779: Peak Coffee

Adam Curry & John C. Dvorak

2h 56m
December 6th, 2015
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Executive Producers: Sir Fenwick Black Knight of the NA roundtable

Associate Executive Producers: Wlodek Zieleniec, Eric Henry

Cover Artist: Nick the Rat


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BIG news about UKRAINE on Monday
Company In Which US Vice President Joe Biden's Son Is Director Prepares To Drill Shale Gas In East Ukraine | Global Research - Centre for Research on Globalization
Fri, 04 Dec 2015 00:12
Recall what we said earlier today: the proxy Ukraine war just like that in Syria preceding it, ''is all about energy.''
Recall also the following chart showing Ukraine's shale gas deposits, keeping in mind that the Dnieper-Donets basin which lies in the hotly contested eastern part of the nation and where as everyone knows by now a bloody civil war is raging, is the major oil and gas producing region of Ukraine accounting for approximately 90 per cent of Ukrainian production and according to EIA may have 42 tcf of shale gas resources technically recoverable from 197 tcf of risked shale gas in place.
Finally, recall our story from May that Joe Biden's son, Hunter, just joined the board of the largest Ukraine gas producer Burisma Holdings. From the press release:
R. Hunter Biden is also a well-known public figure. He is chairman of the Board of the World Food Programme U.S.A., together with the world's largest humanitarian organization, the United Nations World Food Programme. In this capacity he offers assistance to the poor in developing countries, fighting hunger and poverty, and helping to provide food and education to 300 million malnourished children around the world.
Company Background:
Burisma Holdings is a privately owned oil and gas company with assets in Ukraine and operating in the energy market since 2002. To date, the company holds a portfolio with permits to develop fields in the Dnieper-Donets, the Carpathian and the Azov-Kuban basins. In 2013, the daily gas production grew steadily and at year-end amounted to 11.6 thousand BOE (barrels of oil equivalent '' incl. gas, condensate and crude oil), or 1.8 million m3 of natural gas. The company sells these volumes in the domestic market through traders, as well as directly to final consumers.
Now put it all together and what happens next should be rather clear.
* * *
Still confused? It's very simple, really.
In a nutshell Ukraine (or rather its puppetmasters) has decided to let no crisis (staged or otherwise) or rather civil war, go to waste, and while the fighting rages all around, Ukrainian troopers are helping to install shale gas production equipment near the east Ukrainian town of Slavyansk, which was bombed and shelled for the three preceding months, according to local residents cited by Itar Tass. The reason for the scramble?
Under peacetime, the process was expected to take many years, during which Europe would be under the energy dictatorship of Putin. But throw in some civil war and few will notice let alone care that a process which was expected to take nearly a decade if not longer while dealing with broad popular objections to fracking, may instead be completed in months!
''Civilians protected by Ukrainian army are getting ready to install drilling rigs. More equipment is being brought in,'' they said, adding that the military are encircling the future extraction area.
The people of Slavyansk, which is located in the heart of the Yzovka shale gas field, staged numerous protest actions in the past against its development. They even wanted to call in a referendum on that subject. Environmentalists are particularly concerned with the consequences of hydrofracing, a method used for shale gas extraction, because it implies the use of extremely toxic chemical agents which can poison not only subsoil waters but also the atmosphere. Experts claim that not a single country in the world has invented a method of utilization of harmful toxic agents in the process of development of shale gas deposits.
Countries like the Czech Republic, the Netherlands and France have given up plans to develop shale gas deposits in their territories.
Not only them but also all-important Germany, which two weeks ago announcedit would halt shale-gas drilling for the next seven years over groundwater pollution concerns.
Which clearly makes Ukraine, potentially the last place with massive shale gas deposits and no drilling ban,quite valuable to those who want to develop a major source of shale gas, one which reduces Europe's reliance on Russian gas even more, yet one whose future depends on one simple question: who controls East Ukraine?
Because what better way to accelerate ''next steps'' than to start drilling for gas in the middle of the Donetsk republic as a civil war is waging in all directions, and where public mood has shifted decidedly against the local ''separatists'' in the aftermath of the MH-17 tragedy.
The punchline: who will develop the gas field in conjunction with Shell (jointly owned by the Netherlands and the UK: the two countries that loathe Putin the most in the aftermath of the MH-17 disaster) which in May 2012 announced a tender for the right to develop the Yuzovka shale gas deposit?
Burisma, Ukraine's oil and gas production holdings, also has the right to develop the shale gas fields in the Dnieper-Donetsk basin of Eastern Ukraine. The same Burisma where R. Hunter Biden, Joseph's son, was appointed a director two months ago.
Background Press Briefing by Senior Administration Officials on Vice President Joe Biden's Trip to Ukraine | whitehouse.gov
Fri, 04 Dec 2015 18:48
Via Teleconference
9:47 A.M. EST MS. BEDINGFIELD: Hi, good morning. Thanks, everybody, for taking the time to join us. Just as a reminder, this call is on background, attributable to senior administration officials. So with that, I will turn it over to my colleague to get started. SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: Hi, everybody. Thanks for being on the call with us. Look, I'm just going to give you kind of the wave tops of the trip and leave as much time for question and answer as we can. So we depart on Sunday. We'll travel all day Sunday. We arrive in Kyiv late in the evening on Sunday, and we'll overnight to start our meetings on Monday. There are basically three major meetings on Monday. One will be a roundtable with reformers, which will be kind of a group of civil society activists and some other officials and others who have been very involved in the reform. We will then have two major bilateral meetings. We'll have a long working lunch and bilateral session between the Vice President and President Poroshenko. And in the evening, the Vice President will sit down for a long bilateral with Prime Minister Yatsenyuk. My understanding is Prime Minister Yatsenyuk is traveling earlier in the day, but he'll be back later on Monday and have an opportunity to have a lengthy conversation with the Vice President in the evening on Monday. We'll then stay overnight on Monday night, and on Tuesday, the Vice President will give remarks to the Rada. He'll give an address to the Rada. The Rada is the Ukrainian legislature. At least as far as our research could turn up, we don't know if there's any other historical precedent for a foreign official giving a speech like this. So we believe this is a historic opportunity for the Vice President to really lay out our policy on Ukraine. And as many of you on the call undoubtedly know, we're now about two years past the beginning of the Maidan uprising, which really set -- the events that frame this trip. Speaking of which, let me just go over a few of basically the topline themes and messages for our visit. I think in the first instance, the Vice President aims to provide a strong signal of our support for Ukraine in the face of Russia's continued military intervention and support for separatism in the Donbass. While violence has decreased somewhat in recent months, compared to what it's been like over the last couple of years, it's still fairly violent along the line of contact. And the separatists and their Russian backers are not -- the obligation under the Minks Agreements to calm that conflict down. And we can go into that in more detail if you're interested. The Vice President will also underscore that we categorically opposed and continue to oppose Russia's attempted annexation of Crimea. The Vice President will discuss what additional economic, governance, and rule of law reforms are necessary with Ukraine -- the Prime Minister and the President. He'll discuss Ukraine's economic and humanitarian needs. This is something that we're very focused on, especially as we head into the winter, where some Ukrainians will be increasingly vulnerable to bad weather. The Vice President will emphasize the need to implement recently passed anti-corruption reforms. Ukraine has made significant strides in this regard, but there is a long history of corruption and of basically Ukraine oligarchs getting their way in the Ukrainian system. And while the Ukrainians have made good strides, there is still much more that needs to be done. So we'll -- undoubtedly that will be a major focus of conversation. The Vice President will discuss more broadly the implementation of the Minsk Agreements, which are meant to de-escalate hostilities between the Russian-backed separatists and the Ukrainian government. And in particular, the Vice President will emphasize the need for Russia and the separatists to live up to their obligations under the Minsk Agreements where they have fallen short. The Vice President will discuss the broader diplomatic strategy to keep sanctions on Russia until Minsk is fully implemented, including the conversations we continue to have with our European allies on that support. And last but not least, the Vice President will discuss continued U.S.-led training efforts to train the Ukrainian armed forces and our overall security assistance to Ukraine to make sure that they can continue to defend themselves in the face of aggression in the east. So with that kind of overview of the trip, maybe I'll turn it over to you all. Q Hi, I'm a Russian reporter here in Washington, D.C. Thank you for doing the call, sir. And my question is about the Ukrainian debt to Russia. As you certainly know the Russians have offered a solution that requires an American or a European or an IMF guarantee of repayment in installments. So how do you view that? Does it look feasible to you? If not, why not? Thank you. SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: So this is a bilateral matter between Russia and Ukraine. And we have very much supported the Ukrainian debt restructuring agreement that was reached through five months of negotiations by Finance Minister Natalie Jaresko. We think that is a very successful outcome for Ukraine, which will delay its debt burden and allow it to continue with its IMF program. But with regards to the Russian bond, that is a matter for Ukraine and Russia to work out bilaterally. Q So, to make sure, the U.S. does not contemplate giving any guarantees to support the payment, and would not encourage a private bank to do the same? SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: I think I'm going to leave my comments to let them stand as they are. This is a bilateral issue for Russia and Ukraine. Q Hey, I wanted you to talk a little bit more -- I missed the very top of the call, so if you addressed this, I have to apologize. But if we could talk a little bit more about how this fits in with what's going on with Syria. This strategy of isolating Putin and Russia over Ukraine is obviously complicated by this. President Obama avoided meeting with Putin for more than a year because of Ukraine, and now he's met with him three times in the last couple months. How do we square this circle? And what's the message to Poroshenko and Yatsenyuk going to be about any understandable concerns they might have about their situation being complicated because of the Syria situation? SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: It's a good question. Look, I think over the last several years, frankly, as our relationship with Russia has gone through very different phases, one thing has remained constant, which is we're going to stick up for our national interests. And in this context, we've continued to cooperate or have discussions with the Russians in areas where our two countries have convergent interests. And so we worked very closely with Moscow in pursuing the Iran nuclear agreement, for example. Before that agreement, we coordinated with Moscow on the Syrian chemical weapons agreement. Before that, we obviously had cooperation with them on Afghanistan -- resupply to Afghanistan; on the New START agreement, et cetera. So I think what we've shown is that we're open to cooperating with the Russians where their behavior comports with international norms and where their interests converge with ours. The situation in Syria is obviously extraordinarily complex and has increased in complexity as a consequence of the Russian intervention. I think that we are not cooperating with the Russians on Syria so much as continue to have a conversation about whether cooperation on a path forward, especially on a political transition, is even possible. But one of the things we've made clear to the Russians from the get-go, and we've made this equally clear to all of our friends in Europe and to the Ukrainians, is that our dialogue with Russia on Syria and Assad is completely compartmented from the Ukraine experience. Nothing in our conversations with Syria impact our assessment that Russia continues to be the aggressor in Ukraine; that they continue to violate their obligations under the Minsk Agreement; that they continue to encourage the separatists, or at least not prevent the separatists from also violating their obligations under the Minsk Agreement. And so, actually, one of the major goals of the trip is to remind the Ukrainian people and the world, frankly, that even as so much of the international attention has shifted towards Russia's involvement with Syria, and our interactions with Russia as it relates to Syria, that we, the United States, haven't forgotten about Ukraine; that Ukraine remains central to our national interests; and that the Vice President and President continue to believe that progress in Ukraine is essential for the ultimate aspiration we have for Europe of being whole, at peace, and free. So I think that's going to be a major theme of the trip -- that nothing that's going on in the Middle East has changed one iota of our commitment to the Ukrainian people and to their security. Q Hi, just kind of a follow-up to Peter's question. I was wondering if you think the events in Syria have made the Europeans slightly squishy with regards to linkage between Minsk and lifting sanctions. And also I was wondering if you think that that linkage between Minsk and the sanctions risks sending a message to Moscow that Crimea -- the annexation of Crimea is okay? SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIALS: Well, first of all, we've been very clear that under no circumstances is the annexation of Crimea okay. We've been consistent on that from the get-go. As it relates to the issue of -- and by the way, I should say there are certain sanctions that are attached specifically to Crimea that would not come off unless Russia ends its annexation of Crimea. So they're not linked in the sense that once Minsk gets complied with, every single sanction that's been put on Russia would automatically fall away. We've been clear with the Russians on that and clear with the Europeans. As it relates to the first part of your question, which is whether the Russian actions in Syria have at all kind of put a wedge or undermined the unity of the transatlantic community as it relates to sanctions, the answer is no -- although I suspect that Putin hoped that they would. In other words, I think part of our assessment is that Putin intervened in Syria for a whole host of reasons but among them was to increase Russia's leverage over a conflict that obviously has enormous implications for Europe, given the refugee issues, given the terrorism concern, et cetera. So it's conceivable that the Kremlin believes that in intervening in Syria they actually could generate chits that they could trade off between Syria and Ukraine -- the Europeans. But if that was the goal, there's no evidence that it's having any of that effect. The President and the Vice President have met repeatedly with top heads of state in Europe, whether it be Hollande or Merkel or, most recently, in Rome, the Vice President sat down with the Italian Prime Minister, Renzi. And in all of these conversations, our European allies who are so central to the sanctions have made clear that until Russia complies with its obligations under Minsk and gets the separatists to do the same, that these sanctions are not going to come off. SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIALS: Well, I'd just add to that that we have this in writing, as well. The last time that EU foreign ministers met, the Foreign Affairs Council's met on Ukraine, they specifically and explicitly stated that sanctions will be tied to full-on implementation of the Minsk Agreement. So I think that our European allies and partners are in the same place on this that we are, and we've got that -- as I said -- explicitly in writing, so we're in a good place. Q Two questions. There was some discussion about the recent National Defense Authorization Act, which earmarked $300 million for aid to Ukraine and $50 million for lethal weaponry and the like. The White House has made clear that there is still no change, that lethal weaponry is not on the cards, is not in the offing. So I'm wondering, is that the message that the Vice President will be giving to President Poroshenko and others? And the second question concerns the somewhat blunt statement by the U.S. ambassador in September about the Prosecutor General's Office and their ability or unwillingness to reform their anti-corruption bureau. And how hard is the Vice President going to be I guess hammering his Ukrainian colleagues on this matter? Are there concerns that the Prosecutor General's Office or the President's Office are not up to the task to really putting through bona fide anti-corruption statutes and reforms? SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: Well, thanks for that. Let me take those questions in reverse order and then ask my colleague to chime in a little bit on the NDAA thing. So as it relates to the Prosecutor General's Office, I think the Vice President's message will be that it's not enough to set up this special prosecutor for fighting corruption -- that the Office of the Prosecutor General itself is in desperate need of reform. And so he has made this very clear to President Poroshenko in previous conversations and -- reiterate that during this trip. So I think we are largely in line with Ambassador Pyatt's sense that much more needs to be done to reform the Prosecutor General's Office so that it actually enables anti-corruption efforts as opposed to standing in the way of those efforts. So that will be I think something that is talked about. As it relates to security assistance, let me just remind people on the call that separate from the NDAA, we have provided $450 million in direct assistance to the Ukrainians. More than half of that has been security assistance. And body armor, uniforms, Humvees and other vehicles, communication equipment, and also a great deal of training of the Ukrainian national guard and other forces in Ukraine -- that continues. So I don't think anybody should have the misimpression that we haven't provided substantial amounts of security assistance for Ukraine. We've also taken other actions alongside NATO in and around Ukraine to signal to Moscow that their aggression in the east is not something that will bully us away from our relationship with Ukraine or bully NATO and our partners elsewhere in Europe. As it relates specifically to the NDAA earmarks, maybe I can ask my colleague to chime in a little bit -- on lethal side of this. SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: Yes, well, as my colleague mentioned, we provided over $265 million in security assistance to Ukraine -- that has included everything from counter-artillery radars to night-vision goggles to Humvees, both armored and unarmored, all sorts of equipment. I don't know how we'll end up spending the that it is in the NDAA. That's going to be a decision that will be made in the future. But our view of the conflict overall has been that this is not one that will be solved militarily on the ground, and therefore we've pursued a diplomatic solution to the Minsk process. And our pressure on Russia has primarily been in the form of economic sanctions. That is what we see as the most fruitful avenue for finding a resolution to the conflict. Now, that said, obviously we recognize Ukraine's need and our need, frankly, to help Ukraine defend itself against aggression in the Donbass. And that's why we have provided the security assistance that we have. And as my colleague mentioned, we've engaged in a very robust training program for the Ukrainian national guard, which has now transitioned into a training program for Ukraine's conventional armed forces, as well as their special forces. So we have taken things to a new level in terms of our security pursuits. And we'll have to take a good look at how we spend the $300 million that has been authorized in the NDAA to provide comprehensive security assistance, but also defense reform for the Ukrainian armed forces, which, unfortunately, over the last two and a half decades have really been hollowed out through mismanagement and a lack of appropriate defense investments. SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: I think this last point is actually quite important for people to understand, which is that -- obviously, good people can disagree about any particular piece of equipment or the merits of it, but frankly, debating whether a particular piece of equipment that may or may not have been provided to Ukraine would be a game-changer in the current environment, I think that's a hard argument to make. I think what would make -- be a game-changer is a fundamental reform of Ukraine's security sector and improving the institutional quality and capabilities of their armed forces, which is something that we're aiming at. Because frankly, that's what's going to allow Ukraine, over time, to resist the type of coercion Moscow has tried to impose upon it over the last two years. Q Hi. Quickly, I just wanted to clear up what you were saying is unprecedented about his speech to the legislature. Is that unprecedented from a U.S. figurehead, from a Vice President? I just wondered if you could clear that up. And then second, if you could talk about just the kind of softer side, the relationship between the Vice President and Poroshenko. That is that a lot of the calls that are coming from the White House are coming from the Vice President rather than the President and it seems that they've built kind of rapport through this. And I wondered why Biden is used rather than President Obama in a lot of these talks? SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: Sure. Look, our research on this has not shown up any previous examples of a head of state addressing the Rada, certainly not a U.S. President or a Vice President. So that's -- when I said unprecedented, that was my -- I can't rule out the possibility that our Google search was incomplete, but we don't have any evidence that there's been a certainly a leader of the Vice President's stature -- the Rada. And I think that this is really an opportunity, this speech on Tuesday, is really an opportunity for the Vice President to share some of his experiences. Remember, he spent more than three decades -- almost four decades -- in the U.S. Senate, which he sees as the best example of a legislature on planet Earth, and he's got a lot of his own experiences he wants to share with the Rada. And I think he will make the argument that even though he's on the phone all the time with President Poroshenko and with Prime Minister Yatsenyuk, that the legislators in the Rada also have a special obligation to keep Ukraine moving forward as it relates to their (inaudible). We're really looking forward to that speech, I think it's going to be great. As it relates to the Vice President's personal relationship with both President Poroshenko and Prime Minister Yatsenyuk, I think a couple things are worth getting (inaudible). First, President Obama has also spoken to President Poroshenko on numerous occasions, both on the phone and in person. So we really -- this is a team effort. But this is one of those areas -- Ukraine -- where the President of the United States has asked the Vice President to play an especially prominent role. It's not the only place where that's the case. Iraq is another example of that, Central America -- there are a number of other instances. But from the very beginning of the Maidan uprising and its aftermath, as Ukraine struggled to form a new government and move forward on some very, very difficult reform efforts in the context of crippling economic challenges and military aggressions in the east, the President basically wanted his go-to guy, the Vice President, to keep tabs on this from the very beginning. And the Vice President, for those of you who heard him speak before, for the Vice President, he really believes all politics, especially in international affairs, is personal. And so when he is tasked by the President to focus on an area, he goes out of way to make sure that he has a close personal relationship with the leaders involved. And I think this goes back to the Vice President's experience in the Senate and just the kind of person he is. So he has invested a lot in his relationships with both President Poroshenko and Prime Minister Yatsenyuk. And I think it's paid dividends in the sense that there is established open lines of communication, a degree of candor and trust that allows him to have conversations with them where there's no illusions about where we stand, what our expectations are and also understanding that the other side can come to us when they need help. SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: And I would just add to that, the Vice President has a long history in Ukraine. One of his first foreign trips, in fact, as Vice President was to Ukraine. And even before the Maidan revolution of Dignity, the Vice President had over a dozen phone calls with former President Yanukovych trying to get him to play a more inclusive role with civil society and walk back from some of the violent actions that unfortunately transpired on Maidan. So he was heavily engaged in trying to work with Yanukovych, to get Ukraine to play a role where it didn't have to choose necessarily between Russia and the European Union, but could satisfy the will of the Ukrainian people. So he has a long history in this region. And then, of course, after Yamukovych fled, he knew a lot of players in Ukraine, and so was very well poised to continue his relationships with the Prime Minister and President Poroshenko after his inauguration. SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: And just for the record books, this will be the Vice President's fourth trip to Ukraine. SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: Fifth, fifth in the administration. SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: But fourth since the Maidan revolution. Q Hi, guys. Thank you for doing the call. I was hoping that you could just take us back a little bit more to the planning of the visit. Can you talk about when the meeting was scheduled and kind of why? Did it have anything to do with a desire to assure Ukraine that it's not a chit in the Syria puzzle? Or is the visit completely independent of Syria stuff and was just sort of like planned six months ago? And I'm wondering should we expect an announcement of any specific new U.S. commitment? And can you walk us through the rest of the itinerary? So Biden is going to do the meeting with the civil society, the meeting with the President, the meeting with the Prime Minister, the speech, and then is that it, and he leaves? And then I got one more. Sorry. I know you addressed the U.S. position on the $3 billion debt, but I still don't really understand it other than the fact that it's a bilateral issue. Does the U.S. think that Ukraine should have to pay this money? And is the U.S. privately discussing helping back Ukraine? SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: So just in terms of the schedule, he will also have a chance to meet with the Mayor of Kyiv, Klitschko, toward the end of the visit on Tuesday, and then he gets back on the plane and comes home. So it's a very short out-and-back trip. As it relates to the timing, frankly, part of this was what fits for the Vice President's schedule. He had a very busy set of domestic commitments in the fall and we weren't traveling much internationally. In fact, we haven't traveled until last week when the Vice President was in the Balkans and Croatia and then in Rome. We hadn't been on the road in six or eight months. And so we're getting back on the international -- circuit I guess. And so the timing just made sense from a scheduling perspective. But I also think substantively we wanted -- I think it was important for us to be on the back end of local elections in Ukraine, which had timing implications. And I do think that -- while I don't think it drove the timing of the trip per se, it is a good time to do the trip because of the Syria issue; that -- the world, there was so much attention focused on Russia's activities in Syria that we haven't forgotten about Russia's activities in Ukraine and the Ukrainian people. So I don't think that was the driving factor on the particular timing -- that had more to do with the Vice President's schedule. But it was I think it's a bonus of the trip. As it relates to whether we're going to announce any more assistance, I'm not going to get ahead of our announcements. But I think there will the press statements on Monday, and then the speech on Tuesday. So stay tuned for that. And frankly, as it relates to the $3 billion debt issue, I'll let my colleague's comments from earlier stand unless he wants to add. SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: Yes, I mean the only other thing I would say on the $3 billion debt from Russia is that Russia has apparently made some proposals via the media. Our understanding is that the Ukrainian government has not received any concrete proposals from the Russian side. And so until they do, it is hard to say what the Ukrainian government's reaction would be, or how they should adjust to a Russian proposal in this area. So this is something -- again, as I said, this is bilateral between Ukraine and Russia. But so far everything that we've seen has been floated via the press. And there has been no specific proposal put out, so this is for them to work out. MS. BEDINGFIELD: Thanks, everyone. We appreciate you taking the time to dial in. END 10:18 A.M. EST
More Coming Out on ISIS Kingpin, Bilal Erdogan | Veterans Today
Fri, 04 Dec 2015 19:46
TEHRAN (FNA) '' A female Iranian legislator in an open letter to the Turkish President's wife, Emine Erdogan, voiced regret over the fist Lady's silence on her son's close ties with leader of the ISIL terrorist group.
''I was taken aback after seeing your son's photo alongside the ISIL ringleaders, and your silence,'' Laleh Eftekhari said in her letter on Wednesday.
She reminded Emine of ISIL's crimes, including beheading of innocent people, killing children, using women as sex slaves and distorting Islam's face, and said, ''My sister! We are both mothers and this silence and ignorance is unlikely from a mother.''
Bilal Erdogan came under the spotlight after his photos with the leaders of ISIL surfaced in the world media. He has extensive ties and runs transactions with ISIL barbars. Bilal owns several maritime companies. He has allegedly signed contracts with European operating companies to carry Iraq's stolen oil to different Asian countries.
The Turkish government buys Iraq's plundered oil which is being produced from the country's oil wells seized by ISIL. Bilal Erdogan's maritime companies own special wharfs in Beirut and Ceyhan ports that are transporting ISIL' smuggled crude oil in Japan-bound oil tankers.
Senior member of Turkish Republican People's Party (CHP) Aran Erdam disclosed on Wednesday that President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his relatives have purchased oil from the ISIL terrorist group.
''The evidence shows that the trucks that were bombed by the Russian planes last month were carrying oil cargos destined for Turkey via Iraq from Northern Syria,'' Erdam said.
He noted that over 120 oil tankers that were destroyed in the Russian airstrikes belonged to the Turkish Bayrak Company owned by Erdogan's son-in-law who is also Turkey's energy minister, Berat Al-Bayrak. He noted that Bayrak Company has 500 oil tankers.
Turkish Energy Expert Necdet Pamir said that Turkey's official oil import has decreased by $1 million which itself is a proof to Erdogan government's clandestine deal with the ISIL.
Pamir said that the deal between Turkey and the ISIL dates back to summer 2012 when the Takfiri terrorists took control of the city of Raqqa. A former Turkish deputy foreign minister also confirmed Erdogan government's purchase of oil from Turkey.
''Turkish borders are open to the ISIL and other terrorists to commute between Syria and Turkey,'' Farouq Loqoqlou said.
President Erdogan has dramatically vowed to leave office if any proof is provided that Ankara has been buying oil from the terrorist group Daesh (ISIL).
Russia Opens Second Much Larger Air Facility in Syria - Veterans Today
Fri, 04 Dec 2015 19:46
TEHRAN (FNA) '' Russia has plans to open its second military base in Syria, media reports said. The Kuwaiti newspaper al-Rai reported that Russia is preparing to deploy a second military base in Syria. A Russian Air Force group as well as relief-and-rescue and monitoring units will be deployed in Shairat airbase in Homs. The number of Russian aircraft based in Syria may then rise up to 100.
''Shairat base has 45 reinforced aircraft hangars protecting jets from shelling,'' reported the Arabic-language newspaper.
According to the Kuwaiti daily, the airbase has a 3-km primary runway capable of accommodating aircraft of any type, and a reserve runway whose preparation is nearing completion.
The Arab paper believes that the operation of Shairat airbase under the Russians would mean an increase in the number of Russia's air fleet deployed in Syria up to 100 aircraft and more. Additional Russian troops to secure and maintain the base will be deployed in the region as well.
A source in the Russian defense ministry said Shairat base is essential for further operations in the Southern and Eastern parts of Syria.
''To carry forward attack in Palmyra and further to the East, in Deir-ezzur, the Hmeimim base is quite far away, specially for operations of attack aircraft and helicopters''. According to him, the Russian Air Force previously used Shairat airport as a staging airfield.
Earlier reports also said that Russian President Vladimir Putin is set to boost Russia's mission to wipe out the depraved ISIL terror group by sending more warplanes to Syria, as the Russian air force is preparing to launch a second air base in the war-ravaged country.
Putin will also send more troops to the war-torn country '' two months after Russia launched a barrage of airstrikes against the ISIL targets, the Express reported.
Moscow is expected to open a second airbase soon to accommodate the new jets and troops intent on destroying the militants. The al-Shairat air base '' near the central city of Homs '' is already home to several Russian attack helicopters and a team of around 60 soldiers.
Officials reportedly brought new equipment to the hub '' which boasts around 45 plane hangars '' last month to prepare for its opening. Each hangar is ''fortified in a way that prevents any damage if it is shelled or targeted'', according to a military insider.
''It also has a main runway and a three-kilometer backup runway that engineering teams are working to prepare,'' he added.
Russian air sorties have been conducted from the Hmeimim air base since the end of September, when the Syrian government urged him to intervene. A force of around 50 aircraft are thought to be deployed at the facility '' near the Bassel Al-Assad International Airport in Latakia, Syria's main port.
Islamic State Spreads Flesh-Eating Disease with Corpses
Fri, 04 Dec 2015 14:17
''As a result of abominable acts by ISIS that included the killing of innocent people and dumping their corpses in streets, this is the leading factor behind the rapid spread of Leishmanisis disease,'' said the Red Crescent's Dilqash Isa.
Another Kurd deployed in Syria claimed the disease was unknown before the rise of ISIS, and specifically cited the bloody fields of Tal Hamis, Hon, and Qosa as sources of the outbreak.
''The first case of the disease, caused by protozoan parasites and usually carried by flies, was reported in September 2013,'' writes Rudaw. ''By mid- 2014, 500 people had been affected, according to activists reporting on Syria.''
More precisely, the Centers for Disease Control says leishmanisis is spread by the bite of phlebotomine sand flies, which are only a third the size of a typical mosquito. ''The most common forms are cutaneous leishmaniasis, which causes skin sores, and visceral leishmaniasis, which affects several internal organs (usually spleen, liver, and bone marrow),'' adds the CDC.
Advanced cases of visceral leishmaniasis are typically fatal, although fortunately the cutaneous variety is more common in Syria. Unfortunately, survivors are often left with permanent scars.
Health experts have been aware of a dramatic increase in leishmaniasis in Syria for some time. An April 2013 report from Voice of America noted that it has even acquired a local nickname, ''Aleppo Button Disease,'' so-called because of its distinctive sores. This report noted that the degradation of health services, insect spraying, and hygiene due to the Syrian civil war made the disease dangerous, as cutaneous cases could spread to cause problems with the spleen and liver, particularly in malnourished children who have weak immune systems.
In October 2014, the CDC reported an outbreak of cutaneous leishmaniasis among Syrian refugees in Lebanon. More recent reports have noted outbreaks among the residents of Syrian cities besieged by ISIS, and among Syrian Army forces fighting near Palmyra. A source within the Syrian Army told ARA News the disease was spreading rapidly enough to threaten unit cohesion.
Moeder in tranen om dochter Isis: 'Ik durfde haar naam niet te roepen' - RTL Nieuws
Sun, 06 Dec 2015 15:44
