727: Win By Losing

Adam Curry & John C. Dvorak

2h 43m
June 4th, 2015
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Executive Producers: Sir Sluf-Barry Coggins, Sir Robin Clements of the Utrecht Highlands, Patrick Seymour, Anonymous

Associate Executive Producers: Adriaan Spronk, Robert Sgro, Julian Erickson, Eric Hoff, John Kumar, John White, Ian Larsen

Cover Artist: MartinJJ

Chapters

0:00
Start of Show
Woodstock
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TODAY
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Being able to tell the difference between right and wrong
Security Theatre WTF?
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Theodore Kasczinski "Industrial Society and Its Future"
Smith Mundt Act - A reminder that you are living in a Smith-Mudt Act repealed media landscape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''727, 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. § 1727^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.
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Police State
Head of T.S.A. Out After Tests Reveal Flaws - NYTimes.com
Tue, 02 Jun 2015 07:31
WASHINGTON '-- The Department of Homeland Security on Monday reassigned the acting director of the Transportation Security Administration and ordered the agency to revise its security procedures after screeners at airport checkpoints failed to detect weapons and other prohibited items 95 percent of the time in a covert test.
Jeh Johnson, the secretary of Homeland Security, which oversees the T.S.A., said that he took the findings of the investigation by the department's inspector general ''very seriously.'' He called on the T.S.A. to retrain airport security officers, retest screening equipment and increase its use of covert testing in airports.
In the investigation, undercover agents were able to get prohibited items through security checkpoints in 67 of 70 instances, according to ABC News, which first reported the findings.
Melvin Carraway, the acting administrator of the T.S.A., was replaced by the acting deputy, Mark Hatfield. In April, President Obama nominated Vice Adm. Peter Neffenger of the Coast Guard to be the agency's next administrator.
Mr. Johnson directed T.S.A. officials to revise procedures for screenings and extend training programs beyond checkpoint officers to include supervisory personnel. He said in a statement that he would meet with executives from companies that develop airport security equipment, and receive biweekly progress reports from a newly appointed team of senior officials who will oversee the new standards.
Though Mr. Johnson said that numbers like the security failure rate in the new report ''never look good out of context,'' the swift and broad measures to overhaul screenings indicated what Mr. Johnson called ''specific vulnerabilities'' at airport checkpoints. According to the ABC News report, one undercover agent was stopped when he set off an alarm, but the T.S.A. screener failed during a pat-down to detect a fake explosive device taped to his back.
Mr. Johnson asked the Senate to confirm Admiral Neffenger's nomination ''as quickly possible.''
Multiple fake bomb threats against US aircraft in the air -- Puppet Masters -- Sott.net
Thu, 04 Jun 2015 01:19
Multiple bomb threats against U.S. aircraft in the air and one on the ground in Philadelphia were made on Tuesday, according to NBC News. It was determined that the threat against the plane in Philadelphia was in fact a hoax.The threats, five in total, were similar to chemical weapon threats against aircraft that were made last week. It was determined that the claims were fake, and there was speculation that the threats could have been made by an ISIS "lone wolf," NBC News reported.
Government sources told NBC News that none of the threats this morning are credible.
A US Airways flight and its passengers were searched after the plane landed at Philadelphia International Airport Tuesday morning.
The airport confirmed there was an ongoing police investigation after flight 648 from San Diego landed as scheduled in Philly, with 88 passengers and five crew on board.
"The TSA Operations Center in Washington, DC had received a phone threat stating that there was an explosive device on the plane," Philadelphia Police Chief Inspector Joe Sullivan told NBC News. "Out of an abundance of caution" the airport declared a bomb threat and moved the plane to a remote area.
The most recent threats come after Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson said he reassigned the acting administrator for the Transportation Security Administration after earlier ordering improved security at U.S. airports.
It followed media reports that checkpoint screeners failed to detect mock explosives and weapons in 95 percent of tests carried out by undercover agents.
Texas tyranny: Waco judge to let bikers go '-- only if they sign contract promising not to sue for wrongful arrest
Tue, 02 Jun 2015 07:27
(C) Unkown
Earlier today, detainees in the Jack Harwell Detention Center in Waco were told that in exchange for bond reductions, they must sign a document stating the Waco police "had the right to arrest the inmate and that he/she will not file a lawsuit against McLennan County and/or the City of Waco."On the two-week anniversary of the "shootout at high noon" at the Twin Peaks restaurant between motorcyclists and law enforcement officers, at least 170 people remain detained on $1 million bonds.
This latest information was reported to an attorney representing at least one of the detainees. "It appears the public defenders office in McLennan County is involved in this scurrilous activity," said Paul Looney, a Houston attorney with Looney & Conrad, P.C. "I've never seen anything like the lawlessness that the authorities have perpetrated on these people and now to add insult to injury they are trying to cover their own tracks in exchange for bond. I will be in the reception area of the McLennan County D.A.'s office tomorrow morning at 8:30 with the intention of not leaving until we have the issue of bond resolved."
"They know these people aren't dangerous or they wouldn't be offering the bond reductions and they know the police and the D.A.'s office have violated the law and now they are trying to hold people hostage until they agree to waive their rights. It's unconscionable," said Clay S. Conrad, Looney's law partner.
(C) Waco PD
One family member of a biker summed up the news like this:In other words, the Waco PD is putting a gun to the head of the accused by holding their freedom for ransom. "If you want out, give us a pass."
Such a thing is nothing short of extortion! If they refuse, they intend on continuing to hold them on the $1-million bond.
Let that sink in for a moment. The Waco PD and feds would have you believe that nearly 170 Americans, whom are locked away, are so dangerous, that they cannot be trusted with freedom. Yet, if they'll agree to absolve the Waco PD of any crime, suddenly they're outstanding citizens?
Like I've been telling you since the beginning, these men and women were kidnapped to attain their silence. They were kidnapped to protect the Waco Police from having to answer for their crimes. And we can prove it, now.
The Waco Police wants absolution for murdering 9 people, and kidnapping and abusing 170 witnesses. But they want to circumvent the legal system. They don't want their crimes to be exposed to the public.
This is another case of government believing that they are above justice. We cannot allow such a thing to happen. The truth needs to known, and it needs to spread from coast-to-coast. If they get away with it in Waco, they'll do it again. Maybe next time, you'll be the target.
If you are family of any of the victims who are being held for ransom by the Waco Police, do NOT agree to sign this document. The Waco Police shall not avoid the inevitable day when the truth comes out in court. True justice is coming! And the Waco Police will soon be exposed for their crimes against the victims of the Waco massacre. The dead and the kidnapped deserve true justice, and that won't come with silence, it will come with the exposure of the truth.
You are the enemy: FBI is now operating its own surveillance air force
Thu, 04 Jun 2015 03:32
(C) AP Photo/Andrew Harnik
The FBI is operating a small air force with scores of low-flying planes across the country carrying video and, at times, cellphone surveillance technology - all hidden behind fictitious companies that are fronts for the government, The Associated Press has learned.The planes' surveillance equipment is generally used without a judge's approval, and the FBI said the flights are used for specific, ongoing investigations. The FBI said it uses front companies to protect the safety of the pilots and aircraft. It also shields the identity of the aircraft so that suspects on the ground don't know they're being watched by the FBI.
In a recent 30-day period, the agency flew above more than 30 cities in 11 states across the country, an AP review found.
Aerial surveillance represents a changing frontier for law enforcement, providing what the government maintains is an important tool in criminal, terrorism or intelligence probes. But the program raises questions about whether there should be updated policies protecting civil liberties as new technologies pose intrusive opportunities for government spying.
U.S. law enforcement officials confirmed for the first time the wide-scale use of the aircraft, which the AP traced to at least 13 fake companies, such as FVX Research, KQM Aviation, NBR Aviation and PXW Services.
Even basic aspects of the program are withheld from the public in censored versions of official reports from the Justice Department's inspector general.
The FBI also has been careful not to reveal its surveillance flights in court documents.
"The FBI's aviation program is not secret," spokesman Christopher Allen said in a statement. "Specific aircraft and their capabilities are protected for operational security purposes." Allen added that the FBI's planes "are not equipped, designed or used for bulk collection activities or mass surveillance."But the planes can capture video of unrelated criminal activity on the ground that could be handed over for prosecutions.
Some of the aircraft can also be equipped with technology that can identify thousands of people below through the cellphones they carry, even if they're not making a call or in public. Officials said that practice, which mimics cell towers and gets phones to reveal basic subscriber information, is rare.
Details confirmed by the FBI track closely with published reports since at least 2003 that a government surveillance program might be behind suspicious-looking planes slowly circling neighborhoods. The AP traced at least 50 aircraft back to the FBI, and identified more than 100 flights since late April orbiting both major cities and rural areas.One of the planes, photographed in flight last week by the AP in northern Virginia, bristled with unusual antennas under its fuselage and a camera on its left side. A federal budget document from 2010 mentioned at least 115 planes, including 90 Cessna aircraft, in the FBI's surveillance fleet.
The FBI also occasionally helps local police with aerial support, such as during the recent disturbance in Baltimore that followed the death of 25-year-old Freddie Gray, who sustained grievous injuries while in police custody. Those types of requests are reviewed by senior FBI officials.
The surveillance flights comply with agency rules, an FBI spokesman said. Those rules, which are heavily redacted in publicly available documents, limit the types of equipment the agency can use, as well as the justifications and duration of the surveillance.
Details about the flights come as the Justice Department seeks to navigate privacy concerns arising from aerial surveillance by unmanned aircrafts, or drones. President Barack Obama has said he welcomes a debate on government surveillance, and has called for more transparency about spying in the wake of disclosures about classified programs.
"These are not your grandparents' surveillance aircraft," said Jay Stanley, a senior policy analyst with the American Civil Liberties Union, calling the flights significant "if the federal government is maintaining a fleet of aircraft whose purpose is to circle over American cities, especially with the technology we know can be attached to those aircraft."
During the past few weeks, the AP tracked planes from the FBI's fleet on more than 100 flights over at least 11 states plus the District of Columbia, most with Cessna 182T Skylane aircraft. These included parts of Houston, Phoenix, Seattle, Chicago, Boston, Minneapolis and Southern California.
Evolving technology can record higher-quality video from long distances, even at night, and can capture certain identifying information from cellphones using a device known as a "cell-site simulator" - or Stingray, to use one of the product's brand names. These can trick pinpointed cellphones into revealing identification numbers of subscribers, including those not suspected of a crime.
Officials say cellphone surveillance is rare, although the AP found in recent weeks FBI flights orbiting large, enclosed buildings for extended periods where aerial photography would be less effective than electronic signals collection. Those included above Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport and the Mall of America in Bloomington, Minnesota.
After The Washington Post revealed flights by two planes circling over Baltimore in early May, the AP began analyzing detailed flight data and aircraft-ownership registrations that shared similar addresses and flight patterns. That review found some FBI missions circled above at least 40,000 residents during a single flight over Anaheim, California, in late May, according to Census data and records provided by the website FlightRadar24.com.
Most flight patterns occurred in counter-clockwise orbits up to several miles wide and roughly one mile above the ground at slow speeds. A 2003 newsletter from the company FLIR Systems Inc., which makes camera technology such as seen on the planes, described flying slowly in left-handed patterns.
"Aircraft surveillance has become an indispensable intelligence collection and investigative technique which serves as a force multiplier to the ground teams," the FBI said in 2009 when it asked Congress for $5.1 million for the program.
Recently, independent journalists and websites have cited companies traced to post office boxes in Virginia, including one shared with the Justice Department. The AP analyzed similar data since early May, while also drawing upon aircraft registration documents, business records and interviews with U.S. officials to understand the scope of the operations.
The FBI asked the AP not to disclose the names of the fake companies it uncovered, saying that would saddle taxpayers with the expense of creating new cover companies to shield the government's involvement, and could endanger the planes and integrity of the surveillance missions. The AP declined the FBI's request because the companies' names - as well as common addresses linked to the Justice Department - are listed on public documents and in government databases.
At least 13 front companies that AP identified being actively used by the FBI are registered to post office boxes in Bristow, Virginia, which is near a regional airport used for private and charter flights. Only one of them appears in state business records.
Included on most aircraft registrations is a mysterious name, Robert Lindley. He is listed as chief executive and has at least three distinct signatures among the companies. Two documents include a signature for Robert Taylor, which is strikingly similar to one of Lindley's three handwriting patterns.
The FBI would not say whether Lindley is a U.S. government employee. The AP unsuccessfully tried to reach Lindley at phone numbers registered to people of the same name in the Washington area since Monday.
Law enforcement officials said Justice Department lawyers approved the decision to create fictitious companies to protect the flights' operational security and that the Federal Aviation Administration was aware of the practice. One of the Lindley-headed companies shares a post office box openly used by the Justice Department.
Such elusive practices have endured for decades. A 1990 report by the then-General Accounting Office noted that, in July 1988, the FBI had moved its "headquarters-operated" aircraft into a company that wasn't publicly linked to the bureau.
The FBI does not generally obtain warrants to record video from its planes of people moving outside in the open, but it also said that under a new policy it has recently begun obtaining court orders to use cell-site simulators. The Obama administration had until recently been directing local authorities through secret agreements not to reveal their own use of the devices, even encouraging prosecutors to drop cases rather than disclose the technology's use in open court.
A Justice Department memo last month also expressly barred its component law enforcement agencies from using unmanned drones "solely for the purpose of monitoring activities protected by the First Amendment" and said they are to be used only in connection with authorized investigations and activities. A department spokeswoman said the policy applied only to unmanned aircraft systems rather than piloted airplanes.
Associated Press writers Sean Murphy in Oklahoma City; Joan Lowy and Ted Bridis in Washington; Randall Chase in Wilmington, Delaware; and news researchers Monika Mathur in Washington and Rhonda Shafner in New York contributed to this report.
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View documents: http://apne.ws/1HEyP0t
While You Gloat About Snowden, The FBI is Watching You | The Rancid Honeytrap
Thu, 04 Jun 2015 13:46
You know, I hate to rain on the little ''courage is contagious'' Snowden parade currently marching through the internet in all its idiotic, chest-beating glory, but unfortunately the Associated Press doesn't share my reluctance. Today it reported that:
The FBI is operating a small air force with scores of low-flying planes across the country carrying video and, at times, cellphone surveillance technology '-- all hidden behind fictitious companies that are fronts for the government'...
Did you see that bit there kids, about cellphone surveillance? But you can continue to ridiculously whoop it up since a spokesperson for the FBI assured AP's reporters that:
the FBI's planes ''are not equipped, designed or used for bulk collection activities or mass surveillance.''
Of course the planes don't do bulk collection. There are phone companies for that, and they're still obliged to give up records to law enforcement agencies, including the NSA, whether they want to or not. Since our instructions are to be all about the phones right now, let's try not to think about this bit at all:
the planes can capture video of unrelated criminal activity on the ground that could be handed over for prosecutions.
Bulk video collection. Cool.
AP reports that FBI planes were used in coordination with local police during the protests that followed the murder by police of Freddie Gray.
As we know from previous investigations, the FBI also uses devices that mimic cell phone towers and collect data from all phones within a certain area. That means your phone if you happen to be near a target of an investigation. We're being told that use of these FBI ''roving wiretaps'' is among the Patriot Act provisions that expired. But there's no indication of any new constraints on the one in four local police departments that also do warrantless roving wiretaps, and bulk collection via ''tower dumps'' that provide data on the identity, activity and location of any phone that connects to an individual cellphone tower over a set timespan.
According to USA Today, police are coy about what they do with the cellphone data of non-targets, but there are private companies that sell police departments software for analyzing it. As I wrote about here, local cops can also buy software for analyzing public data like Facebook and Twitter posts. Imagine the possibilities of analyzing that data and cell phone data together. Certainly someone already has.
This is bad enough on its own, but considering the veritable federalizing of cops since 9/11 in large cities is there anything to prevent the FBI or the NSA from delegating the paltrey few things they can't do to local police? But in a few days, that won't really matter, at least not for a while. The Freedom Act, the NSA ''reform'' bill, could pass some time this week or next, at which time the NSA will have six months to transition to the proposed new system, which requires a FISA rubber stamp for cell phone data collecting. So all this chest-beating is really about a few days alleged respite from one small element of one agency's spying activities.
I've said before that among the worst things about the Snowden Show is how, by focusing almost entirely on a single agency, it minimizes a massive surveillance and control apparatus that includes sixteen other Federal agencies, scores of private companies, and state and local police. Even if you arbitrarily restrict your inquiry to signals intelligence '-- the only thing the NSA does ''unless you are investigating the signals intelligence activities of the CIA, the FBI, the DEA, local police and the companies they work with, you're barely scratching the surface. Stories like today's AP revelations about surveillance planes come and go constantly. But the motto of the infosec cabal's big players seems to be, ''NSA docs or it didn't happen.''
This narrow focus is worse than foolish. It's a pernicious lie.
UPDATE
I missed this, from yesterday.
[Rand] Paul also proposed hiring 1,000 new FBI agents to track potential terrorists.
My hero.
Oh and here's the only thing Greenspleen has tweeted about the FBI story, while busily RTing tributes to Ed Snowden's great virtue for bringing us to this point.
Is it obvious yet that these clowns don't give a shit about the security state in any meaningful sense? Greenwald is all about the whistleblower/journalist metanarrative he stars in. Paul just wants to make a pre-election spectacle of moving the chairs around.
But astroturfers gonna astroturf, right?
Related
Mass Surveillance and Look, No NSA! It Happens!
Fuck These Google Guys
If It Isn't Anti-Capitalist, It's Astroturf
Philip Agee and Edward Snowden Compared
In Conclusion
Agenda 21
Pope Francis's edict on climate change will anger deniers and US churches | World news | The Guardian
Wed, 03 Jun 2015 14:04
Pope Francis was a key player in thawing relations between the US and Cuba. Photograph: Franco Origlia/Getty Images
He has been called the ''superman pope'', and it would be hard to deny that Pope Francis has had a good December. Cited by President Barack Obama as a key player in the thawing relations between the US and Cuba, the Argentinian pontiff followed that by lecturing his cardinals on the need to clean up Vatican politics. But can Francis achieve a feat that has so far eluded secular powers and inspire decisive action on climate change?
It looks as if he will give it a go. In 2015, the pope will issue a lengthy message on the subject to the world's 1.2 billion Catholics, give an address to the UN general assembly and call a summit of the world's main religions.
The reason for such frenetic activity, says Bishop Marcelo Sorondo, chancellor of the Vatican's Pontifical Academy of Sciences, is the pope's wish to directly influence next year's crucial UN climate meeting in Paris, when countries will try to conclude 20 years of fraught negotiations with a universal commitment to reduce emissions.
''Our academics supported the pope's initiative to influence next year's crucial decisions,'' Sorondo told Cafod, the Catholic development agency, at a meeting in London. ''The idea is to convene a meeting with leaders of the main religions to make all people aware of the state of our climate and the tragedy of social exclusion.''
Following a visit in March to Tacloban, the Philippine city devastated in 2012 by typhoon Haiyan, the pope will publish a rare encyclical on climate change and human ecology. Urging all Catholics to take action on moral and scientific grounds, the document will be sent to the world's 5,000 Catholic bishops and 400,000 priests, who will distribute it to parishioners.
According to Vatican insiders, Francis will meet other faith leaders and lobby politicians at the general assembly in New York in September, when countries will sign up to new anti-poverty and environmental goals.
In recent months, the pope has argued for a radical new financial and economic system to avoid human inequality and ecological devastation. In October he told a meeting of Latin American and Asian landless peasants and other social movements: ''An economic system centred on the god of money needs to plunder nature to sustain the frenetic rhythm of consumption that is inherent to it.
''The system continues unchanged, since what dominates are the dynamics of an economy and a finance that are lacking in ethics. It is no longer man who commands, but money. Cash commands.
''The monopolising of lands, deforestation, the appropriation of water, inadequate agro-toxics are some of the evils that tear man from the land of his birth. Climate change, the loss of biodiversity and deforestation are already showing their devastating effects in the great cataclysms we witness,'' he said.
In Lima last month, bishops from every continent expressed their frustration with the stalled climate talks and, for the first time, urged rich countries to act.
Sorondo, a fellow Argentinian who is known to be close to Pope Francis, said: ''Just as humanity confronted revolutionary change in the 19th century at the time of industrialisation, today we have changed the natural environment so much. If current trends continue, the century will witness unprecedented climate change and destruction of the ecosystem with tragic consequences.''
According to Neil Thorns, head of advocacy at Cafod, said: ''The anticipation around Pope Francis's forthcoming encyclical is unprecedented. We have seen thousands of our supporters commit to making sure their MPs know climate change is affecting the poorest communities.''
However, Francis's environmental radicalism is likely to attract resistance from Vatican conservatives and in rightwing church circles, particularly in the US '' where Catholic climate sceptics also include John Boehner, Republican leader of the House of Representatives and Rick Santorum, the former Republican presidential candidate.
Cardinal George Pell, a former archbishop of Sydney who has been placed in charge of the Vatican's budget, is a climate change sceptic who has been criticised for claiming that global warming has ceased and that if carbon dioxide in the atmosphere were doubled, then ''plants would love it''.
Former Archbishop of Sydney, Cardinal George Pell, arrives at the Vatican to exchange Christmas greetings with Pope Francis on 22 December, 2014. Photograph: Franco Origlia/Getty ImagesDan Misleh, director of the Catholic climate covenant, said: ''There will always be 5-10% of people who will take offence. They are very vocal and have political clout. This encyclical will threaten some people and bring joy to others. The arguments are around economics and science rather than morality.
''A papal encyclical is rare. It is among the highest levels of a pope's authority. It will be 50 to 60 pages long; it's a big deal. But there is a contingent of Catholics here who say he should not be getting involved in political issues, that he is outside his expertise.''
Francis will also be opposed by the powerful US evangelical movement, said Calvin Beisner, spokesman for the conservative Cornwall Alliance for the Stewardship of Creation, which has declared the US environmental movement to be ''un-biblical'' and a false religion.
''The pope should back off,'' he said. ''The Catholic church is correct on the ethical principles but has been misled on the science. It follows that the policies the Vatican is promoting are incorrect. Our position reflects the views of millions of evangelical Christians in the US.''
Senator: Use RICO Laws to Prosecute Global Warming Skeptics | The Weekly Standard
Wed, 03 Jun 2015 17:04
Writing in the Washington Post, Sheldon Whitehouse, a Democratic Senator from Rhode Island, offered a curious suggestion for dealing with global warming skeptics:
In 2006, Judge Gladys Kessler of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia decided that the tobacco companies' fraudulent campaign amounted to a racketeering enterprise. According to the court: ''Defendants coordinated significant aspects of their public relations, scientific, legal, and marketing activity in furtherance of a shared objective '-- to . . . maximize industry profits by preserving and expanding the market for cigarettes through a scheme to deceive the public.''
The parallels between what the tobacco industry did and what the fossil fuel industry is doing now are striking. ... The coordinated tactics of the climate denial network, Brulle's report states, ''span a wide range of activities, including political lobbying, contributions to political candidates, and a large number of communication and media efforts that aim at undermining climate science.'' Compare that again to the findings in the tobacco case.The tobacco industry was proved to have conducted research that showed the direct opposite of what the industry stated publicly '-- namely, that tobacco use had serious health effects. Civil discovery would reveal whether and to what extent the fossil fuel industry has crossed this same line. We do know that it has funded research that '-- to its benefit '-- directly contradicts the vast majority of peer-reviewed climate science. One scientist who consistently published papers downplaying the role of carbon emissions in climate change, Willie Soon, reportedly received more than half of his funding from oil and electric utility interests: more than $1.2 million.
To be clear: I don't know whether the fossil fuel industry and its allies engaged in the same kind of racketeering activity as the tobacco industry. We don't have enough information to make that conclusion. Perhaps it's all smoke and no fire. But there's an awful lot of smoke.
That's right -- a sitting U.S. Senator is suggesting using RICO laws should be applied to global warming skeptics. Courts have been defining RICO down for some time and in ways that aren't particularly helpful. In 1994, the Supreme Court ruled RICO statutes could be applied to pro-life activists on the grounds that interstate commerce can be affected even when the organization being targeted doesn't have economic motives.
Obviously, there's a lot of money hanging in the balance with regard to energy policy. But when does coordinating "a wide range of activities, including political lobbying, contributions to political candidates, and a large number of communication and media efforts" go from basic First Amendment expression to racketeering? The tobacco analogy is inappropriate in regards to how direct the link between smoking and cancer is. Even among those who do agree that global warming is a problem, there's a tremendously wide variety of opinions about the practical effects. Who gets to decide whether someone is "downplaying the role of carbon emissions in climate change" relative to the consensus? If message coordination and lobbying on controversial scientific and political issues can be declared racketeering because the people funding such efforts have a financial interest in a predetermined outcome, we're just going to have to outlaw everything that goes on in Washington, D.C.
Almost June and more snow falls in Norway
Mon, 01 Jun 2015 20:58
(C) Jarle VikaneVidda in May
Riding through this stuff on a motorcycle must be awfully cold. - Robert"It happened again yesterday on RV7," says reader.
Cars stuck in snow, another 10-15cm of snow.
Forecast for the next days: Storm with snow over 800m. Even the mainstream media thinks this is special!
I put up some clips on youtube from today's trip in the mountains. Today's road is in the same area as the Suleskardveien in the other video, it's the same area you can find the famous Pulpit Rock in the Lysefjord. Elevation is 800-950m on the highest sections.
Today the weather forcast was quite nice, but when I arrived the temperature was only 2-3C with snowshowers, sleet and rain, even fresh snow along the road. I have never seen this much snow that close to June.In just a couple of weeks, thousands of sheep are released to graze on these wast areas normally, but this year they will have to wait, and this will force the farmers to let them eat of the grass in the lowlands, that's usually is stored for the next winter.
