackay's book.[16]Forbes magazine compared Mackay's descriptions of financial bubbles to the Chinese stock bubble of 2007, claiming that the "emotional feedback loop" that drove the Chinese market was very similar to what Mackay described.[17]The book was the initial inspiration for Richard Condie's 1978 National Film Board of Canadaanimated shortJohn Law and the Mississippi Bubble.[18]QuotationsEdit"Men, it has been well said, think in herds; it will be seen that they go mad in herds, while they only recover their senses slowly, and one by one.""Of all the offspring of Time, Error is the most ancient, and is so old and familiar an acquaintance, that Truth, when discovered, comes upon most of us like an intruder, and meets the intruder's welcome.""How flattering to the pride of man to think that the stars on their courses watch over him, and typify, by their movements and aspects, the joys or the sorrows that await him! He, in less proportion to the universe than the all-but invisible insects that feed in myriads on a summer's leaf are to this great globe itself, fondly imagines that eternal worlds were chiefly created to prognosticate his fate.""We go out of our course to make ourselves uncomfortable; the cup of life is not bitter enough to our palate, and we distill superfluous poison to put into it, or conjure up hideous things to frighten ourselves at, which would never exist if we did not make them.""We find that whole communities suddenly fix their minds upon one object, and go mad in its pursuit; that millions of people become simultaneously impressed with one delusion, and run after it, till their attention is caught by some new folly more captivating than the first."ReferencesEditNotes
^ abLewis, Michael (2008). The Real Price of Everything. ^Sagan, Carl (1995). The Demon-Haunted World^MacKay, Charles (1 December 2008). Extraordinary Popular Delusions, the Money Mania: The Mississippi Scheme, the South-sea Bubble, & the Tulipomania. Cosimo, Inc. p. 88. ISBN 978-1-60520-547-2. Retrieved 8 June 2013. ^Odyyzko, Andrew, Charles Mackay's own extraordinary popular delusions and the Railway Mania (2012, PDF), at p. 2.^http://library.wur.nl/tulips/^Garber, Peter M. (2001). Famous First Bubbles. ^Dash, Mike (2001). Tulipomania : The Story of the World's Most Coveted Flower & the Extraordinary Passions It Aroused. ^Vonnegut, Kurt, Jr. (1971). Slaughterhouse Five. ^Surowiecki, James (2004). The Wisdom of Crowds. ^Baruch, Bernard, My Own Story, New York: Henry Holt, 1957, p.242-245.^Gaiman, Neil (1991). The Sandman Vol. 3: Dream Country. ^"The Madness of Crowds, Past and Present". BusinessWeek. Retrieved 2009-10-01. ^"The books cashing in on the crash". The Independent (London). 2009-11-20. Retrieved 2009-11-23. ^Streitfeld, David; and Healy, Jack (2009-04-29). "Phoenix Leads the Way Down in Home Prices". The New York Times. Retrieved 2009-11-23. ^Delasantellis, Julian (2007-03-16). "The subprime dominoes in motion". Asia Times. Retrieved 2010-11-15. ^"To be honest, it's totally random". New Statesman. Retrieved 2009-10-12. ^"China Bubble Mania". Forbes. 2007-05-30. Retrieved 2009-10-30. ^Ohayon, Albert. "John Law and the Mississippi Bubble: The Madness of Crowds". NFB.ca Blog. National Film Board of Canada. Retrieved 22 June 2011. Bibliography
MacKay, Charles (1980). Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds (with a foreword by Andrew Tobias, 1841). New York: Harmony Books. ISBN 978-0-517-54123-4. OCLC 5750576. Dash, Mike (1999). Tulipomania: The Story of the World's Most Coveted Flower and the Extraordinary Passions It Aroused. New York: Crown Publishers. ISBN 978-0-609-60439-7. OCLC 41967150. Garber, Peter M. (2000). Famous First Bubbles: The Fundamentals of Early Manias. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press. ISBN 978-0-262-57153-1. OCLC 43552719. Goldgar, Anne (2007). Tulipmania: Money, Honor, and Knowledge in the Dutch Golden Age. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. ISBN 978-0-226-30125-9. OCLC 76897793. Phillips, Tim (2009). Charles Mackay's Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds: A Modern-day Interpretation of a Finance Classic. Oxford: Infinite Ideas. ISBN 978-1-905-94091-2. External linksEditThe book is in the public domain and is available online from a number of sources:
EMAIL: #boston marathon bombing movie
Thu, 20 Nov 2014 15:31
Too soon?  =3BI'm sure =they will accurately display what happened.http://deadline.com/2014/11/bos=ton-marathon-bombing-film-not-too-soon-say-screenwriters-1201288194/ = =
Weekly Hooker Report
Wiebes zit prostituees achter de broek - AD.nl
Thu, 20 Nov 2014 15:23
Door: Frans Boogaard20-11-14 - 06:22Staatssecretaris Eric Wiebes. (C) ANP.Sekswerkers die zonder contract met de overheid hun bedrijf uitoefenen krijgen vaker de fiscus achter de broek. Staatssecretaris Wiebes (Financin) honoreert daarmee klachten van de rond 300 clubeigenaren en escortbedrijven die sinds 2009 wel met de overheid samenwerken.
Wiebes belooft dat in een brief aan de Kamer. Zowel de sector als de overheid zet de 5 jaar oude samenwerking graag voort. Clubeigenaren hebben ontdekt dat hun contracten met de overheid iets meer administratief werk meebrengen, maar ook minder 'gedoe' met de fiscus.
De Belastingdienst kan zonder veel inspanning rekenen op een gestage inkomstenstroom. Wel vinden de clubeigenaren en sekswerkers dat de Belastingdienst de illegale prostitutie strenger moet aanpakken omdat ze anders concurrentienadeel hebben. Het succes van de regeling blijkt volgens Wiebes uit het feit dat bijna alle clubexploitanten en escortbedrijven er begin dit jaar voor hebben gekozen de samenwerking voort te zetten.
SOCIAL MEDIA ACTIVERENRapporteer een fout in het artikel aan onze redactie
Uber Investor Ashton Kutcher Defends Slandering Critical Journalists
Thu, 20 Nov 2014 03:43
Ashton Kutcher is a walking conflict of interest. He invests his acting fortune into startups like Uber and then promotes those companies without disclosing his financial ties. Now that Uber's culture of sleaze is making headlines across the country, Ashton's back out there defending Uber's exposed plans to discredit reporters who dare criticize Uber.
The actor-cum-capitalist, who has invested in Uber through his venture capital firm A-Grade Investments, tweeted that he doesn't see what's so bad about snooping on "shady" journalists:
Of course, Uber wasn't just targeting "shady" muckrakers. BuzzFeed reports that the company can use their "God View" to spy on any customer:
Tracking customers is easy using an internal company tool called "God View," two former Uber employees told BuzzFeed News. They said God View, which shows the location of Uber vehicles and customers who have requested a car, was widely available to corporate employees. Drivers, who operate as contractors, do not have access to God View.
Early this November, one of the reporters of this story, Johana Bhuiyan, arrived to Uber's New York headquarters in Long Island City for an interview with Josh Mohrer, the general manager of Uber New York. Stepping out of her vehicle '-- an Uber car '-- she found Mohrer waiting for her. "There you are," he said, holding his iPhone and gesturing at it. "I was tracking you."
Even Uber'--which has not held executive Emil Michael accountable for threatening to leak the information about a female reporter's personal life'--distanced itself from the "oppo research" revenge strategy and claimed to be disturbed by the abuse of "God View." They're investigating the general manager who reportedly abused the technology.
But privacy violations that the bad bros of Uber disavowed don't faze Ashton. In his view, we're all public figures'--a planet full of internationally-known actors with millions of dollars and a few dozen startup investments under our belts.
Then he got back to the point: corporations funded by $1.5 billion in venture capital and another billion on the way can't possibly explain their behavior without smearing reporters. The corporations are powerless:
Ashton quickly backed down. Towards the end of his apologist meltdown, he made sure that his ridiculous views did not reflect the views of company he is financing.
That's right, Ashton. Don't let reality get in the way of a good tweetstorm.
Tocontactthe author of this post, please emailkevin@valleywag.com.
Photo: Getty
Uber exec suggests 'digging up dirt' on media critics: BuzzFeed
Thu, 20 Nov 2014 02:38
Over dinner, Michael outlined the notion of hiring a team that could, he said, help Uber fight back against the press - they'd look into "your personal lives, your families," and give the media a taste of its own medicine, according to the BuzzFeed article, written by Ben Smith, the site's editor-in-chief.
"The remarks attributed to me at a private dinner'--borne out of frustration during an informal debate over what I feel is sensationalistic media coverage of the company I am proud to work for'--do not reflect my actual views and have no relation to the company's views or approach," Michael said in a statement.
Read MoreUber CEO is still onthe warpath
Nairi Hourdajian, an Uber spokeswoman said: "We have not, do not and will not investigate journalists. Those remarks have no basis in the reality of our approach."
Companies such as Lyft, Sidecar and UberX, which is a part of black-car service Uber, allow passengers to summon paid rides using apps on their smartphones and have gained in popularity in dozens of U.S. cities over the past few years.
But they face opposition from taxi companies that argue the upstarts do not face the same stringent regulations as do traditional cabs, and insurance companies want ride-sharing drivers to carry more expensive insurance policies.
Janice Dickinson Says She Was Raped by Bill Cosby
Wed, 19 Nov 2014 08:22
Janice Dickinson says Bill Cosby drugged her wine and raped her after promising to help her with her career in the 1980's, detailing the assault in a new interview with Entertainment Tonight.
The model and TV personality told Entertainment Tonight she was in rehab when Cosby reached out to her and offered to fly her to his home in Lake Tahoe. After dinner, he gave her a glass of wine and what she thought was a pain pill.
"The next morning I woke up, and I wasn't wearing my pajamas, and I remember before I passed out that I had been sexually assaulted by this man," she tells ET. "... Before I woke up in the morning, the last thing I remember was Bill Cosby in a patchwork robe, dropping his robe and getting on top of me. And I remember a lot of pain. The next morning I remember waking up with my pajamas off and there was semen in between my legs."
Dickinson says she never confronted Cosby, but the two did communicate through their attorneys when she tried to write about the assault, telling ET his legal team pressured her and her publisher,HarperCollins to remove it from her 2002 autobiography.
A New York woman also reportedly came forward Tuesday to discuss Cosby's alleged proclivities'--Radar Online reports a 66-year-old woman wrote a public Facebook post about an unsettling run-in with the comedian in the 1970s.
When I was 19 years old I lived in Los Angeles and worked at a restaurant called Caf(C) Figaro, which was part owned by Bill Cosby. He used to come in from time to time and one day he offered me a ride home '... I accepted.
Instead, he drove out to the beach and opened a briefcase filled with assorted drugs and kept offering me pills "to relax," which I declined. He began to get sexually aggressive and wouldn't take 'No' for an answer. I freaked out and demanded to be taken home.
[image via AP]
AUDIO-Hannibal Buress Talks Bill Cosby Rape Jokes On 'The Howard Stern Show': 'It's Just Information That's Out There'
Thu, 20 Nov 2014 06:51
NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 30: Comedian Hannibal Buress performs at Stand Up Live! during AWXI at Gotham Comedy Club on September 30, 2014 in New York City. (Photo by Cindy Ord/Getty Images for AWXI) | Cindy Ord via Getty Images
Comedian Hannibal Buress caused a stir this week when jokes he made about rape allegations against Bill Cosby recorded during a set in Philadelphia. On Tuesday, he went on 'The Howard Stern Show' to talk about the backlash.
"It was unexpected," Buress said of the attention that the set received. "It wasn't my intention to make it part of a big discussion. It was just something I was doing at that venue, right there."
Buress said that this is the first time in his 13-year comedy career that his material has generated major controversy. In fact, he noted that he had been performing the bit about Cosby "off and on for six months" before it went viral.
The 'Broad City' star said that he created the bit after reading about the sexual assault allegations against the legendary comedian. Cosby has been accused of raping at least 13 women in assaults that took place as far back as the 1970s. Cosby never responded to the charges and has not been charged with any wrongdoing.
"It's just information that's out there," Buress said. ""I said it and I gotta stand on it, but it is an interesting situation."