Ruim 2500 meisjes in Nederland heten Isis, een naam die vanwege associaties met de terreurbeweging IS een negatieve bijklank heeft gekregen. Dorinda Jansen veranderde om die reden de naam van haar dochter Isis naar Isabella. Ook al werd Isis nooit met haar naam gepest.
De druppel die de emmer deed overlopen voor moeder Dorinda, kwam twee weken geleden. "Toen besloot Facebook opeens om alle meisjes met de naam Isis van Facebook af te gooien." Zonder aankondiging werd je verwijderd, vertelt ze in RTL Late Night.
"Je mocht daarna wel weer op Facebook als je je kon legitimeren." Dat vond Dorinda erg ver gaan. "En net op dat moment gebeurden de aanslagen in Parijs." Toen besloten de ouders van Isis haar naam te veranderen."
'Zelf veel moeite mee'De populariteit van de meisjesnaam Isis, die in de jaren na 2000 nog een enorme vlucht nam, is sinds de opkomst van terreurbeweging IS flink gedaald. Toch werd Isis eigenlijk nooit op haar naam aangesproken. "Helemaal niet. En toen we vertelden dat we de naam gingen veranderen, zeiden sommige mensen dat ze nooit die link hadden gelegd. Maar ik had er zelf heel veel moeite mee."
Ze blikt terug op een moment in een pretpark. Met tranen in haar ogen vertelt Dorinda: "Ik raakte m'n dochter daar kwijt. Het duurde maar twee minuten, maar ik ging rennen en was haar naam aan het roepen: Isis, Isis. En toen zei mijn schoonmoeder achteraf: 'Dat moet je niet meer doen'. Mensen kijken om, ze denken dat er is iets aan de hand is. Je voelt ze kijken."
Bron: Meertens Instituut
Dorinda en haar man lieten Isis zelf mee kiezen welke nieuwe naam ze wilde. "Wij dachten aan Iris, Isa, Liza. Maar dat wilde ze niet. Of anders Eliza, haar tweede naam, maar dat wilde ze ook niet. Mijn man stelde Bella voor, maar daarbij moet ik zo aan een koe denken. Sorry voor alle mensen die Bella heten! Maar zo kwamen wij uit op Isabella. En onze dochter was ook gelijk helemaal enthousiast."
Nieuw geboortekaartjeZe lieten een nieuw geboortekaartje maken, met dan met Isabella erop, in plaats van Isis. "Ik wilde dat per se, voor in het lijstje en voor later. Ik ben zo opgelucht dat ze nu Isabella heet en dat ik haar gewoon kan roepen op straat."
De naamsverandering was best lastig om te doen. "Het was zeker niet makkelijk. Je moet het via de rechtbank laten wijzigen, dat is wel een heel proces. Maar ik wil het wel graag in haar paspoort hebben, dan moet het via de officile weg. Isabella's naam is nu nog niet officieel. Ik hoop dat ze het goedkeuren; de rechter beslist uiteindelijk."
Zelf gebruiken ze de nieuwe naam nu wel al. Het was even wennen. "Maar ik vergis me nu inmiddels niet meer!"
Bekijk het interview met moeder Dorinda in RTL Late Night:
Islamic State adds smartphone app to its communications arsenal - CSMonitor.com
Fri, 04 Dec 2015 16:00
An independent group monitoring the Islamic State online says it discovered the militant group is distributing its own mobile app, signaling a shift in how the jihadists communicate.
By Jack Detsch, Staff writer / December 3, 2015
In addition to using Facebook, Twitter, and messaging apps such as Telegram, Islamic State is also distributing custom communications software to spread its message of radical Islam.
The militants have developed a smartphone app designed to run on Android phones that is available to download in private channels on Telegram, an encrypted smartphone chat program. According to security experts tracking the group, the app appears to be a new effort from Islamic State (IS) to bypass often less secure social media platforms that are easily targeted and attacked by governments and independent groups working to blunt the group's digital presence.
"They want to create a broadcast capability that is more secure than just leveraging Twitter and Facebook," says Michael Smith II, chief operating officer at Kronos Advisory, a defense consulting firm. ''IS has always been looking for a way to provide easy access to all of the material.''
Mr. Smith says the app was discovered by Ghost Security Group, an independent collective that gathers information about IS online activities. Smith says that he works as a liaison between Ghost Security and American counterterrorism officials.
After the attacks in France last month, new reports began surfacing about the tools and technologies that IS militants favor to communicate with each other as well as to lure recruits to the front in Syria and Iraq. The New York Times reported that militants used encryption technologies in the lead-up to the coordinated Paris strikes. Initial reports of IS encryption use led lawmakers in the US and abroad to lash out at technology companies that enable such secret communications. Some tech firms also took steps to make it more difficult for terrorist groups to use their tools for communication.
The smartphone app is a sign that IS is developing more capacity to spread information through its own channels. The group's social media accounts and video messages are regularly shut down on platforms such as Twitter and YouTube.
"Increasingly what you will see is the focus on developing means to control the distribution of their materials on a global scale," says Smith.
For the most part, however, IS has relied on many of the most popular social media tools that are easily available to anyone and often protected with little or no security at all. "They're using the same platforms that any Millennial would use," says Farah Pandith, a fellow at the Harvard Kennedy School and the State Department's former Special Representative for Muslim communities.
In fact, an IS technology guide authenticated by intelligence experts last month ranks the security of more than 30 chat apps that could be in use by the group.
But while IS may use many popular apps to communicate or spread its message, it's unlikely that the group uses a single platform or communications technique when it comes to planning attacks, says Fred Cate, a cybersecurity expert and professor at Indiana University.
"One of the keys, if you were thinking like a terrorist, is to separate your communications for outreach purposes in the most significant ways possible from your communications for operational purposes," Mr. Cate says. ''Ideally [you're] not even using the same devices, the same servers, the same platforms, the same anything."
What's more, it's possible the militants are avoiding using any kind of technology when it comes to planning attacks such as the one in Paris, says Rita Katz, director of the Search for International Terrorist Entities Intelligence Group, a private intelligence firm in Washington.
"Nowadays when [terrorists] need to plan an attack like [Paris], I doubt that they would use Telegram," Ms. Katz says. ''Apps are not needed because you are working with people in the same physical location. That gives you a huge advantage because communications are not being intercepted.''
Even though IS may be developing its own communications technology, the group gains a significant advantage by utilizing the scale and ease of use that comes with consumer apps and social media sites, say experts.
"It's actually to their advantage to use commercial technology," says Ben FitzGerald, a senior fellow at the Center for a New American Security, a Washington think tank. "You can't shut down something like WhatsApp."
IS will probably mix up its communication methods '' encrypted or not '' as intelligence agencies uncover channels the group uses, says Mr. FitzGerald. "They're going to hide their operational communications," he said. "So it's better to try and push that into places that are easiest to monitor."
Over the past few years, IS has used the public Web to its advantage and experts doubt the militants will back away from that communications strategy.
"IS has released more than 20 videos where someone is driving a car, and another man is shooting from a window and killing people. I mean, that's "Grand Theft Auto,' " says Javier Lesaca, a visiting researcher at George Washington University's School of Media and Public Affairs. "They know that audiences, when they see that video, it's going to be familiar to them."
Mr. Lesaca has analyzed more than 1,000 IS audio, visual, and social media campaigns that have been produced by affiliate media groups and produced in studios across the Middle East, Africa, and Russian. He doubts that IS will be backing away from the strategy of producing and publicizing slick marketing videos anytime soon.
"Thirty-eight percent of IS's media shows how they win battles in the field," Lesaca says. "So some of those videos, I don't know if they're real battles or if they're being defeated in those battles, but the reaction in public opinion is that they're always winning."
Fri, 04 Dec 2015 16:06
Our MissionOur TeamMediaHelp UsOur mission is to eliminate the online presence of Islamic extremist groups such as Islamic State (IS), Al-Qaeda, Al-Nusra, Boko Haram and Al-Shabaab in an effort to stymie their recruitment and limit their ability to organize international terrorist efforts.
This site provides a means for people to report known islamic extremist content including websites, blogs, videos and social media accounts. Once verified by our Intel team, our operations teams set to work on removing the content.
Removing content involves both official channels, reporting the content to the site hosts and requesting it be removed, and the employment of digital weapons to forcibly remove content where official channels fail.
Only includes members prepared to publish their ID on this site
Ghost Security strive to make all it's data public. This means that this site contains all of the domains, servers and URLs that currently host sites that we would consider valid targets. If you want to help us please feel free to take any of the sites displayed on this site and use whatever expertise you have to help us.
Help might include naming and shaming site owners on social media, gathering intel about the sites and site owners and sending it to GhostSec members or reporting sites to their hosts if they contain illegal content so that their host bans them. Any and all actions to remove these sites, even temporarily are helpful and welcome please tag our #GhostSec hashtag on any successful removal of content.
Join GhostSecPeople do not join GhostSec by asking, they join GhostSec by being recognised and invited. If you want to be recognised, our suggestion would be providing the help described above and messaging us the results using the hashtag #GhostSec.
Common SitesUncommon SitesServersMany of the reports that we get are to content on commonly used websites such as Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr and others. Here is a breakdown of the sites reported for each:-
1056 reports of Facebook.com content850 reports of JustPaste.it content549 reports of Archive.org content484 reports of Wordpress.com content369 reports of YouTube.com content359 reports of Twitter.com content260 reports of Google.com content234 reports of Dump.to content187 reports of Tumblr.com content162 reports of SendVid.com content157 reports of Blogspot.com content71 reports of Soundcloud.com content61 reports of Instagram.com content50 reports of Ask.fm content38 reports of DailyMotion.com content22 reports of Ghostbin.com content16 reports of Vimeo.com contentUncommon sites are sites that have been reported to us that are taken very seriously as they are sometimes entire sites dedicated to the extremist cause and sites that could/should be targeted and brought down from the web.
101 reports of isdarat.tv content84 reports of telegram.me content67 reports of isdratetp4donyfy.onion.link content46 reports of forum.klix.ba content39 reports of shortwiki.org content38 reports of gulfup.com content36 reports of pastebin.com content31 reports of mnbr.info content31 reports of isdarat.xyz content31 reports of azzammedia.net content26 reports of sfha.li content23 reports of islamic-dw.com content22 reports of shamikh1.info content21 reports of streamable.com content21 reports of khilafah-archives.com content19 reports of my.mail.ru content19 reports of makalem.me content18 reports of muslims-news.net content17 reports of arrahmah.com contentIn addition to OpISIS the GhostSec team lend their experience and skills to other ops to help them with their efforts. These ops include:-
'Eye in the Sky' Trailer: Helen Mirren, Aaron Paul Work to Catch Terrorists - Hollywood Reporter
Fri, 04 Dec 2015 16:19
'Eye in the Sky'
Courtesy of Bleecker Street Media
by Mia Galuppo
12/3/2015 11:08am PST
The first trailer for the political thriller Eye in the Sky focuses on the moral quandaries of modern warfare.
In the spot, Helen Mirren and Aaron Paul are working together to spy on suspected terrorists. When it is discovered that a house is filled with would-be suicide bombers, a battle of principles ensues over whether they should target the house without warning.
Things get even more complicated when a little girl is discovered on the premises.
Alan Rickman and Captain Phillips' Barkhad Abdi also are seen in the trailer, doing their part to stop an attack.
Eye in the Sky opens in theaters on March 11.
Watch the trailer in the player below.
ISIS in America - The Atlantic
Fri, 04 Dec 2015 20:52
Authorities say ISIS has made it to America.
Multiple news organizations reported Friday morning that Tashfeen Malik, one of the two shooters in Wednesday's massacre in San Bernardino, California, pledged allegiance to Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the leader of ISIS, on Facebook in the midst of the attack.
Assuming the report holds true, it likely answers one central question about what motivated the attackers, Malik and her husband Syed Rizwan Farook: an allegiance to the fanatical Islamist group. But it raises many more questions. What does it mean for ISIS to take action in the United States? Is this different from other lone-wolf-style attacks in the United States? Who counts as part of ISIS? Did the couple have any material ties or instructions to the self-proclaimed Islamic State? And can attacks like this ever be stopped?
While the investigation is still in its early stages, officials said they didn't think that any ISIS leaders had instructed Farook and Malik to conduct the massacre, which killed 14. ''At this point we believe they were more self-radicalized and inspired by the group than actually told to do the shooting,'' a federal law-enforcement official told The New York Times.
Related StoryWhy the FBI Isn't Calling San Bernardino 'Terrorism'
That means this attack is different in kind from the Paris attacks. In that case, officials believe the killings were carefully orchestrated by Abdelhamid Abaaoud, a Belgian who had traveled to and from Syria at least twice, rising from foot soldier to leader in ISIS's ranks. Even if Abaaoud's planning was independent, he was in contact with leaders and seems to have returned to Europe with an eye toward conducting attacks there.
If Malik and Farook were acting on their own accord, it would perhaps provide some reassurance that American counterterrorism hadn't missed communication that could have foretold the attack. The bleak side of that is that it's very difficult to detect self-radicalizing individuals'--even ones, like Malik and Farook, who had stockpiled thousands of rounds of ammunition.
As ISIS has lost physical ground in Iraq and seen its cities pounded by airstrikes, it has shifted its tactics away from controlling territory'--that is, the actual work of being a state'--and begun calling on sympathizers to launch attacks in Western countries. San Bernardino fits into that plea.
But if ISIS commanders weren't involved in the planning, how is the San Bernardino attack different from other lone-wolf attacks in the United States conducted by people who professed fidelity to violent jihadism, even if they didn't have any formal ties to established groups? The death toll in California was higher, but Americans have seen several of these attacks over the years: a foiled 2011 bomb plot in Manhattan, the Boston Marathon bombing, and a shooting at a military-recruitment center in Chattanooga earlier this year. It also includes borderline cases like Nidal Hasan, who opened fire at Fort Hood after exchanging emails with the radical preacher Anwar al-Awlaki, or Faisal Shahzad, who received training in Pakistan but appears to have planned a bomb plot in Times Square on his own.
For that matter, what does it mean to be a member of ISIS, especially if one hasn't been to the Levant? This is where Malik's pledge of allegiance seems significant. Al-Qaeda, the previous incumbent as the world's most feared terrorist group, tends toward the bureaucratic. Earlier this year, the U.S. government released a document seized during the raid that killed Osama bin Laden'--a reasonably extensive questionnaire for anyone interesting in applying for membership.
ISIS, by contrast, seems much more welcoming. The process for conversion to Islam is relatively simple: recitation of the shahada, generally with witnesses. To become a member of ISIS, or at least to act in ISIS's name, seems to require little more than a statement of allegiance to Baghdadi, who has declared himself caliph. As close terrorism-watchers Thomas Joscelyn and Rukmini Callimachi both pointed out, ISIS has said people should swear allegiance before attacks. The swearing of allegiance'--bay'ah in Arabic'--is a long tradition. Early Muslims swore allegiance to Muhammad as their leader. (Some Muslim countries still employ the process formally, and political theorists have postulated that bay'ah justifies Islamic democracy, because it involves the consent of the governed to be led by a chosen ruler.)
The ease with which a would-be attacker can attach himself or herself to ISIS and then carry out an attack in the group's name raises questions about how meaningful it is that the San Bernardino attack had connections to ISIS, as opposed to any other Islamist groups. But it also makes it very difficult to block attacks. Since the September 11 attacks, the U.S. has created massive new mechanisms to try to track terror suspects. The FBI has also specifically been watching ISIS sympathizers stateside, the Timesreports:
In recent months, the F.B.I. has been particularly concerned about individuals inspired by the Islamic State staging attacks in the United States, law enforcement officials say. Even before the shootings and bombings in Paris last month, the agency had under heavy surveillance at least three dozen individuals who the authorities were concerned might commit violence in the group's name.
Yet that dragnet still wasn't able to catch Farook and Malik.
Critics of the U.S. reaction to the September 11 attacks see things like that and argue there's a great risk in overreacting to terrorism. For one thing, one of the legally defined goals of terrorism is to affect government policy, so an overzealous response may be unwittingly acquiescing with the aims of attacks. Meanwhile, too extensive a dragnet produces such massive amounts of data that it's hard to separate the real risks from the minor ones and focus resources where they're best used. While it is little consolation to the victims in San Bernardino and their families, the odds of being killed in a terrorist attack in the United States remain very low. It's tough see how a confirmed ISIS attack on American soil changes that math.
A Pill for ISIS Supersoldiers? Not So Fast
Sun, 06 Dec 2015 15:49
FOLLOWby Sara G. Miller, Staff Writer
Date: 24 November 2015 Time: 04:50 PM ET
ISIS fighters are using an illegal drug known as Captagon, according to news reports.
But what is the drug and how does it work? Live Science reached out to drug experts for information on the tablet that is rumored to be turning ordinary men into "supersoldiers."
Captagon is actually a combination of two drugs, theophylline and amphetamine, said Nicolas Rasmussen, a professor of history and philosophy of science at the University of New South Wales in Australia.
The combination itself is inactive in the body, but when the body breaks it down into the two component parts, each part becomes active, Rasmussen told Live Science. [Breaking Bad: 6 Strange Meth Facts]
Theophylline is similar to caffeine, but it also opens up a person's airways, and is sometimes used to treat people with asthma. Amphetamine, on the other hand, is the main psychoactive ingredient in Captagon, he said.
"Amphetamines speed everything up," said Richard Rawson, the co-director of UCLA Integrated Substance Abuse Programs. They produce feelings of pleasure and increased alertness, and they reduce the need for sleep and food, he said.
But Captagon '-- also known by its generic name fenethylline '-- is actually relatively mild in the world of amphetamines and amphetaminelike drugs, Rawson told Live Science.
Carl Hart, a professor of psychology and psychiatry at Columbia University, agreed.
It's an "inferior amphetamine," Hart told Live Science. In fact, Captagon is milder than Adderall, he said.
Like Adderall, Captagon was once used to treat behavioral problems.
It was used in the 1960s and 1970s to treat people with attention deficit disorder, Rawson said. It didn't seem to have some of the side effects of other stimulants, he said. But it also didn't have many advantages either, and was eventually phased out, he said.
Despite fizzling out in the United States, the drug has been popular in the Middle East for some time.
Abuse of it has "been a problem in Saudi Arabia now for well over a decade," Rawson said.
Physical effects
Just like taking an amphetamine, taking Captagon increases a person's blood pressure, heart rate and alertness, Hart said.
Its other effects are similar to those of just about any type of amphetaminelike substance, Rawson said. People who take it feel more energized, more aggressive and are able to work longer hours, he said. [5 Experts Answer: Can Drug Stimulants Help You Work?]
At low doses, the risk of harmful side effects is low.
"We have people in our society who have been using amphetamines for decades, and at proper doses they're fine," Hart said. It's similar to how we consume caffeine, he said.
But at higher doses, the negative side effects of amphetamine use start to show, he said.
People who take high doses of stimulants may not sleep or eat, which can lead to health problems, Hart said. But these problems are less from the drug itself and more from the effects of skipping sleep or food, he added.
Rawson agreed '-- people could take a drug like Captagon at low doses for a long time and be fine, he said. They wouldn't experience significant consequences, he said.
But at high doses, the drug can lead to problems such as higher blood pressure, stroke, psychosis and violence, he said.
Superhuman strength?
One purported effect of Captagon is that it makes users feel no pain, but Rawson dismissed this claim.
"We've heard that with stimulants for years," he said. "It's not a magical painkiller."
Instead, the perceived inability to feel pain is a byproduct of a strong stimulant effect, Rawson said. "When you're hyperstimulated and very focused, you tend not to react to pain as much," he said.
As for Captagon turning fighters into supersoldiers, in reality, its effects are "nowhere near what the media reports have been talking about," Hart said. "Trust me, if this drug produced a supersolider, U.S. soldiers would be using it," he said. (The U.S. military has given other stimulants to soldiers since World War II, Hart added.)
Still, there's a chance that people using the drug feel it gives them superior abilities.
It's possible that the fighters taking Captagon truly find the effects to be "spectacular," Rawson said. But he attributed this to a general lack of experience with drugs among the users. If someone with more experience with drugs, or even experience with alcohol, took Captagon, they would likely say that it was much weaker than what its effect would be on someone with little drug experience, he said.
However, as for the use of Captagon by ISIS, it's also possible that what the fighters are actually taking is not Captagon.
"As far as I know, no one's actually [tested] the stuff that's being sold or manufactured," Rawson said. "My suspicion is that it could likely be meth[amphetamine] that's sold under the name Captagon," he added.
Follow Sara G. Miller on Twitter @SaraGMiller. Follow Live Science @livescience, Facebook & Google+.Originally published on Live Science.
Agenda 2030
BBC - Future - Coffee in crisis: The bitter end of our favourite drink?
Fri, 04 Dec 2015 16:23
As we sip our lattes and espressos and read the daily headlines, climate change can seem like a distant threat. But travel a few thousand miles to the source of your caffeine fix, and the turbulence is all too real.
Consider the coffee farmers in Chiapas, Mexico, recently interviewed by researcher Elisa Frank from the University of California, Santa Barbara. Compared to the gentler showers they were used to, they are now seeing violent downpours that waterlog the plants in their care. ''When we were growing up, the rains didn't fall this much,'' one interviewee told Frank. ''The plants produce less. The leaves and fruit fall because of the wetness.''
Where farmers once enjoyed stable, mild conditions, the temperature now seesaws between cold that stunts growth, and heat that dries the berries before they can be harvested. Then there are the hurricanes and landslides; sometimes, the mud can swallow up plantations. As one farmer put it: ''The weather is very strange. Strange things come that we didn't see before.''
Peak coffee
These problems are by no means confined to Mexico. Farmers across South America, Asia and Africa are watching coffee plants dwindle as droughts, downpours, and plagues of pests attack their crops, as a result of global warming.
The world currently enjoys a two-billion-cup-a-day habit. How can we ensure that we get that caffeine fix in a turbulent climate?
The consequences of this unrest could soon work their way through the pipeline to your local coffee shop. The world currently enjoys a two-billion-cup-a-day habit. How can we ensure that the coffee still flows, when the crops are being ravaged by extreme weather? And if the farmers can't meet that demand, will we soon reach ''peak coffee''?
Some worry that our efforts to combat these challenges will only create further environmental devastation. Others suggest that the only solution is to change the beloved flavour of the drink itself. Whatever the answers, savour your espresso while you can: we may be facing the end of coffee as we know it.
The problem arises, in part, from the refinement of our palette. There are two main breeds of commercial coffee: the more aromatic Coffea Arabica, and the more bitter Coffea Robusta variety. Thanks to its complex flavours, Arabica is by far the world's favourite, accounting for about 70% of the coffee we drink.
Those genteel qualities that we favour come at the price of the plant's physical strength, however: it is far more sensitive to stress than its more robust cousin. As BBC Magazine recently explained, almost all the commercial Arabica plants have been bred from a very small stock taken from the mountains of Ethiopia '' giving it very little genetic diversity and making it particularly vulnerable to climate change. The plant grows best between a very narrow range of relatively mild temperatures '' 18 to 22C '' and needs gentle, regular rainfall. ''It needs a very particular climate that you can only find in a few locations around the globe,'' says Christian Bunn at the Humboldt University in Berlin. That makes it very different from other crops, like corn '' plants bred for thousands of years to adapt to many different environments.
The delicate Arabica plants just can't cope with the new and unpredictable conditions that come with global warming. In Mexico, for instance, the rising temperature seems to have brought heavier rainfall, which is battering the plants before they have time to seed. ''The coffee plant only flowers for 48 hours, so if something happens during flowering '' if there's a big storm '' then the whole crop is destroyed,'' explains Ainhoa Magrach at the Institute of Terrestrial Ecosystems, ETH Zurich.
Even when the plants did blossom, the berries were shrivelled and small
Other places have the exact opposite problem: drought. When Oxfam questioned coffee producers in the Rwenzori Mountains of Uganda, they complained that hotter, drier seasons were causing the plants to drop their flowers before they had turned to fruit. Even when the plants blossomed, the beans were shrivelled and small. Further stresses come from the fact that the coffee plant's enemies can thrive in hotter weather '' including pests such as leaf miners, coffee berry borers, mealy bugs and diseases like leaf rust, all of which ravage crops. During one of the most recent epidemics, Central America saw its harvests drop by 20% in 2013, after an onset of leaf rust '' and such events may be more common as the climate warms even more.
Calculating the long-term costs isn't straightforward - it can be difficult to separate single, freak events from broader trends - but looking at coffee yields in Tanzania since the 1960s, one team has found that the crops fell from a high of 500kg per hectare to just over 300kg today. Importantly, the drop seems to closely follow a temperature rise of about 0.3C per decade, and an associated reduction in rainfall.
All of which paints a bleak picture for the future. Using the latest figures for climate change across the globe, Bunn's calculations predict that the land suited to farming Arabica could drop by as much as 50% by 2050. Classic coffee-producing regions, such as Vietnam, India and most of Central America, will be hit particularly hard.
We can expect coffee to become more of a luxury, with prices shooting up by around 25% by 2050
The consequences will be serious for farmers and coffee lovers alike. For one thing, we can expect coffee to become more of a luxury, with prices shooting up by around 25% by 2050 according to Bunn's calculations for his PhD thesis. It will be particularly noticeable, he says, considering that most other crops are set to become cheaper and cheaper as technology and productivity continues to improve. When that's taken into account, coffee will in fact be 50% more expensive than it would have been without climate change, Bunn says.
It's unlikely the farmers will see the profit. After years of turmoil, many may just choose to switch to more stable crops. ''When we take our results and confront coffee producers, everyone tells us this is true '' people in low-elevation Central America are already giving up on coffee production,'' Bunn says. ''Everyone is shifting to rubber plantations.''
The demand for coffee can only be met if we encroach on 2.2 million hectares of valuable rainforest
Given the money on offer, others will almost certainly move to fill our empty cups '' and that could come at a huge cost to the environment. Magrach recently mapped out the areas suitable for Arabica farming and compared it to areas of natural interest. In the worst case scenario, she found that we will need to encroach on 2.2 million hectares of rainforest to meet the predicted demand '' an area about the size of Wales. The result would be a significant loss of biodiversity.
There may be better solutions. Given its hardiness, Robusta will be better able to weather the changes; Magrach's models even suggest that its preferred habitat may grow as a result of the rising temperatures. If so, a simple change in taste may offset the coffee crash '' provided we can grow to love its bitterness. ''It would definitely be better for the forests,'' says Magrach. At the very least, she hopes that food labelling will make it clear in future whether the beans were farmed from vulnerable areas, so that consumers are aware of the environmental cost and can shop more ethically.
Others hope that improved farming techniques will instead keep the coffee flowing. Along these lines, the Coffee and Climate initiative is helping more than a dozen different coffee producers to join forces and share notes on the best ways to deal with the oncoming challenges. One option, for instance, is to graft Arabica strains to the roots of Robusta plants, making a hybrid that is more resistant to drought while retaining the preferred aromatic flavour. Alternatively, selective breeding could help produce a variety that combines the best of both Robusta and Arabica. ''It's something people are working on, but we're not sure when the new strains will be available,'' adds Magrach.
The livelihoods of farmers and others in the coffee business '' at least 25 million people according to one estimate '' depend on us finding an answer, fast. For the time being, the farmers face daily uncertainty, as Elisa Frank found during her interviews in Mexico. It can be hard to weather. Although many of the farmers listen to the TV forecasts, and try to prepare for the oncoming downpours, they can't help but feel helpless, swept away by forces beyond their control.
Some of the farmers feel that the subject has almost become a taboo. ''We talk very little about climate,'' one told Frank. ''We already know how it is here '' and there is nothing we can do.''
David Robson is BBC Future's feature writer. He is @d_a_robson on twitter.
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Carbon Capitalists Warming to Climate Market Using Derivatives - Bloomberg
Fri, 04 Dec 2015 16:26
A woman cooks with a ugastove in Uganda
A Range Rover vehicle displays a sticker
Range Rover vehicles sit on display
Dec. 4 (Bloomberg) -- Across Uganda, thousands of women warm supper over new, $8 orange-painted stoves. The clay-and-metal pots burn about two-thirds the charcoal of the open-fire cooking typical of East Africa, where forests are being chopped down in the struggle to feed the region's 125 million people.
Four thousand miles away, at the Charles Hurst Land Rover dealership in southwest London, a Range Rover Vogue sells for 90,000 pounds ($151,000). A blue windshield sticker proclaims that the gasoline-powered truck's first 45,000 miles (72,421 kilometers) will be carbon neutral.
That's because Land Rover, official purveyor of 4x4s to Queen Elizabeth II, is helping Ugandans cut their greenhouse gas emissions with those new stoves.
These two worlds came together in the offices of Blythe Masters at JPMorgan Chase & Co. Masters, 40, oversees the New York bank's environmental businesses as the firm's global head of commodities. JPMorgan brokered a deal in 2007 for Land Rover to buy carbon credits from ClimateCare, an Oxford, England-based group that develops energy-efficiency projects around the world. Land Rover, now owned by Mumbai-based Tata Motors Ltd., is using the credits to offset some of the CO2 emissions produced by its vehicles.
For Wall Street, these kinds of voluntary carbon deals are just a dress rehearsal for the day when the U.S. develops a mandatory trading program for greenhouse gas emissions. JPMorgan, Goldman Sachs Group Inc. and Morgan Stanley will be watching closely as 192 nations gather in Copenhagen next week to try to forge a new climate-change treaty that would, for the first time, include the U.S. and China.
U.S. Cap and Trade
Those two economies are the biggest emitters of CO2, the most ubiquitous of the gases found to cause global warming. The Kyoto Protocol, whose emissions targets will expire in 2012, spawned a carbon-trading system in Europe that the banks hope will be replicated in the U.S.
The U.S. Senate is debating a clean-energy bill that would introduce cap and trade for U.S. emissions. A similar bill passed the House of Representatives in June. The plan would transform U.S. industry by forcing the biggest companies -- such as utilities, oil and gas drillers and cement makers -- to calculate the amounts of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases they emit and then pay for them.
Estimates of the potential size of the U.S. cap-and-trade market range from $300 billion to $2 trillion.
Banks Moving In
Banks intend to become the intermediaries in this fledgling market. Although U.S. carbon legislation may not pass for a year or more, Wall Street has already spent hundreds of millions of dollars hiring lobbyists and making deals with companies that can supply them with ''carbon offsets'' to sell to clients.
JPMorgan, for instance, purchased ClimateCare in early 2008 for an undisclosed sum. This month, it paid $210 million for Eco-Securities Group Plc, the biggest developer of projects used to generate credits offsetting government-regulated carbon emissions. Financial institutions have also been investing in alternative energy, such as wind and solar power, and lending to clean-technology entrepreneurs.
The banks are preparing to do with carbon what they've done before: design and market derivatives contracts that will help client companies hedge their price risk over the long term. They're also ready to sell carbon-related financial products to outside investors.
Masters says banks must be allowed to lead the way if a mandatory carbon-trading system is going to help save the planet at the lowest possible cost. And derivatives related to carbon must be part of the mix, she says. Derivatives are securities whose value is derived from the value of an underlying commodity -- in this case, CO2 and other greenhouse gases.
'Heavy Involvement'
''This requires a massive redirection of capital,'' Masters says. ''You can't have a successful climate policy without the heavy, heavy involvement of financial institutions.''
As a young London banker in the early 1990s, Masters was part of JPMorgan's team developing ideas for transferring risk to third parties. She went on to manage credit risk for JPMorgan's investment bank.
Among the credit derivatives that grew from the bank's early efforts was the credit-default swap. A CDS is a contract that functions like insurance by protecting debt holders against default. In 2008, after U.S. home prices plunged, the cost of protection against subprime-mortgage bond defaults jumped. Insurer American International Group Inc., which had sold billions in CDSs, was forced into government ownership, roiling markets and helping trigger the worst global recession since the 1930s.
Lawmakers Leery
Now, that story -- and the entire role the banks played in the credit crisis -- has become central to the U.S. carbon debate. Washington lawmakers are leery of handing Wall Street anything new to trade because the bitter taste of the credit debacle lingers. And their focus is on derivatives. Along with CDSs, the most-notorious derivatives are the collateralized-debt obligations they often insured. CDOs are bundles of subprime mortgages and other debt that were sliced into tranches and sold to investors.
''People are going to be cutting up carbon futures, and we'll be in trouble,'' says Maria Cantwell, a Democratic senator from Washington state. ''You can't stay ahead of the next tool they're going to create.''
Cantwell, 51, proposed in November that U.S. state governments be given the right to ban unregulated financial products. ''The derivatives market has done so much damage to our economy and is nothing more than a very-high-stakes casino -- except that casinos have to abide by regulations,'' she wrote in a press release.
Jet Fuel, Wheat