Map
Videos:
Weatherforcast for RV7Thank to 996bip for these links
Global Warming is dead: NASA satellites show polar ice caps growing instead of receding
Mon, 01 Jun 2015 23:33
NASA satellite measurements show the polar ice caps have not retreated at all.
Updated data from NASA satellite instruments reveal the Earth's polar ice caps have not receded at all since the satellite instruments began measuring the ice caps in 1979. Since the end of 2012, moreover, total polar ice extent has largely remained above the post-1979 average. The updated data contradict one of the most frequently asserted global warming claims - that global warming is causing the polar ice caps to recede.The timing of the 1979 NASA satellite instrument launch could not have been better for global warming alarmists. The late 1970s marked the end of a 30-year cooling trend. As a result, the polar ice caps were quite likely more extensive than they had been since at least the 1920s. Nevertheless, this abnormally extensive 1979 polar ice extent would appear to be the "normal" baseline when comparing post-1979 polar ice extent.
Updated NASA satellite data show the polar ice caps remained at approximately their 1979 extent until the middle of the last decade. Beginning in 2005, however, polar ice modestly receded for several years. By 2012, polar sea ice had receded by approximately 10 percent from 1979 measurements. (Total polar ice area - factoring in both sea and land ice - had receded by much less than 10 percent, but alarmists focused on the sea ice loss as "proof" of a global warming crisis.)
NASA satellite measurements show the polar ice caps have not retreated at all.
A 10-percent decline in polar sea ice is not very remarkable, especially considering the 1979 baseline was abnormally high anyway. Regardless, global warming activists and a compliant news media frequently and vociferously claimed the modest polar ice cap retreat was a sign of impending catastrophe. Al Gore even predictedthe Arctic ice cap could completely disappear by 2014.
In late 2012, however, polar ice dramatically rebounded and quickly surpassed the post-1979 average. Ever since, the polar ice caps have been at a greater average extent than the post-1979 mean.
Now, in May 2015, the updated NASA data show polar sea ice is approximately 5 percent above the post-1979 average.
During the modest decline in 2005 through 2012, the media presented a daily barrage of melting ice cap stories. Since the ice caps rebounded - and then some - how have the media reported the issue?
The frequency of polar ice cap stories may have abated, but the tone and content has not changed at all. Here are some of the titles of news items I pulled yesterday from the front two pages of a GoogleNews search for "polar ice caps":
"Climate change is melting more than just the polar ice caps"
"2020: Antarctic ice shelf could collapse"
"An Arctic ice cap's shockingly rapid slide into the sea"
"New satellite maps show polar ice caps melting at 'unprecedented rate'"
The only Google News items even hinting that the polar ice caps may not have melted so much (indeed not at all) came from overtly conservative websites. The "mainstream" media is alternating between maintaining radio silence on the extended run of above-average polar ice and falsely asserting the polar ice caps are receding at an alarming rate.
To be sure, receding polar ice caps are an expected result of the modest global warming we can expect in the years ahead. In and of themselves, receding polar ice caps have little if any negative impact on human health and welfare, and likely a positive benefit by opening up previously ice-entombed land to human, animal, and plant life. Nevertheless, polar ice cap extent will likely be a measuring stick for how much the planet is or is not warming.
The Earth has warmed modestly since the Little Ice Age ended a little over 100 years ago, and the Earth will likely continue to warm modestly as a result of natural and human factors. As a result, at some point in time, NASA satellite instruments should begin to report a modest retreat of polar ice caps. The modest retreat - like that which happened briefly from 2005 through 2012 - would not be proof or evidence of a global warming crisis. Such a retreat would merely illustrate that global temperatures are continuing their gradual recovery from the Little Ice Age. Such a recovery - despite alarmist claims to the contrary - would not be uniformly or even on balance detrimental to human health and welfare. Instead, an avalanche of scientific evidence indicates recently warming temperatures have significantly improved human health and welfare, just as warming temperatures have always done.
'Burger moet meer betalen voor riool' | Telegraaf.nl
Tue, 02 Jun 2015 07:25
Nederlanders moeten de komende jaren meer rioolbelasting aan de gemeente betalen. Acht op de tien gemeenten verwachten dat de rioolheffing omhoog moet om in de toekomst overlast door regen als gevolg van klimaatverandering zo veel mogelijk te kunnen beperken. Dat blijkt uit het jaarlijkse onderzoek Gemeentelijke Barometer van ingenieursbureau Royal Haskoning en de Vereniging Nederlandse Gemeenten (VNG), dat dinsdag wordt gepresenteerd.
Aan de barometer deden deze keer 185 gemeenten mee. Een klein deel, 16 procent, vindt het goed als de rioolheffing met 10 procent of meer stijgt, 30 procent van de gemeenten vindt dat deze belasting niet meer dan 10 procent omhoog mag gaan.
Het lijkt erop dat gemeenten het als onafwendbaar beschouwen dat in de toekomst vaker overlast door hemelwater ontstaat.
In de barometer van 2014 gaf nog maar 18 procent daarvan aan dat hinder door hemelwater op straat een paar keer per jaar acceptabel is. Inmiddels vindt 62 procent van de deelnemers dat. Het percentage gemeenten dat maatregelen niet durft uit te stellen om hinder te voorkomen, is gedaald van 25 in 2014 naar 16 dit jaar. 'žWater op straat mag'', zegt een wethouder die meedeed aan het onderzoek.
Gemeenten maken nogal een verschil tussen 'hinder' en 'schade' door hemelwater. 67 procent van de gemeenten durft het niet aan om het risico op schade groter te maken door maatregelen uit te stellen.
Het extra geld uit de hogere rioolheffing moeten gemeenten bijvoorbeeld steken in plannen voor gebieden waar overtollige regen tijdelijk opgevangen kan worden. Veel gemeenten willen wateroverlast vooral bestrijden in nieuwbouwgebieden en herinrichting van de openbare ruimte.
J. NAGEUR op 2-6, 8:52De verhoging niet betalen en een brief versturen naar de te betalen instantie met cc gemeentebestuur." niet akkoord met deze verhoging, de reden; jaren betaald aan rioolbelasting, gelieve een uitgewerkte opgave met afschriften van de werkzaamheden die het afgelopen decennium zijn uitgevoerd door deze gemeente te versturen.
DannyB op 2-6, 8:51Jup doe die belasting er ook maar bij. Als of wij nog niet genoeg betalen, straks staan wij op nummer 1 van het hoogste belasting van de wereld. Wanneer gaan de hoge heren in den haag iets betalen want die vullen alleen maar hun zakken.
Arie Vogelaar op 2-6, 8:51rutte mogen we nu ook meer gaan verdienen? het is niet meer te betalen en we moeten nog eten ook
SnowJob
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The ''Freedom'' Act Passes Senate Without Amendments '' Heads to Obama to Sign into Law
Thu, 04 Jun 2015 13:59
Posted on June 2, 2015 by willyloman
(All it took was a day's worth of bomb threats made against commercial planes to get this one passed in the senate. 5 threats in all called in today according to Obama's government)
''The TSA Operations Center in Washington, DC had received a phone threat stating that there was an explosive device on the plane,'' said Philadelphia Police Chief Inspector Joe Sullivan. ''Out of an abundance of caution'' the airport declared a bomb threat and moved the plane to a remote area.'' Zero Hedge
from the Huffington Post
'... In a 67-32 vote '-- called earlier than expected '-- the upper chamber agreed to pass the USA Freedom Act, effectively ending the two-day lapse in the NSA's programs. The act re-establishes modified versions of the expired Patriot Act provisions.
Attempts by NSA defenders to weaken the reforms in the USA Freedom Act fell short in the Senate, where the debate over the legislation has led to weeks of political turmoil. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and Senate Intelligence Committee Chair Richard Burr (R-N.C.) put forth a handful of amendments that would have watered down the changes to the Patriot Act provisions. However, those measures failed to pass, largely due to concern that the House, which passed an unamended bill earlier this month by a vote of 338-88, would refuse to approve an amended act.
The clean USA Freedom Act is now on its way to the Oval Office. President Barack Obama has indicated he plans to sign it.
[read more here]
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Expanding hacking powers: U.S. government to allow judges to grant warrants to search computers 'remotely' in multiple jurisdictions
Mon, 01 Jun 2015 22:57
(C) Rare.us
The Department of Justice has confirmed that a US court committee approved proposed rules that would allow judges to grant warrants to search computers "remotely" in multiple jurisdictions, even when investigators do not know exactly where a device is.According to the current rules judges can grant warrants for "remote searches" only under their own jurisdictions, with several exceptions allowed under the Federal Rule of Criminal Procedure 41. But back in February a little known body the Advisory Committee on Rules of Criminal Procedure proposed the changes at the request of the Department of Justice. The committee approved the proposed amendment, DOJ confirmed on Friday.
The change in the law would allow US government agencies to get a warrant to conduct remote searches of electronic storage media if its location has been "concealed through technological means," widely expanding the Federal Bureau of Investigation's reach when it comes to targeting suspected cybercriminals.
The DOJ claims the proposed change in the law is minor and was long overdue.
"With the rise of techniques that make it easy for criminals without any technical skill to hide their true locations, lawfully authorized remote access has become increasingly important to protect people from predators and solve serious crimes," wrote agency spokesman Peter Carr in an email to VentureBeat in February.
A single computer network can cover multiple jurisdictions and having to get a warrant for each one would slow down any investigation. It is also difficult to know the exact physical location of digital criminals.
"Criminals are increasingly using sophisticated anonymizing technologies when they engage in crime over the Internet," the FBI argued in its request.
But the move has been opposed by Tech companies like Google as well as privacy advocates and computer scientists.
Google filed a legal challenge against the expansion of law enforcements' hacking powers and wrote in a blog post in February when the changes were first proposed that they would have "profound implications for the privacy rights and security interests of everyone who uses the Internet."
However, the proposal is still some way off becoming law and must be signed off by the Supreme Court and Congress which would not see it come into force until December 2016 even if it was approved.
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N.S.A. compensates for loss of surveillance powers by logging on to Facebook
Mon, 01 Jun 2015 23:40
(C) Jonathan Nackstrand/AFP/Getty
The National Security Agency is compensating for the expiration of its power to collect the American people's personal information by logging on to Facebook, the agency confirmed on Monday.The director of the N.S.A., Admiral Michael S. Rogers, said that when parts of the Patriot Act expired at midnight on Sunday, intelligence analysts immediately stopped collecting mountains of phone metadata and started reading billions of Facebook updates instead.
"From a surveillance point of view, the transition has been seamless," Rogers said.
While the N.S.A. has monitored Facebook in the past, it is now spending twenty-four hours a day sifting through billions of baby pictures, pet videos, and photographs of recently enjoyed food to detect possible threats to the United States.
"Those status updates contain everything we want to know," Rogers said. "In many cases, a good deal more than we want to know."
Citing one possible downside of the new surveillance regime, Rogers said that some N.S.A. analysts who now do nothing but monitor Facebook all day report feelings of worthlessness and despair. "I remind them that they're doing this for America," he said.
The N.S.A.'s new strategy drew a sharp rebuke from Sen. Rand Paul (R-Kentucky), who told reporters, "I just blocked them."
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FBI behind mysterious surveillance aircraft over US cities
Tue, 02 Jun 2015 07:27
FBI behind mysterious surveillance aircraft over US citiesHTTP/1.1 200 OK Date: Tue, 02 Jun 2015 07:27:49 GMT Server: Apache Vary: Accept-Encoding Content-Encoding: gzip Transfer-Encoding: chunked Content-Type: text/html; charset=UTF-8
1 hour ago by By Jack Gillum, Eileen Sullivan And Eric TuckerThe FBI is operating a small air force with scores of low-flying planes across the U.S. carrying video and, at times, cellphone surveillance technology'--all hidden behind fictitious companies that are fronts for the government, The Associated Press has learned.
The planes' surveillance equipment is generally used without a judge's approval, and the FBI said the flights are used for specific, ongoing investigations. In a recent 30-day period, the agency flew above more than 30 cities in 11 states across the country, an AP review found.
Aerial surveillance represents a changing frontier for law enforcement, providing what the government maintains is an important tool in criminal, terrorism or intelligence probes. But the program raises questions about whether there should be updated policies protecting civil liberties as new technologies pose intrusive opportunities for government spying.
The FBI confirmed for the first time the wide-scale use of the aircraft, which the AP traced to at least 13 fake companies, such as FVX Research, KQM Aviation, NBR Aviation and PXW Services. Even basic aspects of the program are withheld from the public in censored versions of official reports from the Justice Department's inspector general.
"The FBI's aviation program is not secret," spokesman Christopher Allen said in a statement. "Specific aircraft and their capabilities are protected for operational security purposes." Allen added that the FBI's planes "are not equipped, designed or used for bulk collection activities or mass surveillance."
But the planes can capture video of unrelated criminal activity on the ground that could be handed over for prosecutions.
Some of the aircraft can also be equipped with technology that can identify thousands of people below through the cellphones they carry, even if they're not making a call or in public. Officials said that practice, which mimics cell towers into coughing up basic subscriber information, is rare.
Details confirmed by the FBI track closely with published reports since at least 2003 that a government surveillance program might be behind suspicious-looking planes slowly circling neighborhoods. The AP traced at least 50 aircraft back to the FBI, and identified more than 100 flights since late April orbiting both major cities and rural areas.
One of the planes, photographed in flight last week by the AP in northern Virginia, bristled with unusual antennas under its fuselage and a camera on its left side. A federal budget document from 2010 mentioned at least 115 planes, including 90 Cessna aircraft, in the FBI's surveillance fleet.
The FBI said it also occasionally helps local police with aerial support, such as during the recent disturbance in Baltimore that followed the death of 25-year-old Freddie Gray, who sustained grievous injuries while in police custody. Those types of requests are reviewed by senior FBI officials.
The surveillance flights comply with agency rules, an FBI spokesman said. Those rules, which are heavily redacted in publicly available documents, limit the types of equipment the agency can use, as well as the justifications and duration of the surveillance.
Details about the flights come as the Justice Department seeks to navigate privacy concerns arising from aerial surveillance by unmanned aircrafts, or drones. President Barack Obama has said he welcomes a debate on government surveillance, and has called for more transparency about spying in the wake of disclosures about classified programs.
"These are not your grandparents' surveillance aircraft," said Jay Stanley, a senior policy analyst with the American Civil Liberties Union, calling the flights significant "if the federal government is maintaining a fleet of aircraft whose purpose is to circle over American cities, especially with the technology we know can be attached to those aircraft."
During the past few weeks, the AP tracked planes from the FBI's fleet on more than 100 flights over at least 11 states plus Washington, D.C., most with Cessna 182T Skylane aircraft. These included parts of Houston, Phoenix, Seattle, Chicago, Boston, Minneapolis and Southern California.
Evolving technology can record higher-quality video from long distances, even at night, and can capture certain identifying information from cellphones using a device known as a "cell-site simulator"'--or Stingray, to use one of the product's brand names. These can trick pinpointed cellphones into revealing identification numbers of subscribers, including those not suspected of a crime.
Officials say cellphone surveillance is rare, although the AP found in recent weeks FBI flights orbiting large, enclosed buildings for extended periods where aerial photography would be less effective than electronic signals collection. Those included above Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport and the Mall of America in Bloomington, Minnesota.
After The Washington Post revealed flights by two planes circling over Baltimore in early May, the AP began analyzing detailed flight data and aircraft-ownership registrations that shared similar addresses and flight patterns. That review found some FBI missions circled above at least 40,000 residents during a single flight over Anaheim, California, in late May, according to Census data and records provided by the website FlightRadar24.com.
Most flight patterns occurred in counter-clockwise orbits up to several miles wide and roughly one mile above the ground at slow speeds. A 2003 newsletter from the company FLIR Systems Inc., which makes camera technology such as seen on the planes, described flying slowly in left-handed patterns.
"Aircraft surveillance has become an indispensable intelligence collection and investigative technique which serves as a force multiplier to the ground teams," the FBI said in 2009 when it asked Congress for $5.1 million for the program.
Recently, independent journalists and websites have cited companies traced to a bank of Virginia post office boxes, including one shared with the Justice Department. The AP analyzed similar data since early May, while also drawing upon aircraft registration documents, business records and interviews with U.S. officials to understand the scope of the operations.
The FBI asked the AP not to disclose the names of the fake companies it uncovered, saying that would saddle taxpayers with the expense of creating new cover companies to shield the government's involvement, and could endanger the planes and integrity of the surveillance missions. The AP declined the FBI's request because the companies' names'--as well as common addresses linked to the Justice Department'--are listed on public documents and in government databases.
At least 13 front companies that AP identified being actively used by the FBI are registered to post office boxes in Bristow, Virginia, which is near a regional airport used for private and charter flights. Only one of them appears in state business records.
Included on most aircraft registrations is a mysterious name, Robert Lindley. He is listed as chief executive and has at least three distinct signatures among the companies. Two documents include a signature for Robert Taylor, which is strikingly similar to one of Lindley's three handwriting patterns.
The FBI would not say whether Lindley is a U.S. government employee. The AP unsuccessfully tried to reach Lindley at phone numbers registered to people of the same name in the Washington area since Monday.
Law enforcement officials said Justice Department lawyers approved the decision to create fictitious companies to protect the flights' operational security and the Federal Aviation Administration was aware of the practice. One of the Lindley-headed companies shares a post office box openly used by the Justice Department.
Such elusive practices have endured for decades. A 1990 report by the then-General Accounting Office noted that, in July 1988, the FBI had moved its "headquarters-operated" aircraft into a company that wasn't publicly linked to the bureau.
The FBI does not generally obtain warrants to record video from its planes of people moving outside in the open, but it also said that under a new policy it has recently begun obtaining court orders to use cell-site simulators. The Obama administration had until recently been directing local authorities through secret agreements not to reveal their own use of the devices, even encouraging prosecutors to drop cases rather than disclose the technology's use in open court.
A Justice Department memo last month also expressly barred its component law enforcement agencies from using unmanned drones "solely for the purpose of monitoring activities protected by the First Amendment" and said they are to be used only in connection with authorized investigations and activities. A department spokeswoman said the policy applied only to unmanned aircraft systems rather than piloted airplanes. The First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution guarantees freedom of speech and assembly.
Explore further:US senators seek information on FBI phone tracking
More information: View documents: apne.ws/1HEyP0t
(C) 2015 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.
FBI behind mysterious surveillance aircraft over US citiesHTTP/1.1 200 OK Date: Tue, 02 Jun 2015 07:27:49 GMT Server: Apache Vary: Accept-Encoding Content-Encoding: gzip Transfer-Encoding: chunked Content-Type: text/html; charset=UTF-8
1 hour ago by By Jack Gillum, Eileen Sullivan And Eric TuckerThe FBI is operating a small air force with scores of low-flying planes across the U.S. carrying video and, at times, cellphone surveillance technology'--all hidden behind fictitious companies that are fronts for the government, The Associated Press has learned.
The planes' surveillance equipment is generally used without a judge's approval, and the FBI said the flights are used for specific, ongoing investigations. In a recent 30-day period, the agency flew above more than 30 cities in 11 states across the country, an AP review found.
Aerial surveillance represents a changing frontier for law enforcement, providing what the government maintains is an important tool in criminal, terrorism or intelligence probes. But the program raises questions about whether there should be updated policies protecting civil liberties as new technologies pose intrusive opportunities for government spying.
The FBI confirmed for the first time the wide-scale use of the aircraft, which the AP traced to at least 13 fake companies, such as FVX Research, KQM Aviation, NBR Aviation and PXW Services. Even basic aspects of the program are withheld from the public in censored versions of official reports from the Justice Department's inspector general.
"The FBI's aviation program is not secret," spokesman Christopher Allen said in a statement. "Specific aircraft and their capabilities are protected for operational security purposes." Allen added that the FBI's planes "are not equipped, designed or used for bulk collection activities or mass surveillance."
But the planes can capture video of unrelated criminal activity on the ground that could be handed over for prosecutions.
Some of the aircraft can also be equipped with technology that can identify thousands of people below through the cellphones they carry, even if they're not making a call or in public. Officials said that practice, which mimics cell towers into coughing up basic subscriber information, is rare.
Details confirmed by the FBI track closely with published reports since at least 2003 that a government surveillance program might be behind suspicious-looking planes slowly circling neighborhoods. The AP traced at least 50 aircraft back to the FBI, and identified more than 100 flights since late April orbiting both major cities and rural areas.
One of the planes, photographed in flight last week by the AP in northern Virginia, bristled with unusual antennas under its fuselage and a camera on its left side. A federal budget document from 2010 mentioned at least 115 planes, including 90 Cessna aircraft, in the FBI's surveillance fleet.
The FBI said it also occasionally helps local police with aerial support, such as during the recent disturbance in Baltimore that followed the death of 25-year-old Freddie Gray, who sustained grievous injuries while in police custody. Those types of requests are reviewed by senior FBI officials.
The surveillance flights comply with agency rules, an FBI spokesman said. Those rules, which are heavily redacted in publicly available documents, limit the types of equipment the agency can use, as well as the justifications and duration of the surveillance.
Details about the flights come as the Justice Department seeks to navigate privacy concerns arising from aerial surveillance by unmanned aircrafts, or drones. President Barack Obama has said he welcomes a debate on government surveillance, and has called for more transparency about spying in the wake of disclosures about classified programs.
"These are not your grandparents' surveillance aircraft," said Jay Stanley, a senior policy analyst with the American Civil Liberties Union, calling the flights significant "if the federal government is maintaining a fleet of aircraft whose purpose is to circle over American cities, especially with the technology we know can be attached to those aircraft."
During the past few weeks, the AP tracked planes from the FBI's fleet on more than 100 flights over at least 11 states plus Washington, D.C., most with Cessna 182T Skylane aircraft. These included parts of Houston, Phoenix, Seattle, Chicago, Boston, Minneapolis and Southern California.
Evolving technology can record higher-quality video from long distances, even at night, and can capture certain identifying information from cellphones using a device known as a "cell-site simulator"'--or Stingray, to use one of the product's brand names. These can trick pinpointed cellphones into revealing identification numbers of subscribers, including those not suspected of a crime.
Officials say cellphone surveillance is rare, although the AP found in recent weeks FBI flights orbiting large, enclosed buildings for extended periods where aerial photography would be less effective than electronic signals collection. Those included above Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport and the Mall of America in Bloomington, Minnesota.
After The Washington Post revealed flights by two planes circling over Baltimore in early May, the AP began analyzing detailed flight data and aircraft-ownership registrations that shared similar addresses and flight patterns. That review found some FBI missions circled above at least 40,000 residents during a single flight over Anaheim, California, in late May, according to Census data and records provided by the website FlightRadar24.com.
Most flight patterns occurred in counter-clockwise orbits up to several miles wide and roughly one mile above the ground at slow speeds. A 2003 newsletter from the company FLIR Systems Inc., which makes camera technology such as seen on the planes, described flying slowly in left-handed patterns.
"Aircraft surveillance has become an indispensable intelligence collection and investigative technique which serves as a force multiplier to the ground teams," the FBI said in 2009 when it asked Congress for $5.1 million for the program.
Recently, independent journalists and websites have cited companies traced to a bank of Virginia post office boxes, including one shared with the Justice Department. The AP analyzed similar data since early May, while also drawing upon aircraft registration documents, business records and interviews with U.S. officials to understand the scope of the operations.
The FBI asked the AP not to disclose the names of the fake companies it uncovered, saying that would saddle taxpayers with the expense of creating new cover companies to shield the government's involvement, and could endanger the planes and integrity of the surveillance missions. The AP declined the FBI's request because the companies' names'--as well as common addresses linked to the Justice Department'--are listed on public documents and in government databases.
At least 13 front companies that AP identified being actively used by the FBI are registered to post office boxes in Bristow, Virginia, which is near a regional airport used for private and charter flights. Only one of them appears in state business records.
Included on most aircraft registrations is a mysterious name, Robert Lindley. He is listed as chief executive and has at least three distinct signatures among the companies. Two documents include a signature for Robert Taylor, which is strikingly similar to one of Lindley's three handwriting patterns.
The FBI would not say whether Lindley is a U.S. government employee. The AP unsuccessfully tried to reach Lindley at phone numbers registered to people of the same name in the Washington area since Monday.
Law enforcement officials said Justice Department lawyers approved the decision to create fictitious companies to protect the flights' operational security and the Federal Aviation Administration was aware of the practice. One of the Lindley-headed companies shares a post office box openly used by the Justice Department.
Such elusive practices have endured for decades. A 1990 report by the then-General Accounting Office noted that, in July 1988, the FBI had moved its "headquarters-operated" aircraft into a company that wasn't publicly linked to the bureau.
The FBI does not generally obtain warrants to record video from its planes of people moving outside in the open, but it also said that under a new policy it has recently begun obtaining court orders to use cell-site simulators. The Obama administration had until recently been directing local authorities through secret agreements not to reveal their own use of the devices, even encouraging prosecutors to drop cases rather than disclose the technology's use in open court.
A Justice Department memo last month also expressly barred its component law enforcement agencies from using unmanned drones "solely for the purpose of monitoring activities protected by the First Amendment" and said they are to be used only in connection with authorized investigations and activities. A department spokeswoman said the policy applied only to unmanned aircraft systems rather than piloted airplanes. The First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution guarantees freedom of speech and assembly.
Explore further:US senators seek information on FBI phone tracking
More information: View documents: apne.ws/1HEyP0t
(C) 2015 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.
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Caliphate!
Israeli 'reality creators': Israel allegedly confiscates 120 rings bearing an insignia associated with ISIS en route to Palestine
Thu, 04 Jun 2015 14:17
Photo by Israeli Tax Authority
Israeli customs officials have confiscated a package with at least 120 rings, claiming the inscriptions in Arabic the jewelry bears are promoting Islamic State (formerly ISIS/ISIL).Staff at Israel's Ben Gurion Airport intercepted a "delivery of 120 rings bearing an insignia associated with the Daesh [the Arabic acronym for Islamic State] terrorist organization," the Israel Tax Authority said in a statement.