Listen to a clip of the interview below:
BIll Cosby Rape Allegations: Why America Took So Long to Wake Up | New Republic
Thu, 20 Nov 2014 06:48
This spring, I taught a graduate seminar on magazine feature writing. One of the assignments was Robert Huber's 2006 Philadelphia Magazine story, ''Dr. Huxtable & Mr. Hyde,'' a thorough run-down of several rape allegations against Bill Cosby, interwoven with the various charges Cosby himself was leveling at black communities across the nation.
Almost none of my students, a racially diverse group of women and men in their twenties and thirties, had ever heard about the sexual assault charges and only a few knew that Cosby had spent recent years trading in respectability politics, telling poor black audiences that their behaviors and culture'--as opposed to systemic racism or structurally enforced inequality of opportunity'--were to blame for the challenges they face. My students didn't know any of this, despite the fact that both these stories had repeatedly been told in depth, and not just in the story I'd assigned them.
Over the course of the past decade, charges that Cosby drugged and sexually assaulted more than a dozen women have been reported in plenty of splashy venues: in Newsweek and Gawker, on-camera on "The Today Show" in 2005; in People magazine in 2006. During the same years, esteemed journalists including Kevin Merida and Ta-Nehisi Coates have dissected the racial messages that Cosby has been delivering around the country. Scholar Michael Eric Dyson even wrote a book about it.
Yet much of this stuff has remained unacknowledged in the context of Cosby celebration. He's received an NAACP Image Award and the Kennedy Center's Mark Twain Award; a year ago, Jon Stewart concluded an interview with Cosby by noting ''This man is the best,'' and this year, upon presenting him with a Lifetime Achievement Award, Chris Rock called him ''the greatest comedian to ever live.''
How, my students wondered, was it possible for such incendiary material to be both public and simultaneously hidden from view, as Tom Scocca put it earlier this year, ''something walled off from our collective understanding of Bill Cosby''?
There are lots of answers to this question: that, as Scocca posited, ''nobody wanted to live in a world where Bill Cosby was a sexual predator''; that, as Brittney Cooper recently suggested in Salon, ''We are not a society given to slaying our patriarchs''; that as Newsweek reporter Katie Baker told Amanda Hess in February, Cosby's accusers were ''imperfect victims, as victims so often are.'' There's also the fact that Chris Rock's superlatives aren't so far off the mark: Bill Cosby is one of the greatest comedians, a man who 30 years ago, as Kelefa Sanneh recently wrote in The New Yorker, created ''a great sitcom, perhaps a perfect sitcom.''
But along with these explanations'--and tied up with many of them'--is another that merits consideration. One reason that we have collectively plugged our ears against a decade of dismal revelations about Bill Cosby is that he made lots of Americans feel good about two things we rarely have reason to feel good about: race and gender. To confront the ugliness of Cosby's alleged criminal misdeeds, especially in light of his rhetoric around racial responsibility, would mean reckoning with what was always fraught, false, or incomplete about his messages. It's a process that is likely to make a lot of people feel very bad'--not just about Cosby, but about ourselves and our nation's persistent inequalities.
One of the reasons that Bill Cosby has been a beloved American comedian for six decades is that he offered one of the most soothing versions of the story of race in America. He was a history-making entertainer whose successes emblematized racial progress within the entertainment industry. He was the first African American man to land a leading role on primetime television drama in ''I Spy.'' Cosby had a doctorate in education, and brought the stories of black city kids to television with ''Fat Albert''; he was a staple on public television with the ''Picture Pages'' segments on PBS that are my earliest television memory.
His most indelible creation was ''The Cosby Show,'' the blockbuster Thursday night sitcom that in 1984 provided the nation with an aspirational vision of a loving, successful, upper-middle-class black family. Scores of African Americans have written both appreciatively and critically about what ''The Cosby Show'' meant to them over the years. As a white girl from a predominantly white suburb who was rarely allowed to watch primetime television, I can still recall my surprise when, 30 years ago, my parents informed me that we were all going to sit down and watch the premiere of ''The Cosby Show'' together.
White people loved ''The Cosby Show,'' especially liberal white people. They loved it because it was a great, funny, well-written, and beautifully performed television show. But also because it offered a warm vision of a world in which shared experience might help Americans of all colors to see past racial divisions and instead focus on the places where they connected.
''Cosby'' offered white audiences an education in some elements of black culture: Here was a family that hung work by black artists on its walls, that listened to Ray Charles and Stevie Wonder, that proudly attended historically black colleges and reminisced together about the March on Washington. Some of it was familiar to me from my own family, which made me'--a white kid who saw plenty of people on television who looked like me'--feel connected to this television family that did not look like me. It felt good.
This was always part of Cosby's plan. In the 1960s, he said of his comedy act, ''A white person listens '... and he laughs and he thinks, 'Yeah, that's the way I see it too.' Okay. He's white. I'm Negro. And we both see things the same way. That must mean that we are alike. Right?'' So I figure I'm doing as much for good race relations as the next guy.''
''The Cosby Show'' was a show about black people that was fundamentally and unequivocally friendly to whiteness and to white people. The Huxtables had white friends. (Wallace Shawn played Cliff's friend and neighbor.) Cliff, a doctor, had white patients. Clair, a lawyer, had white clients and white colleagues; the kids had white friends.
But in addition to what it had, there was what ''The Cosby Show'' lacked: Any suggestion that white people were culpable in the history of racism that the show addressed mostly through reference to mid-twentieth-century activism. White audiences were never made to feel bad about themselves or confront any hard questions about how they had benefitted from American systems from which black Americans had not benefitted. White fans never were forced to wrestle with the question of what made this brownstone-dwelling African American family so exceptional. Rather, we were consciously invited to consider them a new normal. It was its own purposeful message, and not inherently a bad one. But it did permit white Americans to buy into one of their fondest (and falsest) wishes: to consider the sins of the past as past and believe that true racial parity was not only possible but perhaps upon us.
In 1992, researchers Sut Jhally and Justin Lewis wrote a book, Enlightened Racism. After researching audience reaction, they argued that ''The Cosby Show,'' while ushering in ''an era in which white audiences can accept TV programs with more than just an occasional 'token' black character,'' was also part of a television culture ''directly culpable for providing an endless slew of apocryphal stories that sustain a cultural refusal to deal with class inequalities and the racial character of those inequalities.''
These themes of Cosby's work would become more explicit a decade after ''The Cosby Show'' went off the air, when the comedian embarked on a speaking tour in which he told black audiences that the kinds of hardships they faced were of their own making, that high rates of poverty, drug use and incarceration had nothing to do with policy or policing practices, but rather with failures of black culture and black parents. ''Systemic racism, they call it,'' Cosby said derisively, ''it's not what [the white man]'s doing to you; it's what you're not doing.''
Here was the white blamelessness that made his television such a balm to white audiences, writ all too real. It was an approach that earned him sharp criticism from some black critics like Dyson and Coates. But perhaps because this framing of race in America still served as a palliative to lots of Americans, it somehow never resulted in a mass reevaluation of Cosby's work by white critics or by many African American leaders, some of whom, to Dyson's dismay, stood uncritically onstage with Cosby as he chided New Orleans residents who'd been dislocated and disenfranchised after Katrina about their behaviors and moral failings from before the storm.
And then there was gender. "The Cosby Show" was, on its surface, extremely progressive on the issue of domestic and professional power balancing between the sexes. Clair Huxtable was a lawyer, ambitious and funny and brilliant and demanding of respect. She and Cliff had an equitable, loving, sexually charged relationship; they offered an idealized vision of a feminist hetero coupling. He was a nurturer to their children; his engagement as a father and as a domestic partner was the basis of the whole show. Even his work had a feminist dimension: He was an obstetrician. He took joy and pride in delivering babies, in treating the impending parenthood of his patients and their husbands as a project that would be a shared one.
But when Cosby began to do his moralizing on race and responsibility, some of the cracks in the show's gender politics were exposed. It became clear that he placed a lot of blame for racial inequality not just on black people, but on black women who were not like Clair Huxtable. Cosby's infamous ''pound cake'' speech, delivered in 2004 on the fiftieth anniversary of the Brown v. Board of Education decision, was about what he saw as the role of parental inattention in landing so many black young men in jail. He was officially addressing both mothers and fathers, but his gendered judgments got clearer as he demanded, ''Where were you when he was two? Where were you when he was 12? Where were you when he was 18, and how come you didn't know that he had a pistol? And where is his father? And why don't you know where he is?'' In the same speech, Cosby lamented, ''No longer is a person embarrassed because they're pregnant without a husband,'' and chided, ''Five or six different children, same woman, eight, 10 different husbands or whatever. Pretty soon you're going to have to have DNA cards so you can tell who you're making love to.'' This was a brutal language of misogyny, blaming women'--women unattached to men'--for the social disintegration of the family.
These were the same years that the charges that Cosby had assaulted women were beginning to emerge. Cosby denied the rape allegations, but in several cases conceded that he had had consensualrelationships outside of his long marriage to wife Camille. This alone should have provoked a critical examination of his message: A man who was running around the country yelling at women for how they were conducting their sex lives, a man who held his own marriage up as a model of functional commitment, had in fact been repeatedly unfaithful.
To have gone further'--to have really dealt with the possibility that this extremely rich man lambasting poor people for everything from stealing pound cake to wearing low-slung pants to how they named their children'--might have drugged and raped more than a dozen women would have made our heads pop off. It would have made us question every single good, reassuring, optimistic thing that Bill Cosby ever made us think about ourselves and our country. It might have made us rethink the way he had held up wealthy people as model feminists, and about exactly how screwed up it was that that his progressive cheerful vision of post-racial America had never addressed the structural realities faced by non-wealthy people.
What's more, America's terrible history of discrediting black men via charges of sexual misconduct was precisely the kind of thing that might lead white liberals to not want to engage such loaded allegations about a black man who had assuaged their guilt over precisely this kind of history. To wrestle with the merits of those charges'--the kinds that have too often been deployed falsely to justify everything from lynching to stand your ground laws'--would force America to acknowledge that deeply set, incredibly complicated patterns of injustice around race and sex and power are far from erased. It would also force us to concede that, in this case, they might not be false.
So we didn't truly allow ourselves to think about any of it. Until now.
As Brittney Cooper recently wrote at the Crunk Feminist Collective, ''It turns out that dudes, or their carefully crafted representatives, can sound right, and seem right, and still be all the way wrong. It turns out that you can have progressive feminist politics on the outside and still be deeply emotionally damaged and fucked up on the inside.'' Now, Cooper suggests not only slaying the memory of Cliff Huxtable, but also Clair, by recognizing that ''black, overachieving professionals, are allowed to be different kinds of men and women than Cliff and Clair, to have different kinds of families than they had, to be messy and not quite together, to be imperfect.'' (Cooper also recalled some of the creepy instances in which Cliff patrolled his daughters' sexuality by quizzing their boyfriends and husbands about it.)
Of course, patriarchal attitudes about sex and limitations around racial representation were not some special poison slipped into "The Cosby Show," any more than the privileging of white experience is exclusive to "Girls." These are messages baked into practically every iteration of popular culture (and politics) in the United States'--from "Friends" to "The Sopranos," from Bill Clinton to Barack Obama. They're baked in because we're a fundamentally racist and sexist country with persistently racist and sexist attitudes. The chilling lesson, perhaps, is that the cheerier, popular vision put forth by Bill Cosby was illusory all along.
The story now unfolding around us is as grim a reminder as I can think of that as tempting as it may be to look away, or perhaps beyond, this country's founding inequalities, foregoing the discomfort of painful reckoning does not and cannot make those inequalities disappear.
Citi banker Shawn Miller dead - Business Insider
Wed, 19 Nov 2014 22:12
Nov. 19, 2014, 2:23 PM7,965Reuters
Citigroup managing director Shawn D. Miller was found dead with his throat slit in his Financial District apartment, the New York Post reports.
"We are deeply saddened by this news and our thoughts are with Shawn's family at this time," Citi said in an emailed statement to Business Insider.
According to authorities, at 3:11 p.m. on Tuesday, a 42-year-old male was discovered unconscious in his bath tub with a laceration to his neck. He was pronounced dead on arrival.
The incident occurred in Miller's one-bedroom condo at 120 Greenwich Street.
The building's doorman discovered the body. A weapon was not found, authorities said.