In carbon markets, many of the derivatives would be futures, options and swaps that would allow a company to lock in a price for carbon like it would for any other commodity related to its business, Masters says. Such derivatives are negotiated every day by airlines trying to guarantee future prices for jet fuel and farmers setting a future price for their wheat crop. A large, liquid market in carbon credits would serve to keep their price low, JPMorgan says.
''The reason why this is important is not because it's going to create a new forum for us to buy and sell; it's because the scale of what's being contemplated here is absolutely enormous,'' Masters says. ''It's going to affect your kids and my kids. The worst thing would be to introduce legislation that doesn't achieve the environmental goal; that would be a crime of epic proportions.''
Not Convinced
Michelle Chan, a senior policy analyst in San Francisco for Friends of the Earth, isn't convinced.
''Should we really create a new $2 trillion market when we haven't yet finished the job of revamping and testing new financial regulation?'' she asks. Chan says that, given their recent history, the banks' ability to turn climate change into a new commodities market should be curbed.
''What we have just been woken up to in the credit crisis -- to a jarring and shocking degree -- is what happens in the real world,'' she says.
Even George Soros, the billionaire hedge fund operator, says money managers would find ways to manipulate cap-and-trade markets. ''The system can be gamed,'' Soros, 79, remarked at a London School of Economics seminar in July. ''That's why financial types like me like it -- because there are financial opportunities.''
Masters says U.S. carbon markets should be transparent and regulated by the Commodity Futures Trading Commission. Standardized derivatives contracts -- securities that can be bought and sold by anyone -- should be traded on exchanges or centrally cleared, she says. The British-born Masters, who has an economics degree from Cambridge University, took over JPMorgan's commodities business in 2007.
Allowances, Offsets
In a U.S. cap-and-trade market, the government would allot tradable pollution permits, called allowances, to emitters of CO2 and other greenhouse gases. The market would also likely include offsets -- credits generated by companies such as Eco-Securities that would have to demonstrate to U.S. agencies running the program that the offsets mitigate carbon pollution.
Point Carbon, an Oslo-based firm that analyzes environmental markets, estimates that by 2020 the U.S. carbon market could surge to more than $300 billion. That's based on an assumption that the allowances, each representing a ton of carbon dioxide taken out of the atmosphere, would trade for $15. Bart Chilton, a commissioner of the CFTC, which would likely be one of the regulators of the carbon market, says it could grow as large as $2 trillion.
Goldman Building
As they wait for a U.S. cap-and-trade system to be introduced, the big banks are busy building, not trading. Goldman Sachs, for example, has fewer than 10 traders dedicated to carbon around the world.
''Carbon right now is not about sitting in front of a screen and clicking,'' says Gerrit Nicholas, Goldman's head of North American environmental commodities. ''It's all about running around talking to clients about what they can expect, how big it can be and what their risk is.''
Abyd Karmali, who heads global carbon emissions at Bank of America Merrill Lynch in London, says companies, banks and investors are all watching Congress.
''A lot of people are focused on Copenhagen, but what happens in Washington on federal cap and trade is, arguably, more important,'' says Karmali, who's president of the Carbon Markets and Investors Association, an international trade group. ''This market is still in its very early stages. U.S. cap and trade would make an order of magnitude of difference.''
'Ruinous Course'
Although U.S. President Barack Obama and his economic team support cap and trade, Washington politics could defeat it. The House bill passed in June by just seven votes, and senators on both sides of the aisle worry that imposing pollution caps on industry will result in higher energy bills for consumers at a time when U.S. unemployment tops 10 percent. Karl Rove, former president George W. Bush's deputy chief of staff, wrote in Newsweek magazine in November that cap and trade ''would put America on a ruinous course.''
Republican Senator James Inhofe of Oklahoma, who in 2006 called Nobel Prize winner and former Vice President Al Gore ''full of crap'' on global warming, boycotted committee meetings on the Senate bill in November.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said on Nov. 18 that climate-change legislation may not be discussed until the spring, prompting speculation among others in the Senate that the bill won't be passed before Congressional elections in 2010. The Obama administration is also driving to overhaul U.S. health care and develop proposals to push down unemployment.
House, Senate Bills
U.S. cap and trade, as currently configured in both the House and Senate bills, would mean the government sets an upper limit on emissions of seven greenhouse gases, including CO2, methane and nitrous oxide, for thousands of power plants, refineries and factories. Over time, the caps would fall, pushing emitters to adopt clean-air technology.
The government would give some pollution allowances to companies free to help them meet their caps during the first years of the program. Emitters who invest in cutting their pollution would have allowances to sell; those that don't would have to buy.
The allowances -- similar to those that sold in Europe in mid-November for 13.5 euros ($20) -- would be tradable on an exchange or, if Congress allows it, between parties in an over-the-counter market. The credits garnered through offset projects such as the stoves in Uganda are distinct from allowances in that they may be generated on the other side of the world.
Accounting for Carbon
U.S. companies would account for carbon in long-term strategic plans, bankers say. For instance, utilities such as American Electric Power Co., which produces power from coal, would hedge the price of carbon over periods as long as a decade or more. Columbus, Ohio-based AEP is the biggest U.S. greenhouse gas emitter in the Standard & Poor's 500, according to the London-based Carbon Disclosure Project, which collects such data. Companies like AEP would retain financial institutions to come up with customized derivatives contracts to help them manage their risk.
Derivatives contracts designed for a particular company or transaction, known as over-the-counter derivatives, are a hot-button issue in the larger debate over how the U.S. banking system should be regulated. Most CDSs and CDOs are OTC derivatives. They are created and traded privately -- not on any exchange -- and can be illiquid and opaque, says Andy Stevenson, a financial analyst for the Natural Resources Defense Council, an environmental group that supports the Senate legislation. The House cap-and-trade bill bans OTC derivatives, requiring that all carbon trading be done on exchanges.
OTC Derivatives
The bankers say such a ban would be a mistake. OTC derivatives are a $600 trillion market, much of which consists of interest-rate swaps designed to hedge risks for individual companies. ''It's a concern of ours if they limit the market,'' says Pat Hemlepp, a spokesman for AEP. ''It reduces the options when it comes to cap and trade, and we have told people that on the Hill. We do feel it's best to have banks and other parties able to participate.''
The banks and companies may get their way on carbon derivatives in separate legislation now being worked out in Congress. In October, the House Financial Services Committee, headed by Representative Barney Frank, a Democrat from Massachusetts, approved a bill that would require collateral for all derivatives trading between financial institutions. And broker-dealers such as JPMorgan and Goldman Sachs would be forced to clear most derivatives contracts on regulated exchanges or through so-called swap-execution facilities. However, the new rules would not apply to end-users -- companies such as AEP that use derivatives to hedge operational risks.
Price Collar
The Senate environment bill, dubbed Kerry-Boxer for Senators John Kerry of Massachusetts and Barbara Boxer of California, the two Democrats who introduced it, contains little detail on how the cap-and-trade market would work. It sets a price floor of $11 per ton on carbon. The bill also creates a strategic reserve of allowances that the government could use to flood the market if the price of carbon shoots up.
''It will be the best-regulated market in the country,'' Stevenson says. ''The effort is to make all of the trading known to the regulator. That wasn't the case in the mortgage market.''
Wall Street sees profits at every stage of the carbon-trading process. Banks would make money by helping clients manage their carbon risk, by trading carbon for their own accounts and by making loans to companies that invest to cut greenhouse gas emissions.
Chicago Climate Exchange
A clear U.S. price on carbon, determined in a large market, would help drive billions of dollars into investments to clean the air, says Richard Sandor, founder and chairman of the Chicago Climate Exchange and the Chicago Climate Futures Exchange. He is also the principal architect of the interest-rate futures market.
''What's important is the price signal,'' Sandor says. ''It will stimulate inventive activity and cause behavior to change.'' The Chicago Climate Exchange, the biggest U.S. voluntary greenhouse-gas-emissions trading system, trades 180,000 tons of carbon a day, up from 40,000 tons in 2006.
Over time, carbon, like other commodities, needs markets linked around the world, Goldman's Nicholas says.
''If you believe the science and that something needs to be done about this, the market probably needs to be big,'' he says. ''Carbon could become an important commodity. I'm not saying it will be bigger than others, but it will be another important business for us.''
Polluters Only
Critics, including Senator Cantwell, espouse a smaller, less complex market in which pollution permits would be publicly exchanged only among fossil-fuel producers. Such a system may block progress on the environmental goals, says JPMorgan's Masters.
''We say, 'Let's incentivize people to have the lowest-cost opportunities to avoid carbon emissions,''' she says.
Masters has been dealing with complex securities since she did a summer internship on JPMorgan's London derivatives desk while she was at Cambridge. She joined the desk full time soon after graduating in 1991. The derivatives group's task was to find ways to spread the risk of JPMorgan's loans, partly to reduce the amount of capital it was required to hold in reserve against them.
Offloading Risk
In 1994, Exxon Corp. needed a credit line after it was threatened with a $5 billion fine for spilling 10.8 million gallons (40.9 million liters) of oil into the ocean off Alaska in 1989. Masters asked the London-based European Bank for Reconstruction and Development to take on the Exxon risk in exchange for an annual fee paid by JPMorgan, according to ''Fool's Gold,'' a book by Gillian Tett (Free Press, 2009) that chronicles the history of credit derivatives at JPMorgan. The loan would remain on JPMorgan's books and be insured by the EBRD, an international bank owned by 61 countries that supports development projects in Central Europe.
The bankers called the contract a credit-default swap.
Masters left the credit derivatives unit in 2001 to do other jobs at the bank. From 2004 to 2007, she served as chief financial officer of the investment bank. Since she took over the commodities division in 2007, its staff has almost doubled to 400 employees. The firm added Bear Energy to the division when it acquired Bear Stearns Cos. in the March 2008 heat of the credit crisis.
In December 2008, Masters led the purchase of UBS AG's agriculture business and Canadian commodities operations. She now sits in a corner office in Bear's former Madison Avenue tower. Outside her glass door are rows of traders making markets in metals and oil futures.
Subprime Carbon
Friends of the Earth's Chan is working hard to prevent the banks from adding carbon to their repertoire. She titled a March FOE report ''Subprime Carbon?'' In testimony on Capitol Hill, she warned, ''Wall Street won't just be brokering in plain carbon derivatives -- they'll get creative.''
Sitting in Cafe Madeleine, a small sandwich shop on a hilly stretch of California Street in San Francisco, Chan, 37, talks over coffee about her campaign. She's brought her own ceramic mug from her crammed office across the street.
Chan started at FOE -- the biggest network of environmental groups in the world, with offices in 77 countries -- on a six-month fellowship after she graduated from the University of California, Los Angeles in 1994. Her first job was to pin responsibility for what FOE regarded as environmentally damaging projects on the banks that loaned the enterprises money.
Three Gorges Dam
In 1997, Chan uncovered and helped publicize loans to China's Three Gorges Dam by banks including Morgan Stanley and Merrill Lynch. Since then, Wall Street banks have sought Friends of the Earth's help in burnishing their environmental image.
In 2005, Chan worked with Goldman Sachs to write an environmental policy statement for the firm, she says.
Carbon isn't like other commodities, Chan says. The government's goal to reduce pollution means it will gradually diminish the number of allowances it issues, and that will be a powerful incentive for speculators to try to corner the market and drive up the price, she says.
While banks say they're a long way from packaging securities from environmental credits now, Chan points to two deals that Zurich-based Credit Suisse Group AG completed in 2007 and 2008 that each combined more than 20 different offset projects, then sliced them into tranches and sold them to investors. The securities were the equivalent of carbon CDOs, Chan says.
Boom and Bust
Chan has an ally in hedge fund manager Michael Masters, founder of Masters Capital Management LLC, based in St. Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands. He says speculators will end up controlling U.S. carbon prices, and their participation could trigger the same type of boom-and-bust cycles that have buffeted other commodities.
In February 2009 House testimony, Masters -- who is no relation to Blythe Masters -- estimated that the early 2008 price bubbles in crude oil, corn and other commodities cost U.S. consumers more than $110 billion.
The hedge fund manager says that banks will attempt to inflate the carbon market by recruiting investors from hedge funds and pension funds.
''Wall Street is going to sell it as an investment product to people that have nothing to do with carbon,'' he says. ''Then suddenly investment managers are dominating the asset class, and nothing is related to actual supply and demand. We have seen this movie before.''
Companies Need Banks
Still, companies need the financial markets to help them drive down their greenhouse gas emissions at a reasonable price, says the NRDC's Stevenson. ''There are trillions of dollars needed to make this transition, and companies need the banks,'' says Stevenson, a former trader for London-based hedge fund firm Brevan Howard Asset Management LLP.
Stevenson dismisses as overblown the concern that banks will soon be packaging greenhouse gas allowances into securities that look like CDOs. The banks stand to make more money, he says, as lenders to companies that need to invest in new power plants and factories to reduce their emissions. ''I would argue that this is only a bonanza for the banks in that they get to go back to their day jobs -- which is lending money,'' Stevenson says. ''I'm suspect of them generating a lot from carbon trading itself in the early years.''
Northeast Test Case
A relatively small-scale cap-and-trade effort called the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative tells a cautionary tale. RGGI is a CO2 reduction program established by a group of northeastern and mid-Atlantic states in 2003 with a goal of cutting CO2 emissions from power plants in the region 10 percent by 2018. Ten states are now members. Trading in the companies' pollution permits began in September 2008 -- in the middle of the financial crisis. As of mid-November 2009, prices of the pollution permits were down 50 percent, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.
Meanwhile, the 10 best-performing investment funds with climate change or clean energy as a central goal all plunged 40 percent or more in 2008, according to data compiled by London-based New Energy Finance. The shrinking global economy sapped momentum for developing new environmental projects.
''To mobilize capital now and begin a transformation to new energy technologies is a very risky business,'' says Ken Newcombe, founder of C-Quest Capital, a Washington-based carbon finance business that invests in offsets. ''Returns have to be reasonable to take on those risks.''
Risk Capital Vital
Newcombe is the former head of Goldman's U.S. carbon market origination and sales department and one of the world's first carbon traders. He holds a Ph.D. in energy and natural resource development from the Australian National University. Private money, including capital from banks, hedge funds and other investors, must keep flowing into the system to realize global environmental goals that the Copenhagen meetings will try to hash out, he says.
''The ultimate objective is economic efficiency,'' Newcombe says. ''How can we reduce the cost of implementing important public policy? Having a pool of risk capital is absolutely vital to the smooth introduction of a cap-and-trade regime in the U.S.''
As Washington debates climate policy in the shadow of the recent financial meltdown, lawmakers have a right to be wary, Newcombe says.
''There's legitimate concern that there may be unseemly profits or untenable risks,'' he says. ''But a problem now is that the critical objective of stabilizing the financial system could lead to an overregulation of the carbon market.''
'Such a Fog'
Meanwhile, the industrial firms that would be affected by cap and trade are eager for the game to begin, says Lew Nash, a Morgan Stanley executive director and the firm's U.S. point person on the carbon markets.
''There is such a fog right now in terms of how the legislation is going to work,'' Nash says. ''There is a real economic desire here for price signals that will permit the market to properly price carbon. Our customers have little choice but to participate in this evolving market.''
Nash says his clients aren't just looking for help figuring out how to use carbon trading to manage their emissions caps. Pricing carbon will also set the tone for strategic investments. If a company wants to build a new factory, for instance, it's going to need to factor prospective carbon emissions into its construction and operational plans, Nash says.
Supporters of cap and trade see, over many years, a remaking of the U.S. industrial landscape and a sharp reduction in the gases that cause global warming. Little will happen, though, until the debate is resolved between the bankers who want more liquidity and the lawmakers who demand more regulation.
To contact the reporter on this story: Lisa Kassenaar in New York at lkassenaar@bloomberg.net.
To contact the editor responsible for this story: Michael Serrill at mserrill@bloomberg.net.
Woman Who Invented Credit Default Swaps is One of the Key Architects of Carbon Derivatives, Which Would Be at the Very CENTER of Cap and Trade
Fri, 04 Dec 2015 16:25
As I have previously shown, speculative derivatives (especially credit default swaps or ''CDS'') are a primary cause of the economic crisis. They were largely responsible for bringing down Bear Stearns, AIG (and see this), WaMu and other mammoth corporations.
According to top experts, risky derivatives were not only largely responsible for bringing down the American (and world) economy, but they still pose a substantial systemic risk:
Warren Buffett's sidekick Charles T. Munger, has called the CDS prohibition the best solution, and said ''it isn't as though the economic world didn't function quite well without it, and it isn't as though what has happened has been so wonderfully desirable that we should logically want more of it''Former Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan '' after being one of their biggest cheerleaders '' now says CDS are dangerousFormer SEC chairman Christopher Cox said ''The virtually unregulated over-the-counter market in credit-default swaps has played a significant role in the credit crisis''Newsweek called CDS ''The Monster that Ate Wall Street''President Obama said in a June 17 speech on his plans for finance industry regulatory reform that credit swaps and other derivatives ''have threatened the entire financial system''George Soros says the market is still unsafe, and that credit- default swaps are ''toxic'' and ''a very dangerous derivative'' because it's easier and potentially more profitable for investors to bet against companies using them than through so-called short sales.U.S. Congresswoman Maxine Waters introduced a bill in July that tried to ban credit-default swaps because she said they permitted speculation responsible for bringing the financial system to its knees.Nobel prize-winning economist Myron Scholes '' who developed much of the pricing structure used in CDS '' said that over-the-counter CDS are so dangerous that they should be ''blown up or burned'', and we should start freshA leading credit default swap expert (Satyajit Das) says that the new credit default swap regulations not only won't help stabilize the economy, they might actually help to destabilize it.Senator Cantwell says that the new derivatives legislation is weaker than current regulationRound Two: Carbon Derivatives
Now, Bloomberg notes that the carbon trading scheme will be largely centered around derivatives:
The banks are preparing to do with carbon what they've done before: design and market derivatives contracts that will help client companies hedge their price risk over the long term. They're also ready to sell carbon-related financial products to outside investors.
[Blythe] Masters says banks must be allowed to lead the way if a mandatory carbon-trading system is going to help save the planet at the lowest possible cost. And derivatives related to carbon must be part of the mix, she says. Derivatives are securities whose value is derived from the value of an underlying commodity '-- in this case, CO2 and other greenhouse gases'...
Who is Blythe Masters?
She is the JP Morgan employee who invented credit default swaps, and is now heading JPM's carbon trading efforts. As Bloomberg notes (this and all remaining quotes are from the above-linked Bloomberg article):
Masters, 40, oversees the New York bank's environmental businesses as the firm's global head of commodities'...
As a young London banker in the early 1990s, Masters was part of JPMorgan's team developing ideas for transferring risk to third parties. She went on to manage credit risk for JPMorgan's investment bank.
Among the credit derivatives that grew from the bank's early efforts was the credit-default swap.
Some in congress are fighting against carbon derivatives:
''People are going to be cutting up carbon futures, and we'll be in trouble,'' says Maria Cantwell, a Democratic senator from Washington state. ''You can't stay ahead of the next tool they're going to create.''
Cantwell, 51, proposed in November that U.S. state governments be given the right to ban unregulated financial products. ''The derivatives market has done so much damage to our economy and is nothing more than a very-high-stakes casino '-- except that casinos have to abide by regulations,'' she wrote in a press release'...
However, Congress may cave in to industry pressure to let carbon derivatives trade over-the-counter:
The House cap-and-trade bill bans OTC derivatives, requiring that all carbon trading be done on exchanges'...The bankers say such a ban would be a mistake'...The banks and companies may get their way on carbon derivatives in separate legislation now being worked out in Congress'...
Financial experts are also opposed to cap and trade:
Even George Soros, the billionaire hedge fund operator, says money managers would find ways to manipulate cap-and-trade markets. ''The system can be gamed,'' Soros, 79, remarked at a London School of Economics seminar in July. ''That's why financial types like me like it '-- because there are financial opportunities'''...
Hedge fund manager Michael Masters, founder of Masters Capital Management LLC, based in St. Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands [and unrelated to Blythe Masters] says speculators will end up controlling U.S. carbon prices, and their participation could trigger the same type of boom-and-bust cycles that have buffeted other commodities'...
The hedge fund manager says that banks will attempt to inflate the carbon market by recruiting investors from hedge funds and pension funds.
''Wall Street is going to sell it as an investment product to people that have nothing to do with carbon,'' he says. ''Then suddenly investment managers are dominating the asset class, and nothing is related to actual supply and demand. We have seen this movie before.''
Indeed, as I have previously pointed out, many environmentalists are opposed to cap and trade as well. For example:
Michelle Chan, a senior policy analyst in San Francisco for Friends of the Earth, isn't convinced.
''Should we really create a new $2 trillion market when we haven't yet finished the job of revamping and testing new financial regulation?'' she asks. Chan says that, given their recent history, the banks' ability to turn climate change into a new commodities market should be curbed'...
''What we have just been woken up to in the credit crisis '-- to a jarring and shocking degree '-- is what happens in the real world,'' she says'...
Friends of the Earth's Chan is working hard to prevent the banks from adding carbon to their repertoire. She titled a March FOE report ''Subprime Carbon?'' In testimony on Capitol Hill, she warned, ''Wall Street won't just be brokering in plain carbon derivatives '-- they'll get creative.''
How the Movie Ends
Yes, they'll get ''creative'', and we have seen this movie before '...an inadequately-regulated carbon derivatives boom will destabilize the economy and lead to another crash.
I have previously pointed out that CDS sellers '' like the big sellers of other financial products '' know that the government will bail them out if CDS crash again. So they have strong incentives to sell them and to recreate huge levels of leverage. Indeed, the same dynamic that led to the S&L crisis also led to last year's CDS crisis, and will lead to the next crisis as well. So '' while CDS might be a particularly dangerous type of ''weapon of mass destruction'' (in Warren Buffet's words), the new carbon derivatives may very well become the new form of looting on the public's dime. If the government allows massive carbon derivatives trading with as little oversight as over the CDS market, taxpayers will end up spending many trillions bailing out the giant banks and propping up the economy when the carbon market bubble bursts.
And as I have previouslypointed out: (1) the giant banks will make a killing on carbon trading, (2) while theleading scientistcrusading against global warming says it won't work, and (3) there is a very high probability of massive fraud and insider trading in the carbon trading markets.
Report: The World Will Run out of Breathable Air Unless Carbon Is Cut - Yahoo News
Fri, 04 Dec 2015 21:26
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War on Guns
The "more mass shootings in the US than days" bullshit
that's being spread all over the internet. shootingtracker.com is purely
a propaganda site, the owner has admitted it on reddit -
Aside from that, shootingtracker.com has their OWN definition of a "mass
shooting" - meaning more than 4 people shot. The FBI definition is 3 or
more people KILLED. Meaning that if you look at shootingtracker.com
you're going to see about 1/10th the number of "mass shootings" as per
the FBI's definition. Personally, I believe 3 is too low to be a "mass
shooting" as a love triangle gone bad can be viewed as a 'mass shooting'
(man comes in to see his wife banging a dude, he shoots and kills wife
and her lover and turns the gun on her self.) Needless to say, they used
to define it as 4 or more killed, but under the Obama administration it
was changed to 3.
Also, shootingtracker.com has counted dumbass kids shooting people with
- which is a total crock of shit. The entire site is a crock of shit,
even crimeresearch.org wrote an article tearing them apart in July of
this year -
ShootingTracker.com Uses Pellet Gun Incidents to Pad 'Mass Shooting' Numbers - The Truth About Guns
Sun, 06 Dec 2015 06:54
Many news sources (including Reuters) have been trying to figure out exactly how many ''mass shootings'' and other events take place in the United States. Too lazy to do their own research, they have begun relying on advocacy websites like ShootingTracker.com. That site is maintained by a small group of rabid anti-gun activists who reside in the /r/GunsAreCool area of Reddit and are known for ignoring facts that don't fit their agenda. If you thought /r/FatPeopleHate was bad, this is worse. Being the aggressive hoplophobes they are, rather than sticking with the facts and reporting the truth, they decided to artificially inflate the number of shooting events in their database by including incidents that even Shannon Watts would reject as irrelevant. Like what, exactly? Well, like this . . .
Here's a couple examples from their list. May 6, 2013:
A pair of township boys are accused of shooting four others with a pellet gun, police said.
Nobody was seriously hurt by the 11- and 12-year-old boys who shot the pellet gun at them on April 25 in the Twinbrook Village apartment complex, Detective Lt. Kevin Faller said in a statement.
The ShootingTracker.com guys believe that this incident, in which four people were slightly bruised by kids with a pellet gun, is on a par with Columbine and Sandy Hook. Want another one? February 20, 2014:
St. Petersburg, Florida ''Three people have been arrested and chargedafter police say they shot multiple people with a pellet gun in St. Petersburg.
At least12 people reported being struck by pellets.
People reported being hit in their legs, hands and back, but police say none of the injuries were serious.
Twelve people being struck by a pellet gun is definitely distressing and an example of irresponsible gun use. But including it with the Virginia Tech massacre as the ShootingTracker.com guys have done is like trying to say someone ogling you is the same thing as rape.
There's no way that we can have meaningful discussions about the role of firearms in the United States without good hard facts. The people who run ShootingTracker.com clearly don't care about facts. They just care about putting out as big a number as possible to make those evil, insane NRA members look as bloodthirsty and heartless as possible.
It isn't journalism. It isn't providing a service. It's pure propaganda. What's worse, the major news generators are picking it up and using it because they're too lazy to do actual research (or they're happy pushing ShootingTracker's agenda). It's as if we're watching the BBC take press releases from ISIS at face value and running them on the evening news.
For Boxter-Oath of Office
Fri, 04 Dec 2015 00:37
Oath of Office
Vice President Richard Nixon administers the oath of office to Senator Gale McGee, 1959.Chapter 1: Oath of OfficeChapter 2: History of the OathChapter 3: Taking the OathOath of Office
I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which I am about to enter: So help me God.
History of the Oath
At the start of each new Congress, in January of every odd-numbered year, the entire House of Representatives and one-third of the Senate performs a solemn and festive constitutional rite that is as old as the Republic. While the oath-taking dates back to the First Congress in 1789, the current oath is a product of the 1860s, drafted by Civil War-era members of Congress intent on ensnaring traitors.
The Constitution contains an oath of office only for the president. For other officials, including members of Congress, that document specifies only that they "shall be bound by Oath or Affirmation to support this constitution." In 1789, the First Congress reworked this requirement into a simple fourteen-word oath: "I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support the Constitution of the United States."
For nearly three-quarters of a century, that oath served nicely, although to the modern ear it sounds woefully incomplete. Missing are the soaring references to bearing "true faith and allegiance;" to taking "this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion;" and to "well and faithfully" discharging the duties of the office.
The outbreak of the Civil War quickly transformed the routine act of oath-taking into one of enormous significance. In April of 1861, a time of uncertain and shifting loyalties, President Abraham Lincoln ordered all federal civilian employees within the executive branch to take an expanded oath. When Congress convened for a brief emergency session in July, members echoed the president's action by enacting legislation requiring employees to take the expanded oath in support of the Union. This oath is the earliest direct predecessor of the modern oath.
When Congress returned for its regular session in December 1861, members who believed that the Union had as much to fear from northern traitors as southern soldiers again revised the oath, adding a new first section known as the "Ironclad Test Oath." The war-inspired Test Oath, signed into law on July 2, 1862, required "every person elected or appointed to any office ... under the Government of the United States ... excepting the President of the United States" to swear or affirm that they had never previously engaged in criminal or disloyal conduct. Those government employees who failed to take the 1862 Test Oath would not receive a salary; those who swore falsely would be prosecuted for perjury and forever denied federal employment.
The 1862 oath's second section incorporated a more polished and graceful rendering of the hastily drafted 1861oath. Although Congress did not extend coverage of the Ironclad Test Oath to its own members, many took it voluntarily. Angered by those who refused this symbolic act during a wartime crisis, and determined to prevent the eventual return of prewar southern leaders to positions of power in the national government, congressional hard-liners eventually succeeded by 1864 in making the Test Oath mandatory for all members.
The Senate then revised its rules to require that members not only take the Test Oath orally, but also that they "subscribe" to it by signing a printed copy. This condition reflected a wartime practice in which military and civilian authorities required anyone wishing to do business with the federal government to sign a copy of the Test Oath. The current practice of newly sworn senators signing individual pages in an elegantly bound oath book dates from this period.
As tensions cooled during the decade following the Civil War, Congress enacted private legislation permitting particular former Confederates to take only the second section of the 1862 oath. An 1868 public law prescribed this alternative oath for "any person who has participated in the late rebellion, and from whom all legal disabilities arising therefrom have been removed by act of Congress." Northerners immediately pointed to the new law's unfair double standard that required loyal Unionists to take the Test Oath's harsh first section while permitting ex-Confederates to ignore it. In 1884, a new generation of lawmakers quietly repealed the first section of the Test Oath, leaving intact today's moving affirmation of constitutional allegiance.
Taking the Oath
At the beginning of a new term of office, senators-elect take their oath of office from the presiding officer in an open session of the Senate before they can begin to perform their legislative activities. From the earliest days, the senator-elect'--both the freshman and the returning veteran'--has been escorted down the aisle by another senator to take the oath from the presiding officer. Customarily, the other senator from the senator-elect's state performs that ritual. Occasionally, the senator-elect chooses a senator from another state, either because the same-state colleague is absent or because the newly elected senator has sharp political differences with that colleague. Such public displays of these differences do not go unnoticed by journalists.
A ban on photography in the Senate chamber has led senators to devise an alternative way of capturing this highly symbolic moment in their Senate careers. In earlier times, the Vice President invited newly sworn senators and their families into his Capitol office for a reenactment for home-state photographers. Beginning in the late 1970s, following the restoration of the Old Senate Chamber to its appearance at the time it went out of service in 1859, reenactment ceremonies have been held in that deeply historical setting, resplendent in crimson and gold.
San Bernardino shooting - LA Times
Fri, 04 Dec 2015 01:10
Warning that Congress has become ''complicit'' in gun violence with its inaction, Senate Democrats forced votes Thursday on measures to curb gun sales, which failed amid mostly Republican opposition.
One proposal from Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) would have added suspected terrorists to the list of individuals blocked from buying firearms. Another that would have closed the so-called gun show loophole that allows buyers to escape background checks won broader GOP support, but not enough to pass.
''How can we live with ourselves, for failing to do the things we know will reduce gun violence?'' said Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.).
''We are complicit through our inaction,'' he said. ''It is despicable. For far too long we have done nothing, even as gun violence shakes our nation to its core.''
Passage was a long-shot in the face of opposition from the gun lobby, including the National Rifle Assn., which continues to hold sway over lawmakers.
The last major effort in Congress, after the 2012 mass shooting of elementary school children in Newtown, Conn., failed to change gun laws, as did the 2011 shooting of then-Rep. Gabrielle Giffords as she met with constituents outside a Tuscon grocery store.
Republicans offered alternatives Thursday that Democrats rejected as weak, and some senators objected to tampering with the broader GOP package to repeal the Affordable Care Act.
But mostly GOP leaders, including House Speaker Paul D. Ryan (R-Wis.), have said the focus should be on mental health reforms.