The items of jewelry, inscribed with messages in Arabic, were confiscated two weeks ago while being shipped to Ramallah.
Some of the rings appear to have only the word "Allah" written on them. Many have a sign known as the Seal of Mohammed engraved on top. Islamic State militants use the Seal of Mohammed on their group's flag and as a part of their own seal.
The silver rings were reportedly produced in Turkey and sent in response to an order placed by an importer in the West Bank. The package containing them was deemed suspicious upon its arrival in Israel.
"Everything that comes for the Palestinian Authority is put through a security check," a customs official told the Ynet news outlet.
The rings, found among several hundred other jewelry items, are considered "banned propaganda" in Israel and have therefore been scheduled for destruction.
"Although the importer declared the items as rings, it's considered to be incitement," the customs employee said, explaining the decision to ban the items.
"We're talking about a Palestinian civilian and we have no right to open an investigation, so we sent him a letter that the items would be destroyed and he has 30 days to appeal. Of course we immediately informed security forces and the Shin Bet."
According to the customs employee, "a large number of rings tell us that there are buyers for this."
"It is frightening and terrifying to know that in the territories of the Palestinian Authority, there are supporters of this murderous organization, and who knows, maybe with our help they will discover a cell or ideological organizing by IS."
Vaccine$
DENIERS! Humility
Tue, 02 Jun 2015 14:10
Those who think science is the measure of all truth might want to check the data first.
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Here's a quote for you: ''A lot of what is published [in scientific journals] is incorrect.'' Care to guess where those words appeared? Not on a website that questions the ''consensus of experts on climate change.'' Nor do they appear in a publication associated with intelligent design or other critiques of Neo-Darwinism.
They appeared in the April 11, 2015, issue of the Lancet, the prestigious British medical journal.
The writer, Richard Horton, was quoting a participant at a recent symposium on the ''reproducibility and reliability of biomedical research.'' Specifically, the symposium discussed one of the ''most sensitive issues in science today: the idea that something has gone fundamentally wrong with one of our greatest human creations.''
And he's referring to scientific research'--the research that not only purports to tell us how the world works, but, increasingly, how people should order their lives and societies.
As Horton told Lancet readers, ''The case against science is straightforward: much of the scientific literature, perhaps half, may simply be untrue. Afflicted by studies with small sample sizes, tiny effects, invalid exploratory analyses, and flagrant conflicts of interest, together with an obsession for pursuing fashionable trends of dubious importance, science has taken a turn towards darkness.''
He continues, ''In their quest for telling a compelling story, scientists too often sculpt data to fit their preferred theory of the world.''
We recently saw an example of this in a story about a much-publicized study purporting to show that voters were likely to change their minds about same-sex marriage if they were visited by gay pollsters who shared their stories with them.
Researchers seeking to reproduce the findings found discrepancies in the data and asked the original researcher for the original data. The researcher was unable to produce the original data. This led the lead researcher to request that the study be withdrawn. Even supporters of same-sex marriage acknowledged that the study and the conclusions drawn from it were fraudulent.
While this was the most-publicized example of a study that turned out to be untrue, it's far from the only one. In late April, researchers published the results of their efforts to replicate 100 of ''psychology's biggest experiments.'' They were only able get the same results in 39 of them.
Commenting on the failure, Daniele Fanelli of Stanford told the prestigious journal ''Nature'' that ''reproducibility rates in cancer biology and drug discovery could be even lower.'' She added, ''From my expectations, these are not bad at all.''
Not bad at all?
It's true that to err is human, but insisting that science is the best and most reliable guide to life despite its checkered track record is more than error. It's chutzpah.
According to Horton, the participants at the symposium he attended agreed that ''something needed to be done'' about the ''bad scientific practices'' he describes, but none of them were sure about what that ''something'' might be.
Well, I have a suggestion: stop telling everyone else that science is the best, if not only, way to answer life's big questions. While this advice may not fix the problems in the lab, it keeps the ''turn toward darkness'' from spreading misinformation to the rest of society.
One more suggestion: if a lot of the stuff being published is ''incorrect'' or ''untrue,'' please refrain from comparing people who question the scientific consensus to Holocaust deniers and flat-earthers.
A little bit of humility would not be bad at all.
Further Reading and Information
Skeptical Science: Questionable Data Plagues Scientific ResearchA healthy dose of skepticism can often be a good thing'--even when it comes to science. As Christians, we must oppose the worldview of scientism'--the notion that science has the answers to all that matters. After all, scientists are fallen humans as well. And as Eric implied, just because the word "science" is included in a study or research report does not make it less subject to error or misinformation. Check out the links below for in-depth information on this topic.
Resources
Doubts About Study of Gay Canvassers Rattle the FieldBenedict Carey, Pam Belluck | New York Times | May 25, 2015
Offline: What is medicine's 5 Sigma?Richard Horton | The Lancet | April 11, 2015
Why Most Published Research Findings Are FalseJohn P. A. Ioannidis | PLOS Medicine | August 30, 2005
Retracted Scientific Studies: A Growing ListMichael Roston | New York Times | May 28, 2015
How often are scientific studies retracted?Amanda Schupak | CBS News | May 26, 2015
Editors of World's Most Prestigious Medical Journals: ''Much of the Scientific Literature, Perhaps HALF, May Simply Be Untrue"... | Zero Hedge
Tue, 02 Jun 2015 14:33
Lancet and the New England Journal of Medicine are the two most prestigious medical journals in the world.
It is therefore striking that their chief editors have both publicly written that corruption is undermining science.
The editor in chief of Lancet, Richard Horton, wrote last month:
Much of the scientific literature, perhaps half, may simply be untrue. Afflicted by studies with small sample sizes, tiny effects, invalid exploratory analyses, and flagrant conflicts of interest, together with an obsession for pursuing fashionable trends of dubious importance, science has taken a turn towards darkness. As one participant put it, ''poor methods get results''. The Academy of Medical Sciences, Medical Research Council, and Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council have now put their reputational weight behind an investigation into these questionable research practices. The apparent endemicity [i.e. pervasiveness within the scientific culture] of bad research behaviour is alarming. In their quest for telling a compelling story, scientists too often sculpt data to fit their preferred theory of the world. Or they retrofit hypotheses to fit their data. Journal editors deserve their fair share of criticism too. We aid and abet the worst behaviours. Our acquiescence to the impact factor fuels an unhealthy competition to win a place in a select few journals. Our love of ''significance'' pollutes the literature with many a statistical fairy-tale. We reject important confirmations. Journals are not the only miscreants. Universities are in a perpetual struggle for money and talent, endpoints that foster reductive metrics, such as high-impact publication. National assessment procedures, such as the Research Excellence Framework, incentivise bad practices. And individual scientists, including their most senior leaders, do little to alter a research culture that occasionally veers close to misconduct.
***
Part of the problem is that no-one is incentivised to be right.
Similarly, the editor in chief of the New England Journal of Medicine, Dr. Marcia Angell, wrote in 2009:
It is simply no longer possible to believe much of the clinical research that is published, or to rely on the judgment of trusted physicians or authoritative medical guidelines. I take no pleasure in this conclusion, which I reached slowly and reluctantly over my two decades as an editor of TheNew England Journal of Medicine.
In her must-read essay, Dr. Angell skewers drug companies, university medical departments, and medical groups which set the criteria for diagnosis and treatment as being rotten with corruption and conflicts of interest.
And we've previously documented that the government sometimes uses raw power to cover up corruption in the medical and scientific fields.
Postscript: Corruption is not limited to the medical or scientific fields. Instead, corruption has become systemic throughout every profession ... and is so pervasive that it is destroying the very fabric of America.
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Member of mainstream press finally publishes truth about life-altering vaccine damages
Mon, 01 Jun 2015 23:42
(C) Unkown
Finally it's happened! A member of the mainstream press has the intestinal fortitude to publish the carefully 'kept secret', secret about vaccines and vaccinations: They cause dramatic life-altering damage and more frequently than "evidence-based medicine" or "consensus science" owns up to or MDs, the medical profession, public health agencies and pro-vaccine acolytes acknowledge.The UK's Independent Newspaper published some extremely damning vaccine adverse drug reaction (ADR) information on May 31, 2015 that said:
In the 10 years to April this year the agency received almost 22,000 "spontaneous suspected" adverse drug reaction (ADR) reports in 13 routine immunisation categories including flu, MMR, tetanus, diphtheria and polio, according to a Freedom of Information response released earlier this month. [1]
However, the vaccine 'ante' has just been upped on vaccines' adverse events/damages according to the Freedom of Information (FOI) documentation dated May 14, 2015, according to the chart below.Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency FOI Response 14 May 2015
The vaccine with the most ADR reports was the Human papillomarivus (HPV) for which there are three vaccines: Gardasil®, Cervarix®, and recently licensed Gardasil 9® [2] with 8,228 ADRs. Next in line is the annual Influenza virus vaccine with 2,994 ADRs. The MMR (Measles, mumps and rubella) with 1,594 ADRs is third highest. Fourth highest ADR reporting count is Pneumococcal disease (PCV) with 1,560 ADRs. Diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis, polio and haemophilus influenza type B with 1,309 ADRs is fifth. Sixth highest ADR is for Diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis and polio with 1,190. Seventh is Tetanus, diphtheria and polio with 1,076 ADRs. Those ADRs represent health damage from what's called "multi-valent" vaccines, meaning more than one disease active is contained in a vaccination or jab, as it's called in the UK. Six other vaccines had ADRs reporting fewer than one thousand, which should not be regarded as insignificant.
The above information demonstrably demonstrates - and validates - what vaccine-safety-advocates (often referred to as anti-vaxxers) have been beating the drums about: Vaccines cause irreversible damage and, as the U.S. VAERS reporting system'--similar to the UK's ADR reporting system'--even deaths and for which the U.S. Vaccine Court has settled claims.So, it's indisputable that vaccines cause adverse health problems, which undeniably increase healthcare costs for everyone involved, plus promote more Big Pharma patented 'products' to deal with those ADRs. Can that be one of the hidden 'aspects' for promoting vaccines as assiduously as government health agencies do?
The UK is not unique in ADRs from vaccines. Every country in the world that has any vaccine program reports serious ADRs. However, what is unique is that in the USA those ADRs are not permitted to be discussed in the mainstream press and media. The Independent's report truly is refreshing insofar as the "cat is out of the bag" definitely, and let's make certain it stays out; that journalists globally report vaccine damage, and especially in the supposed 'free' press of the United States of America.
Back in May of 2013, the U.K. revealed via FOI documents that there were 30 years of secret official documents showing that U.K. government vaccine/medical experts have: 1) known the vaccines don't work; 2) known they cause the diseases they are supposed to prevent; 3) known they are a hazard to children; 4) colluded to lie to the public; and 5) worked to prevent safety studies! [5]
Can you imagine how many children worldwide would have been saved from lifelong health problems'--or even premature deaths'--caused by vaccines IF any one of the governments colluding on the above vaccine skullduggery would have had the integrity to tell the world the scientific facts about vaccines: that Big Pharma's vaccines actually cause harm; do not prevent disease but cause the very diseases in vaccines? Vaccines preventing diseases probably is the BIGGEST lie ever told! Why? Because it's been perpetuated for so long, that most gullible people believe it.
Please check out the Resources section below for additional information, which is only a fraction of what's going on about vaccines that readers may not know about due to the controlled 'free' press in the USA. The press and media are beholden to Big Pharma, probably because of all the advertising dollars Pharma spends in their daily newspapers and especially on TV. All those erectile dysfunction ads add up to advertising profits! The U.S. FDA also is beholden to Big Pharma for all the funding [3, 4] and consensus science it gets from them.
One last word about vaccines: They are not safe; never have been tested for the ability to cause cancer, interfere with reproduction or fertility, or their ability to cause birth defects (teratogenic). It states that right there on every vaccine package insert.
Next time your MD, employer or school wants to vaccinate you or your child, ask to see the vaccine package insert section that documents in print that the vaccine has never been tested for what was just discussed in the above paragraph. Ask him/her if he/she knew that, plus why would he/she want to inject you with toxins that can harm, as it explicitly states in the rest of the vaccine package insert, especially when every MD is sworn to do no harm.
References:
[1]http://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/health-and-families/thousands-of-teenage-girls-enduring-debilitating-illnesses-after-routine-school-cancer-vaccination-10286876.html#[2]http://www.fda.gov/NewsEvents/Newsroom/PressAnnouncements/ucm426485.htm[3]http://www.forbes.com/sites/johnlamattina/2013/08/07/is-the-fda-being-compromised-by-pharma-payments/[4]http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2013/05/01/fda-budget-increase.aspx[5]http://nsnbc.me/2013/05/10/the-vaccine-hoax-is-over-freedom-of-information-act-documents-from-uk-reveal-30-years-of-coverup/
Thousands of UK Girls Injured by HPV Vaccine
Tue, 02 Jun 2015 00:11
Thousands upon thousands of girls in the United Kingdom have suffered adverse reactions as a result of receiving HPV vaccinations, with more than 2,500 of those enduring ''serious'' debilitating illnesses, a UK government agency reports.A recent Freedom of Information request seeking the number of people injured by vaccines in the UK revealed the human papillomavirus vaccine was responsible for over 8,200 injuries in the past 10 years, a startling figure which directly contradicts health authorities reassurances.
According to the report, the flu jab was the second most injurious (2,994), with the MMR vaccine coming in third (1,594).
Officials with the UK Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency admit the numbers are not exact because of an ''unknown and variable level of under-reporting.''
In the US, the National Vaccine Information Center estimates ''Fewer than 10 percent, perhaps only one percent of all serious health problems following vaccination are ever reported to U.S. federal health agencies.''
''This means that '' instead of the more than 15,000 bad health outcomes following Gardasil vaccination that have already been reported in America '' actually there could have been between 150,000 and 1.5 million adverse health events following Gardasil shots which have never been counted,'' reports the NVIC's Barbara Loe Fisher.
On Sunday, The Independent documented one family's struggle to have health authorities recognize a young, healthy girl's HPV vaccine injury which manifested two weeks after her first jab.
''The symptoms grew increasingly worse after the second and third injections, and I went to A&E [Accident & Emergency] several times with severe chest and abdominal pains as well as difficulty breathing,'' a West Yorkshire teen named Emily, 17, recounted. ''One time I couldn't move anything on one side of my body. I didn't know what was happening.''
Emily's mother, Caron Ryalls, recalled being met with ridicule by doctors when she brought up the possibility Emily's illness was vaccine-derived.
''Every visit to a doctor was met with rolled eyes,'' Emily's mother said. ''Every mention of the HPV vaccination was met with hostility and ridicule. We were eventually referred to a local paediatrician who told her to push herself to get back to normal '' 'We all feel tired in the mornings, Emily' was one of the remarks regarding her complete exhaustion.''
Despite the widespread prevalence of adverse reactions, the regulatory agency insists the ''expected benefits in preventing illness and death from HPV infection outweigh the known risks.''
''The greater number of reports for HPV vaccine does not necessarily mean that it is any less safe than other vaccines,'' the health agency reiterated.
In 2013, the entire island country of Japan banned HPV vaccines after health officials recorded close to 2,000 adverse effects, inluding ''walking disturbances, body tics and seizures,'' according to Judicial Watch.
''In other cases many girls injected with the vaccine fell to the floor, injuring their head or face and some fracturing their jaw or teeth,'' the government watchdog noted.
As a result of Emily's plight, her mother formed the Association for HPV Vaccine Injured Daughters (AHVID) to unite families who've suffered similar injuries.
''We want to have a stronger voice and we are pushing hard for regional treatment and assessment centres along the lines of Denmark and Japan,'' Ryalls said in a statement. ''We want increased reporting of adverse reactions, better educational support and greater transparency and information to enable parents to make an informed decision regarding consent to HPV vaccination.''
''I'm not anti-vaccination,'' she says, ''but it's a big area with a lot of questions. I would never say to anyone don't have it, because it has to be a personal choice. I would say do your own research and don't just rely on the school leaflet.''
F-Russia
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Greece to invest $2 billion in Turkish Stream and sign memorandum asap
Tue, 02 Jun 2015 07:07
(C) Reuters / Alexander Zemlianichenko
Greece plans to sign a document on political support for Gazprom's Turkish Stream project at the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum in June, its Energy Minister announced on Monday. The country plans to invest $2 billion in its construction.A memorandum on political support for the gas pipeline project will be prepared by June 18-20, when the International Economic Forum (SPIEF-2015) will be held in Russia's St. Petersburg, Greek Energy Minister Panagiotis Lafazanis announced on Monday.
"Right there we will try to sign an agreement, a so-called 'memorandum' on the political support of the said gas pipeline between Greece and Russia," the minister said, as quoted by TASS. Greece "will be proactively drafting a document," the official added.
Greece's part of the pipeline, which will be delivering Russia's gas on from the Turkish border, will cost some $2 billion, Lafazanis said in an interview with the Rossiya24 channel. The minister said that a Greek state company will be involved in the project, adding that there has been "big interest" from many companies wishing to take part in the construction and future operation of the pipeline.
The project could contribute not only to economic development in Greece, but positively affect the whole region, the minister said. Up to 20,000 jobs could be created if the project is realized, he said, expressing his confidence that "the people of Greece will benefit from it."
Russian president Vladimir Putin has previously expressed his belief that, by joining the project, Greece could become one of the main power distribution centers in Europe. Athens could earn hundreds of millions of euros annually from gas transit fees, Putin said during Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras' official visit to Moscow in April.
Plans to construct the Turkish Stream pipeline were announced by Russia's gas giant Gazprom last year. The new project replaces the South Stream project, which Russia was forced to withdraw from due to EU objections over its construction.
The new pipeline, which Gazprom plans to build from Turkey to the border with Greece, will be part of the Turkish Stream project aimed at delivering Russian gas to Europe without the participation of Ukraine. Russia intends to completely abandon its gas supplies through Ukraine by 2019. The EU would construct the pipelines leading further on from Greece.
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Washington's hypocrisy: Anti-Russian sanctions cripple EU while US increases trade
Mon, 01 Jun 2015 23:31
(C) Reuters / Lukas Barth
Europe is on alert: while European businessmen continue to lose money and market share due to the anti-Russian sanctions imposed by Brussels under intense pressure from the US, Washington has quietly stepped up its business with Russia.Europe has found itself in jeopardy. While its businessmen continue to lose money due to the anti-Russian sanctions the EU was compelled to launch amid intense pressure from Washington, the US seems to be boosting its business with Russia.
Trade turnover between the EU and Russia shrank by almost ten percent in the first two months of 2015 year-on-year, while Russian statistics shows that trade between the US and Russia spiked by approximately 6 percent, states German weekly magazine Der Spiegel.
Only last week the US company Bell Helicopter signed an agreement with Russia's Yekaterinburg-based Urals Civil Aviation Plant (UZGA) for the licensed assembly of the latest modification of its Bell 407GXP light single-engine helicopter.
This is the first time that Bell has handed over the assembly of its helicopters to a foreign partner. Meanwhile, the UZGA plant is part of Russia's Rostec Corporation, which, together with its CEO Sergey Chemezov is on the list of companies and businessmen sanctioned by Europe.
The Boeing company, the magazine laments, also does not experience any inconveniences from the sanctions and goes on with its joint venture with Russia '-- Ural Boeing Manufacturing (UBM). The facility was toured in April by US Ambassador to Russia John F. Tefft, who pledged to facilitate the development of cooperation with VSMPO-Avisma, Russia's major global manufacturer of titanium.
Meanwhile, Germany's Siemens failed to win a billion-dollar contract for the delivery of modern trains and the construction of a high-speed line from Moscow to the city of Kazan; the $2 billion investment project has gone to China.
"The Americans have exercised great pressure on Europe to impose tough sanctions," Der Spiegel quotes Frank Schauff, CEO of the Association of European Business in Moscow as saying. "While it is worth mentioning that they themselves extended their trade with Russia last year."
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World Cup boycott would fuel Moscow's sense of conflict with the West
Tue, 02 Jun 2015 07:36
Still a beautiful game? EPA/Alexey Nikolsky/Ria NovostiWhile Western politicians strongly supported the arrests of FIFA officials, in other parts of the world the events in Zurich were immediately seen as just another geopolitical play. In Russia, Vladimir Putin argued that the arrests amounted to a case of over-reach by US law enforcement agencies. China also criticised the arrests, with a Xinhua editorial complaining that it was ''a bad example of overrun of unilateral power''.
In this polarising geopolitical discourse, calls by Western politicians for Russia to lose the right to stage the 2018 World Cup are likely to do more harm than good. Labour Party leadership contender Andy Burnham is the latest politician to link the FIFA investigation to Russia's role in the war in Ukraine, and to press for a boycott of the 2018 competition. But making the campaign to clean up FIFA a geopolitical contest between the West and Russia is unlikely to lead to successful reform of the organisation.
To develop an effective response, it is important to understand the Russian narrative. From Moscow's point of view, the FIFA investigation looks less like a genuine anti-corruption campaign, and more like an attempt to undermine Russian attempts to play a greater role on the international stage. Russian leaders were already unhappy with the international media coverage of the Sochi Winter Olympics, which focused on stories of widespread corruption in the construction budget, rather than the actual games themselves. An attempt to remove Russia as World Cup host for 2018 will only add to the narrative of victimhood that often informs Russian political discourse.
But Russian objections to the events in Zurich go much deeper. Moscow's over-arching concern is about the dominant role of the US in the international system and what it sees as a geopolitical approach to international law enforcement.
For several years, Moscow has been increasingly concerned about the apparent ability of the US to extend its arrest and prosecution powers beyond its borders. After the FIFA arrests the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs stated:
We would like to point out that this is clearly yet another example of arbitrary exra-territorial enforcement of US law '... Time and again, we call on Washington to cease its attempts to initiate court proceedings far beyond its borders with its own legal standards, and to follow universally accepted international legal procedures.
Russia claims that the US engineered the detention of ten Russian citizens in a variety of countries in 2012-2013, of which at least seven were extradited to the US. Not only are the extraditions unsound, argue Russian officials, but trials of these individuals in the US have been unfair.
Russia's World Cup 2018 mascots '' the one on the right remind you of anyone?EPA/Sergei Ilnitsky
In rather undiplomatic language, a 2014 ministry statement argued that US courts were biased against Russian nationals, and complained that ''judicial proceedings for those who were in fact kidnapped and moved to the United States, usually ends with guilty verdicts with long prison terms''. The ministry even issued a travel warning to Russian citizens, suggesting that they might be at risk of arrest by US law enforcement officials if they travelled abroad.
Building consensusThe US responded by saying that ''law-abiding'' individuals had nothing to fear. Russian complaints usually concerned individuals accused of involvement in drugs or cyber crime, such as Maxim Chukharev, who was extradited from Costa Rica and sentenced to 36 months in prison in January 2015 for his role at Liberty Reserve, a digital currency service that the US authorities labelled ''the bank of choice for the criminal underworld''. The most notorious of these extraditees was Viktor Bout, the arms dealer extradited from Thailand to the US in November 2010, who was subsequently sentenced to 25 years in prison.
Given the nature of these cases, Russia's complaints about US overreach might seem overwrought. Indeed, Russia has itself been accused of misusing Interpol and extradition procedures to pursue political opponents and dissidents abroad. Yet concern about the expansion of US law enforcement internationally is shared by other non-Western states, worried about the blurring of sovereignty and legal jurisdiction in international affairs. Hence some quiet support diplomatically from non-Western states for Russian concerns about the US actions in Zurich.
Instead of fuelling a Russian narrative that explains everything in terms of a geopolitical conflict with the West, European politicians should focus on building an international coalition to clean up football. A first step might be for the UK and EU authorities to pursue their own corruption investigations into FIFA, rather than relying so heavily on the US Justice Department to make the running. Using the FIFA campaign as just another way to attack Russia, on the other hand, is only likely to produce further international polarisation.
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RepublishTagsFootball, US foreign policy, Vladimir Putin, World Cup 2018, 2015 FIFA arrests
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Alekseyeva, Nuland discuss law on foreign agents, situation of human rights activists, Savchenko | Russia Beyond The Headlines
Thu, 04 Jun 2015 03:18
Ð--Ð>>я меня боÐ>>ьÑая честь встÑетиться сеÐ"одня с ЛюдмиÐ>>ой АÐ>>ексеевой. Она сиÐ>>ьный, ÐÑекÑасный чеÐ>>овек. Она всеÐ>>яет в нас над...
Posted by U.S. Embassy Moscow on Monday, May 18, 2015The meeting between U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland and Lyudmila Alekseyeva, Russia's oldest human rights activist and the head of the Moscow Helsinki Group, addressed the situation of Russian human rights organizations and the situation of Ukrainian pilot Nadia Savchenko.
"Victoria Nuland asked about Savchenko and asked me if I think Savchenko will walk free. I said I don't see any indications now," Alekseyeva told Interfax after meeting with Nuland.
Nuland visited Alekseyeva in her residence in Moscow's Arbat Street.
According to Alekseyeva, Nuland intends to raise the issue of Savchenko and the situation of Russian NGOs in dialogue with the Russian authorities.
"I did not get the impression that the meeting addressed any special issues. It addressed issues relating to the human rights society. They are also very concerned about the anti-American propaganda. I said we are very concerned about the law on foreign agents, which sharply reduced the effectiveness of the human rights community," Alekseyeva said.
"Victoria Nuland said she will raise the issue of the fact the authorities in some localities are trying more than enough on some human rights organizations and declare as foreign agents those who have not received any foreign money or engaged in politics," Alekseyeva said.
Alekseyeva said the meeting was also attended by U.S. Ambassador to Russia John Tefft.
Ukrainian pilot Nadia Savchenko is currently in a detention facility in Moscow. She is under arrest on the charges of complicity in the killing of Russian journalists in eastern Ukraine.