LinkedInShawn Miller
A medical examiner will determine the cause of death. An investigation is ongoing, according to authorities.
Miller was a managing director at for Citigroup's Environmental and Social Risk Management team, according to his Linkedin profile.
He has been with Citi since 2004, his profile shows. His work focused on sustainability in the financial services industry.
He graduated from Syracuse University.
War on Chicken/Turkey
snopes.com: Texas Turkey Farm Contaminated with Ebola, Over 250,000 Holiday Turkeys Infected
Thu, 20 Nov 2014 04:54
Claim: Hundreds of thousands of Thanksgiving turkeys have been contaminated with Ebola.Examples: [Collected via e-mail, November 2014]
A friend of mine said she saw a post on facebook regarding a large quantity of turkeys infected with ebola virus. Have you heard anything regarding this?
Origins: On 10 November 2014, the website Daily Buzz Live published an article titled "Texas Turkey Farm Contaminated with Ebola, Over 250,000 Holiday Turkeys Infected." According to that article, Texas Prime Turkey Farm employee Philip Canseco remained on the job for at least three full days after developing symptoms of Ebola, potentially contaminating scores of turkeys with the virus:Management confirmed that Canseco worked three full work days at the facility with flu-like symptoms, before passing out unconscious with a fever of 106 [degrees]. Due to his symptoms, he was rushed to a local hazmat tent where he tested positive for the Ebola virus. The CDC reports an additional 7 coworkers are being quarantined and tested. However, they have not released those results as of yet.The facility has been ordered by the CDC to burn their entire flock of turkeys, over 250,000. Texas Prime Turkey Farm is requesting permission from the state of Texas to send the shipment of incinerated turkey ashes to Veolia's Port Arthur environmental waste facility. This facility has already accepted one shipment of Ebola waste from household goods where Thomas Eric Duncan had stayed. Duncan was the first man to die of Ebola on US soil.
A spokesperson for Texas Prime Turkey Farm said there is a good chance Ebola turkeys may have already shipped out to major suppliers for distribution. Each retailer will have to perform recalls individually if they feel they have received a contaminated shipment.
It barely warrants mentioning there is no business named "Texas Prime Turkey Farm" anywhere in Texas, as Daily Buzz Live is a frequent offender in the starting and spreading of spurious, "satirical" claims. Among previous fake news stories peddled by the site are a totally fabricated story of a chainsaw killer at a Halloween attraction, a yarn about a woman who was being buried alive when her screams alerted funeralgoers, a claim that McDonald's uses worm meat as a filler in their hamburgers, and a rumor that new iPhone 6 units were contaminated with Ebola.Last updated: 10 November 2014 Urban Legends Reference Pages (C) 1995-2014 by snopes.com.This material may not be reproduced without permission.snopes and the snopes.com logo are registered service marks of snopes.com.
Texas Turkey Farm Contaminated With Ebola, Over 250,000 Holiday Turkeys Infected
Thu, 20 Nov 2014 04:53
Texas Turkey Farm Contaminated With Ebola, Over 250,000 Holiday Turkeys Infected.
A Texas turkey farm employee is now under quarantine after he tested positive for the Ebola virus. Texas Prime Turkey Farm, the largest supplier of turkeys in the United States, has been ordered by the CDC to quarantine over 250,000 holiday turkeys. The CDC has confirmed 3,000 turkeys have tested positive for the virus since Friday's incident.
According to investigators, long time employee Philip Canseco was seen vomiting in the facilities restroom three days prior to the incident on Friday. ''I was passing by the restroom, when I heard somebody throwing up inside,'' said one Texas Prime Turkey Farm employee. ''I opened the door and looked inside and saw Canseco throwing up in one of the urinals. I asked him if he was okay, he said yes, and I left. I didn't want to get close to him and get sick.''
Management confirmed that Canseco worked three full work days at the facility with flu-like symptoms, before passing out unconscious with a fever of 106°. Due to his symptoms, he was rushed to a local hazmat tent where he tested positive for the Ebola virus. The CDC reports an additional 7 coworkers are being quarantined and tested. However, they have not released those results as of yet.
The facility has been ordered by the CDC to burn their entire flock of turkeys, over 250,000. Texas Prime Turkey Farm is requesting permission from the state of Texas to send the shipment of incinerated turkey ashes to Veolia's Port Arthur environmental waste facility. This facility has already accepted one shipment of Ebola waste from household goods where Thomas Eric Duncan had stayed. Duncan was the first man to die of Ebola on US soil.
Activists are protesting the shipments of contaminated Ebola waste to their community. ''We feel every precaution should be taken to protect our community, our children and our elderly. We are not a dumping ground for the nations, or the world's bio waste.''
Plant manager Mitch Osborne said on Saturday that even though no contract has yet been signed, the plant will likely receive the second shipment of contaminated Ebola waste. ''It is a safe and sound process,'' Osborne said. ''I am not going to place my employees inharms way, or the community. The company is here to improve the environment and I believe we are doing a pretty darn good job of that.I believe we are doing the right and safe thing.''
A spokesperson for Texas Prime Turkey Farm said there is a good chance Ebola turkeys may have already shipped out to major suppliers for distribution. Each retailer will have to perform recalls individually if they feel they have received a contaminated shipment.
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VIDEO- Senators Repeatedly Threaten "Another 9/11" If NSA Reforms Are Enacted - YouTube
Thu, 20 Nov 2014 04:57
VIDEO-Dem on Securing the White House: How About a Moat? | MRCTV
Thu, 20 Nov 2014 03:29
At a Secret Service oversight hearing Wednesday, Rep. Steve Cohen (D-Tenn.) raised the possibility that a moat would be effective in preventing unwanted intrustions into the White House in response to recent incidents involving fence jumpers - including one man who made it all the way inside.
VIDEO-Band Aid 30: Bob Geldof interview cut after singer swears in response to suggestion Band Aid singers dodge taxes - People - News - The Independent
Thu, 20 Nov 2014 02:58
The Boomtown Rats frontman replied to interviewer Jayne Secker ''colourfully''.
The Band Aid 30 Ebola charity single and 30th anniversary edition of ''Do They Know It's Christmas'' features Ed Sheeran, One Direction, Rita Ora, Clean Bandit, Sinead O'Connor, Seal, Sam Smith, Roger Taylor, Jessie Ware, Olly Murs, Chris Martin, Bono, Bastille, Elbow, Paloma Faith and Angelique Kidjo.
''There's a lot of people who say there's a lot of wealthy people in that room. If they all pay their taxes in the right way we wouldn't need these fundraisers singles '' what would you say to that?'' asked Secker.
''I think they're total b*****ks,'' Geldof responded.
First released in 1984, has been modified to include references to how Ebola can be transmitted through contact with infected loved ones. All proceeds go to the Ebola relief efforts.
''That's pretty colourful language. If you could not use anymore we'd appreciate it,'' laughed the presenter before asking him to comment on remarks made by journalist Ian Birrell, a former deputy editor of The Independent, who, with Damon Albarn, co-founded the Africa Express '' a collective of musicians from around the world who tour.
Secker reads out an extract from an Observer interview with Birrell: ''This trite song will raise a comparative pittance, ignores Africans and has a logo implying the virus struck the entire continent. Patronising and perpetuating myths again. Band Aid should have learned its lessons and stayed silent.''
''Perhaps less colourfully,'' adds Secker, ''what would be your response to this?''
''Complete load of b*****ks,'' said Geldof again, suppressing a smile. The channel then mute his words, before Secker interjects:
''I'm afraid we'll have to apologise for that language again and we'll leave it,'' she said, ending the interviewing as the singer looks bemused. ''Thank you for joining us Bob Geldof.''
The track raised more than £1 million ''within four or five minutes'', according to Geldof, who said the response had been ''extraordinary''.
Damon Albarn was among those to criticise the song, who suggested the project was patronising.
''Our perspective and our idea of what helps and our idea what's wrong and right are not necessarily shared by other cultures,'' Albarn told Channel 4 News.
''There are problems with our idea of charity, especially these things that suddenly balloon out of nothing and then create a media frenzy where some of that essential communication is lost and it starts to feel like it's a process where if you give money you solve the problem, and really sometimes giving money creates another problem.''
VIDEO-Late Ebola Patient's Fiancee Gets Nothing in Hospital Settlement - ABC News
Wed, 19 Nov 2014 22:13
More ABC US news | ABC World NewsCopyThe fiancee of the man who died of Ebola in Texas last month will get nothing in the settlement agreement with the hospital.
The family of Thomas Eric Duncan, the only person to die of Ebola in the United States, settled with Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital in Dallas, the parties announced today.
Although lawyers said they could not reveal the sum of the settlement, they said it was "a very good deal," and as good or better than what the family would have gotten if they had gone to court with a malpractice lawsuit. Under Texas law, damages are limited to $250,000. Duncan's four children and two parents all received part of the settlement.
The family will not have to pay for Duncan's 11-day hospital stay.
However, Duncan's fiancee, Louise Troh, received nothing in the settlement.
Troh received a phone call from the hospital about a week after Duncan's death, in which officials said they were "deeply sorry" for what happened, she said on Oct. 16. She said she was grateful for the apology and that it would help her mourn.
Though some of Duncan's family members at the time said he had been treated unfairly, Troh said, ''It is my position that God is the judge of others and their actions, and vengeance is not mine to demand. God is the judge, and God will take care of me."
Duncan's nephew, Josephus Weeks, said today he was glad to have the situation resolved so that the family can move forward. He said he hopes Duncan's death can prevent future deaths due to medical errors. The settlement will also set up the Texas Health Dallas Thomas Eric Duncan Memorial Fund to help with the Ebola effort in Africa.
"We made a mistake and we lost one, but we can save 1,000," he said. "That's my goal. ... We can come out of this situation better than we went in."
Joe Raedle/Getty Images
PHOTO: Karsiah Duncan, the son of Ebola victim Thomas Eric Duncan, leaves after speaking to the media at the Wilshire Baptist Church on Oct. 7, 2014 in Dallas, Texas.
The family's lawyer, Les Weisbrod, said he thinks his team would have won in court because when Duncan initially went to the emergency room with Ebola symptoms, he was misdiagnosed with sinusitis and sent home with antibiotics. Duncan returned two days later in an ambulance on Sept. 28, when he was diagnosed with Ebola and isolated. He died on Oct. 8. The hospital later conceded that there was a breakdown in communication in its emergency department.
"Mr. Duncan should not have been released," Weisbrod said. "He got up to 103 degree temperature. He had a number of abnormal findings on his blood work and studies that were done. I don't believe he should have been sent home."
He said experts now say that early diagnosis and treatment of Ebola patients leads to better outcomes. He said Duncan's care once he was diagnosed, however, was "excellent."
"We know that this has been a terribly sad, difficult and trying time for Mr. Duncan's family and friends, and they will continue to be in the hearts and prayers of the entire Texas Health Presbyterian family," the hospital said in a statement today. "As part of the healing process, we have again extended our sincere apologies to the family and shared our regret that the diagnosis of Ebola Virus Disease was not made at the time of Mr. Duncan's initial Emergency Department visit."
Two nurses contracted Ebola while treating Duncan. Both have since been treated and discharged, Ebola-free.
ABC News' Gillian Mohney contributed to this report.
VIDEO-Researchers hope search engine will shed light on dark data | PBS NewsHour
Wed, 19 Nov 2014 21:14
The vast majority of information on the Internet, such as old photos, videos, sound files and social media content, is locked away in outdated file formats. Researchers are developing a search engine to simplify the process of accessing this endangered data. Photo courtesy of Flickr/Niv Singer
As much as 90 percent of information on the Internet is ''dark'' '-- locked away in clunky or outdated formats that makes it difficult, sometimes impossible, to access.
Kenton McHenry gets frustrated just talking about what he had to go through to open a research paper in the now-obsolete format PostScript. That was in 2000, when he was still a college student. First he had to download a viewer and then uncompress the document before he could read the article '-- all to determine if it even had information he could use.
''It would drive me nuts,'' he said. ''I don't want the tools to uncompress the thing. I just want the data.''
McHenry, now a senior research scientist at the National Center for Supercomputing Applications at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, believes in accessing data as quickly and efficiently as possible, whether that's your old wedding video or a massive scientific dataset. And he's developed a search engine to do just that.