Democratic Sen. Christopher S. Murphy of Connecticut said that while prayers and good wishes like those he received in the aftermath of the Newtown school shooting are appreciated, Thursday's votes were intended to show Americans there are ''sane people'' in Washington who know that gun laws must change.
''Members of Congress don't get paid to send out sympathy tweets. Members of Congress get paid to change policy,'' Murphy said. ''In this Congress, we're not even trying, we're not even making an attempt, and that's offensive.''
What If Getting a Gun Were as Hard as Getting an Abortion? | Mother Jones
Fri, 04 Dec 2015 20:01
'--Hannah Levintova on Fri. December 4, 2015 1:03 PM PDT
After multiple shootings across the country in the past week, including a mass shooting in San Bernardino, California, that killed 14 people, a Missouri state lawmaker decided to take a provocative approach toward gun control. State Rep. Stacey Newman, a Democrat, prefiled a bill this week for the next legislative session that, if passed, would subject potential gun buyers to the same rigmarole of restrictions'--a 72-hour waiting period, an explanatory video, a doctor meeting, a facility tour, reviews of photographs, and more'--that are already imposed on or have been proposed for Missouri women seeking abortions.
From the bill, HB 1397:
Prior to any firearm purchase in this state, a prospective firearm purchaser shall, at least seventy-two hours prior to the initial request to purchase a firearm from a licensed firearm dealer located at least one hundred twenty miles from such purchaser's legal residence, confer and discuss with a licensed physician the indicators and contraindicators and risk factors, including any physical, psychological, or situational factors, that may arise with the proposed firearm purchase. Such physician shall then evaluate the prospective firearm purchaser for such indicators and contraindicators and risk factors and determine if such firearm purchase would increase such purchaser's risk of experiencing an adverse physical, emotional, or other health reaction.
The bill also requires gun purchasers to watch a 30-minute video about firearm injuries, to tour an emergency trauma center at an urban hospital on a weekend night, when rates of gun-shot victims are high, and to meet with two families who have experienced gun violence and two local faith leaders who have officiated a funeral recently for a child killed by gun violence.
This symbolic bill is reminiscent of the trend that cropped up several years ago, when legislators across the country filed tongue-in-cheek measures proposing restrictions on vasectomies corresponding to state abortion restrictions. None of those measures passed, and Newman's bill is also virtually guaranteed to fail in Missouri's Republican-controlled legislature. Newman's intent is to highlight the high hurdles to getting an abortion in Missouri relative to the lack of accountability required for buying a gun.
"If we truly insist that Missouri cares about 'all life', then we must take immediate steps to address our major cities rising rates of gun violence,'" Newman told St. Louis magazine. "Popular proposals among voters, including universal background checks and restricting weapons from abuser and convicted felons, are consistently ignored each session. Since restrictive policies regarding a constitutionally protected medical procedure are the GOP's legislative priority each year, it makes sense that their same restrictions apply to those who may commit gun violence."
San Bernardino
Landlord: Media Forced Their Way Into San Bernardino Terrorists' Apartment - Breitbart
Fri, 04 Dec 2015 20:39
One of the most bizarre and possibly irresponsible and craven scenes in media history just unfurled on MSNBC and CNN as reporters from both networks toured the apartment of the San Bernardino Islamic terrorists on live television. While a MSNBC reporter rummaged through the deceased terrorists' closets and boxes and photo albums, Andrea Mitchell reassured viewers that the disturbing scene was okay. ''The landlord told us authorities were done with the crime scene,'' she said.
According to the landlord, though, this was not the case. When he opened the door, reporters rushed into the apartment, possibly contaminating one of the most important crimes scenes in years.
Grasswire reached out to the San Bernardino sheriff's department and were told that the apartment is still an active crime scene and not cleared for the media.'--
Me: ''Are you watching what we're watching on TV?'' San Bernardino Sheriff's Bozek: ''Oh yeah, I am. That '-- I don't know what's going on.'' '-- Matthew Keys (@MatthewKeysLive) December 4, 2015'--
If all of this proves true, the media not only contaminated an active crime scene, they trampled through evidence that might lead to apprehending others involved in the plot.
Even if the scene was cleared, which sounds ridiculous after just 2 days, the media still broadcast video of photos of children, a woman's drivers license, and rummaged through property that does not belong to them.
While CNN was rummaging through the place, law enforcement guests on the network were furious at what they were seeing: ''Never have I seen anything like this. '... I'm shaking right now. '... Where is the fingerprint dust you see after a crime scene is worked? '... This was the destruction of a crime scene '... A crime scene for a terrorist mass-murder has been turned into a rummage sale.''
Here is what the melee looked like as it unfolded:
FUTONS-San Bernardino shooters' home had baby toys, prayer books - NY Daily News
Fri, 04 Dec 2015 20:52
The landlord of the apartment where the suspected San Bernardino killers built bombs and stocked ammo gave reporters a bizarre tour of their cramped lair Friday '-- two days after federal law enforcement agents declared it an active crime scene.
Boards were still nailed over the windows of the Redland, Calif. apartment as reporters '-- cameras and lights blazing '-- trampled through rooms, touching items and holding them up for viewers to see.
Curious neighbors reportedly followed suit, gawking at the clutter of toys, clothes, pictures and personal belongings left behind by accused killers Syef Farook and wife Tashfeen Malik.
Playthings for the terrorist couple's 6-month-old baby girl overflowed from a small white crib. A white plush teddybear and dozens of other toys were scattered throughout the condo.
On a bed nearby, religious prayer books were thrown next to prayer beads and a parenting tome on motherhood, while a passport and other photos were stacked in loose piles.
In the bathroom, pictures were scattered around '-- and the couple's drivers licenses were left amid the mess. Bags of clothes spilled from closets, and in the kitchen evidence of recently prepared meals was still spilled across countertops.
Reporters even cracked the couple's fridge, revealing well-stocked shelves with fresh eggs, and opened up what appeared to be a closet crawl space.
A huge gold watch adorned one wall, while in another a baby car walker and tossed-about papers were piled next to a heap of red and gold rugs.
Several tapestries and calendars with intricate designs and what appeared to be religious texts hung on other walls.
An FBI spokeswoman said the property '-- where cops found thousands of rounds of ammunition and dozens of pipe bombs '-- had been returned to the owner and was no longer an active crime scene.
''They said the investigation was over. The police department told me,'' said landlord Doyle Miller.
He said he had yet to enter the garage '-- which the couple reportedly turned into a bomb factory.
''I want to see it, but I'm not going to open it up,'' he said. ''When everybody's gone. This is way too much attention.''
There were also signs of prior searches by law enforcement officials. The hard drive to a computer was missing and fingerprinting dust was sprinkled haphazardly.
Investigators have said they found crushed electronics in addition to the ammunition and items to make bombs in the small apartment.
Police are still searching for a motive to explain why Farook, 28, and his wife Malik, 27, went on their horrific rampage Wednesday, killing 14 and wounding 21.
Their baby was orphaned when they died later in a bloody shootout with cops.
Law enforcement sources said Friday that Malik pledged allegiance to an ISIS leader on social media before the killing spree.
The landlord said that Farook had been ''friendly'' when the couple applied to live in the apartment.
''There was no red flags anywhere in their application. Nothing,'' Miller said. ''There was nothing weird.''
Farook, his wife, their baby and Farook's mother lived there, he said, paying $1,200 a month with a one-year lease. A pre-rental background check turned up nothing strange, the landlord said.
''He seemed like normal, just a normal person,'' Miller said.
''I never talked to the lady at all. Never seen her,'' he said of Malik.
Tags:san bernardino shooting ,tashfeen malik ,syed rizwan farook ,mass murder ,terrorism ,gun violence ,california ,isis
Tashfeen Name Meaning in Urdu - Tashfeen meaning تاشفین, Arabic Girls & Boys Names
Sat, 05 Dec 2015 00:25
ہمدرد، مہربان، ہمدردÙÙÚ¯ ، غم Ø®Ùار ÙÙÚ¯ ،غمگØ"ار ÙÙÚ¯ معنیTashfeen is a Muslim baby Boy name. It is an Arabic originated name. Tashfeen meaning is Sympathetic.The lucky number associated with Tashfeen is 4. Find all the relevant details about the Tashfeen Meaning, Origin, Lucky Number and Religion from this page. Average rating of Tashfeen is 3 stars, based on 2 reviews.Tashfeen meaning has been search 17076 seventeen thousand and seventy-six times till 04 December, 2015.
Tashfeen - Stats & Rating
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saira khan - Google Search
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CAIR Bashes Trump, Carson on 'Islamophobia'Breitbart News-2 hours ago
... condemning the San Bernardino attack and featuring a relative of one of the suspects '-- Farhan Khan '-- married to the sister (Saira Khan) of ...
The selection and placement of stories on this page were determined automatically by a computer program. The time or date displayed reflects when an article was added to or updated in Google News.
Farhan Khan (actor) - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Fri, 04 Dec 2015 19:01
Farhan KhanBorn(1983-05-06) 6 May 1983 (age 32)Mumbai, Maharashtra, IndiaNationalityIndiaOccupationActor, ModelYears active2010 '' PresentHeight6 ft 0 in (183 cm)Farhan Khan (born May 6, 1983) is an Indian model and television actor. He is mostly known for his brief role in Sony TV's Chhanchhan.
Farhan was born in Burhanpur, India, and raised in Mumbai, India. He comes from a family of people with a film, TV and stage background. His grandfather was a distributor and film publicist and his father is a theatre artiste, a film and TV producer and a documentary filmmaker. His uncle Shakil Khan is an established producer and also makes documentaries edits of education, and his brother Tabrez Khan is a director of TV shows like Bhagyavidhaata among others. His older brother and mother are both writers.[1]
Farhan is a theatre actor and a professional model. Before entering the industry, Farhan was an athlete and wanted to be part of the Olympic Games. He was a four-time Mumbai University record holder and also at the state level. However, he was unable to pursue his dream of entering the Olympics as they are "filled with politics". Farhan stated in an interview that after his failed attempt at sports, he got so emotional that it made him depressed. This moment initiated him into the world of theatre which he used as a medium to vent his frustrations of not being able to compete in the Olympics. The actor spoke about how theatre helps him emotionally: ''It has had a calming effect on me. Now, if someone is angry with me, I still smile at that person. I've become very quiet as well.''[1]
Farhan's first television role was the male lead in Sony Entertainment Television's show, Chhanchhan. While the show started off with much hype and excitement, it failed to gain ratings.' Chhanchhan ended on September 19, 2013 due to a poorly-written script.
Farhan is currently studying to be a lawyer and intends to pursue his Master of Philosophy degree and PhD further.
Attorney for San Bernardino gunman's family floats hoax theory - The Washington Post
Fri, 04 Dec 2015 20:47
An attorney for the family of one of the San Bernardino attackers cited conspiracy theories surrounding another mass shooting in trying to cast doubt on accounts of this week's attack.
''There was a lot of questions drawn with regard to Sandy Hook and whether or not that was a real incident or not,'' David Chesley, an attorney for the family of Syed Farook, said in a video uploaded Friday by the Daily Mail.
After that late 2012 shooting in Newtown, Conn., in which 27 people were killed, conspiracy theorists alleged that the attack was staged, perhaps as part of a plot to promote a gun control agenda '-- a sentiment Chesley appeared to echo in the video.
[False flags, true believers and trolls: Understanding conspiracy theories after tragedies]
''There's a lot of motivation at this time to emphasize or create incidents that will cause gun control or prejudice or hatred towards the Muslim community,'' Chesley told reporters in the video.
''When we went to our questioning with the FBI, there were a lot of attempts to basically link this to online accounts or visits to the Middle East and every one of them just fell flat,'' he said.
Chesley made similar allegations on CNN this week.
''There's a lot of things that quite frankly don't add up or seem implausible. '... There's a lot of things that just don't make sense,'' he told CNN's Chris Cuomo.
Conspiracy theories commonly spring up online following such tragedies, including after the Colorado Springs shooting last Friday. But while the Internet facilitates their proliferation, it also facilitates the response, says Joe Uscinski, co-author of the book ''American Conspiracy Theories'' and an associate professor of political science at the University of Miami, where he chaired the Conference on Conspiracy Theories in March.
''The Internet acts both as the incubator for conspiracy theories, but it also acts as the antidote,'' he said in a far-ranging interview on conspiracy theories published Friday morning.
After the mass shooting in San Bernardino, Calif., on Wednesday that left 14 people dead, details are starting to emerge about the two shooters. Here's what we know about Syed Farook and Tashfeen Malik. (The Washington Post)
Related stories:
False flags, true believers and trolls: Understanding conspiracy theories after tragedies
San Bernardino attacker pledged allegiance to Islamic State leader, officials say
Couple seemed quiet and withdrawn '-- until explosion of violence
Niraj Chokshi is a general assignment reporter for The Washington Post.
What We Know About Female San Bernardino Shooter Tashfeen Malik - ABC News
Sat, 05 Dec 2015 00:30
Since news today that San Bernardino shooter Tashfeen Malik is said to have posted a pledge of allegiance to ISIS around the time she and her husband killed 14 people Wednesday, the world's attention has shifted to the mysterious mother-turned-murderer.
Malik, who was born in Pakistan, moved to Saudi Arabia 25 years ago when she was about four years old. When she was older, she likely moved back and forth between Saudi Arabia and Pakistan, according to a source close to the Saudi Arabian government.
In 2007, she returned to Pakistan to study at Bahuddin Zakri University in Multan and stayed until 2012, according to a Pakistani intelligence official. She was said to be a brilliant student and was not known to have religious or political affiliation while there.
Malik encountered Syed Rizwan Farook, an American of Pakistani origin born in Chicago, on a dating website, an attorney for Farook's family told reporters today. U.S. officials said Farook could have met Malik or her family in Saudi Arabia during a trip there in the fall of 2013. After another trip in July 2014, Farook returned to the U.S. with Malik in tow. The couple was married the next month.
Malik came to the U.S. on what is known as a ''fianc(C)'' visa, which allows an American fianc(C) to petition for his or her partner's temporary entry before marriage. For the visa application, the address she listed in her Pakistani hometown, ABC News discovered today, does not exist. Malik received a her Green Card this summer, U.S. officials said.
Six months ago, the couple had a baby daughter and named her according to a naming convention more common to Arab families, rather than in the typical Pakistani manner.
How Malik purportedly became radicalized enough to post the alleged pledge of allegiance to ISIS and help kill more than a dozen people in a quiet California town is still a mystery.
The official close to the Saudi Arabian government said that Saudi intelligence officials did not have her on any of their watch lists and she did not appear to have any link to extremists in the region. Neither Malik or Farook were on the FBI's radar in the U.S., officials said.
FBI Special Agent David Bowdich said today it's also unclear who in the relationship led the other down the violent path.
''I don't know the answer, whether she influenced him or not. Being a husband myself, we're all influenced to an extent. But I don't know the answer,'' he said.
FBI Director James Comey said the Bureau is still investigating whether ISIS inspired the attack, but said there is ''no indication'' they were part of a larger network. No other suspects are being sought, though Bowdich didn't rule out the potential for later arrests.
Today lawyers for the Farook family cast doubt on the reports of the ISIS pledge and said that there hasn't been any real evidence that the couple has any ''extremist tendencies.''
''None of the family knew of him as being extreme, aggressive or having any extreme religious views,'' one of the attorneys said.
The other noted that Malik was very soft-spoken and conservative -- so much that Farook's brothers never saw her face, due to the full burqa she always wore in public.
As the FBI continues to investigate, Nada Bakos, a former CIA analyst, told ABC News she would not be surprised if Malik had been ISIS-inspired. ''Terrorism is not gender-specific,'' she said.
A recent report by George Washington University's Center for Cyber and Homeland Security said that of the 71 individuals arrested in the U.S. since March 2014 with purported ties to ISIS, 10 were female.
Bakos, whose work with the CIA concentrated on al Qaeda in Iraq (AQI), the precursor to ISIS, told ABC News she often tracked female extremists for the Agency and noted that AQI infamously used a female suicide bomber in a failed suicide attack in Jordan in 2005 '' the woman had hidden a bomb under her dress, but it failed to detonate.
''Men don't have a monopoly on terrorism or conducting violent acts,'' she said. ''At this point, in the evolution of terrorism, it wouldn't be surprising to see a woman take an operational role.''
This report has been updated with new information from the Farook family attorney about how Malik and Farook met.
Get real-time updates as this story unfolds. To start, just "star" this story in ABC News' phone app. Download ABC News for iPhone here or ABC News for Android here.
Top Los Angeles Criminal Defense Attorney | Chesley Lawyers
Fri, 04 Dec 2015 20:49
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We are highly-skilled, aggressive, and knowledgeable criminal defense and DUI lawyers with extensive experience practicing criminal law. We successfully defend our clients against ALL TYPES OF MAJOR CRIME, SERIOUS FELONY, AND MISDEMEANOR CHARGES including: Violent Offenses, Theft Crimes, Drug Charges, DUI, Murder Cases, and Sex Crimes. Information about these charges can be found on the tabs listed above. We also handle cases in areas outside criminal defense including: immigration, bankruptcy, family law, personal injury, civil, loan modification, and contract fraud cases.
It is extremely important that criminal charges are defended thoroughly, and vigorously by a highly-skilled, professional, and experienced attorney. The right attorney can and will make the difference between a guilty plea and a dismissal of all charges. Without the work of an excellent lawyer, criminal charges are bound to have a significant long-lasting impact on a defendant's life and will most likely change the quality of a defendant's life forever. Hiring a skilled, aggressive, and experienced law firm is essential. Our client's get the best results in their cases because we are excellent lawyers! We are well-connected in all of the Courthouses, we are extremely persuasive, aggressive, relentless, and thorough, we know what we are doing, and have been practicing criminal defense for many years. Defendants are constantly being recommended and referred to us from past and present satisfied clients of our law firm. We also frequently receive new client referrals through the Court system, and from other attorneys in the criminal defense community who are familiar with the amazing results we have achieved for our clients.
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SAN BERNARDINO-Lame Cherry: The Flute Player
Fri, 04 Dec 2015 19:22
As another Lame Cherry exclusive in matter anti matter.
Americans are gullible beyond compare.
If John Dillinger's brother told you, that he had no idea his brother was a gangster, would you believe him?
If Saddam Hussein's brother told you, that he had no idea his brother tortured people, would you believe him?
It is so odd, in none of you believe a thing coming out of George W. Bush's mouth, and yet when Farhan Khan, the Islamic brother in law of the Muslim who just shot up California with his imported wife, tells you he had no idea his relatives were terrorists............you believe the Associated Press as it is fact, because we all know that Muslims never lie, never terrorize people, never cheer when Americans are mass slaughtered and never murder people.
This is the American Nightmare. You have Muslim immigrants who appear in America, get divorced, the family breaks up, the old Muslim veil wearer gets the kids, and then places an ad online for a crippled wife for this Syed Farook.You have to get something is wrong in this family, when they are looking for a wife for their son, and he is scouring the internet, and one of the terms is the woman is a cripple. That should throw up red flags.
A profile appearing to be for San Bernardino, California killer Syed Farook was posted on a dating website called iMilap, which caters to people with disabilities as well as people looking for a second marriage. Farook's profile, allegedly posted by his parents, describes a modern Muslim who enjoyed target practice in the backyard with his siblings. According to the profile, Farook did not have a physical disability.
All of this goes back to the Lame Cherry exclusive in matter anti matter, in the Flute Player AKA the some kind of wife of Syed Farook, Tashfeen Malik.What we know of this border jumper is she is supposed to be Pakistani. We know that Farook went to Saudi Arabia for a month, and appeared with a wife, who somehow in the OBAMA REGIME AMNESTY OF MUSLIM TERRORISTS, got out of Saudi Arabia, where she was not a national, and into America as a "fiance" K1 Visa for Farook.We know for certain, that there were not any terrorist activities, until this Pakistani Obama import appeared on the scene. We also know other realities.
Farook and Malik appeared from the Mideast in the "spring" as a fiance. In doing the math on immaculate conceptions like Stan Ann Dunham being a 10 month baby and Birther Hussein being an 8 month baby, that these Muslims were dipping in the couscous before marriage in fornication, because a kid popped out way too soon.
Inquiry points to Tashfeen Malik was a hinterlands black widow. Her original mission was to gain access to Saudi Arabia to mask her identity, gain her American access and unleash terror inside America. This woman was a terror implant from the beginning.
Malik obviously had absolutely no ties to motherhood, in her prime directive was to carry out this attack using what could best be described as her smoking pot between her legs as incentive, as her whatever kind of husband Farook was, he was an absolute shining example of Barack Hussein Obama and Jerry Brown's affirmative action.
Farook was from a family advertising for crippled or mentally retarded women as wives, and his education and command of English, "being reared in America" was F level grade. Yet in Jerry Brown's California, this man had a state job, inspecting food, earning an incredible wage.Syed Farook was low IQ and did not belong anywhere near the job he was hired for. That is the reality, but California is now such a cop state that if any American reports a mob of Muslims, it is the American who would get into trouble........just like it would be an American who would get into trouble for asking why in this world, someone who could not even write an intelligent sentence was hired by the regime in a position of power.
All of this centers around the "holiday party" at the regime center, because that is what set all of this off. Farook was at the center. There was the black SUV. It is apparent that he had loaded this vehicle with pipe bombs, ammunition and firearms, before he entered the party and then left. To reappear with the Flute Player and the brother, to begin the Terrortard Attack.I am going to point something out in this again. The Obama regime armed and trained these terrorists in their central orbit. This means they have taught them to attack liberal gatherings. This means they have trained them to use methods which will not inflict maximum casualties, because these terrortards are not bright enough to know ammunition, firearms or have the ability to build pipe bombs that detonate...........
I am going to give a Lame Cherry exclusive again in matter anti matter. If you recall Oklahoma City, Terry Nichols reported that the bomb which he and McVeigh built, was not the bomb which took down the Murrah Building. The minder running that operation was Larry Potts, whose operatives were supplying detonators and explosives.Inquiry points to in this "group of Muslims" which neighbors were afraid to report in the neighborhood in being accused of racial profiling, states there was a regime minder in this group directing it, exactly like Hutatree.As OKC and Hutatree were BATFE guided, inquiry is pointing to something about the Department of Education, having a shadow operation, which is hidden from Congress, but is answering to Homeland Security. It was this minder who built the pipe bombs, deliberately like Bill Ayers bombs were built to not detonate.....unless to kill his own terrorists which he was minding.
I will repeat, that there is a minder at large in this group, who is employed by the regime, who built the pipe bombs, so they would be defective.
What inquiry points to is the conduit at Homeland who was monitoring this, allowed this attack to proceed, because they are at odds with the Obama regime in allowing in all of these Muslim terrorists. I thought it perhaps was a competing faction, but that is not the case. Someone powerful enough just tied terrorism to the Obama regime to make this an issue.Inquiry points to over 20 such events in the pipeline to be initiated.
Now you know a great deal more than you were ever supposed to with this. I do not want people plagiarizing this as a false flag operation. It was not. It was an operation in the works, and it was simply not stopped. The Flute Player is key in this in the Pakistan connection. There is something about the Obama drone strikes in this which harmed her family, in that dope trade which the regime was setting up in good and bad terrorists.
I leave this at that, as "tis the season" has made the majority of you Scrooges in thinking a few poor people donating is the measure of giving as you steal from this blog information you will never get from anywhere else.
SITE INTEL GROUP-San Bernardino attacker pledged allegiance to Islamic State leader, officials say - The Washington Post
Fri, 04 Dec 2015 19:12
Police in San Bernardino, Calif., held a news conference about the ongoing investigation into the mass shooting that occurred at a county holiday party on Wednesday. An investigation into the shooters' home uncovered 12 pipe bombs in the building. (Reuters)
The Pakistani woman who teamed with her husband in the San Bernardino massacre that killed 14 people on Wednesday pledged her allegiance to the leader of the Islamic State, the clearest indication yet that the mass shooting was an act of terrorism, according to two law enforcement officials.
The revelation brought a new focus to Tashfeen Malik, 27, the enigmatic woman who police say carried out the killing spree on Wednesday alongside her husband, Syed Rizwan Farook, 28, before they were both slain in a frenzied shootout with officers later that day.
Malik posted a statement on Facebook referring to Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the emir of the self-proclaimed Islamic State, the militant group that says it has established a caliphate in Syria and Iraq.
The precise nature of the statement and how she pledged allegiance was not immediately known. Facebook identified and removed the profile involved for violating its community standards, saying that any content praising an Islamic State leader would violate its community standards, a company official said Friday. The company said it was cooperating with law enforcement.
The Islamic State has quickly asserted responsibility for last month's massacre in Paris and other attacks, but the group does not appear so far to have taken credit for the San Bernardino attacks, so it was unclear if the attack was inspired by the group or specifically directed in some way.
Even as this authorities continued to try and sift through the couple's past to determine their motives, cable news networks on Friday showed journalists inside their home. Footage broadcast on MSNBC beamed out images of a baby's crib, personal photographs, children's toys and shredded paper, even as it was unclear if law enforcement officials still considered the home part of the investigation.
Police said that the two attackers in San Bernardino had a massive arsenal of explosives and ammunition in their home, which officials say suggested a degree of planning and raised the possibility of further bloodshed. They sought to cover their tracks by damaging some of their personal electronic devices, a senior U.S. law enforcement official said Friday, equipment that an FBI lab was analyzing to see if any data could be retrieved.
Authorities still believe the plot was limited to the two attackers, a senior U.S. law enforcement official said, but they are still investigating whether anyone else had any knowledge of the attack.
The FBI is now trying to determine if the two were self-radicalized or were more directly connected to international terrorists as part of a carefully planned operation. Investigators said the couple managed to stay off the FBI radar, and apparently didn't take any overt steps to make contact with Islamic State operatives living overseas.
''This is not Jihad 101,'' the senior law enforcement said, saying that the attackers had not taken the usual steps commonly seen in previous terrorist attacks. Other attackers or people accused of trying to travel overseas seeking training have made contact with terrorists through social media. In some cases, supporters of the Islamic State have shared the group's propaganda.
The Islamic State uses sophisticated propaganda to recruit adherents and has called for lone-wolf attacks in the United States and other countries, something U.S. officials have called an immediate danger.
Saudi intelligence is investigating Malik's time in that country, and the government there has not confirmed when she lived there or whether she left with Farook when he visited for nine days in the early summer of 2014.
But a Saudi official said that Malik's name does not appear on any watch list there, and that they have uncovered no evidence of contacts between her and and radical individual or group during her time there. The official said that Malik had lived with her father ''off and on'' in Saudi Arabia over the years, apparently travelling back and forth an undetermined number of times to Pakistan.
Since the massacre Wednesday '-- which also wounded 21 people '-- officials had been scrambling to determine whether they were looking at a terrorist attack or an extremely unusual and lethal case of workplace violence
Farook had maintained a Facebook page that was deleted before the shooting, according to Rita Katz, executive director of the SITE Intelligence Group, which tracks terrorists' online communications.
[After Paris and California attacks, U.S. Muslims feel intense backlash]
Police said they had found a number of items '-- including thumb drives, computers and cellphones '-- that were being analyzed to investigate the couple's digital trail.
However, the attackers sought to destroy some of the devices, smashing some into little pieces, according to the senior law enforcement official, who spoke Friday on the condition of anonymity to discuss an ongoing investigation.
The official did not elaborate Friday on the specific types of devices that were destroyed. But because some of the items recovered by law enforcement were broken up into pieces, it was unclear how much could be recovered from the devices themselves, the official said.
The FBI is still trying to determine when the devices were smashed and has not concluded if they were damaged before the shooting or during the hours between the massacre and the bloody firefight with police that ended with both attackers dead on a residential street in San Bernardino.
Farook was a county health worker born in Chicago, while Malik had originally entered the United States on a visa. The young husband and wife had a daughter just six months ago; .Farhan Khan, the brother-in-law of one of the attackers, told NBC News that he was beginning the legal process to adopt the couple's daughter.
In the days after the attack, investigators found no outward sign of Islamist radicalization, psychological distress or a desire for mayhem.
['I'll take a bullet before you do': Scenes from the San Bernardino shooting]
The official said the FBI had been perplexed in the days after the attack and was still searching for clues that would indicate radicalization on the part of either one.
This official had said the attack in San Bernardino evoked the mass shooting in Chattanooga, Tenn., earlier this year, when 24-year-old Mohammad Youssef Abdulazeez opened fire at an armed forces recruiting center and a Navy Reserve center, killing five people. In that case, the official pointed out, it took days for the FBI to sort out what had happened, and some questions remain unanswered.
The FBI, which has authority to investigate potential terrorism, said Thursday that it had taken over the investigation, as authorities carefully picked through three crime scenes: the Inland Regional Center, where the mass shooting occurred; the San Bernardino street where the couple died in the gun battle with police; and the couple's rented home in Redlands, Calif., where robots had helped investigators root out an arsenal of pipe bombs and thousands of bullets.
After the mass shooting in San Bernardino, Calif., on Wednesday that left 14 people dead, details are starting to emerge about the two shooters. Here's what we know about Syed Farook and Tashfeen Malik. (The Washington Post)
Some evidence collected in California was flown across the country on Thursday so that the FBI could examine it in its lab, David Bow­dich, assistant director in charge of the FBI's Los Angeles office, said at a news conference.
''We're hoping some of that digital media '... will help us,'' he said.
The FBI's Operational Technology Division in Quantico, Va., has units that can try to retrieve data from smashed, burned and damaged devices, including cellphones, hard drives and flash drives.
A computer analysis team there can look to pull call records, pictures, GPS location data, address book information and other data from the devices, while a forensic analysis unit tries to restore and enhance audio and visual data. Any data that is pulled would go to analysts in the various units investigating the shooting.
Farook, who had a college degree in environmental health and a steady job as a health inspector, traveled to Saudi Arabia and Pakistan last year and returned with Malik, whom he had met online. They were married in the United States, police said.
Authorities have said the two were not on any watch lists. A senior U.S. law enforcement official said that Farook was in contact with persons of interest with possible ties to terrorism but that these were not ''substantial'' contacts.
Farook had been with his colleagues at the party earlier in the morning before the attack, police said. Authorities could not say conclusively whether there had been a dispute that led Farook to leave the party. But police said a survivor of the shooting told them that Farook slipped away before the massacre.
Farook's supervisor, Amanda Adair, who also went to college with him at California State University at San Bernardino, said he ''got along with everybody, but he kept his distance.'' She said that she ''can't imagine [the shooting] was about work'' and that she had no inkling that Farook had the capacity for such violence.
Without a firmly established motive, authorities had previously said that they could not determine whether they were dealing with terrorists, a disgruntled worker who had enlisted his wife in his cause, or some kind of hybrid of those two scenarios.
The case did not initially fit any familiar template. If it was terrorism, why would the shooters target co-workers in a small city not far from Los Angeles, rather than some more spectacular target? If it was workplace violence, why build up an arsenal of bullets and pipe bombs?
[''I've never witnessed something so sad in my life': Stories of the San Bernardino victims]
''It is possible this was terrorist-related, but we don't know,'' President Obama said Thursday in somber remarks in the Oval Office. ''It is also possible this was workplace-related.''
Mark Pitcavage, director of the Center on Extremism for the Anti-Defamation League, said that ''based on what is known now about the case, it certainly is unusual and does not fit neatly into any of the traditional models of violence that we're familiar with.''
Police said Farook and Malik were dressed in tactical gear and armed with rifles, handguns and multiple ammunition magazines when, at about 11 a.m., they strode into a conference room where about 80 people were gathered for a staff training session that was transitioning into a holiday party.
They opened fire, spraying 65 to 75 rounds and hitting more than a third of the people. A bullet struck a sprinkler head, and the sprinklers began soaking the room as the fire alarms went off. The shooters fled in a rented black Ford Expedition, leaving behind a bag with three pipe bombs designed to be triggered with a remote-control device from the SUV. The device malfunctioned.