The law on NGOs requires human rights organizations that are in receipt of foreign grants to bet registered as foreign agents. The Justice Ministry has now registered over fifty organizations, including the Memorial center, the movement For Human Rights and the Sakharov Museum and Public Center as foreign agents.
Read more: Ryabkov tells Nuland about Moscow's dissatisfaction with U.S.-Russia relations>>>The information in this section is provided by the Interfax news agency and is intended for personal use only. It may not be reproduced or distributed in any form without express permission from Interfax. To request permission to republish, email: ifaxru@interfax.ru
Russian strategy behind placement of pro-Western figurehead to human rights council -- Puppet Masters -- Sott.net
Thu, 04 Jun 2015 03:18
The news that Lyudmila Alekseyeva, head of the Russian Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) the Moscow-Helsinki Group, will be returning to the Presidential Council for Human Rights, has been heralded by many in the liberal establishment in Russia as a victory for their cause. Indeed, as an adversary of President Putin on numerous occasions, Alekseyeva has been held as a symbol of the pro-Western, pro-US orientation of Russian liberals who see in Russia not a power seeking independence and sovereignty from the global hegemon in Washington, but rather a repressive and reactionary country bent on aggression and imperial revanchism.While this view is not one shared by the vast majority of Russians - Putin's approval rating continues to hover somewhere in the mid 80s - it is most certainly in line with the political and foreign policy establishment of the US, and the West generally. And this is precisely the reason that Alekseyeva and her fellow liberal colleagues are so close to key figures in Washington whose overriding goal is the return of Western hegemony in Russia, and throughout the Eurasian space broadly. For them, the return of Alekseyeva is the return of a champion of Western interests into the halls of power in Moscow.
Washington and Moscow: Competing Agendas, Divergent Interests
Perhaps one should not overstate the significance of Alekseyeva as an individual. This Russian 'babushka' approaching 90 years old is certainly still relevant, though clearly not as active as she once was. Nevertheless, one cannot help but admire her spirit and desire to engage in political issues at the highest levels. However, taking the pragmatic perspective, Alekseyeva is likely more a figurehead, a symbol for the pro-Western liberal class, rather than truly a militant leader of it. Instead, she represents the matriarchal public face of a cohesive, well-constructed, though relatively marginal, liberal intelligentsia in Russia that is both anti-Putin, and pro-Western.
There could be no better illustration of this point than Alekseyeva's recentmeetingwith US Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland while Ms. Nuland was in Moscow for talks with her Russian counterparts. Alekseyeva noted that much of the meeting was focused on anti-US perception and public relations in Russia, as well as the reining in of foreign-sponsored NGOs, explaining that, "[US officials] are also very concerned about the anti-American propaganda. I said we are very concerned about the law on foreign agents, which sharply reduced the effectiveness of the human rights community."
There are two distinctly different, yet intimately linked issues being addressed here. On the one hand is the fact that Russia has taken a decidedly more aggressive stance to US-NATO machinations throughout its traditional sphere of influence, which has led to demonization of Russia in the West, and the entirely predictable backlash against that in Russia. According to theLevada Center, nearly 60 percent of Russians believe that Russia has reasons to fear the US, with nearly 50 percent saying that the US represents an obstacle to Russia's development. While US officials and corporate media mouthpieces like to chalk this up to "Russian propaganda," the reality is that these public opinion numbers reflect Washington and NATO's actions, not their image, especially since the US-backed coup in Ukraine; Victoria Nuland herself having played the pivotal role in instigating the coup and setting the stage for the current conflict.
So while Nuland meets with Alekseyeva and talks of the anti-US perception, most Russians correctly see Nuland and her clique as anti-Russian. In this way, Alekseyeva, fairly or unfairly, represents a decidedly anti-Russian position in the eyes of her countrymen, cozying up to Russia's enemies while acting as a bulwark against Putin and the government.
And then of course there is the question of the foreign agents law. The law, enacted in 2012, is designed to make transparent the financial backing of NGOs and other organizations operating in Russia with the financial assistance of foreign states. While critics accuse Moscow of using the law for political persecution, the undeniable fact is that Washington has for years used such organizations as part of its soft power apparatus to be able to project power and exert influence without ever having to be directly involved in the internal affairs of the targeted country.
From the perspective of Alekseyeva, the law is unjust and unfairly targets her organization, the Moscow-Helsinki Group, and many others. Alekseyeva noted that, "We are very concerned about the law on foreign agents, which sharply reduced the effectiveness of the human rights community... [and] the fact the authorities in some localities are trying more than enough on some human rights organizations and declare as foreign agents those who have not received any foreign money or engaged in politics."
While any abuse of the law should rightly be investigated, there is a critical point that Alekseyeva conveniently leaves out of the narrative: the Moscow-Helsinki Group (MHG) and myriad other so-called "human rights" organizations are directly supported by the US State Department through itsNational Endowment for Democracy, among other sources. As the NED's own website noted, the NED provided significant financial grants "To support [MHG's] networking and public outreach programs. Endowment funds will be used primarily to pay for MHG staff salaries and rental of a building in downtown Moscow. Part of the office space rented will be made available at a reduced rate to NGOs that are closely affiliated with MHG, including other Endowment grantees." The salient point here is that the salary of MHG staff, the rent for their office space, and other critical operating expenses are directly funded by the US Government. For this reason, one cannot doubt that the term "foreign agent" directly and unequivocally applies to Alekseyeva's organization.
But of course, the Moscow-Helsinki Group is not alone as more than fifty organizations have now registered as foreign agents, each of which having received significant amounts from the US or other foreign sources. So, an objective analysis would indicate that while there may be abuses of the law, as there are of all laws everywhere, by and large it has been applied across the board to all organizations in receipt of foreign financial backing.
It is clear that the US agenda, under the cover of "democracy promotion" and "NGO strengthening" is to weaken the political establishment in Russia through various soft power means, with Alekseyeva as the symbolic matriarch of the human rights complex in Russia. But what of Putin's government? Why should they acquiesce to the demands of Russian liberals and allow Alekseyeva onto the Presidential Council for Human Rights?
The Russian Strategy
Moscow is clearly playing politics and the public perception game. The government is very conscious of the fact that part of the Western propaganda campaign is to demonize Putin and his government as "authoritarian" and "violators of human rights." So by allowing the figurehead of the movement onto the most influential human rights-oriented body, Moscow intends to alleviate some of that pressure, and take away one of the principal pieces of ammunition for the anti-Russia propagandists.
But there is yet another, and far more significant and politically savvy reason for doing this: accountability. Putin is confident in his position and popularity with Russians so he is not at all concerned about what Alekseyeva or her colleagues might say or do on the Council. On the other hand, Putin can now hold Russian liberals accountable for turning a blind eye to the systematic violations of human rights by the Kiev regime, particularly in Donbass.
One of the primary issues taken up by the Presidential Council for Civil Society and Human Rights in 2014 was the situation in Ukraine. In October 2014, President Putin, addressing the Council stated:
[The developments in Ukraine] have revealed a large-scale crisis in terms of international law, the basic norms of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the Convention on Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide. We see numerous violations of Articles 3, 4, 5, 7 and 11 of the 1948 UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights and of Article 3 of the Convention on Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide of December 9, 1948. We are witnessing the application of double standards in the assessment of crimes against the civilian population of southeastern Ukraine, violations of the fundamental human rights to life and personal integrity. People are subjected to torture, to cruel and humiliating punishment, discrimination and illegal rulings. Unfortunately, many international human rights organisations close their eyes to what is going on there, hypocritically turning away.
With these and other statements, Putin placed the issue of Ukraine and human rights abuses squarely in the lap of the council and any NGOs and ostensible "human rights" representatives on it. With broader NGO representation, it only makes it all the more apparent. It will now be up to Alekseyeva and Co. to either pursue the issues, or discredit themselves as hypocrites only interested in subjects deemed politically damaging to Moscow, and thus advantageous to Washginton. This is a critical point because for years Russians have argued that these Western-funded NGOs only exist to demonize Russia and to serve the Western agenda; the issue of Ukraine could hammer that point home beyond dispute.And so, the return of Alekseyeva, far from being a victory for the NGO/human rights complex in Russia, might finally force them to take the issue of human rights and justice seriously, rather than using it as a convenient political club to bash Russians over the head with. Perhaps Russian speakers in Donetsk and Lugansk might actually get some of the humanitarian attention they so rightfully deserve from the liberals who, despite their rhetoric, have shown nothing but contempt for the bleeding of Donbass, seeing it as not a humanitarian catastrophe, but a political opportunity. Needless to say, with Putin and the Russian government in control, the millions invested in these organizations by Washington have turned out to be a bad investment.
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NEW STRATEGY-NYT's New Propaganda on Syria | Consortiumnews
Thu, 04 Jun 2015 14:14
Exclusive: The New York Times' new conspiracy theory about Syria is that the Assad regime is in cahoots with the Islamic State, calling those two bitter foes only ''nominal enemies'' and using this new story to implicitly push for another U.S.-imposed ''regime change,'' writes Robert Parry.
By Robert Parry
As the New York Times continues its descent into becoming an outright neocon propaganda sheet, it offered its readers a front-page story on Wednesday alleging '' based on no evidence '' that the Syrian government is collaborating militarily with the Islamic State as the brutal terror group advances on the city of Aleppo.
Yet, while the Times played up those unverified allegations from regime opponents, the newspaper has either ignored or downplayed much more significant evidence that Israel, Turkey, Saudi Arabia and other Gulf states have been providing real assistance to Sunni jihadists who dominate the Syrian rebel movement, especially Al-Qaeda's Nusra Front.
For instance, in March 2015, a Wall Street Journal reporter confirmed that Israel was treating wounded Nusra fighters and then returning them to Syria to carry on their war aimed at overthrowing the secular regime of President Bashar al-Assad. Israel also has struck militarily at Lebanese Hezbollah troops and Iranian military advisers who have been helping Assad's regime battle against those Sunni extremists. [See Consortiumnews.com's ''Syria's Nightmarish Scenario.'']
Meanwhile, Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Qatar have ramped up their weapons support for the so-called Army of Conquest in which the Nusra Front plays a key role. The Army of Conquest has made major military advances against Assad's beleaguered army over the past several weeks.
Assad's stretched-thin military also was routed by Islamic State militants who captured the strategic and historic city of Palmyra. So, a reasonable person could argue that the combined efforts of Israel, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, et al were contributing to Sunni terrorist advances across Syria, both by Al-Qaeda's Nusra Front and Al-Qaeda's hyper-brutal spinoff, the Islamic State.
You could argue, too, that covert CIA arms shipments to the supposedly ''moderate'' rebels, many of whom have since joined the ranks of Nusra and the Islamic State, have aided the terrorist cause as well, even if inadvertently.
However, instead of addressing the Israeli-Saudi-Turkish-Qatari role in a significant way, the Times spins a conspiracy theory about the Assad government consciously aiding the Islamic State '-- also known as ISIS or ISIL '-- as its head-chopping militants seek to supplant other rebels who have dug in around the important city of Aleppo.
One-Sided Article
The Times article by Anne Barnard states: ''Syrian opposition leaders accused the Syrian government of essentially collaborating with the Islamic State, leaving the militants unmolested as they pressed a surprise offensive against other insurgent groups '-- even though the government and the Islamic State are nominal enemies '-- and instead striking the rival insurgents. '...
''Khaled Khoja, the president of the main Syrian exile opposition group, accused Mr. Assad of deploying his warplanes 'as an air force for ISIS.' Echoing those claims, the Twitter account of the long-closed United States Embassy in Syria made its strongest statement yet about Mr. Assad's tactics.
'''Reports indicate that the regime is making airstrikes in support of #ISIL's advance on #Aleppo, aiding extremists against Syrian population,' the embassy said in a series of Twitter posts. In another post, it added that government warplanes were 'not only avoiding #ISIL lines, but actively seeking to bolster their position.'''
Barnard added that ''Neither American officials nor Syrian insurgents have provided proof of such direct coordination, though it has long been alleged by the insurgents. The State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf told reporters Tuesday that United States officials were looking into the claims but had no independent confirmation.''
Yet, despite the lack of evidence, the Times '' by hyping these unconfirmed suspicions on its front page while burying or ignoring more substantive information about Israel-Saudi-Turkey-Qatar assistance to Sunni terror groups '' is continuing its long campaign to induce President Barack Obama to intervene militarily in Syria to destroy Assad's army and achieve ''regime change.''
Further demonstrating the Times' bias, there is no indication that the Times thought to ask the Syrian government for its comment on the allegations, though Barnard had the help of five other Times reporters on the article. That reflects what is becoming a typical lack of professional standards at the Times and other mainstream publications on such topics.
While getting the other side of the story is now apparently unnecessary '' maybe even proof that you're an ''Assad apologist'' '' it has become an article of faith in neocon-dominated Official Washington that if Obama had only engineered ''regime change'' in Syria earlier that everything would be going swimmingly. Ignored is the reality that Sunni militants, including Al-Qaeda affiliates, were always part of the anti-Assad uprising. [See Consortiumnews.com's ''Holes in the Neocons' Syria Story.'']
Bloody Chaos
Almost surely, a U.S. military intervention '' along the lines of the ''regime change'' air war that the U.S. and its allies waged against Muammar Gaddafi in Libya '' would have resulted in either the same sort of bloody chaos that has engulfed Libya or an outright victory by Al-Qaeda or its spinoff, the Islamic State.
President Obama confided as much to New York Times columnist Thomas L. Friedman in 2014, saying the idea of arming Syria's ''moderate'' opposition as an effective counterweight to Assad's army was ''always '... a fantasy.'' But it is a beloved fantasy in Official Washington.
In late August 2013, the neocons and their ''liberal interventionist'' sidekicks thought they were on the verge of getting their long-wished-for Syrian ''regime change'' after a mysterious sarin gas attack outside Damascus, which the Obama administration, the New York Times and virtually the entire mainstream media immediately pinned on Assad.
But there was countervailing evidence that the lethal sarin attack was a provocation carried out by rebel extremists with the goal of goading Obama into a major military strike to devastate Assad's military and clear their path to victory. Aware of those intelligence doubts, Obama pulled back at the last minute and worked with Russian President Vladimir Putin on a compromise in which Assad surrendered his chemical weapons arsenal (while still denying a role in the sarin attack).
Later, additional evidence pointed to the rebels having carried out a ''false-flag'' attack, but Official Washington has refused to budge from its initial rush to judgment '' and the Inside-the-Beltway in-crowd still faults Obama for failing to enforce his ''red line'' against Assad for supposedly using chemical weapons. [See Consortiumnews.com's ''The Collapsing Syria-Sarin Case.'']
With its deeply biased coverage of Syria, the New York Times has been a key factor in promoting propaganda about the crisis. And, with its latest front-page salvo, it clearly is back in the business of egging Obama into a U.S. military intervention to destroy Assad's military so the insignificant ''moderates'' could somehow prevail.
In its coverage of Syria '' and regarding the pay-back-to-Putin crisis in Ukraine '' the Times has performed as shamefully as it did in pushing the U.S. invasion of Iraq with its bogus stories about Saddam Hussein's weapons of mass destruction, including the infamous ''aluminum tube'' story in 2002 that had Americans fearing imaginary ''mushroom clouds.''
And, in its front-page article on Wednesday '' by linking Assad with the Islamic State '' the Times is reprising the bogus contention popular before the Iraq War that Hussein and Al-Qaeda were somehow allied, an assertion that also turned out to be a lie.
Yet, rather than having learned lessons from the Iraq War catastrophe, the Times keeps plunging deeper into the grim fantasyland of neocon propaganda.
Investigative reporter Robert Parry broke many of the Iran-Contra stories for The Associated Press and Newsweek in the 1980s. You can buy his latest book, America's Stolen Narrative, either in print here or as an e-book (fromAmazonandbarnesandnoble.com). You also can order Robert Parry's trilogy on the Bush Family and its connections to various right-wing operatives for only $34. The trilogy includes America's Stolen Narrative. For details on this offer,click here.
CyberBerkut hacks emails exposing George Soros as Ukraine's arch-pupeteer -- Puppet Masters -- Sott.net
Thu, 04 Jun 2015 14:13
Just days after George Soros warned that World War 3 was imminent unless Washington backed down to China on IMF currency basket inclusion, the hacker collective CyberBerkut has exposed the billionaire as the real puppet-master behind the scenes in Ukraine. In 3 stunning documents, allegedly hacked from email correspondence between the hedge fund manager and Ukraine President Poroshenko, Soros lays out "A short and medium term comprehensive strategy for the new Ukraine," expresses his confidence that the US should provide Ukraine with lethal military assistance, "with same level of sophistication in defense weapons to match the level of opposing force," and finally explained Poroshenko's "first priority must be to regain control of financial markets," which he assures the President could be helped by The Fed adding "I am ready to call Jack Lew of the US Treasury to sound him out about the swap agreement."President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko held a meeting with founder of the Open Society Foundations, international philanthropist George Soros on January 13, 2015.
The hacking group CyberBerkut claims it has penetrated Ukraine's presidential administration website and obtained correspondence between Soros and Ukraine's President Petro Poroshenko. It has subsequently posted all the intercepted pdfs on line at the following location. More details as RT earlier reported:The hacktivists have published three files online, which include a draft of "A short and medium term comprehensive strategy for the new Ukraine" by Soros (dated March 12, 2015); an undated paper on military assistance to Kiev; and the billionaire's letter to Poroshenko and Ukraine's Prime Minister Arseny Yatsenyuk, dated December 23, 2014.
According to the leaked documents, Soros supports Barack Obama's stance on Ukraine, but believes that the US should do even more.
He is confident that the US should provide Ukraine with lethal military assistance, "with same level of sophistication in defense weapons to match the level of opposing force."
"In poker terms, the US will 'meet, but not raise," the 84-year-old businessman explained, supposedly signing one of the letters as "a self-appointed advocate of the new Ukraine."
The Western backers want Kiev to "restore the fighting capacity of Ukraine without violating the Minsk agreement," Soros wrote.
Among other things, the leaked documents claim that the Ukrainian authorities were also asked to "restore some semblance of currency stability and functioning banking system" and "maintain unity among the various branches of government" in order to receive assistance from foreign allies.Soros believes that it's up to the EU to support Kiev with financial aid, stressing that "Europe must reach a new framework agreement that will allow the European Commission to allocate up to $1 billion annually to Ukraine."
As for the current state of economy, the billionaire wrote that former Chilean finance minister, Andres Velasco, after visiting Ukraine on his request, returned with "a dire view of financial situation."
"The new Ukraine is literally on the verge of collapse" due to the national bank's lack of hard currency reserves, Soros warned Poroshenko.
The correspondence shows that the billionaire has been in constant touch with the authorities in Kiev and consulting them.
Digging into the details of the documents, we find one intriguing snippet:As you know, I asked Andr(C)s Velasco, a prominent economist who was Chile's very successful minister of finance from 2006-2010 to visit Kyiv where he met the Prime Minister; the President was in Warsaw at the time. Velasco came back with a dire view of the financial situation. The National Bank of Ukraine has practically no hard currency reserves. That means that the hryvnia has no anchor. If a panic occurred and the currency collapsed as it did in Russia, the National Bank could not stabilize the exchange rate even if only temporarily as Russia did by injecting $90 billion.
Your first priority must be to regain control over the financial markets'--bank deposits and exchange rates. Unless you do, you will have no way to embark on deeper reforms. I believe the situation could be stabilized by getting the European Council to make a commitment in principle that they will pull together the new $15 billion package that the IMF requires in order to release the next tranche of its original package at the end of January 2015. Based on that commitment the Federal Reserve could be asked to extend a $15 billion three months swap arrangement with the National Bank of Ukraine. That would reassure the markets and avoid a panic.[.....]
I am ready to call Jack Lew of the US Treasury to sound him out about the swap agreement.
One wonders what other matters of national importance involve George Soros getting on the line with the US Treasury Secretary to arrange virtually unlimited funds courtesy of the US Federal Reserve just to promote one person's ulterior agenda?And just like that, conspiracy Theory becomes Conspiracy Fact once again.
The full documents are below:
Ironically, the first document laying out the "short and medium-term comprehensive strategy for new Ukraine" and signed by George Soros, "a self-appointed advocate of the New Ukraine", was ironically created by Tamiko Bolton, the 40 year old who became Soros' third wife several years ago.
Soros Ukraine Strategy
The next letter, one directly sent by Soros to Ukraine's president Poroshenko and prime minister Yatseniuk, comes courtesy of a pdf created by Douglas York, Soros' personal assistant.Priority To Fix Financial Markets
Finally, a letter (authored by Yasin Yaqubie of the International Crisis Group based on its pdf metadata properties), which lobbies the US "to do more."Ukraine Letter to Potus - Lethal Aid
To sum up: Soros is basically lobbying on behalf of Ukraine, pushing for cash and guns, to oppose Putin in every way possible.If genuine, and based on their meta data, they appear to be just that, these letters show how Soros is trying to weasel around the Minsk agreements (for instance, how to train Ukrainian soldiers without having a visible NATO presence in Ukraine). The documents link up Nuland with Soros, and clears up who is truly pulling the strings of the US State Department.Finally, while the documents don't mention what Soros has in store for Ukraine, one can use their imagination.
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War on Chicken!
H-E-B limits egg purchases | www.statesman.com
Thu, 04 Jun 2015 03:11
H-E-B limits egg purchases | www.statesman.com
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xPhilip JankowskiAmerican-Statesman Staff
9:48 p.m. Wednesday, June 3, 2015 | Filed in: Local>>Local H-E-B grocery stores are limiting the amount of egg cartons each customer can buy to three.
The limit applies to all sizes of cartons: a customer could get away with buying three cartons of the largest amount of eggs, but no more. The same applies to smaller cartons as well, an H-E-B manager said.
The limit comes as more than 200 outbreaks of the bird flu virus have been reported among chickens in 20 states, according to the Centers for Disease Control and the U.S. Department of Agriculture. More than 20 million chickens have been infected, with most in Iowa, the Department of Agriculture's website shows.
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Presidential Memorandum -- Creating a Preference for Meat and Poultry Produced According to Responsible Antibiotic-Use Policies | The White House
Thu, 04 Jun 2015 03:23
The White House
Office of the Press Secretary
For Immediate Release
June 02, 2015
SUBJECT: Creating a Preference for Meat and Poultry Produced According to Responsible Antibiotic-Use Policies
Antibiotics support nearly all of modern medicine -- including care for premature babies, cancer patients, and people who need surgery. Yet, overuse and misuse can reduce the effectiveness of these miracle drugs. Antibiotic resistance -- when bacteria change so that they are able to grow in the presence of an antibiotic that would normally kill them or limit their growth -- threatens to return us to a time when many people died from common infections, posing a serious threat to public health and the economy. Reducing antibiotic resistance will require stewardship practices in the use of antibiotics in medical and agricultural settings, including eliminating the practice of feeding medically important antibiotics to food-producing animals for growth promotion.
It is the policy of the Federal Government to encourage responsible uses of medically important antibiotics in the meat and poultry supply chain by supporting the emerging market for meat that has been produced according to responsible antibiotic-use policies. This policy will build on the important work of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and antibiotic manufacturers, which are already taking substantial steps to phase out the use of medically important antibiotics in food animals.
By the authority vested in me as President by the Constitution and the laws of the United States of America, and to protect the health of the American people, I hereby direct as follows:
Section1. Making Available in Certain Federal CafeteriasMeat and Poultry Produced According to Responsible
Antibiotic-Use Policies. The Administrator of General Services, in consultation with the Secretary of Agriculture, the Secretary of Health and Human Services, and the Director of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), shall take the following steps to make meat and poultry produced according to responsible antibiotic-use policies available in Federal cafeterias that the General Services Administration (GSA) manages (GSA cafeterias):
(a) within 120 days of the date of this memorandum, GSA shall initiate a process in which vendors, under new contract awards (including renewals), offer in GSA cafeterias, as an option, meat and poultry from animals that have been raised according to responsible antibiotic-use policies, to the extent such an option is available and cost effective. (b) In conducting this effort, GSA shall:
take steps to minimize price impact through:
using competitive procedures, consistent with law, in the selection of vendors; and
continuing to make available alternative food options, in addition to meat and poultry from animals that have been raised according to responsible antibiotic-use policies;
work to develop, for inclusion in food-service contracts in GSA cafeterias, appropriate contractual requirements to verify that vendors are providing meat and poultry produced according to responsible antibiotic-use policies;
analyze, in consultation with the Department of Agriculture and the Department of Health and Human Services, customer demand, product supply, and market prices; and
ensure that GSA cafeteria vendors appropriately identify meat and poultry items from animals that have been raised according to responsible antibiotic-use policies.
For 3 years after the initiation of the process described in this section, GSA shall report annually on the customer demand, product supply, and market prices of meat and poultry produced according to responsible antibiotic-use policies to the Director of OMB and the Task Force for Combating Antibiotic-Resistant Bacteria (Task Force) established by Executive Order 13676 of September 18, 2014.
During this 3-year period, executive departments and agencies (agencies) that contract for food in their own cafeterias and make meat and poultry produced according to responsible antibiotic-use policies available in their own cafeterias, may choose to similarly submit customer demand, product supply, and market price information to the Director of OMB and the Task Force, subject to the requirements of this section and under their own authorities.
Sec. 2. Broadening the Availability of Meat and PoultryProduced According to Responsible Antibiotic-Use Policies inFederal Cafeterias. By 2020, each agency shall develop and implement a strategy that creates a preference for awarding contracts to vendors that offer, as an option, meat and poultry produced according to responsible antibiotic-use policies for sale in domestic Federal cafeterias to civilian Federal employees and visitors, to the extent such an option is available and cost effective. In furtherance of this requirement, I hereby direct that:
The Task Force shall:
on an ongoing basis, review the data received pursuant to section 1 of this memorandum as it becomes available and, considering such data and other relevant data sources, conduct an ongoing analysis of the customer demand, product supply, and market prices of meat and poultry produced according to responsible antibiotic-use policies; and
develop a recommended strategy for creating the preference described in the opening paragraph of this section.