Brown Dog is designed to convert defunct computer files into accessible formats, preserving information in those files for generations to come. This means that one may no longer need a patchwork of computer applications to use scientific datasets, read old thesis papers or access family videos uploaded onto the Internet.
The search engine has two functions, McHenry says. First, the user can feed a file saved in an outdated format into Brown Dog's ''Data Access Proxy'' bookmarked onto their web browser. Within the cloud, stored computer coding transforms the file into something the browser can read and the user can access. Brown Dog's other function, its Data Tilling Service, enables users to look at otherwise inaccessible data while cloud-based coding assigns metadata to previously unreadable images, audio, video and other uncurated data. That allows users to use keywords to search a collection of photos to find what they need.
Brown Dog developers demonstrate how to use the search engine's two primary functions at a workshop this year. Video courtesy of YouTube/ISDA Software
While that may sound just as cumbersome as opening Postscript, McHenry promises it's not. The whole process, when working correctly, should take a few clicks.
Brown Dog fits into an emerging field of cyber infrastructure. It received a $10 million, five-year grant from the National Science Foundation* in 2013 as part of its Data Infrastructure Building Blocks program. This program is intended to complement several services that preserve and power cyber-based data, said Robert Chadduck, who directs the NSF program. For example, one program called Wrangler at the University of Texas at Austin focuses on constructing a data resource big enough to respond to scientific data analysis on a national scale. Another project uses geospatial data collected from maps, satellite images and more to analyze information ranging from the effects of climate change to how densely packed population centers are.
Brewster Kahle, digital librarian and founder of the Internet Archive, knows the hassle of keeping digital files up to date in a time of rapidly changing technology. The San Francisco-based archive's web collection, he said, contains more than 1 million video files alone, which have been moved into new file formats six times over the last decade. The process, Kahle said, is intended to ensure that the data remains relevant and accessible to people with ''different devices and different expectations.''
''It's an active job. You can't just sit around,'' Kahle said.
Technology, Chadduck said, should ''proceed at the speed of app development which frankly is how we conduct our lives.''
''If you have baby pictures, wedding pictures, pictures of departed family members that are invaluable to all of us, the thing is'...those images may be encoded or are on digital cameras that no longer exist or have become obsolete,'' Chadduck said. ''The images of all of our lives are invaluable to each of us. That's the time machine part of Brown Dog.''
It's still unclear when Brown Dog will be operational, but McHenry expects it to be available on a limited basis for demonstrations and testing in March 2015.
*For the record, the National Science Foundation is a funder of the NewsHour.
VIDEO-TRANSCRIPT: Pentagon Briefing on DoD Response to Ebola with GEN Rodriguez | United States Africa Command
Wed, 19 Nov 2014 20:47
October 8, 2014
Commander of U.S. Africa Command, General David M. Rodriguez, conducts a briefing on the DoD response to Ebola, 7 October 2014 from the Pentagon Press Briefing Room.
Presenters: Commander, U.S. Africa Command General David M. RodriguezOctober 7, 2014
Source: http://www.defense.gov/Transcripts/Transcript.aspx?TranscriptID=5515
To view the video of the press briefing, click link below:
Note: Clarification was provided by General Rodriguez, following the briefing: "In response to comments I made today about U.S. military personnel potentially coming in direct contact with Ebola infected individuals, specific to lab testing, I want to clarify my remarks. U.S. military personnel working in the labs are not interacting with patients, only samples. The testing labs are manned by highly skilled and trained personnel from the U.S. Naval Medical Research Center. These labs provide 24-hour turnaround results on samples received from area clinics and healthcare providers, with the capability to process up to 100 samples per day."
REAR ADMIRAL JOHN KIRBY: Afternoon, everybody. I'm proud to welcome into the briefing room General David Rodriguez, commander of Africa Command. He's here to give you an update on U.S. contributions to the effort against Ebola -- U.S. military contributions to the effort against Ebola in West Africa. And with that, sir, I'll turn it over to you.
REAR ADM. KIRBY: By the way, I'll moderate, and so I'll just let you know, we've got 30 minutes total.
GEN. RODRIGUEZ: OK, well good morning. Good to see you all again. I'm glad to have the opportunity to talk to you about how U.S. Africa Command is supporting the comprehensive U.S. government effort to help contain the outbreak of Ebola in West Africa.
As you know, the president considers containing the spread of Ebola to be a national security priority that requires mobilizing our collective resources to enable the success of the international effort.
Recently, I discussed the progress of the response with the president, who underscored the pivotal role of American leadership in containing the epidemic at its source. In support of U.S. government effort, the military focus is on providing logistics, training, and engineering support in conjunction with the greater interagency effort.
We stood up the headquarters, joint force command, United Assistance in Monrovia, Liberia, to provide regional coordination of U.S. military support to the U.S. and international relief efforts.
Finally, we placed two additional mobile medical labs into operation last week, significantly increasing the capacity for rapidly diagnosing Ebola. We are also establishing a facility capable of training health care support workers, enabling health care workers to safely provide direct medical care to patients.
Now, this is very important, and I want you to help us to tell our families and the American public the health and safety of the team supporting this mission is our priority. Let me assure you, by providing pre-deployment training, adhering to strict medical protocols while deployed, and carrying out carefully planned reintegration measures based on risk and exposure, I am confident that we can ensure our service members' safety and the safety of their families and the American people.
As we deploy America's sons and daughters to support this comprehensive effort, we will do everything in our power to address and mitigate the potential risk to our service members, civilian employees, contractors, and their families.
Preventing the spread of Ebola is the core task of this effort. This is a key requirement in everything that we do in this operation, and this applies both to our support efforts and the protection of our own people.
The professionals at Doctors Without Borders have a remarkable record of safe operation in their fight against the spread of Ebola. We have looked at their procedures and consulted with the U.S. Agency for International Development, the Centers for Disease Control, the World Health Organization, and others, to develop our protocols based on known risks and prudent planning.
We are taking the following steps to ensure the safety of our people. We are implementing procedures to reduce or eliminate the risk of transmission to service members as they go about their daily missions while deployed, including the use of personal protective equipment, hygiene protocols and constant monitoring.
So, again, let me assure you, by providing the pre-deployment training, adhering to strict medical protocols while deployed, and carrying out carefully planned reintegration measures based on risks and exposure, I am confident that we can ensure our service members' safety and the safety of the American people.
In the end, our equipment, training, procedures, and most of all, the discipline of our leaders and our force will help us to ensure that our team accomplishes the mission without putting our nation and fellow citizens at risk. And as I said before, stopping the spread of this disease is the core mission here.
We are all focused our effort -- we are focused in all of our efforts to accomplish this both by supporting the international effort and by keeping our own people as safe as we can.
And with that, I'll take your questions. Thank you.
Q: There's been some questions about whether the response to the overall crisis has been too slow. Do the troops that you have now, will they -- are they enough to get the job done, do you think? Or do you think, in order to move things along more rapidly and construct some of the facilities more quickly, do you think you're going to need more troops there? And, secondly, do you have a cost estimate yet on the military response?
GEN. RODRIGUEZ: Well, first of all, one of the challenges, as you can imagine here, is continuing to gain and grow situational understanding over time because of the -- some of the isolated places that is creating problems. So we're supporting the USAID efforts to do that.
And right now, the leadership has approved up to, you know, almost 4,000 people, as Admiral Kirby talked to you about. And we have a lot of flexibility to put people in there as they're needed and who's needed.
So I think right now we have the sufficient capacity and numbers to do that. The speed at which these things are done is -- it's not just one challenge with doing that. Part of it is the ability of the host nation to absorb it. As you can imagine, their infrastructure and their capacity to house people, to feed people and all that is limited. So it's all going to have to come in, in a very, very carefully orchestrated -- based on the demand out at the front.
At the same time, they're increasing their situational understanding over time. So just as an example of that, these mobile labs are very, very important because, as you can imagine, some people have malaria, some people have the flu, and it's really important to find out who you have to treat and who you don't. So we've already flown two more those in that are already having a major impact, and we have several more on the way to better adjust.
But, again, that wasn't what we expected when we got the first mission, so I think we have the right flexibility and ability to adjust as needed, ma'am.
Q: Cost?
GEN. RODRIGUEZ: The cost estimates right now are probably around $750 million for our efforts, and that's in about a six-month period. And, again, the challenge with doing that is that those labs, for example, were not in the current -- you know, in the initial plan, so it's going to have to be a free-flowing, flexible adjustment on all that, ma'am.
Q: General, will any U.S. military personnel be involved in the direct treatment of any Ebola patients or in the training that health care givers -- will they be -- come into contact with any Ebola patients?
GEN. RODRIGUEZ: No. Now, the mobile labs are different. But no for the majority of the force. The mobile labs are testing people, OK? And some of them will have the Ebola virus. Now, those are trained at the highest level of something like nuclear, biological and chemical. So they're all trained at a very, very high level. And they've been -- the one from Walter Reed has been operating there for many years, for example. And the two that we just deployed meet those standards of training.
Q: Do you have any numbers of those who will be involved in the lab operations? And what kind of protections or what kind of protocol will they observe? And if any U.S. military personnel should contract Ebola, what is the protocol there? What happens?
GEN. RODRIGUEZ: Yes. First, on the -- the numbers in the labs, they're between a three- and a four-person team. We have three labs deployed right now. We will probably deploy several others. So it'll add -- one lab adds three to four additional people.
And, again, those people are trained to the very highest level of operating in a nuclear, biological, and chemical arena, and they are tested continually, and they are the ones who are testing all the people. They will be the primary ones that come in contact with anybody.
On the second point, if somebody does contract Ebola and becomes symptomatic, they will be handled in -- just like you've seen on the recent ones who came back on an aircraft that was specially designed to bring them back, and they'll go back to one of the centers that is specially designed to handle the Ebola patients right now.
Q: So they'll be returned to the U.S.?
GEN. RODRIGUEZ: Yes, they will. Yes.
Q: Will U.S. armed forces personnel be working side-by-side with Liberian troops as they build these emergency treatment units? I thought we had been told that they would be separate from the Liberian forces. Is there a risk of contamination by working closely with the partner nation's troops? First question.
And are you -- do you have enough of the personal protective equipment that you need? Or is there a shortage of that? And have you stockpiled any of this ZMapp, the treatment that was given to the two missionaries that had been proven in case troops are exposed to the virus?
GEN. RODRIGUEZ: We are -- we have people that will be working with and observing the other people who are building the ETUs [Ebola treatment unit], whether it be the Armed Forces of Liberia or contractors, to ensure that they're meeting the standards and oversight.
All the people who are doing that are tested and meet all the medical protocols to ensure that they do not have the disease. And then the continual daily checks are also a part of it. So all the people that we're working with go through that -- those medical protocols.
On the last point, on the virus, we do not have that stockpiled. And right now, that is -- you'll have to get the expert opinion of the CDC, but that's still to be determined whether it's effective or not, and they have a date in the future when it -- they may be able to tell whether it's effective or not, so we are not stockpiling that.
And last, we have sufficient personal protective equipment for ourselves, and we will continue to make sure that that's the way throughout the process.
Q: Can you tell us a little bit about where these 3,000 or 4,000 service members will be housed? And can you give us a little bit more information about what kind of personal protective gear are we talking about? What kind of hygiene protocols are we talking about? And what kind of monitoring is going to be done on a daily basis?
GEN. RODRIGUEZ: Yes, for the -- for the majority of the people, they will be in places, like the Ministry of Defense, or some of the military posts that are out there. Some will be over at the airfields and the locations where people will be flowing in personnel and equipment. We will have trainers that are in a training facility. And most of these places that are in and around Monrovia are actually in buildings.
The people will either live in the Ministry of Defense areas or they will live in tent city-type procedures, where everything will be taken care of for them, to include their food and water and those things, because you have to watch all that, obviously, at these points.
And then on the -- the protocols that occur in a daily monitoring, mainly, it's built around the multiple washings that you have to do with your hands and feet and everything else. I mean, when you go in one of these Ebola treatment units, you're going to wash your hands and feet multiple times. You're going to get your temperature taken in and out. And then there is a checklist of things to ask each personnel based on the -- the virus or any other sickness, quite frankly, that could be coming up. OK, it's just like a self-questionnaire and a checklist.
Q: And the personal protective gear?