San Bernardino police Lt. Mike Madden, the first law enforcement officer to arrive at the center, described the fresh scent of gunpowder and a horrifying scene for which years of training had not fully prepared him.
''The situation was surreal,'' Madden said Thursday. ''It was unspeakable, the carnage we were seeing.''
That tip led police to check Farook's name, which led to the discovery that he had rented an SUV that matched the description of the getaway car.
Soon, authorities were staking out the couple's home in Redlands, a suburb 15 minutes to the east. Several hours after the shooting, the SUV rolled by and then sped away, and police chased it.
The SUV stopped on San Bernardino Avenue, a few miles from the massacre. Cellphone videos captured the furious gun battle that followed. Police said the couple fired 76 rifle rounds; police fired 380.
Farook and Malik died at the scene. Two officers were injured, but the wounds were not life-threatening. A third person detained after the shootout was determined to have no involvement in the case.
The SUV, so riddled with bullets that it looked as if it had been hit with a bomb, was due back at the rental agency that day, police said.
Police found more than 1,600 rounds of ammunition on or near the couple, suggesting that they were prepared for a long siege. Police recovered two assault rifles and two 9mm pistols, all legally purchased, according to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. Two of the weapons were traced to one of the assailants, said Dannette Seward, an ATF spokeswoman, while the other two were traced to another person who has not been publicly identified.
[The striking difference between the San Bernardino suspects and other mass shooters]
''The FBI is chasing down any contacts these two may have had and whether those contacts are indicative of radicalization or external plotting or are purely incidental,'' said Rep. Adam B. Schiff (Calif.), the ranking Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee.
The congressman said the shooting did not appear to be ''an act of spontaneous workplace violence.'' But, he said, it could have been the culmination of a longer-term grievance.
''There appears to be a degree of planning that went into this,'' San Bernardino Police Chief Jarrod Burguan said. ''Nobody just gets upset at a party, goes home and puts together that kind of elaborate scheme or plan.''
[Hours before San Bernardino shooting, doctors urged Congress to lift funding ban on gun violence research]
A number of families in this city were shattered by Wednesday's violence. On Thursday, officials released the names of the 14 people slain at the holiday party. The eight men and six women ranged in age from 26 to 60. One ran the coffee shop in the building. Twelve of the 14 were county employees.
Shaken, too, were Muslims in Southern California. At the Islamic Society of Corona-Norco, Ray Abboud said Muslims were horrified by the shooting. He said he fears people will paint Muslims with one brush.
''It breaks our hearts to see 14 people die,'' Abboud said. ''We feel sorry for everything that happened, but we can't blame ourselves for being Muslim.''
He said people in the community were keeping a close watch on their children ''to make sure they don't fall into any crazy stuff.''
Freelance writers Martha Groves and William Dauber in San Bernardino, staff writers Missy Ryan and Eli Saslow in San Bernardino and staff writers Karen DeYoung, Ellen Nakashima, Greg Miller, Brian Murphy, Lindsey Bever, Niraj Chokshi, Ann Gerhart, Sari Horwitz, Elahe Izadi, Wesley Lowery, Eli Saslow, Kevin Sullivan, Julie Tate, Justin Wm. Moyer, Yanan Wang, Sarah Kaplan and Alice Crites in Washington contributed to this report.
[This story has been updated. First published: 9:42 a.m.]
Adam Goldman reports on terrorism and national security for The Washington Post.
Mark Berman is a reporter on the National staff. He runs Post Nation, a destination for breaking news and stories from around the country.
Joel Achenbach writes on science and politics for the Post's national desk and on the "Achenblog."
War on Religion
These Pranksters Read Bible Passages to People, Telling Them It Was the Qur'an; They Were Shocked
Sat, 05 Dec 2015 01:59
A lot of conservative Christians like to argue, as do atheists, that the Qur'an is full of barbarism and misogyny. Unlike the atheists, though, they forget that their own Bible is also full of horrific verses.
So the Dutch pranksters at Dit Is Normaal ran an experiment. They bought a Bible, but changed the cover to say it's the Qur'an. Then they asked people to read passages and give their thoughts.
It went exactly as you'd expect:
It's almost as if these people hadn't read their Bibles'... but that's impossible, right?
(Thanks to Brian for the link)
Chinese government has arrested hackers it says breached OPM database - The Washington Post
Fri, 04 Dec 2015 16:32
The Chinese government recently arrested a handful of hackers it says were connected to the breach of Office of Personnel Management's database this year, a mammoth break-in that exposed the records of more than 22 million current and former federal employees.
The arrests took place shortly before a state visit in September by President Xi Jinping, and U.S. officials say they appear to have been carried out in an effort to lessen tensions with Washington.
The identities of the suspects '-- and whether they have any connection to the Chinese government '-- remain unclear.
Hacks of government and corporate data emanating from China have been a constant source of tension between the United States and China. On Tuesday and Wednesday, Attorney General Loretta Lynch and Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson met with senior Chinese officials to establish guidelines for working together on law enforcement requests to investigate malicious cyberactivities. The OPM hack '-- which came in two waves '-- was also on the agenda.
If the individuals detained were indeed the hackers, the arrests would mark the first measure of accountability for what has been characterized as one of the most devastating breaches of U.S. government data in history.
But officials said it has been difficult to confirm whether the people rounded up were connected to the OPM breach.
''We don't know that if the arrests the Chinese purported to have made are the guilty parties,'' said one U.S. official who '-- like others interviewed '-- spoke on the condition of anonymity because of the subject's sensitivity. ''There is a history [in China] of people being arrested for things they didn't do or other 'crimes against the state.''‰''
Since the intrusions were disclosed in June, U.S. government officials have said they suspected the involvement of the Chinese government, in particular the civilian Ministry of State Security.
Some officials say the hackers may have been MSS contractors, possibly acting on their own but aware the agency would be interested in the data.
Chinese officials have characterized the arrests as a criminal matter, rather than state-sponsored, and told their American counterparts that the individuals will be prosecuted, said U.S. officials, who spoke on the condition of anonymity.
Beijing has repeatedly insisted that the government played no role in the intrusions, which compromised sensitive personal, financial and biometric data of the employees, and data on their families.
The Washington Post previously reported that the arrests were linked to thefts of data from U.S. companies to be sold or passed to Chinese state-run firms. Rather, they were linked to the OPM breach.
In the weeks before the summit with Xi, Chinese officials learned from media reports that the Obama administration was preparing a package of economic sanctions against Chinese firms that benefited from the hacking of U.S. companies.
Xi's special envoy, Meng Jianzhu, a member of the political bureau of the Communist Party Central Committee, soon arrived in Washington to meet with U.S. officials who said he appeared distressed by the possibility of sanctions. The officials said Meng seemed to think the Americans were primarily concerned about the OPM hack, rather than cyberattacks on U.S. firms. He asserted that the Chinese government had not directed the breach and pledged to round up the hackers behind the OPM attack.
U.S. officials have characterized the OPM breaches as traditional espionage '-- spying to help a foreign government, in this case, build databases on U.S. government employees and officials. Experts say that such information can help foreign governments recruit spies or blackmail employees for information. Or it might help them craft more effective ''spearphish'' emails purporting to be from colleagues or family members that contain malicious software that when activated can compromise a computer.
If China caught the real perpetrators, ''it would be the most important arrest that we've perhaps seen in cybercrime,'' said Jason Healey, senior research scholar at Columbia University School of International Public Affairs.
The news comes on the heels of other breakthroughs. At the summit, Xi made a historic pledge that China would not conduct economic espionage in cyberspace. Up to that point, the Chinese government had never acknowledged conducting such espionage, which is focused on targeting companies rather than governments.
Then, two weeks ago, Xi repeated that commitment to 19 heads of state at the Group of 20 conference in Antalya, Turkey. At the G-20, all the leaders pledged for the first time their states would not engage in cyber-industrial espionage.
''The last two months have been nothing but shocks,'' Healey said. ''Who would have thought that we would have gone from no norm on commercial espionage and no movement on the OPM hack to a new G20 norm and today's news of criminal arrests on OPM?This is a string of incredible diplomatic successes.''Officials and analysts say that a combination of factors have led to China's change in behavior. The threat of economic sanctions was key. And so were last year's indictments of five People's Liberation Army officers on charges of cyber-economic spying.
Following the indictments, the PLA ratcheted down its hacking of U.S. companies, although MSS activity continued or picked up, officials and analysts said. The Chinese were smarting from the indictments, officials said, and brought them up in every meeting.
When asked Wednesday whether the Chinese government had in fact arrested suspects connected to the OPM breach, White House press secretary Josh Earnest declined to comment on the issue, but said that Obama met with Xi in Paris and raised the issue of cybersecurity.
''This continues to be a top priority of President Obama in terms our relationship with China,'' Earnest said.
David Nakamura contributed to this report.
Ellen Nakashima is a national security reporter for The Washington Post. She focuses on issues relating to intelligence, technology and civil liberties.
Attributions and Arrests: Lessons from Chinese Hackers Executive Research | FireEye Inc
Fri, 04 Dec 2015 16:31
The announcement that China arrested the attackers behind the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) breach and will prosecute them on the heels of the U.S.-China bilateral discussions this week raises some interesting questions.
Earlier this fall Chinese President Xi Jinping and American President Barack Obama agreed to stop any hacking activity as it relates to the stealing of intellectual property for economic advantage in the global economy.
Importantly, hacking as it relates to nation-state espionage was not mentioned in the agreement. That's a pretty essential component to leave out of the agreement and likely means that both countries will still have significant capabilities in this area.
The large challenge in this space is attribution. It is difficult to determine if an attack is nation-state backed, or being carried out by the stereotypical hacker in a basement. Without threat intelligence to identify and link attackers to specific groups, we will never know the difference.
If we're going to be successful in slowing the pace of attacks, then attribution is critical. Identifying attackers serves as a deterrent '' less people would be inclined to carry out a crime if they knew they'd be caught. Furthermore, attackers simply must be held accountable for their actions and we can only do that if they are identified.
The threat of sanctions over supposed Chinese state-backed cyber attacks seems to have had a positive impact with the Chinese government. This wouldn't have been possible without clear attribution that attacks came from Chinese attackers. Whether or not their government was complicit in the matter remains unknown; however, what is clear is that good threat intelligence leads to attribution, and attribution can lead to consequences for attackers.
That's a good thing, and one we need more of every time we see a compromise.
Master/Slave-Leader/Follower - Merge pull request #165 from pcbro/patch-2 · apple/swift@c2b5546 · GitHub-
Fri, 04 Dec 2015 20:47
@@ -25,13 +25,13 @@ extension String {// different non-shared strings that point to the same shared buffer.enum ThreadID {- caseMaster- caseSlave+ caseLeader+ caseFollower}var barrierVar: UnsafeMutablePointer=nilvar sharedString: String=""-varslaveString: String=""+varfollowerString: String=""funcbarrier() {var ret = _stdlib_pthread_barrier_wait(barrierVar)@@ -41,7 +41,7 @@ func barrier() {funcsliceConcurrentAppendThread(tid: ThreadID) {for i in0..
UCSB White Student Union Releases 'List of Demands' | Daily Wire
Fri, 04 Dec 2015 19:59
The White Student Union (WSU) at the University of California, Santa Barbara (UCSB), a new student club dedicated to creating a "safe, supportive and inclusive student community of European descent," has recently released a "list of demands" that it expects the university to fulfill by the second week of the Winter quarter.
The list protests anti-white "racism" and "marginalization" of students of European descent. Some of its demands include the creation of "white-student only rooms," the hiring of "two permanent full-time admissions staff members of non self-hating Europe@n descent," and the building of a white student center to be established and named "Napoleon Bonaparte Resource Center" among other demands. Here's the full list of demands for UCSB-WSU:
We, students of Europe@n descent at UCSB, refuse to accept the negative social climate created towards our peers of Europe@n descent and other marginalized groups. We have begun this movement, UCSB White Student Union, in an effort to change the status quo for a more just and inclusive environment within our campus. We demand that UCSB become a leader in the fight to promote a better social climate towards individuals who have been systematically oppressed. Student leaders acknowledge and support the demands previously stated and currently being presented. Furthermore, we demand that UCSB acknowledge its ethical and moral responsibilities as an institution and community of our world. UCSB should not be complicit in oppressive organizations and systems, no less.
We as a compassionate student body have gathered to address the legacy of oppression against persons of Europe@n descent (PED) on campus. If these goals are not initiated within the next quarter, and completed by the second week of Winter Quarter, we will organize and respond by respectfully complaining.
WE DEMAND the designation of four white-student only rooms at UCSB in the Anacapa Dorms that will be used by Cultural Affinity groups to provide a safe space for those who wish to learn about and celebrate Europe@n heritages and traditions, to be called the Hernan Cortes housing commons. UCSB White Student Union (WSU) members will be involved in a working group with the staff of the Residency department to begin discussions on the viability of the formation of Affinity Housing for those interested in European culture.
WE DEMAND the creation of a White Student Development Resource Center, to be named the Napoleon Bonaparte Resource Center, with a designated office space as well as safe space for hosting events, at a central campus location. This center is to be under the purview of the White Student Development Office, which is to be formed immediately. A shocking 67% of students of Europe@n descent report being othered and marginalized because of their white identity and Europe@n heritage. Some reasons for this are lack of adequate academic, financial and organizational support, and feelings of isolation from other students proud of their Europe@n heritage throughout the university. The resource center will serve as a space on campus for white students to gather, host programming, and to offer support to white student organizations, all contributing to community building, increased stability, and a greater feeling of belonging at the university.
WE DEMAND the hiring of two permanent full-time admissions staff members of non self-hating Europe@n descent and a series of enhanced recruitment strategies, with a budget of $300,371, to recruit students of Europe@n descent to UCSB. We maintain that this funding comes from the Chancellor's office and not from the division of Student Affairs. These funds will be managed through the office of Admissions & Enrollment This funding will be used to bolster efforts in the Office of Undergraduate Admissions and bridges Multicultural Resource Center. The recruitment of additional students of Europe@n descent is imperative to create a student body that is representative of the California population. A critical mass of students of Europe@n descent will surely help to alleviate the incredibly hostile campus climate white students have had to endure for decades as consistently evidenced by campus climate surveys. While there are already staff of Europe@n descent, many of them are self-hating PED who do not effectively promote the interests of students of Europe@n descent.
WE DEMAND that UCSB provide an additional stipend to campus police officers to patrol campus grounds and the Isla Vista community in an effort to more effectively discover and subsequently root out and punish any and all forms of speech that are deemed offensive to students of Europe@n descent, including but not limited to: "Cracker," "Stupid white people"; "OMG, you are so white"; "Where are you from?"; "No, I mean like what part of Europe?"; "Wow, I bet you get sunburned really easily!"; "you wouldn't understand because you're white"; "don't eat this; it's too spicy for you"; "honky (and any variants thereof)"; "Surrendering like a Frenchman!"; and so forth. Currently, campus police officers are simply not equipped to provide UCSB white students a safe space. Saying any of the things listed above should merit immediate expulsion and arrest in order to effectively maintain a s@fe space.
WE DEMAND that UCSB and campus police immediately prohibit on pain of expulsion and imprisonment any future parties and other festivities at UCSB or in Isla Vista that have the following (non-exhaustive list of) themes that may further marginalize and trigger white identities and white-identified students: Charlie Sheen Theme; a France Theme; a Britain Theme; a St. Patrick's Day Theme; an Irish Theme; a Scotland Theme; a Spain Theme; an Andorra Theme; a Switzerland Theme; a Swiss Theme; a Belgium Theme; a German Theme; an Austria Theme; an Italy Theme; a 'King and Queen' Theme; a Catholics vs. Protestants Theme; a George Washington Theme; a Colonial Theme; a Pirate Theme; a Denmark Theme; a Finland Theme; an Iceland Theme; a Portugal Theme; an Oktoberfest Theme; a Ukraine Theme; a Belarus Theme; a Hungary Theme; a Slovakia Theme; a Czech Republic Theme; a Norway Theme; a Croatia Theme; a Bulgaria Theme; a Russia Theme; a Serbia Theme; a Greece Theme; a Netherlands Theme; a Luxembourg Theme; an Albania Theme (especially as relates to the movie 'Taken'); and so forth.
WE DEMAND the creation and implementation of a mandatory White Cultural Competency Training and a Diversity Requirement, which all students and all faculty must go through to enter UCSB to foster a more diverse and inclusive environment. The requirement and training will teach participants how to appreciate and uphold Europe@n cultures on campus and will also outline what phrases and words (earlier mentioned) to avoid saying to prevent triggering white-identified students and to avoid the further marginalization of white identities at UCSB.
Lastly, WE DEMAND that all UCSB administrators and faculty issue a statement of apology to faculty, staff and administrators of Europe@n descent as well as their allies, neither of whom were provided a safe space for them to thrive while at UCSB.
Several items on the list look similar to those created by black separatist groups such as the Black Student Union (BSU) and the Afrikan Student Association (ASA). Here is a list of demands made by black students earlier this year, in which the Afrikan Black Coalition (ABC) at the University of California (UC), Berkeley demanded that a campus building called Barrows Hall be changed to Assata Shakur Hall after FBI-listed terrorist and Black Panther activist Assata Shakur.
''The name Assata Shakur is fitting of the mission of these departments because she is an icon of resistance within oppressed communities, and represents Black resilience in the face of unadulterated state-sanctioned violence,'' the black student group had written.
Many Americans are wondering if the White Student Union's activism, which includes a ''White Student Walk Out'' scheduled for this upcoming January, will play out similarly to student uprisings led by black separatist groups, with some even predicting that a white student uprising in response to the recent events at Mizzou would take place:
A student member of the UCSB-WSU told The Daily Wire that the group is necessary in order to protect "white-identified" UCSB students from anti-white oppression and ''marginalization.''
"After realizing the rampant amount of marginalization, oppression, and othering of white-identified students, we knew we had to act to protect persons of Europe@n descent (PED) at UCSB. We hope that these demands are heard and carried out by UCSB. The safety of students of Europe@n descent depends on this. We feel that our voices need to be heard. Instead, they have been silenced and we have been subjected to hateful vitriol merely for wanting a s@fe space."
No, Buzzfeed: White Student Unions Not Hoaxes From Racists
Fri, 04 Dec 2015 19:58
In the space of a few days, Facebook pages for ''White Student Unions'' have sprung up on dozens of campuses across North America. The pages adopt the language of campus activists, promising a ''safe space'' for white students and condemning alleged anti-white racism on campus.
Mainstream media outlets have reported on them as hoaxes, the product of online trolls who don't even attend the campuses they claim to represent. The Daily Beast blames ''racist trolls'' from 8chan, 4chan, and white supremacist site The Daily Stormer for ''fabricating'' the Facebook pages in order to further stoke racial tensions.
But this narrative is incorrect. In private interviews conducted with the creators of a number of these groups, Breitbart Tech has found that a number of the new ''White Student Unions'' are indeed the product of students on campus who are afraid to speak out publicly.
But these students aren't white supremacists, or even white nationalists. In some cases, they are not even white. One of the anonymous student group founders we spoke to, who did not wish to be identified, was of South Asian descent. Another founder was Mexican-American. They are concerned by what they see as unchecked hostility towards their fellow white students.
Juan (real name omitted at his request), a Mexican-American student at UC Santa Cruz (UCSC), said he started his White Student Union page as a means to mock the ''absurd nonsense of crybaby, race-obsessed college students, [by] using their tactics against them,'' although Juan also added that he now thinks there might be a serious problem to tackle. ''We're coming to see that there might actually be some hostility to the thought that one might be proud of being of European descent.''
Rajesh (real name omitted at his request), a South Asian student who founded a White Student Union page page for the University of British Columbia (UBC), also expressed concern at what he saw as the increasingly unequal racial hierarchy emerging on campuses. ''In the current ideological and cultural environment I, as a non-white, am lucky,'' said Rajesh. ''I have the right to be proud of my heritage, I am not made to feel ashamed of who I am and don't need to constantly walk on eggshells in conversations for fear of being thought a racist.''
''I value whites. I'm culturally comfortable among whites. I've always grown up around whites. I enjoy the company of whites,'' he stated.
Rajesh also claimed he was not the only minority concerned by the new racism: ''I've been surprised by how many non-whites we've had approaching us. They are familiar with the stigmatisation of white identity and white people'... And they don't like that.''
White students involved in the new movement report a similar sense of stigmatisation. John (real name omitted at his request), a student at UC Santa Barbara (UCSB) and an editor of its White Student Union page, said he was led to set up the page by ''a pervasive set of attitudes at my school towards people of European descent. I have had physical threats via pm, intimidation, and verbal abuse both online and off.''
John also detected hatred in attitudes to European history. ''European history and culture is considered evil, and entirely defined by the harm it did other cultures,'' he said.
The media continues to push the narrative that these pages are all hoaxes. BuzzFeed Canada today reported that Rajesh's White Student Union at UBC is ''almost certainly a hoax'' after failing to obtain a phone interview with the student. Unlike BuzzFeed Canada, Breitbart Tech succeeded in obtaining a phone interview, as well as extensive online records that chronicle his time at the university, proving beyond a shadow of a doubt that he is a student at the university. BuzzFeed Canada is wrong.
Not all of the White Student Union pages are genuine. One administrator, who manages the page for Ohio State University, told Breitbart Tech that he was not a student at the university and had initially set up the page as a troll. However, the administrator said he was then approached by real students at the college, who were given admin privileges.
With over thirty White Student Union pages set up, it appears that some are indeed the creation of off-campus trolls. Others, like Ohio State, originated as trolls and later morphed into something more serious. But others still '-- UBC, UCSC, UCSB among them '-- were created by students at their respective colleges.
Some, too, unfortunately bear the hallmarks of white nationalism, including strident anti-immigration rhetoric. A copy-pasted message that appears on many pages condemns ''the continued invasion and degradation of the lands, institutions, and cultural heritage that are rightly ours.''
Others '-- particularly the more active pages '-- contain more thoughtful messages, which suggest a burgeoning student movement that is very different, more akin to the liberal anti-racist and black consciousness-raising groups of the 1960s than Stormfront.The White Student Union page for Michigan State University, for example, quotes Martin Luther King's famous hope that Americans living today would ''not be judged by the color of their skin, but the content of their character.''
The page's very first post is also a condemnation of racism: ''We denounce racism in all its forms and find it incredibly ironic that a group of this magnitude must be formed to combat the racism openly thrusted towards whites on campus's across the country.''
Very few of the Facebook pages exhibit any overt hostility to other races. The page for the University of North Carolina declares itself open to ''people of all races that wish to combat the extremist ideology that has taken over our institutes of higher learning.''
The University of Chicago's page stresses that it only wishes to discuss ''identity and heritage'' and ''wishes no harm or domination of other groups. So come join us.'' Liberty University's WSU page, prior to its deletion, promised ''outreach and educational events'' and declared itself ''open to people of all backgrounds as we are a tolerant community that values the support of allies.''
The friendliness of the language is in stark contrast to the increasingly bellicose and hysterical social justice mobs currently terrorising campuses. A particularly extreme incident recently occurred at Dartmouth, where Black Lives Matter activists invaded a library. The activists hurled abuse at students as they attempted to work, calling them ''filthy white f*cks'' and ''racist sh*ts.''
Over the past month, we've also seen radical campus activists threaten journalists,terrorise professors with public shaming, and demand written letters of apology for ''white privilege.'' They are even attempting to exert control over history, demanding Princeton renames buildings dedicated to alumni Woodrow Wilson, due to the former president's racist beliefs.
It is little wonder that white students, and their non-white allies, feel compelled to push back. Rajesh, the UBC student BuzzFeed believes doesn't exist, is clear on what has caused this to happen: ''To onlookers'.... the enforcers of orthodoxy are meaner, less charitable, and less coherent, while the people who are advocating for white identity aren't the monsters they've been made out to be.''
Follow Allum Bokhari @LibertarianBlue on Twitter, and download Milo Alert! for Android to be kept up to date on his latest articles.
The Daily Tar Heel :: Students ask administrators to act on systemic racism
Fri, 04 Dec 2015 20:55
Jane Wester | Published 11/20/15 12:06amA coalition of students spoke at the town hall on Nov. 19 to read lists of demands for change at universities worldwide.
Photo by Louise McDonald / The Daily Tar HeelHalfway through moderator Clarence Page's first sentence at Thursday's Town Hall on race and inclusion, a chant broke out.
''Whose university? Our university!''
Page and a two-minute timer onstage both stood still for the next twenty-three minutes as demonstrators read demands '-- from UNC students today, from students at the University of Missouri and the University of Cape Town and from Black Student Movement members at UNC in 1968.
The 50 demands at UNC included paying student-athletes, no longer considering the SAT and ACT in admissions and immediately firing system president-elect Margaret Spellings. Each point attracted applause from some '-- though not all '-- members of the audience in a crowded Memorial Hall.
The meeting returned to its scheduled activities when a woman broke in on the other side of the auditorium. She said she shared black students' pain and asked everyone to come together.
''There are people here that have taken their time to come here, to listen to us,'' she said.
''You speak for a lot of us, but at the same time we need to come together and make a solution.''
The demonstrators announced they would hold a press conference outside and many of them walked out. Page asked everyone to describe what would make UNC more inclusive while sticking to the two-minute time limit.
''Please do not read any more manifestos,'' he said.
Public policy major Cara Pugh asked administrators for action. Page told the crowd not to expect answers tonight.
''This is my time to speak and say, UNC administrators and leaders, please offer us actionable steps and items that we can expect to see '-- by February, by the end of this year '-- to help us understand where we stand on this campus,'' Pugh said.
''Please listen to those demands and see that students are hurting and students need change.''
Students throughout the evening asked administrators to respond. Chancellor Carol Folt was the only administrator to address the crowd.
Michael Morrison, president of the National Pan-Hellenic Council, read a list of demands includingbringing plots to campusand education for all students on UNC's racial history.
Morrison stood up alongside Jeremy Mckellar, president of the Black Student Movement.
''We have shared interests but we are not monolithic and our voices should not be homogenized,'' Mckellar said.
Mckellar's demands included more academic support and opportunities for people of color and a proposal that BSM reclaim full control of the Upendo Lounge as a space for black students.
Shelby Dawkins-Law, a graduate student in the School of Education and former president of the Graduate and Professional Student Federation, read her own list of demands.
''I'm sad to say that in my time here I've seen racial issues get worse, not better,'' she said.
One of Dawkins-Law's demands was for scholarships given to trans women, black women and black genderqueer people in honor of activist and writer Pauli Murray. She also called for space for Latino, South Asian and native communities comparable to the space given to black students on campus.
Students and a few faculty and staff members continued to line up at the microphones for two more hours.
One student received enthusiastic applause after announcing everyone could agree on one thing '-- that systemic racism exists. Like other students, he recommended that training on race and equity become mandatory at UNC.
Nagwa Nukuna, co-president of the Organization for African Students' Interests and Solidarity, echoed the call for administrative action. She said students of color speaking to each other doesn't change anything.
''If we could solve the problem, we would have done it ourselves,'' she said.
''We need the help of the administration, and we need to hear that they care about issues that affect people of color.''
Sophomore Destiny Talley addressed Page directly.
''If you're making comments like you do, Mr. Page, and belittling students who are speaking, it is like you are listening but you are not hearing us,'' she said.
She asked Page to practice active listening.
''I'm sorry. I apologize. I know that's not a lot, but that's more than you'll get from Donald Trump,'' Page said.
After the event, Page recommended that demonstrators ''work on pruning their message.''
Folt said no one could have listened to the Town Hall without feeling the speakers' pain.
''Even in frustration and in exhaustion, people were still sharing things that we could do, and that's wonderful,'' she said.
What she heard from the crowd, she said, was that people wanted administrators to take a leadership role in planning trainings and creating better spaces for people to be together. She didn't describe a timeline for this process.
''We have, probably, an opportunity to come up with five or six really key areas that we immediately start working (on) and can let students know about,'' she said.
DHS Kept Terrorist 'Hands Off' List
Fri, 04 Dec 2015 16:21
Sen. Grassley seeking more information about DHS' 'hands off' list
U.S. Homeland Security police officers / AP
BY:Adam KredoMay 12, 2014 2:10 pm
The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) secretly assembled a terrorist ''hands off'' list that permitted individuals with terrorist ties unfettered entrance into the United States, according to document released by Sen. Chuck Grassley (R., Iowa).
The existence of a ''hands off'' list that permitted easy entrance for suspect individuals into the United States has drawn concern from Grassley, who released a cache of internal DHS emails detailing the list's existence and discussion about permitting an alleged member of the Muslim Brotherhood to enter the United States.
The emails'--sent between U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP)'--reveal a row over the admittance of one alleged Muslim Brotherhood official tied to Hamas, Hezbollah, and other terror groups.
While the individual in question is not named in the heavily redacted emails, the Washington Free Beacon has learned that the person referenced is Jamal Badawi, a Canadian Islamist leader who has praised suicide bombing and is close to Hamas and Hezbollah.
Additionally, the emails reveal a larger campaign by DHS and its former head Janet Napolitano to purge internal records of hundreds of terror suspects, including Badawi, who had his records purged in December 2010.
Sources who spoke to the Free Beacon and had reviewed unredacted versions of the emails indicated that many files pertaining to foreign terror suspects may have been purged by DHS. The sources said congressional investigators are currently looking into the matter.
The emails between ICE and CBP that were released by Grassley show confusion as to why Badawi was being permitted entrance into the United States.
''I'm puzzled how someone could be a member of the Muslim Brotherhood and unindicted co-conspirator in the Holy Land Foundation trial, be an associate of [redacted], say that the U.S. is staging car bombings in Iraq and that [it] is ok for men to beat their wives, question who was behind the 9/11 attacks, and be afforded the luxury of a visitor visa and de-watchlisted,'' one official wrote in the May 2012 emails released by Grassley.
''It doesn't appear that we'll be successful with denying him entry tomorrow but maybe we could re-evaluate the matter in the future since the decision to de-watchlist him was made 17 months ago,'' the email states.
One of the unnamed officials goes on to state: ''Based on a review of the statements of the subject, I think it is clear that he [Badawi] meets the definition of endorsing and inciting.''
Grassley, in his initial letter to DHS on the matter, asked that officials explain why Badawi was removed from the terror watch list and to ''describe the nature, extent, and reasons for the involvement of the DHS secretary or her staff in the removal of the individual from the watchlist.''
Grassley also is seeking to learn ''how many people are on the 'hands off' list mentioned in the email'' and ''what qualifies someone to receive the 'hands off' designation?''
Officials responded to Grassley in April, telling him that they ''would be happy to provide a more detailed briefing on the particular case cited in your letter '... in the appropriate setting.''
Badawi, the individual at the center of Grassley's investigation, has long been tied to the Muslim Brotherhood.
He also sits on the board of directors of Qaradawi's International Association of Muslim Scholars (IAMS), which issued a fatwa in 2004 authorizing the killing of American troops in Iraq, according to reports.
Badawi also was named as an unindicted co-conspirator in the U.S. government's case against the Holy Land Foundation, which was convicted of funneling money to the terror group Hamas.
Badawi has been recorded in the past powwowing with Hamas leader Khaled Mashal, who has been designated by the United States as a terrorist.
Individuals tied to terror groups have gained entrance to the United States in multiple instances over the past few years.