Agencies operating cafeterias in the United States for the primary purpose of serving civilian employees and visitors shall:
consider the recommended strategy developed by the Task Force and, subject to their own authorities, develop a strategy that creates a preference as described in the opening paragraph of this section; and
implement the strategy developed under section 2(b)(i) of this memorandum for poultry by 2018 and for meats by 2020.
Sec. 3. Developing a Strategy for Federal Acquisitionof Meat and Poultry Produced According to ResponsibleAntibiotic-Use Policies. (a) The Task Force shall recommend a strategy for consideration by the Federal Acquisition Regulatory Council (FAR Council) for applying a preference in Federal acquisitions for meat and poultry produced according to responsible antibiotic-use policies served or sold in all Federal facilities. The strategy shall include criteria for appropriate exceptions, including exceptions to ensure acquisitions of such products can be made at fair and reasonable prices and within a reasonable timeframe.
(b) By 2020, to the extent permitted by law, the FAR Council shall issue a proposed rule to amend the Federal Acquisition Regulation to implement a preference, with appropriate exceptions, for acquisitions of meat and poultry produced according to responsible antibiotic-use policies served or sold in all Federal facilities.
Sec. 4. Definitions. (a) "Medically important antibiotics" shall have the meaning it is given in FDA's Guidance for Industry (GFI) 213, Appendix A.
(b) "Responsible antibiotic-use policies," such as FDA GFI 209 and 213, are those policies under which meat and poultry producers use medically important antibiotics only under veterinary oversight and only when needed to prevent, control, and treat disease -- but not for growth promotion.
Sec. 5. General Provisions. (a) This memorandum shall be implemented consistent with applicable law, including international trade obligations, and subject to the availability of appropriations.
Nothing in this memorandum shall be construed to impair or otherwise affect:
the authority granted by law to a department, agency, or the head thereof; or
the functions of the Director of OMB relating to budgetary, administrative, or legislative proposals.
This memorandum is not intended to, and does not, create any right or benefit, substantive or procedural, enforceable at law or in equity by any party against the United States, its departments, agencies, or entities, its officers, employees, or agents, or any other person.
BARACK OBAMA
New Alliance for Food Security and Nutrition - SourceWatch
Thu, 04 Jun 2015 03:28
The New Alliance for Food Security and Nutrition was announced on the occasion of the 3rd Annual Symposium on Global Agriculture and Food Security, a May 2012 event hosted by the Chicago Council on Global Affairs at which President Barack Obama gave a keynote address.
Corporations and CommitmentsGlobal corporations:
Agco Corp: Commitment to "invest $100 million over the next three years to implement model farms and training centers aimed at improving productivity for 25,000 smallholder farmers ranging from Ethiopia to Mozambique."[1]ArmajaroCargill:[2]Diageo: Commitment to a $1.5 million barley farming project in Sebeta, Ethiopia and a $2 million "scalable sorghum value chain project" in Mogoro, Tanzania.[3]DuPont: Commitments to "invest more than $3 million over the next three years to help smallholder farmers in Ethiopia to achieve food security" and to sponsor "an innovative Global Food Security Index being developed by the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) to measure the drivers of food security across 105 countries."[4]Jain Irrigation Systems Ltd: Commitment to spend $375 million in Nigeria, Kenya, and Rwanda.[5]Monsanto: Commitment for $50 million "over the next ten years to support sustained Africa agricultural development and growth." The funding will go, in part, to Tanzania's Kilimo Kwanza (Agriculture First) initiative.[6]NetafimRabobankSABMillerSwiss ReSyngenta: Commitment to make "seed product packs tailored to African farmers" and to "to build a $1 billion business in Africa over the next 10 years."[7][8]UnileverUnited Phosphorus LimitedVodafone: Commitment for "improved telecommunications access."[9]Yara International: Commitment to "build Africa's first major fertilizer production facility."[10]African corporations:
Global Company Value Chain Initiatives:
Africa Cashew Initiative:
World Cocoa Foundaiton:
Competitive African Cotton Initiative
Private Sector Entities Signing the Private Sector Statement of Support:
Monsanto's Commitment"Plans include improved access to financial services through a partnership with Opportunity International, continued work with Tanzanian scientists through the Water Efficient Maize for Africa project to introduce new maize hybrids suitable for Tanzania and available royalty free to seed companies, support of a new depot in the agricultural corridor and strengthening of agro-dealer networks to provide more choice to farmers, support of a new initiative led by the Earth Institute of Columbia University focused on soil health to encourage best management practices, and creation of opportunities that provide farmers with improved access to markets."Monsanto will also partner with additional organizations on the ground in Tanzania, including Farm Input Promotion Services on farmer education programs and Muunganisho Ujasiriamali Vijijini (MUVI) on the formation of farmer cooperatives that enable farmers to collectively negotiate and market their harvest."[13]Syngenta's CommitmentIn May 2012, Syngenta announced a commitment to "invest over $500 million over 10 years in Africa." A year later, they publicized a new Memorandum of Understanding with USAID "to support agriculture and food security activities in Africa, Asia and Latin America."[14]
"Under this MOU, USAID and Syngenta will further collaborate in research and development and smallholder capacity building, working with key agriculture and food security partners including scientists, entrepreneurs, policy makers and other donors..."Under the MOU, Syngenta and USAID together will build the capacity of smallholder farmers to adopt and safely use technologies that increase their yields through training, demonstrations and other approaches. With USAID, Syngenta will work in specific New Alliance countries and explore ways to increase growers' use of technologies in crops such as potatoes and will expand smallholder access to tools such as crop insurance and seed treatment."CritiqueJill Richardson wrote that "The G8 scheme does nothing to address the problems that are at the core of hunger and malnutrition but will serve only to further poverty and inequality."[15] She went on to tell stories of African peasant farmers who made more money by switching to organic farming than by using synthetic fertilizer.
Eric Holt Gimenez of Food First also criticized the New Alliance in an article titled "Nothing New About Ignoring Africa's Farmers."[16] He wrote:
"There's a good reason why the 45 members of the New Alliance don't want to hear from the people actually growing the food in Africa... farmers would say that Africa is actually a rich continent and it is the continued extraction of wealth by foreign corporations that causes poverty and hunger -- that the first Green Revolution did not "bypass" Africa; it failed. A new one spearheaded by the same institutions presently spreading GMOs and land grabbing throughout the continent will do more harm than good."The Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy was even more harsh, calling the New Alliance a "sad excuse of an aid program."[17] They wrote:
"How bad is this idea? Money is money, right? Wrong! The private sector is not just like government, only a little different. It is ENTIRELY different. Corporations are accountable to their shareholders, obliged to make a profit. They are not charities. They are bound by law, but not by the public interest... Corporations are not parties to the human rights covenants that oblige most governments to realize the universal human right to food."Oxfam International was also critical the new effort with a release titled "G8 Food Security Alliance Answers Question Hungry People Have Not Asked."[18] They say that the New Alliance for Food Security and Nutrition "focuses too heavily on the role of the private sector to tackle the complex challenges of food insecurity in the developing world." Instead, they called on G8 leaders to "keep the promises they have already made to help developing countries invest in sustainable solutions to hunger and poverty." They add that "While there is a positive role for the private sector in the fight against global hunger, the plan's top down approach does not reflect what many people in poor countries say they want or need" and that this new effort is "passing the buck on global hunger."
Resources and articlesRelated Sourcewatch articlesReferences'†‘Andrew Quinn, Obama to unveil plan for helping African farmers, Christian Science Monitor, May 18, 2012.'†‘Andrew Quinn, Obama to unveil plan for helping African farmers, Christian Science Monitor, May 18, 2012.'†‘"Diageo furthers commitment to sustainable agriculture in Africa through investment in Ethiopia and Tanzania; Letters of Intent signed at The Chicago Council on Global Affairs and World Economic Forum(EURO)(TM)s Symposium on Global Agriculture and Food Security," Press Release, May 18, 2012.'†‘"DuPont Unveils New Local Investments in Africa and Innovative Global Food Security Index," DuPont Press Release, May 18, 2012.'†‘"Jain Irrigation to spend $375 bln in African countries over next few years," India Investment News, May 21, 2012.'†‘"Monsanto Announces $50 Million Commitment To African Agricultural Development At Symposium On Global Agriculture And Food Security," Monsanto Press Release, May 18, 2012.'†‘Andrew Quinn, Obama to unveil plan for helping African farmers, Christian Science Monitor, May 18, 2012.'†‘"Syngenta to expand presence in Africa: contributing to the transformation of agriculture," Press Release, May 18, 2012.'†‘Andrew Quinn, Obama to unveil plan for helping African farmers, Christian Science Monitor, May 18, 2012.'†‘States News Service, Press Briefing by Senior Administration Officials on Food Security, May 18, 2012.'†‘NEW ALLIANCE FOR FOOD SECURITY AND NUTRITION, CQ Federal Department and Agency Documents: REGULATORY INTELLIGENCE DATA, May 18, 2012.'†‘States News Service, Press Briefing by Senior Administration Officials on Food Security, May 18, 2012.'†‘"Monsanto Announces $50 Million Commitment To African Agricultural Development At Symposium On Global Agriculture And Food Security," Monsanto Press Release, May 18, 2012.'†‘USAID, Syngenta Collaborate to Improve Global Food Security, May 9, 2013.'†‘Jill Richardson, "How the US Sold Africa to Multinationals Like Monsanto, Cargill, DuPont, PepsiCo and Others," Alternet, May 23, 2012.'†‘Eric Holt Gimenez, "The New Alliance for Food Security and Nutrition: Nothing New About Ignoring Africa's Farmers," Huffington Post, May 23, 2012.'†‘"G-8 punts on food security '... to the private sector," Think Forward, May 22, 2012.'†‘States News Service, "Oxfam: G8 Food Security Alliance Answers Question Hungry People Have Not Asked," States News Service, May 18, 2012.External Resources"Critiques of the G8 New Alliance on Food Security and Nutrition," ActionAid.Key Facts: The New Alliance for Food Security and Nutrition, USAID, May 18, 2012.Fact Sheet: G-8 Action on Food Security and Nutrition, White House, May 18, 2012.AfDB Participates in Launch of The New Alliance for Food Security and Nutrition, May 18, 2012.World Vision responds to U.S. President Obama's announcement at the G8 Summit of the creation of New Alliance for Food Security and Nutrition, May 18, 2012.External ArticlesTom Philpott, "On Aid, Obama Sells Out Poor Countries to Big Ag," Mother Jones, May 25, 2012.Jill Richardson, "How the US Sold Africa to Multinationals Like Monsanto, Cargill, DuPont, PepsiCo and Others," Alternet, May 23, 2012.Eric Holt Gimenez, "The New Alliance for Food Security and Nutrition: Nothing New About Ignoring Africa's Farmers," Huffington Post, May 23, 2012."G-8 punts on food security '... to the private sector," Think Forward, May 22, 2012."Aid for Africa," Washington Post editorial, May 18, 2012.International Fund for Agricultural Development, "Food and Agriculture; Scaling up the Fight Against Poverty and Hunger in Africa," Africa News, May 18, 2012.Stephanie Strom, "White House Enlists 45 Companies to Invest in Food Production for the World's Poor," The New York Times, May 18, 2012.Andrew Quinn, Obama to unveil plan for helping African farmers, Christian Science Monitor, May 18, 2012.
Moral Self Licensing
From Sir Matthew
Ministry of Truth
Hollywood CIA '' A Dark Cult Marriage Revealed | Jay's Analysis
Tue, 02 Jun 2015 17:32
BFFs 4-Ever.
By: Jay
One of the more fanciful, or thought to be fanciful, topics I've been covering for a good while now is the subject of the relationship of the CIA to Hollywood. Recent blockbusters like Zero Dark Thirty and American Sniper focus on the military and intelligence agencies in supposed ''based on true events'' scenarios, but is more at work here? The film industry has always loved tales of espionage, but in reality, the creation and manufacturing of a completely alternate reality and history is far more extensive than most would assume. While many films have nobly challenged assumptions about war in figures like Kubrick or Stone, for the most part, film has functioned as one of the most powerful forms of propaganda in the western establishment's arsenal.
Watching some old G.I. Joe cartoon episodes for an upcoming analysis, I was not surprised to find Harvard psychological consultants as part of the production of the show, as reaching the youth with propaganda is central to creating cubicle dwelling automatons later in life. Likewise, researching this as a thesis topic was also instrumental in making these connections, as was the mass of information in Peter Levenda's Sinister Forces trilogy. More recently, a plethora of news articles have surfaced that highlight this deep relationship, as this rabbit hole never ends. The coalescing of intelligence agencies, secret societies and Hollywood in reality is more sensational than any incestuous cult a pulp crime fiction writer could dream up.
Author John Rizzo has recently published a book titled Company Man: Thirty Years of Controversy and Crisis in the CIA, which is an amazing admission of this scandalous affair between intelligence and the film industry. The L.A. Times comments:
''The CIA has long had a special relationship with the entertainment industry, devoting considerable attention to fostering relationships with Hollywood movers and shakers'--studio executives, producers, directors, big-name actors,'' John Rizzo, the former acting CIA general counsel, wrote in his new book, ''Company Man: Thirty Years of Crisis and Controversy in the CIA'....
Rizzo's ''Company Man.'' Image: amazon.com
The CIA also recruits actors to give more visibility to propaganda projects abroad, such as a documentary secretly produced by the agency, Rizzo said. And the agency sometimes takes advantage of the door-opening cachet that movie stars and other American celebrities enjoy. A star who met a world leader, for example, might be asked for details about that meeting.
The CIA has officials assigned full-time to the care and feeding of Hollywood assets, Rizzo wrote. Other former CIA officials added that some of those operatives work in the Los Angeles office of an agency department called the National Resources Division, which recruits people in the U.S. to help America spy abroad.''
Britney's infamous meltdown.
With that in mind, recent news regarding Brittney Spears may reveal much more than the headline suggests. Researchers have opined that ''rehab'' centers may actually be used for ''programming'' the ''stars'' for various mind controlled objectives (as John Marks hints at in his Search for the Manchurian Candidate, pg. , whether as sex slaves or spies as Rizzo discusses. Author Dave McGowan has detailed the military and intelligence connections to Laurel Canyon, the home of the budding counter-culture rock movement in the 60s, which spawned acts like Zappa and the Doors. Military and intelligence connections thus come to the fore here with Brittney's ex, who ''coached her through rehab'' being killed transporting ''dignitaries'' in Afghanistan '' obviously an intelligence cover. Was Sundahl her helpful boyfriend, or was more at work here?
The notion of mind controlled sex slaves and DID/MPD actors and singers is something still far-fetched for the masses, yet more and more information supporting this idea continues to come forward. In regard to Lady Gaga and Amanda Bynes, I recently wrote:
''The potential for abuse here is quite obvious. In my old article, I also relate how the modern psychiatric ''bible,'' known as the DSM-Vstill cites Dr. Estabrooks' old essay, showing the present establishment views all this as authentic, as well as a host of films that portray mind control themes. In fact, it seems as if mind controlled assassins and alters is appearing in countless productions with increasing frequency. Remember '' it was Hollywood that was making films about MKULTRA before it was even known to the public as a real program, as we see in the 1962 The Manchurian Candidate.
With this direct Hollywood connection in mind, we can see the likely possibility of the abuse of pop stars, who become high-priced commodities for the same establishment. I have written before about Candy Jones, and all the way up to the present, top stars are now alleging they were abused by their ''handlers'' and/or producers. While some cases may be publicity stunts, it is hard to believe they all are.
News hounds will recall Amanda Bynes believing she was brainwashed and implanted with a microchip and Ke$ha recently suing for abuse by her ''handler,'' Dr. Luke, with Luke in turn counter-suing. Prior to that, we have witnessed a barrage of news stories the last few years recounting a stream of victims alleging networks of sickos using and abusing those under them. Let us not forget Penn State and Jerry Sandusky and Jimmy Savile of the UK, as well as a host of UK government officials. Recent reports also arose from actors like Corey Feldman, who alleges similar crimes.''
Details surrounding the death of screenwriter Gary Devore (author of Raw Deal and Time Cop) killed in 1997 also made the news this week, with the production of a new documentary on his questionable death. The Daily Mail reveals that Devore was, in fact, working with the CIA, while the strange dating of the severed hands suggests a possible ritual connection:
''When the skeletal remains of Hollywood screenwriter Gary Devore were found strapped into his Ford Explorer submerged beneath the California Aqueduct in 1998 it brought an end to one of America's most high-profile missing person cases.
The fact that Devore was on his way to deliver a film script that promised to explain the 'real reason' why the US invaded Panama, has long given rise to a slew of conspiracies surrounding the nature of his 'accidental' death.
It didn't help that Devore's hands were missing from the crash scene, along with the script, and that investigators could offer no plausible explanation as to how a car could leave the highway and end up in the position it was found a year after he disappeared.Now the Daily Mail can exclusively reveal that Devore was working with the CIA in Panama and even a White House source concedes his mysterious death bears all the hallmarks of a cover-up.''
Silencio.
The concept of ritual murder is not foreign to Hollywood, when one recalls the Black Dhalia case, which I have discussed elsewhere. Hollywood is a kind of Babylon, as numerous researchers have suggested, and only with the advent of the Internet is becoming evident how close that nexus of CIA, underground mafia networks, occultists and intelligence agencies really is. It is a veritable threshold of the ''gods'' (little ''g''), and gods often require a sacrifice '' I wrote:
''That there is a dark side to Hollywood is generally known, given the numerous cases of bizarre deaths, yet the occult side is still lesser known. In his section from Sinister Forces Vol. III on ''Hollywood Babylon,'' Levenda includes a snippet from comparative religion writer Mircea Eliade: ''Babylon was Bab-ilani, a ''gate of the gods,'' for it was there that the gods descended to earth'....But it was always Babylon that is the scene of the connection between the earth and the lower regions, for the city had been built upon bab apsi, the ''Gates of Apsu'' '' apsu designating the waters of chaos before the Creation.'' (pg. 109)
And in Eliade's The Sacred and the Profane, he explains of the ancient conception of the threshold or gate, which is peculiarly applicable:
''A similar ritual function falls to the threshold of the human habitation, and it is for this reason that the threshold is an object of great importance. Numerous rites accompany passing the domestic threshold '' a bow, a prostration, a pious touch of the hand, and so on. The threshold has its guardians '' gods and spirits who forbid entrance both to human enemies and to demons and the power of pestilence. It is on the threshold that sacrifices to the guardian divinities are offered. Here too certain paleo-oriental cultures (Babylon, Egypt, Israel) situated the judgment place. The threshold, the door show the solution of continuity in space immediately and concretely; hence their great religious importance, for they are symbols and at the same time vehicles passage from one space to another.'' (pg. 25)
''Argo'' is based on Mendez' work.
In analyzing J.J. Abrams' Alias, we saw this week that Jennifer Garner was recruited by the CIA to be a kind of PR front to sell recruitment as glamorous. A few days later, the Washington Post ran a revealing piece that coincides with my analysis, titled ''Ex-spies Infiltrate Hollywood as Espionage TV Shows and Movies Multiply.'' The article treats the issue as if this is some new move, when readers of JaysAnalysis know this is nothing new, but a classic dark marriage that existed all along. Consider the laughable irony here, as The Americans is a show about KGB infiltration of America, in the midst of an article about actual CIA usage of Hollywood (as propaganda), as the Post writes:
''Hollywood tends to be a destination spot for a lot of Washingtonians,'' said David Nevins, the president of Showtime, which produces the spy juggernaut ''Homeland.
''There was the 'West Wing' crowd of former politicos. I've met with more than one former Navy SEAL. And now, certainly the intelligence community has been the most recent in a long line of Washingtonians trying to come out and tell their stories.
Weisberg, whose show begins its third season on FX on Wednesday night, is perhaps the most successful of the CIA alumni who have infiltrated Hollywood. ''The Americans,'' about two deep-cover KGB operatives living in suburban Virginia in the 1980s, was ranked by many television critics as one of last year's top 10 shows.
But Weisberg, who left the CIA in 1994, is hardly the only ex-agency guy trying to cash in on the spy show craze. (Spy shows, one executive at a major Hollywood talent agency observed, have become as ubiquitous as cop shows.) Former senior CIA officials Rodney Faraon and Henry ''Hank'' Crumpton are the executive producers of NBC's ''State of Affairs,'' which stars Katherine Heigl as a CIA analyst and member of the agency's presidential daily briefing team '-- one of Faraon's old jobs.''
Let us also not forget the role of Melissa Mahle, former CIA operative, in ''coaching'' and ''advising'' CFR member Angelina Jolie in her role as triple agent in SALT, the 2010 espionage thriller. The film itself was loosely based on Mahle, as the Telegraph reports, ''Jolie's role is based, loosely, on the experiences of Mahle and other spies. 'I was very impressed when I met Angelina,' says Mahle. 'She was very intent upon understanding not only what a real CIA officer was like but also the motivations behind our actions.''
Jayne Mansfield with Anton LaVey, founder of the Church of Satan, also met with a dark end.
Indeed, it is becoming more and more apparent that Hollywood really is the flip side of the CIA, when we think of Ben Affleck doing Argo based around CIA operative Antonio Mendez, one of the Agency's Masters of Disguise. Affleck revealed Hollywood is ''probably full of CIA'' to the Guardian, in the wake of his film about the CIA staging a fake B movie shooting in Iran. As these revelations continue to leak, we can expect more evidence to confirm the kind of thesis Freeman puts forth in his following documentary on Anna Nicole Smith, where the extent of mind control connecting Hollywood and the dark side of the CIA may run far deeper than even I imagine, especially when we think of individuals like Sammy Davis, Jr. and Jayne Mansfield, who were members of the Church of Satan, as well as a host of other celebrities who fancy dabbling in the occult '' for example, here and here. In fact, films like Eyes Wide Shut have revealed these very associations, and from the Black Dhalia to Mulholland Drive to Milla, these connections are real, especially when we understand films like Zero Dark Thirty are pure CIA propaganda fictions.
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Millennials favor Facebook for US political news: study
Tue, 02 Jun 2015 00:15
Millennials favor Facebook for US political news: studyHTTP/1.1 200 OK Date: Tue, 02 Jun 2015 00:15:01 GMT Server: Apache Vary: Accept-Encoding Content-Encoding: gzip Transfer-Encoding: chunked Content-Type: text/html; charset=UTF-8
5 hours agoWhen it comes to political news, Millennials are more likely to turn to Facebook than their Baby Boomer elders, a Pew Research Center study suggests When it comes to political news, Millennials are more likely to turn to Facebook than their television-watching Baby Boomer elders, a Pew Research Center study released Monday suggests.
The Washington-based social research institute surveyed nearly 3,000 online adults to learn how Americans are informing themselves in the run-up to next year's presidential election.
Sixty-one percent of Millennials, aged 18 to 33, said they got their news about politics and government from Facebook, with another 37 percent tuning in to local television newscasts.
It was the reverse among Baby Boomers, aged 50 to 68, with 60 percent watching local TV news and 39 percent favoring the popular social networking website.
Generation Xers, aged 34 to 49, were more balanced between the two media, with 51 percent logging onto Facebook for political and government news and 46 percent favoring local television.
"We are only beginning to understand the complex interactions of personal choice, friend networks and algorithms in the social media space," said Pew's director of journalism research Amy Mitchell.
"As the research continues, these data suggest there are fundamental differences in the ways younger and older generations stay informed about political news," she said in a statement announcing the findings.
The survey, conducted March 19 to April 29, did not include the so-called Silent Generation, aged 69 to 86, due to the large proportion of its members who don't use the Internet, Pew said.
While mainstream media enjoyed a higher level of trust across all three generations, Millennials were more likely to put confidence in satirical newscasts such as "The Daily Show" hosted by Jon Stewart.
But overall, Millennials expressed less interest in politics overall, with only 26 percent saying it was one of their three favorite topics of interest.
Among Generation Xers and Baby Boomers, the proportions were 34 percent and 45 percent respectively.
The complete study is at www.pewresearch.org .
Explore further:How Millennials get their news
(C) 2015 AFP
Millennials favor Facebook for US political news: studyHTTP/1.1 200 OK Date: Tue, 02 Jun 2015 00:15:01 GMT Server: Apache Vary: Accept-Encoding Content-Encoding: gzip Transfer-Encoding: chunked Content-Type: text/html; charset=UTF-8
5 hours agoWhen it comes to political news, Millennials are more likely to turn to Facebook than their Baby Boomer elders, a Pew Research Center study suggests
When it comes to political news, Millennials are more likely to turn to Facebook than their television-watching Baby Boomer elders, a Pew Research Center study released Monday suggests.
The Washington-based social research institute surveyed nearly 3,000 online adults to learn how Americans are informing themselves in the run-up to next year's presidential election.
Sixty-one percent of Millennials, aged 18 to 33, said they got their news about politics and government from Facebook, with another 37 percent tuning in to local television newscasts.
It was the reverse among Baby Boomers, aged 50 to 68, with 60 percent watching local TV news and 39 percent favoring the popular social networking website.
Generation Xers, aged 34 to 49, were more balanced between the two media, with 51 percent logging onto Facebook for political and government news and 46 percent favoring local television.
"We are only beginning to understand the complex interactions of personal choice, friend networks and algorithms in the social media space," said Pew's director of journalism research Amy Mitchell.
"As the research continues, these data suggest there are fundamental differences in the ways younger and older generations stay informed about political news," she said in a statement announcing the findings.
The survey, conducted March 19 to April 29, did not include the so-called Silent Generation, aged 69 to 86, due to the large proportion of its members who don't use the Internet, Pew said.
While mainstream media enjoyed a higher level of trust across all three generations, Millennials were more likely to put confidence in satirical newscasts such as "The Daily Show" hosted by Jon Stewart.