GEN. RODRIGUEZ: The personal protective gear, the majority of the people will just deploy with personal protective gear that includes gloves and masks and things like that. They don't need the whole suit, as such, because they're not going to be in contact with any of the people.
Q: Understanding your point about the ability of Liberia to absorb all this stuff, you still -- you have the feeling that if, say, the American embassy were under attack in Liberia, it wouldn't take the 101st Airborne weeks to get there. So what is it that is -- what is it about this operation that makes it seem to be unrolling in a much slower pace than -- than sending U.S. troops to protect Americans first?
GEN. RODRIGUEZ: There's -- the protect the Americans piece is a small number. We already have about five times what we've sent in, for example, in Libya to protect the U.S. embassy in that situation, and that infrastructure was there as well as of the ability to sustain themselves.
The other challenge out there in -- in Liberia is, as you can imagine, their whole nation is overwhelmed. Their health facilities are overwhelmed. There -- there's -- that's all broken down. So, we have to bring in everything at the same time.
And again, they -- they -- right now, the ETUs, for example, aren't even located -- all the locations where they want them.
So, those are some of the challenges that we're being faced with that, you know, we just can't -- we just don't want to overwhelm them and press things in there that cannot -- they can't absorb at all.
The airfield is the same way, for example.
Q: Could you tell us how the decision was made to not have U.S. military medical personnel treat Ebola patients directly, and do you have any concerns about manning these Ebola Treatment Units? On the ground, there's been calls from Doctors Without Borders that more people are needed, not necessarily more facilities, although both are needed, so if you could answer one of those.
GEN. RODRIGUEZ: I'm not so sure about how the decision was made, but the bottom line is that's the position right now of the leadership. It's the international community's role right now, and that's where everybody is encouraging people to come forward to do that and -- and that's where -- where we stand until we move, you know, to some future thing that they'll -- they'll continue to relook the decision and continue to adapt to what's required on the ground.
Again, we're filling in the demands that the international community needs us to do. That's for command and control, it's for engineering support, it's for logistics, and those type of things. OK, so that's where we're focusing our effort, OK. And that's what they've asked us to do.
Q: Do you believe right now that there's a scenario that you can see that would push you past 3,900 or 4,000, and on the -- and the question of -- of security, do you think the concerns in Congress about the security of U.S. troops there, be it just contamination risks or force protection in a situation where people are trying to get into an area that was off-limits, do you think that those concerns are overblown?
GEN. RODRIGUEZ: I think that you know, we have -- our service members, wherever they go, they have the ability to defend themselves and protect themselves, and they'll have that here. And I think that that will, you know, we'll meet that standard no matter where we go anywhere in the world, and we're going to do that here, too.
Q: So, what are the rules of engagement if it's a contaminated person who's unarmed?
GEN. RODRIGUEZ: We have the same rules of engagement we have everywhere we go. It's the standard, chairman, SECDEF [Secretary of Defense] approved rules of engagement, and that's about protect themselves and self-defense. But I want to make sure that you also understand, when these people get infected and they -- they are not capable of, you know, doing a -- you know, a mounted attack or anything.
When they were coming -- the only ones that are getting the ETUs are the very -- the sickest ones, because you know -- because of a capacity problem, and they don't -- they don't have the ability to move or any of those things.
So, they have had zero problems that I know of in the Ebola Treatment Units right now handling people at the gates with a very small element. OK?
Q: The 4,000?
GEN. RODRIGUEZ: The 4,000, when you say, you know, I mean it depends how everything goes. I can't answer that question right now. But I mean, I don't -- I don't foresee more than that right now, but things can change. I mean, this is a -- a fastly changing situation. Again, we're still gaining situational understanding throughout the whole region, so I think that that will be the driving factor.
Q: Can you please give us your latest estimate about how long it's going to take to get all the treatment centers and do the other work you need to do up and running?
And can you give us a sense of how long large numbers of American troops are going to be on this mission and doing this deployment?
GEN. RODRIGUEZ: You know, the -- the treatment centers, to get the ones that we have been tasked to build right now will probably take until mid-November, right now. They are working on an effort over there to get more people to build some of those at different times, so we'll just have to see how it flexes out.
We will probably, you know, we'd be able to continue to improve the speed with which we build them. Because after you get one done, the second set goes faster. But that's the estimate right now, to get all of the 17 done.
And what was the second question, I'm sorry?
Q: How long are significant numbers of U.S. troops going to be doing this?
GEN. RODRIGUEZ: The real critical thing to this, based on USAID and the CDC is to get about 70 percent of the personnel that are infected into a treatment facility. And then at that point, they believe the curve will start going down. And then it will be based on how fast and how effectively, one, the curve turns down and, two, the international community can then pick up all the requirements. So we're going to stay as long as we're needed, but not longer than we're needed.
Q: Do you have a sense that that's six months, a year longer?
GEN. RODRIGUEZ: No, I do not at this point. I mean, I'm sure it'll be about a year, you know, at this point, but that's just a guess. And, again, we'll have to play that by ear, because it's all about the function of the transmission rates and when that curve starts going down.
Q: Could you give us a sense about the -- your cooperation with regional countries in West Africa? And do you think other countries other than Liberia are safe now from the Ebola outbreak?
GEN. RODRIGUEZ: No. As you know, both Sierra Leone and Guinea are also threatened by this. We are working just in -- for the military with both the French and the U.K. who are also doing some things, like putting the hospital up, like our 25-person hospital. And -- but most of those efforts are being run and controlled by the United Nations and international community, so we just, you know, coordinate with them and communicate with them, but not -- we don't direct them or anything.
Q: Thank you. About the cost. Can you tell us where the $750 million is coming from? Is that coming from OCO out of the continuing resolution? And do you anticipate the Pentagon needing to request more money in 2015 for the response?
GEN. RODRIGUEZ: You'd have to ask the comptrollers for that. But the bottom line is, it's a reprogramming effort, and I don't know where that's coming from, but they're working that on the Hill. And OSD Policy is leading that effort. So they'd be the ones who could tell you exactly where it's coming from. OK?
REAR ADM. KIRBY: I think we have time for two more.
Q: Thank you. General, I just wanted to clarify one thing. It is, in fact, troops who would -- and service members who will be operating these testing labs in the field, correct?
GEN. RODRIGUEZ: That's correct.
Q: And so we've been told repeatedly up to this point from this podium that, in fact, service members are not going to come in contact with patients, and now we're being told that that's changing.
GEN. RODRIGUEZ: The lab -- the labs are a separate specialty element of the force. So that's -- that's probably where that has come. As far as the general population, they won't be coming in contact. These are -- like I said, these labs are trained to a specialty skill -- level four, it's called -- but the bottom line, it's the highest level. I mean, they can operate in a nuclear, biological and chemical environment. They are specifically trained to do that, and that's their primary skill set, OK?
And we had one in there that has been operating for several years in the country that works on infectious diseases. We have the -- both the Navy and the Army have medical labs in many countries doing just that, to monitor these things. OK?
Q: And how many do you expect -- how many troops will be running these labs?
GEN. RODRIGUEZ: As I mentioned, there will be three or four per lab. It's a testing facility, OK? And they test it in a full-up biological -- suited up. I mean, these people -- like I said -- meet the highest level of standards of operating in the environment. OK?
Q: Just a clarification on that, please. Will they be in contact with individuals or just specimens?
GEN. RODRIGUEZ: They come in contact with the individuals and they do that. And they're -- like I said, it's a -- it's a very, very high standard that these people have operated in all their lives, and this is their primary skill. This is not a -- you know, just medical guys trained to do this. This is what they do for a living.
Q: And how many labs total would be...
GEN. RODRIGUEZ: There are three labs deployed right now and operating, and there's been a request for four more labs, and we're working to generate that right now, because as I mentioned, that's -- the testing really focuses who you need to treat and who you don't need to treat, because, like I said, malaria shows a similar problem with the symptoms. So that's -- they have already had a major impact, and the more the better for the effectiveness of the effort.
REAR ADM. KIRBY: Last question.
Q: General, when do you expect General Volesky to be on the ground? And why is he replacing General Williams?
GEN. RODRIGUEZ: The -- the way that the command and control is set for the component for USARAF [United States Army Africa] is that it has the ability to do small humanitarian things for a very short period of time. OK? And then that is -- again, this is not a small effort, and it's not a short period of time. So then we'll get a headquarters from the United States out there to do that, and then General Williams also has a significant job doing lots of other things every single day that we need him working on in the rest of Africa. And that's the way the design structure of the command and control is set up.
Q: Sir, when will General Volesky get there?
GEN. RODRIGUEZ: He'll be there in the next three weeks.
REAR ADM. KIRBY: Thanks, everybody. Appreciate you coming.
Q: Thank you, General.
Q: Thank you.
GEN. RODRIGUEZ: Thank you.
VIDEO-Lemon Asks Alleged Cosby Rape Victim Why She Didn't Bite Off His Dick
Wed, 19 Nov 2014 18:25
Don Lemon gets a lot of deserved criticism around these parts for being a cluelessdunce, but his interview tonight on CNN with alleged Bill Cosby rape victim Joan Tarshis took the clownshow to a new level when he asked her why she didn't bite the disgraced comedian's dick off.
It's bad enough to place blame on an alleged rape victim by asking why she didn't fight back; it's another entirely to get into the details of forced oral sex combat on national television. Don Lemon sucks, and he shouldn't have his job. The full transcript, unedited from closed captioning:
>> can i ask you this? and please, i don't mean to be crude, okay?>> yeah.>> you said this last night, that he '-- you lied to him and said i have an infection, and if you rape me, or if you do '-- if you have intercourse with me, then you will probably get it and give it to your wife.>> right.>> you said he made you perform oral sex.>> right.>> you '-- you know, there are ways not to perform oral sex if you didn't want to do it.>> i was kind of stoned at the time, and quite honestly, that didn't even enter my mind. now i wish it would have.>> right. meaning the using of the teeth, right?>> yes.>> i didn't even think of it.>> biting.>> ouch.>> yes. i had to ask.>> yes. no, it didn't cross my mind.
VIDEO-BBC to Bennett: We don't want to see victims of terrorism
Wed, 19 Nov 2014 18:20
A BBC interviewer refused to allow Economy Minister Naftali Bennett show a photograph of victims of the terrorist attack in Jerusalem in an interview Tuesday morning.
Bennett appeared on BBC World News after a Palestinian spokesman, who claimed that Jews were murdering Palestinians in Jerusalem.
The Bayit Yehudi leader responded: ''The fact is that [Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas] himself incites and tells the Arabs 'take arms and fight the Jews.''' Bennett's comments echoed earlier remarks calling Abbas one of the biggest terrorists of the Palestinian people and blaming him for the bloodshed.
Then, Bennett lifted a photo of the scene of the terrorist attack, depicting a man in a tallit lying face down on the floor of a synagogue.
''You know, this individual came this morning to pray,'' Bennett said, pointing at the man in the picture.
''We don't want to actually see that picture, if you could take that down,'' the interviewer shot back.
Bennett continued: ''This individual came this morning to pray, just like many Muslims and many Jews went to pray this morning. The Muslims went home safe [sic.], but four Jews will never come home again.''
The clip soon made waves on social media, after Bennett shared it.
British journalist Jake Wallis Simons, who was covered Israel extensively for The Telegraph, among other major news sources tweeted: ''BBC refuses to show picture of murdered Jewish worshiper.
Didn't have a problem with dead Gazans, I recall.''
In general, from mistaking the Har Nof synagogue where Tuesday's terrorist attack took place for a mosque, to deleting references to Palestinian perpetrators, some of the international media continued to report on the events in Israel in an eyebrow-raising manner.
The website of British newspaper The Guardian ran a story about the attack from Reuters.
The wire dispatch the agency sent included the headline ''Palestinians kill four in Jerusalem synagogue attack'' and led with the sentence: ''Two Palestinians armed with a meat cleaver and a gun killed four people in a Jerusalem synagogue on Tuesday before being shot dead by police....''
However The Guardian changed their headline to ''Four worshipers killed in attack on Jerusalem synagogue'' and in their lead, they excised any reference to Palestinians, publishing: ''Two men armed with axes, knives and a pistol have killed four Israelis and wounded several others in a Jerusalem synagogue....''