Hani Nour Eldin, a member of the Egyptian Islamic Group, a U.S. designated terror outfit, met with the Obama administration in 2012, according to the Daily Beast.
Additionall, former DHS head Napalitano has told members of Congress that they should expect members of terror groups to be admitted to the United States for meetings.
Denen houden de 'EU-boot' af | Telegraaf.nl
Fri, 04 Dec 2015 00:32
donderdag 3 december 2015, 21:39 (C) APDenen willen hun aparte status in de Europese Unie behouden en willen dat de Deense regering niet meer Europese regelgeving overneemt. Dit lijkt de uitslag te zijn van een referendum dat donderdag is gehouden over de vraag of het land zijn aparte status ten aanzien van het beleid voor Binnenlandse Zaken en Justitie moet opgeven en zich moet gaan richten op de gezamenlijke Europese aanpak van kwesties over justitie en veiligheid.
Nadat vrijwel alle stemmen waren geteld, bleek donderdagavond dat het referendum een overwinning is geworden voor de eurosceptici. Van de kiezers heeft circa 53 procent voor handhaving van de huidige situatie gestemd en bijna 47 procent tegen. Handhaving betekent dat Denemarken hier zijn uitzonderingspositie behoudt en niet meer bevoegdheden overdraagt voor betere Europese samenwerking.
Het referendum was naar aanleiding van het lidmaatschap van de in Den Haag gevestigde Europese politieorganisatie Europol. Kopenhagen zou in 2016 moeten afzien van zijn uitzonderingspositie met betrekking Justitie en Binnenlandse Zaken om in de nieuwe opzet lid te kunnen blijven van Europol.
De liberale minderheidsregering van Lars Lokke Rasmussen hoopte dat de kiezers akkoord zouden gaan met meer integratie in de EU met het oog op het Europol-lidmaatschap. Rechts-populistische en eurosceptische partijen ijverden er met succes voor dat de kiezers dat zouden dwarsbomen. Voor het lidmaatschap van Europol in 2016 moet nog naar een oplossing gezocht.
Het land is sinds 1973 lid van de EU, maar heeft in 1992 uitzonderingen ten aanzien van het lidmaatschap bedongen. Dat was na een referendum waarbij de kiezers het Verdrag van Maastricht afwezen. In 2000 stemden ze tegen de euro als munteenheid.
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Elections 2016
95,000 Words, Many of Them Ominous, From Donald Trump's Tongue - NYTimes.com
Sun, 06 Dec 2015 14:29
''Something bad is happening,'' Donald J. Trump warned New Hampshire voters Tuesday night, casting suspicions on Muslims and mosques. ''Something really dangerous is going on.''
On Thursday evening, his message was equally ominous, as he suggested a link between the shootings in San Bernardino, Calif., and President Obama's failure to say ''radical Islamic terrorism.''
''There is something going on with him that we don't know about,'' Mr. Trump said of the president, drawing applause from the crowd in Washington.
The dark power of words has become the defining feature of Mr. Trump's bid for the White House to a degree rarely seen in modern politics, as he forgoes the usual campaign trappings '-- policy, endorsements, commercials, donations '-- and instead relies on potent language to connect with, and often stoke, the fears and grievances of Americans.
The New York Times analyzed every public utterance by Mr. Trump over the past week from rallies, speeches, interviews and news conferences to explore the leading candidate's hold on the Republican electorate for the past five months. The transcriptions yielded 95,000 words and several powerful patterns, demonstrating how Mr. Trump has built one of the most surprising political movements in decades and, historians say, echoing the appeals of some demagogues of the past century.
Mr. Trump's breezy stage presence makes him all the more effective because he is not as off-putting as those raging men of the past, these experts say.
The most striking hallmark was Mr. Trump's constant repetition of divisive phrases, harsh words and violent imagery that American presidents rarely use, based on a quantitative comparison of his remarks and the news conferences of recent presidents, Democratic and Republican. He has a particular habit of saying ''you'' and ''we'' as he inveighs against a dangerous ''them'' or unnamed other '-- usually outsiders like illegal immigrants (''they're pouring in''), Syrian migrants (''young, strong men'') and Mexicans, but also leaders of both political parties.
At an event in Raleigh, N.C., on Friday evening, his voice scratchy and hoarse, Mr. Trump was asked by a 12-year-old girl from Virginia, ''I'm scared '-- what are you going to do to protect this country?''
''You know what, darling? You're not going to be scared anymore. They're going to be scared. You're not going to be scared,'' Mr. Trump said, before describing the Sept. 11 terrorists as ''animals'' who sent their families back to the Middle East. ''We never went after them. We never did anything. We have to attack much stronger. We have to be more vigilant. We have to be much tougher. We have to be much smarter, or it's never, ever going to end.''
While many candidates appeal to the passions and patriotism of their crowds, Mr. Trump appears unrivaled in his ability to forge bonds with a sizable segment of Americans over anxieties about a changing nation, economic insecurities, ferocious enemies and emboldened minorities (like the first black president, whose heritage and intelligence he has all but encouraged supporters to malign).
'' 'We vs. them' creates a threatening dynamic, where 'they' are evil or crazy or ignorant and 'we' need a candidate who sees the threat and can alleviate it,'' said Matt Motyl, a political psychologist at the University of Illinois at Chicago who is studying how the 2016 presidential candidates speak. ''He appeals to the masses and makes them feel powerful again: 'We' need to build a wall on the Mexican border '-- not 'I,' but 'we.' ''
In another pattern, Mr. Trump tends to attack a person rather than an idea or a situation, like calling political opponents ''stupid'' (at least 30 times), ''horrible'' (14 times), ''weak'' (13 times) and other names, and criticizing foreign leaders, journalists and so-called anchor babies. He bragged on Thursday about psyching out Jeb Bush by repeatedly calling him ''low-energy,'' but he spends far less time contrasting Mr. Bush's policies with his own proposals, which are scant.
Interactive Feature | How Donald Trump Talks Mr. Trump's word choices differ markedly from those of America's last five presidents, according to a review of his public utterances over the past week.
And on Friday night in Raleigh, he mocked people who reportedly did not contact the authorities with concerns about the California shooting suspects for fear of racial profiling.
''Can anybody be that dumb?'' Mr. Trump said. ''We have become so politically correct that we don't know what the hell we're doing. We don't know what we're doing.''
The specter of violence looms over much of his speech, which is infused with words like kill, destroy and fight. For a man who speaks off the cuff, he always remembers to bring up the Islamic State's ''chopping off heads.'' And he has expressed enthusiasm for torturing enemies beyond waterboarding. Last month, after several men hit a Black Lives Matter protester at one of his rallies, Mr. Trump said, ''Maybe he should have been roughed up.''
''Such statements and accusations make him seem like a guy who can and will cut through all the b.s. and do what in your heart you know is right '-- and necessary,'' said Michael Kazin, a historian at Georgetown University, echoing the slogan that Barry Goldwater used in his 1964 presidential campaign.
And Mr. Trump uses rhetoric to erode people's trust in facts, numbers, nuance, government and the news media, according to specialists in political rhetoric. ''Nobody knows,'' he likes to declare, where illegal immigrants are coming from or the rate of increase of health care premiums under the Affordable Care Act, even though government agencies collect and publish this information. He insists that Mr. Obama wants to accept 250,000 Syrian migrants, even though no such plan exists, and repeats discredited rumors that thousands of Muslims were cheering in New Jersey during the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks. He promises to ''bomb the hell'' out of enemies '-- invoking Hiroshima and Nagasaki '-- and he says he would attack his political opponents ''10 times as hard'' as they criticize him.
(Mr. Trump, who also pledges to build up the military to show American toughness, will hold a rally on Monday on the aircraft carrier Yorktown in South Carolina to commemorate the anniversary of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor.)
And as much as he likes the word ''attack,'' the Times analysis shows, he often uses it to portray himself as the victim of cable news channels and newspapers that, he says, do not show the size of his crowds.
Mr. Trump declined a request to be interviewed for this article.
This pattern of elevating emotional appeals over rational ones is a rhetorical style that historians, psychologists and political scientists placed in the tradition of political figures like Goldwater, George Wallace, Joseph McCarthy, Huey Long and Pat Buchanan, who used fiery language to try to win favor with struggling or scared Americans. Several historians watched Mr. Trump's speeches last week, at the request of The Times, and observed techniques '-- like vilifying groups of people and stoking the insecurities of his audiences '-- that they associate with Wallace and McCarthy.
''His entire campaign is run like a demagogue's '-- his language of division, his cult of personality, his manner of categorizing and maligning people with a broad brush,'' said Jennifer Mercieca, an expert in American political discourse at Texas A&M University. ''If you're an illegal immigrant, you're a loser. If you're captured in war, like John McCain, you're a loser. If you have a disability, you're a loser. It's rhetoric like Wallace's '-- it's not a kind or generous rhetoric.''
''And then there are the winners, most especially himself, with his repeated references to his wealth and success and intelligence,'' said Ms. Mercieca, noting a particular remark of Mr. Trump's on Monday in Macon, Ga. (''When you're really smart, when you're really, really smart like I am '-- it's true, it's true, it's always been true, it's always been true.'')
''Part of his argument is that if you believe in American exceptionalism, you should vote for me,'' Ms. Mercieca said.
Historically, demagogues have flourished when they tapped into the grievances of citizens and then identified and maligned outside foes, as McCarthy did with attacking Communists, Wallace with pro-integration northerners and Mr. Buchanan with cultural liberals. These politicians used emotional language '-- be it ''segregation forever'' or accusatory questions over the Communist Party '-- to persuade Americans to pin their anxieties about national security, jobs, racial diversity and social trends on enemy forces.
A significant difference between Mr. Trump and 20th-century American demagogues is that many of them, especially McCarthy and Wallace, were charmless public speakers. Mr. Trump, by contrast, is an energetic and charismatic speaker who can be entertaining and ingratiating with his audiences. There is a looseness to his language that sounds almost like water-cooler talk or neighborly banter, regardless of what it is about.
For some historians, this only makes him more effective, because demagogy is more palatable when it is leavened with a smile and joke. Highlighting that informality, one of his most frequently used words is ''guy'' '-- which he said 91 times last week and has used to describe President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia, a stranger cheering him on at a rally and a celebrity friend.
''His relaxed, jokey tone makes statements about his resolve to solve every problem because he knows what's right and has the energy to do it more persuasive,'' said Mr. Kazin of Georgetown, who described Mr. Trump's idea for a database of Muslims in the United States as insidious but also said he found Mr. Trump amusing at points.
Over many decades, Mr. Trump's career as both a real estate developer and a celebrity has been infused with language described as divisive, even racially charged. In the 1980s, it was with advertisements condemning the young men, four of them black and one Latino, accused of marauding through Central Park and raping a jogger. Just over a decade ago, it was the controversy during the first season of his reality show ''The Apprentice,'' in which he played a boardroom billionaire who fired people. He and other cast members clashed with Omarosa Manigault, a black woman who claimed someone had called her a racial slur and suggested that Mr. Trump had been insensitive.
Mr. Trump has said he will tear into anyone who tries to take him on, and he presents himself as someone who is always right in his opinions '-- even prophetic, a visionary. He repeatedly insists that he alone predicted the rise of Osama bin Laden in 2001 (despite the fact that the Bin Laden network had attacked two United States embassies and the U.S.S. Cole in the three years before). ''I said, 'We better be careful, that's gonna happen, it's gonna be a big thing,' and it certainly is a big thing,'' Mr. Trump has said of what he wrote about the Al Qaeda leader in 2000.
Interactive Feature | Fact Check: Donald Trump Says He Predicted the Sept. 11 Attacks Contrary to his suggestion, Mr. Trump offered no specific prediction of a Bin Laden attack against the United States.
It is the sort of trust-me-and-only-me rhetoric that, according to historians, demagogues have used to insist that they have unique qualities that can lead the country through turmoil. Mr. Trump often makes that point when he criticizes his Republican rivals, though he also pretends that he is not criticizing them.
''All of 'em are weak, they're just weak,'' Mr. Trump said in New Hampshire on Tuesday of his fellow candidates. ''I think they're weak, generally, you want to know the truth. But I won't say that, because I don't want to get myself, I don't want to have any controversies. So I refuse to say that they're weak generally, O.K.? Some of them are fine people. But they are weak.''
Ted Cruz at Princeton: Creepy, Sometimes Well-Liked, and Exactly the Same - The Daily Beast
Fri, 04 Dec 2015 20:15
The College Years08.19.134:45 AM ET
Can a master debater who wore a paisley bathrobe to creepily stroll by the women's wing of the dorm be the next president? Patricia Murphy talks to Ted Cruz's college roommates about his stint at Princeton.
When Craig Mazin first met his freshman roommate, Rafael Edward Cruz, he knew the 17-year-old Texan was not like other students at Princeton, or probably anywhere else for that matter.
"I remember very specifically that he had a book in Spanish and the title was Was Karl Marx a Satanist? And I thought, who is this person?" Mazin says of Ted Cruz. ''Even in 1988, he was politically extreme in a way that was surprising to me.''
By Mazin's account and those of multiple members of Princeton's class of 1992, the Ted Cruz who arrived as a college freshman in 1988 was nearly identical to the man who arrived in Washington as a freshman Republican senator in 2013: intelligent, confident, fixated on conservative political theory, and deeply polarizing.
''It was my distinct impression that Ted had nothing to learn from anyone else,'' said Erik Leitch, who lived in Butler College with Cruz. Leitch said he remembers Cruz as someone who wanted to argue over anything or nothing, just for the exercise of arguing. ''The only point of Ted talking to you was to convince you of the rightness of his views."
In addition to Mazin and Leitch, several fellow classmates who asked that their names not be used described the young Cruz with words like ''abrasive,'' "intense," ''strident,'' ''crank,'' and ''arrogant." Four independently offered the word ''creepy,'' with some pointing to Cruz's habit of donning a paisley bathrobe and walking to the opposite end of their dorm's hallway where the female students lived.
''I would end up fielding the [girls'] complaints: 'Could you please keep your roommate out of our hallway?'" Mazin says.
''He had a book in Spanish and the title was Was Karl Marx a Satanist? And I thought, who is this person?''
Cruz also angered a number of upperclassmen his freshman year when he joined in a regular poker game and quickly ran up $1,800 in debt to other students from his losses. Cruz's spokeswoman, Catherine Frazier, said Cruz acknowledges playing in the poker games, which he now considers ''foolish.''
''He went to his aunt, who worked at a bank in Dallas, and borrowed $1,800 from her, which he paid in cash and promptly quit the game,'' Frazier told The Daily Beast, explaining that Cruz worked two jobs and made monthly payments to his aunt for the next two years to repay the debt.
While Cruz may have been disliked, and intensely so, by many of his classmates, he found a close and longtime friend in a gregarious, popular student from Jamaica named David Panton, who became Cruz's tag-team partner on Princeton's renowned debate squad, as well as his roommate for the remainder of their time at Princeton and when they both attended Harvard Law School.
''Unlike what others may say, I consider Ted to be very kind. He is a very, very gentle-hearted person,'' Panton told The Daily Beast. "He took me under his wing and was a mentor to me. He was very kind to me. I am a much smarter and much better person today because of Ted Cruz."
Cruz and Panton debated together for four years at Princeton and came to dominate the collegiate parliamentary debate circuit, winning the North American championships in 1992 and being named the top two collegiate debaters in the country (Cruz was No. 1). The competitive debate world also gave Cruz a different social circle, with fellow debaters congregating in his room to hang out and play Super Mario Bros. Debate weekends included Friday night parties that Cruz often attended, where he was remembered to be "sort of a stud" with girls on the debate circuit. Princeton debaters also said he spent extra time mentoring them to improve their skills, even though they competed against each other.
Michael Lubetsky, who was in the class behind Cruz and debated with him for three years, said he considered Cruz a very good friend while he was in college. Lubetsky explained that students who found Cruz combative may have simply been seeing what made Cruz so successful as a debater.
''Debate is competitive argumentation so debaters tend to be competitive and argumentative,'' Lubetsky said. ''Ted was the top debater in the United States, although he wasn't the sort of person to walk up to people and start arguments with them."
Cruz ran for student government president unsuccessfully more than once, but rose to lead the conservative portion of the college's Whig-Cliosophic Society, a high-minded political club that was co-founded by James Madison (class of 1771). To other students, Cruz seemed singularly interested in ideological life, and Whig-Clio proved the natural outlet for it. Other members of Whig-Clio have included Aaron Burr, Woodrow Wilson, Samuel Alito, and Mitch Daniels.
From Princeton, Cruz joined the intellectual and ideological elite'--Harvard Law School, where he finished magna cum laude; a clerkship for Chief Justice William Rehnquist; a stint on the Bush-Cheney 2000 campaign working for Josh Bolten (class of '76); and two jobs in the Bush administration before being appointed Texas's solicitor general in 2003 and later launching his campaign for Senate.
Throughout those years, Cruz and Panton remained friends, and Panton still speaks highly of him, saying with praise that the one word that describes Cruz best is ''consistent.''
''He's not someone who shifts in the wind,'' Panton says. ''The Ted Cruz that I knew at 17 years old is exactly the same as the Ted Cruz I know at 42 years old. He was very conservative then, and an outspoken conservative. He remains strongly conservative today."
That consistency reveals itself in Cruz's senior thesis, which he completed under the mentorship of Robert George, a professor of jurisprudence whom The New York Times called ''the reigning brain of the Christian right.''
Cruz's thesis, ''Clipping the Wings of Angels,'' quoted James Madison in the Federalist Papers saying in part that, ''If men were angels, no government would be necessary.'' Cruz focused on the history and theory behind the Ninth and 10th Amendments in a constitutional defense that reads like a speech he could give at any Tea Party event in the country.
The time-capsule quality of Cruz's politics is lost on no one who knew him at Princeton, none of whom could point to a political position that he held 25 years ago that he does not seem to still hold today. For some, that amounts to a laudably consistent belief system. For others, it reveals a man of calcified thinking, dangerously impervious to facts, reality, and a changing world.
"More than anyone I knew, Ted seemed to have arrived in college with a fully formed worldview,'' Butler College colleague Erik Leitch said. ''And what strikes me now, looking at him as an adult and hearing the things he's saying, it seems like nothing has changed. Four years of an Ivy League education, Harvard Law, and years of life experience have altered nothing."
While Cruz's friends from the debate team foresaw a successful career in politics for Cruz, many of the Princeton alums offered that they were deeply troubled by the possibility of Cruz running for president, a notion that one, who did not want to be quoted speaking against a former classmate who is now a senator, called notion ''horrifying.''
Craig Mazin said he knew some people might be afraid to speak in the press about a senator, but added of Cruz, ''We should be afraid that someone like that has power.''
And the idea that his freshman roommate could someday be the leader of the free world? ''I would rather have anybody else be the president of the United States. Anyone,'' Mazin said. ''I would rather pick somebody from the phone book."
VIDEO-Weekly Address: We Will Not Be Terrorized - YouTube
Sun, 06 Dec 2015 15:59
VIDEO-BREAKING! Obama To Make Oval Office Prime Time Address Tomorrow Night! - YouTube
Sun, 06 Dec 2015 15:48
VIDEO-Ride a Bike for 60mins - Power a Home for 24 Hours [3rd World Energy Solution] - YouTube
Sun, 06 Dec 2015 15:40
VIDEO-Draft deal reached at Paris climate conference | euronews, world news
Sun, 06 Dec 2015 15:26
French Foreign minister Laurent Fabius is handed a draft climate agreement which politicians at the Paris COP21 conference will now get to work on to produce a final pact on slowing down global warming.
The 43 page text marks a major advance over the last failed summit in Copenhagen six years ago but there are still hundreds of disputed issues that still need to be resolved.
''I believe this draft represents progress. But I think everyone will acknowledge that we need to go deeper and we need to firm things up before Friday'... we're not just talking about the environment, or the climate, we're talking about life,'' said Laurent Fabius who is President of the COP21 climate conference.
On Saturday US actor and former governor of California, Arnold Schwarzenegger was a guest speaker at the French National Assembly where he called for a greener future.
''This is the real world, this isn't the movie world which is the other world that I come from, there are no visual effects, no special effects, there's no script writing where we can change the ending, do a better ending or anything like that. This is the real world, it is time to embark into a smart path. It is time for a new revolution, a clean energy revolution.''
During his time as a state governor, Arnold Schwarzenegger was responsible for signing California's landmark green house gas reduction bill. He's one of several Hollywood figures who've been drafted in to inject urgency into efforts to strike a deal deal to curb greenhouse gas emissions. Leonardo DiCaprio and Robert Redford have both given speeches on on the sidelines of the Paris Summit.
VIDEO-HOLLAND BALLOT FAIL-Far-right poised to make gains in French regional polls | euronews, world news
Sun, 06 Dec 2015 15:20
It is his first test at the ballot box since the terror attacks in Paris.
France is voting on Sunday in the first round of regional elections and while President Francois Hollande has earned praise personally for his handling of the crisis, his Socialist Party is widely expected to slump.
All eyes are on the far-right National Front whose popularity has been growing.
Speaking after the attacks, party leader Marine Le Pen called for Islamist fundamentalism to be 'annihilated'and for France to regain control of its borders.
That message could help her win in the north and her niece Marion Marechal-Le Pen take control of the southeastern region.
The National Front (FN) may lead in as many as six out of 13 regions after the first round on Sunday.A conclusive run-off will take place on December 13.
''After the November 13 attacks we saw a clear increase in support for the National Front,'' Ifop pollster analyst Jerome Fourquet said.
''Everything is adding up for (it) to make an unprecedented score.''
The first such victories for the Front could serve as a launchpad for Marine Le Pen's presidential ambitions in 2017.
The conservatives of ex-president Nicolas Sarkozy are also expected to do well in the regional polls, taking place amid tight security under the state of emergency declared in France following last month's bloodshed.
Voter turnout this Sunday and next will also be key in polls that are usually spurned by about half the electorate both because of their complex two-round system and a lack of understanding of their role in France's multi-layered administrative structure.
French regions rule over local transport and economic development as well as high schools and vocational training, with beefed up powers after a reform that cut their numbers from 22 to 13.
But in centralized France, their role is far smaller than that of their powerful German or Spanish counterparts.
VIDEO-China app gives shy students a virtual voice | Reuters.com
Sun, 06 Dec 2015 14:56
The disappearance of Aletsch GlacierThu, Dec 03, 2015 -(1:00)
Images of NovemberMon, Nov 30, 2015 -(1:01)
The disappearance of Lake PowellMon, Nov 30, 2015 -(1:14)
The Utmost Bliss Dharma AssemblyFri, Nov 27, 2015 -(1:06)
The universe in false color imageryFri, Nov 27, 2015 -(0:41)
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Images of SeptemberFri, Oct 02, 2015 -(1:00)
Images of AugustWed, Sep 02, 2015 -(0:59)
The legacy of Hurricane KatrinaFri, Aug 28, 2015 -(2:38)
China's only childrenThu, Oct 29, 2015 -(0:48)
Images of JulyFri, Jul 31, 2015 -(1:00)
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Images of MayThu, Jun 04, 2015 -(1:00)
TIMELAPSE: Disney's 60th anniversary parade of...Wed, May 27, 2015 -(1:22)
Images of AprilFri, May 01, 2015 -(1:00)
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Images of FebruaryFri, Feb 27, 2015 -(0:30)
TIMELAPSE: On the Grammy red carpetWed, Feb 11, 2015 -(2:58)
Images of JanuaryFri, Jan 30, 2015 -(0:30)
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Tsunami - unclaimed possessionsTue, Dec 23, 2014 -(2:23)
Images of NovemberTue, Dec 02, 2014 -(0:30)
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The world in a cityFri, Oct 31, 2014 -(1:30)
Real-life superheroesTue, Oct 28, 2014 -(1:44)
View from the hill: Covering Kobani from afarThu, Oct 23, 2014 -(0:59)
Dance of the northern lightsMon, Oct 20, 2014 -(1:08)
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Images of SeptemberWed, Oct 01, 2014 -(1:00)
Still missing '' MH370Fri, Sep 05, 2014 -(2:05)
Burning TogetherMon, Sep 01, 2014 -(2:23)
Mending dolls, teddies and heartsFri, Aug 22, 2014 -(3:12)
Images of AugustFri, Aug 29, 2014 -(1:00)
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Burned memoriesFri, Aug 08, 2014 -(3:02)
Images of JulyThu, Jul 31, 2014 -(1:20)
VIDEO-Massacre revives debate over gap in gun laws | Reuters.com
Sun, 06 Dec 2015 14:53
The disappearance of Aletsch GlacierThu, Dec 03, 2015 -(1:00)
Images of NovemberMon, Nov 30, 2015 -(1:01)
The disappearance of Lake PowellMon, Nov 30, 2015 -(1:14)
The Utmost Bliss Dharma AssemblyFri, Nov 27, 2015 -(1:06)
The universe in false color imageryFri, Nov 27, 2015 -(0:41)
Images of OctoberMon, Nov 02, 2015 -(1:00)
Images of SeptemberFri, Oct 02, 2015 -(1:00)
Images of AugustWed, Sep 02, 2015 -(0:59)
The legacy of Hurricane KatrinaFri, Aug 28, 2015 -(2:38)
China's only childrenThu, Oct 29, 2015 -(0:48)
Images of JulyFri, Jul 31, 2015 -(1:00)
Images of JuneThu, Jul 02, 2015 -(0:59)
Images of MayThu, Jun 04, 2015 -(1:00)
TIMELAPSE: Disney's 60th anniversary parade of...Wed, May 27, 2015 -(1:22)
Images of AprilFri, May 01, 2015 -(1:00)
Images of MarchWed, Apr 01, 2015 -(1:00)
Images of FebruaryFri, Feb 27, 2015 -(0:30)
TIMELAPSE: On the Grammy red carpetWed, Feb 11, 2015 -(2:58)
Images of JanuaryFri, Jan 30, 2015 -(0:30)
Images of DecemberTue, Dec 23, 2014 -(0:30)
Tsunami - unclaimed possessionsTue, Dec 23, 2014 -(2:23)
Images of NovemberTue, Dec 02, 2014 -(0:30)
Images of OctoberMon, Nov 03, 2014 -(0:57)
The world in a cityFri, Oct 31, 2014 -(1:30)
Real-life superheroesTue, Oct 28, 2014 -(1:44)
View from the hill: Covering Kobani from afarThu, Oct 23, 2014 -(0:59)
Dance of the northern lightsMon, Oct 20, 2014 -(1:08)
Beating addiction with the world's hardest...Sun, Oct 12, 2014 -(2:34)
Images of SeptemberWed, Oct 01, 2014 -(1:00)
Still missing '' MH370Fri, Sep 05, 2014 -(2:05)
Burning TogetherMon, Sep 01, 2014 -(2:23)
Mending dolls, teddies and heartsFri, Aug 22, 2014 -(3:12)
Images of AugustFri, Aug 29, 2014 -(1:00)
"Old timers" sail the Chesapeake BayMon, Aug 11, 2014 -(2:27)
Burned memoriesFri, Aug 08, 2014 -(3:02)
Images of JulyThu, Jul 31, 2014 -(1:20)
VIDEO-Brendan O'Neill | Freedom of Speech and Right to Offend | Proposition - YouTube
Sun, 06 Dec 2015 06:26
VIDEO-3 stabbed at London Tube station in terror attack, police say - CNN.com
Sun, 06 Dec 2015 05:59
Police said they were treating the stabbing at Leytonstone station as a terrorist incident.
One man sustained serious injuries not considered to be life-threatening, police said. Two others suffered minor injuries.
The suspect was taken to a London police station.
Police said they were called just after 7 p.m. to reports of a number of people stabbed at the station and a man threatening others with a knife.
Commander Richard Walton, who leads the Met's Counter Terrorism Command, said: "We are treating this as a terrorist incident."
"I would urge the public to remain calm, but alert and vigilant. The threat from terrorism remains at severe, which means that a terrorist attack is highly likely."
UK faces terrorist threatPolice released no information about the man's identity or possible motive, but the United Kingdom is facing stepped-up threats from ISIS -- especially after British fighter planes began flying sorties against ISIS targets in Syria this week.
Intelligence obtained by European security agencies indicates ISIS is aiming to attack the United Kingdom as a follow-up to its attacks in Paris last month, a senior European counterterrorism official told CNN.
The Tube, also called the London Underground, is the city's subway system. It has 270 stations on 11 lines that stretch a total of 250 miles.
In 2005, suicide bombers attacked three Underground trains and a double-decker bus in a coordinated attack that left 52 people dead and more than 770 wounded. A British al Qaeda operative planned the bombings, according to internal al Qaeda documents that surfaced in 2012.
Police officers investigate the tube station late Saturday, December 5.
Videos show arrestVideos posted to YouTube and on Twitter purport to show the aftermath of Saturday's London stabbing. A large pool of blood is on the ground near the exit gates.
Several show police confronting a man in the ticket area, near the exit, and yelling, "Drop it! Right now!"
They fire a stun gun at the man, who is wearing a gray top, tan pants and a black hat with ear flaps. But the man continues pacing in front of the officers and even lunges at them.
In one video, a woman can be heard saying, "I just want to get out of here." The scene is loud, with voices echoing throughout the station and police repeatedly shouting at people to get back.
There is more shouting before a pop is heard, apparently from the stun gun, and the man falls to the ground. Someone watching shouts, "Yes! Stupid idiot!"
Two police officers roll the man onto his stomach and handcuff him.
A man in the crowd shouts, "You ain't no Muslim, bruv! You're no Muslim, bruv! You ain't no Muslim!"
Hours later, the station was still roped off with blue and white police tape and police officers were standing guard outside. Investigators wearing protective clothing occasionally went in and out.
Leytonstone is on the Central line, which runs roughly west to east through central London and into the northeastern suburbs.
Transport for London, which runs the Underground, shut down a large part of the eastern Central line after the incident.
CNN's Carol Jordan, Marilia Brocchetto, Kay Guerrero, Nicola Goulding and Nick Hunt contributed to this report.
VIDEO-In historic decision, Pentagon chief opens all jobs in combat units to women - The Washington Post
Sun, 06 Dec 2015 05:54
Defense Secretary Ashton Carter announced that he is opening all jobs in combat units to women, after years of research and debate on the role of women in the military. (Reuters)
Defense Secretary Ashton B. Carter said Thursday that he is opening all jobs in combat units to women, a landmark decision that would for the first time allow female service members to join the country's most elite military forces.
Women will now be eligible to join the Navy SEALs, Army Special Forces and other Special Operations Units. It also opens the Marine Corps infantry, a battle-hardened force that many service officials had openly advocated keeping closed to female service members.
''There will be no exceptions,'' Carter said. ''This means that, as long as they qualify and meet the standards, women will now be able to contribute to our mission in ways they could not before.''
Carter's announcement caps three years of experimentation at the Pentagon and breakthroughs for women in the armed services. Earlier this year, two female soldiers became the first women to ever graduate from the Army's grueling Ranger School. But the Pentagon's project also set off a bitter debate about how women should be integrated.
[Why the Pentagon opening all jobs to women could subject them to a military draft]
Carter said that top leaders in the Army, Navy, Air Force and U.S. Special Operations Command all recommended that all jobs be opened to women. The Marine Corps recommended that certain jobs such as machine gunner be kept closed, but the secretary said that the military is a joint force, and his decision will apply to everyone. The top Marine officer who made that recommendation, Gen. Joseph F. Dunford, became chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff in September, and did not appear alongside Carter on Thursday.
The services will have 30 days to provide plans to Carter on how they will implement the policy change, he said. By law, the military also must notify Congress formally and wait that long before making any changes.
The roots of the secretary's decision date back to January 2013, when then-Defense Secretary Leon Panetta announced he was rescinding a longtime ban on women serving directly in ground combat units. Panetta gave the services until this fall to research the issue.
About 220,000 jobs, or about 10 percent, of the military remained closed to women before Thursday's announcement, Carter said. Another 110,000 jobs in careers like artillery officer were opened in a series of decisions since 2013.
Army Maj. Lisa Jaster, center, embraces 1st Lt. Shaye Haver, left, and Capt. Kristen Griest, right, after a graduation ceremony at the Army's Ranger School on Oct. 16, 2015, at Fort Benning, Ga. Jaster, who is the first Army Reserve female to graduate from the Army's Ranger School, joins Griest and Haver as the third female soldier to complete the school. (Branden Camp/AP)President Obama said in a statement that the Defense Department is ''taking another historic step forward'' by opening up all positions to women.
''As Commander in Chief, I know that this change, like others before it, will again make our military even stronger. Our armed forces will draw on an even wider pool of talent,'' Obama said. ''Women who can meet the high standards required will have new opportunities to serve. I know that, under the leadership of Secretary Carter and Chairman Dunford, our men and women in uniform will implement this transition '-- as they have others '-- in a responsible manner that maintains military readiness and the unparalleled professionalism and strength of our armed forces.''
The issue has at times opened an uncommonly public rift between senior military leaders. In particular, Navy Secretary Ray Mabus took issue with a Marine Corps study that found that the average woman struggled to keep up with men, according to a number of metrics. The study did not track individual performance, drawing fire from Mabus and others in favor of full integration.
As the Marine Corps commandant, Dunford recommended to keep a number of jobs in infantry and reconnaissance units closed.Carter, asked why Dunford was not present for the announcement on Thursday, said that he and the general have talked extensively on the subject, and he ''will be with me'' as the services proceeds with making related changes.
[Marine experiment finds women shoot less accurately, get injured more frequently than men]
''He understands what my decision is, and my decision is my decision, and we will implement it accordingly,'' Carter said.
Dunford said in a statement on Thursday afternoon that it is his job to provide his ''candid best military advice'' to Carter on issues ranging from military readiness, to combat effectiveness, to how the services are employed.
''I have had the opportunity to provide my advice on the issue of full integration of women into the Armed Forces,'' Dunford's statement said. ''In the wake of the Secretary's decision, my responsibility is to ensure his decision is properly implemented. Moving forward my focus is to lead the full integration of women in a manner that maintains our joint warfighting capability, ensures the health and welfare of our people, and optimizes how we leverage talent across the Joint Force.''
Dunford's spokesman, Navy Capt. Gregory Hicks, said Dunford did not appear Thursday because it was Carter's decision, and his ''opportunity to announce that decision.'' Three years ago, Army Gen. Martin E. Dempsey, then the Joint Chiefs chairman, appeared alongside Panetta as he announced that he was rescinding the combat exclusion policy.
Carter said the important factor in him opening all jobs to women was to give the military access to every American who can add strength to it. Studies carried out by the services since 2013 found that some of the standards the military previously used to determine whether a service member was fit for a job were outdated or didn't reflect the actual tasks required in combat, he said.