But overall, Millennials expressed less interest in politics overall, with only 26 percent saying it was one of their three favorite topics of interest.
Among Generation Xers and Baby Boomers, the proportions were 34 percent and 45 percent respectively.
The complete study is at www.pewresearch.org .
Explore further:How Millennials get their news
(C) 2015 AFP
Trains Good, Planes Bad
Airbus confirms software brought down A400M transport plane ' The Register
Mon, 01 Jun 2015 17:41
Airbus has confirmed the crash that stalled its A400M program was caused by engine control software.
However, according to Handelsblatt, the problem wasn't that the software is buggy. Rather, someone in the final assembly process installed the software incorrectly.
Marwan Lahoud, Airbus' chief strategy officer, told the German newspaper that the company already believed there had been no problem with the airframe: ''The black boxes attest '... that there are no structural defects, but we have a serious quality problem in the final assembly''.
Handelsblatt beats Google's translation with the sentence ''Die Software f¼r die Steuerung der Motoren sei bei der Endmontage falsch aufgespielt worden''*, but it seems to El Reg to suggest that the software was configured with incorrect parameters at installation.
The May 9 crash near Seville's San Pablo Airport killed four Airbus Defense and Space personnel when the A400M, designated MSN23, crashed just after takeoff on its first flight.
Airbus had already told A400M operators '' Germany, Britain, Turkey and France '' to check the planes' Engine Control Unit. The Royal Malaysian Air Force also has an A400M, delivered in March.
Last week, Airbus CEO Tom Enders had complained that the company needed the black box data, which was being withheld by Spanish agencies, to conduct its analysis of the crash.
While the results will be a relief '' since a problem with the physical build quality would have been extremely expensive '' Airbus will still need to satisfy customers that it can ensure that software installs don't go wrong in future. ®
BootnoteGoogle Translate reckons the sentence in question comes out in English as "The software for controlling the motors had been partly filled with wrong during the final assembly," as many commentards noted with joy.
Vulture Central's backroom gremlins, on the back of a very rusty A-level in German, reckon the true meaning is "badly assembled/compiled" rather than "filled with wrong" but the original Google version is too good not to highlight.
Sponsored:A modern data architecture with Apache Hadoop
Cyber-Attack Warning: Could Hackers Bring Down a Plane? - SPIEGEL ONLINE - News - International
Mon, 01 Jun 2015 20:52
The officials from the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) were not at all happy about what they were hearing. An unshaven 32-year-old from Spain, his hair pulled back in a ponytail, was talking about cockpit computers and their weaknesses and security loopholes. Specifically, he was telling the EASA officials how he had managed to buy original parts from aviation suppliers on Ebay for just a few hundred dollars. His goal was to simulate the data exchange between current passenger-jet models and air-traffic controllers on the ground in order to search for possible backdoors. His search was successful. Very successful.
The Spaniard's presentation took place two years ago in an EADS conference room looking over the rooftops of Cologne. He had been invited after, in accordance with the hacker ethic, he had notified the agency that he was planning to release the results of his years-long study at a hacker conference. Engineers from airlines and airplane manufacturers were also following the Spaniard's presentation via video. After he had finished, he recalls, they all wanted to know the same thing: "You aren't really planning on making all of that public, are you?"Their concern focused on his central finding, which he continues to repeat to this day. "In modern airplanes, there are a whole series of backdoors, through which hackers can gain access to a variety of aircraft systems."
The Spaniard's name is Hugo Teso, and he now works for a data security firm based in Berlin. For the past several years, he has been commissioned by various companies to try to break in to their computers and networks. But because Teso is also a pilot and continues to hold a valid license, he has developed a reputation in the aviation industry as someone whose tech-security warnings should be taken seriously.
Teso has demonstrated that you don't even need a computer to hi-jack a plane remotely. A smartphone equipped with an app called PlaneSploit, which Teso himself developed, could be enough. In theory cyber-terrorists could use such an app, or something similar, to take over a plane's steering system and, in a worst-case scenario, cause the plane to crash.
Danger Facing Airlines and Passengers
Attacks on cockpit computers have been an issue at hacker conferences for years. But airlines and airplane manufacturers have long sought to play down their warnings -- or they have ignored them altogether. Last week, though, the debate intensified. The US Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) is looking into whether a US-based IT expert named Chris Roberts actually implemented -- at least in part, from on board an aircraft -- the things that Teso has been warning about and simulating. He claims to have penetrated the entertainment system of a normal passenger jet several times and even to have manipulated the plane's engines during a flight.
The claims and ensuing investigation have triggered a new debate about a danger potentially facing airlines and passengers. The Government Accounting Office in the US had already pointed to potential problems in air-traffic control in January, saying that the technology used for communication between pilots and controllers on the ground is outdated. For as long as the problem remains unaddressed, the GAO report noted, "the weaknesses that we identified are likely to continue, placing the safe and uninterrupted operation of the nation's air traffic control system at increased and unnecessary risk."
DER SPIEGEL
Graphic: Potential hacker targets on passenger planes.
In an additional study, published in April, the agency took a closer look at planes themselves and explicitly warned against the increasing connectivity of individual components. "This interconnectedness can potentially provide unauthorized remote access to aircraft avionics systems," the report reads. One of the study's co-authors said on US television that the findings are particularly applicable to newer planes such as the Boeing 787 Dreamliner and long-haul Airbus models such as the A350 and A380.If the recent claims by Roberts, the American IT expert, are confirmed, it would essentially remove any remaining doubts about the vulnerability of passenger aircraft and provide practical proof that common airplane models are hackable.
Roberts is said to have provided his testimony to a special FBI agent in February and March. The agent included transcripts of those conversations in a court application in which he requested permission to analyze hardware that had previously been confiscated from Roberts.
Hacking Into Sensitive Systems
According to the FBI document, which was first made public by the Canadian news website APTN, Roberts was able to hack into the onboard entertainment systems -- manufactured by companies such as Panasonic and Thales -- of passenger planes such as the Boeing 737, the Boeing 757 and the Airbus A320. He did so a total of 15 to 20 times between 2011 and 2014. To do so, he hooked his laptop up to the Seat Electronic Box (SEB) -- which are usually located under each passenger seat -- using an Ethernet cable, which is unsettling enough.
But Roberts may also potentially have used the SEB to hack into sensitive systems that control the engines. In one case, he may even have been able to manipulate the engines during flight. He says that he was able to successfully enter the command "CLB," which stands for "climb," and the plane's engines reacted accordingly, he told the FBI, according to the document.
Roberts is currently keeping a low public profile, taking to Twitter last week to say that his "legal team are still requesting I wait on saying anything." He did, however, write that "over last five years my only interest has been to improve aircraft security." He says that the FBI "incorrectly compressed" that work into a single paragraph in its affidavit.
The FBI, it would seem, is taking Roberts and his efforts to hack into airplane computer systems extremely seriously. The FBI document helps explain an incident in mid-April which initially landed Roberts, a native of Colorado, in the headlines. He was on board a United Airlines 737 and logged onto Twitter via the passenger Wi-Fi network. "Shall we start playing with EICAS messages? "PASS OXYGEN ON" Anyone ? :)," he wrote. EICAS is the Engine Indicator Crew Alert System, which sends real-time data from the plane's engines to the cockpit.
Record Reaction
The FBI, in conjunction with United, reacted to the Tweet in record time. After Roberts changed planes in Chicago, on his way from Denver to Syracuse, FBI agents boarded the plane he had just left to examine the SEB under his seat. The two nearest boxes, the FBI document notes, showed signs of attempts to manipulate them. In WIRED, Roberts denied being responsibility for the manipulation marks.
When Roberts arrived in Syracuse, he was taken off the plane by the FBI and his electronic equipment was seized. At the time, it looked as though the FBI were only reacting to Roberts' Tweet. But the FBI document that has now been made public makes it easier to understand the agents' nervousness -- the FBI document notes that Roberts, during his February interrogation, promised to never again seek access to airplane networks.
Airlines and manufacturers have been largely silent on the incidents and on possible consequences. A Lufthansa spokesperson, for example, said: "As a matter of policy, we don't comment on such events." Airbus merely insisted that its systems and procedures are robust and that they are equipped to withstand potential cyber-attacks. The company declined comment, saying it didn't talk publicly about its security systems.
Among pilots, though, the issue is both urgent and unsettling. "The industry and the airline companies cannot continue to sit this out," says Markus Wahl, spokesman for Vereinigung Cockpit, a German pilots' union. "We have always assumed that the captain would be able to defend against a cyber-attack," the spokesman said. He added, however, that the danger cannot simply be dismissed out of hand and shouldn't be trivialized. A pilot himself, Wahl said that the airlines have thus far not treated the issue with the proper degree of urgency.
Last year, Vereinigung Cockpit invited Hugo Teso to their annual convention. "After his presentation, everyone was rather contemplative," says Wahl. Part of the reason, Wahl says, was his expertise. "That man knows his way around a cockpit," Wahl says.
The Danger of Modifications
Indeed, such concerns help explain the angry reaction to a proposal that gained currency in the wake of the recent Germanwings crash -- which saw a co-pilot fly his plane into a mountain, killing himself and the other 149 people on board -- to fly passenger planes remotely from the ground. The idea has the support of Klaus-Dieter Scheurle, head of the German air-traffic control company Deutsche Flugsicherung. "That would create a huge new target for cyber-attacks," says Wahl.
Teso shares Wahl's opinion. He even recently identified several additional security risks. When a plane is delivered from the factory, he says, they are much less vulnerable. He says problems are created when the planes are modified later -- by installing on-board WiFi and entertainment systems, for example, or equipping of pilots with tablets for pre-flight operations which are then brought into the cockpit.German authorities such as the Federal Office for Information Security (BSI), take Teso's concerns seriously. His investigations, says a spokesperson, have been "intensively analyzed. "His approach is realistic and he has exposed weaknesses that have to be eliminated." The BSI does not, however, agree with Teso that such weaknesses can easily be exploited. "Even a successful attack, we believe, might be enough to annoy the pilots, but not enough to take over control of the aircraft."
In the US, the Roberts case seems to have already had consequences. Until now, laptops were primarily seen as a danger because of their weight: Strong turbulence during takeoff or landing could cause them to fly around the cabin and injure people. But now, crew members have been asked to do more than just ensure computers are stowed during takeoff and landing -- the FBI and air-traffic authorities have issued a warning to all airline personnel that they should also keep an eye out for passengers attempting to hook their laptops into devices on board.
EuroLand
EU regulators tell 11 countries to adopt bank bail-in rules | Business | Reuters
Thu, 04 Jun 2015 14:10
BRUSSELS (Reuters) - The European Commission on Thursday gave France, Italy and nine other EU countries two months to adopt new EU rules on propping up failed banks or face legal action.
The rules, known as the bank recovery and resolution directive (BRRD), seek to shield taxpayers from having to bail out troubled lenders, forcing creditors and shareholders to contribute to the rescue in a process known as "bail-in".
The Commission drafted the rules in response to the financial crisis which started in 2008, giving the 28 countries in the European Union until the end of last year to apply them.
It said Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, France, Italy, Lithuania, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Malta, Poland, Romania and Sweden had yet to fall in line.
"If they don't comply within two months, the Commission may decide to refer them to the EU Court of Justice," the EU executive said in a statement, referring to Europe's highest court based in Luxembourg.
(Reporting by Foo Yun Chee; editing by Adrian Croft)
(C) Thomson Reuters 2015 All rights reserved.
Bail-ins on their way? EU gives countries two months to adopt new rules -- Puppet Masters -- Sott.net
Thu, 04 Jun 2015 14:10
(C) Reuters / Yannis Behrakis
The European Commission has ordered 11 EU countries to enact the Bank Recovery and Resolution Directive (BRRD) within two months or be hauled before the EU Court of Justice, according to a report from Reuters on Friday.The news was not covered in other media despite the important risks and ramifications for depositors and savers throughout the EU and indeed internationally.
The article "EU regulators tell 11 countries to adopt bank bail-in rules" reported how 11 countries are under pressure from the EC and had yet "to fall in line". The countries were Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Lithuania, Malta, Poland, Romania, Sweden, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, France and Italy.
France and Italy are two countries who are regarded as having particularly fragile banking systems.
The rules, known as the Bank Recovery and Resolution Directive (BRRD) ostensibly aim to shield taxpayers from the fall out of another banking crisis. Should such a crisis erupt governments will not be obliged to prop up the banks. At any rate most countries are far too deeply indebted to play such a role.
Instead, the burden is being placed on the creditors. As Reuters put it
The rules seek to shield taxpayers from having to bail out troubled lenders, forcing creditors and shareholders to contribute to the rescue in a process known as "bail-in".
(C) Unknown
However, if recent events in Austria are anything to go by, creditors now also include depositors of banks. In April, Austria enacted legislation which removed government liability for all bank deposits.Until then, the state would protect deposits of ordinary people and companies up to a value of '‚¬100,000. In its place a bank deposit insurance fund is being set up. This fund appears inadequate to protect savers' deposits in the event of any kind of bank failure. We covered the story in more detail here.
Each country will enact its own version of the BRRD. How vulnerable savers are in specific countries is difficult to tell at this time. The drive towards a cashless economy which has accelerated in recent months makes deposit holders and savers ever more vulnerable.
This bail-in legislation which is being driven by the BIS through the Bank of England, ECB, Federal Reserve and Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) appears designed to protect banks by allowing them to confiscate deposits to prop them up rather than the noble stated objective - "to shield taxpayers".Those who hold deposits in our banks are also taxpayers and have already paid tax in order to earn the money that is on deposit.
Allowing for the confiscation of deposits is a retrograde step and may be the last straw for an already enfeebled western banking system. It will also be very deflationary as a primary source of capital and demand - from companies and consumers - is confiscated.
(C) Unknown
Cyprus was devastated by bail-ins and has shown little sign of recovery.Central banks claim to be attempting to avert deflation with QE and negative interest rates and not simply bailing out and aiding overly indebted banks.
However, the bail-in of deposits would again place the interests of banks over those of taxpayers and depositors. It would be very deflationary and could be the tipping point which pushes economies into a recession and depression.
However, the key insight from Cyprus and the coming move from bail-out regimes to bail-in regimes, is that a precedent has now been created in terms of deposit confiscation. Therefore, simply having deposits in a bank is no longer the safest way to save, protect capital and conservatively grow wealth.
Conservative wealth management, asset diversification and wealth preservation will again become important and gold will again have an important role to play in order to protect, preserve and grow wealth in the coming bail-in era.
BitCoin
Silk Road founder Ross Ulbricht sentenced to life in prison
Mon, 01 Jun 2015 20:57
A federal judge sentenced Ross Ulbricht to life in prison today in New York City for his role as the mastermind of Silk Road, once the largest online black market for illegal drugs on the Internet.
A jury convicted Ulbricht, who pioneered the secure sale of illegal goods online, in February on seven felony counts, including drug trafficking, money laundering, computer hacking, and identity fraud.
Silk Road, which ran from January 2011 to October 2013 before the FBI seized the site and its assets, was an anonymous marketplace used to sell illegal goods, the vast majority of which were drugs, including heroin, methamphetamine, MDMA, LSD, and others. The website hid the location of itself and its users by utilizing the Tor anonymity network, privacy software developed and funded in part by the U.S. government that's used by police, criminals, journalists, soldiers, and activists worldwide.
Prior to sentencing, Ulbricht, clearly upset, apologized for any lives ruined by overdoses caused by drugs purchased off of Silk Road. "I never wanted that to happen," he said, adding, "I wish I could go back and convince myself to take a different path."
Sales on Silk Road were entirely conducted in Bitcoin. From February 2011 through July 2013, Ulbricht and other Silk Road staffers collected 614,305 bitcoins, or $145,516,568.40 at today's exchange rate, in commissions from sales on the site, according to the U.S. Department of Justice. At the time of Ulbricht's arrest, the total Silk Road commissions were worth just under $80 million.In a memo to the court, U.S. prosecutors said Ulbricht owes the government $183,961,921 based on the total number of transactions on Silk Road.
Ulbricht's defense team has repeatedly promised an appeal, meaning this saga is far from over. Years after Ulbricht's 2013 arrest, many questions remain about the police investigation including how they found Silk Road's servers and whether police violated the law in doing so.
Federal prosecutors have continuously pushed for harsh sentencing beyond the minimum 20 years against Ulbricht in order to "send a message" to other Dark Net criminals.
''Ulbricht's conviction is the first of its kind, and his sentencing is being closely watched,'' the prosecution wrote in a letter to Judge Katherine Forrest. ''The Court thus has an opportunity to send a clear message to anyone tempted to follow his example that the operation of these illegal enterprises comes with severe consequences.''
Ulbricht and his defense team have pushed in the other direction, arguing that Silk Road reduced the dangers of drug use.''In contrast to the government's portrayal of the Silk Road website as a more dangerous version of a traditional drug marketplace, in fact the Silk Road website was in many respects the most responsible such marketplace in history, and consciously and deliberately included recognized harm-reduction measures, including access to physician counseling,'' Joshua Dratel, Ulbricht's lead defense attorney, wrote to the court. ''In addition, transactions on the Silk Road website were significantly safer than traditional illegal drug purchases, and included quality-control and accountability features that made purchasers substantially safer than they were when purchasing drugs in a conventional manner.''
Ulbricht also wrote a personal letter to judge Katherine Forrest in which he pleaded with her to ''leave a light at the end of the tunnel'' with sentencing that does not take away the rest of his life.
''I know you must take away my middle years, but please leave me my old age," Ulbricht, now 31, wrote. "Please leave a small light at the end of the tunnel, an excuse to stay healthy, an excuse to dream of better days ahead, and a chance to redeem myself before I meet my maker.''
Despite Ulbricht's arrest and the turbulence experienced on the Dark Net ever since, similar black markets grew 37 percent in the last year.
Illustration by Max Fleishman
No Agenda Book Club
FREE on KINDLE-Tragedy and Hope: A History of the World in Our Time - Kindle edition by Carroll Quigley. Politics & Social Sciences Kindle eBooks @ Amazon.com.
Thu, 04 Jun 2015 14:02
"As a teenager I heard John Kennedy's summons to citizenship. And as a student at Georgetown, I heard the call clarified by a professor I had named Carroll Quigley, who said America was the greatest country in the history of the world because our people have always believed in two great ideas: first, that tomorrow can be better than today, and second, that each of us has a personal moral responsibility to make it so."When Bill Clinton spoke these stirring words to millions of Americans during his 1992 acceptance address before the Democratic National Convention upon receiving his party's nomination for President of the United States, the vast multitude of his television audience paused for a micro-second to reflect: Who is Carroll Quigley and why did he have such a dramatic effect on this young man before us who may become our country's leader?
Carroll Quigley was a legendary professor of history at the Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service of Georgetown University, and a former instructor at Princeton and Harvard.
He was a lecturer at the Industrial College of the Armed Forces, the Brookings Institution, the U. S. Naval Weapons Laboratory, the Foreign Service Institute of the State Department, and the Naval College.
Quigley was a closely connected elite "insider" to the American Establishment, with impeccable credentials and trappings of respectability.
But Carroll Quigley's most notable achievement was the authorship of one of the most important books of the 20th Century: Tragedy and Hope - A History of the World in Our Time.
No one can truly be cognizant of the intricate evolution of networks of power and influence which have played a crucial role in determining who and what we are as a civilization without being familiar with the contents of this 1,348-page tome.
It is the "Ur-text" of Establishment Studies, earning Quigley the epithet of "the professor who knew too much" in a Washington Post article published shortly after his 1977 death.
In Tragedy and Hope, as well as the posthumous The Anglo-American Establishment: From Rhodes to Cliveden, Quigley traces this network, in both its overt and covert manifestations, back to British racial imperialist and financial magnate Cecil Rhodes and his secret wills, outlining the clandestine master plan through seven decades of intrigue, spanning two world wars, to the assassination of John Kennedy.
Through an elaborate structure of banks, foundations, trusts, public-policy research groups, and publishing concerns (in addition to the prestigious scholarship program at Oxford), the initiates of what are described as the Round Table groups (and its offshoots such as the Royal Institute of International Affairs and the Council on Foreign Relations) came to dominate the political and financial affairs of the world.
For the ambitious young man from Hope, Arkansas, his mentor's visionary observations would provide the blueprint of how the world really worked as he made his ascendancy via Oxford through the elite corridors of power to the Oval Office.
Published in 1966, Tragedy and Hope lay virtually unnoticed by academic reviewers and the mainstream media establishment.
Then Dr. W. Cleon Skousen, the noted conservative author of the 1961 national best-seller, The Naked Communist, discovered Quigley, and the serious implications of what Quigley had revealed.
In 1970, Skousen published The Naked Capitalist: A Review and Commentary on Dr. Carroll Quigley's Book Tragedy and Hope.
This was soon followed by None Dare Call It Conspiracy. This slim volume by Gary Allen (and Larry Abraham) provided the massive paradigm shift of grassroots, populist conservatives from mere anti-Communism to a much larger anti-elitist world-view.
Millions of copies of these books came into print, and the conservative movement changed forever.
Copies of Tragedy and Hope began disappearing from library shelves.
A pirate edition was printed.
Quigley came to believe that his publisher Macmillan had suppressed his book.
Dr. Gary North, the esteemed economic commentator and historian has an interesting discussion of these curious facts in the chapter, "Maverick 'Insider' Historians," in his book, Conspiracy: A Biblical View, available on-line.
Quigley himself discusses these issues concerning his book in a five part YouTube interview: [...]
However some persons believe Carroll Quigley was simply amplifying earlier research in conservative authors Emanuel Josephson's Rockefeller 'Internationalist': The Man Who Misrules The World, and Dan Smoot's The Invisible Government, or that of the radical sociologist C. Wright Mill's The Power Elite, which had outlined these same elite networks of power.
I disagree with that narrow assessment. Although there is much to disagree with in interpretation in Quigley's book, the originality and titanic scope of the work cannot be doubted or disparaged.
In a book much praised by economist and historian Murray Rothbard, author Carl Oglesby's The Yankee and Cowboy War: Conspiracies From Dallas To Watergate, has a fascinating discussion of Quigley within a wider framework of American power politics and subterranean intrigue.
And in a volume hailed by Gore Vidal, Christopher Hitchens, before he morphed from Trotskyist man of letters to Neocon mouthpiece, had some insightful musings along the line of Quigley in his Blood, Class, and Nostalgia: Anglo-American Ironies.
Tragedy and Hope is indeed one of the most important books you will ever read.
PedoBear
Child protection boss warns there is 'not enough land' to build all the prisons needed to lock up UK's paedophiles
Mon, 01 Jun 2015 20:58
The former Deputy Children's Commissioner for England has warned that child sex abuse in the UK is so widespread that there is 'not enough land' to build all the prisons needed to incarcerate offenders.Sue Berelowitz, who has been under fire after she received a six-figure payoff and was then promptly rehired as a £1,000 a-day consultant, made the claim while speaking at the Hay Literary Festival yesterday.
Mrs Berelowitz, who is currently chairing the government's inquiry into child sex abuse said the public will be 'shocked by the sheer scale of the problem' when she releases her report in November.
She said that if the Crown Prosecution Service were to prosecute every paedophile there would not be enough land to build the prisons needed.Speaking to Jon Snow with Camila Batmanghelidjh and Helena Kennedy during a talk on child sex abuse last night, she blamed the prevalence of pornography for the growth of an increasingly sexualised society.
Mrs Berelowitz said: 'We live in a highly sexualised world in which for the most part it is considered quite acceptable [for men] to do as they want with females, and too many females think that is something they must comply with because they think it is a part of growing up
'Child porn and the proliferation of indecent images of children, and all the stuff we are seeing on social media which is undoubtedly having an impact on young people growing up and their impressions of sex and sexuality.'
She added: 'If the CPS were to prosecute everyone we would need a rolling prison programme. I would say there probably isn't the land to build enough prisons,' The Telegraph reports.
Mrs Berelowitz, who failed to speak out about sexual abuse by British Pakistani gangs, took voluntary redundancy from her £99,333-a-year post on April 30, receiving a pay-off worth £134,000.
But the next day she was hired as a consultant leading an inquiry into child abuse in the family - which she had been in charge of in her old role since last July.
The 61-year-old is paid £960 a day, working up to nine days a month - so she earns almost as much as before, but for less work.
Simon Danczuk, Labour MP for Rochdale, where some of the grooming gangs operated, said the redundancy pay-off was 'disgraceful'.
Mrs Berelowitz's report, to be published in November, follows abuse scandals in areas including Rotherham, where it was reported that 1,400 children were abused between 1997 and 2013.
Speaking last night Mrs Berelowitz also claimed that the covering up of child sex abuse is still happening in local authorities and police stations across the country - but added that the bigger problem is taking place in children's homes.
Mrs Berelowitz is considered a controversial figure because her 2012 report in the wake of high-profile abuse cases in Rochdale and Rotherham denied there was a growing number of Asian grooming gangs.
Despite finding that more than a quarter of perpetrators known to the authorities were Asian, Mrs Berelowitz said there was no evidence to conclude that there was a particular issue with Asian gangs.
NWO
Austria's central bank to repatriate £3.5bn of gold reserves from UK
Mon, 01 Jun 2015 22:49
(C) Bloomberg/Getty Images
Austria's central bank plans to repatriate £3.5bn of its gold reserves currently stored in Britain - amounting to 80% of its entire stocks - after auditors warned against the risks of keeping a majority in a foreign country.The Austrian National Bank will spend the next five years flying gold bars back to Vienna to raise its own stocks to half the total of 280 tonnes.
The move echoes Germany's plan in 2013 to repatriate all of its gold stocked in France as well as some of the reserves held in the United States, to ensure at least 50% was kept on German soil by 2020.
Until now the Austrian National Bank has relied on the Bank of England to watch over most of its £6.7bn gold reserves. The BoE looks after much of the world's gold as most central banks send some of the stocks to London for safekeeping.