In a reporting gaffe, CNN superimposed their preliminary coverage of the terrorist attack with the headline: ''Deadly attack on Jerusalem mosque.''
VIDEO- Are video games sexist? - YouTube
Wed, 19 Nov 2014 18:08
VIDEO-glamOrama: Walging om "smakeloze" Band Aid DWDD
Wed, 19 Nov 2014 15:07
GLAMORAMAArchiefContactTip OnsZoekenHet is bijna december en dus vecht heel Nederlandje elkaar de tent uit om de huidskleur van een fictief persoon de tijd voor warmte, liefde en saamhorigheid! En om net als Jezus Christus weer eens te denken aan de minderbedeelden op onze aardkloot. Wat ons dan weer automatisch brengt op Bob Geldof, want die heeft speciaal voor de komende kerstdagen een nieuwe versie van het befaamde Band Aid in elkaar geknutseld. Met de hippe sterren van nu en een splinternieuw, trendy goed doel: Ebola-slachtoffers. Nou zouden we natuurlijk allemaal die single kunnen downloaden en tegelijkertijd dus de mensen in Afrika helpen. Maar ja, dat is wel een beetje kut voor het ego van onze vaderlandse artiesten, want hoe moeten die dan etaleren dat ze goede mensen zijn? Gelukkig is ook daar een oplossing voor verzonnen, want op initiatief van De Wereld Draait Door is ook een versie in onze eigen moerstaal in elkaar geflanst. Het lied, met een tekst van Jan Rot, werd gisterenavond in de uitzending ge¯ntroduceerd. Maar in plaats van gemotioneerde kijkertjes die hevig snikkend voor de beeldbuis zaten, leverde de primeur eigenlijk vooral opgetrokken wenkbrauwen en afkeer op, voornamelijk omdat Rot de originele songtekst wel heel direct heeft vertaald tot een soort prominenten-bedellied. 'GEEF MEER GELD, LAAT ZE WETEN DAT HET KERSTMIS IS, MENSEN.' Is dat nou de Kerstgedachte, artiesten van Nederlandje? Dat een deel van de BN'ers niet werd herkend, maakte de zaak er ook al niet veel beter op. En het bleef nog lang onrustig op de sociale media.
R.M. | 18-11-14 | 13:31 | 27 reactiesReaguurselsVergeleken met de kwaliteit van onze 'artiesten' is ebola eigenlijk helemaal niet zo erg....
R(C)my Martin ® | 18-11-14 | 13:42en ik ken er geen (C)(C)n..van die "bekende" nederlanders.wat de fuq is dit voor D-garnituur??
ozewiesewoze | 18-11-14 | 13:56Nu er bijna 400 miljoen christenen zijn in Afrika en steeds minder actief gelovigen in Nederland kunnen de Afrikanen beter aan ons vragen of we nog wel weten wat de Kerstmis echt is.
Blasfemie | 18-11-14 | 14:03Vals, onverstaanbaar en schaamteloos slecht. Goeie thema-song voor de Belastingdienst in Postbus 51-spotje.
Kaltsnautzige | 18-11-14 | 14:03Het was nogal tenenkrommend ja, maar Anneke van Giersbergen is hoe dan ook een van de beste zangeressen van Nederland en dus zeker geen C-garnituur.
Jesser | 18-11-14 | 14:12Gewoon alles zwaar onder de maat, echt alles, zelfs de audioengineer paste zich aan aan het niveautje. Ik vind het knap! Vergeet allemaal niet op Kieft te stemmen, morgen bekendmaking van nspublieksprijs in dit programma: nspublieksprijs.nl...
Latrinalia | 18-11-14 | 14:13Big time plaatsvervangende schaamte.Wt een genante droefenis;als ebola-patint zou ik zeggen:Wij hoeven geen geld,maar SHUT THE FUCK-UP.
R.B.Scott | 18-11-14 | 14:23Waarom trekken ze tijdens het "zingen" allemaal zo'n verwrongen poephoofd la Ren(C) Frogert? Waarom was die galmende bolle er eigenlijk niet bij - had hij die snik er weer zo mooi in kunnen leggen.
a horse named Yo | 18-11-14 | 14:29Kom op witmansen! Even de poeplap trekken. Het zijn de nazaten van onze slaven die daar aan het hoesten zijn.
guurderdanguur | 18-11-14 | 14:55DWDD is een programma voor randdebielen.Het is een beetje wat IS is voor de Islam.De enige keer dat een muziekgroep meer dan 3 minuten aftikt is voor de 3Js en, ja, wie eigenlijk?
Einde van de Domheid | 18-11-14 | 14:56www.youtube.com... toen de VARA nog goede parodien maakte!
Kannonier | 18-11-14 | 15:10wat een vertoning.. je moet je kapot schamen als je daar staat te playbacken
(c)ZWITSUL | 18-11-14 | 15:34Les 1: kijk nooit naar DWDD. Les 2: als je desondanks toch kijkt is dit voor eigen rekening en risico. Les 3: denk niet dat wat je ook protesteert/schrijft/roept/vindt dat dit doordringt tot de Vara. Les 4: denk aan je gezondheid/hartslag/bloeddruk.
goedemorgennederland | 18-11-14 | 15:49Zeg redactie, moesten jullie zelf niet lachen toen jullie in de link "hoge kwaliteit"zette? Het is dezelfde minderwaardige bagger hoor.
Babels toren | 18-11-14 | 16:21Ik had per ongeluk de herhaling op staan, en ergerde me groen en geel aan het vals gezongen "geef meer geld, geef geeeld" het geluid heb ik na een poosje uitgezet. dwdd (matthijs in het bijzonder) is sowieso het walgelijkste tenenkrommendste programma op televisie. Gisteren hadden ze een item over bill gates. deze valse gehaaide zakenman presenteerden ze als een soort superheld royalty genie. hoeveel zouden ze daarvoor betaald hebben gekregen??
cabbit | 18-11-14 | 16:44Bizar dat de jongens Tangarine hier aan mee doen. Voor de rest zijn het allemaal zielige E sterren.
trasiekok | 18-11-14 | 17:09Nou heb ik sowieso al de tyfus aan dat vals sentiment van Band Aid, maar dit was echt bijzonder gªnante tv.
Harry Turtle | 18-11-14 | 17:42Kerstmis is een gristelijke feestje, en geen pislamitisch, dus vieren ze geen kerst in afrika, so do they know it's christmas time at all? No, they don't!30 jaar geleden kreeg ik er nog een warm gevoel van, maar nukunnen ze van mij doodvallen, want bakken met geld hebben ze toen gehad, maar ze bleven vechten ipv hun landen op te bouwen, want alie snackbar is belangrijker voor ze, dus laat ze elkaar lekker de koppen inslaan in de naam van hun pedo proleet, want anders komen ze hierheen en spugen op alles wat westers is, behalve op de uitkeringsinstanties!En als ik dan hoor hoe vies en smerig de ijsselhallen zijn en hoe ze over schoonmaken denken ,dan is het niet gek dat dat volk altijd de meest vreselijke ziektes krijgen, en daarom kunnen ze van mij dan ook de tering krijgen ipv geld! Vieze barbaarse beesten zijn het, die het woord mens niet waardig zijn!
von sokkenstopfen | 18-11-14 | 19:04Zongen ze nou voor zichzelf?
Mask | 18-11-14 | 19:43Wist niet dat Maik de Boer zo lekker kan trommelen.
herrieschepper | 18-11-14 | 19:50Mooi !!!!!!!!!!! Dat worden dus van mij '‚¬0.00 !!!!!!Stelletje nikskunners !!!!!!!!!!
Barbier | 19-11-14 | 00:06Waarom zijn al die 'Artiesten' tegenwoordig zo godsgruwelijk LELIJK?
streknek | 19-11-14 | 02:11"And tonight thank God it's them, instead of you".
Ja we hadden wel echt een Nederlandse versie nodig, die is natuurlijk VEEL krachtiger dan het origineel. En die sterren? Is het heel erg als ik dus echt NIEMAND herkend heb? Waren ze in vermomming of zo?
Specy | 19-11-14 | 03:49"And tonight thank God it's them, instead of you".
Ja we hadden wel echt een Nederlandse versie nodig, die is natuurlijk VEEL krachtiger dan het origineel. En die sterren? Is het heel erg als ik dus echt NIEMAND herkend heb? Waren ze in vermomming of zo?
Specy | 19-11-14 | 03:50"And tonight thank God it's them, instead of you".
Ja we hadden wel echt een Nederlandse versie nodig, die is natuurlijk VEEL krachtiger dan het origineel. En die sterren? Is het heel erg als ik dus echt NIEMAND herkend heb? Waren ze in vermomming of zo?
Specy | 19-11-14 | 03:50Waarschijnlijk was dit kunstzinnige humor, wat wij als ordinaire mensen niet snappen. En Jan Rot is nog steeds een pedo.
3*links=rechts | 19-11-14 | 07:17En dan die paar regels fluttekst nog van een brieffie moeten voorlezen ook, alsof het allemaal heel snel moest en zo, alle houdinkjes zijn zelfs gejat van vroeger, zoals meisjes tegenwoordig ruzie maken met elkaar alsof ze in GTST 'acteren'.Die Afrikanen moeten eens minder neuken, voorspellingenzijn dat het er straks 4 miljard zijn en wij maar dokken.
jewegoesgrey | 19-11-14 | 11:44Reageer ookJe bent niet ingelogd, klik hier om dat wel te doen: login of doe een CookieSync.Volg ons
Tendentieus, ongefundeerd en nodeloos kwetsend.
VIDEO-President Obama Provides an Update on the U.S. Response to Ebola | The White House
Wed, 19 Nov 2014 08:01
November 18, 2014 | 6:05 | Public Domain
After meeting with his Homeland Security Council, President Obama provided an update on the U.S. response to Ebola in West Africa. November 18, 2014.
Download mp4 (222MB) | mp3 (6MB)
VIDEO-Tech companies want you to have free web encryption
Wed, 19 Nov 2014 04:00
Ideally, you'd encrypt everything you do on the web to keep it away from spies and thieves. However, getting a security certificate to enable that encryption on your own site can be both costly and difficult -- many people don't even bother. That's not good enough for the Electronic Frontier Foundation, so it's partnering with Mozilla, Cisco and other tech firms to launch Let's Encrypt, an authority that will hand out and manage free certificates for anyone that wants them. Besides eliminating the cost barrier, the effort will also scrap a lot of the bureaucracy and hard work that's normally involved -- all you'll have to do is run a program, which should take seconds.
Right now, the only real catch is the wait for a proper launch. You won't get to use Let's Encrypt until next summer, since it requires an unfinished protocol for validating web domains. It could change much of the web if it launches according to plan, though. It would let you lock down a personal site within moments, and small businesses would be more likely to turn encryption on; you'd have less reason to worry that a local shop is exposing your info through carelessness. While Let's Encrypt won't guarantee that your messages and transactions will stay secret, it should at least raise the bar for internet privacy.
[Image credit: David Ramos/Getty Images]
Source:Electronic Frontier Foundation, Let's Encrypt
Tags:akamai, CertificateAuthority, cisco, eff, ElectronicFrontierFoundation, encryption, identrust, internet, mozilla, privacy, security, ssl, tls, universityofmichigan, video, web
VIDEO-Was US hostage killed in American airstrike BEFORE beheading video? Peter Kassig died in bombing raid days in raid days before Jihadi John paraded his severed head, claim Syrian activists | Daily Mail Online
Wed, 19 Nov 2014 03:56
Resistance leader says militant told him Mr Kassig died on November 5Says warplanes struck ISIS target in Tel-Abyad, killing Mr KassigMilitants then used his body to make it appear he had been executed By Sharon Churcher In New York And John Hall In London For Mailonline
Published: 07:11 EST, 17 November 2014 | Updated: 17:14 EST, 17 November 2014
Peter Kassig's execution may have been faked by Jihadi John after the US hostage was killed in an US-led airstrike, according to extraordinary claims from the leader of a Syrian underground group.
Speaking over Skype from a hiding place near the Turkish border, the head of the anti-ISIS resistance group Raqqa is Being Slaughtered Silently claimed there are reports that Mr Kassig died on November 5, when coalition fighter planes and drones pounded Tel-Abyad in northern Syria.
The extraordinary allegation could not be independently verified.