''It's been evidence-based, and iterative,'' Carter said of the review. ''I'm confident the Defense Department can implement this successfully, because throughout our history we've consistently proven ourselves to be a learning organization.''
The Marine Corps will immediately begin the process of implementing the policy change, and share plans and lessons learned with the other services, said Maj. Chris Devine, a Marine spokesman at the Pentagon.
''We are well-informed by our combat experience, as well as our objective approach and data obtained from the past two years of study,'' Devine said. ''As we move forward with full integration, we'll continue to maintain our standards, while leveraging every opportunity to optimize individual performance, talent and skills to maximize the warfighting capabilities of our [Marine air ground task forces] in an increasingly complex operating environment.''
Carter cited the military's 2011 repeal on a policy banning gay service members from serving openly as an example of how gender integration can be completed successfully. The repeal of that ''don't ask, don't tell'' policy raised questions in many corners of the military at the time, but is now widely considered to have been implemented smoothly and without hurting the military's ability to fight.
The secretary also noted that three women have successfully been able to complete the Army's Ranger School this year as part of the research into how to better integrate women in the military. The service opened it to women on a full-time basis in September, although the elite 75th Ranger Regiment remained closed to women at the time.
[Focus and determination marked women's path to Ranger School graduation]
Skeptics remain, however. Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) and Rep. Mac Thornberry (R-Tex.), chairmen of the Senate and House armed services committees, said in a statement released jointly on Thursday that they intend to ''carefully and thoroughly review all relevant documentation related to today's decision,'' including the Marine Corps gender integration study that caused the rift between the service and Mabus.
''We expect the Department to send over its implementation plans as quickly as possible to ensure our Committees have all the information necessary to conduct proper and rigorous oversight,'' the statement said. ''We also look forward to receiving the Department's views on any changes to the Selective Service Act that may be required as a result of this decision.''
Other members of Congress applauded Carter's decision. Rep. Martha McSally (R-Ariz.), a retired Air Force colonel and A-10 attack jet pilot, said in a statement that the move recognizes that the military is strongest when it prioritizes merit and capability.
''It's about damn time,'' McSally said in the statement. ''Women have been fighting and dying for our country since its earliest wars. They have shown they can compete with the best of the best, and succeed. We are a country that looks at people as individuals, not groups. We select the best man for the job, even if it's a woman.''
Another female combat veteran and member of Congress, Rep. Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.), released an even more pointed statement of support reflecting her time as an Army helicopter pilot in Iraq and injuries suffered there.
''I didn't lose my legs in a bar fight '-- of course women can serve in combat,'' she said. ''This decision is long overdue.''
Mabus said in a statement that Carter's decision will maximize the combat effectiveness of the Navy and Marine Corps alike.
''Our process and studies showed that as long as someone can meet operationally relevant, occupation-specific, gender-neutral individual standards, that person is qualified to serve,'' Mabus said. ''Gender does not define the Service of a United States Sailor or Marine '-- instead, it is their character, selflessness, and abilities.''
Update: This story has been updated with comments from Navy Capt. Gregory Hicks, a spokesman for Gen. Joseph Dunford.
Previous coverage:Navy secretary criticizes controversial Marine Corps gender integration study
Will the Army open its elite Ranger Regiment to women? A controversial decision awaits.
As Marines take heat for handling of gender integration, Army stays quiet on plan
Dan Lamothe covers national security for The Washington Post and anchors its military blog, Checkpoint.
VIDEO-CNN Jaw-dropper: Erin Burnett Asks If 'Postpartum Psychosis' Led to Mass Killing | MRCTV
Sun, 06 Dec 2015 05:50
[See NewsBusters for more.] Struggling to offer an alternative explanation for the obvious conclusion of terrorism, CNN's Erin Burnett on Thursday wondered if one of the killers from Wednesday's rampage snapped as a result of ''postpartum psychosis.'' This was after two former FBI agents explained to Burnett just how Tashfeen Malik was radicalized. Despite this, the CNN anchor wondered, ''I just have to ask you, could there be something else, anything else that could have explained her involvement? Something like a postpartum psychosis?'' Former FBI profiler Jim Clemente calmly told Burnett that ''postpartum psychosis... is typically internal.''
VIDEO-CBS's O'Donnell Lobs Softballs to Obama on His 'Historic Action' to Fight Climate Change | MRCTV
Sun, 06 Dec 2015 05:47
More in the cross-post on the MRC's NewsBusters blog.
Touting her softball Wednesday sit-down with President Obama that aired on Friday's CBS This Morning, co-host Norah O'Donnell gushed over the commander-in-chief's ''effort to take historic action'' on climate change and how that ''could affect his legacy.''
She began the exchange by fretting: ''In order for this deal to work in Paris and in order to get developing countries like India to sign on, they want money from developed countries. And you've promised $3 billion. If you can't get Congress on board, how can you deliver on that promise to the world?''
VIDEO-AG; 'Over 1,000 Investigations into Acts of Anti-Muslim Hatred' and 'Over 45 Prosecutions' Since 9/11 | MRCTV
Sun, 06 Dec 2015 05:39
During an appearance at the Muslim Advocates annual dinner on Thursday, U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch said since 9/11, the Justice Department had "over 1,000 investigations into acts of anti-Muslim hatred, including rhetoric and bigoted actions," and more than 45 prosecutions as a result.
VIDEO-Prof Claiming No Bernardino Terror Link Gets Debunked in Seconds | MRCTV
Sun, 06 Dec 2015 05:30
MarkF | December 4, 2015 11:33am ET 132 viewsIf the player does not load, please update Adobe Flash Player or make sure your browser supports HTML5 video.
It was a priceless TV moment. Here was law professor Sahar Aziz on Jose Diaz-Balart's MSNBC show complaining about anti-Muslim bias in the US, insisting we don't know the motive behind the San Bernardino massacre, and suggesting it might have been "workplace violence." In particular, Aziz pointed to the lack of any claim of responsibility or link to a terrorist group. But literally within seconds of Aziz saying goodbye, and without so much as a commercial break, NBC's Pete Williams came on to announce that just before the attack, Tashfeen Malik, the wife in the terrorist couple, Tashfeen Malik, "posted a statement of support for the ISIS leader Abu Bakr Al baghdadi on a Facebook page." Williams added that such expressions of support for ISIS and for ISIS leaders, "does seem to follow a pattern that has been used in other ISIS-inspired attacks." It's okay, Professor Aziz: retroactive apology accepted!
VIDEO-MSNBC's Most Pressing Concern? 'Fear' and 'Anti-Muslim Rhetoric' | MRCTV
Sun, 06 Dec 2015 05:02
[See NewsBusters for more.] With the unfolding news that Wednesday's mass shooting in California was, in fact, terrorism, the main concern on MSNBC appears to be an anti-Muslim backlash by Americans and politicians. On Friday, Andrea Mitchell lectured, ''In the midst of a political campaign where anti-Muslim rhetoric has reached a pitch that I have never heard in this country, not even after 9/11, this is a very concerning time.'' Chuck Todd agreed, fretting, '' I think the more there are going to be plenty of, plenty of Americans who maybe don't have a lot of interactions with Muslim Americans, who are going to feel fear.'' The best the Meet the Press moderator could do is to allow, ''There is a lot of fear and anxiety in America. Some of this fear may be justified in some form or another.''
VIDEO-NBC, CBS Promote NY Daily News's 'Terrorist' Smear of NRA's CEO | MRCTV
Sun, 06 Dec 2015 04:58
[More in the cross-post on the MRC's NewsBusters blog.]
The 4 December 2015 editions of NBC Nightly News and CBS Evening News both spotlighted the New York Daily News's latest anti-conservative front page, which denigrated Wayne LaPierre of the NRA as a "terrorist." CBS's Nancy Cordes touted how "the always-heated gun debate has gotten personal. The New York Daily News...called the head of the National Rifle Association a 'terrorist.'" NBC's Hallie Jackson played up the liberal newspaper's attack, as well as The New Yorker's "provocative" cover targeting gun owners.
VIDEO-CBS Targets AR-15 After California Terrorist Attack | MRCTV
Sun, 06 Dec 2015 04:41
[More in the cross-post on the MRC's NewsBusters blog.]
The 4 December 2015 edition of CBS Evening News set aside a full report to specifically targeting the AR-15. Scott Pelley and Dean Reynolds emphasized that the San Bernandino terrorist attack was the latest mass shooting where the semi-automatic rifle was used. Reynolds pointed out that "there was once a nationwide ban on such assault weapons imposed in 1994...When it was lifted 10 years later, gun rights advocates cheered, and sales rose. But the slaughter at San Bernardino and several other recent mass killings all shared a common thread: the shooters used an AR-15-style rifle."
VIDEO-Melissa Harris-Perry Miffed NYT Showed Malik in Hijab | MRCTV
Sun, 06 Dec 2015 04:29
They would have used a photo of her in an NRA cap, but none was available . . .
Man, it's getting hard to navigate the nuanced shoals of political correctness. Now, even the ineffably sensitive New York Times has run afoul of the rules, as propounded by Melissa Harris-Perry. On her MSNBC show today, Harris-Perry griped that the Gray Lady had run a photo of Islamic terrorist killer Tafsheen Malik wearing a hijab. As per H-P, the Times was sending a message that "this is what terrorism looks like." Damn those bigoted anti-Muslim stereotypers of the New York Times.
But seriously, what was the poor Times supposed to do? What if it had photoshopped the hijab off Malik? Harris-Perry might have complained that by doing so the paper was suggesting that there was something offensive about the garment. Sometimes you just can't win with the PC crowd.
VIDEO-Networks Cheer NYT's 'Historic' Gun Control Editorial; 'Dramatic' 'Front-Page Outrage' | MRCTV
Sun, 06 Dec 2015 04:26
See more in the cross-post on the NewsBusters blog.
On Saturday, the ''big three'' networks of ABC, CBS, and NBC continued to prove why the liberal media loves congratulating itself for their so-called accomplishments as the morning and evening newscasts spent nearly four minutes cheering the ''historic'' decision by The New York Times to publish a ''dramatic'' front-page editorial chiding gun rights advocates and pushing for massive gun control/confiscation.
The lovefest started bright and early with NBC's Today touting the editorial in an opening tease followed by two news briefs with the briefs totaling 57 seconds.
VIDEO-San Bernardino Media Hoax: CNN, Media, 'Victims Families' All Ransack Suspects Family Home, Faux FBI Crime Scene
Sat, 05 Dec 2015 19:47
SEE ALSO:San Bernardino: Evidence of Staged Drill, Possible FBI 'Muslim' Informant
DAILY SHOOTER21st Century Wire
Today saw another new low-point in American broadcast journalism, as members of the media and public ransacked the shooting suspects family home in Redlands, California. On closer examination, however, what is on display here has very little to do with journalism, and everything to do with staged 'synthetic terror'.
It appears that both mainstream media and law enforcement are becoming increasingly desperate to sell an ever-more embellished and fantastic story line surrounding this latest alleged 'Mass Shooting' event that we're told took place on Wednesday in San Bernardino, California.
Earlier, CNN's official ''terrorism analyst'', Paul Cruickshank, stated that San Bernardino's staged event was, ''the deadliest Islamist terrorism attack on US soil since 9/11''. If that was true, then any venues or sites related to this investigation would still be secured by law enforcement '' and yet, less than 48 hours after what we're told was a 'mass shooting' and 'international terrorism' event '' members of the mainstream media and unidentified members of the public were let loose completely unsupervised, inside what authorities are claiming to be ''the killers' home'' located in Redlands. California.
More than any other aspect of the contrived narrative currently being assembled by the mainstream media '' this latest bit of media exhibitionism has provided clear proof that much of this story is a staged production '' completely engineered by the media and members of certain government agencies'...
'PRESS GANG': Media and public barge into the family home of alleged shooters.
This gives a new meaning to the term ''press gang''. The media frenzy at the family's Redlands home can only be described as a disturbing spectacle broadcast LIVE this morning over ten different major networks.
Trial by Social Media (in absentia)
Today's bizarre media stunt came only two hours after authorities and the media claimed it now had 'evidence' that Wednesday's attack was ''ISIS-inspired''. In a rush to establish a motive for Wednesday's 'Active Shooter Drill' and staged terror event, a new piece of 'virtual evidence' appears to be as bizarre as it is laughable:
''We have evidence that while the attack was underway, the female shooter (Tashfeen Malik) is believed to have posted her allegiance to ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi '' but not on her own Facebook account, rather on another different named account believed to be linked to her Facebook account. Malik then deleted the post, but the FBI managed to recover it (but cannot tell the public how they did it).''
Conveniently scripted, and hard to believe that this Pakistani housewife was wielding a pipe bomb in one hand and Tweeting to al Baghdadi in the other. This script story line mirrors another staged terror event from last spring in Garland Texas, where the alleged 'ISIS sympathizer' managed to send out his self-incriminating Tweets at the same time he was allegedly exchanging heavy fire with a SWAT team.
As 21WIREpointed out yesterday, authorities are intentionally not showing any photo or image (see more on this below) of the alleged female shooter, Tashfeen Malik. It's likely that this is because Malik was not actually involved in the shooting as the authorities are currently claiming. Based on this, we might expect investigators to turn around at a later date and claim that she ''wasn't actually one of the two shooters.'
Then things began to get even more ridiculous'...
Media and 'Victims' Families' Ransack Shooters' Home on Live TV
CNN's reporter Victor Blackwell began today's news segment joined by a large group of at least 150 persons, including 30-40 unidentified people filming on their cell phones which CNN claimed were ''members of the victims' families'', as well as at least 75-100 media personnel and cameramen, all of whom followed behind the property's landlord, Doyel Miller, who appears to have given an unsupervised, guided tour to the media and unidentified members of the public.
Blackwell even admitted that locals from the neighborhood and their dogs could also be seen wandering through the property.
CNN's Blackwell claimed to have simply walked into the house, and by chance, finds a 4 paged FBI Seizure Document dated 12/3/15, which details evidence removed in the supposed federal terrorism investigation. CNN's Blackwell then goes on to read out loud on air, in what he describes as a list which paints ''a really clear picture'', before reading out all the items:
'''... ammunition, hard drives, laptops, thumb drives, rifle cleaners roll-a-dex, gun cleaning kit, bolt for M-4 style rifle, boxes of ammunition.''
Although CNN and others appear to have gone to great lengths to portray this bizarre news event as authentic, it quite clear the FBI or police had left their classified investigation documents and various items as staged, props for the media.
It is not yet clear whether or not members of the media had paid a sum of money to Miller for access to the property.
In what authorities have claimed is a crime scene and ''federal investigation related to terrorism'', the alleged home of the shooters has no police tape and has already been opened to random members of the public and the media '' who could be seen rummaging through the alleged shooters belongings with no police or federal agents to supervise what can only be described as a free for all.
NOTE: After this staged media ransacking, ANY evidence found, or left behind in the Redlands house will now be thrown out of any court because of mass tampering of evidence '' rendering the investigation null and void. So whoever set-up this desperate stunt today used the unwitting media '' who gleefully played their role. If this rented house was part of an FBI-run 'domestic terror cell' then the trail just ended today. Good job CNN, MSNBC, FOX News (you did well).
MEDIA AGIT-PROP: CNN's Anderson Cooper conducted today's desperate media play, designed to sure-up the media's latest ''IS-IS- inspired'' narrative for this week's San Bernardino 'mass shooting' staged event.
The entire fiasco was being stage-managed by the highly dubious CNN operative, Anderson Cooper, who is then flanked by CNN junior 'reporter' Stephanie Elam who clearly states, ''I was the first person who walked into this room [bedroom] and saw how it was before everyone started touching it'... I don't want to show you these ID's over here [as the camera pans over and shows them] just because I don't want to show you those addresses on there, but I do believe they belong to the mother based on the ages that were there.''
So Elam had access and tampered with the entire crime scene. If it were a real federal crime scene, then this would be a violation of numerous state and federal laws, including a violation of the family's rights to privacy. In addition, under California state law, all media members and public present are in violation of breaking and entering, vandalism and as well as theft in the event that any personal items were removed from the scene.
NOTE: The fact that no one who participated in media this free-for-all today has been either arrested or charged '' is proof that the home is not a real federal crime scene at all. It was nothing more than a dramatic set, staged for TV cameras.
MEDIA VANDALISM OR STAGED 'PRESS' EVENT? Less than 48 hours after 'the biggest attack since 9/11', CNN's Stephanie Elam leads a mob of media and public in ransacking the alleged family home of dead suspect Syed Farook.
CNN Reporter Carelessly Tosses Religious Prayer Beads, Religious Books
CNN's Stephanie Elam then starts picking up and throwing the family's personal religious items. ''When I first walked in this group of prayer beads was sitting on the edge of the bed, Several prayer books that were all around, some business cards, receipts for store purchases, lotions and creams'...''.
CNN's Elam then picks up the set a prayer beads for the camera, before carelessly tossing religious items aside on to the bed below, and moving on to rummage through the home alongside other members of the ''press''. She clearly states that, ''These items belong to the shooters' parents'...'' as she and others carelessly rifle through the family's personal belongings.
A media entourage of at least 40 reporters and 50 random members of the public (who the media claim were ''victims' family members'') appear to have been involved in a forced entry, or ''breaking and entering'', as the entourage followed the landlord who, according to CNN junior reporter, ''We watched him come back with a crow bar'... and a drill'... to removed the door that had been barricading with a piece of wood. Then everyone came in right after that.''
She then claimed that, ''The police were 'done' with this building.''
Under the remote direction of Cooper, CNN's on site cameraman then moves in for a close shot at a desk with a number of documents neatly arranged '' including a passport, presumably belonging to family member of the alleged shooters.
STAGED: Passports were neatly on display for the media camera, in what appears to be staging of the supposed 'crime scene'.
FRAMING THE STORY: CNN's Elam claims as, ''clear evidence of religious faith''.
San Bernardino: A Media Production
CNN's law enforcement analyst Harry Houck then came on camera with Cooper to display some outrage, seemingly bedazzled and upset over, 'how the FBI have allowed dozens of people to destroy the crime scene'.
What Houck and other media operative are not asking is the real question here: if this were a real federal investigation and crime scene then, obviously there would be police tape, and the property would be supervised as it is less than 48 hours after such a high-profile 'mass shooting'. Clearly, this is not a real crime scene '' and by extension '' we can conclude now that this entire event was likely to be a staged one.
One of the most incredible media reports was turned-in by Democratic Party-affiliated media outlet MSNBC, who could be seen going through the family's personal effects and photographs, and showing ''Muslim items'' on camera.
Shameless MSNBC reporter KerrySanders has no qualms about rifling through family and childrens' personal belongings while in the room of Farook and Malik's 6-month-old daughter (allegedly), and points out her crib and what appeared to be a ''Muslim prayer rug''. The following viewing is disturbing, and almost unbelievable:
The bumbling MSNBC reporter Sanders seemed to be a bit desperate to make a case that these were 'Islamic terrorists', and whoever staged all the 'evidence' laying around the home '' has clearly arranged passports and photos prominently in place for the media '' in order for the hapless media to draw their own conclusions. One planted item is meant to be photos of Tafsheen Malik, shown here:
PLANTED PROP: Mystery photos: viewers are meant to think these photos belong to Tafsheen Malik, but ''cannot be confirmed''.
MYSTERY WOMAN OR FBI HANDLER? The FBI and media are intentionally hiding the visual identity of the female suspect because it threatens to destroy the official story.
Once again, based on the FBI's continued hiding of her identity, we can almost conclude that their alleged female shooter suspect, Tafsheen Malik, was not actually involved in the staged shooting event at Inland Regional Center on Wednesday, and based on the police's own reports that the alleged 'husband and wife' shooting team were masked while attacking the Inland Office complex, then none of the supposed 85 'survivors' would be able to actually ID Malik as the one of the shooters on site. From a forensic perspective, this means that there is no case which can place the female suspect in the role of 'shooter' at the scene of the crime (or the husband either, for that matter). Add to this one other fundamental problem with the official narrative which narrators will have to repair in order to sell this story: the average height of a Pakistani woman is around 5'5 and weighing roughly 125lbs and you another implausible FBI narrative which claims that this small petite Pakistani woman could manage to wear, carry and successfully deploy the following:
' A tactic vest' Body armor (media sending out mixed messages on this point)' Smith & Wesson M&P .223 Caliber Assault rifle' Magazine re-loading clips' Hand gun' Spare pipe bomb, detonator
In short, the official story is fast approach the Vaudeville zone now and hence, they cannot release her photo without having to then lie about her height and weight, as well as make-up an additional back story that this kitchen-bound, 'radicalized' Pakistani male-order bride was also lifting weights and was into top-level fitness and MMA training, and thus could handle a full combat package while running through the venue and hitting all of her targets (in short, a GI Jane Navy SEAL who could also cook a mean Vindaloo). This echoes the ridiculous official story of the alleged Sandy Hook gunman '' the under weight, sleight-of-build teenager, Adam Lanza, who officials want us to believe had the skill and physical prowess of Chris Kyle. It's beyond ridiculous.
Let's Get Ridiculous
Since the media are happily off on a roller coaster of wild speculation, the Daily Shooter will do a little of its own'...
Following this pattern of obfuscation by authorities, we can safely predict one of the two following scenarios next:
1. A single mugshot photo will be eventually be produced. Authorities will make-up a colorful back story about Malik's military and physical prowess, or claim she was on some ''wonder drug'' which allowed her to overcome her earthly capabilities and carry out the Rambo-style raid on Wednesday.
2. An announcement will be coming soon which says that Malik was not one of the two shooters, and that authorities were somehow ''mistaken''.
More likely is a scenario which sees Malik as the FBI female 'handler' for male suspect Syed Farook '' a very similar scenario to a carbon copy modus operandi seen with Boston Bombing suspect Tamerlan Tsarnaev and his mysterious and highly illusive white American, Muslim convert and CIA -linked wife, Katherine Russell.
Not surprisingly, not CNN, nor any other mainstream media organization, will ever chase up any of these leads, and after today's debacle '' we should all know why.
READ MORE DAILY SHOOTER NEWS AT:21st Century Wire Daily Shooter Files
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Sat, 05 Dec 2015 12:18
VIDEO-BBCTW: Piers Corbyn on religion of climate change (04Dec15) - YouTube
Sat, 05 Dec 2015 04:30
VIDEO-FLAT EARTH Clues Part 7 - Long Haul (subtitles available) - YouTube
Fri, 04 Dec 2015 23:27
VIDEO-San Bernardino gunman's family lawyer says they don't believe account of massacre | Daily Mail Online
Fri, 04 Dec 2015 20:48
David Chesley, a lawyer representing the family of San Bernardino gunman Syed Farook (above), has questioned accounts of the massacre
A lawyer representing the family of San Bernardino gunman Syed Farook has questioned accounts of the massacre which saw Farook and his wife, Tashfeen Malik kill 14 at a holiday party on Wednesday morning.
Attorney David Chesley said they doubted the accuracy of information released by the police and FBI.
Farook, 28, and his Pakistan-born wife Malik, 27, died in a gun battle with police after the mass shooting at the Inland Regional Center.
To illustrate his point, Chesley made a bizarre reference to the Sandy Hook massacre, suggesting it didn't take place as described in the official narrative.
'There have been suggestions that it may be something that was related to their work, that somehow he was a disgruntled employee,' he said.
'But it doesn't seem plausible to us that this petite woman [Malik] would be involved in this sort of hyper-caricatured, Bonnie and Clyde crazy scenario.
'There were a lot of questions drawn with Sandy Hook and whether or not that was a real incident or not.
'But I mean obviously these things were found there, how they got there we don't know.'
The Sandy Hook shootings occurred in December 2012, when gunman Adam Lanza, 20, shot his way into the front entrance of the school in Newtown, Connecticut, which was locked at the time, and killed 20 children and six teachers, then shot himself to death.
When Chesley was asked if he doubted the events of Sandy Hook, he said: 'There has been a lot speculation about it is all I would say.
Chesley said the family also doubted the accuracy of information released by the police and FBI. Farook, 28, and Malik, 27, died in a gun battle with police (aftermath, above) after the mass shooting in San Bernardino, California on Wednesday morning
To illustrate his point, Chesley made a bizarre reference to the Sandy Hook massacre, suggesting it didn't take place as described in the official narrative. Above, children are led away from the December 2012 tragedy, which saw gunman Adam Lanza, 20, shoot dead 20 pupils and six teachers in Newtown, Connecticut
'There's a lot of people that said it happened but hasn't happened in the way that it was purported to have taken place.
'There's no question that incidents have taken place and evidence was found but we just question some of that.'
The family of Farook earlier told FBI investigators that he had been teased by colleagues about his long Islamic beard. It also emerged that he had clashed with a Jewish co-worker over religion weeks before the massacre.
While the exact motive for the massacre remains unclear, lawyers for the Farook family said the gunman had been subject to a series of disparaging comments about his traditional Muslim appearance.
However, they added that the slain health inspector had 'brushed off' the remarks and they remained at a loss to explain the shootings.
Their comments came hours after it emerged that Farook had recently been in a heated argument with colleague Nicholas Thalasinos, a Messianic Jew, who was named as one of his victims.
Farook and Malik were armed with a .223-caliber DPMS Model A15 rifle, a Smith and Wesson M&P15 rifle as well as Llama handgun and a Smith and Wesson handgun (pictured)
Mr Thalasinos worked alongside Farook as a county restaurant inspector and the pair are said to have regularly discussed politics and religion.
Attorney David Chesley (pictured) made a bizarre reference to the Sandy Hook massacre when talking about Farook and Malik's shooting spree
Colleague Kuuleme Stephen said she had called Thalasinos while he was at work when he was having a heated discussion with Farook.
Mr Thalasinos had identified Farook by name and told her the 28-year-old believed Islam was a peaceful religion. She added that Farook said that Americans do not understand Islam.
Mr Thalasinos was known to be passionate about pro-Israel causes and regularly raged about Islam on Facebook.
Farook's family lawyers also revealed that his mother Rafia, 62, was held for questioning in the wake of the mass shooting after cops pulled her over in one of her other children's SUVs.
She was released without charge the next day but the vehicle is still in the hands of law enforcement officials, they said. The Farook family, including his father Syed, 66, older brother Syed Raheel, and sisters Eba, 24, Saira, 32, and her husband Farhan Khan, 41, spent several hours talking to FBI agents on Thursday.
Speaking outside Mr Khan's house late last night, attorney Chesley insisted that Farook's relatives had no idea he was plotting a massacre or stockpiling weapons with his wife Tashfeen Malik, 27.
FBI agents discovered a huge arsenal '' including nearly 5,000 rounds of ammunition, a dozen pipe bombs and hundreds of tools for making IEDs at the couple's home.
Muslims arrive at a candlelight vigil at the San Manuel Stadium in San Bernardino yesterday
VIDEO-The U.S. is running out of bombs to drop on ISIS - CNNPolitics.com
Fri, 04 Dec 2015 20:46
As the U.S. ramps up its campaign against the Islamist terror group in Iraq and Syria, the Air Force is now "expending munitions faster than we can replenish them," Air Force chief of staff Gen. Mark Welsh said in a statement.
"B-1s have dropped bombs in record numbers. F-15Es are in the fight because they are able to employ a wide range of weapons and do so with great flexibility. We need the funding in place to ensure we're prepared for the long fight," Welsh said in the statement. "This is a critical need."
The bombing campaign has left the U.S. Air Force with what an Air Force official described as munitions depot stocks "below our desired objective."
The official told CNN that the Air Force has requested additional funding for Hellfire missiles and is developing plans to ramp up weapons production to replenish its stocks more quickly. But replenishing that stock can take "up to four years from time of expenditure to asset resupply," the official said.
"The precision today's wars requires demands the right equipment and capability to achieve desired effects. We need to ensure the necessary funding is in place to not only execute today's wars, but also tomorrow's challenges," the official said.
Which nations are attacking ISIS?
The Air Force's publication of the number of missiles and bombs dropped comes amid continued criticism from Republicans -- in particular those running for president -- who insist the Obama administration has been too timid in the fight against ISIS, with many on the right calling for the U.S. to loosen the rules of engagement and lead a more aggressive fight against the militant group.
American pilots have fired weapons in less than half of the nearly 18,000 sorties they have in the first 10 months of 2015, according the latest figures available.
That's up from 2014, when pilots fired their weapons just one third of the time.
Complete coverage on the U.S. military
VIDEO-FULL Speech: Donald Trump Speaks at Republican Jewish Coalition Presidential Forum (12-3-15) - YouTube
Fri, 04 Dec 2015 20:21
VIDEO-Scott Weiland dies age 48 - Facebook statement | Reuters.com
Fri, 04 Dec 2015 19:08
Rock singer Scott Weiland, the troubled ex-frontman of the band Stone Temple Pilots, died during a tour stop with his new band the Wildabouts in Minnesota, according to a statement posted to his Facebook page. Linda So reports.
Grammy Award-winning rocker Scott Weiland has died at the age of 48. A statement posted on his Facebook page on Friday said the singer had passed away in his sleep. Weiland was on a tour stop with his band the Wildabouts in the U.S. state of Minnesota. The former frontman for Stone Temple Pilots and Velvet Revolver came to symbolise the early '90s grunge era. He lent his famous growly vocals to guitar-heavy hits such as "Plush" and "Interstate Love Song". But Weiland's long history of substance abuse sometimes resulted in what was called "destructive behaviour" by his bandmates. Juliette Lewis and Blink 182's Travis Barker were just some musicians who took to Twitter to pay tribute to Weiland. Weiland is survived by two children with his ex-wife Mary Forsberg.
VIDEO-Gunman Farook's sister: 'I don't even know if I would forgive him' | Reuters.com
Fri, 04 Dec 2015 18:57
The sister of Syed Farook, one of the suspects in the massacre in California, says she is deeply saddened and no had indication of her brother's plans. Rough Cut (no reporter narration).
ROUGH CUT (NO REPORTER NARRATION) The sister of the male suspect in the San Bernardino mass shooting says she isn't sure if she'll ever be able to forgive her brother. Speaking in an interview, Saira Khan, sister of Syed Farook, said "I want to say I'm sorry. Deeply saddened. It's a sad day for all of us." Khan says Farook and his wife, Tashfeen Malik gave no indication of their plans ahead of the mass shooting that left 14 people dead at a holiday party in California. "So many things I asked myself. I ask myself if I had called him that morning or the night before, asked him how he was doing, what he was up to...if I had any inclination maybe I could have stopped it," said Khan. Farook and Malik were killed in a shootout with police hours after the Wednesday massacre at the Inland Regional Center social services agency in San Bernardino, about 60 miles (100 km) east of Los Angeles. The couple left behind a 6-month old daughter. Farook's brother-in-law, Farhan Khan, said, "What he did to his own family, his daughter, to the innocent people there, no, I won't forgive him." Twenty-one people were wounded in the attack, the worst gun violence in the nation since the December 2012 shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, in which 27 people died.
VIDEO-Donald Trump's speech to Republican Jews was filled with anti-Semitic stereotypes - Vox
Fri, 04 Dec 2015 18:18
Midday on Thursday, Donald Trump gave a speech to the Republican Jewish Coalition. These are three real things that he said:
"Stupidly, you want to give money. ...You're not going to support me because I don't want your money.""I'm a negotiator, like you folks.""Is there anyone in this room who doesn't negotiate deals? Probably more than any room I've ever spoken."The nicest thing that you can say about these comments is that they play on ancient stereotypes of Jews as money-grubbing merchants. The meanest thing you can say is that they're outright anti-Semitic. The crowd appeared to laugh it off, but observers watching the speech were struck:
That wasn't the end of Trump's problems during the address. When asked about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, the candidate whiffed. He refused to tell the strongly pro-Israel group whether he thought Jerusalem should be the undivided capital of Israel, and was outright booed. He appeared to apportion blame to Israel for the failure of the peace process, and the room was dead silent.
Again, there was some applause for other pro-Israel comments, as well as digs at President Obama and Bernie Sanders. But overall, it was an utterly baffling address to give to a group of Republican Jews. It suggests that Trump isn't just "politically incorrect" when talking about Democratic-voting groups like Latinos and women but rather that he actually can't help himself from engaging in nasty stereotypes. And he can't even figure out the right talking points to use when speaking to a pro-Israel crowd, a deeply important constituency in the Republican Party.
So to recap: Trump stood in front of an audience of Jews and told them that they were all about money and making deals. He stood in front of a pro-Israel crowd and told them Israel was (at least partially) to blame for the failure to come to terms with the Palestinians.
Despite the applause, it's hard to characterize that as anything but a disaster.
VIDEO-RT '2035' promo: Retired Obama, John Kerry, & ft President Snowden - YouTube
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VIDEO-Ghost Security Group | Cyber Terrain Vigilance
Fri, 04 Dec 2015 16:05
Ghost Security Group is a counter terrorism network that combats extremism on the digital front lines of today utilizing the internet and social media as a weapon. Our cyber operations consist of collecting actionable threat data, advanced analytics, offensive strategies, surveillance and providing situational awareness through relentless cyber terrain vigilance.
''A tweeting jihadi is a targetable jihadi.''Michael S. Smith II of Kronos Advisory, LLC
Ghost Security Group Press Release [EN]
Ghost Security Group Press Release [FR]
VIDEO-FIRST OATH!-Boxer Speaks on the Need to End Gun Violence - YouTube
Fri, 04 Dec 2015 00:36