Now the BoE's stock of the precious metal will be reduced to 30%, while Austria will hold 50% and Switzerland 20%.
The Austrian authorities appeared to be conscious of the perils of bulk-storing gold in the manner of Fort Knox in the US, made famous by Auric Goldfinger's attempted heist in the third James Bond film.
The fictional villain seeks to corner the gold market in his position as treasurer of Smersh, the arch enemy of MI6. However, the decision was taken earlier this year, before the Hatton Garden robbery which saw millions of pounds of precious metals and jewels stolen and resulted in mass arrests earlier this month.
The central bank shifted its position after a report by the Austrian court of audit in February, which warned of a "heightened concentration risk" linked to storing the majority of its reserves in Britain.
At the time, the bank had argued that the policy was warranted because London was a major international centre for the gold trade. London's bullion market is the largest in the world and attracts buyers from Europe, Asia, Africa and US.
Transport of the bullion is likely to be arranged with one of the four main security firms listed by the London Bullion Market - Brink's, G4S, Malca-Amit Commodities and VIA-MAT, most of which operate out of business units near Heathrow airport.
It is likely the bars will be flown out of the country in five-tonne batches, on specially commissioned and heavily guarded planes.
Vienna confirmed that it would begin to repatriate 92.4 tonnes this summer. A further 47.6 tonnes will be transferred from Britain to Switzerland.
Last year Swiss voters rejected a proposal to force the central bank to bring back gold reserves from Britain and Canada.
Haiti
How the Red Cross Raised Half a Billion Dollars for Haiti ­and Built Six Homes - ProPublica
Wed, 03 Jun 2015 14:00
Even as the group has publicly celebrated its work, insider accounts detail a string of failuresby Justin Elliott, ProPublica, and Laura Sullivan, NPR June 3, 2015
The neighborhood of Campeche sprawls up a steep hillside in Haiti's capital city, Port-au-Prince. Goats rustle in trash that goes forever uncollected. Children kick a deflated volleyball in a dusty lot below a wall with a hand-painted logo of the American Red Cross.
In late 2011, the Red Cross launched a multimillion-dollar project to transform the desperately poor area, which was hit hard by the earthquake that struck Haiti the year before. The main focus of the project '-- called LAMIKA, an acronym in Creole for ''A Better Life in My Neighborhood'' '-- was building hundreds of permanent homes.
Today, not one home has been built in Campeche. Many residents live in shacks made of rusty sheet metal, without access to drinkable water, electricity or basic sanitation. When it rains, their homes flood and residents bail out mud and water.
The Red Cross received an outpouring of donations after the quake, nearly half a billion dollars.
Documents: Inside The Red Cross' Haiti FailuresThe group has publicly celebrated its work. But in fact, the Red Cross has repeatedly failed on the ground in Haiti. Confidential memos, emails from worried top officers, and accounts of a dozen frustrated and disappointed insiders show the charity has broken promises, squandered donations, and made dubious claims of success.
The Red Cross says it has provided homes to more than 130,000 people. But the actual number of permanent homes the group has built in all of Haiti: six.
After the earthquake, Red Cross CEO Gail McGovern unveiled ambitious plans to ''develop brand-new communities.'' None has ever been built.
Aid organizations from around the world have struggled after the earthquake in Haiti, the Western Hemisphere's poorest country. But ProPublica and NPR's investigation shows that many of the Red Cross's failings in Haiti are of its own making. They are also part of a larger pattern in which the organization has botched delivery of aid after disasters such as Superstorm Sandy. Despite its difficulties, the Red Cross remains the charityof choice for ordinary Americans and corporations alike after natural disasters.
One issue that has hindered the Red Cross' work in Haiti is an overreliance on foreigners who could not speak French or Creole, current and former employees say.
In a blistering 2011 memo, the then-director of the Haiti program, Judith St. Fort, wrote that the group was failing in Haiti and that senior managers had made ''very disturbing'' remarks disparaging Haitian employees. St. Fort, who is Haitian American, wrote that the comments included, ''he is the only hard working one among them'' and ''the ones that we have hired are not strong so we probably should not pay close attention to Haitian CVs.''
The Red Cross won't disclose details of how it has spent the hundreds of millions of dollars donated for Haiti. But our reporting shows that less money reached those in need than the Red Cross has said.
Lacking the expertise to mount its own projects, the Red Cross ended up giving much of the money to other groups to do the work. Those groups took out a piece of every dollar to cover overhead and management. Even on the projects done by others, the Red Cross had its own significant expenses '' in one case, adding up to a third of the project's budget.
Where did the half billion raised for Haiti go? The Red Cross won't say.
In statements, the Red Cross cited the challenges all groups have faced in post-quake Haiti, including the country's dysfunctional land title system.
''Like many humanitarian organizations responding in Haiti, the American Red Cross met complications in relation to government coordination delays, disputes over land ownership, delays at Haitian customs, challenges finding qualified staff who were in short supply and high demand, and the cholera outbreak, among other challenges,'' the charity said.
The group said it responded quickly to internal concerns, including hiring an expert to train staff on cultural competency after St. Fort's memo. While the group won't provide a breakdown of its projects, the Red Cross said it has done more than 100. The projects include repairing 4,000 homes, giving several thousand families temporary shelters, donating $44 million for food after the earthquake, and helping fund the construction of a hospital.
''Millions of Haitians are safer, healthier, more resilient, and better prepared for future disasters thanks to generous donations to the American Red Cross,'' McGovern wrote in a recent report marking the fifth anniversary of the earthquake.
In other promotional materials, the Red Cross said it has helped ''more than 4.5 million'' individual Haitians ''get back on their feet.''
It has not provided details to back up the claim. And Jean-Max Bellerive, Haiti's prime minister at the time of the earthquake, doubts the figure, pointing out the country's entire population is only about 10 million.
''No, no,'' Bellerive said of the Red Cross' claim, ''it's not possible.''
When the earthquake struck Haiti in January 2010, the Red Cross was facing a crisis of its own. McGovern had become chief executive just 18 months earlier, inheriting a deficit and an organization that had faced scandals after 9/11 and Katrina.
Gail McGovern (Alex Wong/Getty Images)Inside the Red Cross, the Haiti disaster was seen as ''a spectacular fundraising opportunity,'' recalled one former official who helped organize the effort. Michelle Obama, the NFL and a long list of celebrities appealed for donations to the group.
The Red Cross kept soliciting money well after it had enough for the emergency relief that is the group's stock in trade. Doctors Without Borders, in contrast, stopped fundraising off the earthquake after it decided it had enough money. The donations to the Red Cross helped the group erase its more-than $100 million deficit.
The Red Cross ultimately raised far more than any other charity.
A year after the quake, McGovern announced that the Red Cross would use the donations to make a lasting impact in Haiti.
We asked the Red Cross to show us around its projects in Haiti so we could see the results of its work. It declined. So earlier this year we went to Campeche to see one of the group's signature projects for ourselves.
Street vendors in the dusty neighborhood immediately pointed us to Jean Jean Flaubert, the head of a community group that the Red Cross set up as a local sounding board.
Sitting with us in their sparse one-room office, Flaubert and his colleagues grew angry talking about the Red Cross. They pointed to the lack of progress in the neighborhood and the healthy salaries paid to expatriate aid workers.
''What the Red Cross told us is that they are coming here to change Campeche. Totally change it,'' said Flaubert. ''Now I do not understand the change that they are talking about. I think the Red Cross is working for themselves.''
The Red Cross' initial plan said the focus would be building homes '-- an internal proposal put the number at 700. Each would have finished floors, toilets, showers, even rainwater collection systems. The houses were supposed to be finished in January 2013.
The Red Cross promised to build hundreds of new homes in Campeche but none have been built. Many residents still live in crude shacks. (Marie Arago, special to ProPublica)None of that ever happened. Carline Noailles, who was the project's manager in Washington, said it was endlessly delayed because the Red Cross ''didn't have the know-how.''
Another former official who worked on the Campeche project said, ''Everything takes four times as long because it would be micromanaged from DC, and they had no development experience.''
Shown an English-language press release from the Red Cross website, Flaubert was stunned to learn of the project's $24 million budget '-- and that it is due to end next year.
''Not only is [the Red Cross] not doing it,'' Flaubert said, ''now I'm learning that the Red Cross is leaving next year. I don't understand that.'' (The Red Cross says it did tell community leaders about the end date. It also accused us of ''creating ill will in the community which may give rise to a security incident.'')
The project has since been reshaped and downscaled. A road is being built. Some existing homes have received earthquake reinforcement and a few schools are being repaired. Some solar street lights have been installed, though many broke and residents say others are unreliable.
The group's most recent press release on the project cites achievements such as training school children in disaster response.
The Red Cross said it has to scale back its housing plans because it couldn't acquire the rights to land. No homes will be built.
Other Red Cross infrastructure projects also fizzled.
A Red Cross effort to save Haitians from cholera was crippled by internal issues. ''None of these people had to die,'' said a Haitian official.
In January 2011, McGovern announced a $30 million partnership with the U.S. Agency for International Development, or USAID. The agency would build roads and other infrastructure in at least two locations where the Red Cross would build new homes.
But it took more than two and a half years, until August 2013, for the Red Cross just to sign an agreement with USAID on the program, and even that was for only one site. The program was ultimately canceled because of a land dispute.
A Government Accountability Office report attributed the severe delays to problems ''in securing land title and because of turnover in Red Cross leadership'' in its Haiti program.
Other groups also ran into trouble with land titles and other issues. But they also ultimately built 9,000 homes compared to the Red Cross' six.
Asked about the Red Cross' housing projects in Haiti, David Meltzer, the group's general counsel and chief international officer, said changing conditions forced changes in plans. ''If we had said, 'All we're going to do is build new homes,' we'd still be looking for land,'' he said.
The USAID project's collapse left the Red Cross grasping for ways to spend money earmarked for it.
''Any ideas on how to spend the rest of this?? (Besides the wonderful helicopter idea?),'' McGovern wrote to Meltzer in a November 2013 email obtained by ProPublica and NPR. ''Can we fund Conrad's hospital? Or more to PiH[Partners in Health]? Any more shelter projects?''
Jean Jean Flaubert says the Red Cross promised to transform his neighborhood. ''Now I do not understand the change that they are talking about,'' he said. (Marie Arago, special to ProPublica)It's not clear what helicopter idea McGovern was referring to or if it was ever carried out. The Red Cross would say only that her comments were ''grounded in the American Red Cross' strategy and priorities, which focus on health and housing.''
Another signature project, known in Creole as ''A More Resilient Great North,'' is supposed to rehabilitate roads in poor, rural communities and to help them get clean water and sanitation.
But two years after it started, the $13 million effort has been faltering badly. An internal evaluation from March found residents were upset because nothing had been done to improve water access or infrastructure or to make ''contributions of any sort to the well being of households,'' the report said.
So much bad feeling built up in one area that the population ''rejects the project.''
The Red Cross says 91% of donations went to help Haitians. That's not true.
Instead of making concrete improvements to living conditions, the Red Cross has launched hand-washing education campaigns. The internal evaluation noted that these were ''not effective when people had no access to water and no soap.'' (The Red Cross declined to comment on the project.)
The group's failures went beyond just infrastructure.
When a cholera epidemic raged through Haiti nine months after the quake, the biggest part of the Red Cross' response a plan to distribute soap and oral rehydration salts '-- was crippled by ''internal issues that go unaddressed,'' wrote the director of the Haiti program in her May 2011 memo.
Throughout that year, cholera was a steady killer. By September 2011, when the death toll had surpassed 6,000, the project was still listed as ''very behind schedule'' according to another internal document.
The Red Cross said in a statement that its cholera response, including a vaccination campaign, has continued for years and helped millions of Haitians.
But while other groups also struggled early responding to cholera, some performed well.
''None of these people had to die. That's what upsets me,'' said Paul Christian Namphy, a Haitian water and sanitation official who helped lead the effort to fight cholera. He says early failures by the Red Cross and other NGOs had a devastating impact. ''These numbers should have been zero.''
So why did the Red Cross' efforts fall so short? It wasn't just that Haiti is a hard place to work.
''They collected nearly half a billion dollars,'' said a congressional staffer who helped oversee Haiti reconstruction. ''But they had a problem. And the problem was that they had absolutely no expertise.''
Lee Malany was in charge of the Red Cross' shelter program in Haiti starting in 2010. He remembers a meeting in Washington that fall where officials did not seem to have any idea how to spend millions of dollars set aside for housing. Malany says the officials wanted to know which projects would generate good publicity, not which projects would provide the most homes.
''When I walked out of that meeting I looked at the people that I was working with and said, 'You know this is very disconcerting, this is depressing,''' he recalled.
The Red Cross said in a statement its Haiti program has never put publicity over delivering aid.
Malany resigned the next year from his job in Haiti. ''I said there's no reason for me to stay here. I got on the plane and left.''
Transitional shelters like these on the outskirts of Port-Au-Prince, paid for by the Red Cross, typically last three to five years. (Marie Arago, special to ProPublica)Sometimes it wasn't a matter of expertise, but whether anybody was filling key jobs. An April 2012 organizational chart obtained by ProPublica and NPR lists 9 of 30 leadership positions in Haiti as vacant, including slots for experts on health and shelter.
The Red Cross said vacancies and turnover were inevitable because of ''the security situation, separation from family for international staff, and the demanding nature of the work.''
The constant upheaval took a toll. Internal documents refer to repeated attempts over years to ''finalize'' and ''complete'' a strategic plan for the Haiti program, efforts that were delayed by changes in senior management. As late as March 2014, more than four years into a six-year program, an internal update cites a ''revised strategy'' still awaiting ''final sign-off.''
The Red Cross said settling on a plan early would have been a mistake. ''It would be hard to create the perfect plan from the beginning in a complicated place like Haiti,'' it said. ''But we also need to begin, so we create plans that are continually revised.''
The Red Cross says it provided homes to more than 130,000 Haitians. But they didn't.
Those plans were further undermined by the Red Cross' reliance on expats. Noailles, the Haitian development professional who worked for the Red Cross on the Campeche project, said expat staffers struggled in meetings with local officials.
''Going to meetings with the community when you don't speak the language is not productive,'' she said. Sometimes, she recalled, expat staffers would skip such meetings altogether.
The Red Cross said it has ''made it a priority to hire Haitians'' despite lots of competition for local professionals, and that over 90 percent of its staff is Haitian. The charity said it used a local human resources firm to help.
Yet very few Haitians have made it into the group's top echelons in Haiti, according to five current and former Red Cross staffers as well as staff lists obtained by ProPublica and NPR.
That not only affected the group's ability to work in Haiti, it was also expensive.
According to an internal Red Cross budgeting document for the project in Campeche, the project manager '' a position reserved for an expatriate '' was entitled to allowances for housing, food and other expenses, home leave trips, R&R four times a year, and relocation expenses. In all, it added up to $140,000.
Compensation for a senior Haitian engineer '-- the top local position '-- was less than one-third of that, $42,000 a year.
Shelim Dorval, a Haitian administrator who worked for the Red Cross coordinating travel and housing for expatriate staffers, recalled thinking it was a waste to spend so much to bring in people with little knowledge of Haiti when locals were available.
''For each one of those expats, they were having high salaries, staying in a fancy house, and getting vacation trips back to their countries,'' Dorval said. ''A lot of money was spent on those people who were not Haitian, who had nothing to do with Haiti. The money was just going back to the United States.''
Soon after the earthquake, McGovern, the Red Cross CEO, said the group would make sure donors knew exactly what happened to their money.
The Red Cross would ''lead the effort in transparency,'' she pledged. ''We are happy to share the way we are spending our dollars.''
That hasn't happened. The Red Cross' public reports offer only broad categories about where $488 million in donations has gone. The biggest category is shelter, at about $170 million. The others include health, emergency relief and disaster preparedness.
After the earthquake, Red Cross CEO Gail McGovern unveiled plans to ''develop brand-new communities.'' None has ever been built. (Marie Arago, special to ProPublica)It has declined repeated requests to disclose the specific projects, to explain how much money went to each or to say what the results of each project were.
There is reason to doubt the Red Cross' claims that it helped 4.5 million Haitians. An internal evaluation found that in some areas, the Red Cross reported helping more people than even lived in the communities. In other cases, the figures were low, and in others double-counting went uncorrected.
In describing its work, the Red Cross also conflates different types of aid, making it more difficult to assess the charity's efforts in Haiti.
For example, while the Red Cross says it provided more than 130,000 people with homes, that includes thousands of people who were not actually given homes, but rather were ''trained in proper construction techniques.'' (That was first reported by the Haiti blog of the Center for Economic and Policy Research.)
The figure includes people who got short-term rental assistance or were housed in several thousand ''transitional shelters,'' which are temporary structures that can get eaten up by termites or tip over in storms. It also includes modest improvements on 5,000 temporary shelters.
The Red Cross also won't break down what portion of donations went to overhead.
How the Red Cross' Overhead Claim Stacks UpThe Red Cross says that for each dollar donated, 91 cents went to Haiti. But here's what actually happened in one $5.4 million project to improve temporary shelters.
Source: American Red Cross and ProPublica AnalysisCredit: Sisi Wei/ProPublica
McGovern told CBS News a few months after the quake, ''Minus the 9 cents overhead, 91 cents on the dollar will be going to Haiti. And I give you my word and my commitment, I'm banking my integrity, my own personal sense of integrity on that statement.''
But the reality is that less money went to Haiti than 91 percent. That's because in addition to the Red Cross' 9 percent overhead, the other groups that got grants from the Red Cross also have their own overhead.
In one case, the Red Cross sent $6 million to the International Federation of the Red Cross for rental subsidies to help Haitians leave tent camps. The IFRC then took out 26 percent for overhead and what the IFRC described as program-related ''administration, finance, human resources'' and similar costs.
Beyond all that, the Red Cross also spends another piece of each dollar for what it describes as ''program costs incurred by the American Red Cross in managing'' the projects done by other groups.
The American Red Cross' management and other costs consumed an additional 24 percent of the money on one project, according to the group's statements and internal documents. The actual work, upgrading shelters, was done by the Swiss and Spanish Red Cross societies.
''It's a cycle of overhead,'' said Jonathan Katz, the Associated Press reporter in Haiti at the time of the earthquake who tracked post-disaster spending for his book, The Big Truck That Went By. ''It was always going to be the American Red Cross taking a 9 percent cut, re-granting to another group, which would take out their cut.''
Given the results produced by the Red Cross' projects in Haiti, Bellerive, the former prime minister, said he has a hard time fathoming what's happened to donors' money.
''Five hundred million dollars in Haiti is a lot of money,'' he said. ''I'm not a big mathematician, but I can make some additions. I know more or less the cost of things. Unless you don't pay for the gasoline the same price I was paying, unless you pay people 20 times what I was paying them, unless the cost of the house you built was five times the cost I was paying, it doesn't add up for me.''
A resident in a Port-Au-Prince transitional shelter paid for by the Red Cross. (Marie Arago, special to ProPublica)This story was co-published with NPR. Mitzy-Lynn Hyacinthe contributed reporting.
Read about how the Red Cross botched key elements of its mission after Superstorm Sandy and Hurricane Isaac in PR Over People: The Red Cross' Secret Disaster. And about how the Red Cross' CEO has been serially misleading about where donors' dollars are going.
If you have information about the Red Cross or about other international aid projects, please email justin@propublica.org.
Justin Elliott is a ProPublica reporter covering politics and government accountability. Previously, he was a reporter at Salon.com and TPMmuckraker and news editor at Talking Points Memo.
Laura Sullivan is a NPR News investigative correspondent whose work has cast a light on some of the country's most disadvantaged people.
Out There
NASA confirms strange sounds emanating from the sky
Mon, 01 Jun 2015 23:41
Strange sound coming from the sky
There was no special celebration happening in town, yet the strange sound coming from the sky, which sounds similar to the echoes of trumpets, have been recorded by people all over the world.Until now, the strange noise has been detected and heard in the US, Canada, Australia, Russia, Germany, and other several countries despite the minimal hype.
Several social media users have taken initiatives to record the sounds and have uploaded them on YouTube.
For the Muslims, the phenomenon of the eerie sound is akin to echoes of the Doomsday's trumpets, though no one has ever heard such a sound as the judgement day has yet occurred.
Kimberly Wookey from Terrace, British Columbia in Canada first captured the alien sound in June 2013, and since then she has managed to capture several recordings of the noise with her most recent being on May 7 this year.
"I managed to record three clips showing almost five minutes of these strange sounds. After it was over and I sat down at the computer to upload the video. After checking my Facebook I noticed a lot of locals had heard the same sounds again but this time it was far more widespread."I personally do not believe this has any religious connection, nor do I believe it is aliens, graders, trains, construction, etc. I do believe it could be a geophysical phenomenon," she said.
Most people in the West believe that such a phenomenon was due to geophysics and not anything related to religion or myths, while others believe it was due to magic.
From the scientific perspective, NASA's administration in the US has formulated the strange phenomenon as earth's background sound which occurs naturally and not of some extra-terrestrials'' spaceships.
"We could actually hear the typical strains of symphony in the sound of strange storm coming from our planet, and not an alien spaceship," said NASA's spokesperson as quoted from the local US media.
According to NASA, the sound which is pretty similar to the sound of a trumpet's echo could be equal to the background music score which we normally hear from sci-fi movies, though such sounds are coming directly from the earth.
NASA further explains that such phenomenon is natural and occurs all the time, however, due to the human's restricted hearing ability, it couldn't detect the sounds when it doesn't occur in high volume.
VIDEO-CLIPS-DOCS
VIDEO-PBS NewsHour full episode June 3, 2015
Thu, 04 Jun 2015 15:05
145832145869145869PBS NewsHour full episode June 3, 2015Wednesday on the NewsHour, officials disclosed an increase in the number of labs that mistakenly received live anthrax samples. Also: Why out of pocket costs for health care are going up, what Red Cross did with $500 million dollars raised to rebuild homes in Haiti, what a mighty China means for the U.S. and debating development in the Grand Canyon.2015-06-03 18:00:00disabled2365502804rQO_Tc18uG8true145852145844http://www.pbs.org/newshour/bb/grand-canyon-rivers-converge-economic-preservation-needs-collide/Economic needs collide with preservation in the Grand CanyonMillions come to the Grand Canyon every year to marvel at its natural beauty, but in a remote corner of the Navajo Nation, there's a part of the canyon that few tourists see. A group of developers hopes to change that by building hotels, restaurants and an aerial tram. Ryan Hill, a student reporter from Arizona State University, looks at what that could mean for the Navajo community.2015-06-03 18:00:00http://www.pbs.org/newshour/wp-content/uploads/2015/06/RTR4XO9H-320x196.jpg2365502768Xu47pPpXLFA145849145846http://www.pbs.org/newshour/bb/millions-donated-red-cross-haiti-earthquake-relief-havent-helped/Millions donated, why haven't more Haitians been helped?In 2010, a catastrophic earthquake ravaged Haiti, leaving 1.5 million people homeless. The American Red Cross raised nearly $500 million for relief efforts, announcing plans to create new communities. But an investigation by ProPublica and NPR has concluded that the Red Cross response has been plagued by failures. Jeffrey Brown interviews NPR investigative correspondent Laura Sullivan.2015-06-03 18:00:00http://www.pbs.org/newshour/wp-content/uploads/2015/06/american-red-cross-320x196.jpg2365502767feSJ0pyxK34145770145744http://www.pbs.org/newshour/bb/street-sense-gives-homeless-creative-tools-build-careers-help-others/Street Sense gives homeless creative tools to build careersStreet Sense publishes the only newspaper by and for the homeless in Washington, D.C. The organization has long trained participants in journalism and writing, and now it's expanding to offer more education in the arts and digital media, like photography and filmmaking, in hopes of giving people a toehold in new creative careers. The NewsHour's Anne Davenport reports.2015-06-02 18:00:00http://www.pbs.org/newshour/wp-content/uploads/2015/06/street-sense-320x196.jpg2365501882uZXzbtyRL2I
Wednesday on the NewsHour, officials disclosed an increase in the number of labs that mistakenly received live anthrax samples. Also: Why out of pocket costs for health care are going up, what Red Cross did with $500 million dollars raised to rebuild homes in Haiti, what a mighty China means for the U.S. and debating development in the Grand Canyon.
VIDEO-Latest News Videos - CNN.com
Thu, 04 Jun 2015 13:29
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VIDEO-The President Meets with the King of the Netherlands - YouTube
Thu, 04 Jun 2015 13:24
VIDEO-Chuck Todd to Lindsey Graham: Are Hispanics 'Justified in Believing' GOP 'Doesn't Care About Them?' | MRCTV
Thu, 04 Jun 2015 12:47
See more in the cross-post on the NewsBusters blog.
Reporting on Tuesday's NBC Nightly News, NBC News political director and Meet the Press moderator Chuck Todd hyped the size of the 2016 Republican presidential campaign with the rise in ''vanity candidates'' and wondered to GOP presidential candidate Lindsey Graham if ''Hispanics are justified in believing the Republican Party doesn't care about them right now.''
In the only segment concerning the 2016 campaign on the Tuesday evening network newscasts, interim anchor Lester Holt introduced Todd's report by explaining that the GOP candidates ''know only one of them can win the nomination, but there are some big consolation prizes in the race for the White House.''
VIDEO-Sen. Paul Wants Declassification of Documents That Could Implicate Saudis in 9/11 | MRCTV
Thu, 04 Jun 2015 04:40
Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) on Tuesday announced legislation that would require the president to declassify 28 pages of material from a 2002 report that could highlight ties between al-Qaeda and the Saudi government in the run-up to the 9/11 terror attacks.
VIDEO-2 Men In Boston Terror Probe Allegedly Planned To Kill ''Boys In Blue'' CBS Boston
Thu, 04 Jun 2015 03:47
BOSTON (CBS/AP) '' The two men identified in a terrorism investigation in Boston allegedly planned to behead a police officer, sources told WBZ-TV Wednesday.