The claims come among increased speculation over why Mr Kassig's full body was not shown in the video. Unlike ISIS' previous sickening filmed murders, he did not speak directly to camera before being killed and his body was not shown after the murder.
U.S. sources have suggested that Mr Kassig could have been killed before the video was shot because he did not cooperate with the jihadists, either refusing to give a final speech on camera or possibly even fighting back while the murder was taking place.
American forces have previously attempted a daring rescue of U.S. hostages and President Obama has said that he would make all efforts to rescue U.S. citizens if their location could be identified.
Western planes have carried out a series of raids on the Isis weapons stockpile and refinery where Peter Kassig is claimed to have been hit but if there had been any intelligence suggesting where he was being held such strikes would have been highly unlikely to be authorized.
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Location of video: Raqqa is Being Slaughtered Silently claimed to have pinpointed the execution site used by ISIS in their latest sickening video. The group identified a cluster of buildings in the background of ISIS' latest video and matched them up with those on desert road in the north of the town
Questions: Experts say the reason Peter Kassig (pictured) does not appear alive in ISIS' latest sickening video could be either due to him having been killed during an earlier American airstrike, or because he refused to give a final speech on camera or fought back while the murder was taking place
The campaign group Raqqa is Being Slaughtered Silently also claimed to have pinpointed the exact location used by ISIS in their latest sickening video - which also showed a group of Syrian soldiers being brutally murdered by a large number of unmasked militants.
The resistance group produced a map to show the location in the northern suburbs of the small but highly symbolic Syrian town of Dabiq, north of Aleppo. The terror group's de facto capital is Raqqa, where previous filmed murders featuring the militant known as 'Jihadi John' are understood to have been filmed.
Tributes paid to Peter Kassig aid worker beheaded by ISIS
But their most controversial allegation was that Mr Kassig could have been killed by accident in an American airstrike in Tel-Abyad. US Central Defence Command have previously announced that an onslaught destroyed an ISIS weapons stockpile in the town.
The resistance leader, a 22 year old medical student who uses the nom de guerre Abu Ibrahim Raqqawi, said in an interview: 'I think ISIS didn't execute Peter. An ISIS soldier told me this morning that Peter died in an airstrike on 5th November in Tel-Abyad and that is why they didn't show a video of the execution.
'The soldier was one of the first who arrived on the scene to secure it after an airstrike hit the Islamic State court building in Tel-Abyad. He said there was immediate high security and nobody was permitted entry to the building, not even ISIS fighters. Then two bodies were taken out of the building and put into a speeding car.'
Sickening: The latest ISIS video showed a group of Syrian soldiers being marched along a desert road in Dabiq and brutally murdered by a large number of unmasked militants
Mr Raqqawi claims that the soldier said one of the bodies was that of Mr Kassig.
The British thug known as Jihadi John allegedly then used the remains to stage the barbaric video: 'I think that is why there is a lot of blood on the face and no body -- just a head,' said Mr Raqqawi.
He did not suggest that the US knew Peter Kassig was being held at the Isis target - instead hinting that if true it would simply be a terrible accident.
U.S. Central Command was not immediately available for comments, but a message on its website reads: 'U.S. and partner nation military forces continued to attack ISIL terrorists in Syria November 5-7 using fighter, bomber and remotely piloted aircraft to conduct eight airstrikes'..... One airstrike near Tall Abyad destroyed an ISIL weapons stockpile.' MailOnline has requested a comment from the Pentagon.
ISIL is an alternative acronym for ISIS commonly used by the United States military.
Previous claims by the Raqqa group have been supported by British intelligence sources.
Kerry says Kassig brutally murdered but US not intimidated
Chilling: The 16 followers of Jihadi John prepare to behead the Syrian soldiers they have held hostage
France says French citizen very likely on IS beheading video
One of America's leading forensic pathologists, Dr Michael M. Baden, told MailOnline that it was possible that such an execution could be staged.
Stressing that his opinion was based solely on his professional experience, since there is no access to the remains or authenticated photographs, he said: 'I'd have thought that if Mr Kasssig was killed by an American airstrike, revealing that would have had more shock value.
But he added that it was possible that a head removed from an already dead person's body could easily be made to look as though the individual had been murdered by beheading.
'When there's a death in an explosion such as an airstrike, assuming the cause of death is traumatic blunt force injuries to the body elsewhere than the head...there would be nothing to prevent a sharp dissection being made to resemble an execution by beheading.'
Dr Baden is a former chief medical examiner for New York City. He has been an expert witness in numerous high profile criminal cases, including the murder trial of OJ Simpson, and was chairman of the pathology panel of a Congressional investigation into the assassination of President John Kennedy.
Parents of aid worker murdered by IS group pay tribute to their...
Militant: Peter Kassig's execution may have been faked by Jihadi John (pictured) after the hostage was killed in an US-led airstrike, according to the leader of resistance group Raqqa is Being Slaughtered Silently
Mr Raqqawi's group of non-partisan pacifists - who oppose both the Syrian regime and Jihadi John's fundamentalists - have been risking their lives to publicise ISIS atrocities.
One of his supporters reportedly was shot through the head in a public execution after he was traced on Facebook.
Mr Raqqawi also claimed to have matched up footage of the executions of the first hostages, American journalists James Foley and Steven Sotloff, with photos of a hillside near Ittihad University in the ISIS stronghold of Raqqa.
The resistance leader said that Jihadi John brazenly was using the area as a killing ground.
A British intelligence source told Mail Online that the security services had received similar accounts.
The New York Times reported that the beheadings of Mr Foley, Mr Sotloff, and two UK aid workers, Alan Henning and David Haines, each appeared to be filmed on the hill near Raqqa
In contrast, Mr Kassig's severed head appears in the final two minutes of a nearly 16-minute video which Mr Raqqawi says was filmed in the desert town Dabiq - 30 miles north of the city of Aleppo.
The group identified a cluster of buildings in the background of ISIS' latest video and matched them up with those on desert road in the north of the town.
Indiana residents talk about beheading of US aid worker Peter...
Peter Kassig is pictured while working as an aid worker in Syria before his capture. His murder is not actually shown in the latest film and he does not deliver a final message as other hostages have
'Raqqawi's account makes sense,' an expert told Mail Online. 'If ISIS really executed Peter, they would have shown it, not just his head between the boots of Jihadi John. This video is not keeping with their style at all. '
The footage of Mr. Kassig's head is 'markedly less professional' than the previous execution videos, another terrorism expert, Jean-Charles Brisard, told The New York Times.
'We know that the past executions were filmed from multiple perspectives, so perhaps something happened here that prevented them from doing so.'
Over the weekend new details emerged that Jihadi John may have been injured during an airstrike in Iraq on November 8 - three days after the American bombing raid in Tel-Abyad that is alleged to have killed Mr Kassig.
As well as Jihadi John, those reportedly hurt or possibly even killed included ISIS' leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.
A well-placed independent source told the Mail on Sunday that the airstrike took place in Al Qaim, in Anbar Province, Western Iraq while approximately 30 tribal elders from various parts of Syria and Iraq gathered to pledge allegiance to Al-Baghdadi.
HOW USING DABIQ AS LOCATION FOR LATEST SICKENING EXECUTIONS EVOKES A 1,300 APOCALYPTIC PROPHECY THAT IS FUELLING ISIS FANATICS' BELIEF OF APOCALYPTIC BETWEEN A MUSLIM ARMY AND AN 'INFIDEL HORDE'The latest ISIS video featuring a brutal filmed murder is understood to have been filmed in Dabiq - an area of increasing symbolic importance to Islamic State terrorists.
As well as naming their English-language propaganda magazine after the small desert village, a 1,300 year old prophecy predicting Dabiq as the location of an apocalyptic battle between Muslims and an 'infidel horde' is understood to be fueling the warped imaginations of the fanatics.
The town, which is in Aleppo province, was captured from the Free Syrian Army in August and prompted streams of highly romanticized propaganda in which ISIS militants identified it as the first step towards ushering in the Apocalypse.
A key feature of this prophecy invovles attracting the 'infidel horde' into Dabiq for a huge ground battle.
ISIS has even named its official magazine, which reinforces its extremist views, 'Dabiq' (two editions above)
It is notable that in the latest sickening video, the militant known as Jihadi John is now urging Britain and America to send their troops to fight in Syria, rather than to leave the Islamic State alone as he had done in previous videos.
'Here we are - burying the first American crusader in Dabiq... Eagerly waiting for the remainder of your armies to arrive,' he says.
The 1,300-year-old hadith, which is a report of the deeds, teachings and sayings of the Prophet Mohammed, refers to the 'horde' flying 80 banners as they take on a Muslim army in the Syrian town of Dabiq.
It warns of a 'malahim' - the equivalent to Armageddon in Christian teachings '' in which the Muslims ultimately prevail.
ISIS supporters on social media have started comparing recent developments in Syria to the prophecy amid warnings the 'malahim' is coming.
Islamic State fighters are said to have drawn on the prophecy even more so since conquering Dabiq in August and the town's name has become a byword for the struggle against the West.
The terrorist group has even named its official magazine 'Dabiq', in which it pushes its extremist views and reports victories.
Supporters appear to be convinced of the prophecy's validity, with one writing on Twitter: 'Dabiq will happen for certain... The U.S. and its allies will descend on Syria once they see that the air campaign has failed. That is a promise by God and his Messenger.'
Another, from Tunisia, wrote. 'The lions of Islam have raised the banner of the Caliphate in Dabiq. Now they await the arrival of the Crusader army.'
Shadi Hamid, a fellow at the Brookings Institute, said the hadith is heavily relied upon by ISIS because it 'raises morale'.
He said: 'It is fair to assume that the vast majority of (ISIS) fighters believe in this type of talk.'
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VIDEO-Why Adele was right to ignore Bob Geldof and Band Aid - Telegraph
Wed, 19 Nov 2014 01:33
Later, we learnt that Adele had quietly made a private donation to Oxfam. But in the shallow, self-promoting world of celebrity, the simple and silent act of handing over money to charity is not the done thing '' that's what we impoverished plebs do.
Instead, the rich and famous donate their precious time, and for this they expect to be celebrated and congratulated, as if before they flashed their expensively whitened teeth in the video for a song, we had no idea that Ebola was a problem, or that thousands of Africans were spending their last days on this earth in unimaginable horror, bleeding from every orifice, unable even to be comforted by their family and loved ones.
''Give us your f***ing money,'' was Geldof's message way back when, and it is his message now '' you all dig deep and give up your hard earned cash because these famous people who make millions singing songs have deigned to give up a few hours of their time on a weekend.
''We really can stop this'... foul little plague,'' said Geldof when he appeared on BBC Breakfast yesterday morning, with no mention of the Disasters Emergency Committee, which has raised £20 million for the region, or Medecins sans Fronteries, who have been out there since March.
It's not the troops deployed to Sierra Leone who are going to make a real difference '' that honour will go to Geldof and his merry army of pop stars, even though they probably think a hazmat suit is a creation by a hot new designer.
Which all reminds me of something Noel Gallagher said during Live 8 nine years ago: ''Correct me if I'm wrong, but are they hoping that one of these guys from the G8 is on a quick fifteen-minute break at Gleneagles and sees Annie Lennox seeing 'Sweet Dreams' and thinks 'f**k me, she might have a point there, '... we should really drop the debt, you know'. It's not going to happen, is it?''
But anyone who refuses to go along with Geldof is pilloried or sworn at; so, when a Sky News presenter asked him a perfectly reasonable question yesterday morning about the tax practices of some of the artists featured on the song, his only answer was ''it's b******s''. This is the kind of response you might expect from a 21-year-old with a YouTube channel, but from a 63-year-old trying to engage the public in a subject as grave as Ebola, it just seems churlish. How can he expect us to take him seriously if he cannot behave in a serious manner himself?
Nobody wants a world full of Ebola, but nor do I want a world full of Malaria and HIV and Tuberculosis and numerous other diseases '' not to mention conditions such as hunger and poverty - that are destroying the lives of many millions of Africans every day.
Certainly, I don't want to be told how to behave philanthropically by a man worth an estimated £32 million, a man who is said to use tax avoidance schemes (it is telling that when a journalist asked him two years ago how much tax he paid, Geldof exploded at her, saying: 'My time? Is that not a tax?' Well, no, Bob, it isn't).