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Agenda 2030

Bike Riding slaves for energy-NATIVE.mp3
Paris COP21 draft.pdf
Shwartzenegger in PAris assembly.mp3


CNN London correspondant Phil Black Tube Terror Attcak-UK Terror Attack on Syria WTF.mp3
Loretta Lynch Muslim Advocates annual dinner-Over 1,000 Investigations into Acts of Anti-Muslim Hatred' and 'Over 45 Prosecutions' Since 9-11.mp3
MSNBC on FaecBag posting Its a MOVE.mp3


Brendan O'Neill | Freedom of Speech and Right to Offend Oxford Union Society-clip.mp3
China app gives shy students a virtual voice.mp3
samharrisorg-on-the-maintenance-of-civilization-Douglas Murray.mp3

Election 2016

Trump alludes to Hillary's gayness.mp3
Trump to Rep Jewish Coalition on AD MONEY.mp3

JCD Clips

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AMAZING medley.mp3
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DN on FIFA.mp3
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megan with FBI stooge grousing about NSA.mp3
mike Morrell right.mp3
PBS Assad may not have to go.mp3
PBS Oil prodyction unabated.mp3
PBS San Berdo Wrap part one.mp3
Rubio on shootings.mp3

San Bernardino

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CNN with PERFECT anti-musolim WIDOW of husband killed by Farook.mp3
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Melissa Harris-Perry Miffed NYT Showed Malik in Hijab.mp3
Texas A&M law professor Sahar Aziz-Claiming No Bernardino Terror Link Gets Debunked in Seconds KICKER.mp3

War on Guns

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Obama Podcast on Guns & Terror.mp3
Obama SO boring-CBS Newsmodel O'Donnel questions and post talk only.mp3
Trump - Nobody has a gun Only the bad guys.mp3
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