A law enforcement source confirmed to CBS News that Usaama Rahim and David Wright were ISIS supporters and were motivated by a desire to exact revenge on America, similar to the Tsarnaev brothers.
Read:Criminal Complaint Against David Wright
The men were actively plotting multiple attacks on law enforcement, even including the possible beheading of police officers, the CBS source said, adding that the two were discussing attack plans on social media.
Usaama Rahim's Brookline High School yearbook photo (WBZ-TV)
According to court documents, Rahim recently bought three ''fighting knives'' and a knife sharpener and talked to Wright about plans to kill someone outside of Massachusetts.
On Sunday, May 31, Rahim, Wright and a third person met on a beach in Rhode Island to discuss their plans. Wright would later tell FBI agents that these plans included the beheading of somebody in another state.
CNN reports Rahim had originally plotted to kill political activist Pamela Geller.
At approximately 5:00 a.m. on Tuesday, June 2, authorities say Rahim called Wright and told him that he had changed his plans, and now wanted to ''go after'' the ''boys in blue'' in Massachusetts.
During this conversation, Rahim allegedly revealed to Wright that he planned to randomly kill police officers in Massachusetts either on Tuesday or Wednesday.
David Wright. (Facebook Photo)
Wright then allegedly directed Rahim to delete information from and destroy his smartphone and wipe his laptop.
Wright was taken into custody at his home in Everett Tuesday afternoon, hours after a Boston police officer and an FBI agent shot and killed Rahim, 26, who was under 24-hour surveillance by terrorism investigators in Roslindale.
Wright allegedly told investigators that Rahim told him about the plan and he supported it. He was arraigned in federal court on conspiracy charges Wednesday afternoon.
Investigators are continuing to look for other people both men were communicating with.
After the hearing Wednesday, Wright's attorney and the Muslim Justice League accused authorities of breaking the law.
''We're particularly concerned to have heard that the defendant was denied access to his counsel when the counsel was trying to locate him and when she was outside the house where he was being interrogated,'' said Shannon Irwin of the Muslim Justice League.
ORIGINAL PLAN
Usaama Rahim was originally plotting to behead a private citizen in another state, according to court documents.
According to CNN, the original target was supposed to be Pamela Geller, a conservative blogger who has also organized controversial events like the Garland, Texas exhibit displaying drawings of the Prophet Mohammed.
Geller told CNN she was not told of the specific threat.
Pamela Geller ahead of an anti-Islam demonstration in Stockholm, on August 4, 2012. (Photo credit should read FREDRIK PERSSON/AFP/GettyImages)
SHOOTING VIDEO SHOWN TO CIVIC LEADERS
Boston police said surveillance video shows Rahim with a large military-style knife lunging at a police officer and an FBI agent in a CVS parking lot in Roslindale Tuesday morning before he was shot and killed '-- an account his brother has disputed.
Investigators showed the video to local clergy and civil rights leaders Wednesday and they agreed it appears to contradict Rahim's brother's claim of what happened.
But one Boston Muslim leader called the video ''inconclusive.''
Imam Abdullah Farooq says it showed Rahim wasn't shot in the back, but the quality was poor and it wasn't clear whether police had to use deadly force.
Boston Police Commissioner Bill Evans leads a meeting with community leaders before watching the surveillance video Wednesday. (Media pool Photo)
The video has not been shown yet to the media or the public.
A federal law enforcement source told CBS News Rahim had been on investigators' radar for several months and was recently under 24-hour surveillance.
He had allegedly become radicalized and inspired by ISIS' online propaganda and the belief is he wanted to attack law enforcement. Investigators wanted to question him after he started acting differently Tuesday morning.
In the parking lot they moved in before he could make it to a bus. A source told CBS News Rahim was about to get on the bus and investigators wanted to prevent that from happening.
The surveillance video from a nearby restaurant across the street shows what happened next, according to investigators.
Boston police say the man killed in an officer-involved shooting had this military-style knife (WBZ-TV)
Rahim allegedly pulled out the knife, officers repeatedly ordered him to drop it, according to Boston Police Commissioner Bill Evans, but he continued to move toward them with it.
He said the officers fired their guns, hitting Rahim three times. He was rushed to Brigham and Women's Hospital, where he died.
WHO ARE RAHIM AND WRIGHT?
Rahim worked for CVS since March 2015, according to company spokesman Mike DeAngelis.
''The Roslindale CVS/pharmacy was not open during the time of the incident involving Mr. Rahim and no other employees or customers were involved. We are fully cooperating with the authorities in this matter,'' DeAngelis said in a statement to WBZ-TV Wednesday.
Boston voter registration records for Usaama Rahim list him as a student. Records indicate that as recently as two years ago he was licensed as a security officer in Miami but don't specify in what capacity.
Yusufi Vali, executive director of the Islamic Society of Boston Cultural Center, said the center's security firm hired Rahim as a security guard for a month in mid-2013. Vali said Rahim did not regularly pray at the center and did not volunteer there or serve in any leadership positions.
Wright was a student at Bunker Hill Community College from Fall 2010 to Spring 2011 with a general concentration major, according to school spokeswoman Karen Norton.
RHODE ISLAND SEARCH
A law enforcement source told CBS News that FBI and Rhode Island State police conducted a court-authorized search of a home in Rhode Island as part of the investigation Wednesday.
WBZ-TV's Jim Armstrong reports
Shortly after Rahim was killed, federal agents and RI State Police showed up at a house on Aspinet Drive in Warwick. Neighbors said officers went into the house with their weapons drawn, but no shots were fired.
The neighbors said a man in his late 20's has lived in the house for quite some time. According to them, the man recently grew a beard, and started wearing robes and acting strange.
There have been no arrests and no one is in custody in the Warwick probe.
(TM and (C) Copyright 2015 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2015 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)
VIDEO-MSNBC's Wagner Slams Santorum's Rebuke of Pope on Climate Change | MRCTV
Thu, 04 Jun 2015 03:35
[More in the cross-post on the MRC's NewsBusters blog.]
Alex Wagner took the unusual step of running to the defense of Pope Francis on the 3 June 2015 edition of her MSNBC program. Wagner blasted Rick Santorum for asserting that the Catholic Church was "probably are better off leaving science to the scientists," especially on the controversial issue of climate change. She pointed out that the Pope "has a master's degree in chemistry," and therefore, has more "cred" to speak on the climate issue than Santorum, who only has a political science degree. Wagner also targeted the Republican presidential candidate for using science to defend his support for "an abortion ban with zero exceptions for rape and incest," as she put it
VIDEO-Obama Threatens to Cut US Support at UN - US & Canada - News - Arutz Sheva
Thu, 04 Jun 2015 02:45
Courtesy of Uvda, Keshet ProductionsUS President Barack Obama gave an interview with Israeli media on Tuesday, in which he threatened that an Israeli refusal to renew peace talks with the Palestinian Authority (PA) will "make it hard" for the US to veto motions in the UN against Israel.
In an interview with Ilana Dayan for Channel 2's "Uvda" (Fact) TV show aired Tuesday night, Obama commented on Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu's statements before elections in which he said that a Palestinian state won't be founded on his watch.
Obama noted that later Netanyahu distanced from the statement and "suggested that there is the possibility of a Palestinian state. But it has so many caveats, so many conditions, that it is not realistic to think that those conditions would be met anytime in the near future."
Those conditions have included the recognition of Israel as a Jewish state and demilitarization, conditions that proved problematic in the last round of peace talks that Obama pushed into existence in late 2013.
The president continued, "and so the danger here, is that'...Israel as a whole loses credibility. Already the international community does not believe that Israel is serious about a two states solution...the statement the Prime Minister made compounded that...belief that there's not a commitment there."
Describing Netanyahu, Obama said, "I think that he also is someone who has been skeptical about the capacity of Israelis and Palestinians to come together on behalf of peace. I think that he is also a politician, who's concerned about keeping coalitions together and maintaining his office."
"Netanyahu'...is somebody who's predisposed to think of security first. To think perhaps that peace is naive," he continued. "To see the worst possibilities, as opposed to the best possibilities in Arab partners or Palestinian partners, and so I do think that right now, those politics, and those fears are driving the government's response. And, I understand it, but'...what may seem wise and prudent on the short-term, can actually end up being unwise over the long-term."
No US backing in the UN?
Obama then issued a threat to Israel, referring to his remarks after the recent Israeli elections when he said America would have to reasses its policy towards Israel, and clarifying that at the time he was referring to something specific.
"If there are additional resolutions introduced in the United Nations...up until this point we have pushed away against European efforts for example, or other efforts. Because we've said, the only way this gets resolved is if the two parties worked together," he said, referring to European moves to unilaterally recognize the PA as a state.
The president said security aid to Israel won't cease, but warned that, "if in fact, there's no prospect of an actual peace-process, if nobody believes there's a peace process, then it becomes more difficult, to argue with those who are concerned about settlement construction, those who are concerned about the current situation, it's more difficult for me to say to them 'be patient! wait! Because we have a process here.' Because, all they need to do is to point to the statements that have been made saying there is no process."
The last round of peace talks, which were torpedoed by the PA last April when it joined international conventions in breach of the 1993 Oslo Accords and sealed a unity deal with the Hamas terrorist organization, only brought the release of 78 Arab terrorists.
Referencing the Jewish nature of Israel, Obama said, "I am less worried about any particular disagreement that I have with Prime Minister Netanyahu. I am more worried about...an Israeli politics that's motivated only by fear. And that then leads to a loss of those core values, that when I was young and I was admiring Israel from afar...were...the essence of this nation. There are things that you can lose, that don't just involve rockets."
Turning his attention to Iran and the deal being formed with it on its nuclear program ahead of a June 30 deadline, he claimed that sanctions have caused Iran to keep its agreements in negotiations.
"I've said that, in exchange for some modest relief in sanctions, that Iran is going to have to freeze its nuclear program, roll back on its stockpiles of very highly enriched Uranium - the very stockpiles that Prime Minister Netanyahu had gone before the United Nations, with his picture of the bomb and said that was proof of how dangerous this was."
"At that time, everybody said 'this isn't going to work! They're going to cheat, they're not going to abide by it.' And yet, over a year and a half later, we know that they have abided by the letter of it," claimed Obama.
His assertion is in fact false; Iranian nuclear fuel stockpiles grew by a massive 20% over the past 18 months of negotiations between Iran and world powers, as revealed in a report last month by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).
Obama had claimed their nuclear program would be "frozen" during negotiations, but the IAEA report clarifies that they indeed breached the conditions.
VIDEO-'Bruce Jenner Is Doing This for Bruce Jenner!' Watch CNN Panel Fall Apart - YouTube
Wed, 03 Jun 2015 13:08
VIDEO-US politicians call for release of secret 9/11 report - Al Jazeera English
Wed, 03 Jun 2015 12:00
Several members of the US Congress have joined calls for the release of classified pages from an intelligence report into the September 11, 2001 attacks on the US.
The politicians argue that the 28 pages of classified text refers to allegations that Saudi Arabian officials were involved in helping to organise the attacks.
Former Florida Senator Bob Graham, who co-chaired the 2002 House-Senate Joint Inquiry, the first official investigation into 9/11, joined current congressional members on Tuesday as they publicly called for the release of the classified material.
Graham told Al Jazeera that the US public would be "outraged" if they knew the truth.
"If the American people knew the full truth, I believe there would be an outrage that a country which alleges to be such an ally of ours has engaged in so many actions that have been so extremely negative towards the United States," Graham said, referring to Saudi Arabia.
Watch Al Jazeera correspondent Kristen Saloomey's extended interview with former Senator Graham below:
Source: Al Jazeera
VIDEO-Bomb threats made to US commercial aircraft | MSNBC
Tue, 02 Jun 2015 14:32
Ireland, the GOP & marriage equality
Ireland's vote to legalize same-sex marriage puts focus on how America's GOP presidential candidates will handle that shift. Jerri Ann Henry, the Campaign Manager for Young Conservatives for the Freedom to Marry, Nick Confessore, and Caitlin Huey...
The Last Word with Lawrence O'Donnell
05/26/15
Duration: 8:18
VIDEO-EXCLUSIVE: Undercover DHS Tests Find Security Failures at US Airports - ABC News
Tue, 02 Jun 2015 00:03
An internal investigation of the Transportation Security Administration revealed security failures at dozens of the nation's busiest airports, where undercover investigators were able to smuggle mock explosives or banned weapons through checkpoints in 95 percent of trials, ABC News has learned.
The series of tests were conducted by Homeland Security Red Teams who pose as passengers, setting out to beat the system.
According to officials briefed on the results of a recent Homeland Security Inspector General's report, TSA agents failed 67 out of 70 tests, with Red Team members repeatedly able to get potential weapons through checkpoints.
In one test an undercover agent was stopped after setting off an alarm at a magnetometer, but TSA screeners failed to detect a fake explosive device that was taped to his back during a follow-on pat down.Officials would not divulge the exact time period of the testing other than to say it concluded recently.
Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson was apparently so frustrated by the findings he sought a detailed briefing on them last week at TSA headquarters in Arlington, Virginia, according to sources. U.S. officials insisted changes have already been made at airports to address vulnerabilities identified by the latest tests.
''Upon learning the initial findings of the Office of Inspector General's report, Secretary Johnson immediately directed TSA to implement a series of actions, several of which are now in place, to address the issues raised in the report,'' the DHS said in a written statement to ABC News.
Homeland security officials insist that security at the nation's airports is strong '' that there are layers of security including bomb sniffing dogs and other technologies seen and unseen. But the officials that ABC News spoke to admit these were disappointing results.
This is not the first time the TSA has had trouble spotting Red Team agents. A similar episode played out in 2013, when an undercover investigator with a fake bomb hidden on his body passed through a metal detector, went through a pat-down at New Jersey's Newark Liberty Airport, and was never caught.
At the time, the TSA said Red Team tests occurred weekly all over the United States and were meant to ''push the boundaries of our people, processes, and technology.''
''We know that the adversary innovates and we have to push ourselves to capacity in order to remain one step ahead,'' a TSA official wrote on the agency's blog in March 2013. ''[O]ur testers often make these covert tests as difficult as possible.''
In a 2013 hearing on Capitol Hill, then-TSA administrator John Pistole, described the Red Team as ''super terrorists,'' who know precisely which weaknesses to exploit.
''[Testers] know exactly what our protocols are. They can create and devise and conceal items that '... not even the best terrorists would be able to do,'' Pistole told lawmakers at a House hearing.
More recently, the DHS inspector general's office concluded a series of undercover tests targeting checked baggage screening at airports across the country.
That review found ''vulnerabilities'' throughout the system, attributing them to human error and technological failures, according to a three-paragraph summary of the review released in September.
In addition, the review determined that despite spending $540 million for checked baggage screening equipment and another $11 million for training since a previous review in 2009, the TSA failed to make any noticeable improvements in that time.
ABC News' David Kerley contributed to this report.
VIDEO-Poverty Porn: CBS debuts 'reality' show exploiting the financially strapped -- Society's Child -- Sott.net
Mon, 01 Jun 2015 22:52
(C) cbs
As if to prove there are new depths to be plumbed in the world of reality television (because who knew?), CBS just debutedThe Briefcase, a show which takes poverty porn, class anxiety, emotional manipulation and exploitation and packages them all neatly into a pretty despicable hour of primetime television. Kicking off each episode with the question, "What would you do with $101,000?" the show then deep-dives into a competition that asks two unwitting, financially strapped families to choose between two no-win options: being financially solvent yet appearing heartless and greedy, or drowning in debt yet having audiences recognize them as selfless and giving.It's hard to imagine a network executive didn't get the idea for this show from the "Button, Button" episode of the Twilight Zone. The Briefcase focuses on two "middle-class" families'--a questionable but highly American take on the phrase, since both are debt saddled, with one primary breadwinner, and essentially living on the edge of financial ruin. Both are told they'll be participating in a documentary about money. Instead, a producer from the show unexpectedly comes to their house with a suitcase full of cold, hard cash: $101,000 to be exact. That could be a life-changing - and in the case of families so near the financial cliff, nearly life-saving - sum of money. But this being reality TV, instead of just giving them the cash, there's a major catch.
Both families are informed that somewhere out there, there's another family "who's also in need," and are given a choice: "You can keep all of the money, you can keep some of the money, or you can give it all away." Neither family knows that the other family also has a suitcase full of cash and is debating how much, if any, they'll share. And since both families were originally told they were merely going to be the subjects of a documentary, neither of them really signed up for this exercise in televised torture.
What follows, predictably, is a gut-wrenching look at the two families being guilted this way and that over whether to choose charity or financial survival. In the first episode, the Bergins of North Carolina, a family of five'--mom, Kim; dad, Drew; and three teenage daughters'--are trying to make do on Kim's salary of $15.50 an hour, since Drew's ice cream truck business is failing. And in New Hampshire, the Bronsons'--featuring dad Dave, an Iraq war vet who lost his leg in combat'--are scraping by on the earnings of mom Cara, who works the night shift as a nurse and is pregnant with their second child.
The families are told they have to take the first $1,000 and spend it on themselves, which is basically a way of giving people who've been in dire straits for eons a fleeting taste of the kind of the financially carefree existence they'll soon have to feel bad about wanting. From there on, the show does all it can to ensure the decision over the money is as guilt-ridden and uncomfortable as possible. Each clan is, bit by bit, given information about each others' lives'--including financial details, outstanding debts and shortfall salaries'--and even allowed to tour each others' houses. If you have any doubt about the cynicism that birthed CBS's latest show, watch as mom Kim spots Dave's prosthetic leg. It induces just the level of empathy'--and guilt; always with the guilt'--you might expect, and ensures exactly the sort of anguish CBS was hoping to capture on camera.
The whole thing is, in a word, gross. We're told via voiceover at the show's outset that, "All across America, hard-working, middle-class families are feeling the impact of rising debt and shrinking paychecks." That's absolutely true, and CBS's answer to that problem is apparently to exploit those families in ways that startle, even at this stage in the reality TV game. Make no mistake: The Briefcase is a good show to watch if you want to see a television network last valued at $30 billion ask families that are near to losing everything to battle over the very thing the network has in near endless supply: money. It is a stark acting out of how the wealthiest ask those with far less to battle over scraps, to be generous in ways they would never consider, to smile for the camera through tears for our own entertainment. And since there's no such thing in this awful reality TV landscape as bad press'--and this show has gotten plenty of it'--it may likely become a hit.
Granted, this is no real-life Hunger Games, but it's an unfair position to place these families in. CBS promises that the show, with its ostensible message of sharing and caring, "will make you question what matters most." But after the spouses are done fighting, the ads are done running (when I watched online, these included commercials for things the families might find out of reach '-- such as Cadillacs and fancy new tablets '-- as well as ads from companies that helped land them in debt '-- including credit card purveyors) and all the decisions are made on how the cash will be split, you're mostly left with the knowledge that a corporate behemoth has found yet another way to profit off of poverty. It's not a new trick, but it's a particularly bold display. One I hope most of us choose to turn away from.
VIDEO-Bill Gates fears global pandemic could wipe out 33 million - AOL.com
Mon, 01 Jun 2015 22:47
May 28th 2015 4:11PM CommentsBill Gates, 59, sat down with Ezra Klein, the Editor-in-Chief at Vox, and discussed his fear for humanity.It's not a third World War or an asteroid -- it's an epidemic similar to the Spanish Flu epidemic in 1918 that killed somewhere between 30 and 50 million people across the globe.Healthcare has vastly improved since the mid 1910s, but so has transportation, making it easier for viruses to cross borders and continents.
"I rate the chance of a nuclear war within my lifetime as being fairly low," says Gates. "I rate the chance of a widespread epidemic, far worse than Ebola, in my lifetime, as well over 50 percent."
Gates estimates the number of deaths could go as high as 33 million. To put that into perspective, that's roughly the population of Canada. He says the U.S. government needs to start investing money immediately in research and medical surveillance to prevent an epidemic that he says will happen in his lifetime.
Gates isn't the only person giving warnings about a pending epidemic. According to the The Independent, researchers at Cambridge University in the U.K. say the bird flu could be as deadly as the 1918 Spanish Flu pandemic.
Number of Confirmed Bird Flu Cases by State | HealthGrove
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VIDEO-Michelle Thaller: Dancing With The Stars | The Secret Life of Scientists & Engineers - THIRTEEN - New York Public Media
Mon, 01 Jun 2015 17:34
EpisodeMichelle Thaller finds dance partners across time and space. Michelle Thaller is an astronomer at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center. She loves to study binary stars and the life cycles of the stars. In her off-hours, Michelle often puts on about 30 lbs of Elizabethan garb and performs intricate Renaissance dances.
Aired: 10/25/2012 | 0:03:00
Remarks by President Obama and King Willem-Alexander of the Netherlands After Meeting
Mon, 01 Jun 2015 23:35
The White House
Office of the Press Secretary
For Immediate Release
June 01, 2015
Oval Office
11:37 A.M. EDT
PRESIDENT OBAMA: Well, it is a great honor to welcome His and Her Majesties, Willem-Alexander and Queen Maxima. They have been wonderful friends to myself and Michelle and the girls, personally. I want to thank once and again the people of the Netherlands for the incredible hospitality they had shown us in the past, including most recently during the Nuclear Security Summit that took place in Amsterdam and The Hague.
We have 400 years of history between our two countries. In Europe, that doesn't mean a lot, but in the United States that is as old as it gets. And so the Dutch are some of our oldest and more precious allies. That continues to this day.
We've had the opportunity to discuss the shared work that we do through NATO in making sure that the transatlantic relationship stays strong. We discussed the continuing challenges in Ukraine and the importance of making sure that the Minsk agreement moves forward. And I continue to make the solemn commitment to support the Dutch in the investigation of the Malaysia Airlines tragedy, and to make sure that not only is the truth brought forward, but there's accountability for what took place.
We discussed our shared concerns in other parts of the world, including in the Middle East, where Dutch troops work alongside U.S. and other coalition members to help defeat ISIL and to stabilize Iraq.
We talked about the excellent work that the United States partnered with the Dutch when it comes to Ebola, and the work that still remains to be done around establishing the kind of health infrastructure that's going to be so important to preventing diseases in the future.
I was particularly impressed with the outstanding work that Her Majesty the Queen is doing with the United Nations around inclusive financing. One of the things that we know is that all around the world there is enormous human potential that so often is locked up because of the difficulty of accessing capital. And the creative work that Her Majesty is doing in providing micro-loans and new mechanisms for credit, again, is making an enormous difference, particularly, I should add, when it is provided equally to women, who so often are even facing greater challenges in accessing capital.
And we discussed the ongoing work that we'll be doing to build on the progress that's been made over the last several years through the Nuclear Security Summit and the importance of non-proliferation.
So whether it's in Afghanistan, whether it's in public health issues, whether it's in Europe and the need for us to maintain solidarity and uphold the principles that have been central to building a unified and peaceful Europe, the Netherlands has consistently been one of our greatest allies. And I think for His Majesty the King and Queen to have gone to Arlington and to honor not only the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, but to meet some of that Greatest Generation who helped to liberate Europe and the Netherlands and to usher in this era of peace and prosperity is extraordinarily significant.
So many of our World War II veterans during the 70-year anniversary are at the twilight of their lives, and for them to hear directly from such important people how much of a difference they made and to get that recognition is truly significant. So I'm grateful, Your Majesty, for that, and even more grateful for the continuing friendship that the Dutch people have shown the United States of America.
KING WILLEM-ALEXANDER: Well, thank you very much, Mr. President, for your warm words of welcome here. On behalf of my wife and myself, we're very thankful to be back at the White House. Great to see you again since last year at the Nuclear Security Summit.
First of all, I'd like to express my sympathy to the people in Texas and Oklahoma for their suffering in such severe weather conditions right now. The floodings are terrible. The victims and families are going through a rough time. And if we can help as the Netherlands, of course we are willing to help.
Second of all, my heartfelt condolences for Vice President Biden for a second big tragedy in his life, now losing a son while he is serving as best he can as Vice President here in the United States.
The main reason for our visit obviously was to thank the United States for what you'd done for us 70 years ago. Especially the 82nd and 101 Airborne have played a major role in liberating our country, taking away the Nazi oppression and giving us back justice and rule of law and freedom. And ever since that moment, we are grateful. And as long as the Netherlands exist, we will be grateful for the United States for giving that to us.
This morning, at Arlington, the wreath-laying ceremony, we honored those people that gave their utmost, their life, for our country. And speaking with the veterans and the Rosies was very impressive for us -- veterans that have liberated my country; the Rosies that took the place in the industry here and that kept this country running so that the men could fight on the other side of the ocean. Very, very impressive, I must say. And once again, USA, thank you very much for liberating us.
Those values that you stood for at the time and that were not available to us and we regained, we now stand shoulder by shoulder fighting ISIL -- ''shoulder by shoulder,'' meaning a small shoulder and a big shoulder. But still, we stand next to each other and we have the same values we want to defend facing ISIL.
So having said that, the next part of our visit will be also looking back at the Dutch history. First, Hudson of 1609, and then the first salutes to the American flag from the Island of Statia in November, 1776. When the Andrew Doria sailed there, the Dutch saluted the flag. And ever since, we've had a great bond with your country. Four and a half million Americans are from Dutch descent. You are the largest investor in our country; we are the third largest in your country. So this is really worthwhile to continue our relationship, and that's what we are working on these days.
We're going off to Michigan, to Holland, Michigan, to Grand Rapids, to see a lot of these descendants, and we're going to Chicago, where we hope to have a party -- your hometown, obviously. But also the origin of House -- the House of Orange is hoping to see some good music there at Millennium Park and also look at some serious topics as healthy aging, urban farming, solar, and there a lot of things that we can learn from each other.
But once again, Mr. President, thank you very much for receiving my wife and myself here. It is great to see you again. All the best of luck for the United States.
END11:46 A.M. EDT

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