I don't want to be implored to give charitably by a band that travels in separate private jets because they don't get on (One Direction), or by a man who avoids Irish taxes while simultaneously telling the Irish government to help developing countries (Bono).
''It really doesn't matter if you don't like this song,'' said Geldof as he launched it, ''what you have to do is buy this thing.'' But do we? Really? If we don't, does this make us unfeeling and uncaring, or does it mean that we have already donated money to the cause, or a different cause, even?
This, I think, is my main objection to Band Aid 30: it is all predicated on a belief that the British public are mean-spirited and uncharitable, when in actual fact nothing could be further from the truth. It's time the likes of Geldof stopped asking us to give money, and like Adele, started donating some themselves. Charity, after all, begins at home.
VIDEO-Virtual tape feminists
Wed, 19 Nov 2014 01:17
VIDEO-Senate defeats Keystone XL pipeline
Wed, 19 Nov 2014 01:14
The Democrat-controlled Senate failed to gather the 60 votes it needed to approve the construction of the Keystone XL pipeline. The Senate's 59-41 vote Tuesday night was a nail-biter to the end.
The Keystone XL pipeline project has been at the center of a major political debate since 2008 when TransCanda applied for permission to construct the 1,179-mile-long pipeline.
Sen. Mary Landrieu, D-La., who chairs of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, worked hard to convince holdouts that the pipeline was a good idea. She pointed to the country's long history of building pipelines as a reason to support the bill.
"What is everybody upset about?"Landrieuasked from the Senate floor on Tuesday. "We already have 2.6 million miles of pipe in America." She noted that the Keystone project would add "basically 1,000 miles."
Landrieu, who faces a runoff against Republican Rep. Bill Cassidy in her home state Dec. 6, has fought to make the issue a top priority during the lame-duck congressional session. However, critics see her efforts as a last-minute attempt to win over voters in Louisiana, where the bill has gained public support.
Read MorePrivate equity bets on 'revolution''--in oil and gas
The House passed Cassidy's version of the bill on Friday.
Earlier in the year, the State Department concluded that the project would create 42,100 jobs and about $2 billion in earnings throughout the country. However, it defined those jobs as lasting for about a year.
Proponents of the construction argue it would help the U.S., which still imports about 30 percent of its oil supply, move away from relying on energy sources in unstable areas of the world. However, environmental activist who oppose the pipeline say it would jeopardize public health and spike carbon emissions.
The White House has indicated that President Barack Obama would veto the bill if it passed.
Read MoreCracks widen at OPEC as oil prices tumble
House Speaker John Boehner told reporters earlier that a veto of a bill to approve the pipeline "would be the equivalent of calling the American people stupid."
"Let's be clear about this. A Keystone pipeline veto would send the signal that this president has no interest in listening to the American people," Boehner said during conference on Capitol Hill Tuesday. "Vetoing a overwhelmingly popular bill would be a clear indication that he doesn't care about the American people's priorities."
The 45 Republican members of the Senate support the bill, which needed a total of 60 votes to pass.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
VIDEO-New Band Aid single raises £1 million for Ebola within five minutes
Mon, 17 Nov 2014 15:14
What's This?
By Tim ChesterUK2014-11-17 11:20:13 UTC
LONDON '-- Band Aid 30, the 2014 update of the Band Aid campaign that raised money for Ethiopia in 1984, has raised over £1 million ($1.5 million) for Ebola within five minutes of being launched.
The updated version of Do They Know It's Christmas?, which features One Direction, Ed Sheeran, Ellie Goulding and Sam Smith among others, was recorded in London on Saturday and the video premiered on Sunday's X Factor.
''It's gone manic. That's the digital age,'' organiser Bob Geldof told the BBC's Radio 4 Today show.
Geldof and fellow mastermind behind the track Midge Ure have been acutely aware of the digital age '' and Twitter's capacity for instant feedback - with their new version of the song, and it's a somewhat more considered and sombre affair than before. Bono's questionable line (''Well tonight thank god it's them instead of you'') has been replaced and the track is bereft of the rap, flying guitar solos, and applause of the 2004 version.
The lyrics have been updated to reflect current world events, with one line reading: ''Where a kiss of love can kill you - And there's death at every tear,'' which, according to Geldof, was inspired by a nurse who died in Africa after wiping away the tear of a child dying of Ebola.
Other musicians that contributed to the Band Aid 30 single included Queen's Roger Taylor, Rita Ora, Jessie Ware, Clean Bandit, Paloma Faith, Seal and Sinead O'Connor.
Geldof rallied them all before the recording. "I explained the situation in West Africa, I explained what the UN were saying, explained what we could do, and just geed them up," he said.
He's also accused Germany of being ''laggards'' in the fight against Ebola. ''It's as dangerous for them as it is for us,'' he told the BBC. ''This thing is a flight away from us.''
However, Damon Albarn has questioned the notion of a charity single and suggested the stars singing for Africa take a plane to the continent to see things first hand.
"Our perspective and our idea of what helps and our idea of what's wrong and right are not necessarily shared by other cultures,'' he told Channel 4 News.
''There are problems with our idea of charity, especially these things that suddenly balloon out of nothing and then create a media frenzy where some of that essential communication is lost and it starts to feel like it's a process where if you give money you solve the problem, and really sometimes giving money creates another problem."
"All those people who are making that, taking that afternoon out of their schedules, go to Africa, experience it, feel that sense of magic and maybe have a different attitude to life when you come back."
Key Participants (1984): Bono, Boy George, Sting, George Michael, Phil Collins and Duran Duran
Money Raised (1984): £8 million for Ethiopian famine relief
Key Participants (2014): One Direction, Ed Sheeran, Ellie Goulding, Rita Ora, Sam Smith, Clean Bandit, Chris Martin
Money Raised (2014): £1 million within five minutes of the X Factor premiere
The single, which is currently odds on favourite for Christmas Number One at 4/5 according to William Hill, is available to buy online now, with a physical release following on December 8.
Have something to add to this story? Share it in the comments.
Topics: band aid, Celebrities, charity, Christmas, Ebola, Entertainment, Music, WorldImage: Jonathan Short/Associated Press
VIDEO-Abdul-Rahman Kassig: From Soldier to Peace-Loving ISIS Victim - NBC News.com
Mon, 17 Nov 2014 11:26
Abdul-Rahman Kassig, a U.S. medic whom ISIS claimed Sunday to have beheaded after holding him hostage for a year, was a former Army Ranger turned humanitarian who found his calling in helping everyday people fleeing conflicts in the Middle East.
Kassig, an Iraq war veteran from Indianapolis, first traveled to the region in March 2012 during college spring break. It was during that trip, he wrote in an email, that he went to refugee camps outside Beirut, Lebanon, and saw there was a "shortage of everything except suffering."
"I have tried to live my life in a way that displays what it is that I believe, but the truth is, much of my life I have only been searching for my calling, I had not yet found it," he wrote in the message dated March 18, 2012, in which he announced he was withdrawing from his classes to stay and help.
"Here, in this land, I have found my calling," he continued. "Every day that I am here I have more questions and less answers, but what I do know is that I have a chance to do something here, to take a stand. To make a difference."
For the next 18 months, Kassig made good on those words: He helped the refugees in Lebanon, began a non-governmental organization '-- Special Emergency Response and Assistance, or SERA '-- and moved to Turkey, a launching point for helping children and families in eastern Syria trying to escape the fighting.
"He found his calling in Syria and along the Syrian border," his parents, Ed and Paula Kassig, said in a statement Oct. 30. "As he wrote in 2012, 'What keeps me up at night isn't the things I've done when I shouldn't have so as much as the things I haven't done when I could have. I'd be OK if I never slept again lest I forget those moments.'"
Kassig volunteered for ambulance duty and in hospitals in Syria's Deir Ezzour to treat the wounded, his parents said, noting that Syrian doctors and a nurse had attested to their son's work and called for his freedom. That appeal was also made by medical professionals Kassig met in Lebanon who were impressed with his dedication.
"He was full of sympathy for people, and he had some useful skills," Dr. Ahmed Obeid, who met Kassig in Lebanon, told the Los Angeles Times. "He was very courageous. Maybe that was his undoing in the end."
ISIS militants kidnapped Kassig on Oct. 1, 2013, while he was transporting medical supplies in an ambulance.
"In an area of Syria where many doctors had fled, Abdul-Rahman went directly into Syria to help those in need and his organization, SERA, provided first aid training to civilians so they could treat the injured and save lives," his parents said in their Oct. 30 statement. "Through SERA, Abdul-Rahman brought in much-needed medical supplies."
Born Peter Kassig, he began converting to Islam before his abduction. He was last seen Oct. 1 in an ISIS propaganda video that showed the beheading of British aid worker Alan Henning, and the militants threatened that Kassig would be next.
French journalist Nicolas Henin, whom ISIS militants released in April, shared a cell with Kassig. He recalled Kassig as having a good heart and a sweet tooth, exchanging his food rations with fellow hostages for candy and jam.
"He arrived in the region with a lot of curiosity, and he decided to stay out of goodwill," Henin said. "He just realized that the people of the region needed help, that they were living in a humanitarian drama. Maybe it was not realistic ... considering the level of danger he put himself in, but at the end of the day he was extremely sincere."
After Kassig was shown in the video, his parents came forward, pleading for his release. In interviews, they shared a letter he wrote to them in June that another former hostage had been able to smuggle out. He talked about playing chess and laughing with friends, and about sharing stories and dreams of home and loved ones. He acknowledged fearing death and living with the uncertainty of not knowing whether he would be killed.
"If I do die, I figure that at least you and I can seek refuge and comfort in knowing that I went out as a result of trying to alleviate suffering and helping those in need," he wrote.
"Just know I'm with you," he added. "Every stream, every lake, every field and river. In the woods and in the hills, in all the places you showed me."
On Sunday, his parents mourned his death.
"Fed by a strong desire to use his life to save the lives of others, Abdul-Rahman was drawn to the camps that are filled with displaced families and to understaffed hospitals inside Syria. We know he found his home amongst the Syrian people, and he hurt when they were hurting," they wrote in a statement. "We are incredibly proud of our son for living his life according to his humanitarian calling. We will work every day to keep his legacy alive as best we can."
IN-DEPTHSOCIALFirst published November 16 2014, 4:34 PM
(GRAPHIC VIDEO) Islamic State Claims Beheading of Former U.S. Army Ranger/Aid Worker Peter Kassig | LeakSource
Mon, 17 Nov 2014 10:28
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In a video released by the Islamic State on Sunday, the group says they have beheaded U.S. hostage Peter Kassig and warned the United States they would kill other U.S. citizens ''on your streets''.
The announcement of Kassig's death, in what would be the fifth such killing of a Western/captive by the group, was part of a 15-minute video in which Islamic State shows the beheadings of at least 14 men it said were pilots and officers loyal to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
Kassig's beheading is not seen in the video, but it shows the British masked militant dubbed ''Jihadi John'' standing with a decapitated head covered in blood lying at his feet. ''This is Peter Edward Kassig, a U.S. citizen,'' he says.
According to reports, Jihadi John is believed to have been wounded in an air attack during a meeting of IS leaders in an Iraqi town close to the Syrian border earlier this month.
The format of this video was different from previous ones, not only because it showed other beheadings but also because these were shown in graphic detail. The beheadings of the Syrian personnel were filmed in death squad style, with militants standing behind kneeling men in dark blue overalls. In slow motion shots, each of the militants is shown drawing a knife from a box on the side of the road.
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''To Obama, the dog of Rome, today we are slaughtering the soldiers of Bashar and tomorrow we will be slaughtering your soldiers,'' Jihadi John says. ''And with Allah's permission '... the Islamic State will soon '... begin to slaughter your people in your streets.''The purported location was also disclosed, the northern Syrian town of Dabeq near the Turkish border. Jihadi John says they had buried Kassig there, ''Here we are burying the first American crusader in Dabeq. Eagerly waiting for the remainder of your armies to arrive.''
In a statement, Kassig's parents Ed and Paula Kassig said they were aware of news reports ''about our treasured son'' and were awaiting confirmation from the government as to their authenticity.
UPDATE: The White House confirmed the death of Peter Kassig after reviewing the video, and released a statement from President Obama:
Statement from Peter Kassig's parents after the White House's confirmation:
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